SILICON VILLAGE

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Intel to partner with telecom major ITI

Intel, the world's largest chip maker, is planning to participate in bids invited by Indian state-owned telecom equipment maker ITI Ltd to set up joint ventures, the Business Standard reported on Friday.

ITI intends to be a minority partner in the proposed joint ventures with a 26 per cent stake according to the bid proposals, the newspaper said.

It said Intel was interested in making the hardware and consumer premise equipment around WiMAX technology, which provides for wireless transmission of data up to 75 megabytes per second.

Though interested parties have been asked to participate before Jan 29, 2010, the telecoms ministry is holding a pre-bid conference before selecting them, the paper said.

Other global players that have showed interest include Huawei, Alcatel-Lucent, Samsung and Hitachi, the paper said.

A spokeswoman for Intel in India could not immediately respond to the report.

Agencies

Friday, November 6, 2009

JavaScript programming tools now from Google

With a project called Closure Tools, Google plans to start helping developers who aspire to match the company's proficiency in creating Web sites and Web applications. Google is a strong proponent of using JavaScript to write Web-based programs, which is a part of its Web-centric ethos, reports CNET News.

Indeed, the company has pushed the language to its limits with services such as Gmail and Google Docs, and it developed its Chrome browser in part to enable JavaScript programs to run faster. But writing, debugging, and optimizing heavy-duty JavaScript can be difficult - in part because a given JavaScript program sometimes works differently on different browsers. Google's open-source Closure Tools project is an attempt to help with some of these challenges.

The first in the suite of tools is the Closure Compiler, a software package designed to boil down a JavaScript program so it's smaller and runs faster. Along with the compiler come some extra tools that run in the Firefox browser. One, Closure Inspector, is an extension for Firefox's Firebug add-on designed to help programmers understand and debug the rewritten JavaScript. Another add-on for the Google Page Speed extension lets programmers see how much the compiler helped.

Google also plans to make the compiler available as a Web application hosted on its Google App Engine service. The second element is called the Closure Library, a collection of pre-built JavaScript codes that lets programmers handle relatively sophisticated technology - arrays and string manipulation, for example. Last are Closure Templates, more pre-written codes to ease creation of JavaScript and HTML user interfaces.

In an earlier era, programming tools were expensive packages bought by a select few, but open-source software, new marketing strategies, and new business methods have made that approach the exception rather than the rule these days. Now programming tools are often a means to another end - encouraging programmers to produce the software that will make Windows or the Palm Pre useful and therefore popular.

Agencies

Retail sector to grow at 28% during 2008-12 in India

During 2008-2012, the IT market in the Indian retail sector is likely to grow at an estimated compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23 percent; reaching $1.4 billion by 2012, says a report. According to the report titled as 'IT in the Indian Retail Industry: Emerging Trends and Market Opportunities' brought out by Springboard Research; software is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 28 percent for the period under review, while hardware will grow at 19 percent.

Springboard Research is an IT market research and advisory firm. The firm has brought out this report after interviewing leading IT vendors operating in the retail sector and 152 Chief Information Officers from both large and mid-sized retail companies across India. According to Nilotpal Chakravarti, Senior Research Analyst, Springboard Research, although the recession has affected retailers' profitability, it opens a window of opportunity for IT vendors as retailers turn to technology to address the challenging economic scenario. "Many retailers are eschewing curtailing their long-term IT projects, while they remain cautious with short-term IT spending and new investments," he added.

Nearly half of the CIOs in the retail sector interviewed, indicated large format stores/hypermarkets as the top business opportunity in the sector, while competition is named as the biggest business challenge by a majority of the CIOs. Inventory management has emerged as the top strategic IT focus areas for the CIOs, followed by supply chain management (SCM). Enterprise resource planning (ERP) topped the list of business applications in terms of actual deployments in the last 24 months.

According to Springboard's data, POS (Point of sales) is the top preferred store solution that Indian retailers have deployed in their stores. CIOs revealed that a large number of retailers mentioned price as a key determinant in external IT vendor selection, while strong service and support came in the second place on the list of priorities. Other influencers like vendor reputation and existing relationship rank much lower in the priority hierarchy. Springboard also found that local IT vendors have a sizeable foothold in the retail space because they provide low-cost, industry-specific solutions.

According to Springboard's data, SAP, Microsoft and Oracle hold the largest market share in the Indian retail sector, while HCL is the leading local vendor in the retail space. IBM is also named as among the leading vendors in this space.

"Best-of-class retail solutions like RFID, intelligent shelves, and kiosks still remain out of reach for the Indian market because of their high cost. IT vendors should look to address this gap by rationalizing costs, along with clearly defining ROI benefits for clients," said Chakravarti.

Agencies

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Will the Web run out of address space?

The world could well run out of internet addresses next year, unless urgent action is taken to switch to a new generation of net addresses, the European Commission has warned.

According to the commission, businesses urgently need to upgrade to internet protocol version six or IPv6, a new version of the web’s addressing protocol, which will hugely increase the number of available addresses.

The IPv6 system has been ready for over a decade and is providing 340 trillion web addresses. But, not many companies are actually ready to migrate to the new platform.

A survey, conducted by the commission, found that few companies are prepared for the switch from the current naming protocol, IPv4, to the new regime, IPv6, the Daily Telegraph reported on Tuesday. The IPv4 and IPv6 protocols refer to the way in which addresses are created and assigned. Each website has a unique IP address, represented by a string of numbers, such as 192.168.1.1, which are then given a user-friendly web address to make them easier to remember.

The IPv4 protocol uses 32-bit addresses, which enables the web to support around 4.3 billion unique addresses while IPv6 uses 128-bit web addresses, creating billions of possible new web addresses. The EC survey found that of the 610 government, educational and other industry organisations questioned across Europe, the Middle East and Asia, just 17% have upgraded to IPv6.

Detlef Eckert, director in commission’s information society and media directorate-general, said: “Only by ensuring that all devices connected to the internet are compatible with IPv6 can we stay connected and safeguard sustainable growth of the internet.”

Agencies

Cisco, EMC, VMware join hands to take on IBM, HP

Technology heavyweights Cisco Systems and EMC Corp dampened speculation the two companies would merge as they announced on Tuesday a broad partnership to develop data centre technology, taking on rivals IBM and Hewlett-Packard. The two have spent three years developing technology and ironing out details of a deep partnership through which they will bundle Cisco’s networking equipment and server computers with EMC’s storage and virtualization technology.

Their goal is to become a top provider of data centre products as the industry switches to technology focused on providing socalled “cloud” computing services from central data centres that can be accessed over the internet and corporate networks.

As they announced that partnership, top executives from both companies suggested that persistent speculation Cisco plans to acquire EMC has been unfounded.EMC chief executive Joe Tucci said in an interview that the rumours may have been sparked as investors got wind of the close talks between the two companies that led to the partnership over the past few years.

Cisco CEO John Chambers said in the same interview, that “Our tendencies are to partner together. I think we do that remarkably well.” When specifically asked if he was interested in buying EMC, as investors have long speculated might be the case, Chambers said: “You buy big-tosmall. You partner big-to-big.”

The Wall Street Journal reported that the partnership will sell and provide maintenance and service support for a product called “V-Block,” combining EMC’s storage equipment, Cisco’s virtualized servers and networking gear and VMWare’s virtualization technology.

The partnership, the paper said, will have two components. It will be responsible for marketing and providing maintenance and support for V-Block. But the actual cloud infrastructure will be constructed by a coalition of the three companies.

The publication noted that technology giants had breached new markets, “turning once stalwart allies into competitors”.

The move by Cisco, EMC and VMWare, it said, comes amid a wave of consolidation among companies that provide hardware, software and services to corporate data centres.“Following the actions of IBM and HP to create one-stop IT shops, Dell announced in September it will purchase IT services firm Perot Systems. Software giant Oracle Corp, meanwhile, is awaiting European antitrust approval for its acquisition of Sun Microsystems,” The Journal said.

Agencies

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Is Peanuts what you will be paid for IT job?

One may boast of being employed in IT in the current scene, however they have to work twice as much for getting an interview and the annual salary is peanuts compared to earlier days. A worsening economic crisis, increased availability of skilled workers and lower demand for software services have brought down the entry-level salaries for IT professionals in the country by up to 20 percent, according to experts tracking the sector.

Every year, around 3,00,000 computer science and engineering graduates seek employment with hundreds of tech firms, including big names such as Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Infosys and Wipro. This year, more than half of them were left unemployed because tech firms were already finding it tough to manage resources sitting on the bench, according to Economic Times.

"The entry-level salaries are down by at least 10-16 percent. Last year, a number of companies gave away offer letters but did not recruit. On top of that, there is a new pool of qualified professionals being churned out this year - all this has created an oversupply in the entry-level IT job market where salaries typically sway between Rs. 3 lakh per annum and Rs. 5 lakh on the higher side," said GC Jayaprakash, Principal Consultant of Stanton Chase International.

Until two years ago, almost all computer and engineering graduates were absorbed by India's outsourcing industry, comprising top tech firms such as TCS, Infosys, Wipro and many others. However, as customers delayed and shelved outsourcing projects, these tech firms also postponed campus hirings. Many students had to approach potential employers directly, since companies did not visit their campuses for placements. "We formed groups and toured companies, and agreed to settle at lower salaries because it's better to be employed at lower salary than having no job at all," said Srilekha Varma, who recently accepted a job offer from a Chennai-based IT firm specializing in banking software.

In a normal year, computer science graduates were offered entry-level salaries of Rs. 3.5-5 lakh. However, companies are now hiring freshers at Rs 1.7-3.5 lakh. However, human resources heads at tech firms, including Wipro, India's third-largest software exporter, say professionals have become more realistic about what they want from their employers. "I don't think salaries have come down, but the environment has indeed helped us in containing salary hikes," Pratik Kumar, Head of Human Resources at Wipro said.

But few companies have not forgotten the offers made. TCS said it would do new campus hiring in January 2010 and will honor all 24,000 offers made for financial year (FY09). "Around 1,800 graduates have joined us in second quarter (Q2) and another 8,000 will join in Q3, rest of the graduates will join based on the demand," a TCS spokeswoman said. Infosys said for FY10, it has made 20,000 campus offers and expects an 80 percent conversion rate i.e. 16,000 of these offers to join the company. "We are honoring all our hiring commitments," an Infosys spokeswoman said.

Agencies

TCS signs multi-million contract with Cardiff City Council

Tata Consultancy Services' contract with Cardiff City Council for technology services is a multi-million dollar deal that will run over 15 years, a company source said on Tuesday.

Under the deal signed last week, Tata Consultancy will provide a host of IT services for faster and efficient delivery of services in Cardiff.

Tata Consultancy and its rivals such as Infosys Technologies and Wipro are aggressively vying for deals in markets such as Europe and Asia Pacific to cut their dependence on the US, which brings in more than half the sector's revenue.

Tata Consultancy, a part of the diversified Tata Group that spans commodities autos and services businesses, last month beat forecasts with a 29 per cent rise in quarterly net profit helped by demand from recession-hit financial customers.

Agencies

Monday, November 2, 2009

Green battery gives non-stop energy for years

Scientists at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have developed a new, environmentally friendly silicon-air battery capable of supplying non-stop power for thousands of hours without needing to be replaced.

Created from oxygen and silicon, such batteries would be lightweight, have an unlimited shelf life, and have a high tolerance for both humid and extremely dry conditions.

Potential uses include medical applications (example, powering diabetic pumps), sensors and microelectronics structured from silicon. “Silicon-air batteries will be used like the ones already in use today,” said lead researcher Yair Ein-Eli. “But by using silicon – a safe, non-toxic, stable and more common material – we can create batteries with infinite shelf life and high energy capacity,” he added.

Silicon-air batteries would be able to provide savings in cost, weight as they lack the built-in cathode used in conventional batteries.

Agencies

80,000 engineers to be absorbed in IT sector by 2010

Software industry body, Nasscom expects at least 70,000-80,000 engineering graduates who passed out in June 2009 and were offered jobs in their 5th and 6th semesters by TCS, Infosys and Accenture, among others, to get absorbed by March 2010. Not too long ago, there were apprehensions that the appointments of these tech grads could get deferred till 2011 in the aftermath of the global slowdown. However, the perception appears to have changed.

Speaking to the media, Nasscom Vice-President Sangeeta Gupta said, "There's some amount of pick-up in IT spending and clients have become active in the decision-making process. This augurs well for the IT industry and is likely to result in hiring by IT companies. Companies like TCS, Infosys and Accenture, among others, are expected to start honouring the offers they made. As a result, at least 70k-80k engineering graduates, who were issued offer letters, are expected to get absorbed by March 2010."

For instance, the country's biggest software firm Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) had made some 24,000 offers in 2008-09, according to its Q2 analyst call. The company had indicated that it would honour these offers this fiscal. In Q3, TCS is expected to absorb about 8,000-odd, and the balance, in the following quarter. Till Q2, the company had absorbed some 1,800 people.

Similarly, Infosys, in its Q2 earnings call, indicated that it would add 20,000 people instead of 18,000 indicated earlier. The additional 2,000 would be partly in BPO while the rest would make up laterals at Infosys Technologies.

Incidentally, Nasscom has urged member companies to recruit those who've completed their eighth semester to ensure that hiring is closer to the need of companies. For this fiscal, Nasscom has projected a mere 4-7 percent export growth. It is likely, that with IT sector showing signs of recovery, Nasscom will review the export target. "We can review the export target by end- December," she added.

McKinsey in its report titled 'Perspectives in the IT industry by 2020', has noted that with the current pace of reforms and expected constraints in talent and infrastructure supply, the exports component of the Indian IT industry is slated to reach $175 billion in revenues by 2020. The domestic component will contribute $50 billion in revenues by 2020, which is larger than the total export revenues for India now.

Agencies

Sunday, November 1, 2009

e-book revolution hits Indian market

In a unique revolution in the publishing world, two Indian books have made their debut in the virtual world. Converted into the e-book format, both these books can now be downloaded on the e-book reader, Kindle.

Published by Indian publishing house Wisdom Tree, "Mantras: The Sacred Chants" by Swami Veda Bharati and "Yogini: Unfolding the Goddess Within" by Shambhavi Chopra can now be downloaded within minutes on the e-book reader.

The e-book versions, which have been uploaded on online retailer Amazon's website, can only be downloaded on Kindle.

Talking about the response to the e-books since last week, Shobit Arya, publisher at Wisdom Tree, said: "The results in the first week itself are absolutely amazing. We sold the first Kindle version of Mantras within hours of it being available and sold eight copies within the first three days itself."

Wisdom Tree has sent 15 of its books to be e-formatted on Kindle of which two have been done successfully while the rest are still in the pipeline, Arya added.

The only hitch in this is that Kindle is still not very popular in India unlike in the US. But according to Arya, it's just a matter of time before the rage catches up here and these e-book reader gadgets are readily available here.

"Online retailer Amazon whose initiative Kindle is, started shipping these e-book readers to almost a hundred countries, including India, recently. According to statistics shared by the company, they sell 48 Kindle copies for every 100 physical copies of books that they offer in both formats," Arya said.

"Five months ago they were selling 35 Kindle copies per 100 physical versions. Amazon thinks that ultimately they will sell more books in Kindle editions than they do in physical editions because it's easier and faster to acquire, don't need physical space to store like normal books and more eco-friendly," he added.

Taking the e-book step further, Wisdom Tree has also tied up with US book retail chain, Barnes and Noble, which has announced its own e-book reader called Nook. Therefore, books published by Wisdom Tree will soon be available through Nook as well.

"We all agree that content is the king but distribution of content is the real king-maker. In book trade especially the biggest challenge across the globe has been distribution. Technology has the potential to be a great leveller," Arya said.

"The world seems to be getting condensed in our palms - from communication to banking, from music to stock-broking and now reading - the new gadgets are like genies. The sooner we accept it and adapt ourselves to the changing scenario, the better it is," he added.

Agencies

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