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Innovations For Which Future Is Now Tech startups are paving the way for the future

By Sandeep Soni

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(Article is Part- I of II)

Innovation today has become quite subjective, defined differently by different people. Outside the realms of information, imagination and initiative that leads to innovation is the ability to be faster, better and cheaper for an idea to be scalable. So, in our quest to feature businesses doing path breaking innovative work, the ones we've picked (irrespective of the size and growth) don't just have all of the above, but have either never been attempted before in India, are bold enough to sound foolhardy, or seem too tough to execute. Some of these might even take time to get commercialized as a business, but when it comes to having the potential to disrupt traditional businesses and create large-scale impact on people's lives, these 15 pockets of innovation stand out.


Team Indus is the launch vehicle of dreams for not just a few young Indian braveheart scientists in Bengaluru building a rover (image) to land on the moon, but for every space enthusiast. What makes it even more, This is special for India as Team Indus competes with 15 other teams from technology advanced countries such as the Canada, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, and the US, even as it enjoys the support of Indian Space Research Organization's frugal engineering that earned it global applause. Remember, ISRO's successful Mangalyaan space probe was built on one-tenth the cost of the US NASA's Maven Mars mission. Team Indus's efforts got a major boost in June this year when it was contracted by France's space agency CNES to carry its micro-cameras that will help the rover detect ground obstacles in the path of its wheels.


Never before were diverse dialects and local languages in India impacted digitally the way Chennai-based speech-recognition solutions provider Uniphore Software Systems has been doing it. By supporting over 150 dialects and 25 global languages, Uniphore's virtual assistant software Akeira has empowered people living in small towns and rural areas to access fundamental digital services including agriculture and banking by communicating in their native languages through a mobile phone. This directly open the possibility of bringing 700 million Indians living in small towns and rural areas, into the digital fold without worrying about whether they can converse in Hindi or English. Currently present in India, Southeast Asia, and Middle East, Uniphore will soon enter the US market.


Built entirely by using recycling and environmentally conducive containers, Beetle Smartotels, Ahmedabad-based first portable concept hotel, is giving a push to innovation in the hospitality sector. Promoted by Hirise Hospitality, there are plans to add 2,000 portable hotel rooms across India by 2018. Unlike the traditional brick-and-mortar hotels that take a minimum of three-four years to become operational, the Smartotel portable hotels can be built in just three months. The concept is led by hotel entrepreneur Tanmay Bathway after he saw the demand for fuss-free movable rooms. Beetle Smartotels are being built with options to choose between portable service apartments, to rooms suited best for single business travelers. Take a step forward, indeed!


Enough has already been said about Baba Ramdev and his Patanjali empire. The man has given headache to FMCG companies and forced them to re-think their strategies. Attempting to bite into legacy of the likes of Johnson & Johnson, Patanjali has now ventured into babycare products with the introduction of dental creams, toothpaste, and so on. The company is estimated to have doubled its sales to about Rs 5,000 crore in the current fiscal year. With more than 10,000 employees working under him, Baba Ramdev's Patanjali might as well be called disruptor of the decade.


The Hyderabad-based startup Mapymygenome essentially tells you who you genetically are. The predictive and preventive healthcare company is the pioneer in personal genomics space in India, a space that doesn't even have enough data available for research. Maymygenome might well be responsible for impacting the future livelihood of traditional healthcare institutions -right from large hospitals to walk-in clinics if not kicking them out of business. The company aims at making people live longer by arresting and taking preventive steps towards any disease that a person might suffer from in future, which can be predicted by studying his/her genetic health profile and family health history.

(With inputs from Amrit)

Sandeep Soni

Former Features Editor

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