Saturday, April 9, 2016

Oracle to Set Up Indian Incubators for Nine Startup & Connect with Cloud Technology

To mentor budding entrepreneurs and help the emerging companies access best technology, IT major Oracle said on Thursday it will set up nine startup incubators across the country. ”Our goal is to make it extremely easy for people to access the Cloud and we want to make it accessible not just to big companies, but also to every person who has an idea for a business that can transform this country,” Oracle President Thomas Kurian said on Thursday.
Mentoring is a key part of the initiative and the incubator will facilitate the companies to learn from venture capital funds and also former chief executives of successful startups, he said at a company event in Mumbai. Even though the company works with the software ecosystem across the world, this is a global first of having dedicated incubators, Kurian added.
First of the ‘Oracle Startup Cloud Accelerator’ will be launched in Bengaluru – the “second best funded startup hub in the world outside of USA” – tomorrow, which will be followed up with similar centers across the country over the next 12 months, he said. However, he did not tell the exact amount to be invested for the initiative, but said Oracle has committed “several millions of dollars” for it. The company’s Vice President of Development, Sanket Atal, will be leading the initiative and the other centers have been planned at Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Thiruvanantapuram, and Vijaywada, a company statement said.
The announcement comes after the government launched a high-decibel campaign to promote startups in the country and steps to develop the ecosystem. The accelerator is open to early-stage technology and tech-enabled startups working on creating impactful products and services and the costs of using it will also be low, said Kurian.
Startups will have to apply to be a part of the accelerator and selected ones will undergo a six month accelerator program. The selected startups will be able to access Oracle’s technology, including application and software through the Cloud, and can also connect with its designers and engineers. Oracle, which already operates a venture fund, is not looking at the initiative from a venture investments point of view, he clarified.

Worldwide IT Spending to Decline 0.5 Percent in 2016: Predicts Gartner's Report

Worldwide IT spending is forecast to total $3.49 trillion in 2016, a decline of 0.5 percent over 2015 spending of $3.5 trillion, according to Gartner, Inc. This is down from last quarter's forecast of 0.5 percent growth. The change in the forecast is mainly due to currency fluctuations.

"There is an undercurrent of economic uncertainty that is driving organizations to tighten their belts, and IT spending is one of the casualties," said John-David Lovelock, research vice president at Gartner. "Concurrently, the need to invest in IT to support digital business is more urgent than ever. Business leaders know that they need to become digital businesses or face irrelevance in a digital world. To make that happen, leaders are engaging in tough cost optimization efforts in some areas to fund digital business in others."

 "As an example, the savings from legacy system optimization and enhancementsare being redirected to fund digital initiatives. It's about doing more with the same funds," said Mr. Lovelock. "Typically, less than 10 percent of organizations are in cost optimization or cost cutting mode. However, the need to spend on digital business initiatives in a time when revenue growth does not support runaway IT budgets is forcing more organizations to optimize as a first step. Business processes, as well as IT, are undergoing optimization — digital business requires both. However, many CIOs are reluctant to raise this possibility, given the cultural and political barriers to optimizing business costs."

The most evident results of these optimization efforts are in the switches in spending between assets and services. "Most traditional IT now has a 'digital service twin' — license software has cloud software, servers have Infrastructure as a Service, and cellular voice has VoLTE," Mr. Lovelock said. "Things that once had to be purchased as an asset can now be delivered as a service. Most digital service twin offerings change the spending pattern from a large upfront payment to a smaller reoccurring monthly amount. This means that the same level of activity has a very different annual spend."

The Gartner Worldwide IT Spending Forecast is the leading indicator of major technology trends across the hardware, software, IT services and telecom markets. For more than a decade, global IT and business executives have been using these highly anticipated quarterly reports to recognize market opportunities and challenges, and base their critical business decisions on proven methodologies rather than guesswork.

The device market (PCs, ultramobiles, mobile phones, tablets and printers) is forecast to decline 3.7 percent in 2016. The smartphone market is approaching global saturation, slowing growth. The PC and ultramobile markets are expected to decline. The underlying reasons are a combination of factors and are geography-specific, and the worsening economic conditions in many countries only serve to amplify the impact of these factors.

Data center systems' spending is projected to reach $175 billion in 2016, a 2.1 percent increase from 2015. This top-level relative stability masks some changes within the segments; enterprise network equipment had a stronger-than-anticipated 2015 as a result of network upgrades, and this is expected to carry on into 2016. The external-controller-based storage segment continues to suffer from ongoing challenges. In the server segment, demand from hyperscale buyers is expected to reduce in 2016, particularly in regions that are suffering from economic challenges, such as Eurasia. The mainframe refresh, which benefited the market in 2015, is expected to abate in 2016, also inhibiting the overall growth figures.

Global enterprise software spending is on pace to total $321 billion, a 4.2 percent increase from 2015. The operating system forecast has been downgraded, reflecting Gartner's expectation for further delays in the adoption of Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016. However, it is the key emerging markets, particularly Latin America, which face escalating political and economic challenges that are responsible for the slow growth. Organizations in those regions must balance cost cutting with growth opportunities during times of economic concern.

Spending in the IT services market is expected to return to growth in 2016, totaling $929 billion, up 2.1 percent from 2015. A stronger outlook for Japan and India is nearly balanced by a weaker outlook in Brazil, China and South Korea, based on challenging economic and political conditions in Brazil; and government actions and weakening economic conditions in China and South Korea.

Telecom service spending is projected to decline 2.0 percent in 2016, with spending reaching $1.4 trillion. Continuing economic downturns in major markets such as Russia and Brazil are dampening spending in both fixed and mobile voice, and a slight slowdown in China's growth is affecting consumer confidence and eroding spend in fixed voice services. In enterprise services, conditions in these same three major markets are leading to consolidation among businesses (reducing connections and spend), however, mobile data spending is a bright spot with accelerating growth driven by improved pricing on bandwidth, mobile app and 4G/LTE network availability.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Predictions of Normal Monsoon Sparks Hopes to Agri Sector; Mahindra Unveils Yuvo to Revive Tractor Sales in India

By Manu Sharma
The tractor industry is set for a revival after a long de-growth in the agriculture sector across India. After two successive years of inadequate rainfall in most parts of the country, reports indicate that the south west monsoon will be normal or even above normal in 2016. With this good omen, Mahindra has unveiled Yovo, five agri specialists’ tractor in the range of 30-45 HP range hoping to revive sales in the market.

Mahindra and Mahindra’s Farm Equipment Sector (FES), the market leader in the tractor sector with about 41 percent market share are hoping for a revival of tractor sales and gain a bigger market share with a normal monsoon this year.

Speaking to this media, Ravindra Shahane, Head Marketing, Tractor and Farm Mechanization says, “It’s true that the tractor market has witnessed de-growth over the last two years but never before has the monsoon failed for three successive years. So we expecting a normal monsoon this year that will help the agri-sector back on its feet.”

Weather scientists say that they have spotted signs of a normal rainfall during the June-September monsoon season, if not a good, rainy season this year, sparkling hopes among farmers and others allied sectors.

“We have our fingers crossed and with a revival of good monsoon, it will help the entire agriculture sector. If this happens, then we can expect an 8-10 percent jump in the market,” remarks Shahane.

The present market size in 2016 is forecasted at 4,93,000 units while in 2011 it was 6.30,000 units. “This shows the potential this sector offers to the country’s growth. The de-growth over the last two years has led to a loss of about Rs 25,000 crore to the industry and a loss of tractor sales amounting to 10 to 20 percent during this period,” adds Shahane.

In fact, between 2003-04 and 2013-14, domestic tractor sales more than trebled from 1.9 lakh to over 6.3 lakh units, after averaging about 2 lakh units annually through the 1990’s and early part of the last decade.

Mahindra Unveils Yuvo Tractor in the 30-45 HP Category

Mahindra has raised the bar in farm technology with the launch of the Mahindra YUVO, a new age, superior technology, range of tractors in the 30-45 HP category which will be added to the company’s existing range of highly successful 15 – 57 HP tractors.

The YUVO range comes in five models – 265 DI (32HP), 275 DI (35HP), 415 DI (40HP), 475 DI (42HP) and 575 DI (45HP) respectively. It will be available in 15 states and will be priced starting at Rs 5.00 lakh for 265 DI (32 HP) ESR Bangalore.

The advanced technology of the YUVO range helps serve the diverse needs of farmers - from land preparation to harvesting as well as post-harvesting requirements, helps them do more, faster and better.

Built on a completely new platform with a unique and Industry first 12F+3R Full constant-mesh gearbox in the category, Mahindra YUVO is extremely versatile and can be used across more than 30 different farming applications.

“The Yuvo will cater to the evolving needs of the progressive farmer”, said Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd Executive Director, Pawan Goenka“The YUVO range of tractors is developed at our state of the art research facility, Mahindra Research Valley at Chennai and has set a new benchmark in pioneering new technology and providing huge value to customers’. YUVO demonstrates the commitment of Mahindra to enable farmers to improve their yield and productivity and Rise in life. We are delighted to launch the YUVO, a definitive technology leader." 

Mahindra YUVO offers many new technology features to Indian farmers looking for tractors in 30 – 45 HP range. It is designed to deliver superior performance in farming operations in any soil condition and offers versatility to carry out over 30 applications, thus making it ideal for using in any part of India.

YUVO will be available across 15 states which are Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telengana, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, and Orissa.

ZEVEN Jerseys for RCB T20 Players - Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle, AB DeVilliers & Shane Watson

ZEVEN, the new sporting brand in India, announced its association with Royal Challengers Bangalore as the team’s Official Kit Partner for IPL Season 9. The Kit, with an exclusive Black and Red bold Team Jersey,was launched today in the presence of RCB’s marquee players Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle, AB DeVilliers and Shane Watson, and the entire RCB team.   

Created with the #LiveToPlay Motto, the ZEVENRCB Kitdraws its inspiration from the passion for the sport and the immense love and support RCB fans have for the game. RCB also becomes the first IPL team to adopt separate kits for ‘Home and Away’. The Home and Away Jerseys alternate between a striking combination of red and black,with ‘temperature management Atmocool finish’ fabric specially designed by ZEVEN. While the fabric will help keep the players cool and comfortable, the style and fits have been designed for cricketing excellenceand is sure to stand out through the tournament!

Zeven is helping RCB fans join the IPL fever by offering an exclusive range of fan merchandise ranging from caps, replica team jerseys and running and gym shoes, for both men and women. The entire range has been designed keeping in mind style, comfort, trend and affordability and will be retailed across all big lifestyle stores and the top five e-commerce stores. The range is priced from Rs 595 to Rs 3299.

Commenting on the association, Mahesh Bhupathi, Co - Founder Zeven, said, “Zeven is privileged and thrilled to partner with a team as exciting as RCB. We are sure that the technology developed by ZEVEN for Indian weather conditions will help RCB players fight the battle on the field, while the designs will capture the hearts of the RCB fans”.

UL Launches Cybersecurity Assurance Program with New UL 2900 Series of Standards

UL, a global safety science organization, today announced its new Cybersecurity Assurance Program (UL CAP). UL CAP uses the new UL 2900 series of standards to offer testable cybersecurity criteria for network-connectable products and systems to assess software vulnerabilities and weaknesses, minimize exploitation, address known malware, review security controls and increase security awareness. UL CAP is for vendors looking for trusted support in assessing security risks while they continue to focus on product innovation to help build safer more secure products, as well as for purchasers of products who want to mitigate risks by sourcing products validated by a trusted third party.

As cyber-attacks become more sophisticated, harder to protect against, and more costly than ever, security precautions are critical. There will be 21-50 billion connected devices by 2020, according to Gartner and other industry reports. By 2018, it is predicted that 66% of networks will have an IoT security breach*. The security and financial risks impacting products and services globally for public and private sectors and consumers alike are the key drivers to develop new safeguards in an ever-changing security threat landscape faced with growing risks.  

 “We’re aiming to support and underpin the innovative, rapidly iterating technologies that make up the Internet of Things (IoT) with a security program,” said Rachna Stegall, Director of Connected Technologies at UL. “The more devices become interconnected, the greater the potential security risks to products and services across all sectors. The Cybersecurity Assurance Program’s purpose is to help manufacturers, purchasers and end-users, both public and private, mitigate those risks via methodical risk assessments and evaluations.”
The new UL CAP was developed with input from major stakeholders representing the U.S. Federal government, academia and industry to elevate the security measures deployed in the critical infrastructure supply chain. The White House recently released the Cybersecurity National Action Plan (CNAP), designed to enhance cybersecurity capabilities within the US government and across the country. UL’s CAP services and software security efforts were recognized within the CNAP as a way to test and certify network-connectable devices within the Internet of Things supply chain and ecosystems especially relevant in critical infrastructures, such as energy, utilities and healthcare.

Asset owners from critical infrastructure can see the benefits of UL CAP as a means for evaluating the security posture of their supply chain.  “The availability and integrity of critical infrastructure is crucial to the safety and well-being of society. A comprehensive program that measures critical systems against a common set of reliable security criteria is helpful,” states Terrell Garren, CSO, Duke Energy.  UL CAP offers trusted third party support with the ability to evaluate both the security of network-connectable products and systems and the vendor processes for developing and maintaining products and systems with a security focus.

Asset owners know the significance of UL CAP being developed with Open Source technologies in mind as it aligns and simplifies their network-connectable products and systems, architectures, and cyber security strategies. “In the coming years, UL's role will be transformative in that it will provide cyber insurers with a common approach to evaluate and more efficiently price cyber risk for companies that adopt and promote the UL certified technologies and processes. In the short term, we expect the UL 2900 to become central to businesses delivering a more secure Internet of Things and government a more secure U.S. critical infrastructure. We believe that UL certification will carry significant weight, and differentiate our offering in the marketplace," states David Wallace Cox, President, Developer and Chief Architect at Reprivata, Corp.

UL's evaluation of security products and systems uses the UL 2900 series of standards which outline technical criteria for testing and evaluating the security of products and systems that are network-connectable. These standards form a baseline set of technical requirements to measure, and then elevate, the security posture of products and systems. UL 2900 is designed to evolve and incorporate additional technical criteria as the security needs in the marketplace mature. 

Building on the successful framework of the UL CAP pilot where initial vendors benefited from this innovative program, UL CAP can help vendors identify security risks in their products and systems and suggests methods for mitigating those risks in a wide range of industry functions, including: industrial control systems, medical devices, automotive, HVAC, lighting, smart home, appliances, alarm systems, fire systems, building automation, smart meters, network equipment, and consumer electronics. For increased flexibility for specific market requirements, vendors can select the UL CAP services best suited for their current needs.

Meeting the requirements outlined in the UL 2900 series of standards allows a product or system to be certified by UL as “UL 2900 compliant”. Additionally, since security is dynamic, UL 2900 can support the evaluation of a vendor’s processes for design, development and maintenance of secure products and systems.

Tata Communications Named an Aon Best Employer India 2016

Tata Communications, a leading provider of Communications, has announces its recognition as a 2016 Best Employer in India by Aon Hewitt, the global talent, retirement and health solutions business of Aon plc. The Aon Best Employers program measures and recognises employer excellence worldwide. Aon Hewitt has recognised Tata Communications for its organisational culture that ranks high on employee development and engagement, a compelling employer brand, effective leadership and an enabler of consistent high performance.

As a leading global organisation, the award is a testament to Tata Communications’ resolve on building an employee-centric culture that emphasises on driving curiosity and a passion for continuous learning. With over 8,500 employees across 30 countries and 40 nationalities, the company’s commitment to diversity is reflected through its workforce. Tata Communications’ HR practices recognise the ‘unconscious bias’, reassessing the approach to talent management, strategic decision making, inclusion and organisational culture. This allows the company to leverage the power of diversity, creativity and innovation to optimise the talent potential and employee experience - the key enablers of organisational success.

Aadesh Goyal, Chief Human Resources Officer, Tata Communications, says, “We are honoured to receive this recognition from Aon Hewitt. It is a validation of our people practices that are not only designed to deliver business results but to create immense value for the employees as well. We strongly believe that business results are driven by effective people practices. With our scale and truly global nature of operations, it is imperative for us to continuously reinvent ourselves. Being recognised for our efforts in India and winning the Best Employer award validates our commitment towards building a strong, diverse and inclusive global workforce.”

The Aon Hewitt study’s research methodology involves a rigorous process, conducted over a nine-month period that culminates in a solid, credible list of Best Employers. The Aon Hewitt award recognises and felicitates companies for robust people practices with key focus on career development and engagement through career opportunities, leadership development, internal communications processes, robust human resource policies and execution.

“We congratulate Tata Communications on being adjudged an Aon Best Employer. Tata Communications has embarked on a unique journey to align its Strategy, Culture and Employee experience with its focus on making their customers more efficient, agile and competitive. The organisation's emphasis on investing in leaders for tomorrow to drive the required Strategy and Culture gives it the edge,” says Tarandeep Singh – Partner, Talent and Performance Consulting, Aon Hewitt India.

The Aon Best Employers program is the most comprehensive study of its kind in Asia Pacific. It is run in 12 markets: China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand.

Indian Tourists Heading to Iceland to Double in 2016; Tourist Workshop Held in Three Indian Cities

With 30 million Indians expected to travel across the globe by 2018, tourism boards and tour operators companies are selling international destinations big time. Iceland, better known for its volcanic activities hosted a Tourists Workshop in Bengaluru on April 6, 2016, as part of a three city roadshow to promote tourism in Iceland.

Addressing the media, the Ambassador of Iceland, Thórir Ibsen says, “India has a very large tourists population looking for new destinations to visit and Iceland is the perfect place to visit. In terms of numbers, it’s only about 1000 tourists who visited Iceland in 2015 but expect the number to double each year. We are hosting the roadshow in Bangalore to build awareness among the tour operators and intern sell group packages.”

Iceland has become one of the fastest growing tourist destinations in the world. The number of global tourist arrival in 2015 was 1.2 million and are expecting it to touch 1.6 million or even 2 million in 2016, says Ibsen. In fact, it has grown three times the country’s population and it is growing rapidly.
Ideally group tourism is more popular in Iceland with 40-100 in a group. However, independent tourists also come as part of Euro trips. Lately, the number of Indian tourist visiting Iceland is steadily increasing as more and more people come to know about the country through films, tourism promotions and word of mouth. Indian travellers can reach Iceland by air from most European capital cities with flying time of three hours or less…
It’s stark landscape and amazing range of geological and natural phenomena with imposing glaciers, geysers, black sand beach makes for arresting visuals. Iceland also offers picturesque floating icebergs, majestic waterfalls, stark highlands and lava fields. Its yellow sulphur mountains, active and dormant volcanoes have been a treat for film makers from all over the world.

"The recent Shah Rukh Khan film Dilwale has helped us a lot in creating awareness about Iceland. We recognize India as a huge untapped market and we would like to be the pioneers."

Other prominent films shot in Iceland in the past are The Game of Thrones, Star Trek, Batman Begins, Thor, James Bond Films, Lara Croft, Tomb Raider, Nayak, Brindavana, Aadhavan etc. The spectacular locations, professional services and government incentive makes it indeed one of the best places to shoot a film in the world.

Iceland Wants to Assist India Develop Hydroelectric & Geothermal Renewable Energy

By Manu Sharma

Indian government has set a target  to have 100 GW solar power, 60 GW wind energy, 10 GW small hydro power, and 5 GW biomass-based power projects operational by March 2022. Since this a huge target to achieve, It’s time the Prime Minister Modi led government looks at getting technology expertise from advanced countries like Iceland to speed up the process.

Iceland is the world's largest electricity producer per capita. Ibsen says, “The presence of abundant electrical power due to Iceland's geothermal and hydroelectric energy sources has led to the growth of the manufacturing sector. We can assist India in building its renewable energy.”

By harnessing the abundant hydroelectric and geothermal power sources, Iceland's renewable energy industry provides close to 85% of all the nation's primary energy - proportionally more than any other country - with 99.9% of Iceland' electricity being generated from renewables.

The other major industries in Iceland include: fisheries and meat processing, food supplements, aluminum smelting, ferrosilicon production, tourism and services. “We don’t have a Free Trade Agreement in India yet but the negotiations are in progress. We have strong skills in food supplements like Omega3, cosmetics and mineral water technologies. The trade between Iceland and India presently amounts to about $70 million. 

"We were not focused on India so far but now are learning to deal with Indian businesses," he concludes.

Eminent US, Swedish & British Surgeons Share Experiences on Robotic Surgeons Meet in Delhi

Nearly 200 surgeons from India converge at New Delhi, this week, to update themselves on the latest developments in Computer Assisted Robotic Surgery. 

In this 2-day Robotic Surgeons Council meet, at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, Robotic Surgeons from the US, UK, Sweden and India will have intensive discussions across specialties. As Robotic Surgery has proven to be most efficacious in cancer cases, the meet will focus on Urology, Gynaecology, Thoracic, Paediatric, General Surgery, and Head & Neck cancers. Obesity reduction procedures in Bariatric surgery will also the subject of discussion.

Prof. Peter Wiklund, Professor of Urology at the Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden, one of the pioneers of robotic surgery, who has mentored over 100 robotic surgeons and fellows from around the world, since 2003, will be among the lead speakers.

Prof Wiklund, a specialist in removal of cancerous urinary bladder, is among 2-3 urologists in the world to have mastered the technique of creating in situ a new urinary bladder robotically from parts of a patient’s intestine.

Dr Nikhil Vasdev, a Consultant Urological and Robotic Surgeon at Lister Hospital, UK will hold an interactive session on cancers in Urinary systems. An accomplished minimally invasive surgeon Dr Vasdev is known for mentoring scores of Robotic Surgeons.

“After establishing value for Robotic Surgery in India with documented superior patient outcomes and efficacy, India is posed for a quantum jump in Robotic Surgery. We can already see a huge momentum,” says Dr Mahendra Bhandari, Director, Robotic Research and Education, Vattikuti Urology Institute, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, USA.

“As Robotic Surgery has to cater to the needs of the masses to overcome scourge of cancer Vattikuti Foundation has worked with the Indian healthcare system to grow the number of just a handful of trained competent Robotic Surgeons in 2010 to 190 currently,” adds Dr Bhandari who is also the CEO of Vattikuti Foundation.

Surgeons from Tata Memorial Hospital, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute, Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Medanta Hospital, Apollo Hospitals, Manipal Hospitals, Max Hospitals, Amrita Hospital, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Mohak Hospital, Krishna Institute of Medical Sciences and Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Centre among others will make presentations over the two days.

A Surgical Robot
Each surgical robot has 4 arms that can reach organs and areas where human fingers can’t. The 3-dimensional view, that can be magnified multi-fold, helps the surgeons achieve precision that is hard to match. Surgical Robots combine the best of science, engineering and medicine. 

Today Surgical Robots are being used in almost all specialties involving soft body tissues. Compared to conventional modes of surgery patients benefit by way of minimal blood loss, quick healing and less pain leading to shorter hospital stays. The patient can return to work faster.

“In 2015 nearly 4000 procedures were performed in Indian hospitals equipped with Surgical Robots. In general most soft tissue body parts lend themselves to Robotic Surgery, says Gopal Chakravarthy, CEO, Vattikuti Technologies that makes Surgical Robots available in India.

“By the end of the year, we expect Surgical Robots in India to grow to 40”,adds Chakravarthy.

Many Indian surgeons have carried out procedures that have not yet been attempted.

Vattikuti Foundation is working on a strategy to grow the trained pool of Robotic Surgeons to 300 from the current 190 through its Scholar and Fellowship programs. The Foundation has provided Vattikuti Fellowship to 9 doctors and plans to grow this number to 100.

Vattikuti Foundation, that hosts Robotic Surgeons Council meet, is committed to train highly competent surgeons and will continue to motivate young surgeons. Vattikuti Foundation will offer Fellowships to select young surgeons, embarking on their journey to train themselves as Robotic Surgeons, at the meet on April 8 and 9, 2016.

The Foundation works with hospitals to make robotic surgery affordable to the masses in India. 

Vattikuti Foundation’s Fellowship Program

Vattikuti Foundation is working on a comprehensive strategy to enhance the number of Robotic Surgeons in the country to 300 by 2020.

The strategy begins with a medical student engagement program where identified Vattikuti scholars (with a post graduate degree in surgery and a super specialisation) are exposed to webinars and Robotic Surgeons Council meets. About 10 scholars are awarded a 1-year paid fellowship, where they spend full year as an understudy to a Robotic Surgeon. From then on they are expected to become accomplished Robotic Surgeons capable of handling procedure independently. 

CP Gurnani & Raman Roy Appointed Chairman, Vice-Chairman for NASSCOM for 2016 - 2017

National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) has announced the appointment of CP Gurnani as its Chairman for 2016-2017. He will take on the new role as Chairman of NASSCOM effective 6 April 2016. He succeeds BVR Mohan Reddy, who served as Chairman of NASSCOM for 2015-16. 

Gurnani is part of NASSCOM’s Executive Council and is the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Tech Mahindra. As Chairman of the Executive Council, He will lead and assist NASSCOM in catalyzing the growth of the Indian technology and services industry and enabling the fulfillment of its future goals and aspirations. The Executive Council also announced the appointment of Raman Roy, Chairman and Managing Director of Quatrro Global Services as the Vice Chairman of NASSCOM for 2016-17.

Speaking on the occasion, CP Gurnani, Chairman, NASSCOM and MD & CEO, Tech Mahindra, “I feel very humbled to be given this opportunity, at a time when the industry is on the threshold of an exciting new journey. Innovative startups and disruptive technology have together created exciting times for the industry. Being at the helm of NASSCOM, I will continue to drive greater engagement with our stakeholders and members to address the prevalent industry issues of inclusion, education, infrastructure security and corporate governance.”

BVR Mohan Reddy, Former Chairman, NASSCOM stated that, “I feel very proud of the progress the industry has witnessed in the past one year. 2015 was a defining year for the industry as we outlined our vision for the decade ahead and witnessed innovative entrepreneurs rise to achieve tremendous success, making India one of the key Startup hubs across the globe. It has been a great opportunity leading NASSCOM during the last one year and I am confident that NASSCOM will grow from strength to strength.”

Chairman, CP Gurnani along with Vice-Chairman, Raman Roy and President, R Chandrashekhar will lead NASSCOM to carry out its diverse array of priorities to enable NASSCOM in achieving the 2020 vision for the industry.

HGS Website-as-a-Channel Now Combines Virtual & Live Support to Optimize Customer Experience

Hinduja Global Solutions Limited (HGS) has announced the enhancement of Website-as-a-Channel (WaaC), an intelligent customer engagement offering that helps businesses give their customers the right answer fast. HGS WaaC is a self-service system that combines virtual and live agent customer support, creating a more efficient and engaging customer experience.

“When it comes to online customer experiences, today’s consumers have high expectations,” said Parikshit Kalra, Senior Vice President of Solutions and Capabilities at HGS. “They demand web interactions that are fast, seamless, and engaging—across all of their devices. That’s what Website-as-a-Channel is all about: creating a painless experience that delivers the right answer fast.”

An online self-service system, HGS WaaC revolutionizes the way customers get answers to their questions with intelligent search, self-help videos, and highly interactive virtual assistant capabilities. HGS WaaC features smart design that enables intuitive and satisfactory customer experiences, turning consumers with problems into brand promoters. The service is powered by Smart Channel Selector, HGS’ proprietary technology uses analytics to guide the consumer and automatically pivots to the best channel to ensure resolution, including live agents. Smart channel selector is constantly learning; it gauges customer satisfaction with the resolutions it provides and optimizes the experience to help consumers get the right answer fast.

The HGS WaaC solution is so successful that for a particular client up to 97% of customers on the portal get their issue resolved without needing further assistance from an agent.  By using automation and analytics to contextualize and personalize the experience HGS WaaC is making it easy to do business. In addition to improving overall customer satisfaction, the service drives tremendous cost-savings ranging from 30-60 percent for the client.

HGS provides WaaC to businesses by working through existing company websites or by creating and managing new custom portals for customer support. The solution resolves customer questions across multiple devices, including mobile phones and tablets. HGS WaaC is cloud-based, capital-light, and quick to deploy in as little as 90–120 days. It does not require a complete transformation of a company’s website or support infrastructure.

HGS WaaC uses HGS Digital Natural Assist (DNA), a knowledge management technology that unifies the customer experience across channels. A full-service solution, HGS DNA helps companies in complex industries save time and money by helping customers easily access the information they need, often on their own.

HGS WaaC has garnered significant accolades since its implementation in 2013. The solution won a Gold Stevie Award for Best Use of Technology in Customer Service (2016), Gold Contact Center World Award for Best Outsourcing Partnership (Americas) (2015), and Best of Outsourcing Thought Leadership Award – Cost-Savings (2015).

“With the vast majority of customer engagements beginning online, over a variety of devices and channels, the entire customer experience needs to be rethought,” said Chris Lord, Head of Global Growth, Strategy and Marketing at HGS. “Getting the first customer engagement touch point right by empowering consumers to find and connect with the answer they are seeking is critical. Our goal with Website-as-a-Channel is to ensure consumers get the right answer fast while driving business results with an amazing CX.”

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