Cisco estimates that 50 billion devices and objects will be connected to the Internet by 2020. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the next technology transition where devices will allow us to sense and control the physical world. At the recently concluded Techcircle Startup 2014, eminent panellists discussed the prospects and pain points of being in the IoT space. The panel—moderated by Sanjay Nath, co-founder and MD, Blume Ventures—highlighted some interesting implications of IoT with regards to the explosion in mobile growth and the importance of IP. Following are some of the forward-looking observations made by the panelists:
Vinay Nathan, co-founder, Altizon Systems
A century ago, IBM was founded by combining the skills of tableting, recording and computing while the world looked at these as three different businesses. IBM merged these to give value to enterprises. IoT is similar in the sense as it merges technology, sensor and sensor networks with computing at the edge to do data ingestion and many other things in a heterogeneous manner. It took us seven months to build our product, after several retractions. You have to find a way to be funded to do all of that. Another big challenge in India is compliance. That's another key area that you need to plan; otherwise it will suck up your bandwidth in no time. But India has every skill set that is needed.
Bahubali Vasant Shete, managing director, Connovate Technologies
The market size of IoT is overestimated to start with but underestimated in the long term. We are underprepared to embrace IoT as the country lacks infrastructure and the ecosystem for entrepreneurs to get started in this space. We have to rely on the right hardware partners most of which are Chinese. In terms of funding, we received less than 5% of the crowd funding for Gecko from Indians which shows that the IoT market is not largely appreciated. But this is the right time to get into it. Cisco is talking about a 99 cent IPv6 device getting into almost everything that we talk about. With that kind of adoption falling in place, IoT is going to be huge. The size of the market will be humongous though it will not be immediate.
Abhishek Latthe, CEO, Sensegiz
With mobile, India has had a boom period for the last five years. But IoT has drawbacks as it relies on technologies like Bluetooth or NFC which are not present in all budget smartphones; this tech comes only in high-end phones. That leaves only about 10% of the phones used in India equipped to handle IoT products. The brighter side of being in this part of the world is that you can get a product developed at a much lower cost. So if we started in Silicon Valley, we would have spent 10 times of what we did. And until your product sets the ball rolling, if you have an IP, some enterprises may be interested in integrating your tech in their products which can be a primary revenue generator.