Friday, January 3, 2020

Ather Energy Invites Dealers to Set Up Experience Centers Across India

On the heels of signing an MoU with the Tamil Nadu government to build a new 400,000sq ft factory, Ather is moving to the next phase of its growth and scaling up its operations across the country. As a part of its expansion plan, the company is planning to take Ather Space, its flagship experience centre format, across key cities like Hyderabad, Mumbai, New Delhi, Pune, amongst other Tier-1 cities. To fast track this expansion, Ather is inviting dealer partners to set up these experience centres across these cities,

The automaker will design the retail space and experience for its dealer partners, with a focus on its holistic experience-led model. These experience centres will allow prospective consumers to test ride and get hands-on with Ather’s intelligent & connected product portfolio. The company currently operates Ather Space in Bengaluru (Indiranagar) & Chennai (Wallace Garden Street).

The company’s flagship intelligent scooter, Ather 450 has been setting new standards in the EV market and has ardent fans across India waiting to order it in their city.  The company will continue to grow their public charging network, Ather Grid in all metros in the coming months.  Each city will receive fast charging points prior to the delivery of the vehicles.

Quote by Ravneet Phokela, Chief Business Officer: “Intelligent electric vehicles are a new category for which the traditional retail model doesn’t really work. We have spent the last couple of years pioneering a new  model in Chennai and Bengaluru, which is focused on experience. We are now looking for dealers and partners to expand across the country in a short period of time. It is an opportunity for us and the partners to prepare for the next phase of the automobile revolution and invest in skill development and employment for a new breed of retail professionals.”

Ather is accepting inquiries for partnership on the email id

Tech Startup Happient Launches OHIEO to Revolutionize Food Catering Services in Bengaluru

Catering services in Bengaluru are as cosmopolitan as the city. When researching for the best caterers in the city, customers are often overwhelmed by the sheer number of service providers. Scouring through several recommendations, menus, price packages and more can be quite a daunting task.

Leveraging technology to address this issue of finding the best Bengaluru-based catering services, 2 techies Amit Vyas and Prasad N T, Co-Founders of Happient Info Services Private Limited, have launched OHIEO, an online platform that brings together over 300 kitchens from across the city.

Potential customers can peruse pre-set menus for a range of events, with group sizes going from as low as 25 to as many as 6000, in a range of Indian and international cuisines. Customers can select and customize a menu, compare services and prices, make a booking and pay on the site as well. A single point of contact assigned to each event/order ensures the human touch to this service. This person looks after all the minute details, from table settings to delivery to set-up, serving of the food and anything the client may need. 

Addressing Gaps in the Market

Explaining the gaps that OHIEO plans to address with its launch, Prasad, N T, Co-Founder, OHIEO says, “The catering sector in Bengaluru currently stands at around $12.8 million each month. Traditionally, the food market has been referral-based, but in the last decade with the emergence of online aggregators and delivery services, there has been an increase in demand for online options in catering for personal events and corporate food catering services. There is even a growing demand for catering for smaller groups of 25-50 people.”

OHIEO aims to address the lacuna. Their services can be used by a cross-section of people for a range of events, going from corporates looking for snacks, daily lunches, dinners as well as boxed meals to corporate events and parties. OHIEO’s services are dynamic and are geared towards handling personal events like weddings, house-warming functions, birthday parties and other social events.

“We decided to have a Christmas party for our staff at the office at the last minute. We could not find a caterer willing to take the job on. OHIEO came in at the right time and did a brilliant job of our event. They were courteous and on-point with all their interactions with us. They took care of all the minute details, from the menu to the service, the delivery, and the lovely thematic presentation. The service staff were efficient, well turned out and interacted well with our staff. We are sure to use their services again and will recommend them as well,” says Maheshwari Verma from Bonito Designs.

Leveraging the Power of Technology

Speaking on the OHIEO experience, Amit Vyas, Co-Founder of OHIEO says, “For the internet savvy consumer of today, one looks for every service required online. Our use of technology has been to give customers a refined experience. We understand the premium on time and ensure that customers have a worry-free experience. Features such as being able to browse and compare catering menus online, pay using flexible options, placing an order online, receiving regular updates as well as tracking the order helps customers’ focus on their events better. The single point of contact to help customize menus and ensure all minor details are taken care of, ensures our service is outstanding”.

Subhash from Quantum Power Systems, Bengaluru can attest to that. He speaks of an online order placed with OHIEO for New Year 2020 celebrations. “It was on short notice and we were sceptical about it being done. The OHIEO team was extremely cooperative and ensured that we got just what we wanted. The food arrived on time, was well set up and presented. The staff were courteous all through the service and ensured every member of our office was well taken care of. It was a party that will be well remembered by our employees and our senior management leadership appreciated the food”.

The founders of OHIEO believe that each of the orders received and executed on the platform are profitable, due to the order size, niche market and the kitchens associated with the business.

“We have no competition in some of our markets, as we are a service that provides solutions to hitherto unaddressed problems. Kitchens associated with OHIEO have the benefit of a platform reaching out to a larger audience. In turn, we pass on the benefits of competitive pricing to the customer. They are also assured of finding a menu in premium cuisines of their choice and the ability customize orders to their specific preferences,” explains Amit

“In a competitive market like Bengaluru, it is difficult for a new catering business to be able to break in and be profitable. Getting onto the OHIEO platform and being associated with them exclusively as a kitchen a few months ago, changed that for us a business. From being restricted to small catering projects, we now cater to large corporates and are constantly finding newer clients to work with”, explains Venkatappa Nayak of Chamundeshwari Kitchens in Bengaluru.

OHIEO currently operates in Bengaluru with plans to launch in Hyderabad by the end of 2020 and plans to be operational in all metros by 2022. OHIEO is also offering franchise opportunities to cloud kitchens that would like to associate with them.

US Johnson & Johnson Cleared in Baby Powder-Cancer Litigation Case

With reference to the US litigation case (Forrest) in St. Louis, Missouri, resulted in a verdict for Johnson & Johnson, finding Johnson’s Baby Powder was not the cause of the plaintiff’s disease.

“This is the fourth consecutive verdict in favor of Johnson & Johnson in these cases and the eighth defense verdict this year. The jury carefully considered the decades of independent clinical evidence, which show Johnson’s Baby Powder is safe, does not contain asbestos, and does not cause cancer. We know that anyone suffering from cancer is searching for answers, which is why the science and facts on this topic are so important ”, a Johnson & Johnson company spokesperson said in a statement.

QuEST Global to Demonstrate Enhanced Driver and Vehicle Safety Using Deep Learning at CES 2020

QuEST Global, a global product engineering and lifecycle services company, will demonstrate Deep Learning driven Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) at CES (Consumer Electronic Show) 2020. The deep learning models developed by QuEST Global aim to enhance ADAS by improving the accuracy in detection of traffic signs, pedestrians and traffic. This enhanced ADAS will be demonstrated at Booth # 1909, Westgate Pavilion.

The ADAS demo has been developed by training deep learning models using synthetic data representing various environmental conditions and terrains. Such deep learning driven ADAS are 25% more accurate than the ones developed using classic image processing techniques. By leveraging its strong capabilities in high-performance vision processing and deep learning, the company has further optimized the performance of the applications to improve interpretation of both simulated and real time data.

Commenting on this new innovation, Berthold Puchta, Global Industry Leader – Transportation, QuEST Global said, “The automotive industry is rapidly adopting autonomous, connected, electric and shared technologies. However, lack of variety of data is one of the major hurdles faced by the industry.  QuEST Global is committed to solving such industry challenges for our global automotive customers by enabling future of mobility. This deep learning model developed by our engineers has shown higher accuracy rates and it can continuously evolve while training of the deep learning models continue.”

As a trusted thinking partner, QuEST Global has been working with the world’s most recognized companies in automotive industry for the last two decades. The company is committed to enable its customers to Create The Frontier by advancing the ways people drive, travel and interact with each other. Being at the forefront of the convergence of Mechanical, Electronics, Software and Digital Engineering Innovations, the company is helping OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers to address the growing demand of providing connected engineering experience to the end customers. By developing comprehensive engineering services and solutions, QuEST Global has been partnering with its automotive customers for overcoming the new-age engineering challenges and make products safer and more reliable in today’s digital age.

Tata Sky Kannada Cinema to Woo Sandalwood Lovers Across India

Tata Sky, India’s leading content distribution platform, has yet again expanded its portfolio of regional language services and is all set to strengthen its reach amongst its core regional audience in the south market. Partnering with COLORS Kannada, one of the leading movie content providers, Tata Sky Kannada Cinema has been launched with a ready line-up of 150+ films showcasing the biggest blockbusters and leading actors of Sandalwood.

The new service will bring an uninterrupted entertainment experience for viewers with access to ad-free, high quality blockbuster movies including the latest and classic films. The service also offers a world television premiere every month. Some of the upcoming movie premieres include Kirik Party, K.G.F., Bell Bottom, Hottegagi genu battegagi, Ayogya and many more. This makes the 24x7 Tata Sky Kannada Cinema service the best Kannada ad-free cinema experience on a DTH platform with 12 movie premiers a year before television.

Commenting on the launch, Anurag Kumar, Chief Communications Officer, Tata Sky said, “Kannada film industry has seen a continued growth in viewership owing to high quality movie releases in recent years. With the launch of Tata Sky Kannada Cinema in partnership with COLORS Kannada, we aim to deliver the best curated content to Sandalwood lovers across the country, enabling a great regional cinema experience.”

Added Parameshwar Gundkal, Business Head- Kannada Entertainment Cluster, Viacom18 said, “With a contribution of 13% of the total Kannada television viewership, Movies is an important genre in entertainment in Karnataka. We are witnessing a sharp growth in regional film consumption across screens. With this partnership, we aim at giving viewers more of what they want via a well curated line-up of uninterrupted blockbuster movies across genres, that will keep the Kannada movie buffs glued to their television screens.”

Tata Sky Kannada Cinema offers 150+ movies across action, drama, romance, comedy and thriller including both new blockbuster movies and classics such as – KGF, Kirik Party, Ayoga, Karva, Zoom, Chandu, Vaali, Yeradu Nakshatragalu, Habba, Yudda Kanda etc featuring the biggest stars of the Kannada film industry including Sudeep Kichcha, Yash, Rakshit Shetty, Ganesh, Ninasam Sathish, Rishab Shetty, Rishi, Ravichandran, Vishnuvardhan, Ambarish, Rajkumar among others.

Commenting on the launch, Kannada Cinema’s leading celebrity and Face of the Service, Puneeth Rajkumar, said, “We’re witnessing the renaissance of Kannada Cinema through original storylines celebrating the rich Kannada culture. It makes me proud to see this phase in the industry that’s encouraging young talent and creativity. To have a platform like Tata Sky Kannada Cinema at this time that curates all new and old films and takes it to Kannada speaking audience across the country is an added boost for the film industry.”

Tata Sky Kannada Cinema strengthens the bouquet of regional cinema services for Tata Sky by offering unlimited and high-quality entertainment, catering to the growing popularity and demand for regional movie content. As a part of this endeavour, the regional bouquet already includes 7 services - Tata Sky Gujarati Cinema, Tata Sky Telugu Cinema, Tata Sky Tamil Cinema, Tata Sky Bhojpuri Sanima, Tata Sky Bangla Cinema, Tata Sky Punjab De Rang and Tata Sky Marathi Cinema.

Tata Sky Kannada Cinema is now available to all subscribers on #1602 (SD) at a minimal cost of Rs.45/month. The service is also available on the Tata Sky Mobile App.

Compliance is the Key – How Corporate Service Fleet Providers not Compromising on Consumer Safety

With the recently introduced Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019, aggregators are now being a part of regulatory control. As India struggles to keep regulatory checks on the ride-sharing economy, every month there are reports of various compliance issues emerging in the app-based ride-sharing services. Increasing reports of non-compliant cabs are posing a great threat to everyday public safety and something must be done about it now.

It was believed that tech-enabled, app-based ride aggregators, will be able to solve everyday commute by ensuring 100% compliance and provide utmost safety to the passengers. But as per a recent survey by Localcircles, thousands of consumers have raised concerns about surge pricing, drivers cancelling rides, as well as increased the number of compliance and safety concerns. The situation demands a sustainable solution that is able to meet the rising demand, at the same time adhering to compliance and other safety parameters.

However corporate fleet service providers like Routematic has solved this problem by automating the statutory compliance check on PUC, road tax, permits, etc. Routematic’s automated platform generates reminders about the expiry of important compliance documents. Any vehicle with an expired compliance document is automatically deactivated and is not assigned any trip thereby ensuring 100% compliance and safety of passengers. Routematic believes in developing technology that prioritizes public safety along with achieving the business goals of its customers.

 Should you be interested in exploring this further, we can connect you to Surajit Das, Co-Founder & CEO Routematic who can throw more light on the topic.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

STL Bags Rs 1800 Crore T-Fiber Project to Deliver Digital Infrastructure to 6 Million Rural Citizens of Telangana

STL, a global data networks innovator, was recently awarded the mandate to create a high speed rural broadband network from Telangana Fiber Grid Corporation Ltd. (T-Fiber). Supporting the vision to establish a ‘Digital Telangana’, T-Fiber and STL will work together for enabling affordable and high-speed broadband connectivity to 6 million rural citizens in the state of Telangana.

Government of Telangana is taking big leaps to build and leverage the broadband infrastructure under BharatNet, which aims to provide broadband connectivity to all 250,000 gram panchayats in the country. As a state-led program, Telangana Government has initiated T-Fiber to provide broadband connectivity up to the household level across the state by rolling-out optical fiber and network infrastructure.

STL was awarded a work order for about Rs.1100 crore for Phase- 1 of the project. The total project value is worth about Rs.1800 crore for which STL has received the letter of intent.

This turnkey project entails designing and building an end-to-end rural broadband network across 11 districts, 3000 gram panchayats of Telangana and managing the network for an additional seven years. The project has a significant O&M revenue stream, close to 30% of the overall Project value.

The scope includes rolling out end-to-end network connectivity by deploying 64,000 kms of OFC (Optical Fibre Cable) Network, as well as deploying IP MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching), a routing technique and GPON (Gigabit Passive Optical Network), a point to multipoint access to create seamless network connectivity. STL will leverage its latest network solutions such as LEAD360, iCORE and FTTx Mantra to deliver this project.

Commenting on the announcement, KS Rao, CEO, Network Software and Services, STL, said, “We are excited to have been awarded the T-Fiber project. At STL, we are constantly working to innovate and create a smart digital ecosystem with our projects ranging from tower, home and enterprise connectivity to rural broadband and smart cities. The uniqueness of T-Fiber project is that it will connect every household across the rural part of the state through optical fiber and provide them high speed internet connectivity. Internet connectivity will enable economic growth and social well-being of rural citizens, thereby make this project a shining example for rural development. STL is proud to be associated with T-Fiber.”

“We are happy to get STL on board and work together towards achieving Telangana state’s goals of enabling high quality digital reach to the remotest of households within the state and making them future ready, as part of the broader ‘BharatNet’ project, said Sujai Karampuri, MD, T-Fiber & Director, ITE&C Department, Government of Telangana. “This initiative will work as a digital revolution that would bridge the digital gap between urban and rural India. With T-Fiber project, we aim to provide an infrastructure for affordable and high-speed broadband connectivity and digital services across the state.”

Tata Motors Registered Negative Domestic Sales of 44,254 Units in December 2019

Tata Motors Limited has announced its sales in the domestic & international market, for the month of December 2019, which stood at 46,903 vehicles, compared to 54,439 units during December 2018.

Domestic - Commercial Vehicles:

Mr. Girish Wagh, President, Commercial Vehicles Business Unit, Tata Motors Ltd. said, “Retail was higher than offtake by ~13% in December, with further stock reduction, as we move closer to BSVI transition. Overall sales continued to grow for second month in a row, with Medium and Heavy Commercial vehicle sale being higher than November’19  by 15% after posting a ~23% growth last month. Enquiries continued to increase gradually, with fleet owners realizing the economic benefits of replacement of their older vehicles now.  Increasing enquiries and lower stocks augur well for future volumes and realisation, early indication of which can be seen in December.

Total MHCVs sales in December including MHCV Truck, Buses and International Business stood at 9,657 units compared to 14,374 units last year.

Domestic - Passenger Vehicles:

Mr. Mayank Pareek, President, Passenger Vehicles Business Unit, Tata Motors Ltd. said, “Our focus in December has been to drive retail and minimise the network stock in order to facilitate a smooth transition to BSVI. Our marketing campaigns and attractive consumer schemes resulted in the highest retail sales this fiscal. December retail was 83% higher than the off-take and the dealer network stock has been reduced to lowest ever level. Having almost completed our planned production and despatches of BS IV, we will start moving to BS VI production and despatches from January and step up our volumes in the coming months.

We unveiled our first premium hatchback ‘Altroz’ and Nexon EV and received an overwhelming response. We are gearing up for their market launch now. We are marching into the new year with an exciting product pipeline. We expect a gradual improvement in consumer sentiments and are well positioned to leverage the same.”

JLL Facilitates Piramal Capital & Housing Finance Exit Skylark Developers SPV


* The transaction included sale of a prime commercial land parcel on Richmond Road in Bengaluru’s CBD to SNC Private Limited, a construction sector major in the city
* Bought at an undisclosed amount, SNC plans to develop premium commercial space on the property
* The transaction marks the exit of Piramal’s Indiareit Fund V from its investment in Rida Builders and Promoters – an SPV of Bengaluru based Skylark Developers

JLL India, the country’s largest real estate consultancy and professional services firm, has facilitated the exit of Piramal’s Indiareit Fund V’s investment in an SPV of Skylark Developers, which held the prime commercial land located in the central business district (CBD) on Richmond Road, Bengaluru. The new owner, SNC Private Limited plans to invest over INR 100 crores to develop a world class office space on the land, the release said.

Commenting on the development, Rahul Arora - Managing Director, Bengaluru at JLL said, “The CBD of Bengaluru continues to be highly vibrant in terms of commercial potential. Commercial space absorption in the CBD as well as the broader Bengaluru market has scaled new records in the recent past. There has been a rise in investor interest in acquiring prime commercial land parcels and this development is significant. In line with our core objectives of serving our valued clients, we are pleased to have advised on this asset sale.”

Located in the CBD, the sale of the land on Richmond Road will enable the development of an investment grade commercial project contributing to the restricted supply in the highly sought after office market. The vacancy levels in CBD have remained less than 6% due to which the rentals in CBD have moved up significantly in the last couple of years. Currently rent for grade-A space ranges between INR 150 - 175 per sq ft per month and the land values vary between INR 25,000 - 50,000 per sq ft.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Credberg Sets Up Office in Bangalore to Address Financial Solutions in Real Estate Sector

Within six months of successful launch, Credberg, a solution based investment bank focused on real estate and infrastructure, has expanded their footprint to South India. The firm established by former Brookfield Financial honchos Pawan Swamy and Adil Engineer has set up its Bangalore office to address the growing requirements for finding financial solutions in the real estate sector.

Credberg has been drawing on its expertise in real estate assets and global network to provide corporate finance solutions, asset brokerage and capital market services across all major real estate markets. Credberg has already made a mark in such a short time by addressing the huge potential in the market place for capital solutions as most players focus on just real estate.

Pawan Swamy, Chairman and Jt. Managing Partner, Credberg Advisors said, “Credberg is largely focused on identifying situations, providing executable advice, creating value as well as matching opportunities with the needs. We attribute our growth to our understanding of investment philosophies and to building partnerships with the spotlight on re- ducing conditionality thereby creating solutions.”

Commenting on the launch of Credberg’s Bangalore operations, Pawan Swamy, Chairman and Jt. Managing Partner, Credberg Advisors said, “Basically, Bangalore is the pivot for us to serve the south market. Clearly, we have seen good demand playing out in the last couple of years in Southern India. In terms of the office sector the annual absorption levels in Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai alone now contribute north of 55% of the total national absorption. In the residential space the sales velocity in the mid-market segment is stable inspite of the ongoing liquidity crisis. Also, we are seeing the emergence of alternate asset classes such as student housing, data centers and co-living with high concentration in the southern India belt. If you add to this backdrop, the capital and deal making needed in the market today this is an attractive proposition for us. Also from local and global investors perspective, the quality as well as diversification of real estate that is being built in the south is distinct.”

Additionally, Adil Engineer, Jt. Managing Partner, Credberg Advisors said, “The ease of doing business in Bangalore definitely, is much higher than in any other city in the country. The working environment in Bangalore is far more conducive owing to the professionalism of developers and the efficient way of working. It’s a relatively a stable market and not prone to so much fluctuation and price volatility which makes it more comfortable for lenders to evaluate various kinds of projects here. Hence Bangalore became our obvious choice. Moreover, we are very well connected in this market and will be able to leverage our network.”

Engineer further highlighted about Credberg team, “Our trustworthy and credible team matches its deep-rooted understanding of local real estate with expertise in capital markets, to provide innovative and strategic solutions to meet the precise needs of our clients. We have an unmatched track record of advising on complex situations. I am confident that we will create the right impact in South.”

About Credberg

CREDBERG is a solution focused boutique investment bank that draws on its expertise in Real Assets and its global network to provide corporate finance solutions, asset brokerage and capital market services across all major real estate markets.

CREDBERG’s team of dedicated professionals has the most complete overall experience with regards to understanding real estate transactions whether from the buy side, the sell side or the construction cycle and its management, and therefore, has the capability to think with a client mindset.

Technology Industry Outlook & Views from Indian Industry Leaders During 2020 and Beyond

Here are some of the leaders comments on the 2020 Technology Industry outlook.

Mr. Rakesh Kharwal, Managing Director - India/South Asia & ASEAN, Cyberbit: "A year after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, yet another data leak took place at Facebook this year. About 540 million records of Facebook users were publicly exposed to Amazon's cloud hosting service. To give you a picture, this is about 7% of the global population when a large chunk of it is yet to digitize. The losses due to such cyber crimes are expected to reach $6 trillion by 2021 according to a report by Cybersecurity Ventures. This is when almost 60% of organizations have unfilled cybersecurity positions owing to the skill gap and 77% of leaders believe that an infrastructure breach can take place with far-reaching consequences. The need of the hour is to quickly fill this void by adopting next-generation technologies such as cybersecurity simulation & training platform to equip our nation with the required skillsets and thereby generating over 1 million jobs for the country’s youth. In a nutshell, 2020 could turn out to be a year of unbridled opportunities for India if it is able to successfully align itself in this landscape."

Mr. Piyush Kumar Founder and CEO, Rooter: "2019 was a great year for the Sports industry in India with a busy cricket calendar including the ICC Cricket World Cup in England for ODIs. A massive number of sports fans chose to consume their favorite sports events online, especially on their smartphones. As a result, the Indian smartphone market added nearly 100mn new users taking overall internet user base to 600mn in 2019.  This presented a huge opportunity for all content platforms to engage and onboard new users. As consumption for sporting events online grew around 50% in 2019, OTT platform Hotstar engaged more than 300mn users, whereas Cricbuzz had more than 100mn users consuming its content. Sports Community Platform, Rooter also pivoted from being a gaming and content provider to a content-based community platform in 8 languages in 2019.

We identified our core audience and their needs thereby focusing on content as a core product feature to create the community. We also launched the first-ever Audio/Video user-generated tool in Sports, giving wings to millions of fans to express themselves. The user base of Rooter grew by 350% this year with more engagement and revenue base. 2020 is again lined up with a busy sports calendar starting with IPL, Euro 2020, Olympics and T20 World Cup. We want to grow bigger creating a strong value proposition for sports fans and create our own leadership space in sports content category in India."

Mr. Ashwin Rao, Director, Limelight Networks, India: The global wireless communications industry has begun preparing for the rollout 5G with the promise of offering consumers faster speeds that can potentially change how people and Internet of Things (IoT) enabled devices communicate. According to the State of Digital Lifestyle research report 2019 commissioned by Limelight Networks, expectations that 5G networking will bring faster download speeds are highest are highest in India, with 88.2 percent expecting to see improved performance.

Mr. Eric Zhou, EVP – UNISOC: “Given the recent developments, it is likely that the year ahead will see India making several quantum leaps. To begin with, a large-scale 5G rollout is likely to come to pass in 2020, with chipset manufacturers, smartphone brands, and telecom operators taking a page out of the playbooks of 5G nations such as the China and US. This 5G adoption will also increase the network bandwidth in new-age chipsets, powering a rapid increase in the number of everyday use-cases for these cutting-edge technologies such as AI, machine learning, and edge computing.”

Mr. Aakrit Vaish, CEO, Haptik:   “Conversational AI world is now driven by an entirely new concept of Intelligent Virtual Assistant solutions (IVAs), and 2020 is the year when they finally burst onto the scene. Intelligent Virtual Assistants (IVAs) are getting smarter and their increasing capability of voice assistants is accelerating their adoption in the global business landscape further. While Alexa is reported to have 50,000 skills and is used by 3500+ brands, Google’s voice support today supports more than 30 languages. Globally, IVAs have contributed to increased sales by about 67%, and have initiated 26% of all sales transactions. As per a recent report by Accenture 75%, executives believe they risk going out of business if they don’t scale.

We enter 2020, with an ever-quickening pace of life needs solutions that support diverse needs for people with short attention spans. IVA solutions have evolved to fill this need gap, and have finally reached a critical point in their acceptance and implementation.

From the pace of adoption of IVAs by organizations, It becomes obvious that enterprises are not ‘trying them out’ anymore, rather they are actively looking at them as necessary drivers of better ROI, improved customer engagement, operational efficiency, productivity boosters and an active facilitator towards achieving other organizational objectives. 2020 is the year when IVAs will become a common feature across the global entrepreneurial ecosphere, implemented as a norm rather than a novelty."

Hero Motocorp Unveils 100-CC BS-VI Motocycle – HF Deluxe BS-VI Powered by Programmed FI with ‘XSENS Tech’, Priced at Rs 55,925

Reiterating its commitment to quickly roll-out an exciting and comprehensive BS-VI product portfolio for its customers, Hero MotoCorp, the world’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer, has launched the first BS-VI motorcycle in the entry segment – the HF Deluxe BS-VI.

The commencement of despatches for the HF Deluxe BS-VI come close on the heels of the Company’s first-ever BS-VI product launch – the Splendor iSmart, thereby reaffirming the leadership role played by Hero MotoCorp in migrating to the new emission regime.

With these products coming in quick succession, Hero MotoCorp is rapidly ramping-up its portfolio of BS-VI products and plans to transform its entire range to BS-VI norms very soon.

The HF Deluxe, India's most successful and iconic motorcycle in the entry segment, will be available at Hero MotoCorp showrooms in the country at attractive prices of Rs. 55,925/- for Self-Start Alloy-wheel variant and Rs. 57,250/- for Self-Start Alloy-wheel i3S variant (both prices ex-showroom Delhi) from the beginning of January 2020.

In addition to keeping the core brand DNA of superior performance and fuel-efficiency intact, the new HF Deluxe BS-VI is now powered by Programmed Fuel-Injection with ‘XSens Technology’ (10 sensors) providing even higher fuel-efficiency (9% higher), effortless acceleration, smoother ride and easy starting anytime & anywhere (ease of cold starting).

Vikram Kasbekar, Executive Director – Operations (Plants) and Chief Technology Officer, Hero MotoCorp, said, “At Hero MotoCorp, we have been working towards ensuring a smooth transition to the BS-VI norms, not just for us but also for all our stakeholders, the industry and most importantly the customers. We are into the final leg of this transition phase and key products in our portfolio like the HF Deluxe are being transitioned now to ensure smooth ramp-up. Our BS-IV inventories are low and will not be replenished going forward. We will be introducing a slew of BS-VI products in the coming weeks.”

Commenting on the occasion, Malo Le Masson, Head - Global Product Planning, Hero MotoCorp, said, “HF Deluxe is the most popular entry segment motorcycle in India. The bike has already entered the 2-Million sales club and commands well over 2/3rd market share in the category. With the new HF Deluxe BS-VI, powered by Programmed FI technology, we have further enhanced the performance and efficiency of the motorcycle. We have now launched two new BS-VI motorcycles in quick succession and are committed to a rapid transition of our entire portfolio to the new norms."

The new HF Deluxe has been designed and developed completely in-house, at the company’s R&D hub, the Center of Innovation and Technology (CIT) in Jaipur, Rajasthan.

Hero MotoCorp is the dominant market leader in the motorcycle segment with well over 60% market share.


BS-VI Compliant FI Engine

The new HF Deluxe BS-VI comes with a 100cc BS-VI Compliant Programmed Fuel Injection engine with ‘XSens Technology’ (10 Sensors) - delivering an impressive power output of 7.94 BHP @ 8000 RPM and torque-on-demand of 8.05 NM @ 6000 RPM. The new and improved HF Deluxe BS-VI offers a 9% higher fuel efficiency, with better performance (+6% faster acceleration), consistent start-ability (even in cold conditions) and longer engine life. The new motorcycle also features Hero’s revolutionary i3S (idle start-stop system).

Superior Drive and Control

The Programmed FI system ensures a precise air-fuel mixture delivery under varying load conditions enabling smoother rideability. It also ensures continuous and real-time adjustment to the air and fuel mixture (through sensors and ECU) based on engine load & ambient conditions for sharper throttle response. The system allows more efficient combustion resulting in higher fuel efficiency and cleaner emissions. The system is typically maintenance-free and does not break down easily.  With 165mm ground clearance and 1235mm wheelbase, the bike delivers superior ride with more stability. In addition, the High Tensile Steel Frame offers strength, rigidity and responsive handling.

New and Improved Style

The HF Deluxe BS-VI comes with all-new graphics and colors. The motorcycle is available in trendy combinations of Black with Red, Black with Purple, Black with Grey and in two new colour schemes of Techno Blue and Heavy Grey with Green.

Joint State Tests of Mi-26T2V Helicopter Begins in Russia Until 2020

Russian Helicopters holding company (part of Rostec State Corporation) and representatives of the Russian Ministry of Defense started joint state tests of Mi-26T2V heavy-lift military transport helicopter which are to last until the end of 2020.

As part of Russian Helicopters' program on upgrading the heavy Mi-26 helicopter for the Russian Aerospace Forces, in 2018 Rostvertol produced a prototype of the modernized Mi-26T2V helicopter.

"Currently, Mi-26T2V prototype  has successfully completed preliminary tests at the manufacturing facility, allowing us to start the joint state tests program which is to last through the entire year 2020. We have taken into account all preferences of the customer and implemented them in Mi-26T2V helicopter design. The performance of the machine will be considerably improved due to the modernization. I am convinced that Mi-26T2V helicopter will have a rightful place in the Russian armed forces," said Director General of Russian Helicopters holding company Andrey Boginsky.

The tests will take place on four proving grounds. The crew of the helicopter will include representatives of the Russian Aerospace Forces and will check the main performance characteristics of the helicopter and operation of new equipment.

The modernized Mi-26T2V helicopter which can be used at any time of the day and has modern avionics is a heavy-lift military and transport helicopter which can carry up to 20 tonnes of cargo. The rotorcraft has the modern NPK90-2V integrated avionics which ensures piloting during the day and at night, enabling the helicopter to fly the route in an automatic mode, come to a preset point, perform approach and final approach maneuvers, and return to the main or alternate aerodrome. The onboard defense system of Mi-26T2V ensures protection of the helicopter from being hit by air defense missile systems.

Mi-26T2V will be able to make flights in the conditions of any region, including those with complex physical and geographical and adverse climatic conditions, at any time of the day, at equipped and unequipped routes, or even without routes, and on featureless terrain, in conditions of fire and information counteraction of the enemy. The number of crew members of the modernized helicopter (five persons) remained unchanged.

Currently, Russian Helicopters holding company produces the entire range of military helicopters for the Russian military agency in accordance with contracts. These machines are necessary for performing the tasks of the Russian armed forces: Ka-52 Alligator, Mi-28NM Night Hunter and military Mi-35M attack helicopters, Mi-38T paratrooper carriers and transport helicopters, Mi-8/17 military transport helicopters, heavy-lift military transport Mi-26 rotorcraft, training and specialized machines.

Monday, December 30, 2019

University Admissions Company LeverageEdu Raises $1.5Mn+ To Fuel Expansion & Growth

University Admissions & Career Guidance platform Leverage Ed-tech Private Limited, announced today that it raised over $1.5Mn from its existing investors. DSG Consumer Partners & Blume Ventures have co-led the latest funding round. Saama Capital founder Ash Lilani & PayU CEO Amrish Rau also participated in this round.

Founded by Akshay Chaturvedi in January 2017, Leverage Ed-tech operates education platforms and The Company aims to be the go-to brand for university admissions and career guidance for the millennials.

Leverage Edu provides students enrolled on its platform with a seamless college application journey which includes personalized mentor-led 1:1 workshops, portfolio build-up sessions, access to pre-program internships & online courses, and exclusive scholarship options. The company also helps students with post-admit services through their partners for education loans, accommodation options and much more. In September 2019, the company has also launched a new business vertical, which provides advisory, tech and recruitment solutions to partner universities across the globe.

About a million students visit the platform every month to learn more about higher education options & careers they are interested in. The platform also has an AI tool that helps students predict what options are best suited for their profile, and the company continues to focus on making its free tools grow faster and have wider access.

This financing round takes the company’s total capital raised to over $3Mn.Presently in Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai, the company will also expand their presence to more tier 2 and 3 cities in the next few quarters.

Founder & CEO of the three-year old company, Akshay Chaturvedi, said, “We have been massively obsessed with student experience on the platform and clear well-defined student success outcomes - which has led to an exceptional revenue growth in the last 9 months, as well as early signs of building a trusted brand. Focusing on few core areas and executing them really well has helped. Fortunate to have phenomenal investors who understand what it takes to build a company in this space, and who’ve been extremely helpful while scaling up. I am absolutely thrilled that they have decided to back down on us. Excited to continue to execute and build a leading global full stack company in this space - one happy, relaxed, confident student journey at a time!”

Deepak Shahdadpuri, Managing Director of DSG Consumer Partners, said, “DSGCP first invested in LeverageEdu and partnered with Akshay a year ago. In that short period Akshay & his team have demonstrated very strong execution capabilities and have positioned LeverageEdu as a leading emergent higher education & career advisory brand. A large part of their success to date is the unrelenting focus on making the student the core of everything that company does. We are very excited about the next phase of growth as LeverageEdu expands into becoming a full stack service provider and expands operations to more Indian cities.”

Karthik Reddy, Managing Partner at Blume Ventures, said, “Akshay and team have put in place strong frameworks for building a large long-term company, in this first year of our partnership. The scale of the overseas education opportunity set is even more massive than we initially imagined and the pace at which the team has executed has meant that we are happy to see ourselves co-leading a second round with DSG into an early breakout from fund III.”

Tata Tele Business Services Emerge Key Enabler for SMEs to Harness Digital Transformation Wave at Calicut

Tata Tele Business Services (TTBS), India’s leading enterprise connectivity solution provider showcased an array of technology solutions for the SMEs at ‘Do Big Forum’ – its flagship customer programme. The event under the aegis of the theme “Smart Solutions” witnessed participation from over ninety delegates from SME community.

Elaborating on the TTBS initiative, Mr. Kalidas Pai Ks, Vice President, SME Operations said, “With technological disruption happening at a humongous rate, it is necessary for SMEs to leverage technology in order to drive efficiency at an optimum level. As a progressive digital catalyst, we believe in providing the best in class bespoke technological solutions at reasonable costs while addressing the challenges faced SMEs.”

“For instance, our award-winning solution SmartOffice, a cost-effective single box solution, which allows business entities to have access to voice, data, network storage, and apps.  For evolving SMEs and start-ups SmartOffice can prove to be a boon as they don’t need to worry about procuring and deploying connectivity & unified communications equipment. We provide complete stack of hardware that go into creating IP-based integrated communication infrastructure that supports voice, data, and video assorted with enhanced sense-of-cloud; and for that, we don’t charge anything. We only charge for the services, which are routed through this box. Its Pay as you go model make it very affordable, reliable, easy-to-deploy solution that can greatly enable SMEs and start-ups alike”, added Mr Kalidas.

The SME segment is growing rapidly and is fast adopting technology, as businesses realize that technology not only cuts cost but also is an integral part of operations. Technology enables them to reach their customers faster, service them better and to manage the organization more efficiently by connecting offices, partners, and the larger ecosystem for closer collaboration and proactive servicing.

Commenting on the Smart VPN, Mr. Kalidas said – “Fast, secure and dependable connectivity is the top of the digital enterprise agenda to manage a data rich future business. Our Smart VPN solutions will enable SMEs to maximize their growth potential, optimise connectivity costs, enhance their customers’ experience and securely extend reach with instant access to cloud platforms. As SMEs are embracing digital, they are benefitting greatly by adopting cloud-based servers but are struggling to protect their data in transit as well as manage and monitor exactly who accessed these services. With Smart VPN, they can now have easy to use and highly secure interface and diverse selection of location specific servers, which allow for reduced latency, high bandwidth and unobstructed internet access.”

Technology adoption is one of the key challenges for SMEs given the huge CAPEX requirements for setting up Cloud services, voice, cloud storage and data security services.  Solutions offered by Tata Tele Business Services however provide a level playing field to SMEs to compete with big corporates by offering a host of state-of-the-art technology driven services at affordable prices, thereby bridging the digital divide.

Total Pageviews