MUMBAI: A safety device to alert a company when its women employees reach home using the company cars is just one of the Internet of Things (IoT) devices that Tata Communications is working on.
Others include a tracker that will alert a fast-moving consumer goods firm if its coolers used by retailers to keep products at a certain temperature are tampered with. And a device which can gauge the electricity consumed in a room and regulate the lights and air conditioner from any place to ensure there is no wastage.
The company plans to launch a staggering 50 million such devices by 2022, with the aim of capturing 10-15 per cent of the market that has about 150 million devices currently and is growing 28 per cent annually.
“The market today is fragmented from the largest players of telecom/IT to the smaller device manufacturers that make Bluetooth devices. We will bring in the complete value stack of device, network, platform and software,” VS Shridhar, head of IoT business unit at Tata Communications told ET.
The business unit, which had earmarked $100 million for IoT, plans to bring out devices in three main categories – asset management, energy management and customer feedback.
The Tata Group arm faces tough competition from large telecom operators, among others, who have a leg up in this race.
Vodafone Group, for example, has crossed 50 million devices. In India, its range of IoT solutions include Vodafone location tracker, automotive telematics, remote asset management, managed IoT connectivity platform, wireless payment solutions, security and surveillance solutions, smart metering solutions and special SIMs designed for operating in harsh conditions.
Bharti Airtel, India’s largest telecom operator, recently said that it plans to enter the home automation or smart home segment with its IoT in a move aimed at expanding its revenue base, allowing users to control elements such as lighting, heating, air conditioning, music and security systems through smartphones. Tata Communications is working under a four-pronged strategy to create its brand in the market and take on competition.
“In the initial years, we are looking at rolling out and ramping up our IoT network and heavily investing in platform and devices to build a robust base to acquire and deploy information, post which we will be also getting into analytics,” said Shridhar. The business unit has decided to set up an application software team in Chennai.
“Delivering value through apps is going to be very important and it will be core IP as well. One of the most important aspects is to have control and security of the data of our customers for whom we would be developing the apps,” he said.
The company is working with states to provide IoT network in cities including Bengaluru, Mumbai, Jamshedpur and Delhi. For the smart cities, these IoT networks could help in monitoring the quality of water, sewage management, smart lighting, etc.