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Will it take more time for semiconductor product manufacturing from India?

February 3, 2009 Comments off

This is a continuation from my previous post on Dexcel. Here, I quizzed Ravi Gujral on the IP re-use, whether India possesses an ecosystem suitable for product development, and the importance of domain expertise.

Does India have product development ecosystem?
First, the all-important issue of whether India has an ecosystem that supports product development!

Well, this is a tricky one! Several folks, including yours truly, feel that India does not yet possess an ecosystem that can support the development of product companies locally! Here, Dexcel’s views are worth an eyeball!

Gujral said: “So far, India has had the reputation of being an outsourcing hub for embedded software. Now, this trend is changing and many companies are focusing of innovation and product development from India. The Indian design houses are moving beyond simple labor-cost arbitrage and becoming significant contributors to product innovation space. Many multinational companies are doing their new design and product development from their India design center.

“The Indian domestic market is driving the product innovation like in the space of mobile segment. Having said that, there are many challenges in creating an ecosystem to develop product companies like process maturity, technical in-depth know how, domain expertise and availability of qualified resources.”

Gujral expressed his gratitude toward the government of India and associations such as the India Semiconductor Association (ISA), both of whom are working toward creating the ecosystem for product development.

“I am quite positive that things will change pretty soon, but it will take more time for semiconductor product manufacturing from India,” he quipped.

What are the benefits of IP re-use?
On IP re-use, Gujral listed its clear benefits. “Today’s modular IPs have the potential to not only address complex functionality, configurability, and performance, but also provide a solution that allows for rapid and constant change of the design requirements. IPs have become the heavily sought after component in designs due to their re-usability, possibilities of customization and easy availability.”

Hardware solutions are now implemented in programmable devices rather than using a host of ASICs. Every company would like to add some customization or special feature to distinguish their product from the competition. This can be achieved to some extent by the firmware and to a large extend by using IPs on programmable hardware such as FPGAs.

He added: “Everyone is benefited because of the one-time effort of IP development and its customization/implementation to specific applications. System-on-chip (SoC), ASSP (application specific standard products), are the most benefited candidates by IP. Design houses can also deliver solutions faster and cost effectively due to the design of only the “toppings” and not re-inventing the entire requirement.”

Every company has limited resources and must focus those on their core competences to maximize the added value of those resources. IP re-use helps companies to launch product faster in the market as the time to market is critical for new product.

Importance of strong domain expertise
Given Dexcel’s background, it is obvious to find out up to what extent do customers expect strong domain expertise.

Gujral said: “Yes, customers always expect us to be well versed with the domains we work in. The end solutions are mostly complex, multi-domain products/systems and hence the design sub-contractors are engaged for the sub-system domain in which they are the experts.”

Competing in the embedded designs domain isn’t easy, and to carve its niche, Dexcel possesses both the hardware and software skill sets under one roof, supplemented with in-house CAD, mechanical housing and other related expertise to churn-out a complete product or solution. The company keeps a complete control on the project and hence, could deliver the products of quality and performance beyond customer expectations.

The company’s association with technology partners is another strong point in delivering the latest technology solutions due to early access programs of the partners.

Gujral added: “Since we are under NDAs with most of the companies whose product we design, we may not be in the position to divulge the information. Largely, I would say that our successes have come in the areas of networking, imaging and semiconductor characterization platform creation technologies.”

Dexcel on growth drivers for Indian embedded design industry

February 3, 2009 Comments off

It is my endeavor to write about semiconductors, solar/PV, EDA. FPGAs, embedded, etc., and related companies and solutions via this blog. One of the pleasures of writing a semicon blog is in being able to connect with and make a whole lot of friends from different countries, cultures, and companies, as well as bloggers.

One such gentleman is Ravinder Gujral or Ravi, as he’s popularly called, Director – Business Development, Dexcel Electronics Designs Pvt. Ltd. Dexcel, based very much in Bangalore, India, is among one of the emerging companies in the embedded space in the country. Ravi contacted me, like several others, via my blog! Likewise, I was elated to find myself a new friend and reader! Later, we met during Altera’s SOPC event, where Dexcel was exhibiting as well.

Dexcel is an electronics design house with capabilities in embedded systems development, firmware Designs and development, DSP processors based designs, imaging software, device drivers, Linux porting, system level designs and development, application and automation software, development of audio and video codec, telecom related stacks, board designs and FPGA based digital designs services, and providing end-to-end solutions to customers.

Dexcel has an alliance and partnership with Altera (ACAP and DSP partner), and with Analog Devices (DSP collaborator), Texas Instruments (DSP third party Network Member), Actel (solution partner), Atmel (AVR 8-Bit RISC Consultants), Montavista Linux developer, etc. Quite impressive!

Estimate of Indian embedded industry
Naturally, our discussion veered toward embedded. Providing his estimate of the embedded design industry in India, Gujral said as per the survey conducted by the India Semiconductor Association (ISA) and Frost & Sullivan, the projected Indian semiconductor and embedded design industry will grow from $3.25 billion in 2005 to $14.42 billion in 2010 and to $43.07 billion in 2015. The Indian design organizations are moving beyond simple labor-cost arbitrage to become true contributors to product innovation.

Going forward, it is important to keep an eye on the drivers for embedded design. The main growth drivers for embedded software in the coming period will be mobile communications, military applications, networking devices and providing more intelligence and connectivity to consumer devices.

Gujral said: “The explosion of embedded devices is made possible mainly due to the rapid growth of semiconductor chips each year, and semiconductor devices becoming faster, cheaper and less power hungry. As the Indian domestic market is growing rapidly, this growth trend will continue. Simultaneously, there are technical challenges to design such products and services, and the availability of technical qualified resources has become more important.”

Localizing product designs and manufacturing
Given that India’s strength has been in embedded, would the biggest growth factor for embedded come from the localization of product design and manufacturing from India?

Indeed, it is! Gujral noted: “The growth factor for embedded companies will come from localization of product design and manufacturing from India. However, we should be doing well in localization of product design, rather than in manufacturing. Indian design engineers are strong in product innovation and design processes, while on the other hand, our manufacturing ecosystem is not as competitive as China.”

Going forward, India should be focused on fine tuning its design processes and best practices to become more efficient and productive, compared to counterpart in the US and Europe. “We have to develop strong domain technical knowledge to bring more innovation in product development,” added Gujral.

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