Friday, April 15, 2016

Tucson Electric Power Seeks to Elevate Engineering Efficiency by Augmenting Enterprise GIS Systems


Tucson Electric Power (TEP), the largest corporation headquartered in southern Arizona, are enhancing their engineering design capability by integrating best-in-breed network design software with their existing enterprise GIS. TEP is completing deployment of Bentley OpenUtilities to complement their Smallworld GIS with on-the-fly cost estimation and engineering workflow management.

TEP expects to save time with the ability to refine designs for cost savings more rapidly. Automatic compatible unit assignment and comprehensive unit data support in Bentley OpenUtilities will enable TEP to produce detailed labor and material cost breakdowns faster without time-consuming cycles between their GIS and enterprise work management system (WMS). This provides the ability to explore options quickly, find the least-cost design, and to submit designs within budget the first time.

TEP also expects to reduce project delays with the ability to better manage work requests from directly inside their GIS design environment. The configurable design workflow engine in Bentley OpenUtilities will work in concert with TEP’s WMS, enabling managers to assign, manage, and approve work orders. This will allow TEP to avoid open-loop processes with status notifications, approval requests, and e-mail integration as well as track project status and progress using dashboards and reports.

Jeff McConnell, GIS supervisor, Tucson Electric Power, stated, “The ability to integrate Bentley OpenUtilities with our existing enterprise GIS made it possible to upgrade key components of our engineering design process. We found the cost estimation and design workflow management capabilities in Bentley OpenUtilities designer to be best suited for our demanding environment and anticipate these capabilities will advance our design efficiency.” 

Nasscom Opposes State Government Entry Level Tax on E-commerce Transactions


National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) has expressed its discontentment on a bill by Government of Gujarat to levy entry tax on consumers for interstate ecommerce transactions. NASSCOM believes that such a move will pose significant commercial challenges for e-commerce and logistics companies and to retailers from outside of Gujarat, selling goods to customers in the state. A similar levy is being enforced in Assam, Odisha, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan and Mizoram and is proposed to be levied in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

This tax, payable by the consumers, will be collected and deposited by entities that bring specified goods to the state from any other part of the country, for consumption and sale. This levy of entry tax poses significant challenges both commercially and operationally for the ecommerce companies, logistics companies and the outside state sellers selling goods to customers in the state. Sharing his thoughts on the issue, R. Chandrashekhar, President, NASSCOM said, “The e-commerce sector aspires to unify the country digitally into a single entity. Providing un-restricted cross border access to sellers as well as buyers is the prerogative of the government and is an important driver towards creating an ease of doing business. Such tax structures will lead to additional burden on SME traders, enhanced litigation, and also reduce business efficiencies. It will also restrict choice of the customer.”

The entry tax levy is flawed for the following reasons
1.  This is akin to introducing trade barriers to free interstate trade thereby restricting market access within the country.

2. The growth of manufacturing in India cannot be contemplated without the growth in the SMEs across the country.  The ecommerce sector has offered seamless access to the SMEs across the country to sell goods to customers notwithstanding their location. Discouraging inter-state sales by imposition of the proposed special tax would be akin to going backwards and discouraging SMEs to manufacture.

3. The proposed levy will have a short life in light of the impending GST reform.  For collecting and depositing the tax, the deemed tax payer would be required to significantly re-vamp the IT systems to track the tax charged on inter-state sale of goods to Gujarat and determine the differential tax which has to be paid in the form of entry tax.. Disputes on classification are also inevitable and considering huge number of Sellers operating through marketplaces. The proposal will therefore be burdening the Service industry with sale of goods related compliances, administrative costs and unwarranted disputes for a short term making it completely infeasible. Cost of complying with this entry tax for thousands of sellers outside the state will be much higher than the expected outcome.

Such moves will fragment the India market, severely jeopardizing business case for many entrepreneurs both manufacturers and service providers, and is not in the interest of consumers. The levy therefore is not aligned with the reform and growth initiatives like Digital India , Make in India and Start-up India – Standup India.” 

ITC’s Sustainability Solution for Fashion Retail Organizations to Reduce Adverse Impact on the Environment


ITC Infotech, a specialized global full service technology solutions provider, today announced the launch of “Sustainability solution” for the fashion retail industry. This innovative solution will address the fashion retail industry’s increasing demand for sustainable offerings while reducing their adverse impact on the environment.

Developed by ITC Infotech’s expert Product lifecycle management (PLM) team, the product is built on the PLM platform and designed to make the entire process of sustainability scoring seamless – right from product design to commercialization. It will enable fashion retail organizations standardize sustainability measurements for brands, products and facilities, and provide visibility into product designs and developmental processes with corresponding measurable sustainability scores.

Commenting on the need for this solution, Sushma Rajagopalan, CEO and MD, ITC Infotech, said, “By measuring sustainability performance, fashion retailers can address inefficiencies, resolve damaging practices, and prove to investors and customers that they are a green business. Through this solution, we will enable our partners to measure their environmental impact and meet important sustainability challenges through strategic responses that result in business optimization.”

While talking about the value preposition, V. Sreenivasan, President - Lines of Business, ITC Infotech, said, “Our solution can help fashion retailers make greener decisions at every stage of product development. By choosing more sustainable material, processes and working with the right suppliers to create environment friendly products, we are positive that the solution will immensely benefit our clients.”

Being a strategic partner to the Fortune 500 companies, ITC Infotech realizes its customers need an effective tool to measure their environmental impact; and sustainable solutions are increasingly becoming an important business strategy for the retail industry. Built over a period of four months, the solution will provide real time comparison of target vs actual sustainability score, identify product sustainability levels through colour codes, and filter the products based on compliance to targets.

Micromax Invest Rs 100 Crore for New Manufacturing Plant in Telangana for Mobile Handsets, LED TVs, LED Lights


Taking ahead Government of India’s ‘Make in India’ campaign, Micromax, India’s leading handset manufacturer, inaugurated its newest manufacturing facility in Telangana. The plant was inaugurated by  K T Rama Rao, Hon’ble Minister for IT and P Mahendra Reddy, Minister for Transport in the presence of other senior State dignitaries. The Telangana manufacturing facility has been made operational from scratch in flat six months and will have the capacity to manufacture one million Mobile Phone devices per month. The facility currently employs 700 people and will increase the number to 1000 employees in the next two months, boosting employment opportunities in the State.

K T Rama Rao, Minister for IT, Panchayat Raj and Municipal Administration and Urban Development, Telangana said, “Telangana Government strongly believes in the vision of ‘Make in India’ and has always encouraged corporates to establish their factories and R&D centres in the state. We are very happy that Micromax who has been a front runner in demonstrating technological prowess by bringing future disruptions at affordable price points and has chosen Telangana as the destination for setting up its manufacturing facility. We believe this partnership will provide new opportunities to youth of the state and develop an electronics manufacturing ecosystem of global standards in Telangana.”

The minister added that the government has always encouraged corporates to establish their units in the state. The government has enacted TS ISPASS act which has been appreciated by the industry. A total of 1691 units have been sanctioned with an investment of Rs 20,347 crores creating 36691 jobs. Of these about 840 units have already commissioned production. The fact that more than 50% of the approvals have already commissioned production in less than a year speaks about the ease of doing business.

Elaborating the salient features of the ease of doing business under the TS ISPASS, the minister said that all the line department portals have been integrated with TSSIPASS under a single portal. The registration, renewal and inspection module is being done online. Least possible turnaround time for consent of establishment and consent for operation anywhere in the country. Single helpline number (7306600600) has been introduced. Reduction in number of mandatory documents by combining common features across departments has been introduced in the act, the minister added.

Referring to the labour and factories reforms, the minister said inspection schedules have been computerized and the inspection report to be uploaded by the inspecting officer within 48 hours. Joint inspections will be carried under 10 acts which is a major relief to industries. Licenses for factories can be renewed in one go with a validity up to 10 years which is a major relief to units. Voluntary self certification scheme has been introduced in the act, the minister added.

The minister also spoke about the reforms relating to fire, registration, commercial tax and pollution control board departments which include stamp duty payment for property registrations have been made online and through eSTAMP. A single Tax ID for filing of returns, of all the taxes, registrations can be done online and returns can be filed online through e-payment. Exemptions to green industries from any inspections. Renewal perios increased from 1 year to 5 years through auto renewal mode. Third party certification introduced for medium risk industries and self certification for low risk industries.

The minister thanked Micromax who has been a front runner in demonstrating technological prowess and has chosen Telangana as the destination for setting up its manufacturing facility. He said this partnership will provide new opportunities to the youth of the state and develeop and electronics manufacturing ecosystem of global standards in Telangana.

P Mahendra Reddy, Minister of Transport, Telangana mentioned that, “In a very short span of time since its formation, Telangana has emerged as one of the fastest growing states with immense focus by the Government on public-private partnership for the growth and prosperity of the state. With inception of Micromax plant, the company will focus on integrating product design capabilities with efficient manufacturing processes which will help in economic development of the state.” Telangana has the advantage of having good connectivity with rest of the country and major global hubs. Government of Telangana is also focused to provide trained manpower to various sectors including electronic sector through the newly constituted Telangana Academy for Skill and Knowledge (TASK). A large number of ITI, diploma and degree institutes are already functional in the state which provide requisite manpower to the sector.

Commenting on inauguration, Rajesh Agarwal, Co-Founder, Micromax said, “By 2017, we aim to be India’s first and largest indigenous phone manufacturer. We have been the front runners for the 'Make in India' initiative, by assembling the products locally and quickly ramping up and building capacity of complete manufacturing in close partnership with the Government. We are grateful for the support of government of Telangana for providing a slew of incentives, provisioning of all approvals and compliances in a time bound manner and providing necessary infrastructure and conducive ecosystem for conduct of business. It is primarily due to the industry friendly approach and forward thinking policies of Government of Telangana, that we could set up the plant here in a record time of six months.
The latest plant at Hyderabad promises not just state-of-the-art manufacturing unit of high-tech products but will also bring in the much needed employment and economic growth to the region creating thousands of jobs for the local citizens. The company has already invested over 100 crores in the project in the first phase.
The ESDM sector is receiving highest attention by Government of India and Government of Telangana is also supporting this effort by manufacturing this import substitution product thereby reducing outflow of forex from the Country. 

IPL Franchise ‘Gujarat Lions’ Ropes in Astral Poly Technik as Associate Sponsor


Astral Poly Technik Ltd. has taken another significant step by partnering with IPL 2016’s newest entrant, the ‘Gujarat Lions’, as their Associate sponsor. The new giants of this year’s IPL will be a team to reckon with and will feature swashbuckling Indian and foreign players from the world of cricket.

Astral is gearing up as it extends its support to the Gujarat Lions as they tread a journey to claim victory in their debut run this IPL season. With this association, the company looks to boost its image and reach out to the cricket lovers of Gujarat. Astral has been the king of the plumbing industry with its continuous novelty and consumer-oriented services. Being one of the premiere Indian companies in the plumbing industry, it has become a game changer by introducing CPVC and lead-free UPVC pipe fittings. Conferred with the title of India’s most trusted brand in the pipe category this year, the company deems this a remarkable feat.

On partnering with Gujarat Lions for the 9th edition of the Vivo Indian Premier League (IPL), Kairav Engineer, Sr. Business Development Manager, Astral Poly Technik Ltd. says, "We are elated to be the Associate sponsors for the Gujarat Lions franchise at this year’s IPL. The Gujarat Lions comprehend the significance of cricket in India and they believe, as we do, the commitment and support that the sport requires. We are ready for a great head-start as the team debuts and hope that it is a great season for them.”

“We are happy to have Astral Poly Technik as our associate sponsor. The support of a Gujarati brand such as Astral makes our association with the state and the fans stronger. We are thrilled about the partnership and are sure that it will help both brands expand our reach across the country”, said Keshav Bansal, Owner, Gujarat Lions and Director, Intex Technologies.

Gujarat Lions will feature world-renowned players like Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, and Brendon McCullum, among others and will be led by our very own Suresh Raina.

The 9th edition of the Vivo Indian Premier League begins on 9th April 2016 in Mumbai. Gujarat Lions will play their first match against Kings XI Punjab at PCA Cricket Stadium, Mohali on 11th April 2016. 

PM Modi’s E-Mandi Drives Farmers to Sell Produce Online, Bypass Touts


PM Modi launched an electronic mandi to help farmers sell their produce online and do away with the problems many farmers face in agricultural markets. 21 mandies from 8 states connected with the platform.

Getting the right price for their hard work and produce has always been a challenge for farmers in the country. 

In order to deal with this long standing issue, PM Modi on Thursday, on the occasion of Babasaheb Ambedkar's birth anniversary, launched the National Agriculture Market for farmers. 

Connecting 21 Agriculture Mandis from 8 states on an e-platform, PM Modi termed it a very important step for the welfare of the farmers.

Through the e-trading portal farmers will be able to sell their produce at the right price.

That is to say, farmers will be able to sell their produce online. 

With the help of this initiative, 25 types of crops including wheat, rice, mustard and some vegetables could be sold online.

This will empower farmers to decide the price of their produce and traders across the country can buy them online.

In the first phase, this farmer-friendly initiative will kick-start in states like Haryana, UP, MP, Chattisgarh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh and Telangana.

PM Modi assured that soon mandis from across the country will be connected to e-platform. The government believes that with this initiative, farmers will be able to get the right price for their produce.

The cost and wastage involved in carrying the produce to the mandi will reduce.

The consumers will also get quality agriculture products at cheaper rates.

PM Modi also spoke with farmers from mandis of various states on the occasion. 

Modi government at the centre have made it clear from the beginning that welfare of farmers is their priority. 

They have taken a number of steps to improve the condition of the farmers. 

The online portal of National Agriculture Market is one giant step in the same direction.

Let us hope that the step not only changes the destiny of farmers in the country but also helps realize the govt's aim of doubling their salary.

Critical Need for Improved Trust to Advance Cloud Adoption: Intel Security Report


Intel Security today released Blue Skies Ahead? The State of Cloud Adoption, a global report advocating the need for technology vendors to help businesses, governments and consumers understand the implications surrounding the growing adoption of the cloud. With a majority (77 percent) of participants noting that their organizations trust cloud computing more than a year ago, just 13 percent completely trust public cloud providers to secure sensitive data. These findings highlight improved trust and security are critical to encouraging continued adoption of the cloud.

“This is a new era for cloud providers,” said Raj Samani, chief technology officer, Intel Security EMEA. “We are at the tipping point of investment and adoption, expanding rapidly as trust in cloud computing and cloud providers grows. As we enter a phase of wide-scale adoption of cloud computing to support critical applications and services, the question of trust within the cloud becomes imperative. This will become integral into realizing the benefits that cloud computing can truly offer.”

The cloud already has a strong impact in the daily lives of many people and businesses, with an ever-growing number of activities performed on digital devices leveraging cloud computing in some way. The increasing use of the cloud is underscored by our survey, which found that in the next 16 months, 80 percent of respondent IT budgets will be dedicated to cloud computing. 

Survey results also highlight: 
·         Cloud Investment TrendsA majority of organizations are planning on investing in infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) (81 percent), closely followed by security-as-a-service (79 percent), platform-as-a-service (PaaS) (69 percent), and lastly software-as-a-service (SaaS) (60 percent).
·         Security and Compliance: A majority of respondents (72 percent) list compliance as the primary concern across all types of cloud deployments, and only 13 percent of respondents noted knowing whether or not their organizations stored sensitive data in the cloud.
·         Security Risks and the Cloud: Perception and Reality: More than 1 in 5 respondents expressed their main concern around using SaaS is having a data security incident, and correspondingly, data breaches were a top concern for IaaS and private clouds. On the contrary, results found that less than a quarter (23 percent) of enterprises are aware of data breaches with their cloud service providers.
·         The C-Suite Blind Spot: High-profile data breaches with major financial and reputational consequences have made data security a top-of-mind concern for C-level executives, however many respondents feel there is still a need for more education and increased  awareness and understanding of risks associated with storing sensitive data in the cloud. Only one-third (34 percent) of respondents feel senior management in their organization fully understand the security implications of the cloud.
·         Shadow IT, Risk and Opportunity: Despite IT departments’ activity to cull shadow IT activity, 52 percent of the lines of business still expect IT to secure their unauthorized department-sourced cloud services. This lack of visibility into cloud usage due to shadow IT appears to be causing IT departments concern when it comes to security, with a majority (58 percent) of respondents surveyed in Orchestrating Security in the Cloud noting that shadow IT has a negative impact on their ability to keep cloud services secure.
·         Security Investment: Cloud security investment varies in priorities across the different types of cloud deployment, with the top security technologies leveraged by respondents being email protection (43 percent), Web protection (41 percent), anti-malware (38 percent), firewall (37 percent), encryption and key management (34 percent), and data loss prevention (31 percent).

The cloud is the future for businesses, governments and consumers,” said Jim Reavis, chief executive officer of the Cloud Security Alliance. “Security vendors and cloud providers must arm customers with education and tools, and cultivate strong relationships built on trust, in order to continue the adoption of cloud computing platforms. Only then can we completely benefit from the advantages of the cloud.”  

AMD Unveils Professional Workstation Graphics Card with Industry-Leading 32GB Memory


At the 2016 National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show, AMD announced the new AMD FirePro W9100 32GB -- the world’s first workstation graphics card with industry leading 32GB memory support for large asset workflows with creative applications planned for availability in Q2 2016. AMD also introduced the AMD FireRender plug-in for Autodesk 3ds Max®, which enables VR storytellers to bring ideas to life through enhanced 4K workflows, photorealistic rendering functionality, and powerful creation support.

“The imagination of the creator is limitless so much so that the professional creator consumes all available resources to produce new and never before seen designs and experiences. Some professional creative workflows demand very high bandwidth memory subsystems while others demand high memory size. AMD pioneered the era of High Bandwidth and Ultra Efficient Memory through the introduction of HBM technology in 2015 and will bring it to content creators with the introduction of Radeon Pro Duo graphics. With the new AMD FirePro W9100 32GB, AMD is unleashing the world’s largest memory size professional workstation graphics card,” said Raja Koduri, senior vice-president and chief architect, Radeon Technologies Group (RTG), AMD.  “Along with exceptional hardware, AMD is also delivering software tools to leverage our high bandwidth and large memory GPU configurations effectively.” 

At the 2016 NAB Show StudioXperience’s AMD FirePro GPU Zone (booth SL2425), attendees can experience powerful technologies showcased in industry-leading creation applications demonstrating how to efficiently balance content creation workloads with outstanding visual quality, application responsiveness and compute performance. The exhibit showcases solutions from Adobe, Apple, Autodesk, Avid, Blackmagic Design, Dell, HP and Rhino offering attendees a range of hands-on workflow experiences powered by AMD FirePro professional graphics, including:

* An AMD product showcase demonstrating support for a VR production workflow featuring the new AMD FirePro W9100 32GB graphics card for speed and ultra-high-definition visual performance, and the Radeon Pro Duo graphics card – which forms the world's most powerful platform for virtual reality (VR) when combined with the AMD LiquidVR SDK, capable of both creation and consumption of VR content. The AMD FirePro W9100 32GB graphics card is also designed for Computer-Aided Engineering (Siemens NX Nastran, SIMULIA Abaqus) and Visualization tools (AutoDesk VRED 2016).
* An Autodesk demonstration featuring the AMD FireRender plug-in designed for Autodesk 3ds Max 2016 powered by an HP workstation with dual AMD FirePro W9100 professional graphics.
* An AMD FirePro graphics demonstration offering increased color accuracy and support for display resolutions up to 4k, as well as GPU-acceleration to empower content creation with the Adobe video tools, including Adobe® Premiere Pro CC and Adobe After Effects CC.
* A free interactive photorealistic ray trace renderer for the forthcoming Rhino version 6 that works inside the Rhino viewport for physically correct material with rendering technology based on the OpenCL-accelerated AMD FireRender plug-in.

Global Market Leaders Failed to Capitalize on PaaS Growth in 2015


Worldwide application infrastructure and middleware (AIM) software revenue totaled $23.9 billion in 2015, a 0.1 percent increase from 2014, according to Gartner, Inc. The considerable appreciation of the U.S. dollar in 2015 masked growth in the market. In constant currency terms the market grew 7.8 percent, driven by rapid growth in the platform as a service(PaaS) segment.

"The PaaS segment showed the most impressive growth, not just in the AIM market but across the entire enterprise software market," said Fabrizio Biscotti, research director at Gartner. "Integration PaaS (iPaaS) grew 55 percent in U.S dollars, while application PaaS (aPaaS) grew 40 percent, despite headwinds from the appreciating U.S. dollar."

While older technology remains the first choice for the most demanding application scenarios, the evolving maturity of cloud application infrastructure now offers greater agility, scalability and efficiency than traditional on-premises technologies. This ongoing transition to cloud services and the emerging wave of innovation surrounding the Internet of Things (IoT) further pushes application infrastructure spending away from older models toward event-driven analysis and processes.

"Market concentration among the largest vendors is diminishing under pressure from specialists, and open source and cloud providers," said Biscotti. "The growth of iPaaS and aPaaS has, largely, not worked out to the benefit of the market incumbents."

In 2015, the largest vendors retained their market positions, but market leader IBM suffered a revenue decline of nearly 13 percent, falling to 25 percent of the total AIM software market Oracle's revenue also dropped, by nearly 4 percent, capturing 13 percent of the total market. Microsoft's 5 percent revenue growth meant it was the only one of the top three players to grow its revenue. Salesforce retained the fourth spot, while Software AG dropped out of the top five — switching places with TIBCO Software.

"Salesforce continues to disrupt the AIM market, with its revenue growing more than 36 percent to just over a billion dollars," said Biscotti. "Salesforce's strong performance, as well as steady growth in the ‘Others’ category, underlines the trend of cloud-only firms and smaller specialists picking up market share at the expense of traditional vendors in this space."

This trend is consistent with AIM buyers' pursuit of innovation — not necessarily from a technology perspective, but most of all from go-to-market, business model and delivery channel perspectives.

"2015 was the year that iPaaS became a serious alternative to traditional software-based integration approaches," said Keith Guttridge, research director at Gartner. "Buyers are choosing iPaaS due to its lower entry costs, reduced operational demands and improved productivity. Vendor interest in this space is also growing rapidly, with the number of offerings doubling in the past 12 months."

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Finnish Firm Fortum to Invest Upto €400 Million in India's Solar Projects


Finnish utility firm Fortum said it will invest €200-400 million (around Rs 1,500- 3,000 crore) in solar power projects India.

India offers "one of the best solar resources and a sound government support for the development of solar sector. The country provides a good platform for Fortum to further develop its business in solar also elsewhere," the company said in a statement.

The government plans to jack up solar power generation capacity to 100 gigawatts by 2022, up from 5.25 gigawatts currently. India gets more than 300 days of sunshine a year across the seventh-largest land area in the world.

Fortum has 15 megawatts (mW) of solar capacity in India. In January this year, it won a reverse auction for a 70 mW project with a fixed tariff for 25 years.

In addition, Fortum on Tuesday "decided to bid for additional 100 mWs in India, with a fixed tariff for 25 years," the statement said. "Some large-scale greenfield development will be targeted to enable economies of scale."

In addition, the company will consider seeking "possible partnerships or other forms of cooperation, which would on long-term create a more asset-light structure."
"Fortum seeks to allocate of its planned growth capital in the range of 200-400 million euros in solar projects in India," said the statement.

Companies win solar projects if they offer to supply electricity at the lowest tariff in competitive auctions. The last auction in January saw rates reach an historic low of Rs 4.34 per kilowatt-hour (or unit).

Besides Fortum, other foreign firms investing in solar power projects in India include SunEdison Inc of US, Canada's SkyPower, Japan's SoftBank Group Corp and a local unit of France's Solairedirect SA.

Projects in India are to be selected from various central, state and public sectors undertaking (PSU) schemes, which would guarantee a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA), taking into account Fortum's Group financial targets.

The company said its solar strategy targets a wider geographic scope than its current business portfolio.

Rs 23,000 Crore Electronic Payments Likely Adopters are Young Generation of Micro Merchants


A new MasterCard study of micro merchants in India indicates that young merchants in the age group of 35-45 are most likely to adopt electronic payment systems, thus furthering the country’s vision for a less cash economy.

According to the MasterCard Micro Merchant Market Sizing & Profiling Report, young merchants owning large and medium sized businesses, primarily in auto accessories, building fittings, medical, private cabs, and food & beverage sectors form the high potential segment. 

The report identifies the number of merchants most inclined to trials of e-payments at 10 percent, that is, almost 5 million of the total 59.16 million known universe of micro merchants. Merchants cited potential increase in revenue (46 percent) as a strong driver for trials, followed by increased business efficiency (31 percent) and enhanced shop image (30 percent).

Unveiling the report findings, Porush Singh, Country Corporate Officer, India and Division President, South Asia, MasterCard, said, “At MasterCard, our vision is a world beyond cash as a less-cash financial system will benefit both merchants and customers by mitigating the costs and risks associated with cash while doing business, as well as enable merchants to target new customers and markets. As India moves towards digitization, we firmly believe that the country’s young population will be the drivers of technology adoption and transformation of the payments landscape, and the MasterCard study mirrors that belief.”

The MasterCard study interviewed micro merchants across India with a view to understand the market potential, key barriers to adoption of non-cash modes of payment and opportunities for enabling a less-cash society.

The study estimates the potential market size to be more than INR 23,000 crore weekly. Merchants acknowledged safety concerns and operational concerns related to a cash-driven business, with one-third (33 percent) admitting the need for presence of self or family member at the store to avoid pilferage. More than a quarter (29 percent) also agreed that they face operational efficiency issues related to cash such as time and effort to tally expenses and profits daily, and effort required to keep record of transactions. Close to a quarter of merchants (24 percent) admit to having lost customers due to inability to accept card payments.

The report finds that merchants who are familiar with and personally own e-payment formats showed a higher willingness to consider adopting them for business (70 percent), compared to merchants who are unaware of e-payment methods (8 percent) or are aware but have never used it (14 percent). This reflects a direct co-relation between knowledge and familiarity of e-payments with willingness to adopt them, thus indicating a need to educate merchants about the benefits of adopting non-cash methods of payment.

Praveen Khandewal, Secretary General, CAIT said, "India is on the cusp of a payments revolution as this has been pursued as a key policy objective by the Modi Government. A less cash economy will benefit our constituency of around 6 crore small merchants and traders in reaching out to newer markets and as outlined in the study. Digital technologies will provide opportunities for the young generation of merchants to further grow their businesses. Through our partnership with MasterCard we have successfully been able to reach out to more than 50,000 traders and smaller businesses across eight States and intend to cover many more this year, through our joint Master Your Card trainings.”

He further added, “Along with addressing traders directly, we are also training champions promoting this cause of less cash in each of the States and are proud of the fact that these champions continue to promote this message further actively in their constituency. This is one of the key resolutions we passed at the National Traders Conclave which was held in New Delhi from April 4th -6th with more than 5000 traders in attendance.”

The study identifies young merchants (age 35-45 years), owning medium sized businesses (6 to 10 employees) and large sized businesses (11 to 20 employees), based across Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Bareilly as high potential segments for adopting new technology and moving to a non-cash payment system.

To promote financial awareness and literacy amongst traders, MasterCard, CAIT and HDFC joined hands last year to launch a training program ‘Master Your Card’ organising educational training sessions for Indian traders across the country. Since its inception in 2015, more than 50,000 traders have participated in trainings conducted in cities including New Delhi, Pune, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Ahmedabad and many others. Additionally, e-Lala has been launched to support brick & mortar shops to embrace e-commerce as an additional platform to generate more business.

Report Methodology and Sample Size

The MasterCard Micro Merchant Market Sizing & Profiling Report is a study of 1653 merchants across nine cities – Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Bareilly, Ranchi, Nasik and Vijaywada, through face to face interactions.

The study examines micro merchants in India across verticals like kirana stores, medical stores, F&B stores, mobile phone & accessories, watches and accessories, garments, consumer Electronics, Building fittings, Automobile accessories and spare parts, Private Cab Services and Beauty Parlours/ Men's Salons/ Barber shops.

Tally Solutions Makes Deeper Inroads in Kenya with Over 3000 Customers


Tally Solutions Pvt. Limited (TSPL), a premier Indian software product company, has announced that it is seeing growing customer traction in Kenya, with a total installed customer base of over 3,000 customers in Kenya. The company recently rolled out the latest release of its flagship product Tally. ERP 9 for the Kenya market, and has been focusing on growth in Africa.

Since the last 16 years, Tally has been enabling large, medium and small enterprises in Africa to manage accounting, streamline operations, and achieve higher business efficiency, while remaining iTax compliant. There are over 10,000 enterprises in Africa who are currently using Tally software for a variety of accounting & business management functions. In Kenya, Tally Solutions caters to customers across industry verticals, including Manufacturing, Retail Trading and Construction. The company set up its overseas office at Nairobi in August 2014 supporting a robust network of 74 authorised Tally Partners in the region.

As a testimony of its deepening presence in the African market, Tally Solutions signed on another happy and proud customer in the Jotun Group, a global Norwegian chemicals major dealing mainly with paints and coatings. The company recently implemented Tally.ERP 9, for its regional operations in Kenya and reaped significant benefits in terms for greater business efficiency. Jotun has adorned several famous landmarks around the world, including the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Burj Khalifa in Dubai and Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

“Our experience of implementing Tally.ERP 9 in Kenya has been fantastic. Tally.ERP 9 easily fitted our needs; it was an extremely easy-to-operate software and an economically viable solution,” said  K.R. Rao, Regional IT Manager (MEIA), Jotun UAE Limited. “Tally.ERP9 gave us the flexibility to adapt to the local and legal needs of the region. Also some of the existing employees in Jotun’s finance team were already aware of the product’s functionalities. This proved to be an additional asset to the company. Even the roll-out was extremely seamless and became operational as per plan,” he added further.

Jotun, with its presence in more than 90 countries and with 9500 employees, anticipated several business challenges when it made inroads into the African market. To address its local needs, Jotun was looking for a flexible ERP partner with a qualified solution that was flexible, easy to operate, and had minimal dependencies. The company adopted Tally.ERP 9 to manage the finance, logistics and supply chain operations of Jotun’s Kenya office, which was set up with the prompt help of Tally’s regional team at Dubai, and Infobit Computer Solutions, a Tally Partner in Dubai. Further to implementing Tally.ERP 9, Jotun could easily run both the Kenya and in-future Morocco sites remotely with their main server at Dubai. 

Semiconductor Foundry Market Grew Globally at 4.4% in 2015


Breaking a three-year double-digit-growth streak, the worldwide semiconductor foundry market grew 4.4 percent in 2015 to achieve $48.8 billion in revenue, according to final results by Gartner, Inc.

"In 2015, semiconductor device market revenue declined due to excess IC inventory, poor demand for mobile products and PCs, and slowing tablet sales," said Samuel Wang, research vice president at Gartner. "The slowdown in the device market has driven semiconductor producers to be conservative in placing wafer orders to foundries. Foundry growth was only possible from the high wafer demand by Apple and the revenue conversion of a few integrated device manufacturers (IDMs) to foundries."

Among the top players, the leader, TSMC, grew 5.5 percent in 2015, driven by the success of 20 nm planar and 16 nm Fin field-effect transistor (FinFET) technologies serving the need of application processors and baseband modem chips (see Table 1). Global foundries moved into the No. 2 position with 9.6 percent of the market. The No. 3 position went to UMC with $4.5 billion revenue, representing 9.3 percent of the market.

Price competition in advanced process technologies in 2015 was exceptionally strong, not only on the 28 nm node, as more foundry suppliers have started the production volume of 28 nm polySiON technology, but also on 65 nm and 40 nm. In contrast to the highly utilized 200 mm fabs from fingerprint ID chips and power management ICs, the low 300 mm fab utilization rates at some large foundries have triggered their willingness to run more 0.18-micron wafers in the 300 mm fabs.

"On a quarterly basis, foundry revenue changed quarter to quarter in 2015. The normal seasonal pattern of a very strong second quarter was not obvious, while most foundries continued to revise their business outlook during each quarter's earnings release," said Wang. "The peak inventory level for the semiconductor industry continued to push out during 2015, from the second quarter to the third quarter, and through the rest of the year."

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Indian Government Intervention Essential for Tackling Hearing Disability


By Manu Sharma
Over 7 percent of India suffer from profound deafness. More than a million such children need either hearing aid or cochlear implant surgery to restore their hearing. However, what's scarier is the high cost of the equipment and the lack of government's aid to help those with hearing disabilities.

Cochlear Implants is a proven medical aid for individuals with severe to profound hearing loss. It gifts sound to the ears of a person with profound deafness and gives him a chance to lead a near to normal life once again. Since the first implant nearly 20 years ago, about 4500 cochlear implant surgery has been conducted at private health facilities in the country. 

Dr Shankar Medikere, Senior ENT Surgeon at the Medikeri’s Super Specialty ENT Centre says, “The cost of cochlear implants ranges from Rs 5.5 lakh to 12.5 lakh. Also I’m aware that the cost is beyond the affordability level for many and that where the government needs to intervene.”

The cost of this surgery is high as the implant device is not manufactured in India and it has to be imported from countries like Australia, USA and Austria. “So, we urge the government to extend assistance to the poor children suffering from the hearing impairment,” he said.

Dr Medikere highlights that in many states both the centre and the state have come together to drive this initiative. Like in Andhra Pradesh, several schemes like the Rajiv Aarogyasri, a program of the government of Andhra Pradesh has already taken off It covers all those below the poverty line (BPL). The government issues an Aarogyasri card and the beneficiary can use it at any government and private hospitals to obtain services free of cost.

The good news is this scheme also covers cochlear implant surgery with auditory-verbal therapy for children below 6 years. “But it’s not enough if a few states like Andhra, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala have a few scheme to aid the deserving. What about Karnataka? Where in more than 2.35 lakh patients exist and the state is yet to kick off any such scheme,” he adds. 

Now the ENT Hospitals will be the only government-run hospital in Andhra Pradesh to conduct this expensive surgery free of cost. The Andhra government is also considering to make cochlear implant surgery free for all hearing impaired children of BPL families across the state. 

Since the problem is off much greater magnitude and with one out of every 12 Indian suffering from some degree of impaired hearing, the Centre needs to intervene fast and help reduce the cost of the equipment.

Brett Lee Bats for Awareness of Cochlear Implants
The Australian world-renowned bowler will draw attention to the functional, social, emotional and economic impact of hearing loss on individuals and their families.
Lee’s son suffered from hearing loss because of a head injury. “Even though he recovered in a couple of months, at that point of time I was so disturbed,” he confided.
This incident got him to associate with the campaign as it could help millions who suffer from hearing loss.
“I want to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to experience what I hear — the sounds of everyday life or cricket, or the voices of loved ones,” Lee adds.
Lee is the global brand ambassador of Cochlear, an international firm that deals with implantable hearing solutions. He had unveiled the Indian leg of Sound of Cricket in Mumbai last year. Lee will interact with Christ University students on Tuesday. He will also participate in a cricket match on the campus, played by children with hearing disability.