SILICON VILLAGE

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Ten Innovative Industrial Internet of Things Unveiled at 12th Edition of NIDays in India


NI the provider of systems that enable engineers and scientists to solve the world’s greatest engineering challenges, today successfully hosted its 12th edition of NIDays in Bangalore. The event was attended by over 500 engineers, academicians and researchers who witnessed the launch of a wide range of products that are designed to revolutionize the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

At the seminar, NI India launched the latest version of its flagship product – LabVIEW, with enhancement in speed and memory usage. NIDays offered 18 technical sessions and tutorials with over 30 products and application demonstrations. It allowed visitors to learn about the latest hardware platforms and applications in the industry.  Speakers and exhibitors from various industries including automotive, telecom, semiconductor, smart machines, aerospace and defense, etc. joined the event to discuss and discover how to accelerate productivity for software-defined systems in test, measurement, and control.

Robert Morton, Vice President, EMEIA, National Instruments said, “We are excited about using the Internet of Things in a way that benefits the society at large through connected devices and by incorporating the generated data into meaningful usages. We are investing heavily into technology that makes this process easier for scientists and engineers to not only rapidly prototype this but also deploy systems.”

 The conference also witnessed the launch of wide range of products which includes:
* Highest Bandwidth CompactDAQ chassis to date, the new 14-slot USB 3.0 chassis, can stream measurement data at over 225 MB/s
* The world’s first PXI chassis with PCI Express 3.0 technology can stream with system bandwidth of up to 24 GB/s each direction
* The world’s first Intel Xeon-based 8-core PXI Express Embedded Controller can turn 24 GB/s of data into valuable insight
* The newest Single Board RIO controllers based on dual core ARM processor and ARTIX-7 FPGA technology, which runs the new security enhanced distribution of NI Linux Real-time
* NI Wireless Test System (WTS), which dramatically lowers the cost of high-volume wireless manufacturing test for the increasing number of things with a wireless connection, a high-performance

Jayaram Pillai, Managing Director - IndRAA at National Instruments said, “We are extremely excited and motivated to witness the breadth and sophistication of applications that 2015 NIYantra participants have created. Aiding in improving the education system and providing hands on experience to students and engineers is a reward for the years of our efforts. NIYantra is committed to support and help these budding individuals with access to our technologies to create applications that can solve problems that humanity face as a whole.

ENGINEERING IMPACT AWARDS
NI’s annual technical application contest – Engineering Impact Awards, enables NI customers to showcase innovative projects based on NI software and hardware. The contest this year had a total of 67 teams and the winners will get a chance to participate in the Global Engineering Impact Awards held in Austin annually during NIWeek. 

This year’s winners were ARAV Technologies for their vision based pre-dispatch inspection from the SME category, Mahindra & Mahindra for their automated infotainment systems testing solution from the Systems category, SRM University for their full duplex cognitive radio implementation using NI USRP RIO 2943 from the Academics category and Digilogic Systems for their portable DRFM based radar echo simulation system from the Alliance Partner Category.

 NIYANTRA AWARDS
In order to foster the spirit of innovation in engineering students and expose them to the essence of experiential education through contest, NI hosted its annual Graphical System Design contest NIYantra. This contest helps undergraduate engineers to design their project ideas and convert them into working models using NI hardware and software over a period of six months. 

NIYantra 2015 witnessed abstract submissions from 204 teams spread across engineering colleges in India. The winners were from Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute, Mumbai for their project development of a scavenger bot which is an autonomous street cleaner and Ajay Kumar Garg Engineering College, NCR for the development of a smart bin which is aimed at being a solution to Swachh Bharat. The runners up were from Kumaraguru College of Technology, Coimbatore for the development of a tennis tutor.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Emerging Markets Drive Smartphone Sales to 15.5 Percent Growth in Q3 of 2015



Continued demand for affordable smartphones in emerging markets drove worldwide sales of smartphones in the third quarter of 2015, according to Gartner, Inc. Global sales of smartphones to end users totaled 353 million units, a 15.5 percent growth over the same period in 2014.

"The availability of affordable smartphones in emerging markets saw consumers upgrade their 'feature phones' to smartphones more quickly because of the small price gap," said Anshul Gupta, research director at Gartner. "Smartphone sales in emerging markets rose to 259.7 million in the third quarter of 2015 — an 18.4 percent growth over the third quarter of 2014 — while sales in mature markets saw growth of just 8.2 percent over the same period."

In the third quarter of 2015, Samsung refreshed its flagship devices just four months after its previous refresh to address slowing demand for its high-end devices, and further compete with Apple's large-screen iPhones. Apple continued its dominance in the premium segment of the smartphone market with its iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models for most of the third quarter of 2015. The global launch of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus during the last week of September 2015, along with the simultaneous launch in China, further added to its overall sales during the quarter. Huawei continued its growth momentum, driven by smartphone sales in both its home market and global markets, particularly Europe, where sales were driven by its ever-growing brand visibility.

In the smartphone operating system (OS) market, Apple’s iOS continued to see strong performance and grew 21 per cent, above market average. Android gained 1.4 percentage points in share year over year thanks to strong smartphone sales from Samsung and Huawei globally. Windows smartphone market share dropped from 3 percent to 1.7 percent year over year. “Despite the announcement of Windows 10, we expect Windows smartphone market share will continue to be a small portion of the overall smartphone OS market as consumers remain attracted by competing ecosystems,” said Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner. “Microsoft smartphones will mainly focus on driving value for enterprise users.” 

Worldwide mobile phone sales to end users totaled nearly 478 million units during the third quarter of 2015, an increase of 3.7 percent from the same period in 2014. Continued growth in emerging markets helped bolster sales of local brands. As a result, Micromax Informatics cemented its place among the top 10 global mobile phone vendors worldwide, while Chinese brands such as ZTE, Huawei, Xiaomi, TCL Communication Technology, Oppo and BBK became increasingly aggressive in the emerging markets.

Opportunity Hack 2015 Calls on Techies to Help Solve NPO Challenges




PayPal, the global leader in online payments has announced the launch of ‘Opportunity Hack’, a hackathon that brings together technologists in support of non-profits to create impactful solutions for their technology problems. Registration is now open for both technologists and non-profit organizations in Chennai and Bangalore who wish to participate in each city’s hackathon.

The 36-hour open-format event will be held at PayPal’s Technology Centers in Chennai and Bangalore from November 28th- 29th, 2015. Teams of 6-10 – a combination of technologists from PayPal and industry participants – will be assigned a non-profit organization to solve a challenge for. Registrations are currently open to 150 external developers and 20 non-profits in each city.

The winning team, which develops the most innovative and impactful idea at each hackathon will be awarded prizes worth Rs. 1,20,000. The winning non-profit will also receive vouchers for an additional Rs. 20,000 to support their community initiatives.

“PayPal is working to transform money for people through technology, and is committed to working with the broader tech ecosystem to ensure meaningful social impact for the communities around us.” said, Anupam Pahuja, General Manager, Technology, PayPal Asia Pacific.

“Opportunity Hack brings our employees and other technologists in India together, and challenges them to use their skills to help local non-profits solve their most pressing tech problems. We look forward to innovative solutions emerging from the hackathons that will create lasting social good for the community.”

Interested technologists above the age of 18 years can register for Opportunity Hack in Chennai at http://bit.ly/ohackchennai or Bangalore at http://bit.ly/ohackbangalore,

Ahead of the hackathon, PayPal is also organizing a 1-day conference in Chennai, for interested non-profits to share ideas, challenges and solutions for engaging today’s generation to support development needs. Renowned community leader and advocate for social change, Dr. Kiran Bedi will be giving a keynote address at this closed-door session. Non-profits may register for the conference by following the steps provided at http://bit.ly/oconfchennai

$2.5 Million Raised by Goodbox in Series A from Nexus Venture Partners



Goodbox, a conversational-commerce mobile app has raised $2.5mn from Nexus Venture Partners. Goodbox allows businesses to create a commerce-ready store within minutes that provides seamless discovery, ordering and payment. Consumers can buy from their trusted stores across multiple categories without having to download multiple apps. The company had earlier raised seed funding from the Manipal Group, Aprameya Radhakrishna (co-founder TaxiForSure) and Charan Padmaraju (co founder redBus).The current funds will be used for merchant acquisition and building the team.

Goodbox allows businesses to create a store on the Goodbox app that resembles the physical environment where the merchant can chat with their customers, upload their product/services catalog for search and discovery, take orders, accept payments and get logistics support. Most customers and merchants already use generic messaging apps to place an order over a message. Goodbox significantly improves the customer experience by integrating e-commerce capabilities with messaging and with time saving features for quick or repeat orders. Customers can buy from and pay their trusted businesses through one window and reduce app fatigue of having to download multiple apps for multiple things.

Goodbox is operational in Bangalore with over 1200 merchants already signed up, including supermarkets, restaurants, laundry chains, rental providers, movers & packers, canteens, salons and thali services. The company’s mission is to get every business to create their store on the app and make that their primary way to interact with consumers.

Sandeep Singhal, Co-founder & MD, Nexus Venture Partners says, “Goodbox is empowering businesses by getting them online and helping them engage with their customers. We are excited about partnering with a team that has great product thinking and proven operational strengths.”

Abey Zachariah, Co-founder & CEO, Goodbox said, “At Goodbox we are committed to enabling businesses with technology by giving them a ready store on our app in a matter of minutes. We wanted to partner with someone who believes in our vision and is willing to support us in accomplishing the gargantuan mission we’ve set for ourselves. We found such synergy of thought with Nexus Venture Partners. The funds will be earmarked for our expansion in the coming months.”

Goodbox has been co-founded by Abey Zachariah (ex-redBuscoreteam), Anand Kelaginamani (IIM-B), Charan Raj (ex-Accenture), Mahesh Herle (ex-National Instruments), Mayank Bidawatka (ex-redBuscoreteam n co-founder The Media Ant), Mohit Maheshwari (IIM-B) and Nithin Chandra (NIT-K n IIM-B).

Mobile Shop for Fashion Brand, Apparels, Footwear from Abof



abof.com (all about fashion), an online one-stop fashion brand for apparels, footwear and accessories targeted at millennials has announced the launch of its mobile shopping apps –available to download from Google Play store.

Built for fashion conscious millennials who have a unique take on their personal style, the simple yet smooth interface ensures hassle free navigation for its users. The app also ensures snappy and youthful presentation that include exciting dose of fashion content, style tips, trends and fashion news, which combines the visually stunning picture-led approach of Instagram with short and sweet Twitter-like shoppable stories.

Being the second largest globally, India’s smart phone user base is expected to grow to more than 650 million in the next four years. This intuitive and easy to navigate app will offer customers a round-the-clock access their favorite glam-led webstore with exciting dose of fashion content, style tips, trends and fashion news.

L&T Technology & Cisco Launch Global IoT Centre at Manyanta Park



Dinesh Malkani, President, Cisco India & SAARC and Amit Phadnis, President Engineering and India Site, Cisco along with S.N. Subrahmanyan, Deputy MD, LnT group of companies and Keshab Panda, Chief Executive, LnT Technology Services at the inauguration of the Cisco and LnT Technology Services Global Internet of Things (IoT) Solutions Centre in the LnT Technology Services campus at Manyata Tech Park, Bangalore.

The facility will demonstrate IoT solutions for different industry verticals and give customers an opportunity to see the value addition that IoT offers. The setup employs Cisco's IoT infrastructure products like Enterprise and Industrial routers, switches and UCS servers and LnT Technology Services’ technology capabilities.

Global Entrepreneurship Week 2015 for Indian 10K Startups



To further strengthen the start-up ecosystem across the country, NASSCOM 10K Start-up program has started off with the opening ceremony of Global Entrepreneurship Week. The aim of the event is to draw the lens of the world towards Indian entrepreneurs and the emerging vibrant ecosystem. It will support the development of local entrepreneurs and will ensure they have access to the resources necessary to help them launch startups. The event witnessed a keynote by Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Honorable Minister of Skill and Entrepreneurship and the welcome note by R Chandrashekhar, President, NASSCOM. During the course of the event, NASSCOM also presented findings of the NASSCOM 10,000 startups report.

Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) is the world’s largest celebration of technology innovators and startups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and impact human lives. There are over 160 countries celebrating the spirit of Entrepreneurship throughout the week starting Nov 16 each year. The week is more than just an awareness campaign - it is a platform for connection and collaboration; engaging with stakeholders along the entrepreneurship spectrum for strengthening ecosystems globally.

A slew of events will take place from the 16th to the 22nd of November 2015. This will include hackathons, startup meets, award distributions, informative training sessions, connect programs, and policy discussions. The opening ceremony highlighted the role that early-stage investors play in developing robust entrepreneurial ecosystems that enhance the connections between business angels, venture capitalists and individual investors with entrepreneurs and policymakers.

On this occasion, R Chandrashekhar, President, NASSCOM said, “Global Entrepreneurship Week is one such global platform for everyone who is a part of the entrepreneurship ecosystem, which will help accelerate growth of start-ups across verticals. NASSCOM has always been a promoter of new ideas and this event provides the perfect platform, be it from large-scale competitions and events to connecting participants to potential collaborators, mentors and even investors. We believe that platform like this is the sign of what will motivate entrepreneurs to give their dreams a chance”.

Rajat Tandon, Vice President, NASSCOM 10 K start-up program, said “The boot camps will provide perfect opportunities for youngsters to understand the ecosystem even more which will eventually help them sustain their business better. This will be a strong step forward to nurture the country’s entrepreneurship ecosystem, which will continue to grow stronger with support of partner organizations in coming years”.

Global Entrepreneurship Week inspires people everywhere through local, national and global activities designed to help them explore their potential as self-starters and innovators. The opening ceremony included company executives, successful entrepreneurs, government officials, and representatives of both international and local organizations. The rest of the week will be packed with competition finals and workshops for startups, as well as activities dedicated to women entrepreneurs. The closing ceremony of the week will take place on 22nd November, 2015.

UK Study Finds Banks have Additional $380 Billion Market Opportunity in Financial Inclusion



Banks can address an additional US$380 billion market in annual revenues by targeting micro-enterprises and bringing unbanked and underbanked adults into the formal financial system, according to a new report produced jointly by Accenture through Accenture Development Partnerships, and CARE International UK, a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty.

The report “Within Reach” outlines how to make financial inclusion a viable business strategy. It notes that closing the small-business credit gap at average lending spreads and adding fee-based services could generate about $270 billion in additional revenue for banks, while including unbanked adults into the formal financial system could generate another $110 billion, according to Accenture research*.

Until now, supporting financial inclusion has not been viewed as a viable business plan for banks. Seventy-seven percent of the 30 banks surveyed for the report were focused on short-term profit-driven commercial opportunities in a piecemeal manner, or were driven by philanthropic ambitions, the corporate social responsibility agenda or regulatory pressures. Only 23 percent of banks surveyed had financial inclusion as part of a coherent corporate strategy leading to long-term, sustainable investment plans to develop inclusive business models.

“The traditional view has been that banking the unbanked and underbanked tended to be low-end, unprofitable and philanthropic,” said Simon Whitehouse, a senior managing director in Accenture’s Financial Services Operating Group. “But new business models, enabled by digital technologies, are helping banks write a new rulebook for what is possible.”

For example, Janalakshmi Financial Services increased its delivery of microloans to India’s unbanked consumers with help from Accenture in customer onboarding and process operations, doubling the number of loans it disbursed in 17 months. Other banks are leveraging mobile phones in new ways to reach customers; the Zambia National Commercial Bank now serves more than 200,000 customers through a mobile banking service that targeted the unbanked market. And new entrants into financial services are using analytics to improve loan assessments. China’s Alibaba, for example, uses customers’ commercial transactions on its Taobao ecommerce platform to establish credit records and conduct small- and medium-sized enterprise lending.

To make financial inclusion viable, the report advises banks could:

*Simplify existing products and use digital-enabling solutions. NMB Tanzania created an entry-level savings account, targeting Tanzania’s unbanked population through an agent banking model. Agents are equipped with smartphones and point-of-service devices that enable fast account openings (in under 10 minutes) and instant, branch-free transactions.

*Be willing to partner with alternative providers. Fidelity Bank, Visa, telecoms company MTN and CARE International work together with support from FSD Africa to enable community savings groups in Ghana to open and operate a Fidelity Bank Smart account without visiting a bank branch. Opening accounts is entirely digital and can happen in less than five minutes. Group members can access their account through an MTN mobile money wallet.

*Also join forces with the development sectorNGOs can provide access to savings groups; support development of suitable responsible products and services; and provide access to the mobile wallets and agent networks that can help overcome issues of remoteness. In Uganda, Barclays partnered with the Grameen Foundation and Airtel to develop a mobile product, called eKeys, which links a savings group’s mobile money wallet to a Barclays savings account. By visiting any of Airtel’s nearly 30,000 mobile money agents, the savings groups are able to make a deposit or withdraw funds from their bank account anytime, anywhere.

*Use digital to drive efficiencies.  Commercial Bank of Africa teamed with Safaricom to launch its M-Shwari mobile banking service. The M-Shwari account-opening process is initiated remotely by the customer, then fulfilled electronically using automated processes to verify know-your-customer information in a few seconds. Tapping into Safaricom’s mobile phone registration data eliminates the need for CBA to conduct additional checks. Customer transactions are 100 percent straight-through, allowing the platform to be supported with only seven back-office and IT staff.

Report co-author Senior Policy Advisor at CARE International UK, Gerry Boyle said: “It may not seem like an obvious poverty fighting tool but providing access to basic formal bank accounts has been proven to have a transformative effect for those living in poverty, especially women. Decades of working in this area has proven that even the poorest, those living on less than $2 can save and make for viable customers.”

“It is clear that many banks recognize the opportunity of greater financial inclusion, but are struggling to make progress,” Louise James of Accenture Development Partnerships added. “This is where cross sector collaboration can play a critical role – by bringing together a range of relevant parties who can help financial institutions build their understanding of the customer needs. These partnerships, while helping banks realize commercial benefits, also ensure that new customers are integrated in a way that underpins wider social development and long term involvement in local commerce.”  

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