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Bridging boundaries between hardware and software product design

Bridging boundaries between hardware and software product design
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First Published: Thu, Feb 26 2009. 12 16 AM IST

Pioneer: Vayavya’s Pattanshetti.
Pioneer: Vayavya’s Pattanshetti.
Updated: Thu, Feb 26 2009. 09 25 AM IST
Mumbai: Vayavya Labs Pvt. Ltd, a company that aims to speed the process of programming semiconductor chips, could be a classic Silicon Valley start-up: using tech to ease pain in a high-tech industry process. Except that it is not headquartered in Bangalore, long seen as India’s hub for technology innovations, but in Belgaum, a tier II town in Karnataka, located halfway between Bangalore and Mumbai.
Pioneer: Vayavya’s Pattanshetti.
“We wanted to work in a small place, and found that there was nothing we could do in Bangalore that we couldn’t do here,” says Mahantesh Pattanshetti, co-founder of the product developer. Pattanshetti and the three co-founders, who had worked for video networking company Smart Yantra Technologies Pvt. Ltd, quit jobs in India and the US to set up Vayavya three years ago.
With only marketing executives in Bangalore, the Belgaum firm says it has significant cost benefits compared to operating in a metro.
When it started, Vayavya wanted to address pain points in the embedded systems industry by enhancing communication between design teams through software tools.
“Hardware and software design (of a product) is viewed as two different activities, but we want to bridge the boundaries,” says Sandeep Pendharkar, director of engineering at Vayavya.
For semiconductors used in devices such as mobile phones or digital cameras, chip makers typically come up with specifications on the basis of which a team of software engineers writes out programs called device drivers.
Vayavya’s flagship product DDGen automates this process to generate code. “Our tool looks to re-engineer the way work is done today, by stimulating the communication process and reducing errors,” says Pattanshetti. By deploying DDGen, a client can halve the time and manpower required for the task, he claims.
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Vayavya’s client can be either a semiconductor company that has teams in-house to write programs or software companies to whom the task is outsourced. Pattanshetti estimates at least 5,000 employees across large software multinationals in India work on device-driver software.
DDGen is deployed in pilot tests with six companies, including Japan’s Fujitsu Ltd. It is yet to sign full-time contracts and admits difficulties ahead with demand wilting in the semiconductor industry worldwide.
“The slowdown has hurt us in a way, as the groups we talk to are themselves uncertain of their future,” admits Pattanshetti. Still, mid-size clients remain more receptive.
The company, which works primarily on a software licensing revenue (single user fee is $40,000, or Rs19.9 lakh) model, plans to throw in, for free, employee training, initial project implementation and maintenance support for a month.
In the coming days, Vayavya also plans to expand its portfolio of tools for the embedded systems industry to address other issues faced by clients.
Activecubes Solutions Pvt. Ltd, Takeovercode.com and Vayavya Labs Pvt. Ltd are among nominated companies at the Tata NEN Hottest Startups competition, of which Mint is the official print media partner. Details of the competition can also be accessed at www.livemint.com/hotteststartups
namitha.j@livemint.com
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First Published: Thu, Feb 26 2009. 12 16 AM IST