Wearables (1)

As part of our #Outlook16 series, we asked IoT and wearables companies – Goqii, GetActive, Gubloos and Netcore — about their learnings in 2015 and their expectations from 2016. Answers have been shortened for brevity.

What were the top developments with respect to the wearables & IoT segment in 2015?

Vishal Gondal, GOQii

– For the past couple of years, wearable technology has become one of the hottest fields in the technology space. It might seem that hardware and the form it takes is most important in the wearable revolution. But software still is the backbone of wearable devices because it differentiates devices from each other. 

– Manufacturers such as Apple have been setting an example of openness through HealthKit – a tool for developers which makes it easier to access health data from wearables (with user consent) through a central repository. Google has launched a competitor known as Google Fit which also allows developers to use data from Android devices in their applications.

Arjun Sinha Roy, Netcore

IoT in 2015 has clearly evolved into two distinct domains the consumer domain and the Industrial IoT domain. While wearables has become the staple of the IoT implementations in the consumer domain, it is currently dominated by two segments globally:

– The fitness band
– Smart watch
– Other Wearables – solar backpack, connected glucometers etc.

IoT in the B2B space has seen major advances in the logistics and transportation space with organizations taking to vehicle/fleet tracking for improving logistics efficiency. In 2015, we also saw most organizations experimenting with IoT.

Mohammed Hussain Naseem, GetActive

In 2015, one clear development seen across the globe is the wider acceptance of wearables among consumers & institutions (insurance & corporate companies). Close to 85 million units have been sold in 2015, making this a $9 billion industry.

Rahul Nanda, Gubloos

The number 1 has to be the launch of the Apple Watch. It brought in the necessary consumer eyeballs to wearables. Fitbit IPO paves the way for many other businesses in this sector. Big companies like Samsung, IBM, Google, Apple, CISCO, Philips enter IoT space and help create the eco-system.

What were the biggest challenges in the wearables & IoT segment in 2015?

Vishal Gondal, GOQii

Adoption levels of awareness continue to stay predominant in India. 

Arjun Sinha Roy, Netcore

Customer education, affordable hardware and building the ROI for business cases were some of the biggest challenges in 2015.

Mohammed Hussain Naseem, GetActive

– A key challenge from technology perspective is still the battery life. There have been some improvements as compared to 2014, but they are still not addressing the key pain point of users – charging within 2-7 days (based on the device complexity).
– Android instability in Bluetooth stack (due to multiple versions etc.) is still a developer’s nightmare, and consuming huge bandwidth. In Android 4.4.4 and above, however, we have seen huge improvements in stability, as well as in seamless pairing & bonding with wearable devices.
– On the business front, wearables have to yet build an ecosystem, which feeds the data for more useful interpretation. This can be for better management of insurance lifecycle for a consumer,
seamless experience in financial transactions.

Rahul Nanda, Gubloos

– Consumer adoption is still a challenge and is far away from the potential numbers we project.
– Security is another key issue at IoT endpoints.
– Lack of consistent standards across devices, platforms, etc.
– “Make in India” is not a reality in IoT, but “Make in China” is.

What sort of response have wearables & IoT seen in 2015 and why? How much growth has the sector seen?

Vishal Gondal

Vishal Gondal

Vishal Gondal, GOQii

– 2015 was remarkable for us and we foresee an even better year for the wearable industry. As per IDC’s recent research, shipments of wearable devices will increase to 76.1 million units in 2015, a 163.9 percent jump from the to 28.9 million shipped in 2014.

– At the same time the evolution of wearable technology has played a key role in growth of the health and fitness markets. We believe the healthcare industry is already on a rise and has boomed in 2015. 2016 will witness the next tech-led disruption in this sector.

Arjun Sinha Roy, Netcore

2015 proved to be the tipping point for the industry.  On the consumer side, there were wearable devices launched for different use cases and different price points. Application developers have started building apps for use cases across the value chain. In the core IoT business, we have seen the transportation sector growing at a scorching pace with commercial vehicles getting connected to the cloud using Vehicle Tracking Systems over GPS.

These sectors are taking off due to standardization of requirements, leading to reduction in the cost of hardware and services. The ROIs are measurable due to traceable enhancement in efficiency and reduction in wastage. The efficiency increase has led to huge increase in adoption. The growth rates may be high on account of the low base but adoption is going to increase.

Mohammed Hussain Naseem, GetActive

Consumer response have been overwhelming. This sector has witnessed a growth of 42.8% CAGR. And one major shift I am expecting to is wearables entering mainstream, changing the consumer’s life for good. And two hot areas in this space are health insurance & secure financial payments.

Rahul Nanda, Gubloos

In India, the adoption of IoT has been limited to fitness wearables and GPS Vehicle Trackers. Concepts like Smart Homes are far away.

What regulatory challenges did IoT face in 2015? What regulatory measures and developments in standards do you expect to see in 2016?

Arjun Sinha Roy, Netcore

These are early days, however steps are being made to address the issue of standards across the eco-system. The government policy on IoT released in 2015 talks of standards across the IoT ecosystem. A lot of what will happen in India will be driven by the global standard alliances being formed. Inevitably, there is going to be a shakeout as so many competing standards are not sustainable for the healthy growth of the IoT eco-system.

Mohammed Hussain Naseem

Mohammed Hussain Naseem

Mohammed Hussain Naseem, GetActive

In 2015, as IoT has not entered in mainstream, we did not see any hue & cry from organizations with regulatory measures. However, as it enters the domain of insurance & finance, these measures need to be adopted carefully.

Rahul Nanda, Gubloos

– Import duty on IoT devices is as high as 27%. Hope the government reduces the duty to provide a boost to this sector.

– For importing GPS receivers, WPC requires an NOC Letter from any 2G GSM Service Provider, for every shipment. This is an internal Memo of 2011. Hope to see this unnecessary hurdle removed.

What in India surprised you in 2015?

Vishal Gondal, GOQii

With the strong uptake of health monitoring devices by the young population and a booming smartphone industry, it’s interesting to see an influx of MNCs that have entered  the Indian market.

Arjun Sinha Roy, Netcore

We have seen quite a few interesting products in the wearable space this year from solar backpacks, safety devices for women and helmets with sensors. However, for me the most interesting innovation is happening in the healthcare space. Companies launching connected glucometers, offering wearable for runners to help reduce sports injuries are some of the innovative wearables that were launched in 2015.

Mohammed Hussain Naseem, GetActive

The acceptance of wearables in second half of 2015 was amazing. Once the price barrier was broken below Rs 1000, larger set of consumers have started to experiment & adopt these new category of products. On the other hand, I am little surprized and disappointed by corporates & insurance segments, which have still not warmed-up to take action, which can fuel the growth and also help them impact their bottomline positively.

Rahul Nanda, Gubloos

Government of India’s action & focus on IoT is a pleasant surprise.

What international developments in 2015 have had an important impact on IoT?

Vishal Gondal, GOQii

Apple Watch and FitBit declaring an IPO is the biggest milestone in this space. While Apple Watch shall help fitness devices become mainstream, FitBit Inc. boosted the size of its IPO to as high as $656 million amid strong demand for the shares, proving that start-ups and independent companies can make a mark in this space and not just established consumer companies.

Arjun Sinha Roy, Netcore

– Every single player in the software and device platform space from SAP, IBM, Microsoft, Intel et al have come out with their IoT strategy and offering.
– Apple launching their Homekit platform for the Home Automation and IoT space
– Launch of multiple sensors on the flagship mobiles of Apple and Samsung will bring IoT into one’s personal life faster than we think.

Mohammed Hussain Naseem, GetActive

Apple Watch introduction has had a big impact. And second important breakthrough happened when Xiaomi broke the price barrier. Now wearable bands are available under $10. And this has increased the penetration in general masses.

What broad changes has the sector experienced between 2014 and 2015? Why?

Vishal Gondal, GOQii

Apple’s entry into wearable technology has made this space very interesting. And FitBit’s entry into India has further helped develop the category and establish it.

Arjun Sinha Roy, Netcore

We saw the acceptability of IoT in the Indian industry rise dramatically in 2015 over 2014.

– Broad acceptability in industry for the need for real time data based business solutions.
– Reduction in cost of hardware.
– Cloud solutions reducing the cost of Project rollout across industries compared to hosted solutions.

Mohammed Hussain Naseem, GetActive

In 2015, bigger players entry in wearable space, has clearly changed the game. Be it Apple, Microsoft, Google, Xiaomi, HP or any other large players, no one wanted to be left behind. It is no more just a startup game. A move away from media hype and towards action.

What were your key learning in 2015?

Arjun Sinha Roy, Netcore

– Get the device eco-system right as that is usually the biggest challenge in IoT.
– Focus on adding tangible value to the customer.

Mohammed Hussain Naseem, GetActive

Key learnings from GetActive perspective are the following:

– When we started in 2012, everyone thought that B2B is not a viable space in wearables. By 2014, it was becoming apparent as large players started to enter this category. We continued our focus in B2B space, and today we have a niche in that space in corporate wellness.
– In 2015, we saw tremendous action in this space. 2014 has seen new niche players, and a lot of buzz. Action started happening in 2015. Pace of change was also a surprise. Right from technology, to marketing, to commoditizing of this new product happened in this year. Many startups shut their shop or got acqui-hired for talent.

What broad trends in the sector do you expect in 2016?

Arjun Sinha Roy, Netcore

– Increased adoption of IoT in the B2B segment.
– Mobile operators will play a large role in evangelizing the IoT eco-system.
– We expect the multiplicity of standards to stabilize in 2016.
– We expect to see a genuine hardware eco-system taking roots in India in 2016.
– We see companies launching innovative services on the back of real time data drawn from IoT platforms in 2016.

Mohammed Hussain Naseem, GetActive

As I mentioned earlier, I see that wearables would not be just a standalone device. It would start developing an ecosystem around it. Device would just become a mechanism to gather data. And providers of services as well as consumer of services from this data would form a viable business cycle. And I see that happening in the two sectors – namely health insurance and financial sector (payments & authentication).

What do you intend to focus on in 2016 and why?

Vishal Gondal, GOQii

– Focus of GOQii is not on the hardware but on building a complete lifestyle ecosystem with a wearable band, application, fitness coaches and experts.
– Getting India to scale by getting 1 lakh users on the GOQii platform.
– In the coming year we plan to expand in the China and US markets. We have already been running a beta in US and plan to launch the commercial operations by Q1 2016.

Arjun Sinha Roy, Netcore

We intend to focus on the industrial internet space with special emphasis on end to end cloud based solutions. We are focusing heavily in the food and perishable space with a few large food companies being early adopters for their supply chain.

Mohammed Hussain Naseem, GetActive

GetActive has always played a B2B game, as we could clearly see that larger opportunity lies in institutional acceptance of this new category, and then pushing this on consumers for larger benefits & convenience. We also see the natural extension from corporates to health insurance players, who directly work with corporates in employee health & wellness space.

Rahul Nanda, Gubloos

Our focus is on IoT devices for healthcare, transportation, retail and security. The potential is huge with the global IoT market being pegged at a $300 billion and the government of India looking at 5-6% market share that is equal to $15 billion.

What trends did you notice in the challenges related to hiring of people (such as availability of talent, tenure of people, willingness to move, people accepting employment but not turning up, expectations of salaries etc) in 2015? How were they different from 2014? How do you expect things to change in 2016?

Vishal Gondal, GOQii

GOQii has always been able to attract the best talent, because of the experienced  senior management team.

Arjun Sinha Roy

Arjun Sinha Roy

Arjun Sinha Roy, Netcore

We faced initial challenges in getting the right people for the sector. However, due to the huge interest in the sector we see a lot of people willing to make lateral shifts from the traditional technology companies. We did not observe any significant challenges in resource hiring in the current year. We intend to focus on a mix of lateral hiring, hiring of fresher and continuous training to meet the manpower requirements in the coming year.

Mohammed Hussain Naseem, GetActive

In 2015, we saw many people showing keenness in joining startups, willing to take risk with smaller, new age companies. And clearly they saw the benefit in nature of work in such organizations, good salary packages, and a larger incentives of ESOPs, as company grow to next league.

How have the usage habits of consumers changed from 2014 to 2015 and how? What changes do you expect in 2016?

Vishal Gondal, GOQii

Consumers around the world are getting more enthusiastic with the promise of immediate health data easily available at their fingertips, wrists, and ankles. FitBit started 2015 as the clear market leader in the global wearable devices market. Hence, there is a rise in the awareness levels and people are now more aware of wearable technology as a category and the offerings that fitness trackers like GOQii provide.

Arjun Sinha Roy, Netcore

Customers didn’t understand the potential of IoT till they started using the same. We see that once devices and assets start streaming real time data customers are asking for a huge amount of deviation reports and analytics. Customers are trying to link existing process deficiencies with their root causes and are using the real time data to address them faster.

Mohammed Hussain Naseem, GetActive

In terms of usage of wearables, I think trend has not changed much. People still have a half life of 6-8 weeks, before these products find place in shelf for good. But this has not dampened the acceptance of wearables. As I mentioned above, this usage habit would change for good, when a larger ecosystem would develop around these products.

Rahul Nanda, Gubloos

Consumers are today willing to try out these new concepts. Mass scale adoption is still sometime away, though. Fitness, GPS, Healthcare, Security are few areas where consumers are more amenable to try the devices / services out and should be the leaders in adoption.

What are the challenges in the segment that would need to be addressed in 2016? Please explain how these can be addressed.

Arjun Sinha Roy, Netcore

One of the biggest challenges in the IoT space is the last mile challenge. The first challenge is in having a scalable hardware eco-system which can build devices across the number of use cases across industries. The challenge is to get access to trained and skilled manpower in every nook and corner of the country trained in installing and supporting these devices.

Mohammed Hussain Naseem, GetActive

We need to address the following challenges in 2016 for an explosive growth:

– Battery life – should be made a minimum of 30 days for high end products, and upto 6 months for entry level products.
– Real Estate of these chipsets are decreasing, but it has to happen more dramatically, so that sensors can take multiple form & shape.
– Display needs to be decoupled from these sensors, so that design can be more versatile.

Rahul Nanda

Rahul Nanda

Rahul Nanda, Gubloos

– Import duty on IoT devices are as high as 27%. Hope the government reduces the duty to provide a boost to this sector.
– For importing GPS receivers, WPC requires an NOC Letter from any 2G GSM service provider, for every shipment. This is an internal Memo of 2011. Hope to see this unnecessary hurdle removed.
– Hope to see launch of Universal SIMs out of India that can be activated & used across India and the world.
– Hope to see telecom service providers coming out with Mobile Plans specific to IoT usage.

Image SourceIntel Free Press under CC BY SA 2.0