Ever bought ice creams on a hot day from push-carts at say, Cubbon park, India Gate or Juhu Chowpatty? Did you know your favourite ice cream brand shells out up to Rs.50,000 on each of these trikes. And according to the founder of Sensiwise, 50% of ice cream sales in North India come from push-carts. But how does a brand know that the product is reaching its consumer in top shape, as sent out by the ice cream manufacturer? Brands provide the carts to stockists who sell ice cream. But, the moment the cart is given away, there’s no way to know whether the sellers take the push-carts out, what time they take it out, how much they sell or what route they take. That’s the problem Puneet Jetli, founder of Sensiwise, is trying to solve.
Ice creams, exotic fruits and vegetables, and some medicines are products that require specialised environments while going through a supply chain. “When the products move or are being stored, they need to be in a certain temperature-controlled environment. I want to ensure that the temperature in which these products move is controlled,” says Jetli. And he’s doing that with a device that monitors the product’s environment, and also tracks the movement of the asset carrying the product.
“The sensors in the hardware relay the data back to the cloud with Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE) component in the device. It’s what helps the device connect to the internet and transmit data,” he explains. Hence, with the help of an application and analytics layer built into the hardware, clients (the ice cream manufacturers) can track insights.
“With such data visibility, we help boost asset utilisation from 70% to 75%. Second, we can also understand when, where, and how much people are spending,” Jetli says. Crucially, with all the spending data, all the stockist data and the rider’s performance, the company knows the asset’s efficacy. In the case of the push-carts, if the company has five additional trikes, it knows which stockist to give the trikes to.
Static assets can be monitored, too. In another cold-chain logistics example, most general stores stock their frozen goods in freezers provided by brands such as Amul and Kwality Walls. Just as in the case of the trikes, the company has zero visibility on these freezers once they are in the shop. Often, these appliances aren’t connected to a UPS. In case of a power failure, the goods melt and are rendered unsaleable. Then, there are shopkeepers who switch off the power at night to save electricity. “To keep track of such behaviours, you need eyes and ears on the ground,” says Jetli. Since the brand can’t physically track every freezer, Sensiwise gives the brands visibility of the assets and also lets them know if their service level agreements are being met.
The next step for Sensiwise is to allow clients to remotely control their assets. For instance, say, the refrigerator in a truck carrying temperature-sensitive vaccines switches off. The vaccine-manufacturer gets notified and can remotely switch the refrigerator back on. Presently, most appliances aren’t IoT-ready. But Jetli is confident that configuring the wiring for such a system is a one-time effort. Connecting the IoT device to even a low-key device could allow the client to control the asset.
Although, Sensiwise has competitors such as Tagbox and Roambee, it isn’t too worried. “We are bootstrapped currently. The idea of being part of the Axilor program was to be ready from a positioning standpoint to the investor,” shares Jetli. Due to COVID-19 disruption, they have deferred their fund-raise plans. "We will look to reinitiate the fund-raise process as the market sentiments improve and we see an uptick in customer sentiments in our target market," he says.
Supply chain company, Sical, is one of Sensiwise’s partners and they have deployed 200 devices so far, with each one costing Rs 5,000-10,000 per unit, along with monthly subscription fees. Jetli is confident of having 5,000 devices on the ground in the coming months, and expects revenue to hit Rs.10 million in FY21.