One of Asia’s largest slums is luring shoppers with the Internet of Things
Home to more than one million people, Dharavi is one of Asia’s largest slums. Shanty-homes line its narrow alleyways where open drains run along the ground and electric cables hang overhead. The slum’s manufacturing and retail ecosystem is worth more than $1 billion on its own. Residents work in a variety of industries—leather tannery, textiles, pottery, recycling—and Dharavi’s bustling market is a retail haven for savvy buyers of leather products, jewellery, furniture, textiles, and more.
Now, vendors in this city-within-a-city are getting help from the IoT. Using 30 beacon devices provided by Google, a group of researchers from the Industrial Design Centre (IDC) at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay, along with researchers from Swansea University in the UK, is creating a “physical web” connecting different shops in Dharavi’s markets. The initiative is part of the Google IoT Research Award Pilot, announced last February. Overall, Google has provided 100 beacon devices for the Dharavi project.
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