“The world has never been this flat”
Earlier, it appeared as if only the wealthy would be able to afford smart homes. But rising income levels have narrowed the gap between the wealthy and the urban middle class. These are the economic factors. But the unseen factor according to me is that we are dealing with an expression generation. The generation also has instant access to design schools like Instagram and Pinterest. The overall aesthetic sense has improved hence. People want to personalize their spaces and make a statement now. “Conversations about smart homes have been happening for the last decade. I think we are now at the tipping point. For any tech to go past the tipping point, there are two essential milestones – simplicity and impact. Smart voice assistants like Google Home and Alexa have made operations simple. Brilliant innovations in the smart lighting industry and energy savings have created an impact. With this ecosystem in place, smart homes are ready to take off”, states Vishnu Reddy, CEO, Hogar Controls.
Would you like to explain the evolution of the concept of Smart Homes from its inception?
It was all bits and pieces to start with. But as IoT started taking shape and innovators figured that devices could talk with each other, I think the floodgates opened. As a race, we always figured a way for someone else to do our heavy lifting. We employed horses then. We are delegating it to the machines now. The intent remains the same. The execution has taken wings, that’s all.
“The Smart Home industry has come a long way.” What are the challenges the industry faced during the journey?
We had our roots in the fully wired models to start with. When we went wireless is when the challenges started. We had to make a choice on the wireless protocols. We had to make sure the chosen protocol would be secure. We had to figure out how to keep the network stable. While fixing all that, we had to make it easily accessible for the end consumers. It also helped that innovations started happening across the spectrum and helped the industry evolve into the robust and secure network that it is today.
What is the global market scenario of customized Smart Home solutions?
The world has never been this flat. Distances have disappeared. What’s possible in Wisconsin is also possible in Vijayawada. Everyone across the world takes pride in unleashing their individuality. The endless customizations are helping them express their individualities in unique ways. Until now the expression was limited to permanent or semipermanent outlets like wall paints, wallpapers, pieces of art, etc. In smart homes, you can toy with your expressions, based on your mood at that point in time. To enable that, we offer everything from color options in devices to customizable UI on mobile apps. We are living in the future.
How does Hogar stand apart in the industry? What are its USPs?
We realized that there would be as many retrofit homes as there will be greenfield projects. If not more. So we made smart homes easier to build. All our products are one hundred percent retrofitted. We are completely wireless and the homes need no physical changes. You should look at our Cerebro series. It’s the smallest in size but the most powerful among its peers. Our Prima touch panel range is designed to seamlessly blend into the ambiance. They look super premium too. Hogar offers 360-degree automation solutions in Smart Lighting, Smart Security and Access, Smart Curtains, and Smart Sensors.
What are the recent initiatives taken by Hogar? What were the basic ideas behind the initiation?
We are fully focused on Z-wavebased ecosystems with our premium products and solutions. To recruit the early adopters, we have our Hogar Smart Extension series. With this, young urban adults can smartify their personal spaces. In the next few months, we are also bolstering our distribution, installation, and service network. To grow, we realize the ecosystem needs to be fully ready.
“Smart Homes Solutions are environmentally friendly”- Can you share your opinion on the same?
Environment friendly seems to be every industry’s buzzword. Smart homes walk the talk. The users have total control of their home’s energy consumption. We have built multiple mechanisms to prevent power wastage in our solutions. This ensures that every watt sweats it out. This is the hardworking side of a smart home. In absence of widespread clean energy, this is the next best way to save our planet.
Which among the smart home solutions(light, security, entertainment) witness maximum demand in the Indian market? Why?
Lighting and security have always been the heroes in India. For the last 18 months, since COVID, we are slowly seeing a shift to home entertainment too. We have never stayed home as much as we have in the last few months. Everyone wants their entertainment. I think this will be mainstream in the coming 6-12 months.
Which sector (residential, commercial, or hospitality) do you think needs automation or smart solutions the most? Why?
Though each will flourish, we are betting on smart homes the most. As it is, the lines between home and offices have started blurring. With people spending long periods of time at their homes, we think they will go the extra mile to make sure their homes provide all the comforts. In almost all Indian offices, office help is always round the corner. People are used to asking for things. Now that the action has shifted homewards, they need a substitute for those peons. Smart Home won’t be able to serve you coffee but can help with plenty of other things.
Where do you foresee the growth of the industry 5-8 years down the line?
Worldwide all the major cities are struggling to cope with the number of people flowing into them. Governments are aware of this and have been taking steps to decentralize this growth by allotting new industries / SEZs to smaller towns. This will also mean that infrastructure, residential and commercial buildings will follow suit. New spaces mean up-to-date spaces. Up-to-date with the best in the world. I think that’s where the growth is going to come from. The industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 11.08% until FY 2027. I think we are firmly on our way.