Homegrown mobile handset maker Lava International Ltd—that manufactures mobile phones under the brand name Lava—has appointed Rahul Agarwal as chief technology officer (CTO) and Ankit Pal as design head, as it gears up to enter the services sector spanning entertainment, education, agriculture and health verticals.
The company said that the appointments have been strategically timed to fulfill Lava's growth agenda and further bring innovative products and relevant services to customers.
"The handset market has completely evolved after the advent of smartphones. It is not just a communication device anymore. Entertainment, agriculture, health, education, payment, commerce and banking have started to advance around mobile handset Industry and it will take a big leap through Internet of Things (IoT), through billions of devices. In this context, I am sure their experience will add to the collective strength of Lava's leadership team," said Hari Om Rai, chairman and managing director, Lava International.
An IIT-Delhi alumni, Agarwal has around 12 years of experience in technology and product development. Prior to his new assignment, he was serving as the head of engineering at real estate tech startup IndiaHomes.com. He will spearhead all initiatives towards developing mobile enabled software platforms and new enterprise initiatives, products and services. He will also lead Lava's entry into the services sector spanning entertainment, education, agriculture and health verticals, the company said.
An IMT-Ghaziabad alumni, Pal has a decade of experience in hardware design and product management. Prior to his new assignment, he was leading product marketing initiatives of the 'Bluetooth low energy' vertical at the Bangalore office of California-based embedded systems company Cypress Semiconductor Corporation. He will be responsible for steering Lava's mobile phone design roadmap in India.
Headquartered in New Delhi, seven-year-old Lava was the fifth largest mobile phone vendor by market share, according to IDC's Q4 2015 report on smartphone shipments in India.
However, it lost that position to Reliance Jio according to IDC's Q1 2016 Indian smartphone shipment report released in May.
The company has overseas operations in Thailand where it claims to be the number one smartphone brand and is also present in Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Indonesia, Mexico, Middle East and Russia. Lava also has an in-house R&D and product-testing set-up in China and India with over 700 people engaged in product design and development. The handset maker has already set up its first manufacturing plant in Noida and plans to invest Rs 2,615 crore in a phased manner to scale it up to have an annual production capacity of 216 million phones.
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