The inaugural drone manufactured in India, retailing below the price point of Rs 50,000, emerged as the IZI Sky, a recent introduction from the consumer electronics company, IZI. In our discussion with Ishan Haydn, CEO of IZI, we delved into the transformation from being distributors of DJI drones to establishing a niche as producers of drones within India.
In its initial stages of operation in 2016, IZI ventured into the Indian market by retailing DJI drones. This collaboration significantly exposed IZI to the nuances of the drone industry, leveraging DJI's commanding market share, which surpasses 80% on a global scale.
IZI's pivot from the distribution of DJI drones to advocating for local drone manufacturing in India marks a strategic shift. Priced competitively under 50,000 rupees, the IZI Sky, a prosumer drone, positions itself against pricier alternatives, showcasing a forward-thinking and innovative approach. IZI aims not only to diversify into contemporary IoT markets but also to expand its footprint on an international scale.
Consumer Tech IZI Made in India
As far as Ishan is concerned, IZI began from scratch, creating local drone hardware and software capabilities. To get parts, including motors, batteries, plastic bodies, and more, they partnered with a number of component manufacturers around India.
Using these domestically sourced parts, the drones were constructed at IZI's plant in Bhopal. An in-house team of Indian engineers at IZI built the software, which included a mobile app for controls and telemetry.
IZI was able to launch its first drone in 2019 following some early difficulties in adjusting the hardware and software calibration. The content creation industry experienced substantial expansion throughout the pandemic. Aware of this trend, IZI increased the range of products it offered. The first 5K action camera with two screens in India, the IZI ONE, was introduced by them.
IZI: The Inexpensive Consumer Drone Market
Launched in 2022, the IZI Sky is the company's newest drone and costs a mere 49999. In comparison to expensive DJI drones that can cost over Rs 1 lakh, the IZI Sky provides 4K camera quality and professional drone functionality for less than half the price.Ishan thinks that because the Indian market is so price-sensitive, it is essential to keep prices low in order to achieve widespread acceptance. IZI Sky is marketed as a professional drone that is affordable for photographers, travel vloggers, and content producers. The sub-$50,000 price range is ideal for anyone who wants to experiment with aerial photography using a high-quality drone without going over budget as they would with premium drones.
Future of IZI in India
IZI currently imports the remaining drone components from South Korea and other nations, sourcing between 50 and 55 percent of them domestically from India. However, Ishan believes that the modifications in India's drone laws would propel the quick development of the local drone industry. In order to reach a wider audience searching for more economical solutions, IZI will shortly produce a nano drone for less than Rs 30,000. Additionally, additional sensors for obstacle avoidance and software upgrades for increased stability are being developed to improve IZI Sky. More gadgets, such as a 4K dashcam with GPS and for automobiles, and IZI's foray into more recent IoT markets outside of photography and cameras, are in the works.
IZI's growth and go-to-market plans
IZI drones are presently sold and distributed through their website, the Amazon India marketplace, and Croma stores located all over India.In the upcoming months, IZI's offline presence in metro and tier 2 cities will be further increased through partnerships with Flipkart and other major retail chains. In an effort to assist police, municipal, and government agencies, IZI is also utilising B2G contracts for applications related to mapping, surveillance, and inspection.
International Expansion of IZI
After establishing local operations and business entities in international markets, IZI hopes to soon start selling internationally in the US and Europe in order to increase exports. According to Ishan, IZI has already incorporated in Europe in order to get ready to expand globally
IZI Democratising Unmanned Aerial Systems
The goal of IZI is to democratise advanced drone technology so that both professionals and enthusiasts in India can use it. The group's dedication to quality, creativity, and client satisfaction has been crucial to IZI's development from a distributor to a top producer of drones and other cool tech items.Ishan clarifies that IZI's goal is to continue offering high-quality products at reasonable prices, not low-cost Chinese imitations. The movement to promote Made in India is still in its infancy.