IIT Madras' Secret Society creates AR-powered contactless solution for marketing to win Samsung contest 

The Secret Society team from IIT Madras, comprising Guhan Narayanan, Mukund Khandelwal and Rishbha Jain earned the top spot in the finale  
IIT Madras
IIT Madras

A team of students from the Mechanical Engineering Department of the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM) emerged winners at Samsung's fifth edition of its pan-India campus programme called Samsung EDGE after competing with 20 other top institutes across India with over 5200 students participating.

The Secret Society team from IIT Madras, comprising Guhan Narayanan, Mukund Khandelwal and Rishbha Jain earned the top spot in the finale for presenting a customer-centric, innovative solution to reach out to potential consumers in a contact-less way in the new normal after the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, all rounds in the two-month-long programme were conducted virtually to ensure the safety of students and all Samsung employees. The competition, spread over three months, invited participation of students from diverse domains such as BTech, Masters of Business Administration and Masters of Design.

"We worked together since day one. The theme of the competition was based on the lines of solutions for Coronavirus. We used to meet, discuss, ideate, work on our presentations through video calls as we were situated in three different states. We put in a lot of practice," said Mukund, one of the team members and a final year Mechanical Engineering student at IITM. The theme this year was The Era of UNTACT – New Days, New Ways – under which the final eight teams had to suggest unique solutions to deliver a contact-less experience to consumers.

The Secret Society came up with Augmented Reality solutions such as an AR store where you can place things in your house virtually and see how it looks. One other solution they came up with included asking your phone to help you do something, like pointing it at your washing machine and it will tell you which buttons to press and provide more information. "We created a total of nine such solutions and ideas. The aim was to create a journey or a process to devise new ways of how a customer can shop, recreate the whole experience in a contactless way," added Rishbha.

Ken Kang, President and CEO, Samsung SWA

A total of 1,763 teams across India participated, out of which 48 teams made it to the regional rounds, and finally eight teams were selected for the finale. The winning team was awarded a pre-placement offer from Samsung and a flagship smartphone along with a cash prize of Rs 400,000. The first runner-up team from FMS Delhi presented a messaging app based chat-bot experience for consumers and store on wheels solution based on the theme. The first runner-up bagged a pre-placement interview with Samsung and cash prize of Rs 200,000. The second runner-up position went to team Mafia from XLRI Jamshedpur for showcasing an innovative virtual store walk solution, and they were rewarded with a cash prize of Rs 100,000.

Samsung EDGE is a campus recruitment and engagement initiative by Samsung India that was started in 2016 to provide opportunities to young talent from top B-Schools, Engineering and Design Institutes. Every year the brightest minds come together from top institutes across the country to provide distinctive solutions to real-time challenges. "At Samsung, we believe that only meaningful innovations enable change. Through the Samsung EDGE campus programme, we want to cultivate young minds and give them a platform to present creative solutions for real-life problems. This year the teams were tasked to innovate on new-age solutions for current challenges faced by everyone around the world. We are overjoyed to see the bright ideas that have the potential to transform our society," said Sameer Wadhawan, Head, Human Resources, Samsung India.

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