PuneChips, the community for all those interested in semiconductor design and applications presents an Overview of RFID by Ashim Patil, on 16th April, at Venture Center, NCL, Pashan Road, from 10:30am to 12-noon.
Abstract of the talk – Radio Frequency Identification
Product, people and document identification is now a huge challenge. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) offers an active ID mechanism that requires no intervention on the part of the user. This presentation will introduce the RFID technology, positioning and its variants. The speaker will also introduce Near Field Communication (NFC) and its differences with regular RFID. RFID and NFC applications across several verticals in India will also be discussed.
About the speaker – Ashim Patil
Mr. Ashim A Patil is the MD & CEO of Infotek Software & Systems Pvt Ltd., also known as i-TEK. Under his leadership i-TEK is one of the leading RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) system integration companies in India. i-TEK has several live RFID sites across verticals like Manufacturing, Banking, Education and Healthcare. i-TEK has to its credit RFID applications like File & Document Tracking, Asset Management, Stores Management, Automatic Vehicle Identification, HNI Tracking and many more, deployed at leading organisations in India.
Mr. Patil has completed his engineering degree from University of Pune in 1998. Fresh out of college, he began his entrepreneurial journey starting an Aptech franchisee which he sold in 3 yrs. After that, he took over an ailing software company in Pune which later on became today’s successful i-TEK under his able guidance. He shifted the focus to RFID when not many were even aware what the acronym stands for.
About Venture Center
Entrepreneurship Development Center (Venture Center) – a CSIR initiative – is a not-for-profit company hosted by the National Chemical Laboratory, Pune. Venture Center strives to nucleate and nurture technology and knowledge-based enterprises by leveraging the scientific and engineering competencies of the institutions in the Pune region in India. The Venture Center is a technology business incubator specializing in technology enterprises offering products and services exploiting scientific expertise in the areas of materials, chemicals and biological sciences & engineering.
PuneChips is a special interest group on semiconductor design and applications. PuneChips was formed to foster an environment for growth of companies in the semiconductor design and applications segment in the Pune area. Our goal is to build an ecosystem similar to PuneTech for companies in this field, where they can exchange information, consult with experts, and start and grow their businesses.
For more information, see the PuneChips website at http://punechips.com, and/or join the PuneChips mailing list: http://groups.google.com/group/punechips. Please forward this mail to anybody in Pune who is interested in renewable energy, solar technologies, semiconductors, chip design, VLSI design, chip testing, and embedded applications.
Fees and registration
This event is free and open for anybody to attend. No registration required.
Gandhiji once said India lives in her villages. The current times see a march towards converting the villages into industry land rather than sustaining the essence of villages with new technology. Pune based Pradeep Lokhande, who himself hails from Wai village (Satara), decided to dream big and reach out to the villages to realise his dreams. The result, Rural Relations, is an organisation that harnesses IT to develop villages.
Lokhande went about the basics alongs the lines of the Mahatma again:
“I embarked on a journey of discovery, to find out what constitutes the real India. Though I myself hail from a village, I knew that deep down there’s more to life than what I had seen or lived myself. I wanted to know the essence of the various traditions, cultures and soak in its thinking. It was a journey of 40,000 villages of which I have personally visited 4000, across the country. I tried to understand rural India’s administration methodologies, markets or the bazaar-haat systems and the process of the education system. In the process of my journey, I established direct contact with opinion makers in villages and started recording obscure details of the local economy. And in 1996, I made my first customers, Tata Tea and Parle to delve in the data that I had collected. Since then there has been no turning back.”
After that, Lokhande decided to take the computer revolution to the villages. The intention was not to make computer literates of people but at least to get them to touch, feel and try computers. So he began to install used computers in villages, particularly in secondary schools, where the interest and curiosity levels were very high. When he personally could not find the means and finance to provide infrastructure, he appealed to individuals, organizations and corporates to contribute used machines. Today he has been instrumental in installing 600 computers across 540 villages.
What I found most interesting in Lokhande’s philosophy was the concept of the Non-resident Villager, which he has turned into a movement to raise ideas, funds and hands for development. The idea is to get people from cities to adopt a village (typically a village that they have some past connection to), and use this network of NRVs to help the villages. “Each one of us is an NRV, for our roots do, in some way, come from the villages. So as an NRV, we can always reach out, support and contribute something to the development of rural India.” says Lokhande and it rings really true. This is a concept which is in tune with the concept of the NRI and offers a person a chance to lend a helping hand to what once gave him a life, if not in this generation, then to the generations before that. Roots matter, in India at least.
Lokhande has more active concepts in execution under Rural Relations. Take a look at his next concept, Village Developers, these are over 300 trained local village youths across 9 states and most of them are connected with mobile phones and emails to facilitate all ground activities.
Or the concept of rural marketing he employs called The Rural Barometer, which is ‘experience backed by cutting-edge technology’; live, dynamic, and regular information, by region and by state, which is subscription-based to help understand the villager like never before, gain valuable insights, learn about competition, distribution and empowers one to forecast trends. Large multinationals like Hindustan Lever, Reuters, and even Microsoft have used Rural Relations’ expertise in this area.
Then there is the library movement, the Gyan-Key, which makes a library in every rural secondary school a reality. It is a unique concept – a library of the students, for the students and by the students. The library will be run by one of the girls (Gyan-Key monitor) from that village studying in class VI. Each library to start with will have minimum 150-200 books in that local language covering various subjects. To instil a sense of ownership, students will be encouraged to donate books, (regardless of their value) for ‘their’ library on their birthday, creating a feeling of belonging. The Rural Talent division is a talent bank endeavour for the villages under the umbrella.
Lokhande himself is “from very humble background” he claims and has done his graduation B.Com externally and admits to have “taken a less travelled path”. His proportions for investment of time and money are as clear as his concepts for development, “After 2000, I have been investing 40% for business, 40% for professional social activity & 20% for teaching”
I had a curiosity to find what he considered the greatest achievement ever since Lokhande started Rural Relations? To be sure, he has a clear and ready answer to that too. “In professional achievement, it’s a case study on rural relations in Philip Kotler’s book and in personal & social achievement – I have more than 6,00,000 letters from villagers & the satisfaction I see in the eyes of the students from rural areas.”
He has a team in place to handle the essentials, 13 people in office staff & 31
associates as village developers.
So Lokhande, where do you see yourself five years down the lane?
“Our goal for the next 5 years is to reach to all feeder villages of India, create 5,000 videos of changing villages & minimum 10,000 Gyan-Key libraries”
Ambitious? Not at all, if there is a will, there is not just one way, but many.
Typically, it was about a week’s planning before I got to attend the IndicThreads conference. I didn’t know that the conference was taking place on Friday until I got an invite by Harshad Oak through LinkedIn. I took permission from my authorities at my work place, took Friday off and was looking forward to this 2-day conference in the city of Pune, India.
I had attended (TSSS 2003, USA), presented at (FIE 97, USA), and written about (NFJS 2005, USA) conferences in the USA — but had never attended one in India, specifically in Pune. Honestly, I was eager to.
From my background in attending conferences in the USA, the expectations were high in my mind — the glamour, the large-size attendance, the goodies and the prizes to receive, the signed copies of books from authors, the networking and food (!) for two consecutive days.
On many of these fronts, Q11 by IndicThreads delivered and delivered well! Yes, they did a pretty good job indeed.
Benefits to receive are up to the individual, I believe — how much you want to take away. That includes the speakers too. In USA, I had paid $675 USD from my pocket to attend an NFJS weekend show and my employer was also surprised (pleasantly) then. But even today, I benefit (because I choose to) from that attendance. It becomes easier to get in touch with authors / speakers / fellow attendees. That is just one benefit. The other benefit is — from your regular everyday schedule, you get out and see in reality what other developers / IT engineers are doing. That opens a whole new perspective and regains energies for you in multitude.
Who Hosted the Conference?
The Q11 conference was hosted by Harshad Oak (Rightrix Solutions). Harshad is the first Java champion in India and has served and continues to serve the overall IT community in several ways. For his achievements, he is not that old – in fact quite young. 🙂
The thought process, as put in by Harshad, could be felt all throughout the conference
The Actual Sessions!
Every session was little over an hour. That was good so that an otherwise information overload could be avoided. Timings of the speakers were awesome — plus it didn’t feel that the speakers were running a race against time at any point.
The conference covered the following topics (all slides available on Slideshare):
Image Based Testing – Application Technology Independent Automation (Girish Kolapkar)
Proving correctness of a multiplayer game server (Nirmalya Sengupta)
Continuous Integration: A Case Study (Vaibhav Kothari)
Cloud based Testing for Mobile Applications (Dada Mote)
Test Automation for Mobile Applications (Dipesh Bhatewara)
Test Automation on Android Using Robotium (Amit Dixit)
Testing Flash and Flex for Accessibility (Rashmi Aghor)
PerformFuzz the Web Interface (Aniket Kulkarni)
Keyword Driven Automation using Selenesse (Ameya Naik)
All speakers and sessions were accommodated fine by Harshad and Sangeeta (his wife).
It would be unjust to pick only one speaker that stood outstanding — everyone did a great job (offered their 100% for the attendees). The professionalism was at its best. This was probably the first time in the last 15 years that I interacted so closely with professionals in the IT industry in India. All this was a superb learning experience for me.
Particularly speaking, Dada Mote, just for his zeal to learn more and offer more, had done a fantastic job. I was amazed to see that he was accompanied by his boss who arrived just to give Dada moral support. They both drove in from Mumbai. Dada knows what he is doing.
Again, I do not have any bias for any one speaker (don’t even know Dada Mote in person that well!), everyone did so very well for us.
Vishal Harane, for what he put together at his work place using ANT (just under 3 days), was simply a great experience to watch and learn from. I can go on and on like this for every session, but the space is limited and I have to get back to my work as well.
My Comparisons with the Conferences in the USA
The comparisons with the conferences in the USA will loom over my mind, by default. But I attribute a few things lacking to the growth aspect of conferences at IndicThreads.
My mind was tuned to having parallel sessions and being able to choose a session where I want to get trained. At Q11, there was however only one big hall for learning! I couldn’t think of many “lacking” points at all. Harshad has good experience in arranging the shows. The professionalism shown by speakers was one of the best, as I mentioned earlier. The consistent slide formats, good designs, aspects on the content arrangement for maximum absorption by the slide readers, real-time Q & A sessions, quizzes and prizes were all welcome and gave a pleasant appeal to the overall event.
What Can be Better / New Ideas
An obvious general difference between East and West — usage of English (well, I struggle myself with arrangement and good choice of words, as you can see in this article) during presentation. And so we do not need “perfect” skills, just slight modifications with an element of clarity transferred from that in the slides’ content to every sentence that you speak. Again, that’s about clarity only and nothing about undertaking the usage of any fancy English.
When speakers implement (more) clarity during speeches, here is a new idea for this conference (just for the sake of it) –> Harshad can even think about live broadcasting of the conferences where people from outside India can join the live sessions. Yes, Harshad can charge a fee for such attendance. 🙂
The Best Take-away Point
The best take-away point for me will be the personal interactions with the fellow attendees and speakers. A few of the speakers are local to the Pune city, and therefore if I were to get / offer help at any point regarding new emerging topics, I can rush for a get-together to a place which is only at a drivable distance.
Harshad encourages local speakers to come out and respond to the RFPs (and participate). Hopefully, in the future, there will be “parallel” sessions (!), offering choices of topics, at conferences like Q11.
There are 6 different tech/startup related events happening in Pune this Saturday (see PuneTech Calendar for details). Yesterday, we wrote about DevCamp which is being held in Thoughtworks. Today, we bring you information about Knowledge Camp, which is being held in I2IT. They are both very similar events, with the difference that DevCamp is more likely to be interesting to hard-core developers, while Knowledge Camp will be interesting to a more general audience.
Knowledge Kamp is the variant of BarCamp, which is a free event, and it is all about learning, knowledge and experience sharing. Knowledge Kamp is going to be a semi-organized un-conference where participants would discuss and share knowledge / ideas / suggestions about Emerging Technology, Software, Networking, Management, Innovation, Web, Opensource, Entrepreneurship, Social Cause etc. (just anything which gives knowledge…) by giving sessions, personal interaction and there will be pre-scheduled sessions by experts across industry.
To offer a platform to individuals for Sharing Knowledge / Ideas
Bridging the gap between student and industry (Interaction among students, industry professionals & professors)
Open Learning Experience
Who can participate?
Anyone with something to Share or with the desire to learn is welcome and invited to this Knowledge Kamp
Partial List of Speakers:
Self awareness a need for young minds – by Mr. Girish Kelkar , President , PMI pune chapter
Mind Programming – by Mr. Vikas Dikshit , NLP-Huna Expert
Session on Tips and tricks for interview by Mr. Rajeev Joshi , Delivery Manager, Tech Mahindra
Leadership and what it takes to a human being – by Dr. Mahesh Deshmukh , Certified Master Coach
Session on Cloud Computing by Mr. Dhirender Nirwani, IBM
Security In Social Networks – by Mr. Niranjan Reddy, Cyber Crime Expert – Pune Police
Session on LTE (4G) by Mr. Tridib Bhattacharjee, Chief Mentor, Astramind Consulting
Session on SAP by Mr. Madhu Iyer
Session on SOA & SM by Dr. Atanu Rakshit, I2IT
Knowledge Camp will be on Saturday, 9th April 2011, from 9:00am to 5:30pm at International Institute of Information Technology (I2IT), Phase I, Hinjewadi.
This event is free and open for anybody to attend. Please register here
There are 6 different tech/startup related events happening in Pune this Saturday (see PuneTech Calendar for details). One of them is DevCamp which is being held in Thoughtworks. (Tomorrow, we’ll write about Knowledge Camp, which is being held in I2IT. They are both very similar events, with the difference that DevCamp is more likely to be interesting to hard-core developers, while Knowledge Camp will be interesting to a more general audience.)
Saager Mhatre writes about DevCamp:
DevCamp is an un-conference by the hackers, for the hackers and of the hackers. It is a species of BarCamp where software (code) and the construction thereof (hacking) is the core theme. The camp is a derivative of Open Space Technology and Barcamp and these roots are clearly visible in its unstructured approach and in that we subscribe to the The Law of Two Feet.
The very first DevCamp was put together a little over three years ago, and we’ve had a lot of fun taking this event to Chennai and then bringing it here to Pune. We hope to keep this trend going and see more local DevCamps sprouting.
Sessions at DevCamp assume a high level of exposure and knowledge on the part of your audience. We avoid ‘Hello World’ and how-to sessions which can be trivially found on the web. First hand war stories, in-depth analysis of topics and live demos are encouraged. Most sessions tend to be about 40 minutes long, plus 10 minutes for questions. Really popular talks can continue in the conference rooms and open spaces around the venue. We also run a stream of Lightning Talks, brisk 15 minute sessions that could spark off interesting discussions into the open spaces. This year we are also planning on a few Workshops in the event where campers can build and showcase interesting code around specific themes.
Topics discussed at the camp cover a wide range of subjects within the sphere of hacking. Here’s a small sampling of talks from previous events.
An April Fool prank post is a tradition here at PuneTech. This year, Hetal Rach suggested the idea that a prank involving an article written by Vivek Wadhwa would be a good idea. Based on this, we made up the whole article, all the statistics and graphs, and all the expert comments too.
We would like to apologize to Vivek Wadhwa for misusing his name like this. We did not contact him before publishing the article, so obviously did not have his permission to do so. We were not even expecting to be noticed by Vivek, so imagine our shock when the first comment on the article was by Vivek himself, pointing out that:
I have no idea why my name is being used here and is linked to my website. I have performed no such research and don’t believe that the metrics used here are valid.
We held the comment in moderation (so as not to give the joke away), and quickly contacted him over email to explain the situation. We are very thankful to Vivek for taking the whole thing with a sporting spirit.
Just so that it is clear to everybody, Pune’s IT industry is NOT going to decline. I’m sure it will see phenomenal growth. As Vivek Wadhwa himself said in his comment:
Pune may not be able to grow at its current rates, but I know of no reason why it should decline. To the contrary, it has built a stable of experienced engineers that are likely to want to start companies. They will boost entrepreneurship in the region.
I’m sure entrepreneurship in Pune is flourishing and will scale newer heights.
All of the “expert comments” in the “Reactions in Pune” section were made up by us.
Santosh Dawara is not joining Infosys (as far as we know)
Arun Prabhudesai is indeed focusing on the education sector as part of My Open Campus, but has no intentions of introducing Java in primary education, and certainly does not want to upset the powerful Geography lobby.
MrShri does want you to come to FourSquare Day Pune 2011 and find out for yourself.
Sahil Khan would really like you to visit yolkshire and eat a silky omelette
And I haven’t really checked, but I am certain that Rohan Dighe would heartily agree with his own advice that one should drink beer, write code, and let other people worry about the future.
This time though, most people figured out that it was a prank, and hence there are very few real bakras in the comments section. However, many people who figured it out, used the comments section to unleash their creativity, so it is well worth a read.
Update: Vivek Wadhwa left a detailed comment on this post, which we’re including in the post here for wider visibility:
Navin, there is no reason why Pune can’t become a center for entrepreneurship–build it’s own version of Silicon Valley. All of the ingredients are there. There is a highly skilled workforce, ambitious people who have experience and a desire to change the world, and relatively good infrastructure.
What is needed is for experienced entrepreneurs to start mentoring the fledgling, and for the creation of networks where people congregate, exchange ideas, and help each other. This is how Silicon Valley works and how Indians have become so successful here. One out of seven tech startups in Silicon Valley have an India CEO or CTO–which is amazing considering that Indians constituted just 6% of the Valley’s working population in 2000.
Pune can lead the nation in entrepreneurship and become a competitor to Silicon Valley itself if it does things right. This will take a decade or so to achieve, but is possible. You need to have the community get together and make this happen (note: I said community–not government).
And yes, the world is such a small place because of the internet and social media tools like Twitter, that articles like this reach people like me. I saw the Tweets which mentioned my name and wondered why you were using this in vein.
(Update: This article was a PuneTech April Fools Day Prank. A full apologyexplanation, is published here.)
(For the last 6 months, Vivek Wadhwa, an entrepreneur academic, has been conducting a detailed study on the competitiveness of the tech industry in India, China and Indonesia. His detailed report is due next month, but since PuneTech was a data-collection partner, we have been given an early preview of a rough draft of the report. The full report goes into comprehensive detail for the tier 1, tier 2 and tier 3 cities of all three countries, and we don’t have permission to publish that data, but we have picked a few excerpts relevant to Pune. Many thanks to Hetal Rach, Western Region Co-ordinator for Wadhwa Research for helping us make sense of the report.)
The India Story – Not Shining
(The next few paragraphs are taken from Chapter 2 of the report)
Much has been made of the rise of India as an IT powerhouse in the last 2 decades. The story has been nothing short of miraculous – with $76.1 billion in revenues, the IT software and services sector constitutes 6.4% of the GDP of India, and 26% of all Indian exports (up from just 1.2% and 4% respectively in 1998). Looking forward, the general consensus, especially of experts based in India, is that the next decade will continue to be one of high value-added growth. A popular opinion amongst industry watchers is that while the first decade of growth in Indian IT/ITES industry was fueled by IT/BPO outsourcing, and the second decade of growth was fueled by software product outsourcing, the next decade will see the rise of software products being built and marketed out of India. The thriving startup ecosystem in India (for example, national forums like Proto and Headstart, and the even more resurgent local forums like Pune Open Coffee Club) are seen as leading indicators of this change that is sweeping India.
It has been clear to everybody concerned that this growth cannot really be driven by Bangalore, the poster city for the revolution. Bangalore and other tier 1 cities are already bursting at the seams as far as infrastructure is concerned, and there exists a massive problem of talent acquisition and retention. The general consensus was that the primary drivers of growth in the next 5 years would be tier 2 cities like Pune and Chennai, and tier 3 cities like Indore and Nashik would start contributing after 2015.
Most of these predictions have been based on very superficial data, and in many cases, just on the gut feel of the experts. There hasn’t been an attempt at a systematic collection of data until now, and this report is based upon the findings of a first of its kind research project that we have conducted by going all the way down to tier 3 cities. Unfortunately for India, the results are not promising.
A Pulse of Pune’s Future
(The next few paragraphs are taken from Appendix E of the report)
The young and dynamic city of Pune, often referred to as the Oxford of the East, is an example of the second wave of growth of the Indian IT Industry. Although a historically very important city, since the merger of Mumbai into Maharashtra in 1960, Pune has had to live in the shadow cast by its big brother, and has often not gotten the recognition it deserved. However, with its large student population, much better quality of life than Mumbai, and the famous Puneri attitude, it was perfectly positioned to take advantage of the IT revolution, and had done so admirably.
Starting from almost nothing in the ’90s, it managed to reach the $1 Billion mark in software exports in 2004, and now, at $8 B, it is widely believed to be on the verge of exploding.
Unfortunately, though, all is not well. Just a half hour spent in the city (especially on a Thursday) will give an idea of the persistent problems that plague the city. Roads are a mess, and traffic is an increasing problem. The electricity board can barely keep the city on right now, and the problem is expected to get much worse in the next few years. A bigger problem is that the city’s famed educational institutions are turning out, to quote the colorful phrase of a frustrated city CEO, “half-illiterate idiots,” and finding talent is becoming more and more like looking for a needle in a haystack.
As a consequence, Pune fares rather poorly on the Wadhwa competitiveness index, and based on that, the projected figures for Pune show that while it will see modest growth in the next two years, after that, there will actually start a period of decline for 7 years straight. See Figure 1 for more details.
(The full report is expected to be published next month.)
Reactions in Pune
PuneTech caught up with some prominent personalities in the Pune tech community to gauge their reactions to this research. As expected, opinion is divided. Some have already seen the writing on the wall and started taking steps accordingly, while others simply see this as a challenge to try harder.
Santosh Dawara, one of the founders of the Pune Open Coffee Club, and founder of Dubzer, agrees that there is not much of a future in doing a technology startup out of Pune, but believes that the future of the IT/ITES outsourcing industry remains strong:
“A huge advantage Indians have is that most of us are multi-lingual, and learn 3 different languages as a matter of course,” he says. “This will be a growing advantage in an internationalized and localized software world. As long as we continue to produce millions of people proficient in English and 2 other languages, we will continue to get maintenance, testing, l10n, and i18n work.”
As of last week, Santosh has quit Dubzer, and is joining Infosys as the head of their Software Language Services practice, where he will be responsible for translations of more than 20% of the world’s software products.
Arun Prabhudesai, who returned to India 5 years ago to start hover.in, is a great believer of the resilience of India. He agrees with the data, but disagrees with the conclusion:
“The key point this report makes is that we are not producing software engineers who are good enough to take on the competition. We fix that, and the problem is solved.”
“The two biggest problems our education system faces are these,” says Arun, “First, our most talented people, he ones who have the potential to be the best teachers and professors for our next generation, are becoming slaves to the lure of the dollar. I am setting an example by quitting that game right now, and joining academia. The second problem is that we waste so much of our children’s time by teaching them worthless stuff like history and geography. Tell me, which is the last great Geography startup you’ve seen? I will not rest until Java is introduced as a compulsory subject from the 1st standard in SSC board.”
Shrinath Navghane, better known as @MrShri, rejects the entire argument of the Wadhwa report:
“I don’t know what trends they’re seeing, but I think they’re completely wrong,” he opines. “It’s a joke to say that the tech industry in Pune will be just $5B by 2020. I expect just the Foursquare Based Services (FBS) industry in Pune to be $4.16B by that time, so the whole SoMe market will clearly be more than $5B. Come to Foursquare Day Pune 2011 and find out for yourself,” he challenges.
Younger entrepreneurs whom we contacted are apparently less worried. “#FAIL! B***nch*d,” responded Sahil Khan via twitter, “but no worries. Whatever the f**k happens with the software industry, people still have to eat. And the healthiest and cheapest food is eggs. Anyone care for a silky omelette?”
Rohan Dighe is even more chilled, “These baap people take too much tension. One should just drink beer, write code and let other people worry about the future.”
Amen to that, we say!
Update: As noted at the top, this article was an April Fools Day prank. To ensure that comments on this post did not give away the prank too early, some comments were held in moderation until the end of the day. All these comments have now been approved, but we have prefixed these comments with a [***]. Hence, when reading the comments below, please note that comments beginning with the [***] were not visible to anybody on 1st April.