In Mumbai, Dharavi is not the first place that comes to mind when looking for great examples of tech based innovation. But students from the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B) and Indian Design Center (IDC) are trying to do just that by implementing an Internet of Things (IoT) based solution for shops and consumers in what is often called Asia's largest slum.
According to a report in the Hindustan Times, the student project uses beacon technology to connect shops in Dharavi to a network. When a customer nears a beacon, she will get a notification on her smartphone informing her about offers and products in nearby shops.
Students in IIT-B and IDC have collaborated with Swansea University in UK to install the beacons in almost 30 shops. The project is part of a research award competition organised by Google. The search giant has provided a 100 smartphones as beacons to the students.
"This enhanced shopping experience aims to not only boost the customer-seller relation but attract more buyers to the markets of Dharavi," a statement issued by IIT-B said. "In the greater scheme of things, this will bring a change in the way Dharavi is perceived."
The implementation of the technology involves creating a physical web between different points. The HT report says that students have also created posters for consumers to switch on the Bluetooth in their smartphones so that they can enjoy the shopping experience.
Apple has its own standard called iBeacon for iPhone 4S and later models. The beacon technology has been used by chains such as McDonald's to attract customers. While Google has its own version of the beacon, both variants have been used in industries such as hospitality, travel, sports and trade shows.
Once the project is completed, the team will submit a report on it to Google and seek more support and grants.