Friday, February 28, 2020

2020 Call for Code Global Challenge Led by IBM Takes On Climate Change on 75th Anniversary of United Nations

Today, Call for Code Founding Partner IBM and Creator David Clark Cause, in partnership with United Nations Human Rights and the Linux Foundation announced this year’s Call for Code Global Challenge, inviting the world’s software developers and innovators to help fight climate change with open source-powered technology. On its 75th anniversary, the United Nations is demanding a ‘global reality check’ and has launched the biggest-ever global conversation on how to address the world’s most pressing issues such as climate change. Heeding the UN’s rallying cry to help build the future we want, IBM is joining forces with key UN agencies and world leaders to help tackle the climate crisis.

Following two successful years, the 2020 Call for Code Global Challenge encourages and fosters the creation of practical applications built on open source software including Red Hat OpenShift, IBM Cloud, IBM Watson, IBM Blockchain, and data from The Weather Company. The goal is to employ technology in new ways that can make an immediate and lasting humanitarian impact in communities around the world.

A recent global IBM study conducted by Morning Consult surveyed more than 3,000 developers, first responders and social activists across China, Columbia, Egypt, India, Japan, Spain, United Kingdom, and the United States, and found:

* 56% of Indian and 77% of global first responders and developers surveyed agree with the statement 'Climate change is the single most pressing issue facing my generation.'
* Over 3 quarters (77%) of Indian respondents say that someone they know or love has been impacted by a natural disaster.
* 51% of Indian and 79% of global respondents agree that climate change is something that can be reduced or combatted with technology.
* Over eight in ten (82%) Indian respondents said they were very interested in working on projects to help solve climate change.
* Almost nine in ten (86%) Indian and 87% of global respondents feel it is important that a potential employer has taken action on climate change
* 82% of Indian and three quarters of global respondents agree that the open source community can help scale climate change solutions to communities in need.
* Eight in ten global respondents agree that most people want to do something to help combat climate change, but don't know where to start.

In 2019, the Call for Code Asia Pacific Challenge was won by India team Purva Suchak, who built a solution to prevent pervasive flooding by continuously checking water bodies and collating data with weather forecast information. IBM will announce the regional finalists from Asia Pacific for the Call for Code 2020 Global Challenge in September and winner in October. “India is home to one of the fastest growing developer bases in the world, a majority of whom are committed to tackling real-world problems. In the past 2 editions, we have also seen increasing participation and winning teams from India in the Call for Code challenge. With climate change as this year’s theme, we can expect some path-breaking innovative solutions to be developed during the competition,” said Priya Mallya, Country Leader, Developer Ecosystem, IBM India.

Over 180,000 participants from 165 nations took part in Call for Code in 2019; they created more than 5,000 applications focused on natural disaster preparedness and relief. This year Call for Code is challenging applicants to create innovations based on open source technologies to help halt and reverse the impact of climate change.

“There is an urgent need to take action against climate change, and IBM is uniquely positioned to connect leading humanitarian experts with the most talented and passionate developers around the world,” said Bob Lord, IBM Senior Vice President of Cognitive Applications and Developer Ecosystems. “IBM is determined to identify, deploy, and scale technology solutions that can help save lives, empower people, and create a better world for future generations.”

Lord noted that IBM has been mobilizing throughout the company, from policy commitments on climate to IBM’s weather forecasting capabilities powered by AI and supercomputers.

“Over these past two years through Call for Code UNDRR has seen the potential for developers to tackle major societal challenges, and developers will have a crucial role in our response to the climate emergency," said Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (SRSG) for Disaster Risk Reduction. "Climate change is the most critical issue of our time, with a multitude of localized contributing factors and cascading effects that cannot be solved by a single organization. We need a global network to fight this together.”

IBM and David Clark Cause are thrilled to launch the third year of Call for Code in Geneva with returning sponsor Persistent Systems, and new supporters Nearform, and Morgan Stanley. We also welcome returning supporters Bank of China, Cognizant, and Infosys, in addition to the broad ecosystem of companies, universities, and celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres, Jonas Brothers, Sting, and Morgan Freeman supporting the initiative.

As part of the 75thanniversary of the United Nations, we are proud to work with our Founding Partner IBM to help commemorate this momentous occasion by focusing the 2020 Call for Code Global Challenge on climate change. By inspiring and empowering developers around the world to help with this global threat, Call for Code can generate real impact,” said David Clark, Creator of Call for Code and CEO of David Cark Cause. “I am also excited President Bill Clinton returns for the third year as an eminent judge for the Challenge, along with leading experts in human rights, disaster response, business, and technology from all over the world.”

Last year’s Call for Code Global Challenge winning team, Prometeo, created a wearable device that measures carbon monoxide, smoke concentration, humidity, and temperature to monitor firefighter safety in real-time as well as to help improve their health outcomes in the long-term. The solution has been developed further through IBM’s Code and Responseprogram and has just completed its first wildfire field test during a controlled burn with the Grups de Reforç d'Actuacions Forestals (GRAF) and the Grup d'Emergències Mèdiques (GEM) dels Bombers de la Generalitat de Catalunyanear Barcelona, Spain. Prometeo was developed by a team comprising a veteran firefighter, an emergency medical nurse, and three developers. As recently piloted, the Prometeo hardware-software solution is based on multiple IBM Cloud services. Other applications like 2018 Call for Code winner Project Owl and 2018 Puerto Rico Call for Code hackathon winner DroneAid have also been cultivated through the Code and Response program.

Visit to join the community and learn more about the challenge, which will open for submissions on March 22, World Water Day 2020. Additional details, a schedule of in-person and virtual events, and training and enablement for Call for Code will be available at

Creative Science Fair 2020 an Initiative by Caring with Color inspires Creativity in the Classroom


* Caring with Colour - A Manasi Kirloskar Initiative, an education-based non-profit organization, collaborated with The Department of Education and Bidadi Industries Association, to conduct the science fair in Ramanagara block on 28th February 2020
* More than 1100 teachers and students from 54 schools participated in the event showcasing how science can enhance creativity and innovation in students
* Ramanagara, February 28th 2020: On the occasion of National Science Day, Caring with Colour - A Manasi Kirloskar Initiative, collaborated with The Department of Education and Bidadi Industries Association, to conduct Creative Science fair at the Govt. High School Bidadi, of Ramanagara district on 28th February 2020. As a part of the Creative Science fair, a competition was conducted both for teachers and students from more than 50 Government schools in Ramanagara.

The occasion was graced by Mr. Maruthi, Director of Department of State Education Research and Training (DSERT), Mr. Ikram, ZP CEO of Ramanagara and Rajendra Hegde, President of Bidadi Industrial Association (BIA).

The event showcased how teachers in these schools are using innovative teaching practices to make their classrooms interesting. Over 1100 teachers and students from 54 schools spread across 4 clusters participated in the event. Enthusiastic children showcased how they are using the knowledge gained in their science classrooms in their day-to-day lives. This event was designed to develop scientific temper and promote science as a skill among students and promoting experiential methods of teaching science among teachers.

About Caring With Colour- A Manasi Kirloskar Initiative

Caring with Colour- A Manasi Kirloskar Initiative, now in its fourth year, was established to act as a catalyst in improving the learning outcomes in government schools through the adoption of experiential learning methodologies. The organization shares the aspirations of the foundational documents of the Indian Education system like the National Curriculum Framework 2005 and The National Education Policy 2019, which propound that purpose and meaning of education will be realized only when schools build the skills and character required to have a vibrant, peaceful and just society.

“We require a work-force that can be creative, that can solve real-world problems innovatively and sustainably. This can only be achieved when schools focus on imparting 21st century skills inside the classroom delivered through an experiential learning process”, said Manasi Kirloskar, the Managing Director at Kirloskar Systems Limited and CEO of Caring with Colour. That solution created by Caring with Colour enables teachers to teach their regular state syllabus curriculum through the medium of experiential learning. This would mean that the learners of today would be imparted the skills required for future work-force.

Describing the solution design, Mr. Rajeev Annaluru Chief Operation Officer at Caring with Colour, said “We have a comprehensive three-part solution that will help teachers turn their classrooms into fun and engaging experiential learning spaces. Our content helps teachers experientially teach their regular state curriculum. We created rural-India ready technology tools that will help deliver rich digital content in an offline mode in schools. We back this up by hand-holding teachers in the field and facilitate the adoption of experiential teaching methodologies in their classrooms”. Caring with Colour has showcased it is content and technology tools during the science fair.

About Caring With Colour- A Manasi Kirloskar Initiative

Caring with Colour- A Manasi Kirloskar Initiative, now in its fourth year, was established to act as a catalyst in improving the learning outcomes in government schools through the adoption of experiential learning methodologies. The organization shares the aspirations of the foundational documents of the Indian Education system like the National Curriculum Framework 2005 and The National Education Policy 2019, which propound that purpose and meaning of education will be realized only when schools build the skills and character required to have a vibrant, peaceful and just society.

Caring with Colour has created teacher supporting content in Math, Science, and English from grades 4-7 that can be used in teaching each lesson in the state syllabus textbook in an experiential way. Lesson Plans are created by Caring with Colour are in-tune with the idea of helping the learners in the classroom construct their understanding of the world around them using their prior knowledge and contextual experiences. This will help move the classroom from the traditional rote-learning methods into a student-centric approach. A learner of Science, through a Science lesson plan from CWC, won’t just be studying Physics, biology or chemistry but would be understanding and practicing how to hypothesize, look for proofs, revise and experiment.

Another key element of the content created by the organization is the integration of Art and Social and Emotional Learning into everyday teaching practices. CWC's lesson plans integrate Performing Arts, Visual Arts and Fine Arts alike, within the curricular transactions in Math, Science and English subjects. Here, learners are given special opportunities to get exposed to visually rich and colorful learning materials, use the sense of rhythm to learn poetic verses, etc. A learner of English, in an English lesson plan from CWC, can be seen practicing and polishing her/his Inter-personal Intelligence when interacting with people around, Intra-personal skills when reflecting and hypothesizing, Linguistic and Rhythmic Intelligence when reciting a verse among others.

Caring with Colour is also working on creating a technology platform that can help bring the rich experiential learning content that is in digital format to be available in the classrooms on demand. The technology platform called Teachopia which is currently under the prototyping and testing stage is being designed to be rural-India ready and scalable. The platform creates a local intranet Wi-Fi system inside the school serving only educational content that is properly mapped to the curriculum.

Socially Assistive Robot Helps Children with Autism Learn

USC researchers developed personalized learning robots for children with autism and studied whether the robots could autonomously gauge the child’s engagement in long-term, in-home therapeutic interventions

Many children with autism face developmental delays, including communication and behavioral challenges and difficulties with social interaction. This makes learning new skills a major challenge, especially in traditional school environments.

Previous research suggests socially assistive robots can help children with autism learn. But these therapeutic interventions work best if the robot can accurately interpret the child’s behavior and react appropriately.

Now, researchers at the University of Southern California’s Department of Computer Science have developed personalized learning robots for children with autism. They also studied whether the robots could estimate a child’s interest in a task using machine learning.

In one of the largest studies of its kind, the researchers placed a socially assistive robot in the homes of 17 children with autism for one month. The robots personalized their instruction and feedback to each child’s unique learning patterns during the interventions.

After the study was completed, the researchers also analyzed seven of the participants’ engagement and determined the robot could have autonomously detected whether or not the child was engaged with 90% accuracy. The results of the experiments were published in the “Frontiers in Robotics and AI” and “Science Robotics,” journals on Nov. 6 and Feb. 26, respectively.

Making robots smarter

Robots are limited in their ability to autonomously recognize and respond to behavioral cues, especially in atypical users and real-world environments. This study is the first to model the learning patterns and engagement of children with autism in a long-term, in-home setting.

“Current robotic systems are very rigid,” said lead author Shomik Jain, a progressive degree mathematics student advised by socially assistive robotics pioneer Professor Maja Matarić.

“If you think of a real learning environment, the teacher is going to learn things about the child, and the child will learn things from them. It’s a bidirectional process and that doesn’t happen with current robotic systems. This study aims to make robots smarter by understanding the child’s behavior and responding to it in real- time.”

The researchers stress the goal is to augment human therapy, not replace it.

“Human therapists are crucial, but they may not always be available or affordable for families,” said Kartik Mahajan, an undergraduate student in computer science and study co-author. “That’s where socially assistive robots like this come in.”

Enhancing the learning experience

Funded by a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant given to Matarić, the research team placed Kiwi the robot in the homes of 17 children with autism spectrum disorders for about a month. The child participants were all aged between 3 and 7 and from the greater Los Angeles area.

During almost daily interventions, the children played space-themed math games on a tablet while Kiwi, a 2-foot tall robot dressed like a green feathered bird, provided instruction and feedback.

Kiwi’s feedback and the games’ difficulty were personalized in real-time according to each child’s unique learning patterns. Matarić’s team in the USC Interaction Lab accomplished this using reinforcement learning, a rapidly growing subfield of artificial intelligence (AI).

The algorithms monitored the child’s performance on the math games. For instance, if a child answered correctly, Kiwi would say something like, “Good job!”. If they got a question wrong, Kiwi might give them some helpful tips to solve the problem, and adjust the difficulty and feedback in future games. The goal was to maximize difficulty, while also not pushing the learner to make too many mistakes.

“If you have no idea what the child’s ability level is, you just throw a bunch of varying problems at them and it’s not good for their engagement or learning,” said Jain.

“But if the robot is able to find an appropriate level of difficulty for the problems, then that can really enhance the learning experience.”

The ultimate frontier

There’s a popular saying among people with autism and their families: If you have met one person with autism, you have met one person with autism.

“Autism is the ultimate frontier for robotic personalization, because as anyone who knows about autism will tell you, every individual has a constellation of symptoms and different severities of each symptom,” said Matarić, Chan Soon-Shiong Distinguished Professor of Computer Science, Neuroscience, and Pediatrics and Interim Vice President of Research.

This presents a particular challenge for machine learning, which usually relies on spotting consistent patterns in huge amounts of similar data. That’s why personalization is so important.

“If we take a cue from a child, we can achieve so much more than just following a script,” said Matarić. “Normal AI approaches fail with autism. AI methods require a lot of similar data and that just isn’t possible with autism, where heterogeneity reigns.”

The researchers tackled this problem in their analysis of the children’s engagement after the intervention. Computer models of engagement were developed by combining many types of data, including eye gaze and head pose, audio pitch and frequency, and performance on the task.

Making these algorithms work using real-world data presented a major challenge, given the accompanying noise and unpredictability.

“This experiment was right in the center of their learning experience,” said Kartik, who helped install the robots in the children’s homes.

“There were cats jumping on the robot, a blender going off in the kitchen, and people coming in and out of the room.” As such, the machine learning algorithms had to be sophisticated enough to focus on pertinent information related to the therapy session and dismiss environmental “noise.”

Improving human-robot interaction

Assessments were conducted before and after the month-long interventions. While the researchers expected to see some improvements in participants, the results surpassed their expectations. At the end of the month’s intervention, 100% of the participants demonstrated improved math skills, while 92% also improved in social skills.

In post-experiment analyses, the researchers were also able to glean some other interesting information from the data that could give us a peek into the recipe for ideal child-robot interactions.

The study observed higher engagement for all participants shortly after the robot had spoken. Specifically, participants were engaged about 70% of the time when the robot had spoken in the previous minute, but less than 50% of the time when the robot had not spoken for more than a minute.

While a personalized model for every user is ideal, the researchers also determined it was possible to achieve adequate results using engagement models trained on data from other users.

Moreover, the study observed caregivers only had to intervene when a child lost interest for a longer period of time. In contrast, participants usually re-engaged by themselves after shorter periods of disinterest. This suggests robotic systems should focus on counteracting longer periods of disengagement.

Matarić’s lab will continue to study the data gathered from the experiment: One active sub-project involves analyzing and modeling the children’s cognitive-affective states, including emotions such as confusion or excitement. The project, led by progressive degree in computer science student Zhonghao Shi, aims to design affect-aware socially assistive robot tutors that are even more sensitive to the emotions and moods of its users in the context of learning.

“The hope is that future studies in this lab and elsewhere can take all the things that we’ve learned and hopefully design more engaging and personalized human-robot interactions,” said Jain.

Airtel Payments Bank Rolls Out Aadhaar Enabled Payment System Across 250,000 Banking Points

Airtel Payments Bank has launched Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AePS) at over 250,000 of its Banking Points across India.

With AePS, along with customers of Airtel Payments Bank, customers of any bank with Aadhaar linked bank accounts can undertake financial transactions at the designated banking points of Airtel Payments Bank. Customers of Airtel Payments Bank can also do financial transactions at any AePS enabled bank.

AePS allows customers to carry out financial transactions on a Micro-ATM by using their Aadhaar number or virtual ID to access their Aadhaar linked bank account. Transactions will be authenticated only if the customer’s Aadhaar number and fingerprint match the records. With AePS, Airtel Payments Bank will be able to offer a wide range of banking services to its account holders as well to customers of other banks who will now be able to withdraw, make balance enquiries and request mini-statements at the 2,50,000+ AePS enabled banking points of Airtel Payments Bank. Similarly, Airtel Payments Bank customers will be able to avail these services from any other AePS enabled bank.

AePS will increase the security layer of the banking processes at Airtel Payments Bank as customers complete their banking transactions with just their Aadhaar number without revealing their bank account or debit card details to anyone.

Mr. Ganesh Ananthanarayanan, Chief Operating Officer, Airtel Payments Bank, said, “We are excited to be a part of AePS, which will allow us to service customers of any bank who have a Aadhar enabled Bank Account. The AePS platform offers an ease of secured banking to everyone by using only their Aadhaar. AePS roll-out is one more step by Airtel Payments Bank to contribute towards the Government of India’s vision of financial inclusion.”

Airtel Payments Bank Ltd.

Airtel Payments Bank is India’s first Payments Bank that launched in January 2017, now boasts of over 40 million+ customers and over 500K banking points across the country. In addition to having a presence in all 29 states of India, Airtel Payments Bank also has an app for Android and iOS users to make banking easier for its rural and urban customers. Airtel Payments Bank aims to take digital banking services to the doorstep of every Indian, particularly in unbanked rural areas, and contribute to the Government’s vision of Digital India and Financial Inclusion.

Muthoot Finance Expands its Gold Loan Portfolio Across Karnataka

Muthoot Finance Ltd, India`s #1 gold loan company, has plans to expand its gold loan portfolio in the state of Karnataka. Currently the company has 549 branches in Karnataka with 262 number of branches in Bengaluru.

Mr. George. M. Alexander, Executive Director, Muthoot Finance said, “We are delighted to announce that in Karnataka our gold loan assets under management (AUM) has increased by 17.5% to Rs.4837 cr in Q3FY20 from Rs.4120 cr in FY19. The gold loan business increased by Rs.717 crs as on Q3FY20 from FY19.

He further added, “Through our 549 branches, we serve on an average 23,100 customers on daily basis. The average gold loan advances stands at Rs.1150 cr per month. Our 3130 employee base services 5.3 lakh active customers in the state.”

The aggressive gold loan growth expansion plans will aid in growing the gold loan book and also generate more employment in the state. Already the company opened nearly 12 branches in Karnataka this Financial Year and plan to open 5 to 8 branches on or before 31.03.2020 in Karnataka.

Muthoot Finance reported 66% YoY increase in the consolidated net profit to Rs.803 cr in Q3FY20 from Rs.485 cr in Q3FY19. The gold loan portfolio registered an increase in net profit of 50% YoY increase to Rs.2,191 cr during 9MFY20 from Rs 1,717 cr in 9MFY19. Total AUM of the company increased by 21% YoY at Rs.43,436crs for 9MFY20.

Muthoot Finance has a pan-India presence and has delivered consistent growth in business and profitability over years. The company enjoys trust of over 12 Million customers.

The Muthoot Group has 18 diversified divisions and 4500 plus branches with global presence. Over 2,53,000 customers visit The Muthoot Group branches every day. The Group has served over 48 crore customers (including repeat customers) till date. The story of The Muthoot Group is built on the foundations of passion, commitment, honesty, traditions and values.

Poonawalla Finance and Capital Float Partner to Disburse Rs 500 Crores Over the Next 12 Months

Poonawalla Finance, part of the $9.8-billion Cyrus Poonawalla Group, has partnered with Capital Float, India’s leading fintech lender, to deliver working capital financing to Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) across India. The two companies will co-lend on Capital Float’s co-origination model to deliver last-mile credit to MSMEs across the country. MSMEs will be able to apply for these loans online and receive in-principle approval within four hours, the quickest turnaround time in the industry, powered by Capital Float’s path-breaking technology and credit underwriting platform integrated with Poonawalla’s systems. Poonawalla Finance which started in April 2019 has already crossed Rs1500crs in AUM is one of most well capitalized NBFCs in the country.

Sashank Rishyasringa, Co-Founder, Capital Float, said, “Capital Float is the pioneer of digital lending in India with proven capabilities and experience in MSME financing. We recently crossed $1 bn in lifetime disbursals and are heavily motivated to foster the growth of small businesses at a grassroots level. In this regard, we are delighted to partner with Poonawalla Finance and add impetus to our lending initiative for MSMEs. We are deeply impressed by Poonawalla Finance’s speed in business execution and the significant focus on technology to innovatively solve problems. The agility of the companies involved helped take the partnership live in record time.”

Abhay Bhutada, Managing Director & CEO, Poonawalla Finance,  said, “We are very excited about our partnership with Capital Float. They paved the way for digital lending in India and have demonstrated maturity and resilience over the years. Capital Float is led by strong and professional promoters with significant experience, a key determinant of their success. Poonawalla Finance believes in relationship-driven partnerships being integral to jointly achieving mutual objectives and growth in a tightly contested market. Through our collaboration with Capital Float, we will expand our reach beyond the metropolitan cities to tier 2-3 towns of India.”

The two NBFCs will begin by co-originating on MSME loans, but are expected to expand the engagement to consumer financing as well. Poonawalla Finance and Capital Float are targeting to disburse over Rs 500 crores over the next 12 months, with a monthly run rate of Rs 50 crores. Poonawalla Finance’s systems will be fully integrated with Capital Float’s co-origination platform through APIs to facilitate real-time decision-making and faster disbursals. This partnership unlocks immense scale in small-ticket MSME credit by combining tech-based lending infrastructure and financial wherewithal.

Canadian Wood Makes a Mark with WFC (Wood Frame Construction) and T&G Houses at Indiawood 2020

Historically wood has been used in India for various building purposes. However, its application has been largely limited to beams and posts, roofing or other parts of construction. Canadian Wood set a new trend in India of building a complete house with wood by putting up two distinctive styles of building techniques at IndiaWood, 2020.

These two resort style houses demonstrating Wood Frame style and Tongue & Groove style of constructions were created using Spruce-pine-fir sustainably sourced from B.C, Canada. Leading manufacturers based out of Mysore and Delhi were partnered with to create these eye-catching displays. The wood for building the house has been provided by Canadian Wood, both the houses unique in their building styles were constantly supervised, improvised by the technical inputs provided by Canadian Wood to help create a robust and appealing proposition most apt for the hospitality sector.

The WFC (Wood Frame Construction) style of construction is one of the most widely used methods to build in North America. This technique optimises building process by helping reduce the time and cost involved in the construction process. 

On the other hand, the T&G (Tongue and Groove) style of construction is a very organic and efficient way of building since the entire structure can be prefabricated in the factory from the drawing. A major advantage of this method is that every component can be pre-coated prior to leaving the factory with only a final coat to be done after construction.

Speaking about the T&G (Tongue and Groove) house displayed at IndiaWood 2020, Mr. Peter Bradfield, Technical Advisor at Canadian Wood said, “What set the exhibited T&G house apart was the laminated wall structure with double tongue and groove which increased the wall thickness. This added to strength, stiffness, wall span and insulation values. The beauty and appeal of T&G construction in India for resort living is the all-encompassing look and feel of wood and being part of nature.”

Further to this on the WFC (Wood Frame Construction) house he added “WFC houses are adaptable to all climates, ranging from hot and humid to extremely cold climates. When well-constructed they can meet or exceed code-established levels of fire safety and sound control. The house displayed at the IndiaWood was completely factory made and designed in modules for easy transportation.”

Also available for comment was Mr. Pranesh Chhibber, Country Director with Canadian Wood who said “The hospitality industry is increasingly looking at building resorts using wood in structural applications. Also, there is an upward trend in increased usage of wood in the home category by leading architects, manufacturers, HNIs looking at villas, country homes and farmhouses as a lifestyle statement. Canadian wood on its part is doing its bit in promoting building with wood through technical support and handholding in the T&G, WFC & Post & Beam method in addition to the hybrid method of building with wood and local stone/brick besides interior and exterior use of wood in more traditional applications such as panelling, cladding, furniture (indoor & outdoor), joinery - doors & windows and pergolas/gazebos etc.” He also added that “The cedar species of Canadian wood are ideal decking and sauna.”

Each of the houses displayed at the Canadian Wood booth in IndiaWood were embellished with furniture made using Western hemlock – a species of Canadian wood that is evolving into a preferred choice of furniture manufacturers in India due to its looks & workability. Also, the T&G house demonstrated Doors, Door Frames in Yellow Cedar which is a high-quality substitute wood in lieu of UPVC windows that cancel out noise, dust and water. To present each of the creations in their best form, different established furniture manufacturers were reached out to from across India.

About Forestry Innovation Consulting Pvt Ltd (Canadian Wood)

FII is a crown agency of the government of British Columbia (B.C.), the western most province of Canada. Its mandate is to promote wood products from B.C. Canada in the offshore markets and to position it as a global supplier of quality, environmentally responsible wood products from sustainably managed forests by creating awareness and spreading education through information on the wide variety of timber products available from B.C. Canada and the technical support. Its brand/logo Canadian Wood was established in 2013 to reach out to and the ease of understanding of its activities by its target audience globally.

Hero MotoCorp Further Strengthens BS-VI Line-Up with the Launch of New Super Splendor

Reiterating its commitment to an exciting and comprehensive BS-VI product portfolio, Hero MotoCorp, the world’s largest manufacturer of motorcycles and scooters, today launched the iconic Super Splendor in its BS-VI version.

The launch of Super Splendor BS-VI follows the company’s recent BS-VI launches at the Hero World 2020 – the new Xtreme 160R, Passion Pro BS-VI and Glamour BS-VI. Prior to this, the Company had already introduced a series of BS-VI two-wheelers - the Splendor iSmart, Splendor+, HF Deluxe, Pleasure+ 110, Destini 125 and Maestro Edge 125 - in quick succession to be future ready with a compelling product portfolio.

The new Super Splendor BS-VI will be available at Hero MotoCorp showrooms across the country at the attractive prices* of Rs. 67,300 (Self-Drum Alloy wheel) and Rs. 70,800 (Self-Disc Alloy wheel). *(ex-showroom Delhi)

The Company has already stopped production of all BS-IV products and is now manufacturing only BS-VI products.

With a smooth transition to BS-VI, Hero MotoCorp has reaffirmed its focus on providing premium, top-quality products to its customers, featuring superior and cleaner technology.

Commenting on the Super Splendor BS-VI, Malo Le Masson, Head – Global Product Planning, Hero MotoCorp, said, “The Super Splendor has remained one of the most popular motorcycles in India and we are sure this trend will get further strengthened with the new Super Splendor BS-VI. The motorcycle has been revamped to give it a distinct identity and make it more capable than ever. With this launch, almost our entire portfolio has now migrated to the new emission regime.”


More Capable than ever

The new Super Splendor comes with an all-new 125cc BS-VI Compliant Programmed Fuel Injection engine with XSens Technology, providing a superior ride experience to the customer. It delivers 19% more power - 10.73 BHP @ 7500 RPM and an impressive torque of 10.6 Nm @ 6000 RPM. The engine is mated to an all-new 5-Speed Gearbox offering a stress-free ride on the highways as well as in the city. The revolutionary i3S technology provides a convenient and an eco-friendly ride.

Superior Ride and Control

Underpinning the Super Splendor BS-VI is an all-new chassis which promises greater maneuverability and a plush ride. The rigid diamond frame combined with an increased suspension travel (Front: +15mm; 14% increase, Rear: +7.5mm/10% increase), class-leading 180mm ground clearance (+30mm; 20% higher) and a longer seat (+45mm) guarantee a comfortable ride over any road condition, for the rider as well as the pillion.

For the first time, in the BS-VI guise, the Super Splendor is also available with 240mm front Disc brakes in addition to the Drum brake variant. Combined with an 130mm rear drum brake and CBS technology it provides a safer ride. The 90/90-18" Rear Tyre provides a confident grip, all-day comfort with real road presence.

More Vibrant than ever

The Super Splendor BS-VI offers an elegant way of commuting with its Dual-Tone paint scheme, Bold Flowing lines, and distinct chrome elements. An all-new Metallic Nexus Blue colour variant adds vibrancy to the daily ride. The motorcycle is available in three more colour options: Glaze Black, Heavy Grey, and Candy Blazing Red. 

Manipal Hospitals Whitefield Unveils “Manipal Clinics” in Brookefield

Manipal Hospitals Whitefield part of Manipal Hospitals one of India’s leading healthcare provider today announced the launch of “Manipal Clinics” in Brookfield today.  Doctors from various departments of Manipal Hospitals Whitefield will conduct regular OPD consultations from 7.00 a.m. – 9.00 p.m.

With an endeavour to provide world-class healthcare services and make it more accessible to the residents of Brookefield, the clinic will have host of services ranging from OPD consultations, laboratory services, X – Ray, ECG, ECHO, TMT, Injection and dressing. OPD’s will be offered across various departments and specialties like General Medicine, Pediatrics, Orthopedics, OBG, Gastroenterology, General Surgery, Cardiology, Endocrinology, Urology, Family Medicine, ENT, Dermatology and Nephrology.

The clinic will also offer home care and basis diagnostic services like X Ray, Lab Services, ECHO, TMT and ECG. Additionally, the pharmacy will be operational from 8.00 a.m. – 9.00 p.m. and emergency care services for minor injuries would also be available. Women patients will have access to basic gynecological procedures like IUD, insertion and removal of Copper T.

Mr. Deepak Venugopal, Regional COO, Manipal Hospitals said, “With growing constraints on the time taken to travel within the city of Bangalore, especially in Whitefield and it’s surrounding areas, this clinic will help our valued patients reduce the inconvenience caused due to extended travel hours .”

Mr. Arnab Mondal, Hospital Director, Manipal Hospitals Whitefield said, “ We are delighted to extend medical services to people of Brookefield as they will now have access to our expert pool of doctors and specialists. This is a great milestone in our journey and we are looking at adding more services in future. Infact people who are only seeking initial medical advice can avail OPD services right at their doorstep. The clinic will take care of preliminary medical investigations and refer the case to Manipal Hospitals Whitefield incase required which is located in the vicinity.”

OPD Details:

Time: 7.00 a.m. – 9.00 p.m. (Everyday )
Address: #189, Radhakrishna Enclave, Ground floor, A Block, AECS Layout, Behind CMRIT College, Kundalahalli, Bengaluru- 560037

For Appointments call:

Telephone No: 080 41242122
Emergency Contact No: 080 22221111

Stanley Lifestyles Plans to Launch 55 Retail Outlets with an Investment of Rs 70 Cr and Targets an IPO by 2024

Stanley Lifestyles, the maker of premium furniture and home décor products, today announced its foray into complete luxury home interior solutions and personal accessories through Stanley Level Next, its new flagship premium lifestyle store launched in Bangalore. Over the next two years, the company plans to open five more Stanley Level Next new-gen retail outlets with an investment of Rs 20 Crs and expand its omni-channel mid-segment furniture outlets - ‘Sofas & More’, from 7 to 50 stores with an investment of Rs 50 Crs. Preparing for a global foray and plans for an IPO by FY 24, the company is targeting a revenue of Rs 650 Crs.

Committed to the ‘Make in India’ initiative, Stanley plans to expand its 3.5 Lakh sq. ft. state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Bangalore, with an additional 2 Lakh sq. ft. to meet the growing demand and looks to increase its employee base from 1200 to 5000 in the next five years. The company has commissioned two new factories in 2019, one for kitchen and wardrobes and the other for premium mattress and bedding, with an investment of Rs 15 Crs.

Present across 20 exclusive stores and 30 sales points in 10 Indian cities, which include Delhi, Mumbai, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Kochi, and with plans to grow, Stanley group aims to achieve Rs 700 Crs by FY 25 from its current sales of Rs 360 Crs.

The company, which is India’s first manufacturing-retail home furnishing brand, is a global vendor to IKEA & La-Z-Boy and caters to the automobile manufacturers in India such as Tata, Toyota, Ford, Mahindra & Mahindra, Renault; aviation manufacturers such as Boeing; and hospitality customers like Taj Hotels, Intercontinental Hotel Group, Starwood, among others.Stanley is an ‘A’ rated debt free company, with adequate cash reserves and has successfully raised growth capital fund with a company valuation of USD 125 million.

On his quest to make Stanley a truly global Indian company, Sunil Suresh, Founder Chairman and MD, Stanley Group said, “We compete with international brands and are known for our high quality standards & craftsmanship and proudly position ourselves in high-end home & lifestyle business. As India’s very own luxury brand, we strive to exceed the expectations of the discerning Indian consumers, and design and develop modern offerings with an International touch that are customised to suit Indian lifestyle and living conditions.”

“Our rich legacy of upholstering for top OEMs and our award winning OEM divisions has served some of the most iconic global brands. We have set up a cabinetry manufacturing unit with German know-how, to design and manufacture kitchens, wardrobes and storage units. We have also commissioned a prestigious design team to helm our collection of bespoke footwear and personal accessories,” he further added.

A pioneer in premium leather sofas in India, Stanley Lifestyles opened country’s largest Multi brand anchor store – ‘Global Living Emporio’. It is spread across an area of 1,00,000 sq. ft. with 5 floors and houses over 40 internationally renowned furniture brands from across the globe, offering premium luxury furniture designs, kitchens and wardrobes for every aspect of the home. Stanley’s wide portfolio also includes – ‘Stanley Boutique’, its legacy stores that primarily sell sofas and recliners; ‘Sofas & More’, its product driven omni channel concept, housing latest globally inspired furniture collection targeting mid and mid-high segments of the markets and ‘Stanley Level Next’, its new format stores that aim to position Stanley as a lifestyle brand, selling fashion accessories, furniture and custom automotive seat covers.

About Stanley Lifestyles

Stanley is India’s leading luxury furniture and home decor brand. Our 20 select outlets and design studios, across the country, are an inspiration for design aficionados. Beautifully crafted products are displayed, and colour coordinated in a manner that helps one visualise the products in home environment and conceive unique ideas for home décor.

Rooter Shifts Focus to Content to Create a Stronger Sports Fan Community

Rooter, India’s biggest Sports Fan Engagement Platform and online sports community has transformed its business model by adding Live and user-generated sports content to the Rooter app. The launch of the Rooter app, which is India’s only user Generated Sports Content Ecosystem, is widely expected to create greater traction by adding more sports enthusiasts to the platform.

Since its launch in 2016, Rooter has hitherto been focusing on building a community of sports fans via live prediction games, match chat forums, quizzes, trivia and news updates. With the latest move, it now seeks to provide customized sports content and comprehensive scorecards in eight vernacular languages. It not only allows them to upload video and audio content but also go live during the matches to comment & analyze for their followers, in its shimmering new avatar.

The central USP of the brand lies in personalizing sports content and lending a voice to millions of fans across sports and gaming. Rooter engages fans with User Generated Live Audio and Video content over different sports and offers a personalized sports feed & Scorecards in 8 Indian languages. It partners a number of technology companies in India to provide Sports Engagement to more than 50mn users on their platforms.

With the number of mobile internet users in India rising to 350MN+ and the number of non-English speaking smartphone users amounting to about 250MN+, the social media sector in the country presents a tremendous 10x growth opportunity with the current $300mn digital advertising market set to reach an astounding $3bn by 2023.

With the current legion of sports content users in India set to double from 330 million viewers in 2018-19 to around 600 million (65% of which are non-English speaking users) in the next couple of years, there arises a prominent void within the industry segment of a pure sports regional content platform that can provide vernacular users with a content experience that is curated specifically to suit their sports need in their preferred languages.

The online sports platform boasts of around 200K daily and 2.5 MN monthly users who dedicate around half an hour every day engaging with a variety of content spanning multiple sporting disciplines such as cricket, football, kabaddi, and gaming. Moreover, the app allows users to go live in its just-launched merged commentary option to create an all-round immersive sporting experience for every fan.

The app also provides a server to server plug-and-play integration that allows their partners to customize and present real-time sports data, content to their user’s satisfaction. As the new content mix of the rooter’s app, features about 85% of user-generated content, it will also include not just international and domestic games and tournaments, but also school and college-level games. The new business model of the company seeks to benefit from the high user monetization witnessed in audio and video content platforms by helping the fantasy platforms acquire users and create engaging content. Rooter will also drive social commerce by addressing the highly untapped sporting merchandise sector in India.

Commenting on the latest product launch, Piyush, Founder and CEO, Rooter, said, “The core mission of Rooter has always been to create a tech platform that will connect fans and create a strong community. We initially provided features around Live Sports Gaming to create the community but pivoted to content once we realized the opportunity to cater to more than 300mn non-english sports fans who are looking for content in their language and are more comfotable with audio and video to express themselves. The traction post this pivot has been very encouraging and we will at 10 mn monthly active users by the mid of 2020. ”

About Rooter:

Rooter is India's biggest Sports Community Platform that is Personalizing Sports Content and giving a voice to millions of fans across sports and gaming. Rooter engages fans with User Generated Live Audio and Video content over different sports and offers a personalized sports feed & Scorecards in 8 Indian languages. Aside from Cricket, Football, and multiple other sports, Rooter also allows gaming fans to do Live Streaming of their games and also share best game videos with other gamers. Rooter was started in 2016 by Piyush and Dipesh Agarwal and have raised funds from IeAD Fund, Venture Catalysts, Anthill Ventures, Boman Irani and a number of angel investors.

Mahindra Adventure Successfully Concludes Fifth Edition of ‘Club Challenge’

Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. (M&M), concluded the fifth edition of the Mahindra Adventure ‘Club Challenge’ where the top 15 off-roading clubs from across the country, competed for off-roading honors.

After an arduous battle, over two days and seven obstacles, the overall winner trophy was presented to Kerala based off-roading club ‘Wayanad Jeepers’ who took home a grand prize money of Rs. 5 lakh. The first runner up ‘Bangalore Off-Road Driver’s Association’ (BODA) won a prize amount of Rs. 3 lakh, while ‘R&T Off-Road Club’, grabbed the second runner up title, taking home a prize money of Rs. 2 lakh.

Other participating clubs this year included Team XXPENDABLEZZ Club 4*4, D.OT, East Jainita Adventure Motorsport, Motor Sports Club of Meghalaya, Punjab OffRoaders Club, Kerala Adventure Sports Club, Verge Racing, Extreme OffRoaders, 4*4 KROC, Northern India OffRoad Club, KTM Jeepers, and Flywheel.

Participants from the best off-roading clubs from across India battled at the ‘Club Challenge’ to win the coveted title of ‘Best Off-Roading Club’ in India. All obstacles focused on teamwork rather than on individual performances. The Club Challenge kicked off on February 22, 2020 with exciting night stages. The next day, February 23, 2020 witnessed the day stages and concluded by a grand award ceremony in Bengaluru.

The signature obstacle ‘Demolition Derby’, continued to be a part of this year’s challenge, as the off-road vehicles negotiated a path over scrapped vehicles. Another iconic obstacle ‘Pass the Baton’ witnessed all classes of vehicles run a relay format of driving and pass the baton from one vehicle to another tackling the obstacles and then crossing the finish line. Some of the new obstacles introduced this year were Straps of God, Drag Race and Tug of War.

About Mahindra Adventure

A unique concept to showcase the tough and rugged DNA of Mahindra vehicles, Mahindra Adventure functions as an umbrella brand with a series of self-drive overland adventure expeditions organized under its banner. Mahindra Adventure was launched as an independent entity for all adventurous activities, in 2011, headed by Bijoy Kumar Y, Chief of Adventure Initiatives. He is a motoring enthusiast and the erstwhile editor of a popular motoring magazine.

To spread the DNA of off-roading, the Mahindra Adventure team has also launched the Mahindra Adventure Off-Road Training Academy in Igatpuri, India’s first dedicated facility providing a one stop solution to learning everything about a Mahindra 4WD vehicle and how to use it to its full potential. Through this, we hope to leverage the brand’s off-road heritage, showcase the vehicles abilities and give the participants the confidence to explore the limits of the vehicles. Custom-made Mahindra Thars equipped with radio sets are exclusively used as training vehicles at the facility. After dominating the Rallying scene in India with back to back victories in 2017, 2018 and numerous Cross Country Rally wins; the Super XUV500 has made way for the new kid-on-the-block the Super XUV3OO. The potent R2C spec XUV3OO won the last round of INRC 2019. And is roaring to set the stage on fire this year. 

Subex Unveils Findings of Cybersecurity Threat Landscape Report 2019

Subex has published the findings of its annual Threat Landscape Report 2019.  The report, prepared using threat intelligence gathered from Subex’s global honeypot network now operational in 62 cities globally, has presented ten key global trends that have the most significant implications for enterprises, governments, citizens, and other stakeholders. The report highlights rising malware complexity and sophistication, increasing reconnaissance capabilities of hackers, and increasing attacks on common IoT devices and critical infrastructure as areas of concern needing immediate intervention.

New York, New Delhi, Atlanta, London, and Kyiv are among the most attacked cities globally. 2019 saw the large-scale introduction of new malware coinciding with geopolitical events in South Asia, the Middle East, and North America.  The expansion of bot networks into new geographies has also contributed to the growth in cyberattacks globally. Attacks across classes grew significantly, with crypto mining attacks registering an 8 percent increase over 2018.

The report also found differences in patterns of attacks registered in certain regions and countries. For instance, in the USA, there were differences in industries targeted by hackers on the East Coast and the West coast. Middle East region was a hotbed of reconnaissance activity while India registered a whopping 34 percent increase in inbound cyber attacks over 2018. India accounted for as much as 3 percent of all new malware detected, and the country also registered the presence of many variants of common malware such as Mirai. A significant proportion of these variants were not detected anywhere else.     

The report provides a threat forecast for 2020.

Key trends observed in 2019:

Revenue leakage attributable to cyberattacks remain a source of concern
Surveillance cameras remain the most attacked category of devices
Most attacked regions – NA, South Asia, and the Middle East
Malware prices have registered a significant increase in H2 2019
Ransomware is the most common category of malware detected
Global increase in reconnaissance (listening) attacks on critical infrastructure
Significant increase in outbound attacks from China targeting India
Ukraine, Slovenia, and India reported many variants of common malware
Increase in the detection of malware engineered in academic/ other sophisticated labs

“Our continuing efforts to monitor the global threat environment and the results it has yielded has led us to believe that hackers, malware developers and other entities are ramping up their efforts to monitor, break into, steal data from and disrupt the operations of a range of businesses and institutions. These findings should be seen in the larger context of the evolving threat environment that surrounds Information Technology, Operational Tech, and Internet of Things deployments and infrastructure. We hope this report helps cybersecurity decisionmakers and stakeholders to take appropriate decisions and interventions,” said Vinod Kumar, Managing Director & CEO, Subex.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Accenture Opens Innovation Hub in Pune to House It’s Second Nano Lab in Asia Pacific

Accenture has opened its third Innovation Hub in India, expanding its innovation capabilities for clients. The Accenture Innovation Hub in Pune provides an immersive environment for clients to co-innovate with Accenture experts in a variety of industries and across a range of advanced technologies, including extended reality, artificial intelligence, the internet of things, blockchain and quantum computing, among others.

Part of Accenture’s global innovation network, the Innovation Hub in Pune will seamlessly integrate with the Innovation Hub in Bengaluru and the Innovation Hub in Hyderabad, and will bring best of innovations and capabilities from India using state-of-the-art collaboration technologies.

“Rapid technology innovations are increasing the competitive pressure on businesses across the globe. At Accenture, we are focused on helping our clients predict and prepare for these changes by applying advanced technologies to shape their future,” said Bhaskar Ghosh, group chief executive, Accenture Technology Services. “Our new Innovation Hub in Pune will bring together the best of Accenture’s technology and innovation capabilities from around the world, enable our clients to scale their technology investments and boost their business outcomes across the enterprise, and create new opportunities for local talent.”

Located in SP Infocity in Pune, the new innovation hub will have more than 1,200 people working out of it and will feature Accenture’s second Nano Lab in the Asia-Pacific region. The Nano Lab will showcase the latest breakthroughs in applied research from Accenture Labs worldwide, featuring uses for advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, extended reality and quantum computing. It will allow clients to connect with researchers in Accenture Labs globally through immersive sessions and workshops.

Some of the focus areas of the innovation hub include helping clients develop new customer experiences using digital technologies to address the growing complexity of brand-customer interaction, and using the Industry X.0 framework and resources to help clients accelerate innovation outcomes and recast business models.

Accenture Innovation Hubs are an integral part of the Accenture Innovation Architecture, which brings together capabilities needed to ideate, prototype, build and scale disruptive solutions for clients across geographies and industries. The Innovation Hub in Pune will join others in Bengaluru and Hyderabad, India; Recife and Sao Paulo, Brazil; Toronto, Canada; Shenzhen, China; Helsinki, Finland; Tokyo; Zurich; Perth, Australia; Singapore; and 11 Innovation Hubs in the United States, including Atlanta; Boston; Chicago; Detroit; Houston; New York; San Francisco; Seattle; and Washington, D.C.

McAfee Offers Managed Threat Detection and Response Platform Collaborating With DXC Technology

McAfee, the device-to-cloud cybersecurity company, has announced that it is launching a global Managed Detection and Response (MDR) platform. DXC Technology will be McAfee’s first strategic MDR partner to leverage McAfee’s MVISION EDR solution to proactively detect cyber threats faced by customers and resolve security incidents faster.

With a rapidly evolving threat landscape, cybersecurity talent has been unable to keep up with demand. A report from (ISC)2 estimates the global IT security skills shortage to exceed four million unfilled positions up from nearly three million in 2018, putting acute pressure on skilled security operations personnel. MVISION EDR’s AI-guided investigations help DXC alleviate these challenges for its customers by proactively identifying threats that matter, and by shortening the investigation time.

“We recognized that while MVISION EDR enables security teams to act faster and with higher precision than was previously possible, it was important to find a partner that could help deliver a fully managed threat detection and response service for organizations that needed it,” said Ash Kulkarni, executive vice president and chief product officer of the enterprise business group at McAfee. “DXC was selected due to their proven security expertise in threat hunting and forensic investigation, as well as their deep knowledge of endpoint security. We are excited to see our partnership expand into new areas of growth that support these vital customer needs.”

“As threats continue to grow and become more sophisticated, it’s important to understand that not all organizations have the time nor resources to manage a modern security operations center,” said Mark Hughes, senior vice president and general manager, Security, DXC Technology. “With MVISION EDR, MVISION ePO and McAfee Advanced Threat Defense, we will be able to deliver a leading managed Endpoint Security solution that will benefit from cloud-based analytics with automated AI-guided investigations for efficient triage and investigations, to enable faster response times.”

DXC will deliver the following MDR services:

Threat Hunting – This service, which augments MVISION EDR with DXC’s Threat Intelligence and hunting expertise, will proactively uncover advanced attacks and stop breaches to minimize impact.
Forensics and Investigations – Using MVISION EDR’s automated AI-guided investigations, this service will immediately conduct in-depth investigations of endpoint security alerts and incidents to identify the origin of compromise, extent of the breach, and malicious actor attribution and intent. DXC will provide specific recommendations to contain the ongoing incident, minimize potential damage, develop or enhance security capabilities to prevent future breaches, and finally, assist in remediation coordination.
Complete Managed Endpoint Threat Detection and Response Service – Upon availability, this service will provide a 24x7 end-to-end Managed Endpoint Threat Detection and Response service that will address the needs of organizations with limited to no security staff.
This announcement enhances the collaboration between McAfee and DXC to accompany the Managed Endpoint Protection (MEP) service.

Trend Micro Blocks Over 61 Million Ransomware Attacks in 2019

Trend Micro Incorporated, a global leader in cybersecurity solutions, today released its 2019 security roundup report. The report details the most important issues and changes in the threat landscape to provide businesses with insights into best practices and strategies for protecting their infrastructures from current and emerging threats.

Ransomware continued to be a mainstay cyber threat last year. Overall, Trend Micro discovered a 10% increase in ransomware detections, despite a 57% decrease in the number of new ransomware families. The healthcare sector remained the most targeted industry, with more than 700 providers affected in 2019. Additionally, at least 110 US state and municipal governments and agencies fell victim to ransomware.

“Digital transformation has been a business buzzword for decades, and the concept has yielded very positive results over time. But security is often an afterthought, which leaves digital doors wide open for cybercriminals,” said Jon Clay, director of global threat communications for Trend Micro. “Despite the prevalent ideals of digital transformation, lack of basic security hygiene, legacy systems with outdated operating systems and unpatched vulnerabilities are still a reality. This scenario is ideal for ransomware actors looking for a quick return on investment. As long as the ransom scheme continues to be profitable, criminals will continue to leverage it.”

Known vulnerabilities remain key to successful cyber attacks, including ransomware. In 2019, Trend Micro’s Zero Day Initiative (ZDI) disclosed 171% more high severity vulnerabilities than in 2018. The criticality score reflects the likelihood of these flaws being leveraged by attackers, so high severity bugs are more likely to be weaponized and the patches should be prioritized.

To protect against today’s threat landscape, Trend Micro recommends a connected threat defense across gateways, networks, servers and endpoints. Additionally, these best practices can increase a company’s security posture:

Mitigate ransomware with network segmentation, regular back-ups and continuous network monitoring.
Update and patch systems and software to protect against known vulnerabilities.
Enable virtual patching, especially for operating systems that are no longer supported by the vendor.
Implement multi-factor authentication and least privilege access policies to prevent abuse of tools that can be accessed via admin credentials, like remote desktop protocol, PowerShell and developer tools.

Land Rover Begins Bookings of the New Defender at Price from Rs 69.99 Lakh Onwards


* The icon reimagined for the 21st century ready to make its entry into India
* New Defender to be offered in both 90 and 110 body styles; powered by 2.0 l, 221 kW (300 PS) petrol powertrain
* Bookings are now open for the world-class expert off-road and on, with deliveries to begin from August 2020

Jaguar Land Rover India, today announced that it has opened bookings of the New Land Rover Defender in India. Offered with a 2.0 l, 221 kW (300PS) petrol powertrain with 400 Nm of torque, the New Defender will be available in two distinct body styles, the elegant 90 (3 door) and the versatile 110 (5 door) as a Completely Built Unit (CBU) and is priced from ₹ 69.99 Lakh (ex-showroom India).

Rohit Suri, President & Managing Director, Jaguar Land Rover India Ltd. (JLRIL), said:

“The New Defender embraces its rich lineage in a modern, 21st century package that makes it extremely capable, on and off-road. With the entry of this icon to India, we are extremely proud to offer to our customers, the most capable and durable product in the Land Rover portfolio, while still retaining the authenticity and character of the original.”

The New Defender will be offered in five different variants across both 90 and 110; Base, S, SE, HSE and First Edition. Built for adventurous hearts and curious minds, the New Land Rover Defender is highly customisable with a multitude of seating options, accessory packs and features to choose from. For India, the New Defender will come with 360° Surround Camera, Wade Sensing, Electronic Air Suspension (Standard on 110), Smartphone Pack, Connected Navigation Pro, Off-Road tyres, Centre Console with refrigerated compartment (optional) and more.

More details on the New Land Rover Defender are available on

Land Rover Product Portfolio in India

The Land Rover range in India includes the Range Rover Evoque (starting at ₹ 54.94 Lakh),  Discovery Sport (starting at ₹ 57.06 Lakh), the Range Rover Velar (priced at ₹ 71.87 Lakh),  Discovery (starting at ₹ 75.60 Lakh), Range Rover Sport (starting at ₹ 87.02 Lakh) and Range Rover (starting at ₹ 182.25 Lakh). All prices mentioned are ex-showroom prices in India.

Jaguar Land Rover Retailer Network in India

Jaguar Land Rover vehicles are available in India in 24 cities, through 27 authorized outlets in Ahmedabad, Aurangabad, Bengaluru, Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh, Chennai, Coimbatore, Delhi, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Indore, Jaipur, Kolkata, Kochi, Karnal, Lucknow, Ludhiana, Mangalore, Mumbai , Noida, Pune, Raipur, Surat and Vijayawada.

Brigade Partners with Oakter to Unveil Amazon Alexa-Enabled Smart Home Automation

Brigade Group, a leading real estate developer, has partnered with home automation company Oakter to provide smart home solutions to its future residents. As part of its Brigade Plus Easy Home packages, a one stop solution for customized home offerings, Brigade customers will now be able to leverage the benefits of Amazon Alexa. With the help of Alexa, residents will be able to control their home devices such as lights, fans, ACs, TVs, cameras, geysers, listen to the music of their choice, get news updates, make shopping lists and much more, just through voice.

Brigade Plus Easy Home packages offers customers a host of interior solutions such as modular kitchens, electrical fittings, and now the newly announced Alexa-enabled smart home solutions to help them conveniently move into their new homes without the hassle of dealing with various contractors and vendors.

Since 1986, Brigade has been at the forefront of pioneering new trends across sectors – be it establishing the first serviced apartments in Bengaluru, designing large-scale integrated enclaves, introducing the iconic World Trade Center brand to South India and founding the acclaimed Indian Music Experience Museum. With this latest association, Brigade provides customers with tech-enabled designer interior solutions that literally speak their mind!

On this occasion, Ms. Pavitra Shankar, Executive Director, Brigade Enterprises Ltd., said, “There is a shift in customer preferences for homes that have security, convenience and optimised energy consumption to conserve resources. It makes sense that our offerings are updated to accommodate these new devices and technological advancements.”

According to Dilip R.S, Country Manager, Alexa Skills and Voice Services, Amazon India, “With nearly a 5X increase in Alexa-enabled Smart Home users in 2019, customers love the convenience of voice controlling their world. We are excited to see Brigade Group offer this delight of voice-controlled smart home devices with the Brigade Plus Easy Home packages.”

Smart home has become one of the most popular Alexa features and customers are increasingly experimenting with home automation, starting with something as simple as light bulbs. Alexa can seamlessly bring the smart home experience to life. The convenience of controlling smart home devices with simple commands such as “Alexa, turn on the lights”, set timers, ask for information, listen to the news or favourite music, set up quick reminders, add items to their to do list/ shopping list and much more is gaining momentum among customers.

Launched in 2015, Oakter manufactures smart-home appliances compatible with Amazon Alexa, and will be implementing these solutions across Brigade Plus Easy Home Packages. As per Varun Gupta, CTO of Oakter, “Software features are becoming more important in homes. We are delighted to partner with Brigade Group to bring in delightful experience of automation and voice control.”

Brigade has set up multiple model apartments showcasing furnishing options along with the Alexa enabled home automation systems, at the following locations across Bengaluru.

* Brigade Buena Vista, Budigere Cross
* Plumeria at Brigade Meadows, Kanakapura Road
* Brigade Panorama, Mysore Road
* Deodar at Brigade Orchards, Devanahalli
* Brigade El Dorado model unit, World Trade Center Bengaluru

Global Aggregator of Coworking Spaces - CoFynd Flags Off Operations in Delhi, Gurugram and Noida

CoFynd, the emerging aggregation platform for the booking of coworking spaces, have commenced its operations in Delhi, Gurugram and Noida. With the launch of their platform, CoFynd aims to offer event spaces, training rooms, meeting rooms, conference rooms along with the co-working spaces.  They provide these spaces and work environment for start-ups, young/small-medium sized enterprises, and professionals.

Launching a company all on your own can be thrilling, but also quite tough. One may feel isolated in the home office, but hesitant to look for permanent traditional office space because of the high rates. For those sailing in these uncharted waters, CoFynd, a global aggregator for workspaces, will act as an anchor. Whether you are a solopreneur, freelancer or a young team of enthusiastic entrepreneurs, a CoFynd is a perfect place to start and grow.

Coworking is a global phenomenon and it has completely changed the way we work forever. Almost, 2 million people are reported to be working out of Co-working spaces in 2019.  This industry has been growing at 23% since 2010 and number of co-working spaces is expected to double till the year 2022.

However, there are still a lot of challenges in this sector. For instance, there is a lack of a user-friendly platform that can provide standardized information on all co-working spaces.

There is still inability to book spaces online with ease and there is an absence of neutral customer mechanism support. Also, there is absolutely no presence of reviews on spaces to aid correct decisions.

CoFynd recognised all those loopholes and has come up to address and solve those challenges. CoFynd created unbiased platform with standardises listings. It provides the facility to book spaces online with super-ease. The user has the complete support and also has the access to the detailed reviews on co-working spaces.

Putting his thoughts on the same, Atul Gupta, Founder & CEO, CoFynd, said, " CoFynd has been launched to give startups and enterprises a platform where they can find the spaces according to their needs. We provide customised solutions as per their needs. Coworking spaces have become the lifeline of millennials and startups today. The growing demand from freelancers, consultants, and corporates has led to a growth in the co-working sector like never before. The workspaces to be future-ready should be networked, flexible, integrated and innovative, and CoFynd helps you to find one.”

Recently, CoFynd has also raised 1.25 crores of seed funding from some reputed corporates. The funds raised round will be invested across territory expansion plans, technology and marketing strategies.

Speaking about the funding, Atul said, “We are extremely excited to raise the seed funding round. The funds raised by the company will further accelerate the growth of our network and will allow us to broaden our reach and expand our services”.

The strategically located spaces at CoFynd offer access to nearby business centres, provides competitive corporate culture and opportunities to its members for sustained growth. The space is designed to cater to businesses of any size and form to boast diverse working environments having both private offices, cubicles, spacious cabins, meeting rooms, training rooms, and event spaces enabling the clients to choose as per their needs.

This unbiased and unified platform of listing coworking spaces strives to offer ease of discovery and bookings to the user along with 100% offline support for visits, negotiations and closure. It endeavours to give access to like-minded, close-knit, and success-focused professionals who are all driving towards the same goal.

Currently, CoFynd has its presence in Gurugram, Delhi and Noida and are planning to expand in other metro cities like Hyderabad, Bangalore, Pune and Mumbai.

About CoFynd

CoFynd, founded in 2019 by Mr Atul Gupta, is into aggregation and booking of coworking spaces. It is a global network and community to find Shared Office Spaces, Coworking Spaces, Private Offices, Business Centers and Meeting Rooms, Training Rooms, for Startups, Entrepreneurs, Freelancers, and Small/Medium Businesses. 

Harmony Expands to India, Bolsters Growth of DeFin the Rapidly Growing FinTech Sector

Harmony, a Silicon Valley-based scalable blockchain protocol, announced their entry into the Indian market. They are looking towards establishing partnerships in India’s startup ecosystem and foster the development of blockchain solutions in the Fintech space. With Fintech in India already booming, blockchain protocols are looking for meaningful integrations with startups and enterprises in the space to solve real pain-points.

Harmony is looking to partner, invest in, incubate and offer grants to developers and fintech startups looking to solve problems across cross-border transactions, trade finance, commodities finance, gaming, and virtual goods and many other industries. Entrepreneurs will be able to use Harmony’s open-source platform and tools, leveraging the native ONE token to power utility across a variety of use cases. In the first phase, Harmony will pick 5 partners/developers to work on the cross-fi and de-fi use cases.

According to the EY Global FinTech Adoption Index 2019, the adoption of FinTech in India has grown by 87% which is 64% higher than the average global rate. This growth has been attributed to several factors such as government initiatives, ease in access to innovative products and onboarding of users, and the willingness of the consumer market to adopt non-financial services brands if they are partnered with their existing banks.

A report by Invest India states that the overall transaction value in the Indian FinTech market is estimated to jump from approximately $65 bn in 2019 to $140 bn in 2023, overtaking China as Asia’s top FinTech funding target market. Additionally, a report by Gartner stipulated that blockchain technology has the potential to generate 3 trillion USD per year by 2034. With the present trends, the adoption of blockchain in the fintech space is going to open up several opportunities for India’s startup ecosystem. With the two areas of blockchain and FinTech set to grow in tandem, Indian startups and up-and-coming projects can really use the support via collaborations from experienced players like Harmony.

Harmony Protocol is one of the leading blockchain protocols that has made significant strides in solving one of the biggest problems in space - linear scalability. Due to this, Harmony is one of the top seven decentralised networks in the world alongside Bitcoin, Ethereum, Monero, and Ripple’s XRP. They already have a live mainnet and their native ONE token is listed on several cryptocurrency exchanges. 

The Harmony team is excited to collaborate with  FinTech startups and developers in India that are looking to solve and scale their products and use-cases by leveraging a fast, secure and decentralized blockchain platform. In order to facilitate this, Harmony is partnering with IBC Media - a startup that connects innovators with enterprises to solve real-world problem statements, to facilitate their vision in India.

“We’re excited to enable next-gen Fin-tech products & use cases in India that leverage a fast & secure blockchain . Given that India’s consumer base is adept with using sophisticated intra-country payment options like the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and several digital wallets, we see an opportunity to support the growth of this sector and are excited to collaborate with IBC Media to chart out this journey in India. Harmony will definitely enable the creation and innovation of highly-scalable, secure, FinTech solutions.”Sahil Dewan, Co-Founder, Harmony said.

With respect to India’s growing need for business solutions in the field of cross-border finance, (person) also expressed that Harmony can enable the creation of solutions to reduce the time consumed with faster, transparent, and secure, products.

“We are very happy that Harmony protocol is looking at India as a serious market and believe that they will be a big proponent in driving the growth of the fintech sector in India” said Raghu Mohan, CEO of IBC Media, “At IBC Media, we resonate with Harmony’s vision to scale trust for billions of people and create a fair economy. We are excited to partner with them to create better opportunities and innovate in the Fintech space in India. While it is still early days for blockchain in the country’s fintech sector, such collaborative efforts will explore more widespread adoption going forward.”

About Harmony:

The Harmony Protocol is a proof-of-stake blockchain that uses sharding to reach extremely fast, large-scale settlement for millions of users and helps businesses build marketplaces with fungible and non-fungible tokens. They facilitate the creation of blockchain solutions with zero-knowledge proof-enabled privacy and security. With their entry into the Indian market, Harmony will focus on leveraging India’s rich startup ecosystem and increase blockchain adoption through Decentralized finance (DeFi) and Cross border Finance (CrossFi).

MoneyTap Appoints Barindra Dutta as Director of Data Sciences

A veteran in the lending and financial industry, Barindra joins MoneyTap from Indiabulls, a leading financial services group in housing and consumer finance, where he was the Head of Advanced Analytics. At Indiabulls, he led the development of a scalable, cost-effective sourcing solution. Previously, he has worked at CLIX Capital Pvt Ltd as the Head of Data Science and held multiple leadership positions at American Express and GE Capital, bringing more than 15 years of experience in the consumer lending and analytics space.

Barindra is an Indian Statistical Institute and IIT Kharagpur alumnus, where he did a Masters in Computer Science and a Masters in Mathematics respectively.

“We are thrilled to have Barindra on board at the focal point of our growth story. He brings to the table an in-depth knowledge of scaling data-driven decisioning platforms. We look forward to his astute guidance as we scale to the next level while maintaining our industry edge in innovation and our strong credit discipline, said Chief Business Officer and Co-Founder, MoneyTap, Kunal Varma.

“MoneyTap will give me an opportunity to build the next-gen, data-driven decisioning platform across the lending lifecycle. I’m looking forward to working with the amazing tech team to scale businesses in India and international markets,” said Barindra Dutta on his appointment.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Quantum Celebrates 40 Years of Leading-Edge Data Storage and Management Solutions

Quantum Corp. has marked the company’s 40-year anniversary as an innovator in data storage and management with celebrations at its San Jose, California headquarters and its other global offices, honoring the company’s founders. The milestone highlights Quantum’s heritage of innovation in data storage and management solutions, as the company embarks on a new phase of growth with a series of new product introductions that have expanded the company’s portfolio of offerings for storing and managing video and other unstructured data. The anniversary celebration follows Quantum’s new listing to the NASDAQ stock exchange, as well as its announced plans to acquire the ActiveScale object storage business.

A Company Built on Innovation

Quantum got its start February of 1980 when executives and designers from Shugart Associates, IBM and Memorex designed an 8-inch hard drive that could achieve high performance without the cost or complexity of using a full closed-loop servo system – a major innovation at that time. The company went public in 1982 and continued expanding its product portfolio. Quantum acquired the DEC data storage division in 1994, adding tape automation products to its offerings.

Quantum sold its hard disk drive business in 2001, and in 2006 acquired Advanced Digital Information Corporation (ADIC), including the company’s Scalar® tape libraries, StorNext® filesystem software, and deduplication technology which served as the foundation for DXi backup appliances.

Today, Quantum is an industry leader in the storage and management of video and other unstructured data. According to industry analyst IDC, by 2025 80% of the world’s data will be video or video-like data*, positioning Quantum for growth with its leading video infrastructure portfolio. The company continues to innovate, with six new major product launches in the last year alone, extending the company’s multi-tiered storage for demanding workflows. The StorNext file system has been widely adopted by the media and entertainment industry and was recently recognized with a Technical Emmy award for its pioneering Hierarchical Storage Management (HSM) technology. Quantum Scalar tape products have been adopted as the backbone of some of the world’s largest hyperscale archive environments. Entertainment companies, sports franchises, researchers, government agencies, enterprises, and cloud providers turn to Quantum to preserve, protect and manage their most vital data assets.

Supporting Quotes

“Quantum’s heritage goes back to Silicon Valley’s earliest days when the area first captured the world’s attention as a center of innovation,” said Jamie Lerner, President and CEO, Quantum. “Today we’re applying technology to enrich people’s lives in ways they could scarcely imagine four decades ago.

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