The Economic Times daily newspaper is available online now.

    ET Soonicorns Summit 2023: Lessons in addressing complex challenges and building tailored and responsible data-driven and AI solutions


    At the Bengaluru edition of the ET Soonicorns Summit 2023, top industry innovators and experts from Homelane, MFiNe, Furlenco, Mellora and more shared practical learnings from successful startup playbooks, charting a course for next-generation Indian startup founders to implement innovative and meaningful AI solutions in their respective domains.

    ET Soonicorns Summit 2023: Lessons in addressing complex challenges and building tailored and responsible data-driven and AI solutionsET Special
    The Bengaluru edition of the ET Soonicorns Summit 2023 brought together technology enthusiasts and business leaders from across industries, serving as a definitive platform for knowledge exchange, stirring ideas, information and insights. One of the key tracks at the event included a closed-door roundtable discussion that featured some of the key leaders and decision-makers from across the cross-sectoral corporate tech ecosystem such as Sandeep Cashyap, Head of Emerging Startups at Google Cloud; Ipseeta Aruni, Principal Solutions Consultant at Persistent; Amit Singhi, Senior Director at MFine; Ramesh Kumar Katreddi, VP of Engineering at Jumbotail; Praveen Chintamani, Senior Director of Engineering at Arzooo; Vinod Nair, Co-founder & Director at Enzen Global; Dr Nikhil Sikri, Co-founder & CEO at Zolostays; Anup Naik, Co-founder & CEO at Zeliot; Nirdosh Chouhan, Chief Technology Officer at Melorra; Pavan D, Vice President of Engineering at HomeLane; Avinash Kasinathan, CEO of CENSA and CTO of WayCool, and; Sheshank Sridharan, VP of Tech & Product at Furlenco.

    At this dynamic gathering, participants delved deep into the transformative potential of data integration and artificial intelligence (AI) in reshaping modern business operations and decision-making processes. From Pavan D's insights into personalised home interiors at HomeLane to Nirdosh Chouhan's emphasis on data-driven customer connections at Melorra, the discussion tracked the dynamic trajectory of how data is being leveraged to create meaningful and unique experiences for customers.

    ET Soonicorns Summit 2023: Roundtable discussion Leveraging Data and AI for Business Success | Watch Now
    Avinash Kasinathan recounted the challenges of implementing AI solutions within rural India without understanding the complex and intersectional local nuances of rural societies and economies. Kasinathan also highlighted the critical role of data digitisation in AI success, while shedding light on the necessity of clean and standardised data as the foundation for AI-driven applications in diverse contexts. Diving into one of the most headline-grabbing topics of our time — human-AI interaction — Sheshank Sridharan's exploration of logistics optimisation at Furlenco highlighted the need to balance AI-driven efficiency with human behavioural considerations for a seamless and responsible customer experience.

    Additionally, Ramesh Kumar Katreddi's vision for Jumbotail showcased the transformative potential of data and AI in optimising business to business (B2B) ecommerce operations, while Praveen Chintamani's vision from the Arzooo playbook underscored the importance of responsible data collection and algorithmic transparency. Last but not least, Amit Singhi's emphasis on trust-building in AI-driven healthcare at MFine and Vinod Nair's discussions on AI's role in sustainability and resource utilisation in the energy and water sectors emphasised the significance of data and AI in critical industries.

    Register now for ET Soonicorns Summit 2023 event in Delhi-NCR on November 3, 2023.

    HomeLane’s house rules for revolutionising the home interiors industry with AI-driven personalisation
    Pavan D, Vice President of Engineering at HomeLane, shared how HomeLane harnessed AI to enhance the interior design experience. He emphasised the significance of personalised home interiors, saying, "This is one area where customers spend a lot of time with our folks. And it's pretty close to their heart because they do their home interiors, and if it's not done well, it stays in their mind forever."

    He explained how HomeLane has leveraged data and AI to ensure meaningful and time-efficient customer engagement, highlighting the challenge of providing a better experience and optimising offerings in a complex landscape. HomeLane has used natural language processing (NLP) to gauge customer moods in real-time, improving sales interactions, automating 3D design generation, and introducing the Unified Design Platform (UDP). The platform soon emerged as a versatile decision-making tool, swiftly addressing structural issues and boosting customer trust, showcasing HomeLane's innovation in the sphere of customer engagement.

    Melorra's use of data to build shining customer connections
    Nirdosh Chouhan, Chief Technology Officer at Melorra, highlighted the company’s data-driven approach in the jewellery industry. He emphasised the emotional and design aspects of jewellery, stating, "We understand that jewellery is not just about pricing and compatibility; it's about the emotional and design aspects as well. By leveraging data, we aim to align our offerings with customer behaviour and preferences, ultimately providing a unique and meaningful connection with our customers." This approach involves analysing both dynamic and static data to optimise choices for customers and enhance the company's economic interests.

    Avinash Kasinathan’s insights into building clean, standardised data sets ground up for AI implementation in rural India

    While AI models have made conversational interactions more accessible, especially in urban areas, the rural demographic presents unique challenges owing to the significant variations in dialects and nuances across local languages from one region to another. These disparities manifest not only in pronunciation but also in differences of word meanings and fluctuations in tone and stress within expressions. Avinash Kasinathan, CEO of CENSA & CTO of WayCool, shared insights into the challenges faced during the development of the Outgrow App, which is now used by over 2,00,000 farmers in Southern and Western India. He said, "Understanding and accommodating the linguistic diversity of rural India was a formidable challenge."

    Although the company designed the app to support multiple languages, such as English, Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu, the Tamil spoken in Trichy, for instance, differed substantially from the Tamil spoken in other regions like Chennai. The core challenge extended beyond AI models; it encompassed the availability of digital data. In numerous rural areas, data required digitisation before effective utilisation in AI models. To tackle this issue, a process was initiated, involving the recording of hundreds of thousands of voice samples from farmers across diverse regions. This comprehensive dataset captured the richness of dialects and local language distinctions. Leveraging these digitised datasets, they fine-tuned and customised their AI models to cater to the specific linguistic needs of various regions.

    In essence, the solution didn't solely rely on AI but also on the initial step of digitising and making data accessible for AI-driven applications. This experience underscored the critical role of clean and standardised data, particularly in addressing the linguistic diversity inherent to rural India—a pivotal factor in the successful deployment of AI technologies in such contexts.

    The furniture rental business and Furlenco’s learnings in AI-driven logistics
    Sheshank Sridharan, VP of Tech & Product at Furlenco, decoding the logistics challenges in their furniture rental business, emphasising the need to balance cost optimisation and customer experience. To address this, they leveraged AI to tackle both scheduling and planning simultaneously. This integrated approach factored into various constraints, including city regulations and PIN code restrictions, and aimed to optimise their key metrics: cost and customer experience. While they succeeded in cost reduction, they faced the challenge of customer behaviour, particularly last-minute cancellations due to their AI-driven scheduling.

    He stated, "We leveraged AI to optimise logistics but realised that understanding customer behaviour, especially last-minute cancellations, is equally crucial. Our journey highlighted the need to factor in human behaviour alongside logistical optimisation for a seamless customer experience."

    Jumbotail’s AI integration strategy for empowering kirana stores and more
    Ramesh Kumar Katreddi, VP of Engineering at Jumbotail, highlighted the transformative role of data and AI in addressing the unique challenges faced by their B2B e-commerce marketplace. He emphasised, "Data and AI integration have been instrumental in optimising costs and scaling while enhancing customer service. Through billions of data points, we've built a smart warehouse system, enabling efficient product tracking and personalised recommendations. This data-driven approach extends to our supply chain and logistics, ensuring efficient inventory management, route optimisation, and personalised offerings. Data democratisation, combined with AI and machine learning (ML), has become central to our success, driving innovation and expansion." The emphasis on data democratisation, combined with AI and ML, has streamlined operations and decision-making, positioning data as a central driver of success for Jumbotail as it continues to innovate and expand its services.

    Arzooo’s playbook of addressing bias in AI algorithms for the small retial sector
    Furthermore, Praveen Chintamani, Senior Director of Engineering at Arzooo, addressed the challenges of AI implementation in the small retail sector. Highlighting the importance of transparency and consistency in data collection, Chintamani said, "Ensuring that data collected from users is clean, transparent, and consistent can be a significant challenge." He also noted the importance of addressing bias in AI algorithms, especially regarding regional accents and language variations, stating the importance of aggregating and anonymising data to protect user privacy. To ensure responsible AI use, Arzooo established a third-party regulatory team to oversee data usage and compliance with privacy regulations, striking a balance between insights and customer privacy, which involves educating users about data usage, obtaining consent, and applying data anonymisation and aggregation techniques.

    Transforming healthcare, energy and water industries with AI
    • Prioritising patient privacy: Amit Singhi, Senior Director at MFine, stressed the importance of building trust in AI-driven healthcare, stating, "We must demonstrate AI's value in assisting healthcare providers for better and faster diagnoses, thus building trust among both doctors and patients." He further emphasised MFine's commitment to patient privacy and data security, explaining, "We prioritise patient privacy while using data for insights, ensuring that sensitive information remains confidential while still providing valuable insights for improving healthcare delivery."
    • Channelling clean energy and water solutions: Regarding AI's impact on the energy and water industries, Vinod Nair, Co-Founder & Director of Enzen Global, highlighted its significance, saying, "AI plays a critical role in sustainability and efficient resource utilisation." He discussed the proactive maintenance and optimisation of solar farms using AI and drones, as well as the benefits of AI in optimising energy distribution, minimising waste, and enhancing the resilience of the energy grid.

    The ET Soonicorns Summit 2023 in Bengaluru charted a future-ready trajectory of innovation powered by data and AI. As tech enthusiasts and business leaders decoded various aspects of data integration and artificial intelligence (AI), mapping their influence and impact in addressing diverse sectoral challenges and demystifying the journey of transforming traditional industries through tailored solutions. Furthermore, the summit illuminated how data integration and AI are also powerful tools for enhancing customer experiences, optimising operations, and driving growth. Looking forward, these insights are fine-tuned to shape the future of businesses and industries, more importantly, steering conversations around the ethical and responsible use of AI.

    Register now to be a part of the ET Soonicorns Summit 2023 event in Delhi-NCR on November 3, 2023.

    For more information and to submit your entries, visit the ET Soonicorns Summit website.
    Experience Your Economic Times Newspaper, The Digital Way!
    Stay on top of technology and startup news that matters. Subscribe to our daily newsletter for the latest and must-read tech news, delivered straight to your inbox.
    The Economic Times

    Stories you might be interested in