For a global security solutions provider, entering the Indian market begins with understanding the local customer’s requirements.
For a global security solutions provider, entering the Indian market begins with understanding the local customer’s
requirements. But this is not easy, as the Indian market is fragmented and diverse, making it close to impossible to reach every end customer without investing heavily in a high-budget marketing plan.
There is an easier way, though, which is to talk to systems integrators (SI) directly. To be sure, this isn’t easy either because the security systems integration industry in India is not as organized as it should be. But asmag.com recently managed to catch up with a few SIs who partner with Axis Communications in India, to get their views on the matter.
According to Gaurav Mangal, Business Head of Security and Surveillance at Toshniwal Industries, the main challenge, especially regarding IP-based surveillance systems, is the customer’s lack of knowledge on what they want to buy.
“They compare IP Surveillance systems with IP devices that are used in general networking/LAN,” Mangal said. “The problem is that LAN/WAN is focused more on the network or the backend. For IP surveillance, they need to pay attention to the camera as it is the
major component, apart from other network devices.”
This is where the price sensitivity issues that have become a nightmare for foreign vendors in India resurface. Manoj Bisht, the owner of MK Infosystems, agreed, adding that competition from Chinese manufacturers is a challenge to SIs working with premium solution providers.
“India is a very price-sensitive market for high-end surveillance products,” Bisht said. “With the presence of various low-quality Chinese products, the biggest challenge for us is to convince our customers to buy products, which, although high in pricing, offers a better quality coupled with world-class technology. Still, many customers take cameras as just a device to watch the videos rather than for security surveillance. So, educating the customer and convincing them on the quality of products is the major challenge.”
To Santosh Kamble, MD of NexGen Integrated Systems, other issues include dealing with cybersecurity
. Although threats of a data breach are as grave in India as it is anywhere else in the world, customers here are yet to take the issue seriously.
“Cybersecurity threat mitigation awareness in the customer is not yet mature and, in such cases, we recommend products that follow best cybersecurity practices to ensure the IP Surveillance equipment doesn’t become the weakest link on the network,” Kamble said.
Slow government processes
Rajiv Batra is the owner of Doorsanchar, an SI that focuses majorly on the government sector. According to him, SIs in this sector face two significant challenges.
“One during the presales stage and the second during post-sales which are more on the technical front,” Batra explained. “The major challenges at the presale stage are the government procedures in our country.”
Delays in decision making are common in Indian public sector projects. Often there are also a lot of uncertainties because of political reasons. Post-sales challenges differ from customers to customers. Each project has its own set of challenges.
“Unlike other system integrators who are dealing with projects that call for indoor installations, we primarily deal with outdoor projects which involves laying of optical fiber cables across the city and doing the installation across traffic junctions, etc.,” Batra continued.
These call for several levels of permissions that they are required to seek from different government bodies like National Highway Authorities, Railway Authorities, and other local authorities, before installation, which is another set of challenges during the execution stage.
What can solution providers do?
In short, the significant challenges that SIs in India face are price-sensitivity, lack of cybersecurity awareness, and the slow decision-making process in the government sector. Solution providers who can help SIs overcome these would have the best chances of succeeding in the subcontinent.
Marketing to end customers could be a possible solution, as this would support SIs in their efforts to convince the customer to not just focus on the price factor. When you combine this with steps to create more awareness of cybersecurity issues, customers will have a better understanding of what it takes to protect their surveillance data.
Finally, dealing with government projects in India requires people who are familiar with how the system works. A potential solution some vendors have already considered is hiring such people to work as intermediaries. In a market like India, foreign vendors would always be better off with a reliable local representative. A lot of their success could depend on how efficient this representative could be.