This article is powered by Intel India Maker Lab, Department of Science and Technology (DST), and SINE-IIT Bombay
When Intel India initiated the Intel India Makers Lab programme in 2016, it was to fuel innovation and entrepreneurship in the Indian hardware space. As part of this effort, Intel India recently hosted the Plugin Demo Day, as a grand finale for Plugin Edition 2, a unique collaborative incubation programme between Intel India, Department of Science & Technology (DST) and Society for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (SINE)-IIT-Bombay.
The 11 startups who were part of this year’s batch were given the opportunity to develop their products by leveraging key technology tools and platforms, funding, mentorship and ecosystem connects from Intel India Maker Lab in Bengaluru and SINE-IIT Bombay. This year, the focus was on data-centric technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud and Edge computing, to develop innovative products and solutions for healthcare, manufacturing, retail and transportation verticals.
Nivruti Rai, Country Head, Intel India and VP, Data Center Group, Intel Corp, said, “Intel India is deeply committed towards advancing innovation and entrepreneurship in the hardware and systems space that maximises the use of data-centric technologies like AI-ML,, Cloud and Edge computing to develop exciting products and solutions. The third batch of startups from Intel India Maker Lab have developed exciting products for both local and global markets. Many of these products are already in the market, generating revenue and other products look equally promising; we hope to see them achieve greater heights soon. In this effort, we deeply value our collaboration with DST and SINE.”
Speaking about the impact the programme has had over the past three years, Jitendra Chaddah, Senior Director, Operations and Strategy, Intel India, said, “We want India to become a product innovation hub and we have been collaborating with DST and SINE to support startups through technology, mentorship, through providing them infrastructure support, and also connecting them with the our ecosystem so that their products can be enhanced and taken forward.”
He added that it had been a very fulfilling journey during which they had interacted and connected with 60 plus startups, and 40 plus products were either ready or were already in the market.
Building a healthy hardware and systems ecosystem
Speaking about the need for innovation by startups, Dr Anita Gupta, Associate Head, NSTEDB (National Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board), DST, Government of India, said that India needed a massive scale-up in terms of mentoring and funding to promote hardware startups, and added that the government was supporting this endeavour.“Furthering its commitment towards creating an enabling ecosystem for innovative startups with a focus on hardware systems and products, DST initiated the Plugin program, in partnership with Intel and SINE. The programme encourages startups that have real solutions to problems in society, to shape their idea into commercially-scalable products. It’s very encouraging to see innovative products and solutions from the second edition of the Plugin startups from segments like healthcare, manufacturing, retail and transportation”.
Talking about the unique focus of the program, Poyni Bhatt, CEO of SINE said “Plugin is a programme like no other in the way it that it brings together stakeholders from the government, academia and enterprise. Together with manufacturing linkages and investor inputs, it creates a unique ecosystem wherein startups can collectively create an ecosystem where ideas go on to become fully-fledged startups”.
Delivering the opening address, Ashok Chandavarkar – Director, Strategic Initiatives, Intel India, said that the evening was pledged to startups that were disrupting and innovating in the hardware space, and that the Plugin programme was set up to support these startups.
The audience got an inside perspective on industry expectations during a panel discussion on What do corporates look while engaging with startups? with Dilip Jose, CEO Manipal Hospitals and Sanjay Kumar, CGM, Business Development, HPCL, with Ashok Chandavarkar as the moderator. Mr Jose said they were looking for fresh, lateral ideas that add value and were worth investing in at Manipal Hospitals, Mr Kumar said HPCL looks out at four aspects when backing a startup: team, business model and the product, potential to scale, and time taken for revenue realisation.
As part of Demo Day, 11 startups who were part of the Plugin Edition 2 cohort, had the opportunity to pitch their innovations to a packed audience comprising of representatives from Government, Corporate, Investor, Academia and Startups.:
Kaaenaat’s intelligent automotive solution, KROOZ, uses real-time, deep learning inference on edge to provide driver assistance and route monitoring capabilities for vehicles operating in unstructured driving conditions. It leverages computer vision and analyses video data in real-time, without the need for this data to be streamed to the cloud for analysis and processing. The product is currently on customer trials.
Combat Robotics’ solution Arishta is an unmanned remote-controlled portable vehicle for tactical surveillance and intelligence gathering on difficult terrain with unique and adaptive chassis-less motion technology. The product is in the final stage of development
Cyrrup’s solution, Diesel Eye, helps build trust and reduce operating expenses for commercial fleet owners by monitoring fuel theft in real time. The product, which is built on a robust IoT platform, is currently on customer trials.
NOOS Technologies leverages IoT and Machine Learning to provide a Unified Brand Protection Solution using Innovative Non-Clonable Patent-pending Packaging Security Technology in the retail space. They are in the final stage of product development
Using AI and IoT, Maxerience’s solution Helix enables FMCG companies to comprehend product availability at the retail shelf level in real time using vision edge analytics. Their product is in the customer trial phase.
Entropik Tech’s Affect Lab is a SaaS Emotion AI platform that enables brands and agencies to measure human emotions at scale to optimise marketing ROI. The cloud-based solution uses Electroencephalograms (EEG), facial coding, and eye tracking to measure human emotions. Entropik’s product is already in the revenue generating stage.
SensoVision is enabling automation of quality inspection in manufacturing units through its AI-based solution. Combining AI and computer vision with custom mechanical and optical engineering, the solution helps automate inspection of parts ranging from screws to large automobile components. The end-to-end solution, QualViz, identifies visual and dimensional defects with a 99.99 percent accuracy, while processing 250,000 parts per day. Sensovision’s product is already generating revenues.
Constems-AI uses computer vision-based AI to automate business operations processes by eliminating manual interventions and enhancing safety, security, control, and operational efficiencies. Its range of solutions offer critical insights for industrial product quality checks, retail store asset tracking and in-store consumer engagement with the help of deep learning-enabled image analytics. Constems AI is also generating revenues.
SkinCurate Research’s product, DerminsightTM helps primary health physicians screen and diagnose different skin conditions using a deep learning inference models on an edge device. The product is in the final stage of development.
Cyclops MedTech caters to people with eye conditions by building clinical and wearable diagnostic and rehabilitation products for early and timely detection of neuro-vestibular disorders using eye tracking technology. The product – BalanceEye, helps neurologists, audiologists and ENT specialists ascertain the root cause of dizziness and multiple balance disorders using eye tracking technology. The product is already generating revenues.
Uber Diagnostics Pvt Ltd
Uber Diagnostics’ Cardiotrack is an AI-based SaaS platform for cardiac care that provides cloud and edge computing-based diagnostics. The Cardiotrack m-Health platform allows primary care physicians to view ECG data captured by IoT sensors, store patient records for easy retrieval and send the information for secure storage in the cloud. Uber Diagnostics is already revenue-generating.
The evening ended with an award ceremony for the startups that were named as winners of Plugin Edition 2.
- Winner: Constems-AI Systems Pvt Ltd
- First runner-up: Noos Technologies Pvt. Ltd
- Second runner-up: Combat Robotics India Pvt Ltd
- Special Award: Cyclops MedTech Pvt Ltd
The hardware entrepreneurial space in India is yet to catch up with the thriving software space. However, programmes like Plugin, wherein the Government, Academia and Corporates come together to support startups are giving them the much needed fillip to power ahead, scale and succeed.
The call for application for Plugin edition 3 will be announced soon. Get updates here.