Interview: VIJAY WADHAWAN,Director, Systems Solutions Division, Panasonic India ‘Healthcare sector is spending heavily on ruggedised devices’

Panasonic invented ruggedised laptops in 1996 and this year we mark the 25th year of existence in the business.

So, all of these devices come in a variety of sizes, with the smallest being a 4.7-inch tablet and the largest being a 10.1-inch tablet.

Celebrating 25 years of its Toughbook business, Panasonic has introduced Toughbook S1-7.0 rugged tablet for the Indian market. “India continues to be a key market for us and with nearly 60% market share, we have seen significant demand for Panasonic rugged devices arising from manufacturing, emergency services, automobile, pharmaceutical, logistics, power, and utility sectors,” says Vijay Wadhawan, director – Systems Solutions Division, Panasonic India. “We expect to maintain a good growth momentum in the upcoming year,” he tells Sudhir Chowdhary in a recent interview. Excerpts:

Tell us something about the Panasonic Toughbook products and whom are these targeted at?
Panasonic invented ruggedised laptops in 1996 and this year we mark the 25th year of existence in the business. In terms of Panasonic’s Toughbook product line, we have devices in three categories: ruggedised laptops, ruggedised tablets, and two-in-one detachable products which is a combination of a laptop and a tablet. So, all of these devices come in a variety of sizes, with the smallest being a 4.7-inch tablet and the largest being a 10.1-inch tablet.

These are available in both Android and Windows operating systems, and the tablets with 4.7-inch and 5.1-inch  screen size have built-in voice capabilities too. The laptops range in size from 12 to 14 inches, and they are also ruggedised as well as available in detachable functionality.

The sectors these products cater to are primarily emergency services (police and fire vehicles), automobiles, utility services, oil and gas, and a variety of government applications. More recently, the healthcare sector is spending heavily on ruggedised devices, mostly because these products can be sanitised, ensure business continuity and have a lot of interfaces such as barcode reader, extended battery life, etc.

We lead the ruggedised computing market in India, with over 60% market share, and thus are recognised as a key enterprise player in the country. Currently, 90% of automotive companies in India are using Toughbook on their shop floors/service centres and 60% of pharma firms are using it for their assembly lines here.

How does these products help the users improve productivity and efficiency?
If you talk about tangible information regarding productivity and efficiency, this is something that cannot be quantified. However, majority of our customers who have been using our products have stayed with us till now. We have not lost a single customer till date. Moreover, they reach out to us and demand newly launched devices because they believe that Toughbook enhances the firm’s proficiency. For instance, these devices are equipped with hot-swappable batteries that ensure business continuity. Again, these are equipped with multiple interfaces which assist manufacturers to extract and analyse data directly on the devices without requiring any intermediary equipment.

What are your plans for ramping up this business in India?
India has been a strategic market for Panasonic from the beginning. Though it is a very niche market, every year we come up with one or two products, and our new product launch cycle is approximately eight to nine months on average. Celebrating 25 years of our Toughbook business, we have introduced Toughbook S1-7.0 for the Indian market. The Toughbook FZ-S1 tablet operates on Android Enterprise that enhances application safety, reliability, and management for businesses. It is equipped with a simple click and switch design for warm swapping batteries to ensure uninterrupted and longer shifts/ work. With two options of battery size, the device can operate for upto 14 hours on a single charge. To address the need for an integrated device, the S1 offers multiple functionality in the form of GPS, field cameras, barcode readers, built-in NFC, Bluetooth to name a few, helping enhance efficiencies.

What further innovation can we see in this product category?
We work very closely with our customers, understand their requirements, and design products that address their specific challenges or use cases like enhancing accessibility (both hardware and applications) of the devices, tolerating harsh conditions, and longer battery life ensuring round the clock operability. For instance, Toughbook FZ-S1 Android-based rugged tablet can be installed with a Barcode reader having ambidextrous accessibility.

Get live Stock Prices from BSE, NSE, US Market and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, Check out latest IPO News, Best Performing IPOs, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Financial Express Telegram Financial Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest Biz news and updates.