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Cover Story | March 2016

Automation & integration will drive smart cities

Anil Bhasin | senior vice-president, Havells India Ltd

What do you think of the government´s smart cities initiative?
The entire country is focussing on it. It is expected to change the face of major Indian cities in the next 10 years. Implementation of smart cities initiative involves many things, including automation and integration at various levels and increasing comfort level of people living in urban areas. And in automation one good thing is our focus is on energy monitoring and saving at home too.

How a household can get smarter?
At times you want to switch off the system but you are not physically present there or you are lazy and lethargic. Now by connecting through mobile phone you can do it from anywhere. You can also keep a reminder for the same. The youth of today, that is those below 35 years, are very mobile-friendly, and they know how to operate all this. Secondly, when one comes home, he has to switch on the air conditioner (AC) and he may not remember that. In such a situation he can operate via this mobile access system as well. Not that he will do it through this only, but this is an additional option. In security system, if you are out of home you want to open your main door, you can still open it. You tell any relative of yours to go to your place and that you will open the door and lock it. If you give keys to someone else then you keep thinking that behind your back he shouldn´t take any of your valuables. So, if customers get features like these then customers will be ready to pay the price accordingly. This can also be applied to street lights - to switch them on or off. Earlier for street lights you had to manually go and switch it on and off. If he had to go on a holiday then the street lights would not even be switched on for the entire night. It is still happening.

Can you tell us more about your strategy relating to automation?
You have to look at our business in a holistic manner. One is the value chain, we are already into switch gears and we are already into lighting, we manufacture solar cables and multiple other products. We are integrating our capacities to offer a larger solution.

So minus the rooftop also we will be able to manufacture multiple products and offer them to the customer. And with rooftop it is a complete solution and we will be able to sell. If you have a photo voltaic (PV) panel from somewhere else and you want to combine cost and MCB´s or solar cable or anything, we will be able to offer.

In short, you will be facilitating integration of all these devices regardless of whether your top-end products are Havells or not. So, whether it is a TV or a washing machine, it doesn´t make much of a difference. What we are giving to the consumer is the convenience, convenience to operate them. It is a solution for home automation.

That is an advantage that he will have. We may not be making a TV or washing machine, we are into other electrical products and if he has to manually go and switch on and off the motor then it is a pain for him. Usually, a person tends to forget to switch it off after switching it on and sometimes the water keep overflowing. There are things like these that are always there in our mind giving us tension whether or not we switched off the gas or not, invariably this happens. There are so many tensions anyway that children have for their career and all. And if they take more tension they will end up getting blood pressure at 25, instead of at the age of 50.

That means you are linking IOT´s ...
Yes these are IOT´s you have rightly used this word IOT.

That is IOT for electrical equipment in households?
For all, anything which is electrically connected we are giving a solution for that. The only thing is that you require certain chips to be incorporated and both the gadget/equipment and mobile based-software - have to understand the language which they speak and that is the technical thing. Life is simple and we make it complicated and that is why with automation we are making it simpler.

What is your export ratio like? What is the percentage of your export vis a vis your domestic sales?
We mainly focus on India market. Today, whatever we are sending from India is about 5 per cent of current domestic turnover.

But you are still pursuing organic growth, of course.
Yes we will be still using our domestic platform, acquisition as well and the third one is to focus on export, because 5 years from now African market and Latin American markets will be matured enough to buy products that we are buying at this point.

Product wise what is your export focus on?
Switch gear, but we can do lighting and fans also. Our focus on fan was not there because we were focussing on Indian market. Even for cables also, we had certain good order because our focus was not there as we were focussing mainly on India so we were mainly looking at contribution margin also.

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