Covid-19 cases are surging in India, with the country facing high community spreads from the virus. While the Government is largely focusing on mass testing and vaccination trials, an important aspect that is being overlooked is a mechanism to detect primary traces of COVID-19 in a community, much before any official case is reported there. Mumbai-based technology firm Transerve, which specializes in geo-spatial technologies has introduced a Geospatial Sewerage Surveillance model which offers community-based group testing with routine monitoring of sewage as a non-invasive early warning tool. In fact, wastewater testing can also be used as an early warning sign if the virus returns.
Speaking to CXOToday, Ashwani Rawat, Co-Founder & Director, Transerve, said, “This surveillance model can not only be useful as an early warning sign for COVID but also for future outbreaks as well.”
This model has been successfully implemented in detecting illegal drug use in Australia, to eradicate polio in Israel, track salmonella outbreaks in Hawaii, to name a few. In India, where approximately 38% of households dispose of their wastes into septic tanks and 33% of households are connected to a piped sewer system. The Geospatial Sewerage Surveillance solution has the potential to cover this 70% of households for tracing early signs of infection.
Rawat explains that the solution has been built on a cloud-based tool ‘Transerve Online Stack’ or TOS, and tracks the movement of Faecal Sludge Management (FSM) by collecting data using spatial analytics, location on mobile devices, and studying the patterns over time and geography.
Using GIS to create social impact
Rawat sees much potential in the technology, and informs that “social impact” has always been the core focus of Transverse when creating any technology. He says, “With the increasing penetration of smart phone and data connectivity across the globe, the rate of spatial data creation has gone up tremendously, we realized the dire need of a platform easy to operate and process spatial data on regular basis.
That’s what led the Transerve team to come up with a SaaS based location Intelligence platform to help companies to draw insights from the data automatically. The platform, according to Rawat, fills the vacuum in the market which cannot afford to implement expensive enterprise GIS solutions as well require to develop in-house expertise.
Rawat says, our TOS is designed for Indian cities with complex setup. The solution is scalable and can remodel cities in digital form based on as things are on-ground, which helps in running scenarios to assist decision-makers in finding the impact of their policies and projects. It has helped cities manage their assets and operations to provide better citizen services and helps them evaluate the city’s progress and development using livability indicators across 21 areas including the environment, slum rehabilitation, property tax, utilities, assets, disaster management, estate management, parks, roads and more.
“We have also come up with solutions to support businesses which are trying to get their operations back on track through TOS for mapping Covid-19 density zones using geospatial technology. This advanced solution works on predictive analysis and uses layers of geospatial data to track, monitor, analyse, and visually represent them into data stacks. These data stacks will help in route optimization in Covid positive zones that can further assist businesses in making statistically-driven decisions,” says Rawat.
With so many practical applications, TOS is emerging to be a very effective tool for governments and corporates. TOS has been maintaining a Corona timeline and created interactive digital maps of all the districts in India, and colour-coded them to map all the Covid-19 related information. We are also publishing map visualizations on Covid-19 related data released by government sources from time-to-time in order to help the public in understanding the infection and its containment.
The platform has already been used by organizations with country wide presence. As Rawat explains, “Currently we are supporting more than 50 organizations on daily basis to manage their spatial datasets. Our platform is enabling the organizations to draw insights from spatial datasets and sharing it among various stakeholders.”
The Road Ahead
On how the company has been impacted by the pandemic, Rawat says, “Like most of the other businesses, COVID crises have impacted our business too. But the brighter side is that it has led us to re-think about the situation and made us more determined to keep committed for the innovation.”
The company has heavily invested in R&D in the last six months, aligning its product to various market verticals. “We have moved from process based architecture to value based architecture in this year. Our technology is now available on SaaS model with 1800 ready datasets for our users for analyzing the market using location intelligence,” he says.
Talking about the future roadmap, Rawat informs, Transerve will be shortly releasing a unified urban platform covering the entire urban landscape, utilizing open standards; to offer a non-proprietary platform that can be used by any city across the globe.
“We are targeting implementation into more than 250 urban local bodies in 2020 and in 5 large corporates. We are currently working with Big Fours to implement the solution globally. Transerve is also appending their technology with industry standard products in domain of building plan approval system and Municipal ERP’s with partnerships with industry leaders,” he concludes.