Thursday, January 8, 2015

TRPs Race Comes in Focus at Global Communication Conference

The race for TRPs among some private television news channels has come into a sharp focus at the two-day conference of the Global Communication Association (GCA) that kicked off today.

Communication professionals from across the world gathered here for the conference with the theme of “Breaking Barriers – Creating new communication horizons”.

In his opening remarks, Prasar Bharati Chairman A Surya Prakash described the chase as more of “Blood Pressure Raising Points (BRPs)” as certain news channels keep having eight to panelists debating at the top of their voices. No other country in the world seems to have this kind of a Maara Maari on TV news channels, he said and called upon the viewers switch over to Doordarshan if they get fed up with the private channels. “We do not ape the west, we are very much Indian,” he remarked describing the ethos at Doordarshan.

Pointing out that mass media in general has been experiencing an exponential boom in the country, Mr Surya Prakash called for “our own solutions” to meet the challenges of growth.
Echoing the same sentiments, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramiah, who was the chief guest, said some electronic media channels appeared to be in a great race to meet deadlines. This was why, he said, sometimes the viewers might not see anything big in the so-called breaking news.

He suggested that steps should be taken to curb monopolies among media houses and even private treaties. The role of the Press Council should be redefined to cover TV news channels as well, he said.

He said he always stood for the freedom of the Press and constructive criticism.
Dr Vinod Nowal, Deputy Managing Director of JSW Steel Limited, who was the guest of honour, said there was a huge barrier between what people at the helm say and what they do. India needed to improve a lot on infrastructure allocation of natural resources if it has to emerge as the global manufacturing hub. He pointed out that the interest rates in the country are very high at 18% as compared to the developed countries which enjoy a rate of 3% to 4%.

In his keynote address, Mr Deepak Mukherji, Communication consultant and former director of corporate affairs at Shell India, dealt with challenges in breaking barriers of communication and said the professionals ought to differentiate between trustable and trustworthiness. “We all seem to be experts in publicizing promises and not what is delivered,” he said and called for an increased focus on the trustable element rather than talking about mere transparency among corporates.

Conference curator and organizing secretary Krishna B Mariyanka said the two-day event will focus discussions on Faltering Media social responsibilities, Communication CSR through media, news distribution in social media, communication for PPPs, sustainability communication, branding, new digital journalism, challenges in multi-cultural communication, political communication, digital privacy, healthcare communication, and so on.

Achievers in various sectors will be felicitated with the A.P. Chowdappa memorial award for excellence in communication at the end of the conference tomorrow evening.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Leverage ICT for Digital Transformation & Success of Make in India

To leverage the global competencies of the ICT sector and also enable the IT industry to map a sustained growth plan, The National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), has shared its budget recommendations with the government. As part of the recommendations, NASSCOM highlights necessary aspects that can promote a healthy growth oriented business environment for existing players, innovation driven start-ups and SMEs.

The emergence of a rapidly growing ecosystem for innovation; driven by young, tech savvy entrepreneurs is a powerful new complement to the existing global reach of the industry. The SMEs and technology Start-ups need an environment of constant nurturing including access to funds, incentives to support operations and a simplified compliance framework. On the other hand large enterprises require stable policies and predictable regulations to continue its global journey.

While talking about the recommendations, R. Chandrashekhar, President, NASSCOM said “The Government has been progressive and has committed to adopt technology for governance. With enabling policies and speedy implementation, we can surely realize the Digital India vision. The success of the flagship initiatives of the government - Digital India and Make in India not only offer tremendous opportunities for the innovation driven technology Industry, but its success also hinges   on the sustainability and continued growth of the technology driven sector. Hence, factors that can potentially restrict growth and innovation needs to be addressed.”

Some of the salient recommendations by NASSCOM are:
* Addressing regulatory and tax challenges for technology start-ups and SMEs, like
* Difficulties in access to funding for low asset based firms
* Investor difficulties related to regulations and taxations discouraging investors
* Ambiguous Software product taxation and implementation issues adding to burden
* Incentives for technology start-ups and SMEs
* Extend provisions on deduction for employment and skill development (Section 80JJAA), R&D credits,
* Suggestions for new provisions like Offsetting manpower training cost, deferred tax  credits for start-ups
* Interest rates on penalty for service tax, for amount under litigation, should be rationalized. Rates introduced in the last budget are punitive @ 30%. NASSCOM acknowl­edges that companies who have collected service tax but not paid to the Government should be penalized and hence a 30% interest rate maybe applicable to such defaulters. For others, where there is a dispute over legal interpretation on applicability of service tax, a nominal rate of interest maybe notified
* To encourage growth of ecommerce, taxation on digital transactions should be in the least, at par with the physical world, if not reduced to facilitate adoption and migration to technology enabled platforms. This will help Government leverage the inherent transparency and traceability of online transactions
* Towards Make in India
* In recognition of the transformative impact of IT, extend incentives to the Indian Industry for adoption and implementation of IT tools for efficiency enhancement, ensuring sustainability and global competitiveness for the success of the Make in India program
* Revoke exclusion of expenses towards software tools for R&D from weighted deduction under the DSIR guidelines to encourage adoption of advanced R&D
* Policy revisions/ clarifications for expansion of the Industry
* Exports– Foreign Tax Credit policy, drawback scheme for Services, carry back­ward of business losses

* Domestic business – align royalty definition with international practices, clarify POPS rules, revisit

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

IEEE's First Blended Learning VLSI Program Now Available

IEEE announced the availability of the IEEE Blended Learning Program in Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) for both corporate and academic organizations at the International Conference on VLSI Design, 2015 being held from Jan 3-7 in Bangalore, India. The IEEE Blended Learning Program in VLSI is a unique skills-development program that aims to increase the availability of skilled engineers in the rapidly growing Electronic System Design & Manufacturing (ESDM) sector in India.

IEEE Blended Learning Program (BLP) includes an e-Learning component to teach concepts in a highly engaging and interactive manner, an instructor-led lab component, an adaptive assessment at the end of each course, and content & performance analytics.  IEEE has partnered with RV-VLSI Design Center, an autonomous finishing school of the R.V. group of institutions that offers industry-centric advanced programs in VLSI. The key goals of the program are to complement the core curriculum in a university, build a foundation of VLSI concepts and practical skills, and help new and experienced employees at an organization become more productive in their specific areas of focus.

At the time of the launch of this program, two courses are available: RTL Verification using Verilog (advanced, domain-specific course) and Logic Design for VLSI Engineers (foundational course).  Courses covering timing analysis and RTL design are scheduled to be released in early 2015 and more courses covering topics in FPGA design, analog flow, custom layout, advanced verification techniques, and others will be made available throughout 2015.

The e-learning component of the course teaches concepts in an easy to understand manner,  includes practice in a simulation environment, and short quizzes to check understanding of concepts. The lab component, approximately 60-70% of the course duration, is offered in a workshop style manner with flexible timing and customization options. At the end of the course, learners take  an adaptive assessment designed to test their understanding of the course material. An IEEE certificate of completion is offered to each learner who completes the program successfully.

“The IEEE Blended Learning Program is very innovative and the topics covered were exceptional. The lab sessions were excellent and the instructors were engaging and provided accurate understanding of the concepts,’’ said Mr. Chetan, Assistant Professor, Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, CMRIT, Bangalore who participated in a faculty workshop organized by IEEE recently. ‘’I believe the program is definitely bridging the gap between academia and industry. I recommend IEEE Blended Learning Program to anyone who is interested in learning new concepts in the Semiconductor industry.”

The program is currently available in the Bangalore & neighbouring regions to undergraduate and graduate students in colleges and universities, faculty members, corporations, and recent graduates aspiring  to a career in the semiconductor industry.  IEEE is also planning to expand the program to other regions in India in the near future.  

Students currently pursuing undergraduate or post-graduate studies or recent graduates currently seeking employment in the ESDM sector can enroll into available courses by paying directly through the Blended Learning Platform. Various payment options including credit card (Visa or Mastercard), online net banking, and Challan payment using Cash, Demand Drafts, and NEFT through Corporation Bank and other major national and regional banks are available.

Promising Future for Indian Start-Up Landscape

With more than 3,000 tech start-ups, India is the fourth largest base for young businesses in the world and it is expected that by 2020 the base will increase to 11,500 tech start-ups. This along with other interesting findings were revealed in ‘Tech Start-up in India: A Bright Future’ a study report by National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) and Zinnov. The report suggests that the Indian start-ups with their unique solutions are witnessing increased traction in global whitespace opportunities such as Internet of Things, augmented realty, smart hardware, BI and many more.

With technology spreading its wings into different domains, ‘Domain+Tech’ solutions are taking over other trends. The emerging niche technology solutions are primarily focused on Ad-tech, Edu-tech, Health-tech, Agri-tech and many more. Geographically, Bangalore and National Capital Region (NCR) tops the chart for being home to maximum number of young businesses.

 The findings also highlight that many trends are maturing in the ecosystem, especially funding aspect. Multiple and easily accessible platform like VC/PE, angel investors, incubators, financial institutes and even banks, are the driving force for the same. In fact, during 2010-2014 timeframe close to US$3 billion is expected to be invested in Indian start-ups.

 Commenting on the new evolution of the ecosystem, Rajat Tandon, Senior Director, NASSCOM 10,000 Startups, added that “These latest findings clearly indicate the beginning of the golden era for young tech-based businesses, where opportunities for growth are much larger than the challenges in the ecosystem. We are proud to be once again at the cutting edge in helping to support a growing niche within this field, and we are excited to ink new partnerships as we close the year to accelerate our efforts in that direction.”

 NASSCOM’s 10,000 Start-ups program has successfully paved way for 3 inevitable trends that are shaping the Indian economy with the potential to shake things up: Digitalization, faster innovation cycles, and the rise of young, ambitious talent. Start-ups are both a consequence and an accelerating catalyst of these trends. It’s exciting to be here, but we have much to do. This ecosystem is growing in scale and strength and as we move forward, we are focused towards domain specific strategic partnerships to drive it to the next level of maturity in FY 2015.

 1.     The Program is partnering with AstroLabs Dubai, to navigate Indian Tech Startups to the MENA region. This association will give a tangible edge to support tech entrepreneurs emerging from the 10,000 Start-ups program, both with the physical space and with formal training programs.
 2.     The Program’s partnership with ValPro, an investment banking and financial advisory services to leverage a web based platform “Enablers” which facilitates start-ups and SME’s to connect with HNI’s, Angels, and VC’s for fund raising. It is a tool that makes entrepreneurs investor-ready and handhold them through various stages of fund raising.
3.     The Program inked another association with CampusEAI Consortium, a leader in the world of higher education information technology services. CampusEAI EduTech Venture Fund invests in early stage enterprise software, Internet and mobile companies that target the education market or companies created from intellectual property technology transfer from colleges and universities.
 4.     To support early-stage companies in Healthcare and Life-sciences domain, we partnered with Escape Velocity Accelerator to review applications for selecting entrepreneurs into its incubation program.

 “The EduTech Venture Fund has successfully funded eight early stage start-ups in the education industry and we are in search of our next round of investments," states Anjli Jain, CEO of CampusEAI and Managing Director of CampusEAI's EduTech Venture Fund. “Our partnership with NASSCOM’s 10,000 Start-ups program gives us an opportunity to expand our portfolio and existing investments in India-based start-ups and provide early-stage entrepreneurs with the mentorship, guidance and funds they require to be successful. We look forward to working with NASSCOM and accelerating the mission of the 10,000 Start-ups initiative."

 “We look forward to welcoming members of 10,000 Startups at AstroLabs Dubai, enabling their expansion into the growing Middle Eastern market and providing direct access to a region that has the highest smartphone penetration in the world." said, Muhammed Mekki, Founding Partner, AstroLabs.

VLSI's First IoT-Ideathon Sees Over 100 Participants

The 28th International Conference on VLSI Design & the 14th International Conference on Embedded Systems, one of India’s largest and longest running technical conference was inaugurated here today. The conference focussed on the central theme, “IoT: Building a Smart Connected World.”

The conference also hosted industry’s First IoT-Ideathon, a 60 - hour long event, in which over 100 participants consisting of students and young professionals are putting their creative minds together to architecting 25 new and innovative applications in IoT.

The inaugural lamp was lit by Nandan Nilekani, Former Chairman, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) who also delivered the theme address on the topic, Hour glass architectures for IoT Era. Also participating in the inauguration ceremony were  Guest of Honour, Janardhan Swamy, Former MP, Chitradurga, along with Vishwani Agarwal, Steering Committee Chair & Professor, Auburn University, Satya Gupta, General Co-Chair - VLSID 2015 & CEO Concept2Silicon, Kumud Srinivasan, General Co-Chair - VLSID 2015 & President, Intel India and Jaswinder Ahuja, Corporate VP, Cadence.

 In his address, “Nandan Nilekani, Former Chairman, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) said, “Sensor technology and the “Internet of Things” is at the cusp of transforming many sectors from healthcare to the smart management of cities. This is an opportunity to 'leapfrog' on developmental solutions. The right platforms will combine standards with the innovative energy of our young entrepreneurs. I am confident that this conference will advance this mission”.

Addressing the delegates, Kumud Srinivasan, General Co-Chair - VLSID 2015 & President, Intel India,  said, “It is exciting to host a platform that has brought together all key partners of the eco-system - industry, government  and academia – and to witness their support & commitment to the innovation and creation of technologies for a smart, connected world. This conclave also marks impressive participation from young innovators, scientists and researchers. The future of the eco-system rests on their shoulders.  And so we very much appreciate and encourage their focus and dedication to finding technology solutions to interesting societal challenges.” 

 Highlighting the pivotal role of IOT, Satya Gupta, Co-chair- VLSID 2015 & CEO of Concept2Silicon said, “IoT is on the verge of transforming every aspect of life with solutions that can accelerate  India  in domains like smart cities, agriculture, security, healthcare, energy, education to name a few. IoT in combination with sensors and wearables herald enormous opportunities for fundamental research in chip design, system engineering, new materials, sensors, communication, embedded software and various allied fields.”

According to a Frost and Sullivan report, by the year 2020, there would be an estimated 80 billion connected devices. Furthermore as per a Cisco Ventures report this will be a market of over than $10 trillion by 2022. India would be a $10 billion market. 

The VLSI 2015 Conference hosted over 1,000 delegates from around the world consisting of policy and decision makers, business leaders, technology professionals, academia and students. Over a hundred research papers and 17 tutorials will be presented, besides 15 keynote presentations and panel discussions by senior leaders of industry and academia.

About the 28th International Conference on VLSI Design & 14th International Conference on Embedded Systems - 

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