Thursday, December 7, 2017

GE’s Sustainable Technology Helps Revive Bengaluru’s Clogged Kundalahalli Lake

General Electric (GE) has restored the clogged Kundalahalli lake in the city’s south-east suburb with the help of an NGO (United Way Bengaluru), the American multinational said on Wednesday.
“A new lease of life has been given to the lake at Whitefield with clean water after removing its pollutants through sewage treatment plant set up on its banks,” GE India Technology Centre’s Chief Executive Munesh Makhija said in a statement here.
The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) partnered with GE and the non-governmental organisation to revive the lake, upkeep environment and create a cleaner and greener community.
“The treated water replenishes the lake. Our volunteer teams found that it (lake) had many inlets that allowed sewage to seep into it, forming silt and reducing its storage capacity by almost half.
The garbage pile-up had detrimental effect on the lake spread over 30 acres, environment and area people. Its restoration has increased water level by six inches in six months and helped flora and fauna florish, Makhija said.
The civic body (BBMP) will invest in cleaning, maintaining and fencing surrounding the lake.
GE and United Way have also built six eco-friendly toilets, including one for differently abled to prevent open defecation near the lake and maintain cleaner environment.
“We will maintain the lake for two years and plant 5,000 saplings in surrounding area,” United Way Chief Executive Manish Michael said.
As part of its ‘Wake the lake’ campaign, the NGO is working to restore/revive 15 other lakes across the city with the help of corporates like GE.

Netcore Solutions Forays into $2.03 Billion Indian Marketing & Customer Analytics Segment

Netcore Solutions, a leading marketing technology solutions provider has announced its foray into the marketing analytics and customer analytics segment.

Netcore Solutions is now the only Indian company to provide an integrated solution that combines customer analyticscross-channel marketing automation and marketing analyticsWith this strategic decision, Netcore Solution predicts to gain 15% YoY growth in the order book which will give a good fillip to overall revenue in the next five years.The Indian marketing analytics industry’s present annual revenue is pegged to be around $2.03 billion and it is predicted to grow at a healthy CAGR of 23.8% till 2020.

While companies in India have shown a keen interest in adopting marketing analytics to make informed, data-driven decisions and effectively reach out to the target customers, the concept is still at a nascent stage. The market is largely serviced by the ‘pure play’ analytics companies. This has resulted in a vacuum whereby marketers were unable to get a unified view of the customer as multiple vendors would handle each marketing channels, which mostly resulted in data lying in silos.

With its intuitive solution and a team of analytics experts, Netcore’s smart and easy to deploy solution will empower marketers and analysts with the insights they need to make every customer interaction smarter. Netcore marketing data integration services will bring together relevant customer data and on top of it build summary data attributes to deliver a clever customer data mart which is necessary for a seamless and effective data driven marketing campaign.

Using analytics and customer data mart, marketers will be able to identify most profitable customers, most frequent customers, most responding customers as well as preferred products, channel of communication and much more. Different attributes attached to each engagement will allow marketers to closely analyse customer behaviour across every point of interaction. Consequently, this will have huge impact on the cost of acquiring customers, improve retention rates, and reduce customer churn.

Elaborating on the decision to diversify into analytics segment, Kalpit Jain, CEO, Netcore Solutions said, “India is currently witnessing a trend of ‘parallelism’ in consumer behaviour. Consumers today have multiple personalities depending on the time, place and platform they interact with a brand. The attention span and turnaround time are also shorter than ever before. Therefore, a holistic outlook of the customer – encompassing insights on customer demographics, digital activity, transactional data, key customer attributes, and behavioural data – is imperative for the brands to improve RoI as well as reduce customer acquisition and retention costs. With this strategic move, we will offer marketers the capability to marry expertise of our intuitive marketing automation platform (Netcore Smartech) with intelligent customer and marketing insights derived through this analytics service.”

In terms of sectors, presently, BFSI is the biggest adopter of analytics services in India. Of the total revenue earned by analytics industry in India, 37% of the total amounting to $756 million in revenues is contributed by the sector. This is a 31 per cent increase compared to last year. 

While Netcore has already started providing services to some of the key companies from the BFSI segment in India, it plans to roll out the analytics service in a phased manner to Malaysia, Singapore, and Nigeria where it has a strong presence in the marketing automation space.

Analytics important, say Indian CMOs
The Indian CMOs’ search for adding analytical capabilities along with the implementation of a full stack marketing automation solution was also highlighted in the first-of-its-kind B2C Marketing Automation Report India, 2017 launched by Research NXT and Netcore Solutions.

The report highlighted that about 29% of marketers believe that it is important to have the right marketing mix in order to gain better customer lifetime value.  In addition, 28% of marketers were considering using analytics, while 18% had already included analytics at the core of its marketing strategy.

The report also emphasized that analytics is going to play an important role in automating and improving customer engagement. This, in turn, is going to help the marketers get a better conversion rate optimization by enabling brands to engage in a personalized manner with their customers, leading to increased Customer Lifetime Value (CLV).

Rankings Not Destination, Is a Journey for Us, Says MAHE VC

Manipal: Rankings for Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) is not a destination. It is a journey. The improvement that we do in the rankings year after year, talks not only about what we have done better, but also talks about what we have done better in comparison with other universities. That’s what ranking is all about,” said MAHE Vice Chancellor, Dr H. Vinod Bhat while addressing media persons about the deemed to be university’s rankings this year at Manipal.

In his briefing, Dr Bhat spoke about the various aspects of rankings and how MAHE has been working on the different parameters. “It is a healthy competition among universities. And I am proud to say that our university is in the top one to two percentile of all universities across the world. This is the result of the hard work put in by the officials of the university, leadership, faculty and students in the last seven or eight years. So we are seeing the results now,” he said

“World rankings are being done by different agencies. QS is one, Times Higher Education is another and Shanghai yet another. We go with QS and Times Higher Education because these two are the most widely accepted ranking agencies in the world”.

He added; “The recent QS rankings, first the World in June, then Asia and followed by BRICS has not come as a surprise to me. We are the highest ranked private Indian university in the QS World Rankings, in the 701-750 band, and there is no other private Indian university better than that”.

Giving details of the rankings, Dr Sandeep Shenoy, Director Quality and Compliance also Head Department of Commerce, MAHE said, “The University has moved up two places to 198 in the Quacquarelli Symonds University Rankings, Asia Region’s 2018 edition. In the domestic ranking, the University is placed 16th overall and third among the private Universities.

Elaborating he said, “This is the ninth edition of this ranking and the largest yet, featuring 400 institutions from 17 countries. Over 600 institutions across the continent were evaluated and 450 provisionally ranked. Of them, 400 were included in the published tables. In this edition, the University performed among the top 47% in the QS Asia University Rankings. Considering there are approximately 11,900 Universities regionally, MAHE is one of the top 1.7% universities in Asia. The Faculty Student indicator, with a rank of 86 in the region, is the strongest parameter for MAHE.

“As for the 2018 QS BRICS Region University Rankings, MAHE performed in the 119= rank range, which is among the top 31% in the QS BRICS Region University Rankings. Considering there are approximately 9,000 universities regionally, this makes MAHE one of the top 1.3% universities in BRICS. MAHE is placed second among private universities ranked in India,” Dr Sandeep said.

The key indicators for the methodology used for the BRICS ranking are; Academic Reputation, Employer Reputation, and Faculty to Student Ratio, staff with PhD, Citations per paper, international faculty and international students. Also present at the media briefing were MAHE Registrar, Dr Narayan Sabhahit and Dr Director, Quality and Compliance, Dr Christopher Sudhakar.

Consumers Want Privacy, Better Data Protection from AI, Finds New Genpact Research

Despite massive corporate investments in artificial intelligence (AI), nearly three-quarters of consumers are concerned about AI infringing on their privacy, according to a new study from Genpact, a global professional services firm focused on delivering digital transformation. The survey of more than 5,000 people across the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia also reveals that 59 percent of respondents think their government should do more to protect personal data from AI.

Disconnect in corporate and customer views
Consumers’ wariness of AI contrasts significantly with optimism expressed by corporate management. According to a previous Genpact study conducted earlier this year, 88 percent of senior executives at companies that are leaders in AI expect the technology will drive better customer experiences within three years.

The consumer survey released today is the third in a three-part Genpact research series that offers a comprehensive view of AI adoption, readiness, and impact across three critical and disparate communities – the C-suite, workforce, and consumers. The first study, published in September 2017, explores the C-suite and senior management’s perspective, and the second survey, released in November 2017, looks at workers’ views.

In the consumer research released today, only 12 percent of people surveyed say they would prefer to be served by a chatbot, even if the service they receive is faster and more accurate than that of a human. Yet over three times more executives (38 percent) think their customers will prefer service by a chatbot in three years, according to Genpact’s senior management study. Companies need to lay the groundwork now to address this disconnect and pave the way for smooth AI adoption.

Building trust with cautious consumers
Although companies continue to embrace AI (for example, 82 percent of senior executives say they plan to implement AI-related technologies by 2020), many potential customers still have substantial fears. Nearly two thirds of respondents in the consumer study worry that AI will make decisions that will impact their lives without their knowledge. Moreover, 58 percent of people surveyed do not feel comfortable with companies using AI to access their data to personalize and improve their experiences with a brand.

“AI is a game-changer to improve the customer experience, yet real challenges remain regarding trust and privacy,” said Sanjay Srivastava, chief digital officer, Genpact. “To encourage adoption, the key is to have visibility into AI decisions, and be able to track and explain the logic behind them. Companies need to break through the ‘black box’ to drive better insights for their business and give consumers the assurance they need.”

Meeting consumer expectations today, and tomorrow
Even with explosive growth of home digital assistants, chatbots, smart sensors, etc., consumers still perceive they have little contact with AI. Less than half of those surveyed say they interact with some form of AI regularly. In addition, two in five (41 percent) believe that AI has made no difference to their lives.

However, the study also shows that younger generations interact with AI more frequently and cite its benefits. They are twice as more likely than older people surveyed to say AI is making their lives better. Younger generations also don’t need the human touch quite as much: Only one third of Gen-Z and millennials strongly agree that they prefer human interaction rather than AI, compared to 57 percent of baby boomers.

“Younger generations’ rapidly changing views underscore how AI, even in these early days, is the single biggest shift that is transforming how people interact with businesses and the world around them,” continued Srivastava. “The companies that will win in this new world are ones that seize AI’s potential in a way that deeply understands and solves for consumers’ concerns.”

ABB’s Flash-Charging Technology Goes Live in Commercial e-Buses

ABB’s 20-second flash-charging technology was a hot topic today as two articulated electric buses, the first of their kind in the world, went into service on bus line 23 in Geneva. It takes less than 1 second to connect the bus to the charging point on an overhead high-power charging contact when it pulls into selected stops and tops up its batteries while passengers embark and disembark. 

The complete fleet of 12 emission-free buses links the airport with the city’s suburbs. Through optimal energy management, the system can save as much as 1,000 tons of carbon dioxide on a line covering 600,000 kilometers per year.

·         Video:

Samsung Shop Christmas Carnival from December 08-15; Exciting Deals and Offers Coming to Town

Samsung, India’s biggest and most trusted consumer electronics and mobile phones brand, has announced the Christmas Carnival on its official online store ‘Samsung Shop’, from December 08-15 2017.

Samsung Shop will bring in exclusive deals on a range of Samsung mobiles, speakers, audio accessories, wearable devices and televisions during this period.

Newly-launched products such as Gear Fit2 Pro and Gear Sport wearable devices will be available on Samsung Shop ( during the Christmas Carnival at attractive no-cost EMIs on leading credit cards.

“We are happy to spread the joy this festival season with a week-long sale on the Samsung Shop. During the sale, we will have exciting offers, EMI and exchange schemes that will allow consumers to purchase and enjoy their favorite Samsung product,” Sandeep Singh Arora, Vice President, Online Business, Samsung India, said.

Partner offers

Bajaj Finserv Offer: No-cost EMIs for multiple tenures from Bajaj Finserv on all products above Rs 10,000.

Exchange & assured buyback with Cashify: When customers buy a new device on Samsung Shop during the period of sale by exchanging an existing device (any model/brand), they will receive the following benefits from Samsung’s partner Cashify:

·         Best exchange value
Customers can exchange their existing mobile phones and get the best market rate.

·         Assured buyback
There is also an assured buyback guarantee on popular smartphone models purchased from Samsung Shop during the period of sale. Get up to 40% value of the device when the customer upgrades to the next Samsung device.

·         Free 1-year accidental damage cover for smartphones
-       Zero depreciation, accidental and liquid damage cover for the smartphones
-       Assured repair at Samsung Authorized Service Centres by Cashify
-       Home pickup and delivery with 100% cashless transaction

LazyPay Offer: Customers using LazyPay can start paying for their purchase up to 15 days later.

SuperCash discounts with MobiKwik: During this period, users of MobiKwik wallet will get a flat 10% SuperCash discount on Samsung Shop products that are on sale if they buy using their wallets.

Cashback on Paytm: Rs 8,000 cashback on Galaxy S8 and S8+ and Galaxy Note8 smartphones when the payment is made using Paytm.

“We have a strong ongoing partnership with Samsung and are pleased to participate during this sale to offer customers best value on their existing devices and special deals on purchase of new Samsung smartphones,” said Mandeep Manocha, Chief Executive Office, Cashify.

“Our partnership with Samsung Shop will enable millions of MobiKwik users to benefit from the best deals and gain great value for their spends on Samsung platforms. MobiKwik is the fastest way to pay on Samsung Shop and delivers the best payments experience,” said Daman Soni, Head of Growth, MobiKwik.

Samsung Shop, the official online shopping destination for consumers, offers a wide portfolio of Samsung products covering smartphones, televisions, home appliances, memory and IT products with richer content, detailed product information and pan India delivery.

JSW Steel Introduces Non-Erasable Quality Marking on JSW Colouron+ to Combat Counterfeiting

Determined to fight against counterfeiting of steel products under its brand and more importantly safeguarding the interests of customers, JSW Steel, the flagship company of diversified Indian conglomerate, JSW Group, recently conducted two raids in and around Bangalore, Karnataka.

The first raid was conducted at Baburam Premchand, a manufactuer based in Mothi Nagar Bangalore.  The promoter of this manufacturing unit Satheesh Gupta was arrested. The raid was conducted by officials of Halasurgate Police Station, Banaglore. The officials confiscated and duly sealed over 500 counterfeit steel sheets from the unit during this raid.

The second raid was conducted at Akshay Enterprises, a retailer based in Kolar, near Bangalore.  The promoter of this retail store Mr D Gowda was arrested. The raid was conducted by officials of Vemagal Police Station, Kolar. The officials confiscated and duly sealed over 50 counterfeit steel sheets from the store during this raid.

The arrested persons were allegedly selling sub-standard quality of colour-coated steel under the brand name JSW Colouron+ a (registered trademark belonging to JSW Steel). The counterfeit products sold was causing significant losses and damage to JSW’s long-established trademark reputation, goodwill and trust among customers.

According to Mr Jayant Acharya, Director - Commercial & Marketing, JSW Steel, “JSW Steel believes in offering high quality superior products. But we would like to sensitize that in last few months there has been a substantial import of inferior colour-coated sheets that imitate JSW Colouron+ and customers are getting cheated. These counterfeit products, made by sub-standard material have lower product life and can put safety of our consumers at risk. “

JSW Steel is known for its innovation and high quality products have introduced a quality marking on JSW Colouron+ colour coated sheets. The key feature of this quality marking is that it is non-erasable and can be easily checked by the consumers at the store during purchase.  JSW Steel’s quality marking differentiates its product from counterfeits as the liner marking in counterfeits can be easily erased.  Such malpractices have serious implication on economic health and safety of the industry and individual customers. Counterfeiting and piracy are a threat to every industry sector around the world and India is no exception.

3i Infotech on the Cusp of Major Growth Trajectory: Padmanabhan Iyer, MD & Global CEO

3i Infotech, a global Information Technology company, committed to empowering business transformation, has envisioned major growth plans for itself, in the backdrop of strong tailwinds experienced over six successive quarters through the last two years. With a revenue of over Rs 1000 crores in the last 4 years, the Company has added 139 new customers in FY 17, growing its customer portfolio to more than 1000 customers across 50 countries in 4 continents.
The Company has implemented a 3 phase ‘Protect-Consolidate-Grow’ approach that has been successful and is reflected in the operating margins of the Company. The approach has helped the organization retain its existing customers and win new ones. While maintaining a stable margin of 18 to 20 per cent, the Company improved its CRISIL rating to 'CRISIL BB/Stable'.  The Company reported a net profit of Rs 100.65 crores in FY 2017, with an improved EBITDA over the past 5 years, while achieving an order-book balance of Rs 572 crores as on March 31, 2017. The cash flow from operations has been positive and the Company’s net worth as on March 31, 2017 was Rs 370.09 crores. The Company continues to be profitable and has reported a net profit in H1-FY2018.
Positioning itself as a one-stop, Next-gen IT enterprise, the organization has a balanced mix of business from across all geographies, globally, with Americas (32%), EMEA (22%) & APAC (46%). The organization continues to strengthen its dominant presence across emerging markets, including MEA, APAC and India with continued investments to grow its US business.
Speaking on this fresh phase of growth in 3i Infotech, and positioning it as a future ready IT enterprise of 2020, Padmanabhan Iyer, Managing Director & Global CEO, 3i Infotech said, “3i Infotech’s core strength lies in strategic engagement with customers offering comprehensive IT solutions, made effective by deep domain expertise. Digital transformation is the base of the Company’s end-to-end solution stack and consulting framework, comprising of IPR based solutions and IT Services. With the impetus to expand the impact of our product portfolio, we are focusing on disruptive technologies, such as - IoT, Blockchain, SMAC, Robotics, AI, Machine Learning, Telematics & Cybersecurity to facilitate expansion of market reach of our customers. The organization, driven by over 4800 talented technology specialists across products and services group, is also geared up culturally and operationally to collaborate and offer composite next generation solutions to its customers.”  
With a focus on investment in R&D for its products and services, the Company has more than 20 IPRs and 65 version releases across its product portfolio (Kastle/AMLOCK, MFund, Orion & Premia) which uniquely position 3i Infotech to address dynamic requirements of a variety of industry verticals, predominantly BFSI sector.
To reinforce its customer connect, the Company has re-organized itself into four business units – Banking Products, Insurance & Financial Services Products, ERP Products & IT Services across BFS, IHC, Government and Enterprise. The Company’s business model is a good spread between developed and emerging markets, as well as between IT products and IT services.

Tickets for “OnePlus 5T Star Wars Limited Edition” Launch Event Ticket Sale from Dec 8, 2017

The global, premium smartphone company, OnePlus is ready to launch a limited-edition variant of its hugely popular OnePlus 5T exclusively for die-hard OnePlus and Star Wars fans in India. The OnePlus 5T Star Wars Limited Edition smartphone will be unveiled at the launch event at IMAX Wadala in Mumbai on December 14 at 7 PM.

OnePlus and Star Wars fans in India can watch the launch event live by purchasing the ticket from Paytm tomorrow at 10 am for Rs. 999 only. With the purchase of every ticket, OnePlus fans will be the first to experience the latest device in person and along with that, get complimentary snacks and exclusive OnePlus Star Wars merchandise including a t-shirt worth Rs. 999 and laptop bag worth Rs. 1,999 and an exclusive grand surprise!

OnePlus 5T Star Wars Limited Edition is the latest iteration of OnePlus’ premium flagship- OnePlus 5T. Limited tickets will be available for sale tomorrow.

Chief Data Officers Are Delivering Business Impact and Enabling Digital Transformation

As the role of chief data officer (CDO) continues to gain traction within organizations, a recent survey by Gartner, Inc. found that these data and analytics leaders are proving to be a linchpin of digital business transformation.

The third annual Gartner Chief Data Officer survey was conducted from July through September 2017 with 287 CDOs, chief analytics officers and other high-level data and analytics leaders from across the world. Respondents were required to have the title of CDO, chief analytics officer or be a senior leader with responsibility for leading data and/or analytics in their organization.

"While the early crop of CDOs was focused on data governance, data quality and regulatory drivers, today's CDOs are now also delivering tangible business value, and enabling a data-driven culture," said Valerie Logan, research director at Gartner. "Aligned with this shift in focus, the survey also showed that for the first time, more than half of CDOs now report directly to a top business leader such as the CEO, COO, CFO, president/owner or board/shareholders. By 2021, the office of the CDO will be seen as a mission-critical function comparable to IT, business operations, HR and finance in 75 percent of large enterprises."

The survey found that support for the CDO role and business function is rising globally. A majority of survey respondents reported holding the formal title of CDO, revealing a steady increase over 2016 (57 percent in 2017 compared with 50 percent in 2016). Those organizations implementing an Office of the CDO also rose since last year, with 47 percent reporting an Office of the CDO implemented (either formally or informally) in 2017, compared with 23 percent fully implemented in 2016.

"The steady maturation of the office of the CDO underlines the acceptance and broader understanding of the role and recognizes the impact and value CDOs worldwide are providing," said Michael Moran, research director at Gartner. "The addition of new talent for increasing responsibilities, growing budgets and increasing positive engagement across the C-suite illustrate how central the role of CDO is becoming to more and more organizations."

Budgets are also on the rise. Respondents to the 2017 survey report an average CDO office budget of $8 million, representing a 23 percent increase from the average of $6.5 million reported in 2016. Fifteen percent of respondents report budgets more than $20 million, contrasting with 7 percent last year. A further indicator of maturity is the size of the office of the CDO organization. Last year's study reported total full time employees at an average of 38 (not distinguishing between direct and indirect reporting), while this year reports an average of 54 direct and indirect employees, representing the federated nature of the office of the CDO design.

CDOs shift from defense to offense to drive digital transformation
With more than one-third of respondents saying "increase revenue" is a top three measure of success, the survey findings show a clear bias developing in favor of value creation over risk mitigation as the key measure of success for a CDO. The survey also looked at how CDOs allocate their time. On a mean basis, 45 percent of the CDO's time is allocated to value creation and/or revenue generation, 28 percent to cost savings and efficiency, and 27 percent to risk mitigation.

"CDOs and any data and analytics leader must take responsibility to put data governance and analytics principles on the digital agenda. They have the right and obligation to do it," said Mario Faria, managing vice president at Gartner.

CDOs are responsible for more than just data governance
According to the survey, in 2017, CDOs are not just focused on data as the title may imply. Their responsibilities span data management, analytics, data science, ethics and digital transformation. A larger than expected percentage of respondents (36 percent) also report responsibility for profit and loss (P&L) ownership. "This increased level of reported responsibility by CDOs reflects the growing importance and pervasive nature of data and analytics across organizations, and the maturity of the CDO role and function," said Ms. Logan.

In the 2017 survey, 86 percent of respondents ranked "defining data and analytics strategy for the organization" as their top responsibility, up from 64 percent in 2016. This reflects a need for creating or modernizing data and analytics strategies within an increasing dependence on data and insights within a digital business context.

CDOs are becoming impactful change agents leading the data-driven transformation
The survey results provided insight into the kind of activities CDOs are taking on in order to drive change in their organizations. Several areas seem to have a notable increase in CDO responsibilities compared with last year:
·         Serving as a digital advisor: 71 percent of respondents are acting as a thought leader on emerging digital models, and helping to create the digital business vision for the enterprise.
·         Providing an external pulse and liaison: 60 percent of respondents are assessing external opportunities and threats as input to business strategy, and 75 percent of respondents are building and maintaining external relationships across the organization's ecosystem.
·         Exploiting data for competitive edge: 77 percent of respondents are developing new data and analytics solutions to compete in new ways.

CDOs are diverse and tackling a wide array of internal challenges
Gartner predicts that by 2021, the CDO role will be the most gender diverse of all technology-affiliated C-level positions and the survey results reflect that position. Of the respondents to Gartner's 2017 CDO survey who provided their gender, 19 percent were female and this proportion is even higher within large organizations — 25 percent in organizations with worldwide revenue of more than $1 billion. This contrasts with 13 percent of CIOs who are women, per the 2018 Gartner CIO Agenda Survey. When it comes to average age of CDOs, 29 percent of respondents said they were 40 or younger.

The survey respondents reported that there is no shortage of internal roadblocks challenging CDOs. The top internal roadblock to the success of the Office of the CDO is "culture challenges to accept change" — a top three challenge for 40 percent of respondents in 2017. A new roadblock, "poor data literacy," debuted as the second biggest challenge (35 percent), suggesting that a top CDO priority is ensuring commonality of shared language and fluency with data, analytics and business outcomes across a wide range of organizational roles. When asked about engagement with other C-level executives, respondents ranked the relationship with the CIO and CTO as the strongest, followed by a broad, healthy degree of positive engagement across the C-Suite.

SonicWall Appoints Wias Issa as VP and GM of Asia Pacific, Japan

SonicWall, the trusted security partner protecting more than 1 million customer networks worldwide, announced today that it has appointed Wias Issa to Vice President of Sales and General Manager of its Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) business.

As the latest addition to SonicWall, Issa will be responsible for managing and driving growth and profitability through the definition and execution of business strategies, pursuit of strategic partnerships, and identification and penetration of new markets, while maintaining a relentless focus on securing and defending customer organizations.

“SonicWall has already garnered unprecedented global traction with customers and channel partners since spinning off as an independent cyber security company in November 2016,” said SonicWall Senior Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer Steve Pataky. “Wias’ expertise will strengthen the deep partnerships we are building with our customers and channel partners in the next phase of our growth.”

Issa, who will be based in Tokyo and report to Pataky, has nearly two decades of experience in building and leading security businesses across the globe, and is known for his unique blend of international business acumen and technical depth in cyber security.

“I am excited to be joining SonicWall at a time of unprecedented innovation and growth,” said Issa. “As the volume and sophistication of cyber attacks continue to rise, SonicWall is playing a pivotal role in securing and defending customer environments. The value of SonicWall solutions, and the potential to help businesses alleviate their security problems, is incontestable. The growth potential in APJ is nothing short of tremendous.”

Spurred by an ever-evolving and increasingly dangerous threat landscape, the demand for SonicWall’s latest advanced real-time breach detection and prevention solutions has fueled rapid growth in the APJ region. Customers are struggling to mitigate advanced zero-day threats, devastating ransomware attacks, and encrypted threats arising through complex supply chains and distributed networks.

Accenture Brings Coding to Students with ‘Hour of Code’ Activities

Accenture employees across 56 countries have pledged to complete more than 10,000 Hours of Code and lead coding tutorial sessions around the world during Computer Science Education Week, Dec. 4-10, as part of the company’s commitment to helping students around the world build computer and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills.

This year Accenture is leading with the talent and energy of our people, pledging more than 2,000 hours to lead or volunteer at local events in their communities, joining forces with teachers and to help students learn coding and computer science skills. This follows Accenture’s recently announced pledge of US$10 million to support initiatives to expand STEM and computer science education through Internet Association, a group that represents global internet companies on matters of public policy.

“Technology is creating jobs that didn’t even exist five years ago and learning to code can transform the trajectory of a student’s life and career,” said 
Paul Daugherty, Accenture’s chief technology & innovation officer and ‘chief coder.’ “As part of our commitment to working with to prepare young people for the digital economy, Accenture employees last year dedicated more than 10,000 hours to Hour of Code, inspiring more than 100,000 students around the world to learn basic coding skills. We’ve seen the impact that is having on students and this year we’re doing more to support that — more hours and more classroom sessions to spark an interest in working with the technologies of tomorrow.”

Hour of Code was launched in 2013 by, a non-profit dedicated to expanding access to computer science and increasing participation by women and underrepresented minorities. The program reaches millions of students through a one-hour introduction to coding and computer science. For the third straight year, Accenture is teaming with on Hour of Code and other STEM-related educational initiatives. New this year, Accenture Technology harnessed its internal expertise to create a coding tutorial that gives students a better understanding of artificial intelligence (AI). Students will discover how various AI techniques can teach a robot to explore a new planet – including recognizing animals and plants, understanding a new language, and conversing with inhabitants. 

“The Hour of Code campaign has already led to more than 450 million hours of code being completed– it’s mind-boggling. To date at least one out of every 10 students worldwide has participated in the Hour of Code program,” said Hadi Partovi, co-founder and CEO of “This year, we are asking for people to not only do an hour of code, but go beyond one hour and think about what they can do to ensure that computer science education continues for years to come.”

“We are living in a software-driven world where technology is becoming the core of every industry and will enable every profession. An hour of code can inspire children to a lifetime journey of technology and computer science. We are proud to partner with to encourage the next-generation talent to start thinking about technology from an early age,” said Mohan Sekhar, senior managing director, Accenture Technology Services.

As part of this year’s Hour of Code collaboration, Accenture executives will lead Hour of Code activities around the world. Among the executives participating are:
  • Yves Bernaert, a senior managing director with Accenture Technology, will host students at Station F, a start-up incubator in Paris.
  • Jo Deblaere, Accenture’s chief operating officer, will host students for an Hour of Code event at the Accenture office in Amsterdam.
  • Ambe Tierro, a senior managing director in the Philippines, will host students at the Accenture Liquid Studio in Manila.
  • Mohan Sekhar, a senior managing director in the Accenture Technology Centers in India, will host students at an Accenture office in Bangalore.
  • Christy Sovereign, Minneapolis office senior managing director, will be participating in a special Hour of Code event working with Robbinsdale Cooper High School student athletes to learn about the future of technology and sports, including a special session on how to build and fly a drone.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Amazon, HAX and Kickstarter Partner for Startup C-Cube Challenge for Indian Startups

Amazon Launchpad, the one-year-old global startup initiative of US-based Inc, has joined hands with hardware accelerator HAX and crowdfunding community Kickstarter to launch a startup challenge in India.

The winner of the Startup C-Cube challenge will get support from the three organisations in different phases of its growth, Amazon executives said at an event in Bangalore.

“This is an opportunity for Indian startups to get access to big consumer markets nationally and internationally,” Sateesh Srinivasan, director and global head of Amazon Launchpad, said at the event where Priyank Kharge, Karnataka’s minister for information technology, biotechnology and tourism, was the chief guest.

The winning startup will get help to grow from a concept to a customer-ready stage, besides assistance in launching the product in India, Europe and the US, depending on the scalability of the idea. Additionally, the winner will receive a set of benefits valued at $500,000, which includes capital infusion and free services, to support product development.

In the first phase, HAX will take the winning startup for a three-month acceleration programme in its work space in Shenzhen, China where the startup will get mentoring from a pool of over 50 international mentors. After the programme, the startups will undergo a six-week ‘go-to-market’ boot camp in San Francisco and receive an investment support of $375,000.

In the second phase, Kickstarter will help the startup set up a campaign on the crowdfunding platform. It will provide a campaign strategist to assist the startup on campaign messaging, promotion, public relations, marketing and fulfilment, along with access to its community of 13 million backers.

Finally, Amazon Launchpad will help the startup gain visibility with marketing exposure and account management and support the winner for launch in multiple markets, depending on the scalability of the idea.

“We expect this unique collaboration will dramatically increase the chances for more startup teams to do well,” said Alan Clayton, head of entrepreneur development at HAX.

Applicants to the challenge must have a software-enabled hardware product that can address existing needs for a large customer base. Also, the startup should at least have a “looks-like and works-like” prototype and, at the very latest, got pre-Series A funding.

A panel consisting of representatives from Amazon Launchpad, HAX and Kickstarter will select and announce the winner of the challenge on 31 January 2018. The last date for application is 15 January 2018.

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