Ecosystem building up to solve Real Problems
We have come a long way in the last 15 years in terms of technology advancements around us. Today we are a lot more connected with much less efforts courtesy Facebook, Linkedin , WhatsApp, Twitter etc. Ordering something is at the click of a button, and voila!, it is delivered right at your door step including your own chauffer driven cab. Lots of buzz is being generated around Cloud computing, Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Smart and Personalized experience. Lots of ink is being spent on each start-up that is coming up and each one that is going down. Trends are being predicted based on a detailed analysis of each merger and each fund raiser. How many small and medium size businesses could have aspired to be in the same league a decade back?
Having said that, the challenge now is to look beyond the ‘Convenience’, ‘Cost effective’ and ‘Variety’ words and ask some hard hitting questions. Has all this impacted the core issues that the society has been facing today?
• Is today’s farmer doing better than his brethren a decade back?
• Is pollution level in the environment going down by technological advances?
• Has the Education system come out of the way it was being taught a decade back?
• Is today’s graduate better equipped to face the world than a decade back?
It is high time that hard core technological advances are made and solutions provided which are usable and affordable to address societal challenges. That needs a clubbing of problem solving based
on Domain expertise with Long term envisioning and of course Technology being the back bone. That can only build up on an encouraging ecosystem to boost the innovation which is hard core and not merely running behind how many numbers can be achieved in shortest possible time. At one side there are start-ups who are reaping the fruits of first mover advantage and being held on to a pedestal, at the same side with similar me-too variants coming up, the stance changes from ‘Competition is good and it would further extend the market’ into a ruing ‘Why it is so easy for another guy to start it up so soon, so quickly and become my competitor’!! To begin with we had aggregators or market place, and now to top it we have aggregator of aggregators. It’s time to wake up, smell the coffee and use the buzz being created to get into solving real problems.
Pollution is an area where I see lots of innovation coming up. How can we change the technology to build houses and other infrastructure which is pollution-free? The technology to build up eco-friendly houses and other infrastructure is the need of the hour. We have reached to a stage where more than 3 million people are dying due to air pollution each year. Innovative product development and affordable solution is the need of the hour if we want to go any further from here. What is inspiring and what the future has in, is on the likes of what Daan Roosegaarde is doing while designing Smog free towers. Now, think about it, test it more, tweak it to make it more affordable and reachable and put it under every lamp shade on the road, or use it in every house that is being build up, mind boggling, isn’t it!
Another core question is Food and Poverty. How can we use technology to make farming more glamorous and predictable especially in India? How can we use technology to solve local problems with localized solutions? How can we use technology to overhaul the education system and make it less of a cloning factories and more participative and keep the curiosity burning and not just embers left by the time they reach high school? What is encouraging is that more and more guys are getting inspired by the current wave of start-up and an ecosystem of nurturing new ideas has been generated. I see solutions to real problem coming out of it. The charm of returning to core specialty and not just everybody gearing up to be a computer engineer immaterial of the graduation stream!
Down the line I envision Robotics being used aggressively in waste management, Drones to be used more in Defence, Traffic management (why subject the poor Traffic men to this, standing precariously with a mask on the face) and in handling natural disasters. I also see robotics, drones and high end technology being used in Agriculture for monitoring, watering, harvesting and storage. Data analytics accessible to farmers in a platform understandable by them, Prediction driven demand and supply being managed and advanced tracking system in food management or storage right till it reaches to the end user. Is there a technology that can make Farming independent of weather? Phew, that could change the whole landscape!
As a gist, Pollution & Waste Management, Farming and Education are the areas where I see more and more product and technological Innovation coming up. Time to get the hands dirty now!