Intel & DST – Innovate for Digital India Challenge
Expedition of GeekSynergy’s AiRpaper towards making India Digital
Information plays a key role in the development of country. About 70% of the Indians live their life in rural areas. In order for India to develop, sharing of information through a well connected network is essential. But since, only 15% of the Indian population is connected to the Internet, sharing of information is seldom done for the rest. A huge investment have to be made for the development of rural areas and the use of existing infrastructure while still stretching out information to the even most remote places in the country will not only make enormous difference to the development country but equally makes it advantageous.
[link : About 70 per cent Indians live in rural areas: Census report]
Start of GeekSynergy Expedition:
At GeekSynergy, we believe that innovation with existing infrastructure will revolutionize the country. With that in mind, we started to do research on India’s powerful network “Radio”. Over the course of the research we figured out that, Radio covers 99% of the Indian population. Something that sparked in our minds was, why can’t we use Radio to transmit Digital Newspapers to citizens of the country. Especially to the rural parts of the country where the reach of news is seldom done.
Process of Developing a Product:
After we made ourselves to the Top 50 Innovate For Digital India Challenge, we were invited to the India’s prestigious management institution IIM, Ahmedabad. We had to pitch our idea to the jury in order for us to make it to the accelerator phase of the Digital India program. After the 3 days of mentoring and making changes to our business model we successfully got into the Top 20 of IFDIC.
[Mentoring sessions at IIM, Ahmedabad]
Over the course of next two months we had to develop a working prototype of our product. At the start we had a very little idea about our business model. We had a lot confusions about customer segments. But during the three days of BootCamp leaded by André Marquis Executive Director, Lester Center for Entrepreneurship UC, Berkeley and hosted by CIIE at the College of Engineering, Pune we were able to figure out who are our customers. Throughout the three months both André Marquis and Mark Searle, Senior Fellow at UC, Berkeley mentored us on customer acquisition, Business development, product design and development. While one part of our team started to develop the prototype, other part of the team started to make customer interviews which led to an valuable pivot in our customer segment.
[Team AiRpaper in CIIE, Pune(from left) – Anil Kumar M, Gowrav L, AB Sachin Anchan]
We were also mentored by Industry players Satyajit Suri (Unitus Seed Fund), Hasit Kaji (Vice President of TCS), Niranjan Deshpande (Kisan Forum), Kiran Karnik (Nasscom), Vikas Jain (Micromax Informatics). Team from Globant and Elephant design gave us a valuable design feedback regarding Application development of AiRpaper. We also had an opportunity to publicize AiRpaper through media such as NDTV.
Intel, a technology giant in collaboration with Department of Science and Technology provided equipments required by every team to develop a prototype. Also provided technical feedback through team TCS who helped us throughout the course of accelerator phase.
[Photo : Set up of AiRpaper during the Prototype Day]
We were at the final stage of accelerator phase. Team AiRpaper was super excited as we had a chance to showcase our products to the industry giants. We had a great opportunity to explain in detail through our demos. All of them really got excited about our product.
AiRpaper is a Digital Information distribution platform that leverages the usage of unused spectrum in Radio Frequency. Radio is the old and emotional technology that citizens of India ever undergone. At Present, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is using All India Radio as a tool to reach his emotional words and development programs to all the citizens of the country. Since it is the powerful network than any other in India.
AiRpaper as a platform can be utilized in wide variety of Applications. Such as
- Disaster management Systems:
- All India Radio was the only source for the people to access vital information regarding weather and flood in the ongoing Chennai disaster
- Digital Signage Systems – Each and every signage boards can be updated in real time
- Farmer’s pocket guide – Information about crops and latest agricultural techniques to the farmers
- Educational tool – to the students and institution and so on
[Image courtesy : mail today]
Top 10 Felicitation:
Accelerator phase helped us building our prototype. For the past three months we worked hard towards development of customer segment. After all the hard work we made it to the Top 10 of IFDIC. It was a delightful moment for GeekSynergy as we were invited to the Delhi for the felicitation.
At Oberoi Hotel, we were eagerly waiting for more excitement. During the day, we pitched our idea to Greg Pearson, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing group. Later we were felicitated by Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister. It was a great moment for all of us in our lives being represented as Top 10 Innovators of the Country.
[Team AiRpaper felicitated by Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister]
Pitching in front of Honourable President:
After the felicitation at Oberoi Hotel, we headed towards the Rashtrapati Bhavan. While we are on the way to meet President Pranab Mukherjee, we thought ourselves that this is one of the proudest moment of all our lives. We finally arrived at Rashtrapati Bhavan. We made ourselves seated at the hall waiting for his presence. The moment he showed up, everyone greeted him with ‘Namashkar’. Greg Pearson, Intel’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing group presented ‘Intel’s Coffee Booklet’ to the President. Now each team were called to present our ideas to the President. Our Heart beats started increase once the team names were called up. Not because we were frightened, it’s because we were given an opportunity to pitch our idea within a minute standing right next to the most respected person in India. After each team presented their ideas we were asked for a group photo. It is one of the Proudest moment any human being can experience in their lives.
[Photo Courtesy : Intel & DST]
Overall it was a great learning experience through IFDIC. GeekSynergy would like to thank everyone who supported us in learning Entrepreneurship.