While the term ‘Internet of Things (IoT)’ has been around for more than a decade; there’s been an increased buzz in the recent times, around the idea of connecting everyday objects such as mobile phones, televisions, cars and homes to the web, to promote a more efficient and a more digital way of living. Apart from IBM, Google, Apple, Microsoft and other big players, there are a slew of startups that are building IoT products in India.

Is IoT the next big thing in the technology space? How is it going to impact our lives? What resources are available to the entrepreneurs interested in building an IoT startup? The July 2015 edition of Startup Saturday Bangalore delved deep into the landscape of IoT, and explored some of these questions bubbling in the minds of aspiring IoT entrepreneurs.

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The session started with an informative talk by Jay Warrior, CEO of Mobiatrics, a healthcare startup providing better care for chronic diseases. Speaking about the three essential elements of IoT: Sensors & Actuators, Networking,  Analytics & Logic; Jay advised entrepreneurs to think holistically, and look broadly at the physical world and our interactions with it, while exploring possible business models for their IoT startups. Understanding the critical problems that we face today; in the areas of water quality, food safety, environmental conditions, and public health; can help entrepreneurs zero in on a product idea, and solve a real problem with it, he added.

Pointing out the common mistake that entrepreneurs make, by thinking only about the technology side of their IoT business and ignoring the user aspect of it, Jay stated, “IoT is IoPT(Internet of People and Things). Design your product around people. Think of the end user – their needs and interests.” Apart from having a user-centric design, it’s also important for the product to have a good scalability, he  suggested.

Following Jay’s insight into the basics of IoT, was a talk by Ashish Bedekar, Head of MediaTek Labs, a company that’s changing the future of wearable technology and IoT devices. Ashish spoke about the ways in which MediaTek’s global platform can help IoT developers take their ideas from the prototype stage to the product stage.

The website, which is free to join, offers developers the technology and business support that they need to launch their product in the market. Apart from providing developmental tools, access to discussion forums, and technical database, MediaTek also helps developers by connecting them to the right partners, who could help them release the final product in the market.

The two talks were followed by the day’s most awaited session – the Panel Discussion moderated by Siddharth Banerjee (CTO at Wow Labz) and featuring panel speakers: Arvind Tiwary (Chair at Internet of Things (IoT) Forum, Founder at SangEnnovate), Nihal Kashinath (Founder at IoT Bangalore(IoTBLR), Prashant Subhedar (Co-founder of Bang Design Pvt Ltd), Shirish Andhare (Sr. VP of Product Management at Ezetap) and Ashish Bedekar (Head at MediaTek Labs) Below are some of the insights shared by the panelists as they answered the IoT – related questions fired at them by the inquisitive audience:

  • Running an IoT startup requires a great number of skills – hardware, software, engineering, design et al. Don’t kill yourself in the process of building your company.

  • Be prepared to throw away your prototype several times. You never have a fully-ready prototype. And when the product is finally out in the market, don’t forget to celebrate.

  • Hardware is laboriously hard. The more time you spend understanding what the customer wants, the less time and resources you would waste on making changes in the product.

  • For the user of your product, a sense of control is important. Earn the trust of your customers and give them a sense of security.

  • In IoT, value is created by open sharing of data.

  • Hardware is just a part of the IoT. The overall experience that the product gives the customer, makes a huge difference.

  • Instead of targeting high manufacturing numbers, make it your goal to manufacture 4000 products of reliable standard.

  • The Future of IoT lies in Un-Internet – less internet usage means less attacks and hacking  issues.

  • Some common reasons why IoT Startups fail: Lack of good mentoring and support; Lack of focus on a specific market, Lack of diversity in the team; Lack of awareness about users and IoT businesses in general.

In addition to these main sessions, the event also featured impressive demos by Switch, an IoT startup working towards making homes smarter and self-sustainable with a single switch; and Eye-D, a startup that has created a wearable smartphone-like device that empowers the visually-challenged by helping them navigate outdoors with ease. There were also numerous startups that had their stalls displayed at the event venue. Some of the participating startups being Carfields, VRfirst, Excubator and Hacklab.

The July 2015 edition of Startup Saturday Bangalore was an insightful one, attended by 350+ people that included a mix of entrepreneurs, early-stage startups, and IoT enthusiasts. A huge thank you to the amazing audience who attended and participated actively in the event; and to our long list of event partners: MediaTek Labs, IKP Knowledge Park, Dropkaffe, IBM Bluemix, Wow Labz and TiE Bangalore amongst others, for their generous support and contribution. If you missed attending this Startup Saturday Bangalore, then make sure you block your calendar for the next event. Do check out the Headstart Youtube Channel to listen to what our attendees have to say about the SS events.

About HeadStart Bangalore:

Established in the year 2008 with the vision to ‘Change the World through Entrepreneurship’, Headstart Network Foundation (headstart.in) is the largest network of early stage startups in India. A non-profit, volunteer-driven organization, HeadStart Bangalore facilitates entrepreneurial learning, hiring and peer mentoring amongst the startups and addresses their issues through various initiatives such as: Startup Saturday Bangalore, Headstart Clubs, Headstart Higher, Headstart Cofounder Search Program and Headstart Inturn.