“Smartron is an IoT brand that is focused on building an IP led ecosystem in India with devices across multiple categories”

24-08-2017 My Mobile

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“Smartron is an IoT brand that is focused on building an IP led ecosystem in India with devices across multiple categories”

SMARTRON INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED, A TECHNOLOGY AND IOT STARTUP FOUNDED BY MAHESH LINGAREDDY WITH SACHIN TENDULKAR AS AN INVESTOR AND BRAND AMBASSADOR, HAS BIG PLANS IN HANDSET AND OTHER DEVICE SPACE DESPITE CLUTTERED AND TOUGHENING MARKETPLACE. OVERALL, SMARTRON ASPIRES TO BECOME A PREMIER GLOBAL IOT CONVERGENCE BRAND BY UNIQUELY ACCELERATING AND AGGREGATING THE PRODUCT ‘INNOVATION, DESIGN AND ENGINEERING’ EXPERTISE IN INDIA AND AROUND THE GLOBE. AS PART OF ROLLING OUT ITS VISION INTO ACTION, THE COMPANY RECENTLY ROPED IN FORMER MOTOROLA INDIA COUNTRY HEAD AMIT BONI AS VICE PRESIDENT, SALES AND MARKETING. AT SMARTRON, MR BONI IS RESPONSIBLE FOR OVERALL BRAND BUILDING AND HEADING THE SALES AND MARKETING FUNCTIONS. MR BONI HAD A PHENOMENAL STINT WITH MOTOROLA WHERE HE IS CREDITED WITH STARTING AND SCALING UP MOTOROLA MOBILITY’S BUSINESS IN INDIA FROM SCRATCH TO MULTIMILLION DOLLAR PROFITABLE BUSINESS. ONE IS SURE HIS NEW COMPANY AND HE HIM SELF WOULD ASPIRE TO REPLICATE THE PAST SUCCESS. HE OPENS UP ABOUT HIS PLANS IN AN INTERACTION WITH SHELLEY VISHWAJEET.

While Indian handset market is huge and a growing one, the hard fact remains that it is already a crowded marketplace. What gives you the confidence that you can still make a mark in this space?

The Indian handset market is definitely a cluttered one but there are only 4-5 key players that have high quality products in the market and have the major market share. Smartron is building India’s first global technology OEM based on an AI platform called tronX™. Our vision, therefore is to bring in world class hardware and software with strong R&D across different segments whether it’s personal tech, health, home, infrastructure and security. From a pure hardware perspective, there is very limited work that is happening that can be called innovative. We see a huge opportunity to grow into becoming one of the key players in each of these segments. When we look at smartphones, we don’t look at only standalone products but we are focusing on creating a mobile ecosystem which is not just great hardware but also greater use cases for the consumers which include software and services as well. We want to create a very robust ecosystem and build a global brand that’s based out of India.

What is going to be your strategy to enhance eyeballs and mindshare. Do you think association with Brand Sachin is enough to bring the desired brand equity and sales?

Smartron is an IoT company and we are going to launch products across different categories. Therefore, our strategy is not going to be focused on just single or conventional channels and routes. For instance, for the srtphone, Sachin had launched the phone and we had partnered with Flipkart to sell it exclusively. Along with that, we had also done a series of OOH activations and print and digital campaigns to create visibility. And now we have also taken the offline route and are selling srtphone through offline retail. Both Smartron and Sachin have one common goal, see India shining on the global map. We believe Sachin is an Indian brand that has gone global in the true sense and hence he is a perfect fit for the brand Smartron. When you think about someone who has taken India to global heights, the first name that comes to your mind is Sachin Tendulkar. Sachin is more than just a brand ambassador at martron, he is an investor and therefore has the company’s vision at the centre of everything that he does in association with the brand. The brand is surely going to gain attention because of Sachin, however that was not the sole reason for Sachin’s involvement in the brand.

Which is going to be the main channel for smartron to market its devices?

Apart from the smartphones and personal computer devices that we have launched in the market in the last one year, Smartron is looking at launching more devices across different categories like health, auto, home over the next 6-8 months. All of these categories need a different channel strategy which will include both online and offline. We’ve seen success with an online channel for our smartphones and tbook and have also extended the srtphone to offline trade as well. Similarly, we will evaluate the best go to market route for our devices in the future also and choose the ones that are the most accessible for our consumers.

Your take please on the competition you’re getting in the market. How will you sustain the marketing strategies of Chinese players?

As a country, India has a lot of potential to develop IP and setup an IP driven ecosystem of devices here. However there is no Indian brand that is a global consumer electronics brand, which is very sad since India is the second largest consumer of electronics in the world. We want to change that. However as also know that Indian brands mayn’t be the best suited to manufacture the products here because China has the economies of scales. Most of the Chinese brands are now taking advantage of the Make in India program by just assembling a few parts here and calling it Indian. For Smartron, the vision is very clear. We want to be known for high quality products designed and engineered in India based on our IoT platform called tronX™. We are not looking to compete with the Chinese brands on price but on R&D and quality. Smartron has filed more than 50 patents already and is the only Indian company to have a patent licensing deal with Qualcomm. We are aggressively looking at expanding our product portfolio in the country both for a direct to consumer channel as well as to enterprises. We want to create a robust ecosystem of such IP driven products and services that provide a seamless experience to consumers through tronX™.

How do you want people to know Smartron as?

Smartron is building India’s first global technology OEM brand with focus on innovation led product ecosystem around tronX™, an AI powered IoT platform. Through this we are going to offer devices, sensors, services, community and care delivering seamless and intelligent experience targeting consumer, enterprise, industrial and infrastructure markets.

What would be the focus of Smartron? There are unconfirmed news that Smartron is going to venture into IoT space, automobile and healthcare too!

As mentioned earlier, Smartron is not a smartphone company. We are an IoT brand that is focused on building an IP led ecosystem in India with devices across multiple categories like health, automation, home amongst others. And all these are powered by our own AI platform called tronX™ that delivers seamless experiences to consumers. Smartron is innovating and investing in variety of smart, sensor, robotics, big data, artificial intelligence and UI/UX technologies. Smartron products under tronX™ platform gives the users easy access to the tstore, tcloud (unlimited storage), tcare and partner services. We are looking at partnering with the right brands to develop such high end products and expand this ecosystem. Recently, we had acquired Volta Motors in Chennai which is a company that makes electric bikes. We will look at similar acquisitions/partnerships in the future in other segments as well to build a strong AI platform led network.

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