NEW DELHI: Rahul Bhalla, CEO, Zenatix Solutions feels that the smart lighting segment in India is still at a nascent stage. He thinks that the commercial lighting and street lighting is moving faster than the consumer smart lighting segment.
In conversation with Ankit Sharma of ETRealty, Bhalla talked about his company plans and the industry's future. Edited excerpts:
How has Hero's acquisition helped you grow?Hero Electronics is Hero Group's foray into the technology space and they are very excited about investments into the corrected solutions business. Once we joined hands with Hero Electronics last year, it has brought in a lot more focus in terms of the markets that we tap in and it has obviously brought in a lot of money for us to spend in research and development (R&D) and develop new solutions in the market.
How much has Hero invested in the company?Hero Electronics has set aside about $200 million to invest into overall connected solution space and we are a part of their overall portfolio for companies. We are with enterprise IoT business of Hero Electronics. And then there is a consumer IoT business.
Hero is completely backing us financially. They have made commitments to us in terms of investments which we have raised in the past and they'll continue to make such investments. It all depends on how the business shapes up in the next few years in terms of this particular deal, how the lighting segment picks up and how our other business vertical picks up.
We will be making further investments whether that's backed by Hero Group or Hero Group plus or some other external devices. The idea is to grow the company.
Is foraying into other segments a conscious decision by Hero?I don't think it's Hero's decision to enter into Hero Electronics or technology space is driven by the slowdown. Hero is committed to investing to technology businesses and this initiative was taken about three years ago.
What is your expectation from the smart lighting segment?The smart street lighting solution or the market itself is voice to grow its going to be about $25 billion market in the next five years. And what is happening in India, there is obviously a talk about smart lighting. There are essentially two components of the smart lighting solution one is the light itself and the other is the connectivity part.
If you look at the lighting market, it's a very fragmented market. Because it's a fragmented market, there is a very large portion of the market who are selling lighting products but they do not have the capability to have their own R&D for launching smart lighting products. If you again dissect the market further into consumer lighting and B2B lighting, consumer lighting is again a very large commodity but when it comes to B2B smart lighting there are customizations required. There is a lot of expertise required on IoT.
So I think when we look at the market, the adoption of smart lighting products is going to be much faster in the commercial and B2B space. So street lighting is already happening. The government is issuing tenders on smart cities, smart street lighting. Commercial lighting is picking up pace. I think residential lighting will pick up but it's going to take some time.
What is the current status of smart lighting in India?I think the smart lighting segment is still at a nascent stage. It is developing and within that I think the commercial lighting and the street lighting is obviously moving faster than the consumer smart lighting.
I think the onus is on the OEMs to create that awareness with their customers and help them understand the benefit of smart street lighting or smart commercial lighting where they make clear business cases and telling the customer that look your cost is going to marginally increase, but the benefit that you're going to derive is going to be exceptionally high, for example, if it's on a street lighting solution and it can be controlled based on the luminosity outside or based on some other policy.There could be several magnitudes of energy savings benefit that's going to come in and much better experience for the users of that street lighting solution.
What are your future plans?We are already working with about 5-7 OEMs right now, but we have a lot of requests because people see value in our experience in IoT and the fact that we have done a lot of deployments which makes our system very stable.