iRobot eyes 'clean sweep' in Indian market

iRobot eyes 'clean sweep' in Indian market

US-headquartered home floor-cleaning solutions major iRobot has expressed plans to extend its India footprint, eyeing more markets where it could retail its robotic gizmos.

The company, which was founded in 1990 by a team of roboticists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), entered the Indian market at the end of 2015, when it opened its first store in Bengaluru. In India, the company enjoys an exclusive distribution partnership with Puresight Systems, a provider of home robotic appliances.

Talking to DH about iRobot’s strategy for India, Puresight Systems Director Asaf Merary said, “As a global company with $1.5 billion in value, which grew 50% last year, we see a huge global market for robotic cleaning appliances. India is next in line of our vision. We are experiencing double-digit growth in the country each quarter, and hence, seek to expand here.”

As part of its expansion plans, iRobot’s primary focus is on setting up concept stores along with service centres, while it is open to large, (premium) retail formats too. Currently, iRobot operates two concept stores in Bengaluru, and wishes to open two more in any (yet-to-be-decided) metros this year, for which it is identifying eligible partners and sub-distributors, while several negotiations are underway as well.

The idea is also to make people aware of the reliability of robots in cleaning homes, which is nothing short of sci-fi.

According to Merary, iRobot’s solutions ensure hygiene in limited time. “Our robots are preset with algorithms that understand the scale of a home, and ratio of cleanliness. Our diverse range comprises robots embedded with intelligence for dirt-detection and real-time cleaning, ensuring the highest cleanliness possible. A home cleaning robot is not meant to replace a domestic worker’s services, but assist and ease out his/her daily work,” he said.

In India, iRobot’s range consists of the Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner (priced from Rs 27,000), and the Braava moping robot (priced from Rs 25,000). Soon it will be launching the new Braava Jet line. Its products, designed in Boston, are imported from a facility in China. In 2015, iRobot generated $617 million in revenues, employing more than 500 engineers.

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