Having born and lived in Belagavi means you know the city like the back of your hand. So you’re pleasantly surprised when a city, happy with its endeavors focused on industries, trade and education, suddenly wakes up to active NGOs, Startups and artists doing some amazing work. Being a member of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) has its own charms, one gets to meet people with varied interests. So here we were, raptly listening to the demonstration of an app that Manjunath Hadli has created.
Manjunath completed his engineering degree from Belagavi and after a stint with Vayavya Labs, another company Spundhan, he is now part of his technology venture Immers at Bangalore. His Belagavi connection still intact because his wife hails from this city, he is also a history buff connecting with his roots.
Very wisely, Manjunath decided to combine his interest in History and heritage with something he knows very well-technology, he associated himself with the best historian in town, Dr. Smita Surebankar, Retd. Principal of RPD college and herself an INTACH member. The two have been working together to develop the Antqt App whose tagline says “together let’s recreate the past” (www.antqt.com). During our interaction, an informal debate ensued about Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality (which Antqt uses) and allowed a peek into what Antqt can offer to enhance user experience.
Manjunath was in Belagavi and dropped by at Bharatesh to meet the INTACH team. He feels that technology is truly helping history and Antqt is a platform for all stakeholders to collaborate- tourists, guides, travel buffs, historians, archaeologists, writers, archivists, etc. He rattles numbers of tourists visiting India and Indians visiting heritage monuments every year. Clearly, the astute engineer in him sees numbers that he can reach out to. To be clear, Antqt is not your regular commercial app that aims to monetize. The app, currently in beta stage, can be downloaded from Playstore. Dr. Surebankar fondly recalls the travels to places like Hampi, Pattadkal, etc. where they painstakingly made notes, visited local historians who have put in decades of work, got them to speak about specific artifacts or monuments and recorded it as also created outlines for users.
Antqt is based on the premise that a person should be able to travel to any place- even alone, get authentic information and enjoy the rich heritage of that place to the fullest. He wants people to come out more often and visit these places. The app gives access to experts which differentiates it from others like Google street view. It gives full floor plans of museums (A comprehensive Museum Management system can be built in it), offers navigation of exhibits and multimedia to explain to a layman- audio, video, 3D images, panoramic views, 360 degree views, visual clues and even pointers to tell you what not to miss at a particular site. The app also has articles, stories about heritage sites. It works on GPS so that the heritage sites closest to you will be displayed first. One can also navigate the site and bookmark sites to view later. It can also give access to maps to enable one to take the nearest route.
The app can also accept event invites as long as the event has some part of experience involved in it and not just a passive one. The archives are sourced from newspaper articles, Doordarshan footage, etc. It has podcasts that can guide users about a place. Basically, Antqt enables access to experts which is something rare to find. Manjunath also informs that users can collaborate and form their own tours using this app. Plenty of updates and additions are in the pipeline in the days to come. However, the way one looks at it, he is truly passionate about history and heritage and wants more people to come on board, use the app, collaborate and experience heritage.
Manjunath can be reached through his e-mail: [email protected]