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We love Startups. More so, educational startups that have the power to disrupt the conventional learning methods. There is no better way than letting the teachers teach their own way. Using technology, if we can incorporate all kinds of learning materials into one single platform – that will be a boon to teachers and students alike. Harness Handitouch, founded by Subramanian Viswanathan, just does that. Harness is an award winning education technology start-up revolutionising classroom experiences. Their Touch-on-Cloud platform helps teachers to focus more on students, thereby using more time where it is needed most. Touch-on-Cloud harnesses the power of networked devices, networked people and blended learning.

We get in touch with Mr. Subbu, who takes us through their innovative Learning Operating System and lot of other things. Here is the excerpt:

harness_handitouchLearning Operating System is a new concept for us. Please take us through Harness Touch-on-Cloud and how it will help the education sector.

Touch-on-Cloud is a learning operating system, which disrupts the idea behind traditional learning management systems (LMS) and enables the comprehensive use of interactive technology inside classroom as well as outside it using the Cloud.

Using networked Tablets, Laptops or PCs inside the classroom, Touch-on-Cloud provides new in-class pedagogy where teacher white-boarding is broadcasted automatically to all students. The teacher can embed (and annotate alongside) all learning artefacts– images, videos, Ms Office files, open courseware from the internet – instantly. Students have the ability to annotate notes on top of the teacher layer. This blended content created in the class is available on the cloud at home or on the move for students to not just revise, but replay with audio. Touch-on-Cloud effectively bridges the digital-physical divide.

With powerful quiz, assignment, lesson management. student management and evaluation tools built in, Touch-on-Cloud truly functions as a learning operating system capturing all learning and teaching activities.
When used to full potential, Touch-on-Cloud can replace notebooks, textbooks and the blackboard. A lot of paper can be saved and besides, teacher work can be re-used for multiple times over several years

What ages of students is Harness product targeting? What are the various ways in which customers can try out Harness Touch-on-Cloud.

Touch-on-Cloud has applicability across educational segments – K12, Higher Education and Coaching, and implementation model to suit budgets of all sub-segments.

We have sales reps in all metros – Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad. Interested institutes can contact us through our website and we will take them through a demo and explain the next steps

Currently, we do have companies selling ipads coupled with education software. What is the USP of Harness Handitouch when compared with these companies?

Touch-on-Cloud makes hardware inside a class a lot more productive. Since it is an HTML5 based software product that can be operated through any tablet, laptop or even PCs that meet minimum requirements, it is actually hardware agnostic

The key differentiator of Touch-on-Cloud is that it is a pedagogical and not a content innovation. This means it can enable the teacher to make a personalized intervention to every student at the time of learning, resulting in better learning outcomes. Touch-on-Cloud classes are far more interactive than traditional classes and every student is hooked on.

 Tell us about the funding and investors. Also, take us a bit through the entire journey from idea to implementation.

Harness Handitouch Private Limited was founded in January 2011 by Subramanian Vishwanathan (Subbu) and Kuljit Chadha who are batch-mates from ISB Hyderabad. Subbu had his own start-up which he sold to the ICICI group before joining McKinsey & Company from ISB. Subbu got the idea for Touch-on-Cloud while he was working at McK. He saw immense potential for a product that would allow synchronous broadcast to all screens along with annotation ability in a training/ education scenario. He left McK in 2010 to start Harness Handitouch and developed Touch-on-Cloud.

Besides promoter investments, Harness is Angel –funded through a network of high net-worth individuals

Where is the pilot program launched and how has been the response so far? We also want to ask you if the software can be coupled with low-end tablets instead of high-end ipads only? This would make the product reach more mass market.

Touch-on-Cloud has been piloted with over 1000 students all over India and Middle-East and is live with a couple of coaching institutes. We have closed orders and looking at an implementation in 3 K12, 4 Higher Education and 2 Coaching Institues in these markets beginning June.

Yes Touch-on-Cloud can run on any operating system – iOS, Android or Windows since it is an HTML 5 product

What are the future plans for Harness Handitouch? Where do you see the company headed after 5 years?

Our vision is to grow the base of students using Touch-on-Cloud, both locally and globally and serve a student base of 1 million students by 2018. Harness will continuously evolve the product, and generate new business models to expose every segment in the education sector to Touch-on-Cloud.

Is there anything that you would like to share with the readers of TheTechPanda? ( Please give us any entrepreneurial advise based on your startup experience so far).

1) Make sure you temper your passion with sound strategic advice from people with good business acumen
2) If you get funded, spend every penny as if it is yours
3) Do not be afraid of failure but mitigate risks to the extent you can

What do we think of Harness Handitouch?

We are beginning to have a revolution in teaching. There are excellent players in this field who will enhance the entire learning experience by lesson capturing, by all-in-one learning integrated platforms and many other ways.  Harness Handitouch’s Touch-on-Cloud platform will stand out – because of its wide availability with HTML5. With the number of international schools coming up, these all-in-one integrated platforms will soon become a way-of-life for these students. With a niche product and need in the market, we are sure that Harness Handitouch will definitely be adopted by schools & colleges to give their students the best learning experience.


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