Cellphone application for farmers among finalists from India

Cellphone application for farmers among finalists from India
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First Published: Wed, Jan 28 2009. 12 03 AM IST
Updated: Wed, Jan 28 2009. 12 03 AM IST
Bangalore: A cellphone application which allows farmers in Maharashtra to remotely access their irrigation pumps has earned Pune-based Ossian Agro Automation a place in the finals of the Forum Nokia’s Calling All Innovators Contest to be held in Barcelona, Spain, on 17 February.
About 5,000 farmers are using the application, called Nano Ganesh, since its launch in September. “People are enjoying our product. It is very simple and convenient,” said Santosh Ostwal, chief executive of Ossian Agro.
A modem along with this application on their mobile phones allows farmers to check availability of power to their irrigation systems. The remote access eliminates the need to travel, sometimes long distances in inclement weather, to check the power and turn on/off the pumps.
Ostwal and his engineer wife Rajeshwari have been building wireless solutions for the past 12 years, but he said his big breakthrough came through the low-cost water pump activation system. His small-scale unit employs 22 people, mostly women.
“No one has thought of it so far, and my product is affordable and the farmer has an option to buy his own mobile phone,” he said. The system alerts the farmer if the solution is stolen or tampered with.
Farmers in most states get power to run irrigation pump sets only at night. The erratic supply and remote location of pump sets increases the hardships of farmers. Nano Ganesh aims to make life easier for them.
Ostwal will also get to showcase this application at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona which will also give him an opportunity to interact with industry leaders and venture capitalists.
Ossian Agro is among the two finalists selected from India for the innovators competition being hosted by Nokia Oyj, the world’s leading cellphone maker. GreenPhone, an eco-friendly software application, developed by New Delhi-based Mobimonster 2.0, is the other finalist from India.
GreenPhone allows one to save on the phone’s battery and charger life. “It alerts you to several power consumption modules of your phone so that you can remove the charger or shut down the unwanted services to preserve power,” says Mobimonster’s website.
“The idea behind this (application) is to make mobiles really eco-friendly and conserve battery power,” said Ankur Srivastava, the 31-year-old chief executive of Mobimonster 2.0.
The firm allows users to download the application free for trial, but charges $15 (about Rs730) for constant use.
“The user can recover the money in around 10 months (from the power saved),” he said. The device alerts the mobile owner to switch off the wireless local area network, or/and Bluetooth if it is not in use.
The six-year-old firm, with 25 professionals, has built applications such as a SMS timer for Nokia, and is also a partner with BT Group Plc., the British telecom firm.
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First Published: Wed, Jan 28 2009. 12 03 AM IST