Virtual Toll system an innovative idea for safer drive

A severe accident caused due to sudden obstruction on the road while driving back from Ooty triggered Tapan Kane to think about the road safety in India. He pondered upon the cause of the accident and realised that there are no accident prevention ways implemented in India. When he researched he found that there is a concept called Audi pre sense and Google cars which have radar system implemented in them to stop the car whenever an obstruction is detected. This helps prevents collision of the car thereby saving human life too. But these systems come at a very heavy price of around Rs. 7-8 lakhs and currently only the high-end cars have this system implemented in them. So Tapan thought why safety aspect is neglected in small cars and only people who can afford high-end cars are entitled for safety?

This thought process lead him to come up with an idea where the masses can avail the facility of driving safely. While working on this idea he thought that the hardware to build this system in India for small cars still costs around 10% of the total price of the car. So he had to come up with an innovative way to implement this idea. While navigating through GPS on his cellphone it strikes him that why not use mobile phones to implement this idea. So he designed a system like Drive Assist where the driver can get instruction on his mobile phone through the application installed. It is very handy as well as very cost effective.

He decided to implement this idea in a different way to pilot with. He realised that in India we have many toll system where the vehicles have to stop while speeding on a highway and this causes the driver to stop abruptly while on a drive. So he designed a virtual toll payment system which can directly deduct the payment from the user’s account. The driver does not have to stop at the toll gateway to make the payment. This system he claims works both online as well as offline through SMS. Virtual toll is a mobile application for payment of toll without stopping vehicle at toll plaza which will avoid traffic jams thus saving fuel as also leading to less emission thus saving the environment apart from ensuring that the toll collection operates on bare minimum infrastructure. He essentially wants to make our drive much safer with Drive Assist as also make the process of paying tolls smooth and hassle free.

In order to make this system live he is facing challenge to get government approvals. He has to go through all the approval process in the bureaucratic environment and facing challenges to get it approved. However, he has his idea patented and is not worried about getting it copied. We wish Tapan good luck to get his idea into the public soon so that we all can experience safer drive.

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Agricultural Sector: A significant sector neglected from the investors

Agriculture forms the major occupation of around 70% of the Indian population. It provides principal means of livelihood and forms the major backbone of the Indian economy. Still agriculture sector has not seen the kind of growth expected by a developing country like India. To overcome the difficulties faced by the farmers, there are few farmers who themselves come up with an innovative solution to address their problems.

One such farmer Mr. Gopal Dave; from a small and remote village Salawas, from Jodhpur (Rajasthan) has developed an innovative equipment for the farm. He is a farmer from birth and his income and livelihood depends completely on farming. For such farmers even a penny savings matters a lot and has a huge impact on their revenue stream. He faced difficulty in distributing the seeds while sowing. Most of the farmers face this issue of uneven distribution. As this job is done manually by the farmers, there is high wastage of seeds due to distribution at unwanted places. So with his experience in farming over the years, he designed a methodology which can help in even distribution of the seeds and reduce its wastage too.

Gopal started his research and practice back in 1997 to develop Multi Crop Seed Drill equipment. His path to success was not easy and it took him almost a decade to fine tune his equipment as desirable. Till 2007 he continued practicing and remodeling his equipment to achieve perfection.

Gopal with his Multi Crop Drill Innovation

Gopal with his Multi Crop Drill Innovation

There are similar equipment in the market but they do not do multispeed sowing for mixed cropping. The innovation by Gopal has addressed this problem and he has been able to sell this equipment to more than thousands of farmers across various regions. This unique multi crop drill is able to sow all kinds of seeds right from bajra, jowar till pulses, except for cotton seeds. This drill can be used for fertilizers spreading as well. So the farmers have dual advantage of fertilizer cum seeds distribution. Since both these commodities are expensive and account for major costs in farming, this drill helps the farmers to save a considerable amount of money and increase their margins thereby.

Competitive Advantage:
• It has a unique metering system which allows the farmers to sow seeds based on the weight of the seeds. Right from 200gm upto 60Kg of seeds or fertilizers can be sowed using this drill.
• It has a power wheel setup which can be linked to the cultivator / tractor, which distributes seeds only when the cultivator runs.
• The drill can maintain uniform speed to seed distance and the seed level inside the seed hopper can be seen from driver’s seat.
• The device saves labor and time consumed in clearing seed containers for next seed sowing and the time and cost of second sowing. It is best suited for mixed cropping. The seed rate can be adjusted from 3 kg/acre for a small size seed to 60 kg/acre for grain or similar crops.
• No wastage of seeds at turns and higher speed

Achievements: Gopal’s innovation is recognized by the government of India, under the MVIF scheme of National Innovation Foundation – India. He was felicitated by prior Union Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Sharad Pawar; for addressing a problem faced by many farmers which no one had thought about. He has also applied for patent at Delhi office (No. 365/DEL/2008) and is still pending grant.

Marketing Strategy: Gopal has been able to sell up to 500-600 units per month recently. However, the awareness about this innovation is still very limited. The only way he has been able to create awareness is through Word-of-Mouth publicity and through strong networking among the farmers community. In 2010, one farmer named Mr. Venugopal Reddy from Andhra Pradesh met Gopal and he came to know about his innovation. Venugopal was impressed about it and took one equipment along with him. After he experienced its benefits he has been placing orders from Gopal for other famers in his region. Apart from Andhra Pradesh this equipment is distributed in different parts of Rajasthan like Jaisalmer, Nagaur, Jodhpur, Jalore, Barmer, Pali and Sirohi.

Path Ahead: Gopal being a small scale farmer and he hails from a small village where internet connectivity is out of question. Also, these farmers are not much aware about marketing tactics and lack appropriate means to publicize. They do not have enough funds to take their idea to next step and lack skills to scale up their operations. In order to help him make his idea big, investors should come ahead to provide a helping hand. Gopal do not want to commercialize his innovation but only to create awareness about the Multi Crop Seed Drill to as many farmers as possible to pass on the benefits.

There are many such grass root innovators who do not have a degree or educational qualification at hand and still based on their aptitude try to bring out a change in the society. And agriculture is one of the sector which has been neglected by the investors and people are not keen on taking risk in this sector. However, it remains to be pondered about why investors are not eager to invest in the sector which forms the backbone of the economy? Why investors / promoters are looking only for an IIT/IIM passout graduates to invest their money? Why even government is not recognizing the talent hidden in various regions in India?

Contributed by my colleague, Snehal Mahajan

Oston Skates – Roller coaster life of an entrepreneur

A young entrepreneur who started his journey from a small town in Jaipur, has been termed as a young innovator of the city. Sayar Singh, who came from a mediocre family had curiosity and fervor to create new products which can bring change in the society. He started innovating new ideas and products at the age of twelve and founded the company Oston Tech Pvt. Ltd along with other co-founders. By the age of 18 he already had 32 innovations and 5 pending patents in his name. His innovations to name a few range from various technical gadgets like Drone, Measurement Apparatus to security systems like Locks to alert the police department and the owner in insecure conditions, Fuel Management system which prevents fuel filing station from fire etc.

Sayar is a serial innovator and has zeal to keep bringing new idea and products to the market. However, currently he has taken sabbatical from his Oston Tech Pvt. Ltd. due to lack of funds to support his research and production of the products.

One of the most significant and revolutionizing innovation by Sayar Singh is ‘Oston Skates’. These skates are designed so as to take the skates to a next level which enhances the jerk absorbing capacity of the skates. The USP of these skates is the suspension system which is supported by a spring mechanism. It has ability to absorb more than 75% of shock. This enhances speed and mobility of the skates along with controlling balance based on the body position. These can be used for long as well as short distance. What made Sayar think about this innovation is to address the problems faced by many skaters while skating on road or on a rough area.

Oston Skates Features

Oston Skates Features

There are around 12 features of Oston Skates which make them unique and innovative. Few of them can be listed as below:
• It can run anywhere on rough and uneven surface.
• It has got shock absorption capacity of around 75%.
• It has well designed balancing system and brake system which helps in maintaining the balance.
• In ordinary skates person has to bend his knees and legs for higher speed. This causes joint pains, however in Oston skates it has oscillation point in the wheels which helps to maintain comfortable position.
• Spring mechanism and the brake system allows to do skating in decline position.
• The overall mechanism helps to enhance speed and it can also cross hurdles in 90 degree position.

These skates mechanism has many applications to improve the performance and efficiency of emergency vehicles. The concept is applicable in automobiles and the first implementation for the same is skates. The jerk free or shock absorption mechanism can be used in motor vehicles to reduce accidents in case of sudden brake application. For ambulances, with jerk free technology, treatment inside the vans could be more effective saving time at those crucial moments in the patient’s life.

Currently, Sayar and team has filed for patent application in European Patent Office for their unique innovation. The patent grant is still awaited and the team is working on developing or improving the design further. Marketing team is working to chalk out marketing strategy which can help to position these skates in right market segment and can beat the competition.

What Sayar and team plans next is to produce these skates on a large scale so as to achieve economies of scale to bring down the costs and make it available to as many market segments as possible. For this he requires funding of around $225,000. A good idea with a perfect marketing strategy in place is useless if it is not fueled with appropriate funds.
Many entrepreneurs and innovators like Sayar has to face hardships in order to make their idea worth. Backing by proper fund managers and investors can make their idea worthwhile and help contribute to the GDP of the country. Otherwise their life will be a roller coaster ride as on the skating wheels!

Contributed by my colleague, Snehal Mahajan

No machine to manufacture fireworks which light up our Diwali night???

Deepawali, popularly known as Diwali, the festival of lights is one of the landmark festivals in India where the entire nation celebrates.

And Diwali is incomplete without the tradition of bursting firecrackers which light up the sky but also make a lot of noise and smoke which obviously impacts the environment.

Almost all the supply of firecrackers in India is fulfilled from a small town in Tamilnadu called Sivakasi which is low on technology and safety since most of the units are small scale with little innovation and lack of support from the Government or other industries.

And to add to their woes, there is a lot of illegal imports from China which is making life even more difficult for the manufacturers along with dwindling demand due to lack of innovation in product range and increasing environmental concerns.

So much so there is no machine to make the process of making firecrackers safer and faster, even fact I had the opportunity of meeting the Head of an Industry Association in Tamil nadu and he mentioned there is a huge need for innovation in fire crackers industry but there is no machine available to mechanise the process.

On closer inspection, I came across a semi automatic machine for making fire cracker developed by a team of students in India which is at a prototype stage, details available on http://techpedia.in/award/project-detail/Semiautomatic-Fire-cracker-Machine/2851

China has built an enviable reputation for making fire crackers and have adopted innovation which involves elimination of harmful chemicals such as sulphur as using more of light and less of sound to celebrate with fire crackers.

Time to get more imaginative!!!

Wishing all my readers a very Happy Diwali, may this festival bring joy and light in your lives..