Thursday, July 18, 2019

KPMG – Videocon Partners with 247around to Enable Pan India After Sales Servicing


With an intention to help Videocon in regaining its consumer electronics market share in India, KPMG the brand’s resolution professional, has taken a bold step by handing over its all India after sales service to 247around, a digital post-purchase home appliance servicing platform.  It will provide services such as installations, repair, returns-validation, maintenance contracts, and warranty thereby ensuring the seamless customer experience. It will enable Videocon’s customers to perform self-diagnostics, decipher issues, and estimate prices much before the engineer arrives at home.

Videocon Industries is now back into the process of manufacturing, sale, and distribution of consumer goods. They recently launched India’s latest AI-enabled television, which is the flagship product of the season. Powered by Sensy Technology, the television provides a superior viewing experience and takes care of a family’s diverse tech needs. However, to help the users adapt to and accept this new generation of smart TVs comfortably, they need assistance that is easily accessible. This is where 247around steps in.

Speaking on this collaboration, Nitin Malhotra, CEO and Co-Founder of 247around said, “Consumers prefer buying latest appliances which enhance their lifestyle but what matters the buying decision most is the after sale feedback of the brand, our unique the proposition is that we use technology to our advantage in order to provide seamless repair experience to customers. We use remote diagnostics and more to know in advance what exactly has gone wrong in the product, such that engineer armed with relevant parts can arrive at your doorstep thus minimizing the downtime. Through our association with Videocon, we will enable the brand to manage its customer loyalty efficiently.”

247around is a technology-abled platform that acts as a backbone to its brand partners while empowering them with analytical assistance and helping on-ground engineers take better repair decisions thus delivering best-in-class repair services. The offerings at 247around include services such as installations, demonstrations, returns validation, maintenance contracts, and warranty services, among others. The user can book any of the aforementioned services through the company’s official Android app, website or call center. Once booked, a team of qualified engineers arrives at the given address. Besides Videocon, the platform currently works with 100+ brands and has set expansion plans to reach consumers directly through B2C. It ultimately envisages becoming the fastest service provider delivering superior quality service and best-in-class consumer experience.

3i Infotech’s ORION 11j to Consolidate the Business Operations of Gayatrishakti Paper & Boards Ltd


3i Infotech Limited, a global Information Technology company, committed to accelerating business transformation, helped enhance Gayatrishakti Paper & Boards Limited (GSPBL)’s growing business. The company upgraded to ORION 11j, a GST and TDS-compliant ERP solution from 3i Infotech to solve the challenges pertaining to its operations and reporting.

GSPBL was using the earlier version of ORION that met their business needs for long.  But the growing business needs and dynamic in market expectation requires better scalable, dynamic, business controls and analytics. The upgradation to 3i Infotech’s ORION 11j helped them in improving their business efficiency. It further ensured inventory accuracy and reduction of wastage.

ORION 11j, an enterprise manufacturing suite consisting of finance, purchase, inventory and sales modules, facilitated auto scheduling of reports / invoices and email facility to concerned persons without any manual intervention. Complex reports were generated using ORION 11j and hence additional reporting from other external sources was not required. With the fully web-based system, GSPBL was able to access their system from anywhere with minimum bandwidth requirement.

Speaking on the implementation, Mr. Mahesh Jalan, Executive Director from GSPBL said, “ORION 11j ERP solution was the answer to our fast-expanding business as it helped consolidate our business operations and offer complete visibility by providing real time data flow across the locations. We were looking for a GST-compliant solution and ORION 11j was the right fit as it facilitated prompt GST and TDS reporting and met our requirements.”

Mr. Suryanarayan Kasichainula, EVP & Business Head (ERP), 3i Infotech said, “Through the effective implementation of ORION 11j, GSPBL was able to achieve a remarkable advancement in their overall operations. The solution provided a proactive system with alerts and dashboards, which offered a complete business view for informed decision-making. ORION 11j, being a single integrated solution that connects all business units, enabled the company to gain a 360-degree visibility into its operations.”

Social Media Influences Opinions & Attitudes of Majority School Students: Fortis Study


A study by the Behavioural and Mental Health department of Fortis Healthcare found that Social Media plays a pivotal role in forming opinions and attitudes among majority of the school students today. It also confirmed that as many as 78% students spend a lot of time on social media. A majority of 92% agreed that it’s a conducive platform to spread positive narration about mental health. The survey was done under the supervision of Dr Samir Parikh, Director, Mental Health & Behavioural Sciences, Fortis Healthcare.

The study noted that the content which the students see via various social media platforms do contribute towards influencing their opinions and attitudes. The students admitted that the content which they see via various social media platforms do contribute towards influencing their opinions and attitudes. The role and influence of social media in shaping the belief systems and attitudes of the young generations is very evident, affirmed Dr Parikh.

Dr Samir Parikh, Director, Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences, Fortis Healthcare said, “The ability of social media to influence the belief systems and attitudes of the youth cannot be contested. But it is heartening that majority of the students recognize social media as an effective means to create awareness about relevant issues. We need to capitalize on the role that social media platforms play in the creating alternative and positive narratives around social issues. Finding ways of building the engagement of young people with platforms that are driven to create awareness, encourage help-seeking and act as a support system is a must in this regard. There is a need for us to evaluate the way we are approaching mental health in the context of the young population and find better mechanisms of connecting and engaging with them on mental health. There is untapped potential that needs to be fully utilized to build mental health related awareness.”

The survey was conducted among 4000 school students studying psychology in Class XI and XII, from over 200 schools across 10 cities; viz. Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Mohali, Ludhiana, Jaipur, Bangalore, Lucknow, Varanasi, Dehradun and Chennai. The idea behind this survey was to understand the relevance of social media in present times, the impact it has and how it has the power to shape narratives which influence their opinions and attitudes. The survey highlighted the need for media literacy among parents. Knowledge of social media would enable parents to understand their child’s perspective better and provide insights into how time spent on social media could be more productive and constructive.

Decade of “Social Entrepreneurship India Award” for Jubilant Bhartia Foundation and Schwab Foundation


Jubilant Bhartia Foundation and Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, a sister organisation of the World Economic Forum, celebrate 10 years of a vibrant partnership in bringing the most coveted social entrepreneurship award in India. In 2010, the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship and Jubilant Bhartia Foundation came together to promote social innovation in India through the Social Entrepreneur of the Year (SEOY) India Award.

Ø Social Innovation Takes Off in India: A total of over 1480 unique social innovation applications have been received in 10 years.
Ø 10 years have seen a total of 497 women applications across India.
Ø Women Change Makers: 5 out of 9 winners of the SEOY India award are women social entrepreneurs.
Ø Turnover of participating social organisations range from Rs 1 million to Rs 600 million.
Ø Stringent evaluation: Two new parameters for evaluation of social entrepreneurs – Market-based and Technology-enabled solutions added this year.
Ø New Trends: In the recent years, sustainable farming and clean technology have emerged as new areas of social entrepreneurship

The SEOY India award 2019 will be presented at a high-profile event in New Delhi on 3rd October this year coinciding with the ‘India Economic Summit’ of the World Economic Forum and Confederation of Indian Industry.

The annual award recognises entrepreneurs who implement innovative, sustainable and scalable solutions. These entrepreneurs address pressing issues faced by under-served communities in an effort to make inclusive growth a reality in India. They work in diverse areas such as health, education, employment, water, clean energy, building identity & entitlements, financial literacy, access to information and technology among others. The applications are evaluated on the key parameters of Innovation, Sustainability, Direct Social Impact, Reach & Scope, Replicability. The year 2019 sees the addition of two new parameters of ‘Market-based’ and ‘Technology-enabled’ solutions. The finalists will be selected following an intensive search and selection process, including expert reviews and site visits. The winner is selected by a prominent Jury consisting of eminent leaders and professionals from Government, Business, Media and Civil Society.

The winner of SEOY India will join the world’s largest network of social enterprises affiliated with The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, so as to engage, build and sustain their social enterprises. The winner is awarded by a prominent chief guest in a magnificent ceremony every year.

2019 Applications Trend:
Over 120 applicants from 19 cities
Over 30 applications from women social entrepreneurs
Health sector with 43% applications leads the nomination tally followed by Education at 40%, Environment 27% and Rural Development following closely at 26%
Around 20% of the entries from Women Empowerment
Most active sectors are Education, Health, Livelihood, Environment, Technology, Women Empowerment
New categories witnessed are Enterprise Development, Disability, Water & Sanitation, Labour Conditions, Micro Finance, Housing, Fair Trade, Energy, Sustainable Farming, Communication Media, Clean Technology and Nutrition

The Social Entrepreneur of the Year (SEOY) India Award aims to promote and celebrate leading social entrepreneurs and their unique ventures in India that help in addressing the various gaps in our society and country. Through providing recognition, the SEOY India Award hopes to inspire many other potential social entrepreneurs in India every year.

Shell Drives Sustainable Energy Solution at Shell E4 Demo Day in Bengaluru


After a successful first edition in 2018, Shell returned with its second edition of Shell E4 Demo Day, the largest Energy Entrepreneurship Conference in India on July 16, 2019 in Bengaluru. The event included a unique gathering of energy focused startups along with the attendance of Arvind Tiwary, Chair, IoT Forum, TiE and Subhashini Chandran, EVP and Managing Director – India at Xynteo. The day also witnessed the graduation of 10 startups which were selected by Shell for incubation at the Shell Technology Centre Bangalore in January 2019.

The 10 startups which include Mobycy, RightWatts, Ziptrax, igrenEnergi, TresMoto, Manastu Space, AutoVRse, LogisticsNow, Maximl and iGarage, operate on diverse domains and backgrounds. These startups have interesting business models and differentiated product offerings like Battery Management, Digital - AR/VR, Mobility Solutions, Logistics, Energy Management, Operations Efficiency and Energy IOT Applications.  While a number of these startups are working towards a pilot with Shell businesses, some others are closely working with Shell to co-create customer solutions.

Like last year, Shell E4 continues to bring together technical, financial and technological expertise to help India move a step closer to its desired energy efficiency targets.

Speaking on the occasion, Sada Iyer, Shell Technology Centre Bangalore Leader, said, “At Shell, we constantly strive to strengthen our commitment to partner energy entrepreneurs and take steady steps towards India’s transition to a sustainable tomorrow. We are glad to announce the graduation of the second cohort of the E4 programme and we wish each of the graduating start-ups success in their journey towards a better future. By mentoring these start-ups, we have nurtured and enabled the young energy entrepreneurs to bring innovations in the Indian energy sector. We are hopeful that the next year will see even more diverse energy start-ups striving towards an advanced and sustainable ecosystem with Shell E4.”

With an overall approach to nurture a culture of open innovation, through various programmes like Research Connect, Shell Technology Ventures and Shell E4, Shell endeavours to support, engage and empower start-ups at various stages of their lifecycle. Going forward the programme has an interesting growth journey. Following the larger energy focused cohorts, Shell will also be empowering startups under specific themes and sub-sectors and on Monday announced that the 3rd cohort of the E4 programme will focus on digital startups and the 4th cohort will focus on the theme ‘Future of Mobility for India’. The registrations for the 4th cohort are open from July 15 – October 15, 2019.

James Unterreiner, General Manager, Shell E4  Start-up Hub, said, “Keeping in mind the idea behind introducing Shell E4, we have and shall keep identifying and engaging with start-ups who have the talent and vision to innovate technology that will further accelerate India’s transition to a sustainable energy future. On behalf of Shell, I congratulate each of the start-ups under the second cohort of Shell E4 and wish them the very best in their journey ahead.”

Launched in 2017, Shell E4 programme aims at playing a prominent role in accelerating technologies that are fit for India’s energy transition. Shell Technology Centre Bangalore is integral to Shell’s core ambition of providing cleaner energy solutions, for India and the world.

One of the company’s three global innovation hubs, the centre, houses the Shell E4 startups at a vibrant co-working space for six months. The startups are offered a seed funding of USD 20,000 each and access to:

Prototyping laboratories for product development and testing
Bootcamps aimed at customer discovery and improving the product
Top industry mentors and experts
New markets and interactions with investors and other growth and funding opportunities
Since their graduation last year, the startups in the first cohort have witnessed significant growth in their businesses. A noteworthy example is Detect Technologies who have successfully raised Series A funding of $3.3 million from Tier 1 VCs and their cofounders are featured in the Forbes 30 under 30 in both India and Asia. ION Energy’s advanced battery management & intelligence platform is being used by top tier OEMs and Battery Pack Makers in 10+ countries. IoTrek is piloting with 2 Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) companies at construction job sites in India and commercially launched product for US market; partnering with General Contractors to deploy the pilot projects.

Startups also have the opportunity to work closely with Shell businesses themselves. For instance, Detect Technologies is working on joint R&D projects with Shell. As alumni of the programme, the startups will continue receiving access to the E4 laboratory, in addition to support from the Shell E4 team for Shell deployment opportunities.

LTI to Acquire Advanced Analytics Firm Lymbyc, a Specialist AI, ML and Analytics Firm



Larsen & Toubro Infotech Ltd., a global technology consulting and digital solutions company, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Lymbyc, a specialist AI, machine learning, and advanced analytics company. The acquisition further strengthens LTI’s fast-growing digital and analytics offerings.

Founded in 2012, Lymbyc is headquartered in Bengaluru, India and has customers in the USA, UK, Africa, and India. The company is well recognized for its unique capabilities in analytics and data-sciences space. The core of Lymbyc’s capabilities are centered around a proprietary product, Leni, which solves for the entire spectrum of descriptive to predictive business insights, leveraging deep learning, Natural Language Processing, data visualization and predictive analytics. Leni is a virtual analyst that allows users to conversationally access information and insights.

With growing dependence on data, global enterprises need to be better at data discovery, agile analytics, and ability to process large datasets. Lymbyc’s expertise in these spheres will enhance LTI’s Mosaic platform to provide differentiated analytics solutions in a SaaS model. 

Sanjay Jalona, Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director, LTI, said: “We believe self-service capabilities for AI and advanced analytics will be the next wave of disruption in the marketplace, and Lymbyc brings this capability to our Mosaic platform. Leni by Lymbyc is an industry-agnostic platform that solves business user’s need for experience, speed, and comprehension. I welcome Lymbyc’s experienced management team and all its employees to the LTI family.”

Satyakam Mohanty, Founder & CEO, Lymbyc  said: “As a strategic business partner of LTI during last year, we have seen first hand how LTI is leading data and digital transformation agenda for its clients. With AI becoming increasingly mainstream, we are excited to join hands with LTI and to help a larger and richer set of clients. Leni, our AI-based Virtual Analyst is perfectly suited to deliver better value to business users and maximize their information and analytics investments.”

LTI and Lymbyc have been strategic partners for last one year, and have collaborated to deliver unique solutions to several leading global enterprises.

Lymbyc is the fifth acquisition by LTI since the company got listed in 2016. Earlier this year, the company acquired Ruletronics, a boutique Pega Consulting company, and N+P (NEILSEN+PARTNER), a Temenos Wealthsuite specialist.

Emirates to Launch Services to Mexico City via Barcelona from December 9, 2019


Emirates announced its plan to launch a new daily service from Dubai (DXB) to Mexico City International Airport (MEX), via the Spanish city of Barcelona (BCN), starting on 9 December 2019.

Emirates’ Mexico City flight will be a linked service with Barcelona, meaning that customers can now travel between the two cities in unprecedented style and comfort.  Citizens from Mexico, Spain and the UAE only need their passports to enjoy visa-free travel to each respective country.

The new route will be operated with a two-class Emirates Boeing 777-200LR which offers 38 Business Class seats in a 2-2-2 configuration and 264 seats in Economy Class. The new 777 flight will also offer up to 14 tonnes of cargo, opening up access to more global markets for Mexican exports such as avocados, berries or mangoes, automotive parts or medical supplies. Emirates SkyCargo has been flying freighters to/from Mexico City since 2014 already and in the last year carried over 22,500 tons of cargo on the route.

Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airline said: “We are excited to be able to introduce new air connectivity between Dubai and Mexico. The availability of high-quality, daily international air services is essential for the development of tourism, business and cultural ties. Trade, especially in high-value and time-sensitive products, will be facilitated by the ample cargo capacity on Emirates’ Boeing 777 aircraft. We also expect tourism to receive a major boost from the daily flights on our newly-refurbished Boeing 777-200LR.”

Sir Tim added: “Due to the high altitude of Mexico City airport, it is not possible to operate a non-stop flight from Dubai, and Barcelona was a natural choice for a stopover. We are pleased to offer a direct connection on the route between the Spanish city and Mexico City that has long been neglected by other airlines and remains underserved despite the strong customer demand. We would like to thank the authorities and our partners in both Spain and Mexico for their support of the new route and look forward to provide our unique product and award-winning service to travellers.”

“Mexico supports the launch of the long-awaited flight Dubai-Barcelona-Mexico City, which responds to Mexico’s Government tourism policy towards opening new markets and strengthening connectivity between the Middle East and Mexico. We are eager to receive tourists from this part of the world”, said Mexico’s Minister of Tourism, Miguel Torruco Marqués.

"Emirates’ arrival will bring a significant contribution to our international connectivity network by adding up daily services to Dubai and beyond. Emirates will be the 43rd carrier operating international flights into Mexico ... congratulations!!”, said Rodrigo Vasquez C, Director General, Mexican Civil Aviation Authority.

Mexico City, the first destination in Mexico to be served by Emirates, is the largest city of Mexico and the most populous city in North America. Mexico’s capital is one of the most important cultural and financial centres in the Americas, accounting for nearly a third of the nation’s GDP. Located in the Valley of Mexico at an altitude of 2,240 metres, the city is famous for its historic centre known as

Zocalo, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Mexico City is also an important trade and industrial city, specifically in the automotive, medical supplies and pharmaceutical industries. 

Mexico is a popular destination for business and leisure travellers around the world, in particular from UAE, Spain, India, Pakistan, Singapore, Egypt and Lebanon. Mexico is also home to Middle East communities that can now take advantage of the new service.

Dubai is also increasing in popularity with Mexican travellers. In the first 5 months of 2019 alone, Mexican visitor numbers to Dubai have grown by 32% compared to the same period last year*.

Passengers flying with Emirates can book a Dubai Stopover package which will allow them to stay in Dubai for a few days on their way to/from one of over 140 destinations. Dubai offers everything from desert outings to beaches to family-friendly hotels, and even ski slopes at the Mall of the Emirates. Having become the fourth-most-visited city in the world, Dubai is known for its eclectic mix of offerings, from futuristic architecture to vibrant traditional culture and diversity. Passengers on the route can also decide to stop over in Barcelona on their way to/from Mexico or Dubai.

Emirates flight EK 255 will depart Dubai at 03:30 local time, arriving in Barcelona at 08:00 before departing again at 09:55 and arriving into Mexico City at 16:15 on the same day. The return flight EK256 will depart Mexico City at 19:40 local time, arriving in Barcelona the next day at 13:25. EK256 will depart once again from Barcelona at 15:10 bound for Dubai where it will arrive at 00:45 the following day, facilitating convenient onward connections to numerous destinations in India, South-East Asia and the Middle East.

Passengers in all cabin classes can enjoy the friendly service from Emirates’ international cabin crew, meals prepared by gourmet chefs, and over 4,000 channels of movies, TV programs, music and podcasts, including channels in Spanish, on its award-winning ice entertainment system.

* Dubai Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing (DTCM)  

Vee Technologies’ Global Assessment: A First for a Salem Tech Centre

The Salem and Chennai facilities of global strategic services firm Vee Technologies focused on Analytics and Software Development achieved a landmark by getting appraised at CMMi maturity level 3, considered a global standard for efficiency. The appraisal was done by QAI Global Institute.

With this assessment Vee Technologies’ Salem facility becomes the first software development unit in the Tamil Nadu textiles hub to be appraised. It’s one more reason to attract to the town emerging economy firms keen to tap rich talent pool coming out of prestigious engineering schools like Sona College of Technology where the IT centre is located.

CMMi, a capability improvement framework, provides essential elements of effective processes that help improve performance of organizations.

Bengaluru and New York headquartered Vee Technologies, a pioneer in locating software development centres in non-metro locations a decade ago, provides equal work opportunities to men and women. Today women make up for one-third of its development team strength in Salem.

The firm that offers Healthcare and Engineering Global Services through its dedicated development centres in Bengaluru, Chennai, Salem and Pennsylvania, USA, has integrated healthcare analytics, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), and Revenue Cycle Management with services offerings for the healthcare industry.

Vee Technologies’ Artificial Intelligence Lab and Robotic Process Automation Centre of Excellence offerings span across AI, business intelligence, robotic process automation and cloud engineering technologies for digital and mobile platforms.

“The CMMi assessment will motivate our team to innovate further and strengthen processes to deliver IT solutions combined with our proven quality service to our global customers,” says Chocko Valliappa, founder and CEO of Vee Technologies, a nimble IT firm known for offering high quality service levels.

With strong academic linkages with academic institutions, Vee Technologies attracts bright students to learn and apply new technologies in a global work environment during their internship. This is a proven demonstration of industry- academy linkage.

“By following many niche processes, the firm helps its healthcare customers enhance level of patient care with analytics business deploying capabilities that result in insights about patient populations, clinical outcomes, financial measures and risks involved,” adds Valliappa.

Facts about Vee Technologies you did not know:

•        Using its AI and proprietary tools Vee Technologies analytics solutions help improve clinical decision-making capabilities and predict revenue.
•        Rated as No. 1 in customer satisfaction in the Fortune International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IOAP) list.
•        Vee Technologies’ Incubation Centre nurtures and employs students from engineering schools around Salem.
•        Its Innovation Lab researches to solve problems using artificial intelligence, computer vision and Natural Language Processing technologies.
•        Robotic Process Automation Centre of Excellence focuses on re-engineering and automation.

Truecaller Unveils User Verification Solution for the Mobile Web


Truecaller has announced the global launch of its Truecaller SDK solution exclusively for the mobile web platform. With this, Truecaller SDK now supports all the key mobile platforms across Android, iOS, React and now mobile web including Progressive Web App support. Developers can access the mWeb SDK from Truecaller’s global developer portal.

Across emerging markets like India and Africa, mobile web-based experiences on smart phones are proving to be the first point of discovery for users trying to access products and services online. One of the key challenges in these markets has been to on-board users using email or other modes and getting verified using the inefficient OTP process. This SDK solution on mobile web is intended to simplify this process for developers through its OTP-less and free to use phone number-based verification solution allowing their users to seamlessly and securely access services using their Truecaller credentials. This ensures there are reduced barriers along with fewer user drop offs and resulting in increased growth in verified users that contributes to minimized business risks for the developer.  A screenshot of a cell phone

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Commenting on the launch, Priyam Bose, Global Head, Developer Platform & Relations, Truecaller, said, “Our vision has always been to enable the developer community by providing them with solutions that help them to build user focused, trust based and growth-oriented products. User onboarding and verification continues to be one of the critical use cases for developers as it is crucial in creating a first impression for their users in terms of building a seamless and secure product experience. On an average, developers in growth markets are starting to see anywhere between 40%-60% of their users now coming from mobile web, giving us more reasons to launch our Truecaller SDK solution for mobile Web interfaces.”

This launch extends Truecaller’s philosophy of building and solving problems at scale for users and developers globally, with value-driven functionalities. Truecaller SDK service for the mobile web platform can be used to fulfil use cases such as mobile number-based signup, login, checkout, verification, and more such touch-points across the user journey.

Early access developer partners for this service also shared their experience.

Mukund Laddha, Product Manager, OYO, said, "At OYO, we have been expanding globally at a rapid pace. Improving user experience during authentication has been a key area of focus. This integration with Truecaller presented us with an opportunity to present users with a reliable alternate login method with a large presence across countries. This has made user on-boarding on web more fluid and frictionless."

Zairus Master, CEO, Shine.com, said, “At Shine.com, our constant endeavor is to improve our end-user experience by adopting best-in-class technologies. As an early access partner, the integration with Truecaller’s verification solution for mobile web platform will help candidates simplify their registration process on Shine.com and facilitate a constantly active and verified set of candidates on the platform, complete with their updated contact details. We believe that this product integration will give Shine.com a competitive edge over other job portals which solely rely on traditional, OTP-based verification.”

Udit Tyagi, Product Head, Times Internet Limited - Indian Languages News Business, said, “In the ever-evolving world of PWA's the gap between app and mWeb is slowly fading away and users expect uniformity and seamlessness in terms of experience and onboarding irrespective of the platform. By leveraging Truecaller SDK for mobile web, we have been able to improve the on-boarding experience of users in our canvas of mobile web apps. In our case, onboarding conversions via Truecaller are 41% higher compared to standard onboarding processes."

ThoughtWorks to Conduct the First Multi-City Edition of Vapasi in India


ThoughtWorks, a global software consultancy, will be hosting the first ever multi-city edition of Vapasi – a technical training program for women technologists who are on a career break and want to re-enter the world of IT. The latest edition of the program will be simultaneously organized across three cities – Chennai, Hyderabad and Gurgaon.

Set to kickstart on 5 August 2019, the program will be held at the ThoughtWorks offices across these three cities. The program is designed to be an intensive four-weeks that will sharpen candidates’ technical skills through hands-on sessions on object-oriented programming practices. Upon completion, short listed candidates will be offered a 3 to 6-month internship at ThoughtWorks and can apply for permanent positions. The last 6 batches of Vapasi that were tailored to developers and quality analysts saw close to 100 women participate. Today, many of them are on fruitful career paths at ThoughtWorks and other tech companies in India.

Commenting on the Vapasi program, Tina Vinod, Head of Diversity and Inclusion, ThoughtWorks in India said, “ThoughtWorks has always understood the importance of diversity at the workplace and is committed to providing an inclusive environment for its employees. Empowering women’s success in technology is a key focus area for us, and we are extremely delighted to launch the latest edition of our much awaited Vapasi program. We are experimenting with a multi-city approach which makes this our biggest edition of Vapasi, in terms of scale and execution. In 2019, our aim is to run no less than eight editions of the program across our seven offices in India. We are very excited for what this step represents when it comes to ThoughtWorks’ journey in nurturing a technical community that is representative of the diverse society that we live in.”

“I was a full-time working professional before a two-and-a-half-year break during which I was a full-time mother. When I first thought about going back to work, I wasn't very confident in starting all over again. And, that’s when I heard of Vapasi,’’ said Sana Siddiqui, an alumnus of the Vapasi program. “I was surprised to recognize how Vapasi has influenced me - boosting my confidence, vision, goals and interest in learning and gathering new skill sets. I received incredible guidance and coaching from the Vapasi mentors, and that made me feel welcomed!”

Soumia Annie Jose, another participant of the program said, “Vapasi helped me gain confidence and ignite a familiarity with emerging technologies. While the program’s intensive format sharpened my existing skill set, what was truly impressive was the exceptional patience demonstrated by the trainers and mentors. The program helped me get my career back on track.”

The Vapasi program is part of #TalkTechToHer, a ThoughtWorks initiative directed towards women in technology who have more than 6 years of work experience. The campaign wants to elevate the conversation around inclusivity and drive an important message that women can achieve as much as men, or more when presented with the opportunities, without the biases.

To register for the upcoming multi-city edition of Vapasi, please click here. The last date to register is 25th July 2019.

#AdvantageSpeed – ACT Fibernet Upgrades Internet Broadband Plans in Chennai

ACT Fibernet (Atria Convergence Technologies Ltd.) India’s largest fiber-focused wired broadband ISP (Internet Service Provider) has upgraded the most popular internet broadband plans for its customers in Chennai. The newly upgraded plans will allow existing and new customers to enjoy faster and uninterrupted broadband speed at no additional cost.

Beginning 15th July 2019, ACT Blast Promo has been upgraded from 100 Mbps to 150 Mbps speed with 1000 GB FUP limit. ACT Storm has been upgraded from 125 Mbps to 175 Mbps speed with 1250 GB FUP limit. Similarly, ACT Lightning has been upgraded from 150 Mbps to 200 Mbps speed with 1500 GB FUP limit and ACT Incredible has been upgraded from 250 Mbps to 300 Mbps speed with 2000 GB FUP limit.

Speaking on the upgraded plans, Mr. Sandeep Gupta, COO, Atria Convergence Technologies Ltd.  commented, “With online streaming, gaming and smart homes gaining momentum among customers fast and reliable home broadband connectivity is a necessity. Sensing the market needs we have upgraded our broadbands to empower and enable customers to do and achieve more in the digital space”.

Friday, July 12, 2019

upGrad and IIIT-B Mark 3rd Graduation Ceremony at the IIIT-B Campus


upGrad and IIIT-B mark their 3rd graduation ceremony with 864 Data Science graduates at the IIIT-B campus. This also marks the first graduation ceremony for 189 Machine Learning and AI graduates along with 44 Software Development graduates. The graduates were dominantly from Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Pune. Learners from the graduating batches transitioned into companies like Paytm, Pepperfry, Philips, Network 18, Deloitte, HSBC, etc. with a significant raise. Mayank Kumar, Co-founder & MD; along with Ronnie Screwvala, Co-founder & Chairman, upGrad, graced the event with their presence. Notable educationalists like Prof. S. Sadagopan, Director, IIIT-Bangalore, Tricha Anjali, Associate Professor & Associate Dean (Continuing Professional Education) and Chief Guest, Rishikesha Krishnan, Professor, IIM Bangalore, ex-Director IIM-Indore also graced the ceremony.

Zendesk Expands Amazon Web Services Support to Make Customer Data More Actionable


Zendesk, Inc. announced the Zendesk Events Connector for the newly launched Amazon Web Services (AWS) service Amazon EventBridge. The Zendesk Events Connector allows companies to quickly and easily connect customer experience data to the AWS services that developers already use to improve their understanding of the customer journey.

Modern customers expect their interactions with companies to be easy, personalized and responsive – all of which relies on accessing and understanding customer data. Built on the cloud, the Zendesk Events Connector is an easy, scalable, and secure way to stream near real-time data changes (events) from Zendesk into AWS. This seamless experience is achieved through Amazon EventBridge, a serverless, highly available, and scalable event bus service that allows applications to communicate with each other using events.

“Customer experience teams will no longer be let down by disconnected and siloed systems that don’t share a complete picture of the customer,” said Adrian McDermott, president of products, Zendesk. “We are excited to work with AWS to further the movement towards  companies having open access to all data, in a simple, safe and secure manner.”

This new capability from Zendesk provides companies with a near real-time understanding of customer interactions. With this data and the power of AWS, companies can build better, more innovative customer experiences by enhancing customer information with machine learning (ML), security and compliance tools, or custom analytics and business intelligence through services such as AWS Lambda, Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), Amazon Kinesis, and Amazon SageMaker.

“Customer information shouldn’t only be used to resolve tickets, it should become a part of a company’s competitive advantage,” said Dustin Lawler, VP of Technical Services, Datadog. “By integrating Zendesk into Datadog through the AWS EventBridge, we are able to leverage this important source of data throughout the entire organization in real time.”

In November last year, Zendesk announced Zendesk Sunshine, an open and flexible CRM platform focused on utilizing the power of AWS to seamlessly connect all customer data. The Zendesk Events Connector is part of the larger effort for Zendesk Sunshine to further accelerate the ability to free customer data and allow developers to build out functionality with the tools they love – entirely on open standards with the security, scalability, and reliability of AWS at its core. Zendesk Sunshine has already seen over 1,000 customers enable the platform.

Tata Motors SOUL Announces it’s 2nd Edition of the Iconic Ladakh Drive, Mountain Trail, July 2019



Tata Motors SOUL (SUV Owners United League) announced the commencement of its upcoming  SOUL “Iconic Ladakh Drive, Mountain Trail, Spiti-Ladakh” from 13th to 25th July 2019. As one of the most sought after drive of the calendar, the SOUL members are all set to experience the unparalleled beauty of Pangong Tso & Panamik coupled with an adventurous drive across Khardund La – one of the highest motorable mountain pass located at 17,500+ feet. During the drive, the members will also get a chance to visit the ancient monasteries in Kaza & Nubra Valley. 

Speaking about the Iconic event, Mr. Vivek Srivatsa, Head Marketing, Passenger Vehicles Business Unit, Tata Motors, said, “Since its beginning, the SOUL events have been a unique adventure for its members. The SOUL platform offers specially curated drives & experiences which are known to a very few. This edition in particular has been curated to provide our SOUL members with the toughest and the most challenging escapade as they take on the elements to get to the heart of the valley. With each passing edition, our number of participants has grown exponentially as the SOUL community forms everlasting bonds of Brotherhood. Accompanied by their fellow adventurers and Tata SUVs, this SOUL drive will give members a chance to visit some of the most incredible and uncharted areas in and around Ladakh.”

Flagging off from Chandigarh, 31 participants will travel in a convoy of 10 Tata SUVs, in the Iconic Drive, designed to give the Tata SUV owners an experience of a lifetime. These adventure seekers will get a chance to drive more than 1600 kilometres, along the breath-taking, scintillating landscapes of Himachal Pradesh to the Land of the mystic Lamas – Ladakh, through mesmerizing valleys & lakes of Spiti. Their driving mettle will have to be in top form as they drive on one of the most challenging dirt roads of the region and make bonds for a lifetime.

Tata SUV Owners United League (SOUL) is an Owners community program from Tata Motors that brings together the Tata SUV owners through adventurous drives traversing across some of the most breath-taking landscapes. Since its inception in 2012, the community has grown to close to 13000 proud members. Along with the new SOUL Rewards Program, the SOUL program also provides exclusive offers to customers on Tata

Motors Genuine Accessories, extended warranty and insurance, to further enhance the ownership experience of their Tata SUV.

Accenture Appoints Julie Sweet CEO and Names David Rowland Executive Chairman, Effective Sept. 1, 2019


Accenture’s board of directors announced that Julie Sweet has been appointed chief executive officer. David Rowland, currently interim chief executive officer, has been appointed executive chairman. Marge Magner, currently non-executive chair of the board, will resume her role as lead independent director. These changes are effective Sept. 1, 2019.

Sweet is currently chief executive officer of Accenture’s business in North America, the company’s largest geographic market with revenues of approximately $18 billion for fiscal 2018, serving more than 70% of the Fortune 500. Previously, Sweet was Accenture’s general counsel, secretary and chief compliance officer. As a member of Accenture’s senior leadership team for nearly a decade, she has played an integral role in the company’s business and investment strategy. Prior to joining Accenture, Sweet was a partner for 10 years in the law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP. Upon assuming the role of chief executive officer, Sweet will join the company’s board of directors.

“Julie is the right person to lead Accenture into the future, given her strong command of our business and proven ability to drive results in our largest market,” said Rowland. “We are on a positive growth trajectory at Accenture and are very well-positioned to continue building on our strong momentum. I am so pleased and proud that Julie will lead our company, and I am excited to work with her — along with our entire senior leadership team — to ensure a seamless transition and on Accenture’s next phase of growth and market leadership.”

Magner said, “Julie has the leadership track record and breadth of business experience we believe are critical to lead Accenture, including the ability to forge major client relationships, a strong focus on leading with innovation, commitment to our people and core values, and a focus on delivering value to shareholders. Speaking on behalf of the board, we look forward to working closely with Julie as chief executive officer.

“At the same time, we are delighted that we will continue to benefit from David’s experience in his active role as executive chair. He has been an exemplary leader as interim chief executive officer during this time of transition, with a steadfast commitment to driving Accenture’s business and building on our strong momentum. We are grateful for his leadership and stewardship. With Julie as chief executive officer and David as executive chair, Accenture has a powerful advantage in the marketplace.”

As executive chair, Rowland will continue to play a key role and be actively involved in Accenture’s business. He will chair the board of directors, act as an advisor to Sweet and be involved in Accenture’s long-term business strategy. He will also continue to represent Accenture with clients around the world and with key external groups.

“I am truly honored to lead our extraordinary company as Accenture’s chief executive officer,” said Sweet. “I look forward to continuing to work closely with our exceptional senior leadership team, along with David, as our executive chairman, and our entire board of directors. Accenture has the most talented people and group of leaders in our industry. Together, we will capture the next waves of growth for Accenture by remaining laser-focused on serving our clients, creating significant value for our shareholders and providing the best career experiences for our people.”

Accenture confirmed that there is no change to the business outlook for the fourth quarter and full fiscal year 2019 that the company provided as part of its third-quarter fiscal 2019 earnings announcement on June 27, 2019.

Julie Sweet

Julie Sweet, 51, is currently chief executive officer of Accenture in North America, the company’s largest geographic market, representing almost 50% of Accenture’s global revenues. As a member of Accenture’s Global Management Committee for nearly a decade, Sweet has played an integral role in the company’s business and investment strategy. Sweet was Accenture’s general counsel, secretary and chief compliance officer for five years, serving as principal counsel to senior leadership and the board of directors, and was actively involved in executing the company’s M&A strategy and many of its largest and most complex commercial transactions.

Outside of Accenture, Sweet is a leader on topics including innovation, technology’s impact on business, and inclusion and diversity. To address the critical skills gap in America and to create an inclusive innovation economy, she is working with leaders in business, education and government to create a national professional apprenticeship movement.

Sweet serves on the board of directors of Catalyst and is a member of the TechNet Executive Council. She is also a member of the Business Roundtable, a group of chief executive officers of major U.S. corporations formed to promote pro-business public policy, and previously served on its board of directors and as chair of the Technology Committee.

Prior to joining Accenture in 2010, Sweet was a partner for 10 years in the law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Claremont McKenna College and a Juris Doctor from Columbia Law School.

David Rowland

David Rowland, 58, was named interim chief executive officer of Accenture on Jan. 10, 2019. Throughout his 36-year career with the company, Rowland has held significant leadership roles and played a major role in shaping Accenture’s growth strategy. Prior to his appointment as interim chief executive officer, he served as Accenture’s chief financial officer since July 2013. Rowland is a longstanding member of Accenture’s Global Management Committee, and served on the board and as Audit Committee chair for Avanade, a joint venture of Accenture and Microsoft. Prior to being named chief financial officer, Rowland served for more than six years as Accenture’s senior vice president of Finance and chaired Accenture’s Operations Council.

Renault Announces Nationwide “Monsoon Camp” Across Indian Market


Renault India, the number one European automotive brand in India, in continuance of its commitment to enhance customer satisfaction with a superlative brand ownership experience, has announced the commencement of a nationwide after-sales service initiative, 'Renault Monsoon Camp' till July 14, 2019 at all Renault Service facilities across India.

The week-long Monsoon camp will offer a comprehensive check-up for all Renault cars across 450+ service touchpoints. Trained and well-qualified service technicians would provide utmost care and expert attention that is needed for the vehicles. As per the guidelines stipulated by Renault India, the seven-day Monsoon camp will include a detailed examination of all key functions of the car to ensure necessary actions can be taken for optimal performance of the vehicle.

Renault India will also offer exclusive benefits to its customer under the Monsoon camp. Renault customers can avail up to 50% discount on select accessories, 10% discount offers on select parts, 15% discount on labour charges and other value-added services. Renault India will also provide 10% discount on ‘Renault Secure’ which offers Extended Warranty and Roadside Assistance. The company will also offer an exclusive plan on ‘Renault Assured’ to facilitate the customers with insurance renewal solutions.

In addition to the check-up facilities and free car top wash, Renault India will provide a host of other value-added benefits like special discounts on tyres (select brands) and 5% discount on engine oil replacement. Also, MyRenault app registered users will get additional 5% discount on select parts & accessories during this period. Several fun-filled activities will be organized for customers with assured gifts, making it a memorable and cherishing experience for them.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Ratnadeep Opens its First Super Retail Outlet in Indira Nagar; Plans to Open 6 More Outlets in the City


Ratnadeep opened their 1st store in Bengaluru, at Indira Nagar. The store was inaugurated by Sandeep Agrawal, MD and the film actor Kajal Aggarwal. The Hyderabad-based brand is unique and special in the supermarket store format as they have better advantage in terms of product navigation and customer friendly visual representation of the products on display. They currently have 54 operational stores and many more in the pipeline.

The store offers superlative customer convenience and a pleasant shopping experience to Bangaloreans. The imported fruits, vegetables and products stocked in the regular segment come with the assurance of best quality and price ‘‘The imported assortment, Stock Keeping Units and quality merchandise are an added advantage with easy availability and proven authenticity of different brands compared with what is available in the general market and other stores’’ said Sandeep Agarwal Managing Director, Ratnadeep Supermarket.

By the end of 2020, they aim to establish an addition of 10 – 12 stores in Bengaluru along with 25 stores in the twin cities. Talking about the growth of Ratnadeep, Sandeep Agrawal said, ‘‘In 3 years only, Ratnadeep has opened 30 stores and aims to have a total of 100 stores nation-wide by 2020. The company will be employing over 4000 people out of which 60% of their employees will be women. Ratnadeep is expecting to reach a 1000cr turnover with a CAGR of 30% by the end of 2020.’’

MSI Announces Attractive Discount Schemes on Amazon.in and Flipkart.com Up to Rs 25,000 on Gaming and Laptops


Finding a good laptop that fits into the configuration and features’ checklist and doesn’t burn a hole in the pocket can be quite a task. Be it the gamers, who are looking for speed and quick cooling fixes or the creators looking to complete that perfect portrait; the Gaming and Prestige series laptops by MSI are the one-stop solution.

MSI, the world leading gaming brand and the most trusted name in gaming and e-Sports industry, has announced attractive discounts on its laptop portfolio as part of Amazon Prime Days Sale & Flipkart’s Big Shopping Day Sale.

‘We are pleased to be a part of one of the most anticipated sale days of the biggest e-commerce platforms in the country. This participation is one of our key steps as we look forward to open more stores in India and tie-up with more retailers to make our latest products available and accessible for the Indian consumers. As MSI’s brand value and dedication leverage the most innovative products for its customers, we look forward to create one of the most trusted brands in India looking at its immense potential and rapid growth in the gaming sector’, commented Mr. Green Lin, Regional Marketing Manager, MSI.

The upcoming Amazon Prime Days Sale is one the most anticipated two days for prime members.  For the third time in a row, to give its customers an experience and choices of its virtual collection, Amazon is offering users to experience the products they plan to purchase in VR ahead of Prime Day 2019. Customers in Delhi NCR, Bengaluru, Chennai, Pune, Hyderabad, and Kolkata are able to see products in virtual reality already and can make their respective purchases on the days of the sale.

With a wide variety of laptops to choose from, MSI offers a true value for its product.

Muthoot M George Foundation Launches Muthoot Vivaha Sammanam


Muthoot Finance Ltd., India's largest gold loan company through its Corporate Social Responsibility arm Muthoot M George Foundation launches Muthoot Vivaha Sammanam.

Under the project, Muthoot Vivaha Sammanam, the company will provide financial assistance of Rs. 1 lakh each to 20 girls from Bangalore and suburbs, getting married between August and December, 2019. Daughters of financially deprived widows, getting married are eligible for the grant. Also, the household monthly income should be less than Rs.10,000.

Speaking about the grants, Mr. George M.Alexander, Exceutive Director of  The Muthoot Group said, “Marriage expenses in India is a major challenge for economically weak households, supporting such families with financial assistance through Muthoot M. George Foundation, is our way of giving back to the society.”

These grants can be availed by the mother of the eligible girls by filling an application with a letter from Local Councilor/Panchayat member/MLA recommendation certifying the case. Marriage invitation or letter indicating the date of marriage with any other document proving the genuineness of the application should also be attached.

Muthoot Vivahasammanam is ONE OF THE IMPORTANT   CSR ACTIVITY  of  The Muthoot Group providing financial aid for marriage assistance. The project was started in Kerala. The scheme has already been implemented in Kottayam, Idukki, Pathanamthitta ,Alappuzha, Thrissur, Ernakulam ,Kollam and Trivandrum districts. In FY 2018-19 the company spent a total of Rs.1,13,84,000/- as marriage assistance.

The application envelope should be clearly marked ‘Application for Marriage Gift’. The applications are to be sent at: Zonal Office, Muthoot Finance Ltd., Bangalore North Regional Office, UCF Centre, 84/3, First Floor, III block, HBR layout, Hennur Main Road, Lingarajapuram, St. Thomas Town Post, Bangalore 560 084.

Top 10 States have 83% Penetration of Outstanding Portfolio: Equifax-SIDBI Study


“Microfinance Plus”, a quarterly publication by Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) and Equifax revealed growth in overall volume in loan disbursement by 20% in FY18. From the overall industry’s gross loan portfolio, 83% was contributed by top 10 states, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu being the highest by contributing 35% of the top 10 states.

Key highlights:

•          As of March 31, 2019, MFIs provide micro credit to over 6.40 crores clients
•          The microfinance portfolio represents a growth of 40% over FY18. NBFC-MFIs account 37% of total portfolio having the largest share of portfolio in micro-credit followed by banks.
•          40% NBFC-MFIs have the highest number of unique live customers; loan disbursement saw 20% growth from FY18 to FY19 while an average ticket size per loan has increased by 13% Year-on-Year (Y-o-Y) to reach Rs. 31,623.
•          Portfolio outstanding as of March 31, 2019 grew by 40% while NBFC-MFIs witnessed the highest growth at 49% across sectors.
•          25% of portfolio outstanding was comprised by top 30 districts out of 619.
•          Puducherry has the highest concentration of active MFI borrowers by population at 14% followed by Tripura at 11% and Tamil Nadu at 9%

On the launch, Mohammad Mustafa, IAS, Chairman & Managing Director, SIDBI said, “The second volume of Microfinance Pulse is continuation of strong collaboration between SIDBI and Equifax to bring the latest Microfinance sector trends to industry and policy makers alike. The growth in the overall microfinance portfolio is encouraging.”

KM Nanaiah, Managing Director, Equifax Credit Information services Ltd. and Country Leader, Equifax India and MEA said, “Microfinance is systemically important to Indian financial services industry. It is interesting to see penetration trends across states with top 10 states having 83% market share of outstanding portfolio. We are glad to partner with SIDBI for a report that looks into the future prospects in the microfinance sector.”

The SIDBI-Equifax quarterly study revealed 20% growth of volume in loan disbursements.  Highest number of loans as of FY19 are disbursed in 20,000-30,000 ticket size category followed by 30,000-40,000 ticket size category whereas ticket size category of 50,000-60,000 saw the highest increase by 67% from FY18 to FY19.

“Microfinance pulse” also states geographical concentration that reported 83% growth in disbursed amount of top 10 states by the microfinance industry’s gross loan portfolio. West Bengal and Tamil Nadu contribute 34.7% of the top 10 states. Amongst the top states, West Bengal, Tami Nadu, Bihar, and Karnataka are having portfolio of more than 15,000 crore, indicating a highly concentrated market.

Microfinance Pulse aims to provide insights on trends in the Indian Microfinance industry – from disbursements to delinquencies to top growing states and top loan categories.

Barracuda Launches Cloud Security Guardian for Microsoft Azure


Barracuda, a leading provider of cloud-enabled security solutions, today announced the general availability of Cloud Security Guardian for Microsoft Azure. This agentless Software-as-a-Service solution provides end-to-end visibility into the security posture of public cloud workloads, ensures continuous compliance, and automates remediation of security incidents.

Cloud Security Guardian is another example of Barracuda’s significant emphasis on their build-with motion with Microsoft. It leverages Microsoft’s Security Graph API to provide security scores and alerts to identify and prevent security policy violations that can often turn into threats. Cloud Security Guardian also integrates with Microsoft’s Azure Firewall.

Why Cloud Security Guardian

According to Gartner analysis, by 2020, 80 percent of cloud breaches will be due to customer misconfiguration, mismanaged credentials, or insider theft, and not cloud provider vulnerabilities. To address this problem, organizations need a solution that watches over security and compliance, so developers can focus on building applications.

“Cloud Security Guardian for Microsoft Azure bridges the requirements of two worlds — that of the CISO or security expert and that of the cloud developer — to enable organizations to rapidly develop and deploy new cloud products and workloads in Azure while remaining confident their infrastructure is secure,” said Fleming Shi, Chief Technology Officer at Barracuda.

How Cloud Security Guardian Works

Cloud Security Guardian is pre-loaded with security policies built on CIS Benchmarks, and it is certified by CIS. Among its key features are an interactive map of an organization’s cloud ecosystems, simplified drill-downs and relationship identifiers, and automated remediation for security policy violations.

Cloud Security Guardian differs from other security compliance solutions because it can automatically deploy, configure, and operationalize CloudGen Firewalls and CloudGen WAFs when it assesses a security need — therefore, enhancing the security framework.

These orchestration and security management capabilities also extend to Microsoft’s Azure Firewall, which Cloud Security Guardian can deploy and configure when it encounters security situations that require it.

What organizations are saying about Cloud Security Guardian

“Cloud Security Guardian’s Cloud Security Profile Management product is certified by CIS, and we’re pleased to work with Barracuda on an initiative that helps organizations implement and stay current on the recognized best practices for securing IT systems and data in the public cloud,” said Michelle Peterson, Product Owner, CIS Benchmarks.

“During our SOC-2 certification, Cloud Security Guardian has been key to identifying any security non-conformance and limiting the additional investment we would have had to make to review all these policies manually,” said Shalomi Levin, Chief Technology Officer at Perception Point, whose threat detection platform runs in the cloud. “Cloud Security Guardian simplifies the whole process.” 

Subex and Rhino Niger Networks Sign Partnership to Offer Telecom Analytics Solutions in Africa


Subex, a leading telecom analytics solution provider, announced a strategic partnership with Rhino Niger Networks to cater to the digital transformation demands within the African markets. This partnership comes at a time when governments across the continent have announced their plans and aspirations to go digital.

Rhino Niger Networks offers digital services covering assurance, fraud prevention, network data governance amongst others. The primary goal of this partnership will be to leverage on Subex’s technical expertise coupled with Rhino’s local presence and understanding of the Nigerian and African market at large. The collaboration will act as a catalyst to drive the adoption and application of digital products and solutions, as well as enhance customer experiences.

Shankar Roddam, Chief Operating Office, Subex added, “Africa is unique by virtue of its diversity, culture and economic challenges. Driving a digitalization initiative in a diverse continent requires a combination of strong technology, robust domain and very good understanding of the nuances of rolling out large scale initiatives.

In line with this, Subex is delighted to be partnering with Rhino Niger Networks. This partnership is based on leveraging complementing competencies and will enable Subex to further strengthen its presence in Nigeria and other African markets. Subex currently holds the highest market share in Africa for our core portfolio. Our expertise in the area of Digital Trust coupled with Rhino Niger Networks understanding of the market and their extensive reach will go a long way in enabling the digital transformation agenda. Our collaboration has already started bearing positive results in terms of a number of key wins and we are confident of greater success in the near future.”

Commenting on the partnership, Russell Osi, Chief Technical Officer, Rhino Niger Networks said: “We are very excited to be working with Subex, who are world class leaders in the telecom industry. Both companies offer complementary operations and share similar values. This partnership underscores our dedication to provide innovative in-class digital capabilities for regulators and other stakeholders in the telecommunications sector in Nigeria.”

FIA Global Forays into Mutual Funds Distribution Segment by Launching Unique Quant and AI Based “FINVESTA”

FIA Global, a leading fintech company in digital payment & distribution systems for last mile financial inclusion in Indian and Nepal, announced its unique quant and AI based advisory & distribution mutual funds platform for the masses,”FINVESTA”.

Targeting low income households, it recommends personalized goal-based investment solutions based on the risk profile and real-life goals of the customer. Unlike other mutual funds distribution platforms, FINVESTA has an embedded intelligent advisory platform, along with profiling engine which packages goal-based solutions by leveraging the technical & fundamental analysis of 3000 growth mutual funds. The completely paperless enrolment process by the application for registering mutual funds makes it very convenient for the masses to invest in a complex product with just a few clicks.

Commenting on launch, Seema Prem, CEO of FIA Technological Services Ltd. (FIA Global) said, “FIA Global since its inception is committed to provide end to end digital solutions to unbanked & underbanked segment of the population. With the launch of FINVESTA, we endeavor to provide easy and accessible platform to people who are not able to invest in sophisticated mutual fund products. Currently, underbanked or FI segment are only saving money in low interest earning products, with this application we believe a person can even generate an average return of 15% on his/her investment for longer term goals leveraging high performing funds.”

We also endeavour to make mutual funds more accessible to every Indian and are targeting 1 mn households by 2020” She added.

As of now, FIA Global through its extensive distribution network in India and Nepal, catering to more than 20 million customers, will be extending the services to underbanked and FI Segment. In future they are also looking to tie up with various industries and segments.

With a digital payment network spanning 622 districts in the country, FIA Tech provides banking and financial services at the door step of customers in underserved low-income households and minorities in India and Nepal. Profitable since inception, company has seen increased adoption of financial services across its range of products – basic banking services, mutual funds advisory and loan sourcing.

Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship Unveils “Kaushal Yuva Samwaad”

 Commemorating World Youth Skills Day on July 15, 2019 and celebrating 4th Anniversary of the Skill India Mission, the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship has announced launch of “Kaushal Yuva Samwaad” (A Youth Dialogue).  To be organized between 8th and 10th July 2019, Kaushal Yuva Samwaad is aimed at creating an open dialogue with the youth across all skill training centres to hear their views, ideas, opportunities and recommendations which could help the Ministry in scaling the existing programs and improve overall efficiency of its projects.

Kaushal Yuva Samwaad is being organized across all Skill India training centres, namely, Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras (PMKK), Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs), Polytechnics, Institutes under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), Jan Shikshan Sansthans, DDU-GKY Centres and other fee-based training centres across the country.  As per the mandate, each training centre must invite a minimum of 20 candidates to participate in the dialogue.  Post the dialogue, the recommendations from the Kaushal Yuva Samwaad are to be submitted to the Ministry via a portal https://www.nsdcindia.org/kys/

Announcing the launch of Kaushal Yuva Samwaad, Dr. Mahendra Nath Pandey, Minister of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship said, “Over the last 5 years, the Government has been able to successfully create the foundation for skill development in the country. We have more than one crore youth joining the mission annually. It is equally imperative for us to understand the perspective of our youth who are our biggest target group. Kaushal Yuva Samvaad will be the platform to discuss potential issues and solutions from the candidates' perspective and will give us the perspective to match aspirations of the youth with the offerings of Skill India.”

Selected candidates will be invited to participate in an open dialogue with the Ministers of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship on July 15, 2019 at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi.  Kaushal Yuva Samwaad aims to create a dialogue between the youth and the Ministry.  It is intended to identify and rectify the gaps so that all skill development programs are aligned to the current demands and help in creating a skilled workforce for the future.

To raise awareness about the importance of investing in youth skills development, the United Nations General Assembly commemorates July 15th every year, as World Youth Skills Day (WYSD). This UN designated day seeks to generate greater awareness of and discussion on the importance of technical, vocational education, and training and development of marketable skills relevant to both local and global economies.

The National Skill Development Mission (Skill India Mission), launched on July 15, 2015 under the esteemed guidance of Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has been steadily making progress.  Nearly One Crore youth are being presently imparted skills training annually under various programs of the Government through Skill India Mission. The mission also envisages convergence, coordination and harmonization of the fragmented skilling efforts of various Ministries in Government of India and other key stakeholders like State Government, Industry, Training ecosystem etc. through the instruments of Common norms, implementation of National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF), data integrations through the Skill India Portal and quality assurance through the SMART (Skill Management and Accreditation of Training Centre) portal.  India is a young nation and a skilled workforce will be able to cater to not only the market demand within the country but also the global market.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

34% Rise in Residential Unit Launches in Bengaluru in H1 2019; Sales Increase by 9% (YoY): Knight Frank Report


Knight Frank India has launched the 11thedition of its flagship half-yearly report - India Real Estate. The report presents a comprehensive analysis of the residential and office market performance across eight citiesfor the period January – June 2019 (H1 2019). The report findings establish that the number of residential launches in Bengaluru increased by 34% in H1 2019 to 20,894 from 15,556 in H1 2018. The housing units sold increasedby 9%YoY in H1 2019 to 28,225.

In H1 2019, Bengaluru's office space leasing touched a new benchmark of 0.77 mnsq m (8.27 mnsqft), a marked spike of 26% over H1 2018. This surpasses all previous half yearly record growth in leasing volume witnessed in Bengaluru’s office market. The city recorded a 107% increase in the number of new office space completions to0.71mnsq m (7.6mnsqft) in H1 2019 from 0.3mnsq m (3.7 mnsqft)in H1 2018.

RESIDENTIAL MARKET HIGHLIGHTS OF BENGALURU:

·         In H1 2019, a total of 20,894 new residential units were launched in Bengaluru registering a 34% upsurge over the year-ago period. Of the total launches in H1 2019, South Bengaluru remained the most favoured belt garnering 40% share of the total pie.

·         As the northern belt witnesses increased leasing of office space and infusion of new office stock, supply in the primary residential market is also increasing in tandem. In H1 2019, North Bengaluru accounted for 28% of overall launches compared to only a 12% share in H1 2018.

·         From 25,803 units in H1 2018 to 28,225 units in H1 2019, sales have increased by 9% YoY. In H1 2019, sales volumeswere robust in the first quarter (June –March) of 2019. However, the sales momentum slowed down in the April–June quarter.South Bengaluru noted the maximum proportion of overall sales with a 42% share with locations such as Kanakpura Road, Electronic City and Sarjapur garnering good sales velocity.

·         New launches in the less than INR 2.5 million category were noted at 18% in H1 2019. Compared to the year-ago period, when this ticket size accounted for only 4% of total new launches, this is a substantial increase in both unit and percentage terms.

·         Ready-to-move in inventory, the right price tag and rationalisation of the GST levy for under-construction properties led to a 14% decrease in the unsold inventory at a city level.

·         The quartersto-sell (QTS) for the city has trimmed down to 8.6 from 10.7 from the year-ago period.

·         North Bengaluru accounted for 26% of the overall sales volume in H1 2019 while East Bengaluru accounted for 23% share.

·         In H1 2019, the weighted average pricing of residential products has largely remained stagnant at INR 51,893 per sq m (INR 4,821 per sq ft), which is only a 2% YoY uptick over H1 2018.

Shantanu Mazumder, Senior Branch Director, Bengaluru said “Ready-to-move-in inventory, the right price tag and rationalisation of GST levied for under-construction properties are the primary reasons for the residential market to bounce back. Steady sales volume has been instrumental in reduction of unsold inventory successively over the past 1.5 years and the same trend continued in H1 2019. The enhanced interest deduction upto INR 3.5 lakhs for purchase of an affordable house valued uptp INR 45 lakhs should provide a boost to the demand from middle class homebuyers for smaller ticket sizes in northern and southern peripheral locations of Bengaluru, mainly along the upcoming metro corridors.”

COMMERCIAL MARKET HIGHLIGHTS OF BENGALURU:

·         During H1 2019, Bengaluru retained its premier position as India's healthiest office market accounting for 31% of total office space leasing across the top eight cities.

·         In H1 2019, Bengaluru's office space leasing touched a new benchmark of 0.77 mnsq m (8.27 mnsqft), a marked spike of 26% over H1 2018.

·         Of the total office space leased in H1 2019, Outer Ring Road accounted for 30% share, the highest of the total pie However, due to low vacancy levels, the leasing share of this micro-market has reduced and the demand spillover is being absorbed by other micro-markets.

·         The Peripheral Business District (PBD) East constituted 21% of total office space leasing in the H1 2019 period.  From an 11% share in city leasing in H1 2018, the share of this micro-market has increased substantially due to resurgence of occupier demand in this belt as the metro construction work progresses. Tenants are flocking to lock long-term leases in PBD East to take the advantage of lower rentals while they still can as once the Metro will become operational, office rents are expected to increase.

·         Apart from Outer Ring Road and PBD East, the Suburban Business District (SBD) accounted for a whopping 20% of overall leasing in H1 2019. On a YoY basis, leasing in SBD has increased by a massive 86%.

·         Information Technology and Information Technology Enabled Services (IT/ITeS) and co-working are two major occupier segments that led to a large leasing volume in SBD compared to the previous periods.

·         The IT/ITeS sector retained its foremost spot accounting for 48% of the overall leasing volume in H1 2019. On a YoY basis, this is a 60% increase over the H1 2018 period.

·         Co-working constituted for a 20% share in overall leasing in H1 2019. In a bid to augment existing co-working infrastructure, many co-working operators are leasing multiple spaces in Bengaluru’s prime business hubs to cater to multinational corporations’ (MNCs) mixed portfolio strategies of fixed and flexible workspaces.

·         The co-working sector garneredleasing of 0.15 mnsq m (1.69 mnsqft) in H1 2019.

·         Manufacturing and Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) accounted for 8% and 6% share, respectively. Other Services sector accounted for a cumulative 38% share in overall leasing volume.

·         Office space vacancy continues to maintain status quo and was pegged at 4.1% at the end of the H1 2019 period.

·         The weighted average transacted rentals for Bengaluru surged by 14% YoY and were noted at nearly INR 856/sq m/month (INR 79.6/sq ft/month) during this period.

Shantanu Mazumder, Senior Branch Director, Bengaluru said “The H1 2019 period has been a very significant one for new supply infusion in Bengaluru as the city witnessed the highest ever volume of new completions since the past nine years. The remarkable performance of Bengaluru's office sector bodes well for upcoming periods and with a huge supply pipeline with expected completions in the next three years, the strong momentum of office space leasing should continue. PBD East is a micro-market to watch out for as upcoming metro completion has led occupiers to reconsider expansion in this belt and office space consumption in locations around Whitefield and Brookfield has been increasing steadily.”

TECNO Forays into the E-Commerce Space with its Flagship Offering ‘PHANTOM 9’


TECNO Mobile, the global premium smartphone brand today announced its plan to enter the E-commerce space with the launch of Global Flagship ‘PHANTOM 9’ to be available on Flipkart. During the Global partner summit which was held at Andaz Aerocity, the event also marked the live signing ceremony of ‘renewed multi-year Global partnership’ between Premium mobile phone brand, TECNO Mobile, and the Premier League’s Manchester City. The representatives of both the brands also celebrated the Kick-off ceremony of 60-day ‘TECNO Race to Manchester City’ challenge begins today on 10th July 2019 and ends on 7th September 2019.

In the event today, the brand revealed their philosophy of ‘Expect More’ and emphasized on India being their priority market by underlining the brand’s commitment to provide masses with access to advance technology at attractive price-points, allowing them to reach beyond their current limitations and uncover a world of possibilities.

Globally, TECNO portfolio consist of three key series: ‘SPARK’ is with AI bright camera (great camera features especially in low light environment) for youth, ‘CAMON’ the popular camera-centric series with outstanding selfie camera features and ‘PHANTOM’ being the brand’s flagship series. TECNO ‘Phantom 9’ is the right balance of ‘Style’ and ‘Performance’. It is designed for today’s tech savvy millennials, who do not want to compromise on style along with advanced features without putting a hole in their pockets. PHANTOM 9 has many ‘Firsts’ to its credit. It is the first smartphone to have an in-display Fingerprint sensor under 15K segment. It is also the first smartphone to come with Dual Front Flashlight along with a dot notch screen on a smartphone. First to come out with Aurora inspired styling.

Mr. Marco Ma, Chief Operating Officer TRANSSION India sharing his vision & perspective towards the Indian market, said, “India is a top priority market for us as a part of overall expansion plans for South Asia region. In H2, our key focus will be to expand the global portfolio in India. Out of which ‘Phantom’ has been our flagship product globally by virtue of its innovative features that validate our R&D prowess. We will introduce some of our other global series soon.  Additionally, we will also be developing ‘India-first’ product portfolio basis local consumer insights.”

Talking about the Flipkart partnership he said, “We are expanding our presence in India and want to reach out to all our consumers across the length and breadth of the country. Our partnership with Flipkart will be instrumental in making TECNO range of smartphones available PAN India.”

To celebrate the launch of TECNO on Flipkart Mr. Aditya Soni, Senior Director - Mobiles at Flipkart said, "Flipkart is focused on bringing the best in class propositions from the strongest brands in the world to our customers. The mid premium segment in India demands superior features at aggressive price points and the launch of the new Phantom series, has the potential to be a great fit for consumers. The 3-year association which Flipkart and TECNO will enter into will result in a superior product and service offering for Indian consumers."

Speaking at the celebration event, Damian Willoughby, Senior Vice President of Partnerships at City Football Group, said: “Manchester City prides itself on partnering with some of the world’s leading organizations, so we are thrilled to be announcing the renewal of our established partnership with TECNO Mobile. During the past three years, we have collaborated on a number of exciting initiatives that has engaged, connected and entertained our global fan base, particularly in India. TECNO have consistently demonstrated their love of football, creating some unique experiences for fans and this is evidenced with more than 20,000 people signing up to the TECNO Race to Manchester City. This country specific initiative is a fantastic example of two partners working together in a creative way and we’re delighted to be continuing this successful partnership.”

Some key highlights of PHANTOM 9 include

Introduces in-display fingerprint sensor
PHANTOM 9 becomes the first smartphone under 15k segment to offer in-display fingerprint sensor. It incorporates photosensitive fingerprint technology and uses lens under the screen for faster and safer screen unlocking.

Go limitless with the AI triple rear camera
The PHANTOM 9 comes packed with a premium triple rear camera setup available today in smartphones. It is an integration of a 16MP primary camera with large f/1.8 aperture, 2MP depth-sensing lens perfectly suited for real portraits and the icing on the cake is an additional 8MP 120° Ultra-Wide Lens, which has a special feature of microspur supports focusing on objects within 2.5 cm. It also come equipped with Google Lens features, for smart identification of objects automatically popping up all the relevant information for your easiest reach.

Shun limits, beat low lighting with AI selfie camera
If selfies tickle your fancy, this is surely your go-to gadget. The front camera of PHANTOM 9 is equipped with 32MP High resolution selfie camera which uses the second generation of camera technology 4-in-1 pixel which ensures high-definition resolution. The Hair Crack Dual Flashlight ensures brighter, more stunning selfies irrespective of any scene, especially low light ones.

Enjoy an unmatched, full-fledged view
Streaming video is a delightful experience on PHANTOM 9, with its 6.4-inch screen and19.5:9 Dot Notch display. Enriched with a FHD+ AMOLED, 600 Nits brightness and 91.47% screen to body ratio, it gives more screen space that allows users to see more. In landscape mode, watching movies, TV shows, and games becomes much more engaging. In short, multi-task like a pro, even on-the-go! 
Adorned with beautiful design
It will not be wrong to say that PHANTOM 9 is the most good-looking smartphone in the segment. The 3D back cover outlines the magnificent interplay of nano-holographic lines of light & rain jazzing up the auroras with a mystifying S-pattern. The device is definitely slender with 7.75 mm and ultra-lighter at just 164 gm weight. The optimized body arc curvature at 40 degrees, fluidic design at corners and smoother edges are pre-designed to feel easy and smooth in the hand.

Keep clicking and never mind space with great storage options
So if storage has been placing a ban on your addiction to click, it’s about time you shun the inhibitions. Go out more than ever and click all that you like with PHANTOM 9. Powered by a 2.3GHz Octa-Core Helio P35 processor, based on 12nm technology coupled with 6GB RAM and 128GB of internal storage, the performance of this exclusive device is incredibly reliable. The 12nm technology help is making the smartphone faster and power efficient. Use up all that storage you think you need because the phone also comes with a further expandable memory by up to 256GB via a dedicated microSD card slot.

Binge in on unplugged photography; Don’t worry battery back-up & charge
The PHANTOM 9 is packed with a 3500mAh battery so as to ensure your handset does not quite run out of charge while you indulge in some unplugged photographic experiences.

Own it at a price that’s absolute value for your money
The TECNO PHANTOM 9 priced at INR 14999 will be available via Flipkart India starting July’17. All TECNO smartphones come with an exceptional promise of “111” under which a consumer is entitled to a 1-time screen replacement for six months, 100 days’ free replacement, and 1-month extended warranty.

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