The innovations happening in the field of AV are laying the foundation of a hassle-free and seamless working environment for organizations. Corporates and enterprises are adopting these new solutions for better growth in the coming days. Barco, a leading player in this segment has been very aggressive in developing more user-centric solutions to meet the expectation in so fast-evolving technology world. Rajiv Bhalla, Managing Director of Barco India recently interacted with Rajeev Ranjan, Editor, and Publisher, Digital Terminal. He shared his insights on Barco’s mission, channel plans, and current market trends. Read below the excerpts to know more.

Rajeev Ranjan: What are the latest trends and innovations in control rooms? 

Rajiv Bhalla: At Barco, we are anticipating a whole range of innovations for AV in control rooms in the coming years. Software that supports and manages decision-making workflows will be key to control room AV as it ensures a seamless way to leverage insights from control rooms, enabling confident decision making. In addition, analytics that can improve decision-making times, as well as usage efficiency of control room products, will ensure better and faster decision making. 

To provide more seamless operations, we anticipate a focus on connected control rooms that enable remote asset management and predictive maintenance. Combined with more IT-friendly software and hardware, as well as unparalleled standards of IT security, control room systems will be more reliable. In terms of operators, we see a significant opportunity in enhancing their daily work and lowering work stress through an intuitive and easy-to-use digital workspace. At the same time, we are also likely to see a generational shift, with a younger workforce entering control rooms. As a result, there will be a shift towards user-friendly, modern-interfaced, easy, and ergonomic work environments.

We are also looking forward to an expansion of control rooms, from traditional verticals like transport and utilities, into the corporate environment. This will provide an opportunity for different applications of AV, including IT Network management, Big Data tracking, cybersecurity, and CCTV Security. These applications require a mission-critical focus, operator centric solutions, and hardware and software solutions that are secure and scalable.

Barco has already made its mark in smart cities and control rooms technology and our new video wall solution is a great addition for these sectors. Control rooms in smart cities run critical applications and now with Barco UniSee, their visualisation experience will completely change. For example, while monitoring traffic control, even an inch of bezel can cause loss of data. With Barco UniSee, there will be a major shift in the positive direction due to the unique bezel-less feature. Our new solution can be applied in multiple sectors, including experience centres in malls or corporate lobbies, corporate meeting rooms, broadcast backdrops and command and control centres.

For Barco, a major focus, in 2020, is growing our business and we aim to leverage our innovative solutions and scale it to drive profitable growth while enabling bright outcomes. 

Rajeev Ranjan: What are the key initiatives or strategies you have planned in recent times that would help you to grow in the healthcare sector? What is your product roadmap to leverage the immense opportunities in this sector? 

Rajiv Bhalla: Barco co-creates technology solutions for integrated care and guides 5000 surgical procedures and millions of softcopy image reads each day. From the scanner room to the radiologist desk; to specialist consultations and the surgical suite: we connect healthcare professionals at every patient touchpoint. They rely on our medical imaging solutions to deliver the complete picture they need to make life-critical decisions and provide the best possible treatment – ensuring brighter healthcare outcomes and early diagnosis. 

We have systematically redefined our India Business Model because we believe that ours is a value-driven market. To succeed in India, you need to adopt Indian value propositions and price points. In 2020, we see healthcare becoming more collaborative, with several solutions playing a key role in facilitating services. Barco is looking at using its entire portfolio of solutions - from the enterprise, entertainment, meeting experience along with healthcare - to make a collaborative healthcare platform where all our technologies add value to the stakeholders. 

We are eyeing more partnerships in the Digital Operating Theatre space as this is an arena where hospitals must invest more. Our aim is to take Healthcare IT to end-users with our new, emerging market model which is well-priced for India. We are also developing more reseller channels to customise solutions and add value and we are focused on entering the tier-2 market after covering tier-1. In 2020, we will have more feet on street for awareness creation around Nexxis, our video-over-IP platform that enables digitisation of operation rooms. 

With India becoming a small hub for medical manufacturers, we plan to support such manufacturers globally in third party components. Our aim is to ensure that when Indian equipment is sold outside, it should be sold with Barco equipment and for this purpose, we are focusing on better collaboration on technology hardware platforms. We will also initiate the process of market learning on Demetra – our skin cancer imaging solution - while sustaining existing business. Overall, Mammography will remain our core focus this year. 

Rajeev Ranjan: Are smart cities better equipped to handle current pandemic situation?

Rajiv Bhalla: As India and the world grapples with the health and socio-economic disruption being caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, authorities are taking all possible measures to contain the pandemic. Smart city control rooms are one of the most effective weapons being utilized in this fight. Control centres form the core of the smart city initiative and help in optimizing the decision-making process by collecting, and visualizing the available data, at the right time, and in the right format. Control centres are essential for smart city surveillance, emergency and clinical command situations, integrated traffic management and disaster management. And, with the outbreak of the virus, control rooms have proved indispensable in the fight against the pandemic. 

Smart cities with functional control rooms have employed the facility for real-time tracking and analysis of the healthcare crisis, with assistance from private companies. Barco works closely with governments and provides insights for 1 out of 4 smart cities in the world. We facilitate control room solutions that enable visualization of all parameters of critical care, including camera feeds, sensor data, and planning databases, in a flexible way. Further, our innovative solution SecureStream is another tool that can aid monitoring as it shares real-time information between control rooms and on-field personnel. Control room operators can seamlessly share data with external stakeholders by dragging and dropping video or data sources into a SecureStream channel, ensuring authorized personnel get a complete situational overview from remote locations. This permits unrivalled coordination, contributing to better and faster decision-making. 

Rajeev Ranjan: Please brief about your distribution strength and overall infrastructure in the Indian subcontinent. How do you support/motivate your channel partners? 

Rajiv Bhalla: As a B2B organization, Barco’s focus remains on robust collaboration with system integrators, specialists and VARs for verticals like Enterprise, Healthcare, and Cinema. Our distribution strength and infrastructure differ from vertical to vertical because we employ different go-to-market strategies for each sector we cater to. For instance, we have a system of over 200 channel partners for our innovative collaboration solution – the Barco ClickShare. These channel partners are targeted through our distributors like Ceeco Technologies, Trustech, Supertron and Online Instruments. 

When it comes to projectors, we associate with our partners Visual Display Solutions Pvt Ltd. and Supertron Electronics. We also collaborate with some authorized System Integrator partners through direct selling. As we are expanding our channel base at present, we have onboarded Online Instruments as the channel partner for the education vertical and VDSPL for the ProAV segment.

Barco has nurtured a partner ecosystem that ensures our end consumers and clients are aware of the varied solutions and services we offer. It also ensures quick and reliable after-sales service for the clients. We believe that our channel partners should be aware of the problems faced by end consumers to ensure excellent service. We conduct training and advancement sessions to make sure our partners are equipped to handle consumer requirements. We also offer them comprehensive partner certification programmes under Barco University, spread across our business verticals and at par with altering market dynamics. We are focused on strengthening and comforting our partner base and are always there to complete them, rather than compete with them. 

Rajeev Ranjan: How do you work on escalating your post-sale service quality for your loyal customers?  

Rajiv Bhalla: Customer service is one of the core values of Barco and it is an important part of our culture. We truly believe in and practice the ethos - “We Think with our Customer”. Our customers are everywhere, ranging from our end-users, our partners/resellers, as well as our colleagues who depend on us to deliver. We prioritize customer value and experience in everything we do. It is the way we live and think at Barco. We believe in end-to-end solutions and cover the complete lifecycle of our products and services.