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TCS increased its R&D expenditure to Rs 1,278 crore in 2016-17 from Rs 909.25 crore in 2015-16 as it invests in newer technologies in emerging areas such as artificial intelligence, data science and high performance computing. TCS filed 3,359 patent applications in 2016-17, up from 2,842 a year ago. In 2014-15, it filed 509 patent applications.
Wipro has increased R&D spending to Rs 333.8 crore in 2016-17 from Rs 251.3 crore a year ago, investing in AI, the Internet of Things and autonomous devices. Wipro filed 603 patent applications in 2016-17, up from 514 in 2015-16.
TCS was granted 478 patents in 2016-17 against 206 and 341 patents each in 2014-15 and 2015-16, respectively.
“The number of patents TCS has filed and gained has gone up significantly. We also have a good number of patents in the pipeline,” said N Chandrasekaran, chairman of Tata Sons, last week. Wipro did not comment citing the silent period.
Irrespective of their expenditures, all companies have been focussing on the Internet of Things and AI.
“Creating internal platforms for digital technology services such as the Internet of Things has become a priority for Indian IT services providers as their clients are averse to third-party platforms. A good chunk of their R&D spending is focused on building platforms internally,” said Pareekh Jain, research director at HfS Research India. “Patents will help companies differentiate their offerings,” he added.
Industry executives said the need for digital transformation was making Indian firms invest in innovative products and solutions for their customers.
“More companies are spending on innovation, which is shaped by the digital transformation,” said Karthikeyan Natarajan, senior vice-president and global head of integrated engineering solutions at Tech Mahindra.