We talked to Manu Ignatius of Subnero about the future of underwater wireless and he had the following to say about it.
First of all, how are you and your (Subnero) family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Manu Ignatius: We are fortunate enough to be located in Singapore, one of the places that is not hit very hard. We are doing well and in high spirits now, considering the worst is almost over.
Tell us about Subnero.
Manu Ignatius: Subnero is a Singapore headquartered company focused on developing innovative underwater technologies for communications & networking, navigation, and sensing solutions for both commercial and research outfits, addressing short and long-term deployments.
Subnero develops autonomous robotic platforms for monitoring and sensing large water bodies. Such a solution, Subnero Water Assessment Network (SWAN), is aimed at being an integral part of a smart city planning checklist. It allows authorities to do real-time water quality monitoring.
We also focus on building underwater wireless communication systems. This is conceptually similar to Wi-Fi routers on land, which enable wireless communication between devices like phones or computers. Uses for wireless communication include communication between AUVs, underwater sensors, sub-sea engineering installations, and even by divers.
How does Subnero innovate?
Manu Ignatius: Innovation is ingrained in all the things that we do, be it designing a complicated system when each of us asks ourselves how can we do this better than have ever been done before or while attending a customer issue where we think, what if we were at the receiving end, how would I have liked it to be managed. We try not to have any specific processes that are geared towards innovation, rather have our processes designed innovatively so that the outcomes are results of the out-of-the-box thinking. Above all, the entire team is very passionate about what we do, which primarily drives our innovative spirit.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Manu Ignatius: Pandemic has affected our company in a couple of ways.
1. Since we had to split our team into two and make sure they do not come in close contact, our productivity had reduced significantly during the circuit breaker time period.
2. Furthermore, access to various facilities is still limited, and hence there is another dip in productivity.
3. Many of our vendors had to delay (still continues) shipment of some of the components that we use to build our products and solutions, thereby delaying some of our deliveries to our customers.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Manu Ignatius: We had to make choices in terms of how we can meet our prior commitments and how we can efficiently deploy our resources during the pandemic times, thereby making sure we are fully occupied, and customer relations and expectations are managed properly, given the circumstances. The key lesson learnt is that every difficult choice is an opportunity and harnessed correctly; it may open doors that you have never thought previously possible.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Manu Ignatius: One of the biggest assets that Subnero has is our team. We work well together and have worked in stressful situations in the past. This helped us make sure we take care of each other during times of stress and anxiety. While having physical meetings were not possible, we arranged (and continue to arrange) virtual meetings and social events where we could virtually hang out.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Manu Ignatius: There are various competitors in different sectors all over the world. The only way for us to stay in the game is to constantly innovate, deliver robust products and solutions, thereby adding value to our customers.
Your final thoughts?
Manu Ignatius: Our thoughts go out to all those who are suffering due to these challenging times. At the same time, we believe the challenges also bring opportunities to innovate in many aspects of our organization. With the right team and attitude, we are confident that we can emerge as a stronger organization than before.
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