Staying ahead of digital curve: How MSMEs can be at forefront of new age tech adoption, fend off roadblocks

Technology for MSMEs: Every sector today realizes that there is no respite without digital adoption. The ones who miss the bus are sure shot to either perish or experience a torpid graph.

What are finer points of hybrid-working that organizations need to take note of? What extra cybersecurity measures need to be put into place to protect the network? CybersecAsia asked Nishant Rathi, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of NeoSOFT Technologies, an IT consultancy, for some answers.

Does hybrid-working result in better cost savings, more flexibility, and higher productivity?

In 2020, organizations witnessed the benefits of remote-working and hybrid working first-hand. The belief that employees need to be in the office to be productive has been proven to be a myth. Reality shows that people are in fact more productive when they work from home—the lack of commute, reduced distractions, and the flexibility of private workspaces are some contributing factors. We have even witnessed increased employee satisfaction after switching to hybrid.

Hybrid work models will continue becoming popular because of their ability to allow companies to drastically cut down on their carbon footprint. Hybrid workspaces also help in cutting down on maintenance costs, energy consumptions, and several overhead surcharges.

On the other hand, the obvious challenges that would need to be addressed are the technology inequalities that employees may face; the feeling of disconnect or isolation with the organization; and the obvious problem of increased cybersecurity risks.

What kind of technological innovation and support is needed for enterprises to maintain a strong hybrid workforce?

For successful hybrid-working, technology equity is the first step. This can be done by taking a look at the digital tools that made remote-working possible, and the setbacks that operations have faced, and then work from there.

The tools chosen should be portable, secure, and inclusive for both on-site and remote employees, especially in communications, conferencing, collaboration, project management, and time management.

As pandemic has proved, a vast majority of sectors are suited to adopt hybrid-working. In case of roles that require rigorous on-site presence such as in healthcare, media and entertainment, support staff, to name a few—even those personnel have opportunities to shift operations to remote.

For example, online consulting can be used to help doctors go hybrid; remote post-production and editing tools can help media professionals to do the same; and general remote/guided auditing, assessment, and troubleshooting tools can be adopted to let support personnel go hybrid.

How does one ensure the best security practices across the office and home networks in hybrid-working?

The best way to ensure security is through tight vigilance and constant employee cyber-awareness training. This involves companies diligently updating their security policies and creating awareness among staff about protecting themselves, informing them of the remote resources at their disposal, and retraining whenever new resources become available.

Encouraging two-factor authentication and providing virtual private network access are good measures for safeguarding remote connections.

Consider limiting corporate data access to reduce exposure to threats. Ultimately, organizations should be proactive in assessing the effectiveness of their measures by getting the support team to audit employees’ devices and connections regularly and routinely performing penetration testing to stay on top. After all, in cybersecurity, preparedness and prevention go a long way.

Which cybersecurity protocols are essential while implementing a hybrid model?

Hybrid workplaces are based on an extensive cloud infrastructure. As such, the protocols that are adopted also need to be cloud-centric. Zero Trust and multifactor authentication can be implemented to ensure stringent safety.

For the network, the security perimeter has become borderless, so expanding the company’s endpoint security strategy and setting the correct policies should be a priority.

Emerging strategies to do this include implementing AI/ML-based Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) services and Security Operations Centre as a Service (SOCaaS)—also called Managed Detection and Response (MDR).

Finally, organizations need to remember that a business is not just about its equipment—it is all about people. Policy setters should remember to never underestimate the necessity of employee training; hybrid-working exposes them to a whole host of phishing threats that could end up infiltrating the office network.

Juggling a distributed workforce amid heightened cyber risks: can it work?

Since the start of the pandemic, organizations have had to implement remote-working in various forms, with many settling down to hybrid arrangements involving a mixture of Work-From-Home and work-from-office based on necessity and rostering.

What are finer points of hybrid-working that organizations need to take note of? What extra cybersecurity measures need to be put into place to protect the network? CybersecAsia asked Nishant Rathi, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of NeoSOFT Technologies, an IT consultancy, for some answers.

Does hybrid-working result in better cost savings, more flexibility, and higher productivity?

In 2020, organizations witnessed the benefits of remote-working and hybrid working first-hand. The belief that employees need to be in the office to be productive has been proven to be a myth. Reality shows that people are in fact more productive when they work from home—the lack of commute, reduced distractions, and the flexibility of private workspaces are some contributing factors. We have even witnessed increased employee satisfaction after switching to hybrid.

Hybrid work models will continue becoming popular because of their ability to allow companies to drastically cut down on their carbon footprint. Hybrid workspaces also help in cutting down on maintenance costs, energy consumptions, and several overhead surcharges.

On the other hand, the obvious challenges that would need to be addressed are the technology inequalities that employees may face; the feeling of disconnect or isolation with the organization; and the obvious problem of increased cybersecurity risks.

What kind of technological innovation and support is needed for enterprises to maintain a strong hybrid workforce?

For successful hybrid-working, technology equity is the first step. This can be done by taking a look at the digital tools that made remote-working possible, and the setbacks that operations have faced, and then work from there.

The tools chosen should be portable, secure, and inclusive for both on-site and remote employees, especially in communications, conferencing, collaboration, project management, and time management.

As pandemic has proved, a vast majority of sectors are suited to adopt hybrid-working. In case of roles that require rigorous on-site presence such as in healthcare, media and entertainment, support staff, to name a few—even those personnel have opportunities to shift operations to remote.

For example, online consulting can be used to help doctors go hybrid; remote post-production and editing tools can help media professionals to do the same; and general remote/guided auditing, assessment, and troubleshooting tools can be adopted to let support personnel go hybrid.

How does one ensure the best security practices across the office and home networks in hybrid-working?

The best way to ensure security is through tight vigilance and constant employee cyber-awareness training. This involves companies diligently updating their security policies and creating awareness among staff about protecting themselves, informing them of the remote resources at their disposal, and retraining whenever new resources become available.

Encouraging two-factor authentication and providing virtual private network access are good measures for safeguarding remote connections.

Consider limiting corporate data access to reduce exposure to threats. Ultimately, organizations should be proactive in assessing the effectiveness of their measures by getting the support team to audit employees’ devices and connections regularly and routinely performing penetration testing to stay on top. After all, in cybersecurity, preparedness and prevention go a long way.

Which cybersecurity protocols are essential while implementing a hybrid model?

Hybrid workplaces are based on an extensive cloud infrastructure. As such, the protocols that are adopted also need to be cloud-centric. Zero Trust and multifactor authentication can be implemented to ensure stringent safety.

For the network, the security perimeter has become borderless, so expanding the company’s endpoint security strategy and setting the correct policies should be a priority.

Emerging strategies to do this include implementing AI/ML-based Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) services and Security Operations Centre as a Service (SOCaaS)—also called Managed Detection and Response (MDR).

Finally, organizations need to remember that a business is not just about its equipment—it is all about people. Policy setters should remember to never underestimate the necessity of employee training; hybrid-working exposes them to a whole host of phishing threats that could end up infiltrating the office network.

Tokyo olympics 2020 gets a hi-tech makeover

Olympics is one such event that everyone is glued to and the Tokyo Olympics 2020 is no different. This year, even before the games began, adhering to pandemic norms and conducting an event of this magnitude became the talk of the town. As we continue to fight this pandemic, technology has proved to be a game-changer in this year’s Olympics, and in almost all walks of our life.

Geared with modern and high-tech approaches and innovations, Tokyo Olympics 2020 is adorned with utmost security, innovation, and risk assessment. Leveraging technologies such as IoT, facial recognition, VR experience, 3D athlete tracking, self-driving cars, and more, Tokyo Olympics 2020 becomes the most memorable Olympic Games in history. Let’s dive deeper into how different technologies have given a makeover to the Tokyo Olympics 2020.

Self-driving cars

The self-driving vehicle system is playing a crucial role in Tokyo Olympics to avoid crowd gathering, traffic congestion, and transport athletes, workers, media, and spectators to the venue. Picking individuals right from the airport to the Olympics venue in Tokyo, around 100 self-driving vehicles have been deployed to tackle millions of tourists and athletes reaching the Tokyo Olympics 2020.

Human Support Robots (HSR) and Delivery Support Robots (DSR) have been installed for guiding spectators and merchandise.

Wearable technology

IoT-powered wearable technologies have been used to keep a track of athletes when the training grounds weren’t operational due to Covid-19. From force-sensing sensors in shoes, bike pedals offering a regular stream of data, to gathering data for avoiding injuries, it has been used for the benefit of athletes throughout the Olympics. Swimmers using wearables could also measure movements and biomechanical patterns during training sessions.

Facial recognition system

The facial recognition system deployed at the event is capable of identifying around 3,00,000 people including athletes, spectators, media, staff, and other spectators attending the event. The facial scanning technology eliminates manual ID checks, reduces waiting times, and restricts unauthorised access.

Additionally, facial recognition monitors can also record the facial movements of individuals and help identify Covid-19 carriers, and enables immediate action.

VR experience

Tokyo Olympics 2020 this time has its own Covid-inspired Olympic Virtual Series. Integrating virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), Tokyo Olympics 2020 is supported by VR experience. This technology is deployed to bring spectators closer to the action while also ensuring a secured environment.

The 360-degree view and adjustments assure a rich user experience and minimises the dizziness experienced by VR users at times. Moreover, numerous Tokyo Olympics 2020 events can be viewed via VR comprising of opening and closing ceremonies, gymnastics, track and field, beach volleyball, and boxing.

AI-powered robot assistance

Tokyo Olympics 2020 has deployed multiple robots capable of assisting and guiding spectators throughout the event to avoid crowds during pandemic times and ensure a hassle-free user journey, The robots attend to the allowed spectators, guides them with the right directions at the venue, offers accurate event information and other details, and even transports luggage of both spectators and athletes.

AI, ML, chatbots, and other advanced technologies are being leveraged not only across sports events. Businesses globally are lately reaping the benefits out of AI and ML. For instance, NeoSOFT has been working on AI/ML technology along with the latest technologies with 22+ diverse industries.

3D athlete tracking (3DAT)

For analysing the movement of athletes, the 3D athlete tracking system has been deployed. The deep learning algorithms in the system captures the 3D view of the athletes and closely records the motion while analysing the biomechanics of the athlete’s movements.

The technologies behind this ultimate success are AI and computer vision which not only offer real-time analysis of athlete’s performance but also give insights to the spectators on how the athletes are performing.

Language translation system

Since this global event is entertaining spectators from all across the world, Tokyo Olympics 2020 has put in place, modern real-time instant language translators. The translators are installed on the user’s smartphone or other compatible devices. The user can further select the target language or speak into the device, and the language is changed to the desired one.

Tokyo Olympics 2020 has unveiled cutting-edge technologies and has created history in a way for carrying out a global Olympics event safely and in an organised manner backed by next-gen technologies during Covid-19 times.

Blockchain technology has come up with multiple ways to combat privacy concerns in healthcare

Shahid Akhter spoke to Nishant Rathi, Founder & CEO of NeoSOFT Technologies, to know more about the potential and scope of Blockchain possibilities in healthcare.

Does Blockchain hold the potential to validate vaccine, PPE supply chain and ventilators?

Blockchain along with AI & Cloud is powering supply chain management at its true potential. With its ability to provide real-time insights, Blockchain enhances the ability to check the roadblocks and improve the response time. I must say that with Blockchain gaining immense popularity, it has become pivotal in drastically revamping key operations not just only in the supply chain, but has a dramatic impact on all other sectors. In these unprecedented times, it has assisted the healthcare industry with a single, reliable and transparent outlook of supply and demand data across the stakeholders, legal entities, and geographies. Tracking the vaccines, assisting the patients to keep track of their vaccine records, and unifying records of patient immunization are the core areas where Blockchain technology has gained the spotlight lately.

What are the potential uses of Blockchain to combat security and privacy concerns in healthcare?

Blockchain technology has come up with multiple ways where it can combat all the privacy concerns in the healthcare industry- may it be drug tracking, safeguarding patient’s medical records from any unauthorized access, vaccine tracking, staff records management, or e-health monitoring. With the decentralized architecture, blockchain comes equipped with consensus mechanisms, digital signature schemes, and a chain of hashing and advanced storage proficiencies that makes it ideal to address the complex data threats and other healthcare privacy concerns.

Will Blockchain be a boon for clinical trials and make lives easy for healthcare operators?

This is something where Blockchain excels at! Making patient recruitment smarter and hassle-free is what Blockchain can be harnessed at. The major data and traceability-related issues in clinical trials can be addressed with Blockchain as it allows optimization of double-blind trials on multiple fronts. Besides that, a master smart contract assists in automated patient recruitment, subject matching, and trial-based contracts management.

How has blockchain become the game-changer in pandemic times for healthcare?

Pandemic has led to several revolutions and more important the adoption of digital accelerators. Since its inception, Blockchain came with many expectations. But the best part is now when we are witnessing its ability to revolutionize every segment and industry. We are now experiencing the bigger picture of Blockchain and it is performing a key role in ensuring transparency and enhanced security backed with its decentralized architecture.

How Blockchain improves the micropayments system in the healthcare industry?

Blockchain comes equipped with cryptocurrency token-based payments. During this, the healthcare providers receive a direct transfer of the agreed-upon cryptocurrency in the wallet and there is simply no involvement of any third-party services. This ensures utmost security and transparency while making micropayments a hassle-free process. And if we talk about fraud security, Blockchain transactions are irreversible which minimizes the scope of risk in the long run. So, modern problems need modern solutions and this is what we believe at NeoSOFT Technologies. We develop digital solutions not because it has advanced functionalities, but because it perfectly caters to the modern problems of modern businesses.

Why is Blockchain for Electronic Medical Record (EMR) Data Management gaining momentum?

The decentralized peer-to-peer network is what enables Blockchain to improve and secure Electronic Medical Records. The power of Blockchain can strengthen the EMR system by ensuring immutability of data and taking data security to the whole next level. Besides that, improving interoperability is another area where Blockchain has the potential to improve EMR in the form of smart contracts. And when we talk about building user trust, Blockchain’s decentralized architecture and consensus algorithms are commendable while making the latest information accessible to all the members.

Hybrid learning model: types, the pros, and the cons

The education sector saw a massive upheaval in the previous year and a half. In trying to resume classes, educators and institutions were seen implementing technology in multiple ways trying to find a medium that works the best.

One mode of learning that has garnered a lot of positive attention is the Hybrid Learning Model. It is a process where the teacher teaches in-class and remote students simultaneously — making it a viable solution during the pandemic where restrictions on going outdoors defer based not just on regions but also on individual health conditions.

Types of Hybrid Learning

The key to successfully leveraging the hybrid learning model is being able to implement the best of face-to-face environment and virtual learning, maximizing their plus-points without compromising on the quality of teaching. There are a few widely recognized hybrid learning models that have popularly emerged fruitful. Educators have deployed all of them based on the learning needs of their students.

The Differentiated Learning Model involves simultaneous attending of lectures by students both in-person and from their homes using online conferencing platforms or classrooms where they receive instructions synchronously. Following which they are allocated asynchronous activities via an LMS portal which they again discuss synchronously.

The Split A/B Model involves dividing the classroom into two groups based on their in-person availability. Group A is given online instructions via ‘flipped videos’ on their allocated days through links or by uploading the content on an LMS, while Group B gets the same set of instructions on their days face-to-face. The class can then interconnect on a single day as a homeroom day or an open day for discussion sort of interaction.

Another common model is the Flipped Learning Model where students are provided with the instructional material on a learning portal to go through in their own time — in any format — which then the class meets and discusses, expands or work on when they meet for an in-person session.

Pros of the Hybrid Learning Model

The biggest advantage of the hybrid learning model is the flexibility it provides to both the educators as well as the learners. Flexibility in schedules, teaching modes, learning pace, engagement mediums and more.

With technology, educators and learners have an opportunity to establish the same level of intimate connections in real-time while connecting remotely as in the face-to-face environment. The hybrid learning model also encourages an independent and self-reliant mode of education where students are free to peruse their material in their own time at their own pace with the added perk of revisiting the material or instructions again if need be.

Cons of the Hybrid Learning Model

Hybrid learning assumes that every student tuning in for the lessons will have optimal speed internet and the proper devices to access the lessons, putting the virtual students without the proper technical requirements at a disadvantage.

While opening up possibilities of learning for students at their own pace, the model can be challenging for students who lack time management skills, the ability to prioritize, or other such necessary organizational skills. The hybrid learning model might also have a negative impact on the virtual students mentally when they see their peers interacting in class while they themselves are tuning in from the isolation of their rooms.

Challenges of the Hybrid Learning Model

The primary challenge for educators especially in India is the steep learning curve for them to become proficient at using and understanding the various technology used — for content creation and organization, for operating online classrooms or working with an LMS portal and troubleshooting the problems that might pop up during sessions.

An equally daunting challenge is the technology inequality among the students where not every learner may have access to the internet or the proper compliant devices for the technology or software required to run/view their lessons. For the model to be a success, there needs to be a concentrated effort to be made to overcome the cons of the learning model.

Learning is a dynamic process — and so is the process of learning to teach. Humans are highly adaptive creatures and with enough time, the day is not far away when hybrid models of teaching will be the norm. With creativity and intentionality, educators can morph this preliminary hybrid learning model and personalize it as per their capabilities and necessities.

As technology enablers, IT solutions companies like NeoSOFT Technologies have their work cut out. As technology advances, IT companies in affiliation with the educational institutions need to continue integrating superior tools and deploying solutions that are designed to be utilitarian as well as intuitive for both the learners as well as educators from all levels of technology backgrounds. So that educators are empowered to not compromise on the quality of their teaching methods and learners are the least affected by issues of tech inequity or their remote availability on their path to knowledge.

This forward-looking service is solving the critical tech talent problem.

Over the last two decades, NeoSOFT Technologies, headquartered in Mumbai, has carved out a significant market share in the growing IT consulting & services space. With 4000+ people across the globe, the company believes that its differentiated offerings that address critical challenges for stakeholders have helped them to be a preferred partner for organizations. ‘NeoNXT’ is proving to be one such offering.

While the IT sector is firing on all cylinders, after the onset of the pandemic, NeoSOFT Technologies have been posting double-digit growth numbers, even before that. The company says its differentiated offerings have hit the right chord with customers.

With evolving customer requirements, macroeconomic factors and the rush for digital & IT services, the industry is looking for reliable partners that can help them transform and build digital offerings that serve as a key driver for growth.

However, with the huge demand & supply mismatch for quality programmers, aspirations of businesses are at a risk. The industry is facing unprecedented levels of attrition & sky-rocketing wages & hikes for tech talent, something that is not sustainable.

“This is the age of digital. Businesses are either born-digital or will become digital in due course”, says Nishant Rathi, the Founder & Director of NeoSOFT Technologies. Naturally, the demand will outweigh the supply.

Organizations need sustainable solutions to tackle this challenge. At NeoSOFT we forecasted this at an early stage and started to invest in NeoNXT – the next generation of engineering talent.

It is a product that is born out of customer and industry needs. Forward-looking enterprises & high-growth startups have already embraced it and have started to see results.

What makes it exciting is that it has a universal application – businesses across the industry can derive value from it. Our partners from segments like BFSI, Ecommerce & Retail, Logistics, Manufacturing, Hi-Tech & ISVs, Healthcare, and many more are future-proofing their engineering teams by leveraging NeoNXT.

Since we have kept the value offering for NeoNXT risk-free, simple, and extremely easy to start, businesses are becoming even more eager to gain access to culture-ready talent and go digital, without the risk of disruption.

Decoding NeoNXT

NeoNXT is a service that helps businesses access a talent pool consisting of highly trained, handpicked candidates from elite engineering colleges having at least secured a first-class qualification.

These candidates have undergone a 180-day training programme where they are skilled across fundamental, functional, operations & soft-skills. This also includes simulated project environments where they are responsible for actual deliveries. There is a further filter that is based on their training and delivery results.

Essentially only 5% of graduates make it to NeoNXT.

NeoNXT engineers are made available at no-cost for an initial period. They are also supported by NeoSOFT’s Center of Excellence (CoE) whilst on client projects, making it virtually risk-free for businesses.

About NeoSOFT Technologies:

NeoSOFT Technologies is a CMMi Level 5 global IT consulting & software solutions provider, with operations in 5 continents. It has a total of 4000+ workforce and recently celebrated 25+ years of inception.

NeoSOFT wins ‘Best CX Transformation’ award at CX Summit, India.

NeoSOFT – a global leader in digital & CX transformation, over the past few years has worked extensively with renowned brands and new age disruptors to help them create winning CX strategies.

NeoSOFT is a CMMi Level 5 global IT consulting & digital services provider, with operations in 5 continents. It has a total of 4000+ workforce and recently celebrated 25+ years of inception.

NeoSOFT – a global leader in IT Consulting & Software Services, has been commemorated with the ‘Best CX Transformation Award’ at the prestigious 5th NXT CX Summit India, in recognition for its contribution towards engineering zero-friction customer experiences for its clients.

Delighting the modern customer has never been tougher. With the explosion of devices, channels, information, network, and choices – they have plenty of everything.

This choice of more has led to tectonic shifting of consumer behavior and buying patterns. With ever evolving customer behaviors, brands need to build a CX strategy that evolves as rapidly as their customers.

NeoSOFT – a global leader in digital CX transformation, over the past few years has worked extensively with renowned brands and new age disruptors to help them create winning CX strategies. As a result, their customers have marched straight ahead in the great CX race, delighting existing customers and winning new ones.

The “Best CX Transformation” is an acknowledgement of NeoSOFT’s zero-friction CX offering that creates a connected, hyper-personalized & adaptive experience for customers. At the event, CX experts from NeoSOFT also delivered a key-note on how to create winning CX strategies, placing emphasis on building digital capabilities across customer touch-points.

‘’This is a gratifying win that reaffirms value creation for our clients. Leveraging our zero-friction customer experience offering, our clients have been able to build significant barriers to entry, creating a strong competitive advantage, says Nishant Rathi, Founder & CEO of NeoSOFT.”

These evolving and demanding times outline the importance of CX in redefining how a business will grow now and in the future, with a clear emphasis on differentiation, personalization, and customer experience.

The winners will be those companies who are tuned-in with how customers want to do business with them, adds Rathi.

The modern day customer expects brands to deliver consistent experience across touchpoints. The emphasis today should be on creating a fluid ecosystem that can combine technology with human touch points to deliver exceptional customer experience.

Building digital capabilities that can deliver hyper-personalization across channels and at scale is how brands will win the great CX race.

About NeoSOFT Technologies:

NeoSOFT is a CMMi Level 5 global IT consulting & digital services provider, with operations in 5 continents. It has a total of 4000+ workforce and recently celebrated 25+ years of inception.

Disclaimer: This is a company press release. No HT journalist is involved in creation of this content.