Mobility brought about a huge change in the way we use computing power, enabling people to be more productive than ever while on the move. On the other hand, this led to people taking their eyes off the environment around them. One of the key objectives of technologies like Internet of Things (IoT) and Virtual Reality (VR) is to blend the computing power, artificial intelligence(AI) and data insights(DI) into the environment to enhance the experiences of consuming technology, creating a huge opportunity to create innovative solutions.
In this article, I am trying to summarize how businesses can benefit by riding the IoT wave which as predicted by Gartner is currently climbing the peak of inflated expectation and will reach mainstream adoption in 5 to 10 years from now.
Analyzing the Gartner hype cycle for emerging technologies, currently there are huge expectations from the IoT platform. Even more than what it can actually deliver. This bloated expectation will stabilize in the next 5-10 year timeframe. For people interested to sustain a long term business in IoT, the time is right to start now. This will enable such businesses to be well established in about 3 years and there on ride the slope of enlightenment and reap long term results through the plateau of productivity.
Another key challenge for businesses in IoT as of now is the lack of practical use cases that will generate value for customers. Companies need to demonstrate innovation in coming up with the use cases that will demonstrate return on investments customers are willing to make.
I would like to quote an example here in the area of connected cars. Back in 2003, I worked on a project developing a keyles entry and remote start for cars for the American market. This enabled users to program diesel cars in cold countries to automatically start, run the heater for a brief period and switch off. This helped in keeping the engine warm while parked. This also helped in ensuring that the car is warm when you walk up to it and ready to leave from home or office. I’m sure people living in cold countries know the pain of warning up the car after their hard days work or in the morning after a cold night. Now, the same use case, can also be implemented using IoT platform, you may use a smartphone as the user interface instead of the car’s remote. So, what additional benefits do users get by using the IoT platform? Such questions need to have a clear answer while designing IoT solutions. Turning on the light at home while you are away from your mobile phone is fancy, but, what other value will the solution have that will either generate or save money and time? Perhaps data insights generated from millions of connected cars or homes was not possible in the solution we built in 2003. I’ll leave it to the IoT solution architects to think on this.
Further, designers need to stop thinking that mobile and PCs as the only user interfaces. The user interface needs to blend into the environment. Like one of the classic examples of an umbrella with a LED indicator that indicates a specific color or glows based on the weather update from the internet, we need to think of newer and simpler user interfaces that blend into the environment. Another example of a great use case is a weather sensitive billboard which one of my colleagues envisioned. When it is raining, the billboard may display “Come and enjoy a good cup of coffee at a cafe” the same ad, when it’s sunny may display “Cool off with our new range of cool drinks at our Cafe” thus improving the effectiveness of the advertisement.
The time is right now to start developing IoT solutions with objectives of solving practical use cases and blending the user interface into the environment. You can complete the R&D, run a few pilots in the next couple of years so that by the time the slope of enlightenment starts, you are ready with tested products or solutions.
After multiple attempts to write a detailed blog on our Himalayan journey, I published this post to share a small part of the experience using an office Sway page. Check this out to get a glimpse of our journey and the destination
Navies all over the world are constantly looking out for efficient training solutions which require minimal effort, cost and resource for training their personnel on the operation and maintenance of Integrated Platform Management Systems (IPMS).
Duplication of valuable resources for the purpose of training the operators and maintainers on IPMS for different classes of ships is not a preferred approach for any Navy. This challenge calls for an innovative approach to training; a reconfigurable trainer which is readily capable of performing IPMS training for multiple classes of ships.
L-3 MAPPS has developed an open architecture Land Based Training Simulator (LBTS) which can be configured to provide both operator and maintainer training for the Indian Navy’s modern stealth frigate and amphibious assault ship classes.
The LBTS is capable of being reconfigured for these two unique classes of ships in less than an hour. The open architecture design supports the need to upgrade & include future classes of ships. Furthermore, the effort needed to upgrade is significantly less compared to building an entirely new trainer.
Navies can look forward to having a more Integrated Training Facility for multiple classes of ships using valuable common resources at a reduced overall in-service support cost.
I wanted to write this blog the very next day after I came back from this trip in 2007. However, since I didn’t have a blog site running at that time, I kept this for later. It was less than a year since I bought a new Tata Indica Turbo, and I had already done about 30,000 Kms on it by now. It was three of us who decided to go for a south Indian road trip to reach the southernmost tip of the Indian subcontinent, Kanyakumari. Rameshwaram was the other place we wanted to cover. We did not have any other plan. We had three people, one car, two SLR cameras and the spirit to explore. Three of us included Lalith who was my roommate at that time alias “7 up boy” because he looks like Fido from the 7 up ad. The second person was Raghu my cousin and last myself. Raghu and I were the “Drivers” while Lalith enjoyed the chauffeur ride as he was legally not entitled to drive at that time as he didn’t have a license yet.
It was almost noon by the time we left Bangalore. We didn’t know the exact time required to go till Kanyakumari, we just knew we had to drive all the way south on NH7 which will take us to the tip of the subcontinent. As expected, as soon as we crossed the Karnataka border, we could see the drastic improvement in the road, which was much wider, smoother and straighter. NH7 is a part of the North – South corridor project and at that time the construction was half way through and there were many places we had to switch from left side of the road to the right. But considering the traffic was pretty low and we were enjoying the ride. The turbocharger in my car made driving on the highway a real pleasure. Our first stop was somewhere after Krishnagiri where we saw some interesting landscape and the highway wrapping around a small hill which we felt was a good location for some photos.
We continued our journey and as we approached Salem, we had a flat tire. It was my mistake to miss a pot hole. I had a similar problem in my trip to Kerala on this car. The problem was that I had changed to allow wheels and not upgraded the tire size to match the alloys. So, when I run over a pot hole at a high speed, nothing happens to the alloys, but the tires get cut. I got a new tire fixed at Salem where we had something to eat and continued south on NH7.
Our next stop was a place which we had not heard much about, Dindigul. This is a small town just about 40 kms from Madurai. We saw a relatively big rock mountain and a temple on top of it and were eager to find out what it was. After enquiring from the locals we reached the base of the mountain, parked our car and started climbing the steps which were carved out of the rock. The steps are similar to what you find in Shravanabelagola in Karnataka. On top of the rock was a fort and we found that lot of Muslims were also climbing the rock. We found it strange because there was a temple on top and Muslims climbing the rock! Later we discovered that the temple was abandoned and there was no worship going on there. The fort on top of the rock was built by Tipu Sultan. We were not aware that that Tipu’s kingdom extended till Dindigul. Dindigul has been a sensitive town where there have been instances of communal violence between Hindu’s and Muslims. The evening sun gave us excellent lighting to take some of the most memorable pictures of the trip. It was clear skies and a crisp sunlight.
By nightfall we were in Madurai and it took us quite a lot of time to find a descent hotel to stay with descent food. The next day early in the morning we were out to see the world famous Meenakshi temple complex. As we entered the complex it was obvious to us that there was a time in Indian history, when the rulers showed off their power by building huge temples. Also, towns were growing around temples, i.e. temples were the fuel for growth of cities. The meenakshi temple is really huge and probably the biggest temple I had seen till date. There are 4 entrances and huge “Gopuras” at each entrance. In addition to the gopuras at the entrances, there are more gopuras inside the temple compounds for each smaller temples. The theertha or water tank inside the temple compound adds to the beauty. A 360 degree view of Madurai temple can be seen here http://www.view360.in/virtualtour/madurai/
We were done with the temple early in the day and left for the second stretch of our journey from Madurai to Kanyakumari. After about 50 kms from Madurai the landscape changed very drastically and so did the civilization. There were hardly any villages or towns in sight for very long stretches. There were probably stretches with 50 kms and no village. We realized that because we were looking for a tea shop by the side of the road and it took us very long to find one. The landscape was barren and only few palm trees scattered.
This barren land was very much like a desert until we were about 50 kms from Kanyakumari where things changed drastically. NH7 passes through a huge wind farm with hundreds or even thousands of windmills and at the horizon we could see the last few mountains of the subcontinent, behind the mountains we knew was God’s own country – Kerala. We took some time off from driving and took some good snaps here.
It was almost 5 pm by the time we reached Kanyakumari. However, we just had enough time to check in to a hotel with a view of the Vivekananda rock memorial and rush towards a place on the west coast where we could see a nice sunset. Kanyakumari is sandwiched between Arabian Sea and bay of Bengal. The Indian ocean lies to the south. This is the point where all three huge water bodies meet. We noticed that each sea had its own character to it. They have their own color, texture of waves and of course size. At the time we were there the Arabian sea and the Indian Ocean were more violent than the Bay of Bengal. Probably it is different in seasons due to change in wind directions.
After dark the Vivekananda Rock Memorial and the Thiruvalluvar Statue are lit up with very nice lights and are a feast for the eyes and also beautiful subjects for a photographer. The lights are up till about 9 pm and make sure you have a tripod if you want to take some good snaps. That was the end of a very long day.
It was about 5 a.m. when someone was knocking at our hotel door. It sounded like some fire and the hotel boys were trying to alert everyone in the room. In fact it was something really amazing. They were waking us up to see a spectacular sight which happens every morning in Kanyakumari before the sunrise. All the fishermen set out to sea in small boats and thousands of them. Each boat has a small lantern and the sight of thousands of boats setting off to sea is amazing and we could witness this from the balcony of our room. This is a sight one must see in Kanyakumari. We decided to spend an additional day in this place just to see the sight of boats the next morning for another time.
Later in the morning we went on the shuttle boats to check out the Rock memorial and the Statue which is the southernmost tip of the Indian subcontinent and the view from both these places is breathtaking. Looking back at the peninsula from these islands I realized what a great nation begins here. The afternoon, we set off towards Kerala and ended up in a strange place at a much unexplored beach which was really long, wide and very clean. Since, this was some place between Tamil Nadu and Kerala, we asked a local guy there, who served us some good herbal tea, if the name of the place is Keral Nadu and to our surprise it was called Kerala Nadu!! We were the only tourists in this place which is less known to public.
After spending another night in Kanyakumari we set off to Rameshwaram. We thought the best possible route was via Tuticorn, but this turned out to be a very bad road. The best way is to go back to Madurai and take the national highway. Finally, we were on the Pamban Bridge which is the second largest sea link in India and also the first sea link to be built in India.
This connects mainland India with Rameshwaram Island. The 2.3 Km Bridge is so long that we cannot see the other end of the bridge. After an hour’s photo shoot here we went to Rameshwaram and checked into hotel Tamil Nadu. A cheap hotel operated by the government.
The Rameshwaram Temple is known for its huge 1000 pillar corridors which is big enough for elephant procession to pass. Also, there are couple of dozen of ponds or Theertha’s or holy waters where Hindus cleanse themselves of all sins. The pillar corridors and Dhanushkodi are two must see places in Rameshwaram.
Dhanushkodi is a strange landscape carved by the Cyclone in 1964 that damaged the entire village. The only way to get to Dhanushkodi is by old rickety jeeps or tempos. You need to cross vast flat sand plains sandwiched by Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal. You can appreciate the different character of the two water bodies here. The Indian ocean is very violent and deep and Bay of Bengal is shallow and calm.
After spending the day in Rameshwaram, we headed back towards Bangalore and visited a couple of places near Coimbatore the next day. One of them was called Thirumurthymalai, known for its Dattatreya temple in the valley between three hills and the other was Palani, known for its Subramanya / Shanmuga temple. The Palani temple is accessible by a rope way built on the hillside. The landscape from the hill is very scenic as you can see another hill with a temple on top. Anytime I am in Coimbatore I make sure I visit Annapoorna / Gourishankar restaurant which serves amazing south Indian food, especially Dosas. This hotel is locates opposite to Hoteal Tamil Nadu near the bus stand.
The route back from Coimbatore was via Sathyamangalam. The forests once ruled by the famous brigand Veerappan. We took this route as we wanted to stay in Mysore for a day before heading back to the grind in Bangalore.
Tanjavoor / Tanjore temple was not covered in this trip of ours, but I made a promise to myself that I will visit the Tanjore temple and the Golden temple at Vellore sometime. Without these, the temple tour of Tamil Nadu is incomplete. In 2011 I visited the Tanjore temple and was amazed by the size of the temple structure which was build thousands of years ago by the Chola King Raja Raja. The “Big” temple in Tanjore is surely the best maintained temple in Tamil Nadu; it is well preserved and also maintained well. Tanjore temple emphasizes on how important the temples were in that time and how they were the centre of the economy and the towns. Entire towns were designed around a temple at that time. Just like the way in which towns are designed around IT parks today.
Let me give you an introduction to my driving history before I start off the Chevy Beat ownership review. My first car like many people in India was a Maruti 800 followed by a Peugeot 309, Opel Corsa 1.3, Tata Indica Turbo and now a Chevy beat. I have driven each of these cars over 50, 000 kms and the Indica I have done a 100,000 +. So my overall driving experience is close to 300,000 kms. Considering the earth’s perimeter is around 40,000 kms. That is I could have driven over 7 times around the world or I could have driven around the world at least once in each car that I owned. Other than the cars that I had I have also driven other cars which include Ambassador, Fiat Primier Padmini, Fiat Elegant, Premier 118NE, Toyota Qualis, Mahindra Scorpio, Tata Sump, Force / Tempo Trax, Maruti Omni, Suzuki Swift, Tata Safari, Tata Indigo Dicor / CS / LS, Tata Indica Vista, Fiat Linea, Fiat Punto 70PS / 90 PS / 1.2 /1.4, Hyundai i10, Hyundai Gets, Ford Fiesta, Figo, ikon, Toyota Matrix, Corolla, Innova, Chrysler PT Cruizer, Seebring, Chevrolet Impala, …… the list goes on. By now I am sure you will agree that I have a pretty good driving experience to write a full review for a car.
I had done 100,000 on my Indica Turbo and was looking to change my car. These were the options I considered and the reason I rejected them
1. Ford Figo – This is a miniature Ford Fusion, Fusion has better ground clearance, Figo is expensive dull looking and does not have powe windows on rear even in the fully loaded model.
2. VW Polo – Underpowered, Noisy, dealer in Bangalore failed to get me a test drive even after repeated calls from my side. The reason they gave was that their demo car met with an accident!!
3. Nissan Micra – The dealer called me back after I bought the Beat to give me a test drive I had repeatedly requested two months back.
4. Hyundai I10 Kappa – There are too many i10 on road and looks are 4 years old
5. Alto K10 – The gearbox is very rough and engine noisy. Looks have not been upgraded for almost a decade.
6. Indica Vista – After I had very high maintenance on my Tata Indica Turbo never again will I buy a TATA.
7. Fiat Punto – A great car but only the 90PS version is actually good. Which is highly expensive (almost INR 900,000 !!!)
So I bought a Chevrolet Beat and these were some key aspects that convinced me to buy a beat
1. The looks are mind blowing and looks like a car from the future
2. The engine is extremely silent and refined
3. Excellent interiors and ergonomics
4. Rich features – Auto AC (Climate control), great built in sound system with a radio that can catch a Bangalore FM channel even in Mysore (thanks to the long antenna) These are some of them.
5. GM service has been really good and also the Spark which I have and driven for 30,000 kms is doing really well and very low maintenance
Some known limitations in Beat. (I was well aware of these before buying):
1. Back seats are comfortable for even six footers, however, back seat is designed for two people. Three people on back seat is a bit of a struggle.
2. The boot space is limited.
3. Ground clearance could have been better. (however, it is much better than Ford Figo)
First 1000 Kms:
Driving the beat was like slicing butter. It’s so smooth and refined you don’t want to speed in this car, you just feel like cruising slowly which gives a feeling that you are floating on the road. Thanks to the excellent noise insulation, most of the noise outside the car is cut off. I was extra careful while crossing road humps because the clearance is very low. However, till now I have not come across any road hump that really touches the chassis. Yes, sometimes the mud flaps and the silencer scrape the humps. So in spite of the low clearance the design has taken care of the bad Indian road terrain. I completed 1000 Kms within two weeks and had the checkup done. Free checkup cost INR 0.
Next review at 5000 Kms:
I went to my native place Nisarani, a village in Sorab Taluk, Shimoga District for Ganesha festival and due to rains the road was totally messed up. This road is the worst road I will ever take my car into. My uncles have different cars who also came there in Fiesta, Linea which both got stuck in the sludge. Surprisingly The Chevy Spark (my Dad’s) and my Beat cleared the stretch quite easily!! I was really sad that my new car became so dirty, so for the next 2 days I washed the car and kept it untouched until I left for Bangalore after the festival. The whole journey from Bangalore to Mysore to Nisarani and back is about 1000 kms and I enjoyed the ride without any issues. I was really happy that in spite of the long drives I didn’t get any body pains. If I had done the same in my Indica I required at least a day’s rest to recover from the pain and stress.
I didn’t speed beyond 100 kms per hour on any occasion till I completed the 5000 Kms service. Also I didn’t feel like speeding as the beat was so cool and silent to cruise. I felt the lack of the torque through out the drives and I assumed that they had limited the ECU to check the torque till I get the first service done at 5K. This may be a hangover of my Indica Turbo’s torque filled engine.
After the First Service at 5K:
I got the first service done within two months and the bill was Rs 480, that too only because I had asked for wheel alignment and balancing. I thought the first oil change was at 5K however, was surprised to hear that the oil change is only at 15K intervals. That’s great and lower the maintenance cost even further.
The vehicle pickup and torque drastically increased after the first service and I wanted to check out how the engine revs at higher speeds. On the weekly ride to Bangalore from Mysore I left late in the night at about 9 p.m. to rip the car and test the maneuverability of the car. The engine has a super cool wrooom sound when it revs beyond 3.5K rpm. The sound is similar to the 1.4 L petrol Fiat Punto. The actual torque band of the Beat is between 3500 and 4500 rpm it’s a bit high but the engine is very happy to rev so gives u a sporty car king of a feeling to drive. I have hit speeds up to 140 kmph with five people on board an a/c running. The car has small tires but is very stable, you get the feeling of driving a sedan. Thanks to the quality interiors and a large 3 spoke steering wheel which has a grip to park your thumb. The tilt adjustment is another handy feature to improve on the ergonomics of the driver’s seat. Other reviewers say that you need to change to wider tires to get a good drive on the beat, however, I disagree with that.
Back seat space is something Beat fails to beat the competition at. But if you want to buy a Beat please buy it as a car for 4 people and you will not regret.
The sparkling fog lamps are something I really want to talk about. The laps have a nice chrome ring and large reflector which make the fog lamps stand out.
I was not able to find photos of a white color Chevrolet Beat on the net. So I want to post a photo here.
Next review at 10000 Kms:
In just about six months I completed 10,000 kms and it is going great. Just before the 10k service I went on a weekend round trip of total 1200 kms from Bangalore – Salem – Trichy – Tanjavur – Karaikal (Pondycherry) and back. I got am amazing mileage of 16.7 in the overall trip with 4 people and ac on all the time. When, I had a Tata Indica Turbo, after a 400 kms one way drive on sunday, it was impossible for me to go to office on monday. In the Beat, after driving for 1200 kms on the weekend I was in Office at 10 am on Monday morning. Thanks to the great ergonomics.
After the trip to Pondycherry I came to Mysore and got the 10K service done. Only major cost was the pollen and dust filter replacement. Other things were wheel rotation, alignment and balancing. Oil did not require top up. Service bill, 1500 Rs. I spent another 800 Rs extra to get a 3M polish done. The car really looks new and all the micro – scratches were gone after the 3M polish.
We bought a Nissan Xtrail and I was driving it before I got my Beat back from the service, when I switched back to Beat I could really feel the high level of refinement, noise reduction and precise handling. Going great so far.
Review after 15 K:
Couple of weeks ago I finished 15k on my Beat and the car is going as good as new. The car is giving me the same mileage, in fact on one of the long drives to my native Sagar from Bangalore I got a mileage of 18.3 kmpl. You must consider the fact that I left early in the morning and the temperature was very cool ~ 20 deg C and very less traffic on the highway. I got a few scratches on the front bonnet, but they are not visible as they are on the bottom side. These scratches are from my little off-roading I did to get my car into a ferry that takes the car over the backwaters of Linganmakki. This saved me almost 40 kms while going from Sagar to Kodachadri.
The bill on the 15k service (major service as there is an oil and filter change) was a very descent 2000 Rs. I was expecting something around 4 – 5 k. Also, I got a free 3M polish done as I had complained that the previous polish had worn out pretty soon. Since the rains have kicked in Bangalore earlier than June I bought a new pair of mats at Reliance Auto world and also a mat for the boot at Trident. I am very happy with the service I have got at Trident in Mysore and I complemented the service guy for the free polish.
Review after 20 K:
This time when I left the car for service I asked the technician not to change the pollen and dust filter as I did not find the necessity. The service bill was about Rs. 1600 and only part I changed was few screws for the mud flap and the wiper blade. Since I drive a lot in rainy weather I usually have the wiper blade changed once every year. The car is going on as smooth as ever. It has been a year since I bought the car and I could not have asked for any better performance from the car or service from the dealers.
After about 23k, the tires are giving way a little bit when I braked hard at high speed, which I feel is quite normal for a non – ABS version. I still do not see the necessity of ABS or bigger tires. In fact my cousin bought the newly launched diesel version of the car which I also test drove. The diesel version has many improvements and some drawbacks. The major improvement is the ground clearance and suspension. The drawback is the somewhat noisy 3 cylinder engine, a hypersensitive steering with almost zero feedback and the pricing. The diesel Beat is not as competitively priced as the petrol variant. The fully loaded diesel (LT) costs about 6.3 L on road in Bangalore. I had paid about 4.75 for my petrol Beat LT. In spite of the high petrol rate You may still want to go for the petrol variant. Here is why –
I have driven my cat about 25000 kms in a year. altough i get a mileage of 16+, let us take the worst case mileage as 15.
25000 / 15 = 1666.67 literes of petrol
Average rate of petrol per litre is 70
1666 * 70 = Rs. 1,16,000 approx
If it were diesel let us say average rate of diesel was Rs 45 per litre
1666 * 45 = Rs. 75,000 approx
1.16 – 0.75 = Rs 41,000
to recover the difference money paid for the Diesel variant about Rs. 1.55 L, I will have to drive the car for at least 3.8 years and 25,000 kms each year. Most of the city users do not drive more than 10,000 kms per year and for them it will be more than 8 years before they recover the extra money paid for diesel. I have made a few assumptions here that the diesel car will also give 15 kmpl mileage. however, the Beat diesel gives more. But, to compensate for that, you can consider the interest you pay for the extra Rs. 1.5 L. Although the new diesels they say are low on maintenance, I do not believe it, simply because of the higher vibration in diesels cars, there has to be more wear and tear in diesel if you go by the laws of physics. Hence, I do not see a significant difference between petrol and diesel in the long term cost of ownership costs. If the government decides to remove subsidy for diesel, which they are considering, then, you will have to think many times before buying a diesel. Also, I am sure most of you will agree that the level of comfort and performance in a petrol is any time better than that of diesel.
Before I close the 20k review, I must mention that I normally do not rive the car without AC. However, this time I travelled to my native for Ganesh chaturti, I just wanted to check the mileage of my car without the AC and to my surprise I got 19.7 kmpl !! the best mileage I have got in any car I owned till now. I suppose, there is a significant difference in mileage without AC.
Come back to check out my next review at 30k
Conclusions with my experience with beat till now:
Suspension is very sturdy on bumpy roads, little bumpy, rolling is significant for rear passengers.
Little underpowered when new. Really good power for a 1.2 L after the first service at 5000kms. The power and torque really opens up between 3500 – 4500 rpm.
14.5 with AC in the city. 16 with AC on the highway.
Brakes: Too good. It’s a bit dangerous as the car behind you may hit you if you brake hard.
Excellent finish, minimal and consistent panel gaps.
Highly refined engine, refinement is extended to the whole car and not just the engine.
Front seats are very spacious in fact the legroom is better than the Ford Fiesta sedan. Back space although looks small is comfortable for tall people. However, not very comfortable for 3 people at the back. The back seat is rounded off at the corner and could have provided better thigh support if the seat cushion was bigger. Same problem in Spark as well.
Others say you need to upgrade tyres, I do not agree with that. The existing tyres itself gives a good handling up to speeds of 100 – 110 kms per hour. So you may want to upgrade tyres if you drive faster than that. There are not too many roads in India designed for higher speeds.
If you have a thirst for refinement, futuristic design and believe in the Chevrolet service like I do, go for this car.