Innovations For Which The Future Is Now
(Article is Part- II of II)
FOR TURNING THE HUMBLE TWO-WHEELER SMART
Three years of blood and sweat to realize the dream of building India’s first smart electric scooter S340 is finally coming to fruition for Bengaluru-based Ather Energy. The e-scooter is all set to hit the market towards the end of 2016 and will soon be open for pre-orders. S340 will outperform the existing 110 cc petrol scooters in critical aspects including weight, maintenance cost, ride quality, and cost. It will have connectivity with customers’ smartphone and sport an on-board cloud-based navigation system with profile for users and controls built-in, which scooters from current large players such as Hero Motocorp and Mahindra don’t have. The price for 110 cc scooter and Vespa ranges from Rs 45,000 to 75,000.
FOR AUTOMATING HYGIENE IN PUBLIC TOILETS
Kerala-based Eram Scientific Solutions is the only manufacturer of self-cleaning public electronic toilets in India. The toilets are programmed to flush with just 1.5 liters of water after three minutes of use. It also washes the floor automatically after five or ten rounds. The cost of each toilet is approximately Rs 4.5 lakh. The firm has set up over 1,500 eToilets across 18 Indian states. On World Toilet Day, the company launched a new eToilet mobile app for such toilets. The app has unique features - it can locate nearest eToilets, understand the mode of operation and access of theperson using the app. It also gives information on sanitary napkin vending machines and helps you share feedback on user experience. The Chennai Municipal Corporation has over 150 eToilets.
FOR MAKING PARKING A PIECE OF CAKE
Now this is some real problemsolving rather than tweaking existing solutions to a problem, like most technology startups do. Bengaluru-based Pparke is an intelligent data-driven cloud-based vehicle parking solution that takes the frustration out of parking vehicles by allowing users to search for the available parking spots in a location, book, navigate directly to the parking lot and pay cashless. Moreover, the time, fuel and energy one saves are the big bonus. No wonder driving straight down to the parking spot is of great peace of mind. The startup currently operates in Delhi and Mumbai as well.
FOR GIVING INDIA ITS FIRST SUPERCAR
The attempt might sound foolhardy enough only to fizzle out in no time, but Bangalore-based start-up Mean Metal Motors can’t wait to rev it up. A group of young automobile enthusiasts are building India’s first supercar, M-Zero. And it’s not just any supercar; they want to take head on with the likes of Lamborghini Huracan, and Ferrari FF by being better than them, that too at just 30-40 percent of their cost. With a top speed of around 350 kph, M-Zero will initially be priced between Rs 95 lakh and
Rs 1 crore. The prototype is expected to be launched at the Paris Motor Show in October this year.
FOR BECOMING THE DARK HORSE OF DIGITAL ENTERTAINMENT
Digital entertainment platform Hungama Digital Media Entertainment announced its foray into original programming in July 2016. The company was recently picked by Chinese electronics maker Xiaomi - world’s second most valuable startup - for its maiden investment in India by leading a $25 million funding round. Hungama, which recently tied-up with MTNL to offer its services to MTNL’s customers in Delhi and Mumbai, is engaged in an intense battle for supremacy with corporatebacked Apple Music, Gaana, Wynk Music, and entrepreneur-led Saavn.
FOR PROMOTING DESI
In a series of commercials for its Canvas Unite series of smartphones, Micromax touched upon the language nerve in an innovative way. The handset-maker launched an ad campaign, #AngreziKoAngutha, roping in comedianactor Kapil Sharma. In the ad, Sharma is seen talking about the importance of staying connected to one’s roots.Micromax’s Canvas Unite Series - Unite 4 and Unite 4 Pro enables users to use their mother tongue with a simple swipe.
FOR HELPING THE LOGISTICS GUY
Ecommerce runs on support to function real-time, logistics being the primary focus. Catering to this need is Locus, a Bengaluru-based logistics management startup, which is helping logistics players by building algorithms to automate their functions. The company offers entire logistics technology stack in the form of a platform-as-a-service. For on-field workforce, the company has an app that enables companies to dispatch, track and manage their ground staff. The company also has a safety app, Ridesafe, powered by their in-house Real-time Route Deviation Detection engine. Essentially, the app monitors a passenger’s travel in real time. Thus, if the passenger gets deviated, the app alerts him promptly.
FOR HOPPING ON THALAIVA'S MADNESS
This one is flying high, not on fuel, but Rajinikanth. Joining the craze around superstar Rajinikanth’s last month released gangster drama film Kabali, low-budget carrier AirAsia launched a special aircraft painted with the superstar’s livery, just prior to the film’s release. The fans of Tamil cinema’s demi-god flew in the carrier to catch the first-day show on July 15. The carrier offered a special menu for Rajini fans, and also ran a contest inviting fans to post Kabali-style videos on Twitter and Facebook, thus increasing their chances to catch the first show.
FOR GOING 'SEA' DEEP
Founded by Captain Nikunj Parashar and his team in May 2015, Sagar Defence Engineering, a maritime startup that builds and operates autonomous marine vehicles, launched an unmanned marine surface vehicle for the Indian Navy in April this year, the first by a private Indian company. Successfully inducted in the Indian Armed Forces, the company’s marine vehicle systems can also be used to study radiation levels in nuclear and thermal power plants, and to test out submerged structures. Recently, the Ministry of Shipping announced Sagar Defence Engineering as the winner of the maiden “MIS 2016 – DP World Prize”, organized in association with Invest India and Global trade enabler, DP World.
FOR GIVING 'VOICE' TO PRIMARY EDUCATION
Sampark Foundation - the Noida based philanthropic initiative by Vineet Nayar, former CEO of HCL Technologies is on a mission to equip 10 million government school students with primary education by 2020. Currently it sits on three million-mark across 50,000 schools in Uttarakhand, Jammu & Kashmir, and Chhattisgarh. The foundation is aiming to win this uphill task through Sampark Didi -a frugal yet innovative voice-based teaching mascot of its Sampark Smart Class Program. The students are taught speaking, writing and reading skills in a fun and interactive manner through stories and rhymes via a low-cost audio device whose battery lasts for a month on single charge. Sampark Didi also supports teachers in teaching English through assisted teaching.
(With inputs from Sandeep Soni)
This article first appeared in the Indian edition of Entrepreneur magazine (August 2016 Issue).