Tata Communications Connects the Indian IoT Market

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By Jake Saunders | 4Q 2017 | IN-4826

The Indian IoT market is growing at a rapid rate. By mid-2017, there were 900 IoT commercial start-ups in existence. Application hot spots include smart home/city, industrial, and transport. Tata Communications is upping the ante with a LoRaWAN network that will eventually go nationwide.

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Priming India for IoT


The Indian government is very much intent to draw next generation electronics and wireless innovation to the raw potential of the Indian heartland. In 2014, Prime Minister Modi announced the “Make in India” initiative to encourage the siting of electronic manufacturing plants in India. According to NITI Aayog, a government of India agency, the production output from India’s electronic manufacturing plant in 2015 stood at just 1.5% of the worldwide production. The government also sees the Internet of Things and Smart Cities as a technological lever for India to leapfrog to the forefront of electronics and applications development.

In order to encourage private sector investment in IoT-related R&D and to undertake IoT-related R&D projects with international partners, the Department of Electronics and Information Technology kicked off the International IoT Research Collaboration Scheme in 2015 to promote international collaboration and prime local and national IOT initiatives. The results of these initiatives and commitments from Indian and international firms are starting to yield meaningful results. 

Tata Communications Sets up an IoT Platform


In mid-2017, Indian IoTNext Directory tracked 900 IoT startups. By contrast, the figure stood at just 123 in 2014. Smart home/city (15%), industrial (12%), and transport (11%) take the largest percentages.

In March 2017, IoT market maturity stepped up a significant notch with Tata Communications’ collaboration with HP Enterprise and Semtech to roll out a Low Power Wide Area Network based on the LoRaWAN standard. HPE provided its Universal IoT Platform and Semtech supplied the LoRa chipsets. The LoRaWAN network is present in 38 cities (equivalent to 10 million people), with a plan to cover and the rest of India by December 2019 (approximately 50,000 towns). Tata Communications aims to have around 50 million IoT devices in the market by 2022. In early 4Q-2017, Tata Communications announced successful field trials in Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore, with 35 proof-of-concept (POC) applications. These PoCs have been evaluating smart buildings, campuses, and utilities, as well as fleet management, enhanced security and healthcare services.

Rapid Growth in IoT Applications


Tata Communications is certainly prudent to be exploring a wide range of LoRaWAN-enabled IoT applications. Based on the Wisdom of Crowds assumption, it is likely the main IoT applications will fall into Smart Home/City, Smart Industrial and Smart Transportation applications. The “heat map” of commercial start-ups in the Indian IoTNext Directory give us a signpost as to what IoT applications could start to generate revenue in the Indian market.

Notable stand-outs in the smart manufacturing arena include drone and robotics companies, such as ideaForge Technology and GreyOrange and smart manufacturing firms like Covacsis. These two firms are leveraging domestic expertise and produce smart connected products for surveillance, monitoring, and warehouse organization.  

On the smart home front, Silvan Innovation Labs provides security and entertainment options for residential, hospitality, and commercial end users through home automation hub, wireless security system, Wi-Fi video doorbell, and other accessories with wireless connectivity. Smart meters are also gaining traction. Initiatives such as the Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana scheme are intended to make the installation of smart meters compulsory for all consumers using more than 200 units of electricity a month. The scheme intends to install 35 million smart meters by December 2019.


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