Aeris Communications Dr. Rishi Bhatnagar shares his experience and insights on professional journey
CXOToday has engaged in an exclusive interview with Dr. Rishi Bhatnagar, President at Aeris Communications.
- Would you like to elaborate on the initial years of your professional journey and what got you interested in technology?
Since childhood, I realized that technology was going to play a big role in my life. From observing the day-to-day use of technology to being introduced to emerging technologies in my early career, technology has given me a capacity for critical decision-making and dynamic thinking.
With my fascination for tech, I began my career about 24 years ago as a relationship manager at Perot Systems, a software development centre in India, Ireland and UK that was accountable for growing revenue by hunting for new customers and mining the existing accounts. Then, from there moved on to Tech Mahindra from managing their outsourcing business and units for IT operations and clients to spearheading the Internet of things (IoT) initiatives for the company and Smart City for the Mahindra Group. I headed the Digital Enterprise Services Group which contributed approximately 10% of digital revenue back in 2015. A decade of working for one of the top 5 Indian IT services providers enriched my professional journey and prepared me for my role at Aeris Communications. I was appointed as the President and Board Member in 2016 and spearheaded the Aeris business in the Indian subcontinent, MEA, and the APAC region. Aeris today caters to multiple regions and market segments, such as, telecom, BFSI, Automotive, Healthcare, Government, Education being key along with social sector projects in multi-vendor and multi-lingual environment.
2. What would you consider some of your biggest accomplishments in your work with Aeris over the years?
When I was working with Tech Mahindra, I was responsible for selling digital services across the globe. I realised that while India had great potential with digital dividend and tech-savvy and engineering resources, the country was lacking in both implementations and expertise in the new and advanced technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI). This became my inspiration to venture in for building a complete environment and ecosystem for creating awareness and adoption of advanced technologies so that IoT business can also become a profitable business in India.
At Aeris India, I took this opportunity to learn the market’s shortcomings and we planned to fill this gap so that enterprises could start IoT deployment faster with minimal investment. Today, Aeris has successfully established itself as an end-to-end IoT solutions and services provider in India, serving multiple verticals, including Banking and Finance, Fleets, Manufacturing, Automotive OEMs, Agriculture, and the social sectors. We are also working on battery charging and swapping solutions with answers related to battery management and battery tracks. Our vision of creating IoT solutions and services in India and taking the ‘Made In India’ technology offshore has turned into reality with the successful implementation of our IoT solutions portfolio beyond India, creating our presence and jobs in the SAARC, APAC, Middle East and the African regions.
3. What has been toughest obstacles that have come along the way and how have you managed to cope with them?
When Aeris Communications started our journey here in the year 2016, we realized that while India had great potential with digital dividend and tech-savvy and engineering resources, the country was lacking in both implementations and expertise in the new and advanced technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) among others. This gap needed to be filled. We knew that the business opportunities are going to be enormous as the government of India had announced plans to create a $15 billion IoT market over the next five years, which will account for 5-6% of the global IoT market. We know that India has unique challenges which need to be addressed with more and more home-grown solutions which are based on global best practices but are rightly priced, need to be made very affordable, and those that can be scaled up to meet present and future requirements.
And this became my inspiration to venture in for building a complete environment and ecosystem for creating awareness and adoption of advanced technologies so that he can prove that IoT business can also become a profitable business in India.
I made it my mission to create value-based IoT solutions and services in our own country, at the cost price Indians can afford, and accelerate the scale India can achieve today and in future. Making India as a base, Aeris has taken our IoT solutions and services portfolio of offerings to the emerging markets and are now making IoT devices in India for the World! We provide an end-to-end modular technology platform that enables customers to make the pivotal change from unconnected products to connected services.
4. How according to you the need for IoT solutions has changed in the past few years? How has Aeris helped in driving this change?
The last few years have seen the Internet of Things shift from just a theoretical concept to a major need in many organizations. According to reports, India is projected to have 25 billion IoT connections by 2025, with a $1.1 trillion global IoT revenue. The pandemic has also acted as a catalyst to spur this growth substantially with many manufacturers across healthcare, automotive and retail choosing to invest in the technology. IoT has helped transform the processes and foundations of industrial production systems and the way heavy machinery and monitoring devices communicate with each other, to improve efficiency. It has also allowed safety and surveillance, cost effective retail solutions and immersive experiences for the consumers.
At Aeris, we have always tried to monitor and stay on top of the ever-changing landscape of the IoT world. Our aim is to foster strong connections that lead to immense commercial and positive social impact and create an end-to-end modular technology platform that enables customers to make the pivotal change from unconnected products to connected services. With our connectivity and performance management systems, we help to reduce operational complexities, reduce costs, maximize value, and accelerate the delivery of better experiences. To support intelligent networks in enterprises, we also offer connected solutions like Track& Trace technology, fleet monitoring and management, and mobile personal emergency response systems (mPERS), track equipment to help organizations deliver a connected experience.
5. With the 5G rollout and rapid changes in the IoT space, how has Aeris been able to adapt and develop these new processes and structures in the industry?
The integration of 5G & IoT is transforming India’s technological infrastructure and unlocking potential applications like autonomous vehicles, smart factories, immersive retail, safer transportation, precision agriculture, and remote healthcare. We have always believed in utilizing the most advanced IoT connectivity networks and technology to achieve next level performances and take businesses to the future. With our connected solutions like Track& Trace technology, fleet monitoring and management, E-rickshaws and cost saving Reliable mobile personal emergency response systems (mPERS), we are already developing 5G-ready intelligent IoT network systems to support enterprises in the future.
As 5G and IoT bring speed and immersive experiences across sectors, we have been collaborating and working with industry neutral platforms to build a strong IoT collaboration and knowledge-sharing platform in different verticals. We recognise the high-speed changes in the market and the need for end-to-end IoT solution for enterprises, therefore, at Aeris, we lead with a consultative-led sales model and offer end-to-end services that can fit the bill for most companies and help them take the use-cases forward or customise them, so that organizations can deploy IoT solutions with minimal investment.