India has developed itself into a favourable hub for establishing CoEs or innovation centres for next-generation technologies. In the last few years, many CoEs in AI and other emerging technologies have been established in the country with an aim to facilitate research for society and enterprises.
Analytics India Magazine collates the CoEs that were launched in India in 2020.
Accenture – Innovation Lab
Accenture opened a 300,000 square feet innovation hub in Hyderabad with more than 2,000 professionals with expertise in AI, security, extended reality, automation, and blockchain. Accenture’s clients can collaborate to innovate and co-create solutions here.
This hub will also house Accenture’s first Nano Labs in the Asia-Pacific region. The Nano Labs are Accenture’s signature labs that offer clients a window into the latest breakthroughs in technologies like AI, AR, IoT, and blockchain. This helps clients understand how new trends and modern technologies are disrupting the traditional industries.
Tech Mahindra – Google Cloud of Excellence
IT giant Tech Mahindra also announced the launch of a dedicated Google Cloud Centre of Excellence this year to drive the digital transformation of enterprises globally.
Set up in Hyderabad, the CoE will provide enterprises with access to technology and services to develop AI and data analytics solutions, along with helping them accelerate their migration to cloud and delivering tailored solutions to move critical workloads to Google Cloud.
STPI – IMAGE
Another CoE in Hyderabad, IMAGE was launched as a first of its kind with a focus on gaming, VFX, computer imaging and AI. This is also the first incubation centre for companies focused on IP in these four technologies.
The centre has been started and hosted in an STPI facility and has an area of 10,000 square feet. The centre will see a total investment of ₹19.68 crores over the next five years and will try to incubate 25 to 30 start-ups in that period.
IBM – Automation Innovation Centre
In January, IBM inaugurated the Automation Innovation Centre (AIC) in Pune that will work around Intelligent Automation and Future of Work.
The AIC has state-of-the-art facilities to work across industry vertical solutions in banking, insurance, retail, CPG, telcos, healthcare sector, etc. The centre also showcases the intersection of automation solutions on enterprise applications such as Salesforce, SAP and Workday, which are a significant part of IBM’s services business.
IIT Kharagpur – Innovation Hub For AI & ML
Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur has set up a technology innovation hub for research in AI and machine learning.
This Technology Innovation Hub on AI and ML is the latest special purpose vehicle set up by the IIT that received a grant of ₹170 crores from the Department of Science and Technology (DST). The hub wants to promote fundamental research to foster an ecosystem that will undertake research and training projects that will help in the development of critical infrastructure for the nation.
NIT Trichy – Centre of Excellence in AI
National Institute of Technology Trichy launched a CoE for AI using the ₹1.2 crores it received from the Higher Education Funding Agency (HEFA).
The CoE has been set up with a focus on interdisciplinary research in AI and aims to generate highly skilled manpower for internships and project staff with an expertise in AI. There will be a focus on solving societal issues in crisis management, decision support systems, and healthcare, including the problems presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. The centre has already been sanctioned sponsored projects from ISRO, DRDO, and Naval Research Board.
IISc & Nokia – Centre of Excellence
Nokia collaborated with the Indian Institute of Sciences Bengaluru to establish a robotics laboratory for research on socially relevant use-cases.
The CoE will promote interdisciplinary research involving emerging technologies like AI, robotics, and advanced communication technologies like 5G. The centre aims to promote engagement and cooperation between academia, start-ups, and the industry ecosystem for research and development of use cases.
CURIE initiative – Enhanced Research Facilities in women’s universities
While a new CoE was not established in this case, it deserves mention in the list. The DST enhanced support for research facilities in eight women universities.
This support was given by the CURIE-AI facility initiative that was started by the department under the KIRAN scheme — Knowledge Involvement in Research Advancement through Nurturing — to empower women in science and technology. CURIE-AI had set-up six AI labs last year to establish infrastructure and prepare skilled manpower for AI-related jobs.
Focused CoEs or innovation centres help industries or countries stay relevant in a particular field. Staying relevant is very important in terms of emerging technologies due to the geopolitical advantages it presents. At the same time, however, such centres or hubs must focus on research for societal progress along with economic gains.