How Indian Startups Are Driving IoT

by CXOtoday News Desk    Feb 10, 2015


With the interest and buzz around the Internet of Things (IoT) growing steadily in recent years, the seemingly vibrant market promises endless possibilities for businesses in the coming years. As research firm Gartner notes by 2020, at least two-thirds of Indian businesses will set up an Internet of Things (IoT) center of excellence to drive adoption of efficiency-centric technologies and applications. These are not all large businesses. A chunk of them are startups that are playing a key role in the IoT ecosystem.

The report also mentions that by 2018, India will have at least five IoT startups with a billion-dollar valuation. India is experiencing increased activity surrounding the digitalization of businesses at home and across markets worldwide, resulting in the spawning of startup firms focusing on digital business and the IoT. Increased domestic demand, availability of highly skilled human capital and favorable government policies are spurring growth of startups in India. The successful startups will find themselves on a growth trajectory to achieve a billion-dollar valuation within the next five years.

Recently, eight start-up companies from India were also identified as the most innovative and successful in the IoT space. These companies, Exilant, Inventrom, Cariq, Altiux, Tagplug, Epsilonelectronics, Cooey and Infozech were selected based on a contest powered by UNICOM Learning in association with Intel and IBM. 

Meanwhile, growing affordability of smartphones and increase in the acceptance of BYOD is driving more and more people to access corporate data through mobile devices. A recent Gartner report predicts that by 2017, 20 percent of the white-collar workforce in India will access enterprise data (beyond email and calendar) on personal devices. The shift to mobile and cloud is turning will continue to drive the IoT growth and development.

In another report, Gartner predicts over 40 percent of organizations globally expect the IoT to “transform their business or offer significant new revenue or cost-savings opportunities by 2020. However, even most global organizations have not established clear business or technical leadership for their IoT efforts, suggesting that the IoT is very immature. “It is only recently that some organizations have started experimenting with it,” said Nick Jones, vice president and analyst at Gartner.

Gartner sees these smaller and innovative companies are taking advantage of low-cost electronics, traditional manufacturing and 3D printing tools, open and closed-source hardware and software to create IoT devices that improve processes and lives.

“Product development processes within most large enterprises are too ponderous and ROI-driven to produce anything but high-volume, lowest-common-denominator IoT objects,” said Gartner, noting that start-ups worldwide are charging ahead with identifying numerous, often niche problems and innovating solutions using IoT concepts. They will drive not only consumer and enterprise acceptance of the IoT, but also the creative solutions that enterprises could not possibly discern, resulting in an “Internet of Very Different Things.”

However, Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner notes “Indian enterprises are at an early stage of understanding the impact of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies on their core business.” An obvious step to IoT revolution is a gradual shift to digitalization, believes Gupta. He states that India, for example, is riding the wave of digitalization on two fronts: As a consumer, with large Indian enterprises adopting digital business strategies and as a delivery hub, with technology providers leveraging the low-cost yet deep and broad technical talent to incubate and develop offerings for their worldwide customers.

“There are challenges and lessons to be learned on both those fronts, as IT leaders in India planning a move to the cloud are concerned with security, data privacy, latency, connectivity and bandwidth costs,” he said.

According to Gupta, buyers who are experimenting with digitalization must focus on what they intend to do — the concept — rather than getting carried away with the digitalization wave without having a clear end goal in mind. Likewise, technology providers must realize that the skills required in digital business are rather different and not necessarily as ‘low cost’ as they may seem. Providers must establish a long-term plan and strategy to bridge the gap in requisite skills and so combat a potential crisis, he believes.