Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Smart Water-Power & Internet Public utilities for the city of tomorrow; TiE Event update

Internet of Things; A future of possibilities
SIG IoT brings you : Smart Water-Power & Internet Public utilities for the city of tomorrow? was an interesting and timely event was organised by TiE on 11th Sep, 2014 (Event Link)

Event had a very good response with full participation from enthusiastic entrepreneurs and ecosystem players.

Speakers were from Intel, Bosch, Infosys, Cisco, Mindteck and provided insight into the possibilities and the future ahead.

Each of the speakers spelt out their viewpoints on urbanisation, problems faced and possible solutions. The event was well moderated by Dr. Ashwin Mahesh, Founder, Mapunity. it was followed by Q&A. There was active participation from the audience as well.

Rapid urbanisation of cities: India is nearly one-third urbanised. The urban trend will further accelerate manifold as the economy growth happens. So, the future will see more migration of people to Urban areas which will put enormous pressure on the infrastructure like Traffic, water, electricity.
IMG_20140911_191240.jpgThe following are needed to efficiently manage, maintain and expand the infrastructure:

- Intelligent transport and mobility
- Smart energy and grids
- Smart Water distribution
- Smart governance
- Smart buildings / smart building solutions
- Disaster management
- Smart social infrastructure - education, health care,…

Smart City will see smart parking, smart Closed-circuit television (CCTV) surveillance, smart street lighting, smart water management and leak detection and community messaging.

The smart cities will be equipped with an array of modern technologies, including Internet of Things (IoT), Machine to Machine communication (M2M) and mobility. Internet of Things (IoT) will provide lot of opportunities for creation of solutions and managing them.
Finally action needs to be taken at the field level by the field personnel to resolve the problems reported. This is where Vitamap’s mobility platform mEdge will provide value in bridging the last mile.

It was great to connect with speakers Dr. Ashwin Mahesh, Raghuveer (Infosys) and Ashwani Garg (Intel) and sharing Vitamap's solutions and the roadmap.

An insightful evening and event where some good connections were established. We saw positive and enthusiastic response from the people for mEdge and the Vitamap's mobility vision.
We are continuing to work with customers and ecosystem partners to bring full potential of Internet of Things to reality in the days to come.

-Guru Anand
Guru is the CEO of Vitamap and is passionate about the mobility and the possibilities it can enable in enterprises as well as in communities

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Smart wearables: growth and impact on field service

Wearable devices are the most discussed technology trend currently. Any computing device  that you can attach to your body is a wearable, e.g. a bluetooth headset. However devices like smart watches and head mounted displays are true wearable computers. They bring contextual information to the fingertips of the user.  Wearables may very well be the next game changers after (or along with?) smartphones for enterprises.

Android, the most popular mobile operating system, is now available for wearable devices. LG, HTC, Samsung and recently Motorola with their Moto-360 smartwatch, have partnered with Google for wearable production. There is a fantastic ecosystem for ubiquitous computing in the form the PlayStore & cloud connected apps and low-energy bluetooth. This is evident in the adoption rate among consumers: 2.5 million Android users owned a wearable in February 2014 alone.

With Apple Watch announced and expected in early 2015, the wearable industry looks exciting and the possibilities immense.


Wearables can deliver contextual information like location based alerts, instant messages and email, traffic updates, calendar invites right at your fingertips. This enabled by advances in touchscreen and speech recognition technology. For example you could simply say ”Ok, google, show me my agenda” to your android wearable and you’ll get your events on smartwatch face.

The field service industry could be one of the key beneficiaries from wearables. According to Gartner, their profits could potentially increase by 1 billion USD by adoption of wearables. “The greatest savings in field service will come from diagnosing and fixing problems more quickly and without needing to bring additional experts to remote sites.” said Angela McIntyre, research director at Gartner.

Wearable devices have already been prototyped and deployed for maintenance where technicians had to work in tight spaces, consult large volumes of documentation, and any mistakes had very serious repercussions. Wearables add capabilities like voice interaction and notification delivery without interrupting the technician during their work. It’s much faster to say “next” or touch the wearable device and then glance at the next instruction than it is to interact with a smartphone or tablet after each step.

A possible roadblock that may delay rapid adoption of wearables in field service might be the battery life. A smartwatch like the LG G watch lasts for 1.5 to 2 days. This means it may wear out during active use in field. Hence, an improved battery life will certainly make a huge impact on adoption rates.

Wider deployment in the field service industry is just getting started. With the rapid rise in quality and availability of affordable wearable technology, there is every indication that adoptions will spike. As always, early adopters will make the most out of this new wave.

Graph source: 1.6 million smart bands shipped in H2 2013 []

The Indian Enterprise Software Product Story

The Indian Enterprise Software Product Story dates back to early 90’s when it was an ‘underground’ movement. The last few years have witnessed a significant broadening of industry base by software products being developed and monetised across multiple market segments and verticals. The industry is heading towards building global ecosystems and eventually outward investments.

Players have identified niche addressable markets and paired it with unique business models to achieve Y-o-Y growth rates of over 30-40%.  Driver include focus on greater customer services, cost savings and incorporation of emerging technologies into solutions such as mobility, social, cloud and information management.

A detailed infographic with the key drivers and focus areas is presented here.

Data in this infographic is based on the analysis of 213 Indian software products and the companies that owned them. These companies were analysed in the NASSCOM-Frost Sullivan product Excellence Matrix on Indian Enterprise Software Products released in 2014. We are glad to be part of this survey and to be featured in the report.

Last Mile Delivery in e-tailing

The opportunities for e-retailing - in fact, e-commerce in general- are well documented: rising incomes, young population with high aspirations, close link with technology and the rise of facilitators such as internet,mobile penetration and COD facilities. The sheer speed at which the market is growing defies expectations. With increased success comes increased order volume, lines per order, complexity in payment and an inevitable need to automate.

Maybe in some futuristic world, online will be more or less like the real world, where shoppers will transact with the same ease they do in the current physical world. However, there are miles to cover in terms of payment challenges viz, last mile delivery visibility, returns management and SLA adherence before we thrive in such a world.

Our in-house research suggests that processes and systems have evolved to the point where the product leaves the warehouse for the final leg of delivery. However, there are blind spots in terms of COD collections, data about Field Executive (FE) activities and managing communication with customers.

92% e-retailers allowed COD, some free of cost and a few with minimal charge. 38% of the delivery executives carry an mPOS device but with zero to minimum support on the mobile  to integrate payment with delivery mechanism. As a result, majority prefer to collect cash bearing the risk of loss and theft. As a result, most e-tailers are struggling with long cash realization cycles and inevitably poor customer feedback for delivery.

FE is the only traceable asset for e-tailers when their products are on the field. The ability of these organisations to have visibility into these resources through real-time data transfer is integral to ensure efficiencies. Only 8% of e-retailer in our study were able to handle real-time requests by customers. 46% captured data real-time, however they are not able to tie it back to their systems  to use the data.

There is a large lacuna in the information that is given to a customer when they contact the retailer, ranging between 8 hours to 48 hours to revert with a resolution. In an age where the customer is demanding instant service, it is but obvious that mobility is a clear winner as a tool to gain customer trust.We also observed a significant drop in communication for reverse pickups in case of return requests.
e-retailers cannot afford to let their guard down in this highly competitive market. e-tailers must change operations to adapt.  This is where mobility solutions like mEdge can come to the rescue from transit to delivery to payment cycles. We understand that there is no aspect of the business that can remain static. e-tailers now have a great opportunity to leverage mobility and workforce management solutions to build relationship into recurring sales. 

The best solutions will include triggers to take action instantly. It can include things like triggering a re-assignment of delivery when it is rescheduled in the system when a customer makes the request.

 One of the easiest ways to get started with mobile is with push notifications and cloud-based web access for admin roles. It is as simple as, run-sheet is created , it is  automatically pushed to all the FE’s devices. FE’s can then access the schedule with their mobile devices. FE’s are able to update orders as they go about completing their scheduled runs . Businesses will have real-time visibility into their last mile delivery and payment processes.

With the growing popularity of mobile in e-commerce, collecting and analyzing information across all consumer touch points — understanding what consumers want — will be critical to managing the customer experience and optimizing performance.

Field force Mobility in 2014; The Way Ahead

Service organizations are constantly looking for ways to make their staff more efficient, provide better service to their customers and improve profitability. Mobility helps service organizations resolve issues faster, enabling them to attend to requests immediately. The domino effect of this prompt response to a customer request has a high impact across the eco-system. Research suggests an effective mobility solution can improve overall productivity by 30-40%, and profitability by 20-25% for the service organization.

A world of opportunity lies in the confluence of field service and mobility. More than ever, businesses are aiming for better visibility and efficient operation of field service force. Gaps in the existing system can be addressed simply by integrating with mobility enabled technology.According to Gartner, by 2018, 70% of mobile workers will use a tablet or a hybrid device with tablet-like characteristics. Aberdeen predicts that 82% of leading service organizations will invest in mobile tools as a key strategy to improve field service performance.

As highlighted in Aberdeen’s report, 75% of end-user services understand that the need for focus on mobility is customer demand for faster service. True value creation happens when a mobile tool is able to provide real-time information to field executives. It will allow field force executives more time to be experts and trusted advisors that customers truly appreciate freeing them from manual and mundane activities like administration, paperwork and data gathering.

A robust mobility application should be able to improve existing business, simple and easy to use and accessible on the most common devices. Easy integration with ERP, warehouse and CRM systems and layered with security passcodes. Not least of all, it should be scalable and able to support entry and exit of users seamlessly.

Field services are associated with machines, products and equipments but at its core, there is a need for companies to provide service to customers. The efficient flow of material and information is what will set a business apart from the rest. Nearly 8 out of 10 (79%)sampled in Aberdeens report have some form of work order management system in place for their field service, but additional technology tools such as Vitamaps mEdge is needed to reach the level of field-service performance of the best-in-class.