Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Azafran Unveils 6 in 1 Eco Friendly Liquid Detergent to all Laundry Needs in Indian Market

Company forays into this segment by introducing India’s 1st plant based  liquid laundry detergent - Tropical Breeze; Plans to launch hand washes, home fragrances and organic candles soon

Staying with the commitment of developing products that are eco-friendly, Azafran Innovacion Limited - an integrated personal care company has launched its home care vertical Azafran Home – Green & Clean. Company forayed into this segment by launching India’s 1st plant based (coconut based detergent) liquid laundry detergent and is planning to come up with more products such as hand washes, home fragrances and organic candles soon.

Set up with a concept of ‘Farm to Home’, Azafran Home – Green & clean products are made using sustainable and natural ingredients which are safe for people as well as the planet. Company is in talks with Aditya Birla Retail – More Hyper Markets, Reliance Smart Stores, Spar, Hypercity and Metro Cash & Carry among other modern retail outlets for this division.

Speaking about this launch, T.R Suresh, Business Head, Azafran Innovacion Ltd said, “Available in exotic Tropical Breeze fragrance, the liquid detergent is the first offering from Azafran Home and the company will be launching more such innovative, natural products in coming months. This product is specifically formulated keeping needs of a mother, a working woman and a housewife in mind. The powerful action of the detergent is tough on the stains, while also being gentle on the clothes and the environment.”

Made from naturally derived & plant based ingredients which are free from dyes, Tropical Breeze - 6 in 1 Eco friendly liquid laundry detergent caters to all laundry needs and ideal for machine as well as hand wash. Developed from certified organic ingredients, grown in its own farmland near Sanand, Ahmedabad, company’s innovative range of products are devoid of harmful chemicals, pesticides and fertilizers. Tropical Breeze removes tough stains, eliminates unpleasant odours and works as a natural fabric conditioner. This eco- friendly detergent is also suitable for baby cloths.

Commenting on the trends, Elkana Ezekiel, Non-Executive Director, Azafran Innovacion Ltd said, “Our products are made without any compromise on quality and fulfilling our commitment to the environment. Company seeks to provide simpler & more sufficient way of living - a higher quality of life, toxin-free homes and more time spent in nature. Organic living is an established trend in developed countries and the concept is fast catching up in India with consumers opting for organic products for daily life. Our strength lies in the ‘Farm to Home’ concept where the entire process of growing ingredients, processing and making the products, all are done at our own facilities.
Company Profile: Azafran Innovacion Ltd

Azafran has its own organic farms with large greenhouses where numerous varieties of plants, flowers and herbs are grown specifically for its product range. Ingredients for the products are extracted and processed at its facilities to ensure maximum purity. Azafran has been awarded the USDA, ECOCERT stamp of approval. The company has done extensive investments in R&D and a production facility certified by ISO 9001, ISO 14001, OSHAS 18001, WHO and GMP.

Azafran Innovacion Limited is a research oriented company based out of Ahmedabad, which offers innovative organic solutions for the Indian market. Azafran products are all made from certified organic ingredients, and are devoid of harmful chemicals, pesticides and fertilizers. Azafran’s product lines are created using nature's purest ingredients that are grown, harvested, extracted and processed at our own facilities.

Azafran has invested about Rs 20 crore to set up its completely integrated 40 hectare facility near Sanand, Ahmedabad which includes its own ECOCERT and USDA approved organic farm, large greenhouses, manufacturing facility and dedicated R&D centre for cosmetic research. Azafran grows numerous varieties of plants, flowers and herbs for its product range. Company extracts and processes these plants in its own facility and ensures 100% natural purity.

Azafran is the brainchild of two promoters, Aditi Vyas and Mansi Vyas who hold an incredible passion for innovating products made with certified organic ingredients.

Azafran is one of the first companies in India to receive international certifications like ECOCERT France and USDA certification for organic farm. Company’s production facility is certified by ISO 9001, ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001, WHO and GMP. Company’s products are also certified by India Organic and Halal.

Samsung Unveils World’s First Wind-Free Air Conditioner at ACREX 2018 India

Samsung India, country’s biggest and most trusted consumer electronics brand, today announced the launch of the world’s first Wind-Free Room Air Conditioner & System Air Conditioner in India.

The new air conditioners have integrated Samsung’s exclusive Wind-Free Cooling technology into its design – providing customers with a cooler indoor climate and optimal energy efficiency without the discomfort of direct cold airflow. The Wind Free Room Air Conditioner packs in the world’s first 8 Pole series and Anti corrosion Durafin condenser, especially designed for India’s harsh climatic conditions.

Wind Free Room AC range is available at all leading retail outlets from a starting price of Rs 50,950 to Rs 74,260 while Wind Free System AC range is customizable with 1 Way Cassette, 4 Way Cassette & Mini 4 Way cassette as per the end user’s requirement. The customers can experience this unique technology at ACREX 2018 at BIEC, Bengaluru.

“In the air conditioning segment, direct cold air dispersion and sky rocketing electricity bills are two problems that today’s customers are weary of the most. The world’s first Wind-Free Room Air Conditioner & Systems Air Conditioner from Samsung addresses both of these issues together, providing unparalleled cooling comfort, while guaranteeing optimum energy efficiency. Customer centric innovation lies at the core of our brand promise and this product pivots around this very approach. The new technology is especially designed to cater to Indian consumer’s specific needs and preferences, given the severe climatic conditions here,” said Vipin Agrawal, Director, System Air Conditioning Business, Samsung India.

 The new lineup provides ambient condition by maintaining comfortable room temperature using Wind-Free cooling technology to gently disperse cold air through 9,000 to 21,000 micro air holes. A two-step cooling system, which first lowers temperatures in ‘Fast Cooling Mode’ and then automatically switches to ‘Wind-Free Cooling Mode’, creating ‘still air’ once the desired temperature is achieved. This approach also reduces energy consumption by up to 72 percent compared to Fast Cooling mode. The unique product Architecture of this range of air conditioners also contributes to its superior cooling performance. The upgraded structure’s wider inlet allows for more air to be drawn in at once, while the optimal width and angle of the outlet ensure that air is cooled and expelled faster, farther and wider to reach every corner of the room.

Nearly Two-Thirds of Large Companies Globally Face High Levels of Industry Disruption, Accenture Study Finds

A new study from Accenture has found that industry disruption is already a reality for most large companies globally. The study shows that, rather than being a random event beyond business leaders’ control, disruption has a pattern that can be identified, understood and prepared for.

The study analyzed more than 3,600 companies with annual revenues of at least US$100 million in 82 countries along two dimensions: current level of disruption, and susceptibility to future disruption. Among the key findings: Almost two-thirds (63 percent) of companies currently face high levels of disruption, and two-fifths (44 percent) show severe signs of susceptibility to future disruption.

As part of the research, Accenture developed a “disruptability index” by dissecting disruption into its key components. The researchers took into account the presence and market penetration of disruptor companies as well as incumbents’ financial performance, operational efficiency, commitment to innovation, and defenses against attack.

 Business leaders can use the index to understand where their industry is positioned and why. It allows them to identify risks and opportunities – and then prepare the right strategic response. Accenture applied the index to position companies in 20 industry sectors and 98 sub-segments across four periods of disruption:

Durability: Disruption is evident but not life-threatening; incumbents still enjoy structural advantages and deliver consistent performance. One-fifth (19 percent) of companies – including those in the automotive retail and supply, alcoholic beverage and diversified chemicals industries  – fall into this period.

Vulnerability: The current level of disruption is moderate, but incumbents are susceptible to future disruption, due to structural productivity challenges such as high labor costs. One-fifth (19 percent) of companies – including those in the insurance and healthcare industries and the convenience retail sector – fall into this period.

Volatility: Prominence of violent, sudden disruption; traditional strengths have become weaknesses. Companies in this period (25 percent of companies studied) include those in the consumer technology, diversified banking, advertising and transportation services industries.

Viability: Disruption is a constant; sources of competitive advantage are often short-lived, as new disruptors consistently emerge. More than one-third (37 percent) of companies – including software and platform providers; telecommunications, media and high-tech companies; and automotive manufacturers – fall into this period.

“Disruption is continual and inevitable – but it’s also predictable,” said Omar Abbosh, Accenture’s chief strategy officer. “Business leaders need to determine where their company is positioned in this disruption landscape and the likely speed of change. The more clearly they see what’s changing around them, the better they can predict and identify opportunities to create value from innovation for their business and rotate to the ‘new’.”

 According to the report, each period of disruption also requires a distinct strategic response:
In the durability state, companies must reinvent their legacy business rather than focus on preserving it. This means taking steps to maintain cost leadership in their core business and make key offerings more relevant to customers by, for example, making them not only cheaper but also better.

In the vulnerability state, companies must make their legacy businesses more productive to position themselves to develop and leverage future innovations, both their own and their competitors’. For example, they should look to reduce dependence on fixed assets and monetize underused assets.
In the volatility state, the only way to survive is by decisively but wisely changing the current course. Incumbents need to radically transform the core business while scaling new businesses. But pivot too quickly, and they will likely stretch themselves too thin financially; pivot too slowly, and they risk becoming obsolete.

In the viability state, companies need to embrace a constant state of innovation. This involves increasing the penetration of innovative offerings with existing customers and aggressively expanding into adjacent or unchartered markets by leveraging the strength of their reinvigorated and innovation-enabled core business.

“To not only survive disruption but thrive when it strikes requires companies to transform and grow their core business while simultaneously innovating to create and scale new businesses,” said Mike Sutcliff, group chief executive of Accenture Digital. “Embracing digital is crucial part of it. We found that the lower an industry’s digital performance, the more susceptible it is to future disruption. Digital technologies can help make a company more resilient in times of disruption in a number of ways, whether by driving better outcomes from existing products, developing entirely new digital services, lowering costs, or increasing barriers to entry.

Automation Anywhere Unveils Industry’s Most Comprehensive Global Customer Success Program

Company reinforces its “customer first” commitment with a fully integrated program delivered by the largest dedicated customer success team in the RPA industry

Automation Anywhere, the largest enterprise software provider in Robotic Process Automation (RPA), has announced the formal launch of its global customer success program – Automation Anywhere Plus. This umbrella program combines a wide range of existing services with newly introduced offerings, delivering the most comprehensive set of services and the industry’s largest team completely dedicated to customer success. 

Automation Anywhere Plus will continue to support Automation Anywhere’s Intelligent Digital Workforce Platform, which is the most widely deployed worldwide with more than 930 enterprise customers, and the only platform in the industry with built-in RPA, cognitive and analytics capabilities to provide a complete enterprise solution.

“’Customer first’ is more than the core philosophy that underpins everything we do at Automation Anywhere. It has been the driving force that has shaped our culture, our business practices, our product and our customer services since our founding 14 years ago,” said Rushabh Parmani, Co-founder and Senior VP of Customer Success and Operations. “With Automation Anywhere Plus, we now combine the wide variety of services we offer into one overarching program that ensures our customers experience a seamless onboarding process, the shortest time to value and the organization-wide scalability that is expected from an enterprise-grade RPA solution.”

Industry’s Largest Customer Success Team
To provide round-the-clock support to its community of over 930 customers, Automation Anywhere has put together the largest customer success team in the industry. In addition to 24/7 global customer support, the team offers onsite support and an extensive self-service knowledge-base, created by the industry’s leading RPA experts combined with the knowledge and experience from Automation Anywhere’s global customers.

Automation Anywhere has also dedicated a unit of its global development team to customer support. Known as ‘Customer Success Engineers,’ the members of this team are highly skilled RPA developers who provide on-going support and assistance helping customers achieve bot velocity and scale with unprecedented speed, ease and efficiency.

Customer Success Manager: A Single Source of Truth
Every Automation Anywhere customer has a single point of contact with a dedicated Customer Success Manager who delivers a seamless, unsurpassed experience. The Customer Success Manager handles the end-to-end customer experience – including onboarding, issue resolution, training and product upgrades – ensuring timely responses and providing a single source of truth for the customer. The Customer Success Manager acts as their client’s advocate within Automation Anywhere and their performance is measured by a single KPI – their customer’s satisfaction measured quarterly via Net Promoter Score.

 “Automation Anywhere’s customer success program is top-notch – we’re especially impressed with our dedicated CSM and the experts we’ve worked with on the professional services team,” said Prateek Kapoor, Global Finance Lean Digital Transformation Leader at Juniper Networks. “Knowing we have the 24/7 support we need means we can scale our automation programs even faster and without headaches. We would not be as far along today without the help and guidance of the Automation Anywhere evangelist.”

Fantasy Sports Affirmed as a ‘Game of Skill’ in India

India’s first report on 'The Laws Relating to Fantasy Sports Games in India’ was unveiled at IFSG's GamePlan 2018.

 The Indian Federation of Sports Gaming (IFSG), India’s first industry body formed for protecting consumer interests through the self-regulation of the Sports Gaming industry, has unveiled India’s first ever report on the ‘Legality of Fantasy Sports in India’.

 An initiative of the Sports Law and Policy Centre, the legal report brings contributions from experts in sports and gaming laws from India’s leading law firms like Nishith Desai Associates, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, Khaitan & Co. & LawNK.  This report delves into the skill element of Fantasy Sports games, need for self-regulation by online Sports Gaming companies, the use of third-party intellectual property in Fantasy Sports games and the recent developments in the Supreme Court of India relating to the determination of Dream11’s Fantasy Sports format as a game of predominant skill.

On unveiling the report, Harsh Jain, Chairman of IFSG & Co-Founder, CEO of Dream11 said, “We welcome the Court’s judgements which legitimise our format of online fantasy sports gaming in India as a ‘Game of Skill’. As we continue to grow exponentially, we believe that self-regulation is the way ahead for the online gaming industry. Committed to this, IFSG aims to collaborate with all stakeholders to protect the interests of Indian users by implementing best practices for responsible gaming throughout the industry.”

On the launch of the legal report, Nandan Kamath, Principal Lawyer - LawNK & Researcher - SLPC said, “The recent developments in the courts are an encouraging sign for the Fantasy Sports ecosystem in India as it shows the willingness of Indian Courts to carefully and favourably evaluate game formats on criteria of predominance of skill. The SLPC report is a collaborative effort by leading law practitioners which aims to document the state of the law relating to online Fantasy Sports gaming and lend clarity to the industry. We hope this empowers the entrepreneurial spirit and benefits and protects the interests of the wide variety of stakeholders involved with Fantasy Sports games, including operators, fans, players and governing bodies.”

The Fantasy Sports ecosystem has been growing exponentially in India over the last few years. From 20 lakh users in 2016, the base has grown to over 2 crore Fantasy Sports users in 2018, with estimated projections of over 10 crore Indian sports fans playing Fantasy Sports by 2020. India now has 56 Fantasy Sports operators, with 2017 alone seeing 30 new entities entering this exciting space. Popular sporting tournaments such as the IPL, NBA, ISL, PKL and others are increasingly relying on fantasy sports as their primary tool for fan engagement.

ServiceNow Launches New R&D Centre in HITEC City, Hyderabad, India

The new innovation center in Hyderabad significantly expands ServiceNow’s local operations, and will support global R&D efforts in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and excellence in product engineering

 ServiceNow today announced further investment in Indian talent and technology with the opening of its new Hyderabad R&D Centre, located in the heart of the HITEC City’s premium IT park, Madhapur.


The new centre is ServiceNow’s first R&D operation in Asia and will support ServiceNow’s continued growth, with the company aiming to reach $4 billion in annual revenue in 2020. Serving regional and global clients, the facility will be home to product engineering teams developing ServiceNow’s next generation AI and machine learning capabilities.


The opening of the centre will double the number of ServiceNow employees in Hyderabad, with space for up to 1,000 staff. The Hyderabad office and Bengaluru operations represents ServiceNow’s largest R&D center outside the US.


The facility will significantly expand the Product Engineering, Product Management, Applications Development, Service Engineering, Product Operations and Customer Support teams in the region, covering all areas of ServiceNow’s product offerings including IT service management, human resource service delivery, customer service management and security operations. It will also house local HR, finance, sales and leadership teams.


Mitch Young, VP & GM of APJ, ServiceNow said: “Hyderabad is one of the region’s most exciting technology centres that has rapidly established itself as a global software development hub. With access to world-class talent, superior infrastructure and a thriving technology sector, the city is a perfect match for ServiceNow’s continued growth and investment in the region.


”The opening of this centre reflects our commitment to engineering excellent and creating a world class team to support our product development, which is critical to maintaining our rapid company growth.


“Our success in the market has been underpinned by a multiplying customer base and a stronger enterprise ecosystem in India. With continuing technological advancements and the swell of data businesses must manage, finding new ways to enhance productivity will be core to business success and economic growth. The opportunity for Indian organisations is vast and only growing, and the new centre represents an important step as we continue to expand across the region,” Mitch concluded.


Key Developments

·         Growing from just two employees in Hyderabad in 2013 to over 500 today, the new centre will be doubling floor space in the city from 66,000 sft to 132,000 sft
·         The expansion will bring up the number of ServiceNow offices to three in India
·         The India business supports a range of commercial and enterprise customers across all major industries

Juniper Networks and The Satellite Applications Catapult Build 5G Testbed for Mobile and IoT Services for UK Critical Infrastructure


Juniper Networks, an industry leader in automated, scalable and secure networks, today announced that The Satellite Applications Catapult, a UK-based  technology and innovation company, has selected Juniper to construct a secure, end-to-end network infrastructure in support of their 5G testbed.

Specifically, the testbed creates a secure, network infrastructure to foster the innovative use of 5G, providing ubiquitous connectivity across terrestrial and satellite communication in support of mission critical applications including use cases for IoT, autonomous systems and e-health initiatives.

Juniper’s News Highlights.

The 5G testbed is due to be officially opened in April 2018 and brings together leading academics and key industry partners towards a shared vision to help define and develop the next-generation of terrestrial and satellite 5G infrastructure and applications.

The testbed infrastructure brings together a range of Juniper’s technology and solutions, including routing, switching, security and software-defined networking, as well as network functions virtualization (NFV), mobile edge computing and software orchestration in the core. There will be a presentation of the project in Juniper’s booth (Hall 2, #2J60/ 2J61) at Mobile World Congress 2018 in Barcelona.

Once completed, the testbed could be used for collaborative development projects such as those recently proposed by the UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). This will enable Juniper and The Satellite Applications Catapult, to support other partners to realize the 5G ambitions of the UK Government.

“Communication infrastructure services underpin the development of many next generation innovations and satellite connectivity is a critical element. The two cannot develop independently from one another. 5G underpins the overall agenda for better connecting digital infrastructure to data sharing devices across the country and hence is a key part of UK Government digital strategy. Juniper Networks’ role in helping The Satellite Applications Catapult’s involvement in 5G has been instrumental in helping us deliver on these next generation communication infrastructure advances and data services innovation,” says Kieran Arnold, Director 5G at The Satellite Applications Catapult

“The deployment and use of 5G testbeds is crucial to enabling the early engagement of infrastructure end-users to provide a way for them to shape the way services will be delivered by 5G infrastructure. Having the opportunity to provide many of the key components that enable that delivery in a seamless and secure way is a fantastic way to showcase how Juniper is providing a simplified answer to an incredibly complex problem,” says Tom Ruban, chief technology officer EMEA at Juniper Networks

Reliance JIO and Cisco Continue Co-Innovation For Multi-Access Edge Computing


Video will comprise 82% of all IP network traffic by 2021, as more people are watching on multiple screens. This presents unique challenges for mobile operators, including w to scale their networks to handle all this video traffic and how to manage a profitable business around video.

To address the changing dynamics of network traffic, Reliance Jio and Cisco’s strategic relationship scales across multiple domains and technology areas. Over the past year, Reliance Jio’s Cisco-powered, all-IP network has grown significantly in size, and with new growth is further expected to see tremendous growth over the next several months.

Cisco and Reliance Jio are now working together to leverage  the power of multi-access edge computing, beginning with a use case to further optimize and enhance video experience over the network by developing a mobile content delivery network (CDN). In this concept, the CDN is integrated into the mobile LTE network with edge caches in close proximity to the mobile users. With a mobile CDN, the mobile operator can deliver content via edge cloudlets to provide a better user experience with lower latency and higher performance. 

Mobile Video Delivery From the Edge
For the prototype, the companies used a combination of IP address management techniques based on the mobile core, requiring tight integration between edge cache, mid-tier cache, and the traffic router in the Cisco Open Media Distribution system. The mobile core and the Cisco Open Media Distribution were combined into one system level solution for the CDN embedded in the mobile network.

To solve the problem of user plane selection, they used a technique called Control/User Plane Separation (CUPS) as defined in 3GPP R14[2] (Third-Generation Partnership Project R14 standards release). Cisco and Reliance Jio also solved the issue of assigning a geographically appropriate IP address to the mobile device and the issue of handover resiliency in the face of IP address changes on the client side and the CDN cache site without change or disturbance to the current services.

“Reliance Jio is  always about innovation and disruption, and multi-access edge computing enables a new way to deliver a broad range of media and mission critical services with enhanced customer experience with improved network efficiency,” said Mathew Oommen, president, Reliance Jio. “Reliance Jio and Cisco continue to drive advancements in technology and create unique best practices for service aware networking, and this joint collaboration on edge computing is another example of our effort to constantly reinvent the network and the services.”

“Reliance Jio marked many innovation milestones with Cisco on the buildout of its LTE network, and that was just the tip of the iceberg,” said Yvette Kanouff, senior vice president, general manager, Service Provider Business, Cisco. “With this multi-access edge computing demo, we are showcasing the possibilities enabled by edge computing to deliver premium-quality mobile entertainment experiences to RJIO customers.”

The companies are demonstrating this concept at Mobile World Congress, in the Cisco booth in Hall 3 Hybrid Hall, #3E30.

Cisco is leading the disruption in the industry with its technology innovations in systems, silicon, optics and security, and its unrivalled expertise in mass-scale networking, automation, optical, cable access, video, and mobility. Together with its portfolio of professional services, it can enable service providers and media and web companies to reduce cost and complexity, help secure their networks and grow revenue. 

Airtel and Huawei Conduct India’s First Successful 5G Trial Network

In a major milestone for Indian telecom, Bharti Airtel (“Airtel”) and Huawei announced that they have successfully conducted India’s first 5G network trial under a test set up. 

The trial was conducted at Airtel’s state-of-the-art Network Experience Centre in Manesar (Gurgaon). The setup included 5G RAN operating on 3.5 GHz band, 5G Core and 50GE Network Slicing router.

During the test trial, a user throughput of more than 3 Gbps was achieved using the setup. This is the highest measured throughput for a mobile network in 3.5 GHz band with 100MHz bandwidth and end-to-end network latency of approximately 1 msec.

The setup demonstrates high spectral efficiency and potential for diversified services such as IoT and AR/VR, which can be delivered by 5G technology to serve a digitally connected world.

Abhay Savargaonkar, Director – Networks, Bharti Airtel said, “This is small but a very significant step in our journey towards 5G. The promise of 5G is endless, it will be a game changer and, it will change the way we live, work and engage. We’re moving quickly to begin collaboration towards 5G interoperability and development testing (IODT) based on the 3GPP R15 standards. We look forward to work closely with our partners for developing a robust 5G ecosystem in India.”

5G R15 is focusing on eMBB, laying the key building blocks to support services like virtual reality, ultra high definition immersive video and diversified long tail of future use cases and innovations. 3GPP completed the first drop of 5G New Radio (NR) standards in December 2017.

"We have been focusing on developing 5G ecosystem and use cases, and the show with Bharti Airtel impressively demonstrates the performance capability of 5G in 3.5 GHz band. We shall also continue to work with Vertical Industry players to develop wider ecosystem use cases beyond enhanced mobile broadband." says Emmanuel Coelho Alves, Director, Wireless Marketing, Huawei HQ.

KNOLSKAPE Releases AktivLearn Ver 2.0, Gamified Learning and Engagement Platform


KNOLSKAPE, a leading provider of talent transformation solutions for the modern workplace, have announced the release of a major update to AktivLearn, the advanced gamified learning and engagement platform. The updated version enhances its core reporting and analytics features for learners and the Learning and Development (L&D) team. The new version will also boost overall user experience through faster response time, improved navigation and additional learning analytics.

The highlights of this release are:
Wholly integrated web and mobile usage analytics on a single platform
5x faster response time
Integrated Action Learning Projects
Real time monitoring of learning journeys and ALPs
Participation analysis from a single learning component to the overall learning journey, including usage status, platform adoption, region, and learning patterns
Easy-to-navigate admin mode for clients to trace their employee engagement and advancement.
Advanced leaderboards and ability to monitor individual users, including identification  of outliers and actions to improve program effectiveness

Comprehensive reporting and analytics, including inputs on journey completion, number of active users, number of active courses, adoption of mobile learning components, heat maps and module level data, to name a few

Real time feedback on learner experience
Vijay Kalangi, Chief Technology Officer, KNOLSKAPE says, “Organizations are becoming more and more data driven, and as the leading provider of talent transformation solutions, it is but natural for KNOLSPAKE to push the boundaries on providing industry best experiences for learners and L&D teams alike, while take learning analytics to the next stage. Our new release of AktivLearn includes important features and analytics to help HR and L&D teams take more data driven decisions.”

Monday, February 26, 2018

Doodhwala Secures $2.2 Million in a Round of Seed Funding by Omnivore


Doodhwala, a micro delivery service for fresh groceries has received a seed investment of $2.2 million by Omnivore, a venture capitalist firm, for a minority stake in the company.  The hyperlocal delivery platform, Doodhwala, is a subscription-based, early-morning delivery platform for all farm fresh groceries sourced directly from local farms and dairies.

 “Doodhwala with it's unique model has had a tremendous momentum, becoming a well-known brand for fresh milk and grocery delivery in Bengaluru & Pune. We are evolving into the finest delivery service option for customers seeking freshness, convenience and specialty products,” said Aakash Agarwal, Co–Founder, Doodhwala.

“Doodhwala’s unique business structure benefits customers, dairies and supermarkets. It makes farm-to-fork viable by taking over sales, marketing, logistics, and fulfilment for producers. Additionally, we are expected to scale easily due to our capital effective model, paired with the high demand for milk, and a need for regulated milk supply”.

Commenting on the transaction, Jinesh Shah, Founding Partner, Omnivore said, “The lean operating model, and the direct sourcing relationships that have been built, made this company stand out amongst competitors.”

Doodhwala offers users a wide selection of ad hoc everything from fresh dairy milk, meat, vegetables, fruits to shelf stable items delivered to their door before 7 am every day. Users get the convenience of ordering on subscription basis which helps in frequent and easy purchases.

“Our unit economics are exceptionally strong. By lowering our delivery cost to Rs 3, Doodhwala is uniquely positioned in a market where other players are struggling. We have done a great job of maintaining a steady month-on-month growth rate while scoring a 85% plus customer retention,” said Ebrahim Akbari, Co–Founder, Doodhwala.

Currently operating in Bangalore and Pune, Doodhwala has over 4 lakh month deliveries. The new financing will go towards expanding Doodhwala’s service into new markets, funding talent acquisition and upgrading technology.

Reihem Roy, Principal, Omnivore will join the board.

The new funding comes less than a year after the company raised an undisclosed amount in another Pre Series A funding from Thomas Varkey, a partner at Stonehill Capital, USA.

C-Zentrix- Enhancing Customer Experience in Business in India


C-Zentrix, a leading contact center solution provider is transforming customer experience in business. Customer experience is gaining phenomenal importance in today’s business due to the competitive environment. Businesses in India have started givingtop priority to digital transformation and customer experience which is witnessing hugeinvestment, says an Adobe report. The quality of customer experience has improved in India,according to Forrester's 2017 Customer Experience Index (CX Index). Customer experience is atan all-time high. It has been seen that firms with powerful implementation of customerexperience strategies achieve greater customer satisfaction, a fall in customer churning and anincrease in revenue. Furthermore, as per a research conducted by American Express, 60% ofcustomers are willing to pay more for a better experience.

C- Zentrix recognizes the need of businesses to adopt customer experience, enhancing solutionsand thus provide a variety of products for this. They enhance the customer experiences withvaried products like CZ Omni that creates a seamless interaction for the customers byintegrating all their channels of communication like voice call, SMS, chat, bot, social media andemail interactions whereas the Sticky Agent feature helps in routing the call of a customer tothe same agent every time they contact for the customer’s convenience.

According to Arijit Chatterji, Chief Business Officer, C-Zentrix, “Our aim at C- Zentrix is to constantly innovate and come up with solutions that can help our clients deal with their customers in the most effective and efficient manner. We believe to provide the tools that help toadopt to the changing needs and trends of the customers and thus help companies enhance their customer experience. Technologies like artificial intelligence and chatbots are helping us to build solutions that can help cater the growing communication needs ofcompanies.”

Customer engagement strategies help companies to retain their customers. Companiesneed to be constantly in touch with their customers nowadays due to the growing expectation of customers to receive a personalized customer experience. This is the key to retention. We, at C- Zentrix recognize the pressing need of businesses to launch oneself in the future of customer experience and our endeavor is to aid in integrating multiple digital channels to create the desired customer experience. C-Zentrix has built highly secure solutions to offer seamless customer experience among various customer touchpoints and help enterprises to scale seamlessly to accelerate business growth.

Cisco Appoints New President for Asia Pacific & Japan to Lead Regional Growth Charge and Accelerate Digital Transformation


Cisco, the world’s leading IT and networking company, today announced the appointment of a new President for its Asia Pacific & Japan business.

After three years at the helm of Cisco Japan, Miyuki Suzuki has been promoted to president for Asia Pacific & Japan. Charged with regional revenue growth across 18 markets, and propelling customer digital transformation and cybersecurity efforts, Suzuki will report to Chris Dedicoat, executive vice president of Worldwide Sales and Field Operations.

A seasoned executive with more than 35 years’ experience, prior to Cisco, Suzuki served in numerous leadership positions for organizations throughout Asia, spanning across technology, aviation, telecommunications and financial services. 

Suzuki assumes the leadership from Irving Tan, who last month took on the newly created role of senior vice president of Operations and Digital. Joining Chairman and CEO Chuck Robbins’ executive leadership team, Tan will be responsible for driving Cisco’s digital transformation across the company in partnership with Sales, Engineering and other functions.

Commenting on her appointment, Miyuki Suzuki, President, Asia Pacific & Japan at Cisco said: “Asia boasts incredible diversity, with each country presenting new, and often untapped opportunities. With growing economies and increasing technological maturity, Cisco is positioning itself at the heart of regional innovation, enabling customers to collaborate and transform by taking the time to understand the needs of each individual market. I’m looking forward to the challenges ahead and developing new bridges.”

“Miyuki has been instrumental in driving Cisco’s breakthrough growth in Japan in recent years by securing a broad partner network, developing exemplary company initiatives and building customer trust,” added Chris Dedicoat, executive vice president of Worldwide Sales and Field Operations at Cisco. “I’m confident Miyuki has the right experience, innovative thinking and leadership qualities to capture market opportunities across the wider region in her expanded role.”

Currently based in Tokyo, Suzuki will relocate to Cisco’s Asia Pacific & Japan headquarters in Singapore in the near future.  Recruitment is underway for her successor for President of Cisco Japan and will be announced in due course.

Milkbasket to Hire 2000 Employees Within Next 12-18 Months


Milkbasket, India’s first micro delivery platform, today announced the company’s plans to hire at least 2000 employees within the next 12-18 months. The company recently closed a $3M Pre-Series A round from Unilever Ventures, Blume Ventures and Lenovo Capital (LCIH). 

Anant Goel, Co-founder and CEO at Milkbasket said, “We aspire to serve over a million households by 2022 and this would be our first step to realize this mission. We will be strengthening our team with additional 2000 employees by next year to serve up to 50,000 daily orders in Gurgaon.”

The company will be hiring over 1500 full time and 500 part-time employees.  

“Part-time employment is a great way for students and micro-entrepreneurs to have a sustainable source of income, while they continue with their daily routine. We will hire at least 500 such employees in Gurgaon to support our morning deliveries” Anant added.

Microsoft Announces Wide Support for e-Mail Addresses in Indian Languages


On the occasion of International Mother Language Day, Microsoft has announced support for email addresses in 15 Indian languages across its email apps and services, including Office 365, Outlook 2016, Outlook.com, Exchange Online and Exchange Online Protection (EOP). For the first time, users will be able to use local language email addresses for Outlook accounts on PCs, e.g.,  व्यक्ति@संगठन.भारत. It will also allow users to now seamlessly send/receive mails to/from local language email addresses via Outlook client on PCs, outlook.com in addition to Outlook apps for Android and IOS. This initiative is part of the companys ongoing efforts to support Email Address Internationalization (EAI) across its products and services eco-system and make technology accessible in local languages.

The languages being introduced are those that support Unicode, an international encoding standard for use with different languages and scripts. Local language email addresses are inseparably linked with Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) and can currently be registered in these 15 languages according to .IN Registry, which is responsible for registering IDNs in India.Microsoft’s products will also support additional Indian languages as and when their IDNs and email addresses become available in the future, making this feature forward compatible.

Speaking of the announcement Meetul Patel, COO - Microsoft India said, "Ensuring that language is not a barrier to the adoption of technology is key for digital inclusion and growth. Making email addresses available in 15 languages is an exciting step to making modern communications and collaboration tools more accessible and easier to use for all – something we have been relentlessly working towards. We’re making technology use the language of people, and not requiring people to first learn the traditional language of technology.”

Users can register local language email addresses in India from third party EAI address providers such as XgenPlus through a simple online process. Microsoft, a member of Universal Acceptance Steering Group (USAG) along with international partners including XgenPlus, Coremail, CNNIC and SaudiNIC, is working to support email addresses in any Unicode script through its apps and services, including RTL (right to left) languages such as Urdu and Arabic.

Microsoft and Local Language computing: Starting with Project Basha in 1998, Microsoft has been consistently working to provide local language computing in Indian languages. Microsoft supports 22 constitutionally recognized Indian languagesoverall, including 11 Indian language scripts for Office and Windows. Moreover, Bing allows users to browse in nine Indian languages. With the help of its AI technologies and Deep Neural Networks, Microsoft is now making translation and speech recognition across several Indian languages, in addition to making Indic computing on the local cloud a reality by launching local cloud services from India data centers.

Unity Tech Among World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Virtual and Augmented Reality


Unity Technologies creator of the world’s most widely used real-time 3D development platform, today announced it has been named by Fast Company as a “World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Company.” Chosen as the #4 “Most Innovative Virtual and Augmented Reality Company,” Unity’s real-time development platform is at the center of the VR/AR ecosystem, powering more than 60 percent of all content. Whether it is VR, AR, or MR, Unity’s highly optimized rendering pipeline and the rapid iteration capabilities of the Editor make XR creative vision a reality. Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies Award honors leading enterprises and rising newcomers that exemplify the best in business and innovation.

“We're honored to be recognized by Fast Company as an innovator in this space,” said Tony Parisi, Global Head of VR/AR Strategy at Unity Technologies. “We’ve been a long-standing champion for the VR/AR industry, and it’s gratifying that our heavy commitment to this space is recognized and is bearing fruit. We believe the world is a better place with more creators in it, and the opportunities for virtual and augmented reality present limitless possibilities. The tech is here, the reach is here, and the time for incredible content is now.”

On the heels of this honor, Unity is announcing its South by Southwest (SXSW) presence, a line-up made of 80 percent women, that will share insights and best practices on virtual and augmented reality. The expertise and deep-seeded knowledge of virtual and augmented reality within Unity is unparalleled. Here are the sessions that Unity is participating in at SXSW 2018:
  • March 5: Students Can Build the VR/AR Worlds of the Future | Jessica Lindl, Global Head of Education, Unity Technologies
  • March 11: Future Proof Media: Engaging Tomorrow's Audience | Silvia Rasheva, Producer at Unity Technologies
  • March 12: Setting the Visual Language of Storytelling | Timoni West, Director XR Authoring at Unity Technologies and Natalie Grant, Senior Product Marketing Manager, VR/AR and Film at Unity Technologies
  • March 14: AR Update 2018: Evolution or Revolution?| Tony Parisi, GM, Head of VR/AR Strategy, Unity Technologies
Unity was also the platform of choice at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. 70 percent of New Frontier’s interactive content at Sundance was Made with Unity, and two unprecedented virtual reality film deals took place at Sundance, SPHERES and Zikr: A Sufi Revival, both of which were Made with Unity. These deals further solidify Unity’s position in virtual filmmaking and demonstrate that 360-degree immersive films carry clout and will become a staple for film festivals moving forward.

Games and experiences made with Unity have reached more than 3 billion devices worldwide in 2017 and were installed more than 20 billion times in the last 12 months.

3.16 Lakh Candidates Placed Under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana in Less than 2 Years of its Launch


In less than two years of its launch, Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) (2016-20), the flagship scheme of the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE) has taken multi-fold strides. The scheme has achieved a landmark milestone of 3,16,671 placements (as on February 2018).  With nearly 55 per cent successful placements, the Short-Term Training Program (STT) under PMKVY (2016-20) is an effective, refined and demand-driven endeavour, with an over-riding focus on quality of training. 

Under the STT program, over 13 lakh candidates have been trained, of these over 9 lakhs have been certified till February 2018. Placements have been facilitated for 5.98 lakh candidates who were certified by the end of November 2017. Placements for the latter batches who were certified post November 2017 are currently underway. 

Placements under PMKVY (2016-2020) are categorized into wage and self-employment. Approximately 76 per cent of the candidates have been placed in wage employment and 24 per cent placed in self-employment/ entrepreneurship.  80 per cent of the candidates placed in wage employment across various sectors i.e. Electronics and Hardware, Apparel, Beauty and Wellness, Agriculture, Retail, Logistics, Leather, Telecom, Security, Textiles and Handlooms.

Commenting on the progress of the scheme, Rajesh Agrawal, Joint Secretary & CVO, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) said, “PMKVY (2016-2020) scheme is closely aligned with the industry requirement of a job-ready workforce. Embarking on the Skill India Mission, our endeavour has been to provide superlative quality training in industry relevant job role. The Skill India Mission also promotes entrepreneurship, which is further supported by Mudra Loans and other financial provisions.”

“Self-employed candidates are encouraged and supported in availing Mudra Loans through the UdyamiMitra Portal. Currently more than 10,000 candidates have applied for these loans”, Mr. Agrawal further added.

Jayant Krishna, ED & COO, National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC)commented, “NSDC is working collaboratively with its training providers, sector skill councils and industry for creating and deploying good and quality trained resources, who could cater to the evolving demands of the organisations. Our initiatives such as integrations with organisations, syndication with portals such National Career Service, creation of Labour Market Information System, organizing job fairs (Rozgar Melas) and more, are intended to match demand with supply.”

NSDC is continuously working towards accomplishing the objectives laid down under Skill India Mission by training and facilitating employment for skilled manpower across leading organisations across the country, namely Tata Motors, Pay TM, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter, Accenture, PVR Cinemas, Bata India, G4S Secure Solutions, Lemon Tree Hotels, L&T, Tata Sky, Samsung, Volkswagen, SBI Life etc.

The PMKVY (2016-20), launched in November 2016 with an outlay of Rs. 12,000 crores, is the biggest training and certification program of the Government of India.  It aims to skill one crore youth by 2020. In nearly sixteen months of its launch, the scheme has certified over 13 lakh candidates under its two different programs - Short Term Trainings and Special Projects.  The scheme’s other component - Recognition of Prior Learning is a certification program that gives due importance to learning as an outcome rather than learning as process.

The Short-Term Training (STT) program of PMKVY (2016-20), imparted through NSDC’s approved training centres, is aimed at benefitting youth who are either school/college dropouts or unemployed.   Apart from skills training, the program comprises orientation in soft skills, entrepreneurship, financial and digital literacy. The program encompassing 200 – 1,000 hours of skill training, is designed according to varied job roles. 

The other component of PMKVY (2016-20), is Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) comprising 12 – 80 hours of training. It provides recognition to the informal learning or learning through work to get equal acceptance as the formal levels of education. Focusing on workforce in the unorganised sectors, RPL is designed for those who already have a job or are self- employed and require up-skilling and certification for better prospects. Till date, more than 4.5 lakh candidates have been certified under this component of PMKVY (2016-20).