“Adam, make me a good coffee”
Yes you heard right! Pretty soon this is what you will be saying to your coffee maker machine. Or some other time, you are entering your home at 7 P.M and your home lighting automatically switches to your favorite colors and player starts playing your favorite track.
We’ve been able to ask a question to Siri or Google. Why not do the same with each and every device? Gone are the days, when you used to manually control your home appliances. It’s time for artificial intelligence based IoT smart homes. You might feel that IoT and artificial intelligence are too cliche topics, but the real fun lies in exploring them together.
Today we are presenting a fulfilled, innovative and inspiring interview of this very tech-savy startup ANTAR IoT which is working on the concept of smart homes.
Smart homes are the residences that are equipped with information and computing technology devices that anticipates and responds to the requirement of the owner in an effective and efficient manner. Smart homes involves automation and control of Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Security system (HVAC), lighting and home appliances like refrigerators, ovens and dryers. The smart home devices use Wi-Fi for monitoring remotely and are a part of Internet of Things.
Increasing consumer acceptance is an important factor bolstering the demand of smart homes in the global market. Customers have identified the security, value and energy-efficient solutions offered by smart homes. The ease of monitoring, managing and controlling devices and home appliances at any time, from any place are boosting the customers’ acceptance of smart homes. The advent of the Internet of Things (IoT), technologies such as wearable’s, near field communications, Wi-Fi, smartphones, Bluetooth and ZigBee protocols, have additionally amplified the demand for smart home solutions.
Lets see what the founders of this startup has to say about this new trendy technology and their venture in their own words.
1.What is the Name of Your Venture? Any specific reason for this name?
ANTAR IoT – Inspired by my mother who motivated and inspired me to start this company. Her name is RATNA. ANTAR is derived from this name ( Read from right to let) . We are working on providing innovative solutions that provide a delightful customer experience leveraging the power of IoT
2.Who is your target Audience/clients?
Smart Homes – People Buying new homes, Houses being renovated, Real Estate Developers, Tech Enthusiasts
Smart Farms – Government bodies, Progressive Farmers, Villas/apartments with small gardens/roof gardens
IT Services – Small and Medium Enterprises
3.Where is your venture based (city, state, country) & What are your geographical target areas?
Located in Hyderabad,Telangana,India.
Smart Homes – Retail Sales in Hyderabad, B2B sales pan India. Will be expanding the services in Middle East by 2020
Smart Farms – India
IT Services – Small and Medium Enterprises in Middle East and North America. Will expand the services to other regions as we grow
4.What problems does your venture resolve? What are your products or services?
Smart Homes – Smart homes solutions available so far are unfortunately are restricted to lighting controls. We are here to change that perception and limitation. We provide a end-end smart home solution which covers your lighting control to watering your lavish lawns. We give you intelligent homes and smarter living by leveraging our partnerships with most promising smart home product companies
Smart Farms – The 11th five-year plan [2007-2012] acknowledged the importance of proper soil management in agriculture for the first time. For this, Soil Health Management (SHM) scheme was devised to assist State Governments to set up new static Soil Testing Laboratories (STLs) and Mini Soil testing Labs (MSTLs).However, it is found necessary to further reduce the collection, testing time required for the sample to ensure on the spot results to the farmers. In addition, simplification of soil testing protocols needs to be done.
To address this challenge we are working on development of simplified, sensor based and quick soil testing methods to test the nutrients and micronutrients. We are also working on irrigation systems which can be controlled from Mobile devices.
IT Services – Cost effective services for Small and Medium enterprises
5.Share the idea or story behind the venture. How did it came to an existence? What motivated you to start your own venture?
During my days as a Global Leader and Advisor for Emerging Technologies in CSC I got a chance to interact with CxOs of various Fortune 500 clients and understand their challenges, Mentor a few start-ups and speak in various international conferences. This exposure helped me understand that there are lot of open challenges which could be easily addressed with IoT and latest technologies.
Further, As an IoT enthusiast my desire to learn, desire to develop high quality affordable products that results in delightful customer experience leveraging the power of IoT and Next gen technologies, desire to generate employment in India by making products in India for the world fuelled ANTAR IoT.
Founded by Rajaneesh Vasanta in 2017,ANTAR IoT is a Hyderabad based technology start-up specializing in the Internet of Things and Next generation technologies.
We design, develop and manufacture a range of secure, high quality, technologically advanced smart products which are very easy to use and results in a delightful customer experience.
Through our IoT software platform, we aim to improve operational efficiencies, enhance user experiences and convenience by connecting people, systems and information together.
In addition to building our own smart products and software platforms , we also provide IT services on next gen technologies and re-sell our partner products.
6.Who are your biggest competitors and how do you differentiate yourself from them?
There are Many.However, Our focus and approach towards offering a solution is different. For example : In the home automation space there are a lot of promising companies who offer the solutions for lighting controls or appliance control. However, form a customer’s standpoint they are not sufficient. Customers pefer a end-end solution. As a service integrator and product manufacturer it is our utmost priority to deliver Smart homes which can take care of its gardens, secure itself, generate power for itself and provide convenience to its inhabitants.
7.How did you identify your co-founder? Tell us some thing about your co-founder/s
Hemanth is a Technology Enthusiast and is a good friend of mine. His Simplicity, Positive outlook towards life, Commitment, passion towards technology are some traits that we can find in very few people. He has a track record of building high performance teams that deliver. He is happily married and currently stays in Chicago,USA.
During our casual conversations I have conveyed to him that I was being considered for the CTO role for ANZ location in DXC and my plans of quitting the company to start ANTAR IoT. We had a series of discussions post that decided to work together where he can take care of the IT services in the NA region and also guide the R&D teams in India.
8.How did you hired your first team members? What skills Do you want in your employees/team?
Like every start-up we also had problems in hiring associates. We have interviewed more than 60 candidates and Generated offers for around 5 candidates by offering 50-100% Hikes. None of them joined.
I reached out to my relative who works as a professor and asked him if he could refer some bright students who might be willing to work with us. We got our first team member this way. Followed by that we followed a similar strategy to build the team by reaching out to our connections and were successful in finding the right candidates. We are now a team of 10.We took the help of Krishna Kiran Kasturi,CEO,Apxor to help us in filtering the profiles.
Tech enthusiasts with passion to work on innovative products and create a positive impact on the society, adaptability and enthusiasm to learn newer technologies are the key skills of our team. We now have a team who is well versed with Embedded technologies, web services, Java, Mobile App Development.
9.What expansion plans are you looking for the next 2 years, next 5 years?
India is our primary target. We want to develop products in India for India and for the world. In the next two years we want to become the largest service integration for home automation in South India. In next 5 years we are targeting entire India and Middle East.
We would like to launch smart irrigation and home systems by FY20.
10.Where do you want to see yourself in next 10 years?
We want to move to the leadership Quadrant
11.What are your goals over the next 1, 3, 6 and 12 months?
This Year our focus is on R&D to build robust products. As a service integrator we are targeting a turnover of INR 1 Crore through our home automation services
12.Have you raised any funding? Or have any plans for the funding?
It is self funded and we are not looking for investments in the near term
13.What were the problems you faced during the starting days and how did you resolve them?
Getting the right resources is the major challenge. We have overcome this by getting the references from our professional network rather than going for recruitment through Agencies.
14.What was the most challenging part of your journey till now? How did you overcome those challenges?
We have just started our journey and miles to go. Resourcing is the only major concern for us at this point
15.Are you married, single or in a relationship?
Happily married and have a 5 year old daughter and 3 year old son.
16.What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
I enjoy spending time with my kids. I am a automobile enthusiast and participated in a couple of amateur racing events at Madras racing circuit. I love gardening and I’ve got 40 different species of plants in my Villa.
17.Whats your favorite food & holiday destination?
I love the south Indian Food. I ve travelled across the world.But, Anantagiri hills near Araku is my favorite holiday destination.
18.Whom do you consider your idol or biggest motivator?
My Brothers. All of them are into Civil services.
19.What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
Break the routine, change the game, Live life on own terms and add more value to the society
20.If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
I will buy huge farm land and grow organic food using the latest technologies
21.How has being an entrepreneur affected your family & Social life?
There is a lot of resistance especially because of my decision to leave a highly paid , leadership roles abroad and start something from scratch. I am prepared to compromise on both family& social life during the initial years.
22.Anything, you would like to say to our readers or upcoming entrepreneurs?
If you are clear on what you want to achieve and have a solid use case, don’t look back. Just go for it!
23.Tell us something about your education & family background.
I am a Computer Science Grad from JNTU and started my career with Satyam and worked for various MNCs like Motorola, Nokia, HP, Thomson Reuters. As I grew up the ladder I found the need to have a management degree an got my executive program in business management from IIM-Calcutta.
My father is a veterinary doctor and mother is a house wife.I have a sister who is happily married. Because of the nature of the work, my father had regular work location transfers and had to work out from rural areas. I was brought up in my Aunt’s house from my childhood and completed my education there along with my cousins and all of them cracked civils and serving our country by taking up various administrative roles . Their dedication inspired me and had a lot of positive impact.
24.What is your USP which makes it unique & different from other start-ups in similar domains.
Our flexibility to accommodate newer products and create a end-end solution for the customers, leadership experience and our vision differentiates us.
- What do you think is the biggest threat to the success of small businesses & Start-ups today?
Lack of clarity in terms of what is the objective, lack of plans to generate income for sustaining the business, Lack of proper planning(financial forecast, expenditure forecast, GTM strategy)
26. Do you consider yourself successful and by what means do you measure success?
Success is relative. We want our customers to be happy and proud of using our products and recommend the same to others. We want to our employees to be proud of working for our company. We want our investments to reap the returns. The moment all this happens , we consider ourselves successful.
27.Please share complete name, address, phone number, email id & website of Your Business & Contact Person
Rajaneesh Vasanta,ANTAR IoT Private Limited,3rd Floor,Modern Profound Tech Park,Kondapur,Hyderabad – 500084.
Ph : 9966402361
Website : www.antariot.com