ISLAMABAD: Studying abroad is not just about gaining knowledge or education and definitely not about learning material from the books and acing exams. In fact, the experience allows the candidate to get out of their comfort zone, experience a new world, network with diverse people and grow in all senses of the word. Among these, the Fulbright scholars seem to maximise their learning potential and truly challenge the boundaries of their thinking by growing exponentially.
Umer Adnan, a Fulbright scholar who pursued a Masters in Electrical Engineering at the Arizona State University in 2011, believes the experience was transformative for him, both personally and professionally.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, Adnan mentions that it gave him the opportunity to study and collaborate with the best minds in technology. “It also helped develop my network which has been a tremendous asset ever since I started my own tech company,” he adds.
Adnan started E4 Technologies after returning to Pakistan in 2013. At the time of the launch, he had gained sufficient knowledge but had almost no money. Two-and-a-half years down the line, the start-up has started to become successful, with interesting and unique projects in process.
Speaking about his company and the realisation for its need, Adnan says the start-up is a technology studio that provides end-to-end solutions. “We design and develop customised hardware, electronics and software to build innovative programmes that solve big problems,” states Adnan. “For example, one of our products is called Cowlar– a smart wearable for dairy cows designed to help farmers improve herd health, optimise operations and improve milk yields,” he adds.
In a developing country such as Pakistan where resources need to be used intelligently, initiatives such as Cowlar are much needed and appreciated. It is essentially a dairy monitoring system that facilitates an increase in milk yield while improving the herd’s health and ultimately maximising profitability. It also assists with tracking the cow’s core temperature and real-time activity. Primitive agriculture practices and climate change have a big impact on milk yield. Cowlar enables the reduction of these factors to reap maximum benefits by achieving optimal milk production from the herd.
According to Adnan, he realised the need to become an entrepreneur while studying Mechatronics at National University of Sciences and Technology in Islamabad. “I came up with a UPS design in 2008 and started selling it to people around me. This led me to realise that I wanted to use technology to change things around me and solve the challenging problems surrounding us,” he says.
His experience in Unites States further helped him achieve his goals. Adnan highlights that it was instrumental in providing him with not just education but networking opportunities and confidence to take bold steps in his career. “It has helped me broaden my horizon and expand my skill set to a point where I think I can make a difference with my craft,” he concludes.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 5th, 2016.