element14 is the high-service distributor of technology products and solutions for electronics design, manufacture and operations in India. Ravi Pagar, Regional Director – India and Asean, element14 and Managing Director of the India operations of Premier Farnell. In 2007, he took over reins of element14 business in India and spearheaded the setting up of the India business with the acquisition of Hynetic Electronics. He holds degrees of Bachelor of Engineering and Technology in Computer science and Master of Business Administration from the Pune University. His main interests are transformational projects, corporate strategy and change management. He talked about an array of topics concerning electronics system design and engineering ecosystem in India in an exclusive interview with ELE Times.
ELE Times: What are the solutions offered by element14 and what gives it a leading edge over its competitors?
Ravi Pagar: element14 is a global leader in high service distribution of technology products, services and solutions for electronic system design, production, maintenance and repair. We bring together the latest products, services and development software in the electronics industry. Whether researching a new technology, designing an electronic product or looking for parts to repair an existing system, element14 is the trusted global source partner for companies that need to keep their projects on the fast track mode, right from the start.
element14 is the only high service distributor in India that manufactures exclusive development kits for customers and this provides us with a leading edge over our competitors. We are also one of the only distributors in the country that provide a suite of solutions to support our engineers throughout their research, design, prototyping and production phases. We provide our customers with personalised, continuous support and our global reach as part of Premier Farnell Group provides us with greater access to stocks and helps us build stronger relationships with suppliers thereby allowing us to better serve the customer’s needs.
ELE Times: What are the recent developments in technology and design trends in India? Could you brief us about the application areas that you see growing rapidly?
Ravi Pagar: Internet of Things (IoT), home and industrial automation, energy efficiency and renewable energy are the recent developments in the technology and design trends domain in India and each of these applications can be linked back to the target mission of the country. Incase of energy efficiency and renewable energy an ideal example is the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) under the brand ‘Solar India’ which focuses on making its vision of changing India from being an energy deficient country to an energy sufficient one. The Internet of Things or IoT technology comes into the picture when we consider innovation in the automation industry and this will be widely used for India’s ‘smart city’ projects.
ELE Times: If you could talk on initiatives taken up by element14 to support the capabilities and ideas coming up from the innovators and design engineers?
Ravi Pagar: element14 is committed to strengthening its position as the trusted one-stop source of engineering knowledge and solutions for design innovation. In the past year, we have invested heavily to support the demands of our customer base in India.
Currently, there is a growing need for engineers in the country to understand the latest developments in the technology domain. To address this requirement, element14 community acts like a bridge for the engineers by providing them with knowledge and information required to fuel their projects. We also conduct several competitions such as the ‘Music Tech Design’ challenge to help promote innovators. Our community creates a space for peer to peer networking and discussion and provides end to end support and system assistance for design engineers.
ELE Times: How is the company poised to support government initiatives like Digital India and Make in India?
Ravi Pagar: Currently, with over 600,000 products from more than 3,500 international suppliers, element14 is uniquely placed in the high service distribution space and we are well positioned to contribute to government initiatives such as ‘Digital India’ and ‘Make in India’. In one of our recent initiatives, ‘Electronics@School, the Kerala government introduced Raspberry Pi to 10,000 selected students from the state. The purpose of the program was to add 40,000 talented students to the maker community and was initiated as a part of the Kerala Start-up Mission. element14 has made its mark in the domain with participation in programmes and initiatives like this. Another key element is accessibility of devices like Raspberry Pi or BeagleBone which are available at a cost starting at $5 (Rs.332.63). This affordability feature of these devices makes it possible for government schools across rural backgrounds to give their students a hands-on experience of technology and surge towards ‘Making in India’.
ELE Times: What are the challenges you see for electronics components industry in India to reach its full growth potential?
Ravi Pagar: The electronics components industry is going through a steady phase of growth and development. Strategic alliances formed between public-private players have accelerated this process and contributed to key developments. Government initiatives like ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’ have played a role in tackling challenges that previously affected the industry. However, as a developing industry, the ecosystem still faces few challenges. One of the recent challenges is the increase in the volume of counterfeit electronic goods. In the electronics industry in particular, the supply network of OEMs has increased in complexity, in many cases spanning multiple partners spread around the globe. Controlling the activities of partners in this complex supply network, in a market where there is constant competitive pressure to reduce manufacturing costs, has become increasingly difficult.
ELE Times: What is the real idea behind element14 community and its impact on the entire electronics ecosystem?
Ravi Pagar: Our award-winning platform, element14 community, hosts a world of virtual field engineers. The idea behind this platform is to supports our customers and engineers with up-to-date technical information in different areas. Over 380,000 members worldwide are connected and benefited through our platform.
Our community offers research support, design software, development kits and other online solutions so that engineers can get their prototype ready for production in no time. The amount of interactions hosted on element14 community on a daily basis cover multiple disciplines. Technical resources such as webinars, product road test and interactions with other industry experts are also provided by element14 community,. This gives the audience with greater insight into how the technologies of high end productions work and thus motivate them to dream big thereby impacting the entire electronics ecosystem.