Constantly Strive To Deliver Cutting-edge Technology At Affordable Prices

by Manish Sharma - Managing Director, Panasonic India

Panasonic India is the Indian division of Panasonic Corporation (PCRFY) that develops and engineers electronic technologies and solutions for customers in residential, non-residential, mobility and personal applications. Headquartered in Osaka Prefecture, Japan, the company has a current market cap of $28.20 Billion.

Technology has the power of transforming lives and for the past generation, technological inventions and improvements seem to be introduced every week and this trend is guaranteed to continue. It has helped organizations to improve productivity and business efficiency. The electronics industry in India is vast and is totally 'consumer experience' oriented. The current technology trends in the consumer durables space provide consumers the ease of use as well as installation. There is noticeable change in the emerging electronic technology like Internet of Everything, 3D printing, Next generation TVs and display, smart phones and audio markets.

The major technology wave of 2014 is 'Internet of Everything' where the usage of internet is not restricted to PCs and mobile devices but goes beyond into enterprise assets such as field equipment and consumer items such as cars and televisions. This is one of the developments in strategic technology also identified by Gartner Inc. research. Also, while we see a development in worldwide shipments of 3D printers, the demand in India is also growing as organizations are slowly coping up with this and also realizing the fact 3D printing is a real, viable and cost-effective means to reduce costs through improved designs, streamlined prototyping and short-run manufacturing. On the other hand, the latest trend in next generation televisions is surpassing the performance of LCD and plasma. OLED televisions are the new trend setter which provides brighter, crisper displays on electronic devices and uses less power than conventional light-emitting diodes (LEDs) or liquid crystal displays (LCDs), yet it still a concern in terms of reliability and affordability in the Indian market despite being the future of the television sector.

With technology comes underlying concerns which needs to be addressed for the unhindered growth and acceptance of technology. The major concern of the electronics industry in India is the vast rural population that amounts to about 65 percent of the total population. The demands of this rural population are totally different than urban because of lack of awareness and environmental constraints. Also, foraying into these markets has a considerable cost component attached to it. But the rural sector cannot be avoided as they have the untapped potential to adapt to the technology which could serve as a huge market space for the electronic industry. Organizations have to concentrate in localization of technology which can cater to the needs and demands of this sector as well. Additionally, in recent years, there is growing awareness about energy efficient products among consumers and companies are trying to catch up with consumer's demands by developing energy efficient product. In this light, the bureau of energy efficiency has also announced that the new ratings on energy savings for high-end air-conditioners and refrigerators which will be out soon. But the production of such products incurs heavy excise duty which increases the cost of production. Hence, there is a need for the government to pay attention to this concern and reduce the taxes so that this technology can become more cost effective for the consumer.

Another significant challenge is the lack of proper infrastructure such as power, water, roads and others. Now, from the point of view of an Indian consumer, the electronic industry offers range of products which are not much differentiated with respect to features and technology, so, the task of outshining its competitors becomes all the more difficult for any player in the industry. Indian consumers are very price sensitive and can compromise on quality if it is burdening their pockets. Thus, companies have to constantly strive in delivering cutting-edge technology with affordable prices.

Through my past experience in this industry, I have realized the immense potential that India holds for the growth of this industry but in order to survive, there is a need for constant innovation that can lure new consumers and maintain the existing customer base. The dynamic environment of the Indian market makes it necessary for the companies to venture into technology developments which are flexible to the customization needs of the consumer and there never ending demands. In the same light, Panasonic has also established a unique 'Business Development Centre' (IBDC) in India for product development, R&D, and creation of new business solutions. With this, we will aggressively and strategically invest in market research and product innovation and will recruit the best of global talent using its in-house open application system.