Mori, a small cashew-exporting village in Andhra Pradesh’s East Godavari district is to turn ‘smart’ in December, using digital tools, real time information and uninterrupted internet connectivity. The prototype of a net-connected rural habitation will be launched here, under a partnership between the Andhra Pradesh government, the University of California at Berkeley, and several leading technology organisations.
The Innovation Society of the A.P. government is associated with the Garwood Centre for Corporate Innovation at the UC Berkeley-Haas School of Business in the effort to build a prototype scalable village, leveraging digital technology and open innovation.
Mori means a bridge and the residents are hopeful of building a virtual bridge to Silicon Valley.
“A Smart Village does not mean bringing in a lot of infrastructure and spending huge money, but empowering people with access to tools, resources, real time transparent information and uninterrupted internet connectivity,” said Professor Solomon Darwin, Director, Garwood Centre. Such a village is “a self-contained sustainable business model, a platform, an ecosystem, a brand and a caring community.”
Mori’s residents will participate in the study over the next five months, he said. The prototype is expected to be ready by mid-December and Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu would visit the village on December 29 to evaluate the technologies and the business models proposed for smart villages.
Prof. Darwin, who teaches courses on smart cities at Berkeley, strongly believes that making 6.5-lakh villages in India even ‘slightly smart’ would have an exponential impact on GDP and the Happiness Index, compared to ‘making a few hundred cities smart’.“Over 70 per cent of India’s population lives in the villages and it does not take much technology to make villagers happy,” he says.
Chairman of the Innovation Society J.A. Chowdary lauded Berkeley’s efforts in bringing together many Silicon Valley and other companies as partners in the effort. Google, Cisco, IBM, Ericsson, EVx, Sahaj, Tyco, Tech Mahindra, Potential.com, App Scape, Qualcomm, Paradigm Mtuity, NEC, Trianz and Builders of Hope have come together to find ways of simplifying technology and making it cost-effective for villages during the prototyping phase from September 1 to December 23.
Society CEO, Nikil Agarwal, Paradigm Infotek CEO Sridhar Raju, MLA Gollapalli Surya Rao and others were present at an event to take the Mori project further.