Friday, June 1, 2018

C-Zentrix Brings New Speech-Based IVR Offerings to Enhance Customer Experience

C-Zentrix, a leading contact center solution provider organized a media meet in Bangalore today. The event was aimed to bring out the nuances of the evolving CX (customer experience) industry in India and how companies will adapt to the changes via digital platforms. According to Forrester's 2017 Customer Experience Index, the quality of customer experience has improved in India. Key findings include that no brand in India delivered poor CX, and the average score of the five industries rose, indicating better quality CX across the board. In addition, the data shows that emotion has a bigger influence on customer loyalty than effectiveness or ease in nearly every industry.

C- Zentrix, developed with a vision of creating next-generation, simplified call center technology help organizations across industries to setup and manage their personalized customer engagement center hassle free at low cost and high efficiency. The focus of the press meet was to highlight the importance of tailored solutions for the different needs of each organization with relation to customer experience.

According to Arijit Chatterji, Chief Business Officer, C-Zentrix, “We, at C- Zentrix aim to provide the best-in-class contact centre software and enterprise level software for superior customer experience. Our products such as Omnichannel, Speech based IVR and AI driven chatbot are used extensively across industries in domestic as well as international market.

Our company wishes to help organizations across industries to setup and manage their personalized customer engagement center in a hassle free manner, at a low cost and with high efficiency. To keep this effort going, we will be participating in Customer Connect Week in Las Vegas next month, June 18 to 22, which is one of the most sorted events in the CX industry. We plan to make use of this opportunity to meet and interact with industry stalwarts and introduce to them our game changing products. ”

Customer experience is key to customer retention and to give businesses a full coverage we have evolved further with voice commerce solutions and mobile-based applications. Our Ticketing CRM and lead management solution (LMS) enable our customers across industries to provide a better customer experience for their end customers and higher productivity for the business. Our Omnichannel is transforming Customer Experience to new heights.

Mahindra Hariyali to Achieve Double its Annual Goal this Year with 2 Million Sapling Plantation

Reaffirming commitment to the environment, this year Mahindra Group, will achieve double its annual commitment by completing 2 million saplings plantation. By June 5, the ‘World Environment Day’ the company aims to plant 15 million trees under the aegis of Mahindra Hariyali program.

In the rapidly developing world today, lack of green cover is impacting the oxygen level in the air at a basic level. Hariyali is aimed at increasing the green cover, in addition to providing livelihood and nutritional security. Now nearing the completion of 11 years, the project also helps enhance the wildlife habitat value and biodiversity in certain regions. Thus, Mahindra Group has pledged to plant trees across the country with an annual goal of 1 million.

“It is heartening to have consistent support from our employees, customers and partners who have helped us not just achieve but exceed our annual goal by 100% for Hariyali. It is a clear reflection of our collective commitment towards the environment.” said, Rajeev Dubey, Group President (HR & Corporate Services) and CEO (After-Market Sector), Mahindra & Mahindra. “That said, climate change requires attention, and our environment needs to be nurtured to prevent the devastating and irreversible impact. While this project aims to tackle climate change and sustainability, we do realize this is not enough. With our campaign #ButThisIsNotEnough our aim is to sensitize and onboard Indian citizens to support a cause and pledge for a greener future, this environment day,” he added.

The project forms a part of Mahindra’s Rise for Good philosophy and it is being amplified to invite participations from every Indian citizen to contribute to environment or other causes with the #ButThisIsNotEnough[Eng]  #ButThisIsNotEnough [Hindi] campaign.

Mahindra partnered with the Naandi Foundation as the implementation partner for this project in 2010. The Naandi Foundation helps with plantation, engagement with local communities, monitors survival rates and undertakes replacement of saplings as and when required.

Davig Hogg, Chief Agriculture Advisor- Naandi Foundation  said, “India as well as the planet’s well-being depends on a healthy environment and Mahindra Haryali has oriented its focus to ensure it delivers an objective impact wherever it is implemented.  Mahindra Haryali project in Araku has evolved a unique template that is built on three pillars that are now the focus through all Mahindra Haryali outreach. Our consistent focus has been on engaging local Adivasi community, ensuring sound organic methodology and reliance on indigenous tree species so that forest ecosystems are restored. The result has been year on year improvement in access to nutritional fruits and improved soil carbon stocks – objectively verified by external audits of the VCS/UNFCCC programme. This contributes to climate change resilience globally and ensures greater soil fertility and water retention locally, providing for more stable agricultural activity.”

Tata Boeing Aerospace Delivers First AH-64 Apache Combat Helicopter Fuselage

Tata Boeing Aerospace Limited, today announced the delivery of the first AH-64 Apache combat helicopter fuselage ahead of schedule from its state-of-the-art facility in Hyderabad. The fuselage will now be transported to Boeing’s AH-64 Apache manufacturing facility in Mesa, AZ, for integration into the final assembly line. This delivery comes within a year of the aerospace joint venture facility becoming operational.

The facility, which is spread over 14,000-square meters and will be employing 350 highly skilled workers at full production, was inaugurated by Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of Defence, Government of India, in March this year. The facility will be the sole global producer of fuselages for AH-64 Apache helicopter delivered by Boeing to its global customers including the U.S. Army. The facility will also produce secondary structures and vertical spar boxes for the multi-role combat helicopter.

“This is a major step forward in Boeing and Tata Advanced Systems’ continued commitment to make advanced, high quality aerostructures in India,” said Pratyush Kumar, president, Boeing India. “Our investments in technology, capability and skilling are clearly paying off as evident from the quality and speed at which this delivery milestone has been achieved. As we accelerate our efforts, we see this as a major step towards future opportunities to pursue the co-development of integrated systems in aerospace and defence.”

Sukaran Singh, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Tata Advanced Systems, said, “The timely delivery of the AH–64 Apache helicopter fuselage marks a milestone in our collaborative journey with Boeing. Our partnership reflects a continued commitment to develop aerospace and defence manufacturing ecosystem in India. The delivery of the fuselage within a year of the facility being operational is a huge boost to indigenous manufacturing and also demonstrates our commitment to deliver high quality products within a short span of time.”

Tata Boeing Aerospace, Boeing’s first equity joint venture in India, is the result of a 2015 partnership agreement with TASL. Construction of the manufacturing facility began in 2016 and was completed on schedule a year later. In addition, Boeing and TASL have worked closely to develop a pool of highly skilled aerospace talent through skill development initiatives.

Today, customers around the world operate more than 2,300 Boeing-made Apache helicopters since the aircraft entered production. The helicopter has been fielded or selected for acquisition by the armed forces of 16 countries, including India. The United States Army Apache fleet alone has accumulated more than 4.3 million flight hours, including more than 1.2 million in combat, as of January 2018.

Tata Motors Continues its Growth Momentum in the Domestic Market Registering 58% Jump in May 2018

In May 2018, Tata Motors registered a strong growth of 58% at 54,295 units as against 34,461 units over last year due to the continued strong sales performance of its Commercial and Passenger Vehicles Businesses in the domestic market. The cumulative sales for the domestic market (April-May 2018) was at 107,806 units compared to 63,305 units over last year, a growth of 70%.  In FY19, the Company has embarked on ‘Turnaround 2.0’, with 3 clear objectives viz. ‘Win Decisively in CV’, ‘Win Sustainably in PV’ and embed the turnaround culture in the organisation. Key growth drivers: M&HCV (90%), I&LCV (73%), SCV Cargo & Pickups (47%) and Passenger Vehicles (61%)

Domestic - Commercial Vehicles

Tata Motors’ Commercial Vehicles (CV) domestic sales in May 2018 were at 36,806 units, an increase of 56% compared to 23,606 units in May 2017. Cumulative sales growth of CV in the domestic market for the fiscal (April-May 2018) were at 73,082 units, a growth of 84%, compared to 39,623 units, in the same period last year. Post the Supreme Court ruling on BSIII to BSIV transition, sales were affected in Q1 last year as there was a huge pre-buy and also a limited supply of BSIV vehicles. The growth in May 2018 was on the back of various macro-economic factors like investment in improved industrial activities, infrastructure development and robust demand in the private consumption-led sectors.

The M&HCV truck segment continued its strong growth momentum with 12,424 units, a growth of 90% over last year. This growth has been led by the government’s focus on infrastructure development, road construction, building of irrigation facilities and housing projects across the country. Additionally, sectors like auto carriers, 3PL players, cement, steel and oil tankers are also driving growth. The SCR technology that was introduced in M&HCV trucks last year has gained customer confidence and continues to establish its TCO superiority. 

The I&LCV truck segment reported a significant performance at 4,106 units, growth of 73%, over May 2017. This growth has been due to new product launches, E-Commerce and increased rural consumption. The recently launched Tata Ultra range of ILCV trucks is gaining significant acceptance and contributing to the volume growth.

The SCV Cargo and Pickup segment continued its growth momentum with sales of 15,567 units, up by 47%, over May 2017. With the growth in E-Commerce sector and the hub-spoke model continuously evolving, the small commercial vehicles are in demand for the last mile connectivity needs across the rural and urban markets. The newly launched Tata Ace Gold has been well received by the customers and is seeing a strong demand.

The commercial passenger carrier segment posted a growth of 14% with sales of 4,709 units in May 2018. The onset of the annual school season led the robust demand for school buses.

Domestic - Passenger Vehicles
With retails slowing down, May 2018, was a challenging month but Tata Motors' Passenger Vehicles (PV) domestic sales registered an impressive performance with 17,489 units, a growth of 61%, compared to 10,855 units in May 2017. The Tata cars recorded a growth of 18% at 11,516 units driven by continuous strong demand for Tiago and Tigor, while the UVs continued to record an exceptional performance of 463% growth at 5,973 units, due to the strong demand for the Nexon and Hexa.

The recently launched Nexon AMT has received an overwhelming response and is witnessing good traction in the market. Cumulative sales growth of PV in the domestic market for the fiscal (April-May 2018) were at 34,724 units, a growth of 47%, compared to 23,682 units, in the same period, last fiscal.

The company’s sales from exports (from CV and PV) in May 2018 was at 3,699 units as against 3,900 units in May 2017.

Small Projects, Big Concerns: Impacts of Small Hydropower Projects on Fish Communities in the Western Ghats

The first ever scientific study in India of Small Hydropower Projects (SHPs), has revealed that despite being promoted as clean energy, these plants have significant ecological impacts, and cause alterations in stream geometry, water quality and freshwater fish communities.

The work recently published in the journal Aquatic Conservation was conducted by scientists from Wildlife Conservation Society – India Program (WCS-India Program), National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore, India, the University of Florida, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, and Foundation for Ecological Research Advocacy and Learning (FERAL).

SHPs are hydroelectric plants with relatively smaller power generating capacity compared to large hydropower plants. They are often promoted as a cleaner and greener alternative to large hydropower projects as they are assumed to have little or no environmental impacts. In India, they are defined as those that generate power up to 25MW. There has been a proliferation of SHPs in India, especially in biodiversity-rich areas such as the Western Ghats and Himalayas. As of 2012 there were 1266 projects commissioned while another 6474 have been identified.

The study was conducted in the upper reaches of river Nethravathi, which is part of the Western Ghats biodiversity hotspot, from February 2014 to May 2014. In the study, two dammed tributaries and one undammed tributary of the west flowing Netravathi river were selected.
It was found that the SHPs affected the river flow by reducing flow immediately below the dam and caused flow fluctuation when the water is released back into the river after power generation – both of which have consequences on fish assemblages. The dammed streams had altered fish composition and reduced number of species.

The SHPs are made of four main components – a diversion weir (this blocks the river’s flow and creates a reservoir), a powerhouse with turbines, a penstock pipe and a tailrace canal. The water diverted at the weir passes through the pipes to the powerhouse to produce electricity. Water is then released back into the river further downstream through its tailrace canal.

Explaining the results, Suman Jumani, the lead author expresses, “Our study was one of the first to holistically assess the impacts of SHPs in the forested regions of the Western Ghats. Ecologically, SHPs severely altered river geometry, water quality, and freshwater fish species assemblages. Since they divert water for long distances, it leaves vast stretches of the river almost completely devoid of water flow in the dry season. Waters in these stretches had lower oxygen levels and higher water temperature. Not surprisingly, these habitat alterations strongly affected freshwater fish assemblages.”

It was also found that the dammed streams had more generalist species of fish (those that are widespread and can survive in harsh environments) compared to specialist species (those that are unique to certain rivers). They also had reduced numbers of migratory fish such as the Mahseer. It was also found that the native species were strongly affected, which is a matter of grave concern since these local species are found only in the Western Ghats and hence are under threat of being driven to extinction.

Spike in Human-Elephant conflict
A couple of years ago, as part of the related study, the research team had conducted a survey to understand the perceptions of local communities towards the SHPs. 
It was noticed that there was general discontent amongst the communities who were dependent on the river since they were neither involved in the public hearing nor promises of electrification and local employment were fulfilled. The SHPs have also brought along a new problem: a surge in human-elephant conflicts. 

Shishir Rao, from WCS-India, who co-authored both the papers, says, “Our research has shown that the sudden onset of human-elephant conflict in the study area correlated with the beginning of SHP construction. In the year 2005, the number of claims filed for elephant conflict compensation increased by 173% compared to the year before. Coincidentally, this is the same year in which the first SHP was commissioned in this area. Thereafter, the number of claims has peaked every time a new SHP was commissioned. This is a concern since the reserve forests of Sakleshpur are a critical elephant corridor connecting Pushpagiri wildlife sanctuary in the south and Kudremukh national park in the north.”

Apart from the dam, the construction of associated structures such as large pipes, canals and transmission lines hinders the movement of elephants, forcing them to find new routes, thus increasing the incidences of conflicts with humans.

Rampant Growth of SHPs
As noted by Suman, “SHPs are a classic case of good intentions leading to terrible consequences. This is mainly because SHPs are defined not based on their ecological footprint, but rather on their installed capacity. In our country, SHPs are hydroelectric dams that produce up to 25MW of power - an arbitrary threshold. Hence, we have numerous SHPs with weir heights extending beyond 15m, a threshold used by the World Commission of dams to define large dams!”

Multiple SHPs set up in close proximity on the same river have affected both the water quality and habitat. For example, 10 SHPs s currently exist on the 108 km long west-flowing Netravathi River and an additional 44 SHPs have been proposed on the same stretch and this could have a deleterious impact on the ecosystem.

Currently, a new SHP is being constructed on Hongadhahalla, the only free-flowing tributary in this area. Most of the others are also being dammed and diverted as part of the Yettinahole drinking water project. “Given that this region is an important watershed and a part of Western Ghats biodiversity hotspot, there is an urgent need to monitor, regulate and carefully evaluate the impacts of large-scale infrastructure development”, notes Shishir.

Suman adds, “Despite mounting evidence, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has plans to build about 6500 additional SHPs without any environmental and social regulations. Given that most of these planned dams are located within biodiversity hotspots of the Western Ghats and the Himalayas, it is imperative that the policy concerning these projects be revised to include mandatory minimum flow requirements and individual and cumulative environmental impact assessments"

First Human corneas have been 3D Printed by Scientists at Newcastle University, UK

Yet there is a significant shortage of corneas available to transplant, with 10 million people worldwide requiring surgery to prevent corneal blindness as a result of diseases such as trachoma, an infectious eye disorder.

In addition, almost 5 million people suffer total blindness due to corneal scarring caused by burns, lacerations, abrasion or disease.

The proof-of-concept research, published today in Experimental Eye Research, reports how stem cells (human corneal stromal cells) from a healthy donor cornea were mixed together with alginate and collagen to create a solution that could be printed, a ‘bio-ink’.

Using a simple low-cost 3D bio-printer, the bio-ink was successfully extruded in concentric circles to form the shape of a human cornea. It took less than 10 minutes to print.

The stem cells were then shown to culture – or grow.
Che Connon, Professor of Tissue Engineering at Newcastle University, who led the work, said: “Many teams across the world have been chasing the ideal bio-ink to make this process feasible. “Our unique gel - a combination of alginate and collagen - keeps the stem cells alive whilst producing a material which is stiff enough to hold its shape but soft enough to be squeezed out the nozzle of a 3D printer.

“This builds upon our previous work in which we kept cells alive for weeks at room temperature within a similar hydrogel. Now we have a ready to use bio-ink containing stem cells allowing users to start printing tissues without having to worry about growing the cells separately.”

The scientists, including first author and PhD student Abigail Isaacson from the Institute of Genetic Medicine, Newcastle University, also demonstrated that they could build a cornea to match a patient’s unique specifications.

The dimensions of the printed tissue were originally taken from an actual cornea. By scanning a patient’s eye, they could use the data to rapidly print a cornea which matched the size and shape. Professor Connon added: “Our 3D printed corneas will now have to undergo further testing and it will be several years before we could be in the position where we are using them for transplants. “However, what we have shown is that it is feasible to print corneas using coordinates taken from a patient eye and that this approach has potential to combat the world-wide shortage.”

India Gets First ‘Smart Store’ for Feature Phones with smartphone-like Applications from iVVO

Staying true to its goal of making people’s lives simpler while digitizing rural India, iVVO, a pioneering communications brand and the latest entrant in the Indian mobile phone market, has now launched a smartphone-like app store for its 2G handsets. The company’s parent organization, BRITZO, recently came into the spotlight for its unique business model and vision of empowering the rural population through a complete reversal of the prevalent market order with cutting-edge innovations. iVVO is taking this vision forward with the introduction of interactive applications on its feature phone offerings.

The apps on the ‘Smart Store’ encompass a wide range of genres such as entertainment, education, health, spirituality, and so on. At present, the Smart Store has a ‘Game Centre’, an ‘Entertainment Store’, a ‘Friend Finder’ & ‘App Store’ (for miscellaneous applications). iVVO customers will be able to enjoy a huge repository of songs and videos and other content which is refreshed daily.

Pradipto Ganguly, CEO & Co founder, BRITZO, “At BRITZO, we’ve embarked on a journey that demands innovation, service attitude & inclusion at all socio-economic levels to reach our overarching goal. The entire BRTIZO workforce has embraced our vision with complete commitment and is relentlessly turning this dream into a reality. As yet another accomplishment, we’re very delighted to present the ‘Smart Store’ to our customers, something that’ll increase their daily efficiency and convenience. We are confident that this innovation is going to promote digital adoption across rural geographies in India.”

The mobile phone manufacturer has six Smart 2G feature phones segmented across categories, namely BEATZ, PRIMO, SELFEE and TUFF. Its product portfolio also comprises of two upcoming Android Go-based 4G smartphones under ‘Storm’ series and 4G feature phone ‘Skipper’. In order to facilitate more ease and convenience to its customers, the brand has established a strong after-sales service network with more than 900 targeted services centres and has a hassle free service policy on all of its devices. The objective of the brand is to drive state-of-the-art innovations in rural geographies and then make them trickle down to urban regions – contrary to the prevalent market order.

Idea Completes Sale of 9,900 Mobile Towers to ATC for Rs 4,000 Crore

Telecom operator Idea Cellular on Thursday said it has completed the sale of approximately 9,900 mobile towers to American Tower Corporation’s (ATC) Indian arm for Rs 4,000 crore.

“Completion of sale of its (Idea) pan-India standalone tower business, by way of divesting its entire stake in ICISL, 100% subsidiary of Idea, to ATC Telecom Infrastructure. The transaction has been closed with an enterprise value of Rs 40 billion for approximately 9,900 standalone towers,” Idea said in a statement.

ATC has already completed acquisition of Vodafone India’s mobile tower for Rs 3,850 crore, which added nearly 10,200 to its portfolio.

The proceeds will be used by both Idea and Vodafone to lower debt of their merged entity.
“The receipt of both these proceeds prior to completion was anticipated and provided for, in the Vodafone India and Idea merger agreement and hence would not affect the agreed terms of the merger, including the amount of debt, which Vodafone will contribute to the combined entity at the closing of merger transaction,” the statement said.

The deal brings the merger of Vodafone India and Idea, resulting in creation of the country’s largest telecom operator with around 430 million subscribers, closer as change in structure of the organisations would have created complexity in document work for clearing standalone tower deals of Idea and Vodafone with ATC.

Idea said that post completion of the merger, 6,300 co-located tenancies of the two operators on the combined standalone tower portfolio will collapse into single tenancies over a period of two years without the payment of exit penalties.

“Both Vodafone India and Idea as customers, and ATC as a vendor, has agreed to treat each other as long-term preferred partners, subject to existing agreements,” the statement said.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Usage of Recycled Products Harmful Says Study By University of Plymouth, UK

Hazardous chemicals such as lead are finding their way into food-contact items and other everyday products because manufacturers are using recycled electrical equipment as a source of black plastic, a study has found.

The substances are among those applied to devices, such as laptops and music systems, as flame retardants and pigments but remain within the products when they reach the end of their useful lives.

Scientists at the University of Plymouth in the UK have shown that a combination of the growing demand for black plastic and the inefficient sorting of end-of-life electrical equipment is causing contaminated material to be introduced into the recyclate.

This is in part because despite black plastics constituting about 15% of the domestic waste stream, this waste material is not readily recycled owing to the low sensitivity of black pigments to near infrared radiation used in conventional plastic sorting facilities. As well as posing a threat to human health, the study showed that there are potentially harmful effects for the marine and coastal environment either through the spread of the products as litter or as microplastics.

Researchers used XRF spectrometry to assess the levels of a range of elements in more than 600 black plastic products such as food-contact items, storage, clothing, toys, jewellery, office items and new and old electronic and electrical equipment.

Bromine, in the form of brominated compounds, is and has been used in electrical plastic housings as a flame retardant, while lead is often encountered in electronic plastics as a contaminant.

However, both elements were found extensively in non-electrical black consumer products tested, where they are not needed or desirable.

In many products, including cocktail stirrers, coathangers, various items of plastic jewellery, garden hosing, Christmas decorations and tool handles, concentrations of bromine potentially exceeded legal limits that are designed for electrical items. In other products, including various toys, storage containers and office equipment, concentrations of lead exceeded its legal limit for electrical items. “There are environmental and health impacts arising from the production and use of plastics in general, but black plastics pose greater risks and hazards,” said Andrew Turner, a from the University of Plymouth.

“This is due to the technical and economic constraints imposed on the efficient sorting and separation of black waste for recycling, coupled with the presence of harmful additives required for production or applications in the electronic and electrical equipment and food packaging sectors,” said Turner. “Black plastic may be aesthetically pleasing, but this study confirms that the recycling of plastic from electronic waste is introducing harmful chemicals into consumer products,” he said. “That is something the public would obviously not expect, or wish, to see and there has previously been very little research exploring this. In order to address this, further scientific research is needed,” Turner said.

Rotary Club Fetes City’s Individuals, Companies; Yaduveer Wadiyar Inducted as an Honorary Member of the Rotary Club

Man has caused a huge imbalance in nature through science and technology and disrupted the organic structure of the earth, noted environmentalist A N Yellappa Reddy said on Wednesday.

Speaking after being honoured by the Rotary Club of Bangalore, Reddy remembered the days when Bengaluru was "green, clean and traffic-less" and expressed concerns about development bulldozing the environment. 

"Every creature in forests has a unique responsibility to take care of mother earth. Working in forests has taught me altruism. But man has failed to keep that balance," he said. 

The Rotary Club of Bangalore, in association with Deccan Herald, gave away Rotary Bangalore McIver Awards. 

While Reddy, a former principal chief conservator of forests and secretary to the government of Karnataka, was honoured for his contribution to Environment Conservation, former ambassador to the US, Nirupama M Rao, was recognised as Citizen Extraordinaire for her role as a diplomat.

Activist Madhu Bhushan was presented with the Women's Empowerment award in recognition of her activism and efforts in empowering women. Javad Poovalappil of Nimhans won the award for Pride of Workmanship while young cricketer Shreyas Gopal got the Youth Icon award.

Bangalore International Airport Limited (Corporate Citizen), Azim Premji Foundation (Making A Difference), UTC Aerospace Systems (T-E-A-C-H) and Rotary Club of Bangalore Orchards (Community Service) were recognised for their contribution to the city. 

Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar, the scion of Mysuru's royal family, was inducted as an honorary member of the Rotary Club. 

Manipal Hospitals Bengaluru launches Campaign to Mark “World No Tobacco Day 2018”

As nations world over gear up to celebrate World No Tobacco Day, with WHO’s focus this year being on the impact of tobacco on cardiovascular health, India  is fighting its own tobacco-related death and disease battle. Manipal Hospitals Bengaluru, the foremost multi-specialty healthcare provider committed to clinical excellence and patient care, today announced the launch of its ‘Lets Together, Beat Tobacco’ Campaign on the  occasion of World No Tobacco Day.  This awareness campaign was unveiled by  Vanistha Ashok, fitness expert with an aim to create awareness on the ill effects of tobacco consumption in any form.

In a bid to spread the awareness on preventive care, Manipal Hospitals launched quick evaluation package for lungs at just Rs. 799. The package includes chest x – ray, spirometery, GRBS and Pulmonology consultation. The package can be gifted to a smoker in the family to encourage him / her to quit smoking.

Manipal Hospitals Bengaluru launched a bouquet of activities under the campaign such as a poster exhibition, literature and brochures to educate the masses, cyclothon for hospital consultants and employees along with special screening packages for the public. Cyclothon for hospital employees will be flagged off from Manipal Hospital premises to CMH Road, Indiranagar and back. The rally will begin at 6.00 am and culminate at 8.00 am on Saturday, June 2, 2018.

Speaking on the occasion Dr. Sudarshan Ballal, Chairman, Manipal Hospitals said, “Today, global statistics show that use of tobacco causes around 6 million deaths a year which is projected to rise to 8 million by 2030 if we don’t act fast and take preventive measures. In India, heart blockages or coronary heart disease is among the leading causes of death and contrary to popular belief; it is smoking-caused heart disease that results in more deaths per year than smoking-caused lung cancer. However, smoking is also the single largest preventable cause of heart disease and which is why as a group we are committed to take this initiative to the mass population on educating and enhancing awareness in identifying plausible solutions to eradicate tobacco consumption. With this campaign, Manipal Hospitals is committed to fight this evil and create a healthier, happier India.”

Vanistha Ashok, fitness expert said, “   Fitness is something that cannot be attained overnight. It needs lifestyle modification and a strong will to practice healthy habits. Smoking is extremely injurious to our health and can cause irreversible damages to our body. I urge people to stop consuming tobacco is any form before it is too late.”

Speaking on the occasion Dr. Ranjan Shetty, Interventional Cardiologist, Manipal Hospitals said, “Smokers are almost twice at the risk of having a heart attack as compared to people who have never smoked.  Quitting smoking has huge benefits and it’s never too late to give up. Even smoking a single cigarette increases the risk of heart attack by almost 50 percent. Relatively smoking has much more adverse effects among women. If you are a smoker stop smoking completely and it is the single most important step you can take to protect the health of your heart”

Speaking on the occasion Dr.Somashekhar. S.P, Chairman & HOD Surgical Oncology, Manipal Hospitals, said, “Seventy percent of Indian cancers are caused by modifiable and preventable risk factors (40% tobacco, 20% infection and 10% others.  Approximately 30-60% cancers among males and 10-30% cancers in females are tobacco related. Passive smoking is a major burden in India with 44% occuring at home and 37% at public places. It is well known fact that cigarette smoking increases the risk of lung cancer 10-20 fold. It also causes 14 other types of cancers like oral cavity, stomach, colon, rectum, liver kidney, cervix cancers to name a few. “

Speaking on the occasion Dr. Satyanarayana Mysore, HOD, Pulmonology & Sleep Medicine, Manipal Hospitals said, “Lung diseases caused by smoking include COPD, which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Cigarette smoking causes most cases of lung cancer. If you have asthma, tobacco smoke can trigger an attack or make an attack worse. Smokers are 12 to 13 times more likely to die from COPD than nonsmokers are. Reports reveal that India is the second largest consumer of tobacco with more than one-third of adults (35%) using tobacco in some form or other, of which 21% using smokeless form exclusively.”

World over approximately 1.1 billion people use tobacco and its products.In India the usage is high but there is a decreasing trend  in usage from 34.6%  in 2010 to 28.6% in 2017(GATS).As per the Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2017 ,the  usage in Karnataka has come down by 5% from 28.2% in 2010 to 22.8% in 2017.The usage is more in males (44%) compared to females (37%).

Canon India Announces 2 Variants Namely Rayo i5 and R4Rayo Mini Projectors in India

Canon India, leader in imaging solutions, starts distributing Rayo Mini projectors in India. Targeted at both B2B and B2C segments, the two flagship models, Rayo i5 and Rayo R4 are compact, lightweight, and portable and bet big on both style and imaging impressions. The organisation will be responsible for distribution of the two products in the country.

Sharing his thoughts on the launch, Kazutada Kobayashi, President & CEO, Canon India, said, “Customer delight is of prime importance to us at Canon India. We are dedicated to promoting the culture of imaging, and our constant innovation plays an integral role in this endeavour.  The new mini projector is another such innovation from our Business Imaging Solutions portfolio. Compact and convenient with easy connectivity, this launch reinforces our commitment to elevate our customer’s professional and personal experiences.  We have witnessed a shift in the usage pattern of projectors among Indian consumers which has led us to diversify in this space, launching a product that lets users screen where they want. With this defined and unique expansion to our portfolio, we foresee further development of our customer base in the country.”

“The Rayo Mini Projector is an innovation that complements the Smart Phone Proliferation trend perfectly. The easy setup and versatility of the mini projectors make them a must have travel accessory particularly for the mobile business professionals and for families on vacation or those using them for leisure. The Rayo projectors truly boost the power of information on-the-go by enhancing the way photographs, presentations and videos are shared.” said K Bhaskhar, Vice-President, Business Imaging Solutions, Canon India.

Compact design packs amplified impressions
The compact and light weight design makes the Rayo mini projectors a highly portable and handy travel accessory. For the business professional on the go, the mini projectors are the perfect complement to a broad range of mobile devices, enabling impactful presentation of ideas whenever and wherever.

The compact size makes it extremely convenient to carry around in carry-on bags or even in a shirt pocket, making it well-suited for corporate, retail and educational purposes. The Rayo R4 weighs a meagre 169 grams and the Rayo i5 weighs 260 grams.

Easy plug and play
The wireless feature on the RAYO i5 circumvents the hassle of cables. The convenience of the wireless functionality means users can play movies or share content from their latest Android/iOS devices easily through Mirroring/DLNA technology. Offering stable and continuous brightness at 100 Ansi lm; this high level of brightness facilitates clarity in imaging output with WVGA resolution for home entertainment such as movies or karaoke parties as well as business presentations on the go.

The Rayo R4 projects directly from mobile phones/tablets through connectivity with MHL cable and offers brightness of 50 Ansi lm. It can be easily connected to a laptop with the Mini HDMI cable to deliver a power packed demo.

Both the projectors also come with a mini tripod which is not only easy to install but is also height adjustable to provide you just the right angle for viewing.

Stamina for longer running time
Rayo i5 has a 1,900 mAH battery which has a play time of upto 120 minutes at standard brightness. Whereas the R4 has a 1,700 mAH battery that can play for upto 150 minutes in standard brightness. Which means, power is the least of your concerns with the mini projectors in case you want to catch up the latest movie, project an important presentation or show off your pictures.

The LED light source lasts upto 20,000 hours in the Rayo i5 and 10,000 hours in the Rayo R4. A long lasting light source lets you project as frequently as you want without having to worry about replacing it.

Fit for every need
The applications of the Rayo i5 and R4 could be as limitless as your imagination. Be it projecting a recipe video on your kitchen wall while cooking, watching that important football match on roof of the car, making your balcony your cinema hall or transforming the airport lounge into your demo zone.

Both R4 & i5 come with built in speakers making it a mobile companion for all projection needs as it saves the hassle of carrying additional speakers. User’s can also connect their headphones if required.

Pricing & Availability
The Rayo R4 and i5 will be available for sale in India effective 1st June 2018. The R4 is priced at MRP Rs. 30 000.00 incl. of all taxes and the i5 is priced at MRP Rs. 50 000.00 incl. of all taxes.

IBM’s “AI - Powered” Enterprise Marketing Cloud Services Now Available from its Cloud Data Center in India

Key Announcement Pointers
·         IBM will now be offering its Watson Customer Engagement (WCE) services, the world’s leading “AI-Powered” Enterprise Marketing Cloud solution from its Cloud data center in India.
·         With the launch of this new service, IBM will become the only company in the world to offer best-in-class “AI -  powered” Enterprise Marketing Cloud Services locally from a Data Center in India.
·         IBM’s Indian customers can now host their marketing data on our cloud data center, which gives them proximity, scalability, and more importantly helps them meet regulatory requirements.
·         This move will enable marketers of Indian businesses and government agencies to create unique customer journeys, while ensuring that their clients have more control over their marketing data in line with data privacy regulations, especially in highly regulated sectors such as Banking, Insurance and more.
·         IBM has a rich legacy of working with some of the top brands across the world and in India – who are redefining their customer journeys with the help of IBM’s technologies.
·         Our valued clients such as Payback, IndusInd Bank and Titan are all leveraging IBM’s Watson Customer Engagement which is helping them create world class marketing campaigns to engage deeply with their customers.

About Watson Customer Engagement
IBM’s customer engagement expertise hasn’t evolved overnight. They are the result of a 20+ year journey focused on building a unique portfolio with $3.5 billion in investments, a commitment to innovations as seen through its 1,200 patents 12+ strategic acquisitions and 17,000+ clients’ implementations globally.

With IBM, clients gain a 360-degree view of the customer that engages them with new innovative, truly personalized experiences both in-store and online, that inspire them to buy.

·         IBM’s offerings are “AI-powered” via the industry’s most advanced cognitive technology (WatsonTM), enabling marketers to identify audiences, identify the right content, identify message sentiment, and personalize customer experiences in real-time. Some key differentiators of these offerings are:
·         It allows digital marketing professionals to unlock value by exceeding revenue, customer loyalty, and customer engagement goals via personalized, automated, multi-channel marketing programs.
·         Our clients can deliver the smartest campaigns and perfect customer experiences with “AI-powered” capabilities and seamless access to customer behavioral and profile data to construct any program you desire.
·         The “AI-powered” Marketing Assistant saves users time and effort (tasks that take hours can be completed in minutes) and helps marketers make better decisions.
·         Clients can drive customer engagement with truly personalized campaigns using AI-determined customer locations (such as “work” and “home”) and predictive weather conditions.

Analyst Views
* In 2017, IDC’s MarketScape on Worldwide Artificial Intelligence in Enterprise Marketing Clouds 2017 Vendor Assessment identified IBM Watson Marketing as the only company in the leader segment.

IBM has been named as a leader by Gartner in the Magic Quadrant for Multichannel Marketing Hubs, April 2018

COMIO Smartphone Forays into South India with Launch of ‘X1 Note’ in Bangalore

COMIO Smartphone, India’s emerging mid-segment brand, recognised as ‘The Most Promising Brand’ by The Economic Times is all set to conquer the market with the launch of its flagship smartphone, the COMIO X1 Note. Competitively priced at Rs 9,999, the X1 Note boasts of flawless slim ID design with a stylish mirror finish back cover in two colour variants- royal blue and sunrise gold. With the COMIO X1 Note, the brand which was initially launched in North & West India now forays into the East & South market. The brand will be launching a total of 5 devices in 5k-10k price segment in East & South market including their existing models C-1, P-1, C-2 lite and S-1 lite.

Karnataka is one of the largest markets in the South region and will be of prime importance to COMIO Smartphones. Being a highly ‘value added’ market, the brand will have a strong offline network of 2000 retailers, 35 distributors, 400 after sales touch points and a deeper penetration through 3-4 large format retail chains. COMIO Smartphone will target sales of 15 K units per month from the region with an aim to have a 2-3% market share in this year. Special offers that will be offered to consumers will include- Reliance Jio offer, exhaustive COMIO support including screen breakage warranty.

The device has a dual rear camera with 13MP + 5MP AF with Flash and front camera with 8MP. A photographer’s delight, the handset comes bundled with a set of camera modes like portrait/ bokeh, beauty, panorama, social and night mode. Designed to enjoy high definition to the fullest, the smartphone comes with a 6-inch full view FHD+ 2.5D curved display. The 4G-VoLTE dual SIM smartphone is powered by a 1.45GHz quad-core processor and has a 2,900 mAh battery.

Sanjay Kalirona, CEO & Director, COMIO Smartphone, "We are excited to announce the launch of COMIO X1 Note as it marks our expansion into a pan-India brand. The response we have received from our consumers, retailers and distributors has been tremendous, encouraging us to deliver a product such as COMIO X1 Note, which is one of the best offerings from the brand in the sub-10,000 price segment.”

He further added, “The COMIO X1 Note provides an integrated solution comprising of advanced camera quality, better speed, security features, stylish design and value-added services all-in-one, ensuring an enhanced user experience.”

Some of the other features include:
·         Android O: Android Oreo picture-in-picture (multiple apps), smarter battery, 2x faster interface, over 60 new emojis
·         A smarter way to unlock your smartphone with Face Unlock feature
·         Secure your smartphone the smartest way with the Intruder Selfie feature
·         Explore magic with the Finger Print sensor: pick calls, unlock device in 0.15 seconds, click pictures, access apps
·         More memory, more space, more fun: 3GB RAM + 32GB ROM, expandable upto 128GB
·         Never miss a buzz with a Notification LED, nor your favourite conversations with Auto Call Recording feature and Auto Call Back Reminder
·         Personalise your smartphone your way with the Dual Account app
·         Font Application feature with access different stylish fonts and supported with 22 regional languages
·         Pop-up touch feature allows user to use the apps with less number of clicks
·         WPS Office app to view all kind of documents with ease

Further to this, Sumit Sehgal, Chief Marketing Officer, COMIO Smartphone said on the launch, “After capturing the hearts of the youth in North & West India, we are excited to widen our reach to South & East market. South is a strategic region for us and Bangalore d will be one of the most important markets with its high number of technology enthusiasts. We will multiply our efforts in this region and engage with the youth to make Comio a preferred brand through our philosophy of ‘Don’t Listen Kar Daal.’

COMIO support: Specially designed after-sales support comprising of 1 year + 100 days warranty, one-time screen breakage warranty, 30-day replacement, a special buy back and upgrade offer allowing you to upgrade your old smartphone. The COMIO upgrade offer allows you an assured 40% return on your old COMIO phone (not more than 12 months old) which will be given if you want to upgrade you existing COMIO phone. Applicable through only.

Reliance Jio offer: Customers can now enjoy unlimited data and talk time offers using a COMIO smartphone. Jio customers to get Rs 2200 cashback (44*50 Rs vouchers) at the time of 1st successful recharge of Rs 198/299 monthly plans. The offer can be redeemed from the 2nd recharge onwards.

Availability: The COMIO X1 Note will available at all key retail stores Pan-India and online platforms- Snapdeal, Flipkart, Amazon, ShopClues and Paytm. 

Over 13 Million People will Operate Out of Co-Working Spaces by 2020: JLL India

JLL, India’s largest professional real estate services company, estimates that over 13 million people will work out of  co-working spaces by 2020. In a recently released research report ‘Spotting the opportunities: flexible space in Asia Pacific’, the company says that demand for flexible offices – including coworking spaces and serviced offices – is growing faster in Asia Pacific than anywhere else in the world. In India, the growth of flexible office space is expected to grow at 40 - 50% in 2018. The region’s stock of flexible floor space is growing at 35.7 per cent per year compared to 25.7 percent in the US and 21.6 per cent in Europe.

The potential market size of co-working across India is expected to be 13.5 million users by 2020 about half of which will be from enterprises, which are expected to take up 10.3 mn seats. 
Freelancers and Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are expected to contribute 1.5 million users worth of demand, while it is anticipated that startups will demand upto 100,000 seats by 2020. The report further indicates, that the top 6 cities[1] will require an estimated 5 million seats in co-working spaces, while, 8.5 million of the projected demand will be in Tier 2 and 3 cities.

The report, which looks at major coworking and serviced office operators in 12 Asia Pacific markets, including India, reveals that the number of major flexible space operators has doubled, while flexible floor space has increased by 150 per cent between 2014 and 2017.

“In India, the coworking segment is expected to grow by 40-50% in 2018 alone. By the end of the year, we anticipate flexible workplaces would attract investment upto US$ 400 mn. With over 200 premium business centers across the country, set to double by 2020, co-working spaces will reflect the global trend of being closer to 20% of total workspace”, mentioned Sandeep Sethi - MD, Integrated Facilities Management West Asia, JLL. He highlighted that rise of the millennials and a large, vibrant start-up ecosystem are the key factors contributing to this trend in India. However, while the growth of this segment in India has been phenomenal, most corporates are in pilot or experimentation phases - revealed a high-powered panel discussion comprising of real estate thought leaders and influencers at a recently held thought leadership event ‘JLL Perspectives’. Furthermore, corporates hin India want to better understand and mitigate, the potential challenges before adopting the model .

Implications for real estate investors
In response to growing demand, JLL notes that landlords will continue to form joint ventures with coworking operators, or create their own flexible space offerings to meet tenants’ needs. Meanwhile developers are adapting to what could be a new standard in property development whereby flexible workspace will be an amenity as essential in a commercial building as food and beverage outlets or a gym.

“By 2030, flexible work spaces could comprise 30 per cent of corporate commercial property portfolios worldwide,” said Jeremy Sheldon, Managing Director, Markets & Integrated Portfolio Services, JLL Asia Pacific. “Although corporate adoption is still in its early days, there are certain factors that will continue to make this region a hot spot for coworking growth.”

One of the key drivers of the surge in corporate demand for flexible spaces, identifies the report, is plug-and-play simplicity, particularly for larger companies. The ability to move in and out of an office at short notice, avoid complicated contract negotiations and fit-out work is a convenient option for many occupiers.

At the same time, businesses are looking to encourage collaboration among employees and are using shared workspaces as a way to foster innovation through exposure to new ideas and ways of working.

Oracle Awarded a Grant in Technology Education to CRY to Help Fight Issues on Children

Child Rights and You (CRY) a leading Indian non-profit working for child rights, announced it has received a grant from Oracle, a global leader in cloud applications and platform services. The $100,000 grant aims to harness the power of state-of-the-art digital technology in reaching out to underprivileged children of India.

This system will potentially improve lives spanning across 19 states of India and covers 2060 villages, 2 lakh households and 4.13 lakh children which happens to be the premise of CRY’s intervention. With Oracle’s support, CRY has set forth developing a software system that not only captures the ongoing groundwork in real time, but also opens up opportunities in sharpening its performance on a regular basis. With Oracle’s support, CRY has implemented the MEAL system (Monitoring Evaluation Accountability and Learning), which has helped CRY manage its database, enabling MEAL to have a presence in 19 states of India.

Oracle’s support has enabled CRY to tap into the specific problems linked with each child under any given thematic, be it education, health and nutrition, protection and participation. MEAL provides CRY with a comprehensive system that tracks changes in growth and development of every last child in the remotest village, making the results accurate and tending toward evidence-based analysis and advocacy.

The outcome of the project will be on the lines of creating efficiency to capture and communicate evidence while increasing accountability and effectiveness in studying and analyzing the interventions made in the project areas.

“The technology upgrade will enable our grass-root level workers to identify, manage and track every child and household with far greater accuracy in our intervention areas.” said, Suma Ravi, Regional Director, CRY-Child Rights and You.

“We are pleased to support Child Rights and You (CRY) in a shared mission to improve the world around us,” said Rajendra Tripathi, Senior Manager, Oracle Corporate Citizenship – India.

3i Infotech Unveils Virtual IT Engineer: Maggie - 100% Risk-Free Solution to Help Enterprises Automate IT Operations

3i Infotech Limited, a global Information Technology company has launched Maggie – Your Virtual IT Engineer. Maggie is part of cognitive service desk that will help contact centres to address hundreds of user requests simultaneously while successfully meeting the expectations of the digital-age users anytime, from anywhere. Powered by Artificial Intelligence, and combined with Natural Language Interface, which helps it understand user queries and learn from past experience, Maggie reduces human intervention in communication and operations.

Automating most of a company’s IT operations while being 100% risk free, Maggie is based on the framework that can be further customized with open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) with technologies needed by enterprises of any size.

A simulated engineering environment provides a user-centered, first-person perspective that enables users to interact with an engineered system naturally and provides users with an extensive range of accessible tools. With Maggie, the firm aims to resolve conversational requests automatically through more natural interactions over a chat as well as help to perform health-checks of infrastructure and applications using incident management automation.

In today's digital atmosphere, the operation center’s role as a competitive differentiator in a business is principally reliant on its ability to take swift action, continue to learn from experience and apply intelligence on the go.

Speaking on their next-gen offering, Mohua Sengupta, EVP and Global Head, Services said, “IT virtual engineers are today’s necessity as digital-age users want things to happen quickly, be it a simple password reset or churnout a VM on the cloud. Incidents like these shouldn’t be dependent on the availability of a person to execute them. We have been talking about do-more-with-less, and Maggie just proves it by helping close more than 50% of Level-1 calls.”

Nilesh Gupta, VP and Global Head of Digital Infrastructure Management Services Solutions said, “In the present day scenario, contact and operation centers are more about better user experience, with everything-as-a-service and moving to a cognitive service desk, where user wants support / remediation on their terms and that’s what Maggie helps accomplish.”

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

World's Leading PC Gaming Firm - Acer - Regains the No.1 PC Gaming Brand in India

Acer, one of the world’s leading gaming PC makers once again attained No.1 spot in the Indian PC gaming market as per IDC’s Q1 2018 report. Acer has proved leadership in India with 37% market share in gaming laptops and 21% share in PC gaming segment as per IDC’s Q1 2018 report, outpacing competition by a significant margin.

Acer gained the top spot in the gaming market with its critically acclaimed and widely popular Predator and Nitro gaming series. Acer in India has the widest portfolio of PC gaming products, which includes laptops, desktops, monitors and accessories specifically designed for beginners to professional gamers.

Commenting on the achievement,  Chandrahas Panigrahi, CMO & Consumer Business Head, Acer India said, “It gives us immense pleasure to announce that once again Acer has retained No.1 position in the Indian gaming market by growing the market share across our gaming products.  This is a result of Acer’s strong focus on innovation and commitment in offering cutting edge gaming products to Indian customers. Acer India has been at the forefront of pushing PC gaming envelop with our Predator and Nitro series and we are grateful to our fans, our partners and our customers for their constant support that has helped us achieve this milestone once again.”

Acer has shown consistent growth over the last few quarters in their gaming segment to successfully capture the top spot consequently in Q4 2017 and Q1 2018.

Junior Chef Champs Awarded Prizes Worth Rs 10 Lakh at The Conrad, Bengaluru

The Forum Mall, one of Bangalore's first full-fledged mall along with Conrad Hilton organised "Junior Chef Champ" at the Conrad, Bengaluru on Tuesday. The event Is a platform to showcase young culinary talent  and inspire kids to pursue their passion.  The "Masterclass Session"  with celebrity chef was held In the city and children across various categories received prizes worth Rs 10 lakh. 

Speaking on the event, Suresh Singaravelu, Executive Director, Prestige Group - Retail, Business Expansion and Hospitality says, "Every child should have variety of experience and  developing skills is essential. Cooking is an creative art to de-stress yourselves and others.Today the best of the best are here to receive the prizes after showing off their cooking skills with the masterclass chef Praveen Shetty."

Praveen Shetty, Executive Chef at Conrad, Bengaluru said thanks to the Internet era, most children have a variety to watch and learn. Most of the children here are already familiar with culinary skills. "Cooking is a good profession to pursue."

Over the last 6 months the event was held across 5 cities and 1314 participants took part. 

Singaravelu adds that being pioneers in the business, the Forum Mall have always indulged in curating experiences for all ages groups which has made us one of the preferred shopping destinations in India. 

The winners of Junior Chef which was organized by Forum malls are
Forum Kormangala Winners
Category 1 (7-10 years)
-Winner: Hasini
-Runner Up: Mekhala
Category 2 (11-15 years)
-Winner: Abhinandan
-Runner Up: Srishti
Forum Neighbourhood Mall Winners
Category 1 (7-10 years)
-Winner: Chaithra
-Runner Up: Aanika
Category 2 (11-15 years)
-Winner: Neeharika
-Runner Up: Virdhi

Cycles from Landmark, Masterclass at Conrad, Gift Vouchers from Zebronics, Gift Vouchers from Davanam Sarovar Portico Suites.   

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