Having a new technology is good, but getting that technology to work at the lowest level is the greatest thing. The Internet of Things (IoT) is being touted as the next big thing, but for that it truly needs to reach the masses.
The following Interview with the Co-Founder and CEO of Otodato, Rajan Malhotra, shows us how the company is bridging the huge gap in the adoption of IoT in the Indian Automobile Sector through its value added services platform.
- Kindly brief us about the company. Enlighten us with the foundation story and the brief details of the company’s initial days?
Unlike any other startup idea story, ours is however unconventional. Instead of having eureka moment, our CEO, Rajan, spent a lot of time and effort into research of the idea behind this thought. With a fair understanding of the IoT market and working closely with the industry stakeholders for about 6-7 months, he managed to discover huge gaps in the adoption of IoT in the Indian automobile sector. This motivated him to convert this challenge into a business opportunity. Hence the idea of Otodato was shaped and it became first of its kind value-added service (VAS) platform for connected vehicles.
- Brief us about the Founder/CEO of the company. What kind of ethics and principles of working does he/she observe while running the business?
Rajan has some core beliefs that set the foundations for our company, wherein people hold the utmost value. We strive to add value to people’s lives both internal i.e. our employees & external i.e. our customers and partners. This is the guiding principle on which we want to build our organization. We know we are a young company and not every prospect is going to be converted that’s why we celebrate rejections in a bar and get ready for the next battle, but we also love to get into the conference room to plan the next steps when we encounter success. According to his principles, it’s the smaller achievements that make a difference and the larger ones are just the resultants of the hours of effort that our team puts in to achieve a series of small goals. We believe business flourishes when we add value to the lives of our customers. He follows the saying that “There is no Grey in Honesty; only Black or White.”
- Please tell us about the services that make the brand unique in the mid of rigorous competition?
In the current scenario, because of the absence of the right channels, even the already connected vehicles are unable to access telematics-based value-added services which are loaded with advanced features like pay-as-you-use, sensor-generated alert based proactive delivery, personalized service offerings, and dynamic pricing as per user. We are just trying to fill in this gap and use it to our best advantage. Our team has already set a list of goals what we need to achieve by the next year which includes increasing our vehicle base to 3,00,000 vehicles and multiplying our VAS offerings. We also expect the market to mature and for telematics to go beyond fleet management and vehicle tracking. Our aim is to develop a specialized ecosystem of VAS that helps the owners of connected vehicles to make their ownership experience even more rewarding one. We expect that our IoT based VAS marketplace would enable these services so as to extract the most value from the vehicle telematics data.
- Tell us about the business policies, the agendas you follow. Brief us about the future of the company or the goal it has set to mark its uniqueness in the future. Please share with us about the current industry scenario from your perspective?
In India, currently, only 12 per cent of the market is really interested in advanced telematics. Hence the OEMs today are rethinking their features and add VTS services as a standard in the new upcoming commercial goods transportation vehicle systems as a driving force in the market. With the ever growing market and internet speeds increasing by the hour, a huge opportunity for telematics shall surface that allows the utilization of more advanced data like video and sound coupled up with the basic GPS services. This would open up new dimensions on both consumer and enterprise fronts. As 2018 comes to an end we have already witnessed a trend amongst the four-wheeler manufacturers who have launched their connected vehicle programs in the Indian market. Through platforms like us, vehicles manufacturers would be able to provide a host of VAS, giving the consumers a totally different but positive experience of owning the vehicle.
Overall, 2018 was a year full of ups and downs, difficult but crucial decisions, and full of challenges which are common in the first year of any venture. But we sailed through and caught these challenges and converted them into business opportunities.
- The accomplishments and acknowledgements of the company?
Our partnership with one of India’s largest insurance companies to offer insurance products to the vehicles connected on our platform was a major accomplishment and this marked our big step into the industry and has instilled confidence in our team. However, this idea wasn’t accepted by the market at first as it didn’t completely comprehend this thought. However, our conviction didn’t drop and we ended up onboarding 60,000+ commercial vehicles. We also signed our first vehicle manufacturer to offer multiple VAS to their end customers in the month of December 2018.
- What kind of wellness program your organization has introduced to take care of the physical and mental health of your employers. Share your views on “Healthy work environment for any enterprise”?
Being a young venture, avoiding stress is impossible; hence we strive to achieve a secure and effortless environment. Our team is the true reflection of our company and we follow the principle that a healthy employee is not only more productive but also represents a healthy company. We promote a healthy lifestyle with a work-life balance. We are integrating wellness target program for each team member in our appraisal system. This program goes well beyond just counting the steps. We believe that workplace health and well-being programs not only have a positive impact on our team’s wellness, but they also are a great team engagement platform which leads to an increase in cohesiveness and overall productivity. We encourage our team members to practice meditation, yoga, and sports for a healthier body and mind.