With global market connects, access to technology and hands-on support, here’s how Qualcomm is rallying for the success of Indian IoT startups
Qualcomm has been the forerunner of Corporate India’s efforts to transform into a digitally empowered economy. In 2016, Qualcomm initiated the Qualcomm Design in India Program with its first initiative called Qualcomm Design in India Challenge (QDIC), a startup incubation program run in a contest format, that, over its four iterations has played a significant role in this effort by spurring the domestic hardware ecosystem and equipping the domestic startup ecosystem to enhance its design and manufacturing capabilities, especially in IoT. While the incubation program is a key part, the other components that got added in subsequent years include Accelerated Design Program (engagement with its licensed customers) and Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship (engagement with the academic research community). Qualcomm Innovation Lab provides the necessary technical support, tools and test equipment across a range of technologies for all the three initiatives.
In 2019, Qualcomm added a “late stage track” to the Qualcomm Design in India Challenge, which allowed mature startups looking to integrate one or more of Qualcomm Technologies to approach Qualcomm to get the required engineering support even when the “contest track” was already underway. This allowed these startups to work with Qualcomm at the right stage of their product development cycle. Following startups benefited through this approach as part of QDIC 2019.
Ensemble Tech Pvt. Ltd.
For over 16 years, Deepak Gupta and Naveen Jagannathan led the development of more than 50 products for the global market with their first company, Ensemble Tech. In 2019, the entrepreneurs tapped into the IoT market with Inaluz - a dedicated smart cities and smart lighting solutions company. Though the company was in stealth for the first few months and formally registered only this year, Inaluz had also developed and completed testing in more than 15 countries globally. “We have also been carrier approved by Reliance Jio in India, and we are partnering with them for deployments.”
The team is now strengthening its key product - a smart street lighting system.
“We are perhaps the only company in India to offer single-point hardware and cloud-based CCMS (Central Command and Monitoring system) that can be used with both greenfield and brownfield deployments,” explains Deepak.
“Currently, there are many players manufacturing either the devices or the CCMS, but we are the only ones with a seamless combination of both. Also, our products are available with a host of communication technologies that enable us to deploy in any country.”
Parallelly, the team is working on integrations of other ancillary solutions like smart parking, smart signages & displays and smart EV charges that can leverage an existing smart lighting network. In this journey, Inaluz found a supporting partner in Qualcomm
“They have helped us with access to their proprietary software and hands-on training sessions otherwise not available to a company our size. The exposure that we got through their Smart Cities Accelerate events in the US and India have helped tremendously to connect with large Smart Cities system integrators,” Deepak says.
With Qualcomm’s support, they are now in contact with system integrators like Tech Mahindra and L&T and many overseas system integrators from USA and Latin American markets as well.
The startup is currently deploying its solution in India in small and medium volumes and has been simultaneously running pilot deployments globally.
“The size of the market is huge. India alone has more than 25 million streetlight poles. Growing in this segment is easy if one has the agility in the product and solution to meet specific customer demands, which we possess,” says Deepak.
Atoll Solutions Pvt. Ltd.
Established by Jithu Niruthambath in September 2014, Atoll Solutions is a bootstrapped company, which has been profitable from the first year of operations. In the last five years, the startup has worked with industry leaders like ISRO, Accenture, OYO Rooms and Havells, among others. Today, it has two key products – Atoll Kinesis and Atoll RMC. Atoll Kinesis is a complete indoor location-as-a-service platform that simplifies indoor location tracking, while Atoll’s RMC systems can be deployed for energy management, building automation, especially for use cases involving remote monitoring.
Interestingly, today Atoll is at the cusp of a revolution. “We began as a hardware-focused company, but today we are also taking on a service provider approach, building a number of custom IoT solutions for customers,” explains Jithu.
“We are building ourselves into a complete solutions provider. While, for the India market, the focus will be on off-the-shelf hardware modules, we are seeing global traction to offer and support services for full-stack IoT development - from sensor hardware to cloud applications.
Recognizing Atoll’s expertise in developing connected products especially in the smart home category and its expertise in developing firmware and cloud applications, Qualcomm introduced Atoll to some of its clients that needed customized firmware solutions.
“That’s not all, they have also enabled global visibility for us, especially those in San Diego and Taiwan. We also got access to the Qualcomm leadership, which helped us understand the market dynamics and sentiments better,” says Jithu.
And, considering that the startup Atoll works at the heart of developing and deploying IoT solutions and products, Atoll integrates Qualcomm Wi-Fi and BLE chipsets. Atoll Kinesis has deployed several pilot setups and is actively looking to expand to multiple sites and verticals across India. It is also building several custom IoT solutions for customers in the US.
Transight Systems Pvt. Ltd.
Childhood friends, Feroz Rehman and Gis George founded Transight in 2014 after they realized the need for automation in logistics. Today, Transight is a million-dollar company that is into R&D of Telematics Products including GPS Trackers, Vehicle Diagnostics Solutions, RFID Solutions etc. They also work with large system integrators and telecom companies to provide them with IoT-based Devices and Software Platforms. Transight has an extensive IoT manufacturing base with a daily production capacity for over 2,000 devices.
“L&T, Vodafone, and some of the big names across categories have been our clients. The Government of India’s mandate to implement vehicle trackers in all public transportation vehicles across India helped us become a pioneer in the AIS140 approved GPS tracking device market in India.”
Feroz says, “There are roughly about two crore vehicles that come under the mandate. This alone is a INR 20,000 Cr. market.” This is a key focus area for Transight, and the team has been working round the clock to meet the demand.
But, Transight has not limited its attention to the opportunities in the Indian market alone. “We have begun exporting Telematics devices and Software Platforms into various countries in Africa, Australia and South America where the IoT industry is now picking pace.” Helping Transight tap the market opportunities in India and beyond is Qualcomm.
“Since mobile to mobile connectivity is at the core of our work, the opportunity to work alongside Qualcomm brings in a number of advantages - from market exposure with global systems integrators and telecom companies to working on latest communications like NB-IoT and CAT-M1. With Qualcomm providing hands-on support with their latest platforms and chipsets, our team has been able to learn and accelerate product development, which is a huge gain for a startup.”