Energy wastage is very common in India, especially in places like banks, ATMs and retails stores. The long term effects of this wastage can affect both the energy bill and the equipment consuming the energy. A shoebox-sized IoT device developed by a Gurgaon-based startup is helping retails chains, banks and other companies save nearly 10-20% of their monthly energy bills.
Hardware startup Zenatix has developed the device called WattMan — designed for retail chains and banking/financial institutions — and counts institutions including Mother Dairy, State Bank of India, Aditya Birla’s More retail chain, Fabindia, NIIT and GlaxoSmithKline among its clients.
“The sectors we are targeting have very distributed networks, and governance on managing energy consumption in this distributed network is a big challenge,” says Rahul Bhalla, CEO and co-founder of Zenatix.
Unlike large corporate and tech parks that employ complex monitoring systems consisting of sensors and switches to manage electricity wastage by controlling unused lights and air conditioning, it is not viable for smaller facilities like banks and ATMs to employ such complex and expensive systems. Also, a lot of the places where ATMs and bank branches are located are not purpose-built for them and are regular commercial spaces available for rent.
One of the selling points of WattMan is that the system can be retrofitted to existing infrastructure, making it easier to install without much rework.
Bhalla says that the company is currently working with over 15 customers and has completed over 500 deployments.
The WattMan hardware consists essentially of three main units: sensors, — which include energy meters and power and temperature sensors — to monitor the infrastructure; relays and switches to control the equipment; and a main controller unit that collects, analyses and relays data to be collected to the cloud and also activates the relays and switches based on requirement.
The device monitors various parameters including power consumption, UPS power, fuel levels in the diesel generator etc via its connected sensors and controls the functioning of the monitored equipment remotely, in real-time.
“The governance of the infrastructure is centralised and can be done over the internet. A person sitting in Mumbai can have a view of his entire infrastructure across the country including how much power is being consumed when, and where, and what temperatures are being maintained,” says Bhalla.
The software system and monitoring dashboard developed by Zenatix also analyses the data and provides predictive and preventive maintenance for the equipment being monitored. One such example is for Mother Dairy, who is one of their clients, for whom maintaining optimum temperature and functionally is important to avoid spoilage of their dairy-based products.
“We continuously monitor the power and temperature trends of the refrigeration unit and using the correlation of these two and our machine learning model, we are able to predict that the unit is going to break down and a service is required,” says Bhalla.
The company has also developed a mobile dashboard to help its customers monitor and control their system while on the move.
For now, Zenatix is focused on improving its client base in India and also plans to move into other markets in South East Asia.
The company, co-founded by IIT-Delhi alumni Rahul Bhalla, Vishal Bansal and Dr Amarjeet Singh, has so far raised around $1.39 million in funding from investors including Blume Venture, Pi Ventures, Rajan Anandan, Kunal Bahl, Rohit Bansal and Rahul Khanna.
Power is of utmost demand in India and with the lack of adequate rainfall, a lot of the state’s electricity woes are a growing fear among Indians. Like Zenatix there are a handful of startups trying to help companies and homes with their energy management needs.
Bengaluru-based FluxGen is developing low-cost energy and water management solutions. Delhi-based Smart Joules is helping building owners bring down their electricity bills.
Even in the rural areas, startups like Simpa Networks, which develops solar power systems, and Ecozen, which is developing renewable energy-based systems for farmers, are trying to make a difference.