Wishing all my readers a happy new year 2015! I pray that this year brings all your aspirations to life.

Hope you enjoyed my previous article “Big data, Agriculture and the Indian farmer”. It is truly humbling, and inspiring to see 1100+ views and comments to my 4th article. I want to thank each one of you for this motivation. Hope you will enjoy this, and my future articles the same way.

The ancient man always observed the sky to understand life, whether it be for calculating time, predicting future through horoscopes, climatic conditions, or any future events. Man has always relied on observation and It is only through constant observation we arrived at certain conclusions.

In this context, I remember the words of Sadguru Shri Jaggi Vasudev of Isha foundation. He says: ”Everything that needs to be created in this universe is already created, There is no need for any new creation, all we simply need to do is understand the creation”. These words of wisdom give more emphasis towards observation but today instead of observing stars and sky, we all are behaving differently by observing CCTV/IP cameras that are fixed on the roads and homes for security, schools where working parents can watch what their kid is doing from the comfort of a mobile phone. We are observing TV, computer screens, and smart phones.

While so much technology is improved and development is happening at a rapid pace, there are a few things that have not changed much since my childhood, that I always felt should change, namely, 1. Traffic police 2. Filling boys in Fuel stations and 3. Farming and farmer suicides. From the bottom of my heart I always pity them and really want to do something for them to change the existing scenario.

  • Traffic police: Why should a traffic police stand in the middle of the road under the scorching sun and heavy pollution? It looks inhumane and imagine this for every traffic signal throughout the country, number of police men doing this could go into lakhs. Instead of making them work so hard wouldn’t it be nice if this work can be automated completely by replacing with Camera and image processing technology that can do the same job perfectly? Then traffic police can focus on their core activity, that is, improving safety and become more citizen friendly.
  • Filling boys in Fuel Stations: why should a person be dedicated to fill fuel? Is a person’s life so less valuable that he simply fills fuel all his life? Imagine if for each fuel station there are at-least 4 such people and the number gets into lakhs of people all over the country. Such a huge population have nothing better to do on this earth than simply filling fuel? Can they not be doing a better job?
  • Farming and Farmer suicides: Gone are those days where farmers used to feed the society by organic means without any chemicals or foreign seeds. Why are our children eating food that is full of chemicals and genetically modified? In an agriculture-based country where the population is so huge and everyone has to be fed, it is a matter of shame that the farmers responsible for growing crops are committing suicides unable to bear debt. At the same time, multinational companies and large corporations are making profits doing the same business? This has to stop.

Simple tasks that need human supervision can interestingly be automated with Image processing technology and get the same results as humans achieve or even better, saving millions of people’s time, effort, and money. We already are enjoying the benefits of image processing in banks where cash counting machines based on image processing technology work much faster saving a lot of time and effort of all the people in queue who had to wait for a long time either to deposit or to withdraw cash. The similar change can happen to traffic police and fuel filling people.

Agriculture is a very important use case. Imagine if a camera is deployed at every field and experts can watch to provide assistance to the farmer or image processing algorithms can tell the farmer what is the right time to cut the crop to take it to market depending upon the color of the crop and other factors. A lot of issues mentioned in my previous article “Big data, agriculture and the Indian farmer”, can be achieved with image processing technology.

The reason I also mentioned big data here is if one single camera can process 10,000 vehicles per day for number plate recognition and vehicle classification, imagine 50,000 cameras that are deployed throughout the city for each day, month and year. This kind of data can only be processed by big data technologies. In essence, image processing, when married with big data efficiently can do wonders in providing next generation solutions. For example, for Traffic and law enforcement, a holistic and comprehensive solution can be built that is complete, which otherwise will remain as individual solutions for specific problems in bits and pieces that we see today.

I am going to discuss such a comprehensive solution in detail in my next article “Big data for traffic and law enforcement”. Stay tuned.