Revival & Survival: The pandemic has accelerated our innovation cycle - Rahul Jain
Prepared or not, India has now moved on to the ‘Unlock – 1’ phase as an exit strategy for the two-month long lockdown period. It is definitely a changed world that India is entering now, and we will have to learn to live with the Coronavirus in our midst.
A lot has been written, debated and discussed over how much the economy and business operations have been hit. We, at Adgully, aim to look at the revival story. What does it take to jumpstart an economy? That is the great narrative that we are following up as part of our ‘Revival and Survival’ series.
For Rahul Jain, Chief Business Officer, Hero Electronix, the way forward in the post-COVID world is to leverage technology to create products that enable people to stay connected digitally and also keep them safe. He believes that the blueprint for the economy at large should be to increase self-reliance.
What does the new normal look like? How much has the COVID-19 crisis disrupted business operations?
The new normal brings with it a society which is more cautious about the upkeep of its sanitation and wellbeing in order to combat the spread of COVID-19. The post-COVID India will bring with it more cautious consumers, who will be focusing on utility before purchasing any product. Given the circumstances, the absolute essentials for the consumers have changed as well. This brings about an opportunity for companies to innovate and provide solutions that cater to the consumers' new demands. For the consumer tech industry, the time is apt to leverage technology in creating products that enable people to stay connected digitally and also keep them safe.
The COVID-19 crisis has enabled Hero Electronix to create more consumer-centric products to cater to such needs. Business operations were normal as our employees continued to work from home and develop new innovative solutions sans any challenges which are usually associated with remote working. Despite the lockdown, we developed a new feature called “Qubo COVID-Guard”. The feature uses artificial intelligence to detect if individuals are wearing a mask or not. We believe that new-age technologies like artificial intelligence can help keep people safe post the lockdown. Innovation even during tough times is our company ethos. The pandemic has accelerated our innovation in-house, which will bode well for the business operations at large in the coming months.
What should be the blueprint for a post-COVID-19 economy?
The blueprint for the economy at large should be to increase self-reliance. At Hero Electronix, we believe that it is possible to create a world class-leading tech company out of India given the immense talent, skills and opportunities we have. The economy in general needs to focus on realising this vision.
How are you strategising for the remaining quarters of this Financial Year 2021?
The lockdown enabled us to innovate and re-strategise our business priorities for the remaining quarters of the financial year. We have extended our target consumer base from homes to small shops, restaurants and small offices with new product innovations. We are also doubling down on moving away from traditional forms of media and advertising to digital platforms. As per our new strategy, we continue to leverage our presence on digital platforms to reach these new consumer segments across metros and non-metros. To cater to the post-COVID world, we are also strengthening our focus on creating tech-enabled solutions and products which are more contextual to the current times. The pandemic has certainly accelerated our innovation cycle and we see this as a key component for our business in the coming months.
How do you visualise the economy and your sector a year later? How much would it have recovered by then?
Technology will play a key role in orchestrating the growth of the industry at large. Amidst such uncertainty, it is difficult to predict the exact rate of growth or revival of the economy right now, but I predict a positive rate of recovery as people increasingly rely on digital tools and technology to stay connected. In my sector, I do foresee a wider adoption for connected devices in our daily lives as people increasingly work from home and businesses implement new solutions to safeguard their consumers. I am optimistic that in a year’s time, the industry at large would have recovered to a great extent.