Ralph Simon is busy travelling the world when he’s not at home in London. Those who have crossed paths with him say he’s on a relentless search for the best in technological innovation. They also know that he heads the London-based Mobilium Global Group, which counsels personalities and organisations on the practical and profitable way to disseminate information through social media.
He often comes to India to fulfill his responsibility as board member of Hungama Digital Media, but his relationship with India is more sentimental than business. “I have a love affair with India,” he told rotarians at the Tuesday meeting. And luckily for him, back in London, he doesn’t find it hard to rekindle his affair from time to time: “On my morning speed walk, I always pass the house in which B.R. Ambedkar used to live in London, when he was working on the Constitution.”
So this time, whether for love or business, Ralph Simon was back in India – and found an audience in the members of the Rotary Club. He told rotarians about the innovations made in far off lands, with the enthusiasm of an explorer of the Late Middle Ages, but through a PowerPoint presentation in order to keep it 21st century.
First on his list was a London based company’s efforts towards giving its workaholic society an opportunity to exercise on their way to work. The concept is simple: Londoners spend an average of 45 minutes to an hour to get to work, so instead of spending that time sitting, they can catch up on some much needed cardio because a UKbased company is planning to build buses equipped with cardio and shower facilities for a quick workout.
Singaporeans did something similar, but with a very different motive in mind. In Singapore, people aren’t using public transport, because of which car traffic becomes difficult to handle. As a solution, the government has funded the manufacture of buses that are scented, attracting automobile owners to opt for the bus when travelling.
In the USA, Elon Musk, the founder of PayPal, has funded a project to reduce LA’s traffic problem. Engineers working on the project believe it is possible to build underground tracks that would transport a line of cars like a train, in order to make traffic move faster.
Meanwhile in Australia, patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia could find salvation in the fact that Medibank is developing a VR experience to eradicate their symptoms of loneliness, considering that the elderly do not have the pleasure of family grouping (unlike in India).
In the field of health care, Malaysia’s Telekom has developed mosquito repellent umbrellas that shoo mosquitoes with the help of radio frequencies, turning tropical countries into safe havens for human beings.
Simon also shared a few examples of how technological innovations do highlight the eccentricity of their inventors.
Shiseido, the Japanese cosmetic brand, invested a lot of money to develop an app that rates a woman’s smile, and suggests products she could use to enhance her rating. And EasyJet, England’s budget airline, also manufactures sneakers that connect to your smartphone or smartwatch and help you get to your destination by buzzing at your sole. Users say that it encourages them to enjoy the scenery, instead of looking down at their phone every time there is a bend in the road.
Yet these byproducts of technological advancements, the speaker concludes, must not steer us away from reaping the benefits that technology lends to security systems, healthcare, and transportation. After all, “what [we] see is just the beginning.”