01 Aug 2007

CEO of Mapunity Talks About Using Technology to Overcome Traffic Jams

Traffic Jams are a curse to city life. Finally, a startup has found a solution to overcome some of the problems.

When I was in Bangalore recently, a city notorious for its atrocious traffic jams, I was pleasantly surprised to see a sign at a traffic signal which told me how much time it would take me to reach the airport.

And that’s dynamic data based on traffic situatinos along the route I’m taking. Now, that’s useful information, I thought. I wondered who is behind this and I finally found out.

Mapunity Information Services has partnered with the Bangalore City Police and Airtel Karnataka, the city’s largest mobile operator, to provide a comprehensive urban traffic information system for Bangalore city.

With BTIS, real-time traffic information is deduced from the cell phone tower logs of Airtel’s city-wide network, and made available to commuters to see live congestion hotspots, find directions and plan their travel routes.

The entire information system is available through SMS to Airtel customers using a shortcode, and to others by dialling a ten-digit number. During the next few weeks, the system will remain free to users, while the product is rolled out to cover all neighbourhoods. This live traffic information system is the first of its kind in India. It addresses the growing need of traffic administrators for centralized traffic monitoring and control infrastructure.

Mapunity was cofounded by three persons, Ashwin Mahesh,an atmospheric scientist, D Alagesa Pandian, a botanist and B V Pradeep, an engineer.

Ashwin is a consultant for the Second Administrative Reforms Commission, Govt of India. He was earlier Director of GIS, Egovernments Foundation, Bangalore. Ashwin holds a Ph. D. from University of Washington in Geophysics and an M.S. from Vanderbilt University in Astronomy.

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19 Jul 2007 Showcasing India’s Best Startup Product Companies is a bi-annual event in India that showcases technology start-up companies and innovative products.

Organised by The Knowledge Foundation, a national network of entrepreneurs and technology enthusiasts, the second edition will see participation from 23 startup companies carefully chosen from a list of 120 nominations. Each startup will get exactly 6 minutes of stage time to demostrate their product to a select group of venture capitalists, angel investors, technology influencers and media professionals.

The event has attracted 22 venture capitalist firms, including Canaan Partners, Reliance Technology, Greylock Partners, Silicon Valley Bank, Clearstone Ventures and others representing over $1.5 billion in fund size for India investments.

The National Association of Software and Services Companies (), The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), and TeNeT of IIT Madras are supporting the event.

The second edition of the event takes place at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras on July 21 and 22, 2007.

In this episode, Vijay Anand, one of the organizers of the event, talks about Proto’s objectives and its future plans.

Disclosure: I’m one the co-founders of The Knowledge Foundation, the parent group that runs I’m on the core organizing committee of Proto.

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03 Jul 2007

Vikas Agarwal, VP-Techology, on Monster India’s New Video Resume Service

A while ago, Monster India was the first job site to launch a Video Resume service. In this episode, you’ll hear an interview with Vikas Agarwal, vice president of product & technology at Monster India, the key guy behind the new video service.

Vikas manages the team that launched the new site, which won the Best Indian Job Site Award from PC World.

MCA by education, Vikas started his career with Wipro before working with Hughes Software to develop GSM protocols for Mobile satellite communication.


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29 Jun 2007

SJ Klein Talks About One Laptop Per Child

SJ Klein is director of content at the One Laptop Per Child project. The vision of the project is to provide children around the world with new opportunities to explore, experiment and express themselves. And one such way is through a very inexpensive yet rugged laptop. OLPC is the brainchild of Nicholas Negroponte, from the MIT Media Lab.

Samuel Klein has spent many years developing collaborative communities. He is an advocate for free universal access to knowledge and tools, and a veteran Wikipedian. He organizined the international Wikimedia conference in Cambridge. Previously he has worked to develop software and supporting communities for machine-assisted human translation, and to set up free education centers.

Klein is interested in local and sustainable knowledge development. He establishes ties with teachers, game developers, and publishers, helping them to understand the need and uses for free and open materials. He is passionate about working with the global community around open education.

In this podcast, SJ talks about the OLPC program and about the laptop itself.

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03 May 2007

CommuteEasy’s Vipul Kasera, on Online Carpooling

Commute Easy is a pooling initiative whose aim is to connect commuters in Bangalore and Pune who share travelling routes.

This initiative is the brainchild of Vipul Kasera, a software professional working at ThoughtWorks. He is a regular carpooler and having lived in a traffic congested city like Bangalore, he saw the value in carpooling. During such carpooling trips to his office, he would lug his laptop to code a solution and thus was born Commute Easy, out of frustration from traffic jams and desperation for less congestion in Bangalore.

The site currently offers options for carpoolers to connect in Bangalore and Pune. Vipul’s plans is to extend it across to major cities in India soon.

This particular podcast interview was done a few months ago — since then, the site has grown, with a lot of people signing up.

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