InterviewsWomen in Technology

Diversity Has its Own Impact

Arabian Reseller speaks to Swapna Nair, the Regional Marketing Manager at ASUS Middle East about her career journey into the IT industry

Tell us about your leadership style and philosophy.
The corporate world has grown quickly, and the consensus nowadays is that a leader works side-by-side with the group, instead of merely delegating. This is seen as the optimum path in today’s corporate environment. I lead by facilitating open communication and trying to bring out the best in every team member I work with.

Why did you choose IT to advance your career?
I may not have taken the ‘traditional’ career path into this field. However, through the experience and skills I gained previously, it gave me the opportunity to really determine my niche and find where my strengths could excel. It’s often difficult to say that I have always wanted to pursue this career, because for me I needed to try different areas to determine what type of career was right for me.

I started my career in a different field. But, I got an opportunity with ASUS and I ended up liking this new area more and as they say, the rest is history. I have been working for ASUS for the past 12 years – 2005 to 2007 at ASUS India, and from 2011 till date at ASUS Middle East.

What advice would you give to women looking to break into the field of computer technology?
Tech is a great way to make your ideas happen. Everything today involves and is accelerated by tech. There is nothing more fun that seeing results quickly. There has never been a better time for women to be part of the technology industry.

The industry is realizing the impact of diversity, both on the community at large and on companies’ bottom line. Powered by advancements in computing and AI, there are now huge opportunities to solve interesting social problems at a global scale. This opportunity, combined with the momentum to build a diverse workforce, makes it a truly exciting time to be part of the industry.

What is the greatest transformation in technology you’ve witnessed in your career?
I have seen exponential growth in the AI and IoT arena. Artificial Intelligence is one of those catch phrases that elicits strong reactions from different groups. Employees might get nervous when they hear it, fearing an army of robots out for their jobs. However, c-suite executives might be counting the future profits they believe will be theirs as AI is increasingly used.

It was predicted that there were almost 27 billion IoT devices in the world in August 2020, and this is estimated to increase to over 75 billion by 2025. There are currently about 8.4 billion connected devices in the world – somewhat short of the 26 billion that Gartner predicted in 2013 would be in use by the end of the decade. That 20 billion number (if not the 200 billion predicted by Intel for 2020) will no doubt be achieved eventually, but the point of IoT is not just having smart devices gathering data and storing it in a database somewhere.

What are your thoughts on the next transformation in the tech industry?
AI, Machine Learning and Cloud Computing have become force multipliers for data analytics and there will be big growth in this era.

Are you involved in any sort of charity work?
Having spare time is sometimes very challenging. However, I have worked on several charity drives by donating and distributing toiletry bags and food packs to the hard-working laborers in Dubai. Also, time to time I do some charities in my home country. Girls education is also supported through WHO in India.

What’s shaping the IT industry in the region?
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. The increasing ability of machines to learn and act intelligently will absolutely transform our world. It is also the driving force behind many of the other trends on this list.

The Internet of Things (IoT). This refers to the ever-growing number of “smart” devices and objects that are connected to the internet. Such devices are constantly gathering and transmitting data, further fueling the growth in Big Data and AI.

Wearables and augmented humans. What started with fitness trackers has now exploded into a whole industry of wearable technology designed to improve human performance and help us live healthier, safer, more efficient lives. In the future, we may even see humans merge with technology to create “augmented humans” or “transhumans.”

Intelligent spaces and smart places. Closely linked to the IoT, this trend is seeing physical spaces – like homes, offices, and even whole cities – becoming increasingly connected and smart. Cloud and edge computing. Cloud computing – where data is stored on other computers and accessed via the internet – has helped to open up data and analytics to the masses. Edge computing – where data is processed on smart devices (like phones) – will take this to the next level.

What is next for you in terms of your career in the tech industry?
Technology is rapidly growing, so the next challenge will be to stay updated with new Tech and the upcoming challenges but also needs to develop the business with the past learnings and experiences.

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Chris Fernando

Chris N. Fernando is an experienced media professional with over two decades of journalistic experience. He is the Editor of Arabian Reseller magazine, the authoritative guide to the regional IT industry. Follow him on Twitter (@chris508) and Instagram (@chris2508).

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