Friday, July 26, 2019

Driving Cultural Transformation - Microsoft Hosts World’s Largest Private Hackathon

Microsoft India is hosting the sixth edition of its annual One Week Hackathon 2019, the largest private hacking event in the world. For the first time in India, the Hackathon will host customers and NGOs at Microsoft campus to hack and work on real-world challenges along with Microsoft employees.

In 2014, Microsoft started One Week, a series of events that bring employees together across the globe and across disciplines to inspire more organic connection and collaboration. The core event at One Week is the Hackathon, which invites all employees to hack to solve a problem, build a passion project, or simply develop a new skill.

Reena Dayal, Director Garage India, Microsoft said, “Hackathon enables employees to collaborate to solve a problem they care about, with a focus on the big picture. Employees take on challenges they feel passionate about or to come up with “the next big thing” for our customers and create experiences that are accessible to all.”

Reena further commented, “each year, we see more customer obsession, diversity and inclusion, and a drive to work together across Microsoft and with partners to make a difference. We are very excited about the latest edition of the One Week Hackathon 2019, for the first time in India, we have invited customers and NGOs to our campus to hack with Microsoft employees to solve challenges through technology.”

Hackathon reflects Microsoft’s unique culture and vision to empower every employee and organization on the planet to do more. At Microsoft, hacking is for all employees, technical and non-technical, who come together to find diverse and inclusive solutions. It’s now the largest private Hackathon in the world with 23500+ employees participating in 2018, 30% of who were non-engineers.

Hackathon focuses on empowering employees, teams, and the organization through upskilling, collaboration on a broader perspective, and building on new ideas of applying tech in interesting ways. Earlier hackathons have had great results, including products such as the Seeing AI app, Xbox adaptive controller, Kaizala and SMS Organiser.

The One Week hackathon is a flagship platform of The Garage, which fosters employee-led innovation, bringing together people across roles, skills, and experiences to lend their passion to create change in the world - to improve society, business processes, or for the sheer joy of hacking an existing project and making it better. It also offers the opportunity to learn new technologies and work closely with people from different backgrounds helping employees to integrate the cultural pillars of growth mindset, making a difference, diverse and inclusive, One Microsoft, and customer obsession into everyday work.

What customers and NGOs have to say-

“Marrying Microsoft’s mission to empower everyone to achieve more with Deshpande foundation’s grass root knowledge of the problems that Indian farmers face is the epitome of using technology for real-time Innovation” - Mohd. Innus Khan, Director of Agriculture, Deshpande Foundation.

“The hackathon was a great experience and opportunity to ideate and accelerate solutions for mass entrepreneurs in a very short period. Market discovery through tech enablement is much needed and we had a good outcome which has the potential to solve for market linkages and be a game changer. Looking forward to more such targeted events in partnership with Microsoft.” - Vidya Chandy, Global Alliance for Mass Entrepreneurship.

"Eleven01 is happy to have been part of the Microsoft global Hackathon, which allowed us to work with Microsoft internal team. It helped us immensely to accelerate our idea and showcase a solution around Azure" Rama Iyer, President & CTO Eleven01.

Study Indicates Email Attacks are Having a Major Impact on Businesses


74% of respondents say email attacks are having a major impact on their businesses.
78% of organizations say the cost of email breaches is increasing.
Spear phishing is widespread: 43% of organizations have been the victim of a spear-phishing attack in the past 12 months.
More than three-quarters of organizations say their employees aren’t good at spotting suspicious emails.
Barracuda, a trusted partner and leading provider of cloud-enabled security solutions, today released key findings from a report with the title 2019 Email Security Trends. Commissioned by Barracuda, the research surveyed global IT stakeholders to capture their experiences and attitudes about the current state of email security.

Read the full report:

The survey includes responses from 660 executives, individual contributors and team managers serving in IT-security roles in the Americas, EMEA, and APAC. Companies surveyed include small, mid-sized, and enterprise businesses in technology, financial services, education, healthcare, manufacturing, government, telecommunication, retail, and other industries. A wide range of questions captured hard data about phishing, insider threats and Office 365, as well as the related business impacts, security spending and costs of breaches.

Overall, the study indicates that while most IT professionals are more confident about their email security systems than they were a year ago, email attacks continue to have a significant impact on businesses. Highlights include:

Email attacks are having a direct business impact — and impacting the personal lives of IT security professionals.
74% of respondents said that email attacks are having a major impact on their businesses.
The most common effects cited were loss of employee productivity, downtime and business disruption, and damage to the reputation of the IT team.
Nearly three-quarters of respondents reported experiencing higher stress levels, worrying about potential email security even when they’re not at work, and being forced to work nights and weekends to address email security issues.
Phishing and ransomware are top concerns.
43% of organizations have been the victim of a spear-phishing attack in the past 12 months.
Breach costs and monetary losses are on the rise.
78% of organizations said that the cost of email breaches is increasing.
66% claimed that attacks have had a direct monetary cost on their organization in the past year.
Nearly a quarter of respondents advised that attacks have cost their organization $100,000 or more.
Employees remain a major weak link in an organization’s security defenses.
More than three-quarters of organizations said their employees aren’t good at spotting suspicious emails.

There are growing concerns about insider threats and Office 365.
79% of IT professionals said they are worried about attacks and breaches stemming from inside the organization.
92% of Office 365 users have security concerns
Based on the success and proliferation of email-based attacks, IT security professionals will need to stay focused on the evolution and escalation of phishing, ransomware, and other threats and improve email security that goes beyond the traditional gateway. Barracuda offers a broad solution against email-borne targeted attacks and social engineering. For more information, please visit:

Six Deep Tech Startups Win Accenture Ventures ‘Applied Intelligence’ Challenge 2019

Accenture has announced the winners of the second annual Accenture Ventures Challenge in India, which this year recognizes deep tech growth-stage Indian startups with the most innovative business-to-business (B2B) use cases in five categories related to Applied Intelligence: artificial intelligence (AI), data, analytics, automation, and industrial AI.

“The Accenture Ventures Challenge helps us recognize the most disruptive technology startups in India and provides them with access to our Global 2000 clients,” said Avnish Sabharwal, managing director for Accenture Ventures and Open Innovation in India and the Middle-East. “This year’s competition scaled new heights with record participation from mature startups focused on Applied Intelligence. We’re excited about the possibilities that this creates for the winners, and for our clients globally.”

This year’s challenge drew over 370 entries from across India. Of these, 15 finalists were evaluated by a jury of Accenture executives and industry leaders from Indian businesses, multinational corporations and the venture capital community. The judges selected the following winners based on innovative edge, business value and scalability:

MMS.IND – for its GeoMarketeer platform, which delivers geo-location-based intelligence using micro market focused data and analytics functionalities, delivered as a service.
Numberz – for its secure, cloud-based insights driven enterprise platform, which helps streamline the accounts receivable process and accelerate collections by using AI, machine learning and robotic process automation.
Locobuzz – for its portfolio of software as a service-based offerings including social listening, AI, command centers and customer relationship management, to address core challenges related to customer experience management in the digital world.
Strayos – for its 3D visual AI platform for the mining and infrastructure industry. The platform utilizes imagery data to extract hidden insights about geology in mining for optimized drilling and pre-excavation object detection below the ground surface to enable the accurate inspection of job sites.
Niramai – for its AI-based advanced thermal imaging solution, Thermalytix, which provides a non-contact, radiation free, affordable and accessible way to detect early stage breast cancer in women of different age groups.

Additionally, this year a sixth winner was chosen by the audience at the grand finale event on July 25 in Mumbai. This award was won by CropIn for its platform which uses big data analytics, AI and remote sensing, to enable clients in the agriculture ecosystem to analyze and interpret actionable insights on crops, such as stress levels, yields and cycles based on both historical and real time data.

Anindya Basu, senior managing director, Accenture India, added, “Competitive edge in the age of disruption demands rapid, shorter innovation lifecycles. At the same time, emerging technologies are more important than ever, often requiring ecosystem partnerships in order to fully harness their capabilities. Our Open Innovation program connects the startup community with clients from around the world, enabling them to collaborate, create new ideas more quickly and implement them at scale.”

The winners will join Accenture Ventures’ Open Innovation partner program, through which they will be able to collaborate with Accenture and co-create solutions for enterprises across the globe. The winners will also be mentored by Accenture leaders, introduced to top industry forums, and have access to the Accenture Innovation Hub in Bengaluru where they can further scale their solutions.

The Accenture Ventures Challenge was open to B2B startups in the deep tech space with operations in India, and an annual revenue of at least USD 100,000 in the last reported financial year. This year, nearly 50 startups with more than USD one million revenue participated.

A key component of the Accenture Innovation Architecture, Accenture Ventures is a bridge to the global innovation ecosystem that unlocks growth opportunities for our clients by bringing them together with best in class emerging enterprise startups. In India, Accenture Ventures tracks more than 1,300 startups and has engaged with nearly 200 that have technologies relevant to Accenture’s enterprise clients.

Synechron LIBOR Accelerator Uses Data Science to Address Industry Benchmarking Challenge

Synechron Inc., a leading Digital Consulting firm for financial services, today announced the launch of its newest Accelerator solution, the Data Science Accelerator for LIBOR Impact Analysis, the latest addition to Synechron’s existing AI Data Science Accelerator program. The Accelerator will help financial services firms solve complex benchmarking challenges approaching the 2021 London Interbank Offer Rate (LIBOR) phase-out deadline as well as to tap into a robust digital and data science toolkit to help drive larger, global enterprise transformation initiatives.

The Accelerator for LIBOR Impact Analysis enables financial institutions to identify and quantify their LIBOR exposure at either a contract level or across all contracts within an institution.  It delivers a powerful digital tool to address complex regulatory changes related to the transition from LIBOR to alternative rates and leverages a powerful combination of Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and three levels of Natural Language Processing (NLP) to identify and quantify LIBOR exposure at the contract level, or across all contracts within an institution. The Accelerator then allows contracts to be revalued using alternative rates and valuation models for a dramatic reduction of manual LIBOR impact assessments and enhanced productivity making the overall contract review process 30x faster and reducing costs by 80%. The Accelerator joins over 60+ Digital Accelerator solutions built for banks, asset managers and insurance companies through Synechron’s Financial Innovation Labs (FinLabs) in the last three years.

Additionally, Synechron’s AI Data Science program is continuing to gain momentum in the year since its launch with a number of global projects underway. Synechron has been selected in a highly-competitive field to implement large-scale engagements in email and document classification; the application of AI to customer interactions; customer behavior prediction; system failure prediction; model lifecycle management architecture; Data Science strategy and organizational design; and AI application development.  There is also a strong demand to apply Data Science to LIBOR benchmarking, which has driven the creation of the new Accelerator added to the program.

To bolster its offerings, Synechron has activated several strategic alliances, including a partnership with Infer for intelligent lead scoring, as well as DataRobot and Squirro, which focus on predictive analytics, machine learning, and cognitive insights. The Data Science program, overall, has contributed significantly to the global industry innovation agenda with these Applied AI for banking solutions having receiving three industry awards for leadership, innovation and excellence in the last six months, including the Business Intelligence Innovation Awards, the FTF Innovation Awards, and a Stevie Award for Synechron U.S. Head of Data Science, Robert Huntsman as Innovator of the Year.

“Synechron’s Accelerator Programs are business-driven solutions to complex problems our clients are facing every day. They provide strategies to address rapid changes in the regulatory landscape and digital transformation,” said Faisal Husain, Co-founder and CEO of Synechron. “Given the tremendous feedback we have already received for our AI Data Science program, I am confident that the LIBOR Impact Accelerator will be a great addition to help arm our clients to advance their digital strategies with transformative, powerful innovation.”

Toyota Kirloskar Motor’s Unique CSR Initiative ‘Project ABCD’ Makes it Way to Harvard Case Study List

Toyota Kirloskar Motor’s [TKM] CSR case study titled “Toyota Kirloskar Motors: Evaluating A CSR Project” and authored by Prof. Utkarsh Majumdar and Namrata Rana on the unique CSR initiative, Project ABCD (A Behavioral Change through Demonstration), has been accepted for publication by the prestigious Ivey Publishing and is made available on Harvard Business Review and Harvard Business School Publishing case collections. Project ABCD, in support of Government of India’s “Swachh Bharat Mission”, was rolled out in the year 2015 being implemented in 527 schools covering 44,773 children at Ramanagara district (Karnataka) to improve public health and sanitation in villages.

India is the second most populous country in the world, with more than 1 billion citizens, and as per records, roughly half of its population, a staggering 522 million, practice open defecation. The World Bank estimates that 21 percent of communicable diseases in India are linked to unsafe water and the lack of hygiene practices, with more than 500 children under the age of five dying each day from diarrhea.

Lack of Sanitation facilities causes serious health hazards in the local communities especially affecting safety of women and adolescent children. To achieve sustainable sanitation practices in the local communities, TKM incorporated a two-pronged approach: firstly, working on building the sanitation facilities in schools and household, and then sustaining the impact with the introduction of ‘A Behavioural Change through Demonstration’ program.

Toyota ABCD program has been significantly contributing to the Government’s Sustainable Development Goal of ending open defecation in India. In the local villages of Karnataka, children hesitated to attend or would drop out from schools because of lack of toilets and

hygiene issues. Sanitation was a serious issue for girl children who had to face safety and health risks due to open defecation. TKM partnered with an NGO called SNEHA, to carry out the activities and spread the awareness at the grass-root level.  Students, teachers and villagers were educated about the unhygienic impact of open defecation, the necessity of washing hands, maintaining cleanliness of toilets and precautionary measures against infections.

TKM believes that the children would act as catalyst and using ABCD they could create a bigger impact in the community. As a result of the ABCD program, and motivated by TKM’s participation and children’s determination, individual families have started championing community sanitation. With government scheme linkages for toilet construction, residents have built their own sanitation units, with no monetary support from TKM.

Owing to TKM’s girl child sanitation initiatives and ABCD project implementation, school missing hours have also drastically reduced to zero (Earlier, an adult girl child used to go to their home for toilet usage and miss the school for over one-two hours). By the year 2018-19, TKM has further set a target to cover 100% sanitation in 1000 schools in Ramanagara to make Open Defecation Free across the state of Karnataka. Until now, more than 2,70,000 village population have been trained on sanitation through this uniquely-designed CSR program while motivating the community to initiate and construct household toilets.

Additionally, Project ABCD was taken as the case study by two IIM professors and have been published by Ivey Publishing, a leader in providing business case studies with a global perspective.

Speaking on this recognition, Mr. Masakazu Yoshimura, Managing Director, Toyota Kirloskar Motor said, “We are happy that our unique CSR initiative, Project ABCD, that began in the villages of Karnataka has been globally recognized now. It gives us great motivation that our dedicated efforts towards improving sanitation facilities and changing the mindset of local community has earned us the acknowledgement in a case available on Harvard Business Review case collection. TKM had adopted Toyota Business Practices Methodology to manage this project. Problem’s point of occurrence was identified, root cause analysis done, targets were set by further breaking it down into activities and then outcomes were measured periodically to maximize the impact and achieve the objective of 100% sanitation in target villages, by this year.

We have been witnessing a rising awareness about the sanitation levels in the villages and it’s heartening to see the project’s impact on the behavioral changes among the school children and their families. Consistent awareness created by Project ABCD amongst children on better sanitation has helped to achieve 407 school children using toilets at home. As a result of the behavioral change training, 12,517 toilets have been built across villages in Ramanagara District.  This is a further testament of our belief that instilling behavioral change is the key to sustain Health and Hygiene practices.”

One of the beneficiary, Indiramma, Mother of Monisha – a class VIII student at Government High school, Billagumba, Ramnagara said, “We never had sanitation facility at home, so we never knew the advantages of having one. But, my daughter was very determined to get a sanitation facility constructed at our home. I could experience the real difference only when I started using it. I was not educated, I couldn’t teach my daughter anything. Now that my daughter is educated, she is not only following the right practices, but educating me as well. And, all the credit goes to TKM’s Project ABCD initiative.”

Till date, TKM has constructed more than 795 units of sanitation facilities in 237 government schools across India, including: 124 units in Varanasi (UP), 497 units in Ramnagara district, 80 unit in Bangalore (Karnataka) and 94 units in Vaishali (Bihar).

PremiumAV Launches New Wireless Mobile Bluetooth Handsfree

PremiumAV, leading provider of mobile accessories, launched PremiumAV Wireless Bluetooth Handsfree. The handsfree are ergonomically designed to provide comfortable fit to the ears while listening to music or for long calls. Wireless Bluetooth Handsfree is engineered to keep up with your active lifestyle. The slick designed Bluetooth handsfree stays intact in the ears while the user is on the go or even working out at gym.

Sanjay Garg, CEO at PremiumAV, said "Today's faster generation demands easy seamless and wire-free devices. Our new Bluetooth handsfree aligns with their demands. It is wire-free, light weight and comes with good quality of sound and effects. So go ahead and Crank it Up! No Wires. No Limits. Pure Sound. Our products comes with a promise to provide high quality for our customers."

PremiumAV is focused to entrust its users with innovative products and with value for money proposition. Wireless Bluetooth Handsfree is ideal for enjoying music. Intelligent voice helps in seamless flow of key words and phrases from your phone calls. Other key specifications include voice SMS notification, CVC double noise reduction, power display self-timer function, HS stereo long standby light weight with V.41+ED Passing 3000 time human ear test.

Availability, Warranty and Pricing
PremiumAV Bluetooth Handsfree is available at an MRP of 499/- It comes with a warranty of 1 Year and can be purchased from Amazon.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

PlayShifu Raises $7 Million in Series A to Strengthen Early STEM Learning Through Augmented Reality

PlayShifu, the award-winning technology startup, announced today a $7 million Series A round of funding led by Chiratae (formerly IDG Ventures India), Inventus Capital and Bharat Innovation Fund (BIF). Existing investor, IDFC-Parampara Fund also participated. A pioneer in the field of creating highly engaging and immersive AR experiences for children that encourage early STEM skills, PlayShifu has an aggressive strategic plan in place to expand on its tech prowess with this round of funding.

With $8.5 million raised to date, the company’s primary focus will remain tech innovation, continued research on unique phygital interactions and new product developments. PlayShifu   also plans to update current products significantly and expand the diverse retail presence from 15 countries to 30+ countries in 2020 and beyond.

"We are extremely excited to have investors who are highly focused on consumer tech, on board in our journey to make early learning fun and accessible to children around the world," said Vivek Goyal, CEO, and Co-Founder of Playshifu. "We have an exhaustive product pipeline, an incessantly creative and passionate team of innovators, and now, the right partners to make an extremely positive impact on the educational foundations of generations to come."

PlayShifu's first flagship product, Shifu Orboot, is an AR-based globe that promises an adventure around the world. The user base has crossed 250,000 kids worldwide, but that’s not all. Orboot  has seen unprecedented engagement among 4-8-year-olds. While the best of the children's apps/ toys retain approximately 8% of kids after the first month, Orboot boasts more than 40% of kids retained in the second month! In other words, the amount of time spent on the app, thanks in  large part to the breadth and depth of learning, has resulted in an impressive frequency of play, and month-after-month retention equal to 4-5 times that of kids-app category benchmarks.

In less than a year, teachers and technology integrators from hundreds of schools in the US, Europe, India discovered PlayShifu and experimented with adopting the innovative products in their tech-friendly classrooms. Today, more than 65% of these schools use Orboot every week in their classes. With Orboot 2.0 launching soon (student profiles and progress tracking, teachers' portal, detailed lesson plans), this engagement will only increase from here, as PlayShifu prepares to expand its reach in schools by 10x this year.

The newest addition, Shifu Plugo, combines the charm of classic physical consoles with new-age digital interactions. Helping kids conquer STEM skills with super-fun characters, captivating storylines, and enriching tactile play, Plugo will soon replace tons of toys in your kid's toy box.

The physical consoles bring alive the alphabet, math, engineering, music, steering, and more. With two consoles available today, PlayShifu plans to introduce four more by the end of 2019. PlayShifu's global appeal is evident from the fact that they have managed a deep-rooted retail presence in key markets and countries around the world, including the US, Canada, UK, Russia, Germany, Ukraine, Poland, Hong Kong, South Africa, Middle East, and Japan.

"We are experiencing incredible demand from international markets across the world, purely due to the reason that our innovative products make early learning agnostic to markets and languages. Our products make an instant connection with kids and parents alike," added Dinesh Advani, Co-Founder, and COO. "We now have the tools at our disposal to execute against an even more impactful retail strategy and presence, while we continue to strengthen our position as the segment leader and disruptor in the early learning space."

About PlayShifu
Founded in 2016, PlayShifu has offices in Bay Area and Bangalore, India. The co-founders Vivek Goyal and Dinesh Advani, graduates of Stanford GSB and IIT Kharagpur, are two dads who juggle toddlers, tech, and toys in their daily lives. They are revolutionizing the toy industry by creating groundbreaking AR experiences with a passionate pack at PlayShifu. For more information, visit the website at

3i Infotech Partners with Dunamis Pacific Corp to Serve the North American Construction Industry

3i Infotech Limited, a global Information Technology company, committed to empowering business transformation, announced a strategic  partnership with Dunamis Pacific Corporation, a US based IT strategy and enterprise solutions company. The partnership leverages 3i Infotech’s flagship ORION ERP solution to build an eco-system for the general contractors and sub-contractors within the North American construction industry, integrating the complete Supply Chain from project bids to procurement and project delivery to payments.

Dunamis will provide industry domain expertise and 3i Infotech will provide the ORION ERP solutions platform. Dunamis brings a deep understanding of the North American construction business with access to a strong network of clients.

Speaking on this new partnership, Suryanarayan Kasichainula, EVP & Business Head for ERP, 3i Infotech said, “This is our first step to explore the North American construction industry. We value this partnership as an opportunity to serve the North American market with ORION ERP, a future-ready technology stack, that empowers organizations to optimize business processes.”

Donald Buckelew, CEO of Dunamis Pacific Corporation said, “This strategic partnership with 3i Infotech furthers our vision to provide tailored IT enterprise solutions for global clients. By leveraging the capabilities of 3i Infotech’s ORION ERP with our strong understanding of the North American construction industry, we will be uniquely poised to serve this market.”

3i Infotech’s ORION ERP is an integrated, cost-effective and cloud-enabled industry solution for growing and mid-sized businesses. It is a leading ERP in emerging markets, which facilitates rapid implementation and reduces operational costs. ORION process packs are flexible and scalable solutions backed by robust service support, ORION ERP is a globally trusted partner to more than 800 customers with over 1,000 installations and 50,000+ users across multiple verticals. 

BharatMatrimony Launches “6 Point Verification” for Safety of Indian Matrimony Profiles

As part of BharatMatrimony’s initiative to create industry-leading Trust and Safety features for members, it has launched a unique 6-point safety feature called “Trust Badges,” that’ll be displayed on member profiles across the app, mobile site and desktop after they complete authentication of mobile, ID, education certificate & salary slip, selfie (photo verification), location and social profile.

Four badges will be offered to members who follow a series of 6 safety measures to authenticate their profile. To earn a Profile Badge that adds trust and credibility to their profile, a member has to take a selfie and it will be checked with the member’s photo already uploaded to the profile. This ensures authenticity of the profile photo.

For NRIs living overseas, in order to verify that the person is indeed residing abroad in the location mentioned on profile, NRIs will be prompted to turn on GPS in their registered device and their location will be captured for authentication.

The Identity Badge process involves the member attaching a Government Identity proof like ration card, Aadhar or any authentic ID to their profile. To get the Professional Badge, member has to attach their latest educational certificates and salary certificate. The fourth badge is a Social Badge which will be given when the member authenticates their social networking profile by logging on to Facebook. All four badges can be seen on member profiles when they complete the 6-step security authentication.

The four Trust Badges are intended to build credibility for the member profiles and create an atmosphere of trust amongst members. The move will also enhance the response a member gets from opposite members. Members who have high trust scores will be featured on top in member search results, leading to more responses from prospective matches.

“As a pioneer in online matrimony, we have always worked towards safety of our members, especially women. Trust is a very critical aspect of our service and we make every effort to earn the trust of millions of our members. This verification initiative will, in the long run, also keep away fake and fraud profiles. I’m sure these steps will make users have a safe journey online,” explains Murugavel Janakiraman, CEO of while speaking about the launch of Trust Badges.

The documents uploaded by members are cross-verified with the details provided in the profile. This authenticates the profile details and activates the relevant Trust Badge. This gives a member’s profile the value & credibility it deserves.

All documents members upload are kept private and secure. Other members cannot see any of these documents. They’ll only see the trust badge that the member has earned and hence know that the member has uploaded a copy of the relevant documents for authentication.

HYPE Expands its Bespoke Services in Bengaluru; Commences Airport Transfers Services in the City

Hype – Luxury Car Rentals, India's First Luxury Mobility startup headquartered in Bangalore has commenced offering airport transfer services to the discerning customers. The service is priced at INR 3,999/- only and is available at an introductory price till 31st July, keeping in mind the travelers to the city and those who require the feel and touch of refined luxury.

Mr. Raghav Belavadi, Founder & CEO, Hype Car Rental said, “Hype – Luxury Car Rentals takes a lot of pride in starting the airport transfer services in Bengaluru, the city of our genesis. We curated this tailor-made luxury car rental service keeping in mind the need of safe and secure transportation for those who enjoy the finesse & luxury and most importantly at the most economical price that could be offered.”

He further stated, “Hype is a trendsetter in the domain of luxury car rentals and functions on the ethos of technological innovations. In the backdrop of a burgeoning luxury market in India, growing at about 14-16 percent year-on-year. These factors has been promoting the rental business, with luxury mobility alone accounting for alone is over $69 Billion market in India and a Trillion Dollar business worldwide.”

There is a huge influx of travelers to Bengaluru, travelling to the city for business trips and for leisure and thus offers tremendous business viability. Though Hype operates in other cities as well but this service has been exclusively piloted for Bengaluru seeing the changing paradigm of people wanting to experience different luxury cars on rent, especially with escalating ownership and maintenance.

Hype is successfully running campaigns on social media, online platforms and has received a very good response for the same. The airport transfer offers luxury cars which range from an array of international brands from BMW, Mercedes, Jaguar & Audi to the discerning customers. The booking trends showcase very interesting dynamics of the consumption patterns of luxury in the megacity, with the initial campaign reaching out to 176,896 individuals and garnering an impression of 182,940 on the online amplification.

India Moves Up to 52nd Rank in World’s Most Innovative Countries

India missed by a whisker its entry into the list of world’s top 50 most innovative countries but bettered its own ranking by climbing 5 notches to 52 in the Global Innovative Index of 129 countries this year.

Switzerland retained number one spot. US, UK, Netherlands, Finland, Singapore, Germany and Israel were among the top ten. In 2018, India was in the 57th position.

The index, which tracks government polices and industry practices, was launched, for the first time, in an emerging economy this year. GII is developed jointly by Cornell University and World Intellectual Property Organisation.

Three cities -- Bengaluru, Mumbai and New Delhi -- featured in the world’s top 100 science and technology clusters, according to the GII 2019 as India maintained its top slot in the Central and Southern Asia region.

The report was released by Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, who said that the government was committed to further improving the ranking.

India improved its position in areas including labour productivity growth, knowledge and technology outputs, intellectual property related variables. It also witnessed improvement in institutions, human capital and research, and market sophistication indicators.

Notable gains were also made in political and operational stability where a new indicator was used this year and in ease of starting a business.

India, however, lagged on logistics performance and females employed with advanced degrees.

The report stated that despite signs of slowing economic growth, innovation continued to blossom, particularly in Asia, but pressures was looming from trade disruptions and protectionism.

“In this pillar, the indicator graduates in science and engineering (7th) remains a relative strength for the country. Thanks to the quality of its top 3 universities— IITs (Delhi and Bombay) and the Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru, India achieves a relatively strong ranking in the indicator quality of universities (21st),” the report added.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Hyperlocal Connectivity App ‘Bhonga’ Employs Ex-Servicemen

Bhonga, a hyper-local connectivity app which connects users within a kilometre of radius; has now employed ex-servicemen to take care of emergencies on its platform. It is like on the fly connectivity where citizens can get help in case of emergency and can share resources and information. Any user can send a message that is delivered to other users within the one-kilometre radius; the app only shares location coordinates for security and anonymity reasons. It also supports voice notes and photos.

Radhika Agarwal, Director, Linkus Infratech commenting on the occasion said; “Loyalty, discipline, commitment to work and the willingness to take responsibility are the qualities that make defence personnel perfectly fit for administering the emergencies on the platform. They are capable of working in hostile environments. Thus we decided to have ex-servicemen monitor all the emergencies generated on the app."

Ex-servicemen will now guide the citizens facing various kinds of emergencies. The team will be lead by ex-military Captain S.M. Ghag who has served the Indian Army for 32 years. The team is equipped to travel across Mumbai if need be. As the app spreads its wings beyond the city Linkus Infratech plans to hire more such personnel for their team.

Commenting on the same Captain S.M. Ghag said; “Every year 60,000 soldiers retire with little option but to take up sundry security jobs. The biggest problem a defence personal faces after retiring from military service is adapting to the unorganised and inconsistent civilian world. Life in armed forces is very organised & disciplined but when it comes to the civilian world, there are no rule-books to follow. I feel that Bhonga can leverage the experience of retired armed forces personnel & offer valuable help to the locality and at the same time offer a great opportunity to an army man to live a meaningful life. I am honoured to be a part of the platform and will be happy to reach out to Mumbaikars facing any challenges.” A missing person emergency from Malad was recently posted on the platform and the relatives received immense help from Retd. Captain Ghag in locating their kin.

Linkus Infratech plans to partner with the Army Welfare Placement Organization (AWPO), which comes under the Ministry of Defence, to enable and empower army veterans and encourage them to come and help the civilians around them.

“The app is a citizen empowerment movement and ex-servicemen monitoring the emergencies adds immense value to the platform and inculcate faith within its users. We plan to have 37 ex-servicemen monitoring every constituency of Mumbai on our payrolls by the end of FY 2020-21” concluded Radhika.  

Fly Emirates to Dubai & Enjoy Exclusive Hotels Rates Across the UAE

Emirates has partnered with Accor, Armani Hotel Dubai, Emaar Hospitality Group and Marriott to offer attractive hotel rates to passengers travelling to and through Dubai this summer

Emirates has partnered with world-renowned hotel providers to offer its passengers travelling to and through Dubai attractive summer rates in some of the UAE’s most prestigious hotels. Customers who purchase an Emirates ticket and travel from now until 30 September 2019 can enjoy exclusive summer hotel rates in any of the properties within Accor, Armani Hotel Dubai, Emaar Hospitality Group and Marriott during their stay in the UAE.

Visitors can take advantage of up to 30% off best available rates provided by Accor - a world-leading hospitality group with a diverse brand portfolio to suit all budgets.

Armani Hotel Dubai – a landmark hotel that exclusively occupies eleven floors of the world’s tallest building, The Burj Khalifa – is offering Emirates passengers up to 35% off on best available rates. The hotel conveniently provides visitors direct access to the world’s largest and most visited shopping and entertainment destination - The Dubai Mall.

Marriott boasts a diverse brand portfolio and the hotel chain is offering Emirates passengers up to 25% off selected best available rates at any of its properties across the UAE.

Emaar Hospitality Group – which is home to esteemed brands including the Address Hotels and Resorts, Vida Hotels and Resorts and Rove Hotels, is offering Emirates customers up to 35% off best available rates. Customers who book in Address Downtown, Address Boulevard, Address Dubai Mall or Palace Downtown can also complimentary access to Dubai Aquarium, Underwater Zoo and VR Park.

Dubai is a vibrant, cosmopolitan city with an eclectic mix of offerings including impressive architecture, world-class shopping, and fine dining restaurants. Visitors will enjoy exploring the city and its many attractions including iconic landmarks, fantastic beach and spa resorts with pool access, as well as indoor entertainment activities across various locations. 

To learn more about the offer, please click here. Passengers must present a copy of their Emirates flight ticket or boarding pass at the time of check-in.

Emirates customers visiting Dubai during the summer can also benefit from exclusive offers using My Emirates Pass – an offer that turns an Emirates boarding pass into an exclusive membership card providing travellers special benefits and discounts of up to 50% off in more than 500 leisure and retail outlet locations across the UAE. The exclusive pass allows customers to redeem up to 50% off in over 400 fine dining restaurants, luxury wellness treatments in almost 50 spas and leisure activities such as indoor skiing and water amusement parks. Customers can also take advantage and redeem up to 30% off at international retail outlets including popular fashion and fitness brands. My Emirates Pass offer is valid until 31st August 2019.

Emirates customers travelling in all classes can enjoy regionally inspired meals, 4,000 entertainment channels on ice – the airline’s award-winning in-flight entertainment system - and up to 20MB complimentary Wi-Fi to stay connected with friends and family during the flight.

Tech Mahindra Partners with Mahindra Logistics to Introduce Electric Vehicles for Employee Transportation

Tech Mahindra Limited, a leading provider of digital transformation, consulting and business reengineering services and solutions, has partnered with Mahindra Logistics (MLL), one of India’s largest 3PL (Third-Party Logistics) solution providers, for introducing and operating Electric Vehicles (EV) for employee transportation. Mahindra Logistics will be deploying Mahindra E-Verito vehicles at Tech Mahindra’s Hyderabad campus under its employee transportation fleet from 24 July 2019.

CP Gurnani, MD and CEO, Tech Mahindra, said, “Sustainable mobility is the need of the hour. With environment and people at the core of our business, we at Tech Mahindra are committed to drive this shift to electric mobility. We are happy to partner with Mahindra Logistics to accomplish the collective vision of improved electric mobility that will help us shape a sustainable future. We look forward to adding more electric vehicles at our offices globally.”

As part of its Go-Green initiative, MLL’s People Transport Solution (PTS) business aims to take the tally of electric vehicles in its employee transportation fleet to 300, over the fiscal year 2020.

Pirojshaw Sarkari, CEO - Mahindra Logistics, said, “Electric Vehicles, for us, exemplifies the Mahindra Group’s vision of the Future of Mobility – a sustainable automotive ecosystem that brings mobility solutions to customers across the world. One of MLL’s Purpose principles is ‘Sustaining the Environment’ and we deeply believe in the need to adopt environment friendly solutions and also align our business practices accordingly. We are delighted to partner with Tech Mahindra to take this step towards a greener future.”

Tech Mahindra has been at the forefront in using innovative technologies to solve complex issues of the real-world. As a responsible business entity, the organization concentrates on integrating sustainability into all aspects of the business and develops strategies for Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) dimensions. 

First Edition of Vapasi for Women Technologists in Three Indian Cities

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

Set to kickstart on 5 August 2019, the four-week program will sharpen candidates’ technical skills through hands-on sessions on object-oriented programming practices. Upon completion, short listed candidates will be offered 3 to 6 months of internships at ThoughtWorks and can go on to apply for permanent positions. The last 6 batches of Vapasi that were tailored to developers and quality analysts saw close to 100 women participate. Today, many of them are on fruitful career paths at ThoughtWorks and other tech companies in India.

Commenting on the Vapasi program, Tina Vinod, Head of Diversity and Inclusion at ThoughtWorks in India said, “We have always understood the importance of diversity at the workplace and are committed to providing an inclusive environment for our employees. Empowering women’s success in technology is a key focus area for us and we are extremely delighted to launch the latest edition of the Vapasi program. We are experimenting with a multi-city approach that makes this edition of Vapasi, our biggest in terms of scale and execution. This year, our aim is to run no less than eight editions of the program across our seven offices in India.”

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

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

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

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

DRIP Capital Helps Bengaluru Plastic Exporters Capitalize on Trade Finance Solutions

Trade finance firm Drip Capital, in association with the Plastics Export Promotion Council (PLEXCONCIL), conducted a seminar on the topic ‘Interactive sessions on Export Factoring: Easy access to unsecured finance for SME Exporters’ in Bengaluru. Presented by Mr. Nath Kakani, Regional Sales Lead, Drip Capital, the seminar also saw the presence of Mr. Vijay Kumar, President, KSPA, Mr. Ravish Kamath, Chairman, PLEXCONCIL; Dr. B. Punnam Kumar, ITS, Deputy Director-General of Foreign Trade; Mr. K. Devaraj, Dy. Director - Mechanical, DI Bangalore, Ministry of MSME; Mr. Hariram Thakkar, Convenor - IPLEX 2019, KSPA and Mr. Vibinan K, AGM, ECGC. Many small and medium-sized enterprise (SMEs) plastic exporters from Bengaluru also attended the event.

In general, SMEs account for 45% of India’s total export volumes but are some of the most underserved when it comes to working capital provisions. Demands for collateral, long processing times, heavy paperwork burden, and other such factors contribute towards making working capital highly inaccessible for SMEs. Institutions like factoring firms and NBFCs offer alternative financing solutions; however, many SME exporters are unaware of these offerings and need to be educated about the same. One of the easiest such alternative methods is invoice factoring.

At its most basic, invoice factoring is a process of procuring finance by selling the invoices of your transactions to a third party known as the factor. Based on your transaction history and other parameters, the factor gives the seller (the exporter) a credit line which they can then use to finance further transactions to other buyers (importers). In most cases, the seller gets 80% of their invoice value upfront from the factor (often without the need for collateral), and the remaining 20% -- minus the factor’s fees and interest -- after the buyer transfers the value of the invoice to the factor.

The plastics industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in India with a double-digit growth rate on average. The industry spans the country, with more than 2,000 exporters shipping various plastic goods and products. In FY2018-19, alone, Indian plastics exporters fulfilled shipments worth US$10.98 billion, 3.3% of the country’s total exports for the period. Indian exporters ship plastics to 205 countries, with the top five destinations being the US (11.96%), China (11.67%), UAE (5.28%), Italy (4.11%) and Germany (3.71%). India is also ranked among the top five consumers of polymers in the world and has 30,000+ plastic processing units employing over four million people across the country. Karnataka in particular contributes about 2.5% of the country’s plastics exports, worth roughly US$197 million.

Mr. Nath Kakani, Regional Sales Lead, Drip Capital said, “There are many small and medium industrial units in and around Bengaluru. However, these SMEs contribute only about 16.2% of the city’s outbound shipments, much lower than the country average of 48%. An important cause for this is that many of these SMEs face severe issues with managing their working capital because of a lack of adequate financing options. In order to solve this problem, Drip Capital provides collateral-free post-shipment finance to Indian exporters with instant approvals and minimal documentation.”

Drip Capital is a US-based trade finance firm that was founded in 2015 by Pushkar Mukewar and Neil Kothari to solve the financing problems faced by MSME exporters in India and abroad. Since its product launch in 2016, Drip Capital has seen rapid adoption by the Indian exporter community. The company has had exponential growth, growing over 20x times in terms of working capital financed in the last two years. The growth has been fuelled in part by an intense focus on technology and drive to productize trade finance by offering solutions customized to solve common issues and pain points faced by exporters.

Drip Capital has financed over $500 million worth of invoices till date, and currently works with over 400 exporters across various product categories and geographies across India and Mexico. Mr. Pushkar Mukewar, Co-founder and Co-CEO, Drip Capital, added, “A lot of Drip’s growth has been fuelled by increasing demand from labour-intensive and SME-dominated sectors, such as plastics. As per our latest data, Bangalore has over 300 SME exporters (except SEZs) who exported a combined total of almost 65,000 shipments, worth US$1.2 billion, in FY 2018-19 alone. While this number may be skewed due to the presence of several corporate offices in the bustling metropolis, there is little doubt that Bengaluru is a major commercial and exports hub, especially for the plastics sector. Drip looks forward to helping these exporters push this figure even higher.”

Drip Capital aims to educate exporters across industries and verticals about the great potential offered by invoice factoring and other trade finance services. The Bengaluru seminar, in conjunction with PLEXCONCIL, served to reinforce the potential of the solutions provided to exporters by Drip Capital.

Drip Capital’s plans include expanding into new markets across the world and leveraging technology to solve multiple problems commonly faced by exporters. Moving beyond trade finance, the company aims to continue leveraging data, technology, analytics, and a team of highly motivated professionals to become a leader in the global export ecosystem.

India’s First Global, Mega-Science Exhibition ‘Vigyan Samagam’ Begins on July 29 in Bengaluru

India’s first-ever Mega Science Exhibition, ‘Vigyan Samagam’, will begin in Bengaluru on July 29, 2019 at the iconic Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum. Dr Anil Kakodkar, Member, Atomic Energy Commission & Chairman, Rajiv Gandhi Science and Technology Commission, Mumbai will inaugurate the Exhibition in the gracious presence of Prof Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, DST, New Delhi, Prof V. S. Ramamurthy, Emeritus Professor, NIAS, Bengaluru and Shri A D Choudhury, Director General, NCSM, Kolkata.

The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), Department of Science and Technology (DST) and National Council of Science Museums (NCSM), Ministry of Culture, Government of India, are the joint organisers of ‘Vigyan Samagam’. Shri Ranajit Kumar, Head, NCPW, DAE, Dr. Praveer Asthana, Head, Mega-Science Divisions, DST and Shri Madan Gopal, Director, Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum jointly announced the programme at a Press Conference in Bengaluru today and explained the objectives and various activities related to ‘Vigyan Samagam’. 

As informed by the organizers, all major global Mega Science Projects where India is participating, such as Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), ‘Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research’ (FAIR), ‘India-based Neutrino Observatory’ (INO), ‘International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor’ (ITER), ‘Laser Interferometer Gravitational - Wave Observatory’ (LIGO), ‘Major Atmospheric Cherenkov Experiments’ (MACE), ‘Square Kilometre Array’ (SKA) and ‘Thirty Meter Telescope’ (TMT) will be exhibited at ‘Vigyan Samagam’. The objective of organising ‘Vigyan Samagam’ is to spread awareness about the exciting world of front–ranking science and technology. The Exhibition will bring together many world-renowned scientists from India and abroad, along with budding scientists, science enthusiasts, students, industry, academia, institutions and people from Bengaluru and the State of Karnataka.

Shri Ranajit Kumar, said, “Vigyan Samagam is an endeavor to bring Science projects, overlapped with technology, a step closer to the society and highlight the value and impact of fundamental research to a broad cross-section of stakeholders. This Exhibition shall provide a unique science communication platform and create a bridge for further interactions between India and its global peers, bolstering India’s contribution to globally prestigious science projects.”

Dr. Praveer Asthana said, “The exhibition will also aim to connect with school children, students and aspirants who want to pursue fundamental science and research as a strong career option. Talks and sessions with academia and industry will also be the integral part of the event. It will provide a unique platform to all stakeholders for cross-fertilisation of ideas.”

Explaining about the format of the Exhibition, Shri Madan Gopal said, “The Exhibition will have a number of working models and exhibits, themed-based galleries of posters, informative audio-visual content and electronic displays and interactive kiosks will be setup for each of the Mega Science Projects. A unique exhibition pavilion, developed at CERN, has been specially brought over for Vigyan Samagam and shall be showcased at VITM. Several interesting talks and activities like quiz contests and model making have been planned for the schoolchildren.”

The biggest attraction for the visitors would be to witness how India contributed in global Mega – Science projects where several developed countries have participated collectively. ‘Vigyan Samagam’ will aim at traversing the visitors through the world from micro to macro, unveiling the efforts of the international community in understanding the Universe. It will offer a great opportunity for students and families to understand the workings of the Universe - from discovery of the Higgs particle to that of gravitational waves from merger of neutron stars and black holes and to the origin of the Universe and its evolution through various stages.

The inaugural event will be followed by a two-day scientific event comprising of invited talks and lectures by eminent speakers from the field of science, technology and industry. Coinciding with the scientific discussions during the first two days at each venue, industry partners working with the participating Mega Science Project Groups will set-up expo at the venue to showcase their contributions. In its multi-venue journey, after Bengaluru, ‘Vigyan Samagam’ will travel to Kolkata in the period 4th November, 2019 to 31st December, 2019 at Science City. In its final leg, it will reach New Delhi at the National Science Centre from 21st January, 2020 and will close on 20th March, 2020.

Global, Iconic Scientific Organisations to participate:

Vigyan Samagam will have the presence of prestigious organisations such as CERN, FAIR, INO, ITER, LIGO, MACE, SKA and TMT. The audience would also include invited members from various scientific organisations, industry and academia. As part of project awareness activities, each participating Project will be carrying out week-long activities consisting of popular talks, science demonstrations, interactive quiz programmes, etc.

Connecting with School Children, Students: A key objective of Vigyan Samagam:

On the sidelines of the Exhibition, in Bengaluru, a number of activities engaging the curiosity, attention and imagination of school children and students will be taken up. Activities such as quizzes, essay-writing, drawing contests, etc. have been planned by the organisers.

In order to reach out to people at large and get them involved with this Exhibition, ‘Vigyan Samagam’ has launched a website where people can get more information about it. Events such as talk shows, lectures planned during the Exhibition will be streamed live through popular social media platforms. The Exhibition will be open on all days including Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays. The timing of the Exhibition will from 10 am to 6 pm.

VIBGYOR Group of Schools, Bags 3 Prestigious India K-12 Awards

VIBGYOR Group of Schools in Bengaluru recently won 3 significant awards at ‘Eldrok India K-12 Summit’ held at Taj West End, Bengaluru.

VIBGYOR High - Horamavu received an award in “Excellence in Safety & Security Systems at School" category. VIBGYOR High - Jakkur received an award in “Progressive in Creative Learning Programs” category while VIBGYOR High - BTM Layout received an award in “Excellence in Early Childhood Learning Program” category. Directors, principals, school owners from various schools, policy makers, and industry related entrepreneurs were present at the summit in a large number.

Founded in 2004, VIBGYOR Group of Schools recognised as ‘India’s Most Admired Brands in Education 2018-19’, is a leading chain of Schools known for its quality education and academic excellence. VIBGYOR Schools offer a unique range of world-class educational services for the holistic development of students in curricular and co-curricular studies. Under the leadership of Mr. Rustom Kerawalla, Founder Chairman of the institution, VIBGYOR Group is currently has 33 schools in nine major cities, reaching out to more than 48,000 students nationwide.

VIBGYOR High caters to the students from Grades 1 to 12 and VIBGYOR Kids to the Pre-Primary segment with a student-teacher ratio of 10:1 on an average. VIBGYOR Group’s recent addition is a chain of schools offering CBSE Board curriculum- VIBGYOR Roots (Pre-Primary division) and VIBGYOR Rise (a Primary and Secondary School) which addresses the increasing demand for educational institutions and impart quality education with a wider outreach. VIBGYOR High provides a mixed spectrum of national and international levels of education in affiliation with CISCE, CBSE, and Cambridge International.

Ather Space Now at Wallace Garden, Nungambakkam in Chennai

After the successful launch of Ather 450 and 340 in Chennai earlier this month, Ather Energy, has officially inaugurated, ‘Ather Space’, the Ather experience center at Wallace Garden Road, Nungambakkam on 24th July. The inauguration was led by a group of enthusiastic Ather customers, who wanted to be the first ones to experience Ather Space.

Ather Space was designed to educate customers about electric vehicles while providing a holistic experience in an interactive space. The company inaugurated the first experience center in Bengaluru in June 2018 and opened the second one in Chennai today. Chennaites can now ride the Ather 450 and get an in-depth view of the product and features before pre-ordering the vehicle. Customers can also book test ride slots on the website prior to visiting the experience center.

The Wallace Garden experience center is designed to be a dynamic, tactile and interactive space. The center’s design and user experience has been improved based on Ather’s learnings from the Bengaluru Ather Space and the Chennai center is twice in size of its Bengaluru counterpart. Customers can learn about every aspect of the vehicle and witness the engineering and mechanical efforts that have gone into manufacturing it through a naked scooter up on display. Apart from seeing the key components of the scooter, one can learn and interact with the intelligent and connected features through a digital display.

Ather began accepting pre-orders for Ather 450 in Chennai on 9th July and since then have received a phenomenal response from customers and are sold out till the end of the year. The brand has a thriving community, Ather Forum in its launch cities. The inauguration by consumers instead of company officials is a recognition of this ardent following of the community who are making an active choice of going electric.

The on-road price of the Ather 450 is INR. 1,31,683 and Ather 340 will be priced at INR. 1,19,091 in Chennai. The price includes the regulation 2 helmets, along with the FAME 2 subsidy and other basics like insurance, road tax, GST, and other fees.

Ather began the installation of its Ather Grid points in Chennai on May 2019 and has installed ten fast charging points, so far. These charging points can be found in malls like Forum Vijaya Mall, offices like AtWorks and cafes, restaurants, and even grocery stores. To encourage adoption of EVs in the city, Ather Energy will provide free charging at Ather Grid till December 2019 for all electric 4Ws & 2Ws and will add 40-50 more charging points to their network.

Ravneet Phokela, Chief Business Officer, Ather Energy says, "Our experience centers are designed to reflect Ather's value proposition, a great experience powered by intelligence. It is a place where people can experience the scooters, understand our drive to build high-performance electric vehicles, and be a part of the electric future. Typically, a consumer spends about 45 minutes on average at an Ather experience center which is unique in the category. In fact, our stores are managed by engineers who are product specialists and are focused on consumer experience rather than mere sales. As in Bengaluru, the Chennai Ather Space will help to initiate conversations about electric vehicles and attract a lot of customers.” 

Texas Instruments, AICTE, DST and IIM-B Join to Bring India Innovation Challenge Design Contest to Engineering Students

Texas Instruments India (TI India), All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), the statutory body and a national-level council for technical education in India, Department of Science and Technology (DST) and Indian Institute of Management  Bangalore (IIMB) have joined hands to strengthen the innovation ecosystem, enhance skills and drive a start-up culture amongst engineering students by ensuring that India Innovation Challenge Design Contest (IICDC) is accessible to students even in remote corners of the country. IICDC is a national design contest for engineering students.

The announcement was made at the finals of IICDC 2018, coinciding with the announcement of this year’s top 10 winning teams. The 10 finalists will get an opportunity to take their start-up idea from the lab to the market, supported by a fund from DST of INR 4.94 Crore, incubation at NSRCEL, the innovation and entrepreneurship hub at IIM Bangalore, and technical mentorship from TI engineers along with access to TI tools and technology.  To-date, IICDC has incubated 20 start-ups.

SRM Institute of Science and Technology from Tamil Nadu won the Chairman Award for Technical Innovation on ‘Inkless Printing Technology’. A. P. Shah Institute of Technology from Maharashtra was the first runners up for their innovation ‘Solar Energy Harvesting for Wireless Sensor Node’ and Sri Manakula Vinayagar Engineering College from Puducherry was adjudged second runners up award on their innovation ‘Mustard Seed Processor Machine’.

Congratulating the IICDC 2018 winners, Sanjay Srivastava, Director, TI India University Program said, “IICDC’s vision is to give students an opportunity to be innovators and entrepreneurs, launching path-breaking technology products and solving tough, real-world challenges. In 2018, IICDC reached more than 26,000 students from 1760 colleges and we received over 10,000 ideas! The diversity of students fuelled the diversity of ideas. For instance, several ideas focus on agriculture – a segment widely deprived of technology advances. Interestingly, more than 90% of participation comes from Tier II and Tier III towns. That’s the kind of grassroots innovation we want to drive through IICDC.”

Elaborating on the partnership with IICDC, Prof. Sahasrabudhe, Chairman, AICTE, said, “AICTE’s mission to develop robust technical institutions and promote a scientific mind-set is perfectly aligned with IICDC’s mission to strengthen technical innovation in India. We see students as India’s change-makers with the responsibility to drive cutting edge technological innovation. We understand that the next big idea can come from any corner of the country!  Our message to the student community is simple - no matter which college you study in or which pin code you reside in, if you have a powerful idea and a drive to make a difference, IICDC will give you an opportunity to achieve your goal.”

The last three editions of IICDC saw students file over 150 patents, and the numbers are increasing every year. Dr. Anita Gupta, Associate Head, DST, said, “We continue to partner with IICDC because it is a unique, powerful platform to drive student-led, tech-focused innovation. DST’s goal is to transform India to a global hub for innovation in science and technology. We also want to support innovation that can make an impact on the ground, tackling social, economic and environmental challenges. IICDC helps strengthen the innovation ecosystem by providing an opportunity to students to develop creative solutions for real world problems. Our seed funding to the winning teams aims to bring the best of these ideas to life.”

Professor Venkatesh Panchapagesan, Chair, NSRCEL at IIMB, said, “Though IIMB is not a technical institution, we believe strongly that we can aid in the creation of sustainable technical ventures through our expertise in developing businesses. Our collaboration with TI-DST in the last 4 years’ IICDC is a testimony to that. At NSRCEL, IIMB’s innovation and entrepreneurial centre, we have successfully incubated around 50 students to help shape their entrepreneurial ideas into start-ups.”

By forging partnerships with multiple stakeholders with far reaching influence in technical education, expertise in business and management, industry knowhow, IICDC aims to foster an innovation and entrepreneurial culture amongst engineering students in India, and to empower them to launch successful companies with a clear purpose to make the world a better place.

IICDC 2019 launch officially announced

TI India also announced the upcoming edition of TI India Innovation Challenge Design Contest (IICDC) 2019 which opens for registration from July 23, 2019 to August 30, 2019. Students can register their innovative ideas and participate in the contest through this link: 

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Six Futuristic Technology Startups Power the NetApp Excellerator Cohort 4 Series 2019

NetApp, a leader in data management and hybrid cloud, has announced the graduation of NetApp Excellerator’s fourth cohort at a demo day event. NetApp Excellerator is the company’s flagship startup accelerator program. As part of the demo day, six technology startups – QuNu Labs,  SecurelyShare, Zappy.AI, Ecolibrium Energy, Eder AI and UniQreate, showcased their business models, market opportunity and projections to an eminent panel comprising of venture capitalists, industry leaders and NetApp top executives. Innovations ranging from quantum-resistant cryptographic systems, AI-based data extraction solutions, to smart predictive maintenance systems, and RPA (Robotic Process Automation) were presented by these entrepreneurs. This batch comprised early stage as well as mature startups, including an international startup, Zappy.AI, headquartered in the U.K.

So far NetApp Excellerator, a unique corporate accelerator program with a focus on data-driven technologies, has mentored 24 such startups through four cohorts. The NetApp team, as well as external mentors, coach these startups on data-driven technologies, platforms, tools, business acumen, and offers access to customer and investor connects. NetApp also provided an equity-free grant of $15,000 to each of the participating startups.

Ajeya Motaganahalli, Senior Director and Leader of NetApp Excellerator said, “Our vision with the NetApp Excellerator program has been to unleash greater possibilities and each edition reflects our commitment to speed up the delivery of advanced technologies. This demo day further validates our program’s strengths and is the start of a deeper engagement for enhanced business alignment in future cohorts. We envision aligning the next cohort with stronger go-to-market opportunities by funding proof-of-concepts.”

Marking another milestone for the program, Prakash Baskaran, Founder and CEO of SecurelyShare says, “Our flagship product Vault.Direct is now available on NetApp’s reference architecture. This strategic alliance will further improve our product and help us explore new ways to leverage NetApp technology.” With this, the NetApp Excellerator has formed eight strategic alliances through its cohorts. These include FirstHive, CardioTrack, BlobCity, SigTuple, Nanobi, Scalend and ZScore from the previous three cohorts.

The NetApp Excellerator Program alumni continue to have access to mentorship and go-to-market opportunities with NetApp. As a success story from the previous cohorts, Adya (an alumnus from the first cohort), recently got acquired by Qualys, a leading provider of cloud-based security and compliance solutions. Additionally, LightMetrics, provider of advanced video telematics (also an alumnus from the first cohort) secured a new series of funding.

Deepak Visweswaraiah, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, NetApp India commented, “We have understood some of the trends that are defining the B2B startup eco-system. Using this understanding, and our 25 years of data legacy, we are able to potentially redefine the direction of our startups.  ArchSaber, a graduate from the second cohort is being acquired and this is the second company from our alumni to be acquired. The success of the NetApp Excellerator program lies in our ability towards establishing the business and technology viability of the startups within a strong B2B ecosystem.”

NetApp Excellerator has now opened registrations for its fifth cohort. Startups with interests in the areas of hybrid cloud, AI, IOT, data management and adjacent technology domains are invited to apply. To know more, please visit and look us up with #NetAppExcellerator on social media.

1 QuNu Labs: A quantum-safe internet and cloud security company
2 SecurelyShare: Trusted, secure and intelligent platform for delivery of sensitive data
3 Zappy.AI: Cognitive Robotic Process Automation (Implement RPA 30X faster)
4 Ecolibrium Energy: Industrial IOT - Empowers enterprises to improve asset efficiency using predictive analytics
5 Eder AI: Helping enterprises scale AI adoption securely, with data privacy
6 UniQreate: Smart data extraction from documents

More specifics of the 6 cohorts passing out on July 23, 2019 include:

QuNu Labs: QuNu Labs helps CXOs who need to protect their critical data assets in transit to accelerate their transition to Quantum safe data security solutions by building hardware products that deliver unconditional data security.

SecurelyShare: SecurelyShare helps Wealth Managers/Bankers improve customer experience with a mobile app that empowers their customers to receive, organise and share personal information with convenience, security and privacy controls. Zappy is a desktop application that helps operations, accounting and back office employees doing manual business processes automate these processes within a minute without any technical knowledge.

Ecolibrium Energy: Ecolibrium Energy is an Industrial IoT company that empowers enterprises to improve asset efficiency using predictive analytics.

Eder AI: Eder AI helps Enterprise tech leaders to collaborate with third party solution providers in leveraging AI on sensitive data, thereby making privacy, AI and policy work together.

UniQreate: UniQreate helps business users of Data Provider organizations automate high diversity data extraction with intelligent workflow and adaptive learning system.

Analysts to Explore Emerging and Disruptive Tech at IT Symposium/Xpo, Nov 3-7, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain

Wireless technology plays a key role in today’s communications, and new forms of it will become central to emerging technologies including robots, drones, self-driving vehicles and new medical devices over the next five years. Gartner, Inc. has identified the top 10 wireless technology trends for enterprise architecture (EA) and technology innovation leaders.

“Business and IT leaders need to be aware of these technologies and trends now,” said Nick Jones, distinguished research vice president at Gartner. “Many areas of wireless innovation will involve immature technologies, such as 5G and millimeter wave, and may require skills that organizations currently don’t possess. EA and technology innovation leaders seeking to drive innovation and technology transformation should identify and pilot innovative and emerging wireless technologies to determine their potential and create an adoption roadmap.”

The top 10 wireless technology trends are:

1. Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi has been around a long time and will remain the primary high-performance networking technology for homes and offices through 2024. Beyond simple communications, Wi-Fi will find new roles — for example, in radar systems or as a component in two-factor authentication systems.

2. 5G Cellular

5G cellular systems are starting to be deployed in 2019 and 2020. The complete rollout will take five to eight years. In some cases, the technology may supplement Wi-Fi, as it is more cost-effective for high-speed data networking in large sites, such as ports, airports and factories. “5G is still immature, and initially, most network operators will focus on selling high-speed broadband. However, the 5G standard is evolving and future iterations will improve 5G in areas such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and low-latency applications,” Mr. Jones added.

3. Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) Wireless

Both conventional and self-driving cars will need to communicate with each other, as well as with road infrastructure. This will be enabled by V2X wireless systems. In addition to exchanging information and status data, V2X can provide a multitude of other services, such as safety capabilities, navigation support and infotainment.

“V2X will eventually become a legal requirement for all new vehicles. But even before this happens, we expect to see some vehicles incorporating the necessary protocols,” said Mr. Jones. “However, those V2X systems that use cellular will need a 5G network to achieve their full potential.”

4. Long-Range Wireless Power

First-generation wireless power systems have not delivered the revolutionary user experience that manufacturers had hoped for. In terms of the user experience, the need to place devices on a specific charger point is only slightly better than charging via cable. However, several new technologies can charge devices at ranges of up to one meter or over a table or desk surface.

“Long-range wireless power could eventually eliminate power cables from desktop devices such as laptops, monitors and even kitchen appliances. This will allow for completely new designs of work and living spaces,” Mr. Jones said.

5. Low-Power Wide-Area (LPWA) Networks

LPWA networks provide low-bandwidth connectivity for IoT applications in a power-efficient way to support things that need a long battery life. They typically cover very large areas, such as cities or even entire countries. Current LPWA technologies include Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT), Long Term Evolution for Machines (LTE-M), LoRa and Sigfox. The modules are relatively inexpensive, so IoT manufacturers can use them to enable small, low-cost, battery-powered devices such as sensors and trackers.

6. Wireless Sensing

The absorption and reflection of wireless signals can be used for sensing purposes. Wireless sensing technology can be used, for example, as an indoor radar system for robots and drones. Virtual assistants can also use radar tracking to improve their performance when multiple people are speaking in the same room.

“Sensor data is the fuel of the IoT. Accordingly, new sensor technologies enable innovative types of applications and services,” Mr. Jones said. “Systems including wireless sensing will be integrated in a multitude of use cases, ranging from medical diagnostics to object recognition and smart home interaction.”

7. Enhanced Wireless Location Tracking

A key trend in the wireless domain is for wireless communication systems to sense the locations of devices connected to them. High-precision tracking to around one-meter accuracy will be enabled by the forthcoming IEEE 802.11az standard and is intended to be a feature of future 5G standards.

“Location is a key data point needed in various business areas, such as consumer marketing, supply chain and the IoT. For example, high-precision location tracking is essential for applications involving indoor robots and drones,” said Mr. Jones.

8. Millimeter Wave Wireless

Millimeter wave wireless technology operates at frequencies in the range of 30 to 300 gigahertz, with wavelengths in the range of 1 to 10 millimeters. The technology can be used by wireless systems such as Wi-Fi and 5G for short-range, high-bandwidth communications (for example, 4K and 8K video streaming).

9. Backscatter Networking

Backscatter networking technology can send data with very low power consumption. This feature makes it ideal for small networked devices. It will be particularly important in applications where an area is already saturated with wireless signals and there is a need for relatively simple IoT devices, such as sensors in smart homes and offices.

10. Software-Defined Radio (SDR)

SDR shifts the majority of the signal processing in a radio system away from chips and into software. This enables the radio to support more frequencies and protocols. The technology has been available for many years, but has never taken off as it is more expensive than dedicated chips. However, Gartner expects SDR to grow in popularity as new protocols emerge. As older protocols are rarely retired, SDR will enable a device to support legacy protocols, with new protocols simply being enabled via software upgrade.

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