Synconext’s IoT product provides actionable insights to reduce energy and space costs while providing better employee comfort, productivity and security.
The future of the workplace means different things to different people. To Vishal Jain, 33, it translates into an IoT solution that optimises energy, space, and productivity of people. That is what drives Synconext, an IoT platform that transforms real estate infrastructure to help businesses achieve better efficiencies.
Things were set into motion eight years ago when Vishal returned from the US to build sensors for energy conservation and design and manufacture of power electronics. Six years later, he has created a Rs 3.5 crore company with a 15-member team. His startup metamorphosed into Synconext in 2016.
“I suddenly realised that building great technology was not enough; the tech should be able to give a value add,” says Vishal, the CEO and Founder of Bengaluru-based Synconext.
The company combines analytics to understand people’s usage of buildings, conserves energy with smart lighting, and helps builders create efficient spaces.
How Synconext works
Their product, IQnext, is enabled with embedded sensors and patented IoT technology, and offers rich data in real time. The sensor system captures real-time micro levels across the building for granular data, including energy, occupancy, daylight, temperature, and others. The plug-and-play system transmits this data, real time, online through wi-fi.
The communication coordinator takes the data from the sensors to the Perimetrix software for reporting and data analysis; it then sends back rule changes and firmware updates.
The Perimetrix platform provides advanced applications to facilitate round-the-clock, accurate data-driven building management systems. This provides actionable insights to reduce energy and space costs while providing better employee comfort, productivity and security.
“The IQnext platform provides solutions for varied applications and requirements in energy management, space optimisation, safety and security, and cost management,” Vishal says.
“The previous technology that I built was on rule engines. It would switch off lights when no one was around. The current platform in Synconext can measure and map. It provides dynamic information to manage offices and organisations save up to 40 percent on their energy bills,” he adds.
In the beginning
Vishal’s love for engineering began as a child. He was fascinated with electronics, and was always tinkering with toys and electronic items. He was also interested in mathematics. He went on to complete his undergraduate and post-graduate degrees in engineering in 2010, from North Eastern University, Boston, US. After he had completed the courses, he realised that he could build systems and market them as well.
In 2010, Vishal started building his business by outsourcing his sensor designs to local manufacturers in Bengaluru and implementing them with builders. He was consulting and working on his designs.
Although Synconext was registered in 2011, it was not until 2016 that the startup became a proper business and Vishal formally started billing in Synconext’s name.
Vishal says he spent a lot of time on R&D and also managed some projects for builders. “It was very difficult at the time because I had invested after borrowing from family. But I managed to scale up,” he says.
He adds that it takes time to understand the workings of the business, stating that “for the first few years it was almost like a sales and integration business”. He decided to change the script in January 2017 with Synconext.
Synconext makes its money from an annual maintenance contract for using its sensors and also charges businesses for analytics about space utilisation. “Space efficiency is the keyword for making employees efficient,” Vishal says.
Over 20 clients have signed up with Synconext as of now. This model works because the product is not sold to builders; it is sold to offices keen to bring down operational expenses. Synconext was part of the accelerator run by Brigade Group, one of largest builders in Southern regions of India.
“We were able to demonstrate our software prowess at the accelerator. Our sensors are plug and play, and don’t require any wired systems,” Vishal says.
This was what brought the businesses that rent offices to the fore.
The market for IoT
According to Gartner, the number of IoT devices installed globally is on the rise. There were 8.4 billion connected things in 2017; there will be 20.4 billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices in 2020. McKinsey predicts the IoT market will be worth $581 billion for ICT-based spend alone by 2020, growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) between 7 and 15 percent.
Synconext competes with other IoT companies like 75F and SmarterHomes in India. But, Vishal believes that these businesses can be complementary to other IoT products. Synconext reveals that Infosys is its client and it is going to scale up with 10 more clients by the end of the year.
The founder is now looking at global opportunities. He believes the business can be scaled up globally and can become a valuable IoT company if they are able to raise VC money soon. The company’s current revenue run rate is about Rs 4 crore a year. Vishal believes the 25-member team can increase its revenue by 2020; he’s aiming to cross Rs 40 crore in revenue and raise money.
Naganand Doraswamy, Founder of IdeaSpring Capital, says: “Businesses have to scale up regardless of their technology prowess.” Clearly, that’s the only way ahead.