Digitisation driving opportunities for us in India: Rajiv Kapur, MD, Broadcom India

Written by P P Thimmaya | Updated: Sep 22 2014, 08:25am hrs
Electronics has become the key driver for a country like

India, be it in the area of mobile phones, tablets, cable television etc and is leading to higher consumption. Broadcom, the fabless semiconductor company, has been making deep inroads in the country especially in the area of pay TV with technology solutions for set top boxes that are suited for Indian conditions. Rajiv Kapur, managing director, Broadcom India says that they are deeply embedded with newer technology requirements for the country driven through innovation, in an interview with PP Thimmaya. Excerpts:

How would one define Broadcom as a semiconductor company

Broadcom is an extremely diverse company. We are driving a wide variety of video technologies to homes. Any kind of networking one could think of, we are participating with high focus. There is a lot of mobile connectivity technologies like GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and we are right there. Broadcom is an innovative and inventive company. Set top boxes (STB) is one of the large focus areas for the company and we are number one on the side of silicon solutions. India is a large and important market for us. We have been very active in the country for close to a decade now and also have a large R&D centre. Four years ago, we started bringing our roadshows to India primarily targeted at our customers who are the pay TV operators, showcasing them our latest technologies. So it is a little bit of misnomer that we are a chip company, because a lot of that we do is actually software on top of these chips. We invest a lot on the non-silicon side.

How does Broadcom see the India market

India is a very exciting market. It is one of the most noticeable emerging countries and electronics usually is the growth driver of this emergence. Secondly from a consumer angle, when India emerges into a larger middle class, the growth will be very attractive to us as a company. The initiatives of the new government of connecting every village with broadband, digitisation of analog cable TV are driving a lot of opportunities. We see India as a early local domestic chip buying market. We are there as a chip company ready to succeed in India through prices, technologies and support.

What progress has Broadcom made in the area of set top box (STB)

In the set top box segment, one has to recognise Indias

diversity both in terms of financial affordability and geographic. There is no one size fits all solution. We have invested very heavily in diversity of solutions that fit into the various sub-markets of India, some of these very unique to the country. There is a very basic low end affordability factor, one cannot ignore while there are others leveraging the technology momentum of the globe. We have either brought in a global solution or created custom solutions for countries like India. We have invested in full software solutions sitting on top of these chips leveraging as much as of the hardware. We will be able to do it much better, even to take it to lowest cost and give a fairly compelling solution to the subscribers. To address these challenges, we took advantage of our localised R&D and threw challenges to our engineers.

Indias cable conditions are uniquely different. We are here to support the Indian market.

We decided that we would make a brand new chip just for India and worked with local operators to specify the requirement. We actually came up with chips for India and we realised that there are at least 15-20 countries that resemble the country so it is

a powerful and compelling solution. The pay TV operators are helping us define new chips.

What new areas will Broadcom be looking at in India

In the area of broadband, we are developing some solutions which can be used to bring these into the individuals home. Historically, we have seen that growth for basic

access of broadband remains very steady but gradually it shoots up very fast. India is very attractive to us and there are some naturally driven

opportunities. We are inventing new architecture and ideas for a set of emerging countries like India and China.

The traditional broadband solutions may work for high number of users but what if the scenario changes and need a different solutions. Today, the question is how do we drive more demand. We need to make use cases of broadband consumption more compelling. We think things like broadband through TV sets is a

compelling proposition.

What are Broadcoms plans in the automotive segment

The automotive segment has just stared adopting ethernet technologies. Broadcom is in the forefront in terms of silicon, setting standards and market adoption. The first ever car to roll out ethernet technology was the BMW X5. We took the universe of ethernet and made it car friendly. There are some unique challenges in the automotive industry: standards of robustness is very high, weight of car is a very sensitive topic. Within these we have to get the benefits of ethernet without putting any limitations on the vehicle.

We do interact with players in India but from a global perspective. India plays an important role of global influencing in the automotive segment. The primary adopters initially of such technologies are the tier one players and they lean on partners, vendors in India. We work with them. Broadcom is also very interested in connectivity side of the mobile Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, NFC all that technologies that go into a mobile phone. Also, we have absolute market share in segments.