The Keyword

  • Tea time with a touch of technology

    Some of the world’s best tea is grown in the Darjeeling district of India, seen here against the backdrop of the Himalayas.

    Editor’s Note: As part of our series of interviews with entrepreneurs across Asia Pacific who use the internet to grow, we spoke with Parvez Gupta, the co-founder of Udyan Tea in Siliguri, India, to find out how he uses technology to bring the best teas to tea lovers in India and beyond. 


    After working for a multinational firm in Singapore, you returned home to start a business in India. Tell us about your motivations. 

    I grew up in Siliguri, which is part of the Darjeeling district of West Bengal—where the world’s finest tea is grown. I love tea and I enjoyed savoring it from a young age. Being in Siliguri, I’m at the source of tea production, and I’ve been able to use the internet to bring fresher and better teas to people everywhere.

    My father was also a huge inspiration. Growing up, I saw him build multiple businesses from the ground up and he inspired me to become an entrepreneur.

    Parvez Gupta Udyan Tea
    Udyan tea co-founder Parvez Gupta is passionate about sharing his Darjeeling tea culture with the rest of the country and the world.

    Why tea and why Udyan?

    My friend, Punit Poddar, and I started Udyan Tea in 2012. Punit is also deeply passionate about tea. He has been a tea taster for the past ten years and his family have been in the tea business for more than five decades. During our travels in India, we realized there was a severe lack of good quality tea in other parts of the country. As natives of Siliguri, we expect every cup of tea to be a great one. But we discovered that most good quality tea is exported to foreign markets.

    We worked together to address the gap in the domestic market — too many firms catered to demand for fine teas abroad, but not at home. So Udyan Tea was born. Udyan means “garden” and that’s what we aim to provide, the finest tea from the garden to your cup. We select the best tea based on freshness, authenticity and quality. 

    Punit Poddar Udyan
    Udyan co-founder and tea taster Punit Poddar hails from a family that's been in the tea business for more than 50 years.

    How do you find that Google helps your business?

    The internet has opened up an entire new base of consumers to businesses of every kind. Before the internet, you could only transact with local communities. Today, with e-commerce, the possibilities are limitless. We are primarily focused on the Indian market, and close to 80% of our revenue is driven from within the country.  We depend entirely on the internet for selling our products, and we rely heavily on Google search to generate traffic to our business.

    AdWords has been indispensable for generating new leads for us. We also use Search, Analytics, and Google My Business. We’ve also used Translate tools to close deals with customers who do not speak English at all, which is quite amazing if you think about it. So far, we have shipped products to over 25 countries!


    Can you tell us about how your business has helped your community? 

    We purchase teas from a number of small growers on an ongoing basis. This helps them fetch the best prices for their teas by eliminating middlemen and contributes to their sustainability. We also serve as consultants to other tea businesses and cafes, meaning we help other companies succeed in the tea business as well!

    Tea tasting Udyan
    "Udyan [उद्यान] means garden in Hindi, and that’s what we represent," explains Parvez Gupta, "tea fresh from the gardens".
  • Using TensorFlow to keep farmers happy and cows healthy

    Editor’s Note: TensorFlow, our open source machine learning library, is just that—open to anyone. Companies, nonprofits, researchers and developers have used TensorFlow in some pretty cool ways, and we’re sharing those stories here on Keyword. Today we hear from Yasir Khokhar and Saad Ansari, founders of Connecterra, who are applying machine learning to an unexpected field: dairy farming.


    Connecterra means “connected earth.” We formed the company based on a simple thesis: if we could use technology to make sense of data from the natural world, then we could make a real impact in solving the pressing problems of our time.


    It all started when Yasir moved to a farm in the Netherlands, near Amsterdam. We had both spent many years working in the technology industry, and realized that the dairy industry was a sector where technology could make a dramatic impact. For instance, we saw that the only difference between cows that produce 30 liters of milk a day and those that produce 10 liters was the animal’s health. We wondered—could technology make cows healthier, and in doing so, help farmers grow their businesses?


    That thinking spurred us to start working weekends and evenings on what would eventually become Ida—a product that uses TensorFlow, Google’s machine learning framework, to understand and interpret the behavior of cows and give farmers insights about their herds’ health.


    Ida learns patterns about a cow’s movements from a wearable sensor. We use this data to train machine learning models in TensorFlow, and ultimately, Ida can detect activities from eating, drinking, resting, fertility, temperature and more. It’s not just tracking this information, though. We use Ida to predict problems early, detecting cases like lameness or digestive disorders, and provide recommendations to farmers on how to keep their cows healthy and improve the efficiency of their farms. Using these insights, we're already seeing a 30 percent increase in dairy production on our customers’ farms.


    By 2050, the world will have 9 billion people, and we need a 60 percent increase in food production to feed them. Dairy farmer assistance is just one example of how AI could be used to help solve important issues like this. And at Connecterra, by using AI to create solutions to big problems, we think technology can make a real impact.


  • VMware puts its focus on Android enterprise

    Over the last year, we’ve added a number of new features to Android's modern management modes to enhance security and simplify deployment for IT admins.

    Our partners—leaders in the enterprise mobility ecosystem—haven’t been standing still either. We love to support and recognize the great work they’re doing to help customers adopt Android's latest capabilities.

    For example, enterprise mobility management (EMM) partner VMware recently announced it’s shifting the default deployment model in the next major release of the VMware AirWatch console to Android enterprise. Customers that use AirWatch to manage their organization’s Android devices will benefit from our modern APIs that support the work profile and device owner mode.

    As VMware notes on its blog, admins can trust the work profile to keep company data separate and secure on employees’ devices. Team members can turn off work apps for those times they want some work-life balance, while also gaining the assurance their personal data remains private. For companies that deploy their own devices, VMware and other partners support our strong and flexible tools for management.

    We're excited to see partners like VMware help customers embrace the latest Android has to offer. For those interested, VMware has released a walkthrough guide, which is available in VMware TestDrive, that's a good place for customers to get started.

    VMware’s transition to Android enterprise is a great example of how one of our partners is embracing the modern APIs and latest capabilities of our secure and flexible platform. We’re looking forward to seeing further innovations from our partners that will accelerate what businesses can accomplish with enterprise mobility.