[Round One Winner: 2/8] Gowtham Udayashankar – Gatesure
Posted By: Rise Team|Dated: December 28, 2011
Gowthan Udayashankar devised a solution—Gatesure—to optimize the time of both passengers and airlines, while preventing prevent passenger confusion at airports.
As you read this, notice a few things:
His response to what was his biggest challenge—who do I get the right opinion from, and how do I contact him/her? And how he did it.
Instead of contacting people blindly, he tapped into his existing network: he went to a friend who had technical expertise—notice that it’s not just any friend, but one with expertise in the field he needed—and who put him in touch with industry experts who could advise him and help him improve his product.
The advice he gives to other Spark the Rise project champions.
What is Gatesure?
Gatesure is a device which enables passengers at the airport to find their respective gates with much ease, and also to have a better experience. It allows them to actually reach the gate, rather than waiting for announcements and trying to sit in a single place, not doing much.
How does it work?
As soon as the passenger checks into the airport, and registers himself at the check-in counter, a band is given to him or her and the band gives you specific details exclusively about your flight departure and the gate at which it is departing from. So irrespective whichever the boarding gate is suggested on the boarding card, you might as well ignore it, and just stick to the band. It gives information about which is your actual gate for your flight.
How did this concept come about?
The concept of Gatesure started from a real-life experience which I had to undergo at an international airport, and subsequently to which I had a lot of conversations with people who encouraged that I should go along, since this idea seems to be quite interesting and unique.
I was at a small international airport, and after checking in and taking the boarding card, my friend and I were offloaded for the reason that they were not able to find us. And it was extremely cumbersome, and troublesome, and you could call it a nightmare because there was no assistance which we got from the airport in trying to help us to get on the next flight next to our destination, nor somebody giving accurate information as to what is the procedure that should be followed if a passenger is offloaded. So we were really stranded and with great difficulty we came back.
Time is of such importance both to the airline and the passenger. And one must also be aware that not all travelers will be aware of the guidelines or the dos and don’ts of that particular airport.
What motivated you to develop this device?
The thought that it could help many more people get to their respective gates. Time is of such importance both to the airline and the passenger. And one must also be aware that not all travelers will be aware of the guidelines or the dos and don’ts of that particular airport. So in all fairness, if it is helping passengers get to the gate without hassles, certainly I see it as a use to him or her, and it will enable them to save a lot of time too, both to the airline as well as the passenger.
What has been your biggest challenge?
There were multiple stages where multiple different problems came up, and every time I thought that was the biggest challenge. Actually, who do I talk to and who do I get the right opinion from, and how do I go about it was one of the biggest hurdles. I talked to a friend who gave me the confidence and put me in contact with people from the industry. Since he is a technical person through and through, when I shared this idea with him, he applauded it and helped me speak to industry-related people, and gave me the further confidence saying that it is doable, and it should be done, and it would definitely be helpful for the vast number of public traveling on air. Another challenge was canvassing for votes, telling people to go to the website, and trying to understand what my project was all about.
Tap into your network, there are people who you already know who may help you, and if they personally can’t they may put you in touch with people who CAN help you.
Has your project benefitted from Spark the Rise?
Spark the Rise has given me wider exposure in terms of many people knowing about the project as such. Also a few more interesting questions which popped in the discussion forum, which helped me think more and do more about the project. And STR was the backbone for me continuing in a much faster, healthier pace. Also, people have called me saying that they would build a prototype for me.
How did you spread the word about your project?
Initially I sent emails to all my friends and with the help of a friend we spoke to a group of engineering students, both from graduation and post-graduates, and they started canvassing on my behalf and so on. So I was able to promote through IT fraternity. I also called up everybody from the contact book and phone book, asked them to visit the site.
What is the funniest experience you had during Spark the Rise?
The funniest part is I was getting to call people who I usually wouldn’t be able to call or hadn’t call and then they all used to say “is it because of a vote you are thinking of me?!” That was a bit hilarious. And then they said “at least for this you are in touch, excellent, and we have already voted, and we are still continuing promoting your project”.
What advice would you offer other project champions who have entered Spark the Rise? Keep in mind it’s not about winning ,it’s about participating, If you really feel you have an idea, perhaps for somebody else it might sound like a trash idea, but if you have the conviction you should go ahead and post it, and leave the team to check out whether it is feasible. And then put your best to getting it implemented. And then at any given point of time, do not give up hope, talk about it, meet more people, and that’s the only way you can promote it. That will give you more urge, and interest to pursue your project.
Vijay Bhaskar, one of the winners for Round 1 for Spark the Rise, has developed a product that improves the lives of farmers–providing them safety, and saving them time, money, and labor—by allowing them to water their fields remotely via their cell phones.
People around the world are living Rise every day - accepting no limits, thinking alternatively, and driving positive change. Do you know someone whose story should be shared, or an organization whose work should be recognized?