InfoComm India 2014: Development and progress

InfoComm India 2014: Development and progress
India, with its vast size and immense population, is a country that those involved with professional AV in Asia Pacific cannot afford to overlook. InfoComm India is an annual event that allows all parties concerned to meet and discuss the opportunities and challenges AV is faced with in the country and the region as a whole. This year InfoComm India was held in Mumbai from 17th September 2014 till 19th September 2014.

InAVate APAC was at the show to cover the event and bring you a closer look at the technology and trends that will be shaping the Indian market in the coming future. Overwhelmingly the mood among the players in the Indian professional AV market was upbeat and buoyant. The primary reason behind the optimism was the relatively recent election of the BJP lead by Narendra Modi to power.

The new Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has had an excellent track record for development and attracting foreign investment which was established while he was Chief Minister for the State of Gujarat, a post he maintained for over a decade. Naveen Sridhar, who is the sales manager for Beyerdynamic in India, sheds light on Modi’s past achievements: “Under his tenure Gujarat holds an event called ‘Vibrant Gujarat’ and it is to draw investment from people from outside of the country. Gujarat has been the state bringing in the largest investment from outside India for a whole.”

It is hoped that the new government will bring similar results now on a national scale. There are other factors as well that make Modi well placed to increase growth. Robin Ghose, regional manager for SAARC at Biamp Systems, elaborates: “Before the current government came in, there was a coalition government. There was policy indecision paralysis and a lot of projects that were planned got shelved or discontinued. The new government however has come in and they are aggressively focusing on education and infrastructure.”

Education Sector

Education has always been a focus of every Indian government and the sector is expected to continue its growth. InfoComm India 2014 was an excellent opportunity for manufacturers to showcase their products for this specific market segment. BenQ were showcasing their 70-inch RP700+ interactive flat-panel display that allows for touch input similar to the capabilities of tablets. Aten on the other hand was highlighting their VE814 that allows for the transmission of audio and video signals over CAT5 cable for distances up to 100m.

A point of discussion among integrators, manufacturers and consultants was figuring out AV solutions for primary and secondary education institutions. Tertiary education institutions in the country, take for example Indian Institute of Management (IIM) or Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), have already adopted AV technology and other similar establishments are following suite. Showing the worth of AV solutions for K1 to K12 students was a specific target that many hope to accomplish in the coming future.

Transport Sector

Modi’s government is not only focused on education. Developing the infrastructure is another essential goal. Sridhar from Beyerdynamic predicts: “You will see a lot of big projects coming up in the transportation sector. He (Modi) would like to connect all the big cities seamlessly.”

Prashant Govindan, director of India operations for HARMAN Professional, gives an example of a transport project that shows the level of infrastructure development being chased: “With the new government coming on board, they recently announced a bullet train project between Mumbai and Ahmedabad which is about 500km north of Mumbai. What that essentially means is a huge amount of infrastructure development.”

The bullet train serves as a marquee example, but transportation will also be overhauled with new mass transit trains, traditional railways, bus stations and regional airports to help connect the massive land-mass of India. This would mean requirement for AV systems, specifically PA/VA systems.

Govindan gives his thoughts on how PA/VA systems will be modernized: “Transportation will require some form of public address and evacuation capabilities. Right now it (PA/VA installs) is in the ancient times. You will be lucky to find a pair of speakers. But as people get more educated and people realize the importance of actuation and unfortunately when disasters happen, when people cannot evacuate in a timely and orderly manner, the railways and the mass transit systems in India are investing in these kind of systems., Traditionally PA/VA would have been very old school analog systems. But people are realizing that with the digital age it is actually easier to have a few CAT5 cables connect the processor a couple of microphones and speakers and you have a PAVA system. And that is the wave we want to capitalize on.”

Corporate Sector

The Indian government’s quest for infrastructure development is not to keep the AV industry in the country busy and occupied. The goal is to make India an even more favorable destination for international businesses. Sridhar from Beyerdynamic talks about the impact this could have on the AV industry: “Because of investment coming into India a lot of corporates are gaining ground. You know big corporates like Morgan Stanley they are on a big expansion. So they feel the environment is positive and they feel the economic climate will get much better. Businesses where already here but I think they were holding back further investment. They were speculating whether they should invest in India or elsewhere. But I think those companies are coming in proactively now and investing.”

But integrators should not expect projects from the corporate sector in India to start springing up overnight. Ghose says: “I think the big kicker (from all the infrastructure development) will come two or three years down the road once the government has got things in place and new businesses have settled in. AV equipment in the corporate sector is directly linked with hiring. The more people you have in a facility, the more the facility needs AV equipment.”

If the corporate sector grows as per predictions, there is expected to be an increase in the demand for conferencing solutions, meeting room solutions, digital signage and other AV equipment associated with the sector.

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