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Kerala's UL CyberPark aims to become a ‘disruptive technology hub’

(Image credit: UL CyberPark)

UL CyberPark in Kozhikode, Kerala, is aiming to become a “disruptive technology hub” rather than compete with its peers in India in a bid to become another IT hub.

In India, there are many IT parks which provide outsourcing and back-office facilities for many technology companies globally but T.S. Ravikumar, the new chief operating officer at UL Cyber Park, told TechRadar Middle East that his intention is to provide IT professionals in Kerala a high-tech job in their native soil.

UL CyberPark is part of the Uralungal Labour Contract Co-operative Society (ULCCS), formed in 1925, the largest workers' cooperative society in Asia.

The park was inaugurated in 2016 and houses 72 companies and around 2,000 employees today.

UL CyberPark is the third IT hub in Kerala after Technopark in Thiruvananthapuram and Infopark in Kochi.

 “We aim to have 50,000 employees at the park in the next seven years and make Kozhikode as the next IT hub in the world,” he said.

After taking over the job a few months ago, Ravikumar was briefed by his superiors that they want to compete with other IT parks in the country.

Despite being late into the party, Ravikumar knew that it is tough to compete as they are behind time and more than 25 to 30 years behind other major IT parks in India.

“It is difficult to be in the rat race and make it as the next global IT hub. What we can do is consider and think what the future in IT is, so that we can consider and make Kozhikode as the global disruptive technology hub. So, in that way, we are not competing with Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Bengaluru or Hyderabad,” he said.

Moreover, he said that the global IT economy is worth $8tr and the Indian IT market is worth only $140b.

Huge growth potential

“We have a huge potential to penetrate the global market with disruptive technologies such as blockchain, internet of things, AI, cybersecurity and data analytics,” Ravikumar said.

The advantages of Kozhikode, he said are the National Institute of Technology (former Regional Engineering College), Indian Institute of Management (fifth-best in the country) and Calicut University (250,000 students pass out every year).

He added that Kozhikode alone generates 15,000 engineers every year but the drawback of the Indian education system is that it does not make the students come out of the school with the required skillsets required by the employers.

To bridge the gap, he said the park has already established a skills school and a facility to improve the skillsets of engineers in Kozhikode.

“We have started a technology solutions company - UL Technology Solutions - which is into disruptive technologies. Each of the vertical heads in blockchain, IoT and cybersecurity are headed by global experts. We have the expertise in recruiting people for our organisation and extend it to the companies who are coming there and we also offer counselling services for many startups in the park,” he said.

The park is adding another 3m square foot to attract companies across the globe to come and establish their offices and absorb the local talent.

Ravikumar said that they are planning to hold a global disruptive summit by the end of November in Kozhikode to showcase its facilities and talent capabilities in a bid to attract companies from Europe, Asia and the UAE.

“We are confident that Kozhikode will be in the global limelight within the next five to 10 years and attract big names in the tech industry,” he said.