Applying innovative technology in a rural setting, Indian mobile operator Tata Teleservices is helping farmers monitor and switch on irrigation pumps remotely, using a system dubbed Nano Ganesh.
The need for the technology stems from India's erratic power supply; farmers routinely walk several kilometres to water their crops, only to find that there's no electricity available to power their irrigation pumps. Through Nano Ganesh, farmers can dial a code from any phone to a mobile modem attached to the pump's starter. This informs them whether electricity is available, and allows them to remotely switch the pump on or off.
Named 'Nano Ganesh', the service—developed by agri-tech firm Ossian Agro—is currently being trialled in two villages in the state of Gujarat. The system is priced at INR 2700 (USD 56) for the wireless device connected to the pump's starter, plus phone costs. Customers can use cell phones they already own, since the system works even with the most basic handsets.
Nano Ganesh joins Tata's earlier mobile initiatives delivering educational content and agricultural information to rural communities. With mobile uptake growing quickly, there's a wealth of opportunity for practical ideas like this one.