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“The most valuable asset in any building are the occupants”

Gaurav Burman, VP & APAC President, 75F, India, on how the company is disrupting the building systems industry by taking a fresh approach to HVAC, lighting and building controls.

Brief background of how the company was started and the major milestones / achievements.
Deepinder Singh founded 75F in 2012 in the US after he designed some of the world’s fastest core networks for Tier 1 service providers like AT&T, NTT and Verizon. The ‘Eureka Moment’ happened when his one-year daughter used to wake up in the middle of the night crying due to sudden temperature drops. This prompted him to bu

Gaurav Burman – VP & APAC President, 75F.

ild the algorithms that would consider temperatures from different parts of the building, understand how the sun would impact these temperatures (solar gain) and calculate what’s called “thermal loads”. Although 75F originated as a residential solution, it focused on commercial market sales since the 2014, the year it won the Minnesota Cup and the top spot in the national category for energy efficiency in the Midwest Cleantech Open. That’s when its visibility and client base really started to grow.
After establishing a strong base of happy customers in the US, 75F expanded its operations to India in 2016 and has been growing steadily ever since. Its Indian clientele includes Firstsource Solutions, Flipkart, Bennett-Coleman Group, L&T Infotech, Mercedes Benz, Mapletree ADAMAS Builders, Shell, ALtisource and many more. Recently, 75F setup operations in Singapore as well.
75F stands for 75 Fahrenheit, which was inspired by a United Nations initiative in 2008 to make its conference rooms greener by raising summer thermostats from 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. From our partnership with the UNEP Sustainable Buildings and Climate Initiative, to our tireless drive to create smarter, more comfortable, and more energy efficient buildings, we take inspiration from the United Nations and embody it in our name and company culture.

Who are your target customer segments and the benefits to their businesses through your solutions?
75F is a high-tech start-up disrupting the building systems industry by taking a fresh approach to HVAC, lighting and building controls. When we launched operations in India in 2016, we started by focusing on a few key verticals including IT/ITeS, Healthcare and Hospitality in the four major metros. Down the line we have been seeing traction in other business verticals such as SMEs, BFSI, Co-working spaces and Retail. We see it as a constantly evolving industry as the market is growing with increasing awareness about the benefits of smart building technologies using IoT and Machine Learning in conserving energy and improving occupant experience in workplaces.
Whatever the industry, our customers enjoy the benefits of what we at 75F call (OE)2 i.e. 75F helps buildings sense, learn and work smarter to deliver the optimal Occupant Experience (OE) while improving the Operational Efficiency (OE).
Operational Efficiency: Equipped with IoT and cloud computing data storage and processing power, 75F’s system is a much more efficient than the standard building controls systems. We help commercial buildings save up to 50% on their HVAC and Lighting Energy bills! Due to the energy savings, utility rebates and ease of installation, the payback is typically less than 3 years. Simple, wireless installation can be done with little disruption. Cutting edge technology optimizes the operational efficiency of the building making it truly smart and automated.
Occupant Experience: The most valuable asset in any building are the occupants and their comfort are what our solutions aim to improve. Studies, such as Harvard’s CogFx study. have proven that an optimal indoor environment significantly impacts occupant health, cognitive abilities, problem-solving capabilities, concentration, and ability to innovate. Our solutions help improve thermal comfort, lighting and indoor air quality and adds to employee productivity.
Our unique contribution is that we are the only company that contributes to our customer’s triple bottom line in a smarter and intuitive way and at lower cost:
– Improve employee health & productivity (Social)
– Reduce energy usage (Environment)
– Increase profit (Economic)

What are your future plans for the Indian Market?
The growth potential for 75F in the Indian subcontinent is huge.
New building deployments represent an enormous opportunity with the growth drivers of the Indian economy appearing to be robust for the medium term. And much larger than that are the existing buildings, given that our solution is retrofit-friendly.
We plan to establish ourselves in a few verticals, e.g. IT/ITeS, BFSI, Healthcare, Retail, Co-working spaces & Hospitality, etc. to begin with in the 4 major metros. We plan to expand in the next 2-3 years.
We are expanding our offering to offer solutions across numerous vectors – adding to the capabilities & the width of the solution, enhancing the services suite, deploying additional go-to-market channels to name a few.

Do you have any competition (direct or indirect) in this space? Do you feel having a competition is good or bad?
India is one of the key building automation & control system markets registering a double-digit growth rate and is expected to grow from a value of 51.85 Bn INR in 2014 to 288 Bn INR in 2021.The advent and increased adoption of smart, energy efficient commercial buildings along with increased demand for comfort by the occupants will further catapult this building automation market toward a stellar growth paradigm.
While there are many players in the Building Controls sector, there really are none that provide the entire solution – from HVAC airflow management to Building Sensors & controls and automation to Big data analytics. Few other players in the market offer predictive, pro-active controls that are truly based on cloud-computing & IoT. Most others use legacy on-premise server architecture with the inherent costs, complexity, maintenance & limited life.
Though we are the only player currently offering a truly predictive, proactive, integrated Building Intelligence solution we at 75F believe that more competition would mean more opportunity. For a category as nascent as ours, competition would help improve awareness for the need of building intelligence solutions and at the same time keep us on top of our game. We also look forward to learning from our peers and conversely, where possible influencing and impacting the industry

How can the Facility Managers benefit from 75F’s solution?
75F’s system learns the building’s patterns over time and is able to predict the best strategy for the next day, effectively minimising the work of the facility team and maximising the occupancy comfort levels. And all this while maximising energy efficiency as well, leading to significant savings on energy costs.
Thus, the facility manager benefits in the following ways: Energy Savings, Ease of operation through automation, Remote control and manageability, non-intrusive installation and quick ROI.
Energy Savings: 65% of the energy usage in a commercial building is for HVAC and Lighting and traditional systems can guzzle a lot of energy as they are reactive and depend on dampers. 75F’s solution on the other hand uses continuous commissioning with the help of sensor data and is predictive and proactive. With the help of IoT and Cloud Computing, 75F solutions can save up to 50% of energy used for HVAC and Lighting leading to significant savings on utility bills. Not only this, our smart sensors also consider other factors like indoor air quality and smart lighting that improves occupant comfort and indirectly leads to an improvement in employee productivity, thus improving the company’s triple bottom line.
Automation: Our technology is automated and can be controlled remotely through 75F FacilisightTM, a suite of web and mobile apps. Facility managers can directly make changes, check and get data from our web portal. The 75F® Occupant App™ empowers the occupants allowing them to personalize temperature and lighting for their zone.
Quick ROI: Unlike other energy management systems for HVAC, our solutions are not intrusive and can be installed without any kind of disruption to the normal functioning of the business. Our solutions are preconfigured, modular and wireless allowing for an 80% faster installation process than other competitors making it cost and time effective. The fast installation process, almost immediate savings on energy and cost reduction due to automation means significant savings for our customers. Based on energy savings alone, the ROI could be as low as 3 years.

Your focus on innovation.
At 75F, we believe innovation is what sets us apart. We come from a wide variety of backgrounds, but we all have one thing in common: forward-thinking. We believe there’s always a better way to do something – we are challenging industry norms and breaking new ground with our technology.
Which is why we are taking the challenge head on to disrupt an industry that is traditionally slow to innovate. 75F is the only brand today, that can effectively address the energy, air quality and comfort issues of more 99,000 commercial buildings in India and 15,000,000 worldwide.
Take for instance our award-winning approach to HVAC Controls; Dynamic Airflow Balancing™. Leveraging IoT design philosophy and the power of cloud computing, the 75F solution achieves what was once thought to be only theoretically possible; continuous commissioning or perfect air balancing. The solution takes in hundreds of data points like weather forecast, building orientation, sun positioning, humidity, air quality and mean radiant temperature every day per site. Proprietary algorithms analyze and combine the data with real time sensor readings and from within the building in order to send the optimal control strategy to the Central Control Unit, which sends instructions to incrementally move smart dampers a few degrees at a time, creating even temperatures throughout your building.
Our portfolio also includes innovative solutions such as Advanced Lighting Automation and Control, Outdoor Air Optimisation, Indoor Air Quality Management and Facilisight, amongst others. Facilisight is a futuristic energy management tool with a dynamic UI. Facilisight’s suite of web and mobile apps allow customers to manage temperature and lighting in their buildings remotely and round the clock from anywhere using a smartphone, tablet or laptop.

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May 2020
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