Factors that boost entrepreneurial innovation in ESDM

|February 16, 2016 0
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at freedigitalphotos.net

Jaswinder Ahuja

The Indian government has introduced several initiatives over the last year and a half to provide an impetus to the nascent electronics industry. The ‘Make in India’ campaign along with  the Digital India and 100 Smart Cities initiatives provided local companies with opportunities to design products for the domestic market and also enthused the multi-national companies (MNCs) and foreign governments to start and support manufacturing in the country.

There’s been a lot of talk about the startup or entrepreneural activity in the software and services industry in the last few years, and we saw it percolate to the electronic system design and manufacturing (ESDM) ecosystem too. A number of hardware design startups found traction. Also, for the first time, a public-private partnership called the Electropreneur Park has been set up to nurture ESDM startups looking to build the next disruptive technology or product from India.

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In terms of ecosystem development, Prime Minister Modi recently announced an action plan for Startup India which includes a Rs 10,000 crore corpus fund for startups, simplification of regulations, tax breaks, and talent development. In 2016, we might see more entrepreneurs in the ESDM space take advantage of the support that the government is offering.

What will 2016 bring?

In 2016 and beyond, the opportunities across the IoT, wearables, and the automotive spectrum will offer abundant avenues to design and build custom electronics. Product differentiation will be critical in determining success, and this provides an opportunity for startups everywhere to innovate to come up with the next killer app or product. Besides IoT and wearables, here are some industry trends that will continue to evolve and mature in 2016.

System Design Enablement: The need for product differentiation and shortened time-to-market have challenged system companies to design the entire system concurrently. This is a big change from the earlier process of writing software to run on standard semiconductor products containing standard processors. Optimization and testing of software need to be done in parallel to hardware development, requiring hardware/software co-development, co-verification and co-optimization.

Automotive: In the last few years, the electronics content in cars has increased dramatically. Automotive Ethernet, safety, assisted driving, image recognition, and video processing are becoming increasingly important in cars across the price spectrum. In addition, ISO26262 and the requirement that automotive electronics can run self-test regularly while the vehicle is in use will drive changes in how test is done.

Design spread across nodes: As noted by Cadence blogger and veteran journalist Paul McLellan, “It is clear that for a number of reasons, many designs are not going to move to the most advanced FinFET processes any time soon. This means that the processes used for design will become a much richer menu. The most advanced design groups in the highest volume industries are already doing 10nm designs and they will start to ship. But old processes are being re-architected to have variants for lower power, for lower cost, and non-volatile memory, based on all the experience gained since they were originally introduced. And various flavors of FD-SOI will become important due to body bias.”

In India, the time is ripe for entrepreneurs to keep innovating and take advantage of the many government incentives and platforms such as the Electropreneur Park. Some promising startups have emerged in the ESDM space in 2015, and we hope to see the entrepreneurial activity gain momentum in 2016.

On the other hand, an unprecedented wave of consolidation among the companies in India and across the globe have created larger groups with stronger financial strength, market reach and broader offerings and that will also help to create new and larger opportunities for the design services companies based out of India.

The author is corporate VP and MD, Cadence Design Systems (India)

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