14 मई 2021
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.
Edutainment comes from the words "education" and "entertainment." It refers to any form of entertainment that is educational. Edutainment startup aims to make the learning process smooth by engaging students and young learners mostly aged 15 and below with fun and memorable experiences through smartphones and other internet-connected devices, virtual reality-powered tools and other gamified digital learning content.
Mumbai-based Ontamo Entertainment has developed Ria Rabbit, an animated cartoon from Pashu Nagari, India, for kids in the age group of 0-6. It is India’s first age-appropriate, culturally relevant home-grown intellectual property (IP) content for children. Their storytelling animated videos, audios and picture books engage the attention of kids while building the sense of Indian values which parents would want to inculcate in them through these characters.
Another startup, SP RoboticsWorks has developed a platform wherein concepts are taught using animation videos and real-world examples. It has established more than 83 dedicated centers across India called SP Robotics Maker Labs which offers courses in Robotics, Internet of Things (IOT), Image Processing, Virtual Reality (VR) and more, both in the online and offline Smart-Class mode.
Similarly, Paper Boat Apps Pvt Ltd has launched Kiddopia, a subscription-based pre-school edutainment app, which teaches a variety of skills to kids. It covers everything from Math, Language Skills, GK and Social Skills to Creativity and Self-expression by engaging kids with its visuals as well as fun and exciting gameplay.
Similarly, Panda & Wolf Holding created a mobile-gaming app Eco-warrior for children between the age of 6 - 11. It uses game-based learning to teach children about waste sorting and recycling. Through an engaging storyline and immersive stages, the app informs young users about issues plaguing the environment like deforestation, waste pollution and overconsumption.
Mumbai-based startup Shirsa Media Labs offers an app NewsPIK which is a digital newspaper for children. The Shirsa team creates news articles, events, quizzes and other information, so children are aware of the world around them. It stimulates young minds and keeps them informed.
In this pandemic situation where education has gone online, startups are combining the concepts of education and entertainment to offer children interactive learning experience.
Every organization needs to onboard good talent, retain, engage them and work with them to increase efficiency and productivity. Huge amount of time and money is spent to search, select, interview and hire the perfect candidate. Artificial Intelligence (AI)/ Machine Learning (ML) integration into human resources (HR) practices make organizations better as AI applications helps the HR Team to analyze, predict and diagnose for better decisions. According to a report published by Grand View Research in February 2020, the human resource management market is anticipated to reach $38.17 billion by 2027, registering a CAGR of 11.7 % from 2020 to 2027.
Delhi based startup, ReferHire, has created a peer-to-peer (P2P) networking platform to bring together organisations and those seeking newer career opportunities. Jobseekers have to identify the companies they are interested in and then ReferHire introduces them to peers in those organizations. These peers help job seekers in placing their application internally in the organisation and assist during the recruitment process.
Culturro, Gurugram-based startup has developed an Artificial Intelligence-based NLP bot platform Agnya which helps companies to build the right workplace experience and identify the drivers. It recommends actionable insights for HR heads and also influences behaviour modification in individuals to create the desired workplace experience. Post action, it constantly monitors the progress.
Bengaluru-based Equiv.in launched AI tool which aims to solve talent assessment and hiring while keeping diversity in mind. Equiv.in is exclusive for women, differently-abled individuals, members of the LGBTQ community and army veterans where the jobseeker can sign up with AI Equiv tool. Some of its clients include Indeed, ThoughtWorks, Infosys, Societe Generale, Microsoft and Blackrock.
Similarly, 19th Mile has developed Analytics-driven automated sales coaching system that provides personalized, data-driven coaching to sales representative. The app tracks individuals’ daily sales activities using data from its inbuilt mobile CRM or from the organization’s CRM and uses it to intelligently coach users towards meeting their specific sales targets.
On the other hand, HireSure.ai uses blockchain technology to store employment-related records. Its predictive tools use AI to offer insights related to employee compensation and offer acceptance behaviour, which helps companies increase their offer-to-join ratio. This brings down hiring costs by up to 50 %.
Hiring is a challenging process in any organization and if not addressed efficiently they end up losing good candidates. There is also rapid evolution in business dynamics and therefore several startups are using new age technologies to fill up these gaps.