10 Concepts Demo at In50Hrs Chennai


UI is the stand out across all demos...

There is something about geeky stuff. You are instantly out of place if they start talking their language. Three students from SSN College of Engineering put up hardware device called Raspberry PI on to the projector and it began to stream codes. After a wait, and keying in some indecipherable stuff (all alien to you), a TED video plays on screen. The crowd is enthused. What these guys have done is they have shown a future possibility. Without any software on your phone or computer, using this hardware device, you can play videos and music. After all this stuff, I innocuously ask, “Where is the UI?” One guy comes up to show the playlist on his phone. It’s similar to Google Nexus playlist, we are told. You click the video or music to play, it just happens. You can’t of course, stop it, rewind it or do all that you can do on YouTube. It directly plays from the TED server if it is a TED video. In future, using one device, you can minimize load of software on your phone or computer and use it as a via media to get all applications running from the Cloud. It’s one of the 10 presentations that went up on the evening of 22 July in In50Hrs, a concept to prototype event, organized every quarter by the Startup Centre.

“We try to improve over every edition of In50Hrs. All those UIs are thanks to focus on design,” says Dorai Thodla, one of the mentors of the geeky teams that came loaded with ideas and code-writing skill. Narayanan Hariharan of Effect Works helped the teams build a user interface. For those still unable to get, user interface is the gimmicky graphic through which you navigate the complex backend codes and run your application. I remember how screens looked way back in 1997. You had a DOS log in and a C:> will appear and you need to start typing to log on. When Windows 98 came, it was smartly graphic. All you need to do was boot and wait for the computer to give you a Desktop screen. Then using graphic icons, you get to the application such as Word or Outlook or Internet Explorer you wanted. All products that run an application need an awesome user interface like a book cover. None of the applications lacked the UI in In50Hrs. Some of them looked professional liked a finished product. For those of you still unable to find a connect, the product entrepreneurs are now focused on design as an important component of building a product. Remember Steve Jobs? That guy revolutionised product design. In a discussion recently, I was told Engineering Design department was founded in IIT-Madras exactly for the “looks” of the engineering stuff that is developed. Or at least understand its relevance.
“The quality of demos are good,” Suresh Sambandam, founder of OrangeScape and another mentor, sounded a bit excited. I think the UI did a part of the trick. But UI was not the only great thing about the presentations. They had some depth, some nice features, some of them cool, and that placed the whole event on a different plane altogether. Lux Lakshmi Narayanan, founder of Unmetric, began to give his tips as presenters stopped for advice after their 180-second run. His son was quietly glued to his video game, oblivious to the noise generated by geekiness. Asif Ali, another mentor, was also impressed with the presentations.

The presentations were:

  1. Give Life, FB app – blood donation through Facebook. Developer: Krishna Ulag.
  2. XiDeals, FB app – Deals on FB based on a coupon model. Developer: Ravi, founder of a startup Xi.
  3. SnapFactory, visual merchandising – image library of products for e-commerce sites.
  4. Synapz, student-company connect – code training for students and visibility of skill sets to recruiting companies.
  5. Office Hours, calendar management – helping experts and you connect. Through calendar, expert’s free time information made available. Developer: Ashwin Ramaswamy.
  6. Web Trails, following a topic of discussion on the Web – follow a trail of links on the Web topicwise and create your own trail. Developer: Meghool.
  7. User data from Web apps – using mixed panel and creating rules to understand events that lead to user profile. Developer: Siddarth Govindaraj
  8. Customer Labs, customer engagement portal – helping customer acquisition, segmentation and retention. Developer: Vishnu
  9. Card.li, communication through cards – exchange information through cards, an alternative to email for short-form communication. Developer: Tariq.
  10. Playlist on Raspberry PI – generate a playlist and use Raspberry PI to play the video or music directly from the Web. Developers: student team (Devaraj, Sunil, Anand) from SSN College of Engineering

TourMyApp, developed by Siddharth Govindaraj, in the last edition of In50Hrs has become a full-fledged product now. “Don’t stop with this event and get user feedback,” said Sid on developing the prototype into a workable product. Jazeel, Nizam, and Saud are now residents in the Startup Centre trying their Eventifier, an archive of events website. “Just keep working, just keep moving” said Jazeel and encouraged people to try out their ideas without hesitation. “If you wait for the perfect product to build like a Titanic, it will sink one day,” he added to peals of laughter from the audience.

Vijay Anand, founder of Startup Centre, has reasons to be happy. He says, “The In50hrs Chennai Fifth Edition has been a phenomenal success by whatever metric we can think of – the quality of participants, ideas, and the final demos that were presented. Time and time again, we get proven that teams that can execute can outshine, and wow an audience. We are quite excited to take this platform to other cities now."



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