Equipped with new-age technology, design and tech service provider Tata Elxsi is helping customers reimagine products and services in the three key verticals of transportation, media and telecom, and healthcare, says the company’s Chief Marketing Officer Nitin Pai. The result is product engineering services to help customers transform their products, and our own platforms such as AUTONOMAI for driverless cars, TETHER for connected cars and TE Play for OTT services, Pai, who is also Tata Elxsi’s chief strategy officer, told PTI in an interview.
Stressing on the success of Tata Elxsi products and initiatives that fuse domain, digital and design to deliver powerful use cases, he said TETHER Auto, for instance, has been adopted by Tata Motors and is powering connectivity and data-led services for almost 500,000 on-road vehicles across their range of electric, passenger and commercial vehicles.
Pai said most of the company’s cloud-first digital platforms have been developed leveraging cloud infra and Amazon Web Services (AWS), which has enabled Tata Elxsi bring all compute-intensive development and R&D projects to a cloud infrastructure.
Excerpts from the interview:
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Q: As a provider of cutting-edge design and technology services, how does Tata Elxsi set itself apart from other players in the market?
A: Electronics, software and digital technologies can transform how products and services are designed, deployed and experienced by customers.
However, this requires deep domain experience, digital capabilities, and design thinking that can bring it all together and help deliver a memorable experience for consumers.
We bring 30 years of experience in sophisticated product and software engineering. With an award-winning design team, we help customers reimagine their products and services in three key verticals – transportation, media and telecom, and healthcare.
We have invested for over 20 years along four dimensions – people, processes, products and partnerships – to help our customers deliver differentiated consumer experiences and services.
Our ‘Design Digital’ proposition, which brings together domain, design, and digital, coupled with differentiated delivery capability and ownership, positions us uniquely with customers for catering to their strategic transformation and customer experience priorities.
Q: How are you harnessing technology and digital advances to drive your offerings?
A: We are focused on working with customers in application areas that are expected to experience sustained growth, driven by broad and long-term trends in digital technology. These trends require enablers – autonomous systems, robotics, securely-connected machines and personal devices, digitalisation and electrification of automobiles and infrastructure, advanced communications equipment and networks and connected healthcare platforms.
We invested early in Centers of Excellence (CoE) for digital technologies such as AI (artificial intelligence), robotics, AR/VR (augmented reality/virtual reality), Internet of Things (IoT) and augmented reality. Some of these investments were made 20 years earlier.
To help our clients experience and adopt digital technologies faster, we have also invested in developing products and platforms in each of our key industry verticals.
These bring together domain, digital, and design to deliver powerful use-cases – be it complete platforms such as AUTONOMAI for driverless cars, TETHER IoT for Connected Cars, TE Play for OTT, or iCX – an automation and insights solutions for Telco operations and customer care.
We have also been actively building partnerships and alliances with leading technology providers globally to reduce time-to-market and risk, and enhance value for our customers. Our joint go-to-market initiatives with these partners are helping us speedily bring market-aligned solutions to our customers.
Q: In addition to the automotive industry, what are the other large verticals that are driving growth for Tata Elxsi?
A: Besides automotive, we are deeply vested in the healthcare, media and communication, and rail markets.
In the automotive space, we cover the whole gamut of electric, connected, autonomous and software-defined vehicles.
We are working with new-age OEM (original equipment manufacturers) in their next-generation software defined architecture.
This is an all-new EV architecture that goes beyond EV powertrain, associated systems and battery pack to address connected and autonomous features using high-compute processors, cloud and edge processing, coupled with advanced cyber-security and over-the-air software updates.
In the autonomous driving space, we have developed an advanced autonomous vehicle prototype for a customer that uses a whole array of sensors and AUTONOMAI, our autonomous driving platform. This prototype is currently undergoing road trials in Europe.
For connected cars, we have developed TETHER Auto – a cloud-native, hyper-scale IoT (Internet of Things) platform that integrates OEMs with their eco-system partners to provide data aggregation, and governance and enable agile digital services as a connected vehicle platform.
This has been adopted by Tata Motors and is today powering connectivity and data-led services with over 40-plus connected vehicle features for almost 500,000 vehicles on-road, across their range of Electric, Passenger and Commercial vehicles.
We are close to launch for a leading European OEM for their portfolio of electric passenger cars.
Q: How do you see global demand for your services in these high-growth verticals over the next one-two years?
A: The transformation journeys for our customers have just begun, as they leverage electronics, software and digital technologies in their products, services and business models.
We see strong and sustained demand for the capabilities, scale and competitiveness we bring to their product engineering.
Q: Can you explain the major technologies used by you for your infrastructure needs?
A: We were traditionally on-prem for most of our internal needs of compute and storage.
We have now pivoted to a cloud infrastructure, be it ERP (enterprise resource planning) collaboration and communication, or storage.
Most importantly, we do a great amount of work for digital technologies utilising public cloud infrastructure, which is far more accessible, cost-effective and on-demand considering the distributed and hybrid workforce and work environment.
We use and deploy a lot more of cloud enabled infra and services in the course of our projects and work with customers – whether high-end simulation and ‘digital twins’, media processing and content management for media, or IoT data lakes for connected cars among others.
Q: How have cloud technology and AWS enabled you to do better?
A: As we enhance value for our customers through our products and platforms, we also see an opportunity to create sustained annuity revenues through SAAS (software as a service)
We have been working with Amazon Web Services for some years now.
Most of our cloud-first digital platforms have been developed leveraging cloud infra and AWS – something that would have either not been possible at all or ended up very expensive had we tried any other route.
AWS also offers powerful accelerators and components that can be leveraged to improve performance and availability of the overall solution.
For example, TETHER has been conceived to a cloud-native digital IoT platform.
Before this, we had on-board storage of vehicle data that would be downloaded periodically by specific devices at a dealer or workshop. Now connectivity and cloud allow real-time and two-way data communication with the vehicle, along with monitoring and control.
There are other important benefits of ensuring compliance and cybersecurity, which would just not be possible by ourselves alone.
For example, iCX, our remote device monitoring and management solution, is deployed by leading telecom and PayTV operators across multiple countries in Europe. This requires GDPR (general data protection regulation) compliance of data gathered, and the highest levels of security.
We simply leaned on AWS to create instances in each country and assure customers of availability, latency and security.
Further, AWS has enabled Tata Elxsi to bring all the compute intensive development and R&D projects to a cloud infrastructure. This includes projects such as autonomous vehicle data training and analysis, building a robust and scalable connected vehicle platform that allows provisioning the new launch of a car without any hassle and enabling monitoring and tracking of the vehicle across its lifecycle from the factory release to the end-user network.
Through subscription-based purchases, OEMs can launch a product and then sell value-added futuristic features rather than waiting to launch a new vehicle model to provide future solutions.
Such a software defined vehicle enabling subscription mechanism through ‘Over-The-Air’ upgrade requires a robust, scalable, and secure cloud infrastructure, which AWS provides. AWS has enabled Tata Elxsi to be recognised as a differentiated cloud consultant and engineering service partner in the ecosystem.