R&D and design play a crucial role in electronics manufacturing. It is through years and months of research that products and technologies best suited for consumers are conceptualised, tested and created in these labs. However, given the present lockdown circumstances, going to labs has become a big challenge. And if the labs do not operate, the possibility of developing new products cease to exist.
Mentioning best tips and practices on how to run R&D and design centres despite lockdown, a panel moderated by Divyanshu Verma, senior manager, Software Development at Intel Corporation discussed the possibilities. Organised by EFY Group at the India Technology Week event, this panel threw light on almost every aspect of R&D and Design centers.
The panel inclusive of industry veterans like K Gururaja, AVP, Design & Development, Evolute Group; Sanjay Gupta, VP and India Country Manager, NXP Semiconductors; Dr. Aloknath De, corporate VP and CTO, Samsung Electronics, R&D debunked a myth that has been existing from a very long time – Is it necessary to be present at R&D labs to continue design and research work, especially amid Coronavirus lockdown?
Challenges and Questions that R&D and Design teams face in the present circumstances
1. Covid is here to stay. Should we fear and let our work hamper?
2. Full work forces might not be allowed to work from facilities together.
3. It is crucial to make sure design and research work stays safe while working from home.
4. Hardware testing is an essential element and going to labs is difficult.
5. Everyone might not feel equally encouraged to work from home.
6. What if the testing equipment is not available at home?
7. What are the skills that R&D and design teams should focus on?
8. Would there be a shift in technologies being used? Will new technologies come up?
9. What would happen to jobs in R&D and design?
Answers and tips to get the R&D and Design ball rolling
1. If you have not started work from home yet then start by doing a mock drill. Have everyone from the team login from home and do work they like the most on weekends
2. Try to setup office at home. It will help in concentrating.
3. Don’t hesitate in asking for government help for transporting essential equipment required for working from home.
4. If possible make a covid task force or panel at your company. This panel needs to review safety as well as work procedure for WFH.
5. If hardware testing is not possible through internet, focus on other areas of priority.
6. Engage R&D and design teams by oranizing hackathons and design challenges.
7. Encourage team mates to come up with new ideas from the comfort form their home.
8. Celebrate birthdays and occassions virtually.
9. Create virtual games that help team mates bond.
10. Help team mates reskill and learn new technology.
New areas of opportunities
1. Contact and touchless technology along with devices will be in great demand, research and work around these.
2. Focus on researching and designing products that serve all segments of the society in these tough times.
3. Industrial automation will now be adopted faster, prepare skills and capabilities for the same.
4. Automation and IoT might become the most important technologies, develop products around them.
5. Technologies like AI, ML and IoT will be seen with long-term approach.
6. New verticals will create new jobs resulting into new opportunities.
Use Covid 19 to your advantage
1. You do not need to travel. Use the extra time to improve focus.
2. Speed of project execution can improve as engineers can dedicate more hours from home.
3. Geographical borders have been broken. Work with teams across different geographies.
Will jobs in R&D and Design be hampered
1. New technologies will create a boom in new job openings. Some old jobs might get outdated. Improve skills and be ready for the change.
2. Automation is going to be adopted more and more. Learn to play a role in automation of things.
3. Faster adoption and demand of contact less devices and technologies will create new jobs. Research and develop more around these technologies.
4. We are on the crisp of creating a new industry. This industry will have automation technologies to its core. Start skilling yourself for the same.
Skills to focus on
1. Artificial Intelligence
2. Machine learning
3. Remote working and capabilities
4. IoT based solutions
5. Automation technology
6. Industrial digitization
7. Manufacturing technology
8. Every technology around going contact less
9. Technologies that make R&D and design secure