Innovation That Matters

India is seeing breakthroughs in recycling, emerging technologies and education. | Photo source JK on Unsplash

4 innovation trends transforming business in India


The following trends focus on what is shaping India's industry in a broader sense — including breakthroughs in recycling, emerging technologies and education.

In collaboration with Startup India, the Government of India’s online platform for the country’s startup ecosystem, we recently hosted the Springwise Positive Innovation Challenge. The aim was to support Indian entrepreneurs and startups that have a future-changing idea, product or service addressing a social or sustainability issue.

We’re in the midst of showcasing the winners, with Punaha Battery Renescance, The Nom and CogniABle already featured amongst our daily innovations this week. 

The following trends focus on what is shaping India’s industry in a broader sense — including breakthroughs in recycling, emerging technologies and education. 

1. AI-driven innovation in water resource

India is experiencing interesting developments in the area of water crisis management using AI. Roughly 18 per cent of the world’s population resides in India, yet the country only has access to 4 per cent of usable water sources. Consequently, 163 million Indians lack access to safe drinking water.  

Thankfully, the potential for Digital Supply Chains, Big Data, Internet of Things (IoT), AI, and robotics to maximize India’s water resources is proving prosperous. For example, Kritsnam Technologies Private Limited, which Springwise recently featured, uses AI-driven planning to understand the real-time water loss and prioritisation, to design and implement better distribution networks. Likewise, Google is working alongside India’s ministry of water resources to forecast floods with AI. 

Water scarcity is not solely a problem in India. According to the UN, about a fifth of the world’s population live in areas of water scarcity and an additional 1.6 billion people lack the infrastructure to access drinking water. Innovations like Kritsnam Technologies could prove beneficial across nations. 

2. Modi 2.0 Green mobility push

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is giving a significant push toward clean mobility and e-vehicles in India. According to a report titled the Global Burden of Disease, a child dies every three minutes due to inhaling toxic air pollutants in India, killing 1,95,546 children in 2017. 

With vehicles presenting a major source of air pollution, a transition to e-vehicles is imperative. However, replacing traditional cars with electric transportation requires that consumers be willing to spend extra. In a market like India, where the average salary starts at €79 a month, such changes are likely to take years.  

This is why the advent of supporting technologies is a key enabler to mediate the uptake of electric vehicles. For example, Punaha Battery Renescance has invented a method of battery regeneration that can double their average life span. Harihara Subrahmaniam told Springwise: “With increased life of batteries by means of regeneration, use of new batteries will be reduced, thus resulting in lesser greenhouse effect and carbon emissions”. 

3. Plastic recycling

India’s pro-growth policy has manifested in a government push to increase the uptake of plastics.

According to a report published earlier this year by FICCI, the average person in India uses 25 pounds of plastic a year. Considering that the average American uses ten times more, and that plastic has been interpreted as a marker for economic growth, the Indian government aims to double the country’s plastics consumption by 2022.

Thankfully, the country has also experienced a boom in small start-ups and non-governmental bodies that focus on plastic-recycling and plastic-alternatives. From edible straws – made from wheat and rice – to companies transforming plastic waste into construction materials, India is producing a plethora of creative thinking. 

4. EdTech

India represents the world’s largest population aged 6 to 17 years. Despite suffering from a lack of infrastructure and a shortage of trained teachers, the education market in India is expected to reach €160 billion by 2020.

The shortage of trained personal is one reason why technology promises to play a significant role in education, especially those using machine learning. For example, CogniABle uses advanced deep learning models to screen and treat Autism and other associated disorders. The tool can also be used remotely, allowing anyone, anywhere to upload a video of a child and get a screening result in one-two days, all at 5 per cent of the cost.
According to a report by market-research firm Metaari named “The Rise of the Global Edtech Unicorns”, EdTech companies invested over €14.70 billion during 2018, with India only outperformed by China and the U.S.

Written by: Katrina Lane