Electrification of vehicles and shared mobility are the need of the hour with the ongoing issues of traffic congestion and pollution that has serious implications on one’s health. In a interview with DataQuest, Dr. Rishi Bhatnagar, President, Aeris Communications India, speaks about what Aeris has to offer for the Indian consumer, how cybersecurity is a concern when it comes to IoT connected devices, how India is warming up to the concept of electric vehicles and the future of connected vehicles in India.
Q Tell us about the connected two wheelers and e-rickshaw initiatives using IoT and benefits of using the same.
A. Today, the four technology-driven trends predominate in the automotive sector – electrification, shared mobility, connectivity and autonomous driving. At Aeris, we are convinced that soon there will be huge requirements for managing the burgeoning Internet of Moving Things as these trends will shift markets and revenue streams, change mobility behaviour and build new avenues for collaboration, even with competition.
Aeris offers automotive services as well as a delivery platform that allows embedded telematics to integrate and connect with a vehicle. We have a proven track record in providing connected-vehicle services for FIAT, Honda’s AcuraLink and Hyundai’s BlueLink among other clients, which has helped us gain recognition as the “IoT Vehicle Telematics Company of the Year” 2017 (Compass Intelligence) and IoT Platform for the Year, 2018 in India by Frost&Sullivan. Aeris is now focusing on the electric vehicles segment. To this effect, Aeris recently launched the Aeris Mobility Platform (AMP) in India to specifically address the requirements of the mushrooming Internet of Moving Things market with a robust service creation environment and a full suite of pre-built business services, including data analytics and monetization. And AMP is at the heart of our India’s first connected eRickshaw Solution as well as the Connected Bikes solution that we launched in 2018.
Aeris addresses two wheelers consumer expectations with the Connected Bike Solution on the SaaS model for OEMs, Insurance Providers, Leasing companies, two wheeler fleet and individual owners. The solution goes beyond being a point solution, enabling telematics around geo-fencing, turn-by-turn navigation, mileage reporting, accident recording, fuel economy, usage based insurance, vehicle diagnosis for predictive maintenance etc on the secure Aeris IoT platform.
We see both Indian consumers as well as the automotive giants leveraging the advanced technology and adopting automotive telematics solutions at a faster pace for reaping social benefits towards road safety and also improvements in economic efficiency.
E-rickshaw is one of the most common way of commute these days for short distance and it is eco-friendly too. India’s First IoT-based connected eRickshaw Solution from Aeris helps transform conventional battery powered e-rickshaws into connected vehicles.
Q2. Cybersecurity is a concern when it comes to IoT devices. How is it being ensured?
A. When it comes to cybersecurity, India is equally vulnerable like other nations. According to a study by Deloitte, the current number of IoT devices in India is around 60 million and the number is going to increase to 1.9 billion units by 2020. IoT is getting featured in almost all the security prediction lists for 2018 – as IoT matures and scales up, the security issues that distress the wider internet are also present in IoT. However, with IoT the security issues are much larger in magnitude and complexity as any IoT solution or service is not standalone. It is accompanied by numerous device, hardware, software and application weaknesses that are specific to IoT applications and services.
Aeris believes that it is crucial for securing IoT offerings at the design stage rather than attempting to hold back the tide of attacks by attempting to add security to systems once they have been deployed. Security must not be an afterthought and has to be designed in from the start and treated as an ongoing process.
Q3 Are your connected vehicle solutions being deployed in India? If yes could you name some of your customers?
A. India is a huge market for IoT solutions and services for Aeris. We started our operations in 2016 and in less than three years, have grown our operations pan India. While we started our journey in the automotive sector, and I am happy to share that we have been able to crack the IoT monetization puzzle- today we are working with leading brands from automotive, insurance, manufacturing, retail, agriculture and even the social sector here in India. From monitoring the health of aircrafts to providing IoT solutions to largest rail network provider, to monitoring and managing large commercial fleets to connected cars, connected motor bikes, and now e-Rickshaws and even tractors, Aeris in India is on the accelerated trajectory of maturity in offerings and revenue growth.
In terms of our AMP platform, we are doing a lot of work on connected vehicles. We are offering use cases for vehicle-fleet management and for car sharing. In fact, insurance is one sector where AMP makes a lot of sense due to shifting risk models, diverse customers and changing business models. Another offering is finance for asset security, by tracking and monitoring asset location and offering remote immobilisation as a service.
Retail companies such as Paragon are using our connected vehicle solution to bring down fleet idle time, misuse, fuel pilferage and improve driver behaviour, thus enhancing sales and customer satisfaction. We are also working with bike and truck companies for multiple use cases. Imagine if we can offer an IoT service on bikes that lets parents know the riding patterns of a young individual.
Our connected vehicle solution has also made inroads into the agriculture sector. In partnership with Hello Tractor, Aeris offers combined integrated Internet of Things (IoT) technologies for a service similar to that of Uber for Tractors to small farmers, drives On-demand tractor rental market and spurs economic growth in agrarian economies. This service will be available in regions such as eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, where fewer farmers can afford expensive machinery, unlike relatively prosperous and large farmers in states like Punjab and Haryana where ownership of farm equipment is high. In addition, we have several engagements with state governments and several public sector undertakings but I cannot disclose names as we are under non-disclosure agreements.
Q4 What is the future roadmap for connected vehicles in India?
A. The automotive industry is already feeling the effects of electrification or e-mobility, both globally and in India. By 2030, electrification could lead to electric vehicles (EVs including battery electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and hybrid electric vehicles) holding a substantial share (up to 50 percent of new vehicle sales in a breakthrough scenario) of the global automobile sector.
India is warming up to the concept of electric vehicles adoption in the country. As per a NITI Aayog report, India could save 64 percent of energy demand for road transport and 37 percent of carbon emissions by 2030 by pursuing a shared, electric and connected mobility future. Going a step ahead, the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020 has paved the way for a transformational paradigm shift in the automotive and transportation industry in the country, leading to promotion of hybrid and electric mobility in India through a combination of policies aimed at gradually ensuring a vehicle population of about 6-7 million electric/hybrid vehicles in India by the year 2020.
While the regulatory support and technology advancements would certainly lead to better TCO economics for EV customers, this development is going to significantly impact manufacturers across the automotive value chain. Accepting this shift, exploring expansion opportunities to venture into newer areas of value addition and reinventing the ways to manage revenue and profit, automotive players can be a part of the success story of e-mobility in India.