Saturday, November 23, 2019

Brand Torque Collaborates with Grant Thornton in India to Launch AISL

A Unique forum where Investors, Real Estate Developers & Art Curators come together, exchange thoughts, and understand new unique opportunities from a global landscape.  AISL, 2019 is conceptualized and executed by Brand Torque LLP, a firm that aggregates content, understanding the stakeholder requirements, and need to support and also consults and executes transactions to enhance ROI’s ( Return on Investments ). Brand Torque LLP would launch this initiative, in association with their knowledge partner Grant Thornton in India. Through this forum, they intend to open up new opportunities for existing & future investors, in the  Alternate Space  Like Real Estate & Art, and assist them to create a  fresh new perspective, let down their guards, and make informed and bold investment decisions. Many renowned dignitaries would be attending the event. Few of the speakers at the event will be Mr. Vikash Mittersain, Founder & President (India Business Group Chamber of Commerce and  Chairman & Managing Director &  Nazara Technologies Ltd) Mr.Khushroo Panthaky( Director - Grant Thornton Advisory Private Limited), who also would be moderating the Panel Discussions and  Mr. Rishiraj Sethi( Director- Aura Art Development Pvt Ltd).

The Real estate investments in traditional real assets like residential and commercial properties, have been shrinking and has seen a downward trend in recent times, for different macro and micro reasons. The new - age investor is looking beyond traditional means of investing. Alternate investments generally offer opportunities, to diversify and explore newer avenues of investment. Over time, a well-planned, diversified, portfolio could help them minimize their overall risks, and increase long-term ROI (Return on Investments). Alternatively, they also generate high- delta for investments, with a defined exit mechanism.

Alternate investments in Real Estate Space today, are sought after, with new-age products like managed Student and Professional accommodation, Pre-leased Commercial Assets, investments in the Co-living and Co-working spaces, Warehousing and Cold-Storages, Data Centres, Senior Housing, etc. Technological disruptions, changing  demographic patterns, changing work culture, psychological change in the way Millennial think has brought about a paradigm shift in the way real estate is consumed today. It will change the way residential real estate is consumed by the “next generation”, says Mr.Swapnil Patil ( Director- Soul Spaces Pvt. Ltd )

Not only the Domestic markets, but International markets also offer a lot of opportunities in space of managed preleased student / professional accommodations in countries like the UK, USA, Australia, and Canada. It can be looked upon as a great way to diversify the real estate portfolio by diversifying across geographical boundaries and mitigating the risk of any particular micro markets. Most of them also seek to peruse their educations in these countries and hence these investments can serve a dual purpose. It can deliver rental yields, till the time the child moves to the country for education, and after he moves and be used by the child for his own consumption. So, real estate now is a lot more today, than just owning traditional real assets.

“With such a paradigm shift in the way Real estate will be consumed in the future, Investors will also have to proactively realign their real estate portfolio’s to be in line with the futuristic demand and start “Thinking out of the Box” and beyond the traditional real estate opportunities, to make relevant investment decisions”, says Ms.Madhushree Dutta (Founder & CEO, Brand Torque LLP)

With our strong expertise in providing professional services to the Real Estate Industry, and the options available today, in the Alternate Investments space, which is of significant interest within the private client practice of ours, we are well placed and privileged to support this event as a “Knowledge Partner”, for the uniqueness and diversity, it brings in, by inseminating knowledge to the investors, who are just not price-conscious, but also product conscious. The discussions will add value by enabling conscious and informed investment decisions says Khushroo B. Panthaky (Director - Grant Thornton Advisory Pvt Ltd).

Likewise, they would introduce Art in a new light here. Investors love art, but have vague know-how on valuations, monetizing the same. Brand Torque will offer expert advice to their investors, though their Art partner “Aura Art”, led by Mr. Rishi Raj Sethi.

The Indian Textile Commissioner Acknowledged the Significance of Techtextil India 2019

An industry growing at a CAGR of 20 percent to reach USD 28.7billion, the technical textile industry is one of the most dynamic sectors in India. Techtextil India 2019, the leading platform to source products and solutions using technical textiles, reflects the progressive industry with the biggest opening received this year. India’s first Hackathon for the industry was concluded successfully. Technical textile has been a promising sector for the Indian industry which is set to play a crucial role in the creation of New India.  The exhibition is an important marketplace to develop new ideas, strengthen existing consumer relations, and build new business relationships.

“It is always good to know about the latest happening and how the industry will develop over the years. Visiting this show fulfilled that, which means great exposure. The show was a good take away for my senior officers too, as it will help us in our work related to the development of this industry. My personal opinion such exhibitions add your knowledge, which improves your functioning” says Shri Moloy Chakraborty

Mr. Vijay Patil, Deputy Collector & General Manager ( Mktg) - MIDC also joined the event as one of the eminent speakers at Techtextil India symposium. “Techtextil is a beneficial platform for organizations like us, who want to promote their investments. Techtextil India is a beneficial platform because you always get quality entrepreneurs who are interested and we also get to know the difficulties they are facing. It is not only about expansion or inviting new industries but understanding the already existing industries as well,” shared Mr. Vijay Patil, General Manager- MIDC.

The start of a New Chapter with a Zippo Click this Indian Winter

Wedding season comes with loads to look forward to. With colorful clothes to countless sweets, there is happiness all around. It is undoubtedly the most special day for the couple and the start of a new chapter in their lives. But what precedes these celebrations is the quest for the perfect gifts – something that the newlyweds would remember you by.

Zippo offers the perfect solution to this predicament with Zippo Windproof Lighters. These elegant lighters with their all metal build and stunning designs are sure to leave the groom in awe. Featuring intricate design details engraved into the high quality metal gives the lighters a premium feel. These lighters come with a lifetime warranty making them a lifelong memento of your love for them.   

Choose from an array of new designs available on the Zippo India website, and in the 28 William Penn stores and 3 shop-in-shop operations across 10 cities.

Zippo: more than a lighter
With over 80 years of history, Zippo has an influential and dedicated fan base. The brand has transcended its functional benefits to become a cultural icon and regularly features in films around the world.

The unique designs, date stamping, affordability and rich history of the Zippo lighters make them a great item to collect, and the vast number of collectors and lovers of Zippo lighters continues to increase daily. In the United States alone it is estimated that there are around 4 million Zippo Windproof Lighter collectors and there are 11 official collectors’ clubs worldwide. The full range of new designs are available on the William Penn Online Shop, and in 28 William Penn stores and 3 shop-in-shop operations across 10 cities.

Zippo Windproof Lighters Model Price

SKU:29060 INR 2,750

Black Ice - Photo Image
SKU:49059 INR 4,000

Candy Apple Red
SKU:21068 INR 3,050

Black Matte - Color Image
SKU:29989 INR 3,000

Anvayaa Kin Care Emphasizes Need of Elder Care During the “5th World Congress on Geriatrics & Gerontology- International Conference”

During the 5th World Congress Geriatrics & Gerontology- International Conference on Healthy Ageing in Changing World, award winning senior care platform Anvayaa Kin care announced a range of AI-based and technology-driven elder care services which Anvayaa provides to over 800+ customers based across Hyderabad, Bangalore, and Chennai.

Emphasising on the need of elder care in India, Mr. Prashanth Reddy, Founder-Director of award winning senior care platform Anvayaa Kin Care highlighted, 98% of urban senior citizens who need care do not prefer to move or live in old age homes and senior living communities, but love to live in their own homes.  In addition to this, the nuclearization of families, career aspirations and other modern day pressures for their kids, the couple end up going to work. This adds to the even more growing gap for providing care to seniors. Hence to bridge this gap and provide healthy and peaceful life, Anvayaa has developed solutions and is providing a range of services: Eldercare. Leisure care, household chores and Payments care.

The 5th World Congress on Healthy Ageing in Changing World – 2019 with the theme "Advancing the Elderly Care Practices for Promoting Healthy Aging “, Concluded here. The event had an overwhelming participation by the world’s leading experts along with more than 800 multidisciplinary scientists, clinicians, students, and Research Scholars, Professor, and public health experts eager to engage about Promoting Healthy Aging. The proceedings and outcomes of the conference were submitted to various Government bodies such as Ministry of Health, Govt. of India, ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) as well as to many national and international research organizations and NGO’s working on Geriatrics which will help them in identifying grey areas of the field and also in accelerating their research in the field of Geriatrics and Gerontology.

About Anvayaa Kin Care: Anvayaa Kin Care is an award-winning one-stop senior care provider founded in 2016 by Mr Prashanth Reddy and his wife Deepika Reddy with a vision to provide personalised tech-enabled senior care.  India's first 360 degree technology enabled personalized senior care platform provides one-stop elder care services like health care assistance, daily care services, leisure care, payment care, emergency care and additional services like visa, passport, ticketing and legal assistance for seniors citizens. Anvayaa Kin care, an App-based service exclusively designed for the Senior Citizens allows one to not only keep a tab on the well-being of their loved ones past their prime, but also help them with essential services. Anvayaa assists with dedicated support staff who can offer round-the-clock service. Customised care plans for Senior Citizens are available on subscription based model. Since the launch in October 2016, Anvayaa has provided elder care support to over 800+ families. 

On World Cashew Day, Emirates Spotlights the Perfect Inflight Snack

The sky is the limit for Indian cashews, and its reach now extends way beyond the country’s shores to over 150 destinations across 85 countries and territories. A success story on World Cashew Day, celebrated every year on 23 November, involves the largest international airline – Emirates – and the largest cashew producer in the world – India. It is also a story about the meticulous efforts of an airline to cater to the preferences and needs of its passengers.

Every year, India exports over 80,000 tonnes of cashew kernels, valued at more than US$900 million. Around 22% of this revenue comes from cashew exports to the UAE, where Emirates is based. In 2017-18, UAE imported 21% of India’s total cashew exports and became the largest importer of the nut.

Emirates uses this popular buttery nut extensively in its international and regionally inspired cuisine, gracing its sumptuous dishes in many avatars - whole, sliced, and as paste. Whether used as a delicious base or as a sizzling garnish, cashews lend its distinctive taste and flavour to Emirates’ dishes from butter chicken, khaju badam diya macher and pongal to shahi paneer, murgh korma and many more. Across the straits, Sri Lankans can enjoy it in a potato and cashew curry and as devilled cashews.

The airline specially prepares masala cashews, Indian style, sourced from Tamil Nadu to get the perfect snack that is neither greasy nor sticky for its First and Business Class passengers. These snacks can be enjoyed by passengers in their spacious, well-appointed seats, drink in hand or working at their laptops, and at the luxurious Onboard Lounge on the A380s.

Every year, Emirates serves around 33 tonnes of masala cashews around its global network, and 125 tonnes mixed nuts of which cashew is a key ingredient, besides almonds, pistachios and macadamia. This is not counting the tonnes of cashews the airline buys to include in its regional and international dishes.

While cashews cross the seven seas mainly by ocean freight, Emirates SkyCargo, the cargo division of the airline, steps in quickly to transport urgent shipments. This year for example, SkyCargo transported more than 50,000kgs of cashews from Kochi to Los Angeles during the months April to October. Indian cashews on Emirates’ global services of 159 destinations has piqued interest, created awareness and more opportunities for Indian farmers and industry. The airline recognises its significant role in connecting communities and fostering trade.

Emirates’ 34 years in India have been defined by progressive investment, partnership and growth. In the 2015 study by The National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER), Emirates’ Indian operations contributed over US$848 million annually to the nation’s GDP, supporting over 86,000 jobs and generating about US$1.7 billion in foreign exchange earnings. The Emirates Group currently employs more than 13,700 Indian nationals globally – constituting 21% of its workforce, most of them in high-skilled employment.

In India, Emirates serves nine cities: Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Thiruvananthapuram, with 170 weekly services. From Dubai, Emirates connects customers to 159 global destinations in 85 countries and territories, spanning six continents. Renowned for providing an exceptional flying experience, Emirates’ customers travelling in all classes can enjoy regionally inspired cuisine, more than 4,500 entertainment channels on ice – the airline’s award-winning inflight entertainment system – and up to 20MB complimentary Wi-Fi to stay connected with friends and family during the flight.

Redefining the Nearby Neighbourhood at the Orion Avenue Mall

Neighbourhood shopping centers are usually small-scale malls serving the needs of the local area. Orion Avenue Mall is one such neighbourhood mall, optimally sized, yet uniquely positioned in its services to deliver the lifestyle aspirations of East Bengaluru’s upmarket neighbourhood.

The mall prides itself on the multi awarded credentials of the Orion Mall at Brigade Gateway that includes being awarded as South India’s best mall. Orion Avenue Mall offers its shoppers an extensive mix of fashion, entertainment and dining options. The mall’s portfolio of brands has been thoughtfully curated to give shoppers the signature Orion experience.

Conceived and developed on the lines of a neighbourhood mall, Orion Avenue Mall promises to redefine the neighbourhood shopping centers in the country. The mall comprises of a good mix of shopping, leisure, F&B (food and beverages) and entertainment outlets. The surrounding areas include Frazer Town, Cox Town, Benson Town, HRBR Layout, Ulsoor, Kammanahalli among others.

Orion Avenue Mall is ideally located on Banaswadi Main Road. This location is comfortably accessible from the busy surrounding areas, as well as from central Bangalore. Before the development of Orion East Mall, there was never a Mall in Banaswadi. This marks an initiation of commercial activity in this area, providing a forum and thereby allowing customers from nearby areas to come and shop peacefully. The surrounding populace consists of a very stark cosmopolitan crowd, comprising army folks, and people from other different cultural backgrounds.

The mall aims to redefine neighbourhood shopping centers in the country by optimizing space planning and design. With a basket of more than 350 brands, Orion Avenue Mall boasts a fine mix of international and Indian brands that serve the aspirational needs of its consumers. The effort of the team at Orion is to ensure that the mall is soon rated as the best neighbourhood shopping center in the country following the Orion Mall at Brigade Gateway.

India’s leading departmental store chains Shopper Stop and Westside are the mall’s premium lifestyle anchors.  The mall consists of an impressive basket of international and Indian brands, including Apple, Jack & Jones, Vero Moda, Hidesign, Body Shop, Sunglass Hut, Levi’s, Puma, Adidas, Sketchers, Pepe, Arrow, US Polo, Soch, Mothercare, Global Desi and many others.

The world’s fourth largest cinema operator, Cinepolis, is present inside, offering their award winning cinema experience over 5 screens that will enthrall the audience. Supported by a rich contemporary design and delivering an international shopping experience, Orion Avenue Mall provides efficient spaces to consumers along with high grade infrastructure.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Now Purchase FASTag at Airtel Payments Bank and Makes Road Travel Friction Less

Airtel Payments Bank offers Rs 50 cashback on purchase of FASTag from Airtel Thanks App. Airtel Thanks customers will soon be able to enjoy exclusive benefit of an additional Rs 50 cashback from the bank.

Airtel Payments Bank, in partnership with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and the Indian Highways Management Company Limited (IHMCL), has made FASTag available across its digital and retail touch points. FASTag enables automatic cashless payments at toll plazas across India, making road travel frictionless and time efficient.

FASTag can be purchased in a matter of few clicks on the Bank section of Airtel Thanks App. Airtel Payments Bank is offering a special benefit of Rs 50 cashback on FASTag purchase made via the app. Airtel Thanks customers will soon be able to enjoy an additional benefit of Rs 50 cashback on the online purchase.

FASTag can also be purchased from select banking points of Airtel Payments Bank. To buy a FASTag customers need to share a copy of the vehicle’s Registration Certificate (RC) and registration number.

FASTag is linked to a registered Airtel Payments Bank account or wallet to enable instant automatic deduction of toll charges. There is no need to recharge FASTag separately and bank/Wallet balance is good enough. FASTag users also get 2.5% cashback from NHAI on all Toll payments done using FASTag

Mr. Ganesh Ananthanarayanan, Chief Operating Officer, Airtel Payments Bank, said, “We are delighted to partner with NPCI to offer FASTag as part of our endeavour to bring a range of popular services to our digital platforms and promote cashless payments. We believe that upcoming use cases from NPCI such as digital parking payments and even challan payments will add to customer convenience and add to the vibrant digital ecosystem that India is building.”

Ms. Praveena Rai, Chief Operating Officer, NPCIsaid, “It is good to witness that Airtel Payments Bank is making FASTag available to vehicle owners for convenient and seamless toll plaza experience. Given the fact that we are just few days away for the mandatory FASTag implementation on 528+ toll plazas, it becomes crucial to create awareness among vehicle owners about its process and advantages. We would like to acknowledge the efforts of Airtel Payments Bank for creating a platform for its customers by giving them a hassle free toll payment experience with FASTag, and also contributing towards digitisation of toll payments.”

Airtel Payments Bank Ltd.

Airtel Payments Bank, launched in January 2017, now boasts of a physical presence in all 29 states of the country through its 500,000+ banking points. Out of these, over 60,000 focus on insurance and pension products in an attempt to reach the underserved. India’s first payments bank, it currently facilitates transactions worth 500 billion annually with a user base of over 40 million customers. In addition to its physical banking points, Airtel payments Bank also offers its banking services through its Android and iOS apps. In line with the Government’s vision of Digital India and Financial Inclusion, Airtel Payments Bank is striving to take digital banking services to the doorstep of every Indian, even in the remotest of rural areas. 

The festive Season Brings Deceptive Cheer for the “Forging and Auto Component Industry”


* The Indian Automobile Manufacturers reported a surge of 5-7% retail sales during this festive season
* However, October 2019 wholesale still shows a decline 7-8% versus October 2018 for passenger vehicles
* 60-65% of the capacity of the forging industry caters to the Auto sector which has witnessed a weakening demand of around 25 to 30% on an average across sectors, with the highest drop being experienced in the offtake by the Commercial Vehicle segment at a level off 15- 18% of last year.             
* If the current scenario persists the industry anticipates further production and job cuts as some OE’s (Original Equipment) have already announced further curtailment of production for November viz October 2019

This Festive season the Indian Automobile Manufacturers have reported a rise of 5-7% sales during Navratri, Dussehra and Dhanteras. The uptick comes after a double-digit drop in sales each month from April to September driven by higher than previous discounts offered by the OE’s (Original Equipment) to enable liquidation of inventory. Thus, the overall Auto- Components and forging industry have not seen an improvement in their order books.

That car sales for top three manufacturers have raised this festive season. In the Navratri, to Dussehra period the country’s largest car manufacturers, Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai, reported 7% and 10% growth respectively. For the same period, Mahindra registered a 100% spike in the sale of utility vehicles on Dhanteras. However, this spike in the sale at the retail/dealer’s level has failed to bring in any cheers for the forging industry, which continues to reel under the auto production cuts and pressure for liquidation of inventory that has built-up due to the changeover to BS-VI norms from 1st April 2020 onwards.

The apex body of the forging industry in India, the Association of Indian Forging Industry (AIFI) expressed concern over the lack of demand with respect to fresh orders from the automotive sector. With the ripple down effect of slumping automobile sales, the forging industry is facing the heat with a sharp decline in demand which has resulted in substantial production cuts.

The Indian Forging Industry primarily caters to the $57 billion Indian Automotive Industry, which accounts for 60-70% of the forging production, with the auto sector witnessing the worst ever slowdown the forging industry has witnessed a corresponding average slowdown to the tune of 25 -30%.

Speaking on the issue Mr. S Muralishankar, President- AIFI said, “The recent slew of festivals saw few car manufacturers reporting a decent increase in sales at the retail level. As a result, we witnessed inventory clearance at the dealer level. The figures during the festive period clearly indicate higher retail sales than the number of wholesales. This increase comes after a drop-in sale for last two quarters, driven by higher discounts offered by the OE’s (Original Equipment) to allow the liquidation of inventories. The production and demand at the manufacturing level haven’t seen any upward movement because of which the forging and auto-component sector continue to reel under the Auto slowdown. Currently, there is a huge inventory build-up due to poor demand and to curb this, many forging units have been making proportionate cuts in terms of working hours and production. If this scenario stretches further, we anticipate more production loss and job cuts.”

The industry is additionally grappling with various other concerns which could have further negative impact besides the fall in demand for forged parts. Some of the major threats looming over the forging industry due to the auto sector slowdown are part obsolescence on account of the looming changeover to BS-VI norms from BS-IV with effect from 1st April 2020, drop in the value of currently non-moving inventory due to downward commodity price corrections, difficulty in meeting repayment requirements of loans and interest liabilities due to the reduction in capacity utilisation.

The auto slowdown figures

The industry produced a total 21.76 lakhs vehicles including Passenger Vehicles, Commercial Vehicles, Three Wheelers, Two Wheelers and Quadricycle in Oct 2019 as against 24.93 lakhs in Oct 2018, registering a de-growth of -12.72 percent over the same period last year.

The Automotive Sector has been hit by several factors like increase in acquisition costs of vehicles due to legislative changes, the impact of which is compounded by the high GST rates, farm distress and liquidity constraints, besides unemployment and underemployment putting pressure on the household disposable income, new BS-VI emission norms, uncertainties regarding regulations and government policy, fluctuating fuel prices and the delay in scrappage policy are some of the key reasons for the slowdown.

Apart from this, the industry is also dealing with many other challenges that seem to hamper the overall growth in the long run. Issues like the rising steel prices and demand-supply gap, high electricity tariff rates in Maharashtra region, rising fuel prices, government’s thrust on electric vehicles and technology up-gradation & modernization.

Strict lending norms - Banks have set up a few measures that reflect their cautious approach to new vehicle loans. Firstly, Banks have limited the funding from the usual practice of financing on-road costs to a vehicle's ex-showroom rate. This has increased the cost of ownership for new car buyers.

MSMEs in trouble - The sector's financial health went from bad to worse. Issues with payments and lack of demand, combined with market issues, threaten MSMEs ' survival in the country. In a recent development, the RBI instructed state-owned banks not to declare stressed assets of MSMEs as non-performing assets (NPAs) until March 31, 2020, as the current norms stipulate that if over 90 days, any default should be listed as NPA. But industry feels declaring NPA after 91 days is not practical as most customers don’t pay to MSMEs on time, causing immense liquidity issues and few smaller associations have highlighted this the RBI requesting seeking an extension up to 180 days.

“We believe that the government needs to take a holistic approach to revive the reeling auto sector and give a necessary push. The industry is hoping for a few immediate steps to be taken by the government like cut in GST rates, reducing the overall cost of ownership and time-bound implementation of scrapping policy amongst others. The revival will play a critical role in strengthening the Forging Industry and shall provide collaborative platforms to address the challenges faced by the industry.” concludes Mr. S Muralishankar

With an annual output of about 30 Lakh MT, the Indian forging industry has about close to 400 forging units, of which 83 percent can broadly be categorized as Tiny and Small Enterprises. While 9 percent are Medium Sized, the remaining being Large Scale.

While SMEs contribute 30 percent of forging production, the Medium and Large-Scale units contribute 70 percent.  With a total production worth INR 45000-50000 crore the forging industry provides direct employment to more than 300,000 people in the country along with an additional 60000 contract labourers.

Accenture Introduces Offering to Help Financial Institutions Combat Financial Crime and Comply with Regulations

Accenture has introduced a compliance-as-a-service offering to help financial institutions, fintech and technology companies cost-effectively combat financial crime and comply with related regulations.

Navigating the regulations that combat financial crime can be very expensive, and financial institutions have incurred hundreds of millions of dollars in penalties for failing to prevent parties from disguising illegally obtained funds as legitimate income. It is estimated that financial services firms globally will spend 4% of total revenues, on average, on compliance-related activities, with that figure expected to rise to 10% by 2021.

Accenture’s compliance-as-a-service (CaaS) offering provides an end-to-end capability that leverages  SynOps — Accenture’s human-machine operating “engine” that synergizes data, applied intelligence, digital technologies and exceptional talent — to help financial institutions manage the scope and complexity of the ever-changing regulatory and compliance environment.

Designed to serve the compliance departments of banks, insurers, capital markets and other organizations, the CaaS offering —which expands Accenture’s managed service capabilities — delivers a variety of comprehensive managed services, including:

Know Your Customer (KYC): Tools and capabilities that help businesses verify the identity of clients and assess their suitability, along with the potential risk of illegal intentions in a business relationship. One large bank using this capability reduced case processing times by 15% and significantly reduced false positives.

Anti-Money Laundering (AML): Intensive measures to enable low- and high-risk customers to comply with AML regulations, including transaction monitoring and alert management.  For example, newly fortified AML controls recently helped a large bank achieve quality ratings greater than 95% and eliminate future quality assurance backlogs.

Compliance and controls testing, combined with governance, analytics and continuous reporting.

Contract lifecycle management, improved by transformational technologies, process and data strategies for London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) contracts.

Privacy data management, to ensure data practices keep pace with changing privacy regulations.

“Today’s compliance officers need to be agile and transform from reactive to strategic in an increasingly complex environment,” said Bob Bradley, who leads the CaaS offering for Accenture Operations.

“Although the cost of compliance continues to rise, compliance budgets remain stagnant. By moving compliance-related functions to a flexible operating model, our comprehensive offering will enable clients to manage risk with efficiency and speed, freeing them up to focus on higher value-added opportunities as part of their journey to intelligent operations.”

Steve Culp, a senior managing director at Accenture and head of the company’s Finance & Risk practice, said, “In addition to facing intense cost-pressure, compliance functions must also find talent with the full array of required skills needed to thrive in this new compliance environment, making technology-centered approaches essential. This new offering helps compliance employees enhance their skillsets, improve their productivity, and contend with emerging challenges such as data privacy.”

Accenture’s CaaS offering was recently recognized as a leader in Everest Group’s “2020 Financial Crime and Compliance Operations PEAK Matrix assessment.”

Fanzart Eagles Now Set to Soar High Among Pro-League Golf Teams

Luxury designer fan brand Fanzart now owns a pro-league golf team, aptly called Fanzart Eagles. With this, Fanzart is backing a great set of sportspersons in the game. India may be a cricket loving nation but, growing silently on the anvil have been several powerhouses in the game of golf that are catapulting the country into the international golfing arena.

Speaking on backing the pro-league golf team, Anil Lala, Founder and Managing Director of Fanzart says, “As a luxury brand, our association with a premium game is a natural step forward. We have some fantastic single handicap players such as Arun Bajaj, Rahul Bhalla and Prahlad Rao, golfers who are held in high esteem in the league, on our team. Just as the mascot of the Eagle that forms the logo our team, we are sure of the soaring success that this league team will achieve going forward”.

Anil Lala goes on to say that it is important that sports forms of every kind have the right kind of backing from strong players across the industry. Backing a pro-league golf team is a way to take the sport to the next big level.

Fanzart Eagles is one of 20 major pro-league teams. Each of these teams have been backed by major corporates and legacy brands based in India.

About Fanzart

Since 2012, Fanzart has risen to prominence as a pioneer and leader in the luxury designer fans segment. With showrooms across the country, Fanzart is a name to reckon with in the luxury interior segment with its niche offerings. In a very short span of time Fanzart has spread its wings to more than 35 cities across India.The products are also shipped internationally and have made a mark for themselves.

AbhiBus to Cater to India’s Eastern Corridor with Bihar State State Road Corporation, India’s fastest growing online marketplace for bus ticketing continued to expand its service offerings with the Bihar State Road Corporation collaboration. Effectively customers now have reliable, convenient, anytime & anywhere access to seek information or book their tickets on BSRTC routes both within Bihar as well those routes that connect Bihar & UP to Delhi NCR region.  The UP+ Bihar route is estimated to cover 300 million commuters every year.

BSRTC and AbhiBus have signed an agreement to roll out the ticketing services to its customers across 108 plus routes that include the most frequented business, work, tourism, pilgrimage and academic destinations. The routes will cover, Delhi, Agra, Lucknow, Kanpur, Allahabad, Ghaziabad, Bodh Gaya, Aurangabad (Bihar), Varanasi, Nawada, Bihar Shariff, Purnia amongst other destinations. Customers can book Sleeper/Non-sleeper, Ac/NonAC, buses as per their requirement.

Commenting on the tie-up, Mr. Rohit Sharma, Chief Operating Office at AbhiBus said, “AbhiBus has made significant investments in technology and processes to ensure reliable delivery of online bus services. Millions of customers continue to repose a very high degree of confidence on the AbhiBus platform for their bus ticketing. Primarily because of the reliability it offers by way of transparency in information and pricing, ease and convenience of booking, expanse of routes and most importantly access to a large customer support team that is available when required to make their travel experience smooth and hassle free. While our tie-up with BSRTC gives us strategic access to these routes, customers using these routes for first time get to access the myriad benefits of choosing AbhiBus and can take advantage of the experience we provide.”

Further enhancing their travel experience, AbhiBus has tie-ups with wallet partners like Amazon Pay, OLA, Paypal to provide customers with the most cost-effective ticketing options. During the offer periods most times customer end up paying only 50-90% of the original ticket cost. AbhiBus customers for these routes will now be introduced to these offer based advantages also for the first time.

AbhiBus continuously focuses on innovation and enhancing customer experience at the same time keeps a very tight vigil on its profitability resulting in not only providing the most reliable services to its customers but at the same time achieving the distinction of being one of the very few companies in e-commerce space that are making profits.

The company is on track to clock Rs. 700 crore GMV this year with a Net Revenue of Rs. 75 crore and a profit of Rs. 10 crores for year ending March 2020. AbhiBus has crossed the milestone of 6 million downloads and has over 4 million active users per month.

Currently with its tie-ups across various state transport corporations including BSRTC, AbhiBus offers its customers access to more than 100,000 routes and has consistently clocked 1 million transactions over the last five months enjoying a significantly high repeat ratio of 70%.

The 6th Season of Imperial Blue Superhit Nights in Association with HERO Announced

Imperial Blue Superhit Nights is proud to present its 6th season - ROCK & LOL, an extensive 11-city tour across India. The tour kicks off in Guwahati on the 24th November 2019. Through this new concept audience would witness true ‘Men Will Be Men’ moments where the energetic live music will be sandwiched between an overdose of comedy making it a perfect one-stop for a memorable night. Superhit Nights has performances by some of the most talented bunch of musicians and comedians on one stage, and with thoughtfully curated integration of both, it’s all set to make the audience Rock ‘n’ LOL.

Season 6 artists, Vishal-Shekhar, Sunil Grover, Jassi Gill, Zubeen Garg, B Praak and KK-Mohan are all set to create a new benchmark in live entertainment. Starting from Guwahati, the tour reaches to Jorhat (30th November’19), Asansol (1st December’19), Dibrugarh (8th December’19), Jaipur (14th December’19), Bangalore (11th January’20), Kolkata (12th January’20), Ambala (19th January’20), Mangalore (1st February’20), Hyderabad (8th February’20), culminating in Vizag (15th February’20).

Announcing the new season, Kartik Mohindra, Chief Marketing Officer, Pernod Ricard India, said, “Imperial Blue Superhit Nights continues to lend experiences where men at the end of the day, relax and immerse themselves in an evening to enjoy their passions with close friends. And this year, the connect with our audience only gets better as Humor and Music are their passion points. With such enthralling entertainers, we are all geared up to make Imperial Blue Superhit Nights much bigger and far more engaging than ever before. “

Previous season of Imperial Blue Super Hit Nights had seen the queen of dancing numbers, Neha Kakkar perform across 7 cities where more than 100,000 audiences attended the concerts of Imperial Blue Super Hit Nights and were left entranced.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

A Study by Signify Reveals Alarming Increase in Eye-Related Ailments Among Indian Children Under 12


* Poor lighting, too much screen time and lack of green vegetables in diet are leading causes of poor eyesight among children
* While 68% of Indian parents claim that their child’s eyesight is a key priority for them, only 46% get their child’s eyes tested regularly
* Doctors advise that consumers should choose light bulbs that are comfortable for their children’s eyes

On the occasion of World Children’s Week, Signify (Euronext: LIGHT), the world leader in lighting (formerly known as Philips Lighting), reveals an alarming increase in eye-related ailments among Indian children under 12 years of age[1]. Young children in India spend close to 14 hours indoors, under artificial light and in front of multiple screens. This growing health concern amongst children is compounded by a lack of concern from their parents, with only 46% of them getting their child’s eyes tested regularly. With more than half their day spent indoors, the quality of lighting becomes an important factor in maintaining eye health.

As per ophthalmologists in India, poor lighting, too much screen time and lack of green vegetables in diet emerged as the leading factors that can negatively impact eyesight in children under 12 years. 58% of ophthalmologists surveyed recommended limiting screen time, as children of this age group are especially vulnerable and increased screen exposure can have a long-term impact on their eyesight. An overwhelming majority of ophthalmologists (90%) agreed that lighting can play an important role in maintaining eye health and that flicker, too much brightness and incorrect positioning of light source can hurt eyes in the long term. This is also substantiated by parents, with 89% of them agreeing that lighting has a direct impact on their child’s ability to concentrate on tasks and 92% of them would be willing to pay more for lighting products if they knew it would improve their child’s overall sense of wellbeing.

Reduction in screen time, adequate sleeping hours and ensuring a protein-rich diet are small steps that parents can take to protect their child’s eyesight. Ophthalmologists also advise choosing the right light for the right task, such as white light for reading and yellow light for relaxing and also ensuring that the light source is positioned correctly, especially while watching TV or reading.

Speaking about the research on the occasion of World Children’s week, Sumit Padmakar Joshi, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Signify Innovations India Limited, said, “The type of lighting we use can have a significant impact on our daily life and children are especially vulnerable as they are now spending close to 14 hours in front of screens. Reports suggest that children with poor eyesight are more likely to suffer from poor academic performance and school absenteeism. Hence it is important that parents choose optimum lighting products for their home, that can reduce glare or flicker which can lead to eye discomfort and headaches. We recently introduced our Philips EyePro LED bulb with interlaced optics. This patented technology, inspired by the pattern of sunflower seeds, naturally diffuses light. This makes it ideal for high concentration tasks such as reading and writing. It can reduce glare by up to 35% and ensures no flicker, making it comfortable for eyes.”

As per the research, Indians families prioritize factors like brightness, brand, efficiency and price of a light bulb above eye comfort, while making purchase decisions. However, ophthalmologists advise that consumers should choose bulbs that are comfortable for their and their children’s eyes, rather than using cheap, unbranded lights that can be harmful for eyes.

Tesco Business Services, One of the Top 20 Most Admired Shared Services Organisations in the World by SSON

Tesco Business Services (TBS), the global services arm for Tesco worldwide has been recognised as one of the top 20 most admired Shared Services Organisations in the world by Shared Services & Outsourcing Network (SSON). The recognition has been given basis SSON’s process-level benchmarking metrics that include attrition, HR and talent, general finance, record-to-report, procure-to-pay, order-to-cash, master data management, payroll, and travel and expense.

Each year, SSON recognises the achievements of Shared Services Centers and service delivery teams that demonstrate exceptional performance and exceed industry standards. Likewise, this year, SSON Analytics released its latest benchmarking study with the top 20 most desired SSONs. The most admired global Shared Services Organisations (SSOs) are identified using a methodology that collates SSON’s cross-channel proprietary data from its global community of 160,000 members and applies a weighting system to the various criteria under consideration.

Recently, SSON has also organised their annual industry awards ceremony ‘Shared Services & Outsourcing Impact Awards’ at the 22nd Asian Shared Services and Outsourcing Week (SSOW), Singapore event which honours and celebrates SSO and service delivery teams who have exceeded industry standards in their SS&O initiatives. As part of the ceremony, Tesco Business Services was honoured with “Business Transformation Impact Award 2019” and “Automation Impact Award 2019” under Gold & Bronze categories respectively in recognition of the company’s strategy, improvement & strategic automation methodology, benefits, and hard improvements that have been made so far through Automation.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Sumit Mitra, CEO – Tesco Business Services (TBS) and Tesco Bengaluru, said, “We are delighted to be recognised by SSON, the world's largest community of shared services, outsourcing and transformation professionals. These honours endorse our vision and affirm our teams’ passion, capabilities and commitment to continually provide a better shopping experience for our customers. TBS operations across Bengaluru, Budapest, Dundee, Welwyn Garden City and Central Europe are integral in solving critical business problems to enhance enterprise-wide operations and enable the smooth running of Tesco. We are now inspired to redouble our efforts to serve our shoppers a little better every day.”

Tesco Business Services, some of the services involved are Financial, Commercial and Payrolls, customer colleague engagement, Property, and many others. The team is committed to serving our shoppers little better every day.

The Shared Services and Outsourcing Network (SSON) is an online source for global business services executives and business leaders who leverage technology and best practices to improve operational efficiency. It is the largest and most established community of shared services and outsourcing professionals in the world. 

Toyota Financial Services India Launches a First-of-its-Kind Fast Track Car Loan Service for Customers


* The new service named Tatkal loan enables customers with a loan approval within thirty minutes of its application
* An Industry first initiative where loan approval is done through an automated system
* Customer bank statement and CIBIL score are considered for loan approval process

Toyota Financial Services India (TFSIN) today, launched a fast track car loan service called ‘Tatkal Loan’ enabling customers to get a loan approval within thirty minutes of its application. Tatkal Loan is an industry first service and offers loan up to 85% of the vehicle’s ex-showroom price. The loan process is completely automated and takes into consideration the customer’s bank statement and CIBIL score for the loan approval process.

The Tatkal Loan service is available for all new and existing Toyota customers who own a house and are purchasing the car for personal usage. It is a hassle-free and simple process wherein the customers need to submit only select documents including: Photo, ID, bank statement and residence ownership proof. This tailor made service is customer friendly and incorporates a tele verification unlike other loan approval processes where customers have to be present in-person for verification. This loan service is available for all Toyota vehicles including: all the Etios series, Glanza, Yaris & Innova.

Commenting on the launch of the Tatkal Loan service, Mr. Tomohei Matsushita, MD & CEO, Toyota Financial Services said, “At Toyota, we firmly believe in the ‘Customer First’ philosophy, always catering to our customers’ expectations and needs, thus providing quick, cost effective, transparent and personalized services. With Tatkal loan service, we aim to make the car buying process simple, accessible and easy for all our customers. Customers can visit any Toyota dealership, choose a vehicle of their choice, submit the required documents and get a loan approved within 30 minutes through this service. Leveraging upon technology, the entire process is automated and includes minimal interface with easy documentation for customers with good credentials. We hope this service will make loan approval process seamless for our valued customers and they would be able to take maximum benefit from it.”

India’s Logistics Space Set to Outperform Global Benchmarks in 2020


* India’s logistics Industry is one of the most widely spread sector with multiple stakeholders
* Country is pre-dominantly dependent on its road network, which has the highest tonne per KM cost. Against this, Rail and Waterways are cheaper modes of transportation
* Creating the effective first and seamless last mile connectivity, availability of land, developing financially sustainable logistics infrastructure and utility, introducing investment friendly policy framework and skill development will make the sector more attractive for private capital for efficient integration of the industry
* JLL Industrial Services launches its Port, Airport and Global Infrastructure (PAGI) Practice

India’s logistics sector, which is one of the most widely spread sectors across the country with multiple stakeholders, with 60% of the transportation happening through a strong road network against the global average of 30%-40%, according to the latest report, “India: Evolution of Integrated Logistics – Aiming Transformation Through PAGI” published by JLL Industrial Services Research today at CILT India Expo 2019.

According to the report, optimized use of roads is possible by building up enhanced hinterland infrastructure and specialized storage space spread over the country. Warehouse, one of the prime elements of the industry, has become one of the most attractive real estate asset segments for domestic and foreign investors. It has witnessed ~38 mn sq.ft. of absorption in 2019. According to the research paper, India is pre-dominantly dependent on roads for connecting production centers to warehouse and consumer.

Central Government’s focus is on developing a comprehensive plan to invest for major infrastructures ports, airports and rail among others with an estimated investment outlay of about INR 100 lakh crore by next five years. The initiatives besides creating platform for the hinterland infrastructure and other components of logistics are gaining immense momentum for the investors.

The report added, with rising complexities, there is a need to further work towards integration to achieve cost efficiencies via specialization and consolidation of storage and modes of transport. The latter is meant for the logistics facilities, private freight terminals, dry ports (ICDs/ CFS), waterways terminals and specialized storage spaces like the cold storage etc. The report also foresees rail linked logistics facilities focusing on multi modal connectivity going to be the major focus on future logistics sector development.

Commenting on status, Yogesh Shevade, Head – Industrial Services, JLL India says, “India’s intermediate logistics frameworks is not a new phenomenon. Over last 10 years, India’s road, rail, port, airport and inland waterway added a new dimension in growth story comprehensively for the Governments. sponsored Bhartmala, Sagarmala initiatives, Jal Marg Vikas Project, Railway station re-development etc. creating huge platform for future expansion of logistics infrastructure. Through the National Logistics Policy, the Central Government is focusing on development of fully integrated logistics network with modern technology and automation.”

“For exploring this sectoral opportunity, JLL Industrial Services is launching Port, Airport and Global Infrastructure (PAGI) Practice. Aligned with its global experience, the practice in India will aim at multi-dimensional service opportunity for our global and domestic clients.” Shevade added.

The report highlights the challenge of creating efficient last mile connectivity, availability of land to develop financially sustainable logistics infrastructure, capacity building for human resource, and investment friendly policy framework for attracting private capital and seamless compliance process for the sector. And it explore solutions for the integration of this complex dynamics of the sector for expanding seamless connectivity to manufacturing centers to consumption destination.

“This optimization is possible by utilization of optimum modal spilt, appropriate positioning of intermediate logistics frameworks and seamless convergence of all stakeholders of the sector and to achieve cost and time efficiency as well as minimization of in-transit losses,” Shevade added.

Heightened Need For Travels & Expense Technology Adoption Amongst Indian Business Travellers

As India continues to take rapid steps towards digitalization, India’s business travelers demonstrate a strong preference for tech-forward travel solutions as well as a clear need for safety tools. SAP SE has announced the launch of a new SAP® Concur® survey that highlighted the preference for an integrated travel solution that could help ensure the safety of Indian business travelers.

Emerging as one of the world’s fastest growing business travel markets, corporate travel in India is propelled by end-to-end technology centric solutions, preferences and mindset. Aimed at understanding the impact of business travel on individuals – how they prioritize safety, comfort and convenience on every trip. The online survey that was conducted amongst 500 Indian business travelers, sheds light on the top concerns among modern business travelers in India. Notable highlights from the survey include:

Opportunities for employers to adopt travel technologies –
* 77% of Indian business travelers agree their employers are behind when it comes to adopting latest technologies to manage business travel
* 67% of Indian business travelers believe in experiencing gap in technology adoption for booking and expense reporting tools
* 66% of Indian business travelers rated that there is a gap in adoption of travel safety tools such as automated safety alerts about their destination

Opportunity to improve productivity, compliance and control over business expenses -
* 32% Indian business travelers rated that their company took 3-5 days to reimburse for a business trip expense
* 56% Indian business travelers believe it’s more likely to have their expenses reimbursed on time than having their plane leave on time.
* 55% Indian business travelers said that they forfeited or lost money on a travel-related business expense because either they didn’t think it was worth reporting or because their company failed to reimburse them.

Travelers do not put safety as a priority despite their experiences with risk, while traveling, scope to adopt travel safety tools -
While 28% say, they prioritize safety first, 29% say, they put business first.
88% have experienced safety concerns while on a business trip in the last 12 months.

* Business travel isn’t getting easier or less stressful
* 36% say that the most stressful part of a business trip is during the trip itself
* 68% say they have changed their travel accommodations owing to safety concerns
* Nearly all Indian business travelers (98%) have shared their location while travelling for business, the most of all markets surveyed (global average: 91%). This includes nearly 3 in 4 (73%) who did so for safety specifically, second only to Mexico (76%) as the most likely to do so (global average: 58%).

Millennial business travelers are more sensitive to current events

In the last 12 months, 52% have reduced travel to a location because of political unrest or health hazards, compared to 43% of Gen Xers and 50% of Boomers
50% millennial business travelers have also selected a flight based on aircraft type, compared to 48% of Gen Xers and 29% of Boomers.

73% Indian business travelers book using online travel agencies or sites and over 45% Indian business travelers rated the ability to book a hotel via a mobile app as the most desired service, closely followed by 41% who rated booking air travel as the most desired.

Female travelers report high levels of harassment - 87% of female Indian business travelers have been harassed on a business trip, especially 62% say they have suffered the indignity of being asked if they were traveling with their husband

Mankiran Chowhan, Managing Director, SAP Concur India said, “I believe there is great potential in the Indian market for the adoption of latest automated travel technologies. Since India is an evolving and fast-growing business travel market, it’s imperative for us to ensure a safe and secure environment for all business travelers. Therefore, at SAP Concur, we are constantly innovating to help organizations streamline and integrate their travel, expense and invoice solutions enabling them to prioritize duty of care.”

“Societal issues and employee experiences are increasingly impacting the way we travel. With these shifts come new expectations from traveling employees that shouldn’t go unnoticed,” said Christopher A. Juneau, Senior Vice President, Global Cloud Strategic Programs, SAP Concur. “While companies continue to try and maximize traveler satisfaction, the reality is that employees are hungry for more empathy, guidance and better technology as they run into both common frustrations and unique individual concerns, leaving room for improvement among organizations of all sizes.”

Attached is the full SAP Concur White Paper Addendum for India report for your reference.

The survey was conducted by Wakefield Research (, a leading independent provider of quantitative, qualitative and hybrid market research, among 7,850 business travelers, defined as those who travel for business three or more times annually from the following markets: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, India, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Malaysia, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States. The survey took place July–August 2019.

NetApp, Google Cloud Advance Strategic Partnership to Drive Innovation in the Cloud

NetApp, the data authority for hybrid cloud, and Google Cloud has announced the general availability of NetApp Cloud Volumes Service, NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP for Google Cloud, and support for Anthos on NetApp HCI to help organizations focus on innovation across any hybrid environments.

As enterprises seek to take advantage of the agility and efficiency benefits of the cloud, they need to know that their data is secure and in the right place, for the right cost, at scale. To achieve these goals, they are building data fabrics that provide maximum flexibility as they move to hybrid multicloud environments. With NetApp and Google Cloud, customers can unlock the power of their data with tightly integrated, enterprise-class data solutions that are optimized and validated for Google Cloud.

“IDC research shows that a growing percentage of enterprise workloads being deployed to cloud environments share a dependence on storage performance, and increasingly prioritize tools that enable governance, automation, and data mobility,” said Deepak Mohan, research director, Cloud Infrastructure Services, IDC. “With NetApp’s enterprise data services running on Google Cloud, organizations can achieve the performance and functionality needed to support the most intensive workloads, and immediately drive innovation across on premises and public cloud environments.”

“We’re delighted to expand our partnership with NetApp to enable hybrid and multicloud deployments for customers and to make NetApp’s solutions generally available now on Google Cloud,” said Kevin Ichhpurani, corporate vice president, Global Ecosystem at Google Cloud. “In addition, customers now have the option to deploy Anthos on NetApp’s validated HCI, providing customers more choice in the on-premises hardware solutions on which they can run Anthos.”

NetApp’s data services and solutions help customers effectively manage their transition from on-premises to hybrid and multicloud environments

“Our mission to help our customers realize the promise of the public cloud and enable them to drive innovation and business outcomes with cloud aligns with the approach Google Cloud is pursuing on premises and off,” said Anthony Lye, senior vice president and general manager, Cloud Data Services, NetApp. “With powerful NetApp enterprise data services and solutions tightly integrated into Google Cloud environments, organizations can achieve advanced data management and unprecedented performance to truly take advantage of Google Cloud’s innovative leadership in application development, analytics, and machine learning.”

Today’s announcements include the following new services and solutions.

NetApp Cloud Volumes Service and Cloud Volumes ONTAP for Google Cloud are now generally available

NetApp Cloud Volumes Service for Google Cloud is a cloud-native, Google Cloud integrated file service with the performance, availability, and security required to efficiently run business-critical applications. Additionally, customers can now confidently run production workloads in Google Cloud. Cloud Volumes Service for Google Cloud is also now available in the United Kingdom region.
Also, now globally generally available, NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP for Google Cloud is the leading data management solution that accelerates the enterprise cloud journey by bringing enhanced data protection, storage efficiencies, and mobility to Google Cloud and hybrid multicloud environments.
“Impact's Partnership Cloud, the leading partnership automation SaaS solution, accelerates enterprise growth by bringing automation to enterprise partnership management," said Roger Kjensurd, chief technical officer, Impact. "Cloud Volumes Service for Google Cloud Platform has enabled us to develop an agile and flexible enterprise-grade platform for our customers with ease and simplicity. In turn, this has allowed us to enable customers to improve the full partnership lifecycle and optimize revenue.”

"We've been searching for a suitable replacement for CephFS and to do away with the headaches of maintaining our own internal Ceph stack,” said Aleem Shah, senior operations engineer, “We tried many alternatives, with NetApp Cloud Volumes Service coming out on top in terms of its ever-expanding feature set, reliability, and pricing. The service support provided by NetApp was unmatched in all categories."

Introducing NetApp HCI for Google Cloud Anthos

NetApp HCI is a scalable, on-premises hybrid cloud infrastructure that transforms private clouds into a deployable region of a multicloud. NetApp HCI is now validated to work with Google Cloud’s Anthos, giving customers the peace of mind of a true enterprise-class platform validated with Anthos to reliably deploy and run their applications.

Key Capabilities

Unprecedented ability to build a hybrid cloud. With NetApp Trident, a fully supported open source project, organizations can orchestrate a complex hybrid cloud environment that ties together Google Cloud, Anthos, and NetApp HCI on the premises.
Increased flexibility. Enterprises can scale on demand  and add compute or capacity as needed to meet business requirements.
Increased choice. Choose from a wider range of leading application platforms, including Anthos, Kubernetes, VMware, and NetApp Kubernetes Service.

India Skills 2020 Opens for Registration, Competition to be Conducted Across 50 Skills

Dr. Mahendra Nath Pandey, Hon’ble Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship announces the opening of online registrations for IndiaSkills 2020, a biennial competition to scout talent from the country, offering them a platform to showcase their skills at national and international competitions. 

IndiaSkills 2020 provides a platform for skilled and talented Indian youngsters to showcase their abilities at regional and national level competitions in over 50 skills. Regional legs of the competitions are organized across four zones, culminating at the national competition in Delhi. Winners of IndiaSkills will then get a chance to represent the country at the WorldSkills International Competition to be held in China in 2021.

Dr. Mahendra Nath Pandey, Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, said, “In line with our commitment to make India the Skill Capital of the World, IndiaSkills aims at helping youth in India leverage the immense opportunities that this platform offers to showcase their talent in the best possible way. IndiaSkills 2018 witnessed incredible success and I am positive, we will witness more participation in IndiaSkills 2020 and will have a power packed team. I wish the candidates all the luck and hope we create more leaders in vocational training.”

Interested candidates can register online- The age limit for the competition is for youth born on or after 1 January 1999. The youth can choose participation in over 50 skill trades such as mechatronics, manufacturing team challenge, aeronautical engineering, cloud computing, cyber security, baking, beauty therapy, hairdressing, carpentry, water technology and IT network cabling among others. Post the skill competitions held at district, state and regional level, IndiaSkills National Competition will be organized in 2020. The competitions will be organized by states and will be supported by National Skill Development Corporation, in partnership Sector Skill Councils, Industry Partners, Corporates and Academic Organizations. Alongside IndiaSkills Competitions, Abilympics, Olympics of Abilities will also be organized, specifically designed for specially-abled individuals to express their unique talents.

The 22 winners of Indiaskills 2018 and their experts had represented the country with their outstanding performance at the WorldSkills International 2019 (WSK), held in Kazan, Russia. India won one gold, one silver, two bronze and 15 Medallions of Excellence at the biggest competition for skills. India ranked 13th among 63 countries that participated at WorldSkills International 2019, marking it to be the best finish for the country in the coveted skill championship. They were felicitated by the honorable minister with certificates and cash prizes for their remarkable performance. 

The last IndiaSkills competition was organized in 2018, wherein 22 states and more than 100 corporates participated, that gave 355 competitors a chance to display their skills across various skill competitions.

Who can apply for IndiaSkills 2020?
1. Interested and eligible candidates must be born on or after 1 January 1999 for all skills apart from mechatronics, manufacturing team challenge, aeronautical engineering, cloud computing, cyber security and water technology, IT network cabling where competitors must be born on or after 1 January 1996.
2. Mobile robotics, cyber security, landscape gardening, concrete construction work, and mechatronics are team skill competitions where a team of 2 individuals is required for the competition.

For more details, visit

Fossil Unveils New Range of Gen5 Smartwatches in Indian Market

Fossil is proud to announce the latest addition to its impressive range of fashion forward wearables: the Gen 5 Fossil Touchscreen Smartwatch.

Featuring the latest designs, new speaker functionality, smart battery modes, and double the storage of the previous generation, Gen 5 strikes the right balance between fashion and technology. Powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 platform, this smartwatch offers its users the latest software – Wear OS by Google. The newly redesigned and revolutionized Gen 5 Smartwatch features tech that is audible and lasts longer while optimizing performance. Owing to its sleek design and updated technology, Fossil’s next generation smartwatch is built to be a best-in-class technology experience for new as well as experienced tech enthusiasts alike.

"There has been focus on the integration of health and wellness with wearable technology for some time now and at Fossil, we see a great opportunity to provide a smartwatch for the design conscious consumer looking for a perfect blend of style and utility. Like the consumer, we are also constantly evolving and as a direct outcome, we bring to you the Gen5, which offers an added speaker functionality along with our first-ever proprietary apps that extend battery life and greater iPhone compatibility. With the resultant improved performance, Gen5 brings forth a user experience like never before,” said Mr Johnson Verghese, Vice President and Managing Director Fossil, India.

The new smartwatch launches with six colorways in stunning combinations of black, smoke, and rose gold. With a 44 mm case size, and endless strap options, Gen 5 provides consumers with additional technology in designs and styles they have come to expect from Fossil. Personalization has never been more accessible – from customizable pushers to watch faces to notifications, allowing users to make the connected experience their own.

This watch retails for INR 22,995 and new features include:

Extended Battery Mode

Fossil Group has developed a proprietary smartwatch experience that offers four battery life pre-sets, putting the user in control and allowing for extended battery life.

This new experience offers an ‘Extended Battery Mode’ where users can extend to multiple days on a single charge while still enjoying essential features like notifications and heart rate. ‘Daily Mode’ allows users to experience most features enabled, such as always-on screen. ‘Custom Mode’ allows users to easily manage battery optimization settings themselves, all in one place, where ‘Time-Only Mode’ gives users additional hours when the watch has a low battery or if they choose to use the smartwatch to only tell time. From the home screen on your watch, swipe down from the top and tap the battery icon to choose the mode that’s right for you.

Swimproof Speaker

Thanks to the inclusion of a swimproof speaker, in addition to the existing microphone, users can enjoy audible functionality, and hear responses from the Google Assistant--when you ask a question or tell it to perform an action, you can hear your Google Assistant speak back to you.

With the addition of Speaker, users have the ability to take calls on their smartwatch. In the past, this is a capability that only Android phone users have enjoyed--until now. At launch, Android users will be able to answer tethered calls, and later this fall, Fossil Group has developed a proprietary app allowing iPhone users to answer tethered calls- making this a first on a Wear OS by Google device.

Functions include:

·       Sound alerts for notifications, alarms, timers, etc.
·       Hear responses from the Google Assistant
·       Google Translate speak out translation
·       Play third party music direct from watch
·       Answer tethered calls directly from watch


Tiles, a new update from Wear OS by Google, provide a quick way to view information at a glance and perform actions. With a swipe left, Tiles adds easy access to quick actions and information that previously were hidden in the app menu. You can check your progress towards your fitness goals, start a workout, know where you need to be next, plan ahead with the latest forecast, check your heart rate, follow the latest breaking headlines, and even quickly set a timer.

Additionally, by doubling the total storage to 8GB, including 1GB RAM, users will have even more space to download apps and media, as well as see an overall performance boost. The integrated sensors have also been given an upgrade to help improve fidelity and optimize power consumption. Features familiar from previous generations include heart rate tracking, untethered GPS, NFC for Google Pay, and Rapid Charging. As with our existing lineup, Gen 5 will come with a series of auto-installed apps: the leading music streaming service, Spotify, peace of mind and safety app, Noonlight, and Nike Run Club.

Cardiogram, a digital companion for your heart health, is the latest app that Fossil will auto-install. Cardiogram visualizes heart rate data into interactive charts that can be tagged with activities from your day, helping you identify what could contribute to spikes and dips in your heart rate. For example, users can monitor how your heart rate changes during a stressful meeting, exercise, or during sleep. Users can also track how health metrics compared to millions of other Cardiogram users for signs of undiagnosed diabetes, sleep apnea, hypertension, and atrial fibrillation.

With this new generation of watch, Fossil showcases a unique take on technology and redefining what it means to bring activity and balance to your lifestyle. The added functions will give users a 360-holistic way to track all parts of their lives, while keeping true to the authentic creative spirit of innovative watch design that Fossil was founded on more than 30 years ago.

Features include:

·       Stainless steel case, topring, and pushers
·       44 mm case size
·       Stunning 1.3’’ touchscreen digital display
·       Swimproof (up to 3 ATM)
·       24+ hours battery life (based on usage) + multiple days in extended battery mode
·       Interchangeable straps and bracelets
·       Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 Platform
·       Sensors: Heart Rate, NFC, GPS, Altimeter, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Ambient  Light, Microphone
·       Powered with Wear OS by Google and compatible with iOS 10+ or Android™ 4.4+ (excluding Go edition)
·       Connect via Bluetooth technology
·       Wireless syncing + magnetic charging

Gen5 smartwatches are available for purchase on, Fossil retail stores & Other Partner Channels across India.

Cyber Risk Increases at All Layers of the Corporate Network as we Enter a New Decade

Trend Micro Incorporated, a global leader in cybersecurity solutions, today announced its 2020 predictions report, which states that organizations will face a growing risk from their cloud and the supply chain. The growing popularity of cloud and DevOps environments will continue to drive business agility while exposing organizations, from enterprises to manufacturers, to third-party risk.

“As we enter a new decade, organizations of all industries and sizes will increasingly rely on third party software, open-source, and modern working practices to drive the digital innovation and growth they crave,” said Nilesh Jain, Vice President, Southeast Asia and India, Trend Micro. “Our threat experts predict that this fast growth and change will bring new risks of supply chain attacks. From the cloud layer all the way down to the home network, IT security leaders will need to reassess their cyber risk and protection strategy in 2020.”

Attackers will increasingly go after corporate data stored in the cloud via code injection attacks such as deserialization bugs, cross-site scripting and SQL injection. They will either target cloud providers directly or compromise third-party libraries to do this.

In fact, the increasing use of third-party code by organizations employing a DevOps culture will increase business risk in 2020 and beyond. Compromised container components and libraries used in serverless and microservices architectures will further broaden the enterprise attack surface, as traditional security practices struggle to keep up.

Managed service providers (MSPs) will be targeted in 2020 as an avenue for compromising multiple organizations via a single target. They will not only be looking to steal valuable corporate and customer data, but also install malware to sabotage smart factories and extort money via ransomware.

The new year will also see a relatively new kind of supply chain risk, as remote workers introduce threats to the corporate network via weak Wi-Fi security. Additionally, vulnerabilities in connected home devices can serve as a point of entry into the corporate network.

Amidst this ever-volatile threat landscape, Trend Micro recommends organizations:

Improve due diligence of cloud providers and MSPs
Conduct regular vulnerability and risk assessments on third parties
Invest in security tools to scan for vulnerabilities and malware in third-party components
Consider Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) tools to help minimize the risk of misconfigurations
Revisit security policies regarding home and remote workers

Stratasys to Add 50 More Customers in Tier 2 Cities in India by 2020

India is a great market for the company and has a formidable market in the areas of automobile, healthcare, education and to maintain leadership position, the company has plans to invest further in the country, said Rajiv Bajaj, Managing Director, India and SEA of Stratasys.

Addressing the media at the 3rd edition of the Stratasys India User Forum in Bengaluru recently Mr Bajaj said that the company plans to add 50 more customers in 2020 and are also seeing an increasing demand for 3D printers and related technologies in Tier 2 cities such as Trivandrum, Trichy and Sonipat. We believe this is a great time to be in the 3D printing industry and look forward to capitalizing these opportunities.

Stratasys, a global leader in 3D printing and additive manufacturing, hosted the 3rd edition of the Stratasys India User Forum in Bengaluru recently. The forum which witnessed participation from over 620 industry leaders and end-users, served as a great platform for professionals to exchange insights on the latest 3D printing trends, applications, and best practices across key sectors in India.

Speaking at the Forum, Michael Agam, President South Asia, Stratasys said, "We, at Stratasys, have been leading the 3D printing industry for over three decades. The User Forum brought together several leading brands such as Maruti
Suzuki, Ashok Leyland and Honda in the Indian ecosystem, who have used our products to innovate, take their businesses to new heights and improve the overall customer experience. This reiterates why India is a key market for Stratasys and what are the kind of opportunities we look forward to in 2020."

Eminent customers from the automotive, healthcare and education sectors attended the event and delivered keynotes. Key excerpts from their keynotes below:

  * Padma Shri Ganpat I. Patel, President and Patron-in-Chief - Ganpat University emphasized the need to constantly innovate and announced plans to set up a new '3D Printing Centre of Excellence' at the university in partnership with Stratasys India this year.
  * Mr. Saurabh Singh, Head of Design Studio at Maruti Suzuki India Ltd highlighted how the brand has been able to leverage 3D printing to provide high quality, ergonomically suited and distinctly personalized offerings, thereby enhancing the overall customer experience.
  * Mr. Sundaresan, Vice-President, Electric Vehicles and eMobility Solutions, Ashok Leyland shared his insights on how Stratasys has helped the company save about 14,138 days of hour-utilization and nearly Rs. 74 lakh in manufacturing costs.
  * Mr. Bhushan Chandna, Manager - Business Excellence, Honda Cars spoke about how the brand has spearheaded the use of additive manufacturing in the auto sector, especially with the use of 3D printed jigs and fixtures.
  * Dr. Rahul Jain, Associate Consultant Dept. of Plastic, Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery, Medanta - The Medicity shed light on the impact of 3D printing on facial reconstruction and how the quality of healthcare services offered in India can be enhanced with this technology.

Commenting on the success of the Forum, Mr. Guy Yair, EVP, EMEA & APJ, Stratasys said, "The 3D printing industry is on a growth trajectory and we expect high double-digit growth in India during the next five years, despite the economic slowdown. This will be driven by strong engagements across key industry verticals such as automotive, healthcare, education and aerospace. The Stratasys User Forum offers a great opportunity for innovators and decision makers to put their minds together and I am happy to note that we continue to witness higher participation with each passing year."

Addressing the media during roundtable on the sidelines of the event, Rajiv Bajaj, Managing Director Stratasys India & SEA said, "According to sources, the Indian 3D Printer Market is projected to record $79 Million by 2021. This growth is anticipated to be driven primarily by the adoption of industrial 3D Printing in Prototyping, Manufacturing (Jigs & Fixtures) and End Use Parts."

Other senior leaders including Mr. Fred Fischer, Director of Products, Applications and Technology, Stratasys and Mr. Ben Klein, Medical Models Product Manager, Stratasys also delivered keynotes at the event. During the discussions at the Forum, the Stratasys leaders shared insights on the company's strategy for 2020 and mentioned how the company sees a $12 billion opportunity in the metal 3D printing industry. It was also mentioned how the company invested about $90 million in research and development in 2018, one of the biggest budgets as per industry norms.

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