Microsoft Accelerator startup Harness Handitouch launches real-time learning and collaboration app Unio
Chennai-based education technology startup, Harness Handitouch Pvt Ltd, has launched Unio, an education app where a teacher's white-boarding is broadcast automatically to all students in a class through networked tablets, laptops and PCs.
Unio is the consumer version of Harness's Touch-on-Cloud learning operating system which enables teachers to embed and annotate teaching materials such as images, videos, Microsoft Office files and open courseware over Internet. Students can then annotate notes on top of the teacher layer. This blended content created in the class is available on the cloud for students to revise and listen to, through audio.
"Unio also enables real-time distance learning and interaction between a teacher and the student with audio and video conferencing," said founder Subramanian Viswanathan. "This is also helpful for students to do combine study as they can interact with classmates in real time." According to the founder, Unio can be used in all segments of education, including K12, higher education, coaching, vocational training and distance learning.
Unio is currently in closed beta. It means the firm is recruiting beta users who are willing to test the product in their classrooms. The firm is looking to monetise Unio once it gets enough traction. It expects around 500,000 downloads by the end of this year.
Set up in July 2011 by Indian School of Business graduates Viswanathan (CEO) and Kuljit Chadha (director), Harness has sales offices in Mumbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore and the Middle East. A Microsoft Accelerator startup, it graduated from the second batch of the programme recently.
In October 2012, Harness secured Rs 1 crore funding from members of Club ah!, a network of investors and a part of ah! Ventures, a platform that brings investors and entrepreneurs together. Its Touch-on-cloud has in-built assessment, lesson management, student management and evaluation tools. This product is currently available on iOS, Windows and Android devices. The firm claims that a few schools and universities in India, the Middle East, Spain and Latin America are currently using the product.
Online education space has seen a slew of firms enter the market and some of them have also attracted investors. In one of the recent deals, Tabtor, a digital offering that combines personalised teaching with an engaging learning programme that supports multiple subjects, raised $1 million in a seed round from New Jersey-based SoundBoard Angel Fund besides Bangalore-based Aarin Capital Partners, Sand Hill Angels, BITS Spark Angels, among other individual investors.
A key player in the space is Bangalore-based Aurus Network, which provides a cloud-based platform for video creation, management and distribution in the educational sector. Kochi-based Quickstudy, is one of the entrants into the sector. It enables learning through digital media by integrating students, tutors, institutions and content providers on one platform.
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)