Stay home, Stay safe – We all have heard, read and seen this phrase over the last few weeks in various platforms across the globe. The important question is ‘how can we stay at home without supplies?’. It is obviously a very valid question and we have to answer that. Governments across the world have told their citizens to stay at home and advised them that only one person from each house goes out for getting their supplies. Well, with nation-wide lockdowns in force there are very few shops that are open and people keep going around their towns/ cities in finding a shop for their needs. This blog is to discuss a possible solution to this problem. If I am wrong and if there exists something that is similar to what I am about to explain in the forthcoming paragraphs, I request you to correct me and share the information through the comments section below. This may help someone who is in search of such an option.
I recently came across a news that was forwarded to me under the subscriber program of www.globalspecs.com. I usually ignore a lot of information (the latest developments in various fields around the world) that they send me over e-mail but this one specifically caught my attention. It was about a website developed by a team of young computer science students from the University of Texas. The site is named like this https://www.instok.org/ and one can access it from any browser. Okay, now the question is “What is the purpose of this site?”. According to the developers of the site, one can use it to find out details of stock available in the market for various products such as toilet paper, hand sanitizers, milk products etc. One can easily find the stocks available near his/ her location by entering the zip code and the site gives you the available stock from major Stores nearby. This will help in a significant reduction of movement of people on the roads in search of supplies. I would like to reiterate here that it will help in reducing people’s movement in search of products and does not deliver the products to you. Once the product is located by you, you can directly go to that particular store, buy your need and get back home. No unnecessary trips around the town which exposes you to the existing infection. The site also helps in notifying a user when the product of his choice is available, resulting in avoiding an unnecessary run to other stores which might be farther. I consider this a great step by these young students and wish them good luck in their lives and career.
Now, is it possible to implement such an option in a country like India? Yes, absolutely possible if the large scale retailers such as Reliance, More and owners of local super and hypermarkets come together. Launching of a website, along with an app version (both for android and iOS platforms), and the retailers and shop owners updating the stock information regularly will be of great help to the public. And if this option is explored and worked out by the Government of India/ Ministry of Telecom and IT, just like the app Arogya Setu (https://www.mygov.in/aarogya-setu-app/) which helps people in tracking down corona infected areas and people around you (I hope I am right about that), it will help the government in reducing the number of people roaming around the cities in search of supplies. This also comes with some disadvantages as well. They are:
- Updation of stock details in real-time basis won’t be feasible at all times.
- Usage of such a website or app is not expected in rural areas due to fewer consumers.
I may be wrong about the disadvantages and there could be more or these may be petty issues. If you find more issues related to this, please discuss the same in the comments section below. Is this post going to reach the higher echelons of the Government? If reached, will the Government act on it? Are some private players interested in it? If so, will they be able to do this? This obviously requires coordination with a lot of people, organizations, store owners, retailers and other Govt agencies. I believe this cannot be done without the influence of major players or the Govt itself. These questions would remain unanswered and this option may never be explored if this post or information is not shared among people. Now I leave that to you to decide to share it or not.
Tell me what do you think about this. I will post more such interesting information that may be useful during ongoing crisis.