Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Ogilvy & Mather Bags Somany Ceramics as Its Advertising Agency

     Somany Ceramics Limited, the leading player in the Indian ceramics industry, recently awarded its advertising mandate to the global advertising and marketing giant Ogilvy & Mather. The pitch was initiated a month ago where six other major advertising agencies also participated. The estimated advertising budget for Somany Ceramics for FY17-18 is 3 to 3.5% of the revenue. Ogilvy & Mather will manage Somany Ceramic Limited’s operations from their Gurgaon office and the mandate consists of the brand’s diverse product portfolio.

     Commenting on the association, Abhishek Somany, MD, Somany Ceramics Limited, commented,” We are interested in exploring newer ways of targeting specific groups therefore, it became essential for us to  collaborate with an agency who understand the dynamic media environment. Ogilvy & Mather comes with a fresh and progressive approach which will help us to focus on developing advertising and marketing campaigns to engage consumers with our products and brands.”
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·    He further added,” To stay a youthful and trendy brand and expand our business and product portfolio, we need a partner and support team that understands how the brand communicates to the consumers in new and existing geographies.
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·    Speaking on the win, Chandana Agarwal, Managing Partner, Ogilvy & Mather “Somany is responsible for launching many firsts in the Indian Tile Industry. Innovation has clearly been at the heart of what they do and we see a great match of values between the two organisations. We are extremely excited about this partnership and look forward to creating some memorable work”.
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·    Somany Ceramics has been a prominent name as a homegrown enterprise in the Indian corporate landscape since its inception almost five decades ago. They ventured into sanitaryware segment in FY 2011-12 and have recently trebled their sanitaryware production capacity from 3.03 lakh pieces per annum to up to 11.50 lakh pieces. The company has a robust distribution network with over 1,800 dealers and 12,000 touch points across India and plans to open 200 additional franchisee showrooms and experience centers by the end of FY 2017-18.       

Vodafone Partners HMD Global; Rolls Out Data Offers to Empower MPower Customers


Vodafone India, one of India’s leading telecommunications service providers, partners with HMD Global for their newly launched Nokia Android smartphones. Vodafone invites all customers buying the recently launched range of smartphones – Nokia 6, Nokia 5, and Nokia 3 to experience its Data strong network with its exciting offers.

All Nokia smartphone users can avail the offer of additional 4G or 3G Data. Customers buying Nokia 5 and Nokia 3 smartphones will enjoy 5GB data (4GB additional data) on a purchase of 1GB Data for 3 months (or 3 recharges, whichever comes first) for just Rs. 142*. In addition, all customers buying Nokia 6 smartphones (available exclusively on Amazon) will enjoy 10 GB data (9GB additional data) on purchase of 1GB Data for 3 months, at just Rs. 251**.

Vodafone post-paid customers can also avail a total of 5GB/10GB of 4G or 3G data per month for 3 consecutive billing cycles if they have a minimum of 1GB pack activated on their monthly rental plan.

Announcing this initiative, Sandeep Kataria, Chief Commercial Officer, Vodafone India said, “We are delighted to partner with HMD Global to roll out this exciting offer that enables our customers to get the most out of their new Nokia smartphones. Customers can use the higher quantum of data on Vodafone SuperNet, our Data Strong Network to access the internet, make video calls, upload albums and even download heavy files wherever they are. Additionally, they can enjoy a large library of videos, movies, and music on Vodafone Play, single window to the world of entertainment, with 150+ Live TV channels, over 14,000 movies, TV show titles and a wide range of all genres of music. These offers will further enable our customers to remain confidently connected and enjoy a worry free Vodafone SuperNet 4G experience on our best network ever.”

Commenting on the partnership, Ajey Mehta, Vice President India, HMD Global, said, “We are delighted to be partnering with one of India’s leading telecom operators. This partnership showcases our commitment to provide the best possible experience to our Nokia smartphone consumers who are Vodafone subscribers. Our commitment to providing our customers a rich, engaging and immersive experience extends across our smartphone range and will come to life when combined with Vodafone’s seamless data connectivity across the country.”

The offer is valid across all circles, wherein customers in Vodafone’s ICR circles (AP& Telangana, MP&CG, Bihar & Jharkhand, HP, and J&K) will get the data at 2G speeds.

Marigold Solar Composters Launched for Households in Bangalore

Prudent Eco Systems, a Bangalore based startup; today announced its latest product, Marigold Solar Composter.

“Marigold Solar Composters are designed for waste management in the urban environment where space and other logistics for collection and eco-friendly disposal are a real challenge. By using modern technology and the forces of nature, our product ensures safe and hygienic composting of household waste. Use of our composter ensures waste is composted into rich and organise fertilizer which again goes back into nature for home gardening,” shared an ever motivated and excited Ravindra Karnad, Founder – Prudent Eco Systems

“The Marigold Mini that we are launching today is most suitable for a family that generates upto 1 litre of waste per day. The bin can take 4-6 weeks of waste. Made out of stainless steel on the inside, the design ensures optimized rapid and clean aerobic composting of the waste without a need of any proprietary additives to speed up the process. The process is simple, mess proof and takes place under natural conditions. This bin also ensures that no rodents enter it while the leachates (if any, usually none) collect in a separate tray that can easily be removed for cleaning. The product is built on what I call “Passive Technology” with minimal moving parts. This leads to solutions which last for years, with minimal or zero maintenance. The user sees the outcome and technology remains in the background.

When asked about his inspiration for “Passive Technology”, Ravi shared “The best example of such technology is the Five-hundred-year old acoustic system of Golconda fort. In Europe, Roman Aqueducts are great example of using passive technology to solve the problem of drinking water for a large urban population. In these solutions we all understand there is some technology at play but its invisible to the layman but has served the purpose for centuries”

“The products have done very well across residential complexes in Bangalore where gated communities such as Ferns Paradise (Doddenakundi), Brigade Paramount, Admirality Manor to name a few, are using Marigold composters to convert their wet waste (of up to 200 kg per day) to organic fertilizer”, added Ravi.

Unlike many other composting systems, the Marigold System does not involve the use of special additives or accelerators with microbes. Prudent Eco Systems believes that composting is a natural process which should be bereft of ‘enhancers’. The composter uses easily available dry leaves (in powdered form) or other equivalent agricultural waste.

Marigold System bins are available in the following sizes:
1.    Mini (19 Lit)
2.    Small (38 Litres)
3.    Large (180 Litres)
4.    Extra Large (360 Litres)
5.    Ultra Large (540 Litres)

 “We did extensive research amongst people who were interested in composting - including early adopters. We found consumers wanted an odor free, easy to use device that would help them compost their kitchen waste rapidly without flies or rodents. As the composter would be placed in the house - they also wanted one that looked attractive and was easy to clean. Prudent was able to address all these requirements by designing a household composter for urban living in India', shared Rini Dutta, founder, Centric Brand Advisors which is a branding and marketing consulting firm based out of Bangalore.

Acadgild, Dell Foundation, and Foundation for Excellence (FFE) Help the Underprivileged Become Job Ready

Acadgild, India’s leading online professional training bootcamp, has partnered with the Dell Foundation and Foundation for Excellence (FFE) to help underprivileged students in developing cutting-edge technology skills and becoming job ready. The initial phase of the partnership is complete and the first batch of students has started placement training in the form of mock interviews and soft skill-building.

College students from various parts of India attended the training bootcamp, which was spread across a period of 4 months. The students were trained through interactive online modules on Web and Mobile Development and awarded with certificates upon completion. Dell Foundation has supported Acadgild by providing funds and strategic inputs for course design.

Through this partnership, Acadgild aimed at assisting FFE in its mission to support students in their education by training them in in-demand technology courses. The students typically came from a financially and socially weaker background without the ability to further develop their skills for a competitive job market in the technology sector. This kind of training will help in reducing their loan burden, as the scholars will be made job ready while they are still in college. It will also assist them in coming out of a remote set up with barriers to their career growth such as non-availability of IT infrastructure. Additionally, the course fee was reduced to INR 4950 from the existing INR 39,999 thereby making it affordable for those who have the aptitude but not the means.

Speaking about the partnership, Vikalp Jain, President and Co-founder, Acadgild, said, "India faces a huge skill-gap and this partnership with DELL Foundation and FFE is aimed at skilling India at the grassroots level and making a difference. With support from our partners, we are glad about helping underprivileged but deserving candidates in getting skilled and becoming job ready. Many more such initiatives are in the pipeline as well, all aimed at skilling and penetrating the job market."

Apart from the skill-based courses, students were also trained on communication skills. IL&FS provided the IT infrastructure for college mapping, etc.

Vikas Verma, Program Officer, Education at Michael & Susan Dell Foundation said, "The Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, a global charitable foundation focused on improving the lives of impoverished children in the USA, South Africa, and India, has invested over INR 745 crore in India since 2006. This partnership is also a part of the Foundation's effort to skill the underprivileged by engaging multiple stakeholders and fostering innovation. Ultimately though, our goal is to positively impact the lives of those with potential and ensure that they are not held back because of their underprivileged backgrounds. Several of the students that have benefited and will benefit from this in the future had limited or no access to information, finances, infrastructure and other amenities. Our goal is to show that no one can be written off; we must bridge the gap to access opportunities in the technology sector for anyone with potential and a hardworking ethic.”

Adding further, Aradhana Verma, Head - Skill Development and Program Outreach, Foundation For Excellence, said, "One of the missions of this partnership is to provide scholarships to exceptionally bright students who have serious financial constraints, enabling them to achieve professional success. Only a collaborative effort among like-minded stakeholders in the industry can achieve the aim of skilling the underprivileged sections of the country. FFE's mission is to help exceptionally talented but poor students in India become doctors, engineers, and computer scientists. It awards scholarships to recent high school students who have overcome the adversity of their family's circumstances to be among the top rankers in national/state level common entrance tests.”

Ashutosh Seth, VP Growth, Acadgild, added, "Acadgild aims to address the shortage of jobs for deserving candidates with each of its offering. Those attending this bootcamp will accrue many benefits, some of them being: industry experience certificate, acquiring additional skill sets, increased aptitude ability, and better communication skills. They will also gain additional benefits like attending mock interviews, gaining perspective of interview and knowledge on industry interfacing."

All Acadgild courses are developed with the aim of increasing the skills and employability of students and working professionals by teaching them hands-on, job ready software programming and business skills. They are delivered online in small batches of 8-10 by expert mentors who are carefully handpicked from leading companies such as Accenture, Infosys, Cognizant, Oracle and BookMyShow. 

AMD’s Unveils Radeon Vega Frontier Edition Graphics Card for Machine Learning Development and Advanced Visualization Workloads



AMD has unleashed the first product based on its highly anticipated “Vega” graphics processing unit (GPU) architecture: Radeon™ Vega Frontier Edition. Radeon Vega Frontier Edition is the world’s first graphics card designed to empower the next generation of data scientists, game designers and visualization professionals, with up to 172 percent faster rendering performance than the comparable competitor card, Through its disruptive High Bandwidth Cache Controller, the cornerstone of the world’s most advanced GPU memory architecture – HBM2 – Radeon Vega Frontier Edition expands the capacity of traditional GPU memory to 256TB, allowing users to tackle massive datasets with ease, and scored up to 33 percent faster than the competition in the DeepBench benchmark that measures the performance of basic operations involved in training deep neural networks.

“We’re dedicating Radeon Vega Frontier Edition to all the visionaries and trailblazers who embrace new technologies to propel their industries forward to help solve mankind’s greatest problems,” said Ogi Brkic, senior director and general manager, Radeon Pro business, Radeon Technologies Group, AMD. “With this powerful solution, we’ve brought the full weight of our new ‘Vega’ GPU architecture to bear, offering unmatched performance in the most demanding design, rendering, and machine intelligence workloads so that the world’s top creators, data scientists and game developers can reach new frontiers in their fields.”

Radeon Vega Frontier Edition Board Design
“AMD did a stunning job on the industrial design of the Radeon Vega Frontier Edition. The blue-anodized brushed aluminum shroud and lit Radeon inlays are downright elegant,” said Kelt Reeves, president of Falcon Northwest. “The high-airflow I/O bracket and vented anodized backplate are a beautifully executed example of how form can follow function and still make for a beautiful product.”

Unmatched Performance and TCO in Machine Learning Applications
Together with AMD’s open-source, fully scalable ROCm software platform, Radeon Vega Frontier Edition paves the way for pioneers to continue pushing boundaries in fields like artificial intelligence (AI). Developers can now use the power of the “Vega” architecture for machine learning algorithm development on the Radeon Vega Frontier Edition faster than with any other GPU on the market, before deploying it out to massive servers equipped with Radeon Instinct accelerators. This powerful new solution also delivers a disruptive performance per dollar equation, solidifying AMD’s leadership in compute total cost of ownership (TCO).

Advanced Photorealistic Rendering Performance
Radeon Vega Frontier Edition delivers the horsepower required for design and manufacturing firms to drive increasingly large and complex models and to deploy real-time visualization and physically-based rendering. The Radeon Vega Frontier Edition’s revolutionary memory engine also allows professionals to achieve photorealistic detail in computer-generated imagery. A visualization powerhouse, the Radeon Vega Frontier Edition GPU offers exceptional multi-GPU scaling, with 91 percent faster rendering using two Radeon Vega Frontier Edition GPUs.

Accelerating Game Design and Immersive Workflows

The Radeon Vega Frontier Edition graphics card simplifies and accelerates game creation by providing a single GPU that is optimized for every stage of a game developer’s workflow. This includes everything from asset production to playtesting and performance optimization.  With the Radeon Pro Settings user interface, users can seamlessly switch between “Radeon Pro Mode” and “Gaming Mode” to alternate between development on animation applications like Autodesk Maya and performance optimizations with free, open source tools available through AMD’s GPUOpen initiative. The compute power in Radeon Vega Frontier Edition and its support for an open software ecosystem also give a new breed of developers and filmmakers the ability to break new ground in virtual reality (VR) and 360-degree video content. AMD’s fastest Radeon VR Ready Creator graphics card ever, Radeon Vega Frontier Edition achieves the maximum possible score in the SteamVR benchmark, up to 21 percent higher than the multi-GPU Radeon Pro Duo solution. Combined with Radeon Loom, AMD’s revolutionary 360-degree video stitching technology, creators can stitch high-resolution video in real time.

V Resorts Raises $4 Million In Third Round of Funding with Seedfund

V Resorts, an asset-light resort management company, recently raised $4 million in its third round of funding, with Seedfund and RB International. V Resorts currently manages over 70 resorts across 15 states in the country. The company operates on a business model of aggregating existing properties and managing the operations of those properties on a revenue share basis.

With this infusion of funds, V Resorts is all set to make a paradigm shift in the landscape of the leisure travel sector in India. Commenting on the development, Aditi Balbir, Founder and CEO of V Resorts said,“Our competitors are aggregators who solve the problem of discovery – ‘Where to go’. The travel space is flooded with such aggregators but no player is currently targeting the problem of on-ground experience. We at V Resorts solve the problem of customer experience – from manpower to vendors, procurement, booking, feedback etc. – covering the entire gamut of hospitality services. The funds will be utilized to further invest in these consumer and operator interfaces.We are also looking at doubling our inventory by the end of this year and are geared towards a three fold growth in the company.”

“Initiatives are in place to increase our footprints to over 1000 locations in India in the next two years. Keeping in mind our goal of going where Indians go, international expansion is on the cards as well. South East Asia is amongst the favorite overseas destinations with Indians, so it’s a prudent decision to focus our initial expansion efforts there,” added Aditi Balbir.

Commenting on the investment from RB International, “In this challenging ecosystem, V Resorts has a differentiated business model that allows for high profitability with occupancy increase. And given the high capital efficiency, the model can be scaled quickly”, said Harshavardhan Bothra, RB Investments Pte Ltd.

Executive Director Shailesh Vikram Singh, Seedfund which has invested in V Resorts in the initial phase as well said, “This is indeed exciting times for the travel leisure segment. Our strategy will be to build travel choices even to the most inaccessible places and create profitable businesses with the involvement of the local community.”
V Resorts is an alternate accommodation provider in the leisure travel space. Since 2014, the company has been operating on the foundation of bringing superior quality and standardization to the less explored but breathtaking destinations of India. For customers who want to travel to new places and explore parts of India, the company promises a seamless standardised experience – from searching for information, making a booking, reaching the place to experiencing the local appeal of that destination.

Guizhou Big Data Comprehensive Pilot Zone Promotion Conference Held in Bangalore on June 27

The National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) has concluded a session of productive bilateral talks with dignitaries of Guizhou Province, China. As Guizhou emerges as the centrepiece of China’s IoT and Big Data initiatives, the Chinese delegation today introduced the Guizhou National Big Data Comprehensive Pilot Zone to the Indian IT ecosystem.

Participating in the discussions were Sun Zhigang, Governor, Guizhou Province;  Gaurav Gupta, Principal Secretary, IT Department, Government of Karnataka; Ma Ningyu, Director, Big Data Bureau, Guizhou Province; and Gagan Sabarwal, Director, Global Trade Development, NASSCOM. The conversation centered on data as a currency and the advantages and prospects for big data development the region presents between NASSCOM member companies and Guizhou’s state-owned companies.Housing the core data centers belonging to Huawei, Tencent, Foxconn, and Alibaba and China Mobile, it is estimated that by 2025, there will be 3 million servers in Guizhou.

Building on the momentum of the MoU on the Big Data initiative signed between both parties in February 2017, today’s dialogue fortified cooperation in the IT sector between the two neighboring countries. In recent years, NASSCOM has been relentlessly working on global communication and cooperation in big data and high-tech fields, with an emphasis on Guizhou, an emerging area of big data development.

Gagan Sabarwal, Director, Global Trade Development, NASSCOM, said “Indo-Chinese cooperation has always been at the forefront of our agenda, and both neighbors have a strong value addition to offer each other in big data expertise. This campaign is of great significance for the communication and collaboration between the emerging ecosystems of IoT and Big data of both countries.”

A hub for China’s green data centers, Guizhou is a growth spot which has gained President Xi Jinping’s vote of confidence, having ranked the top in terms of GDP growth among China’s provinces six consecutive years in a row. Guizhou and Bangalore have similar high-tech capabilities, the former an accelerating cluster for big data industrial development and a technology innovation, while the latter is a leading software development and high-tech hub. The production and convergence of data in Guizhou overlays big data enterprises and powers cloud chain services, information networks, long-distance freight, public transport, cab aggregation and customization, and e-medicine, among others.