How many times have you missed your flight due to heavy traffic? How often do you face water shortage? Have you seen accidents due to poor condition of roads? We are sure the answer is a resounding ‘Yes’.
India is plagued with problems related to water, electricity, roads and traffic. Most of the government benefits are not realistic, due to loopholes in the system and the lack of data to formulate a sustainable model. Issues concerning millions are based on sample surveys of 100-200 people, thereby creating a flawed policy.
However, in the past few years, the country has seen the emergence of technology startups trying to solve infrastructural problems and administrative woes. With the use of tech, these startups aim to empower decision-makers with accurate data to address problems of public infrastructure. Though the ‘tech for good’ space is still nascent in India, with its own set of challenges, it has also slowly started attracting the attention of institutional investors and government agencies.
We bring you a list of these good Samaritans who have taken the road less travelled and are using technology for the betterment of society.
Developed by Birds Eye Systems, Traffline is a traffic information app that crunches real-time data to improve commute. It helps in finding the quickest route to a destination by factoring in real-time traffic conditions. Users can get alerts and automated text messages at the time of their choice to know the latest traffic conditions on a specific route. The app is available across all the platforms, helping users navigate traffic in major cities including Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, etc.
NextDrop is a Bangalore-based startup founded by Anu Sridharan, which uses smartphones and crowdsourcing to map water. The startup is trying to solve a problem affecting 90 per cent of South Asia by leveraging mobile technology for better water management. It provides residents access to information about water supply. The real-time data and messaging system uses SMS to inform subscribers about when they will be receiving water and when there’s a delay. Users can talk to the team and help solve water issues in their city. The startup uses feedback to help inform utilities companies about problems in the system in real-time.
SocialCops is a data and analytics startup that processes millions of discrete data points to derive insights that enable key decision-makers – the government, corporate heads, policy makers, non profits and media houses – to make data-driven decisions. It uses a mixture of online information extraction, open data and a network of mobile-enabled human sensors to collect data. The Delhi-based startup aims to track parameters such as teacher attendance in public schools, quality of public infrastructure, and adherence and access to medical care on a continuous basis.
The Spothole App, currently a pilot project in Mumbai, helps users to report the GPS location of a pothole through the smartphone. This crowdsourced pothole monitoring tool will help authorities speed up the process of filling up potholes, avoiding a plethora of problems. When this Android app releases (tentatively in another two weeks), anyone across the globe will be able to report a pothole location. The project began as a satire on the sorry state of roads in Mumbai to drive people’s attention towards this problem. The main idea was to create stories around them with potholes as the protagonists.
Founded in September 2013 by three people at IIT Bombay’s SINE, kWatt aims to solve India’s energy crisis through solar technology. It is a technology-driven company focussing on energy optimisation and technology customisation to provide economic renewable energy solutions. This essentially means it provides energy solutions to homes, educational institutions, hospitals, hotels, factories, and so on. kWatt has three focus areas: training, products and services, and helping build India’s solar infrastructure.