Entrepreneurship Industry News

Centre of Excellence for IoT gives a big push for product startups in India

While the Mumbai Indians retired to their dressing room exhilarated after a nail-biter of a match at the finals of IPL 2017, people will continue to talk and analyse the teams’ bowling and batting strengths. No doubt the supporters of the opposing team, Rising Pune Supergiants, will wonder where they went wrong.

Away from the limelight and the fireworks, a group of young men quietly pouring over tons of data to perfect a technology may well have some answers. They hope their technology can help cricket bowlers improve their game. The young IoT startup called SeeHow is developing a smart cricket ball and mobile app to help bowlers in coaching.

The ball contains a sensing system that detects information about the ball’s motion, spin on the ball, impact on the pitch, the position of the seam, and drift in the air. It also provides analytics of all the accumulated data.

The startup is being incubated at the Centre of Excellence for IoT in India (CoE-IoT) at the 10,000 Startups, Nasscom Warehouse, in Bengaluru.

Set up in 2015 as part of the government’s Digital India programme, the CoE-IoT was conceived by the Ministry of Electronics & IT (DeitY) and Education and Research Network (ERNET) in association with Nasscom. It was inaugurated last year and at present has around 20-22 startups, including SeeHow, being incubated here.

There are some who are working on affordable healthcare solutions, while others on smart energy solutions.

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According to Nasscom, there are 120 firms that offer IoT solutions in India, with nearly 60 percent of them set up after 2010. In the last three years, Indian IoT companies received around $60 million in funding.

Nasscom believes that the IoT market in India will be $15 billion by 2020.
“The CoE will cost about Rs 22 crore over a period of five years, with 50 percent of the cost to be met by the Centre and the rest by the Karnataka government and Nasscom,” a statement by the CoE-IoT said.

Dr Ajay Kumar, Addl Secretary at Ministry of Electronics & IT, is the Chair of this centre that also partners with industry giants like Intel, Cisco, Accenture, Qualcomm, and others. He was in Bengaluru last week visiting the centre for the first time after its launch and was pleased to see the vision being translated into reality.

“The question for us is where do we go from here,” Ajay Kumar told YourStory. “IoT has a huge interest for the industry. How can we scale this up? How can we take it to other places,” he added, sharing his agenda for the visit. Besides spending time with the startups here, he chaired a roundtable with other stakeholders, including industry leaders and academia to brainstorm on the future roadmap.

“CoE is a unique facility for deep tech startups where the product startups come and work on their ideas and take it to completion. We provide the right environment, equipment, and connects for them to be successful. IoT and related technologies is the next game changer for the industry and the economy,” said Sanjeev Malhotra, CEO at the IoT Centre of Excellence.

Talking about funding support for IoT startups, which is difficult to come by, Ajay Kumar said the Electronic Development Fund, which is the fund of funds, has a corpus of over Rs 10,000 crore and has funded 22 funds. “These funds are looking for good startups not only in IoT but also electronics,” he said.

The fund is managed by CanBank Venture Capital Fund Ltd (CVCFL). “We are putting the CoE in touch with CVCFL so that there is a direct connect,” he added. The CoE is at present focussing on manufacturing, healthcare, agriculture, energy, automobiles/transportation sectors.

Ajay Kumar noted that more than infrastructure support, it is the soft support that is crucial to the success of the startups and the centre. “With the active support of the industry, the startups hope to gain tremendous on-ground exposure,” he said.

Sanjeev added that the centre is first of its kind that provides lab infrastructure and active participation from industry for startups to develop products in the IoT and hardware space. “It ties with the Digital India and Make in India vision,” he added.

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