Gurugram-based VVDN’s journey to becoming one of India’s leading ODMs
VVDN technologies was founded by four technology professionals – Bhupender Saharan, Puneet Agarwal, Vivek Bansal, Murali Jayaraman – who were all working in the US. The experience of working in the deep engineering domain for close to a decade gave them enough knowledge about the industry pain points as well as the opportunity for growth. They decided to venture on their own and started VVDN Technologies in 2007. (VVDN is an acronym for Voice Video Data Network.) Their goal was clear – to build an end-to-end solutions company for embedded product design and production.
In just over 10 years, they have been able to achieve that goal and much more. Today, VVDN is a premier ODM (original design manufacturer) from India. It provides advanced engineering, cloud and manufacturing services and works closely with customers and partners to develop and manufacture commercially viable best-in-class products. VVDN's strong partnerships and alliances with various Semi-Conductor Companies like Qualcomm has helped the company develop cutting-edge solutions for customers in various domains, including automotive, IoT, networking, cameras and the industrial space.
Leading this journey is VVDN’s core team with Bhupender as Founder and CEO, Puneet as President –Global Sales, Vivek, President-Engineering and Murali Jayraman, VP-Engineering.
VVDN has an extensive presence in India with branches in Gurgaon, Kochi, Chennai, Bangalore, Noida, Pune, Ahmedabad, Coimbatore. In the US, it is present in four major cities – San Jose, Seattle, Austin and New York. “After setting up VVDN in 2007, the first few years we focused on strengthening our position and expertise as an Embedded Design Service Provider. Having achieved a strong business recall, we began to diversify our offering by adding cloud and mobile app capabilities in 2013 and ODM and manufacturing services in 2015,” says Bhupender
With diversification came fast-paced growth and 2018 saw VVDN expanding its global presence in Germany, Finland, Japan and South Korea. The expansion in Europe and Asia-Pacific region particularly, is of prime importance to the company, both from a business and technology perspective. “VVDN has constantly received positive market reception and has continued to see growing demand in Europe and APAC region for our product engineering and manufacturing capabilities. And we see a lot of local companies depending on talent elsewhere, especially for product development needs. By establishing our presence in these key hubs, we will be able to understand and meet the needs of local companies, enhance global reach for our customers and also tap bigger business opportunities in product engineering, cloud, mobile, manufacturing services,” says Puneet.
An Indian company with manufacturing expertise
Leading a core tech business, meticulously diversifying its offering without diluting its value proposition and tech expertise, has obviously has had its set of challenges. But the biggest challenge was to dispel the perception of India being just a software hub. “When we started out, we had to deal with the misconception that India had talent and expertise only in software. Businesses elsewhere couldn’t fathom that we had ODM capability as well. However, with time and the opportunity to showcase our work, we have been able to overcome this stereotype. Today, our key challenge is that even though we have all the expertise and key capabilities for in-house manufacturing of niche products like IoT Cameras, Trackers, Smart Wearables, Access Points, Automotive and Industrial Products etc., we are still dependent on imported components.” explains Bhupender.
The CEO is all praise for the Indian Government’s drive to encourage design and manufacturing in India through ‘Design in India’ and ‘Make in India’ initiatives, saying “it has had a positive influence for Indian business.” He adds, “In addition, the custom and labour regulations have been eased to make it easy for manufacturers to produce goods in India.” Today, VVDN produces a wide variety of products at its manufacturing unit, which would not have been possible if without a conducive manufacturing environment in India.
IoT is Integral
Even while growing strong on the manufacturing front, VVDN continues to leverage its engineering expertise and develop products across domains, with IoT being a hot area for the company. The 12-year-old company builds end-to-end devices – from sensors to cameras and video doorbells, from trackers to streaming devices from gateways to access points, from cloud to mobile apps. Its unified IoT cloud enables faster and simpler development of new enterprise, industrial and consumer applications.
“From an engineering perspective of building an IoT product, one of the key elements that determines the success is time-to-market. And, to develop these IoT products, we work closely with semi-conductor companies. Their support is vital in helping us take the product to market on time,” says Vivek Bansal, President Engineering.
Here Qualcomm has been that supportive partner for VVDN. VVDN today is working on wide portfolio of product solutions based on Qualcomm Application Processors, Mobile Processors, Modem and Wifi Chipsets. When VVDN released an LTE IoT Security Camera Reference Platform in 2016, it was based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 processor. The IoT Security Camera solution was designed to address a wide array of use cases, including smart homes, smart cities and other commercial applications. The LTE-enabled camera aimed to revolutionise the surveillance business since it could be quickly mounted without requiring cumbersome cabling or Wi-Fi connectivity. The reason why Qualcomm’s technology like the Snapdragon helps manufacturers like VVDN is because it brings scale and proven performance of mobile devices industry to IoT, thereby helping accelerate the development and introduction of exciting new products for this segment.
Qualcomm’s support has not been limited to just providing technology. Mature businesses like VVDN can leverage Qualcomm’s expertise of being a global enabler of Low-Power Wide-Area (LPWA) technologies (like Narrowband-IoT and eMTC) through the Qualcomm Accelerated Design and Cellular IoT Program (ADP). A programme sponsored and executed by Qualcomm Technology Licensing, Qualcomm ADP, was kickstarted to enable its patent licensees fast track development and testing of their IOT and other cellular products. Qualcomm handholds the partners in designing and productising, to cater to India-specific needs, and also provides market push and deployment support through the programme. In addition, Qualcomm also provides chipset platforms, processors and new technologies to the businesses part of the programme. By doing so, Qualcomm is helping niche businesses like VVDN bring to the market commercially-competitive IoT products made in India. This aligns with the founders’ vision to design and manufacture products in India and develop the innovative Make in India product designs in fields like IOT, networking, and cameras.
Validation through expertise and experience
Vinod Kumar, Senior Director Hardware says, “We see a lot of synergy, not only with Qualcomm as a technology partner but also with the Accelerated Design and Cellular IoT Program. We come with strong engineering capabilities. We have already worked with the wireless and networking sector in the past. All this is key for any smart city-related project- which means, with our own expertise as well as that of Qualcomm’s, we are not only able to tap a much bigger market opportunity than ever before but also cut down costs so that the infrastructure is viable for the Indian market. This essentially means that we not only make in India, for India, but also at Indian market price points.”
Explaining how the engagement with Qualcomm adds value even for an experienced player like VVDN, he says, “When you work with Qualcomm, they play a key role in the design and validation phase. Especially during the design phase, they provide feedback on aspects such as schematics, layout, the software architecture, etc. They also play a key role in the validation phase because they have the expertise, and the feedback helps to overcome pitfalls which otherwise can cost a lot of time and effort if addressed at a later stage.”
Qualcomm’s support also helps to make products marketable and sellable, according to Vinod. “We have in-depth discussions with Qualcomm so that they can suggest the right platform for the product, both from a performance and price point perspective. Also, if you look at Qualcomm, be it their infrastructure, their testing labs, especially for newer technologies, including NarrowBand IoT and other related cellular technologies, it is exceptionally advanced. That means you can get products that leverage these new technologies to the market at speed.”
Why the future is now
As smart cities and smart infrastructure become the ‘new present’, as technology becomes more connected than ever before, the digital divide gets smaller by the day, and with the domestic manufacturing environment getting a much-needed push from the ecosystem, economic and social transformations will gain pace. From a business perspective, for organizations like VVDN, the growth opportunity is exciting. “With our efficient manufacturing coupled with a robust network of supply partners and VVDN’s product expertise, we will be able to help our customers produce IoT products at unbeatable price and at speed,” says Murali.
The first two months of 2019 have already indicated what this growth potential can translate into. In January2019, VVDN expanded its base to Canada. It has begun working on innovative technologies in AI, ML and Analytics.
Partnering with Xilinx, the leader in adaptive and intelligent computing, VVDN unveiled the Irya-SmartNIC solution at Mobile World Congress 2019. This new solution has been designed to help accelerate functions such as virtual switching, security and compute for dynamic workloads in the cloud-connected infrastructure.
The founders say that the convergence of IoT and Intelligent Analytics and the need for it, is opening up a lot of new opportunities. “VVDN will continue to focus on its proven Engineering Design and Manufacturing capabilities while foraying into the next generation technologies like 5G, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Pioneering the Govt. of India’s Make in India campaign, VVDN Technologies is all set to disrupt the Technology Sector in India with its unique standing and capabilities in the industry,” says Bhupender with confidence.