Cientra CEO Anil Kempanna on Innovation in Semiconductors and Beyond

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In an insightful interview with TimesTech, Anil Kempanna, CEO of Cientra, discusses his extensive experience in the semiconductor industry, the company’s strategic focus on automotive, telecom, and embedded software sectors, and how Cientra is positioning itself for future breakthroughs in these dynamic fields.

Read the full interview here:

TimesTech: With your extensive background in semiconductor and product development, what led you to take on the role of CEO at Cientra, and how do your past experiences shape your approach to leadership in the company?

Mr Anil: With three decades of experience in the semiconductor industry, I have successfully delivered over 65 products in various market segments, including Intelligent Edge Computing, Personal Computing, IoT, and smartphones. I have worked at Intel, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, Cadence, and Ensemble Communications, a fixed broadband wireless startup.

In my role as Vice President and General Manager at Intel, I led Silicon Product Development for Network, Edge Group, and other business groups. These state-of-the-art technology products in AI and Smart Edge drive differentiated use cases and features, impacting significant revenue for the company. In less than 4.5 years, as part of driving corporate-level transformation strategies, I was instrumental in surfacing problem statements and driving solutions with Velocity across teams worldwide for multiple programs that significantly reduced time-to-market.

Technology and businesses are evolving in today’s dynamic environment as the shift to innovative products, solutions, and experiences accelerates. Cientra’s robust growth trajectory and ongoing business opportunities demonstrate the resilience of demand for the company’s product solutions which motivated me to take on this new role and responsibility to lead the organization with a rich legacy of many ‘technology firsts’ built on a strong foundation of values. As the CEO of Cientra, I also have the responsibility of growing the business by expanding global operations to accelerate the company’s growth and showcase ourselves as the best technology partner for customers.

TimesTech: Cientra operates across multiple sectors, including semiconductors, automotive, telecom, and embedded software. How do these sectors intersect within Cientra’s operations, and what strategies do you employ to navigate their complexities

Mr Anil: At Cientra, our operations span multiple sectors, including semiconductors, automotive, telecom, and embedded software. These sectors synergistically intersect within our company, enabling us to leverage our expertise and resources to deliver comprehensive solutions.

The intersection of these sectors within Cientra’s operations occurs in several key areas:

Integrated Solutions: Our ability to integrate semiconductor technology with automotive, telecom, and embedded software applications allows us to create innovative, end-to-end solutions. For example, in the automotive sector, our semiconductor expertise is crucial for developing advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) and infotainment systems that rely on sophisticated embedded software.

Cross-Disciplinary Expertise: Our team consists of professionals with diverse backgrounds across these sectors, fostering a collaborative environment where cross-disciplinary expertise leads to unique insights and problem-solving capabilities. This collaboration ensures that we stay at the forefront of technological advancements and can quickly adapt to industry changes.

Shared Technological Foundations: Many of the technologies and methodologies we use are applicable across multiple sectors. For instance, advancements in semiconductor technology often drive innovation in telecom and embedded systems, creating a natural overlap in our operations. This shared foundation helps us maintain consistency and efficiency in our projects.

To navigate the complexities of operating across these diverse sectors, we employ several strategies:

Focused R&D Investment: We invest heavily in research and development to stay ahead of technological trends and foster innovation across all sectors. This investment ensures that we can develop cutting-edge solutions that meet the evolving needs of our clients.

Strategic Partnerships: We form strategic partnerships with key players in each sector to enhance our capabilities and expand our reach. These collaborations enable us to combine our strengths with those of our partners, resulting in more robust and comprehensive solutions for our clients.

Customer-Centric Approach: Understanding our client’s specific needs and challenges in each sector is paramount.We prioritize building strong relationships with our clients and tailoring our solutions to meet their unique requirements. This customer-centric approach ensures that we deliver maximum value and maintain long-term partnerships.

TimesTech: Cientra’s patented IPs are a key differentiator, enabling bespoke solutions for clients. Can you share a specific instance where these IPs played a pivotal role in delivering innovative solutions and contributed to Cientra’s competitive edge?

Mr Anil: Cientra IPs and VIPs have given the best solutions to build the most complex CPU SOC Designs for our Automotive Semiconductor customers.

TimesTech: What do you foresee as the next major breakthroughs in the automotive and telecom industries, and how is Cientra positioning itself to capitalize on these emerging trends?

Mr Anil: The automotive and telecom industries are on the cusp of significant breakthroughs that promise to revolutionize the way we live and work. At Cientra, we are closely monitoring these trends and positioning ourselves to be at the forefront of innovation in both sectors.

The automotive industry is likely to witness future breakthroughs in the following areas:

Autonomous Vehicles: The continued development of autonomous driving technology is expected to transform mobility. Advances in sensors, artificial intelligence, and machine learning will make fully autonomous vehicles a reality.

Electric Vehicles (EVs): The shift towards sustainable transportation will accelerate with advancements in battery technology, energy management systems, and charging infrastructure. Enhanced energy efficiency and longer driving ranges will make EVs more accessible and practical for consumers.

Connected Cars: The integration of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies will enable vehicles to communicate with each other and with infrastructure, leading to safer and more efficient transportation systems. This connectivity will also enhance in-car experiences with advanced infotainment and telematics.

In the telecom industry, we anticipate breakthroughs in:

5G and Beyond: The rollout of 5G networks is just the beginning. Future generations of wireless technology will bring even higher speeds, lower latency, and greater capacity, supporting a wide range of applications from smart cities to advanced manufacturing.

Edge Computing: As data processing moves closer to the source of data generation, edge computing will become critical. This will enable real-time data analysis and decision-making, crucial for applications like autonomous driving and industrial IoT.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: AI and ML will play a pivotal role in optimizing network performance, enhancing cybersecurity, and providing personalized services to consumers and enterprises.

To capitalize on these emerging trends, Cientra is employing several strategic initiatives:

Innovation and R&D: We are investing heavily in research and development to pioneer new technologies in autonomous driving, electric vehicles, and connected car ecosystems. Our dedicated teams are working on cutting-edge projects that push the boundaries of what’s possible.

Strategic Collaborations: We are forming partnerships with industry leaders, academic institutions, and startups to co-develop innovative solutions. These collaborations allow us to leverage the latest research and technologies and bring them to market faster.

Talent Development: We are committed to attracting and retaining top talent with expertise in AI, ML, IoT, and other critical areas. By building a team of highly skilled professionals, we ensure that we can drive forward-thinking projects.

Customer-Centric Solutions: We are working closely with our clients to understand their evolving needs and to develop tailored solutions that meet their specific requirements. Our customer-centric approach ensures that we deliver maximum value and stay ahead of industry demands.

TimesTech: Could you highlight a notable case study or success story that exemplifies Cientra’s impact on a client’s business, showcasing the challenges overcome and the innovative solutions provided

Mr Anil: Cientra handled complete System & Software end-to-end Lighting Management Solutions for a Semiconductor Manufacturer based outside India. The team was able to address several challenges encompassing several topics in Technical, Process, Methods, and Tools jointly with the Customer.

Below is an extract:

  • Memory footprint limitation for imbibing complete solution
  • Optimization logic to address memory space constraints
  • Ease for FAE application in selecting various Lighting patterns
  • Enablement for Customer to visualize using Simulator before Vehicle Integration
  • ASPICE – System and Software adherence
  • Functional Safety – ASIL B adherence
  • Distributed Team of Customer Coordinators spread geographically

Cientra is proud to claim we were part of this esteemed journey to address and excel above Customer requirements and enable the timely rollout of the product in the field. One other feather in the cap was Cientra Team to claim high Quality of deliverables which increased Customer confidence in the series launch.

TimesTech: Looking ahead, what new-age product solutions and innovations can we expect from Cientra? Are there any particular areas of focus or upcoming projects that you’re particularly enthusiastic about?

Mr Anil: Cientra is at the forefront of developing new-age product solutions and innovations across multiple domains. Our focus on advanced driver assistance systems, electric vehicle technologies, 5G, embedded software, AI, and cybersecurity positions us to lead in these rapidly evolving fields. We have currently developed an IoT security solution AADI, which converts non-5g IoT to 5G devices without upgrading hardware – and this solution comes with a host of advantages and opportunities for telecom operators, IoT suppliers, and IoT end users.

Advantages of AADI

For OperatorsFor IOT SuppliersFor End IOT Consumer
1. eSIM cards sales to all IOTs (every device)
2. Save gNB cost, Centralized only a few gNB for Nation
3. Can go with an aggressive eSIM pricing strategy
4. Utilize Fiber broadband and recover Fiber investment
5. Ensure growth by influencing eSIM compulsory for Authenticated IOT Security through Govt  
1.Become compliant with 5G IOT Tenders and Propose
2. Save cost, No need to upgrade RF/Radio or Stack/chipset upgrade.
3. Save cost, no need to equip devices with SIM card/UICC slots
4. IoTs become capable of SMS/broadcast sending/ receiving  
1. Save cost on 5G upgrade for IOT
2. Build your own private 5G Network with a very small investment
3. Secure all devices with 5G standard authentication and security
4. Single Dashboard monitoring of multiple Vendor