Prabhakar Atla, Senior Vice President and Global Head, Communications and Utilities Business, Cyient

Cyient is looking to play a significant role in network roll-outs in India by bringing in best practices in planning and design, provisioning, and service impact assurance. It plans to offer its global suite of solutions in India. Prabhakar Atla, senior vice-president and global head, communications and utilities business, Cyient, talks about the company’s focus areas in India and its future plans…

What were some of the key business and operational highlights for Cyient’s telecom business during 2020-21?

Financial year 2020-21 was unprecedented in several ways. We were hit by two waves of Covid-19 – the first one, at the beginning of the year, had a global impact, and the second, right at the end of the year, was more India-specific. However, the communications industry was a key factor in enabling the response to the pandemic, including work from home, e-commerce adoption and digital payments.

The communications segment of Cyient delivered strong growth through the year with six major deals in the areas of fibre, wireless, system integration and 5G. We continue to benefit from the accelerated deployment of 5G networks, which account for close to 10 per cent of our business. We also rolled out a strategic transformation programme to invest and develop capabilities in growth areas such as digital transformation of network design, network virtualisation and cloudification, and enterprise network transformation. These areas have started to contribute significantly to our growth momentum.

What are your key focus areas in the Indian telecom market?

We have been actively contributing to the transformation of the telecom industry in India. One of our earliest engagements in India involved implementing a unified GIS system for a large telco. This multi-year programme involved the recommendation of the right system, its deployment and data migration. On completion, it enabled convergence of OSS and physical networks, resulting in field updates flowing seamlessly into the central system. The time required to activate new mobile accounts was reduced by 90 per cent. We continue to contribute to several such technology transformation programmes with various operators in India.

We are keenly monitoring the developments in the 5G space. We have significant experience in contributing to nationwide 5G roll-outs by virtue of our long-standing engagements with global telecom leaders.

How have the requirements from telecom customers changed over time?

Both the demand and the supply sides of the telecom industry are rapidly evolving. On the demand side, customers are becoming more bandwidth-hungry – be it the consumer segment, with new forms of entertainment, digital transactions, etc., or the enterprise segment, with IoT, factory automation and edge-computing requirements. On the supply side, the possibilities of virtualisation, automation and analytics are acting as enablers of transformation.

From our vantage point in the industry, we are bringing in solutions that can enable demand-supply convergence. We are partnering with telcos and enterprises in their network transformation journey. Additionally, we are bringing our IntelliCyient suite of digital applications as a layer above the network solutions to specifically address enterprise use cases.

What are your views on the 5G readiness of the Indian industry?

India has adopted digitalisation at an unbelievable pace. We believe that 5G roll-out is not only going to accelerate digital adoption but also produce new, India-

specific use cases. It will enable a connected ecosystem, which can provide solutions to a lot of our traditional problems. Hence, we believe 5G will transform the way we live, the way our systems function, and the way we do business.

We are keenly following 5G trials in several cities across India and are eagerly awaiting the spectrum auction slated for later. We are also excited to note the strong thrust on indigenous technology development. Moreover, we are keen on tapping the opportunities that the adoption of 5G will create in the enterprise segment. Our digital suite of solutions in asset management, supply chain, connected factory, after-market & MRO, mobile workforce management and geospatial AI will power the transformation of Indian enterprises.

What will be the company’s growth strategy for India?

We are betting on 5G, technology transformation and digitalisation as key drivers of growth in India. Moreover, we see India as a key contributor of technical competence. We are building a strong academia connect to promote R&D  in emerging technologies. To this effect, we have endowed a chair in IIT Hyderabad. We are setting up a 5G innovation lab and Centre of Excellence in partnership with global technology leaders. We are not only looking at India as a market for growth but also as a market for exceptional technical talent that will contribute to the transformation of the telecom industry globally.