Finbarr Moynihan, General Manager, Corporate Sales International, MediaTek

On your current activities in India

Actually, a lot is happening in the market for us. If you see, what is on offer to the rest of the world is good for India too.

Recently, we introduced the Helio P23 and Helio P30 SoCs which are set to redefine mobile efficiency, in terms of the way you photograph, power usage, connectivity, and performance of a dual-SIM 4G phone.

In June we added another facility to the existent one in Bengaluru, to enhance our R&D, sales, and marketing capabilities in India. The second Bengaluru office was opened soon after that in Mumbai. All in all, these facilities cater to the ever-growing demands of the market, along with providing opportunities for engineers, software and customer care professionals. The same month we launched the MT5597 ultra HD TV SoC supporting Dolby Vision and Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) to transform TV viewing experiences with breakthrough brightness, contrast, and color.

In May, MediaTek launched the full-featured MT8516 chipset to enable voice assistant devices (VADs) and smart speakers, including Google Assistant. The SoC also has built-in support for Android things, Google's Internet of Things (IoT) initiative based on Android.

At the World Mobile Conference in Barcelona, we had announced the availability of Helio X30 chipset for high-end smartphones. The SoC brings together MediaTek's 10-core, tri-cluster architecture on our first 10-nm chipset – the most advanced fabrication technology in the market – to deliver more than 50 percent power savings and a 35 percent performance enhancement over all our previous-generation chipset.

At the MWC again, we announced the MediaTek–Nokia partnership, the aim of which is to roll out a 5G-ready network from Nokia combined with a 5G SoC from MediaTek to bring new devices to the market faster, and usher in the next wave of mobile innovation made possible by 5G.

So you see, it has been quite a busy time for MediaTek, as much as in the world as in India too. Most of these introductions and launches have contributions from the Indian R&D centers as much as elsewhere in the world too. At MediaTek, there is always a buzz around innovation and upcoming new products.

On your plans in India over the next couple of years

As ones to show the path to fabless chipset makers in India we have been at an advantageous position to not just provide solutions to Indian mobile manufacturing companies but also to industry verticals. We opened a facility in Mumbai and a second one in Bengaluru in quick succession because we felt a constant growing need to expand our presence in the market. Since lots of R&D inputs from India link up with our global innovation efforts, we have high-growth aspirations here, and the two recent facilities give us the added ability to cater to the ever-growing demands of the market. On the other hand, the facilities have been set up as opportunity hubs for engineers, software and customer care professionals here.

The Bengaluru facility in particular will help to further grow MediaTek India's business in emerging smartphone technology and other key technology sectors such as 5G and automotive.

We are also looking at collaborating with the Indian government in building strong research capabilities in the national landscape so as to enhance MediaTek's role in the government's Smart City, Startup India, and Digital India projects. In fact the new MediaTek facilities demonstrate our confidence in India's growth-infused economy as a key center of global innovation. MediaTek is about making great technology available to everyone. India is a shining example of how connecting billions of people and devices can help enhance how we all live, work, or play.

MediaTek has recently announced its support for Google Assistant and Android Things. Please comment.

The all-new MT8516 chipset is a fine example of MediaTek's expertise is making connected devices smarter, smaller, and more power efficient without sacrificing performance.

The chipset has been designed to enable VADs and smart speakers including the Google Assistant; it also comes with Android things pre-certified system on modules (SOMs). This dedicated Android support will help expand the market for voice-based intelligent devices, relevant in these times when smart home products are growing in popularity. The added highlights of the chipset are interfaces for eight-channel TDM and two-channel PDM inputs for microphone voice input and connected audio products. Supporting this is the ability of MT8516 to have a flexible memory support to accommodate diverse platform needs.

All in all a great experience in delivering a smart-home user experience with high-quality interaction between voice command devices and IoT products. Indeed, IoT is what the market is keenly looking out for in terms of growth now.

On opportunities and challenges in India

IoT is here and to stay, set to be the next mega trend in our lives. Everything, from your health report to exercise routine and blood pressure analyses, to adjusting the AC temperature at home, or opening the front door to your residence via your cell phone, are set to transform our lives.

We have already ushered in connected devices that transmit information across the relevant networks – relying greatly on integrated microchip designs such as low-power functions; we were SoC-based devices, with provision for optimal power and connectivity features as well as with sensor integration, more to go before chips can optimally deliver; and, there is also the arrival of an array of MEMS-based sensors being developed for IoT applications which go beyond motion and image sensing, and include measures such as humidity, altitude, food calorie composition, and human health. We are steadily moving toward what I call M.AI.HF or miniaturization, artificial intelligence, and high frequency. Understandably, the opportunities within the semiconductor industry are immense, anywhere and in India too, since technology transgresses borders too rapidly.

Of course one critical wait we have in the Indian technology environment is for the market to have its own fab manufacturing unit. Some of the impediments are -- huge investments involved; semiconductor fabrication's dependency on volume production; requirement of cheap but skilled labor or optimal automation not conducive to a labor-intensive market such as India; guideline driven processes to dispose hazardous waste; and, requirement of seamless infrastructural inputs. Nonetheless, the government and private players have been bullish in their attempts to set up semiconductor fabrication units in the market.

As far as IoT devices are concerned, design engineers are faced with challenges related to issues such as mixed signal, low power, 3D-IC, and system-in-package (SIP). There is the issue of standards governing the IoT to consider too, as their lack can impact innovation as resources would need to be allocated to tackle compliance requirements. Added to this is the cost fact that is still not tenable. To mitigate this, dependency on third-party intellectual property and services is unavoidable thus risking re-use, another anti-innovation effect.

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