- Shyam Motwani, Executive Vice President & Business Head, Godrej & Boyce Mfg Co Ltd
Since May 7, 1897, Godrej has been instrumental in making lives brighter through a series of inventions that have combined pioneering science and engineering with a larger social purpose. What´s more, today 600 million Indians use Godrej products. Adding one more innovative feather to its cap, Godrej Locking Systems and Solutions (Godrej LOCKSS) recently launched its advanced Mobile Experience Centre (MEC-3) to highlight how its design-led innovation has been shaping the future of the locking solutions market. CW met Shyam Motwani, Executive Vice President & Business Head, Godrej & Boyce Mfg Co Ltd, at the event to learn more about the MEC-3 launch as well as the company´s innovative offerings.
What led to MEC?
The idea was to offer a solution or an alternate to a brick-and-mortar application or display centre. We wanted a solution that was less expensive and more convenient for our clients. So we decided to use a commercial vehicle and convert it into a mobile experience centre. Thus, the concept of MEC was established in 2012; with this launch, we have three MECs.
How has the industry reacted to the concept?
Owing to the kind of visitors we have had over the past two MEC editions, the experience has been positive and encouraging. Also, this has brought to the front our ability to penetrate markets where, otherwise, we would have not had our own experience centres. MEC has been taken to places architects operate from; it has cut down the drudgery of travelling long distances and helped us find a more cost-effective and innovative way of bringing our customer close to the actual experience. The effort taken to get people to a brick-and-mortar store as opposed to this mobile experience centre is different when we speak of economics, success rates, conversions and business impact.
Are there any other areas or cities you plan to reach out to through the MEC?
The third MEC will travel to various parts of western and southern India. Of our three MECs, one is dedicated to the entire western region. There is already one for north and central India. Similarly, for the whole of the northeast, there will be one dedicated vehicle. A permanent programme will be assigned to these vehicles and will be revised every three months. It will travel on the journey programme and be received by the local manager, who will canvas the team we work with in getting architects and interior designers.
So this is going to be completely localised....
Absolutely. The advantage is that it can reach where the consumer û our target audience - is. Rather than getting customers to far off places, the strategy here is to get to where the customer is.
Considering the demand, are there any products or solutions you are looking forward to offering clients?
We have started shifting towards electronics with solutions like either RFID, a digital keypad solution or biometric solution or a near field communication (NFC)-based solution, and many other evolving technologies. Also, we have mechatronic locks - a kind of a hybrid of mechanical and electronics.
Any latest innovations in locking systems?
New product development and launches are an ongoing initiative for us. We already have solutions - door and room locks - in mechatronics. NFC, a kind of RFID technology, is a new technology that we are working on. It´s a key card that uses the mobile phone as a key opening device. It´s a brilliant combination of locks. Even if you lived for a hundred years, you can cover the whole planet without repeating the key.
Tell us about the customised solutions you offer.
There are 30 different customised solutions and we have developed solution banks for various industry verticals. For example, for telecom towers, we have developed a solution that is vandal-proof. For tank trucks and petroleum, we have again developed a vandal-proof solution and there is no question of the key being duplicated. For windmills and remote windmill towers, we have developed solutions for various companies. We also have a solution for nuclear power.
What would you point out to as a landmark project where you have offered customised solutions?
These include telecom towers for mobile telephony, which is the biggest thing happening in India at present. Located in remote areas, these towers have a base unit that actually controls the towers and these have some expensive equipment. Also, a lot of generator-based fuels like diesel and so on need to be protected, and so a solution is needed. We need to offer a solution that ensures that we get to know about any vandal attack if it occurs. Such solutions have been offered in telecom, wind power and oil companies.
Do you also provide security products to banks?
Our sister concern is a security solution company that deals with bank lockers and physical safes, etc. So through this company, we offer products to banks that require safety and security for banking-related transactions. And, we manufacture the locks fitted on these safes. There are standard solutions for banks with safe deposit lockers and wall safes. The locks we provide are of different technology strengths depending on what the bank is looking for. We convince customers to buy different technologiesfor their safe deposit lockers and security products.
How do you view the market for security locking systems? What is the potential in terms of electronic locking systems?
In Europe today, electronics has still to make a dent. There is a certain degree of uncertainty with electronics that people associate in their minds, particularly for security. So adoption from mechanical to electronics is a slow process. Not more than 20 per cent of the homes or offices in Europe have migrated to electronics. Speaking of India, it´s a small market. Only Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru have started adopting electronics and this is limited to a niche audience. So, in terms of viability, it will take a while. Even over the next 10 years, I see mechanical solutions as the viable option with parallel work happening on the electronics front and some companies beginning to invest in electronics.
With the government´s focus on smart cities, smart buildings have become the new focus area for builders and architects. What are your offerings in this space?
At present, there is an integrated smart city solution we can offer customised to the needs of the client. We are also working on creating an integrated solution starting with the building premises and going on to various levels within the building, elevators, guest elevators for accessing flats, etc.
It will begin with physical perimeter access and securing the perimeter, the security of the premises, the security of the home and attendant security to the various people who will visit the home.
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