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ITC 2018 is a Harbinger of New Possibilities with Technology and Innovations

Muralikrishna Reddy -  ITC 2018

Indian Technology Congress is a rendezvous of young as well mega minds in the field of technology and innovations to address various societal as well as industrial needs. Organised under the aegis of Indian Technology Congress Association, ITC has been providing immense support and guidance to innovators and technologists over the years. ITC 2018 is with its new initiatives and programs once again is all geared up to unveil another successful edition.     

Technology is an enabler of growth in every field; Indian Technology Congress (ITC) is a platform to disseminate the benefits of technology to every field in the society. In its 14 years of pioneering innovations and technology for societal and industrial needs, Indian Technology Congress has been more than just a conference.

Starting off its journey way back in 2004, the event was finally rechristened as ‘Indian Technology Congress’ in 2013. In its 6th edition as Indian Technology Congress 2018, the event gears up evermore to present its preeminence in its impact and influence with a dedicated theme ‘Technology First: Make India Innovate, Excel Globally and Prosper.’

ITC is a flagship event of the Indian Technology Congress Association (ITCA), a dedicated association for technologists focused on facilitating collaboration between professionals from the industry, R&D laboratories, government, academic institutions and professional bodies. Over the years, ITC has emerged as a leading forum for the confluence of thought leaders in technology, sciences, and businesses working on innovative technology-intensive solutions for contemporary challenges.

ITC 2018 is being organised by Foundation for Educational Excellence (FEE) for ITCA in collaboration with other professional associations actively involved with technology promotion including the World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), World Academy of Engineers (WAE), and the Indian Institution of Production Engineers (IIPE), amongst other professional societies, focused on technology promotion

In lead up to Indian Technology Congress 2018 which will take place on 5th and 6th September at NIMHANS Convention Centre, Bengaluru, MachineMaker spoke to Dr. L V Muralikrishna Reddy, President, ITCA and was enlightened about the aims and achievements Indian Technology Congress has had so far and the key areas for 2018 edition.

Spanning over two days the event features focus areas titled ‘Connected Farming: Indian AgriTech Space’, ‘Agriculture Drones to Precision Farming’, and ‘Futuristic Farmer-led Irrigation: Technologies of Automated & Pressurized Piped Networks’. However, the most special part of the event is its Student Satellite Programme.

ITCA has embarked on an ambitious national initiative, ‘India@75: Students' Satellites programme’ to build and launch in orbit 75 satellites to coincide with India's 75 years of Independence by 2022.

“Out of the 900 such satellites worldwide, in India, there are only 10 to 12 such satellites currently as compared to and we want to take this thing forward by engaging students with this initiative at school and college levels. We are in discussion with institutions and ITC 2018 will identify about 75 institutions as a hub to create incubation for developing and launching Student-Centric Satellites in respective institutions”, Dr. Reddy said.

“There are institutions in the country which have prior experiences in this area and their participation in ITC 2018 will be a boost to share their experiences with such projects”, Dr. added.  

Student-Centered Space-Craft Missions play a key and compelling role in Space-based scientific and engineering programmes, which will provide important “hands-on” experience for faculty members and enthusiastic students

Israel is the main partner country which along with sharing its know-how in aerospace technology is also providing soft loan for the for entire project and hand holding the teams including launch support.

“We are also exploring the support of Russia, Canada, USA, and France as well. We have identified interested teams/agencies from Israel, France, Canada, Netherlands, Spain, Russia, and the USA as an international collaboration to shape our Students Satellites Programmes among Indian institutions, in future with global financial support on mutually agreeable terms,” Dr. Reddy said.

During the last 14 years of its existence, ITC has not only proved to be a successful rendezvous but also a cradle of innovators and innovations. “We have helped at least 150 such innovations to become patents and products later on. Now, at least 150 colleges are associated with us for various activities. And in 2017 we initiated a mission of achieving 10,000 patents for its associate organizations.”

 “Through our journey, we have been nurturing many innovations which have resulted in many kinds of research and turning into industries through our knowledge base.” One of the areas is Micro Air Vehicle, subsequently, known as Drones. “From 2010 to 2015 we have had a national level programme for Micro Air Vehicles in collaboration with at least 30 to 35 institutions and governments with almost 90 crores expenditure. This has been a major industry-academia collaboration initiated by ITCA. And so 2015 onwards this area has been almost a regular programme of the Indian Technology Congress as those projects are going on and people associated with those projects are acknowledged and awarded on our platform.”  

This Micro Air Vehicle programme has larger prospects in defense applications, disaster management, and agriculture, the last one being a focus area since last year’s edition of the event.

Agriculture Drones to Precision Farming

Agriculture drones have been profoundly changing the face of farming and cultivation practices. The advances in Sensory systems, near-infrared cameras and aerial imagery abilities added to drone maneuvering capabilities and immensely impacting on agriculture landscape including upsurge yields and reduce crop damage.

Besides, drones contribute to farming fields agronomy including an inventory of plants, soil testing, smart irrigation, weed control, pest control, grain yield forecasting, planting of seeds, crop spraying, crop health assessment, etc.

The envisaged workshop will give insights into the veracity of Drone technologies for the future farming and Precision Agriculture. The workshop also covers how drones assist farmers in maximizing their harvest by perceiving problems early.

Government is working on doubling the income of the farmers these days and technology is the only means to achieve that particularly. “We have been supporting low cost technologies at the grass root level by various institutions and start ups. Even during last year’s event 17 start ups were featured at the forefront and connected with potential users and associating government bodies for discussion.” 

“One of the major contributions of ITC is that it has facilitated the platform for the agricultural and engineering students to come together. They have so far developed 43 technology projects throughout India which can enable rural development by using agriculture and we are connecting them to organisations for nurturing.”

With a view to this area, ITC 2018 will promote such technologies through dedicated focus area Connected Farming: Indian AgriTech Space

Connected Farming: Indian AgriTech Space

Digital revolution today is no less significant in agriculture as much as it is in other fields. “We are currently amid one of the most transformational periods in the history of agriculture with the evolution in agriculture and agricultural engineering from precision farming to connected, knowledge-based farm production systems.”

Sustainable practices; weather forecasting and early warning systems; fragmented land holdings; upskilling the workforce; scalability and markets; post-harvesting; food security and adulteration; supply-chain integration; erroneous irrigation practices; credit and financing are some of the decisive and strategic concerns that will influence future farming. Technology interventions will play an enormous role in such areas influencing farming revenues as envisioned in the Government of India’s programs including doubling the farming income.

The workshop will focus on the trends and future of farming from manually handled to technology and data driven digital farming termed as 'Farming 4.0.’

As much connected with the agriculture is the availability of water in farming and its efficient use particularly in the wake of depleting water resources. ITCA has been sharing the knowledge base of Israel the effective use of technologies in this area which will be a major point of discussion in ITC 2018 as part of the programme Futuristic Farmer-led Irrigation: Technologies of Automated & Pressurized Piped Networks.

Futuristic Farmer-led Irrigation: Technologies of Automated & Pressurized Piped Networks

Agriculture accounts for almost 70 per cent of water withdrawal globally and considering the expanding population level of India, food security will depend on adequate water availability throughput the farmland in the country. However, the country is found lagging in the proper irrigation system. Canals are still the main sources of water but for expanding need of irrigation canal is not may not become feasible as land acquisition is a major bottleneck.

Besides, studies show that typical irrigation efficiency ranges from 15-25%, implying that the systemic losses of irrigation water could go beyond 60%. Automated pressurized piped irrigation networks are a contemporary technique for water conveyance and distribution that helps minimize water losses in the conveyance network while promoting equitable water distribution for irrigation. ITC 2018 seeks to explore the possibilities of the expanding piping irrigation networks.

The past editions of ITC and Team Tech (the earlier version of ITC) since 2004 have attracted over 11716 delegates, 1328 research paper presentation, 57 parallel sessions/workshops 480+ exhibitors showcasing their products,1821 speakers,108 best paper awards and 50 technology awards being presented to renowned technical experts from engineering and technology. And ITC 2018 with new initiatives and focus is expected to add to its laurels and create new history.