When The Grand India IoT Innovation Challenge wrapped up in December 2018, three student engineering teams from across India have proposed IoT-based solutions underpinned by the need for efficient civic administration and public safety.
The first winner, Prajjawala from IIT Bhubaneswar, designed an IoT-based solution to measure, track, transmit, store and analyze consumers’ LPG consumption.
The second winner, Dominators from the 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.
The 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, and Short Circuits from BITS Pilani, which addressed power deficiency issues by accessing the energy stored in electric vehicles, when not in use.
The four-month-long contest, organized by Tata Communications in partnership with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), invited engineering students from select colleges across engineering students from select colleges to build prototypes of IoT enabled solutions by leveraging Tata Communications’ IoT infrastructure.
The shortlisted teams were given exclusive access to Tata Communications’ dedicated LoRaWAN IoT network, Raspberry Pi kits along with mentorship from Tata Communications’ IoT Product & Solutions team to build their ideas into prototypes that demonstrate 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.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is playing a crucial role in India’s digital future. A recent report released by The Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry of India (Assocham) and multinational professional services firm EY, shows that the government is eyeing 5 billion connected IoT ecosystem as part of a US$1 trillion economy by 2022.
The inaugural IoT contest itself attracted 757 applications from 27 engineering colleges and universities, of which 10 projects made it to the final round.
The jury is composed of VS Shridhar, Senior Vice President and Head of Internet of Things (IoT) at Tata Communications; Rohit Srivastwa, 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 Rajendra Shende, Chairman of TERRE Policy Center.
“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 the public good. The overwhelming participation we have received for this challenge demonstrates their keenness to participate and make a difference,” Shridhar said.
Addressing the skills gap
Tata Communications said that a survey of 774 companies across four industries (conducted by World Economic Forum and Observer Research Foundation), nearly 84 percent of 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 organizations 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.
He said the initiative is in line with the objective of the CII-Tata Communications Centre for Digital Transformation, to accelerate the 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,” Das said.
Tata Communications said it will look to extend its support to the winning teams in scaling the idea to an operational business model.