K R Naik
Over the last 27 years, Goa-based SMARTLINK Holdings Ltd Company has established itself as a leader in the field of IT networking products manufacturing. Under the aegis of Kamlaksha Rama Naik, better known as K R Naik, who has played a key role in creating the IT networking market and the surrounding channel ecosystem in India, the company is well-known for playing a pivotal role in introducing the global IT brands, started with Distribution of CISCO Products and venturing with D-Link, Sapphire (UK), Foundry, Lanner, Mercury Link, and Gigabyte in India. Naik over the last five decades has pioneered several new businesses and distribution models in the country. When IT was a nascent industry as early as 40 years ago, he conceived the concept of IT distribution channel. CIO Insider is delighted to engage in an exclusive chat session with this legendary personality in IT history of the country.
In conversation with K R Naik, Executive Chairman, SMARTLINK Holdings Ltd
SMARTLINK boasts a legacy of close to 30 years. Where the company is positioned in the current IT networking industry map of India? How do you leverage the experience to set trends in the industry?
In our journey over the past three decades, we have been able to play a crucial role in many of the globally leading Networking and IT solutions providers, started with distribution of CISCO products, introducing and establishing D-Link Brand and building sales & service bases in India, thanks to our robust manufacturing infrastructure in Goa. D-Link parted and stooped manufacturing in 2009, however, we continued manufacturing by introducing local Brands in Motherboards, Tablets, and Networking products line with products like Routers, Switches, Wi-Fi solutions, and SCS products in copper and fiber on our own local Brand DIGISOL.
Lately, SMARTLINK has become a Holding Company with assets & cash
and by splitting all our operations into three independent companies – SYNEGRA EMS Ltd, TELESMART SCS Ltd, & DIGISOL SYSTEMS Ltd, and giving the scope of expansion individually. SYNEGRA manufactures all kinds of IT products right from Mother Boards, Networking Products and capable of manufacturing even Mobile Phones, while TELESMART SCS manufactures comprehensive patented high quality Passive Products in Copper and complete range of Fiber Products. On the other hand, SMARTLINK introduced DIGISOL as a Networking Products Brand in India more than 10 years ago and is well known for its Networking Products line. DIGISOL has its own sales, service, & support infrastructure spread across the country.
You have been a part of the Indian IT Industry since the time of MainFrame Computers, more than five decades ago. In addition to your experience, what are the other factors that have helped SMARTLINK establish such an intact reputation in the industry?
Having started my career in IBM’s manufacturing plant in Mumbai, I have been passionate about manufacturing products instead of just trading. After closure of IBM Plant in Mumbai, I started my journey by manufacturing 8086 Mother Boards and Personal Computers four decades ago in the city of Mumbai. We then shifted to Goa forming a Joint Venture with D-Link Taiwan for expansion and established our foothold in Networking Products line over the last three decades. Today, we have PAN India presence across 27+ cities and our 63+ service support centers, which helps us stand out in the industry. Having manufactured & introduced the products of several brands, which are independent today, we always have the reputation as an initiator in the market. The market trusts products introduced by SMARTLINK.
Tell us about your products. What is the kind of thought process and innovations that power your flagship offerings? How do those products make life easier for your customers?
With three decades of networking expertise and having our own manufacturing set-up, we have better exposure to technology and have built relationships with many foreign product development companies. These aspects have resulted in us manufacturing cutting-edge products in areas like fiber-to-home connectivity (like GEPON Routers, ONU 300 Mbps, XPON ONU Router etc.). We offer networking solutions that cater to various industries like Hospitality, Education, Government, Banking, Data Centers, Healthcare, Smart cities, and small & medium businesses. Our technology expertise also includes
developing FTTH, structured cabling, switching, and wireless solutions.
Share with us a success story about one of your latest projects, including the challenges, your solutions, and the outcome.
Lately, DIGISOL developed a solution for a healthcare organization based out of Navi Mumbai. Being spread over four acres of land, the project comprised 400 beds and state-of-the-art amenities. The challenge was, however, to develop a highly efficient cabling network infrastructure, connecting all the IP based systems and medical devices to the data center. They were in for a cost effective solution that offers fast and secured connectivity.
We designed the hospital’s infrastructure by keeping patients’ journey in mind. It took a really meticulous approach. For instance, DIGISOL’s team designed an IT networking plan that connects IP based devices from each floor with the data center. In each room, CAT 6A cable was connected to IP Phone and IP phones cable was connected to the workstation. Further, each floor was divided into two parts – A and B with each part having a hub room.
The client’s management team expressed intense satisfaction with their newly implemented structured cabling solution. The cost effective solution, which offered real-time monitoring capabilities, today allows the hospital’s IT team to easily manage its functions.
Where is the company headed in the years to come? What’s SMARTLINK’s future roadmap?
Going forward, the three independent companies under SMARTLINK have separate agendas with regards to their growth. SYNEGRA will be catering to large ODMs or EMS Products Companies manufacturing products locally by sourcing components to make use of its excellent setup. Factory is near to Seaport and Airport having well qualified trained people, being industrial place easy to get trained people. TELESMART SCS having expertise in Copper and Fiber products manufacturing with all kinds of machinery and testing machines is constantly looking for more business from worldwide brands and the export market. DIGISOL Brand is well known last 10 years in India as local Brand of high quality products, going forward not keen to source products from many vendors, instead looking for ODM Products Company or some Brand Products Company as partner, but the products will be manufactured in SYNEGRA EMS and TELESMART SCS.