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Tata Communications is working to launch 50 million Internet of Things (IoT) devices by 2022 and intends to capture 15-20% of the market, which is presently growing at 28% annually. The market already has about 150 million such devices.

The devices that Tata Communications plans to launch include one that will let a company know when its women employees reach home when using company cars. Another device is a tracker that will let a fast moving consumer good (FMCG) firm know whether coolers that are used by retailers to maintain a certain temperature are being tampered with. A third device is one that can regulate lights and air conditioners in a room to conserve electricity by gauging how much is being consumed.

VS Shridhar, the head of IoT business unit at Tata Communications said,

The market today is fragmented from the largest players of telecom/IT to the smaller device manufacturers that make Bluetooth devices. We will bring in the complete value stack of device, network, platform and software

The business unit, which has set aside $100 million for IoT has decided to launch devices in three categories– asset management, energy management, and customer feedback. The business arm of the Tata group is currently facing its heaviest competition from telecom operators like Vodafone and Bharti Airtel, who’re also a part of this race.

The Vodafone Group has crossed 50 million devices and has launched several IoT solutions in India. These include Vodafone location tracker, automotive telematics, remote asset management, managed IoT connectivity platform, wireless payment solutions, security and surveillance solutions, smart metering solutions and special SIMs that have been designed to work even in difficult conditions.

Bharti Airtel recently announced that it will enter the home automation or smart home segment with its IoT technology. It plans to allow users to control basic elements of their homes such as lighting, heating, air conditioning, music and security systems through their smartphones. This move is expected to increase its revenue.

Tata Communications is now working on a four-pronged strategy to fight its competitors and establish a position for itself in the market. Shridhar said,

In the initial years, we are looking at rolling out and ramping up our IoT network and heavily investing in platform and devices to build a robust base to acquire and deploy information, post which we will be also getting into analytics. 

Delivering value through apps is going to be very important and it will be core IP as well. One of the most important aspects is to have control and security of the data of our customers for whom we would be developing the apps

The business unit will soon set up an application software team in Chennai. It is already working with a few states in the country to provide IoT network in smart cities such as Bengaluru, Mumbai, Jamshedpur, and Delhi, where it will help in the monitoring of the quality of water, sewage management, among other things.

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