Friday, November 20, 2009

Bonjour India says France; To kick off cultural fest in December

France says Namaste to India — French style. In an effort to bring French culture to more than 18 cities in India, the Embassy of France in India and Culturefrance, have announced the launch of ‘Bonjour India — Festival of France in India’.

The Bangalore chapter of the celebrations was launched in Alliance Francaise, Vasanthnagar by Jerome Bonnafont, the French ambassador to India on Thursday. “The French President and the Prime Minister of India have agreed on a unique partnership between India and France on the issue of global warming and sustainable development. We support it with ‘Bonjour India’ by giving the people an experience of the young, multi-coloured, creative and dynamic France,” said the Ambassador.

The mega festival is an initiative to celebrate Indo-French relationship through a series of exhibitions, music concerts, book launches, film festivals, literary meetings and debates, food festivals, scientific exchanges and other cultural events over a period of three months from December 2009 to February 2010.

The festival is planned in a grand manner in Bangalore, which is identified as a melting pot of world cultures. The Bangalore chapter will be inaugurated officially on December 5 across the city.

The ambassador emphasized the French government’s efforts to encourage Indian students in France by reforming the visa and work system in favour of students. He also said that Bonjour India will help further the process by giving students in India a taste of France.


Throwing light on Indo-French trade possibilities, the French ambassador emphasized that France is keen on building trade relations in India. “We are one of the largest European nations to invest in the IT sector in India. The French company Capgemini that specialises in IT, management consulting, outsourcing and professional services, currently employs around 20,000 people in India,” said Bonnafont.

“France is also looking at investing in other consumer products such as tyre manufacturing by setting up Michelin’s Rs 4,000 crore production facility in Chennai that would provide employment to about 1,500 people. The other key areas that we are looking at are furniture, clothes and apparel that cater to the growing middle-class milieu, who look to have a better lifestyle at competitive pricing. However, heavy duty taxes add to the challenges of growth in these sections,” he added.

Times of India

Over the next 5 years 1,000 German firms may invest in India

Upbeat on the second fastest growing economy in the world, about 1,000 German firms may invest in India in the next five years, the head of Baden-Wurttemberg, regarded as the most successful German state, said today.

"I am sure, in next five years 1,000 more companies from Germany and may be 200 from our state would be interested in investing in India," Guenther H Oettinger, the Minister- President of State of Baden-Wuerttemberg (Germany) said here.

About 1,800 German firms, including Porsche, Siemens, BMW, Voith and Audi have already invested in India which is being seen as the potential German manufacturing hub for the Asian market.

Indian industry and workers match the quality of Europe's and North America's, Oettinger said at the CII meeting.

With over six per cent expansion, the Indian economy is the second fastest growing after China despite global recession.

German Ambassador to India Thomas Matussek also addressed the meeting stating the India-German bilateral trade is expected to touch $27 billion by 2014 from over $18 billion in 2008.

India's major exports to Germany include garments, machinery and instruments, electronic goods and transport equipment, while imports comprises machinery, iron and steel, machine tools and organic chemicals.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

No easy going for IT companies in Europe

For India’s top tech firms seeking to grow revenues from Europe in order to offset lower spend by American clients, it’s going to be Key facts on India's IT industry

a long, arduous journey, said research firm Forrester on Wednesday.

The US, which accounts for over half of India’s $60-billion software outsourcing industry, has traditionally been the top market for Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Infosys and Wipro, among many others. However, over the past few years, Indian tech firms have been trying to mitigate their high American exposure by focusing on Europe’s $14-billion market for software and back-office services.

“You cannot replicate the US model in other markets. Unlike the US, European customers are not thinking primarily about costs. If Indian companies follow the same model for another 2-3 years, they will struggle,” said Sudin Apte, principal analyst of Forrester Research. Mr Apte, who surveyed around 400 European customers in order to understand their outsourcing priorities, said India’s tech firms will need to go beyond just hiring local workforce for sales and delivery efforts, if they really want to become successful in Europe.

“Offshoring in North America is a standard business decision, however in continental Europe, it’s a religious decision,” said Mr Apte, quoting one of the customers surveyed for his study.

Indeed, for almost a decade, the UK has been the top market for Indian companies with customers such as British Petroleum (BP) and British Telecom (BT) outsourcing projects to TCS, Infosys and Wipro. However, the UK, which outsources around $9 billion worth of projects to India every year, does not reflect the entire Europe.

“The United Kingdom is very similar to the US, unlike continental Europe where language and cultural barriers exist,” added Mr Apte.

Many European customers are more comfortable working with delivery teams in neighbouring countries, instead of signing large offshore contracts. “For example, Romania’s historical ties with Bulgaria, Italy, Greece, and Germany makes it easy to connect with clients in these locations,” Mr Apte added.

However, mature outsourcers such as BT, BP and ABN Amro have had no such bottlenecks, while deciding to work with large Indian offshore services providers such as TCS, Infosys and Wipro.

“For globalised European customers, outsourcing is not a new phenomenon, but for many companies, especially those who are pan-European only, outsourcing and offshoring is not such as hot thing,” he added.

Compared with Forrester’s survey in 2008, the current research shows a drop of more than 20% in the number of companies that were thinking about starting an offshore initiative for the first time. “This means that in the next 12 months, we will see few first-time offshore users sending their work to locations like India,” said Mr Apte.

The Forrester research also found that multinational firms such as IBM and Accenture are better positioned that the Indian IT vendors when it comes to serving customers in continental Europe.

“Accenture has more staff serving continental Europe customers than anybody else - it’s not about pure offshoring anymore,” he said. For instance, Accenture serves more than 300 customers from Germany with a few hundred staffs making use of the managed services model, which allows the company to serve more with less.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

One billion mobile users in India by 2015

India could have more than one billion mobile phone users by 2015, with the bulk of that growth in rural areas, one of the country's top telecom executives said on Wednesday.

Manoj Kohli, chief executive of India's biggest mobile phone group Bharti Airtel, told an industry conference in Hong Kong that his firm is aiming to almost double its customer base to 200 million people in the next few years.

"Achieving a billion plus (Indian mobile users) by 2015 is possible," he told the Mobile Asia Congress, the region's largest telecom industry gathering.

"The largest growth will happen in the rural market," he said, adding that pricing wars between providers were knocking down rates in the Indian market and making phones affordable to more people.

Competition in India has become even more aggressive as new players unleash deeper price cuts with innovative per-second billing plans that have pushed call costs down to less than a cent a minute.

"There is hyper-competition like no other place in the world," he said.

India is the world's second-biggest cellular market with more than 400 million users, lagging behind only China, which has over 600 million users.

Rural customers are also seen as key to growth in China, said Chang Xiaobing, chairman of China Unicom, one of the nation's three major telecoms operators.

The company aims to tap "vast rural areas" for growth as demand for basic mobile voice services slows in saturated urban markets, he said, with customers now looking for multi-function devices that can send emails or play movies.

"Voice is a mature market in some areas, but we still see some growth potential," Chang told the conference. "Voice will be in continuous demand (in China)."

But Chinese operators must boost their data business to offset falling prices on voice calls, he said.

Chang has said he expects Apple's iconic iPhone, which Unicom distributes, will be China's highest-selling smartphone despite disappointing results after its official launch this month.

Mobile connections in Asia Pacific are expected to cross the two billion mark this year, more than triple the level in 2003, according to statistics released by conference organiser GSMA, a mobile industry trade group.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

IT spending likely to fall 5.2% worldwide, says Gartner

The worldwide IT spending is on pace to decline 5.2 percent this year. However, the IT industry will return to growth in 2010, with IT spending forecast to total $3.3 trillion, a 3.3 percent increase from 2009, according to research firm Gartner. In Asia Pacific, IT spending is expected to grow by five percent to reach $515.6 billion in 2010.

Peter Sondergaard, Senior Vice President at Gartner and Global Head of Research, said that this represented a fast V-shaped recovery for IT spending in the region. Emerging regions will resume strong growth, he said. By 2012, the accelerated IT spending and culturally different approach to IT in Asia will directly influence product features, service structures and the overall IT industry.

However, growth varies considerably by country, vertical market and IT sector. Sondergaard said that while software would post the strongest growth in Asia Pacific, telecommunications still represented the largest area of IT investment.

In Australia, the five-year outlook for enterprise IT spending is a compound annual growth rate of 1.3 percent, with total IT spending by Australian businesses to reach Australian dollar 56.4 billion by 2013. The vertical sectors with the highest IT spending growth would be communications (3.2 percent), healthcare (2.6 percent) and utilities (2.3 percent). While IT spending will increase next year, Gartner cautioned IT leaders not to be overly optimistic.

"While the IT industry will return to growth in 2010, the market will not recover to 2008 revenue levels before 2012," said Sondergaard. 2010 is about balancing the focus on cost, risk, and growth. For more than 50 percent of Chief Information Officers the IT budget will be zero percent or less in growth terms. It will only slowly improve in 2011, he added.

Sondergaard said that the three most-searched terms by Gartner clients on provide some clues as to the priorities of IT leaders around the world. Cost remained the most-searched term during 2009, although it peaked in May, followed by cloud computing. "Next year will be the year when cloud computing moves from the discovery phase to small pilots, as part of organizations' desire to move from owned to shared IT," he said.

The third most-searched terms on were business applications such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM). "We believe that 2010 will see increased focus on optimization of business processes linked to software applications, what we call application overhaul. That is what will drive growth in the software segment," Sondergaard said.


Quest Software Offers SaaS Windows Management Solutions

Quest Software, Inc. has announced the launch of its first set of Software as a Service (SaaS) Windows management solutions. Quest OnDemand will be hosted on Windows Azure, securely managing IT environments by leveraging Microsoft Corp’s Windows Identity Foundation (WIF) and Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS) 2.0. The first solutions are currently available in beta.

Quest Recovery Manager OnDemand for Active Directory provides backup and object-level recovery of Active Directory data. It is designed to enable flexible, scheduled backups without manual intervention, facilitating quick and scalable recovery of Active Directory data. Quest InTrust OnDemand securely collects, stores, reports, and alerts on event data from Windows systems, helping organizations comply with external regulations, internal policies and security best practices. Both products are expected to be generally available in Q1 2010 on a subscription basis without requiring on-premises deployment and maintenance.

In addition, Quest will roll out a Windows Azure-based SharePoint site report solution, Quest Site Administrator Reports OnDemand for SharePoint, which will give administrators the ability to run overview reports on an unlimited number of sites across their organizations. This solution will be available at no cost.

“Quest has been a long-time partner and leader in Windows management solutions. The evolution of adopting its on-premises solutions to SaaS proves once again that Quest is committed to leveraging the latest technology to proactively lead their customers to the next level of IT efficiency,” said John Chirapurath, director of the Microsoft Identity and Security Business Group at Microsoft. “The fact that the Quest OnDemand solutions are built upon the Microsoft technologies such as WIF, ADFS 2.0 and Windows Azure demonstrates the company’s focus on the importance of business-ready identity and security services in cloud computing.”

Quest OnDemand solutions leverage the Windows Identity Foundation for all identity management, authentication and authorization and are hosted on the Windows Azure platform for secure storage of customer data. In addition, ADFS 2.0 enables authentication by creating a federation between a customer’s on-premises Active Directory and the Quest OnDemand solutions. The combination of these technologies provides customers with secure and seamless service.

“Quest has helped IT manage on-premises Windows environments for more than a decade, and now many of our customers are making the strategic decision to manage these environments with cloud-based services,” said Dmitry Sotnikov, manager of new product research, Quest Software. “Adapting to SaaS solutions will give them the security and management capabilities they need, while eliminating on-premises maintenance and minimizing upfront costs.”

During the Professional Developers Conference, Kim Cameron, chief architect of Identity at Microsoft, will present “Security + Services Identity Roadmap Update” on Nov. 17 at 11:00 a.m. PT. Quest’s Dmitry Sotnikov will demonstrate the Quest OnDemand framework and Recovery Manager OnDemand solution during this session.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Why are banks in the US on the downfall?

The U.S. economy is showing signs of recovery, but despite that fact, the number of bank failures in the U.S. has continued to increase with 123 entities going out of business so far this year. The authorities shut down three banks - Orion Bank based in Naples, Pacific Coast National Bank in San Clemente and Century Bank F.S.B of Sarasota on November 13, taking the count of failed banks to 123 this year, according to PTI.

The Federal Deposit Insurance (FDIC), which was named the receiver of the failed banks, took over Orion Bank, with about $2.7 billion in assets and $2.1 billion in deposits and Century Bank with $728 million in assets and $631 million in deposits. Pacific Coast National Bank was also shut down. It had $134.4 million in assets and $130.9 million in deposits. In addition, FDIC had entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with Iberia Bank of Lafayette, Louisiana, to assume all of the deposits of Century Bank, FSB.

However, the maximum number of collapses this year took place in July, when 24 banks were closed down, while 20 entities bite the dust last month.

Despite the slowly improving economic situation, soaring unemployment rate have resulted in rising defaults, primarily impacting the small and medium banks.


Google adds new social search functions for users

Internet search giant Google has been working on adding more features in its search domain for making it easy for the users to easily find blogs and twitter feeds.

Users need to open a profile with Google and services can be accessed from Google labs.

Google Germany spokesman Stefan Keuchel said that friend finding on internet would become very easy with the help of new facility. He added that Twitter feed's new searches and the recently introduced search functions are different. The function would initially be made available in English.

The new social graph can be readjusted as per user's preferences. The feature would allow only close friends to be highlighted in the searches, leaving postings from others.


Watch TV anywhere with new Nokia mobile TV phones

Nokia has announced the launch of Nokia 5330 Mobile TV Edition, which will allow users to watch television anywhere. The phone is an entertainment hub that combines mobile broadcast TV (DVB-H), social networking, music and gaming in one compact 3G device. Nokia says that broadcast TV consumption is on the rise and by 2012 there will be over 300 million people worldwide watching TV on their mobile phones.

"The introduction of the Nokia 5330 Mobile TV Edition responds to the arrival of DVB-H broadcast mobile TV networks in new markets and offers an affordable device for new and existing customers alike. Customers are increasingly watching a variety of programmes on their mobiles, such as drama programs, news and sport, for a longer period of time. The Nokia 5330 Mobile TV Edition has the sound and image quality to hold audiences captive," said Mark Selby, Vice President, Nokia.

Nokia 5330 Mobile TV Edition's DVB-H technology allows programs to burst through the QVGA 2.4" screen in full-colour, crystal clear, sharp images. A user can set reminders for favorite shows and create personal channel lists with Nokia's Electronic Program Guide (EPG) for a good mobile broadcast TV experience.

The Nokia 5330 Mobile TV Edition provides broadcast picture quality while the headset acts as an antenna for outstanding reception. Long battery life gives up to six hours of DVB-H usage. "It is essential for DVB-H service providers to have a variety of devices capable of serving the mass market. Having a complete portfolio of handsets is pivotal for the commercial success of mobile TV. The new Nokia DVB-H enabled mobile phone, the Nokia 5330 Mobile TV Edition, is a great addition to the current portfolio of broadcast TV-capable handsets," said Franklin Selgert, Chairman, Broadcast Mobile Convergence Forum.

The Nokia 5330 Mobile TV Edition comes with all the latest social networking software, making it simple to stay in touch with friends via Ovi Contacts, Facebook, MySpace and YouTube. Post status updates for friends and family to follow or instant message (IM) them via Windows Live(TM) Messenger, Google Talk, Yahoo! Messenger, ICQ, AOL and many others.

Users can capture photos and video clips, day or night, using the 3.2 megapixel camera with 4x digital zoom and LED flash before uploading and sharing favourite shots via sites such as OviShare and Flickr.

Nokia and Nokia Siemens Networks work with more than 30 operators worldwide on Mobile TV implementations. Commercial launches with Mobile TV services based on DVB-H and OMA BCAST standards include Austria, Finland, Ghana, Kenya, India, Italy, Namibia, Nigeria, Netherland, Philippines and Switzerland. Nokia 5330 Mobile TV Edition costs around Rs. 11,000 excluding taxes.


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