Setting the agenda: Nataraju Upputuri, Aurora Multimedia India

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Nataraju Upputuri from Aurora Multimedia India talks about the manufacturer’s entry to the Indian market and how AV over IP is changing the landscape of the AV industry.

In June 2017, Aurora Multimedia established presence in India. Nataraju Upputuri, director of Aurora Multimedia India, says: “As Aurora Multimedia made the decision to expand its global presence, we decided to also come to India. We started out in Bangalore and expanded to other regions like Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai. We’re expanding quickly due to the overwhelming response from the market.”

Aurora Multimedia as a manufacturer is focussing on AV over IP technology and solutions. Upputuri feels that this direction is aligned with the current direction of the Indian AV industry, which made the timing of Aurora Multimedia’s entry into the market fortuitous. He says: “India is a very tech savvy country. We have a strong culture of pursuing engineering and technology and people are accepting the fact that AV over IP is the future. From the client side, most local and global companies have been demanding AV over IP solutions. The transition from HDBaseT is big and we are seeing it happen over the last three years.”

The demand for AV over IP is being driven by the intrinsic qualities of the solutions. Upputuri says: “We cannot keep deploying HDBaseT systems for AV. Our solutions must be scalable. End users are looking for complete AV distribution across their campus or facilities. AV over IP prospers in this scenario. It is easy to install and configure and provides security. 1Gb solutions are widely accepted and 10Gb solutions are coming up.”

The challenge for Aurora Multimedia India is competing against solutions that the industry is already familiar with. Upputuri says: “The Indian AV industry is very accustomed to HDBaseT solutions from multiple manufacturers. This barrier needs to be broken and this is our challenge. In smaller rooms, HDBaseT can be very economical. A 10Gb switch for a small room might be a large investment.”

He continues: “While HDBaseT might be an established product it does have its drawbacks in terms of what the technology can do. Video transmission on HDBaseT might happen on UTP but there is no bandwidth left for any other signals be it USB or data. The other limitation is that, until the introduction of the HDBaseT 2.0 chipset, all forms of 4K could not be transmitted. But more importantly, HDBaseT lacks the network capabilities of an IP based architecture.”

Aurora Multimedia had a wide range of HDBaseT products and solutions. Upputuri says: “We have had many HDBaseT products but we are slowly phasing these out and discontinuing them. All of our HDBaseT switchers have been discontinued. But we feel a one-to-one solution of HDBaseT transmitter and receiver pair will exist for longer than the industry anticipates."
"Aurora Multimedia however has shifted its focus from circuit based switches to packet based AV over IP systems.”
Upputuri believes that the switch to AV over IP will benefit the entire AV industry in India. He says: “The possibilities of what we can achieve with AV over IP are enormous. AV over IP allows us to dream of applications which could not have existed in the past, but now are becoming possible. Just recently we were designing an AV system for a museum where even a 128 x 128 switcher would not have been sufficient. But with AV over IP deploying such a system can be done.”

However, before AV over IP solutions can become the norm, manufacturers must work to educate the market. Upputuri says: “Dealers and partners are a key part of the AV fraternity in India. These are the people that need to be taken into confidence. Currently, the dealers do not have extensive knowledge of IT and networking. Aurora Multimedia is committed to educating the market and we have been conducting training sessions across India to help the AV community understand and come to grips with AV over IP.”

Upputuri also has advice for AV professionals looking to deploy AV over IP solutions: “Hire fresh talent with IP and network knowledge. IT certifications from Microsoft and Cisco will begin to gain importance and prominence in the AV industry. People will have to take another look at how they do business and re-align their internal strategies to make use of the opportunities AV over IP will provide.”

He continues: “When talking with clients, I am finding that we are no longer engaging with the facilities team but instead with IT people. We have to make changes to accommodate such trends because this is where the market is going. These changes may not happen overnight, but people are realising this or will start to realise this in the next one or two year.”