The 7th Edition of India Mobile Congress (IMC) 2023, Asia’s largest telecom, media and technology forum, drew huge footfalls and witnessed leading companies and start-ups displaying their latest solutions and innovations in the telecom and technology sectors. India Mobile Congress, jointly organized by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), played host to over 1.50 lakh visitors, 1,300 plus CXO-level delegates, 400 plus speakers, 230 plus exhibitors and 400 startups, and witnessed participation from over across 67 countries this year. The forum was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who praised the swift roll-out of 5G in India and raised the call for India to take a leadership role globally in 6G.
The mega event showcased futuristic technologies and India’s digital and telecommunication prowess, with exhibitors displaying their innovative technologies & ideas, while discussions focused on paving the path to a sustainable future. Key industry leaders from telecom and technology companies also engaged in insightful discussions at the forum.
Here are key highlights and announcements from India Mobile Congress 2023
- Triggering Innovation – 100 5G labs across India
IMC 2023 was the arena in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the setting up of 100 5G labs across India, with the aim of encouraging students, professors, startups and MSMEs to work on 5G technology. Use cases are expected from a variety of sectors such as health, agriculture, manufacturing and more, with the labs being set up in academic institutions in multiple states, including Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Manipur, Telangana, Karnataka and more.
- Futuristic Solutions from Telecom Operators
At IMC 2023, telecom operator Airtel demonstrated the capabilities of Airtel 5G Plus in optimizing traffic systems, enabling real-time road monitoring, and enhancing road safety by early accident detection and traffic congestion prevention. It also emphasized the role of Airtel IoT and Airtel 5G network in new connected ecosystems, particularly in supporting OEMs with real-time analytics for safer driving. Further, Reliance Jio shone the spotlight on India’s first satellite-based Gigabit broadband service, a solution aimed at offering high-speed internet even in largely inaccessible geographies, in addition to displaying the Jio Glass, a mixed-reality handset, at the event. The third major telecom player in India, Vodafone, featured its Vi C-DOT IoT Lab, and highlighted its unique status as “India’s sole IoT devices interoperability certification lab”. It also introduced “Ready for Next” (RFN), a digital assessment tool designed to assist MSMEs in evaluating their digital maturity.
- Impactful and Future-Ready Technologies
Telecom equipment manufacturer Nokia showcased a wide array of exciting business, industrial and societal applications enabled by 5G and 6G network technology at the India Mobile Congress, including Rapid Rail NCRTC, 4G/LTE Network on the Moon, real-time extended reality multi-media technology and Nokia’s E2E portfolio of zero footprint energy solutions. In its 6G demo, Nokia displayed how future networks will act as a form of ‘radar’, sensing objects, people and movements while preserving privacy. Earlier in October, Nokia had announced the setting up of 6G lab in Bangalore to develop use cases of the new technology for industry and society. The 6G Lab will also provide an experimental platform for researching algorithms, privacy, and sustainable system design. Separately, Ericsson announced the setting up of a 6G research and development centre in Chennai and highlighted its vision on a 6G platform which connects humans and machines and is able to fully merge physical and digital worlds to allow seamless interaction and immersive experiences.
Ericsson pavilion saw the display of zero energy devices, while it also demonstrated its partnership with HBL for Kavach technology in Indian Railways (Vande Bharat). It is providing connectivity to the railways in collaboration with HBL. The technology showcased how they have developed next-level communication with virtual reality, creating photo-realistic holograms where people can communicate with other people.
- Global Innovations Made a Mark
At IMC 2023, semiconductor company Qualcomm associated with Ericsson and Airtel to successfully demonstrate Reduced Capability (RedCap) device capabilities, which are expected to boost mid-tier 5G use cases going ahead. The technology was displayed using Qualcomm Snapdragon X35 5G Modem-RF System, in tandem with Ericsson’s RedCap software, while leveraging Airtel’s 5G TDD network. Further, MediaTek, another leading global fabless semiconductor company, showcased the MediaTek Dimensity Auto Cockpit Solution designed for automobiles. MediaTek Dimensity Auto is a range of new automotive solutions featuring high-performance computing, impressive AI, extensive feature integration, innate energy efficiency, and leading connectivity solutions, all while meeting automotive-grade reliability standards. A cellular core network software company based in Ireland, Druid Software, showcased its core solutions for businesses, which are built on its Raemis™ technology platform, in partnership with clients such as UK-based Microm and India’s Lekha Wireless and Tata Elxsi.
TCS demonstrated a live demo of 5G Network Products and Solutions that include TCS 5G SA Core, Mobile Edge Computing, and 5G RAN. It showcased the TCS Cognitive Network Suite of platforms like Fiber Rollout as a Service, Cognitive Network Operations, self-organizing networks, digital insights applications & network test and automation. It also showcased Next-Generation telecom network products by Tejas Networks which include End-to-End Wireless and Wireline Products. These have been designed and Made in India for the World.
- Aspire – Empowering Young Entrepreneurs
A noteworthy addition to this year’s IMC was the launch of the Aspire program, a start-up initiative aimed at supporting young entrepreneurs in the telecom and digital domains to kickstart their businesses. The Aspire startup program made waves at the IMC by organizing Robo Blitz, a robo wars event which challenged competitors to display their finesse in robotics. The event was well attended and brought forth the potential inherent in India’s startup ecosystem, which is now being further enabled by 5G connectivity. Also, the young innovators behind the ‘Athman Acrobatics Shoes’ startup received a special recognition for their unique idea, indicating India’s readiness for progressive startups.
- Make in India initiatives Gain Pace with Drone Displays
At IMC 2023, Optiemus Infracom Limited (OIL) announced its foray into Unmanned Systems with the launch of technologically-sophisticated, high-precision drones that have been designed and manufactured in India. A diverse range of domestically designed and manufactured drones from companies such as Optiemus and STL, as well as advanced sensors and secure communications systems were showcased at the event, depicting India’s growing prowess in the Make in India and AatmaNirbhar Bharat arenas.
- Reports Highlighting Tech & Telecom Sector Developments
IMC also witnessed the launch of insightful reports highlighting the developments and potential inherent in the fast growing technology and telecom sectors, with KPMG’s Expanding Tech Horizons: Unlocking India’s Digital Potential Report depicting how a combination of 5G/6G, Satellite Communication (SatCom) and Semiconductors will add a cumulative total of USD 240 billion to the Indian economy by 2028. Further, the Telecom Sector Skill Council (TSSC) launched the report Telecom Talent in 5G Era: Demand Supply Skill Gap Report 2023-24, in partnership with Draup, highlighting aspects such as the job opportunities in the Indian telecom sector, the demand supply gap, the convergence of telecom with the technology sector, and the potential of talent in India across various job roles.
- Government Organisations Mark Their Presence
The preeminent event brought to fore the presence of government and public sector units like RailTel, PowerGrid, Ministry of Heavy Industries, and Ministry of Railways, among others. These organizations highlighted the application of technology and telecom across various use cases, with Power Grid, a Maharatna public sector enterprise, depicting its expertise in transmission, renewable integration and telecommunications. Power Grid’s telecom arm Powertel offers telecom solutions with a total existing network of 1 lakh kilometers and existing connectivity to countries such as Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal. India Mobile Congress 2023 also recognized outstanding achievements in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Telecom, Media, and Technology (TMT) sectors in over 16 diverse categories at the coveted IMC 2023 awards.
- Educational Institutes as the Forefront of Transformation
IMC also witnessed robust participation from many premier educational institutes such as IIT Delhi, IIT Roorkee, IIT Jodhpur, IIT (ISM) Dhanbad, BITS Pilani, NIT Tiruchirapalli, VIT and regional universities. Accordingly, the Gati Shakti Vishwavidyalaya, a central university under Ministry of Railways, highlighted its capabilities in the transportation and logistics sectors, in addition to depicting its academic program in AI and data science. Young entrepreneurs were recognized from various schools for their contribution towards making new-age start-ups. Students of Jayshree Periwal school, Jaipur developed Orenth, a tool that can help to find anyone in a crowd. It uses a combination of GPS and video feeds to find the person.
- Unique Use Cases Gain Traction
The event also played host to a variety of unique use cases, from across industries. For instance, the Technology Innovation in Exploration & Mining Foundation or TEXMiN, offered visitors access to a real experience of mines, while also showcasing immersive viewing through holographic technologies. Further, IMC also offered visitors access to the Khipu™ Micro Data Center created by PROSE Technologies, a company offering storage and connectivity solutions. The micro data center, which can be utilised across a variety of industries, was launched at IMC.