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India automation rush draws gaze from foreign-focused IoT startups

India automation rush draws gaze from foreign-focused IoT startups
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Lured by overseas demand, startups working in the IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) space had long given India the cold shoulder. However, an apparent shift is underway these days, with young companies sniffing opportunities back home, ET Tech reported.

Four-year-old Integration Wizards, for example, is all set to automate the new factories of Asian Paints and Voltas, going by the report. “IIoT is just starting out in India. There was not a lot of demand until now, but it’s beginning to gain traction. There is an acute shortage of local players to automate local manufacturing,” Kunal Kislay, CEO at Integration Wizards, said in the report.

The Internet of Things space has seen high-profile activity over the last two months as well: Hero Electronix acquired enterprise IoT startup Zenatix and Hitachi invested in IIoT firm Flutura Decision Sciences and Analytics.

In India, IIoT is estimated at 20% of the $1 billion IoT market. A Zinnov-Nasscom 2017 report said that about 30% of the 700 advanced tech startups in India are IoT firms.

“We started with the overseas market as India does not have an early-adopter mindset,” said Derick Jose, co-founder of Flutura.

Although things are looking up for the IIoT space, the mindset of the Indian clients is still a challenge for startups. The clients here are reluctant to invest in a project that is even barely missing the 100% RoI (return on investment) mark as opposed to the western clients, who may still take it up at as low as 70% RoI, pointed out the report.

Another factor impeding IoT adoption is that many Indian firms still use old machines, making it difficult to collect data.

However, India has an edge over other markets. “As against consumer artificial intelligence (AI) and IoT, which is a very crowded space, there is a big opportunity for Indian firms to do well in IIoT AI. You need to be an engineer first and then do AI, and that intersection is rare. We have a lot of talent of this nature in Bengaluru, Pune, and Coimbatore,” pointed out Jose.

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