Towards testing the feasibility of converting rural internet service centres into secure ATM and cash transaction sites, specially built, biometric enabled low cost ATMs were selected keeping in mind cost and design. These ATMs can operate under power fluctuations and power failures, has built-in battery back-up and in temperatures ranging from 0°C to 50°C, provides biometric authentication, multilingual voice support and supports a patented cash-dispensing system that handles even soiled notes, a common feature in rural areas. The deployment was initiated along with the Indian National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme beneficiaries towards reaching out to first time account holders. With no advertisement support, during the inception 3 months of the pilot, over 600 new account holders were registered and a total cash of around 2Lakhs was transacted in, thereby pointing to the feasibility of this model. More recently an independently initiated Impact Assessment study in the ATM deployed regions confirmed the usefulness of these ATMs for rural cash access.
The majority of rural India will never be able to afford a PC or to access the Internet - partly because of the barriers in cost, adoption and also the steep learning curve associated with these technologies. Yet most of rural India and the wide span of the nation has been connected using the Mobile network. Using cutting-edge speech technology, RTBI has been able to build a system that can be customized and modified to rural users to access information in a natural manner - using voice.
Though we as a nation have been able to cover the country with Optic Fibre, it is still a challenge for most operators to deliver last mile connectivity, both in urban and rural centres at an affordable cost. The technology developed at RTBI, which has been patented, allows for the use of Wifi for long-range, last-mile connectivity using an innovative network architecture, enabling last mile connectivity to become a reality.
There is a heavy dependency on Indian agriculture on the factors of the weather, and it has become a crucial factor to enable micro-level weather prediction so that farmers cannot only rely on accurate weather prediction, but also be covered by services such as weather insurance, and benefit from farm inputs which would provide the maximum yield opportunity depending on climatic cycles. The Weather Monitoring Kit developed by RTBI/TeNeT is set in the extremely affordable price scale, and delivers six levels of weather readings.
As we try to understand the desires, aspirations and needs of the rural customer, it becomes increasingly important to collect, aggregate and analyze feedback, inputs and suggestions from rural users. In most scenarios the cost of collection of this data would not be economically viable. The Mobile-based Data Collection Mechanism developed at built at RTBI/TCoE enables projects and our Early Stage ventures to be able to collect extensive data from the field, and using GPRS be able to provide almost real-time analysis of the same, so that data-input time, the cost of offline data to be digitized and the gap of fraudulent data is prevented.