Thursday, January 19, 2017

Telle Whitney of Anita Borg Institute to Retire at the End of 2017

The Anita Borg Institute (ABI), a nonprofit organization focused on the advancement of women in technology, has announced that Dr. Telle Whitney will retire from the role of President and CEO at the end of 2017, after 15 years of service.

Dr. Whitney joined ABI in 2002 and over the course of her leadership has led ABI’s substantial growth in size and impact. This includes developing the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing into the most influential conference for women technologists.  Under her leadership the conference has grown from 630 attendees in 2002 to 15,000 in 2016.  In 2010, ABI launched the Grace Hopper Celebration India and has grown to over 2,900 attendees in 2016.   She grew the organizations revenues from $1M annually to over $22M.  

Working with staff, volunteers, and the ABI Board of Trustees to create and develop high impact programs that include Top Companies for Women Technologists, a national program that recognizes companies committed to building workplaces where women technologists can thrive, ABI.local, a program to build local communities of women technologists and their allies, and the endorsement and support of leading corporate partners across multiple industries.

Most importantly, Dr. Whitneyhas been committed to demonstrating the business value of diversity and the importance of engaging the full talent of the workforce to drive innovation.

"It has been an honor and privilege to lead ABI, and to work with our dynamic and passionate staff, our committed and influential Board of Trustees as well as our amazing community, all working towards women being at the table creating technology,” said Dr. Whitney. “2017 is the perfect time to welcome a next generation of leadership. I am confident that ABI’s vision of a future where the people who imagine and build technology mirror the people and societies that use it will guide the organization for many years to come. While the industry is certainly not where it needs to be in terms of inclusion, there is a groundswell of support from advocates committed to equal representation of women technologists.”

“On behalf of ABI’s Board of Trustees, I want to thank Telle for her outstanding work, dedication and leadership,” said Francine Berman, ABI Board Chair. “Telle’s passion for women technologists and for achieving balance and diversity in tech has had impact at all levels and has helped both individuals and organizations achieve their potential. She has driven significant growth and success for ABI and the Board is tremendously appreciative of her leadership and commitment.”

Dr. Whitney will work with the Board through the transition and remain as CEO until a successor is found in 2017.  

Alan Eustace, former SVP of Knowledge at Google and ABI Board member, will head up the search for the new President and CEO.  ABI will announce the search process shortly.

Cisco Reveals the Current State of Digital Transformation in Retail

National Retail Federation (NRF) Convention and Expo – Cisco – Analysts are hailing 2016 as the best year for holiday sales growth since 2005. However, this growth is not coming from the traditional brick and mortar channel. Instead, Internet shoppers saved the holiday season by setting new records for online sales during Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Bounce back Tuesday. This has huge implications for the industry and for retailers’ 2017 technology plans.

The multi-channel shopper is fueling a wave of digital disruption that threatens to put nearly half of retailer leaders out of business if they don’t transform themselves digitally. A new research report released today by Cisco, “Reinventing Retail: Cisco Reveals How Stores Can Surge Ahead on the Digital Transformation Journey” reveals that despite the risks, retailers around the world are moving too slowly when it comes to digital transformation and may not be investing in the right places. The holiday season’s choppy sales report and the recent closing of big box stores is just the beginning.

In an effort to help retailers achieve digital transformation, Cisco previously released a "A Roadmap to Digital Value in the Retail Industry,” which guides retailers through three phases: (1) Enable digital capabilities, (2) Differentiate their brand through new digital capabilities, and (3) Define new business models through digital disruption.

To understand the progress retailers have made on that roadmap and in executing on their own digital transformation journeys, Cisco has spent the past 10 months facilitating in-depth workshops with more than 200 retail executives from North and South America and regions of Europe, representing brick-and-mortar retailers, e-commerce, apparel manufacturers, food service and other segments of retail. The new report reveals where they are on their journey to digital transformation, where they are currently prioritizing their digital technology investments and what they may not know about the flaws in their digitization strategies.

Key Highlights:

Retailers are stuck in the early phase of the digital roadmap. Retailers’ digital investment priorities remain concentrated in the earliest, “Enable” phase of the roadmap (49 percent), which is focused on more mature IT technologies that enable existing capabilities and processes, IT agility and operational efficiency. 

Retailers are missing a $187 billion opportunity by not prioritizing investments in Employee Productivity. These technologies and use cases deliver the greatest value from digitization by increasing associate efficiency, optimizing the checkout and improving worker collaboration. Prioritizing investments in these areas not only improves operational productivity and associate effectiveness, but also contribute to improved shopper experiences and increased loyalty. Just 6 percent of retailers’ investment priorities are focused on Employee Productivity use cases, despite the fact that Cisco estimates that these use cases deliver the greatest return on investment for retailers.

Retailers are not investing enough in the areas that create competitive differentiation and new revenue streams. Only 29 percent of retailers’ investment priorities are currently focused on the “Differentiate” phase and only 22 percent in the “Define” phase, the second and third phases of the roadmap, respectively. These are the more advanced phases of the roadmap, where retailers can differentiate their brand based on unique digital capabilities and services, or define new business models and revenue streams through digital disruption. These findings indicate that most retailers have not made enough progress when it comes to digital transformation and may be at risk of being out-performed by faster moving, more innovative retail ventures. 
Retailers are investing too much in customer experience. In contrast, retailers are prioritizing the majority of their digital technology investments in Customer Experience use cases (37 percent) that aim to improve personal engagement with consumers. While these use cases can deliver an estimated $91 billion in opportunity, overemphasizing their digital investments in Customer Experience use cases may limit retailers from getting the operational value they could from digital transformation of their business functions and workforce.

Some sub-segments of the retail industry are making more progress on their path to digital transformation than others. New York-based apparel manufacturers and garment industry retailers have placed 58 percent of their digital investment priorities within the Differentiate and Define phases of the roadmap, compared with just 39 percent from the brick-and-mortar retailers, department stores and food service retailers that Cisco spoke with in the southern region of the U.S.

Retailers in South America are prioritizing more of their technology investments in the earliest, Enable phase of the roadmap (67 percent) compared with their counterparts in North America (51 percent), indicating that South American retailers have not made as much progress in transforming themselves digitally. This may be due to economic conditions in South America causing retailers there to invest first in digitization of facilities, energy and other operational functions that help lower costs and free up capital. 

“The shakeup caused by digital disruption is already underway with many major retailers announcing the closure of hundreds of their brick and mortar stores in recent months, in order to better compete in a landscape where physical and digital channels are increasingly converging,” said Kathryn Howe, director, U.S. Commercial Digital Transformation, Retail and Hospitality Industries, Cisco. “Yet, there remains a tremendous opportunity, with the potential for retailers to generate more than $506 billion in value that can be achieved through digital transformation. Retailers need to make more progress in digitizing their workforce and their core operations in order to execute on the innovative customer experiences they want to deliver, and to position themselves for success in the new retail landscape.” 

Rentokil Initial Partners with Qlik to Handle IoT Data Infestation

Qlik, a leader in visual analytics, today announced that Rentokil Initial, one of the largest business services companies in the world, is using the Qlik Sense analytics platform to gain better insights from its product and global company operations data. Rentokil’s partnership with Qlik supports its wider global deployment of new innovative digital pest control products and next-generation services.

Qlik joins Google and PA Consulting Group to execute Rentokil’s mission to deliver its customers predictive advice and connected solutions. The cloud-based Qlik Sense platform will be used to provide visualizations of data from Rentokil’s Internet of Things (IoT) product roll out, which leverages connected digital devices to deliver new levels of proactive risk management against the threat of pest infestation – for instance, mapping weather patterns with rodent behavior or tracking swarms of insects as they cross territories.

So far, Rentokil has extended its range of connected rodent control products to over 20,000 digital devices, running in 12 countries globally and generating more than three million pieces of data. These IoT units can automatically alert technicians when a rodent is caught, while customers are kept informed through the myRentokil online portal. 

Rentokil Initial’s Paul Donegan, IT Director comments: “Qlik’s platform will enable Rentokil to gain a new depth of insight from its data and, crucially, empower our front line staff with the latest information and real-time trends, improving productivity. This level of data visualization will be crucial as the company continues to digitize and extend its IoT services, heralding the future of pest control management.”

Qlik’s UKnI MD and Country Manager, Simon Blunn comments: “Rentokil’s innovative use of the IoT to launch a new generation of services is reflective of the possibilities a connected world can bring. Key to the realization of this potential is an ability to make sense of the increased level of data produced by IoT devices, and putting power in the hands of the employees and customers that need this information. We look forward to our ongoing partnership with Rentokil and helping the company extract further value and see the whole story within its data.”

Accenture Ranked #1 in 2016 HfS RPA Premier League Table for Transformation Enablers

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is gaining traction as a solution that enables digital speed to market and reduces costs, but enterprises often need help to effectively select and deploy solutions at scale for maximum impact. Research firm HfS is tracking the progression of RPA and recently ranked Accenture #1 in its 2016 HfS RPA Premier League Table for Transformation Enablers. Accenture captured the #1 position based on a holistic strategy for intelligent automation with strong innovation.

According to the report, “Accenture is pushing the envelope on innovation while leveraging the transformational capabilities of its consulting division. Crucially, it is driving a holistic approach Intelligent Automation by defining a spectrum of technologies that span RPA, virtual agents, natural language processing, machine learning, advanced analytics and other areas of artificial intelligence. A broad set of proprietary tools is complementing the plethora of third party tools. A strong example is the Accenture Robotics Solution, which has added proprietary RPA capabilities to its portfolio. The solution is modular and able to integrate optional technologies for each client.

“As the lines blur between technologies such as RPA, intelligent automation and artificial intelligence, companies need a holistic approach that builds on what we call RPA 2.0 – a combination of first generation RPA tools combines and more advanced AI skills that give additional contextual information in order to automate an IT or business process,” said 
Paul Daugherty, chief technology & innovation officer, Accenture. “We see our #1 ranking in this HfS report as the result of our strong innovation around RPA. This includes applied research, cognitive computing capabilities and functionality around the Internet of Things, combined to build concrete solutions that provide the agility and efficiency needed to transform business operations.”

"Accenture has quickly grabbed the bull by the horns with Intelligent Automation to drive a holistic strategy focused on all key aspects of the HFS Intelligent Automation Continuum, with strong proven capabilities with RPA (Robotics Process Automation) and an impressive technology agnostic approach to deploying multiple RPA solutions across several clients,” said Phil Fersht, Chief Analyst and CEO of HfS Research. “In addition, Accenture is quickly advancing its capabilities with cognitive analytics, integration with Google and Facebook, and the enablement of virtual agents, which is where the future of intelligent, self-learning value-based services lies."

The RPA Premier League Table builds on the HfS Intelligent Automation Blueprint, which strongly positioned 
Accenture in the Winner’s Circle as the overall leader in Innovation. According to HfS, RPA should be seen as a subset of the broader service delivery capabilities of the service providers.  While the Intelligent Automation Blueprint has outlined the way in which service delivery at large is being innovated and disrupted by automation, the Premier League Table is analyzing details of RPA centric strategies and deployments—focusing on implementations not just broader advisory services or tool selection projects. 

“RPA is becoming an essential co-worker for companies in the digital age,” said 
Bhaskar Ghosh, group chief executive, Accenture Technology Services. “It’s a constellation of technologies that can drive improved productivity and quality of services. Accenture’s proprietary RPA 2.0 tools and capabilities are just the start of our strategy to help companies unlock the trapped value of data and truly automate processes from end-to-end.”

“For years, Accenture has invested in RPA technology to transform the way we deliver business process and infrastructure services to drive new levels of productivity, compliance, quality and user experience while freeing up talent to focus on higher-value analysis, decision-making and innovation,” said 
Debbie Polishook, group chief executive, Accenture Operations. “By smartly integrating these technologies, we are able transform entire processes, creating new business opportunities and delivering business outcomes for our clients at a scale and pace otherwise unimaginable.”

NetApp Invests Rs 1000 Crore for a 55,000 Sqft New Tech Campus in Bengaluru

NetApp, the $5.55-billion global major in storage and data management, has inaugurated its independent campus in Whitefield in Bengaluru. Set up with an investment of Rs 1,000 crore and built on 55,000 sqft of space, the new campus is a 15 acre campus and was inaugurated by the Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah along with the state Industries Minister R V Deshapande.

The centre is NetApp's largest in the world in terms of engineering strength. Out of its eight such sites, seven are in North AmericaThe tech major currently employs 2,000 people in Bengaluru and has the capacity to accommodate 3,500 people. NetApp employs over 10,000 people globally.

George KurianCEO of NetApp Inc said a substantial investment has also gone into expanding other capabilities and this includes a shared services centre and a customer support centre. "We have been in India since 2000 and the operations here was led by our research and development centre. The success we have had leading global teams and building breakthrough innovations from India has caused us to invest much more broadly towards this entire business centre based here in Bengaluru.”

Kurian said the innovations that will come from our Bengaluru Global Centre of Excellence will help customers around the world get ahead of the competition by enabling their data-powered digital transformation strategies.

NetApp has been in India for 15 years, fueling advancements in the company’s portfolio of flash, cloud, and next-generation data center solutions that help manage and protect the world’s data. It has caused us to invest much more broadly towards expansion of other capabilities like global shared services centre, customer support centre, global service delivery centre, and others,” adds Kurien.

Startup Escape Velocity Program

NetApp, a $5.55 billion company, has also launched a startup accelerator programme called Escape Velocity in Bengaluru. This will nurture startups, especially those aligned to the company's vision of what it calls data fabric. The company wants to simplify the use of enterprise-grade data management solutions. Its data fabric connects different data management environments across disparate clouds to manage, secure, protect, and access data, no matter where it is.

On the startup accelerator programme, Kurien said the company can bring its expertise and infrastructure to enable a range of storage and data management capabilities through the startup ecosystem here in India.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Belfrics Brings Blockchain Technology Unveils Bitcoin Exchange Operations in India

By Manu Sharma

If you're going through a traditional banking process then transferring cash to another bank account still remain a stressful process. But a major shift is underway among organizations and big banks who hope to make the process - cheaper, faster, and more efficient by using the “Blockchain” technology that underlies cryptocurrency Bitcoin. The Malaysian-based blockchain technology firm - Belfrics has started operations in India and are in talks with 9 companies to implement this technology.

Belfrics has launched its Indian Bitcoin exchange operations and with its operations in multiple countries, will be providing a highly liquid marketplace for buying and selling of bitcoins in INR. Indian bitcoin industry has been growing steadily in the recent months. With the demonetization event, the interest towards the digital currency has increased multi folds in India. Belfricsis set to tap the largely unbanked Indian population by providing a superior, yet simple peer-to-peer digital currency trading platform through desktop and mobile devices. 

Belfrics also will be introducing POS and bitcoin payment gateway for online and retail merchants in India. Consumers will be able to transact in bitcoins with these merchants without any additional charges. Belfrics will be utilizing its international expertise in blokchain and decentralized application development to bring transparency, efficiency and neutrality in to the financial sector transactions.

Praveen Kumar, the group CEO said, “The element of neutrality that the blockchain can bring to the financial system, without the involvement of an intermediary or a regulatory body, is going to redefine the way in which assets are transacted.” Belfrics will be partnering with public and private institutions in India to effect a large-scale blockchain adoption.

Kumar said all major banks are experimenting with blockchain as they can use it for money transfers, record keeping and other back-end functions. With this technology a bank's ledger is connected to a centralised network. The blockchain application replicates the paper-intensive international trade finance process as an electronic decentralised ledger, that gives all the participating entities, including banks, the ability to access a single source of information. “It also enables them to track documentation and authenticate ownership of assets digitally, in tune with Prime Minister’s Modi Vision of a digital and cashless society.

Already Indian IT service providers like Infosys, TCS have been displaying the blockchain technology. Both these companies are using blockchain mechanism to create core banking platforms for banks. Earlier, ICICI Bank announced that it has successfully executed transactions in international trade finance and remittances using this technology in partnership with a Dubai based bank Emirates NBD.

We are among the best of exchanges in other countries where we operate in. Customers will have the finest trading experience with our state of the art trading platform and mobile application concludes Jabeer, group COO.

SpiceJet Signs Big Deal for Upto 205 of Boeing New Airplanes in India

Boeing and SpiceJet announced a commitment for up to 205 airplanes during an event in New Delhi. Booked at the end of 2016, the announcement includes 100 new 737 MAX 8s, SpiceJet’s current order for 42 MAXs, 13 additional 737 MAXs which were previously attributed to an unidentified customer on Boeing's Orders and Deliveries website, as well as purchase rights for 50 additional airplanes.

“The Boeing 737 class of aircraft has been the backbone of our fleet since SpiceJet began, with its high reliability, low operation economies and comfort,” said Ajay Singh, Chairman and Managing Director, SpiceJet. “With the next generation of 737 and the 737 MAX we are sure that we can be competitive and grow profitably.”

SpiceJet, all-Boeing jet operator, placed its first order with Boeing in 2005 for Next-Generation (NG) 737s and currently operates 32 737 NGs in its fleet.

“We are honored to build upon more than a decade of partnership with SpiceJet with their commitment of up to 205 airplanes,” said Ray Conner, Vice Chairman, The Boeing Company. “The economics of the 737 MAXs will allow SpiceJet to profitably open new markets, expand connectively within India and beyond, and offer their customers a superior passenger experience.”

The 737 MAX incorporates the latest technology CFM International LEAP-1B engines, Advanced Technology winglets and other improvements to deliver the highest efficiency, reliability and passenger comfort in the single-aisle market.

The new airplane will deliver 20 percent lower fuel use than the first Next-Generation 737s and the lowest operating costs in its class – 8 percent per seat less than its nearest competitor.

Infosys Announces Internal Carbon Price at $10.5 Per Ton of CO2

Infosys, a global leader in consulting, technology, outsourcing and next-generation services, has announced its internal carbon price at $10.5 per ton of CO2e, at an event organized by the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition (CPLC) in Zurich. A significant milestone for Infosys, the price will be applicable for a period of two years and will represent the cost of decarbonizing 1 ton of CO2e.

Infosys has been working towards building a clean energy future and has been on track to meet its commitment of becoming carbon neutral in 2018. The company has implemented a three-pronged strategy to go carbon neutral: energy efficiency, renewable power, and emission offsets. In addition, Infosys has also committed to reduce its per-capita electricity consumption by 50% from the 2008 level and use 100% renewable power for electricity by 2018.

Infosys derived its internal carbon price based on its program to completely decarbonize under the carbon neutral commitment. The carbon price announced today is a weighted average of the prices of carbon under the energy efficiency, renewable energy, and emission offset levers. The price of carbon under each lever was estimated based on the company’s past and ongoing investments in the area.

Speaking at the event, Sandeep Dadlani, President and Head – Americas, Infosys said, “We recognize that global warming is the biggest threat the world is facing today. We understand the significance of the 20C global warming limit under the Paris Agreement. For Infosys, by putting a price on carbon, we have further cemented our commitment to become carbon neutral. As a responsible company, we are very proud to be one among a handful of companies in the world to announce an internal carbon price. We hope that it becomes a global movement and helps save the planet by keeping global warming under 20C.

Putting a price on carbon is akin to the concept of ‘polluter pays’. Infosys now has the option of using the internal carbon price as a basis to internally raise funds from businesses or departments and use the funds for corporate emission reduction programs. The internal carbon pricing exercise itself gave us deeper insights into the various pathways to reduce emissions and their relative merits and effectiveness.

CPLC, launched during the COP21 in Paris, is working with corporates and governments to advance the concept of carbon pricing. The Paris Agreement reached at the COP21 commits to limit global warming to well below 20C. That calls for an unprecedented and drastic cut in global greenhouse gas emissions, transitioning into a low carbon economy and moving toward a carbon neutral economy by the end of the century. Experts believe that the success of such a transition lies in putting a price on carbon. Infosys joined CPLC in 2016.

By 2020 Over 20% Organizations Will Use Smartphones in Place of Traditional Physical Access Cards

In 2016, less than 5 percent of organizations used smartphones to enable access to offices and other premises. By 2020, Gartner, Inc. said that 20 percent of organizations will use smartphones in place of traditional physical access cards.

"A significant fraction of organizations use legacy physical access technologies that are proprietary, closed systems and have limited ability to integrate with IT infrastructure," said David Anthony Mahdi, research director at Gartner. "Today, the increasing availability of mobile and cloud technologies from many physical access control system (PACS*) vendors will have major impacts on how these systems can be implemented and managed."

PACS technology is widely deployed across multiple vertical industries and geographies to secure access to a wide range of facilities (buildings, individual offices, data centers, plant rooms, warehouses and so on), ensuring that only entitled people (employees, contractors, visitors, maintenance staff) get access to specific locations.

Mobile technology is already widely used for logical access control. Phone-as-a-token authentication methods continue to be the preferred choice in the majority of new and refreshed token deployments as an alternative to traditional one-time password (OTP) hardware tokens. Gartner projects that the same kinds of cost and user experience (UX) benefits will drive increasing use of smartphones in place of discrete physical access cards. Smartphones using technologies and protocols such as Bluetooth, Bluetooth LE, and Near Field Communication can work with a number of readers and PACS technology.

One of the easiest ways to use a smartphone's access credentials is to integrate them — via a data channel over the air or via Wi-Fi — into the access control system (ACS) and "unlock the door" remotely (just as an ACS administrator can). This approach requires no change to reader hardware.

Using smartphones can also simplify the integration of biometric technologies. "Rather than having to add biometric capture devices in or alongside readers, the phone itself can easily be used as a capture device for face or voice (or both), with comparison and matching done locally on the phone or centrally," said Mahdi. "This approach also mitigates the risks from an attacker who gains possession of a person's phone."

The technology's limitations remain a challenge. For example, there's significant disparity in functionality between smartphones, and some security and risk management leaders should be aware that their physical card readers and PACS might require a significant upgrade to use smartphones for physical access. "Nevertheless, replacing traditional physical access cards with smartphones enables widely sought-after cost reductions and UX benefits," said Mahdi. "We recommend that security and risk managers work closely with physical security teams to carefully evaluate the UX and total cost of ownership benefits of using access credentials on smartphones to replace existing physical cards."

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