Hurestic is a Bangalore-based startup engaged in developing IoT products such as IoT biometrics for SMEs and fleet tracker with AI and ML for heavy earth moving vehicles.
In an interaction with EFY bureau, Ankit Mohan, Founder, Hurestic, speaks about the role of government in expanding the IoT market, major segments likely to drive IoT demand in future, Hurestic’s IoT business and much 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? Or do you feel that IoT is opening an entirely new market?
I believe, IoT is no longer a buzzword. We have passed the peak of the hype cycle for IoT and what we are witnessing now is a sustained adoption of IoT in the industry, to augment production and efficiency in existing business processes and to open up growth avenues in new market segments.
Q. In your opinion, is the Government of India (GoI) playing any significant role in expanding the IoT market right now? If yes, how?
There are programmes such as the Smart Cities Mission, launched by the government that are encouraging industry and startups to build solutions around IoT that help in improving the quality of life of the common citizen. Also, there are programmes such as the NIDHI-PRAYAS and NIDHI-EIR that encourage young graduates to explore entrepreneurship and build hardware products. These are the positive indications for sure.
Q. What are your expectations from the GoI in terms of the initiatives they should take to make India an IoT-super power?
Given the fact that we are already a knowledge economy with proven expertise in the field of software and IT, it is relatively easier for India to emerge as an IoT super power – provided that hardware design and development is encouraged. I think ‘Make in India’ initiative is a step in the right direction but is aimed primarily to encourage global players to set up manufacturing facilities in India. A programme to help and nurture home-grown enterprises and startups to manufacture hardware in India would, I believe, be the immediate next step.
Q. Are you satisfied at the rate of deployment of IoT solutions in India?
Personally, I think the indicators are positive and the momentum towards “IoT-fication” is only picking up.
Q. How do you see the IoT market evolving in the next 2-3 years?
Over the next 2-3 years, I foresee the number of businesses incorporating IoT solutions in their operations to go up substantially. And these would have ripple effect across the value chain.
Q. Which industry segments do you believe will be driving a larger chunk of demand? Why?
I think a major chunk of the demand would come from transport and shipping industry for IoT systems such as smart asset tracking, cold supply chain logistics, etc. On the other hand, we have IoT products for the SME segment and see this market segment generating demand for IoT system in the respective lines of businesses.
Q. What’s your bigger challenge – acquiring customers or acquiring talent? What’s your strategy in resolving the same?
Both! Although customer acquisition strategy can be ironed out and improved over time, it also gets simpler as time progresses because you have demonstrated the benefits that other customers are deriving. Acquiring talent is a completely different ball game – firstly because of the dearth in quality talent and secondly because IoT, by definition, is multi-disciplinary and the talent acquisition is spread across a spectrum of competencies.
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?
We are engaged in building IoT products including IoT biometrics for SMEs to track employee attendance live on a web app and a fleet tracker with on-board artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning (ML) for heavy earth moving vehicles. This means that 100 per cent of our revenue originates from IoT-powered products.
Q. How do you see your IoT-related business growing in the next 2-3 years?
We shall continue to expand and enhance the features of our existing IoT products in alignment with our customer needs and our market intelligence. Moreover, we have two more IoT products in different stages of development that would be out in the market by 2020-21.
Q. What’s your strategy to create a differentiation for your solutions vis-a-vis your competitors?
Three things – Quality, Quality and Quality. There can be no other parameter that our clients judge us on. It is a common perception that the Indian market is price sensitive. While that may be true to a certain extent, we have found almost everyone without exception is willing to pay the extra rupee for a better quality. This of course depends on the criticality of the problem being addressed by the IoT product but holds good for B2B sales, in general.
Q. Any innovative strategy being planned or implemented by your team to create demand for your solutions amongst customers or channel partners?
Yes! Our ‘channel partners’ aren’t only our sales representative but also our ‘customer advocates’. They represent the voice of the customer that helps drive product development. Moreover, we encourage our customer advocates to maintain a continuous rapport with our client (and not treat them as a one-deal relationship) by organising regular client-customer advocate get-together and offer them other tangible perks (financial or otherwise).
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?
If you let technology lead the decision-making process, it would lead to a catastrophe! While technology gives you the tools to solve a problem, it is important to find a problem worth solving. If you have a hammer in your hand, the whole world appears to be full of nails! Therefore, internally we endeavour to use the business intelligence (read customer pain points) as our north star to guide and navigate product development.
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?
There have been many projects executed by the government and startups – from smart garbage bins to help optimise garbage collection routes to water quality sensors installed in lakes for monitoring lake-health. I see a lot of projects and case studies worth studying.
Q. How would you describe your solutions to a non-technical decision maker at the clients’ end?
Hurestic’s IoT system allows you (the business owner) to eliminate losses arising due to last minute staffing shortfalls and incorrect attendance logging. Through our web-app (using complimentary devices), you can monitor your employees’ live attendance across single or multiple work locations without having to invest in an IT infrastructure (not even WiFi!)
Q. What’s unique about your solution or your firm for them to opt for it–vis-a-vis competitors?
We give away biometric devices for free to our customers. So, businesses do not need a large CAPEX to roll out the system. Also, our clients do not need to provide internet connectivity to the devices to be able to view the real-time information. All this is, of course, in addition to a very intuitive web-app that allows attendance and payroll management, built specifically for the small and medium sized businesses.