Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Indian Start-Ups Ecosystem Records 4x Growth to $4.9 Billion in 2015

As per a recent report from Nasscom & Zinnov indicates that the start-up ecosystem in India has experienced a 4X growth in PE’s and VC’s funding of $ 2.1 billion in 2014 to $4.7 billion in 2015. Likewise, overall funding is estimated to grow by 12%, from $2.2 billion in 2014 to $4.9 billion in 2015. The other highlights of the report covers the number of deals from 224 during the previous year to 458 deals in 2015 and also that the new start-ups are moving away from the traditional e-commerce to leveraging technology to solve India’s urban problems like power, infrastructure, healthcare and financial inclusion.

With a 40 percent growth since 2014, the start-up eco-system in India now has scaled up to No 3 position only behind USA and UK in 2015.  Report indicate that India has about 4,200 to 4,400 start-ups spread mostly across the NCR, Mumbai and Bangalore while USA, the leader has 4,750 to 4,800 start-ups followed by UK 4,500 to 5,000. India has overtaken Israel that recorded about 3,900 to 4,100 during the same period.
Nasscom along with Zinnov launched the second edition of the start-up report titled “Start-up India – Momentous Rise of the Indian Start-up Ecosystem” on the side-lines of Nasscom Product Conclave 2015 in Bengaluru on Tuesday. The report was launched by R Chandrashekhar, President, Nasscom, Ravi Gururaj, Chairman, Nasscom Product Council and Rajat Tandon, Vice President, Nasscom 10 K start-up program.
The report also highlights that the Indian technology start-ups landscape has seen a tremendous growth in the emergence of innovative start-ups and creative entrepreneurs. In terms of providing a conducive ecosystem for the start-ups to thrive, India has moved up to third position and has emerged the fastest growing base of start-ups worldwide. India is one amongst the first five largest startup communities in the world with the number of start-ups crossing 4,200, a growth of 40 per cent, by the end of 2015. India's position as a global startup hub that is becoming attractive for investors, startups, & corporate.
Sharing his views, R. Chandrashekhar said, “The maturing Indian start-up ecosystem is now contributing to the Indian economy in many ways. Apart from positively impacting the lifestyles of citizens involved, start-ups are now creating innovative technology solutions that are addressing the key social problems that India is facing and creating significant growth opportunities for every stakeholders. To enable the next stage of growth for these start-ups, Nasscom will work closely with the government to ensure ease of doing business, by simplifying procedures and create a conducive environment for these start-ups to grow.
With 100 per cent growth in number of private equity, venture capitalists, angel investors along with a 125 per cent growth in funding over last year, Indian start-up ecosystem has risen to the next level. The total funding in the India based start-ups is estimated to be nearly $5 billion by 2015. Various central and state government start-up initiatives are further supporting this progressive phase of start-ups in India.
The report also highlights certain ways and means to make starting-up further easy in India. Nasscom has recommended ease the rules and regulation for registration of a business in India, funding, and simplifying compliance procedures by minimizing licenses/permits/approvals/tax for start-ups. Removal of angel tax, simplifying norms for capital raising, enabling easier exit for entrepreneurs and requisite changes in the credit guarantee for loans to start-ups are few recommendations that will further enhance a smoother functioning of the start-ups in India.
Stakeholders across the ecosystem must also come together to create market access by way of guidance in regulatory requirements for project participation and specialized training for start-ups working in innovative areas. Steps must be taken to create an even more conducive environment by facilitating incubation, IPR, and innovation norms and also encourage academia-industry tie-up and collaborate to develop the right kind of talent and capabilities that will propel the growth further. Another important aspect will be to encourage and recognize these start-ups for the innovation and rapid growth by sharing their success stories on a national-level and awarding at relevant Indian and global platforms to help India build a reputation of a startup-friendly nation.
Ravi Gururaj said “India is the youngest start-up nation in the world with 72% of the founders are less than 35 years old, and 50% rise in share of female entrepreneurs in 2015 over 2014. We are thankful to the Government for the policies and initiatives that are aimed towards improving the overall start-up ecosystem. Nasscom has been partnering with the Governments for Start-up warehouses to create a micro-ecosystem where start-ups and entrepreneurs can work together, share their learning and best practices with each other. This is fostering an entrepreneurial culture contributing to the increased knowledge, employment and societal wealth.”
Rapid growth of Indian startups has created significant growth opportunities for every stakeholder within the ecosystem. Further, start-ups are providing an exciting work culture along with attractive financial benefits to attract new and retain existing talent. This maturing start-up ecosystem is contributing to the Indian economy in multiple ways.  There is a need to regularly nurture the startup ecosystem through regulations, branding, collaboration, mentorship and funding to stay ahead of disruptive growth.
The report identifies the current scale and size of the startup landscape, factors that are impacting the growth of the overall ecosystem and steps that need to be taken to make the environment more conducive for start-ups. It analyzes the existing scenario and evolving trends across the various dimensions that define the Indian startup ecosystem, and measure.  

Monday, October 12, 2015

Volvo Group Provides Competitive Integrated Financial Solutions in India

Volvo Financial Services has announced the launch of its operations in India. The Volvo Financial Services offering strengthens the Volvo Group’s ability to provide a competitive and total one-stop shop solution of equipment, loans, leases, insurance, maintenance, and other aftermarket services, to customers and dealers of the Volvo Group and VE Commercial Vehicles Ltd. (“VECV”, a joint venture between the Volvo Group and Eicher Motors Limited) in India.

Volvo Financial Services in India offers a comprehensive selection of customisable loan, lease and insurance options for truck, construction equipment, and bus customers under three different Volvo Group brands – Volvo Financial Services, Eicher Financial Services and SDLG Financial Services.

Volvo Financial Services seeks to enable value for customers and dealers throughout the business lifecycle. Scott Rafkin, EVP and Global President, Volvo Financial Services, who officiated the launch today said, “Volvo Financial Services is a global enterprise, and being part of the Volvo Group, we have a strong understanding of the use of the products made by Volvo Group and VE Commercial Vehicles under the Eicher Trucks and Eicher Buses brands, and the industries in which our customers operate in. We are ready to support our customers and dealers through all business cycles. India has always been an important market for Volvo Financial Services and the Volvo Group, and this exciting development underlines Volvo Financial Services’ commitment to Volvo Group and VECV customers and dealers. Our value proposition and competitive advantage are customized financial solutions, expertise, and knowledge of both our customer’s business and the products we are financing.”

John Rakocy, President, Volvo Financial Services Region Asia-Pacific added, “After running a private label financing program with one of the leading finance companies in India during 2011 to 2014, we decided to launch full-fledged operations in India using our own balance sheet. Through the Volvo Group’s experience in India for over 17 years, Volvo Financial Services has developed a solid understanding of our Indian customers’ and dealers’ needs and expectations of financial solutions. India continues to be a key growth market in the APAC region, and we are here to demonstrate our long term commitment to India’s growth story by facilitating our customers’ and dealers’ business.”

Santosh Aiyer, Managing Director, Volvo Financial Services India said, “Whether our customers are large fleet operators or small business owners, they are at the core of everything that we do. We work hand-in-hand with our construction equipment, truck, and bus colleagues to understand their business model, propose customised and integrated solutions that meet their business needs, and deliver these solutions in a responsive and efficient manner. The launch of Volvo Financial Services in India further confirms Volvo Group’s commitment to India and while Volvo Group was already a strong part of the ‘Make in India’ story, we now also ‘Finance in India’.”

Customers who finance their Volvo or Eicher products with Volvo Financial Services or Eicher Financial Services can preserve their existing lines of credit with their banks for other business needs, while enjoying the benefits of an integrated solution from the Volvo Group and VE Commercial Vehicles. Kamal Bali, Managing Director, Volvo India said, “With Volvo Financial Services now in India, we are better equipped to creating even higher value for our customers and partners. We believe that this investment will further fuel and fructify Volvo Group’s vision of providing sustainable transport solutions, thereby catering to the needs and aspirations of a resurgent India. This is also in line with our constant endeavours over the last 17 years in India to invest in state-of-the-art technologies and solutions, many of which have brought about a paradigm shift in the industry”.

 Vinod Aggarwal, CEO, VE Commercial Vehicles commented, “As a major player in the Indian trucking industry, we are extremely excited by the possibilities that Volvo Financial Services opens up as a captive financial solutions provider for our customers and dealers, and we believe that our integrated solution will be a winning value proposition for our customers.”

Explaining the value of the integrated solution, Dimitrov Krishnan, Vice President and Head of Volvo Construction Equipment India said, “Volvo CE customers are looking for a competitive solution that takes care of their every need so that they can focus on their core businesses. By bundling all of our customers’ needs into one package that includes equipment, financing, insurance, maintenance, and other aftermarket services, our customers will enjoy peace of mind.”

V.R.V. Sriprasad, Managing Director, Volvo Buses India commented, “Volvo Bus customers have unique and exacting needs. With Volvo Financial Services as a captive financial solutions provider, we are able to tailor financing solutions to fit our customers’ needs.” 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Indian Hospitals on Telemedicine Drive

By Manu Sharma

In order to provide quality healthcare to all, information technology has become essential. Off late, telemedicine has generated strong excitement and anticipation within both developed and emerging countries. Infact, telemedicine is a technology initiative that has the potential to revolutionize healthcare especially in rural India.

 In a recent development, Dr Devi Prasad Shetty of Narayana Healthcare launched a telemedicine initiative with the Border Security Force (BSF) STS Camp in Yelahanka with Narayana Healthcare, Bangalore. With this facility, BSF patients who are far flung can now consult with experts for treatment and consultation.

Scope of Telemedicine
Allaying recent fears about rising cases of dengue and chikungunya across the country, some state governments are looking at ways to provide affordable healthcare to the patients not just in urban cities and towns but also in the rural and far flung areas. 

Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has launched a dedicated satellite for healthcare and also the government under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) has earmarked a sum of Rs 10 million per annum for state government to increase telemedicine in their respective states. Already states like Madhya Pradesh, Harayana, Punjab are leading the way and other like Karnataka and Tamilnadu are getting into it. 

Technology Can Help Connect Doctors & Patients
In a country like India, where healthcare access and facilities to all is still abysmally low. Setting a new paradigm in telemedicine technology, Tele-ICU is a kind of virtual ICU (intensive care unit) that remotely monitors a patient’s status via state-of-the-art audio-visual communication and computer systems with the help of a good networking with the bedside ICU team.

Tele-CU uses state-of-the-art equipment to connect patients to intensivists 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from anywhere in the country. Doctors and nurses, at a centralized location, use remote-control cameras, video conferencing and continuous monitoring technology to access real-time patient information. This service continues to provide care to ICUs in major cities to smaller Tier II and Tier III towns.
In theory, a fully deployed telemedicine ecosystem would increase the quality of healthcare services by increasing access to constrained resources like doctors while reducing costs through greater utilization of assets such as doctors and hospitals. With state governments exploring telemedicine beyond the parameters of cost, quality, and access to healthcare itself, it’s time other states follow this model.

Telemedicine Market in India
Reports indicate that the India’s Telemedicine market is estimated at $10-12 million and is expected to grow at a CAGR of around 20% over the next five years. It is estimated that 150,000 people in India are already benefitting from telemedicine every year. 

Growth in the telemedicine market is expected to be driven by India’s lacking healthcare infrastructure and shortage of hospitals and doctors, especially in the rural areas. Other key growth drivers include the widespread use of wireless and web-based services, and improving technology which includes the adoption of 3G and upcoming availability of 4G spectrum and optic networks. 

Drivers of Telemedicine in India
Some of the key drivers of telemedicine in India include:
·         Lack of proper healthcare in rural India
·         Reduction in technology costs
·         Shortage of qualified medical staff
·         Great urban rural divide
·         Dedicated ISRO satellite for healthcare communication

 Challenges of Telemedicine in India 
Every technology has its share of challenges. These include infrastructure challenges such as poor bandwidth in some areas are indeed a hindrance. However, implementation and viability seem to be some of the biggest issues at the moment.

Another challenge has been the lack of technology skill sets in rural India. In order to implement telemedicine, training is needed at the village end for technicians, IT staff, and local doctors. While at the consulting doctor’s end, a lot of pushy administration and coordination is required.

So far, telemedicine in India has been largely a free offering by large hospital groups. Large hospitals are able to offer these services at no extra charge because of their in-house expertise. However, time for consultations is an issue, and there is a lack of incentive due to no fees being recovered.

Key Players in Telemedicine Space                                                                                 
Some of the key players, including organizations with the facilities able to provide telemedicine services include the AIIMS, PGIMER, Fortis Healthcare Ltd, Apollo Hospitals, Narayana Healthcare Ltd, Fortis Healthcare Ltd, Manipal Hospital and Aravind Eye care, among others. 

Medical Equipment Providers include GE Healthcare Ltd, Wipro Healthcare Ltd, Philips Healthcare Ltd and Siemens India Ltd. Telemedicine software providers include C-DAC, Televital, Apollo Networks.

Telecom Equipment Providers include Cisco, Ericsson, VTel and video conference equipment providers include Polycom, Lifesize, Sony among others

Business opportunities in India’s telemedicine: 
  • Telemedicine technologies 
  • Training programmes 
  • Affordable delivery models 
  • Growing demand for light and small sized equipment and devices, but high in performance 
  • Patient and data privacy and security solutions  

Friday, October 2, 2015

BEL’s Largest Defence Systems Integration Complex to Come Up in 900 Acres in Anantapuramu District, Andhra Pradesh

Navratna Defence PSU Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) is setting up a Defence Systems Integration 
Complex at Palasamudram, Gorantala Mandal, in Anantapuramu district of Andhra Pradesh. It will be the largest such facility in the country once it is commissioned, covering an area of over 900 acres. The Raksha Mantri, Manohar Parrikar, laid the foundation stone for this facility on Wednesday, September 30, 2015, in the august presence of N Chandrababu Naidu, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, M Venkaiah Naidu, Union Minister for Urban Development & Parliamentary Affairs, P Ashok Gajapathi Raju, Union Minister for Civil Aviation, Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of State for Commerce & Industry and Y S Chowdary, Minister of State for Science & Technology.

S K Sharma, Chairman & Managing Director, BEL, said: “We at BEL have been continuously investing in modernization and creation of special infrastructure to cater for emerging defence business opportunities. The upcoming facility at Palasamudram is one such initiative. We are also strengthening our infrastructure in areas like Night Vision technologies and elements of Multifunction Radars. Various new Surface to Air Missile (SAM) programmes are proposed to be taken up by BEL, viz, Quick Reaction SAM , Long Range SAM, Medium Range SAM, etc, in addition to Network Centric Communication and Electronic Warfare systems.’’

BEL CMD added, “To achieve self-reliance in defence, there is need for a very strong indigenous R&D. In this direction, BEL has not only maintained a consistent policy of R&D investments but also has launched collaborative R&D with private SME firms in the country. On an average, 80% of BEL’s Sales turnover is from indigenous R&D every year. BEL has now launched a Product Development & Innovation Centre at Bangalore to give further thrust towards indigenous R&D.”

As part of diversification and business growth, BEL is looking towards major expansion into New Generation SAM systems, High end Image Intensifier Tubes and Thermal Imaging detectors for Night Vision Devices, Inertial Navigation Systems, Electronic Ammunition Fuses, Air Traffic Management Radars, Intelligent Traffic Management Systems and Solar Power Plants.

The Palasamudram facility will enable BEL to expand its Missile systems business and will carry out manufacturing & integration for the ongoing and upcoming projects. It will have state-of-the-art infrastructure such as Assembly Hangars and Hard Stands for Radars and Weapon integration, RF radiation sources for target simulation, Automatic Test Equipment, Clean Rooms for electronic assembly, Non-Explosive & Explosive Integration Buildings, Missile Storage buildings, Environmental Test Chambers, Fire Stations, Solar Power Plant, Estate and Admin buildings.

BEL is currently manufacturing the Akash Missile Systems (AMS) for the Indian Air Force and the Indian Army. The Akash Missile System is a supersonic, short-range surface-to-air missile system designed and developed by DRDO, with the capability to engage a wide variety of aerial threats like aircraft, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles. BEL is the lead integrator of the Akash Missile System for the Indian Air Force and supplies the Radars, Control Centres, Simulators, associated maintenance vehicles and the integrated software.

Testing and integration of missile systems involves actual deployment of Air Surveillance Radars, Fire Control Radars, Control Centers, Missile Launchers and other support systems to validate the detection, tracking, command and communication link parameters. Multiple groups of the equipment have to be positioned at suitable spacing over a large area to simulate field conditions. The upcoming facility will cater to these requirements. At present, BEL carries out its missile manufacturing and integration activities and system level checks at its Bangalore Unit. In order to cater to the large requirements of futuristic Surface to Air Missile systems, missiles and associated electronic sub-systems & components, BEL is setting up this facility in Andhra Pradesh.

The facility is about 80 Km from the Bengaluru International Airport on NH 7. The proposed Complex will be a world-class facility with Automated Guided Vehicles and Industrial Robots for material movement and handling. The facility will be built in stages as the various projects mature and the estimated investment will be about Rs.500 Crores over 3 to 4 years. BEL also plans to expand this facility for the creation of a Military Industrial Complex to set up the necessary ecosystem for manufacture of electronic components and equipment for various upcoming Defence projects in collaboration with SMEs as part of the Government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative.  

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Si2 Microsystems Brings Three Significant Offerings for Indian Smart Cities

By Manu Sharma

As the Indian government rolls out its ambitious program of developing 100 Smart Cities on fast track, Si2 Microsystems, a leading firm into FPGA design and development capabilities is embarking on a three key offerings in the race for the smart cities.

For solutions related to smart city requirements, SI2 Microsystems has developed chip sets for smart cities with focus on three key offerings; Smart Street Lighting and Monitoring System; Smart Metering Network; and Smart Traffic Control System.
Talking to the media, Dinanath Soni, Executive Director of Si2 Microsystems (India) said, “The Smart Cities initiative of the government is a bold, new initiative. The objective is to promote cities that focuses on sustainable and inclusive development and the idea is to look at compact areas, create a replicable model which will act like a light house to other aspiring cities. We have already developed these chips for the Indian market and are partnering with three major firms in this respect.”
As part of the ‘Make In India’ campaign, we develop and roll out our chip sets from our own facilities in India, says Soni and adding besides Si2 has also designed and developed a number of RF products for use in smart cities solutions.
Among the three key offerings for the smart cities, we shall take a look at what Si2 is offering in the market and its benefits for the industry leaders.

Smart Streetlight Control and Monitoring System:

SI2 Microsystems street lighting solution has a number of benefits and these includes: Centrally GIS web-based inventory control with improved roadway safety. Its other features include energy savings up to 80% and maintenance cost reduction up to 50%. Besides the system reduces carbon emission and has proactive maintenance system.

Specific to Si2 technology, the street light brightness can be controlled to save energy and an immediate report can be sent to the control room if the street light is not working or partially working. That’s not all. The street light monitoring and controlling is achieved by wireless communication using ZigBee based wireless modules. The street lights can be monitored and controlled from a centralized area and also controlled remotely via cell phone by a suitable street light application. Also efficient application software makes it easy to track, troubleshoot, maintain and control the street lights selectively.
So in layman terms, here is what a common person can look forward to in the upcoming Indian smart cities. By using smart chip and enabling mobile cloud-based technology, street lights are able to identify themselves and also network via smart plug and play approach. Hence the next-generation LED street lighting gives quality lighting, saves energy, reduces maintenance and provides safe streets for residents. The web-based technology also enables manage street lighting. In addition, management system using chips can enable remotely control lighting fixtures and monitor energy usage and help identify themselves and network, thus reducing costs and avoid on-site maintenance.

Smart / RF Metering Network: Here is some pointers on what Si2 Microsystems offers -

      Smart/RF metering communication network (wireless) for transmission of meter data from customer houses to meter management system
      Transmits and collects data reliably from each meter in an automatic manner
      Ensures the meter data security
      Easy to maintain and manage effectively and properly
      Reliable and robust network for continuous long time usage
      Easy to construct and maintain at low cost
So  in order to reduce energy consumption, pilfer of power, identify faulty power points and save money on bills, consumers need to monitor their energy use carefully through Smart Meters and then make an effort to change the daily energy usage behaviour (such as less TV watching, switching off PCs when not in use) especially in peak time.
Smart Traffic Control System: Here is a list of some key features Si2 technology offers:
·        *  More efficiency use of roads
·        * Shorter journey time
·        * Significantly fewer accidents
·        *  Lower carbon emissions
·        *  Less congestion of traffic
·       *  Efficient application software makes it easy to track, troubleshoot, maintain and control the street lights selectively.
  Presence Based Adaptive Lighting
     Lights dim to pre-defined levels during off-peak hours.
     Surrounding lights increase to full brightness as soon as human presence (pedestrian, bicycle or car) is detected.
 Energy Savings Data
     Custom reports can be generated to help track energy consumption and savings across the system.
  Weather Control 
     Lighting levels adjust to weather conditions such as heavy rain and snow.
  Fail Proof
     Lights go to full brightness in the event of system failure.
  Reduced Light Pollution   
     Adaptive controls reduce light pollution and create a healthier living environment for both humans and wildlife.
In conclusion, Smart Traffic Control initiative with a GIS enabled digital road map of the city, coupled with the power of analytics, is the key to smooth traffic management. After collecting information from the Traffic Management System, the data analytics tool aligns the data in real time with GIS mapping and parking management, to provide information to motorists on the best route to take, thereby helping reduce traffic pile up.  This is already being used in many smart cities across the globe.

 “The Smart Cities has been allocated Rs 48,000 crore and 30% of the cost of manufacturing is going to be on software and the future would be around Internet of Things and Everything (IOT&E),” remarks Soni. 

Now Microsoft’s Commercial Cloud Services from Three Datacenters across India

Demonstrating its commitment to delivering trusted cloud services that enable people and organizations around the world to achieve more, Microsoft today announced the availability of Microsoft Azure services via local datacenter regions in India. As the first public cloud provider from India, Microsoft has opened three new regions – Central India in Pune, South India in Chennai, and West India in Mumbai. Governments, large businesses, small and medium businesses (SMBs) and citizens can use the massive computing power now available locally to fuel India’s inclusive growth, spur innovation and accelerate digital transformation.

In the words of Bhaskar Pramanik, Chairman, Microsoft India, “The Microsoft cloud in India will transform the way computing is done in the country.  The hyper-scale cloud will empower governments, businesses and users and offer enough computing power that will support all their existing workloads. We are happy to partner with Government and businesses to make the Microsoft cloud work for India and for Indians.”

Built on foundational principles of security, privacy & control, compliance and transparency, Microsoft cloud services are designed to enable individuals and organizations to achieve more. In addition to the Microsoft Azure services launching today, Office 365 services are slated for availability in October 2015, with Dynamics CRM Online services to follow in the first half of 2016. 

Millions of users in India are already using Microsoft cloud services leading to the cloud business growing by more than 100 percent year on year over the past two years.  With the local cloud services, regulated industries such as BFSI, government departments and state-owned enterprises will now be able to leverage public cloud services and be able to take advantage of local data residency. In addition, businesses that deal with large amounts of data e.g. media companies, will benefit from data replication in multiple regions within India for backup and recovery, reduced network distance, lower latency, and the option of a private connection to the cloud.
Microsoft local cloud services are well-suited for governments and businesses that already have significant investments in owned IT infrastructure.  They will now be able to extend their existing IT infrastructure and private clouds to Microsoft local (public) cloud, thereby creating compelling hybrid cloud scenarios and reducing their cost of IT operations significantly.  The impact on citizens is expected to be all the more significant as it will accelerate e-governanceand roll-out of citizen services at unprecedented scale and speed by governments, thereby accelerating the governments’ Digital India and Smart Cities programs.

Newer and transformational scenarios of computing will also be possible.  With the assurance of local data residency, programs like digital lockers and digital identity will also move quickly and enable better citizen services.
In addition,
* Startups and SMBs will gain a competitive advantage with enterprise-grade technology to help them innovate and grow their business to a global scale.
* Education Sector will witness transformational digital learning.  Just one offering, Microsoft Edu-Cloud, is expected to benefit 10 lakh teachers and 60 lakh students across 1500 institutes over the next 18 months from local Microsoft Cloud.
* Developers, IT Professionals, ISVs and Partner ecosystem will see newer opportunities and innovative business models.  From providing cloud assessment to cloud roadmap creation; from writing new cloud ready applications to migrating existing workloads to cloud; locally delivered cloud services will help hosters, ISVs and partners scale their business using the cloud.

Building the Intelligent Cloud
As one of the largest cloud operators in the world, Microsoft has invested more than $15 billion in building a resilient cloud infrastructure and cloud services that deliver higher availability and security, while lowering overall costs. Microsoft cloud infrastructure currently includes more than 100 datacenters located in over 40 countries, and the company is continuing to rapidly build capacity to serve customers worldwide. 

The Microsoft Cloud, including Azure and Office 365, supports compliance with a broad set of industry-specific laws and meets broad international standards.  Azure and Office 365 have received ISO 27001 certification, are audited under the SSAE 16 SOC 1 and SOC 2 standard, offer a HIPAA business associate agreement, and have received authorization to operate under FedRAMP. Microsoft was also the first to adopt the uniform international code of practice for cloud privacy, ISO/IEC 27018, which governs the processing of personal information by cloud service providers.

Microsoft is continuing to bring advanced cloud services such as Machine Leaning (ML), Advanced Analytics, Media Services, Internet of Things (IoT), Express Route and more, to organizations at the click of a button.  This will help businesses to extend existing investments to digital business scenarios, create new efficiencies and new revenue sources and enable innovation.  All this will now be possible by better harnessing of data, connecting people, streamlining processes and utilizing assets for digital transformation.  Thyssen Krupp is already using this for predictive maintenance of its elevators.  Several automobile companies are leveraging this technology for developing smart cars.  Government of Andhra Pradesh has adopted this predictive analytics technology to identify probable drop-outs from school and with the success it has had, the scope of the project has now been extended to more than 10,000 schools across 13 districts.

Further, Microsoft’s commitment to openness and collaboration have enabled new scenarios for customers and partners to take open source software and integrate it with a Microsoft platform. The open and flexible nature of Microsoft cloud allows customers to host a range of operating systems, use any data base or development platform and deliver services to end users using any PC or any mobile device. Today, more than 20 percent of virtual machines on Azure are Linux and VM Depot has more than 1,000 Linux images. Azure also provides first-class support for Java, Node.js, Python, Ruby, and PHP, and Microsoft Azure is certified to host SAP environments. 

Reinventing Productivity: Microsoft Office 365 is the most mature and popular productivity suite.  With new capabilities and features added with Office 2016 apps, messaging and collaboration services are all the more powerful and easier to use.  Better teamwork with Skype for Business, Social capabilities with Yammer, Business Analytics with Power BI and storytelling with Sway are just a few distinctive features.  Users across the country will now be able to get all this and more with better performance, reduced latency and local data residency in the country.

Microsoft’s Local Cloud Momentum
In the preparation to launch of cloud services from local datacenters, Microsoft created a special private preview program to allow early customers a preview into using the new local cloud services.  This has seen significant interest from BFSI, government departments and organizations, ISVs, ecommerce organizations and startups with participation from over 125 customers. Organizations such as Mahindra, Aditya Birla group, IndusInd Bank, Kotak Bank, BPCL, AIIMS, Fortis Healthcare, Narayana Healthcare, Apollo Hospitals, Haryana State Electronics Development Corporation, MIDC, TN ePDS, UP Power Corporation, Wipro, Infosys, Rediff, BookMyShow, Sony Corporation, NanoBi Data and Analytics, etc. have been using Microsoft local cloud services under this private preview program.