February 16, '09; BANGALORE: The annual Vision Summit of the Indian Semiconductor Association (ISA) which opened in Bangalore today sent an interesting message by the very sessions and speakers it featured across the 2-day calendar: gone were euphoricc references to fabs, foundries and a domestic silicon industry. Clearly, four years after a few players mooted the idea, a significant India-based silicon fab has begun to sound less and less realistic -- in an environment where even existing captive fabs of the chip making majors were being hived off every other month.
Instead, the conference focussed on more domestically relevant areas like embedded software opportunities; solar energy technologies and the way to attract venture capital. New players in the Solar Photo Voltaic (SPV) space like Moser Baer as well as established entitities like Tata BP Solar, will be joined, Tuesday, by SolarPlaza, an SPV portal, as well as experts from UK to examine how to meet India's projected demand of $ 1.25 trillion in the energy sector. A key session, Monday, dealt with domestic opportunities with industry players like Nokia , GE Healthcare and Automotive Infotronics explaining how their own neck of the semicon woods could address the 250 million strong Indian consumer market ... and held somewhat assuage a the pains of the global recession.
Guest of Honour, Dr V. S. Arunachalam was therefore an interesting choice: a distinguished material sciences scientist, former Defence R&D Chief and Carnegie Mellon professor. He reminded the audience that the industry should look beyond solar sources of energy like photo voltaics -- to devices like LEDS which promised to provide a huge domestic market. West Bengal IT Minister ( another former technology academic) asked the semicon industry to emulate Texas Instruments, which was collaborating with IIT Kharagpur in exploring new medical applications.
Keynoter Nandan Nilekani, Co-Chairman of Infosys pointed to the "trishul" of vectors -- communications, healthcare and energy as apt targets for the ingenuity of the semicon industry.