India: A giant awakening to IoT, Industry 4.0?

Article By : R.D. Pai

In recent years, India has taken many by surprise with initiatives such as Make in India, Digital India, Smart Cities and Start-up India, and the electronics industry is poised for a paradigm shift.

Everyone these days is talking about the Internet of Things (IoT) and Industry 4.0, and many are anticipating and predicting that this will be the next wave of technology revolution across the globe. We see companies preparing for the rise of IoT applications at all levels and we see government policies put in place to welcome Industry 4.0. Global players are consolidating to further expand and solidify their technologies, each hoping to be the big giant in the arena of IoT. With these, we foresee that within the next 3 to 5 years, the world will transform tremendously, just like how smart phones took over the way we communicate.

About 20 years ago, we [Excelpoint] embarked in India as we saw many opportunities. With a population almost as big as China, its prospects are abundant. In recent years, India has taken many by surprise with the new government’s enterprising initiatives, such as Make in India, Digital India, Smart Cities and Start-up India, and the electronics industry and market has awakened and is poised for a paradigm shift. We foresee India in the limelight in IoT and Industry 4.0 areas.

Synergy with software expertise

First and foremost, India’s reputation in its software expertise creates a perfect platform for the growth of manufacturing companies entering the market and localizing the products. With the government’s policies, companies that are seeking to set up manufacturing and production facilities now have great influence. Once these investments solidify, we will start to see infrastructure growth. Infrastructure has always been the core of the growth of any country and with these in place, India will soon become the forefront of technology in the years to come.

As the infrastructure of the country is built, other elements necessary for a country’s expansion will fall in place. With India now placed in high-growth trajectory and having one of the world’s largest young workforce, its macro-economic fundamentals are strong, and it will remain one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Diverse segments we foresee growth in, such as the need for smart security, green energy for sustainability, eCommerce and a more efficient and productive workforce, will soon be hot topics. These are all huge opportunities in the IoT and Industry 4.0 field.

Going cashless spells HW/SW integration

In addition, the recent direction from the India government to provide cash-less economy has proven the importance of the integration of hardware and software, together with the partnership with system integrators. For instance, Excelpoint is working on a reference solution for Point-of-Sale terminal based on the FPGA platform. The FPGA platform provides smooth migration for scalability, security with strong encryption engines and ease of certifications which is vital for quick implementation.

We strongly believe in having an experienced field-applications support structure in place which helps develop local design engineers. These engineers not only get hands-on workshop and guidance but also support for schematic review and correct part selection to testing and debugging, enabling a faster time to production.

While the global electronics industry is busy with these new buzz words, the local Indian electronics manufacturers are also working on some state-of-the-art IoT products. We see many of these related to smart cities Initiatives, such as building automation, automated meter readings and water pump controls championed by the various utility boards. These are initiatives by the government to improve living standards. As with all emerging markets, improving the lives of people is always a vital step towards progress and prosperity for a country. We are therefore talking to local software companies to provide customization, such as on backend software, security cloud hosting and IoT concept trial services.

Needed: Strategy stabilisation, ecosystem

While the world continues to surprise us with the number of mergers and acquisitions and the invention of numerous cutting-edge technologies, India remains a hidden gem. I believe everyone is awaiting the stabilisation of the strategies within India and the emergence of a concrete ecosystem for the IoT and Industry 4.0. Apart from the ecosystem needs, it is also vital that GST is rolled out in India to providing a better financial structure for future investments. These factors will then give global and local manufacturers a fair ground and aid them in providing more competitive services and cost-effective options to meet the growing market needs.
Companies will need to strategize where their strengths lie, build the right relationships and there will definitely be opportunities available. India is indeed a giant that has awakened to IoT and Industry 4.0 and I believe that we are at the right time and the right place.

R.D. Pai, Director of Marketing of Excelpoint Systems (Pte) Ltd, has over 25 years of experience in various functions from management to marketing, sales, product marketing and R&D in semiconductor, embedded and IC design industries in Asia, paerticularly India. He holds a degree in Electronics & Telecommunications from the University of Pune.

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