22nd Jun 2015
1. What is the state of the home automation scene in India? (Is it still nascent or ready to explode?)
Ans: The home automation movement in India started a decade back with low-end solutions. A revolutionary movement has moved this from mechanical operations to remote operations. Home automation has grown from an initial standpoint of security which was a value proposition for builders and the building segment. Then it moved on to comfort and now it stands as a combination of security, comfort and luxury. The technology has evolved from mechanical to remote to a fully developed solution. It has formed a hi-end system which connects lighting, shutters, sound systems, home theatre, etc. The home automation systems are generally modular so these can be integrated with different products to deliver seamless performance. These can be accessed on the user’s fingertips due to integration with smartphones and other smart devices.
The organised home automation offering is limited to the luxury and premium segment in India. There are low end solutions which are supported by low imports from China and Taiwan. The systems range from basic to advances. The market which has been growing at 20% for the last 7-8 years is very fragmented. The market is set to grow further at 20-25% over the next 5-6 years with more
Adoption of home automation systems has gradually risen as customers are increasingly becoming tech savvy. The trend is changing and more people are likely to shift with this trend.
2. According to you, why is home automation important?
Ans: Convenience, comfort, safety and security are the four biggest benefits in a home automation system. Security, status symbol, convenience, ability of remote access and energy conservation are the biggest demand drivers in this segment.
Automation is almost becoming an inherent need and market requirement in luxury residential properties here in India. Today’s lifestyle is increasingly changing, from house it’s changed to homes, and now it’s from homes to ‘My space’. This ‘My space’ with intelligence, hi-tech with modern aesthetics is personalised and adds an individual note to every living environment. Such complex requirement of the living space is brought true through Home Automation. It redefines numerous little routine activities in our life to make it simpler, faster and automated thus providing convenience and customisation.
With one click Home automation helps create the right mood for relaxation with the preset lighting levels, automatic curtains or blinds, with perfect sound of music or home theatre; create a perfect ambience for dining room, study room, kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms etc., crate the perfect set ambiance for business presentations, meetings, discussions etc., remotely monitor movement of guests, elderly people, babies in the house.
Energy saving is also a major aspect of home automation solutions. Since 40% of energy consumption in a building is due to lighting, usage of dimmers, sensors and controllers regulate lighting as per the requirement.
3. Is home automation affordable to a budget sensitive market like India?
Ans: Home automation definitely is not a mass or budget housing offer and one needs possess a level of spending power. It has a certain level of aspiration and with the concept of Internet of Things (IoT) coming in, people are not shying away from experimentation. As maturity levels grow and the audience gets younger, we expect to see a rise in adoption for Home Automation.
4. Does Legrand deal directly with end users or only with building contractors? (Here, end user is a general flat or a bungalow owner).
Ans: We interact with all the stakeholders in the business– be it the end users or building contractors. Generally, for aspiring home builders, our interactions are closer with the end users and their architects or electrical consultants, who play a major role in finalising the offer. After the initial rounds of exchange, we involve our business partners (system integrators) who are ultimately responsible for design, installation, testing and commissioning of the offer successfully.
5. How does a prospective customer approach Legrand for home automation? What is the process involved? (Are there site visits? Computer plans shown to the customer before things are finalized?)
Ans: Once the user’s interests are expressed clearly, our team of ‘product specialists’ exchange information on the offer and in parallel access the feasibility of the client’s aspirations. This is followed with an interaction involving the end user, the architect, the product specialist and our system integrator. During this interaction, we clearly define the scope and extent of the work and present a detailed commercial for the project. Once the buyer is in-line to the commercials and the scope of work, our system integrator works on the designs and the various layouts (electrical, ELV, lighting, etc.).
6. What about warranty and customer support?
Ans: A company rides on customer popularity and customer demand. Demand is fuelled when the customer sees value in the product both pre and post sales.
If the system is designed flawlessly and installed in the desired manner, there are minimal demands for a regular maintenance schedule. Legrand prides in both. To take care of these occasional checks, the service team of the business partners are well equipped by us with periodic updates on the products and the necessary trouble-shooting techniques. The supply, installation, testing and commissioning works for all the projects are being taken care by our valued base of certified and authorised business partners, who are all well equipped to take care of the after-sales service for all existing references.
Legrand provides training on new product launches and backs it up with subsequent trainings for updated versions.
7. What are the products offered by Legrand?
Ans: Legrand India offers a wide range of products in the categories of Energy distribution, Wiring devices, Home Automation, Structured Cabling, Lighting Management Solutions, Cable Management and Industrial application products. It is an undisputed leader in MCBs, RCDs and DBs and a strong No. 2 in wiring devices. Apart from this, the company also holds a remarkable position in Home Automation, MCCBs and Cable management systems.
Our home automation offer takes care of all the four major aspects i.e. comfort & convenience, safety & security, climate control and audio/ video integration with possibilities to manage and control all these four areas through a single interface (wall mounted touchscreens/ iPad, wireless touchscreens, etc.) In home automation product segment we have:
For comfort & convenience- lighting solutions and motorised circuits which can be combined to develop intelligent scenarios like morning scene, movie scene, party scene, etc.
For safety & security,- we have various alarm profiles including arming and disarming of burglar alarms, glass break alarms, gas detectors, flood sensors, etc.
Our climate control automation solutions manage temperature and climatic conditions of all areas of the home. This can be clubbed with the scenarios settings using various lighting solutions. Legrand’s audio/ video integration allows streaming of live music by remotely controlling internet radio, CD player and hard drives. We can also activate and command the television, amplifier, speakers and all other accessories to stream movies just by pressing the ‘movie’ scenario.
In addition to all of the above, Legrand also provides energy monitoring solutions by remotely activating all energy hungry devices during non-peak hours of the day.
8. How is Legrand different from its competitors?
Ans: Since we operate in the premium and niche segments, the competition rests on quality. However, based on our strength of aesthetics, application, technology and service back-up we have been enjoying an upper hand in more exchanges. We believe in our designs and durability which is different and unique from other players in the market. Legrand products are user-friendly and come with a very fine attractive finishes (shine and look of the product).in addition to being easy to install and understand. Innovation is Legrand’s key to stand different from the competition.
One of the significant differentiators for us will be our business partners’ community. Not only are they well versed in our product offer but they have huge experiences in the related fields (audio video, alarms, curtains, etc) which helps the end user enjoy a ‘single window vendor’ for all his home aspirations in the ELV ) extra low voltage) space. Our partner community is extremely well spread across the geography with presence even in tier 2 cities (Vijaywada, Coimbatore, Kanpur).
9. What protocol is followed by Legrand? (Examples are C-Bus, Insteon, KNX, and Z-Wave).
Ans: We at Legrand are proud to be part of all international developments like ZigBee and KNX. However, we are also working in parallel on our own proprietary protocols to offer our customer base robust but simple systems to install and operate. In addition to these, we actively collaborate with various other protocol developments to make sure that our customers enjoy seamless interface between various available protocols worldwide.
It has been our sincere effort to service our valuable customer base by providing them with an ‘Open’ platform/ protocol so as they can integrate various available functions with our devices.
Legrand follows various protocols:
Zigbee - The Zigbee technology is based on international low consumption radio communicator. It is used via wireless transmitters and receivers. This technology controls lightning, roller blinds as well as technical alarms. It is used to control the scenarios and bi- directional communication between the devices. The products that fall under this technology would be scenario controllers, lighting control switches and curtains/ blinds control switches. This is a wireless solution for controlling home automation products.
BAC net interface - By the launch of the BACnet interface, we are able to provide our customers a very unique opportunity of having exchange between our system and any BACnet certified devices. The device ensures two way communication between our home automation offer and HVAC systems, specifically in case of medium and large installations. By using our proprietary driver software we'll be able to command air-conditioning systems (VRV, VAV, FCU, ATU) and also have real time feedback from these systems in our command units (3.5" touchscreen).
SCS – Simplified Cabling Systems is our own proprietary protocol developed to provide an extremely robust and reliable system. However, designing with this protocol and installing the products remain simple because of which our business partners prefer our systems in comparison to other available protocols in the marketplace.
10. Are Legrand products compatible with other home automation brands? Can a customer opt to mix other home automation brand products with existing Legrand setup or integrate Legrand products with existing home automation setup from another brand?
Ans: Theoretically, our systems can be integrated and made to work with other available systems to provide a seamless experience to the end users. However, this might be a nightmare for the system integrators who had to master all different brands available in the marketplace. Also, because of multiple protocols involved, any scheduled or unscheduled maintenance activity can become a Herculean effort, resulting in severe customer dissatisfactions.
Having said this, please note that all luxury residences do have multiple systems and protocols running in the homes like lighting controls, security systems, entertainment devices, climate control devices, etc. Our business partners through advanced technical knowledge and our compatible product family makes it a reality to integrate all above functions and manage them all through a single interface either through our touch screens or through any smart devices (smart phones or tablets).
11. How convenient is Legrand home automation? Can things be controlled via regular smartphones and tablets? If yes, then what platforms are supported? What about remote/cloud management?
Ans: Integration with smart devices is an intrinsic part of the offer. We offer our customers specific developed apps to manage and control all the connected applications.
Today we are offering apps through both iOS and android based platforms.
Legrand's Take On Home Automation In India
In an interview, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Sameer Saxena talks about company's plans.
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