Tata Communications announced the winners of ‘The Grand India IoT Innovation Challenge,’ (#giiotic); a 4-month long contest organised in partnership with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). Riding on the theme, ‘Solutions that create a better society,’ engineering students from select colleges across India were invited to build prototypes of IoT enabled solutions by leveraging Tata Communications’ IoT infrastructure and expertise.
While the ideas received were diverse, majority of them were underpinned by the need for efficient civic administration and public safety – demonstrating that transformation is not just about digitisation of processes, but creating value for citizens and businesses, based on smarter systems that enable smarter use of data.
The first winner Prajjawala from IIT Bhubaneswar designed an IoT-based solution to measure, track, transmit, store and analyse consumers’ LPG consumption. Prajjawala received a cash prize of INR 5 lacs. The second winner Dominators from Army Institute of Technology designed an IoT device that can be plugged to a streetlight, creating a heat map of mosquitoes for the municipal authorities to assess and plan mosquito control.
Third prize was jointly awarded to – Sanrakshak from VIT Chennai who created affordable sensors to provide real-time data on the occurrence of faults on the railway lines, ensuring safe and secure journey for travellers and Short Circuits from BITS Pilani which addressed power deficiency issues by accessing the energy stored in electric vehicles, when not in use. The second winner was given cash prize worth INR 3 lacs and the third place secured INR 1.5 lacs each.
Tata Communications will look to extend its support to the winning teams in scaling the idea to an operational business model.
The first edition of The Grand India IoT Innovation Challenge witnessed 757 applications from a closed contest (open to only 27 engineering colleges and universities) across India. Of these only 10 teams made the cut to the finale. The jury comprised of VS Shridhar, Senior Vice President and Head of Internet of Things (IoT) at Tata Communications; RohitSrivastwa, Senior Director at Quick Heal Technologies Ltd. as a representative of CII; Arvind Tiwary, Chair-IoT Forum at TiE Bengaluru; Anita Rajan, Chief Operating Office, Tata Strive and RajendraShende, Chairman of TERRE Policy Center.
For four-months, shortlisted teams were given exclusive access to Tata Communications’ dedicated LoRaWAN™ IoT network, Raspberry Pi™ kits along with expert mentorship from Tata Communications’ IoT Product & Solutions team to build their ideas into prototypes that demonstrates engineering expertise, has an innovation quotient, market relevance and commercial viability.
“There is a need to build a holistic IoT ecosystem that will enable the use of technology to solve India specific problems. We firmly believe that this technology can contribute to improving quality of living and making our cities engines of economic growth and prosperity,” said VS Shridhar, Senior Vice President & Head, Internet of Things, Tata Communications. “Through our LoRaWANTM based LPWAN and cloud-based IoT platform we have been successfully catering to experiential and growing needs of the entire spectrum – the Government, large enterprises and start-ups. We now want to encourage young minds, especially the engineering students, to engage meaningfully in this ecosystem. We are confident that their contribution will create large-scale, innovative solutions for public good. The overwhelming participation we have received for this challenge, demonstrates their keenness to participate and make a difference. We see it as a validation of our endeavour to build a strong talent pipeline by offering students a practical experience of ideating, prototyping, building and scaling a solution for the betterment of our society.”
According to a survey of 774 companies across four industries (conducted by World Economic Forum and Observer Research Foundation), nearly 84% companies will need to re-train their existing employees with new technologies such as IoT, big data, cloud computing and AI to address the skill gap.
Tata Communications and CII identified this missing link and earlier this year, partnered to launch the CII – Tata Communications Centre for Digital Transformation, to help organisations in India unlock the true benefits of digital technologies.
“One of the main challenges that India faces is the professional skill gap, where it has a big talented workforce but very few experienced on the emerging technologies,” said Anjan Das, Executive Director, CII. “We are deeply thrilled to strengthen and take forward our partnership with Tata Communications through The Grand India IoT Innovation Challenge. This initiative is in line with the objective of the CII – Tata Communications Centre for Digital Transformation, to catalyse digital change for the nation by accelerating adoption of new age technologies and championing the cultivation of new talent to drive innovation forward. Through this challenge, India’s students (our future leaders) have demonstrated their inclination towards using IoT to create path-breaking solutions for a better society and the need for right mentorship and IoT infrastructure, which is being addressed by Tata Communications, a leading player in the sector.”
Tata Communications is already laying the foundation for IoT in India with the world’s largest LoRaWAN network spanning across 2000 communities and 38 cities in the country to create an end-to-end connected ecosystem. This will give rise to a new civic operating system which will be fuelled by data to enable seamless and secure connectivity between devices to make public services more accessible, reduce environmental impact and empower communities at large.