It has been more than six months since the Covid-19 pandemic-induced lockdown and forced us to change the way we work, play, or connect with friends. Professionals had to evolve in the way they approached work and the situation made them tech-savvy. Most people would not have not even heard of something like Zoom before the need to connect digitally became a necessity for professionals working from home. For professionals who had to do a lot of client meetings, conferences to attend or had to supervise a big team of professionals, it was a huge shift. This led to an increase in demand for products needed to accommodate these video conferencing calls/meetings. There have been several products that have been marketed as best-suited for work from home professionals. Since the way we work has changed drastically, Vu, known for its TVs, has entered a new segment with ‘Meeting by Vu’.
The Chairman and the CEO of Vu Group, Devita Saraf had a detailed interaction with indianexpress.com where she spoke about how this new product lineup came into existence, who is it for, and why it has an edge over others in the market ahead of launch. Saraf started by talking about why Vu entered a new segment.
“We always wanted to expand our offerings considering the television business has grown exponentially over the years. However, people always look at expansion in terms of what the market and distribution want. At Vu, all the innovation we do is extremely consumer-centric and something that sets a trend. Our vision at the Vu group is to focus on the products which are innovative and premium. We spend a lot of time researching and understanding what our customers are looking for in terms of innovation. Therefore, we consistently innovate catering to the millennial consumer lifestyle,” Saraf said.
With ‘Meeting by Vu’, the target audience will be enterprise clients rather than regular working professionals and the lockdown did play a major role in highlighting what a professional wants from his/her ‘All-in-one’ solution.
“We have Cisco and Polycom who are leading the video conferencing space which is a 150 million dollar market in India. While capturing the major chunk of the space over the years, their target audience is select enterprise clients. They bring quality and innovation but due to single licensing there is limitation one has at both the endpoints with these products. One cannot have a video conference if both the ends do not have the same product. Then there are other video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Microsoft, Google Meet and other video conferencing software which have become popular and go-to video conferencing solution among the users due to the nationwide lockdown,” she said
Saraf also shed some light on why the product will stand out of the lot as it has a lot more to offer than other video-conferencing solutions in the market.
“With Meeting by Vu, we aimed to bring a solution that would fit in between the two options. Our product ‘Meeting by Vu’ offers excellent audio, video, picture quality and the processing of Cisco and Polycom while having the flexibility of whatever software one wants to use. It works on Zoom, Skype, Google, whatever one likes. About the competition, yes it surely exists but if you are looking at more market creation rather than just market share then you are creating a new space for you to enter,” she explained.
As mentioned before, ‘Meeting by Vu’ won’t be for everyone as it already has a specifically defined target audience. Devita also revealed the starting price. She feels people will refrain from getting back the usual even after things get back to normal and that’s why the demand for the product will rise over a period of time.
“The products start at Rs 1.5 lakh and we are pretty much-targeting consumers who are professionals. It will be a great product for doctors, lawyers, business owners, freelancers, entrepreneurs, corporate employees, and media. We are not pitching it directly to the end consumers but to someone who has probably bought our large size TVs and has found a difference in their lifestyle using Vu TVs and now saying that look, my workstyle has also changed and I am working from home or a different location. I want to connect with people digitally rather than travel. I don’t want to do it for long hours and just take one zoom call. The beauty of this product is actually that one cannot get tired of using it as you are sitting at a good distance, away from the screen and you can use it consistently sitting in front of it. Both lifestyle and workstyle of people have seen paradigm shift during the lockdown and we expect post lockdown, it is going to be a hybrid of what we have now and had before the lockdown. People do not want to go back to the same life. They won’t just hop on the flights for meetings anymore. They will want to find more efficient ways of communicating. See, that’s why the demand for this product is going to mature with time. Not only now but going forward also. There was acceleration because suddenly people had to adapt to video conferencing and video calls,”
Saraf also listed out the benefits of the ‘Meeting by Vu’ and how the cameras and speakers will provide more control to the user rather than just sitting in front of a laptop screen/webcam and talking to people. One aspect that may intrigue many customers is that it will also work on Windows that giving the user a wide variety of video-conferencing apps to choose from. Also, users will be able to connect with people on the other end who are attending the meeting on a phone or a laptop.
“Talking about the benefits, you can just sit back, relax in the room for your work calls. We have added a very high-end camera and speaker with an intelligent display. So, even if you are sitting at six to eight feet of distance from the TV you can be heard, be seen, you look your best. You don’t have to strain yourselves looking into a laptop and speak loudly. These are very sensitive and strong cameras, mics to pick up audio and video. It is a much more relaxing experience for the user. Second thing is that there are two types of camera angles. We have two types of cameras which are sharp cameras and wide cameras. You also have an ultra-sharp which is a 15x. You can have multiple people sitting. You can put it in your meeting room for a huddle, or a conference. I think one of the biggest differentiators would be that nobody in the market has it all, not only in India but across the world,” she said.
Saraf believes that this product will start a trend in the market. On being asked on how they will proceed with the second generation of the products, she said, “One of the things that happen is whenever we make products at Vu, we are always the first ones to launch it and bring innovation and set a trend in the market. This leaves the product a little open-ended for interpretation. What happens is that the first generation of buyers like young professionals, entrepreneurs, doctors etc. buy it and they sort of customise it for their use. Just within a few weeks of selling this product, we found that the lawyers need a system like this today to run their business. We even have trainers who like this product because of the wide-angle. Also, people who want to install it for education. I think a more vertical approach will happen in the second or third generation where we will be able to add a lot more features and solve technical issues for a particular industry or an occupation.”
Many TV companies are making PlayStation 5-ready TVs for the next-gen console owners but Vu is currently not looking to confuse the buyers with a target audience too diverse with ‘Meeting by Vu’. However, she confirmed there are a few products in the pipeline which will be gaming-centric.
“Gaming is a huge segment. It has been growing rapidly and we have been toying with the idea of bringing in gaming monitors. We have a lot of gamers who already use/buy Vu TVs because of the quality it offers. But, Meeting by Vu is more of a work product so we don’t plan to merge this with any kind of gaming experience. With that said, if a gamer buys the product and customizes it as per his usage, it’s not an issue. However, we are not pitching it as a gaming product yet,” she clarified.
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