Belkin makes home automation easy

Written by Diksha Dutta | Diksha Dutta | Updated: Jun 11 2012, 07:25am hrs
Home automation is something plenty of us dream about, but has a reputation for being difficult and expensive to implement. Belkin promises to make setting up a smart home hassle-free

Diksha Dutta

If you are lazy enough not to get up and switch on the lights or AC of your room, or you want to avoid a situation in which your smartphone is dropped in water and you lose all the contact detailstake a breather and do not worry. Today, there is technology to protect you from these hassles. While the western countries have adapted well to all these smart technologies, companies like Belkin are now trying to accelerate the lifestyle of the Indian middle class and above by introducing the same concepts in the country.

It might seem like magic, but imagine sitting in India and switching on the AC of a room in California by just pressing a button on your tablet or smartphone. Yes, this is possible and it is new age technology. California-based Belkin is hard-selling WeMo, a line of simple, modular home automation products that allows household electronics to be controlled remotely from a mobile app on a smartphone or tablet. Consisting of two initial products, the WeMo Home Control Switch and the WeMo Motion Sensor, WeMo is a customisable, accessible home automation solution designed to simplify home maintenance and bring peace of mind to busy families and individuals on the go. The products will be launched this month in the US and by Diwali in India.

The second product in the line is the WeMo Motion Sensor, which works with the WeMo Home Control Switch to make your device react to motion. Used together, WeMo can create a home environment that can turn a light on when someone walks in a room, or off when no one is present. The company is focused on developing electronic products that affects and can sync with lifestyle of a person. Belkin is customising its product as per requirement of the Indian market and is in the process of getting regulatory approvals for launching these products as their wireless function will consume airwaves.

On a recent visit to India, Belkin CEO Chet Pipkin told FE, India is one of the two most strategic markets for us, other one being China. In the APAC region, Australia is the biggest market and we are highly successful there. We have key retailer relationships in this market and wish to have the same for the other Asia Pacific countries too. Amongst ASEAN countries, Belkin has tie ups with Samsung and Apple in South Korea which has really helped them to grow beyond the western markets.

We have been growing at a rate of 60% year-on-year in India and have been growing 15% year-on-year wordwide. Our revenues are dominated by North America and Europe, clarifies Pipkin. But the good news is that all three segmentssmartphones, PC and TVin which Belkin is present in India are growing constantly and are becoming competitive by the day.

Mohit Anand, managing director, Belkin India says, We entered India in January 2009 and last financial year we made revenues of R150 crore (FY2011). We are looking at making revenues of R250 crore in FY 2012. The company is also looking at entering tier II and tier III cities. Apart from hiring sales professionals and ramping up its marketing team, the company is also selling its products through e-commerce websites. The e-commerce penetration is still in a nascent stage in India and we have to support it through social media marketing. However, it is important to reach the smaller towns through e-commerce, feels Anand.