Saturday, April 13, 2024

“Our Primary Focus is Disruptive Technologies”

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Happiest Minds is a next-generation digital transformation, infrastructure, security and product engineering services company, with 100+ customers and 1600+ people, spread across 16 locations. Happiest Minds’ philosophy is simple – ‘Happiest People make Happiest Customers’.

In this interview for the Design in India series, Babu K C, General Manager and Head, Hardware Practice, Kiran Veigas, Associate Director, Corporate Strategy and Marketing, and Divya Sasidharan, Engineering Manager, from Happiest Minds, talk to Dilin Anand and Priya Ravindran of EFY.

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Babu K C, General Manager and Head, Hardware Practice

Q: Could you introduce us to Happiest Minds?
A: Happiest Minds is the youngest information technology (IT) services company in India. Havingstarted about four years ago, today we have 1600+ people catering to more than a 100 clients. Our geographical focus areas are the United States (US), Europe and India, in that order. Like the company name suggests, our vision is to keep the employees and customers the happiest.

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Q: What is your unique selling proposition (USP)?
A: Hardware practice at Happiest Minds works on all the phases of a product design from concept to production. Given the high-level requirements of the product, we work with the customer to understand their needs and arrive at the specification document, after weighing the viable alternatives. Once the specifications are approved, we go about the product drill, from design to testing and certification, till the product is ready for manufacturing. Having the capability to offer a turn-key product solution, involving hardware, field-programmable gate array (FPGA), firmware, mechanical design and application software is our unique selling proposition.

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Kiran Veigas, Associate Director, Corporate Strategy and Marketing

Q: What are the niche technologies you work on?
A: Our main focus has always been disruptive technologies. About 85 to 95 per cent of our work
revolves around this and that is how we bring about a paradigm shift in the way we think and the way we execute. Next-gen technologies like big data and analytics, cloud, mobility, middlewareare all part of this package.

Q: Your speciality is disruptive technologies. Do you have a separate team for this?
A: Our three business units are Digital Transformation & Enterprise Solutions, Infrastructure Management & Security Services and Product Engineering Services.

Digital Transformation group enables organisations to make a tangible impact in areas like customer experience, business efficiency and business innovation, by taking a disruptive approach in building platforms, integration, processes and insights.

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Divya Sasidharan, Engineering Manager

Infrastructure Management and Security Services group helps organisations to improve agility, flexibility, security and interoperability of the enterprise infrastructure for next generation digital transformation.

Product Engineering Services is focused on four specific domains. They are the Enterprise Domain that caters to enterprise independent software vendor (ISV) customers, Customer Platforms focusing on e-commerce, media and entertainment, Internet of Things (IoT) focusing on industrial, automotive and building automation, and Data Center Technologies (DCT) focusing on software-defined networking and data centres.

Q: Could you take us through the post-production support you offer?
A: Post-production support becomes very important as there could be changes coming in at the component level or even from the customisation front, after design closure. Over the last few years, post-production support has become a lot easier with the fabrication house also experiencing a variety of designs. Today, it is not always required that the engineer has to personally go and interact with the fabrication house; a lot of it can be done remotely.

Q: How would you go about telling your clients what you do?
A: We go by experience. Having worked in this field for about four years now, we have loyal customers who come back to us for their next product. They also spread the word, and the references increase our customer pool. Also, with the slowly increasing trend of research and development teams facing the media, thought leadership at events and technical publications, the ‘getting-to-know’ part is becoming a lot easier.

Q: Tell us about a few of your projects.
A: We have done several processor board designs in the past, mostly based on Intel/ARM processors. Recently, we designed an ARM-based storage server that was quite interesting and challenging too. The interesting part was that it was powered using a 64-bit octa-core ARM processor, a new entrant to the server family. This is a multi-processor system that uses peripheral component interconnect express (PCIe) Gen 3 technology for interconnections to numerous boards. Currently, we are designing a similar system based on Intel Xeon and Atom processors for micro-server applications, which uses high-speed technologies such as PCIe Gen3 and double data rate fourth generation (DDR4) memory modules.

Q: Could you tell us about your work in the industrial domain?
A: Another interesting area is industrial automation and control. We are presently working on one such system for controlling heavy machinery. The system will have precision sensors that sense target parameters like position, velocity, direction and temperature, which are then compared with pre-set values. In the case of a deviation from the desired outcome, the system has to take corrective actions like varying the speed or updating the position of the tool. The precision and timing required to realise such a system is utmost challenging as everything has to happen in real-time, not forgetting the fact that it has analogue, digital and high-voltage signals, all running on the same board. So, the choice of the processor becomes extremely critical. To guarantee real-time performance, we are using field-programmable gate array (FPGA) for some of the critical paths such as proportional integral derivative (PID) loops, high-speed counter interface and analog-to-digital converter/digital-to-analog converter (ADC/DAC) interfaces.


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