We are also focusing on developing personal safety devices that would be wearables, so to say, to monitor the safety of the wearer of the device, with respect to who he/she interacts with. It could be used to make sure kids do not go beyond a certain perimeter and old people or people with ailments do not wander off forgetfully. In such scenarios, the device would trigger an alarm to alert the concerned person.
Q. How would you be connecting your IoT enabled solutions to the cloud?
A. IoT is a developing field where collaboration is the key. We are working with partners for cloud infrastructure and data analytics, semiconductor companies that are developing specialised IoT chips for the computing side of things and using our wireless solutions to enable connectivity among these areas.
Q. What parameters do you take into account while deciding the kind of wireless approach to close in for a particular application?
A. The choice of the wireless protocol would depend on the quantum of data, frequency of communication, the location of the device, proximity or distance factors, the amount of tampering it might undergo and ruggedness of the device.
Q. What are the challenges in developing rugged devices?
A. The challenge lies in the design and implementation, from both the hardware and the software perspective. Take the example of a satellite phone used by a hiker or an optical character recognition (OCR) system used by a FedEx delivery person. The device cannot afford to hang or stop, the battery has to provide substantial power and there has to fail-safe mechanisms to take over the operation in case of failure. The devices will have to be fail-proof and the testing process is rigorous. There are also standards that the devices will have to comply with, including dust-proof, waterproof requirements. While developing these devices, it is necessary to be aware of the use-cases.
Q. What would be your opinion of hardware versus software solutions?
A. Hardware solutions, say inbuilt into the chip-level, would be more secure and hack-proof. But taking into account the cost of research and development (R&D), ease of maintenance and longevity of products; change is inevitable and it becomes that much more difficult to implement in hardware. With standards still evolving, it would be prudent to stick to software solutions, until a guaranteed standard is arrived at.
Q. Talking about standards, you happen to be a member of a lot of telecommunication standards groups. How does Sasken work in the area of standards?
A. We have earlier contributed to the development of standards. We worked with the test specification part of the Third Generation Partnership Project 2 (3GPP2). We are also looking at further works in this area, which would keep us in the game in all parts of the product development life cycle. We also have capabilities for the test and measurement (T&M) aspect of these standards.
Q. Would you offer testing as an exclusive service?
A. Yes. Testing, verification, validation, quality assurance – the whole stack is an important aspect of design services, and it goes hand-in-hand with the design process. About 30 per cent of our revenue comes in from our testing services, which include feature and functional testing. Testing has moved from manual testing to test-gig creation, test automation, test-suites and we create test assets and test cases. We offer design verification for chip companies, which includes block level and system level, as well as IP verification. Also, on the device side, we have testing for certification of these devices.
Q. What would be the strength of your team?
A. We are a team of about 2000 people. We are welcome to recruit engineers, mainly in the development side, who can work on embedded R&D, testing and verification, application data services and infrastructure management.