On April 18, this year, an agreement was signed between United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to establish a UK-India Tech Partnership whose celebration led to the UK-India FutureTech Festival, held on December 11 and 12 in New Delhi.
This tech partnership, modelled on the UK-Israel Tech Hub that had an impact of £600 million on the UK economy, aims to pair startups and medium-sized businesses in both the countries to collaborate on new innovations and exchange ideas and manpower for mutual development.
The festival saw a gathering of 200 companies and over 1000 delegates over two days. Various new technologies were at display alongside briefing events and conferences.
BuffaloGrid, one of the participating companies, has made mobile charging easily accessible to thousands of people who previously had limited access to electricity.
BuffaloGrid provides the solution by working with organisations operating in off-grid communities to deploy its internet-enabled mobile charging system.
BuffaloGrid’s first focus is bringing its solar-powered community-based mobile charging technology to the 1,907,000 villages without power across India that will help over 240 million Indians to access free mobile phone charging at their local stores.
An IIT Roorkee startup, Log 9 Materials, which specialises in Graphene Nanotechnology, developed the Metal-Air Battery – a revolutionary battery that runs on water, air, and metals, like aluminium. Put in a commercial use, the battery can be used in an Electric Vehicle which will run 10 times longer than ordinary EVs for 1000 km after which the recyclable metal can be replaced within minutes.
A Bangalore based textile company Bigphi develops intelligent apparels with sustainable materials that are stain-repellent, odour-free, and temperature sensitive with cooling fabric. The smart apparels also retain the heat that is released by the body during day-to-day activities and reflect it back to the body, reducing fatigue by 10-15 per cent. These apparels are available on their website with their in-house brand Turms and also on online marketplaces like Amazon and Flipkart. The price ranges from Rs 699 to Rs 2999.
Other innovations included Pod+, an in- bottle filtration and purification system, from nkd LIFE – a Britain-based company, that filters water in real time as one drinks it. The Pod+ bottle is available for Rs 1999 and the filter for Rs 999.
The second day of the festival witnessed announcements from various tech companies.
A £1 million healthcare programme is launched where various Artificial Intelligence (AI) health companies from the UK will deploy their technologies in the government hospitals and Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) in India to facilitate the achievement of Universal Health Coverage through Ayushman Bharat. The programme will include technologies like AI solutions that can identify lung cancer via digital CT scans, AI that can diagnose Cervical Cancer in PHC level, an AI app that can support a PHC worker to correctly diagnose and recommend treatment, and an AI tool that will provide health workers with best practice treatment guidelines in their local languages.
A Cambridge-based tech firm ‘CyanConnode’ developed a new smart metering product that will provide the user with accurate and timely data and eliminate the need for manual reading of the meter. They have managed to generate about £19 million in the Indian consumer market in over a year and announced new projects worth £100 million for the future.
Equinti Group announced the opening of their new office in Bangalore in January that can potentially offer up to 350 jobs. They are a UK-based tech solution company and provide solutions for complex administrations.
To tackle disinformation online, ‘Logically,’ a UK-based startup of an Indian-origin entrepreneur has launched a consumer website that has tools to detect hate speech, entity sentiment analysis, and article emotion detection.
Europe-based Colt Data Centre Services has announced the opening of their first office in India and has acquired the land to open a hyper-scale data centre facility in Mumbai.
The festival saw an assembly of innovators and investors from both the partner countries and marked a key point in this unique tech partnership.