Friday, December 28, 2018

Foxconn to Start Assembling Top-End iPhones in India by 2019

Apple Inc will begin assembling its top-end iPhones in India through the local unit of Foxconn as early as 2019, the first time the Taiwanese contract manufacturer will have made the product in the country, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Importantly, Foxconn will be assembling the most expensive models, such as devices in the flagship iPhone X family, the source said, potentially taking Apple’s business in India to a new level. The work will take place at Foxconn’s plant in Sriperumbudur town in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, said the source, who declined to be named.

Foxconn, which already makes phones for Xiaomi Corp in India, will invest Rs 25 billion ($356 million) to expand the plant, including investment in iPhone production, Tamil Nadu’s Industries Minister M C Sampath told the media.

The investment may create as many as 25,000 jobs, he added. Another source also said Foxconn planned to assemble iPhones in India, in a move that could help both it and Apple to limit the impact of a trade war between the United States and China.

Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller declined to comment.

Lower-end phones

Until now, Cupertino, California-based Apple has only assembled the lower-cost SE and 6S models in India through Wistron Corp’s local unit in the Bengaluru technology hub.

Its sales in India have also been focused on lower-end phones - more than half of its sales volume is driven by models older than the iPhone 8, launched last year, according to technology research firm Counterpoint.

Apple launched the pricey iPhone X last year but has cut production of that phone, according to industry analysts, since it began selling the newer versions, iPhone XS and XR, globally this year. Still, it could potentially get Foxconn to make the older iPhone X version in India where it sells cheaper models in a bid to get a bigger share of the world’s fastest-growing major mobile phone market.

It is not known if any of the iPhone assembly is being moved from existing Foxconn factories in China and elsewhere. It is also unclear whether the production will be confined to assembly or include any component production in India. Indian taxes on import of devices and components have also heightened Apple’s headache in a market where it has only a 1% share by smartphone shipments. Making more phones locally will help Apple save costly duties and boost Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship drive to make India a manufacturing hub, Singh said.

Apple shocked investors last month with a lower-than-expected sales forecast for the Christmas quarter that jolted parts suppliers across the world.

Boeing Inc Forecasts Demand for 2,300 New Airplanes in India

Boeing raised its long-term forecast for commercial airplanes in India as unprecedented domestic passenger traffic and rapidly expanding low-cost carriers (LCCs) drive the need for 2,300 new jets – valued at $320 billion – over the next 20 years.

This year alone, more than 10 million passengers, on average, traveled within India each month.

“To meet this increased domestic air traffic growth, we see the vast majority of available airplane seats coming from LCCs,” said Dinesh Keskar, senior vice-president of sales for Asia Pacific and India, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “The success of this market segment will mean more than 80 percent of all new airplane deliveries in India will be single-aisles. And the superior economics and fuel efficiency of the new 737 MAX airplane will be the perfect choice for Indian carriers.”

According to Boeing's Commercial Market Outlook (CMO), India's commercial aviation industry has achieved 51 consecutive months of double-digit growth. This growth is matched in other sectors of the country's economy.

“The Indian economy is projected to grow by nearly 350 percent over the next two decades to become the third largest economy in the world,” said  Keskar. “This will continue to drive the growth of India's middle class and its propensity to travel both domestically and internationally, resulting in the need for more new fuel-efficient short- and long-haul airplanes.”

With more than five percent of the world's fleet expected to operate in India by 2037, services will continue to be a major driver of growth in the region's commercial aviation industry. Commercial services such as flight training, engineering and maintenance, digital analytics among others will provide airlines with optimal operational efficiencies as they continue to expand to meet growth in the marketplace. In the South Asian market, including India, Boeing forecasts a commercial services market valued at $430 billion over the next 20 years.

Owing to its close proximity to Arunachal Pradesh, the Lilabari airport serves both Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.

Under UDAN! SpiceJet to Commence Direct Flight Between Kolkata and Lilabari

SpiceJet is starting a daily direct flight service on the Kolkata-Lilabari route, under the UDAN scheme. The airline is also starting another service from Kolkata and Jabalpur. It will also add an additional frequency on Hyderabad-Jabalpur route. All new flights and frequencies are scheduled to commence from January 15.

The unserved market of Lilabari, located in the Lakhimpur district of Assam, was awarded to SpiceJet under the second phase of regional connectivity scheme. Lilabari is the airline's tenth destination under it.

"SpiceJet is celebrating the launch by announcing an introductory promotional fare starting at Rs 3,700 on Kolkata-Lilabari and Lilabari-Kolkata routes, Rs 3,969 on Kolkata-Jabalpur and Rs 3,949 on Jabalpur-Kolkata, routes," said SpiceJet in a statement. The airline will deploy its Bombardier Q400s on all these routes.

Meanwhile, Shilpa Bhatia, chief sales and revenue officer, SpiceJet, said, "Lilabari is our first destination in Assam under the UDAN scheme and we are confident that the new flight will provide impetus to the tourism potential of the state."

Mundra Port Concludes Delivery and Dispatch of 50 U.S. Made GE Locomotives to Indian Railways

Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd (APSEZ) successfully concluded the import and dispatch of 50 General Electric Transportation (GE) locomotives from Mundra port for the Indian Railways with full customer satisfaction and ‘zero’ incident. All 50 locomotives were manufactured by GE Electromotive Division in the United States and imported at Mundra port for the Indian Railways, a first for Indian shopping and logistics. The final locomotive was handed over to the Indian Railways at the Roza Loco Shed (UP) on 23 November 2018. The commissioning of the locomotives was completed in the period of Oct.2017 to Nov.2018, which is a landmark record for the logistics and ports sector.

Mundra port has the unique distinction of handling consignments critical for development and defence of the nation. In a short span of time, the port has played an instrumental role in logistics of wagons for various Metro projects pan-India, mining dump truck of 240 MT capacity and heavy duty air-crane (helicopter). Sources say that the port is set to receive the first batch of Boeing Chinook helicopters which is purported to give a decisive edge to India’s defence forces in war like scenario and also during times of humanitarian crisis.

APSEZ is India’s largest private multi-port operator and a part of the Adani Group, an integrated infrastructure corporation. Since 1962, after the import of WDM2 ALCO locomotives for the Indian Railways, the current import of GE locomotives (WDG4 series 49002) is the biggest import consignment in India. The first GE locomotive was imported to Mundra and successfully handled by Adani Port on 10th Oct. 2017. The loco was dispatched from Mundra to the Roza Loco Shed on 11th Feb. 2018 and the 50th loco was dispatched on 23rd Nov. 2018 within 10 months. With the purpose of Dedicated Freight Cargo Corridor, the selling point for the port was available to facilitate the commissioning of locos. Also, the strategic location of port was a huge advantage.

Avinash Rai, Chief Operating Officer, APSEZ said, “Efficiency in logistical operations is given an utmost priority at Adani Ports. Therefore, while handling the logistical operations for the Indian Railways and GE, we made sure the transportation of cargo from the vessel to its destination is seamless and without any incident. This achievement by the team at Mundra takes our standards to another level in India and sets new benchmarks for us to cross. Our aim is to continue leveraging the strategic advantage of our ports along the entire coastline of India to create a vast network of inland logistics in the country. The idea is to give end to end logistics solutions to customers using our ports and create new records.”

Mundra Port is the second largest port in India in handling container cargo. In 2014 – 15, Mundra port handled 1.75 Million TEUs and has the installed terminal capacity to handle 2.3 Million TEUs p.a. Adani Ports operates two terminals at Mundra - Adani Mundra Container Terminal (AMCT), which started operations in 2007, and Adani International Container Terminal (AICTPL), which was operationalised in 2013. Jointly both terminals handle 26 services, connecting India to destinations across the world.

Karnataka Most Welcoming Indian State: OYO Travelopedia 2018

OYO Hotels, India’s largest and the world’s fastest growing chain of hotels, homes and quality living spaces released the OYO Annual Travelopedia 2018 today. The one-of-its-kind index revealed that Karnataka is the most welcoming state in India basis the number of travellers and bookings received throughout the year. The national capital was the most popular for visitors all year round, however, most Delhiites recorded the maximum number of travel cancellations followed by re-bookings which made it the most confused city of 2018. The analysis also recorded that an OYO was booked every 0.75 seconds in 2018.

The study revealed interesting facts like 22nd December 2018 was the most OYO’d day – where the hotel chain received maximum number of bookings of 1,38,000. The data also revealed that OYO recorded a 2.9X year-on-year jump in the number of bookings with an OYO being booked in every 0.75 seconds. Interestingly, Goa was the most-searched destination for OYO.

This year’s OYO King emerged from Pune who stayed in over 239 OYO hotels and OYO Queen from Ahmedabad who stayed in 125 OYO hotels across the year. Some fascinating facts that also emerged were that a single user stayed at an OYO property for 228 maximum continuous nights while another user travelled to 4 different countries and stayed in OYO properties throughout. The most popular time to book an OYO property in 2018 was 8:00pm.

Commenting on the findings, Abhinav Sinha, Chief Operating Officer (COO), OYO Hotels said: “We are really delighted to release OYO’s Annual Travelopedia which showcases some really unique booking and travel trends of 2018. One of the most interesting findings was that the maximum number of tourists visiting India were from the UAE. This reiterates the fact that we have been a great host to our valuable guests not just within the country but also internationally, this motivates us to constantly work towards our mission of providing great quality living spaces for our customers at affordable rates.”

The most preferred OYO locations in Mumbai and Delhi were around the airport whereas Koramangala in Bengaluru and Salt Lake in Kolkata topped the charts.

Additionally, the data also revealed that the top 5 OYO properties of the year 2018 were:

●      OYO Hotels namely Palette resorts - Le Pondy
●      OYO Townhouse 021 Bombay Exhibition Centre
●      OYO 9771 Hotel Glitz Westend Inn
●      Capital O 10212 Hotel West Willows Xanadu
●      OYO Townhouse 028 Corporate Suite

Showcasing how digitization and internet is turning out to be a boon for mobile users as well as for businesses, the data revealed that of the total online bookings made, around 92% of the hotel bookings were done through the mobile phone in the 2018. OYO further saw different types of travel enthusiasts, including:

●      The Lone Star Weekender - Solo travellers checking on a weekend
●      The Weekday Winner - Solo travellers checking in on weekdays
●      The Big Weekenders - Group travellers exploring a destination with their friends and family
●      The Mid-week Trippers - Group travellers, planning their vacations well in advance and taking weekday trips
●      The One Who Got Away - OYO is eagerly waiting to host these explorers in 2019. Whichever destination they decide at any time of the year - there’s always an OYO around!

TKM Bags CII-ITC Sustainability Awards 2018 for ‘Significant Achievement in Environment Management’

Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) was recently honoured with the prestigious award for ‘Significant Achievement in Environment Management’ awarded by CII-ITC Centre for Excellence for Sustainable Development [CESD] under the category ‘Environment Domain’ of CII ITC Sustainability Award 2018. The company is awarded for its multifold efforts recognizing the eco strengthens in incorporating green technologies for production, optimization of renewable energy utilization within the plant, its green product portfolio and handholding its supply chain partners in enhancing their environmental performance.

Toyota leads through its long-term objectives towards carbon neutral value chain, thus creating a positive impact on the environment. TKM also engages with its dealer partners in establishing eco-systems to attain sustainability in its dealer operations at various regions across India.

Environment Conservation is inherent in the Toyota culture. Toyota Kirloskar Motor’s vision, philosophy and guidelines are true reflections of its commitment for a sustainable future. Its focused on achieving harmony between its manufacturing activities and the environment based on the concept of 'a plant that optimally utilizes natural resources while operating in harmony with the natural environment'.

TKM aspire to be the most loved and admired automobile company in India by following the Toyota-way philosophy. Toyota has consistently exhibited its relentless commitment to add value through its world class systems and processes. TKM works consistently towards making quality cars, built to international quality standards, yet keeping in mind the local sensitivities. Toyota is committed to manufacture technically advanced and environment-friendly products. TKM’s ISO 14001 certified plant at Bidadi, Karnataka is surrounded by a green belt and meets high environmental standards. The company embeds sustainability across all our business practices and constantly strived to implement best practices that promote reuse, reduce & recycle of wastes within the manufacturing plant.

TKM’s plant facility 2 has been established based on Toyota Eco-Factory Concept, designed to contribute towards reducing overall environmental impact based on the concept of “Monozukiri” (Manufacturing in Harmony with Environment]. Through its philosophy of “KAIZENS”, TKM drives continuous improvement in its environmental performance with active participation of employees in bringing the change. Through its globally advanced & innovative technologies - Toyota manufactures & offers world-class fuel efficient, quality vehicles such as Camry Strong Hybrid. Further, Toyota always looks forward to bringing in more of such technologies which aims to reduce the impact on the eco-system.

Speaking at the award ceremony, Mr. B. Padmanabha, Vice President - Toyota Kirloskar Motor said, “With our advanced eco-initiatives in 2017-18, we were able to source 85% of our total energy consumed from renewable energy. In the same year, we have met 94% of our total water requirement from recycled water and harvested rain water. We have also moved beyond our operational boundaries with a view to spread our eco-spirit throughout the supply chain and community. Through our efforts, we are glad that we are moving towards a sustainable future for all. This award further inspires to continue our focus on building a greener mobility for the nation.”

On receiving this award, Senior Vice President and Environment Director of Toyota Kirloskar Motor - Mr. Raju B Ketkale said, “Since its foundation, Toyota has continuously strived to contribute to the sustainable development of society through manufacturing of Innovative-Quality products and services leading the times.

Toyota always believes in the philosophy of ‘Respect the Planet’ and has meticulously endeavored to work towards the betterment of the environment. We are committed for our vision of greener tomorrow and have announced our long-term commitment towards the Society and Environment through our Global Environment Challenge 2050. TKM has been able to prove its eco commitments with continuous improvements in Environmental Performance year-on-year.

Moving beyond our boundaries of operations, Toyota is committed to establish the society that will be in harmony with nature and recognize the importance of Environmental Education in achieving this vision. In line with this belief, we have developed the program of “Education for Sustainable Development” and established an experience-based learning center “Ecozone”. The Ecozone will be a tool to spread Toyota eco-spirit to the society where our stakeholders including the school children will be educated on the current environmental issues and try to impart positive behavioral changes in the young citizens. We have recently started the education program in this 25-acre eco park for the Government school children and will be reaching out to other stakeholders in the days to come.”

Guided by Toyota’s Global Environmental Challenge 2050 that aims to reduce CO2 emissions to ZERO, Toyota Kirloskar Motor further up-scaled its various eco-initiatives in and around its manufacturing facility. Toyota has decided to challenge itself to reduce vehicles CO2 emissions to ZERO by 2050. From fuel efficient vehicle to developing ever better eco-technologies and approaches, TKM focuses on environmentally sustainable solutions in every business operation and every vehicle that is manufactured.

The Toyota Environment Challenge 2050, which is developed in line with the Sustainable Development Goals, aims to have new vehicle zero CO2 emissions; zero CO2 emissions throughout vehicle lifecycle, plants with zero CO2; challenge of minimizing and optimizing water usage; establishing a recycling based society and system and establishing a future society in harmony with nature. Toyota Kirloskar Motor India has aligned its environmental activities in line with these challenges and is recognized as a “Eco-model Plant” aligning with its second challenge of “Plant with ZERO Co2” among the Asia Pacific affiliates of Toyota.

Instituted in 2006, the CII-ITC Sustainability Awards recognizes and rewards excellence in businesses that are seeking ways to be more sustainable and inclusive in their activities. CII CESD has developed an awarding framework based on the EFQM [European Foundation for Quality Management] Business Excellence Model and the organizations are evaluated against this framework. Winners of this award are India's Most Sustainable role models creating benchmark, inspiring all business entities to follow. This award is a part of the continued efforts of CESD to create awareness on sustainability practices and to generate capacities in business.

In continuation to the above efforts, TKM also follows the approach of Learn, Perform and Drive to develop the Eco-Mind of employees. In addition to creating awareness, TKM also involve its employees physically in afforestation drives, environment month promotion and other Eco CSR activities with an intent to bring a sense of ownership towards the environment.

Some of the key sustainable plant initiatives are the afforestation drive which includes plantation of 2.75 lakh saplings inside the premises, utilization of best available technology and promotion of eco-activities such as on-site rainwater harvesting pond of capacity 51,000 cubic meter meets 19% of our total water requirement. In addition to this, our modern effluent treatment plant further recycles about 63% of treated effluent, thereby reducing the dependency on freshwater usage. TKM will further continue to evolve & adopt eco touch in its every business operation towards creating more happier society for people to live in.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Indian IT, Startups Likely to Hire 5 Lakh People in 2019: Mohandas Pai

India’s information technology (IT) services sector and startups together are expected to hire up to five lakh people in 2019 as demand for freshers are on the upswing, an industry veteran said on Wednesday.

Former Chief Financial Officer of IT major Infosys Ltd, T V Mohandas Pai said entry-level packages in the industry went up by as much as 20% in 2018, after stagnation in salaries for the past seven years. “Growth is coming back to the Indian IT services industry,” he said, talking about industry highlights in 2018 and prospects in the coming calendar year. Pai said 2018 saw “H-1B visa situation getting tougher,” Indian companies focusing more on Japan and Southeast Asia, massive expansion of captives and buy-backs by big companies.

Hyderabad has become a hot destination, with many new age companies coming to the Telangana capital, thanks to good infrastructure, and “very good marketing” by KTR (K T Rama Rao, who served as IT Minister in the previous TRS government), according to him.

He also said Indian companies were now trying to expand in markets in Asia.

Bangalore's Top 3 Most Attractive Brands 2018 – Samsung (Mobiles), iPhone, Maruti Suzuki

India’s Most Attractive Brands Report 2018 (MAB 2018), In its fifth edition, has listed the country’s Most Attractive 1000 brands by consumer choices, based on TRA’s proprietary model of Brand Attractiveness. The study is an annual syndicated primary research conducted with 2500 consumerinfluencers across 16 Indian cities. Much like the All-lndia list, consumers of Bangalore rank Samsung mobile phones as the Most Attractive brand in the city, followed by iPhone (All-lndia rank 3rd), and Maruti Suzuki (All-lndia rank 5th), at 2nd and 3′” places respectively. TRA Research has been scientifically measuring Buying Propensity conducting syndicated research on its’ proprietary matrices of Brand Trust and Brand Attractiveness since 2010.

However, the superficial similarities of the city brands with All-lndia ranks ceases after the third ranked, showing very different choices of the Bangalorean. Continuing the city ranks, ITC is 4th ranked (All-lndia rank 85th), Honda in four-wheelers ranked 5th (All-lndia rank 10th), Oppo Is 6th (All-lndia rank 12th), Titan is 7th (All-lndia rank 11th), Hewlett Packard is 8’h (All-lndia rank 36th), Vivo is 9th (All-lndia rank 1 5th) and Toyota is ranked 10th (All-lndia rank 19th). The other brands which surge ahead in city compared to All-lndia ranks – Pizza Hut (+799 ranks), Airtel (+681 ranks), Zomato (+572 ranks) & KFC (+490 ranks) (Bajaj Auto is at 4th rank and Toyota is 5th among the list’s most desired brands.

N. Chandramouli, CEO, TRA Research, emphasizing the unique differences in each of the cities said, “Choices of consumers based on attractiveness show their desire quotient for brands, and In turn reflect the city’s personality. The Most Attractive Brands brands chosen in Bangalore are completely different from that of the All-lndia ranks, showing that the Bangalorean has thinks and acts differently. Not knowing such nuances consumer behaviour is different cities can mean the difference between success and failure of brands.”

Brands which score very low by Bangalore as compared to All-lndia ranks are Apollo Pharmacy ranked 614th in Bangalore (49th in All-lndia), Land Rover ranked 582nd (82nd All-lndia), Yahoo ranked 567th (91st All-lndia), Bank of India ranked 616’h (146’h AllIndia) and Fanta ranked 546th (116th All-lndia). Other significant brands which face the scorn of Bangalore are Blue Star ranked 465th in Bangalore and 92nd All-lndia, Apple ranked 360th in city versus 46th in All India, Big Bazaar ranked 396th by city and ranked 80th All-lndia.

“The consumer of the Garden city behaves and acts differently as different cultural, environmental, political, social and terrain they encounter. For a city that spends much time beating the traffic, Bangalore adores its phones and its cars. Arguably, the most cosmopolitan of all Indian cities with Kannada, Tamil, Hlndi, English and, sometimes Telugu, are well understood. Their relationships with brands is low with brandconsumer compatibility at -20%. The city loves tech – but less of fancy gizmos and more of the useful tech”, Chandramouli added.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

US Startup Fines $900,00 for Launching Rogue Satellites on ISRO's PSLV in Jan 2018

If the American Federal Communications Commission (FCC) tells you not to do something — like launching satellites without their approval, for instance — it's probably in your best interest not to do that thing.

And if you ended up doing it anyway, as US-based startup Swarm Technologies did, you'll likely be hung up to dry and fined an inordinate amount of money — $900,000 in the case of Swarm Technologies, Quartz reported.

The American startup was fined for having launched four unauthorised satellites on an Indian Space Research Organisation 31-satellite rideshare mission in January 2018. Along with ISRO's 100th satellite to be launched into orbit, the mission also held room for 30 commercial satellites, coordinated by ISRO's commercial arm, Antrix Corporation.

Swarm's four 'SpaceBEE' satellites were deployed on ISRO's PSLV rocket despite having its application for launch denied by the FCC a month earlier.

The regulators expressed that the satellites were far too small to be detected in space by terrestrial detectors, threatening the many other satellites in orbit with a higher risk of colliding into them.

An investigation into Swarm Technologies began in March earlier this year, in which the FCC dug up more surprises. The FCC discovered quite a few "unauthorised weather balloon-to-ground station tests and unauthorised tests of its satellite and ground station equipment" following the launch of Swarm's SpaceBEEs.

Over the course of FCC's investigation, the agency gave Swarm approval to start communicating with their satellites in August this year. It also allowed a second, approved launch of the ultra-small satellites in November — this time, on a SpaceX rocket. This, because despite the FCC’s initial concerns, it was possible for Swarm's SpaceBEEs to be detected consistently by commercial radar stations since their (unlawful) January launch, which was the crux of FCC's concerns about the satellites, to begin with.

However, Swarm's illegal launch came home to roost in a case that was settled by them paying a hefty $900,000-penalty to the FCC. This, the FCC said in a statement, was because the “unauthorised deployment and operation of satellites" poses a risk of "satellite collisions and radio frequency interference, threatening critical commercial and government satellite operations.”

Interestingly, Swarm received grants (including one from the American government's National Space Foundation (NSF)) for their technology.

According to the grant, the satellites commissioned by the NSF were intended to support “the world’s smallest two-way communications satellites and associated ground hardware,” with applications focussed in “Internet of Things” devices.

Given the NSF's investment in the “unique launch economics afforded by the miniaturised satellites,” as the grant award calls it, funding from the American government appears to have played a part in the unauthorised satellites' launch.

Swarm appears to be at the tail end of its controversy and gotten away with having four illegally-launched satellites orbiting Earth for all intents and purposes for the time being. But, another takeaway from the episode was the lack of communication between two closely-related arms of the US government, the FCC and the NSF.

With space startups burgeoning in the US, particularly in Silicon Valley, the case has thrown a spotlight on the approaches taken by the US government to regulate space. Both US lawmakers and the Trump administration have announced that they are working to address this gap.

SpaceX’s US National Security Space Mission has an Indian Engineer Touch

SpaceX’s first national security space mission for US, launched on Sunday night (IST) had an Indian link. A young Indian-American engineer, Siva Bharadvaj, who works for SpaceX as an integration and test engineer for the company’s Falcon-9 rocket, co-hosted the nearly two-hour international webcast.

The mission carried the GPS 111 satellite for the US Air Force. During the webcast, Bharadvaj explained the details of the mission, which kept viewers engaged. He was selected in early 2018 to be a part of the SpaceX webcast team. It was his second live webcast of a SpaceX mission. On November 15, 2018, he co-hosted the launch of the Es’ Hail-2 communication satellite by SpaceX for Qatar.

Bharadvaj studied at University of California, Berkeley and Cornell University. He has worked in Boeing, where he was selected as one of the “14 Young Engineers of Tomorrow”. His father, Bala Bharadvaj, is the managing director of Boeing India. An hour after the successful deployment of the air force satellite around 10pm (IST) on Sunday, his mother Ramaa Bharadvaj tweeted: “My son, Siva, is once again face of SpaceX as he co-hosts the international webcast of the Falcon-9 as it takes into space a GPS satellite for the US Air Force. Yayyy!”

On December 5, 2018, SpaceX launched a satellite ExceedSat-1, designed in Mumbai and integrated in Hyderabad, which is mainly for the benefit of ham radio operators.

SpaceX’s ties with India is not restricted to rockets and satellites alone. Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone had, a few days ago, reacted to SpaceX chief Elon Musk’s tweet about ‘Bajirao Mastani’. Elon shared the song ‘Deewani Mastani’ and a GIF featuring Ranveer Singh.

Indian Domestic Airlines Carry 11.5% More Passengers in Nov 2018

GoAir reported the best on-time performance in the month of November 2018. The domestic airlines flew 1.16 crore passengers in November registering a year on year growth of 11.5 per cent over the 1.04 crore passengers flown by the industry in the same period last year.

The latest data released by the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) show that IndiGo topped the list with 50.06 lakh passengers. Jet Airways took the second position carrying 14.87 lakh passengers while SpiceJet carried 14.55 lakh passengers giving it the third spot.

Air India flew 14.18 lakh passengers, GoAir (10.19 lakh), AirAsia (6.18 lakh), Vistara (4.15 lakh) and JetLite (1.75 lakh) during November.

SpiceJet reported the highest Passenger Load Factor (PLF) among all domestic carriers at 91.1 per cent followed by GoAir (87.6 per cent), AirAsia (86.5 per cent) and IndiGo (84.9 per cent). Passenger load factor shows how many of the total seats on offer by each airline are getting filled.

GoAir reported the best on-time performance (OTP) at 87 per cent at the four metro airports — Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru. Vistara at 86.1 per cent took the second position followed by IndiGo (79.2 per cent). Jet Airways, Jet Lite (76.6 per cent) and Air India reported an OTP of 64 per cent at the four airports.

The industry paid over ₹3.34 crore to the over 1.44 lakh passengers affected by cancellations, delays and those who were denied boarding in November this year. This includes paying over ₹1.5 crore to over 2,600 passengers from among the 1 lakh who were denied boarding. The industry also paid over ₹1.27 crore to over 1.15 lakh passengers affected by delays.

"Fall in oil prices and holiday sales by airlines will ensure stable airfares and will continue to shoulder the passenger traffic growth in the month of December,” said Aloke Bajpai, Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder ixigo.

Yes Bank Unveils 20 Data Driven Products Co-Created with Data Scientists at Yes Datathon

Yes Bank conducted the finale of YES Datathon launched in September 2018 on December 22-23 in Bangalore. This was India’s first bank led Datathon aimed at augmenting Yes Bank’s embedded data analytics & ML units to drive rapid prototyping of AI/ML based products, optimize digital product suite, and enhance product/service design and delivery, in an accelerated 100 day period.

The initiative saw participation from over 6000 data scientists/engineers and developers who participated in diverse Machine Learning challenges. Some of the top models/products developed were based on:

·         Predictive service delivery to enable the bank to provide proactive service
·         Sales recommendation models
·         Customer Transaction Relation Graph, equivalent to a social network of transactions
·         Fraud Detection and analytics for card customer
·         Customer Sentiment Analysis to predict Customer engagement etc.
·         Customer 360 tool to provide comprehensive products & services to each customer
·         Personal Finance Management tool without requiring access to customer SMS

The top 200 teams comprised of students from top technology institutes like IIT Bombay, Chennai, Kharagpur and ISI Kolkata along with professionals from organizations like IBM, Walmart Labs, Siemens and Amazon Development Centre among others. The teams received support from over 20 data science experts from across industries who helped them in the product development process.

At the finale, the top 50 teams showcased their final models which were trained and tested on more than a terabyte of created and tokenized datasets - the 10 best solutions won cash prizes worth Rs.20 lakh. The winning team Oracle was adjudged ‘Data Wizards’, for creating a ‘360 degree model for profiling of every customer to predict next best action’. Team Insight from Sri Lanka was adjudged the best student team and was also one of the top 5 teams. This student team developed a model for ‘predicting customer product and service affinity’. The other teams in top 5 were Finance Data Dons, Reverse Atlas and Django Unchained, who presented models on Predictive Payments to create a Personal Finance and Investment Management Tool + POS Anomaly Detection, Creating a community akin to social media sites using transaction analysis and Predictive model for customer relationship managers to target existing and new customers using transaction nodes, respectively.

The top 20 models identified by the Bank will be taken live within a month and the remaining will be moved to the Bank’s product library to be iteratively developed and taken live within a period of three months. This will also be a first of its kind data product library which will be iteratively expanded to 100+ products within 6 months

Talking about the event, Rajat Monga, Senior Group President, Financial Markets, Yes Bank, said “Yes Bank embarked on a data centered business model as part of our TechTonic initiative and now has a full stack of technology and talent capability built up. In order to leap frog on this data native transformation, Yes Datathon provides us with an opportunity to engage with 6000+ data scientists. It has helped us identify newer use cases as well as statistical techniques and also incorporate cross-industry best practices.

Going forward, Yes Bank will also host AI/ML challenges and data engineering workshops to deepen practical and technical knowhow of future technology leaders and to facilitate this, has partnered with top IITs and BITS Bombay to further develop the data science ecosystem, allowing students the opportunity to build algorithms and data models in a deployment ready environment. The 6 Machine Learning challenges hosted in partnership with the IITs and BITS will lead up to Datathon 2019 to be hosted in June 2019.

Tata Motors on its Way to Win Sustainably in the Passenger Vehicle Business After a Successful 2018

The year 2018 has been a turning point in the history of Tata Motors’ passenger vehicle business with consecutive growth for 35 months. The PV business grew on the back of the new generation products. Commencing with the launch of two new platforms (ALFARC and OMEGARC) and the showcase of the H5X (now christened as Harrier) & 45X concept cars at the Auto Expo in February, 2018, this year was instrumental in paving the path towards enabling Tata Motors to be at the forefront of the Indian automotive industry. The company also introduced the new dual-architecture strategy, which will deliver 7-8 products/ variants from these two platforms ensuring greater coverage and sizable economies of scale.

Additionally, the rollout of the Turnaround 2.0 strategy, laid its focus on ‘winning sustainably’ in the PV Business. Acting as a catalyst, this strategy led to multiple wins for the PV business in this year.

Star launches:

The PV business witnessed a firework of four new product introductions during the festival season, which included the launch of the Nexon KRAZ, Tiago NRG, the all new Tigor and the JTP twins. Launched by JT Special Vehicles (JTSV), the 50:50 joint venture with Jayem Automotives and Tata Motors, the JTP range of performance vehicles – the Tiago JTP and the Tigor JTP are all set to bring back the ‘Joy of Motoring’ in everyday commute. In addition, this year the Nexon and the all new Tigor made their way into various international markets.

Aggressive Marketing Strategy:

In its constant effort to connect with younger consumer groups, this year the PV business fortified its brand presence across key marathon events. However, the highlight of the year was Tata Nexon’s association with VIVO Indian Premier League as their official partner. This year witnessed many strategic digital campaigns that resulted in optimum brand buzz and created more excitement for new products. Additionally, experiential marketing played a key role in increasing customer engagements. Adding some style to the year, Tata Motors also signed-up the popular Bollywood superstar - Hrithik Roshan as the brand ambassador for its all-new stylish sedan, the Tata Tigor. This and lot more led to an improvement of the PV brand in its Net Promoter Score from -1 to +18 this year.

Incredible performance by the manufacturing plants:

The Company’s plants too made it really proud this year, as they continued operating at their optimum levels. While the Ranjangaon plant rolled out its 50,000th Nexon in August, Sanand kept bettering its own record for the highest ever production since its inception. Rolling out its 50,000th passenger vehicle in October 2018, the Sanand plant not only won the Best Plant Safety Performance Award but also received CII’s Greenco Platinum certification.

In addition to the above, for the upcoming, born of pedigree product, the Harrier, Tata Motors set up a new, world-class assembly line in the Pune facility under JLR’s guidance for ensuring high levels of dimensional accuracy and build quality. Top of the line international manufacturing practices like geo pallets, inline measuring robots, MFDC controlled welding, Bosch timers and JLR NUMMI process will ensure every Harrier rolled out from assembly line follows stringent quality standards. With close to 95% automation level, the Harrier assembly line uses 100 ABB & KUKA robots.

Increasing network footprint:

With a renewed focus on increasing its footprint, Tata Motors has currently activated 27 new dealerships in its top 20 serviceable markets with another 17 more under activation. In Kerala and Maharashtra alone, 7 new dealerships each were added. Additionally, in a recently concluded event, the Company also added 6 new dealerships in the state of Rajasthan in a day – the fastest expansion drive done by its PV Business in one day.

All this put together, Tata Motors has appointed an additional count of 59 dealerships and 142 Emerging Market Operations (EMOs) in 2018. These additions have helped the Company to expand its presence to an additional 90 cities this year. Adding to this, Tata Motors has also introduced the ‘Ashwamed Project’ in Uttar Pradesh - an upgradation of EMOs in Uttar Pradesh.

Constantly improving its customer service:

The PV Business constantly explored unique ways to build consumer loyalty. In an effort to do so, the business introduced 24x7 Road Side Assistance service which offers quick assistance to distressed customers within 45 mins. Thanks to the constant training and skilling sessions for its executives targeted at ensuring customer centricity, Tata Motors’ customers now attest to an informed and pleasant experience at the Company’s many dealerships. New digital intervention in customer service like introduction of the Service Buddy app (ready reckoner used by service advisors), Tata Motors Service Connect app (Customer App), Tata Motors Service application (Job card opening  app) were highly appreciated by customers. However, the proof of the pudding was when the PV business bagged the second spot for the second year running, this time doing even better – a clear second position in the JD Power CSI Study, 2018.

Commenting on the fruitful year gone by, Mayank Pareek, President – Passenger Vehicles Business Unit, (PVBU) Tata Motors, said, “We started the year on a high note, as we clocked the highest sales figures in 63 months in January 2018. Moving forward, this year witnessed an array of launches from the PV Business including four new product introductions during the festival season, which helped us to grow our volumes during what was a rather sluggish period for the entire auto industry. While we bucked the trend to a large extent, we have also felt the effects of a few adverse external economic factors, during the last few months. Not being deterred by these headwinds, our PV Business registered a remarkable improvement in brand perception in 2018 owing to our forward-looking market strategy, leaving the close competition significantly behind.

Having said that, we are happy to conclude this year with the unprecedented response by our customers and partners for the Harrier, at our nationwide preview events. With its launch scheduled for early 2019 and with the continuous love showered on our existing new generation product range by our customers, we will continue to strive towards driving volumes and increase our market share as part of our on-going Turnaround journey.”

Tata Motors has been steadily expanding its offerings in the Indian market and manufacturing best-in-class products with its advanced technological prowess. The business manifesto of the passenger vehicle business for 2018 was built on three strong pillars which include sales enhancement, cost reduction and operational efficiencies.

The Company is confident of capturing a larger pie of the domestic market next year by building on the already strong foundation it has laid in 2018. As a challenger brand, Tata Motors will strive to continue to outperform the market and aim to make the Company the most loved and cost-effective company in the world. In the words of Pareek “365 days bring with it 365 new opportunities.” Having said that, with a number of hits in 2018, Tata Motors is all geared to step up its game in 2019.

Police Officer from Muscat with Acute Heart Failure gets a Gift of Life at Narayana Health City

A 37 year old police officer from Oman, Muscat was suffering from chronic heart failure with frequent exacerbations and recurrent hospitalisations since the last 3 years. His search for quality treatment brought him to Narayana Health City, Bangalore. A comprehensive evaluation revealed that his left ventricular function was just 15% (Normal Left ventricular function is 55%). A cardiac catheterisation test was performed and based on the data, he was not a suitable candidate for cardiac transplantation. In view of his clinical condition, he was advised to undergo Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) implantation.

LVAD is a battery-operated, mechanical pump device that is surgically implanted. The LVAD device connects the patient’s failing left ventricle to the aorta. It draws out blood for the patient’s weakened left ventricle and pumps it into the patient’s aorta. An important pre-requisite for implantation of an LVAD is a normal right ventricular function, since the LVAD can support only the failing left ventricle. Patients who suffer from biventricular failure (failure of both left and right ventricles) are not suitable candidates for LVAD implantation and are advised to undergo BiVAD or Total artificial heart (TAH) surgery. This patient’s LVAD implantation surgery was successful and was funded by the Royal Oman Government.

Speaking about the case, Dr. Bagirath Raghuraman, MD, DM (Cardiology), Program Director Heart Transplant at Narayana Health City said, “Mechanical circulatory support devices have become important options in the management of both acute and chronic heart failure conditions. Its value can be gauged from the fact that it is available off the shelf at short notice and is lifesaving in those patients on life support equipment waiting for a donor heart. Apart from this, LVAD is also an option for heart failure patients who are at the other end of the spectrum who are not suitable for a heart transplant due to very high pulmonary artery pressures, like this patient. We are glad that this patient has responded very well to the LVAD device. His condition has improved dramatically from the time he was admitted and now he can manage his work on his own. We will continue to monitor the patient periodically”.

Dr. Julius Punnen, Senior Consultant Cardiothoracic and Transplant Surgeon at Narayana Health City who operated on this patient added “The worldwide prevalence of patients living with chronic heart failure is on a rise. With severe and chronic heart failure, the left ventricle weakens to the point that it can no longer pump enough blood on its own. Then we use LVAD to save these situations. The procedure to implant LVAD is complex and involves risks. However, LVAD can be lifesaving and can emerge as a ray of hope for many patients. We will monitor the patient periodically. Over a period of time, his pulmonary artery pressures will decrease and he may become suitable for a cardiac transplant”.

Dr. Varun Shetty, Consultant Cardiothoracic and Transplant Surgeon at Narayana Health City who also operated on this patient said “Since their inception, there have been marked improvements in the design and technology of the LVAD’s making them a reliable therapeutic option for patients with advanced heart failure. The LVAD’s available today are technologically far superior to their predecessors. A decade ago, LVAD’s required to be charged once in 4 hours. However, the LVAD’s available today can work up to 11 hours after a single battery charge” .

Sharing his experience the patient said, ‘Being a cop is tough and everyone looks up to you for inspiration. When I started having difficulty in managing my day to day work, my life became a living nightmare. Eventually, I could barely complete two sentences without becoming breathless and I needed constant help. Finding the right diagnosis, right doctor and correct treatment option was a tough task and I am grateful that I came to Narayana Health City.  Now after LVAD implantation, under the supervision of Dr. Bagirath and Dr. Julius and the entire team, I can independently perform all my daily routine tasks by myself and it has made me even more confident and optimistic towards life. ’

The biggest advantage of LVAD’s are that they are readily available when required, they do not require immunosuppressive medications or periodic cardiac biopsies and are extremely biocompatible thereby eliminating the risk of rejection.  The advent of mechanical circulatory support devices like the LVAD’s have not only made patients’ life easier but also helped them live a happy and fulfilling life. More importantly, they can live independently with dignity and perform most of their daily tasks without depending on others for help.

Tata Motors Launches the Sixth Season of Delight Star Scholarship Program

True to its moto of ‘Har Kadam Par Khushiyan’, Tata Motors has launched the Season-6 of Tata Delight Star Scholars, a recognition initiative for the children of Tata Motors customers under the Tata Delight loyalty program with a prize money of INR 25000. The company has also gone a step ahead and offered a special prize of 40 Tablets for female applicants based on their performance to encourage education for girl child.

This special program was designed to make a meaningful contribution towards the upliftment of the trucking profession, constantly striving to reward, recognize and delight the commercial vehicles customer, making every interaction a rewarding one.

Commenting on the program, R T Wasan, Head – Sales & Marketing, Tata Motors, said, “At Tata Motors, we strongly believe that education is a fundamental right of every child. Unfortunately, countless bright minds forego this basic right due to a lack of funds. Through this initiative, we wish to reward academic excellence and encourage children to pursue their career ambitions. With upcoming editions of the program, we aim to reach out to more families who require monetary assistance thereby making education more accessible.”

All Tata Delight members’ children are entitled to apply for the scholarship. To avail the scholarship, Tata Delight loyalty program members are required to fill a form and submit it along with the 10th or 12th standard mark sheets of the student and other relevant documents. The student must be between 14 and 20 years of age and have a total score of 70% or above. The applicants are shortlisted and the scholarships are distributed to the winners at Tata Motors dealerships across India.

Since its inception, the program over the last five editions has helped fulfill the dreams and aspirations of over 1,000 deserving children by ensuring that they receive adequate support to pursue their right to higher education. The company to date has granted scholarships to over 1000 students, amounting to approx Rs. 1.5 crores to all the beneficiaries. 

The Tata Delight Star Scholarship program is appreciated by customers as well as by the industry. In a segmented survey conducted, the beneficiaries of the prize money expressed their gratitude to Tata Motors for this initiative and claimed it was of great help in their child’s tuition fees in the subsequent academic year. The Tata Delight program won the Automotive Gold award at the DMAi Awards in 2014, the Order of Excellence award for Best Brand Loyalty Campaign by the Dragons of Asia in 2015 and Leader Certificate by the Direct Marketing Association, Asia in 2015.

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