“Key segments of aerospace and defence would drive our growth in 2013

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Aiming to exploit business opportunities in the fast growing defence and aerospace segments in India, Agilent Technologies, one of world’s premier test and measurement (T&M) companies, recently launched five products at its Aerospace and Defence Symposium. “The symposium has great significance in today’s times as India is making substantial investments in advancing its indigenous capabilities in the strategic areas of aerospace and defence,” Agilent’s country manager Sudhir Tangri told Srabani Sen of Electronics Bazaar.

The products launched by the company include an arbitrary waveform generator, a peak power analyser, vector signal analysis software, real-time spectrum analyser, an EMI receiver, RE, microwave hand-held analysers and the millimetre-wave signal analyser. In an exclusive chat, he highlighted the growth prospects for the T&M sector in 2013.

Sudhir Tangri, Agilent’s country manager

Friday, July 12, 2013: EB: How did Agilent fare in 2012 in the Indian market as compared to 2011 when the market was facing economic slowdown?

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2012 was a really interesting year for us, both in terms of growth and in terms of setting the ground for growth in the years to come. There were macro economic issues in North America and Europe last year. Although the Indian T&M market grew by just 7-9 per cent, according to our estimates, Agilent’s growth in India was more than twice the industry’s growth rates.

Also, in 2012, we made certain changes in the way we conduct ourselves in the market. We revamped our entire channel model, and we created at least seven new channel partnerships that will enable us to reach the customers in a better way and increase our footprint in India. With this move, we have set ourselves on track for a much higher rate of growth in the years to come.

As a result, our market share also grew here, and this growth came from the aerospace and defence sectors since these are the key segments for us. Also, the semiconductor segment did well in 2012. These segments fuelled our growth in 2012.

EB: While Agilent witnessed growth in 2012, there are other T&M companies in India for which 2012 was not a good year. So what are the reasons for your growth?

One of the reasons is that we continued to invest in R&D and we came out with a lot of new products last year. So we were able to serve the market better than our competitors by virtue of these innovative products. For example, FieldFox is one such product which has fuelled our growth. Agilent also continues to be the fastest growing oscilloscope company. So, product innovation and expanding our channel network were the main reasons for our growth.

EB: What are your plans for 2013-2014? Are there any new marketing strategies?

We will continue to build on the transformations we started in 2012. Our key segments would remain aerospace and defence. Within that, we are looking at new fields which will help us grow, like defence services and defence research. Apart from this, there are a lot of investments happening in the semiconductor industry, particularly in handsets, so we are seeing an increased demand coming from there and are focusing on it. We believe that these strategies will give us the growth we are looking for.

EB: How are the products you have launched today, different from your existing products?

The customer requirements are constantly changing, with the aerospace and defence industries evolving, especially in India. The technology for radars used for electronic warfare is evolving, and our products cater to these growing segments of defence. These products are different in the sense that they cater to the new applications on which our customers are working today and will be working in the future. So that’s the value we bring to our customers—the investments that they make today will prove fruitful for at least the next couple of years.

EB: Where do you place yourself in the Indian market?

We have the largest market share in India, and we continue to offer the biggest and broadest range of products.

EB: So Agilent is the No. 1 brand in India?

Yes, we are the No. 1 brand in the industry, in India. We have the biggest portfolio of T&M products, the biggest range of products in the instrumentation industry, and we have the biggest installation base.

EB: There is a campaign being run by Agilent these days that offers free gifts with a live demo. What is it all about?

The psyche behind offering free gifts is that we are offering products with state-of-the-art specifications and a well known user experience. Like the trend we have witnessed in the mobile phone industry, today, the specifications as well as the user experience and interface have improved to the extent that they attract customers. Similarly, we are offering the best customer experience, which cannot be defined, but has to actually be experienced. That is why we offer demos so that the customer can experience the products first hand, and the gift is to encourage them to do so. This campaign is for oscilloscopes. So any customer who wants to buy a high-end oscilloscope can place the new innovation we are offering next to the low-end version to experience the differences.

EB: What are the products you have launched at the Aerospace and Defence Symposium?

Agilent demonstrated five new state-of-the-art products at its annual Aerospace and Defence Symposium. The new test products help customers achieve the system readiness requirements in the aerospace and defence domains. We are extremely proud of these products as we want to share our expertise in measurement science and test processes to address the critical needs of our customers.

We have launched a very unique design capability solution in the area of synthetic aperture radars. India is enhancing its capability in electronic warfare, so the modelling of these radars is becoming very important. The new products and solutions showcased during the symposium are Agilent EEsof EDA SystemVue 2013, FieldFox hand-held RF and microwave analysers, real-time spectrum analyser, PXI signal generator and hand-held digital oscilloscopes.

EB: What trends do you see in the T&M sector in 2013?

Within aerospace and defence, radars will continue to be a trend and within that there are smaller trends like transmitter receiver modules. Array-based, beam-forming radars will continue to evolve. Electronic warfare will continue to grow.

In space, the growth in the satellites domain will also help T&M sector to grow. In the semiconductor space, we will continue to see developments in the chipsets going into the smartphones because the smartphone manufacturers continuously need new applications to stay in competition. So, the wireless chipsets market has a huge growth potential. Another trend is that the R&D investments will definitely come to India for the chipsets. In the education sector, the government has allocated a good budget for technical education so we expect this segment to grow as well.

EB: With the Indian government pushing indigenous manufacturing, how do you see Agilent benefiting from this?

If the manufacturing sector moves the way it is expected to, it will mean growth for us. For manufacturing, one would need big assembly lines and this would result in growth for the T&M industry as well. We see the SME sector benefiting from the government policies, which will, in turn, mean growth for the T&M business.

EB: There are policies for manufacturers but not for the distributors and channel partners. Do you think that policies also need to address the requirements of channel partners?

I think the government is first trying to develop an ecosystem for manufacturing and once we have set up a manufacturing base in India, the related segments like the channel network will also fall in place. This has already happened with the automotive and mobile industries.  

Electronics Bazaar, South Asia’s No.1 Electronics B2B magazine

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