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Tatas develop safety watch for workers; to focus on wearables

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The Tata Group today said it has developed a watch exclusively for factory workers which can provide critical real-time safety data and announced that it is looking to sell wearable devices to tech-savvy consumers in the future.

“This is the very first safety wearable in the world designed specially for a factory floor worker,” the conglomerate’s Group Chief Technology Officer Gopichand Katragadda told reporters, displaying an image of the watch sporting a Tata logo. He said the watch has been designed by multiple Tata Group companies.

The basic idea came from Tata Steel whose workers will be using it soon, with user inputs from Tata Chemicals and Tata Motors whose shop-floors will also benefit. It is supported by TCS’ cloud-based analytics platform, designed by Tata Elxsi and will be manufactured by Titan.

The watch will give real time data on critical elements of safety like the worker’s body temperature, pulse rate and also excessive gases in the ambiance, Katragadda said.

He added that the Group is also looking at marketing it to other manufacturing companies and going ahead, will develop products for savvy digital consumers as well.

“When we enter the digital consumer space, we will have a unique product because if you design something for the shop-floor, the design is much more onerous than doing it for a consumer. We will have a product which is unique in that market,” Katragadda said.

The wearables space is already congested with offerings from global majors like Apple, Google, Samsung and also dedicated fitness companies.

Even though digital is the key focus, Katragadda said the safety watch made for Tata Steel workers has an analogue display with digital sensors.

It is a retro design watch with a “digital heart” which will help one track the worker in his work environment.

Apart from the watch, the close to USD 110-billion salt-to software group, which spent nearly Rs 18,000 crore in R&D efforts in 2014-15, is working on other global firsts like the material of future graphene.

Katragadda said Tata Steel has set up a Graphene Development Cell and the group is working with IIT-Madras on the project.

With companies like Tesla making in-roads into the electric vehicle segment, Tata Sons’ Group Executive Council Member and Brand Custodian Mukund Rajan said Tata Technologies is also working on a similar vehicle.

Katragadda, however, said with the bulk of the company dependent on coal for its power needs, the timing for an EV is not right at present.

With concerns around the ill-effects of excessive use of pesticides on crops, the group is also developing a drone to spray the pesticides which can help reduce the volumes used on crops by uniform spraying, he added.

Katragadda said the group is also working in areas like soft robotics, bio-inspired products, stretch sensors, gene editing and deep learning.

PTI

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