Panasonic Rugged Devices Ideal For Defence, Says Eriko Okuda, Global Sales Head

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Panasonic Rugged Devices Ideal For Defence, Says Eriko Okuda, Global Sales Head

Panasonic Rugged Devices Ideal For Defence, Says Eriko Okuda, Global Sales HeadJapanese tech major Panasonic leads the rugged computing devices segment in India with a 65% market share.
Panasonic Rugged Devices Ideal For Defence, Says Eriko Okuda, Global Sales Head

Panasonic Rugged Devices Ideal For Defence, Says Eriko Okuda, Global Sales Head Japanese tech major Panasonic leads the rugged computing devices segment in India with a 65% market share. It expects India to account for 5% of its global revenues in the niche rugged devices segment over the next 2-3 years, driven by strong demand from defence and manufacturing verticals. India is a strategic market for us which has been continually witnessing double digit growth over the years,” says Eriko Okuda, global sales head, Mobility Solutions Business Division, Panasonic. Old bulky laptops present safety concerns and portability issues. Our rugged notebooks are ideal for government agencies such as police, emergency services, defence, field service workers, enabling them to do more with their computing devices,” she tells Sudhir Chowdhary in a recent interaction.

Tell us something about the company’s rugged computing portfolio. Whom is it targeted at?

The Panasonic Toughbook (laptop) and Toughpad (tablet) segment comprises rugged laptops and tablets that are engineered with enterprise-grade security and can withstand drops, spills, dust and grime to perform in the harshest environments. The segment is in its seventh year of operations here in India; it commands a market share of 65% and has 10 products across its product portfolio in the country. Currently our products are dominant in five verticals—transportation and logistics, public safety, manufacturing, utility and hospitality. Lately we have been focusing on expanding the sectoral horizons of our products, and hence are now venturing into new categories such as pharmaceuticals and retail.

What is the global market share of rugged products?

Our global market share as of financial year 2016-17 is 52-53%. The segment leads the category across the continent of Europe and parts of North America with the likes of NYPD (New York Police Department) and British Airways making use of our rugged technological offerings.

What kind of traction do you see for your products in India? How has the business been here?

The rugged product segment is a predominantly small market in India of almost Rs 150 crore. Panasonic India leads the category with a 65% market share and are the prime choice for customers looking to enhance their business operations. Last year we launched the world’s first rugged detachable notebook for business, CF 20, which did very well in the market. Since setting up base in India seven years ago, the Toughbook and Toughpad category has thrived, experiencing almost a double digit growth year after year. We have supplied our Toughpads to different state police such as that of Uttar Pradesh wherein we supplied 3,500 Toughpads to UP PCR vans under the state government’s UP 100 project. The state police of Bangalore was also a recipient of 222 Toughpads, alongside Rajasthan and Kerala wherein we have undertaken similar installations.

What is the contribution of Toughbook and Toughpad’s India revenues in the global context?

India is still a developing market for the category and currently contributes less than 5% to the global Toughbook and Toughpad segment. However, we are looking at contributions from the segment to touch 5% in the next 2-3 years.

There are a lot of initiatives undertaken by the government such as Smart Cities, Digital India and other e-governance initiatives. What type of opportunities do you see under these, especially in the areas of manufacturing and construction?

In its efforts to create a digitised connected network, we have already seized upon a few opportunities presented by the government. The installation of Toughpads in police vans across the states of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Kerala and Karnataka is a testimony of that. We are also seeing an increase in demand from fire departments who are looking at similar installations of Toughpad for their moving vehicles as well. Moreover, companies in the manufacturing sector have already been using our products because of our unique offerings such as a built-in bar code reader and a long battery life with swappable batteries. A lot of companies have made use of our services, especially automotive companies who are not only using it at their services centres but at their plant locations as well. The product has revolutionised the workability aspect for the workforce, as it has been able to successfully unify different characteristics such as bar code reader, wireless capability, enduring battery life and most importantly, rugged nature into a singular product.

What are the business prospects you see from the Indian market?

India is a strategic market for us which has been continually witnessing double digit growth over the years. By the end of FY 2016-17 we saw the Toughbook and Toughpad segment grow by 15-20%, with revenues close to Rs 80 crore. Within the category, India is the second largest market in the Asia Pacific region, second only to Australia. Continuing on its excellent growth rate, we expect the segment to account for about 5% of the global revenues in the next 2-3 years. Given the unique innovative capability of the product, and an increase in government-led initiatives from both central and state authorities, the business viabilities in India are huge. Elaborating on the same, we have supplied Toughpads to scientists working for the Geological Survey of India, which is enabling them to use the device for both computing and GPS related tasks. Given its ability to work without a 4G or a 2G connection as it works via direct satellite connection, it gives the scientists an option to go and work seamlessly in remote areas outdoor.

What is the product’s battery life like since power in India is a big issue?

Our products in the category essentially work on three battery options: Small battery which has a life of upto 10 hours, large battery which has a life of upto 20 hours and hot swap battery. The concept on which the hot swap battery option works on is that of individual charging capability which is independent of the device. This option is well-suited for manufacturing facilities which work round the clock in different shifts; with the swappable battery on charge the device is not compromised and continues to work. Once the battery within the device drains out, it is put on standby while the charged battery is put in and work is carried out again from there. This way, one device operates for 24 hours with a hassle-free charging option.

What are the challenges that you are currently facing in India?

Given the characteristics of the hardware which makes our Toughbooks and Toughpads rugged and impervious to harsh conditions, there is a manufacturing cost involved in incorporating those elements into a product alongside other technologies. This process is essentially the one which pushes the pricing to the higher end of the spectrum, which is one of the challenges we face in the country.

Read more http://theindiansubcontinent.com/defense/item/416063-panasonic-rugged-devices-ideal-for-defence-says-eriko-okuda-global-sales-head

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Post Doklam: India Plans To Lessen Its Drug Reliance On China

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Post Doklam: India Plans To Lessen Its Drug Reliance On China
Post Doklam: India Plans To Lessen Its Drug Reliance On China

Currently, India gets 80% of its medicine supplies from China. Following Doval’s alert, govt had formed a panel to formulate a policy to boost active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) manufacturing.

Post Doklam: India Plans To Lessen Its Drug Reliance On China
Post Doklam: India Plans To Lessen Its Drug Reliance On China

Currently, India gets 80% of its medicine supplies from China. Following Doval’s alert, govt had formed a panel to formulate a policy to boost active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) manufacturing.

The recent tension between India and China has prompted the government here to think of measures to reduce its dependence on China for pharmaceutical products.

The health ministry along with drug regulators is planning to take a series of measures to limit reliance on China as well as tighten the regulatory checks and balances to ensure only good quality supplies are entering the Indian market.

Currently, India gets 70-80% of its medicines and medical devices supplies, including raw material for pharmaceuticals (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient) from China. This poses a major risk of severe drug shortage if India's diplomatic relations with China worsen.

In fact, in 2014, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval had also warned the government about India's over-dependence on China for API and how the tension between the two countries can cause a crisis in the public health system of India.

Following Doval's alert, the government had formed a committee of experts to formulate a specific policy to boost API manufacturing in India.

The list of regulatory and financial measures being planned by the government includes routine inspections of plants, higher registration charges, hike in licensing fee, tougher sourcing procedures, higher customs duty and deeper scrutiny of supply chain.

We do not want the trade to cease between the two countries. The idea is to regulate small foreign players who may not be supplying quality products but giving pricing advantage. This, in turn, is hurting the interest of Indian patients as well as the industry. We want to create a level playing field for Indian companies and also ensure good quality products for Indian patients," Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) G N Singh said.

The regulator is planning to start site inspections from next month itself, he said. The government is also planning to make changes to the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules soon to hike registration charges and licensing fees.

Industry executives say Indian companies are subjected to much higher fees when they sell their products in China or in other countries but apart from imposing tougher norms on Chinese companies, the government must also take steps to boost the growth of Indian industry.

The measures are important to bring a parity to fee structures but it has its consequences like impact on prices and competition," says D G Shah, secretary general of Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance.

The landed price of API from China in India is 15-20% less than its production cost here, making it more viable for companies to import.

Once the government strengthens the regulatory mechanism and imposes higher fee structures, a lot of fly by night operators will stop operating in this space. While Indian players will benefit from this, it will also ensure patient safety," said Himanshu Baid, managing director of Ploy Medicure and chairman of CII Medical Technology Division.

Currently, API accounts for less than 10% of India's over Rs 1 lakh crore pharmaceutical industry. However, India was once a favoured destination for sourcing low-cost, good quality raw material for manufacturing medicines. Gradually, China has taken over this bulk drug market globally in the past few years by creating huge capacities.

Read more http://theindiansubcontinent.com/defense/item/407983-post-doklam-india-plans-to-lessen-its-drug-reliance-on-china

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‘Smaller, Lighter And Faster’ Is The New Defence Technology Mantra

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‘Smaller, Lighter And Faster’ Is The New Defence Technology Mantra
‘Smaller, Lighter And Faster’ Is The New Defence Technology Mantra




d micro electromechanical systems (MEMS) are increasingly being adopted in military and aerospace applications.

‘Smaller, Lighter And Faster’ Is The New Defence Technology Mantra
‘Smaller, Lighter And Faster’ Is The New Defence Technology Mantra




d micro electromechanical systems (MEMS) are increasingly being adopted in military and aerospace applications. With ‘smaller, lighter and faster’ being the new mantra, companies are driven by the power-to-weight ratio benefit ensured by the new technology.

The future of MEMS and miniaturisation is particularly exciting, given that it is leading to a major breakthrough in defence applications such as micro mirrors for steering laser beams, micro sensors, satellite communications at speeds in excess of 100 GHz and micro unmanned aerial vehicles,” said an official of the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO). The Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru recently handed over sophisticated MEMS pressure transducers to the DRDO for use in Light Combat Aircraft (LCA).

The official added that many defence, academic and commercial organisations were partnering to bring MEMS and nanotechnology systems ever closer to the battlefield.

Though small in size, these products are growing in functionality and adoption, given the increasing need for small, light weight and low power solutions,” said the DRDO official, adding that these micro products tend to enhance performance even as they are reduced in size.

The State-run defence company, Bharat Electronics Limited, is also catering to the upswing in demand. Pointing to the large-scale miniaturisation happening in defence, a BEL official said everything that “needed to be included in a large defence system is now available on a palm top, laptop or a large portable medium. Most of the systems are on a electro magnetic chip. MEMS technology is helping reduce not just the size. The power that is gained in the small items is tremendous”.

Speaking about communication for the integrated defence forces, the official said BEL is using the latest micro technology in its VOIP “to create networks over various modes, be it a tank or vehicle or on ground. The army should be able to speak to the navy and the air force. This communication should be confidential and cohesive, for the forces should be able to talk securely on the same platform”.

BEL has handed over its digitised radio communication set, STARS-V mark III, to the army for evaluation – it is the first software-defined radio set that can work without a line of sight.

The official added that the company plans to make a new version of the state-of-the-art next generation radio, using micro technology, adaptable for the navy platform. The SDR can be carried by a soldier in hand, on in a jeep or jonga. It should be possible to fit it in a tank, ship or an aircraft. The only difference in form is the size, for miniaturisation in the design makes it easier to deploy even on attack aircraft. BEL is working on this in a big way,” the official added.

Noting that focused attention has been given for the development of MEMS technology modules and products, the official said the company has teamed up with the State enterprise, Bharat Dynamics Limited, to supply micro sensors and command-and-control systems for the Indian Army’s Akash missile program.

Read more http://theindiansubcontinent.com/defense/item/407066-smaller-lighter-and-faster-is-the-new-defence-technology-mantra

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DRDO To Share Food Tech With Entrepreneurs

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DRDO To Share Food Tech With Entrepreneurs
DRDO To Share Food Tech With Entrepreneurs

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is set to transfer various technologies — initially developed for the armed forces — to small entrepreneurs during a two-day conclave beginning Thursday.

DRDO To Share Food Tech With Entrepreneurs

DRDO To Share Food Tech With Entrepreneurs
DRDO To Share Food Tech With Entrepreneurs

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is set to transfer various technologies — initially developed for the armed forces — to small entrepreneurs during a two-day conclave beginning Thursday.

DRDO To Share Food Tech With Entrepreneurs

The defence food research laboratory (DFRL), Mysore, that has developed an array of food products and has transferred over 500 technologies to more than 300 entrepreneurs, will showcase 142 food products and processing technologies comprising ready-to-eat foods, instant foods and mixes, ready-to-drink beverages, ready-to-reconstitute beverages, and mixes ready for commercialisation. The technologies on offer range from Rs 25,000 to Rs 2. 5 lakh. Financial institutions will offer funding schemes, said Goa State Industries Association president Rajkumar Kamat.

Read more http://theindiansubcontinent.com/defense/item/403756-drdo-to-share-food-tech-with-entrepreneurs

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Defence Enterprises Hand Over Products To Armed Forces

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Defence Enterprises Hand Over Products To Armed Forces
Defence Enterprises Hand Over Products To Armed Forces

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman laid emphasis on becoming self-reliant in defence production.

She lauded defence public sector undertakings (DPSUs) and ordnance factories (OFs) for their efforts.

Defence Enterprises Hand Over Products To Armed Forces
Defence Enterprises Hand Over Products To Armed Forces

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman laid emphasis on becoming self-reliant in defence production.

She lauded defence public sector undertakings (DPSUs) and ordnance factories (OFs) for their efforts. The minister was speaking on the occasion of handing over of several products developed by DPSUs and OFs to the central armed police forces (CAPFs).

The products which were handed over to the CAPFs were an armoured bus and bullet-proof jackets. An unmanned aerial vehicle was handed over by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited to central reserve police force. Small arms like assault rifle and carbine were also given to CRPF. An all terrain vehicle was handed over by defence enterprise Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) to Border Security Force (BSF).

Union home minister Rajnath Singh said India wants to reduce its dependence on defence imports. Make in India is the right initiative to achieve that, he said.

He expressed satisfaction that the indigenous content has increased in the defence production and hoped that fully indigenous products will be produced by the DPSUs and OFs soon. Singh stressed on the need to design light weight bullet-proof jackets and helmets for the forces.

Read more http://theindiansubcontinent.com/defense/item/402143-defence-enterprises-hand-over-products-to-armed-forces

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Trade War Looms Between India-China After 93 Chinese Products Attract Anti-Dumping Duties: Chinese Media

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Trade War Looms Between India-China After 93 Chinese Products Attract Anti-Dumping Duties: Chinese Media
Trade War Looms Between India-China After 93 Chinese Products Attract Anti-Dumping Duties: Chinese Media

Trade War Looms Between India-China After 93 Chinese Products Attract Anti-Dumping Duties: Chinese Media
Trade War Looms Between India-China After 93 Chinese Products Attract Anti-Dumping Duties: Chinese Media

Urging the Chinese companies to think about the risks of investment in India, the news report warned India to start preparing to face the possible consequences for its 'ill-considered action'.

Amid the Doklam standoff, a trade war appears to be looming between India and China after New Delhi last week imposed anti-dumping duties on 93 Chinese products, according to Chinese newspaper The Global Times. Urging the Chinese companies to think twice about the risks involved before making investments in India, the news report warned India to be prepared to face the consequences for its ‘ill-considered action’.

The report also said that China could easily retaliate by putting restrictions on imports from India, but it doesn’t make much economic sense for the country. It said, “If India really starts a trade war with China, of course China’s economic interests will be hurt, but there will also be consequences for India.

Quoting statistics from China’s Ministry of Commerce, the article said that in the first half of 2017, India has initiated 12 probes into Chinese products.

The Global Times also cited figures from the Indian embassy in China to show that Indian exports fell by 12. 3 per cent year-on-year to $11. 75 billion, while India’s imports from China rose by 2 per cent to $59 billion, resulting in a trade deficit of $ 47 billion.

However, according to the Indian Commerce Ministry, the trade deficit with China mounted to over $52 billion in 2016 when the bilateral trade stood at $70 billion.

At least 350 Indian army personnel positioned at the India-China-Bhutan tri-junction in Doklam since June 16, when they stopped Chinese troops from constructing a road near the disputed region. Both Bhutan and China have competing claims over the region.

Another China Daily reported that boycotting Chinese goods would be harmful for India. The article said, “Suffice to say, calling for the boycotting of Chinese products and those related to Chinese investors is not just a fool’s errand but also risks backfiring.

Warning India, the report also said that any attempt by India to shut down Chinese cellphones companies or other factories will badly affect economy of India and will cost Indian jobs as well.

Read more http://theindiansubcontinent.com/defense/item/394698-trade-war-looms-between-india-china-after-93-chinese-products-attract-anti-dumping-duties-chinese-media

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Defence Electronics Policy To Push Growth

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Defence Electronics Policy To Push Growth
Defence Electronics Policy To Push Growth

LUCRATIVE MARKET: Many Indian and foreign companies are stepping up investments.

Defence Electronics Policy To Push Growth
Defence Electronics Policy To Push Growth

LUCRATIVE MARKET: Many Indian and foreign companies are stepping up investments.

India is the ninth largest aerospace and defence market but the largest importer of capital equipment globally and significantly relies on import to meet 70 per cent of its defence needs. To reverse this phenomenon, efforts are being made by the government to kick off more projects in the last two years. Within the defence sector, defence electronics is becoming a key market to tap. As per estimates, the aerospace and defence electronics market in India will be around $72 billion in 10 years.

Emphasising the market opportunity in electronics and the dynamics in this space, India Electronics and Semiconductor Association (IESA) president M N Vidyashankar, told, “Of the 2,70,000 crore defence budget, defence electronics was allocated Rs 40,000 crore. Government and the industry are looking at more indigenisation to bring down the large import component. This will not happen overnight. But the efforts have begun in this direction already.

The draft recommendations for the Defence Electronics Policy, which were put together by the IESA along with NASSCOM had been submitted to the Secretary, Defence Production which has gone through several iterations in the past. In addition, Roland Berger, a global strategy consulting company with expertise in defence, was roped in an as advisers to further fine tune the recommendations based on the feedback of the Defence Ministry and other key industry stakeholders.

We are hoping that the government would soon announce the Defence Electronics Policy. We are pitching from our side for it to happen on August 31 in Hyderabad, at the Deftronics fourth edition,” he informed.

With the release of the defence procurement procedure (DPP) 2016, there is also a major shift in the policy thus also impacting the overall supply chain dynamics. From the overriding focus on Offsets in the past, the country is making efforts to improve its manufacturing capabilities through its ‘Make in India’ vision. ere are plans to improve the domestic content and manufacturing in the next 5-10 years.

The Indian aerospace & defence Industry is one of the most lucrative and booming markets globally. The global original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and Indian companies alike are keen to leverage the opportunity of defence contracts. Through FDI, both joint ventures and partnerships are expected to picking up in the coming years.

When asked if there are enough startups in defence electronics in the country, Vidyashankar said, “There are an estimated 26,000 startups focusing across verticals. There are many startups operating in the B2C (business-to-consumer) segment, while there are very few in B2B (business-to-business) and B2G (business-to-government). Defence is a B2G segment, and there are few startups in this space. Defence electronics is a very niche area, so it will take some time for startups to foray into it.

Also the introduction of IDDM (Indigenously Designed Developed and Manufactured) category is creating a fresh wave of efforts from both the government and industry fronts. Efforts to accelerate action to integrate / design / build greater portions of the solutions for modern weapon system have begun. This is believed to result in harnessing India’s strengths in making advancements in defence related technology, indigenous product development and maintenance of highly configurable defence systems leading to increase in volume of defence related Indian software products / services being exported.

He said, “Ministry of Defence is trying to encourage industry to create a strong supply chain at all levels- components, subsystems, systems and final products. Centre is also keen to develop many defence clusters as there can be sustained growth where are all the aligned companies can co-exist and collaborate. There are also efforts on improving and investing in the cyber security space. But one the electronic policy comes up, it will enable faster growth.

Read more http://theindiansubcontinent.com/defense/item/392824-defence-electronics-policy-to-push-growth

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U.S. Army Halts Use of Chinese-Made Drones Over Cyber Concerns

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U.S. Army Halts Use of Chinese-Made Drones Over Cyber Concerns
U.S. Army Halts Use of Chinese-Made Drones Over Cyber Concerns

The US Army has ordered its members to stop using drones made by Chinese manufacturer SZ DJI Technology Co Ltd because of "cyber vulnerabilities" in the products.

An Aug.

U.S. Army Halts Use of Chinese-Made Drones Over Cyber Concerns
U.S. Army Halts Use of Chinese-Made Drones Over Cyber Concerns

The US Army has ordered its members to stop using drones made by Chinese manufacturer SZ DJI Technology Co Ltd because of "cyber vulnerabilities" in the products.

An Aug. 2 Army memo posted online and verified by Reuters applies to all DJI drones and systems that use DJI components or software. It requires service members to "cease all use, uninstall all DJI applications, remove all batteries/storage media and secure equipment for follow-on direction.

The memo says DJI drones are the most widely used by the Army among off-the-shelf equipment of that type.

DJI said in a statement that it was "surprised and disappointed" at the Army's "unprompted restriction on DJI drones as we were not consulted during their decision.

The privately held company said it would contact the Army to determine what it means by "cyber vulnerabilities" and was willing to work with the Pentagon to address concerns.

Analysts at Goldman Sachs and Oppenheimer estimated in 2016 that DJI had about 70 percent share of the global commercial and consumer drone market. Goldman analysts estimated the market, including military, to be worth more than $100 billion over the next five years.

The Army was considering issuing a statement about the policy, said Army spokesman Dov Schwartz.

The move appears to follow studies conducted by the Army Research Laboratory and the Navy that said there were risks and vulnerabilities in DJI products.

The memo cites a classified Army Research Laboratory report and a Navy memo, both from May as references for the order to cease use of DJI drones and related equipment.

Read more http://theindiansubcontinent.com/defense/item/392554-u-s-army-halts-use-of-chinese-made-drones-over-cyber-concerns

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