Micromax co-founder Vikas Jain’s latest venture, World of Play, is a bet on India’s youth and the power of connected devices to engage with them. After selling affordable handphones for over a decade, he has charted into the wearables industry. The company takes pleasure in producing items that are tailored to the needs of Indian consumers.
Over the last 2-years of being commercially operational, we have grown in categories like Acoustics and wearable devices. Today the portfolio boasts of about 20+ products across the two categories and about 100K+ “HAPPY” customer acquisitions every month.
We got a chance to interview Mr. Vikas recently and here’s how it went.
Q1- What is the consumer electronics sector planning for 2022?
We at PLAY, have many new product launches lined up and are working hard to support our retailers with an uninterrupted supply chain with a very exciting new lineup to add to the existing fast-selling, consumer-loved products. Today the portfolio boasts of about 20+ products across the two categories and about 100K+ “HAPPY” customer acquisitions every month. We believe over the span of the next 12 months, we will be able to incubate at least 2 more new consumer categories, double our retail footprint and at least double our monthly “HAPPY” customer acquisitions (in the country).
Q2- What do you think will be the most popular product in the wearables industry throughout the year 2021? What are the new directions that software design is taking?
Smartwatch is the most popular product in the wearables industry throughout the year 2021. PLAY today addresses an evolved consumer, our consumers are technologically well aware and privacy concerned too. They are young, opinionated, and demanding which propels us to deliver nothing but the best. Given that we are a customer-first company we ensure that our software development is in line with meeting those demands of the customer. It’s a consistent effort to keep upgrading and pushing for better technological solutions to delight the customer.
Q3- What are the challenges in hardware design?
Speed of “conceptualisation to launch a product” is a definitive criteria to define a successful company. For PLAY, a consumer experience-driven company, getting it right and getting it right the first time is the design thesis. We are extremely prudent and diligent in ensuring that we not only bring the latest technological solutions but also bring them ahead of time. Project design follows a non-iterative approach to development which makes mistakes very expensive. Thankfully, PLAY boasts of a core team who is well experienced and has worked on multiple research and development consumer projects. Advancement in rapid prototyping technology has also helped us mitigate a lot of risks.
Q4- How can Indian design get ahead of international companies’ designs?
I believe it isn’t about being ahead of international company designs or even local competitors, but understanding the pulse of your consumer and marrying it with the global technology enhancement. We invest heavily in R&D to understand the latest technological developments and enhancements. We always strive and evolve to meet customer expectations. While working on a product range, category, or even a new segment, the focus is always the user expectation, actual experience, and hence, the customer delight.
At PLAY, our founders have had the experience of witnessing the far-reaching impact of the GoI focus to bring manufacturing to India over the last few years. The core vision at PLAY has been to complement the make-in-India mission with design-in-India too. We reserve extreme applause for the long-term vision of GoI towards bringing design & development as well as manufacturing of consumer electronics in India. The industry is evolving and so are businesses
Q5- Do you believe the pandemic will have an impact on this industry’s company, given how it has affected most firms around the world?
It is argued that without communication and modern digital electronics, many people would not be able to work during the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. Likewise, modern consumer technology is extremely dependent upon connectivity, processing, and memory/storage. Generally, the economic impact resulted in lower overall consumer technology sales in 2020, but people are more dependent than ever before on their personal devices to connect with others and continue to work from home. The reliance on web-based meetings, online education, and cloud-based services, in general, will increase as time goes on. After the pandemic ends, people will be more likely to participate in a virtual event and to look for virtual experiences to replace some physical experiences. This should drive increasing demand for the consumer electronics and cloud- services industry.
At PLAY, while 2021 came with a lot of challenges, especially for a start-up, courtesy of the pandemic and subsequent retail lockdown, our entire team of PLAYers was not daunted by the challenge. We used the forced indoor time to strengthen our design/Development team, and product portfolio and also lay the stone for manufacturing in India. Obviously, the scarcity of the chipsets across the globe has indeed had an impact, we remain motivated to continue our stride forward towards design, development, and manufacturing in India, for PLAY, the manifest is, Made-by-India, Made-in-India, and Made-for India.
We thank Mr. Vikas Jain for taking the time out and answering our questions! Also, wish them the very best in their future endeavors.