Intel aims to boost domestic production, says country head Rai

India India head Nivruti Rai (Bloomberg file)

Bengaluru: Over the last two decades, tech giant Intel Corp has invested nearly $5 billion in India. The firm has its second-largest design center in India, after the US. Nivruti Rai, country head, Intel India, believes Intel India is the “microcosm of Intel”, doing cutting edge work in product manufacturing and development as well as new technologies. Edited excerpts:

What is Intel India’s role in enabling local manufacturing of IT products?

The Indian manufacturing industry will play a key role in realising the government’s vision – to become a $5-trillion economy by 2024. Technology manufacturing, in particular, can play an important role in accelerating the growth of this sector and helping realise India’s potential as the manufacturing hub of the world. Intel as a company is trying to boost IT products manufacturing in India and encourage local manufacturing by building a supply chain ecosystem or, match-made them with some of our global partners to ensure that they are going up the value chain of building a new product.

For example, in the case of Coconics, a brand that is being guided and supported by Intel, is a public-private company set up in Kerala aimed at building locally manufactured PCs. Through Coconics, Intel has enabled the local ecosystem to serve the local market needs. At MAIT’s Electronics Manufacturing Summit 2019, Coconics unveiled a range of laptops designed and set to be manufactured in India. These laptops were built with Intel processors and Intel had closely collaborated with Coconics through the course of product development to enable innovation across their product and supply chain. Our work with Coconics is one of several examples where we have not only enabled the local ecosystem to serve the local market needs, but also connected the ‘Make in India’ initiative with both local and global demand.

Tell us about your focus on high-performance computing?

India has a strong foundation and technology capability to continue to expand and develop supercomputers and HPC (high-performance computing) for both major organizations and enterprises. Intel is the foundation of the vast majority of the world’s supercomputers today and we continue to invest in an unparalleled portfolio of data center products with a compelling roadmap that solves our customers’ most demanding and evolving needs. Only Intel offers the breadth of solutions that can be precisely and comprehensively tailored for their specific requirements today plus provide the agility for the future. Intel, along with the HPC community, is driving the paradigm shift to this new era of HPC/AI convergence with advanced technology, service and software support enabling the breadth of innovation throughout the HPC community.

How important is India for Intel?

Intel India is very aptly called the microcosm of Intel, which means that almost every work that Intel works towards creating a product happens out of India as well. And outside of the US, we are the largest design community for Intel. And as a result, we have been doing cutting edge work, whether it is in the technology development like AI (Artificial Intelligence), 5G, Blockchain, graphics, accelerators, or in the space of driving product development, be it laptops, desktops, servers, cloud network, automotive, we are engaged in almost every single technology and every single product.

Having said that, you know, there are certain technologies where we have a tremendous amount of leadership. One of the AI products that drive inferencing, the engine inside that product was ideated, built and developed out of the team here and now, that product is critical for inferencing for the whole company. We have a design center in both Bangalore and Hyderabad. We have invested about $5 billion in the last 20 years. So, you can think that every four years we spent $1 billion and this is about a unique approach that Intel has, where we invest in the country we are in. This means India is important and, therefore, these kinds of investment are being made in design houses, in labs, in technology development.

What are some of the new things Intel India is working on?

The shift that we are making within Intel and Intel India is to become a more and more data-centric company. We believe that for tomorrow, technologies like AI, technologies like cloud-enabling, analytics, better storage, and better transmission will be required in every single segment, whether it is for health, smart Mobility, FinTech, retail or in the space of agriculture. So, we believe this is the enablement that Intel will work on, which is smart network, smart storage, newer technologies, analytics with AI engines, enabling different use cases as well as build the smartest compute.

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