The human body is the perfect example of genius optimum–maximum performance via maximum energy conservation. This is due to human’s naturally evolved universal supercomputer of the brain; a revolutionarily advanced technology.
Further, if the human brain is the physical thing, then the mind is its digital twin–the digital representation of the human brain’s neural network interlinked in the many hidden layers. Although this central processing unit of the human brain is connected to the entire body physically, it sends commands and receives signals via synapses, sensory instructions, and sensational reflexes apart from the emotional feelings, memories, dreams, imagination, hunches, and constant thinking.
In simple words, there must be an interconnected web of neuronic networks working as the internet of the brain, where each cell inputs and receives signals chemically (read digitally). Not only every cell, but also each organ, muscle, and other parts of the body are constantly and continuously online communicating seamlessly in the Bodily Internet of Things (IoT).
Akin to Bodily IoTs revolutionizing human genius by optimum utilization of resources, the Industrial IoT is transforming the technological genius via GreenField Software Pvt Ltd – An Enterprise IoT Software company safeguarding business continuity for customers operating 24×7: Data Centres, Banks, Airports, Hospitals, Manufacturing Facilities.
Shekhar Dasgupta, the Founder of GreenField shares the reason why all those trying to achieve their own IoT business ecosystem need GreenField’s Software solutions. He says, “Because our Industrial IoT Solutions help mitigate the risk of machine, system and infrastructure failures, improve energy efficiency (power and fuel) and reduce energy cost, prevent security risks: monitoring surveillance systems and integrating video analytics, maintain quality consistency and industrial safety, and improve field service through remote machine monitoring.”
GreenField Software (GFS) is an enterprise software venture, specializing in Industrial IoT. Its software enables the Internet of Machines that safeguards business continuity and optimizes energy use. Its Industrial IoT product portfolio, under the brand name GFS Crane, covers Data Centre Infrastructure Management (DCIM) and Industry 4.0 digitalization in the areas of Energy Management, Asset Performance Management, and Equipment Service Management. Their customers span a wide range of industries: Automotive, Colo Data Centres, Energy, Higher Education, Government, Pharma, Technology, and Telecom.
An Exemplary Thought Leader
Shekhar Dasgupta is a thought leader in Industrial IoT. An industry veteran with over 35 years in the IT industry in US and India, he worked for a large MNC, an early-stage enterprise software company, and an Indo-French systems company, before launching his own venture, GreenField Software Private Limited (https://greenfieldsoft.com).
Shekhar bootstrapped GreenField Software (GFS). Over the last ten years, he launched a portfolio of Industrial IoT applications for Industry 4.0 and Data Centres. Using a leveraged sales model, the company achieved global success. Case Studies on GFS have been written by IIM Calcutta and Kean University, New Jersey.
The two case studies written on GreenField Software are
- Kean University, New Jersey: Launching and steering a green IT company: the case of GreenField software. Author – Prof Thomas Abraham.
- IIM Calcutta: In Search of the Right Pivot. Authors: Prof Indranil Bose and Saikat Dutt.
Prior to starting GFS, Shekhar was President of California-based Solix Technologies and Managing Director, of Oracle India. He is also on the Advisory Board of a UK-based AI company. Shekhar completed his Bachelor’s in Economics Honours from Presidency College, Calcutta, and PGDM from IIM Bangalore. He has authored numerous articles in leading industry journals and has done a few teaching assignments in leading Business schools. He is on the Advisory Board of a not-for-profit organization, Touch-a-Life.
A Revolutionary Inspiration
On January 1, 2008, for the first time ever, the nominal price of crude oil per barrel breached the $100 mark, with a 60% increase over the previous 12-month period. Given India’s position where oil imports constitute the bulk of the country’s current account deficit, a significant, or sudden increase in energy price translates to serious business risk, especially for energy-intensive operations. (This happened again this year when Russia attacked Ukraine, causing yet another upheaval in energy supplies and prices).
While the first brushes of IoT excitement were in consumer applications (like remote patient monitoring or home security systems), the bigger play was recognized to be in the B2B segment. The IoT world got divided into Consumer IoT and Industrial IoT. As to be expected, large industrial firms in Western economies started experimenting with IoT in areas from which they could derive a competitive advantage. One of them was cost reduction through improved energy management. The principle was that if one could measure energy use by machines near real-time, then baselines could be established to optimize (and reduce wastage) energy consumption.
Shekhar was seeing these developments while he was still working in the Bay Area in California. What struck him was that if an energy-abundant country (in relative terms) like the USA can experiment with IoT solutions for energy savings, the same opportunity must be present in India and emerging economies where energy is a scarce resource. Shekhar returned to India in 2011 to set up a team that shared his vision for developing IoT-based energy management software–with affordable price points–that is appropriate for emerging economies.
A Customizable GFS Crane Software
According to Shekhar, their biggest USP is their flexibility. This flexibility takes three forms.
- Customising GFS Crane according to client needs. Global software companies are reluctant to customise their software unless it is a very large deal (running into a few hundred thousand dollars or even millions) or they determine that the new customisations requested are also required for their clients in Europe and North America.
- Deploying GFS Crane in both Cloud and On-prem versions, depending on the client’s preference
- Licensing GFS Crane in multiple editions that allows clients to start small and subsequently increase their investments as they derive higher ROI (returns on investment) and their needs expand with business growth.
The other USP is that GFS Crane offers completeness. An example of this is their DCIM product. It is a single solution with one data hub that provides:
- Device monitoring and alarms
- Asset lifecycle management
- Capacity planning
- Energy and thermal management
- Multi-tenancy for Colo data centres, or enterprise data centres with multiple independent operating units.
A Beneficially Immersive Solution
Further, elaborating on the immersive benefits of the IoT solutions/Smart devices that GFS provides to its clients, Shekhar says that the business benefits that their customers derive from their software are:
Safeguarding Business Continuity: GFS’s customers typically operate 24×7 and cannot afford failures. GFS Crane monitors sensors, devices, and machines on a near real-time basis and sends alerts if any threshold breach is detected. Immediate corrective action can then be taken before a failure actually happens.
Reducing Operating Expenses: The two biggest operating expense items in GFS’s customers’ P&L are energy and manpower costs.
- Energy costs are mostly due to continuous cooling that the operating environments need, and fuel in conditions where backup power has to supplement utility-supplied power. Through monitoring of power and cooling devices, displaying colour-coded thermal maps (generated by monitoring temperature and humidity sensors), and monitoring of diesel generating sets as well as fuel tanks, GFS Crane significantly reduces energy costs.
- Manual monitoring of hundreds of devices and sensors is not only expensive but also prone to errors. Automation through GFS Crane eliminates errors, improves productivity, and allows better decision-making through in-built analytics that generates business intelligence for managers.
Managing GRC: Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) management has become an absolute business necessity – for internal operational requirements as well as statutory guidelines. Through Workflow-based standard operating procedures, audit trails, and reporting, GFS Crane fulfills this emerging priority for our customers.
Tackling Challenges Through Transparency
Speaking about the initial challenges after venturing into the field of IoT, Shekhar states that when they started this journey in India back in 2011, IoT was a little-known term outside the IT domain. Far less was the understanding of how it could help business. Many felt that it was another jargon or a fanciful concept that may soon disappear or get relegated into oblivion. Shekhar adds, “We started a process of education and did a few Proof of Concepts (POCs), showing what can be achieved and extrapolating the benefits. A few who believed in us, invested with pilot projects, saw the benefits over time, and then began deploying on a wider scale. Sometimes, they can be conflicting. For example, reveals Shekhar, “Redundancy to achieve higher uptime can have the opposing effect of reducing asset utilization. Since GFS Crane has to deliver at both ends of the spectrum, we need to temper expectations of what can finally be achieved.”
Today the scenario is different. Positive media coverage and analyst research have elevated Industrial IoT to what Gartner calls the “hype” stage. Their challenge is therefore to manage customer expectations so as not to cause “disillusionment.” They do this through two mandatory steps in their implementations. First, a kick-off meeting with all stakeholders to understand their business requirements. Second, a conference room pilot to all stakeholders to get their full buy-in before embarking on full-scale deployment.
Entering the Mainstream Tech Chasm
Being an experienced leader, Shekhar’s opinion on how IoT solutions are crucial today, and what advancements can we expect in the future are very optimistic. He says that the Industrial IoT is following the model of technology adoption lifecycle (see figure below), as defined by Geoffery Moore in his classic “Crossing the Chasm.” “We have seen the Innovators and The Early Adopters experimenting with pilots in the latter half of the last decade. We are now in the Chasm entering the Mainstream market,” believes Shekhar. To an extent, this got accelerated during the pandemic when remote equipment management became necessary, particularly in data centre operations.
(Insert Image at the time of Design.)
Source: Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling Disruptive Products to Mainstream Customers by Geoffrey A. Moore
The success of technology adoption is when it gets embraced by the “Conservatives” which is the vast majority. This comes about when they are convinced on positive business outcomes. That is also when the Innovators and the Early Adopters embark on enterprise-wide deployment from their department (sometimes isolated) piloting.
Coming of the Digital Twin
The next phase of Industrial IoT would see convergence with other technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML), as well as Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR). Adding to it, Shekhar says, “We are seeing early signs of this through what is being called the “Digital Twin.”
Gartner defines Digital Twin as ‘a digital representation of a real-world entity or system.’ The implementation of a digital twin is an encapsulated software object or model that mirrors a unique physical object, process, organization, person, or other abstraction. Data from multiple digital twins can be aggregated for a composite view across several real-world entities, such as a power plant or a city, and their related processes.’
Expanding Upon Symbiotic Future Relationships
When probed about where he envisions his brand GFS eventually, what are his future goals, and how he plans to embrace the changes happening in the IoT industry, Shekhar says that they develop software products for Industrial IoT based on the latest technologies and own the IPR. Along the way, they have developed both technology and go-to-market partnerships.
He adds, “We are working on newer areas, like Predictive Analytics and GRC with technology partners with whom we have a symbiotic relationship. They work in different markets (like Financial Services) but with technologies (such as AI/ML) that are of mutual interest. We hope to be ready with Digital Twin solutions over the next twelve months. Our goal is to address the global market. We will continue to build and consolidate our go-to-market partnerships with global SIs, ISVs, and equipment vendors. We have done a pretty good job of this and see ourselves as their OEM suppliers, rather than addressing end customers directly.”
The Preciously Smartest Wisdom
Shekhar’s advice to the aspirants who are willing to venture into the field of IoT and Smart Devices is significantly precious. He says that if they have identified a specific area and feel convinced that there is a market demand for it, “I would ask them to figure out the business model(s) that can help to scale their business in a rapid manner.”
Gestation periods are getting shorter. Since the ability to attract external capital hinges on fast business scalability, this aspect is crucial. This also includes the supply chain, particularly important for Smart Device manufacturers. “During the pandemic, we saw a few promising startups around the world getting impacted due to supply chain issues,” mentions Shekhar.