Saturday, May 26, 2018

Toyota, Suzuki Agree to Begin Discussion on Joint Projects for Auto Manufacturing in India

Auto majors Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) and Suzuki Motor Corporation (Suzuki) on Friday said they have agreed to start discussion on new joint projects in the fields of technological development, vehicle production, and market development.

After having concluded a memorandum of understanding towards business partnership on February 6, 2017, Toyota and Suzuki have been pursuing concrete forms of cooperation and have announced the mutual supply of vehicles for the Indian market and other joint efforts. Meanwhile, the two companies have also been broadening the scope of their partnership considerations to include joint efforts related to production and market development, they said in a joint press statement.

Discussion topics
According to the statement, Denso Corporation and Toyota to provide Suzuki with technological support for a compact, ultra high-efficiency powertrain to be developed by Suzuki.

Toyota Kirloskar Motor Private Ltd. (TKM) to produce models developed by Suzuki for sale in India through each of the Toyota and Suzuki brand network.

Supply of models developed by Suzuki, including those to be produced by TKM (as mentioned above), from India to African and other markets by Toyota and Suzuki, employing each of the Toyota and Suzuki sales networks to sell such vehicles, and advancing cooperation in the domains of logistics and services.

Details related to the above are to be discussed going forward.
“Suzuki was the first (among Japanese companies) to enter India, and, together with the people of India, has been a presence for pulling forward India’s automotive society. Such represents the spirit of “Let’s do it” that I mentioned when announcing the conclusion of our memorandum of understanding on beginning concrete examinations for business partnership. Or, as I like to say, Suzuki is a company that puts into practice being “The Best in Town,” Akio Toyoda, President, Toyota said.

As members of Indian society, Toyota, along with Suzuki, will do its best to enhance freedom and fun in a future society of mobility and to make “Make in India” vehicles cherished in Africa and in many other countries around the world, he said.

“At the time we announced the partnership, I said: Under the leadership of President Akio Toyoda, Toyota was enthusiastic throughout our discussions regarding partnership sought by Suzuki, which was concerned about the development of advanced technologies. I want to express my heartfelt appreciation,” Suzuki Chairman Osamu Suzuki said.

Immediately afterwards, Toyota arranged a series of intensive and meaningful discussions, he said.
“Now, we will receive support for the development of a compact, ultra high-efficiency powertrain that is vital to Suzuki, and we will focus our utmost efforts on development,” Suzuki added.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Law Boosts Cyber Security Jobs in India

According to data from Indeed, the world’s no. 1 job site, there has been an upsurge in job postings for cyber security roles by 150% between January 2017 and March 2018, along with a corresponding increase of 129% in job searches for the same in the same period. Between January 2017 and March 2018, there has also been a spike in the number of job postings for Data Protection roles, which have seen an increase of 143%, while the number of job searches for the same have risen by 188%.

The impending implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) law in Europe has stimulated Indian companies to fortify their databases, leading to an upswing in the search for cyber security and privacy professionals. Further, the unprecedented increase in the number of cybercrimes in the country has also created a number of job opportunities for data protection and cyber security professionals. According to the Cybersecurity Jobs Report 2018-2021, cybercrime will more than triple the number of job openings over the next five years.

Given the Information Technology boom in Bengaluru, the city accounts for 36% of all cyber security related jobs in the country; leading by a considerable margin over Mumbai (17%), the NCR region (12%), Pune (9%) and Hyderabad (8%), which make up the top five destinations for work opportunities in the sector in India.

Sashi Kumar, Managing Director, Indeed India, said, “Globally, the increasing number of cyber crimes has made it imperative for companies to keep pace in hiring the right talent to combat them. Therefore, companies across the world are gearing up to ensure compliance to General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and ePrivacy requirements. While the larger technology giants are more or less equipped to comply, it is the mid-size and smaller firms that are seeking professionals to help them cope with the requirements the new laws entail.”

Indeed data also highlights a high level of interest in the field among the age group of 26-30 year olds. Interestingly people between the age group of 41-45 year olds also show high levels of interest in these profiles, as compared to those between 31-35 years old. This indicates that young technology talent as well as those with some experience in the industry are seeking opportunities in the cyber security space.

Despite cyber security jobs having zero percent unemployment, there is a huge dearth of skilled professionals, who can understand the complexities of today’s interconnected world. Cyber security breaches and intricacies have touched all industries and sectors. Hence, it is vital for all organisations to increase their security systems and processes.

Digital Consumers and ‘New-gen’ Technologies to Lead Virtual Healthcare into the future in India

By Mr. Sanjay Pathak - Head Healthcare and Insurance Solutions, 3i Infotech

While ‘Telemedicine’ has been there for a while, it did not become mainstream the way it was expected mostly due to lack of right technology and business objectives. In the current context, virtual care would mean remote health monitoring, home health man­­­agement, telemedicine, kiosk and self-diagnosis based systems, wearables and the likes. Ideally, a collaborative environment leverages video, audio, mobile/portals, sensors/kiosk from where consumers can receive care with no constraints of location, time & in-person touch. The current virtual care drive is fueled by digital consumers, technology advancements, high cost of care, regulation driven better care mandates, and sparse density of physicians to name a few.

Let’s explore some of these in the current context -

Technology advancements: IoT, AI/Voice and Blockchain could pave the way forward for the connected health/virtual care. These technologies have disrupted many industries operating today and healthcare is no exception.

IOT: Evolution of sensor technology has made it possible to connect many passive devices with internet. Cost & size of many healthcare sensors have drastically reduced, providing opportunities and options for a connected ecosystem. Wearables and mobile phones of today are good examples of instruments that have enabled measuring & streaming of personal vital data.

Voice: Alexa, Siri, Google voice and many similar voice intelligent solutions ease the consumer interaction to more conversational rather than a complex system interface.

Blockchain: While it has lot of promise and is yet to gain mainstream status, there are good chances that distributed and secured health records will be a plus for virtual care, where the information will not be restricted to one hospital and will also be immutable and secured at the same time.

High cost: Global healthcare spend is projected to reach $8.7 trillion by 2020 which will be approximately 10.5% of GDP. Virtual health if done correctly could be an answer to this rising cost, specifically for non-emergency, minor cases, rural care and post-surgical care which lead to hospital re-admissions. Substantial cost reduction can be achieved if virtual care can replace redundant physician & ER visits for trivial situations.

Regulatory compliance: Around the globe there is constant effort by regulators to enhance the care outcomes. US started value based care initiatives under Obama Care and even levies penalties on hospitals for readmissions. Prime reason for readmissions is confusion after discharge and lack of post-operative care. Virtual care and remote monitoring can drastically reduce potential readmission cases.

Vertical and horizontal consolidation: Healthcare sector has seen a global consolidation and there are recent cases where retail giants like Walmart are trying to acquire healthcare companies. While this is less of a driver & more of an outcome, this could result in better reach to population leveraging virtual care and tele-health kiosks even in the rural and remote areas via the retail outlets.

Density of physicians: Finally, the physician density is a big factor when it comes to virtual care. As per WHO, currently there is 1 physician for every 1000 people for over 45% of member states. This gap is bound to grow and even advanced countries like US, Canada etc. will have acute shortage of physicians, specialists and surgeons.

So now that we understand that virtual care is one of potential solutions to care reach, better outcome and cost reduction, let’s explore newer challenges it may pose:

First and foremost, a lack of comfort and confidence to adopt to this change is foreseen. Both physicians and consumers will have initial hiccups to adopt to the virtual care when both sides are used to in-person experience. A push from millennial population could be a key driver to overcome this situation.

Next, when data is not limited to the boundaries of a clinic and/or hospital, security would be an added concern. The value of Electronic Health Records (EHR) combined with financial transactions data is very high in the grey market. While separating the two may be hard, digital technology and Blockchain adoption can be an answer to some of the security concerns.

Privacy has always been a key factor when it comes to health. This would continue to be an added challenge in a digital and connected healthcare world.

Conflicts and legality could be another challenge as we adopt virtual care. The virtual ecosystem will need regulation and compliance support to run successfully.

Reimbursements for services will be another factor and hospitals and insurance companies will have to come up with innovative ways to reimburse for such virtual care.

Finally, fraud and abuse would continue to be a challenge. While technology advancements can be an answer to some, there will always be concerns arising from ill-intended practices from both consumers and practitioners.

So, how will an ideal virtual care system look like? No doubt, it will be an ecosystem of well-lubed entities. The system would comprise of a partner network to maintain the remote systems and kiosks; robust technology infrastructure; reimbursement system backed by Insurance (Payers); serve as a good knowledge base to educate the population; provide in-person help to assist mass on how to use the systems; and finally a network of participating hospitals, doctors, clinics etc.

Many Health-tech startups are coming up with innovative business models which will soon disrupt how healthcare is provided and even how we reimburse it. Gone will be the days where healthcare system only looked at generating profit. As the global healthcare system evolves, it will be virtual care that will be disrupting and re-composing healthcare ecosystem into its new and improved avatar.   

Ingnium Petrol Now Powers Discovery Sports and Range Rover Evoque from Jaguar Motors in India

Jaguar Land Rover India has announced the launch of the Ingenium petrol powertrain equipped Model Year 2018 Discovery Sport and Range Rover Evoque. The Ingenium powertrain delivers exceptional performance, efficiency and refinement while meeting the most stringent global emissions regulations. The 2.0 l motor on the Model Year 2018 Discovery Sport and Range Rover Evoque produces 184 kW of peak power and is mated to an 8-speed Automatic Transmission.

The Ingenium petrol powertrain equipped Model Year 2018 Discovery Sport is offered in SE and HSE trim and is priced from ₹ 49.20 Lakh. On the Range Rover Evoque, the Ingenium petrol powertrain is offered on the SE and HSE Dynamic trim and is priced from ₹ 51.06 Lakh.

Rohit Suri, President & Managing Director, Jaguar Land Rover India Ltd. (JLRIL), said: “The Ingenium petrol powertrain has been well accepted in the Range Rover Velar and we are now happy to offer our Land Rover Discovery Sport and Range Rover Evoque customers the same refined and efficient experience with exceptional performance.”

The Model Year 2018 Discovery Sport and Range Rover Evoque feature Wi-Fi Hotspot (with 4G access to up to eight devices) and Pro Services. InControl-Pro Services gets key features like The Route Planner App, Commute Mode and Sharing ETA (expected time of arrival). 

Manipal Education, MEMG & American University of Antigua Woos Aspiring Indian Students

The American University of Antigua (AUA) College of Medicine, a part of Manipal Education and Medical Group (MEMG), India’s largest higher education and healthcare service provider, is on a strategic enrollment drive in India to attract aspiring medical students to the leading medical school. Located in the Caribbean island nation of Antigua and Barbuda, AUA is one of Manipal’s seven universities situated outside India. 

Sir Vivian Richards, the Antiguan cricket legend, is on a multi-city tour in India to promote AUA and his home country as an ideal medical education destination. The iconic cricket star engaged in ‘meet and greet’ sessions with potential students to discuss the unique benefits of AUA’s groundbreaking programs and share his personal experiences about life in the tropical island.

Founded in 2004, AUA’s innovative, learner-centric and technology driven curriculum for the MD program is designed to address the acute shortage of physicians in medically underserved countries, particularly in primary care.

Spread across a verdant, 17 acre campus, AUA is one of only three medical schools in the Caribbean to gain the distinction of being approved, accepted, recognized and accredited by a diverse international medical education authorities or bodies, including the U.S. Department of Education, the UK General Medical Council and the Medical Council of India, among others. 

To fulfil its mission of fostering a diverse community of medical professionals, AUA’s holistic evaluation process, where scores are not the only defining criteria for admissions, provides access to high quality, global instruction at nominal cost to aspiring students from countries facing scarcity of medical education opportunities. AUA’s flexible program, which allows two intakes a year, has a record pass rate of 96 per cent in the USLME Step 1, the most important exam for medical students in the U.S.

With a network of 40 affiliated hospitals in the U.S. and Canada, students at AUA have the unbeatable advantages of availing residency placements and clinical experience through clinical rotations in world renowned programs at the Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, Massachusetts General, Brown University-Rhode Island Hospital, Yale-New Haven Hospital and the University of Toronto among other prestigious institutions.

In collaboration with Florida International University, AUA has developed two distinctive courses. The Clinical Clerkship Certificate program makes it possible for students to complete all their core clinical rotations hospitals affiliated with FIU’s Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine (HWCOM), while the AUA Global MD program provides research opportunities, medical Spanish training, and focuses on the social determinants of health at home and abroad.

AUA also has a unique relationship with Manipal University. The recent 2+2+2 program allows high school graduates to begin their medical education at Manipal. Upon successful completion of the premedical program, students transfer to AUA’s campus in Antigua to complete their Basic Sciences in two years. Students finish their degree with an intensive two-year Clinical Sciences program, which takes place at teaching hospitals in the U.S., Canada and India.

Commenting on the current enrolment drive in India and the association with Sir Vivian Richards, S. Vaitheeswaran, Chief Executive Officer, Manipal Education and Medical Group said, “AUA was established in response to the shortage of opportunities and intense competition for quality medical education around the world. In India, for example, there is one medical seat for every 15,000 aspirants. AUA’s degree is equivalent to one from any medical college in mainland U.S.A. A mark of the acceptance of our program is the fact that students of AUA are eligible for U.S. federal loan support for tuition. We are honored that Sir Vivian Richards has agreed to become our brand ambassador to help us connect with aspiring medical students in the country and offer them a chance to fulfill their dream of becoming doctors, so that they can serve their communities back home or practice anywhere in the world.”

Commenting on his partnership with AUA, Sir Vivian Richards said, “I feel extremely privileged to be part of this association. AUA students come from all over the world, and they bring such a positive energy to the island. You can tell they really love being here, and we love having them. Most important of course, is the caliber of doctors AUA produces. Many are placed in the world’s most prestigious hospitals, and credit the school’s hands-on training and supportive community for their success. I am doing my best to convince students and their parents that my country is a safe and ideal destination for getting a medical degree”.

AI Chatbot Service - DIA of HDFC ERGO Will Now be at Your Service on Google Home

HDFC ERGO General Insurance Company, India’s third largest non-life insurance provider in the private sector, launched its AI enabled Chatbot ‘DIA’ on Google Assistant, which enables the users to access the service through the Google Home device. DIA will also be available to customers with mobile devices in which the Google Assistant application can be installed. Through this launch, ‘DIA’ will now be accessible 24/7 to a wider audience providing instant solutions to their queries related to general insurance, thereby delivering superior customer service experience. 

Post the successful launch of DIA on Amazon Alexa, this new development by HDFC ERGO will offer customers a more intuitive way to interact with the company. Also, since the beginning of the year, the usage of Google Assistant has tripled in the country, allowing the company to spread its wings wide and reach out to the consumers to demystify general insurance, through a simple voice command – “Ok Google, Talk to HDFC ERGO.” 

Commenting on the launch of this new service, Ritesh Kumar, MD & CEO, HDFC ERGO General Insurance Company said, “At HDFC ERGO, the customer is at the core of all that we do and hence we are always exploring new trends and opportunities to ensure we reach out and offer the best experience possible. Leveraging newer platforms, like Google Assistant, to help provide customers with richer experiences and simplified solutions therefore, becomes imperative for us. The integration ‘DIA’ with Google Assistant is a step in this direction to reach out to the large and wide spread audience who have mobile devices and engage with them to provide a 24/7 support for all their general insurance related queries.”

The primary mode of interaction will be through voice, but input through the devices keyboard is also supported on the Assistant. Using this approach, the Google Home device searches the internet for the information requested, through the Assistant. Customers using Google Home or any mobile device, with Google Assistant, can get access to enable the services from HDFC ERGO. To enable this, customers must enable or install Google Assistant on their mobile phones. DIA will be available at your service on calling out the phrase “Ok Google, Talk to HDFC ERGO" or simply typing “Talk to HDFC ERGO”. 

Customers can easily use DIA to locate the nearest network hospital, network garage or HDFC ERGO branches, understand the products offered by the Company and even get answers to various queries related to general insurance. It will also guide the customers on queries like “How long does it take to process claims?” or “How can I renew my policy?" or even get a response to complex questions on topic like Salvage, No Claim Bonus and so on. 

HDFC ERGO understands the power of technology and integrating its AI enabled Chatbot, DIA on Google Assistant is a step ahead in simplifying things and taking customer experience to the next level. With time, more services will be enabled and made available on Google Assistant to raise the bar of customer service experience.

Sowparnika Launches Positive Homes at Whitefield, Attibele in B'luru; Apartments Priced Upwards of Rs 10 Lakh Only

Sowparnika Projects & Infrastructure Pvt Ltd introduces ‘Positive Homes’ a unique proposition designed and developed based on new age customers demand. It's ‘Positive Homes’ is all set to debut in Bengaluru as Sowparnika Indraprastha – Soukya Road, off Whitefield and Sowparnika Unnathi, Attibele Junction on May 26, 2018. The model has been successfully tested and proven in Thiruvananthapuram and is now being replicated in Bengaluru after the successful stint.

Most of the real estate companies were amongst the worst hit by demonetization. While the sector continues to struggle to find a footing even one and a half years since, Sowparnika Projects & Infrastructure Pvt Ltd, with its far-sightedness, has sailed through these tough times, managing to sell almost100% of its completed projects.

The over 3 Lakhs sq ft of 1st Positive Homes series is expected to be completed in record time of two years, this is a result of Sowparnika’s innovative model developed through experience gained over 15 years from projects across Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. This is being perfected and put into practice in Bangalore, through its ‘Positive Homes’ series. The stringent standards it follows, 360-degree in-house process, Vertical Integration and efficient construction methods have helped Sowparnika optimize its resources to meet the demands of the new-age customers at an enviable price point.

The city experiences influx of around 8 Lakh people every year and most of them are the 1st job seekers, first time entrepreneurs and even job shifters crowd. There is a study which establishes the fact that buying home is the first in the wish list of 80% of the 1st job seekers, entrepreneurs and even the floating population and that’s a huge opportunity. Sowparnika wants to capitalise this opportunity in building luxury homes which suits their aspirational lifestyle at an enviable pricing which they will not feel the pain to pay without compromising their lifestyle.

Sowparnika is geared to crack the conundrum of this tough market, and has been working to make luxury housing within reach of everyone.

Customer-centric approach:
“Our mission is to create homes for all, homes which are in best locations, accessible easily and that to homes with minimal cost of ownership (Less repairs and maintenance). Homes that are sturdy, equipped with best fixtures and with efficient space design. With positive locations, Positive Designs, Positive Vastu, Positive Specifications and above all Positive Pricing, we are introducing our ‘Positive Homes’ in Bengaluru which are the perfect homes keeping in mind the aspirations of the new-age customers. The starting price of our flat is Rs 10 lakhs for which the EMI will be same as the rent of a Studio,” said Ramji Subramaniam, Managing Director, Sowparnika Projects & Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd, while speaking about Positive Homes entry into the city.

Keeping the aspirations and needs of the new-age customers in mind, the ‘Positive Homes’ project is a perfect choice in terms of location, pricing, ambience, specifications and design. This model is destined to ensure high absorption rates. Sowparnika’s ‘Positive Homes’ is all set to debut in Bengaluru as Sowparnika Indraprastha – Soukya Road, off Whitefield and Sowparnika Unnathi, Attibele Junction on May 26th, 2018. The model has been successfully tested and proven in Thiruvananthapuram and is now being replicated in Bengaluru after the successful stint.

“This model is a success because of the way Sowparnika functions. Our architects optimise space. Using 360-degree construction helps in cutting overheads. The model has worked well for us and the benefit of the same has been passed on to our customer in terms of cost. We also believe in the traditional method of mass-construction which cuts the wastage of raw materials. We are also able to full proof this model with Resource optimisation and volume buy. In this age of cut-throat competition, one needs to come up with innovative, out-of-the-box solutions to sustain in the competitive market,” adds Ramji Subramaniam

No compromise for customers
The innovative business model of Sowparnika has helped us complete our projects within the stipulated time frame, thus cutting the cost of servicing the loans. “Because of our track record of on-time delivery, most of our past customers have come forward and have shown interest in booking our new project ‘Positive Homes’. We have achieved the punctuality tag because of our relationship with vendors and partners. Our vendors have confidence in us which is why we face no issues in procuring raw materials. Therefore, there is no room for project delays,” said Raja Mukherjee, CMO – Sowparnika Projects and Infrastructure.

No compromise on quality, features and fittings
‘Positive Homes’ are designed tastefully keeping in mind the aspirations of generation next because the new-age customer is not willing to compromise on the quality of living. The salient features of ‘Positive Homes’ include Vaastu compliance and has seen the use of brands like Asian Paints, American Standard Bathroom Fittings, Polycab Wires, Schneider Electrical Fittings, Somany Tiles, Johnson Lifts, Futura Kitchen Sinks partnering us to provide quality lifestyle that resonate a positive vibe.

“I have been staying at Sowparnika’s Swastika project since past 4 years. I would like to congratulate them in meeting the deadline and delivering project on time. Their precision in construction keeping in mind the needs of their customers excellent. There is no compromise on quality, the location is strategic, and the flats are designed such that there is no space wastage. The feel to stay in a Sowparnika home is luxurious,” said Sowparnika Swastika project customer, Preetam.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

MAHE’S Manipal Centre for Virus Research (MCVR) to Contain the NIPAH Virus in India

By Dr. G Arunkumar, Professor and Head of the Department, Manipal Centre for Virus Research

Kozhikode in Kerala went on high alert followed by Tamil Nadu and parts of Karnataka after a deadly virus called 'Nipah' (NiV) claimed eleven lives in Kerala. The fast-spreading virus Nipah has a mortality rate of 40-70 per cent.

What is the Nipah Virus?
Nipah virus infection is newly emerging and is an example of a zoonotic disease, where animal diseases can be transmitted to people. According to the WHO, the natural host of the virus is fruit bats of  the Pteropodidae Family, Pteropus genus (fruit-eating species) and the virus is transmitted through direct contact with infected bats, pigs, or from other NiV-infected people.

It was first identified in Kampung Sungai Nipah, Malaysia in 1998 which involved pigs as the intermediate hosts during that outbreak. In India, the first outbreak was reported in 2001 in Siliguri, West Bengal followed by a second incident in 2007 emerging in the Nadia district of West Bengal. It was revealed by scientists that human often contracted the disease by drinking raw date palm sap tapped directly from trees, a sweet treat that fruit bats also enjoy.

WHO reports that between 1998-2008, the virus has claimed over 300 lives across Malaysia, Singapore, Bangladesh and India.

MAHE and Manipal Centre for Virus Research at the Forefront to fight the Virus

The Manipal Centre for Virus Research (MCVR) lab was the first to identify the Nipah Virus in Kozhikode and the team is striving to work in Nipah-hit areas while communicating and coordinating with the medical community and the State Government. Prone to be a bio-threat, the early detection of the virus demonstrates the country’s capabilities for containing an epidemic. Championing this cause is Dr. G Arunkumar who heads the MCVR and was instrumental in diagnosing the second patient with the Nipah virus fairly early. He believes the virus is highly infectious and the ones at the greatest risk are the staffs treating the patient in the ICU. He lists down basic steps to prevent the virus from spreading:

-      Always check the fruits you are eating and clean them thoroughly before eating
-      Wash your hands regularly with soap and water
-      At hospitals, healthcare workers have need to take barrier precautions such as face mask, face shield, gloves and full personal protective equipment (PPE)
-      Since the disease is transmitted through droplets infection and through body fluid contact, caregivers and hospital staff need to maintain distance from an infected person.
-      Domestic animals can also be the carriers of NiV as they can consume partially eaten fruits dropped by fruit bats. Try to keep pets and domestic animals indoors and feed them yourself.

-      Don’t eat half eaten fruits from trees.
-      Don’t visit places where bats are known to colonise
-      Don’t come in contact with bat droppings. If it were to happen, immediately wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly
-      Don’t climb trees where bats ay have left their secretions

Diagnostic Tests and Prevention
The NiV is a risk group four pathogen and requires a laboratory with bio safety level 3 or level 4 to be able to handle testing. Currently along with the National Institute of Virology Pune, only Manipal Centre for Virus Research, Manipal Academy of High Education are equipped to carry out testing such as Real Time PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) samples of throat swab in transport medium such as blood sample, urine sample and cerebrospinal fluid.

The MCVR Lab is supported by the Indian Council of Medical Research, Department of Health Research, Ministry of Family Welfare. It is a Grade 1 virus research and diagnostic laboratory of ICMR, Government of India.

NSDC, TCS Partner to Boost Skill India Mission; TCS iON’s Platforms Supports Skill Devp Programs in Unique ‘Phygital’ Model

National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) has announced its association with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), a leading global IT services, consulting, and business solutions organization, to leverage the Learning and Assessment platform of TCS iON to provide speed and scale in skilling initiatives. 

NSDC and TCS have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to enhance NSDC’s skill development and capacity building initiatives such as National Occupation Standards (NOS), Qualification Packs and Curriculum.  With an objective to strengthen skilling outcomes through digital technology, TCS iON, through its Learning and Assessment platform, will help in developing a framework and integrating these resources.  TCS will bring iON platform - the ‘Phygital’ (Physical Assets integrated with Digital platforms) delivery model and its large partner ecosystem to the engagement.

Announcing the association, Manish Kumar, MD & CEO, NSDC said, “Today’s skilling environment needs digital impetus to achieve volume and speed.  Our partnership with reputed organisations such as TCS is a step towards accelerating the Skill India Mission. TCS, with its proven expertise in creating growth and transformation by leveraging technology, will support us to deliver impact at scale, which is directed towards making skilling progressive and inclusive for the country.”

V. Ramaswamy, Global Head, TCS iON said, “TCS is proud to partner with NSDC and participate in the mission of skill development of youth in the country. We have heavily invested in large-scale platforms, content, process and infrastructure to deliver value to the youth of this country in a unique ‘Phygital’ delivery model.  We believe, this will help to redefine the country’s skill mission for scale at speed.”

National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), working under the aegis of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Government of India, has been driving the national skill development mission – the Skill India Mission.  NSDC is mandated to fulfil the growing need in India for skilled manpower across sectors and narrow the existing gap between the demand and supply of skills.

Over the last few years, TCS iON – a strategic business unit of TCS has invested in high scale robust learning, assessment and certification platform along with a countrywide infrastructure to deliver learning and computer-based tests at scale.  A large partner eco-system with last mile training partners along with corporates from the industry provides a unique ability to deliver skills in a “Phygital Model”.

Enabling employment for the skilled youth is another area of focus for this partnership. TCS iON’s skill assessment products - #Cert-n-Edge ( powered by the LLL (Learning Life Long) initiative will help a large number of youth gainfully employed in several companies across the country.  Youth can demonstrate their knowledge and their skills in a 2-part assessment program offered by #Cert-n-Edge.  This assessment report will be jointly issued by TCS and NSDC and will be aligned to the National Occupational Standards (NOS).

Immerse Yourself in the Devotion of SAI BABA Live -Every Thursday Via VR DEVOTEE APP In 360 Virtual Reality

Kalpnik Technologies a startup in Virtual and Augmented Reality space will be live streaming Kakad Aarti & Madhyan Aarti from Sri Sai Centre Bengaluru, every Thursday in 360degree Virtual Reality(VR) via VR DEVOTEE App. Millions of Sai Baba followers from all over the world will now be able to chant Prayers and sing Bhajans along with the thousands of devotees at Sri Sai Spiritual Centre, Thyagarajanagar, Bengaluru.

Commencing at 6:30 a.m. Kakad Aarti signifies the waking of Baba at dawn and getting him ready for the day. The Aarti starts with the waving the Pancharati to Baba along with a gentle rendition of Utha Utha Sakal Janaa.

The Noon Aarti for Sai Baba, Madhyan Aarti starts with an offering of Dhoopam (incense), Deepam (lamp) and Maha Naivedyam (food) and Water, when the sun is at its highest point. The aarti concludes with offering the same to devotees.

Developed by Kalpnik Technologies, VR DEVOTEE is transforming the way people connect with their faith.  Devotees from across the globe who are unable to visit Sri Sai Centre in Bengaluru, will now get an opportunity to immerse themselves in the devotion of Sri Sai Baba through VR DEVOTEE APP In 360 Virtual Reality. The experience using a VR HEADSET is almost as if you are there in the temple.

VR DEVOTEE App is available free for download on Google Play Store and Apple App Store. To best experience the Aartis in a manner as if you are there at the temple you can buy a VR DEVOTEE headset at a highly discounted rate from Or if you already have any VR Headset please use the same for a truly immersive experience.

VR DEVOTEE App is a godsent opportunity for all who are unable to visit Sri Sai Centre in Bengaluru due to geographical constraints, old age, ill-health, financial restrains or any other reason. The company’s App VR DEVOTEE was launched on January 25th, 2018 and since then has streamed live events like Mahamathakabhisheka (Shravanabelagola), Amavasya at Cheruvugattu Temple, Pushya Abhishek (Isakson Chowpatty), Sri Sai Baba (Sai Spiritual centre Bangalore), Krishan Matha (Uduppi), Hanuman Jayanti from Karmanghat (Hyderabad) to name a few.

Ashwani Garg – CEO & Co Founder of Kalpnik Technologies Pvt. Ltd said “with over 127,000 app installs since January 25th 2018, Devotees from across the world have been wanting us to do daily live streaming of Pujas that they could participate in. Distance, Inability to be in the temple to participate in Pujas due to health issues, age related issues and time constraints was a problem. Live Telecast of Pujas On TV while a great service – the experience was distant and not immersive. Which is where people who had watched VRDEVOTEES LIVE STREAMING using VR Headsets was a boon.

Live streaming for Devotees to experience Real Time Immersive Aartis and Pujas is now become an integral part of our offerings with more and more devotees seeking this immersive experience. Based on this overwhelming response we will now be live streaming poojas and Aarthis from Sri Sai Centre in Bangalore every Thursday.

Having invested in state of the art Live recording and streaming cameras and real time editing solutions the company is now ready to serve its customers with an immersive experience.

Kalpnik Technologies, in just over 4 MONTHS since its launch has 360 VR content from 26 temples and Spiritual leaders and have another 106 temples in the pipeline for production. We are confident that by the end of the year will have close to 150 temples Pujas and Aartis on our App VR DEVOTEE.

VR DEVOTEE has received extremely good feedback from Devotees from across the world with over 127,000 app installs in 4 months since its launch. A majority of our customers are experiencing the Aartis and Pujas on their mobile phones and many requests have come in for the company to launch good quality headsets at affordable prices.

The company will shortly be launching good quality VR Headsets at under Rs 200 to enable devotees to get a truly immersive experience.”

Millions of Devotees across the world are currently watching Live telecast of Aartis and Pujas on their Television screens, but by using VR DEVOTEE App with VR headset their experience will be almost as good as being in front of their deity, inside the temple. Kalpnik spent over 18 months in developing a very user-friendly APP and VR headset that delivers a highly immersive experience for Devotees. Kalpnik has already produced VR experiences for several well-known temples and Spiritual leaders in India.

Toyota Kirloskar Motor Get the ISO 22000:2005 Certification for Food Quality & Safety Management System

Toyota Kirloskar Motor [TKM] has become the first Automobile Company in India to be awarded ISO 22000:2005 certification for canteen operations. An international food safety management system, in acknowledgement to the highest quality of food and hygiene standards maintained at the plant. The facility in Bidadi [Karnataka] houses a centralized kitchen which covers 14,500 meals per day in various shifts. The award, which evidently underpins Toyota’s unrelenting HR framework that aims at creating a positive working environment for employees, was handed over by Bureau Veritas. This certification demonstrates Toyota’s commitment on food safety enhancing customer satisfaction while duly adhering to relevant legal compliance [FSSAI – Food Safety & Standards Authority of India].

Speaking on the unique feat, Sailesh Shetty, Vice President of Toyota Kirloskar Motor said, “We at Toyota are constantly focused on our employees’ well-being by creating a conducive work environment that boosts their productivity and performance.  Besides several unique human resource programs, we have also recurrently ensured that our employees get the best nourishment for an overall development. Therefore, we take extra efforts in providing consistent, safe, quality and hygienic food, as essentially, YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT. Healthy being ensures healthy workplace.

Our canteen operations are based on a well-crafted module that puts hygiene and quality on top of its priorities. All our perishables like vegetables are sourced from farms through local famers in and around the plant, thus ensuring uncompromised quality. The rest of items like food grains are sourced from the best of places with ZERO tolerance for Quality deviations.  We also have formed a canteen committee working relentlessly to serve the healthiest and most hygienic spread to our employees, and ensure that they are invigorated enough to perform to their best capacities.” he added.

At Toyota, daily set food menu is consciously been planned in consultation with the in-house medical advisory, ensuring both the desirable taste & health requirements of the team members. Basic exercises at regular intervals in factory premises are also practiced amongst the employees to de-stress & support their stamina at work place.

The canteen is strictly managed under a comprehensive and effective food safety management system under the declared scope of “Preparation and Service of Cooked Food and Beverages within the Organization”.

Some of the key highlights are: 

Infrastructure - Centralized kitchen with well-equipped facilities follows a scheduled menu. All vessels and equipment are made of food safe stainless steel of 304 Grade, which is capable of enduring high levels of temperature for long intervals.

Raw Materials - Are of the best quality and ensures robust Quality Management System implementation. This system further consists of a range of examination processes like Supplier Selection, Supplier Qualification, and Supplier Rating to ensure that the right and best raw materials are procured.

Storage, Handling, Preservation of raw materials - Fresh vegetables are procured on daily basis from a local organic producer. After procurement, sorting of vegetables is done to retain the best quality.  Toyota follows the FIFO (First in First Out) and FEFO (First Expiry First Out) methods while issuing the raw material for production in order to properly identify, store and retrieve the raw materials in an appropriate manner.

Hygiene - In order to make sure that none of the personal hygiene practices are missed out before the cooking begins, each staff member follows a routine hygiene chart. Daily shower, use of clean uniforms, caps to cover the hair, face masks to cover the mouth and nose area, gloves, gumboots, other protective gears and hand sanitization are mandatory.

Recipes -Standardization is an important factor while maintaining high levels of nutrition along with taste. In order to achieve these levels, a well-structured Quality Assurance is implemented at all stages of Operations— Pre-Production, Production and Post-Production of food & beverages.

Quality Control- Process in the kitchen accepts raw materials only after thorough Quality Inspection to meet all the requirements of our Raw Material Specifications, which are generally adapted from Food Safety Standards Act 2006 (FSSA).

Quality and Safety during cooking - TKM kitchen follows Standard Operation Process system. This process is charted out to ensure hygiene and quality of the cooked meal and to adhere to the food safety standards.  The kitchen has well trained Chefs, Food Service Staff and Production Supervisors to manage and supervise the food preparations. Critical Control Points (CCPs) like cooking temperature are checked and recorded at periodic intervals to ensure the right quality of meals so prepared.

To ensure high food quality, all food preparations has to pass through Quality Gate before it is served to Team Members.

Food Packing and Transportation - The plant uses specially designed and customized transport vehicles to deliver food. These vehicles are cleaned on a daily basis and undergo weekly fumigation. These vehicles use an insulated body to ensure food temperature delivery freshness.

Customer Feedback and Next action In order to consistently maintain the quality of the meal, Toyota takes feedbacks from team members on a weekly basis. The Canteen team reviews the feedback and initiates or triggers appropriate corrective or improvement actions to further enhance the quality and delivery of food.

Toyota outlines a systematic food preparation & servings considering various factors which impactfully covers the good health of its employees. The structured choices of food, calorie combinations, timely meal servings, good flavor & taste, appropriate portions of nutrients, etc., plays a key role to ensure the desirable food consumption & required amount of stamina in its employees considerably to live a balanced work & personal healthy life.

We, at TKM, promote ‘Eat Healthy & Live Healthy” amongst the employees by offering a well-balanced food for the employees at office premises. We offer appropriate foods for all ages and at life stages of our employees to cater to their meal consumption needs holistically. Toyota’s continuous healthy food practices amongst our employees at office has contributed towards adopting such good food habits to their personal lives & their families/friends circles, thus adding immense value to our positive efforts in such direction.

Apart from standard canteen food services, the plant has also set-up an exclusive diet food counter to cater to the right eating habits for a calorie conscious food consumption, to ensure healthy living. Such food service supports those team members who have been advised to stay on strict diet regime to control their food intake considering their individual health conditions, even at office premises.

Audit & Review mechanisms play a key role in monitoring the key processes & systems and their performance. Toyota Kirloskar Motor have institutionalized Good Manufacturing Process (GMP) Monthly Audits, Surprise Audits on Food Safety & Quality, to name a few, to ensure hygienic & nutritious food to its employees for their individual well-being, thus an healthy society. Customer satisfaction survey performance is reviewed on a monthly basis. Detailed Customer Satisfaction surveys are done at periodic intervals apart from the day-to-day feedback taken during the food service.

Toyota believes in continuous improvement of each & every standards set in the company. Toyota’s canteen facility service also follows such stringent practices in its set food systems & processes to achieve the desired standards for the overall good health of its employees. Toyota brings smiles to its customers through quality products, but first to its team members through quality employee services. Needless to mention, we at Toyota strongly believe that our employees’ good health is of utmost importance for us, over the set standards being followed by any corporates.

JetPrivilege Partners with Talentedge to Earn JPMiles for any Online Professional Courses

JetPrivilege, the award-winning loyalty and rewards programme and the frequent flyer programme of Jet Airways, has forged an exclusive partnership with Talentedge, an Ed-Tech firm. Talentedge is the first provider of ‘Live & Interactive’ learning in a digital format. This alliance is exclusive to existing and new JetPrivilege members wherein they will be able to earn JPMiles, when they enroll into any online professional courses offered by Talentedge.

JetPrivilege members will now earn 10 JPMiles on every Rs 100 spent as the course fee on the Talentedge website. The offer is valid only for fresh course registrations through JetPrivilege. This partnership will also enable customers of Talentedge to earn JPMiles on successful enrolment into any course from their portal.

Commenting on this association, Manish Dureja, Managing Director, Jet Privilege Private Limited said, “At JetPrivilege, we persistently endeavour to reward our members with value adding and innovative opportunities. Our partnership with a brand like Talentedge provides our members an additional avenue to earn JPMiles while at the same time elevating their career prospects.”

Aditya Malik, CEO & MD, Talentedge said “In today’s fast moving world, skill enhancement, especially for working executives, is the need of the hour. Our courses not only help professionals learn through experienced faculty from IIM’s, XLRI and other highly rated Indian & International B Schools; they also help individuals take their next career step. This strategic partnership with JetPrivilege will help us reach a larger working audience”

Honda Cars India Unveils “All-New 2nd Generation Honda Amaze” in Karnataka

Honda Cars India Ltd. (HCIL), leading manufacturer of premium cars has launched its much awaited All-New 2nd Generation Honda Amaze in Karnataka. Built on an all new platform, the 2nd generation Amaze incorporates Honda’s spirit of innovation in research and development aiming to delight the customers. The car offers One Class Above premium experience with its all new bold design, sophisticated & spacious interior, more efficient powertrain, outstanding driving dynamics, advanced features and safety technologies.

The all-new Amaze features the First in Industry Diesel CVT Technology in the Indian market, offering powerful and effortless driving experience. This is Honda’s first diesel engine combined with advanced CVT, and India will be the first market to launch this technology.

Speaking on the occasion, Makoto Hyoda, Director- Sales & Marketing, Honda Cars India Ltd said, “The All New Amaze has been developed keeping the needs and aspirations of Indian customers in mind. It is a big promise from Honda and we are confident that the All New Amaze will become one of the strongest pillar of HCIL business. This model will create new excitement in the segment and will provide us opportunity to expand our business across markets.

In line with our commitment to offer latest technologies to the Indian consumers, Amaze comes with advanced Diesel CVT which is Honda’s first such technology in the world and also an industry first in the Indian market.

The All-New 2nd Generation Honda Amaze has been developed at Honda R&D Asia Pacific Co. Ltd. following extensive market surveys with an aim to exceed the needs and aspirations of Indian customers. India, a key market for Honda globally, is the first country to launch the All-New Amaze.

The model has been developed under the grand concept of ’Amazing Compact Limousine’ represented by its sleek solid design, overwhelming cabin and cargo space within 4 metres and outstanding driving performance with comfortable ride.

Walmart India, Flipkart Top Executives Meet CCI Regulators

Top executives of Walmart India and Flipkart on Wednesday met fair-trade regulator CCI to explain their activities in the country, days after submitting an application seeking approval for their $16-billion mega merger deal.

While there was no official word on the meeting, sources said it was a “courtesy call” by the executives of the two companies during which they also apprised the regulatory authority of Walmart’s global sourcing from India, including from the farmers, and its work towards kirana stores and supplier development programmes.

Those present in the meeting included Walmart India President and CEO Krish Iyer and the company’s Senior Vice President and Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Rajneesh Kumar, besides Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy and its group legal head R Baweja, sources said.

In their meeting with CCI member Sudhir Mittal, the officials of the two companies briefly explained about their individual businesses, development programmes and other activities. The meeting comes days after Walmart approached the CCI for approval of its proposed acquisition of a majority stake in ecommerce major Flipkart. In their application filed last week, the two companies have said the acquisition, proposed through Walmart, deal doesn’t raise any competition concerns

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Electropreneur Park Holds Tech Sharing Session for Start Ups and Budding Entrepreneurs

Electropreneur Park, funded by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, organised a Tech sharing session in New Delhi recently for tech start-ups and budding entrepreneurs. The session was co-hosted by Infineon Technologies, the German semiconductor manufacturing firm. The session was attended by a wide audience ranging from start-ups, aspiring entrepreneurs, academicians, industry professionals, practitioners, Technocrats and Researchers from the field of Life sciences, Informatics, Data Science and Information Technology.

The rapidly evolving pace of technology is changing how we do business and hence the focus of the session was to better understand and evaluate how current and emerging resources, tools and trends across the tech landscape will impact business. Some of the trends discussed at the event include Smart sensing (radar, time-of-flight, environmental sensing etc); Human-machine interface; Power control/monitoring/management solutions; Automotive (autonomous, electrification) and Renewable energy applications- Industrial& commercial.

Sanjeev Chopra, CEO, Electropreneur Park, said, “Such sessions help in guiding budding entrepreneurs in finding new avenues and opportunities and challenges in emerging trends in entrepreneurship. The need of the hour is to create an environment that is conducive to entrepreneurship by knitting together all relevant players- support system institutions, governments and potential and existing entrepreneurs”

The Boston Consulting Group and EASE-Université de Strasbourg Partner to Promote Industry 4.0 in the Biopharmaceutical Sector

After the Launch of Its Industry 4.0 Pilot Factory in Saclay, BCG’s Operations Practice in France Partners with EASE, the Factory School of Strasbourg University Dedicated to Biopharma and Regulated Process Industries.

The EASE center, with a shop floor of 46,000 square feet, including 21,500 square feet of white rooms, was designed as a real industrial site and has been open for training since September 2017. Located on the Illkirch campus, south of Strasbourg, France, it reproduces the constraints of white rooms—the sterile and classified zones in which drugs and health care products are manufactured. 

The factory school maintains three drug production lines: oral solid doses (tablets and capsules), injectable sterile liquids, and biologics. In addition to production lines, the site will offer a quality control lab and all the utilities and production systems that enable real-condition simulations. The site is used to train operators from the industry as well as students in several fields, including pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, fine chemistry, and agri-food processing.

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is partnering with EASE (European Aseptic and Sterile Environment) to provide its expertise on performance improvement, lean management, and Industry 4.0–related tools. “In keeping with the six Innovation Centers for Operations [ICOs] operating in different countries—including the first pilot factory opened in Saclay, France, in 2016—this partnership enables EASE and BCG to promote technologies that improve the performance of industrial operations. This new site will notably address the challenges faced by players in the pharmaceutical industry by providing them with innovative solutions, enabling quantum leaps in performance in terms of quality, traceability, flexibility, ergonomics, and productivity,” said Moundir Rachidi, a director at BCG who heads up the firm’s  Operations practice in France.

Implementing and integrating the Industry 4.0 technologies—most notably, advanced robotics, data analytics, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, industrial internet, and simulation platforms—can increase industrial sites’ productivity by 15% to 20% while improving quality and flexibility.

“A successful shift toward Industry 4.0 depends on quality field training at all levels, from operators to plant managers. Strasbourg University provides all those players its educational expertise and research,” said Constance Perrot, EASE director.

The project benefits from the support of the State via the Investments for the Future program, as well as local and regional authorities, the European Regional Development Fund, and private partners.  Located at the heart of a trinational region, the school factory benefits from the excellence of Strasbourg University, with its four active Nobel Prize–winning scientists: Jean-Pierre Sauvage (2016), Martin Karplus (2013), Jules A. Hoffmann (2011), and Jean-Marie Lehn (1987. “Combining academic excellence with consulting excellence should enable industrial companies to fully understand the integration of various solutions into the challenging environment of clean rooms,” said Moundir Rachidi.

This new ICO will help biopharma and regulated process industries address changes that affect their sites and operation strategies. On-site visits and training sessions will help these professionals to plan technology implementation and investments and to define their digitization roadmap.

NXP TechStreams Sparks Discussions on Electric Vehicles – The Game Changer of Future Automobiles

NXP India, a world leader in secure connectivity solutions for embedded applications, today organized the TechStreams TechSummit, a panel discussion on Electric Vehicles- The Game Changer of Future Automobiles. The summit saw participation from eminent automobile industry leaders. NXP’s TechStreams is a knowledge sharing platform that includes events, such as the TechTalk, TechConference, TechTutorial, and Tech Summit to promote the spirit of innovation. In essence, TechStreams is a fusion of four technological streams – Security, New Semiconductor Process Technologies, Emerging Domains and High-Performance Analog Signals and RF Designs.

The Panel discussion was a part of the Emerging Domains stream and focused on ‘Electric Vehicles: The game changer of future automobiles’. Some of India’s most valued dignitaries attended the discussion that aimed at debating the role and the future of electric vehicles and their disruptive potential for the automobile industry. The day-long event was divided into two panels that witnessed participation from industry experts, such as Sirish Batchu, Head - Advanced Technology, Mahindra Electric Mobility, Subodh Gajare, Senior Solutions Architect, Cisco, Amit Gupta, Group CEO-Automotive Business, Hero Motors, Vikram Gulati, Country Head & Vice President, Toyota Kirloskar Motors, Arun Malhotra, former MD, Nissan, Mohit Arora, Associate Director, Supplier Solutions – India, IHS Markit – Automotive, Atul Arya, Head Energy Systems, Panasonic, Kaushik Madhavan, Director, Automotive & Transportation, Frost & Sullivan and Peeyush Asati, Founder & Managing Director, Vecmocon.

Speaking on the EVs space, Sanjay Gupta, Vice President & India Country Manager, NXP India said, ‘Globally, the EV segment is growing at a double digit every year. It is important to equip the EVs of future with the right technology and infrastructure to fill up the potential that it brings along for nations in general and auto makers specifically. The growth of the EV market presents a massive innovation opportunity around battery, charging and connectivity technologies that will drive newer business models. This process has also been driven in India with an attempt to gradually control pollution, cut oil imports and compete for a slice of the expanding global EV market.’’

The discussions revolved around the global success stories to drive India as a big market for EVs during the current times and the coming decade followed by the innovations in EVs to ride the future. It was also debated that the India still faces some challenges to EVs while there is immense potential and opportunities to grow the industry from internal combustion engine vehicles to zero emission vehicles. The major hurdle in the way of successful implementation of EV is the charging infrastructure and government’s ambitious plans for a mass scale shift to electric vehicles (EVs) will bring electric vehicles on Indian roads in the coming future.

Here is a glimpse of what the leaders had to say during the summit today –
Amit Gupta, President & CEO – Group Automotive Business, Hero Motors said, ‘’It’s no rocket science that electric vehicles are the future. Modern advances in electric technology are making electric powered vehicles closer to mainstream reality than they ever were. If the progress continues at the current pace, the conventional internal combustion engine powered vehicles may soon go extinct. In terms of the Indian society, a push for the adoption of electric vehicles is the need of the hour. We, at hero are completely prepared for the future and our working along with our partner Hewland, UK on e-transmission from design to cost for OEMs in EU.’’

Arun Malhotra, Former MD, Nissan India, said, ‘’EV technology in India is at the inflection point. The Indian Government has to play the role of a catalyst in terms of a clear roadmap, investment in EV infrastructure and subsidy to the final users to kick start it.’’

When asked about EV policy for India and what we can take/learn from other countries, Mohit Arora, Associate Director, Supplier Solutions – India, IHS Markit - Automotive responded, “When we look at EV penetration strategies globally it boils down to ‘every nation to its own’ thereby implying that there is no set formula on policy that India can pick or borrow. Every nation has to adopt policies according to one’s own strengths and weaknesses in line with the entire EV ecosystem. For India, at the moment, our government is in the drafting phase seeking inputs from different nodal agencies and other stake holders.”

Subodh Gajare, Senior Solutions Architect, CISCO, said, “There will be a few disruptive trends for the future of urban mobility with AI and autonomous cars shaping new business models. Electrification of vehicles will demand innovation in battery and storage technologies for mass adoption.”

Hyatt’s Seventh Brand 'Hyatt Centric Hotel' Comes Up on MG Road, Bangalore

Hyatt Hotels Corporation has announced the rebranding of Hyatt Bangalore MG Road to the Hyatt Centric brand, marking the brand’s first hotel in India and twenty-third worldwide. Located in prime destinations across world-class cities like New York, Miami, Madrid, Tokyo and Chicago, the Hyatt Centric brand is thoughtfully designed to enable exploration and discovery, and targets millennial-minded travelers who want to be in the middle of the action.

Located in the city known as India’s Silicon Valley, Hyatt Centric MG Road Bangalore is the launch pad that inspires and encourages exploration of Bangalore’s serene parks, inspiring Victorian-era architecture, and vibrant dining scene with ease.

“We are delighted to introduce the Hyatt Centric brand to our savvy guests in India with the opening of Hyatt Centric MG Road Bangalore,” said Sunjae Sharma, Hyatt’s vice president of operations, India. “Based in the hustle and bustle of Bangalore’s city center, we are confident that Hyatt Centric MG Road Bangalore will serve as a platform for guests to easily explore and share all that is vibrant, and exciting, about the garden city. The launch of a Hyatt Centric hotel in India strengthens Hyatt’s portfolio in the country and highlights our commitment to offering the authentic experiences guests want.”

Designed by Studio HBA, the hotel boasts a contemporary feel with eclectic touches that capture the city’s cosmopolitan vibe. Its 143 contemporary and playful guestrooms, including four suites with terrace gardens overlooking the aquamarine blue pool, have been stylishly redecorated and infused with local flare. With features like complimentary Wi-Fi and a 48-inch flat-screen TV, each guestroom offers the perfect setting to relax after the day’s adventures.

Two distinct dining options are available for explorers looking to try something new: The Corner and The Bengaluru Brasserie. While The Corner offers a social atmosphere for coffee and light fare, The Bengaluru Brasserie delivers modern global cuisine with a focus on health and well-being. The hotel also boasts a customizable special events space, making it a perfect destination for any group event.
Hyatt Centric MG Road Bangalore provides a multitude of other services including a 24-hour fitness center, a business center, a locally-inspired spa, room service, multilingual staff as well as laundry and dry cleaning services to fulfill every need.

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