Leica Geosystem is a group of companies whose primary business is providing total solutions in the field of measurement of spatial data in global surveying, mapping and positioning.
President & CEO, Leica Geosystems
- Please tell us something about your company: your business focus, your market share and strategy for growth.
Leica Geosystem is a group of companies whose primary business is providing total solutions in the field of measurement of spatial data in global surveying, mapping and positioning. Its success is a direct result of innovative solutions and a widespread and reliable support and service network.
Leica Geosystem has an annual turnover of CHF 460 million, employs 2,250 people and sells through a global network of 19 distribution and servicing organizations. It has three factories in Switzerland and one in Singapore; its Research and Development facilities are concentrated in Switzerland and California. The company’s international management is based in Heerbrugg, Switzerland.
Today Leica Geosystems enjoys an overall 20% world-wide share in the surveying market. In some niche market, such as Industrial Metrology or hand-held distance measuring (DISTO), the company has achieved an edge over other players in the market. In 1997 Leica Geosystems, which globally has a 20% market share for surveying instruments, increased its turnover to CHF 460 million, 10% higher than the previous year.
- What do you think about the opportunity for GPS market in India? Where does India stand in GPS applications today?
I am extremely impressed by the size of the country and amount of activities taking place in the field of infrastructure development. It is incredibly big in size and offers enormous amount of opportunities of surveying. Though India has a long history of surveying but with regard to GPS it is just a beginner. May be next century of Indian surveying will be of GPS based high precision surveying.
Tradition of survey in India is one of the longest in the world. Leica started to sale its instruments to India since 1935 and we feel proud to be associated with such a long history.
- GPS has traditionally been a high-end and high cost tool. What trends your foresee for the wider availability of low-cost and easy to base GPS?
GPS is still a very sophisticated and complex technology. And to make it successful and worldwide acceptable it must be simple and easy to use. The suppliers of GPS do understand and need to provide simple, low cost and reliable GPS solutions in future. Initially everyone focussed on high end and high precision GPS but today GPS industry is passing through a transition phase and concentrating on production of low cost, low precision, easy to use and still reliable GPS instruments. Leica has understood it and we are in the process to develop simple GPS.
- What reasons do your see for disparity in the GPS market size in India and the western world?
The most advanced place for GPS usage in North America. Initially GPS systems were very complicated. So it was obvious that only highly advanced and industrialised countries were able to use the GPS. The policy regulations need to support the usage of modern instruments like GPS as in Japan it does not encourage GPS usage.
- There is a big resistance from users while moving from conventional surveying instruments to GPS. Your comments.
Initially when GPS was invented everybody thought that all total stations will be replaced by GPS. But it did not happen. Laser based measuring instruments and GPS are complementary technologies. There are advantages and disadvantages of every technology as in some cases total stations proved to be cost effective and faster than the GPS.
- What is the role Leica plans to play for the emerging markets like GIS and Vehicle Navigation System?
Vehicle Navigation systems is very exploding market worldwide but Leica is not likely to land in this market directly but will support through licenses. GIS is also growing fast and Leica will play a major role in this field. We will make instruments for GIS integration with GPS. We believe in having a focussed actively and our focus is “Surveying and GIS”. We have strategic alliance with ESRI Inc. at global level with the objective to make the data integration between surveying and office data.
- There has been talk of new investors at Leica Geosystems. Could your elaborate.
Investcorp, the London- based international investment group, has acquired Leica Geosystems from the Dutch-based Lancet Investment B. V. Rijswijk. Investcorp will help in listing the company of the stock market. The international management of Leica Geosystems will remain unchanged.
We will continue to grow by focusing on the innovative total solutions that provide our customers with a genuine competitive edge. With Investcorp’s support, Leica Geosystems is well positioned to become an even stronger player in its markets. The financial investment of its senior management reflects their high degree of confidence.
- What message do you want to give to the India customer?
The Indian customer should know that Leica is very committed to support our customers with economic and easy to use instruments. We are proud to have strongest most customer base and good network in India and we have our new partner that is Elcome Technologies Pvt. Ltd. which believed in better customer service.