As a lot of telecom operators, communication service providers and government agencies are looking at creating IoT strategy – Aeris is an end-to-end M2M communications and IoT service provider which can enable seamless connectivity for IoT fabric.
Dr Rishi Bhatnagar, President of Operations for Aeris India speaks with Zia Askari from TelecomDrive.com about how the company is looking the fast emerging IoT space and its plans for India.
How do you look at the Indian market today, especially at a time when all the operators are looking at IoT space and trying to device their IoT strategy?
See, I’ll give you an example. In 2006, the iPhone came. The telecom industry, even today calls their customers ‘subscribers’. So there is a mindset of the telecom industry that they call their customer a subscriber because of the old thing of the wired subscribed lines and you used to subscribe a line. People used to run for that subscription. And that is what had happened to the telecom industry that they didn’t realize that customer requirements have changed. And then iPhone came.
The moment iPhone came, people are buying a device, not the connectivity from the operator. Operator have become the back office. Whether you take, in India say, Vodafone, Idea, or Airtel, it doesn’t matter as much as whether you buy an iPhone or Huwaei or a Samsung device and how sleek it is and how beautiful it is and how many applications you can download.
Because at that time the operators didn’t focus on their customers, whom they called their subscribers, as a result: they lost. This is the time that they can pick up again and start thinking what the customer needs. And the customer needs an end-to-end solution, they can become an IoT solution provider, and they can take over as a first step to the customer.
As a result, with the connectivity network power being increased, the connectivity becoming much faster – 3G, 4G and now, people are talking about 5G – which to me is very far for India, but in India 4G is getting enabled.
Now with the speed being fast, people can get more solutions on their device and if the operators can work on this and that’s the reason why the operators are getting very excited about implementing and getting into the solutions so that they at least would not lose the market.
Do you have any test or pilots going on in India or do you have customers in India, because it is a very exciting space?
There are so many customers. In Lucknow, the police department worked on the smart security surveillance, they put the cameras, the cameras got connected, the cameras got connected devices and they could monitor and everything could be done from the remote location. And this is an IoT solution. You look at the Vehicle telematics, that’s an IoT solution, whether it is Reva car E2o, it’s an IoT connected car.
Is there any Aeris involvement in India as of now. Are you working with any operators?
We are working with Aircel, we have already been selected by Aircel. We are providing the company a platform of ours to them. In addition, with them we have already started the vehicle telematics and smart meter solutions in the Indian market. And that’s what we have already started. We are talking to other operators and we are getting very positive vibes.
As of now, do you have any operations in India?
We have started the company in India, we have now registered our office in Noida, and I have around 20 people working in our group. And we’ll be around 100 people by the end of this year.
And these are people working primarily in what area?
There’ll be people who’ll be working on our product. So, they’ll be engineers. Then there’ll be Sales, Marketing and complete office who’ll be working on different things.
And when it comes to operators, what kind of advantages does your solution bring to their ecosystem?
In their ecosystem, our solution will be able to do the device management. Because devices will be required to be implemented when you do an IoT solution. So we can do connectivity with their devices and help them in developing solutions on top of those devices and do the analytics of the data that is coming.
Today a lot of enterprise customers are also looking at IoT in a number of areas. So, how can you help them?
We can directly, or with the operators, go to the enterprise customers and our approach is to go via the operators and in some cases directly. We are the technology providers to the operators.
What is your go-to market strategy as of now with corporates in India?
With Aircel we have our team which worked with their enterprise-sales teams and go to their enterprise customers and try to sell them the IoT solutions, understand their requirements and connect them.
Any details on investment that you can share with us?
I won’t be able to do that. But, we will be giving jobs to around 100 people by end of this year, and we will be implementing a complete IoT stack so that’s the kind of investment we are making.