Sanjay Mahajan, Managing Director, Sankar Technologies, shares his views on vehicle telematics in India and the factors which could help its growth.
India is a growing and very interesting market in all aspects for business avenues. Vehicle tracking undoubtedly has a huge potential. I foresee this market in India alone would be worth several billion dollars in next 4-5 years. But today, it is a highly disorganized market with companies with varying shapes and sizes are offering various kinds of solutions and at different prices.
Also many of customers in India are ready to compromise quality over price. I do not know, how you all read this, but I found, we do not treat these engines of our economy (our vehicles) with the same sense of respect as we should be. Majority of our vehicles are poorly maintained and we want to exploit and use them beyond their capacity. Have you ever seen a bullock cart overly loaded, way beyond the capacity of the poor animal, but still the owner continues to hit him to improve performance and speed. It might work for a time or two, but ultimately the poor animal gives up with his/her life. We try to do the same to our commercial vehicles, whether they are heavy duty trucks, buses light duty trucks, or for that matter the vehicles used to carry school children. Everyone wants to maximize the usage of their vehicle but without realizing the long term consequences. We need a lot of education of vehicle maintenance, and its impact on the overall vehicle, and road safety. What also surprises me, and pains me at the heart is our step motherly treatment towards these vehicles. I always compare these vehicles to our children. Our children are the future of our country and the world of tomorrow. We all try to do everything and anything for our children, by sending them to good schools/ colleges, offering them the best of clothes, food and housing so they could do better in their lives. On the contrary, these vehicles which start earning for the owners from the very day they come into existence. We do not even pay any attention to understand what these vehicles go through, when on the road. Isn’t this senseless?
We need a lot of education in this regards is my point. Merely selling VTS solutions won’t help, we as fellow citizens have to start a campaign to bring awareness among all small, medium and large operators.
“Technology is as good as our overall processes are.”
My goal since 2012 is to introduce a technology in India which would revolutionize the way we look at VTS. We want to launch a product which is unique to the technology available in India so far. Our effort to launch these products in India made us understand more closely how different is our Commercial vehicle market than the rest of the world (especially lot of developed economies and some Developing ones also). It was to my uttermost surprise when after visiting some big dealerships we found that majority of the Commercial trucks in India are still using Mechanical Engines, and are based out of Euro III standards. We also visited some big bus manufacturers and found that although the most newer Heavy Duty, multi axle buses are equipped with Euro IV standards and have Electronic Engines but still they have OBDII based Diagnostics (which is equivalent to the what Light Duty Commercial vehicles come equipped with). I felt even more surprised to know more about buses built by companies like Volvo and Benz have different set of standards for India vs for the rest of the world. In my recent meeting with some Industry leaders, I came to know that in India the norms for Electronics Engines will not be so easy, and would not happen until the end of 2014. Isn’t this a big surprise for a country which is prospering and moving so fast in the economic zone, has to continue using the old technology. If India has to continue its march towards economic leadership, it has to change these norms, and enforce them especially in the Commercial Vehicle domain. We need to move our vehicles to some common standards and ensure all vehicles are equipped with technology which would help reduce road accidents, and bring in a sense of safety and security.
It’s a long and tiring journey, we have to hop on with our seat belt on and continue to make progress until we win this battle and make our roads safe, our children safe and our future bright.
Sanjay Mahajan: He is the Managing Director of Sankar Technologies. He holds an MBA from Delhi University. He is also BI/DW/EPM and After Market (CSE) IT Leader at Cummins Inc.
He can be reached at: sanjay.mahajan [at] sankartechnologies.com