The GE Edison Challenge 2016

Public Shaming

Last week, I had the absolute pleasure of witnessing young innovation at it’s height and how a responsible tech company was playing an active part in encouraging innovative thinkers and supporting their quest. The GE Edison Challenge is an open innovation challenge for the university student community in India, organized by the GE India Technology Centre (GEITC). This is an exciting technical competition where your imagination, analytical skills and technical expertise will be challenged and stretched. GEITC started the GE Edison Challenge as part of its University Relations program to promote technology and product innovation and encourage young minds towards research and development.


GE is very uniquely positioned as the world’s foremost player in the industrial internet. They are involved in the physics and technology behind just about everything that you see around yourself. From Refrigerators to Jet engines, anything that you can think of has GE Tech at it’s heart, physically, electronically and also in terms of analytics capabilities.

So when a large corporation like that throws it’s weight around making the industrial internet get around to adding immense value to improving our lives, the efforts matter. When youth meets a force of nature like GE, it gets interesting.

With the amount of data generated by machine sensors rising exponentially, coupled with big data analytics, the physical-digital convergence in the Industrial Internet can help solve pressing challenges in Energy, Healthcare, Transportation and Water, such as:

  • 30% of the 300GW of power generated in India is lost due to transmission-distribution loss, thermal loss and AC-DC conversion issues: Can micro-grid, smart grid or off-grid solutions help meet the demands in the power sector?
  • 1 million out of 30 million babies born across the world each year are victims of infant mortality: Is there a predictive technology to help save the lives of these babies?
  • 20% of the diseases in India are caused due to unsafe drinking water with diarrhea alone causing 1,600 deaths daily: Is there a digital technology to predict and prevent the pandemic?
  • Over INR 60,000 crore is lost annually due to traffic congestion, fuel wastage and operational inefficiencies in Indian rail, road, and flight transportation: Is there a digital-physical solution to bring in productivity and fuel efficiency?

The key focus here is on digital and physical tying up to deliver capabilities that were hitherto not explored and the process of evaluating the many innovative ideas that were presented was very weighted and objective. Here is  flow of the process that was followed

Evaluation Criteria

Criteria (Weightage) Description
Technical Feasibility of Idea (40%) The idea should be workable, practical for implementation, technically and economically feasible. Teams will be required to present information and data supporting feasibility of solution in terms of prior art in their area, jugular experiments / simulation / prototype models / software solutions, etc.
Commercial Feasibility (40%) The idea will be evaluated on the basis of scalability and affordability of the solution. Teams shall present detailed costing analysis, price benchmarking and data supporting the scalability and overall business case.
Innovation and Novelty (20%) The ideas will be evaluated based on their originality in all the applicable areas including technical solution, commercialization or implementation. Teams must demonstrate that they have knowledge of existing technologies and how their idea is novel.

In addition to the above criteria, the finalists were further assessed on their ability to demonstrate the key features of their ideas through level of completion, sophistication and ability to communicate their idea in a clear and creative manner.

Evaluation Process

Preliminary Round: The GE Edison Challenge 2016 was structured in two rounds. In the first round, teams were required to submit a detailed project report (see Guidelines) describing their idea in detail. Each team was assigned a dedicated technical coach to guide them. Teams had to submit the detailed project report by 15 February 2016.

The results of the first round were declared on 22 February 2016, on the GE Edison Challenge website. The shortlisted 25 teams were be invited for the finals. The final round was be held on 9 and 10 March 2016 at GE John F. Welch Technology Centre, 122, EPIP Phase 2, Whitefield Road, Bangalore 560066.

Final Round: In the final round, 25 shortlisted teams were at the GE John F. Welch Technology Centre, Bangalore. This round included a competitive technical challenge followed by presentation of the detailed project report which was submitted in the first round. The top 25 teams attending the finals got a great chance to personally visit the GE R&D labs, interact with GE experts and leadership, and attend a Predix platform workshop during their visit. Finalists were evaluated based on the performance in both the first and final rounds of the Challenge. Finalists hd to demonstrate their ability to build on their idea and develop a model concept during the final round.

The interesting part was the fact that the prize was divided into two components – one given directly to participants and another given to the colleges to support these ideas, incubate them and see to it that they are built into viable companies that can roll out these solutions

It was really wonderful to see that a young team that presented a very innovative way of doing a bloodless blood test (yes you got that right!) was the worthy winner this year! Overall, an eye opener in terms of innovation and the way forward for the industrial internet.

About Shakthi

I am a Tech Blogger, Disability Activist, Keynote Speaker, Startup Mentor and Digital Branding Consultant. Also a McKinsey Executive Panel Member. Also known as @v_shakthi on twitter. Been around Tech for two decades now.

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