Emerging Entrepreneurs

This ex-IAF pilot now uses tech to watch your gate

N Ramakrishnan | Updated on October 15, 2018 Published on October 15, 2018

myGate’s app-based tool automates entry and exit at gated communities

Vijay is narrating his journey as an entrepreneur and the transformation from an IAF helicopter pilot – when he used to ferry high-ranking leaders and participate in disaster relief operations – when there is the sound of an aircraft flying overhead. Can he recognise that noise? “Of course,” says Vijay, with a wide smile. “It is a chopper. And, I can say it is an Mi-8 as well,” he adds.

 

How has the transformation been from being in the Air Force to the corporate world and then to an entrepreneur? His stint as a chopper pilot, says Vijay, is helping him navigate life as an entrepreneur. He has landed helicopters carrying VVIPs such as the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Vice-President in remote places. While helping out in relief operations, very often the local administration would have shut down because of the natural disaster and he and his colleagues had to do everything on their own. And, this is what is helping him out now that he is running his own venture.

The journey

According to Vijay, he did not have to worry about security and other such aspects as they were taken care off. However, once he quit the IAF and started life as an investment banker, he noticed that security was either lax or cumbersome in gated communities. Either all and sundry would be allowed in or the security guards had to go through the laborious process of finding out where the visitor – it could be a maid, a courier delivery person or a food delivery boy or even a relative – wanted to go.

The guard would then insist that the visitor enter various details in a notebook. In some of the gated communities, the guard would call up the house concerned through an internal communication system, check with the residents and then let the visitor in.

Vijay says with increasing urbanisation, people are moving from rural areas to cities and from one city to another seeking jobs. Households now order a whole lot of stuff on the internet – books, gadgets and food – which means there are more visitors to an apartment than ever before. myGate’s objective, he says, is to make security foolproof for residents and make the entry and exit of visitors and guests seamless and hassle-free for everyone concerned.

According to him, myGate launched its first minimum viable product in June 2016 and then came out with the first marketable product in December, after incorporating many features and making quite a few changes. It has installed the product in more than 1,000 gated communities so far.

How it works

What is the product? It is a mobile app, says Vijay. myGate provides the handset to the security guards and trains them on how to use it. All the residents in that particular gated community can download it on their smartphone. The app allows residents to specify who are the regular household help, including maid, cook and driver, each one of whom will be given a unique ID. If the resident is expecting a delivery of a parcel or a food item, he or she can even inform the security guards through the app about this. Or, if a guest is expected at a particular time, the resident can inform the security guard about the visitor, including the registration number of their vehicle, so that they are given easy entrance. Even if the resident is not at home, he or she can monitor when the maid or cook came for work and when they leave.

It is a completely digitised process, says Vijay. “Everything related to your household – a newspaper vendor, a car coming for your flat, milk delivery boy – can be monitored from this app. This app has become the front screen app for a lot of people and has become the operating system of the household,” he adds.

 

According to him, myGate sells the product either to builders or residents’ associations. “We provide devices which are fully configured and can be used only for myGate and nothing else can be run on it. For every stakeholder in the ecosystem, we have eased life in one way or the other,” says Vijay. The company earns its income through a subscription model.

Vijay says myGate aims to be in the top 10 cities and at least 20,000 gated communities by 2020.

The company has a 150-member team, most of them in developing technology. “We are investing a lot on automatic number plate reader technology so that residents can have a seamless entry without the security guards having to stop them or without the vehicles having to sport parking stickers. We are making it a completely touchless technology,” he adds.

Published on October 15, 2018
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