Thursday, December 8, 2016

Global Cybersecurity Predictions for 2017 and Beyond...

By Vishal Gupta, Co-Founder and CEO, Seclore

The year 2016 has been an epic year for cyber security threats. Current projections published from a Cybersecurity Market Report indicate that cybercrimes will only continue grow to an enormous $6 trillion in annual losses to the world by the year 2021. Due in part to our hyper-connected world, advances in collaboration technologies, multiple devices, and increased use of outsourcing, hackers are seizing opportunities and becoming more sophisticated in their attack techniques. Their quest has gone beyond stealing data for a profit to leaking incriminating information to influence and expose individuals and governments. However, hackers are only part of the challenge faced. Third-parties partners also carry a potential threat to organizations as they often have authorized access to organizations’ information and systems with little oversight or monitoring. 

Organizations that fail to increase their security budget and make security a top priority, are most likely to suffer the greatest financial losses. So what’s do we predict for 2017 besides building a better offense?
Here are Seclore’s Top Six Security Predictions for 2017: 

1. 2017 Will be a Historic Year for Cybersecurity Legislation Globally

Next year will be historic in terms cybersecurity legislation. We’ve already seen the beginnings of this in 2016, and high-profile incidents such as the breaches at the Democratic National Committee and Yahoo, and the Apple encryption debate have further increased public awareness around the importance of data security and privacy. The Chinese government was also recently implicated in buying stolen national defense research related to the F-22 and F-35 and C-17 fighter jets from a cybercriminal who hacked Lockheed Martin and Boeing. 

In India the Key Data Leaks that have Taken Place in the Recent Past –
Privileged access breach cases
Several Indian banks blocked and recalled more than 3.2 million debit cards, fearing fraud due to data leakage caused by a malware infection at a third-party ATM switch used by one of the banks
Select leakage of boardroom conversation at India’s oldest conglomerate house

Recent corporate espionage data leak case

The growing awareness, coupled with the government’s willingness to acknowledge the national security risks posed by cyberattacks, makes us hopeful we’ll see meaningful progress made in the fight to create effective cyber-legislation by the end of 2017. This legislation will likely start with mandatory breach notifications, which initially eliminate undisclosed (or slowly disclosed) cyber incidents, but will eventually take the form of specific guidelines for how citizens’ data must be protected wherever it travels or is stored.  Europe is leading the way with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) act and we expect countries to follow with similar legislation.

2. Global Leader’s Will Take Steps Towards Establishing Standards for Cyberwarfare (InfoSec Geneva Convention)

2017 will (hopefully) be the year global leaders finally recognize the need for an InfoSec Geneva Convention, setting standards for what cyber-activities are and aren’t acceptable. Holding highly confidential information hostage and using it as black mail or manipulate elections is a whole new level of warfare. I’ll admit, this is an optimistic prediction, considering the current geopolitical landscape, but technology has reached the point where having clear rules of engagement is an absolutely necessity. In fact, the idea was floated back in 2015 by members of the House Intelligence Committee. While this may not happen in 2017, I expect the global community will at least begin acknowledging the catastrophic repercussions that could result from an all-out cyberwar.

3. Hackers will Continue to Exploit the Weakest Link (Service Providers & Law Firms Beware…)

The ransomware epidemic is a reminder that the cybercrime economy is based on the principles of capitalism. Until organizations persistently protect information at the data level (and stop paying the ransom), these attacks won’t slow down. And, as companies increasingly utilize third party service providers to reduce costs, more and more information will be at risk.

In 2016, the healthcare industry was revealed to be especially vulnerable to ransomware attacks with 75% of hospitals surveyed in a poll by Health IT News and HIMSS to have been hit by one.
And while that will remain true next year, we expect hackers will expand into other verticals. Hackers will look for the weakest link and exploit industries who have highly sensitive information and lower investments in security solutions.

Researchers say there are more than 200 ransomware families active globally, which complicates ongoing attempts to disrupt such attacks. These attacks sometimes only require one employee mistake to initiative, meaning it’s only a matter of time until an overworked employee clicks the wrong link and exposes his/her firm to a hacker looking to steal critical data.

4. Organizations will be More Stringent on the Security of Their Third-Party Vendors and Collaboration Partners

In 2017, we can expect to see organizations placing stricter compliance regulations on their third-party outsource vendors and other external collaboration partners. Third-parties such as advisors, vendors, sub-contractors and business partners pose a huge risk to organizations because they require access to systems and data to conduct business, yet there is no accountability in the way they handle a company’s data.

Besides unsecured systems, there is also the issue of sub-contractors stealing intellectual property. 67% of independent contractors and employees take IP with them for the express purpose of leveraging it at a new position, costing organizations more than $400 billion in annual loses. With on-going pressure to achieve profits, organizations will become ever more reliant on third-party vendors and processing partners in 2017.  However, profitability can no longer trump security when it comes to collaboration.

5. InfoSec Teams Will Give Up On Perimeter Security, and Instead Adopt a Data-Centric Approach

Data is flowing through and outside of organizations at an unprecedented speed, and it will only continue to accelerate in 2017, especially with the growing adoption of outsourcing, a global/mobile workforce, and the use of innovative (but perhaps non-IT sanctioned) technologies such as Enterprise File Synch and Share (EFSS). These trends mean that the security of the infrastructure and the devices that are storing sensitive data become far less important, as information is likely present on multiple systems/devices and shared via numerous routes, many of which lead outside the traditional corporate perimeter.

The free flow of information will warrant a paradigm shift in the InfoSecurity community, who will be unable to assure the security of data as it moves across and outside of corporate boundaries. Instead, the InfoSecurity teams will shift their focus to securing the data itself, striving to achieve persistent security through solutions that control granular usage policies regardless of where the information resides.

6. Data-Centric Security Solutions Will Become an InfoSecurity Fundamental, Joining the Ranks of Anti-Virus and Firewall Technologies 

The value offered by firewalls and anti-virus solutions has been on the decline. We predict that 2017 will be the year that organizations acknowledge the need to secure the data itself, and not just infrastructure and devices. The shift to persistent data-centric has already begun with Enterprise Digital Rights Management (EDRM) capabilities as a key requirement in their Enterprise File Synch and Share (EFSS). In fact, a number of vendors have already jumped on the data-centric security trend in 2016, with Citrix and IBM adding Rights Management features to their EFSS and Enterprise Content Management (ECM) offerings. You can expect more vendors to follow suit in 2017. And I’d be surprised if any of the major EFSS, CASB (Cloud Access Security Broker) and Virtual Data Room (VDR) vendors hadn’t integrated EDRM capabilities with their offerings by the end of next year.

For the organization itself, 2017 will be the year that Rights Management becomes part of an overall data-centric security infrastructure, seamlessly integrating with the organization’s ERP, EFSS, ECM, Data Loss Prevention, Data Classification and SIEM solutions to provide automatic protection (and auditing) of information as it is downloaded, discovered and shared.

2 Billion Transactions Through Paytm in 2016: Vijay Shekhar Sharma

On its way to complete two billion transactions this year surpassing its own expectations, Digital payments platform Paytm said it aims to become universal payments app across every bank account. 

The company also said it aspires to enter the US market in the long run as it sees an opportunity there. 

"Today Paytm is on the way to complete 2 billion transactions this year. I personally did not expect 2016 to end on such number. Our numbers are at 2 billion transactions this year, which in turn will enable us to become really the transaction layer on top of every bank account," said Paytm Founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma told reporters here. 

"With connectivity with the UPI (Unified Payment Interface) we will become the payment app for every bank account. With UPI support Paytm is staking to become the payment layer on top of bank account out there," he added. 

Noting that at the time when banks are launching UPI app, there are consumer experience concerns, Sharma said while banks are busy with rupee demonetisation and rupee disbursement process, there is need and demand for "incredibly" built UPI app that can work across all banks. 

"Paytm wants to actually become the universal payments app across every bank account that exists there with partnership UPI. Yes, we (Paytm) will one day go to the US and I say this very clearly we will do. We will hit them in their own market. That is what the aspiration is," he said. 

Responding to a question on launching payment bank, the CEO said, "We are working at it," and added that obligatorily "we will have to do it before March 2017 as our licence obligates us to launch by then." 

He said the missing of earlier deadlines was due to multiple factors such as taking a step towards full blown CPS (Core Banking Software) instead of a small one, and also because the funding took time. 


App Password Ensures Seamless Way to Secure Your Paytm Wallet

Paytm announced it has introduced a new ‘App Password’ feature on its Android mobile app. This will enable Paytm users to set a secure Pin, Password, Pattern or Fingerprint as a means to ensure money stored in the Paytm wallet remains safe even if the owner’s phone is lost or misplaced.

This App password feature is currently available in the latest Android App. Users can set their phone’s default Android security password by using the ‘Security’ option in the ‘Settings’ menu. They can then select a Pin, Password, Pattern or Fingerprint to protect their phone. Once the user clicks on ‘Pay’ or ‘Passbook’ on the updated Paytm App after setting a password, they will be prompted to enable this optional feature. Once they click on the ‘Add Security’ option, they will be asked to reconfirm their phone’s password, and their new App Password will be set. Users can also choose to disable this security mechanism by switching off the ‘Android Security’ feature in the ‘Security & Settings’ menu in their Android app.

Speaking on the launch, Deepak Abbot, Senior Vice President – Paytm said, “The security of our customer’s money is of utmost importance to us. The launch of the new App Password feature is yet another step in that direction as your Paytm Wallet is protected even if you lose or misplace your phone. This will not only offer greater peace of mind to our 164 million strong user-base, but also serve as a showcase of our unmatched commitment to our customers.”

Currently over a million offline merchants across India accept Paytm as their preferred payment mode. Paytm is accepted everywhere including taxis, autos, petrol pumps, grocery shops, restaurants, coffee shops, multiplexes, parking, pharmacies, hospitals, kirana shops and many more. With its assertive focus on mobile payments, the company is inching closer to its aim of making cashless transactions a way of life across India.

India’s Prowess in Innovation & Collaborative Disruption at CeBIT 2016

Hannover Milano Fairs India Pvt Ltd (HMFI), has kick started the 3rd edition of their leading trade fair, CeBIT India 2016 at Bangalore International Exhibition Centre (BIEC) in Bengaluru, India. The theme for this year is - Discover the Business of Technology Innovation! See how collaborative disruption is changing tomorrow’s innovation. The show saw a conglomeration of global and domestic exhibitors, consultants, business experts and key government officials on one platform to explore latest technologies and new products. Day one’s sessions at the CeBIT Global Conferences consisted of speakerships and discussions on opportunities afforded by a Digitization with a generous amount of focus on collaborative disruption and technological innovation. CeBIT this year had participation from 400 brands |191 exhibitors | 70 speakers | 2 stages held over three days.

The inaugural ceremony of CeBIT India was honored by eminent guests,  Prof. Dinesh Singh, Ex. Vice Chancellor, Delhi University along with Hrishikesh Nair CEO Technopark & Infopark State Government of Kerala. Prof . Dinesh Singh who gave the opening keynote on ‘Collaborative Disruptions in creating future ready workforce in India’. He emphasized that India is moving at a rapid pace of digitization with fast evolving social and digital tools. Digital disruption of work and workforces are continuously evolving by breaking down traditional boundaries, enriching and augmenting human capability and creating work opportunities.

“Basis the immense success we have witnessed and the overall feedback received from the attendees over the previous two years, we are delighted to bring this year’s CeBIT for the third year. We can expect the Indian IT and the ICT landscape gaining ground through remarkable technological advances bound to get even bigger in the coming year. There are plenty of exciting prospects for enterprises to undertake and stay ahead in their respective businesses. Digitisation has entered with a storm, there is no option for the companies but to keep pace with this change.” said Mehul Lanvers-Shah, Managing Director, Hannover Milano Fairs India Pvt. Ltd. He further added, “With the consistent support from various government organisations, participation of IT companies and introduction of theIoT Hackathon, which is aimed to be the centre of attention for 2016, we anticipate the show this year to gain a bigger momentum. There is no dearth of talent in India and at CeBIT we help in supporting this pool of untapped potential”

“Over the years CeBit has been at the cutting edge of revolutionary ideas. There are few things that push the boundaries of innovation as much as the TeamIndus Moon Mission.. We are delighted to be part of CeBIT this year and to take everyone on board our exciting journey to the Moon” added Dilip Chabria – Jedi Master, Business Development, TeamIndus.

Prashant Mamtora, CEO Milople Technologies Pvt. Ltd “This is the second time that we are participating in CeBIT with very high expectations from the show. We have seen tremendous support from the visitors, customers and it provides a plethora of opportunities both globally and within the country.”

Companies come together to encourage startups

The occasion also marked the launch of the IoT Hackathon, a 24 hour hackathon for developers, programmers and coders to find and develop solutions in the space of Social Innovation; Internet of Things; Cloud; Mobile and 4G and Virtual Reality. The hackathon will serve as a platform for knowledge sharing and networking. CeBIT India along with Intel, Bosh and VentureSity, Digital Ocean, Reliance Jio is jointly organizing the IoT Hackathon for promoting the developer community. This 24 hour affair will give encouragement to the participants as they showcase new technologies to the honchos of the industry.

Continued support from government bodies

CeBIT India in its third edition,  have received unswerving support from the trade bodies as STPI reiterates its association for digital inclusion of upcountry locations, along with Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, MeITY (formerly known as DeITY). This association will identify top 100 MSMEs in driving growth of the Indian manufacturing and ESDM sector, and enabling the Indian Government’s focus on digitalized economy.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Hyperloop Transport Technology Ideal for Inter-City Travel Across India

By Manu Sharma

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT), a US startup to revolutionize travel. — is the brainchild of Tesla founder Elon Musk, who opensourced the basic design in 2013 in the form of a white paper.  Bibop Gresta, chairman of HTT post his talks with the Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari is looking for talks with Karnataka’s chief minister to sell the concept of hyperloop in the state.

Addressing a session on Leapfrogging Legacy: Hyperloop with Vishal Gondal, founder and CEO of GOQii at the Carnegie India Global Technology Summit 2016, Gresta says, “The concept of trains and metro are now legacy technologies and the way forward is the hyperloop, wherein people can travel from Chennai to Bengaluru in 30 minutes — for a fraction of the cost of an airplane ticket.”

I came to India a few months ago and met transport minister Nitin Gadkari. We have a proposal on the table to run Hyperloop between Mumbai and Pune, he said. He goes on to say that it takes 6-8 months to do the feasibility study, and 38 months to set it up, from the date we get all approvals. We don't want government money. We only need the land and approvals. We will get private investors to build the system. Several Indian investors have already expressed interest, says Gresta.

I read about the challenges of reaching the airport in Bangalore and it would be ideal for the state government to look at hyperloop technology to play a major role provided all end-to-end tasks are met, he said. "This tech takes less space and no destruction to the environment".

Post his meeting with the minister, Gresta said he found the Indian government very interested. “If they put their money where their mouth is then we could see very quickly a hyperloop in this country.” The company has already signed deals to build a hyperloop between Abu Dhabi and Al Ain in the UAE. 

The Indian government has been focussed on improving the infrastructure in the country. PM Narendra Modi, in particular, has talked about bringing bullet trains to India. 

The first bullet train is expected to run between Mumbai and Ahmedabad and is expected to be built by 2023 at a cost of about $12 billion. But Gresta thinks bullet trains pale in comparison to the hyperloop system. 

He said bullet trains would be a big mistake for India. India has the potential to really embrace new technologies. Put $1 billion in hyperloop. And you have a faster, more efficient way to transport people. 

HTT uses a crowd-collaboration approach by roping in about 800 engineers and companies who are working for stock options. There are about 25 people from India working on the technology, Gresta said. 

The hyperloop will run on renewable energy. There will be solar panels on the top of the tube, wind turbines in the pylons and will generate more energy than we need,” he adds. 

Need for Better Engagement with Global Communities for India’s Digital Transformation: S. Jaishankar

Addressing entrepreneurs, policymakers, technologists, and academics today at the Carnegie India Global Technology Summit in Bengaluru, Dr. S. Jaishankar underscored the need to harness the power of technological change for faster economic development. “A world of greater digitalization and innovation awaits us,” the Foreign Secretary declared. 

Dr. Jaishankar stated that “the last decade has been about freeing up the economy. We cannot underestimate its significance. However, it became clear as years passed that we have fallen short in our transition to an industrial economy. We haven’t overcome our limitations of manufacturing capacity. Further, the attitude changes that come with it haven't been internalized,” professed the Foreign Secretary.

“There are also some singular points in India’s endeavor. The fact that such changes are being brought about in a democratic framework, and in a pluralistic social environment. This is more evolutionary and painstaking approach,” the Foreign Secretary said. 

Dr. Jaishankar stated that “the government has made a concerted effort to attract tech and best practices from abroad. Often external elements provided the catalytic elements. In India, there is a difference. Our stability is higher, our path is steadier. We can contemplate many transformative initiatives as coming from within.” 

Dr. Jaishankar affirmed that “engagement must take many forms: global partnerships, regime memberships, promotional initiatives. Examples include the India-US nuclear understanding, and more recently a similar understanding with Japan. Membership in the NSG and Wassenaar are natural projections. The focus of our diplomacy on the solar alliance, the high-speed rail with Japan, speaks volumes of our changed thinking.” 

“Technology is a key driver of economic and social development. Sharp changes in technology shifts balances in power. If India is to emerge as a truly leading power in the world, it can do so only when its human resources are brought into full play,” said Dr. Jaishankar.

Dr. Jaishankar emphasized that “we require rapid efforts to improve skilling at various levels. Taking that into technology and innovation calls not just for higher levels of commitment but also greater imagination and more commercialization. This is an area where we can leverage global interest, as the world itself has an itself has an interest in diversifying. There is a strong cultural element to how we work and how we think, and partnerships with countries like Japan and Germany are more likely to be successful if they factor in languages and skills.” 

“A world of greater digitalization and innovation awaits us. Our value proposition to the world will also transform itself. The future lies in opening it up for the tech industry, with more branding and commercialization. This is how Indian technology can make its presence felt. The technology community should think bigger and aim higher,” asserted the Foreign Secretary.  

Fort Gobindgadh Comes Alive with New Virtual Digital Technology

Virtual reality technology to take tourists on a spectacular walk down memory lane
The world famous religious and historic city of Amritsar that is known for its martyrs of Jallianwala Baugh and the Golden Temple will soon have another addition to its many wonders. The historic Fort Gobindgadh is all set for a touch of digitisation and virtual reality technology which will bring alive its rich heritage and tales of bravery. This venture is the undertaking of Actress and director Deepa Sahi through her company Maya Digital in a 15 year public private partnership with the Government of Punjab.

 A blue print of the legacy of the fort has been prepared by her team and stories and displays in the fort will bear witness to the erstwhile grandeur and rich vein of culture that Amritsar was known for.  The initial phase of the project will see half a portion of the fort being made open to the public from the 13th of December 2016.

Commenting on the project Deepa Sahi said, “Being a Punjabi I always wanted to do something to promote the varied culture of Punjab. I was working on a historic project when I got to know that Punjab Government is planning to do something about the legacy of Fort Gobingadh. When I realized that, I made a proposal to the Punjab Government and received a positive response following which I began working on the project. We have used many latest technologies to display the rich history of the Fort and its erstwhile rulers and I am sure people will like it. It is my dream that we have more tales to tell of India and wonders to talk about other than just the TajMahal.”

The idea came from the fact that today museums are just mute displays of artefacts and antiquities which are not the best testimonies to educate the youth. Generally in a museum we find clothes of the soldiers, their arms and ammunitions displayed which no longer excites the young mind. This project will look to make history alive and engaging using modern technology and virtual reality.

Visitors will take a plunge into history with the assistance of modern technology. In addition to the displays and shows, there will be a whole host of stalls, which will focus largely on Punjabi handicraft, arts and Punjabi food stalls along with cuisines of the royalty at that period. A special 3D Stereoscopic show on King Ranjeet Singh and his soldiers will also be aired in addition to multimedia shows on the history of Amritsar.

Virtual songs and dances of the time will also be presented, and as these shows are targeting today’s generation there will be new generation artists who will also perform and showcase their talent. In the second phase there will be amusement park for children, luxury tinted themes and children’s park that will be made with modern techniques.

Cashless Travel Carnival Propels Offline Travel Bookers to Come Online

In line with its strategy to catalyze shift from offline to online and keeping the recent development (demonetization) in consideration, MakeMyTrip, India’s leading travel company today launched a special cashless travel sale ‘The Cashless Travel Carnival’.The sale, scheduled to be held from Tuesday, 06 December 2016 – Thursday, 08 December 2016, focuses on the upcoming high travel season and provides jaw-dropping offers and attractive discounts across flights, hotels and holiday packages across platforms – desktop, mobile app and m-site. With the aim to provide the widest range of travel options at best prices, MakeMyTrip has partnered with Axis Bank and Citibank as exclusive banking partners for this event

Commenting on the launch of the sale, Rajesh Magow, Co-Founder and CEO-India, MakeMyTrip said, “As a company we have been focused on driving customers to shift from offline to online for their travel bookings. In line with the recent demonetization drive, we have designed this three-day long event to help customers realize the benefits and convenience associated with making bookings online. We are thankful to all our partners joining us in rolling out this mega travel carnival.  

He further added, “With over 27.5 million downloads till date, our app is the most widely used travel app in India and we are strongly focused on strengthening our mobile technology and have been constantly enhancing our systems to offer a seamless booking experience to our customers. We look forward to a positive response and constructive feedback from our customers.”

Given the underpenetrated and fragmented nature of online accommodation segment in the country especially hotels where online penetration currently stands at around 14%, The Cashless Travel Carnival offers lucrative deals on online bookings panning a wide range of hotel properties across the country.

Led by aggressive integrated offline and online marketing campaign, The Cashless Travel Carnival has been built on strong partnership alliances & exclusive supplier participation including Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, Amazing Thailand, Air France, KLM, Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airways, Mailndo Air, Turkish Air, Ginger Hotels, Country Inn and Suites, Lemon Tree Hotels, Sarovar Hotels and Resorts, The Lalit, Sterling Holidays, Neemrana Hotels, Pride Hotels and Resorts, Citrus Hotels, Keys Hotels, Bookmyshow, Croma, Myntra and Ola among others.

Meerah Rajavel Joins Forcepoint as New Chief Information Officer

Global cybersecurity leader Forcepoint has announced Meerah Rajavel joins the company as its new chief information officer (CIO). A member of the executive leadership team, Rajavel will guide Forcepoint’s technology and infrastructure strategy, lead the global information technology organization and play a central role in extending Forcepoint’s delivery of cloud-based cybersecurity capabilities to customers worldwide. 

Rajavel is based in Forcepoint’s Austin, Texas headquarters and reports to Matthew Moynahan, chief executive officer.

“Forcepoint is building a truly transformative cybersecurity company. A key component of this is bringing on executive talent who can help lead the execution of our technology and infrastructure vision,” said Moynahan. “Meerah’s deep understanding of IT infrastructure, cybersecurity and cloud, along with her experience working at the executive level to drive company strategy, provides Forcepoint a real competitive advantage. I’m excited to welcome her as the newest member of the Forcepoint executive team.”

“Forcepoint has an ambitious vision; it’s one that cannot be achieved without the right long-term strategy to build world-class IT infrastructure, along with the people and processes to support it,” said Rajavel. “I’m looking forward to helping the company leverage IT as a strategic enabler, and to help Forcepoint deliver the very best in cybersecurity technology to our customers.”

Rajavel brings more than 25 years of experience in information technology to Forcepoint. Most recently, she was the CIO at Qlik, a visual analytics company, where she led efforts to build an IT and operational excellence strategy to support rapid growth on a global scale. Before joining Qlik, Rajavel led IT cloud services for all McAfee products at Intel Security. Earlier in her career, she held IT leadership, research & development and product development roles at Cisco Systems, Infosys, Nortel, Cybersource and Solix. Rajavel holds a Bachelor in Computer Science and Engineering from Thiagarajar College of Engineering, Madurai, India. She also holds a Master of Business Administration from the Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University, California.

China, U.S. Offer Biggest Potential for Electric Vehicle Sales: Accenture Research

Improving car sales suggests strong potential for growth in electric vehicle (EV) sales in China and the U.S. However, a combination of technological, economic and political factors, including the influence of more planned mass-market EV introductions over the next four years, could provide car-makers with nine additional growth markets to invest in, according to new research from Accenture.
Accenture analyzed 14 domestic markets, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, South Korea, Sweden, United Kingdom, and the United States, to pinpoint the crucial distinctions that shape EV market attractiveness.
China and the U.S. ranked as Best-in-Class countries because they show both high EV market size and EV market growth. Accenture believes automakers should target China and the U.S. for investment in stronger distribution networks for EVs, while adapting product portfolios to cater to specific customer preferences in each country. Factors in their high ranking include the future volume of buyers who will be able to afford EVs and the development of an extensive charging infrastructure.
All of the markets were analyzed for local factors including governmental regulations and subsidies, as well as non-market-specific factors, such as vehicle range and charge time, then placed into a matrix. 
“In the markets that show growth potential for EVs automakers need to be ready to tap the expected growth in demand to ensure that they reach critical mass when the growth in demand is kicking off,” said Christina Raab, managing director in Accenture’s Automotive practice. “Plans for an assortment of more affordable EVs with greater range aimed at the mass-market segment are moving EVs toward higher volume car-buying. Given this development, accessing EV-market attractiveness for each market individually will be essential for automakers as they plan for the growing differences between domestic markets.”

Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, South Korea, Sweden and the United Kingdom are all ranked as High Potentials for their high growth prospects between now and 2020, but a low EV market size currently. They are typified by government plans to invest significantly to make EVs more attractive.
As these markets may see significant growth over the next four years, Accenture believes automakers should invest in them to ensure that they are best placed to tap the expected market growth. While the market share of EVs as a percentage of the global automotive market in 2015 was only 0.3 percent, or 270,000 EV cars, an increase to just three percent would equate to 2.7 million EVs. This excludes figures for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. It means that, for example in the current market environment of France, manufacturers should quickly make use of existing governmental measures to support EV purchases. OEMs should consider targeting all of those countries where governmental support and subsidies exist as a priority, before these measures are removed.
The three markets of Brazil, India and Russia are classed as Hesitators by Accenture due to the small market size and an expected low growth rate. These markets are characterized by a lack of public charging infrastructure and low fuel prices, which have been constantly low in the respective markets, independent of current low oil prices. This combination makes EVs economically unattractive. For these markets, Accenture believes OEMs should not yet make significant investments, but they should be regularly reevaluated. This is because they will require high investment for a range of new capabilities such as dedicated sales staff training and aftersales enablement once they begin to see demand take off.
“Our research shows that automakers must carefully channel overall EV investments toward the right country markets, using total unit market size as an indicator of market attractiveness,” said Raab. “What is clear is that government policy can rapidly change the rules of the game, more than any other factor. For example, China has set targets for EV and plug-in hybrids to make up seven percent of total car sales in 2020 and 40 percent in 2030, reaching an estimated 15.2 million units. In parallel, China is hoping to see breakthroughs in battery and motor technology, while planning to build a nationwide charging network.
“Car-makers must keep a close eye on how government agendas can potentially open the way for an increase in EV demand – especially at a time when the industry seems to be reaching a tipping point toward mass-market EVs,” she adds.

Rolls-Royce & RGNAU Support Acceleration in Aviation Industry

Rolls-Royce has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Rajiv Gandhi National Aviation University (RGNAU) to build future competencies required by the Indian aviation industry. The signing ceremony took place as part of the Visitor’s Conference at the Rashtrapati Bhawan in the presence of President Pranab Mukherjee, the Vice Chancellor of Rajiv Gandhi National Aviation University - Air Vice Marshall Nalin Kumar Tandon AVSM, VM (Retd.) and Kishore Jayaraman, President – India and South Asia, Rolls-Royce.

RGNAU was set up to facilitate and promote aviation studies and research. It will start functioning soon at Fursatganj in UP. As India's first aviation university, the university will commence training of aerospace/rocket engineers, aspiring pilots, Aircraft Maintenance Technicians/engineers and cabin/ground crew. The MoU outlines how Rolls-Royce will support RGNAU to help develop curricula and offer international experts for guest lectures to help the maturity of the university. Rolls-Royce will also offer internship positions to qualified students across Rolls-Royce sites in India.

According to IATA, India is expected to be the third largest aviation market with 278 million passengers by 2026. Kishore Jayaraman, President – India and South Asia, Rolls-Royce explains what this means to India in terms of skills development to ensure self-sufficiency:

“India’s aviation sector currently supports 8 million jobs, and with the burgeoning aviation industry, we need to ensure a steady pipeline of highly skilled talent. Rolls-Royce is committed to work with academic institutions to help provide students with ready-employable skills. As such, we are proud to collaborate with RGNAU in pursuit of this objective. Through this collaboration, we will continue to play an integral role in the development of India’s aerospace ecosystem.” 

According to Air Vice Marshal Nalin Kumar Tandon, Vice Chancellor, Rajiv Gandhi National Aviation University, “Rajiv Gandhi National Aviation University considers the partnership with Rolls-Royce – a world-class player in the aerospace industry to be a watershed moment in its endeavour to offer world class aviation education in India. This partnership will help our faculty and students develop the most appropriate skills they will need in the aviation industry by gaining access to the global technical experts.”

Microsoft Accelerator with Wipro to Drive 13 New Startups in Dec 2016

Microsoft Accelerator, a global program built to empower startups and Wipro Limited, a leading information technology, consulting and business process services company have entered into a partnership that will provide startups with greater opportunities to innovate and grow their business. This announcement was made at the accelerator’s flagship event - Think Next 2016 that brings together thought leaders who are driving transformation via innovation. Think Next 2016 also marked the graduation of 13 startups from its ninth cohort.

13 startups, Whodat, Betaout, MovenSync, Transaction Analysts, AllizHealth, Uncanny Vision, Meddiff, FarEye, Epictions, Germin8, Talview, Faircent and Surukam, graduated from the accelerator’s ninth cohort and were introduced to an audience of more than 550 corporates, investors, thought leaders, and Microsoft management who partnered to push the collaborative innovation. Almost all these are backing on advanced technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Internet of Things (IoT) to scale up.

This partnership is part of Microsoft Accelerator #CoInnovate program which provides startups with more go-to-market (GTM) opportunities by working with enterprise businesses. Wipro will also refer select startups for Microsoft Accelerator programs and events. Under the partnership, referred startups will gain access to Wipro Open Innovation initiatives, such as:
·         Global GTM reach to rapidly build scale
·         An opportunity to integrate their solutions with select Wipro solutions
·         Wipro will help take the startups solutions to its global customer base
·         Targeted Wipro marketing support for proactive business opportunities, among others

Wipro’s Open Innovation philosophy strives to bring together and   partner with key stakeholders such as startups, academia, expert networks, Venture Capitalists, Incubators/Accelerators and Technology Consortia in the external ecosystem in order to deliver business value to Wipro, its partners and customers.

 “Microsoft Accelerator #CoInnovate program bridges the gap between corporates and startups. Connecting startups to corporates and crafting a win-win relationship is a critical need of the ecosystem today. The partnership with Wipro allows us to leverage our combined strengths and market reach to provide a whole new level of market access for our startups.” said Bala Girisaballa, CEO-In-Residence, Microsoft Accelerator. Bala mentioned that many of the portfolio startups, including CustomerXPS, CloudCherry, Zing HR, Altizon System and iBOT have seen great traction from Microsoft’s ISV Program and the accelerator’s corporate partnerships.

Commenting on the alliance, K.R. Sanjiv, Chief Technology Officer, Wipro Limited said, “Wipro has built strong connects in the global startup ecosystem, over the last three years, as part of our focus on building new open innovation capabilities. We are confident that our partnership with Microsoft Accelerator will be an important enabler in developing critical solutions for our customers, harnessing both the innovation taking place within Wipro and the external ecosystem.”

Through this partnership, enterprises stand to gain from access to the innovative technology solutions emerging from some of the best technology startups in the country. In addition, they will get a robust technology solution backed by the reliable delivery and support platform provided by Microsoft and Wipro.

Highlights from Think Next 2016

13 startups, Whodat, Betaout, MovenSync, Transaction Analysts, AllizHealth, Uncanny Vision, Meddiff, FarEye, Epictions, Germin8, Talview, Faircent and Surukam, graduated from the accelerator’s ninth cohort and were introduced to an audience of more than 550 corporates, investors, thought leaders, and Microsoft management who partnered to push the collaborative innovation. 

The event also had Microsoft leaders, Judson Althoff (Executive Vice President, Worldwide Commercial Business, Microsoft Corporation) and Tzahi ‘Zack’ Weisfeld (General Manager, Microsoft Accelerator) addressing the audience on developments in the global technology and startup ecosystem. At the Think Next Panel - Transforming Tomorrow Together, Althoff, along with Aftab Mathur (Director, Temasek) and K.R. Sanjiv (Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Wipro Limited) and Balaji Suryanarayana (Co-founder, CustomerXPS) discussed the significance of enterprise-startup partnerships in the process of digital transformation. Microsoft also hosted the third edition of ‘All India Accelerators & Incubators Meet’ bringing together 35+ accelerators and incubation partners to drive greater impact to enable and empower the startups.

At the Think Next Panel, an impressive panel of speakers - Sharad Sharma from industry think tank iSPIRT, VCs Shekhar Kirani, (Accel Partners) and Samir Kumar (Inventus Capital), serial entrepreneur, K Ganesh, and Microsoft Accelerator alum, Aditya Sood, Sr. Director Engineering and Products, Nutanix deliberated on one of the most critical questions in the startup ecosystem – Why Go Global? and talked about the potential of India as a market for growth. Before the main event, Microsoft presented a highly curated set of startups to a select audience of investors, CMOs and Ecommerce businesses in a VC Speed Dating and two Market Access Programs.

Bala also mentioned that Microsoft Accelerator is currently accepting applications for its 10th cohort, which is scheduled to start in February 2017. 

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