Pamela Kumar, Director General, Telecom Standards Development Society of India

During a career spanning over three decades, Pamela Kumar has worn many hats. Her association with the telecom sector began in 1985 and since then she has worked in different capacities with organisations such as AT&T Information Systems, IBM, HP, C-DOT, Network Programs India and Texas Instruments India. She is currently director general of the Telecom Standards Development Society of India and president of the Cloud Computing Innovation Council of India.

In these roles, Kumar works to bring together technical experts from the industry, academia and government on a collaborative platform to define India-specific use cases and develop local standards in the 5G space. “This would drive India-specific innovation and promote rapid deployment of emerging technologies in the country,” says Kumar. She also fosters initiatives that can enable standards-driven research and IP development in India.

Kumar believes that the increased convergence of telecom and technology has shifted the focus to the transformation of sectors such as healthcare, education and finance. “This technology-driven transformation is leveraging the new building blocks of networking technologies, data centre technologies and application technologies,” says Kumar. According to her, an emerging trend in the sector is the development of technology through open source and open standards.

During her long professional journey, several experiences have stayed with Kumar. One such memorable experience was her involvement in the development of India’s first fully indigenous telephone exchange while she was at C-DOT. Another experience was leading the design of a single-chip solution for the 2.5G feature phone at Texas Instruments India. “This was conceived, architected and designed completely by the Texas Instruments India team, which led to the development of the Rs 1,000 phone that enabled the second telecom revolution in India,” she says.

Kumar describes her management style as goal driven, result oriented, transformational and demanding. She feels that out-of-the-box thinking, the ability to embrace risks and belief in the power of collaboration are her key strengths. Kumar is an electronics and electrical communications engineer from Punjab Engineering College with an MSc in electrical engineering from Rutgers University. She has also done an executive general management programme from IIM Bangalore. In her spare time, she likes to work on new initiatives and engage in various voluntary assignments. She enjoys yoga and naturopathy, running, vocal music, cycling, trekking and cooking. Her husband is a professor and director at IISc, and her children live in the US.