Desi innovators put India on app map
From calculating cab fare to making sense of medicines prescribed by the doctor, from keeping track of employees to securing cellphones with fingerprints — these apps have not only made life easier, they are also all made in India. Chetan Chauhan reports.
From calculating cab fare to making sense of medicines prescribed by the doctor, from keeping track of employees to securing cellphones with fingerprints — these apps have not only made life easier, they are also all made in India.
The country's mobile applications industry grew 22.6% in the past year and is projected to cross $227 million (₹1,804 crore) in 2012, a report by global consultancy firm Gartner says. The global app business is worth $8.5 billion (₹44,200 crore) with the US leading the invention pack, followed by Europe and India fast catching up.
A recent Nasscom study says India has 9,000 app development firms with the majority of them coming up in the past three years.
"It is where the future business is," says ex-IITian Nakunj Jain, 23, who co-founded INOX apps with college graduate Sachin, 22.
They started out of Jain's Delhi home three years ago and now have an office in Noida with 50 employees. "Our fingerprint-based lock screen app had over 25 million downloads in less than a year," Jain says.
In Gurgaon, Prashant Tandon, 28, and Sameer Maheshwari, 29, have come up with an app that helps explain the impact of a medicine on one's health and compares the market prices of around 500 drugs. It boasts of more than 25,000 downloads in less than three weeks of its launch.
Siddhartha Banerjee's app, Meterdown, was born of his commuting experience in Mumbai. Fed up with being over-charged, his smartphone app calculates auto/taxi fare and has been downloaded over 1,00,000 times and counting. It helped him float his own company.
India is estimated to have 2,50,000 app developers and a few among them have won global applause. Aadhar Bhalinge's Smart Rickshaw Network won the World Bank's 'm2Work' award for innovation. The app aims to use the network of rickshaw drivers to get real-time information on traffic congestion. It comes with a subscription price, but Bhalinge says 'it can empower drivers with additional income'.
India's army of app inventors is bright, young and brave - having left behind cozy jobs to start their own companies. 'I was bored with my consultancy job and quit in 2009 to do something different,' says Jain.
Kishore AK and V Sagar lost their jobs during the 2008 downturn and started Althea Systems, which developed the Shufflr app that enables users to discover, watch and share videos on the web. 'Losing my job turned out to be a blessing in disguise,' says Kishore.
How many of us can say that!
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