Why is everyone in the IT space getting breathless about the potential of the Internet of Things (IoT)? Here’s why. By 2020, IoT will be a $19 trillion industry with 50 billion connected devices, according to this statement made by John Chambers, Cisco CEO & Chairman, to Bloomberg.
So, Inventrom is definitely looking to ride this gravy train and this is how they are doing it. They do R&D with other enterprises’ IoT hardware at no cost because NetPlug (their patented hardware architecture) works across devices and systems – be it an electrical appliance or industrial machinery.
This is possible due to their patented technologies like ‘Lib Discovery Protocol’ and ‘Signature Return Algorithm’ developed by Inventrom. Also, social media apps developed for NetPlug can work across systems. This ensures that the minimum time needed, today, to develop IoT products is about 2-3 hours. The next version will reduce this time to a few minutes!
Inventrom’s Founder & Project Lead, Pranav Pai Vernekar told Networked India, “We saw that one of the issues for making IoT enabled products is the huge cost and qualified manpower involved in the R&D. As a result, most of the Internet controlled products in the market today are developed by multinational giants with huge R&D budgets or tech-savvy startups.”
“But what about small-scale manufacturers in Taiwan or Brazil or even Dharavi in Mumbai? Most of these companies have neither the domain knowledge nor the budgets to make their products IoT-ready. Now, this means that as time goes by the smaller players will fail to compete with larger ones. Thus making the rich more rich and keeping the poor poor.”
Inventrom’s team even has an answer to this question: ‘What if my Internet stops working?’ Apparently, NetPlug’s technology automatically shifts to the local network, thus ensuring a seamless experience for the user.
Pranav recalls, “The first product we worked on was an Industrial Load Carrying Robot named MinionBot. We received a lot of interest in the product but the project failed as we were not good at mechanical engineering.”
“However, one part of the robot that worked smoothly was controlling it over the Internet. We decided to focus on the strengths and extend the capability of Internet control to other products. This strategy has worked for us wonderfully. We now believe that one of the most important parts of starting up is focusing on strengths.”
Their business model is ‘pay-as-you-go’ and the current price of a NetPlug unit is $115. They might be looking at charging users $10 per year as uasge fees. However, control over local network will be free. Pranav explained,
With this business model, even a small-scale player like SD Electrical (annual turnover of approximately $35,000) are able to compete with giants like Phillips (approximate turnover of $25 billion) on developing IoT lighting. When we see these Davids compete with the Goliaths and winning, it gives us maximum satisfaction.”
Also, there is the possibility of charging an additional fee for analytics. Their customers can keep tabs on exactly how and when their products are used, and the users’ habits.
This information could be of huge help to them (and their customers) as they are looking to acquire business in the Consumer Electronics, Electrical Appliances, Industrial Machinery, and Defence Machinery industries. They already have clients like Automatic Dosa Makers, IoT Security Systems etc who are developing IoT systems without any capital investment of their own.
Pranav added, “We are also in talks with DRDO to make their bomb disposing robots, IoT enabled. With this, an expert from any part of the world can control the robot. This will directly contribute to saving lives.”
The fact that NetPlug has been well-received, is proven by the fact that they have won many accolades such as the IoT Tech 10 award by Intel and IBM for being one of the best IoT products by a startup. In July, this year, NetPlug was declared as the winner at DST – Lockheed Martin India Innovation Growth Program 2015 for being amongst the best innovations in India. The NetPlug mobile app has also won at the ‘Innovative App/Software Competition’ held as part of the Digital India Week.
What’s more, NetPlug is going places too. The team went (Sept 24) to the US to visit Silicon Valley, as part of the India Innovation Growth Programme (IIGP), where they plan to expand their market for NetPlug.