Saturday, November 7, 2015

Crowd-sourcing: (1) HULT (2) Smarter Ananda Babu (3) RFI

I was one of the two judges at regional round of HULT Prize 2016. The other judge was Prof Soumprakash Bandyopadhyay of IIM,Kolkata. The theme this year is "Crowded Urban Spaces"( See  for details). Twenty teams of 3-4 university students participated to give innovative start-up ideas. We shortlisted 5 for round 2. Then after a second round, a winner was selected who'll go to the next stage to be held at Dubai.

Few good ideas that could be used in smart city plans that various student groups presented:
-  With aggregation apps, connect service providers like plumbers, masons etc to a wider set of users. (Think of OLA cabs)
- Organize disposal of household solid wastes through apps connecting recyclers (think of OLX)
- Urban organic micro farming and rooftop plantations employing framers who migrate to cites
- Start-up dabbawala-type home food delivery enterprises through homemakers in slums and poor localities
- There was also the harebrained idea of forcing all office-goers to walk to office wearing piezo-electric devices in shoes so that the electricity so produced could be used at office !

The event was held in TEQIP building of Jadavpur University campus today
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Resolving citizen grievances is one of the main focus areas of smart city strategy. While many are talking of on-line web portals, complaint monitoring software and even GIS based photo shoots through smartphone apps, I think that the interaction needs to have a human face, a person with whom people can relate. We discussed this at last Smart Friday meeting (6 Nov) and decided to go forward :

 A smart "Anandababu" (see for example) who is always there to listen, get details of the matter, refer it to the relevant setion through a web based software at the back-end and remember and give you a feedback. He will, of course, be backed up with a control room console with time-bound results or escalation tothe next level, all the while giving sms based feedback to the complainant of the actions being taken.
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We have floated an RFI (Request for Information) today. This is a call to all ISPs, Service Providers and businessmen to come forward and give ideas as to what is the best way to ensure Wi Fi services in Smarter New Town Kolkata. A crowd-sourcing of a specialized type:

Advertisement in ToI dt 7 Nov 2015
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Millennim Post dt 7 Nov 2015

Times of India dt 7 Nov 2015

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