Belgium-based Barco Electronic Systems, a leading player in connected visualisation systems, is aggressively targeting the entertainment, smart cities, enterprise and healthcare markets in India. Rajiv Bhalla, managing director, Barco Electronic Systems (India) says that the entertainment sensibilities of Indian audiences are evolving at a rapid pace. “It is no longer just about the consumption of content —they want better immersion and proactive engagement as a part of their entertainment experience,” he tells Sudhir Chowdhary in an interaction. Excerpts:
What has been your contribution in establishing India’s digital cinema industry?
Through our wide range of projectors and a robust partner ecosystem, we are delivering a very good entertainment experience to end-users across big, medium, and small screens at the right total cost-of-ownership. Our aim is to redefine the country’s entertainment landscape with our cutting-edge technology, and that is what we have been doing. Barco’s Flagship Laser range heralded the concept of premium large format (PLF) screens in India to provide immersive and rich visual experiences. Products in Barco’s projection portfolio are designed for accelerated electronic-to-digital (E-to-D) conversions, which in turn provide quick turnarounds during major blockbusters like Bahubali-2. We are additionally tapping into the lucrative post-production space with a dedicated 4K post-production model. With major post-production studios scaling up their operations for content production at higher resolutions, we are registering a growing demand for our advanced post-production offerings.
Moreover, since our offerings are designed for robust and simplified operations, we are significantly reducing system complexity and allowing cinema owners to seamlessly integrate our projection solutions into their existing setups. Another factor that plays a major role in driving Barco’s growth in India is its strong local footprint. Most of our global competitors are not physically present in India and conduct most of their activities from outside the country, significantly limiting their market visibility as well as growth opportunities.
What is the strength of Barco India’s plant and capacity of production?
The Noida unit is one of the most prominent sites for Barco globally and manufactures hi-tech products for national as well as for global markets. The manufacturing facility is in compliance with all international safety and quality norms. It is the only plant which manufactures and exports Barco video walls; every single DLP projector engine for Barco’s massive video wall activity in the world is built in Noida. The projector assembly line at Barco’s Noida unit has an installed monthly capacity of 1,000 projectors, while the PCBA lines at the plant support 65-70 types of modules, with an overall manufacturing capacity between 2000-2500 boards per month.
Noida is also home to Barco’s largest software lab in the world, and its contribution to global Barco operations has been immense. The in-house R&D team at Noida has led the end-to-end development of several flagship projects for Barco, including ClickShare CSE – 800, CMS Launchpad, Barco Pulse, and Event Master Expansion unit.
How important is the Indian market for you? Do you think it is contributing to the company’s global share?
India serves as an extremely important location for Barco, not only for its manufacturing/R&D operations, but also as a high-potential market for its enterprise, entertainment, and healthcare solutions. The government’s push to equip more than 100 cities under the Smart Cities Mission presents Barco with an extremely lucrative opportunity to support the initiative as its technology partner. Information is the key catalyst in the ‘smart’ evolution, and we are confident of playing a greater role in optimising information and data visualisation of all kinds for vital applications such as traffic management, security, and telecom to utilities and process control systems. This will allow us to commercialise our control room-focussed large video wall and software solutions whilst laying the foundation of a smarter, safer India.
Additionally, we are witnessing an increased demand for our digital entertainment solutions in the Indian market. An exponential rise in sports viewership as well as the growing popularity of Indian movie industries is driving the country’s audiences to demand for better, more immersive entertainment experiences. We are meeting this requirement with our futuristic technological solutions.
What is the road map for next five years?
Over the next few years, we are poised to become the biggest enablers of smart city solutions in the country and make it ready for a smarter, better tomorrow. We are establishing ourselves as the partner of choice for control room solutions for smart cities; therefore, focusing on technologies that operate at the intersection of utilities, processes, administration, and the end-user. Our long-term vision is also to make significant contributions to the Digital India and Make in India initiatives.