Bengaluru: It is no surprise that Tejas Networks, one of India’s most successful home-grown telecom equipment and infrastructure companies is setting up a new telecom center in the southern state of Kerala, for working on next-generation telecom technologies.

The center of excellence (CoE) is being set up in partnership with the Kerala state government in the new Integrated Start-up complex in Kochi.

Incidentally, in the same city of Kochi is the Maker Village , the country’s largest hardware incubator. This electronics incubator is a joint initiative between, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology(MeitY) and Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management, Kerala (IIITM-K), the nodal agency of the project, Kerala Startup Mission and the Kerala government. The aim is to promote consumer electronics-based innovation and set up labs and innovation centers that focus on the current trend and emerging technologies of disruptive nature to bring India to the forefront of innovation in the electronics space.

Started way back in 2000 by Sanjay Nayak, Kumar N Sivarajan and Arnob Roy, Tejas Networks has had its own share of ups and downs - more downs that ups – which has finally climaxed to a stellar IPO debut in June 2017 catapulting the company into the chosen league of successful Indian IT hardware product makers.

The company specialises in optical and data networking products and designs and develops market leading products in the optical networking and broadband access (4G/LTE, GPON) segments. Having a strong focus on R&D and IP creation, Tejas, has filed over 340 patents in the US, EU and India and is ranked number one in India’s optical aggregation market. It is also ranked among top-ten suppliers in the global optical aggregation segment and has shipped more than 400,000 systems across the globe for customers in over 65 countries in segments ranging from telecommunications, utilities, defence and government entities.

The newly launched CoE will focus on training, skills development and mentoring of college students, young entrepreneurs and high-potential electronics start-ups in the state. Senior technologists from Tejas will work closely with the faculty of leading engineering institutions in the state to develop a futuristic, industry-oriented telecommunication training and certification programme.

As part of the partnership, Tejas Networks also proposes to set up an advanced networking test-bed for cutting-edge technologies such as terabit-scale optical communications, gigabit-scale broadband access, 5G and software-defined networking.

"Kerala has emerged as a thriving ecosystem of talented entrepreneurs, startups and academic institutions and we are happy to share our first-hand experience, capabilities and expertise in the telecom arena to help nurture the local ICT industry in Kerala," Sanjay Nayak, Managing Director and CEO of Tejas Networks said.

CoE, Tejas Networks

Tejas Networks has signed an MoU with Govt. of Kerala as its 1st telecom knowledge partner & setting a CoE for Nex-Gen Telecom Technologies in the state.(Source: Tejas Networks)

Spearheading innovation in 5G & emerging hardware tech

Nayak, who has come to be known as one of the leading experts in the Indian telecom and infrastructure domain, is also spearheading deployment of his company’s proprietary gigabit passive optical networks (GPON) products for 40,000 villages for high-speed internet, under the government’s BharatNet program. This program aims to connect all of India’s households, particularly in rural areas, through broadband, forming the backbone of the government’s ambitious Digital India programme. Earlier, it was called National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) and had failed due to slow implementation; now it has emerged as the Bharat Net project. Executed by BSNL, Railtel and Power Grid, it is said to be the world’s largest rural broadband connectivity programme using optical fibre.

Nayak is also taking a proactive approach in the emerging technologies. The company is collaborating with standardisation organisations such as the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and 3GPP to evolve standards for 5G. India is now the 7th voting member on the 3GPP standards body.

“The plan is to get directly involved in the process of technology evolution and create our own IP. When 5G is ready to be deployed in 2019-2020, we will be ready too,” Nayak had said in an earlier interview with Moneycontrol.com, an Indian financial information portal.

In the hardware space in general, Nayak feels the game changer will be Internet of Things (IoT). According to him, 5G will have 1000 times more devices connecting to it, because of IoT products, which can include anything from home appliances to cars. “It again boils down to our business. For all that to happen, IT backhaul needs to be robust. There’s a significant market for us right there,” Nayak said in the report.

— Sufia Tippu is a freelance tech journalist based in India contributing to EE Times India.