Saturday, March 9, 2019

Bangalore Toastmasters Club Celebrates Womens Day at Loyola Hall

Bangalore Toastmasters Club (BTMC) celebrated women’s day at their meeting held on 8th March 2019. The program was organized at Loyola Hall at St. Marks Road in Bangalore.

Toastmasters International is a non-profit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs. Headquartered in Englewood, Colo., the organization's membership exceeds 357,000 in more than 16,600 clubs in 143 countries. Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people from diverse backgrounds become more confident speakers, communicators, and leaders.

Bangalore Toastmasters Club is the second oldest club in India and was founded in 1997. The club is the largest in the nation with over 90 members and meet every Friday from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at Aashirwad Center, next to MTR Restaurant, St.Mark's Road, Bangalore.

The meeting was led by TM Deepika Das Pereira, the Vice President – Public Relations of the Club. They had special invitee distinguished Toastmasters (DTM) Gauri Seshadri who is currently Regional 13 Advisor and was the first woman Director of District 92 as the General Evaluator. Speaking on the sidelines of the event, she said “There is no better way to improve and hone your communication and leadership skills than in a fun and safe environment like Bangalore Toastmasters Club – the largest Toastmasters Club in India.”

DTM Sumithra Manamohan who was the first female Distinguished Toastmaster in Bangalore, the first woman president of BTMC and the first public relations officer at the district 92 was also present at the event. She further added “True empowerment is when women enjoy freedom of speech. Bangalore Toastmasters Club, an equal opportunity club was seen in its true glory today when all women’s meeting was held to celebrate International Women’s Day. The male members, not to be left behind, were given their chance to speak their mind on women related issues. It was truly a memorable meeting.”

Speaking on the ocassion, TM Melvyn Smith, the President of BTMC said “Our club is well known in the Toastmaster circles and it lived up to its name for having yet another meeting which will be remembered for a long time! I was delighted with the large turnout and positive buzz. Our VP-PR, Deepika Das pulled off yet another meeting in style as the compere. Her eloquence is wow and energy infectious. All role takers were women who inspired and reignited our belief in women power.”

TM Rita Saldanha Das welcomed the gathering. TM Neha Singh, TM Ankita Mehta, TM Deepti Varma and TM Zarine George delivered their prepared speeches, while TM Smitha Roshy, TM Theresa Madtha, TM Vanitha R and DTM Sumitra Manamohan evaluated the speeches. TM Dikshita Mehta was the Table Topics Master for the evening.

S.K. Joshi, Chief Secretary of Telangana Visits Corteva Agriscience’s Multi-Crop Research Centre in Hyderabad

Shailendra Kumar Joshi, Chief Secretary of Telangana, visited the Multi-Crop Research Centre (MCRC) of Corteva Agriscience, the agriculture division of DowDupont, in Hyderabad today. This important agriculture R&D centre enables the company to bring new technological advancements to improve the productivity of farmers in India and globally. The facility pioneers technological advancements such as molecular breeding and doubled haploids for the development of high-quality hybrids suited to local and international growing conditions.

Shailendra Kumar Joshi, Chief Secretary of Telangana, said, “Agriculture has a significant role in socio-economic fabric of India. I am pleased to visit the Corteva Agriscience research facility today to learn about the latest in agricultural advancements. In today's complex and competitive agricultural environment, superior research is essential for sustainable crop improvements and better farming methodologies which will encourage the ongoing development of rural farming communities in our state”.

Dr. K.V. Subbarao, Managing Director, South Asia, at Corteva Agriscience, said, “Corteva Agriscience is delighted to be able to showcase our R&D capabilities to the Chief Secretary in how we are applying science to develop higher yielding products to meet agricultural challenges and changing climates. The MCRC research facility in Hyderabad provides sustainable agricultural solutions used by millions of farmers across the country to help maximise their productivity and profitability through higher yields. The MCRC facility plays a crucial role in understanding regional challenges, weather changes, soil types and applying science to develop higher yielding products suitable to the Indian environment”.

Picture1 photo caption (L to R): Dr KV Subbarao, Managing Director, South Asia, Corteva Agriscience; Dr. Shailendra Kumar Joshi, Chief Secretary of Telangana; Ajai Kumar, Head of Government and Industry Affairs, South Asia at Corteva Agriscience; and Anand Pandravada, Research Director, Asia Plant Breeding

Picture 2 photo caption: Dr. Shailendra Kumar Joshi, Chief Secretary of Telangana visiting Coreteva Agriscience Multi crop research center, a state of art research facility. Seen with Dr. KV Subbarao, Managing Director, South Asia, at Corteva Agriscience

About Corteva Agriscience, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont

Corteva Agriscience, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont, is intended to become an independent, publicly traded company when the previously announced spinoff is complete by June 2019. The division combines the strengths of DuPont Pioneer, DuPont Crop Protection and Dow AgroSciences. Corteva Agriscience provides growers around the world with the most complete portfolio in the industry — including some of the most recognized brands in agriculture: Pioneer, Encirca, the newly launched Brevant Seeds, as well as award-winning Crop Protection products — while bringing new products to market through our solid pipeline of active chemistry and technologies. More information can be found at

Prachi Garg to Release Latest Novel ‘Legends of a Start-Up Guy’ in Bangalore

India's leading adventure travel influencer, women entrepreneur and award winning author Prachi Garg will release her latest novel ‘Legends of a Start-Up Guy’ at a formal book launch event to be held at Sapna Book House, Residency Road in Bangalore on Sunday, 10th March 2019 at 5:00 pm. The book has been published by New Delhi based publishing house, Srishti Publishers & Distributors and is priced at Rs. 175 /- .

“Bangalore is a city that is very close to my heart. I have been here a few times in the past for the launch of my previous books and the city has been extremely welcoming to me. It is an honour for me to be back for the launch of my latest book. I am thrilled and eagerly looking forward to sharing my exciting experiences with the people of Bangalore” Said Prachi Garg

Prachi is the founder of Ghoomophiro, which is an organization that promotes women travel and is completely run by women only. They run and promote all women tours, where they try to accommodate and empower maximum number of women vendors ( Drivers, tour guides , cooks etc). They also promote solo women travel and plan out complete tours for them.

Prachi Garg started her travel journey with her sister Himadri Garg in early 2007. In the past 12 years, the two sisters have travelled to the most remote and unexplored parts of the country. In the year 2010 she decided to take her passion to the next level to help other solo women also chase their travel dreams. This eventually lead to the birth of their travel start-up

Prachi’s book, ‘The Legends of a Start-up Guy’ is a tale of someone who was born with a silver spoon and yet, decided to write his own destiny, on his own terms and to bring meaning to his existence out of the shadows of his lineage. It is the story of how an entrepreneur is born, the story of his challenges, and his actions to sail through them, carefully interwoven with stories from the Hindu mythology, to bring to the table the wisdom of the gods.

In the past, Prachi  has authored  books like ”Superwomen”, the book that talks about the journeys of women entrepreneurs, "Supercouples" which is about couple-preneurs and their journey of balancing the relationship and work. “Supersiblings” was the 3rd in series and captures the essence of sibling and startup together. All her books feature many leading business tycoons from across the country

Prachi has interacted with students across over 50 colleges in India. She has delivered lectures at many IIT's, IIM's and many leading premiere institutes across the country. She has spoken across topics that include entrepreneurship, travel, writing, motivation, goal setting etc.

Blurb of the book:

‘Legends of a Start-Up Guy’ is a tale of Ganesha. Ganesha is jovial, intelligent and the youngest in the family. A foodie by heart and laid back by nature, always looking for ways to make life easier. Despite being born to the all-powerful Shiva and Parvati, with Uncle Vishnu and aunts Lakshmi and Saraswati to back him at every point in life, he has to battle through many ups and downs to establish his individual identity, just like his accomplished brother, Skanda. Under layers of perfection, benevolence and jovial extravaganza was a young boy battling to be found for who he really was.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Quantum Has Appointed Liz King as the New Chief Revenue Officer

Quantum Corp. has announced that Elizabeth (Liz) King has joined the company as Chief Revenue Officer. King brings more than 25 years of experience in global sales, with leadership positions spanning enterprise, public sector and telecom industries in over 30 countries. A veteran in the information technology market, she has held key executive leadership roles in sales, general management, product management, services, marketing, supply chain and operations on a global scale.

“Liz has been successful at seizing market opportunities and driving sales teams to achieve profitable revenue growth for some of the most respected companies in Silicon Valley,” said Jamie Lerner, President and CEO of Quantum. “She has a deep understanding of datacenter infrastructure - including servers, storage, networking, software, and as-a-service offerings – in addition to systems integration, high performance computing, data analytics and complex public sector projects. It speaks volumes that Quantum is attracting this caliber of talent and I’m delighted that we’ll have her extensive experience to accelerate Quantum’s transformation and bring our solutions to customers worldwide.”

King previously held the role of senior vice president, SGI Worldwide Sales for Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), which she joined when the company acquired Silicon Graphics International (SGI) in 2016. Prior to SGI she was vice president of strategic alliances for IBM and global systems integrators at Juniper Networks. Before Juniper, she was vice president and general manager of the Hitachi Server Group of Hitachi Data Systems where she was responsible for sales, marketing, operations and customer delivery of Hitachi servers and solutions.

King was previously with Alcatel-Lucent (ALU), serving as vice president, strategic alliances and new business development, global sales. In that role she built ALU's global relationships and drove incremental sales with strategic alliance partners, achieving growth in new and existing markets including enterprise, public sector and regional mobility networks. King also held key senior worldwide sales and business development roles at Sun Microsystems, Raytheon, and Texas Instruments.

King earned a MBA in management from the University of Dallas and holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Lehigh University.

“Quantum touches people’s lives every day in surprising ways.  Some of the world’s largest brands create and protect on Quantum – it’s there behind your favorite television show and supporting the development of the safest self-driving vehicles or the latest medical advances,” said Liz King, Chief Revenue Officer, Quantum. “I’m excited about the potential I see to extend the company’s reach, and to touch society in so many impactful ways.”

Tata Motors Mobile Service Van Brings Convenient Service Solutions at Your Door Step

Committed to providing quality after sales service and increasing customer satisfaction, Tata Motors has bolstered its program of Mobile Service Vans (MSV). Known as Tata Care Mobile Service Van (Car Assist and Repair Expert) - a service for customers on the go, the Company is offering convenient service solutions across 42 locations in multiple cities.

Tata Care is designed to provide periodical services (schedule free and paid services) to Tata Motors’ passenger vehicles. Through Tata Care, multiple service vans are deployed to fulfill the requirements of customers on the go or for customers who are not able to travel to the nearest service station. All periodical services can be availed at a customer’s doorstep through a team of specially trained mechanics.

Commenting on Tata Care, Mr. Subhajit Roy, Senior General Manager & Head Customer Care, Tata Motors said  "Tata Care is an initiative that is aimed at providing convenience and ease to customers for their basic servicing needs across India. It aims to provide the convenience to those customers, who are unable to get their vehicles serviced regularly due to paucity of time or their inability to visit the service centers. Keeping our customers at the centre of our business and encouraging them to keep their vehicles healthy, we have curated customized offerings that will work towards strengthening and improving our customer service initiatives. With and aim to better our services, Tata Motors will continue to innovate and build solutions which are aimed at increasing convenience and offering world-class after sales services.”

 To enable this service customers can visit the online booking section*on the Tata Motors Service website. These service vehicles are easy to locate as they are fitted with trackers to provide real time data to dealerships. The dealerships are then able to provide the location of the nearest service van to its customers thus providing a seamless and convenient experience. In addition to MSVs, the online booking also offers pick up and drop facility of the vehicle from the residence of the customer.

Successfully operating across 38 cities in India, Tata Care’s mobile service vans also act as a revenue generation medium for channel partners and help decongesting workshops which results in quicker turnaround time for vehicles with longer servicing needs.

In a constant endeavor to offer its customers with world-class after sales services, Tata Motors has secured a clear second rank with a score of 874 (above industry average of 838) in the prestigious J.D. Power CSI Study. In its 22nd year, the study measures new-vehicle owner satisfaction with the after-sales service process by examining dealership performance in five factors (listed in order of importance): service quality (30%); service initiation (18%); service facility (18%); service advisor (17%); and vehicle pick-up (17%).

Tata Motors has a countrywide presence with over 575 touchpoints, catering to customers with its large network of workshops and provides seamless quality-driven service to its customers.

Trend Micro India Seeks to Further Reward and Engage Channel Partners in 2019

Trend Micro Incorporated, a global leader in cybersecurity solutions, recently held its annual Channel Partner Day event in the scenic mountains of Gangtok, Sikkim. The three-day event, attended by business leaders, CEOs, and heads of various organizations, featured engaging sessions on the changing security landscape in India, securing the connected world, and addressing the skill shortage; and an update on the new partner program initiatives by the company.

Building on the momentum around the TrendSetter Channel Rewards Program launched in 2018, the company looked to further incentivize its channel partners’ sales and technical teams for selling its strategic solutions.

Nilesh Jain, vice president, Southeast Asia and India, Trend Micro, said, “We have always been a channel-focused company and try to deliver all our solutions through the channel. Our channel partners are part and parcel of Trend Micro’s success so far, and we plan to do more with them. Now, we are trying to build an ecosystem where we leverage our channel partners’ security operations centers (SOCs) and existing capabilities, and work together with them to deliver innovative solutions to the customers. Our end goal is to grow together with the channel partners, creating a win-win situation.”

At the event, Trend Micro also officially announced the availability of managed detection and response (MDR) services in India, an outsourced service to enterprises looking to deepen their threat-hunting and investigation capabilities. Addressing the shortage of cybersecurity professionals in the country, MDR augments a company’s existing security team by providing external expertise and resources to proactively hunt for stealthy threats in an IT environment. By uncovering and stopping such threats early, organizations can potentially avert data breaches.

Nilesh also shared the roadmap and focus areas for India this year. These include Apex One for endpoint security, cloud security for companies operating in the hybrid cloud environment, network defense, virtual patching, and providing even more visibility through connected threat defense – a Trend Micro approach to sharing threat intelligence across the IT environment. The company also saw tremendous growth in endpoint detection and response (EDR) and MDR in India, and had closed a few large enterprise deals around it.

Among Trend Micro’s enterprise customers in India, 33 out of the 40 large banks and seven of the top energy companies rely on its connected threat defense solutions. The top five IT and IT-enabled services (ITES) companies are using its hybrid cloud security solutions, and all the three private telcos have implemented its network security and hosted email security solutions.

One of the highlights of the event was a discussion around Trend Micro’s certification program in IT security (CPITS) - a fully-sponsored, two-month certificate-granting upskilling program recently launched at the company’s state-of-the-art infrastructure training facility in Bangalore. The program equips the computer science and engineering graduates with practical, hands-on knowledge and skills, helping them take advantage of systems engineering job opportunities in the IT security industry and with Trend Micro.

Trend Micro has been identified as an endpoint protection leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Endpoint Protection Platforms since 2002 and is a leader in the IDC MarketScape. Its Deep Discovery solution for network security has also been recognized by the NSS Labs as the “most effective recommended breach detection system” for two consecutive years.

How Enterprises of Today are Promoting Inclusive Workplaces for the Female Workforce

The theme of this year’s International Woman’s Day is #BalanceforBetter, promoting the idea of a gender-balance world. Employment or mere access to employment avenues go a long way in the genesis of a world that is balanced and inclusive. For generations, women have struggled to make their way into the sprawling corporate corridors. However, that story is changing as women claim their share in the workforce of today. Furthermore, several leading enterprises have been supporting the ambition of women by coming up with favourable policies and initiatives for the female workforce. As we celebrate the International Women’s Day 2019, let’s discover the women-friendly initiatives and policies helmed by the leading enterprises in India:

Cybage: 32% of women propelling the engineering force

Women in tech is a rarity but not for the technology consulting organization, Cybage. Determined to create a transparent, unbiased, capability-driven ecosystem in the workplace, the engineering force of Cybage flaunts 32% representation of women a number that has consistently and consciously increased year-on-year.

In addition to the limited representation of women in tech, another hard-hitting fact is a gender wage gap. However, Cybage attempts to rectify the same with a performance-driven appraisal system, ensuring equal pay for equal work. To further ensure proper work-life balance for women employees Cybage offers benefits such as close-by daycare facilities, flexible maternity leave policies, late-night transport services and the provision of additional shadow resources. Ensuring safety at the workplace, the company swears by a zero-tolerance sexual harassment policy in place with a special committee to ensure the enforcement of the same.

Cybage further aspires to achieve a 1:1 ratio in its workforce. However, the dream is difficult to achieve with only 29% of engineering graduates being females in India. Thus, to further the education of girls in the STEM field, the company actively works through its CSR arm, CybageKhushboo. CybageKhushboo has sponsored thousands of students for their higher education, specifically giving birth to a new generation of female engineers with an aim to reduce the gender gap at a country-level and achieve a balance for better.

Satya MicroCapital: All-Women Managed Branches

Another field that largely snubs women workforce is banking and finance. However, India’s leading NBFC-MFI, Satya MicroCapital has 8 dedicated branches that are only managed by the women workforce. Furthermore, these branches are based in the hinterlands of India, in cities like Azamgarh, Varanasi, Balia, Gorakhpur, Sultanpur, Jaunpur, Ghazipur, and Chandauli.

The employees across all of these branches and various zonal business teams are women, including Entrepreneurship Development Officers (EDOs), Branch Heads and Assistant/Deputy Credit Managers, with each team member working in tandem to ensure quick and efficient decision-making and credit disbursements.

The all-women officers in the Easter Uttar Pradesh branches serve as catalysts for uplifting less-privileged women and households socio-economically. In addition, the network of branches and officers also play a crucial role in helping uplift economically backwards and vulnerable women across as many households as possible.

Zoomcar: #SheDrives campaign to ease women’s access to personal mobility

Another populist stereotype insists upon claiming women to be bad drivers. However, Zoomcar is challenging the same stereotype, while easing women’s access to personal mobility. On the occasion of the International Women’s Day, the self-drive car rental company has launched a campaign titled #SheDrives. The campaign encourages more and more women drivers to hit the roads by helping them complete the entire spectrum of learning how to drive via their neighbourhood licensed driving school and helping them own a car by subscribing to one.

Inviting women to conquer the roads, Zoomcar is providing 10 women with 3 months’ free car subscription from ZAP Subscribe. And that’s not all! Those women who wish to subscribe to a car and have procured a driving license in the past 6 months can have their fee reimbursed from Zoomcar as well, simply by showing the receipt of the driving school.

MG Motor: 31% of women in an Auto Major

Carmaker MG (Morris Garages) Motor India has, time and again, showcased its commitment towards diversity and community development. Right from top management to basic job titles, MG has given wings to women by hiring 31% women employees, more than any other auto major. At the corporate office of MG, 166 out of 400 workforce are women on the shop floor. From marketing to product engineering, women workers are charging several pivotal tasks at MG Motor India.

The enterprise has also partnered with PeopleStrong to increase the participation of female professionals across the board ahead of the launch of MG Hector, the brand’s first India-centric product, in Q2 2019. Currently, total women employees are 31% out of 1,200, compared with 26% earlier, and MG plans to take it to 1,500.

MG Motor India also signed MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with IIMPACT, an NGO engaged in providing quality education to the girl child through its learning centres in remote villages across the country. Under the programme, MG Motor India will adopt and support 30 learning centres run by the NGO across India.

Tata Motors Signs an MoU with Wise Travel India to Supply Tigor EVs in New Delhi

Tata Motors has announced the next milestone on its journey of driving electrification, through its partnership with Wise Travel India Pvt Ltd (WTi), to deploy Tigor Electric Vehicles (EVs) in New Delhi. WTi one of the largest and the fastest growing company in People Ground Transportation space catering to B2B customers, will deploy the Tigor EVs in their fleet at Delhi, reinforcing its commitment to service clients while enhancing sustainability. The first batch of Tigor EVs was handed over by the Tata Motors team to Wise Travel India officials, at Concorde Motors, Lajpat Nagar, New Delhi.

Commenting on the deployment of Tigor EVs, Mr. Shailesh Chandra, President – Electric Mobility Business and Corporate Strategy, Tata Motors, said, "We are delighted to partner with WTi on their pragmatic initiative of inducting zero-emission vehicles in their fleet. The Tigor EV, recently awarded as the ‘Electric Car of the Year’ by Assocham India’, will join Wise Travel India’s existing fleet of cars. Tata Motors will continue to work towards bringing aspirational e-mobility solutions for customers, leading the drive towards faster adoption of electric vehicles in the country.”

Tata Motors is playing a leading role in proactively driving the electric mobility in the country. To build a sustainable future for India, the company has been working collaboratively on various electric and hybrid vehicle solutions.

Speaking at the occasion, Mr. Ashok Vashist, CEO Wise Travel India Pvt Ltd, said, “Our business is based on our deep understanding of the opportunity in various people transportation verticals and customers’ expectations from such services. We are committed to support our client’s objective of providing world-class services. The inherent benefits of zero emission and lower operating costs of EVs will help us fulfil the aspirations of our customers economically and sustainably.”

CULT Salutes the Woman of Today as She Shatters the Ceiling!

A world number one athlete, surgeon, combat pilot, top notch businessperson, an actor, biker, the woman of today is breaking free from the confines of tradition and prejudice of the Indian society every single day to emerge and stay on the top. Today, they have spread their wings and are not defined by one role or responsibility - they are not just homemakers but stand shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts in equal or higher roles outside the homes.

On the eve of World Women’s Day, Cult Fitness celebrates the grit and gumption, passion and perseverance of the woman of today and congratulates her achievements and wishes to honour her contribution in making our world a truly better place! Be it a small town or an urban landscape, women are recognising their own talent and stepping out to shatter the ceiling! This Women’s Day, we’re proud to be a part of the society that is witness to women breaking stereotypes and emerge stronger and successful.

After 6 Years Gap, Honda India Brings Back New Civic to Fill Gaps in SUV Portfolio

Honda Cars India expects to end the ongoing financial year with 8 per cent sales growth on account of good performance of its compact sedan Amaze, according to a senior company official.

The company, which has completed the sedan line-up with the launch of the latest version of its Civic sedan priced between Rs 17.7 lakh and Rs 22.3 lakh, is also looking to fill gaps in its SUV line-up going forward to make a bigger presence in the Indian market.

"In the April to February period this fiscal, our sales have grown 6.5 per cent. We expect to sell around 17,000 units in March taking our overall sales to 1.8 lakh units for the year," Honda Cars India Ltd (HCIL) President and Chief Executive Officer Gaku Nakanishi told the media.

He further said it would translate to a growth of 8 per cent from 1.7 lakh units sold last fiscal.

During the ongoing year after a good start, there has been a slowdown in automobile sales in the latter half due to various factors, including floods in Kerala, increase in fuel prices, low finance availability due to liquidity crunch faced by NBFCs.

"Our expectation is that (passenger vehicle) sales in March will be flat for the industry and the overall industry growth will be around 3 per cent, while Honda's will be more than double of that," Nakanishi added.

HCIL's sales growth this fiscal has been primarily driven by compact sedan Amaze, he added.

Commenting on the newly launched Civic, he said, "This completes our sedan portfolio in India."

The all-new Civic comes with both petrol and diesel fuel options. The petrol versions will come with a 1.8-litre engine mated with a CVT (automatic) transmission. The diesel trims will come with a 1.6-litre engine mated to a manual six speed transmission.

According to the company, the petrol variants deliver a fuel efficiency of 16.5 km per litre, while the diesel versions would offer fuel efficiency of 26.8 km per litre.

Honda had discontinued the Civic sedan in India in 2013 after selling around 55,000 units since its launch in 2006. The new Civic in petrol is priced between Rs 17.7 lakh and Rs 21 lakh, while the diesel option comes at a price range of Rs 20.5 lakh to Rs 22.3 lakh (all prices ex-showroom).

The company currently has sedans -- Amaze, City and Accord -- catering to various customers across different price points.

Like the sedans, he said, "We also want to have a complete range of SUV. We know there are gaps in our SUV portfolio which we are working to fill."

Nakanishi, however, did not elaborate when and how many SUVs would be launched in India. The company currently sells compact SUV W-RV, mid-sized B-RV and top end C-RV.

When asked about the hatchback segment, where the company does not have a presence following the discontinuation of its Brio model, Nakanishi said Honda doesn't have plans to fill it at the moment.

The Amaze will continue to be the company's entry-level model, he said adding that "the volumes that we lose out from not having Brio will be made up by sales from models such as the Amaze, Civic and others that we have in our portfolio".

Tamil Nadu Govt to Invest ₹230 Crore to Build Pattabiram IT Park

The Tamil Nadu government will set up a new IT park at a cost of ₹230 crore in north Chennai, a move aimed at creating more technology hubs in the city for job creation.

The project called Pattabiram IT Park will be built and managed by the TIDEL Park.

The Tamil Nadu government on Wednesday granted entry permit for the upcoming IT Park at Avadi-Pattabiram. As part of the permit, the government has given approval to transfer 10 acres of land to TIDEL Park for this project, a statement said.

The construction work is expected to begin in August and the IT Park will be built on 10 acres of a 38.4-acre government land parcel. The proposed facility will have a built-up area of 5 lakh sq ft.

“This project will be completed in 2021 and is set to transform Avadi into an IT hub of international standards, creating a plethora of job opportunities,” State Industries Minister MC Sampath said in the statement.

TIDEL Park has appointed a project engineering management consultant to oversee the execution of the project and it will take 30 months to finish the construction. Once completed, the project is expected to facilitate jobs for over 30,000 people.

“We have handed over the entry permit to TIDEL Park who will prepare the land for construction,” said State Minister for Tamil Development, Tamil Culture and Archaeology K Pandiarajan.

The project will reshape this industrial belt into an IT hub with thriving job opportunities for the people in the west and northern belt of Chennai. Many leading multi-nationals such as CTS and TCS, have already expressed interest in setting up businesses here, he added.

Manipal Fertility Launches ANKUR CLINIC, Affordable Fertility Services for Low Income Couples

Manipal Fertility, chain of infertility centers of Manipal Hospitals, in association with Dr. Bina Vasan Foundation has launched “ANKUR CLINIC”, affordable fertility services, with the aim of helping economically challenged patients to avail infertility treatment. Under this initiative, infertility treatment, particularly IVF that may cost as high as Rs. 2.5 lac will now be offered to poor people with more than 50% discount.

A couple, who have a monthly income of Rs.15,000 or less, can register their name in the Ankur clinic which will be providing comprehensive fertility services for men and women on consultations, blood tests, ultrasound, surgeries at a maximum discounted rate extent of 50%. As many couples will need IVF (regular cost: Rs.2.5 lacs), this procedure is specifically discounted to an all-inclusive price of Rs.1,00,000/- including medicines.

The registration can be done in any Manipal Fertility center across India from Monday to Sunday 8 Am to 12 noon, which will help them avail the subsidised service. The only document to be produced is an Income certificate by revenue officer of the respective State Govt in India.

Dr Vasan S S, CEO and Medical Director, Manipal Fertility, “Male & Female fertility problems are on the rise irrespective of the economical strata. The modern lifestyle being the prime reason for infertility in the upper & middle class segment whereas for poor patients, infections like Tuberculosis, malnourishment, excessive smoking, drinking alcohol, living in a polluted environment, working in industries which are not fertility friendly & lack of awareness of early consultation put those patients on the back foot in seeking fertility services, which are always placed at a higher cost.

With our moto of “FERTILITY FOR ALL“, we believe that the cost of treatment shouldn’t be a hindrance for seeking fertility services. ANKUR CLINIC is our effort to address the issue of affordability of infertility treatment for lower economic strata of the society.” This is line with State and Central Govt policies of inclusive care.

The clinic aims to provide international quality service with success rates better than SART (USA) data and there is no compromise on any aspects of their treatment. Once the couple registers their name under this scheme, they will be given a green card, which will entail them to avail all the discounts under the clinic scheme.

Women Employees in India Earn 19% Less than Men: Monster Survey

Gender pay gap is still high in India, as women in the country earn 19% less than men, and wage inequalities in favour of men are present in all the relevant sectors, a survey said on Thursday.

According to the latest Monster Salary Index (MSI), the current gender pay gap in India stood at 19% where men earned Rs 46.19 more in comparison to women. The median gross hourly salary for men in India in 2018 stood at Rs 242.49, while for women it stood at around Rs 196.3.

According to the survey, the gender pay gap spans across key industries. IT/ITES services showed a sharp pay gap of 26% in favour of men, while in the manufacturing sector, men earn 24% more than women.

Surprisingly, even in sectors like healthcare, caring services, and social work, men earn 21% more than women, even as notionally these sectors are more identified with women, the survey said.

Financial services, banking and insurance is the only industry where men earn just 2% more, it added. Acording to the report, gender pay gap widens with the years of experience. In the initial years, the gender pay gap is moderate but rises significantly as the tenure increases.

For those with over 10 years of experience, the gender pay gap in favour of men reaches the peak, with men earning 15% more than women.In 2018, the gap has narrowed only by 1% from 20% in 2017.

“The narrowing of the gender pay gap by just 1% is not just a cause for concern, but a reminder to genuinely introspect if we are doing enough. It becomes pivotal to galvanize forces across corporates and industries to work towards gender pay parity,” said Abhijeet Mukherjee, CEO,, APAC & Gulf.

Actress Shanvi Srivastava Unveils Bosch & Finish Range of Dishwashing Products in Bangalore

Finish, Reckitt Benckiser’s No.1 Auto-dishwashing detergent brand worldwide, today announced a mega launch in Indian market in partnership with their Global partner Bosch Household Appliances, World’s largest dishwasher brand.

While, Finish has introduced a range of tablets specially designed for auto-dishwashers, keeping in mind the Indian washing needs, Bosch has also designed India specific dishwashers keeping in mind the Indian cooking style that leads to oily kadhai with tough stains to clean.

Shanvi Srivastava unveiled the product range and the “#NoMoreDishStress” campaign by gifting a brand-new dishwasher for her mom to liberate her from dishwashing related stress.

Shanvi Srivastava said, “I am delighted to gift my mom a Bosch dishwasher. The level of cleaning and shine that you get with Dishwashers is in-comparable. I am happy to see that Finish and Bosch have taken this responsibility and through their #NoMoreDishStress will educate the consumer. Dishwashers will soon be the washing machines of our time. Thanks Bosch and Finish for making my Mom’s life simpler”

At the event, Sukhleen Aneja, Marketing Director, South Asia RB Hygiene Home said, we’d like to ignite a dishwashing revolution in India by helping families experience a new level of clean that handwashing dishes can never give. The dishwasher market in India stood at $30 million in 2017 and it is expected to reach $45 million by 2023. #NoMoreDishStress celebrates the technology of Finish tablets together with the Magic of Bosch dishwashers washing dishes that clean with water at 70 Degree Celsius to give consumers a never before hygienic clean.

Gunjan Srivastava, MD and CEO, BSH Household Appliances, said, “Globally, Bosch has been the pioneer in Dishwashers category. While the dishcare category is still at a nascent stage in India, we believe that the category presents a massive opportunity to scale. In the coming years, we plan to build and shape the dishcare category by helping Indian households reimagine dishwashing, with localised features perfected for Indian utensils, a robust route-to-market strategy as well as through collaboration with our global partner, FINISH. The #NoMoreDishStress campaign aims to educate consumers about dishwashers and its role in simplifying their busy lives by providing them convenience coupled with hygienic dishes which are 99.99% germ free.”

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Bengaluru Home to 98 Ultra-High Net-Worth Individuals: Knight Frank

Bengaluru is home to 98 Ultra-High Net-Worth Individuals (UHNWIs), a growth of 36% over the last five years. Each of these individuals has a wealth of Rs 225 crore ($30 million) or more. In 2013, the technology hub had 72 UHNWIs, according to The Wealth Report2019 published by to Knight Frank. The report provides global perspectives on prime property and wealth.

The 13th edition of The Wealth Report2019 forecast said Bengaluru is expected to see UHWNIs growth of 40 per cent in the next 5 years.

The report identifies top cities across the world that supports wealth creation including innovation indicators, wealth forecasts and economic growth and those aspects that improve a city’s growth prospects, such as infrastructure.

Termed ‘Future Cities’ of the world, these cities demonstrate characteristics that will propel wealth creation as well as future property investment. Leading this table is Bengaluru, which is expected to see a UHWNIs growth of 40 per cent in the next five years and is followed by Hangzhaou 732 UHWNIs, growth of 34 per cent. Stockholm 559 UHWNIs, growth 23 per cent. Cambridge 68 UHWNIs, growth 19 per cent and Boston 426 UHWNIs, growth 15 per cent.

Bengaluru Uniqueness

Bengaluru which is the home to companies which includes Flipkart, Infosys and Wipro, and over 400 multinationals including Microsoft, Hitachi and Samsung have bases.

“This is supported by the fact that the city has been grossing the country’s highest office absorption volume consecutively for the last 10 years and is expected to lead the office growth trend both in terms of investments as well as absorption,” said the Knight Frank’s The Wealth Report2019.

Shishir Baijal, Chairman & Managing Director, Knight Frank India, said “Bengaluru is the first amongst five eye-catching ‘cities of the future’ based on their future economic potential. This growth backed by its intrinsic potential arising from strong economic fundamentals, will also attract investments both from domestic as well as institutional sources.”

Bengaluru has made a commitment to creating a knowledge economy by investing in education centres, including the Indian Institute of Management-Bengaluru (IIMB), the Institute of Science (IISc) and the National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL). The city’s broad ecosystem of innovation offers multiple opportunities for future growth, reflected in the rise of new age technology companies across sectors including artificial intelligence, food tech, fintech and robotics.

Nicholas Holt, Head of Research, Knight Frank Asia Pacific, said, “Despite softening momentum in the region’s economies, growth prospects in Asia remain favourable in the medium term. While China’s economy is expected to slow, emerging markets such as India and the Philippines will deliver some of the strongest growth over the coming years.”

Redmi Note 7 to be Available for Instant Delivery on Dunzo

Dunzo, the popular hyperlocal Bangalore based delivery service has announced that Redmi Note 7 will be available for instant delivery through Dunzo when it goes on sale in Mi Homes from 6th March 2019 onwards. This is in extension to its partnership with Mi Homes, exclusive brand stores by Xiaomi, India’s number 1 smartphone and smart TV brand for instant delivery of all their mobile phone devices. Redmi Note 7 product will be live for purchase on Dunzo, via Mi Homes the same day as other platforms, where Dunzo will deliver instantly from Mi Home stores in Bangalore.

This is the second step in a partnership that began on February 14th, when Dunzo partnered with the Mi Home Stores in Bangalore for instant deliveries of smartphones and major accessories to users across India.

Apart from the Redmi Note 7, other Xiaomi products can also be purchases on Dunzo fulfilled by Mi Homes:
Mi Accessories like Mi Band, Power Banks, Earphones etc. are already live for instant delivery by Dunzo fulfilled by Mi Homes in Bengaluru.

With Dunzo’s growing popularity across India, it’s very clear that Urban India gets what they want when they want it. Over the past few years, there has been a shift of transactions from the offline to the online world – what Dunzo does is bridge the gap allowing offline stores to provide the same convenience much faster. Ordering the latest Xiaomi smartphone or accessory follows the exact same process as ordering for your daily groceries on the Dunzo App. All you have to do is open the app and place your order on the home page, and Dunzo will have it picked and delivered to your home within an hour.

Kabeer Biswas, CEO of Dunzo said “We are excited on what the on-demand infrastructure being rolled out by Dunzo can truly deliver for consumers. We’ve always promised every part of your city is accessible within minutes and with this partnership we want every Xiaomi user to know that every Xiaomi product – including their flagship product Redmi Note 7 and Note 7 Pro- is now under 60 mins away, no matter where you are in Bangalore. Our goal is to have 1 out 10 local transactions occur on the Dunzo app – be it local commute, courier or shopping. We want to make transformative changes in the way consumers engage with every local store in Urban Indian cities and this partnership is a step towards that.”

Arvind Yadav, Head – Mi Home, Xiaomi India on the occasion said, “It’s a truly exciting moment for us to be extending our presence to all Dunzo users. Dunzo is a leading innovative one-stop solution to all consumer needs, which effectively connects with Xiaomi’s philosophy of providing innovation for all. We are confident that this association will serve valuably to all our Mi Fans and Dunzo users, further enhancing our Mi Home customer experience.”

Gartner Predicts Up to Two-Thirds of iPaaS Vendors Will Not Survive By 2023

Although the market for integration platform as a service (iPaaS) shows strong growth, the first signs of market consolidation are starting to emerge. Gartner, Inc. predicts that by 2023, up to two-thirds of existing iPaaS vendors will merge, be acquired or exit the market.

“The challenge for most iPaaS vendors is that their business is simply not profitable,” said Bindi Bhullar, senior research director at Gartner. “Revenue growth and increasing customer acceptance can’t keep up with the costs for running the platform and the heavy spending in sales and marketing.”

Megavendors such as Oracle, Microsoft and IBM are better-equipped to handle those challenges as they offer more-competitive offerings with more-aggressive pricing and packaging options than smaller players in the market. Gartner expects that this trend will continue, further diminishing the market share of specialist iPaaS players.

“For organizations looking to purchase an iPaaS solution, this is good news,” said Mr. Bhullar. “They can capitalize on the evolving market dynamics by solving short-term/immediate problems today, while preparing to adopt another iPaaS offering from an alternative vendor as the expected market consolidation accelerates through 2023.”

However, market consolidation means an increased risk that platform services will be discontinued due to the vendor exiting the market or being acquired. “Buyers should minimize exposure to vendor risk by adopting platforms that can deliver short-term payoffs, so that the cost of any eventual replacement can be more easily justified,” Mr. Bhullar added.

RPA Spend to Reach Over $2 Billion in 2022

Gartner estimates that global spending on robotic process automation (RPA) software will total $2.4 billion in 2022, up from $680 million in 2018. This increase in spending is primarily driven by the necessity for organizations to rapidly digitize and automate their legacy processes as well as enable access to legacy applications through RPA. “Organizations are adopting RPA when they have a lot of manual data integration tasks between applications and are looking for cost-effective integration methods,” said Saikat Ray, senior research director at Gartner.

Gartner predicts that by the end of 2022, 85 percent of large and very large organizations will have deployed some form of RPA. Mr. Ray added that 80 percent of organizations that completed proofs of concept and pilots in 2018 will aim to scale RPA implementations and increase RPA spending in 2019.

This shows that the technology is viable and has the desired effects. However, application leaders who are new to the technology should start with a simple RPA use case and work with internal stakeholders to identify more applicable processes.

Moving forward, Gartner expects more organizations to slowly discover that RPA offers benefits beyond cost optimization. RPA technology can support productivity and increase client satisfaction when combined with other artificial intelligence (AI) technologies such as chatbots, machine learning and applications based on natural language processing (NLP).

Consider the example of a client complaining that their invoice is showing the wrong amount. Chatbots engage with the client to understand the initial issue and delegate to a RPA bot to reconcile the invoice against the actual order entry record at the back-end. The RPA bot performs the matching transaction and sends the result back to the chatbot. The chatbot processes the RPA response and intelligently answers the client.

Gartner clients can read more in the report: “Predicts 2019: Democratization of IT Requires Different Strategies for Integration.” More predictions for all aspects of the IT industry can be found in the Gartner Trend Insight Report “Predicts 2019: Leadership Means Expanding Options, Not Limiting Them,” a collection of research aimed at helping CIOs and IT leaders focus on how the landscape is shifting for individuals, businesses and IT organizations.

Affle Completes its Omni-Channel Consumer Platform with the Acquisition of Shoffr

Affle, a consumer intelligence driven mobile marketing company, has acquired Shoffr, a Singapore-based online to offline (O2O) platform that converts online consumer engagements into in-store walk-ins and transactions. As part of the transaction effective 19 February 2019, Shoffr Pte. Ltd.’s business, brand name, intellectual property rights, business relationships, technical information, assets and employees have been transferred to Affle Group.

Shoffr enables online to offline consumer journeys by converting online engagements into in-store walk-ins and transactions. It reveals offline retail stores inventories online via API and programmatic links and provides catalog management, order management with measurable ROI to retail brands.

This acquisition will strengthen the Affle group’s Consumer & Enterprise platforms by providing an integrated consumer journeys and allow brands to transparently attribute the impact of digital advertising on in-store footfalls and transactions.

Commenting on this acquisition, Anuj Khanna Sohum, the Chairman, MD and CEO of Affle said, “We are excited to announce the acquisition of Shoffr, which is our third acquisition after the Vizury Commerce Business and Market in the last 12 months. We welcome Shoffr’s team on-board who have joined us in our Singapore and India offices. With increasing influence of smartphone-based engagements on the retail purchase decision, we believe that Shoffr complements our existing Omnichannel Platform to enhance the ROI for brands through both online and offline transactions.”

Sharing his thoughts about this development, Abhishek Dadoo, CEO   & Founder of Shoffr Pte. Ltd., who has now joined Affle International as the Director, Omnichannel Platform, said, “We are glad to commence on this exciting journey together with the Affle group. Shoffr’s online to offline capability to drive in-store traffic is used by several retail brands in India & South East Asia and we look forward to growing Shoffr into an omni-channel platform by leveraging synergies with the Affle group. We believe that we will be able to see our vision for Shoffr, to deliver and measure end-to-end consumer journeys come to life.”

A recent report* by Frost & Sullivan India Pvt. Ltd. (“Frost & Sullivan”) states that e-commerce comprises one-tenth of the total global retail sales at USD 2.29 trillion. The report further states that the primary challenge for brands and retailers (both offline and online) is how to seek and target the right customer through digital avenues. With this acquisition, Affle will aim to leverage this market opportunity.

This acquisition comes after the Affle group’s acquisition of the Vizury Commerce Business in September 2018 and Affle Global Pte. Ltd.’s acquisition of the Markt in March 2018, which was consequently acquired by Affle International when it had acquired Affle Global Pte. Ltd.’s business effective July 1, 2018.

‘Idea Sakhi’, a Mobile Based Safety Service Launched Exclusively for Women

To address the increasingly felt, safety related concerns of women who wish to step out and do more, brand Idea has designed a unique mobile based solution, Idea Sakhi. It is a free of cost service available to all women customers using either prepaid or postpaid services of Idea, across the country. Accessible on both smartphones and basic feature phones, Idea Sakhi offers three extremely useful features - Emergency Alerts, Emergency Balance, and Private Number Recharge.

Launched during the International Women’s Week, this service has already been made available to women customers of Idea across AP & Telangana, Assam & North East, TN incl. Chennai, Kerala, Gujarat, J&K, Maha & Goa, MP & Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Bihar & Jharkhand, Kolkata and Rest of WB, Punjab and Odisha. It will be extended to all 22 circles within this month.

Launching the Idea Sakhi service, Avneesh Khosla, Operations Director - Marketing, Vodafone Idea Ltd. “Technology can help overcome barriers and solve problems in the life of the consumer. With almost half of our population being women, and 59% of them* using a mobile phone, we are in a unique position to extend the benefits of technology for their safety and security. With Idea Sakhi, we are taking forward our long-term commitment of driving inclusion and deploying technology to serve a social purpose.”

Idea Sakhi works on all smartphones and feature phones, and even if the customer does not have any voice or data balance - thus ensuring that the service can be easily accessible to women whenever they need to use it.

Women Customers can register and activate Idea Sakhi in two simple steps:

Step1: Call on a multi-lingual toll-free number 1800-123-100

Step2: Register Emergency Contacts (Friends & Family). Up to 10 mobile numbers can be saved as Emergency Contacts.

A registered Idea Sakhi customer will:

·         Receive a 10-digit proxy number, with which she can recharge her connection at any retail store without revealing her actual mobile number.

·         Receive 10 minutes of free local/STD calls, 10 SMS and 100MB data when her balance reaches < Re. 1 or if she exhausts her data pack.

To send an Emergency or a Safe Alert, the Sakhi user will need to:

●        Give a missed call to 55100 to send an Emergency Alert. A call, flash and SMS with the location and time details of the Sakhi user will be sent to the Emergency Contacts, alerting them.

●        Call 55100 and press 2 to send a Safe Alert. SMS with the location and time details of the Sakhi user will be sent to the Emergency Contacts, for assistance.

Speaking about the Idea Sakhi service, Sunita Bangard, National Brand Head – Idea, Vodafone Idea Ltd., said, “Brand Idea has always championed causes that help change lives. With Idea Sakhi, Brand Idea wishes to give women the freedom to live their lives and pursue their dreams and understand the need of women to feel safe when they step out of their homes. On this special occasion of International Women’s Week, we are happy to offer Idea Sakhi to the women of India, to feel more confident and safe - Ab idea Hai Udne Ka.”

Mashreq Global Services wins Big at Business Leader of the Year Awards 2019

Mashreq Global Services won dual accolades at Business Leader of the Year Awards’19 in a ceremony held in Mumbai reinforcing its leadership in banking and financial services.

Mashreq Global Services was adjudged as a winner of the awards for Most Admired Financial Services Provider and Organization with Best Employee Relations Practices in the Financial Services and HR categories respectively.
Mashreq Global Services being the leader in financial services have always encouraged the two dimensional impact on their business; firstly, Customer Experience and secondly, Cost Efficiency, making them the most admired financial service provider.

The awards recognize Mashreq Global Services and their leaders which have demonstrated a sustained commitment to organization development and effectiveness within their operating practices, and for the positive efforts made by the organization to cement strong relations with its staff.

With intensive efforts in enhancing brand awareness, complete revamp of the HR policies and processes and focused employee engagement initiatives, Mashreq Global Services has continually created an exemplary culture that drives performance through healthy employee relations within the workplace.

Speaking on this occasion, Mr. Santhosh Mahalingam, Managing Director, Mashreq Global Services said, “This dual win is a testament of our efforts over the years to not only be a leader in the Financial Services space and work on some of the latest breakthrough technologies, but also creating a healthy and inclusive workplace with employee friendly policies and practices. We truly rely on the strength of our people and believe that motivated, engaged and knowledgeable employees will provide the best services and contribute to the long term success of our company.”

A platform for transformational leaders across the globe, the Business Leader of the Year recognizes leaders which have performed exceptionally well and made a meaningful difference to the society, and the awards are their most coveted awards in Finance and HR categories.

X1 Racing League Launches X1 Esports League in Indian Market

Xtreme1 Racing League or X1 Racing League, world's first franchise-based motorsport league announced an iconic India-centric initiative christened “X1 eSports League” (X1EL). X1 eSports League will present a platform and opportunity for youth and aspiring racers to fulfill their dreams of being a professional race car driver. With this, the promoters have finalized the offering under the X1 brand, X1 Racing League and X1 eSports League. Being a tried-and-tested formula at the highest levels of motorsports including Formula1, X1 is confident to find India’s next big race car driver through this grassroot program.

X1 Racing League is founded by country’s top international young car racers Armaan Ebrahim and Aditya Patel and sanctioned by The Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI).

X1 eSports League is soon going to organize a countrywide virtual car racing competition for men and women. X1 E-sports will set a benchmark in India’s gaming and racing history by paving out a way for individuals from virtual games to real life tracks. X1EL will be held across the major cities in India in colleges and malls.

X1 Racing League has done a surprising amount of work blending the real world and virtual reality, developed a virtual racing platform wherein the participants will get to compete head to head on accurately modelled tracks using simulator operations. X1 eSports League will be open to anyone and everyone from layman to a professional gamer.

Armaan Ebrahim says, Esports is certainly getting bigger and bigger, and has become the go to hunting ground for young and aspiring race drivers. We are seeing Formula 1 integrate Esports and there are certainly immense possibilities for this in our country too. There is a huge potential untapped in our country when it comes to esports racing or even real track racing. With the inception of our India centric esports competition, X1 Esports we are moving a step towards filling that void.

Aditya Patel says, we are delighted to announce our Esports competition as a part of X1. I believe it is the dream of every youngster to be professional race driver, all geared up in a high-speed racing car. With the onset of X1 Esports in India we are no just aiming aim to give a recognition to the esports culture and e-racers/gamers, but we also try to bring out the best of the talents and train them to represent India in real racing on world level.

Registrations for participation in the X1EL will open both online as well as offline medium one week prior to the commencement of competitions in each city. Anyone above the age of 15 years will be eligible to register for X1 eSports League irrespective of their profession and gender. With the purpose to make this historic and landmark concept accessible to maximum people, registrations will be done free of cost and will be on first-come-first-serve basis. Specifics about the registration process will be announced on the X1 website and social media channels.

X1 eSports League competitions will be held in 8 different cities. Individuals will compete on an esports racing simulator over the span of 7 days in each city. 50 individuals will be selected from each city based on best lap times to participate in the finals. Top 5 winners with the best lap times will be announced at the end of the competition and will bag a chance to be part of a professional racing team and test drive the X1 Racing League car.

Winners of the competition will not just experience their high-octane dream coming true but will also get once in a lifetime opportunity to get trained as professional racers under the guidance of country’s top international car racers Armaan Ebrahim and Aditya Patel.

CropIn Concludes First Phase of CCE Pilot Studies in Partnership With Central Government of India

The Central government has partnered with CropIn along with nine other research institutions and private agencies, to make the Crop Cutting Experiments (CCE) more accurate, swift and scalable. The CCE optimization initiative using cutting edge technologies was carried out by the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), Centre's flagship crop insurance programme, and monitored by Mahalanobis National Crop Forecast Centre (MNCFC). The objectives of these pilot studies were two-fold: (1) Optimisation of number of crop cutting experiments to bring it to more manageable levels, (2) A robust and self managed claim dispute resolution mechanism which enables swift resolution of claim disputes. The pilot studies, were initiated in September 2018, and concluded with the CCE of Rabi crops in Feb 2019.

The PMFBY requires the states to carry out minimum four crop-wise CCE in every gram panchayat for the submission of the yield data to insurance companies within 30 days of harvest. The government has traditionally been using a random survey method to estimate the crop yields of a given location. However, considering that there are 2.5 lakh gram panchayats in India, it is challenging to conduct reliable and accurate CCE in the country at scale within a short harvesting window. Applying technology to the otherwise rudimentary and time-consuming process of CCE will expedite risk assessment when processing insurance claims and loan applications made by farmers under the PMFBY.

CropIn is currently conducting CCE through its scalable yield mapping technology through remote sensing in the Koppal and Bellary districts of Karnataka. CropIn's SmartFarm and SmartRisk collectively enables accurate and efficient execution of CCE, resulting in timely clearance of claims. Given that India is a country of small-hold/marginal farmers, CropIn's technology can also be used to evaluate varied/smaller unit areas, thereby rationalizing the entire process of CCE.

For conducting CCE experiments that are a lot more scientific and less arbitrary, SmartRisk™, an award winning AI- and ML- powered digital platform by CropIn, makes use of ground-level data and satellite imagery to identify the plots that are apt for these experiments. Millions of data points are analysed and run through proprietary AI & ML models to zero in on farm plots that will represent the most accurate sample for the region. With the help of this data, government officials can easily identify the right plots that should be included in the study, removing all ambiguity from the process of selection. The benefits of technologically-aided CCE are not just limited to choosing the right sample for study. Apart from offering a more optimized method of plot selection, this platform also helps in providing the government and insurance companies with scientific, scalable, and accurate reports for processing of insurance claims and crop yield assessments.

SmartFarm—CropIn’s digital farm management solution—captures the precise location and size of the farm and the details of the farmer at the time of conducting the CCE. This ensures the field data is accurate, enabling complete visibility and transparency in the CCE process.

CropIn improves the operational efficiency of CCE at scale by providing centralized access to regional/unit area data points to government and insurance companies. The company applies complex algorithms for the smart-sampling of crops. CropIn's Smartfarm gives complete control of the process to all stakeholders. Right from identifying the crop being grown in a unit area, harvest readiness of the crops to determining the optimal crop yield points, stakeholders can leverage the data points to carry out CCE effectively. The CCE process is executed by field agents and the data is updated to SmartFarm for the perusal of government. Based on the crop insurance guidelines defined by PMFBY, a crop yield threshold is adhered to for claim clearance.

Even though Indian farmers have access to subsidized insurance policies, claiming coverage or availing credit is not without challenges. CCE needs the intervention of technology to make the process, objective, accurate and fair. Government and private agtech companies are teaming up to solve these challenges jointly.

R&M Acquires Optimum Fiber Optics Inc Strengthens its US Business

The Swiss cabling specialist, R&M, has announced the acquisition of Optimum Fiberoptics Inc., a U.S. fiber optic cable and connectivity specialist based in Elkridge, Maryland. Founded in 1997, Optimum is a premium manufacturer and supplier of fiber management products for the commercial, industrial and governmental market. It has developed strong customer relationships in Washington D.C. and the Mid-Atlantic states supported by its quality products and its agility to provide customized solutions within short lead-times.

"Optimum is an excellent addition to our current activities based out of our North American Headquarters in the Silicon Valley and will enable us to accelerate our ambitious growth strategy," says Markus Huber, Executive Vice President R&M North America. "We are excited about the new opportunities. Optimum is ideally located to serve our existing customer base on the East Coast as well as to target new customer groups. Furthermore, it will give us excellent access to the fast-growing data center market area in Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia."

With its new location on the East Coast, R&M can offer the full range of its products and services nationwide. Further investments will follow over the next 24 months to further strengthen R&M's presence in the North American market. 

Jay Megan, Co-Founder of OPTIMUM, says "Over the last 20 years, we have built excellent customer relationships through our in-depth expertise in fiber optic technology and our ability to react quickly on customer needs. We are proud to become part of R&M and are convinced that with the additional resources and technology we can take our business to the next level."

Internet Users in India to Reach 627 Million in 2019: Report

India’s internet users expected to register double digit growth to reach 627 million in 2019, driven by rapid internet growth in rural areas, said market research agency Kantar IMRB on Wednesday.

Internet usage in the country has exceeded half a billion people for the first time, pegged at 566 million, driven by rural internet growth and usage.

In its ICUBE 2018 report that tracks digital adoption and usage trends in India, it noted that the number of internet users in India has registered an annual growth of 18% and is estimated at 566 million as of December 2018, a 40% overall internet penetration, it observed.

It projected double-digit growth for 2019 and estimates that the number of internet users will reach 627 million by the end of this year.

Of the total user base, 87% or 493 million Indians, are defined as regular users, having accessed internet in last 30 days. Nearly 293 million active internet users reside in urban India, while there are 200 million active users in rural India, it said.

Mahindra Group Unveils Electric Super Car - Battista

Luxury electric vehicles brand Automobili Pininfarina, a part of the Mahindra Group, unveiled its luxury electric vehicle Battista here which is touted to be faster than a current Formula 1 race car in its 0-100 km/h sub-two  second sprint.

When it arrives in 2020, the Battista will be the most powerful car ever designed and built in Italy. It has the potential to accelerate to 62 mph in less than two seconds, faster than a Formula 1 car, and break the 250 mph top speed barrier all with a potential zero emissions range of over 300 miles, the company said.

It will deliver a level of performance that is “unachievable today in any road-legal sports car featuring internal combustion engine technology”, it claimed.

“This is the most authentic and exciting automotive story imaginable. The Battista is the hypercar of the future, inspired by a legendary past,” Automobili Pininfarina CEO Michael Perschke told reporters here. Electrification unlocks the door to a new level of performance and a zero-emissions future, whilst a passion and respect for automotive history will define how this landmark car looks and feels, he added. “We aim for the Battista to be a future classic and automotive icon, writing its own page in automotive history books,” Perschke said.

No more than 150 Battistas will be hand-crafted in Italy and allocated equally between the regions of North America,

Europe and Middle East/Asia, Pininfarina said. Customer service will be delivered through some of the world’s best luxury car retail specialists, it added.

The Turin-based company has named the model after Battista ‘Pinin’ Farina, the founder of the Carrozzeria Pininfarina coach building company that he started in 1930. The all-electric hypercar is designed and hand-built in very limited numbers at Pininfarina SpA. Mahindra Group acquired Pininfarina in late 2015 for over EUR 50 million after months of negotiations. 

Data is the New Oil and Need to Leverage on its Potential, Says Kiran Shaw at CII Karnataka Meet 2019

Data is the new oil in today's world and it's crude oil in nature and we need to refine it before we use it, says Kiran Mazumdar-shaw, Chairman and Managing Director, Biocon Limited. Data is an immensely, untapped valuable asset. Like oil, for those who see Data’s fundamental value and learn to extract and use it there will be huge rewards. We are living in the most existing and best of times ever in terms of the potential we have to change the world with technology, Shaw said addressing at the Karnataka Annual Meet 2019: Public Session "Business Transformation & Agility in Volatile Times" on Wednesday in Bengaluru.

We are witnessing the birth of technologies that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work and relate to one another and Bengaluru is driving this trend in India. Today this city has 2 million software engineers that accounts to about 20 percent of Indian's best engineering workforce and another 10 percent of medical and other skilled professionals all living in Bengaluru.

The next decade will see cutting edge technologies such as Data Science, Cloud Computing, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence provide huge opportunities will create new employment opportunities, she informs adding that however, quality of air, water in the city is deteriorating and technology is the new enabler in this front. "Don't let Bengaluru follow in lines of Lucknow and NCR, who are ranked India's top polluting cities."

Another major issue is the traffic problems in the city and mobility is the huge challenge. "With electric vehicles coming in, the government, industry and associations like CII need to come together to address these problems using technology,  she adds.

As part of the Clean Air Policy, Azim Premji along with Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw will take it up to the governemt shortly. "We will continue to invest in science and technology in a big way," she concludes.

Addressing the new members of CII, K.J. George says eminent industriest like Narayana Murthy, Azim Premji and Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw took the initiative to develop the industries in the city. Today with the fast growth, infrastructure is taking a beating. Today we got funds to develop to upgrade the infrastructure. Like the Metro project, the government generated its own funds. We are connecting the airport with city and also other parallel roads will connect the airport. We are also laying out a Peripheral Ring Road and other roads to ease the traffic in the city, he said.

"ITI, HMT which were once were well doing industries are today on the verge of closure mainly because they did not adopt new technology. But BHEL, BEL are doing well because they have implemented the new technology. Both the governemt and industry can come together to develop better infrastructure using technology," he remarks.

Others who spoke on the occasion include: Dr N Muthukumar, Chairman CII and also Dr Charan Singh, Chief Executive and Director, EGROW Foundation.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

ABB Launches Digital Portfolio ABB Ability MineOptimize for the Indian Mining Sector

ABB Ability MineOptimize is an innovative, comprehensive portfolio of optimized electrification, drives and automation solutions, optimized engineering, digital applications and collaborative services. It combines in-depth sector knowledge, leading edge technology and global and local project management, engineering and digital transformation expertise developed by ABB over 60 years of working with the mining and minerals industry at every stage of the mining cycle.

This comes at a time when the Government of India last week announced the new National Mineral Policy 2019. With digitalization at its heart, ABB AbilityTM MineOptimize connects all electrification, automation and digital offerings to optimize all stages in the lifecycle from design and build to operation and service – of any open pit or underground mine and minerals processing plant. Also, in the current scenario when Indian mines are combining renewables with thermal generation and battery storage, the aim is to increase efficiency while reducing their carbon footprint and overall costs.

ABB AbilityTM MineOptimize comprises a suite of digitally connected products, services and solutions, which include state-of-the-art digital technologies for remote services, predictive maintenance tools as well as solutions for upgrades and retrofits. Advanced application libraries, software solutions and digital platforms reduce process complexity, promote safe and secure production and lower lifetime operating costs. By ensuring that the right people have the right information at the right time and from anywhere, ABB AbilityTM MineOptimize digital applications enable mine operators to maximize reliability, safety, productivity and energy efficiency while optimizing planning and visibility across operations and the entire enterprise.

“Optimization of mining and mineral processing operations in order to improve productivity, reduce downtime and protect workforce and the environment is essential and an important factor in being competitive in the market,” said Martin Knabenhans, head of product management for ABB’s Process Industries business unit. “The ABB AbilityTM MineOptimize portfolio offers open, digitally connected mining applications for unmatched operation, maintenance, process and production performance. As digital transformation partner ABB AbilityTM MineOptimize enables IT/OT integration for some of the world's most cost-effective mines.”

ABB will shape the future of mining by rolling out new electrification solutions, digital applications and collaborative services in the innovative ABB AbilityTM MineOptimize portfolio throughout the year to:

·         Enable sustainable mining by powering the all-electric mine

·         Re-invent mining automation with the next generation of ABB Ability™ System 800xA for Process and Power Control

·         Improve availability through enhanced collaborative services with new predictive cloud based analytics for grinding, hoists and conveyors

The new ABB AbilityTM MineOptimize digital applications complement electrification and automation solutions and dedicated mining systems for hoists, gearless or ring geared mill drives and material handling which can be applied in the building or revamping of a mine.  They will also sit alongside collaborative remote assistance, availability, performance and quality services.

ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a pioneering technology leader in power grids, electrification products, industrial automation and robotics and motion, serving customers in utilities, industry and transport & infrastructure globally. Continuing a history of innovation spanning more than 130 years, ABB today is writing the future of industrial digitalization with two clear value propositions: bringing electricity from any power plant to any plug and automating industries from natural resources to finished products. As title partner in ABB Formula E, the fully electric international FIA motorsport class, ABB is pushing the boundaries of e-mobility to contribute to a sustainable future. ABB operates in more than 100 countries with about 147,000 employees.

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