|Rajiv C Mody
Chairman and Managing Director
1. What is your perception of the Indian Electronic Systems
Design & Manufacturing (ESDM) industry?
ESDM industry is primarily represented by embedded
products for telecom equipment, consumer electronics,
Industrial electronics, Automotive electronics, healthcare and
other segments related to enterprise, Defence and payment
industry needs. Indian ESDM industry is expected to grow at
CAGR of 16+% including silicon design, embedded SW, product
engineering and manufacturing. Currently Indian ESDM industry
is adding value at discrete points in the whole eco system
with stronger presence in silicon design services, embedded
software and product engineering, whereas manufacturing
remaining the weakest area with insignificant share of global
With Indian industry’s having more than 2 decades
experience of different market and HW and SW design services,
there is going to be upsurge complete product engineering
segment which can serve local market, and hence reducing total
import. What is needed is, right policy support to enable
manufacturing within country which will boost ESDM industry
ESDM in India can enhance the level of support it
currently extends by forging stronger connects between the
manufacturing and design communities. It is very important to
have manufacturing capability in the eco system in order to
enable a constructive dialog.
2. What are the top 3 innovative trends Sasken
Communication Technologies sees in ESDM technology?
Personal mobile devices (be it smartphones or Tablets)
would continue to be the key driver for the overall
semiconductor industry. On one hand there will be more complex
SoCs and on the other hand there would be low cost derivatives
that would hit the market. With the former, challenges would
be in complex design and functional integration. With the
latter challenge would be design re-targeting and re-use.
Innovations in design and verification IP blocks & re-use – in
methodologies & tools will continue.
The exciting space of “Internet of Things” or “everyday
device connectivity” to each other and to the Internet is
going to bring about innovation in embedded processing and
communication protocols that would have to operate in
extremely constrained and tight low power requirements.
Internet connectivity phenomenon is going to influence
electronics system design in all industry vertical ie,
consumer electronics, home automation, automotive, healthcare
& industrial segment. Might be a good idea to link this in
some way to “SMAC”.
Reliable Software will be pivotal for the success of a chip.
Software – be it core communication and connectivity engines
or operating systems, would be the key differentiator for
silicon and test & validation is going to be growth area
related to specification and regulatory compliance of
3. What part does India play in the overall technology and
marketing strategy of Sasken?
India figures prominently for Sasken in the overall
scheme. Since its inception, Sasken has been the Partner of
Choice in Product Engineering Services for several
semiconductor leaders. Our offerings in silicon design,
embedded software, core communication and connectivity
engines, multimedia and graphics engines, operating systems,
systems integration and end application development has made
us a one-stop shop for our customers and it will be our
endeavour to continue to excel and deliver value to our
While our core strength has been in the wireless
communication space and we work very closely with the Indian
Innovation Centres of leaders in this space at semiconductor,
device and enterprise level, we have in the last few years
expanded our canvas significantly. We have successfully
leveraged our expertise in wireless communications and forayed
into Automotive, Industrial Automation and Consumer
4. How do you place the competency of Indian product and
design companies as compared with MNCs?
Indian companies are in the unique position of being able
to deliver all that is required from Design till
Productization stage in key verticals – Handheld communication
devices, Communication Infrastructure, Automotive, Industrial
and Consumer Electronics.
Indian companies have also been very valuable as a
“systems integrator” with a vast talent pool available who
understand silicon design, tools, deep embedded software and
application specific software – we bring in complementary
skills and partner in product development.
We have seen the mightiest products crumble for lack of
quick, reliable and efficient post-sale support and this is
where Indian companies clearly differentiate and bring in
Enabling manufacturing within country is going to put
Indian industry in an advantage position as compared to
Chinese and Taiwan companies which have edge today.
The key weaknesses lie at either end of the development
lifecycle. Product definition and management remains a
challenge, as does manufacturing capability.
5. What would be the key market drivers in 2014?
The personal mobile device is a technological marvel and
has revolutionised forever how mankind communicates, gathers
and uses information. Mobile devices will continue to be the
key driver; the next leg in this journey is capitalising on
the mobile device and enabling use outside of communication
alone. Healthcare, Retail, Point of Sale, Ticketing,
Automation and Control will see new models and applications
built around the mobile device and these verticals will see
action in semiconductors and the entire value chain. With
short range connectivity and internet based connectivity
becoming core to all industrial vertical, we expect cloud and
wireless device interaction centric embedded engineering to
heavily proliferate in each industry vertical.
While healthcare segment will see more devices connecting
to smartphone for health monitoring, home automation will
bring enhance electronic components in accessories affecting
daily life, industrial segment will see more of remote
monitoring/sensing and automotive segment will see advancement
in driver assistance & safety, car to car to connectivity and
6. In your view, what should India's focus be for the next
We should continue to play to our strengths and cement our
position as the Strategic destination for Design and
Development. At a macro-level, Higher Productivity and Value
delivered will be differentiating parameters alongside Lower
Cost. We should continue to build deep know-how and broad-base
relevant skills with industry-academia affiliations. As added
focus, we should enhance the focus on manufacturing esp with
respect to products related to Indian local market needs and
need country specific customization.
7. What would be your mission and vision statement for the
growth of the Indian ESDM industry?
I have always been of the firm belief that we need to
build a DNA that will eventually result in us ‘unleashing
creativity’ to build products for global markets. In this
endeavour, semiconductors for the fundamental building block
and increasingly software is the critical differentiation and
perhaps is at the core of any product. Indian companies need
to forge strong alliances amongst themselves and globally
leading semiconductor vendors including innovative start-ups
and develop a product mind-set.
About the author
Rajiv C Mody
Chairman and Managing Director
Rajiv Mody, the Chairman and Managing Director of Sasken
Communication Technologies, founded the company in 1989, at
San Jose along with two other co-founders. The company was set
up in the classical tradition of Silicon Valley startups; in a
garage in Fremont, California. This was before he returned to
India to expand company operations in 1991.
Under his able leadership, over the last two decades, Sasken
has grown into a major technology and solution provider to
Tier 1 customers across the telecom value chain. Over the
years, Sasken has steadily expanded its portfolio of solutions
into development, life-cycle extension and sustenance of
semi-conductors, platforms, network elements (voice and data)
including terrestrial and satellite, customer owned equipment
like handsets, set-top boxes and lifestyle / consumer
Rajiv, a seasoned technocrat and an industry veteran has
worked with corporations like AMD, Seattle Tech Inc., and VLSI
Technology Inc., prior to founding Sasken. His expertise lies
in design, development and integration of physical design
tools for Gate-Array and Standard Cell Design Styles. Besides,
he has co-authored a patent in the area of physical design.
Rajiv was awarded the "Technovator of the Year 2007” by VOICE
& DATA, a leading technology publication. He also served as an
Executive Council Member of NASSCOM (2001 – 2008).
He obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering
from M.S University, Baroda, India and Master’s degree in
Computer Science from Brooklyn Polytechnic, New York, USA.
Rajiv is an avid reader of biographies and humanity and draws
inspiration from the likes of Gandhi, Tolstoy, Mandela and
others to build sustainable organizations that are ethical and