Drishti Hires CEO as Manufacturing Technology Company Grows
Drishti Technologies, Inc., a company known for its AI-powered production technology, has named Gary Jackson as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Jackson employment signals the end of an era, as his predecessor, Dr Prasad Akella, the Founder and CEO of the company, transitions to a position as Chairman of the Board and Chief Strategy Officer (CSO). Akella will continue his industry pioneering role in setting the direction for the emerging category of action recognition technology, which is deriving data and insights from video streams using AI and advancing the fourth era of manufacturing, AI-powered production.
‘Drishti is built on the foundational principles that people remain central to driving significant improvements across the entire factory, including productivity, quality and training, and that AI-over-video is the next generation of sensing to enable them,” said Akella. “Our growing suite of business applications built on information extracted from the video stream empowers the manufacturing team — from line associates to the CEO — to make better decisions faster, perform at their best and experience greater job satisfaction. I look forward to Gary’s deep go-to-market and leadership experience, which will help propel Drishti from our extraordinary two dozen customers to every line of every plant in the world, simultaneously boosting human empowerment and manufacturing excellence.’
Inbound CEOs Impact
As CEO, Jackson will be put in the hot seat, taking control of the company’s operational strategy and execution. This shouldn’t be a problem, though, given that Jackon is an incredibly experienced leader within the early-stage enterprise technology company space, and he will likely tap into his extensive network within the go-to-market space, which will complement Prasad’s vision and manufacturing knowledge, as well as ‘Co-Founder and CTO Dr Krishnendu Chaudhury’s deep expertise in AI, neural networks and computer vision’, to help drive Drishti’s awareness, sales and growth.
‘Prasad, Krishnendu and the Drishti team have developed an entirely new solution category, and this represents a turning point for the manufacturing industry,” said Jackson. “The opportunity to lead a company that is the first of its kind, and is already deploying a new but proven technology at scale with some of the world’s largest manufacturers, doesn’t come around often. I’m delighted to be a part of this company’s very positive future.’
‘Drishti has also named Joseph Cowan to its board of directors. Cowan is a five-time CEO, including at Epicor and Manugistics. Joe’s operating experience accelerating enterprise growth and significant background selling enterprise software to manufacturers will be invaluable at Drishti.
‘Building a new company, let alone creating a whole new category, is no easy feat,” said Cowan. “What Dr Akella and [the] team have accomplished to date is proof that Drishti is the next big thing in manufacturing.’
First Solar to Invest US$684mn in Indian Energy Sector
First Solar is about to set up a new photovoltaic (PV) thin-film solar manufacturing facility in Tamil Nadu, India. The 3.3GW factory will create 1,000 skilled jobs and is expected to launch its operations in Q3 of 2023. According to the company, India needs 25+ gigawatts of solar energy to be deployed each year for the next nine years. This means that many of First Solar’s Indian clients will jump at the chance to have access to the company’s advanced PV.
Said Mark Widmar, First Solar’s CEO: ‘India is an attractive market for First Solar not simply because our module technology is advantageous in its hot, humid climate. It’s an inherently sustainable market, underpinned by a growing economy and appetite for energy’.
A Bit of Background
First Solar is a leading global provider of photovoltaic systems. It uses advanced technology to generate clear, reliable energy around the world. And even though it’s headquartered in the US, the company has invested in storage facilities around the world. It displaced energy requirements for a desalination plant in Australia, launched a source of reliable energy in the Middle East (Dubai, UAE), and deployed over 4.5GW of energy across Europe with its First Solar modules.
The company is also known for its solar innovation, reporting that it sees gains in efficiency three times faster than multi-crystalline silicon technology. First Solar holds world records in thin-film cell conversion efficiency (22.1%) and module conversion efficiency (18.2%). Finally, it helps its partners develop, finance, design, construct, and operate PV power plants—which is exactly what we’re talking about.
How Will The Tamil Nadu Plant Work?
Tamil Nadu will use the same manufacturing template as First Solar’s new Ohio factory. According to the Times of India, the factory will combine skilled workers, artificial intelligence, machine-to-machine communication, and IoT connectivity. In addition, its operations will adhere to First Solar’s Responsible Sourcing Solar Principles, produce modules with a 2.5x lower carbon footprint, and help India become energy-independent. Said Widmar: ‘Our advanced PV module will be made in India, for India’.
After all, we must mention that part of First Solar’s motivation in Tamil Nadu is to ensure that India doesn’t rely on Chinese solar. ‘India stands apart in the decisiveness of its response to China’s strategy of state-subsidised global dominance of the crystalline silicon supply chain’, Widmar explained. ‘That’s precisely the kind of level playing field needed for non-Chinese solar manufacturers to compete on their own merits’.
According to First Solar, India’s model should be a template for like-minded nations. Widmar added: ‘We’re pleased to support the sustainable energy ambitions of a major US ally in the Asia-Pacific region—with American-designed solar technology’. To sum up: Indian solar power is yet the next development in the China-US trade war. Let the PV manufacturing begin.