India as a market has become a focus for us over the last one year

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Roop Singh, executive director, ATCS

Data-driven decision making has become an integral part of business strategies for enterprises today. To take advantage of this opportunity, Advanced Technology Consulting Services (ATCS) has been delivering data-driven solutions, using guided analytic capabilities, to leading automotive firms since 2000, and more recently to healthcare companies also. Roop Singh, executive director, ATCS, talks to Paromik Chakraborty of the EFY Group about the firm’s business strategies for Indian industries.

EB: How important is India as a market for ATCS and what are your forecasts?
Currently, around 5 per cent of our global revenue comes from India. Primarily, India is an entity supporting global delivery. We are looking to increase India’s share of our global revenues by 15-20 per cent in the next two to three years. We intend to focus on niche services in the areas of data analytics, digital transformation and connected cars.

EB: ATCS has an R&D unit in Jaipur—what is the level of engineering done there and what are the technologies being explored at this unit?
ATCS is currently involved in many key projects that use emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and connected cars. Jaipur is the key development centre of ATCS Global where we have established a CoE (centre of excellence) for Big Data, artificial intelligence and connected cars. The management intends to invest more in these areas and to respond to failures by coming up with more innovative breakthroughs.

EB: What are the operations being driven by the other Indian ATCS units?
ATCS also operates out of offices in Mumbai and Bengaluru. After three years of operations, Mumbai has become the key office to develop any solution relevant to data engineering and data visualisation. Full stack development is the other focus area of the Mumbai team. It’s among the newest offices of ATCS. We are looking to the Bengaluru office to develop our staff augmentation portfolio due to its proximity to key clients and prospects. Also, it is a key location to source niche area talent to serve all other delivery units.

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EB: Any new units being planned or investments being made in India?
We have recently acquired some land in the Jaipur SEZ, and are starting construction on our major delivery centre that will have the capacity to house over 1000 people. We have also expanded our offices in Bengaluru and Mumbai.

EB: What challenges do you face as a service provider in the Indian ecosystem? How do you plan to overcome them?
India as a market has become a focus for us over the last one year. We strongly believe that there are huge opportunities for us, considering our vast knowledge in the connected cars area.

In terms of challenges, we have so far found clients unwilling to pay for long term solutions; and slow decision making is another bottleneck. We are trying to mitigate these challenges by coming up with prototypes that can showcase some benefits to clients right away and lay the foundation for long term opportunities.

EB: How is ATCS helping India’s automakers drive the Make in India movement?
Although we have nine offices across the globe, all our production is based out of India. ATCS is developing its teams in India to work on the future Smart City projects. The company’s future expansion plans are primarily to develop our market in India. Most of our strategic investments have been made to build more capacity in terms of office space in India. We are looking at government projects and auto OEMs as prospects for the future.

EB: In how many years do you see connected cars becoming the dominating trend— globally and in India?
All major economies have made significant breakthroughs in connected cars technology. Not just luxury automobiles, but even budget car makers are focusing on this technology. The governments are also bracing themselves for this new development by issuing mandatory rules and requirements, such as emergency and breakdown buttons as a part of the on-board diagnostic systems.

India is expected to take a leap in this area with the constantly improving roads and network connectivity. As of now, we can expect to witness major changes in the connected cars industry and its widespread adoption in the next three to five years.

EB: How are auto makers upgrading their equipment to support connected car production, and how much extra opex and capex will this move require?
Connected cars have become an integral part of the IT spending for all the major automotive OEMs. Auto companies are focusing on the right suppliers for telematics hardware, cloud solutions and data partners. They need to ensure their platforms are scalable, secure, upgradable and sustainable. Companies are ready to invest in a telematics strategy, with a long term perspective. I foresee a 15-20 per cent increase in capex and a 10-15 per cent growth in opex, in the near future.

EB: Is India an active R&D base for ADAS?
So far, developed economies like the USA have made substantial progress in ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems) development. For instance, both the European Union and the US are mandating that all vehicles be equipped with autonomous emergency-braking systems and forward-collision warning systems by 2020.

ADAS will help drivers in identifying and resolving major issues such as giving a warning about a vehicle approaching a blind spot, finding parking slots, etc. As of now, India has its own set of challenges such as the need to improve infrastructure for easy identification of parking, network availability in remote locations during emergency situations, the common person’s willingness to follow traffic rules, etc.

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