Thursday, October 17, 2019

LTI Constant Currency Revenue Growth Up 11.9% YoY; Digital Revenues at 40%

Larsen & Toubro Infotech (BSE code: 540005, NSE: LTI), a global technology consulting and digital solutions company, announced its Q2 FY20 results today.

In US Dollars:

* Revenue at USD 363.8 million; growth of 2.0% QoQ and 10.8% YoY
* Constant Currency Revenue growth of 2.4% QoQ and 11.9% YoY

In Indian Rupees:

Revenue at Rs 25,707 million; growth of 3.4%  QoQ and 10.3% YoY
Net Income at Rs 3,604 million; growth of 1.3% QoQ and (10.0%) YoY

“In Q2, we delivered a steady 11.9% YoY growth in constant currency driven by on-track ramp up of large deal wins that we announced earlier. We won three large deals in this quarter, all of them from new clients, aggregating to net-new TCV of ~US$100 million. A healthy pipeline, continued large deal momentum and fast-growing Digital services across all verticals make us optimistic about the future.

We are delighted to announce the acquisition of Powerup, a born-in-Cloud company that has completed 150+ engagements in Cloud. Powerup has deep expertise in building Cloud and AI solutions and is a premier consulting partner of AWS. “

- Sanjay Jalona, Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director, LTI

Recent Deal Wins

* A US based utility company, a new logo has selected LTI for multi-year, multi-million dollar deal to provide Cloud and Infrastructure Managed services
* Won multi-year, multi-million dollar managed services engagement with a European financial institution, a new logo
* Leading power generation company chose LTI as its partner for a green field and organization wide implementation of SAP S/4 HANA
* Awarded application management and transformation deal from a global leader in manufacturing space
* Global engineering giant chose LTI for AMS engagement
* A major Development Authority in the Middle East selected LTI for implementing next generation digital platform to manage its mega capital expenditure programs efficiently
* Leading manufacturing conglomerate awarded SAP S/4 HANA implementation to LTI for its co-innovative engineering, construction and operations (EC&O) solution developed along with SAP
* Global technology distributor chose LTI as its transformation partner to launch a new line of business
* A US based services firm engaged LTI to migrate its HR and workforce ERP applications to SaaS

Client Testimonial

“Convo has chosen LTI to be a critical growth partner because of their deep and wide technical knowledge and commitment to innovation. We see the partnership as critical to our short and long-term success in transforming the VRS industry. From deployment automation to integrated AI, LTI is embedded into all our daily workflows. With every solution, LTI continues to exceed our expectations.”

John Steinmetz, Chief Technology Officer, Convo Communications, LLC.

Awards and Recognitions

* LTI listed as one of The Breakthrough 15 Technology Provider Standouts in Americas, EMEA and Globally on the 3Q19 Global ISG Index
* LTI's case study mentioned by Forrester as one of the meaningful IoT+Blockchain based Supply Chain use cases in their report titled: "IoT And Blockchain: A Powerful Pairing That Doesn't Yet Live Up to Its Promise"
* LTI ranked as a Major Contender and Star Performer in Everest Group Life Sciences Digital Services Peak Matrix™ Assessment 2019
* LTI recognized in the Constellation Research ShortList as a top vendor for Innovation Services and Engineering in Q3 2019
* LTI ranked as a Major Contender in Everest Group Data & Analytics Services PEAK Matrix™ Assessment 2019
* LTI named in Honorable Mentions in the Gartner, Magic Quadrant for SAP S/4HANA Application Services, Worldwide, 2019

*Gartner, Magic Quadrant for SAP S/4HANA Application Services, Worldwide, 2019, Fabio Di Capua et al., 20 May 2019

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner's research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

Other Business Highlights

* LTI signed a definitive agreement to acquire Powerup Cloud, a Bangalore based AWS Premier Consulting partner with capabilities in Cloud Consulting, Data Lake implementation and Cloud Native Application development. The company has two AI-powered cloud platforms -, an Autonomous Cloud Governance Platform to help with continuous audit of cloud setup, and, an Enterprise AI Platform that builds chatbots for customer support, employee engagement and knowledge management.
* The Board of Directors at its meeting held on October 17th, 2019 have declared an interim dividend of Rs. 12.5 per equity share (Face Value of Re.1)
* LTI is now a ‘Premier’ partner of ServiceNow

LTI has been felicitated with the ZEE Business National CSR Leadership Award 2019 for Innovations in CSR practices

* LTI released its 3rd Sustainability Report with the theme ‘Solving for Good’. We have drawn inspiration from the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and the report lays down specific objectives and commitments that we have set for ourselves in our Sustainability Roadmap 2030.

ASUS Unveils the ‘Laptop of Tomorrow’ with ZenBook Pro Duo & Zenbook Duo


* Zenbook Pro Duo (UX581) and Zenbook Duo (UX481) are part of brand’s stunning line up of dual-screen laptops
* Further ramps up Zenbook offering with Intel 10th Gen Processor in UX334 & UX434 & UX534, world’s most compact laptop series powered by ScreenPadTM 2.0
* Also announces VivoBook S14 (S431) without a ScreenPadTMand S15(S532), with ScreenPadTM 2.0 respectively
* Introduces ZenBook Edition 30 (UX334), featuring future-classic look with finest leather craft

ASUS has finally announced one of its most anticipated laptop ranges, ZenBook Pro Duo (UX581) and ZenBook Duo (UX481). Revealing the future of computing, both the laptops have stunning new designs, adding a secondary touchscreen atop the keyboard. Crafted with perfection for India’s growing tribe of digital nomads, creative mavericks, content creators, editors, passionate gamers, and multitasking professionals, the latest ZenBook series from the house of ASUS allows users to unlock productivity and strive to achieve greater efficiencies.

In addition to the dual-screen laptop offerings, ASUS will also be bringing forth other stellar launches. This includes the launch of the new ScreenPad 2.0, on ZenBook 13/14/15(UX334/ UX434/ UX534), taking the brand’s legacy forward as the world's most compact laptops series. With ZenBook completing 30 years, ASUS is also launching Zenbook Edition 30 Special (UX334), featuring ASUS’ finest leather craftsmanship. Adding to the volley of new launches by the brand is the VivoBook S Series, S14 (S431) and S15 (S532), the trendy and sleek laptops, perfect for the young and on-the-go audience.

Commenting on the launch, Arnold Su, Head of Consumer Notebooks and ROG Business, ASUS India, said, “The need for the industry to evolve with the changing times necessitates innovation. As one amongst the industry incumbents, we realised it was both an opportunity and responsibility for us to push the envelope, disrupt the status quo, and come up with a magnificent offering that would not only enable greater productivity but also will ignite the sparks of creativity and empowerment. With the launch of dual-screen laptops, we are paving the way for the industry’s future. The latest offerings by the brand is going to empower India’s creative individuals- content creators, editors, in addition to passionate gamers and corporate clan, to de-clutter from myriad screens and unlock efficiencies through a singular, integrated offering. In addition to the futuristic dual-screen offering, we are also proud to ramp up our existing line-up of ZenBook and VivoBook product range, and look forward to an affirmative response from our users.”

The Laptop of Tomorrow: ZenBook Pro Duo &ZenBook Duo

It has never been this easy to harness one’s complete creative power, with ZenBook Pro Duo and ZenBook Duo introducing a new form factor for laptops. Equipped with both a keyboard and a secondary touchscreen for input, the laptops elevate creativity and productivity to the next level. Offering an edge in workflow efficiency, ZenBook Pro Duo features a full-width 4K ASUSScreenPad Plus that works seamlessly with the main 4K UHD OLED display, while Zenbook Duo features a full-length 1920p ASUSScreenPad Plus that works seamlessly with the main 1080p FHD LCD display.

Dual-screen powered by ScreenPadTMPlus

Optimise and personalise the workflow with ASUSScreenPad Plus; in ZenBook Pro Duo, it takes form of a full-width 4K secondary touchscreen that works seamlessly with the main 15.6-inch 4K UHD OLED HDR touchscreen. ZenBook Duo comes with a full-length 1920p that works seamlessly with the main 1080p FHD LCD display.

A series of handy built-in apps help boost your productivity. Quick Key allows one-tap automation of complex keyboard sequences, and Handwriting lets you input text intuitively. There are also useful quick controls such as App Switcher, ViewMax and Task Swap for intuitive interactions between the main display and ScreenPad™ Plus. Task Group lets you lock into work mode by opening multiple tasks with a single touch. And now you can drag any Windows app or in-app toolbar onto ScreenPad Plus to give you more room to work on the main display, wherever you are.

Stunning display

ZenBook Pro Duo offers a truly amazing 4K UHD NanoEdge OLED HDR display. It is well complimented by a four-sided frameless design featuring ultra-slim bezels. The brilliant OLED touchscreen delivers ultra-vivid colors and deep blacks, with a cinema-grade 100% DCI-P3 color gamut and 100,000:1 contrast ratio. The barely-there bezels increase the screen-to-body ratio to a near-borderless 89%, thus offering more screen and less distraction.

ZenBook Duo is equipped with 1080p FHD NanoEdge display, with a four-sided frameless design featuring 90% screen to body ratio. The brilliant main LCD display comes colour calibrated form the factory and offers 100% sRGB with Pantone Validation, adding to ZenBook Duo’s pro-user capabilities.

Unrivalled Performance

The stellar dual-screen comes with ASUS’ uncompromising focus on delivering a strong performance. ZenBook Pro Duo is powered by up to a 9th Generation Intel Core i9 eight-core processor, the latest gaming-grade NVIDIA® GeForce RTX 2060 graphics and blisteringly fast storage. This ultra-powerful combination ensures that ZenBook Pro Duo takes professional-quality tasks in its stride, such as multi-layer photo or video editing, 3D graphics rendering or even game live-streaming.ZenBook Duo is powered by the up to latest 10th Generation Intel Core i7 10510U, the latest NVIDIA GeForce MX250 graphics and extremely fast storage.

Fastest connectivity

ZenBook Pro Duo offers dongle-free connectivity with the latest Thunderbolt 3 USB-C port. The latest Intel Wi-Fi 6 with Gig+ (802.11ax) takes wireless speeds to the next level.ZenBook Duo comes with no compromise on connectivity, with 2xUSB 3.1 Gen 2 USB-C™ ports – supporting 4K display and up to 10Gbps of DATA transfer speed. The latest Intel Wi-Fi 6 with Gig+ (802.11ax) takes wireless speeds to the next level.


The Zenbook Pro Duo(UX581) is bundled with a stylus, laptop stand for better viewing and a palm rest, given the size. The Zenbook Duo (UX481) is accompanied with a stylus, laptop stand for better viewing and a sleeve.

Orion Mall Set to Unleash Your Weekend with Geistoberfest

Orion Mall is turning up the dial of fun all the way this weekend with GeistoberFest. Urban crowd across Bangalore can expect two exciting days full of beer, music and food. The event is shaping up to be a haven for beer lovers with 6 varieties of Geist craft beer including wheat beers, lagers, IPAs and more. Adding to the festivity, there is live music, courtesy of Lagori and a variety of lip-smacking delicacies. GeistoberFest is set to take place on October 18 and 19 at Orion Mall at Brigade Gateway.

“In Bangalore, Orion Mall holds a unique distinction as a convergence point for entertainment and leisure.  GeistoberFest is our way of expanding on that premise in the most inviting manner. The idea is to capture the essence of what makes an enjoyable weekend. We think a mix of quality International craft beer, energetic live music and delicious food qualifies exceedingly. So those factors essentially make GeistoberFest immensely appealing in the eyes of the average Bangalorean. To put it simply, if you’re looking to have a great time with friends and family, GeistoberFest is where you need to be. “opines says Vijay Kumar Bhatia, Sr. General Manager - Orion Malls. 

Microland Appoints Anupam Pandey as Chief Information Officer

Microland, India’s leading digital IT transformation company, announced the appointment of Anupam Pandey as Chief Information Officer (CIO). Anupam’s core responsibilities at Microland include the design, architecture and deployment of emerging technologies that deliver best-in-class operations and accelerate digital dexterity across client organizations.

“As CIO, Anupam will lead our global information technology strategy that powers our endeavor in ‘Making digital happen’. With his global experience across consulting and professional services organizations and his prolific experience in human capital management and applied technology, Anupam is well positioned to leverage digital to meet client needs,” said Pradeep Kar, Founder, Chairman and Managing Director, Microland Limited.

Anupam comes with 29 years of experience in the industry and is a seasoned IT and RPA evangelist who holds two patents in automation. He joins Microland from the world's second largest professional services firm where he was their India CIO, responsible for managing IT infrastructure and applications. Prior to this he was with Accenture for 14 years where he served as the Managing Director, Partner and CIO Lead, orchestrating the transformation of global support for the firm’s HR applications and enabling the organization to adopt SaaS, IaaS and PaaS.

Commenting on his appointment as CIO, Anupam said, “Microland’s technology vision is exciting. It is rapidly adopting and accelerating the implementation of nextGen technologies to deliver superlative digital experiences. I look forward to driving interactive and AI technologies that expand Microland’s potential to deliver exceptional outcomes for employees and clients.”

Zendesk Introduces New Partner Program to Give Partners More Tools to Improve Customer Engagement

Zendesk, Inc. has announced a new Zendesk Partner Program to provide the skills, tools, and support for Zendesk’s global ecosystem of partners need to help their customers deliver a better customer experience. The program is designed to enable partners to build an industry-leading customer experience practice and rewards partners based on competencies and results with a comprehensive certification program and incentives. At the same time, the Zendesk Partner Program can be tailored to meet the needs of partner’s different business models, offering the flexibility to support partners as their businesses evolve.

“Customer expectations are at an all time high, and we do our best work helping our customers meet their customer’s expectations when we work hand in hand with our partners,” said Ricardo Moreno, Vice President Worldwide Partners at Zendesk. “We recognize that significant evolutions are underway in the traditional partner model, and we look forward to growing our partner ecosystem and helping our partners deliver better customer experiences.”

Sandie Overtveld, Vice President, APAC at Zendesk said, “The Indian market is very competitive when it comes to the software sector, and is a key market for Zendesk having seen healthy growth since our launch three years ago. This program is good news for the partner ecosystem, which has played a key role in our success. The launch of the Zendesk Partner Program is an ongoing commitment to our partners and customers that will build an ecosystem to ensure a more seamless transfer of knowledge and better customer experience all round.”

With its modern approach to the program, Zendesk allows partners to engage in multiple business models based on their unique business strategy and skills. Rather than limit a partner to a specific role, Zendesk’s flexible framework allows partners to refer, resell, implement, develop, integrate, or any combination of these services depending on the opportunity.

 “India has emerged as a strong contender in Zendesk's 10 fastest growing markets globally. The new Partner Program will help us strengthen our relationships with our partners in the region by facilitating the ease of exchanging skills and expertise across the table. It will also accelerate our momentum towards our goal of becoming a $1 billion company next year.”, said KT Prasad, Country Sales Director, Zendesk India.

“Partners are looking for vendors that are easy to do business with and show them the best path to profitability. Zendesk gets it, and created its new program with all the right elements that nail these two critical aspects,” said Kevin Rhone, Director of Channel Acceleration at The Enterprise Strategy Group.

The Zendesk Partner Program also provides significant growth opportunities for the partner ecosystem, including cloud service providers, systems integrators, value added resellers, outsourcers, consultants, developers, and IT professionals. Whether partners are looking to earn revenue through delivery of Zendesk products and services, find new opportunities with existing clients, or deliver value-add services, the Zendesk Partner Program provides the tools and resources to open new revenue streams and grow their business.

“As a long standing partner, we look forward to accelerating our investment in Zendesk based on this major step forward with the new program and the mutual success it promises,” said Bruno Stuchi, CEO at Aktie Now, a consulting company that supports business innovation and growth through strategy, processes, technology, and people.

"Zendesk’s robust partner program is designed in a way that helps new partners like us get up and running quickly. The flexibility, support, and ready-to-use resources available through the program are already helping us grow our business," said Fred Walters, Chief Innovation Officer at iTalent Digital, a global woman- and minority-owned digital consulting and software engineering company.

The new partner program operates across three tiers that are organized based on the overall capabilities and contributions of partners across all types of business models.

Frost & Sullivan Names JLL India “2019 India Facility Management Company of the Year”

JLL India has been named the 2019 India Facility Management Company of the Year at Frost & Sullivan’s India Best Practices Awards Banquet. The award was given in recognition of the real estate firm’s excellence in growth, innovation, and customer leadership.

Sandeep Sethi, Managing Director, Corporate Solutions, JLL India said: “It is an honour to be acknowledged for this prestigious award. Our success revolves around our people, and our continuous effort to drive client experience. We continue to evolve our service delivery in line with the changing needs of our clients by a deep commitment to innovation and workplace experience enabled by technology. We thank our clients who have believed in us and have entrusted us with their ‘workplace experience.”

“We are delighted that this has been recognized by leading research &am p; consulting firm like Frost & Sullivan,” he further added.

According to Frost & Sullivan, the nominees were judged on three key areas, including demand generation, brand development, and competitive positioning. JLL was recognised for its well-executed strategies and forward-thinking service proposition, leading to significant double-digit growth in 2018. What set the firm apart was also its strong client renewals and contract wins from reputable global companies across the region.

With over 160M sq. ft. under management across over 1,600+ sites, JLL is a leader in facilities management services in India. JLL has incorporated several new, industr y-leading technologies into its delivery, for instance, in the utilisation of their in-house eFit Facility CAFM platform; a digital Service Level Agreement-tracking, Business Intelligence dashboard capability and incorporating multiple other technology interventions across client sites.

JLL has been actively developing and deploying innovative solutions to enhance client experience and efficiency. One example is the India-based IDEA Labs, an acronym for “Innovation that Drives Experience and Automation.” Helmed by a tech-innovator-entrepreneur, IDEA Labs is designed to explore, evaluate and pilot the latest technologies and solutions available in the Indian FM industry.

Additionally, JLL has also established a Workplace Experience Center of Excellence (CoE), dovetaili ng into the Hospitality Board. This CoE includes team members with backgrounds in hotels and hospitality, and the CoE is responsible for designing and rolling out bespoke client training and education programs to upskill our on-site delivery teams to make staff more personable, client-centric and generally imbibe hospitality best practice into our delivery.

“As a Firm, JLL is constantly investing in our people, skilling and technology innovation. We strongly believe that these are the core areas that will continue to drive real value for our clients, partners and our people. There’s never been a better time for the industry,” added Sandeep.

While congratulating JLL, Arushi Thakur, Associate Director, Measurement & Instrumentation Practice, Frost & Sullivan said: “JLL is a national leader in facilities management services in India and provides a comprehensive portfolio and property management services to corporations and institutions in almost every industry sector ranging from BFSI, IT/ ITes, business process outsourcing, industrial, life sciences and manufacturing among others.”

Frost & Sullivan Awards are presented to companies that demonstrate best practices across industries. The Awards are recognition of their inn ovation, commitment, technological innovation, customer service, and successful business strategies required to advance in the global marketplace. Frost & Sullivan's intent is to help drive innovation, excellence, and a positive change in the global economy by recognising best-in-class products, companies, and individuals.

Association of India Appeals to State Government to Stop Harassment of Poor Retailers by Health and Police Officials in Karnataka


*  Appeal sent to Chief Minister, Karnataka, Mr. B.S. Yediyurappa, on behalf of over 10 lakh families in Karnataka Facing Life and Death Situation with Continued and Unwarranted Health and Police Official Harassment
* Health officials issuing challans indiscriminately under non-relevant sections of COPTA to trouble already very poor and helpless micro-retailers
* Such harassment has the potential to put livelihood of lakhs of poor people at stake

We, Karnataka State Retail Beedi – Cigarette Merchants Association – Bangalore, who also represent the Karnataka Chapter of the Federation of Retailer Association of India (FRAI), are a representative body over 2 lakh retailers of goods of daily consumption in Karnataka. We are a member of FRAI which is an All India representative body of four crore micro, small and medium retailers across the country, with 34 Retail Associations from North, South, East and West as the members of the Federation. FRAI protects the interests of the poorest of the poor in the country and raise issues which impact the employment opportunities and render help to such people who are unable to express their views. It also brings to the attention of the Government policies which will help promote and protect employment in the unorganised sector and create an environment of ease of doing business in India.

Karnataka State Retail Beedi – Cigarette Merchants Association, Bangalore, representing the FRAI Karnataka Chapter, today raised its concerns against the harassment faced by its member shopkeepers from the State Govt.’s Health and Police Officials. These officials visit small retailers very frequently and tell them that they are not following tobacco control laws. All our retailers are law-abiding citizens and the question of violating any laws just does not arise. In spite of this these officials subject these shopkeepers to harassment by way of imposing penalty on the flimsy excuse that they are violating some tobacco control law. Challans are issued to these simple, helpless people for so-called violation of the ‘Cigarette and other Tobacco Products (prohibition of advertisement and regulation of trade and commerce, production, supply and distribution) Act’, 2003 or COTPA and these challans are absolutely baseless.  These Officials many a times confiscate legal cigarette stocks without giving a valid reason or proper document as required which further puts a financial hardship on the shopkeeper who is already burdened with lots of loans to meet ends.

 Explaining the issue, B. N. Murali Krishna, Member, Federation of Retailers Association of India and President, Karnataka State Retail Beedi-Cigarette Merchants Association, said, “The shopkeepers always suffer out-right and unreasonable rejection of their appeals and these officials do not accept any of their valid arguments. It is clear that the officials are just intent on harassing and challan the poor retailers illegally. Given our poor financial position, how can the health officials expect us to pay fines for offences which we have not committed? Also, the challans so raised are not in line with the law as most of the charges are on public smoking (Section 4) issued to our members even though they are non-smokers!  If we argue with the officials, they threaten to have us arrested. Members are also not able to get a recourse to the seized stock as they have not been given proper seizure receipts by the official”

Mr. Murali Krishna further said, “The way this harassment is continuing on a regular basis, soon we will have to close our shops and we and lacs of our family members will be driven to the street. Our livelihood will be very badly affected, and we will be forced into a state of trauma and agony.”

“We have approached senior Ministers and Govt. officials several times on the harassment faced by us. In all such meetings we have been assured that the harassment will stop but in reality we continue to be subjected to unjustified challans. It appears that since we are poor and helpless, nobody is bothered about our livelihood issues”, Mr Murali Krishna signed off. 

The Karnataka Chapter of FRAI represent around 2 lakh retailers from all over the State. it represents the livelihood of about 10 lakh people in Karnataka. Our members are poor and law-abiding shopkeepers and who because of lack of proper education has been forced to put in small capital to set up shops selling goods of daily consumption by people. Our members do not have any other means of income and the income earned from their shops is barely adequate to feed themselves and their family members.

Karnataka State Retail Beedi-Cigarette Merchants Assn under the banner of FRAI staged a strong protest gathering in Bangalore and lodged a strong appeal with the Hon’ble Chief Minister, Karnataka, Mr. Mr. B.S. Yediyurappa and the state government asking for an immediate intervention to save the poor and helpless shopkeepers from official harassment. This is a matter of life and death of 10 lakh families across the State of Karnataka unless the harassment is stopped forthright.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

State Govts and Industry Commit 7 Lakh Apprentices for the Current Fiscal Year


* 22 MoUs with Third Party Aggregators (TPAs) signed so far to promote apprenticeship among the youth
* Over 50 workshops conducted across 22 states under Apprenticeship Pakhwada 2019

The 15-day Apprenticeship Pakhwada, that saw State Governments and the industry come together for a commitment of 7 lakh apprentices in the current fiscal, ended in a grand closing ceremony in the capital today. Shri Nitin Gadkari, Hon’ble Minister of Road Transport and Highways and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises was the Chief Guest of the closing ceremony along with Dr. Mahendra Nath Pandey, Hon’ble Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.

The number of apprentices will have almost doubled after the 15-day Pakhwada. In 2016, the Government had introduced comprehensive reforms to the Apprenticeship Act, 1961, a move that saw about 7.5 lakh apprentices engaged in a span of two-and-a-half years.

In the 15 days of the Pakhwada, the industry has committed to engage 4.5 lakh more apprentices with States committing another 2.5 lakh apprentices. MSDE pledged Rs. 560 crore to State Governments to promote demand-driven and industry-linked skill development and signed 22 MoUs with various states through Third Party Aggregators (TPAs).

As many as 6 PSUs including Bharat Heavy Electrical Limited (BHEL), Cochin Shipyard, Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL), Indian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), International Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO), Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL) committed to train about 35,000 apprentices. Additionally, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) signed an MoU with NSTI Mumbai to train solar technicians for sustainable energy sector.

Third-party aggregators (TPAs) and Sectors Skill Councils (SSCs) organized workshops and conferences, with the support of industry and state governments, across the country.

Addressing the gathering at the closing ceremony, Shri Nitin Gadkari, Hon’ble Minister of Road Transport and Highways and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, said it was important to build skilling capabilities for both urban and rural areas. “It is important to understand and map the demand for skilling programs in SME cluster associations in growth areas and industries, especially in the rural, agricultural and tribal areas of the country. The MSME sector has enormous scope for growth and a great need of skilled manpower for sericulture, horticulture, tribal arts and paintings, honey, bamboo, etc, sectors that have great potential of becoming export strengths for the country. In fact, we need to reduce our dependence on imports and move towards growing skills in traditional skills that will inch us closer to realizing the ambition of creating a five-trillion dollar economy.”

Lauding the initiative to launch the Pakhwada, he added, “Technology, innovation, research and skill go hand in hand and always bring great value. The Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises will need all the support from the Skill Development Ministry in meeting the demand of its industries. Our efforts should be directed at converting knowledge and skill into wealth.”

Dr. Mahendra Nath Pandey, Hon’ble Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, said, ““Apprenticeship can provide hands-on training to candidates and provide a better industry exposure to help them gain confidence in a working environment. New job roles will need new skill sets and it is therefore important to inspire the youth to equip themselves with industry-relevant skill sets.”

“We are training all our energies in creating a demand-driven model that caters to both industry needs as well as the youth to enable them with the skills necessary for jobs of the future. Together we must all pledge to make apprenticeship a pathway for the creation of a strong and stable workforce, which is extremely important for India to become the five-trillion dollar economy that we have set our sights on,” he added, emphasizing the Prime Minister’s vision of taking the country on the road to growth.

On September 30, 2019, Dr. Mahendra Nath Pandey, Hon’ble Minister of Skill Development and entrepreneurship, had launched the Apprenticeship Pakhwada in Delhi, announcing the need to promote awareness about apprenticeship training among establishments and employers across manufacturing and service sectors. Many significant reforms were announced including a stipend to apprentices between Rs. 5000 and Rs. 9000. The National Apprenticeship Programme plays an important role in upskilling India’s workforce, offering different parties the opportunity to share costs.

Strengthening the Skill India Mission, NSDC, under the aegis of the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship has been collaborating with various stakeholders including industry, institutions, training providers and SSCs to empower and train youth with employable skills.

Sterlite Power Wins IPMA Global Project Excellence Award for NRSS-29 Power Transmission Project

Sterlite Power, a global leader in power transmission, has been awarded the coveted ‘Gold’ award in the mega sized projects category at the prestigious Global Project Excellence Award 2019 for its Northern Region Strengthening Scheme (NRSS-29) project in Jammu & Kashmir. The award was presented at the 31st IPMA World Congress held on October 1, 2019 in Mexico.

The NRSS-29 project was one of the largest and toughest private sector transmission projects commissioned in the country till date. This 414 Km long transmission corridor of national importance was constructed by overcoming extreme challenges of terrain and weather. Sterlite Power delivered this critical project ahead of schedule with innovative use of technology, synergistic partnerships and deeper engagement with local communities. The project plays a vital role in bringing reliable power to Jammu & Kashmir, especially during winter months when the region traditionally suffered blackouts. This project had the unique distinction of being dedicated to the nation by Honorable Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, earlier this year in February 2019.

Commenting on the milestone, Mr. Pratik Agarwal, Group CEO, Sterlite Power said, “It is a matter of great pride to receive this global honor from IPMA for our NRSS-29 power transmission project which lights up the lives of 12.5 million people of Jammu & Kashmir. We are grateful to our dedicated team of employees and partners who worked relentlessly to overcome massive challenges and deliver one of the toughest transmission projects in the country ahead of schedule.”

Sterlite Power is the first Indian power transmission company to achieve the prestigious Gold category award from IPMA. The project won the highest recognition against strong competition from other industry heavyweights such as China Energy Shenyang Group Co. Ltd, Prysmian Powerlink Srl, Italy and PT. JGC Indonesia. International Project Management Association (IPMA) is the world’s oldest project management association based out of Netherlands. The IPMA award is given to projects across the globe that demonstrate project management excellence. 

Dr Trust, Dr Physio Debut as First Healthcare and Wellness Products at Croma Stores


* Nureca becomes the first company to sell healthcare and wellness products from its Dr Trust and Dr Physio brands at Croma stores across India
* The tie-up will bridge the gap between the need for and availability of high-quality affordable healthcare and wellness products in the Indian market

In a first for the Indian market, Nureca Pvt Ltd has joined hands with Croma, India’s first Omni-channel electronics retailer from the Tata Group, to emerge as the very first company to sell healthcare and wellness products through Croma stores. As part of this tie-up, Nureca will sell products from its Dr Trust and Dr Physio brands at 30 Croma stores across the country

India’s healthcare and wellness landscape is beset by multiple challenges. The country has a vast population, which includes a large number of senior citizens, who now have fewer family members to take care of their medical needs owing to the rising trend towards nuclear families. Furthermore, owing to work-life imbalance and other contributing factors, the incidence of lifestyle disorders and related health issues among working people is on the rise.

Home healthcare and wellness technologies can play a crucial role for the geriatric population in preventive healthcare by enabling them to regularly monitor vital health parameters while enabling working people who cannot take out the time to visit clinics on a frequent basis to avail the same facilities at home itself, and that too at affordable prices.

“Nowadays, there is a renewed focus on healthcare to be able to better cope with the pressures of fast-paced modern living. Consequently, home healthcare and wellness devices have become more of a necessity rather than a luxury. However, the limited availability of healthcare and wellness devices and the lack of awareness about these products has been a major impediment. Nureca seeks to bridge this gap by making these devices available through the tie-up with Croma,” said Mr Saurabh Goyal, Director, Nureca Pvt Ltd.

Affordable home healthcare technologies can be a boon, both as regular health monitoring tools and therapeutic devices like massagers. With India witnessing a growing need for tech-driven home healthcare devices, Croma’s nationwide presence will help make Dr Trust and Dr Physio solutions easily available to a wider audience.

“Dr Trust’s product range comprises trustworthy medical devices and health monitors, which are backed by pioneering technology. Dr Physio, on the other hand, offers some of the most imaginative and restorative wellbeing and personal healthcare products. While both these brands have a strong presence across e-commerce platforms, the tie-up with Croma will ensure the availability of high-quality yet affordable healthcare and wellness technologies among people who want to physically explore a product before purchasing it,” said Mr Goyal.

Mr. Venu Copal, Head of Buying, Croma, added “We are quite excited to bring forth to our customers the latest in the world of healthcare. When it comes to gadgets, our experience says that customers always prefer to touch-feel-try the product before they buy it. These gadgets being in the healthcare space, is going to make physical validation even more indispensable. As an emerging category in today’s day and age, it’s a great a new addition to our existing portfolio of 9000+ products”

Under this tie-up with Croma, Nureca will introduce products from these brands at Croma’s ‘Gadgets of Desire’ stores in a phased manner. Apart from meeting Indian standards and regulations like ISO, Dr Trust and Dr Physio products are USFDA and CE approved, which is an endorsement of Nureca’s adherence to the highest quality standards.

“The tie-up between Nureca and Croma Retail is an indicator of the upward trajectory and immense potential of this market segment in India. It will go a long way in drawing attention to the need for affordable home healthcare in India and making handy healthcare devices readily available,” said Mr Goyal.

“Our brands/products, backed by pioneering technology at affordable price points, are designed to help Indian customers keep a check on their health and meet their wellness needs. The Indian market is still at a nascent stage and we want to raise it to a level where customers ask for products which are high on quality and features. As a decisive step in this direction, we have introduced many pioneering features at very affordable price points to give Indian customers access to products which are on a par with global standards,” he added.

The medical devices market size, valued at US $4.9 billion in 2017, is expected to go up to US $11 billion by 2022 on account of the rising geriatric population and declining cost of medical services. Besides, technological enhancement and development of medical electronics has made it possible to provide high-quality healthcare at home at affordable prices. It can help patients save 10-25% of the medical treatment costs. The Indian home healthcare market is estimated to reach US $6.21 billion by 2020.

Registering a CAGR of 8.8% since 2016 when it was pegged at $220.76 billion, the global home healthcare market is projected to reach $364.69 billion by 2022. The fastest CAGR growth in home healthcare market is expected to come from the Asia-Pacific market, which is expected to grow at 9% from 2016 to 2024. It is projected that in India, where home healthcare adoption is still at a nascent stage, this market will grow from around $4.46 billion in 2018 to $6.21 billion by 2020. While this market size is still much smaller as compared to China, tie-ups like the one between Nureca and Croma will appreciably enhance the share of home healthcare segment in India’s healthcare industry.

Accenture Recognized as Leader in Inaugural IDC MarketScape Report for Worldwide Managed Cloud Services

Accenture has been positioned as a Leader in the first ever IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Managed Cloud Services 2019 Vendor Assessment (Doc # US43251618, July 2019).

In the report, which evaluates 10 service providers across the full spectrum of clouds and IT applications and infrastructure for managed public, private, and hybrid cloud services, Accenture was named a Leader.

“Managed cloud services are becoming a primary means of enterprises getting critical support by third-party managed SPs to help them manage their cloud environments,” said David Tapper, vice president of Outsourcing and Managed Cloud Services at IDC. “The breadth of its investment along with its strong consulting and migration capabilities make Accenture a good partner for any business looking to exploit the opportunities inherent in the cloud.”

Looking at Accenture’s main strengths, the IDC MarketScape noted the company’s high utilization rates of Platform-as-a-Service delivery, investments in centers of excellence, strong financial growth performance, high client retention, high service availability, fast response times rates, and robust recovery services.

The IDC MarketScape also noted that “Accenture’s growth rate in the managed cloud services surpassed market standards.” Finally, Accenture was rated highly for “application capabilities in supporting SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft, along with systems infrastructure software, that are deployed on public clouds.”

The strength of Accenture’s offering was underlined by highly positive client feedback sourced by IDC during the writing of the report. According to the IDC MarketScape, “Client feedback reflects an overall high satisfaction rating, with strength in providing technology expertise, possessing industry and/or business process knowledge, and delivering a full array of security and recovery capabilities.”

Kishore Durg, senior managing director and Accenture Cloud lead, commented: “Businesses are increasingly looking to managed cloud services for business transformation. Accenture’s approach is to apply the innovation usually seen in public cloud to hybrid alternatives, helping businesses with powerful automation, self-service and microservice capabilities. It’s about staying focused on business outcomes to make an impact within their organizations. The IDC MarketScape shows that we are on the right track, and we look forward to building on this strong leadership position.”

In the IDC Managed CloudView 2018: Executive Summary, which involved 1,500 respondents across six countries, used to complement this competitive analysis, Accenture received a higher rating against rivals in which respondents indicated that they would recommend Accenture to a friend or colleague.

Tata Motors Passenger Vehicle Ranks 2nd in J.D. Power 2019 India Customer Service Index (Mass Market) StudySM

Key highlights:

* An achievement for the third successive year
* By scoring 870 on a 1000-point scale, the company has crossed the industry average score (826 for this year) for the fourth time

In an acknowledgement of Tata Motors’ commitment to offer its customers a seamless after-sales experience, the Company has once again been ranked the 2nd highest with a score of 870 (above industry average of 826) in the prestigious J.D. Power India Customer Service Index (Mass Market) StudySM for the year 2019. This is the third consecutive year that Tata Motors has secured this rank.

This study is based on responses from 7,177 new-vehicle owners who purchased their vehicle between March 2016 and August 2018, it was fielded from March through August 2019. Now in its 23rd year, the Study measures new-vehicle owner satisfaction with the after-sales service process by examining dealership performance in five factors (listed in order of importance): service quality (30%); service initiation (18%); service facility (18%); service advisor (17%); and vehicle pick-up (17%).

Commenting on this achievement, Mr. Mayank Pareek, President – Passenger Vehicles Business Unit (PVBU), Tata Motors, said, “We are delighted to announce that we have secured the 2nd rank in the prestigious J.D. Power CSI Study rankings once again this year. This is an incredible achievement for all of us at Tata Motors as it attests to the success of our initiatives that result in an exceptional overall customer experience. We are committed to the continuous improvement of our customer service efforts by keeping our customers’ needs in mind and through constant industry analyses so we can constantly succeed at being the best in terms of overall customer experience.”

According to Mr. Subhajit Roy, Head Customer Care, Domestic & International Business – PVBU, Tata Motors - “We have always aimed to provide our customers with excellent quality service on all their products and we have successfully achieved that yet again by being ranked 2nd in the coveted J.D. Power CSI Study rankings this year. We hope to continue to succeed in this endeavor and consistently provide our customers with a refined and value-for-money experience.”

Tata Motors has a countrywide presence, catering to customers across 650+ workshops by consistent quality & service delivery. Tata Motors continues to upgrade its workshops with comfortable lounges and state of the art technology, to better serve its patrons. TML workshops are continuing to practice the waterless, foam washing at customer doorstep and at around 200 workshops across India.

Further, the company has added a slew of features in the Tata Motors Service Connect App, like Service Booking, Dealer Locator, Cost Estimate Calculator for Scheduled and Standard Repairs and Service History among others. Reinforcing the company’s image as a customer-centric brand, the app has been rated as one of the best in its segment by customers on the Google Play store. Tata Motors is also focusing on digital transformation of workshops by launching applications like job card opening through tablets, digital ready reckoner, electronic estimate tool, vehicle tracking and bay scheduler etc. to further enhance the digital experience of customers.

Additionally, the online platform, Tata Motors Service Website can be visited for booking an appointment for car service & repairs and for information regarding vehicle servicing, Authorized Dealers / Service Center locations, as well as services like extended warranty, annual maintenance contracts (value care), 24x7 roadside assistance support, Women-Assist Program and so forth.

OPPO Showcases 5G Readiness in Partnership with Qualcomm & Jio at India Mobile Congress 2019

OPPO, the leading global smartphone brand showcased its Reno 5G smartphone in partnership with Qualcomm and Jio at India Mobile Congress (IMC) 2019. The demo of its first 5G smartphone at IMC is a testament to OPPO’s commitment of offering new and innovative technology to India. 

Earlier this month, OPPO had announced that it is working on providing 5G capabilities on all its premium mid-range smartphones in 2020. With the demo of a 5G capable smartphone, OPPO has cemented its status as a technology leader in the segment and proved their capabilities in bringing 5G connectivity to the masses.

OPPO Reno 5G is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor combined with the X50 5G modem. The 5G capable chip was launched in February at MWC 2019 and is the first to integrate 5G baseband and 5G modem into the processor. Keeping up with its status quo of being the first with technology breakthroughs, OPPO was the first brand to demonstrate a 5G capable smartphone at MWC 2019 powered by Qualcomm’s new 5G chip. 

OPPO has always focused its energies on advancing technology keeping the consumer at the center of their innovation strategy. Continuing on the same path, OPPO has invested a great deal in 5G research and development across the globe and plans to continue working closely with leading industry partners to bring the best products and experiences to consumers.

Plan to Set Up 14 Authorized World Skills India Training Centers Across 9 Cities in Media & Entertainment Sector


* Cities include Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Indore, Mumbai, Pune, Shillong and Trivandrum
* AWSITC aims to provide best in class training to candidates to showcase their skills at national and international competitions, by making them industry ready

Dr. Mahendra Nath Pandey, Hon’ble Union Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE), today announced the launch of 14 Authorized World Skills India Training Centers (AWSITC) across 9 cities in India, for the Media and Entertainment sector. The new institutes are being set up for advanced skill training of candidates in the media and entertainment sector, not just to compete in the WorldSkills and IndiaSkills competitions buts also to further develop the skilling eco-system for training candidates for the international market.

The state of the art AWSITCs, set up in partnership with the MESC (Media & Entertainment Skill Council), will help the candidates to enhance their skill as per the global standards and the training programs will be designed as per the NSFQ level, which will be industry linked. All candidates will get hands-on training on live projects.

The minister also marked the event by felicitating some of the winners of the recently concluded WorldSkills competition, held in Kazan in August this year.

For winning a bronze medal in the graphic design category at Kazan, Shweta Ratanpura and her mentor Mr. Sathish Narayan received a cash prize of Rs one lakh. Nidhin Prem, winner of a Medallion of Excellence for 3D game Art, and his mentor Mr. Pradeep Kumar received INR 50,000 while Shrenik Gagule and his mentor Mr. Sameer Prabhune received INR 20,000 each for scoring 11th Rank in the Printing Technology category.

This year was India’s best ever performance in the biennial WorldSkills competition. The 48-member Indian team won one Gold, one Silver, two Bronze medals besides 15 Medallions of Excellence at the competition.

The event also witnessed the presence of Ms. Sunita Sanghi – Sr. Advisor, MSDE; Mr. Manish Kumar, CEO, NSDC; Mr. Subhash Ghai, Chairman, MESC; Ms. Shobha Ghosh, Asst. Secretary General, FICCI; Mr. Mohit Soni, CEO, MESC among other eminent dignitaries from industry and academia of various states.

Dr. Mahendra Nath Pandey, Union Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship said on the occasion “With the advent of technology, skilling in the sector is gaining traction worldwide. There are lot of avenues for skilled workforce across evolving sectors like graphic design, 3D Digital Game Art, Print Media etc. These world class state of the art centres will help in preparing the candidates to be ready in making our country proud at various competitions and also equip them with enhanced skills in order to become industry ready.”

Mr. Subhash Ghai, Chairman, Media and Entertainment Skill Council said at the event, “Participating in the WorldSkills competition is a great honour. It is a global platform and privilege of being there and then coming back with a medal is something memorable. Platform like WorldSkills go a long way in incentivizing and encouraging people to not just learn a skill but excel at it. We hope that through this institute, we can encourage more youth to get skilled and not just participate, but come back with a medal and make their country proud.”

Mr. Manish Kumar, CEO, NSDC said, “Vocational training in technical sectors has a lot of scope and opportunity. Within this, it is important to link skill training with industry requirements which can help us to effectively create a sustainable skill ecosystem in the country. Achieving the overall vision of making India the skilling hub of the world is on track and these state of the art AWSITC will be a key endeavor for this. It is our duty towards the youth to provide them with the best training infrastructure and modules which will take them closer to realising their dreams.”

After the remarkable performance at WorldSkills Kazan, 2019, MESC is geared up to mark its best performance at WorldSkills Shanghai 2021 with the help of 14 AWSITC with the purpose to train and groom the future WorldSkills Competition champions with the help of industry engagement and participation in live projects. AWSITC will also be the stage for Faculty and Student Exchange Programs ensuring global standards and cater to the evolving manpower demand from the Industry.

The certification courses of 9 months to 36 months duration on graphic design technology, 3D Digital Game and Print Media technology will be offered at the centres. Striving to achieve Hon’ble Prime Minister’s vision of Skill India across the nation, AWSITC shall also function as a platform for all states to leverage and be benefited in terms of training the candidates who will be identified at state/regional or different levels of progression.

STL Unveils Stellar Fibre, Industry's First Universal Fibre, at IMC 2019

NSE, a global data networks innovator, launched Stellar Fibre at India Mobile Congress (IMC) 2019, in the presence of Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister of IT and Communications. Stellar Fibre is a path-breaking solution that will power the next-gen ultra-high definition future. The leading edge innovation from STL’s optical design solutions guarantees best-in-class data transfer, negligible data loss even with high fibre bends, and compatibility with all fibres in use today.

Stellar Fibre is one of a kind in the current industry to have a bend insensitive (ITU-T G.657.A2) fibre design that has a mode field diameter (MFD) of the size of a legacy ITU-T G.652.D fibre. This feature enables service compatibility with existing networks which are provisioned with the legacy fibre, while bringing in the next-gen advantages of macro bend insensitivity. This makes Stellar Fibre an ideal choice for an existing network’s capacity enhancement or new network provisioning for Metro and Long Haul or Fibre to the X (FTTx) application.

Commenting on the launch, Ankit Agarwal, CEO-Connective Solutions, STL said, “We believe Stellar Fibre is an ideal product for the network operators of today who endeavour to provide their customers with new-age, enhanced experience. Dense and Deep fibre networks is the need of the hour and we hope Stellar Fibre can work as a cornerstone in making this transformation happen”

Stellar’s unique geometry ensures minimal splice loss and first-time right installation. This makes the fibre to be an installer’s delight. Simulations at STL’s Centre of Excellence suggest 10+ years increase in network lifetime on using the new bend insensitive fibre. It’s resilience to cuts and accidental bends brings down the network operations cost by a significant amount, making it the fibre of choice for network operators world-over.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Limerick Institute of Technology to Offer Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Programme with Lufthansa Technik

Irish based Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) in conjunction with Lufthansa Technik Shannon Limited (LTSL) have launched a dynamic new course in aviation open to students all over the globe. The new Bachelor of Science in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering is a full-time QQI Level 7 accredited course that will run for 28 months.

Expressing her interest in the affiliation, Cliona Campbell – Director of International Affairs, Limerick Institute of Technology said, "Collaborating with Lufthansa Technik Shannon helps us to create an extraordinary teaching programme that will boost a student’s career in aviation." Successful students will not only be awarded with a degree from LIT, they will also have completed an European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Part-66 Category A programme as well as completing 70% of the B1 and 50% of the B2 aircraft maintenance licence modules. “Having heard about the Indian populace, the delegates from LIT look forward to meeting with the Indian students at the Education in Ireland fairs to discuss our new BSc in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering and other courses that LIT has to offer.”

The high calibre training programme is divided into three stages, which will equip students with the skills, expertise and confidence to begin a career in the global aviation industry. Students will gain experience across every area of the aircraft and will experience modules such as, Electric Fundamentals, Inspection Techniques, Basic Aerodynamics, and many more to bolster their knowledge. Students will also have the distinct opportunity to complete On-The-Job training in Lufthansa Technik Shannon, an EASA and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Part 145 facility, which specialise in providing airframe heavy maintenance services to the world’s leading airlines.

David Ward, Business Development Manager for Aviation Training with Lufthansa Technik Shannon says, “We are excited to get the opportunity to visit India with LIT and Education Ireland to promote our new BSc in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering. This unique degree offers students the best possible entry into the world of aircraft maintenance engineering. An academic qualification from LIT and a European Aviation Safety Agency Aircraft Maintenance Engineers Licence. We look forward to meeting everyone and discussing his or her possible future careers in the aviation industry.”

Mr. Barry O'Driscoll - Senior Education Adviser for Education in Ireland mentions, "This is another significant milestone for Education in Ireland as we continue to reach out for quality and excellence in the programmes we offer." On successful completion, graduates will be qualified to apply to the Irish Aviation Authority for a EASA Part-66 Category A Aircraft Maintenance Licence. Requirements for the licence have been carefully integrated into the programme so that students can begin their career immediately. He adds, "The Aircraft Maintenance Programme will open direct employability access for graduate students in the aviation markets."

Graduates from this programme can also find employment as Licenced Aircraft Maintenance Engineers in aircraft base maintenance facilities, Licenced Aircraft Maintenance Engineers in airline line maintenance, Complete B1.1 and or the B2 licence, Tech Services / Continued Airworthiness Management to name a few.

Interested candidates will have the opportunity apply directly to the BSc in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering or learn more about it from both Limerick Institute of Technology and Lufthansa Technik Shannon who will attend the bi-yearly Education in Ireland fairs held in Bangalore, Coimbatore, Chennai, Pune and Mumbai in October 2019.

Fitness Chain - cult - Celebrates 100 Fitness Centres in Namma Bengaluru

Leading health and wellness start-up, celebrates 100 cult fitness studios in Bengaluru, making fitness more accessible to their consumers in the city.

cult operates over 200 centres across Bengaluru, Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune, Chennai, Jaipur , Ahmedabad, Mysore, Kolkata, and Dubai. The phenomenal achievement for the preventive healthcare leader is the result of organic growth through and inorganic growth with the acquisition of Mumbai-based Fitness First chain in late 2018, one of the most prominent developments in the start-up space last year.

Commenting on this, Naresh Krishnaswamy, Growth and Business at, said, “Opening 100 centres in a single city, for any brand is a great achievement .We are proud to have achieved it in a short span of time and in Namma Bengaluru, where our journey started.  We are India’s largest and most loved fitness brand and want to thank the cult family for supporting us in this journey. “

We have over 200 operational centres and by the end of 2020, we aim to have over 500 operational centres. Our focus remains metros, making inroads in non-metro cities as well and our international expansion.” has an active membership count of over 150,000, by making fitness easy for the urban Indians to access a variety of workout formats and achieve their health goals. The fitness chain’s non-equipment, trainer led group workouts span multiple intensity and impact formats, including Strength and Conditioning, Boxing, Yoga, as well as exclusive celebrity curated modules, including Hrithik Roshan’s HRX and Tiger Shroff’s PROWL.’s Do-It-Yourself (DIY) workout videos are also popular on the company’s mobile app, where downloads have crossed two million.

One of the highest funded startups, plans to leverage technology and brick-and-mortar expansion to increase the company’s overall subscriber base.

How AR and VR is Changing the Museum Experience?

Have you ever wanted to explore an ancient pyramid in Egypt, have a conversation about the theory of relativity with Albert Einstein or understand the enormity of a Tyrannosaurus Rex? As augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) become more accessible to the general population, your wish might now be possible. AR and VR exhibits are increasingly becoming a main attraction at major museums and art galleries across the globe. But how is this type of interactive technology being used to increase a museum’s audience engagement and ultimately help children and adults retain valuable information in an educational atmosphere? Many museums are offering innovative and exciting ways for patrons to enjoy exhibits. The use of interactive elements and new technologies in a museum environment is not a new concept. “Museums have historically been a place for physical artifacts,” explains IEEE member Todd Richmond. “Emerging technology has been used over the years – audio recordings with explanations, interactive displays, video pieces. AR/VR will continue this trend, both likely used in slightly different ways.”


While both AR and VR have their benefits, the two technologies offer different types of engagement experiences. It’s important for a museum curator to understand these technologies in order for children and adults to be fully captivated or immersed in the experience. “VR’s strength is embodiment and immersion,” explains Richmond. “So instead of looking at a physical display or video screen that recreates a time, place and/or objects, a user will be able to be inside that time/place.” The benefit of using VR in museums means guests can feel like they’re walking in someone else’s shoes, understand their different viewpoints and engage in those interactions rather than just observe in a traditional setting.

“AR is slightly different in that it can overlay information, people and/or objects on the physical space,” says Richmond. “So, museums and classrooms can be inhabited by a combination of physical spaces/objects and digital representations of information, details or people/objects.” Utilizing AR in museums means that digital experiences can become context-aware based off the user, change for different times of the day, or even adapt to different spaces. Museums often use AR for interactive scavenger hunts that encourage exploration throughout a space.


Once an AR/VR technology is established in a museum, users must be able to easily interact and stay engaged with the curated story line and technology. “Right now, AR/VR is novel, so you can gain attention rather easily,” says Richmond.” That said, once you have someone’s attention, you need to keep it, and to do that the experience needs to be compelling, entertaining and useful. ”But as AR/VR becomes an increasingly popular trend in educational environments such as in museums, Richmond is hopeful the technology will improve to increase engagement and offer an interactive way to learn. “We’re still in the early days of immersive mediums, so the types of experiences that are both engaging and have efficacy are challenging to create,” says Richmond. “But as with any medium, the more we experiment, the better we get.”

Unfolding the Crisis of Residential Project Delays: Is the Problem all Pervasive?


* Delhi-NCR and Mumbai are major contrib utors of delayed projects
* Affordable and mid-income projects do not account for much of the delayed projects except in select cities like Kolkata and Pune

The story of the residential ma rket is uncomfortable when looked at from a buyer’s perspective. Contrary to the already published reports indicating that the real estate sector is struggling with billions of USD worth of delayed residential projects in the top seven cities of Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Chennai, Bengaluru and Kolkata, it is has been observed that the problem lies with only the upper middle income and premium category projects.

JLL Research takes a closer look at the problem of ‘project delays’ and for this purpose, a period of five years from the launch of the project has been considered to estimate the delayed/stalled residential projects. To elaborate, the residential projects laun ched on or before 2014 and still ‘under-construction’ have been referred to as delayed/stalled projects and the total number of flats/apartments in these projects are categorised as delayed/stalled residential units.

Now, let us understand the current market dynamics before painting the entire sector with a single brush.

Mumbai & Delhi-NCR: The two cities account for 84% of the total delays

It is the common perception that the entire residential sector is reeling under the pressure of delayed projects. JLL’s study demystifies this. The aggregate data shows that total number of residential units classified as delayed/stalled in the top seven cites stands at 4.54 lakh. However, as high as 84 per cent of these units are present in two major metro cities: Delhi NCR (62%) and Mumbai (22%). Needless to say, these two cities had always been on the radar of investors due to the promising returns and the scope for expansion that they offered. The percentage share of rest of the cities is in single digit.

Even at the city level, it is important to note that in Delhi, around 3/4th of the residential units are delayed/stalled and one out of every three residential units in Mumbai falls in the same category. For rest of the cities, this proportion is not significant. Hence, the delay in project completion is concentrated in NCR Delhi and Mumbai not a trend across all the top 7 cities of India – a reality that needs to be brought to light!

Where are the funds trapped?

In monetary terms, the delayed/stalled projects stand at a whopping INR 4.62 lakh crore and Delhi NCR and Mumbai again account for nearly 90% of this value. The large proportion of delayed projects being concentrated in these two cities is alarming!

However, as we move forward we will see that the trend of delay varies not only geographically but also across different types of residential projects.

Having said that, the question remains: Is the delay endemic across all categories of residential projects?

JLL data says ’No’.

We classify the houses with prices up to INR 75 lakh as affordable and mid segment category for all cities except Mumbai. Due to the high real estate prices, the threshold of affordable and mid segment in Mumbai is INR 1 crore. While the total value of delayed/stalled projects is INR 4.62 lakh crore, it would be misleading to say that it is across the entire spectrum of housing categories. The reality is not all that grim as the funds are mainly stuck in projects belonging to the upper-mid and premium categories. This is reflected in the average price of residential units across cities. For instance, the average price of delayed residenti al units stands at INR 1.99 crore for Mumbai as compared to INR 95 lakh in Bangalore, INR 94 lakh in Hyderabad and INR 87 lakh in Chennai.

Do We Trust Artificial Intelligence Agents to Mediate Conflict? Not Entirely

We may listen to facts from Siri or Alexa, or directions from Google Maps or Waze, but would we let a virtual agent enabled by artificial intelligence help mediate conflict among team members? A new study says not just yet.

Researchers from the University of Southern California (USC) and the University of Denver created a simulation in which a three-person team was supported by a virtual agent avatar on screen in a mission that was designed to ensure failure and elicit conflict. The study was designed to look at virtual agents as potential mediators to improve team collaboration during conflict mediation.

Confess to them? Yes.  But in the heat of the moment, will we listen to virtual agents?

While some of the researchers ( Gale Lucas and Jonathan Gratch of the USC Viterbi School Engineering and the USC Institute for Creative Technologies who contributed to this study), had previously found that one-on-one human interactions with a virtual agent therapist yielded more confessions, in this study “Conflict Mediation in Human-Machine Teaming: Using a Virtual Agent to Support Mission Planning and Debriefing,” team members were less likely to engage with a male virtual agent named “Chris” when conflict arose.

Participating members of the team did not physically accost the device (as we have seen humans attack robots in viral social media posts), but rather were less engaged and less likely to listen to the virtual agent’s input once failure ensued and conflict arose among team members.

The study was conducted in a military academy environment in which 27 scenarios were engineered to test how the team that included a virtual agent would react to failure and the ensuring conflict. The virtual agent was not ignored by any means. The study found that the teams did respond socially to the virtual agent during the planning of the mission they were assigned (nodding, smiling and recognizing the virtual agent ‘s input by thanking it) but the longer the exercise progressed, their engagement with the virtual agent decreased. The participants did not entirely blame the virtual agent for their failure.

“Team cohesion when accomplishing complex tasks together is a highly complex and important factor,” says lead author, Kerstin Haring, an assistant professor of computer science at the University of Denver.

“Our results show that virtual agents and potentially social robots might be a good conflict mediator in all kinds of teams. It will be very interesting to find out the interventions and social responses to ultimately seamlessly integrate virtual agents in human teams to make them perform better.”

Study co-author, Gale Lucas, Research Assistant Professor of Computer Science at USC, and a researcher at the Institute for Creative Technologies, adds that some feedback from study participants indicates that they perceived virtual agents to be neutral and unbiased. She would like to continue the work to see if virtual agents can be applied “to help us make better decisions” and press “what it takes to have us trust virtual agents.”

While this study was conducted in a military academy with particular structures, the researchers are hoping to develop this project to improve team processes in all sorts of work environments.

“Conflict Mediation in Human-Machine Teaming: Using a Virtual Agent to Support Mission Planning and Debriefing” by Kerstin S. Haring, Jessica Tobias, Justin Waligora, Elizabeth Phillips, Nathan L. Tenhundfeld, Gale Lucas, Jonathan Gratch, Ewart J. de Visser, and Chad C. Tossell was presented at The 28th IEEE International Conference on Robot & Human Interactive Communication on October 15 in New Delhi, India.

Online Threats Multiply During the Festive Season. Here’s How to Stay Safe: Kaspersky

Globally, festivals tend to be notorious for a spike in nefarious online activities. Cyber criminals may take the opportunity to lure unsuspecting users through inviting offers and swipe them clean of their money. With Diwali approaching, every Internet user is a potential victim of cyberthreats like phishing scams which may also include financial phishing emails which are used by cybercriminals who are out looking for financial information and account details – and ultimately money – they are increasingly adept at hiding in the noise, targeting their attacks and exploiting human emotions, such as fear and desire. Other potential threats include password theft, bank credentials theft, spyware, etc.

Brands selling an array of products – from jewellery and clothing to electronics and even holiday packages – tend to register a significant percent of their annual sales during Diwali. Users are on a buying spree and in a mood to celebrate, making it way easier to lead them on. Hackers, phishers and malware spreaders thrive in this environment and use legitimate-looking messages to bait users.

Global cyber security provider Kaspersky makes it extremely simple for users to stay safe in this very hazardous digital eco-system by making its bestselling security products even more rewarding. From October 1 – November 15 2019.

Kaspersky offers giveaway schemes on its Kaspersky Internet Security (KIS) for Mac & PC and Kaspersky Total Security (KTS) products. For each purchase of KIS, the buyer gets an assured movie voucher worth INR 250 and for KTS, the voucher value is INR 500.

Apart from this, there will be attractive weekly rewards, and 2 Mega Award winners will bag an astounding 3 Nights/4 Days trip to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, inclusive of roundtrip airfare and accommodation (T&C applied)

Said Mr. Purshottam Bhatia, Digital Sales Manager – Kaspersky, “Kaspersky always puts the customer at the heart of every decision. We realize that the need for digital vigilance is at its highest during Diwali, so we wanted to make it more attractive and fulfilling for the consumers to get our KIS and KTS packs. We hope that every user of the Internet makes the most of this offer. Each page you visit, including your email, is a potential threat. We wish all our consumers a very Happy and Safe Digital Diwali!”

Mr. Shivshankar Kharade, Tangible Sales Manager, Kaspersky (South Asia): “We would like to wish all our consumers Best Wishes for this Festive Season. We hope and pray that this festive season brings you great joy and safety just like Kaspersky ensures your cybersecurity with our product range and amazing offers for all our consumers.”

Being cyber-safe has never been simpler, or more rewarding. Make sure to get yourself Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac & PC (KIS) and Kaspersky Total Security (KTS) for your devices at work and home. Gift yourself and your loved ones a gift that keeps giving all year long. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to keep your fingers crossed. You may just win attractive modern gadgets or even be on that plane to Dubai!

Monday, October 14, 2019

Seeing Plastic Waste as a Resource: Covestro Plans to Promote Circular Economy

With a long-term program, Covestro plans to place a strong focus on the circular economy and to be a creative force for the entire plastics industry. In particular, the company aims to use raw materials from sustainable sources such as waste, plants and CO2 as much as possible in production. The aim is to achieve the greatest possible departure from fossil resources such as crude oil. Above all, used plastics must be recycled systematically and to the greatest possible extent. Covestro intends to develop new technologies exactly for this purpose. Overall, the company wants to shape the transition from a disposable economy to a circular economy with as many partners as possible and expects this to open up entirely new business opportunities.

“The great challenges of our time, such as climate change and the increasing consumption of resources by the growing world population, make truly sustainable ways of living and economies an indispensable necessity. The linear patterns in consumption and production based on one-time use have become obsolete – we must rather strengthen the idea of recycling and consistently align our actions accordingly, ” stresses Covestro CEO Dr. Markus Steilemann.

According to Steilemann, the plastics industry in particular can and must drive the change to achieve a circular economy. “Our company wants to be a pioneer in this process – for the benefit of the environment and society, but of course also for the benefit of our customers, who want to join us on our path to the circular economy.”

Moving carbon in circles

In order to promote the circular economy, Covestro has taken a first step in establishing a global strategic program to establish circularity throughout all areas of the company. It will then be backed by concrete and measurable objectives. The materials manufacturer has already taken several steps in this direction. For instance, it has recently been using alternative raw materials instead of crude oil to move the important element carbon virtually in a circle. Especially when it comes to using CO2 as a new raw material, Covestro sees itself as a pioneer and, with its innovative technology, is now in the grand finale of the prestigious German President’s Award.

However, the greatest potential for closing cycles is likely to lie in the recycling of plastic waste. In order to be able to make greater use of it than before, waste disposal systems must be considerably improved and redesigned. Covestro wants to contribute to this above all by developing new recycling technologies. The aim must be to use the most energy-efficient methods possible to convert used plastics back into their molecules. In a joint project, for example, the company is conducting concrete research into the reuse of soft polyurethane foam, which is used to make mattresses.

On top of this, Covestro intends to increasingly design plastics from the outset so that they can be effectively recycled. At the same time, plastic products must last as long as possible and be used to avoid waste.

Plastics as problem solvers

"Society, but also industry, must produce less waste. Above all, waste has to be disposed of systematically and must no longer end up uncontrolled in the environment," says CEO Steilemann. "Plastic waste in our oceans is essentially the result of inadequate waste management. Plastic in itself is not the problem and should not be prohibited. On the contrary, high-quality plastics are a problem solver and are urgently needed – for renewable energies, new forms of mobility and sustainable construction, for instance."

In order to stop the flow of plastic waste into the bodies of water, Covestro is also involved in the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, a worldwide company network that has been active since early 2019. In the new Circular Plastics Alliance, the company is also working with numerous other businesses and organizations to promote the recycling of plastics in Europe.

Overall, Covestro wants to cooperate with as many players as possible in all areas of the value chain in order to find the best solutions for the circular economy. The company assumes that a recycling-oriented economy will also lead to new business opportunities. New value creation paths and new business relationships beyond the existing B2B business are potential opportunities.

At the world's largest plastics trade fair, K 2019 in Düsseldorf, Covestro will be presenting many prime examples of products and technologies that can help close material cycles in various sectors. Together with its partners, Covestro has for example developed a concept for manufacturing new electronic components from used polycarbonate. Covestro will also be hosting a special theme day at its booth on October 23 dedicated to the topic of the circular economy.

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