Ashok Jagatia, president and chief technology officer, Acevin
Ashok Jagatia, president and chief technology officer, Acevin

Q. What are the key technologies you are working on?
A. We work on analogue and mixed-signal processing, high-speed digital design, power monitoring,power metering, power transducers, global system for mobile communications (GSM)/ general packet radio service (GPRS), global positioning system (GPS), radio-frequency identification (RFID), Zigbee, short-range radio frequency (RF), machine-to-machine (M2M), Ethernet – 10M/ 100M/ 1G (transmitting speed in bits per second), networking, switching, routing, field-programmable gate arrays (FPGA), complex programmable logic device (CPLD), optical fibre networking and rugged system design.

Q. What are the technologies you specialise in?
A. We specialise in rugged system design, power monitoring, power metering, power transducers and M2M technologies. Internet of Things (IoT)/ M2M and smart lighting are the niche industry applications we focus on.

Q. What are the major circuit/ system design projects that you are currently working on?
A. We are working on distributed control systems, streetlight energy saving and remote management, radar transmit or receive modules, gas analyser systems and home automation systems.

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Q. How do you see the IoT phenomenon? Do you see it driving business growth for India’s independent design houses (IDHs) or is it more of a marketing gimmick?
A. IoT is an aggregation of proven technologies and an extension of M2M. It is picking up in a big way, is being taken seriously and moving towards commercialisation. We see this happening in India too. We are fully geared-up to provide solutions for people leveraging IoT with intelligent devices. We are also in a position to develop smart applications and design these small form-factor devices, as we have developed remote monitoring and control as well as home automation devices. We certainly see the IoT as one of the business drivers for Indian IDHs.

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Q. Could you tell us more about your work in the IoT arena?
A. The smart city initiative has IoT as an integral part. Acevin is a member of the team of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Global Smart Cities initiative. We have started a marketing initiative for this domain.

We are also implementing a strategy to slowly migrate our focus from completely ‘service-oriented’ to a balance of ‘services + products’ and have been investing in product development initiatives. Most of these fall under effective utilisation of the Internet.

IoT therefore receives topmost priority as far our future growth plans are concerned. Currently, we are working on intelligent monitoring and control of wind turbines. We also recently launched a product that fits into the smart lighting domain.

Q. Who are your partners for technologies and components? Do you limit your customers to India?
A. We partner with Texas Instruments and Mouser, who are our design partners for providing custom design services. We target Indian and global customers.

Q. Can you tell us about your international clients and the kind of work you have done for them?
A. Most of the work we do is intellectual property (IP) development for our clients. We have the world’s leading machine tools manufacturing brand and soft drink manufacturer as our clients. Also, two clients feature in the world’s Fortune 100 list, while four of them feature in India’s Fortune 100 names.

We have developed distributed-control-based automation of machines, information panels, telecom boards and control boards for our international clients. We also work as a partner with one of our clients in USA for collaborative design and development.

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Q. Could you also tell us about your work in the Indian market?
A. The profiles of some of our Indian clients include leading utility meter manufacturers, leading industrial meter manufacturers, leading power companies, wind energy turbine providers, leading automotive companies and research labs. We have worked with them in various areas like developing next generation meters, sub-station automation systems, radar control boards, remote monitoring and control systems, communication devices and industrial analyser systems.

Q. What is your marketing strategy to reach clients? Does it vary from the global to the Indian market?
A. Whether domestic or international, our attention to clients is always the same. Business strategies do not differ based on the geography, except for pricing. Keeping our core competencies and offerings in mind, we identify prospects who would benefit from our services. Various methods such as mailing lists, targeted phone calls and road-shows are used to identify prospects. Word-of-mouth also gives us business. We ensure 100 per cent satisfaction of clients, who in turn refer us to new prospects. We analyse client pain-points and offer solutions. We always pitch to key decision-makers and strategy-drivers in these organisations, highlighting both technical advantages and return-on-investments (RoI).

Q. How many design engineers do you have? Do you plan to recruit more within the next 12 months?
A. We have 15 engineers for circuit and system designing. We are looking to recruit one lead hardware design engineer, three hardware design engineers, two for leading the firmware team and four for designing firmware.

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Q. Do you hire freshers? Also, are there any training or internship programmes?
A. We consistently look out for talent and do not mind evaluating freshers. Our selection process involves written technical and aptitude tests, followed by interviews. Majority of the hire is from tier-1 or tier-2 colleges, but we do hire quality candidates from other institutes too. We also regularly have students interning or doing their final-year projects with us.

Q. What are the skill-sets you find lacking in freshers?
A. Understanding of core electronics and hands-on experience is lacking. Also, understanding and clarity in fundamentals and basics seems to be a problem. Focusing on those will increase their employability chances in our domain.


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