Interview: Mr. Ashvin B Savant CEO, InfinityX Tech Systems Discusses FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) International Robotics Competition in India
Mr. Ashvin B Savant Founder and CEO, InfinityX Tech Systems Pvt. Ltd. FTC India Affiliate Partner takes a look back on The FIRST TECH CHALLENGE (FTC) India Championship one of the biggest international robotic competition for the school students in India.
About Mr. Ashvin B Savant
Ashvin has provided the vision and guidance in developing PTC’s award winning, internationally recognized global education program in India, South RIM and Middle East. The program provides 15,000 teachers and professors, 30,000 schools, and more than 1,00,000 students with complete learning solutions that not only inspires a new generation for success in a technological world, but also prepares the engineers of the future.
Over the 27 years he has been in Education field, and have held several senior level positions within the sales, marketing.
In 2010 Ashvin successfully launched FIRST® Tech Challenge International Robotics competition in India. This initiative is part of PTC’s globalization plan. In 2012 Ashvin successfully launched PTC® STEM Academy program in India and Middle East. In 2013, First time in India Ashvin also launched the Skill Development program for PTC, Currently he is closely working with Academia, Industries, State government and Central Government of India to create the skilled workforce for the Industry.
Currently Ashvin is spear-heading ‘InfinityX’ as Founder & CEO. InfinityX aimed at proliferating ‘Digital Transformation’ for manufacturing sector and focus on designing, building and implementing real-time solutions for industrial/manufacturing organizations around Industry 4.0 ethos. InfinityX , a group of unique, passionate and highly experienced multidisciplinary professionals from various industrial backgrounds who contributes in building and delivering industry standard IIoT, AR/VR and AI/ML solutions.
What is FIRST TECH CHALLENGE (FTC) India? Please tell us in brief about the competition.
FIRST TECH CHALLENGE Robotics competition is presented by FIRST, USA (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) which was founded in 1989 to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology. It is not-for-profit public charity designs accessible, innovative programs that motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, while building self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills.
The FIRST TECH CHALLENGE India Championship is the biggest international robotic competition for the school students in India for the age group of 12 to 18 years. The teams (comprising of minimum 2 students and maximum 15 students) along with Alliance team complete the game task in predetermined time, The points are assigned based on various factors like completion of game task, behavior of students, gracious professionalism, maintaining engineering book, challenges overcome, social media, outreach program, team organizational structure, sponsorship received, etc. Teams have to build a robot, program them and plan a winning strategy to complete the game task so as to get maximum points. In this process, their coach or mentor plays a major role in guiding and advising the Team.
How did it start? Tell us about your team, who do you have supporting you?
FTC Competition was initiated in India way back in 2009 with support from NRB Bearings Ltd and PTC as founding partners, but officially launched in India in 2012 at Pune with participation from 13 Teams. Since then FTC Competition has been a held every year. During 2018-19, 30 Teams took part in National Championship.
This year InfinityX based in city of Pune has been appointed as the FTC India affiliate partner for the year 2019-20 by FIRST HQ India
A large corporate fraternity is also involved in this program. Be it NRB Bearing, PTC, Qualcomm, John Deere, Persistent System, SEAP, ARAI, SAE India. They support the program via sponsorships and also their employees are involved as judges and referees.
Why is introducing students to STEM so important? How early should Robotics and STEM be introduced in schools?
STEM education is a modern day approach and is getting lot of attention throughout the world, especially in developing countries while developed countries have already realized the important of STEM Education and are enjoying its impact. In reference to India, STEM education holds a great significance as it enables the students to learn in a scientific, systematic and logical manner, and also to become future ready. Our students need to learn, update, explore and continuously enhance their knowledge base by various innovative ways and means. The Indian economy will need more and more new skills and new mindset. STEM Education can convert the envisioned dreams into reality.
It is our thought that the STEM Education and Robotics should be introduced in schools as early as possible.
What Is the Future of Robotics and STEM Education? What’s the link between STEM education and future jobs? Do you think robotics is a good way for kids to learn STEM and to develop 21st century skills?
Flexible by design, the goal of STEM education going forward is not that all classrooms come equipped with a 3D printer and the latest software package that promises results, but rather that educators and students work together to radically transform our traditional notions of what a STEM classroom looks like.
We strongly believe that students with STEM Education will have a better understanding of India’s emerging socio-economic challenges
Robotics is one of the best ways to get engaged in STEM Education. It is activity which combines Fun & Learning
What happens to winning team in Nationals? Do you send winners for international competition?
Inspire Award Winning Team of FTC India gets to represent our country India at FIRST World Championship at Detroit USA, great news is this time two winning teams will be eligible for World Championship in April 2020.
What are some of the recent achievements? Also share your expansion plans for the coming years.
Although we started a bit late this year, we have already developed good number of participating teams; we have also been able to increase corporate involvement in the program. Our Vision 2022 is to have around 400 participating teams from all over the India and to expand the program at different locations in the country.
How different is education market in India in comparison to other developed or developing parts of the world? How you support village schools to participate in FTC?
India holds an important place in the global education industry. India has one of the largest networks of higher education institutions in the world. However, there is still a lot of potential for further development in the education system.
We support many underprivileged teams coming from Rural and also Urban areas with the help of our corporate sponsors.
How to become “mentor” for FTC, what training/skills mentors need before they start guiding students?
Anyone with passion to teach and having basic technical knowledge can be a mentor of FTC Team. Vast pool of learning resources is available online on our website to support students and mentors both.
How can companies support or sponsor FTC event and teams? Options?
As you all know organizing any event requires financial investment. We appeal to all the corporates to support FTC Program as it is an educational initiative. Companies can sponsor our program monetarily or in-kind, they can also sponsor participating teams under CSR.
Before we close this interview, what would you like to tell our readers? Is there any message you’d like to leave for eternity?
I would like to say let us come together, collaborate, donate and inspire children to become leaders and innovators to enhance their 21st-century work-life skills.
Every year FIRST launches a new game during September. Teams get to register, learn, understand, build, strategist and practice the game to take part in the competition.
This year the game theme is – RISE The Force is Building, Powered by STAR WARS, Force for Change.
Humans and Robots allies work together to create a structure that pushes into the skies to represent their alliance. As part of the mission, teams overcome obstacles that stand in the path to build a superstructure of the future, topping it off with a crown of achievement — a final capstone to symbolize their reach into the sky, and dreams of a hopeful future.
I would like to thank Mr. Ashvin Savant, for taking time to answer my questions, if you have any question for him please leave comment or mail me on firstname.lastname@example.org we will be glad to answer.
For any details about FTC Visit – https://firsttechchallenge.in