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Adobe to set up advanced AI lab in Hyderabad to drive product innovation

Sohini Mitter
20th Feb 2018
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India accounts for Adobe's second-largest workforce outside the US. Products like Illustrator and Lightroom are already being developed here. 

Software behemoth Adobe has announced that it would set up an advanced artificial intelligence (AI) lab in Hyderabad to foster innovation. Adobe revealed its plans to State IT Minister KT Rama Rao on the sidelines of the World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT 2018) on Monday.

The rich pool of tech talent in Hyderabad along with the pro-business outlook of the local government makes it an attractive investment destination for global IT companies, Adobe said.

Image: Shutterstock

Shantanu Narayen, CEO of Adobe, said: “We are starting an advanced AI Lab in Hyderabad. As the global leader providing content creation and enterprise experience software solutions, driving innovative products is the core essence of our company. The abundance of tech talent in Hyderabad, coupled with the pro-business stance make this an exciting initiative for growth for Adobe.”

The San Jose-headquartered firm also acknowledged the “tremendous development” that has taken place in Hyderabad in the past three years. Narayen said that talks for a potential collaboration with the government started in 2015 when he’d first met KT Rama Rao in the US.

Adobe in India

Last month Adobe India said it was reskilling its R&D engineers to help them be on top of the next wave of tech that includes AI and machine learning (ML).

Shanmugh Natarajan, Managing Director-Adobe India and Vice President-Products, said: “We have the expertise and talent with core algorithmic mathematical background, with right set of engineering degrees. A new skill-set, however, is to be learnt on top of those and Adobe is already doing that with its engineers in the field of research and development.”

Out of Adobe’s 17,000-strong global workforce, 5,500 are in India, making it the software giant’s second-largest employee base outside the US. Adobe operates four campuses in Noida and Bengaluru with one-third of the workforce dedicated to R&D. Several Adobe products are already being developed in India.

Natarajan said, “Illustrator is being completely done here. The popular Lightroom is being done here and nearly 80 percent of Acrobat is done out of the country.”

In January, Adobe announced that it had achieved gender pay parity in India. In the past one year, Adobe reviewed its job structure and analysed its compensation practices. It made adjustments to existing practices, and started using gender-neutral job descriptions to weed out unconscious bias.

It even stopped considering a candidate’s prior remuneration to determine the starting salary it offered — a step that helped it close the gender wage gap, and rise above past discrimination faced by women candidates.

Abdul Jaleel, Vice President, Employee Experience, Adobe India, said, “At Adobe, we believe that employees perform best when put on a level footing and valued equally and are proud to have achieved our goal of pay parity in India.”

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