Rohde and Schwarz is an international electronics group specialized in the fields of test equipment, radiomonitoring, radiolocation and communication. The company headquarters is in Munich, which is also where the R&S Central R&D is also located.
Rahul Chopra and Dilin Anand from EFY spoke to Nasser Jariwala, Head-Business Development at Rohde & Schwarz, on value instruments and their importance in the present market, as well as potential future market requirements for other test and measurement equipment.
Q. What are the major technological advances in the market over the last year?
A. Instrument wise, the size of the boxes have been reduced drastically that we have spectrum analysers upto 20Ghz with us in Hand Held size. These are now single boxes solutions and we have new standards of communication. Earlier it was GPIB and RS232 which are seldom used, but now we have USB, LAN interfacing instruments – the interface protocols have changed a lot.
Q. We’ve heard about “transportable licenses” at R&S–what are those?
A. The software options have changed as well, and now we have transportable licenses. This is something that was unheard before as earlier it was just a firmware with a set of features which gave you a ‘take it or leave it’ kind of approach. Now you also have the option to transfer the license from one box to the other box. Suppose the customer has several boxes and wants flexibility in using these options for different test stations he can opt for transfer of licenses from one box to other with the help of R&S support team. Thus, there has been a lot of bundling of the software options.
Q. How can start-ups get consultation for the use of the correct testing equipment at the design level?
A. We have a very strong application team in India and they also get regular updates from our head quarters. Let us take an example of EMI/EMC segment. We are not only able to execute systems but are also able to advise or give our suggestions to the labs on what sort of testing standards are being introduced since R&S is also on the panel of the advisory board of many International bodies that frame these specifications and the standards.
Q. Is IOT an opportunity and if so in which product segment?
A. If you look at the tele-medicines, we have lot of test equipments catering to the medical equipments also. We have Power meters & Spectrum Analysers very useful & adapted for installation and repair of CT-Scan and MRI machines.. With the advancement of internet we understand that many of the rural districts and towns would have a medicine center with all the equipment & facilities where patients & doctors in these rural areas would be able to communicate with the senior doctors at major metros and seek their medical advise. I am sure this would give an impetus to wireless technologies & in turn to usage of test equipments in this sector for maintain the facilities.
Q. You are promoting the “value instruments” as a segment from R&S–can you share more details about the same?
A. Value instruments are something that is easy to configure, easy to order and easy to deliver. The market is really demanding and we have to follow the market requirements and provide more functionality at economical price to address the changing needs of the customer.
Q. Has there any been innovation in the field of value instruments technology wise?
A. In February this year, during the Embedded show in Nuremberg, we introduced a HMO3000 series oscilloscope from Hameg and since January of last year we renamed as Rohde & Schwarz – Hameg. This instrument has a capability to be scalable between 300, 400 to 500MHz. For example if customer has a present need of 300MHz today he can order that, however in future there is a requirement of 500MHz, he can upgrade the instrument in his lab. Thus he does not need to make a decision upfront with respect to right bandwidth or the right feature set. This is the kind of an innovation that we try to make our product scalable.
Q. Are there any specific markets or applications that can be catered through the value instruments or is it across the board?
A. It is really across the board because you need value instruments or general purpose instruments in all business areas like aerospace, defense as well as in Mobile communications and even educational sector. However, what we call as the wide base markets or the the non-key accounts, are probably the biggest market space for the value instruments. So the question would arise,why now? Everything started with the introduction of the oscilloscope three years back, since Scopes constitute the single largest revenue earner of all T&M equipments. and is a must at all Wide-Based customers.
Q. Could it happen that low-end value instruments can erode the market for high end value instruments?
A. You are perfectly right, it can happen. Some of the value instruments might act as close substitute to the higher end in the near future.However at R&S, presently we have strong differentiators at high end equipments which helps customers to decide as per their testing needs. There is obviously something in between features and so we leave it to the customers to decide. Of course we provide consultation/ guidance to them to decide the best instrument to solve their measuring problem.
Q. How has the reaction been in India with respect to your value instruments and in particular for the oscilloscopes?
A. Unlike other manufacturers ,we will not say that it has been very exciting but it has far exceeded our expectations. In R&S we always believe in pushing limits. If you look into the oscilloscope market, it is always been a very competitive market unlike the RF /microwave premium instruments market. Despite this, we have been able to achieve our internal targets and are on the right trajectory to achieve double digit market share by next BY.
Q. How is the decreasing value of rupee affecting the global strategy?
A. It is an issue and that is for sure but I would not go that far to say that it is affecting the global strategy.
Q. How would the new manufacturing policies unveiled by the Indian government beneficial for the companies to shifting a part of their plants to India?
A. With the current market size that we have in test and measurement, I don’t think there is any discussion at this end at R&S Hqs in Munich. One has to also look at many other aspects as well like the integration of work force between the R&D head quarters and the local manufacturing set-up in a different country. This is a more tougher job when we are doing technology work.