The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic saw the online grocery delivery segment surge overnight. However, several startups in the segment lacked the technology readiness to keep up with the demand, due to the unavailability of necessary insights into their operations to optimise workflow and maximise the available infrastructure.
Bengaluru-based IoTReady Technology Solution has made a business out of such pain points.
The two-year-old internet of things (IoT)-based startup recently enabled an established egrocer to realise faster efficiencies by gaining insights on the movement of produce, retention time and freshness evaluation. It has also helped clients implement produce flow, with components such as smart weighing scales; scanners to identify produce suppliers and tag incoming material; metal barcode ID tags and smart barcode printers; scanners for produce repacking as well as an enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform to track workflow information transfer.
The Tej Pochiraju-led firm, part of the latest SAP Startup Studio, looks to build products for SMEs that can change how their devices function. It offers a customisable IoT stack that connects IoTReady’s industrial IoT (IIoT) and consumer IoT (CIoT) offerings with its client’s hardware, apps, voice and cloud services.
“The basic pain point that we try to address is to help SMEs innovate frugally. We make building blocks that our customers can procure and build on top of,” Pochiraju told TechCircle. “For industries, our EdgeBox and dashboards help bring everyone from CAD engineers to managers to shop floor operators on the same page.”
An IIT Kharagpur and Queen’s University of Belfast alumnus, Pochiraju began his entrepreneurial journey in 2013 with MicroGrace. The open research and development (R&D) studio used open source technologies to create reusable basic technology blocks and proprietary business layers.
From 2014 to 2019, he was part of Jaaga, which identifies itself as a space built to serve the local arts and technology communities. Appointed the organisation’s director in 2015, Pochiraju spun off IoTReady, an idea that was conceptualised at Jaaga Labs, into a separate entity in 2018.
The $82.4 billion global IIoT market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.3% during the 2020-2028 period, as per Quince Market Insights. The growth, it said, is expected to be driven by the advancement in the manufacturing industry, advent of Industry 4.0 and the standardisation of IPv6.
IoTReady’s IIoT offerings include application specific data loggers and communication modules, smart human machine interfaces, and edge computers backed by artificial intelligence, mobile applications and ERP connectors.
The pandemic has forced industries to cut production rates, which has pushed companies to rethink their investment strategies. “Manufacturers want to improve the quality of their output, without extreme expenses. Even for a company that has invested crores in the machines, going fully digital in terms of eliminating the human chain is not an option anytime soon,” Pochiraju said.
On the other hand, the CIoT market was in 2019 valued at 52.76 billion, as per a market research firm ReportCrux report released in July 2020. The sector is expected to generate nearly $188.24 billion in revenue by the end of 2027, at a CAGR of 17.2 %, the report said.
IoTReady looks to tap into the growing CIoT market by making early strides. It has already on-boarded eight clients across the consumer and industrial space. Its clientele includes red and infrared LED light therapy provider Joovv, Swiss livestock management solutions provider Datamars, Indian online wholesale food and grocery platform Jumbotail, composting management platform Daily Dump and green decor firm Greenopia.
It has also installed current and temperature sensors for UK cables and accessories provider REPL. The mobile application, enabled with cloud analytics, could predict failures and provide necessary alerts by logging and analysing temperature and current patterns within the systems.
While the fastest deployment of a solution has been around 10 weeks, the typical timeline for testing and putting a product out in the market is longer, said Pochiraju. The process begins with the prototyping stage and is followed by the designing stage, where the company works with the client’s team to integrate the smart core into a product. Finally, after certification and regulatory clearances, the product is launched, usually about six months after the commencement of the project.
IoTReady has about 50,000 devices worth over $40 million running on its platform, Pochiraju said, adding that while the firm builds the technology for these devices, they are sold by its clients.
While the company did not specify the growth numbers for the year, Pochiraju told TechCircle that it has recorded a positive single-digit growth rate since 2018, with profit growing faster due to cost restructuring this year. Currently bootstrapped, the firm plans to raise capital in six-nine months, he said.
(This story has been edited to include additional information and address factual inaccuracies.)