Auckam is an industrial design company serving smart industry segment of IOT through its hardware designing, reengineering and consulting services. Umesh Dayalan, CTO, Auckam speaks to EFY bureau about the current state of IoT deployment in India, key segments driving IoT demand, Auckam’s IoT business and a lot more.
Q. Many opine that IoT is just a buzzword that industry Gurus have coined to create hype? Do you agree with that line of thought?
Well, I would say mere diction of the word IoT is funky for sure, but this has virtually created a new playing field in the industrial sector. Industries in India have already started implementing IoT solutions and products. We are closely working with many companies in implementing IoT products as well as building smart factories.
Q. In your opinion, is the Government of India (GoI) playing any significant role in expanding the IoT market right now? If yes, how?
The Government of India has allocated budget for development of smart cities. Its Digital India program also proposes to set up digital infrastructure across the country, which will boost opportunities for IoT industry. The National Digital Communication Policy (NDCP) 2018 has recognised the need to rationalise levies in the telecom sector. The Government is also aiming to attract private investments in IoT-related research and development (R&D) through International IoT Research Collaboration Scheme (IIRC).
Q. What are your expectations from the GoI in terms of the initiatives they should take to make India an IoT-super power?
While the government motivates IoT companies with programs like Make in India and Digital India, a lot more needs to be done in terms of recognising digital transformation barriers. Similarly, IoT start-ups developing products, specifically for the Indian market, need to be recognised and given adequate attention so that they can scale up and become self-sustainable. Programs on various skills development for IoT, machine learning (ML) and other cutting-edge technologies can help us to be on the frontline of the fourth industrial revolution.
Q. Are you satisfied at the rate of deployment of IoT solutions in India?
The number of connected devices has been increasing at an unbelievable rate from the last few years in India. By adopting cloud services and Industrial IoT (IIoT), a few industries across the country have realised the use of data that can help them minimise operational costs, increase man and machine productivity and reduce breakdown. We are happy to be a part of solution integrators to our customers by delivering IoT solutions, which is also helping in leveraging their business value and financial payback.
Q. How do you see the IoT market evolving in the next 2-3 years?
According to a NASSCOM report, India is poised to reach US$ 15 billion by 2020 in IoT market. Approximately, two billion devices are expected to be connected by 2020. India’s IoT market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of above 28 per cent between 2015-2020.
Q. Which industry segments do you believe will be driving a larger chunk of demand? Why?
We are being approached and working with several industries including manufacturing, automotive and logistics, in which we expect to see the highest IoT adoption in India. Due to advancements in ML and artificial intelligence (AI), predictive maintenance, inventory optimisation and productivity tracking are becoming easily accessible in one dashboard. This helps supervisors save time in making decisions as well as concentrate on further process improvements. Retail and healthcare industries are also expected to make progress in adoption of IoT.
Q. What’s your bigger challenge – acquiring customers or acquiring talent? What’s your strategy in resolving the same?
Acquiring talent is always a tedious predicament but acquiring customers is another challenge. The awareness about the implementation of IoT is still a work in progress which is why we expose them with the data that is required for the development of a sector and enough plausible solutions backing the cause.
Q. What is the estimated revenue of your biz that you’d attribute to IoT-related business? What fraction of your overall business is the IoT-related business?
As compared to the previous year, our revenue in the financial year 2018 increased by approximately 50 per cent, with nearly 30 per cent coming from IoT hardware solutions. In coming days, we see IoT industry coming up with more amazing solutions for customers in various sectors.
Almost half of our team members are specifically trained and are already working in IoT related hardware and integration projects. As the demand of IoT increases in industries and consumable electronics segment, we expect an increase of up to 50 per cent in our total revenue from IoT.
Q. How do you see IoT-related business growing in the next 2-3 years?
There is no doubt IoT is going to be ‘that’ magical word in every production industry, which incorporates it and utilises it in every aspect. In terms of revenue, we know that the devices connected to the internet are going to exceed the human population of the world, so let’s do the math.
Q. What’s your strategy to create a differentiation for your solutions vis-a-vis your competitors?
The hardware used for IoT implementation is developed in-house according to the client’s requirement. Since readily available product/hardware does not meet up to the requirements, we develop such hardware from scratch. This gives a wide range of options for customising the hardware. Apart from that, we also have domain experts and technology partners with expertise in various fields such as AI, ML, blockchain, cloud computing and mobility for providing advanced end-to-end solutions.
Q. Any innovative strategy being planned or implemented by your team to create demand for your solutions amongst customers or channel partners?
It is going to be tough playing in this field, we know that, but we always commence our marketing by exploring the issues currently faced by the clients and then provide a suitable solution. For example, we analysed and found that there is a requirement for monitoring of product in water industry. Considering this need, we strategically launched our product in Water Expo, where we came to know the true potential and demand. It was evident that clients wanted a complete solution towards water conservation, which was accomplished by our product as it can provide our clients with real time data. That way, we can justify them that we are qualified to get the job done and deliver them a promising support.
Q. Who is the key decision maker for you – the technology decision maker or the business decision maker? With whom do you start the conversation – and how do you balance the interests of both types of decision makers?
The key decision maker would be the technology decision maker, who carries us forward and always keep us updated in terms of knowledge. But mostly, this depends upon the client and its requirements. However, at the same time, the business decision maker helps us in filling up the various gaps in furnishing a completed project. So now the real balance is between the interests of the client vs the high-priced latest technology.
Q. Have you come across any successful deployment of IoT in India that’s worthy of being noticed by other decision makers? If yes, can you share details of the same?
We have helped a soft drink company by keeping its vital machines in check by comparing the data and analysing them. In addition, we have helped a heavy vehicle manufacturing company to improvise its production. Also, we are working with our OEM client to implement IoT solutions in their product. However, we wouldn’t claim these as our huge success stories, since we are readily waiting for more projects with a lot of IoT scope to implement and to provide the best possible solution.
Q. How would you describe your solutions to a non-technical decision maker at the clients’ end?
As described earlier, this is the toughest part of all. A client always demands a cost-effective and quality product, readily available to be installed, which we know is far-fetched. But when there’s IoT involved, there is an added disadvantage of explaining the concept and implementing it. And that’s why we always start with providing a solution to their existing obstacles by showing them a live demo. We can establish that IoT provides the best solutions so far.