Children or grown-ups, Bengaluru's SafeInCity is working to keep everyone safe with its IoT deviceVishal Krishna
Software product companies have never been our calling card. India has traditionally struggled to produce champion companies in this space, due to a variety of factors. YourStory brings to you a dozen startups in the space, under #ProductUprising which have the potential to scale, despite the hurdles.
Bengaluru-based SafeInCity’s platform allows real-time information about a person’s location, entry and exit from safe zones, and the environment through a little wearable device.
How safe are you and your loved ones in the city? Going by recent news reports of attacks and assaults – especially on school children – the world is an extremely unsafe place.
Krishnendu Dasgupta, a former corporate honcho, woke up to the widespread prevalence of risk and endangerment when he watched a news report on TV. The year was 2014, the time when a shocking case of child abuse at a reputed school in Bengaluru had shaken every Indian. This incident changed the course of Krishnendu’s life; after 22 years in various corporate roles across the world, including 14 years at Cisco Systems, he decided to build a solution that could help people keep their loved ones safe.
In 2015, he started SafeInCity to address the issue of safety through technology. His aim was one: “to provide the best safety shield around our families at a very affordable cost.” After six months of research and testing, he customised and built a solution. Almost everyone he spoke to wanted to buy one – be it for their children, sister or other family members.
What does SafeInCity do?
SafeInCity’s software fits inside a smartly designed hardware that can be pinned to or placed in a pocket. It serves as a live GPS tracker of the kid. The same product can be given to adults with an 80db panic alarm and can be used to intimate the family in case of any eventuality. The corporate solution lets the employee, at the push of a button, call in the corporate’s security team in case of any emergency. The solution for cars lets the user pull information about the car’s diagnostics.
The first client was the school where Krishnendu’s daughter studied.
“We began working with Deen’s Academy to see how technology could be used as a medium to improve student safety. It wasn’t as much an issue of winning over the customer as it was about helping the school ensure a safer environment,” Krishnendu says. “The school was genuinely concerned about the problem and, in the process of solving it, the company was created and we gained a client,” he says.
SafeInCity has since deployed multiple solutions and titles them as:
- Non-intrusive GPS/GSM-based wearables for school students
- GPS-based fleet management solutions
- Real Time Location System (RTLS) solutions
- Customised solutions for enterprise safety
The first sector that Krishnendu focused on was child safety. In 2015, he began to ship the product to schools.
“We were more concerned about helping schools create a safer environment for students more than anything else. The early days were a quite a rush; they involved getting our hands dirty and being involved in every step along the way - right from product design and development to manufacturing to on-the-ground sales and marketing,” Krishnendu recalls.
Next up: enterprise safety
Currently, SafeInCity’s flagship product - ITUS (Enterprise Employee Safety) - will kick off pilot programmes in corporate India’s biggest names. A pilot is already on at AstraZeneca.
ITUS provides a lot of benefits apart from solving some very fundamental problems faced by both employees and their companies:
- No active tracking, which means employee privacy is not compromised.
- Single-touch SOS alert, which provides a pre-validated employee profile with the exact location of the alert raised to the corporate security operations centre.
- Multifunctional single window dashboard and incident management system for corporate security.
- Corporate security has all details at their disposal to take a better and informed decision, and respond more effectively and quickly.
- Works seamlessly across the world and can be deployed globally.
- Alerts can also be sent to personal emergency contacts, local law enforcement*, social media*, radio* (*can be customized as per each company’s requirement).
The business model
Mohit Nambiar, Co-founder of SafeInCity, says: “Our solution is non-intrusive and does not require any change in existing security and access control infrastructure being used by companies. Given the high value being provided by ITUS in addressing a clear gap in enterprise security, we believe that the future is very positive for this solution.”
He adds that there is another layer of security for all corporate employees, which is a great addition to an enterprise’s security arsenal.
Denise Rueb, Research Director at Gartner, says, “IoT services are central to the rise in IoT devices.” Total IoT services spending (professional, consumer and connectivity services) reached $273 billion in 2017.
“Services are dominated by the professional IoT-operational technology category where providers assist businesses in designing, implementing, and operating IoT systems,” Rueb says.
The competition for SafeinCity comes from Purnatva (seed funded by Axilor Ventures), which is selling a solution to schools to track a child in a school bus. The child signs off when he or she gets off from the bus. Alcatel Movetime, Leaf Wearables and Letstrack Kido are some of the companies that have already built solutions for children.
The business model for SafeInCity, which is bootstrapped, involves an annual maintenance contract and the cost of devices bought by the corporate or school. The company creates a data platform from which the corporate can figure out patterns of attacks and protect employees.
Krishnendu has invested Rs 50 lakh into the business and is looking to generate higher revenues in the financial year 2019. As of now, he did not disclose revenues.
Mahesh Lingareddy, Chairman of Smartron, says: “The more IP created in India through software and design, the better for the country as it makes India go global. We need to be a product nation.”
SafeInCity, has reached more than 20 schools and will try to reach at least 30 corporate companies by the end of the financial year 2019. At least the product uprising story in India has begun and hopefully will make India proud in the long run.