Each week, I am highlighting some of the incredible people who are in the Audio Video Industry. As this blog is mostly about AV insiders, today we are profiling Punit Rastogi .
Here is a brief intro about him.
Punit Rastogi has worked in the Audiovisual industry for over 20 years. He is currently Managing Director of Solutions India Systems Pvt. Ltd.
Please drop your questions in the comments below and I will make sure that he sees them.
1.Describe your journey in the AV industry? How did it start?
Well my journey in the AV industry started in the year 1997. That was the time when I realised there were not adequate presentation solutions in the market and so decided to partner with the OEMs which were making a difference to the customer at that time. So in 1997, I started dealing in special projectors for the customers who felt the need to project directly. And then suddenly the technology changed in 1998 and we came to digital technology. In digital technology, the latest trend was LCD projectors and people immediately took to LCD projectors because they had digital media with them by way of laptop presentation. Email was quite popular and people could exchange documents and presentations; and therefore they felt they should have a digital medium to project as well. In 2000, my company Solutions India Systems Pvt Ltd (SISPL) got associated with NEC, a Japanese brand having a long legacy and we were the first ones to introduce those business projectors here in India. And from thereafter SISPL was unstoppable.
2.What do you think is the challenges that are facing a new person who wants to join the industry.
The best part of AV industry is that it is open for all. We are more than happy and we welcome anybody who wants to join the industry. As an entrepreneur if you ask me the question; I believe one needs to understand that AV is a very immersive kind of industry where there is a huge sea of knowledge which has to be understood well for creating the right solution. The first entry barrier is crossing this sea of knowledge i.e. understanding the history of AV technology.. how this industry has progressed.. which are the technologies which are yet to be progressed.. and to know which are the areas where standardization has not happened or everybody is still developing their own standards. So a new person joining this industry has to first align himself to the technology that’s available.
3.What are the positives of working in this industry?
There is a huge positive of working in this industry because it is a rewarding knowledge-based industry. One can achieve a consultant grade if he has the capability of understanding how audio and visual technology works. We get to meet lot of technology leaders in the business with lot of exchange of views on current and upcoming technology trends, and because we are at the centre of convergence we are talking about audio visual and IT and communication.. all these technologies merging into convergence pattern.. so there is a huge positive because while we are still in the audio visual industry we are still closely connected to all the other technologies around the entire spectrum of the space.
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4.What in your opinion would you change in the industry? What are the negatives that are prevalent ?
In my opinion what I would like to change in the industry is that all the AV integrators along with OEM’s should share a very strong relationship and understanding of each other and thus create a more healthy competitive environment without necessarily working on prices. It is a fact that the organisation cost are growing and it is not easy to sustain the market as the margins erode; so a healthy competition always adds value to the customer and it adds value to the company that provides it. So, it is important that we do not make pricing as easy solution to the customer because lower pricing solutions might not deliver the experience which the customer is looking for thus leaving the customer dissatisfied. So in order to focus on the larger positive we need to focus on providing the latest technology at the right prices. If we can collectively avoid AV players who just focus on reducing the prices by the box for quick business, then we can make a lot of difference. And, that is the change we should bring about in the industry in terms of creating more focus towards the customers by providing him them best state-of-the-art solutions which are affordable to them and profitable for us at the same time.
5.Describe your ideal client? What do you wish clients to know before hiring you.
An ideal client in my perspective is somebody who understands that every solution provider will provide a totally different solution to meet their needs and customer has to identify the company which is providing him the best possible solution and be able to trust the solution provider which is of course difficult but not easy. An ideal client should be able to establish trust faster on the basis of establishment of company in terms of how many years of industry experience they have, infrastructure adopted and the quality of people that are interacting with them. And based on that base is to develop trust and identify solution which is most suitable and then talk to the vendor because the solution each partner provides is unique and not to undermine but to bring one solution to another solution from different competitors is a very standard practise which we totally want to remove. So an ideal client should not be doing that and we would like to work with clients who understand us better as we are in a way providing service to customer. So in long term engagement, price is only a one time transaction but the relationship is something which really matters. So I look for customers who believe in the fact that it is important to keep a healthy relationship with the partner and build a long term relationship.
6.If you were going to start over, what would you do differently?
If I were to start over again what I would do differently is that I would definitely like to spend more time with my customers and stakeholders understanding their requirements and expectations, spend more time with my employees educating them of what is the best solution for the customer and how to judge a good customer so that we could avoid wastage of time running behind clients who would just take quotations and never give business. I guess there is not much difference in what I am currently doing. It would not be very different from what I have been doing in the past as I believe I have not made any mistakes that needs to be rectified. I would continue to focus on the same value add concept which is what my company SISPL stands for.
7.Describe a typical work day for you. What are your daily disciplines?
A typical working day there are team meetings to brainstorm the best solution for a customer, discussions with manufacturers and OEM vendors to be able to assure and ascertain that this is the task they will fulfil and this is the benefit they will create to our customers.. There are lot of internal discussion in terms of creating the solutions, sending the quotation, supervision and gratification, meetings with customers in order to be able to explain the solution and educate them. I also dabble with project meetings to monitor the project on goings.. day to day working operations with different teams and any escalations if need be. Also spend some time mentoring my team and helping them in faster decision making to be more productive and empowering them to take decisions. So this how a typical day is for me.
8.Describe the apps and gear that you use daily which makes you more productive?
When I am using technology myself, I consider using Laptop and Smartphones which are very essential without which I cannot move out of office. Now-a-days technologies and solutions are all experiential, so I need to carry a lot of photographs of devices and of installations which are recently done in my Smartphone or Pen drives to give the customer a look and feel of the technology. To measure Light and Audio I also use various measuring parameters which are standard on any audio visual designers or engineers smartphone. And there are tonnes of other apps which allows to measure various parameters inside the room which includes lighting, sound level, acoustic level in that room and conversion of distances from metric to non-metric. So there are lot of applications that I use on a daily basis. As a business entrepreneur, I use lot of financial applications such as Accounting Software, Budgeting Tools, Financial Dashboard, Expense Tracker etc. Not to mention of course, being a part of the AV company, I rely on use of technology such as Video Conferencing, Telepresence Solutions, Content Sharing Tools to discuss and share latest project updates and site photos. I also use CRM for Database Management and Sales Monitoring and also for real time updates on the sales and service activities. Have been using Black Box for data storage and back-up. I heavily use technologies which we promote within our own branches and help keep the team updated with various trainings etc which are also done online. Fortunately, technology has brought about a multitude of tools to save business owners time and headaches on daily tasks.
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