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Published on: Dec. 12, 2022, 9:47 a.m.
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  • Aditya Khemka: enjoying the first mover advantage; Photos: Sajal Bose

By Sajal Bose. Deputy Editor, Business India

Entrepreneur Aditya Khemka’s sharp business acumen and yen for innovative technology have led to Aditya Infotech Limited’s (AIL) brand CP Plus becoming a national leader in digital security surveillance. Today, it provides a wide range of products and customised solutions that have been precisely designed for varied applications and vertical segments – from smart cities to kirana stores.

Security and surveillance were hardly a concern a few decades ago in India. It took quite some time even for banks to install video cameras at their cash transaction counters for safety. But the rules of the game have changed. It is now necessary and plays a critical role in our lives. The security surveillance equipment market has grown tremendously owing to a rising concern about public safety due, in part, to the growing population. It is deployed on roads, airports, railways, smart cities, residential, shopping malls, police stations, etc. The guesstimated Rs8,000 crore domestic market size of the segment is expected to grow 18-20 per cent in the next 3 years.

Noida-based AIL always adapted to the changing market scenario and invested in expansion and value additions. Its intensive research in innovative products and services has begun to pay dividends. The Rs1,600 crore company now controls close to 45 per cent of the domestic security and surveillance equipment market with two brands (CP Plus and Dahua) and employes 700 people. Hickvision, a Chinese subsidiary, is the second largest player with 30 per cent of the market.

The rest are from medium and small players like Bosch, Uniview, Panasonic, Xiaomi and Godrej. Dahua Technology’s products are also distributed by AIL – it specialises in advanced video surveillance solutions. AIL has a long-standing relationship of 13 years with this Chinese company and is its exclusive distributor in India. This helps it dominate the market. 

“With a first mover advantage, we have developed the market for the segment in the country,” claims Aditya, the 48-year-old managing director. He thinks population and the prosperity are the two metrics for market growth. The company is now ready to start its second manufacturing unit.

Aditya was born into a traditional Marwari business family. His father, Hari Khemka, jointly owned several family businesses like textile, paper, steel, IT and sound technology. After completing his BCom (Hons) from Sri Ram College in Delhi, followed by an MBA in Marketing from FORE School of Management, Aditya joined the family business at a very young age. In the mid-90s when the computer market began to grow, the family, spearheaded by his father Hari Khemka, tied up with Korea’s LG Group for the distribution of their colour monitors.

From one brand (LG) the company became the national distributor for almost 40 small and big brands in computer peripherals. “From 1994 to 2003, I had strengthened the distribution network across the country,” Aditya recalls.

Not a smooth journey 

But the journey was not always very smooth for the Khemkas. In 2000-2001, the recession affected distribution margins. During this time, Aditya closely studied the potential of the CCTV market. He also visited several exhibitions across the world. Finally in 2007, he took the plunge into the segment, anticipating a huge growth prospective. Initially he started with CCTV camera distribution, then realised it was important to have his own brand. CP Plus was born in 2008.

  • Trikha: our unit is among the best in the industry

Post the family split in 2014, the Khemkas fully concentrated on the surveillance business. CP Plus was the first company in the industry which awakened consumer awareness and hired a brand ambassador to promote its brand. In 2016, the company also invested in a manufacturing unit at Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh for surveillance equipment.

This gave the brand a cost advantage and it has grown steadily thereafter. “Aditya is always passionate about technology. His relentless effort has taken the brand to a different level,” Hari Khemka says proudly about his son. AIL is the flagship company of the Aditya group. It also has an education and media entertainment business which is managed by Khemka’s younger son, Rishi.

The company’s unit in Tirupati is the most advanced and among the best in the segment. The unit was set up through a joint venture between Aditya Infotech and Dixon Technology. Delhi based Dixon is India’s largest EMS (Electronics Manufacturing Service), and has the expertise in the domain to manage manufacturing for AIL. The unit is located in the electronic manufacturing cluster spread across 1 lakh sq ft – it is air-conditioned and dust-free, with ESD flooring. Women constitute 70 per cent of the workforce here. The unit produces 10 million units per annum of all kinds of CCTV cameras such as HD Cameras, IP Cameras, WiFi Cameras, DVRs, NVRs and video doorbells, among others.

“Our units have the latest Surface Mount Technology (SMT). Each of these lines can mount 3 lakh components per hour on the bare PCB,” says Jitendra Trikha, senior vice president, procurement & production. Besides SMT, there are 20 HD and 6 IP camera assembly lines, 4 DVR FA lines, age testing facility, auto glue dispensing and 16 packing lines. AIL imports chipset and components from the OEM in China and Taiwan and assembles it in their unit which rolls out the finished product. Aditya hopes that in the next 3-4 years India will start manufacturing chipsets. He says: “The movement has begun with India’s mining conglomerate Vedanta Group announcing the setting up of a chip manufacturing unit in Gujarat.” 

Putting up a modern CCTV assemble unit is capital-intensive. It is difficult for small operators to invest and create the infrastructure needed. These operators mainly survive on accessories and the home surveillance solution market, which has been growing. A few of them also import cheap CCTV units from China. In normal circumstances importing a full CCTV unit attracts 20 per cent duty whereas the duty for the same in a knockdown condition is nil.

“The price gap between branded and non-branded is less than 10 per cent today. So, buyers prefer to spend a little more without compromising on quality and service which are major issues with non-branded products,” says Aditya.

The USA and China are highly penetrated countries as far as video surveillance is concerned. India has only 20 cameras per 1,000 people as against an average of 200 cameras in the developed and many developing countries. “India has higher growth potential. The government mandate of the usage of CCTV in public places could drive the growth further,” says Anup Nair, president strategy & business development.

  • Strong focus on quality with cutting-edge technology

Today, security surveillance is not seen as a luxury but a necessity. Demand is on the rise and to meet this AIL has decided to triple its manufacturing capacity from I0 million to 30 million, in phases. To achieve that, it is now setting up its second manufacturing facility – a greenfield project – in Kadappa district in Andhra with a capex of Rs40 crore. “The funding for the new facility will be done through internal accruals. This will be the most cost-efficient plant,” says the chief financial officer of the company, Yogesh Sharma.

Like the unit in Tirupati, the new, upcoming plant will also be a joint venture with Dixon. The plant is likely to commence operations in the next 2-3 months. “When ready, it will be the world’s largest manufacturing unit in terms of volume outside China,” claims Aditya. The plant could also be a source for many others who do not want to invest in manufacturing. With a self-reliant approach, the company plans to make housing units for CCTV part of its backward integration. It will also explore the possibility of manufacturing lenses for cameras to reduce dependency on import components, adds Nair.

AIL offers a complete suite of efficient, reliable, scalable, and integrated security and surveillance solutions to meet the ever-changing requirements of various industries. It meets the diverse requirements of government projects, defence, hotels, hospitals, real estate, educational institutes, homes, infrastructure, retail chains and corporates, police stations, places of worship and transportation. Some of its products include HD CCTV cameras, home security cameras, speed dome cameras, explosion-proof cameras, anti-corrosion cameras, thermal cameras, body-worn cameras, video door phones, video storage and surveillance software. 

Its in-house R&D proactively caters to dynamic market demands, whether product specification, engineering validation, design validation and testing. Regular software upgradation and bug fixes for ensuring a smooth user experience are part of a continuous process in R&D managed by a qualified team. Each product goes through stringent quality controls before it rolls out from the manufacturing unit. “We spend 4-5 per cent of revenue on R&D,” says Mohd Ilyas Zagar, chief technology officer. “We will continue to introduce revolutionary and futuristic technologies that will take the security industry to the next level of accountability and performance.” 

 From analogue to IP

There has been a sea change in technology in the last few years in the security surveillance space. Once costly, security and surveillance equipment is now affordable, with modern technology. The industry is shifting from analogue to IP (internet protocol) based surveillance cameras. There is also a hybrid system. The evolution of technology with AI and IoT are getting integrated with surveillance products.

“Today India has merely 35 per cent IP based surveillance as against 95 per cent in the US. Chip manufacturers will gradually stop producing analogue chip. So, the upgradation is inevitable and this will benefit the segment,” adds Zagar. The rise in video analytics and data storage is a clear indication that much more is to be expected in the surveillance world.

CP Plus has also developed software such as the Attendance Management System (AMS) and Health Monitoring System (HMS). The company is planning to introduce more highly advanced solutions to the market and launch several next gen economical products. Currently, CP Plus has over 400 SKUs and growing.

  • None

It is important to put in continuous efforts if new and innovative products are to be produced. The company keeps a close track on new technology. The body-worn camera, a unique product introduced by CP Plus, is used extensively by the police force, traffic and customs.

“India is very price sensitive market so entry-level products will always remain as high-sellers,” says Sanjay Gogia, president, marketing. AIL has 6,000-plus dealers including 51 service centres and 24 collection centres across the country. B2B constitutes 85 per cent of the company’s revenue and the rest is from the government. The company has also tied up with large retail chains like Reliance Digital and Croma, besides e-commerce platforms.

One of the largest dealers in Delhi, Spontaneous Communication Private Limited, has been associated with the CP Plus brand for more than three years. Its partner, Sachin Goyal, is very excited about its growth. He says: “CP Plus is a sought-after brand among customers. Its quality, wide product range, after sales service and affordable price point cater to all in the segment.” Goyal also keeps other brands in stock. He says that CP Plus sales have gone up 100 times in the past 3 years.

“The CP Plus brand has done a commendable job in leading the surveillance industry in the country. It has played an instrumental role in both transforming the scale of the market and spreading awareness about the benefits of effective surveillance systems,” says Mukesh Bafna, director, Uniview India, a Chennai based competitor.

A debt-free company, AIL achieved a net profit of Rs88 crore on a turnover of Rs1,633 crore in FY22 – a quantum leap as against the net profit of Rs26 crore on the turnover of Rs1,170 crore in FY21. Sharma claims: “We are a debt-free company and have been growing faster than the industry.” AIL has no plans to offer an IPO at present. But Aditya says the company will go in for private equity funding for business expansion. Aditya, a workaholic, is known for his ability to take quick business decisions. He gives full autonomy to his team.

As the security and surveillance industry is poised for growth, AIL, with its immense brand value and established markets, will continue to retain its leadership position.

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