The Internet of Things (IoT), similar to synthetic intelligence, gadget getting to know, and natural language processing is the subsequent evolutionary step in era.
And, while we'd have robots playing concierge at shopping department stores and airports and algorithms walking factors of a consumer’s life, the use cases for IoT are many and varied and, in maximum cases, highly-priced.
A key issue of IoT is the way it has more desirable, shaped, and given delivery to ‘Smart Living.’ The small island nation of Singapore is one of the first international locations in Asia to undertake the notion of Smart Cities and actively work toward its purpose of turning the us of a right into a Smart Nation. Another way of the use of hardware+software program to simplify a consumer’s life. A user’s domestic by means of automating features and capabilities in it.
No small venture for any man or woman.
But that’s precisely what Santosh Kumar Patil is aiming for, along with his startup MIQASA.
Origin Story: From A Technocrat To An Entrepreneur
“I’m a hard-middle technocrat,” confesses Santosh, on the very outset. And he has accurate purpose to call himself so, operating in the STEM fields inside the US and sooner or later, running with tech and semi-conductors on the TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company). After running with Qualcomm and Intel, Santosh changed into seeking out his next passion venture – while he determined to put his latent expertise of tech and hardware to accurate use.
The end result, an idea – clever living made inexpensive for the commonplace guy.
“Because I was running on reducing aspect tech with the TSMC, it didn’t take me lengthy to peer beyond the mobile phone tech and uses of Internet proper all the way down to wherein hardware and software would come collectively. I felt that IoT become going to capture on like wildfire in the very near future,” he says.
Everyone uses power (energy) in India, for the whole thing – that is Santosh’s justification for coming into a highly nascent vertical. But a lot of this energy is wasted or misused – with switches being left on when no longer required, human beings forgetting to interchange off even as leaving in a rush to go out. The scope for family power waste and consequent injuries has continually been giant.
And, Santosh, believes strongly that this waste/misuse may be avoided by using the use of automation. In his own phrases,
“The principle of IoT is straightforward – anything can be controlled thru a mobile app thru the cloud. By using IoT, you will be related along with your appliance inclusive of fan, geyser and so forth. Anywhere inside the global for your clever tool. That’s its splendor and its attain.”
MIQASA, which become integrated in April 2015 in Delaware, Colorado, started out in stealth mode, with this single imaginative and prescient and thought process. It acquired an undisclosed amount of angel funding from the Bay Area with buyers together with Taresh Anand, backing the project. The naming of the corporation comes from a take at the Spanish term mi casa meaning “my home,” which performed into the founder’s vision of automating the homes of common Indians.
But on account that a business can't run on imaginative and prescient by myself, Santosh, the sole founder of the business enterprise break up the product into its important halves – hardware and software program.
Proprietary RF, 12 Module Switches… And More
Hyderabad-primarily based MIQASA’s middle product is a switchboard and the first prototype of the same changed into built on a 12 switch module. It turned into referred to as Elegant Touch and labored at the precept of interfacing feather contact with traditional switches and connecting it on-line if you want to control/automate appliances.
“Traditional automation by means of legacy corporations which includes Honeywell and Schneider have used Cath cables which are linked to the switchboard and run into the lakhs for automating a unmarried domestic. We have simplified the system and placed the entirety on the mobile.”
The method as Santosh puts it is going like this: each MIQASA switchboards works via a ‘gateway’ unit on wi-fi generation – in MIQASA’s case, this is proprietary RF (radio frequency) that is set up within the customers’ domestic. The gateway is the intelligence hub of the installation and permits access to the cloud via the app. The router could be related to the person’s smart tool (cellphone/tablet) via the cloud and automating responsibilities inclusive of switching electrical home equipment on and rancid, scheduling activities etc. Can be finished thru cell.
“We got together a group of four humans to work at the prototype in Hyderabad. It took us near 4 months to build the proprietary RF and the firmware, in this situation, the switchboard. We tested the product for 6 extra months before building the accompanying app.”
As design is an similarly important part of electric powered interiors, making the design aesthetically desirable took a similarly five months. The end product turned into a board in which switches perform on feather contact, the board itself is softer and aesthetically alluring. The glass panel used to protect the board is the same old 3mm-4mm inch thick glass and the PCB (printed circuit board) sits behind the panel.
App improvement took a pair months greater to integrate the various functions which includes mapping out room numbers, room nape, building the interface for switchboard after which making use of the desired functionality to the identical.
“All in all, the primary volume production of 200 switchboards resulted in April 2016, a full yr when we started. And took approximately 4 months overall to promote the first consignment because of giant A/B checking out time too. Our preliminary clients were local vendors, households, enterprise devices and even faculties,” he provides.
Of the producing method, Santosh divulges that there may be a clean demarcation of roles in the team. Procurement and layout development is sorted in-residence, printing of the PCB and assembling the switchboard is treated by a third-party vendor. And the final integration of the switchboard with the app as well as installation in a consumer’s premises, is once again looked after by MIQASA.
“Creating Awareness Was Our First Challenge”
Building out hardware in India is an highly-priced proposition, in comparison to mention, China and Taiwan. Santosh’s insistence on taking in this subject bears searching into, as the demanding situations confronted here are myriad and complicated.
“When we had been first pitching to potential clients, our first stumbling block began with explaining the product to them. What IoT is, how it's far useful and how it is able to make strength-saving extra efficient for you (the purchaser). Most of our time went in educating our would-be clients. So that is the first element we did. We just built awareness in our preliminary pitches.”
This caused eventual clients gaining self belief within the use case of the product – presenting comfort and convenience thru the convenience of the usage of an app and simplifying mundane activities consisting of switching lighting fixtures on/off, and all at a decrease fee.
“In hardware or IoT, any entrepreneur ought to recognize the marketplace his prototype is being built for. The first job is to speak to the patron, stroll of their footwear and understand their ache factor – interplay is fundamental. India is a huge market with considerable ability. But, Indians need the whole thing at a reasonable charge point.”
Which brings us to MIQASA’s business model. MIQASA switchboards in various modules (12, eight, four, 2) retail for something between INR eight,000-INR 10,000, which is set 3x the quantity a regular switchboard expenses (INR 2,500) for a 12-switch module. They paintings on a B2B machine with channels of distribution in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. At gift, they declare to have 12 distributors working with them inside the areas of East Godavari, West Godavari, Vishakhapatnam, Nizamabad, and Vijaywada.
50% of revenue is finished before transport even as the last is paid after 30 days of the product being delivered.
For its 2d extent manufacturing, the company produced 500 portions in 5 months and has generated revenues amounting to about $60.7K (INR forty Lakhs), at the time of article book. MIQASA also has corporate agreements with mounted builders to automate complete residential and business tasks in and across the two states they are operational.
“Smart Living Can Be Affordable If Smartly Done”
To truly dismiss MIQASA’s switchboard as a device a good way to assist a user in switching home equipment on and off and ensuring no wastage of power might be smooth to do. As Santosh himself puts it, “We guarantee a fifteen% reduction in the monthly strength bill.”
But the app does so much greater. MIQASA’s software has integrated predictive analytics which purpose to analyze the character conduct in their customers and endorse actions, thus. “For instance, if a specific user works until 8 each night time and desires to prepare dinner dinner inside the induction cooker, all they need to do is to do the identical for 3 days. From day 4 onward, the app will are expecting this behaviour of the user and a reminder will display up at the app to exchange it on.”
MIQASA’s analytics also has a theme-based totally operation for daylight hours utilization, middle of the night utilization, scheduling for various sports and so forth.
Installation, the closing cog within the MIQASA wheel is a 5-10 minute system – the switchboard is retrofitted in existing space (similar to an existing switchboard) and attached to the wiring machine through two wires and the gateway router.
Ease of use, comfort and affordability are 3 major factors that the nascent employer is banking directly to take on contenders in the smart dwelling space. It counts Honeywell, Le Grande, Schneider – mounted players – in addition to more moderen entrants such as Intuit Things as competitors. “Our essential USP is the fact that each one our play occurs at the app. Established corporations use exceptional statistics cables to trade the wiring of the house while we employ current systems and opposite engineered the machine to work with our app and the cloud. It’s a one-time price.”
The employer has also passed on basically decrease stop responsibilities – the assembling and printing of the PCBs – to a 3rd party and saved the crew lean focussing on producing revenue and getting to marketplace so that you can verify product-marketplace healthy as well as scale up.
This move appears to have paid off because the employer is now expanded to be present in Pune, Mumbai, and Bengaluru.
And given that individuals who can’t trust, learn, MIQASA has even set up an Experience Zone at Vijaywada’s One Stop Shop wherein customers could have the various MIQASA merchandise proven live with geysers, lighting fixtures, ACs and so on. “The stay demo makes it easy for brand new customers to recognize the cause of the era and the way smooth it's miles to use. We have obtained as a minimum 1-2 conversions in keeping with day with the demos, seeing that we released the area.” Santosh additionally claims 2-3 installations in Mumbai and Vishakhapatnam in step with day, all of that is leading to a total M-o-M sales of $10.6K (INR 7 Lakhs)-$thirteen.6K (INR 9 Lakhs).
The company also has plans to utilise AI, machine learning to address deeper features within the smart living area despite the fact that hardware, the tangible product will continue to be their center awareness within the months to come. Territory-wise, MIQASA plans to amplify to north India in Noida and Gurugram in 2017.
“We have been funded from day one. Investor self belief aside, it's miles our clients who have proven the finest religion in us and that is what we're counting on to seize the chew of the market,” concludes Santosh.
The Indian government has been aggressively championing the reason of Digital India and Smart residing by way of saying the advent of Smart Cities in India by way of 2030. This has been performed so in a bid to reduce the carbon footprint in overpopulated cities like Delhi, Mumbai and so forth. Urban planning in India is likewise a count of hobby, as cutting-edge structures vis-a-vis sewage, infrastructure as well as power had been deliberate haphazardly and without a concept to burgeoning population as well as depleting assets.
According to this file by using LiveMint, Nasscom claims that the IoT industry is anticipated to touch $15 Bn by 2020, placing it right up there with the analytics big boys. The tech, in a manner, seems to be the perfect technique to reduce dependency on current electricity sources by making really appropriate use of facts and generation to song, lessen, and alternate the way power is ate up.
But, because of aforementioned system defects in city making plans as well as the patchiness and disparity in center-elegance family earning, as well as the shortage of strength in city-rural areas in Tier II, III regions, MIQASA, Intuit Things and others of its ilk might face the problem of scale, adoption and eventual evangelism when they go for a national presence.
MIQASA does have a lean business model, an agile technique in addition to established use-case in Tier II cities which include Vijaywada going for it. How it will likely be embraced via Tier I operators and accordingly gain pan-India reputation, leading to boom is a question that stays unanswered as yet.