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Remote Surveillance, Automation To Be New Normal: Manjit Rajain

The outsourced professional services stalwarts like Manjit Rajain, Global Chairman, Tenon Group say remote surveillance and automation will be the new normal in the post-Covid era

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The world is going through uncertain times due to the disruption created by the Novel Coronavirus. While businesses are everyday planning, re-strategizing to stay afloat, Outsourced Professional Services have also been dealing with the same crisis.

With a 5-7% EBITDA margin business across the globe, the sector finds that the remote surveillance, automation and artificial intelligence will gain more traction in the post-Covid world. Manjit Rajain, Global Chairman, Tenon Group of Companies, a manpower and facility management firm based out of Gurgaon said, “While automation has been happening over the past three years, each year this technology has been gaining momentum and size. In the Covid-19 world, it will expand at a phenomenal pace. So, remote monitoring, automation, use of sophisticated security equipment, contactless security will be growing and due to Covid-19, it is going to accelerate much faster. Remote monitoring would be a practice more than a norm."  

Rajain was speaking at the Webinar of Security Services organized by BW Businessworld and moderated by Annurag Batra, Chairman & Editor-in-Chief, BW Businessworld. 

While the sector has to have new skills organically pivoting the business, it is our endeavour as an industry to come up with new plans or skills which could help the industry accordingly, he said. 

Emphasising on the role of a security guard, Rajain said, "In the pre-Covid era, a guard was merely a symbol of status where his existence wasn’t valued enough by the people. In some cases, he wasn’t even required but he was needed to stand there as a prestige symbol. However, during this pandemic, his value has transformed into a man who guards a home’s safety through these uncertain crisis. Our clients have been supportive and more humane. This has made the security guards more respectable, confident and professional. ” 

The Covid-19 virus hasn’t left any industry untouched during this crisis. However, the large security-based companies haven’t faced major problems, says Rajain. “We need to wait and see if there is a further lockdown or if the lockdown opens up in phases. And if the lockdown is extended, there will be an impact on the revenues,” says Rajain. He also highlighted that for now, their clients are not restructuring the revenue models. But things might change post-May. “The quantum of impact will depend upon what people perceive on the longevity of this lockdown,” he added.  

While the government is in touch with the CMs of the states to take views on the lockdown and its extension, few sectors like travel, hospitality, malls, etc. might not be able to open soon and wouldn’t function the same way as it did earlier, said Rajain. 

With the economy in doldrums, every sector is interconnected to some other sector in the whole chain. Security services have been one of the primary services which support the citizens enabling them to live safely, opined Rajain.  

Rajain during his conversation also highlighted that work from home will be the new normal. However, globally cost-cutting, pay-cuts and layoffs have become a standard practice for entrepreneurs to stay alive in the business, he said. “Smaller companies have an advantage over other large companies wherein their cost to operate would be a bit lower.” However, understanding the dynamics of the business, every employee would support this as a way to survival,” Rajain added. 

While the governments across the world are providing some GDP stimulus package, India still needs to come up with a strong relief package. "However, the Indian government has already been supporting the business through few schemes including the Provident Fund Scheme wherein companies with more than 100 employees, the PFs will be paid by the government which is 24%," said Rajain.

He also finds Covid-19 as a defining movement. He also apprised that in the security ecosystem, the pay-cuts would happen at the top level which should be taken positively for the longer survival of the business. 

While the whole world awaits the vaccination for the virus, it is quite early to comment on it. While India is a domestic consumption-led economy, this is an opportunity for the country to get evolved, said Rajain.