Smartron: Aims to Disrupt IoT Market with tronx, AI Powered Platform, Sensors and More
India lacks a robust innovation infrastructure. Therefore, it is indeed very difficult to build capital intense R&D driven companies that require a long time for marketing and break-even. Talent and market are present, but what the country lacks is raising the capital, risk capital.
BWDisrupt interacted with Smartron's core team, founded by Mahesh Lingareddy, Founder & Chairman, Narsi Reddy Posham, Co Founder & Managing Director, Smartron India and Co Founder and President, Rohit Rathi.
Smartron was founded in August 2014 with a vision to build India’s first true global technology OEM brand that is ‘designed and engineered’ in India for India and the world. Hardware innovation spurred by Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the next big wave in technology and huge disruptive opportunity to startups. Smartron developed and introduced tronxTM, an AI powered IoT platform offering devices, sensors, services, community and care delivering seamless and intelligent experience.
How do you differentiate from other companies?
We are focused on innovation, design, engineering, products and platforms. We are investing in smart, sensor, robotics, big data, autonomous and UI/UX technologies to bring in highly unique designs that are super expressive, functional and well balanced.
We are laying a strong foundation to build an innovation led ecosystem by offering “open innovation platform” to other companies and teams to accelerate and aggregate the pace of innovation. Our products and technologies are focused on beyond smartphones, from wearables to laptops to drones to autonomous vehicles to 3D printing and our IoT platforms cover variety of verticals from health to home to transportation to retail to enterprise to energy to agriculture.
The reason to get Sachin Tendulkar on board?
Sachin Tendulkar is one of the greatest Indian stories of our times, a true global icon and a brand that disrupted the game of cricket, inspiring generations. Smartron team aims to achieve the same in the technology space by building a global product brand from India, disrupting the IoT market with innovative products and inspiring generations of engineers and entrepreneurs.
Please share light on funding status, monetization model and traction details?
Smartron has raised around close to Rs.100 crore so far. In less than 2 years, the company has built a strong team, raised significant capital, filed tens of patents, introduced tbook and tphone products with tronx platform benefits such as unlimited cloud storage, shipping ttab to Saudi Government and is on track to clocking significant revenues in its first year of sales.
Talk about your future plans?
Smartron has an exciting set of products lined up for 2017 developed both organically and sourced through its “open innovation platform”, crowdtron. The company plans to launch wide range of smart devices, sensors, and services targeting consumer, enterprise, industrial and infrastructure markets.
What is the unique product key feature that is different from existing Smart Device companies?
We launched Anrodid-M based tphone the 5.5” smartphone, a 12.2” Windows10 based convertible tbook. Our products are built on world of "Internet of Trons”, Tron.X platform offers unique "Smartron experience". It provides seamless experience across devices and places. For instance, you receive and reply to SMS from tbook without having to touch tphone. You can copy a picture from tbook and paste on tphone without having to go through file uploading and downloading or email forwarding etc. Of course, we are offering unlimited cloud storage and one-click away customer care.
Elaborate on Smartron’s Marketing Strategy?
Smartron has been building a very unique premium branding position as India’s first global technology OEM Company with emphasis on innovation, R&D, design, engineering, products and platforms. The core DNA of the company is ‘Engineers at Heart, building smart things for life’. We are finding huge interest in our products outside India. We have already started to ship our products into Middle East, Africa and South East Asia. We are utilizing a combination of online and offline market strategy with strong emphasis on building TRON community.
Comment on challenges that are faced by industry?
Today, India lacks a robust innovation infrastructure. Therefore, it is indeed very difficult to build capital intense R&D driven companies that require a long time for marketing and break-even. Talent and market are present, but what the country lacks is raising the capital, risk capital. Raising capital becomes a major hurdle in path of innovation infrastructure.
Current regulatory framework is undergoing changes and the situation is improving gradually. Considering that these things are rigid and don’t help start-ups, a lot has to be changed in terms of capitalization and structuring the equity.
What is current market size & sector opportunity in smartphone segment?
Analyst firm Gartner expects as many as 26 billion smart units to be connect through IoT by 2020. The IoT products and services are expected to generate $300 billion in revenues and $1.9 trillion in value.
Please talk about Smartron’s R&D capabilities in India?
All Smartron products are entirely conceived, designed and engineered in India, which requires expertise from Industrial Engineering to Mechanical Engineering to Materials Engineering to Hardware Engineering to Software Engineering. The company is investing and innovating in advanced smart, sensor, robotics, cloud and artificial intelligence technologies. Currently, Smartron has R&D centres in Bangalore and Hyderabad.
What are your thoughts about the Make in India initiative?
Make in India doesn’t need to be and shouldn’t be about just manufacturing. It should also be about designing, developing and building products right here in India for India and the world.
It should be about shifting focus from services to products. India yet to produce a strong technology global brand like Samsung or Huawei or Xiaomi or Boeing. India shouldn’t just try to imitate China but rather focus on leveraging its core strengths. China already has strong manufacturing and systems capabilities and now they are focused on components, software and services. India has been focused on software and services and India should focus on developing components, systems and high value manufacturing.
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