AiRpaper’s journey towards a Digital India

Contributed by team Airpaper – Top 10 Innovator

In a fast paced and rapidly evolving environment, access to information is paramount for the citizens of any country. This is all the more true for India where about 70% people live in rural areas. Were you aware that only 15% of the Indian population is connected to the Internet?

The need of the hour is to use India’s existing infrastructure to relay information to remote places and help people become more aware to aid their advancement.

The start of GeekSynergy’s journey:

At GeekSynergy, we believe that innovation with an existing infrastructure will revolutionize the country. So, we started to research on India’s most widespread information network - the Radio.

History has shown us that when other systems like Mobile and Television networks fail, Radio communication keeps going. A spark lit up in our minds - why couldn’t we use Radio to transmit Digital Newspapers to the citizens of the country? Especially to the rural parts where reach of news is infrequent.

And hence…AiRpaper was born.

The Solution:

AiRpaper (AIR + newspaper) is a digital information distribution platform that leverages unused spectrum in Radio frequency, to carry textual and pictorial data in relevant languages to the people of India.

AiRpaper can provide the Government a low cost communication
 channel to deliver details of policies and schemes in the form of visual information to every citizen of the country, for free!

It can be utilized in a wide variety of applications such as:

  • Disaster Management Systems: All India Radio was the only source for people to access vital information regarding the weather and floods in the ongoing Chennai disaster.
  • Digital Signage Systems: Each and every signage board can be updated in real time.
  • Farmer’s Pocket Guide: Information about crops and the latest agricultural techniques can be given to farmers.
  • Educational Tool - For students and institutions alike.
  • Set up of AiRpaper during the Prototype Day
  • Image courtesy: Mail Today

The development of our Product:

AiRpaper as an idea was selected to the Top 50 of the Intel & DST - Innovate For Digital India Challenge. After three days of a Boot Camp and intensive mentoring and changes to our business model, we successfully qualified for the Accelerator Phase of the Challenge.

Over the course of the next two months we began to develop a working prototype of our product. Intel, in collaboration with Department of Science and Technology and CIIE – IIMA played a key role in helping us develop our prototype. We used the Intel® INDE platform to accelerate the development of our mobile app and the required decoders and encoders.

The team was also mentored on Customer Acquisition, Business Development, Product Design and Development. Globant and Elephant Design gave us valuable design feedback for the application development of AiRpaper.

We were now at the final stage of the Accelerator Phase. The entire team was super excited, as we had a fantastic chance to display our products with demos to industry giants.

  • Mentoring sessions at IIM, Ahmedabad
  • Team AiRpaper in CIIE, Pune (from left) - Anil Kumar M, Gowrav L, AB SachinAnchan

National exposure & Top 10 felicitation:

After a fruitful and enlightening journey, we finally made it to the Top 10 of the IFDIC. It was a delightful moment for every member of GeekSynergy as we were invited to Delhi for the felicitation.

Held at the Oberoi Hotel, the event was action packed and highly exciting for us. During the day, we pitched our idea to Mr. Greg Pearson, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing Group and were then felicitated by Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Communications & IT, Government of India. What a moment it was when we were presented as the Top 10 Innovators of India!

Post the felicitation ceremony, we made our way to
Rashtrapati Bhavan to meet the President of India, Shri. Pranab Mukherjee. The entire AiRpaper team considers this as one of the proudest moments of our lives. Not only because we presented our idea to the highest standing and most respected person in India, but because our efforts were highly lauded by the President.

Overall, IFDIC has been a fantastic learning & evolving experience for us. GeekSynergy would like to thank everyone who supported us in  developing our product and enabled us to learn so much about entrepreneurship. We are confident, that after this journey, we are one step closer to making our dream product a reality and do our bit in achieving the goal of a Digital India.

  • Team AiRpaper being felicitated by Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister
  • Photo Courtesy: Intel DST

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are solely of the participants and do not represent the views of Intel, the Department of Science & Technology and CIIE in any form or matter.