KOCHI: A cloud-technology based social decision-making platform, a device to convert normal TV set into smart TV and a 'gesture-based' touchless interface for Windows have emerged winners of the regional round of the prestigious MicrosoftBizSpark Challenge 2013.
What is common to all three is that they are innovations by young entrepreneurs being nurtured by India's first telecom technology incubator, Startup Village.
The winner of the competition DecideQuick has produced a novel tool to help people make smart, well-informed decisions.
According to its developers it is the first-ever platform to use social data analytics and co-own private social data to help people choose products and services, said a press release by Startup Village.
The programme gives recommendations to the user, based on real-time analysis of the opinions of friends, influencers and the public on social networks, saving them the hassle of trawling through tonnes of data online.
QEdge, the first runner up, is the only campus startup to make its way into the regional rounds of the BizSpark Challenge. Its three co-founders Nithin George, Jibin Jose and Jacob Mani are still in college and are currently incubating their firm at Startup Village.
Their flagship product is the QPlay hardware device which is capable of turning a normal television set into a smart TV. By allowing home users to stream media files in any format from any mobile and PC wirelessly, QPlay can potentially redefine media viewing experience.
RHLvision Interactive LLP, the second runner up is again a nascent establishment at Startup Village that has developed a touchless interface for Windows smartphones that enable users to change songs or play games using gesture control.
Founded by Rohildev N and his friends Jithesh and Famees - a group of technology enthusiasts just out of college - Robotic Human Logic (RHL) is working on technologies such as computer vision and natural user interface.
Besides the gesture-based User Interface (UI) for smartphones and websites, RHLvision has also developed IntAds, display ads capable of interacting with users and providing them virtual trial options; and large-screen touchless displays for use by doctors in hospitals.
The winner and the two runners-up at the Challenge held on May 29 receive a purse of $4,000, $2,000 and $1,000 respectively.
"Our facility is a mine of talent, novel business ideas and innovative products; and events such as the BizSpark Challenge provide an opportunity for young entrepreneurs to gain the validation and mentoring their businesses need," saysStartup Village Chairman Sanjay Vijayakumar.
According to Sijo Kuruvila George, the CEO of Startup Village, the response to the competition was amazing, not just from within the Startup Village community but outside as well.
"The fact that Microsoft has brought its BizSpark Challenge to Kochi for the first time shows just how big an impact Startup Village has had on entrepreneurship in Kerala.
"In these two years we have seen such a flow of creative energy, new ventures and quality innovations that we are proud to say our state is truly on its way to becoming a global technology hub," he said.
Shameer Thaha, CEO of DecideQuick -- a Thiruvananthapuram- based big-data start-up -- described the amount of innovation in the field in the past couple of years as 'staggering'.
Microsoft's BizSpark programme supports software startups by giving them access to valuable technology-based benefits.
Rajinish Kattayil, Director (ISV & Cloud Strategy), Microsoft India, said the BizSpark India Startup Challenge has continued to grow over the past three years. "It has been supporting fresh ideas and providing world-class technological support, thus enabling start-ups to have a better chance of business success," he added.