NI seeks to nurture engineering innovation and entrepreneurship by providing easy and affordable access to its software and hardware tools.
In technology adoption space, a couple of trends are quite visible. First, technology companies are pushing for cloud adoption instead of on-premise deployment of a solution. Second, there is huge focus on a platform-based approach in which a technology firm provides platform-as-a-service.
Recently, US-based National Instruments (NI), which operates in the measurement and automation space, and makes automated test equipment and virtual instrumentation software, launched its business incubator programme in India. The company also announced the expansion of its R&D centre here.
Scott Rust, senior vice-president of Global R&D at National Instrument told FE: “Both these initiatives are aimed at catalysing the existing startup ecosystem in India and ensuring the access to the top talent in India for National Instruments.
They also aim to support the government’s ‘Make in India’ programme and enable Indian engineers to become global knowledge partners in driving innovation and development across industries and domains.” He added that the expansion of the India R&D centre will ensure that NI has access to the top talent instrumental in building a platform that meets the needs of engineers and scientists today.
National Instruments’ LabVIEW is a system-design platform software for visual programming language. It is used for a wide variety of applications and industries for different type of test, measurement, or control application. Mostly it is preferred by engineers and scientists because it enables them to use different tools in a single environment, ensuring that compatibility is as simple as drawing wires between functions. The platform works similar for engineers and scientists to what Android or iOS does for smartphone makers—it gives them a ready-made, low-cost and customisable operating system for creating high-tech devices and tools.
For instance, if you are a young startup, have some big idea around your
domain expertise but do not know the programming and hardware designing, you can use LabVIEW software to create an application just as faster or higher as a team of mechanical hardware or software engineers. Rust said, “We strongly believe that we can help the Indian startup ecosystem overcome technological hurdles and succeed faster.
Our platform provides the fastest way for engineers and scientist to access new technology and accelerate productivity, innovation, and discovery. By providing access to NI’s platform and technologies, we are investing in future innovators and contributing towards sustainable development in all markets that we serve, including India.”
Through NI India’s business incubator programme, the company will provide increased access to its technology, technical training and support to shared local communities like domestic SMEs, academic incubation centres and startups. “For Make in India to succeed and sustain, manufacturing in India should bring more benefits to the table than just cost of labour. Companies can differentiate themselves by adopting smart technologies to reduce defects and improve quality,” says Jayaram Pillai, MD, NI India.
To extend its reach and maximise the impact of the business incubator programme, NI India is partnering with mission-aligned local organisations, as well as experienced technology and business consultants, to provide support and assistance to the applicants. It is also aligning with the flagship initiative of the government—Startup India.
On the question of startups culture in India which primarily seems to be driven around e-commerce, Pillai said, “There are startups, mostly app builders, who might be interested in short term goals but there are also a lot of hardcore good engineering startups about whom we don’t hear often, but they work on cutting edge technology with lasting impact on the society.”
He gave an example of creation of a rapid milk chiller, which is now being deployed in Maharashtra, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu to eliminate wastage of milk due to non-availability of refrigeration units and an uninterrupted power supply. “The rapid milk chiller uses a combination of software and reconfigurable hardware from NI to eliminate much of the waste, drive up nutritional standards and improve the livelihoods of rural dairy farmers,” Pillai said.