We were looking for a professional European solution at the right price for our existing customers and partners. Our condition was that it had the appropriate quality, but also fast and good technical support – and at the same time that the manufacturer did both hardware and software. Finally, that the final price corresponds to the market possibilities and the economic situation in Bulgaria, “Miroslav Donchev recalls at the beginning of the cooperation with ELKO EP in Bulgaria three years ago. Today, the Eastern Balkan country is one of the fastest-growing branches ever and an “extremely pleasant surprise” for Jiří Konečný, the company’s founder and owner.
“This brought me to Holešov, where I participated in several trainings and workshops. The visit itself fascinated me, because I was met with extremely organized production, friendly atmosphere and professionalism. I was also thrilled by the product portfolio, which was about wireless and wired systems and at the same time a perspective towards the future – whether it is iNELS systems or components for IoT, “adds Miroslav Donchev.
How is Bulgaria doing today in the field of new technologies?
In general, the demand for automation is growing, at home and in the offices. I dare say that we are one of the most active ambassadors in the market. In 2018 and 2019, however, we started to take big steps into the area of smart living. We did presentations, exhibitions, the training of electricians and started working under the ELKO EP brand. Now we have been slowed down a bit by 2020, which has slowed down a lot of investment. Fortunately, we had agreed on projects that we successfully completed, and today we can rely on references from houses and offices. This is a huge advantage. Our goal is to be one of the biggest players in the field of home automation in the Bulgarian market, and we expect big growth in the coming years.
How are the Czech Republic and Czech products perceived in Bulgaria?
Czech products and companies represent a kind of “benchmark”. They are a symbol of quality, thoughtfulness and innovative thinking. Customers react particularly well to the fact that they are actually made in Europe, not in Asia – as they are under the auspices of a Czech or European company.
Is the Bulgarian customer different from the others?
How to explain it… When someone embarks on a smart home project, it is usually a very demanding customer who watches over every detail. Paradoxically, this is an advantage for us, because we can meet the demands. The middle class considers all expenses a lot, but it also no longer looks only at the price but at the quality of the products, which is certainly a big change compared to the recent past.
Which of ELKO EP solutions do you consider the most important for the Bulgarian market?
From the beginning, we focused exclusively on the iNELS home automation system, but we soon realized that the company’s strength also lies in the portfolio of relays and various switches. Since last year, we have therefore been offering time, monitoring or thermostatic relays, as well as the LOGUS 90 series of switches.
If I ask the question more generally, which products do you consider to be the most promising in the future?
If I apply this to ELKO EP products, I again appreciate their diversity and the breadth of their portfolio. It’s a “jigsaw puzzle” that goes from classic switches to sophisticated automation and the Internet of Things. When we talk to distributors, we say the following: An RF system is something you can sell every day and bring you a stable and fast income. The BUS solution is more demanding – you have to convince the customer, design the architecture, provide wiring and implementation, but it is more financially attractive. The market is becoming more dynamic and it is very difficult to predict what will come, but iNELS is definitely one of the most promising systems in Bulgaria.
What references have you worked on in recent months?
We have references from the private sector and industry. We participated in several more luxurious houses and apartments, which are equipped with the iNELS smart system. We worked on a project that is equipped with an integrated lighting system (LED, DALI), heating and air conditioning, including underfloor heating, radiators and ventilation. We check the blinds, weather, and ventilation, protect the house from floods or fire, take care of security and access points. The LARA audio system is installed in all rooms and the bathroom. We made a three-storey house in which the RF system controls everything from kitchen ventilation to the pool. Even I myself was surprised by the possibilities of the RF system, but thanks to our technicians and installers, everything works perfectly – all five central units and more than 200 sensors and relays work like a perfectly coordinated orchestra. I will argue that there is no other RF system on the Bulgarian market that allows such a range and with the possibilities of automation. But we have also built a system for lighting, ventilation, air conditioning and access control in large industrial buildings, where we constantly add to the system according to the requirements of business, storage or production. We have verified that the system can do great things, and at the same time that we can implement them at the forefront, and as the saying goes, the one shown validates.
What projects are you currently working on?
There are many of them. Houses, apartments, we talk to hotels about their modernization. But the most interesting is the project for biodynamic lighting in production facilities.
How many people make up the Bulgarian ELKO EP team today?
About 20 people are currently working on our companies, but the team is based on the position of general manager and sales director, CFO is Petia Doncheva, technical director is Radostin Stefanov, Momchil Stefanov is in charge of installation, Tsvetoslava Atanasova customer support and Stanislav Iliev web support. . We are currently expanding this key team with two more positions.