The coronavirus outbreak might have slowed down our lives and industries, but it has also ushered in a new era of invention.
COVID-19 has made people cautious of their surroundings. The disease can spread by touching a surface or an object like doorknobs, tables, etc., that has the virus on it, and then if a person touches their mouth, nose, or eyes, they get the virus. While touching a doorknob is as unconscious as touching our face, it is considered very risky in the current scenario.
Hence, it is extremely important to keep all surfaces disinfected and sanitised. But one cannot keep disinfecting doors and knobs in public places regularly as these surfaces are continuously touched by many.
To safeguard people from this, Indore-based Tuchware Systems & Solutions has come up with automatic door openers. Founded in 2016 by Amol Boyatkar and Rahul Singh, Tuchware has been manufacturing internet-based electronic and RFID locking solutions for the hospitality industry.
While the automatic sliding door technology has already been in use, automatic opener for swing doors was not readily available in public places.
According to the startup, it has currently deployed its solutions across several states including Karnataka, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Mumbai in Maharashtra, Delhi, and Amritsar in Punjab.
Speaking to YourStory, Amol explains the automatic door openers use motion sensors and makes the entry touchless. Also, since Tuchware offers automatic swing door openers, any simple door can be turned into an automatic one.
“Since last December, we started selling sliding and swing automatic door openers. With the COVID-19 outbreak, we started receiving more queries from our clients as they did not have automatic opener for swing doors. While automatic opening of sliding doors using motion sensors is common, many hotels do not have automatic swing door openers using motion sensors,” he adds.
Apart from the automatic door opener, the startup also manufactures thermal thermometers and thermal imaging cameras.
“Thermal imaging cameras can monitor moving crowds and scan their temperatures, thus eliminating the need to check individuals separately. It can easily identify a person in moving crowds with above normal body temperature. The solution will be very helpful in crowded places like railway stations, airports, and malls,” Amol says.
The automatic door opener system costs around Rs 30,000-50,000 per door, depending on the size of the doors, and thermal imaging cameras cost around Rs 3-4 lakh.
Business and more
Speaking about the business model, the co-founder explains the startup operates on a B2B model.
Before establishing Tuchware, Amol, who completed his electrical engineering and MBA in Marketing & Finance, worked as a commercial banker, and held a managerial position in the State Bank of India for over eight years. Rahul worked as a mechanical engineer with several logistics businesses for over 12 years.
Tuchware currently has a 15-member team.
Challenges and plans ahead
Amol says, the startup experienced difficulties amid COVID-19 situation because it mostly works with hospitality players, and the hospitality industry has been severely affected due to the lockdown. “We are making more efforts to get new business, and our clients are responding as well,” he adds.
Speaking about future plans, he says the company is looking to set up a new manufacturing plant in Indore. Apart from this, the company recently launched Smart Mirrors, which will allow users to control lighting or view messages or mails on the mirror. While the product is yet to be deployed, Amol says it is gaining a lot of interest, mainly from shopping malls.
“We are also on our way to launch smart home solutions, which involves IoT-based switches and plugs that could operate through motion sensors and mobile application,” he adds.
The startup is also planning to launch a B2C line of products, which will be available for sale via ecommerce portals.
Currently, Tuchware counts Fab Hotels, The Ashoka Hotel (Indore), Mayfair Hotels, and Golden Sands Hotel, among others as its clients.
According to Amol, Tuchware faces stiff competition from other players in the market such as Godrej and ESSL. However, he believes the startup provides personalised solutions and involves the clients’ needs from the beginning.
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