A Desi Co. Trying to Reap a Billion Dollar Smart Buildings Market
The smart buildings market is expected to grow from $5.73Bn in 2016 to $24.73Bn by. This Indian company is one of the few companies in the world innovating in this space according to its CEO.
SmartBuildings™ is a breakthrough technology from UrjaGreen Technologies Pvt. Ltd., of Bangalore. The company was founded in 2012 and works on innovative tech for energy conservation, management, and monitoring in buildings. More specifically they try to come up with cutting edge tech for energy efficiency, data centre reliability, comfort and analytics.
In plain English, SmartBuildings™ helps “smarten buildings” by installing sensors which will collect data on comfort parameters, electricity usage, fuel (diesel usage), and occupancy rates. The company is headed by three cofounders, Dr. Anil Gupta; Satya Kishore; and Abinash Saikia.
We speak to Dr. Anil Gupta, CEO of SmartBuildings™ to find out more about this IoT company.
What’s an IoT company?
IoT. It’s something we talk a lot about these days but we don’t know much about. IoT is a buzzword. So what is an IoT company?
“There is no such thing as an IoT company per se. IoT is an enabler that helps build products like smart buildings. No customer is going to pay for “IoT”. They pay for a device or a service enabled by a technology, in this case IoT (Internet of Things).” says Dr. Gupta.
How SmartBuildings™ hopes to add value
SmartBuildings™ offers an opportunity to lower cost spent on electricity and diesel. They already count the likes of the largest IT and MNC software companies in India among their clients.
Speaking on why he chose to build smart commercial buildings and not residential properties, Dr. Anil said that since the market is quite mature, and there are many players even here in India vying in the space, it really isn’t conducive to be in it. Meanwhile there are only a few companies in the world building smart solutions for commercial properties. Besides, creating tech for smart homes is limited. It’s mostly about home owners and tech hobbyists trying to glamorize their homes.
“The value proposition and the amount of value we can add to a larger office building is more.” said he.
Even larger global brands like Honeywell still build legacy systems in this space and are not innovating much. “We offer the most efficiency and comfort at the lowest price. We also have a US patent for a technology that measures occupancy (by people) in the building. This can be important for large office buildings.
Think of a shopping mall or a hospital catching fire. They are constantly filled with people. Being fitted with a smart solution that keeps track of the number of people within the building may help mitigate causalities during calamitous times like these.
While revenue from the business and funding from the founding members has helped keep things running so far, the company will be looking for strategic institutional funding soon. They also have keen interest from some of their IT clients to partner and build solutions which can be combined with the respective IT companies’ products.
You most probably haven’t seen any advertising or marketing for SmartBuildings™, it’s after all not targeting the average individual consumer and is a cost intensive service. Most of the business comes through existing networks, affiliates and referrals (from one corporate client to another potential one).
One of the biggest challenges has been has been trying to convince some customers that they can definitely add value to their properties using this technology, It has been easier to get IT companies on board as these definitely understand the value such a solution will add. They are also more aware of their carbon footprint and would like to reduce according to Dr. Gupta. Another challenge has been finding hardware manufacturers within India who will build to quality standards. “We are still far behind in terms of having an Indian grown electronics hardware building company”, says Dr. Anil.
How big can SmartBuildings™ get?
It’s one of the few companies in the world working innovating in this market, and most likely the only one in India, according to Dr. Gupta. The market for smart commercial buildings is billions of dollars according to Markets and Markets research. Their report says this market is expected to grow from $5.73Bn in 2016 to $24.73Bn by 2021, at a CAGR 34.0% during this period.
About Dr. Anil Gupta…
Dr. Anil Gupta has extensive knowledge in the field of computers and tech built for energy management and infrastructure management. He spent 25 years in the US during which time he was part of Sun Microsystems (later acquired by Oracle), and energy conservation programs as part of the California Energy Commission.
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