The below interview of Hrishikesh Kamat was published on Swie.io blog. Swie is a next generation platform for agile electronics manufacturing.
Building products, great products is never easy. Doing so as an outsourced is even more complicated. Juggling with the customer requirements, technical feasibility, manufacturing readiness is sometimes more of an art than an exact science. To tell us more about this, we’ve invited Hrishikesh Kamat for our third episode of the “Tracing the Routes” interview series.Hrishikesh is the CEO of Shalaka Technologies, one of the best Indian Product Development companies . He also manages IoT Adda a news portal about the electronics industry.
You can read the previous “Tracing the Routes” episode here.
Radu: Hi Hrishikesh! Please tell us more about yourself.
Hrishikesh: I am from the Electronics Engineering background, with passion for developing technology especially in the field of Connected Devices, Robotics and Automation. With the same passion I have set on the entrepreneurial journey of developing products and working on technologies to make life more connected and integrated. I believe in the philosophy that technological empowerment can help every individual be productive and improve performance levels in every field. Apart for this, I am a Chess and Football enthusiast, musician and love trekking in the mountains.
R: Do you remember the first product that you worked from idea all the way to execution? Tell us more about it.
H: Rapid prototyping and designing faster MVPs help get closer to the end product goal and achieve faster go to market times. Our flagship product is aimed towards the same. “ReMoNet” which stands for Remote Monitoring Network is aiming towards rapid customization of IoT aimed products. It all began with the need to monitor data centers for parameters like temperature, humidity and power and sending alerts/reports over GSM. Customers started enquiring for different sensors like Motion detection, smoke, Ambient light etc. and reporting over WiFi/Ethernet etc. This led to the idea of developing a customized motherboard that can adapt to different use cases by being compatible with variety of sensors and sending data over different communication technologies. The idea was to prepare a family for different use cases. Currently with this concept at heart we have worked on over 50 use cases across variety of industries. The journey has always kept us on our toes as we need to be dedicated towards bringing in more and more technologies under our umbrella. With IoT becoming more and more popular, tackling battery management challenges is always FUN. Positivity and being attracted by technologies is what has always kept us going
R: What trends have you seen in Product development throughout your experience? Are there any “hot” verticals?
H: Hottest verticals I must say are concepts of Home Automation and Industrial Internet of Things [Industrie 4.0], especially roadmap towards Connected Factories. Product development or Research in the same field is always challenging. IoT Product Evangelists always need to know that, product development in these verticals are expensive, time consuming and highly experimental in many cases. With all hype being built and DIYs making it look like a child’s play, product development has become more challenging on non-technical fronts.
Trends are now aiming in integration of hardware with cloud, AI and machine learning. Soon one would be having a house that would predict humans behavior or factories predicting machine downtime!
R: You currently run a Product Development company. What are, in your opinion the advantages and challenges that a company which wishes to use an outsourced design team faces?
H: Product development is always challenging. One needs to know how much features to include. It so happens that as development goes ahead, new technological elements are introduced and product companies are lured by what Entrepreneurs call “ Shiny Objects”. Bringing that one extra things is always dangerous if unplanned. Advantages of outsourced designing helps experts plan these functions and prevent the one more feature challenge. Experienced product design companies reduce risks in terms of delayed go to markets as experience reduces choice of wrong technologies for products. Foresight of product development is better due to years of experience in this niche area
R: Please tell us more about the Hardware ecosystem in India. I know India has a lot of excellent Electrical Engineering schools. How is that impacting the industry?
H: India has always been a Service oriented IT industry. IT and Mechanical industries has always dominated the masses and electronics being more and more imported from China, Taiwan and other Electronics manufacturing hubs. Since past 20 years, India has played a key role in revolutionizing the IT industry. Now the country is moving on its pathway towards manufacturing and innovation. India has always been an educational hub for many verticals. The challenge has always been preventing brain drain from India to the west. Now with innovation and manufacturing being forefront on political roadmaps the scenes are changing.
R: From your experience which is the #1 challenge a hardware development team has to face?
H: Understanding that hardware faults usually have weeks of rectification time. When coding, usually code editing is faster, simpler and easier to find bugs. Software development can be modularized easier as one case test codes from line #1. In case of Hardware design, one error might be as simple as changing value of a resistor or as critical as redesigning a PCB. This is what has deterred most companies from taking hardware product development roadmaps
R: How early in the cycle is manufacturability being considered? Is that an issue? How often do manufacturability issues delay the delivery of products? Why isn’t manufacturability being considered earlier?
H: Quicker manufacturing and assembly of prototypes is always been challenging. Nowadays some companies have been able to bring down this time to 5-7 days considering all factors of manufacturing time, assembly time and availability of components. Manufacturability of a product is always the key, as not only are these factors important during design phase but during mass manufacturing stage as well.
R: What final piece of advice you would give to somebody who is considering outsourcing the product development?
H:Get the right partner. Outsourcing a product development is actually bringing in an additional expert team. Both companies must work together with each bringing vision and technological expertise on the table, only then is the product nurtured and sold.