The Pipe Dream

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Kashmir is moving fast up the IT ladder.  With an aim to simplify information sharing three techies have come up with an innovative application. Saima Bhat reports

Pipe-App-TeamThe desire to be part the IT revolution made Zubair Lone, 30, a certified Project Professional, to re-invent short messaging services (SMS) for smart-phones.

After experimenting with a number of ideas since 2008, Zubair, alongwith his two friends Abid Rashid Lone and Graphic Designer Rayees Haqani, finally developed Pipe Application – a medium to send information to android users through segmented and personalized push notifications. The application is currently available on Google Play Store and pipeapp.in for downloads.

Pipe is a common platform for sharing information comprising of categories like news, weather, education, jobs, entertainment, shopping, finance and many more.

In just two days (October 18) of its formal launch in Kashmir, the application has attracted 40 pipes.

A graduate in economics from Jammu University, Zubair says he was fond of IT related technology since he was just a senior secondary student. Without disturbing his studies, he started ‘CorporateJandK’ an IT enterprise designing websites for just Rs 1000.

Same year Zubair, Abid  with help from Haqani conceived an idea of developing a website www.helpalerts.com, which would provide SMS alerts to the people who subscribe to this website. But the events of summer 2010 uprising in Kashmir changed everything. The duo had to drop their ideas as Delhi banned SMS services in Kashmir.

In the meantime Zubair got selected for Mercy Corp’s One Young Kashmir – an America based NGO working in Kashmir. But Zubair was apprehensive to take up the job. “I wanted to work in IT sector. But I was selected for Youth Leadership Programme instead,” recalls Zubair. “However I finally took up the challenge as it was something new and exciting.”

Mercy Corp helped Zubair, a resident of Islamabad in South Kashmir, to work across various positions in the NGO. In 2013 Zabair was selected as Project Manager in Jammu and Kashmir Entrepreneurship Development Institute.

In 2014, after the SMS ban was lifted, Zubair and Abid decided to rework on their incomplete dream project i.e. Help Alerts. But there was a glitch; sending bulk SMSs had become costlier by then. “We started looking for alternatives,” recalls Zubair. “And Google’s internet based push notifications feature seemed a very good one as many users can connect at a time.”

And that was the birth of Pipe Application for android phones. “We had come a long way since we decided to launch Help Alert. Pipe is the better version of our 2008 dream,” claims Zubair.

Pipe Application is quite simple to understand, informs Zubair. “The application connects service providers with users. If you are a service provider, like a newspaper outlet, all you need to do is to set up a connection, flow the message in Pipe, which gets delivered to the buckets of the users and relax,” says Zubair.

A service provider can reach out to infinite number of users by using Pipe application. “The information reaches you in a flash even when you are not using your phone,” says Zubair.

Unlike other applications Pipe gives a user freedom to decide the kind of information he want to receive in his bucket. “We didn’t want to bother our users with unwanted messages and notifications,” says Adil.

Zubair is planning to rope in all commercial institution, which will save them extra cost of bulk SMS. “They just have to pay Rs 6000 annually and they can send hundred messages to hundred people. It will obviously save them time and money,” Zubair says.

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