Juergen Hase, CEO, UNLIMIT-powered by Reliance. In his interview with Telematics Wire, he shares his views on topics like Indian market, initiatives of his company and the policy framed by the government.
TW: Considering the uniqueness of Indian market and challenges like low connectivity, what strategy do you think India requires for enabling IoT?
JH: In India, we see far more opportunities than challenges. We often hear people in the business community talk about “green fields” and untapped markets. The reality is that these are very rare. With respect to IoT, India is truly an untapped market.
Another reason to be optimistic about IoT in India is the favorable position of the Indian government. They have been instituting a number of smart, common sense policies such as smart cities, support for agriculture and the “Clean India” initiative. All have significant IoT components. One of the great things about working in IoT is that there are many opportunities to make a direct positive impact on people’s lives.
Also, in general, due to a confluence of evolving technologies, we can now fully implement the IoT vision. We can do things today that were not possible as little as five years ago. We have recently seen a drastic reduction in hardware costs and form factor. Computing power has become cheaper and denser. Remarkably low storage costs have enabled cloud computing. Battery life has been greatly extended. In 2016, we saw two standards ratified (i.e. Cat-M1 and NB-IoT) that will enable certain cellular modules to operate for about ten years on two AA batteries. Airtime has become cheaper and IoT rate plans are now readily available which was not the case even a few years ago.
TW: It is stated that the players of the ecosystem need closer cooperation. Would you like to elaborate on that?
JH : By 2020, Gartner predicts that the Internet of Things will add $1.9 trillion to the global economy. But before we can make utility consumption more efficient, improve downtown traffic jams, make our assembly lines smarter, or even connect our home appliances, all the various brand devices and services that we use need to be able to work together.
For the Internet of Things (IoT) to thrive, companies developing products for both consumers and enterprises need to find common ground and develop systems that can actually connect. When new technologies have burst on the market in the past, players have always responded by forming new partnerships and restructuring existing ones. We expect that as a result of the rise of the IoT, companies that did not used to work together now will need to find ways to do so. And existing partnerships may be affected by the industry structure. All this means that, whatever your business, your alliance strategy most likely must respond to truly be a part of the IoT revolution. We have already done this by establishing strong partnerships with world class IoT partner who are ready for the Indian market.
TW: You had said “With the number of connected devices in India projected to rise from 200 million today to 3 billion by 2020, nearly every part of the economy will be positively impacted by IoT.”
What percent of those 3 billion devices would be automotive? What Impact do you see on the public and goods transportation?
JH: Production of connected cars is growing rapidly in both mature and emerging automobile markets and poised to touch 61 million in 2020 according to the research firm Gartner.
The Indian transport sector is one of the most diverse and large in the world. Catering to the need of around 1.25 billion people across the country, India transport industry contributes about 5.5 percent to the nation’s GDP. Today major Indian cities are home to millions of vehicles, contributing profoundly to traffic congestion and inadequate parking infrastructure & operations.
The government is aiming to make the country, a 100 per cent electric vehicle nation by 2030. Intelligent Transport Systems will make transport safer, more efficient and more sustainable to all modes of passenger and freight transport.
TW: What initiatives UNLIMIT is taking in the area of connected vehicles?
JH: Connected vehicles include a broad spectrum of services which will be enabled by IoT technology. With our API based architecture, we can cover most of these new services from pure connectivity, security service, maintenance services, tracking, insurance relevant services, pay as you use service and multimedia services in a vehicle. We see no limitation regarding adapting new application in an absolute short time to our portfolio because we are working closely with many partners who have long experience in this domain too. We are addressing all relevant markets, not only the market for new vehicles, also the after sales market to connect them in the same way to the digital world. Last but not the least electric vehicles are the next domain we will cover in the future.
TW: UNLIMIT with the government of India had launched ‘InterThrone’ the first ever IoT contest. How was the experience? Anything you would like to share?
JH: InterThrone proved to be a highly successful initiative in creating a platform to ideate, create and make the best use of the Internet and connected devices. It has brought together many students and start-up. About 500 groups have already registered for it and there are teams of three in each. This means 1,500 people are already working on this. For Internet of Things, you need ideas from the market. It will also play an incubator role for young turks and technocrats to participate and build their IoT businesses under the guidance of industry experts and stalwarts.
TW: How do you see the role of the Government in enabling the connected ecosystem? What legislative actions do you think it needs to take in the near future to help the industry?
JH: The Department of Electronics & Information Technology (DeitY), in its draft policy, targets to create an IoT industry in India of $15 billion by 2020.
One of the most talked about initiatives by the Indian government, IoT will play a pivotal role in the Smart City project. The government has dedicated an investment of INR 70.60 billion on smart cities. With the help of these, India is already on a path to establish a successful IoT industry.