A leader in the new revolutionary IoT technology called the ‘internet of sound’, Boston and Bengaluru-based Trillbit is fast growing as one of the unique players in the field. Currently finding its applicability in areas such as proximity intelligence, retail, smart venues and TV/Radio broadcasting, it is witnessing growth at quite a rapid pace. To know more about this startup and the interesting work they are doing, Curious Dose got in touch with Shashikant Burnwal who is the co-founder at Trillbit. He provided insights on their technology, use cases, growth story, and more.
Trillbit And Their IoT Game
The startup works on special technology called data over the sound, where they use sound waves to transfer or exchange data. Burnwal says that it is more like a communication protocol, where users can compare it with other technologies such as the internet, WiFi or data communications which are also used to transfer data. “We have chosen sound as a medium because there are more speakers than the people on earth. There are audio speakers everywhere such as the shopping mall, retail stores, and more. Audio speakers have become data transmitter for us and at the same time, everybody has a smartphone which can act as a data receiver and there is a hyper-local data communication between these two devices,” he adds.
Burnwal further explains that for instance if a user is at the shopping mall, and shopping mall management can send major offers which are running at that particular venue without having the need of internet. “This is the kind of technology that we are aiming at, and it is more like you can target and de-target users using our technology,” he says.
How Did It All Start?
Burnwal says that it started from their personal experience when they were listening to a talk show on a car radio. “There are many shows that mention visiting their URL at xyz dot com, but since you are driving, you don’t have the time to go to the URL and later when you want to check it you might have forgotten the link by that time. It was then that we thought of how can we transfer this into a smartphone as everyone carries it today which can then reveal these links anytime later,” he shared.
They started exploring various options and found that there is only one solution which will not require any additional hardware with the existing radio expertise and that is sound. “We started exploring sound like an option to send data and started exploring more use cases with time in this area,” says Burnwal.
The company was incorporated in November 2016 with three co-founders Bhaskar Deo, Mrigesh Parashar and Shashikant Burnwal, and they started working from the initial months of 2017. “It took us eight months to develop the entire technology stack and solutions after which we started to reach out to clients,” says Burnwal. With time they have been able to use in various industries such as retail, where retailers also want to communicate with their customers in real time to influence the customers, marketing and more.
Talking about competitors, Burnwal says that there are globally five to six competitors who are working in this field. “When we started we did not know if anyone is working on that on not and thought it was a novel idea. But later we found out that there are companies across the globe working on similar ideas. In India also there are companies that use sound technologies for payments which allows payment transfer between two mobile devices using sound technology,” he says.
But Trillbit believes that their differentiating factor lies in the fact that they are exploring larger avenues of using this technology and to be able to transfer data in the larger infrastructure.
How The Technology Works
Burnwal explains that sound waves become a medium to transfer data and as the data gets transferred, it happens in two parts — one is encoding part where with the help of proprietary algorithms the information or data is encoded on inaudible sound files and that can be played through the existing speaker system. Second is if Trillbit SDK is integrated into the clients’ app then the app can decode the data and start triggering desired messages and actions on users’ app based on predefined attributes.
He shares that their technology can be integrated as SDK into any app and along with client platform provides the complete solution to visualise all important data collection and delivery of information and user engagement based on important data characteristics.
“The beauty of our technology is that any client can use the already existing infrastructure of speakers to collect very hyper locational data and then send important information to users based on who they are and at what location they are,” he said. They also integrated other important technologies such as Wifi, GPS along with “data over sound” technology so as to provide accurate and precise data and make sure no important data points get missed when another technology is available to harness.
“We are currently on-boarding major retailers that are integrating our SDK for better user targeting and user engagement. At the same time, we are also developing some interesting use cases in fan engagement category. Recently, we integrated our SDK in Chennai Super Kings (CSK) app which have around 2 Million user base to develop some exciting use cases for in-stadium fan engagement in IPL, 2019 and seeing good reception” says Burnwal.
The Trillbit Team
“As of now, we are 11 people team with three co-founders. Our team includes people in operations, business development, dales, tech advisors, business advisors and more,” says Burnwal. Apart from this, there are two parts in the technical department — the first team works on the core technology and the second team works with technologies to visualise the product such as SDK. they also provide data analytics platform along with SDK that gives all the analysis based on how many calls came and at what time, demography etc.
Growth Story So Far
Over the last three years, they have witnessed a spectacular growth, has received funding of around ₹1.5 crore mostly by Angel Investors and are now looking for bigger rounds as they are in talks with various VC.
The technology adoption is witnessing a spectacular growth too, where they are enabling as many physical locations as possible into relevant technology such as shopping malls. “We started acquiring shopping malls and we also tie up with this company who actually provide the music services to all these physical stores and shopping mall and we integrated our tech system with them, so centrally they can actually pay our tones to any of these locations,” he says.
At the same time, they are also seeing good reception for other use cases like Ticket authentication, in-stadium fan engagement etc and hopeful to create exciting business categories around these.
They also have partnerships with few IT companies and retail music service providers that give them access to more clients and more than 13,000 retail locations including major retail brands and chains.
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Srishti currently works as Associate Editor at Analytics India Magazine. When not covering the analytics news, editing and writing articles, she could be found reading or capturing thoughts into pictures.