Wipro, the large-cap IT services firm, has announced the opening of its generative artificial intelligence (AI) center of excellence (CoE) at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Delhi. This CoE will focus on research and development (R&D) projects in the field of generative AI and will also assess the commercial potential of research-based projects undertaken by students at IIT’s Yardi School of AI.
As part of Wipro’s $1 billion plan to establish an ecosystem of services in AI, the company will provide financial support for both foundational and applied research projects at IIT Delhi. Foundational research aims to establish theoretical findings in a field, while applied research focuses on developing applications that can potentially be viable in commercial marketplaces.
The joint statement released by Wipro and IIT Delhi stated that the establishment of the generative AI CoE is a significant step towards advancing AI research and development in India. Professor Mausam, head of the Yardi School of AI at IIT Delhi, expressed his enthusiasm for the facility, stating that students will gain valuable industry insights and firsthand experience with the transferability of their technical know-how to commercial environments.
Wipro’s move to launch the generative AI CoE comes at a time when other IT service firms in India are also increasing their investments in the generative AI industry. Tata Consultancy Services, for example, recently revealed that it is working on over 50 proof-of-concept (PoC) projects and has identified around 100 opportunities in the field. Infosys also reported having 80 active projects in generative AI, with 40,000 employees trained in the field.
To further their generative AI solutions, these companies have formed partnerships with major players in the tech industry such as Google and Microsoft. For instance, HCL Technologies partnered with Microsoft to establish a generative AI CoE on Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform. This collaboration aims to develop industry-specific solutions that enhance personalized and data-driven experiences, improve decision-making processes, and drive business growth for HCL Technologies’ customers.
While various companies are actively exploring generative AI, analysts caution that these efforts are still in the early stages. Most companies are currently experimenting with pilot implementations rather than expanding their efforts into full-scale, multi-year, multi-billion-dollar deals that drive substantial revenue for India’s largest IT service providers.
A recent Gartner report titled Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2023 supports this perspective, placing the nascent generative AI sector at the top of its inflated expectations chart. However, the report also projects that the field will witness transformational benefits within the next two to five years. This timeline aligns with when service providers are expected to see greater commercial benefits from their early deployments and forge industry-academia partnerships similar to Wipro’s collaboration with IIT Delhi.
In conclusion, Wipro’s launch of the generative AI CoE at IIT Delhi marks a significant development in advancing AI research and development in India. With increasing investments and trials in the generative AI industry, companies are aiming to drive innovation and create solutions that benefit a wide range of industries. While the generative AI sector is still in its early stages, it is projected to deliver substantial transformational benefits in the coming years, opening up new opportunities for India’s IT service providers.