The entrepreneurs of the world are into a class of their own.
Investors trust them with their money for future returns and upending the status quo. Employees trust them with their time and effort, in order to raise a paycheck every month. State governments seek to accommodate them with incentives and tax breaks, all in the hope that they would raise the productivity levels of the people in a particular region and build a better standard of life for everyone involved in supporting the entrepreneur. In fact, the sole duty of the government ought to be precisely that – incentivize entrepreneurs and protect the rights of people. Let the entrepreneurs solve the problems of a nation.
In a world rife with uncertainty, the hopes and dreams of billions rest not on public servants and politicians, for the cure for all ills and panaceas is invented and discovered by entrepreneurs, scientists, developers and researchers, not anyone else. After all, if not them, who would build it? We are surrounded by information on all sides and we desperately need companies and individuals to make sense of them and tell us what to do. In any sector. In any field. We need them. Now.
Today, at Bangalore Insider, we spoke to the founders of Integration Wizards, who are helping their clients across multiple industries, at scale, in order to make sense of their business operations and make improvements. Below are the excerpts from our interaction.
Give a brief info about your startup?
Integration Wizards was co-founded by Kunal Kislay, Saquib Khan and Kumar Raman in 2014 in Bangalore. It is a bootstrapped company that has grown organically from a team of 3 to over 70 employees now. It offers computer vision and enterprise mobility-based solutions. Integration Wizards helps enterprises determine actionable intelligence from images, videos, and data captured live. Their solutions are being used by more than 20,000 enterprise users across 16 countries and in six languages, across many verticals including pharmaceuticals, oil and gas, retail and consumer goods.
Integration Wizards has offices in India and the US with global customers across 16 countries. Our partners in the middle east, Europe, and South America have helped us in our global presence. Integration Wizards Europe was started a couple of weeks ago to support and expand our existing customer base in the region
Our flagship product, IRIS is an AI based computer vision platform that helps organisations derive actionable insights using their existing CCTV infrastructure. It enables customers to onboard CCTV cameras across multiple sites, build AI pipelines and visualize the resulting KPIs on dashboards. IRIS utilizes deep neural networks to process data from live video feeds from cameras. It is trained to identify people as well as objects like facemasks, PPE, and also monitors the social distance between people, all in real-time. It raises alarms or notifications via WhatsApp, E-mail to the concerned authority and can announce on PA system for non-compliance as a reminder to employees/people to follow safety compliance and SOP. The solution can be integrated with thermal cameras to detect high temperature. IRIS can analyze images at a very high fps real-time to provide up to 99.5 percent accuracy in most scenarios. IRIS has a very successful track record in several large-scale deployments – world’s 2nd largest two-wheeler manufacturer uses our solution to track movement of vehicles in its manufacturing plant, a large solar power plant uses our solution for intruder detection.
What made you start your startup and what problem does it solve?
We as human beings imbibe and assimilate petabytes of information during our lifetime. 90% of the information we receive and process is visual. We believe our ability to process and make sense of visual data will give us an unprecedented edge in solving the world’s problems. Integration Wizards exists primarily for this reason.
Our platform is agile and can be quickly adapted to suit new requirements. IRIS was created for detecting PPE non-compliance in industrial spaces. Post-COVID-19, the model was trained to detect face mask violations and monitor social distancing. The largest construction company in India uses IRIS’ facial recognition to login attendance of 2000 workers in 30 minutes. Realizing that masks will be compulsory in most places, we have started training our model to scan and identify faces even with mask-on. We will start deploying it soon. This will make logging attendance completely safe by eradicating the need to take off the mask for facial identification.
With an accuracy up to 99%, IRIS algorithm is infrastructure agnostic, i.e. it can be integrated with any existing CCTV infrastructure. The results are quick and cost-effective as compared to other solutions that rely on infrastructure overhaul. IRIS works with Azure, AWS, Google, or any other cloud platform with an on-prem deployment option available. This flexibility suits various requirements across geographies.
IRIS helps fight bias in a system
Manual monitoring of people wearing masks and maintaining social distancing is a huge task – laced with bias and is liable to bring a lot of negative impact. In anEnterprise, no one exactly knows how to deal with offenders.
IRIS to track face-mask usage and monitor social distancing. We also incorporated thermal screening into the platform. The complete solution can be scaled up or down as required. IRIS works with existing CCTV networks and can be deployed with very little downtime. Computer vision gives a real-time scenario at any given point, the number of people wearing masks, people following social distancing without bias. IRIS is fast: deployment doesn’t need any infrastructure overhaul.
IRIS is helping companies fight COVID-19 by making their workplaces safer. We are working with the world’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer, and one of the largest steel companies in the world to help them fight the pandemic. IRIS is also helping companies globally to restart manufacturing premises, warehouses, tech parks, and Malls.
Tell us about yourself, your previous jobs/ventures? What were you doing before this startup?
I graduated from IIT Bombay in 2004. Most of my experience has been in Enterprise applications, system integration and enterprise mobility. Before starting Integration Wizards, I led the technical architecture team for Antenna software, a market leader in Enterprise mobility. I was instrumental in building its core product/platform from scratch. Antenna was later acquired by Pega systems and that was the time I decided to start Integration Wizards.
Where is your startup based out of? Why do you think that is the best place for you?
Integration wizards is based out of Bangalore, the Silicon Valley or Startup Capital of India. The location is perfect for building the right set of connections, strategic alliances and partnerships in our domain. The city has a high influx of talent from pan-India thus providing us with the right talent pool, technology infrastructure and resources.
Startup-focus media houses like ET Tech, Yourstory and Medianama are present here, thus getting exposure, coverage, and networking opportunities is optimum when it comes to technical Events and meetups.
As a startup founder, what are you paranoid about? What keeps you awake at night?
IRIS, our AI platform is deployed in mission-critical scenarios. It protects solar farms, warehouses, and jewelry chains from intrusions, protects manufacturing houses from accidents by ensuring safety compliance. I am very paranoid about ensuring that solutions are being up and running all the time which is sometimes not possible owing to local issues like internet or hardware malfunctions.
Who are your competitors and how are you better than them?
There are multiple organizations providing point solutions on videos. We believe we are the only one that can claim to be an end to end platform covering the entire life cycle of an enterprise ai initiative. Right from managing cameras, building and deploying new solutions, supporting and sustaining it – IRIS does it all.
How hard is it to have a work-life balance as a startup founder and how do you manage it?
Every start-up story is different, what remains common is complete support from the family. In my case, I have been lucky, as during the initial years it was just me and my wife who is also a director in the company and handles our communication. Being closely involved, she knew the work demands and had taken full responsibility on the home front. Now that we have twin daughters, life is a challenge. We are taking one thing at a time. Compartmentalization and multi-tasking are the two tenets to follow in order to manage both home and office and staying sane while at it.
Compartmentalize – focus on work when working and focus on family when away from the laptop. Being able to manage a lot of work from mobile also helps in achieving the work life balance.
Corona crisis has turned the world upside down, at the same time, it brought many families together by sharing chores and stories. The line between home and office have got completely blurred. I have had more time with my infant daughters and everyone in my work-space now knows that when there is an infant screaming in the background on a conference call, I might have to take a five minute break.
Have you raised funding? If yes, then we would like to know the details. If no then please tell us if you are looking to raise.
We are boot strapped and will begin the process of fund raise towards the later part of the year.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about you? Why do they have that? What’s the reality?
The biggest concern we have from the industry and people in general is about how AI is perceived. It is often viewed as a forced oversight rather than something that helps the operation. In reality AI is just like any other efficient technologies available to mankind, if responsibly used can create a huge difference.
What gets you excited about this company?
I have always been passionate about technology. Having a company of my own gives me the capability to perfectly execute an idea that could make the world a better place.
Integration Wizards Solutions builds on the vision of sustainability. Now that we have the power of data and disruptive elements like AI and ML at our side, we use it to deploy technological intervention for social good. We are proud to say that our computer vision technology provides enterprises with the most important tools to fight the Corona crisis. The world is on the verge of an Economic Depression, therefore businesses need to re-open despite the dire circumstances of the ongoing pandemic. IRIS makes all spaces as safe as possible, creating a remarkable difference in a post-COVID world.
Tell us how a day in your life looks like? Your schedule for a day right from the time you get up till you hit the bed at night.
We are all adapting to the new normal, my typical day has also gone through a major change. It starts with checking email and skype messages to create a mental plan for the day. As CEO and Founder of Integration Wizards I take charge of several responsibilities. We work on the most advanced technology, and every day is a new learning experience. My day incorporates designing the brand, its services, planning online sessions with team, clients and prospective clients, monitoring deployments, mentoring the team in case of new project idea et al. It is a non-exhaustive but exciting list of responsibilities that I get to shoulder on a day-to-day basis as the founder of an Artificial Intelligence focused business venture.
Tell us about your team and how did you meet each other
First Saquib Khan and much later, Kumar Raman – the two co-founders had started their careers as freshers in Kunal’s team, although in two different companies. Their ideas about technology matched and they had the same perception of a gap in the market. A lot of discussions about the detailing of the solution lead to the formation of Integration Wizards Solutions Pvt. Ltd. in January 2014.
With more than a decade of experience in enterprise integration, especially for mobile & IoT devices, and successful implementation for over 50 mobility solutions, Saquib Khan, the CTO and Co-Founder has unmatched technical expertise as well as understanding of the trends in the enterprise space. He led the R&D for one of the core products – SilverLine, a cloud based enterprise mobility platform that enabled the company to create agile solutions that were scalable, secure and seamless.
Kumar Raman is the most versatile technocrat we have at Integration Wizards. A co-founder and integration architect, he started his career with enterprise mobility. He has a rare ability to quickly adapt to any new technology by finding similarities between the existing ideals. In the last decade he has worked with almost all available technologies. This varied experience with multiple technologies helped the team effectively gauge the pros and cons of any new feature to be included in our product. He enabled the team to put together a roadmap of the product by arranging the required features on the basis of priority – the features we needed and the features we could let go. His accurate assessment led to elimination of redundant features in the application.
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