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Building pillars of India’s tech infrastructure: Dr. Bobby Mitra, TI India

November 22, 2009

Following the keynote of Lip-Bu Tan, Cadence’s president and CEO, the guest keynote at the recently held CDNLive was delivered by Dr. Bobby Mitra, president and managing director, Texas Instruments India.
Dr. Bobby Mitra, president and managing director, Texas Instruments India with Lip-Bu Tan, Cadence's president and CEO.

Dr. Bobby Mitra, president and managing director, Texas Instruments India with Lip-Bu Tan, Cadence's president and CEO.

Dr Mitra started his keynote by taking a bird’s eye view at the various things happening in India today. What’s the thrust? The winner hands down is infrastructure!

“How will the growth in infrastructure fuel the next growth? If India is an emerging ecomony, are we satisfied? Absolutely not! How do we accelerate toward being the emerged economy of tomorrow? That change has to be built on a technology infrastructure!”

Pillars of a technology infrastructure
A technology infrastructure has several pillars. These are:
* A communications and telecom infrastructure built on semicon and electronics has to be a very big thought,
* Energy infrastructure, which has to be a major pillar,
* Security and surveillance, and
* Education.

Electronics is everywhere, in each one of these areas. “We can and should put in high value in all of this infrastucture using semiconductors and electronics,” said Dr Mitra. “We are starting from behind. So, what do we do? We have to leapfrog to lead in the technology infrastructure.” Wireless handsets is one such area that has already done so, In fact, some parts of India have leapfrogged from no phones to wireless phones.

What is being done now? There are platforms that offer 20megapixel imaging, especially on the mobile phone. Phones can also have a week’s playback time. Some of these things are already happening.

Go for AMI!
Energy is another major area of opportunity. For example, every house in India has an energy meter. These are starting to be replaced by electronic meters. The utilities are already doing this. (There seems to be 38 known methods of tampering with the meters!). All of this is helping the SEBs (state electricity boards), the country and its economy.

How do we move from the electromechanical to electronic meters? Here, India needs to go for AMI — automated metering infrastructure and automated metering. Some of TI’s customers are starting to build these products, although in small numbers. One only has to imagine the speed and accuracy of such devices!

Lighting is another area of huge opportunity in India. Dr Mitra said: “How can we go from incandescent to CFLs? Can we go on to LED lighting? How can we have standard LED lighting? Can we design LED drivers? Once it becomes a mandate, it will encourage electronics companies to move into LED lighting.

Medical electronics is the next important area for India. A company had recently introduced a handheld ultrasound, with superior image clarity. “All the details about the patients will be in the doctors’ hands,” he added. “If you can add wireless connectivity, it will mean the world, and enable telemedicine! India can leapfrog to lead in this area.

A lot has been spoken about automotives. It has been going from high emission to low emission or even no emission in cars! Can we leapfrog here? It is fascinating to see companies building ebikes, hybrid vehicles, etc.

Energy efficiency is a non-glamorous, but equally key area for India, said Dr. Mitra. “Renewable energy especially, is a huge growth area. Energy efficiency is an area that hugely impact every area around us!” As an example, Coimbatore is very well known for pumps and submersible pumps. Can we build efficient chips and MCUs that can go inside such pumps and also irrigation pumps? The amount of opportunity in power reduction or low power is huge.

How shall we do all of this?
Dr. Mitra pointed out that several hundreds of OEMs in India are designing systems for each one of these areas and manufacturing. He advised the industry to work with customers who are building such complex systems. He noted: “We have to support them as they are the leaders in the electronics world. Let’s open up, instead of being a chip or an EDA provider and re-architect systems together.”

He said: “They (customers) bring the systems knowhow, while we bring the components knowhow. We can take customers to a completely different level. We have to understand the vocabulary of the customers and know what’s bothering them. It is important that we co-innovate with customers and show them the value.”

Dr Mitra also happens to be the vice chairman of the India Semiconductor Association (ISA). He said that the semicon TAM (total available market) in India is worth $2.8 billion and it is growing at a pretty good rate. “We should help to make the transition and leapfrog technologies, and lead!”

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  1. Shankar
    November 26, 2009 at 2:02 pm

    Very timely. Goes with solar policy. Thrust is must for infrastructure development.

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