Wind River Systems, an Intel subsidiary, offers a comprehensive portfolio of solutions that address the emerging needs of IoT from intelligent devices to network infrastructures and the cloud. In a chat with Karma Negi of The Red Mark, Guruprasad MP, Head of A&D and Industrial Sales, Windriver India, talks about the SMEs potential in India and how they can benefit from IoT adoption both as consumers and as providers.
What potential does IoT hold for SMEs?
Globally SMEs are the backbone of any economy, contributing significantly to the GDP. Like the large and heavy industries, SMEs can derive similar benefits by adopting innovative technologies, particularly IoT. I think there are two approaches SMEs can take: first being the consumers of benefits of IoT technologies, and other being providers of IoT solutions to the market. In both cases, there is a huge market potential for SMEs.
In India alone, there are close to 36 million SMEs, employing over 80 million people, their new business potential could be around $26B for new and emerging technologies by 2020, going by this, even a small portion of this new investments going towards IoT itself can lead to a significant market.
Why is there a need for IoT adoption by SMEs?
Today’s market is global and very competitive, this is even more pronounced for SMEs who face stiff competition both in terms of technologies and price. Adopting newer IT and OT will enable SMEs to stay a step ahead of the market.
These technologies will enable them to bring-in much required operational efficiencies, market focused products & services and better customer experience which are means of staying competitive.
On the other side, SMEs owing to their size can be nimble and agile in providing boutique IoT based solutions to customer needs, which can be their strength against larger slow moving companies.
What is the current market scenario in India? How open are SMEs to adopting it?
Globally IoT adoption is in its infancy, there are only few commercial deployments which are yielding the expected RoIs. One of the reports said that, CEOs of 85% of the companies mentioned that they would like to adopt IoT but only 7 to 8 % clearly know what to do. Indian industries are in similar condition, if not slightly behind. We are seeing several PoCs and trials being run in medium to large companies but very little commercially viable deployments. Smaller companies, I think would like to adopt but are in wait and watch mode.
At a recent IoT conference, I was pleasantly surprised to see industrialists, entrepreneurs and startups wanting to adopt IoT in their businesses ranging from agriculture, industrial automation, consumer electronics, environmental management, building automation, retail & entertainment. A wide spectrum and large market to address is a good condition to be in.
What are the challenges that you face when selling the tech to SMEs?
I think the biggest challenge in providing an IoT solution to SMEs is their mindset towards new technologies. They seem to be overwhelmed by the plethora of Cloud based technologies they have to deal with and also their associated business models. In many cases, they just don’t want to do anything with a Public Cloud based solution fearing loss of their data and intellectual property.
The SME ecosystem lacks a good understanding of technologies, the benefits, RoIs and also know-how in taking advantage of these technologies. In addition, lack of financial capital for their technology investments is a serious barrier to entry.
There needs to be a fundamental shift in their approach towards adopting new technologies and make the right investments at the right time for this market to grow and proliferate.
How should SMEs exploit this and develop and IoT strategy?
As I said SME’s mindset towards technology adoption should change, a clear understanding of technical and business impact of IoT technologies on their business needs to be understood before they can chart a course for their adoption.
There are many local companies in India who are offering IoT solutions for SME markets be it in Industrial automation, process automation, transport & logistics, retail or home automation. Very innovative data and content analytics, business intelligence and automation software products and services are available that can be tailored for Indian SMEs. These IoT solution providers are offering very interesting business models for SMEs with low upfront financial impact including SAS models, success based fees, profit sharing etc.
In addition, there are many consultants who can help SMEs develop their IoT strategies. If the SMEs can clearly articulate their business problem and have an open mindset to adopting new technologies then they can quickly harness the resources available in India to develop their IoT strategies.
What are Wind River’s offerings and future plans?
Wind River has been providing solutions to the embedded system industry for over 30 years now and has a deployed base of more than two Billion devices in the world. Our solution is centered around our Helix Device Cloud product. Helix Device Cloud provides a cost effective remote device management infrastructure to keep mission critical IoT devices operational at all times. Helix Device Cloud features:
- Secure two-way connectivity to enable remote diagnostics and remotely repair devices.
- Upgrade new devices when activated in the field and push out new updates to deliver functionality and security enhancements.
- Manage device configuration and software inventory to stay on top of all field assets
Wind River also provides safe and reliable Operating Systems for the edge devices and gateways based on VxWorks and Wind River Linux. Customers also leverage our global experience in architecting and deploying IoT solutions for customers by means of our consultancy services.
How has Digital India and Make in India impacted SMEs?
The government has definitely taken steps in the right direction to support the industry which is a very positive move. The entire industry is bullish about these initiatives. To keep up the positive momentum, the government should bring-in and meticulously implement policies to support and strengthen these initiatives so that the industry can reap its benefits.