IoT success in India means focusing on the long tail which demands a vibrant partner ecosystem

Juergen Hase is the chief executive of Unlimit, the dedicated IoT business unit established by India’s Reliance Group. Hase is a telecoms industry veteran with more than 25 years of experience, ten of which have been in IoT. Here, he tells Rickard Andersson, an analyst at research firm, Berg Insight, about the company’s aims and its capabilities in providing IoT solutions for enterprises.

Rickard Andersson: Can you give a brief introduction about Reliance?

Juergen Hase: Reliance Group is an Indian conglomerate holding company headquartered in Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. It is among India’s top private sector business houses serving more than 250 million customers across the telecoms, power, financial services, infrastructure, media, entertainment and healthcare sectors. The Reliance Group strongly believes it has a pivotal role to play in shaping the destiny of India. The Group enjoys the unparalleled trust, faith and confidence of its customers, and is one of the largest employers in the country with a young, highly trained and motivated workforce.

RA: What are your company’s main credentials in the IoT market?

Juergen Hase: chief executive of Unlimit

JH: Launched in November 2016, Unlimit is a newly formed, independent business unit of the Reliance Group. We focus strictly on IoT and the enterprise (B2B2X). Our vision is to be the first in India to offer a comprehensive IoT platform including connectivity, application enablement, devices, analytics and incident management. Unlimit utilises the best-in-class 4G/LTE coverage along with 2G from several carriers including Reliance Communications and roaming partners.

In addition, we’re the only provider in India that has the Cisco Jasper cloud-based connectivity platform which we call Unlimit Control. Our recent partnership announcement with Cumulocity to power our Unlimit Enablement offering was another key milestone which we achieved in a span of only four months. Talking to industry analysts, they are impressed that we, in only six months, have managed to strike key partnerships on the connectivity and the application layer which makes us one of the most agile IoT start-ups in the world.

The Indian market is different from North America or Europe. The economics on the ground are different and the average opportunity size is different. Because of downward price pressure, devices from other parts of the world are often not cost effective in India. To solve this, we have recruited a number of Indian partners that manufacture their IoT devices locally.

In North America and Europe, IoT businesses can thrive by only going after large fleets. This is not possible in India, as there are a limited number of large opportunities and instead many smaller ones. To be successful in the Indian market, you have to be effective at going after the long tail. This is only possible by having a vibrant partner ecosystem.

RA: Which would you say are Unlimit’s key differentiators?

JH: Unlimit is the only dedicated IoT business unit in India, focused solely on IoT solutions for the enterprise and pursuing all the major IoT verticals. As I mentioned before, we use the bestin-class 4G/LTE coverage along with 2G from several carriers, and we are the only provider in the country that has the Cisco Jasper connectivity platform, which we call Unlimit Control. More than 9,000 companies across dozens of industries and 45 operators in more than 100 countries already use this platform.

Unlimit Control provides real-time network connectivity feeds, service diagnostics and unique automation options to enable unparalleled visibility and control. It enables our customers to get to market faster, scale, manage operational costs and achieve high service reliability. Our customers can quickly troubleshoot issues and monitor for specific behaviour. They can increase service reliability and lower support costs by setting rules to immediately address undesirable behaviour by proactively preventing problems.

At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this year, we announced our application enablement platform which we call Unlimit Enablement. It makes the creation of cloud-based IoT applications simple and fast. With Unlimit Enablement, customers, start-ups and developers can use pre-existing widgets and code blocks to quickly create a compelling user interface (UI) to display, analyse and report collected IoT sensor data. It makes it easy to create advanced dashboards and alerts that can be displayed on any type of device. This enables developers and start-ups to focus on their core competency without having to learn or invest in developing a new skill set. In addition to Unlimit Control and Unlimit Enablement, we will be announcing a wide range of vertical solutions in the coming months.

RA: What types of competitive pressures are you seeing in the IoT space?

JH: Unlimit is the first dedicated IoT business unit launched by any telecoms provider in India and we are the only player that has the Cisco Jasper cloud-based connectivity platform in the country. After our partnership announcement with Cumulocity to provide IoT applications to the market, I would say there is no direct competition as of now, but I am sure it will come as this space is getting hotter by the day. In India, we see far more opportunities than challenges. We often hear people in the business community talk about “green fields” and untapped markets. The reality is that these are very rare. With respect to IoT, India is truly an untapped market.

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