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Agilent preps global hub for wireless ops

Posted: 16 Feb 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:agilent? wireless systems operations? wso?

Connection is crucial to wireless communications in the same way that it is essential to businesses. To be on top of the wireless foodchain, close proximity to clients is a must. Agilent is doing just that, making Singapore and Malaysia the global hub for its Wireless Systems Operations (WSO).

"Asia continues to be the center of most of the semiconductor and electronic activities. This centralization will bring many advantages in terms of procurement, operation and dealing with contractors," said Amir Aghdaei, VP and GM of Agilent's WSO business unit.

By establishing centers in Singapore and Malaysia, Agilent expects to meet the needs of its customers through the capabilities of both countries.

"Over 50 percent of our test and measurement products are already being built and shipped out of Penang. Building on that capability of 1,500 people, Malaysia was an easy choice to make. Singapore, meanwhile, is a hub for doing business in Asia. The government is attracting wireless R&D applications into the country. Efforts made by the Singapore Economic Development Board and the wireless community, to name a few, are factors for us to also select Singapore," said Aghdaei.

Agilent has started shifting some of its operations from the United States to Malaysia, developing knowledge expertise and adding more engineers in Penang.

"A lot of our back office, order fulfillment and manufacturing capabilities have moved to Penang. We have about 50 engineers in Penang, most of which were additions over the last six months. Starting with the back office and infrastructure there, we have resources distributed throughout Asia: Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China and India."

Hotspot indeed

Aghdaei sees three major trends in the market. One is supply-chain fragmentation, which is similar to the PC industry trend in the early '80s. The fragmentation of the supply chain from design to contract manufacturing is happening at a much faster rate in the wireless industry, especially in the handsets.

Another trend is the growth in the number of subscribers. In India, the number of wireless users exceeds the number of landline users. Meanwhile, the number of subscribers in China has long surpassed the United States.

"The next billion users come in the next three to five years, especially in countries such as India, China, Brazil, Russia etc. The demand of these new users will be different from the first 1 billion users located in Singapore, Hong Kong, Western Europe and America. The kind of capabilities they need, with mobility as key driver, will focus more on cost and coverage."

The third trend evolves around innovation. Wireless communications will change the way we do business such as paying tolls, doing inventories and in healthcare, security etc. in the next few years.

"Innovation is happening everywhere. Bangalore is becoming more of an R&D center and Southern China as the contract manufacturing capital. More and more ODMs are starting up in Taiwan, while Singapore continues to invest in next-generation wireless. The move to Malaysia and Singapore would in turn make us closer to areas where innovations are being made, work with these innovators, and make these things happen much faster," he said.

The wireless market is indeed moving rapidly. New standards are being introduced and new money is coming from venture capitals.

"Wireless communications is a $580-billion market. Being close to where next-generation networks will be built allows you to tap into that opportunity," Aghdaei said.

- Denice Cabel

Electronic Engineering TimesAsia

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