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India needs an ODM Evolution!
By Srinivas Panapakam, GM-Worldwide PES(Sales), Mistral Solutions Pvt. Ltd.
I was attending an event about electronics Industry in India a few days back. The presenter was talking
about how the current $65 billion+ electronics market in India (a very large part of which is being
serviced through imports) is going to explode to $400 billion by 2020 and how Govt. of India is looking to
address this demand by planning a policy, working along with trade bodies such as India Semiconductor
Association (ISA) and other relevant policy makers.
This is huge and the fact is that if we don’t address this issue in a proper way and if we are not
‘electronically self sufficient’ to address this, we are going to have an import bill on electronics that will
be far higher than any other commodity that India imports leading to huge trade deficit and consume
significantly large part of our foreign exchange reserves. We talk of self sustenance in energy, agriculture
etc. but shouldn’t we be thinking of the same for the electronics that we consume.
Sure, trade bodies and the Govt. are thinking of the investment required, in terms of manufacturing
facilities, Greenfield EMCs, support to the semiconductor industry, qualified (college grads, Masters,
PhD’s) so on and so forth. But as a country, how much are we thinking about the importance of local
ODMs (Original Design Manufacturers). I feel that’s a very vital cog to address this humdinger of an
opportunity. So let us look at the dynamics here.
If you see the above flow chart, today in India we have the presence of all major semiconductor vendors
and distributors, some CM presence which definitely needs to be beefed up. The two biggest gaps that
we need to address today are large scale production facilities and ODM. We also need to see global
evolution of Indian OEMs who are able to compete strongly with the global brands on the lines of IT
services revolution by Indian companies in the past decade; but that’s a topic for another day!
e-User
(Industry/consumer)
Distributors/Resellers OEM
EMS/Contract
Manufacturer (CM)
ODM
Semiconductor
vendors
If you see the ODM scene globally, typically products are conceptualized, designed and architected in
US, Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan and some EU countries. Being an ODM is one of the most challenging
roles both technically and creatively. So let us look at a typical product life cycle and major milestones in
an electronic product development lifecycle.
1. Total Addressable Market (TAM)
2. The market requirement
3. Translating the market requirement into product specifications and product pricing
4. Breaking down the specifications further into product features and use case scenarios
5. Looking at critical performance parameters
6. Selecting an appropriate hardware and software platform; both from technical and price
perspective
7. Product prototyping
8. Use case tests and extended performance testing/Field testing, compliance testing
9. Final production design
10. Production
11. Product launch / Deployment
The steps 1,2, parts of step 3 and step 11 are addressed by the OEMs. The CMs would address step 10.
That’s leaves a large bulk product development activity that has to be addressed by the ODMs.
If Indian electronics industry is going to be self sustaining, a large thrust has to be laid in developing a
much larger ODM base which calls for a different mindset where innovation, product architecture,
envisaging the product use by an end user (use case scenarios) plays a much greater role. This calls for
design houses to move up the value chain a few notches and translating an idea from a concept into a
marketable product. This also involves ODMs coming up with newer business models; which will be risk,
reward and royalty based models. This may not entail large work forces that IT industry is known for but
very innovative and talented bunch of product enthusiasts more on the lines what Silicon Valley is
known for. These ODMs would be someone who knows how to marry technology, end user
requirement and performance, and come up with a successful product.
So where are we today in this ODM scene? There are some embedded product design companies who
are offering their services/licensing to OEMs or some captive units of MNCs doing some parts of the
designs for their parent companies. However except for a few, most of this activity is largely confined to
doing prototypes or parts of the hardware design, firmware, middleware etc. What we need is the
ability and maturity to do the entire product design from concept to deployment.
This requires a new thinking and mindset with a lot more maturity. We are looking at getting into a role
of creator. A creator who is able to foresee the requirement, market trend and able to translate that
into a commercially viable product that is going to be at the forefront of this digital revolution and play a
large part in this $400 Billion market place. After all, the entire world remembers Steve Jobs for his
marvelous products ideas and the rest are mentioned in the footnote of his success!
(This article was featured On EE Times India in May 2012)

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India Needs an OEM Evolution

  • 1. India needs an ODM Evolution! By Srinivas Panapakam, GM-Worldwide PES(Sales), Mistral Solutions Pvt. Ltd. I was attending an event about electronics Industry in India a few days back. The presenter was talking about how the current $65 billion+ electronics market in India (a very large part of which is being serviced through imports) is going to explode to $400 billion by 2020 and how Govt. of India is looking to address this demand by planning a policy, working along with trade bodies such as India Semiconductor Association (ISA) and other relevant policy makers. This is huge and the fact is that if we don’t address this issue in a proper way and if we are not ‘electronically self sufficient’ to address this, we are going to have an import bill on electronics that will be far higher than any other commodity that India imports leading to huge trade deficit and consume significantly large part of our foreign exchange reserves. We talk of self sustenance in energy, agriculture etc. but shouldn’t we be thinking of the same for the electronics that we consume. Sure, trade bodies and the Govt. are thinking of the investment required, in terms of manufacturing facilities, Greenfield EMCs, support to the semiconductor industry, qualified (college grads, Masters, PhD’s) so on and so forth. But as a country, how much are we thinking about the importance of local ODMs (Original Design Manufacturers). I feel that’s a very vital cog to address this humdinger of an opportunity. So let us look at the dynamics here. If you see the above flow chart, today in India we have the presence of all major semiconductor vendors and distributors, some CM presence which definitely needs to be beefed up. The two biggest gaps that we need to address today are large scale production facilities and ODM. We also need to see global evolution of Indian OEMs who are able to compete strongly with the global brands on the lines of IT services revolution by Indian companies in the past decade; but that’s a topic for another day! e-User (Industry/consumer) Distributors/Resellers OEM EMS/Contract Manufacturer (CM) ODM Semiconductor vendors
  • 2. If you see the ODM scene globally, typically products are conceptualized, designed and architected in US, Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan and some EU countries. Being an ODM is one of the most challenging roles both technically and creatively. So let us look at a typical product life cycle and major milestones in an electronic product development lifecycle. 1. Total Addressable Market (TAM) 2. The market requirement 3. Translating the market requirement into product specifications and product pricing 4. Breaking down the specifications further into product features and use case scenarios 5. Looking at critical performance parameters 6. Selecting an appropriate hardware and software platform; both from technical and price perspective 7. Product prototyping 8. Use case tests and extended performance testing/Field testing, compliance testing 9. Final production design 10. Production 11. Product launch / Deployment The steps 1,2, parts of step 3 and step 11 are addressed by the OEMs. The CMs would address step 10. That’s leaves a large bulk product development activity that has to be addressed by the ODMs. If Indian electronics industry is going to be self sustaining, a large thrust has to be laid in developing a much larger ODM base which calls for a different mindset where innovation, product architecture, envisaging the product use by an end user (use case scenarios) plays a much greater role. This calls for design houses to move up the value chain a few notches and translating an idea from a concept into a marketable product. This also involves ODMs coming up with newer business models; which will be risk, reward and royalty based models. This may not entail large work forces that IT industry is known for but very innovative and talented bunch of product enthusiasts more on the lines what Silicon Valley is known for. These ODMs would be someone who knows how to marry technology, end user requirement and performance, and come up with a successful product. So where are we today in this ODM scene? There are some embedded product design companies who are offering their services/licensing to OEMs or some captive units of MNCs doing some parts of the designs for their parent companies. However except for a few, most of this activity is largely confined to doing prototypes or parts of the hardware design, firmware, middleware etc. What we need is the ability and maturity to do the entire product design from concept to deployment. This requires a new thinking and mindset with a lot more maturity. We are looking at getting into a role of creator. A creator who is able to foresee the requirement, market trend and able to translate that into a commercially viable product that is going to be at the forefront of this digital revolution and play a large part in this $400 Billion market place. After all, the entire world remembers Steve Jobs for his marvelous products ideas and the rest are mentioned in the footnote of his success! (This article was featured On EE Times India in May 2012)