Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Tata Elxsi Delivers Stellar Visual Effects For Dhoom 3

Visual Computing Labs (VCL), the VFX and animation arm of Tata Elxsi Ltd. India’s leading design company has announced its association with Dhoom 3, an action packed thriller, starring superstars Aamir Khan, Abhishek Bachan and Katrina Kaif. Directed by Vijay Krishna Acharya and produced by Aditya Chopra, the third installment of Yash Raj Films' popular Dhoom franchise has been rendered in association with Tata Elxsi - Visual Computing Labs (VCL).

To capture and replicate the director’s vision on the silver screen, VCL has worked with some of the best names in the industry in India and abroad to deliver over 1500 VFX shots with a team of 100 artists in a short span of 11 months. The fast paced action sequences in the film demanded a high number of VFX shots to be delivered. VCL achieved this feat by seamlessly integrating multidisciplinary skills to amplify the action and the drama in a completely realistic and believable way. Dhoom 3 is India's first film to simultaneously release in the IMAX format, thus all the VFX had to stand the test of being credible which successfully delivered on VCL’s commitment to offer the viewers with a larger-than-life experience.

Post the initial script narration, VCL held detailed discussions with the creative team to ensure that each shot was meticulously planned to recreate the scene in the film.  Along with VCL's Academy Award winning Senior VFX Supervisor, Joel Hynek, Creative Director, Pankaj Khandpur and VFX Supervisors, Sherry Bharda and Vishal Anand, comprehensive action sequences were designed and rough storyboards were produced which were elaborated further using pre-visualization. In the planning stage, the unique methodology of pre-visualization helped the experts at VCL to recreate the scenes in a virtual format therefore minimizing the effort and time invested in reproducing the shots on location.

VCL has demonstrated a vast array of visual effects solutions in Dhoom 3 ranging from creation of digital characters to re-creation of vehicles and two-wheelers using CGI which also included a 3D water jet ski. To make high-octane actions scenes look real, VCL conceptualized and generated some key elements to control and maintain the focus on the actor’s face in most of the fast-paced bike riding shots. This involved extremely accurate CGI lighting and reflections on the helmet visor as well as on the digital assets used. VCL’s contribution also included the creation of both interiors and exteriors of the sets using CGI to deliver specific sequences in the film.

S. Nagarajan, COO, Tata Elxsi - Visual Computing Labs, said “We are honored to be associated once again with Yash Raj Films , which is one of the most respected and highly acclaimed production houses. This project is our largest VFX project to date and has helped us showcase VCL’s cutting edge capabilities in the VFX domain and we are confident that this film will become a benchmark in mainstream cinema for providing viewers with a world-class experience.” 

Pankaj Khandpur, Creative Director, Tata Elxsi – Visual Computing Labs added, “This film encompasses some interesting ideas, conceptualized and executed by the extremely talented team of VFX artists at VCL. Our association with Yashraj Films has always been a highly enriching experience. It has been our constant endeavor to leverage our VFX expertise to transform the director’s vision onto the big screen and offer larger-than-life experiences to all our viewers.”

Ten Trends In Eduction To Watch For In Future

It is that time of the year when we tend to pause and reflect. What have we achieved this year? What are the highlights of culture, business, technology, and trends that we have observed around us?

For me, the most exciting and positive movement at present is in the domain of technology impacting education. And it is an impact that is coming from many different directions.

Let’s explore them in further detail.

Cost of higher education: 
The cost of higher education is high, and when coupled of youth unemployment and student debt, it has become a serious issue that is finally getting a great deal of attention this year. It is causing the higher ed institutions to experiment, consider alternative models, explore new ideas. Education has been a rather slow-to-change field. This year, however, I think the pace of change has picked up, and most likely, this trend is driven by fear. While the top institutions with big brands can justify their premium pricing, most others cannot. Tremendous amounts of quality educational content is available online for free, or at reasonable prices. Unless the degree comes with a serious branded network, is it worthwhile to pay so much? The question, I am sure, will be hotly debated over the rest of this decade, and changes will come.

Question mark around liberal arts education:
The jobs are mostly in the STEM fields. Then why would anyone pay $30k a year for four years to study the humanities? What is the justification for existence of the liberal arts colleges if they cannot translate that education into lucrative professional careers? This is the question plaguing the leaders in that field. Personally, I am a huge believer in liberal arts education. However, I also believe, that liberal arts should be the arts that liberate. Today, those are technology and entrepreneurship. Thus, I would like to see the liberal arts colleges make it compulsory for students to study programming and entrepreneurship as parts of their degree requirement. We’re not there yet, but by 2020, I hope, we get there.

Evolution of engineering education:
Most engineering schools are hotbeds of experimentation with MOOCs and other online education possibilities. EdX, the mother of all MOOCs, came out of a collaboration between Harvard and MIT, and is run by MIT’s Anant Agarwal. There is, however, concern around intellectual property, and many deans are not as keen to give out their jewels for free. My take on the subject is that Free is a dangerous path. Creating and delivering value isn’t free. Thus, consuming value should also not be free. Is education a public good? To an extent. But with governments neck-deep in debt, it is unclear how such models will sustain at scale. Nonetheless, experimenting with scalable modes of delivering world class education to students worldwide is worthwhile. Whatever comes out of this will likely, also, be worthwhile.

The other observation I have is that many of the deans of engineering schools are trying to figure out how to also train their entire body of engineering students with entrepreneurship education. They don’t have adequate budgets yet, but again, with smart use of virtual methods, it is doable. I would like to see, by 2020, every single engineering student in the world ALSO trained in entrepreneurship. The pace of progress for humanity will accelerate tremendously. It is engineers, not MBAs, who know best how to ‘build’ things. That includes new companies.

Demand for community colleges and vocational education:
At the face of huge global youth unemployment numbers, the country that has drawn attention as a successful model is Germany. They do vocational training well. Most other countries don’t. America has an excellent network of community colleges through which really great quality vocational training CAN be delivered. However, the quality of the community colleges and their connections into the employers is quite poor. There’s a lot of work to be done here, but through a combination of virtual learnings methods and internships, the gap can be bridged. The model, also, needs to be replicated globally.

Changes in K-12 education:
Salman Khan has made some dent in K-12, and Khan Academy’s attempts at turning the schools from ‘sage on stage’ to ‘guide on side’ is a seminal experiment under way. Instead of not-very-qualified teachers trying to create course content, if the lectures are standardized and delivered via online video, which teachers guide students through exercises in class, the quality of education may significantly improve. It’s early. But, it is an extremely promising direction. In general, rich media content available widely for educational purposes is awesome. The film ‘Lincoln’ is far more engaging to teach history with than a dry text book.

Broadband penetration:
Today, the limiting factor for online education is broadband penetration. By 2020, this will change dramatically. The ability for digital learning to impact society will also change alongside.

Changing dynamics of media consumption:
The availability of vast amount of rich media content not only on smart phones and tablets, but also on television is drastically changing how people consume media. Instead of TV being time-bound, today, it is becoming largely on-demand. To the extent this trend accelerates, education and entertainment are going to intersect in ways that we haven’t seen yet. I see huge potential.

Education businesses:
For-profit colleges get a lot of flack. They charge big tuition fees, and don’t deliver on the employability metric as well. But, if you look at education businesses as great providers of digital programs and materials, without having to worry about accreditation, faculty, etc. such that existing institutions can scale their ability to deliver quality education using those capabilities at reasonable prices, the potential is enormous. If community colleges started adopting more of the proven digital learning methods and casting their faculty as ‘guide on side’, the results could be encouraging. In this, also, lies the answer to the question of how a liberal arts college or an engineering school can teach entrepreneurship or programming to large numbers of students (not 50 students, 5000 students).

Entrepreneurship education and incubation:
Entrepreneurship has justifiably become cool, and its education on high demand. This trend will continue. At every level – high school, college, graduate school, community college – entrepreneurship needs to be taught, and by 2020, we will see much greater penetration of entrepreneurship education throughout society. Entrepreneurship as a vehicle of economic development and prosperity is becoming well understood. Its education will also become so within this decade.

There is a lot of discussion around whether unpaid internships should be legal. I think, this is nonsense. Any opportunity to educate and develop skills in people should be welcome. If employers are willing to train free of charge, it is absolutely ridiculous to not let them. It takes a lot of bandwidth for an organization to train green, unskilled people. It is free education that makes youth employable. I hope that aided by online services, the process of matching interns with employers will become pervasive at every level, in every country. This is an incredibly important youth development strategy for the world.

Those are currently my observations. I have a long view, and fully acknowledge that it will take time. Many of the experiments are at their very beginning stages. Nonetheless, I do believe that we end this decade on high note, having achieved meaningful strides in the education domain.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Cloud Pre-Paid Load Testing To Take the Pressure Off Online Shopping

Online Shopping Festivals and Christmas-themed marketing campaigns have given a major boost to online shopping in India in recent times. With website traffic peaks expected during this season, businesses need to guarantee their mobile and web applications will perform well under pressure and handle the upcoming onslaught of  online shoppers. According to comScore, among the BRIC Nations, India has been the fastest growing market adding over 18 million internet users and growing at an annual rate of 41%. Riding on a 31% year-on-year increase, India’s online population grew to 73.9 million. With an extended online universe in excess of 145 million the market is at a tipping point for online businesses. The study says about 60% Internet users in India visit online retail websites - and to retain them, businesses need to ensure they have a smooth experience.

In response, Borland, a Micro Focus company, has launched Borland Credits – a new virtual currency that can be used to purchase Silk Performer CloudBurst testing services. The pre-paid model delivers application performance testing without the need for hardware assets, helping users to significantly reduce testing costs and complexity, quickly and efficiently.

A testing situation    

According to global research, conducted by Vanson Bourne and commissioned by Borland, 44% of CIOs are aware of the events that drive peak-traffic loads, but do not simulate website performance with heavy load testing to see if they can handle the increased pressure on their websites.  That’s despite knowing that even minor delays to website response times can have a sizable impact on customer satisfaction, page views, conversion rates and site abandonment. 

Commenting on the challenge, Nitin Dang, Country General Manager, India at Micro Focus, said: “There is no denying the significance and prominance of a business’ online presence, especially in today’s economic environment. Even the most usable website or mobile application can be rendered useless if the backend infrastructure can’t handle the volume of traffic during peak times. Borland Credits is a wonderful initiative to tap the potential of the cloud and offer businesses a flexible way to future proof their websites”

“With the on going online shopping festivals as well as Christmas holidays being just around the corner, businesses need absolute confidence that their high-quality applications will perform well under pressure and handle peak loads.  However, managing and emulating hundreds of thousands of realistic end-users, from multiple regions, in order to load test an application can be time-consuming, complex and costly.  It’s enough to deter many businesses from testing in the first instance added Nitin Dang.

“We’ve created Borland Credits to offer businesses a forward-thinking and flexible way in which to get more from the cloud,” continued Nitin Dang. “Users will have easy access to our Silk Performer CloudBurst testing services – from anywhere in the world – without the need for unnecessary, costly infrastructure, which often sits around collecting virtual dust until it is needed.  We’re giving our customers better control over their testing expenditure, with the ability to ensure their applications run at optimum levels, wherever they may be.”

Users can choose between several packages, depending on how many Borland Credits are purchased in one go, without being locked into to a specific subscription plan or paying any service fees:

*        Cloud infrastructure: Rent unlimited cloud infrastructure by the hour, to execute a load test. 

Unlimited virtual end-user licenses: Users can pay per virtual end-user within a 24-hour period, depending on the application type under test.

*       Spanning test periods: Purchase a 24-hour testing period model, which enables a load test to be tailored, run, analyzed and re-run multiple times without an additional charge.

Before any load test is conducted, Silk Performer CloudBurst will display an estimate of how many Borland Credits will be used and on completion of a test, will calculate the number of Borland Credits to debit from the account to help users budget accordingly.

Through the new billing model and Borland Credit system users will also be notified by email, 24-hours in advance of when a load test agent is about to automatically close and will receive Virtual User Price Protection, so that if an application doesn’t scale to meet the loads anticipated, they will only pay for what they have used.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Rs 100 Crore Nano Park To Come Up In Bangalore

The Karnataka government plans to establish a 'Nano Park' here, which will have nano incubation centre, said Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.

"Our government proposes to establish a state-of-the-art Nano Park in Bangalore, which will have nano incubation centre along with necessary physical infrastructure and support system including common facilities," Siddaramaih said at the inauguration of '6th Bangalore India Nano' here.

"I'm sure this initiative will give a major fillip to the nanotechnology industry to blossom in the state in the coming years," he added.

It was inaugurated in the presence of eminent scientist, Bharat Ratna awardee C N R Rao and Nobel Laureate Sir Andre Geim. The event is organised by Department of IT, BT, S&T- Government of Karnataka and Vision group on Nanotechnology.

Siddaramaiah said the Indian Institute of Nano Sciences and Technology is being established in Bangalore with the funding support from Union Government under the nano mission at an estimated cost of Rs 100 crore.

The state government has already allocated 14 acres on Tumkur road for locating this institute, he pointed out.

Stating that Bangalore has always been a trend setter in encouraging new wave of industrial development, he said: "In knowledge-based industrial development, Bangalore has reached iconic stature. I am delighted to state that the city is acclaimed as one of the top 10 Technopolises in the world."

Calling on scientists to come up with tangible nano- technology-based solutions for food security, energy security, water purification, medicine and health care, he said: "The ultimate purpose of science and research should be to address the huge challenge in these areas."

Rao said India is number three in the world in the area of nano sciences and commended the contribution of institutes like Indian Institute of Science and Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research.

He said: "We have made reasonable progress; ....We have a long way to go."
"We should not forget the importance of science. Science should also focus on solving human problems and improve the quality of life," he said.

Source: Economic Times

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Freescale And iWave Systems Bring Out Innovative Products

Freescale Semiconductor, dealing in embedded processing solutions, along with iWave Systems Technologies, a Bangalore based Product Engineering Services company, demonstrated a range of technology innovation. The innovations developed by iWave Systems and based on Freescale technology include a Wi-Fi enabled Skin and Tooth Analyser, Smart MIPI camera, WEC2013 on Freescale’s i.MX6 SDP and iWave’s i.MX6 development board, System on Module (SOMs), Development Boards, Single Board Computer and many others that will benefit Industrial, Medical and Automotive domains.

Vivek Tyagi, Country Sales Director, Freescale Semiconductor India Pvt. Ltd. says, “At Freescale, it has been our constant endeavour to consumerize technology innovation. It is a great opportunity for us to have iWave as a partner. The products developed by iWave are unique and have already been adopted by many overseas customers, especially from Europe and Japan. Especially, the new product the Wi-Fi enabled Skin and Tooth Analyser developed by iWave will be a boon to the medical and healthcare industry. We are committed to provide support to our customers to develop innovative solutions in today’s fast evolving marketplace.”

M.A. Mohamed Saliya, Managing Director, iWave Systems Technologies says, “In order to sustain our leadership position, we continue to develop new System on Modules (SOMs) using the latest SoC’s like Vybrid controller solutions, i.MX7 and i.MX8 from Freescale. Besides the SOMs, in order to ease the product development by our customers, we offer reference designs and the platform software for the customers to develop their applications faster as a proof of concept. Our platform software also called BSP (Board Support Package) ranges from Embedded Linux to Android, Windows Embedded Compact, QNX and so on. We have an edge over the competition, since our customers find it challenging to locate all these under one roof.”

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

SAP Ganges Launch; India Retailing To Come Of Age

By Manu Sharma

Finally retailing in India will come of age. At the on-going SAP TechEd 2013 summit in Bangalore, the German software company announced the rollout of SAP Ganges, a business network built on the SAP HANA cloud platform will connects the last mile in retail consisting of Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) companies, distributors, banks, and your neighboring mom and pop or kirana retail stores.

According to industry sources, about 9.3 million retailers are in India today and that amounts to 40 percent of the world's retailers, However, most of them are in the unorganized kirana stores. Only 4 percent of India’s retail market is the organized sector i.e. controlled by large supermarket or chain stores, while in China the share is about 20 percent and in Brazil 36 percent .

Technology is reshaping the world around us and is removing barriers across geographies and businesses. Customers are seeking out the best offers, the best prices, and the best service levels with the help of real-time data. It has become imperative for CPG companies to work off a foundation of optimal processes across their entire value chain. The SAP HANA cloud platform powers the business network with real-time data on a massive scale.

Vishal Sikka, member of the Executive Board of SAP AG, Products and Innovation, said: "With SAP Ganges, we have shown that SAP HANA has the ability to transform and evolve entire industries in India. SAP HANA is helping connect businesses of all sizes in real-time: from the millions of kirana stores; to the large CPG companies serving them, and the financial institutions supporting them; by bringing new value to all points along this network and empowering people to conduct businesses in a totally open, transparent and real-time way."

Developed in India (Bangalore) for the Indian market by a team of 10 developers along with 75 more outsourced globally, SAP Ganges is a business network offering seamless connectivity for CPG companies to the last mile of their supply chain, which consists of millions of unorganized retail stores. Other partners in the business network are: distributors of the consumer product companies; banks, which provide credit to the retailers; value-added services providers; telecom services providers which enable remote connectivity; and manufacturers of affordable point-of-sale (POS) devices.

Conceptualized through intensive design thinking-based co-innovation with leading industry players, SAP Ganges offers a range of holistic offerings for different stakeholders including:

* CPG companies: enabling visibility through reporting and forecasting based on sales information aggregated from the retail stores. In addition, they can use SAP Ganges as a direct marketing channel to reach retail stores.

* Distributors: providing the distributor to take orders, track inventory at the retail stores, and to allow them to receive payments digitally.

* Banks: enabling banks to assess credit eligibility of retailers and to adjust credit limit periodically based on retail store sales.

* Retail Stores: enabling retail stores to connect to business network using PoS devices and to access business services.

According to the India Brand Equity Foundation, the Indian fast moving consumer goods sector consisting of personal care, household care, and food products was valued at $36.8bn in FY2011-12; and is one of the fastest growing retail markets in the world. Following the release in India, SAP plans to roll out SAP Ganges to other retail-intensive economies such as Brazil, South Africa, China and Indonesia.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

India Adds 13 More Budding Tech Entrepreneurs In 2013

Microsoft Ventures in India recently announced the graduation of its Winter Batch from the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator program in India. At a Demo Day held at the Microsoft Lavelle Road office in Bangalore, the 400 plus audience of mentors, industry influencers, venture capitalists, angel investors and media professionals witnessed the amazing progress made by each company over the last four months at the Accelerator.  The 13 startups which graduated now include: AdSparx, ShieldSquare, Chance, Frrole, Native5, SignEasy, TommyJams, Whalelogix, Scibler, HasGeek, Nanobi, Tookitaki and 1000Lookz.

Congratulating the graduating batch, Ravi Narayan, Director, Microsoft Ventures in India said: “The last four months have been exciting and a great learning experience for all of us—the startups and the Microsoft Ventures in India program team.  The companies in the batch ranged from first-time entrepreneurs to more seasoned, experienced entrepreneurs who have just hit upon their best idea with this venture. Hence, we had to cater to a very varied set of asks from the batch – from improvements in UX, to global expansion, customer acquisitions and product development. I am extremely proud that we could make some really successful customer acquisition and investor connections for some of the startups. In this context, I would also like to thank some of our mentors for the amazing support they provided us.”

The accelerator, which was until recently headed by Mukund Mohan, now director of Microsoft Ventures, shifted hands after the global reorganization that took place in July.

“It is amazing that 90% of the companies in this batch are running on revenues, as opposed to just 30% in the first batch. We are talking revenues of about $100,000. That is dramatic shift in the last one and half years,” said Mohan, former CEO in residence, Microsoft Accelerator.

A notable ones that graduated are Chance, a video interaction application; Frrole, a media social intelligence platform; SignEasy, an online document signing application; and TommyJams, a Web platform that connects music artists to venues. All the graduating companies, except two, are close to getting funded, people with direct knowledge of the matter said Mohan.

The Microsoft Ventures Accelerator team in India is now busy shortlisting applications for the fourth batch, which will start in January 2014. After rigorous screening, the final list of up to 15 startups will be announced soon. The four-month incubation process at the state-of-the-art Microsoft office in downtown Bangalore will begin on January 22, 2014 and end with Demo Day in May.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Avail Technology Courses In Semiconductor & Manufacturing In India

Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB) and Applied Materials, Inc. today announced the extension of their partnership to offer a certification course in “Semiconductor Technology and Manufacturing” through IIT Bombay’s Continuing Education Programme (CEP) for the second year. This course, designed to bridge the existing skill gap in this specialized high-tech sector, complements the Government of India’s in-principle approval for the establishment of two semiconductor manufacturing facilities in the country. The Semiconductor Technology and Manufacturing certification course was jointly launched by IIT Bombay and Applied Materials in the year 2012 and was received enthusiastically by industry as well as academia.

The six-day course starting on December 10, 2013 endeavors to impart knowledge about the basic concepts of integrated circuit (IC) fabrication and manufacturing, develop an understanding of semiconductor processes, hardware and system technologies, as well as provide hands-on user training on production level tools and systems widely used in the industry. Renowned faculty members from IIT Bombay will deliver lectures along with industry professionals from Applied Materials. The lab sessions will be held at the IIT Bombay Nanofabrication Facility (IITBNF) and the Applied Materials Nanomanufacturing Lab, Electrical Engineering Department, IIT Bombay.  On successful completion of the course, participants will receive the Continued Education Programme (CEP) certificate by IITB.

Speaking about the programme, Prof. Abhay Karandikar, Head of the Electrical Engineering Department, IIT Bombay, said, “We are glad to take this certification program to its second year. It will strengthen the semiconductor manufacturing ecosystem in India through our state-of-the-art nanofabrication facilities and partnership with Applied Materials. The hands-on training and high level of faculty expertise are the highlights of the course that generated very positive feedback from participants last year. We plan to increase and diversify the hands-on lab sessions this year to enhance the quality and breadth of exposure to semiconductor manufacturing and R&D for the participants.”

Speaking on the occasion, Aninda Moitra, President & Managing Director, Applied Materials India, said, “This is an opportunity to reiterate our commitment to the overall growth of the Electronic System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) sector. Talent development is critical to maximize the impact of this sector. India has high-quality talent, and they need to be continually channeled to move from a purely theoretical environment to a combination of theory and practice, especially in industries that are R&D intensive. This is exactly what the course addresses – giving students and individuals in the ESDM ecosystem hands-on exposure to manufacturing, and the opportunity to utilize India’s only 200mm semiconductor fabrication facility dedicated to university-industry research.”

In India, Applied Materials is a strategic partner and an enabler of the semiconductor and solar manufacturing ecosystem. Since it started local operations in 2002, Applied Materials India has grown into the second largest engineering resource pool for the company globally, providing design engineering, engineering support services, and cutting edge innovation in materials science and engineering to the global organization. The India region, which is a key link to the company’s global IT infrastructure footprint, provides IT solutions and services, and hosts the second largest data center for Applied globally.

The CEP programme is intended for working professionals in the semiconductor industry, research scientists and technical staff, and academics. It includes modules on VLSI & Semiconductor Technology, Semiconductor Equipment Overview and Lab Equipment User Training.  Those with a diploma or a bachelor's degree in Science/Engineering are eligible to apply. One can register for the course at http://www.cen.iitb.ac.in/cen/events/cep_course.php. Application submissions are due by November 24, 2013.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

HealthKartPlus Expands Its Footprint In Bengaluru

HealthKartPlus, a online pharmacy network and medicine application, has announced the expansion of its drug delivery services in Bengaluru region. After successfully catering to the consumers within Delhi/NCR, the company is now ready to expand its services in other cities. Followed by Bengaluru; the service will be introduced in other metros in phase manner. With this approach, the company aims at making orders of medicines more convenient and accessible to its consumers across all major cities in India.

The online pharmacy network HealthKartPlus is a platform to connect local pharmacies directly to consumers. Also, it provides consumers with value added information about their medicines. It keeps consumers informed on how their medicine works, explains the side effects, interaction with other drugs and potential contraindications – besides giving information on more economical substitute available for the same generic salt. The company has also made its app available for free across Android, iOS and Windows 8 for users.

On the occasion, Prashant Tandon, Founder Healthkart, said “We are really excited to start our service in Bengaluru. HealthKartPlus has received extremely good reviews in Delhi/NCR for its service and utility as a pocket chemist app. This is a one of a kind service in India and Bengaluru, being the technology hub of the country, is the obvious choice for our second location."

Monday, November 18, 2013

1 Million Die Premature In India; Philips Holds Awareness Campaign

By Manu Sharma

In India over 35 lakh children are born premature. Proper handling and efficient medical care is the need of the hour. On the occasion of “World Prematurity Day” on November 17, 2013, Philips Innovation Campus observed an awareness session with Dr. Karthik Nagesh on the topic “Developmental care for premature babies” in Bangalore.

Speaking to the event, Dr. Karthik Nagesh, a senior neonatologist and founder, managing trustee of the ‘Foundation for Newborns’ which is a trust that does charity for sick babies and promotes newborn health said, “Two of the deadliest diseases infecting the new born are pneumonia and prematurity. Ever year about 15 million children are born prematurity in India and out of which I million of them die annually. The new born need a good start in life. Hence we should do whatever it takes to reduce the burden and mortality associated with prematurity by spreading awareness on the need for their safe delivery in institutions where they can be cared for.” 

Until three years ago the survival of babies born in just 28 weeks of gestation and weighing less than 1kg was zero. According to industry sources mortality in India accounts for 50% of infant mortality, which has declined to 84/1000 live births. There is no prenatal care for over 50% of pregnant women, and over 80% deliver at home in unsafe and unsanitary conditions. Those women who do deliver in health facilities are unable to receive intensive neonatal care when necessary. 

Anxious parents of pre-term babies can now deal with the difficulties of handling a premature baby if they are well-informed and work closely with care givers.

Dr Karthik says, “Earlier all the Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) in India were only in a few cities and tier 1 like the Kasturba Medical Hospital, Fortis. Shankara Cancer Foundation and CMC Vellore were equipped. However, now we also see an advent of NICUs to the Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities as well.” 

However, Level I and Level II neonatal care is unavailable in most health facilities in India, and in most developing countries, he said adding there is a need in India for Level III care units also. The establishment of NICUs in India and developing countries would require space and location, finances, equipment, staff, protocols of care, and infection control measures. Neonatal mortality could be reduced by initially adding NICUs at a few key hospitals.

In fact, India stands second in the world wherein out of every 100 children born 14% are born premature while Malawi in Africa leads with 18.1% per every 100 born.

These tiny patients are at a high risk of a variety of long term developmental complications including motor impairments, cognitive deficits, and behavioral disorders. Although physical and motor disorders may be more noticeable, increasingly more focus is being directed towards the mental health issues that children born prematurely or at low birth weight are at higher risk for attention-deficit, attention-deficit-hyperactive, anxiety, and other emotional disorders.

With emphasis on Integrated development care for neonates, Philips showcased a range of products to promote family centered care including positioning aids like Bendy bumpers, Prone Plus, Snuggle Up, Fredrick T Frog, and Wee pee Diapers for premature neonates.

Demonstratiing the products, Srikanth Muthya, director, Healthcare, Philips, said “Each product is developed with seven evidence based core measures in mind: Healing Environment, Partnering with Families, Positioning & Handling, Protecting Sleep, Minimizing Stress & Pain, Optimizing Nutrition, and Safeguarding Sleep” He also added “Philips has extended beyond basic therapeutic devices and moved into cognitive developmental care for premature new borns.”

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Asia’s First Hybrid Cloud Now Powered By OpenStack

Rackspace Hosting has launched Asia’s first hybrid cloud powered by OpenStack, the open source cloud computing platform. The new public cloud joins Rackspace’s existing portfolio of private cloud and dedicated solutions to complete the Open Cloud Company’s Hybrid Cloud offering to businesses throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

“We are excited to launch Asia’s first hybrid cloud powered by OpenStack,” said Ajit Melarkode, managing director of Rackspace Asia Pacific. “OpenStack already gives thousands of our customers access to the power of open standards and enables them to enjoy freedom from vendor lock-in as they open new gateways to faster innovation through cloud computing.”

Rackspace identifies India as a robust and upcoming market, seen in their decision to launch the first hybrid cloud in Asia powered by Openstack. The public cloud services market in India is forecast to grow 36 percent in 2013 to total $443 million, up from $326 million in 2012, according to Gartner, Inc. Studies done by Deloitte indicate that organizations that can bridge hyper hybrid clouds with their core systems will be at the forefront to elevate business performance with the next wave of digital innovation.

Scania Invests Rs 250 cr to Set Up Assembly Plant in India

With an initial investment of Rs 250 crore, Sweden's Scania Commercial Vehicles has set up an assembly plant in India to manufacture about 2,500 heavy haulage trucks besides 1,000 inter-city buses and coaches annually at a factory near Bangalore. 

Currently the localisation is 18% for trucks and 100% for bus bodies, the company said, adding that they have plans to increase the locolisation of trucks to over 25% by next year.

The facility first of its kind in Asia will serve as the company's head office and centre for all commercial operations . The operations will consist of final assembly of trucks with bodywork and building of complete coaches along with a service workshop and a central parts warehouse.

"Today marks the beginning of a new era for us in India, and it is our largest industrial footprint in Asia so far," said Martin Lundstedt, president and chief executive, Scania Global.

Scania said that it plans to employ over 800 people at this facility within five years. The unit employees about 198 presently.

The plant will house two manufacturing units- one each for truck assembly and another for buses. The facility will also have service workshop and a central parts warehouse.
Scania had started production of trucks at the new facility during June and production trials have taken place for mining and off-road trucks.

The company plans to start the production of on-road trucks soon followed by bus rollout which is planned for the first quarter of 2014.

The company is bullish on improving highway infrastructure in India and acceptance of international industry practices like hub-and-spoke model.

Scania has been present in the Indian market since 2007 through a partnership with Larsen & Toubro (L&T). The company in India has also forayed into the engines segment with the launch of products for industrial, marine and power generation.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Asian Economies Account For 35% Of The Total Global IT Spend By 2020

Zinnov, a leading market expansion and globalization advisory firm, has announced the release of its latest study on emerging economies titled, “E+ Economies & Winning Strategies”.

The report encapsulates the spending patterns and IT investments of emerging+ economies namely India, China, Malaysia, Indonesia & Philippines which constitute 40% of the total world population.

As per the study, growing economic powers with sizable consumptions will lead the next wave of technology investments. Expanding base of globally competitive large and mid-size enterprises, strong base of growing
domestic micro & small companies, and growth of enabling IT infrastructure are among the key factors for the exponential growth of IT spending in E+ economies.

Enterprise led opportunities in E+ economies is 3 to 4 times of the U.S market, according to the released report. The total number of Forbes 2000 enterprises from E+ economies, are set to grow by 300% by 2020; while the number of U.S enterprises in the list could face a decline. China boasts a strong economy with 95,000 large & mid size enterprises followed by India with 55,000, while U.S stands at 41,000 enterprises only.

The report further states that the strong internet and mobile infrastructure is enabling IT investment growth in E+ countries. As per the findings, E+ economies will have a potential internet user base of 2,256 million by 2020. China with 42% penetration has a current internet user base of 564 million while developed economy of U.S stands at 244 million with 78% penetration. India stands second after China with a 157 million internet user base but with a low penetration of 11% which shows a tremendous growth opportunity.

Smartphone users in E+ economies, is also growing at a strong pace and it is likely to reach 1,795 million by 2020. China leads the E+ with 330 million smartphone users followed by 52 million in Indonesia. India stands
third with 44 million smartphone users. As per the report, increasing data consumption and smartphone penetration is creating newer opportunities in the telecom space.

Speaking about the findings, Praveen Bhadada, Director-Market Expansion, Zinnov, said, ?While the basic IT infrastructure is fast growing in E+ economies, mobile internet is increasingly becoming key as compared to
desktop internet in these countries. Mobile internet VAS revenues are expected to be over $22 Bn by 2016 and presents great opportunity for technology companies?

Further commenting on the Winning Strategies for Emerging Markets,  Praveen Bhadada added, “Technology companies should target large government projects for the next wave of technology investments in E+ economies. While leveraging influencer models can further drive IT adoption in the key sectors, it is important to re-define distribution to
suit the local needs of the customers. Creating an ecosystem for market development and focus on region specific deep consumer insights & localization are must have?s to win these markets.”

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