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Updated: February 1, 2011 18:37 IST

It's time to ‘empower’ the consumer

Giri Krishna
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Giri Krishna.
Giri Krishna.

Companies in the Indian electronics market have to keep in mind limitations such as availability of power and network bandwidth

The consumption of electronic products is growing at a very fast pace and some reports suggest that if the current trend continues, the electronics industry could well be the largest contributor to the trade deficit by the year 2020, even beating oil.

The challenge that will be seen in the coming years will be the need to create products that take into account the requirements of the common man in India at a cost that is affordable. These will include creating products that will work well despite the inherent limitations of infrastructure in the country. Some of the key limitations in India are the availability of power and network bandwidth. In addition, user interfaces need to become more intelligent to cater to the needs of the diverse population in India. All these challenges provide an opportunity for the formation and development of companies that will specifically focus on developing electronic products tuned to the Indian market.

Specific needs

Let's begin with need for power to run electronic appliances. Since availability of power is a major issue across most of the country, electronic products must not only be battery powered but should have sufficient intelligence built-in to optimise utilisation of power and at the same time ensure that the appliances continues to work for extended periods. Low power systems and highly optimised power utilisation, thus, are a specific requirement of the Indian market.

Today, we have evolved from simple television sets to TVs that can connect to the Internet and enable surfing without having to access a traditional PC. In the ongoing CES exhibition in Las Vegas most companies seem to believe that almost all conceivable electrical and electronic appliances will be able to connect to the Internet in the next five years. For these systems to be effective, they will need to function even when network bandwidth is limited, as is the case in India. In situations where bandwidth is limited, the system should also be able to make decisions with respect to the frame rates and resolutions to be used for video streaming. The system can be programmed to switch to higher frame rate and/or resolution to enable a clearer view of the video. The usage of intelligence and algorithms to optimise utilisation of power and network will be key and a tremendous opportunity exists for developing products with such capability for the Indian market.

The biggest challenge

As the electronic gadgets become more and more sophisticated, the biggest challenge will be creation of user interfaces that will allow the common man to use all the features of a gadget without having to go through a training session on how to use it. This focus on user interface becomes even more critical for such products to be successful in a country like India with a diversity of languages and culture.

We at Silvan Innovation Labs are creating video surveillance products that address some of these issues. For example, it would be desirable to provide a distributed video surveillance system that has cameras with the ability to address situations involving lack of power and limited or no network. In particular in the case of power failure, our cameras have a local independent power source that will ensure that the camera continues to function.

In the case of network failure, the cameras have the ability to store video images locally and the video content can be synchronised with the central location on resumption of normal services.

To address limited network bandwidth, the cameras have the ability to decide the resolutions and the frame rate for streaming the video over the network. To improve response time to specific triggers or events, the camera has the ability to analyse the video, detect specific events and trigger alarms.

As the electronics industry continues to grow, more and more opportunities will arise to address the specific needs of the Indian consumer. These needs will have to be addressed by Indian companies and the dependence on or the expectation that companies abroad will address these needs is unrealistic. This is a challenge as well as an opportunity for growth that is waiting to be seized.

(The author is CEO, Silvan Innovation Labs)

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