View from India: Tech firm takes to the world stage

Sasken Technologies is one of a number of Indian companies exhibiting at the forthcoming Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, demonstrating the country’s growing ability to move beyond its home market.

As a specialist in connected devices, the company will exhibit solutions in the smart devices and wearables, smart home and smart car segments at the event. These include satellite phone, smart button, LTE dongle, smart energy meter, person tracking device, health band, GPS jacket and sports app.

Sasken describes itself as a product engineering and digital transformation solutions provider. It leverages its extensive expertise of integrating differentiated features in multiple device segments to provide customers with end-to-end solutions.

“The devices, today, are built on sophisticated embedded platforms which need deep understanding of various connectivity protocols, modems, multimedia engines, sensors and end-to-end system integration capabilities,” says Srinivas Prasad, VP and head of Sasken’s Communications & Devices business unit. “We need to have knowledge of mechanics, hardware design, antenna design, memory, and power management, and to put together these things under a small form factor design is an extremely challenging task.”

At the Mobile World Congress, the company will also showcase its voice-enabled multi-framework home gateway solution aimed at solving the interoperability challenges brought about by a variety of edge devices and connectivity technologies based on different protocols. The key features of this solution are support for voice-based virtual assistants, automatic device detection without reconfiguration, sensor/actuator configuration and control and data analysis using the Intel Analytic cloud.

The connected car gateway solution aimed at optimising multiple functions like infotainment and telematics into a single unit will also be on show. This solution provides features such as ignition control, climate control, remote locking, vehicle tracking, control/status monitoring, and intrusion detection. It enables the car with e-call, b-call, geo-fencing, fuel-level and on-board diagnostics (OBD-2). The solution can detect a hack in the electronics control unit (ECU) and determine the rogue ECU while degrading its functionality.

Given this premise, the company has built strong partnerships with leading semiconductor vendors and has supported global device OEMs with end-to-end wearable development, from product conceptualisation to hardware and software on multiple operating system platforms such as Android, Linux and RTOS.

However, it’s a known fact that the complete penetration of these products in the Indian market will take time. The whole ecosystem will take several quarters to take off. Once that happens, the Indian wearable industry should see decent growth and expand quickly in segments like fitness and wellness, healthcare and fashion. It’s due to the fact that India’s smartphone market has made it easy for the adoption of wearable devices.

This is understandable as smartphones are a prerequisite for fitness trackers since they require a smartphone app as the primary interface. “Fitness trackers accounted for 88 per cent of the 400,000 wearable devices sold in India in the first quarter of 2016. The wearables market in India is growing rapidly, specifically in urban areas with higher incomes. The top vendors during Q1 2016 included Xiaomi, having 27 per cent market share, GOQii with 18 per cent and Fitbit, 6 per cent,” highlighted Prasad. 

The scenario is different in the case of connected devices. “A couple of years ago there were predictions that by 2020, the market for connected devices would be in the range of 75 billion units to close to 100 billion devices. These numbers have been brought down significantly in the current forecasts due to the time taken for the adoption of new technologies,” he added.

Still, when it comes to India’s adoption of newer technologies, it’s known that the Internet of Things (IoT) is emerging at a much faster pace. India, being one of the fastest growing economies, is embracing 4G and this would help IoT in a big way. According to NASSCOM, the IoT market in India is expected to reach about $15bn by 2020.

The Mobile World Congress 2017 takes place from 27 February to 2 March in Barcelona, Spain.

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