EB: What drives the growth of T&M market? What is the growth prospect of Indian T&M market in 2010?
Technological development is the key driver for the growth of T&M market. T&M has to be ahead of any innovation to help and support it to happen. Till 2008, before the economic meltdown begun, Indian T&M industry was growing at a rapid pace. Investments were being made in design, R&D and manufacturing of all major consumer verticals like telecom, aerospace, defence, automotive, consumer electronics, contract manufacturing and semiconductor. In 2010 and beyond, the future of T&M in India looks bright as investments from government as well as private players are expected to grow.
EB: Which sectors will drive the growth of T&M in India?
India is an emerging and one of the fastest growing markets in the world. Segments promising growth of T&M in India include telecom, aerospace, defence, R&D and automotive. The telecom sector remained unaffected by the economic slowdown and registered a robust growth during the period. From 4 per cent in 1999, the teledensity in the country has grown to about 40 per cent now. Telecom T&M growth has been mainly fuelled by increasing subscriber base, domestic demand and new technologies like 3G, WiMax and LTE. All these new technologies demand specialised measurement equipment.
The aerospace and defence sector has been largely dependent on the T&M industry for mission-critical testing needs. Recently, India has successfully launched Chandrayan-1 and plans to undertake many such missions in future as well. Therefore, T&M for space segment has attracted a large amount of investment. In the past 8-10 years, almost every big organisation has started R&D in India. These R&D centres too need T&M equipment to develop new designs or technologies. With increased R&D activities in India, growth of T&M is certain. Automotive is another segment that holds a great potential for the T&M industry. In addition, India’s proven strength in semiconductor design is an important driver for T&M growth in the country.
EB: What drives innovation in T&M market?
With the advancement in technology, the parameters for tests also get complex. For example, nano technology products need very high precision measurement, high performance and multi-function equipment. So, we have introduced PNA-X network analyser that offers high speed, accuracy, performance and single connection multiple measurement capabilities.
Secondly, needs of T&M equipment vary for different users. For example, researchers in specialised areas may want T&M equipment specific to their core research areas. Therefore, we develop products having those specific capabilities either in modular form by connecting instruments together or by innovating completely new easy to use equipment. Economical solutions are significant drivers for innovations in education and small and medium size enterprises. Earlier, Agilent focussed on high-end equipment and were not so much into low-cost instruments market, but now we are changing that. We have redefined the economic oscilloscope market by giving our customers more signal viewing, more capabilities and more productivity.
EB: Can you explain the importance of T&M equipment in the entire product lifecycle?
T&M equipment play an important role at every phase of product lifecycle, and therefore, these should address customer issues. Design and R&D constantly look for innovations in products and business models, thus they push their T&M partners to introduce innovative equipment.
The manufacturing sector, especially high volume, is demanding T&M solutions to lower test costs and increase turn around time. They are eagerly looking for solutions that can help them reach market faster with low cost of production. The deployment industry, mainly telecom operators, are emphasising on quality of services and creating business from value added services. Thus, T&M players have to ensure quality services with reliability and repeatability/predictability. Above all, the ecosystem needs to be nurtured, protected and well served for an overall development of these industry verticals in the country.
EB: Can you elaborate on the Agilent’s R&D centre in India?
India has a huge R&D pool with low-cost advantage. Besides, the country has emerged as a vast potential market. Keeping these factors in mind, we set up an R&D centre in India. All our R&D activities are centrally driven. Agilent has three business verticals—electronics, chemical analysis and life sciences measurement group. On top of these is a horizontal segment called Agilent R&D labs looking at the cutting edge and futuristic research and innovations. Within these verticals, there are divisions that focus on one particular product—for example, spectrum analyser. These divisions analyse needs of customers and market to develop their new range of products.
R&D activities in India are mainly focussed on firmware and software with some bit of R&D in hardware too. The requirement is analysed and generated globally and the activities are controlled centrally. This is called the modular way of R&D that is independent of geography.
EB: How can a T&M manufacturer have an edge over its competitors?
Customer support is one of the most critical services for T&M manufacturers. For example, we have an ISO 9002 certified customer support centre and National Accreditation Board of Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NBCL) accredited calibration centre. We also offer a web based customer interface to our entire serviced install base and a very specialised on site calibration called Volume Onsite Calibration (VOSCAL). Modern test and measurement equipment have features like scalable configuration, wide range of application specific test packages, probes, accessories and an easy to use interface. These help designers to spend more time on designs rather than understanding test equipment.
Lastly, the customer should get value for money with Agilent. We have the largest range of equipment that fit every budget now. We work on adding more functionality on a single box which increases its usability. Ultimately, our goal is to enhance overall customer experience.