The Bengaluru Tech Summit (BTS) 2020 is just two weeks away. The 23rd edition of the summit has been generating a buzz in India and beyond. This year, in its virtual avatar, the summit is expected to see participation from 25 countries, 70+ speakers, 200 exhibitors, 100 startups, 20,000+ delegates and more. With the theme ‘NEXT IS NOW’, the summit will highlight the significance of advancing the future at an accelerated pace and the need for innovations and technological interventions in ensuring preparedness.

A curtain-raiser was organised on Wednesday, November 4, where key leaders associated with the summit came together together to share an overview of what is on offer this year.

One of the key announcements made by Dr. C N Ashwath Narayan, Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka, and Minister for Information Technology, Biotechnology and Science & Technology was that the three-day virtual conference would be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In his address, the Deputy Chief Minister said,

“In spite of the challenges posed by the pandemic, we were keen to have a bigger and better Bengaluru Tech Summit because Science and Technology can address the challenges that society has been facing and continues to face today.”

He noted that science and technology will play a pivotal role in furthering the economic growth of the state. “The current Gross State Domestic Product is about $220 billion. We want to reach $1 trillion by 2025. The contribution of IT & BT alone to the GSDP is about $52 billion. We want the sector to grow and contribute at least $300 billion.” Dr. Ashwath Narayan emphasised the need and importance to strengthen the healthcare, education and agritech sector in the state.

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At the event, he also announced that the state government is expected to establish an Artificial Intelligence (AI) Research Centre in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru. “The government has taken this decision by realising the importance of the potential of AI in finding solutions to the problems of the future,” he said.

Highlighting the initiatives of the government to collaborate with the industry he said,

“Karnataka is one of the first states to have a vision group for startups. And, through the Karnataka Digital Economy mission, we have made it possible for the industry bodies and associations to work closely with the government and drive instant impact.”

The event saw Karnataka IT Vision Group chairperson and Co-Founder, Infosys, S (Kris) Gopalakrishnan; Karnataka BT Vision Group chairperson and Executive chairperson of Biocon Ltd., Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw; Karnataka Startup Vision Group chairman and Partner at Accel Ventures, Prashant Prakash; Bengaluru Tech Summit IT Conference Committee chairperson and Country Manager, Global Supply Chain, Intel India, Jitendra Chaddah; and Bengaluru Tech Summit BT conference committee chairperson and Executive Chairman Strand Life Sciences Dr. Vijay Chandru, shared interesting insights about the developments in the ecosystem in the wake of the pandemic and what the participants can expect at the three-day summit.Kris said,

“Every year the Bengaluru Tech Summit has gotten better, has seen new innovations, and explored new topics. The summit, by bringing together IT and BT, is indicative of where the future opportunities will be.”

He added that the 23rd edition of the summit will explore in depth how the IT sector can leverage the accelerated adoption of digital technologies to drive growth, the role of the IT sector in furthering digital transformation and the future of work. He noted that while the pandemic accelerated digital adoption across industries, the IT industry in particular responded very well. “It has demonstrated to the world the confidence that they have in the Indian IT industry has not just been sustained but also has grown. The IT industry is a bright spot during this COVID 19 crisis and BTS gives the industry an ideal platform to showcase its new solutions.” He noted that the pandemic also showcased the cooperation between the government and the industry, given that the government had to make almost immediate regulatory changes to meet the new industry demands

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw shared that the Bengaluru Tech Summit is a big opportunity to showcase a virtual event which is about convergence of technologies and added that the virtual event will enable to attract global participation from companies, speakers and delegates. In her address, she shared,

“COVID-19 has put the focus and attention on what biological sciences can offer to the world and how we can leverage biological sciences in a cutting-edge manner. And, we will showcase and explore this development further in BTS.”

She added, “With the convergence of technologies, we are seeing a lot of developments in the areas of telemedicine and telehealth. We are witnessing focused interest in application of digital technologies to further biological sciences – be it to develop new vaccines or diagnostics. At BTS, we will showcase these opportunities and more.” Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw opined that the Big Data generated by biological sciences is an unprecedented opportunity to translate into new cutting-edge solutions

“Startups have been at the forefront of all disruption pre-COVID-19. This just got accelerated post COVID-19. BTS is a good opportunity to showcase how the world is changing, and changing faster,” shared Prashant Prakash.

He said that BTS will see the launch of two new initiatives — the Karnataka Digital Economic Mission, a first-of-its-kind organisation by the industry and for the industry, which will work towards accelerating the state’s innovation and digital economy and put Karnataka on the global map. The second is an innovation initiative which will bring together research from academia, startups, and global thought leaders to leverage AI to solve India specific problems in healthcare, education, transport and other areas. He shared, "Bengaluru has long been home to the most vibrant startup ecosystems in India, producing more than 14 unicorns and attracting nearly 47 percent of venture investments in the last four years. As India recovers from the crippling effects of the pandemic on the economy, several Bengaluru-based startups have accelerated India’s transition to an internet first economy, driving digital disruption across legacy sectors. At the summit, we will also showcase the four new unicorns from the state so that the startup ecosystem is able to learn from their journeys. We will also put the spotlight on Indian SaaS companies that are building global products.” He added that the workshops and the interactive mentoring at the summit for the entrepreneurs will help them learn, grow and build stronger companies.

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Giving a brief overview of the IT conference track at the summit, Jitendra Chaddah shared that sessions and talks have been curated to showcase the impact of technology on every vertical. “We want to cover technologies of relevance and prominence today and in the future. And, here we want to bring in a global perspective and learn from the world.” He shared that tracks will deep dive into the nature of the services in the future and decode the productivity enhancers. He said: "Bengaluru is a key IT destination not only for India but for the world, and the Bengaluru Tech Summit brings global thought leaders and tech experts together on one platform to address some of our biggest challenges and opportunities today. This is especially important in the context of the new normal, where I believe technology plays a vital role in keeping our businesses growing.”

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Dr. Vijay Chandru shared that the conference will explore Aatmanirbhar Bharat in BioTech and the new technologies that can create impact across areas – from diagnosis to agriculture to therapy. He added, “An interesting track at the summit will be an endeavour to understand the role of nutrition and food as medicine and the concept of ‘One Health’ which will drive a holistic view on health, wellness and environment.

In addition to the many leaders who attended the event virtually, also present on the occasion were other dignitaries from Karnataka, including Dr E V Ramana Reddy, Additional Chief Secretary of the Chief Minister, and Meena Nagaraj, Director, Department of Electronics, IT, Bt and S&T and MD, KITS among others.

Watch this space as we bring you more updates from Asia’s Largest Virtual Tech Summit – the Bengaluru Tech Summit.

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