Saturday, May 23, 2020

The Exciting & New Microsoft Edge: Launched at Build 2020


At Microsoft Build 2020, we unveiled a new range of tools and services to meet developers’ needs to drive impact and value. Amongst all other major announcements, new and exciting features for Microsoft Edge were also introduced to enable improved workflows for consumers, developers and commercial customers.

FEATURES FOR EVERY USER

Collections in Microsoft Edge is getting smarter with a new Pinterest integration

This new integration with Pinterest will help find ideas to spark inspiration, save time, and be more productive by suggesting content related to what that has already collected. The feature when enabled, will help with Pinterest suggestions at the bottom of collection. Moreover, the collaboration will also allow users to export collections to a Pinterest account, populating a new board with any saved webpages or images.

Faster, more contextual way to look things up

The new Sidebar Search feature will help improve the browsing experience as the user will get the option to see results in a pane on the side of the page. Simply highlight a word or phrase, right click, and select “search in sidebar” from the context menu. At work, with Azure Active Directory account, the user can also see company results.

FEATURES FOR INFORMATION WORKERS AND IT PROS

New syncing and customization options for IT professionals

This features allows to use multiple devices at once, installed extensions will now sync in Microsoft Edge. A new policy will also allow IT professionals to precisely manage all types of data sync for their users. This new feature will help them sync individual data to the workplace needs. For some workplaces, syncing passwords might not be allowed—now IT can manage this.

Coming soon, sync will also extend to customers whose environments are still on-premises.

Data security gets a boost with Windows Information Protection

Given the current situation, majority of people are working from home and the focus on data protection has never been more critical, especially for IT professionals. Microsoft Edge will now support Windows Information Protection for Windows 10 customers allowing clear cut separation of personal and corporate data. The feature update will further add an extra layer of protection for line-of-business apps, and also provide audit reporting for compliance.

Easily move between work and personal profiles

This is especially for information workers as Microsoft Edge will now allow users to set a default profile for any link they open. It will help them create a consistent experience even if they’re switching between profiles throughout the day.

It will also help users manage their profiles with the help of Automatic Profile Switching ability. With this new feature, Microsoft Edge will detect that whether the link being accessed needs work credentials or not. It will then then automatically switch the user to their work profile making profile switching seamless.

About Microsoft India:

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. Microsoft set up its India operations in 1990. Today, Microsoft entities in India have over 11,000 employees, engaged in sales and marketing, research, development and customer services and support, across 11 Indian cities – Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, New Delhi, Gurugram, Noida, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune. Microsoft offers its global cloud services from local data centers to accelerate digital transformation across Indian start-ups, businesses, and government organizations.

Hershey India Partners with Swiggy and Dunzo to Launch the Online Hershey Happiness Store


Hershey India, a part of The Hershey Company, one of the world’s leading snacking giants, has partnered with delivery apps, Swiggy and Dunzo. Hershey has launched their online brand store Hershey Happiness Store on these two online delivery apps. Shoppers can now choose from a wide range of Hershey products such as HERSHEY’S Kisses, HERSHEY’s Bar, BROOKSIDE chocolates, HERSHEY’S Syrup, HERSHEY’S Milkshake, HERSHEY’S Cocoa Powder, HERSHEY’S Spreads, SOFIT Soy Milk, SOFIT Almond Milk, SOFIT Protein Cookies and SMART COOK Tomato Puree just by clicking a button. Swiggy and Dunzo will deliver Hershey’s much-loved brands and products to the shopper’s doorstep in select cities.

The partnership with Swiggy is operational in New Delhi NCR, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Hyderabad, while the partnership with Dunzo is live in Bangalore and Hyderabad. Hershey is looking to scale up these associations to more locations over the next few months.

Speaking on these partnerships, Mr. Herjit Bhalla, Managing Director, Hershey India said, “We are in unprecedented times and it is imperative that we find innovative ways to bring our loved brands to our consumers. We are happy to have partnered with both Swiggy and Dunzo to bring the goodness of the Hershey range of products to our consumer’s doorstep, in safe and convenient way.”

The Hershey Happiness Store addresses the challenges faced by shoppers due to the current lockdown. Families are increasingly cooking delightful snacks at home with Hershey’s products and the online store is an additional avenue for consumers to access Hershey’s loved products, in addition to existing retail stores and e-commerce platforms.

About The Hershey Company

The Hershey Company, headquartered in Hershey, Pa., is an industry-leading snacks company known for bringing goodness to the world through its iconic brands, remarkable people and enduring commitment to help children succeed. Hershey has approximately 16,000 employees around the world who work every day to deliver delicious, quality products. The company has more than 80 brands around the world that drive $8 billion in annual revenues, including such iconic brand names as Hershey’s, Reese’s, Kit Kat, Jolly Rancher, Ice Breakers and SkinnyPop.

For more than 125 years, Hershey has been committed to operating fairly, ethically and sustainably. Hershey founder, Milton Hershey, created the Milton Hershey School in 1909 and since then the company has focused on helping children succeed.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Jaguar Land Rover Now Offers Contactless Online Purchase and Service Experience in India

Buy Online

* Jaguar Land Rover India enhances its online presence with improved purchase and service portals
* Online Purchase: Jaguar Land Rover was one of the first to introduce online portals in 2016 with “findmeacar.in” for Jaguar and “findmeasuv.in” for Land Rover
* Online Service Booking: Jaguar and Land Rover customers will enjoy a completely contactless and worry-free experience by booking service online at “jaguar.in” or “landrover.in”

Jaguar Land Rover India has announced today that it has further enhanced its online purchase and service presence, creating a safe and convenient experience for its customers, from the comfort of their home. A pioneering effort, Jaguar Land Rover, through its Retailers was one of the first to introduce online purchase with “findmeacar.in” for Jaguar and “findmeasuv.in” for Land Rover. Jaguar Land Rover has now enhanced its offering by adding a comprehensive service suite on its websites, “jaguar.in” and “landrover.in”

Rohit Suri, President & Managing Director, Jaguar Land Rover India said:

“At Jaguar Land Rover India, our aim has always been to offer a hassle-free and transparent purchase and service experience for our customers. With our enhanced and updated purchase and service portals, we are now able to offer the additional benefit of a contactless and safe environment in which our customers can fully enjoy the Jaguar Land Rover experience. ”

PURCHASE

Jaguar and Land Rover’s New and Approved vehicles buying platforms, “findmeacar.in” and “findmeasuv.in” respectively, get enhanced features and navigation for ease of use. With its unique comparison feature, online chat and click to call, existing and potential customers get to make informed decisions. When a customer decides to purchase a New Car, they can choose to opt for a ready delivery vehicle or order one according to their requirement for delivery at a later date. Customers can also offer their existing vehicle for trade-in and get an estimated value if it meets Jaguar Land Rover India criteria.

SERVICE

Jaguar and Land Rover customers can log on to “jaguar.in” and “landrover.in” respectively, to book their vehicle for service. The simple setup allows customers to enter their vehicle details, select the type of service, a suitable date and time and retailer that is the most convenient. From there onwards, the customer will receive an e-mail from the retailer confirming the appointment and should the customer choose, can avail a contactless vehicle pickup and drop facility. If so, and once the order of work is confirmed by the customer, he or she, from the comfort of their home will be updated about the work in progress via photos and videos on the Electronic Vehicle Health Checkup on their e-mail. On completion of work an e-invoice will be shared with the customer and the customer can pay from a variety of online payment options and would receive the car in the same contactless manner.

Zendesk Strengthens APAC Leadership with New Regional COO and SVP of Sales



Zendesk strengthens its regional leadership bench with Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) veterans Wendy Johnstone and Gari Johnson to accelerate growth in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region, which accounts for more than 10% of the company’s global business with over 24,000 customers, as of the latest financial results (Q1 2020).

Johnstone joins Zendesk as the company’s first regional Chief Operating Officer, where she will spearhead go-to-market strategies and operations for APAC and report into global Chief Operating Officer Tom Keiser. Based in Singapore, she brings over 25 years of experience in numerous senior marketing and operations roles at Salesforce, EMC, IBM and, most recently, Microsoft. 

Working closely with Johnstone is Gari Johnson, Senior Vice President, Sales, Asia Pacific, who will drive the company’s growth strategy and expand its customer base in the region. Previously at Salesforce, Johnson’s experience spans more than 30 years in sales, operations and marketing roles at Oracle, Intralinks and IBM, to name a few. Johnson is based in Sydney and reports into Norman Gennaro, President, Worldwide Sales.

Together, Johnstone and Johnson are set to steer the APAC business through these unique times in an effort to support Zendesk’s long-term goal of becoming a multibillion-dollar revenue company.

Earlier this year, Johnson’s predecessor, Sandie Overtveld, stepped into a newly created role within the business as the Vice President, Strategic Enterprise Accounts for APAC and EMEA and is now based in Europe.

Social Alpha, Aster DM Healthcare Collaborate to Launch Aster – Social Alpha Co-Innovation and Clinical Practice Integration Initiative


Aster DM Healthcare, a leading integrated healthcare provider and Social Alpha, an initiative supported by the Tata Trusts and Government of India have collaborated to support entrepreneurs and innovators working in the areas of digital health and medical technologies and launch Aster – Social Alpha Co-Innovation and Clinical Practice Integration Initiative.

As of 2018, there were a total of 4,892 start-ups in the Indian MedTech space and the Indian healthcare market is estimated to be valued at $372 Billion by 2022. The unprecedented outbreak of COVID-19 has created a global healthcare emergency and an urgent need for investment in science and technology innovations across the healthcare ecosystem. The partnership will support selected start-ups to take their solutions and technologies to market via Aster and Social Alpha’s platform and ecosystem, provide access toa shared pool of mentor network, expert connects and market access opportunities.Aster and Social Alpha will work together on co-creation of technologies and support start-ups with a vast network of pharmacies, primary care clinics and hospital expertise in India and Middle East for easy clinical adoption.

A one-of-its-kind projectAster – Social Alpha Co-Innovation and Clinical Practice Integration Initiative aims toprovide vast infrastructural support to start-ups which will include:

* Incubation support including access to specialized co-working spacewithin Aster and Social Alpha premises in Bengaluru, Cochin and Delhi
* Creation of Healthcare Technology Experience Centre at Aster CMI Hospital in Bengaluru. The Centre will hostAster Social Alpha – Innovation Lounge with Clinical Investigators who will work closely with innovators to co-create disruptive MedTech innovations.
* Creation ofDigital Health Incubation Core Group that will provide specific research support to help start-ups with relevant resource material and substantially reduce their R&D costs
* Social Alpha will host an Open Innovation Platformto systematically curate problem statements and manage the ‘lab to market’ journey of innovative solutions that solve a set of validated problem statements. It will allow multiple stakeholders to work together and create as well as build on an existing solution. Aster DM will co-host and participate in the curation, validation & prioritization of problem statements, innovations and enterprises.
* Year-round nationwide scouting of start-ups, innovators and entrepreneurs as per the curated problem statements

Speaking about the partnership, Manoj Kumar, Founder& Chairperson, Social Alpha, says,“The need for accelerated adoption of tech innovations in healthcare delivery cannot be overstated. The ability of the MedTech start-up ecosystem to pivot their technologies to respond to the immediate needs of the COVID-19 demonstrates the innovation agility and creativity of our entrepreneurs. The appetite for new technologies that can strengthen our healthcare delivery system is palpable but engaging clinicians and healthcare professionals throughout the lab to market progression is necessary to drive user acceptance and adoption at scale. Our partnership with Aster DM Healthcare is a step forward in that direction."

Speaking about the partnership, Dr. Satish Prasad Rath, Chief of Innovation and Research, Aster DM Healthcare says,“Healthcare systems of today’s age need more and more innovations to move from hospital centric sick care to patient centric healthcare. This will bring in efficiency and sustainability. In the COVID-19, non contact healthcare delivery era, importance of this has increased manyfold. We are extremely glad to have partnered with social alpha. The start ups need real testing environment, real data, real insights, which Aster with its comprehensive network; from pharmacy, primary care to tertiary and quaternary care can help in acceleration. We are also quiet eager to use this platform to bring forth newer innvotions for COVID-19 related solutions, as a part of our organisation’s efforts to continue providing easily accessable quality care”

The partnership has already shortlistedthreetechnologies for the first batch of Aster – Social Alpha Clinical Practice Integration Initiative. These technologies have been carefully identified based on the gaps in different stages of the existing Covid-19 management. These technologies include: a digital therapeutics app to manage anxiety, stress, depression and PTSD; AI driven teleICU that can reduce exposure to intensivists and care assistants and can also be used in low resource settings; and peptide based antiviral therapies targeting ACE2 and adsorption cartridges capable of removing cytokines from blood and preventing lethal complications of ARDS and viral sepsis. 

O2Matic is a MedTech start-up currently being incubated by Social Alpha under the program.They have intelligently designed infrastructure independent, affordable, easy to use oxygen generator for emergency oxygen sypply.

The collaboration will also include, but not be limited to, co-hosting innovation events, co-participation in grand challenges, technology and innovation evaluations, end user feedback and knowledge sharing and providing crucial mentorship support to the start-ups.

EdTech Live Online Tutoring Pioneer Vedantu Appoints Arvind Singhal as Chief Operating Officer


Vedantu, a pioneer in LIVE online tutoring in India, today announced the appointment of Arvind Singhal as Chief Operating Officer. Based in Bengaluru, Arvind will report to Vamsi Krishna, CEO and Co-founder. Arvind will lead Vedantu’s growth strategy and scale up the organization while working very closely with sales, marketing, academics, operations, and customer experience teams.

An industry veteran, Arvind comes with over two decades of rich experience across multiple sectors and well-known brands such as Asian Paints, Marico, Nokia, Reliance Communications, McDonald’s , TaxiForSure, Ola, BlueStone and Blackbuck. In the last decade, Arvind has been scaling and building businesses in COO/CEO role. He brings a diverse mindset and collaborative approach having worked in both traditional set ups as well as the startup ecosystem.

Announcing the appointment Vamsi Krishna, CEO and Co-founder, Vedantu said, “We are very pleased to have Arvind on board. He has a proven track record and is a leader with unparalleled understanding of business and people. By virtue of his strong contribution in the past, his appointment is in line with our growth strategy as we strive to become one of the world’s largest impact companies in education. I am confident that Arvind will drive Vedantu in its next stage of exponential growth as we continue to enhance our platform with world-class educators and embrace innovative technology to cater to learners across the country.”

On his appointment, Arvind Singhal, Chief Operating Officer, Vedantu said: “Vedantu is a category creator in LIVE online learning and I’m elated to take on the mantle as COO. Education is a great enabler for a beautiful future. It is not beyond our power to create a world in which all children have access to a good education. In the present scenario as online learning gains acceptance amongst students, it is our responsibility to create the right opportunity for the students of India.”

Arvind holds a degree in Aerospace Engineering from IIT Mumbai and is an MBA from IIM Calcutta.

RBI Takes Proactive Steps to Support Growth; Real Estate to Benefit from the Financial Measures


The measures announced by the RBI today during the MPC meeting complement the economic stimulus package announced earlier by the Central government and Central Bank to restart the economy through liquidity infusion, fiscal support and reform led investments. There is a strong indication by the Bank to kick-start the economy by fueling demand across sectors including Real estate. Given the current grim economic, the  environment underlined by weak demand and supply conditions, RBI has acted prudently to revive demand by facilitating cheaper credit and supply through enabling higher liquidity infusion across key sectors.

The 40 bps further reduction in the repo rate only gives more elbowroom to banks to reduce mortgage rates in favour of the homebuyers. The repo rate is now at 4.0%, which is lower than the 4.75% rate prevailing during April 2009 - global financial crisis period.  A faster transmission of these benefits to the end consumer in the form of lower home loan rates will aid in improving their effective affordability. Further, the reverse repo rate cut from 3.75% to 3.35% will further disincentivise  banks to park the surplus money with RBI, rather inject back into the productive sectors of the economy in the way of higher credit.

The extension of loan moratorium until August 31 will provide the much-needed respite to the corporate sector including real estate developers whose cash flows have been severely impacted due to the pandemic. Banks are also allowed to extend this benefit to NBFCs, which are strapped with short-term liquidity concerns. The Central Bank has also permitted the conversion of the accumulated interest on working capital facilities during the moratorium period into a term loan, which can be paid until March 31 2021. The lending institutions are being permitted to restore the margins for working capital to the original level by March 31, 2021.

Further, the commercial banks have been allowed to raise their group exposure limit from 25% to 30%, which will enable higher flow of credit to the corporate sector including real estate. These measures are significant to tide the short-term working capital challenges faced by the corporates and will give them a breather to focus on restarting their business operations. However, one-time restructuring of loan is the need of the hour more importantly for the real estate sector which is severely ailing due to the pandemic. It is expected that RBI will take a decision soon once it is clear about the lockdown’s impact on the economy and cash flow.

Akshaya Patra Foundation Receives a ₹3.75 Crore Grant from the Micron Foundation to Continue Food Relief


The Akshaya Patra Foundation received a ₹3.75 crore grant from the Micron Foundation for COVID-19 relief. Funding will go towards preparing and distributing over 15,00,000 meals (including essential food relief kits) to the affected people in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka as per the directions of local administrative bodies.

“The effects of COVID-19 pandemic in India have been far reaching, creating tremendous need,” said Anand Ramamoorthy, managing director of Micron India. “Micron’s grant to Akshaya Patra’s local kitchens and distribution chains aims to address the burdens most often borne by low-income communities and migrant workers.”

Akshaya Patra has served more than four crore meals across the country. In Telangana, the Foundation is working with the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) and local municipalities to serve cooked meals to migrant workers and daily-wage earners who have lost their livelihood and are in great despair in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak and the subsequent nation-wide lockdown.

Around 2,00,000 freshly cooked meals are served in Telangana by Akshaya Patra and associates every day. In addition, over 55,000 food relief kits with essential groceries have been distributed as of now. Each of these kits contains Sona Masuri rice, tur dal, refined sunflower oil, masala powders, salt, tamarind and vegetables that have a long shelf-life, such as potatoes.

“Micron’s continued support of Akshaya Patra’s COVID-19 efforts has enabled us to stay agile and adaptive, supporting the growing needs of the communities we serve. We thank the entire Micron Technology family for supporting us in this cause,” said Sri Satya Gaura Chandra Dasa, regional president of Akshaya Patra in the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. “We are also grateful to the government, especially the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) and the police force, for the trust and support they have extended towards our mission on a daily basis.”

Akshaya Patra dedicates its resources, platforms, and goodwill to make the biggest impact on people with the greatest need. This moment is an opportunity to illuminate how we are all affected when some of us lack the protections of a safety net. By focusing on the needs of people most impacted, we can better ensure the health and safety of all communities.

Edelweiss General Insurance Launches a “Unique, Usage-Based Motor OD Insurance Cover”

Key Highlights:

* App-based Motor OD floater policy
* Driver-based, pay-as-you-use model that allows the customer to pay premium only on the days they use the vehicle
* Covers multiple drivers and multiple vehicles under a single policy

Edelweiss General Insurance (EGI), India’s first cloud native insurer, announced the launch of an innovative, app-based Motor OD floater policy – Edelweiss SWITCH. This driver-based motor insurance policy, launched under IRDAI’s Regulatory Sandbox, allows vehicle owners to SWITCH their motor insurance ON and OFF, based on usage and covers multiple vehicles under a single policy.

What differentiates Edelweiss SWITCH from other Motor OD policies, is that it is driver-based insurance, where the insurance is calculated on the age and experience of the driver. Edelweiss SWITCH uses a pay-as-you-use model that allows the customer to pay the premium only on the days they use the vehicle, offering significant cost savings and convenience.  Customers can use the app to SWITCH their policy cover 'ON' and 'OFF', depending on whether they are driving that day.  Also, while the policy covers accidental damage when it is switched on, vehicles will be covered 24/7/365 against fire and theft, even if the policy is switched off at that time, since these incidents can happen even if the vehicle is not being driven.

Shanai Ghosh, ED & CEO, Edelweiss General Insurance, said, “At Edelweiss General Insurance, our focus has always been to create simple and innovative products that are relevant and provide tangible value to our customers. Edelweiss SWITCH has been developed with the specific needs of today’s customer in mind, where you may not use your vehicle regularly or may choose to alternate between your car and two-wheeler. This Driver Based Insurance will mean lower premiums for policyholders, as they will only pay as per usage. In addition to this, being able to cover multiple vehicles under one policy will add to the savings, especially for those customers who own multiple vehicles.”

IRDAI’s Sandbox platform is a welcome and progressive move, to encourage creation of innovative solutions for customers. Under this, nine GI players were given approval for products under the “Pay as you use” model. Of these, only three players, including Edelweiss General Insurance, have been given an approval for motor floater products.  The “Pay as you use” model is expected to change the erstwhile industry standard of determining premium for Motor OD (by age, make and model of the vehicle), to premiums based on usage and driving experience.

SEEDS and Honeywell Join Hands to Provide “3.7M Meals and 12K Hygiene Kits” Across 5 Indian Cities


SEEDS, a leading humanitarian organization, has partnered with Honeywell India to distribute food and hygiene kits across Bengaluru, Delhi, Gurgaon, Madurai, and Pune. The ongoing drive seeks to provide more than 3.7 million meals to families that have been rendered helpless by the COVID-19 crisis. Additionally, a month’s supply hygiene kits are being distributed to more than 12,300 families.

Dr. Manu Gupta, Co-Founder, SEEDS, said, “Through our continuous efforts to reach out to the bottommost 1% vulnerable communities, SEEDS is committed to providing dry ration, family hygiene and PPE kits, and financial support to those who are most in need to fight against the COVID-19 crisis. It saddens us to see people struggling for sustenance, and we are determined to help them to the best of our capabilities. For us, saving lives is most important.”

Flagging off relief efforts in the national capital, Shri Manish Sisodia, Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, said, “It is commendable that SEEDS and Honeywell, who have a longstanding engagement with the communities of East Delhi, have come forward during the current crisis with food and hygiene kits. This shows how committed and invested they are with the local communities.”

Each food kit comprises rice, wheat flour, sugar, pulses, cooking oil, and salt that should be sufficient to feed a nuclear family for at least a month. Hygiene kits include bathing and washing soaps, detergents, disinfectants, and sanitary and bath towels.

Shri Amit Khatri, IAS, Deputy Commissioner, Gurugram, said, “SEEDS and Honeywell have put together a comprehensive set of relief materials that includes food supplies and good quality hygiene kits. We are happy to partner with them to distribute these materials to around 2,000 needy families around industrial areas in Gurugram. These organizations have also come forward to supply schools and hospitals with disinfectants, which is critical to contain the spread of COVID-19.”

While mass migration of workers remains a huge worry for the country, distribution of food kits in industrial areas helps sustain displaced workers, thereby encouraging them to stay put.

Smt. Mrs. Manda Sakore, Sarpanch, Fulgaon Village, Pune, said, “With the nationwide lockdown there are many displaced workers who need help. Many companies with operations in Fulgaon are doing their bit to aid these people. We are supporting Honeywell and their NGO partner, SEEDS, in their efforts to reach out to these people with food and hygiene kits.”

The multi-city outreach effort has also been acknowledged by the government. In Madurai, Shri S. Venkatesan, Member of Parliament from the city, lent a helping hand.

He said, “I am happy to be a part of distribution drive organized by Honeywell to provide food and hygiene kits to those most in need, well-coordinated by SEEDS. While we distributed these items in Indira Colony and Karatipatty, we hope to cover more areas of the city in the coming days.”

Dr. Akshay Bellare, President, Honeywell India, said, “As a responsible corporate citizen, Honeywell has been contributing to COVID-19 relief efforts in country. We have donated Honeywell air purifiers to the government, and our 180 safe water stations continue to provide water to communities while ensuring social distancing. Through our partnership with SEEDS we hope to reach out to the most vulnerable with food and hygiene kits that are now essential for their survival.”

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak and countrywide lockdown, SEEDS’ local response teams have been deployed to carry out relief assistance to the most vulnerable and invisible communities across India. Team members are addressing the local and contextual needs of adversely affected communities in collaboration with local authorities.

A robust triangulation, distribution, and monitoring mechanism has been established to reach out to those in distress. Financial and essential services are being provided to support daily wage earners, and hygiene kits and dry rations are being distributed to marginalized families, daily wage earners, old age homes, and orphanages.

To strengthen the fight against COVID-19, SEEDS is also supporting public health systems by providing PPE kits, organizing safety training programs, and arranging temporary isolation centres.

Hershey India Partners with Swiggy and Dunzo to Launch the Online ‘Hershey Happiness Store’


Hershey India, a part of The Hershey Company, one of the world’s leading snacking giants, has partnered with delivery apps, Swiggy and Dunzo. Hershey has launched their online brand store Hershey Happiness Store on these two online delivery apps. Shoppers can now choose from a wide range of Hershey products such as HERSHEY’S Kisses, HERSHEY’s Bar, BROOKSIDE chocolates, HERSHEY’S Syrup, HERSHEY’S Milkshake, HERSHEY’S Cocoa Powder, HERSHEY’S Spreads, SOFIT Soy Milk, SOFIT Almond Milk, SOFIT Protein Cookies and SMART COOK Tomato Puree just by clicking a button. Swiggy and Dunzo will deliver Hershey’s much-loved brands and products to the shopper’s doorstep in select cities.

The partnership with Swiggy is operational in New Delhi NCR, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Hyderabad, while the partnership with Dunzo is live in Bangalore and Hyderabad. Hershey is looking to scale up these associations to more locations over the next few months.

Speaking on these partnerships, Mr. Herjit Bhalla, Managing Director, Hershey India said, “We are in unprecedented times and it is imperative that we find innovative ways to bring our loved brands to our consumers. We are happy to have partnered with both Swiggy and Dunzo to bring the goodness of the Hershey range of products to our consumer’s doorstep, in a safe and convenient way.”

The Hershey Happiness Store addresses the challenges faced by shoppers due to the current lockdown. Families are increasingly cooking delightful snacks at home with Hershey’s products and the online store is an additional avenue for consumers to access Hershey’s loved products, in addition to existing retail stores and e-commerce platforms.

About The Hershey Company

The Hershey Company, headquartered in Hershey, Pa., is an industry-leading snacks company known for bringing goodness to the world through its iconic brands, remarkable people and enduring commitment to help children succeed. Hershey has approximately 16,000 employees around the world who work every day to deliver delicious, quality products. The company has more than 80 brands around the world that drive $8 billion in annual revenues, including such iconic brand names as Hershey’s, Reese’s, Kit Kat, Jolly Rancher, Ice Breakers and SkinnyPop.

For more than 125 years, Hershey has been committed to operating fairly, ethically and sustainably. Hershey founder, Milton Hershey, created the Milton Hershey School in 1909 and since then the company has focused on helping children succeed.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Emirates Airline Sets Industry-Leading Safety Standard for Customers Travelling as it Resumes Operations


Emirates has launched a series of new initiatives for employee and customer care throughout the travel journey, stepping up safety and hygiene standards on board and on the ground.

The new measures come into effect today, May 21, with the resumption of regularly scheduled passenger flights to nine destinations.

“Emirates is implementing a comprehensive set of measures at every step of the traveller’s journey, to enhance the sanitisation of all touchpoints, and ensure the health and safety of our customers and employees. The risk of catching an infection on an aircraft is already very low, but we have spared no effort in reviewing and redesigning every step, from check-in to disembarkation,” said Adel Al Redha, Emirates’ chief operating officer.

“We are working with all the stakeholders in Dubai – including the airport, immigration, health and aviation authorities to implement such measures, and we will continue to review and consult expert advice for any development and changes. We are all aware that we have to adapt to different practices during this pandemic in our day to day activities.

“All these measures, in combination with the proactive pandemic management strategies that the UAE has taken, show the seriousness with which we are taking the health and safety of our local and global communities and will give confidence to the public.”

Check-in

Emirates has introduced complimentary hygiene kits – comprising of masks, gloves, antibacterial wipes and hand sanitiser – to be given to all passengers upon check in at Dubai International Airport and on flights to Dubai.

Gloves and masks are mandatory for all customers and employees at the airport in Dubai, while only masks are mandated on Emirates flights. On arrival at the airport, thermal scanners at various areas monitor the temperatures of passengers and employees.

Physical distancing indicators placed on the ground and at waiting areas help travellers maintain necessary distance at check-in, immigration, boarding and transfer areas.

The airport team has also installed protective barriers at each check-in desk and immigration counter to provide additional safety reassurance to passengers and employees.

Transit passengers

Customers travelling through Dubai International Airport and transferring onto another flight, will go through thermal screening upon disembarkation. Transfer desks have also been installed with protective barriers as a precautionary measure. Airport staff, dressed in personal protective equipment (PPE), will direct customers from a safe distance for extra assistance. Customers will be given an additional hygiene kit at the gate before boarding their connecting flight.

Boarding

The boarding sequence has been distributed, passengers now boarding by row, from the last to the first, in small counts.

The waiting area has also been altered to adhere to social distancing norms.

Emirates boarding agents, dressed in personal protective equipment (PPE), facilitate boarding while gates are deep cleaned and disinfected after the boarding of every flight.

On board

All cabin crew on board are expected to don PPEs while Emirates has added a cabin service assistant (CSA) to the crew to complement on flights over 1.5 hours. The assistants will ensure that lavatories are cleaned at intervals of 45 minutes.

Each lavatory has been equipped with sanitising soap and hand washing instructions.

Magazines and print reading material will not be available during this time. In premium classes, single use menus and wine lists will be provided to passengers. Comfort items such as mattresses, pillows, blankets, headphones and toys will be hygienically sealed.

Emirates will resume its service with hot meals, using high quality cutlery and crockery, sterilised before each use.

Cabin baggage have to be checked-in, and customers can only bring essential items such as a laptop, handbag, briefcase or baby items on board.

Customers are reminded to bring pens to fill out health declaration forms required for some destinations.

Emirates’ modern aircraft cabins have been fitted with advanced HEPA air filters which remove 99.97 per cent of viruses and eliminate dust, allergens and germs from cabin air for a healthier and safer on-board environment.

After its journey and on landing in Dubai, each aircraft undergoes enhanced cleaning and disinfection processes.

Emirates crew

Emirates’ flight and cabin crew are provided with cars for pick up and drop off at their home at the beginning and end of their duty.

Layovers in destination cities have been reduced where possible and on long-haul flights, where layovers are necessary, crew are put up in individual rooms in hotels.

On return to Dubai, Covid-19 tests are done on all crew members, subjecting them to a mandatory 14-day quarantine in their homes after every flight, unless they are on duty.

Shopify Announces Major Product Launches and Updates at Virtual Event Reunite


Today, Shopify Inc., a leading global commerce company, announced new and updated products at Reunite, the company’s first virtual event that brought together more than 100,000  participants from Shopify’s global community to hear how it’s helping merchants future-proof their businesses amid COVID-19. The virtual event, which was also open to Shopify partners and the public, covered the latest product news in areas like finance, retail, and shipping.

"These are unprecedented times. This is going to be one of the most challenging chapters in all of our lives. But entrepreneurs are the kind of people who make the most out of what they’ve got. They’re the people who can see opportunity when everyone else sees despair," said Tobi L├╝tke, CEO of Shopify. "Right now, we’re dedicating ourselves to helping as many small businesses as possible survive this. We’ve looked far and wide into our roadmaps for everything that might be helpful right now, and have tried to pull as many things forward as we could, shipping them and getting them out the door for our merchants."

From helping merchants manage their store’s money, to offering effortless local delivery options, to creating new ways of generating revenue at checkout, the products and updates announced at Reunite will help merchants navigate an ever-evolving retail landscape and plan for the future.

To facilitate growth these are the innovations that will be available to Indian merchants right away are gift cards, mechant tipping, a new theme called ‘Express’ that makes store set-up faster, local delivery and local pick-up.

Shopify Balance, the business account built for independent businesses and entrepreneurs

●        Most of today’s banking products are built from a traditional financial institution’s point of view and designed for large, established businesses. They aren’t designed for the needs of independent business owners, and aren’t as flexible as they need to be. In our research:

○        We found that two in five merchants are currently using their personal bank accounts and cards for business, meaning they’re combining their personal and business finances, making it difficult to measure the financial health of the business.

●        Shopify Balance will help close this gap by giving merchants access to critical financial products to start, run, and grow their businesses. Shopify Balance will include:

○        Shopify Balance Account: A one-stop-shop within the Shopify admin where merchants can get a clear view of cash flow, pay bills, track expenses, and make decisions about the future of their business.

○        Shopify Balance Card: Physical and virtual cards that merchants can use to access their money faster when spending in-store, with mobile or online, as well as withdrawing from ATMs.

○        Rewards: We plan to offer merchants cashback and discounts on everyday business spending like shipping and marketing.

●        With Shopify Balance there will be no monthly fees or minimum balances.

●        Shopify Balance will launch in early access later this year in the U.S.

Enabling ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ at checkout

●        Shop Pay Installments, Shopify’s new “Buy Now, Pay Later” option, will let merchants offer more payment choice and flexibility at checkout, giving consumers the option to split purchases into four equal payments over time, interest-free and with no additional fees to consumers.

●        Flexible payments can help increase a merchant’s average order size by making purchases more palatable to consumers—particularly in the current economic climate.

●        Working with a partner, Shopify will launch Shop Pay Installments later this year. It will be available to U.S. merchants eligible for Shopify Payments.

A new way for merchants to deliver locally

●        COVID-19 has underscored the importance of shopping locally. More than ever, merchants need efficient ways to connect with their local customers today and in the future.

○        Average daily local orders on Shopify for the six weeks ending April 24 grew 176%, compared to the prior six weeks, coinciding with the introduction of physical distancing measures; and, as of April 24, 26% of brick-and-mortar merchants in Shopify’s English-speaking geographies were using some form of local pickup and delivery solution, compared to just 2% at the end of February.

●        Shopify has begun rolling out a new Local Delivery product for merchants globally to offer an improved and simplified local delivery experience. Merchants can:

○        Define a local delivery area using distance radius or zip/postal codes

○        Set local delivery fees and minimum order price

○        Fulfill local orders through Shopify, Shopify POS, and Shopify Mobile

○        Use the new Shopify Local Delivery app to create optimized delivery routes, and send customer notifications when deliveries are on the way

Expanding Shopify Fulfillment Network

●        Shopify Fulfillment Network, which launched in 2019, has graduated from its early access stage, and is actively accepting merchant applications.

●        Shopify Fulfillment Network continues to take away the complexities of fulfillment by investing in technology and a collaborative robotics workforce, allowing merchants to join, scale and evolve their fulfillment strategies through its growing partner network.

●        Shopify opened its first research and development hub in Ottawa to trial new robotics and fulfillment technologies, iterate and improve on warehouse operations, and fulfill Canadian-based orders.

Improving the online store for all entrepreneurs

●        As COVID-19 has forced many businesses to move online, Shopify is releasing more online store features that will help entrepreneurs from a range of verticals adapt.

●        Merchants now have the option to collect tips at checkout. We’ve also released a new one-page theme called Express that enables merchants to get online quickly. These features were built with our local restaurants and coffee shops in mind, but can also be used by merchants in any vertical looking to connect with their customers online.

●        As of March 20, selling gift cards has been available to all merchants, and Shopify has seen more merchants utilizing this feature than ever before. For businesses that can’t deliver products during COVID-19, this feature has provided a much-needed supplement to cash flow.

Giving merchants more choice with more channels

●        Recently, Shopify announced Shop, a first-of-its-kind direct-to-consumer app and personal shopping assistant to make purchasing and order tracking frictionless.

●        Coming soon, Shopify’s new Shop Channel will let merchants control how their brand appears on Shop.

○        Merchants will be able to customize their profile, and how and where they appear on the app.

○        Shop Channel will first be available to merchants in Canada and the U.S.

●        On May 19, Facebook introduced Facebook Shops, which allows merchants to build branded versions of their online store within Instagram and Facebook.

●        Shopify is partnering with Facebook to help businesses create branded storefronts to help merchants deliver unique shopping experiences, and enable consumers to browse and purchase without ever leaving the apps.

TECNO Spark 5 Brings 6.6” Dot-In Display and 13MP AI Quad Camera at Just Rs 7999

Highlights

* Spark 5 becomes the only smartphone in the sub-8K segment to feature 13MP rear AI Quad-cam with a Big 6.6" Dot-In display
* TECNO’s novel ‘Doorstep Delivery’ initiative will be extended to SPARK 5; Will be available across 35,000+ offline retail network
* SPARK 5 will also be available on Amazon.in starting 22nd May, 2020

TECNO, the global premium smartphone brand once again re-affirms its ‘segment-first’ reputation by announcing the launch of yet another all-round performer TECNO SPARK 5 under its popular & successful Spark series. Priced at INR 7999, TECNO Spark 5 becomes the first in the under 8K segment to offer 13MP quadruple rear camera set-up and a BIG 6.6” Dot-In display. The segment-first offering marks TECNO’s endeavour to live up to its ‘ahead-of-the-curve’ approach that aims to provide future-ready devices to its consumers. In keeping with its ethos, TECNO smartphones will introduce best-in-class design, display, camera experience and overall Smartphone experience in the affordable segment.

TECNO SPARK 5 is designed to cater to the needs of the ‘Greater Bharat’ who are the aspiring, value-seeking consumers looking for a taste of the premium features at an affordable pricing. The new smartphone is loaded with segment-leading features like a quadruple rear-camera set-up that comprises of 13MP primary rear camera with F1.8 aperture, a 2MP depth lens perfectly suited for portraits. While 2MP, Macro lens to capture the tiniest of details by clicking even a 4cm extreme close up shots. SPARK 5 also flaunts a 6.6” Dot-in Display; a premium feature available for the first time under 8K segment, with a 20:9 aspect ratio will take the viewing experience to the next level for this category customers. Consumers will also be able to avail TECNO’s 1-time screen replacement and 1-month extended warranty (12+1 month) on this new product offering.

Commenting on the launch, Mr. Arijeet Talapatra, CEO, TRANSSION India said, “As social distancing becomes an important part of our lives, there is a need to equip the people of ‘Greater Bharat’ with a smartphone on which they can carry out important life functions and day-to-day activities with ease.  We believe our approach becomes more relevant than ever under current circumstances. To be able to create resonance at this time, ‘customized innovation’ becomes the watchword. TECNO SPARK 5 once more shows TECNO’s ability to innovate products in a way that makes its applicability more meaningful for our customers and provide them with better, richer and seamless experience.”

TECNO Spark 5 is available in two colourful variants -- Ice Jadeite and Spark Orange. The new smartphone will be available across 35,000+ offline retail stores starting 25th May. TECNO urges its consumers to avail the new ‘Doorstep Delivery’ option -- place the order with their preferred retailers at https://www.tecno-mobile.in/home-delivery. The microsite with a store locator will assist in mapping the retailer and their contact details, and the device will be delivered at their doorsteps by their nearest retailer within 24 hours in compliance with the regulations and guidelines prescribed by the Government for zones created in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.

Key USPs of SPARK 5

·       Experience superior pro photography best in the segment

SPARK 5 comes with a rear camera set-up integration of 13MP+2MP+2MP+AI lens with Quad flash and f1.8 aperture which makes your pictures brighter & clearer even in low light.  With AI Auto Scene Detection (ASD) based on deep learning algorithm, it automatically detects different objects and all type of light conditions, and automatically adjusts the brightness and contrast ratio to ensure that you get the best image output in any outdoor environment. Additionally, consumers can enjoy AR mode which lets users to create various funny and spicy moments with friends and family. Localized sticker enhances the fun aspect of photography. Other features include Bokeh Mode, Macro Mode, HDR, AI Beauty, Panorama, for enhancing the overall photography experience.

·       Incredible design and smart selfie camera

The new smartphone comes with 8MP Dot-in Selfie camera that seemly integrates the front camera, & light sensor on a 6.6” HD+ screen that boasts a 90.2% screen-to-body ratio, super wide view, and a much more efficient display of information. the feature that is currently available in only higher priced flagship smartphones. f2.0 front camera is clubbed with soft dual LED flash which helps in capturing the perfect selfies and making clear video calls regardless of the lighting condition.

·       Big Security

Security being the major factor in our lives nowadays, it is imperative for your smartphone to have a stable and robust security. The SPARK 5, is armed with a Smart Fingerprint Sensor and Face Unlock 2.0. Fingerprint sensor can also perform other functions like accepting and recording calls, click pictures and dismiss alarms. The Face Unlock 2.0 tightens the security on your smartphone, as it prevents the phone to get unlocked with eyes closed.

·       Big Battery that lasts long

TECNO SPARK 5 encompasses a 5000 mAh high-density large capacity batter with AI Power saving and Safe Charge feature, ridding one of the hassle of charging the device multiple times in a day. When fully charged, you can enjoy video playback of 16 hours, standby time of 527 hours, music playback for 120 and calling time of 35 hours.

·       Bigger Storage

The SPARK 5 hosts a 32 GB internal storage which is expandable upto 256GB, allowing you to keep track of all the details in your smartphone, with ease and without hassle, backed by a powerful Quad-Core 2.0 GHz CPU Helio A22 processor. 

First Range Rover Made Under Social Distancing Measures Comes Off Jaguar Land Rover's Solihull Production Line


Details

* First Range Rover manufactured under new social distancing measures to protect the health and wellbeing of Jaguar Land Rover employees 
* Robust protocol and guidelines in place across the company to ensure effective social distancing, hygiene and health monitoring 
* Employees encouraged to ‘Stay safe. Be Kind. Stay Well.’ 

Today, the first Range Rover made under new social distancing measures drove off the production line at Jaguar Land Rover’s manufacturing plant in Solihull, following the recent temporary pause in production due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Effective social distancing, hygiene and health monitoring measures are in place following an extensive review of all production lines, engineering facilities, office areas and communal spaces as the company starts a phased return to manufacturing. 

Employees’ health and wellbeing are at the centre of this plan and, with the implementation of the new protocol, staff will experience a significant number of changes to their working day from the moment they enter the site. 

Measures include temperature checks with thermal cameras, a 2 m distance between people wherever possible, Personal Protective Equipment where that is not the case, the introduction of one-way systems and enhanced cleaning at the plants. In addition, Jaguar Land Rover is offering every employee a reusable face visor made by the company. 


Grant McPherson, Jaguar Land Rover Executive Director, Manufacturing, said: “Seeing the first Range Rover come off our line today is a defining moment for Jaguar Land Rover, for all of us who work for the company and the many businesses in our supply chain. It marks the end of our temporary shutdown and signals the beginning of a return to normality. But, of course, this is a new normal. 

“People will be experiencing many emotions, ranging from worry about hygiene to relief at being able to return to work and excitement at seeing colleagues again. The health and wellbeing of our employees has been our primary concern in the build-up to this point. Throughout the coming months, I know that as a team we will do all we can to ‘Stay safe. Be kind. Stay well’.” 

In addition to new measures onsite, colleagues will be asked to take additional actions before returning to work. These include completing an online clinical questionnaire, signing up to a health and wellbeing charter, and monitoring their temperature at home before each shift. 

Dr Steve Iley, Jaguar Land Rover’s Chief Medical Officer, said: “We have been going through unprecedented times and my thoughts are with everyone who has been impacted by COVID-19, as well as with the healthcare professionals, whose role fighting coronavirus is appreciated around the world. 

“Clearly the health, safety and wellbeing of the Jaguar Land Rover family is our primary concern. We have developed the most effective protocol and guidelines so that our people feel reassured about coming back to the workplace. 

“Our measures are based on extensive medical and operational review, including lessons learned from our teams in China and Slovakia. We continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation, following the guidance of all relevant authorities in the markets in which we operate, and will adapt quickly as that guidance changes.” 

Des Quinn, Unite the Union National Officer, added: "We are satisfied that Jaguar Land Rover has not only implemented government guidance but has gone above and beyond to satisfy and ensure as many safe systems as possible are in place from the minute employees arrive to the minute they leave work." 

Production of Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles has also resumed this week at Nitra (Slovakia) and Graz (Austria). Last week the team at the Engine Manufacturing Centre in Wolverhampton (UK) began building Ingenium engines again to enable the gradual return to vehicle production. Manufacturing will resume at Halewood (UK) on 8 June, starting with one shift. Small pockets of business-critical activity are taking place at Castle Bromwich as Jaguar Land Rover prepares for new model year introductions.

The company’s joint-venture plant in Changshu (China) has been operational since the middle of February as vehicle sales recover there and customers return to showrooms following the easing of the lockdown.

As countries are relaxing distancing guidelines and retailers are reopening around the world, the restart of production at the company’s other plants will be confirmed in due course.    

NSW Government Supporting International Students Through Covid 19


The NSW Government will fund temporary crisis accommodation for stranded international students as part of a $20 million package protecting the vulnerable and maintaining the State’s track record as a leading global study destination.

Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education Geoff Lee said helping international education meant helping the whole State of NSW. “International students are an integral part of our communities and our economy,” Mr Lee said. “Thousands of families around the State depend on the sector – whether through direct employment, homestays or other services.

“The package includes a temporary housing scheme, targeted at students in genuine need and delivered through approved student accommodation or homestay providers. "It also provides increased support via the International Legal Service NSW, making available 50,000 free subscriptions to the multilingual My Legal Mate student app".

A new 24/7 international student support service, through the NSW Government COVID-19 hotline (13 77 88), will offer free advice and information about other measures, including the moratorium on rental evictions and medical, mental health, legal and emergency support. Mr Lee said international students make a huge contribution to NSW and deserve a helping hand.

“Many have lost their part-time jobs, are unable to return to their home countries and do not qualify for Commonwealth Government support programs,” he said. “The additional support being announced today complements efforts of our education institutions, highlighted by a combined $180 million commitment from NSW universities for their international and domestic students.

"Council of International Students Australia (CISA) president Ahmed Ademoglu welcomed the announcement. “We are pleased to see the NSW Government focus on crisis accommodation for vulnerable international students, which is something that we as an association have been calling for,” Mr Ademoglu said.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

TULIPS Will Increase Production to 5 Million Swabs a Week to Boost Covid 19 Diagnosis in India


Amid calls for increased coronavirus testing nationwide, Suparshva Swabs (TULIPS), India’s leading personal hygiene consumer product innovator and owner of the fast-growing popular brand TULIPS, today, announced that it is currently producing over 2 million COVID-19 SWABS per week, which would increase to over 5 million per week by the end of May 2020, to accelerate COVID-19 testing.

To meet the national need for COVID-19 tests, the company is ramping up production, by converting its production lines and reconfiguring equipment, of some of its manufacturing capabilities. The company has the largest installed capacity of Cotton buds in Asia & possesses capability of taking the COVID-19 swab production to over 30 million swabs per week, if required in due course.

The intent is to make the country self-reliant in nasal and throat swabs, a critical component in fighting COVID-19 war and rely less on supplies from other countries, in these testing times. With rising number of COVID-19 cases, the company shifted focus to affordable swabs, as domestically produced swabs would cost one-tenth the imported throat swabs.

Key features of the highly specialized TULIPS swabs are:
100% polyester based swab on a thinner Polypropylene Shaft
ICMR approved polyester swab with very flexible stem
In-built break point at 64 mm and a red indicator line just above it thereby posing no risk for the test medics
Special thin size swab size – perfectly comfortable for both nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal
Swab compatible even for vacutainer tubes with a bung cap
4 tier quality check system – guaranteed product as per COA

TULIPS novel polyester spun swabs innovation has excellent collection and release properties. Polyester fiber has been tested and validated for use in specimen collection in microbiology, RT-PCR analysis.

TULIPS is the first to develop & receive the ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) and NIV (National Institute of Virology) validation for domestically produced ‘polyester’ swabs. This is significant as COVID Test swabs were not manufactured in India, and were imported from the US or China. With global demand increasing, it became difficult and expensive to get swabs from other nations.

Today the country needs the swabs in large numbers to fight the COVID-19 war. As per WHO, reconfiguring health systems is vital to tackling COVID-19. This is significant amid calls for more testing for coronavirus and warnings from the medical experts that reopening the nation’s economy without increasing the capacity to test for the virus poses serious risks.

"Today's health crisis is unprecedented, so we all have to help wherever we can. While we are firm on meeting the national needs, we will also scale up and help others across the world.

We are convinced that widespread testing of those currently infected with COVID-19 will bring us out of the current lockdown as we do our bit to help the country return to normalcy. We are working at full speed as time is of the essence, and a lot is at stake. Our dedicated employees are working 24 x 7, to ensure free availability.  We developed Polyester swabs for COVID testing by converting the 100% Cotton processing lines, to produce Polyester swabs, within 10 days flat. What is unique here, is that the entire development was done in-house by our amazing team and the trials were done on main production lines, which enabled us to start producing the same day we received the ICMR approval,” said Rahul Jain, Partner, Suparshava Swabs.

“To fight COVID-19, India will have to increase testing and may need over 7 – 10 million swabs every week, to enable the nation to safely begin easing lockdown restrictions and open the economy. This is significant as India plans aggressively to test its billion plus population for COVID-19 to ensure the virus doesn't spread faster when some of the regulations are relaxed.”, said Mr Rajiv Nath, Forum Coordinator, Association of Indian Medical Device Industry (AiMeD), New Delhi ”

With COVID-19 positive cases in India crossing 100000 and deaths surpassing 3000, experts believe, we must act decisively to outsmart the virus and contain the outbreak. Affordable swabs enable mitigating this human crisis by accelerating preventive testing, and quickly meeting the massive demand to a decrease in outbreak as well as a return to normalcy.

One of the largest producers of swabs – TULIPS’ product line, currently one of the best worldwide in innovative hygiene cotton products and wipes, employs more than 400 workers.

About Suparshva Swabs (I)

Incorporated in 1998, Suparshva Swabs (I) is the one of the largest & the most qualitative manufacturer/ exporter of Personal Hygiene products, like Cotton buds, Special Swabs, Cotton balls etc., in entire South Asia.

Strongest Indian company selling various cotton & wood based personal hygiene products under their flagship brand TULIPS, their product range includes almost all Cotton hygiene products including Cotton Buds, Cotton Pads, Cotton Balls,  range of refreshing wipes and baby wipes, Absorbent Cotton Rolls & Cotton Pleats, high quality White Birch Toothpicks, Skewers / Bar-be-que sticks of different sizes.

Suparshva Swabs (I) is a company with international reputation and footprint and the products are produced at state of the art manufacturing facilities, ensuring high level of quality standards & product consistency.

Their product quality has earned international prestige for the country, as the products are being exported to top brands in more than 15, quality-discerning, countries. With complete backward integration, almost all the intermediate raw materials used are being processed on totally automated production lines, making the company one of the lowest cost manufacturers in the world.

Kitaab Brings in Frontline Corona Warriors for a Unique Virtual Launch of e-Book “The Coronavirus”


Prabha Khaitan Foundation, an organization that is dedicated to the socio-cultural welfare and humanitarian cause had through its platform Kitaab, organized a virtual book launch of the e-book ‘The Coronavirus: What you Need to Know about the Global Pandemic’. The book is written by Dr Swapneil Parikh, co-founder DIY Health, Maherra Desai, clinical psychologist and medical researcher and Dr Rajesh Parikh, Director of Medical Research and Neuropsychiatry, Jaslok Hospital. Published by Penguin, the book takes the reader through the history of pandemics while giving some serious advice on how to keep oneself safe from the deadly virus. Kitaab, connects Asian writers with readers globally and provides a writing and publishing platform to emerging and seasoned writers from the region to express themselves creatively. Ms. Shama Deo, President of Spectrum - a Study group from Pune committed to learning gave the welcome note and moderated the session.

Written by frontline COVID-19 warriors, the book gives us an illustrated account of world’s tryst with pandemics and epidemics at various points in history and the challenges that are ahead of us now. With regard to this virtual session, Ms. Manisha Jain, Communications & Branding Chief, Prabha Khaitan Foundation stated, “Through this initiative, Prabha Foundation and Penguin endeavours to spread awareness on what needs to be known about the current global pandemic. Through this interactive session our discerning viewers and listeners were able to know credible and comprehensive information from professionals that helped us understand what this deadly virus is, and how we can prepare and protect ourselves against it, for the future of humankind.”

Dr Swapneil Parikh, who co-authored the book added, “This is the first book that addresses the history, evolution, facts and myths around the pandemic. Though the world now has enough technology and experience of pandemics and epidemics like SARS, E-bola, Swine flu, Zika, etc. still our inability or unwillingness to learn from past experience caused the delay to handle the situation.”

He further stated that, “We started writing the book in early February when the problem was perceived as Chinese and largely confined to Wuhan and Hubei province. WHO called it infodemic before calling it pandemic. By the end of February, the virus has spread globally, and the effect was enormous. Nothing on this scale has been experienced in living memory. One of the key learnings is that with any new pandemic we should assume that we have to deal with worst case scenario then only we can prepare ourselves ”

Throughout the hour-long engaging session, the doctors discussed about how we should prepare ourselves to deal with this global pandemic. They explained in detail the virus’s mechanism of action, and how it manages to dive deep into the lower respiratory tract, multiplies silently until its ‘discovery’ by the immune system. It is in the degree of the response, when the immune system itself hits panic mode that it launches a frenzied attack which, in more ways than one, can result in overkill. This severe respiratory disease can end up being detrimental to the aged, those with diabetes or cardiovascular disease, or have a history of smoking. They also discussed the modern history of viral contagions which shows that pandemics are those catastrophes when health care professionals are overwhelmed while doing their job. As they also try to save themselves, they become unwitting amplifiers of disease and turn into objects of fear — as numerous videos of doctors and healthcare workers being harassed attest to.Experts have predicted there will be a mental health crisis of epic proportions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ms. Maherra Desai, clinical psychologist and medical researcher stated in the virtual session, “A vast majority of Indians can’t access quality healthcare, and I hope when we come out of this danger, people start caring for those who have constantly suffered due to lack of basic medical facilities.” She has researched the effects of social media as the medium which is both a strength and weakness for public-at-large. Ms Desai added, “While the Chinese whistle blowed about the disease on the medium, social media also propagated misinformation, xenophobia, racism among other social evils which played onto people’s minds. Due to this pandemic, there will be long term psychological effect, half of the population is sequestered, over 1.2 billion children are not going to school. There will be a global food crisis at the end of this pandemic.”

Prabha Khaitan Foundation is devoted towards the promotion of literature culture and performing arts and collaborates with caregivers, committed individuals and like-minded institutions to implement cultural, educational, literary and social welfare projects in India. Kitaab is an initiative of Prabha Khaitan Foundation. Through this initiative PKF has launched books of Dr Shashi Tharoor, Vir Sanghvi, Pavan Verma, Salman Khurshid, Sunita Kohli to name a few.  

IPRS Releases Additional Tranche of Relief Fund for its Members


With the world under lockdown battling the COVID pandemic, music as an art form has brought solace to millions of people across the globe. Be it any genre - jazz, rock, pop, classical, folk or country, music has helped people and communities come together and worked as a soothing balm on the weariness resulting from a prolonged lockdown and helped people deal with these difficult times in a positive way. Unfortunately, the music community while trying to spread cheer everywhere has also not been left unimpacted.

The Indian Performing Right Society Ltd (“IPRS”) had in April announced a significant financial package to help thousands of authors and composers address their essential needs during the initial stages of the lockdown. IPRS has now announced the release of an additional tranche of emergency relief fund for its members. The fund will support around 3500 authors and composers in the music fraternity, across the country, whose livelihoods have been deeply impacted by COVID19. IPRS is taking all required measures to facilitate distribution of the relief fund on an urgent basis.

Mr. Javed Akhtar, Chairman of the IPRS said, “IPRS was established with the objective of helping the creative music fraternity grow and flourish and this holds true now more than ever when our community is in dire need because of these unprecedented times. Our initial financial assistance package in April 2020 brought much needed relief to the community and we hope the additional money that is being released now will help again to provide necessary respite at this moment. I would humbly urge everyone to come forward and help others in this time of distress in whatever capacity they can. It is only if we come together and stand united against this crisis that humanity will be able to overcome this situation.”

On the occasion, Mr. Aditya Gupta, Director of Aditya Music and Board member of IPRS, said, “We are the first and the only label from south on IPRS board. And we are working very hard to get the rightful royalties for all our author and composer members from south."

On the occasion Mr. U. Vidyasagar, composer & musician and Board member of IPRS said, “This crisis has been the most severe times for all of us. The South Indian Music fraternity is proud of IPRS for coming out to support musicians and composers in such difficult times. These are difficult times and we have to stand by each other and look after our community. I’m glad to be a part of such noble initiative. “

On the occasion Mr. Mr. Sahithi Cherukupalli, lyricist and Board member of IPRS said, “ These are testing times for all of us. This pandemic has created financial uncertainties across sectors. I am very heartened that IPRS has stepped forward in time to help those in need. This small act of humanity will be remembered by all for many more years to come.”

Mr. Rakesh Nigam, CEO of the IPRS said, “As a responsible copyright society, it’s our duty to extend our support to the music industry in whatever way possible. We are trying our best to amplify our efforts in providing financial assistance to our members and ensure they have some income available to them while all other streams of earning a livelihood have temporarily dried up.”

Lightwing Helps Businesses Save 90% of Cloud Compute Costs Through Intelligent Automation


Cutting down the waste in spending has never been more critical than in the new normal. When digitalization is the natural path, a big chunk of spending of all businesses is inevitably going into cloud computing. One company’s solution may alter this drastically by optimizing the use of public clouds such as AWS, Azure and DigitalOcean.

Lightwing’s solution provides companies with intelligent CloudOps automation – slashing monthly cloud computing bills by as much as 90%, and significantly improving the efficiency of the team and the infrastructure. They have enabled this with a simple one-time setup and have eliminated any manual intervention. Businesses require no change in the way their developers work.

While Microsoft Azure has reported a staggering rise of 775% in the demand for cloud services during the COVID-19 phenomena itself, with companies already having spent over $43 bn on cloud computing in 2019.

Lightwing aims to tap this opportunity and to make the process seamless. It provides businesses with three cost optimization pillars as they call it - each designed for a different aspect of cloud usage.

One of the products, Lightwing ComputeGroups helps companies utilize the cloud’s excess capacity and significantly cut compute costs. While Lightwing Policies provides automated cloud usage governance across the business’ cloud accounts. Combining these capabilities provides savings of up to 90% on monthly cloud computing costs.

The Lightwing Smart Adviser (available on its website www.lightwing.io) helps a business sign up for and automatically choose the best-suited optimization option for each of their cloud resources, and provides real-time savings estimate that they can expect once the automation is implemented.

“With Lightwing Smart Advisor, the process of getting ready for optimization takes a mere 15 minutes as compared to the usual weeks of manual discovery and assessment that precedes a cloud optimization effort,” explains Ravitej Yadalam, Co-founder & CEO of Lightwing.

Navaneeth KN, Co-founder & CTO, has a rich cloud and AI experience of over 12 years from his time at Thoughtworks and Alation. While Navaneeth has successfully built an automation testing tool in the past, Ravitej has a successful ecommerce product under his belt that provided a unified shopping experience for over 350,000 global users.

Ravitej explains the working of the product by giving an example of the optimization of lights around your room. “For non-production resources, imagine that the room you’re sitting in and all the lights in it is a company’s cloud usage every month. Some cloud optimization products dim all the lights in the room to an acceptable dullness, while others manually shut down all the lights in the room periodically, whether or not I’m in it. But Lightwing automatically detects when I’m in the room and where I’m standing. Then, switches off all the other lights except the one right above me and every time I take a step, the light follows me around. Sometimes, before I even move.

This is what then duo calls AI-powered, policy-driven optimization on steroids. “This is Lightwing AutoStopping, just one of three cost optimization pillars we provide,” adds Ravitej.

The product today works on any cloud computing resource on AWS, Azure and Digital Ocean with more clouds to follow.

Lightwing aims to tap the market that has millions of businesses hosted on public clouds. The company currently has commercial POCs with NetApp, Vedantu, EOX Vantage, among others.

Lightwing is currently providing an extended 30-day free trial with full enterprise support to let companies see the cost savings that the product can bring for them, available at https://www.lightwing.io/tsdemoday/.

Lightwing is one of the ten startups that successfully completed the mentorship-driven Techstars Bangalore Accelerator's 2020 programme recently. The intensive programme provides support to the startups through an investment of $120,000 in each company, mentorship and support resources as they develop and refine aspects of their businesses to enhance product-market fit and position themselves to scale.

“The Techstars program helped us immensely with mentorship, brand visibility, and customer and investor access. We have accomplished in these three months what may otherwise have taken us two or three times that duration, which is invaluable progress for any company,” says Ravitej.

About Techstars

Techstars is the global platform for investment and innovation. Techstars founders connect with other entrepreneurs, experts, mentors, alumni, investors, community leaders, and corporations to grow their companies. Techstars operates three divisions: Techstars Mentorship-Driven Accelerator Programs, Techstars Corporate Innovation Partnerships and Techstars Communities. Techstars accelerator portfolio includes more than 2,100 companies with a market cap of more than $26 Billion. 

LTI FY20 Constant Currency Revenues Grow 14.2%; Q4 FY20 Revenues Up 4.7% QoQ, 17.4% YoY


Larsen & Toubro Infotech (BSE code: 540005, NSE: LTI), a global technology consulting and digital solutions company, announced its Q4 FY20 and full year FY20 results today.

Q4 FY20, In US Dollars:

Revenue at USD 409.9 million; growth of 3.9% QoQ and 15.9% YoY
Constant Currency Revenue growth of 4.7% QoQ and 17.4% YoY

In Indian Rupees:

Revenue at Rs 30,119 million; growth at 7.1% QoQ and 21.2% YoY
Net Income at Rs 4,275 million; Net Income growth at 13.5% QoQ and 12.9% YoY

Full year FY20

In US Dollars:

Revenue at USD 1,524.7 million; growth of 13.0% YoY
Constant Currency Revenue growth of 14.2% YoY

In Indian Rupees:

Revenue at Rs 108,786 million; growth at 15.2% YoY
Net Income at Rs 15,205 million; Net Income growth at 0.3% YoY

Capital Return

Final Dividend of Rs 15.5 per share; Dividend pay-out ratio of 35.0% for the year
ROE of 29.5% for the year

“We are extremely proud of the strong work ethic of LTItes who rose to the challenge of an unparalleled global pandemic, exceeding client expectations and earning their trust.
Our resilient business model, comprehensive digital transformation capabilities and flawless execution helped us to deliver fourth consecutive year of industry leading double-digit revenue growth in FY20. We are also pleased to announce two large deals in Q4 with net-new TCV in excess of US$100 million, culminating in a record 8 large deal wins for us in FY20. 
With strong order wins, healthy revenue momentum and client centric growth strategy, we shall confront near term demand challenges and emerge stronger,” says Sanjay Jalona, Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director of Larsen & Toubro Infotech.

Recent Deal Wins

-          Multi-year multi-million large deal for complete digital transformation, enhancing productivity and quality of service of a key government ministry by implementing new microservices based applications and building a data and analytics platform     

-          A large energy retail company selected LTI for an end to end managed services deal for its IT applications and infrastructure operations

-          Standard Chartered Bank chose LTI as its partner for a strategic Temenos T24 Transact engagement

-          Leading North American bank selected LTI to transition its applications to cloud

-          Global semiconductor major partnered with LTI to digitize its core by re-designing and implementing its critical processes on SAP S/4 HANA

-          A leading property and casualty insurance company chose LTI as its business transformation partner to implement Duck Creek OnDemand Cloud Platform

-          Global media broadcasting giant selected LTI to redesign and modernize its programming and scheduling applications to meet evolving business requirements

-          A leading financial services group chose LTI for AMS engagement

Awards and Recognitions

-          Recognized by the 1Q20 Global ISG Index™ as one of The Breakthrough 15 in Global, Americas, EMEA Sourcing Standouts

-          LTI recognized as a Leader in ISG Provider Lens™: SIAM/ITSM 2020 Study for US Market

-          LTI featured in Constellation ShortList: Innovation Services and Engineering for Q1 2020

-          LTI recognized in Forrester's Now Tech: IoT Consultancies In Asia Pacific, Q1 2020

-          LTI named in Honorable Mentions in the 2020 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Data and Analytics Service Providers

* Magic Quadrant for Data and Analytics Service, Worldwide, Jorgen Heizenberg et al., 10 February 2020. Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner's research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose

Other Business Highlights

-          The Board of Directors at its meeting held on May 19th, 2020 have declared a final dividend of Rs. 15.5 per equity share (Face value of Re. 1) for the financial year 2019-20. Total dividend for FY20 is Rs. 28 per equity share, including the interim dividend of Rs. 12.5 per equity share declared in October 2019.

-          Won the SAP Pinnacle Award for Industry Innovation Partner of the Year 2020

-          LTI has been elevated to a ‘GOLD’ partner status with Pega

-          LTI is now a 'Premier' System Integration Partner with MuleSoft

-          LTI has been featured among top 10 companies investing in EdTech CSR projects by CSRBOX

-          The company’s long-term rating has been upgraded by CRISIL to AAA/Stable from AA+/Positive during the year

-          National Stock Exchange of India Ltd. (NSE) has included LTI in its Nifty Next 50 Index

About LTI

LTI (NSE: LTI) is a global technology consulting and digital solutions Company helping more than 420 clients succeed in a converging world. With operations in 32 countries, we go the extra mile for our clients and accelerate their digital transformation with LTI’s Mosaic platform enabling their mobile, social, analytics, IoT and cloud journeys. Founded in 1997 as a subsidiary of Larsen & Toubro Limited, our unique heritage gives us unrivaled real-world expertise to solve the most complex challenges of enterprises across all industries. Each day, our team of more than 30,000 LTItes enable our clients to improve the effectiveness of their business and technology operations and deliver value to their customers, employees and shareholders. Find more at http://www.Lntinfotech.com or follow us at @LTI_Global.

Total Pageviews