The world of “Electronics and Communication Engineering”
The term “Electronics and Communication Engineering” denotes a broad engineering field that covers sub fields such as analog electronics, digital electronics, consumer electronics, embedded systems, communication systems and power electronics. Electronics engineering deals with implementation of applications, principles and algorithms developed within many related fields. For example solid-state physics, radio engineering, telecommunications, control systems, signal processing, systems engineering, computer engineering, instrumentation engineering, electric power control, robotics, and many others.
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is one of the most important and influential organisations for electronics engineers. The availability of affordable means of communication has been one of electronics’ greatest contributions to the human society.
- The telephone, the radio, satellite communications, the internet, the mobile phone – each new development has revolutionised the way we live and the way we think about our world.
- New technologies continuously emerge, with 4G mobile phones offering the possibility of real-time high quality video.
- DSL and broadband wireless systems provide many times the capacity of modems bringing increased amount of information into our homes.
- Advanced wavelength-division multiplexing schemes, promising vast reductions in the cost of long-distance data transmission.
- Fourth generation systems will unify all these technologies and users will be able to receive and transmit anything, at any time, from anywhere.
All these developments have been fuelled by advances in communications technology. new protocols and coding schemes, new ways to represent video, images and speech as data, new means of delivering this information to users via cable, fibre, and increasingly via radio are constantly being emerged. These developments are, in turn, based on sound engineering principles.
The idea that “import of technology can accelerate national development in the field of electronics and communication”, gained support in the Policies/Statements of the Central Government announced between 1978-1984. Many State/Central Electronics Corporations (i.e. KELTRON, MELTRON, UPTRON, WEBEL, HARTRON, ESPL, KEONICS, ELCOT, BEL, ECIL) were established in 1970s and 1980s to develop electronics industry in the states. In the era of globalisation and knowledge economy propelled by the phenomenal growth in IT, a paradigm shift in productivity and economic development and in management thought is clearly discernible. Significant growth has been witnessed in the Electronics and IT sector. Unlike most developing countries, India is expected to gain from the ‘emerging Digital Economy’, as it has:
- Affordable access to core information resources, cutting edge technology and sophisticated telecommunication systems and infrastructure;
- The capacity to build, operate, manage, and service the technologies involved;
- Policies that promote equitable public participation in the information society as both producers and consumers of information and knowledge
- A workforce, trained to develop, maintain and provide the value-added products and services required by the information economy.
The Govt of India has set up several autonomous organisations, as given below, to address the requirements of different sectors of Electronics in a focussed manner: Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT); National Informatics Centre (NIC); Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC); Computer Maintenance Corporation Ltd.; Standardisation, Testing & Quality Certifications (STQC) Directorate; Controller of Certification Authority(CCA); National Centre for Software Technology (NCST); Society for Applied Microwave Electronics Engineering and Research (SAMEER); ERNET Society; DOEACC Society; Centre for e-Governance; Centre for Electronics Design and Technology of India (CEDTI); Semiconductor Complex of India (SCI); Electronics Research & Development Centre of India; ET&T; Electronics and Software Export Promotion Council; Technology Development Council; National Radar Council; National Photonics Council; Electronics Materials Development Council.
These organisations play a major role in training and development of human power for electronics industry. In addition, they help and guide the electronics industry by providing infrastructure, policy support, design, consultancy, training, testing, accreditation, market support, and are also actively involved in R&D activities in their specific areas. The Government supports and funds technology development through councils set up in various fields. Major areas where significant success has been achieved,on par with the developments internationally, through sponsored R&D projects, are as follows:
- Appropriate Automation Programme – Retrofit Automation, Energy Management, Process Controls, Robotics Welding System, & Simulators for Proactive Shop Floor controls;
- Automatic Data Handling Systems for Plan ADGES;
- Axle Counter and Chopper Control Equipment and Interlocking System for Indian Railways;
- Communication, Broadcast & Telemetry – Digital Mobile Radio, Subtitling in regional languages, Spread Spectrum Radio Modem, and UHF Wireless Data Modem;
- ‘PARAM’ series of Super Computers based on distributive memory architecture;
- Meteorological instruments (i.e. Cyclone Warning Radar, Radiosonde, MST Radar);
- Pollution free vehicles;
- Telemedicine Networks;
- Electronics Industry Development Project (Manpower Component) – Project IMPACT;
- Fibre Optics Application Programme (FOSAPP);
- Future Air Navigation Systems (FANS) programme in Airport navigation;
- HVDC project jointly with BHEL, AP Transco and CPRI;
- Instrumentation for Paper & Pulp, Textiles, Tea, Sugar, Jute Industry;
- Microprocessor Application Programme;
- Microwave Tubes for providing strategic solutions;
- Software for Indian Languages;
- Technologies for Internet, e-Commerce, and e-Governance; and
- Vehicle Tracking System based on GPS technology.
Automation & Process Control: Process control system which is a display and monitor system and can be customised for any environment has been developed. Robotics welding system for hazardous applications has been developed along with a seam tracking system.
Agro – and Rural Applications: Various agro-instruments like fertiliser testing kit, soil and grain moisture indication instruments, soil nutrient measuring instruments, rice polish measurement system and multichannel choke indicator to optimise seed spacing, using a tractor have been developed. Under Microprocessor Application programme, various infrastructural sectors like water treatment, irrigation and road were addressed.
Microelectronics & Photonics: In this area various semiconductor devices have been developed along with manufacturing technologies to improve the yield of semiconductor devices. Other important results of R&D efforts in this area are development of Optical fiber, nano technology, need-specific detectors for high-speed optical communications and optical receiver module etc.
Power Electronics: Hardware and software for state-of-the-art Digital Control and Protection System have been indigenously developed. In addition, lightning protection unit, ATE for UPS also have been designed and developed.
Other Applications: Railway Reservation and Freight Operation Information System; Finger Print Identification System for India and Mauritius; On-line integrated customer based retail banking system; GENISYS (General Insurance System); India’s first Integrated Operating Office Software for New India Assurance Co.Ltd.; Bombay Stock Exchange’s On-Line Trading (BOLT), a comprehensive screen based trading software was indigenously developed by CMC; Application Specific Development Centre for SCADA (ASDC-SCADA) at Hyderabad has developed and supported many SCADA applications in electric power transmission and distribution.
With the evolution of the computer age, Electronics & Communication has crept into every sphere of human life, thus increasing its scope manifold. Electronics is now a part of our everyday life, from your pocket FM radio to televisions, computers, mobile phones and even the high-end satellites that are helping you read this article now. This was an overview on Electronics & Communication (EC), but after going through this you all will have quite an in-depth knowledge of what an Electronics & Communication Engineering(ECE) does and the way it treads the path in the near future. Taking educational scope into consideration, today’s world is coming up with new technological advancements every day. These new developments are done by the engineers turned scientists. In bringing your own thoughts in the world’s next brilliant technological advancement will amaze you and this path can be achieved by pursuing a master’s in EC or if needed even a Doctorate. In depth knowledge is required for such tasks and this further divides EC into various sub fields. This has a great scope in the Japan, USA and European countries.
Having a further look at the career prospects, there is bound to be huge demand for competent engineers in electronic industry to cope this demand in technology. The engineers would be involved in sustaining cutting edge technology to stay ahead in competition. An electronic engineer can find a job in Consumer electronics manufacturing organisation, Telecommunication & IT industries, Health care equipment manufacturing, Mobile communication, Internet technologies, Power Electronics, and other industries like steel, petroleum and chemical industry, directing control and testing production process. Electrical Technicians and technologists can specialise in technical sales, product representation, systems management, the design and manufacture of electronic devices and systems, or the installation, maintenance and repair of electronic systems and equipment. They may also work with computers and electronic equipment in the medical, manufacturing, industrial control, telecommunications, aeronautical and military fields. EC Engineers also have several job openings & good pay-packages as compared to other branches.