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August - 2008 - issue > Company Spotlight

Innovate Software Solutions: Redesigning the Embedded Space

Vimali Swamy
Friday, August 1, 2008
Vimali Swamy
A company that manufactured an 8 bit micro controller based industrial mobile devices was losing market share since competitors had introduced high end, 32 bit based mobile devices. To stand the competition, the company had to transition to 32 bit based platform for its devices but the challenge it faced was how to shrink the time to market. It approached Innovate Software for a possible solution. Innovate had detailed discussions with the customer on customer application and arrived at the specifications for both hardware and software design. To improve the customer’s end product, it used the existing enclosure and the hardware was designed based on one of Innovate’s 32 bit development board as the basic design. In less than three months the company was ready to enter the market again to compete with other manufacturers with its improved and much more efficient mobile device.

This area of product development and design services in embedded hardware and software, simulation software, and turnkey design services is what engineers at Innovate Software Solutions focus on. “We develop embedded platforms that form the core of most industrial and commercial electronic handheld devices. These platforms are based on either an Intel or ARM processor. We also develop the software and hardware design and the GUI (graphic user interface) for these platforms, and together with the customers form the tools for design support that cater to both original equipment and design manufacturers,” explains Manjunath. P, Founder and Managing Director.

Innovate develops the embedded platforms customized to suit the customer needs. This involves developing the necessary software to run on these platforms, manufacturing the hardware, and supplying it as the end product to the customers. The software is developed on Linux, WinCE (Windows Embedded Compact), or MontaVista OS. The customer simply provides the packaging to these pre-developed platforms. Innovate 255 (PXA 255), Innovate 270 (PXA 270), and Innovate 9263 are some of Innovate’s development platforms that are used to build applications for GPS navigation systems, SmartPhone, infotainment devices, industrial control like motion control for cars, and in instrumentation where it is used by customers to find if there are any cracks in optical fibers.
Many a times customers want to develop a device in varied sizes, for example a mobile phone. This means adding and removing some features from the platform. In such cases Innovate offers to do the re-layout of an existing embedded platform, catering to the requirements of the end product.

The company also provides development services to large companies, where customers specify a processor and ask for a particular feature to be built on it. Innovate builds the platform and gives the entire platform with the production and the software rights to the customer for manufacturing. Here, the main focus is on 32 bit ARM architectures. It also sells individual development platforms as reference kits to train engineers, or for development purposes in large companies. They use these platforms as a reference or the base on which they further build applications for a particular device. Some of its proprietary development platforms in this segment include Innovate PXA 300 Development Kit, Innovate ARM 926 Kit, and Davinci DM6446 Platform that are commonly used to develop multimedia applications, medical and bio-medical applications, car navigation systems, IP surveillance systems, video servers, IP video phone, IP set-top box, and other such applications and devices.

Today, Innovate’s products and services see a large demand amongst the manufacturers. In quite a short period, it has been able to attract top customers like Intel, GE, GM, TCS, Wipro, Honeywell, and Motorola. But to survive in this niche market is quite tough as players are few and competition is high. “When approaching a customer, we play on the main demand of this industry - cost of development. Since all of our solutions can be easily customized as per requirements, they become highly cost efficient,” explains Manjunath. Hence the customers are able to complete projects at low cost, train in-house engineers with reference models, provide smooth transition to next project with obtained hardware and software resources, quicken the speed of product promotes, and avoid risks and maintenance problems. To keep an edge over others, the company also provides post development and maintenance services.

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