Six Learnings of an Entrepreneur in the Home Security Solutions Space in India
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Learning #1 - Problems Identified
Security in residential societies, by and large, is concerning given the lax, unchanging process and unorganized entry and exit gates. The faulty manual register process has also remained for decades. Security is unorganized, there is lack of infrastructure to ensure proper security, unauthorized people enter the residential premises and it is also a costly affair for any society to organize or to manage this system with proper guards. Add to this list, guards change locations due to standard procedures and as part of day-night shift work. To strengthen the common gates, society has to spend lot of money month on month to organize properly such that it stops crime, thefts and unwanted visitors. Still, residents feel that they are safe which is illusory.
Learning #2 - Ecosystem Challenges
The whole security process is dependent on the security guards who man the gates. About guard behaviours in residential societies, observations in some societies are (a) they exhibit lot of leniency towards visitors when they work based on assumptions (b) they are not efficient (c) they do not remain at their fixed locations at all times (d) they are sometimes less than the number required to monitor properly (e) they are made to do other tasks by society management committee (f) they have low IQ towards understanding technology apps (g) they are uneducated or less educated who know to speak but cannot write in local language (h) they are low paid which reduces their interest to do other work (i) they have a relaxed attitude (j) they let visitors enter the data on their own without verification (k) very few understand English.
Learning #3 – Finding Innovation in a Daily Process
A regular entry and exit, to and from residential complexes and gated communities is just namesake in many societies. It is not even full-proof. People seem reluctant to improve the process even if they are living in high-class residential societies and have paid premium for their houses. In societies, visitor management is largely poor, orthodox, archaic, not seamless, not full-proof, not authenticated and unpreserved records. Visitors enter premises with illegible handwriting, false names, false mobile numbers and no one seems to check the accuracy and validity. About storage of manual registers, they are subsequently thrown or they get damaged in the rain due to poor housekeeping. Moreover, most societies don’t even efficiently monitor the exit time of visitors. What about security and safety? How can it be streamlined, easier to manage, simple, convenient and not time-consuming? The need to have it at the click of the finger with a value proposition offering with the help of technology and proper execution can give birth to an innovative idea. There are hidden opportunities in the daily processes which can disrupt and transform and regular living.
Learning #4 - Execution Challenges
Security is a huge concern in our country and a home security management app seemed like the perfect solution to all the problems. The idea needs to be flawlessly executed for which a cohesive team is required. For any startup to reach the pinnacle of success, it needs a strong and like-minded co-founders’ team. Everyone else needs to believe in that idea and own it completely. The team may not know each other and it is critical that they get together to work on this one incredible idea. While trying to form a team, some may meet purely coincidental, some for the passion and others to work on an interesting project. They may come from diverse fields such as Sales, Marketing, Technology & Real Estate. The leadership team has several challenging roles and need to create the right balance at all times. They need support of the execution team as well as the sales force to manage the various situations at hand which can prove very daunting at times as it may not go as planned. The sense of ownership needs to be created to uplift the company to the next higher level. The team needs to be aligned with each other and the common goals of the company. At hearts, all should be entrepreneurs.
Learning #5 – Going LIVE
To build the right product, the core team needs to go in-depth of the problem and various scenarios that may come up in the future. In some cases, the team did over 300 live society interviews and took feedback from over 100 guards to simplify and understand the intricacies. The initial guard psychology at the grass-root level was that they felt that their work has increased because of the app. We had to help them understand that in fact, their life has become much easier with this simple app having a lot of great features. It was critical to ensure that the app is accepted by the larger society wherever we were making it LIVE. It is virtually an untapped area where no one seemed to have ventured into because of the sheer complexity and manner in which societies work and operate.
Learning #6 – Immense Potential & Opportunity
Security touches an emotional chord in the lives of people. No matter what the cons are to embracing new processes via technology, most societies are progressive and most are welcome to change. Since the past 4 months, the app has been replacing the archaic manual registers & costly intercom facilities inside residential complexes. It is enabling security & visitor access in the hands of residents with real-time in-app notifications, photo and necessary details. In a nutshell, it is preventing crime and thefts by strengthening the entry and exit gates of gated communities. People are able to see the incredible benefits of a home security app even when they are not within the premises and the emergency benefits that it offers.
There are an immense potential and opportunity in this home security management solutions space across India. It is a virgin sector and hence the huge scale of business. People do not realize that there is a huge opportunity to provide value. Societies see this as a means to upgrade the image of their societies n image-upgrade exercise and it also nullifies the existing intercom and CCTV cameras in society complexes. This will create a new revolution but the main key is execution here. It is critical to hear what the customers say and try to innovate something new almost every day.