Bhalinge, the winner of m2Work, a World Bank-sponsored online challenge seeking the best ideas for spurring the job-creation potential of mobile phones, told PTI that he regularly travelled by rickshaw.
"I always chat with the drivers; so I knew quite a lot about their problems such as their economic status, traffic, daily rent, etc. Then, when I became aware of the m2work contest and its purpose to target the BOP sector to create additional income, the needs of rickshaw drivers came quickly to my mind," he said.
SRN targets rickshaw drivers as micro workers, to help uplift their living standards by allowing them the tools to provide real time traffic data, landmark and tourist hot spot updates to clients such as GPS navigation product companies and traffic information providers.
Once he heard about mobile micro-work, he was able to connect the two, and his winning idea was born.
The competition, organised by Nokia and infoDev, a World Bank innovation and technology entrepreneurship programme, drew a total of 939 ideas, 96 per cent of which came from developing and emerging economies.
Bhalinge convinced the jury of the development impact, novelty, and feasibility of the SRN to take home the USD 20,000 prize.
"During my recent meeting with President Pratibha Patil, I gave a presentation on SRN and she was impressed by the concept," he said.
SRN "crowd-sources" maps at a very low cost by employing fleets of rickshaw drivers to feed live traffic updates into a subscription service, he said. MORE