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Water Conservation through Tech
Water is a very important ingredient to sustain life. Most of the evolution theories state that life started with water. When we look at other planets far away from earth , we are always looking for water as a sign of life.
Water constitutes 70% of human body. It is vital for the functioning of the metabolic processes of the body. We can survive up to several weeks without food, but only a few days without water. Further uses of water range from irrigation, power generation to industrial processes. Water conservation has gained importance and new age technologies are being leveraged to efficiently manage our water resources.
Aquarius Spectrum has developed AQS water pipe monitoring solution. The solution consist of acoustic sensors for correlation-based leak detection and leak location through noise logging and mapping. Software platform integrates data from sensors and provides information to the user when a leak is starting to develop along with its position thus avoiding large scale damage.
US based APANA provides sensors and cloud-based analytical platform for water leak detection. Deploying IoT-enabled sensors they capture flow data from water infrastructure and communicates to a cloud-hosted analytical engine. The analytical platform uses proprietary analytical codes to monitor flow pattern and identify equipment malfunction when abnormal flow behaviour is identified.
Flume is an intelligent leak detection and water management system. The Flume Water Sensor straps around the existing water meter and sends real-time water usage information to the FlumeBridge. Flume Bridge connects to the WiFi and sends water data up to the Flume Cloud, bridging the connection between the Flume water sensor and app. The Flume App then notifies of leaks across the entire property and provides a dashboard view to water usage from anywhere and anytime.
On similar lines Buoy Labs has developed a connected solution for water usage monitoring and leak detection in homes. The solution consists of a hardware device powered by rechargeable batteries which needs to be installed in the main water inlet pipe. The device picks up the water usage data & communicates through a wifi network to iOS & Android compatible application. The device consists of a machine learning algorithm.
Demand for potable water is forecasted to surge due to ever increasing population. Water conservation is more important than ever, and the world is looking for tips on saving water. Utilizing new age technology can help conserve this precious resource.
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A gene is the basic physical and functional unit of heredity. Genes and DNA hold the key to the future applications of genetic testing for early detection and prevention of oncology and genetic diseases.
World Genetic Testing Market is projected to surpass USD 22 billion by 2024 according to a new research report by Global Market Insights. Entrepreneurs and start-ups are increasingly aware of the potential and revenues this market could create. Today, new consumer genomic start-ups are appearing all over the map – and they are aiming to expand far beyond health and ancestry.
Ever wonder about the origins of your family or the next bottle of wine that is perfect for your DNA sequence. Start-up Helix can provide those answers. Helix has moved onto this new wave of genomics aided by the reduction in costs and made the technology available to the general public at large. Helix’s goal is to move sequencing technologies from the laboratory into a digital marketplace that is based on DNA. This means using genomic testing to unlock individuals’ lifestylees and product preferences.
We spend hours in the gym and all kinds of fad diets starving ourselves to near death situations. But it just doesn’t seem to give the desired results. The answer lies in the genetic makeup of the individual.
Start-up DNAFit is interested in helping individuals develop a personalized fitness regime aided by information from an individual’s gene variant that reveal information about individual’s fitness, nutrition and overall wellbeing.
Genomics has arrived alongwith Blockchain to provide individuals an exciting new opportunity to store, transfer and utilize your DNA in an entirely new way. The desire to have genomic data recorded or tested was hindered by the lack of privacy. DNAtix is providing a blockchain based solution to safely and securely store the genomic sequence of an individual.
Human compatibility can be traced to the DNA. The question of why some people just “click” and how relationship bonds are formed has been a subject of interest in the world of psychology for decades. Instant Chemistry, a Toronto-based start-up is interested in this question as well and decided to take the science a step further. By applying DNA testing and a psychological assessment, Instant Chemistry now seeks to apply this data to relationships science. Examining biocompatibility among individuals, Instant Chemistry provides a hint towards future compatibility.
DNA and genomic sequence has the potential to unlock the cure for several diseases and ailments. The applications are endless and the benefits can surely improve future human health and behaviour.
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The surge in usage and attractiveness of connected digital devices and health-related mobile apps has created an innovative set of huge, varied and complex data sets known as “digital biomarkers.” These are defined as objective, reckonable, physiological and behavioural measures that are collected by sensors embedded in portable, wearable, implantable or digestible devices
According to the market intelligence study published by BIS Research titled Global Digital Biomarkers Market - Analysis and Forecast, 2019-2025, the digital biomarker market generated revenue of $524.6 million in 2018 and is estimated to grow over $5.64 billion by the end of 2025.
Innovative healthcare startups ushering in this new era in healthcare have a fundamental understanding of both the technical aspects of life sciences and emerging technologies. For instance, FeetMe has created smart inner insoles that provide gait analysis in real time. Some diabetic patients lose sensitivity and have ulcers that can lead to amputations. FeetMe insoles can help to monitor pressure to avoid ulcers.
Mindstrong Health is a healthcare company dedicated to transforming brain health through measurement science. By measuring brain function passively and continuously through individuals' interactions with smartphones, Mindstrong's platform helps individuals and health care providers detect brain health deterioration early and deliver pre-emptive care.
Machine Medicine provides objective mobility metrics from video using extensive medical knowledge and state-of-the-art artificial intelligence. The system is able to track activities, walking patterns, detect falls and early signs of disease and alert health professionals when an intervention is needed.
There are roughly 300 biomarkers that can be detected in human breath. Breathometer has created a portable breath analysis platform by leveraging smartphones that are carried by every consumer. With a Breathometer and the mobile app, it enables convenient, non-invasive and cost effective detection and monitoring of several types of application ranging from alcohol, oral healthcare, hydration, fat burning, asthma, diabetes and even lung cancer.
In case of the current pandemic, Innovators and biopharmaceutical companies are looking at data from physiological sensors that offer RPM solutions for patients infected with Covid-19. Utilising data from these wearable sensors provides a measure of symptoms and identification of real-time digital biomarkers which are identified and reported through analytics, often powered by AI. Another important use case of digital bio markers includes pharmaceutical drug development by cheaply and efficiently allowing more people throughout the world to contribute their health data to virtual clinical trials. We truly believe that this new healthcare model would democratize, expedite and improve availability of cost effective healthcare for the masses.
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Your Digital Stylist
Fashion is one of the most challenging fields, highly impacted by global economic uncertainty as well as distinct trends and industrial changes. In response to the pressure for growth and cost efficiency, many brands have started a series of initiatives to improve their speed to market and to implement sustainable innovation.
As evident during the pandemic, the need to adapt and overcome has been paramount for fashion brands to survive. Brick-and-mortar fashion companies are feeling the pain augmented by Covid-19. Mall-based retailers reportedly saw earnings plunge 256% in Q2’20, according to Coresight Research and over 12,000 US stores closed in 2020, according to real estate company CoStar Group, up from 10,000 stores the year before.
One exciting innovation in the fashion industry has been the introduction of AI-based digital stylists and chatbots, that can give feedback to customers on outfit choices or suggest alternatives if required. For example, Stylesnap is an AI-powered feature built into the Amazon app that help you find looks you love quickly and easily. Take a photograph or screenshot of an outfit, upload it onto the Amazon app, and you'll be presented with items that look just like the ones in the picture.
Even Facebook is experimenting with an AI system of its own called Fashion++. The software uses AI to analyse a person’s outfit and suggest subtle alterations that it thinks could improve the look, like rolling up the sleeves or removing an accessory.
Israel-based Syte offers retailers and brands a camera button that can be added next to the search bar on a mobile website or app. Shoppers can upload images of their favorite styles through the button, and then see looks “inspired” by those images on the brand’s site. Syte counts a number of high-profile brands among its clients, including Tommy Hilfiger, Myntra, and Kohl’s. Even luxury brands are testing digital stylists in select markets: Prada, for example, has introduced a “personalized concierge” chatbot for its relaunched Chinese website.
Fashion-tech company Style.me provides virtual styling solutions, and has recently launched a powerful plugin that can integrate a 3D virtual fitting room to any online retail website.
Recently, Fashion Innovation Agency has introduced digital human stylists (DHS) that is powered by Microsoft AI, IoT and natural language processing. It can understand what’s in your wardrobe, what’s in your calendar, where you’re going, allowing personal recommendations that are visually and verbally communicated back to the user within your own home.
With the customers’ lives becoming progressively entwined with the digital world, it is imperative that brands in Fashion Industry start embracing the latest technologies to push their limits of manufacturing, marketing and wearability.
Credits : Akhil Handa Aparna Anand
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We are living in the midst of a revolution. Supervised learning, a branch of Machine learning allows engineers to develop models that can train themselves. In turn, these models are helping solve crisis management problems before disaster strikes.
Technologists have long modeled data to harness machine learning for disaster relief. After the Chernobyl crisis, scientists analyzed satellite imagery and weather data to track the flow of radiation from the reactor. Today’s algorithms far outpace their predecessors in analytic and predictive powers. Machine learning models are able to deliver more granular predictions. NASA has developed the Landslide Hazard Assessment for Situational Awareness (LHASA) Model. Data from the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) is fed into LHASA in three-hour intervals. If a landslide-prone area is experiencing heavy rain, LHASA then issues a warning. Analysts then channel that information to the appropriate agencies, providing near-real-time risk assessments.
Roofing material is a major risk factor in resilience to natural disasters. So, a model that can predict it is also one that can predict which buildings are most at risk during an emergency. In Guatemala, models are identifying “soft-story” buildings–those most likely to collapse during an earthquake. “Forecast funding” can mitigate damage by providing the most vulnerable with cash assistance to prepare for disaster. Bangladesh and Nepal are nations that are already implementing this strategy.
Natural disasters, such as earthquakes, hurricanes and floods affect large areas and millions of people, but responding to such disasters is a massive logistical challenge. Crisis responders, including governments, NGOs, and UN organizations, need fast access to comprehensive and accurate assessments in the aftermath of disasters to plan how best to allocate limited resources. To help mitigate the impact of such disasters, Google in partnership with the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) Innovation Accelerator has created "Building Damage Detection in Satellite Imagery Using Convolutional Neural Networks", which details a machine learning (ML) approach to automatically process satellite data to generate building damage assessments. As per Google this work has the potential to drastically reduce the time and effort required for crisis workers to produce damage assessment reports. In turn, this would reduce the turnaround times needed to deliver timely disaster aid to the most severely affected areas, while increasing the overall coverage of such critical services. The World Food Programme was awarded the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize and they thanked Google and its team of engineers in pioneering the development of artificial intelligence to revolutionise humanitarian operations.
The application of machine learning techniques to satellite imagery is revolutionizing disaster relief. Crisis maps and image comparisons are helping relief organizations to deliver aid with precision.
Credits : Akhil Handa Prithwijit Ghosh
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From Amazon Alexa to Siri, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has gained serious footholds in our personal lives. However, when it comes to IT operations platforms, AI and Machine Learning technologies are still in the nascent stages.
Incidentally, the forces of digital business transformation are necessitating a change to traditional IT management techniques. Hence, advanced approach to IT-Ops, also known as AI-Ops (Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations) is being developed, which combines algorithmic and human intelligence to provide full visibility into the state and performance of the IT systems.
AI-Ops bridge three different IT disciplines - service management, performance management and automation - to accomplish its goals of continuous insights and improvements. Gartner predicts that the use of AI-Ops by large enterprises to monitor applications and infrastructure will rise from 5% in 2018 to 30% by 2023.
In this reference, SysTrack has developed AI-Ops-based platform which incorporates natural language processing (NLP) and AI-driven sentiment scoring. The integration of NLP powers an easy-to-use search function that enables the IT Team to gain holistic idea about their environment. Through integrations with AI-Ops platforms, including IBM Operations Analytics – Predictive Insights, the platform provides a detailed real-time and historical endpoint data that IT operations need to execute AIOps use cases, including proactive monitoring. The NLP engine, allows IT to type or speak questions about their environment in plain English and return suggested answers for accelerated root cause analysis.
Multiple financial institutions are also incorporating AI-Ops in their business functions. For instance, US Bank is leveraging AI-Ops to increase automation across the business lines by analyzing large, monitoring-driven data sets. With the help of AI-Ops, US Bank envisions that the query and complaint resolution will be more effective, delivering better up time and improving customer experience.
Similarly, Similarly, Barclays Bank is using AI-Ops platform through AI and machine learning to analyse end-to-end analysis of IT infrastructure based on various monitoring tools to pull together the required information in order to deliver the best user experience.
As machine-learning systems become more accurate and reliable, routine and well-understood actions can be triggered without human intervention, potentially resolving issues before users are impacted or even become aware of any problem.
Credits : Akhil Handa Manish Kulkarni
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Zero Gravity Fridge
Thinking of a household kitchen without a refrigerator in it is almost impossible. Astronauts have been going to space since 1961, and have to eat canned and dried food that have only three years of shelf life as they still don’t have a refrigerator that can work in space.
The simple reason being, refrigerators rely on gravity to distribute oil through the compressor system that regulates temperature, so in space these systems don’t work or break down quickly.
Now, In a project funded by NASA, a team of engineers from Purdue University, Air Squared, and Whirlpool are building a prototype that can operate just as well in outer space as it does on Earth. The team of researchers is building a refrigerator that can keep food cold on longer missions in space, at zero gravity. It is aimed at giving astronauts a supply of food that could last five to six years.
Even though fridge experiments have been made in space before, they either didn’t work properly or eventually broke down. Cooling systems currently on the International Space Station are used for experiments and storing biological samples rather than for storing food, as they consume significantly more energy than on Earth.
In a typical fridge, gravity helps to control the flow of liquid and vapour. Similarly, the oil lubrication system inside of a fridge’s compressor is gravity-based. When bringing new technology into space, making the entire system reliable in zero gravity is the key challenge.
The device is about the size of a microwave oven that can fit into the International Space Station’s rack system and can store biological samples for science experiments. Purdue researchers also demonstrated that the refrigerator can operate in different orientations, even upside down, an important capability for the variable gravity of lunar and planetary missions.
Overcoming the zero gravity problem and its effect on the flow of oil throughout the refrigerator has been addressed with the use of an oil-free scroll compressor developed by Colorado-based company, Air Squared, a specialist in oil-free scroll solutions. The compressor will be tested both in the prototype and in its larger, more instrumented counterpart built by Purdue researchers.
The engineers have built three experiments to test the effects of microgravity on a new oil-free fridge design: a prototype for potential future use on the International Space Station, a setup for testing the prototype’s vulnerability to liquid flooding and a larger version of the prototype with sensors and instruments to capture how gravity affects the vapour compression cycle.
The team ran all the three experiments to test the machine in a specially-designed plane that flew in microgravity. They found that the refrigerator could operate in microgravity without any liquid flooding. The oil-free vapor-compressor inside the fridge addresses the concerns about their suitability in zero gravity.
Thus, if we are to colonize Mars in the near future, it is safe to assume that we would have a ready prototype of a refrigerator for our households.
Credits : Akhil Handa Clint James
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Road Network Management with AI
The lack of road safety in India is increasingly becoming a matter of major concern. According to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, India recorded around 4.3 lakh road accidents in 2019, which took the lives of 1.5 lakh people. Poor road infrastructure, encroachment, and increasing number of vehicles have contributed to the high number of road hazards in the country. The solution seems clear: real-time road monitoring and information collation about road infrastructure.
New Delhi-based deep tech startup Nayan India Science and Technologies has developed a road safety and traffic monitoring solution that uses a camera, computer vision and artificial intelligence. The application constantly monitors roads, infrastructure, and traffic violation. The AI Powered algorithms analyse the video feeds and alert in case of violations, defects or dangers on the road. The B2B SaaS startup works with road transport authorities, insurance companies, private aggregators, public transportation fleets etc. to provide real world, last-mile analytics to better revenue channels.
RoadMetrics is an AI-based solution that uses image and sensor data obtained from a simple smartphone to classify road defects, signs, traffic signals, street lights, etc. This road and street-level data helps enterprise mapping firms and smart city bodies with analytics on road networks and a better mapping experience. The data is sold through the API model as well as on a per km basis, depending on the geography for Smart Cities.
Swedish start-up, Mapillary, acquired by Facebook, is the street-level imagery platform that scales and automates mapping using collaboration, cameras and computer vision. Mapillary’s tools enable anyone to collect, share, and use street-level images which are combined for improving the city maps.
US based RoadBotics automated inspections and generated actionable data about road networks, including identification of individual distresses like potholes and alligator cracks. Their detailed maps, unbiased ratings, and practical tools save time and taxpayer dollars for hundreds of communities across the country and around the world.
As per IBEF ORG, India has the second-largest road network in the world, spanning a total of 5.89 million kilometres (kms). This road network transports 64.5% of all goods in the country and 90% of India’s total passenger traffic uses road network to commute. Road transportation has gradually increased over the years with improvement in connectivity between cities, towns and villages in the country. In India, sale of automobiles and movement of freight by roads is growing at a rapid rate. The startups are focused in solving road network issues by using India’s main asset - its huge population.
Credits : Akhil Handa Manisha Gawle
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Beauty Trends - 2021
The global beauty industry (encompassing skin care, color cosmetics, hair care, fragrances, and personal care) has been shaken by the COVID-19 crisis. With months of lockdown, retail businesses closed and international travel ban, consumer’s purchase and usage behaviour has witnessed a dramatic change leading to fall in sales across many beauty segments.
Beauty sales declined as much as 30% in the first half of the year, according to a McKinsey report and even major brands took a blow. With more than a year under pandemic, brands are now working towards better ways to deal with the humongous shift in consumer values and expectations.
In this effort, brands are adopting new technologies at a faster speed to redefine personalisation. Some companies such as L’Oréal offers AI powered at-home devices, which can measure user conditions, like the emergence of dark spots or surrounding environmental concerns, on a daily basis. L’Oréal’s Perso device accounts for this data to dispense custom-formulated makeup every day. Another company Atolla uses AI capabilities to customize facial serums for consumers by using data collected through quizzes and tests measuring oil, moisture, and pH levels.
As per a CB Insights report, Johnson & Johnson, has invested in new engineered preservatives that could be used in items like haircare or body care products. The company invested in Curie Co, a startup that makes biomaterials to replace preservatives in everyday beauty and personal care products, through its JLABS incubator.
Another apparent trend is BigTechs offering retail channel for beauty products. Amazon launched a private label beauty brand called Belei in 2019 and recently invested in India-based D2C beauty site MyGlamm. China-based tech giant Alibaba offers livestreaming and AR features which it has used to attract luxury beauty brands to its e-commerce platform.
Virtual try-on tech leverages augmented reality to allow shoppers to test how different beauty products will look without actual trial. Remarkably, virtual try-on can also help brands personalize the beauty shopping experience, enhancing product discovery and making tailored recommendations about foundation shades, skincare products, and more.
In December 2020, Google launched an AR-powered cosmetics try on tool in Google Search, partnering with brands like L’Oréal, Estée Lauder, MAC Cosmetics, and more to let users try on searched-for makeup products using front-facing mobile phone cameras.
Going forward, we expect to see beauty brands and tech giants alike turn to virtual try-on to gather shopper data and make more personalized product recommendations.
Credits : Akhil Handa Aparna Anand
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Social Equality in Tech
Why do we prize technology over everything else? Because it helps us solve problems as efficiently as possible. No one can predict from which gender, ethnicity or nationality the next great idea might come from. And the tech startup sector is a living embodiment of that.
Moving to another part of the world for employment does pose a challenge. And since most tech jobs are located at specific hotspots, many talented workers always find themselves unemployed. Software as a Service products and services are enabling employers to find and employ talent from all over the world. Remote working, work from anywhere and digital nomadism are slowly becoming the new normal. Digital marketing firm Loganix understands the potential of having a diverse team. The company runs almost all its operations globally — with teams of people from the US, Asia, Australia and Europe —employees are dynamically moved between different teams, depending on requirements, allowing quick resolution of issues.
Poor or different communication skills can fuel many workplace misunderstandings. And it costs quite a bit of time and money to learn a new language. The US Foreign Services Institute estimates that it takes on an average 480 hours to gain basic competence in languages. This was a problem that cloud-based tuition service Preply aimed to fix. The platform offers a place for both language tutors and students to collaborate easily and affordably.
Tutors can create their profiles with rates, experience and number of languages spoken; and students can review their tutors, making it easy for other students to decide who to hire. Workers planning to move to another country can use such services to learn a new language far cheaper than attending a language school. HR teams can also hire tutors to educate employees who need to go abroad or new recruits from other countries.
Social inequality isn’t always about creed, gender or nationality. Entrepreneurs are usually handicapped due to high entry barriers in business. Indeed, the cost of acquiring customers is every bit the startup killer it is known to be. Oleg Campbell, a Ukrainian developer who bootstrapped his startup, Reply, to a $2 million a year company, certainly identifies with the struggle. Campbell’s lack of sales experience stalled the growth of his first enterprise. Consequently, he focused his efforts on helping tech entrepreneurs overcome their lack of salesmanship with smarter tools. Reply’s LinkedIn email finder is specifically for new companies looking for affordable, effective lead generation. Such a tool can help a user find email addresses of prospects on LinkedIn. Paired with LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator, users can create highly personalized outreach messages for each prospect.
The tech sector can, and should, be the leader at showcasing the advantages of diversity. By championing the cause of gender diversity through socially agnostic platforms, they are leading the cause of social equality in tech.
Credits : Akhil Handa Prithwijit Ghosh
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AI-powered Legal Tech.
From how we buy our groceries to how we conduct banking transactions, almost every aspect of our lives is being disrupted with continuous advancements in technology. Even traditional, not-so-tech-savvy industries like legal services are joining the tech bandwagon. As per research by CB Insights, legal tech startups have raised over $ 700 mn in funding since 2011. Leveraging emerging technologies like AI & ML, variety of tech-enabled start-ups are devising new and interesting ways to connect consumers to the legal ecosystem.
Generally, it has been observed that the full gamut of AI’s capabilities are best utilized when digitized documents are available. With the Supreme Court digitizing a whopping 10 million pages and records of civil appeals this year, AI is increasingly being adopted by numerous law firms. For example, AI-based products can be applied in prioritisation of pending cases, summarising court proceedings and improving the quality of research.
Some firms like NearLaw have developed legal market places using AI and Natural Language Processing (NLP) to help lawyers and legal professionals access legal information. It has also developed AI-enabled case-law research tools driven by summarisation algorithms coupled with machine learning to rank the cases using Case Ranking. Such tools enable lawyers to know which cases are better suited to be cited in the courts over others and also provide analytics on how the network of cases are inter-related.
While other firms are leveraging AI to offer virtual legal research assistants like CaseIQ, which automate mundane tasks, reducing research time from anywhere between 5% to 50% of what is normally needed on legacy system. Even Judges can upload both the appellant’s counsel’s submission and the respondent’s counsel’s submission directly into CaseIQ and within seconds see whether both parties are missing out on any important precedents that are important to the case, enabling them to quickly take into account the whole body of applicable law before ruling.
Similarly, SpotDraft has developed an artificial intelligence-powered platform that uses advanced machine learning algorithms to automate drafting and negotiating legal contracts. It provides solutions to complex legal dealings, including drafting, managing and storing paperwork online, analysing contracts and automating invoices, besides sending reminders and offering expert advice on legal compliances. Even legal firms such as Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas are now leveraging the power of AI for contract analysis and review by adopting Canada-based machine learning legal system Kira.
Although AI can prove to be useful in predicting what documents will be relevant to a case, we feel that AI will not replace lawyers but will augment their abilities. It has the potential to make them more productive, efficient and aware about their domain of work.
Credits : Akhil Handa
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Smart farming can be referred to as the 4.0 green revolution in the field of agriculture combining agriculture methodologies with technology — Sensors & Actuators, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Internet of Things (IoT), Robotics and Drones to achieve desired efficiencies of production which are sustainable.
According to a survey, 80% of farmers in US and 24% farmers in UK have already started using Smart Farming Tool (SFT). These numbers are cognizant of the fact that SFTs are adding value to the farming ecosystem. As far as the scale of operations is considered, Smart farming tools and techniques can be applied to large scale and on the other hand distributed conventional farming can be applied to focused small farming set of organic farms.
Through remote sensing, smart farming system reduces waste, improves productivity and enables optimum resource management. For the benefit of micro farming, multiple crops are grown simultaneously on remote lands which require different care, manure, soil and water. By linking local sensors to smart irrigation and control, things like sensing pH balance of the soil, gauging local temperature is now possible through remote monitoring and sensing rather than walking the field all the time. This leads to increase in the yield as farmers can save on time and focus on the real issues of farming — pest control, irrigation and amending soil conditions all using sensing and automation.
Companies like Robotics Plus, a startup with USD 10 million funding from Yamaha is planning to deploy its fruit plucking robots into production, while Ecorobotix with their Weed Zapping Robots have gained considerable momentum owing to the growth in Smart farming techniques.
Precision farming system has a lot of dependency on the software management systems. Control systems manage sensory input, delivering remote data for supply and decision support, as well as automation of machines . Basically, it is a standardized business approach balancing the demand and supply side with respect to resource management.
During production, it is mostly resource management from a growth and yield perspective. For instance, precision seeding uses automated tractors to reduce seed loss and seeding with proper space management between different plants. Another example is of precision water delivery.
On the demand side, it is about demand forecasting and delivering goods just in time to reduce waste.
India has always been an agrarian state, and traditional farming methods are manual and too labour intensive. Smart Farming can also provide great benefits in terms of environmental issues, for example, through more efficient use of water and optimisation of treatments and inputs
Credits : Akhil Handa Clint James
- 829 Views
Automated Forest Restoration
Forest restoration has the potential to reverse land degradation through restoration or rehabilitation of degraded land. It can be a climate change mitigation strategy, and could provide other co-benefits, including increasing forest productivity, biodiversity, and carbon sequestration. It provides aesthetic and socio-cultural benefits, such as the potential to improve the livelihoods and resilience of forest-dependent communities.
Zurich based, GainForest, uses artificial intelligence to reverse deforestation. Its algorithms analyze data from satellites, drones and field monitoring to measure sustainable land use. It’s an app that aims to help maintain and restore forests. GainForest gets funding from the crypto community to provide finance to community members if they maintain their patch of land for an agreed duration. The GainForest team uses publicly available data from Global Forest Watch to monitor and evaluate community success. It is also developing advanced artificial intelligence algorithms to help forecast future forest cover.
Flash Forest is Canada’s first-to-market and largest drone reforestation company using UAV hardware, aerial mapping software, automation, and biological seed-pod technology to reforest the planet at a rapid pace. It is a reforestation company that aims to plant at 10 times the normal rate and at a fraction of the cost of traditional tree planting techniques. With drone engineering, it brings new levels of accuracy, precision and speed to the reforestation industry. By 2028, the start-up aims to plant a full 1 billion trees.
Brazil based startup, Treevia, has developed a remote forest-monitoring system called SmartForest. It connects forests around the world into the internet to ensure more sustainable use of natural resources. The solutions offered by SmartForest include digital asset registration systems, forest research using high-precision data, hazard assessment and specialised forestry consultation.
Satelligence helps companies achieve a deforestation-free sourcing and production of palm oil, cocoa, coffee, soy, and other commodities. Building on artificial intelligence, satellite technology and supply chain data, the company provides daily insights into the global performance of agricultural production and supply chain risks. Satelligence maps and monitors forests, planted palm areas, deforestation, and fire impact.
Deforestation and forest degradation continue to take place at alarming rates, which contributes significantly to the ongoing loss of biodiversity. As per Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations the area of primary forest worldwide has decreased by over 80 million hectares since 1990. Current deforestation rates worldwide are unsustainable. Efficient and quality reforestation techniques are essential to rapidly implement solutions to our global ecological crisis.
Credits : Akhil Handa Manisha Gawle
- 1173 Views
Data Platformisation - 2
We have seen how the growing importance of various data sources have led to data platformisation, in our previous article. Data marketplaces have proliferated with the growth of big data, as the amount of data collected by governments, businesses, websites and services has increased and all that data has become increasingly recognized as an asset.
For instance, autonomous cars need to process a lot of training data. As per Researchly, vehicles need one trillion road miles of training data before they can successfully drive autonomously. As one manufacturer cannot aggregate all the training data on its own, autonomous cars might suffer a geographical bias towards the area where they are manufactured and trained. Hence, organisations are looking at innovative solutions like data marketplaces which can combine various data sources from autonomous cars across the globe.
Looking at multiple such applications of these marketplaces, bigtechs have started offering their own products. Microsoft has developed Azure Data Marketplace as part of its Azure cloud platform. As the platform utilises a standard data protocol, OData, users can directly access marketplace data with programs such as Excel and its add-in PowerPivot. In addition, OData support is available for a broad array of programming languages. Data suppliers such as Dun & Bradstreet and ESRI are also using the marketplace for data publishing purposes.
Other major bigtech firm Google has also launched its own platform to provide commercial access to datasets like data around World Economic Forum, Eurostat, IMF and even taxi trips from 2013 to the present. Google Public Data visitors can delve into 104 different data sets and download them for their own usage.
On the other hand, some organisations have started leveraging the power of blockchain towards data platformisation. These marketplaces enable users to connect to live sensors across the world and receive real-time streaming data from that sensor for a subscription price. For example, Ocean Protocol is a decentralized marketplace for providing AI services around AI-based data on blockchain-enabled verification and quality assurance processes using a so-called token-curated registry. Similarly, Datum has developed Ethereum based decentralized marketplace for social and IoT data.
Such efforts have indeed shown how data platformisation can contribute to democratization of data. However, we believe that it is imperative to ensure the mitigation of data privacy concerns through encryption and obfuscation before the data is made available on the marketplaces.
Credits : Akhil Handa Aparna Anand
- 908 Views
Tap a button on your phone and hop into the shower; walk downstairs 15 minutes later, and you have a fresh pot of coffee waiting for you. This is no longer just a fantasy for many people. The rise of the internet of things has allowed us to control remote appliances with just a tap of the touchscreen. Until now, the scale of these processes has largely been limited to personal devices: anything from brewing a pot of coffee to warming up your car on a frosty morning. But what if we could grow food for thousands of people, with that same tap of a button with “Smart Floating Farms”.
Forward Thinking Architecture a Barcelona based firm’s design comprises a multi-level agricultural farm that can be constructed, pushed out to sea, and left to work mostly on its own. The farm is designed to operate on three levels: a bottom level containing wave barriers, an aquaculture fish farm, a slaughterhouse, a packing facility and desalination plant; a second tier for hydroponic and aeroponic food production; and a rooftop level having skylights to let in light and photovoltaics to provide the energy required to power everything.
Each level is roughly 750,000 square feet – with enough room to grow up to 8.1 tons of vegetables and 1.7 tons of fish per year. The architects estimate that this would cover the project’s expenses within 10 years. And since the farms are modular, a few or many of these structures could be grouped together to provide enough food for entire communities, especially those located in areas without arable land, or with a population so large it overwhelms its food supply capabilities. And unlike other forward-thinking agricultural techniques like urban farming, it spares valuable land space for alternate uses.
The world population is predicted to grow from 6.9 billion in 2010 to 8.3 billion in 2030 and to 9.1 billion in 2050. By 2030, food demand is predicted to increase by 50% (70% by 2050). The main challenge facing the agricultural sector is not so much growing 70% more food in 40 years, but making 70% more food available on the plate. To meet this ever growing demand, new agricultural techniques must be developed.
Floating Farms envisage making the farming process autonomous, placing the structures on top of the water allows the farms to adapt to rising sea levels and avoid flooding issues common to traditional agricultural techniques. While this strategy may seem outlandish, it actually has a long and successful pedigree, having been employed for centuries by Bengali farmers as a response to dramatic changes in water level during flood seasons. The farmers construct beds in lakes and rivers using several layers of bamboo and water hyacinth, fill them with semi-decomposed aquatic plants and then seed. The beds are tethered to the lakebed to prevent them from floating away. As a result production rates have increased manifold compared to existing land-based practices.
However, the true innovation of the Smart Floating Farms project is in taking non-traditional farming techniques and combining them with already-existing technologies. Jan Willem van der Schans, a senior researcher at Wageningen Economic Research who specialises in urban farming and circular economy issues, said such floating farms could be the future for sectors of agriculture such as fruit and vegetables in parts of the world.
As the architects acknowledge in their design statement, the project “is not meant to solve all of humanity’s hunger problems or to replace existing traditional agriculture.” One project alone will not save the world, but embracing the technologies available to us is a great start towards tackling these issues. If only it were as easy as the touch of a button.
Credits : Akhil Handa ClintJames
- 759 Views
Partnering with Insurtechs
Insurers across the world are adjusting to the new normal of the on-going pandemic, and as a result, there is massive acceleration in digital transformation efforts. For this purpose, Insurers and non-insurance companies alike are bringing on insurtech companies as strategic partners.
Gartner defines insurtechs as technology companies that are in their early stages of operation; that drive specific innovation across the insurance value chain by leveraging new technologies, user interfaces, business processes or business models; that leverage different forms of funding, including venture capital.
As per a CB Insights report, Funding to insurtech companies hit yearly and quarterly highs in 2020 and Q1‘21, respectively, signaling the confidence investors have in the future of the insurance tech market. In 2020, business relationships involving insurtech companies also hit a record high, coming in at over 650 partnerships for the year.
Companies such as Axa, Munich Re, and American Family are among the insurers with the most formal business relationships with insurtech companies. Recently, China-headquartered Leapstack, an AI-enabled InsurTech company specializing in healthcare, has announced a strategic plan to ink strategic partnerships with multiple Korean insurance companies as the company advances into the South Korean market.
Some Consumer-facing insurtech companies are partnering with other tech providers to improve their product offerings.For instance, auto insurtech Root provides additional benefits to policyholders via partnerships with road assistance app Agero and gas station location app GasBuddy. Home insurtech Hippo recently partnered with ADT and Handdii to improve the security and home repair services it offers policyholders. As these insurtech companies look to aggressively grow their customer bases, expect them to continue partnering with companies that offer complementary digital services.
The partnership between Galileo Platforms, a specialist blockchain technology platform for the insurance industry, and Amodo, a provider of insurance telematics technology and advisory services, including behaviour data analysis, will enable clients to benefit from their diverse experience and expertise in their respective areas of the insurance industry.
Primary core insurance software vendors like Duck Creek, Guidewire, and Unqork are also among the most active in partnering with insurtechs. These companies are incorporating complementary insurtech products to create a stickier experience for customers by tying these products to their core suites. Horizontal software providers like Microsoft and Salesforce and more mature insurtech platforms like Bold Penguin and Snapsheet have also actively formed partnerships to build out their insurance ecosystem capabilities.
We believe, as insurtech companies mature and build increasingly innovative solutions, expect to see insurers double down on successful partnerships and explore new ones.
Credits : Akhil Handa Aparna Anand
- 730 Views
Geospatial Analytics in Insurance
Insurance industry is slowly embracing remote property intelligence as a quick, dependable, and cost-effective alternative to relying on estimates based datasets. COVID-19 lockdowns and corresponding physical-distancing protocols have double-downed the need to rethink underwriting.
High-resolution aerial imagery can reveal the underlying risks of the properties and add to the details in application data for underwriting purposes. According to a report by Markets & Markets, the global geospatial imagery analytics market size is expected to grow from $6.9 billion in 2020 to $27.9 billion in 2025, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 32.1% during 2020-2025.
Insurers are likely to increase the use of geospatial analytics to take advantage of the latest in AI & ML advancements to allow for automated damage classification by combining this with location information such as an address and other information like the extent of damage. Pre and post-disaster imagery also will provide intelligence needed to expose insurance fraud.
Companies such as CAPE Analytics provides instant geospatial property intelligence for buildings across the USA and have now expanded to Canada. When integrated with Guidewire, Cape Analytics and Betterview offer insurers improved visibility and actionable insights into damage or risk so they can more accurately price, underwrite and adjudicate commercial and personal lines.
InsitePro by Intermap is a cloud-based software solution that brings together all the necessary data and analytics for underwriting natural catastrophe risk. Detailed elevation and terrain knowledge provides critical data giving underwriters the ability to expand portfolios and reduce risk exposure.
Under GOI’s crop insurance scheme, Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), agencies will be conducting large-scale pilot studies for technology-based gram panchayat level yield estimates, using Geospatial Analytics.
Skymet in India is opening up its 10-year geospatial proprietary farm-level data repository through a digital platform ‘SkAlgeo’. It can help the banking and insurance sector to create programmes after evaluation of crop risks using different indices. Some banks are using a digital lending solution built using the SkAlgeo platform to assess the risk profile of the farmers.
The pace of change has been augmented by the industry’s need for quick decision making, driving down costs and optimizing the customer experience. We believe, geospatial analytics can help insurers make more accurate underwriting decisions, help reduce losses and assess claim payouts judiciously.
Credits : Akhil Handa,Aparna Anand
- 727 Views
Technology for Seniors
Currently, there is an unprecedented demographic challenge across the world. The major challenge is due to an increase in the elderly population which is becoming a concern. As a result, people are looking for ways to develop respectful and economically sustainable solutions that provide care for the elderly people.
In 2015, in the European Union alone, the so-called “silver economy” was estimated to be worth €3.7 trillion, and is projected to reach €5.7 trillion in 2025. It is no wonder that the tech world is taking notice and age tech, the emerging sub-sector of health tech focusing on technology and innovation to improve the lives of the elderly, is poised to grow very fast. Several startups are already leading the pack in the age tech revolution.
cettefamille which translates to “this family”, is an affordable alternative to retirement homes in France. Founded in 2016 and based out of Normandy in Northern France, cettefamille is a network of professionals and accredited families all throughout France that matches the elderly with welcoming homes. It offers a comfortable, personalized alternative to group living in nursing homes and retirement communities. The receiving family is trained in elder care by professionals, and accredited by the government. The cost per month is also two to three times lower than traditional retirement home options. In addition to connecting elderly folk in need of homes and receiving families, cettefamille also provides bespoke solutions for organizations and companies dealing with the elderly and those with reduced autonomy.
Founded in 2014, London-based SuperCarers is an online platform helping families find experienced and fully vetted carers in their area. SuperCarers differentiates itself from care agencies by identifying qualified carers, personalizing matches and giving users the tools to coordinate care directly with each carer. It provides different types of home care: day/night, live-in, and respite with the flexibility of having carers at home whenever they are needed and for as long as they are needed. Specialist home care for specific health conditions such as arthritis, cancer, dementia, Alzheimer’s, autism, low mobility, neurological conditions and even palliative care are also offered.
Whatsapp, Facebook and the omnipresent Google are very much the post 2000’s. Our respectable senior citizens find it difficult to understand them. Empowerji focuses on helping the elderly to get comfortable with technology so that they are able to live independently in this digital world. They enable senior citizens to become digital savvy, through online workshops. Empowerji app also acts as a sort of virtual concierge to help seniors take care of their daily needs.
The revenue potential of this sector is evident from the huge and increasing target customer segment. Also, the benefits of having care and help available at the click of a button is far reaching.
Credits : Akhil Handa,Prithwijit Ghosh
- 815 Views
The arrival of modern technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, augmented reality, and more in the health and fitness world has brought a remarkable change in this industry. It has changed the way people used to exercise and keep themselves fit and healthy. Now, a visit to gym or health club is no longer needed to stay fit; these technologies have made it pretty easier to do all those exercises from the comfort of your home.
Zenia is a popular fitness startup that uses computer vision to develop and deploy an AI-driven fitness trainer. Users can choose from thousands of yoga asanas and do it from the comfort of their home. The AI-based trainer in the app helps them to correct their posture. The company has received huge funding during 2020 that has added to its valuation.
Aaptiv, the popular fitness startup connects people to a wide range of fitness trainers for home and outdoor workouts. Users can do the wellness sessions provided by trainers on their own without the need for equipment. In short, the app offers a no-equipment workout. Each one of Aaptiv's thousands of workouts, which span every type of exercise and a wide variety of activities, combine the guiding voice of an expert Aaptiv trainer with motivating music. This audio-based format eliminates distractions and provides the flexibility many people require - allowing them to focus on their fitness goals, as it suits them.
Tonal, the home fitness startup raised a huge sum of $110 million in its latest round of funding. The startup received this funding from the existing investor L Catterton and the new investors Mousse Partners, Delta-v Capital and Amazon’s Alexa Fund along with renowned athletes Michelle Wie, Paul George, Bobby Wagner, and Stephen Curry. With this funding, Tonal’s total funding has reached up to $200 million.Tonal is a home fitness application that focuses on training users smartly. Users can choose a coach-led workout, make their own workout, track their progress and achieve fitness goals. Digital weights, 170 moves with one equipment and adjustable arms are some of the key features of this app.
Freeletics, the digital fitness firm provides tools to promote and offer mindset coaching, mental strength, confidence, and physical fitness among people. The fitness app uses artificial intelligence to offer its services. This AI-powered fitness app has secured $25M Series B funding led by U.S.-based JAZZ Venture Partners and Causeway Media Partners, with support from KKCG. Freeletics has more than 48 million users in more than 160 countries.
The modern fitness apps are facilitating all types of fitness, including yoga, meditation, aerobics and other exercises. This growing popularity and use of fitness applications are one of the biggest reasons that investors worldwide consider them profitable and investing huge money in them.
Credits : Akhil Handa,Manisha Gawle
- 1067 Views
Over the last few decades, plastic has become an essential part of our everyday lives. From grocery bags to toys and bottles, plastic is one of the most used materials to date. However, this material is unfortunately causing a great deal of harm to ocean life too.
Oceans cover 71 percent of Earth’s surface and contain 97 percent of Earth’s water. Inspite of the fact that the ocean plays a pivotal role in everything from the air we breathe and climate patterns that surround us, plastic waste is seriously harming the delicate eco system of oceans.
Recent technologies have been critical in advancing the work of ocean conservation. By 2050, it is predicted that we will have more plastic in our oceans than fish. While this problem isn’t going away any time soon, scientists have been working to create solutions that can slowly start to clean up our oceans and put an end to this major issue.
The Oceans Unmanned project uses drones to support conservation, education and protection of oceans. Oceans Unmanned is working with teams to track distribution and abundance of species – everything from whales to sea otters – with drones. They help identify endangered marine species on the verge of extinction, whales that have been entangled in fishing gear, map and model shipwrecks and marine heritage areas. They also help to identify illegal fishing activity.
System 001 is a 62-mile long barrier that targets plastic debris, micro plastics and ghost nets from the gyres, also known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Created by Boyan Slat, CEO of The Ocean Cleanup, this innovative design cleans up 80,000 tons of garbage located between Hawaii and California. The unit has a slow-moving design that moves with the ocean’s currents to collect ocean plastic and contain debris. Once full, the accumulated plastic will be removed.
WasteShark was created by RanMarine Technology in 2018, with a design inspired by the whale shark. WasteShark is a water drone with the goal of collecting debris before the winds, tides and currents carry it out into the ocean. It floats along the surface of the water collecting floating debris like plastic and bio-waste. Its technology enables you to pre plan a route to ensure it covers the most concerning areas. It can also be operated using manual steering, as with any traditional drone. An added feature of WasteShark is its ability to read and send information regarding water quality, like pH levels and salinity.
Ocean eco-system is very important for the environment as a whole. Conservation of this eco-system aided by recent technological applications as above is helping to maintain this delicate balance.
Credits : Akhil Handa,Prithwijit Ghosh
- 768 Views
From sending a tailored promotion when a customer enters a retail store to powering order-ahead food delivery, geofencing plays a key role in making mobile apps contextually aware. Geofencing is a location-based service in which an app or other software uses GPS, RFID, Wi-Fi or cellular data to trigger a pre-programmed action when a mobile device or RFID tag enters or exits a virtual boundary set up around a geographical location, known as a geofence.
Think about geo-fencing like an electric fence. In the real-world Geo-fencing allows for the setup of virtual fences or areas, wherein the entry and exit through the areas triggers a response or action by the individual or company monitoring the geo-fence. So, geo-fencing triggers alerts for a business owner when key things happen: a customer visits a store, for example, or the store of a competitor.
BMW is an industry leader in the automobile industry. BMW uses geofencing to enhance their customer service. Cars with BMW Trackstar monitor the position of the vehicle. Once a customer activates their service, the position of their car is tracked and pinpointed every 20 seconds. Customers can use their mobile application to track the location of their car if it’s parked in a garage or somewhere on the city streets. That way they never have to worry about forgetting where they parked. Furthermore, this service also helps prevent theft. Geofencing helps them go the extra mile to provide customer service, which is a profitable strategy.
Apple Maps is constantly tracking our location. Based on our habits, this app can predict where one is most likely to go. For example, if you leave work around the same time every day and drive straight home, Apple Maps will recognize this habit. If the app knows that you’re not home, based on being outside of a geofenced area, it will send a push notification informing how long it will take to get home and what the traffic will be like.
Today’s use of geofencing has evolved beyond simply tracking where a target customer is at any given time. With privacy concerns challenging companies to rethink their use of geofencing, companies like Radar are leading the way in innovating how geofences can improve the user experience.
Having data about consumer behavior can be helpful to design better and personalized products. Uber first implemented the geofencing feature to identify airports to notify people in airports about available cabs and special offers on booking.
In the times to come we expect to see companies use geofencing more strategically to send contextually relevant messages.
Credits : Akhil Handa,Prithwijit Ghosh
- 801 Views
Detoxification in Digital World
Netizens are increasingly becoming aware about the potential misuse of their digital personas with high profile data breaches based on our activities in digital world. Multitude of apps, search engines and social networks can glean hidden things about us that even our closest friends might have no idea about. Based on these developments, numerous users are increasingly looking at innovative ways like “Digital Detox” to regain control of their digital life.
Various firms have designed programmes for individuals to help them in this regard. For example, Tactical Tech has created the project “The Glass Room” in London that offers visitors a look at what happens to their data behind the scenes through technologies like facial recognition.
On the other hand, Mozilla has initiated 8-day cleansing program “Data Detox” which effectively removes any toxic data build up and detoxes our computer system accordingly. It gives practical advice so that users can discover the amount of data being shared across various digital domains. Interestingly, it can also impact their credit scores as credit rating agencies are increasingly using online data to arrive at alternate credit scores.
Variety of mobile apps have also been developed to achieve digital detox. For example, Digital Detox disables your phone for a length of time you specify, from as short as 30 minutes to as long as one month!
Similarly, Moment sets time limits for your daily usage of your phone or tablet and notifies you when you're near or over that limit. A paid upgrade lets you “force yourself” off your device so that when you’re over your allotted time an annoying buzzer goes off telling you to put your phone down and look away.
Through Offtime, users can send out custom auto-replies to let others know when they will be back online. It also lets you restrict access to apps that distract you the most. Additionally, it also provides analytics of your phone and app usage to help you identify your habits.
We believe that detoxification is important, be it for our physical body or for our digital life. While the modern lifestyle has made it almost impossible for us to disconnect from the internet, innovative ways like “Digital Detox” has the potential to offer more control over our online personas.
Credits : Akhil Handa,Manish Kulkarni
- 766 Views
AI in Defence sector
India holds the 4th rank in terms of the Army strength, with US, Russia and China placed ahead of it. The Indian startups are leveraging technology to come up with innovative solutions for empowering the nation’s defence and security. These startups are from different locations in the country and have specialisation in areas such as drones, advanced materials, cyber security, IoT, etc.
Gurugram-based CRON Systems is developing IoT-based products to help the armed forces deploy border security solutions. CRON Systems initially began focusing on building laser walls for the Border Security Force (BSF). But it eventually expanded its products and services to include automation for drones, rovers and a central dashboard to control the applications through its command, control, communication & information (C3i) hub miCRON.
Bengaluru-based Asteria Aerospace is a robotics and artificial intelligence startup, which provides drone-based solutions to the military, paramilitary and police forces for security and surveillance purposes. Asteria Aerospace’s product line currently includes three drones. Its CYGNUS drone is a mini fixed-wing drone known for its endurance, range and payload capabilities and is used for ground-up surveillance and security operations. Asteria’s second product, DGCA certified A200, is a micro sized drone deployed for enterprise operations. Thirdly, the A400 is a mini drone whose vertical takeoff and landing allows quick deployment and surveillance from confined locations.
Ahmedabad-based Optimized Electrotech is an electro-optic startup that provides security and surveillance solutions. The startup provides electro-optics system, which can be used for the surveillance of smart cities, satellite-based imaging, border surveillance, medical imaging, access control, machine vision, automotive (Advanced driver-assistance systems, i.e., ADAS) and consumer electronics. The startup’s InfiVision product series can detect a tank from a distance of 30 km.
Chennai-based defence tech startup Big Bang Boom Solutions (BBBS) is involved in developing integrated warfare systems for defence purposes. Some of the products developed by the startup include: T-Series Unmanned Tank Development, BN (boron nitrate) based Hybrid Personal Combat Armour, 360 Advance Battle Interface, Flying Warden-drones for riot control and a smart fencing system.
Iowa and Chennai-based Vinveli, focuses on providing solutions to the aerospace and robotics industry. The startup is involved in building Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) for both commercial and defence purposes.
The possibility of AI-ushered advancements has opened the scope of an arms race where the conventional military capabilities will matter much less in future. In November 2019, the Indian government said it was looking to fund at least 250 defence startups over the next five years in order to come up with new cutting-edge solutions for the armed forces.
Credits : Akhil Handa,Manisha Gawle
- 800 Views
Clearing up Space Debris
Various entities are putting more and more satellites into Earth’s orbit every year making it extremely crowded with defunct satellites and debris. Scientists around the world are worried about accidental collisions affecting new space missions. Governments and start-ups are now working on numerous ways to fix this humungous mess.
NASA has a special ORBITAL DEBRIS PROGRAM OFFICE according to which more than 23,000 orbital debris larger than 10 cm are known to exist. The estimated population of particles between 1 and 10 cm in diameter is approximately 500,000. The number of particles larger than 1 mm exceeds 100 million. As of January 1, 2020, the quantity of material orbiting the Earth exceeded 8,000 metric tons.
NASA recently gave out a handbook on how to avoid crashes for commercial satellite providers, and this month signed an agreement with SpaceX to ensure that both prioritize safety during launches and orbital manoeuvres.
Astroscale, is a Japanese startup which wants to remove hazardous clutter from an already congested space environment. It has achieved a critical breakthrough with the successful launch of its ELSA-D debris removal spacecraft last week.
Russia’s GK Launch Services sent ELSA-D into space on a Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The system works by attempting to attach itself to dead satellites and push them towards the earth for burning up in the atmosphere, using a magnetic docking technology.
Apart from Astroscale, ClearSpace SA, a Switzerland-based startup founded in 2018, is aiming to launch the world’s first active debris removal mission in collaboration with ESA by 2025. The mission’s objective will be to remove a fragment of the Vega rocket launched in 2013. It is a bulky piece, about a hundred kilos and a similar size to many satellites in orbit, which is why it has been selected.
The concept is relatively simple—a vehicle will be launched with several mechanical arms that will trap the piece in orbit. Once captured, a descent manoeuvre will be initiated with which the spacecraft and the piece of junk will disintegrate due to the atmosphere's friction.
In India, young Bengaluru-based space startup, Digantara Research and Technologies, is working towards setting up an orbit rubble tracking and monitoring services.
Another Japanese company - Sumitomo Forestry and Kyoto University have joined forces to develop what they hope will be the world's first satellites made out of wood by 2023. This partnership will begin experimenting with different types of wood in extreme environments on Earth.
These strategies will be critical since, by 2029, there will be an estimated 57,000 satellites in orbit. Fortunately, this time around, we have the knowledge and tools to resolve the situation before the accumulation of space junk becomes unsustainable.
Credits : Akhil Handa,Aparna Anand
- 749 Views
Tech - Infant Care
Newborns are at greater risk of illness due to an immature immune system. Babies' immune systems are not as strong as those of adults. Shortly after birth the immune system is weak and susceptible to diseases. It is critical to monitor the vitals. Baby health monitoring startups are making a vital lifesaving contribution.
As per research by “Markets and Markets” the market for baby monitoring system is expected to grow from USD 1.3 billion in 2019 to USD 1.9 billion by 2024, at a CAGR of 7.9%. The rising adoption of unobtrusive monitoring solutions enabled through modern technology is expected to drive the overall growth of the baby monitoring system market.
Mobile devices give parents access to longitudinal data and provide them with real-time alerts for metrics such as breathing, temperature fluctuations, heart rate and movement without any wearable or connected wires, only using computer vision, image processing, and data analysis. Californian Cocoon Cam is a technology company that leverages computer vision for remote health monitoring. The company’s product is a baby monitor that detects a baby’s vitals by passively collecting a video feed and analyzing the data in the cloud.
BabySparks is an app offering personalized baby monitoring solution. The platform offers baby development programs containing video-based activities for different stages of the baby's development. It also tracks the activity to analyze the progress presented in the form of a graphical snapshot.
Health monitoring systems for infants based on wireless communications are a reliable and efficient tool for both parents and doctors that helps ensure better infant care. Such systems monitor parameters such as body temperature, pulse rate, movement of an infant which are made available to parents in real-time. Seoul-based Monit specializes in smart baby care solutions that comprise of a diaper monitor, air quality measurement hub and mobile app that monitors the state of the baby’s diaper, humidity and temperature of the baby’s surroundings.
Sleep is important for a baby’s cognitive and physical development. Nanit manufactures a smart baby monitor which requires no wearable’s. Nanit tracks and understands sleep patterns, parent visits, room conditions and much more. In addition, the product features a time lapse heat map that shows parents, in a glance, how their baby moves around the crib as well as tools to share videos, and digital scrapbooks with other people.
With new age startups focusing on the wellbeing of newborns, parenting has become easy. That’s why we appreciate any company that creates a solution to ease the daily grind of parenthood. Real time monitoring for warning signals has made it safer for babies.
Credits : Akhil Handa,Prithwijit Ghosh
- 861 Views
Sweat Powered Watches
You have probably heard of solar powered smart watches but what about a sweat powered watch? When people talk about renewable power, sweat isn't exactly something that springs to mind, but it sounds like that this natural process is actually capable of powering fitness trackers and maybe even smart watches too. It sounds pretty crazy but scientists have figured out a way sweat could be used to replace traditional batteries.
The research was done at the University of Glasgow where scientists created a battery cell that has a new type of flexible super capacitor that can be used to replace electrolytes typically found in batteries.
The tech works by collecting the sweat a person naturally produces. This is done by “coating polyester cellulose cloth in a thin layer of a special polymer”. The absorbency of the material attracts perspiration. The ions in the sweat react with the polymer which results in a reaction that generates electricity. Researchers say the battery can be charged with only 20 micro litres of sweat. It’s also very sturdy and can survive several thousand flexes and bends it might encounter – ideal for a wearable strapped to your wrist.
So not only would sweat be a non-invasive way to check on your body's health, it would likely be a highly accurate way too, in the realm of blood in some areas – which is far more appealing than something like heart rate, which has a comparatively limited scope.
The University of Pennsylvania has combined those ideas with graphene, a material considered to be "the best sensor material in existence", to create the SweatSmart by GraphWear. Graphene would essentially allow the sweat sensor to be four times more accurate than current sensors.
Then there are companies like LVL and Halo Wearables, who are aiming a little lower with their sweat-based trackers. The company has spent the past six years working on the Halo Edge, a device that analyses your sweat to indicate hydration levels.
In the same neighbourhood is Kenzen, a company which produces the Kenzen patch, which continually tracks biosensors in your sweat and sends you real-time alerts about your health.
The tech seems promising although it is still in the research phase. But the team is planning to take forward the research on integrating sweat power into wearable devices. After all, they are the perfect option for such technology as you typically wear them while exercising. However, the best hope perhaps lies with LVL and Halo Wearables. There's a chance that bigger companies like Samsung, Apple and Fitbit will explore sweat-based wearables, but that doesn't seem to be on the horizon just yet. So it might be down to the start-ups to make the first breakthrough and hope the major wearable tech heavyweights follow.
Credits : Akhil Handa,Clint James
- 859 Views
An EY survey among Retail store owners across 12 cities has found that 20 per cent of them had started leveraging online platforms for supply chain needs and delivery during the lockdown. Easy and quick digital payments such as UPI, digital wallets have contributed immensely to the quick digital adoption.
PayNearby leverages AI, ML, and advanced analytics to create quick, simple, seamless, and efficient micro experiences that enable local retailers, referred to as ‘Digital Pradhans’, to provide these assisted hyperlocal services. ‘Har Dukaan Digital Pradhan’ is the mission of this entity.
Reliance Retail will leverage AI, ML, blockchain, IoT, and cloud computing to empower local retailers with an end-to-end digital and physical distribution stack. This would enable them to operate in the same way and as efficiently as larger enterprises and ecommerce players do. By integrating merchants, consumers and producers through this digital platform, Reliance Retail envisions further digitisation and inclusive growth.
Noida-based fintech company BANKIT is helping hyperlocal businesses simplify order, payment, and additional services. These kirana stores are empowered to help locals with online cash transactions via AePS/ mATM and provide cash withdrawal services.
The State Bank of India (SBI) and Titan Company have partnered to launch contactless payment services through watches, called Titan Pay. SBI account holders can tap their Titan Pay watch on contactless payment POS machines without the need of swiping or inserting their SBI bank card.
QR “Quick Response” codes based on UPI have become immensely popular where fintech platforms BharatPe, Phone Pe, Paytm, and Google Pay have dominated the proliferation of digital payments stores.
Digital wallets were the second-most popular in-store payment method in 2020 with a share of 22% after cash payments, which had a 34% market share, according to the 2021 Global Payments Report by Worldpay. Initiatives taken by digital wallet companies to tap into the general trade or kirana stores have contributed to this trend.
The technology for digitising purchases and payments has the potential to completely transform the way India does business. The digitisation of payments has introduced much-needed simplicity, streamlined business processes, reduced timelines, and contributed significantly in improving overall efficiency for retailers.
Credits : Akhil Handa,Manisha Gawle
- 1319 Views
E - commerce is at an all-time high. Lockdowns, travel bans, and retail closures forced the consumer online. As countries locked down and retailers were forced to close, ecommerce reached an all-time high of 16.4% of total global retail sales. It’s not just Gen Z and millennials driving this trend—older shoppers have also moved online. According to a global survey across 11 markets by Shopify, 84% of consumers shopped online during the pandemic.
To better compete with marketplaces and retail giants such as Amazon, smaller players are investing in richer, more personalized experiences. Humanizing their platform also aids in customer retention, now a top priority with the rise in acquisition costs.
Some of the interesting trends being followed by these smaller players include Distinctive Convenience where companies strive to deliver ease and speed as a service. For example, US Startups such as GoPuff and Foxtrot offer exclusive inventory and warehouses and promise to deliver in an hour or less, focusing on speed over mass quantity of goods. GoPuff and Foxtrot fit into a new series of players that are using dark stores to deliver goods within 15 minutes.
Social commerce, a subset of electronic commerce involves social media and online media that supports social interaction, and user contributions to assist online buying and selling of products and services.
More succinctly, it uses social network in the context of e-commerce transactions. Companies such as Shopify has been focusing on integrating social and commerce over the past year to drive sales.
An additional example would be that of Glossier, a skincare and makeup company which not only markets its products through collaborations with social media influencers, it also engages more directly with its followers by allowing buyers the chance to be featured on its Instagram feed if they tag the company in their posts.
Sustainability is another interesting trend where sustainability companies are striving to reduce material waste, add more efficient products and services and incorporate more transparent messaging.
According to CBInsights, Eco-conscious consumers are looking to green alternatives; so are investors. Notable deals have gone to unicorns like $1.7B company Allbirds, which was launched on the premise of making shoes primarily out of sustainable merino wool. The company’s process uses 60% less energy than materials used in typical synthetic shoes and Allbirds also uses recycled materials for its shoelaces and packaging.
Never has the consumer expected more of businesses. We believe that not only do shoppers want to buy online, they also expect it to be fast and convenient. Even when the pandemic ends, we would not see a full rollback when it comes to ecommerce penetration.
Credits : Akhil Handa,Aparna Anand
- 783 Views
Data for all –
Data is king or so they say. Inclusivity for data platforms can be achieved when data reaches all stakeholders without lag or restrictions. Market information disseminated quickly could make the difference between making and losing money in the financial markets.
Spending on financial market data/analysis and news exceeded the USD 30 billion mark for the first time ever in 2018, according to a new report published by Burton-Taylor International Consulting.
Xignite’s market data cloud is a single platform that unifies financial data consumption. It provides cloud-based financial market data APIs to help emerging companies and established enterprises deliver real-time and reference market data to their digital assets, such as websites and apps. Xignite cloud API’s cover millions of financial instrument across all asset classes.
With all the real time data at hand, investors would like to trade across all asset classes. Robinhood makes it possible to trade in stocks, ETF’s, options and crypto, brokerage free. It also gives access to professional research reports, margin trading and instant deposits. Various other tools and features such as price movement notifications and customized investment news provide additional appeal.
Market Prophit is a financial Big Data analytics company delivering real-time, meaningful intelligence to investors through sophisticated natural language processing, predictive analytics, and powerful visualizations of sentiment and buzz derived from financial related conversations in social media chatter. Market Prophit is the first service ever to provide quantitative rankings of financial bloggers data in social media and generate unique, real-time sentiment signals (bullish/bearish).
Another fintech startup Mindbridge Analytics is using AI and ML to detect anomalous patterns of activities, unintentional errors and intentional financial misstatements in financial datasets. The auditing software will automate ingestion and analysis of data and help accountants identify risk. A risk score is generated for the processed data and will flag transactions that need investigation.
Financial institutions harnessing the power of big data coupled with fintech innovation are leveraging meaningful insights from many disparate data sets. Fintech players have set the ball rolling for financial inclusion. A collaborative approach is the natural next step to accelerate the pace of this process.
Credits : Akhil Handa,Prithwijit Ghosh
- 695 Views
Automated driving normally refers to self-driving vehicles or transport systems that move without the intervention of a human driver. These features generally fall into logical groups based on how they combine acceleration, braking and steering. Autonomous vehicle market is projected to surpass US$ 65 billion by 2027 with companies such as Tesla, Autoliv Inc. being the key players.
Drivers need to be able to process a great deal of information as it is a skill that must be learned – this not only applies to people but is also true for automated and autonomous vehicles. In order for driverless cars to react correctly and safely in all situations, they require artificial intelligence and an electronic “brain” that must possess immense computing power.
With the new generation of its AI-capable control unit, ZF ProAI, has developed advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) which rely on cameras and radars. Companies like Waymo are working on the next stage: autonomous driving. When cars can drive themselves, human error – statistically the most likely cause of accidents – will no longer be an issue.
Today, cars are being developed with cognitive abilities similar to that of a human brain so that they can make decisions which are not included in their code. In a fraction of a millisecond, self-driving cars must be able to process 360-degree view of the environment, interpret this information, verify the position of the vehicle itself, track the position of any sources of danger, calculate and carry out driving manoeuvres. Thus making, Vision Zero - the goal of ending motoring accidents a reality.
Chinese car sharing operator Pand Auto is already testing automated cars in Beijing. The Chinese government is supporting the construction of large test sites and has opened the first test center for autonomous vehicles in Beijing, creating what is literally a driving school for autonomous vehicles.
The trend toward automation is not just limited to passenger cars. Companies like ZF Friedrichshafen have long been working on self-driving mass transit and cargo movers, automated commercial vehicles, parcel delivery services, intelligent forklift trucks and innovative agricultural machinery.
On the other hand, Amazon is planning to put 100,000 electric delivery vehicles on the road by 2030, with deliveries starting as soon as 2021. They plan to buy these vehicles from Rivian, an electric automaker in which Amazon has invested $440M. Similarly, Microsoft is joining forces with Cruise, the self-driving subsidiary of General Motors, to help speed up the commercialization of autonomous vehicles. Looking at the potential possibilities, we can safely conclude that self-driving cars on roads don’t seem to be a distant dream.
Credits : Akhil Handa,Clint James
- 692 Views
Increasing adoption of integrated automated solutions coupled with the advancements in wireless technologies are expected to drive the growth of smart parking market. Major technologies used for the deployment of efficient systems include sensing devices, machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, smart parking meters, data analytics, mobile apps for e-reservation of slots and online payments.
According to Brand Essence Research Report, Global Smart Parking Market was valued at USD 5.62 Billion in 2018 and expected to reach USD 12.83 Billion by 2025 with a CAGR of 12.5% over the forecast period.
In recent years, parking payments has drawn the attention of many FinTechs and digital payment solution providers. In India, National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has introduced an interoperable system so that FASTags can be used to pay parking fees at malls, airports and other private parking lots across key metros - Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, and Bengaluru.
Such payments will be contactless, which assumes significance in the wake of Corona virus pandemic. The NETC FASTag solution will work both as post-paid and pre-paid solutions for securing parking at a parking plaza. There will be no additional cost to customers with respect to the parking fee, other than the one-time purchase cost of the tag. There will also be dedicated FASTag lanes.
In the US, Passport, a transportation software company supports the management of vehicle interactions with streets and sidewalks, through its robust digital parking payment technology. Passport supports over 1,000 clients of all sizes in North America and has processed more than $2B mobility transactions to date.
Similarly, ParkMobile is another leading provider of smart parking and mobility solutions in North America, using a contactless approach to help people easily find, reserve and pay for parking on their mobile devices.
Last month, Google announced entering into an advanced partnership with both Passport and ParkMobile. The parking payment feature can be availed in over 400 US cities, including Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and Washington DC.
Simply tap on the 'Pay for Parking' button that appears as you near your destination. Then enter your meter number, the amount of time you want to park for, and tap 'Pay'. The payment will be processed through Google Pay application.
Google Maps, along with Passport, is in the process of expanding the ability to pay for transit fares for "over 80 transit agencies" around the world, allowing the users to plan their trips, buy tickets and start riding without needing to toggle between multiple apps.
We believe that the increased interest around the parking payment technology will provide an opportunity for IoT and mobility players to up their game and significantly increase revenue generation, to get back on track in the wake of the pandemic.
Credits : Akhil Handa,Aparna Anand
- 1185 Views
RegTech is the management of regulatory processes within the financial industry through technology. Regtech automates regulatory processes and ensures compliance with regulations. It uses technology to support the ongoing monitoring of regulations and facilitates necessary reporting. Regtech also creates transparency and consistency, as well as substantially increases the quality of risk management and compliance. Another advantage is greater security arising from the continuous monitoring of processes.
Banks and financial companies have to act in accordance with many regulatory requirements. The UK-based startup REGnosys offers a regulatory technology compliance platform, called Rosetta. It aims at facilitating the implementation of the Common Domain Model (CDM) for financial sector players with programmatically enforced compliance mechanisms. The solution saves costs and risks based on a specific rule-based operational lifecycle design.
Canadian startup Mind Bridge creates a financial data analytics platform for auditing, based on AI and machine learning. It leverages accounting data and incorporates domain expertise to detect mistakes and anomalies, spot potential risks and investigate specific cases with built-in natural language processing (NLP) search to help banks and financial institutions resolve issues encountered during regulatory compliance.
Singapore-based startup Dathena utilizes AI to arrange a suite of regulatory data safeguarding tools for the financial, healthcare, travel and retail industries. This suite allows enterprises to organize their data repositories, manage secure access to files, classify data by importance and confidentiality, automate data protection policies implementation and ensure data security.
Banks and financial organizations are obliged to cope with government norms and to regularly create and submit corresponding regulatory reports. Israeli startup Cappitech provides a regulatory reporting platform, Capptivate, for FinTechs. The solution automates data transfer, as well as report creation and submission. Besides, it validates given information and reformats it in accordance with regulatory requirements, monitors the reporting status and provides feedback on past reports.
Chile-based startup Ceptinel has developed a real-time regulatory monitoring system for financial companies. As government laws, regulations and procedures tend to change over time, established companies and FinTechs alike need to stay aware of any pending requirements, modifications in norms, or new state guidelines related to their business. It applies machine learning and complex event processing algorithms to treat large amounts of data coming from various sources to ensure compliance with new regulatory requirements.
Regtech increases effectiveness, efficiency, security and transparency for all market participants, enabling them to focus on their core competence, safe in the knowledge that they are operating in accordance with the legal and regulatory requirements.
Credits : Akhil Handa,Manisha Gawle
- 812 Views
We have one life and to live it to its maximum potential it is necessary to be healthy. Heavy workload, pollution, stress, unhealthy lifestyle all take a toll on our immune system. However, awareness has increased in recent times and globally everyone is trying to adopt a healthier way of living.
Health and fitness clubs provide their customers with the infrastructure for their workouts and physical activity in exchange for a membership fee. The global fitness and health club industry generates more than US$ 80 billion in revenue per year. The fitness industry is booming worldwide.
Berlin-based startup Asana Rebel is a yoga combined with fitness app that promises to improve user’s fitness. It is available in six languages and has been featured multiple times by Apple and Google and rated one of the top fitness apps currently in the market.
Another fitness tech startup Fitwell combines the benefits of sports, science and technology to deliver fitness goals. Fitwell is a 24/7 personal fitness coach and expert nutritionist. Fitwell’s personalised meal and workout plans are a simple way to build better habits and reach your health and fitness goals.
Have you ever felt that all those hours spent in the gym is not yielding the desired results. Antelope Club founded in 2014 in Frankfurt aims to change the way people do their workout and keep themselves in shape. This startup has developed a revolutionary full-body mobile ANTELOPE SUIT based on Electro Muscle Stimulation technology. 20 minutes of training equal up to 3 hours of conventional exercises and one session per week is all it takes to be healthy.
Imagine being in Mumbai and having access to classes of fitness gurus in New York. Startup Move With is motivating users to workout by giving instant access to guided audio workouts from the best instructors on the planet whenever and wherever, on the road, in their living room, or at a gym.
GymCraft founded in 2016 in Malaga, Spain is a next generation fitness startup that is bringing together the world of fitness and gaming to create virtual reality workouts. The company’s “exergaming” software is compatible with technologies including various VR goggles, creating fully interactive exercise experiences. GymCraft users can connect their equipment to games via a USB, upon which they can enter virtual worlds to begin a game and compete with friends.
Online coaches not only tell you how to workout according to your body type, but also give you a complete nutrition plan. These innovative ways of fitness save you money and give you the freedom to workout with precision, quicker and tailored to moods and feelings.
Credits : Akhil Handa,Prithwijit Ghosh
- 774 Views
The auto industry has been facing the heat to move digital more than ever as the pandemic has brought upon new challenges and deepened the need to shift toward digital solutions. Auto dealers have been slow to adopt digital car-buying solutions, but with lockdowns closing dealership doors, the pandemic accelerated the shift to omni-channel auto retail.
Online car buying has taken off in a big way during the pandemic. According to Publicis Sapient, many digitally enabled OEMs are seeing increased, higher quality leads that are 30 percent more likely to buy and a two to four-fold surge in website traffic compared with pre-COVID-19. These online tools are, in some instances, responsible for more than 20 percent of new leads during the second quarter of 2020.
More recently, a number of digitally focused disruptors such as Carvana, Carmax and Tesla have entered the market, offering unique, omni-channel experiences like flexible return policies, virtual auctions, home deliveries, online negotiation and virtual trade-in valuations. These digital leaders recognized a shift in customer expectations and focused on creating seamless user experiences across the entire shopping journey.
Online used car seller Vroom noticed a considerable growth in demand as a result of the pandemic, with people turning to digital methods for purchasing cars. Similar to its competitor Carvana, Vroom offers no-haggle pricing and a no-questions-asked return policy. Another Used car marketplace Shift Technologies went public via SPAC in October 2020. Shift allows users to buy, sell and finance cars online. The company offers a "buy it now" option that allows a buyer to purchase a vehicle online without a test drive. Similarly, Cazoo, a UK based company, sells refurbished cars online, delivers them to customers' homes within 48 hours, and offers a seven-day free returns policy.
Then there are digital platforms that help the dealerships move their businesses online. Take for example, Modal which makes software for car dealerships to move the entire buying process online. Another company, Digital Motors builds a car-buying platform for auto retailers, dealerships, brands and manufacturers.
The new car ownership model of subscription offers ease and convenience to customers like never before. Switzerland-based Carvolution offers car subscriptions where Customers pay a monthly price for a vehicle and are free to switch cars as they like.
We believe that, the winners in this industry will be defined by how quickly they adapt to technological innovations. The dealers and OEMs who adjust can thrive, while those reluctant to change will fall further behind.
Credits : Akhil Handa,Aparna Anand
- 853 Views
Technology for a Greener tomorrow
Climate change is real and it is happening. Observable effects are seen everywhere- glaciers have shrunk, ice on rivers and lakes is breaking up earlier, plant and animal ranges have shifted and trees are flowering sooner. A 2°C increase could mean more heat waves, a ten-fold increase in Arctic ice-free summers and a complete wipe-out of the world's coral reefs, home to millions of species. More frequent and intense drought, storms, heat waves, rising sea levels, melting glaciers and warming oceans can directly harm animals, destroy the places they live, and wreak havoc on communities and people's livelihoods.
As per NASA, the planet's average surface temperature has risen by about 0.9oC since the late 19th century, a change driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere. Companies realize the gravity of the situation and know that the time to act is now. Aiding them in this quest is Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other modern technologies like Machine learning.
Google’s UK-based DeepMind laboratory applies its industry-leading knowledge of neural networks and machine learning to apply more efficient data interpretation to energy consumption and energy-grid distributions. These learnings were deployed for efficient energy distributions in wind farms. Prediction models developed there were used in scheduling energy deliveries resulting in a 20% improvement in operational efficiency.
Climate change has led to teething problems for the global poor and poverty stricken populations leading to poor living environments and onset of diseases and other related ills. AP-Latam, a project run by Argentina-based Dymaxion Labs, uses AI to analyze high-resolution satellite imagery to detect areas of informal settlement growth in precarious areas that are logistically difficult to analyze on the ground. By understanding and predicting areas of potential slum growth and population movements, governments can make better decisions on how to help affected families mitigate the effects of climate change.
Transportation accounts for 23% of global greenhouse-gas emissions, leaving plenty of room for positive contributions from AI. DHL and IBM have teamed up to use artificial intelligence to improve DHL’s global logistics operations. By predicting demand, risk, supply-side variations and other variables, DHL is curbing emission by optimizing their process.
Earth is the only planet we have to call home and global warming is causing irreversible damage. Global awareness is creating waves of innovation and optimizations to reduce the global warming footprint of corporations and individuals.
Credits : Akhil Handa,Prithwijit Ghosh
- 843 Views
Data is a double edged sword. Leveraging data can provide boost to revenues. However, if not handled carefully it can lead to fines and prohibitions. Data privacy laws are becoming stringent by the day
Leading light for data protection is the European Union’s “General Data Protection Regulation” (GDPR) that came into force in 2018. GDPR protects people in the EU from unlawful data collection or processing and works to increase consent requirements.
Tech companies like Google and Facebook, airline operator British Airways and hotel giant Marriott were hit with fines for data breaches. Start ups have come up with solutions to help companies comply with data privacy regulations.
London based Privitar provides data protection software for large organisations, including the United Kingdom’s flagship NHS, HSBC and many more. The company works with various verticals like financial services, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals and the government.
San Francisco based InCountry touts itself as a data residency-as-a-service platform that helps international companies store customer data locally. It offers the global infrastructure to store and retrieve data in its country of origin by serving up an API that funnels data between InCountry’s local datacenters.
Businesses operating in California are required to be in compliance with a new privacy law, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). Atlanta-based OneTrust is a data privacy management compliance platform that, similar to InCountry, was established to help businesses adhere to the regulations around the world, including GDPR and CCPA. The OneTrust platform includes a template-based self-assessment tool that enables companies to check their compliance with GDPR in addition to understanding the flow of data through the organization and across borders.
InfoSum patented decentralized technology allows companies to combine and analyze data in disparate schemas without moving or sharing it, eliminating commercial, legal and security risks.
Machine learning is being employed by New York based BigID. This startup helps enterprises protect customer and employee data using machine learning to automatically find sensitive data held on internal servers and databases, analyze, de-risk and ensure that organizations are complying with data protection regulations.
Ensuring privacy into the data supply chain not only protects customers but also creates an unbreakable trust and inspires confidence as well. This realisation has led to a global surge in investment in entities providing solutions on data privacy.
Credits : Akhil Handa,Prithwijit Ghosh
- 898 Views
Smart-Robotics for Education
With the huge potential of robotics getting unlocked every day, even educators are leveraging robotics to improve the quality of education in novel ways, providing hands-on way of teaching important concepts like mathematics and science. Teachers can showcase how simple mathematical concepts like addition, subtraction, proportion etc. are applied in the field of robotics.
These bots use the same general characteristics as industrial robots, but are much safer and less expensive to use. As per 'Global Robotics Education Industry Market Research Report', the global education robot market is estimated to reach size of around $25 billion by 2026 with a CAGR of around 23%.
One of the first robots in the educational field was released in the 1980s, called the Heathkit Educational Robot (HERO). Though it was not programmed to perform practical tasks, it was a self-contained mobile robot that was controlled by an on-board computer using a Motorola CPU and 4 KB of RAM. The educational bot featured light, sound, motion detectors and a sonar ranging sensor.
Recently, UBTECH Education and Follett have formed a partnership to create interactive JIMU robotic building block systems which enables students to develop critical STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) skills in a hands-on environment. JIMU robots are designed to complement the incremental steps of STEM success in experimentation and progressive learning by providing countless hours of creative and inspiring fun.
Similarly, NuMinds Enrichment has developed AI-powered NAO robot, which enables students to interact with the humanoid as it teaches coding, literature and simulates training environments. NuMinds programs are also enhanced with cutting-edge virtual reality (VR) goggles that integrate virtual environments and augment learning, to captivate students and enhance their experience.
Back home in India, Agilo Research, an EdTech hardware start-up, has developed STEMpedia Robotics learning platform to foster creativity and innovation among the young students. This platform was part of ‘India Innovation Growth Program’ launched by Lockheed Martin, Tata Trusts and FICCI.
Based on the innovative solutions being launched, AI and robotics can effectively improve the quality of elementary and even higher education. Besides cutting down the overall cost in generating insights in different scientific sectors, the technologies can help teachers tailor the education system to suit students with diverse learning needs.
Credits : Akhil Handa,Manish Kulkarni
- 745 Views
Augmented reality (AR) v/s Virtual reality (VR)
Augmented reality (AR) adds digital elements to a live view often by using the camera on a smartphone. In AR, the user is provided with additional system generated information that enhances their perception of reality, whereas Virtual reality (VR) replaces reality with a completely new 3D digital environment. For example, in architecture, VR can be used to create a walk-through simulation of the inside of a new building; and AR can be used to show a building's structures and systems super-imposed on a real-life view.
Singapore based Omniaz provides an end-to-end AR solution for the retail and FMCG sectors with the ability to converge the online and offline shopping experiences in order to better serve and engage with consumers. The startup transforms spaces and product packaging into engagement channels to digitize brick-and-mortar FMCG stores. OmniAZ enables brands to provide extended product information, recommendations and gamified content. To help consumers make better choices, especially in the beverages industry, it engages customers by educating them about wine selection while simultaneously entertaining them.
The US-based startup Receive provides beauty brands with a co-branded solution to create customized interactive consumer experiences for their products. The solution integrates across all touchpoints on mobile and web-based AR for e-commerce companies. The startup’s proprietary AI and AR beauty technology enable real-time personalized engagement with customers. The solution is particularly useful for skincare, health, wellness and color-based cosmetics products. The AR Makeup Advisor and Virtual Try-on allow consumers to virtually try cosmetics before they buy them. Further, Receive intends to transform the beauty experience with advanced 3D live-video makeup try-on and personalized recommendations by allowing customers to use an AR mirror or other novel AR-enabled hardware.
Bangladeshi startup Azmi Studio specializes in tailor-made mobile or desktop platforms and virtual try-on solutions that help brands engage their customers and boost the retention rate. The startup offers its Virtual Try-On AR Store, enabling brands to integrate AR experiences into social media platforms. The solution also integrates into physical stores, making it easier for companies to create and manage 3D models for their products.
Emerging technologies like Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are transforming the way people interact, experience and visualize things and businesses. The application of these technologies in various fields like fashion, beauty, architecture, healthcare etc. is changing the way the world looks at the diverse use cases and enormous potential that comes with them. According to a report, the global market for Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality is estimated to reach USD 766 billion by 2025, registering a 73.7% CAGR during the period from 2018 to 2025.
Credits : Akhil Handa
- 823 Views
Chatbots in E- Retail
There’s no doubt that Covid-19 has caused an inflection in e-commerce penetration globally driven by consumers’ need for safety and convenience. Even in India, a significant portion of shopping has moved online, in turn spurring transformation across the retail value chain.
According to ETRetail, The Indian e-retail market is primed to reach nearly 300 to 350 million shoppers over the next five years—propelling the online Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) to $ 120 billion by 2025.
With increase in online customers, Chatbots are emerging across e-commerce and retail to help keep online shoppers engaged and provide a personalised experience. For example, Sephora, a French personal care and beauty products company, has achieved huge teens’ engagement, which was possible thanks to creating a truly unique experience through its chatbot assistant.
Chatbots are also acting as a virtual store concierge, where they are answering customers’ questions and directing them towards relevant products. Built on Facebook messenger bot, Masha.ai is being used by 600 international brands. It is designed to advise on shopping choices, while even helping users to place orders. In addition to its consulting skills, Masha.ai offers notifications about new products from the brands one is observing, she can also provide some shopping inspirations.
To ease holiday shopping stress, the objective of Ralph bot is to steer shoppers through LEGO’s extensive catalog of products — the company says it has produced 3,700 different varieties of LEGO brick — and the bot recommends gifts that fit the recipient’s age and personality as well as the buyer’s budget.
Nexc is a personalised electronics shopping assistant, still in the developmental stage. Its job is to make your electronics shopping experience more convenient, quicker, simpler and let you compare a big number of offers at once. Nexc collects and analyses all the relevant data needed to make decisions, from technical specifications all the way to human experience with the gear.
While organizing jeans into numbered codes has helped Levi’s build a more extensive catalog that can cater to a range of body types and preferences, it has also made it more difficult for online shoppers to choose what to buy. Levi’s chatbot, Ask Indigo, helps customers sort through its catalog using simple language.
Levi’s bot is another example of the power of Chatbots as a personalization and curation tool. We believe, that the likelihood to purchase increases when consumers can find exactly what they’re looking for, and a chatbot can guide them there directly.
Credits : Akhil Handa
- 1278 Views
Big data application and machine learning has enabled the growth of digital lending. Availability of multiple data points ensures better credit assessment of the applicant. AI promises that theoretically it can analyze all of these data sources together to create a coherent decision.
ZestFinance is using machine learning to process alternative data to get information on so-called “thin file borrowers” — those with no or little credit history. Zest Automated Machine Learning (ZAML) platform, leverages machine learning for end to end credit underwriting. The platform utilizes thousands of data points and provides transparency, which helps lenders better assess populations traditionally considered at risk. ZestFinance recently finished a study with Ford Motor Credit Company to use machine learning in their auto financing.
One startup aggressively using advanced machine learning to comb through vast sources of alternative data to predict an individual’s creditworthiness is Lenddo. The company started in 2011, focuses on emerging markets where rising middle classes often lack traditional credit histories or even bank accounts. Lenddo looks at a potential applicants’ entire digital footprint to determine their creditworthiness by having individuals download their app. They claim to analyse over 12,000 variables including social media account use, internet browsing, geo location data and other smartphone information. Their machine learning algorithm turns all this data into a credit score, which banks and other lenders can use.
One of the most high-profile startup companies using AI to determine creditworthiness and streamline the loan process is Upstart. Upstart started by focusing on younger adults who lack credit history. In addition to traditional FICO scores and years of credit, Upstart also takes into account education, SAT scores, GPA, field of study and job history to use machine learning to predict an individual’s creditworthiness.
Scienaptic Systems provides an underwriting platform that gives banks and credit institutions more transparency while cutting losses. Currently scoring over 100 million customers, Scienaptic's Ether system connects myriad unstructured and structured data, smartly transforms the data, learns from each interaction and offers contextual underwriting intelligence.
Some privacy, ethical and legal issues will be posed by the use of machine learning to evaluate alternative loan and credit rating data. Even with these issues, the use of machine learning to process alternative data is likely to expand dramatically to assess creditworthiness.
Credits : Akhil Handa
- 864 Views
As-a-Service (aaS) has already become the standard to turn into a truly digital-native enterprise. The new pattern in the aaS model is Everything-as-a-Service (XaaS) where services delivered will totally dwell on the cloud with virtual access to nearly everything. Tools, for example, the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will play a critical part in building these services or expanding existing services to accomplish the digital-native status quo.
As more and more companies embrace digital transformation, Everything-as-a-Service models (XaaS) are becoming more prevalent. Companies such as Adobe, Workday, LinkedIn and Salesforce have successfully implemented this model by enabling customers to use software applications in the cloud for years.
Every product is a service. Both B2B and B2C sales models revolve around giving customers exactly what they need, how they need and when they need it. Whether it is a monthly sock subscription service, selling compressed air as a service or renting engines to airlines on a usage by hour basis – everything is a service (XaaS).
The global XaaS market was worth around US$ 115 bn. in 2019. Global Anything-as-a-Service Market is expected to touch US$ 344.3 bn. by 2024, expanding at a CAGR of 24%.
Huge investments made by the key market players in XaaS solutions have proved beneficial for the IT infrastructure by significantly reducing redundancies. In global everything-as-a-service market, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Corporation and Google Inc. are leading the market.
XaaS is relatively easy to manage as it replaces the conventional methods and is highly customizable for supporting mobile workforces. Consequently, it finds applications in various industries such as telecom, insurance, manufacturing, healthcare, government, banking and finance.
Organizations worldwide are currently undergoing digital transformation, which has resulted in the robust growth of corporate data. Companies that have made the switch to XaaS are growing 5x faster than their peers. Clearly, a shift has occurred and while companies used to focus on developing the best product with the best features, they now need to navigate their transition from a product to platform-centric organization.
Credits : Akhil Handa
- 777 Views
Quantum computing across industries
It has been long foretold that quantum computers would tackle problems which involve an overwhelming number of variables and probable outcomes much quicker than any classical computer. And we are now seeing some of these prophecies taking shape.
As per a CB Insights report, funding to quantum computing-focused startups have climbed steadily over the last few years and set a new record in 2020 with 37 deals. PsiQuantum is the most well-funded startup in the space, with $278.5M in total disclosed funding. Backed by Microsoft’s venture arm, the company claims that its optical-based approach to quantum computing could deliver a 1M qubit machine in just a few years.
Cambridge Quantum Computing is focused primarily on quantum computing software and has raised $95M in disclosed funding from investors including IBM, Honeywell and more. It offers a platform to help enterprises build out quantum computing applications in areas like chemistry, finance and machine learning.
There are several industries that would directly get impacted by quantum computing. In Healthcare, Drug Discovery would be one aspect directly affected. ProteinQure, is tapping into current quantum computers to help predict how proteins will fold in the body.
Another pharma company, Biogen has partnered with quantum computing software startup 1QBit and Accenture to build a platform for comparing molecules to help speed up the early stages of drug discovery.
Manufacturing and Industrial Design is another sector looking keenly at Quantum computing. Take for example, Airbus which has established a quantum computing unit in 2015 and has also invested in quantum software startup QC Ware and quantum computer maker IonQ for the purpose of efficient airplane designs. A Machine Learning startup Solid State AI is already offering quantum-supported services for manufacturing industry.
In the area of logistics, DHL is eyeing quantum computers to help it more efficiently pack parcels and optimize global delivery routes.
Coming to cybersecurity, the commonly used encryption models today are threatened by powerful quantum computers. Now there are companies such as Isara and PostQuantum developing new encryption methods, collectively known as “post-quantum cryptography.”
In a data-heavy world, ever-more powerful computers are essential to calculating probabilities accurately. With that in mind, several financial institutions are turning to quantum computing capabilities, as well. We believe that It is only a matter of time before quantum solutions will enter the mainstream making changes across Industries.
Credits : Akhil Handa
- 755 Views
Cloud native is a term used to describe container-based environments. Cloud-native technologies are used to develop applications built with services packaged in containers, deployed as microservices and managed on elastic infrastructure through agile DevOps processes and continuous delivery workflows.
Cloud-native applications take advantage of a ready-to-use infrastructure that allows developers to access and reuse existing components such as caching services, APIs, data virtualization rules and workflow engines. This process reduces the complexity of the development process.
Research firm Gartner estimates that today over 80% of all internally developed software enterprises are cloud-native. With cloud native applications, upgrades, as well as dynamic changes to software, can be easily handled. By configuring changes incrementally to the cloud application, it can be quickly made available to end-users at considerably lower costs.
If we look at the brief history of cloud native tech, it originated 20 years ago from cloud technology giant, Netflix. Netflix today, is one of the largest OTT platforms. They have completely revamped and scaled software development by leveraging cloud native technologies.
Cloud-native platforms like Kubernetes, expose a flat network that is overlaid on existing networking topologies and primitives of cloud providers. Similarly, the native storage layer is often abstracted to expose logical volumes that are integrated with containers.
The cloud microservices market is expected to grow from $ 683 million in 2018 to reach $1,880 million by 2023 at a CAGR of 22.4%. Cloud-native architectures will become the default option for customer-facing applications by 2020, driven by a need to continuously deploy innovations at an accelerated pace and enhance the customer experience.
Major technologies for cloud native in the market are Kubernetes by Google, Prometheus, Istio, CoreDNS & gRPC
With the phenomenal success of Netflix and their ability to deliver more features faster to their customers, Netflix used cloud native technology to gain a huge competitive advantage.
Credits : Akhil Handa
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Mass Media With AI
The last few years have witnessed a renaissance in media-focused startups. Powered by initiatives like Artificial Intelligence and blockchain, the new breed of companies have sought to answer some of the key issues that have dogged media and publishing companies for the past decade.
Pico is a solution for media companies who want to develop membership and subscription based systems. The three-year-old New York based startup has created what it calls an ARM (audience relationship management) platform. It is driven by two key conversion points – turning anonymous users into email signups and getting readers to pay. Its system integrates email signups, on-site analytics and payments.
Aiden.ai, SF-based, addresses medium and smaller publishers, running ads on social platforms which can be a time consuming and fractious process. It essentially enables companies to monitor ads on multiple platforms (Google, Facebook, Instagram etc.) via a straightforward-to-use interface. The Pro version of the tool then harnesses AI to make suggestions as to how they can improve the performance of these ads.
Recording podcasts in quality audio invariably entails face to face interviews and this means that journalists spend more time away from their offices and produce fewer stories than they otherwise would. Zencastr provides a high end voiceover IP communication system which is optimised to enable the users to make high quality recordings. It archives each channel separately so they can either be edited later or spliced together using Zencastr’s basic editing functions.
For some publishing companies there is a requirement to mine third party data to help them to understand their audiences better, or maybe research new areas in which they might experiment. Attest is an online Consumer Growth Platform, where business can ask market research questions to audiences of over 100 million people across 80 markets. It is an intuitive web-based self service platform and provide fast and accurate results.
US company Hearken provides a new model for including the public in the process of reporting. The company’s proprietary technology platform is called the Engagement Management System. It helps newsrooms generate actionable insights from the public to create more relevant, representative and original content. Editorial staff can keep engagement processes organised, and Hearken also helps revenue-focused staff generate qualified email leads and connect to newsletters and CRMs.
Future new media will use computer programs to enable users to supplement real or virtual world environments with digital objects. In a broader sense virtual reality, intelligent systems and automation could slowly replace different aspects of industry, human interaction and progress of the human species at large.
Credits : Akhil Handa
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Fashion Designing, tech-style!
Every cloud has a silver lining.
The pandemic like elsewhere has also inspired new trends in the fashion industry. The latest trends focus more on luxury at home as there aren’t social occasions to dress up for. A "waist-up" focus has been noticed at both Milan and London Fashion Weeks, with detailed necklines and relaxed trousers, clothes that suit video calls and remote working. The designs are said to project contemporary human relationship with technology.
As per a CB Insights report, at $2.2T, the fashion sector is also one of the largest industries in the global economy and today, fashion technology is growing at a faster pace than ever. More than ever before, fashion brands of all sizes and specialties are using technology to understand customers and design fashion for catering to their specific needs. There’s no doubt that spotting and designing fashion trends are much easier and cost effective with the usage of technology.
The use of AI alongside ML, Deep Learning, NLP, Visual Recognition and Data Analytics can be used to reduce errors in trend predictions and forecast trends more accurately which would reduce the amount of clothing produced.
In 2017, an Amazon team in San Francisco created an unnamed AI “fashion designer”. They developed an algorithm that analyses images and duplicates the style, making new items in similar styles. Google has already tested the waters of user-driven AI fashion design with Project Muze, an experiment it deployed in partnership with Germany-based fashion platform Zalando.
The collaborative project of IBM and the Fashion Institute of Technology known as “Reimagine Retail” used IBM AI tools to indicate real-time fashion industry trends, themes in trending shapes, colors and styles.
The application of technology such as Microsoft’s Azure programme and spatial anchors in fashion’s design processes is still in its early stages, but the technology is effective in enabling designers to rethink their design process, move past creative constraints and achieve more sustainable workflows and practices.
Historically fashion trend forecasting solely relied on the past dynamics to predict its future. New methodologies like Heuritech predict future trends by applying image recognition technology to social media pictures for accessing shapes, prints, colors and attributes to fabrics.
Similarly, with the help of AI and Computer Vision, Stylumia draws information from images, user behavior data, textual descriptions from social media and other data sources to aid fashion professionals around the world in making informed decisions about the direction of their brand.
We believe that more R&D is needed before brands rely on tech-only designers. But emerging technologies are already helping brands create and iterate their designs more efficiently.
Credits : Akhil Handa
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Science and technology are constantly evolving, especially the way we understand disease, develop drugs and recommend treatments. The concept of personalized medicine has emerged with growing advances in genomic and proteomic science over the past decade. Development of “targeted” diagnostics and therapeutic medicines have received a boost because of advances in personalized medicine.
According to a report by “Verified Market Research” Personalized Medicine Market was valued at US$ 96.97 Billion in 2018 and is expected to witness a growth of 10.67% from 2019 and reach US$ 217.90 Billion by 2026.
Identifying the drug best suited to the specific biology of a patient’s disease can be achieved by specific ex vivo tests, based on the functionality of a patient’s diseased cells and their reaction to potential treatment. US-based Celcuity develops cell-based assays using a cellular analysis platform. Specific cellular data of patients offer clinicians and pharmaceutical companies unique insights into a patient’s response to drug therapy, thereby, improving the reaction to the targeted medicine.
Genetic testing provides data that can be used to identify potential health risks and to gain insight into the molecular background of diseases.
Latest artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies help identify patterns within genetic data sets so that computer models can make predictions about an individual’s odds of developing a disease or responding to interventions. Austrian startup Platomics creates PlatoX — a digital infrastructure for physicians, laboratory and test providers, that ensures high analysis quality and highly scalable testing procedures of genetic diseases using Next Generation Sequencing (NGS). This information allows analyzing thousands of mutations in the human genome using modern methods of information technology and artificial intelligence.
Digital imaging provides insights to treat the abnormalities precisely. 3D printing transforms the approach to personalized care delivery. 3D printed models facilitate a better understanding of abnormalities, encourage novel surgical techniques and improve the surgical outcome for patients. Irish startup Axial3D is focused on driving the global adoption of 3D printing within healthcare. Axial3D provides precise, patient-specific 3D printed models, generated directly from a patient’s CT and MRI scan.
Variations in genetic constitution contributes to differences in appearance and health for every individual. Further innovation and sustained growth of personalized medicine will improve the future of health care and health systems.
Credits : Akhil Handa
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Over the last decade, visualisation-based data discovery tools have transformed the traditional analytics tools. Additionally, with the introduction of next-gen augmented analytics, organisations are able to generate not only simple forecasting, visualising and clustering data, but also automated and actionable predictive and prescriptive guidance.
Augmented analytics tools work as virtual data scientists which can iteratively perform data-to-insight-to-action activities like preparing the data, deciphering data patterns and building models and distributing and operationalising the data findings. This saves both time and resources used for getting relevant business insights from the available data. As per SBWire, Global Augmented Analytics Market is expected to grow at CAGR of ~11% from 2018 to 2025.
Analytics 2.0 has already being put to test by multiple organisations. For instance, US government authorities have partnered with augmented analytics players like Stories.bi to find the most important insights from public data sets on the U.S. opioid crisis. Similarly, U.S. Health Insurance Company have been utilising Salesforce's AI-infused analytics tool, Einstein Discovery to track cost metrics based on the sickness of patients. Similarly, Workday is taking a further step with the introduction of augmented analytics to generate actionable insights around HR data.
Multiple bigtechs like Google and Microsoft have also developed products around augmented analytics. For example, Chevron Corp., US-based multinational energy corporation, is an early adopter of Google's augmented AutoML technology, which is designed to help users with limited machine learning expertise, build and train analytical models. The seismic processing and imaging team at Chevron have used the alpha version of an AutoML Vision image analysis tool to help analyze internal documents as part of the process of evaluating new opportunities for oil drilling.
Similarly, Microsoft also added next-gen analytics functionality to its cloud-based Azure Machine Learning platform, enabling the software to identify algorithms that will run applications efficiently and optimize the performance of analytical models for users. In addition to bigtechs, other organisations such as DataRobot, H2O.ai and ThoughtSpot have also developed advanced analytics platforms.
To quote Gartner, analytics 2.0 has the potential to become the future of data analytics because it moves us closer than ever to the vision of ‘democratized analytics.’ Ten years ago, it was almost impossible to find a single business application driven by analytics. Ten years from now, we won’t find one that isn’t. Analytics 2.0 will be a driving force of this change.
Credits : Akhil Handa
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Edge AI is a system that uses Machine Learning algorithms to process data generated by a hardware device at the local level. Edge AI eliminates the privacy issue of transmitting millions of data and storing it in the cloud, as well as the bandwidth and latency limitations that reduce data transmission capacity.
Edge AI is a system that uses Machine Learning algorithms to process data generated by a hardware device at the local level. Edge AI eliminates the privacy issue of transmitting millions of data and storing it in the cloud, as well as the bandwidth and latency limitations that reduce data transmission capacity.
Edge AI will allow real time operations including data creation, decision and action where milliseconds matter. Real time operations is important for self-driving cars, robots and many other areas. Reducing power consumption and thus improving battery life is super important for wearable devices. It will reduce cost for data communication because less data will be transmitted.
Octonion, a start-up that integrates artificial intelligence into low-power microcontrollers, exemplifies how intelligence can be imbued into industrial products. The technology helps companies make smart decisions in real time, locally, by using continuous learning models and machine health scores. Examples include deploying edge AI on industrial motors and pumps to improve monitoring and develop predictive maintenance capabilities.
The major key player in the global edge AI software market are International Business Machine (IBM), Microsoft, Foghorn Systems In Vision AI, Anagog, Amazon Web Services, TIBCO, Imagimob AB., Veea Inc. and Tact.ai Technologies Inc.
Considered the next wave of artificial intelligence, edge AI is a network infrastructure that makes it possible for AI algorithms to run on the edge of a network. The sudden and dramatic changes in network traffic that have accompanied Covid-19 lockdowns and the shift to working from home are likely to accelerate the move already underway towards edge computing.
Edge Artificial Intelligence (AI) software market size is predicted to grow from US$ 355 Million in 2018 to US$ 1,152 Million by 2023, at a CAGR of 27%.
Credits : Akhil Handa
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Water Conservation with IoT
We live in an era of connected world and the development of smart cities is imperative to improve the quality of city-dwellers. IoT technology holds tremendous potential in water management systems in day to day lives. In smart water-management solutions, IoT is employed to facilitate the right passage of water to the right destination at the right duration. This simple data-driven shift is made possible by wireless IoT communication.
JanaJal Water on Wheels (WOW), an IoT-based, three-wheeled electric vehicle developed by Noida-based JanaJal delivers safe drinking water to the doorsteps of households. JanaJal WOW is a completely tech-managed, GPS-monitored, battery-operated, secure three-wheeler with zero carbon emissions. It mitigates the need for increased accessibility and reach by creating a 'hub and spoke' delivery model deep inside communities.
Chennai-based water management startup WEGoT Utility Solutions uses its proprietary IoT device and software to help cut down the demand for water by more than 50 percent, by detecting drop leakages and water theft and informing the user in real time. The startup has developed a sensor-based device and software platform that can be connected to water inlet pipes. The device, when installed in an individual apartment, can track water usage and provide daily reports. The granular data collected from various installations are then analysed to provide insights. These insights are shared with the end customer through a mobile application.
Hyderabad-based Uravu Labs has developed a device that uses solar energy to source drinking water from air. The prototype collects water vapour using hygroscopic material, which readily attracts water in the night and then uses sunlight to heat it up during the day. A condenser then cools down the water and sends it to users through pipes. This process acts like a natural filter.
Many corporations, government agencies and residential establishments have already begun their water conservation journey by promoting several water management startups and other industries. By implementing the true potential of IoT, governments can improve services to its citizens, increase sustainability and make the existing cities a better and more livable place for all its citizens. Smart water management, therefore, has the possibility to create a revolution in urban development.
Credits : Akhil Handa
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Tech Trends 2021
Every year, the technology trends seem to emerge more rapidly. But the Covid-19 pandemic has augmented technology growth and uptake like never seen before. The pandemic has forced businesses and individuals alike to adjust to the new normal.
During this process, some technological innovations have evolved much faster than they would otherwise have. As digital collaboration, remote work and videoconferencing became a part of our lives, the need for better internet speed has become all the more real. It is already clear enough that 5G could become real in 2021.
The World Economic Forum, quoting IHS Markit research, anticipates 5G, to reach a global economic output of $13.2 trillion and generate 22.3 million jobs by 2035.
The uptake of wearable devices has been on the rise but with the covid19 push, there are innovative use cases being brought to the forefront. Apart from covid19 detection and contact tracing, the wearable tech is being used in a big way for sports and home fitness.
Companies like Peloton have defined the “new normal,” with at-home athletics becoming synonymous with smart workout devices, wearables and remote competitions and leaderboards — with everyone tuning in from their living rooms.
The recent Strategic Technology Trends for 2021 report by Gartner talks about Internet of Behaviour (IoB) as an upcoming trend that we’ll hear more of in 2021. It combines existing technologies that focus on the individual directly – facial recognition, location tracking and big data for example – and connects the resulting data to associated behavioural events, such as cash purchases, device usage etc. The distributed cloud model will see further uptake in 2021, as the model provides businesses with greater flexibility by moving workloads between cloud solutions as needs and costs of a business fluctuate.
According to Interpol, the Covid-19 crisis has created an unprecedented opportunity for cybercriminals to increase their attacks. As organizations accelerate digital business, security must keep pace with the rapid change. Cybersecurity mesh enables a security model that maintains the pliability necessary to operate in the current conditions and offers security without hindering growth for the company. These tools are already being deployed in some capacity by leading organizations and the tech is likely to see further growth in the coming year. With the boundary between the physical and virtual worlds rapidly disappearing, we are learning to use technology for reimagining the workplace, creating more insightful experiences and bolstering human initiatives.
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Tech led Real Estate Management
The real estate sector, like many others, is slowly but surely adapting to the “data-focused” world and making progress in defining use cases for testing artificial intelligence in this field. Indeed, with AI infiltrating every industry, it makes perfect sense to explore what new technology like machine learning can contribute to real estate management. Already, a number of use cases have emerged, showing promise in multiple areas that can improve a company’s position in the market.
When it comes to large properties like corporate office buildings, real estate maintenance costs can take up a sufficient part of the budget. According to the 2018 JIL Occupancy Benchmarking Report, 30-40% of office space remains underutilized. This is typically referred to as ‘silent costs’ as money losses are not visible outright.
IBM has recently unveiled its AI-powered TRIRIGA solution to help real estate management professionals effectively utilize office space. TRIRIGA gathers data from various sources including Wi-Fi and IoT sensors, which is then analyzed by an AI algorithm and turned into valuable insights. This can potentially help enterprises to make better decisions about managing their working spaces.
Another AI-focused company, Gridium, specializes in energy saving and property resource optimization. Machine learning algorithms automatically analyze weather data and detect suspicious spikes in energy use patterns to warn property managers. This enables building operators to react to issues on time and decrease operational costs. LinkedIn has managed to save about US $ 100,000 in operational costs at the company’s headquarters annually using Gridium’s technology.
One of the most prominent features of AI is its ability to ‘predict’ the future. Since AI has the ability to analyze patterns in vast amounts of data, it can be used to make reasonable predictions of the future value of a property. For example, Israeli startup Skyline AI uses predictive analysis to accurately assess property value. Utilizing over 130 different sources of data and analyzing over 10,000 features of each property, Skyline’s prediction accuracy is in the higher percentiles.
Real estate businesses can benefit from using AI in many important ways. At this point, AI is just scratching the surface of the real estate sector, but it’s reasonable to assume that highly effective algorithms can bring immense benefits to buyers and sellers both.
Credits : Akhil Handa,Pankaj Tadas
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Banking with Cognition
In the last two years alone, 90% of the world's entire data has been created. With an ever-increasing deluge of information being generated across the globe, traditional algorithm-based systems have been unable to derive maximum value from available data.
In order to address this challenge, some innovative techniques like Cognitive Computing have been developed which mimic the way the human brain works. International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that Cognitive Computing will save US companies $ 60 billion a year by 2020 and lead to a 20 % improvement in IT efficiency for financial services firms by 2022.
This technology, inspired from IBM’s supercomputer system ‘Watson’, holds huge promise in banking as well. Cognitive Banking has been employed by few banks to improve loan underwriting process. Australia’s ANZ Bank applied cognitive computing in market data, financial statements, product disclosure statements etc. to save 1,000 man-hours of back office activity. With increased automation, loan application processes for more than 150,000 customers of the bank have been streamlined.
Cognitive Computing has improved Wealth Management Services as well. Using cognitive systems, banks can analyse multiple sources of investor information to explore the latest market changes, calculate risks and limits to provide customised recommendations based on customers’ personal profiles. DBS Bank from Singapore has already implemented this technology to offer highly customized investment ideas for its customers based on their present and future needs in wealth management.
Back home in India, Yes Bank is combining the power of Cognitive Computing and APIs to improve the digital experience of bank’s partners, developers and corporate clients. On the other hand, InspireOne Technologies, one of the first users of Cognitive Computing in India, has built a product that assesses employees’ leadership capabilities by gathering intelligence through employees’ e-mail communications.
Considering major industry challenges such as commoditization, discerning customers and disruptive competitors, it is high time for banks and financial institutions to adopt innovative techniques like Cognitive Computing. As per Accenture’s research, in 2015, only a fifth of the technology investments were allocated to innovative projects such as cognitive analytics.
Credits : Akhil Handa>
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Unfortunately, disasters have been a growing phenomenon in the opening decades of the 21st century. Over the last few years the frequency of such global incidents are on rise. However, a slew of startups have emerged in recent years to help enhance communication during such times.
One Concern, “Resilience-as-a-Service” startup combines data science and disaster research for better decision-making, as well as RapidSOS, which connects emergency responders directly to networked devices. Machine learning technology allows them to predict what will happen in the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster. In the case of earthquakes, first responders will know where to conduct rescue missions and who needs the most help. It also allows them to construct disaster relief shelters before calamities take place. The US-based startup One Concern has developed a platform to predict natural disasters that helps first responders and local authorities in emergency by using layers of complex data and drawing relationships between numerous data points to map the impact of natural disasters.
An Amsterdam-based startup, Tsar AI developed OPTOSS AI product suite by Opt/Net BV that uses geospatial Earth Observation Data provided by satellites. Tsar AI helps emergency and disaster response teams work quicker, smarter and more effectively. It allows for automated detection and quantification of all relevant changes in all-weather conditions, regardless of cloud cover or time of day. The technology also has applications for the defense and security market, where large-scale analysis of land and sea surface are required for timely detection of important developments.
Hungarian startup, SaveSarah has developed a real-time incident command platform for first responders. The startup’s solutions include live mission tracking, real-time first responder collaboration and drone integration for disaster response teams. SaveSarah also allows command centers to replay missions to identify bottlenecks or solve pending disputes. It is the first truly mobile incident management platform with drone integration. SaveSarah enables emergency management teams to gain situational awareness - see which areas have been searched through by ground teams and drones.
HW Design Labs, a Kochi-based startup, has developed Eeezee Bus, a mobile app-based location warning system, through which stranded people could identify the location of nearby rescue teams and communicate with them during floods. The app is useful in isolated areas as it works using radio signals and does not need internet connectivity.
Disaster and crisis management have become more important than ever with both the public and private sectors pitching in solutions to stay ahead of the problem. One of the objectives of startups is to make end-to-end drone software solutions which can be used by any disaster response force of the world.
Credits : Akhil Handa>
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Smart Home Trends
The Covid-19 pandemic is prompting people to spend more time in their homes, leading them to reconsider what a home can and should do. The market for smart home devices was a dynamic one even before the pandemic. According to the IDC’s ‘Worldwide Quarterly Smart Home Device Tracker’ report released in Sept 2019, the worldwide market for these devices was expected to grow 23.5 per cent year over year in 2019 to nearly 815 million device shipments. Worldwide shipments are forecast to be more than 1.39 billion in 2023, with a five-year CAGR of 14.4 per cent.
From smart TVs and voice controlled speakers to smart refrigerators and ovens, connected devices have made much headway in the slightly neglected smart bathrooms. These are for people who want beautiful streamlined spaces and experiences to make their everyday living at home as comfortable and enjoyable as it can be.
Smart Mirrors have been around for quite some time, with Bluetooth speakers that you can control from your phone. Also, there are beauty mirrors that incorporate skin analysis technology. For instance, HiMirror Innovative Skin Analysis Engine helps assess your skin's condition including wrinkles, fine lines, clarity, dark circles, dark spots, red spots and pores so that you can effectively and efficiently target problem areas and move towards your beauty goals.
Advances in bathroom gadgets have made it possible to control your bath and shower from your smartphone/Alexa using simple voice commands. Smart showers and shower taps, like the Grohe SmartControl shower system allows for a completely personalised showering experience where you can store your own preferred spray settings and volume of water.
These include Chromotherapy shower systems. Chromotherapy uses colour and light to promote healing and wellness, for example orange light is said to relax and even improve muscle tension. Chromotherapy shower systems arrive with pre-set colour palettes so you can select the one that suits you.
Bath Spas are designed to release micro fine air bubbles into the water that stimulate skin cells rejuvenation, you're guaranteed an experience that leaves you feeling refreshed. Conoduo bath at Kaldewei is one such Bath Spa.
Other smart devices such as smart taps and soap dispensers are no-touch alternatives, much needed in the time of pandemic. As technology evolves our homes are getting smarter – and the bathroom is no exception.
Credits : Akhil Handa
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A Cybersecurity Mesh involves designing and implementing an IT security infrastructure that does not focus on building a single ‘perimeter’ around all devices or nodes of an IT network, but instead establishes smaller, individual perimeters around each access point.
Cybersecurity mesh is a distributed architectural approach to scalable, flexible and reliable cybersecurity control. Cybersecurity mesh essentially allows for the security perimeter to be defined around the identity of a person or thing.
With the cybersecurity mesh, one can get to any digital security asset – regardless of its location. The advantage of this technology is that it permits individuals to put the security divider around people instead of the whole organization.
The abrupt ascent in remote workforces and cloud technology has influenced the security of company assets outside the organization’s edge. Because of the assistance of the cybersecurity mesh, the security border goes beyond and covers people working remotely.
The global cyber security market size was estimated at USD 156.45 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach USD 326.36 billion by 2027 growing at a compound annual growth rate of 10.0%.
Some key players operating in the cyber security market include IBM, Symantec Corporation, Cisco Systems Inc., Checkpoint Software Technologies Ltd. Fortinet Inc. and Palo Alto Networks Inc.
Key factors that are driving the market growth include the vulnerable data on web and computer, loophole in new technologies such as IOT and big data, along with deployment of the cyber solutions across industries such as retail, financial institutions and IT sector.
The last few years has witnessed a dramatic expansion in the number and complexity of devices and processes connected to the internet – collectively known as the Internet of Things (IoT). With a proliferation of devices and activity on the internet, the number of potential access points for hackers to steal data has increased too. As the security of an IT system is only as strong as its weakest link, this situation has resulted in a new approach to IT security.
Credits : Akhil Handa
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AI-based Retail Traffic Counters (ARTCs)
The process of counting store traffic has rapidly evolved over the past few years. ARTCs are AI-integrated cameras that accurately count the store traffic. Usually installed at the store entrance, ARTCs map the headcount of people walking in a store and automatically calculate the exact footfall count.
Thinkpoint a Mumbai based fast growing Retail Analytics organization redefines retail insights by leveraging next-gen technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), RFID, Near Field Communication (NFC) and CMS-based dynamic Digital Signage. Advanced ARTC cameras like the ones offered by Thinkpoint integrate an Artificial Intelligence (AI) Engine at the backend and go one step further – they not only provide the accurate count of people visiting a store at any given point of time but also provide the visitors’ demographic details like their gender and age group.
Norway based RetailFlux, is the revolutionary retail analytic platform for brick-and-mortar retailers. RetailFlux provides complete set of retail analytic products with superior accuracy in the form of innovative visualizations. Their product includes People Counting, Heat Map, Shopper Flow, Route Map, Zone Analysis, Queue Monitoring that unlocks the power of in-store video. The solution is engineered using video processing, cloud and big data technologies. More than just documenting what happens inside the store area, RetailFlux uses videos to boost marketing efforts, improve revenues and turn any retail business into a success story. With RetailFlux, retail store owners and managers are able to see the clear picture of their in-store operations, including shopper flow, dwell times, store traffic and category penetration rates. The software’s unique analytics approach enables retail store owners and managers to monitor and assess the effectiveness of their marketing strategies. RetailFlux also helps users identify flaws and glitches in their in-store design and arrangement, devise and execute better product placement strategies and arrange resources to influence and empower in-store shopper actions.
Brazilian startup Decision 6 is a retail analytics platform developer focused on brick and mortar stores. Their analytics solution uses artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning to track the flow of customers in and out of a store. This information is then used to optimize single store operation and also compare the footfall data among different stores to measure their performance.
With the advent of AI-based Retail Traffic Counters, retailers no longer have to solely depend on their store staff for actionable intelligence. Technologies such as these have time and again proved to be far more reliable when it comes to providing accurate information on customer behaviour that in turn helps retailers take proactive action to improve their stores’ performance.
Credits : Akhil Handa
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