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February - 2007 - issue > Editor's Desk
Innovation for India
Harvi Sachar
Thursday, February 1, 2007
Power has displaced performance as the overriding issue for chip designers. As electronic design becomes more complex, power consumption increases. Higher power consumption has a negative effect on battery life, packaging, cooling costs, and reliability.
Also, as we get to smaller feature size, standby leakage power increases exponentially. New low-power design methodologies are necessary to address the problem. A few Indian-founded companies such as Sequence Design and ArchPro are betting on this opportunity.

Several semiconductor companies have setup their design centers in India. There are fabless Indian companies sprouting too. Though we appreciate the design skills available in India, we often complain that we cannot get to the architectural component of the design value chain just because ‘we are not close to the customer’—a view largely infused by proponents who do not believe in the India story.

Look at the Nokia example: a foreign handset manufacturer came to India, understood the pulse of the market and designed the ‘Made in India’ phone, which came with a dustcover and a torch, was slip-proof, and could support Hindi.
If Nokia could do it, then why not we? We need to understand the changing dynamics of the semiconductor industry.

The center of gravity has started to shift to the East. Chip design gets done in India or China. Manufacturing happens in Taiwan or Korea or Singapore. Venture Capital fund targeted at China and India is available. And we have a billion plus population. The largest consumer market is going to be in India and China. If everything is moving East, then aren’t we already ‘close to the market’. Why is it that rapid innovations for the domestic opportunity is not gaining momentum?

Firstly, we need to accept that the market has arrived while we were sleeping. Secondly, we need a mindset shift from ‘innovation from India’ to ‘innovation for India.’ When these two happen, a thriving ecosystem for semiconductors will automatically fall in place.
Please do share your views with us.

Harvi Sachar
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