While we were doing fairly well in Silicon Valley, somewhere within, we always wanted to solve real world problems that affected our society at a very basic level.
We firmly felt that India’s emergence on the global stage and progress as a nation was hampered severely by its inability to solve basic quality of life issues.
During our travels across the country, we were deeply disturbed by how poor waste management practices lead to a diminished quality of life.
We decided to change the status quo and returned to India in 2013 to start Banyan Nation, which, in its initial avatar was a municipal solid waste management company that wanted to bring in scientific rigor, innovation and sustainable practices to the industry by managing the wastes of entire cities.
We developed an innovative mobile technology platform that integrated these informal sector handlers of waste to recover and recycle dry-waste.
Over the past three years, Banyan Nation has evolved into an innovative technology driven recycling venture that is using a combination of informatics and cutting edge polymer science and engineering to root out inefficiencies in India’s recycling value chain. Our product, Better Plastic™, made from recycled plastic materials, rivals virgin plastic in quality as well as in price, and can be used in a wide variety of applications across several industry sectors.
Banyan's smart waste technology platform allows cities to manage city waste and recycling operations through a combination of on-field sensors like biometric attendance devices, bin sensors, GPS truck routers, DRCC and landfill management toolkits and back-end visualization and analytic engines.
Administrators not only get a bird's eye view of the city waste management operations but also gain valuable insights into inefficiencies and bottlenecks. Over a period, our data analytics engine can predict such issues beforehand and alert administrators to take preemptive action instead of reactive solutions.
Through its mentorship program, participating in the Challenge turned out to be a phenomenal avenue for tackling massive societal challenges through technology innovations. The intense 8-week accelerator program gives entrepreneurs like us the opportunity to build MVPs that can be whetted by potential customers and achieve the right product-market fit. The program helped us refine our value proposition to best solve our customers’ pain point, which happens to be the municipalities.
The Challenge is the perfect avenue for startups like us to showcase our product to ULBs and municipalities, given that this entire program is driven by the Digital India vision of the GOI.
Intel trained engineers have been incredibly supportive and have given us technical inputs and feedback to help evolve our concept into a robust and stable product that can be significantly scaled up.
The Banyan team is leveraging Intel® based IoT platforms across the value chain to build out the smart waste platform. To track worker attendance, Banyan is leveraging Intel® design driven Janunnati Pad, an enterprise class touch enabled mobile device comes with integrated STQC certified Finger print scanner for Aadhaar based bio-metric authentication.
For its in-house bin sensors, Banyan team is using the Intel® Edison Development Platform which includes the Intel® Edison board for Arduino and the Intel® IoT analytics platform.
We are fortunate to have been incubated at T-Hub, India’s leading incubator. The team at T-Hub has been a great source for providing direction and encouragement. They believed in our vision and the solution.
Our production beta is currently tested at one of the local municipalities.
We see the Intel-DST challenge as a great opportunity not only for the Banyan team but also an opportunity to motivate engineering students to take an active part in nation building and solving real on-the-ground problems for India.
By the end of the accelerator program, our goal is to create a working solution that can be adopted by multiple municipalities. The value proposition of our solution is not just limited to one city or town. Our scalable and modular design is customizable to suit needs of the major cities as well as small towns facing budget constraints.
The platform can be deployed as an end-to-end solution, i.e. all the way from on-the-field sensors to the back-end visualization and analytics engine, or provide a modular solution where appropriate (for eg, integrate with existing 3rd party vendors who are optimizing specific areas such as GPS truck routing or worker attendance). The solution also fits in with large systems integrators and technology providers working on smart city solutions.