MediaTek is a market leader in developing innovative chips for a range of smart devices including smartphones, home entertainment, connectivity and IoT products. It believes technology democratization is integral to fostering inclusive development, and has aggressive plans to stay ahead of the curve, with regard to the much-talked-about 5G technology in India. Anku Jain, Managing Director, MediaTek India, shares more about the company, its offerings and strategy to be a dominant player in the chipset market, in a conversation with Ramesh Kumar Raja. Excerpts:
Please share details on the 5G portfolio especially in the smartphone category. How does MediaTek plan to maintain this lead in the coming months?
MediaTek is a global market leader in system-on-chip (SoC) innovations. We empower OEMs with powerful chip technologies, which help them build incredible products spanning a broad category of segments like smartphones, voice assistant devices, smart TVs, tablets, and networking & connectivity devices across the connected ecosystem. With 5G gaining momentum in India, the market for 5G smartphones is evolving rapidly as major OEMs focus on rolling out 5G smartphones and devices. MediaTek Dimensity 5G series is at the forefront of this evolution and is setting new benchmarks for 5G smartphones, thanks to the powerful integrated 5G technology that redefines the performance, connectivity, photography, streaming, gaming, and power efficiency in these devices. The 5G series of chipsets including, the flagship MediaTek Dimensity 1200, Dimensity 1000, Dimensity 900, and the recently-released Dimensity 920 and Dimensity 810, have set new benchmarks for 5G smartphones.
Of late, there has been an extensive demand for MediaTek 5G chipsets in India, be it for our flagship MediaTek Dimensity 1200 processor or the latest Dimensity 810 5G processor. Not only highlighting the market potential for 5G smartphones in India but also showcasing the confidence that OEMs and consumers have in our advanced chipset technologies. We plan to build on this confidence and continue our innovations through extensive R&D with a focus on the latest advancements like AI, AR/VR, Wi-Fi 6, IoT, and more. We are constantly in touch with our OEMs and innovating as per their requirements to bring new products to the market and empower end-consumers with incredible experiences. Additionally, to support OEMs address the unique demands from modern-day smartphone consumers, we have launched the MediaTek Dimensity 5G Open Resource Architecture, allowing OEMs and OMDs to have closer-to-metal access – for cameras, displays, graphics, AI processing units, sensors, and connectivity sub-systems to unleash new more customized consumer experiences.
We are also pursuing aggressive marketing activities to generate awareness about MediaTek’s chipset technologies that empower lives and enhance connectivity experiences. In fact, as per a recent industry report, MediaTek emerged as the preferred chipset partner for smartphone OEMs in India.
How do you see the India market evolving when it comes to 5G smartphones? Which price segment do you think will have maximum demand?
The momentum for 5G smartphones in India started in early 2020 and improved significantly over the past few months. Currently, India has over 100 5G smartphones from popular brands and the number is growing steadily.
Market reports state that the adoption of 5G in India will be faster when compared to the previous generation technologies, primarily because 4G networks are at the brim of saturation and there is rising demand for faster networks. The growth of 5G in India will be led by advanced trends like streaming, gaming, vlogging, and other user-centric tech requirements. The reverse is also true: as 5G penetration improves, these trends will also gain popularity. Thus, we foresee 5G smartphones being prevalent among all user groups once the technology is launched in India.
At MediaTek, we believe technology democratization is integral to fostering inclusive development. A smartphone with an impressive data network is no longer a luxury but an imperative in the tech-driven new normal. Thus, we have designed our chipset technologies to serve all market segments.
MediaTek’s Dimensity 5G series offers incredible performances and powers devices across premium, flagship, and broader market demographics. The MediaTek Dimensity series, with its advanced feature sets and incredible performance capabilities, is already emerging as a winner among gamers, vloggers, students, and professionals alike. We are set to democratize 5G technologies across the entire spectrum of society and contribute towards the nation’s mission to digitally empower the citizens and help them connect to the world of opportunities.
|“The growth of 5G in India will be led by advanced trends like streaming, gaming, vlogging, and other user-centric tech requirements. The reverse is also true: as 5G penetration improves, these trends will also gain popularity. Thus, we foresee 5G smartphones being prevalent among all user groups once the technology is launched in India”|
4G is already the dominant network technology in India and will continue to play a significant role in the market for some years, even after the launch of 5G. Your comment.
There is no contesting the fact that the high-speed 4G network has played an integral role in enhancing digital connectivity among the mass. In India, major cities have attained saturation in 4G connectivity, while in rural areas, the rise is significant given the massive investment in rural fiber by private and public telecom operators over the past few years. At MediaTek, even as we look forward to the disruptive capabilities of 5G, we are also continuing to expand our extremely popular MediaTek Helio G series chipsets for the 4G market with new additions like MediaTek Helio G96 and G88.
Realistically, we expect the 4G momentum to continue even after the launch of 5G technology. In fact, even after 5G is introduced in the country, it will still require time to attain popularity, vast consumer pick-up and acceptance. Optimal penetration is another variable which will need a significant amount of time. We can confidently say that 4G will stay mainline in non-penetrated areas and continue to complement 5G networks in major cities where adoption is expected at a considerably higher rate.
One of the major segments which will see quicker adoption of 5G is critical applications as this segment requires higher bandwidth, greater connectivity, and lower latency and the immediate change that 5G brings to the ecosystem will be around eMBB. While it is difficult to predict the timeframe wherein 4G will be completely replaced by 5G, it is evident that the rate at which 5G will occupy the telecommunications space in India will be the fastest compared to all previous-generation technologies.
What’s the investment and R&D plan MediaTek has for India?
MediaTek, as a company, is focused on offering customers the innovative solutions they need to lead an uninterrupted and smart life, every day. In line with our vision of technology democratization, our R&D teams are engaged in creating next-gen technologies capable of powering the new normal. As one of MediaTek’s top global markets, India is a key focus region for us. We have a strong R&D team in India, which works on advanced technologies like AIoT, WiFi 6 and Edge/Cloud computing for both smart homes and enterprise segments. We are also keen on further expanding our R&D capabilities, across our centers in Noida and Bangalore, and have announced significant India hiring plans for FY 2022. Regarding the India investment, we cannot share exact figures but suffice to say that MediaTek is, globally, one of the top semiconductor segment spenders when it comes to R&D investment. In fact, in 2021, MediaTek expanded its global R&D budget to over USD 3 billion, eyeing future business growth opportunities.
Smart devices are an integral part of the 5G ecosystem today. Which are some of the new segments that you are currently working on?
With the pandemic, the smart device and smart home ecosystems have undergone a revolution. Today, everything from work, education, communication, entertainment, and ordering food and supplies online is being done through smart devices. As people choose a more flexible lifestyle, they are depending on smart technologies to enhance and complement their lives and, with the disruptive capabilities of 5G added to the mix, the entire smart ecosystem is primed for a revamp. MediaTek is a market leader in developing innovative chips for a range of smart devices including smartphones, home entertainment, connectivity and IoT products. Our dedication to innovation has positioned us as a driving market force in several key technology areas, including high power-efficient mobile technologies, automotive solutions and a broad range of advanced multimedia products such as smartphones, tablets, digital televisions, 5G, voice assistant devices (VAD) and wearables.
While we have been working on all these segments, we believe that advanced networks, delivered by 5G, will help accelerate the adoption of these devices across consumer segments. MediaTek is working closely with industry stakeholders to deliver 5G SoC solutions in line with customer demands. Our varied collaborations are expected to bring in a wide range of devices across use cases like wearables, smart homes, industrial IoT, smart healthcare, power and utilities, and more in the emerging 5G era in India. We have also joined hands with Tessolve, a semiconductor engineering solutions provider, to foster innovation in AI and deliver a wide range of IoT devices with Edge-AI capabilities. MediaTek’s AIoT platform enables smart device OEMs/ODMs to deep-differentiate in software and quickly bring newer devices to markets.
|“Our dedication to innovation has positioned us as a driving market force in several key technology areas, including high power-efficient mobile technologies, automotive solutions and a broad range of advanced multimedia products such as smartphones, tablets, digital televisions, 5G, voice assistant devices (VAD) and wearables”|
What are some of the advanced technologies and computing capabilities that enable a mobile computing device today?
Over a mere decade, mobile computing has evolved from simple voice calling and texting to a full-fledged communication and collaboration platform, which in many aspects, is better than PCs. Smartphones featuring integrated functionalities like cloud storage, location-based applications, and biometric security enhancements have been here for some time. Eventually, more applications will be added to the device ecosystem, especially with new technologies like multimedia intelligence, AI, mobile, ubiquitous multimedia, smart-solutions, mobile sensing, IoT, Edge Computing, AR/VR, mobile crowdsensing, multimodal interfaces, data visualization, spatial searching among others.
In the mobile computing segment, myriads of applications are being developed regularly, enabling futuristic functionalities ranging from Cloud gaming, immersive classrooms, infotainment, AR-driven virtual tours and shopping, movie streaming, UPI apps with multiple levels of security, etc. New-age technologies, like the ones we discussed above, have accelerated research and development across categories. Going ahead, we foresee trends like voice assistants, emotional robots, surveillance, on-the-go medical consultation, AR-enabled live sessions, etc., picking up momentum in the consumer segment. Never in human history has there been such excitement around technology and we have only scratched the surface with mobile computing.