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‘Green Projectors Put Us In A Different League’

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Keeping pace with green concerns, Japanese consumer electronics giant, CASIO Computer Company, has always been the flag bearer of eco-friendly technology. From tough and durable solar-powered calculators to green projectors, energy efficiency has been one of their primary concerns. Recently Casio launched a range of mercury free 3D projectors exclusively in India. They consume considerably less power and can be effectively used to make presentations through smartphones.

BW Online's Deeksha Batra caught up with Kulbhushan Seth, Head of Sales and Marketing of CASIO India, at the launch of the 3D projectors in New Delhi. Seth explained the concept of ecological projectors and the philosophy behind it and Casio's overall performance (in Japan and overseas) while claiming to be the sole manufacturers of this technology in the world.

Why did Casio decide to come up with the range of eco-friendly projectors in India?
It is our philosophy; we always decide to get into a category which doesn't exist, so we try to make something new. We have our core technologies on one side and the market on the other; we look at latest technologies as well as current trends in the market, also taking into account our customers' expectations. So we develop the product accordingly.

What makes these projectors environment friendly? Whom are you targeting as potential customers for the product?
Today our ecosystem is very important; we know what pollution has done to the earth, its soil and water. So, we decided to come up with an innovative product using our own technologies. Mercury, we know is the major pollutant of soil and water, is not degradable and is highly poisonous. Every time we use mercury lamp projectors, they have a life span and then people dump it. This is the first time, we have come up with a new high brightness LASER &LED hybrid light source which is green and eco-friendly because it is mercury-free. This makes it a unique product, very relevant for today's world. It also shows or makes our contribution to society.

The big advantage with our light source is its long lamp lighting which is 20,000 hours as compared to 1,500 or 2,000 hours for a mercury lamp. Thus anyone using it — be it educational institutes or offices — can use it for a longer time without replacing the lamp. This serves as the biggest advantage since the projector is green and mercury-free it requires zero-maintenance; as opposed to the mercury lamps which need to be constantly changed during summers. It has a quick start up and switch off time, whereas a normal mercury lamp takes 60 seconds to switch off. In a country like India, where power cuts are very common, a mercury lamp tends to drip, it waits for the lamp to cool down and it takes a couple of minutes, so if it happens in between a meeting or a presentation, it is very inconvenient.  

S.NoCategoryPrice (In Rs.)ANSI Lumen
1.Standard Model
66,995 – 99,995Upto 3000
2.Pro Model1,19,995 – 1,34,995Upto 3500
3.Short Throw1,29,995 – 1,34,995Upto 3000

Could also touch upon the price range comparison with existing projectors? 

Direct comparison may not be true if you see the long lamp light our projectors have, I'll say our   product is cheaper than mercury-lamp projectors. For example, if you take five average years and eight working hours a day, we can save the cost of six lamps, each lamp costs around Rs 10,000   so you can save Rs 60,000. If you take that period in account, we are cheaper.

What if we take Epson and Toshiba products into consideration?

This type of light source is an updated technology which is only with Casio. Laser LED hybrid light source is not available with any other manufacturer in the world. This makes us very unique and special.

Do you think your latest product launch will expand your sales and profit margins in India?
Yes, definitely as currently we are selling calculators, watches and musical instruments, most of the products are low priced. Quantity is big but the value is low and some of these categories have quite a high market share. This will help us expand our sales and position ourselves as a high technology brand in India. But green projectors put us in a very different league.

What is Casio's most popular product line in India and abroad (in Asia, US, Europe or Japan)?
 In India, calculators are most popular. Abroad, I think it is watches; G-Shock is the world-wide brand of Casio watches.

How do you plan to expand your sales routes to promote the development of these projectors in India?
We mostly have distributors and retailers as channel partners. But projectors are totally different and we are developing a totally new channel. Our existing channel is more retail-oriented and a projector is not a retail product. It's more of a corporate or institutional product where mostly direct sales take place. We are going to choose some direct channel partners who are going to be pan Indian.

We have channel partners like small IT retailers or educational retailers, who supply educational products to schools and colleges and also provide projectors to educational institutes. We would therefore, like to tie up with them and develop a channel so that they offer our green projectors also. The educational sector is highly important and appreciable. We also have many other education related products, so now with the green projectors we will be able to make more contribution to this sector.

What has been Casio's growth rate in India since 1996?
We have grown more than ten times. In the last couple of years, we have seen good growth because there is synergy, retail is changing, the market is changing and consumer buying patterns are changing. Indian consumers are also spending more money and that is helping us grow further especially in categories such as watches.      

What are your future plans? What is your projected revenue for the coming year on a half-yearly basis?
In the last couple of years, we are almost growing 30 per cent plus year-on-year, so we would like to continue that momentum, maintaining it is not easy but we would like to do that. We target half-yearly growth that is almost similar year-on-year.

Do you also plan to manufacture CASIO products in India or open an R&D facility?
No, I don't think so. We haven't given it a thought as yet.

Could you discuss the respective market shares of your major product categories —calculators, watches, keyboards etc.?
If you talk about the organised market for scientific products, we have more than 90 per cent market share. If you talk about official market share of standard calculators, it is 60 to 70 per cent. Keyboards enjoy 65 to 70 per cent market share. Watches have a smaller market share around 3 or 4 per cent. Camera sales are relatively weaker due to greater competition in the market. We are very optimistic about projectors as we are launching them and they have a very unique technology and great money value for consumers. These projectors are effective for a number of applications and can be used for longer hours during the day. Most of the corporates are embracing eco-friendly technology due to the growing consciousness about our eco-system. Hence, I believe they will also appreciate our product.

Where do you place yourself in the Indian electronics market?
We are into consumer electronics and all our product categories are unique. But we are an electronic company even if we manufacture watches and sell their maximum number quantity wise worldwide. All Casio products, even if it is an Rs 800 watch with a battery life of 10 years, are based on our core technologies which focus on miniaturisation, low power consumption while maintaining high durability and usability. Our projectors are green, our calculators work on solar power, many of our watches also run on solar power.

How have your green slim projectors launched prior to the current category, fared in overseas markets?
People have appreciated the green slim projectors, especially their mercury-free point as well as their slimness. Even though it takes some time to make people aware and help them shift towards green technology, we have been able to create a strong position worldwide. In this regard awareness and acceptability is increasing.