Cos like Tata Motors and Godrej Security have warmed up to the tech in a big way
From state governments looking to clamp down on the theft of iron ore from mines to insurance companies looking to offer better premiums to transportation companies, the internet of things is gaining ground in India.
The internet-of-things (IoT) describes a world in which sensors are placed on machines and the resulting data is used to improve and track their performance. Earlier this year, the Indian government put out its first ever IoT policy document, that envisions creating a $15 billion IoT market in India by 2020 and the first steps towards that goal are already being taken both in the government and the private sector.
Tata Motors, the largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles in the country , has begun putting sensors into its trucks and has built a service model allowing owners of large fleets of trucks a greater degree of insight into how the vehicles are used and even predict potential breakdowns.
“You can monitor driver behaviour or fuel theft so while the fuel level is constantly being monitored, any sudden move up or down is tracked. Sudden breaking can also be detected, so you can build algorithms inside the black box in the vehicle or you can build that as part of your system, which makes sense of this data,“ Jagdish Belwal, chief information officer at Tata Motors, told ET. The company also has a large analytics team that will crunch the data from the vehicles to present to its customers.
Even as commercial vehicle manufacturers look at providing data to their customers, insurance companies are getting on board to use similar data sets to help set better premiums. “We use telematics with a few corporate clients in order to save money on policies, so transportation risks are covered. We put these devices on trucks to map the routes, to see whether there is pilferage, stoppage,“ Girish Nayak, chief service, operations and technology with insurer ICICI Lombard, said. The telematics programme is live with a couple of customers, he added.
While the cost of the device and sensors makes a similar program for motor insurance, even consumer companies are looking at adding a greater degree of intelligence in their products. “We have products with sensor-based locks, lights and can send alarms, so things which are more affordable but far more intelligent.The movement is now towards these products,“ Mehernosh Pithawalla associate vice president & head, marketing at Godrej Security Solutions, said. “We are going to see this trend continuing and in fact intensify. In the next two years, at least 50% of our products will have some kind of intelligence,” Godrej Security Solutions already sells safes that cansend messages when they are in the process of being breached and sensor-based alarm systems that can be accessed through a mobile-phone app that detects an entry into your apartment and allows you talk to the intruder through the alarm.
Even the government, not greatly known for its use of innovative technology, hastaken to the technology to better regulate the transport of materials from mines. The Karnataka state government and the Goa State government are using IoT-based systems to clamp down on the illegal sale and transport of sand and iron-ore respectively.
“The system tags the trucks that are used for transport and through the tag you can issue them the supply, check their route and can tell if they are unloading the ore or the sand illegally and even prevent them from selling out of the state,” Pratap Hegde, chairman and managing director of Telematics4u,which runs the system for the two state governments, said.
The system is accessed through a mobile application and is paid for by a monthly fee from the truck drivers, who would otherwise be forced to pay bribes to carry the sand and the ore. Hegde said his company was in discussions with other state governments to roll-out similar systems.
The internet-of-things has manifold other uses in a number of other industries – such as utilities with smart meters, in oil-and-gas with sensors that monitor wells – but the concept is still at an early stage of growth in India.
“This technology has the largest implications than any other we have seen so far. The applications are limitless,” Akhilesh Tuteja, head – information technology at consultancy KPMG, said.
Source: The Economic Times
Date: 20th November 2014