Innovation centre soon for industrial clusters

Source: The Hindu Business Line, Mar 28, 2012

There are about 5,000 industrial clusters that have been doing their bit for the country and produce 45 per cent of goods, but remain largely unsung. Most of these are small and medium units that cannot hire consultants or technical and marketing expertise.

Now, the National Innovation Council (NIC) has stepped in. It has announced a ‘cluster innovation centre’ initiative to help these clusters improve their efficiency and competitiveness. To begin with, it has identified eight clusters, mainly small and medium enterprises, and is providing them necessary linkages to innovate and commercialise their products, Mr Sam Pitroda, Adviser to the Prime Minister on innovation, infrastructure and information, told reporters here on Wednesday.

Read the rest of this entry »

Grassroot innovations draw India Inc

Source: Business Standard, May 23, 2011

Mumbai/ Ahmedabad: While so far the National Innovation Foundation (NIF) spearheaded innovations at grassroots level, the organisation is now getting a sound support from India Inc. With word spreading around about interesting innovations being discovered from across the country, corporates are queueing up at NIF to for commercial and social tie-ups.

Read the rest of this entry »

Rs 1,000-cr innovation fund in three months

Source: Business standard, Mar 07, 2011

Chennai/ Hyderabad: The National Innovation Council (NIC) will create a Rs 1,000-crore national innovation fund in two to three months to provide venture capital for early-stage innovations, according to Arun Maira, member of NIC and the Planning Commission.

Read the rest of this entry »

Do people really resist change?

We, time and again, find ourselves in situations where we try to carry out changes for which we need the agreement from third parties. Selling a new project in India or implementing an improvement initiative in our Department imply changes, either external or internal, which require conformity from clients, suppliers, colleagues, subordinates or superiors.

Similarly, in our personal lives, we frequently face contexts where we want to introduce changes and need to convince others in order to execute the same. To buy a new car, sleep over night at a friend’s home or decide on children education, we often need support from our partner, parents, children, friends…

In both environments we have experienced occasions when the others didn’t embrace with open arms the proposed idea. Our product or proposal was wonderful and, nevertheless, due to some obscure reason, the people we tried to convince didn’t quite understand the benefits of the change.

In many of these cases, after repeating, louder each time, the arguments which made our idea so wonderful, we not only didn’t get it accepted but ended up in sour discussions or, in extreme situations, in plain conflicts and resentment which, eventually, deteriorated the relationship with those people.

Do people, really, resist change? And, if they do, how to overcome it or, at least, how can we avoid that change proposals lead us to personal conflicts?

A brief animation video recently published by Goldratt Group in You Tube illustrates, in a simple and amusing way, an answer to these questions. It’s just 6 minutes video, which are really worth seeing:

Mario Gil

Director INDOLINK Consulting

World-class Innovation Park in Mumbai soon

Source: The Hindu Business Line, Sept 16, 2010

MUMBAI: Mumbai would soon have a world-class innovation park, where 25,000 scientific experts from over 100 countries will work.

The Maharashtra Chief Minister, Mr Ashok Chavan, has given nod to set up the world-class innovation park in Mumbai, an official release said, adding that the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) will set up the park.

Read the rest of this entry »

Indian iPad: India unveils prototype for $35 touch-screen computer

The Indian government has unveiled the prototype of an iPad-like touch-screen laptop, with a price tag of $35 (£23), which it hopes to roll out next year.

Aimed at students, the tablet supports web browsing, video conferencing and word processing, say developers.

Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal said a manufacturer was being sought for the gadget, which was developed by India’s top IT colleges.

An earlier cheap laptop plan by the same ministry came to nothing.

Read the rest of this entry »

India, Japan launch pilot project to monitor natural disasters

Hyderabad: India and Japan have begun a pilot project to test the procedures and systems to evolve a Network for Natural Disaster Mitigation and Recovery or DISANET.

It is aimed at monitoring natural disasters and developing an emergency communication system, using the information technology tools.

Funded by the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), a Japanese Government agency, the DISANET project would involve Indian Institute of Technology (IIT: Hyderabad, Madras and Kanpur), National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) and India Meteorological Department.

The five-year project was launched here on Sunday.

Read the rest of this entry »

Wind River mulls R&D centre


Chennai/ Hyderabad: California-based device software optimisation (DSO) provider Wind River Systems, which became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Intel Corporation in July 2009, is planning to set up a research and development (R&D) centre in India to focus on innovation to its product line.

“We are currently scouting for a suitable location and the centre will be set up within the next two years,” Damian Artt, senior vice-president (worldwide sales and services, told Business Standard. He, however, declined to divulge the investment that the company intends to infuse into the proposed India R&D centre.

Artt was in Hyderabad to deliver the keynote address at the 2010 Wind River India Regional Developers Conference recently.

Wind River, whose technology is currently deployed in more than 500 million devices worldwide by industry leaders like Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Boeing, Motorola, Nasa and Mitsubishi, entered the Indian market with a strategic outsourcing partnership with Wipro Limited in 2005.

“The country’s industrial output rose 16.7 per cent in January 2010 from a year earlier, stronger than the market expectations, and India stands tenth in global spend with $24 billion in FY09. It is a critical market for Wind River,” he said.

Stating that the three markets in India that were most important to Wind River were aerospace and defence (A&D), industrial and networking, Artt said the company would have an equal focus on all the three verticals.

“In particular, we are working with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and other independent hardware providers. We currently have close to 100 customers in India. We added 25 new programmes in the A&D space in India last year, and expect to increase this by 20 per cent in 2010,” he said.

Time-to-market, cost and complexity driving the commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) are the macro business trends in the A&D sector. Purchasing systems to reduce space, weight and power (SWaP) required for an aircraft’s on-board avionics systems will be the driving factors to our growth in India, Artt said, adding the $360-million (approximately Rs 1,600 crore) company was also looking at focusing on providing software design tools for devices such as smartphones in the Indian market.


Source: Business Standard: May 13, 2010

Helping millions find their way accurately

Indian-born Sanjai Kohli has won the prestigious European Inventor Award 2010 for making GPS a consumer product

If you are one of the millions of global positioning system (GPS) device owners across the world, you may want to thank an Indian-born inventor, Sanjai Kohli, for having made this a possibility.

Consider this. Till around 15 years back, no one gave much thought to having GPS devices in towns and cities. GPS was also the prerogative of the military force. In 1978, based on a total of 24 specially-designed Navstar satellites (each weighing over 800 kg) that orbit the Earth at 12-hour intervals, the US military laid the foundation of GPS. Each satellite broadcasts a constant radio signal back to earth, and a GPS receiver device reads and compares the signals from three satellites to establish its own longitude, latitude and altitude.

However, at least three or four satellites had to be in range, and if even one satellite signal was blocked , the GPS would not function. Tall buildings, poles and trees in cities and towns posed a major hurdle to a clear line of sight.

It was Kohli and his partner Steven Chen who found a solution to this problem that paved the way for GPS becoming a mainstream product. After completing his engineering training at the Indian Institute for Technology, Bombay (IIT-B) and later at Washington University in St Louis, Kohli founded SiRF Technologies in 1995. It’s here that he and Chen developed powerful and inexpensive GPS chips.

“We combined information from satellites with secondary sources such as external sensors, databases and maps,” says Kohli, who is the son of F C Kohli — popularly known as ‘Father of the Indian software industry’. “Till 15 years back, GPS was primarily used by the military and in planes and ships. We (Chen and Kohli) felt it could also be used by consumers in cities,” explains Kohli.

Along with Chen, he used the concept of massively parallel signal processing (similar to parallel processing which is the ability to carry out multiple operations or tasks simultaneously). They created “a sort of virtual signal process” whereby the signal processing power was increased by a factor of 1,000. This new approach would enable weak GPS signals to be found within milliseconds and consequently paved the way for the use of handheld GPS navigators in urban spaces.

The new GPS system could also leverage alternative sources when satellite signals were down. This meant that the system could remain in operation even with only one satellite in range. All the complexity of the technology was captured in a single chip, making it cheaper and possible to insert in portable devices.

The chips were also much less expensive to produce. A GPS device, which would cost a few thousand dollars and yet not be operable in cities, could now be purchased for $100, and used anywhere. The move was significant since sales, till then, were held back by the high price tags. Producing GPS computer chips was expensive, and they also had performance issues. It was not until 2002 — the year Kohli and Chen’s invention was released — that the consumer GPS market really took off.

The chipsets took the market by storm, recalls Kohli. While there are over 400 million GPS devices in cars and mobile devices worldwide, GPS-enabled mobile phones comprise the fastest-growing segment, moving over 77 million units in 2009. According to the ‘World GPS Market Forecast to 2013’ from RNCOS, the GPS market is expected to grow at a CAGR of more than 20% to cross $75 Billion by 2013. In February 2009, SiRF was purchased by UK wireless chip company CSR for $136 million.

Fifteen years after he co-founded SirF, the European Patent Office (EPO), along with the European Commission, has recognised his efforts and named Kohli (along with Chen) a 2010 Inventor of the Year for “his work on developing powerful chipsets that increase the speed and precision of GPS navigation systems used commercially in cars, planes, ships and mobile phones”.

The annual award (in its fifth year) is given to individuals and teams whose ideas and innovations have not only made a tremendous impact on shaping the larger modern world, but have also contributed significantly to Europe’s economic growth and competitiveness.

Kohli and his co-inventor Steven Chen were among a total of 12 nominees and only three in the ‘Non-European Countries’ category chosen by a high-profile international jury of entrepreneurs, managers, scientists, researchers, investors and journalists. Previous winners include Adolf Goetzberger, the father of solar-power generation (2009); AIDS researcher Erik De Clercq (2008); Peter Grunberg, Nobel Laureate in Physics (2006); and Federico Faggin, inventor of the microprocessor (2006).

“I was initially surprised but am honoured to be recognised among such an elite group of innovators,” says Kohli who has mostly been an entrepreneur. After he brought in a professional CEO and the management team was in place at SirF, he founded a wireless communication company, WirelessHome, in 1999, and then a mobile video company, TrueSpan, in 2004. Kohli was also part of two private equity (PE) funds.

The itch to invent, however, has not abandoned him. “I spent almost a year looking at the solar space. It has become a commodity market and is being run by China. I have formed a team to work on increasing the power yield from a single solar panel. We are working on increasing the yield by 25 per cent. This means you can have much more energy generation and yet use the same space for solar panels as before. It will be of immense help in crowded countries,” says Kohli.

He is also talking to Indian telcos on how to create what he terms as “virtual bandwidth”. How will he go about it? “Now that’s what I want to get a patent for,” he concludes with a grin.

Source : Business Standard. 06/05/10


Xerox Corp opens India Innovation hub in Chennai

Chennai: Xerox Corporation – a $22 billion global enterprise for business process and document management – has opened its India innovation hub at the Olympia Technology Park in Chennai.

It is based on the concept of “open innovation” and will bring together Xerox scientists and engineers with leading Indian academic institutions, research labs and industry partners. Its initial mission is to develop document management solutions that are relevant to emerging market countries and contribute innovation to solutions and services delivery.

“The India Innovation hub exemplifies our continued commitment to customers in the emerging markets,” said Dr. Sophie Vandebroek, Xerox chief technology officer and president of the Xerox Innovation Group. “Creating a research facility in India allows us to make use of local knowledge and to extend that expertise to our global initiatives.”

The hub will enable Xerox to expand and build on its strong partnerships with India’s top technical and business schools. Research will leverage Xerox’s world-class expertise in imaging, data mining, smart document management, linguistics, and ethnography with the latest technologies and trends such as cloud and web computing, human computation, social networks and computational economics.

“Open Innovation is at the core of how we conduct research not only at the Xerox India Innovation Hub, but also at Xerox research centers around the world,” said Dr Meera Sampath, director of the Xerox India Innovation Hub.

“Linking the talent in India with Xerox’s 500 scientists at our centers in the U.S., Canada and France will allow us to leverage the power of truly global innovation networks and engage in cutting-edge research to create unique value for our customers around the world.”

Source : The Economic Times. 19/03/10