Celebrating ideas, celebrating Wi-Fi

At the first-ever WiFi Think Fest, several out-of-the-box proposals emerge winners

Updated - September 15, 2017 12:28 pm IST

Published - September 15, 2017 12:34 am IST - Mumbai:

Innovative mind: Pravin Bhagwat (R), co-founder and CTO, Mojo Networks, presenting the award to Akanksha Pandey from IIIT, Delhi, at IIT Bombay on Thursday. Ms. Pandey’s mentor Vinayak Naik is also seen.

Innovative mind: Pravin Bhagwat (R), co-founder and CTO, Mojo Networks, presenting the award to Akanksha Pandey from IIIT, Delhi, at IIT Bombay on Thursday. Ms. Pandey’s mentor Vinayak Naik is also seen.

Is it not irritating when you are politely asked by a restaurant manager to wait for your food though you have placed the order a while ago? Even though you are in a hurry, you end up wasting a good 20-30 minutes before the food reaches your table. If you are not lucky and the restaurant is crowded, the wait gets prolonged, further testing your patience.

Now, imagine a scenario where you can walk in to a restaurant, settle down at your table, use your smartphone camera to capture the table’s unique QR code which would take you to the restaurant’s website and menu to help you place your order. After you take your pick, the order and the table number would flash on a screen in the kitchen, thus cutting down your waiting time.

This out-of-the-box ‘Smart Restaurant’ idea fetched Soumya Sambit Rath of NIT, Rourkela, Odisha, the third prize at the WiFi Think Fest, the results of which were declared recently. Organised by Mojo Networks, the contest began in July and saw nearly 400 registrations from students across the country.

Mr. Rath, a third-year student in the Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering, says when someone, finding time from their hectic life, steps out with their friends or families to dine, they would like to make it memorable.

“But we often have to sit and wait at the table till the waiter comes and takes the order. If you are hungry, this turns out to be frustrating,” he says.

Since most restaurants offer free internet to customers, he says, they can design their own website. “They would not have to spend anything extra. All they have to do is to design a website and print some QR codes.”

With successful implementation, this could be a win-win situation for customers and restaurants. Soumya also suggests extending this concept to railway stations, airports and libraries.

The objective of, what the organiser claims as the first-ever WiFi ideathon in India, was to encourage students to come up with innovative ideas to unleash the power of Wi-Fi to facilitate the creation of a smart world.

The first prize was bagged by Dheryta Jaisinghani and Akanksha Pandey from Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi, for their idea on data transfer.

In order to transfer data, a device needs to connect to an access point. But for the IoT devices that need to send small amounts of data, Ms. Pandey says, getting a connection is an overhead as compared to the size of data being transferred.

“We proposed to add data to the probe request frames which can be broadcast by every device without any connection and is received by all access points in the radio range of the transmitting device.”

Data, she said, could be similarly broadcast from the access points using beacon frames for public announcements. “These mechanisms don’t need any connection to the internet and use management frames like probe requests and beacons.”

Amit Manchanda from Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, bagged the second prize for his idea of developing an app to benefit retailers and customers. The idea struck him when his mother asked him to buy vegetables from market. “I met an old friend on the way and got engaged in a discussion. Soon I realised that I had already crossed the vegetable shop, and had to go back.”

It was then that he planned to develop his app. “Retailers could share their inventory and customers could list out their items. A notification could be sent to the customer when the product is available at a nearby store. Wi-Fi would ensure the process runs smoothly for both parties.”

Pravin Bhagwat, co-founder and CTO, Mojo Networks, said, “The response to the first WiFi Think Fest indicates that students have countless number of ideas that need to be nurtured. With further mentoring, many of these ideas can be turned into useful applications and startups.”

The awards were presented at the two-day 4th Wi-Fi Knowledge Summit at IIT-Bombay, which began on Thursday.

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