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Trends in the Internet of Things segment in India in 2014

Despite being early days for IoT in India, with Cisco, L&T, Tech Mahindra and others, looking at this segment, this year saw a lot of activity on this front. Let’s take a look at some of the trends in the segment that emerged this year:

1. Internet of Things becomes a policy focus:

The Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) drafted an IoT policy in December, that aims to increase the connected devices in the country from around 200 million to over 2.7 billion by 2020, to develop human resources and technology for IoT relevant skill-sets, to undertake research and development is IoT relevant fields, and to develop various IoT solutions specific to Indian needs in health, agriculture and smart cities among others. The agency mentioned its also planning to set up a Rs 10,000 crore innovation and development fund for the electronics and IT sectors.

Earlier in August, the Karnataka government had tied up with NASSCOM to set up a 50,000 sq ft startup warehouse in Bangalore to provide over a 100 startups with work space and internet connectivity. The new facility will also house an Internet of Things (IoT) lab, a design center, a mobile devices lab, and a community events space for workshops.

2. Getting prepared for Smart Cities:

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Earlier this month, Cisco had tied up with ILFS Technologies (ITL) at the Cisco India Summit 2014 held at Bangalore, to jointly develop solutions for digital infrastructure and smart cities in the country. In July, the company had also signed a strategic agreement with Electronics City Industries Association (ELCIA) to set up an Internet of Things (IoT) Innovation Hub in Bangalore, as a part of its Cisco Smart+Connected Communities initiative.

The company had then inaugurated a 2.6 million square foot Smart City in Bangalore as a campus-as-a-city for its employees, and to showcase pervasive network infrastructure, which easily connects devices like mobiles, sensors and information access points with a high level of security, in September.

The same month, Tech Mahindra partnered with the software and system house of the Bosch group, Bosch Software Innovations to create an Internet of Things (IoT) Ecosystem. The partnership will see Tech Mahindra’s Digital Enterprise Services (DES) division, headed by Dr Rishi Bhatnagar, work with Bosch’s software arm to develop proof of concept solutions for enterprises, smart cities and smart homes. TechMahindra had also launched an NFC (Near Field Communications) testing lab in Bangalore earlier this year, through which it is offering NFC testing and consulting services to chipset manufacturers, OEMs, service providers, acquiring and issuing banks among others.

Similarly, earlier this month NetCORE had launched an Internet of Things (IoT) platform for real time data capturing and analysis called Cloud4One, which essentially adds sensors to measure location, temperature, pressure, humidity, weight etc., on movable assets like trucks, cranes etc., and immovable ones like ATMs, generators, grids etc. This data is then relayed to its servers for analysis, providing solutions for movable asset monitoring, remote machinery data, operations and maintenance and temperature controlled warehousing.

3. Hubs for Internet of Things being set up in India:

In November, L&T Technology Services and the Stockholm-based communications company Tele2 AB signed a strategic partnership to create Internet of Everything (IoT) and Machine to Machine (M2M) solutions for the transportation sector. The company had also partnered Cisco to set up an Internet of Everything (IoE) solutions centre in Bangalore targeting the transport and mass transit industries, in September.

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In March, Tech Mahindra‘s Integrated Engineering Solutions division partnered the semiconductor design & manufacturing company Texas Instruments to setup a lab called Texas Instruments Lab that will focus on developing solutions based on the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT). Setup in Bangalore, the lab will launch IoT based solutions for the industrial, medical and automotive sectors. The company also demoed a connected vehicle solution at the Mobile World Congress this year, consisting of combined infotainment features with navigational and diagnostics features.

4. Funding in IoT space this year:

– Cisco Investments, the venture capital arm of Cisco, had increased the amount allocated for investment in early stage firms in the IoT segment in India by $40 million, in June this year. This $40 million capital is a part of Cisco’s $250 million global “thematic investment” fund that was announced in February this year. Cisco had initially allocated a capital of $100 million to invest in early stage companies in the Internet of Things (IoT) segment, then a few months later, it allocated an additional $150 million over the next two to three years.

– In November, Hyderabad-based Ineda Systems, that makes low-power chips for wearable devices and Internet of Things (IoT) segment, raised $2 million in funding, from this funding arm of Cisco. The startup plans to use this investment raised to further develop its Dhanush family of low power chips dubbed as Wearable Processor Units. It had previously also raised $17 million in funding from the investment arms of Samsung Electronics and Qualcomm in April.

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