These Entrepreneurs are Making Offices Comfortable while Slashing Power Costs
You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.
Sitting in a 4X4 cubicle on the nth floor of an office, gasping for breath in neck-deep workload, but still going down for a puff of fresh air is a luxury that most employees can’t afford. When one is suffocating, the other is feeling the chill of a freezing AC, but can’t increase the temperature. So, both of them are caught in a fix, time and energy (literally) being spent to come to a settlement that gets more unsettled.
In order to balance out the comfort and the rising energy consumption in offices, the start-up 75F has built an innovative solution with IoT and automation that without human interference, solves this issue for commercial spaces.
Entrepreneur India had a conversation with Gaurav Burman, VP and India President of 75F, about how in the past one year they have worked on reducing energy consumption in the biggest offices of India.
While Burman is heading India operations, the company was founded in America by Deepinder Singh. For Singh, the ‘aha’ moment came when in their house in the US, his daughter would wake up every night crying because of the temperature going haywire. Understanding that this needed to be changed, he set up 75F. Why 75F? According to studies conducted by UN, 75 degree Fahrenheit (23.8 degree Celsius) is the ideal temperature for offices.
Burman explained, “He decided to build a system, which could adapt to the ambient conditions. Most of us believe that temperature defines comfort. But actually comfort is defined by temperature, humidity, air flow and air quality. These are all the things that have been taken into consideration while building 75F products.”
Balancing Comfort and Energy Consumption
With cloud computing and automation, at 75F they manage to control the office environment in a way that it is comfortable for the employees. But that’s not all. “Saving energy, specifically the HVAC, is another major aspect. We also work on automating the functioning of not just the HVAC but also the lighting, along with providing complete remote control visibility. So, the facility manager of a building could be anywhere in the world, but through his smartphone can control the conditions of the premises,” said Burman.
Adapting to the Indian Market
While their presence in India has formally been for a year now, they have managed to bag 10 contracts with the corporate behemoths like Times of India, Britannia, Flipkart etc. But adapting to the Indian market, too, was a task as the Indian and US markets obviously have a lot of differences.
“The market here is modernizing rapidly because of the adoption of newer technologies. But the best part is that our solutions can be deployed on existing infrastructure. As most buildings in India are pretty old, our products have been built in a way that very less civil work is needed,” said Burman.
With respect to the Indian market they are looking at four market segments — IT & ITES, Hospitality, Healthcare and Retail. While they have established a strong foothold in major Indian cities, they are excited for more as the opportunities are endless with the Indian market being more and more eager to adapt to automation. Things have been pretty smooth for them but Burman admits that he had expected more opposition. Their biggest achievement in India has been to bring down the HVAC consumption of a large company by 55 per cent.
In the US, they are focused on class B-buildings as it is a nascent area that hasn’t been looked at. But in India their clients have been the big companies. Ask them whether they will foray into smaller segments, Burman is a bit hesitant. “While it’s a big market segment, they still don’t put high value on comfort,” he said.
A ‘Bossman’ Building a Start-up
From having teams answering to him to today building everything from scratch, it has been quite an experience for Burman. “It has been very rewarding and the learning from the industry has been a lot. Having come from a corporate background, I still see the importance of processes, which will help us from not failing on our way. However, everything is automated and almost all these systems are even accessible from my phone,” he said.