This indoor tracking company with patented technology for accurate accountability of assets and people, is powered by the Intel Startup Program

Founded by Venugopal Kapre, Pratik Magar and Bala Chitoor in 2017, Vacus Tech believes that its technology is one of the most advanced, yet simple to use across industry segments including data centres, smart buildings, hospitals, warehouses, manufacturing, logistics etc.

Location detection technology has transformed the world immeasurably and has impacted life in ways we never imagined. GPS - the as-yet most popularly leveraged location detection technology - has transformed movement, both at a personal and population-scale level.

However, it has its accuracy limits. GPS, for instance, typically has a resolution measured from roughly 3 to 15 meters, with challenges when applied to a micro-level - which is where Vacus comes in.

Vacus has developed what it bills as ‘the world's first indoor positioning technology’ which solves the interference immunity issue, thereby leading to scalable and accurate deployments - down to the centimeter.

It can enable businesses and individuals to achieve more with real-time accurate indoor positioning and analytics. A missing iPad, for instance, could be tagged to make it easy to find the device - down to the centimeter. In fact, the accuracy for their proprietary indoor positioning technology is 30 centimetres.

Improving the indoor micro-location technology arena

Recent research by Reports And Data reveals that the micro-location technology market is poised to reach nearly $50 billion by 2026 - catalysed by the diverse use cases and potential for the technology to solve location challenges at scale. What’s more, the APAC region is set to witness the highest CAGR of 19.2 percent during the forecast period.

While traditionally, indoor location needs were solved by use of technologies like ultra-wideband (UWB), active RFID and WiFi sensors, the technology lacks reliability, scalability and adaptability. This is largely due to the fact that the technology is sensitive to multi-paths which can interfere with its optimal working.

Vacus’ indoor positioning technology solves this interference immunity issue with its patented antenna arrangement system, thereby leading to scalable and accurate deployments. Vacus Tech develops indoor positioning solutions which use its patented radio fencing technology. Vacus’ DAS (Dual Antenna System) is a radio technology that can accurately measure the angle and direction of arrival leading to a centimeter level location measurement.

DAS is also specifically designed to mitigate radio multi-path interference propagation in a typical environment. Its solution consists of transmitters in the form of tags (that are attached to people or assets) and multi-antenna array receivers. The technology achieves centimetre-level positioning which is used to track assets and people for productivity safety enhancement.

The startup currently serves multiple business verticals including pharma, data centers, oil and gas, and transportation business verticals for asset optimisation and compliance. More recently, the technology has been leveraged to ensure accurate monitoring of social distancing and following of COVID-19 protocols while indoors.

The founding team

Founded by Venugopal Kapre, Pratik Magar and Bala Chittoor in 2017, the founding team had its origins as a hackathon team. Venugopal’s strengths lay in communication tech – having prior patents in the wireless communication domain. Pratik and Bala’s expertise lay in sales and marketing and were key in expanding the use cases for the solution.

“Prior to the pandemic, our focus was to create smart buildings and workplaces that ensured safety and security of the employees working inside. But when the pandemic struck, a lot of automobile companies reached out to help track factory workers with respect to the following of COVID protocols,” says Pratik, who spent two years to build this technology along with co-founder Venugopal.

How the Intel Startup Program powered Vacus’ growth journey

“The Intel Startup Program via the Plugin Alliance, has been supporting us in market access, refining our marketing strategies, and product improvement ideation. Intel also provides us with global best practices along with inter- and intra-industry interaction to improve our solutions,” says the CTO, talking about how Intel played a significant role in accelerating the startup’s business and technology product improvements, which helped them define their way ahead in terms of technology and go-to-market.

“Working with Intel has helped us in making our cloud-to-edge solution stable, reliable, and faster to deploy. The Intel Startup program helped us finalize our architecture and scale up the solution. At the time we were able to produce only 3,000 to 4,000 tags and to scale beyond 10,000 tags, we needed an efficient gateway that could handle such a big load. That’s when Intel helped us further with an OEM board which enables deployments at scale,” says Venugopal.

With Intel’s help, the team also managed to source the gateway boards despite challenges posed by the lockdown and global silicon shortage.

The Intel Startup Program: enabling startups to scale their game-changing innovations

The Intel Startup Program is Intel India’s flagship program to engage with technology startups who have an IP or innovative solutions that have the potential to create impact on customers and align with Intel's focus areas. The program is at the forefront of engaging with India’s startup ecosystem through high impact collaborations with the industry, academia and government, and runs multiple initiatives that are either vertically aligned or focused on emerging technologies.

It engages with startups that have a unique global or local value proposition to solve genuine customer problems, enabling them with domain and business expertise from the industry and mentorship from Intel.

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