Samsung is a well-known name in India, but few people know that it is also conducting research and development activities in India. Since July 2018, the company even has the world’s largest mobile factory in India. Its R&D department in India was also established. This work was carried out under the leadership of Dipesh Shah, Managing Director of India’s Samsung-Bangalore Research and Development Center (SRI-B).
Shah started working at Samsung in 1996. He joined the company and became its first R&D staff in India. The 50-year-old engineer initially worked on solutions that included telephone switching software, which helped companies build call centers by connecting PCs with private branch exchanges (PBX). Today, the R&D center has participated in product development such as Samsung Electronics. The artificial intelligence assistant Bixby hopes to integrate with Alexa and Siri.
Over time, Shah worked with other engineers and researchers to build SRI-B as a key source for Samsung’s newer artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G experiences.
The R&D Center was established in February 2016. It is a small office currently distributed in an area of more than 600,000 square feet. It is also the center for the introduction of products, including AltZLife, which introduced a system-wide feature called privacy last year in Galaxy A51 and Galaxy On A71. It is also the place to help Samsung upgrade its voice intelligence on Bixby and make it a compelling assistant against Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple’s Siri.
Shah told Gadget 360 on the phone: “When we stand here 25 years from now, we think the next five years will be more exciting because a lot of things will happen in India.” Consumer lifestyles are changing, new technologies Trends, new infrastructure, AI-ML, cloud and 5G are about to enter our country. Therefore, we refer to this stage as “powering digital India” through updated research and development. “
Samsung’s Bengaluru R&D Center is one of its 30 R&D centers around the world, but it is particularly committed to developing solutions for four areas, namely wireless communications, image processing, visual artificial intelligence, voice and text related technologies, and IoT.
Shah had a conversation with Advertisement Shout for more than half an hour, detailing Samsung’s expansion in the past 25 years and his experience as the country’s first R&D personnel. These are excerpts from the conversation.
How has Samsung’s R&D work in India developed in the past 25 years?
If I look back at storage channels, our software-based R&D in India has four different stages. The first stage was between 1996 and 2000, when we hired talented Indian engineers and were led by a Korean global project or technology leader. The local service ecosystem also provided us with very appropriate assistance, when our main partners helped us quickly expand our projects globally. Then there is a stage between 2000 and 2012, which we call the solution-oriented research and development stage. At that time, Bangalore developed many of the world’s first solutions. For example, Samsung uses the LTE voice technology developed by Bangalore and is deployed in its network by Jio. We have also carried out some research and development of mobile space in Bangalore since 2000. Then we entered a stage, which we call the reconstruction stage. It happened between 2012 and 2015. During those three years, we changed from a team called Samsung India Software Operations to a mature research center. It became Samsung Research India in Bangalore, India in 2012. Since 2015, in the last five years since I led the center, we called it the advanced R&D center stage, where we established a wireless communication and image center of excellence. Processing, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things.
So far, what added value has India brought to Samsung?
I can humbly say that India has played a very important role in Samsung’s R&D capabilities. This is the reason why the company has chosen SRI-B as the country’s largest software research and development center. If you choose any Galaxy smartphone and look at the camera, then Bangalore Center offers many image processing technologies. English speech recognition on Bixby was also developed by Bangalore. A large part of Samsung’s SmartThings application has also been built locally.
In Samsung’s R&D center, patent applications have become a trend. Is it just to increase the company’s position in the field of design and innovation, or to help researchers protect the intellectual property they develop?
Between the three R&D centers alone, our Indian engineers have applied for more than 3,000 patents. Therefore, you need to establish a rhythm in the company to create intellectual property. It is different from the software development life cycle. You need a separate process of inspiring and filtering the intersection. Strengthening patent culture requires more research capabilities. Not only mature companies, but even students, even while in college, should begin to focus on intellectual property. This is where we work next.
Does the Indian patent application process pose a challenge to the global market?
I have never heard of any delayed upgrade process. Therefore, it looks well-oiled. You only need the right people and talents in the company to understand and guide you through the process.
What are the most famous patents that Samsung researchers in India have applied for?
There are many. But some patents are very close to me. As early as 1996, there was one associated with our mobile tracker technology. If you lose your phone and someone takes it and replaces the SIM card, this technology will trigger the system to send an automatically generated SMS message to your registration number, saying that your phone is currently using the phone with this particular SIM card . This helps to track several cell phones in the country. Recently, if you enter the gallery of a Samsung phone, we will automatically organize the pictures. When you search by person, this can help you show all the faces in the photo. The technology has also been patented from the Bangalore team. There are many patents on battery life, LTE voice and wireless communication.
What makes India an ideal place for companies including Samsung to build new AI and ML systems?
I am very confident of India’s outstanding performance in AI and ML. There are four reasons for this. One is fundamentally speaking about mathematics, and Indian engineers have always been excellent in mathematics. The second is that you need an appropriate amount of data to train your machine learning model. If you work in the right company and have the right process in place, you can get the right data in that country to train your AI model. The third is the fact that many AIs are open source, which means that whether you are sitting in Silicon Valley or in Bangalore, you will have equal access to models and information technology. The fourth point is to focus on large companies to develop their AI capabilities in India.
In the past few years, I have seen many big people move from one company to another. What made you insist on using Samsung for 25 years?
One sentence is very exciting, because I have experienced many things in the same company. I think this is my first experience with Samsung forever. The first time I went to Korea, I only had two years of experience in India. In the first three months, I wrote device driver software. A French company also provides driver software with its own chip. But in a certain way, my software can work better with this chip, and my boss trusted it and chose the chip developed by this French company. The trust in two years of experience tells a lot. We also run a rescaling program for all engineers so that they can learn computer science from the basics. Therefore, focusing on talent development and investing in talent development is what keeps me here, and it may continue to exist in the next few years.
What are the main developments currently underway at the Bangalore R&D Center?
If you break down AI, you will get visual AI and voice technology. Visual AI means that you can use the camera to help you understand the world around you, not just capture it. That is the visual technology we are studying. Another development is to allow you to take full advantage of the features of your phone. The current constraint is the user interface. It is a hierarchical structure based on menus, and you have to go three to four levels deep to access certain functions. Therefore, entering the voice interface of the phone will break the hierarchical structure of the user interface menu. We also have galactic intelligence. It already allows you to seamlessly enter a one-time password (OTP) from the keyboard area without having to access the SMS application. In the future, our focus areas will develop in the direction of creating new experiences in which multiple devices will talk to each other, making your life more automated and relaxing, allowing you to focus more on creativity.
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