Thursday, February 20, 2020

Urban Mobility Lab in Bengaluru Discuss Solutions to Further Accelerate Bengaluru’s Transition to Shared, Clean, and Citizen-Centric Mobility

Rocky Mountain Institute and Micelio in partnership with the Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT), Invest Karnataka Forum, and Department of Industries and Commerce (DIC), launched their ambitious Urban Mobility Lab in Bangalore today to identify, develop, and implement mobility solutions that transform how people and goods move.

Tejasvi Surya, Member of Parliament for Bengaluru South Lok Sabha Constituency was the chief guest for the occasion. Other dignitaries present included, Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited Managing Director - Ajay Seth, Bangalore City Police, Commissioner of Police - Bhaskar Rao, Government of Karnataka, Transport and Commerce and Industries Principal Secretary - Gaurav Gupta, Directorate of Urban Land Transport, Commissioner -  V. Ponnuraj, BMTC Managing Director - C. Shikha, EkStep Foundation CTO - Pramod Varma, Infosys and Axilor Ventures co-founder - S. D. Shibulal, RMI’s Principal - Akshima Ghate, Micelio’s founder & director - Shreyas Shibulal.

The two-day multi stakeholder workshop held February 19-20, 2020 saw a culmination of over 150 participants from the mobility ecosystem in Bengaluru who worked together to address system-level barriers and develop implementation plans for the city. The workshop was organized around six thematic areas —charging and battery swapping infrastructure, data-based solutions, electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing, first and last-mile connectivity, public transit, and urban final-mile delivery.

Speaking on the occasion, Tejasvi Surya, Member of Parliament for Bengaluru South said, “All transport agencies that we have, including our private operators must work in a coordinated fashion towards a common objective. Revising transport laws is also important. The concern with monopoly in public transport must be addressed with more private players coming in. We need to make our people use public transport and avoid private vehicles. We also need to look into increasing the size of the fleet in our city. What is lacking in the indian context is the lack of specialists in managing urban mobility decisions which is a concern. Structural reforms should be undertaken imperatively and I am confident that the Urban Mobility Lab will go a long way in proposing concrete suggestions and solutions.”

Commenting on the launch, Shreyas Shibulal, Founder & Director - Micelio, said, “The  collaborative effort of the last six months bringing together all key stakeholders - the government, private sector, and civil society under one roof has been fruitful to identify solutions that will eventually accelerate Bengaluru’s transition towards shared, clean and citizen-centric mobility. This is just the beginning. At Micelio, we are committed to going the distance to make this happen.”

At the workshop, Akshima Ghate, RMI’s, Principal said, “We’re grateful to the Government of Karnataka  for extending their full support for the launch of the Urban Mobility Lab in  Bengaluru. Efficient and sustainable transportation is key to Bengaluru’s mobility goals and to transform the lives of the citizens of this city and we’re glad that we are making progress together.”

About Urban Mobility Lab

The Urban Mobility Lab is a platform that helps leading urban geographies, called Lighthouse Cities, identify, integrate, implement, and scale mobility solutions that transform how people and goods move.

The Lab was launched in November 2017, when NITI Aayog and RMI launched a grand challenge to select the first host city.

Since 2017, RMI has partnered with the Delhi Government and Pune Municipal Corporation to co host the Lab in Delhi and Pune. In these cities, the Lab has helped identify policy, business, and technology solutions to system-level barriers and accelerate the implementation of shared, clean, and citizen-centric mobility projects.

About Directorate of Urban Land Transport

DULT has been set up by the Government of Karnataka (GoK) under the Urban Development Department (UDD) with the objective to coordinate planning and implementation of urban transport projects and programs. The directorate is, in general, responsible for overseeing all the urban land transport initiatives in urban/ local planning areas of Karnataka and administers the State Urban Transport Fund (SUTF).

DULT’s vision is to provide efficient, sustainable and integrated transportation systems that enhance Karnataka’s economic competitiveness and prosperity while preserving the quality of its environment and communities.

About Department of Industries and Commerce

DIC acts as a catalyst for the overall development of the industrial sector through effective discharge of developmental and facilitation roles. With a view to promote investment and trade, the department formulates and implements the state policies,. Identification of sectoral advantages of the state and human resource development for sustainable and growth-oriented industrialization have been  crucial roles of the department. Facilitating the takeoff of infrastructure projects that boost industrial growth has also been the department’s forte. The department helps enhance the competitiveness of domestic industry through modernization, technology upgradation and adoption of best practices. It also provides a forum for entrepreneurs and industrialists, through their associations, to represent their needs to the government, which translates into policies of the state.

About Rocky Mountain Institute

RMI is an independent, apolitical, nonprofit think-and-do tank that transforms global energy use to create a clean, prosperous, and secure future. Cofounded by Amory Lovins in 1982, RMI has been a leader in energy efficiency and renewable energy for 35 years. RMI published India Leaps Ahead: Transformative Mobility Solutions for All with NITI Aayog in May 2017, and works with key government partners such as NITI Aayog and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs to support India’s transition to clean, shared, and connected mobility systems.

Data Science Field Remains Mostly Unattractive to Many Female STEM Indian Students

Data science has an image problem—and it’s helping to fuel a critical lack of diversity. Almost 50% of female STEM students perceive data science to be overly theoretical and low impact. A sense that it is more competition-focused than other jobs is also behind their exit from the “talent funnel,” according to a forthcoming report by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and BCG GAMMA, titled What’s Keeping Women out of Data Science? A significant share of STEM women across the globe also do not feel they have a good understanding of what a “data science career” is and what the day-to-day life of a data scientist in the workplace entails. The negative perception and lack of transparency combine to boost the gender gap: only 15 to 22% of data science professionals today are women.

Perception Mirrors Reality
Students around the world are picking up on an unfortunate reality: far too many companies still struggle to create real impact with AI, and many companies continue to lack a culture of collaboration in their analytics teams. The study reveals that nearly 75% of female data science majors are looking for exactly the opposite from their future jobs—namely applied, impact-driven work—while men are ambivalent. As long as companies approach and promote their data science and AI as theoretical endeavors without concrete and measurable value, female students will continue to be disproportionately deterred from entering the field.

Finding the Gaps in Understanding
BCG surveyed over 9,000 STEM men and women (each representing about half of the sample population) from Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Spain, the UK, and the US (with between 700 and 1,000 responses from each country).

Regarding transparency, the study revealed that only around 63% of men and 55% of women are well informed about the various career opportunities in data science. Even among data science and computer science majors, nearly half (47%) complained of poor clarity regarding career path options within the field. Australia, France, and Spain consistently achieved high rankings on transparency, while female students in China, Japan, and Germany consistently reported the lowest understanding of their options in this field. On perceptions regarding impact and purpose, China and Japan also appeared at the bottom of the list, while students in the UK, the US, and France had a more positive picture.

Companies Must Act
Despite these variations across countries, the problem is fundamentally a global one, impacting diversity across this rapidly growing field. “Companies cannot simply rely on the media buzz around AI, hoping for the job of data scientist to magically ‘sell itself’ to students,” said Sylvain Duranton, Senior Partner and Global Leader of BCG GAMMA and an author of the report. “They must create a visible culture within their data science teams that celebrates impact and shuns competitiveness, and then make this career opportunity very tangible and attractive to students of both genders.“

What Employers Can Do Better
While companies move toward a more purposeful approach to AI, they can also encourage diversity more immediately by becoming much more specific in their communication with students, directly addressing the concerns that women highlight as critical: the role of data science within the business, how data scientists work together on use cases, and how a career path in data science involves more than coding. They should be approaching students with real-life examples and value proofs, communicated by real data science practitioners who can make the day-to-day tangible and can directly address negative perceptions about work culture.

As long as companies do not get this right, a large (and disproportionately female) share of the talent pool for data science will continue to vote with its feet and avoid the field, perpetuating the recruiting gender gap in this increasingly mission-critical part of companies’ workforces.

SBI Card and Landmark Group Launch 3 Co-Branded Credit Cards - "Lifestyle Home Centre SBI Card, Max SBI Card and Spar SBI Card"

SBI Card has partnered with Landmark Group, one of the largest retail and hospitality conglomerates in India, to launch a unique set of retail co-branded credit cards. The three newly launched cards, Lifestyle Home Centre SBI Card, Max SBI Card and Spar SBI Card, have been introduced in partnership with four Landmark Group brands - Lifestyle, Home Centre, Max and Spar.

Designed to be a one stop payment solution for the entire family, these cards provide a rewarding shopping experience to cardholders across categories that include fashion – premium and affordable, home furnishing including furniture and grocery. The underlying value proposition of all these cards is the same. Cardholders of any of these cards can avail similar benefits at all participating Landmark brands, thus getting savings and a host of other benefits across a spectrum of categories through a single card.

The new co-brand cards are available in three variants – Base, SELECT and PRIME and cater to consumers across segments from value-for-money to premium to super premium.

Speaking at the launch, Mr Hardayal Prasad, MD & CEO, SBI Card, said, “We are pleased to partner with Landmark Group to introduce Lifestyle Home Centre SBI Card, Max SBI Card and Spar SBI Card. Through this tie up we will offer our cardholders a strong savings proposition across key spend categories such as fashion, home furnishing, furniture and grocery on a single card. The newly launched cards bring a one stop payment solution to meet and reward purchase needs of consumers in these segments. This launch will strengthen our retail co-brand credit card portfolio which we have built to fulfil diverse consumer needs.”

According to Mr. Vasanth Kumar - Managing Director, Lifestyle International Pvt. Ltd.: “As a leading retail player in the country, we continuously endeavour to enable a joyful and rewarding shopping experience for all our customers. The co-branded credit card with SBI Card is yet another step taken to fulfil that promise. With accelerated reward points and spend based benefits, these cards will be a win-win for consumers as they shop across various Landmark brands. Offering the best of both the players, the co-branded SBI credit card program will combine the shopping experience, convenience and value that customers have come to know and love from Landmark Group backed by the best-in-class service, benefits and security of SBI Card.”

According to Mr. Shital Mehta - Executive Director & CEO, Max Fashions, “As a leading fashion brand, we want to bring more value to our customers through a co-branded card that rewards users on their purchases. This co-branded card will provide additional benefits to our valued customers thus enabling us to deepen our relationship with them while providing them yet another reason to shop at our stores. Max is very thrilled to be partnering with SBI Card.”

PRIME variant cardholders can avail total savings of up to INR 30,000 annually on this card.

Cardholders enjoy complimentary loyalty membership to Landmark Rewards Program and they also earn accelerated reward points on the SBI Card rewards platform upon shopping with these cards. Cardholders of the PRIME variant of the co-brand cards earn 15 reward points per INR 100 spent at Lifestyle, Home Centre, Max and Spar; 10 reward points per INR 100 spent on dining and movies; and 2 reward points per INR 100 spent on other retail purchases. SBI Card Reward Points can be converted to Landmark Rewards and redeemed across Lifestyle, Home Centre, Max, Spar and other Landmark Brands in India thereby rewarding loyal customers.

The cards also reward customers for their loyalty through various spend based milestone benefits as well as bonus reward points upon card renewal. Customers of PRIME variant can avail savings of up to INR 14500 on achieving milestone spends. The cards deliver value from the point of enrolment itself, offering welcome benefits worth INR 3000 on the PRIME variant.  Renewal benefits worth INR 3000 can be availed upon card renewal.

The joining and renewal fee for the Base variant is INR 499 plus GST, SELECT variant is INR 1499 plus GST and PRIME variant is INR 2999 plus GST.

Highlights of Lifestyle Home Centre SBI Card, Max SBI Card and Spar SBI Card

Accelerated Reward Points
PRIME variant:
15 Reward Points per INR 100 spent at Landmark brands (Lifestyle, Home Centre, Max & Spar)
10 Reward Points per INR 100 spent on Dining & Movies
2 Reward Points per INR 100 spent on other retail purchases (Non-fuel)
SELECT variant:
10 Reward Points per INR 100 spent at Landmark brands (Lifestyle, Home Centre, Max & Spar)
10 Reward Points per INR 100 spent on Dining & Movies
2 Reward Points per INR 100 spent on other retail purchases (Non-fuel)
Base variant:
5 Reward Points per INR 100 spent at Landmark brands (Lifestyle, Home Centre, Max & Spar)
5 Reward Points per INR 100 spent on Dining & Movies
1 Reward Point per INR 100 spent on other retail purchases (Non-fuel)

* Spend-based milestone benefits
PRIME variant: Cumulative milestone benefit up to 58,000 RP worth INR 14,500
SELECT variant: Cumulative milestone benefit up to 34,400 RP worth INR 8,600
Base variant: Cumulative milestone benefit up to 16000 RP worth INR 4000

* Welcome & renewal benefit
PRIME variant: 12000 bonus reward points equivalent to INR 3000 on payment of annual fees and renewal fees
SELECT variant: 6000 bonus reward points equivalent to INR 1500 on payment of annual fees and renewal fees
Base variant: 2000 bonus Reward Points equivalent to INR 500 on payment of annual fees and renewal fees

* Airport lounge access on PRIME variant
Complimentary Priority Pass membership – Up to 4 complimentary visits per calendar year to International Priority Pass Lounges, outside India (maximum 2 visits per quarter)
* Domestic Lounge Membership – Up to 8 complimentary visits per calendar year to Domestic VISA Lounges in India (maximum 2 visits per quarter)

* Closed Loop Reward Redemption
Cardholders can redeem reward points at Lifestyle, Home Centre, Max, Spar and other Landmark Brands in India

* Fuel surcharge waiver
1% fuel surcharge waiver across all petrol pumps in India

About SBI Card

SBI Cards and Payment Services Limited (formerly known as SBI Cards and Payment Services Private Limited) (“SBI Card”) is a non-banking financial company that offer extensive credit card portfolio to individual cardholders and corporate clients which includes lifestyle, rewards, travel & fuel and banking partnerships cards along with corporate cards covering all major cardholders’ segments in terms of income profile and lifestyle. It has diversified customer acquisition network that enables to engage prospective customers across multiple channels. SBI Card is a technology driven company. 

‘The Grub Fest’ India’s Premier Entertainment and Food Fest Marks its Bengaluru Debut on February 22-23

After introducing eco-friendly and reusable cups at U2: The Joshua Tree Tour, an initiative that was applauded by consumers on-ground and across social media, BookMyShow, India’s leading entertainment destination, has taken yet another step towards making live entertainment experiences not just enjoyable but also environment-friendly and sustainable. At the recently concluded edition of The Grub Fest in Mumbai, BookMyShow partnered with event waste management agency ‘Skrap’ for reducing environmental impact through sustainable waste management.

BookMyShow along with Skrap collected over 300 kgs of excess edible food from over 60 food stalls across two days at The Grub Fest, Mumbai. With the help of donation partners Feeding India, the excess food was collected and packed hygienically and then distributed to on-site workers as also low-income communities across the suburbs of Mumbai. The initiative helped BookMyShow restrict food wastage as also enable its reach to needy & deserving communities in the city.

The Grub Fest also witnessed an end-to-end waste management system for all waste generated during the event including compostable plates, food scraps, plastic bottles, paper cups, cardboard boxes, etc through a two-bin waste segregation system that was set up. The system was installed at the festival’s Mumbai venue, where food stalls and the housekeeping team worked together to participate in this initiative. With consolidated efforts, around 1.5 tonnes of recyclable waste was segregated, sorted and forwarded to a collection & processing centre along with 1.3 tonnes of biodegradable waste that was sent for composting. Additionally, over 250 kgs of non-recyclable materials were sent to the processing centre as co-processing waste for cement factories.

All these measures collectively led to 90% of the waste generated at The Grub Fest getting diverted away from the landfills. Post a successful initiative to make The Grub Fest Mumbai a sustainable entertainment experience, BookMyShow will replicate this initiative at The Grub Fest – Bengaluru on February 22nd-23rd.

After satiating the appetite of over 45,000 patrons across Delhi and Mumbai, BookMyShow will introduce Namma Bengaluru to the first ever edition of ‘The Grub Fest’ this weekend. With delectable Indian and global cuisines, foot-tapping music, and unlimited entertainment, India’s premier entertainment and food festival will find a home at Bengaluru’s Jayamahal Palace Hotel.

The festival is poised to attract tens of thousands of visitors in Bengaluru over the weekend, bringing together the best of food and entertainment. Patrons in Bengaluru will get a chance to experience live performances headlined by artists including Juggy D, Lisa Mishra, Anand Bhaskar Collective, Best Kept Secret, When Chai Met Toast and Lagori, whilst indulging in gut-friendly finger foods, vegan choices and fusion dishes.

Bengaluru’s maiden edition of The Grub Fest will be followed by a much-awaited debut in Kolkata on March 7-8 at PC Chandra Grounds. Marking the culmination of the fest, this ultimate out-of-home entertainment and gourmet experience will make its way back to Delhi on April 3rd-4th at The JLN Stadium.

Ather Energy Confirms Entry into 4 More Cities - Ahmedabad, Kochi, Coimbatore, and Kolkata

Ather Energy recently launched the disruptive electric scooter Ather 450X in India. With this new offering, Ather had confirmed its entry into 4 new cities beyond Bangalore and Chennai at the time of launch. Now with high demand pouring in from other cities, Ather has further confirmed its entry into 4 new markets.

In January, the company had confirmed its launch in the following markets basis the demand received for the scooter- Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Pune and Hyderabad. Since the national launch, Ather has received thousands of pre-orders from across the country, with key cities like Ahmedabad, Kochi, Coimbatore & Kolkata taking the lead.

The four new cities will see installation of fast charging infrastructure in the coming months, followed by the delivery of the scooters. Ather 450X can be pre-ordered via the company website for a fully refundable INR 2500. Ather has also been receiving dealership requests from these cities which will make it easier for the company to rapidly expand.

The Ather Forum has been abuzz with requests for the company’s community engagement programs to begin in cities beyond the metroes. Consumers in the new cities can expect to see meet ups and test rides being conducted in their neighborhood in the coming months.Along with fast public chargers, Ather 450X owners will receive home chargers, Ather Dot so they can conveniently charge their scooters at home.

Tarun Mehta, CEO and Co-founder Ather Energy : There’s been an amazing response for the Ather 450X across the country. We have been receiving pre-orders from not just the major metros but also several Tier II & III cities. Similarly, there have been more than 2000 requests for retail partnerships. By the end of this year we will be present in ten cities and will continue to scale up to more than 30 cities by 2023. Our only focus now is scaling the experience of Ather 450X to all over the country.

About Ather 450X

The super scooter is a significant step-up from Ather 450 with improvements across multiple key parameters. Ather 450X is the outcome of award-winning design philosophy and is quicker, more intelligent than its predecessor and comes in three new colors; Grey, Green, and White. The scooter is powered with a 6kW PMSM motor, a new 2.9 kWh lithium-ion battery and comes with 4 riding modes. In addition to Eco, Ride, and Sport, Ather is introducing a new high-performance mode, 'Warp'. Ather 450X can go from 0 to 40 kmph in just 3.3 sec in the Warp mode, making it the quickest electric scooter in its category and the perfect choice to navigate through city traffic.

The revolutionary improvement in its battery has enabled a projected Indian Drive Cycle (IDC) range of 116 km and a real-life range of 85 km in city conditions. Ather 450X will also charge 50% faster than before at 1.5km per minute, making it the fastest charging rate in the electric two-wheeler category.

Ather 450X will have a 4G SIM card along with Bluetooth connectivity, allowing riders to manage phone calls and music on the touchscreen dashboard. The new 7” touchscreen dashboard, comes with a color depth of 16M and a Snapdragon Quad-Core processor. Ather 450X utilizes Android Open Source to offer map navigation, On-board diagnostics and other unique features like Over-the-air updates, Auto Indicator off and Guide-me-home lights.

The Ather mobile app will continue to offer personalized ride statistics, charging status, push navigation and more functionalities like theft & tow detection, live location & vehicle state tracking, voice assistant and welcome lights. Ather 450X will support connected accessories like smart helmets and tyre pressure monitoring systems (TPMS).

Switch to Smart Brushing with Xiaomi's Mi Electric Toothbrush T300

Xiaomi, India’s number one smartphone and smart TV brand, today, introduced Mi Electric Toothbrush T300 to transform oral healthcare of consumers in India. Equipped with high-efficiency magnetic levitation sonic motor, the toothbrush features high-density, anti-corrosion, metal-free brush head with EquiClean auto-timer for a smart brushing experience. It is powered by a built-in 700mAh lithium battery, that provides an operating life of 25 days* on a single charge.

Mi Electric Toothbrush T300 is powered by a high-efficiency magnetic levitation sonic motor which generates high-frequency vibrations of over 31,000 times/minute and torque of over 230 (gram force centimetres)*. It ensures efficient transfer of power to the brush head during the entire process of brushing. The design ensures that Mi Electric toothbrush T300 reaches all gaps and corners to remove plaque, thus providing deeper cleaning than a manual toothbrush.

Raghu Reddy, Chief Business Officer, Xiaomi India said, “At Xiaomi, we believe that technology should improve all aspects of human life. Brushing teeth is often considered a mundane task in our daily routine, but its health benefits cannot be ignored at any cost. Oral healthcare is just as important as overall healthcare. With the Mi Electric Toothbrush, we intend for users to choose a smarter way of brushing which will further improve their overall health and wellness”

The brush head uses anti-corrosion, metal-free high-density bristle technology. Hence, there is no danger of metal corrosion or dirt getting trapped between the grooves of metal plating, making this brush healthier and more durable. It uses high-quality soft Tynex® StaClean®antimicrobial bristles created by the American company DuPont™, which are 40% denser*. Each filament undergoes a polishing process to create bristles that are smooth and round to ensure they don't irritate gums or scratch the surface of the teeth.

The brush comes with dual pro brushing modes - Standard mode and Gentle mode. The EquiClean auto-timer in the brush reminds users to change brushing sides by pausing every 30 seconds.

Mi Electric Toothbrush T300 uses Type C charging port and uses an LED indicator to notify the battery and charging status. The use of a multiple injection molding process on the brush ensures that every part of its body is joined with a "sealed" connection. This creates a seamless exterior with an IPX7 water resistance rating*. The body has a matte white surface with added texture and friction. This creates a simple and clean exterior, combining convenience and elegance. The bottom part of the toothbrush features interchangeable colored ring design to ensure that multiple toothbrushes don’t get mixed up.

Zendesk Releases Annual Global State of Messaging 2020 Report

Zendesk, Inc. has released State of Messaging 2020, the third annual report featuring expert commentary and in-depth analysis of the biggest trends in conversational business and the rapidly evolving messaging industry. The report combines interviews with more than two dozen customer experience product, sales, and marketing leaders from companies like Google, Twitter, Hootsuite, Birchbox, and more, with original Zendesk research and third-party data to provide insights into how messaging is changing the face of business.

Over the past decade, messaging has fundamentally changed the way people interact with friends, family, colleagues, and companies. According to Business Insider, messaging apps have surpassed social media in global monthly active users. Since 2018, nearly every major messaging channel, including WhatsApp, WeChat, Facebook Messenger, Google’s RCS, and Apple’s iMessage, has extended beyond the consumer to businesses. At the same time, businesses of all sizes in every industry have embedded modern messaging experiences into their own apps and websites.

“This year will be the year of connecting conversations in the enterprise,” says Warren Levitan, vice president of conversational business at Zendesk.  “We are seeing businesses embrace messaging as a shared platform for customer engagement, allowing them to truly unify sales, marketing and service interactions for the first time. This is a massive step toward putting customers at the center of our businesses.”

State of Messaging 2020 examines key aspects of evolving and emerging conversational business trends and tracks the top stories to watch in 2020, including:

* The companies dominating the messaging landscape and the vast differences between countries and continents when it comes to who is winning the messaging race
* How smart speakers, voice assistants, and messaging converge
* How chatbots became part of the fabric of digital commerce
* Will in-chat payments be the key to unlocking conversational commerce at scale?
* Why the "chatbot vs. human" debate is a false dichotomy
* How data from conversations can optimize the customer experience and help different business departments better communicate
* Helping brands navigate their new role as gatekeepers and community builders

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