It comes as no surprise when the technology of our time meets the hunger for an invention that mobile phones have evolved into what they are today.
We have traversed a substantial distance from back in the day when it was a matter of great excitement to merely switch to a newer version of your cellular phone. Those were the days when upgrading Mobile tech was a game that only corporate giants played.
Nowadays, the market is flooded with countless smartphones, with countless features to offer. Sleek and enticing, these phones are more powerful than the computers, we work with in our everyday lives. This is the time when the innovators and trend-breakers in technology are the ones who make the real buck.
We have entered a new era in which the power of technological change is no longer solely vested in the big players. With the availability of Android as an open source application development platform, the game of building trend-setting mobile apps can be played by any software engineer who has a passion for it.
Great innovators like Nandan Nilekani are the driving force behind encouraging mobile innovation. During his lecture at TiE Bangalore, he cited the example of WhatsApp disrupting financial services and changing the face of small-time information exchange. The ex-CEO of Infosys is the prime mover behind the UID Card project in India, which has been rightfully tagged ‘the largest social project on the planet.’
This project bio-metrically identifies and assigns a unique identification number for each and every resident of India. This project sees the enrollment of citizens at six lakhs per day and aims to add every Indian citizen to its database.
Mr. Nilekani has quickly grabbed hold of the opportunity of harnessing the power of smartphones to enhance this project. As an upgrade, Mr. Nilekani and his team have devised a biometric scanner embedded in a mobile device and they will soon have a working prototype ready for deployment across the country. This will serve as the who-you-are factor of biometric authentication for UID assignment of Indian citizens.
‘The smartphone,’ says Mr. Nilekani, ‘will also soon be replacing the what-you-have factor of transactional authentication.’ What he means is mobile phones are soon going to replace the authentication items- debit cards, credit cards etc. that we carry as well.
The Government has also taken up a few more pet projects to see how they can successfully harness the power of modern handhelds to improve the services provided. One such project is the Solid Waste Management System operating primarily out of Gujarat.
With Mobile Automation (MOBA) as a German third party project contractor, the government has installed RFID tags on waste bins in a few chosen cities around the country. These tags differentiate the bio-degradable from the non-biodegradable waste bins and tag their respective locations.
This is done with the help of portable BTRs that scan the tags and send the resultant data to the assigned smartphones. The smartphones, in turn, send the data to the respective servers for further evaluation and sorting. The required data is then available on the phones 24×7. This data is used to retrieve critical information about the waste bins that are successfully tagged. This system can retrieve useful statistics about the waste bins in question, such as the quantity of waste disposed of, the location of misplaced bins and the time of pickup of the waste from those locations.
Lead project coordinator Chintan Bhatt says, ‘There is huge untapped potential as far as cellular technology is concerned. There is a whole world of usages of smartphones beyond social networking that most of us are blind to.’
Taking a glance at the days past and the evolution of mobile technology, one is sure to be awestruck and be thankful to the innovators of our time for making this possible. It is safe to expect that what ensues from here on is sure to be as enlightening as it is brilliant.
Crafted with brevity for select stories to make certain you see what others don't; sent every Friday
Two exclusive fortnightly newsletters, sent on Saturday alternately
a) Reel and Real with Rony Patra
b) Mixer with Ayush Garg