Saturday, July 25, 2020

Emirates Will Cover Medical Expenses If Passengers Catch Covid-19 Pandemic

Emirates airline, the United Arab Emirates flag carrier, has become the world's first airline to offer to cover customers' medical expenses and quarantine costs should they contract Covid-19 during their trip.

The airline will pay medical expenses up to €150,000 ($173,000) and quarantine costs of up to €100 for 14 days, should they be diagnosed with the coronavirus during their travel, while away from home.

The cover will be available to all customers, at no extra cost, from now until October 31, 2020. It's valid for 31 days from the moment they fly the first leg of their trip, so passengers can continue to have the benefit even if they travel onwards from their Emirates destination.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Emirates group chairman and chief executive, said in a press release, "Emirates has worked hard to put in place measures at every step of the customer journey to mitigate risk of infection, and we have also revamped our booking policies to offer flexibility.

"We are now taking it to the next level, by being the first in the industry to offer our customers free global cover for Covid-19 medical expenses and quarantine costs should they incur these costs during their travel."

While Emirates is the first airline to take this step to boost traveler confidence, it's not the first player in the tourism industry to offer Covid payouts.

Central Asian nation Uzbekistan has promised the sum of $3,000 as compensation to visitors who contract Covid-19 while vacationing there.

The Mediterranean island of Cyprus, meanwhile, which reopened its borders to selected countries in June, is pledging to cover the cost of lodging, food, drink and medication for visitors who test positive for the virus during their stay.
Emirates is regularly named one of the world's top airlines in Skytrax's prestigious annual awards.

The UAE's strategic location between Oman and Saudi Arabia makes it a key connection for travelers heading from the West to the East and vice versa.

The airline's HQ is at Dubai International Airport, named the world's third busiest airport in 2018, and the carrier will be keen to resume its once bustling international operations.

BOCI and Karnataka State Bus Owners Federation Seek Help from Government Due to Financial Crisis


Bus & Car Operators Confederation of India - (BOCI) & Karnataka State Bus Owners Federation Bangalore representing district association of bus owners operating buses from various district of Karnataka and neighboring states urged the Karnataka government to provide immediate relief to the public transport sector which is on a  stand still due to COVID 19 lockdown. The public transport sector has requested waiver of taxes, deferment of tax payments, extension of vehicle insurance validity, increase in price/fare on tickets, extending the loan moratorium and subsidies on diesel and tax reduction on spare parts for a stipulated period which would help reduce the vehicle running cost to save the sector from collapsing.

The Current fleet of vehicles under the Private Passenger Services is approximately 4lakh in Karnataka. The extended lockdown has hit the sector hard with many operators in dire straits and on brink of closure.  When compared to other countries, in India public transport sector does not receive financial support, instead it has severe burden of taxation including GST on tickets and purchase of vehicle tires and spares, GST and CESS on fuel and lubricants and toll tax.

Considering social distancing norms and only half the seats being used, paying tax for all seats per quarter in advance has affected the transport operators badly.  Due to non-operation of vehicles for more than four months, it has impacted the public transport sector severely. The layoff has also caused tremendous inconvenience to commuters, the salaried middle-class and unprecedented hardship for migrant daily wage laborers in India who depend entirely on public transport for their commute. The sector has made several representations to the authorities in the transport department, Ministries of state and to the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Karnataka to draw their attention to multitudes of issues faced by the sector and have urged urgent action to alleviate their pain.

The key asks of the sector to various authorities in the Government of Karnataka are:

Waiver on Motor Vehicle Tax for six months
Extension of Vehicle Insurance
Increase in price in tickets
Waiver on Toll tax for public transport vehicles
Reduction in State tax & CESS on Diesel for public transport sector vehicles for next six months
Portal access to interact with RTO for payment of fees, documentation etc. avoid person to person contact and reduce virus spread
Insurance coverage to drivers and transport workers plying during pandemic to ferry passengers, essential goods
Allow utilization of ESI / EPF funds to pay staff salaries
Viability Gap Funding for Public Transport
Deferment of EMI payments for next 6 to 12 months

Addressing this concern, Mr. Rajavarma Ballal, All India Sectorial Vice President of Stage Carriage Service Sector, Bus & Car Operators Confederation of India (BOCI) said, “Transport sector is one of the major sectors contributing to the economy of the state and the nation. Government must provide necessary support to revive the sector in these critical times by providing tax exemption and extension of loan repayment tenure amongst other provisions. Though Banks have extended the moratorium for few months, but they should extend the mortarium by waiving interest to existing loans because more than 80% of the vehicles are usually financed and many are availing the moratorium. The Central Government has also provided COVID loan facilities for MSMEs. But as per the provision the loan facilities can be availed only by the owners of the travel companies. This loan facility must be extended to the individual owners who are using their personal vehicles for transport.  Also, the economic relief announced by the government to the public sector transportation must be extended.”

Mr. Prasanna Patwardhan, President, Bus & Car Operators Confederation of India (BOCI) said, India moves on public transport, as more than 90% of our people use it for their daily mobility needs. We have over 17 lakh operational buses on Indian roads, out of which, about 1.50 lakh buses are operated by various STU’s. The remaining 15.5lakh buses, accounting for almost 30 Crore passenger trips, are run by private operators which are the member of various Associations & Federations affiliated to Bus & Car Operators Confederation of India (BOCI). Being a labor-intensive sector, we request the government to support and save the sector from a total collapse. The fiscal relief sought will help the sector see through these tumultuous times.”

BOCI has also addressed these issues in a letter to the Honorable Prime Minister requesting for a job security of 1 crore people who have not been paid during the lockdown and requested government to take responsibility to pay salaries for 3 months. Rescheduling of all EMIs and Banks should be instructed to reschedule loans by giving at least six months moratorium period to all customers and to waived off the interest for the moratorium period. Banks and NBFCs should be advised to provide top-up working capital at low interest rates to resume business.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Dettol & PVR Cinemas Come Together to Enable ‘Safe and Hygienic’ Movie Viewing Experience

Dettol, the leading germ protection brand, today announced its partnership with PVR Cinemas, India’s largest and the most premium film exhibitor. The partnership will help create a safe, hygienic, and enjoyable movie viewing experience for its customers once the cinemas can open in accordance with government guidelines and permissions. Adhering to the ‘new normal’, the partnership program will enable & develop enhanced cleaning and sanitizing protocols for the guests across 175 properties operating in 70 cities across the country.

Research by Global monitor indicates that consumers have heightened hygiene concerns when venturing outside the comfort of their house, and trust in cleanliness standards will be critical to restarting any business operations. Therefore, it has become highly critical for industries to implement an effective system to ensure standardized hygiene practices to protect oneself and others from this pandemic.

Commenting on the partnership, Pankaj Duhan, Chief Marketing Officer, RB Health South Asia, said, “Even as the lockdown conditions get progressively eased, the Indian consumers concern on germs exposure and desire for protective measures remains very high. As India’s #1 trusted brand for germ protection, Dettol is pleased to partner with PVR for a safe return of the Indian families to a cutting-edge cinema viewing experience.  Our aim is to partner meaningfully together with PVR to provide best in class Dettol germ protection – proven Dettol products to be used in expert vetted protocols so that the consumer is reassured and confident of a safe and hygienic viewing experience.”

Commenting on the partnership, Mr. Gautam Dutta, CEO, PVR Cinemas said, “We have spent the last few months brainstorming amongst ourselves and with the world leaders in our industry to come up with best and safest practices for our customers to return to the movies. Having left no stone unturned in ensuring their well-being across all levels, we are pleased to partner with Dettol to guarantee an even cleaner and safer viewing experience. We are positive that the people would enlist the same trust in us as they have in the past decades of our relationship with them.” 

PVR Cinemas will implement stringent hygiene protocols, social distancing and food safety measures, along with minimal human contact across all touchpoints.  All employees will be undergoing health screening daily and fortnightly; and will be wearing PPE gear, face masks, gloves and face shields for extra protection. Further, the entire premises undergo an EPA approved complete ULV sanitization process at regular intervals which helps in coating the surface with anti-microbial layers with electrostatic machines for up to thirty days.

Over 80 years, Dettol has been the trusted partner of health, for millions of mothers across the country, to protect their family by preventing illnesses and infections. In the ongoing battle to contain the spread of COVID-19, Dettol has been instrumental in driving behavior change and the adoption of recommended hygiene practice across India. As a hygiene leader and No. 1 germ protection brand, Dettol continues to drive the organizational purpose and fight in action- to protect, heal, and nurture in the relentless pursuit of a cleaner, healthier world.

YES BANK Launches Banking Services on WhatsApp; Brings 60+ Products and Services to the Popular Messaging App

Uninterrupted banking Now Just a Message Away

* 24x7 Banking assistance, without the need for branch visits for key services
* Fully secure interactions with end to end encryption
* Potential customers can apply for 60+ products and services through WhatsApp

YES BANK announced the launch of WhatsApp banking services to empower customers and enable them to bank securely from the safety of their homes. This is in line with the Bank’s strategy of building a transformed ‘Digital Bank’ by making banking simpler and intuitive for customers.

Customers can now check their savings account balance, view recent transactions & digital banking products, avail loan against fixed deposits, order cheque book, report unauthorized transactions, connect with Contact centre via call or email, apply for 60+ products & services, donate to PM CARES Fund, view COVID-19 relief package, redeem reward points and locate nearby ATMs and branches, all just through a message.

Built on an AI enabled 24*7 personal banking assistant, YES ROBOT, banking through WhatsApp provides convenience as well as highest level of information security - the messages are secured with end to end encryption. Also, the green badge against the Bank’s name ensures that customers are interacting with a verified business account.

Key benefits of YES BANK WhatsApp banking services

* Trained for 10,000+ Banking related queries
* Powered by AI-enabled chatbot, YES ROBOT with Microsoft Azure’s cognitive services
* 24*7 Banking assistance on-the-go
* No additional app download needed
* Safe and secure transactions with end-to-end encryption
* Easy access and convenient banking

Commenting on the launch, Ritesh Pai, Chief Digital Officer, YES BANK, said “We are pleased to offer the convenience of round the clock banking assistance on WhatsApp, a platform that customers are familiar with and use frequently. The banking requests from customers will be addressed on a real-time basis through the messaging platform, thereby making banking more efficient. YES BANK will continue to leverage technology to create simple and innovative solutions for customers to enjoy banking services in a seamless and secure manner.”

To activate WhatsApp banking services:

Missed call: Give a missed call on +91-829-120-1200 to receive an SMS with a link to activate services.           

Save the contact: Save +91-829-120-1200 to contacts, open WhatsApp application and say ‘Hi’ to get started.           

Click Hi: Click on 'Hi' on YES BANK website (bitly link) and start chatting.     


YES BANK is a ‘Full Service Commercial Bank’ providing a complete range of products, services and technology driven digital offerings, catering to Retail, MSME as well as corporate clients. 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 8 Union Territories in India including an IBU at GIFT City, and a Representative Office in Abu Dhabi.

Season 2 of TLC’s Fashion Series ‘Decoded’ Brings Back the Golden Fashion Era on TV

Fashion Series  

* Renowned fashion designers Neeta Lulla, Ken Ferns, Ana Singh, Narendra Kumar and make-up experts Marvie Ann Beck and Clint Fernandes to feature in ‘Decoded Season 2’ on TLC
* Premieres on 27th July on TLC, TLC HD. Viewers can also stream it on Discovery Plus

After the stupendous success of Decoded Season 1, the short-format fashion series is back with its season 2, featuring some of the most celebrated fashion designers from the Bollywood industry like Neeta Lulla, Ken Ferns, Ana Singh, Narendra Kumar and make-up artists like Fernandes and Marvie Ann Beck. Starting July 27, on TLC, TLC HD and on Discovery Plus, the series is all set to take the viewers back in time from the decade of decadence to explore the best from the millennium decade as it decodes the fashion trends of multiple periods, right from the 70s onwards till now.

The 5 episodic series in partnership with leading brands such as OPPO, Bata & Fortune Edible Oils, will feature a celebrity fashion designer and a celebrity make-up artist every week, as they explore the fashion of a particular era and give tips on how to look your absolute best in the 21st century.

The first episode features Indian celebrity stylist Ken Ferns along with the make-up expert Clint Fernandes, where they decode the fashion of the 70s. Episode 2 features ace fashion designer Neeta Lulla and make-up expert Marvie Ann Beck highlight the returning styles and looks from the 80’s. Whereas episode 3 unravels the classic 90s looks in a modern avatar with Bollywood’s celebrated stylist Ana Singh and make-up artist Clint Fernandes. In Episode 4, fashion stalwart Narendra Kumar and make-up artist Marvie Ann Beck take a trip down memory lane to bring best from the early 2000s. The season finale episode brings together the best of fashion and make-up from all 4 episodes.

Talking about the series, celebrity fashion designer Neeta Lulla said, “Any fashion trend never really dies and is often revived after a particular time. We all admire the iconic looks of famous personalities of the 70s and 80s whether it is about those flared pants, polka dotted shirts of the 70s or the Midi dresses became a thing of the 80s Bollywood fashion. Season 2 of Decoded is all about going back in time and unravelling some of the most iconic fashion looks of the golden era, moving towards more recent times and how the styles from the 80s and 90s are returning with extra glam. It was an amazing experience shooting for the leading lifestyle channel TLC and reliving the fashion and make-up trends of the 80s.”

Celebrity make-up expert Clint Fernandes said, “Till now people take inspiration from the golden era when it comes to their look and make-up. Everyone remembers Zeenat Aman’s famous makeup look to have in the 70's included thin brows, bright lipstick and smudged eyeliner to Madhuri Dixit’s 80s look of bright eyeshadow, heavy highlight to metallic lips. Through this series we are going to relook at the make-up styles and the alluring looks of the past. It was fun and amazing experience showcasing how these trends have come back in time, still looking fresh, as the industry experiments with these fascinating looks.”

Watch DECODED SEASON 2, premiering on 27th July on TLC, TLC HD. Viewers can also stream the show by downloading the Discovery Plus.

About TLC

TLC is an in-home getaway for aspirational viewers who want to experience the best the world has to offer. Providing an extensive mix of programming on travel, cuisine, makeover, fashion, relationship, design and music, it encourages viewers to make the most of their time and live the most rewarding and exciting lives. Travel experts share insiders’ secrets of the world’s most fascinating destinations; celebrated chefs and restaurateurs prepare delectable cuisines; lifestyle personalities reveal their techniques for making body, hair, homes and lives more attractive and wandering cameras uncover the coveted lives of the rich and famous.

Canadian Wood’s Hold Webinar on ‘Architecture with Wood in India’

FII-India, popularly known as Canadian Wood has been actively promoting building with wood in India using wood legally sourced from the sustainably managed forests of B.C., Canada. In case of structural applications of wood it works closely with architects, developers, contractors, and hospitality professionals and extends technical support by suggesting appropriate species and grades most suitable to the type of construction chosen or preferred, i.e. T&G (Tongue & Groove), WFC (Wood Frame Construction), posts-and-beams or even hybrid in tandem with local stone/bricks. It also conducts educational seminars and training workshops that help create awareness about its wood species, specific applications, and appropriate methods of use.

As a part of this continued effort during the COVID19 period, Canadian Wood introduced webinars on topics of interest to the wood working industry at large. Its third webinar titled ‘Architecture with wood in India’ conducted on July 24, 2020, was a part of the continuing series and a first-of-its-kind virtual panel discussion, presented by Indo-Canadian Business Chamber (ICBC) and sponsored by Artius Interior Products Pvt. Ltd.

The webinar began with a warm welcome by Ms. Nadira Hamid, CEO, ICBC and opening remarks by Hon. Andrew Smith, Minister (Commercial), High Commission of Canada. This was followed by an introduction of the event curator & moderator Prof. Gurdev Singh by Mr. Pranesh Chhibber, Country Director, FII India. Prof. Gurdev Singh is an industry icon and the Ex-Dean of the School of Environmental Design and Architecture, Navrachana University. With over 40 years of invaluable experience in the field of architecture and several awards at national and international levels to his credit, his portfolio includes Teaching, Design (Architecture, Interior and Urban), Project Management and Construction Coordination, Quality Control and Site Management, as well as experience on projects as an Owner/Builder.

As the webinar progressed exciting sections began to slowly unfold itself in the form of extensive, informative presentations by eminent Indian architects namely Ar. N Mahesh from Iyer & Mahesh, Ar. Gurpreet Singh from Aakar Design Consultants and Ar. Kamal Malik from Malik Architecture. Each glorified through their unique pieces of work the various features, strengths, and possibilities in the world of architecture with wood.

Ar. N Mahesh is known for his decades of experience in reviving traditional timber architecture in India using ‘Green’ reforested timber. He presented beautiful pieces of work that drew inspiration from heritage architecture in Kerala and merged it with the technological prowess of changing times. His presentation showcased rich examples of wooden buildings and captivating visuals of projects spanning across premium hotels and resorts like the Ananta spa & resort - Rajasthan, the Lalit resort & spa, Bekal – Kerala and the Zuri Kumarakom resort & spa - Kerala to name a few. Besides these, he also showcased an eye-catching structure, his prized possession called the ‘Bell Museum’ located in Trivandrum. The building’s interiors featured successful use of Canadian manufactured Tongue and Groove panelling made with western hemlock, one of the five Canadian wood species available across India.

This was followed with a presentation by Ar. Gurpreet Singh who unveiled some truly exemplary work. His projects included well-recognized and awarded ventures like the Royal Academy of Bhutan and large scale in-making projects like the Dining hall for the World School of Environment in Coorg. He also showcased Aakar Villa; a luxury private villa displayed at 1970 sq. ft. in Himachal Pradesh. The villa exhibited how Canadian Wood specie Douglas-fir was optimally used to build posts-and-beams, multiple doors and windows that created a beautiful open space in oneness with nature.

The final presentation was made by Ar. Kamal Malik. His slides were iconic in their representation of his love for nature and the inspiration drawn from it. He defined architecture as a synthesis of ‘Ecology’ and ‘Spirit’. ‘Ecology’ implying a seamless, cohesive, and integrated approach to design and ‘Spirit’ implying balance, understanding and tranquility. His pieces of work included a luxury resort in Morgiri in Lonavala and in Alibaug where he elaborated upon how nature united with the applied contemporary architectural elements.

The three presentations were followed by a very engaging panel discussion, innovatively curated by Prof. Gurdev Singh. The event finally concluded with an insightful Q&A session of the panelists with the well-informed audience. The queries raised by the enthusiastic audience to the panelists clearly indicated the rising positive sentiment and trend towards use of wood in structural applications – we see an emerging trend of country homes, farm houses and resorts especially in hills and coastal areas being designed with wood (from sustainably managed forests) as the most ecofriendly building material.

Commenting on the response to the webinar, Mr. Pranesh Chhibber, Country Director, FII India said, “Canadian Wood is delighted to have the three stalwarts of architecture together as panelists on this platform along with Prof. Gurdev as the curator and moderator. It has been an enriching experience for us to listen and see them share their experience and expertise with the audience on the topic of “Architecture with Wood in India”.

It has been highly satisfying, encouraging and inspiring for us have had such an illustrious team of panelists on the Canadian Wood webinar – Ion behalf of Canadian Wood, thank Architects Mahesh, Gurpreet and Kamal from the bottom of my heart to having spared time for not just today but for having put in many hours preparing their presentations with their respective teams in their offices. Needless to mention that we are also thankful to Prof. Gurdev for being a great sport and taking on the mantle of being the curator and moderator for this webinar.

I must acknowledge the support and encouragement from Hon. Andrew Smith – Minister (Commercial), High Commission of Canada in India and thank him for taking time out for the webinar to further strengthen Indo-Canadian business ties. Needless to mention that without the support and collaboration of ICBC this webinar would not have been possible – so thank you Nadira for being such a sport. I also thank Ms. Bhawna Sharma – Director of Artius Interior products, Gurgaon for sponsoring the webinar and sharing with the audience the great work that Artius is doing with the Canadian Wood species.

Last but not the least, this webinar would not have been a success without the registration and participation of such an enlightened audience. There is a lot for us to take from this webinar and be encouraged to keep such conversations alive on the Canadian Wood forum. I assure our stakeholders that we intend continuing to organize more such sessions with eminent personalities connected with wood from India and abroad.

About FII India

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

Greenply Ensures that We Breathe Clean and Safe Air in Indian Market

Safeguarding the health interests by way of assuring to improve indoor air quality in homes of its consumers, Greenply Industries, one of India’s largest interior infrastructure brands with over 30 years of experience in manufacturing a comprehensive range of plywood, block boards, decorative veneers, flush doors, and other allied products announced that the Company has brought in its California Air Report Board (CARB) certified and compliant Green Gold Platinum Plywood to the market. 

The Breathe Healthy Green Gold Platinum Plywood combines health and durability of the highest quality and conforms to E-0 grade emission of Formaldehyde (European Standard) and low Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) which makes it the best solution to improve the indoor air quality of our interiors and enable us to breathe clean and safe air. The product is available in various standard thickness viz. from 4 mm to 25 mm with a warranty of 27 years.

California Air Resources Board (CARB) is the "clean air agency" in the government of California. Being a CARB compliant product means that this Green Gold Platinum Plywood has been manufactured in compliance with CARB air pollution rules and regulations and has attained and maintained all the parameters those ensure a healthy indoor air quality and protects the consumers from exposure to toxic air contaminants.

Remarking on the new product which has hit the market, Mr Sanidhya Mittal, Joint Managing Director – Greenply Industries Ltd said “With increasing awareness about the harmful consequences of air pollution on human health, consumers today are extremely concerned not only about their’ s external environment but also about the Indoor Air Quality where they live. This rising concern pushed us to come with an innovative product which will be free from emission of any harmful gases and ensure a complete peace of mind for our consumers in the aspects of indoor air quality, and environmentally friendliness. Green Gold Platinum Plywood being a CARB compliant product, our consumers using it in their homes will now breathe clean and safe air.”

The Compliance made sure that the plywood emits negligible formaldehyde and that its manufacturing facility has an on-site testing mechanism to monitor quality of the product in this regard. CARB standards are usually stricter than those required in other regions of the world and thus products which are CARB compliant are generally considered as one of the most environmentally friendly and safest products when compared to the many others.

About Greenply Industries

GREENPLY INDUSTRIES LIMTED (Greenply), is among India’s largest interior infrastructure brands with over 30 years of experience in manufacturing and marketing a comprehensive range of plywood, block boards, decorative veneers, flush doors, and other allied products.

Greenply commands a 26% market share in the organised plywood market. The company has a strong leadership presence with 55 branches (including virtual branches) and 7,500+ channel partners across India. However, Greenply is currently making its presence felt across the globe, with 4 state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, which includes the operations in Gabon, West Africa. The organisation has received several awards and certifications for implementing best work practices across factories, maintaining eco-friendly manufacturing, and ensuring quality and guaranteed products, including the prestigious FSC-COC, CE and E1.

Strengthening the business – Greenply is constantly striving on building a sustainable operational framework crucial for continued value creation by working on capacity building and securing resource availability. Therefore, Greenply is amongst the first ones in this sector to use Okoume – a natural timber harvested under the Sustainable Forest Management plan. Greenply has been encouraging timber plantation and agroforestry in marginal and degraded farmlands near their manufacturing sites, ensuring environmental sustainability. For the future, Greenply plans to put in place the right building blocks for sustainable long-term growth and value creation for all stakeholders.

Ameyo Reaches Turnover of Rs. 90 Cr in FY 2020 with 27% EBITDA

Ameyo, a leading provider of Omnichannel Customer Engagement Technology today revealed business results from FY 19-20, a year during which the company grew at 30% with 27% EBITDA to reach a turnover of Rs. 90 crores.

Over the last few years, Ameyo has been pivoting its revenue model from licenses to a subscription business with 50% recurring revenue of Rs. 45 crores in FY 19-20.

The firm has a presence in 60+ countries with international business contributing to almost 43% of the turnover at Rs. 38.4 crore

Commenting on this growth, Bishal Lachhiramka, Co-founder & CEO, Ameyo, mentions, “Ameyo has continued to grow at a steady pace with profitability, thanks to our focus on creating products & solutions that provide value to our customers. With COVID-19 and the focus on digital transformation, our growth has been accelerated. We will continue to focus on creating solutions for the unique problems of emerging geographies.”

During Q1, 2020, Ameyo grew its customer base by over 100 percent, adding HDFC ERGO General Insurance, Sridhar Insurance, Apollo Health and Lifestyle, Zolo, BYJU’S, D.Light, STC Channels, LR Data, SP Madrid, Toppr, Jubilant FoodWorks, Spice Money, Rebel Foods (Faasos), The Muthoot Group, Vistaprint, and many more.

Ameyo recently launched the RBI compliant Video KYC engagement platform with omnichannel capabilities that allow the Regulated Entities (REs) to reduce onboarding drop-offs by 20% and reduce the cost of KYC by 90%. The solution is built for scale and operates even at low internet bandwidth and a variety of devices to target the masses.

Sachin Bhatia, Co-founder and Global Sales & Marketing Head at Ameyo, adds, “Contact centers are going to play a pivotal role in the post-COVID-19 times, as they provide the last line of human to human interaction between brands and consumers. We are very bullish about the next wave of growth with our new product launches that enable brands with remote solutions for Sales, Onboarding, Customer Service, and Collection use cases.

In the near future, Ameyo plans to launch a series of solutions in the AI space using their own IP as well as by partnering with market leaders in the space. The firm has invested in AI to use sentiment analysis in the routing of interactions and is planning to use it for three main purposes i.e. Intelligent Routing, Assisted Service, and Quality Monitoring.

Geographically they will continue to expand into newer markets in Southeast Asia, ME, and Africa and have recently also entered the markets of South Africa, Ethiopia, Egypt, Bahrain, and Vietnam.

The 400+ employees strength company initially started off with solutions for contact center channels like voice and email but today they are catering to all social media and chat platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, Google Play Store, Instagram, Twitter, and Viber.

About Ameyo

Ameyo is an Omnichannel customer engagement platform that helps businesses go remote with its 3 Unique Remote Contact Center Solutions and help them streamline their customer service, customer support, and collection processes.

Ameyo's robust platform is available for on-cloud and on-premise implementation with private, public, as well as hybrid instances. It has pre-built integrations with all significant industry-grade CRMs. Ameyo provides strong omnichannel capabilities of Voice, IVR, ACD, Dialers, Email, Chat, and Social Media such as Instagram, Google Play, Twitter, Facebook & WhatsApp. 

Voot Select Takes its Premium Content to Regional Audiences in India

Fulfilling every entertainment need of its diverse and multi-cultural userbase, Voot Select is all set to make its regional content slate more dynamic and relevant to its audience with the launch of its Originals - Asur, Marzi, The Raikar Case and Illegal in Kannada. Furthering Viacom18’s existing content proposition in the  the Kannada market, Voot Select’s new language play will enable viewers to enjoy the platforms’ incredible Hindi original content in their local language and overturn the language barrier. While Asur, The Raikar Case and Illegal are all live on the platform, and will be followed by Marzi.  Apart from this, the subscribers will also get exclusive access to popular Kannada movies like Bell Bottom, Ayogya, Kirik Party and other movies like Thrayambakam, Eedhiga Bandha Suddhi, Dayavittu Gamanisi, Theory, Alamelamma on Voot Select.

Commenting on the new offerings, Ferzad Palia, Head - Voot Select, Youth, Music, and English Entertainment, Viacom18 said, “When we launched Voot Select, the idea was to share compelling stories with the audience all over the country. The appetite for regional content consumption is huge and by making Voot Originals available in Kannada, we are not only expanding our reach but also adding to the content experience of our audiences in Karnataka.  We as a network already have a strong presence in the Kannada market with Colors Super, Colors Kannada Cinema and  Colors Kannada with its content available 24 hours on Voot Select. With this move, the viewers can now access its premium Originals and movies in the language of their comfort and choice.”

Expressing his views on the announcement Neil Bhoopalam said, “Being a theatre and stage actor, I have had plenty of opportunities to work with people from different parts of the country and understand the demand to consume different genres of content. The Raikar Case has been appreciated by the audience all over India and I hope my viewers down South also enjoy watching the show and appreciate my performance in it.”

Illegal star, Kubbra Sait said, “Shooting for Illegal has been a very special experience for me as an actor. Being a Kannadiga, I get a lot of requests from fans and friends to work in Kannada based projects and this gives me the perfect platform to come closer to my fans. I cannot wait to see the reactions of the audience.”

With the introduction of this language proposition, Voot Select has opened a myriad of opportunities for the regional markets. With the most compelling stories and top notch premium content, the Kannada speaking audience can surely look forward to some of the finest content in their own language.

Voot Select’s premium content will soon launch in multiple languages including Tamil, Bengali, Marathi and Telugu.

SonyLIV Brings ‘Avrodh: The Siege Within’ - The Untold Story Behind India’s Surgical Strike

On 18th September 2016, the Indian army woke up to the deadliest attack on our security forces in Uri, Kashmir. 10 days later, a Surgical Strike happened to redress the same. While the event is well known, the conspiracy behind it and the details of immense planning by the Indian army remains untold. Unfolding that story for the first time ever, SonyLIV brings the most authentic account of the landmark event in its next original Avrodh: The Siege Within. The 10-part series goes live on the platform on 31st July.

Based on ‘We Don’t Really Know Fear’, the first chapter of Rahul Singh and Shiv Aroor’s celebrated book ‘India’s Most Fearless’ and produced for Applause Entertainment by Samar Khan’s Irada Entertainment LLP, Avrodh revolves around a covert mission. After months of extensive research and consultation with army officials, the narrative was sketched out from different perspectives. To ensure Avrodh gives viewers an authentic view of the events in an engaging and entertaining manner, the makers invested over two years in production of the series.

Directed by Raj Acharya, Avrodh has Amit Sadh play Major Tango, the on-screen version of the 35- year old real-life hero who spearheaded the mission along with an ensemble of actors like Darshan Kumar, Pavail Gulati, Neeraj Kabi, Madhurima Tuli, Anant Mahadevan, Vikram Gokhale and Arif Zakaria.


Ashish Golwalkar - Head-Content SET, Digital Business, Sony Pictures Networks India

“SonyLIV’s purpose of existence is to tell ‘the stories of India’, and we could not miss the biggest narrative of our time - the story behind the Stunning Surgical Strike executed by brave Indian Soldiers. We are delighted to partner with Applause who have invested in the best resources, time, and research into bringing this series alive on SonyLIV. Avrodh details the conspiracy behind URI attack and the immense planning, precision and strategy that went into the strike. We are confident that the audience will enjoy this pulsating series that will keep them at the edge of their seat”.

Sameer Nair, CEO, Applause Entertainment

“Stories pertaining to homeland security, the defense forces and our national spirit are important tales to tell and interest widespread audiences. We are proud to present the true story behind the incident that sent shockwaves across the country, and our nation’s determined strike-back. A dedicated and passionate team conceptualized the story from book to screen and that is what makes Avrodh a deeply rooted and inspiring tale. After successfully launching two of our premium shows on SonyLIV, we are excited to present our next offering with them.”

Amit Sadh, Actor, Avrodh

“It’s a delight for an artist to portray a character so iconic and deeply rooted in history. At the same time, it’s about filling in huge shoes so there is a lot of accountability in being Major Videep and in leading the most talked about mission by Indian armed forces. I am glad to have got this opportunity and I hope I have been able to do justice to the role. Avrodh has been a very special experience for all us and we can’t wait to gauge the audience reaction.”

Starting 31st July, 2020, SonyLIV is proud to present Avrodh: The Siege Within

Amazfit PowerBuds TWS with Noise Cancellation and HR Monitor Launching on Aug 7, 2020

Tech Gadgets

* True Wireless Sports Earphones with Heart Rate Monitoring, Magnetic Ear Hooks and Superior Sound
* ENC Dual-Microphone Noise Reduction Filtering Ambient Noise for HD Calls
* Will launch on Amazon and Brand’s online store 

Huami Corporation, a biometric and activity data-driven company with significant expertise in smart wearable technology and the number 1 smartwatch brand in the Indian watch segment, soon going to launch their most awaited professional fitness TWS earphones, Amazfit PowerBuds in India on Amazon and Brand’s online store

Scheduled to debut in India during Amazon Prime Day, these powerbuds are equipped with an in-ear PPG heart rate sensor, magnetic sports ear hook, and ENC- dual-microphone noise reduction for calls, etc. Featuring 8 hours of playtime on a single charge and the portable magnetic charging case offers up to 24 hours of music on-the-go. The Amazfit PowerBuds provide superior sound for calls and music; The ENC dual microphone helps filter the background noise, ensuring call clarity. The advanced composite diaphragm delivers stunning, clear sound quality, and the Motion Beat Mode enhances the bass effect, making the beats of your music clearer and more powerful to energize your workouts.

Equipped with intuitive tap control and in-ear detection, the music can automatically play or pause when putting on or off the earbuds. These powerbuds come with IP55* water and dust resistance rating. The Amazfit Powerbuds are safe from dust, rain, and sweat, keeping you free from worry during workouts.

Amazon Link:

About Huami Corporation 

Huami is a biometric and activity data-driven company with significant expertise in smart wearable technology. Since its inception in 2013, Huami has quickly established its global market leadership and recognition by shipping millions of units of smart wearable devices. In 2018, Huami shipped 27.5 million units of smart wearable devices. Huami has one of the largest biometric and activity databases in the global smart wearables industry. Huami's mobile apps work hand in hand with its smart wearable devices and provide users with a comprehensive view and analysis of their biometric and activity data.

Ather Energy Raises INR 84 Crores from Hero MotoCorp, As An Extension of its Series C Round

Ather Energy, India’s first intelligent electric scooter manufacturer, announced a fresh investment by Hero MotoCorp, as an extension of its Series C round that was led by Sachin Bansal. Hero MotoCorp has been a part of Ather’s growth story since 2016, when they first invested as a part of Series B. This round is a reinstatement of confidence by existing investors in Ather’s potential and success.

Ather is now entering an aggressive expansion phase on the back of its flagship product, the Ather 450X, and looking to scale to 20 cities by the end of 2021. The Ather 450X has piqued the interest of automobile and tech enthusiasts alike, and will soon be available in cities like Hyderabad, Pune, Delhi and Mumbai, with deliveries beginning in October 2020. To meet the projected demand in the coming years, Ather is opening a new manufacturing facility in Hosur, which is designed to produce 100,000 units annually, and is scalable to half a million units.  Ather Energy will also set up Ather Grid fast charging points across the country over the next 5 years, making public charging easy and accessible to all electric vehicle owners.

In the past few weeks, Ather has been working on a slew of financing and ownership models, making electric vehicles more accessible for consumers everywhere. It introduced India's first personal lease program for scooters, with monthly payments as low as INR 2589, which makes the intelligent electric scooter accessible to the Indian two-wheeler market. It has also been a pioneer in the post sales experience innovation with subscription plans, Ather One, a one-stop daily usage solution that includes doorstep pick up and service, 24X7 roadside assistance, free charging at home and in public etc.

A unique aspect of the product line is the ability to add new features and functionality through over-the-air (OTA) software updates. Ather has been rolling out OTA updates since September 2018, adding features like a dark theme, new ride modes, guide-me-home light, making them one of the fastest iteration cycles in the country.

Quote by Tarun Mehta, Co-founder & CEO, Ather Energy: “We are in a high growth phase of our journey, and while the last few months have been challenging, we have not altered our
expansion plans. Our geographic expansion and the roll-out schedule for the Ather 450X are on track, and we will be using these funds to invest in our facilities to meet the demand we have seen for the Ather 450X across the country. ”

Commenting on the investment, Rajat Bhargava, Head of Emerging Mobility Business Unit (EMBU), Global Business & Strategy, Hero MotoCorp, said “We are excited to see the growth of Ather Energy in the recent years. We see immense potential for them to expand their market even further, especially given the likely growth of electric vehicles (EV) in the near future. In addition to our efforts of developing a robust external eco-system for EVs, we are also aggressively working on our internal EV program. Our aim is to provide accessible electric mobility to customers across the globe. Sustainability and a clean, green environment remain central to our vision to be the future of mobility.”

TECNO Forays into the True Wireless Space with Hipods H2, Aims to Create a TECNO Connected Device Ecosystem

Foray Into Wireless

* Hipods H2 offers a true wireless audio experience with stereo sound effect, environment noise cancelling technology, smart touch controls and 24 hours of non-stop music
* Priced aggressively at Rs. 1,999, Hipods H2 will be available for sale on Amazon from July 27 (12 noon) and at TECNO’s offline retail network of 35,000+ outlets across PAN India

TECNO, the global premium smartphone brand, expands its footprint into the truly wireless and innovative audio devices space with the launch of its next-gen Hipods H2 Bluetooth earbuds. The brand, which is synonymous with ‘industry-first’ smartphone devices in the affordable segment, promises to offer a true wireless consumer experience with its new audio device that, priced aggressively at Rs 1,999, will also supplement the smartphone experience for its category consumers.

The Hipods H2 offers stereo sound effect augmented by Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) technology to provide a wholesome listening experience. H2 can run for 6 hours on single charge, and up to 24 hours when used with its portable charging case. With a mere 15-minute of charging, H2 can play for 2 hours. The earbuds are also equipped with Environment Noise Cancellation (ENC) technology that can effectively reduce ambient sound to provide crisper audio and allows clear voice calling. The device is also equipped with smart touch controls, IPX4 water protection, smart pop-up interface for instant pairing and comes with the latest Bluetooth 5.0.

Commenting on the venture, Mr. Arijeet Talapatra, CEO, TRANSSION India said, “We are excited to announce the launch of TECNO Hipods H2 which also marks our foray into the TWS category. The India TWS market has been growing consistently and the industry is expected to further grow in 2020 with COVID-19 setting off a trend where people working from home and connecting through voice and video calls become more appreciative of the convenience and reliability of TWS devices. The increasing audio consumption, portability and smart assists are making TWS extremely popular among smartphone users and driving demand. With Hipods H2, we, at TECNO, endeavour to build our own connected device ecosystem of TECNO smartphones and extend the best audio experience at an affordable price.”

With Hipods H2, TECNO reinforces its commitment to its ‘ahead of the curve’ approach that aims to provide future-ready, innovative products to its customers. TECNO will be coming out with another TWS & smartphone offerings soon to further strengthen its position in the entry level and affordable segments. The new products are expected to play a strong role in revolutionizing the affordable connected device ecosystem in India.

Available in two color variants – Black and White; The USP of the Hipods H2 include:

* Real Stereo sound with AAC: To enhance the listening experience, the Hipods H2 are equipped with an Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) technology. The earbuds have undergone Acoustic measurements and testing to provide a natural and deep bass.

* 24 hours of non-stop music: In-built with a 45 mAh battery in each earbud, the Hipods H2, provides music playback for up to 6 hours on a single charge, enabling users with a long lasting, seamless audio listening experience. When used with its portable charging case, the playback time can be extended up to 24 hours. Also just a 15-minute charge gives an additional 2 hours of playback.

* IPX4 water resistant: The IPX4 level protects the device from rain or sweat, making it the most suitable device for fitness lovers or people doing outdoor activities, who don’t have to worry about interruptions or spoilage of the device during their activities.

* Noise Cancellation (ENC): The environmental noise cancellation, deep bass and loud treble, altogether intensifies the listening experience. The high performance, dual microphones are induced with noise reduction technology, reduces environmental noise and offers clear phone calls in a noisy environment.

* Smart touch controls: Control calls, music, volume, and activate the phone’s voice assistant with Smart Touch Controls, by just a tap on the earbuds.

* 120ms super low latency: The Hipod H2, provides the perfect sync between audio and video while playing games or watching videos, by reducing the latency to 120 ms.

* Latest BT 5.0: The wireless earbuds encrypted with Bluetooth v5.0, provides a fast and stable connection with both the earbuds for instant synchronization, with the transmission speed being 2 times faster and the capacity being 8 times larger, altogether enhancing the audio listening experience.

* Smart Pop-Up Interface: The Hipods H2 Bluetooth Earbuds features a Smart Pop-Up interface for Instant Pairing that supports an automatic pop-up connection interface on recent Tecno smartphones, as soon as the charging case is opened and Hipods H2 can be easily connected in one click.

TECNO Hipods H2 will be available for sale on Amazon from July 27 (12 noon) and at TECNO’s offline retail network of 35,000 outlets.

About TECNO Mobile

TECNO Mobile is a premium smartphone brand from TRANSSION Holdings. Upholding the brand essence of “Expect More”, TECNO is committed to giving the masses access to latest technology at accessible prices, allowing the consumers to reach beyond their current limitations and uncover a world of possibilities. TECNO understands the needs of consumers from different markets and provides them with localized innovations across a product portfolio featuring smartphones, tablets, and feature phones. TECNO is a major global player with presence in around 60 emerging markets across the world. It is also the global Official Tablet and Handset Partner of Manchester City Football Club. 

How Old Storage Tapes are Surpassing the New Age Drives Today?

You must be wondering why is there a surge in old storage tapes in the age of Cloud?  Especially considering the enormous growth in data volumes around the globe-. Also, why Storage tapes are considered as an ideal solution for several next-generation applications like Internet of Things, hyper-scale computing, entertainment, cloud storage services, and Big Data? 

Further, you will be surprised, but nowadays businesses prefer “olden” method of storing data on tape drives – How? According to Solomon Sukumar, Head – RM & IP Business Fujifilm India.

Recent progresses have caused an exponential increase in the quantity of data generated worldwide. As the use of accumulated big data rapidly increases, so does the need for reliable and cost-effective long-term storage of such data for future use and storage tapes have always been the preferred medium of backing up data permanently.  The benefits have been numerous especially in storing legacy data/archival data – a data which is 10 years old or more.  Certainly, saving such data in a disc invites a huge cost unlike the Fujifilm storage tapes where the data can be stored offline without any cost and can be availed anytime. Fujifilm holding a prowess in the realm of storage solutions have always contributed effectually in the sphere of archival data solutions for various industries and financial institutions. We have been a leader in this industry since long and we look forward to continue contributing our expertise in the same. We are proud to see that our storage tapes are surpassing the new age drives and how effectually our technology is considered as the safest in saving the archival data. So, Fujifilm has always been ahead of the times with this technology – we are proud to be a key contributor in the evolution  of data storage”.

Now Let’s delve how data storage addresses the growing demand for long-term data storage by companies, governments, II Sector, banks and research institutions around the world etc - 

Data is Valued
In the present epoch, data has value like never before, and it’s often mentioned to as “the money of the digital economy.” As such an important asset because for effective working of the organisation it’s very important that organizations have workable, economically-sound strategies in place for data backups, disaster retrieval, and archiving. More than before, now brands rely on the data. Often, it’s a business’s data—and how well it is used—that differentiate one business from another. So, valuing the trending strategies – it is important to adhere to the old cassette format to keep yourself forward whist keeping the data in place.  

Effective Data Management -
Management of exponential data growth continues to be one of the great challenges for businesses, IT managers and others. They finding the data management difficult in light of shrinking IT budgets and environmental concerns.  However, Tape storage tackles the challenge in meeting the data in a substantial way while achieving a maximum storage capacity of 30 TB (12 TB of uncompressed data), or twice that of the previous version (LTO7).  For instance - The Magnetic Tape FUJIFILM LTO Ultrium 8 Data Cartridge is better than hard disk storage and often faster than the cloud.  This open format for this magnetic tape is highly multipurpose and used most extensively around the world. `. 
Fujifilm has also been striving to address the need to store and manage constantly increasing volumes of data by presenting effective data management that is setting a benchmark for computer data storage, professional video production and TV broadcasting. Whether recording dramatic footage or safeguarding corporate data, Fujifilm is striving to assure reliability for effective data management backed by strong innovation.   

Safe and Cost Effective –
With recent virus and malware threats, tapes have also become the cheapest way to protect data on a threat-capable media and store it at an off-site location.  Further the reason is that there is an enormous amount of data nowadays that incessantly consumes electric power and huge amounts of energy, resulting in hazardous impact on the environment and functioning costs. And so, the magnetic storage tapes, as a means of addressing these issues, have been considered as a lucrative option. It is safe, low-cost, energy-saving recording medium for long-term data storage.  Also, it allows offline storage with minimum risk of data damage or loss. For instance- Financial services organizations face exceptional challenges when it comes to shielding their data. Between massive data growth, budget limitations they need scalable, cost-effective, end-to-end solutions that make it easy to store, protect and access data.

Progression in the Tape Technology
Magnetic tape has been around since the early days of computing. This long occupancy has obstructed tape’s image over the years. So, the emergence and aggressive marketing of new storage technologies has increased the demand too. But tape technology has advanced, and substantial investment continues to be made in tape storage technologies. Unlike before magnetic tapes have more storage than before and these tapes are highly multipurpose and used most extensively around the world. Thereby this progression has led to an increase in the demand.

Long Term Perspective of Preserving Data for Future –
Magnetic tapes can address needs from a long-term perspective as their storage capacity continues to increase into the future and there is really low risk of data loss too. Also, Magnetic Storage tapes preserve Data for Future Generations due to an upsurge of the cloud, IoT, and AI across business sectors for preserving digital content and which leads to increase in data. These tapes are designed in such a way that there is less data loss. For instance - Fujifilm tape like 3592 Tape Cartridge has an exceptionally smooth surface that assures improved head contact and minimal spacing loss and which why data can be preserved for long and thus can be preserved for future.

Leverages advanced technologies
The demand of Magnetic Data is increasing in manufacturing process of IT Industry.  Magnetic Tapes, tackle the test to enable Smart Manufacturing by actively leveraging advanced technologies. Also, the magnetic tapes help in Developing a Coating Process for Manufacturing Next-generation Products. In the coating process, magnetic particles in the form of liquid that functions as the recording layer are applied on the thin base layer at a high speed and dried. To enable high-quality magnetic tapes, a control of the magnetic particle alignment is essential since well-aligned particles allow data to be stored in higher capacity as well as reducing data noise.

Reliable - Tested with time and experience
Magnetic tape has been used for data storage since the 1950s. Though it’s been overshadowed by machineries focused on high-performance needs, however again we continue to see emerging use cases where tape offers the impeccable solution for some puzzling storage trials. Also, Fujifilm is revamping their storage strategies for some reasons, contributing to the resurgence of tape. It has already created a benchmark with each new generation of LTO tape technology having the native transfer speed have almost doubled,

Thereby with increase of data – and the up-surging use of big data – The tape industry has recognised the ways of meeting data challenges by realising on how to meet the customer’s needs and expectations.  Similarly, Fujifilm aims to protect irreplaceable data for future and is determined to play the key role in continuing to support the technological breakthrough in the data tape technology.

Mahindra University Outlines a New Paradigm for Higher Education

Higher Education 

* To develop multi-skilled Leaders capable of Reflection, Innovation, and a commitment to Inclusive and Sustainable progress.
* Focus on both IQ and EQ, combined with the power of Emerging Technologies to educate Future Citizens for and of a Better World.

The Mahindra Group today launched Mahindra University (MU), which is focussed on offering a world-class, futuristic education in India. Its mission is to develop multi-skilled leaders, capable of reflection as well as innovation, and ones who are ethical and empathetic. To drive a meaningful shift in the way that higher education is imparted in the country, MU will drive interdisciplinary academic excellence, integrating the study of science and technology with the Humanities, Ethics & Philosophy, and Design.

It will operate as an autonomous University, with its contemporary, new-age curricula being curated to fully leverage emerging technologies like Data Science, Blockchain and Data Analytics. MU will uniquely enable the holistic development of its students, combining the Emotional Intelligence (Right Brain) and Artificial Intelligence (Left Brain) paradigms.

Mahindra University is part of the Mahindra Educational Institutions (MEI), a not-for-profit subsidiary of Tech Mahindra. It reflects the standards and reputation of the entire Mahindra Group, mirroring its core purpose of Driving Positive Change in the lives of both peoples and communities, enabling them to Rise.

The university will also be a platform to balance education with real world experience through entrepreneurial projects to solve complex challenges facing society. This, combined with the provision of extra-curricular activities like sports and music, will help revolutionize higher education for millennials and help build a hyper-skilled, future-ready talent pool.

Anand Mahindra, Chairman, Mahindra Group and Chancellor, Mahindra University, said, “High quality education has transformative powers for individuals and nations, alike. Mahindra University will strive to deliver a more balanced education, combining the latest technology with Liberal Arts, to create next generation leaders that have a holistic world view.”

The sprawling 130-acre, multi-disciplinary campus in Hyderabad will offer undergraduate, post graduate and PhD courses. MU includes the Ecole Centrale School of Engineering that was set up in 2014.

Vineet Nayyar, Board of Management, Mahindra University, said, “With the education landscape continuously evolving, there is a need for a dynamic and empowering approach to education that goes beyond business and is at par with the technological demands of the industry globally. In line with this, the Mahindra University will be a key enabler in providing a holistic educational and learning experience that involves analytical and design-led thinking, quantitative and creative problem-solving skills and a passion for innovation and entrepreneurship.”

CP Gurnani, MD & CEO, Tech Mahindra and Board of Management, Mahindra University, said, “The Mahindra University is a testimony of our commitment towards bridging the skill gap and creating global leaders that are willing to change, adapt and transform according to dynamic market needs and business environment. The university will also provide access to multi-disciplinary learning focused on leveraging the power of Artificial Intelligence and Emotional Intelligence. This will help the students to develop new-age competencies and inculcate entrepreneurial thinking to enable them solve complex challenges faced by the society.”

As a part of the immediate roadmap, the University will launch the School of Management (2021-22), School of Law (2021-22), Indira Mahindra School of Education (2021-22), School of Media & Liberal Arts (2022-23) and School of Design (2023-24).

An estimated 4,000 Students and over 300+ Faculty members will be in place across the various Schools at Mahindra University over the next five years.

The Minerva Fund - Mahindra University Scholarship Program is available to ensure that deserving students have access to a quality education. Efforts are also being made to drive inclusion in awarding scholarships across geographies, gender, and academic excellence, among others, to create a stronger society and a wider talent pool for industry and academia, alike.

Prof Yajulu Medury, Vice-Chancellor, Mahindra University, said, “Mahindra University aims to revolutionise the educating environment for the future workforce of our country through necessary industry-academia collaborations to prepare the students for present challenges and future industry needs. The university will bring together expertise of international faculty and will provide access to innovation and research hubs with top academic partners. We plan to be a holistic learning platform for the students, providing access to studies related to Engineering, Law, Management, Education, Media & Liberal Arts, Design and others.”

MU will also to bring the Corporate and Industrial ecosystems together through its Centres of Excellence. Students will have access to the Mahindra Group’s expertise through a Centre of Excellence, visiting faculty and other strategic engagements. Students will be provided opportunities to interact with CEOs, CXOs of organizations across the country.

MU already has a Supercomputer Lab with an advanced NVidia GPU-based supercomputer, the DGX-1. It also has a Centre for Artificial Intelligence (CAI), a Centre for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (CIE) and a Centre for Sustainable Infrastructure and Systems (CSIS).

Additional CoEs being considered include, the Centre for Computational and Experimental Mechanics (CCEM), the Centre for Research in Optics and Photonics (CROP) and a Centre for Executive Education (CEE).

About Mahindra University:

Mahindra University marks a significant milestone in the Mahindra Group’s journey in the higher education sector since its entry in 2014, with the Mahindra Ecole Centrale (MEC) College of Engineering. Aimed at educating and developing ‘Global Thinkers and Engaged Leaders,’ the Mahindra University is headquartered in Hyderabad, India. It is supported by the Mahindra Educational Institutions (MEI), a subsidiary of Tech Mahindra, the flagship IT company of the US$ 19.4 billion Mahindra Group. The. Mahindra University was notified by the Government of Telangana vide Ordinance No.1 dated 20th May 2020. Mahindra University has already received 100+ admissions till date.

Novel Technology Extends Battery Life, Increases Upload Speed, and Reduces Data Corruption

Memory devices come in many forms. From USB sticks, to external hard-drives, to chips implanted directly into smartphones. What makes one better than another is usually a combination of new, groundbreaking materials and the novel device structure. The better the materials, and the way those materials are creatively designed to build the ultimate structure, the better the memory device is. Now, researchers have published a piece in Nature Electronics about their creation of a memory device with improved material and structure and which promises to increase data upload speed, extend smartphone battery life, and reduce data corruption.

Han Wang, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering, along with postdoctoral scholar Jiangbin Wu, PhD students Hung-Yu Chen and Xiaodong Yan, have achieved this through a concept called the ferroelectric tunneling junction (FTJ).

This new memory device is part of a family known as non-volatile memory devices, meaning they can be unplugged and still retain their data, much like cell phone memory and USB flash drives. Unlike current FTJ devices, this device is comprised of asymmetric metal and semi-metallic graphene materials. By taking these materials and building them into a novel structure, they were  able to exceed the performance of all previously demonstrated FTJs while offering promising prospects for integration with silicon electronics.

Furthermore, the unique ability of these materials to approach atomic-scale thickness can eventually lead to even faster and more energy-efficient FTJ memory down the line. “These materials allow us to build devices that can potentially be scaled to atomic-scale thickness,” Wang said. “This means the voltage required to read, write, and erase data can be drastically reduced which in turn can make the memory electronics much more energy efficient.”

Wang and his fellow researchers hope that with time, their device can be scaled up and may become a replacement not just for the non-volatile memory that we see in cell phones and USB sticks, but also volatile memory like D-RAM storage devices commonly found in computers. In addition, the device may also be engineered to hold multi-bit data states within a single cell, and with its robust endurance and retention, it has promising potential for applications in in-memory computing and other computing hardware.

About the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Engineering began at the University of Southern California in 1905. Nearly a century later, in 2004, the school was named the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, honoring alumnus Andrew J. Viterbi, inventor of the Viterbi algorithm, a key to cell phone technology and numerous data applications. The school is consistently ranked among the top engineering programs in the world. It enrolls more than 7,000 undergraduate and graduate students, taught by 188 tenured and tenure-track faculty, with more than 90 endowed chairs and professorships. The school offers comprehensive programs in all major areas of engineering, from aerospace and astronautical engineering, to biomedical, chemical, civil and environmental engineering, to computer science and materials science, and to electrical engineering, industrial and systems engineering and mechanical engineering. With annual research expenditures exceeding $207M, the school is home to the Information Science Institute and more than 45 other research centers. Its more than 50,000 alumni span the globe. USC Viterbi is also home to the pioneering distance learning program DEN@Viterbi, ranked as the top such program in the nation the last two years. USC Viterbi is the only engineering school in the nation with three top-10 USNWR rankings: Best Graduate Schools, Best Online Graduate Engineering Programs, and Best Online Information Technology Programs. 

Prepareness Is On For Reopening of Indian Schools Across India Safely

Popcorn Furniture, India’s largest educational furniture manufacturing company, held a webinar on ‘Reopening schools safely post COVID-19’. The one and a half hour long webinar was attended by five renowned panelists from education, health and sanitization sectors, and was followed by an insightful half-an-hour Q&A session.  

The session was organized with the aim to discuss a framework and guidelines to support educational institutes in facilitating the reopening of schools. It covered the changes in the education module post the lockdown and a way forward to the new SOPs framed in order to respond to the child’s learning, health and safety needs. The webinar reported the participation of over 1000 attendees including teachers, principals, school owners, school trustees, consultants, students and media. Mrs. Deepika Goyal, Founder and Director, Popcorn Furniture was the moderator. Dr. Shayama Chona, Padma Shri & Padma Bhushan Renowned Educationalist, Dr. Monika Arora, Director Health Promotion Division, Public Health Foundation, Dr. Vidya Gupta, Senior Consultant in Pediatrics & Neonatology, Apollo Hospital, Ms. Nupur Goenka, Director GD Goenka Group, Mr. Sumit Nadgir, CEO, HiCare MD, TrueNorth were the five eminent panelists for the session.

The major points discussed during the webinar were- the key challenges and effects in reopening schools post COVID-19, trust issues between parents and school authorities, challenges or difficulties for differently abled students, sanitization and safety process and implementation of hybrid education module. Adding to the same, panelist gave their quick opinion on public health guidelines and detailed SOPs that can be followed for student’s safety. The webinar had a long Q&A session and the questions ranged from physical to virtual problems faced by school kids, parents and teachers during the lockdown, discussion on getting a blue print by schools to ensure the safety of kids and a relief package from government to educational institutions.

Mrs. Deepika Goyal, Founder and Director, Popcorn Furniture, said, “We at Popcorn have sold furniture to over 8000 schools across India and abroad and we have always been concerned about the safety of the kids. We wanted to do our best to keep these kids safe once schools reopen.   We came up with the idea of doing a webinar on “Reopening schools safely” as we really feel that a society cannot open fully without reopening the schools. We worked with a few experts and came up with a health curriculum on reopening schools safely which is now on our website. It was amazing to see so many thousand people on the webinar as our intension was to help as many stakeholders in the reopening of schools safely”.

Dr. Shayama Chona, Padma Shri & Padma Bhushan Renowned Educationalist, said,”I have attended so many webinars but I have to say that one stood out as the most exceptional one I have ever done. It was the amazing effort by Popcorn Furniture and it stood out because of thousands participants and the amazing panelists. Each one was a master in their field and had done a lot of research on reopening schools safely. The purpose of the webinar was to help the schools and the society.”

Ms. Nupur Goenka, Director GD Goenka Group, said, “Reopening schools will be a practice in the art of collaboration of all the major stakeholders, management, parents and the students. Winston Churchill said “never let a good crisis go to waste”. There is a big opportunity in the crisis for a major channel of our education system. The need of the hour is to be adaptable, patient and resilient.”

Dr. Monika Arora, Director Health Promotion Division, Public Health Foundation, said,” I loved that the webinar had such a multi-disciplinary panel and audience.  They were bringing out such relevant sources spreading the reopening of schools safely as we were all tied by the common thread of concern for the safety of our kids. I know that there are lot of issues all stakeholders whether its panelists or schools are facing regarding the challenge of safety and there is a lot we can learn from connection which have already reopened the schools.”

Dr. Vidya Gupta, Senior Consultant in Pediatrics & Neonatology, Apollo Hospital, said, “I think the webinar was very important to develop a systemized thinking as to how schools should reopen. The multi-disciplinary group that looked into the different aspects of opening schools was an excellent choice. I am glad that I could contribute to alleviating the worries and concerns that people have had about reopening schools.”

Mr. Sumit Nadgir, CEO, HiCare MD, TrueNorth, said,”The topic of reopening schools safely was a very relevant topic and was definitely a need of the hour. Whether schools go for a staggered or full opening, the webinar has immense information to help them out to reopen safely. The panel was an amazing mix from different disciplines and I am sure that with great sanitization and safety measures, we can all look at a safe opening for schools and educational institutions.”

BR Shetty Siphoned-Off Millions from NMC Health to Daughter’s Tottering Businesses


* Leaked confidential documents reveal that the NMC Health subsidiary transferred payments worth millions to daughter Reema Shetty’s failing business
* While these transfers were termed as ‘internal transfers’, accounts for the year ending December 2015, did not include the above-mentioned entities as subsidiaries
* Shetty was the chief executive and executive VC of NMC Health at the time of the proposed payments
In a shocking disclosure on UAE billionaire Dr. BR Shetty whose fortune suffered a blow after his two London-listed companies, hospital chain NMC Health and payments group Finablr, accounting for more than 70% of his net worth, were shrouded in controversies, it has been found that had been pumping millions in his daughter’s struggling business ventures.

Leaked confidential documents reveal that the NMC Health subsidiary transferred two payments of Dh 1m in 2015 to the company behind the 'Just Falafel' chain of restaurants that was established by Dr. Shetty’s daughter Reema and her husband Md. Bitar about a decade earlier.

The very next year, it signed off on five bank transfers totaling Dh 4 million in little more than two months, to another one of her ventures, the UAE based catering and food consultancy company, 'The Foodsters Inc'. This enterprise was set up in 2015 by Reema and her husband after the failure of the global expansion of ‘Just Falafel’.

While these transfers were termed as ‘internal transfers’, accounts for the year ending December 2015, did not include the above-mentioned entities as subsidiaries, nor do they appear among the hospitality interests of BRS Ventures, Shetty’s UAE-based holding company.

Says a forensic accountant, on conditions of anonymity, “The series of proposed payments, approved by NMC raise concerns of potential wrongdoing because they were labelled as internal transfers within the hospital group.”

This exposé amply hints at the fact that Shetty being the chief executive and executive vice chairman of NMC Health at the time of the proposed payments, made payments that were 'unusual' and that the transfers should not have been described as internal movements.

‘’If the group does not own these food companies, then it is not an internal transfer. In the corporate world, it must either be one of three things, for purchasing goods or services, lending money or repaying a debt,” adds the forensic accountant.

While Shetty has been constantly claiming that 'fraudulent transfers' were made that he had no knowledge of, before the company was forced into administration by its largest lender, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, these transfers authorised by NMC Health to a company run by a member of his family are raising a big question mark on who was this unidentified person authorizing money transfers from NMC’s account at Bank of Baroda in Abu Dhabi to ‘Just Falafel Holdings Limited’ as well as 'The Foodsters Inc'. The proposed payments are all detailed in transfer request documents sent by NMC Healthcare to the Abu Dhabi branch of the Bank of Baroda.

The former London-listed NMC holding company was forced into administration in April amid claims of fraud, mismanagement and the discovery of undisclosed loans of $4.1 billion (Dh 15bn). Administrators Alvarez & Marsal said last month they were scanning documents and preparing a series of interviews with directors to figure out what could be retrieved for creditors.

The NMC scandal came into the limelight in December last year, when short seller Muddy Waters raised concerns in a report about NMC’s debt, alleging that it was vastly understated. While NMC termed the report ‘false and misleading’, the company’s shares plummeted 64% in the days after the Muddy Waters report was published. In late March, the company admitted to having a debt of $6.6 billion, more than three times the $2.1 billion it reported in June last year.

Jaguar Land Rover Develops Contactless Touchscreen to Help Fight Bacteria and Viruses

Contactless Touchscreen

* Patented technology offers dual benefit of keeping drivers’ eyes on the road and reducing spread of bacteria and viruses in post COVID-19 world
* ‘Predictive touch’ uses artificial intelligence and sensors to control infotainment systems without needing to touch the screen
* Lab-tests and on-road trials reveal time and effort needed to use a touchscreen can be reduced by up to 50%
* Research is driving Jaguar Land Rover closer to its Destination Zero vision by making vehicles safer and the environment cleaner

New contactless touchscreen technology developed by Jaguar Land Rover and the University of Cambridge will help keep drivers’ eyes on the road and reduce the spread of bacteria and viruses in a post COVID-19 world.

The patented technology, known as ‛predictive touch’, uses artificial intelligence and sensors to predict a user’s intended target on the touchscreen – whether that’s satellite navigation, temperature controls or entertainment settings – without touching a button.

The pioneering system, developed with engineers at the University of Cambridge, is part of Jaguar Land Rover’s Destination Zero vision – a desire to make its vehicles safer and the environment cleaner and healthier.

In the ‘new normal’ once lockdowns around the world are lifted, a greater emphasis will be placed on safe, clean mobility where personal space and hygiene will carry premiums. Jaguar Land Rover vehicles are already designed to help improve passenger wellbeing, with innovations including a Driver Condition Monitor, engine noise cancellation and cabin air ionisation with PM 2.5 filtration to capture ultrafine particles and allergens. New technology like predictive touch is another step forward as we address the wider landscape of mobility, from how customers connect with mobility services, to the infrastructure required to enable fully integrated, autonomous vehicles in our cities, like Project Vector.

Lab-tests and on-road trials showed the predictive touch technology could reduce a driver’s touchscreen interaction effort and time by up to 50%, as well as limiting the spread of bacteria and viruses.

Uneven or poor road surfaces can often cause vibrations that make it difficult to select the correct button on a touchscreen. This means drivers must take their attention away from the road, increasing the risk of an accident.

The technology uses artificial intelligence to determine the item the user intends to select on the screen early in the pointing task, speeding up the interaction. A gesture tracker uses vision-based or radio frequency-based sensors, which are increasingly common in consumer electronics, to combine contextual information such as user profile, interface design and environmental conditions with data available from other sensors, such as an eye-gaze tracker, to infer the user’s intent in real time.

Lee Skrypchuk, Human Machine Interface Technical Specialist, at Jaguar Land Rover, said: “As countries around the world exit lockdown, we notice how many everyday consumer transactions are conducted using touchscreens: railway or cinema tickets, ATMs, airport check-ins and supermarket self-service checkouts, as well as many industrial and manufacturing applications. Predictive touch technology eliminates the need to touch an interactive display and could therefore reduce the risk of spreading bacteria or viruses on surfaces.

“The technology also offers us the chance to make vehicles safer by reducing the cognitive load on drivers and increasing the amount of time they can spend focused on the road ahead. This is a key part of our Destination Zero journey.”

This software-based solution for contactless interactions has reached high technology readiness levels and can be seamlessly integrated into existing touchscreens and interactive displays, so long as the correct sensory data is available to support the machine learning algorithm.

Professor Simon Godsill from Cambridge University’s Department of Engineering led the project. He said: “Touchscreens and other interactive displays are something most people use multiple times per day, but they can be difficult to use while in motion, whether that’s driving a car or changing the music on your phone while you’re running. We also know that certain pathogens can be transmitted via surfaces, so this technology could help reduce the risk for that type of transmission.”

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