From diversifying its innovative product portfolio to disrupting the digital space, Sasken Technologies the Bangalore-based BSE- and NSE-listed company is a profit plug in the marketplace today. With pivotal focus on product engineering for leading semiconductor, automotive, industrials and smart devices, the recent growth charts of the company is studious. Talking exclusive with BIS infotech, Hari Haran, President – Global Sales, Marketing and Business Lines, Sasken Technologies elaborates on future technologies, reveals company’s growth secrets and abuts on how the company is developing the ‘chip to cognitive’ space in India. Edited Excerpts.
- Sasken Technologies has cemented strong results in the last Quarter. Which areas and sectors has been a strong hold for the company?
Sasken has had a good quarter and we recently announced a growth of 6.2%. We have been strong in all the areas that we focus on, which are: Semiconductors,Automotive, Industrials, and Communications and Devices. We have done well and have been growing in all these sectors, as the market opportunities are tremendous.
2. Industry 4.0 is getting indispensable, how is Sasken Technologies’ tailoring its offering to woo the next big transformation?
Industry 4.0 is all about connected machines and the connected experiences that they enable. So smart manufacturing, smart transformation, transforming an existing factory into a smart factory – all of these are areas where connectivity and cognition become important. Sasken offerings in these areas span from ‘chip to cognitive’ – starting all the way from the silicon layer and moving up to the cognitive layers. We work with leaders in the industrials sector to upgrade their platforms to the next-gen silicon platforms and real-time operating systems that enable connectivity in the factory and outside. On top of that we build applications, analytics, cloud, etc. to enable cognitive machine learning and the ability to bring more value through these connected experiences.
- With complex interactive and connected technologies are influxing across the industries, what major challenges and scopes (in particular) do Indian ecosystem inculcate?
The Indian ecosystem is maturing a lot with quite a few industrial companies in India having embraced Industry 4.0, which is enabling connectivity and upgrading platforms to leverage better efficiency, cost savings, but more importantly, to enable new business models. Bringing the smartness into the industrial machinery and equipment is something that the Indian ecosystem has started embracing. One major challenge that I can think of is: Are there the right price points for the silicon as well as the operating systems so that the business models work? This is a work in progress. As semiconductor companies come up with more ‘Make in India’ programs and pricing that fits the Indian market, you will notice that the Indian ecosystem will be more welcoming to Industry 4.0. This is work that is taking place right now so down the line it should be affordable and business models should be able to fit into the price points infuture.
- AI and machine learning is undeniably becoming critically important for today’s industry of voice and gesture recognition lauding all smart devices? How major is Sasken technologies becoming in this sector?
Sasken is working in the entire ‘chip to cognitive’ space. For us, the software and applications at the higher cognitive layer is all about artificial intelligence and machine learning through analytics, data ingestion/digestion, and cloud. This is part of Sasken’s roadmap and we are working with some customers in these areas. It is, indeed, very important in the smart devices space today. In our design of several devices, both hardware and software, we are taking into account, firstly, the platform that givesthe openness and ability to work with higher layers so it makes it easy to plugin applications and software through the APIs. Secondly, we are working on some use cases where working with these APIs, we are able to use analytics, machine learning, etc. to enable cognition.
- Data is the foreword today, collating and analyzing pools of data are empowering businesses, on the other hand IoT is paving way for connected devices. How you think businesses can churn out the most to meet customer needs and stay ahead in the competitive market?
Businesses in the internet model have already gotten smart in realizing that the money and value is in the data. If you have visibility of the data coming from your machine, through IoT in a timely way, predictive maintenance can be done efficiently which could save a lot of money in the maintenance area for machines. Analytics on this data being generated can also enable a lot of business models around remote field services, upselling features and services, etc. to clients based on the data analyzed. So, certainly, businesses have already begun to take advantage of this data, particularly in the predictive maintenance area. For example, looking at the constant flow of data from a windmill, you will be able to predict ahead of time which part of the windmill needs to be maintained or replaced in order to minimize downtime. Such use cases and many more are enabled by IoT which is about connectivity, platforms, operating systems that work real-time and are able to pull data in a marginal way which can be analyzed to get insights and give information that will enable better decision making.
- How do technologies like smart helmets and smart laundry use real-time data analytics to transform potential on-site workflows and comply with safety regulations?
Technologies like smart helmets in a factory can help in bringing very important safety data. For example, if there is a fire or if the environmental condition is unsafe, sensors in the helmet can take this data from the edge and then through connected platforms and IoT, this data can be communicated to a cloud where applications can alert or invoke actions needed to be taken for enhanced safety. For a fireman who is fighting fire in a building, important information about temperature, poisonous gases, victims’ condition, etc. can be pulled up via sensors on the helmet. This will help the fireman make informed decisions in critical time.
Invisible wearables, such as clothes fitted with small NFC chips can work in scheduling workflow and reducing wait time in Laundromats. The chips that capture the data of the user, which is fed into the computer and a laundry schedule, along with delivery timings, etc. is worked out automatically by the machine. In automatic Laundromats, the clothes go through the entire process of washing and cleaning all the while adhering to the preset delivery timelines. It also reduces chances of the clothes getting mixed with other batches and provides the Laundromat more time to keep a check on the quality of the work.
- As enterprises witness a paradigm shift in connected devices and ICT, how can AI be made more personalized and interactive to humans?
Personalization happens when you are able to take the client’s data, analyze it in real-time and pull insights from that. For example, if I am using a content provider, such as Netflix, to watch movies, then the ability to constantly see that data and understand the kind of movies I like to watch, will enable the content providerto make my experience with their portal very personalized. I won’t have to see a list of content that is not relevant to me or waste any time in sifting through huge libraries to watch something that is of interest to me. Now, let us look at personalization from the Retail perspective. The possession of data on consumers’ buying behavior and the prices they like can able retailers and e-commerce companies to provide tailor-made advertisements that suit the customers’ needs. All these use cases are enabled by AI and analytics because it is not just about looking at some historical data but also drawing correlations between this data, making assumptions and hypothesis, and learning based on user behavior.
Interactivity happens when there is constant connection, because not only are you able to personalize, but you are able to do so in real-time. When you are connected, you are not only receiving and sending information, but you are also taking the information and doing real-time analytics which is made possible by connectivity. Sasken works on this entire stack that helps us bring about these kinds of experiences.
- What is Sasken technologies business model for India and how strong is your R&D team in India?
We have more than 2200 people in R&D across geographies such as Bengaluru, Pune, Chennai and Hyderabad (India), Kaustinen and Tampere (Finland), and Beijing, Shanghai (China). Sasken also has its presence across Germany, Japan, UK, and USA.
Sasken works primarily with the multinationals and we engage with them both in India and globally. Particularly when we engage with them in India, it is to help them serve their customers in India.
- How many partners is Sasken currently working to give a last-mile and deliver a strong after sale service to your clients?
We serve our clients directly because our clients prefer to work with us directly on maintenance, support, after-sales services, etc. We do have many partners but we work with them, primarily, to deliver joint solutions or services to clients. For example, a partner may have a platform that they sell to their clients. We get trained on that platform and work with the partner’s clients for the product development part on the partner’s platform. Some of our partners include PTC(where we have trained on their ThingWorx platform), Smartrac, and Xamarin. Sasken is also a member of the Automotive Grade Linux and Open Connectivity Foundation.
- Lastly, any major announcements and plans for 2018?
We are working on a continuous roadmap for our offerings and some really exciting business challenges. Stay tuned with us to find out our plans for 2018.