Establishing IoT business is not difficult; the main thing is to work hard and believe in your deal: Anton Khokhlov, Co-founder of AURORA Mobile Technologies
At the very beginning, AURORA Mobile Technologies consisted of 10 employees. Now, 10 years later, its staff has expanded to 35 employees, and the company has become one of Russia’s leading providers of solutions for wireless data transfer and navigation technologies. We talked to Anton Khokhlov, a co-founder of the company, about the development of AURORA Mobile Technologies and challenges they faced.
Wireless communication was extremely poor in Russia
At the start of our career, we cooperated with foreign providers and attended international exhibitions dedicated to electronic components and М2М solutions. We saw that the adoption of wireless technologies in the Russian Federation was extremely poor. Thinking over the idea of establishing the company, we aimed to make the market of wireless communication electronic components more accessible for Russian manufacturers so that, eventually, a lot more people could use these technologies in their everyday life.
Initially, the company hired less than 10 people; some employees combined several responsibilities. It was reasonable and encouraged the company growth. Today, our team includes 35 people and business processes are different. We are planning the further extension: we will have 45-50 employees in 2020. This year, the group of companies under the brand of AURORA Mobile Technologies is celebrating its tenth anniversary.
We conducted hundreds of negotiations with providers
From its first days of operation, our company aimed to build a business system for supplying wireless communication components to innovative device manufacturers and to make it as efficient as possible.
At the outset of our activity, we carried out an analysis of the Russian wireless communication component market, determined the most interesting topics, and started working.
We conducted hundreds of negotiations with component providers, primarily in Pacific Asia, and, in several months, we concluded the first distributor contract with GlobalTop Technology, a company that we liked for its innovative ideas of producing GPS modules with a built-in antenna. Afterward, we proceeded to work with potential customers.
Establishing M2M business is not difficult; the main thing is to work hard and believe in your deal
I believe that establishing business in the M2M sector is not too difficult now. You should just focus on the chosen issue and have sound knowledge in this matter. Even today, Russia is substantially falling behind in terms of the level of technology integration. Thus, there are still a lot of possibilities for both the start and the growth of existing companies.
In my opinion, there are no special requirements for businesses related to wireless technologies. Perhaps, the most important is to believe in things you do, focus on your idea, and put your best foot forward in order to provide your customers with the best service.
Russia did not have LoRaWAN devices, thus we decided to create our own ones
All companies face certain challenges, and the ability to overcome any hindrances is one of the core skills of the team. For instance, having decided to develop the LoRaWAN technology, we faced almost the full absence of end devices both in Russia and worldwide. It was a significant limitation to the technology development.
Nevertheless, the technology seemed quite promising to us, especially within Russia. Then, we decided to design devices for operations in LoRaWAN networks. We negotiated with many companies both in Russia and abroad.
After our first work, we proceeded to LoRaWAN largest project in Russia
After several inefficient negotiating efforts, we found a partner among our customers: Vega Absolute. We were directly involved in the development of a line of LoRaWAN devices, from preparing a technical design specification to testing on real objects of housing and public utilities.
That partnership was beneficial for everyone. Firstly, our customers obtained an access to the new technology and reliable devices based on the LoRaWAN protocol. Secondly, we became one of the first distributors of the Vega line and, in several months, started implementing the largest project based on the LoRaWAN technology in Russia. Thirdly, Vega Absolute is developing this market on its own, having one of the most interesting LoRaWAN line.
We took part in FIFA World Cup projects
We have been always striving for a wider reach, thus we have had a fair amount of customers. Currently, we have more than 500 clients. Besides, we regularly cooperate with over 3000 companies.
We take part in such major projects as Platon and ERA-GLONASS. We have provided components to projects related to the FIFA World Cup in Russia. We supply Wi-Fi chips and GSM modules for online cashier desks. There are a lot of large-scale projects, and our partners frequently invite us to join them.
We know everything about the application of our products
We consider LoRaWAN and NB-IoT projects the most promising: both related to component delivery and handling of applied problems. We constantly face a huge interest among customers. Now, we are working on several projects is such areas as agriculture, housing and public utilities, industrial automation, transport telematics, and others.
Our delivery line includes brands that we exclusively represent in Russia. For example, Rising HF: a manufacturer of LoRaWAN base stations. However, our major competitive advantage is that we know how to apply our products. Adding a certain product or service in the company line, we examine all issues related to its application. Therefore, addressing AURORA Mobile Technologies, customers receive not only a product but also a solution of their technical problems.
Companies’ interest in М2М solutions has significantly increased
Taking into account the performance of our company, I can say that M2M solutions are quite popular now. Technologies are growing rapidly; thus, it is society or the state promoting the digital economy concept that encourages the growth of such an interest.
The application of modern technologies (including M2M ones) allows to reduce expenses, create more comfortable living conditions and more efficient working processes etc. Wireless technologies are increasingly entering our daily life, and this fact is also one of the growth drivers causing interest in М2М solutions.
International events dedicated to the IoT are quite important
We believe that Russia requires a bigger number of specialized events in the IoT sector. One of them is the Internet of Things International Forum to be held on September 25 in Moscow. We like the ideas of forum participants and organizers, so we primarily expect interesting meetings and creative discussions. As a sponsor of the Internet of Things forum, we look forward to receiving new ideas for business development, enhancing brand awareness, bringing our concepts to market participants, and receiving a feedback.