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This father-son duo is using IoT to help companies in fleet management

Neha Jain
posted on 11th January 2018
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Hyderabad-based IoT Research Labs is an IoT-powered, analytics-driven company for fleet management

Startup: IoT Research Labs

Founders:  Deekshith Duvalla and Thanmai Deekshith

Year it was founded: 2015

Where it is based: Hyderabad

Sector: IoT and analytics-based sensors

The problem it solves: Fleet management using IoT

Funding raised: Bootstrapped

Every industry faces multiple challenges, and opportunities to take them on using new technologies are aplenty. The commercial vehicle industry is plagued by issues, such as poor driving, pilferage of goods and fuel, and absence of real-time vehicle information, which lead to a lot of operational inefficiencies and also safety concerns.

Sensing an opportunity and with a burning desire to make a difference using Internet of Things (IoT), Thanmai Deekshith and Deekshith Duvalla started IoT Research Labs in 2015.

The firm is an IoT-powered, analytics-driven company for fleet management.

Thanmai says, “The solutions equip fleets with insights that allow them to increase productivity and profitability by 10-15 percent.”

The current focus is on transportation, logistics, mining, infrastructure and FMCG space.

The offering has two parts to it – one is the IoT-based sensor, and the other is the proprietary software that they provide. Explains Thanmai,

“After understanding the specific customer requirements we not only suggest the suitable hardware device but also provide the customised software solution.”

The IoT-based sensor gathers the required information from the vehicle, which is then sent to the application. The user can log onto the application to view the detailed reports fleet. It has an interactive dashboard. The user can navigate through the application to see all the reports, which are represented in form of charts, graphs and tables.

It also sends exception-based alerts on the basis of specific customer requirements via email, SMS and notifications.

The startup claims to provide insightful reports and analytics that help businesses to make data-driven business decisions. The solutions offered include – live tracking, fuel monitoring, temperature monitoring, RFID/biometric integration, school bus monitoring and employee transport.

“We go a step ahead and also provide extensive analytics on driver behaviour, which not only leads to huge savings but also have a significant impact on the safety of the drivers,” Thanmai adds.

Initial roadblocks

Highlighting a few challenges that were unique to the IoT Research labs,  Thanmai says, “The challenge was to educate people about this technology and its benefits, as, even though fleet owners were keen to adopt this technology from the day one, drivers were not.”

Hence they started using concepts like gamification to help incentivise the complete process for drivers. It was well-accepted and has led to increase in efficiency and profitability, explains Thanmai.

As the transportation sector in India is highly fragmented, Thanmai says, “Not only do companies take trucks on lease for their operations, but they do so from multiple sources. Hence, it is an extremely tough to persuade them to install something permanently.”

It follows a two-fold approach to solve the problem. First, they are trying to get in touch with the transporters directly and educating them about the benefits. Secondly, they have come up with portable devices just so that fleet owners/managers become aware of the benefits.

The team at IoT Research Labs

People behind the idea

The idea to start up first came to Thanmai. After discussing with his father, he decided to start together with him.

He says, “As soon as the idea popped in my head, I talked to my father about it. I think every son would do that. As we started talking we understood that I could harness technologies such as IoT and cloud computing. As things progressed, we also talked about how we could make use of data analytics. It struck me at that very moment that he would be the best person to oversee my idea, as it evolved.”

Deekshith has over 20 years of experience in various fields such as IT, software services and system integration. He used to head OSS Technologies before starting IoT Research Labs.

The core team also has Guntapalli Prasad and Shibani Sen, who are family friends to the founders and work as Director and Chief Operations Officer respectively.

At present they have an 18-member team divided into software development, sales, marketing, R&D, technical support and operational support.

Growing clientele

After servicing clients throughout the country, the firm has gathered clientele from Nigeria as well. The team claims to have broken even and is projecting to hit a revenue of around Rs 5 crore in the current financial year.

Clients come from various sectors such as cement industry, schools, MNCs, logistics, among others. They have serviced over 70 clients and have an installed base of around 5,000 devices spread across India.

The revenue model is two-fold: one being the hardware cost and the other being the SaaS model (monthly) that it provides.

Bootstrapped so far, it has also gathered recognition. Thanmai says,

“Our proposition was recently recognised by T-Hub at the Road to GES event when we were selected from over 1,100 startups and awarded the Star Innovator of the Year award. This also paved the way to GES for us.”

The way forward

The global IoT market was estimated at $5.964 billion in 2015 and is projected to reach $26.951 billion by 2020 at a compounded annual growth rate of 35.21 percent over the forecast period.

In the last five years, IoT startups have grabbed attention and angel.co has listed over 3,000+ global IoT startups. According to CB Insights, a whopping $12.5 billion has been put into IoT startups worldwide over the last five years by the VC community.

Talking about its differentiator, Thanmai says, “What sets us apart is the fact that our solutions are customer-centric. We go much beyond tracking and providing insightful reports and analytics, which helps businesses make data-driven decisions. Our solutions are scalable and we also provide API integration with the ERP/SAP. Our solutions have proven to have a 10-15 percent impact on the bottom line of a lot of firms.”

In the future, it is in the process of incorporating artificial intelligence and machine learning to enhance reporting insights. It also intends to combine the solution with the insurance sector.

“Since we can provide features such as accident monitoring and driver behaviour, our aim to link premiums/payouts of insurance to our data. This would completely alter the face of the automotive insurance industry once and for all,” says Thanmai.

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