Saturday, June 8, 2019

Yes Bank Wins Multiple Accolades for Excellence in Transaction Banking at the Asian Banker Awards 2019


Yes Bank has won multiple awards at The Asian Banker’s Choice and Asian Banker Transaction Awards 2019 programme recently held in Thailand.

*      Best Trade Finance Bank in India – The Asian Banker Transaction Awards 2019 (5th  year in a row)
*      Best Financial Supply Chain Management in India - YES BANK and DTDC Express Digital Wallet solution - The Asian Banker Bankers Choice Awards 2019
*      Best Corporate Trade Finance Deal - YES BANK and Welspun Global Brands Ltd Paperless Export solution - The Asian Banker Bankers Choice Awards 2019

Yes Bank has been awarded the Best Trade Finance Bank in India for the fifth year in a row (2015-2019) for achieving significant growth in terms of business performance and a testimony to the Bank’s strategic focus on consistently delivering value- accretive Trade Finance solutions across its client base. The Bank has contributed significantly to India’s dynamic trade finance ecosystem and demonstrated strong ability to cater to large supply chain partners. Its innovations amongst private banks include propagating fully digitalized solutions include Seamless processing of cross border trade transactions, its adoption of the BOLERO platform on the electronic Bill of Lading (e-BL) processing and its use of DLT technology for Supply Chain Financing and cross border remittances.

YES BANK has been awarded the Best Financial Supply Chain Management in India for developing an integrated solution allowing DTDC Express to substantially reduce their Days Sales Outstanding (DSOs) from franchisees hereby providing positive impact to the working capital cycle besides streamlining their re-conciliation process.

YES BANK also bagged the Best Corporate Trade Finance Deal award for the unique first-of-its-kind digital solution involving end to end electronic presentation of export documents. The solution has enabled Welspun Global Brands Ltd to eliminate the need to exchange physical documentation, thereby reducing turnaround time from 10 days to real-time for all parties involved, while establishing a precedent for faster, secure, cost efficient settlement of cross-border trade, resulting in optimization of working capital.

Speaking about the awards, Mr. Asit Oberoi, Senior Group President & Global Head & Chief Experience Officer, Transaction Banking Group, YES BANK said “The prestigious recognitions from The Asian Banker, Media & Research house from Singapore, are the true testament of the Bank’s leadership in the Transaction Banking and Payments domain - backed by robust innovation and technology frameworks. I am also particularly pleased that this is also the 5th successive year where YES BANK’s expertise in this space has been recognized as the Best Trade Finance Bank in India. YES BANK is proud to be at the forefront of such innovations along with its clients like DTDC Express and Welspun Global Brands Ltd”

The Asian Banker Awards are widely acknowledged by the financial services industry as the highest possible accolade available to professionals and banks in the industry as recognized in the Asia Pacific region. A stringent three-month evaluation process based on a balanced and transparent scorecard had been used to determine the winners.

Earn JPMiles Across Airlines Worldwide with Jetprevilege's Air Reward Offering 'Select Flights'


JPMiles, the reward currency of JetPrivilege, has become even more compelling with the launch of a unique platform ‘Select Flights’. Members can now earn JPMiles across airlines worldwide to any destination, on any flight and for all seats booked on this platform.  JetPrivilege, the award-winning loyalty & rewards programme, part of the Etihad Aviation Group, has introduced the offering ‘Select Flights’, powered by EaseMyTrip.com, one of India’s leading online travel aggregator. Members can also book flights for their loved ones, family or friends, and earn JPMiles for their entire booking. 

Commenting on this development, Manish Dureja, Managing Director, Jet Privilege Private Limited said, “At JetPrivilege, it is our aim to maximise value for our members through our rewards currency. ‘Select Flights’ offers a fantastic opportunity for our members to accumulate JPMiles much faster and on the entire booking as well. We are certain that this innovation will amplify our ability to fulfil the aspirations of our members and enhance their overall experience. This is also a unique innovation in the industry and talks about our ability to continuously challenge the status quo as a leading loyalty programme in this region.”

As an exclusive offer, JetPrivilege is offering its members 1000 Bonus JPMiles on their first flight booking until 15th July, 2019 with ‘Select Flights’ via  www.jetprivilege.com.

Commenting upon this association, Nishant Pitti, CEO and Co-Founder, EaseMyTrip said, “Joining hands with JetPrivilege will make ensure that customers get the best value for their loyalty points. As a reliable travel agency of India, we are committed to fulfilling the hopes of our customers and offering them further opportunities to gain maximum value for their JPMiles. Loyalty and rewards allow travelers to enjoy additional benefits from choosing to fly. It gives us confidence that coming together with JetPrivilege will bring immense value for our customers and we would be able to expand our consumer-base.”

JPMiles will be credited only for air bookings which are not cancelled before travel and where the member has provided their JetPrivilege membership number at the time of the booking. The flight bookings on the websites www.jetprivilege.com, flights.jetprivilege.com and corresponding mobile websites are powered by EaseMyTrip ("EaseMyTrip") and are brought to you by Jet Privilege Private Limited.

JetPrivilege members can continue to redeem their JPMiles to fly free across airlines worldwide, any destination, any flight and any seat in India and globally through the `Select Flights’ platform.

Tablez Unveils First GO Sport Store at Forum Mall, Whitefeild


Tablez, a leading organised retail group, has opened the first GoSports outlet in Bengaluru today. GoSport, a French global sportswear now at Forum Shantiniketan Mall, The outlet was inaugurated by champion shuttler, Mr. Prakash Padukone. The Go Sports was launched successfully in India last month, with its first superstore in Mumbai.

The brand will host a multitude of sports brands under one roof making it the first Multi-Brand, Multi-discipline Sports Superstore for all sports enthusiasts of Bangalore. GO Sport is positioning itself as the only one stop organised sports retailer with a multitudeofconsumer-friendly power brands and private label brands. Spread over 12,000 sq. ft, the superstore will provide Bengaluru sporting enthusiasts an experience to remember. Tablez plans toexpand GOSport outlets to other metropolitan cities later this year.

On this special occasion, Mr. Adeeb Ahamed, Managing Director, Tablez said,“Tablez has time and again engaged with the aspirations of a young India and positioned itself as an identity, providing quality brands at great value. We are proud to have GO Sport join us on this journey and work with great zeal and intensity to be a game changer in the sporting retail industry.”

Tata Motors Unveils the New ‘ULTRA’ Business Utility Vehicle in Vietnam


Tata Motors, one of the world’s leading automobile brands and India’s No.1 automobile company, today officially launched its next-generation range of ULTRA Business Utility Vehicles (BUV), specially designed to meet the changing customer needs in the light commercial vehicle segment. It’s a BUV offering an SUV like comfort with a truck like performance and the profitability of a Light Commercial Vehicle.

This range comes with superior performance, a comfortable world-class cabin, heavy-duty aggregates and multiple load-body configurations, offering customers the advantage of increased productivity and longer life. It will cater to payloads ranging from 4 to 11 tonnes with engine capacities from 85 HP to 180 HP.

Be it for large captive users, transporters or owner-drivers, the Tata ULTRA offers the lowest overall cost of ownership, superior safety, unique style and offers multiple features, setting new performance benchmarks in the light commercial vehicle segment.

Commenting on the launch, Mr. Girish Wagh, President - Commercial Vehicles, Tata Motors said “The Tata Ultra Business Utility vehicle is a result of extensive feedback from customers and an immersive study into the lives of drivers to better understand their expectations, and is thereby designed to fast-track their businesses with superior all-round performance.  Tata Motors is committed to shaping the industry here in Vietnam, with the latest global technologies, giving the Vietnamese customer competitive business advantages with the trusted credentials of the Tata Motors brand.”

Mr. Bui Van Huu Chairman, TMT Group said, “Having successfully launched Tata Super ace in Vietnam, we hope to repeat the same success with the Tata ULTRA. We are very excited and we hope to consolidate our position in the light-duty commercial vehicle space here in Vietnam with the Tata Ultra. TMT Motors aims to become a market leader in Vietnam CV market with Tata Motors products.”

ULTRA PERFORMANCE, ULTRA COMFORT SAFETY & STYLE, & Ultra Profitability

The ULTRA offers faster turnaround time and enhanced profitability for any goods carrying business, making it an ideal work horse for movement of materials across distances.

Ultra Performance: The driveline of Tata ULTRA 814 launched today has Tata’s proven engine technology – TATA NEW GENERATION 3L COMMON RAIL ENGINE Euro 4, with an output of 140 HP, designed to ensure maximum uptime and reducing maintenance costs. A new-generation transmission with aluminium casing – the G-550 six-speed gear-box comes with overdrive, cable-shift mechanism (a first-of-its-kind in its segment in Vietnam) and axle technology and reduced weight, offering superior performance and greater fuel efficiency for varied payloads. The straight frame modular chassis available in 3920 mm can be customized for multi-purpose loads providing you with flexibility for your business and a versatility to adapt to multiple applications. It has a factory fitted heating, ventilation and Air conditioning system.

Ultra Comfort & Style: Besides the mechanics of the vehicle, the uniqueness of the Tata ULTRA is that its cockpit is both functional and attractive. Designed by a leading European design house, Bertone, the walkthrough cabin with a width of 2.2m is best in class offering comfort, safety and style. Three way adjustable mechanically suspended seats enhance driver comfort, the ergonomically designed dash mounted gear lever reduces driver fatigue; panoramic windscreen offers better line of sight and the ample storage space, HVAC and music system are additional features. The smartly designed instrument cluster offers features like fuel economy indicator, ideal gearshift indicator, water in-Fuel Indicator, etc. The vehicle also offers the provisions for the fitment of various accessories including Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking for tracking the vehicles, etc.

Ultra Safety: The Ultra meets Europe’s top safety norms and is equipped with a full air brake system, ABS and power steering that facilitates improved driver control and precision. The clear lens headlamps, LED integrated tail lamps offer superior visibility. The trucks get 3 years or 2 hundred thousand kms driveline warranty – whichever is earlier – and come in 3 colours – Arctic White, Arizona Blue and Sardinia Red. The TATA Ultra 814 is built for Vietnam conditions, which means it will surpass user expectations. Exceptional total cost of ownership and running costs, unique styling, best in class comfort and versatility makes Ultra the perfect BUV.

Tata Super Ace Euro IV
Also on display is the new Tata Super Ace EIV version, the 1 ton mini-truck, launched first in 2016.  Since then, it has been a preferred choice for last-mile transportation and has created entrepreneurship across Vietnam in the last 2 years, with a choice of Driving one’s own life.   Super Ace EIV is equipped with a powerful 4 cylinder TCIC DICOR engine for faster trips and low turnaround time. It comes with a technologically superior DICOR engine for excellent mileage of 5.6 Litre/100 Km (ARAI certified) & lower emissions. A higher torque output of 140 Nm provides better acceleration, less engine wear and better fuel consumption in laden condition.

Toyota Kirloskar Motor Forays into Premium Hatchback Segment with Toyota Glanza

Key Highlights

-      The newest premium hatchback with a suite of intuitive features and sophisticated  design that come together with unmatched comfort
-      The name Glanza is derived from a German word which means Brilliancy/ Radiance/ Sparkle.
-      Equipped with a powerful yet fuel e­fficient K-series Petrol engines to deliver superior driving experience with exceptional power and low-end torque with the choice of seamless CVT/MT transmission. All variants of Glanza are BS VI compliant
-      Catering to the younger generation of car owners, the new Toyota Glanza comes with LED Projector Headlamps with DRL, UV Protect Glass, Electric Fold ORVMs with Auto Fold Function, Electro-chromic IRVM Adjustable light intensity, ensuring safer drive.
-      Safety continues to be a top priority with Total Eff­ective Control Technology Body (TECT) –effectively absorbs and disperses crash energy ensuring increased safety for all occupants, Dual Front SRS Airbags, ABS with EBD & BA
-      Glanza comes with plush and comfortable cabin which is ergonomically designed, well crafted & thoughtfully featured
-      The new Toyota Glanza comes loaded with enhanced technology and new-age features like Touchscreen Audio with Android Auto & Apple Car Play and Smart Phone based Navigation, Interactive TFT Multi Info Display, Reverse Parking Camera
-      Superior warranty for complete piece of mind with standard 3 years/100K Km extended upto 5 year/220K kms
-      Comes with 5 exciting exterior colors – Café White, Sportin Red, Insta Blue, Gaming Grey, Enticing Silver
-      The special introductory price ranges from Rs 721,900 to Rs 890,200 (Ex Showroom Delhi)

Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) today marked its entry into premium hatchback segment with the official launch of Toyota Glanza.  Designed to cater to the needs of the youth car owners, this newest premium hatchback is sophisticated with a suite of intuitive features and intelligent design that come together with unmatched comfort and safety.

The name Glanza is derived from a German word which means Brilliancy/ Radiance/ Sparkle. True to its name, this new hatchback is specially designed keeping the youth customer in mind “who likes to outshine in the society”.  The new Toyota Glanza is just as stylish on the inside as it is on the outside. Plush and comfy Ergonomic Design, swanky
one-of-a-kind Dual-Tone interiors, and irresistible Smoke Silver accents blend perfectly to create a cabin that’s truly a class apart.

Equipped with a powerful yet fuel efficient K-series petrol engines to deliver superior driving experience with exceptional power and low-end torque with seamless CVT/MT transmission, this latest offering from Toyota comes with BS-VI compliant engines. In order to further enhance customer delight, the company is offering superior warranty of 3year/100K Kms & extended upto 5year/220K Kms along with the ‘Toyota ownership’ experience, Q-Service app utilization and Toyota Connect facilities, apart from attractive finance schemes.

Present at the launch Mr. Masakazu Yoshimura, Managing Director, Toyota Kirloskar Motor said, “ The Automotive Ecosystem is witnessing a transition with rise in income levels, increased awareness about products & services, rapidly evolving customer requirements, new technologies and innovation, changing mobility infrastructure.

Customers are the center point and we have to constantly upgrade and innovate to cater to the changing aspirations. "To put a smile on our customers' faces" We will continue to create mobility that is valued and cherished.

In a dynamic market like India, it will be our constant endeavor to offer a range of options to our customers whose choices are governed by their mobility needs and expectations from the brand. Our endeavor is not just to sell volumes and chase numbers. We believe in sustainable growth. Our key focus has been to deliver world-class premium services to achieve customer delight.”

Speaking on the new offering, Mr. N. Raja, Deputy Managing Director, Toyota Kirloskar Motor said, “We are happy to announce our entry into the premium hatchback segment to cater to the growing demands of our existing and prospective customers. At Toyota, we truly believe in ‘Customer First’ philosophy, constantly striving to evaluate the evolving customer expectations & dynamics of the market. With the fast growth of the Indian economy, customer lifestyles have evolved due to higher disposable incomes. The market potential is expanding with the growing aspirations of the Indian middle class, especially in the non-metros. We have been capturing customer voice at all touch points to give them what he or she wants. Our key focus is to offer ‘Best in Town’ customer experience by improving customer convenience ensuring even better sales and after sales services satisfaction. We are confident Glanza backed by Toyota’s unique sales and service efficiency will create a new benchmark in the industry in customer delight.

We would like to thank our valued customers for their loyalty through the years and we hope that they will extend their appreciation to this new product also.”

Happily Unmarried Launches Ustraa Beard Trimmers Across India

Happily Unmarried has launched beard trimmers under the brand name Ustraa. Ustraa currently has a range of men's grooming products in beard growth and grooming categories such as beard softeners, mooch and beard oil, beard wash etc., Ustraa products adhere to the highest quality standards, and are made without using Sulphate, Paraben or harmful chemicals.

Ustraa beard trimmers comes in two varieties, Ustraa Chrome and Ustraa Black. Both run on Lithium ion battery, Titanium-coated, T-Shape blades that cover 15% more trimming area, Four Precision Trim settings that can go as low as 0-4mm and a two-year warranty. Ustraa Chrome is priced at Rs. 2499/- and Ustraa Black is priced at Rs. 1899/-

Commenting about the launch, Rajat Tuli, Co-founder, Happily Unmarried Private Limited, said, “After helping Indian men grow beards and becoming the market leader in the Beard Growth & Grooming category, Ustraa is now launching its own range of Beard Trimmers to help them maintain & groom it better. There’s a gap in the market in terms of the expectations of the new age customer and the quality of trimmers that are currently available in the market. With our new range of Beard Trimmers, Ustraa now hopes to bring the same promise of world class quality and no compromise attitude to this category.”

The Beard Timmers completes the beard portfolio Ustraa has. It is now on its way to be a complete men’s grooming brand.

LogMeIn Launches AI-Powered Bold360 Suite to Enriches Interaction


Today, LogMeIn introduced the new Bold360 family of products, enabling businesses around the world to create next-level CX wherever the customer needs it most. Bold360 Advise and Acquire join the flagship Bold360 Customer engagement platform to deliver purpose-built AI-powered solutions that help organizations deliver impactful customer experiences from the very first engagement throughout the customer lifecycle.

“Customer experience isn’t just about post-sale support,” said Paddy Srinivasan, General Manager, Customer Engagement & Support Solutions at LogMeIn. “Companies have an opportunity to make a lasting impression at every point in the customer journey.  We’re expanding Bold360 to deliver the technologies needed to humanize every interaction and create a seamless experience across channels – both digital and physical.  This new suite of solutions helps bring the best of AI powered bots and live agents to all the places customers need it most.”

The new Bold360 offers more streamlined integration between proactive sales, customer service and agent assistance, extending the impact of AI from the web and call center through to the front lines so both customers and employees are better supported whether online or in-person.   The new suite includes:

Bold360 Service

Bold360 Service allows companies to support every customer in the channel of their choice – live chat, messaging, email, SMS, social and a conversational chatbot.  From AI-powered self-service that drives improved operational efficiency and faster resolutions to personalized engagements with human agents that builds deeper customer relationships -- Bold360 Service offers the best of AI and agent technology in one solution.

Bold360 Advise

Bold360 Advise empowers all customer-facing employees including care representatives, in store and field teams to make the best decisions for their individual customers by making centralized information accessible to everyone.  It removes the friction associated with finding and leveraging job-critical information so employees can spend more time focusing on the customer and delivering a truly personalized and consistent customer experience.

Bold360 Acquire (Coming Soon)

With Bold360 Acquire, conversational chatbots proactively guide website visitors through personalized shopping experiences, accelerating product selection and answering buyer questions in real-time. By developing personalized experiences from the start and facilitating the purchase process with product discovery and education, Bold360 Acquire helps companies leverage AI to accelerate growth by increasing conversion and decreasing cart abandonment.

The updated Bold360 empowers companies to provide the customer experience of the future today. Whether it’s empowering front-line employees, helping customers seamlessly move through the sales cycle or helping customers answer questions in near real-time, the Bold360 family puts AI at work so human intelligence can reach new heights.

“There is no shortage of data in our digital world, and customers and employees alike often feel overwhelmed by the information available when making decisions,” says customer XX. “In this environment, a personal touch is one of our most important differentiators. Whether it’s the very first interaction or ongoing support, Bold360 helps us deliver amazing self-service for simple requests and arms our employees to better and more quickly manage more complicated inquiries. It allows us to work smarter to assist our customers wherever they are, rather than harder.”

Indian IT Services: BFS Spends; Expect Volatility to Continue


Our analysis of earnings call commentaries of select US and European BFS companies indicates—(1) many BFS clients budgeted for a weak March 2019, which showed in performance of IT services firms, (2) large BFS firms expect a better business environment from April but the external environment has turned for the worse in the past few weeks and (3) overall tech spending growth will be lower than last year with additional investments funded by higher cost take-outs. Above trends correlate with the BFS commentary of IT services companies. We expect BFS to be volatile in the near term.

BFS companies had a tough start to CY2019; outlook has improved although risks remain

BFS companies in general, both in the US and in Europe, had a soft outlook for the business environment at the beginning of 2019. Increase in trade war-related concerns, uncertainty around central bank policy and interest rates, expectations of shutdown of the US government, Brexit-related uncertainty and volatility in the equity markets in December led to expectations of subdued economic activities in the ensuing months. Firms reported that although conditions were tough in January and February, the situation eased out from March leading to an improved outlook from April. The capital markets segment in particular picked up pace with better AUM flows, uptick in equity markets and improved deal activity. On balance, companies expect a more conducive environment for growth in the coming months. Key risks to outlook as reported by companies include slowdown in economic growth, escalation of trade tensions, lowering of interest rates and volatility in equity markets. The Brexit overhang is an additional risk for European firms. The escalation of trade wars in the past few weeks and the Brexit overhang can continue to weaken the modest optimism of April 2019.

Cautious outlook of BFS firms is in sharp contrast to upbeat expectations a year back

We note that BFS firms provided a radically different commentary on growth outlook at a similar period in the previous year. Companies were in an exuberant mood given a rising interest rate environment in the US. Global economic growth was strong. Corporate and investor confidence was high. Also there was little or no concern over trade wars. BFS firms increased or planned to increase investments in discretionary programs such as customer experience, data and analytics, digital platforms and mobile applications to support growth. Companies did point out that efficiencies from the run part of the business fuelled a good part of these investments. But the commentary on expense management seemed more of an afterthought, as firms were focused on capturing growth opportunities in what appeared to be a booming business environment.

Focus on expense management in light of uncertainty could have impacted tech spends

We believe that BFS companies on an average placed greater priority on cost management initiatives at the start of CY2019 as revenue visibility was low in an uncertain environment. The following extract from Morgan Stanley’s earnings call commentary aptly summarizes the sentiment of several BFS firms at the beginning of 2019.

“The fourth quarter turned out to be disappointing from a revenue perspective. We could see the decline coming. We didn't know how that turnaround would happen. The shutdown appeared imminent and then actually happened. The trade wars were heating up, it was taking down sentiments. So there was a lot of negativity building through the end of the year. And around September, October, we started taking a hard look at expenses, because you can't change the expenses once you're in the middle of the quarter. It just – it doesn't work. I mean, there's very little pure discretionary stuff you can just stop. You can stop people traveling around – going to client stuff and some, that'll save you a few million bucks. But if you are going to make a real move, you've got to be quite strategic about it.”

We believe that such planned cost-cutting measures by BFS firms could have impacted technology spends, impacting revenues of IT services companies in the March quarter. Some firms such as BoA and SunTrust reported pullback in discretionary spending on technology to cut costs. Such spends can get back on track as suggested in the earnings call extracts below

“…..(expenses were) partially offset by the timing of some tech initiative spend and marketing costs, which combined were kind of down about $200 million quarter-over-quarter. But we expect both of those to be up for the full year, as we continue to invest…”

“….(expenses were) partially offset by lower contract labor and programming cost, which is generally a function of timing and is therefore somewhat temporary.”

Companies also seem to have placed a greater emphasis on their previously planned cost-saving programs. Some companies indicated expansion in scope of such programs while some indicated acceleration in meeting savings-related goals. We note that efficiencies from automation, process optimization, etc. are components of such cost-saving programs. This could have entailed greater pressure on outsourcing companies to deliver higher productivity-related savings. We provide below extracts from commentary of State Street and Key Corp in this regard

“Given the challenging operating environment this past January, we announced an even more ambitious $350 million cost program for 2019, targeting 4% productivity savings driven by resource discipline, as well as process re-engineering and automation.”

“….(we) executed on half of our plans to reach our annual run rate target of $200 million in cost savings this year. And we expect the remaining savings to slide in by mid-year…optimized many of the support functions, implemented vendor related saving throughout the organization in a right size, the middle and back office functions…”

Shift to low-cost locations can be a key lever to manage costs for BFS firms

Some BFS firms indicated greater shift to low-cost locations to manage costs. For example, Goldman Sachs reported efforts to cut costs by migrating work to locations such as Bengaluru, Warsaw and Dallas. BNP Paribas reported transfer of some of its support functions to Arizona, a low-cost state, to control costs. In Europe, Nordea continued nearshoring to Poland and Baltics. Outsourcing can be another lever to control costs. Franklin Resources, for example, in its commentary on cost-saving initiatives referred to a possible outsourcing contract in 2020 for funds administration. The firm pointed out that increased scale of global providers and their ability to manage processes on a cost-efficient basis were key reasons for the decision to outsource.

Muted outlook for technology budgets with mix shift in favor of change-the-business

We believe that growth in technology budgets of BFS companies would be lower than 2018. Companies have indicated shift in spends from run-the-business to change-the-business initiatives. For example, JP Morgan reported that the run/change mix shift has changed to 50/50 in 2019 from 60/40 earlier. Firms have increased the pace of investments in digital platforms, mobile applications, data and analytics, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, blockchain, etc. At the same time these investments continue to be funded by higher cost-take outs from existing IT operations through programs such as automation and cloud migration leading to flattish technology budgets overall. In our view, IT services companies with portfolio of business aligned to change-the-business initiatives can benefit when BFS firms outsource some of these spends to technology partners. On the other hand, we expect companies, which are incumbents in run-the-business spends, to face increased pressure from cost take-outs. The caveat though is that change-the-business spends have higher discretionary component and hence can be impacted/delayed in times of uncertainty. Credit Suisse, for example, puts this across as follows,“….we remain very focused on delivering consistent productivity savings across the bank and reinvesting that surplus on a measured basis depending on our assessment of economic and market conditions….”

BFS commentary of IT services companies broadly in line with our findings

Overall BFS performance of IT services companies was poor in the March quarter. CTSH was affected by continued weakness in a couple of large clients and softness in spending in a few regional banks in North America while weakness in a couple of clients in the capital markets segment dragged down performance of HCLT. LTI and Virtusa were affected by budget restructuring in Citi. Companies were also cautious in their outlook for the vertical. CTSH expected weakness in BFSI to continue in CY2019E – “We are seeing some cautiousness in the banking sector around levels of spend in the second half of the year with the moderating outlook for growth in their business.”  TCS expected weakness in a couple of large clients, especially in the capital markets segment in Europe but was confident of strong growth in the vertical. Infosys and Wipro indicated slowdown in spending of banks affected by M&A activity and leadership changes. Both the companies were confident of good growth in the vertical in FY2020E although for Wipro, growth will moderate compared to FY2019. LTI and Virtusa expected spending in Citi to normalize from 2QFY20. Hexaware gave a weak outlook for CY2020E – “We're seeing higher gestation periods for decision making. So we do expect that kind of a view to continue a little bit of wait and watch in BFS and it is slightly weaker now than we anticipated at the beginning of the year.”

We believe that BFS underperformance could be explained by reduction/delay in discretionary spends and/or increase in intensity of cost take-outs by BFS firms as discussed earlier in the note. M&A activity in a few banks such as SunTrust and BB&T could have also impacted spending. Cautious outlook of IT services companies for BFS ties in with similar outlook of BFS companies themselves.

We expect volatility in technology spends of BFS companies

Given the uncertainties in the macro environment and volatility in equity markets, we expect cautious outlook for the vertical to continue in the near term. Technology spends depend on budgetary decisions, which in turn depend on outlook of the revenue environment. In this regard, we expect technology spends of BFS firms to be volatile in the near term.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Manipal Hospital Malleshwaram Performs Path Breaking Surgery to give Life to 3-Month-Old Baby


Manipal Hospital Malleshwaram conducted a lifesaving surgery to give new lease of life to 3-month-old baby Vaishnavi, who was suffering from a rare medical condition at birth known as “Brachial plexus birth palsy”. The baby had a paralysed left upper limb and shoulder that completely restricted her movement. Dr. Bharat Kadadi, Consultant & specialist, hand, wrist and microvascular surgeon, Manipal Hospital Malleshwaram and his team performed an intense surgery that went on for 5 long hours to save the child.

The story of Vaishnavi is extremely heartwarming and as the parents were not having any hope of the arm being restored normally. They had lost all hopes and had reconciled to their fate, as they did not get any positive results from any of the doctors / hospitals. Parents noticed the discomfort after a few days post her birth and therefore became anxious when the baby was unable to move her left limb and shoulder. Dr. Bharat Kadadi investigated the case and reassured them the same could be cured through a surgery called repair and reconstruction of brachial plexus by a microsurgical technique, which involves joining the injured nerves at the neck. The same was performed successfully and the baby has recovered completely.

Sharing details on the surgery Dr. Bharat Kadadi, Consultant & specialist, hand, wrist and microvascular surgeon, Manipal Hospital Malleshwaram said, “ The plexus of nerves connecting the neck to the upper limb is called brachial plexus. It is responsible for the function of upper limb like movements of shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand. They can get stretched or injured during the process of childbirth leading to partial or complete paralysis of upper limb .This commonly occurs in big babies. There is lack of awareness and some of the symptoms that can be immediately spotted after the birth are no movement of the upper arm or hand, decreased hand grip/movements  on the affected side and Arm flexed (bent) at elbow and held against body. Investigations like X ray and MRI scan will help to further aid in  the diagnosis .The child recovered well post-surgery and after few physio therapy sessions she is leading a normal life“

Speaking on the occasion Mr. Pramod Kunder, Unit Head, Manipal Hospital Malleshwaram said, “ We constantly endeavour to provide the best treatment for our patrons. The case was extremely rare and I congratulate Dr. Bharat and team for their excellence and dedication. We are committed to offering world class treatments which is possible due to competent pool of doctors and specialists at Manipal.”

The incidence is as common as 1 -2 per 1000 live births. Children with deformities of shoulder and elbow presenting late between 1 and 10 year can also be treated by a procedure called contracture release and muscle transfer. Physiotherapy before and after surgery is a must for these tiny tots to ensure good return of function of the hand and  upper limb. Lack of awareness in the society is the reason for seeking delay in treatment delay in seeking the correct treatment leads to fixed contractures of joints leading poor function of the hand.

Centuary Mattresses Commissions 240 KW System Solar Plant at its Manufacturing Unit


In its endeavor to champion sustainability, Centuary Mattresses has announced the successful commissioning of 240 KW solar system installation at its Kazipally Plant. Freyr Energy, one of India’s prominent full-service solar providers, was the preferred partner for this implementation.

While Centuary’s business operations grew and production of mattresses accelerated, the company wanted to make sure that it functions as a responsible business. Thus, they started to scout for solutions that would not only help their plant run effectively but also make them eco-friendly. After assessing a few options, they considered Solar for energy generation which would be a game changer. Professionalism, absolute focus on quality, and being upfront about all costs made them choose Freyr Energy as their solar partner.

After carefully analyzing the energy requirement, costs, savings involved and while keeping the safety risk at minimum, Freyr Energy had commissioned a pilot project of 25KW at Centuary’s Kazipally plant. Subsequent to the successful trial run, an additional 215kW solar power plant was installed in March 2019. With this installation, Centuary is expected to eliminate approximately 329 tons of greenhouse emissions which would be an equivalent of plant 3,750 trees annually. During the first year, the solar plant at Centuary would generate around 3.80 lakh kWh of clean power.

On moving towards green energy, Mr. Uttam Malani, Executive Director, Centuary Mattresses said,

“Renewable content is integral to our Business model – whether be its products we make or the way we operate. Centuary has for decades championed use of natural materials such as coir for sleep solutions and has consciously taken this step into renewable energy to further its sustainability quotient. I am positive about the wise choice we have made by partnering with Freyr Energy and look forward to installing solar panels at our other plants too”.

Commenting on the successful accomplishment, Mr. Saurabh Marda, Managing Director, Freyr Energy said, “We value Centuary Mattresses as an esteemed customer and applaud them for engaging with renewable energy for their energy requirements. We look forward to a long-term relationship where we continue to provide solar as a way to continually balance their energy needs in a sustainable way”.

LogMeIn Debuts Expanded Bold360 AI-Powered Customer Engagement Suite


Today, LogMeIn introduced the new Bold360 family of products, enabling businesses around the world to create next-level CX wherever the customer needs it most. Bold360 Advise and Acquire join the flagship Bold360 Customer engagement platform to deliver purpose-built AI-powered solutions that help organizations deliver impactful customer experiences from the very first engagement throughout the customer lifecycle.

 “Customer experience isn’t just about post-sale support,” said Paddy Srinivasan, General Manager, Customer Engagement & Support Solutions at LogMeIn. “Companies have an opportunity to make a lasting impression at every point in the customer journey.  We’re expanding Bold360 to deliver the technologies needed to humanize every interaction and create a seamless experience across channels – both digital and physical.  This new suite of solutions helps bring the best of AI powered bots and live agents to all the places customers need it most.”

The new Bold360 offers more streamlined integration between proactive sales, customer service and agent assistance, extending the impact of AI from the web and call center through to the front lines so both customers and employees are better supported whether online or in-person.   The new suite includes:

Bold360 Service

Bold360 Service allows companies to support every customer in the channel of their choice – live chat, messaging, email, SMS, social and a conversational chatbot.  From AI-powered self-service that drives improved operational efficiency and faster resolutions to personalized engagements with human agents that builds deeper customer relationships -- Bold360 Service offers the best of AI and agent technology in one solution.

Bold360 Advise

Bold360 Advise empowers all customer-facing employees including care representatives, in store and field teams to make the best decisions for their individual customers by making centralized information accessible to everyone.  It removes the friction associated with finding and leveraging job-critical information so employees can spend more time focusing on the customer and delivering a truly personalized and consistent customer experience.

Bold360 Acquire (Coming Soon)

With Bold360 Acquire, conversational chatbots proactively guide website visitors through personalized shopping experiences, accelerating product selection and answering buyer questions in real-time. By developing personalized experiences from the start and facilitating the purchase process with product discovery and education, Bold360 Acquire helps companies leverage AI to accelerate growth by increasing conversion and decreasing cart abandonment.

The updated Bold360 empowers companies to provide the customer experience of the future today. Whether it’s empowering front-line employees, helping customers seamlessly move through the sales cycle or helping customers answer questions in near real-time, the Bold360 family puts AI at work so human intelligence can reach new heights.

“There is no shortage of data in our digital world, and customers and employees alike often feel overwhelmed by the information available when making decisions,” says customer XX. “In this environment, a personal touch is one of our most important differentiators. Whether it’s the very first interaction or ongoing support, Bold360 helps us deliver amazing self-service for simple requests and arms our employees to better and more quickly manage more complicated inquiries. It allows us to work smarter to assist our customers wherever they are, rather than harder.”

Equitas Small Finance Bank Distributes Plant Saplings as Part of ‘World Environment Day’ Campaign


Equitas Small Finance Bank, the new age bank that gives children, youth, families and business people across India a new and fun way to bank, organized plant sapling distribution campaign on the occasion of ‘World Environment Day’ across all its branches in India.

The campaign was initiated to create awareness on preserving the environment and encourage the customers to plant for a better future. 9 branches of the bank spread across Karnataka participated in the campaign and over 900 native plant saplings were distributed free of cost to the customers.

The main objective of this campaign is to involve the customers directly in the campaign so that the green pockets of the cities could be enhanced, in addition to spreading awareness about the importance and impact of trees on human life. Equitas Small Finance Bank aims to make the country a better place to live and ensures to initiate the process of replenishing our natural resources. The campaign intends to contribute for a greener environment by spreading the importance of planting today to save for a better tomorrow.

Adani Solar Top PVEL Performer for Second Consecutive Year


Mundra Solar PV Limited (Adani Solar) received the Top Performer title for the second consecutive year for its high efficiency products by PVEL – the world’s largest resource of independent energy experts.

PVEL published its fifth annual PV Module Reliability Scorecard report, the most comprehensive publicly available comparison of PV module reliability test results. Results of the 2019 PV Module Product Qualification Program has rated Adani Solar for its high efficient products that passed rigorous tests for quality checks.

For 2019, global Solar Installations is expected to cross the 120 GW mark. Growth in increased installations are driven by higher efficiency PV modules with new materials projecting higher returns and lower LCOE (Levelised cost of energy). The new high efficiency PV modules such as PERC and PERT Technologies do not come with significant track records and hence a reliability and durability testing demonstrating the lifetime warranty of the modules and its technology is vital.

The annual PV Module Reliability Scorecard reports the results of PVEL's PV Module Product Qualification Program (PQP).  Adani Solar has a capacity of 1.2 GW with a mix of Multi, Mono-PERC, Bifacial PV Modules and has its factory located in Mundra SEZ, Gujarat, India. It is noteworthy that Adani Solar is the only Indian BNEF Tier-1 Manufacturer with an in-house cell and Module capacity with a top performer award at PVEL PQP Program.

Ramesh Nair, Chief Executive Officer of Mundra Solar PV Limited (Adani Solar) commented, “PVEL's PV Module Reliability Scorecard is an invaluable tool that developers and lender’s engineers use to ensure that projects are built with reliable and durable products that would perform as expected. We at Adani Solar will continue to allocate more resources towards innovating new and high efficiency solar technologies and their application to the market. We will continue to provide the most reliable and high efficiency products through stringent test procedures for material selection and continual in-house Reliability Tests, which have also enabled us to create benchmarks for ourselves.”

He further stated “Developers and investors should always be aware that not all manufacturers have their modules tested for quality and reliability. Procuring unevaluated modules could have major ramifications for their projects. Adani Solar is a committed manufacturer, with state of the art facility with best industry practices ensuring superior performance and reliability of its products”.

Bengaluru Rates Dell As the Most Trusted Brand Across India



Dell has been rated the most trusted brand in Bengaluru by TRA's Most Trusted Brands Report, 2019, which has listed the country's most trusted 1,000 brands based on a primary study with consumer influencers.

The 2nd most trusted brand is Amazon (All-India rank 4th) followed by Tanishq at 3rd. Titan, ranked 4th in the city (All-India rank 39th) is also a leader in the Category of Watches. The report has seven brands from the Super Category of Internet; 3 each from apparels, personal accessories and technology that make it to the list.

N Chandramouli, CEO, TRA Research said, "The internet-tech scenario and the entrepreneurial spirit in Bengaluru are booming. An evident shift can be seen from software-factory model to a startup mindset. To remain competitive in today’s economic landscape, brands have to keep innovating and nurture trust-relationships with its customers. Bengaluru remains ahead in this and can be evidently seen in the national listing in TRA’s Brand Trust Report 2019."

Dell is followed by Jeep in second position, which also becomes the Most Trusted Automobile Brand of India this year. LIC and Amazon are ranked 3rd and 4th and Apple iPhone is India’s 5th Most Trusted Brand.

The consistent brands from Bengaluru include Foodpanda (up 516 ranks from last year), Swiggy (up by 440 ranks), Big Basket (up 290 ranks), Bharti Axa (up 245 ranks), Café Coffee Day (up 119 ranks), and Canara Bank (up 119 ranks).

Seven brands from the city lost Brand Trust ranks with Wrangler leading the fall with 639 ranks down from last year, BPL down 526 ranks, Myntra eroding 289 ranks and Wipro slipping 219 ranks.

The study covered 2,315 consumer-influencers across 16 cities in India. Indian Statistical Institute is TRA’s statistical partner for the research.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Razorpay Powers Cross-Border Trade for Indian Businesses, Launches Digital Payment Support for 100 Currencies



Razorpay, India’s first converged payments solution company, today announced that it now supports 100 currencies for international digital payments - including all popular currencies such as U.S. Dollar (USD), European Dollar (EUR), British Pound (GBP), Arab Emirates Dirham (AED) and Singapore Dollar (SGD). With this offering, the company aims to open new growth avenues for the MSME segment, by enabling them to accept payments from other countries.

For the longest time, businesses in India have been losing out on potential customers and partner businesses due to the inability to accept payments from other countries. However, the past few years have witnessed a range of changes in global trade paradigms, unveiling new emerging markets and channels for global business expansion. During April-February 2018-19, the Indian goods exports grew by 8.85 per cent to $298.47 billion. This depicts how the cross border e-commerce will only see an upward spike through the next five years. Enabling businesses with support for international transactions will play a key role.

Razorpay’s International payments is integrated across the entire range of its product offering including Payment Gateway, Payment Links, Payment Pages, Subscriptions and Invoices. The International Payments capability on the Razorpay platform will help businesses with:

-          accepting payments through cards issued by foreign banks
-          instant payment gateway integration and activation
-          currency conversion

Shashank Kumar, CTO & Co-founder, Razorpay said, “India’s position in global trade has seen a significant shift over the last 5 years, evolving both in product mix and destination markets. Today, with the rising digital influence on consumers globally, online as a channel for trade is witnessing an enormous growth. On the flip side, businesses often report issues about unpaid international invoices and time taken for international transactions. With the launch of support for international payments, we will be able to help businesses tackle these issues quickly, and make payment acceptance for cross-border e-commerce seamless, thereby helping SMEs & MSMEs access a larger pool of consumers across the world.”

India’s rising prominence in the global export markets coupled with growing international opportunities offer scope for Indian players to expand internationally in travel, brands, real estate, SaaS, media and entertainment, among many other verticals. Razorpay through this offering aims at transforming the way businesses find and retain their customers, and make the transaction experience seamless.

The company has been charting an exponential growth since its inception. Razorpay currently powers digital payments for over 2,00,000 small and large businesses, including Airtel, BookMyShow, IRCTC, Aditya Birla Capital, NSE, among others. Razorpay has clocked in a healthy growth rate of 15-20% month-on-month on the merchant count and is geared up to increase this to 3,50,000 this year. This converged payments solution company expects a 5x growth in its revenue by the end of the next fiscal year.

Half of Consumers Would Pay More for Sustainable Products Designed to Be Reused or Recycled: Accenture Survey


More than half of consumers said they would pay more for sustainable products designed to be reused or recycled, according to results of a survey from Accenture (NYSE: ACN).

The survey of 6,000 consumers in 11 countries across North America, Europe and Asia, results of which were previewed at the American Chemistry Council (ACC) Annual Meeting today, found that while consumers remain primarily focused on quality and price, 83% believe it’s important or extremely important for companies to design products that are meant to be reused or recycled. Nearly three-quarters (72%) of respondents said they’re currently buying more environmentally friendly products than they were five years ago, and 81% said they expect to buy more over the next five years.

“The shift in consumer buying, with more consumers willing to pay extra for environmentally friendly products, reinforces the need for companies to increase their commitments to responsible business practices,” said Jessica Long, a managing director in Accenture Strategy. “Companies across industries have started to lead with purpose, including embracing the circular economy as a greater opportunity to drive growth and competitive agility.”

Unsurprisingly, quality and price led consumers’ considerations when making purchases, cited by 89% and 84% of respondents, respectively, compared with 49% who cited health and safety considerations and 37% who cited environmental impact.

The survey findings also indicate that consumers believe that the chemical industry — which plays a key role in driving recycled and reusable technologies and materials — lacks concern about its environmental impact. Specifically, one in four consumers (26%) said they believe that the chemical industry is the least concerned of nine industries included in the survey about its impact on the environment.

Consumers also ranked chemical companies the lowest among industries for the reliability of communications regarding the environmental impact of their products and services, with 72% not very confident or not confident at all in these communications.

“While some of the survey results are encouraging, there are also implications for chemical companies, including the need to overcome negative consumer sentiment and to produce sustainable materials at a competitive price,” said Rachael Bartels, a senior managing director at Accenture who leads its chemicals and natural resources practice. “The chemical industry is a critical enabler to the circular economy and can speed up its adoption, and the reality is the industry must get in front of this now, or risk being left behind.”

In other survey findings, plastics was perceived to be the least environmentally friendly type of packaging, cited by more than three-fourths (77%) of consumers, with paper products perceived to be the most environmentally friendly, cited by 55% of respondents.

Resolving these and other challenges could help chemical companies fuel growth. For instance, the ACC estimates that a circular economy for plastics could add 38,500 jobs and billions of dollars to the U.S. economy by expanding the use of pyrolysis and other advanced plastic recycling technologies. Chemical companies have an opportunity to catalyze and capture a significant share of the US$4.5 trillion in opportunity presented by a move to a circular economy, according to circular economy research from Accenture Strategy. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

A.M. Naik-Founded Nirali Memorial Medical Trust to Set Up First Multispecialty Hospital at Navsari


Nirali Memorial Medical Trust (NMMT), established by Mr. A.M. Naik, Group Chairman of Larsen & Toubro, will set up a Multispecialty Hospital at Navsari in Gujarat. The Multispecialty Hospital will be operated and managed by Apollo Hospitals Group. The agreement to this effect was signed by Mr Naik and Dr Prathap C Reddy, Chairman, Apollo Hospitals Group.

Named in the memory of Nirali, granddaughter of Naik who passed away due to cancer at the age of two, NMMT was set up by Mr Naik and family to help needy patients without access to quality medical treatment.

NMMT, a public charitable trust founded by Mr. Naik to carry out philanthropic activities in medical care, possesses the land parcel for this multispecialty hospital. NMMT will build the infrastructure, install the medical equipment and appoint the qualified doctors and paramedical staff to run the hospital. Apollo Hospitals Group will offer their medical expertise and facilitate operations and maintenance of the hospital.

On the occasion, Mr. A.M. Naik said, “We owe a lot to the society we live in and are indebted to give it back to people. It is endeavour of Nirali Memorial Medical Trust to provide best-in-class secondary and tertiary medical care facilities to rural and underprivileged social groups. The setting up of Multispecialty Hospital is a momentous step in the direction of extending affordable healthcare to all. We are delighted to have reputed healthcare group Apollo Hospitals joining this mission at Navasari in South Gujarat.”

Dr. Prathap C Reddy, Chairman, Apollo Hospitals said: “Since our inception thirty-five years ago, the resolute mission of Apollo Hospitals has been to make an international standard of healthcare accessible to every individual. Since then, every endeavour that we have undertaken has been a focused step towards fulfilling our mission. Apollo Hospitals is honoured to support Mr. Naik’s noble efforts in setting up a multi-specialty hospital in Navasari, which will offer succor to the people in the region by facilitating early detection of disease and timely intervention, thereby saving precious lives.”

NMMT has developed ‘A.M. Naik Healthcare Complex’ located at Sisodra (Ganesh), Navsari, Gujarat. The complex spread over across 8 acres houses an under-construction Cancer Hospital, will have a Multispecialty Hospital and other medical care facilities. The under-construction Nirali Cancer Hospital at the complex will be operated and managed by Tata Trusts. Mr. Naik has been instrumental in getting the best-in-class health facilities in the rural hinterlands of South Gujarat.

NMMT runs the 'Nirali Memorial Radiation Centre' in Surat, Multidisciplinary hospital at Powai and provides modern medical facilities at a hospital in Kharel in South Gujarat. Along with NMMT, Mr. Naik has also founded the Naik Charitable Trust (NCT), which is focused on providing quality education and vocational training to the underprivileged sections of the society.

Mr AM Naik is a recipient of Padma Vibhushan and is also Chairman of National Skill Development Corporation. 

Future Generali India Insurance to Conduct Awareness Camps in 9 Districts of Karnataka


Future Generali India Insurance Company Limited (FGII), the general insurance arm of the joint venture between retail game-changers Future Group and global insurer Generali is organizing awareness camps starting from yesterday 3rd June in 9 districts of  Karnataka. FGII has been authorized by the Government of Karnataka to implement “Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana Scheme” (PMFBY) for Loanee and Non-Loanee farmers. Mr. Brijesh Dikshit, Commissioner Agriculture and B.Y Srinivas, Director Agriculture,  Government of Karnataka flagged off the main event at Bangalore.

PMFBY offers an end-to-end insurance cover by providing financial support to the farmers against losses/damage of crops arising out of unforeseen events during the entire cycle of the crop. Activities like dance acts and street plays will be performed in these villages to promote awareness on PMFBY. The street plays will be based on the importance and the benefits of having cover under PMFBY.

Dr. Shreeraj Deshpande (Principal Officer & CEO (Officiating), Future Generali India Insurance Pvt Ltd.said, “Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana Scheme (PMFBY) is in line with Government’s ‘Minimum Premium, Maximum Insurance for Farmers’ theme and with these roadshows, our aim is to educate farmers in remote areas about PMFBY,  which will help  them to have some financial stability when there is a loss/damage of the crop.”

9 Van Campaigning  teams will travel from the Department of Agriculture, Bangalore to their respective districts. The vans will spread over various villages across below mentioned 9 allocated districts from June onwards.  . 

1) Belgavi
2) Bagalkot
3) Raichur
4) Yadgir
5) Kalaburgi
6) Bengaluru Urban
7)Tumakuru
8) Ramnagara
9) Chamrajnagar

Airtel Upgrades the Wide Range of Exclusive benefits Under #AirtelThanks


Bharti Airtel (“Airtel”) and ZEE5, India’s fastest growing OTT platform announced that they have further strengthened their strategic partnership to enable a world-class digital content experience for Airtel mobile customers. 

As part of Airtel’s refreshed #AirtelThanks customer rewards program, all Airtel Platinum customers will now get unlimited complimentary access to ZEE5’s vast content catalogue as part of their plan benefits. All Airtel mobile customers on Infinity Postpaid plans of Rs 499/- and above will be eligible for this exclusive benefit. For more details on Airtel Infinity Postpaid please visit here.

ZEE5 has an extensive digital content library that includes the Video on Demand (VOD) network content along with the recently launched ZEE5 Originals, Movies, TV Shows, Music Videos, Lifestyle shows, Kids shows and Plays. Some of the top shows across languages include Karenjit Kaur – The Untold Story of Sunny Leone; Rangbaaz - starring Saqib Saleem, Ranvir Shorey, Aahana Kumra, Ravi Kishan and Tigmanshu Dhulia; Prateik Babbar, Sonal Chauhan and Jisshu Sengupta starrer Skyfire; Arjun Rampal, Sakshi Tanwar, Neeraj Kabi starrer The Final Call; Anjali Patil, Sachin Khedekar, Vikram Gokhale’s Hutatma (Marathi), Auto Shankar (Tamil), Amala Akkineni in High Priestess (Telugu) and upcoming shows like Dia Mirza and Mohit Raina starrer Kaafir; a one-of-its-kind football series with a cause - Bombers and blockbuster movies - Uri – The Surgical Strike, Simmba, Kedarnath, Veere Di Wedding, etc.

Airtel Platinum customers simply need to claim free ZEE5 Subscription offer from Airtel Thanks section of My Airtel app thereby download the ZEE5 app to start accessing this premium content.

Shashwat Sharma, Chief Marketing Officer, Bharti Airtel said: “#AirtelThanks has received phenomenal response and we are delighted to bring ZEE5’s exciting content to our Platinum customers as part of the value proposition. We will continue to expand our ecosystem of partners to enable a differentiated experience for our customers.”

Manish Aggarwal, Business Head, ZEE5 India said, “This partnership is in line with our growth strategy as it is a crucial step towards fulfilling our aim to offer new and exciting content. It will strengthen our reach by the potential proliferation of ZEE5 premium content to a wider and new set of audience. We are happy to partner with Airtel, and via similar partnerships we will continue to enhance our offerings with the customer at the center.”

#AirtelThanks is now tiered in its offering – Silver, Gold and Platinum. Each tier opens a whole new set of benefits for Airtel customers. Airtel Platinum customers get VIP service, premium content, e-books, device protection, and exclusive invites and priority access to events and sales.

The benefits are powered by Airtel’s strong partnerships with leading platforms and brands.

#AirtelThanks is powered by a great app experience, which helps users choose, access and navigate through their benefits in a very simple and user-friendly manner. The upgraded Airtel Thanks app uses strong data-science and segmentation algorithms to customize the user experiences, based on user interests and profiles.   

ZEE5 is home to 1 lakh hours of On Demand Content and 70+ live TV channels. With over 3500 films, 500+ TV shows, 4000+ music videos, LIVE TV Channels across 12 languages, ZEE5 presents a blend of unrivalled content offering for its viewers across the nation and worldwide. ZEE5 also offers ground breaking features like 11 navigational languages, content download option, seamless video playback and Voice Search.

IPRS Recognised as World’s Fastest Growing Copyright Society by CISAC


The Indian Performing Right Society (IPRS), India’s only registered copyright society for authors (lyricists), music composers and music publishers was declared as the world's fastest growing Copyright Society by Eric Baptiste, Chairperson of the Board of Directors – CISAC at the recently held CISAC General Assembly 2019 in Tokyo.

Held in Tokyo, CISAC’s General Assembly 2019 is the first event held in many years in Asia and is a part of a new era in Japan. The various representatives of global Copyright societies, including IPRS, attended the event. Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo not only graced the event and met CISAC leaders but also underlined the importance of protecting rights of global creators including Japan. The IPRS team comprised of Mr. Rakesh Nigam CEO, Mr. Aashish Rego, Director IPRS and Mr. Ameet Datta, Counsel of IPRS.

Mr. Rakesh Nigam CEO, IPRS said “IPRS revenue/collections have increased by 350%+ over the last year i.e. from INR 45 Cr to approx INR 165+ Cr. This was possible due to the support and guidance of our Chairman Javed Sahab (Javed Akhtar) and members of our Board. The IPRS team has acquitted itself extremely well. Going forward, I am confident IPRS will continue to grow at this rate because it is supported by the law”.

Furthermore, Mr. Javed Akhtar, Chairman of IPRS said “This recognition that, IPRS is the fastest growing Copyright society in the world, is most welcome. I am extremely pleased and thankful for the support CISAC led by Eric Baptiste-Chairman, Gadi Oron- Director General, Sylvain Piat, Benjamin NG- Regional Director, Asia Pacific at CISAC and the Government of India, gave IPRS during the past year towards IPRS restructuring its constitution and operations and its efforts to become a true representative of all stakeholders of Music in india. This is a team achievement with all stakeholders in IPRS pulling together. The IPRS team led by our CEO Rakesh Nigam is to be commended for their outstanding performance this past year. I am confident that IPRS will continue to grow at a fast rate and serve the interests of its members more effectively.”

Devraj Sanyal, MD & CEO, Universal Music Group, EMI Music India tweeted a congratulatory message to IPRS. He said ‘@IPRSmusic @Javedakhtarjadu & 5 others- It’s been a long time coming and so well earned. Congratulations to everyone.”  Additionally, Indian Music Industry (IMI) chairman and Sony Music India and Middle East president Shridhar Subramaniam congratulated the team. He tweeted, “Great job by the Board and Management Team. Congratulations to all at @IPRSmusic.”

4 Ways How Sustainable Technologies Can Help Protect Oceans - IEEE


Given that oceans cover 71% of the Earth’s surface, there’s no question that they’re a major factor in the sustainability equation. As such, a number of research efforts are underway to both harness their energy (and in turn reduce our carbon footprint), and to clean them up, making them more sustainable for future generations.

Harnessing the Ocean’s Energy
The ocean’s energy-generation potential is tremendous and could help lead us to a more sustainable planet. An overview in Proceedings of the IEEE covers three emerging technologies focused on the ocean: wave energy converters, ocean thermal energy converters and tidal current systems. Wave energy converters are oscillating bodies (like moorings, columns or man-made channels) that use the pressure of ocean waves to harness energy. Ocean thermal uses the temperature differential between the warmer ocean surface and the cold depths to drive a turbine. And tidal current systems are roughly similar to wind turbines, using the kinetic energy of tidal currents to generate power. All three have significant potential.

Making Offshore Wind Power More Efficient
In a new paper published by the IEEE Power & Energy Society, researchers looked into three potential methods of power transmission from offshore windfarms to see which would be most effective. After all, as they note early in the paper, “in the shallow Atlantic waters of the Northeast, proximate to large load centers, offshore wind could provide all the electricity now consumed by all Northeast coastal states three times over.” They compared three transmission scenarios involving alternating current, direct current with voltage-source conversion and a combination of the two. The combination was most efficient: “The lattermost allows large-scale developments of offshore wind power plants and can be technically superior, but only makes sense when analyzed at a scale greater than a single project.” In that sense, advanced planning of offshore wind farms would be essential.

Reducing Emissions from Shipping
When it comes to shipping, traffic isn’t just a concern for delivery trucks. Ocean routes get congested as well, taking longer for ships to get to their destinations, in turn leading to more emissions. In a paper on IEEE Access, researchers from Greece explain how they developed software that can detect which routes are most likely to be congested, those with the biggest impact on shipping times and alternate paths/ports that ships can use. With emissions controls getting more stringent in local waterways around the world, small ships like ferries and cruise ships have started incorporating hybrid power systems that use lithium-ion batteries to store energy. While there’s an appetite to apply hybrid technology to larger shipping vessels, it’s a complicated proposition.

Grappling with Microplastics and Pollution
Finally, microplastic waste is an issue that we’re still trying to understand. Technology has thus far been playing a role in discovering the geographic limits of it, with specific fixes still down the pipeline. Next steps on marine pollution will be a special topic at the upcoming OCEANS conference, which starts June 17th in Marseille, France. OCEANS brings together global marine technologists, engineers, students, government officials, lawyers and advocates, and is presented by the IEEE Oceanic Engineering Society and the Marine Technology Society.

High-Performance AMD Radeon GPUs to Power All-New Mac Pro


AMD has announced that its new AMD Radeon Pro Vega II GPUs will be included in the all-new Mac Pro. Built on industry-leading 7nm process technology, AMD Radeon Pro Vega II GPUs provide groundbreaking levels of graphics performance for computation-intensive tasks, including rendering, 8K video, video effects, and other high-end content creation workloads.

AMD Radeon Pro Vega II GPUs provide exceptional computational performance by harnessing 7nm AMD Radeon Vega family GPUs, ultra-fast High Bandwidth Memory (HBM2), and AMD Infinity Fabric Link GPU interconnect technology that dramatically enhances data-transfer speeds between GPUs. Providing up to 14 TFLOPS of single-precision floating-point (FP32) performance and up to 28 TFLOPS of half-precision floating-point (FP16) performance, AMD Radeon Pro Vega II GPUs are optimized for powering demanding professional applications.

“Today’s high-end professional content creation applications are driving an insatiable need for ever increasing levels of processing power and memory,” said Scott Herkelman, corporate vice president and general manager, Radeon Technologies Group at AMD. “Equipped with Radeon Pro Vega II GPUs, the new Mac Pro delivers the computational horsepower and memory bandwidth to power ultra-high screen resolutions and help dramatically accelerate compute and content creation workloads, enabling creative professionals to focus on unleashing their creativity and delivering amazing results.”

“AMD continues to develop amazing graphics technologies to accelerate workflows for professionals who rely on DaVinci Resolve for faster color correction and editing,” said Dan May, president, Blackmagic Design. “Radeon Pro Vega II delivers outstanding performance, especially when DaVinci Resolve is put to work with 8K video footage combined with various filters.”

Key capabilities and features of AMD Radeon Pro Vega II GPUs include:

Leading-edge compute performance – The AMD Radeon Pro Vega II GPU delivers up to 14 TFLOPS of single-precision FP32 performance and up to 28 TFLOPS of half-precision FP16 performance.
Support for Infinity Fabric Link GPU interconnect technology – With up to 84GB/s per direction low-latency peer-to-peer memory access1, the scalable GPU interconnect technology enables GPU-to-GPU communications up to 5X faster than PCIe® Gen 3 interconnect speeds2.
Ultra-fast HBM2 memory – 32GB of high-speed HBM2 memory delivers 1TB/s memory bandwidth, providing the memory capacity and data transfer speeds required by today’s high-resolution, multi-display setups, 8K video, and other demanding content creation workloads.

Health and Wellness Principal Drivers for Bangaloreans’ Organic Aspirations


Almost 91% of Bangaloreans would adopt an organic lifestyle even if it came at a price premium of up to 15%, according to new research from Godrej Nature’s Basket[1]. The principle motivation for such a shift, according to the survey, is to improve levels of ‘health and wellness’ (for 63% of respondents), and over half (60%) believe that they would feel more physically fit as a result.

However, when it comes to the practicalities of making such a switch, a number of barriers emerged; 45% of respondents said that they were still not certain how to check whether a product was ‘100% organic’, and 51% feel that organic products are very expensive. Less than half – 30% – currently check for organic certifications when buying groceries.

The findings from Nature’s Basket’s inaugural ‘Organic Lifestyle’ survey reflect considerable research confirming Indian consumers’ belief and interest in organic purchases as a way to prioritize their health by consuming fresh produce cultivated without the use of chemicals or additives. According to the India Organic Food Market Report 2018, for instance, the organic market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 25% to 2023[2]. People are adhering to a lifestyle that is organic in nature as they witness tangible results, but they still remain unaware of options that will help them validate the authenticity of such products.

According to Avani Davda, Managing Director, Godrej Nature’s Basket, “People are increasingly becoming aware of adhering to a lifestyle that not only promotes their wellbeing but also contributes positively to the planet. The new challenge for consumers is not the availability of organic products but a lack of awareness about whether a product is truly organic and the tools that can assist them in making it a lifestyle rather than a one-time activity,” she said.

“As an industry, it is essential to equip consumers with the information and knowledge to make organic choices, and also address a few of the myths that exist regarding the same.  For instance, more than half of respondents (51%) believe organic choices to be ‘very expensive’, 31% describe organic qualities as nothing more than a ‘marketing gimmick’, while 16% actually believe that organic produce ‘does not taste as good’ as ‘regular’ alternatives!  We are absolutely committed to helping consumers make informed choices and addressing such assumptions,” she added.

Other key data insights from the research include:

·         100% are aware of the availability of organic produce for fruits, vegetables while only 57% of the respondents are aware of the existence of organic hair care products, 40% of organic skin care products and just 29% of organic homecare products
·         95% have already included some organic products as part of their daily diet
·         Almost 42% believe that such a lifestyle would help to sustain a better environment
·         59% of the respondents believe that an organic lifestyle would give them more energy

Avani also elaborated, “As a brand, our objective is to maintain consistency in the quality of our products and services. For our organically inclined customers, we have a wide range of health foods such as low carb food, diabetic food, heart-healthy foods, gluten-free food, immune boosting foods, organic jams, organic juices, organic oils, organic snacks, organic milk, and organic honey. For their easy access to these products, an online portal is available to our customers so that they can browse through a wide range of fruits and vegetables or enter the item name in the search tab for the item of their choice and have it delivered to their doorstep.”

'Our EVMs Cannot be Tampered With', Says BEL CMD Gowtama




Defence PSU Bharat Electronics Limited’s (BEL) order book as on April 1, 2019 stood at ₹51,798 crore as compared with ₹40,115 crore in April 2018. During the year 2018-19, company has acquired ₹23,431 crore worth of new orders. The expenditure on R&D was ₹1,077 crore as against ₹988 crore in 2017-18. The value added per employee was ₹60.38 lakh in comparison to ₹45.86 lakh the previous year. On the export front, order book stood at $116.62 million as on April 1, 2019.

In his annual press conference, M V Gowtama, chairman and managing director, BEL said “about 96 per cent (provisional) of sales revenue accrued is from indigenous technology and of the company’s ₹51,798 crore order book, major customers were Indian Navy around ₹25,000 crore, Indian Army ₹9,000 crore and the Indian Air Force ₹8,800 crore.”

“Of late, the company which had heavy defence focus has begun to diversify more on civilian applications and has identified space electronics, solar, homeland security, smart card, telecom, railways, civil aviation and software as service,” he added.

Electronic Voting Machines

BEL has supplied 74 per cent of the Electronic Voting Machines and VVPAT to Central Election Commission for the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls.

“For the company, EVM-VVPAT business contributed substantially and we earned a revenue of ₹2,600 crore by supplying around 10 lakh EVM-VVPAT sets,” said Gowtama.

Allaying fears of tampering, CMD said "No mismatch was reported between votes recorded in EVMs and VVPAT machines during the Lok Sabha elections. Not even a single case of any such mismatch was reported from our machines.”

He further said, “There is no scope for any mischief in EVMs. All post-poll controversies over EVMs have settled now. Political parties know well that EVMs cannot be tampered with.”

ISRO satellites

“After assembling and building one satellite for ISRO, we have got confidence now of going ahead to build future satellites by partnering with Indian industry. This year, we are expecting more orders from ISRO,” Gowtama said.

“To take it forward, the company has bought 30 acres in Devanahalli, near Bengaluru allotted by KSSIDC. Here we plan to build separate facility specially to cater to ISRO’s satellite needs,” he added.

Mobility card

BEL is keen to be part of the national common mobility card (NCMC) mission.

Gowtama said, “To be part of the mission, so far we have tested and proved many concepts with products in the country. In Ahmedabad, we have installed fare collection gates for metro with an open access. This can be applicable to any metros operating in the country. In Maharashtra, we are working with the state transport corporation for supply of hand-held devices and with NHAI toll collection system as part of a national project with a single mobility card for pan-India usage.

Artificial Intelligence Empower Workforce and Drive Objectivity in India


By Mohua Sengupta, EVP and Global Head of IT Services, 3i Infotech

Corporate India is going through a defining time, with emerging technologies taking over many areas of business. Human resource is one such critical area, which is core to any business and has been going through rounds of revolution and transformation, both in terms of processes and technology.

AI happens to be the newest kid in the block, which is taking the recruitment processes by storm, as it is getting re-engineered every day, with more and more intelligent and repetitive work being replaced by AI. Let’s look at some of the key areas where AI is being used to empower workforce:

1) Removing bias – Unconscious bias is a huge challenge that all corporates are trying to fight. Corporate India is no exception. When it’s a conscious bias, it’s easier to tackle but unconscious bias creeps in the most unexpected way. It can not only influence the choice of a candidate at the time of interview, but also the job description itself, making it a far more pervasive problem. AI can easily be used to remove this unconscious bias.

2) Evaluate profiles and first level interviews – Today sourcers and recruiters are spending a considerable amount of time in scanning, evaluating and shortlisting profiles and doing the first level interviews and the outcome of it is often very subjective, based on the emotional state of the recruiters. AI can easily take over these repetitive jobs, bring more objectivity to it and complete it much faster. There are quite a few AI-based platforms in the market today. According to a report by Forrester, by 2020, candidates applying to jobs at 20% of large global enterprises will interact with chatbots before recruiters.

3) Improved employee onboarding experience – Employee onboarding is the employee’s first experience with an organization and it’s the organization’s best opportunity to create an excellent first impression. Today, due to a resource crunch and subjectivity associated with people, onboarding experience tends to be random and unstandardized. Using AI effectively can help new employees navigate their way into an organization more seamlessly, giving them an excellent onboarding experience.

4) Identifying the customised training requirement for employees – Mostly, people become redundant within an organisation because they lack relevant skills, but if we can train the employees in a timely fashion, then organizations can utilize its existing staff, without having to retrench and hire new employees. AI can be used very effectively to match existing talent with the required ones and identify the gaps in skillset and also to do a fitment of who is best trained on which of the required skills.

5) Resource Management function – People intensive businesses have a huge challenge of finding the right skilled people internally at the right time and often end up hiring people at a higher cost, when an equally skilled person is available within the company. AI can help with this function and in a very time effective manner, thus reducing the cost of hiring, training and keeping a skilled resource on the bench.

6) Identifying people who are looking out – Losing trained and experienced employees to competition is a huge loss to any organization. AI can easily track the employees keystroke patterns, idle time & internet checking patterns and predict whether the person is looking out for newer opportunities.

7) Smarter and better people analytics – AI-enabled employee analytics provide the necessary insight to ensure better employee experience. It ensures meaningful employee engagement, creating happier employees and increased employee retention.

And these are only a few of the core functions that AI can do immediately. However, there still exists a degree of apprehension amongst the human resource fraternity to totally embrace AI, for reasons unfounded. AI today is not just efficient, it is also inexpensive. Just one word of caution, it is imperative that the recruitment processes are reviewed and reengineered to remove age old practices and made well suited for reaping maximum benefit out of AI. Research from PWC shows that 63 percent of companies are rethinking the whole role of their human resources department in light of the impact AI will have on the business. Thanks to AI and RPA, human resource experts will be now able to focus on the core areas, which cannot be done by any technology. AI can help build a high-performance human resource team and as a result a high-performance workforce.

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