Saturday, April 20, 2019

Sanjay Manohar Appointed Managing Director of McAfee India

McAfee, the device-to-cloud cybersecurity company, announced the appointment of Sanjay Manohar as managing director, India. He will be responsible for building and leading teams to drive product revenues, increase adoption of cloud-based products and strengthen customer relationships. He will report directly to Craig Nielsen, vice president, APAC, McAfee.

Sanjay brings over 25 years of proven industry experience spanning leadership roles across the APAC region. His career has been marked by continuous growth and recognition in marketing, sales and channel strategy. His core strengths include go-to-market strategy and execution, supplemented by his expertise in the areas of SaaS, enterprise software and networking.

Commenting on Sanjay’s appointment, Craig Nielsen said, “Sanjay will work closely with our leadership team to further accelerate our growth in India, which is a strategic market for McAfee globally. He joins us at a time when enterprises are realizing the significance of cybersecurity and making it a part of their boardroom discussions. His extensive knowledge of the industry and the region will help our customers find the best solutions for optimizing their security infrastructure, reducing risk and increasing operational efficiencies.”

“There is an increasing need today for robust cybersecurity protection for both enterprises and individuals with the fast-evolving threat landscape. I look forward to helping customers address this challenge and I’m pleased to join McAfee which remains committed to making the connected world more secure while being a trusted partner for all our stakeholders across the region,” said Sanjay Manohar.

Prior to McAfee, Sanjay held roles as regional vice president - Asia Pacific Japan, Carrier Business at Akamai Technologies, and MD of the Greater China region spearheading a cross-functional team of over 100 employees across 5 offices. Sanjay has been associated with leading MNCs when the industry was at the cusp of cloud offerings for businesses.

Friday, April 19, 2019

India's Online Retail Market Likely to Cross $170 Billion by 2030: Jefferies Report

Online retail in the country that is growing at a faster pace, is expected to be $170 billion by FY30, growing at a CAGR of 23 per cent, according to a Jefferies report. Currently, the total online retail in the country is pegged at $18 billion.

The online retail, which is currently around 25 per cent of total organised retail market in India, can potentially increase to around 37 per cent of the total organised retail market during this period, the report said.

Currently, the total online retail in the country is pegged at $18 billion.

Spends per online shoppers, which is estimated at Rs 12,800 is expected to increase to Rs 25,138 by FY30, with consumers shopping online for other segments, beyond electronics and apparel.

It noted that electronics, including mobile phones, has grabbed the market share from physical retailers, largely due to heavy discounting and cash-back online in electronics.

“Apparel and electronics have been present as categories in online retail space quite some time now in India, but online grocery is increasingly witnessing new consumers as companies such as Big Basket and Amazon Pantry are heavily advertising there discounting days, which takes place at the start of every month.

We believe that new customers will continue to enter the online grocery, given low differentiation in grocery and convenience for consumers. However, penetration of online retail in grocery will continue to remain lower,” it said.

Personal care, including make-up, too is gaining its market share online.

Jefferies noted that increase in online penetration has been a function of both discounting and convenience, however, over the medium term, discounting in the system should rationalise and convenience will be the key driver.

However, it observed that product quality remains a key concern for most of the consumers shopping online and there have been lot of instances in the country where consumers have got a counterfeit or a fake product, especially in categories such as perfumes and cosmetics.

“Quality remains a key issue for consumers while shopping online. Though online retailers are taking steps to address this issue, it will take some time and hence some consumers will continue to stay away from online shopping, especially for big-ticket, branded items.

The adoption of online retail should continue at a fast pace, as convenience seems even more important. Apart from quality, breach of data and data security are also key issues hampering adoption of online retailing,” it added.

Jet Airlines Assures Value of JPMiles Will Remain Secure and Intact

We would like to assure our members that the value of their JPMiles are secure and remain intact. With our air reward offering, “Select Flights”, members have the choice to redeem their JPMiles to fly free across more airlines, any destinations, any flights and any seats in India and globally, starting with the same JPMiles requirement as before which was applicable on Jet Airways and its partner airlines.

As always, our members can also continue to use their JPMiles on hotel stays, fuel & 2500+ merchandise options on the JetPrivilege Reward Store. We consider it our foremost responsibility to safeguard the faith our members have placed in us and remain steadfast in protecting and creating more value for our members through JPMiles. We are constantly expanding our vast partner network to offer diverse JPMiles earning opportunities across 10+ categories to our members.

Jet Privilege Pvt. Ltd. is a separate, independent entity, part of the Etihad Aviation Group formed with the sole purpose to market, develop and grow JetPrivilege – an internationally acclaimed award-winning loyalty and rewards programme.

Jaguar I-Pace Wins Unprecedented Treble at 2019 World Car Awards

The all-electric Jaguar I-PACE has completed an historic treble at the 2019 World Car Awards. Not only has it won the coveted 2019 World Car of the Year and World Car Design of the Year titles – equalling the success of the F-PACE in 2017 – it has also been named World Green Car.

I-PACE is the first model ever to win three World Car titles in the 15-year history of the awards.

This latest win for the I-PACE, awarded at the New York International Auto Show by a panel of 86 motoring journalists from 24 countries, comes just weeks after it claimed the European Car of Year title, and affirms its status as the most desirable premium electric vehicle (EV) in the world.

Prof. Dr. Ralf Speth, Chief Executive Officer, Jaguar Land Rover, said: “It is an honour that the Jaguar I-PACE has received these three accolades from the prestigious World Car jurors.

“We started with an ideal, to move towards our Destination Zero vision; zero emissions, zero accidents and zero congestion. I-PACE is our first step to achieving this, and it was conceived when EVs were little more than a niche choice.

“So we started from a clean sheet of paper to create a new benchmark - the world's best premium electric vehicle, and a true Jaguar driver's car.

“For I-PACE to be awarded 2019 World Car of the Year, World Car Design of the Year and World Green Car gives our first all-electric vehicle the ultimate recognition it deserves. I would like to thank the team who have created I-PACE for their passion in making it so outstanding.”

Designed and developed in the UK, I-PACE is attracting new customers to the Jaguar brand, for many of whom it will also be their first EV – to date, over 11,000 customers in more than 60 countries worldwide have taken delivery. Its combination of sports car performance, zero emissions, exceptional refinement and true SUV practicality make I-PACE the stand-out choice in its segment.

Ian Callum, Jaguar Director of Design, who was in New York to accept the awards, said: “Designing Jaguar cars is probably the best job in the world, and I can honestly say that no other project I’ve worked on has been as rewarding as I-PACE. Electric vehicles offer designers unprecedented freedom to rethink the proportions, the profile and the packaging, and it’s an opportunity that my team has exploited in full. Winning the 2019 World Car Design of the Year award, as well as World Car of the Year and World Green Car, is true recognition for their achievements.”

The I-PACE’s dramatic, cab-forward profile, short overhangs and taut, muscular haunches give it a sense of drama which set it apart from other SUVs. The spacious interior – enabled by the bespoke electric vehicle architecture – is finished with beautiful premium details and exacting Jaguar craftsmanship.

I-PACE has a state-of-the-art 90kWh lithium-ion battery and delivers a range of up to 292 miles (WLTP cycle). It’s capable of charging from 0-80% in just 40 minutes (100kW DC), or takes just over ten hours to achieve the same state of charge when using a domestic wallbox (7kW AC) - ideal for overnight home-charging.
A suite of smart, range-optimising technologies also include a battery pre-conditioning system: when plugged in the I-PACE will automatically raise (or lower) the temperature of its battery to maximise range ahead of driving away.
The I-PACE has also earned a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating. The body structure provides high levels of occupant protection, and is complemented by technologies designed to protect other road users and pedestrians, including a deployable bonnet and autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection.

The I-PACE has received 62 awards since it was revealed little more than a year ago, including European Car of the Year, German, Norwegian and UK Car of the Year, BBC TopGear magazine EV of the Year, China Green Car of the Year, and Autobest’s ECOBEST Award.

Reliance Net Up 9.8% to Rs 10,362 Cr in Q4; Jio Net Jumps 65% Y-o-Y to Rs 840 Crore

Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries on Thursday posted the highest quarterly net profit by any Indian private sector firm with a 9.8% rise in earnings in the period ended March 31 after robust business in retail and telecom sectors offset a dip in oil refinery margins.

The oil-to-telecom conglomerate reported a 9.8% rise in its consolidated net profit at Rs 10,362 crore, or Rs 17.5 per share, in the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2019, as compared with Rs 9,438 crore, or Rs 15.9 a share, in the same period of the previous financial year, the company said in a statement.

This is the highest quarterly profit by any Indian private sector company. State-owned Indian Oil Corp (IOC) holds the distinction of posting the highest ever quarterly profit by any Indian firm when it had reported a net profit of Rs 14,512.81 crore in January-March 2013 after it received the full-year fuel subsidy in just one quarter.

Reliance saw its revenue jump by 19.4% to Rs 154,110 crore in January-March 2019, even though they were 9.7% lower than Rs 170,709 crore revenue in the third quarter of the fiscal.

The company opened more retail stores and added 26.6 million new subscribers to its Jio mobile phone service that helped increase the profitability of the venture as its traditional oil refining business witnessed margin pressures on fluctuating international oil prices.

In full year 2018-19, the company posted a record Rs 39,588 crore net profit on a revenue of Rs 622,809 crore.

“During FY 2018-19, we achieved several milestones and made significant strides in building Reliance of the future. Reliance Retail crossed Rs 100,000 crore revenue milestone, Jio now serves over 300 million consumers and our petrochemicals business delivered its highest ever earnings,” Reliance Industries Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani said.

The record profit for the year came in a period of heightened volatility in the energy markets, he said, adding pre-tax profit has more than doubled in the last five years to Rs 92,656 crore.

“Focus on service and customer satisfaction led to higher numbers of subscribers and footfalls across our consumer businesses, driving robust revenue growth. Our endeavour is to create better experiences for our customers, leading to a better-shared future,” he added.

Its retail business, which comprises 10,415 stores with 510 being added in Q4, saw pre-tax business profit jump 77.1% to record Rs 1,923 crore.

“Reliance Retail is the only Indian retailer to be in the top 100 global retailers list and the 6th fastest growing retailer globally as per Deloitte’s Global Powers of Retailing 2019,” the statement said.

Jio continous to excel

Reliance Jio, the group’s telecom arm, posted a standalone net profit of Rs 840 crore, which was 65% more than the previous year, as subscriber base swelled to 306.7 million from 280.1 million at the end of the December quarter.

Earning per subscriber, however, declined to Rs 126.2 a month from Rs 130 in the previous quarter.

The petrochemical business saw pre-tax profits jump by 24% to Rs 7,975 crore on higher prices.

The operator of the world’s largest oil refining complex saw pre-tax earnings from the business decline for the fourth quarter in a row. Pre-tax earnings fell 25.5% to Rs 4,176 crore as margins dipped.

It earned $8.2 on turning every barrel of crude oil into fuel as compared to a gross refining margin (GRM) of $11 per barrel in January-March 2018.

G7 CR Tech Hosts a 2- Day Free Workshop on Architecture and Design on PowerBI with Microsoft Azure Analysis Services

G7 CR Technologies, a leading global information technology, consulting and cloud services company, has organized a full 2-day free workshop on Architecture and Design on PowerBI with Microsoft Azure Analysis services on 26th & 27th April 2019 at G7 CR office, Bangalore.

This Two-day instructor-led Workshop provides delegates a clear and comprehensive explanation of the concepts and best techniques for deploying OLAP (Online analytical processing). The workshop will offer IT professionals a thorough coverage of logical issues such as Design for Data Marts, dimensional hierarchies, as well as physical issues of data storage, access, and calculation. In addition, the session will provide many practical methods and formulae, along with a quick preview of Predictive analysis and Data Mining.

The course consists of 3 modules:

Module 1: Introduction

The BI Architecture
An Architectural Framework and Approach to BI Implementation
Data Marts, Data Warehouse and OLAP
The Need for Data Modeling
Dimensional Data Modeling
Business Cases and Data Modelling Techniques.
Thinking Clearly in N Dimensions
Module 2: The Core of BI and OLAP Solutions

The OLAP Flavors and it’s Pro’s and Con’s
It’s a Jungle Out There – vendors and Products
The Core of Multidimensional Technology
The Internal Structure of a Dimension
Hypercubes or Semantic Spaces
Analytic Visualization
Physical Design of Applications
Practical Steps for Designing and Implementing BI Systems
Product Language Comparisons

Module 3: Success Guidelines and Best Practices

Issues and Resolution Business and Technical
Multidimensional Guidelines
Toward a Theoretically Grounded Model for BI and Its Connection to the Relational
Model and Canonical Logic
Codd's 18 Features
Best Practices For one of the leading SSAS Products

This course will be beneficial for Designers, Managers, and Owners of a BI System who need to get about the business of Analyzing their Information from the heaps of data. And it will be an advantage for those who are already familiar with working knowledge of SQL, experience with database design, understand Data Warehousing Concepts.

Emirates Airlines Rolls Out Special Easter Menus from April 19-23

Emirates is introducing seasonal treats to celebrate Easter on board and in select airport lounges worldwide. The Easter menu is available to customers in all cabin classes from 19 to 23 April when travelling from Dubai to destinations in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Ghana and the Philippines.

Emirates will also observe Orthodox Easter with special menus for customers travelling on flights from Dubai to Russia and Greece on 28 April.

On board, customers can look forward to Easter buns handmade using Emirates’ signature recipe with spiced dough and orange peel, sultanas and currants; and children will be delighted with desserts featuring the Easter bunny. Those flying in premium classes will be able to choose from Easter-inspired desserts. First Class customers can also look forward to an Easter edition of the Lakrids “Egg” Dulce de Leche Liquorice Balls in their personal goodie baskets. This seasonal offering is in addition to the regionally-inspired cuisine served on all Emirates flights.

From 21 – 22 April, all seven Emirates lounges at Dubai International Airport and most of the airline’s dedicated Emirates lounges around the world will also introduce Easter specials. In Dubai, customers can savour traditional Easter buns, Simnel cupcake, carrot cake and Banoffee desserts. For the entire week, Coffee Planet will serve festive drinks such as Marshmallow Mocha and White Chocolate Breve.

At Emirates lounges in other international airports, frequent flyers and those travelling in Emirates First and Business Class can enjoy Easter menus with different local highlights such as Roman lamb chops served with artichokes and mint in the Emirates Rome lounge, Traditional South African Pickled Fish in the Emirates lounges in Cape Town and Johannesburg, Easter bread in the Emirates Kuala Lumpur lounge and Easter leg of lamb in the US lounges.

Customers travelling during the Easter break can enjoy over 4,000 channels of on-demand entertainment on ice, including over 1000 movies from around the world. New family-friendly movies include Dumplin’, Christopher Robin, Freaky Friday, The House with a Clock in its Walls and Mary Poppins Returns. With such a broad array of entertainment on offer, customers can create their own playlists of music, movies and TV shows on the Emirates app ahead of their flight and sync it to their seats once on board to maximise their enjoyment time.

The Easter celebrations on board and on the ground are part of Emirates’ commitment to enhance the customer experience with unique and seasonal offerings.

Tenable Announces Cloud-Based General Availability of Predictive Prioritization in

Tenable, Inc., the Cyber Exposure company, has announced Predictive Prioritization is now generally available within - its cloud-based vulnerability management platform and a core component of the Tenable Cyber Exposure platform. Predictive Prioritization is a ground-breaking innovation for solving the vulnerability prioritization problem, enabling organizations to dramatically improve their remediation efforts by focusing on the 3 percent of vulnerabilities that are most likely to be exploited.

Attempting to prioritize vulnerabilities with CVSS (Common Vulnerability Scoring System) alone presents significant limitations. According to the National Vulnerability Database, there were 16,500 new vulnerabilities disclosed in 2018 alone, but only a small subset had a public exploit available and even fewer were actually leveraged by attackers. However, the majority of vulnerabilities scored through CVSS are rated 'high' or 'critical.' This creates an overload of high-priority vulnerabilities and one of the most difficult challenges organizations face today.

Predictive Prioritization addresses this industry-wide problem by re-prioritizing vulnerabilities based on the probability they willbe leveraged in an attack. now automatically displays a Vulnerability Priority Rating (VPR) that indicates the remediation priority of each flaw, along with VPR Key Drivers, which provide enhanced context into how scores are calculated. Both features are dynamic and change with the threat landscape, arming security teams with actionable insight into their true level of business risk.

"The release of Predictive Prioritization across Tenable's Cyber Exposure platform is the latest phase of our mission to redefine vulnerability management for the digital era. We're helping customers solve one of the most difficult challenges in the industry today," said Renaud Deraison, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Tenable. "Predictive Prioritization flips the advantage back to cyber defenders by telling them where they're exposed, to what extent and which vulnerabilities to focus on first. These are all critical components of an effective Cyber Exposure strategy."

This latest release follows the general availability of Predictive Prioritization in (formerly SecurityCenter), making Tenable's Cyber Exposure platform the only one to provide predictive capabilities for on-premises and cloud deployments.

Qonnections Global Conference in Dallas Brings the Qlik World Together

Qlik has announced that the company is expecting a record number of attendees to be on hand for Qonnections 2019, May 13-16 at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center in Dallas, TX. The conference brings together Qlik customers, partners, influencers and data enthusiasts to help users learn and better capitalize on how to use data to innovate and transform their organizations.


Qonnections 2019 focuses on providing customers and partners with the knowledge and best practices they need to lead with data, through Qlik’s end-to-end platform that blends data management and analytics to address the entire data supply chain. CEO Mike Capone will share Qlik’s strategic vision and roadmap, showcasing how Qlik is helping customers tackle their most difficult data challenges while driving the 3rd generation of BI and analytics.

Additional keynote presentations will showcase how Qlik customers are transforming with a holistic and unified, strategic approach to data and analytics through Qlik. These customers are empowering users to transform the whole organization, going from raw data to democratized insights with Qlik. Special focus will be given to how various unique aspects of Qlik’s portfolio are enabling these transformations, including: multi-cloud, self-service for data, how big data is just data, accelerating insights through augmented intelligence, and the ability to capture insights from any part of the organization. Qlik Sense®, QlikView® and Qlik Data Catalyst® trainings and certification exams will also be offered.

Lindsey Vonn, Olympic gold medalist, world-record World Cup ski winner, author and LV Foundation founder will be giving a fireside chat discussing how passion helped her overcome challenges and shaped her approach to leadership.

Data Literacy experts Alan Schwarz, Ben Jones and others will join Qlik Global Head of Data Literacy Jordan Morrow in a roundtable on the importance of data literacy, how far the movement has come since the launch of the Data Literacy Project and what leading organizations need to do to make sure they correctly empower their workforce with the data skills necessary to lead.

Customer and partner presenters will appear from companies like Genuine Parts, Lenovo, Humana, Nemours and Amerigas. The complete list can be viewed at the following link:

The Qonnections Data Discovery Zone will feature more than 35 sponsoring partners and exhibitors that will showcase their value-add solutions and services for Qlik products. Diamond sponsors include Accenture, Cognizant and SDG Group.

“We are honored to be a Diamond Sponsor in the year of our 10th anniversary partnering with Qlik and making it possible for Organizations to Lead with Data,” said Alejandro Martinez, Partner, CEO USA & Canada, SDG Group. “SDG Group is one of the Global Gartner Representative Vendors for Data & Analytics, and we believe in Data as a Transformational Asset (D.A.T.A), and support the whole Data Value Chain from Data Capture to Business Insights. SDG Group will be showcasing how customers can accelerate analytics projects with dedicated solutions and help bring innovative components to Qlik solutions.”

Qlik Hack Challenge. A highly anticipated annual event, this hackathon uncovers the very best app building skills and development talent using Qlik APIs, Qlik Core and code. This year we’re calling on developers to participate in the “There is no Planet B” challenge, where data will be provided by Qlik corporate responsibility partner the United Nations (UN) and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Qlik and the UN challenge the community to create a solution to reduce travel-related carbon dioxide emissions. Every hackathon participant will have access to Qlik Branch®, a collaborative developer workspace and community, and support from internal Qlik experts moderating the event.

Qlik Late Night Lunacy. At the Late Night Lunacy event, teams consisting of Qlik Sense and QlikView insight experts will also participate in the “There is no Planet B” challenge. For the first time, these teams will also build their world-changing solutions prior to Qonnections. At the event, teams will be able to improve their applications, ask the experts for advice and then present their solution for reduced travel-related carbon dioxide emissions.

JSA Advises Conneqt Business Solutions and Quess Corp in its Acquisition of Allsec Techn

J.Sagar Associates (JSA) advised Conneqt Business Solutions Limited (Acquirer) along with Quess Corp Limited (PAC) in its acquisition of a controlling stake in Allsec Technologies Limited from Mr. Ramamoorthy Jagadish and Mr. Adiseshan Saravanan (Promoters) and First Carlyle Ventures Mauritius (Carlyle).

The transaction is valued at approximately Rs. 271 crores and will be followed by an open offer for an additional 26 pc stake in Allsec.

Allsec is an Indian company with subsidiaries in USA and Philippines which provides business process solutions across various industry verticals.

The Acquirer will buy majority of the Promoters shares and Carlyle's shares followed by a mandatory open offer for 26 per cent shares.

JSA team comprised Partners – Vikram Raghani, Raj Ramachandran and Anand Lakra; Principal Associate – Rakki K; Senior Associates – Sindhu Nayak and Abhilash Chandran, Associates - Ami Shah and Khamir Kamdar.

Private Equity Still Votes for Commercial Real Estate in Major Cities

If the prolonged slowdown in the residential was not bad enough to begin with, major policy overhauls over the last five years – DeMo, RERA, GST, amendments in the Benami Transactions Act etc. – literally paralysed the residential segment.

While any policy change brings with it some amount of teething pains, the residential segment took a prolonged hit because it had attracted the bulk of black money in the sector. Commercial real estate was far less affected, if at all.

Residential was also far less organized than the commercial office segment. Largely driven by IT/ITeS and BFSI sectors, the commercial real estate segment has been quite transparent and predictable – the primary criteria for foreign investors’ confidence.

Commercial Vs. Residential – No Contest

Various Government-driven policies including ease of doing business in India are attracting both Indian and global companies, squarely benefiting commercial real estate. Big-bang boosters like the start-up revolution and the Make in India and Smart Cities missions have created a very lucrative environment for businesses to work and expand in India.

The demand for high-quality office spaces in India has never been higher. The residential sector, on the other hand, continues to struggle with problems that the commercial segment does not share.

Moreover, high-quality office space developers largely deal with prosperous multi-nationals who, apart from having deep pockets, have zero tolerance for opacity. They are also very exacting in their requirements, which naturally leads to the highest-possible product quality.

Residential developers are engaged in a B2C business largely defined by customers looking for the lowest possible prices. While reputed developers do ensure product quality regardless of their customers’ budget bandwidth, the bulk of Indian builders cut corners wherever possible to keep their projects affordable.

Another advantage that the commercial property sector enjoys is that office properties are primarily leased out rather than sold, which leaves far less scope for dodgy activities. The residential sector is primarily driven by sales. Compared to the lease yields for office spaces at 12-14% per annum, rental yields for housing are negligible 2.5-3.5% per annum in a best-case scenario.

The funding crunch that has crippled the residential sector has not seriously impacted the office sector. In fact, India’s first REIT listing and those to follow have opened up massive potential for increased liquidity infusions into Indian office spaces. Commercial real estate also remains largely unaffected by the dynamics that affect the residential segment, such as interest rate fluctuation, income tax breaks and even election sentiment.

While residential developers have had to curtail their supply pipeline to avoid exacerbating the already massive unsold housing inventory situation, REITs and the rapidly decreasing vacancy levels in Grade A office projects have prompted commercial real estate developers to increase their supply pipeline.

In the face of all this evidence, the commercial versus residential equation would appear to be a no-brainer. However, as in most matters related to real estate, it is not as simple as that. In many ways, it like trying to compare apples and oranges using the same yardstick.

An Inherently Different Asset Class

Commercial real estate is driven by leasing because this is a far more beneficial model for developers than selling them. High rental yields do not imply high sale value, because the demand for leased office spaces is much higher than for outright ownership of the same properties.

If a commercial space developer opts for outright sale, his top-line increases immediately. By leasing out the project instead, he can look forward to a very attractive bottom-line because of steadily increasing rental yields over the years.

Also, with REITs now a reality, developers can follow a predictable exit mechanism once the project is ready and operational, providing maximum returns on investment.

As per ANAROCK data, office rentals remained steady in 2018, with a marginal rise of 3% over the previous year. More importantly, however, the average vacancy levels reduced from 15.4% in 2016 to nearly 14.47% in 2018. Not surprisingly, vacancy was the least in Bangalore with mere 3.4% in 2018.

2019 will continue to see commercial real estate supply gain momentum on the back of vastly increased interest from PE players who are actively pumping in funds into this segment. As per ANAROCK data, the commercial segment saw a total PE inflow of nearly USD 2.8 bn in 2018, up from USD 2.20 bn in 2017.

In fact, if we analyse PE trends over the last few years, the commercial segment saw total PE inflows of nearly USD 7.4 bn between 2015 and 2018. In the same period, the residential sector drew just USD 2.9 bn. This clearly reflects the interest of PE players – both global and domestic.

The major differences between commercial and residential real estate in terms of performance – and indeed as investment asset classes - are quite apparent. Certainly, private equity investors are quite certain of which segment they are more comfortable with in the current Indian market scenario.

Will residential regain its numero uno position on the Indian real estate bestseller list in the future? If it does, there is certainly a long way to go before it happens. More so, it cannot happen on the basis of end-user sales alone – it can only happen if and when investors, both individual and institutional, become sufficiently interested in the Indian housing story once again.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Worldwide IT Spending to Grow 1.1 Percent in 2019: Gartner

Worldwide IT spending is projected to total $3.79 trillion in 2019, an increase of 1.1 percent from 2018, according to the latest forecast by Gartner, Inc.

“Currency headwinds fueled by the strengthening U.S. dollar have caused us to revise our 2019 IT spending forecast down from the previous quarter,” said John-David Lovelock, research vice president at Gartner. “Through the remainder of 2019, the U.S. dollar is expected to trend stronger, while enduring tremendous volatility due to uncertain economic and political environments and trade wars.

“In 2019, technology product managers will have to get more strategic with their portfolio mix by balancing products and services that will post growth in 2019 with those larger markets that will trend flat to down,” said Mr. Lovelock. “Successful product managers in 2020 will have had a long-term view to the changes made in 2019.”

The data center systems segment will experience the largest decline in 2019 with a decrease of 2.8 percent (see Table 1). This is mainly due to expected lower average selling prices (ASPs) in the server market driven by adjustments in the pattern of expected component costs.

The shift of enterprise IT spending from traditional (noncloud) offerings to new, cloud-based alternatives is continuing to drive growth in the enterprise software market. In 2019, the market is forecast to reach $427 billion, up 7.1 percent from $399 billion in 2018. The largest cloud shift has so far occurred in application software. However, Gartner expects increased growth for the infrastructure software segment in the near-term, particularly in integration platform as a service (iPaaS) and application platform as a service (aPaaS).

“The choices CIOs make about technology investments are essential to the success of digital business. Disruptive emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), will reshape business models as well as the economics of public- and private-sector enterprises. AI is having a major effect on IT spending, although its role is often misunderstood,” said Mr. Lovelock. “AI is not a product, it is really a set of techniques or a computer engineering discipline. As such, AI is being embedded in many existing products and services, as well as being central to new development efforts in every industry. Gartner’s AI business value forecast predicts that organizations will receive $1.9 trillion worth of benefit from the use of AI this year alone.”

More detailed analysis on the outlook for the IT industry is available in the complimentary webinar “IT Spending Forecast, 1Q19 Update: AI — Use it, Build it or Sell it.”

Gartner’s IT spending forecast methodology relies heavily on rigorous analysis of sales by thousands of vendors across the entire range of IT products and services. Gartner uses primary research techniques, complemented by secondary research sources, to build a comprehensive database of market size data on which to base its forecast.

The Gartner quarterly IT spending forecast delivers a unique perspective on IT spending across the hardware, software, IT services and telecommunications segments. These reports help Gartner clients understand market opportunities and challenges. The most recent IT spending forecast research is available to Gartner clients in “Gartner Market Databook, 1Q19 Update.” This quarterly IT Spending Forecast page includes links to the latest IT spending reports, webinars, blog posts and press releases.

Mr. Lovelock will provide further analysis on the key drivers of the IT market at the Gartner Tech Growth & Innovation Conference taking place June 3-5 in San Diego, CA and June 12-13 in London. The conference is the premier event for technology providers to learn about the latest trends and tools, innovation predictions, positioning and thought leadership.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Financial Cybercrime and Identity Theft in India are Increasing in 2019: FIS PACE Report

Key facts:

* 2019 FIS PACE study finds that financial frauds' share of victims has doubled to 37 percent of respondents year-over-year

* Half of all consumers aged 27-37 experienced fraud during last year

* 96 percent of consumers who were victimized during last year had switched to mobile apps

A new research released today from FIS (NYSE: FIS), a global leader in financial services technology, found that financial fraud has grown substantially since last year, with the share of victims doubling to 37 percent of respondents, and all age segments falling victim to fraudsters. Age group of 27 to 37 has been most impacted by financial fraud than other age groups.
FIS' fifth annual PACE report highlights that Indians have embraced digital transactions, but they are yet to learn the do's and don'ts of sharing personal information, as social engineering and phishing emails are rampant.

There is a dramatic correlation in India between booming adoption of mobile apps, digital payments and increasing rate of financial fraud. 96 percent of Indian consumers who were victimized by financial fraud during the last year had switched to a mobile app and digital payments, from cash as mode of payment, significantly impacting the country's efforts towards financial integration.

"In the current digital banking landscape, it is imperative that the banks enhance investments in security, fraud prevention and customer education. Just as importantly, it can also enhance trustworthiness, which is currently consumers' top priority while banking. Customers' trust in their banks is not just a feeling or an emotion but an objective decision based on a number of expectations. However, banks can earn customers' trust if they focus on safe and secure transactions, fraud prevention and privacy of personal information," said Ramaswamy Venkatachalam, Managing Director, FIS, India.

The other interesting findings of the report are as follows:

Mobile apps drive engagement and innovation

Banks can no longer treat branches as their only channel to provide personalized service and engage customers. Mobile apps now serve as the digital 'face' for many banks, and a record 41 percent of bank interactions are now performed via mobile device. Mobile has become the default banking channel across all age groups. Looking ahead, Indian consumers want banks to invest in password-free and biometric-based banking, voice banking and wallets. 9 in 10 Indian consumers are interested in social media engagement from their PFIs.

Mobile Payments Are Now Mainstream

While cash and cards are still the preferred way to pay, mobile payments are rapidly gaining traction, especially among Gen Yers (18-26) who are a prime audience for banking providers. In fact, India is far ahead of the U.S., U.K. and Germany in mobile payment adoption. Convenience and a user-friendly interface, coupled with rapidly improving, low cost mobile data connectivity and merchant acceptance, are driving the growth of mobile payments. Mobile wallets that offer cash back and other incentives, are also spurring adoption. UPI 2.0 is also a boon for merchants, as it supports the use of an overdraft account and the verification of invoices prior to payments, moving mobile payments squarely into the Small and Medium Enterprise segment.

Public Sector Banks Leap Ahead in Customer Satisfaction

Customers of top 50 global banks and private sector banks are less satisfied than they were in 2018. However, public sector banks, traditionally seen as slow to react - saw their proportion of 'extremely satisfied' customers climb considerably, rocketing from the worst-performing category to the best. It's clear that innovation is no longer restricted to a certain set of banks. About 28 percent of young Gen Yers (18-26) and 35 percent of older consumers (53+) are not satisfied with their banks.

About FIS

FIS is a global leader in financial services technology, with a focus on retail and institutional banking, payments, asset and wealth management, risk and compliance, and outsourcing solutions. Through the depth and breadth of our solutions portfolio, global capabilities and domain expertise, FIS serves more than 20,000 clients in over 130 countries. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, FIS employs more than 47,000 people worldwide and holds leadership positions in payment processing, financial software and banking solutions. Providing software, services and outsourcing of the technology that empowers the financial world, FIS is a Fortune 500 company and is a member of Standard & Poor's 500 Index. For more information about FIS, visit

Fortis Hospitals Conducts Robotic Cancer Surgery Workshop to Train Surgeons on Advanced Surgical Modalities

Fortis Hospitals conducts a workshop on Head & Neck Robotic Onco-surgery, MASOCON-2019 to impart best of knowledge and understanding around advanced surgical modalities of treatment in the oncology vertical for surgeons. Around 150 surgeons took part in the workshop headed by Dr. Sandeep Nayak, Consultant- Surgical Oncology, Fortis Hospitals, Bangalore and a few thousand watched it online worldwide.

The workshop transmitted live specialized surgeries called Robotic Assisted Breast-Axillo Insufflated Thyroidectomy (RABIT) & Robotic Minimally Invasive Neck Dissection (R-MIND) for oral cancer, which is newly devised surgeries by Dr. Sandeep Nayak. These are being demonstrated for the first time in the world in this workshop.

The theme of the workshop was ‘Old Territory, New Approach’ which focused on robotic surgery for oral cancer, throat cancer and thyroid surgeries which are some of the most common cancers in India. These procedures were included in the workshop since they have benefitted many patients and needs to percolate well in the medical fraternity.

Dr. Sandeep Nayak said “With the rapid development in technology we have better and advanced equipment available to doctors. The doctors need to learn to use these to the best advantage of the patients. Robotic-assisted surgeries have extensively helped doctors in enhancing the capabilities for performing surgeries with more precision and a magnified view. Through this workshop, we wanted to train the surgeons on newer treatment methods using robotics in the field of head and neck oncology which would be of great help to them in their field.”

ACT Fibernet Partners with ZEE5 to Expand its OTT Offerings

ACT Fibernet, India’s largest fiber-focused wired broadband ISP (Internet Service Provider), today announced a strategic partnership with ZEE5, India’s fastest growing OTT platform. As a step to expand its OTT offerings and provide an unmatchable entertainment experience, ACT Fibernet is onboarding a variety of video-on-demand content platforms to meet the entertainment needs of customers across all segments. 

As part of the partnership, ZEE5 will be listed on ACT Fibernet portal where existing customers can access premium content on the basis their subscription status. Additionally, first time users can avail exclusive one-month free subscription through ACT Fibernet. This offer will be available at an additional cost of INR 99 across all the 17 cities where ACT Fibernet has its presence.

Ravi Karthik, Head of Marketing, ACT Fibernet, commented, “ZEE5 as a platform provides entertainment across languages and multiple genres and we are very excited to bring their extensive offerings to our customers. In line with our brand philosophy ‘Feel the Advantage’, we aim to provide holistic entertainment experience to our customers and with the convenience to enjoy content from best of streaming providers in this category.”

Manish Aggarwal, Business Head, ZEE5 India said, “ZEE5 has always been at the forefront of providing cutting edge content to viewers across languages. ACT Fibernet is a leader in the ISP space with phenomenal connectivity and caters to a premium audience. This partnership will help us widen our viewer base by many folds. Additionally, with this association, we also aim to make ZEE5 more accessible to our audience who can reap the benefits of our vast content library.”

With over 3500 films, 500+ TV shows, 4000+ music videos, 35+ theatre plays and 90+ LIVE TV Channels across 12 languages, ZEE5 truly presents a blend of unrivalled content offering for its viewers across the nation and worldwide. With ZEE5, the global content of Zindagi as a brand, which was widely appreciated across the country, has also been brought back for its loyal viewers.

Availability: The ZEE5 App can be downloaded from Google Play Store and iOS App Store Also available at, as a Progressive Web App (PWA),

About ACT Fibernet

ACT Fibernet is India’s largest fiber-focused wired broadband ISP as on September 30, 2017 (in terms of number of fiber broadband internet subscribers from residential homes) (Source: India Broadband Market Overview – 2017 dated February 19, 2018, prepared by Media Partners Asia). Headquartered in Bangalore, ACT Fibernet has operations in 15 Indian cities as on December 31, 2017 with approximately 1.28 million customers.

Only 37% of Indian Organizations are Very Confident in Internet Security: Accenture

Companies globally could incur US$5.2 trillion in additional costs and lost revenue over the next five years due to cyberattacks, as dependency on complex internet-enabled business models outpaces the ability to introduce adequate safeguards that protect critical assets, according to a new report from Accenture. 

Based on a survey of more than 1,700 CEOs and other C-suite executives around the globe including 100 respondents from large enterprises in India, the report —Securing the Digital Economy: Reinventing the Internet for Trust  — explores the complexities of the internet-related challenges facing business and outlines imperatives for the CEO’s evolving role in technology, business architecture and governance.

The report notes that cybercrime from a wide range of malicious activities poses significant challenges that can threaten business operations, innovation and growth, and the expansion into new products and services, ultimately costing companies trillions of dollars. The high-tech industry faces the highest risk, with more than US$753 billion hanging in the balance, followed by the life sciences and automotive industries, with US$642 billion and US$505 billion at risk, respectively.

“Internet security is lagging behind the sophistication of cybercriminals, leading to an erosion of trust in the digital economy. Businesses need to drive industry wide collaboration to improve governance; fine tune their own business architecture including internal and external processes; and embrace technologies that enhance digital safety,” said Anindya Basu, Geographic Unit and Country Senior Managing Director, Accenture in India. “It’s a complex problem to solve, but inaction is not an option. Lack of trust can weigh heavily on the bottom line.”

Among the key findings: 77 percent Indian respondents believe that the advancement of the digital economy will be severely hindered unless there is dramatic improvement to internet security, and more than half (59 percent) of respondents said they are concerned that the internet is getting increasingly unstable from a cybersecurity standpoint and they are unsure how to react.

At the same time, 64 percent of Indian respondents believe that addressing cybersecurity challenges will require an organized group effort, as no single organization can solve the challenge on its own. With heightened concerns about internet security, seven out of 10 (69 percent) of executives would also welcome stricter business regulations imposed by a central organization or governing body.

The rapid emergence of new technologies is creating additional challenges, 82 percent of Indian respondents admit that their organization is adopting new and emerging technologies faster than they can address related cybersecurity issues, with two-thirds (68 percent) noting that cybersecurity issues have escaped their control due to new technologies such as the internet of things (IoT) and the industrial internet of things (IIoT). A majority (81 percent) also said protecting their companies from weaknesses in third parties is increasingly difficult, which isn’t surprising given the complexity of today’s sprawling internet ecosystems.

Also, on the minds of many senior executives: consumer data protection. Fueled by security concerns, 70 percent of respondents believe that consumers can’t trust the safety of their online identities when too much of their personal data is already available without restrictions.

Next Steps

The study outlines three actions that CEOs and other C-suite leaders can take to help improve the safety of the internet:

Governance: Join Forces with Other Companies and Govern Globally – Step up efforts to collaborate with other top executives, government leaders and regulators to better understand how to prevent new cyberattacks.

Business Architecture: Connect and Protect with a Model Run on Digital Trust – Become brilliant at the basics of cybersecurity. Fully protect business across the entire ecosystem of partners and supply chains.

Technology: Advance Businesses and Enhance Safety – Embrace new technologies, master IoT security, and prepare for the quantum challenge. Ensure that software security and update functions are embedded into mobile and IoT devices from initial design.
To read more about the concrete and critical actions for building a trustworthy digital economy, download “Securing the Digital Economy: Reinventing the Internet for Trust" at


Accenture Research surveyed 1,711 C-level executives from companies with annual revenues of US$1 billion or more in October and November 2018 across 13 countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States. In-depth interviews were conducted with CEOs (61 percent), chief operating officers (20 percent), chief innovation officers (9 percent) and chief strategy officers (9 percent). The average cost of cybercrime was calculated as a percentage of revenue for each industry — including the cost of facing a large cyberattack from our analysis of 460 major incidents. The cost of cybercrime includes both the cost organizations incur when responding to cybercrime incidents as well as revenue losses. These industry percentages were then applied to global industry revenues to generate a 5-year model of value at risk by industry.

Mindtree Crosses $1 Billion in Annual Revenue During Q4 of 2019

Mindtree, a global technology services and Digital transformation company, announced its consolidated results today for the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2019 as approved by its board of directors.

“Mindtree has delivered exceptional performance for both the fourth quarter and the full fiscal year as we cross the historic $1B milestone. Over the course of two decades our strategy of being expertise-led and backed by a unique culture continues to help us attract world class people and create customer successes.” Rostow Ravanan, CEO & Managing Director, Mindtree. ” Our ability to consistently grow significantly faster than the sector is a reflection of the investments we have made to align with technology trends disrupting our industry. We are well-poised to continue delivering industry leading returns for all our stakeholders, the best is yet to come”.

Key financial highlights:

Quarter ended March 31, 2019


o   Revenue at $ 262.0 million (growth of 4.2% q-o-q / 15.8% y-o-y)

Constant Currency growth of 3.9% q-o-q

o    Net profit at $ 28.2 million (growth of 5.0% q-o-q / growth of 0.3% y-o-y)


o    Revenue at  ₹ 18,394 million (growth of 2.9% q-o-q / 25.6% y-o-y)

o    Net profit at  ₹ 1,984 million (growth of 3.8% q-o-q / growth of 8.9% y-o-y)

Other highlights:


o    349 active clients as of March 31, 2019

o    $10 million clients grew by 2, total of 23

o    $5 million clients grew by 1, total of 45

o    $1 million clients grew by 4, total of 120


o    20,204 Mindtree Minds as of March 31, 2019

o    Trailing 12 months attrition is 14.2%


o    Automation is playing a significant role in modernizing our technology service delivery, enhancing both efficiency and speed-to-results for our clients.

o    We have deployed 576 BOTs as of March 31, 2019

*Software that acts autonomously, free from any interference, human or otherwise, to perform a significant task which will otherwise be performed by a human

·         Multi-year and multi-million-dollar wins:

Existing clients

o    For a large hospitality company, Mindtree extended its Digital presence into cloud migration services

o    For a leading multinational paints and coatings company, Mindtree is chosen as a Digital Partner to provide Digital service operations and support services

New clients

o    For a leading sports retailer, Mindtree is chosen as a Digital partner for their e-commerce platform covering both applications and infrastructure services for end to end support

o    Mindtree is awarded its largest Salesforce AMS contract to date by a leading tobacco giant. Under this contract Mindtree was chosen to provide support services for their Salesforce applications

o    Mindtree is chosen as an automation solution partner for an industry leader in revenue integrity for healthcare provider organizations to bring efficiency in their business processes

o    Mindtree is chosen as a strategic engineering partner for a leading web hosting company to provide sustainment and support services


o    The Zinnov Zones for Digital Services Report names Mindtree an overall Leader, as well as a Leader in the following sub segments:

* Digital Strategy & Consulting

* Application and Platform Development

* UI/ UX & Customer Experience

* Legacy Modernization

* Deployment & Integration

* Data Analytics & AI

* Infra & Managed Services

o    The 2019 ISG Provider Lens™ SIAM/ITSM Quadrant Report names Mindtree a Rising Star USA in Service Operation and Delivery

o    Mindtree named Leader for Digital Transformation and Leveraging Packaged Software Platforms archetypes in the 2018 ISG Provider Lens™ Next-gen ADM Services Archetype Report

o    Mindtree named Leader for Legacy Transformation and Cloud-first Transformation in the 2018 ISG Provider Lens™ Digital Business Transformation Archetype Report

o    Mindtree has been placed on The Best of The Global Outsourcing 100® list by the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP)

o    Mindtree recognized as an Innovator in Avasant’s Applied Intelligence and Advanced Analytics Services RadarView™ Report


o    The Board of Directors, at its meeting held on April 17, 2019, have declared an interim dividend of 30% (Rs 3 per equity share of par value Rs 10 each). The Board of Directors have also recommended a Final Dividend of 40% (Rs. 4 per equity share of face value of Rs. 10 each) for the financial year ended March 31, 2019 and a special dividend of 200% (Rs. 20 per equity share of face value of Rs 10 each) to celebrate the twin achievements of exceeding USD 1 billion annual revenue milestone and 20th anniversary of the Company which are subject to the approval of Shareholders.

Nutanix Introduces Cloud Computing Native Solutions for Enterprises

Nutanix, Inc., a leader in enterprise cloud computing, has announced the general availability of its Certified Kubernetes solution, Nutanix Karbon. Karbon is part of the Nutanix Cloud Native stack, bringing production-ready Kubernetes, persistence for Kubernetes applications, observability and monitoring for dynamic containers, and managed databases in one simple to deploy and manage offering. With this introduction, Nutanix customers will be able to leverage reliable, automated, secure and efficient services together with the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform to develop and run both their virtual machine and container-based applications on-premises.

According to IDC, the container infrastructure software market is forecasted to grow from $131.1 million in 2017 to $1.55 billion in 2022, with most of the growth coming from on-premises deployments. Though much of the adoption to date has been with web-scale companies, it is now beginning to expand into enterprises. “Enterprises are just beginning to learn the technologies and change how they approach development and operations. Most enterprises are in research and experimentation mode, with only a very small elite segment having any real experience or deployments of containers today.” 1

Through Nutanix’s Cloud Native offerings, companies will be able to take advantage of simple, reliable on-prem tooling and automation required for fast development and continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) of scale-out applications for a cloud-like Kubernetes experience on-prem. This includes simple and fast deployment of Kubernetes in a private cloud, persistent block and file storage via CSI driver,  observability for their cloud-native applications and, once available, S3-compatible storage — all delivered with modern simplicity using the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform that includes:

Nutanix Karbon: A simplified and production-ready Certified Kubernetes distribution that simplifies the provisioning, operations and lifecycle management of Kubernetes with a native experience. Karbon is included in the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform.

Nutanix Volumes & Files: One of the more challenging aspects of cloud native applications is persistence. With Nutanix’s Container Storage Interface (CSI) and Volumes & Files products, adding high-performance storage to Kubernetes is simplified.

Nutanix Buckets: A software-defined object storage solution that will be able to non-disruptively scale-out while lowering overall costs. It's designed with an S3-compatible REST API interface to handle from terabytes to petabytes of unstructured data. Customers using Buckets will be able to natively leverage erasure coding, compression, and deduplication to optimize their capacity utilization. This S3-compatible platform will be able to be leveraged as central storage for all DevOps use-cases. Buckets is expected to be generally available by summer of 2019.

Nutanix Xi Epoch: An observability and monitoring service for cloud native applications that provides end-to-end real-time visibility into distributed application architecture, powered by 250+ technology native integrations. With Xi Epoch, customers gain insights into application, infrastructure, and orchestration management issues, enabling them to increase the reliability and performance of their Cloud Native applications.

Nutanix Era: A database administration tool that brings simplicity and invisible operations to database provisioning and lifecycle management (LCM). With one-click database provisioning and Copy Data Management (CDM) as its first services, organizations can provision, clone, refresh, and backup their databases to any point in time in just a few minutes.

“We have taken simplicity to a new level.” said Neville Vincent, VP A/NZ, ASEAN and India, Nutanix.  “Enterprises can now use Karbon to deploy and operate Kubernetes with a cloud-like experience in their private data centre - without having to master building and maintaining Kubernetes. As enterprises seek to remain relevant in a digital world, Nutanix will be there to help them modernize their applications, increase software development speed and ultimately add greater value for their customers”.

“Leveraging Nutanix Karbon, we can deploy a Kubernetes cluster in just a few minutes,” said Zach Hilliard, Senior Director of SREs at Cyxtera. “Prior to Karbon, this process was complex, tedious and very time-consuming. Now, we can focus more on our cloud native applications and not worry about the Kubernetes infrastructure.”   

Hyperacidity Prevalence is Growing Among Younger Populations; Abbott’s Digene Offers a Scientific Solution

New market research1 shows that lifestyle-related hyperacidity is a growing concern for consumers. In fact, 61 per cent of the population in urban India suffers from hyperacidity at some point in time. Abbott’s Digene, one of the key antacid brands in the country, is a scientifically proven solution to hyperacidity for modern-day hectic lifestyles.

While hyperacidity has traditionally been associated by consumers with life-stage or body type, new market research2 shows that consumers believe hyperacidity is increasingly rooted in the lifestyle they lead. Due to the pressures of urban life, consumers report consumption of more culprit foods than ever, erratic eating habits and an increase in stress and tension. And data from one study3 found that nearly 70 per cent of acid reflux patients were aged below 50 years. This indicates that hyperacidity and related conditions are increasingly being driven by lifestyle factors and are thus more prevalent among younger populations.

Digene is uniquely suited to address this growing problem. The product has been available in India for nearly 90 years, and is the #1 prescribed antacid among doctors4. Moreover, its efficacy is rooted in science. Digene has what is called high acid neutralizing capacity (ANC)5, which means it is very effective at reducing the acid in a person’s stomach to give them relief.

Dr. Srirupa Das, Director, Medical Affairs at Abbott explains, “Digene provides fast and effective relief based on science, with active ingredients that relieve symptoms and protect the stomach lining. This translates into better relief – which means people can get back to living their life.”

Moreover, Digene is the only antacid in India that is available in three formats, liquid, powder and tablet. It is easy to consume both at home and on the go.

In order to meet the underlying need and reach a broader audience, Digene has launched a new campaign focusing on providing a scientific solution to lifestyle-related hyperacidity, with the versatile Tapsee Pannu who talks about the issues related to life-style related hyperacidity. She represents the challenges and problems faced by modern day consumers.

Commenting on the scientific approach presented to younger consumers, Ambati Venu, Managing Director, Abbott India Limited said, “Research indicates one of the leading causes of hyperacidity is hectic and erratic lifestyle, which is common among today’s urban consumers. Digene is an effective solution that is trusted by most doctors in India. Importantly, the product is backed by science through its high acid neutralizing capacity. As we further grow our consumer portfolio in the country, Abbott is committed to providing scientific solutions to help people get and stay healthy.”

About Abbott

Abbott is a global healthcare leader that helps people live more fully at all stages of life. Our portfolio of life-changing technologies spans the spectrum of healthcare, with leading businesses and products in diagnostics, medical devices, nutritionals and branded generic medicines. Our 103,000 colleagues serve people in more than 160 countries. In India, Abbott was established in 1910, and is one of the country's oldest and most admired healthcare companies. With over 12,000 employees in the country, Abbott in India is helping to meet the healthcare needs of consumers, patients and doctors throughout urban and rural India.

Tech Giant IBM Using AI to Create Customised, Emphatic Chatbots

Chatbots may have become ubiquitous in recent times, assisting businesses in everything from bill payments to customer services, but these automated algorithms still struggle to grasp the nuances of human language and context of conversations.

In order to improve user-experience, researchers at IBM India are using artificial intelligence (AI) to make chatbots more emphatic and personalised so that they can meet a client's specific needs and provide business value at a much higher scale.

According to an estimate, chatbots are predicted to tackle a massive 85 per cent of customer service interactions by 2020. India is a key player in the chatbot market today where such services have been introduced by many banking and insurance companies, said Gargi B Dasgupta, director, IBM Research-India and CTO, IBM India/South Asia.

Banks and insurance providers, she explained, were the early adopters of chatbots in the country, helping customers for bill payments, mobile recharges, booking travel, so on and so forth. However, when it comes to making people feel comfortable, AI has a lot to learn, Dasgupta noted. A lot of available systems make building the first chatbot easy, but do not scale-up when you increase the scope of the chatbot or need to build several hundred more, she said. This, she said, is because of two main factors: overt dependence on the manual effort for creating chatbots which makes them both time consuming and brittle, and lack of an end-to-end fall-back plan with continuous learning and improvement.

“We at IBM Research are working towards training these applications with data by infusing AI and related technologies to help organisations get business value at a much higher scale,” Dasgupta said.

The tech giant's IBM Watson Assistant can be trained to represent a company's specific brand voice and values using that firm's customer and business data.

"Conversational agents are going to be a primary way people communicate and the AI that powers it needs to be very strong," Dasgupta said. "We work with several enterprise customers to enable their conversation agents to be more usable and affordable," she said.

“There are a couple of AI projects we at IBM Research India are doing on conversational AI,” Dasgupta said.

The technology, she noted, empowers more realistic conversational AI which is able to handle nuances of the user language and that can handle domain and context understanding.

The enterprise chatbot evolution in India started with everyone being impressed by the fact that they can have a 24/7 channel of communication with their customers.

In addition, they can delight their customers with an instantaneous response to their queries.

Further, many are looking at offering more services like register a claim, get a quote and help customers understand their various policies better. “Conversation is the most natural way for humans to interact with an AI system and the predictions are by 2024 this will be double-digit billion markets," said Sachindra Joshi, Manager — Conversational Platforms, IBM Research-India.

"Since human conversation is complex, contains forth and back references, is contextual, it poses a very interesting research problem to solve," Joshi told said.

"We have built chatbots using the research technologies for multiple external and internal clients. They have been running successfully now for 1-2 years," he said.

The researchers use deep learning techniques on conversations between end-users and human agents that provide support in traditional call centres.

Their analysis helps identify dominant problems or reasons for which end-users contact call centres as well gives insights on how experts agents handle those problems.

“These inputs are extremely valuable to build a chatbot. They reduce the manual effort and the initial build time as well as provide concrete ways to continuously improve the chatbot as it is being used,” Dasgupta said. “We have focused on continuous learning of conversation agents, scalable bootstrapping from documents and logs and innovative and expressive ways of dialogue design,” she said.

“As these technologies mature, users of chatbots will see an improved experience with the bot being able to learn from past conversations and get more effective,” she said.

"This should increase the proportion of successful conversations. Also bot designers will be able to use our tools to create conversation agents faster and make them more effective,” she said.

Joshi noted that one big challenge for chatbots in India is the support for local languages.

Ninety per cent of the new internet users are expected to be non-English speakers in the next few years.

Researchers, he said, are trying to work with linguists alongside technologists developing verticalised vernacular models for handling local languages.

"We have also developed deep learning techniques that help in creating chatbots in a data driven manner and have brought down the initial build time of chatbots from several weeks to only a few days," noted Joshi.

Researchers said while designing chatbots, it is crucial to keep in mind the affordability of creating chatbots and their usability.

Chatbots are only useful when they help a particular business function to improve, they said.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Jaya Kumar Appointed VP & Managing Director of Sabre Development Center in Bangalore

Sabre Corporation, the leading technology provider to the global travel industry, has appointed Jaya Kumar K as Vice President & Managing Director, for Sabre Global Development Center in Bangalore, reaffirming its commitment to transforming the future of travel and strengthening Sabre’s presence in India.

In his role, Jaya will be responsible for propelling the Centre’s innovation capabilities, as well as attracting key talent to deliver cutting-edge technology solutions.

Jaya comes to Sabre from Walmart, where he was Managing Director and Vice President, Global Technology Services, where he grew Walmart Labs India significantly, and established Centers of Excellences (CoE) for analytics across e-commerce and in-store technologies. Prior to that, Jaya also co-founded and built Neta, a pioneering data mining tool.

“As we continue to push the boundaries of technological innovation at all levels of the travel industry, we are pleased to have Jaya join the team to drive our development strategy forward, and ultimately, enable us to better serve our clients. The Global Development Centre in Bangalore is essential to our success, and I am delighted to have Jaya on board to spearhead Sabre’s efforts in driving the industry toward next generation retailing, distribution and fulfilment,” said Louis Selincourt, Senior Vice President, Sabre Global Development Center Operations.

Speaking on his new role, Jaya Kumar K - Vice President & Managing Director, Global Development Center – Bangalore, said, “I am delighted to be a part of the team. I want the Bangalore Center to be known as a dynamic growth engine that provides holistic career opportunities for professionals. My focus will be to make this Center a hub of opportunity for talented individuals while keeping innovation and creativity at the core of our operations. I look forward to a long and successful journey with the organization.”

Established in 2005, the Global Development Center in Bangalore has been driving innovation for Sabre’s global customer base of over 425,000 travel agents, 350 airline partners, and 40,000 hotel properties. The team supports multiple technology functions, including product development, enterprise data and analytics and operations research efforts, while providing customer care and support, implementation and consulting services, and delivering leading products and solutions to Sabre customers globally.

Largest Multiplex Chain, PVR Cinemas Ties Up with GyFTR (Vouchagram) to Power its e-Gift Vouchers

PVR Cinemas, the largest and the most premium film exhibition chain in India, has teamed up with GyFTR (Vouchagram), country’s leading online-to-offline (O2O) peer-to-peer gifting platform, to power its e-gift vouchers. The brand will now feature their e-gift vouchers on the GyFTR platform, which will be available for purchase in the following values: INR 100, INR 250, INR 500, and INR 1000.

Established in 1997, PVR Cinemas is the largest cinema chain and currently owns 758 screens in 162 locations across 65 Indian cities. Its extensive pan-India presence and superlative in-cinema experience make it the first choice of millions of cinemagoers. This association underlines PVR’s efforts to enhance its customer acquisition and augment its online/offline footprint with the help of GyFTR’s end-to-end e-gifting solutions.

PVR customers can use e-gift voucher powered by GyFTR to book PVR movie tickets online and can redeem only one e-gift voucher on one bill. These cannot be used directly at PVR cinema halls.

Commenting on this association, Arvind Prabhakar, Co-Founder – Vouchagram India Pvt. Ltd, said, “There is no dearth of cinema lovers in India, which is why there is massive traction for e-gift vouchers for online movie ticket booking. Our partnership with PVR, one of India’s most popular cinema chains, significantly expands our offerings in this space. We are confident that this association will not only enhance the experience of movie-goers in India but also allow PVR to offers its services to a much wider online audience.”

Speaking on the partnership, Mr. Gautam Dutta, CEO, PVR Ltd. said, “At PVR Cinemas, we understand that the expectations of the modern day consumer are transforming rapidly. In this day and age, a combined online/offline marketing strategy is crucial to enhance revenue generation and sales, market visibility, and brand recall. This is why; we are thrilled to join hands with GyFTR, a platform that will give PVR Cinemas seamless access to the diverse e-gifting ecosystem, thereby allowing us to accelerate customer acquisition and business growth.”

A thought leader in the instant gifting and redemption domain, GyFTR currently services more than 5 million customers and has a clientele of 135+ active brands. The platform facilitates seamless gifting across multiple geographies and has been revolutionizing the segment by making the experience of receiving a gift like a ‘gift’ in itself through its proprietary technology.

Gourmet Passport Now Available in Kolkata; Will Launch in Three More Cities by June

Dineout – India’s largest dining out and restaurant tech solutions company today launched its premium membership program Gourmet Passport in Kolkata. The service was launched by Mr. Ankit Mehrotra, CEO, Dineout and Mr. Rocky Mohan, founder & mentor, Gourmet Passport and a renowned food columnist in India.

Gourmet Passport by Dineout is a subscription based premium membership program that offers unbeatable value to diners with its incredible Buy 1 Get 1 offer at 1000+ top restaurants across India. It enables dining at top restaurants more accessible to food connoisseurs who are looking for a great dining experience and at the same time enjoying unmatched savings of up to 50% on their dining bills.

Dineout has partnered with more than 100 restaurants across  Kolkata for Gourmet Passport  including the city’s luxury & fine dining restaurants and 5 star hotels. Some of its tmost exclusive partner restaurants are – Pa Pa Ya, Ping’s Cafe Orient, JW Kitchen and The Salt House among others, where Kolkata’s foodies can enjoy the privileges of their Gourmet passport subscription.

“Our expansion into Kolkata is a part of our commitment to meet the growing demands of our consumers. Gourmet Passport is a premium membership program that caters to evolving taste of Indian foodies and has a membership base of close to 260K members. We look forward to enhancing the gastronomic experiences of Kolkatans by bringing them the most exclusive dining options across the city”, said Mr. Ankit Mehrotra, CEO & Co-founder, Dineout.

Expressing his thoughts on the launch, Mr. Rocky Mohan, Founder & Mentor, Gourmet Passport said that, “People of the City of Joy love to dine out and want to experiment with their food choices. Gourmet passport is a tailor-made product for food connoisseurs who are looking to discover premium dining experiences at best of the restaurants. We are sure that Gourmet Passport will act as a gastronomic treat to the diners with new restaurants and cuisines.”

Gourmet passport by Dineout has close to 260K + members from 8 cities of India and has partnered with over 1000 luxury dining restaurants and bars across 5-star hotels, premium standalone outlets & chains. The product is already available in Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune, Ahmedabad, and Chennai in India. The brand will next launch in Jaipur, Goa and Chandigarh by June.

Ajay Dixit Appointed as the New CEO of Cairn Oil & Gas India

Cairn Oil & Gas, a vertical of Vedanta Limited, and India’s largest independent oil and gas exploration and production company, has announced the appointment of Ajay Dixit as its Chief Executive Officer. Ajay succeeds Sudhir Mathur, who after seven successful years with the company, moves on to pursue personal endeavors.

Ajay brings 39 years of rich experience in the energy sector and joined Vedanta in 2015 from Siemens where he was CEO - Energy for South Asia. An alumni of Delhi College of Engineering, he served as the Acting CEO of Vedanta’s Aluminium and Power business before being elevated to this new role. He brings deep experience in strategy, operations, technology, finance and regulatory affairs. His leadership will support Cairn’s vision to realize the full potential of Barmer block, grow the offshore business, appraisal of new blocks under OALP I and DSF II, and in continuing to steer a strong and high growth organization.

Speaking on the appointment, Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan, CEO, Vedanta, said, “We are delighted to appoint Ajay as CEO of our oil and gas business. Ajay has a deep understanding of our business and the markets we operate in. He is a dynamic and values-driven leader with an impressive track record of delivering consistent high quality performance in a safe and sustainable way. We are confident that he will play a stellar role in further increasing the operational efficiency and growth of our oil and gas business. We warmly thank Sudhir for all his contributions and wish him the very best in his future.”

Ajay said, “I have been closely watching and admiring Cairn’s spectacular performance and it is a privilege for me to lead this business. We will continue to invest systematically and bring in world-class technology to further strengthen our India exploration footprint. Our focus will remain on exploration and production in innovative and sustainable ways to support India’s vision of energy security and self-sufficiency.”

Cairn today produces approximately 200,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, which is about 25% of India’s crude production and has a vision to take up its contribution to 50%. The company has planned investments worth $3.5 billion over the next 3-4 years which will significantly ramp up its production.

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