The centre will focus on developing engineering and retail analytics solutions to empower MSMEs

Global retail giant and the US-based Walmart Global Tech (WGT) has partnered with the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM) to establish the Walmart Centre for Tech Excellence to empower Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the manufacturing and retail sectors. The centre will work towards developing cutting-edge solutions that will help MSMEs adopt Artificial Intelligence (AI) along with digitisation to drive operational efficiency and profitability.

The partnership is another step ahead in Walmart’s commitment to equip local entrepreneurs with tools to augment their businesses and promote sustained growth for the Indian MSME sector. The centre will work towards building an open-sourced, domain-agnostic platform that will develop engineering analytics solutions, making them widely accessible. Additionally, the centre will build a repository of case studies to accelerate AI adoption in the manufacturing and retail industries. These case studies will also be leveraged to deliver skilling programs focused on the basics of AI and its application in the sectors, Walmart said.

Suresh Kumar, Global Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Chief Development Officer (CDO), Walmart Inc, said the new centre was an extension of the MoU signed by the company with IIT Madras in March 2022 to develop research projects. “I’m both excited and confident about the potential of our centre to drive innovation in AI and make a positive impact in the MSME community in India,” he said.

Addressing the launch event, V Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras, said, “The research carried out through the Walmart centre will be of immense value to the MSMEs.”

Outlining the vision of the centre, its Principal Investigator, Raghunathan Rengaswamy, Dean (Global Engagement), IIT Madras said, “Through this centre, we hope to support MSMEs with technologies in AI and IoT, provide a domain-agnostic solution platform for AI/ML implementations and upskill the manpower to be able to leverage these technologies to be globally competitive.”

In India, the global retail giant has its technology arm Walmart Global Tech (WGT) since 2008 starting with a centre in Bengaluru, followed by a small centre at Gurugram. However, in the midst of the pandemic, it chose Chennai as the second major centre. The WGT works on latest technology that is used in its stores globally.