Computer Vision – Grand Dad of All IoT Sensors

manish blog

Human body is the most efficient and powerful system that exists and is a result of evolution over millions of years. And it would make complete sense to emulate its mechanism as we build modern systems.

IoT or “enchanted objects” as I like to call them are also moving the same direction. The 5 human senses that operate through the organs map to the nodes in an IoT system. Same is the case of actuators that map to the voice, gestures, movement and other actions that humans perform through respective actuation organs.

Spinal cord maps to the IoT gateway that forms the backbone of any IoT system and does not just serve the purpose of communication between the organs and the brain but also provides the reflex actions through a local intelligence that has been driven back from the brain by the models created through experiences and DNA

And of course the brain that maps clearly to the cloud platform in an IoT architecture. We can go on an on with this analogy, but that is not the focus of this blog.

Now that we have established that its the human body that we are trying to emulate, lets understand which is the most powerful sense of the human body. Vision. Right? If that is the case, wont it make complete sense[pun intended] to use the same sense effectively while building an IoT system? Lets park this thought for the time being while we evaluate the challenges with current sensors.

When it comes to IoT solutions, getting the right sensor with accurate reliability is the toughest part. That we have learnt through numerous challenges that we have faced with even simplest of use cases. Retrofitting the sensors or reading information from existing sensors [analog or digital] is the other challenge because bulk of use cases we come across require IoT enabling existing assets and systems.

Significant investments are required to update infrastructure, get the sensors installed, create complex networks and its a multi year job to get it all correct and operational. Then comes the challenge with the wear and tear of these sensors and they need to be continuously calibrated or maintained.

Vision has huge power and images / video is our answer to it. Only if we can tap into the information that it provides, we can create some really powerful IoT systems. We can “read” existing analog dials and digital meters. We can compare time series images, extract intelligence and draw inference from them. We can count based on movement of objects from and to a defined video frame. And the system can “learn” from all this behavior. This is what we all do right from a few days after birth.

Axelta provides state of art and innovative IoT solutions for different verticals and domains and we at Axelta have realized the power of “computer vision” in IoT and have done some really interesting experiments and R&D to harness its power. We have also developed hardware that enables this both at the edge level and at the cloud level. The deeper we are going the more we are getting convinced on its power to solve a huge number of digitization use cases. As of now, we are applying its power in security, retail, advertising and many more other areas. If you are interested to know more about it and would like to discuss your requirements with us, please contact us at solutions@axelta.com with your use case.

Manish Agarwal
Co Founder – Axelta Systems

IoT Business Models and Monetizing IoT Ideas

As per many predictions, IoT is a multi trillion dollar value creation opportunity. And everyone is trying to position themselves as a comprehensive end to end player in that space. This includes

  • Appliance manufacturers- Samsung, LG, Hitachi
  • Industrial automation players – Siemens, Honeywell, GE
  • Semiconductor manufacturers – Intel, ARM, STM, Mediatek
  • Large technology companies – Amazon, Google, IBM, Microsoft
  • IT service providers – Infosys, Accenture, HCL, TCS
  • Consultants -E&Y, KPMG
  • And many more

As we interact with and train many players, experts and stakeholders in this space, we have realized that while everyone is excited about the opportunity, many of them are still not clear about their game plan and are also not in a position to provide comprehensive reliable solutions and services.

The reasons are many including inherent complexity and uncertainty of solutions, having the right partner ecosystem, right talent as well as identifying the correct sweet spot based on your core competence, market you are operating in and the opportunities that exist

After having spent almost 3 years in this space and after implementing multiple successful and some not so successful solutions, we have realized that IoT is too big an animal to tame in a one go and a very focused and strategic approach is needed to get the right mix of value chain positioning, vertical selection and picking up the right technologies and architecture. Breaking down the problem into smaller pieces, managing the customer expectations so that they don’t consider IoT as a silver bullet that solves all their problems is also very critical.

The other tough challenge is to come up with the right value proposition and justifying the RoI of the investments. Especially because the initial investment will be towards getting the required network, infrastructure and business processes in place to bring IoT into current operational processes and technologies. Especially evident in shift from Industrial M2M systems to IIoT/Industry 4.0

A big mistake could be to try and eat the entire cake alone. There are too many components and too many technology, architecture and business process trade offs to be taken to rationally be able to get your hands around. The key is to rapidly go-to-market with minimal upfront investment. Leveraging existing commercially available systems effectively should be part of the core strategy.

Axelta is one of the few companies world wide that has built expertise across the value chain. Right from sensors, to wireless networks, to hardware platforms to cloud based platform and mobile apps. Our IoT enablement ecosystem – Osmosis, is time tested and can provide 80% of the pieces out of the box for solving your business use cases. We also have excellent experience of practical problems faced in the field after having deployed multiple solutions in the market to be your partners to develop and deploy solutions in a reliable, cost effective manner. Check out more about our ecosystem, case studies and more on our solutions site. Axelta has also done some path breaking work in computer vision and video analytics

Axelta also have the entire set of services from getting you started through our IoT bootcamps. Get deeper into technologies through IoT analytics program and other technology training, consulting services, engineering services and more. The chart below explains how we can partner together.

Below is a link for a webinar we had conducted where we covered many of the aspects I have listed above. Contact us at corporate@axelta.com in case you have any requirements that you want to partner with us for any training needs.

Connect with me at:

Manish Agarwal – manish@axelta.com, LinkedIn

Co-Founder – Axelta Systems

Drone Port Mesh Network (Delivery Logistics Solved)

Shawn is bewildered, forgot to buy gift for his daughter Eli’s birthday today and its already 7 p.m in the evening. He has recently shifted to the row houses on the outskirts of Hyderabad near to the bypass where he can skip almost the entire city and reach home in 70-80 mins. He was almost regretting the decision as there is no toy store nearby he can visit and does not have the energy to drive to the city. He goes online to a retail store. Recently his daughter has mentioned a particular toy which is a rage in her school and luckily he is able to recollect the name and buy it online with that new fancy delivery option.  It is already 7:20. He drives home praying and as he parks his car in the driveway he looks at his watch, its 8:45 p.m. As he steps out he could hear his daughter talking excitedly to his wife and explaining something. Suddenly the house door opens and Eli rushes out and hugs him. To his relief she has the toy in her hand, delivered 15 mins back. Wife is at the door with that look of “why can’t you plan better” or “you lucky bastard”, I can never tell exactly, but Eli is happy. Thank god this new tech option works and works so well. Delivery in a city with 60-70 km diameter with 11 million people with this accuracy.

Case 1:

We call the new technology “Drone Port Mesh Network”

The technology is a mix of Drones and Humans in a most time efficient manner and uses a least hop mechanism. So as soon as Shawn ordered the toy, the least time and highest probable route was selected and order processed.

Typical steps involved are:

  1. Shawn orders the toy on his mobile app with the retailer “ABC Corp”.
  2. Order reaches the nearest warehouse which has the Item (toy) available.
  3. Item goes to the nearest Drone port located at rooftop in every business district.
  4. Item flies from Drone port to the Drone port nearest to the delivery location.
  5. Item is then taken from the Drone and last mile is done by a delivery person physically.
Delivery using Drone Mesh network (40 km Delivery) for any item Manual delivery process
Ware house packing and labelling:  10 mins Ware house packing and labelling:  10 mins
Drone loading and configuring: 5 mins Loading into delivery Van: 5 mins
Drone travel to Destination port (distance 40 km)  20 mins Truck/Bike travel to Destination (distance 40 km)  60-120 mins
Unloading and loading onto delivery backpack: 10 mins
Delivered at destination: 15 mins Delivered at destination: 5 mins
Total Time taken:  60 mins Total Time taken:  80 mins – 140 mins

 

 

Case 1: Delivery process for any Item using Drones

drone 1

Case-2:

 

Let us take another use case of delivery of food from your favourite restaurant to your home 40 km away. As of today, no restaurant will take this order, but with this drone delivery, very much possible.

Shawn orders the meal online from his app. Does not care about where in the city, restaurant is located

 

 

Delivery using Drone Mesh network (40 km Delivery) Manual delivery (unviable for > 8 km)
Once order come in Delivery person from nearest Drone port/another location reaches the restaurant – 10 mins Person from the logistics company  reaches the restaurant – 10 mins
In Parallel Food is made ready and packed – 10 mins In Parallel Food is made ready and packed – 10 mins
Delivery person reaches the nearest drone port and loads the food – 8 mins Delivery person starts for the destination 40 km away – 60 to 120 mins
Drone travels to the Port nearest to the destination 40 km – 20 mins Delivery person delivers at the destination
Delivery person unloads the package and delivers to the destination –10 mins
Total Time – ~60 mins Total time – 80-140 mins

 

Net time taken to deliver food at a distance of 40 kms is ~50 – 60 mins.  It’s the predictability and human labour cost savings that make the delivery viable and possible.

 

drone 2

Drone authorization:

  1. Every Drone that takes off is authorised by Drone authority and approved.
  2. Every drone gets an IPv6 number on being built and is registered with Government authority.

 

Drone port functionality:

These are typically built on unused rooftops of commercial buildings. This is a new rental opportunity for landlords. This is how a typical Drone port will look like. It will have:

  1. Sufficient space for landing and take off
  2. Quick drone loading unloading infrastructure including basic drone maintenance
  3. Drone quick charging stations.
  4. Small storage for non-food items to deliver at leisure.

 

Possible Drone port Mesh Network in Hyderabad:

drone 3

 

Drone port visualisation:

drone 4

Cost analysis:

Using this method quick and reliable delivery will become an accepted fact. Cost of long range delivery using humans is cost prohibitive and time consuming. Using a person to deliver restaurant food over more than 6-7 km means that you have to add 25% of day salary of the employee to order charge. Drones will change all that. Thinks like medicines, urgent spare parts will also use this Drone facility.

Capex:

Building this Capex of Drone ports etc. will require significant investment. Existing logistics players/large corporates can do this. Technologically this is very much feasible as Drones only have to go point to point and not navigate through crowded streets.

 

Please get in touch with us at pyush Jain (pyush@axelta.com) for more details.

 

The Emergence Of A New IT Professional – IoT Full Stack Experts

There have been two distinct worlds in the computing world. Physical world represented by the Electronics [which includes hardware, RF, embedded and related technologies] and Virtual world represented by Software [which includes databases, web development, analytics, mobility and more].

These Physical and Virtual worlds have come together and are working in cohesive manner to enhance each other and enabling use cases never thought about before. This magical space is called IoT or Internet of Things[everything], ambient intelligence and much more.

In line with the two distinct technology spaces, professionals also were categorized in the same manner. You were either an electronics professional or a software professional. With either a deep hate or deep reverence [or both :)] for the other space.

With the changing technology landscape, when the physical and virtual worlds have come together, its high time that the chasm between the two types of geeks also gets bridged. And make no mistake, its a huge gap to be filled.

This leads to a new breed of technology professionals who are experts in one of the two fields but have a fair bit of knowledge of the other field.

  1. Electronics IoT expert [Embedded and Hardware] with full stack IoT knowledge
  2. Cloud IoT expert [UI, Webservices, Analytics] with full stack IoT knowledge

Add to that, if the expert has a good knowledge and experience of the domain they are operating in, they can really be those unicorns who can make the elusive success of IoT implementations possible. These professionals can emerge to become the IoT solution architects and future CIOs / CTOs of large product or service organizations.

At Axelta, we firmly believe that this is the future direction of the industry. We are already seeing a momentum building in this direction and have been contributing towards building such professionals – We call them IoT Scientists. 

A couple of our efforts in this direction are our end to end IoT bootcamp, that we can been running for almost 2 years and have trained more than 1000 professionals through the program. Many of our participants have leveraged this and are on their path to become IoT Full Stack Experts / Scientists. More about this program is available here.

We also conducted a webinar recently on this topic

We have also launched a program in the US where we are hiring  software or electronics professionals / students, taking them through a grueling 6 weeks course where they are trained on all these technologies and more

  • Electronics and Embedded Development including sensors, different microcontrollers, wireless communication
  • Communication Technologies like BLE, Z wave, ANT, HTTP, MQTT, CoAP
  • Cloud Technologies including Web services, UI, scripting, Cloud Computing, Relational databases, etc
  • Mobile Technologies
  • Analytics, Big Data, Machine Learning, Complex Event Processing
  • End to End IoT Solution and Real Life Use Cases

These IoT scientists will then be embedded in exciting IoT projects and product development efforts and can in future be those elusive and expensive IoT scientists who can be hugely successful in the demanding future technology space.

Power Constraints, Challenges and Strategies For IoT Devices

One of the tough challenges that most of the Internet of Things solutions face is how to get extra bit of battery life for the innovative IoT solutions to start making practical sense to customers.

Wearable devices, security solutions and many remote location monitoring have this constraint that needs to be tackled effectively.

We at Axelta have been dealing with these challenges and have built a good understanding of the issues and possible approaches to get multi-year battery life. Some of the insights related to these challenges and possible solutions, we had shared in a recent webinar.

We get into more specifics related to building practical solutions that will work in production in our unique bootcamps that we conduct regularly. You can check it out on our Online Bootcamps page.

Career Opportunities in IoT

Internet of Things has opened up an amazing number of new use cases and innovation opportunities for businesses across domains and verticals.

We have been surveying this space and recently did a webinar on the subject where we shared our insights on professionals from different background can prepare and benefit by being early adopter in this space.

Interestingly, IoT has no new technology but its the combination of many that makes the magic happen. So, professionals and subject matter experts in their respective areas just need to understand the end to end piece to steer their career in the direction of IoT to make most of the opportunity.

Axelta is largest IoT trainer in the world and has built a unique program that we deliver online. We have trained more than 500 professionals world wide with 100 each at Intel and MindTree. You can get more information about this training here. Or you can check out our 5 mins Video that gives a very quick view of the training.

Why Internet of Things will be a huge “Thing” in India

Like a lot of many technologies, India has been slow in adapting to the latest buzz word – Internet of Things. While we see very good traction in this space in the US and Europe and China, India is jus waking up to the possibilities in IoT. Although, we are late in the game, I can see a good momentum building with IoT labs being setup, meet ups being organized and each day a new start up coming up.

There are some factors which makes it a “perfect storm” and I see a huge acceleration in IoT adoption for India specific applications as well as new innovative products coming up for international market.

  1. Change of guard – With the new right wing government in place that in its first fortnight announced that it wants to create 100 “smart cities” the timing could not have been better. We will see a similar technology push being driven by the government in next few years. Which will not only provide impetus to the fledging IoT industry in India, it will also help create an ecosystem that will promote innovative solutions to solve India specific problems with IoT at its heart
  2. Technology Powerhouse – India has well established itself as one of the best in the world when it comes to technology prowess with a number of India origin technocrats now at the helm of large technology companies. The technology talent and pipeline available in India is second to none in the world and its now waking to the IoT potential.
  3. Entrepreneurial mindset – the next gen in India has seen a different world have full confidence in themselves. We see that already in “cricket” where the young have complete faith in themselves and back themselves up to the hilt. They are aiming to be the best in the world and have the potential and talent to do so.
  4. Startup Ecosystem – It has been coming over last couple of years. There is a good appetite and pretty good incubation and support system now in place [especially in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai and Delhi] that is ready to back this generation teeming with idea
  5. Growing appetite for technology in life – With one of the largest urban middle class and more coming into it each day having a cash surplus the market for new innovation that makes life easier and safer is ripe to be tapped into

The well established entrepreneurship ecosystem coupled with a supportive government, a confident next gen and a growing market need is what helps create this “perfect storm” that will have a trans-formative impact and will create unprecedented market opportunities. The only caveat being that lift and shift solutions from the western market will not work in India. Those who are willing to invest in and build India specific Internet of Things solutions for India specific needs and environment are the ones who will gain the most.

Looking at this, Axelta has recently launched a training program targeted at equipping existing and budding entrepreneurs with the insights and understanding of the domain and technology to create their own innovative solutions to meet the market need. This 2 full day workshop [one of the first ones in India] will help participants get hands on understanding of the technologies and their deployment to create their own solutions. Participants will also get free access and support for leveraging Axelta’s IoT platform – Osmosis and Osmosis gateway to rapidly go to market with their solutions.

We are willing to work with entrepreneurs to help them build their solutions and customize the platform for their specific needs.

Outsourcing / Off shoring in Internet of Things – Next big opportunity – Part 2

As promised, this is the second part of my view on Outsourcing / Off shoring and IoT.

Since IoT is still in an early adoption stage, there are mostly pilot projects being done in serious business applications. Given the research-oriented nature of these projects and the maturity [or lack of it] of the IoT platforms being used for them, most of the work is getting done in-house or by the platform vendors. As these dimensions are not conducive for outsourcing being successful. Cost is also not a major factor because the finance guys are also getting their financial models in place to ascertain the ROIs on such investments.

When IoT adoption moves to the next phase [after having proven their worth in pilots] to actual deployment across different divisions and across the globe, there will be a huge need of resources across different technologies including platform specific insights. Cost and availability will play an important role in that phase. Outsourcing and IT services firms, need to and are preparing for such eventualities.

There are a few factors to evaluate on how / where should the services organization focus on to prepare for this opportunity.

  • Technologies – IoT is a coming together of multiple technologies namely
  • Hardware / PCB – design and development. Gateway
  • Embedded development – including knowledge of protocols like MQTT, 6LoWPAN, CoAP, XMPP, etc, IoT Gateways play an important role in this
  • RF related development – including ZigBee, Z-Wave, Bluetooth / BLE, etc
  • Cloud development and deployment – Data streaming, complex event processing, etc
  • User interface for managing devices and newer workflows that emerge from these deployments. This includes mobile-based development and development platforms.
  • Big data and analytics – for generating intelligent business insights from the large data coming from the sensor nodes
  • Last but not the least, integration of the IoT systems with the existing enterprise solutions deployed

There are certain areas where existing IT services vendors are quite proficient in and can quickly scale up. Though, other areas will be very new for them and they will have to either tie up with specialized vendors or start building their competence on.

An obvious question here will be whether there will be a need of resources who have knowledge of all these technologies and their interaction or having competence in individual areas would suffice. This question is still out in the open, but my view is that a combination of the two will be needed. This entire system being too new to a majority of the folks, not having deep understanding of how these operate and the challenges around them will not make them very effective. Keeping this in mind, Axelta has recently launched a weekend [2 days] training cum hands on workshop to get the engineers experienced with all aspects of these technologies and their interaction.

  • Domain – I mentioned in my previous blog on this topic, domain will play a more important role than ever in successful deployment of IoT solutions. I had brought about this point in my first blog post IoT – connection between real and virtual world where I had mentioned that vast gap between real and virtual world is getting bridged through IoT. Therefore, people who have worked in the real world are deep subject matter experts in that space will play a very critical role in success of IoT. Which means, that besides the consultants and analysts who have built a reasonable understanding of the domains / verticals through study and consultation, folks who are embedded into the verticals will be needed. That is an opportunity for the industry people but a challenge for IT services organizations
  • Product – IT Services firms have till now depended on just the services. Which has been very linear model and over last decade, there have been a lot of cost pressures on them. There have been many attempts to move up the value chain and build products that can move them away from the linear model. Though, the success in such investments have been very limited. Main reason being that the entire management structure and the overall engine has been geared up for providing IT services. Given that this is an entirely new area and there is a space for multiple new players, IoT throws a very good opportunity to these firms to make the transition. The challenge though being that they still have the same engine that is geared to get more head counts and more billing. A very good option for these firms could be to dig into their large cash piles and buy out some of the IoT start ups in India or in the western world. Give them funding and freedom of operation, nurture them like CISCO has done in the past and like Microsoft Ventures does and then absorb them over next few years

Focusing on product / platform is also important at this point in time because that is where most of the action is happening right now and will happen over next couple of years at least. Till the time a few companies emerge as the leading contenders like SAPs and Oracles and Googles of the world.

  • Managed Services – This has been a trend over last decade which has now picked up momentum. Where industries outsource their entire IT or IT enabled services to outsourcing firms. IoT will need much more of these managed services. It will also enable such outsourcing through larger automation and bridging the gap from the real world. IT services firms that gear themselves up for providing managed services leveraging their or external platforms have a lot to gain from IoT over next 5 to 10 years.

To summarize, IoT and M2M is a brilliant opportunity for IT services firms for ensuring their growth and profitability over next decade but they will need to get their strategy right as well as be ready for changing their proven models to succeed in the IoT outsourcing world of the future.

 

Outsourcing / Off shoring in Internet of Things – Next big opportunity

Outsourcing today, especially IT outsourcing, is something which is considered a part of any project plan, development lifecycle. It has become a part of IT landscape, adding huge value across the globe. I distinctly remember a time when large numbers of articles were written about how outsourcing will fail when it comes to complex processes etc. All those scenarios failed to deter the outsourcers and today anything and everything (almost) is welcome to be outsourced.

As Business in IoT starts to boom and comes out of labs and R&D centers, how can outsourcing be very far behind. As Internet of Things has to do with both physical devices and software components with a decent sprinkling of networks, communication protocols and clouds thrown in, outsourcing will be challenging to begin with but will surely happen. I believe outsourcing in IoT to reach similar levels as that of traditional IT program over the next 3-4 years. Already beginnings are being made around the world, especially in India, to make that happen. Most Indian IT services companies have started labs/ R&D centers in their campuses focusing on developing these skills.

Though, there is a significant difference in what tradition software/BP outsourcing and IoT outsourcing will entail, especially on development side.  As there are hardware components and intense domain skills involved in developing devices, analysing the data produced, I believe the smaller Indian IT companies, with specific domain and technical skills will gain a good chunk of this market. This is the chance that these small companies should utilise to grow big.

There are 3 distinct areas in which companies need to focus to get ahead of the curve and get outsourcing deals.

  1. There are several domains in which capabilities need to be developed. IT companies will have to hire agriculturists, doctors, radiologists, scientists, environmentalist and meteorologist etc. to be able to get IOT deals. Large numbers of opportunities are going to open up in water management, security, environment, power, transportation, logistics and healthcare.  Companies which have deep skills in such areas will be having distinct advantage to get outsourcing deals. Analytical skills w.r.t technology (Big data) as well as domain could make a real difference and get you deals.
  1. New technologies, protocols, hardware’s need to be mastered. Protocol’s like MQTT, IPv6 (6LoWPAN) , ZigBee, GSM, RF need to be mastered. Companies, start-ups which are developing their own devices, gateways will be in a good shape to get outsourcing deals as they would be in the groove. Start-ups which are developing their own low cost solutions like device management platform  can easily get into integration related outsourcing deals.  As large number of companies are being set up by domain specific people around the world, Indian companies with deep tech skills will be able to get the deals to actually develop the software, hardware components needed. Getting to Customize solutions for particular business needs and catering to different markets might also be a good business model.
  1. Traditional businesses like call centres will also get a chunk of business in catering to monitoring devices, alarm handling, processing data, device selling, device on-boarding etc. As the number of connected devices continues to explode, equivalent rise in such business to outsourcing companies will happen. IOT trained staff will be key to get such deals. Large Indian BPO/Call centre companies will have a distinct advantage in getting such deals due to their scale and reach.

The Golden period of outsourcing is yet to come as IoT in itself will present a huge outsourcing opportunity globally. It has already started and trickle is all set to become a deluge in coming years.

China has already taken a lead in both building the electronic components and actual adoption in IoT, but an interesting development is newer product development companies / start ups coming in India that are focusing on product design and innovation. Likes of Gecko are a case in point. I see innovation off-shoring besides the typical cost arbitrage as the next big opportunity for Indian companies as there is a huge runway available and the innovation talent available here can play a significant role in future. More about this in my next post.

 

 

IOT start-up/Any start-up: the prerequisite. Part-2

1. Financing: 

Continuing from where I left yesterday, there are many ways to make a system  that can help you manage the start-up costs at least for some time. Please do remember that you have to finance your family as well as start-up.

a)      Look for quick ways to make revenue come your way. If a part of service offering has a market, launch it. This gives valuable feedback plus gets something going. Nothing matters more for a start-up than the first revenue. This could be in the form of getting a small outsourcing piece from someone you know to develop or launching training for some technology that you have mastered. Think out of box. Lots of people out there can use some of the things you have built. Delegate as much of the work for these revenue enablers as possible to your staff. You never know, one of this small offering might turn out to be a major branch of your business.

b)      Moonlighting is easier said than done but is possible. I have seen successful start-up owners continue to moonlight till they get financial independence. This could mean taking your boss in confidence and/or working part-time. In India specially, it is possible to launch at-least the initial part of the business while moonlighting as your initial costs are low. Having a working spouse also helps a lot in meeting household expenses.

c)       In India Fixed return deposits interest rates are very high (you get nearly 10% in fixed and guaranteed returns. If you have substantial savings, keeping a bulk portion of money initially in bonds etc. with monthly interest options and taking monthly income from them is also a viable way to manage expenses.

d)      Go for financing when you have the initial work done and have a good grasp of business. You will get a better deal from investors and everyone (including yourself) will have better visibility and confidence.

e)      DO NOT take BANK LOANS: Especially in India. Interest rates are very high and interest pile up so quickly that it will add lots of pressure. Try and look for family/friend loans if you cannot avoid it.

2.   Delegating work

For hands on technical guys who get into start-ups, getting into the delegation mode is tough. They are so used to doing things themselves, solving issues themselves that they jump into tech challenges the team faces and try and resolve the same. Definitely this is required sometimes when major bumps come in the way. Try and avoid it. Two major disadvantages of this are:

a)      Your mind gets diverted into these issues and not able to focus on huge challenges of running a business, marketing, strategizing, connecting, recruiting, planning, etc…

b)      The team starts depending on you to solve issues rather than do it themselves, and gain the required confidence and learning.

3.  Go To market strategy

How do you launch your product? How/When do you test the waters are essential questions plaguing all entrepreneur. This is also one of the major economic decisions as sales and marketing are sure to burn a whole in your pocket while being unavoidable. I will suggest if your business idea can be launched in small scale, please do that now. Do it slowly and use the feedback to continuously make improvements. Going for a bigger launch should wait till you have captured your local market first, especially when you are in your first start-up.

4.  1+1=11 and not 2:

Kept the best to last. One basic requirement for a start-up is to have a partner (Not 3 or 4 or more but just the 2 of you). Partner need not be of same wavelength but you should feel that he is reliable and honest and together you should share the vision for your start-up. This is crucial as it helps in all areas from dealing with stress, sharing workload, sharing cost, sharing connects to sharing ideas. You should have trust in each other and should have some deep, old connect (could be family, alumni, domain knowledge etc.).  Complementing each other’s strength and weaknesses is an essential part of start-up. You are almost guaranteed success in some form if you can get the above kind of partner.

Wishing all my start-up friends a very exciting and fruitful journey ahead. Best of luck.