Deval Parikh, CEO, Brightstar India speaks to Dataquest on the roadmap of his company in India for the year ahead and how he plans to strengthen Brightstar as a brand. Parikh also shares details regarding the key initiatives which Brightstar has in the offing
Can we start with an overview of the organization and how Brighstar plans to emerge from the traditional Beetel brand image and position itself as a new entity?
Traditionally, there were four lines of businesses when I took on about 8 months ago. We have the enterprise business in the first place. We have the consumer business, the networks business and the Beetel line of business. Beetel, which has been doing mobile on and off, helped Brightstar enter the Indian market. The acquisition of Beetel added mobile as a line of business to the company. So, these are traditionally the four lines of businesses.
Historically, most of them have been distribution-led opportunities. Over the last few years, we have transformed ourselves. In the enterprise business, videos-to-boardroom contribute a major chunk where Polycom is our key partner. We are the largest partners of Polycom in India.
Our second line of business within enterprise is voice where we focus on partners such as Avaya, Unify and others. This includes the traditional voice IP business and contact center solutions. The third line of enterprise business includes displays which is an emerging opportunity. We are the largest partner for Samsung in India in business displays.
In our networks business, we focus on the access network. We have exclusive partnerships for service, for distribution and for engineering solutions. The network solutions include Wi-Fi equipment, routers from our partners like Radwin and Huawei. We have additionally started working with 4G repeaters.
Brightstar’s consumer business is much diversified and includes the traditional Beetel landline phones, Wi-Fi routers and dongles. And in the mobile device business, we are one of the largest partners of Apple, Motorola, and Lenovo.
One of the key things that we did as part of the transformation exercise is to leverage some of our global capabilities. Our global capabilities on the mobile side also include financial solutions. In financial solutions we make the expensive devices more affordable. We integrate various aspects into the overall business. The idea is to make the end consumer experience as painless as possible. Today if you buy an iPhone say for `50,000 or `60,000, customers do also need insurance against damage protection. Device protection is a massive market globally. It is pegged to be $40 bn by 2020 but here in India, it is in infancy. This is the reason that we are also getting into the device protection business.
We are about to start buyback business too which would be launched in India soon. We will get the old devices from customers. It will be a good proposition for customers looking for new devices. Now, we are a distribution plus service business as we feel that this is the need of the hour.
What sort of cloud services do you plan to introduce in Indian market?
In the enterprise, side we will be launching our cloud solutions. We are of the opinion that mid-market in India is under-utilized and not fully capitalized. To help mid-tier companies with cloud, it is important to offer them solutions that will kickstart their business. Due to poor fiber connectivity, mid-sized companies have found it difficult to harness the power of cloud. We have experience in this area and believe that we will be able to offer businesses good connectivity and deliver cloud-based services at their door steps.
Have you built up the capability to deliver cloud-based solutions?
We are in the process of doing it. We will have it in the second half of this year, for sure. We are in the last stages of building these capabilities. In order to deliver them, we will work with a lot of existing partners and will also seek new partnerships.
At the same time, we are working on additional areas in terms of network monitoring services for enterprises as well as surveillance. We do not have definite dates as of now for launching them. But we will be launching them in this financial year only.
What are the other components on which you are betting big on?
We are betting big on the proliferation of Wi-Fi and 4G access. Thanks to the marketplace dynamics especially Reliance Jio which has brought in a dramatic change in the ecosystem. Other operators have also tried to match their pricing. Because of this, the data consumption has multiplied. The usage is likely to go up further. We believe that this will create further opportunities for us on the Wi-Fi front.
What is the existing strength and what are the plans to get your strengths to match your expectations in the next 10-12 months?
On the telecom side, we have partnerships with all the major telcos and are expanding our reach further. On the enterprise side, we have currently more than 500 partners. And with them we have fostered quality partnerships. All of them are top and trusted brands. For instance, we have healthy partnerships with brands such as Polycom or a Huawei on the distribution front. To make sure we form the right partnerships, we focus on quality because of which we are able to remain either number 1 or number 2 for that brand. For Polycom, we are number 1 in India. For Samsung, we are number 1 on display side. For Huawei, we are number 1 and only gold certified partner in India. Similarly, we are top distributor for Sandisk and Apple in India. In short, we focus on nurturing partnerships and building brands.
You mentioned about your buyback business which involves reverse logistics and having infrastructure in place to remodel/refurbish devices. Do you have it all in place?
Let me touch upon our physical infrastructure capabilities. We operate 28 warehouses across India in every state and region. We have one factory where we make landline phones which means we have the ability to manufacture. This capability is going to be leveraged in refurbishing some of the devices in the future. All in all, we have the physical infrastructure in place today. We also have the ability to leverage the global markets. If we have to sell the units outside of India, we can do that. Brightstar on a annualized basis touches about a 100 million mobile devices globally. And a significant portion of this is part of the reverse side.
For all the focus areas that you mentioned how are you aligning your marketing strategies?
In terms of marketing strategies, we are looking at areas that could give us mileage and help us reach out to the appropriate audiences. Our marketing strategy is not going to be one-size-fits-all kind. In some cases, our marketing activities would heavily rely on the OEMs whereas in some cases our telecom partners will help. We also plan to enhance our reach in the distribution side and hence, increase our partner base in India.