With India pushing the pedal on 5G, companies across the telecom ecosystem are attempting to leverage the opportunities in this space. Delta Electronics India is one such company that is gearing up to launch new products/solutions for the 5G market. In an interview with tele.net, Rajesh Kaushal, BU head, Delta Communication and Information Solutions, Delta Electronics India, talks about the company’s research and development (R&D) initiatives and growth plans. Excerpts….
How has India’s R&D landscape evolved specifically in terms of telecom products? What R&D initiatives is Delta undertaking/planning to undertake in the telecom space?
India has a technical talent bank and many multinational companies have made India a key R&D centre. Delta too is building a global R&D centre in Bengaluru, which will host 500 high-tech head counts. We truly believe in innovation and spend 6 per cent of group revenues on R&D every year. Delta Telecom is running with three R&D centres, in Taiwan, Norway and Bengaluru (India, under upgrade). Being a global company, all our R&D centres work hand-in-hand, using regional learning and experience to develop new products and solutions. Following our mission of saving energy for a smarter, greener and better tomorrow, our R&D team is engaged in developing a new range of power conversion products with higher energy density, efficiencies and better thermal sustainability.
What, according to you, is the likely time frame for 5G implementation in India? What opportunities will this open up for Delta?
Indian operators have been deploying passive infrastructure for the past one year to support 5G traffic soon after the spectrum is awarded to them. Operators have invested huge amounts to acquire the desired airwaves and will be commencing 5G services in a phased manner, depending on the actual demand and use cases. We have already witnessed a demand increase cycle for power equipment in the year’s first half. The forecast for the second half of 2022 and for 2023 is also encouraging. 5G will intensify the infrastructure requirements across network layers. The 5G network topology will demand more and more small cells/in-building solutions to deliver services with a last-mile connectivity approach. Delta is geared up with a power-efficient portfolio, large capacities to meet roll-out targets and one of the largest service networks with 800 engineers across India to provide after-sales support.
In Union Budget 2022-23, the government accorded infrastructure status to the data centre industry. How do you see this impacting the uptake of Delta’s data centre solutions and products?
With everyone’s focus on the data centre industry, Delta’s biggest edge is that it is a strongly R&D-driven organisation with 6-8 per cent of its global sales revenue allocated to research and product innovation. We are also the largest original equipment manufacturer of the critical components that go into making a data centre. Another advantage is our exceptionally competent team that has enriched our knowledge pool, besides our strong service network backup across the country. The biggest strength, however, is our key customers, who are growing in this segment. Currently, we are focused on addressing the demands of our existing customers rather than scouting the market to obtain new clients. We have also deployed a lot of modular architecture, with product offerings that are the most compact in the industry, that actually allow customers to grow as the business grows with them. We see ourselves enhancing the modularity and scalability of our pre-fabricated data centres to further enhance our business.
Delta caters to two kinds of segments, the traditional data centres, where infrastructure needs – UPSs, batteries and distribution units that comprise the component portion – are provided, and the other is engineered-to-order solutions, where we have skilled architectures in our data centres and power containers that will be further enhanced with the advent of edge computing. Once the edge computing system comes into play, the pre-fabricated data centre concept will follow. Delta is gearing up to develop infrastructure to test and manufacture these in India and is in discussions with many customers who are working closely with us at the conceptual stage to address their demand. We are already addressing the pre-fabricated segment in the smaller edge, which is basically one- to six-rack data centres. Delta is also working on moving from 1 MW pre-fabricated units to multiple MWs.
How important is energy efficiency and sustainability in today’s world? How has Delta been able to achieve its commitment to provide innovative, clean and energy-saving solutions for a sustainable future?
Delta is committed to the environment and is a gold member among RE100 companies, with a target of converting its own in-house power demand to renewables by 2030. Following our internal environmental social governance policy, our R&D is focused on improving efficiencies in existing models, offering backward compatibility. Our bestselling, flagship DPR4000W model is now available with 97 per cent efficiency and an increased capacity of 4500 W in the same form factor. More than 2 million units of this model have been consumed in the Indian market, which brings a plethora of ageing replacements/augmentation requirements. We are also introducing higher efficiency maximum power point tracker (MPPT) charge controllers, inverters and DC-DC booster models for 5G requirements.
What is Delta’s growth strategy for the coming year? What new products/services does the company plan to launch in the next two to three years?
We are working on multiple products and solutions, both for greenfield (fresh roll-out) and brownfield (replacement) requirements. There is a huge ageing inventory in the field, which needs to be upgraded to improve efficiencies and replace end-of-life products. We are working with our customers to design retrofit solutions for the existing infrastructure under a minimum add-on cost model. Delta has come up with a centralised Unified Technology Centre, where a large team of highly skilled engineers provides 24×7 online support to our customers across circles. This helps our customers maintain uptime targets and reduce field visits and related costs.
The new intelligent Total Power Solution offers a modular, simplified and one-footprint solution for the overall power needs of any telecom site. It offers automation of electric sources, power conversion, renewable and remote communication. The new micro-grid solution takes input from the grid, diesel generators and solar power systems to deliver a stable output to load using high-efficiency rectifiers, MPPT and inverters with power back-up from li-ion batteries.
Also, 5G technology in communication will give a huge momentum to the digital business. India is still at the 4G stage with a lot of digitalisation yet to take place. But the moment 5G comes into play, most businesses will start adopting many more digitalised models. Even as it majorly impacts the existing mega collaborative hyper data centres, 5G will move the market to edge computing, meaning that every business will have to store some critical data near the users or their functions. We see ourselves playing a major role in this space.