Recently, MindTree launched its Intelligent Video Surveillance System (IVSS). Though it seems to be a bit late in the market, the solution has tremendous potential.
Video surveillance globally is said to be a $13 billion market. In India, there has been a huge budget allocation for security worth Rs. 33,000 crores. According to MindTree, its focus is on intelligence, and that would be the company’s differentiator in the years to come.
Technology drivers for such devices include — a move from analog to IP; from networked to distributed; intelligence and analysis; use of allied technologies and standardization.
According to MindTree’s Sharmila Saha, the company wants to become an end-to-end solution provider. Its main value proposition is to bring management and analytics into all of its solutions. MindTree also has a enterprise ready hybrid product that supports both analog and IP cameras. It is starting ready to manufacture/IP licensing products.
Commenting on typical IVSS market and its characteristics, she said these included:
* public infrastructure, defence, educational institutions, etc.,
* financial institutions, retail, enterprise and home,
* server-based storage (networked video recording), and
* server based analytics.
MindTree’s differentiators are said to be the following: video analytics — the solution allows searching metadata, bandwidth management, security managenent — including tamper detection, video watermarking and secure transmission of data; and deployment — MindTree is also going standard compliant, supports multi-vendor devices, and offers customizable solutions.
Let us take a look at some of the features of MindTree’s solutions. Users can certainly do PTZ remotely, and also set camera in the patrol mode. Digital zoom is yet another feature. Image detection is done at 30fps. Image stiching is yet another feature available.
Searches can be done based on both time and data. There is also an events browser. Schedule recording can be performed by setting certain rules. H.264 is used for compressing images. MindTree has also built in face detection and face recognition as part of its video algorithms, besides Virtual TripWire.
S. Janakiraman, President and Group CEO, Product Engineering Services, pointed out that several other algorithms are being developed at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. Another algorithm — image stitching — has been developed by MindTree.
The company is filing the patent for image stitching, as well as for face detection. MindTree can control the storage and network costs since its own algorithms are being used. According to him, the company is in talks with the defence, etc.
MindTree’s network surveillance system helps an existing analog surveillance system to migrate to a centralized and IP based video surveillance system while still exploiting the investment on the analog infrastructure.
Built modularly, the IVSS comprises of multiple components that can also be used individually to increase operational efficiency. OEMs can leverage the reference design from MindTree for creating their own hybrid DVRs and system integrators can use the ready-to-fit solution accelerators and components to provide more robust and flexible surveillance systems to end customers.
IVSS key components
* Digital Video Recorder (DVR)
* Network Video Recorder (NVR)
* Video Management Solution (VMS)
* Video Analytics Algorithms Suite (VAAS)
* Analog-to-IP Encoders
* Smart IP Cameras
Key features of IVSS system:
* Video analytics with distributed intelligence to trigger specific actions on alerts and alarms.
* Intelligent video mining to extract valuable information from raw feed quickly and efficiently.
* Bandwidth management to reduce IP bandwidth requirements for feed transmission.
* Single management station that is scalable for future requirements.
* Reliable alarm management that is configurable for any event.
* Multi-camera tracking for specific objects through multiple cameras.
* Enhanced security features including watermarking and tamper protection.
I am intrigued to see lots of great things happening in the Indian semiconductor industry, and equally frustrated to find certain things that I feel should happen, not really going the way they should!
Yes, India is very strong in the semiconductor related chip design services. However, do keep in mind folks that design services have been impacted a bit by the recession as well! There have been calls from several quarters for India to now start thinking beyond its chip design services. Therefore, are there any areas that India can look into within the semiconductor space?
Leverage strength in software
Certainly, value add in products are heavily influenced by the embedded software in addition to features of the chips, says S. Janakiraman, former chairman, India Semiconductor Association (ISA) and President and CEO-R&D Services, MindTree. “The Google Android is a great example of that. India should leverage its strength in software to enhance its value add to semiconductor companies,” he adds.
Innovation is now shifting from the development of new technologies to the creation of unique applications.
“Mobile browsers and management of remote appliances to save power at home/office are examples. We need to innovate new applications that can drive the need for more electronic gadgets, and in turn, the need for more semiconductors,” notes Jani Sir.
Rethink on Indian fab strategy?
One of my earlier posts focused on whether an Indian investor could buy Qimonda’s memory fab, and somehow kick-start the India fab story! I did find support from many quarters on this idea, but till date, I don’t think anyone from India has made a move for Qimonda. At least, I haven’t heard of any such move.
Nevertheless, some folks within the Indian semiconductor industry and elsewhere have called for India to rethink on its fab strategy.
What should it be now? Or, shall we just discard this and go on, as India has been doing fine without fabs so far? Perhaps, the last option is easier!
According to Janakiraman: “Perhaps, we should consider where semiconductor technology will be after five years from now, and prepare grounds for that through encouragement of fundamental research, as well as shuttle fabs to enable prototyping. We should skip the current node of technology and make an entry into the one that will be prevalent after few years.” Now, that’s sound advice! Will it be easy to achieve?
“That may not be as easy to achieve for the private enterprises considering the cost involved,” adds Janakiraman. “It has to be a mission of the nation to create that infrastructure and later privatize.”
According to him, it is not unique to India. “Every country, be it Taiwan or China, have done it. The only other way is to heavily subsidize and support fabs like those in Israel or Vietnam, but it will be tough to choose a partner in a democratic country like ours, wherein every investment and subsidy is seen with a colored vision,” he says.
To sum up, a fab for our country will be fundamental to gain leadership and self reliance. It cannot be ignored totally, although we can take our own time to reach there. Janakiraman adds, “We don’t have a choice other than paying a price to reach there, now or later!”
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!!
Right then, folks! Here are the much awaited top trends for global semiconductor industry for 2009!
First, let’s start with microprocessors and microcontrollers. One of the most apt persons to answer this query was Jordan Plofsky, senior vice president, Market, Altera Corp., during his recent visit to India for the Altera SOPC Conference.
Top trend in microprocessors/microcontrollers
Undoubtedly, the major trend will be the shift to multicore and its challenges. These challenges include:
* Parallel programming tools.
* Memory bandwidth allocation.
* O/S support.
* Verification tools.
* Power reduction and performance improvements.
In one of my previous blogs, I had discussed with Intel how parallel programming is getting to be regular! Also, AMD is well on an identical path! Hence, this key global trend is very much in line with the focus on parallelism!
Top global semiconductor trends for 2009
According to Plofsky, the major trends would be:
* Power management
* Supply chain dynamics changing – inventory reduction
* Focus on operational costs in a slower growth environment
Indian semicon trends
And what about the top trends for the Indian semiconductor industry? Here are some thoughts from S. Janakiraman, former chairman, India Semiconductor Association (ISA) and President and CEO-R&D Services, MindTree.
Top 5 trends for Indian semicon industry in 2009
According to Jani Sir, the key trends in India during 2009 are:
* Global customers will have higher cost pressure and increase level of offshoring and outsourcing in 2009.
* India will become an even more important market for selling semiconductors as India will show higher percentage growth than other markets.
* Decided in India and originated in India products will licensed and manufactured for the global market.
* Business models for design services will start shifting from T&M and linear with people strength to risk-reward, non linear and more skin in the game.
* India will start inventing products that matter to rural and bottom of the pyramid segments.
All of these are in line with what’s happening in the Indian semiconductor industry — focus on embedded and design services, coupled with product development, which is beginning to see several starts. Also, several MNCs are now designing products out of India. Two recent top-of-the-mind instances are those of Intel and AMD. Others will follow suit, definitely.
Well, these trends could be tough to beat! What do you think folks?
How true! Field programmable gate arrays or FPGAs have become faster, denser and more complex over the years!
Speaking at the recently held Altera SOPC conference, S. Janakiraman, President and CEO-R&D Services, MindTree, and former chairman, India Semiconductor Association (ISA), said these had found acceptance in a wide range of market segments. “FPGAs are everywhere, be it telecom or industrial or medical,” he added.
Once relegated to simple glue logic design, FPGAs are challenging SoCs today. The million-gate FPGAs are, in fact, quite common. What’s more, ASSP like features, for example, PCI Express, USB, etc., have also found their way into FPGAs.
FPGAs have adopted Moore’s Law more closely than any other device technology! They even ‘help’ in ‘ratifying’ new process nodes.
Janakiraman said: “With the ever increasing costs of designs and declining ASIC starts, FPGAs offer a considerably less riskier approach, development costs, tools and testing – even at latest technology nodes.”
So what would be the factors driving change? These are multiple, and actually split into cost, performance, time-to-market and also field-upgradeable hardware.
From the cost aspect, functions in a system with standard ICs are performed by dedicated discrete components on a PCB. The FPGA route can reduce routing congestion and lower costs by enabling the use of smaller boards with less layers and lower component count.
Next comes performance, and a key factor in accelerating performance is parallel implementation. Here too the FPGA can be easily programmed to handle the same sequential instruction set by leveraging multiple micro-CPUs, connected by very wide internal buses.
Time-to-market has obviously become critical with the consumerization of electronics. As a result, the FPGAs are increasingly entering this segment because of the obvious advantages of early product introductions.
As for the field upgradeable hardware, Janakiraman elucidated an example: configuring video capture card for Europe (PAL), NA (NTSC), JAPAN (SECAM), need one hardware configuration with an FPGA on it. Depending on the location end-user downloads country specific driver that configures FPGA accordingly.
Jani Sir, as he is affectionately known, delivered the keynote at the Altera SOPC, which really touched upon how a fabless India was shining.
I also managed to catch up with Jordan Plofsky Senior Vice President Market, Altera. All I can add here as a sneak peek is: uncertainty favors FPGA’s usage! Let’s see how true — in my next blog!