Over the years, the Internet of Things (IoT) has provided companies with a wealth of operational data. Sudarshan Mitra, CEO of Homeone Technologies in an interaction with Electronicsforu.com Network shares his thoughts on how IoT is having a tremendous impact on how businesses capture the value and create many chances for new and related products.
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?
I am of the strong opinion that IoT is here to stay. IoT is not a hype and it is slowly becoming a non-differentiable part of our everyday life. Any regular household item that we see around us can be made smart hence increasing not only the efficiency but also the value of the item. It has truly revolutionized the way we look at things.
Q) In your opinion, is the Government of India (GoI) playing any significant role in expanding the IoT market right now? If yes–how?
I think the intent of the GOI is good and may bear fruit on a very long term, but what the IoT startups need right now is immediate action which will help them to sustain to reap the benefits of the long term vision. Some very basic level of tax rebates, import duty relaxations and good export policies will definitely help the Indian IoT industry to prosper.
Q) What are your expectations from the GoI in terms of the initiatives they should take to make India an IoT-super power?
GOI should seriously consider schemes and projects where IoT can play a role and then partner with IoT startups to fulfil the same. Also inviting foreign countries to India to invest in IoT startups will also help us a lot since we feel that Indian hardware engineers are equally capable like their Silicon Valley counterparts and are only starved of opportunities and funding.
Q) Are you satisfied at the rate of deployment of IoT solutions in India?
Honestly, No. I think if we have to evolve into a developed country, the use and deployment of IoT technology is imperative. This will definitely bring down the cost and make processes and systems more maintainable and scalable.
Q) How do you see the IoT market evolving in the next 2-3 years?
I see a lot of prospects for the Indian IoT market. As more and more ideas of innovation in this domain opens up, I am sure the industry will evolve in its own rights; more so towards the residential and industrial sector.
Q) Which industry segments do you believe will be driving a larger chunk of demand? Why?
Revenue wise industrial segment is currently driving the major chunk of IoT. But from a userbase perspective home automation is sure to hit a home run in the coming times.
Q) What’s your bigger challenge–acquiring customers or acquiring talent? What’s your strategy in resolving the same?
We have a lot of talent available in India as most of the engineering graduates have a fantastic aptitude for problem-solving which is the key to innovation. So I would say acquiring customers is the bigger challenge but with time this will definitely improve. Digital modes dominating the marketing space; the cost coming down and will help in increasing the awareness.
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 an IoT company and we do not engage in anything other than IoT. We are currently having a 2.5 crore turnover and that is entirely from IoT.
Q) How do you see your IoT-related business growing in the next 2-3 years both in terms of revenue and as a fraction of your overall revenues?
We have a target of 10X growth in the next two years.
Q) What’s your strategy to create a differentiation for your solutions vis-a-vis your competitors?
We are constantly investing in developing our AI backbone as we feel that this is the way forward. We are trying to understand the users’ usage behaviour and trying to map the same to the sensor feedback aimed towards finding a pattern in the user’s behaviour and hopefully someday we shall be able to predict them with certainty.
Q) Any innovative strategy being planned or implemented by your team to create demand for your solutions amongst customers or channel partners?
We are always trying out different strategies for creating demand. We are trying different social media platforms to generate interest amongst customers and trying to make them understand that this is not about luxury anymore; it’s about Utility. Also, multiple guerrilla marketing techniques are being put into place which will make people aware of the technology and its impact in their daily lives. How their lives will not be the same anymore.
Q) Who is the key decision-maker for you–the technology decision-maker or the business decision-maker?
It is always the business decision-maker. Technology is a tool derived out of science to facilitate people’s lives. But how do we make a business out of that, which can ensure that we continue to follow our passion, can be done through proper business planning. I agree that technology forms the core of our business and it needs to complement the business side.
Q) Have you come across any successful deployment of IoT in India that’s worthy of being noticed by other decision-makers?
A lot of smart townships are coming up with various such deployments. We have a whitepaper regarding the same. We do see a lot of prospects in the smart township’s area.
Q) How would you describe your solutions to a non-technical decision-maker at the clients’ end?
Our solutions typically try to address four major areas from a customer perspective. Firstly, our solutions are enabling customers to enjoy a convenient and comfortable lifestyle. For e.g. people who live in a multi-storied apartment will find it a lot of trouble to keep a tab on all their electrical appliances which are scattered throughout their houses. Our platform helps them to bring all such appliances, sensors, gates, cameras etc. on his/her mobile phone so that he/she can not only control them from wherever he/she are in the world but also monitor their health and do preventive maintenance as well.
Similarly, our solution is also a boon for elderly people who have a mobility problem. Also being connected to the internet Over the Air Updates make the system more flexible and agile to change. Second area which we are addressing is Security and Surveillance. With our security portfolio, we are ensuring every family can be kept safe and we are enabling everyone to take appropriate measures at runtime instead of taking corrective measures after the untoward incident have already taken place.
Thirdly our platform enables users to have a check on their energy consumption and gives daily, weekly, monthly and yearly reports about the energy footprint of their house. Through this, not only a user can have a check on their consumption but also can weed out wasteful devices.
Q) What’s unique about your solution or your firm for them to opt for it–vis-a-vis competitors?
Our product comes with 5 USPs. Firstly, we come with 5 years of replacement guarantee on our hardware. Secondly, we are the only company in India with a fully functional AI backbone specifically being used for smart home needs. Thirdly, we have a huge portfolio of products which actually helps us cater to diverse customer requirements. Fourthly, we have a 24X7 running customer care support and last but not the least we have our own voice engine which can understand 27 different Indian languages and can be used by one and all. Now, these USPs are understood by one and all.