Friday, March 29, 2019

Huawei Releases its 2018 Annual Report: Bullish Growth in the Face of Adversity

Huawei released its 2018 Annual Report today. According to the report, the company maintained strong business growth in 2018. Its sales revenue rounded off at CNY721.2 billion, up 19.5% year-on-year; its net profit reached CNY59.3 billion, up 25.1% year-on-year.

In 2018, Huawei invested CNY101.5 billion (14.1% of its sales revenue) in R&D, ranking fifth globally in The 2018 EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard. Over the last ten years, Huawei's R&D expenditure has reached more than CNY480 billion. According to official data released by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Huawei filed 5,405 patent applications to this organization in 2018, ranking first among all companies globally.

At the release of its annual report, Guo Ping, Huawei's Rotating Chairman, said, "Information communications technology is rapidly working its way into every industry. This has triggered a digital, intelligent transformation – the driving force behind our digital economy. Through heavy, consistent investment in 5G innovation, alongside large-scale commercial deployment, Huawei is committed to building the world's best network connections. Throughout this process, Huawei will continue to strictly comply with all relevant standards to build secure, trustworthy, and high-quality products. As we work towards this goal, we have been explicitly clear: Cyber security and user privacy protection are at the absolute top of our agenda. We are confident that the companies that choose to work with Huawei will be the most competitive in the 5G era. And countries that choose to work with Huawei will gain an advantage for the next wave of growth in the digital economy."

Guo emphasized, "The easiest way to bring down a fortress is to attack it from within. And the easiest way to reinforce it is from outside. Moving forward, we will do everything we can to shake off outside distractions, improve management, and make progress towards our strategic goals. We will continue to strengthen operational compliance, ensure business continuity and sustainability, and cultivate an open ecosystem where all players collaborate and prosper together. In addition, we will continue our organizational transformation to inspire greater passion and vitality across the organization."

In its carrier business, Huawei launched its latest 5G and SoftCOM AI solutions, focusing on making them as simple as possible to use and maintain. 2018 also saw ongoing innovation in domains like premium home broadband and the Internet of Things (IoT), helping carriers seize new growth opportunities. In 2018, the sales revenue of Huawei's carrier business reached CNY294 billion, roughly the same as the year prior.

In its enterprise business, Huawei continued providing cloud, big data, artificial intelligence (AI), and IoT solutions, as well as a range of products for data centers, all-flash storage, and WiFi. By integrating these technologies into its digital platform, Huawei has facilitated the construction of smart cities, safe cities, and smart campuses, and has helped drive the digital transformation of its customers in the finance, transportation, and energy sectors. In 2018, the sales revenue of Huawei's enterprise business reached CNY74.4 billion, up 23.8% year-on-year.

In its cloud business, Huawei launched 160 cloud services and 140 solutions, and worked with its partners to serve customers worldwide with 40 availability zones across 23 regions. Huawei has grown its list of partners to more than 6,000 in this domain, and is actively exploring the use of its AI services in more than 200 projects across 10 major industries.

In its consumer business, Huawei further increased its share of the global smartphone market and has further enhanced the positioning of its high-end devices. It has also made major breakthroughs in building an intelligent ecosystem for all user scenarios. In 2018, the sales revenue of Huawei's consumer business reached CNY348.9 billion, up 45.1% year-on-year.

Financial statements in the 2018 Annual Report are independently audited by KPMG, an international Big Four accounting firm. To download the 2018 Annual Report, visit

Note 1: All CNY figures in the Annual Report were converted into USD using the closing rate at the end of 2018, US$1.00 = CNY 6.8561

Note 2: Growth rates are calculated based on CNY figures.

Synechron Partners with Insurtech UK to Promote Innovation in the UK Insurance Sector

Synechron Inc., a leading Digital IT Consulting firm for financial services, has today announced a strategic partnership with Insurtech UK, in an effort to help promote the need for innovation within the UK insurance sector.

Insurtech UK, formed in November 2018, is the UK’s newest trade alliance in the sector with a mission to come together to speak with one voice about specific Insurtech-related issues and needs arising out of the technological revolution in the sector. The Alliance is comprised currently of 42 members and partners, including leading Insurtech start-ups, Tapoly, Honcho and Worry & Peace, as well as top-tier firms, Lloyd’s of London and Hiscox Insurance.

As the fourth largest insurance market globally, the UK insurance industry is due for innovation. In partnering with Insurtech UK, Synechron will help advise the Alliance on best practices and to help it achieve its mission to champion the vast potential of the wider UK digital economy. Synechron will help Insurtech UK develop its operational and communications strategy in utilising its expertise across the insurance landscape from a media, regulatory and technology perspective. Synechron can advise Insurtech start-ups and insurers on how they can adopt newer technologies into their strategies and additionally can help them accelerate their digital roadmaps via Synechron’s award-winning accelerator programs. 

Tony Clark, Managing Director at Synechron UK said, "We are delighted to be included in Insurtech UK’s first wave of partnerships and members as an associate partner amongst a winning combination of established firms and start-ups. With our expertise, we are here to help Insurtechs and insurers alike, reach the next level of their digital journeys.”

Matt-Hodges Long, Interim Council & Founding Member of Insurtech UK said, “We were very keen to ensure that the associate members and partners who joined us had the credibility and experience in the sector to contribute effectively to our work, and we are delighted that Synechron has signed on as one of our consulting partners. We look forward to working together collaboratively on various initiatives to help the Insurtech sector reach its true potential.”

Global Research Reveals New Challenges And Lingering Confusion Around Data Protection in the Cloud


Backup is getting more complex: 57 percent of respondents are responsible for backing up more than two sites, and 35 percent are using multiple cloud services.
IT may be underestimating the need to protect the SaaS data in their subscription apps. Only 16 percent reported backing up SaaS data.
Using the cloud as a secondary backup location is on the rise. Nearly 2/3 of respondents say they are replicating backup data to the cloud.
Barracuda, a trusted partner and leading provider for cloud-enabled security solutions, today released key findings from a global research study titled: Closing Backup and Recovery Gaps. Barracuda surveyed more than 1,000 IT professionals, business executives, and backup administrators worldwide to find out more about their data protection strategies.

The research reveals new details about the attitudes and approaches SMBs have when it comes to backing up and recovering data, the impact that cloud and SaaS solutions are having on data protection strategies, and confusion that is exposing firms to significant risk.

Backup challenges and confusion

Overall the study shows that the migration to the cloud is well underway, but organizations are not protecting their cloud and SaaS data effectively. Key findings include:

Data protection is becoming more challenging to achieve with the rise of multi-cloud and multi-site backup.
57 percent of respondents are responsible for backing up more than two sites
35 percent are using multiple cloud services.
IT decision makers are warming up to the cloud, and the use of the cloud as a secondary backup location is on the rise.
64 percent of global organizations say they replicate backup data to the cloud
36 percent still do not follow this best practice
IT teams view email, SQL, and proprietary application data as the most common workloads to protect with backup, but SaaS data is not viewed as critical, which puts business continuity at risk.
Only 16 percent of respondents report that they back up their SaaS data.
Office 365 is one of the most popular cloud-based productivity platforms, but Office 365 confusion is exposing firms to significant risk
More than 60 percent of SMBs are using Office 365 to drive business success
40 percent are not using any third-party backup tools to protect mission-critical data because they believe Office 365 provides all the backup they need, which is unlikely to be true
“While more IT professionals are embracing ways the cloud can support data protection, such as replicating backup data to the cloud, many are making dangerous assumptions about SaaS and cloud data that are putting organizations at risk,” says Chris King, Director, Product Management, Data Protection at Barracuda Networks. “IT still needs to consider how data is protected, even after migrating to cloud or SaaS applications.”

Today's complex infrastructures and targeted cyber attacks require a complete backup strategy that protects data wherever it resides — on‑premises or in the cloud. Barracuda’s Backup solutions offers continuous data protection and the flexibility of replicating to a remote physical or virtual appliance, or to the cloud. It’s Cloud-to-Cloud Backup provides comprehensive, cost-effective and scalable protection.

Accenture's IT Services Impresses Once Again During 2019

Accenture (ACN) impressed with strong 9% c/c revenue growth, record bookings and further increase in FY2019 (August year-end) revenue growth guidance. Growth was skewed towards resources and communications verticals while financial services and heath & public services verticals underperformed. Read-through for other IT names—demand environment is reasonable even as there are rough edges visible in weak financial services growth.

ACN—strong headline numbers with growth skew towards a couple of verticals

Accenture reported a strong 2QFY19 (quarter ending February 2019) with c/c revenue growth of 9%, at the upper-end of 6-9% guidance band. Organic c/c revenue growth stood at around 7.5%. Growth was led by communications, products and resources growing at 12%, 10% and 22% in c/c. On expected lines, financial services was weak and grew at 2% in c/c. Health & public service grew at muted 3% caused by decline in Federal Government revenues in the US. New services (digital, cloud and security services) contributed more than 60% to revenues in 2QFY19 and grew in double digits. Strategy & consulting services and technology services grew in high single digits.

Operating margin increased by 20 bps yoy. Three of the five operating segments reported yoy decline in EBIT margin with a big swing in numbers resulting from sharp increase in profitability of the resources vertical. Bookings were at record level of US$11.8 bn, recording a new high and grew 15.1% yoy. Consulting bookings grew 18.6% and outsourcing bookings grew 10.9%. We note that new bookings number for the quarter includes reimbursement of expenses, something which was not included in the previous year numbers.

Revenue growth guidance raised to 6.5-8.5% from 6-8% earlier

The company raised FY2019 revenue growth guidance to 6.5-8.5% from 6-8% in the previous quarter and 5-8% at the beginning of the year. Accenture has also guided for 5.5-8.5% revenue growth for 3QFY19. The company expects 1.5% contribution to revenues from acquisitions. The company intends to spend US$1.5 bn on acquisitions in FY2019, of which it has already closed 15 acquisitions entailing outflow of US$515 mn in 1HFY19. Operating margin expansion guidance of 10-30 bps for FY2019E remains unchanged. ACN indicated that macro risks remain with potential for an economic slowdown. However, volatility is the new norm with clients continuing to invest in technology to drive revenue growth and create operational efficiencies.

Financial services—weak banking, especially in Europe, strong insurance

On expected lines, financial services practice was weak for ACN. The insurance segment grew in double digits. However, the company reported moderate decline in revenues in banking and capital markets contributed by decline in Europe. Growth in North America banking was also muted. The company indicated strong bookings in all segments of financial services and expects growth to rebound in the second half of the year.

We believe that IT spending will be muted in the capital markets segments, especially in Europe. We expect steady spending in the traditional banking segment in North America though there may be spending caution from a couple of large clients. Spending outlook at a broader level will be slower than 2018. Growth for individual player will be a function of exposure to sub-segments of the banking vertical and share gains/losses in consolidation decisions.

Read-through for other companies

ACN management indicated potential of a slower economic growth. Client budgets may grow at slightly slower pace compared to 2018. However, this slower growth has not translated in weak growth outlook. ACN's revenue growth for FY2019 will be similar to FY2018.

For offshore pureplays, growth will be a function of two factors—(1) slowdown in economic growth. Select segments in financial services and sub segments in manufacturing segment and hi-tech are displaying signs of weakness and (2) tailwind from increasing digital deal sizes and accelerated deal momentum courtesy clarity on simplification of the core. Admittedly a strong exit to FY2019, a bulging order book and positive commentary on demand should translate into a far better FY2020. However, the downside of a slowing market cannot be ignored either. All said, we expect FY2020E growth to be broadly in line with FY2019 growth. We expect acceleration in growth for a few companies and modest deceleration for others.

Is digital discretionary? ACN’s nuanced perspective does not seem to suggest so

ACN believes that despite the pace of disruption in global business, there is recognition that companies cannot pause digital spending. However, in the eventual situation of a slowdown, companies may push harder for operational efficiency and cost-rationalization agenda to fund digital spending. In a way the nuanced stance indicates a secular shift towards digital spending with adjustment in spending by doubling down on efficiency expectations from vendors in case of a slowdown.

Key highlights from earnings call

New bookings. New bookings were broad-based and in line with strategic offerings. 65% of the new bookings were for digital, cloud and security offerings.

Growth momentum in the new to continue. Accenture expects strong growth momentum in the new to continue despite the businesses having reached significant scale. The company believes that most companies are in the early phase of adoption of digital technologies. Leverage of growth from digital technologies is a multi-year play.

Accenture Interactive. Accenture has done seven acquisitions in FY2019 to enhance scale and differentiation in key markets. Accenture is the world’s largest provider of digital marketing services.

Applied Intelligence. The practice combines advanced analytics and artificial intelligence, with Accenture’s domain and business expertise. Accenture has 20,000 people focused on Applied Intelligence, including 6,000 deep and artificial intelligence in data science.

Industry X.0. The practice uses digital technologies to help clients transform their core operations. Accenture has about 10,000 people in Industry X.0.

Accenture Security. Accenture is one of the leading providers in security market. The practice is growing in double-digits and is expected to have an annual revenue run-rate above US$2 bn in FY2019.

Cloud. Accenture is a leading integrator for cloud partners such as Microsoft Assure, Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud platform. The company is well-positioned to tap growth opportunities from demand for custom cloud applications.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Nearly 400 Candidates Receive ‘Skill India’ Certification Under an IOCL Skilling Project

National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), in association with Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL), hosted a certification ceremony for nearly 391 candidates who have undergone Skill India training program.  Mr. VK Shukla, Executive Director-HR, IOCL; Mr. RC Upadhyay CGM (A&W), IOCL; Ms. Anita Shrivastava, GM (CC&CSR), IOCL and Mr. Gaurav Kapoor, Sr. Head- Industry Partnership & CSR and Media & Advocacy, NSDC and Mr. Ketul Acharya, COO, IL&FS Skills, graced the certification ceremony that was attended by candidates from healthcare, apparel, telecom and domestic workers sectors.

In its commitment towards Skill India Mission, IOCL under its 11 refineries divisions, is supporting skill training of 4,450 candidates across 11 locations in the vicinity of IOCL’s refineries.  In one of such projects – IOCL (RHQ) – being implemented in New Delhi by NSDC’s four training partners - Orion Edutech, IL&FS Skills, IACM SmartLearn Ltd. and Olive Heritage Education and Welfare Society, more than 500 candidates have undergone training in Healthcare, Apparel, Telecom, Domestic Worker and Management and Entrepreneurship & Professional sector.  391 successfully passed candidates were awarded certificates at an event at Orion Edutech’s Mandir Marg training centre.   Amongst those certified, 394 candidates have been placed as General Duty Assistant, Vision Technician, Emergency Medical Technician, Customer Care Executive (Call Center), Sewing Machine Operator, General Housekeeper and Unarmed Security Guard. The focus of the project was youth from BPL category in the community and achieved participation of BPL youth as high as 71%. The successfully passed candidates under Sewing Machine Operator trade have been employed with Apparel houses such as Pee-empro exports, Akriti Apparels and other stretched belt of  apparel houses at Mathura road; under Healthcare sector placements have taken place at Max Hospitals, Care 24; under Telecom sector candidates placed with SMC Insurance Broker, Noverto Business Services; under Unarmed Security Guard trade maximum candidates have been employed with well-known employer of security gaurds- G4 Securities whereas candidates trained under domestic worker trade have been employed as Housekeepers and Field Executives by organizations like Sodexo Facilities Management Services India Pvt. Ltd. and various other local enterprises.

Commenting on partnership, Mr. Gaurav Kapoor, Sr. Head-Industry Partnership & CSR and Media & Advocacy, NSDC, said, “NSDC’s industry partnership models provide opportunities to companies in the public and private sectors to meet and fulfil their CSR commitments and lead by example.  It is overwhelming that this young brigade of skilled candidates, who were certified today, are confident to make their mark in the development of nation.”

Mr. VK Shukla, Executive Director (HR), Refineries Division HQs, Indian Oil Corporation, addressing the gathering said, “Our aim is to support Government of India’s mission of increasing employability and capability for self-enterprise among the youth, and our association with NSDC has widened opportunities for skilling youths the residents in the vicinity of our refinery units. Association with this project, reinforces our corporate mission to enrich the quality of life of the communities.”

Fulfilling its CSR mandate, IOCL has got into an agreement (MoU) with NSDC to promote skill development including vocational skills among, women and youth, focusing marginalized communities to enhance employability and offer them a better livelihood.  Starting with one project at IOCL’s Barauni refinery two years ago, the scope of projects have now expanded to 21 locations across India, covering IOCL’s eleven refineries, five marketing divisions and one pipeline division.  With a multifold increase in scope and scale, these CSR projects aim concerted effort and offer help to youth in enhancing livelihood opportunities across varied sectors.

About National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC)

NSDC is one of its kind public-private-partnership with an objective to facilitate skill training in partnership with private training providers. Till date, NSDC has approved 400+ training providers and 38 operational Sector Skill Councils, with a geographical spread of 7,000+ training centres in 600+ districts across the country. NSDC has trained more than 1.4 crore people across sectors.

Tata Motors Partners with Valvoline Cummins in India for Passenger Vehicle Lubricants

Valvoline Cummins Private Limited (VCPL), and Tata Motors announced the launch of their co-branded lubricants for the passenger cars segment. These lubricants will be branded as Tata Motors Genuine Oil and will be available for all Tata Motors cars in the retail market.

The launch of this co-branded lubricant was attended by Mr. Subhajit Roy – Senior General Manager & Head Customer Care (Domestic and International Business), PVBU, Tata Motors, Mr. P. Shanmugasundaram – Head Service Marketing, Mr. Sandeep Kalia – Valvoline Cummins CEO, Mr. SK Mukherjee – Chief Technical Officer VCPL, Mr. Jitesh Mehta – Director Retail Sales & Marketing, and Mr. Rupesh Kushwaha – VP OEM partnerships VCPL.

Speaking on this partnership, Mr. Subhajit Roy, Senior General Manager & Head Customer Care (Domestic and International Business), PVBU, Tata Motors said, “Customer centricity remains the driving force for us at Tata Motors and we are continuously striving to provide a satisfying post purchase experience for our customers. We are pleased to partner with VCPL in developing an exclusive range of lubricants for our passenger vehicles, which will help our cars deliver superior performance for a substantial period of time. With this new range of oils, we are dedicated towards providing the best lubricant technology expertise and support in today’s competitive marketplace.”

Mr. Sandeep Kalia, Chief Executive Officer of Valvoline Cummins Private Limited, said, “We are honored to partner and work closely with an automotive giant like Tata Motors. Valvoline has had a long history of partnering with key automotive companies to bring innovative premium lubricants to market, and this milestone represents the success of our business model in India. This partnership will be a true testimony to Valvoline’s world-class products, and we are looking forward to providing superior quality and aftermarket product support to Tata Motors customers through our partnership.”

In one year, Vedanta’s Balco Medical Centre Treats Over 4,000 Cancer Patients in Chhattisgarh

Since receiving its first patient a year ago, Balco Medical Centre (BMC), a subsidiary of Vedanta Medical Research Foundation, has travelled a long way in serving the people of Chhattisgarh by making world-class treatment of cancer an affordable and attainable proposition. As the first super-specialty hospital with the capability to treat cancer, Balco Medical Centre’s genuinely colossal impact is validated by the reception it received from the people and the milestones achieved – over 4,000 people afflicted with cancer were served, more than 230 patients underwent radiation, 250 plus surgeries were performed and well past 1000 chemotherapies were carried out.

Mrs. Jyoti Agarwal, Chairperson of Balco Medical Centre, reiterated the facility’s commitment to make treatment of cancer affordable for the people with ‘compassion, care and cure.’ Recollecting the year gone by, she said, “We treasure every effort we make in our fight against cancer. We strive to bring smile back on the face of each and every individual who walks into our facility. But it is the joy of a young daughter that I witnessed when she heard of her father’s recovery from stomach cancer that will remain permanently etched in my heart.”

Renowned Indian actress Ms. Manisha Koirala, a cancer survivor herself, paid a visit to the medical facility on its 1st anniversary where she interacted with the patients and shared her experience with them. Ms. Koirala spoke about the critical role that advanced healthcare technologies and specialist doctors played in her fight with cancer, and instilled faith and confidence among the patients.

Balco Medical Centre, the 170-bed, state-of-the-art tertiary care oncology facility with 40 specialist doctors, set up in Naya Raipur, Chhattisgarh, is the largest such facility in the entire central India. But more importantly, it provides affordable yet world-class treatment of the most critical disease known to mankind. Currently, it is fast emerging as a national leader in India’s oncology space including medical, surgical, radiation and palliative care.

Further extending the efforts on the practice of ‘preventive and curative’ healthcare delivery, Vedanta went beyond the medical facility to take BMC’s capability as closer to the people as possible with several on-ground initiatives like free cancer screening camps and spreading awareness and education through digital and social media.

About Vedanta Medical Research Foundation:

Vedanta Medical Research Foundation (VMRF) is a non-profit organisation initiated by Vedanta Resources and Bharat Aluminium Co. Ltd. (BALCO) to contribute to the prevention of cancer and its related illnesses through a Centre of Excellence in medical, surgical and radiation oncology. More than 2.5 million Indians currently live with cancer and the country sees over 5,50,000 cancer-related deaths each year. With these statistics in mind, VMRF aims to bring ultra-modern, multi-modality diagnostic and therapeutic facilities within easy reach of India’s population at a reasonable and affordable cost.

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HE Advanced Grooming Launches the New Summer Disruptor “HE MAGIC DUO”

HE, the Advanced Male Grooming Brand of the FMCG major Emami Limited launches ‘HE Magic Duo’, a unique category disrupting innovation to expand the brand’s portfolio in the zero gas perfume space. For the very first time in India, HE Magic Duo, delivers the convenience of getting two distinct fragrances in one single can.

HE Magic Duo offers two variants “Angels and Demons” and “Yin and Yang” both of which come in a cool masculine matte styled finished pack of 50 ml*2 = 100 ml inside a premium looking carton with a transparent window. The unique applicator at the top of the can is positioned side by side and can spray two different fragrances separately or together.

Adding to the excitement of the innovation, Mr. Harsha V. Agarwal, Director- Emami Ltd said, “The deodorant category in India is a highly saturated and cluttered market. With the presence of multiple players, it is becoming increasingly difficult to break through this clutter and stand out. HE as a brand has a strong legacy of differentiation from the very beginning. This time, we found through our consumer research that there is an increasing dual usage trend wherein 1 in 5 users currently use 2 or more Deos on a regular basis just from the need of variety and the urge of not smelling the same every time.

Triggered by this consumer need, we have brought in a category disrupting solution through HE Magic Duo where we are offering two fragrances at the price of one.  We believe that HE Magic Duo with its breakthrough packaging is going to create a stir in the consumer mind space.”

HE Magic Duo will roll out a series of quirky, humorous television commercials made on a single sign-off thread of “GOD Promise Bro” to vouch for this unbelievable innovative product.

Thomas Edison’s Megaphone to Empower Smartphones in India

The city saw the launch of hyper-local connectivity app titled ‘Bhonga’. The app is an initiative by Linkus Infratech Private Limited.

The app in the beta stage was tested extensively by more than 2000+ users in Mumbai and Thane so that the system is totally bug-free before the commercial launch. Encouraging results paved the way for a full-fledged launch. “The app is designed keeping in mind the connect beyond family and friends. It is designed to connect people within the same locality without worrying about whether they know each other or not. "The idea behind the app is a very simple one – that of a megaphone or loudspeaker,” said Radhika Agarwal, Director, Linkus Infratech.

We tried to understand the areas a megaphone can be of use and realized the potential and the result was "Bhonga". Incidentally, Megaphone was invented by Thomas Edison, the same visionary who invented the bulb. The light bulb brought in a revolution when it was used and the same can be done with a digital megaphone which will empower every smartphone user.

Bhonga is a simple app which once downloaded allows the user send a message to all those who have this app in the 1 km radius, whether they know each other or not exactly the way a loudspeaker allows you to reach out to people around. The user can use the app to reach out to everyone around for posting messages which may be an emergency, an offer, a query or even an opinion or information which he believes may be of help to people around him. "The app dynamically changes its location based upon the phone's geography and hence it connects the user with others in whatever area he is present thus keeping him well connected where ever he goes" emphasis Radhika.

During the beta test we saw users asking for extra chairs and mattresses from people in the neighbourhood for a wedding in the house, a user looking for a language teacher in the neighbourhood, somebody willing to sell household goods, announcement of a medical camp in the society, home tuition inquires, mom and pop stores announcing offers, etc. Bhonga offered a completely new way of reach in the area.

One can also put in a voice note and a photo to his post. Security and anonymity are at the heart of the app, the user’s identity is not disclosed but only the location coordinates from where the post was generated gets shared. This also enables users to fearlessly express their opinions. A locality or neighbourhood reach also is at times much critical than the reach to just the family and friends available over other personal messaging and social media platforms.

Bhonga is also in the process of working with several non-profit partners like blood-banks, ambulance services, etc. to make the app a lot more useful. The app is available for both Android and iPhone. The users are offered support to enable them to best use the app. “

"There are strong micro economies present in every locality and Bhonga will help to give new wings for these micro-economies to prosper. Bhonga will play a role in connecting localities and creating cohesive neighbourhood" concludes Radhika.

Conceptioneering Digital Workflow Helps Optimize Water Distribution for 1 Million Households in West Bengal, India

Bankura is an administrative unit in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is part of Medinipur—one of the state’s five administrative divisions. The Damodar River flows in the northern part of the Bankura district and separates it from the major part of the Burdwan district. The district has been described as the “connecting link between the plains of Bengal on the east and the Chota Nagpur plateau on the west.” West Bengal Bankura has been selected for this water distribution improvement project by the Public Health and Environmental Engineering Department (PHED) of West Bengal. PHED is headquartered at Kolkata for Multi-Village Bulk Water Supply Projects and is jointly funded by PHED and the Asian Development Bank.

This project was limited to four of the eight blocks in the Bankura District: Mejhia, Gangajalghati, Indpur, and Taldangra, and is of critical importance to the region, as less than 4 percent of the 359,172 habitants in the 600 villages contained within the four blocks have a piped drinking water supply. The aim of this project is to connect the remaining 96 percent of the population through developing new water systems to meet supply, while rehabilitating the existing, aged water system to continue supplying existing customers. The scope of the project calls for adding 4,000 kilometers of new pipeline to the existing 100 kilometers of pipeline, leveraging a single hydraulic model covering more than 50 unique scenarios. DTK Hydronet Solutions used Bentley’s WaterGEMS to perform the design engineering on this INR 12.38 billion project to improve the lives of more than 1 million inhabitants in the region.

Projects of similar scope had required four months of effort to create the initial hydraulic model. Using WaterGEMS, DTK Hydronet Solutions’ engineers accomplished this new model in one month, saving 75 percent in project resource-hour costs. WaterGEMS’ sophisticated modeling capabilities enabled the team to model the existing network and develop proposed roadmaps for the new network in a single GIS model, including assessing more than 39,000 junctions within the network.

Village population and density projections were included to help future-proof the design. This solution enabled the team to create its initial model of the entire network (existing and proposed new) in just five days. Difficult topography assessments, changes in transmission routes, optimal scheduling of pumping operations and energy-to-cost calculations were all performed on the model as it was revised to yield the final proposed design. In only 25 days, not only was the initial design created, optimized, and finalized, but multiple worst-case scenarios, high-demand analysis, and other “what-if” scenarios were assessed that could not have been performed outside of the single hydraulic model in WaterGEMS.

Devashir Karve, water engineering consultant at DTK Hydronet Solutions, said, “Bentley WaterGEMS enabled ‘conceptioneering’ in this 4,000 kilometer-long, multi-village rural water supply’s single hydraulic model to benefit about 1 million villagers in India. Design evaluation and analysis was efficiently done in an optimal timeframe of 25 man-days making the project the first of its kind!”

HSIL Limited Appoints Sanjay Kalra as President of its Bath Products Business

HSIL Limited, makers of the iconic sanitary ware brand Hindware, named Mr. Sanjay Kalra to head the Bath Products Business. Mr. Kalra will be the President of the business and will directly report to Mr. Sandip Somany, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, HSIL Ltd. In his new role, Mr. Kalra will oversee key operations including marketing, research and development, distribution, strategy and e-commerce for the Bath Products Business for the company.

“Sanjay will be instrumental as we sharpen our integrated long-term growth strategy. He shares a long-standing relationship with HSIL and we are thrilled to have him join us back. He is a highly motivated, positive and goal-oriented individual who has an in-depth understanding of our industry. With his knack for identifying newer business paradigms and opportunities, I am confident he will chart higher milestones and further strengthen our market leadership,” Mr. Sandip Somany Vice Chairman and Managing Director, HSIL Ltd. said.

His newest appointment marks a second stint for Mr. Kalra at HSIL Ltd. In his earlier role of Senior Vice President – Sales, he spent almost a decade at the company.  Prior to joining HSIL Ltd, Mr. Kalra has held leadership positions at Sintex Industries, Somany Ceramics and Pidlite Industries.

Speaking on his appointment, Mr. Sanjay Kalra shared, “I am extremely excited to be back at HSIL Ltd. I am grateful for the opportunity to further HSIL’s bathware business vision and mission in these interesting times, as how we do business today has evolved owing to the changing preferences of consumers and other critical trends unfolding in the world and its impact on the Indian economy.”

Mr. Kalra holds a graduation degree in science and a post graduate degree in sales and marketing. With over 33 years of well-honed experience, he has worked across functions including marketing and sales.


HSIL Limited listed on NSE and BSE has been crafting unforgettable home experiences and contemporary bathroom solutions for over five decades. Incorporated in 1960 as Hindusthan Twyfords Limited, with a technological collaboration with Twyfords, UK, the company introduced vitreous china sanitaryware in India in the year 1962 and was subsequently renamed HSIL Limited in

TVS Motor Company Updates TVS Apache RTR Series with ABS

TVS Motor Company, a reputed manufacturer of two-wheelers and three-wheelers in the world, today announced that the entire TVS Apache RTR series has been updated with ABS.  The Super Moto ABS for Apache RTR 160 2V, Apache RTR 160 4V and Apache RTR 180 provides ultimate safety for the rider.  The new generation ABS unit on the TVS Apache RTR series motorcycles has been developed with a special algorithm, extensively derived out of the racing track.  This enables the rider to find the quickest line around the corner without losing any speed.

Apache RTR 200 4V Race Edition 2.0 continues to be available with Dual-Channel ABS and RLP (Rear wheel Lift-off Protection) control offering quick detection and recovery of the wheel lock achieving superior braking performance and optimal cornering control.  With the implementation of ABS across the range, the TVS Apache RTR series becomes better equipped to manage late braking and offers razor-sharp control around the corners.  The system provides ultimate braking control while allowing sharp feedback.

Commenting on this, Mr. KN Radhakrishnan, Director & CEO, TVS Motor Company said, "Since inception; TVS Apache series have revolutionised performance biking by introducing cutting edge technology from their factory racing versions. In 2011, we were the 1st manufacturer to introduce twin channel ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) on Apache RTR 180, in the Indian two-wheeler industry. In line with this tradition, today, we are delighted to announce the inclusion of Super Moto ABS across RTR 160; RTR 160 4V and RTR 180 versions. This one of a kind racing tuned ABS technology that ensures maximum dynamic performance along with cutting edge safety technology to our consumers. The motorcycles are already on sale in market to ensure proactive compliance to the regulatory requirement laid down by the Government of India.”

The company also announced the launch of TVS Apache RTR 160 2V (ABS) with new features. The new model is equipped with an all-new, back-lit speedometer with dial-art, new seats and new handle-bar end dampeners for better stability and precision.  The refresh will sport new TVS Racing inspired graphics making it more appealing.

The entire TVS Apache RTR series with ABS is available across all TVS Motor Company showrooms in India.

Prices (Ex-showroom Delhi)

TVS Apache RTR 160 front disc (drum) with ABS - Rs. 85,510
TVS Apache RTR 180 with ABS - Rs. 90,978
TVS Apache RTR 160 4V (drum) with ABS - Rs. 89,785
TVS Apache RTR 200 (carb) with ABS - Rs. 1,11,280

India’s Real Estate Stock to Grow by 200 MN SFT IN 2019 to Reach 3.7 Trillion SFT: CBRE

CBRE South Asia Pvt. Ltd., India’s leading real estate consulting firm, has announced the findings of its Real Estate Market Outlook 2019 – India. As per the report, India continues to retain its position as the world’s fastest growing major economy, on the back of improved investor confidence and better policy reforms. The IMF’s database also suggested that India’s contribution to world growth has increased from 7.6% during 2000-2008 to 14.5% in 2018. The CBRE report highlights 2019 trends and dynamics across various segments in the real estate sector in India.

Anshuman Magazine, Chairman & CEO – India, South East Asia, Middle East & Africa said, “The current government’s pro-reform policies have yielded positive news for the equity market and investment inflows, thereby positioning India as an attractive business destination. The growth of the Indian Real Estate market in 2019 will be driven by numerous factors including technology, demand-supply dynamics, improved ease of doing business rankings and the dust settling post the implementation of reforms such as GST, RERA among others. We expect to see significant growth across segments, which will lead to the addition of almost 200 million sq. ft. of new real estate space in 2019 across categories including office, retail, residential and logistics”.

Technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, Internet of Things, Robotic Process Automation and Blockchain are trends that are reshaping how the Real Estate sector works. For instance, AI is allowing for more productive location decision making, predictive maintenance of assets, easing portfolio planning, reconfiguring workspaces, automating FM processes and making spaces smarter. Similarly, IoT is allowing for the construction of smart buildings and smart cities, while creating more data for analytics also across portfolios, fine-tuning portfolio management decisions and enabling more accurate valuations.


The year 2018 was a landmark one with office space absorption crossing an all-time high of 47 million sq. ft. (up 5% y-o-y) across the nine leading cities, boosted by a supply influx of 35 million sq. ft. (up 17% y-o-y). Bangalore and Delhi-NCR continued to dominate take-up; Hyderabad emerged as the third most preferred office destination, overtaking Mumbai.

Market Outlook trends expected to continue from 2018

o   Polarisation between cities: Demand and supply would continue to be focused towards the most prominent destinations i.e., Bangalore, Delhi-NCR, Hyderabad and Mumbai.

o   Infrastructure-led growth: The pace of infrastructure development will determine the growth and emergence of new micro-markets; supply and demand will be influenced by infrastructure completions, particularly provision of metro services/ major arterial roads.

o   Greater appetite for SEZ’s/tech parks: With the sunset date of March 2020 fast approaching (which will impact the benefits for occupiers), heightened activity for both absorption and development completions is expected in the SEZ and tech park space in 2019.

o   Tech-driven real estate decisions: Technology will continue to impact occupier and developer decision-making, resulting in increased flexibility in both space leased and released.

Office Market Outlook for 2019: Expected in 2019

o   Absorption trends: Leasing activity in the sector will be driven by evolved sources of demand rising interest of global occupiers, workplace changes due to digitization of jobs, evolving need for flexibility, increased demand for domestic needs, rise in net absorption and Core + Flexi workplace strategies. The combination of these sources of demand, coupled with the supply influx of quality space is likely to result in the share of net absorption to rise from the current 60-65% to about 70-75% during 2019-20. The share of tech in overall space take-up in the country will remain in the range of 30 – 35% by the end of 2019.

o   Supply trends: We expect development patterns to be more tech-tailored and anticipate a stronger pipeline in 2019. CBRE expects nearly 40 million sq. ft. of new office space to be released over the next twelve months. Almost 30% of this pipeline is expected to be in the SEZ space. There is also expected to be an impetus on “smarter” buildings – driven by the augmented use of tech for optimising space and costs.

o   Rental trends: We expect rents to continue to grow across the key markets in Bangalore, Chennai and Pune, however, this growth is expected to taper across most cities. ‘Gateway’ cities of Delhi-NCR and Mumbai would also see rental growth, however only in select locations. Also, a convergence between SEZ and non-SEZ rentals is expected in 2019.


2018 was a remarkable year for the warehousing market as overall absorption during the year touched 24 million sq. ft., a growth of about 44% compared to the previous year. Majority of the demand was concentrated in Mumbai (23%), Delhi-NCR (19%) and Bangalore (19%), closely followed by Chennai and Hyderabad accounting for about 15% and 12% respectively. Following the expected trend, 3PL players, e-commerce and engineering & manufacturing firms drove demand during the year contributing about 35%, 23% and 15% respectively. Markets which led rental appreciation during the year were Bhiwandi in Mumbai (23%), Western corridor in Hyderabad (20%), NH-6 in Kolkata (16%) and Northern belt in Chennai (11%).

Logistics Outlook for 2019

o   Significant supply addition expected; the share of Grade A supply expected to increase in overall supply. While the overall supply (grade A and inferior grade) for the sector is expected to be almost 60 million sq. ft. till 2020, at least 22 million sq. ft. of this supply is estimated to be in the grade A category.

o   Demand from e-commerce players may slow down in the short-term due to policy disruptions. However, in the long run, BTS properties to become more commonplace for such players.

o   Favourable policy framework and government focus on infrastructure initiatives likely to spur further growth in the sector in 2019.

o   Focus on building in-city logistics, grocery delivery and cold chain facilities to see more activity in the coming year.


The Indian retail sector has been evolving at a fast pace in the past couple of years. Increasing urbanisation, evolving brand preferences, availability of technology and social media have been the driving factors behind this evolution. In 2018, nearly 5.1 million sq. ft. of new retail developments became operational across the seven major cities in the country. Supply was led by the Southern cities, with Hyderabad at the forefront; followed by Chennai and Bangalore. Smaller retail developments also became operational in Delhi-NCR and Kolkata during 2018.

Demand on the other hand has also been strong and the past couple of years have witnessed a divergence in the demand and consumption pattern of consumers in India. While fashion and apparel is expected to continue remaining a key demand stream (value fashion, along with mid-range fashion is expected to drive retail sales), but it has also given way to categories such as F&B, multiplexes and entertainment centres, along with accessories amongst others.

Retail Outlook for 2019:

o   Although nearly 10 – 12 million sq. ft. of supply is expected to come on-stream in 2019; demand is expected to outstrip supply. While changes in FDI norms for e-commerce may impact online sales in the short-term, it may also impact investor sentiment in the segment.

o   However, despite uncertainty across the e-commerce segment, omni-channel retailing is here to stay.

o   Diversification in demand to continue with expansion by various domestic and international brands across newer categories.

o   Experiential retail and placemaking will be the key, landlords and retailers likely to use tech for studying consumer patterns and enhance customer experience.


During 2018, the commercial real estate investment market witnessed few large-scale deals which led to about USD 4.7 billion of investments. Transaction activity was led by private equity investors focusing on office and retail sectors, while local investors focused on investing in land parcels for RE developments. The inflow of long term, patient capital from private equity and other institutional players – especially in office and retail has provided the sector with stability that will ensure a steady growth curve.

The Capital Markets and Land outlook for 2019:

o   The liquidity squeeze in the NBFC sector, besides government policies and focus on due diligence, will lead to consolidation in the sector.

o   PE investments are likely to focus on completed and under-construction quality assets across the office, warehousing and retail segments; residential sector will continue to be dominated by debt funding.

o   As the due diligence process tightens, the quality of loans is also anticipated to improve, however, as a result funding costs may rise.


Post the policy reforms of 2017 such as demonetisation, RERA and GST, the residential market is absorbing the impact of these changes and is on the path to recovery. This led to a growth of about 15% y-o-y in new supply and 13% y-o-y in sales. As developers align themselves with structural policy reforms implemented in the past few years and with changing characteristics of demand, we can expect residential supply to improve in 2019. The residential market is better placed this year as speculation-led investment activity has reduced significantly and financial checks are in place to prevent over-gearing. In terms of segments, mid-end projects will still garner the major chunk of supply, followed by the affordable segment (owing to government incentives and increase in end-user demand). The uptick in launches is expected to be witnessed in Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Chennai, whereas launches in Kolkata and Pune are expected to be stable.

The Residential Market Outlook for 2019:

o   Supply- demand scenario is expected to improve, unsold inventory levels to further decline.

o   Alternate assets such as co-living, student and senior housing will continue to garner greater interest from end-users and developers.

o   Affordable housing will drive supply and demand, backed by several government reforms

o   Alternate assets such as co-living, student and senior housing will continue to garner greater interest from end users and developers.

o   In the affordable segment, developers are likely to draw up appropriate marketing strategies, phase-out launches and defend their margins by managing construction costs. Greater use of tech and tech-enabled construction techniques can assist in better execution of projects.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Russian Helicopters Holding Company Negotiating Delivery of Upto Eight Helicopters to Malaysia

Russian Helicopters Holding Company (part of Rostec State Corporation) is holding negotiations regarding delivery of up to eight rotorcraft units of three types to Malaysian customers. Contract details are to be specified during the fifteenth Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition 2019 through March 26 to 30 on Langkawi island.

“Malaysian operators made requests for purchasing up to eight Ansat, Mi-8/17 and Ka-32A11BC helicopters. We are currently providing consultations to customers to clarify technical configurations of the helicopters planned for delivery as well as other organizational matters”, said Igor Chechikov, Deputy General Director for after-sales support and head of the delegation of Russian Helicopters Holding Company.

The inquiries of Malaysian partners were partly a result of the South Asian Heli Tour organized by JSC “Russian Helicopters”. In November and December 2018 two new helicopters, one Mi-171А2 and one Ansat, made a tour over 5 thousand kilometers in length, holding demonstration shows in China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia.

“Southeast Asia is one of strategically important regions for us. We see numerous opportunities for increasing the export volume of civil rotorcraft”. After the recent South Asian Heli Tour we have concluded firm and soft contracts for the delivery of 70 civil helicopters. At present we are negotiating terms and delivery dates with the potential customers”, highlighted Viktor Kladov, Director for international cooperation and regional policy at Rostec State Corporation.

Ansat is a light twin-engine utility helicopter serially produced at Kazan Helicopters. As per the type certificate, the helicopter design makes it possible to carry out quick conversion from cargo to passenger version capable to transport up to seven people. Ansat is certified for EMS version and for operation in ambient air temperatures from minus 45°С to plus 50°С. In addition, Ansat successfully completed a series of tests confirming its capability to operate in high-altitude conditions up to 3,500 m.

Мi-8/17 type helicopters and their various versions are among the most well-known and commercially popular rotorcraft in the world. The newest modifications are certified for operation in high-altitude conditions, adversary climates and a broad temperature range. Mi-17 helicopters are designed for a wide range of missions from patrolling, coastal guard services and EMS to search and rescue operations.

Civil all-weather helicopter Ка-32А11ВС with coaxial rotor scheme was developed by Kamov design bureau (part of Russian Helicopters Holding Company). Serial production of Ka-32A11BC is carried out by JSC Kumertau Aviation Production Enterprise (KumAPE). Currently over 140 rotorcraft have been produced, operating in over 30 countries all over the world. The coaxial rotor scheme provides the helicopter with several critical stabilization and maneuverability improvements, especially for fire extinguishing missions. The configuration of Ka-32A11BC equipment features over 40 options.

JSC “Russian Helicopters”, a part of Rostec State Corporation, is a leading player in the global helicopter industry, the sole Russian designer and manufacturer of helicopters. The Holding Company was established in 2007 and is headquartered in Moscow. We operate five helicopter assembly plants, two design bureaus, component production and maintenance enterprises, aircraft repair plants and one helicopter service company providing after-sales support in Russia and abroad. The customers of the Holding Company are the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Home Affairs, EMERCOM of Russia, and other state customers, Gazpromavia, UTair Aviation company, large Russian and foreign companies.

Rostec is a Russian State Corporation that was established in 2007 to facilitate the development, production and export of high-tech industrial products designed for civilian and military applications. The Corporation comprises over 700 organizations in 60 constituent entities of the Russian Federation that are currently part of 15 holding companies and 80 directly managed organizations specializing in manufacturing military-industrial, civilian and dual-purpose products. Rostec's portfolio includes well-known brands such as AVTOVAZ, KAMAZ, Concern Kalashnikov, Russian Helicopters, UralVagonZavod, etc. In 2017 the consolidated revenue of Rostec reached 1 trillion 589 million rubles, while the consolidated net income and EBITDA amounted to 121 and 305 billion rubles respectively. According to Rostec strategy, the main objective of the Corporation is to ensure that Russia has a technological advantage in highly competitive global markets. Rostec's key objectives include the introduction of a new techno-economic paradigm and digitalization of Russian economy.

Subex Awarded 6-Year Contract from VodafoneZiggo to Revamp Billing Platform and Optimize Revenue

Subex, a leading telecom solution provider, announced that it has been awarded a six-year deal with VodafoneZiggo, an integrated communications and entertainment services provider, to deploy its ROC Partner Settlement and Route Optimization Solutions. The solution will be deployed on a SaaS-based model for VodafoneZiggo’s new Interconnect Billing Platform, replacing three different existing legacy billing systems with a single solution, to reduce complexities and optimize costs. This deployment will also help VodafoneZiggo further reduce its operational costs through the Subex Managed Service Center of Excellence, to which certain business operations will be outsourced.

VodafoneZiggo is a Netherlands based operator offering fixed, mobile and integrated communication and entertainment services to consumers and businesses. VodafoneZiggo is a joint venture of Liberty Global, the biggest international TV and broadband internet company, and Vodafone Group, one of the world’s biggest telecommunication companies. Post the merger in 2017, VodafoneZiggo has begun an IT transformation and system consolidation project. As a part of the project, the service provider selected Subex’s solutions for their Wholesale Department, to achieve business objectives through Subex’s expertise in Wholesale Management and Managed Services. Apart from reducing operational costs, the deployment will also allow VodafoneZiggo to generate more revenues through the new functionalities of the ROC platform, in addition to improving interconnect billing and reconciliations.

“It gives us great pride to secure a multi-year contract from VodafoneZiggo to deploy ROC Partner Settlement. Using ROC Partner Settlement, VodafoneZiggo will be able to address the dynamics of the entire partner ecosystem through a comprehensive wholesale solution. Deployment of this solution will enable flexibility as well as scalability to meet all business needs by the organization. For Subex, this partnership further strengthens our foothold in the European market.” Vinod Kumar, CEO & MD, Subex, said.

Michiel Peters, Director Wholesale, VodafoneZiggo said, “The partnership with Subex will definitely help us foray into newer and undiscovered segments with the revamping of our interconnect  billing platform. Subex’s track record of successful deployments in the Wholesale Management domain, as well as its leading-edge ROC platform functionality and lower cost offshoring Managed Service capabilities made them the ideal partner of choice to help us drive our business objectives towards our 2020 plan of offering ‘the network of the future’.”

Subex’s ROC Partner Settlement offers a complete overview of interconnect agreements that will allow partner organizations to optimize revenue margins. It enables organization to focus on profit centers by providing robust coverage across revenue processes of order-to-cash and procurement-to-pay. Deploying this solution will help provide accuracy and completeness in billing and settlement. Further, it will allow real-time monitoring of the billing platform. 

How Technology, Privacy and Security are Changing Each Other?

New technologies have brought unprecedented convenience and connectivity to our lives. Their evolution has also inherently created security and privacy challenges.

A Transforming Workplace

Wireless networks allow employees to work from anywhere, often using their personal devices. So how are businesses balancing staffer freedom and the protection of corporate data? Wireless networks have transformed how we work. Many employees can now work from anywhere with a steady signal, such as coffee shops, airports and airplanes. Within offices, they can roam freely, bringing laptops to meetings or quiet rooms while continuing to collaborate and access files online. Personal smartphones double as work devices. Cellular data has played a big role here, as has Wi-Fi, allowing data transfer at speeds previously reserved for wired connections. This freedom of movement has far-reaching implications for employee creativity if security can be kept in check.

The Varied 5G Landscape

The speed and increased bandwidth of 5G technology will be beneficial to consumers, but will also potentially enhance certain threats, like faster propagation of malware and bigger distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. Compared to 4G, 5G networks have an improved ability to process information. That is, the ability to prevent threats by using enhanced intelligence. With the collected data, network operators can have better profiling for attackers and get intelligence from the widest range of sources possible – Yang Xiang, IEEE Senior Member, Dean of the Digital Research and Innovation Capability Platform, Swinburne University of Technology (Australia)

Public Wi-Fi and the Tradeoffs of Convenience

Public Wi-Fi can feel like a lifesaver when trying to work on the go, but there’s the risk that a hotspot has been set up deliberately to intercept traffic and tamper with data. Part of the set of enhancements recently announced by the Wi-Fi Alliance is a protocol called OWE (Opportunistic Wireless Encryption), which always encrypts a connection. You’re not getting the authentication. But it’s a replacement for open networks, and data is now always encrypted. No one can, in the clear, look at all the data being transmitted – Dorothy Stanley, IEEE Member

About Droom

Droom is the 3rd largest E-commerce company in India in terms of GMV and the largest online auto marketplace for buying and selling new and used automobiles with over 78% market share of the automobile transactions online.

Droom is headquartered in Gurugram, India, with a team size of 365+. Droom has four marketplace formats i.e. B2C, C2C, C2B and B2B, and three pricing formats - Fixed Price, Best Offer and Auction. The platform offers a wide range of categories from bicycle to plane and all automobile services such as warranty, RSA, insurance and auto loan.

Droom has in-built tech and data science tools to create the entire eco-system around used automobiles, including OBV (pricing engine), Eco (121 points vehicle inspection), History (200 million vehicle history records), Discovery (dozens of pre-buying tools) and Credit (India’s first and only marketplace for used vehicles’ loans). The company is currently generating $1 Billion+ in annualized GMV run rate and growing at a rate of 150% Y/Y. Droom has a presence in 735+ cities across India (India’s largest hyper-local marketplace), 275K+ auto dealers (largest auto dealer platform in India), 44 Million+ monthly visitors, nearly 11 Million+ app downloads and 6.3 Million+ Facebook followers.

Droom is a Singapore Holding Company with subsidiaries in India and the United States. The company has so far raised close to $125 Million dollars over six rounds of funding. Some of the prominent investors are Lightbox, Beenext, Beenos, Digital Garage, Toyota Tsusho Corporation, Integrated Assets Management and Family office of Japanese based investor Joe Hirao, Founder ZIGExN. 

Droom's Eco Aims to Certify Over 750k Vehicles in 2019, 15x Jump from 50k Vehicles it Certified Until 2018

Droom, India’s largest and pioneering online automobile transactional marketplace, achieved another milestone on its stellar journey of transforming automobile transactions with its automobile health evaluation tool ECO crosses 50,000+ inspections till date since its inception in March 2016 and aiming to cross 750K inspections in 2019 which is 15x jump. To mark the occasion, Droom also launched a highly innovative, convenient and uniplug-and-play play IoT enabled ECO Smart device that connects with a car’s OBD II port, integrates with the car’s sensors, hardware modules, data transmitters, control units and allows one to track their performance, health, and damage factors. 

ECO is the most scientific, comprehensive as well as unbiased inspection and verification service in the country providing a thorough 121+ point auto inspection for used vehicles. Out of the 50,000 inspection queries, 45% were generated from Delhi-NCR, while the rest came from more than 100 cities across India. In terms of category breakup, 56% and 44% inspections were done for four wheelers and two wheelers respectively. With the launch of the ECO Smart Device, this demand is expected to grow much higher, and at a more robust pace.  The device scans through more than 1000 sensors (checkpoints) to monitor the engine health of any vehicle. At present, Droom is successfully running a pilot of this device in Delhi-NCR and has plans to soon expand its operations across the country.

Commenting on ECO’s success journey and the launch of ECO Smart Device, Sandeep Aggarwal. Founder and CEO, Droom, said, “We are more than overwhelmed by the responses ECO has received and we strive to keep providing our customers with a seamless experience. Reaching the 50,000-orders mark is undoubtedly a reflection of the hard work and dedication put by the entire Droom team. Especially, the credit goes to our certified inspectors without whom we couldn’t have achieved this remarkable milestone.”

“The Internet of Things (IoT) is breaking fresh ground in the automotive sector by introducing entirely new layers to the traditional concept of car servicing. With the ECO Smart Device, we look forward to offering more convenience, transparency and accuracy about the engine health of a car, which is an important factor influencing the customers’ buying decision,” he further added.

With a geographical reach of 150+ cities across the country, Droom’s ECO Inspection Service has over 1400+ certified inspectors on its platform. In just a short span of time, ECO has paved its way to become one of India’s leading doorstep inspection service.

Toyota Kirloskar Motor Takes Giant Strides Towards Achieving Zero Carbon Emission Manufacturing Facility

Guided by Toyota’s ‘Global Environmental Challenge’ 2050 in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, till January ‘19 [in FY 2018-19] - Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) successfully sourced 87% of electricity from renewable source of energy for its operations in Bidadi facility.

With key focus on its energy challenge, Toyota has been swiftly moving from non-renewable to renewable sources of energy across its business operations, as electricity consumption being one of the major sources of energy in manufacturing sector. TKM has been able to prove its eco commitment with continuous improvements in remarkable green energy sourcing trends year- on-year. Toyota Kirloskar Motor’s vision, philosophy and guidelines are true reflections of its commitment for a sustainable future. Its focused on achieving harmony between its manufacturing activities and the environment based on the concept of 'a plant that optimally utilizes natural resources while operating in harmony with the natural environment, thus working towards one of the national issues of energy security.

Toyota being a leader in the environmental stewardship started its journey towards greening its energy source since 2015-16 and has made substantial step-up over the years. TKM has gradually increased Green Energy Procurement and Investment in renewable energy sector to meet its energy requirements. The company has installed in-house solar power plants at roof tops and ground in its facility at Bidadi, which has a combined capacity of 8.4 MW of electricity. Toyota Kirloskar Motor has explored various possible avenues to increase its renewable energy share including inhouse solar parks, outside solar parks, open access sourcing etc. The renewable energy sourcing has increased from 15% in FY 15-16 to 65% in FY 17-18. The below reference tables showcase TKM’s energy source patterns over the years, towards optimization of renewable power usage at its plant facility:

Coal and other fossil fuels, which have taken three million years to form, are likely to deplete soon. Indian power sector being highly dependent on the coal based thermal power plants is one of the major sources of CO2 emission. For sustainable development, there is an urgent need to adopt energy efficiency measures with renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, etc. [replacing fossil fuels], being priority choices by wide varieties of manufacturing sectors. With these restructuring of energy supplies, we aim to reduce the emissions & its implications on the climate change. Also increasing renewable energy significantly allows to achieve cost effectiveness, providing economic advantage.

Speaking on Toyota’s commitment to environment protection and sustainability, Mr. Masakazu Yoshimura, Managing Director – Toyota Kirloskar Motor said, “Business can play a significant leadership role in accelerating the transition to a lower-carbon economy, we see renewable energy to be a key component of climate action efforts. As a responsible corporate citizen, we at Toyota strongly believe in the philosophy of “Respect for the Planet”. Reiterating our commitment to enable greener environment, TKM sources clean energy and adopts smart manufacturing systems towards Toyota’s ultimate global mission of ‘Zero Carbon Emission”.

Over the years, TKM has been stringently working towards reduction of dependency on non- renewable energy resources by implementing various energy management procedures to achieve environmental sustainability. Our renewable energy strategies prioritize energy efficiency and policy advocacy, well aligning with Government’s initiatives. I am very proud to declare that during October 2018, we achieved 100% renewable power source for our energy requirements. Through such significant goals, TKM could effectively contribute towards emission reduction by over 51,000 tons of Co2 during first three quarters of FY 2018-19.” He added.

In addition to these efforts, TKM has also devised strategies to reduce the Co2 emissions at its manufacturing facilities through energy “Consumption Reduction” and “Conversion Efficiency”. Under Conversion Efficiency enhancement approach, TKM aims to improve the operational efficiency by transforming energy from one form to another form through continuous

improvements which has been contributing effectively towards maximization of green energy adoption at TKM’s manufacturing plant.

Additionally, through various initiatives like adoption of reverse refrigeration system, centralized control of chillers, adoption of smart ACs, TKM has been reducing significant quantity of Co2 releases over the years. The company has also been vesting enormous efforts to reduce its energy consumptions through controlling and reducing daily energy consumption in each of the operational processes instilling stringent & systematic monitoring to track energy usages.

Recognising these efforts on reduction of emission in TKM’s manufacturing plant with key contributor being optimisation of renewable energy, TKM was recognised as a “Model Plant” under its “Zero Co2 plant” challenge among the Toyota Asia-Pacific affiliates.

Apart from the above stated key environmental conservations, TKM has been successful in adopting effective energy conservation techniques on factory floor and outside the company:

-   Aligning with the eco-commitment, TKM have been considerably focusing on environmental factors beginning with the plant design stage, the second plant facility at Bidadi was established, being “Eco-factory”. With this concept, TKM installed state-of- the-art technologies like servo press, global body welding line, wet on wet painting with enhanced energy efficiency levels of the manufacturing equipment, resulting in the overall reduction of Co2 emissions

-   With the concepts of Yosedome – flexibility to alter the scale as per production needs and ‘Kara- kuri' [an innovative process that converts electricity driven processes in to gravity and mechanically driven process], TKM has been driving continuous improvements to simplify and streamline the manufacturing processes, developing to become more energy efficient

Toyota is set to challenge the goal of ZERO CO₂ emissions by 2050. From fuel efficient vehicle to developing ever better eco techniques & approaches, TKM focuses on environmentally sustainable solutions in each of its business operations and every single vehicle that is manufactured in the plant facility.

The market dynamics are changing, the industry needs to acquire or develop alternate technologies to cater to future mobility needs. We at Toyota primarily focus on solving larger issues faced by the nation than just manufacturing world class cars. Such thinking way drives Toyota’s production system, products and services, national campaigns and all routine operations ensuring low emissions, fuel saving, energy conservation, safety as a prerequisite.

As pioneered makers of eco-cars leading the way for a better tomorrow, Toyota recently launched The All New Camry Hybrid Electric Vehicle. Toyota’s strong hybrid technology not only aims at creating harmony with man, nature and machine, but also positioned as the future of eco-mobility. The Camry Hybrid or self-charging electric vehicle is a strong hybrid and the only hybrid which is locally manufactured at Toyota Kirloskar Motor’s second plant located at Bidadi [Bangalore, Karnataka] in India. Toyota celebrates global cumulative hybrid sales of more than 12 million with the reduction of 94 million tons of Co2.

JCB Commits a Further Investment of Over Rs. 650 Crore in India

The new factory will be located in Vadodara in Gujarat and will manufacture parts for global production lines as the company prepares to meet increased demand. JCB Chairman Lord Bamford laid the foundation stone for the new plant which will be JCB’s sixth factory in India – a country which has been JCB’s biggest single market since 2007.  The announcement follows the start of work on a new £50 million factory to build cabs for JCB machines in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, UK which will be completed later this year.

JCB Chairman, Lord Bamford said, “With major investment in manufacturing capacity in the UK and India, we are very well placed to grow our business in the future. This year we celebrate 40 years of JCB India and our success over those four decades is down to our continual investment. It’s fitting that we mark the 40th anniversary with an investment in a factory which will give us enormous manufacturing capacity.”

JCB India already has factories in Delhi, Pune and Jaipur. Production at the new facility at Halol-II, Vadodara on a 44 acre site will begin next year. It will house the most modern laser cutting, welding and machining technology and will be a fork-lift free operation. It will be capable of processing 85,000 tonnes of steel annually

JCB India MD and CEO, Vipin Sondhi said, “This new factory will be manufacturing engineered components and sub-assemblies for JCB’s many factories around the globe. It will add to the capacity at our existing plants in India. Vadodara presents us with the advantage of being located close to the Surat port and also to our key suppliers.”

About JCB India: 

JCB is a leading manufacturer of Earthmoving & Construction equipment in India. It has five world-class factories at Delhi-NCR, Jaipur and in Pune, where it also has a Design Centre. Through an indigenised supply chain, it manufactures over 60 different products in eight categories. Products made in these factories have been exported to over 100 countries. It introduced the iconic Backhoe Loader in India four decades ago, a machine which is today seen at virtually every work site across the country. Today JCB India is a full range infrastructure equipment partner and provides solutions for customers by integrating its Range, Reach and world-class Product Support.

JCB India today employs over 5,000 people in its Indian operations. It has a network of more than 60 dealers and 700 outlets spread throughout India. The network also extends to the South Asia Region of Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Srilanka, where JCB businesses are managed by the Indian Operations.

It is pioneering the use of Digital Technology in it machines through advanced Telematics called JCB Livelink. It works with 54 Government schools and 14,500 students on age appropriate learning. JCB aspires to promote Indian literature through the JCB Prize for literature & supports the market creation and upskilling of artisans of Indigo dye.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

NetApp’s Start-Up Accelerator Program Welcomes Six Innovative in Space of Quantum Security, Cloud, Analytics and AI

NetApp has announced the fourth batch of start-ups chosen for the NetApp Excellerator, the company’s flagship accelerator program. Six start-ups were shortlisted from over 300 applicants, following a rigorous screening process including a bootcamp for the top twelve. The NetApp Excellerator program has mentored 18 start-ups through its last three cohorts and is set to accelerate a new batch of innovative enterprises.

The start-ups that have been selected for the fourth cohort are QuNu Labs, SecurelyShare,, Ecolibrium Energy, Eder AI and UniQreate. While the core technology for all these start-ups is data driven, they function in the areas of Quantum Security, Analytics, Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive RPA. Following the international reach of the program in the third cohort with two Singapore-based startups, this cohort has a UK-based startup.

Commenting on the launch of the fourth Cohort, Ajeya Motaganahalli, Senior Director, Engineering Programs and Leader of the NetApp Excellerator program, said, “We have been able to influence tangible commercial success in our cohorts so far in terms of customer acquisition, raising venture capital and successful exits. With the fast-paced evolution of the start-up landscape, the selection of our fourth cohort was predominantly governed by our focus on investing in futuristic technologies in data and security. I’m very excited to welcome the gamut of start-ups working on game-changing ideas in quantum computing, AI and cognitive RPA to this four-month journey of disruptive innovation in solutions and processes. We aim to realize the innovation potential of this ecosystem in terms of transformative outcomes.”

The success of the program’s alumni has reaffirmed NetApp’s contribution in promoting the growth of the start-up ecosystem. Adya, an alumnus from NetApp’s first Cohort, recently got acquired by Qualys, a leading provider of cloud-based security and compliance solutions. LightMetrics, also an alumnus from the first Cohort, secured a new series of funding.

“Our startup accelerator program has been associated with some of the best startups in the B2B space. We have focused on companies that are paving the way towards innovation in the data management space. The market is extremely competitive and through our expert technical and business mentorship, we can help the startups scale their businesses to solve global challenges. We will strive to expose our startups to customers both in India and overseas to take advantage of relevant opportunities,” said Deepak Visweswaraiah, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, NetApp India, on the company’s vision and the program.

As the four-month program kicks off, each of these start-ups will receive technical and business mentorship and support to develop market ready products and solutions, an equity-free grant of $15,000, access to NetApp’s technologies, a co-working space and HR, legal and tech support. In addition, the start-ups will be given networking opportunities with potential investors, partners, and customers.

NetApp has also formed strategic alliances with select startups from each cohort to co-create solutions and go-to-market with them. FirstHive, Cardiotrack, ZScore, Scalend, BlobCity, SigTuple, and Nanobi are the strategic alliance partners from the previous cohorts.

Fortis Steps into AI Based Patient Care, in Partnership with Phable

Fortis Hospitals Bangalore announced its partnership with Phable, India’s first autonomous care start-up. Through this partnership, Fortis’ patients will now have access to AI-powered ailment management solutions at the comfort of their homes. This will positively impact thousands of Fortis patients, who suffer from chronic illnesses.

Phable aims to make healthcare patient-centric, easily accessible and pocket-friendly. Their app-based virtual assistant improves the quality of life of patients by helping them manage medication, tests, diet, exercise etc. Phable integrates several home-care health devices and can detect anomalies in health conditions, thereby becoming a potential life-saver. Phable supports over 18 major chronic ailments and uses AI to deliver personalised guidance to patients.

A Spokesperson from Fortis Hospitals, Bangalore, said “Fortis Hospitals has always been dedicated towards providing the best quality care to its patients. Phable’s AI-powered guidance and prediction system will help patients and doctors by alerting them on early warning indicators, thereby, significantly improving the health outcomes of our patients.”

Speaking about the partnership, Prasanth Reddy, Co-Founder, Phable, said “We are glad to partner with one of the leading chains of hospitals in India. Our unique technology makes care delivery hassle-free, instant and most importantly, continuous for India’s many chronic illness patients. We are very confident that this partnership will help us deliver world-class digital care to the patients who need support at their homes.”

Powered by cutting-edge deep learning technology, Phable aims to integrate healthcare by bringing together medical expertise, patient data and health devices on to a single platform. According to CII, with the increased digital adoption, India’s healthcare market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 23% to US$280 billion by 2020. Digital healthcare players are estimated to accelerate a good portion of this growth and Phable, as the world’s largest medical IoT integrator, is steadily on its way to lead the digital health transformation.

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