Shortlisted startups in the Qualcomm® Design in India Challenge share their progress, challenges and future roadmap - 2Sindhu MV
This article is sponsored by Qualcomm.
After a quick update from five of the shortlisted 10 startups of QDIC, on how far they have progressed, the roadblocks that they are facing, and their immediate future roadmap, here’s an update from the other five.
Idea: Kiba – a camera that automatically captures and shares joy through videos
The team at Lensbricks has just completed a few pilots and have received customer feedback which Pranav Mishra, CTO, terms as largely positive. He says the feedback has given them insights to improve the product. While the product hardware is almost completed, it is the app which has been most challenging. “Most friendly customers’ feedback point out a need to improve the User Interface (UI). Since our product generates video content, the challenge the users are facing is that they have to go down a couple of layers to view the video, which is not something they are happy with. So we are reworking the UI front.”
The team is looking to launch the app in September-October this year. Pranav says that associating with Qualcomm has been very helpful as the hardware and software tools which Qualcomm helped them with have not only brought down the cost of product development, but also helped them speed up the product development process.
Idea: Advanced hybrid blimp
“QDIC gave us the initial push, which helped us get an investor on-board,” says Vivek Mishra, Director, Vice President and Co-Founder. He adds, “Being part of QDIC also helped us get registered as part of the Startup India programme.” The team is working on what they call an advanced hybrid blimp. A combination of an Octocopter and a blimp, the advanced blimp will house various sensing and communication capabilities which, along with the capability of long flights, will make it a very powerful product for both civil and defence use.
The co-founder shares that they even before becoming a part of QDIC, they had already developed a scaled down version of the prototype which had all the capabilities and algorithms that the team wanted to implement in the actual prototype. Now, as one of the 10 short-listed startups that are part of QDIC, the team is testing various components that can go into the blimp and build a scaled-up version of the earlier prototype. He says, “We are in the testing phase. We have finalised about 70 percent of the components that will go into the product. We hope to finalise the remaining 30 percent in the next few weeks.”
Apart from connecting the Myelin team to experts and providing financial assistance, Qualcomm has also provided the team with one of its own flight controllers. Vivek says, “The flight controller is one of the best in the market. That’s not all, the Qualcomm team has gone a step further to help us develop the software platform for it.”
The biggest challenge for Myelin is “finding skilled manpower who are committed to their idea,” but that’s something that will take time to address, adds the Co-founder.
Idea: High Performance Computing (HPC) framework for IoT applications
Amit Bhatt, Founder, Treepie, Consulting explains that their product development can be divided into two stages. The first is the development of the hardware infrastructure, which has been mostly completed. The second is the software development. It is this stage which has been slightly challenging for the team and has required more time and effort than expected. But, the Qualcomm experts have played a vital role in helping the team address the challenges. Amit says, “Without the Qualcomm team’s help, we couldn’t possibly have moved as far as we have now. While the software and hardware support have been more than helpful, the expert advice has been a big booster.”
Amit has a very positive outlook when it comes to the challenges. “I would have been very surprised if there were no challenges. That also means that anyone could have built the product that we are building.” Amit terms these challenges as ‘pinpricks’, and adds that they expect to complete the project in a few months.
Idea: Intelligent surveillance camera
Navanee Sundaramoorthy, Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer, Uncanny Vision explains that computer vision is computationally challenging. So a key requirement for them as a company focused on developing computer vision for IoT devices is that they need a platform that enables better vision. He says, “That’s why Qualcomm’s support, in the form of two excellent platforms, is making a lot of difference to us. Also, the IP connected camera, which they have given us is one of the most advanced surveillance camera hardware that exists today. We have been able to port our software on to it and are quite impressed with its performance.” Navanee explains that the next step for the team is to add higher level algorithms onto the platform. With that, they should be able to launch their next-generation surveillance solution by October-November this year.
Giving insights into some of the industry developments, Navanee explains that Artificial Intelligence is on the verge of dramatically altering the purpose of surveillance cameras. Adding to this complexity is the fact that IoT devices are challenging to work with. Since their product is an intelligent surveillance camera, it means they have to tackle challenges associated with both these areas. Navanee says, “We are working hard, and the Qualcomm teams – both engineering and marketing – are supporting us. We are going ahead full throttle.”
Idea: An innovative reliable IP connectivity to surveillance cameras by intelligently aggregating 2G/3G/4G links.
Raghavendran heads the engineering division at Watchy Technologies. Talking about their journey as one of the top 10 finalists at the Qualcomm Design in India Challenges, he says, “Initially we shared the goals which Watchy Technologies wanted to achieve from this programme, and this led to an interesting discussion with the Qualcomm team.”
That’s when the team figured out that the Qualcomm team’s expertise with RF technology could come in handy for their project. Raghavendran explains, “While we are working on our algorithm, because we are good at it, Qualcomm experts are helping us develop the RF technology required for the product. This way, we are able to combine our mutual strengths and design a great product.” The Watchy Technologies team is hoping to launch the product by the end of December this year or early next year.
Qualcomm’s Report Card on the progress of the finalists and how Qualcomm is pitching in with the support
Kiran Chikkappa, Product Leader, Qualcomm, shares the update.
Lensbricks Technology: The startup has progressed very fast and has an advanced prototype which is ready for trial with friendly users.
Myelin Innovations: Qualcomm has provided the startup our hardware and software platforms, which they are using and trying to build an octocopter by themselves. We have showcased a demo with a quadcopter and are providing all the necessary support to help them in the project.
Treepie Consulting: They have built something on top of our hardware and we are trying to see how to fit them into the service space. So far, the challenge for the Qualcomm team has been to figure out more about the market and the intricacies associated with the product.
Uncanny Vision: The team has done some brilliant work really fast and are ready for a customer launch. For developing their product, they have used one of our reference platforms.
Watchy Technologies: The team’s product development is very challenging as they are attempting to build something very different. At the moment, Qualcomm’s engagement is to help them with the required hardware support. We have also put them in touch with Qualcomm’s RF experts to enable the team to mitigate any problems in that field.
Keep watching this space for more updates on QDIC.