Hariharan Bojan, CEO and Founder, Sirena Technologies and Sirena Labs

Hariharan Bojan, CEO and Founder, Sirena Technologies and Sirena Labs

Over 20 years of experience in the consumer electronics and embedded space; out of which 6+ years has been on mobile handset development and the last 14+ years in Networked Audio Player platforms, IoT, Voice Assistants, and Robotics.

Podcast

Overview

AI and robotics are hot topics these days. Anywhere and everywhere you look, you will find a little bit of technical intervention in traditional processes. From big factories to our hands, robots, AI and ML have traveled a long way. However, they are not stopping here. People like Hariharan Bojan are determined to make robots serve us in every possible way.

About Hariharan Bojan, Sirena Technologies and Sirena Labs

Hariharan Bojan

Our guest for today, Hariharan Bojan, is the CEO and founder of Sirena Technologies and Sirena Labs. These ventures work into developing everything from humanoids to robotics, the internet of things, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Voice assistants, and other things.

Hariharan has been in the tech industry for over two decades now. He has seen and contributed to the digital revolution. Hari tells us that he has realized over the years that specifically in India, we do not get exposed to the technology early on. We start to use the technology much later than in other parts of the world. 

Sirena Technologies

In 2014, Hariharan, along with his co-founders decided to do something about the lack of technological awareness in the country. He wanted to use AI, Machine Learning, deep learning, algorithms, robotics, etc. to create something that can connect to the cloud and do something useful. He wanted to use humanoids and robots to create awareness and inspire the people of India. Hariharan then founded Sirena Technologies for this purpose. 

  • Now they cater to the customers who need customized robots for various purposes.
  • They also have robotic labs at different schools around the world to educate students on this subject for a negligible amount of one thousand rupees per annum.

Sirena Labs

Talking about Sirena Labs, Hariharan tells us that he founded it two years ago as a separate legal entity to work on the voice assistant and other voice control features in electronic devices. Sirena Labs is working with Amazon very closely on Alexa.

They have built very low-cost Alexa speakers in India, which are not only designed but also manufactured in India. They are now working with several different companies on several different projects containing voice controls.

How Hariharan saw potential in AI and robotics in 2014

Hariharan tells us that India didn’t spend much on hardware a decade ago. When he told his colleagues that he is thinking of building robots, he was asked to reconsider his decision several times.

However, Hariharan had decided to make robots because he had a great experience of working with different companies around the world. He had a knowledge of what is trending and what would trend in the future.

He also wanted to do something in the educational space. His idea was to make the students aware that software runs only on hardware. 

Robotics and Education

Hariharan says that in order to understand robotics space, a student has all kinds of disciplines that he needs to understand like mechanicals, electronics, computer science, communication, dynamics, control, and the cloud part of it where the software and its technologies like AI come into action. He says that learning robotics brings all these things together which is a good package for a student.

Misconceptions that Hariharan has come across regarding robotics and Artificial Intelligence

  • Hariharan tells us that we lack reference points when it comes to robots and humanoids. He tells us that when he talks to students about humanoids they think of something like Rajnikant would come up and start dancing to Bollywood songs or would transform into something else because the reference points are the movies.
  • Another misconception he talks about is the lack of awareness people have about how AI and other technologies are mixing in with our daily lives. Many people still think that they are future technologies when they are the technologies of the present. 

How is the government of India supporting the technical initiatives taken by organizations like Sirena Technologies?

Hariharan tells us that when he started working on robotics in 2014, he did not get any support. He bootstrapped for a very long time. He says that when the investors and your employees do not have faith in you, the government also cannot do much.

However, he kept working as he was passionate about it and wanted to prove that his idea would work. At that time, Hariharan was not even remotely thinking about the government helping them.

But, as he tells us, the Make in India campaign and the PLI scheme (Product Linked Incentive Scheme) by the government of India helped a lot. Hariharan believes that the only reason why the factories in India are booming today is the introduction of the PLI scheme.

Profile

Over 20 years of experience in the consumer electronics and embedded space; out of which 6+ years has been on mobile handset development and the last 14+ years in Networked Audio Player platforms, IoT, Voice Assistants, and Robotics.

Inspired by telecommunications and obsessed with software, started his career working on broadband technologies as a DSP engineer. Went on to develop language tools (Compilers, Assemblers, and Linkers) for DSPs. Later, got hand-picked by Kyocera Wireless Corporation (US) to work on mobile handset software development for Kyocera phones.

Returned to India and helped Kyocera start & build their India operations in Bangalore. Being the first employee of Kyocera Wireless India (KWI), driven by the dream of ‘owning end-to-end product (mobile handset) development’, started owning small components, rather quickly, despite the pressure of hiring & training.

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