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The young scions who are set to transform Videocon

February 20, 2015 12:22 IST

As group technology head, Akshay Dhoot also works closely with his cousins Anirudh and Saurabh, who manage other parts of the Videocon enterprise. 

Image: Sanjeev Bakshi, COO, AC Division, Videocon, and Akshay Dhoot (L), Head of Technology and Innovation, Videocon Group, unveil the new Wi-Fi AC in Mumbai.
 
 

His visiting card carries no designation. But that in no way means he has no role to play at the $5 billion (or Rs 30,000-crore) Videocon Group. 

The 23-year-old Akshay Dhoot, son of Rajkumar Dhoot, younger brother of group chairman Venugopal Dhoot, instead has been quietly at work, steering the conglomerate's technology initiatives over the last 18 months. 

The youngest of the second-generation Dhoot brothers (the others include Venugopal's son Anirudh and the latter's youngest brother Pradipkumar's son Saurabh) is the new technology and innovation head at Videocon, with the mandate of transforming the consumer electronics-to-telecom major, which also has a presence in retail and oil & gas, into a next-gen enterprise manufacturing high-tech products. 

The first of the scion's pet products rolled out on Thursday - an app-powered air conditioner - which Dhoot says is a "wi-fi AC".

"When you think of wi-fi, the internet comes to your mind. Hence, a mobile phone, laptop or PC. We thought why not take an internet-based technology to an air conditioner," he says. 

The product works simply: The user has to download an app on his or her mobile phone and syncronise its settings to his AC on the wall. The phone will then function like a regular remote, helping the user switch on, switch off, modify temperature and allied features of his AC. 

"The biggest advantage is that you do not have to be at home to remote control your AC. You can be located anywhere - in office, in the garden... on the road - and can still remote control it. That's the power of the internet. Hence the term wi-fi AC," he says. 

Image: Bollywood actress Neha-Dhupia with Anirudh-Dhoot at the launch of Digi World show room of Videocon Group .
 
 

Priced between Rs 36,000 to Rs 41,000 for varying tonnage, Dhoot says his endeavour was to ensure the product was not out unaffordable to consumers.

"An average five-star AC comes within this (Rs 36,000-41,000) bracket. So we haven't out-priced ourselves. We are targeting such affordable luxury products across categories such as LED TVs, refrigerators and washing machines in the next few months," he says. 

Videocon hopes to double share to 15 per cent from the current 7-8 per cent in air conditioners by the end of this calendar year riding on products such as the "wi-fi AC", Sanjeev Bakshi, the firm's AC head said.

Image: Saurabh drives corporate development, spearheading verticals such as direct-to-home, oil & gas and telecom.
 
 

"We are looking to make one more big launch in ACs in the next two to three weeks to keep the momentum going," he adds. 

The home-grown Videocon, also the third-largest consumer durables maker in the country after LG and Samsung, is a strong player in mass-market categories such as CRT and flat panel TVs, single-door refrigerators and semi-automatic washing machines, deriving bulk of its revenues from these segments.

It has in the last few years attempted to trade up with its products, with Akshay now driving product development alongwith technologists located in India and places such as Korea and China. 

As group technology head, Akshay also works closely with his cousins Anirudh and Saurabh, who manage other parts of the Videocon enterprise.

The 36-year-old Anirudh is responsible for sales & marketing at the consumer electronics division of the group.

While 30-year-old Saurabh drives corporate development, spearheading verticals such as direct-to-home, oil & gas and telecom.

Viveat Susan Pinto in Mumbai
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