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The RDK Podcast is back with the first episode of 2022! 🎉

In this episode, Jamie sits down with the head of practice of RDK and Gateways at Tata Elxsi, Pret Joseph!

Tata Elxsi is amongst the world’s leading providers of design and technology services across industries including Automotive, Broadcast, Communications, Healthcare, and Transportation. Today, Pret explains how Tata Elxsi is helping to shape the RDK community and gives his top tips to adapting an RDK service or product.

Jamie 0:34
Hello, and welcome to the RDK podcast. I’m your host Jamie Walker. And today I’m joined by the brilliant Pret  Joseph, the head of practice of RDK and gateways at Tata Elxsi. Pleasure to have you here today Pret the first episode of 2022 How you doing?

Pret 0:53
Doing good Jamie Pleasure to meet you also very happy new year to you and all the viewers

Jamie 0:58
that have been I’ve been really excited to have you on as a guest and get talking about your involvement. So let’s jump straight into this show he tell us a little bit about yourself and your background with Tata Elxsi.

Pret 1:12
Yeah, I started my carrier around 30 years back and primarily working in telecom and media domain. In fact, I started with a 50 bits per second telex machine. I worked on the access edge and core of the network in both routing and switching and don’t the media industry. My assignments were primarily in the technology front end management front joined data lakes around six years back and was responsible for one of the award winning products of data lakes, the the Falcon I, that complete multi screen testing solution, you can test the complete play out for the set of boxes, the mobiles or any of the any you name the device, it will test DVS anything. And the best part of the product was the quality of experience there especially which is relevant in the IP transmission. So I took charge of the RDK practice around five years back and today, my team and I work together with customers to help them rollout RDK base CPS and other CPS. That’s what I do. That’s my background.

Jamie 2:15
Wow. Wow. So deep career and technology. Right. And I guess, I guess for anybody who’s who’s listening, or watching right now, I’m not familiar with Tatta give us a sort of an explanation of what guys do and where you sit.

Pret 2:33
Yeah, so Tata Elxsi is one of world’s leading provider of technology and the same services across industries we operate him. We operate in the media and communications, vertical transportation and automotive and healthcare. We also have an award winning design services we are media division has been established for 30 years back and we are catering to telecom and cable operators, studios, broadcasters, OEMs, and silicon mentors. And we have products and solutions to cater to these industry verticals to complement our services. So that’s in their brief about delicacy.

Jamie 3:10
So obviously, I I know personally, a lot of the engineers that I work with work hand in hand with with with your engineers as well. The feedback is always incredibly positive. The the environment that you create for engineers to grow in right, but we’ll probably touch on that later. But Tata Alexei, made a considerable contribution towards excelling in RDK. Can you tell us how Tatas journey and RDK started?

Pret 3:42
Yeah, we started this journey in 2012. We started working with Comcast and Comcast adopted advocate, mainly on the video friend. And ever since we started working, we have been contributing to the RTM and the community ever since it was formed. It we started with RDK video, and later moved on to RDK broadbands from its inception. Today, we work with operators OEMs and souqs. On both RDK broadband and RDK video. based outside Comcast, we started our journey by implementing AdvoCare for a particular base plating operator, and both on RDK broadband as well as on RDK video based on the experience he gained. And it has been a successful implementation. And we also found that RDK is bound to grow. So we started making investments in advocate. And this was mainly aimed at shortening the time to market lowering the costs and also focus on solutions focus on solutions and accelerators around advocate.

Jamie 4:42
Okay, okay. So your involvement stems deeply, as you said, right, I’m involved with Comcast from back in 2012, I guess. How do you engage with customers recently and what have been the The changes you have brought to our DK as as a platform. Can you give us some more details on that?

Pret 5:06
Sure. See, as I told you, like we work with operators, we work with OEMs. And we also work with the Sox or adek implementation. And today we engagement or we engage, or we do an end to end engagement with customers. So it starts with the consultancy. The consultancy will be mainly on the features the effort and timelines, we decided like the finalists, the set of features which are required for an advanced video platform or a video platform or adequate broadband platform. And we also arrive at the effort which is because it has got an impact on the cost. And we also decide upon the indicated timelines, what will be the engineering time what will be the release time, and how many additional platform how additional platforms can be induced and all those things. And once it is planned, we move on to the system integration phase where we start adding features which are very specific to the operators. And also, once the this is over, we start moving into the deployment scenario where it will be the interoperability, testing, acceptance testing, and also the PL trial support everything. And once it is done, we move into the deployment, the post deployment phase.

So post deployment phase, we mainly focus on the maintenance of the code as well as the defect fixing new feature introduction. And also there are a set of solutions where we monitor and manage the failed deployment. So it means like we have an end to end offering inadequate. And see we try to add value to the customer through accelerated deployments, lower cost, and also through specific solutions which fit RDK. And also like this, we have been working on RDK for long. So we bring in processes which are, which are best for RDK. For example, like with our unified development model, we are able to deploy multiple platforms for multiple countries for the same customer using them using a single code base. And that’s a lot of unbundled because he felt if it comes, you fix it once and it is it’s fixed everywhere. And we also have the Scaled Agile Model, which is specifically adapted for our decay. So that’s a it’s a process improvements, which we bring in which which we help customers. And also we tell the customers like move away from the legacy. So it’s like RDK, he said platform we always say that sciatica is a platform than a set of boxes. So a platform, what it does is it actually takes the data derives meaningful information which can be used for for the for maybe for monitoring the customer experience or for monitoring, that whatever issues are coming in the field. So use this data, use it for evaluating the experience, improve the experience, or use it for OPEX reduction. So that is the platform you have advocate. And today, we work with the vision for on the broadband front, it is the premium broadband, where customer experience monetization and opposite protection are the key parameters. And for video, it will be shorter time to market based on the video accelerator platform.

Jamie 8:16
Wow. Wow. So as you said, right, pretty much covering off every aspect that the RDK can offer, especially for the operators and partners that work with in this aspect. I think you were mentioning about your vision for premium broadband, namely around experience monetization and OpEx reduction. Can you explain that a little bit more?

Pret 8:44
Sure. Yeah. So experience is mainly centred around the data. And we have our own product, which is IC X intelligent customer experience platform. And this is based on a set of indexes and data, which can influence the experience. And also it’s basically about measuring and evaluating and suggesting improvement for the experience. Another aspect which we are focusing is on the monetization. So monetization traditionally, broadband has been either on or it has been monetized either on a bandwidth basis or time of usage basis. But what we are aiming is to enhance the revenues for the operators and also enhance value for the customers. So what we believe is broadband will be the centre of home networking. What it means is like all networking services, which are they’re typically for offices that will be available for home. An example will be a printer control. So a customer will be able to select from a book of general controls, or it can select a setup it can set select from a bouquet of fibre services, or it can be services like us where we give more priority to video in the in the evening time or like somebody who is into who enjoys gaming give better bandwidth for gaming. So application based keywords that can be subscribed as a service. Okay. And also, we can provide a UTSA service for monetization. Okay. And all this is based on the data Aleksey service delivery platform and service delivery platform has got two components. One is the cloud, we are the all the applications reside and must use a mobile interface where the customers can select their applications.

And also there is a component inside the gateway. And the beauty of is this is that all the applications are runtime application. So traditionally, if an operator or somebody wanted to deploy an application, it had to be built into the code and you know, the firmware build process is a bit complex, whereas these can be runtime applications, just click a few buttons on your mobile or on your laptop and then the service is deployed. And in turn, these all all these services can be monetized as a pay as you go services. And this will also enable independent providers of firewall of Canada controller, IoT services to provide third party services within an operator’s network and so, it will be a win win situation for the service of third party service providers as well as for the operators and customer will or will be the final beneficiary and another area we are focusing is on the object selection. So, open selection is basically if you look at one of the key reasons for the course to course today is to the person raise the Wi Fi. So, if you can improve the Wi Fi the calls can significantly come down okay. So, what we do is we look at the defect identification, and we use data to find their occurrence, we use the logs to find how they occur, one is like we will be able to turn around the defects faster. Second is we will be able to set the priority. So the priority may be less for a crash whereas like if we find something in selecting let’s say 1000 users that will order higher priority and since it is driven by data, since it has all the logs the fix also becomes easy. And basically like the IC x and the we call it just a smart rise the IC x and the smart right will operate together so that we will be able to achieve the optics reduction and a better fix way better turnaround rate which in turn will enhance the customer experience.

Jamie 12:23
Wow. I guess I guess from from our point of view, focusing on those very different aspects improving the overall customer journey right is obviously going to retain a lot more business for operators even talking about IC X can you give us some more insight into ice ice axe the product as well? Sure,

Pret 12:48
it’s the first of all IC X stands for the intelligent customer experience. And it’s a deployed product and we are monitoring millions of devices using that today. And we I was telling you in the beginning that RDK as a platform, it uses data. So what we do is like we use a lot of data which is provided by the RDK devices, okay. So, therefore, there are a set of data models, there are logs, there are alarms and triggers. And there are telemetry parameters. So, we use all this data correlate them and evaluate the customer experience. So, just to give an example like in a deployment scenario, how we used to handle deployment in the past like used we used to have field trials and then we used to have slabs of deployment 20 202,000 And we used to evaluate the health of a deployment mainly using the call centre that and things like that, whereas what we say is like, derive the data from the device and then use it.

So, it is simple like define a performance index and collect all the details which are related to the performance index, and then start see whether the performance index has gone up for the new release or not. If it has gone up, then it’s good to go in for the next lap of release. Next level of deployment which may be 200 or 2000. And that way, we will be able to have data driven deployments. Another example is we are defined in the IC x itself we have defined a Wi Fi Happiness Index, just to give some parameters which will influence that there is a signal to noise ratio that can be an RSSI and they can be in different parameters or with a band usage. So, when a customer calls and complaints, we can always say that your indifference is high or your RSSI is having a problem. So going for either place your TV more Muria broadband books, so going for a mesh, so that way we will be able to see the problems we will be able to one is practically we’ll be able to identify the problems. Second is reactively. Also we will be able to give suggestions because we are going over the data about what is happening inside the box. And there are features like self provisioning, it can monitor alarm centres and also it can provide data for closer monitoring your face subset of devices somebody says that my bundle services erotic are my video services that I take, then put it in a watch list or monitor those devices with raw data more closely. And again, I six provides a set of dashboards and dashboards and other information to suite to suit any of the business needs.

Jamie 15:21
A say and I think with refining the data, as well, and as you said, right, being able to use that data for continuous deployments and updates as well, consistently improving that user experience again, it’s just another one of the positive impacts. Yes. Thank you, I guess then, given your position, you oversee everything from a high level you’re involved with, with operators, what do you think are the top three things to remember when adapting to RDK as a product or service?

Pret 15:56
Yeah. So first thing is like, we need to have the platform view, which is a paradigm shift of which has been brought in by RT k. So we need to look at the data angle of RT K. And we need to leverage all this data to make significant games, it can be either OPEX reduction, or it can be a faster turnaround for a defect, and it’s all about customer experience. So improve the customer experience using the data. That’s the first thing I would say. And the second I would say is that if anybody is adapting adequate, always be aligned to the community release and contribute back to the community, there are a lot of advantages of contributing back to the community, because next time when we take it, it will be a part of the main build and also once we contribute it, it is going to be used by many, many operators or many partners. And if there are any, any defects or anything like that, it is highly likely that that is found and that is resolved. And the third and again, another important point is use the services of a CSUN system integrated like that, Aleksey and we bring in the experience the processes, which will reduce the risk and also the project can be managed within the timeline and within the cost Okay, and also system integrator like that Alexi will provide expertise and solutions, which can further enhance the deployments.

Jamie 17:22
So, I guess as well you are mentioning about RDK organising as a competency within Tata Aleksey, what does the competency do?

Pret 17:33
Yeah, the first and foremost what we do as a competencies, we focus on addressing scalability okay. And we are the best in class training developed over the years and RDK engineer engineers go through this training and also through a certification before they are injected into the into the into a project or a customer assignment, which is like again, like we have been following this process for quite long. So, the the our materials gets enhanced our training material gets reviewed and then that’s based on the needs for example, like mesh is a new addition out like a LT interface to a LT interfaces in addition, fibre is a new addition to RDK and the next thing we do is to develop solutions accelerators and processes to support it. So, I told you about STP service delivery platform I told you about the IC X all these are developed by the competency or you know, it is it is developed by teams who are working with the competency RDK competency of that good practice. And also we acquire knowledge about the happenings in the industry and then we also share this knowledge across teams and this helps in understanding what are the customer needs at a larger spectrum. And also we work in nurturing a team of architects for upcoming segments because we always we always look at constant improvement or a consistent improvement of our people. And another area where we focus is the partnership and alliances

Jamie 19:01
Okay, okay so obviously the competency within RDK within within Tata Elsxi it’s a big thing for Tata right we can see this the the investment that you guys put into it, the involvement that you have with RDK central than themselves from your position Pret, Where do you see the future of RDK?

Pret 19:24
Well, I see a great future for applique because if you look at the deployment base, it has been growing like anything more operators are adopting it, especially the multi country deployments, multi platform deployments RDK is coming. So if I look at RDK video, I see that RDK media will be with accelerated platform the deployment or the adaptability of RT ks will go up and we are already seeing that more. We are getting more inquiries, we are doing more business on the RDK with your friend with accelerators, okay. And again like another game changer is going to be radicchio, TV, so how On TV with a camera that is going to be a complete game changer for the industry. And it has applications can vary than a TV that applications can move to help to gaming or to another other immersive experiences. That is what I see on the video. And on the broadband friend article will be the Centre for networking. And it will be offering an always on internet with a 5g backup or for the backup and also it will be providing bandwidth aggregation so that the bandwidth can be further enhanced, you will find that more and more devices will get connected to Wi Fi. So if we look at four years back or something like that, it would it would have been around 10 devices connected today it will be around 30 devices connected in the home with IoT gaining prominence. And another thing which we see is like services will be the key to the success of operators. So if you cannot offer more services in broadband front, let’s say that the firewalls are parallel control or gaming accelerators, or maybe a VPN for working from home, which can be deployed on the fly industry directly. All this is going to be the that that’s going to enhance the customer value. And that’s going to be the future and to say Wi Fi will be the winning edge. So who has the better Wi Fi new Wi Fi standards are emerging, my physics is coming. So who can provide the better Wi Fi, they will be the clear winners here. And also, the platform view, which I was mentioning about that is going to grow like more and more features are going to come into the platform, the box will be there. But more decisions are going to be taken in the cloud. And this data is going to be used in multiple ways more than evaluating customer experience. There may be other applications which will be coming. So liberating data that is going to be the another future which I see liberating data in a better way.

Jamie 21:59
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on that. And I completely agree with you. I think I think my personal excitement lies with the RDK-V side of it, seeing how that’s going to advance but then obviously, right that the broadband aspect how that video is delivered into the home is, is as you said, it’s going to probably play the most important factor in the growth and deployment of RDK. But pret it’s, it’s been an absolute pleasure discovering more about yourself, Tata Alexi, and Andrew involvement with RDK. Just for our listeners, where can we find you online?

Pret 22:35
You can just find us online at tataelxsi.com. Okay, and you can just send or shoot me an email to info@tataelsxi.com or send me an email pret.j@tataelxsi.com. This discussion has been exciting and you know putting all these aspects like it’s more of a practitioners aspect that I’ve been trying to provide.


The RDK Unplugged Team

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