Many not in sync with the latest tech think Cloud only allows them to store music and photographs on a digital platform instead of on devices. However, the potential of Cloud computing is far greater than merely offering vast amounts of storage space.

What if your camera could identify an object in a picture and translate it into a language of your choice and say it aloud? At the 2018 Google Cloud Summit in Mumbai on Tuesday, a presentation demonstrated exactly that.

Markku Lepisto, solutions architect at Google Cloud, said he loves Indian sweets but finds it hard to identify them by their names. So he used a Raspberry Pi—a tiny computer made famous by the popular hacker drama series Mr. Robot—to build a camera. He hooked it up with application programming interfaces (APIs) on Google Cloud and used machine learning (ML) to better its responses.

Lepisto clicked a picture of a laddoo on stage, and pat came the accurate reply: “Besan laddoo.”

“The fact that this device took me just one day to build shows the potential that this technology has,” Lepisto said.

With a growing economy and a focus on digitisation, the scope of technologies such as Cloud, artificial intelligence (AI) and ML in India is huge. Google Cloud is looking to capitalise on this in more than one way.

The company said in one year it has tripled the number of people in the team for the region, across sales, marketing, partners, and engineering.

“Last year, just 1,000 people attended this event. This year, the second edition of the summit in Mumbai saw 2,300 people in attendance, plus 5,000 tuning in via livestream,” said Rick Harshman, MD, Asia Pacific, at Google Cloud.

He added that the company has tripled the number of people in the team for the region, across sales, marketing, partners, and engineering, but refused to reveal any numbers.

Harshman said the company was focussing its investment on tier 1 cities and smaller towns, especially in training and enablement for startups. “One reason why we included code labs at this year’s event where people can practice using the Cloud platform was that the No. 1 request at the last summit was for more training,” he said.

Google Cloud said its community of learners in India has grown by a whopping 825% in just one year.

However, the road ahead may not be a smooth ride as competitors such as Microsoft, IBM, and Amazon Web Services are ramping up their Cloud offerings in India. Google Cloud believes it has a couple of advantages that could serve as major differentiators.

“Our core differentiator is that the platform is completely open. It is all API-based and open source; anyone anywhere can use it to develop ideas and businesses. The other differentiators are Google Analytics, which can help clients make sense of their data, ML and AI capabilities and the ability to leverage the wider Google ecosystem,” Harshman said.

Google Cloud’s Indian customers include L&T Finance, Titan, Policybazaar, Hero MotoCorp, Ashok Leyland, Royal Enfield, and Yes Bank. The company said verticals such as retail, media, and BFSI have been seeing a lot of traction, while healthcare and manufacturing are showing promise.

The company has three “zones” (which have data centres) in Mumbai. “There’s a good chance we’ll have to increase that. It all comes down to customer demand, and based on what we’re seeing, I’d say there’s a good chance,” Harshman said.

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