Thursday, November 15, 2007

Convergence driving technology trends, says Sasken chief

Sasken Technolgies was earlier known as SAS and it was focusing on product development. Later, it moved on to services. Speaking about this shift, Rajiv C. Mody, chairman and CEO, said that Sasken has always been, from day one, working on both simultaneously.

Sasken initially started out in the EDA space and had one product in the simulation space. It was writing a simulator, addressing large complex designs and methods to simplify the designs. Simultaneously, Sasken was also doing a lot of services for large telecom companies in the areas of designing. This was continued and eventually, Sasken expanded in the area of telecommunications.

Subsequently, Sasken started building products in the telecom space. However, one significant difference is that anything that it does, it impacts Sasken's customers' top line as Sasken address the R&D side of the business.

Not so long back, Sasken were also a VLSI player. It decided to disband the design tool part of the business and focus completely on communications. Now, Sasken does a lot of business in chip design, which is part of VLSI. Today, it is among the leading providers of semiconductor design, working on all kinds of complex system-on-chip (SoC), as well as 65nm design.

Sasken has filed for 39 patents so far, of which 16 have been granted. Those remaining are in the process, and typically, once a patent has been applied for, it takes four years before being granted.

It has invested close to Rs 40 crore in R&D in 2007. In the first two quarters of this financial year, it has invested about Rs 15 corers in R&D. Sasken focuses on next-generation technologies, which would shape up the way things are to come in this new, converged world.

Mody said: "The fundamental thing driving this entire change is convergence -- essentially entertainment, media, news, information -- all of it being available at push medium as well as pull medium. Wireless is also playing a very significant role."

All of these combinations are creating newer opportunities - starting with, say, for example, in the service provider-side, new billing methods have to be put in place because it's going to be triple- and quad-play kinds of situations.

Simultaneously, on the handset side, with more and more computing power being made available, newer kinds of applications have started playing significant role. As a result, Sasken is now scanning the entire gamut to position itself and take advantage.

Sasken will continue to invest in products in the mobile handset space. It also has a significant role to play on the multimedia and the application frameworks. Mody added: "To give you an idea, for the mobile handset, direct broadcast is going to play a significant role. People are already talking about high definition (HD) on mobile. You will see all those kinds of interesting things coming about, and we will participate."

Sasken had also acquired a Finnish firm. This acquisition has worked extremely well and its full integration has been done. Mody said: "We have significant engagements because of our presence in Finland and the capabilities that they bring, not only with the existing, but also with the new costumer base. We are thriving and this has given us the capability to do full end-to-end handset design and testing."

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Google phone beckons as industry leaders announce open platform for mobile devices

Is the Google Phone finally going to see the light of the day? Well, the following release (below) has all the makings of a mega telecom happening. Read on!

A broad alliance of leading technology and wireless companies today joined forces to announce the development of Android, the first truly open and comprehensive platform for mobile devices. Google Inc., T-Mobile, HTC, Qualcomm, Motorola and others have collaborated on the development of Android through the Open Handset Alliance, a multinational alliance of technology and mobile industry leaders.

According to Engadget Mobile, Google will be holding a conference call at noon eastern (November 5) to unveil the details of its long-rumored Android mobile operating system. Joining CEO Eric Schmidt will be other members of the 34-member Open Handset Alliance, including the chief executives of Deutche Telekom, HTC, Qualcomm, and Motorola. So keep watching this space!

According to the release, this alliance shares a common goal of fostering innovation on mobile devices and giving consumers a far better user experience than much of what is available on today's mobile platforms. By providing developers a new level of openness that enables them to work more collaboratively, Android will accelerate the pace at which new and compelling mobile services are made available to consumers.

With nearly 3 billion users worldwide, the mobile phone has become the most personal and ubiquitous communications device. However, the lack of a collaborative effort has made it a challenge for developers, wireless operators and handset manufacturers to respond as quickly as possible to the ever-changing needs of savvy mobile consumers. Through Android, developers, wireless operators and handset manufacturers will be better positioned to bring to market innovative new products faster and at a much lower cost. The end result will be an unprecedented mobile platform that will enable wireless operators and manufacturers to give their customers better, more personal and more flexible mobile experiences.

Fully integrated Android platform
Thirty-four companies have formed the Open Handset Alliance, which aims to develop technologies that will significantly lower the cost of developing and distributing mobile devices and services. The Android platform is the first step in this direction -- a fully integrated mobile "software stack" that consists of an operating system, middleware, user-friendly interface and applications. Consumers should expect the first phones based on Android to be available in the second half of 2008.

The Android platform will be made available under one of the most progressive, developer-friendly open-source licenses, which gives mobile operators and device manufacturers significant freedom and flexibility to design products. Next week the Alliance will release an early access software development kit to provide developers with the tools necessary to create innovative and compelling applications for the platform.

Android holds the promise of unprecedented benefits for consumers, developers and manufacturers of mobile services and devices. Handset manufacturers and wireless operators will be free to customize Android in order to bring to market innovative new products faster and at a much lower cost. Developers will have complete access to handset capabilities and tools that will enable them to build more compelling and user-friendly services, bringing the Internet developer model to the mobile space. And consumers worldwide will have access to less expensive mobile devices that feature more compelling services, rich Internet applications and easier-to-use interfaces -- ultimately creating a superior mobile experience.

Open Software, Open Device, Open Ecosystem
"This partnership will help unleash the potential of mobile technology for billions of users around the world. A fresh approach to fostering innovation in the mobile industry will help shape a new computing environment that will change the way people access and share information in the future," said Google Chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt. "Today's announcement is more ambitious than any single 'Google Phone' that the press has been speculating about over the past few weeks. Our vision is that the powerful platform we're unveiling will power thousands of different phone models."

"As a founding member of the Open Handset Alliance, T-Mobile is committed to innovation and fostering an open platform for wireless services to meet the rapidly evolving and emerging needs of wireless customers," said Ren√© Obermann, Chief Executive Officer, Deutsche Telekom, parent company of T-Mobile. "Google has been an established partner for T-Mobile’s groundbreaking approach to bring the mobile open Internet to the mass market. We see the Android platform as an exciting opportunity to launch robust wireless Internet and Web 2.0 services for T-Mobile customers in the US and Europe in 2008."

"HTC's trademark on the mobile industry has been its ability to drive cutting-edge innovation into a wide variety of mobile devices to create the perfect match for individuals," said Peter Chou, Chief Executive Officer, HTC Corp. "Our participation in the Open Handset Alliance and integration of the Android platform in the second half of 2008 enables us to expand our device portfolio into a new category of connected mobile phones that will change the complexion of the mobile industry and re-create user expectations of the mobile phone experience."

"The convergence of the wireless and Internet industries is creating new partnerships, evolving business models and driving innovation," said Dr. Paul E. Jacobs, Chief Executive Officer of Qualcomm. "We are extremely pleased to be participating in the Open Handset Alliance, whose mission is to help build the leading open-source application platform for 3G networks. The proliferation of open-standards-based handsets will provide an exciting new opportunity to create compelling services and devices. As a result, we are committing research and development resources to enable the Android platform and to create the best always-connected consumer experience on our chipsets."

"Motorola has long been an advocate of open software for mobile platforms. Today, we're excited to continue this support by joining Google and others in the announcement of the Open Handset Alliance and Android platform. Motorola plans to leverage the Android platform to enable seamless, connected services and rich consumer experiences in future Motorola products," said Ed Zander, Chairman and CEO of Motorola, Inc.

Open Handset Alliance Founding Members
Here are the founding members of the Open Handset Alliance:

Aplix (www.aplixcorp.com), Ascender Corporation (www.ascendercorp.com), Audience (www.audience.com), Broadcom (www.broadcom.com), China Mobile (www.chinamobile.com), eBay (www.ebay.com), Esmertec (www.esmertec.com), Google (www.google.com), HTC (www.htc.com), Intel (www.intel.com), KDDI (www.kddi.com), LivingImage (www.livingimage.jp), LG (www.lge.com), Marvell (www.marvell.com), Motorola (www.motorola.com), NMS Communications (www.nmscommunications.com), Noser (www.noser.com), NTT DoCoMo, Inc. (www.nttdocomo.com), Nuance (www.nuance.com), Nvidia (www.nvidia.com), PacketVideo (www.packetvideo.com), Qualcomm (www.qualcomm.com), Samsung (www.samsung.com), SiRF (www.sirf.com), SkyPop (www.skypop.com), SONiVOX (www.sonivoxrocks.com), Sprint Nextel (www.sprint.com), Synaptics (www.synaptics.com), TAT - The Astonishing Tribe (www.tat.se), Telecom Italia (www.telecomitalia.com), Telefónica (www.telefonica.es), Texas Instruments (www.ti.com), T-Mobile (www.t-mobile.com), Wind River (www.windriver.com).

Saturday, November 3, 2007

telisma launches teliSpeech in 10 Indian languages

Paris, France based telisma has released teliSpeech, its leading speech-recognition software in India in 10 languages. These languages are: Indian English, Indian Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Gujarati, Punjabi, Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam and Marathi.

The teliSpeech, telisma's core proprietary software product, has been in the Indian market since June 2004. It offers superior robustness, scalability and performance -- especially in mobile environments -- and comes with a comprehensive set of administration and management tools.

Laurent Balaine, chairman and CEO, telisma, said: "This is an important time for telisma. telisma will open up the voice market and allow the Indian population to access services and information by using their voice. India is a major part of telisma's international development strategy, and as such, we will be continuing our solid investment."

He added that telisma's product portfolio had been conceived and developed with openness in mind, in order to allow its partners to create their speech-recognition solutions using Eclipse-based tools.

He added: "Until now, people could not use their own language. We intend covering 95 percent of the population. We do speech recognition and you don't need to train the PC as it is internetworked."

telsima works with a range of companies, including system integrators and with companies providing infrastructure for the call centers, such as Cisco, Genesys, Avaya and HP. Voice service providers can also become partners.

"Until now, the market for such products in India was small. Now, more people would want to access services," he added. "Our technology is good for social networking as well, as we believe, information is knowledge. Indian companies can take this product and build applications around it to serve banks, enterprises, etc."

Regarding Indian English as a language, Balaine said telisma made use of several native English speakers, similar to what it did for Hindi. This enabled the system to recognize with high accuracy.

Keen to attract Indian software developers
The teliSpeech software has been developed using tools from Eclipse, a major Open Source initiative, which also includes IBM. Balaine said,"Eclipse has now become a major standard."

telisma is also keen on developing a community of software developers in India. He said: "Our idea is to offer software developers the tools and an open environment to develop and products they can sell anywhere. The availability of an open envvironment will help them a lot."

telisma offers an evaluation software for free download on its site. It can be tested on a local PC for 30 days. If the software developers can build applications around teliSpeech during that period, they can buy the license from telisma.

Major India plans
telisma will be opening a liaison office in Bangalore before the end of this year. "We are also in touch with system integrators like Wipro," Balaine added. telisma also intends working with the mobile phone service providers in India through partners.

"Genesys has also sold our products in India," he added. "We will also leverage on our partnerships in India, for example, with Cisco, HP, etc. We will also go to local partners in value-added services and in the CRM space."

As for voice interaction with wireless services, he said that it was more of accessing voice services, while on the move. Here, there is an opportunity for location-based services to be available in voice.

telisma has a fully indirect business model. It partners with leading computer telephony hardware and platforms, along with global and local brand name integrators. Some of its international partners include IVR platform vendors such as Genesys, HP, Avaya, Cisco and Envox. System integrators include Wipro, Cap Gemini, NextiraOne and Atos Origin. Voice service provider partners include Prosodie and Jet Multimedia, while solution partners include Voice Objects.