Sunday, July 21, 2024

We Work Exclusively On Integrated IoT Solutions, Sriram Chidambaram

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Our quest to explore integrated IoT solution providers brought us to ConnectM Technology Solutions a Bangalore-based startup whose USP is ‘Intelligent’ IoT devices. We sat down with Sriram Chidambaram, CEO at the company, during the recently concluded India Electronics Week (IEW 2017).

Q. What is the USP of ConnectM with respect to IoT?

A. We are one of the few Integrated IoT solution providers. By Integrated we mean that we bring all the required capabilities such as sensors, hardware gateways, firmware, software and services along with a rich IoT solutioning expertise of our team over the last 8 years and help customers transform their businesses and operations into “Connected” Business and “Connected” Operations.

We also bring to the table, apart from our IoT experience, an IoT Solution Delivery Platform called ‘Yantra’ which helps customers connect their variety of assets, seamlessly extract data, organize and utilize data for their business and operational analytics.

Q. What are the key technologies that you are working on?

A. We work on a range of technologies required for IoT solutions right from data management to machine learning and analytics. Key technologies involve MQTT, Mongo, Cassandra, Spark.

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Q. Any particular elements that you are already known or famous for (even within your community or sector)?

A. We were the first IoT company to raise Venture Capital in India and also come up with full solutions and a comprehensive IoT platform such as Yantra.  We are a very recognized player in areas such as Telecom Tower Remote Management, Remote Building Energy and Building Assets Management, Remote Industrial Asset Management and our OpenSource Yantra Solution stack for cost-effective and innovative IoT solution development.

Q. What niche do you intent to be a leader in?

A. We are currently focusing on the below areas and we would strive to be leaders in those areas:

  • Connected Building Solutions targeting asset and energy management
  • Custom IoT solutions and applications for Industrial, Consumer, Renewable Energy, Transporation/Logistics.  We target both Product OEMs and Service OEMs in these areas.

All the above solutions use our Yantra as the building block of the IoT solution.

Q. What are the major features or projects that your team is currently involved in?

A. We are working with several Building owners and HVAC OEMs partnering in delivering solutions.  We also work with key OEMs, both in India and US, in areas of Transportation/Logistics, Industrial products such as Cranes and Building products such as HVAC Chillers, VRF, ACs, Coolers etc, Banks Branch/ATM managed services, Tele-Tower Infrastructure providers and Renewable Energy Farms (both Wind and Solar).

Q. Who all have you partnered with w.r.t. technologies and components and why?

A. We have eco system of partners to support us on delivering overall IoT solution for client while they bring specific skill and relevant resources required. This includes hardware manufacturing, sensor suppliers, Field support along with technology partners like data center, cloud service providers.

Q. Whom do you target as clients?

A. Product OEMs, Service OEMs and Enterprises who aspire to transform themselves into “Connected” technology players.

QHow many engineers do you currently have, and how many do you intend to hire in the next 12 months?

A. We have currently 50+ staff and have significant expansion plans based on our geographical expansion in North America.

Q. Do you have an training/internship program?

A. Yes.  We have a focused internship program for freshers. In fact, we have successfully converted several dozen freshers into deployable engineers in real IoT projects.

Q. What is the name of your product? What is its usage?

A. Yantra IoT Platform and apps. Yantra is further offered in three flavours which are Yantra Connect (for connection to hardware assets through sensors and gateways), Yantra Manage (the capabilities of Data ingestion, management, Rule Engine, Workflow and Event Management etc) and Yantra Predict (for Business Intelligence on the asset data).

Q. What is the problem that prompted you to design such a solution?

A. We realized long back that there is an acute need for connecting assets and machines and collecting real-time data in a manner that they can be optimized for real-time and off line analytical tool based optimization. This led to the development of a IoT stack which addresses all the requirements of an IoT solution for customers.

Q. Are there other products of this nature in today’s market?

A. There are a few players in the developed geographies who offer similar products.  But there is none, to our knowledge, who offer a complete IoT solution stack and capability anywhere outside North America and Western Europe.

Q. How does your offering work? Could you describe the technology used in detail?

A. the core platform is a Java based platform and has been built on Big Data technologies. We also offer Hardware Gateways from us and our partners to connect to the assets and collect data. The Yantra Platform does a very intelligent Device Management (Authentication, Authorisation, Handling Multiple Protocols etc) and has a very powerful configurable Business Rule Engine.

This is critical to setting real-time control based on operational thresholds and comparative operational parameter data collected in real time. Yantra supports through APIs, application development and customers can either use the standard apps that we offer for a few vertical applications or develop bespoke applications themselves or using our services.

Yantra can be hosted in either public clouds such as AWS or can also be deployed On-Premise at the customers, thus offering customers the flexibility of their deployment choice.

Q. How do you intend to monetise this offering?

A. We already monetise these offeringS by charging customers a SaaS fee for every asset connected or a one-time licence fee in case of On-Premise deployment.  The hardware gateways are typically paid as one time capex amounts by the customers..

Q. What challenges did you face while developing this product?

A. The challenges were many. This was built on the back of a few large customer projects and time was a stiff challenge. Also the availability of quality human capital in software, hardware and firmware is a big challenge.

Q. Is it a finished product? Are you planning on adding more features to it?

A. The product is a finished product and we are already monetizing that.  Today over 50 customers across 20+ applications use the product in some form.  We continue to upgrade the product every quarter and that would be a constant investment from our side.

Q. How long did you take to get this idea from inception to fruition?

A. 8 months.

Q. Does it hold any patents? Please mention elaborately what has been patented?

A. One of our designs is Patent Pending.


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