Rajeev Singh, Country Head and General Manager of BenQ India has been in the industry from nearly two decades of extensive industry. In conversation with Pragya Gupta discusses on tremendous potential in multimedia facilitated education and BenQ’s technological innovation.
How do you see school education evolving in India with respect to the global scenario?
The evolution of school education has seen tremendous leap in the recent past with classrooms being turned from just carrying a blackboard to a complete multimedia unit carrying audio video equipment, which not only empowers the teachers but at the same time increases the interest level of students thus increasing their learning capability and efficiency in the classroom to a greater extent.
In developed nations the automation of classrooms has been completed in last five years, so India is not far behind, but there are examples where our private institutions are setting examples for their peers outside India for technology adoption.
Tell us more about the genesis of your organisation in the e-learning domain?
e-learning or electronic learning in India is gaining prominence slowly, but indeed steadily. This is due to the fact that more than half the population of India today is below 25 years of age. It has become one of the major growth drivers for the education sector. e-Learning in the education sector has been one of the key drivers for BenQ in the recent times. There has been a sharp rise in demand for smart classrooms, which has led to a sharp rise in demand for projectors. We have tied up with companies providing smart classrooms solutions giving us the opportunity to bring some of the most advanced projection technologies in India.
BenQ is world number one DLP projector brand and education projector brand. We have consistently brought path breaking technology at global level for education. We have already sold more than 10 thousand projectors in a single quarter in current year and have captured about 16 percent of the market share in India in the second quarter. About 40 percent of revenues generated from our projector business in India, comes from the education sector. We plan to increase our market share to leadership position by year end.
What drives the educational technology market share that impelled you to foray into the Indian schools?
The market size of digital classroom is likely to touch almost 100 thousand classrooms with a phenomenal growth rate of 100 percent in the recent past. This trend is expected to continue for the next five years.
The way education is delivered and the importance it has in lives of modern India is forcing the changes in the educational set up. Also the globalisation is effective in bringing the latest teaching methodologies and tools to Indian market. The latest teaching delivery mechanism now has a student carrying a networked computer at his disposal, fully networked class rooms, multimedia method of delivery and study content in soft form. This has generated new age companies that are specialising in providing customised and targeted solution to the industry.
BenQ being at the forefront of education based opportunities is providing education projector for specific needs of the customers. We have been part of Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan and have provided projectors close to 10,000 Government schools till now this has been achieved in last 3 years with government schools of South India, which are mostly in remote area. Hence, we are confident that we are well poised to cater to the requirements of the education sector.
What are your views on the time taken by India education sector to match the tech savvy aptitude as the west?
The Indian education sector is growing rapidly; there has been a tremendous growth in the technological advancements in this sector. Schools in the Tier one cities have been quickly adapting to the newer ways of educating the students with more and more interactive classrooms being installed. The government can also see a lot of potential in this sector and is willing to invest so as to be at par with the rest of the world.
India is a developing country, but has a lot of potential for growth. Till a few years back, the education sector was not a priority for the government, however, in the recent past, there has been a shift in focus of the government towards this sector.
Also there have been a lot of investments made to bring up the education sector at par with the developed countries. With the kind of potential this sector has, it has attracted many multinational companies to come and invest in this sector. The sector is gaining prominence slowly, but indeed steadily and given the vastness of the country. It opens newer prospects for a lot of technology players in the coming years too.
Please shed some light on your market positioning and products for education vertical?
The projector market in India has grown at about 100 percent the last three years. In fiscal 2009, the market size was at about 90 thousand units, in fiscal 2010 it rose to 180 thousand units and is likely to reach 300 thousand units in 2011. BenQ India’s business was earlier mainly driven by the LCD monitor segment, generating almost equal revenue from the projector business. Fourty percent of the total revenue for BenQ India comes from its projector business. In the last quarter, BenQ is among the top two projector brands in India with a market share of 16 percent in the overall projector market of India.
“The B and C class cities are mushrooming with professional educational institutes and this forms the largest source of the demand of projectors”
Education, with more than 50 percent of the market, forms the biggest segment for the projector market. BenQ provides more than 20 education projectors in its extensive portfolio of durable and user-friendly projectors designed to meet today’s demanding classrooms. BenQ is drawing on its extensive research and development resources to continually push the limits of what projectors can do, introducing models incorporating the newest technologies like interactive capabilities, 3-D ready, ultra short throw technologies etc. Our interactive projector model MP780 ST with the PointDraw Interactive technology, WXGA resolution, USB reader, LAN and wireless display and 20W speakers gives the learning experience a whole new dimension.
BenQ has launched a wide range of Short throw and Ultra Short throw projectors like MX660, MS614, MS510, MX511, MX613ST, MS612ST, MP780ST and the MX880UST, especially designed for the education sector. The education sector would grow at a faster rate and we plan to tap this opportunity completely.
Please share your future plans for the Indian market?
The projector market is at a boom in India. The education sector plays a very vital role for us as the delivery mechanism of education is changing. The Government of India has big plans of investing in education sector. There are about 15 lakh government schools in India in with a plan to have at least one classroom in each school, which is multimedia capable, hence it is a big opportunity for us. For the government schools the opportunity is right up to the village level.
The private schools focus on infrastructure and use of latest teaching aids in classroom since beginning, are the early adopters of multimedia classroom and smart classrooms. In Metro and A class cities these schools form the major demand source. The B and C class cities are mushrooming with professional educational institutes and this forms the largest source of the demand of projectors.
In first half of 2011, we launched a whole new range of short-throw and ultra-short throw projectors especially to cater to the needs and wants of this sector. In second half of the year, we are looking to widen this range even further having more products for this segment. This would be a big opportunity for us to attain the number one place in the Indian market.