Smartur.com was developed with a vision to provide affordable digital content at K12 level as part of e-learning initiative. Having launched his company in 2012, Neeraj Jewalkar, Founder and CEO at Smartur.com, sees today brighter prospects for his endeavour not only among private institutions but also government schools at large.
How was the idea of Smartur.com conceptualised?
India has one of the largest school going populations in the world. The digital content needs of these students are being met by a set of companies that Smartur.com believed are affordable only to an elite few. To meet this gap, the idea took birth in August 2012 as an elearning initiative. Smartur.com is into the K-12 space (Kindergarten to 12th Standard) and was launched to provide affordable digital content solutions to schools.
Smartur Maths Proficiency Test (SMPT) was conceived as a product targeted towards students of class 6th to 10th to improve their proficiency in Math. To motivate children to spend more time practicing and learning Math, SMPT has been structured as a game that rewards children for solving Math problems. To appeal to the psychology of students a reward based system is put in place under which ‘Coins’ are awarded to children for solving questions correctly which can be accumulated to buy a gift of their choice ranging from toys, games to books and electronics from the Smartur Gift store.
Further, Smartur3D (for science subject for classes 6 to 10) is the full fledged digital classroom solution built on Augmented Reality and Stereoscopic 3D platforms to bring experiential learning into Indian classrooms at affordable costs. Smartur3D addresses the growing gap that exists between schools that have the financial resources to afford existing digital classroom solutions compared to those that are not able to afford such solutions.
Smartur3D took around 2 years for development and was launched in July 2014. Smartur3D is the only product in its segment which offers Interactive 3D, Augmented Reality and Stereoscopic 3D. Presently, around 750 schools across the world including India are using Smartur3D product (US, UK, Canada, South Africa and Philippines)
How did funding happen?
Nearly Rs. 3 Crore has been spent so far in R&D and product development of Smartur 3D. The funding needs of Smartur. com have so far been met internally by Trendyworks (The parent company). We will be looking at funding for R&D and product development next year.
What are the broader perspectives that Smartur is eyeing for? What is the idea behind inception of Smartur3D?
The Idea behind Smartur3D is to provide experiential learning to schools based on augmented reality and stereoscopic 3D platforms that will address the growing gap that exists between schools. High costs have been the greatest deterrent for adoption of e-learning modules.
Most of the solutions available in the market are priced per student per month basis at a higher rate. Whereas high quality course content with cutting edge technology from www.Smartur3D. in is available for a very nominal fixed annual fee per school, irrespective of the number of students or classrooms a school has. It is available for all schools to experience the power of augmented reality. As of now our focus is on increasing the reach and acceptability of Smartur3D and not on profitability.
Currently, we are in touch with various state governments to provide the product free of cost to all government schools which have basic computer facilities.
How does the Indian market scenario look like in the 3D space segment?
The Indian Market scenario for 3D Space segment (education) is still at a nascent stage. This is because of the huge perceived cost of installation and low level of awareness. In fact even in United States which has around 125,000 schools, not more than 100 schools have 3D in their schools. The adaptation in terms of technology is poor. Also the cost of content development is a problem and production of hardware is a prominent factor which is hindering the growth.
What are the features of Smarturb 3D?
It is the World’s most advanced 3D classroom solution in the world to have the following Visualization features in a single application.
Smartur.com has found a strong usage for this technology that will radically improve the adoption of digital solutions in the schools and become a game changer for the e-learning industry in India. Smartur3D content is built for use on computers, laptops and projectors. Smartur.com will provide the software while schools can use their existing hardware or buy new hardware of their choice based on their budgets. To use AR mode of Smartur 3D, schools will just need a web camera which is available for as less as Rs 600 onwards in the market.
Pilot deployment of Smartur3D solution has already happened across 20 countries including India, UK, Canada, South Africa, Uganda, Kenya, Philippines. In US, more than 500 schools have already started using Smartur3D in classroom learning. It has plans to bring out tablet and mobile versions of Smartur3D and also cover other subjects in the near future.
What are the core areas that Smartur is targeting? What is the strategy you have developed?
The company’s core area is K12 and we are looking forward to be more like a first on mobile company in this segment. Out of all possible platforms available, mobile will give us the maximum reach as mobile has the least entry barrier at this point of time amongst all platforms. Even from our sales point of view we need to reach out to more target users and make them use the content we create. For instance, Last year 80 million Smartphones were sold in India compared to 12 million computers which is almost a 1:6 ratio. Even out of this 12 million, close to half were enterprise based. In future mobile is going to be the platform to widen our reach.
What is the scope you see for Smartur? How do you plan to make Smartur 3D bigger and reach your target audience?
Way forward looks positive for us because the adaptation of mobile phones is growing rapidly and even the usage of Smartphones is picking up. Currently, the Smartphones market constitutes nearly 30% of the overall mobile market. Out of 320 million mobile phones sold in India last year only 80 million happened to be Smartphones. So there’s still a limited number of audiences who are consuming the digital content on their mobile phones. This year’s estimates say that 110 million Smartphones will be sold which means more people will consume the digital content. So as the number of people consuming the digital content goes up, our target base goes up proportionately.
Currently we have only class 10th, by adding other classes, subjects and other boards, we have huge scope for growth