Archive

Posts Tagged ‘design services in India’

What India now offers to global semicon industry!

February 24, 2009 Comments off

This semicon blog post is very timely as I keep getting a lot of questions on the topic: what does India NOW offer to the global semiconductor industry in this recession! In fact, several industry friends asked me this question during the recently held ISA Vision Summit 2009.

By the way, I have two good sessions from the ISA Vision Summit 2009 to blog about, and those will happen after this post! So, stay tuned folks!! 🙂

Back to the key question: What does the Indian semiconductor industry now offer to the world?

My quest for answers took me to S. Janakiraman, former chairman, India Semiconductor Association (ISA) and President and CEO-R&D Services, MindTree. Incidentally, Jani Sir, had highlighted some time ago that despite the lack of wafer IC fabs, fabless India continues to shine brightly! And, I agree with him! Even at Dubai last year, during the IEF 2008, Jani Sir had talked about India’s growing might in global semicon. I consider him to be the right person to discuss how India should frame its semicon path forward.

According to Jani Sir, we will remain in a tough economic scenario for some more time to come. “The cost of R&D, be it development or re-engineering or support is critical for the survival of semiconductor companies, but all of this needs to be done at lower costs. India will continue to be a cost leader to get more engineering done at the same cost or the same engineering done at a lower cost. India will continue to be a safe haven for such investments,” he contends.

India itself is a high growth market that will get sizable in the next five years for the semiconductor companies. No one can understand India and the emerging market requirements than the companies who are located here. That can be leveraged by the world to create value for many products that will serve the emerging market needs.

Janakiraman said: “Indian companies are also investing in technologies and creating intellectual properties/building blocks of technologies. These are the essential elements to create products/solutions in a shorter time-frame when the market starts recovering and builds up the appetite for consumption. Hence, Indian companies need to invest more in such areas and position themselves as value-add vendors to source technologies.”

Newer markets such as electronics in healthcare and renewable energy space provides a level-playing field since India’s maturity level is no less inferior to the western world. “We need to invest, and create solutions and products that can establish India not only as a market, but also a leading technology provider for the global market,” Janakiraman advises.

Has Indian semicon lost its way a bit?
Some folks believe that the Indian semiconductor industry has slightly lost its way since the SemIndia fab debacle late last year. I’ve mentioned earlier that hardly anyone wants to speak about having fabs in India at this point of time. Nevertheless, we’ll need to explore whether the Indian semiconductor industry is still on track!

According to Janakiraman, while the global consumption of semiconductors has seen a drastic drop in Q4 of 2008 and is likely to see a negative growth in H1 of 2009, India will be one among the few markets that will see an increasing consumption through the sales of electronic products.

He added: “The captive and design services companies serving the semiconductor market are facing a head wind, no doubt. However, the impact on them is much lesser compared to what is happening in the rest of the world.”

With the Indian semiconductor market continuing to grow, while the global market is in decline, it is possible that India may end up seeing a slower growth, but with an increased market share.

Janakiraman said: “I see the dynamics in the market will lead to India gaining way for the longer term, even though we can’t escape the short term pains. When the recovery starts, India will gather much stronger and faster momentum of growth as it will be a lucrative market for selling and the lower cost market for sourcing for any of the global semiconductor players.”

Finally, what really needs to be done to get the industry in India buzzing? For starters, don’t give up hope!

Added Janakiraman: “Look at it as an opportunity to get into a level-playing field rather than a losing ground. Consider India as a potential future market. Look at and invest in the emerging opportunities such as healthcare/security/energy, and build products like telemedicine, surveillance systems and power management systems. Invest in idea creation and product management systems, and get ready for the new model of business when recovery starts.”

I wonder why Jani Sir didn’t deliver the keynote at the ISA Vision Summit 2009! He is just the right person as far as propping up Indian semicon is concerned!!

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.

Seeking jobs in embedded! Can anyone help?


Ever since I have blogged about embedded companies in India, I’ve received a few messages, regarding jobs in the embedded segment in India. Some others have dropped hints about companies who haven’t made my list!

It seems the companies are not hiring, or they’ve put hiring on freeze. Does it mean that not many projects are going on currently? Or, is there a way for freshers to make a start somewhere? For starters, those who want their companies listed in any top 10 list, are they even trying to help freshers or those looking for better jobs in the embedded space? What is their policy for hiring?

Or, are they too dependent on design services, so much that they do not have enough products to work on or develop! Or, maybe, they don’t have many ongoing projects? I have had so many people tell me “India should do product development in semiconductors!” So, is that really happening? Or, is it merely a statement?

I did come across this web site called Dev Seeker, which is said to list jobs in embedded. DevSeeker also has a page that lists some of the embedded companies in India.

I also came across a blog on Monster, which lists several posts from some freshers, as well as some others who have actually asked folks to send in their resumes.

There is another web site from KBS Consultants, which has listed some jobs in the embedded segment. Another site, called GotAChance, also has links to jobs in the embedded space. Another search led me to a site called ITJobs.

By the way, I’ve no way of knowing whether any of the sites are updated, or, if they are, how frequently are those getting updated with the latest information. Sincerely hope that all of these sites are getting updated frequently!

Whenever I speak with semiconductor professionals, they don’t stop raving about India’s might in embedded. If that’s the case, why are so many talented people not being able to find jobs? Or even worse, how do freshers get to make a start? I am not sure if companies offer freelance work for embedded software engineers. However, it is an option that could be considered.

There are several companies in China and Japan who are seeking fresh and good talent in the embedded space. A Japanese delegation visited India last August for the India-Fukuoka (Japan) IT, Embedded Software and Semiconductor Business Workshop 2008. Some of companies are:

* Daichi Institution Industry Co. Ltd
* DISCO (Dai Ichi Seitosho Co. Ltd) Corp.
* Inoueki Co. Ltd
* JETRO (Japan External Trade Organization)
* Kyushu Economic Research Center
* CLAIR (The Japan Council of Local Authorities for International Relations), Singapore

Prior to that, last May, the India Semiconductor Association (ISA) and the UK Trade & Investment and Science & Innovation Network launched a study titled “Scope for collaboration between India and the UK in semiconductor driven industry 2008.

I am also aware that China and Taiwan require lot of talent in embedded software and systems. They can surely make use of the talent available in India.

I am sure that all of these folks would be able to help out at least some of those looking to make a career in embedded systems and software. Otherwise, what’s the end result of making such trips to India and talking about India’s talent in embedded! Freshers need to make a start somewhere, so please help as many as possible.

To all of those freshers starting out to make a career, try and get the relevant experience, and the money will follow. Do not pursue it the other way round.

This is a request to the global embedded systems and software fraternity — there are quite a lot of talented and fresh engineers in India in the embedded systems and software segment, who are also seeking jobs. Give them, or at least, some of them, a chance! Can you kindly help them?

Time for parallel to get regular!

December 1, 2008 Comments off

Given the major global developments in multi-core, it is obvious that the chip design industry is moving toward this technology platform.

However, as with any new development, multi-core platforms bring their own sets of challenges that need to be addressed as easily and skilfully as possible.

It is in this context that Intel has started its Intel Academic Community Program. This program is focused on preparing the next generation of software professionals for multi-core platforms. Excellent! Time for parallel to get regular!!

The Intel program aims at expanding the computer science curriculum to include multi-threading software for multi-core platforms. It already had tie ups with 45 universities globally, delivering curriculum in 2006, and 400+ in 2007. Intel is also contributing expertise, educational course materials, dual-core PC platforms, software development tools and funding.

Intel has already invested over $1 billion in education. Intel has programs right across the board. This year, about 90 faculty members attended the 2008 Asia Academic Forum.

Multi-core focus area
According to Scott Apeland, Director, Developer Network for Intel, at the sidelines of IDF 2008, Taipei, the company’s has always been stressing on innovation and technologies. One of the key focus areas has been multi-core. He says: “Multi-core has created significant changes in the industry. It has to be parallel, rather than sequential.We have provided tools to make it easier to develop, test, debug and optimize multi-core software.”

Two years ago, Intel had partnered with 40 universities to provide multi-core information into the curriculum. These universities were extremely receptive. Today, Intel has partnered with over 850+ universities globally.

“In India, we started with the tier 1 institutes. So, they are also training their partners. The engineers who would be coming out of these institutes with the training will definitely have the competitive edge. There is a new pipeline for the new talent coming out from all of these universities,” says Apeland.

Web-based program
Intel has developed a Web-based program, where users can download the tools. They can license them as well, and even download the curriculum, etc. Those faculty using this program can also share ideas and experiences with the other participating faculties. Apeland adds: “Now, the institutes are also starting to communicate together. We have created the community and the people are interacting.”

Harshad Deshpande, Asia Pacific & Japan Program Manager, Intel Software & Solutions Group, elaborated that Intel works with VCs, UMs and the HRD ministry, etc., in India, and also conduct seminars. “We share information, etc., and then roll it out. The UPTU and the VTU have already started using this. Also, the NITs (formerly, RECs), have taken this up as well,” he says.

“For certain tier 1 institutes, we have the Intel Higher Education Team. Intel scholars visit these institutes, and have multiple, close engagements. Our portal is the Intel Software Network, the resource for parallel programming tools.”

Need for parallel programmers
Commenting on the growing need for parallel programmers, Apeland notes: “We are hearing from companies that they need more parallel programmers.

The whole industry is moving toward multi-core. Developers need to learn the new skills and move ahead.”

Parallel is regular
According to Apeland, this may happen in the next five to 10 years, when we have better ways to use parallel programming.

He notes: “By 2010, this may start happening. For example, Wipro, in India, has been getting customer requirements for parallelism.

No fabs? So?? Fabless India shines brightly!!

October 23, 2008 Comments off

This is no secret: fabs or no fabs, fabless India has been shining brightly all this while and will continue to do so for some time!

I’ve blogged on numerous occasions about India’s strength in design services, India as the embedded superstar, and well, about India’s growing might in global semicon. A fab will surely boost India’s image on the global map, but it is definitely not that essential!

It was very pleasing to hear S. Janakiraman, former chairman, India Semiconductor Association, and President and CEO-R&D Services, MindTree, also highlight this fact at Altera’s SOPC conference recently. Perhaps, India has been emphasizing on having a fab. However, if the fabless segment keeps growing as it has been up until now, that would boost industry growth as well!

Top 10 global fabless companies
For the record, here are the top 10 global fabless companies of the world, as reported by the Global Semiconductor Alliance (GSA), formerly, Fabless Semiconductor Association, USA.

According to GSA, the total fabless revenue was $27.3 billion, a 12 percent growth year-on-year during 1H 2008. I believe, quite a few, or nearly all of the companies within the GSA top 10 list, have some sort of a presence in India!

Let’s also re-visit the numbers provided by ISA-Frost & Sullivan in its study on the Indian semiconductor industry. The India semiconductor TAM (total available market) revenues will likely grow by 2.5 times, and the TM (total market) will likely double revenues in 2009. Is this not good enough?

Bear in mind that India also plays an active role in the verification and software domains, and it is increasingly covering the entire design chain. The fabs. vs. fabless debate has been going on since 2004-05. Back then, too, many industry observers were backing the fabless route. Now, this discussion is perhaps, a non-issue, with the fabless segment easily the star performer.

India has long had the expertise in chip/board design, embedded software and system engineering. Also, the product and service differentiation is being increasingly driven through software, where India already enjoys a lead over other the APAC countries.

India distinctly has a tremendous opportunity to lead the global market in both semiconductors and electronic products, with or without fabs, or even being fabless!

BV Naidu quits SemIndia; what now of Indian fab story?

September 26, 2008 1 comment

There’s this report on DNA Money about BV Naidu, managing director of SemIndia Systems Pvt Ltd and SemIndia Fab Pvt Ltd having quit his job! This immediately begs the question: What now of the Indian fab story? Or, has it sunk without a trace?

There have been several questions raised in the past, as well as in the recent past, such as:

1. Is India’s fab story going astray?
2. Why have fabs in India in the first place?
3. Can an Indian based fab take on the might of established global fabs? How will it be profitable in this climate?
4. What can an Indian fab produce unique, that other fabs cannot?
5. What has the Indian semicon policy achieved, when the Indian semicon industry was doing well, prior to the announcement of the policy?
6. What does India bring to the semicon world?
7. Why move to solar, when there’s been no action of note for wafer IC fabs?
8. Why convert the Fabcity in Hyderabad, to Solarcity?
9. Solar/PV isn’t exactly semiconductors, so why this hype about solar fabs? Is this being done to hide the lack of any success in semiconductor fabs?

Right! I am not here to provide the answers to such questions, nor am I qualified enough to address these! These are questions, if they are justifiable questions, to be answered by the industry! Rather, I will try and analyze what India has done and can do in semiconductors!

May I add here that according to the India Semiconductor Association, BV Naidu remains an active member of the Executive Council. BV Naidu himself informed me that he will be continuing at the board level at SemIndia, moving away from executive responsibilities. And, he will be continuing at the ISA. So that’s good news!

Now back to the discussion!

First, yes, before and post the Indian semiconductor policy, India continues to do very well in semiconductors. Nearly every single MNC has its presence here; and no one that I know, has said that it has no plans to expand in India! Two, we have been traditionally very strong in design services and continue to remain so! Three, India is the emerging (or already emerged) embedded superstar!

Having a wafer IC fab isn’t such a big deal, is it? So many folks have already moved on to fab-lite anyway! Yes, having one wafer IC fab would surely prop up India’s image in the global semicon market, but well, not having one, won’t sully India’s image either!

If we do not get a fab, then let’s just all accept that India was not ready for one, and let’s move on! Life in semiconductors is much more than wafer fabs, as India’s brilliant design services companies keep proving day in and day out!

I’ve said before in one of my blogs that doing product development is probably not India’s strength! Design services surely is! Let’s focus on our strength!

Will the moving out of BV Naidu from SemIndia effect the Indian industry? Why should it? Actually, far from it! Some companies in IP and other embedded areas are doing very well anyway. Let’s give such companies their due credit! They’ve been present, much before the India Semiconductor Association was formed, or way long before the Indian semicon policy was born!

I interact regularly with the length and breadth of the Indian semiconductor industry. I’ve been covering this industry much before the India Semiconductor Association was even formed! If I remember correctly, I was among the three journalists present on the day the ISA was actually launched! Coming back to my point, I’ve yet to come across one person from the industry who does not understand the dynamics of this industry!

If a fab does not happen or someone leaves a company, that does not mean that there’s been a failure. Maybe, it was a wrong choice to start off with! Perhaps, it just coincided with the turbulent global semiconductor industry. Or, simply, semiconductor was mistaken to be a commodity, which it is not!

India has had several investments in solar. Two days from now, there’ll be a major solar/PV conference in New Delhi. Solar is within the ecosystem units of the Indian semicon policy, and it has attracted major investments. Yes, solar has to do with energy security, and in that regard, India could well be on the right path. However, that’s just one small part of the complete story of the semicon policy!

As to whether India should focus on semicon OR solar, I am not the right person to comment or judge! Nor am I qualified enough to comment on ‘why convert Fabcity to Solarcity’. Maybe, solar is being hyped in India right now. If yes, like any other industry, once it matures, the solar bubble will burst and consolidation will happen.

There are several other ecosystem unit definitions in the semicon policy. Some may and will happen. For those who are not aware, the “ecosystem units” have been clearly defined as units, other than a fab unit, for manufacture of semiconductors, displays including LCDs, OLEDs, PDPs, any other emerging displays; storage devices; solar cells; photovoltaics; other advanced micro and nanotechnology products; and assembly and test of all products.

The Indian semiconductor industry, as I see it, remains strong as before, fabs or no fabs! I don’t equate solar with semiconductors, and maybe I am wrong here, but I do believe the two should be treated separately. Not a single solar company will probably feature in India’s top 10 semiconductor companies! At least, not in my list! And, if a top executive leaves a company, why should it hamper the overall industry?

Frankly, it is the Ittiams, the MindTrees, the Cosmic Circuits’, the eInfochips, and the SoftJins who continue to remain India’s pride, even though they may be quite small in comparison to the global giants! At least, they have done India proud in their own way! Doesn’t matter if these companies do not make great media copy! These are among the Indian semiconductor companies that continue to matter!

The India semiconductor story is something like this: Lots of high-end designs are being done here. In fact, lot of key decisions are now being made out of India. The talent pool is very much intact and growing! We are leaders in design services and embedded, make no mistake.

Now, does all of this indicate a recession or depression in the Indian semiconductor industry? Or, is it an indication of India’s growing success — fabs or no fabs? You decide!

India is Xilinx’s most active region for design activity!

August 7, 2008 Comments off

Xilinx has been a global leader in programmable logic solutions with over 51 percent market share during 2007, according to iSuppli. PLDs represent an exciting growth potential in the chip market thanks to their flexible nature and ability to change functionality even after being manufactured.

I caught up with Vincent Ratford, Senior Vice President, Solutions Development Group, Xilinx, to find out more about the company’s role in India. Firstly, Xilinx clearly sees India and Asia/Pac as a high growth area for its business.

Ratford said: “India itself has a lot of design activity with many of our customers working with design services and IP companies there. For that reason, we have invested in a large engineering team (125 people and grew last year at 60 percent) working on IP, software, system applications and IC design. These teams augment global development teams around the world with some teams having product responsibility.”

As a company, Xilinx tracks design activity and production, and India is its most active region for design activity. It is also investing a lot in university programs.

He added: “We have significant market share in India vs. the other FPGA vendors. We expect this to continue. We are investing heavily in our Xilinx University Program providing tool, board, training for professors and setting up FPGA, embedded and DSP curriculums. We have a strong technical team supporting customers locally either directly or alongside of our distribution partners.”

So how does Xilinx view the strength of the Indian embedded design segment? Ratford referred to EETimes, which conducts a survey annually on embedded processing. The most recent data showed only about 1/3 of the embedded users using FPGAs, but over 50 percent of them were considering.

He said: “I think we have just scratched the surface on our embedded opportunity. We have over 10k licensed embedded users worldwide, with the smallest percentage in Asia/Pac, but it’s growing rapidly.

“We think there is a lot of unlicensed, and therefore, untracked useage. Going forward, we will be able to track adoption more closely. We are now starting to track useage with our WebTalk tool and have found that about half of the designs using our latest 10.1 release have processors on them. Finally, when we conduct seminars and workshops worldwide, our embedded sessions are the most heavily attended.”

On the role that Xilinx would be playing in India, he said: “Today, we have a strong offering in soft and hard processors for our Virtex and Spartan series FPGAs. We are investing in training and providing development kits to expand the number of embedded developers who can support our platforms.

“We have been developing embedded peripherals, device drivers and are now starting to develop embedded tools there. We expect to expand this. So it’s market development, product development and enabling our ecosystem partners to build on top of our platforms. We are investing in India faster than any other region and plan to leverage our development team there.”

%d bloggers like this: