I avoid long distance travelling in buses as it becomes boring to sit for 10-15 hours with limited source of entertainment. Most of the buses play trending or old movies (which may not be preferred by you), and thus add to your frustration and boredom. One such experience while travelling in bus triggered Thejaswi Gurumurthy and Naveen Krishnaswamy to think about providing personalized entertainment content to the travelers in luxury buses (Volvo and Mercedes). Following the common misery, the duo have founded TouringTalkies iPES (intelligent Personal Entertainment System) - which offers Hit movies from several genres in various languages, upcoming movie promos and relevant advertisements, prominent TV serials, popular music, games,books and Newsletters including Internet on touch screen devices..
Given that, bus travel is one of the most common mediums of inter-city transportation in India. Every day, millions of passengers travel from one city to another, spending between 5 and 20 hours sitting or sleeping in a bus. TouringTalkies’ value proposition is to provide high-quality, legal, personal entertainment to these passengers.How does iPES work?
The iPES architecture is based on open technologies, and structured to be highly scalable. The on-board content server uses Java, J2ee and web services. The touch-screen personal entertainment device runs on Android. All the parts of the iPES are designed to work seamlessly with each other, and the design has been successfully field-tested. The iPES installation on any bus can be controlled remotely from the central command center in its office in Bangalore.Speaking about marketsize of iPES Krishnaswamy said, “Approximately 1,000 high-end luxury buses, including Volvo and Mercedes buses, are deployed every year in India. At present, these luxury buses are TouringTalkies’ primary target market. As fleet owners upgrade their aging fleets, we expect more luxury buses on India’s roads, broadening our primary target market size.”
Besides luxury buses, the startup has also made inroads into the non-luxury and sleeper bus markets by installing lighter versions of the TouringTalkies iPES product. “The TouringTalkies product family now contains versions that can be installed on all types of buses in the transportation industry,” added Krishnaswamy.
Currently, the startup has installed iPES over 40 buses that ply different routes across India. Following close interactions with fleet owners, TouringTalkie has fine-tuned its flagship product, and offer several versions to meet customer needs and price points. “Our product comes with full installation, comprehensive warranty and extensive support, which gives fleet owners the confidence to work with us,” said Krishnaswamy . The startup has content leasing agreement with a major Bollywood movie house and also in process to obtain content from regional content providers for movies, songs and TV programs.
The venture has been seed funded by US-based Syven ventures. With team of 10 members Krishnaswamy, who headed engineering for redBus in his earlier assignment, manages sales, technology and operations for TouringTalkies. Gurumurthy lives in the US, and manages finance and strategy for the venture. His past experience includes positions at UBICS, IBM and Aditi Technologies.
In future, the company intends to expand the installed base for the iPES product and develop several passenger-friendly features in coming months. “We are also in the process of implementing a business intelligence module that will capture passenger demographics and content view statistics for data analysis,” added Krishnaswamy. TouringTalkie will also explore additional revenue streams from advertisements, content sales, geographic expansion and products for other mass-transportation systems.