Zen Technologies is the biggest player in the field of simulators for armed forces in India. They have already provided a large variety of simulators to the services, thereby reducing expenditure on cost of training and also extending the life of the main equipment in the bargain.
Brig S K Chatterji (Retd) of BharatShakti.in interviewed Mr Ashok Atluri, CMD of Zen Technologies post the Def Expo 2018 in Chennai.
Brig. S K Chatterji (Retd) (SKC): Thank you for speaking to BharatShakti.in, Mr. Atluri. Firstly, if you can give us a short overview of your company… How has the run been so far?
Ashok Atluri (AA): We call ourselves an Integrated Solutions Company and our flagship product is the Combat Training Center that prepares Armies to handle both external and internal threats, whether it is war or internal terrorism threats. Our focus is on training solutions. The Indian Government has been very encouraging and we have recently received a very large order and we expect much more business with the current focus on Make in India products.
SKC: Can you tell us a little bit about your DefExpo 2018 experience?
AA: Well, initially we had felt that the notice given to us was very short, but now we’re feeling really gratified with the response, especially with the military officers who visited our stall. We felt that the facilities given in such a short time were very good and we were very happy with the efficient set up as well. We expect to get a lot of orders from the visitors that we had, both international and domestic.
SKC: Right. I’m glad you found DefExpo 2018 very much up to your expectations. The information that I have, is that you’re doing extremely well in the export market. Would you like to elaborate a bit on the same?
AA: Yes. Even in the last expo, we had a good number of visitors from foreign delegations coming to us and we do think that we will get a good number of foreign export orders from the present exhibition also. There is a lot of scope for export.
Q: Which was your most premium product that you have on display here at the Def Expo?
AA: Our flagship solution is called the Combat Training Center. It’s a mixture of all our products, which tries to solve the problem the forces have; rather than one product in specific.
SKC: How do you see the market for yourself? Export you say is fine. You’ve made a major dent in the Indian Army’s requirement. How do you see things going further?
AA: We think there is a general feeling within the Army that they are not doing enough training by using modern training methodologies. So this realisation is good news for Zen Technologies because we are at the cutting edge of new training methodologies. We think, not only simulators but more advanced training systems will also be acquired by the Government and we will benefit from that change in attitude.
SKC: I have a question regarding when should you really start making a simulator for a particular equipment? I think the best time to start doing it is very much in the design stage of the equipment, so that training using simulation can start as soon as the equipment is actually fielded. Your thoughts?
AA: It is challenging because out of the 10 products that are designed, only one makes it to the market. Unless it is marketed successfully somewhere, or the Army has committed to buy it in large numbers, making a simulator for it doesn’t make sense. So it is better to make a product after it is successfully marketed and then sell it to the customer who has bought it, rather than making a commercial product in the designing stage, as it may or may not actually succeed in the market. So we are a little cautious about that.
SKC: But is there an alternative that you think might work? That you start your simulators being built, let’s say at the stage at which the contract is awarded?
AA: Yes. If the Army or Air Force or Navy has committed to buy some equipment, it makes perfect sense to start designing the simulators beforehand; in fact the simulators should reach before the actual equipment reaches. For example, if it’s a ship, it is better that the personnel get trained on the simulators so that when the ship comes, they can hit the water running, so to say. They don’t waste time on training after the ship comes.
SKC: Thank you so much, Mr. Atluri.
AA: Thank you.