Thales India’s Engineering Competence Centre for building technologies for civil and defence business will be operational by early 2019.

The centre can accommodate 5,000 employees, directly or indirectly, as the company aims to beef up its strength over the next three to five years. It currently has 1,600 employees.

Emmanuel de Roquefeuil, Vice-President and Country Director, Thales India, said, “Thales is supporting innovation and development of the Indian engineering ecosystem. With this as a backdrop, we have decided to open an Engineering Competence Centre in India.”

India, along with China and the US, is a key market for the company where it is investing in technology, people and design.

In India, the company’s focus sectors include defence, aviation, aerospace, transport and security. Olivier Flous, VP Digital Transformation & Digital Factory, Thales Group, who was recently in the New Delhi, said, “Digital is impacting everything and has become extremely important.”

“There is a huge demand for digital products and services from our customers such as armed forces,” Flous said. This could be solutions to combat new types of threats, leveraging data to take quick decision during crisis or helping companies create safety-critical environment.

With the consumer demand on the rise, the company is focusing on expanding its digital offerings across the sectors it operates. Flous said, “We are making huge investment in setting up internal infrastructure and acquisition to accelerate digital transformation and innovation.”

Since 2014, Thales has invested almost €7 billion in digital technologies, including acquisition of Gemalto for developing end-to-end digital security. The deal will be finalised between April and June 2019.

The company has invested €150 million in setting up digital factories, which are innovation labs for developing novel solutions. Thales launched its first digital factory in Paris in 2017 and it has a staff of 230 already. The second one came up recently in Canada and the third is to be launched in Singapore soon. Though Indians customers want one, there is no plan yet to set up a digital factory in India, Flous added.