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Planet NI: Encouraging innovation in India

Posted: 23 Jul 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:LabView? software? SME?

Inspired by Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus, National Instruments (NI) has embarked on a new path to give away at a discounted price its LabView software to engineers and small and medium businesses seeking to scale up an enterprise for the benefit of society.

The initiative, Planet NI, (where NI stands for Nurturing Innovation), conceived at its Austin, Texas headquarters, has had a bigger impact in India, where the second highest number of small and medium businesses are found.

Victor Mieres, VP of sales, NI (Asia) said: "Even before this initiative was thought of and a framework was created, the India center has been going an extra mile to reach out small to medium enterprises (SMEs) that wanted to adopt our technology in their units, with innovative financing deals.

"We do realize that our tools are not affordable by many units and if there are some companies and engineers who are interested in helping to fix many ills in the society to make the world a better place, we would like to help them," he added.

Building alliances
Earlier, the India center was actively working with SMEs as their alliance partners and working out ways to enable them to buy the software through bank loans and leases. Now, with Planet NI, the software would be made freely available to those who can prove that they would use it for the benefit of the underprivileged.

"We have been working with a number of SMEs, which primarily started off as a one-man unit and have now become bigger companies," said Jayaram Pillai, managing director, India, Russia and Arabia, NI.

Some of the SMEs include Chennai-based Apna Technologies and Solutions, Optimized Solutions in Ahmedabad in north India (each with about 20 engineers). Bangalore-based Captronics Systems has scaled up to 100 employees.

A number of small machine builders in India, such as Krisam Automation in Bangalore, Ack Machines and Tools, Chennai, Raj Machines and Tools, Rajkot and Vib Mon Instruments, Pune, have also worked out ways to use NI's software and increase their productivity.

With a strong grounding on how to tackle the SME segment, NI is also setting up a foundation where it expects other companies and engineers to join in and work out ways to improve the life of the underprivileged.

"We realize that we have a responsibility to our shareholders and we recognize as well our responsibility to our fellowmen or those two billion people out there who would like to have a better life," Mieres stressed.

- Sufia Tippu
EE Times

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