Bullish on the recently opened NEC Lab in Mumbai, NEC Technologies is aiming to establish itself in the public transportation and logistics space. In an exclusive interaction with CRN India, Takayuki Inaba, MD, NEC Technologies India, shares more details
What is the potential of India in terms of market opportunity and how is NEC Technologies India leveraging it?
NEC Technologies has a large enterprise presence in India and is actively looking at the smart city initiative by the government. We have made a few inroads in this space through our smart mobility transportation in India, starting with Pune where we provided the Intelligent Transportation Solutions to the city’s BRT (Bus Rapid Transport) project followed by similar projects in Ahmedabad and Surat. We also see individual contracts coming from many municipal bodies to modernize their transport infrastructure. We are also exploring metro projects through our solutions such as automatic fare collection system.
We also have a large public safety practice, which essentially has a suite of solutions on facial recognition, such as crowd behavior analysis, crowd detection, and biometric authentication. For the Aadhaar program we provide a large-scale biometrics identification system that utilizes fingerprints, face images, and iris images.
The DMICDC Logistics Data Services (DLDS), a joint venture between the Government of India, represented by NICDIT, and NEC Corporation is the first logistics visualization project in India. Currently through DLDS, we track 8 million containers across the 1500 km stretch between Delhi and Mumbai. In terms of reduction of lead time and inventory, our solutions has enabled in reducing the wait time by 10 per cent and has also enabled users to get a complete visibility on the current location of their containers.
Apart from smart city projects, how are you aligning to the government’s digitization drive?
In our portfolio when we say smart city solutions, we look at the entire stack of solutions, be it document management system or digitization system. Apart from these, we also offer solutions related to digitizing land records, collection of GIS data points, providing map info on how the property has evolved over time and so on. As we continue to focus more on public safety, government’s digital initiatives and smart transportation, we are launching a lab in India, which will play a key role in developing solutions in these areas not only for India but for the world.
Can you elaborate more on the NEC lab in India?
The NEC Lab in Mumbai will be the sixth global R&D centre under NEC after Japan, US, Germany, China and Singapore. Our mission is to work on a joint R&D with academia, customers, partners and the government to create an innovative solution that addresses social challenges in India and other emerging countries.
We are going to start with two areas: public transportation and logistics. Through our presence in the BRT space we collect data from the bus operators and passengers, while the DMICDC project enables us to track around 70 per cent of containers passing through India, which is obviously lots of data. Our lab will leverage AI and data analytics to crunch this data to reveal new insights.
From an organisational structure, this new lab will be a setup under NEC Technologies India and will work very closely with our Centre of Excellence (CoE). NEC Labs first develops technology, creates solution concept and then verifies that concept through CoE.
Another reason for us to setup this lab in India is the growing market opportunity and the talent it provides especially in IT. NEC is one of the few companies that recruited from IIT Bombay on day one of campus placements. We have hired 30 IIT graduates in NEC Lab Japan since 2012 and they have been making major contributions in R&D. Now, we are setting up in Mumbai, we plan to hire more from the IITs and other institutes in the area of AI.
Initially the headcount for NEC Lab India and CoE combined would be more than a 100, comprising of five pure researchers with the rest being developers. We intend to increase the size by 300. By 2020, the Indian lab will become the second largest after Japan.
Will the India lab work closely with other five labs?
The India lab will work closely with the other labs in terms of bringing core, new technologies, any new findings or research. They will synchronise with each other because we want to bring in the best practices globally. We would like to extend our solutions to sectors such as payments, healthcare, education and these too will be our mission for the NEC Lab in India.
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