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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The Online Instruments Interview

- Shivanand Mahashetti - Managing Director, Online Instruments

Shivanand Mahashetti - Managing Director, Online Instruments

Bangalore-based Online Instruments (India) Pvt. Ltd. has built a strong foundation for itself in the Indian AV industry by deploying a seamless distribution and integration network. Starting in 1994 as a six member team, the company spearheaded by Mr. Shivanand Mahashetti and Mr. Mahesh Bellad is today one of the fastest growing AV companies with a team of over 350 people.

AV-ICNx got in touch with Shivanand Mahashetti, Managing Director, Online Instruments to know the more about how the company is managing the balancing act of being both Distributor and SI and the challenges and opportunities that the AV industry in India offers.

Please tell us a little about yourself and your career graph in the Indian AV industry till date

Starting as a distributor in 1994, I gained a couple of years of experience in distribution of telecommunication and office automation products. Consequently, I started distributing audio/ video conferencing products, including projectors and displays. With an unbeatable zeal and painstaking effort, we have started AV Integration segment only with two manpower in 2006. It is a long journey with several stumbling blocks, but at present, I am proud to say that Online Instruments is one of the recognized systems integration companies with 300 employees. However, there is no pause and this year, with enough stick-to-itiveness, we are planning to expand our operation out of India.

What are the major brands that you distribute?

We distribute a good number of brands, including Samsung LFDS, Panasonic LFDS and projectors, Christie (displays and projectors), Avocor (collaborative displays), Logic AV products, Logic displays, Orange LED lighting products. We distribute a few brands at regional level and certain brands at the national level.

What criteria/factors do you consider before taking up distribution for a brand? We zero in on a few factors-

  • Whether the product is suitable for Audio-video system integration
  • Suitable for both IT and AV platforms
  • High technology product with sustainable life
  • Cutting-edge features with preferred potentiality
  • Can give revenue of 4-5 million dollar per year
  • Easy serviceability

Can you elaborate on some major projects accomplished by Online Instruments and what exciting new projects do you have in the pipeline?

One prominent project is one of a 1000-seater multipurpose hall with artificial intelligence to facilitate automation for audio and video.

We got international recognition for this implementation due to its user-friendly approach and up-to-the-minute features. In addition, recently we have accomplished a good number of installations with value addition for the  global clients and these notable installations became a benchmark for them.

We have a few in progress projects with two global clients to develop their standard operating procedure (SOP) for their conference rooms across the world. We are proud to associate with these MNC clients to deliver this kind of privileged projects on a global level. We are also associated with some MNC clients for service across the Global locations.

With Online Instruments playing a dual role of a distributor and systems integrator, how does the company tackle undercutting on AV projects and how do you maintain a balance between the SI side and the distribution side of the business?

We have a complete separate division for AV and distribution with different people in each team. In the organization, everyone is working with separate business commitments. Here, most of the products are branded and all system integrators are getting prices cleared from the OEM directly, including our projects and AV division. Hence, we don’t face any issue and each division maintains profit and loss separately, even though it is a single company.

How big is your team at OI? Are they all certified AV professionals?

At present, we are associated with 400 people and among them, 300+ employees are exclusively for the AV division, where240 employees are certified professionals. Besides, 100 employees are for the back office, logistics, and distribution.

What are the major challenges you face as a Systems Integrator in India? Or are most challenges nullified or minimized since you are also a distributor?

We are facing no challenges as such.

What are some advantages and challenges of being both an integrator and distributor?

There is no advantage as each division works as a separate entity.

What are the major issues facing the Indian AV industry and what is most unique about the Indian AV market? 

There are a few issues such as skilled manpower, competitive market,  high taxation compared to the global market and others. Besides, there are two prominent hassles and one is no incentive program from the Government of India for exporting AV products and the other one is poor infrastructure for the manufacturing industries.

AV and IT convergence –opportunity for distributors or threat? Please elaborate.

Due to AV and IT convergence, market experiences a positive volume of expansion with a wide range of collaborative products. AV people are getting access to IT areas. But, one challenge is the right manpower sound with both IT and AV skill sets.

What is your opinion on the AV industry’s evolution to an experience-creation model? Does it offer opportunities for distributors and if yes, what kind of opportunities?

Merging AV with IT opens several doors of opportunity for distributors, manufacturers, system integrators as the business volumes are also increased. It introduces more user-friendly as well as leading-edge products.

In an age of technology disruption and value-chain consolidation, how has the role of the system integrator changed?

It is not technology disruption, instead we have considered it as a technological advancement. We adapted to this change by embracing innovative solutions which help our client to have more ROI out of small spaces. We at Online Instruments, accept challenges and adapt to the changes quickly to provide the futuristic and state-of-the-art solutions to the customers.

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