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Inntot: digital broadcast radio receiver solutions at very low cost

Please introduce yourself and your startup Inntot Technologies to our readers! 

I am Rajith Nair. I am one of the founders of Inntot Technologies. I have completed my post-graduation in Computer Science and Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology Madras and have 22 years of experience in the automotive and consumer electronics entertainment domain spread over Royal Philips Electronics, Wipro Technologies, LSI Logic and Inntot Technologies. 

Inntot Technologies is a technology driven company with prime focus on enabling cost effective next generation digital radio receiver solutions. Inntot has Software Defined Radio IP Solutions for Digital Radio Mondiale (AM and FM bands) Receivers, DAB/DAB+ Receivers, HD-Radio Receivers (in collaboration with Xperi), CDR Receivers and ISDB-T Receivers and is all set to play a pivotal role in the Analog Sunset of AM and FM broadcast radio transmission paving way to Digital broadcast Radio Transmission in the near future. 

Inntot Technologies is the winner of several prestigious awards including National Technology Awards 2021 of Government of India, Industrial Innovation Awards 2017 of Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) – for the Best Service Start-up and Top 10 Promising Start-ups of India., ASSOCHAM 4th ICT Awards 2020, DRM Enterprise Award 2019 instituted by Digital Radio Mondiale Consortium. 

Inntot’s solutions power Digital Radio Receivers of some of the major car manufacturers worldwide. 

How did you get the idea of Inntot Technologies? 

Digital Radio Broadcasting is being mandated across the globe by all countries due to the advantages of multiplying the number of channels, excellent quality Audio for long distance reception and availability of useful data like traffic, news etc. Digital Radio will also play a crucial role in bridging the digital divide in developing countries such as India by providing free access to educational programs and on a large-scale deployment. It is also useful in broadcasting emergency warning in the event of natural disasters in an automated fashion to all radios including car, desktop and mobile phones when mobile networks may be completely dysfunctional. Also, Digital broadcast Radio is a viable and useful option in rural and remote areas where ensuring internet access may not be that easy. 

However, current Digital Radio Broadcast Receiver solutions (DRM/DRM+, DAB/DAB+, HD-Radio, CDR) in the market require dedicated chips to perform complex operations like Demodulation in hardware and hence end solution becomes very costly due to high chip costs. Such high costs prevent swift penetration into emerging and high-volume markets like India, European Union, South Africa, Indonesia where the usage of Digital Broadcast Technology is mandated by Government as part of shut down of Analog Radio transmission in AM and FM bands. 

It is the need to the hour for digital broadcast radio receiver market to have a high- quality solution that is cost effective. 

Why did you decide to start with Inntot Technologies? 

Inntot was formed with the very idea of breaking the general convention that high quality and cost effectiveness will not go hand in hand. With strong and considerable experience of founders in the area of digital broadcast receiver solutions, we decided to take up the challenge of coming up with high quality and cost-effective solutions based on the concept of Software Defined Radio with our own patented improvisations. 

What is the vision behind Inntot Technologies? 

Inntot’s vision is to facilitate the availability of the best of next generation radio  broadcast technology to common man at very low cost. 

How difficult was the start and which challenges you had to overcome? 

Inntot’s software-based IP solution is a direct competitor of radio decoder chips manufactured by semiconductor giants who are well established in this industry. It has been an amazing journey for Inntot to develop the first product prototype, optimize the solution for the best performance and rope in the major customers who are accustomed to using the solutions of major semiconductor giants. Now, Inntot solution is being used by major customers and is in production for some of the heavy weights in car manufacturing industry replacing their first-generation solution based on the radio decoder chips provided by established semiconductor companies. 

For every new customer, Inntot has to get its solution evaluated and validated for the feature and performance. This customer acquisition cycle is generally very lengthy. This process is getting easier as Inntot solution is now in production for some of the major companies. 

Building cost intensive testing infrastructure and niche area competency were some of the other challenges faced during product/IP development. 

Who is your target customer? 

Our target customers are Automotive Tier-1 companies for in-car and aftermarket automotive products, consumer product companies for desktop radios and combo products and smart phone manufacturers. 

What is the USP of your startup? 

USP of Inntot solution is in terms of 

Cost: Using Inntot solution will save at least 3-12 USD for the manufacturer.

Quality: Inntot solution is high performing and provides competitive
advantage to its customers with granted patents and multiple productizations.

Time-To-Market: Inntot solution is reusable and proven IP which reduces
Time to Market in a substantial manner.

Easy Maintenance: Inntot solution is easily maintainable using software upgrade.

Chip related:

  • unaffected by the global shortage of chips since the solution is software based.
  • Saves energy and environment by eliminating the need for radio decoder chip.

Can you describe your typical workday ?

Being a start-up founder and also CEO, I have to wear multiple hats and play multiple roles. Typical tasks during a day involve business development activities, customer interactions, project reviews, touch basing with key team members and certain operational activities.

I usually keep a “To do List” with different categories of role that I have to perform and that is really helpful. I am flexible with the working hours and this could be both advantage and disadvantage from a personal perspective.

Where do you see yourself and your startup Inntot Technologies in five years?

Inntot plans to raise next round of investment with the objective of expanding its solutions globally. Inntot has a vision of become market leader for the digital broadcast radio receiver solutions in next 5 years and acquire much of the market in in-car and after-market solutions in automotive segment along with a substantial presence in the upcoming segments of consumer electronics and smart phones. 

Inntot plans to further improvise its IP solutions for providing outstanding performance and further reduced costs. 

What 3 tips would you give to founders? 

Always dream big!

Keep attempting with the right intentions and be open for changes! Success will come to you for sure!

Take utmost care of your team. Your team members are your biggest asset!

Thank you Rajith Nair for the Interview

Picture Rajith Nair

Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.

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