The Indian Test and Measurement Industry Landscape

Sudeshna Das is director at ComConnect Consulting

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Growth of the T&M industry goes hand in hand with the growth of the electronics industry in India.

Accurate testing and measurement (T&M) is critical in electronics system design and manufacturing (ESDM) to ensure product quality. T&M systems play a pivotal role in ratifying the performance of a wide range of electronic products. Increased product complexity has spurred a growing demand for precision testing at every stage of the product life cycle, starting from product design and development, to production testing, pre- and post-market testing, as well as support. Thus, growth of the T&M industry goes hand in hand with the growth of the electronics industry in the country.

Market opportunities

India is emerging as the forerunner in the next era of technological innovations. The Indian ESDM sector has witnessed steady growth in recent years along with a shift in focus from pure play systems or product designs to include areas such as product development, original design manufacturing (ODM) and so on. Therefore a huge business opportunity is brewing for the T&M industry in India.

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High growth in the T&M equipment market in India is due to a number of reasons. These include technological developments, expanding end-user applications and growing need to validate the performance of equipment. Other factors driving growth in the T&M domain are stringent quality, safety and environmental standards for manufacturing, maintenance and use of equipment. Moreover, proper implementation of government initiatives, like Make in India, 100 Smart Cities, Digital India and the defence manufacturing push, open up new opportunities for T&M industry players.

According to the industry experts who participated in the survey, the current Indian market size for T&M equipment used in the ESDM industry is worth approximately US$ 150 to US$ 200 million. However, the market presents a much bigger opportunity. Frost & Sullivan, a market research firm, forecasts that the Indian market for general-purpose electronic T&M instruments will touch US$ 300 million by 2022 (Fig. 1).

Market size and forecast of T&M products in India (Credit: Frost & Sullivan Analysis)
Fig. 1: Market size and forecast of T&M products in India (Credit: Frost & Sullivan Analysis)

Market drivers

The Indian T&M market is driven by both global and domestic demand. Growth in this market is a result of the growth registered by key end-user segments like automotive, aerospace and defence, electronics design and more. Defence and other government verticals have been instrumental in driving the growth of this sector. Our experts forecast automotive, aerospace and defence as well as electronics design as the major demand-generating application sectors (Fig. 2).

Forecast on major demand-generating application sectors in India for T&M market
Fig. 2: Forecast on major demand-generating application sectors in India for T&M market

The trend of automotive companies switching to automated testing is also driving up the demand for T&M equipment. Moreover, increasing electronic content in the vehicles for infotainment, connectivity and safety purposes, along with growing acceptance of green mobility (through e-vehicles) will also fuel the growth of the T&M sector. Besides, an increase in R&D activities across the electronics industry value chain is expected to further drive up demand. Considering the strong government push to make in India in the aerospace and defence electronics sector, the experts mentioned the bright future of the domestic defence manufacturing ecosystem and related opportunities for T&M.

India has vast potential in telecommunications and mobile manufacturing, too. With Make in India initiative creating a wave of optimism and opportunities, mobile manufacturing is set to gain further momentum. Therefore experts are looking forward to the burgeoning opportunities in mobile handset manufacturing and allied verticals, like mobile services, cable TV and broadcasting.

Aforementioned government initiatives are likely to boost the power and communications sectors in India and eventually contribute to the growth of the T&M industry.

Demand for electricity across India has been growing at a rapid rate and is expected to grow further in the years to come. Consequently, power generation, transmission and distribution companies will have to invest in reliable, accurate and efficient equipment to protect their assets from failure. Therefore growth prospects of T&M equipment related to the industrial electronics sector are quite promising.

India is an emerging solar hub of the world, considering the kind of capacities that are coming up, with nearly 100GW of solar power to be added in the next five years. Solar power, again, may be a very important market for T&M products.

Besides demand-generating application sectors, the T&M market will be driven by some special trends as given below.

Support for predictive maintenance

Increasing awareness about predictive maintenance among manufacturers in India is driving the growth of the T&M industry.

Equipment with unique features

Demand from customers to address complex process issues is pushing T&M companies to innovate continuously. This has resulted in the development of high-end devices with unique features.

Multi-functional and multi-domain testing

Multi-functional testing kits are the latest trend among decision makers of maintenance departments. Instead of having many different testing kits for individual applications, engineers have realised the benefits of using one kit with multi-functional testing capabilities. Such tools serve multi-domain applications as well.

Smart testing for smart devices

For testing managers and engineers, the challenge is to ensure quality at increasingly lower costs. To test their smart devices, organisations are transitioning from the status quo of rack-and-stack box instruments and closed turnkey ATE systems to smarter test systems that deliver connectivity and problem-solving capabilities.

Customised equipment

The current focus on customised test equipment is driving the overall market, as most of the low-end T&M equipment are now available with control options.

Quality ensures long-term success

According to a majority of experts, customers are willing to spend the extra penny for good quality. However, the definition of quality can be subjective and is often determined by the customer’s unique perspective. Nevertheless, experts on the panel for this report believe that objective standards of quality lead to quantifiable benchmarks, as every customer segment wants its systems to function properly and reliably on a consistent basis.

Emerging trends

The need for a connected and safer world leveraging advancements in the Internet of Things (IoT), machine-to-machine (M2M) interaction, 5G and millimetre are the new technological trends that will lead to the growth of the T&M industry worldwide and in India, too.

Proliferation of smart devices has begun to influence the design and use of T&M equipment. Each smart product must go through a specific set of processes to ensure its usability and functionality for the intended purpose. Behind each of these steps are design, manufacturing and testing procedures. T&M technologies are going to evolve accordingly.  There is need for embedded/portable T&M solutions, IoT test solutions with remote troubleshooting capabilities and solutions that can support the latest interfaces and protocols.

It is certain that time-to-market for new devices will continue to tighten, and maintaining high quality will continue to drive additional complexity in these devices. However, all this will be invisible to users. Test techniques and solutions will continue to evolve to ensure that smart device developers and manufacturers can reduce time-to-market and ramp quickly to high-volume manufacturing of quality products.

Connected lifestyles, higher use of data and lower cost of smartphones are some trends in the telecom market. Need for high-speed connectivity will lead to increasing network capacity. Operators are using new technologies like MIMO, VoLTE, LTE-Advanced and LTE Carrier Aggregation to improve spectrum efficiency and customer experience with high data speeds. 4G roll out and 5G-related R&D in telecom create additional opportunities for the T&M industry.

Compared to previous generations of mobile networks, 5G presents many new design and test challenges. While the technologies that will constitute 5G are still being worked on, ITU-R has identified three main usage scenarios for 5G. These are enhanced mobile broadband with up to 20Gbps peak data rate, massive machine-type communications, and ultra-reliable and low latency communications.

To meet the requirements for this next generation of mobile communications, researchers are looking to a wide range of enabling technologies in RF, microwave and millimetre-wave frequencies, ranging from advanced waveforms and multiple access schemes to multiple antenna techniques like massive MIMO and beamforming. Being the first and the best in 5G depends on tools that let you explore new signals, scenarios and topologies.

Automation powered by M2M interaction is the new technology trend in the power sector and, hence, demand. Accordingly, new technological advancements like data logging DMMs and auto power calculating power clamp meters will experience good growth. Online transmission line monitoring systems, compact Tan-delta testing machines, automatic breaker testing machines and discrete monitoring of power loss at each feeder by discom are some areas of application.

With respect to user experience, touchscreen technologies will revolutionise the T&M environment. A combination of the right hardware with a design for touch user interface (UI) will enable us to use equipment easily and efficiently. Touch UIs are crucial for creating an effective and usable touchscreen environment. It is not enough to simply add a touchscreen to an existing UI. New age T&M equipment needs to be able to identify, isolate and analyse a system under test as quickly and efficiently as possible. Having an effective touchscreen on the instrument can reduce the time it takes to configure the system and to analyse signals. Thus, instruments with better GUIs provide ease of operation and automated testing capabilities, which increase productivity.

 

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