CONNECTED LIGHTING HAS HUGE POTENTIAL IN INDIA: HAVELLS

There is an increased demand of connected lighting solutions in modern offices, smart cities, street lighting, industries, commercial spaces and hospitality. Prag Bhatnagar, Senior Vice President, Havells India Ltd.

Today, lighting is not just about illumination, it is also about contributing to healthier living and working conditions. However, there is a lack of awareness on this aspect. To address this, Havells has introduced ‘Lightline’, a lighting consultation service, to provide expert advice about lighting to consumers, informs the company’s Senior Vice President Prag Bhatnagar. He also talks about the impact of coronavirus outbreak on lighting business. Experts:

Havells India’s lighting & fixture business reported around 28% dip in its profit before tax (PBT) during Q3 of current fiscal. Would you like to comment on this performance? 
The lighting industry faced some challenges like price erosion and delay in projects. The impact was lesser in consumer lighting in continuation to our efforts in expanding distribution in smaller towns and rural markets while the B2B business has bigger impact on top line growth. In terms of volume growth, we could gain share in few categories while we could manage to retain our share in others. I think in the long-term prices will be stable and our continuous focus on innovation and technology will help us to get desired results.

Which segment is more affected – B2C or B2B?
This year was difficult for the lighting industry. We managed to achieve decent growth in B2C due to our efforts in expanding distribution and focus on rural markets. Havells brand stores and a very strong dealer channel also helped in attaining significant growth in volume sales. B2B was affected due to lack of demand, price erosion and delayed projects. Overall, B2B business was affected more than B2C.

What will be your comeback strategy?
As per our understanding of the industry data, we have not lost market share. We believe that the lighting business will be an important business for Havells in the long term. We will continue to invest in innovation, new technologies and brand. In the future, our focus will be more on using new technologies, connected lighting to provide solutions in B2B space and to create a sense of well-being for consumers at their home. In the current market scenario, local manufacturing and our R&D facility in Noida and Bangalore will also be an advantage.

How do you see the concept of connected lighting is catching up in India?
I think connected lighting has a huge potential in India. In my view, we need to focus more on what value it can help deliver for consumers, especially in the B2C space. We need to demystify this for users and create a language that the consumer can understand. In the recent past, the market was flooded with low quality products without any focus on data security which led to reduced confidence of consumers. With more organised players coming in with better solutions and use cases I think this will catch up fast.

In B2B space, it is already a large part of the business. There is an increased demand of connected lighting solutions in modern offices, smart cities, street lighting, industries, commercial spaces and hospitality.

Have you ventured in to connected lighting segment?
We have launched connected lighting solutions a few years back with a focus on B2B customers. This has been very successful and contributed significantly to the B2B business of Havells.

Our offerings range from sensor-based lighting products to POE enabled and LitM. We are amongst the first movers in this segment and have been successfully completed many residential, smart city and indoor commercial projects.

We also have a R&D facility in Bangalore dedicated to deliver never before connected solutions for consumers in India.

Tell us more about Havells Lightline…
Like I mentioned earlier, at Havells we are focused on consumers. The dramatic change from conventional lighting to LED lighting has created lots of options for consumers. Lighting can change your life in many ways. Today, lighting is not just about illumination, it is about reducing stress levels, improving quality of your sleep, how it can be easy on eyes especially for kids and elderly people at home, a better viewing experience, aesthetics and many more parameters that can improve with better light. We realise that the consumers are either not aware of these benefits or they don’t know how to achieve them in their homes.

Hence, we thought about providing expert advice about lighting to consumers. This is a first of its kind in the lighting industry. A consumer can call on a toll-free number and can get expert advice for lighting of his/her homes from our lighting engineers. We also provide entire lighting design for their homes free of cost through this service.

Finally, is there any impact of coronavirus outbreak on your lighting business?
Coronavirus has impacted everyone in the world. We don’t know how long it will take to curb this. There could be some impact on lighting business as well. Our focus presently is more on the safety of our employees, customers and all stakeholders. We should come out of this challenging situation as early as possible.