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KENT RO is a well-known brand in Indian households. The company single-handedly converted an unorganized market into a whopping 3500 crore industry. It was the late 90s when KENT started its voyage and there was no such industry existed in India by the name of WATER PURIFIERS. A handful of brands were trying their fate in this sector by selling very conventional purifiers through door-to-door marketing. Dr.Mahesh Gupta is the Founder & Chairman of Kent Ro Systems Ltd. He was in conversation with Team IT-Voice where he shared the insights related to the organization and the domain. Here is the detailed interaction:
Prateek: There is a very inspiring story behind the brand Kent. Please tell us about it.
Dr.Mahesh Gupta: In the 1990s, I was on a vacation with my family when both my kids suddenly fell ill. The children drank some contaminated water and were diagnosed with jaundice.
The kids recovered but I could not forget the incident. Then I started doing research on water purification and found that the commonly-used Ultra Violet (UV) system purifiers were not good enough to remove dissolved impurities from water. The UV system is a water purification method that uses UV rays to disinfect the bacteria in the water. However, the system is not enough to render water completely safe for drinking.
At that time, I was running my oil conservation products company SS Engineering. Before that, I worked with Indian Oil as an engineer. Despite all my expertise in oil engineering, I began doing a lot of research and experiments on water purification.
The process of Reverse Osmosis (RO) caught my attention. RO is a process of water purification that uses a partially permeable membrane to remove ions, unwanted molecules, and large particles from water. It can remove different types of dissolved and suspended chemical and biological contaminants from water.
In those days, no one in India was using RO to make water safe for people to drink. I decided to test it out and imported a membrane and a pump from the US. At home, I built his first RO water purifier. I decided to make more water purifiers using RO technology.
“In 1998, I put in a seed capital of about Rs 5 lakh to procure equipment for these RO systems. In a small room in my house, I started building water purifiers with a four-pronged controller that used RO, UV, UF (Ultra Filter), and TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) processes. We patented the technology, and in 1999, launched the brand Kent ROin Noida to sell the first commercially available RO purifiers.
Prateek: Could you please share the vision and mission behind Kent RO?
Dr.Mahesh Gupta: To be a socially responsible brand making a difference in people’s lives by affecting all-pervasive areas of their existence- water, food, and air. Our fundamental vision is defined by producing innovative healthcare products that purify the water we drink, the food we eat, and the air we breathe and thus help people live healthier.
To be a master class in inventive brilliance. We strive to bring to fruition for our customers, the freedom from water-related problems and peace of mind for good health through our wide range of healthcare products that deliver impeccable standards of quality and service.
Prateek: From the year 1999, much has changed in the Indian market. What makes Kent RO people’s favorite brand?
Dr.Mahesh Gupta: Well, the story is different actually. It was the late 90s when KENT started its voyage and there was no such industry existing in India by the name of WATER PURIFIERS. Handful brands were trying their fate in this sector by selling very conventional purifiers through door-to-door marketing. Who would have thought that in a couple of years, the Indian water purifier industry will become one of the most lucrative sectors for national and international consumer durable brands to peep in and have a pie of over 3500 crore industry?
As of today, people in the country have easy access to RO water purifiers equipped with multiple purification techniques. KENT basically designed an RO water purifier with a combination of 3 technologies to make it suitable for treating every type of water irrespective of source.
Currently, Kent is positioned as India’s leading water Purifier Company. Also, over the years the company has evolved and transformed. The transformation has been in terms of technology and new product range which is in sync with the brands’ philosophy; The Company is working from day one on a mission to Drink Pure, Eat Pure, and Breathe Pure. Hence, each and every product of Kent RO is designed and sold to fulfill these 3 objectives. At present, the products in the Kent RO Family are Air Purifiers, Cold Press juicers, Vacuum / Bed Cleaners, and Vegetable purifiers.
The company has also forayed into the smart kitchen appliance segment with a whole new innovative range of products. This includes Noodle & Pasta Makers, Dosa Maker, Pizza & Omellette Maker, Turbo Blenders, Rice Cookers, Atta & Bread Maker, and many more.
Another revolutionary product by Kent is a low-cost water purifier Kent Gold AS which is capable of removing arsenic from water. Arsenic is the most harmful poison dissolved in the water and a route cause of cancer. So far only RO purifiers were able to remove dissolved arsenic from water, but Kent Gold AS, which costs just Rs 3500 is capable of removing this dissolved poison from drinking water.
The company last year also ventured into the artificial intelligence segment.
Our biggest USP has been our rapid product development cycle from idea to go-to-Market and the in-house development of software platforms, which is a core of our solution. Tight control on this aspect has resulted in delivering a superior customer experience and driving the solution adoption faster.
Prateek: Please throw some light on Kent Cam Attendance? What technology does it use?
Dr.Mahesh Gupta: Well in today’s fast-paced life and looking at the consumer needs, we stepped into the artificial intelligence segment. We felt the time was right and that we as a company felt the need to step up to ensure safety at all levels. The company had first launched KENTCamEye, a next-gen car camera for ensuring the security of your loved ones and your car last year. And recently in wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, we launched a Next-Gen Touchless Attendance Management System based on face recognition.
Also, in terms of evolution, we look at the growth that is holistic, and not in isolation leaving behind our environment and society. We may cause more harm than a short-term solution. If we want to build a brand and make a footprint, we need to offer an all-inclusive solution! And this is the underlying principle that the brand has been working on.
It is a leading next-gen touchless face attendance management solution and is a flexible offering, coming in multiple formats – devices with a cloud app, mobile app, devices in standalone mode, and terminal app with cloud app. Fast and powerful Android-based attendance capturing devices for use in offices and factories. Available in 8” and 5” variants to deliver next-gen employee experience aligned with the changing organizational needs. Fast, intelligent, and foolproof, these devices eliminate the need for RFID cards and fingerprint solutions.
Prateek: What will be the company’s strategies to penetrate deeper in India and the global market?
Dr.Mahesh Gupta: We plan to revolutionize the Indian market by launching some more IoT products, which will be centered around solving consumer’s pain points and making life simpler and safer for them. Our products are based on deep consumer insights and go through rapid development from ideation to launch. We will be entering into many newer segments, where we can leverage our brand’s equity and deliver an attractive consumer value proposition.
Prateek: Ken Air Purifier is making a buzz in the markets with its unique UV Disinfection technology. Please tell us more about the product and what according to you is the scope of the product in the Indian market?
Dr.Mahesh Gupta: Water purifiers have become a very serious need for the people. It is literally difficult for one to survive without water purifiers in such a polluted world of today. Water purifiers help in maintaining a healthy life by protecting people from several water-borne diseases.
UV has the ability to control all sorts of bacteria. It is considered to be one of the effective technologies used for water treatment.
With COVID-19 infections on the rise in India, especially second-wave UV disinfection is gaining more ground. We have various products in this category like Kent ozone air disinfectant, Kent ultra-water purifier, KENT Ozone Disinfection Box, Kent grand plus, KENT ALPS – PLUS Air Purifiers, etc. The market is flooded with several new products that guarantee to make not only surfaces but the entire atmosphere virus-free. Today, health security has become a priority for everyone. There is an increased need for a product that would sanitize anything that has been brought home from external environments.
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