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Shelley Gretlein (left), Vice President—Corporate Marketing, National Instruments and Jayaram Pillai (right), Managing Director – IndRA, National Instruments

Image: NI

NIDays 2017 “Building a strong partner ecosystem”

Jan 1, 2018

Shelley Gretlein, Vice President—Corporate Marketing, National Instruments and Jayaram Pillai, Managing Director – IndRA, National Instruments, in this interaction with Maria Jerin, discuss the latest offerings of the NI platform, while exploring the latest automation technologies across industries. Excerpts…

NIDays 2017 witnessed the launch of LabVIEW 2017 and LabVIEW NXG 1.0? What is the difference between them? What is the objective of bringing in LabVIEW NXG 1.0?

Gretlein: Theoretically, there is no difference between LabVIEW 2017 and LabVIEW NXG 1.0. Both are graphical programming language. We want to give our customers latest capabilities like cloud services, modern editor interactions, vector-based graphics and built-in web technologies. Since, it was a very challenging task for our developers to build these capabilities on the old environment, we started building it in a new development environment, based on the latest generation of tools. LabVIEW NXG is the next generation of LabVIEW, but the 1.0 release contains only a subset of features and hardware support currently available in LabVIEW 2017. From the user perspective, they can work on both the versions side-by-side that share the same complier engine. We will be maintaining both the versions with regular updates so that we don’t want to force any of our customers to use the next gen version and also we don’t want any of our customers to leave behind in technological advancement.

NI Trend Watch 2018 explores automating systems with machine learning? Is machine learning the beginning of Artificial Intelligence?

Gretlein: Yes, all of these technologies like Artificial Intelligence, virtual reality and machine learning are linked together. For us, AI is very much a research project. In machine learning, we have a tool kit that is commercially available today. Based on the historical analysis of data, machines can make decisions but how much accurate and reliable is the issue we have to sort out before we could make it as a commercial product.

What are the developments around autonomous vehicles and electric cars globally, and in the Indian industry?

Pillai: Currently in India, we are seeing companies doing research around the autonomous vehicle. In terms of electric vehicles, we see initiatives around battery and also activities from the government’s end. On a global perspective, the trend is going more towards assisted driving and also some amount of autonomous driving.

Gretlein: Right now, many electric and hybrid vehicles are coming into the fleet. The other trend is around software-centric vehicles. For example, companies like Tesla are improving its vehicle’s feature regularly over the air by allowing the owners to download the latest software updates.

Can you highlight some of the recent application usages of NI’s platform in the automotive and process industry in India?

Pillai: Infotainment system is changing in the automotive industry in recent years. It has become the centre of vehicle with features like touchscreen, apps, television broadcast, radio station, etc. These systems can be developed in a lab or resource centre complying to different standards from different countries. While developing you need to have signals that are coming into this system that simulates the conditions in which they operate. In India, we are helping the companies, who are actively involved in the development of infotainment system.

In the process automation industry, we are bringing automation to measurements. Our platform can measure and also automate the measurements. Machine vision is a good example wherein it takes the picture, analyse it and at some point of time it checks and automate the process.

How has been the growth and progress of your partner ecosystem in India and globally?

Gretlein: We serve 35000 customers globally; out of these customers, 53% of certified users are our partners. We measure the strength of our partner ecosystem in terms of the quality and not in terms of the numbers.

Pillai: We identify our partners based on their competency, proficiency in using our tools and their expertise in respective domain like aerospace, defence, automotive, etc. In India, currently there are about 26 partners. Our NI Alliance programme is the well-managed partner programme particularly in the test & measurement industry.

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