Interview: Ashish P. Dhakan

Make in India for a Safer India

(MD & CEO, Prama Hikvision India Pvt. Ltd.)

Ashish P Dhakan does not need introduction. An Engineer and MBA by qualification, the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Prama Hikvision India Private Limited had a very humble start in security industry in 2005, and over just more than a decade, he steered the company to achieve the leadership position in the industry with his characteristic attributes including sincerity, focus, dedication, honest approach towards his business, and ground to earth personality. A first-generation entrepreneur Ashish has gone through various challenges; however, thanks to his cool, patient and skillful marketing strategies, he crossed over all of them and emerged successful.

His vision about Indian security industry’s growth has led to the formation of Prama Hikvision India Pvt Limited, the very first joint venture company formed by Hikvision across the world. He led Prama Hikvision into a leading security business entity by successfully creating a pan India network of dealers, distributors and system integrators.

Ashish believes In Make in India, Make for India, and Make by India concept and in the line he recently opened a world-class state-of-the-art manufacturing unit in Vasai, near Mumbai. He also has plans to expand manufacturing to other states of the country. Further, he devised setting up a state-of-the-art training center to enable product knowledge and training to system integrators, partners and end-users.

With his thoughtfulness, he built diversified vertical solutions teams to cater Hikvision solutions to the Indian market. The vertical solutions offered by Prama Hikvision are customized as per the end-users requirements and specifications to adequately befit in the Indian environment. Today, Prama Hikvision offers solutions in various verticals including Smart City, Safe City, Transport, Education, Banking, Pharma and Retail segments.

SecurityLink India has recently had a detailed interaction with him on the recent trend, prospective and his plans for future – here are the excerpts:

SecurityLink India (SLI): Opening of Prama HikVision manufacturing unit in Mumbai is a great accomplishment – kindly comment on the achievement.

Ashish P. Dhakan (APD): Yes of course – it is a great achievement. It gives us a sense of accomplishment also because we are celebrating 10 years of growth, innovation and technology leadership in the Indian security industry. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. The decade long journey of Prama Hikvision India has had many milestones which were driven by the timeless wisdom that all great things start with a humble beginning. We are grateful to all – our partners, well-wishers, and key stakeholders.

On 1 October 2019, we organized a grand ceremony to inaugurate the ‘Make in India’ manufacturing facility near Mumbai. It was a milestone moment for all of us. Prama Hikvision’s world-class manufacturing facility was inaugurated by Dr. V.K. Saraswat – Member, Niti Aayog, former Director General of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and former Chief Scientific Adviser to the Indian Minister of Defence; and Dr Neeraj Sinha – Adviser, Science & Technology, Niti Aayog.

Today Prama Hikvision India is known as the leading security systems and solution provider in the country. The company has established an impeccable trust and reputation among security industry professionals in India. With a commitment to provide high quality products with excellent technical support, the company serves to a large network of dealers and system integrators, all across the country with its wide reach through 51+ branch offices, 21 return merchandise authorization (RMA) centers and 2000+ motivated employees.

SLI: Kindly explain in brief the factory set up and the modus operandi of the unit.

APD: Prama Hikvision’s ‘Make-In-India’ manufacturing plant is a living testimony of our firm commitment to the vision, mission, and a throbbing reality of an ongoing success story. It is one of the best and largest manufacturing facilities in security and electronics industry in India. The latest technologies, world class processes and state-of-the-art machineries are the key highlights of the manufacturing facility.

With this brownfield manufacturing facility and big ticket investment, Prama Hikvision is continuing CCTV camera production to cater to the fast expanding domestic market in a phased manner. Employing over 2000 skilled and semi-skilled employees, this manufacturing facility is spread over 12 acres of land comprising end-to-end production capabilities. Currently, this facility produces 8 lac cameras and 1 lac back-end devices per month. It has the capability of manufacting 850 product models. The installed capacity of this manufacturing facility is 1.5 million cameras per month.

This state-of-the-art manufacturing facility has multiple lines that do surface mount technology level manufacturing and enable us to make electronic chips and cameras locally instead of importing them. To upskill a significant part of the workers in this factory, we have developed in-house training programs comprising worldclass modules. Prama Hikvision’s manufacturing facility is an expression of our full commitment to the Government of India’s flagship ‘Make in India’ program. We remain committed as a long-term partner of the country and continue to pursue our vision of ‘Make in India for a Safer India’ with manifold commitments. We have so far invested INR500 crore in this plant, and there is a further investment commitment in the pipeline to ramp up the production, and research & development activities.

SLI: How do you foresee its impact on your business per se, as well as on the offerings you are going to make to the Indian market?

APD: The future of the security market in India is very bright due to enhanced security awareness and growing requirements. We are experiencing a good growth in the current financial year. The current state of the physical security market in India is very conducive to growth and expansion. Apart from the eight metro cities, India’s vast and largely untapped network of Tier-II and Tier-III cities are developing very fast due to various socio-economic factors. Having blessed with the capability of the said manufacturing plant to produce electronic chipsets and cameras locally in India, we are to bring the best of the offerings to the Indian market.

SLI: Kindly give a brief about your R&D investment, set up and activities in India.

APD: Our core focus hinges on customer centricity, technology innovations, customized solutions, quality products and value added services. Prama Hikvision has a state-of-the-art R&D center for implementing innovative technologies (AI, Deep Learning, Machine Vision, Robotics, IoT & Big data) through India specific products and solutions. As a leader in security technologies and innovations, Prama Hikvision has a long term research and development focus. We have made big ticket investments in our research and development initiatives, which continue to offer cutting edge technologies and solutions in the security and surveillance domains.

SLI: How do you find the trend of security and surveillance industry in India as on date, and where is it heading?

APD: Localization is currently the biggest trend in the Indian security market, and so we foresee that there will be faster adoption of activities driven by the ‘Make in India’ trend. On the other hand the global security market has already gone through the phase of consolidation. The complex global scenario is creating a new set of challenges. Prama Hikvision India is clearly leading in terms of localization trend. We have a leading edge in the highly competitive scenario in the video surveillance and security product segments. Prama Hikvision India has set a new benchmark by setting up India’s first and largest video surveillance equipment manufacturing plant. It is clear that as competition gets fiercer for a larger pie of the Indian security market, localization will become a critical factor.

We further foresee that the Indian security market will witness a trend of intense proliferation of AI empowered applications and IoT enabled security solutions. According to the latest Memoori Research Report 2019, the trend of application of AI technology to video surveillance has convinced the market that by 2020 AI will become the mainstream – significant improvements in AI video analytics software are making this possible and over the next 10 years, it will become a standard requirement across video surveillance solutions. The supply structure and the competitive landscape will continue to change over the next few years and Internet of Things (IoT) is the main driver to it.

SLI: The current government has taken bold decisions on issues such as GST, digital India, and likes, which often face criticism as well. What is your take on them in relation to the business environment in India as on date and in future?

APD: The Indian security market needs government support and tax reforms by lowering the GST tax and import duties on myriad surveillance and security system components. As a fastest growing industry with approximately 20% CAGR, it is a legitimate demand by the security industry to get government support on tax relief and policy reforms.

Further, the security needs to be prioritized across verticals in India. The security systems need not be perceived as a luxury item, but it should be seen as a preventive tool for enhancing security on public and private places. The incumbent government can play a great role in changing the public mindset about national and personal security by implementing a slew of structural reforms. We are looking forward to the government’s proactive support in implementing Smart City Mission, Make in India and Digital India programs.

SLI: Over the period, what differences/ improvements do you experience in Indian approach in terms of valuing the necessity of security, smart use of better technology and equipment, and the timely maintenance is paramount?

APD: The growing awareness and popularity about smart security trends, systems and solutions are currently driving the sales of the smart security systems. Today, the need for security amongst citizens is felt more than ever due to the enhanced threats and risks which have emerged and are emerging all around. The smart security system market segment is expected to witness growth at a faster rate on account of increasing adoption of smart home security systems due to the growing criminal activities enabling increased safety and security concerns among consumers and end-users.

SLI: Technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain and IoT are disruptive and rapidly making the trend including in security and surveillance. Kindly substantiate generally, and in relation with your products.

APD: The latest transformative technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain and IoT are trending in security and surveillance segment through various value added intelligent solutions and applications. Hikvision offers a broad range of technologies needed to help organizations work smarter – from next-generation cameras equipped with AI and deep learning technologies, to smart ‘edge’ infrastructure and deep data analytics capabilities in the cloud.

In recent years, machine learning (ML) has become more prevalent in building and assembling items, using advanced technology to reduce the length and cost of manufacturing. Hikvision’s innovative solutions in the machine vision system category includes area scan camera, line scan camera, 3D camera, smart camera, vision box, FA lens, light source and software. These solutions are relevant to the industry segments including semi-conductor, medical and pharma, auto parts, drinking/ food, electronic connector, printing, solar cells, logistics, and 3C products.

The distributed ledger of blockchain has found application in many fields – from cryptocurrency to supply chain. Security professionals find that the qualities that blockchain brings to a solution are effective in securing data, networks, identities, critical infrastructure, and more.

SLI: Kindly name your recent flagship products and technologies.

APD: Hikvision has the leading edge in artificial intelligence enabled products and solutions, and in diverse AI enabled applications. It has innovative products and solutions in machine vision and robotics. It has also some of the latest innovations in IoT technology ecosystem in the smart home segment.

We at Prama Hikvision see lots of new opportunities emanating from the smart security systems market in smart home (EZVIZ smart home products and solutions), video surveillance (DeepinView camera, DeepinMind NVR, Easy IP 4.0, ColourVu and AcuSense cameras), access control (face recognition terminals), perimeter security (security radar), and intrusion alarm (AXHub) product categories. These opportunities are related to the government and other vertical specific enterprise market segments.

SLI: Hikvision Expo and Bravery Awards, and HCSA Program have picked up very well. What made you devise these concepts and how productive have they been so far?

APD: Hikvision Expo and Bravery Awards, and HCSA training programs are part of events planned across India. Hikvision Expo and HCSA training and certification events are being conducted to provide product and technology updates. Hikvision Expo events were successfully conducted across 15 cities in India. With the ‘Bravery Awards’ CSR initiative we aim at complimenting the police personnel for their relentless efforts and services to protect the society and people from crime, cybercrimes and terrorism. The core vision of the ‘Bravery Awards’ was to recognise the service excellence in the police force, which can further motivate the police personnel to serve the city and citizens with better security. This was a significant CSR project done by Prama Hikvision India in 2019. The Bravery Awards events were conducted in various cities as a part of Hikvision Expo, they got an overwhelming response.

SLI: What are your future plans for expansion?

APD: We are well prepared for the exponential growth in the Indian security market. After the success of ‘Make-InIndia’ manufacturing plant near Mumbai, we are planning to set up new manufacturing facilities in other states. We will lead the company from the front till the vision is realized to its full potential. We are setting a new benchmark by producing India specific products and solutions. Our motto is ‘Made for India’, ‘Made by India’ and ‘Made in India.’ We are focused on taking the latest security products and solutions to the tier-II and tier-III cities to support the goal of ‘securing the emerging new India.’ Apart from innovative vertical specific solutions and customized solutions, integrated security solutions powered by AI applications will be a game changer idea. We will move further by expanding our network and manufacturing facilities.


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