New Delhi: Hero Electronix on Tuesday unveiled the Qubo brand of smart indoor devices, entering a small but growing market led by Chinese brands, besides Amazon Echo and Google Home.
The flagship Qubo product, a voice-controlled smart indoor camera, is priced at ₹13,490. Other devices include smart gas sensors, smoke sensors and door/window sensors priced at ₹3,000 each. The products will be available across major e-commerce sites and retail stores from 27 September.
The entry of the company promoted by the Hero Group into smart devices follows the launch of similar devices in India by Chinese brands such as Xiaomi and Lenovo.
“We see a huge gap in the market in terms of a long-term reliable player here. There are some good companies that are selling smart products but these products are not encrypted. We are trying to build products that are differentiated. Nobody offers on-ground support or installation or a call centre. We are trying to go the extra mile," Hero Electronix founder director Ujjwal Munjal said in an interview.
Qubo’s 1080p high-definition indoor camera helps a user remotely monitor the home by streaming video to the user’s smartphone. With Alexa built in, users can access a wide range of services across news, music, weather, and reminders with simple voice commands. The product was designed and manufactured in India.
“Qubo will be a consumer technology company. This is the beginning for us. The idea is to design products for Indian homes and lifestyle. We have multiple generations living in the same home, as well as domestic help. We are trying to build products that will work in that environment," he said.
“The differentiator will be around artificial intelligence and use cases we are building for Indian homes. I don’t think anyone is doing that. Also, the security and encryption that we offer (will be better)," Munjal said.
Ujjwal Munjal is the son of Suman Kant Munjal, chairman of Hero Electronix and auto component maker Rockman Industries.
The Delhi-based company had entered the electronics sector in 2015. It acquired a majority stake in Mybox Technologies Pvt. Ltd, which makes set-top boxes in India, in the same year. In 2016, Hero Electronix acquired a significant minority stake in Bengaluru-based semiconductor test engineering services company Tessolve Semiconductor.
“We have invested close to ₹350 crore so far in Hero Electronix and we will put in additional investment of ₹150-200 crore over the next couple of years," Munjal said.
The company has also identified areas such as automotive (connected cars) and health (wearables) where it is evaluating opportunities.
Through Qubo and its products, Munjal also wants to change the perception that Indian companies cannot produce good technology.
“It is a real shame but this is a reality. By launching this product, which is a clear differentiator from what is out there, having the right partnerships, we hope to build credibility not just for Qubo but for Indian manufactured products.... The capability exists in India but somehow, we have not been able to package it well to build a company or a brand out of it. That’s why we are hoping to be different," he said.