Tuesday June 19, 2018
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With rituals getting digitized, you can now book your Pundit Online!

With e-commerce apps flooding the market, online booking of pujari's makes its entry into the lucrative field of Indian startups

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ONline priest. Image source:Home grown
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  • With e-commerce apps flooding the market in fields ranging from furniture to medicines to even booking a maid, it was only a matter of time that one jumped to religious services
  • A priest recites prayers in front of a phone connected to a house miles away from Skype or another social networking platform
  • There’s an advisory board that helps in recruiting pundits and the selected candidates go through specified tests; a process that clears any doubts of minting money by taking advantage of people’s ignorance

Is your mother ill? Has your career come to a standstill or is it a simple marital tiff? Fret no more! For all problems in the life of Hindu, there’s a Pooja with sacred mantras that can be performed to bring in peace, wealth, and prosperity.

Every year, there are thousands of rituals performed in India by priests for their temple devotees. There’s a difficulty in life and no way out of it? Don’t you worry, a guru will come to your rescue with a garland! But what if you don’t have the luxury to summon the disciple of the higher power, who will rescue you now? Put your worries to rest! Be it staying in UK, USA, Canada or any other part of the world, Indian start-ups now have the power to book an online pundit for you at your convenience. After all, would it be any different if that garland turns into your phone and the guru now virtually guides your hand through the ritual?

Let’s talk money

A few years back, one could never imagine a situation where a priest recited prayers in front of an iPhone connected to a house miles away through Skype but then don’t tough times call for some tough measures. Though in our case these measures provide employment opportunities and create a thriving start-up atmosphere all around the country.

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Some of the companies cashing in on this idea are onlinepurohit.com, wheresmypandit.com, panditforpooja.com, and bookmypandit.com. Each charging from a mere $10 to a good $500 for a package. Savvy NRI’s don’t mind shedding few currencies till the time they are promised a good outcome from these rituals. After all, why would you mind? The vibrations produced during the pooja are similar and the sound of the priest travels at the same speed whether it’s through air or through a mobile phone with a good internet speed.

Hinduism is the faith-laden arena that’s filled with unscrupulous Gurus. The online priest booking app’s pride themselves on this matter as they only hire Pandits who hold a degree in Vedas/Astrology and have an experience of 4- 5 years. There’s an advisory board that helps in recruiting them and the selected candidates go through specified tests; a process that clears any doubts of minting money by taking advantage of people’s ignorance. These details and the scarcity of genuine pujari’s in the locality of an NRI makes him bet his money on the online system.

Proponents of the idea

Online priest. Image source: TimesofIndia
Online priest. Image source: TimesofIndia

With e-commerce apps flooding the market in fields ranging from furniture to medicines to even booking a maid, it was only a matter of time that one jumped to religious services. India has a huge number of citizens, who worship Gods and Goddesses more than any other nation, which makes the idea of booking a priest even more lucrative. This digital twist on one’s faith is a welcoming change for many, as more and more citizens are migrating to different countries in the search of jobs or for pursuing higher education.

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These online portals have numerous reasons that go in the favour of their business such as the need for many Indians settled abroad to keep their roots in place and their traditions alive. This feeling calls in for a pundit online to help them do their ‘Griha Pravesh’ (Housewarming) or even their marriage. Companies offer more than 150 kinds of pujas, typically covering almost any event in person’s life, who is a Hindu by birth or has opted Hinduism as their faith. Some services are also customised depending on your convenience or crisis.

What more can a company ask for than few happy customers? There are a number of people who come back with positive feedbacks. The positive feedbacks come due to the professionalism with which the pundits perform the pooja’s, guiding the devotee at each step of the pooja, using traditional material and sending in a to-do list a day before the entire ritual.

Lastly, it all boils down to the authenticity one sees in a guru which gives a feeling of solace to a person in sickness and in health.

– by Karishma Vanjani of NewsGram. Twitter: @BladesnBoots

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  • AJ Krish

    Every single field is getting digitized and all of India’s indigenous professions are modernizing. It is good to see them adapt and keep up with the growing needs of the people.

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Internet Of Things Needs World Market Leaders, Interest Turns to Startups

Google and Microsoft dominate markets worldwide

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An employee displays ASUS’s new computer products during the Computex Taipei, one of the world's largest IT expos, in Taipei, Taiwan, Tuesday, June 5, 2018. Computex will run in Taipei from June 5 to 9. VOA
An employee displays ASUS’s new computer products during the Computex Taipei, one of the world's largest IT expos, in Taipei, Taiwan, Tuesday, June 5, 2018. Computex will run in Taipei from June 5 to 9. VOA

A surge in participation by startup companies this week, at a highlight of Asia’s biggest annual tech event, shows an increased reliance on young entrepreneurs and leaders to come with the IT industry’s strongest ideas for connected devices and artificial intelligence.

The InnoVEX segment of Taipei Computex 2018 brought together 388 startups, a term usually defined as founder-owned firms of three to five years old. That number is a jump from 272 at the same event a year ago. Venture capitalists, including at least one with half a billion dollars in investment funds, evaluated them one-on-one and at formal pitching events.

Startups are catching attention as inventors of Internet-of-things technology because there’s no market leader yet, said Jamie Lin, founding partner of AppWorks Ventures, a startup accelerator in Taipei. That technology refers to software and hardware that let computers or phones communicate with everyday devices such as cameras and alarm systems.

Some connections run on artificial intelligence, which means computerized processing of the data collected from those devices. That can mean making human-like decisions.

“Computers continue to morph and there are no dominant players in IoT,” Lin said. “That’s why they need startups and that’s what makes the show relevant.”

In software, by contrast, Google and Microsoft dominate markets worldwide. Apple and Samsung, among others, lead in smartphones.

Coinciding with the tech show this week, Lin’s accelerator, another like it and a Japanese venture capital firm are all holding their own events in Taipei this week for startups.

Visitors review new MSI computer products during the Computex Taipei, one of the world's largest IT expos, in Taipei, Taiwan, June 5, 2018
Visitors review new MSI computer products during the Computex Taipei, one of the world’s largest IT expos, in Taipei, Taiwan, June 5, 2018, VOA

Expanding market

More than 20 billion things will be connected to the internet by 2020, up from 8.4 billion connected last year, market research firm Gartner forecasts. The number will pick up especially as 5G wireless services speed up connections.

By next year, Gartner anticipates, startup firms working with artificial intelligence will overtake Amazon, Google, Microsoft and IBM in “driving the artificial intelligence economy” for businesses.

Artificial intelligence, also known by its abbreviation AI, will reach a market value of $1.2 trillion per year by 2020 as investment triples between now and then, Forrester Research said.

“There’s a process, which is experimental — error and trial, error and trial – so there’s no one with a ready solution, and AI is so broad that one that can do it all,” said Tracy Tsai, a Gartner research VP in Taipei.

“With AI startups, they say ‘I’m focused, I just do some part of it and I do it well, and I do it attentively,’” she said. “For companies looking for a full solution, if you can show your part works, then they use it.”

Competitors perform speed tests using dry ice to cool hardware at OC World Record Stage 2018 during the Computex Taipei, one of the world's largest IT expos, in Taipei, Taiwan, June 5, 2018.
Competitors perform speed tests using dry ice to cool hardware at OC World Record Stage 2018 during the Computex Taipei, one of the world’s largest IT expos, in Taipei, Taiwan, June 5, 2018.VOA

Venture capitalists watching

Venture capital firms at the three-day InnoVEX show Wednesday watched a spread of mostly Asian startups with software and hardware ideas focused largely on connected devices. Healthcare and the management of drones were among the fields that companies said they could help with AI.

The show offered chances for startups to pitch their ideas to venture capital firms and accelerators, which are programs that show young firms how to improve their businesses.

Startup promotion authorities from 13 countries, including France and the Netherlands, also scanned the exhibition hall for Asian firms that might complement their own.

Visitors review Thermaltake's MFC 2 2nd Place MOD during the Computex Taipei, one of the world's largest IT expos, in Taipei, Taiwan, June 5, 2018.
Visitors review Thermaltake’s MFC 2 2nd Place MOD during the Computex Taipei, one of the world’s largest IT expos, in Taipei, Taiwan, June 5, 2018. VOA

“What we care about the most is whether these startups or smaller firms have technology, so if it’s a just a business model only, they aren’t suitable for us,” said Amanda Liu, CEO of the Taiwan government-backed business accelerator StarFab. Her accelerator takes 10 to 15 of every 100 applicants. “They need to have products and their core competence must come from technology.”

Taiwanese firms are good at altering hardware specs, Liu said, and for technology ideal for businesses rather than individual consumers, Liu said. Taiwan positioned itself decades ago as a high-tech hardware manufacturing hub for much of the world.

Qara was one AI-dependent startup at InnoVEX. The 4-year-old South Korean developer with $1 million in venture capital funding uses an AI algorithm to predict the movement of stock and cryptocurrency markets. It has earned revenues of $1.5 million and reports a profit.

“Anyone can see the predictions powered by AI,” said Qara’s global CEO Katie Bomi Son. In terms of accuracy, she said, “Some are from 70, or between 70 to 90. Most of our information [comes] from the machine.”

Also read: Russia’s heavy hand to internet to block messaging app

Qara counts mostly companies as clients but it’s looking for a way to monetize the free app for common users. (VOA)