SILICON VILLAGE

Thursday, January 12, 2017

N Chandrasekaran Named as New Chairman of Tata Sons; Rajesh Gopinathan to be New CEO of TCS


Tata Sons is likely to name a new chairman today; the board has called for a meeting, although it said no agenda for the meeting had been announced. Tata Sons had abruptly removed Cyrus Mistry as its Chairman on October 24 and sought his ouster from operating companies like Tata Motors and TCS. He had subsequently resigned from the board of six companies, but dragged Tata Sons and his interim successor Ratan Tata to the NCLT. CEO of TCS N Chandrasekaran has been widely speculated to be one of the leading contenders for the role. Sources said that the next chairman will be a well-known insider.

Rajesh Gopinathan New CEO of TCS
Rajesh Gopinathan is expected to be the new CEO of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), taking over from N Chandrasekaran who is likely to soon be announced the Tata Sons Chairman. Rajesh Gopinathan is currently the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of TCS. He will take over India’s largest IT firm and has big task at his hand to take forward the company.

So, who is Rajesh Gopinathan? He joined TCS in 2001 and was appointed the Chief Financial Officer in February 2013. Prior to becoming the CFO, Rajesh was the Vice President – Business Finance. According to TCS, in this role, he was responsible for the financial management of the company’s individual operating units. His responsibilities included financial planning and control as well as margin management and revenue assurance.

Agencies

MSMEs Skills Development Program By Boeing India, Jaivel Aerospace

Boeing in collaboration with Jaivel Aerospace has announced the launch of a skill development program to train front-line workers in micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the aerospace industry. In line with the national ‘Skill India’ initiative, the program aims at accelerating the growth of India’s aerospace industry by establishing a larger pipeline of skilled aerospace workers.

“This is Boeing’s first skill development initiative for aerospace manufacturing in Gujarat to ensure that entrepreneurial Gujarat businesses are ready to compete at a global scale,” said Pratyush Kumar, president, Boeing India. “We welcome Jaivel Aerospace to our skills development program. The partnership represents the commencement of our effort to expand our skilling initiatives to catalyse the aerospace industry in the state and help realize the ‘Make in India’ vision.”

Jaivel, a micro, small and medium enterprise, has undertaken work packages as a sub-tier supplier for Boeing’s advanced commercial airplanes such as the 787, 777 and 737 as well as defense platforms such as the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter. Through the new partnership, Jaivel’s role in the local and global aerospace sector will expand, as its helps to train future aerospace workers.

“As the world's largest aerospace company, Boeing offers the advantage of a tried and tested, unique curriculum and the knowhow to help an emerging aerospace enterprise like us to strengthen our global aerospace footprint,” said Vipul Vachhani, Founder and CEO – Jaivel Aerospace. “This is an important investment by Boeing, not only for us but also for Gujarat’s potential to become an aerospace manufacturing hub. This is testament to Jaivel’s aerospace team and we look forward to working with Boeing to create an excellent foundation for an aerospace sector in the state,” said Vipul Vachhani, founder and CEO, Jaivel Aerospace.

In addition, Boeing has been partnering with leading Indian vocational training institutes, Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) and Indian partners, including MSMEs, to train workers in the aerospace industry. For example, Boeing-funded curricula and initiatives have already been launched with aerospace partners such as Rossell Techsys and Tata Advanced Materials Limited (TAML) to train workers on aerospace skills. Frontline workers have already been employed with Boeing’s suppliers after completion of training.

School Students Builds Multi-purpose Robot with NI System-Design Platform

Platform-based systems provider, National Instruments (NI) has mentored Anuj Verma and Shlok Jhawar, class VIII students of Delhi Public School, Bangalore in successfully creating a 4-wheeled, all-terrain, multi-purpose robot named, Recon Rover.
The Robot that can be used for surveillance during disasters and natural calamities incorporates data from various actuators and sensors in order to give the users the best control and accurate data from areas struck by natural calamities. The robot uses ultrasonic sensors to automatically avoid obstacles and prevent crash along with sensing the presence of humans stuck in disaster zones. It sends real time images and data from the disaster site while being controlled remotely.
Anuj and Shlok are 14 years-old and want to pursue robotics and electronics engineering later in their careers. They had earlier participated in NIYantra, NI’s annual Student Design contest, with a simple prototype of their product. They were successful in getting noticed by NI experts and since then have been closely working with the team in shaping up their final product using NI LabVIEW (system design software) and NI myRIO (embedded hardware device for students).
National Instruments provides hardware and software platform that not only helps professional scientists and engineers to solve complex applications, but also these budding engineers to envisage and build systems having great social impact.
“National Instruments has equipped scientists and engineers, with tools that accelerate the development of smart measurement systems and embedded control systems. This mission of ours extends into education, to serve budding scientists and engineers with access to the same advanced tools and technologies. These technologies help students to quickly realize and validate, solutions to real-world problems,” said Aditi Chauhan, Marketing Manager – India , National Instruments.
According to Anuj Verma, “Even with advanced technology into play, rescue operations are often slow resulting in mass panic. The biggest challenge which rescue teams face is that of accessibility. When disaster strikes a place which is remote and hard to access, getting any information can be challenging. To address this issue, we created the Recon Rover, with a highly-advanced user interface which can be controlled very easily. NI provided us access to various NI tools required to make this product flexible and scalable. With NI’s help, we were able to solve various challenges which we faced in the product development stage.”
As a part of its Academic program, NI organizes an annual student design competition, NIYANTRA, where it mentors hundreds of students, equips them with NI hardware, software and guidance that is required for their projects. Some of these students are really motivated to take their idea to prototype. NI further makes this possible through its various initiatives aimed at enabling SMEs and future entrepreneurs with technology access, startup assistance and ecosystem support.
Agencies

Market Sees 3.7% Decline of Worldwide PC Shipment in 2016



Worldwide PC shipments totaled 72.6 million units in the fourth quarter of 2016, a 3.7 percent decline from the fourth quarter of 2015, according to preliminary results by Gartner, Inc. For the year, 2016 PC shipments totaled 269.7 million units, a 6.2 percent decline from 2015. PC shipments have declined annually since 2012.

"Stagnation in the PC market continued into the fourth quarter of 2016 as holiday sales were generally weak due to the fundamental change in PC buying behavior," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. "The broad PC market has been static as technology improvements have not been sufficient to drive real market growth. There have been innovative form factors like 2-in-1s and thin and light notebooks, as well as technology improvements, such as longer battery life. This end of the market has grown fast, led by engaged PC users who put high priority on PCs. However, the market driven by PC enthusiasts is not big enough to drive overall market growth."

"There is the other side of the PC market, where PCs are infrequently used. Consumers in this segment have high dependency on smartphones, so they stretch PC life cycles longer. This side of the market is much bigger than the PC enthusiast segment; thus, steep declines in the infrequent PC user market offset the fast growth of the PC enthusiast market."

Kitagawa said that although the overall PC market will see stagnation, there are growth opportunities within the market, such as the engaged PC user market, the business market and gaming. However, these growth areas will not prevent the overall decline of the PC market, at least in the next year.

Four of the top six vendors experienced an increase in worldwide PC shipments in the fourth quarter of 2016. The top three vendors all increased their global market share in the fourth quarter. Lenovo maintained the No. 1 position, as the company experienced shipment increases in North America and EMEA, while Asia/Pacific and Japan continued to be challenging markets.

HP remained in the second position, and it has recorded three consecutive quarters of shipment growth. HP secured the top position in PC shipments in the U.S. and EMEA, growing faster than the regional averages.

Dell also registered three consecutive quarters of shipment growth in 4Q16. Dell continued to place PCs as a strategic business segment in commercial and consumer markets during 2016. Asus suffered the steepest decline among the top six vendors in the fourth quarter of 2016. Asus has been shifting its PC strategy more toward the high-end market, which will allow it to maintain better profit margins. Gartner analysts said the falling shipment volume could be the cause of this strategy shift.

In the U.S., PC shipments totaled 16.5 million units in the fourth quarter of 2016, a 1.3 percent decline from the fourth quarter of 2015. Five of the top six vendors in the U.S. PC market experienced a shipment increase in the fourth quarter of 2016. However, this was offset by a 20.9 percent decline in the Others category, and a 48.3 percent decline in shipments by Asus.

"Similar to low-key back to school sales in 3Q16, big sales events, such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday and holiday sales are no longer effective marketing opportunities for PCs since PC purchases are generally driven by a 'need,' rather than 'want,' motivation," Kitagawa said. "PCs are not a preferred gift item any longer, as consumers gravitate toward other consumer electronics, such as virtual personal assistant (VPA) speakers, virtual reality (VR) head-mounted devices, and wearables. Vendors and channels did not have high expectations for the holiday PC sales, so the marketing campaigns remained relatively quiet."

PC shipments in EMEA surpassed 21.9 million units in the fourth quarter of 2016, a 3.4 percent decline year over year. PC shipments to the consumer market were driven by good Black Friday sales in Western European countries, such as the U.K. and France, especially on traditional notebooks, ultramobile clamshells, the hybrid form factor and gaming PCs. Gartner's early estimates also show PC shipment growth in the business segment, led by Windows 10 deployments during the fourth quarter.

The Asia/Pacific PC market totaled 24.8 million units in the fourth quarter of 2016, a 3.9 percent decline from the fourth quarter of 2015. The PC market was affected by two major events. First, the demonetization of the Indian currency in India led to weaker-than-expected consumer PC demand. Second, the success of China's 11.11 (Singles Day on 11 November) online shopping event gave a boost to consumer notebook sales.

For the year, worldwide PC shipments totaled 269.7 million units in 2016 The shipment totals were at the same levels as shipments in 2007. Market consolidation escalated in 2016 as the top three vendors (Lenovo, HP and Dell) accounted for 54.7 percent of worldwide PC shipments in 2016, up from 51.5 percent in 2015.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

ISRO’s Launch of 103 Satellites is to Maximise Capacity Not Set Record: Kiran Kumar


With less than a month left for the proposed launch of 103 satellites at one go, Indian Space Research Organisation today said its aim is to maximise capability with each launch and not set a record.

“We are not looking at it as a record or anything. We are just trying to maximise our capability with each launch and trying to utilise that launch for the ability it has got and get the maximum in return,” ISRO Chairman A S Kiran Kumar told reporters here.

Of the 103 satellites that ISRO’s workhorse PSLV-C37  is expected to carry, 100 are foreign.

“They are all actually a constellation, they are getting into a constellation of satellites providing observation of earth,” Kumar said in response to a query on the sidelines of Karnataka ICT Summit 2017.

The three Indian satellites are Cartosat-2 series, weighing 730 kg as primary payload, INS-IA and INS-1B,  weighing 30 kg.

An official from the space agency said it was earlier planned to launch 83 satellites in the last week of January, of which 80 were foreign, but with the addition of 20 more foreign satellites the launch was delayed by a week and would now take place in the first week of February.

Kumar also said ISRO was working on having more frequent launches and make use of each launch or maximise the capability of the launch vehicle itself.

“The next one is going to carry a number of satellites from various companies along with our own Cartosat-2 series satellite and immediately following that we have GSLV Mark III and Mark II…. In the first three months that’s what we are targeting, but beyond that we are trying to work for almost one launch a month,” he said.

“The prime driver for all of this is to increase the  capacity. Though we have the number of satellites in operation, we require many more for providing the necessary services that is needed,” he added.

After the success of the Mars mission, ISRO, which is currently conducting experiments for its second moon mission said another mission to Mars, Venus and Jupiter are on the horizon and studies are underway.

“As we are progressing, we need to look at long-term. So what we are looking beyond Chandrayan-2, for which we are already working on an approved programme,” Kumar said.

“Beyond that, Mars second mission and Venus mission are all on the horizon, we have to go through the various studies and then formulate, get the approval and move. Right now, they are all in the study phase,” he added.

ISRO is conducting tests for hazard avoidance for  Chandrayaan-2 as it lands at its facility in Challakere in  Chitradurga district of Karnataka, where simulated lunar  craters have been created to evaluate the performance of the  system.

The ISRO Chairman and French Space agency (CNES) President Jean-Yves Le Gall in the presence of visiting French Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean-Marc Ayrault had on Monday signed a partnership agreement in satellite launch technology.

To a question on the agreement, Kumar said “Currently we are working with them on Oceansat-3… And then we are working for a future payload, on an infrared imaging sensor.”

“We are also looking at possibilities of working with  them in various areas of future developments of satellites,  launch vehicles,” he added.

ISRO in the past had worked with CNES on sounding  rockets, SARAL satellites programme and had also launched  satellites for them.

Agencies

VMware Releases 2016 State of the Digital Workspace Report

VMware, Inc, a global leader in cloud infrastructure and business mobility, has introduced the 2016 State of the Digital Workspace Report, a global survey of business and IT decision makers, practitioners and influencers. The report unveiled that organizations taking a digital workspace first approach that aggregates devices, applications and services while securely managing them through unified common access and identity – experience business, operational, and financial benefits while those that wait are falling behind.

Respondents acknowledged that game-changing IT relies on organizations adopting a digital workspace that includes security and identity management as vital components. With realistic prospects of achieving astounding return on investment (ROI), even businesses that cited obstacles to adoption may want to consider taking another look at business mobility initiatives.

“As we enter 2017, the industry is moving into the next phase of enterprise mobility where businesses have to deliver access to applications and resources to end-users, customers and partners using any connected device in any location,” said Dave Grant, vice president, product marketing, End-User Computing, VMware. “The State of the Digital Workspace Report shows that business and IT leaders recognize the significant tangible benefits digital workspaces can offer to an organization. The guiding principle of consumer simple and enterprise secure applied to VMware’s digital workspace solution, VMware Workspace ONE, delivers a simple and secure platform that can help customers in any industry with their digital transformation journey.”

Triple Digit ROI and Significant Cost-Savings with Embrace of Digital Workspaces
·  ROI from business mobility investments averaged 150 percent overall.
·  41 percent of IT and business decision makers saw improvements in total management costs after successfully executing on digital workspace efforts
·  That said, only 30 percent of their non-executing peers realized improvements.
·  39 percent of decision-makers realized cost improvements to support end–users after embracing digital workspaces (compared to 23 percent among those that did not).

Businesses Can Introduce New Revenue Streams Faster
·  Nearly half of organizations (48 percent) that have successfully executed mobility initiatives saw improvements in their ability to more rapidly introduce new revenue streams, compared to 34 percent among organizations that have not executed a single initiative.
·  Among those organizations executing 10 or more business mobility initiatives, 52 percent saw improvements in their ability to more rapidly bring new revenue streams online.
·  Meanwhile, among the organizations executing fewer than five mobility initiatives, only 38 percent saw improvements. 

Executives View Digital Workspaces as Way to Address Top Concerns
·  Concerns about security were top of mind among executives and nearly half of executives (45 percent) viewed a digital workspace solution that includes the necessary elements of security and compliance tools, mobile device management software, and identity management as a way to address compliance and security risks.
·  In particular, 43 percent of financial services leaders pointed to identity management software as a necessary element in the financial services segment.

India-Portugal Partner to Boost Trade and Investment in the Future

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) along with FICCI and Assocham organized a Business Meeting with António Costa, Prime Minister of Portugal and his accompanying delegation in the city. The Business meeting aimed at boosting trade and investment between India and Portugal brought together Industry representatives and Industry bodies including FICCI and ASSOCHAM in an effort to fast track business relation between the two nations.

Assuring full support of his Government for Portuguese companies to export or invest in India and for Indian companies to come to Portugal. António Costa, Prime Minister Portugal said that, it is well known that Portugal and India have centuries old relationships based on historical cultural and personal ties but despite the old ties the commercial relationship between Portugal and India is still quite insignificant. Portugal export only 1200 million Euros a year to India and India exports only 500 million Euros to Portugal. Tourist flows and balance of service between the two countries is also very low. It is this situation that needs to change. The aim of my visit to India is to review and adapt our relationship to address both present and future challenges. We want to enhance our relationship and extend it to a strategic partnership with ambitious targets in new areas of cooperation.

India and Portugal have complementary economies and can take advantage of being part of different regions and markets. There are great opportunities that can be explored both in terms of trade and investment. Portugal has a long tradition of openness to foreigners and to foreign direct investment. The Portuguese government has been focusing in creating a better global framework for investment, putting investment at the heat of its strategy to foster growth. Portugal has a strategic position to access key markets, it is the nearest European country to the United States and Canada, it is a country in the same time zone as the United Kingdom and Ireland and it has high connectivity to African and Latin America. The goal of this seminar is to expose both business communities to opportunities that they can explore either in Portugal, in Indian or even in CPLP countries.

Manuel Caldeira Cabral, Minister of Economy Portugal said that  Portugal is a very open economy open for trade and Investment from different countries, it has a long history of building bridges and today Portugal is open to being the doorway for India to enter the European Union (EU) market. Portugal is also a platform for doing business with Portuguese speaking countries all-around the world particularly in Africa and Latin America. The country witnessed the highest growth rate in the EU in 2016, investment is recovering with a strong base of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), the country is inviting cooperation in sectors such as science and technology, Infrastructure, renewable energy, startups, agriculture and food processing, water and waste management, tourism, pharmaceuticals, automotive products and defense.

Ravi Raghavan, Chairman CII Karnataka, extended a warm welcome to the Prime Minister of Portugal. He said that there is a strong need for the two nations to build on their historical relationship and transform it into a 21st Century technology driven business relationship. Portugal and India are very strong in industry verticals such as information technology, pharmaceuticals, automobiles, alternative energy, tourism, agro products, fisheries and a host of other sectors, and he called upon both countries to realize the full potential that a combined effort can bring about. He appreciated the support offered by Portugal in India’s bid for a permanent set at the UNSC.

Industry representatives including Shekar Viswanathan, Chairman FICCI Karnataka, R. Shivakumar, Chairman ASSOCHAM Karnataka, spoke on the need to strengthen business ties between Portugal and India.

NASSCOM Foundation, Atos Partner to Launch Digital Literacy Centre at Vadodara

Atos, an international leader in digital services, and NASSCOM Foundation has jointly announced the launch of National Digital Literacy Mission (NDLM) centers dedicated to training and imparting digital literacy at Vadodara Gujarat. The NDLM centers will conduct skill development programs in the area of Information Technology for the aspiring persons interested to undertake IT literacy programs.

Atos in collaboration with NASSCOM Foundation, will endeavor to leverage the IT training as envisaged under the NDLM Scheme with the objectives of appreciation of Digital Literacy - that aims to make a person IT literate, so that he/she can operate digital devices, like mobile phones, tablets among other electronic devices and send & receive emails and search the internet for information among other things.

Atos in India will facilitate the training infrastructure and the trainers at these NDLM centers with the help of NASSCOM nominated NGO’s at its respective location centers. These centers together will provide training on all digital devices, specifically, computers and mobile phones. Once trained, the beneficiaries will be able to send emails, connect on social media, buy from e-Commerce websites, and will even know how to use internet to avail various government services such as registering for AADHAR Cards, Ration Cards, PAN Cards, and other such internet enabled services.
On the occasion, Surendrasinh Gohil, SVP and Head Global Delivery Centers for Infrastructure and Data Management Division said: “As a leading international digital services company, we are pleased to announce our association with NASSCOM Foundation in accomplishing the larger goal of Digital Saksharta Abhiyan (DISHA) or also known as NDLM Scheme. The mission is both aspiring and ambitious in its scale to train the non-IT literate citizens to become IT literate. A sound foundation starts with a modest beginning; this is quite an enabling initiative across India. We are confident that this initiative will help a part of the society, that otherwise wouldn’t have been able to access the opportunities offered by the Digital economy in India. We are happy to partner with NASSCOM Foundation and Deepak Foundation in this initiative and look forward to make this community service a success for Vadodara citizens.”

Shrikant Sinha, CEO, NASSCOM Foundation said: “We believe that digital literacy is one of the most potent tool for the empowerment of the underserved communities in today's digital and cashless economy. Working in partnership with Atos, NASSCOM Foundation is proud to announce the launch of four new centres across India, taking the total Atos Centre count to eight. Being digitally literate would help the citizens access services as Vadodara leaps forward in its journey towards becoming a smart city.”

The National Digital Literacy Mission is a far-sighted, dynamic and integrated platform of digital literacy awareness, education and capacity creation programme that will help rural and the under-served communities to fully participate in the global digital economy. NASSCOM Foundation is the industry partner to the Government of India to accomplish the first phase goal for NDLM or ‘DISHA’ by making 52.5 lakh individuals in India digitally literate in the next four years.

BankBazaar New App Features Helps Users Manage Finances Better

BankBazaar.com, the Personal Finance marketplace backed by Amazon, has unveiled new features on its Android App to further help users manage their finances. In the new Personal Finance section, a user views a real-time snapshot of their aggregated balance across multiple savings accounts and transaction history of individual bank accounts. Most people use more than one bank account, which makes it difficult to keep track of transactions and balances. BankBazaar.com solves this problem by displaying consolidated information in one single simple interface.

Customers can view a personalized summary of their consolidated bank balance from the Home Screen itself, with the option to view bank-specific balances too.  They can also use the app to quickly and seamlessly update their balance in real time. In addition, the app also tracks credit card spends, due and minimum due amounts corresponding to the billing cycle. All this is done in a reliable, secure, non-intrusive manner after the user signs in using their Google or Facebook login credentials.

Rati Shetty, CPO and Co-founder, BankBazaar.com says, “In our busy day-to-day lives, keeping track of personal finance transactions can take a backseat. When mobile applications help people make every aspect of their lives simpler, why should money matters be any different? We’ve simplified everyday banking transactions and accessibility to the right financial products together in one simple, secure, unobtrusive application.”

According to BankBazaar.com, the app helps reinforce responsible fiscal habits in the user in three ways:
1.       Enhance savings: The app provides a direct window into a user’s financial health and will help a user get a better handle on over-expenditure and better budgeting.
2.       Schedule payments: The app keeps track of a user’s credit card billing cycle with gentle reminders to pay their bill on time. This will help improve credit score.
3.       Easy credit access: The app delivers the best loan and credit card offers with the added convenience of instant approval, real-time application status tracking and a paperless process.

The new feature update combined with the app’s existing features such as EMI calculators, IFSC search, application tracking etc., gives the user extra fire power with absolute control over cash assets and credit card liabilities in a simple interface. This is yet another firm step in BankBazaar.com’s mission to help users access the right financial products.

GoI Programme to Push Indigenous Designing Capabilities of Indian Manufacturing Industry


The Minister of Defence, Manohar Parrikar, has announced Government of India's ambitious 'Design in India' policy, which will be an extension of the ongoing 'Make in India' programme. As he stated, the 'Design in India' policy will aim at building, enhancing and promoting designing capabilities of Indian manufacturers and entrepreneurs so that they can design products of world-class standards to compete with global counterparts and take advantage of 'Make in India' programme.

Parrikar announced the same at the inauguration of a three-day International Conference and Exhibition on Reinforced Plastics, 2017 (ICERP 2017), which commenced in Mumbai today. The Conference is organised by FRP Institute, an association of Indian Reinforced Plastics or Composites sector.

Responding to a long standing demand of Indian Composites Industry to source defence equipments, components and ancillary material domestically from Indian manufacturers of composite products and extend support under the 'Make in India' programme, Parrikar assured the players of Indian composite industry  that the Defence Procurement Policy (DPP) will soon include composite products developed indigenously. He maintained that the DPP will be updated soon and see its implementation with necessary procedures clarified.

Adding further, Parrikar said, "We are introducing a 'Design in India' policy, which will boost up a 'Make in India' programme. It will be an opportunity for domestic manufacturers to enhance designing capabilities to compete with global standards. As far as the defence industry is concerned, there is huge potential to source material, equipments domestically, but quality standards and innovations in designing are highly essential. Indian composites industry can certainly enhance supplies to the defence sector if they provide products of global standards in terms of quality and designing. We will soon include composites products in the Defence Procurement Policy, which will allow domestic composites manufacturers to supply to Indian Defence Industry."

The Rs 5,000 crore Indian Composites Industry, had made a strong pitch for support from the Government and mainly from the Defence Ministry comes amid rising supplies of Russian and Chinese composites raw material in Indian defence sector. Further, the Indian industry, which has been growing at a CAGR of just six per cent as against the global average of 12 per cent, also urged for the Government's support. 

On the inauguration of ICERP, 2017, Pradip Thakkar, Chairman of FRP urged the Defence Minister to extend the Government's support to the Indian composites industry to unleash its full potential. He stated, "The Indian Composites Industry is fully capable of supplying 100% of requirements of the defence sector, if given due support. Composite materials are emerging as an innovative alternative for steel and aluminium and hence, can be used in defence equipment manufacturing."

Shekhar Sardesai, a member of FRP and CMD of Keneco Limited emphasised that the industry should rise above the levels and produce world-class products for which innovation and standards were necessary. He urged the Defence Minister to scale-up procurement of composites not only for Tier I categories such as OEMs, but also for Tier II and III categories where raw materials and components also could be sourced from domestic manufacturers.

Said Prof S C Lakkad, Chairman, FRP Institute, “Composites market in India is not fully tapped and offers tremendous growth opportunities for Composites manufacturing in the coming years. This makes an apt case for ‘Make in India’."

Dr. Selvan, Former Chairman, FRP Institute offered the vote of thanks and requested the members of the industry to meet with the standards expected and embrace opportunity. The Industry is continually evolving with development of newer materials, technology, applications and processing. While the conventional composites continue to find newer applications, the high tech Composites like the carbon fibre based composites are finding greater interest in terms of their applications in Defence, aerospace, and other applications to keep pace with the global trends.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

LTTS’s First Ever Engineering Technology Challenge TECHgium Attracts Over 170 Colleges


By Manu Sharma

The third and final year engineering students have a unique opportunity to display their innovative skills by participating in a first ever real-time technology challenge addressing engineering problems. Termed TechGium, the tech challenge is an initiative by LnT Technology Services Ltd (LTTS) and offers 5000 engineering graduates from over 170 engineering institutes across India to work on futuristic technology ideas. LTTS has invited students from top tier Indian engineering institutes to work on projects and Proof of Concepts (PoCs) that will address current needs and future challenges of LTTS’ global clients.

One of the key highlights of TECHgium is that it will lead to the creation of a new breed of associates with niche engineering skills and capabilities in a way that has simply not been done before. LTTS will help young engineers channel their spirit of curiosity and enquiry and empower them to discover untapped technical skills and innovative approaches to challenges that need engineering-based solutions. This challenge will give the participants an invaluable opportunity to work on futuristic technologies and augment the solution development team of LTTS, while getting recognized as a TECHgium innovator. 

Keshab Panda, CEO and MD, LnT Technology Services said, “We have our DNA outside India and operate in multi vertical segment. Usually innovation stops at 40 years and so are always looking at youngsters with fresh ideas to drive innovation and are inspired by the Make in India movement. We want to encourage the thrust on research that will deliver a sustainable competitive advantage.“

He adds that our TECHgium initiative is a pivotal step towards creating a new ecosystem that brings together customers, academia and students to be part of the nation’s capacity building objectives and also trigger new-age innovations conceptualized by fresh minds.

On 0ctober 15, 2015, LTTS sent out invitations and over 900 colleges registered but out of them, 5000 students from 170 colleges have confirmed their participation by signing the Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). In Stage 1 of the challenge, student registrations were open from November 28, 2016 to December 9, 2016.

As part of the Stage 2, from December 12, 2016 the participants need to submit the concept papers and have time till January 12, 2017. A total number of 30 challenges were posted online and these spread across transportation, industrial products, process industry, telecom and semiconductors and the participants along with over 150 mentors will work on the above challenges and come out with the concept papers.   

Stage 3 will witness Technical Presentation where in participants will submit full technical papers from January 21-28, 2017 followed by in-person presentations from January 30 to February 1, 2017 across LTTS offices in Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai and Baroda.

The final leg i.e. Stage 4 will see selected participants making a Proof of Concept (POC) demonstration from April 19-21, 2017 at the Bangalore office followed by the grand finale on April 21, 2017 also at the Bangalore office.

Successful candidates will be eligible for absorption into the company based on the merit of their solutions. There is also three cash rewards of Rs 3 lakh, Rs 2 lakh and Rs 1 lakh for the top innovations developed by students. 

Monday, January 9, 2017

400% Digital Lending Platform Growth in Delhi & NCR for Capital Float

Capital Float, the largest digital lending platform in India, witnessed a meteoric rise in performance in Delhi NCR in 2016. Over 1000 small and medium-sized businesses availed the online credit products, making this a year of great growth and development for the company in this region. The company delivered 400% growth both in terms of value of loans disbursed and the number of customers. Strategic partnerships with companies like Snapdeal, Shopclues, PayTM, OfBusiness and Industrybuying, among others, have also aided Capital Float to make the most of the opportunity in this fast growing market.

The total loan disbursals of the company’s products in the market rose steeply with Pay Later and Unsecured Business Loan being the top performing products with 140% and 300% growth respectively over 2015. Additionally, the Online Seller Finance contributed over 30% in volume. Newly-introduced products like Merchant Cash Advance and Vehicle Finance are poised for similar growth numbers given the rising market interest in these products. To better serve this growing market, Capital Float has opened a new office in Karol Bagh, New Delhi to accommodate a larger team with all the latest infrastructure.

The SME lending market in India is worth almost $300 billion today and the digital finance segment constitutes 10% of it. The northern region makes up about 35-38% of the total addressable market which is worth about $10 billion. The CAGR is expected to remain 17-20% for the next 5 years and post-demonetization, it might even surpass 20%.

“Our disbursal volumes and values have skyrocketed in Delhi NCR in 2016. In the coming year, we are expecting a 500% rise in disbursals for all our products, while increasing our customer base by 600%” said Gaurav Hinduja, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Capital Float. “Since our reach in this market has grown exponentially, we have opened a new office with a strong team to better serve customers. We hope to build on this momentum in the coming year, not just in this market but across India,” he added.

Delhi, Punjab, Rajasthan and Haryana are the top 4 states from northern India showing tremendous growth rates and the MSMEs in these states enjoy the benefits of being close to a large market and the fast-growing urban centre of Delhi NCR. They also benefit from a strong agricultural base and a growing population across northern India, which is fuelling demand for various products and services which makes this a market highly potential.

Accenture & Blue Prism Team to Provide Robotic Process Automation


Accenture and Blue Prism, a leading provider of enterprise robotic process automation (RPA) software, are working together to provide RPA solutions to help organizations across industries automate a wide range of business processes for reduced costs, improved compliance and increased productivity. More than 40 organizations have already selected Accenture and Blue Prism to help achieve this, including international retailer Circle K and Raiffeisen Bank International.

The alliance combines Accenture’s global reach and cross industry expertise with Blue Prism’s RPA software robots to provide the next generation of the “digital workforce.” As part of this, Accenture plans to certify more than 600 professionals on Blue Prism technology and implementation to provide critical advice and guidance to companies navigating a complex automation landscape.

Circle K Europe (previously Statoil Fuel and Retail) has streamlined its Finance, IT, Customer Service, Fuel and HR operations at the Riga and Warsaw Business Centres. Automation has allowed Circle K to standardize and improve services which has helped reduce processing times and make Circle K an even more attractive place to work.

“RPA has changed the way we structure and allocate work, allowing us to spend more time on improvement initiatives,” says Kristian Kjernsmo, managing director Circle K Business Centre at Circle K Europe. “By automating routine tasks, we allow our skilled people to focus on the more interesting and challenging parts of their jobs, which has the dual benefit of engaging our people and improving the customer experience. Accenture has been with us from the beginning, helping us in the exploratory phases of RPA right through to the implementation.”

As a multi-national European bank operating in 14 countries with more than 40,000 employees, Raifessen Bank International worked with Accenture to implement Blue Prism technology to automate business processes in four countries with further roll out planned in 2017.

“We had been considering RPA as a way to accelerate business results, but we needed a solution that could be housed internally, scale rapidly, and be up and running within two months,” said Markus Stanek, head of Group Efficiency of Raiffeisen Bank International. “Thanks to Accenture’s knowledge and Blue Prism’s enterprise-class RPA software, we want to create an in-house robotics Centre of Excellence within a very short time frame. We have successfully piloted our RPA program in four countries to date, and based on our early positive outcome, intend to continue RPA roll-outs in 2017."

“This relationship builds on Accenture’s history of helping organizations capture new business value through automation and complements our efforts to apply the technology quickly and at scale to ensure benefits are realised early,” said Manish Sharma, group operating officer, Accenture Operations. “The cost and productivity benefits of RPA are enabling firms to operate smarter and are offering the human workforce the opportunity to engage in more stimulating and strategic work.”

Alastair Bathgate, CEO and co-founder of 
Blue Prism, commented, “We are delighted to be working with Accenture to deliver the value of a digital workforce to many different types of organizations across the globe. With 40 firms already on board to benefit from this alliance, we are seeing a clear appetite for RPA as firms quickly realize the vast array of benefits to business performance and productivity.”

“RPA has the potential to deliver significant benefits to enterprises in terms of cost, efficiency and productivity,” said Sarah Burnett, vice president, Everest Group. “For RPA technology vendors, collaboration with service providers and system integrators is a powerful way to meet growing client demand for RPA technology across continents and industry verticals.” 

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