A Q&A with the Co-Founder of Awicon Technologies in India – a CEDIA-Award-winning firm serving both the residential and commercial industries
Tell me a little bit about your background and your current role.
My family has been in the jewelry business for more than 60 years now. I completed my master’s degree in electronics and communications at Temple University in Philadelphia where I also worked as an associate professor for math and chemistry before moving back to India to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities in the ever-growing India.
I co-founded Awicon Technologies with my childhood friend, Sukumar, and currently look after Technical Design & Business Development, though I tend to wear multiple hats when needed to explore and understand different perspectives.
How did you become interested in technology?
I have been fascinated with technology since I was a child, though it is in stark contrast to what my family has been doing for more than half a century. I used to play around with changing levels on the equalizer for my Sony stereo system to explore different genres of music, and always wondered how it worked. This childhood fascination towards audio and technology motivated me to pursue this field academically. My master’s in electronics and communications helped me strengthen my understanding and gain in-depth knowledge of embedded systems and wireless communication, which form a significant portion of the control system world.
How did Awicon Technologies get started and how has it evolved from its founding?
Well, it all started in 2010—a couple years after I completed my master’s and returned to India. Zigbee was making progress and adoption globally for its lighting controls, and I became more and more fascinated with residential technologies. My childhood friend, Sukumar, and his dad, Mr. Surender Ranga, owned a large electrical and building automation company at the time. Under his mentorship and able guidance, we both started working on developing our in-house Zigbee-based lighting control solution with a mobile app. That was when we started Awicon Technologies!
We designed and installed wireless lighting controls for a lot of residential projects for the next few years and gained expertise on lighting control technologies. The more projects we did, the more we realized that residential technology is not just limited to lighting control. So, as part of our evolution as a business organization and to represent the term “integrator" in its truest sense, we also started offering AV, home theater, and network and security solutions for residential projects.
God has been kind since our company’s inception. Our business has grown every year, and we’ve delivered some beautiful technologically enabled homes. We now have projects spanning multiple cities across the country. Over the last two years, we’ve achieved a major milestone of becoming both a finalist and winner in the Integrated Home category at the prestigious CEDIA Awards.
Have you always covered such a wide range of solutions (luxury residential, corporate, health care, education, hospitality)? How does your process and approach differ with each?
Not really! We always felt that if we understood the basics of audio, video, and control, we could work on different applications of it in the above verticals. It’s like singing the same song but in a different tune.
Our residential customers have realized that, apart from delivering these projects with the utmost professionalism, we also treat these projects as if they were our own homes. So, as a good will gesture, we were given opportunities to work on their other ventures like pubs and lounges, schools, hospitals etc. One thing led to another which led to more opportunities.
From your experience, how does the Indian market differ from other parts of the world?
India is not just diverse in culture, but it is also far more diverse in technology. We’ve always embraced different technologies and different brands.
Having said that, the Indian population is becoming more tech-savvy every year. Recent surveys report that India’s 1.3 billion people make it the second most populous country in the world, but with an average age of 29, we also have one of the youngest populations globally. Information technology is also one of the largest industries in the country.
Our clients’ understanding of different residential systems has been increasing by the day, and we are being offered more opportunities to integrate technology into homes.
How long have you been a member of CEDIA? What compelled you to join?
I have been associated with CEDIA for nearly five years. My first contact with CEDIA was through a good friend and long-time CEDIA Member, Zohir Ramodiya, who introduced me to Matt Nimmons for an upcoming Advance Home Cinema Design Workshop in India.
Education and training were my primary reasons for enrolling in a CEDIA membership but since then, I have leveraged various programs such as CEDIA Certification, the CEDIA Outreach Instructor (COI) program, and the CEDIA Awards. I also recently offered to be a volunteer for CAP and have been involved in India’s COI Working Group.
Since joining, I have since learned structure, documentation, how to build tools to succeed, and most importantly to give back.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out in this industry?
Invest in education and learn from your peers about what works and what doesn’t. Our industry is exciting and fast-changing and it’s a great place for both new and seasoned professionals to be. But above all, it’s about understanding your clients. Learn about the products and technologies that are available and how they can address your clients’ needs.