Friday, February 7, 2014

Sony Bids Sayonara To Its Computer Business

Sony is shuttering its computer business, refocusing its TV division on high-end units and laying off 5,000 people. It is also predicting a massive loss of 110 billion yen, or $1.1 billion, for the fiscal year, a drastic change from its prediction three months ago of a 30-billion yen profit ($294 million).

There was a time, long ago, when it looked as if Japanese electronics companies -- and foremost among them Sony -- would take over the world. But no longer. Apple and Samsung dominate the consumer market for tablets and smartphones, and Sony is now being forced to undergo costly restructuring to survive.

Sony's TV business has long been a loser. It has cost the electronics giant $7.8 billion over the past decade, according to Reuters. Sony plans to spin it off into a subsidiary company by July of this year, hoping to streamline processes and return it to profitability by the end of the fiscal year ending March 31, 2015.

To some observers, this move could look like preparation for disposing of the TV division altogether. But Sony chief Kazuo Hirai told reporters in Tokyo that "we have absolutely no plan" to sell off the TV business, according to Reuters. The way forward, Hirai thinks, lies in high-end models, especially ultra-high-definition 4K TVs, which have yet to go mainstream.

Sony will be posting a net loss for the fifth time in six years. As part of restructuring, the Japanese electronics maker will let go more than 3 percent of its global work force by March 2015. The company expects the layoffs to save 100 billion yen, or $1 billion, in annual costs. As of September 2013, Sony had 145,800 employees.

Sony's computer business is also a goner. After spring 2014, when its final lineup of personal computers will launch, Sony will stop manufacturing and selling computers. Its PC business will be sold to Japan Industrial Partners, an investment fund, and about 250 to 300 Sony employees will move to the new company which the fund will set up to manage the PC business.

Even Sony's successes are somewhat muted. Its Playstation 4 gaming console is on pace to beat sales expectations of 5 million units by the end of March. But this latest iteration of the popular Playstation was so expensive to develop that it will take two years to break even on the console, Sony said.

One Sony division is performing admirably, however. The financial services unit did so well in the fiscal quarter from October to December 2013 that Sony managed to post an operating profit of more than 90 billion yen, nearly twice the previous year's amount.

Source: Agencies

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Satya Nadella An Inspiration Among South Asians

Satya Nadella born Nadella Satya Narayana is the Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft. He was appointed CEO on February 4, 2014, succeeding Steve Ballmer. But it also marked the ascension of an Indian-born executive to the top of a global powerhouse—a milestone marked by people of Indian descent worldwide. Fantastic news about Satya Nadella - Microsoft, Pepsi, Citibank all headed by people of Indian origin. Should motivate all South Asians!

Previously, he was executive vice president of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise group, responsible for building and running the company’s computing platforms, developer tools and cloud services.

Nadella worked as the senior vice president of R&D for the Online Services Division and vice president of the Microsoft Business Division. Later, he was made the president of Microsoft’s $19 billion Server and Tools Business and led a transformation of the company's business and technology culture from client services to cloud infrastructure and services. He has been credited for helping bring Microsoft's database, Windows Server and developer tools to its Azure cloud. 

The revenue from Cloud Services grew to $20.3 billion in June 2013 from $16.6 billion when he took over in 2011. Satya Nadella played major role in Microsoft's transition to the cloud.

On February 4, 2014, Nadella was announced as the new CEO of Microsoft. He is the third chief executive in the company's history. Immediately after announcement, Nadella said that his priority would be leading Microsoft in Mobile and Cloud domains.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

India’s Software Product Industry Has Potential To Reach US$100 bn By 2025


Indian Software Products Industry Roundtable (iSPIRT), India’s software product industry think-tank, today released its first ‘Product Industry Monitor Report’, a first-of-its-kind report analyzing India’s software product industry landscape. The first Product Industry Monitor report is mainly focused on industry demographics, founder profile, talent management and financing aspects of India’s product industry, and throws light on some interesting facets of the sector.

iSPIRT estimates that the country has the potential to build a US$100 bn software product industry by 2025, contributing significantly to the nation’s current account. While the existing framework of sector’s revenue contribution does not concur to this estimate all that is required to make this happen is some resolute and purposeful action by two major stakeholders: industry and government.

Unlike many other sunrise sectors which are predicted to fuel the growth of tomorrow’s Indian economy, the software product industry has all the fundamental requirements in place to succeed. Some of the factors that can propel software product industry’s growth in India is the rich skill leadership that the country already has in the IT sector, aspiration for entrepreneurship that exists among India’s youth particularly in the IT (software) space, established vibrant software eco-system, existence of ‘soft infrastructure’, mobile proliferation, commoditization of computing hardware and the advent of cloud computing have made connectivity and computing capability nearly ubiquitous across India.

Further, emergent trends in the global technology space are working in India’s favor. India is currently going through a period of ‘Combinatorial Innovation’. Combinatorial innovation makes it possible for small entrepreneurial teams to develop complex business applications quickly. India has proved its combinatorial innovation at work in the UID project besides a host of SaaS success stories by Indian origin companies.

The new SaaS markets that are being created are very large and amount to a US$600 billion global opportunity (out of the total US$1.2 trillion opportunity for software products). For the first time, Indian SaaS product companies are part of this emerging market opportunity from the beginning and some early winners are starting to emerge.

iSPIRT believes that fast growing domestic market requirements will also aid the growth of India’s Software product industry in the days to come. The domestic market for software products is expected to grow at 14%, almost three times the global growth rate. A good part of this increased demand for software products will come from the SME sector and India’s growth engine and socially significant sectors such as healthcare and education that are struggling to scale up to meet the needs of a growing nation.

To fulfill its potential software product industry will evolve through a number of different stages. We now have a critical mass of software product companies and have entered the Maturation stage of the industry. In a sense, the engine has cranked up and we need to pick up speed. To build momentum we need a string of positive outcomes – substantial VC investments, M&As and IPOs – that will give the industry much needed validation and a boost of confidence.

At this crucial juncture in this journey, it’s very important for the entire ecosystem – product entrepreneurs, angels, VCs, government – to be aligned. This alignment can’t happen with the limited anecdotal industry data that we have. The alignment will come about when everybody is looking at the industry issues through the lens of credible industry data.  Since this data isn’t available we embarked on a systematic research effort in partnership with Prof. Sharique Hasan of Stanford University to address this problem. The first Product Industry Monitor report is a result of his effort.

Future reports will explore the M&A landscape for software products in India; products, business models, strategy and innovation in the software product industry; and track year-on-year trends on various dimensions of the software product industry.

Monday, February 3, 2014

US$4m Prize For Innovative Renewable Energy And Sustainability Projects

Zayed Future Energy Prize 2015 has announced the annual US$4 million prize rewards for individuals, organisations and schools making a positive impact in the fields of renewable energy and sustainability.

Submissions and nominations for the 2015 Zayed Future Energy Prize has opened from today. The Prize, an annual US$4 million award, recognises individuals, organisations and schools who have made significant strides to advance the fields of renewable energy and sustainability.

Submissions will open globally across five categories: Large Corporation, Small and Medium Enterprise (SME), Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Lifetime Achievement and Global High Schools. In the Lifetime Achievement category, nominations will also be accepted.

Submissions and nominations are accepted online at:

“Throughout history, prizes have proven to be a mechanism to encourage innovation,” said His Excellency Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, director general of the Zayed Future Energy Prize. “The Zayed Future Energy Prize is a commitment by the UAE’s government to incentivise people, organisations and schools to tackle today’s pressing energy and sustainability challenges.

“The world needs viable solutions that address issues such as energy access and sustainable development,” added Dr. Al Jaber. “And now in its seventh year, we are proud of the impact the Prize is delivering. From electrifying rural villages in Africa to accelerating to market energy-efficiency technologies, our winners and finalists are leaving a positive mark on the world. ”

The Zayed Future Energy Prize has awarded 30 winners across six continents and impacted millions of lives. Over the years, Prize winners have trained thousands of women as green technicians; delivered solar home systems to millions in Bangladesh; created access to safe drinking water to millions in Africa; and funded university scholarship to students around the world.

Winners of the 2014 Zayed Future Energy Prize, announced January 20, include ABB, Abellon CleanEnergy, Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, Wang Chuanfu, the founder and chairman of BYD Co Ltd, the Chinese auto and battery maker, and five high schools from across the globe.

Submissions and nominations will close on July 14, 2014.

IESA Calls For “Made in India” Electronics Products At Vision Summit 2014

The IESA Vision Summit 2014, the annual industry conclave of the India Electronics and Semiconductor Association (IESA), the premier trade body, representing the Indian electronic system design and manufacturing (ESDM) industry commenced today with a call to action for developing electronic products from India, for global markets. The Summit theme “From Consumption to Creation” put a spotlight on the specific initiatives the Government of India and the industry should take to bolster and establish a strong design and manufacturing base in the country. The Vision Summit 2014 also saw the highest ever participation from State governments, with representation from Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Orissa. 

In its ninth year now, the annual two day session showcased keynote speeches and panel discussions on policy, the role of State Governments, entrepreneurship and innovation and the experience of various players in the global electronics eco-system. It also examined the critical and game-changing role the two proposed semiconductor wafer fabrication (fab) facilities will have on the Indian ESDM ecosystem.

In his inaugural speech, Sanjeev Keskar, Chairman, IESA said “IESA has been a catalyst to the country’s ESDM ecosystem and, along with the Government of India, is fully committed to establishing a best in class design and manufacturing base in the country. IESA’s growing and diversified membership base is a proof of the strong focus around initiatives that are shaping the future of this industry which is founded on three imperatives – domestic manufacturing, indigenous design and worldwide marketing of products and solutions. Innovation that results in creation of IP assets is the need of the hour, as it contributes the major part of the product value. In the long run, only ‘high value added manufacturing’ can address the export-import imbalance, thereby helping to reduce the current account deficit.”

“Applied Materials is proud to be a participant at the IESA Vision Summit 2014. The event brings together government, industry bodies, ESDM players and academia at a historic point in India’s electronics industry. It took years of determination and collaboration to reach this inflection, an inflection that makes the creation of semiconductor manufacturing in India a reality, bridging the gap between consumption and creation. This is a truly transformative juncture for the Indian electronics industry, and we offer our full support to making it successful,” said Om Nalamasu, CTO, Applied Materials.

On this occasion, IESA signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Messe München International (MMI) to launch DEFTRONICS, an industry symposium focused on aerospace and defence electronics to be held in Bangalore on September 23-24th 2014. Commenting on this initiative, PVG Menon, National President, IESA said “While India’s appetite for aerospace and defence products fuels the global industry, our domestic contribution to this industry leaves much to be desired. India spent almost US$32 Bn on national defence in the year 2010-2011 and this is expected to rise to US$ 42 Bn by 2015. With a demand for at least 1,000 civil aircraft forecasted over the next decade, the civil aviation sector is also booming, and this translates to huge market opportunities for Indian companies and entrepreneurs. IESA is creating a platform wherein all the players in the aerospace and defence ecosystem can come together, learn and collaborate with each other, so that the future demand can be met - if not fully, then at least in a large measure - from domestic companies.”

At Vision Summit 2014, IESA also released the IESA-UKTI report on “Strengthening the Indo-UK ESDM Sector.” The report identifies areas of collaboration based on the technical prowess of each country: IP creation, end-to-end product development, joint academic research teams and building a shared venture fund to support high potential ESDM projects and start-ups. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Philips Sets Up Global Operational Control Centre at Bangalore

Every single day the world is changing faster and faster. As a result, latest innovations are impacting the way consumers live and work. To address the technology challenges and stay connected to its vast global consumers, Philips has recently set up a Operations Control Centre (OCC) at the Philips Innovation Campus (PIC) campus in Bangalore. 
At an Open House held recently, PIC showcased some of its latest innovations. The OCC, first of its kind is to address challenges in multiple IT landscapes like CRM, ERP, SCM, BI etc.  Its platform is designed specifically around business processes. The walk-through was set up to address this challenge through live monitoring of IT business parameters for proactive detection of issues and hence removal of CONQ (Cost of Non-Quality in IT).
The emphasis on the need for IT for seamless E2E execution of the business process to reduce the challenges faced in an increasingly complex business landscape was highlighted during the visit. There is no standard solution readily available in the market to address challenges. OCC is a platform that has been developed to bridge this gap.
Led by Benjamin Hallam, Head of IT Delivery Comprehensive Group, Philips Innovation Campus (PIC), OCC has a team of about 50 IT staff and contractors working on various IT technologies like cloud computing, networking, data centres, BPM among others.
Hallam says, “OCC is one of its kind in the world and allows you to securely manage and monitor your global data centre footprint, and provides the real-time business intelligence and also control your need to optimize performance.”

Incidentally OCC proactively monitors end-to-end business process and alerts support partners to avoid business disruptions. One of its early success was tasted on the delivery of demand planning and supply networking for the consumer lifecycle sector.

Digital Accelerator Lab
Working with consumers, Philips has developed concepts and prototypes of app-controlled devices across segments like consumer lifestyle, healthcare etc including:
1.  Philips HomeCooker: The prototype features a built-in Wi-Fi and a new dedicated app for your smart device. The app provides inspiration and guidance throughout the entire cooking process, showing pictures of all the ingredients with step-by-step instructions on how to cook and combine them for a homemade meal. The HomeCooker neXt is in concept phase. 
2.  Saeco Café: Digital accelerator lab has played a crucial role in enhancing coffee experience by using digital& connectivity medium. The coffee maker has advanced features and technology which helps you brewing your coffee using your tablet. 
3.  Google Glass: A prototype of the cross-sector innovation platform with labs based in the Netherlands and India, collaborated with researchers from Accenture Technology Labs to explore the potential use of Google Glass in clinical settings. Google glass innovation looks at the ability for clinicians to call up images and other clinical information including data from patients’ records from anywhere in the hospital using wearable technology.

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