Cloud Enabled Edtech Spaces Enriching Learning Experience
Sujit Bhattacharyya, Chief Innovation Officer (CIO), Career Launcher, in an interaction with CIOTechOutlook, shares his views on the Edtech industry. During the conversation, he spoke about key trends in the Edtech industry, the implementation of cloud technologies, and more.
Edtech in India has grown phenomenally in the last couple of years, making India the edtech capital of the world, however, the industry has seen a pause because of the pandemic. Can you give a broad overview of the EdTech industry in India and what are the growth drivers?
India’s technological advancements are echoing across sectors and businesses - big or small. This has had a special impact on the country’s education space where innovation-led growth is defining the booming ed-tech industry. This sector has gained special prominence in the last few years where pandemic hit country viewed it as the only option for continued education delivery. To support this, research suggests that the Indian EdTech industry was valued at US$ 2.8 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach US$10.4 bn by 2025. With such high growth predicted in the industry, we have also witnessed a massive wave of edtech startups.
Additionally, the demand for the industry isn’t limited to Tier 1 cities but also comes from the rising popularity of non-academic course in Tier II and III cities. The penetration of technology coupled with the acceptance towards digital learning has been the primary propeller for the country to proceed beyond the traditional methods of learning. Beyond that, growing footprints of high speed internet connectivity and the increasing use of mobile devices are also acting as catalysts for this movement towards digitization of the education space. All of these combined paints a very favourable picture for the country’s education sector. Another key contributor towards India’s edtech space is the progressive policies and regulations by the government including the e-vidya initiative or the National Education Policy’s proposal to set up a National Education Technology Forum.
Emerging technologies are shaping up the future of the Edtech industry in India. What are the key trends that are contributing to the growing demand of this sector?
With the rise of technological advancements in the country, the edtech sector is especially influenced by new age technologies to support the rising demand. Students in every corner of the country can receive the same type of education via e-learning mode only because of technological acceptance. With the number of internet users rising, learning has become accessible, easy and alike. All of this has only been made possible via the usage of technologies like cloud, AI/ML, blockchain amongst others.
While cloud set the base of the sector, there is a need to ensure constant innovation and keep the industry relevant. Additionally, technology has also managed to address some key concerns by including ensuring the learner’s attention is undivided during e-learning with interactive and newer technologies like virtual reality, augmented reality and extended reality. Also, to move from traditional means of education, institutions are also trying to customize and personalise e-learning by deploying predictive data analytics which allows the teachers to understand the right tools that helps students understand better. Edtech industry is already widely accepted however at the same time, the sector is leveraging technology and its various applications possible to make it better, interactive and efficient.
What are the key areas in which the industry is leveraging cloud technologies to increase business efficiency?
As the education sector came to a standstill a couple of years ago, everyone looked upto cloud enabled platforms for ensuring continuous learning. By ensuring continued education across the country, cloud, with all its capabilities, has become a key and one of the most important aspects helping the industry to thrive. Not only did cloud computing enable the entire shift from on-premise to the internet but also brought about a wider level of innovation in the space. With cloud, edtech companies are able to ensure continuity, ROI and security which could be some of the biggest concerns in the education space.
Additionally, given that scalability is one of the most important aspects in the space of online learning, resilience offered by cloud providers has been uninterrupted and robust. Cloud has also enabled a lower cost of both imparting education as well as learning which is revolutionary for the space. Edtech space is able to leverage cloud enabled technologies to ensure a more interactive and better learning experience for all and pave a digital path for future.
Tell us about your key technology innovation strategy and how is Career Launcher tackling the challenges with cloud led technologies during the peak season? What challenges were you facing in your business before using Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI)?
We have an application that is used to conduct online training, mock exams etc for students preparing for a large number of competitive examinations. It was one of our most critical applications, and with increasing load this application needed a lot of resources with thousands of students simultaneously submitting the mock exam papers. With changing examination schedules, we would witness unusual swings in demand of computing resources. During heavy workloads the provisioning of additional capacity was becoming a cost and a technical challenge. Also provisioning for business continuity and disaster recovery was becoming prohibitively expensive.
This is when we initiated our search for a reliable cloud partner and Oracle became a natural choice for us given their decades of expertise in the domain. Now the business events are smooth and seamless with OCI delivering outstanding price-performance, and a strong, strategic partnership. We are also paying 25% lower infrastructure costs and with Autonomous Database we can easily auto-scale with fluctuating demand. We have also witnessed an improvement in the reliability and performance of the core customer facing business application.
In an ideal situation, data lake creation should be done in an integrated environment where the data extraction and analysis can be performed in a seamless and real-time format. We expect the latest database technologies as provided by Oracle to effectively solve these problems in the future.