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Data is the new oil: Rajiv C Mody, Chairman, MD and CEO, Sasken Technologies


Recently, Sasken Technologies recently changed its name to reflect its new positioning. As part of its vision to expand beyond the core communication business, the company has outlined a 5×5 strategic vision to achieve sustainable growth over the next five years. In an extensive interaction with Express Computer, Rajiv C Mody, Chairman, Managing Director and CEO, Sasken Technologies, tells us the rationale of repositioning the company

Some edited excerpts:

Sasken recently outlined a “5×5 vision” to achieve sustainable growth over the next five years? How different is this vision from the strategy that the company has pursued so far?

While staying within the core competencies that we have built over the past 28 years, we have identified the top 5 verticals that we will operate in – Semiconductor, Automotive, Industrials, Communication and Devices, and Retail. The segments that we are operating in are going through their own transformations. Here we believe our chip-to-cognition expertise comes in handy where lot of transformations happen in the silicon world but a lot of value appropriation happens in the machine learning cognitive world. This is where the future lies and we see ourselves making a difference in these verticals that we are targeting.

Please explain the growth opportunities from each one of the verticals mentioned in the vision (Automotive electronics, Semiconductors, Communications, Industrial automation and Consumer segments), and explain how this vision will help in expanding the business opportunities exponentially?

All these verticals that I mentioned in our vision are going through their own business velocities but we expect significant growth in each of these segments. The Semiconductor space is going through its own transformation with IoT chipsets and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication while the automotive sector is getting into Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), V2V, and ECU consolidation. The Industrials space is getting impacted by IoT, augmented reality, virtual reality, machine learning, and artificial intelligence all of which are giving rise to newer business models. Consumer continues to lead the world with disruption because the mobile handset is still at the center of everything and transformation starts there. While each vertical has its own velocity, we can take advantage of their intermingling in the overall scheme of things.

Sasken has been traditionally providing embedded R&D services, comprehensive testing services, IT infrastructure services and application development & data services to device OEMs, network OEMs, semiconductor, automotive & industrial OEM companies. How do you see these service lines changing – Will there be a major transformation in the service lines? Which will be the new emerging lines of business in the new era?

Sasken has made a conscious decision to not pursue the IT infrastructure business line. We continue to be strong in Android and protocol stacks while focusing on newer elements such as IoT, vehicle-to-vehicle communication, and 5G among others. While in the semiconductor segment we are expecting transformations in chip design, the digital space is seeing some major growth with analytics, cognitive technologies, and machine learning. There is enough and more to be done in these verticals in terms of innovation and technology breakthrough which is what Sasken is focusing on.

For an IP-led product engineering company with 70 patents, is there a vision to be present in all smart devices? What are some of the major opportunities in connected devices?

Sasken continues to generate IPs and create patents. We will be focusing on smart devices that impact the verticals we operate in so we will not be focusing on, for example, medical healthcare. Devices are inherently smart today and there are major opportunities in this space as the whole world is moving more and more towards connected living as well as machine intelligence. Machines will be taking over a lot of our daily activities and this is where we see a great deal of opportunities. We are looking to arrive at solutions and business cases which either launch new services or improvise existing services. Data is the new oil so the world of digital has become absolutely critical. Physical is more relevant to provide the plumbing where as digital is where the value add is happening, hence the confluence is inevitable. Devices by themselves have no value unless they are connected and have some value-added services. For example, dongles are commodities but an example of a value added service that an OEM can launch with it is analyzing driving behavior for personalized car insurance. Sasken is transforming itself and the roadmap ahead is clear. We believe the worst is behind us and we have the right team in place.

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