NEW DELHI :
Local arm of Japanese consumer electronics major Panasonic on Thursday made its debut in the connected home devices market in the country with the launch of its IoT (internet of things) and AI-enabled platform–Miraie that will see the company introduce a range of connected air conditioners, smart door bells and switches. The company anticipates a shift in consumer demand in the country that now has the world’s second largest population of internet users.
Panasonic, that also sells refrigerators and washing machines, expects the upwardly mobile consumers to seek devices that are digitally connected use its IoT platform. The internet-enables devices will not be higher priced, said a top executive at the company, adding that internet connectivity has become a basic need.
Miraie will enable users of the company’s range of household electronics interact with each other. The company spent a year developing the platform.
Panasonic expects sales of such connected devices to contribute to roughly 25% of its consumer appliances revenue by end of FY21, Manish Sharma, President & CEO, Panasonic India, and South East Asia, told reporters at the sidelines of the company’s event on Thursday. The figures are ambitious, given that connected devices currently contribute a small portion of sales for other consumer electronic makers.
“With the advent of 5G, IoT will be driving the next round of transformation in the digital world and is the future of smart, connected India. Consumers are now looking towards IoT & AI enabled solutions to enhance quality of life through connected ecosystems," he said.
Panasonic will focus on selling connected inverter air conditioners to begin with. The company will gradually launch connected versions of other household electronics such as washing machines, refrigerators, television, fans and geysers, "giving consumers a full range of Connected Living Solutions for a futuristic home", the company said in a statement. "I believe the range of washing machines and refrigerator will take a while. It will be rolled out for air conditioners first, because people expect their cooling devices to work well as connected devices," he said.
The innovation has been conceptualized and developed at Panasonic’s India Innovation Centre based out of Bangalore. “While the hardware development happens in Japan, the entire software has been developed and conceptualised in India," he said.
Panasonic set up the India Innovation Centre in 2017 and promised to invest Rs240 crore over the next five years to churn out innovations in the field of internet of things, mobility and artificial intelligence.
Speaking on demand outlook for the home appliances market in the current year, Sharma said that he expects demand for household appliances such as air conditioners, refrigerators, and washing machines to remain strong, while sales of televisions will continue to struggle as consumers increasingly consume more content on their smart phones. “Intense competition and consumers logging on to their smart phones or smaller devices continues to hamper growth of the device," he said referring to TV sales. For the year ended March 31, 2020, Sharma said the company is on track to clock Rs12,000 crore in revenue in India.