Friday, February 22, 2019

Lenovo Delivers Strong Performance with Highest Quarterly Revenue in Four Years


Data Center Group enjoyed continued hyper growth in Hyperscale and Software Defined Infrastructure, and increased its lead as #1 in the world’s TOP500 supercomputer rankings

Lenovo Group has announced results for its third fiscal quarter ended December 31, 2018. Lenovo posted its highest group revenue in four years of US$14 billion, up 8.5% YOY (12.8% YOY excluding currency impact).  The company reported strong pre-tax income of US$350 million (up 133% / +US$200 million over the previous year) - an all-time record for the company as all businesses continued to report profit improvements.

The Group recorded a net profit of US$233 million for the fiscal quarter, significantly improved from the net loss of US$289 million in the same quarter of last year. Basic earnings per share in the third fiscal quarter was 1.96 US cents or 15.35 HK cents.

“When we set out on our journey of Intelligent Transformation, our goal was to restore and then accelerate Lenovo’s business momentum, while providing our customers and partners with the best technologies in smart IoT, smart infrastructure and smart vertical solutions. We’ve done exactly that and more - our strength and position as the industry’s most prolific global technology organization is firmly established.  What I’m most pleased to see is how Lenovo is bucking the current industry trend – we’re strong, have delivered record-breaking results this quarter and are only getting stronger”, said Yang Yuanqing, Lenovo Chairman and CEO.

Business Group Overview:

The Intelligent Devices Group (IDG) posted record revenue and profit; powered by its third straight quarter since inception of revenue growth - up 6.2% YOY to US$12.4 billion.

During the quarter, the PC and Smart Devices (PCSD) business under IDG reported US$10.7 billion in revenue, up 11.6% YOY, and sequentially extending the Group’s momentum from the previous quarter. PC revenue grew 16% YOY, outperforming the market by more than 17 points with PTI margin also improving by 1 percentage point. Lenovo maintained its position as the world’s undisputed leader in PC sales with record market share of 24.6%. A focus on high-growth and premium segments saw Workstations, Thin and Light devices, and Visuals revenue outgrow the market by more than 30 points, Gaming by 16 points and Chromebook by over 220 points.

The Mobile Business Group (MBG) under IDG posted its first worldwide profit since the Motorola acquisition in October 2014. This notable achievement came from masterful execution on Lenovo’s strategy to reduce expenses, streamline the Group’s product portfolio and focus on core markets.  Notably North America saw a breakthrough quarter for the Group with volumes outgrowing the market by a staggering 40 points. Additionally, MBG’s focus on other specific geographies is also showing significant results: Lenovo retains the #2 position in Latin America, despite currency fluctuations and supply constraints.  In China, thanks to a range of new products under the Lenovo brand, the Group continued to build on the momentum quadrupling revenue and reporting strong growth in PTI margin.

Lenovo’s Data Center Group (DCG) reported its fifth consecutive quarter of profit growth (PTI margin up 3.6 percentage points YOY) on a 31% YOY increase in revenue to US$1.6 billion. In fact, DCG recorded YOY revenue growth in all geographies, highlighted by triple-digit growth in North America, and double-digit growth in Asia-Pacific, EMEA and Latin America.  The NetApp joint venture, which is now operational in China, will further strengthen the portfolio and expand business opportunities.  Hyperscale once again served as a significant contributor with triple-digit revenue growth and Software Defined Infrastructure (SDI) revenue grew almost 70% YOY. The Group not only remained #1 on the TOP500 list of supercomputers globally, but also increased its lead.

Boeing F/A-18 ‘Make in India’ to Transform Defense Industry


Boeing held discussions with its partners, Mahindra Defence Systems (MDS) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), on the proposed F/A-18 Super Hornet ‘Make in India’ plan at Aero India 2019.

The partners are developing comprehensive plans to set-up a new “factory of the future” to manufacture Super Hornet locally. The program is expected to work with several Indian suppliers to grow a thriving defense aerospace base which could accelerate other programs. The facility will create a world-class, highly trained aerospace workforce.

This unique public-private partnership  is intended to bring Boeing, HAL and MDS’ global scale and supply chain, its best-in-industry precision manufacturing processes, as well as the unrivalled experience in designing and optimizing aerospace production facilities to expand India’s aerospace ecosystem and help realize the ‘Make in India’ vision.

Boeing’s Super Hornet is a proven platform that offers the fighter of the future for India – networked, survivable and reliable. Introduced in 2007, the F/A-18 Super Hornet is the world’s preeminent carrier capable aircraft and best suited for India’s naval fighter requirements – designed from day one for carrier operations. The Super Hornet is highly capable across the full mission spectrum for the Indian Air Force and is a true multi-role aircraft, able to perform virtually every mission in the tactical spectrum, including air superiority, day/night strike with precision guided weapons, fighter escort, close air support, suppression of enemy air defenses, maritime strike, reconnaissance, forward air control and tanker missions. This, coupled with designed-in stealth and the right payload capacity, makes the Super Hornet the ideal fit for India.

Ericsson and Juniper Networks Partnership Gains Momentum with Joint Transport Solutions


Since announcing a deepened partnership in September 2018, Ericsson and Juniper Networks have secured more than 20 new customers worldwide. The two companies are today unveiling further enhancements to their joint 5G transport network and security solutions to meet increasing demand.

Service providers who are looking to deploy 5G-ready networks are turning to the combined Ericsson and Juniper portfolios to deliver the required transport infrastructure, operations and service delivery solutions they need that remove complexity and ensure ease-of-use.

Per Narvinger, Head of Product Area Networks, Ericsson, says: “The positive market response to our expanded partnership with Juniper is a testimony to the strength of our joint end-to-end transport solutions. We hope to sustain this momentum by further enhancing our leading, high-performance transport portfolio to ensure that next-generation networks continue to benefit our customers.”

Manoj Leelanivas, Chief Product Officer, Juniper Networks, says: “By integrating complementary portfolios and technologies, Juniper Networks and Ericsson continue to partner and further develop end-to-end transport solutions for the 5G era – solutions that give service providers greater flexibility, performance, security and automation.”

With the evolution of Ericsson’s solution for network slicing, Juniper’s SDN controller, NorthStar, is interworking with Ericsson Dynamic Orchestration, providing seamless control from the cell site to the packet core network – including the data center gateway. This allows automation and integration of connectivity services in the transport domain into an end-to-end network slice. With this solution, Ericsson’s Wide Area Network Orchestrator (WANO) acts as a hierarchical SDN controller in charge of configuring connectivity services.

Transport orchestration added to Ericsson’s network slicing solution provides the network slice with guaranteed bandwidth and key performance indicators, such as latency. Slicing in the transport domain is also enhanced by combining soft network slicing through Ericsson Dynamic Orchestration and hard network slicing through Junos node slicing on Juniper’s MX Series portfolio. In combination with Ericsson Radio System, this joint solution will enable an end-to-end network slice on a shared infrastructure that can be secure, optimized and isolated.

Another enhancement is in the security area, where solutions from Juniper are being integrated into the Ericsson RAN offerings. In addition to the newly announced 5G High Layer vRAN, Ericsson security functionality has been complemented with Juniper SRX and vSRX gateway products as the IPSec security solution to elevate and extend the security framework across the network.

Juniper PTX, MX and SRX will be natively integrated into Ericsson Security Manager to reduce time-to-market by automating hardening and facilitating monitoring and compliance of security policies.

Khanungdej Triratupathum, Chief Technology Officer, TrueMove, says: “TrueMove is committed to providing a superior experience for our mobile users with a constant evolution of our services. We are working toward the virtualization of several components of the Mobile Core. The Ericsson and Juniper Networks partnership allows us to take advantage of an integrated best-of-breed solution by running Ericsson virtual network functions (VNFs) and Ericsson Network Functions Virtualization Infrastructure (NFVI) with the Juniper MX series platform as our data-center gateway.”

Mikko Kannisto, Director of Transmission Networks, DNA, says: “Finland is a unique market where most customers use mobile broadband as their primary broadband service, and with data traffic increasing 33 percent year-over-year. Strengthening our core network to not only meet the growing demands of our customers today – and allowing us the flexibility to prepare for 5G – has been a priority for DNA. Juniper Networks and Ericsson have implemented renewed DNA core network that supports 5G transport capacity, boosting our 5G readiness.”

According to mobile operator Jazz, as network demands increase, the company has to ensure that the network they build today will allow them to manage the end-user experience with excellence, especially as they move toward a 4G advanced era and beyond. The joint solutions from Ericsson and Juniper Networks provide seamless connectivity from radio cell site to internet gateway with best-in-class technology, while delivering a future-proof infrastructure to enable a great end-user experience.

As part of the partnership, Juniper will continue to use Ericsson’s go-to-market capabilities for mobile opportunities and Ericsson will include Juniper’s solutions for edge, core, security and network slicing as part of its end-to-end 5G transport portfolio.

Juniper and Ericsson will demonstrate their enhanced solutions at the Juniper booth in Hall 2, stand 2I60/2J61, and at the Ericsson booth in Hall 2, stand 2O60 at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona starting February 25, 2019.

Atos Installed its First Supercomputer in India at IIT-BHU as Part of HPC Agreement with Indian Government


Atos, a global leader in digital transformation, has announces the installation of its first supercomputer in India.

The BullSequana, which is the first supercomputer to be installed as part of the Indian Government’s National Supercomputing Mission (NSM), was officially inaugurated at IIT-BHU in Varanasi by the Prime Minister of India the Honorable Narendra Modi.

Named ‘Param Shivav’, this supercomputer is the first of several to be installed across India as part of a major 3-year agreement between C-DAC (Centre for Development of Advanced Computing), an organization within the MeitY (Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology, India) and Atos. It is part of the NSM (National Supercomputing Mission) - a 7-year plan of INR 4500 crores (~650M$) led by the Government of India which aims to create a network of over 70 high-performance supercomputing facilities for various academic and research institutions across India.

The supercomputer is equipped with the latest processors and accelerators on the market, to provide optimal performance and improved energy efficiency. It will be used for academic projects and research.

“We are proud that our BullSequana supercomputer is empowering researchers at the IIT-BHU to accelerate their digital simulation projects. This installation marks the start of a strategic relationship and partnership between France and India and cements our position as the leading supercomputing provider in India for HPC.” said Pierre Barnabé, Chief Operating Officer, Big Data & Security at Atos.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Coding Legends Face-Off in a Tense 5-Hour Programming Battle in India’s IT Hub

Dozens of competitive programmers from all over the world descended on Bengaluru this past weekend for India’s biggest programming event: SnackDown 2019 - a global programming tournament organized by CodeChef. The fierce competition lasted five hours and invited contestants to try their hands at 10 complex algorithmic problems. Borys Minaiev from Ukraine and Gennady Korotkevich from Belarus came together to take home the coveted title of SnackDown Champions as well as a cash prize of $10,000.

The 1st runners up were Oleg Merkurev and Aleksei Daniliuk from Russia while the 2nd runner-up slot was claimed by Ji Ruyi and Yuhao Du from China. This victory did not come easily for Borys and Gennady (who now live in Russia). It was a tense battle right down to the finish with the winning team making a successful problem submission during the last 30 seconds of the contest. The final twenty seconds completely changed the fate of the contest. This was a second SnackDown win for Borys and Gennady who had previously lifted the SnackDown cup in 2016. In the current edition, they beat out SnackDown defending champions Aleksei and Oleg to earn the top spot.

SnackDown also rewarded the best School team: Shih-Yu Wang from National Experimental High School, Taiwan and Yeoh Zi Song from Chung Ling High School, Malaysia, as well as the best women’s team, had Xiaoou Zhou and Jiayi Mao from China. This year, SnackDown opened to registrations from over 27,000 teams comprising of more than 40,000 programmers from different parts of the globe participating in different rounds of the contest. The finale saw 26 international teams comprising of 51 individuals from 13 different countries who competed against one another under one roof. Additionally, the top 10 Indian teams and 3 school teams from India were invited to the on-site finals to meet and interact with the best programmers, adding another facet to this event, making it the only event of this scale to give exposure to the young programming talent from India. The best Indian team this year stood at 25th position comprising of Ginuga Saketh and Yash Chandnani, both from IIT Kanpur.

For those who don’t know, SnackDown is the only programming competition of its size and scale that is conducted in India and it attracts the very best programming talent from India and overseas. As there is practically no eligibility criteria to enter, SnackDown attracts a varied mix of entrants, from school and university students to working professionals, who all put their life on hold for three days to attend this exciting event. This year 839 school teams registered to participate in SnackDown alongside 3438 female teams registered. The event saw registrations from 115 different countries.

Speaking at the event, Bhavin Turakhia, CEO and Co-Founder of Directi, said, “Year after year, participants at SnackDown continue to fascinate and thrill us with their talent and dedication to programming. SnackDown represents the best talent in the programming community and it’s a great feeling knowing that they enjoy our competitions. I hope that this competition and CodeChef’s other efforts continue to inspire programmers of all ages and skill levels to continually improve their own abilities and in turn, improve the standard of programming in India and overseas too.”

“We are humbled with the response we have received for this edition. We are always amazed by the talent and passion of the teams which only seems to grow every year. In particular, we want SnackDown to be a platform where the best Indian programmers can meet and interact with their overseas counterparts and judging by our successful activities and interactive sessions, it makes me happy to see that happening!” said Anup Kalbalia, BU Head, CodeChef.

Hero Electronix’s Tessolve Opens Center of Excellence for Chip Design in Bengaluru


Hero Electronix, a part of the Hero Group, has announced the opening of its dedicated Semiconductor Chip Design Center in Bengaluru. The center has been set up by Tessolve, a Hero Electronix venture and a leading engineering solutions company. The center will focus on the needs of Tessolve’s clients, which include major global semiconductor companies. The company recently inaugurated another center in Visakhapatnam, which primarily focuses on software and test program development. The goal is to scale the design team by 100% over next 2 years to support growing demand for chip design projects from Tessolve’s customers.

Since the acquisition by Hero Electronix in 2016, Tessolve has strategically focussed on expansion of its services portfolio by enhancement of its capabilities. It has successfully transitioned from a semiconductor test engineering services player to becoming one of the leading end-to-end engineering solutions partner for top semiconductor companies – from pre-silicon to post-silicon services. Expertise areas now cover chip design (VLSI), test development, and hardware design through Embedded Systems development.

The new design center will provide strong impetus to Tessolve’s chip design offering.  As more and more clients seek capability and depth in a critical area like chip design, the new facility has been set up as the center of excellence for all chip design projects. It will work in close association with Tessolve’s other design centers to develop innovative chip solutions across verticals – automotive, server, graphics and mobile platforms, to name a few. Training will be a key focus area. Tessolve already runs training programs for engineering talent aimed at long-term growth and development of the workforce.

According to P. Raja Manickam, Founder & CEO, Tessolve: “Our vision is to be the leader in semiconductor and systems engineering from concept to delivering chips and systems. We believe in being a technology services company where we help our customers with in depth expertise, enable time to market advantage and economic benefits. It is an important milestone for the Tessolve team in our journey to become a chip design leader and is followed by the acquisition of Analog Semiconductors a year back to strengthen our analog design capabilities. It will further help in strengthening our capabilities as an end to end solutions partner and semiconductor engineering services leader.”

Nikhil Rajpal, CEO, Hero Electronix added: “We are proud of Tessolve’s growth and achievement since our partnership as today it is amongst the leaders in the semiconductor engineering space. We have not been shy of making investments in assets and infrastructure to add strategic capabilities as Tessolve made acquisitions in key areas - embedded systems, analog design, PCB fabrication and test lab. The new design centre will help accelerate Tessolve’s growth and replicate its test engineering leadership in chip design.”

The new center is located at Global Technology Park, Block C, Bellandur, Outer Ring Road. The new office will be catering to chip design projects across all domains - Design Verification, Design for Test and Debug, Physical Design, FPGA Emulation, Post SI Validation, Analog & Mixed Signal (AMS) Design.

Microsoft Shows the Way to Unlock Full Potential of AI for India


Envisioning the potential of AI for India, and continuing in its mission to empower India, Microsoft detailed the country’s readiness for AI in a whitepaper titled ‘Age of Intelligence’.  Focus on making India a digital economy, mobile phone penetration, reduced data costs are all collaborating to make for an environment conducive to extend connectivity and services to the underserved segments of the population, Microsoft said in a whitepaper on AI, unveiled at the NASSCOM Technology and Leadership Forum (NTLF) 2019.

The whitepaper titled ‘Age of Intelligence’ outlines challenges and opportunities with respect to AI and how appropriate government policies, technological advancements including growing internet penetration and connectivity help reap benefits of digital transformation in years to come. Furthermore, Microsoft called for the technology industry to actively partner and engage to help realize India’s aspirations in AI, given that many of the initiatives outlined need technology as the backbone to achieve scale, efficiency and sustainability. Cloud infrastructure and rapid deployment of intelligent cloud services will play a key role in driving AI adoption in the country.

Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India said “Our ambition is to enable a human-centered approach to AI. India is currently at an inflection point in the adoption of AI. Building on the four foundational pillars – enabling digital transformation across industries, forging coalitions for innovation, building a future-ready workforce and creating sustained societal impact will unlock and accelerate the potential of AI. All of this should be done within an over-arching ethical framework for AI development and usage.”

In this paper, Microsoft presents an industry point of view on the ‘age of intelligence’ that this world is embarking upon, wherein intelligence will be experienced in every facet: in products and services, in the way individuals communicate, how organizations function and collaborate, and how society and countries evolve. Microsoft AI is a vision for empowerment – for every developer to innovate, every organization to redefine industries and every individual to transform society.

Developers to innovate

Microsoft is democratizing AI and is making the technology used in building its own AI applications available on Azure to empower developers and institutions in solving their most difficult problems.

For instance, a challenge in India relates to inclusion- given India’s linguistic diversity and literacy. This results in a digital language barrier, with services not being easily accessible to all citizens. AI is playing a key role in removing this barrier, by enabling voice recognition, text to speech and translation for all key Indian languages.

Once that is fully available, all services can be offered to all citizens, in the language of their choice. Microsoft is closely working with developers to bring these services to all major Indian languages.

Enterprises to redefine

Enterprises can achieve far more with a comprehensive AI being AI to every application, every business process, and every employee. AI enables organizations to take better-informed decisions by making it easy to derive insights from data, helping them expand customer engagement, optimize operations, and improve offerings. Reimagining business processes with AI also makes work more efficient, saving employees time so they can focus on higher priorities.

Healthcare – Healthcare sector will be transformed through effective use of analytics driven insights decoding the complex data available, which so far remained a significant challenge worldwide. Microsoft has enabled analytics-driven individualized treatment plans based on a patient’s genetic makeup, medical history, lifestyle along with cloud-based solutions to empower healthcare organizations and help them build and deploy compliant, virtual health assistants can provide users with conversational and engaging access to the most relevant and accurate healthcare services and information.

For instance, Narayana Health is looking at new avenues to optimize its operations and augment patient care with technology. One of the ongoing projects being piloted internally is to use Artificial Intelligence to decipher X-Rays to point out any irregularities from a normal X-Ray, which would help doctors save time in diagnosis.

Public Sector-. AI tools enable governments to connect with their citizens more effectively, eliminate waste, and protect sensitive information. Microsoft’s Smart cities – Intelligent technology and Citizen services tools are designed to tackle common challenges such as fee and toll management, traffic optimization, and sustainability as well as help provide citizens with easier access to consolidated government services through tracking, search, and conversational bots.

Education- Technology is creating unprecedented opportunities to connect students to the world around them and help them realize their full potential. Teachers, administrators, and technology innovators are collaborating to solve some of the most pressing challenges in education through AI. Microsoft’s AI is helping in enhancing accessibility in the classrooms and providing school-wide AI insights into student success and risk across entire schools or school districts help educators make informed decisions on how to improve student outcome

As India surges forward with its digital transformation, large and small organizations - both public and private - are waking up to the power of cloud computing, data analytics and intelligence. They are already beginning to use the transformative power of the cloud to improve their lives and businesses.

Society to transform

AI is a powerful tool for increasing access to information, education, employment, government services, as well as social and economic opportunities.

In its work to deploy AI, Microsoft is working with policy think tanks and research organizations such as Niti Aayog (National Institute for Transforming India) and ICRISAT in creating and adopting frameworks to accelerate AI-led digital transformation across sectors. This will help frame the guard rails of where and how AI should be used to instill trust and responsibility across AI-based systems.

India is digitally ready for a comprehensive AI framework aligned to industries long-term strategy. With the size of the market and opportunity for growth it’s imperative to implement AI for India that bring economic, societal and inclusive growth. Microsoft is best positioned to address the current AI needs and ready to support all stakeholders across the entire spectrum including government, businesses, and communities by collaborating with them to accelerate all AI opportunities to drive critical growth for India’s progress.

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