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“We Have A Strong Service Network Across India With 900 Service Centres”

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Today, customers expect brands to make feature-loaded products at affordable price point. TCL is one of the consumer electronics brands serving with its wide range of products at affordable price. The brand currently has Smart TVs, Audio products and many more exciting products under its portfolio. Jyoti Janda, Executive Editor, Telecom Today got a chance to have a conversation with Vijay Kumar Mikkilineni, Marketing Head, TCL India. He elaborated about service support commitments, product offerings, and availability of their products in the market. Read below the excerpts:

Jyoti: How is TCL serving the different needs of customers with its wide range of products?

Vijay: Our Mission is to bring Indian customers first of its kind products at an affordable price. This mission remains unchanged.

Jyoti: What is the USP of TCL?

Vijay: At TCL we are globally the largest manufacturer for TV panels and global No. 1 android smart TV brand. With this manufacturer’s ability we bring the latest technology product at an affordable price. For example we were India’s first video call camera TV with google duo, we were India’s first MINI LED, first 4K TV with Harman kardon integrated sound bar and many more. We bring world’s first and best technology to India.

Jyoti: How do you take care of affordability and quality in your products?

Vijay: Because of the manufacturing ability we have, we are cost effective and own manufacturing have Q&C UNDER our control.

Jyoti: What are the factors which are contributing to the growth of Smart TV in India?

Vijay: The growing entertainment education and employment (EEE) needs with covid around becoming home as center (work from home , move from home, school from home ) makes the TV demand much higher and brands who address this demand for customers have good growth in the India TV market.

Jyoti: Which new audio products can we see from TCL in the coming months?

Vijay: This year you see our wide range sound bar products introduced into the India market.

Jyoti: Please brief about the availability of your products both online and offline.

Vijay: TCL TVs AC WM SB are available across channels online amazon, Flipkart Tata cliq, offline reliance Croma all regional chain stores like Pai Satya vasanth great eastern EP hariom kohinoor Sonovision etc… and distribution market. All over India we are available in more than 10,000 outlets.

Jyoti: How do you work to keep your service support standards high?

Vijay: We have the customer friendly policy with a strong service network across India with 900 service centres with the coverage of 19000 pin codes and the support capacity of 7500 service engineers.

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“More Than 1M Users Have Downloaded Tamasha Live App”

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In last few years, gaming platforms are gaining huge engagement due to increase in mobile gaming trend. These young gamers are even winning prizes as few gaming platforms have started to help the users with monetization which ultimately helps the gamers community to grow further. Tamasha Live is one such live gaming platform growing at a rapid pace. Jyoti Janda, Executive Editor, TelecomToday.in got a chance to have a conversation with Saurabh Gupta, Co-Founder, and CEO, Tamasha Live. Mr. Saurabh elaborated about the platform, growth plans, and much more. Read below the excerpts:

Jyoti: What was the motive behind establishing Tamasha? How has been the journey so far? 

Saurabh: Tamasha was founded in July 2020 and the first version was released in Nov 2020. The concept came from the fact that gaming communities and their owners didn’t have a platform to play, engage and earn. They have to use multiple products to engage among each other. Money is transferred using payment platforms, engagement is done on WhatsApp or zoom and there is no way to discover new people. Tamasha is a gaming platform which is social 2.0 meaning there is a unique combination of community, engagement and transaction layer which blends naturally among each other.

Jyoti: Please tell us about the number of installs Tamasha has accumulated till date. How many active users do you have on your platform?

Saurabh: Tamasha has been operating in a stealth mode and would begin scaling up starting next year. We have more got than 1M users registered on the platforms with more than 3000 active clubs/communities on the platform. 1M+ users have downloaded the application; we have 3000 + monthly creators monetizing on the platform.

Jyoti: How are you helping this market/community to grow further? What all support you provide to content creators?

Saurabh: Creators are benefitting by focusing on engaging their audience and organize games for the community without having to deal with payments, communication and other logistic problems. Creators can also get access to new set of users who are looking for these gaming communities to play. Creators are the true owners of the platform and we incentivize them instead of Google ads since they bring the users and engage with the users. Creators are able to earn revenue from their engagement and Tamasha is planning to add interesting monetization tools for the creators.

Jyoti: What are your funding and expansion plans? Please share your future expansion plans

Saurabh: Current focus is to attract more communities to the platform and increase the user base. We are in early discussion phase of the funding and are keeping the conversation open. Will be moving forward in a couple of months down the line.

We plan to bring more community games like poker, rummy on the platform soon and are also partnering with big gaming studios to bring branded games to the platform. We are planning to bring 50 games in the next 5 months on the platform.

Jyoti: How many games are there on the platform and how many languages are there on the platform?

Saurabh: Currently, there are 5 games live on the platform and we are adding new games day by day. We are planning to bring 20 games in next 5 months on the platform which will cater to different age groups and their different tastes.

The interface of the platform is in English as of now, and we plan to add 15 languages by the end of this year to reach out to users across different markets.

Jyoti: What is your monetization model and the revenue strategy?

Saurabh: There are multiple ways of revenue and we are constantly working on opening new channels to make money for communities as well as for the platform. Rake in real money games, commission through virtual gifting, sponsorships and ads are some ways to make revenue. Our numbers are healthy and are growing at a very fast pace.

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Exclusive Interview

“Soundcore is The Indisputable Audio Industry Leader On A Worldwide Scale”

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The Indian smartphone accessories market is growing swiftly and has gained quite tremendous growth over the years. This market is growing under the ever-increasing smartphone penetration and is expected to grow further in 2022. Anker is a well-known brand in the consumer space and catering to the consumers with its wide range of products. Jyoti Janda, Executive Editor, Telecomtoday.in recently interacted with Gopal Jeyaraj, Head – India and SAARC, Anker Innovations. He shared the product roadmap, service support commitments and a lot more. Read below the excerpts:

Jyoti: What are the latest trends in the TWS earphone segment? Which new products can we see from Soundcore in the coming months?

Gopal: TWS has seen a huge success in the Indian Markets. The steady growth of the market and sales year by year has promoted the rapid development of the Bluetooth headset market and brought many new opportunities. For Soundcore our wide & successful range of TWS in the Indian Markets includes – Life Note 3, Life Q35 Headphones  and Liberty Air 2 Pro

The TWS no longer has the classic design.  It is currently available in bean-shaped, Bing-shaped, and has dangling ears, among other variations. In terms of technology, the TWS includes a MEMS microphone, In Ear Detection, multipoint connections, and other features. Intelligent Interaction Modes such as Voice Recognition, Gesture Control, Pressure Sensing, Translation Function, Health Detection, and Integrated Active Noise Cancellation are among the updated features observed. With Apple’s recent introduction of spatial audio, i.e. 360-degree sound, the demand for this experience has skyrocketed.

With a strong focus on R&D and innovation, our forthcoming models will incorporate many of the features stated above, as well as a greater knowledge of the user. We will release the much-anticipated Liberty 3 Pro within the next month.

Jyoti: How do you manage quality in your budget and mid-budget product ranges?

Gopal: Before releasing a new product, our R&D team conducts extensive research. The products are tested in a variety of settings, with a variety of target groups, and in a variety of geographic locations to comprehend the feedback and make it more resilient. Our products incorporate the latest innovation while placing a greater focus on quality.

Jyoti: Why should consumers go for Anker branded products whereas there are many other brands available in the market?

Gopal: Soundcore is the indisputable audio industry leader on a worldwide scale. Our emphasis on R&D and innovation, as well as exceptional quality, has struck a chord with the target audiences. Some of the important features of our products include an unrivalled 18-month warranty, demonstrating our confidence in our products’ quality. Grammy Award Winners help us develop and test our goods. Our products may include a few or several of Anker’s proprietary technologies such as Head ID, PartyCast, BoostIQ, ACAA, and others.

Jyoti: What are your service support commitments for customers? Please tell me about the presence of Anker’s service centers across India?

Gopal: Soundcore offers a centralised Service Center, where customers may phone us on a toll-free number, email us at support@ankerindia.com, or submit a ticket at https://support.ankerindia.com/support/home. Here, we perform a first round of troubleshooting via phone or email assistance, and if the client still believes the issue continues, Soundcore arranges for the equipment to be picked up and dropped off for service. Our social Media vehicles also remain an active source of customer engagement for resolving several queries. 

Jyoti: Please brief about the availability of your products both online and offline. 

Gopal: Among the online marketplaces, Soundcore products are mostly accessible on Flipkart followed by others. Among the offline presence, we are available at several leading retail chain stores such as Sangeetha Mobiles, Poorvika Mobiles, Lulu Connect, Supreme Mobiles, Happi, Poojara Telecom, Phonewale, and many adjacent independent stores. We have a healthy mix of online and offline presence. Our availability with leading retail chain stores also gives us a competitive advantage.

Jyoti: Is there any consumer scheme or offer running currently or planning to run in coming months?

Gopal: There are currently no Consumer Schemes, however we will be planning both online and offline schemes very shortly.

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Exclusive Interview

“PVR has Adopted Technology in All Touch Points to Build Safer Cinemas in New Normal”

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Since the pandemic has disrupted the world, Cinema or theaters have suffered a lot. All other industries are getting back to work as it used to be earlier. Now with a very strict COVID precautions, theaters have started opening across India. As tech helped all other market to adopt in new normal, tech is again playing a key role for theater owners too. At every stage, technology will keep the human-to-human interaction lower thus cinemas will be a safer place to watch movies post-pandemic. PVR, the big name in this domain has taken a stay ahead and has brought great viewing experience for their customers by use of advanced technology. In line to get deeper insights about the new initiatives, Rajeev Ranjan, Editor, Telecom Today, held an exclusive chat with Gautam Dutta, CEO, PVR Ltd. Gautam spoke about the current trends, key technologies that will play a key role in the reopening of cinemas and much more. Read below the excerpts:

Rajeev: What all new technologies you have adopted in recent times at PVR Priya to give best viewing experience for audiences who will watch movie in theater after a long time?

Gautam: PVR [PXL] powered by CGS at Priya offers an industry-leading Barco Dual Laser projection and active image control to present a brilliant and uniform image with high contrast.  Additionally, the property is integrated with advanced in- cinema features like Dolby ATMOS sound with pro-ribbon HF. This combination truly allows crystal-clear, high definition immersive audio with perfect intelligibility and no distortion, even at high volume level. The Audi is equipped with a 19 m wide Harkness Clarus XC – 2D and 3D Polarized Screen for a best-in-class laser projection with wide viewing angle, greater uniformity, improved colour and contrast. The RealD 3D digital stereoscopic projection ensures crystal clear, razor sharp, ultra-bright pictures for a breathtaking visual experience. This is the most advanced cinema in Delhi and India’s First state- of- the art premium Giant Screen Format powered by Cinionic Giant Screen.

Rajeev: How do you see the role of technology in building safer place for audiences who wish to watch cinemas in theater now?

Gautam: Technology will play a key role in building safer cinemas and PVR has adopted technology in all touch points of the consumer journey and experience in its cinemas.

In order to minimize human contact, digital transactions have been enabled via e-wallets. To facilitate paperless movie ticketing and eliminate the need to buy physical tickets at the box office, these can be booked on the PVR Website, PVR Mobile App and other Aggregator Website and Mobile Apps. QR codes can be scanned to enter the cinema through customers’ phone.  There is no pat down search, only DFMDS (Door Frame Metal Detectors) that are used for security check.

One can also pre-book meals via the PVR app to avoid queues and waiting time at the concession counter and the food bills will be delivered digitally. The menu can be downloaded on the phone, so that customer can order on the phone before even reaching the candy bar.  Payment for F&B will be made digitally, through NFC, or through cash cards available at the cinemas. No cash and no contact. Anti-microbial disinfectant films are wrapped on auditorium door handles. Ultraviolet cabinets are in place as a sterilize device to sanitize food packaging before it is served to the customer.

In its air-conditioning system, PVR uses UVGI (Ultraviolet Germicidal irradiation) in its Air Handling Units (AHU’s) which ensures clean coils and clean air (viruses, bacteria, fungi and spores). As part of its indoor air quality management, single and dual polarised air cleaning system ensures reduction of pm2.5 and pm 10 to maintain IAQ of US standard. In addition to motion sensor-based taps in washrooms, all water coolers have sensor-based drinking water taps to minimize human contact.

Rajeev: How did you managed to hold the nerve to face extreme challenges since pandemic started last year?

Gautam: From March 2020 to February 2021 during the first wave that included national Lockdown with closure of theatres, staggered reopening at 50% capacity and 100% capacity allowed in February, we built liquidity buffers, negotiated Rent and CAM waivers / discounts from Landlords / developers, reduced fixed operating costs, developed Covid appropriate SOPs and Successfully raised INR 1600 crs of additional liquidity (INR 1100 crs of Equity and INR 500 crs of Debt).

From March 2021 that saw the resurgence of the second wave, staggered lockdown and cinemas closures from March 2021 to May 2021, we focused on vaccination of employees, re-engaging with developers for rental waivers, cost reduction including payroll cost, liquidity & cash flow management. We launched a holistic comprehensive care package to help our employees tide over the second wave.  The package entailed Covid SOS medicines, reimbursing cost of vaccination for self and dependents, 24*7 Covid helpline with on-ground response team, oxygen concentrators, doctor on call assistance, hospitalization & ambulance services, and food deliveries for covid tested employees.

Rajeev: How do you see the impact of OTT players on your business continuity in post COVID-19 world?  Do you have any plan to enter this space or launch any subscription based model?

Gautam: During the period while cinemas were shut led film-makers response to exceptional circumstances due to release of new content leading to rise in OTT audiences. It’s a trend which started in the pandemic, all of a sudden, when it became a necessity for people as part of their daily lives. But otherwise, home entertainment through VCR, Video, DVD, Cable TV and streaming were always there. However theatrical business will always co-exist with multiple other platforms, digital platforms are no exception.  Even OTT platforms were starved of content because shooting for movies had also stopped during the pandemic and they needed content to sustain their viewership, so they started buying movies. The producers also complied as cinemas were shut as this was the only option available for them. Now that the cinemas are opening, the producers will return to theatrical releases as this is where they make money. A theatrical release earlier before OTT makes commercial sense to them as they know the performance of the movie and pay the price for the content accordingly. But the good thing is that due to OTT, producers get back their money and they get encouraged to make more content.

We are primarily social beings – we want to get out and entertain ourselves and that’s going to happen in Cinemas only. Movie viewing is one of the best and cheapest forms of out-of-home entertainment. It spreads happiness enabling a patron to enjoy a three hour movie-cation and leading to a complete family entertainment experience. Cinema is a catalyst to ‘together time’ for couples, families, friends and peer groups and hence the experience of bonding over the shared experience of watching a movie together is much more than other entertainment avenues. Movie-watching business has been around for more than 100 years and faced many disruptions but has always bounced back.

Rajeev: What new technology & trends in this domain will impact all theaters in coming years?   

Gautam: Theatrical technology primarily revolves around upgradation in projection, sound and screen. Technology advancements in theatres would largely revolve around enhancing the power and impact of the big screen, creating an unparalleled viewing experience, something that you cannot get while watching content at home. In other words, the full focus would be on the complete immersive experience covering every angle of the theatre, creating excitement of storytelling which means crisper images, giant screens, or all-encompassing sound effects. Technological innovations in audience engagement and enhancing the cinema could be Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Glassless 3D, and 4D experiences that will play a key role. Going forward enhancing the cinema going experience, better adaptability of the cinema going experience to rapidly changing consumer preferences would be crucial for movie theatres to continue playing the pivotal role in the exhibition of filmed entertainment.

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