In August 1985, American chip maker Texas Instruments set up a research and development (R&D) facility in Bangalore and became the first global technology company to establish its presence in India. Ever since, India has been an integral source of intellectual property for big tech multinationals. The availability of a growing engineering talent pool, a vibrant technology ecosystem and a supportive investment climate in the country have been the key reasons for tech giants to set up their R&D operations here. The current economic situation has not dampened their spirits, and some of the brightest minds running these creative hotspots tell Sudhir Chowdhary & Ankita Rai that they revving up their engines of innovation and value creation from India.
Making computing life simple
Located in India’s Silicon Valley Bangalore, HP Labs India is one of seven HP Labs worldwide. Its goal is to make computing as simple as using a mobile phone, watching a TV or even simply interacting with another human being. HP Labs India director Sudhir Dixit says, “The research explores ways in which IT adoption and internet connectivity can be accelerated through simplified and intuitive computing and natural metaphors of human-device interaction, for example, via speech, gestures, touch, paper and mobile handsets.”
It is estimated that as many as 121 million Indians are logged on to the internet in India, but this is still a relatively small proportion of the country’s 1.2 billion population. Factors such as the lack of a localised value proposition, reliance on paper to conduct transactions, unfamiliarity with a keyboard and mouse, lack of local language content and cost of ownership have deterred Indians in smaller towns from owning a PC and accessing the internet.
HP Labs India research revolves around paper based interaction, simplified web access and interaction, intuitive multi-modal and gestural interaction, technology in education and device, connectivity and cloud services. HP Labs India has achieved significant success in these areas. In 2006, it released Lipi Toolkit, an open source toolkit for online handwriting recognition on Windows as well as Linux. In July 2010, it launched the SiteOnMobile beta, a portal based solution that enables website owners to define tasks on their website and make those tasks easily accessible to their customers.
Dixit says, “In 2012, we announced the VAYU project, a unique project developed to enable rich and intuitive experiences that deliver the value of computing and the internet to non-tech savvy users in