ITE – Recreating Heritage

I have attending a few courses on ancient Indian Art History and it is painful to see lot of it being lost due to various reasons. The biggest reason is of course time and climate but there are human factors when graffiti is written in precious paintings. Take the case of Ajanta Paintings in Maharashtra – a UNESCO world heritage site. The paintings inside the caves have survived for almost 2000 years even when they were covered with vegetation for a long time. There are walls and walls filled with visual storytelling – that not only tell the stories of that era but are like a living documentation of human evolution. Most of these paintings can not be seen without the aid of artificial lighting – that has the potential to damage the works. It is also very difficult to visualize the paintings and understand the stories they are telling without the help of a good art historians – who are again small in numbers.

Can technology step in and recreate the magical works digitally? This would include using photographs and sketches by the early discovered to recreate. Some recreations have been done by artists like Yadegar Assisi using the old drawings, sketches and photographs, so it is not in the realm of impossible or unattempted. These paintings are detailed and would need the help of historians who have been studying them for a long time. The washed away portions can be recreated may be only digitally or the same can be used to create a real life model that the tourists can walk in to get a feel of how the life was in those days. This can be accompanied by documentation of the content of these sculptures or paintings.

Revenue can be generated by the

  • Licensing of the content to various agencies
  • Subscription / fee based access to content
  • Creating tour guides in various format ( books, audio, assisted ) and charging a fee for the same

Challenges

  • You would need to work with government agencies like Archeological survey of India and Art Historians who may not be India based
  • Capital intensive project may need funding from agencies like UNESCO / Government

With some brainstorming, more avenues for revenue generation can be thought of. Revenue gestation period may be long, but this information once documented will get valuable over a period of time as the historians and students of tomorrow will refer to this time and again.

I see a need for this solution – both for the tourists and for the historians.

ITE – Post Paid Legal Aid

A few months back Times of India stole a picture from my travel blog and even after repeatedly writing to them they refused to compensate me for the picture. I am still pursuing the case with agencies like PCI and if required will go to the court soon. Last 4 months have been an immense learning in terms of legal processes and the apprehensions that we as common people in India have in approaching the courts. I also came in touch with many individual professionals who are also fighting a similar battle with one or the other media house, and this idea comes from the collective helplessness of common citizens when they fight for their rights against a corporate giant or a government agency.

Idea is to have a law firm that can take up these cases for general public at no or some nominal cost but take a part of the compensation that the individual gets as per the court orders. Now I am not too sure about the legality of this but I know that a lot of people will be willing to share the compensation but are too scared to put in there good money after the money they have already lost in the process.

Given the number of such cases, the market potential of the idea is huge. You can bring in complete transparency by publishing these cases online and report on the progress made on them. Give the agencies an option to settle out of court if they and the client want, and still take your share of the compensation. There may be a risk associated to the extent that cases sometime can take a lot of time and your client may not get compensated at all, but I think the law of averages would work and numbers would work out eventually.

Can some lawyers reading this add to this idea or critique this idea?

ITE – Complaint Management

Today most service providing consumer organizations are facing a deadlock with lot of consumers who are not happy with their complaints. They have their dedicated customer care units, but all they do is send you an automated e-mail saying ‘Assuring you of best of our servives’ while they do not even understand the problem. Customers keep writing, sometimes they get the calls from various people in the organization who only say ‘I will get back to you’ and your problem remains where it is. Most of these problems are systemic issues in the organizations which they are either not aware of or try to ignore the scale or impact of the complaint.
A case in point is Airtel. You can get a connection with required documentation, but try giving up that connection. Almost impossible. You fill the forms, you write e-mails, you tell them s strict NO on their persuasion calls, but they do not disconnect and keep sending you the bills long after you have moved from the city and have not used their services. Many customers across the country have faced this problem. The key problem is there is no SLA on disconnecting. In their bid to maintain the number of subscribers they do not want you to give up their services. But that does mean they do not have a documented process to do so.
Idea is to create a problem that understands problems from customers and based on the collective problem asks the company to sort it out in a given time frame. This idea has been tried by Govt, but failed miserbaly. they in fact wanted to charge the brands to provide this service, and apparently brands were willing to pay. They could not get the right momentum going on this initiative and hence never took off.
I propose a slightly different version of the same complaints portal – Sign up with few brands – Telecom companies and large private Banks would be a good beginning. Use the social media to get complaints – when consumers are suffering they will hold on to any straw handed to them. And see if you can be the mediator between the consumer and the company. Works well for everyone, consumers do not have to take a legal recourse which is expensive and time taking, companies can sort out their issues peacefully while improving their internal systems.
There are smaller organizations doing it in a small and specialized way, like The Hoot that takes complaints against media misconduct and tries to get them sorted.
This can be a non-profit idea, or you can charge the brands a bit for each complaint that you take to them. This idea requires some knowledge of law, consumer rights, knowledge of focussed organizations working in some niche areas and operating processes of business organizations. This needs to be tested as you are trying to make a business model based on disputes and complaints.
I am happy to announce that entrepreneur Prateek Narang has picked up the experience gifting idea and is working on it.