Dream Feat – Deepak MuraleedharanPosted: December 17, 2014
This week we’re speaking with Deepak Muraleedharan from Kochi. His dream is to use gaming as a platform to help solve social and medical issues, hence creating Joconoi Solutions. We talked to him to learn more about how his idea on how gaming could help people around the world.
Dream:IN: Hi Deepak, Can you give us an overall picture of what ‘Joconoi Solutions’ does?
Deepak: We are a gaming company with an ideology of using game mechanics to solve real life social problems. We believe the gaming industry has that power to become something great. As our flagship project, we are “gamifying” the special needs sector, and are developing a game+hardware solution for children & adults with autism, spectrum disorder, ADHD, and learning disabilities. India has more than 10 million children people with special needs attention, so this is much bigger issue than we think.
Dream:IN: What does ‘Joconoi’ mean, and how did you come up with this name for your software/gaming company?
Deepak: “Joconoi” means gameboy in the Catalan language, so the meaning is “a gaming boy’s solution”. Because I am a hardcore gamer, and a designer by profession, I’ve done branding for several companies and I’m usually the one who find names for all of them. So what we did is we tried to look for words that we want in other languages so that there won’t be any “.com”/registration issues, and I was seeking for a name that’s not there, so we finalized “Joconoi Solutions”.
Dream:IN: How exactly do the games your company create help change lives?
Deepak: The games we create are helping children (at first), in many ways. Our concentration is on academics, social behavior, biofeedback, communication, along with art. We divide our games in to phases, such as if you have a 6 or an 8 year old child, they would have to go through a separate series of training. Our unique way of making content is that we have prominent people in the special needs field, teachers, parents, PhD holders, and even kids, who are helping us to design these games. We never copy anything from the web.
Dream:IN: Can you expand more on how your games can help the autism community? And other children with learning disabilities?
Deepak: Children with autism have a very hard time concentrating on “bookish methods” of learning. By introducing affordable, interactive learning technology, their attention span will increase, which they can learn by having fun. The way we teach them syllabus-based subjects is very unique; the method has been developed by teachers with more than 25 years of experience. Additionally, all the content is available in local languages which will help them to understand. Because there are more children with different sensory issues, our games are purely customizable to the core, so the parent & teacher can use their imagination in action and help the kids more.
Dream:IN: What ‘turned the light bulb on’ for you? What gave you the idea to start this venture?
Deepak: I will say, the idea just came to me really. It all started from an interview on a TV channel, (I am not a big fan of TV’s, but I know games have lot more potential than we think). The interview was about a “not-so-famous” singer/celebrity, who is doing music therapy to children with AUTISM. It’s the first time I heard that word, so I become curious and listened to the interview fully. For 3 weeks, I stopped thinking about it, but then I heard my distant relative sister has a PhD in autism. I began researching about autism for many days and then I realized the potential market behind it and went on to construct an idea around it.
Dream:IN: How did you find the idea that gaming could be used in a positive way to change lives?
Deepak: Actually if u think about it, everything we do is a game:
– exams are sort of games, we have to complete a task in the given time.
– going to office : do a task, in a given time, by tackling some obstacles and reach your destination.
When u think of life, our one day is like a level, we are beating each level to reach a long time goal, the only difference is, you don’t have an endless life, if u die, game over.
Like that, the way teachers take class to special needs children is a game, they just don’t realize it that’s all, and in my research I came to know technology can make a big impact. In fact sometimes teachers will make their own games to teach children.
Dream:IN: When did you start enjoying games? Also, what’s your favorite games to play?
Deepak: I started playing games when I was in 2nd standard. I played close to almost 200 games in my life till now, and still counting.
My favorite game ? I like all games, I worked for 1 year as beta game tester for gamesprout.com. Games are like oxygen to me. Every day, I will play at least one level of a game before I sleep.
Dream:IN: How can people view your games? Is there a way for people to test out the games?
Deepak: Yes, people can test it by Feb 2015. We are looking for investment now, our prototyping is almost complete, and we have a very good response from parents.
Dream:IN: If a reader knows someone with a learning disability or autism, is there a way they can get a copy of the game or get involved with your venture?
Deepak: Yes you can mail me at email@example.com. This I my personal id, anyone who has interest can contact me. We welcome new ideas also.
Dream:IN: Do you have plans for new games in the future?
Deepak: Yes we are planning in a big way, after this we are coming to make every ones brain healthier
Dream:IN: What other problems would you like to solve with your games?
Deepak: There are so many! We have found problems in more than 20 sectors, to solve with games.
Dream:IN: Where would you like Joconoi Solutions to be in the next 5 years?
Deepak: The future is very bright and strong! We would like to extend Joconoi to many sectors, such as wearable’s, toys, board games, and artificial intelligence are just some of them. We like to “customize the future for the mass”.
Dream:IN: What’s next in the near future for ‘Joconoi Solutions’? What should we keep an eye out for?
Deepak: Games that can interact, and be your best friend. Games which can transform your surroundings into levels, play and earn real-time rewards.
Dream:IN: Do you enjoy entrepreneurship? Would you ever go back and do it differently?
Deepak: I love entrepreneurship, it’s like a game you play in a hard mode. If I can’t make it, I will try harder and smarter to make that happen! I never quit any game! One day I played a level of a game called ‘DARKSIDE 2’ for two days, and then I finally did it!
Dream:IN: If people want to learn more, stay up-to-date, or follow ‘Joconoi Solutions’, what’s the best way they can stay connected?
Deepak: Mail me directly, I like to chat and meet new people.
Dream:IN: What tips do you have for other budding entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
Deepak: We are still a budding company, so I don’t think it’s appropriate to give tips but, NEVER QUIT!!
Dream:IN: Fun answers, thank you for your time Deepak!