When Internet of Things was in its nascent stage and enterprises around the world were still debating on its mainstream usage, Avinash Arora innovated with the technology on a whole new level. The former director - ICT and SCM (India & S.E.Asia) of New Holland Fiat India, Arora implemented first of its kind IoT solution in India for agricultural tractors in 2012. After leading ICT for agricultural equipment manufacturer for 15 years, he is now the global CIO of US-headquartered TrakitNow Technologies, an IoT solution provider.
In an interview with CIO India, Avinash Arora, executive director and global CIO, TrakItNow Technologies, spoke on the global go-to-market strategy and technology blueprint to ride IoT wave.
What is the maturity index of IoT adoption globally? How is TrakitNow riding the wave?
CIO bucket list for IoT: Avinash Arora
· Evaluate technology from value perspective and not its newness.
· Check if the value of IoT aligns with your corporate strategy.
· Choose the right partner considering quality and longevity.
· Provide training to your internal team.
· Always start with a PoC.
· Do not make it as an IT project.
· Do not focus only on cost.
Successful IoT solutions, on a broad level, constitute hardware (sensors, devices collecting data from sensors, devices transferring data); network (cellular network, WiFi, LoRa); cloud technologies and big data. There have been tremendous advancements in the capabilities of these areas over the last decade, leading to decrease in costs as well.
In one of the most significant development, IoT has enabled digital transformation globally. This has helped to connect many devices that make up its business ecosystem. Connecting the unconnected enables information across the whole of the supply chain to be gathered and fed into an analytics process to gain business insights. This enabled IoT revolution globally both in the consumer and enterprise space. IoT is no more considered a novice technological framework but it now exhibits effective maturity levels of adoption.
TrakItNow’s uniqueness is that we design, build and manage integrations in all the above areas. We design our hardware and firmware, transfer data to the cloud and manage it, build web/mobile applications and provide analytics as required. This gives us the advantage to meet customer requirements in a cost effective way as our pricing model helps customers make purchase decisions faster. This is also possible as we offer SaaS model supported by services like IaaS and PaaS. The initial cost of acquiring IoT solutions is far lower compared to other offerings in this space and the capital costs are practically insignificant.
We are committed to investing in public safety, connected vehicles, and public health. As we continue to add value to our customers, our approach is to use IoT to provide value to existing processes. Our platform focuses on integrating all stake holders to make the process seamless and transparent, thereby increasing the efficiency of the business.
In your opinion, what technology trends will power IoT in the digital transformation era?
IoT is expected to offer greater opportunities for businesses. Some findings of a Gartner report suggest that the connected things will touch a figure of around 25 billion by 2020 and IDC forecasts IoT Market at $3.04 trillion by 2020.
“TrakItNow’s focus verticals are Public Safety, Connected Vehicles and Public Health.”
The digital shift instigated by the nexus of forces (cloud, mobile, social and information) and boosted by IoT, threatens many existing businesses. They have no choice but to pursue IoT like they’ve done with the consumerization of IT.
The driving force behind the development and adoption of IoT is the availability of low-cost wireless connectivity like LoRa, that promotes remote accessibility of products. The key drivers for IoT from a business perspective--besides low-cost resources for connectivity--are transparency, seamless communication, and analytics.
How are TrakitNow's solutions different from the competition in the marketplace?
The uniqueness of our offering for Public Safety – Control & Command Center for Police, Ambulance, Fire –has been designed as per National Emergency Response System (NERS) guidelines. With the goal to reduce emergency response time, it has an integrated system with Dispatch System, Incident Management, Crime prevention and Accident spot awareness. Citizen App helps report incidents, share night trips for safety, etc.
TrakItNow’s Smart Mosquito Density Monitoring System for Public Health sector is first in the world to provide scalable sensors to monitor real time density of mosquitoes which is used to eradicate vector borne diseases with huge social impact.
“IoT is no more considered a novice technological framework but it now exhibits effective maturity levels of adoption.
Executive Director and Global CIO, TrakitNow
As an OEM supplier of devices and platform for connected vehicles, our uniqueness includes making devices configurable as per OEM’s standards. Also OEM can go to market in a short time. There is no investment from OEM to provide telematics to their customers but it opens revenue generation for OEM. Another important aspect of our solutions for connected vehicles is the integration of OEM, dealer, owner, and supplier on the same platform.
But there are pertinent roadblocks like network reliability and interoperability with emergent technologies.
Yes, there are. Nearly everyone agrees IoT will disrupt customer relationships, business models even entire Industries. However, companies are still taking cautious steps in the adoption of IoT. The concerns largely relate to the reliability of networks. There is also the insecurity blanket which is perhaps one of the scariest pitfalls on the road of IoT is the security or lack thereof.
There is serious skill shortage from security professionals to data scientists to developers can impede IoT projects in some cases. Also, most IoT projects don’t take off well due to the lack of budget and a rather vague understanding of RoI.
Lastly, data deluge which is IoT’s greatest promise is its biggest peril. IoT collects and churns out hordes of valuable usage data, but it’s all for naught if you’re not prepared to put it to work. In other words, the data deluge can swamp you.
How would you leverage the potential of IoT which is often perceived to belong in ‘hype to over-hype’ cycle especially in countries like India?
TrakItNow is focused on adding value to customers in our core verticals. We do not build hi-tech gadgets for consumer markets, home automation, etc but we spend lot of time talking to customers, understanding their pain points and build solutions that add value using IoT technologies.
8 roadblocks to IoT adoption
· The Insecurity Blanket
· Stalking the Business Case
· Interoperability with current infra
· Serious Skill Shortage
· Vague Understanding of RoI
· Caught on the Bleeding Edge
· Data Deluge
Source: TrakItNow Technologies
For instance, we worked closely with several IPS officers in India while building our control and command center application. This approach is helping us win customers. We added new predictive analytic features like accident spots, beat recommendations that brings tremendous value to public safety.
What makes TrakItNow optimistic of the definite opportunities in the next few years?
The top technology trends for enterprise technology world for next couple of years would be AI and machine learning, IoT, and virtual and augmented reality. IoT is a huge space with solutions from home automation to factory automation, logistics, utilities, etc. We see equal opportunities in public and private sector based on our portfolio.
The early adopters of IoT globally are manufacturing, logistics/transportation, utilities, and healthcare. In India, the additional verticals include field personnel tracking and public safety (command Centers, Emergency response).
We are focusing to implement a channel partner program to expand our pan-India presence effectively and reach the larger market ready for IoT. We are aggressively increasing our presence across India and US. We are also committed to enhancing our support to the customers.
IoT is often seen as a new weapon for hackers. But our end to end ‘device to mobile’ security approach with industry standards and compliance at each integration level helps our solutions to be extra secure.