Sasken Communication Technologies is a design services company with an expertise in wireless communications.
Swami Krishnan, vice president and head, marketing and Gajendra Singh Hiran, business head, communication and devices, talk to Priya Ravindran of EFY for the Design in India series.
Q. Could you introduce Sasken to us?
A. Sasken communications is a 25 year old company specialising in design and analysis (D&A) in product engineering services. We offer end-to-end services for product development, with capabilities of transforming paper-specifications into a finished product. Our focus areas are the automotive sector, the Internet of Things and wireless communications, pertaining to both semiconductor and mobile device domains.
Q. Could you tell us about the embedded design services you offer?
A. Our services range from specifications to design for manufacturability (DFM). Typically, product design starts from choosing the right semiconductor for the application. We then develop software on top of it – this could be in terms of board support packages and reference drivers, port the operating system and develop required applications. We also provide hardware design services in parallel, right from the schematic to the printed circuit board layout stage.
Q. Who would be your partners to aid with the design process?
A. For the components side of things, we partner with aggregators from Taiwan, Hongkong and China. From the manufacturing side, original design manufacturers (ODMs) like Celestica, Sanmina help us deliver finished goods to our customers.
Q. Could you tell us about your Intellectual Property (IP) development capabilities?
A. We develop our own IPs, which we then license to our customers. We have developed a complete multimedia framework with a variety of different encoders and decoders, catering to different platforms. We have our own application framework, SAF, a user-customisable operating system. We have also extensively worked with wireless communications – typically modems and protocols and have developed our own protocol stack for 2G, 3G, including time division synchronous code division multiple access (TD-SCDMA).
Q. Tell us about the multimedia solutions you provide.
A. We provide our multimedia framework as an IP and build complete solutions around it with services like development of applications and integrating the system with third-party components. Our multimedia solutions target three major domains. Mobile phones today host a variety of codecs, rendering different kinds of audio, video and images. In the automotive sector, we have in-vehicle, in-dash infotainment with audio and video playback applications. With the advent of Android and other high-level operating systems, we offer our services to smart television providers to good effect.
Q. Talking about smart, could you take us through your work in the Internet of things (IoT) arena?
A. IoT is essentially an extension of machine-to-machine (M2M) solutions and we began with work in this area with ConnectM, about six to seven years ago. The idea took off for producing interesting solutions in the telecom space. With billions of mobile users in India, the assets called mobile towers are spread about, with some even in rural areas or near highways. Monitoring these assets be it from a security point of view, monitoring the periphery of the towers for safety purposes or making sure that they do not run out of resources like diesel for generators becomes important. Monitoring the electronic health of the infrastructure also comes to the fore here. We make this information centrally available to people, which can then be used to take preventive or breakdown action.
Also, there is a focus on managing areas from an energy point of view, in accordance with our central energy management system that helps in managing energy according to needs. We have also worked in making custom modules for monitoring high-value assets like machinery to avoid standstill owing to breakdowns.
So, with all this work, if we just take out the sensor layer, bring in computing and connectivity, and make sense of the data obtained, we would have a complete IoT package. With the currency of IoT rightly being called ‘data’, we are building an analytics system that looks promising. We have capability right from semiconductor level and have developed solutions with collarations to enable IoT products.
Q. What are the new IoT enabled products you are working on?
A. We are working on IoT enabled radio frequency identification (RFID) tags that can go into shoes. We have also worked with smart metering.
There is also a ski-jacket within which we have embedded a tracking mechanism. With skiing being a sport where people can easily get lost, we have worked at a combination of cellular and global positioning system (GPS) protocols to make sure the location of the person is always traceable.