Connecting the Dots
The evolution of revolutions has been constant for centuries to come. Technology has been constantly evolving. One such revolution is the Internet of Things carving a niche for itself in the modern day. Such is the impact of IoT, it has often been dubbed as the “fourth industrial revolution”. Living has definitely been made easier for those of us privileged to experience talking machines, smart devices and connected habitats. Sadly however, this privilege extends to a miniscule amount of the populace in a developing country such as India.
The rural-urban population ratio has always been heavily skewed towards the rural side of the scale. Even today, nearly 65% of the Indian population accounting for over 80 crore people can be classified as rural population. Concepts of healthcare, education, additional livelihood support, access to financial services and products are largely alien to the several dots that litter the Indian landscape. While the urban populace is more connected to its devices, the rural populace is more disconnected to modern civilization and humanity than ever. In such a situation, IoT could well be the technology that helps connect the dots and build bridges between the urban and rural spheres of India.
IoT has been nothing short of a fairytale and has impacted countless industries in several positive ways. It can play a critical role in developing the rural ecosystem by offering the same privileges to rural India as it has in urban India. Let’s consider a few examples already making the headlines.
Making use of end-to-end energy monitoring solutions from Altizon, Prayas Energy Group based out of Pune has been able to successfully address the severe energy shortage in small towns and villages. Using IoT connected energy meters, PEG has been able to connect over 100 villages with efficient energy in the first phase itself. Solutions such as mKRISHI, a rural service delivery platform addresses the issue of low crop yield and unpredictable market conditions faced by farmers. They do this by providing unique advisory services to farmers. Affordable healthcare for those at the bottom of the pyramid is not a myth anymore either. A classic example is how healthcare application OpASHA has treated over 6 million Tubercolosis patients by mobilizing trained health workers to provide low-cost, innovative treatment. LumenEd brings innovation to the education sector. Their portable solar-powered multimedia devices are able to perform the functions of a computer, projector and speakers combined; a great asset for schools in villages. Everyday services such as mGaadi (transport), mPesa (mobile money transfer), mPaani (mobile rewards program) are already a mainstay in the current scenario. The biggest benefactor over and above independent organizations the government. The Digital India campaign aims to connect rural and urban India with IoT at its core, an ambitious project that aims eliminate social-economic challenges as one of its critical visions.
Moreover, this is just the tip of the iceberg of solutions. Let’s not forget that India remains a hot-spot on the radar of global market leaders as an emerging market. Players in the sectors of transportation, energy, manufacturing and telecommunication are already plotting ways to deliver top-drawer products and services to India. Millions stand to gain, millions will be connected by IoT. Come 2020, we might be well on course to seeing rural India on the map at last. IoT is a beacon of hope, one that might just be the best one when it comes to empowering the masses and building bridges towards an empowered nation.