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Vaibhav Balloli: The Making of Smart Campus


Vaibhav Balloli, (Hyderabad, 2020), has had an inspiring journey of exploration and adaptation. From starting to research at IIT Hyderabad to working at Microsoft Research India as a SCAI (Societal Impact through Cloud and Artificial Intelligence) Fellow and Research Fellow for two years, Vaibhav's path led him to pursue a Ph.D. in AI at University of Michigan that he would start attending this year. Along the way, he played a pivotal role in the development of the SmartCampus application, utilizing various technologies. Despite encountering challenges, Vaibhav's determination, support from his peers and collaborators has helped him build SmartCampus!

About SmartCampus

The SmartCampus application helps make transactions using the SWD advances and place orders to purchase food in the All-Night Canteen (ANC), merchandise, tickets to pro-shows, workshops and many other things during fests. Speaking as of now, SmartCampus is installed in almost every students’ phone in the Hyderabad campus, and it is very helpful as well as important to get by on campus. And the application is very crucial during fests.

The Evolution of SmartCampus

While working for ARC for assistance with Atmos, Vaibhav and other founding members saw an opportunity to create something impactful. He and the team developed the SmartCampus payments on a Raspberry Pi and later as a an Android app and tirelessly improved it over time. With increasing momentum, the application was successfully deployed in various areas, including the ANC and during festivals. However, it was his seniors, Siddhant Kumar Patel, Sagar Gupta and Dhairya Gandhi, who played a crucial role in mentoring Vaibhav and helping him learn coding. Despite the lack of funding, Vaibhav and his team received support from Mess-1, which alleviated their monetary concerns. The subsequent cooperation from CRC in managing transactions and operations further bolstered the growth of SmartCampus. While some individuals' attitudes towards Vaibhav remained unchanged, his determination and perseverance allowed him to forge lasting friendships.

Future Vision for SmartCampus 

When asked about potential improvements, Vaibhav expressed a desire to enhance integration and publicity, aiming to make SmartCampus a one-stop shop for users. He also highlighted the importance of implementing features such as a 212 bus tracker to further enrich the user experience. With Vaibhav's ambition and dedication, it is evident that SmartCampus will continue to evolve and address the changing needs of its users.

While working in building SmartCampus, Vaibhav realized that building and developing applications is not really his thing and turns out research is where he’s interested in. And that’s how Vaibhav got along this path of research.

Lessons from Microsoft Research and AI

Vaibhav's experience working in the last few months at Microsoft Research on language models, exposed him to the cutting-edge world of AI and Large Language Models (LLMs), including the revolutionary Chat GPT technology. Acknowledging the rapid pace of the tech industry's evolution, Vaibhav emphasized the need for cautious usage of AI applications like Chat GPT. While these technologies offer immense potential, responsible and mindful implementation is essential.

The Educative Culture at BITS

Vaibhav attributes a significant part of his growth and success to the educational culture prevalent among his peers and juniors at BITS. The willingness of individuals to spare their time and assist one another is commendable. Vaibhav hopes to perpetuate this culture by nurturing the next generation and fostering a supportive environment where knowledge sharing and collaboration flourish.


Vaibhav’s journey from a SmartCampus developer to a dedicated researcher exemplifies the power of adaptation and perseverance. With the support of his peers and co-operating people, SmartCampus has grown into a formidable application, poised for further integration and expansion. Despite encountering challenges along the way, Vaibhav found his true passion and embraced it wholeheartedly. As Vaibhav's aspirations evolve, his commitment to the educational culture at BITS ensures that the spirit of collaboration and mentorship will continue to flourish within the community.