A mundane task like vegetable purchase involves scanning through piles of produce, and visually assessing its freshness and quality. How about replacing this abstract assessment with real-time data-driven analytics?
Gurgaon-based AI startup Intello Labs is bringing to the fruits & vegetable seller the true power of Artificial Intelligence by pioneering the concept of digital commodity grading using data.
It was in mid-2016 that the Intello Labs founding team – Milan Sharma, Nishant Mishra, Himani Shah and Devendra Chandani – all hailing from data science and big data backgrounds were keen on innovating in newer tech like machine learning and artificial intelligence. After some initial kinks, they finally settled on agriculture as a focus sector. Cofounder Devendra Chandani says, “Even though agriculture is a large industry in India, the extent of technology penetration to address grassroot level challenges is relatively low.”
Despite the massive strides India has taken in technology in the last two decades, it is conventionally been an agrarian society. Nearly 60% of India’s 1.2 billion depends on agriculture as a primary source of livelihood. Yet, the level of technological prowess in the sector has not matched the industry’s size. While largescale food processing is being executed with high-grade machines, grassroot level issues exist within the ecosystem, which have been overlooked for decades.
One of the foremost challenges is assessing the quality of produce in fields and at local mandis. This is done manually most of the time and is subject to human bias. Often, it’s the farmer who suffers from this lack of standardization as he seldom gets the fair price for his labour. “While the government has increased MSPs from time to time, there is no scientific way to measure the quality-price premium of a commodity,” says Chandani.
Intello Labs uses advanced image recognition technology and AI to analyse this data to provide actionable insights. Using the Intello Labs app, a user can take a picture of a commodity and upload it on the cloud. The AI algorithms grade the sample and send the results to the app. The AI platform reads nearly 1 million images daily, and currently works for wheat, cardamom, tomato, potato, onions and other fruits and vegetables. Chandani says, “We are working on adding one new commodity per month. The technology has reduced the time taken for quality testing from 15 minutes to less than 2 minutes, and provides an accuracy rate of 95%.”
Intello Labs works with retailers, and is already present in three other countries. Currently, the company is also working on some pilot projects with governments.
In addition to winning NASSCOM CoE DSAI’s AI For Good initiative, Intello Labs is the President’s Award Winner at World Food India 2017, and has also been recognized as a “Leader in Deep Tech” and by CII FACE for Innovation. It has also represented India at the Global Start-Up World Cup held in June 2018.
AI for Good is an initiative by NASSCOM CoE – DSAI in association with the Government of Karnataka, to unlock the potential of Artificial Intelligence in addressing some of the most complex problems in the public domain.