When A&T Video Networks set up a factory in Arasanoor, a tier III town in Sivaganga District, South Tamil Nadu, to manufacture Pro AV equipment, a few in the industry thought the venture would see the light of the day. In the highly-competitive and technology-intensive sector, where foreign brands command over 90% of the market share, local production was never considered feasible, mainly because critical components such as chipsets, sensors, lenses and electronic controls have to be sourced abroad. Even in the case of accessories the cost of locally made items is several times higher than the imported ones.
”Still, a beginning must be made in the Make in India story in the video conferencing industry. Today, we are among a handful of companies that believe that indigenisation is the way to create cost effective solutions for the local market. And probably we are the only company to base our R&D, design and manufacturing capabilities in a tier-III town, and to work with engineers from rural India to create a talent pool in advanced technologies. Our vision is to indigenise global technologies and make them meet the unique requirements of Indian customers, while proving our mettle in the global markets such as the Middle East, SAARC and Africa that have demands with similar characteristics.Ashwin DesaiFounder and chairman of the company
A&T Video Networks, founded in 1998 in Madurai, has been a pioneer in the industry. It began as a reseller of video conferencing equipment, and eventually became a national distributor for many leading brands in the industry, even as it developed a pan-India network of service engineers. With the demand for customized solutions increased, the company became a system integrator, and developed design capabilities for the local market. Today, it is a deemed OEM for high-end brands like AVer, Taiwan and Ncast, USA. A&T is the only entity authorized to sell and support these brands on the Government eMarketplace, GeM. The company has a technical tie-up with Ubicast, France to host, configure and manage its Nudgis Video SaaS platform in India.
The opportunity to be an original equipment manufacturer heralded with the government’s thrust on indigenisation. “Our strengths are our decades of experience in the industry and our understanding of customer requirements – something that cannot be attained overnight,” Ashwin says. With its Arasanoor plant, A&T Video Networks developed a Make in India roadmap for each of the product categories: web cameras, PTZ cameras, speakerphones, video soundbars and microphones. Currently, the company has achieved over 50% indigenisation with web cameras, and from anywhere to 20-30% in other products. “Our vision is to achieve 80% indigenisation in web cameras, and 50% in speakers and microphones by 2030,” Ashwin exudes confidence. The vision for indigenisation is bold considering that the products feature advanced technologies: be it AI-driven speaker/audio tracking or auto framing.
A&T is committed to developing a design team comprising local talent for best-of-breed global technologies. It has a team of about 20 employees trained in advanced electronics manufacturing processes, design and testing. As part of its industry-institute collaboration, the company trains students of local educational institutions in product development lifecycle.
Its future plan is to expand the manufacturing plant with automation technology. As an environment conscious company, A&T is getting into recycling e-waste as part of its Extended Producer Responsibility. Further, leveraging its infrastructure, A&T aims to get into contract manufacturing for other brands. The company is already in talks with a few International and Indian brands in this regard to facilitate their initiation into the Make in India movement.