HMI will be Ubiquitous, Intuitive and Natural: Michael Brooker, VP, CIO, Synaptics

Synaptics’ new Bangalore office is the latest addition to a growing global company

Michael Brooker, VP, CIO, Synaptics.

Synaptics is a leader in human-machine interface (HMI) technology for mobile, PC and IoT markets. Michael Brooker, VP, CIO, Synaptics, recently spoke to Pradeep Chakraborty to tell us more. Excerpts: 

BW CIO: Give us an overview of Synaptics.

Michael Brooker: Synaptics is a world leader in Human-machine Interface (HMI) technology for mobile, PC and IoT markets, and leading the human interface revolution by pioneering the relationship between people and intelligent devices. We have been developing human interface technologies for 30+ years, with a deep heritage in human cognitive sciences.

We are a global company with 2,300+ employees in 20 locations worldwide, with strong roots in technology and engineering. Over 70 percent of Synaptics’ employees are in engineering, those who shape the complex technologies to deliver exceptional user experience.

We have shipped billions of devices in products and our technologies are in, and critical to key top customer brands. Synaptics is extremely proud to be opening a major design center in Bangalore. We now have access to highly skilled resources in the local area which will allow us to further develop our growing business. This further expands our presence in India covering two key locations (Bangalore and Hyderabad) following two major acquisitions.

Synaptics’ new Bangalore office is the latest addition to a growing global company. Situated in the RMZ Ecospace, housed on the 4th floor, and spread across 21,000 sq. ft., the modern office is designed to provide an exhilarating and rewarding environment where teams can collaborate and innovate to meet the needs of the rapidly growing Synaptics IoT product line.

The new location will immediately house 65 engineering resources and support personnel with a total initial office capacity of 150. We are actively seeking talent across both software and silicon development to grow this site rapidly.

Synaptics’ newest location is equipped with state-of-the-art work stations, labs, meeting rooms, multifunction rooms, collaboration spaces, a cafeteria, and a recreation room. Our hardware and software engineers in Bangalore will develop leading-edge human interface solutions for consumer IoT markets.

There is a growing need for smart home consumer IoT products and platforms world-wide including in the South-East Asia market. We believe that having an engineering center in the heart of India’s technology hub will better position us to reach and service both the global and South-East Asia markets.

BW CIO: Synaptics’ plan for India operations including its expansion and hiring and what are you doing to make employees more productive in India as a CIO?

Michael Brooker: The Synaptics IT team is constantly looking for ways to help all our employees be more productive by providing the right tools and services. For example, we are working on improving compute farm, network performance and collaboration for our engineering teams with the objective of reducing time-to-market.

Outside our offices, for example, at customer sites, we are ensuring team members can work productively on low bandwidth connections. Specifically, for our software developers in Bangalore, we are focused on developing a high-performance network for global 4K streaming testing in support of our emerging video products.

BW CIO: How is your leadership in IT and role as CIO has evolved Synaptics culture into more customer-centric?

Michael Brooker: To be a successful IT organization, ensuring a consistently great customer experience is key. At Synaptics, IT’s mandate is to be customer obsessed. Instilling such a culture starts with me and my interaction with the executive management team in determining an IT strategy, which adds value to the company.

This continues throughout the IT team as we provide day-to-day support and partner with the different business teams to advance the way we work.

Consistency is key in establishing a culture, to achieve this we focus on effective and efficient IT processes such as incident- or project-management, as well as developing standards; for example for data centers, server and desktop builds.

Some might say this seems basic, but this is the foundation of a productive culture. To ensure we are moving in the right direction, we measure our performance against targets, and determine whether our initiatives have achieved the objectives and the value we initially planned.

BW CIO: What are challenges faced by CIOs in a rapidly digitalizing world – how have you helped Synaptics take a digital leap?

Michael Brooker: Digital transformation is certainly moving rapidly. The challenges I face and I believe many CIOs face, is firstly, keeping pace, and secondly, ensuring that we select those technologies that add value and help the company achieve its objectives.

CIOs play a pivotal role in understanding and driving change in their businesses; my role is to distill from the myriad of technologies and applications, those that add value to our business. For me, this has been to develop a holistic, top-down digital transformation strategy, which makes sense for Synaptics. Our current strategy involves elements of mobility, cloud and advanced analytics.

BW CIO: Why do human interface technologies matter in our digital and connected life?

Michael Brooker: Synaptics believes effortless human interface with technology is essential. Today's users are demanding and they want their needs met in an instant. No matter where they are, they want to be able to shop, find answers on search engines, watch their favorite show, book flights, or check in with friends. In the execution of these tasks, a rich high-quality user experience makes a significant difference.

Companies that fail to meet users’ expectations in interacting with technology will find themselves falling behind the competition. Synaptics fully understands this challenge and provides a set of human interface solutions such as touch, display, biometrics, voice and audio that optimize our interaction with technology.

Additionally, in the IoT smart home, and the emerging automobile market of driverless cars, it is no longer just the human interface with technology but also technology’s contextual awareness of the world around as it interacts with us.  These are the markets in which Synaptics portfolio of products are well positioned.

BW CIO: How will human interface technology change the way we interact with our digital devices including our digital systems at home as well as in our automobiles and our uber present “smartphones”.

Michael Brooker: Human interface technology has become so ubiquitous in our lives we may not have noticed it has changed the way we communicate. The mobile device is now so omnipresent we panic when we leave home without it. As human interface technology expands into automobiles and into our homes through a myriad of different devices, applications and services it will become a more prevalent mode of communicating with our digital devices.

In fact, we believe that human-machine interface will be so ubiquitous, intuitive and natural that we will entirely lose conscious awareness of our interactions with it. 

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HMI Michael Brooker Synaptics


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