Establishing a successful IoT distribution business depends on strategically supporting customers in their R&D initiatives by maintaining a diverse inventory of products. A.Babu, sales head of Uchi Embedded Solutions, reveals how they maintain uniqueness in their portfolio and support customers.
Q) What kind of products and services Uchi is offering to its customers?
When it comes to products and services, we focus on embedded systems and IoT development companies. We are the sales partner of global companies who develop embedded systems using various software and hardware tools such as compilers and IDE, JTAG debuggers, programming tools, WiFi-BLE modules etc. In India, we sell these products to the Indian electronics developers
Q) Any specific category of IoT products/solutions that you are catering to?
When it comes to IoT design, our main product is Wi-Fi and BLE modules. For IoT development, people use various wireless technologies such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, RF module, LoRa, ZigBee and so on.
As of now, we have only Wi-Fi and Bluetooth modules in our product portfolio. So, we target those developers who are using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to design their products. We have a good customer base in smart homes, lighting, farming segments.
Q) Do you have any plans to expand the existing product portfolio?
Going forward we will add some ZigBee and LoRa modules to our product portfolio.
Q) Do you have any selection criteria for adding new products to your offering?
Our selection principles revolve around quality products, price, long term support capability and popularity of the products in the market plays an important role. Also, we look for products that don’t conflict with our existing products and support commitment.
We choose our vendors carefully and put in best efforts to promote their products so that both parties are happy, and the relationship continues for long. This helps us support our clients better because, without our vendor’s support, we can’t support our customers well.
Q) What is the unique strategy that you follow to get along with competitive products?
When I say we select unique products what I mean is we select a product that can prove be unique to our existing set of saleable products. This helps us position the products better in the market. It also showcases our best sales commitment to all our vendors.
Being in this industry for a long time we know which are the leading popular products in the market. But if you enter late into the distribution business, then most of the popular products are already taken up by other companies.
So, even if you want it, you may not get it. Then we will go to the next best product. A product that has a good success rate, both technically and economically!
Q) How do you reach out with announcements regarding new offerings?
We continuously analyse the market and find out who are the major players in the market, and do they have a good presence in India or not. Based on that, we choose the appropriate principle and target them.
We also reach out to the masses through vendor gatherings. Other than that, we find vendors through Google search, exhibitions etc.
Q) Any plan of expanding your product portfolio going forward?
Within a time period of one year, we want to add one ZigBee module to our profile, which will be another wireless connectivity solution for IoT development.
Q) As an IoT player in India, what has been the most challenging experience for you or for the organisation?
When it comes to IoT, most of our clients are in the R&D stage and purchase volumes are generally less during this stage. Only when the R&D is successful, and their products in the market successful as well, they go for mass production and we get volume orders.
So, it is very important to provide the best-in-class technical support to them during the R&D stage. If we do not provide adequate support, it will affect the client’s design and marketing plans and it may lead to us losing our design-in design-win business also.
We work very closely with our clients to make sure that the design is successful with our modules. When the volume picks up, the cost of our WiFi modules comes down and it further benefits the customers.
In IoT development, a client can face challenges in various areas like hardware, software, cloud integration and so on. As a chip vendor we have a good chance of winning a design if the chip/module comes with best software and hardware ecosystem.
Q) What is your approach in establishing business relationships? Do you approach with the help of a technical decision-maker or the business decision-maker of a company?
We focus more on technical teams because ultimately every customer is focused on designing a quality product with our chips/modules. Of course, during the initial discussion phase, we discuss prices and so the business team also knows what their product cost would be if they design it with our chips.
Once the design is successful, and the product moves well in the market, we sit with business teams on possible price reductions, stocking etc.
Q) What would you suggest as the most important business opportunity in the field of IoT and how can entrepreneurs identify it?
Lot of India specific solutions can be designed in segments like farming, transportation, healthcare etc. We have a lot of customers working on smart homes which is very popular, and we have good volumes coming from this segment.
Wearables are another popular segment that is yet to find many Indian designs. Industrial IoT has a lot of challenging applications to be tapped.