Podcast host: Mr. Madhu Kesavan | Podcast guest: Mr. Umesh Chandra
Friday, 07 October 2022 | 14 min 55 sec
Mr Madhu Kesavan, CEO of Way2Smile Solutions, engages Mr Umesh Chandran, Project Director at Hangji Global, in a conversation on Sustainable Development Goals and how the different stakeholders affect the roadmap in achieving these goals. They also go on to discuss the unique solutions / SDG-based projects that Way2Smile Solution has already implemented, and the company’s plans to keep working towards achieving the UN SDG2030 goals.
They also discuss the renewable energy sector, and how renewables can be made a part of mainstream energy operations with the help of financial and resource investments from both public and private entities.
Mr Madhu Kesavan ends the conversation with a hopeful outlook of the future:
“We cannot erase the past, but we can correct the future…”
Mr. Madhu Kesavan: Sustainability development is, we all know, that is the future we want. We also know these goals are really achievable and affordable, if we get the help and support from various political leadership, along with policies and databases. In this conversation, we are going to talk about sustainable energy and digital transformations.
This is Madhu Kesavan, I am the founder and CEO of Way2Smile Solutions. We are into delivering sustainable development goal-solutions for governments and enterprises and also digital transformation for enterprises.
Here we have Mr. Umesh Chandran; he has around 3 decades of experience in the energy sector and infrastructure space - Hello sir!
Mr. Umesh Chandra: Thanks so much Madhu. Primarily in the energy and infrastructure sector, starting off with India and then about two decades in the US and now getting close to almost a decade here in this region. Working out of Dubai and a few years in Singapore and doing quite a bit of work in India also, I consider myself an energy professional and very passionate about renewable energy, about sustainability, and circular economy. One of the interesting things that I found about your company is, although there's more technology and IT based firms in GITEX, I think you're one of two firms who has projected very overtly about your involvement with the Sustainable Development Goals. So I think it would be very helpful if you can shed some light, particularly in the solutions that you have developed. Maybe you can give an example of what you did for the government of which country and probably one in the private sector. I read up about your company and I know that some of the solutions that you have come about are fairly unique.
Mr. Madhu Kesavan: I would like to highlight about the oceanographic solutions that we have implemented which covers life on water and also like the workforce. The primary thing in that one is that actually helps countries to measure what is happening in that ocean. It is actually the data capturing from the buoys that helps them to find what is the weather there and what is the underwater pressure and is there any like tremendous earth pressure is increasing and are there going to be any kind of earthquake which is going to cause tsunami? So literally this is a kind of a tsunami management system which is connected with oceanography.
Mr. Umesh Chandra: I think it will be very helpful, particularly with the transformation due to climate change effects and more so in some of the island countries. I think they will definitely find your solution very valuable.
Mr. Madhu Kesavan: That is right. Forest Fire & Mountain tracking in the sense that it is not only for a specific state, even like for any countries, if there are any mountains and if they want to track like what is happening in that mountain. Let us say that the problem with the smartphone devices is if you don't have reception, like a mobile reception, you are going to lose everything in that one. You are not able to access the internet and you cannot do anything in that. So what we have really solved is if you don't have the mobile reception, you should be able to get the data in the sense the map, where you are standing right now and where is your nearby information center and how you can navigate and go to the particular location so that you can save yourself and you can navigate.
Mr. Umesh Chandra: I think the solution would particularly be helpful in the Middle East, in the desert environment, particularly when either projects or even for social recreation, people go out into the desert and may get lost.
Mr. Madhu Kesavan: Yeah, that is right. You are experience in energy sector, sustainable energy. Like we know there is an incremental change in the last three decades like energy and transmission system. How do you see that it has evolved or changed in this three decades?
Mr. Umesh Chandra: If you have to look at the energy sector as a whole, I think the primary change has been the increasing involvement or use of technology. So irrespective of it being conventional power or what is talked about a lot today and practiced, renewables, as well as in the oil and gas sector, we see technology being increasingly used. Whether it is from the point of just data capture, data analytics or some type of predictive analysis. Irrespective of that, there is a sea change which is only working towards or being able to address the challenges that the energy sector is facing. I know that one of the things that is really increasingly coming into place for renewables or integration of renewables into the entire energy sector. And we know that renewable energy is not something – it has its own idiosyncrasies. Solar is available only during the daytime, wind is better off during the night time, biomass depends upon the availability of raw material. So at the end of the day, when you want to integrate increasingly renewables into the mainstream energy sector, I think technology is what is going to help us in making those decisions and do a better job in integration.
Mr. Madhu Kesavan: The data collection for renewable energy - That is an interesting factor. Though we have data for renewable energy for the last five years or ten years, how we can analyze the data and how we can tell the leader okay, this is what we have in your hand and this is the kind of decision that you want to take. That is the power of data analytics. That is exactly possible with the technology as you rightly mentioned.
Mr. Umesh Chandra: Definitely. I think the increasing need for monitoring, the increasing need for evaluating performance of plans based upon at the design stage to the implementation stage and probably five years or ten years of operation. If we are able to call out some interesting metrics on how renewable energy plants perform renewable energy plans per se and how it performs or integrates with the mainstream power system, whether it is in a state or a country or region. I think these are some of the things that definitely going to help, as you have pointed out earlier, the need for a role for the government or the policy makers, other stakeholders. See at the end of the day, policy decisions needs to come about more from stakeholders and not necessarily any one, what to say, sector, whether it's the government, or whether it's the private sector, or whether it's the manufacturers, or whether it's the users, all should come together to frame policies.
Mr. Madhu Kesavan: Innovation is like funding investment for this R&D. That is going to be the term on top of the challenge and that is what everyone is facing, actually. No one can say that we are in a good shape of funding investments for innovation. That is the real scenario, like the public or private sectors.
Mr. Umesh Chandra: I'm happy you're talking about Innovation because I think very recently Bill Gates has made a mention that even in a country like the United States, there is a need to have probably innovation institutes such that innovation can be promoted at an accelerated pace and make sure that wherever innovation takes place, whichever country innovation takes place. There is some kind of coordinated effort in ensuring that the innovation reaches
Mr. Madhu Kesavan: Innovation and technology is an acceleration phase right now. And so many technological terms here, like artificial intelligence or bioinformatics or big data or quantum computing or even like new business models, everything is an innovation. And obviously what we really need here is that institutions which helps entrepreneurs or even like enterprises or SMEs to foster that innovation so that they can do very well and get that expected result that they are looking for.
Mr. Umesh Chandra: All right, I'll just digress a little bit from the energy sector. Okay. I saw as a part of what your company is presently working on is the business intelligence platform for the agri sector. I think this is something that initially no one would have imagined that you need innovation or you need business intelligence or you need data capture and data analytics when it comes to the farmers or farming community. But today that has become the key everyone talks about farm to fork. But that is a very very holistic or a very very broad-based objective. I think if you go down to the grassroots level we need to definitely do a lot more more for the farmers. That quality of life also improves and I'm very sure that there is a lot of innovation even at that grassroots level. Rather than just sitting in offices and laps and coming up with wonderful products or systems.
Mr. Madhu Kesavan: We actually worked on the projects like the BI tool that exactly helped this farm to fork - whole process, you said it as a holistic process. We tried to connect the farmers with the geofencing like what kind of area they have and what they are potting there, along with building the IoT sensors like what is the humidity level of the land and what is the air temperature and what kind of a yield they are going to get - everything. But the real problem relies here is the funding support. As an R&D facilities companies can build a POC (proof of concept) which is working very well, but taking it to the next level. That is where the real problem starts.
Mr. Umesh Chandra: I think that has to come from the investor ecosystem. Whether you're an angel funder or whether you're a Series A or a growth funder - I think it has to work by itself. The government can only do so much. Probably they can add assistance from some of the national laboratories, that time. But expecting the government to invest, expecting the government to provide budgets probably is not the way to go. I would always say that the private sector can do a lot more in creating those type of investor networks who focus whether it is small and medium, whether it is in a growth sector, whether it is to accelerate business acceleration, investors, as well as restructuring. Because once you see a business cycle you reach its maturity, you don't want to get rid of it. You want to see how you can make use of all the years of experience that a business has gone through to see how it can be transformed to more new businesses.
Mr. Madhu Kesavan: Yes, that is right, sir. The other way around for us is that it's the only product which is in the shape of a POC. But as a company like way2smile solutions I am very glad to say that all of our SDG products or platforms are productioned and live customers - They are all using it out. Building a platform based company is really challenging and tough because everyone should have the same vision. All the stakeholders, employees, leadership team, management team, customers everyone should have the same synergy and energy to make it happen and push along with the whole tech stack. Some companies can only build a UX design and someone can only build a back end data analytics. But building from the scratch till the end, that is the unique power that we have.
Mr. Umesh Chandra: You need to do a lot more, particularly short span. You have done so much already. I only want you to do lots more on the innovation side.
Mr. Madhu Kesavan: Everyone is talking about clean planet for all and decarbonising strategy. Do you think that your decarbonization is going to happen sir?
Mr. Umesh Chandra: 100% it will happen. It should happen for the betterment of the planet. As you said, it has to happen. But the rate and pace at which is happening I think a lot depends upon stakeholders. I always like to use the word stakeholders because it's not possible for any one segment of society to take what is a singular responsibility. It has to be a collective responsibility, it has to be inclusive such that all stakeholders feel that they need to work towards the decarbonisation. If it's not going to happen or if it's going to slow down, it is going to affect our planet. And as you can see, the climate change effects are primarily due to us neglecting or not paying sufficient attention to all that we really need to be looking at from an environmental degradation point of view. Right? So let us all put our efforts in making sure that we make some contribution in order to setting things right here.
Mr. Madhu Kesavan: We cannot erase the past, but we can correct the future
Mr. Umesh Chandra: 100%. Well said.
Mr. Madhu Kesavan: Yes, sir. That is really great. Thanks for having you here sir.
Mr. Umesh Chandra: Thank you very much. And I wish Way2smile a lot of success and I'd like to see you grow more and do a lot more good for the planet.
Mr. Madhu Kesavan: With your blessings Sir!