AV Expo

Articles September - October 2023


AV-ICN Expo Magazine shares a brief of latest installations from the world of pro AV in this recurring feature of AV installations. read more

Articles September - October 2023

PLAY Technologies Transforms AV Experiences at Aljamea New!

Sachin K. Jain, Principal Consultant, PLAY technologies, shares insights on the state-of-the-art facility as he recounts the installation experiences with AV-ICN Magazine. read more

Articles September - October 2023

Unwinding The Changing Dynamics of Sennheiser with Naveen Sridhara New!

During the latest 'TCC Medium' and 'TC Bar' launch, Naveen Sridhara, Director of Sales, Sennheiser, shared Sennheiser's big leap in the UC market and strategies to stimulate growth in the pro-AV segment. read more

Articles July-August 2023

PALM Expo 2023 Achieves Recognition from Global Brands New!

PALM Expo 2023 returned with its 21st edition, drawing exhibitors and at¬tendees from around the globe, simultaneously placing the Indian pro audio and lighting indus¬try on the map. read more

Articles July-August 2023

Pro AV Mass Market Momentum Emphasizes AV-ICN Expo Success New!

AV-ICN Expo 2023 took place at the BEC, Mumbai, once again marking its presence as the torchbearer for the AV industry in India. read more

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“Manufacturers Are Now Taking India Very Seriously”

- Karan Jaitly, Managing Director

Hewshott International has managed to consolidate its position as a leading global Consultancy specialising in IT, AV, acoustics, audio systems, digital signage and display solutions. The AV-ICNx team met, Karan Jaitly, Hewshott’s man on the spot in India, to understand how Hewshott India is adding value to state-of-the-art AV projects in India with learning and expertise acquired from its global counterparts.
In this interview, Karan provides insights on how the company is making a difference to AV projects in India, with relentless focus on providing the best possible solution for clients, while also navigating through certain prevalent practices and ensuring that Hewshott’s solutions are shaped by needs and goals of the clients, regardless of manufacturer.

Tell us about the Hewshott journey in India?

KJ:  We started operating in India around 2009-10 and it has been a very interesting and rewarding journey. India is certainly a very challenging market. Our clients here in India, expect a certain quality of service from us and the consistency that we are known for when we execute projects in regions like Singapore and Australia. Though we have had to put in extra effort and hard work to achieve the same outcomes, here in India as compared to other regions we operate in, the journey has been rewarding because of the repeat business that we have achieved. Repeat business has been encouraging and we have a small set of happy clients who keep coming back to us. Our clientele list has also been growing.  Our team of eight are spread across offices in Mumbai and Bangalore. I would say it’s been a good journey so far.

You mentioned that India is a challenging market, can you elaborate?

KJ: Overall, the industry in India is positive and optimistic. Companies are taking steps towards training their staff and providing better services. This is a huge plus.

The challenge arises when we have to navigate some unethical practices that are present in the industry. We at Hewshott believe in pure, independent consultancy – this ensures that the solution we provide is shaped by our clients’ needs – regardless of manufacturer. Our engagement starts with understanding what our client hopes to achieve and working back to the technology. People who know this about us come to us specifically for our level of expertise and service. However, the challenge is also in identifying clients who appreciate what we are bringing to the table.

Although the industry has its unethical or corrupt elements, I have found that there is a sizeable number of clients who, just like me, wish to steer as far away as possible from these practices.

Is budget a challenge too?

KJ: Yes, but to a small extent. We don’t see budget as that much of a challenge. I see it as our job to help our client get efficient results for their business and achieve their technology goals with the help of our expertise and guidance within their budget. So, we do not see budget as a challenge.  As long as the client understands the benefits of engaging us, we can work within their budgets. However, budget becomes a problem because of benchmarking. When the sourcing department, go out in the market, they get benchmark pricing from various consultants and this is where we struggle. Being unaffiliated with OEMs or certain brands makes it hard for us to explain to clients why other consultants are significantly cheaper than we are.

When you say that you are bringing the same consistency from other regions to India, what exactly are you bringing from Hewshott Australia?

KJ:  With AV increasingly overlapping with IT, at Hewshott too we are pushing to grow our IT Capabilities. Our Australia office has made more advances than the India office in developing their core IT strength, so we rely on them a little bit and learn from them. Also, Acoustics is a big aspect in Australia. In Australia, the government has acoustic regulations that constructed buildings must follow. Therefore, Australia team’s level of expertise in acoustics is very high. Abhinav, our acoustic consultant in India regularly interacts with the Australia team to come up with solutions for tricky spaces and training. We not only work with the Australia office but also our UK, Honk Kong, and Singapore offices. The team in India supports the global team on projects in UK, Australia, Japan and other countries. 

Samsung’s largest mobile experience centre in the world in Bangalore includes an indoor and an outdoor video wall. The indoor videowall (9.6m x 5.4 m) deployed by Hewshott, has a 2.5 mm pixel pitch and 4K resolution.

How big is your team in India?

KJ: We are eight technical / project staff right now, not counting any back-end or administrative people.

Are all of them certified?

KJ: We focus a lot on manufacturer trainings on newly launched products, as we need to be updated about the products and understand how they work or will fit into our designs. We regularly attend trainings by manufacturers like Biamp, QSC, Panasonic and Harman. Jose Kurian is a senior consultant on our team and he is CTS certified. Praveen RP, our newest employee, and I are working on our CTS certification. However, sometimes it becomes tough for us to balance the certification with our own workload so we put extra efforts into making sure that our certifications are up to date.

Tell us about some of your big projects in India?

KJ:  We recently completed a state-of-the-art campus for Goldman Sachs. It’s a 1.2 million sq. ft. project, spread across three 10-storey towers in Bangalore. Goldman Sachs had multiple offices across Bangalore, which they shut down and moved staff into one campus, which also has the bandwidth for future expansions. It was a pretty substantial project. The project involved designing several facilities, including an auditorium, multi-function spaces, flexible conference and training rooms, fitness centers, etc. At some points we had up to three resources working on the project and it kept us busy for over a year. We aren’t aware of the AV spend as Goldman Sachs, manages procurement and they don’t disclose any details, but I can estimate it may be around five-six million dollars spend only on AV. It was an exciting project to be a part of.

Do you have say in, which system integrator you would like to work with, or does the client decide that?

KJ: As consultants, it is our job to be aware of the plusses and limitations of the various system integrators. This is what allows to offer our clients sound advice on the integrator they choose. Clients do consider our suggestions, but the final decision is always theirs. Sometimes the choice is based on budgets and it might not be the integrator we have suggested, but we don’t have a choice. We have to work with the selected system integrator to achieve the desired result. We cannot complain if the client choose an integrator that wasn’t our first choice. Everybody has pluses and minuses but we do not want to criticize anybody. As a consultant, it is my job to work with the System integrator so that they fully understand the scope of the project.

How strongly is Hewshott approaching the stadia segment in India?

KJ:  Stadia is a prospective avenue for us in India. Hewshott have had some success in this area in Australia. Our Australian office was involved with re-specifying the scoreboard video wall of the Western Australia Cricket Ground (WACA stadium) at Perth. They also assessed the audio system. The Perth office were also responsible for consultancy and project management for Perth Arena’s complex specialist areas. This was eventually a multi-award winning project that our Australia office had a major role in delivering. In India, unfortunately we have not been able to tap this sector. It’s certainly an area of great interest for us and it is completely down our alley in terms of expertise and what we do, but unfortunately we haven’t got the right break as yet.

But is there any potential?

KJ: Yes, certainly. There’s a lot of technology that goes into stadiums and arenas. You have the PA system, digital signage distribution, the audio system, the commentary booths and how the camera signal is distributed. For example, AV technology has transformed the way cricket is watched. The best cricket grounds in the industry today have interface-less and touch-less interactivity, wireless gateway and presentation systems, laser technology and curved screen technology. From T20 to test matches you could see the use of technology that contributes to everything – from umpire decisions to the spectator experience.

What are some of the unique integration technologies impacting the AV industry?

KJ:  The recent and one of the most obvious one to mention is AV over IP. We’ve really seen its adoption increase significantly. We’ve seen the evolution of NDI which is a very interesting AV over IP system because it gives full video production capabilities that come at a price point which is relatively reasonable compared to the traditional video production facilities.

What are some of the most important milestones or developments that the Indian AV Industry has seen in the last five years?

KJ:  We can see that manufacturers are now taking India very seriously. Around a decade ago, there were very few manufacturers that were offering technical or sales support in India was not given the right level of importance. Things have changed since then; India is now an equally important market. The way the manufacturers deal with big projects is refreshing to see. As consultants specifying equipment, it gives us a lot of confidence to reassure clients that a particular manufacturer will be able to address any issues that they may have post sales.

What is your vision for India, for the next 5 years?

KJ: We would like to open another office in Chennai or Hyderabad and grow the team in India. We don’t have a sales team; we have expanded organically as the work has increased. As business has grown we have expanded our team from just two people to eight. We’re involved in quite a few projects and I’d like to increase that even more. The projects we’re on are mostly in the corporate sector. I want to reach a point where we are involved in multiple verticals, where we are working on government and stadia projects. I’d definitely like to diversify our consultancy portfolio in India.

Do you get support from your other offices?

KJ: We collaborate with Hewshott offices in other countries very often because we have a lot of global clients. If I have done good work for one of our global clients in India, they may come and ask our London office to get involved on their projects in Europe, and vice versa. David Lee, our Principal Consultant for acoustics (who used to be based in Australia) is based in Singapore and our acoustic team here regularly run their designs past him. Acoustics can be challenging as every decision you make can have a huge impact on the budget and the overall results. For example, if you change the thickness of glass in a hotel façade even by one millimeter, the impact on the client’s budget can be in the millions. Similarly with AV, if the teams in London or Australia come up with an innovative solution they will share their learnings so that the company benefits as a whole. Since decisions surrounding technology spends are very crucial, we have an internal review system that catches any errors or inaccuracies at the very beginning.

We’ve seen the evolution of NDI which is a very interesting AV over IP system because it gives full video production capabilities that come at a price point which is relatively reasonable compared to the traditional video production facilities.

What are your other main projects, besides Goldman Sachs?

KJ: Besides Goldman Sachs, we have a working relationship with VMware, which is a Dell company. VMware have been our clients for the past three years. We are currently working on a multi-storey project for them in Bangalore. Besides Bangalore, we have done projects for them all over India in these last three years, including cities like Mumbai, Pune and Chennai.

We are also employed on ongoing VMWare projects in Beijing, Taiwan, Australia, and Japan. Morgan Stanley is another esteemed client. Since the last five years, we have been constantly working with them on at least one active contract.

We have also completed the Samsung Experience Centre at Opera House in Bangalore a year ago. It’s a flagship store and Samsung’s largest mobile experience centre in the world. The project included an indoor and an outdoor video wall. The indoor videowall 9.6m x 5.4 m, has a 2.5 mm pixel pitch and 4K resolution. It is the first of its kind in India.

In Mumbai, we are working on a project for Bombay Dyeing Realty. The Wadias are coming up with a two-tower luxury apartment complex. It’s called Island City Centre- ICC. We are engaged to provide acoustic consultancy building-wide. We are also in talks to do the AV and home automation for the penthouses in the tower. Additionally, we are in the final stages of a a corporate office project in BKC for Estee Lauder.

We are also doing a Novotel in Mumbai- Andheri.

What is a specialty that sets you apart from other AV consultants?

KJ: We want to understand the client’s business and how they use technology and what would fit in with their business. What sets us apart is that we are very clear minded about our goals; we have no distractions. My job is to understand what is right for my clients. I don’t want them to overspend but at the same time I don’t want them to underspend and get the wrong outcome.

Which sector do you see booming in India going forward?

KJ:  Looking at the market today, the overall feeling is a reassuring one; at the very least in the corporate sector, the future is looking optimistic. I am also hoping to find some success in the education sector.  There are many international schools around and collaboration and distance learning have become big. In fact, I’ve just submitted a proposal for an institute in Mumbai, which is one of the top 10 ranked institutes in the world. The residential market is another avenue we are trying to break in to. So yes, I am carefully optimistic about these sectors in India.

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