Article: Enabling seamless digital connectivity for commuters in transit

SugarBox is building the backbone for the internet of the future:

SugarBox Networks, the world’s first hyperlocal edge-cloud developed in India, started with a simple objective to enable seamless digital connectivity. At SugarBox, the problem that we are solving for is soon becoming a basic need for everyone – reliable, fast and affordable access to digital connectivity, across geographies.

On a monthly basis, Indians spend 8-1 0 billion hours traveling. This means a lot of captive time with users in one place, hence choosing to bury themselves in their devices. And this is where, sometimes the networks are patchy, because of being on-the-go. Hence, the huge opportunity to enable connectivity to the entire digital ecosystem, adding close to 8-1 0 billion hours of digital consumption to it. There are multiple possibilities that come in play here – help users play games, listen to music, order grocery online, book cabs or even upskill using ed-tech apps.

The patented technology by SugarBox uses a Hyperlocal Edge Cloud to take content closer to the users, even without active internet or data connectivity. Through the Hyperlocal Edge Cloud technology we install servers at places where consumers are such as transportation centres, residential and commercial complexes, retail, and hospitality, and many more. It’s not just about providing access in places where it is not possible, or in places where the internet does not reach. It is also about making the existing internet ecosystem faster and economically viable.

While activating the technology from network standpoint, we follow the standard LAN deployment process like the way we put Wi-Fi inside our house. We analyse the railway yard and find out how many access points are required; what equipment’s needs to be put and so on and so forth. We also do not really have to deploy our own Wi-Fi equipment because most of the railway stations are already Wi-Fi covered. So, we utilise the same Wi-Fi equipment to put in one or two access points, covering the whole coach. In addition to all of these, we then install one more CDN server which connects to same Wi-Fi infrastructure. One of the innovative disruptions that our technology creates is that it is able to make the concept of public Wi-Fi profitable and a reality.

With the current investment, we will commence commercial services and scale up the network across public transport, revolutionizing the digital experience for unique users over the next 2 to 3 years. The short-term objective is to unlock over 2.5 bn hours of digital consumption monthly for consumers in a near captive environment, where access is otherwise limited due patchy connectivity.

Currently SugarBox Networks powers in-transit connectivity across all trains at Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL), L&T Metro Rail Hyderabad Limited (LTMRHL) and is deploying across Central Railway (CR). This “Made in India” innovative disruption is creating a better experience for train commuters, when compared to similar services available in flights. Aligning with the government’s ‘Digital India’ mission of getting the next 500 million users online, SugarBox Networks is focused on deploying the hyperlocal edge cloud technology, to incrementally enhance digital access, across the underserved and unserved geographies.

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Mr. Ripunjay Bararia,
CTO & Co-Founder, SugarBox Networks