Saturday, May 30, 2020

Hyundai Reinforces Commitment to ‘Make in India’ with More Than 5 000 Export Units in May 2020

Make in India

* Emphasizes on localization to accelerate economic recovery
* First Manufacturer to roll-out fastest 3 Million Made-in-India Export Cars Since Inception

Hyundai Motor India Ltd. (HMIL), country’s First Smart Mobility Solutions provider and the largest exporter since inception, reinforced its commitment to support the Government’s ‘Make in India’ vision with more than 5 000 export units for May 2020.

In line with the Government’s vision of ‘Self-reliant’ India and to support the State and Central Government’s objective of promoting economic revival, Hyundai began production at its plant on May 8 producing more than 5 000 units for export market.

Speaking about Hyundai’s Export Strategy, Mr. S S Kim, MD & CEO, Hyundai Motor India Ltd. said, “We began our export operations in India in 1999 with an objective to propagate ‘Make in India – Made for the World’. In line with our global strategy, we have now exported more than 3 Million vehicles to 88 countries which reaffirm our commitment to the country.”

“We have once again made a humble beginning towards normalcy by exporting more than 5 000 units in May 2020. This is a testimony of Hyundai’s resilient efforts towards localization and to accentuate economic recovery. Drawing strength from Hyundai’s vision of ‘Progress for Humanity’ we will continue to offer all-round premium experience to our customers through our quality products, both in India and global markets”, he added.

In the last 20 years, since inception, Hyundai has cemented its position as the leading exporter of passenger cars exporting more than 3 Million vehicles. In CY 2019, Hyundai Motor India exported 181 200 units with 792 Customized variants according to country specific preference and demand. With a market share of 26% in CY 2019 to the total exports of passenger cars from India has made Hyundai a significant contributor to the Indian automobile industry.

Currently, Hyundai Motor India is exporting 10 trendsetting models namely – ATOS (SANTRO), GRAND i10, XCENT, GRAND i10 (NIOS) & GRAND i10 (AURA), ELITE i20, i20 ACTIVE, ACCENT (VERNA), VENUE and All New CRETA. Globally, Hyundai Exports ‘Made-In-India’ cars to 88 Countries in 4 Continents - Latin America (33 Countries), Africa (28 Countries), Asia Pacific (26 Countries) and Europe (1 Country).

During the successful export journey, Hyundai Motor India has won prestigious 7 EEPC National and 5 South Region Awards as Top Exporter of Year for Large Enterprise category.

Best Measures Adopted at "Airtel Stores for Customer Safety" in India

Bharti Airtel Limited, the leading global telecommunications company has undertaken personalized security & hygienic measures and will be offering best in class customer experience at all its stores across the city. In order to connect to its customers at a deeper level, the stores have been operating in a highly organized and controlled environment post the graded lockdown. The Airtel stores / relationship centers have been governed with stringent SOPs with measurable accountability.

Safety measures adopted for Store operations:

* All stores are opened with limited working hours
* All CRO & Store managers are wearing gloves and masks all the times
* The Greeter provides sanitiser to the customers outside the store
* Zoning yellow lines have been placed on the floor around the consultation hubs/cash desk
* Customers and staff remain within the respective zones
* A minimum distance of 3 feet is maintained between customer and Staffer.
* Traditional way (Namaste) is followed to greet customer. Strictly no handshake.
* Usage of customer & other CROs mobile phone/tablet are avoided - If it is unavoidable, CRO to use hand sanitizer after touching other person mobile/tablet or else use Gloves.
* We have revived the ways of customer engagement through digitalization like contactless payments to curtail contamination risk.
* Health, hygiene, and safety have been given the utmost priority at all Airtel Stores.

Our cautious steps will ensure our customers are in safe hands We are sure that these measures will enhance awareness and instil confidence in our customers.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Space Launch: Watch Live NASA Launch of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Capsule on June 08, 9 PM IST on Discovery and Science Channel

Discovery and Discovery Plus announced their plans to document history in the making at the NASA launch of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule on Saturday, May 30 at 3:22 PM EDT from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. The event marks the first crewed space mission to be launched into orbit from U.S. soil since 2011. SPACE LAUNCH: AMERICA RETURNS TO SPACE, a multiplatform event, will take viewers inside the launch, set to be showcased on Discovery, Science Channel on June 08 at 9 PM. Viewers can also stream the show by downloading Discovery Plus app. The multiplatform event will also feature some of the biggest names in entertainment with appearances by global superstar Katy Perry, TV and Internet personality Adam Savage, former NASA engineer and YouTube sensation Mark Rober and other surprise celebrity guests. It will also include expert insight by former astronauts Mike Massimino and Karen Nyberg; active astronauts Jessica Meir and K. Megan McArthur and; NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine as well as an interview with Astronaut Chris Cassidy from the International Space Station (ISS).

“Discovery and Science Channel have spent over a year documenting SpaceX’s race to become the first private company to launch American astronauts into space. Our special offers both incredible access for the launch, and expert insight from SpaceX Founder and Chief Engineer Elon Musk and other leading aerospace professionals. In our two-hour documentary, we show the unbelievable engineering and scientific feats achieved by SpaceX in making such an historic launch happen,” said Scott Lewers, Executive Vice President of Multiplatform Programming, Factual & Head of Content, Science. “In these unprecedented times of isolation, we are excited to bring our viewers together to experience this event in a way they won’t see anywhere else, in the comfort of their own homes.”

The multiplatform event will take viewers along the mission to launch veteran astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the ISS on a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft. The mission, known as Demo-2, will use a Falcon 9 rocket, also built by SpaceX, to propel it. Discovery and Science Channel coverage will feature commentary from astronauts, engineers and other special guests, as well as unprecedented coverage during launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. 

The broadcast and accompanying two-hour documentary are made in partnership with The Washington Post and staff writer Christian Davenport, whose depth of experience allowed him to gain inside access to key players – including a rare in-depth interview with SpaceX Founder and Chief Engineer Elon Musk – and captures their incredible stories about this historic space achievement.

Washington Post reporter and Peabody award-winning journalist Christian Davenport is one of the country’s leading chroniclers of the space industry. His background and experience will add keen insight to the day’s event, as a co-host of the broadcast.

Davenport joined The Post in 2000 and was on a team that won a Peabody Award in 2010 for its work on veterans with traumatic brain injuries and has been on reporting teams that were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize three times. He is the author of two books, “The Space Barons: Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and the Quest to Colonize the Cosmos” (2018) and “As You Were: To War and Back with the Black Hawk Battalion of the Virginia National Guard” (2009). He has also served as a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and a fellow at the Alicia Patterson Foundation. 

TV personality Chris Jacobs will host the three-hour special from Los Angeles. Jacobs has a long history with Discovery network live events, reporting live on-the-ground for EXPEDITION UNKNOWN: EGYPT LIVE as well as serving as the digital host during Nik Wallenda’s tightrope walk over the Grand Canyon in SKYWIRE LIVE and in Chicago for SKYSCRAPER LIVE. Jacobs was host for DISCOVERY LIVE: INTO THE BLUE HOLE, CHOPPER LIVE, GOLD RUSH LIVE and the live broadcast of the Barrett-Jackson Auto Auction for Velocity (now MotorTrend). In addition, he is the regular host for TLC’s LONG LOST FAMILY and serves as host of the popular automotive makeover show OVERHAULIN’ on MotorTrend.

Emmy Award-winning journalist David Kerley will also be part of the reporting team on the ground at Kennedy Space Center. Kerley has reported on aviation, railroads, the automobile industry and space for all ABC News broadcast and digital properties since 2004, including "World News Tonight," "Good Morning America," "Nightline," ABC News Radio and His work has been recognized with Peabody and Edward R. Murrow awards as well as the prestigious Joan Barone award from the Capitol Hill Radio and Television Correspondents Association.

The networks are also announcing a special 2-hour documentary NASA & SPACEX: JOURNEY TO THE FUTURE featuring exclusive access to the incredible journey leading up to this launch, airing Friday, June 12 at 7PM IST on Discovery, Science Channel and Discovery Plus. The film crew was granted unprecedented access to NASA and to SpaceX headquarters – giving viewers a rare glimpse inside Launch Control and first-hand accounts from SpaceX Founder and Chief Engineer Elon Musk, Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. The documentary reveals the behind-the-scenes action with the teams of SpaceX engineers, NASA employees and scientists as they fulfill the SpaceX mission to “fly, test, and fix” their way to the ISS – with the goal of eventually flying to the moon and to Mars.

SPACE LAUNCH: AMERICA RETURNS TO SPACE is produced for Discovery Channel by Storied Media Group. Executive producers for Storied Media Group are Aaron Fishman, Todd Hoffman and Michael Miller. For Discovery Channel, Executive Producers are Wyatt Channell, Gretchen Eisele, Scott Lewers and Caroline Perez. To learn more, go to, on Facebook at and on Twitter @Discovery.

End of Lockdown 3.0 - Delhi Citizens Display Outstanding Mental Wellbeing Index, Ahmedabad is at lowest: TRA Whitepaper

Mental Wellbeing is measured as a person’s ability to cope with various worries they may encounter. It is the sum of the cognitive, behavioural, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of a person. Worries may be real or imagined, but the easiest way to explain worry is as ‘advancement of anxiety’. Coping counterbalances worry, and it is a person’s ability to deal with responsibilities, problems, or difficulties successfully or in an adequate manner. During a serious and continued crisis like the current lockdown, the coping ability may increase or decrease against worries depending on several personal and environmental factors.  The first edition of TRA’s whitepaper Coronavirus Consumer Insights – 1 was published on 24th April 2020. This whitepaper compares the change Mental Wellbeing of citizens from Lockdown 1.0 to Lockdown 3.0.

N. Chandramouli, CEO, TRA Research, India’s leading consumer insights and brand analytics company said, “Delhi (NCR) citizens display an ‘Outstanding’ rating in the Mental Wellbeing Index, with the citizenry’s coping skills bettering their worries. Guwahati at 89% MWBI and Hyderabad at 82% MWBI both display ‘Excellent’ Mental Wellbeing. Indore displays an unchanged MWBI score at 76% and continues to display ‘Good’ Mental Wellbeing.”

Ahmedabad displays the lowest Mental Wellbeing at 25% followed by Chennai at 28% and Kolkata, facing the dual crises of Covid-19 and Amphan is at 29% MWBI. Along with these cities, Nagpur (36%), Kochi (37%) and Coimbatore (39%) also display ‘Very Poor’ Mental Wellbeing, Chandramouli added.

Dr. Jalpa Bhuta, Consultant Psychiatrist, practicing at Global Hospital and Hinduja Khar, observed, “The study shows that cities like Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai are not coping too well as compared to most others and combined health and economic anxieties are more prominent in these cities. It is important for authorities to invest in more detailed studies of citizens’ mental wellbeing to address these issues. Mental health is as important as physical and economic wellbeing, but being a silent problem, it often gets overlooked. The need of the hour for everyone is to keep a positive attitude, high resilience and a strong spiritual faith, all of which contribute to coping ability and mental wellbeing.”

Four cities showed improved Mental Wellbeing between Lockdown 1.0 and Lockdown 3.0. Delhi (NCR) was leading and the city displays Outstanding Mental Wellbeing at 107% with Coping higher than Worry. The city also shows the highest rise in Mental Wellbeing Index (rise of 44%) from Lockdown 1.0. Lucknow showed a 27% improvement in the Mental Wellbeing Index to now display Good on the MWBI scale. Mumbai has a rise in MWBI of 26%, though still at a Poor on the MWBI metric. Hyderabad is the only other city where Mental Wellbeing Index has shown a rise of 18%, rising from Good to Excellent Mental Wellbeing. All other cities either did not show any change in the MWBI or showed a decrease in Mental Wellbeing.

The City Mental Wellbeing heatmap shows the data in a different format, clearly showing the deterioration of Mental Wellbeing in a majority of the cities with significant exceptions as stated in the above paragraph (Green indicates better MWBI, and colour changes progressively toward Red showing worse MWBI).

Singapore Tourism Board and Zouk Reinvent the Digital Experience with Zouk Phuturescapes

Party virtually with DJ Diplo, DJ Christina Novelli, DJ San Holo and many more popular artistes such as DJ Nash D, DJ LeNERD, DJ Che’Molly, DJ KoFlow, Jasmine Sokko, Benjamin Kheng, DJ duo Rave Republic, Yung Raja and DJ Inquisitive this weekend (29 to 31 May 2020)! The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has teamed up with Asia’s iconic nightclub Zouk Singapore to organise Zouk Phuturescapes – a series of virtual parties for audiences around the world.

STB and Zouk take virtual parties to the next level by reinventing the existing entertainment and nightlife concept, engaging audiences at home through a curated line-up of local and international DJs and musicians, as well as innovative technology elements such as augmented reality filters and 3D virtual backgrounds.

Comprising three virtual parties, Phuturescapes will kick off in the United States on 29th May, followed by Asia and Australia on 30th May, and the United Kingdom on 31st May. Up to 1,000 guests can register for each party, hosted on video conferencing platform Zoom. The parties will also be streamed live on both brands’ Facebook and YouTube pages[1].

The parties will feature both local and international DJs and musicians, including international headliners like American DJ Diplo and British DJ Christina Novelli.

On the local front, popular artists such as Zouk’s resident DJs LeNERD and Che’Molly, as well as DJ KoFlow, rapper Yung Raja and singer-songwriter Jasmine Sokko will perform, showcasing Singapore’s diverse music scene to local and overseas audiences.

To add an interactive element to the parties, STB and Zouk have worked with VICE to create augmented reality (AR) filters on Instagram. One of these AR filters will feature an avatar of Diplo against a 3D virtual background of Gardens by the Bay. Audiences will be able to capture content of themselves enjoying the parties, layer the AR filters over the content for a fun touch, and post on Instagram.

Moderators will also use Zoom functions such as Poll to have contest giveaways; and Spotlight to feature selected audience members grooving to the beat.

Here is the schedule for India:

Date                                       Timing                                        Artistes

30th May 2020, Saturday       8.30 am                   Diplo, Yung Raja, Inquisitive, LeNERD

30th May 2020, Saturday       5.30 pm                   San Holo, Benjamin Kheng, KoFlow, Nash D, Mambo Jambo

31st May 2020, Sunday         9.30 pm                   Christina Novelli, Rave Republic, Jasmine Sokko, Che’Molly

V-Guard Extends Support Towards Fighting Covid-19 Crisis at Dehradun

V-Guard Industries Limited, India’s leading consumer electricals major pledges support towards India’s fight against COVID-19. Reasserting its commitment and support towards society, V-Guard has donated various protective equipment to Dehradun Traffic Police at a function conducted in Maharana Pratap Stadium.

Rajiv Sharma, Branch Head, Dehradun on behalf of V-Guard Industries Limited handed over 8000 3-Ply Masks and 6000 Cotton Gloves to Prakash Chandra, Nodal Officer, Garhwal region & Superintendent of Police (Traffic), Dehradun.  Sanjay Gulati, State President, Uttarakhand Electrical Trade Association, Naresh Gupta, Secretary, Uttarakhand Electrical Trade Association and Sanjeev Tyagi, Sub Inspector, Dehradun were also present during the function.

Commenting on the initiatives, Sumit Jha, Sr.General Manager & Northern Regional Head,V-Guard Industries, said, “Given the uncertainty over the ongoing crisis, V-Guard Industries believes in helping and supporting the people and frontline warriors with a meaningful contribution. We are also providing masks to the migrant labourers in Dehradun. Our initiative is designed to help those in need and contribute to society, at this critical juncture in a positive way”.

L&T Technology Partners with CogniLore to Accelerate Digital Transformation Needs of Educational Institutes and Corporates

L&T Technology Services, a global pure-play engineering services company, announced that it served as a technology partner to Canada’s CogniLore Information Solutions enabling it to offer its acclaimed proLibro digital delivery tools for mass adoption by educational institutes and businesses who now face the imminent task of realigning their operations and business model for a “work from home” environment.

The move is in line with the recent spurt in demand of educational institutes to deliver their age-old teaching mechanisms to the COVID-19 triggered work from home mode where academia-student engagement model has attained a virtual note. This offering is also valuable for businesses which so far relied on print versions or documents.

To accelerate this transition, CogniLore is moving early to general release of version 3.0 of its proLibro digital delivery tools and is offering unlimited end user licensing for free to enable these institutions to rapidly transition to digital and provide the opportunity to reduce client costs while giving users a vastly superior digital publication experience. CogniLore has also decided to suspend end user fees until September 1st, 2020 to further speed up this deployment.

Mark Mcleod, Global Director - Integrated Content Management, L&T Technology Services said, “LTTS is delighted to partner with CogniLore, to redefine how content is consumed. The version 3.0 suite of digital delivery systems allows organizations to speed up the use of content with increased migration online. With LTTS’ machine learning library, natural language processing capabilities, and machine vision computing abilities, CogniLore can help companies globally to transform to meet the demands of an evolving technological ecosystem. LTTS’ Digital Delivery Platform, involving flexible technology and processes, helps clients build high-quality, reliable and relevant content in a fully interactive environment. With the ability to quickly ramp-up during unexpected times, the platform seamlessly links both new and existing customer content to Industry 4.0 technology.”

CogniLore CEO, Andre Dube, “We want to ensure that affected institutions can make this transition rapidly while helping them to alleviate the costs associated with getting their content to students and workers who are suddenly working at a distance. While we believe that our system is the best of breed in digital delivery for both content owners and end user, our adherence to common standards means that clients can transition to other platforms at any time they choose.”

LTTS’ support and CogniLore's offer includes:

* Suspension of all user licensing fees throughout the summer to offer content owners and end users the opportunity to freely access digital content using proLibro's powerful toolset while catching up and adjusting to remote work.

* Free access to proLibro Build and the Connect Cloud access management and distribution accounts to support the rapid transition and secure deployment of this content – whether for commercial or non-commercial distribution.

* Complimentary support and guidance from LTTS and CogniLore experts in the management and implementation of tools that will help speed up content transition from common content production formats such as MS Word, InDesign, EPUB or XML based content management and authoring systems.

* Free proLibro reader Apps for all end user platforms with support to produce custom branded elements and management of product release to app distribution marketplaces.

FAIFA Appeals to Adopt the PM's Spirit with Respect to Policies Impacting Indian FCV Tobacco Farmers

* Appeals to shun the legacy of tobacco control policies that ape the West and adopt frameworks which are rooted into the reality of Indian tobacco consumption through equitable taxation
* Requests not to get influenced by the propaganda of the global tobacco control NGOs
* Appeals not to take policy decisions in present Pandemic that increases instability and adverse impact on the livelihood of Indian FCV tobacco farmers while promoting foreign smuggled tobacco brands
* Over 120 million kgs of FCV Tobacco worth around 2000 crores remains unsold in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka
* More than Rs 5,000 crore loss to the FCV Tobacco Farming community in last 6 years

Federation of All India Farmer Associations (FAIFA), a non-profit organization representing the cause of millions of farmers and farm workers of commercial crops across the States of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Gujarat etc. today lauded Shri Narendra Modi Ji’s ‘Vocal for Local’ campaign and appealed to the government to shun the legacy of tobacco control policies aping the Western world and adopt policies that are rooted into the reality of tobacco consumption pattern of India. The Federation also appealed to the Government to be sensitive towards the financial distress faced by FCV tobacco farmer because of COVID pandemic and reduce cigarette taxes to pre-GST levels so the market share of smuggled foreign brands can reduce and Indian industry and farmer can benefit in line with the Vocal for Local vision of the prime minister.

India has a unique pattern of tobacco consumption and cigarettes are the smallest component of tobacco consumption in India and constitute only 9% of tobacco use. However, it is facing the brunt of these most draconian and stringent regulations in the world. Also, the per capita annual consumption of cigarettes in India is just 96, amongst the lowest in the world. Only 3% of the adult population consumes cigarettes. While, Smokeless tobacco product users and bidi smokers outnumber cigarette smokers by 6 times and 3 times respectively. However, Cigarettes account for more than 80% of revenue from tobacco taxation, while the contribution to tax collections from the other two segments is insignificant. Majority of the tobacco industry (68%) is in the untaxed or unorganized sector.

In view of the current weakening economic scenario and the rising unemployment in the country due to COVID, the Government should remain mindful of the fact that no such policy decisions are taken that brings instability in farm prices and have an adverse impact on the livelihood of Indian FCV tobacco farmers. Indian tobacco farmers are already facing huge losses due to delays in marketing their crop.

As per FICCI CASCADE’s recent study the total loss to the economy because of cigarette smuggling has been Rs 16,138/- crores.  While, the total employment opportunity lost in the sector is about 3.34 lakh. Any further unreasonable regulations proposed by the tobacco control NGOs would have a direct impact on the livelihood of 4.5 crore Indians engaged in the sector.

In Andhra Pradesh only around 17 million kgs of the authorised FCV tobacco crop out of 136 million kgs valued at around Rs 2,000 crores has been sold so far, due to lockdown and delayed resumption of auctions. Similarly in Karnataka, which had reached the last leg of auctioning in March 2020, the auction floors were shut due to COVID lockdown and around 3 million kgs of the FCV tobacco is still to be auctioned. Further, the Tobacco Board has already announced a reduced crop size for the next Karnataka crop, downsizing it from earlier planned 99 million kgs to 88 million kgs.

Mr. Javare Gowda, President, Federation of All India Farmer Associations (FAIFA), said, “In the last few years, under the influence of WHO FCTC, the Government has imposed harsh tobacco regulations such as increasing the size of pictorial warnings, imposing punitive taxation on Cigarettes with the tax burden more than trebling since 2012-13 and has even withdrawn export benefits. These policies are a result of the legacy of aping the western world by the previous governments where cigarettes represent 91% of tobacco consumed as compared to India where cigarettes are only 9% of the tobacco being consumed. All these are leading to adverse consequences on livelihood of crores of Indians without providing any alternatives livelihood opportunities or help to farmers who cannot grow any other equally remunerative crop in the dry and arid regions they reside in.”

Mr. Murali Babu, General Secretary, Federation of All India Farmer Associations (FAIFA), said, “We appeal for an equality in taxation of all components of tobacco consumption. In addition, the unorganised and untaxed segments in India could be brought into the tax net by having a system whereby the input quantity and output quantity could be matched.”

“Excessive regulations and punitive taxation are hugely incentivizing Illegal Cigarette Trade which is already 1/4th of the Indian Cigarette market and destroying the incomes of millions dependent on tobacco and causing huge losses to the exchequer. These extreme Regulations are clearly anti-farmer and have been influenced by vested interests. By adopting the prime minister’s Vocal for Local approach and favouring the domestic sector, the growth of foreign brands through smuggled route can be arrested”

Tobacco farmers have lost more than Rs.5,000 crores over the last 6 years due to drop in off take of their produce. Smuggled Cigarettes do not use tobaccos grown by Indian farmers and in effect farming jobs are exported to countries like Zimbabwe, Malawi etc. that are continuously incentivising their tobacco farmers. Drop in tobacco production in India benefits other FCV tobacco producing countries which have raised their production to maintain global production levels. At the same time India is losing its advantageous position in global tobacco production and exports.

India is the second largest producer of tobacco in the world and a large exporter. Tobacco is cultivated in 13 States in the country providing livelihood to 4.57 crore people, that includes lakhs of farmers, labourers, poor rural population and tribals and their families. There is no other country in the world like India which has a huge dependence on the tobacco crop for livelihood.

We, the farming community appeals to Government that tobacco Policies should be reasonable and fair so that they do not affect the legal domestic Industry with severe consequences on tobacco farmers livelihood.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Partnership is Crucial in Helping APAC SMBs Navigate COVID-19

By Ahmed Mazhari, President, Microsoft Asia

The growth and development of SMBs in Asia-Pacific over the decades have been key to the region’s economic success. According to Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, more than 90 percent of all Asia-Pacific businesses are SMBs, and they account for more than half of all our workers. This means that the region’s job security is highly dependent on SMBs and its relevance is even higher with 60 percent of the world’s population in Asia.

Successfully overcoming this pandemic, including the collateral damage inflicted on SMBs is a battle that institutions, organizations, and government bodies have to come together to make an impact. I believe success can be ensured via collaboration in a Public-Private Partnership with an ecosystem approach.

Business has stepped up to support governments in public-private partnership (PPP)

Governments across the region are doing all they can to protect people and their livelihoods. For example, the Indian government recently earmarked USD$260 billion in additional support to revive the country’s economy, and countries from Singapore to China and Australia have also made significant investments in the sector. In Taiwan, our partnership with the Ministry of Education (MoE) significantly accelerated the nationwide transition for digital education and smart campuses, by enabling 2.5 million students and 200,000 teachers to learn remotely with Office 365 and Microsoft Teams.

Similarly, we’ve also committed ourselves to assisting SMBs in the region. This includes working to support new and existing government measures intended for strengthening SMBs during the pandemic. For example, collaborating with China Chain Store & Franchise Association (CCFA) allowed us to provide retailers challenged by the pandemic targeted digital solutions and technical support to sustain their operations and ensure business continuity.

Working together as an industry ecosystem can keep SMBs open

I strongly believe that if we can equip our SMBs with the capability to remain operational during this crisis, we can introduce an opportunity for them to reimagine themselves to meet the new needs of customers now, and in the post-COVID environment. They would stand a better chance to rebound faster, become more resilient and successful in the long-term. As Disaster Recovery International (DRI) recently noted, restarting a business is much harder than shutting one down. Now is the time for industry ecosystems to come together to help members remain afloat. Undoubtedly, helping businesses to continue operation is critical – but so is preparing them for a post-COVID world, given as DRI noted; “Our habits may have changed (forever), together with the width of our wallets.”

In China, where those in remote areas are disproportionately affected by the pandemic, Chengdu Third People’s Hospital and Huili County People’s Hospital introduced a remote consultation platform. Using surface and their laptops, doctors can now provide expert consultations online and in real-time to patients, anytime and anywhere. Not only did this ensure delivery of critical services remotely, but also the continuation of SMB healthcare ecosystem, such as pharmacies and health stores, which supplies medicine to patients in remote areas.

Extreme pressure and opportunity can form SMB diamonds

Often, we see the greatest innovations arise under the greatest pressure. As our CEO Satya Nadella recently stated: “We’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months.”

A SMB leader with a growth mindset sees an opportunity to transform, for that matter leapfrog, during a time of immense business challenge. When India instituted a full lockdown on short notice Panacea Biotech got 600 users on Microsoft Teams urgently to ensure they could keep manufacturing medicines during this time. And a Japanese startup PSYGIC that specializes in big data solutions for self-driving vehicles among other things has switched gears and created a cloud-based system to autonomously monitor the body temperatures of people.

Going forward, all SMBs should also re-evaluate every aspect of their business with a digital-first mindset – finding new ways to develop and deliver their products and services for a post-COVID world – including:

·         Digitalizing operations and enabling remote work: What processes can be moved online to save costs, and how can it be done quickly? How can they enable remote work in just a few days to continue operations?

·         Targeting and business planning: Where is your industry going? If you’re an in-person business, how can you shift online? How can you provide a better end customer experience?

·         Security and IT: With the rise in cyber-attacks, what are some of the tools that can help take you forward in 2020, safely and securely?

·          Reskilling and reimagining the workforce model: What skills can your employees start learning to be prepared for this future? Will you employ more part timers and contractors; will you work from more distributed locations, collaborate across offices; or run a virtual company with a small core team – outsourcing everything else? It is said that in the next generation 65% of the jobs will be new.

How the larger business community can help

Helping SMBs with their adaptation to this “new normal” is our collective responsibility. Especially given SMBs’ crucial role in our region’s economy, and the vast numbers of businesses and jobs dependent on them.

Companies like ours and others in the tech sector must work with SMBs to make them more resilient, such that they can focus more on their business and less on security, technology, and operational issues.

For SMBs transitioning to online operations and delivery, Microsoft has shared Teams as a free offering to give them a leg up in the past six months. Cybersecurity is a particularly challenging area right now for SMBs – phishing and hacks have skyrocketed over the past several months, making businesses susceptible to attacks. By implementing a critical communications infrastructure that maintains security, such as on Teams, we can help them maintain operations and productivity.

In assisting businesses with securing their operations, sharing the best practices on how we can help SMBs more quickly navigate this challenging terrain and return focus to their core operations is one way we can go about it as well.

Together, SMBs can emerge from this current crisis stronger, more focused, and prepared for long-term stability. The future of Asia’s SMBs is ours as well; rebounding back to the strong growth Asia has achieved in the first 19 years of this century would take our collective partnership in this region.

Emirates Resumes Passenger Flights to 9 Destinations Across India

* Emirates is operating services  to: London Heathrow, Frankfurt, Paris, Milan, Madrid, Chicago, Toronto, Sydney and Melbourne
* Emirates is continuing to work closely with embassies and consulates to facilitate repatriation flights for visitors and residents wishing to return home
* Emirates’ cabin crew, boarding agents and ground staff who interact directly with travellers are donning personal protective equipment (PPE) including a protective disposable gown and safety visor.

Emirates introduces industry-leading safety standards for customers
* All passengers are given complimentary hygiene kits upon check in at Dubai International airport and on flights to Dubai from 21 May. Kits comprise of masks, gloves, antibacterial wipes and hand sanitiser.
* Thermal scanners and physical distancing indicators have been placed on the ground for added safety
* All cabin crew on board are fully kitted out in PPEs.

Emirates Group announces its 2019-20 results
* The Emirates Group recorded its 32nd consecutive year of profit of AED 1.7 billion (US$ 456 million)
* Emirates airline reported a profit of AED 1.1 billion (US$ 288 million), 21% up from the previous year
* Emirates SkyCargo continued to deliver a solid performance in a highly competitive market, contributing to 13% of the airline’s total transport revenue.

Emirates Airline Foundation impacts lives in India
* Emirates Airline Foundation supports children affected by AIDS, underprivileged girls and vulnerable groups, benefitting over 6,000 children in India.
* Customer and corporate support positively impact 90,000 people’s lives, support 22 projects in 12 countries, and more than 50 medical, engineering and educational missions across the globe.

Emirates SkyCargo expands its global network
* Expanded its weekly scheduled cargo flight operations to cover 75 destinations across six continents.
* Upped the frequency of flights to several key destinations such as Bengaluru and Chennai.
* Operated over 2,500 flights in April. Currently, Emirates SkyCargo is operating more than 100 flights a day from its hub in Dubai.

Chef Saransh Goila #CookOutwithEmirates
* Emirates hosted a recipe competition in India with renowned Chef and author Saransh Goila, encouraging people to stay positive during the lockdown through a shared love for food.
* Helping foodies taste the world and experience cultures while staying at their homes, Emirates opened its food channel to customers.

Emirates hosts Earth Day 2020 contest
* Emirates hosted a social media contest with regard to Earth Day on 22 April to spread awareness on the importance of climate action and champion the cause of Earth Day.

Hyundai Creates Relief Task Force to Support Cyclone AMPHAN Affected Customers in West Bengal

Cyclone Relief

* Special Task Force to assist Customers in West Bengal
* Over 30 Towing Trucks & 20 Emergency Roadside Assistance (ERS) vehicles pressed into action in West Bengal
* 50% discount on depreciation on insurance claim for cyclone affected vehicles

Hyundai Motor India Ltd. (HMIL), country’s first smart mobility solutions provider and the number one car exporter since inception has formed Hyundai Relief Task Force to support the Cyclone AMPHAN affected Hyundai customers in West Bengal. To ensure seamless mobility, Hyundai has positioned a dedicated Emergency Roadside Assistance Service Team to support the cyclone affected customers and their vehicles along with over 30 Towing Trucks to assist the customers in case of any vehicle breakdown.

Further, for a safe & convenient customer experience, Hyundai has stepped up its 360 Degree Digital & Contactless Service through online service booking, repair updates through ‘Hyundai on WhatsApp’ and online service payment facility.

Commenting on the initiative, Mr. Tarun Garg, Director – Sales, Marketing & Service said, “As a responsible and customer centric brand, Hyundai has always been a frontrunner in providing the best of service assistance that is required during stressed times. Cyclone AMPHAN has once again tested the resilience of the people of West Bengal. Our customer care teams and  relief task force will ensure uninterrupted mobility for customers and offer them ‘Peace of Mind in these challenging times.”

Microsoft Underscores Commitment to Healthcare Continuity in India

In its efforts to help small and medium healthcare providers in the country deliver better patient care with agility, Microsoft has announced the launch of ‘Healthcare In A Box’ suite of offerings. Designed to provide secure patient experiences with improved operational efficiency while being remotely connected, the solution brings together the power of Microsoft Teams, the integrated Bookings app, O365 E1 and Power Platform.

At Build 2020, Microsoft announced its first industry-specific cloud offering, Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, now available in public preview and through a free trial for the next six months. Bringing together trusted and integrated capabilities for customers and partners, the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare aims to support accelerated health transformation into the future:

* Enhance patient engagement: Extending the value of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Marketing, Dynamics 365 Customer Service, and Azure IoT, healthcare organizations can engage in more proactive ways with their patients, allows caregivers to improve the efficiency of their workflows and streamline interactions with patients with more actionable results.

* Empower health team collaboration: Streamlining healthcare workflows and providing a secure platform for connected care coordination can improve communication and collaboration, and generate insights for improved patient outcomes and workflow effectiveness. Teams, which supports HIPAA compliance and is HITRUST certified, brings together chat, voice and video meetings, and offers recording and transcription, as well as secure messaging features, available across devices. Healthcare providers will now be able to schedule, manage and conduct provider-to-patient virtual visits through the new Bookings app integration in Microsoft Teams.

* Improve clinical and operational data insights: Organizations are relying on the new integration between Microsoft Teams and Power Apps to share timely information, through building virtual agents, adding automated workflows, analyzing data and sharing Power BI reports instantly.

* Cloud built on interoperability, security, and trust: Security and compliance remain a strategic priority for healthcare organizations, and the shift to remote work only increases the need for integrated, end-to-end security architecture that reduces both cost and complexity. Microsoft has the highest levels of commitment to trust, security, and meeting industry compliance standards and certifications in the industry. The interoperability tools that healthcare organizations need to organize their health data in the cloud around Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) are also integrated into Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare.

* Extensible healthcare partner ecosystem: Microsoft has a robust ecosystem of healthcare partners who can provide solutions that complement and extend core cloud capabilities. Using these partners’ expertise will help organizations through electronic health record and platform integrations, implementation services, and healthcare SaaS offerings.

Microsoft is deeply committed to empowering healthcare organizations with the best-in-class technological resources to stay agile and deliver quality outcomes in patient care.

Clumio Launches Research and Development Center in Bengaluru

Clumio, innovators of authentic SaaS for enterprise backup, today announced the launch of the Clumio Research and Development Center in Bengaluru to begin operations in India. Clumio provides a secure backup as a service for enterprises that reduces the cost and replaces the complexity of managing data across all clouds with an authentic approach to SaaS. The center will be an integral part of Clumio’s capability to build and deliver services on its cutting-edge platform built on AWS. Clumio leverages the most modern cloud capabilities, including more than ten major AWS services, to ensure it meets the current and future backup requirements of the most demanding enterprises. The startup headquartered in Santa Clara, California was co-founded in 2017 by Poojan Kumar, Kaustubh Patil and Woon Jung, and to date has raised $186M of funding through Series A, B, and C.

The Clumio Research and Development Center in India is a strategic investment for the company to innovate and build SaaS-based data protection solutions. To ensure steady progress through excellence across products and customer experiences, Clumio is hiring bright individuals to fill roles across Software Engineering, Cloud Operations and Customer Support and Success. The company, which continues to redefine data protection for an all cloud world, is creating a strong base in India already having 34 employees and planning to expand to more than 70 by the end of 2020.

"When multi-national companies go to India, they generally go as an afterthought. Their ‘when’ and ‘why’ are different from Clumio. ‘When’ is very late for them, sometimes 10 years in. For instance, a $45B collaboration software company went only a couple years ago. The ‘why’ is often only for cost reasons. Clumio is unique in that we went to India within 18 months of our founding. The ‘why’ was very pure - to tap into the big candidate pool in India and not for cost reasons - it’s for the talent. This will enable us to have the Clumio Research and Development Center be part of the DNA of the company - not an afterthought." said Poojan Kumar, CEO and co-founder, Clumio.

The Clumio Research and Development Center in India will not just act as support for the global team. It has its own charter and will drive front-end innovation and research to build cloud solutions from the ground up. The engineering teams will play an integral part in product development and building best-in-class technology solutions. To enable this, Clumio drives an entrepreneurial mind-set giving employees complete responsibility and fosters a culture of innovation.

"India has a huge talent pool in technology and it is only growing as top-tier Indian educational institutes such as IIT’s, BIT’s, NIT’s produce new graduates. Just like the country skipped the evolution of landline-based communication for cell phones, this upcoming ambitious generation of talent is going to skip any kind of on-premises software development. SaaS services in the public cloud are going to be the draw. Clumio provides the perfect platform for them to build this. The existing generation of developers need to pivot their careers and learn how to build in the cloud. Building a great startup with a strong vision and taking it to fruition, on strong technical fundamentals, requires one to balance the exuberance and energy of youth with the direction provided by the steady steering of experience. Clumio has already assembled senior engineers with this pivot ambition and they are paving the way for the next generation to directly jump to the cloud". said Sandeep Soni, GM and Vice President of Engineering, India operations, Clumio.

Clumio Research and Development Center is driving cutting-edge solutions in cloud innovation, data protection and proactive customer support. Key examples of work already done with the India team’s support include the recent addition of Microsoft 365 to its secure backup as a service. This made Clumio the industry’s first private, public and SaaS enterprise data protection service on a single platform. The team also built the REST API platform for Clumio - it delivers on the promise of what REST architecture was supposed to solve for the internet era, applied to an enterprise domain such as backup, offered as a service. The team has also, in parallel, built strong foundations in simplifying user experience by constructing simple and intuitive user interfaces for several crosscutting features implemented by their state-of-the-art engineers from across the globe.

About Clumio

Clumio is the innovator of authentic SaaS for enterprise backup. Using this secure service, organizations eliminate hardware and software for on-premise backup and avoid the complexity and cost of running third-party backup software in the cloud. As enterprises move aggressively to cloud, they use Clumio to protect workloads like VMware Cloud on AWS, AWS native services and SaaS. Born in the public cloud, Clumio can leverage the most modern cloud services to ensure it meets the current and future backup requirements of the most demanding enterprises. For more information, visit:

Clumio is supported by leading investors like Mike Speiser - Sutter Hill Ventures, Mike Volpi - Index Ventures, Mark Leslie - Leslie Ventures and John Thompson - Chairman, Microsoft.

Projects Today Survey - Projects Scenario in Post COVID-19 Era

Projects Today, India’s largest online database of new and ongoing projects in India, conducted a nationwide survey of experts in the project fraternity to pick their brain and learn their views on the current situation and the likely projects investment scenario in major sectors during the post-lockdown period. In all, 233 leaders, a part of the Indian project fraternity (promoters, architects, consultants and contractors) selected from across India participated in the Survey.

A majority of the participants agreed that barring pharmaceuticals and healthcare all other sectors are affected by the current lockdown and it would take a while for these units to restart functioning after the lockdown is lifted.

The 60+ days’ nationwide lockdown has brought the entire economy to a standstill. Producers, Consumers and the Government all are uncertain when the pandemic will slow down or when factories and offices can commence functioning.

India witnessed one of the longest and unprecedented lockdowns seen across the world, and also saw reverse migration of millions of labourers from their worktown to hometown fearing hunger, exposure to the virus and uncertain future.

As per the Survey, for promoters the main hurdles in kick starting their halted projects are getting adequate funds at reasonable interest, finding labourers matching the skills of those who have left for their hometown and procuring the required raw materials and machineries at the project site. The nationwide lockdown has completely disintegrated the supply chain network. It will take a while to reorganise the same. The other three constituents of the projex world – Architects, Consultants and Contractors -- said their immediate priority would be, to complete the projects in hand and try to retain their current clients.

The Survey participants expect the “Work from Home” culture to continue during the post COVID-19 era. Hence, they see demand for housing (bigger houses) to go up in the long run. On the other side, they think demand for Commercial space will undergo some change as large companies would look for disintegrating their offices – instead of having one centralised office, setting up more smaller offices to reduce the commuting time and adopt the new norms work culture.

As far as Advantage India is concerned around 27.9 percent of the Survey participants said there is no advantage India, because the country will take at least next two to three years to come out of the current economic moribund. Further, they opined that India does not possess the key advantages China has – high-class infrastructure, liberal labour laws and very industrial-friendly policies. On the positive side, a whopping 69 percent of the Survey respondents agreed that India does have an opportunity to emerge as a winner on the other side of COVID-19 at least in a couple of sectors like Pharmaceuticals, Medical Equipment, Automobiles, Textiles, etc.

To re-boot the economy, the Government of India presented a whopping Rs 20,00,000 crore economic stimulus involving both fiscal and monetary measures. It also proposed some path breaking reforms in the agriculture, mining, power distribution, health and education sectors. It has also assured to bring in the long-delayed labour reforms soon. How far all these measures will mitigate the current economic pain and will put India once again on the growth path will depend on the timely and effective implementation of the proposals and revival in the domestic demand.

Projex in Hotspot Districts

As per Projects Today, of the 130 Red Zone districts, 108 have projects investment and as of 31 March 2020, there were 29,255 projects entailing a total investment of Rs 51,07,831 crore. Of this, 8,917 projects worth Rs 21,11,985 crore were under various stages of implementation, but are currently halted due to the nationwide lockdown. Around 62.9 percent of such projex are owned by government agencies and the balance 37.1 percent is by private companies.

Among the hotspot districts, Mumbai and Mumbai Suburban together account for 12.5 percent of the total under-execution projects found in the hotspot districts of India. Mumbai is also the leading district in terms of virus-affected people and death toll.

YES FINTECH Selected Among Best Financial Innovation Labs 2020 by Global Finance Magazine

YES BANK’s Innovation and Business Accelerator Program for Fintech Start-ups, YES FINTECH, has been selected among the Best Financial Innovation Labs by Global Finance magazine, as part of The Innovators 2020, for the second time in row.

In its eighth year of hosting the awards, Global Finance announced its selections for The Innovators 2020 honoring entities that regularly identify new paths and design new tools in finance.

YES FINTECH was launched in 2017 to support startups in co-creating innovative solutions to enhance customer experience. The innovations focused on several areas which include customer experience enhancement, process automation, smart decision-making, big data & analytics, cybersecurity, trade finance platforms and alternate credit decision-making. It also provided access to the Bank’s APIs (application program interface), opportunities to expand to global markets, mentorship and scale up support.

Building on the success, in late 2019, the program was expanded to a multi-sector innovation platform – YES SCALE.  YES SCALE works with startups across key sectors, supporting them in co-creating solutions with banking APIs and joint go-to-market. Under the YES SCALE platform, the Bank also launched ‘YES SCALE Marketplace’, an industry first online marketplace of innovative solutions, co-created with startup partners across sectors. This platform addresses challenges faced by SME businesses in identifying and adopting affordable digital solution through a ‘one-stop-shop’ experience, enabling SME businesses to not only view and discover multiple solutions but also explore them in detail through demos, tutorials and integrate banking seamlessly on their platform.  More than 100 SMEs currently avail of banking integrated solutions on the platform.

This platform builds on the Bank’s strategy of providing comprehensive technology solutions with integrated banking, thereby addressing the business needs of both Corporate and SME clients, enabling deepening of business connect in these segments.

YES SCALE also eases the process for startups to jointly go-to-market with YES BANK, enabling them to explore ‘live’ use-cases, register their solution and further assist startups in completing their solutions with banking integrations (API Sandbox) to cater to the Bank’s corporate and MSME clients.

About YES BANK                                                             

YES BANK, is a high quality, customer centric and service driven Bank. Since inception in 2004, YES BANK has grown into a ‘Full Service Commercial Bank’ providing a complete range of products, services and technology driven digital offerings, catering to corporate, MSME & retail customers. YES BANK operates its Investment banking, Merchant banking & Brokerage businesses through YES SECURITIES and its Mutual Fund business through YES Asset Management (India) Limited, both wholly owned subsidiaries of the Bank. Headquartered in Mumbai, it has a pan-India presence across all 28 states and 9 Union Territories in India including an IBU at GIFT City, and a Representative Office in Abu Dhabi.

Aegon Life Insurance Launches Industry’s First “Life Plus Hospitalization Cover for COVID-19” with Flipkart

In an industry-first move, Aegon Life, the pioneer of digital insurance in India, has announced the launch of ‘Life Insurance with COVID-19 Cover’ for hospitalization expenses up to Rs 1 lakh along with Flipkart, India’s homegrown e-commerce marketplace. This launch is aimed to provide Flipkart customers with a comprehensive insurance cover against COVID-19, that can be availed on the Flipkart app instantly along with the base life insurance plan. This innovative offering of ‘Life Insurance with COVID-19 Cover’ supports the policyholder by covering hospitalization costs of up to INR 1 Lakh on minimum 24 consecutive hours of hospitalization on the first-ever diagnosis of COVID-19 condition along with death benefit from the life cover. This product available on Flipkart first, is aimed to help millions of people to financially protect themselves from the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic in an affordable way from the convenience and safety of their home.

On the launch of ‘Life Insurance with COVID-19 Cover’, Mr. Satishwar Balakrishnan, CFO, and Principal Officer, Aegon Life said, “The government across the nation has taken bold steps towards containing the outbreak. However, many Indians do not have health insurance. Our goal through Aegon Life’s ‘COVID -19 Hospitalization Cover’ is to provide financial aid bundled with life benefits at an affordable premium. The policy takes care of hospitalization costs, which will help curb the financial burden that may arise if a person is declared COVID-19 positive. In case of death, one can avail of the life benefit through the base plan, which will help in supporting the insured's family.”

He added, "At Aegon Life, we take pride in being a pioneer of digital insurance in India. The cover being available easily on the Flipkart app is a step in the direction of enhancing our digital offerings for our customers."

Mr. Ranjith Boyanapalli, Head– Fintech and Payments Group, Flipkart, said, "During these unprecedented times, businesses must come together, be agile and innovate for the hour. At Flipkart as we continue to cater to 200 million customers across the nation, we believe that a full cover product such as ‘COVID-19 Hospitalization Cover’ will provide our customers the much-needed option of having life and hospitalization cover rolled-up into one product. Our partnership with Aegon Life enables these innovations to reach consumers affordably and conveniently.”

The technology and customer-first focus of Aegon Life and Flipkart has enabled this unique and powerful offering which is the need of the hour during this pandemic.

Airtel Payments Bank, Mastercard to Develop Customized Financial Products for Farmers and SMEs in India

Airtel Payments Bank (APBL), India’s first Payments Bank, has partnered with Mastercard, leading technology company in the global payments industry, to develop customized products catering to customers across the underbanked spectrum including farmers, small and medium enterprises and retail customers.

As part of the Government’s vision of Digital India and Banking for every Indian, both entities have been working towards driving adoption of formal banking and digital payments in the country. The collaboration will bring together Mastercard’s global and local experience in developing advanced financial solutions and Airtel Payments Bank’s strong distribution network to reach the last mile and its large customer base.

The collaboration aims at building a digital platform which provides farmers with knowledge about advanced farming techniques and connection to marketplaces, while simultaneously enabling them to receive payments directly in their Airtel Payments Bank account. Combined with 500,000 banking points of Airtel Payments Bank, the platform will provide farmers with access to neighborhood banking, earnings stability and income growth. This will be a significant move towards building a cashless economy.

Both partners will also work together to create customized solutions for millions of small businesses across the country. These solutions will empower small and medium scale enterprises, who have limited access to finance, to make assisted payments, manage their financial & transactional processes, and also avail working capital in these times of crisis.

Finally, Airtel Payments Bank and Mastercard will work together to create differentiated card solutions, including solutions for contact less payments via NFC (Near Field Communication) for customers and merchants.

Anubrata Biswas, MD and CEO, Airtel Payments Bank said “We are glad to partner with Mastercard to develop innovative solutions as part of our endeavor to drive financial and digital inclusion in the country. Together, we aim to create products that will motivate customers to adapt formal banking behaviour and start opting for digital payments. These solutions will be an addition to our existing differentiated bouquet of easy, accessible and convenient banking and payment solutions to serve the underserved and unbanked population.”

Porush Singh, Division President, South Asia, Mastercard said, “Digital payments have the potential to bring a positive change to the lives of millions of Indians. Mastercard is delighted to extend the partnership with Airtel Payments Banks to build innovative digital payments solutions that will help farmers and small & medium businesses connect with the digital world. These solutions will enable them to access a larger market base, receive payments easily into their bank accounts, safeguard their money against risks associated with cash and get easy access to credit. The partnership will also play an important role towards achieving Mastercard’s goal to empower India’s merchants with digital payments acceptance infrastructure by the end of this year.”

Airtel Payments Bank has been working with Mastercard for last 3 years to offer Mastercard powered debit cards to its savings bank account customers in the country.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Acer India Expands Another Winner in the Gaming Portfolio with Aspire 7 Gaming Laptop

Editor’s Summary:

* The latest Aspire 7 offering comes in 4 variants. The Intel based models are equipped with upto 9th Gen Core i7 processors, while the other two is being offered with the latest AMD Ryzen 3000 series chipsets along with the Nvidia GeForce GTX graphics
* The laptop also comes with up to 1TB M.2 PCIe SSD and up to 32GB DDR4 (SO-DIMM) RAM storage to carry out tasks
* Aspire 7’s Full HD IPS technology features two narrow bezels and an impressive 81.61% screen-to-body ratio that helps tame distracting reflections
* The new Aspire 7 gaming laptop weighs 2.15 kg and offers upto 8.5 hours (under test conditions) of operation on a single charge.

Acer India, the global PC brand, today announced the expansion of its gaming portfolio in India with the launch of powerful Aspire 7 gaming laptop on Flipkart that comes in 4 new variants to cater to gamer’s demand. Acer’s new Aspire 7 gaming laptop hides a powerful processor and graphics which will help gamers get the most of the 15.6” screen with a large screen-to-body ratio and weigh only 2.15 Kg, fairly lightweight for a gaming PC. The laptop can be equipped with up to 9th-gen Intel Core i7 processor or AMD Ryzen™ 3000 along with latest NVIDIA graphics to keep everything running at its optimum speed. Enabling smooth multi-tasking and productivity, it has the latest USB- C connectivity, TrueHarmony™ audio technology, and Multi User – Multi Input Multi Output (MU-MIMO) which handle multiple wireless devices at once with faster speeds and is 2x faster than single-user MIMO.

Acer continues to innovate and bring great gaming experiences to the Indian market for consumers when it comes to laptop design, and the new Aspire 7 is yet another device exclusively designed to meet the needs of the casual gamers who value the subtle design as much as the performance. Aspire 7 is a svelte gaming machine that delivers a solid combination of power coupled with restrained aggressiveness from the outside. The new Acer Aspire 7 is aimed at casual gamers who want a take-anywhere laptop. The latest processors will deliver a complete platform with the performance to empower rich user experiences and the power efficiency to extend battery life. Acer is facilitating gamers with cutting-edge technology that is proven and reliable, considerably improving the experience. In fact, Acer has reportedly retained its spot of being the “No.1 Gaming PC Brand” in India for two consecutive years (2018 – 19) as per the leading research firm (Source: IDC Gaming Tracker, based on Branded Gaming

Speaking on this occasion, Chandrahas Panigrahi, CMO & Consumer Business Head, Acer India said, “Maintaining the growing demand for gaming PCs in India, Acer has always gone further to ensure our gaming machines offer the right design and power for the best gaming experience. We are excited to introduce another winner to our gaming portfolio Aspire 7 gaming laptop for Indian gaming enthusiasts. With our Nitro and Predator series of gaming laptops already leading in the market, this new line of Aspire laptops will further expand our presence in the gaming segment. The new collection is built with an emphasis on strong performance, sensitivity, and intelligent design and will be available on Acer eStore ( and other online and offline portals from Jun’20. We are also collaborating with Flipkart as we believe that this new Acer Aspire 7 gaming laptop could be a perfect fit for gaming enthusiasts across platforms.”

“Flipkart ensures a shopping experience for customers that is driven by a diverse selection, offering them with best-in-class technology at affordable prices. With gaming, as a category, seeing tremendous uptake in the country in the past few years due to evolving consumer preferences, our large youth consumer base is always looking for new and exciting products. We are pleased to extend our partnership with Acer to offer the latest in gaming technology and further enrich our portfolio for a great consumer experience," Rakesh Krishnan, Senior Director at Electronics, Flipkart

Powerful Productivity:

The Aspire 7 packs a lot of power into the chassis. It gives professionals a max of 1TB M.2 PCIe SSD and up to 32GB DDR4 (SO-DIMM) RAM where users have enough power and storage to carry out their tasks. It also packs in performance with its incredible visuals, powerful processor and superior audio. Powered by upto 9th Gen Intel® Core™ i7/i5 processor and AMD Ryzen Processor, the latest NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX graphics,  the Aspire 7 has the power to multitask with ease and power through compute-intensive applications and keeps everything running at its optimum speed.

Stunning Visibility:

The Aspire 7 comes with the stunning FHD narrow border 15.6-inch display screen that offers 100% of the sRGB color gamut. It is further enhanced by Acer's own suite of Color Intelligence and ExaColor software with the two narrow bezels and an impressive 81.61% screen-to-body ratio and its BluelightShield technology allows adjusting of the screen’s blue-light emission over extended periods of use.

Latest connectivity:

In terms of connectivity, the Aspire 7 has HDMI and USB 3.2 ports as well as Wi-Fi 6 with MU-MIMO technology. With Wi-Fi 6 connectivity in a laptop, it’s all about satisfying users’ need for speed. It will provide faster file transfers and streaming; faster and higher quality video chats on-the-go; even faster screen refreshes for gaming. Dual-band Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) improves the average network throughout by up to 3 times and reduces latency by up to 75% compared to Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac). The Aspire 7 also supports MU-MIMO that can handle multiple wireless devices at once with faster speeds and is 3x faster than single-user MIMO. With Wi-Fi 6, users get easy updates to the latest information with a full range of connectivity options. Also, using USB-C™ users can get superfast data transfer over SuperSpeed USB 5Gbps.

Long Battery Life and Professional appearance:

Adding to the user experience, the laptop is powered by the latest Intel® and AMD Ryzen processors and offers an exceptionally fast and responsive experience with the battery life that lasts up to 8.5 hours a day (Under test conditions). Thanks to the LED-backlit keyboard, users can work effectively in dimly lit environments and even at night.

QuEST Global to Sponsor COVID-19 Tests for 300+ Police Officers at Whitefield in the City

QuEST Global, a global product engineering and lifecycle services company, announced today that it has partnered with the Bengaluru City Police to sponsor COVID-19 tests for more than 300 police officers in the city. The Real-Time PCR test for the frontline warriors will be conducted at Vydehi Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre, Whitefield, where 30 police personnel will be tested daily. As part of this initiative, police officers from 8 stations across the Bellandur - Marathahalli - Whitefield belt will be tested on an ongoing basis.

Commenting on the initiative, Shrikant Naik, Head – Global Delivery, QuEST Global said, “During these trying times of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bengaluru City Police have been working tremendously to enforce the lockdown and contain the COVID-19 spread in the city. Through this initiative, we would like to support and honor our warriors who have been bravely fighting with a selfless sense of duty at the frontlines and enabling us to break the chain and maintain law and order. We wanted to show our gratitude and also make sure that these frontline warriors are safe while doing their duty.”

Earlier in April, QuEST had reached out to the Bengaluru City Police to offer sanitizers and masks to all frontline workers. The company also distributed 500 grocery bags among the needy to assist them in this unprecedented situation.

“These are very trying days for all of us, especially to the police force and healthcare workers who are trying to curb the spread of COVID-19 across the country. All our frontline warriors have been working tirelessly in conditions of extreme risk to keep our citizens safe. We are very thankful to QuEST for supporting us with this initiative,” said M N Anucheth, IPS, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Bengaluru City.

D A Kalpaja, Director Vydehi Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre said, “The healthcare professionals and law enforcement personnel are the most vulnerable group of people during these times when COVID-19 is spreading across the country. Their health and wellbeing must be taken care of to ensure these frontline warriors are safe and healthy. We are glad to be part of this initiative that will ensure the wellbeing of police personnel in the city. This is a very noble initiative taken by QuEST to support the Bengaluru City Police who have been working relentlessly since the very start of the outbreak.”

Riverbed Appoints Alex George as Country Manager for India & SAARC

Riverbed has announced the appointment of Alex George as the Country Manager for India. His role will encompass growing Riverbed’s market share in India, as well as the management of Sales and Channels across SAARC. In addition to this appointment, Riverbed India’s sales team has moved to a partner-led model to align with market needs, ultimately simplifying business processes and maximizing growth potential.

Under his leadership, Riverbed India’s 150-strong team will continue to serve its 1,200 existing customers as well as offering counsel to those businesses that are looking for solutions for the first time in the wake of COVID-19.

With over 20 years of experience, Alex approaches the role of India and SAARC lead with a strong skill set spanning across channel management, sales management and business development.

Alex previously held the position of Director of Sales for the Western Region, which saw him play an instrumental role in building up a diverse portfolio of customers for Riverbed India across a range of verticals.

Prior to his roles at Riverbed India, Alex held the position of Regional Sales Manager at Hitachi Data Systems, where he managed large enterprise accounts across the banking, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals and manufacturing industries.

“With networks becoming more and more complex, Riverbed India has worked hard to be local business’ simple solution,” Alex George, Country Manager of Riverbed India says.

“We experienced significant growth this past year and I look forward to continuing to build on this momentum by ensuring local businesses are aware of Riverbed India’s capability to assist with any issues across the networking spectrum, catering to all workloads across on-prem, on cloud and SaaS applications.”

“We’re very excited for Alex to take on this new role, especially during this time of unprecedented digital change. Our offering to customers has never been more integral in ensuring business continuity as our global workforce becomes remote. His deep expertise in network performance and visibility is extremely valued, particularly as customers look to Riverbed as a source of support and guidance through this time,” says Richard Steranka, VP of Sales, Asia Pacific and Japan at Riverbed Technology.

Riverbed India’s team features a number of divisions including sales, systems engineering, technical support, IT and R&D. The depth and breadth of Riverbed’s expertise locally ensures that solutions are developed with local customer concerns front of mind. This allows Riverbed to cater to all workloads across on-prem, cloud and SaaS applications and ensures it has the ability deploy technology unique to each customer’s needs.

Riverbed continues to be a market leader in maximizing performance and visibility for networks and applications both in India and globally.

Experian India Partners with Redington to Further Strengthen its Decisioning & Analytics Solutions for BFSI Industry

Experian, one of India’s leading data, analytics and decisioning companies today announced a partnership with Redington, the largest IT software and products distributor in India. This collaboration will further boost Experian’s commitment to help the Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) industry with innovative analytics and technology solutions to enable smarter and faster lending decisions.

As part of this partnership, Redington will distribute Experian’s PowerCurveTM suite of products in India to a wider range of customers through their 15000-strong partner network. Experian’s PowerCurveTM solutions help clients acquire customers, automate processing and decisioning, increase revenue, and reduce acquisition costs and risks. Experian India will combine its expertise in decisioning and analytics and leverage Redington’s distribution network to enable a seamless flow of products and services to the BFSI industry including fraud detection, identity verification and prudent decision making for their customers.

Commenting on the partnership, Sathya Kalyanasundaram, Country Head and Managing Director, Experian India said, “Financial institutions that have well-structured risk management frameworks are most likely to weather the weakness in market sentiment and demand created as a result of Covid-19. We believe that these financial institutions will focus their investment towards analytics, fraud detection, digital customer acquisition, customer management strategies and build efficient collection processes. We have built smart solutions across all these key focus areas; to effectively assist such institutions in navigating the current times. We believe that Experian’s solutions along with Redington’s proven channel partner will provide the necessary impetus to aid the industry in these challenging times.”

R. Venkatesh, Executive Vice President, Redington, said, “At Redington, it is our endeavour to provide best-in-class solutions to our customers. We are very pleased to have the opportunity to represent Experian. Our association with Experian has come at a time that is critical for the BFSI industry. There is a lot riding on this sector and Experian’s solutions will allow them to make informed decisions.

Experian’s analytics and data driven solutions leverage proprietary algorithms and tools to generate intelligent and actionable insights, making it easier to understand customers and their needs. The end-to end-solutions enable the user to automate customer acquisition, improve persistency, help to upsell and prevent frauds with smarter claim management. We are looking forward to this association to be a long and fruitful one.”

Vodafone Idea Enables all Bank Account Holders to Recharge from Safety of their Home

India’s leading telecom services provider Vodafone Idea has introduced a unique service to empower feature phone users and non-digital savvy customers to recharge their Vodafone Idea numbers with just a valid UPI ID. Vodafone Idea has tied up with Paytm - India's leading financial services to launch this service across the country. The move will help millions of consumers who use feature phones to top up their numbers without having the need to visit physical retail touchpoints. The service doesn’t require mobile-internet facility to undertake such recharges and non-Paytm app users can also easily avail this service.

This service is based on the innovative payment service *99# which works on the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) channel. Envisioned as a key facilitator to financial inclusion, this service allows mobile banking transactions using basic feature phones without having to depend on mobile internet.

Vodafone and Idea customers can undertake a Recharge using this service in the following manner.

Steps to follow in case Customer's UPI ID is already registered with BHIM UPI

Customer dials in USSD code - *99*1*3# (USSD for UPI Money Transfer : Flow owned by NPCI)
Customer's bank account number linked to mobile number through which USSD is dialed is detected
Enters the UPI id defined by Paytm ({mobilenumber}.{operator_name}@paytm).
Eg : Vodafone Customers can enter (98********.vf@paytm) and Idea customers can enter (98********.id@paytm)
Enters amount
Enters a remark (optional)
Enters UPI PIN
Transaction is successful and a UPI reference ID is generated
Steps to follow in case Customer's UPI id is not registered with Bhim UPI

(Customer mobile number registered with bank for UPI- UPI ID available – but no UPI PIN | Option available to set the UPI PIN)

Dial *99#
Customer is shown all his/her bank accounts linked with the mobile number from where the USSD is dialed in
Customer selects the bank account he/she wants to register his/her UPI id with
Customer sets the UPI PIN
To do a mobile recharge, user needs to again dial *99# and do the procedure (a)

Announcing the launch of this UPI based recharge facility, Avneesh Khosla, Director-Marketing, Vodafone Idea Limited said, “It is our constant endeavour to ensure that our customers remain connected and safe during these times. In the last 2 months we have a launched a slew of initiatives to help consumers stay connected.  We believe that this partnership with Paytm will help facilitate a  large number of our digitally unconnected customers  to recharge through USSD without being dependent on mobile internet, any digital app or a physical retail touchpoint.Through this partnership we will be able to provide a simple and secure solution, enhancing the convenience factor to these pre-paid customers during very testing times so as to ensure that our consumers do not have to leave the safety of their homes to recharge their phones.”

Vodafone and Idea customers presently have the below options to recharge their Sims across through online and digital platforms:

* Apps – MyVodafone App, MyIdea App
* Websites –,
* E-Wallets – Like Paytm, Google Pay, PhonePe, Amazon Pay, etc.

Home Credit India Donates 30,000 KN95 Respirators & 180,000 Surgical Masks to Ministry of Health & Family Welfare

To help India fight the COVID 19 battle, Home Credit India (HCIN), a local arm of the international consumer finance provider with operations spanning over Europe and Asia, will provide medical aid to the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. The aid includes 30,000 KN95 respirators and 1,80,000 surgical masks.

Ondrej Kubik, Chief Executive Officer, Home Credit said, “We at Home Credit, stand by the nation and mankind during these tough times. As a responsible corporate, we are contributing to the society by providing this equipment to help fight this pandemic. We have been deeply impacted by this pandemic and we must all come together to provide the necessary support in our capacity to the government, healthcare workers and the NGOs working to fight this. I am confident that together we will win this battle.”

Shri T. Rajasekar, Director,  HLL Lifecare Ltd. Said,“ At the outset on behalf of Government of India, Ministry of Health & Welfare, Ministry of Textiles and people of India, we thank you for donating protective KN95 masks and surgical masks for the protection and safety of Medical community in India. Yours is one of the first few Indian organizations that has come forward to be a helping hand to Government of India’s effort to prevent and control the COVID-19 epidemic.

We take this opportunity to express our heartfelt gratitude and appreciation for the generosity shown by your esteemed organization by donating protective medical suites to Govt. of India. The donation was timely and helpful.”

Home Credit India is supporting the fight against COVID 19 by supporting other activities. They recently provided ration to 20,000 destitute people in Gurugram, Haryana. The company was also the among the first corporates to introduce a special COVID-19 hospitalization insurance cover of Rs. 5,00,000 per employee.  Any employee tested COVID-19 positive and requires immediate hospitalization would be able to avail this insurance plan.

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