Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS)


Podcast/Video Interviews by Stephen Ibaraki

A Chat with Chocko Valliappa: Entrepreneur; Researcher; CEO of Vee Technologies; co-founder Valliappa Software Technology Park (VSTP); Vice-Chairman of the Sona Group of Institutions

This week, Stephen Ibaraki has an exclusive interview with Chocko Valliappa.

Chocko ValliappaChocko Valliappa, CEO of Vee Technologies is a fourth-generation entrepreneur. He founded the IT services company in 2000 and continues to serve as CEO.

Under his leadership, Vee Technologies' healthcare practice has become a cornerstone for major US hospitals (including six of the top 10 healthcare groups), managing transactions and is valued at over $35 billion with Six Sigma accuracy. Simultaneously, the company's e-governance practice plays a pivotal role in driving India's digitization efforts. The product engineering team at Vee Technologies is actively involved in Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) design and Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) assignments for global customers. This includes designing iconic buildings worldwide and contributing to a significant portion of American fire engines.

Chocko's commitment to innovation is evident in the company's product-focused approach, leading to the development of HireMee, a talent acquisition and management platform which was initiated as a social enterprise in 2017. Chocko has played a pivotal role in infusing artificial intelligence across various business lines - from AI-based assessments on the HireMee platform to real-time monitoring of remote test-takers - ensuring the integrity of assessments. This tech-driven ethos extends to a project dedicated to population health assessment, which facilitates the transition from traditional curative care to preventive healthcare.

Chocko is credited with establishing key partnerships with global organisations to marry and grow research capabilities of each other to further Vee Technologies' mission to be a research fountainhead. Notably, the Fibre initiative, a collaboration between Vee Technologies, Sona College of Technologies, and the University Health Network (UHN) in Canada, focuses on smart fabric-based wearables coupled with AI-based remote monitoring for individuals with chronic illnesses and disabilities.

Vee Technologies utilizes AI extensively, particularly in creating health profiles for large population sets, predicting impending signs of critical health issues such as: diabetes, blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, and stroke.

In the 1980s in Bangalore, Chocko and his father, Mr. C Valliappa co-founded Valliappa Software Technology Park (VSTP) at Sona Towers, which became the first home for technology leaders such as Texas Instruments and India's Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT). This led the way for tech MNCs Cisco, Verifone, and Oracle and Indian retail start-up Titan to locate in VSTP in the 1990s, sowing the seeds for India's IT, Telecom, and Retail industry.

As the Vice-Chairman of the Sona Group of Institutions, Chocko plays a pivotal role in guiding research and intellectual property creation. Research teams at Sona College of Technology in Salem contributed to India's recent moon mission, Chandrayaan-3, by developing simplex permanent magnet stepper motors for the actuator assembly controlling the liquid fuel and oxidizer mixture ratio. The institution's collaboration with India's space agency has solidified its reputation as a trusted partner over the years.

Chocko is known to frequently fund activities of nearly 50 research laboratories and students at the Thiagarajar Polytechnic College and Sona College of Technology that have led to nearly a 100 patent filings and a dozen patents, showcasing advancements in waste-to-wealth, digital encoding, fabric defect detection, and sweat measurement technologies.

Research-based applications created by students - (from using IoT to deliver the right quantity of fertilizer in the fields to converting agri-waste into vegan leather) and (from a 'Make in India' equipment for sanitizing surgical instruments to a digital device to create sari designs for Jacquard loom that replaces laborious and expensive punch cards) - make Chocko proud of his path breaking decisions.

He wholeheartedly supported the Sona College of Technology move to initiate an undergraduate engineering program in Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning simultaneously with leading engineering schools in India which is yet another example of his view of the future of technology.

Since 2023, Chocko has served as a member of the Syndicate of Anna University, lending his global industry perspective to India's foremost technical university.

Active in industry associations, including CII and Nasscom, Chocko also serves on the Entrepreneurs Organization and Young Presidents Organization (YPO). He earned the YPO's Global Social Impact Award in 2018.

His rich and varied experience in policy, corporate citizenship, industry-focused technical skill development, and technology has made Chocko a sought-after speaker and writer on education, technology, and skill development for business publications.

Chocko is also the Vice-Chairman of The Sona Group of Institutions, which oversees Sona College of Technology, Sona College of Arts and Science, Thiagarajar Polytechnic College, and the Sona School of Management, and drives research efforts at these institutes with over 10,000 students.

Passionate about community empowerment, Chocko leads the Valliappa Foundation, with recent activities which include: skilling women at the Women Technology Park in Salem and operating Sona FM community radio. In addition, Sona Yukti offers skill-based training in various sectors.

A graduate of Christ College, Bangalore, Chocko pursued Textile Technology and Management at the South India Textile Research Association (SITRA) and conducted advanced research in the Czech Republic.

In his spare time, Chocko, a fitness and cycling enthusiast, enjoys going on long rides.