Foraying into connected living solutions, Panasonic India has launched Miraie, an AI-enabled smart platform, along with IoT enabled smart devices. Under the connected living platform, the first range of connected products available in the Indian market includes connected air conditioners, smart doorbell and plugs and switches. Aiming to democratise technology, Panasonic's new connected air conditioners have been priced starting at Rs 35,990, similar to the conventional split ACs.
"Over the course of 2020, we plan to expand our connected range of products by adding refrigerator, washing machine, television, fans, geysers, etc giving consumers a full range of Connected Living Solutions for a futuristic home. With Miraie, our aim is to bring down the total cost of ownership as the platform sends users regular notifications for servicing requirement driving optimum output and efficient performance over time," says Manish Sharma, President & CEO, Panasonic India & SA.
India is one of the largest growing electronics markets in the world. According to industry reports, revenue in the smart appliances segment amounts to $1,225 million in 2020 and the household penetration is expected to hit 5.6 per cent by 2024. "We are aiming to drive around 35 per cent of our appliances sales in India for the next fiscal from connected appliances. It is an ambitious step as it is higher than the industry average of 2-3 per cent but we are confident to tap the market. As we manufacture our ACs in India, we will be able to easily scale it up while for some other products it might take some time," explains Sharma.
Factors contributing to the growth for smart homes in India include lifestyle upgrades, increasing internet usage on smartphones, rising demand for energy conservation, amongst others. Panasonic's consumer insight study suggests that Indian consumers seek enhanced product experience that can make daily life chores easier and efficient. And 81 per cent are willing to pay a bit extra for connected features. Consumers want their home appliances to be smart and most of them want it to be connected with their smartphones.
A little late to the connected appliance ecosystem, Panasonic's Miraie is a connected living platform. Developed in-house at the Panasonic India Innovation Center (IIC), it will connect all Panasonic IoT enabled appliances under this ecosystem making life convenient, comfortable and connected for our customers. "The intelligent AI enabled platform - Miraie - brings our concept of Connected Living to life and literally translates as 'Future Home' in Japanese. Miraie brings synergised solutions from our well-established portfolio by building a connection powered by IoT and Cloud platform. Advanced AI helps giving prompt notifications on issues, troubleshoot, facilitates technician visit and maximises performance and operational lifespan of products. The intuitive app helps recognise usage patterns and suggests optimal modes extending best comfort," adds Sharma.
The app also offers value-added features such as eWarranty and AMC management, OneTouch-service request, proactive maintenance notifications, etc. Available on both iOS and Android platform, Miraie leverages Google's Voice Assistant and Amazon's Alexa voice recognition technology to offer seamless and hands-free operations and make devices function with voice commands.
With privacy being one of the biggest concerns in the smart home ecosystem, Panasonic claims to follow the design principle such as Privacy by Design, Security by Design. Panasonic follows standard procedures and mechanism such as anonymisation, deep encryption, multi-factor authentication etc. to safeguard customer data or PII (Personal Identifiable Information). The platform comes with privacy settings that give users the power to choose how much they want to share with the platform.
Panasonic sees growth across markets for the Miraie range of products. "We believe that while Tier I drives additional and replacement purchases where we will first see Connected ACs, there is huge potential in Tier II-III for first-time buyers. Also, millennials setting up homes for the first time will be a significant audience" avers Sharma.
Panasonic plans to promote the Miraie launch through a 360-degree campaign covering traditional, TV and digital mediums. To enhance the shop floor experience, unique product displays and demo zones are set-up to drive awareness for the Miraie range. This will be further enhanced with strong service support provided by the Panasonic operations team.
Panasonic India's gross revenue for FY19-20 (net of rebate) is projected at Rs 10,615 crore with an expected growth rate at 6 per cent.