What are Hexagon Geospatial’s focus areas in the Indian market?
Geospatial data has always been a complex challenge. For decades, organizations have been struggling to find a simple solution to solve complex queries and harness, analyze, and transform geospatial data into intelligent information. Hexagon Geospatial helps you make sense of the dynamically changing world. Our Smart Solutions framework delivers results through technologies that work the way users expect — making data intuitive and information consumable to simplify the decision making process.
India is a growth market for us. Hexagon Geospatial is harnessing various technologies in newer ways to derive benefits for our customers. From a portfolio perspective, we have solutions which ingest sensor data and convert it into intelligent, actionable information. And with the government investing in big programs, such as, Smart City and Digital India, geospatial technology is becoming a part of every sphere of decision-making. So, whatever we are doing today is being supported and backed by government investments. For example, for the smart city program, we are trying to build a common framework by bringing together information from various data silos, and making it more intuitive for decision makers to operate and visualize and reach their goals together.
How do you perceive the future of geospatial industry in India?
From a government policy perspective, we need to look at things such as how they are formulating map policies, data creation policies and data acquisition policies. One of the biggest concerns that every geospatial technology company has today is information access. Can they get access to the proper base information and relevant datasets that they need? One of the positive changes recently is the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) opening up six-month-old data for free to stakeholders.
Actually, map data is crucial for any kind of geospatial project. Industry growth will be closely tied to map policies and remote sensing policies in India and the availability of data. Maps should be made available to the people who need it to make decisions. We will also have to look at how the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) policy is defined and implemented by the Government of India.
Change is also happening at the ground level, in the sense that almost all municipal corporations are looking to embrace geospatial technologies today. They will form the building blocks for smart city projects and this is essential, because, if you don’t have a base layer of data upon which to build solutions, individual organizations and stakeholders will not be able to embrace these technologies.
What is Hexagon Smart M.App and what is its scope in India?
There is lot of buzz about our Smart M.App technology because it is being seen as a game changer for the geospatial world. It brings together various technologies based on Hexagon Geospatial intellectual property into a common framework and allows users to build lightweight, dynamic applications on it. This means that the data driving the results can change and the results will change along with it, performing the analysis in near real time. Smart M.App allows our partners to develop dynamic apps. Their apps can be published publically and can be used globally through the M.App Exchange — our Smart M.App storefront.
To make our Indian users aware about all that the Smart M.App can offer, we have hosted a number of IGNITE sessions, where we have invited developers to come, learn about Smart M.Apps, experiment a bit, and then develop their own application. IGNITE is an open global competition to encourage developing more Smart M.Apps.
Where do you see this market in the near future?
There are three areas that will be very exciting to watch as they impact and influence the near future: greater utilization of the Cloud for computing, the continued rise and innovation of UAV/UAS use, and customized information services via the Hexagon Smart M.App.
As Cloud adoption increases, people want their geospatial capabilities to keep pace. This is why we Cloud-enabled our flagship products, such as the Producer Online. Leveraging the power of Native as a Service (NaaS), it delivers IMAGINE Online and GeoMedia Online from the Cloud to a local computer, allowing the user to work on their geospatial data locally, instead of having to upload it to the Cloud. Interestingly, some users will actually encounter the inverse problem: instead of seeking to keep their data local, they will need a better way to organize, store, save, and access their data — and they will turn to the Cloud for the answer. Our Cloud-based M.App Chest application can do just that.
With the increasing number of UAVs in the market, organizations have access to a great source of content that allows them to operationally ‘do it themselves’. Many of these users will come from a non-geospatial background. In order to grow their business, they will need easy, accessible, and intuitive ways to process and correct their UAS data and then provide a final product to customers so they can prepare and use the content for applications and information extraction. With GeoApp.UAS, the data collected from the mission is uploaded to the Cloud, and pushed through a series of processes that orthocorrects the data. In some cases, they can upload the data from the field and have it fully processed by the time they get back to their office. Moreover, through the Smart M.App platform, we are making the intellectual property behind our years of industry-leading software available to development partners and customers.
How can the government play a role in enabling the geospatial content, application and overall framework for large programs like Smart Cities, Digital India etc.?
Initiatives like Smart Cities, Start-Up India and Digital India are bound to spearhead the geospatial technology revolution in the country, making it a part of every implementation that is taking place. This also explains why mainstream IT companies like Apple, Google, Amazon, etc., are offering more and more location-based services in their products.
Businesses are also seeking to boost performance with innovative location intelligence and analytics. And with increasing demand for readily available, consistent, accurate, complete and current information, geospatial applications have become the primarily tool across the globe for accessing sophisticated analytical information, thus transforming raw data into actionable, authoritative intelligence.
Do you think the geospatial industry needs the government’s support as IT and pharma sectors?
Initiatives are already being taken by the government in the sense that space technology is being actively promoted. Secondly, the government has formed a National Centre of Geo-Informatics to head the geospatial industry implementation. They are also looking at highly empowered committees to evaluate the map and data policies, in addition to promoting National Spatial Data Infrastructure. All these are the building blocks, and the sentiment is clear that the government wants to embrace geospatial technology into various projects. What geospatial technology does is provide you a visualization of where something is, what it does, and what action is needed to be taken to reach an end result or desired outcome.