Thursday, December 20, 2018

Smart India

Many years ago, it was an era of B&W television that had started making waves on the Indian soil. The TV programming was limited to a few hours every evening with the focus mainly on informative programs, the social campaigns, agriculture-based (Krishi  Darshan), sports and entertainment. The time slowly moved to usher the colour TV era coinciding with the Asian Games in Delhi in 1982. The rainbow colours appeared on the small screen. It was a quantum leap and since then India never looked back. The   LED/ Smart TVs appeared on the scene as the time progressed.  Thanks to the revolution in the communication technologies these are internet ready to connect to any program being played anywhere in the world. 
In every walk of life, the lives of the common man have changed in the last three decades more than any time in the world ever since evolution.
It is impossible to discuss all the facets but a few areas have a huge promise in a country like ours. The need to focus on at least the three areas as listed below, by adopting the latest smart technologies is imperative. This will accelerate the pace of rubbing shoulders with the developed world. 

a) Education
b) Medical Facilities
c) Sanitation and Waste Management
 I remember the time at school when students were exposed only to books prescribed in the school and a bit of extra reading of storybooks and fiction. Even in college most of the teaching was classroom based. I am presently associated with teaching in NGOs where the teaching is done in ‘smart classes’. The entire curriculum is in the form of interactive videos followed with the quiz tests. This has revolutionized the concept of learning. It is easy to connect with any learning portal, interact with other schools located in remote parts of the globe. If the model could be replicated in many of the schools located in remote areas the learning skills can be imparted to even those who do not have means to spend a huge amount of money to come to bigger cities. Even the best universities can be accessed through distant learning by organizations like the Coursera, Khan Academy, eDX and many more that offer world-class training.

Medical Facilities  
It is now possible with smart wearable devices to monitor the health using applications and devices like ‘ Fit Bit’ that can monitor the pulse rate, calories burnt, counting steps, distance travelled, sleep patterns etc. The easy availability of these at affordable rates can help in monitoring and improving the health. Many wearable devices are now available in the market that is capable of measuring the blood pressure, body temperature, oxygen levels, and ECG using a combination of apps with smart mobile phones. They manage the stress levels and also serve a warning if there are significant deviations from the normal. Portable and handy sensors are easily available that monitor the air quality, temperature, humidity and noise levels to enable taking timely corrective actions.
In India, the availability of basic medical facilities especially in smaller towns and villages are grossly inadequate. With the advances in smart technologies, the collection of data can help in the treatment of patients by connecting with bigger hospitals and specialists in cities.

Sanitation and Waste Management
Sanitation and Waste management are basic requirements of ecologically sustainable development in our country. The need to handle huge amounts of waste( biodegradable, plastics and other solids) has to be addressed on a war footing to save the environment. There are several dimensions of the problem but the likely solutions lie in finding ‘smart solutions’ with the help of technology that is in vogue. Some of these are using the Internet of Things(IoT), Waste collection and Segregation using  RFID( Radio Frequency initiated ) sensors, smart cameras and actuators which can be a key to handle this. Germany, Austria and South Korea are the leading nations that dispose of more than 52% of municipal waste.

On a personal level, the smart technologies have changed my life for better to an extent that, I feel having lived in a bullock cart age and space age in one life itself!

Earlier for any purchase of a refrigerator, a washing machine or a camera, I would rush to the market spend a couple of days to find the suitable product that matches my budget and breaking a deal. This changed forever when a company like Flipkart appeared on the horizon. In the last decade, every purchase of a capital good like a refrigerator, TV, a washing machine, camera and even the smartphone was initiated by choosing the product on the Flipkart website by comparing the features of the rival offerings. The entire activity of initiating the order to making payment was completed in less than an hour from the laptop. The product was always delivered before the scheduled delivery date and installed without any hassles. It has truly been a boon!

As I am a travel freak, who travels 3 to 4 times a year, the vast difference in the way travel scenario has changed would need a separate post, where booking of train/flight/ hotels can be done with the smart apps on the phone or laptop with ease.

The products like smart cameras, smart lights that make smart homes and many more here to stay and will not only improve the quality of life but also save time and be user-friendly. The future promises to be exciting like never before.

PS: This is my blog post for the Flipkart/Indiblogger sponsored 'Flipkart- Smart Products' contest ( #GetFitWithFlipkart and #SmartHomeRevolution )


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