Smart Cities Mission Key Focus Area for Barco to Maximise Market Footprint

Barco is also delivering dynamic, visually spectacular, future-proof solutions to businesses

Rajiv Bhalla, MD at Barco Electronic Systems

Barco has travelled a long way since 1996 in India. Today, it is a leader in professional visualisation and networking solutions for enterprise, entertainment, and healthcare sectors in India.

Rajiv Bhalla, MD at Barco Electronic Systems, takes you through the journey in a chat with Pradeep Chakraborty. Excerpts:

BW CIO: Barco's success story so far in India is working closely with Government of India's 'Make in India' campaign. Elaborate.

Rajiv Bhalla: Barco India has come a long way since commencing operations as a 50-person team in 1996. Today, we are the category leader in the professional visualisation and networking solutions for enterprise, entertainment, and healthcare sectors in India.

Barco India has emerged as a prominent contributor in Barco’s continued success and growth across the globe, playing a key role in consolidating the company’s global dominance.

Barco has been significantly contributing to the government’s ‘Make in India’ campaign. Our production capability is in line with our impressive growth. Our projector assembly line has an installed capacity of 1,000 projectors per month. We manufacture 65-70 types of modules every month on our PCBA lines, with an overall capacity between 2,000-2,500 boards on a monthly basis.

We also manufacture approximately 60,000-70,000 boards on an annual basis for lamp-power supply module for digital cinema. Our excellence in manufacture, quality, and export of electronics and IT products has also won us several awards in India and abroad.

We have also been investing heavily in nurturing local talent, skilling and empowering them to represent India’s market opportunities within the global Barco community, and have generated significant employment opportunities for Indian professionals across the board.

We employ more than 500 associates, spread across offices in Noida, Mumbai, and Bangalore. Our Noida headquarters is one of the key strategic sites for Barco in terms of manufacturing and hardware, as well as software R&D.

BW CIO: What is Barco's strategy to take lead in connected visualisation market in India?

Rajiv Bhalla: Barco is among the leading players in the connected visualisation and professional collaboration space in India. A major reason for this success is the cutting-edge technologies that we employ.

With our offerings designed to deliver the maximum business impact and minimise the total cost of ownership (TCO), we deliver highly dynamic, visually spectacular, future-proof solutions to businesses across multiple sectors, helping them in maximising their productivity and enhancing their service delivery.

Another key focus area for Barco to maximise its market footprint will be the Smart Cities Mission. Information is one of the most vital aspects upon which the smart infrastructure will be built. As such, smooth operations in smart cities can only be achieved when information from disparate sources is combined and shared in real-time with various stakeholders.

Enabling seamless, real-time access to information will require smart control room solutions, which will manage and streamline the enormous amounts of data that these smart cities will generate on a daily basis. This is the play that we’re aiming for. Barco has already established its global leadership in the category and will be looking forward to replicate the same in India.

BW CIO: How has Barco's growth in India been in the past nine months?

Rajiv Bhalla: We have registered robust growth in India and have significantly expanded our market footprint in the last nine to 12 months. Thanks to a strengthened partner ecosystem, differentiated and superior product/solution offerings, and a fine-tuned GTM that focusses delighting the customer, we have scored big wins in entertainment, enterprise, and healthcare sectors.

We have also introduced several innovative enterprise solutions like ClickShare, our proprietary wireless presentation, in the Indian market.

BW CIO: What is Barco's contribution in developing cinema experience in India?

Rajiv Bhalla: Barco has been bringing high-quality movie watching experiences to life since the turn of the century and currently illuminates nearly 50 percent of cinema screens around the world with its state-of-the-art projection technology. What we’re doing in India is redefining the entire cinema experience. Our high-end laser projectors are perfect for big canvases and make for an immersive entertainment experience, thanks to their exceptional image quality and clarity.

Robust designs and simplified operations additionally reduce system downtimes and complexity, thereby decreasing maintenance costs and allowing cinema owners to seamlessly integrate our projection solutions into their existing setups. Our differentiated proposition is why we have leading cinema chains leveraging our offerings.

We also have a long, fruitful association with FutureWorks Media, one of Asia’s most prominent post-production houses, which has been leveraging Barco’s 2K and 4K digital cinema solutions to deliver critical colour stability and superb colour matching for post-production monitoring.

We have launched several innovative, cutting-edge projection solutions in the Indian market to meet the growing entertainment requirements of the Indian audiences and to capture a larger share of the digital cinema technology and services space.

For example, we have an extensive array of DCI-compliant laser and lamp-based cinema projectors available in India, including our Smart Laser cinema projectors, Flagship Laser cinema projectors, as well as Xenon cinema projectors. Our projectors offer outstanding brightness (up to 56,000 Lumens), exceptional image resolution (up to 4K), and extended light-source life (up to 40,000 hours).

BW CIO: How has been the adoption of electronic visualisation products in India?

Rajiv Bhalla: Connected visualisation solutions are already being leveraged by several sectors like healthcare, manufacturing, security and surveillance, quality control, education, and entertainment. With the government’s focus on building smarter and safe cities, control room-focussed solutions like video walls and application software are also being employed in critical applications such as traffic management, security, telecom, utilities, and process control systems.

Owing to the benefits such as enhanced decision-making, better business productivity, and improved knowledge-sharing; networked visualisation solutions currently witness unprecedented demand in the Indian market.

BW CIO: Entertainment and healthcare sectors are developing with every single passing day in the visualisation department. What is Barco's latest offering to these industries?

Rajiv Bhalla: We have comprehensive offerings in the healthcare display segment, aimed at boosting clinical performance and enabling better quality patient care. These include leading-edge displays for radiology, mammography, dentistry, pathology, and modality imaging for detailed, high-quality image processing, as well as clinical displays for healthcare specialists, IP-based OR (operation theatre integration).

Another prominent Barco offering in the healthcare segment is Nexxis, an OR-over-IP platform for the integrated digital operating room. Built on a high-bandwidth IP platform, this innovative solution enhances workflow efficiency and team collaboration in the OR by delivering a flexible and scalable surgical environment.

Barco has also designed a complete line of high-accuracy surgical and IP ready endoscopic displays to meet the exacting requirements of image-guided surgery in the digital operating room.

For the entertainment sector, we provide state-of-the-art solutions which enable crisp, clear, and colour-accurate digital projection. Our offerings in the segment include DCI-compliant laser and lamp-based cinema projectors, such as Smart Laser cinema projectors, Flagship Laser cinema projectors, and Xenon cinema projectors.

Additionally, we have innovative visualisation solutions such as simulation projectors and 3D stereoscopic projectors, as well as Barco’s flagship Lobby Experience, which bring to life unmatched augmented/virtual reality experiences. With our advanced digital projection solutions, we are not only redefining the in-theatre cinema experience, but are also enabling more immersive and engaging end-user experience at events.

BW CIO: What are the activities that Barco is doing to scale up R&D in Indian plant?

Rajiv Bhalla: Barco’s largest software lab in the world is situated in Noida. Our in-house R&D team has led the end-to-end development for several flagship projects, defining architecture and standardising software development aligned with Barco divisions and measurability at every stage. The recently-launched ClickShare CSE-800 was co-developed in Noida, as were other innovative solutions.

We plan to expand our R&D capabilities further, in consonance with our growing contribution to Barco’s global production development, scaling up not just in numbers but also in the quality of our output. Product, architecture, and the level of automation – these will be the key focus area for us going forward. We are also looking at expanding the size of our R&D teams, especially in the highly-promising entertainment and enterprise verticals.

BW CIO: How is Barco contributing to the Indian government's Smart City initiative?

Rajiv Bhalla: The Smart Cities Mission will require several critical domains to be modernised and made technology-friendly. Seamless interconnectivity between multiple stakeholders will be vital to ensure smoother day-to-day operations and better query resolution.

As Indian consumers demand better services, service providers – whether public or private – will need to leverage advanced technological solutions to meet their growing requirements. Information access will be pivotal here; data will have to be collated and combined from multiple sources and presented to everyone in the value chain to improve information visibility and decision-making.

This is where Barco, as a leading provider of networked visualisation/distribution as well as smart city solutions, can step into the picture as a technology partner. By allowing all stakeholders to share and view real-time information through connected devices, Barco can assist in the creation of a highly reliable, efficient, and futuristic smart infrastructure for Indian cities.

BW CIO: How has been the project with the UP Government's UP 100 -- by providing the advanced, security-enabled video wall solution?

Rajiv Bhalla: We have installed an advanced video wall with 180 rear-projection LED cubes in multiple configurations at the Lucknow centre to enable faster, more accurate tracking and resolution of complaints, crimes, and queries.

The solution makes it possible for control room operators to monitor all incoming information in real-time and route it quickly and accurately to the concerned teams. This not only ensures swifter response to emergencies relating to public safety, but also optimises the on-ground deployment of the police force.

We have also equipped the video wall with Barco’s unique cooling system to extend LED lifespan, reduce operating costs, and lower maintenance requirements, thereby maximising the uptime for the project.

BW CIO: What are Barco's future plans for India?

Rajiv Bhalla: In addition to serving as a vital location for manufacturing/developing Barco hardware and software, India is also rapidly establishing itself as an attractive market for our enterprise, entertainment, and healthcare solutions. A few key sectors that we’re targeting include:

Smart cities: The government’s ambitious Smart Cities Mission will see more than 100 cities equipped with future-ready smart infrastructure. This will lead to a growing demand for state-of-the-art smart solutions, which in turn will allow us to commercialise our large video wall and software solutions related to control rooms.

Entertainment: India currently has only eight cinema screens per million people, which stands nowhere in comparison to the screen density in the more developed economies like the United States and the UK. With the growing popularity of movie industries like Bollywood, as well as a remarkable rise in the viewership for sports like cricket, football, badminton etc., the country has been witnessing a growing demand for high-quality digital entertainment solutions. This growing market need is what Barco can fulfil with its cutting-edge cinema projectors.

Healthcare: The country’s booming healthcare industry is currently valued at $100 billion and is predicted to grow to $280 billion by 2020. This growth is why large global OEMs are all looking to localise their solutions to meet the specific requirements of the Indian healthcare market.

By partnering with these OEMs and supporting them through our innovative medical, and smart IP based OR solutions, we can tap into large-scale healthcare projects and play a major part in improving the healthcare landscape within the country. Focussing on proactive not a reactive healthcare services.

Localisation is the key to be competitive and successful in India. We are looking to develop India-specific offerings, value definitions, market approaches, and price points. Our focus is on leveraging local manufacturing, design, development, and commercial ability to build more local R&D and product management capabilities that help us in capturing promising opportunities arising in the Indian economy.

BW CIO: What is Barco's roadmap for the next three years?

Rajiv Bhalla: As the single-largest source for control room solutions, Barco provides networked visualisation solutions to smart cities across the world. Our long-term vision is to become the go-to enabler of smart city infrastructure in India and the partner of choice for control room solutions for smart cities and safe cities. This is why our focus is on technologies that operate at the intersection of utilities, processes, administration, and the end-user.

We are also looking to provide cutting-edge solutions for cinemas, events, and projection mapping etc. for major players in the entertainment sector. Indian consumers are spending more and more on entertainment, and we want to capitalise on the massive opportunity that this shift provides.

‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’ initiatives are also key focus areas for us. We plan to work closely with the government to create an ecosystem that facilitates industry collaboration and promotes latest manufacturing technologies. This will not only catalyse the growth of the manufacturing industry in India, but will also drive greater innovation and value addition for all stakeholders.


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