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The amazing Sloka Telecom story

Text: Manu A B

March 18, 2009

Innovation is the secret of their success. They believe a simple idea can transform lives. They dream big and are passionate about their goals. . . Meet the young, ambitious, intelligent and enterprising architects of India. Here's a special series on India's best innovators and entrepreneurs, winners of the latest Nasscom Innovation Award 2008.

The Sloka Telecom story

"Technology doesn't always have to be fantastic. It can be very basic, solving some basic problems that we continue to face. We will keep solving them," points out Sujai Karampuri, founder and CEO of Sloka Telecom, a radio access network solution provider.

Founded in 2004, the Bangalore-based Sloka Telecom develops one of the most compact and cost-effective base stations for the telecom sector. After over 14 years of work experience, Sujai set out to solve real problems in India's telecom space with advanced, cost-effective solutions for broadband wireless, voice, and video applications, for rural and urban markets.

There was an opportunity in the base station market where the future was for smaller and cheaper base stations that can save substantial savings to operators so that they can carpet blanket the network with many base stations to give excellent coverage and connectivity. He believes that the only way forward is to encourage more small firms to come up.

"India needs to decrease the barrier-to-entry for startups, dole out more incentives to small firms to set up businesses. The key to a vibrant economy is having thousands of startups," he points out.

He rues that government policies are designed to help software services companies, while product making companies are completely neglected.

Sujai believes that product innovation is a must for India. While services was a good first step to get into the IT sector, products based on technology is an extremely critical step if we want to create wealth on a sustainable level without having to resort to providing engineers as a resource, he says.

His advice to budding entrepreneurs: Don't be bothered by what others think of you. You have a lifetime to prove it to others. When you are young, do something that you like and enjoy. Be prepared to fail. It's better to try and fail than not try at all.

His only regret is not getting enough time for his favourite hobbies -- painting and sketching. Sujai Karampuri shares the excitement of connecting India, bridging the rural-urban telecom divide through technology.

What are the features of the award winning compact base stations for WiMAX and 3G?

Our base stations are the smallest and also the cheapest. They are all-outdoor base stations and can be installed on towers, poles, rooftops, traffic posts, etc. They do not need expensive AC housing and can cool itself in different weather conditions. Our base station solutions help the operator decrease his capital expenditure by more than 50 per cent.

What was the idea behind this innovation?

The traditional designs for base station are suited for Macro base stations which are quite expensive almost 5 to 10 times more than Sloka's compact base stations. In order to make base stations smaller, their power consumption lower, and to make them cheaper, Sloka came up with a revolutionary and patent-pending architecture called SDBSA. This architecture allows Sloka to use readily available hardware while emphasizing on efficient software algorithms to make them smaller and compact.

How long did it take to develop this product? How many people were involved in the project?

It took us 2 years to develop this product. We are a total of 30 engineers of which we have about 12 seniors with over 110 plus years of experience in the industry. Read on for the amazing Sloka story. . .

Image: Sujai Karampuri, founder and CEO of Sloka Telecom. | Photograph, courtesy: Sloka Telecom

Also read:

  • Part 1: India's pride: world's first six-core microchip!
  • Part 2: A college startup's success story
  • Part 3: The secret behind Aegis BPO's success
  • Part 4: A completely employee-funded company!
  • Part 5: 'India needs more product innovations'
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