Innovations 2011 Contest: What product/services can the tech community build for Pune

Update: The contest is over. Winners and Judges comments are:

  • Satish Tilokchandani: “Good News Reporter”. Comments: A simple idea that could really catch on if done well. And can spread beyond Pune too.
  • Hemanshu Narsana: “Transportation Options Calculator”. Comments: Would be really useful if it included estimated rickshaw fares, and 6-seater routes.
  • Dhanashree Srivastava: “RFID tags for kids”. Utility is limited to only certain contexts, but an interesting project for students/techies to work on.

On Saturday, 8th January, Pune will again play host to a number of innovative inventors from across the country, as part of Innovations 2011, an event organized by the IIT-Bombay Alumni Association, Pune Chapter. This event showcases the best science and technology innovations in India (whether they are from startups, large companies, or elsewhere) that have been implemented in practice. The innovations are from varied fields such as medicine, agriculture, mechanical/electronic/chemical technology, IT products, etc. Here are some example innovations from previous years:

  • a simple mechanical device that prevents toilets in Indian trains from discharging waste products at a station (i.e. when a train is stationary), but opens up when the train is moving over 40mph
  • a health alert emergency system for senior citizens, to be worn on the body, and which can automatically detect if they’ve fallen, and can alert emergence response systems
  • a solar powered pivot irrigation by a lone inventor
  • an integrated system for ethanol production from sorghum, by Pune’s Praj Industries,
  • wi-fi security by AirTight networks,
  • stem cell therapy for pre-eclampsia

This year, again the event promises to be great. The keynote address is being given by Chetan Maini, CTO of Reva Electric Vehicles (which is now a Mahindra & Mahindra company). For more details of the event schedule see here.

Register here if you wish to attend. There is an entry price – Rs. 750 (with dinner), or Rs. 500 (without dinner).

Every year, Innovations holds a contest where PuneTech readers have a chance to win free passes for Innovations.

The contest this year is this:

Briefly describe a product or service that the tech community can design, develop and deploy for the benefit of the citizens of Pune.

The basic idea is this: there are lots of enthusiastic techies in the tech community in Pune, and we could easily harness their energies to build some great products that can benefit Pune. It could be some simple Question and Answer website like, or something more complicated. It need not necessarily be a InfoTech idea; could be anything else.

The entries will be judged on the basis of these factors:

  • Usefulness: How much does it benefit the citizens of Pune? How much does it benefit society?
  • Ease of implementation: How much effort will it take to implement. The easier it is to implement, the more the chances of winning. For example, any idea that requires the “co-operation” of PMC, or some other government body, has a low chance of being implemented successful, and hence a low chance of winning. (On the other hand, an idea that requires the co-operation of Pune Traffic Police will get higher marks because PTP has been pretty fabulous last year at implementing innovative IT based ideas)
  • Uniqueness: The more “innovation” your idea has, the more different/unique it is from anything else we’ve seen before, the higher marks it gets.

Please describe your idea in brief in the comments section below. The last date for submitting ideas is Thursday, 6th January, 12 noon. Winners will be announced by Friday, 7th Jan. If you’ve already bought a ticket for Innovations, and you win the contest, your ticket price will be refunded. If you don’t actually want the ticket, or if you’re happy to pay the price (which is rather reasonable), you can still enter the contest – simply indicate at the end of your entry that you’re not interested in the ticket. Please ensure that you give correct email address with your comment – so we can contact you if you’ve won.

There will be 3 winners.

14 thoughts on “Innovations 2011 Contest: What product/services can the tech community build for Pune

  1. I request that the rather nice innovations of yester years listed in the note hereinabove be converted into hotlinks…. Cheers!

    1. @Kiran, Sorry for not having hotlinked to the innovations. See my ‘Rebooting Punetech’ post to get an idea for why I no longer spend as much time including appropriate links in my articles. So, unfortunately, you’ll need to dig into the innovations website archives to find the details. Sorry 🙁

  2. Entry #1:
    RFID/tracker enabled identity cards and school uniform elements for small school children.
    The idea is to be able to id and track movements of every little kid that goes to school. With the cases of kidnapping on the rise, it would provide great comfort for working parents to know that their child is safe and in case of the worst scenario, easily traceable too. The easiest time for children to go missing is when they are commuting to and from school. So if the everyday school stuff, i.e. uniform elements like ties, belts, badges and/or id cards (which are these days mandatory in almost every school), had some kind of in-built tracking, monitoring device, then children would be much safer. This is specially true in case of pre-k and kindergarten children who are more vulnerable than the older children.

    With lots of schools in Pune trying to market themselves as better than the rest, this would be a service that the schools would lap up and hence would make a great business idea too.

    Entry #2:
    Green Initiative: Share your car when you are not using it in Hinjewadi.
    For some weird reason, the connectivity between all the phases of Hinjewadi is very limited. So people who use company transportation are pretty much stranded when they need to venture out. With campuses that are far spread out, finding an auto to ferry you is not a reasonable alternative either. The idea here is to utilize the 100s of cars that people bring to their offices and keep them parked in basements all throughout the day. It could work as:
    1. It’s voluntary.. so you have the option of not sharing your car,
    2. If you want to share it, you’ll drop the keys to your car at a green kiosk in your company in the morning.
    3. Anyone who wants a ride calls up the kiosk and can ask for a car to match the group size etc.
    4. It will be a premium paid service with the payment depending on the distance, the type of car, whether the car comes with a driver etc etc
    5. The kiosks will have drivers to drive you down in case cars dont come with their drivers. You could utilize the services of the company cab drivers who are idle at that time.
    6. The people providing their cars will be paid for every trip. Details could be worked out.
    7. Serves as additional income to people with cars. can help them with the ever increasing petrol expenses. a little bit of extra income is always good. moreover, if they have drivers with their cars who sit idle the whole day, they’ll be at peace knowing their car is being driven by their own drivers..
    8. Helps people in need find reliable transport, specially ladies, a lot of who have been lately subjected to untoward incidents just because of lack of proper transportation.


  3. A web-based (and maybe also a mobile app) that uses (say) google maps to calculate distance between 2 points, provide approximate costs using different modes of transportation.

    e.g. Parihar Chowk to Dagdu Seth Ganpati.
    Distance: X km
    Walking: 1 hour (free and healthy!)
    Bus: Sorry no direct route known to us! But should cost approximately 8 rs.
    Your Honda Civic: 6 x X (6 is approximate per km cost of driving a big car)(one can have a DB with average mileage offered by different car types in the city) [Note: It’s a congested area, parking will be hard to find]
    Rickshaw: 80 rs.

    That’s it. Essentially provide time and costs, and maybe parking info. Which side of the road is legal parking is also useful information, as well as what is closest known paid parking lot(s).

    This would let the user know a good means to travel between points and may be of use to tourists as well.

  4. Idea: Influencing Pune IT companies to let employees increasingly work from home, and set an example for the rest of the country.

    Its silly that many of our America-based colleagues can work 3/4 days out of the week from home (doing the SAME work), while we plod every day to far away places like Hinjewadi / Talawade thru crazy traffic and horrible roads.

    The technology is available and employees are willing. The status quo boils down to the traditional mindset of India IT companies and their HR depts who would like to monitor the employees.

    Employees should set up influence groups and start small, show that they are still working productively from homes, and then make it happen. Use broadband, Skype, even vidoeconferencing to the fullest. Perhaps nonbillable employees could start first, followed by billable folks.

    Save precious gasoline and the environment. Reduce the country’s gasoline import bill. Future generations will thank us.

    And for employers who need to learn more how to treat employees like adults and trust them, read Ricardo Semler’s ‘Maverick’.

    PS: Not for the free ticket.

  5. Hi My Name is Satish Tilokchandani I Would like to be a GNR, Now You will ask What is GNR
    GNR is “Good News Reporter”
    We all want to make Every city in the world a happy city So we will start with Pune by making a website like\Pune,\Mumbai , In which people can post event/activities that will happen or had happened. That is bringing a change in Society.
    Deed can be Small or Big it is not important, Important is that it is happening, Now a days newspaper news channel are all highlighting negative things & That too n number of Times.
    So on this website people themselves will post such events
    For E.g. I am working in IT Company Our Company Didn’t Distribute Diwali Gifts This Year & We Donated all the Money to an orphanage & We Went to the orphanage & Celebrated Diwali With Those Small Children Believe me it was a Great Experience.
    This Website Will Have Only GOOD NEWS In & around Your city.
    1.1 Changing Vibration of World(Including Pune)
    1.2 People Will be aware of What good happening around them
    1.3 People of other City can start Such Website
    1.4 Such Activities will Get More Support of people
    1.5 As per Law of Thoughts “We attract What we focus on” So this website Will be a good way of making PUNE a Happy City
    1.6 People are Willing to Help, They Will get ideas of Helping Societies When they Will read how people are working
    1.7 People Will be Inspired Reading This Website
    2. Actors
    2.1 Anyone From OR Out of Pune
    2.2 Dedicated GNR(Who Will Search For Good news & Post On this Website).
    2.3 NGOs (NGOs Can Post their Information & Activities or Events here).
    2.4 People around the world can Post Their Entry

    3. Original IDEA
    3.1 I Heard the concept of GNR in Tejgyan foundation, So Credit Goes to TGF.
    3.2 Tejgyan Foundation is a Charitable trust
    3.3 Tej Gyan Foundation aims to make every City a Happy City.
    3.4 Pune Will be Happy City.

    4. Possible Category of post
    4.1 Achievements
    4.2 Against All Odds (Post for e.g Physicaly Challenged people Doing Some Social Activity)
    4.3 Free Educational Activities
    4.4 Videos
    4.5 Ideas
    4.6 Ecological
    4.7 World Peace
    4.8 Children
    4.9 Autobiography
    4.10 Inspiring Storys

    5. Sharing information
    6. Extra Features
    6.1 we can list NGOs In & around Pune
    6.2 Schemes of government for helping People.
    6.3 Discussion (To Make Things Happen)
    6.4 Information of People / Self Help Groups/ Institutions Who are Helping people to be “Create Job creators & Not Job Seekers”

    –all the information & Idea I have got From Tej Gyan Foundation (Known as Happy Thoughts)
    — Where ever i have Mentioned Pune I wanted to metion The World.

    Thank You I am Feeling Very Good By Sharing This Idea
    Satish Tilokchandani

  6. Idea: A complete open and transparent website/portal for providing a communication medium between Puneits and Pune Municipal Corporation for registration of complaints and keeping the track of it.

    I know we already have punecorporation website which does provides the facility for registering complaints and checking its status but the complaints list and status are not open to all. What my idea is to create a portal which would be public and open to all, meaning every complaints and their status will be visible to everyone visiting the site.

    Currently the complaints are not addressed or resolved within the amount of time in which they should be. There are various issues a various levels – small and simple, annoying as well as issues that also resulted in loss of lives of people. Also there are lots of other such issues which remain unaddressed for months. The people responsible for it always use a reason that they were not aware of it or nobody registered a complaint regarding this and even if someone has really registered a complaint, it is not transparent and hence not visible to the world .

    Anyone can raise any issue which comes under depart of PMC on the portal and the PMC authorities responsible for taking care of that issue will have to keep updating the status.

    This portal then can be expanded to higher level to include other such government organizations as well to keep all the problem-solution cycles open and clear.

    This portal will expose the government work culture and thus will result in making/forcing them do their job in a better manner.

  7. #Entry 1: Pune Bus Guide
    Pune Bus Guide is a service to facilitate you in commuting all over Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad with information to equip you to save time, reaching your desired destination by preserving the environment.

    Purpose of this website is to provide basic as well as advanced information on PMPML schedule to its commuters i.e. citizens of Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad city. To provide this information, we have made use of all latest technological tools and have made this system as simple and easy as possible.

    We also understand that value of this information depends on how frequently it is maintained. We have joined hands with PMPML to keep this information up to date so that commuters get all recent changes in schedule.

    Quality of work done here is is line with international standards and data prepared by this team has been accepted technically by Google, who will be making it available through their popular softwares such as Google Maps and Google Earth.If the official process finishes in time, Pune will become first Bus Transit company in India to appear on Google.

    Feature List:
    * Route wise time table for all routes for download and print
    * Bus stop wise time table for all stops for download and print
    * Complete time table is available for download as single file.
    * Schedule is available in ????? and English
    * Map Tool for Trip Planning :Map showing well known areas, Roads and major landmarks of Pune. Facility to select start point and end point of journey on map. Just right-click anywhere on map. Trip planning tool which helps find suitable bus for you.You can search for route which would require minimum transfers/changes OR minimum time OR minimum walk distance (experimental). Trip plan result shows instructions to walk to nearest bus stop with names of roads to use. Same is also displayed on map to help you undestand.Trip summary includes distance, time required for trip as well as walking distance
    * Search a stop by its name and access its time table at a click
    * See any route on map, in UP and DOWN directions, access its time table at a click

    Mobile Interface :
    * Mobile Applications : Freely available for download, 2 versions provided – SMS based and GPRS based. SMS based application: This does not require any special feature on mobile. Only requirement is mobile should be capable of sending SMS, which is available in all phones.GPRS based application: This is for advanced users, who have GPRS connectivity on mobile.SMS based service to access schedule.
    * Mobile application provide 2 options – starting bus stop and ending bus stop. Both bus stop lists provide options after you type first 3 letters of name. On submitting your request, it displays result showing route number to take, along with bus stops

    * Integration with Google Map and Google Earth
    * Fare information as part of trip plan
    * SMS service to get schedule

    #Entry 2 : Pune Traffic Portal
    Development of a information and collaboration portal for Pune Traffic where citizens will be able to access vital traffic information provided by Traffic Police department. Another thing covered in this project will be integration of “Accident Reporting System” developed last year by us with GPS enabled BlackBerry phones currently used by Traffic Police departmnt for quicker reporting of accidents.

    1.Preparation of traffic map of Pune consisting of all administrative boundaries, Road network, Landmarks, Traffic related information (Signals, Junctions and Chowki etc) based of digital map data provided by Pune Traffic Police
    2.Pune Traffic Portal website for citizens to access various announcements, traffic diversions, restrictions and regulations, Traffic rules and other useful information which will be regularly updated by Traffic Police department.
    3.Data Entry and Search system for vehicle challan and LTEM.
    4.Mobile application to access traffic updates/restrictions on the move.
    5.Traffic related grievance management system connected to map

    For Citizens:
    1.Citzens will be able to get latest updates on traffic rules and restrictions in any particular area on a particular day or within a period.
    2.Citizens will get vital traffic related information such as location of parking, parking rates, no entry, one way, no horn, no left turn etc.
    3.There will be facility to report a complaint online and the same will be answered by traffic authorities.

    For Traffic department:
    1.Facility to communicate traffic related updates to citizens in easier and quicker manner.
    2.Platform to answer traffic related queries and complains from citizens and citizen groups.
    3.Integration of various discrete systems on a single platform reducing manual efforts and duplication.

  8. -: Closing the Loop :-

    Here is an idea to police the uncontrolled traffic in Pune.

    In the recent few months, Pune Traffic Police (PTP) sent several hundred notices with fines to people found violating the traffic rules (from breaking signals to serious violations). However PTP found this method of sending notices to be a costly affair and stopped it. At the same time it is difficult to know about how many people are paying the fines and how fines will further prevent further violations.

    Here are some ways of closing the loop of posting fines to people and ensuring traffic rules are followed.

    1. PTP maintains a database of traffic rule violators online with identifications (Dr.License no, date of birth, PAN etc.)
    2. PTP provides access to the database of traffic rule violators to all insurance companies, who alter the pricing of the vehicle insurance rates for the violators.
    3. PTP encourages companies hiring in the city to search in the database for any violations of traffic rules when hiring a new employee.
    4. Database can also be used by the auto car loan agencies when financing auto loan. Driving history will become a deciding factor in lending rate.

    Above idea is based on some of my experience with Department of Motor Vehicle, PA.

  9. Idea: Mask for (especially 2 wheeler) commuters

    Pollution is very high in Pune city. Not only does it have high dust content, but is also high in CO, CO2 and other polluting gases. That means the air has less O2 than it should have. Percentage of Puneites who are exposed to these conditions is pretty high – from school children to elderly people and the time for which they are exposed is also high in many cases.If it continues like this – which is quite likely to happen – the air quality will keep on worsening. This has a potentially dangerous effect of having high number of patients of respiration related diseases.
    To avoid this, a mask that has not only filters, but also a small O2 pump will be a useful device. O2 pump is a device that creates change in concentration of O2 across an electrolyte when a potential difference is applied across it. It’s in a way reverse of O2 analyzer cell – popularly used for vehicles in exhaust system and for furnace atmosphere control. This way, by application of a small voltage, O2% in air inhaled can be increased. It can be in the form of an element in a helmet or a separate gadget in itself. Expensive, high temperature ZrO2 sensors are now having alternatives of low temperature polymeric Oxygen ion conductors.

  10. Idea No. 2 ‘Temporary Fly Over Bridges’

    Building roads seems to be a perpetual activity in Pune. Road congestion can be reduced at many places by building bigger roads / fly-overs. Many times new road / fly-over building activity get delayed because of unavailability of alternate roads. Also, it’s seen many times that fly over bridges built at great expenditure do not serve real purpose due to lack of effectiveness because of shortcomings in design/ inaccuracies in prior data collection / other reasons. To avoid these kind of situations (delay in road building / ineffectiveness of new fly overs / huge traffic congestion due to fly over building activity), use of temporary bridges should be tried. Pune has many defense establishments around. Quick bridge construction is carried out by ‘Bombay Sappers’ and R&D E (E) [Research & Development Establishment (Engineering)] has designed and made such bridges. These bridges can take up load of even a tank and can be erected in matter of hours to a couple of days. By having a tie up with either / both of these institutions, quick fly over bridges can be constructed and installed at desired locations where other work is to be carried out / a particular fly over design is to be actually tried.
    This will accelerate road building activities and give a better life to Puneites.

  11. Some more thoughts to my earlier posting.

    5. Issue of tickets (fines) by PTP through handheld devices which are directly linked to the database.
    6. PTP issues Commerical Driving Licenses each year after reviwing the driver’s history

  12. Two things that Punetech can help develop for the City of Pune are

    1. educate the citizens of Pune especially in the apartments about garbage composting, and help design a compost unit that does not need electricity or earthworms. This will help reduce the garbage disposal problem in the City and also reduce the quantity of wastes by almost 60%.

    2. create a incentive/points system which can be reimbursed at the nearby pizza outlets, coffee day etc for people who use public transport, car pool, share a rickshaw, cycle to work. they can get some reimbursement on the number of points they have accumulated. for this you would need a card which will be read at the office/shop/destination and a portal where people can view their points and rewards. This will help encourage others to do the same. or can also provide this.

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