5G, AI, and IoT are some of the biggest technologies in the world that truly have the potential to make a difference. And, Sasken Technologies has placed itself in the middle of these technological revolutions by providing its customers a holistic solution for all their product needs. In an exclusive interview with ELE Times’ Soumyarendra Barik, Srinivas Prasad, VP, and Head – Semiconductor BU, Sasken Technologies, talks about his company that he has been a part for more than 2 decades and how the company is shaping up to embrace the future of technological advancements. Excerpts:
ELE Times: Tell us a bit about Sasken Technologies. Like a brief history of your company and the future plans, you have set for it.
Srinivas Prasad: Sasken has always been a focused engineering company. Our capability comes from the fact that we understand technology not just in the context of providing services, but we understand work ethics to commercialize and productize platforms, devices, end to end solutions to the market because we ourselves have been involved in doing some of that in the past. So, we continue to actually focus on working with world-class customers, providing them with R&D services, and helping them in their digital transformation story. We are confident that the industry is focusing on very niche players like ourselves to help them reach their product development goals with the help of companies like Sasken.
ELE Times: What are the different application industries that Sasken targets? And which industry among those has had the highest demand for your solutions?
Srinivas Prasad: Sasken currently focuses on five different verticals, namely, semiconductors, communication, automotive, and a retail and digital segment. All our industry offerings revolve around serving our semiconductor customers by working with them in the area of helping them in doing platform and application software services, hardware device services, design services. When it comes to the automotive industry, we help customers in the areas of telematics, ADAS, infotainment systems, OS for those infotainment systems. We work with industrial customers and then help them with Industry 4.0 solutions. We work in the satellite communications where we are focused on providing an end to end device development story to a lot of our customers in the market. And in retail, we work with customers to build solutions that product item level intelligence.
ELE Times: Tell us about some of the things Sasken is doing right now that would differentiate it from other fabless semiconductor companies in India.
Srinivas Prasad: A lot of the work that we do is for our global customers. And most of these global companies have their offices in India as well. So, when you work with such big multinationals, you also happen to work very closely with their India offices. What is happening with India right now is that a lot of the big companies are realizing the potential and talent here. We are happy to see that unlike before, the Indian talent at these companies is getting more and more involved in the R&D of a particular product, and since we too work with them so closely, we have become an indispensable part of their product development. That way, from an Indian collaboration perspective, Sasken works very closely with companies wherever they have their centers. There are many things that differentiate us from the other fabless vendors in India. One is that we are a very very specialized company. We take pride in saying that we are probably one of the very few product engineering companies who have an ability to build end to end products. Sasken has the ability to go and then help its customers in their entire product development. It could be taking a spec and then developing the entire product for them. Classic examples are, the way we have worked on building some satellite phones for our customers where we took responsibility to build an end to end device. And most other Indian communication and service companies don’t have that kind of end to end capability. That’s how we differentiate ourselves. And the fact that we actually invest ourselves in technology- our close association with standardization, our close association with understanding the full cycle of what it takes to productize a platform, what it takes to commercialize a solution- all that puts us in a unique spot.
ELE Times: Since you mentioned the depths that you delve while delivering a product, what exactly is your approach towards it? A turnkey solution of sorts or specific tailor-made solutions?
Srinivas Prasad: We have the ability to understand the full life cycle of a product that we are building. When some customer says that they would need us to help them in developing a satellite phone, or help them to commercialize their product, our understanding of working at the silicon level helps us. From that level to take a solution to interoperabilities with various operators and then help the customer to actually launch the product. So, one is that you become a one-stop shop for the customer and serve the end to end requirement of the customer. We just understand what the customer wants and take on the project the way it is meant to be.
ELE Times: India was late to the 4G party. Do you think it is ready to jump the 5G bandwagon?
Srinivas Prasad: From the 90s till now, India has seen a significant growth in the telecom sector. Today, India is one of the biggest subscribers’ bases for LTE services and has some of the large operators who have commercialized the LT service to the fullest extent. While the world is yet to realize the full potential of the LTE network, because, LTE still hasn’t rolled out throughout the globe, given its high price. 5G, on the other hand, has been designed on a different framework. It is made to provide significantly higher speeds at a much more affordable price point. And 5G is not just in the context of one segment. It will play a key role in multiple industry segments. It will be in the automotive sector, the IoT, and healthcare to name a few. And, I think in these few sectors, India still needs to have a better infrastructure in these sectors. For example, if you want to use 5G for autonomous driving, it would be much more successful in an advanced market today. So, that way, India surely has a lot of catching up to do.