Thursday, January 5, 2017

Hardware Resurgence

Software has been the talk of the town. Be it Artificial Intelligence, Big Data or Software defined hardware. The value addition in various products/services has been increasingly coming from software. Companies are keen to give their business a digital boost. Hardware has been treated all along as commodity. Value creation came via software on top of hardware. Even in IoT applications, hardware has been treated as a sidekick at best.
Recently the Hardware is seem to be making a comeback. The various software and its platforms are all there. But more and more technology applications/usecases require sophisticated hardware to enable them. We need hardware which are processor + storage + sensor + self-powered + small form-factor to enable next gen applications of IoT. We need more capable VR hardware to enhance user experience and convenience. We need flexible hardware to do faster prototyping. We need hardware flexibility in datacenters to switch roles between storage, CPU and GPU as per demand. Other disruptive real-world hardware technologies on the anvil are morphing structures, self assembling structures, exoskeletons, printed electronics, structural batteries and lot more.
Hardware development is capital extensive. Unlike Silicon Valley, not all startup ecosystems are able to support it. India startup ecosystem is on cusp of maturing with big hardware players like Intel and Bosch stepping in to nurture hardware startups. The Open Source Hardware, On-demand fabrication and the Maker movement will provide further impetus to hardware startups. On other end, cutting edge hardware research in universities/institutes will find its way into more real-world applications through spin-offs and incubated startups.

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