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July 2010 | Volume 2/Number 4
Feature Story

MindTree Grows in New Directions

Helps TEMs Build Products So They Can Focus on Services

By Paula Bernier (News - Alert)

The big communications infrastructure providers like Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert) and Cisco Systems Inc. have been talking so much about their services lately that when engineering outfit MindTree recently told me about its plans to transition from services to products, I mentioned that it was going against the industry trend. But, as it turns out, this MindTree strategy actually makes perfect sense, given the firm is helping provide such companies with the components and white-label products they need to bring new offers to market more quickly and affordably.

"Companies like Alcatel-Lucent today, for example, they are basically saying that ‘we don't necessarily have to design all the products which we need to sell in the market,'" says Anup Mehta, vice president and head of MindTree's network and storage systems business. "So they are looking for companies like MindTree to essentially provide complete product engineering solutions."

MindTree offers what it calls "outsourced product realization" to several companies, building products, sub-systems and/or turnkey solutions in the areas of retail and SOHO equipment, enterprise equipment, broadband access and mobile infrastructure products, carrier backbone infrastructure equipment and technology providers, according to the company's Web site.
However, Mehta groups MindTree's activities into the following five businesses: networking storage, which he runs; the consumer business, which focuses on handsets and other gear; infrastructure technologies for business verticals; an effort that serves large ISVs like Google and Microsoft; and a relatively new effort that was initiated with MindTree's recent purchase of the Bangalore, India-based part of Kyocera (News - Alert) Wireless.

"Our service offerings start from the chip level to cloud level," says Sandeep Agarwal, general manager of MindTree's communications industry group, which focuses on residential gateways, enterprise Wi-Fi, and wireless infrastructure including WiMAX and LTE (News - Alert) base stations.

In addition to Alcatel-Lucent and Cisco, MindTree clients include chip maker Broadcom; RadiSys, which sells blades, boards and cards for a variety of applications, including servers; Sanmina-SCI, which outsources manufacturing for OEMs; and security solutions provider Symantec (News - Alert).

While MindTree declines to disclose the name of the customer, it says it recently took complete ownership of the gateway security product for a U.S.-based company. That allowed the client company to focus its resources on other core and next-generation activities, saving about a third of the costs related to the gateway security product in the process, according to MindTree.

In early May, MindTree unveiled at IFSEC 2010 in Birmingham, U.K., a large portfolio of what it calls "ready-to-brand video surveillance solutions" that will allow OEMs, systems integrators and distributors to enrich their existing portfolios. Those solutions will consist of a surveillance manager, a suite of video analytics solutions, a video encoder, video decoder and digital video recorder.

"MindTree's R&D Services has been helping technology companies globally with product realization for more than 10 years. We have made significant investment in creating intellectual properties that are leveraged by our customers to accelerate the time to market for their products," says MindTree President and CEO - R&D Services Vinod Deshmukh. "Our Video Surveillance suite of ready-to-brand solutions can be quickly taken to market with appropriate customization. This launch by MindTree is the next step in meeting the product needs of our target market, further strengthening our position as a premier provider of product realization solutions and services."

Mehta says about 90 percent of MindTree's revenues currently come from engineering services, but it's transitioning to move a broader share of its income to delivering products.

Cellular handsets appear to be one of the key product categories that will help MindTree make that transition.

In October of last year, the company announced its entry into the business of developing Ready-to-Brand, or R2B, as MindTree calls it, mobile handsets. The autumn announcement also included the launch of MindTree's N!Mo (Next in Mobility) business, which is led by Samartha Raghava Nagabhushanam as president and CEO, and is part of the company's product engineering services group.

As noted above, MindTree formed the foundation of its white-label cellular handset business with its recent acquisition of Kyocera Wireless (News - Alert) India. That deal was announced in late September of last year. KWI already has delivered 45 million wireless phones and, according to MindTree, has extensive experience in 4G technologies such as WiMAX and LTE.

Noting plans for Android (News - Alert)-based handsets, Mehta says that MindTree is focusing on design and user experience with its white-labeled cellular handset effort, about which it expects to disclose more details later this year. He adds that India is one of the highest- growth markets for cellular, which gives MindTree (a global company, which has headquarters in both Bangalore, India, and Warren, N.J.) an advantage in understanding what users want and need.

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