It is hard to miss the new level of smartness and alertness in Delhi Traffic Police personnel these days. In contrast to the earlier image of a bored cop sitting on his motor bike and issuing tickets to the traffic violators from his dusty, worn-out challan book, traffic police personnel are armed with advanced hand-held personal digital assistant (PDA) devices nowadays and issuing e-challans with a never-seen-before ferocity. Their device is connected to the central database of violators and makes available online details of traffic violators. The e-challan system started in August this year and eager cops on patrol have already prosecuted more than a lakh traffic violators. Advanced PDAs are also being used by traffic cops in Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad.
A niche technology called machine-to-machine, or M2M, is behind the traffic cops’ zeal to curb violations and implement stricter traffic discipline. Machine-to-machine is when devices and machines communicate with each other without the involvement of humans. M2M requires sensors, the wireless networks and a computer connected to the internet. More on its technicalities later, first a look at few more real-life instances as to how this technology is coming mainstream in India.
In the southern metropolis of Chennai, property tax collectors from the city’s 25 municipal wards do not carry plethora of documents anymore. Instead, they are equipped with a BlackBerry device and small Bluetooth printer to capture real-time information on outstanding arrears customer wise. The tax collectors accept payment in cash as well as by cheque/demand draft. The details are captured simultaneously resulting in recording of the payment history real time and generation of payment receipt instantaneously.
The solution, developed by Bharti Airtel, expedites the process of collection; data is uploaded to the main server immediately and the tax payers get to know details of their arrears instantaneously. This has also helped bring down the queues at the payment counters at the zonal offices. It has helped Chennai Corporation with an increased and effective productivity and has worked towards customer satisfaction.
In Bhubaneswar, Orissa State Road Transport Corporation (OSRTC) was perturbed by the high fuel costs incurred by its transport