A final year MBA tech student, Mridul Bhatnagar was constantly bothered by noise pollution around his campus at NMIMS Mukesh Patel School of technology Management & Engineering in Mumbai. He wondered why couldn’t the government enforce the law in spite of the area being a ‘silence zone’. That led him to develop a wearable device that can detect sound pollution, and notify authorities when it crosses the acceptable level. The device uses sensors and Artificial Intelligence to adjust decibel levels and is connected to the cloud. With this, authorities can monitor discrepancies real-time along with geographical co-ordinates.
The company, Megabizz4U, was formed in 2015 with Rs 1 lakh investment, contributed by Mridul and his partner, Varnali Sharma. It was recently recognized by Start-Up India initiative set up by the government. Not only will the company become eligible for PM’s startup funds, but will also receive a five-year tax holiday, as a part of the recognition. The technology was patented in February 2017.
Building a business
The socially impactful innovation does not restrict its utility to law enforcement only. “It is useful for businesses who produce sound proofing equipment and materials along with law enforcement agencies and police. We have seen interest from two commercial enterprises which will help enforce health and safety norms for noise polluting industries for their workers. The employees can wear a badge which will record the frequency of sound that they are exposed during work hours. The colour indicative badges can inform the workers to leave the environment, when it turns hazardous,” informs Bhatnagar.
In spite of the initial success, work towards the company is far from over. Apart from looking for funding, the company will also have to set-up demonstrative installation in the city and understand the social impact of sound pollution. It is also working closely with the Pollution Board of India to improve health parameters of public areas as well as industries.
The mentorship at NMIMS which guided them by vetting the technology and commercial usage, is continuing its support to take the innovation ahead. “Currently we are helping the company develop a robust business plan and incubate it the company at upcoming technology incubation centre at the University,” said Maju Jacob, director of international linkages at the university. The institution also helps its students file patents for their innovations, and aids product development.
Megabizz4U is first such innovation from the University which earned the government nod. However. the university has been spearheading creative thinking and encouraging their students to identify problem areas which can turn into start-ups. It also provides its students with a strong panel of mentors who range from scientists, technologists, biologists, lawyers, fintech professionals to corporate strategists.
The faculty of NMIMS too strive to sow the seeds of ideation and research. “We are seeing increased interest among technology students in IoT (Internet of Things) and other technology linked solutions for various sectors, The students initially come up with an idea of aggregators in several segments adapting from booming start-ups like OLA, However, in the later part of their course they understand need of sustainable and socially impactful solution and start working on user pain points in detail,” informs Jacob.