Online retailers are promising faster and faster delivery times – in some cases, standard next-day shipping. But, as big hauls of goods zip across a country’s roads, cargo theft becomes a major concern. Enter: remote security enabled by IoT.

Exact numbers are hard to come by, as many incidents of stolen goods are either unreported or underreported. But, industry experts generally agree that cargo theft is a global multi-billion-dollar problem, amounting to $15B – $30B in the United States alone1. Items that are stolen often include2:

  • Building Supplies
  • Food Packages
  • Household Appliances And Electronics

In recent years, South Africa has also seen a surge in cargo theft as well as cash in transit heists.

The logistical problem is that a retailer has limited options to remotely control access to their cargo while it is in transit. But, a startup in India is using the Internet of Things (IoT) to help cut down theft on the road. YuTu Electronics is using IoT to create a network of smart locks that monitor access to cargo fleets, based on predefined rules of authorization. The locks are managed and monitored using a cloud-based, IoT platform that provides real-time alerts to potential cargo theft.

To learn more about the role of IoT in transportation and logistics, we sat down with Abhishek Srivastava, who serves as YuTu Electronics’ Chief Technology Officer.

Interview with Abhishek Srivastava, Founder & Chief Technology Officer of YuTu Electronics

  1. Can you give us a little background on YuTu Electronics?

ABHISHEK: The logistics industry faces a major issue: products stolen in transit. One main factor for this problem is that the industry currently uses an offline system, where the authorized party has no control of their product while it is in transit. So, simply tracking a vehicle doesn’t solve this problem. Lock operations are not monitored and there is no authorization mechanism for opening a cargo door at an authorized location by an authorized person.

At YuTu, we took on this challenge and created a solution that helps prevent stolen items for logistics and transportation companies. Our approach brings together security, accountability, real-time tracking, monitoring and remote operations.

Here are a few of the components that go into our solution:

  1. YuKee™ – A native, IoT-enabled smart lock made with a secure microcontroller and built-in Bluetooth, GPS, GPRS, sensors, memory and a rechargeable battery. These devices provides a high level of security, convenience and an intuitive interface.
  2. YuVision™ – A cloud-based, IoT platform that manages YuKee devices, users and businesses effectively through flexible rules. YuVision receives data from the devices for tracking, monitoring and remote operations, and provides real-time tamper alerts, reports and analytics. The platform also offers device management, user management, trip management and live dashboards.
  3. Web Application – An interface for device, user, trip management and remote operations.
  4. Mobile Application – An interface for mobile devices, providing access and control on the go.

Our solution is targeted to the following industries:

  • Banks & Financial Institutions
  • Cellular Tower Stations
  • Construction Sites
  • Defense
  • Homes & Companies
  • Logistics Road Transportation
  • Oil & Gas Transportation
  • Real Estate Rental
  • Remote Warehouses
  • Retail
  • Unmanned Stations
  1. How is your team putting your business plan into action?

ABHISHEK: We have a team of technology experts and designers to realize our dream of using smart locks to prevent goods stolen during transit. Our team has deep experience in areas such as IoT, embedded systems, and encryption and security solutions with multiple startups and corporations.

Right now, we are putting an ecosystem of reputable partners and vendors in place to supply electronic components and manufacturing for our product.

We’re ready with our prototype and planning to do field testing and a live proof-of-concept (POC) with a select group of prospective customers. The results of this POC will help us fine tune the durability of our product and deployments.

  1. Your team was recently a participant in Western Digital’s Data Innovation Bootcamp, a three-day event for select startups in India to learn, network, and pitch to venture capitalists. What were your biggest takeaways?

ABHISHEK: My biggest takeaway was learning about innovation driving business success, shared by the speakers and presenters at the bootcamp. For instance, tips to create a sustainable, long-term business and the different aspects of running a startup. Meeting with venture capitalists also gave a third-party perspective about our product, and opened our eyes to ways to grow our product for multiple use cases.

  1. Why do you believe that supporting entrepreneurship and innovation in India is important?

ABHISHEK: Entrepreneurship brings disruptive innovation, which could uplift the lives of citizens in India.

The following are reasons why entrepreneurship is important to India:

  1. Entrepreneurs Create New Businesses – Groundbreaking offerings by entrepreneurs, in the form of new products and services, could result in new employment, which can produce a cascading effect in the economy. The stimulation of related businesses or sectors that support the new venture might add to further economic development.
  2. Entrepreneurs Add to National Income – Entrepreneurial ventures literally generate new wealth. Existing businesses might remain confined to the scope of existing markets and could be revenue-limited by factors such as the total available market. New and improved offerings, products or technologies from entrepreneurs enable new markets to be developed and new wealth to be created.
  3. Entrepreneurs Also Create Social Change – Through their unique goods and services, entrepreneurs break from tradition and indirectly support free thinking by reducing dependence on current systems and technologies. Overall, this could result in an improved quality of life, greater morale and economic freedom.
  4. Community Development – Entrepreneurs use their experience and support to grow their communities, from education to public health. They also inspire others to follow their business path.

“Entrepreneurs can change the way we live and work. Their inventions might improve our standard of living. They create wealth from their ventures, as well as jobs. These conditions are important for a society to flourish. Regions with a higher level of entrepreneurship typically show higher levels of output and productivity.”

Link to infographic: Infographic

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