ITU Green App Challenge - Meet the developers! (#4) - Interview with Mr Praneel Raja
Green ICT Application Challenge sought to uncover
innovative concept papers for climate change related ICT
applications. ITU announced the Challenge’s winner and papers
deserving special mention at the Green Standards Week held in
Rome, 5-9 September 2011. The event was supported by BlackBerrry
One of the challenge’s finalists, Mr. Praneel Raja from India,
developed a concept for an application entitled, “Mobile App to
Use a Vehicle to its Fullest Capacity.” The goal of this mobile
application is to improve efficiency in the transportation
sector by making sure that vehicles are used to their full
capacity. The app provides a forum where users can request a
ride in a vehicle with vacancy, travelling the same route as the
driver. The overall result of the application would be a
reduction of GHG emission by decreasing the number of vehicles
on the road.
We approached Praneel to discuss the inspiration for his concept
and his experience with the challenge. Here is what he had to
[Question] Tell us a little about yourself and what
I am a student at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras,
pursuing a post-graduate degree in Computer Science.
[Q] How did you find out about the ITU Green ICT
I came to know about it when the Research Affairs Secretary of
our institute forwarded the email about the challenge to the
[Q] Why did you decide to take part in the
I have always been interested in issues related to climate
change. The contest was also during my summer vacation, which
gave me the time I needed to begin developing my application.
[Q] Have you developed an app before or was this
experience new to you?
No, it is the first time I have done anything like this.
[Q] Was the application that you presented something
you’ve been working on for a long time or did you develop the
app for this challenge?
This app had been an idea of mine for some time. This is however
the first time I’ve taken action and brought all the pieces
together to create a functional, useful app.
[Q] How did the development of the app take place?
I am developing the app as a part of my Course Project in IIT
[Q] What was your biggest challenge when designing
The safety and security of the app’s users was definitely the
biggest challenge in its design. Without trustworthy safety
mechanisms, people would be reluctant to use the service.
[Q] What was your motivation behind developing an
app to combat climate change/promote sustainability?
The motivation was to help build a transport system where people
could get from A to B carrying only their mobile phones. Where
did your inspiration for this application come from? I have
noticed that most vehicles on the road are more than half-empty.
More efficient use of the world’s vehicles could both increase
the number of people able to access automobile transport and
reduce the number of cars on the road. This is a win-win
scenario for social welfare, as access to transport rises while
carbon emissions decline.
[Q] What other activities are you involved in to
help fight climate change and promote environmental
I am an ambassador for S-NET (Sustainable Network development),
a student initiative at the institute, and I am responsible for
promoting sustainable development on the institute’s campus.
[Q] What do you expect from this application in the
future? Are you planning to further develop it?
Yes, I plan to develop it further. I think this app has great
potential and I would like it to become a viable, trustworthy
[Q] What is your advice to developers wishing to
create apps to help combat climate change/promote sustainability?
y advice is to be as practical as possible – make sure that the
solution is actionable, and that it can be of real value to the
majority of the population.
To find out more about Mr. Raja and his activities, contact him
via ITU by sending an email to
firstname.lastname@example.org. Meet the
rest of the winners and relive the ITU Green Application
Challenge by accessing
For more information about the ITU’s activities on climate