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What does it take to create Silicon Valley!

December 29, 2013 1 comment

I was pointed out to a piece of news on TV, where a ruling chief minister of an Indian state apparently announced that he could make a particular state of India another Silicon Valley! Interesting!!

First, what’s the secret behind Silicon Valley? Well, I am not even qualified enough to state that! However, all I can say is: it is probably a desire to do something very different, and to make the world a better place – that’s possibly the biggest driver in all the entrepreneurs that have come to and out of Silicon Valley in the USA.

If you looked up Wikipedia, it says that the term Silicon Valley originally referred to the region’s large number of silicon chip innovators and manufacturers, but eventually, came to refer to all high-tech businesses in the area, and is now generally used as a metonym for the American high-technology sector.

So, where exactly is India’s high-tech sector? How many Indian state governments have even tried to foster such a sector? Ok, even if the state governments tried to foster, where are the entrepreneurs? Ok, an even easier one: how many school dropouts from India or even smal-time entrepreneurs have even made a foray into high-tech?

Right, so where are the silicon chip innovators from India? Sorry, I dd not even hear a word that you said? Can you speak out a little louder? It seems there are none! Rather, there has been very little to no development in India, barring the work that is done by the MNCs. Correct?
hsinchuOne friend told me that Bangalore is a place that can be Silicon Valley. Really? How?? With the presence of MNCs, he said! Well, Silicon Valley in the US does not have MNCs from other countries, are there? Let’s see! Some companies with bases in Silicon Valley, listed on Wikipedia, include Adobe, AMD, Apple, Applied Materials, Cisco, Facebook, Google, HP, Intel, Juniper, KLA-Tencor, LSI, Marvell, Maxim, Nvidia, SanDisk, Xilinx, etc.

Now, most of these firms have setups in Bangalore, but isn’t that part of the companies’ expansion plans? Also, I have emails and requests from a whole lot of youngsters asking me: ‘Sir, please advice me which company should I join?’ Very, very few have asked me: ‘Sir, I have this idea. Is it worth exploring?’

Let’s face the truth. We, as a nation, so far, have not been one to take up challenges and do something new. The ones who do, or are inclined to do so, are working in one of the many MNCs – either in India or overseas.

So, how many budding entrepreneurs are there in India, who are willing to take the risk and plunge into serious R&D?

It really takes a lot to even conceive a Silicon Valley. It takes people of great vision to build something of a Silicon Valley, and not the presence of MNCs.

Just look at Hsinchu, in Taiwan, or even Shenzhen, in China. Specifically, look up Shenzhen Hi-Tech Industrial Park and the Hsinchu Science Park to get some ideas.

Algotochip building ecosystem with IP providers in targeted markets


Satish Padmanabhan.

Satish Padmanabhan.

Algorithm-to-chips is Algotochip’s mission. It turns algorithms into chips by converting your behavioral algorithm C-code into architecture C-code into RTL into GDS-II.

Speaking about architecture evolution at the 13th Global Electronics Summit at Santa Cruz, USA, Satish Padmanabhan, CTO and founder, Algotochip, said that the interconnect between CPU and all the HA blocks needs to be determined.

The market approach includes building an ecosystem with leading IP providers in targeted markets. Some areas Algotochip is looking at are LTE and smart grid markets.

Nitto Denko is committed to support Algotochip moving forward. Year 2013 will see significant investment increases in terms of engineering resources, as well as sales and marketing organization to cover USA, China and Japan.

Algotochip is showing that its technology is sound in improving system hardware and software partitioning and first time right design. The LTE turbo decoder performances in terms of throughput, power and gates count is showing the benefits of Algotochip BlueBox. The company is now building an ecosystem around its technology.

ARM Holdings and Tensilica are the first of the few partners that Algotochip wants to collaborate with to improve the overall time-to-market of digital design of the SoC, ASIC and FPGA, etc.

Components Direct offers guaranteed traceable E&O inventory!


Components Direct is a leading source for authorized end-of-life and excess electronic components. The products are guaranteed grade A factory sealed direct from the manufacturer and inventoried in a ESD 20.20 certified and ISO 9001 certified state-of-the art-facility. Components Direct is headquartered in Milpitas, CA with locations in the US and Asia.

It has a leading cloud-based platform for excess and obsolete (E&O) inventory. In 2012, Avnet and Components Direct entered in a strategic relationship. Components Direct is the exclusive channel for Avnet’s factory authorized excess and end-of-life components.

Compared to leading industry giants, such as Element14 and RS Components, Components Direct, currently, doesn’t have a detailed menu showcasing listed products, at least not on the home page, as yet. One hopes that’ll make an appearance soon.

Speaking on the mission of Components Direct, Anne Ting, executive VP, Marketing said: “Components Direct is the premier authorized distributor for excess and end-of-life electronic components. We are the only company working directly with manufacturers and their franchised distributors to offer 100 percent guaranteed traceable E&O components as well as technology services to combat counterfeit components and other gray market activity.

“For our supplier partners, we enable them to put excess product back into the control of an authorized source, as opposed to the gray market. For buyers, we provide them with a secure, authorized one-stop shop for excess, obsolete and unsold factory components.”

Combating gray market
How important is it to combat the gray market? Why will this endeavor stop/lessen gray market activity?

According to Ting, the gray market is a serious and growing problem. As early as 2008, a study by KPMG and the Alliance for Gray Market and Counterfeit Abatement (AGMA) stated that as much as $58 billion of technology products were passing through the gray market, and the problem has only gotten worse.

The gray market is rampant throughout all industries, with everyone from engineers, to procurement professionals and consumers impacted negatively when the products they purchase are advertised as new and authentic, but in reality could be used, refurbished or even worse, counterfeit.

In fact, a 2012 study by market research firm IHS found that over 12 million counterfeit electronics and semiconductor components

Anne Ting

Anne Ting

have entered the distribution chain since 2007, with 57 percent of all counterfeit parts obsolete or end-of-life components. Many of these parts make their way into mission-critical industries, such as defense and aerospace, where a malfunctioning counterfeit part can mean the difference between life and death.

While provisions in the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act have enabled the government and trade groups to make some progress towards regulating the supply chain to ensure that components are only sourced directly from the manufacturers or their franchised distributors, the problem has not abated. The Act empowers the federal government to hold contractors financially responsible for replacing counterfeit products.

This, together with other changes, puts more responsibility on suppliers of electronic component to have risk mitigation procedures in place. The issue is become more topical and the industry must act in order to comply with the new legislation.

Components Direct takes this problem seriously, and provides supplier insights and tools to help combat gray market activity. In a recent study we conducted for a leading semiconductor supplier of both analog and digital devices, we discovered that over 124 million units of their product were floating in the gray market across 6,500 plus part numbers.

Over 70 percent of the products were found in Asia, and 20 percent also appeared in both North America and EMEA. The product age spanned many years with date codes of less than one year accounting for 22 percent of their gray market product. A further 5 percent had date codes over 11 years, demonstrating that whether you were an OEM looking for the newest product, or a military sub-contractor looking for obsolete components, no end customer is immune to the presence of unauthorized product.

Components Direct’s technology tools and services track gray market activity and provide suppliers with unprecedented visibility to their product leakage in the gray market by part number, region, data code etc. This data enables our suppliers to trace leakage in their supply chain and lessen potential unauthorized product from getting into the gray market.

Additionally, Components Direct provides suppliers and buyers with a secure, factory authorized channel for selling or purchasing 100 percent guaranteed traceable components. “We only sell products that come directly with manufacturers or their franchised distributors and all our products are inventoried in an ESD 20.20 and ISO 9001 certified facility,” said Ting.As an extension of the manufacturer, Components Direct provides the supply chain buyer with complete confidence and peace of mind that all products originate directly from the manufacturer and have been properly stored, handled and packaged. Sourcing from an authorized source like Components Direct eliminates the risks surrounding product quality, reliability and liability. Read more…

India has restricted itself to only semicon design and R&D!

September 30, 2011 1 comment

 Soni Saran Singh, executive director, NMTronics.

Soni Saran Singh, executive director, NMTronics.

Chatting with Soni Saran Singh, executive director, NMTronics, is a pleasure. The company has managed to maintain leadership  in the Indian electronics industry with 55 percent market share.

NMTronics has taken initiatives in bringing interest among Indian entrepreneurs for local mobile phone manufacturing, and is a pioneer in providing turnkey solutions for mobile phone manufacturing. According to Singh, the Indian government is making some initiatives by introducing a domestic manufacturing policy. Hence, the company sees huge potential in mobile phone manufacturing in the coming years.

How does NMTronics see the Indian electronics industry performing in 2012 and beyond? Soni Saran Singh said: “With miniaturization becoming part and parcel of each electronic gadgets, with more and more sophistications coming day by day, there is no end for electronics manufacturing growth. As an equipment supplier, our role will continue to bring in the latest technology equipment to meet those challenges. The industry is in the trend to shift to handle more complex, more volume assemblies.

“With MNCs in this segment already having set the example of quick ramp up with developed ecosystems, it is the time for the local Indian companies to adopt those initiatives for increased domestic manufacturing. The government also has to introduce some local manufacturing policy and there is a need to set up the necessary infrastructure faster in terms of uninterrupted power, water and good connectivity for the industries to go with their investments.

“There are few products like MP3 players, flat panel displays, memory cards, gaming consoles, cameras, etc., which are yet to be see light in Indian manufacturing. When I see this, I feel there is a lot yet to come to India and therefore, foresee lots of new investments to happen in the year 2012 and beyond.”

What about the Indian semiconductor industry? According to Singh: “Everyone knows that semicon is a very big opportunity for India, considering the market size and the increasing application of semiconductors in our day to life. Semiconductor consumption in India is estimated at $43 billion, which will grow multifold in next few years to reach about $80 million. We have been closely monitoring the industry for over a decade now, but India has restricted itself to only design and R&D when it comes to the semiconductor industry. Read more…

Sensationally low turnout at electronica/productronica India 2011!

September 15, 2011 Comments off

electronica/productronica 2011 opens in Delhi.

electronica/productronica 2011 opens in Delhi.

I’ve spent two days at electronica/productronica 2011, going on at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. I am disappointed by the crowds or lack of crowds! This is said to be the premier show for electronics in India, isn’t it? The venue is as central as one can expect. Even then?

To start off, I missed the opening ceremony. That was followed by a panel discussion on ‘Local Mobile Phone Manufacturing-Opportunity or Challenge.’ With all due respects to the participants, it was one of the worst panel discussions I’ve ever attended! Perhaps, it was of some use to those present in the auditorium.

Later, while going around the various exhibition halls, I was asked by quite a number of friends in the electronics industry whether it was wise for them to have participated, given that the turnout had been so very low! Now, I am no one to answer that question!! However, it seems that there is very little interest left in the Indian electronics industry. It may sound pessimistic, but so it is!

The Indian telecom equipment manufacturing sector is going through a critical phase where the benefits of development of the telecom sector’s growth have not been carried over to the manufacturing domain. There is also a need to encourage indigenous R&D and creation of Indian IPR/patents. Was anything remotely close to this on display? I don’t think so!!

Aftermath of Japanese earthquake: Implications for global electronics industry!

April 4, 2011 Comments off

This is a commentary on industry trends from Malcolm Penn, chairman and CEO, Future Horizons.

Importance of Japan
Japan is a major producer of semiconductor components accounting for around 22 percent of global semiconductor production. The Flash memory market sector – crucially mobile phones, iPads and their derivatives, digital cameras, and portable storage devices, account for approximately 50 percent of the market, almost all of which are produced by one Japanese firm, Toshiba/Sandisk.

Several of Japan’s major semiconductor companies locate their manufacturing spots in the northeast prefectures, for example Toshiba’s 8-inch wafer fab in lwate, Renesas Electronics’ factories in Aomori, Hoddaido and Yamagata, Elpedia Memory’s backend manufacturing facility in Akita and Fujitsu’s plants in Fukushima.

The effects of the devastating earthquake, which hit Japan on Friday 11th March, are already beginning to take hold on the global electronics industry. Damaged buildings and infrastructure and halts to some semiconductor fabs will without doubt have a knock on affect upon the global semiconductor supply chain, with many of the big names, i.e., Nokia, General Motors and Apple already experiencing supply shortages.

Many manufacturers, not directly hit by the earthquake, have experienced power failures interrupting production; just a microsecond power supply glitch can result in the scrapping of weeks of in-process production, and with manufacturers no longer holding inventory it will impact IC supply availability in Q2. To what extent, still remains to be seen. The impact will be felt both in the long and short term, affecting not only the semiconductor supply chain but nearly every other industry imaginable, as it is very rare these days to find an industry which is not reliant on chips.

Component prices
As in any shortage situation, component price increases are inevitable and this has already happened in memory, although it is not yet clear how much of this is panic profiteering and how much is sustainable. But shortages are inevitable and recovery due to the long production cycle times and already tight capacity – will not happen over night.

Automakers
The automotive semiconductor market grew 37 percent in 2010, clearly leaving the problematic 2009 behind. However the recent earthquake in Japan has once again awoken auto manufacturers concerns about the industry. Even before the earthquake purchasing managers had expressed concern about supply levels; inventories were unusually low, resulting in heightened concern from purchasing executives around the world.

It is difficult to estimate the extent auto manufacturers will be affected, but following an official announcement from Japan that car production will be down 33 percent from its normal monthly production level of 750k cars per month to 500k it looks as though the 2010 market growth may be short lived.

Toyota Motor Co, the worlds largest auto manufacturer, said all 12 Japanese assembly plants would remain closed until at least 26th March and it was not sure when they would re-open. Production lost between 14-26 March would be about 140,000 units. Read more…

Top 10 electronics and telecom industry trends for 2011

December 30, 2010 7 comments

Here are the top 10 trends in electronics and telecom for the year 2011.

Each one of the trends have been taken from the existing posts, and they seem to be going full blast ahead in 2011. First, the top trends  in electronics.

1. More tablets and portable electronics devices should make an appearance.
2. 3D TV without glasses should be talk of the town. 3D TV should enter the family in 2011.
3. Penetration rate of LED TV to accelerate.
4. Further improvements in digital TV connectivity —  Silicon Image’s ViaPort technology needs to be watched.
5. Fully IP-connected digital TV platform — Inview and Trident Microsystems announced Neelix.
6. Plethora of new DisplayLink certified devices hit the market.
7. E-readers will grow, but at the risk of getting commoditized.
8. There will be more of SSDs.

Now, to the top trends in telecom for 2011.  Again, these are likely to make the top news in the coming year. Presenting the top telecom industry trends for 20111.

1. There will be much more of the connected devices.
2. Naturally, there will be more mobile phone applications!
3. Bluetooth will emerge as a wireless standard for smart energy.
4. There will be much more traction for TD-LTE! So, where does it leave WiMAX?
5. Femtocells — well, see more of it in the coming year.
6. Now, look out for in-car Wi-Fi.

Happy new year to my friends and well wishers.  😉

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