IoT, AR to drive growth in the Indian market: TeamViewer’s Oliver Steil

IoT, AR to drive growth in the Indian market: TeamViewer’s Oliver Steil
Oliver Steil, CEO, TeamViewer
10 Dec, 2018

TeamViewer, the German online remote support and collaboration solutions provider, is setting up a local centre in Mumbai. The operations here are aimed at extending support to its customers and expanding its business in the country. The company uses cloud-based technologies to enable enterprises to remotely control devices and operating systems.  Founded in 2005, the company employs more than 700 people in offices across Germany, the United States, Armenia, Australia, Japan, India and China.

In an interview with TechCircle, TeamViewer CEO Oliver Steil, who took charge in January this year, spoke about how setting up a local office is part of the company's new strategy under his leadership and the company’s focus on more use-cases in Internet of things (IoT) and augmented reality (AR) to expand business in the subcontinent. Edited excerpts:

Why have you decided to set up an office in India now? 

India is one of the most important markets for us. Out of the 1.6 billion installations we have worldwide, the subcontinent accounts for 100 million along with 7,000 paid subscribers. The base of installations is rapidly increasing. Earlier, India was being serviced from Adelaide in Australia but in line with our new strategy, we decided to open a new office here to feed our growth ambitions with a strong focus on being closer to our existing customers and better understand the market, client, and partner needs. We currently get a billing of 1.5 million euros from India but we expect to double this every year.

Who will lead operations here and what will be the scale of the operations?

Krunal Patel, who will join as head of sales in India, will lead Teamviewer's India operations. Patel has over 14 years of sales and business management experience. He has held key positions in several companies in the technology and enterprise software industry such as SAP, Gartner, itelligence and Esri. Having someone with a vast understanding and experience in the Indian technology landscape underscores our ambitious plans for the market. He will be supported by 12 other candidates out of which we have already hired nine people and the rest will be hired soon. However, Patel will act more as an entrepreneur trying to set up new relationships in order to expand business and will have the support of the leadership team.

TeamViewer has been known for remote access, file sharing and connectivity across devices or operating systems. Isn't that a bit outdated? How do you see yourself expanding business in the country when it is at the cusp of a digital transformation?

While TeamViewer has been known for proprietary computer software for remote control, desktop sharing, online meetings, web conferencing and file transfer between computers, we have been slowly expanding our horizon. Due to our experience in handling endpoints, we already offer solutions targeted towards IoT, artificial intelligence (AI) and AR. As part of our IoT solutions, we provide services such as data collection, data management, data analysis and connectivity via internet gateways. 

We also offer real time remote control or management which has low latency and can be used to manage a mesh of IoT devices. Customers can check for malware, look at who is accessing the endpoint and also switch off or switch on an endpoint. 

We also have an augmented reality piece through which we can help in factory or plant management. Imagine if there is a repair needed at a remote location and there isn’t a good enough mechanic available who can fix it. A regular mechanic can go to the plant and point his device at the machinery which comes to life with the help of an expert sitting elsewhere. Now this expert can teach and guide in the repair process. There could be other use-cases too such as predictive maintenance.

That sounds like you are a part of the larger solutions that enterprises are looking to adopt. Companies such as SAP, Microsoft and Bosch are already offering such solutions. Are you partnering with other companies to get more customers?

Indeed, we are partnering with other companies in order to offer our IoT and AR solutions. We are already partners with Salesforce, ZenDesk, Microsoft and ServiceNow. We also have OEM partners in the form of LG, Samsung, Philips, Huawei and Lenovo who use us as the connectivity software of choice.

However, having said that many people take our software and build around it. Our solutions have been used in fish farms, windmills, PoS machine networks, kiosks and ATMs. Globally, we have over 70,000 paying customers that include the likes of Siemens, Bosch, Philips, hospital chains, system integrations, colleges and education institutions. In India, we work with the leading system integrator (TCS).

There are quite a few Indian startups and companies that have developed piece-meal or complete IoT-driven solutions. Do you think they will pose a threat or would you want to work with them?

I don't think they pose a threat to us. In our headquarters in Germany, we are already working (as well as investing in) with several startups and helping them come up with better solutions. India in that sense is a new market for us and if the opportunity presents itself, I think we would like to work with Indian startups as well in order to bring forth better solutions suited better to the Indian market.