Q. Could you introduce us to your organisation?
A. Oxys Technologies is a six-year-old embedded system design and IP development company specialising in the areas of telematics, machine-to-machine (M2M), short-range and long-range wireless communications.
Q. What are the key technologies you are working on?
A. The core focus of Oxys is in automotive and medical devices IP creation. Few of the automotive IPs can also be used in aerospace applications like unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV)/ drones autopilot and telemetry data collection, by using long-range radio frequency (RF) communication systems and very little customisation.
Q. What, in your opinion, is the potential of drones?
A. Oxys anticipates tremendous growth of drones for applications like video surveillance, defence, aerial photography, agriculture, organ transportation ambulances and light-weight commercial goods delivery. Currently, these products and IPs are imported from other countries. Oxys sees a huge growth in these segments in the coming years and has drawn up plans to make niche electronics products that can be exported to other countries from India. We want to be front-runners in aligning with the Indian government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative.
Q. Could you tell us which technologies you specialise in?
A. We specialise in telematics and M2M Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The company has also come out with a telematics platform covering everything from idea to the complete product.
Q. Please explain more about your telematics platform.
A. Almost five years ago, even before the term IoT was coined by the world of technology, the company anticipated a spurt of IoT devices in the market and invested in research and development (R&D) for creating such an IoT platform called the Oxyscope. At the heart of this product is an embedded device with two main parts – one interacting with real-world signals in real-time and the other, a baseband part enabling communication to the cloud via a global system for mobile communications (GSM)/ general packet radio service (GPRS) network. Any sensor or signal connected to the real-time processor is processed and sent to the cloud, which in turn can perform analytics on the real-time data and come out with useful information for decision-making. The Oxyscope platform finds application in varied domains and segments of the industry, ranging from consumer, automotive, defence and aerospace, to industrial applications. A simple extension of the platform makes it suitable for these purposes.
Q. What are the major circuit/ system design projects that you are currently working on?
A. We work with sensors like accelerometers, gyrometers, radiation meters, barometers and temperature sensors connected to the IoT, perform light-weight analytics on the devices and then transfer the data to a cloud server for heavy analytics. One of our devices monitors the input from the sensors. Readings from the pressure sensor that cross a certain specified limit can be used to set off an alarm, whereas, heavy-weight analytics can be performed at the server by combining temperature and barometer readings, to arrive at a more detailed analysis. If this device is mounted in a UAV that is then flown many times in a day, it can be used to predict weather patterns.
Q. What are the complexities you have observed in using sensors?
A. The first aspect to take care of while using sensors is calibration. It is a process demanding a huge amount of patience, precision and cost. There is then the life of the sensor. Its performance deteriorates with time and the system has to account for the resulting changes. Another area that is to be focused on is the processing of the received signal. Getting a true value of the measured quantity, while accounting for noise and other disturbances, is a challenge.
Q. Are all your projects based on the Oxyscope platform?
A. Most of our projects are based on the Oxyscope platform. We make derivatives of this for different applications, by integrating sensors and programming the controllers for the specific domain. The platform is flexible and has almost 90 per cent of the requirements for the markets we target. As of now, we customise this platform and integrate it into the customer’s product. We are looking at branding our own product soon.
Q. Tell us about a few of your projects.
A. We primarily target verticals like automotive, aerospace and medical electronics. With an accelerometer, gyroscope, barometer and global positioning system (GPS) inbuilt, the Oxyscope platform is currently being tested in drones, for surveillance purposes. A proprietary long-range radio frequency (RF) link enables communication between the operating station and the drone. We are also trying to implement solar charging in these drones, where the design demands a whole new technology and different algorithms for power requirements.
In the automotive domain, we work on remote vehicle diagnostics. Our design helps accumulate data about performance, travel schedules, productivity and so on.
Q. Take us through your work in the field of medical electronics.
A. We are working on a blood glucose monitoring device that shows a colour change according to the level of sugar in the blood. Our idea is to connect it to a smartphone and display the reading on it. We want to release this at one-tenth of the current cost of such devices.
We also have a wearable platform, a device that can be worn on your belt. A sensor on it monitors the level of oxygen in the blood, and automatically alerts a cylinder to pump in oxygen when the level is low.
Q. How do you go about procuring components for your design?
A. We depend on online resources like Mouser and Digikey for components. We also deal with new vendors directly. We have partnered with NXP, Telit, Freescale and Texas Instruments (TI) for the key semiconductors required. Our focus is more on Indian customers for the next two years, after which, we would be expanding globally.
Q. Can you name some of your leading Indian clients and the kind of projects you have done for them?
A. Our leading customers are Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Council of Scientific and Industrial Research Labs (CSIR Labs) and public sector units (PSUs). The work we do is related to customising our Oxyscope IoT devices for various applications like radiation sensing.
Q. What is your marketing strategy to reach global clients?
A. Currently, we depend on our own direct marketing. We get leads through customer references, because of our quality and timely deliveries. We plan to participate in two or three global events around the world (Silicon Valley, USA, Germany and Japan) so that we can showcase our company and IPs. We also have good connections in the European Union (EU), Unites States of America (USA) and Japan due to our past experiences, through which we find opportunities and customers.
Q. Is your strategy the same for Indian clients too?
A. For India, we know our target customers and have them lined up already. We do direct marking in cases where long-term and continuous business is expected. We also like to participate in Indian exhibitions relevant to our areas of operation, like Aero India, defence expos, automotive expos, telematics and M2M expos.
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. It is well-stated that the IoT is a marketing gimmick to attract attention. However, we foresee increased usage of devices connected to the Internet and developments in the areas of home automation, health care, industry, agriculture and body electronics in the form of wearables. Initially, it will be a slow penetration, but the moment people get to know the benefits of the solutions the IoT has to offer, everyone would like to go for it.
Q. What kind of projects does your team work on, in the IoT arena?
A. We are developing a radiation sensor connected IoT device. This can be used in the future for radiation monitoring in smart cities. Also, flying this device periodically in a UAV can help us record radiation levels in the cloud for further analytics and monitoring. Similarly, we plan to integrate many other sensors like air and temperature sensors with the IoT device.
Q. How many design engineers do you have? Do you plan to recruit more?
A. We have 20+ system design engineers. We plan to recruit design and development engineers with a product and IP mindset, for hardware and software development.
Q. Do you have a training/ internship programme?
A. Yes. We take M. Tech. students with specialisation in embedded systems, good academic background, aptitude and attitude, for product development.
Q. Do you hire freshers? What are your selection criteria?
A. We hire from standard established colleges, from Tier-1 or Tier-2 cities. We mainly hire people who have oriented themselves towards embedded electronics by doing an M. Tech. course, or having relevant embedded experience. We pursue candidates scoring consistently above 70 per cent marks and check for their attitude towards building IPs and products. We look for problem-solving capacity, fundamentals of digital or analogue circuits and designs, embedded system programming, operating systems fundamentals and logical thinking.