Moto says hello again

Updated: Jan 14 2013, 08:16am hrs
Motorola Solutions, the pioneer in the field of wireless communications, is on a growth path after the separation of Motorola Mobility, the mobile handset manufacturing arm of the parent company Motorola, that was acquired by technology giant Google.

Gene Delaney, executive vice-president for product and business operations of the company was on a visit to the R&D centre in Bangalore, almost a decade after his previous visit. Delaney, who has been with Motorola from 1978, spoke to Anand J regarding the scope of Indian market and the need of security forces to upgrade their wireless communication from analog to digital as well as the intrusion of social into the security realm.

On life after the separation of Motorola Mobility from Motorola Solutions

It is great that we separated in January 2011. Motorola Solutions is the heart of Motorola. Now both companies can focus on customers we serve and our world is all about serving the governments and enterprise customers. Ours is an enterprise solution and its mission critical communication services with the challenge of being the first respondents. Since our split, all of our energy, all our attention is to service these markets. We have rationalised much of our operations after the separation and ensured that we are close to the markets we serve. After becoming an independent company, we have grown every quarter, but the cost structure has not increased at the same rate and we have re-instated and increased our dividend.

On carrying forward the legacy as pioneers of mobile communication technology

We are very committed to research & development and spend $1 billion a year, which is 12% of our sales. We have done that year in and year out, during the global economic recession as well. Our belief is we are long-term thinkers and we are going to be in the market for long time and our customers continue to adapt technologies and do businesses. The world continues to become more and more global and the requirements of our customers want to be more productive in a mobile environment. We believe that the investment that we make on our radios, scanning devices, wireless LAN, all of these, the marketplace is adopting these solutions. We introduced 300 new products in the market in the last couple of years, at a rate faster than we have ever done in our history.

On India R&D centres role

We have been in India since 1987. We have 500 software engineers in our Bangalore centre and are part of our programme to acquire the best talent across the world. Two years back, this headcount was 300. This is a R&D centre and the role is pretty much global and we continue to expand the portfolio of the centre. Most of them are relatively new entries. They work on new technologies as well as the new applications of technologies and many of those ideas make it to the products. One of the most important is the enterprise mobile computing device that is widely used in retail, transportation logistics, warehousing, scanning and data applications that are specific to the enterprise are done out of here. They work on RFID, which is an emerging technology, wireless propriety networks, software certification, third party applications that are developed by third parties and put on our devices, a technology called iDEN that used on lot of push to talk technology devices etc. The capability of the R&D perspective is across the platform and across the regions. We make investments based on long-term and not short-term growth trends.

On emerging markets and India

While globally, our government business is bigger, in Asia Pacific, it is more balanced. I am very bullish on the growth from Asia Pacific. While North America continues to be the biggest market, we are growing double digits in Asia-Pacific which contributes 13% to our sales. Over the past few years we brought the full portfolio, the high-tier, mid-tier value products making it more attractive to our customers. Since we look at a long-term view of the market and there are things you can control and you cant control and if you do the right thing you will achieve your goals.

Transportation is also growing in this region, you look at airports; for instance in India apart from the international airports, more than 45 regional airports that use our equipments. Mining, modern retailers, transportation logistics, all use our mobile computing devices. If you look at the economy and growth, these are all going to get bigger. For any strategy for Asia Pacific, you got to be in China and India. The Chinese market is much bigger than India at present.

On increasing mobility of workforce

First thing here is the emergence of mobile. The workforce is becoming more and more mobile workforce. So enterprises must make this more productive and the access to and providing information to the workforce. It could be a field service or sales organisation. The right information to the right person at the right time can make informed decision. The key to customer satisfaction is performance. You need invest in lot of wireless network infrastructure for that.

On social coming into security domain

What is happening in public and enterprise safety is that police officers and security managers need to be informed within minutes of someone sending a SMS or video clip. The predominant voice communication is giving way to video, text messages, more data, you can put it on more devices in a public safety environment. In an enterprise environment, the customer is coming with a smart device. Consumer is smarter than the clerks. They also have Wi-Fi on smartphones. We can push the stores special offerings to the customers. The different information flow is coming from different streams. We need to incorporate that into our solutions for our customers to maximise the full potential.

On the migration of security apparatus from analog to digital

We already have a lead in market share in public safety and our equipments are widely used by the police forces across the region, whether the old analog ones or the new digital ones, TETRA. In India, Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore Police use our equipments. Currently most of the forces use analog devices and there is where the huge potential is for us as there is an urgent need for all of them to be converted to digital.