LDRA provides software quality tools that automate code analysis for safety-critical and secure-critical applications. Working with clients to achieve early error identification and elimination, and full compliance with industry standards, LDRA traces requirements through static and dynamic analysis to unit testing and verification for a wide variety of hardware and software platforms. LDRA Helps both companies and their project teams, during the entire software development cycle, deliver high-performing, critical systems that are safe, secure and threat resistant.
In this conversation, ELE Times interacts with Shinto Joseph, Director, South East Asia Operations, LDRA on the importance of ecosystem building and early stage involvement with all the stakeholders. The discussion also touches upon how the current pandemic situation has led to increased awareness to safe and secure product development.
ELE Times: Congratulations on LDRA completing 10 years in India. How has this journey been?
Shinto Joseph: Thanks. As an old saying goes – all great ideas are the craziest till the previous night of implementation. LDRA was built on an idea which was way ahead in time by Prof. Mike Hennell in 1975. Since then, creating awareness and enabling the development of safe and secure products has been the focus of LDRA. While we planned to start Indian operation in 2010, the market was in a very early stage. Awareness as well as local expertise was a serious challenge. We decided to engage all stakeholders. And our committed team at LDRA has always been at the forefront of creating awareness for process standards and coding guidelines for safety, security for critical industries. Thanks to the support we got from our teams from UK and US operations, with a strong backing from my UK board. A tough journey, but our efforts with perseverance, driven by the core values of parent company, has made a significant impact in our local ecosystem. Slowly we can see the industry is also moving towards focusing on certification-based product development.
LDRA has also been an active contributor in creating process standards and coding guidelines internationally and supporting the regional regulators and standards bodies in coming up with country specific and industry specific Safety and Security process standards.
ELE Times: What has been your advocacy on early stage involvement of ecosystem stakeholders? How is this going to be a value-add to the industry?
Shinto Joseph: The idea of involving a range of stakeholders starting from the regulators, to the industry to the academia is extremely critical for an ecosystem to be built. Our advocacy of early stage involvement of all the stakeholders makes sure that the product is safe and secure, from the design stage itself and the time to iterations and re-modification is always close to zero. The cost and time implication for the manufacturers is huge, if the defects are identified at a late stage of product development cycle. Engaging all the stakeholders is critical here. Academia plays a major role here to make sure we produce right industry relevant skills within our country, at a time our traditional IT sector is not doing well. But when the academic community works with the industry, this can create wonders. LDRA Academic Alliance Program (LAAP) aims the same. While the industry is about to commercialize a product, engaging regulators will make sure that the product specifications meets international standards. So, early stage involvement of ecosystem stakeholders is critical.
ELE Times: How has the current pandemic situation changed the industry perception and its impact in product development?
Shinto Joseph: This pandemic situation has changed the way we work upside down, not just in our sector, across all industries and businesses. The long fight of self-reliance, which has been advocated by many industry veterans have now been experienced by the manufacturers. Supply chain disruption is a key concern now, to make sure business continuity. To become a part of global supply chain, we need to make sure our products are designed and certified to meet international Safety standards. For that we need to build a local ecosystem, driven by indigenous capabilities with all stakeholders – Standards bodies, Regulators, Manufactures, Certification bodies and academic community. Unfortunately, along with many other factors, short sighted trading mind-set of some of the local industry players also added to the delays in building a world-class indigenous ecosystem. Eventually, we have lost our local markets to imported products, leading to a huge balance of payment on the external trading front for India. What was considered as additional cost to the product development while considering safety and security has now become the norm for product development across the globe. The new normal has exposed a lot of vulnerabilities in terms of security aspects too, which has opened the consideration of not just safe product development, but safe and secure product development. The current push for encouraging the Start-ups and MSMEs for indigenous product development announcements from the government is still in an early stage. But, a great step in the right direction, much appreciated by all of the industry.
ELE Times: Since you addressed the push for self-reliance and indigenization, do you feel we have the right environment to achieve?
Shinto Joseph: Absolutely. However, in today’s globalized world, we still need to work with other countries also in various areas, where they have an edge. We have all the required weapons to achieve self-reliance in many industry segments, which are very critical for the country’s long-term sustainability. The only thing we need is a better coordination among all the ecosystem stakeholders, backed with a long-term vision and risk bearing attitude, while we try to achieve our short-term goals. Indian skills have always catered to research requirements of global OEMs, but not enough for India’s local Research requirements. R&D has to be seen as an activity beyond tax breaks. We can see our youngsters have understood this better. We could see a shift in our start up ecosystem in our country. So, the buzz words are Fundamental research and increased industry co-research efforts, with a long term vision. These two are the missing factors towards indigenization.
ELE Times: How can this missing factors be addressed? How can LDRA play a role in efforts towards achieving self-reliance?
Shinto Joseph: Engaging all the stakeholders with a holistic approach is the key. Thanks to the support and encouragements we are now getting from our customers, partners, government and academic agencies. We are quite open working with all like-minded players. We are a small organisation, but together with others, we could create a bigger impact.
LDRA’s world class tools and capabilities serves as a critical enabler for all stakeholders. Our Certification Ecosystem Development Program (CEDP) aims at ensuring awareness and up skilling on best global practises, with an aim to build indigenous capabilities. As we celebrate our 10th Anniversary on July 28th, 2020, we are announcing a series of skills initiatives under a theme- Building Skills for Safe and Secure Tomorrow.