Friday, August 28, 2020

BOCI Seeks Extension of Loan EMIs; Approaches PM Modi for Assistance

Bus & Car Operators Confederation of India (BOCI) and Karnataka State Bus Owners Federation (KSBOF) Bangalore have approached the Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a desperate attempt to seek relaxation in the terms of their impending loans. The two bodies representing district association of bus owners operating buses from various districts of state of Karnataka and neighboring states have been facing umpteen troubles right from the onset of lockdown in March. Even after 5 months, over 7,600 stage carriage busses still remain non-operational, with just around 400 resuming operations that too under strict protocols. This has resulted in miserable condition of all transport operators alike. 

Right from paying the drivers and conductors to maintaining the vehicles, from fulfilling tax liabilities to meet ends with only half the fare and all of this when fuel prices are mounting, the transport operators are facing an existential crisis like never before. While the state government did help in some regards and even made way for an extension of loan EMIs until after 31st August, the members of BOCI seem to be in no position to meet their EMI obligations starting September, since there has been virtually no improvement in the ill-effects of the pandemic on the sector. To ensure further help to its financially struggling members, BOCI has now approached Prime Minister Modi, seeking a moratorium period on the loan EMIs until December 2020.   

With respect to this request, Mr. Rajavarma Ballal, All India Sectorial Vice President of Stage Carriage Service Sector, Bus & Car Operators Confederation of India (BOCI),said, “State Governments and banks have helped us to some extent by extending the moratorium for a few months, but unfortunately that is not enough to revive the ailing public transport sector. The operators have suffered tremendous losses over the past 6 months, and there is little hope until the services resume fully. Hence, I believe this request is well-founded and must be heeded urgently.” 

Mr. Prasanna Patwardhan, President, Bus & Car Operators Confederation of India (BOCI) said, “Our financial troubles don’t seem to end anytime soon. The pandemic is far from over, and we have no idea whatsoever, if or when will we be able to resume operations as before. Until then, an extension of the moratorium period for our Loan EMIs is probably our only hope for survival. Public transport sector has a cascading effect on overall economy, and we urge the Government to take necessary measures before it’s too late.”  

BOCI has also sought the help of the local and state governments over the past months in a bid to reduce the financial burdens on the members of the confederation, who have all been suffering at the hands of the pandemic, and the lockdown that ensued as a result of the same. The body now hopes to receive a positive reply from the centre! 

About BOCI 

Bus Operators Confederation of India (BOCI) was constituted on 4th February 2016. BOCI is a non-government, not-for-profit, Passenger transport industry-led, and managed organization that plays a proactive role in India’s development process. The organization promotes, encourages, and coordinates, safe, and secure passenger transport by coach and buses within India and its nearby countries. It acts as an interface between thought leaders to enhance efficiency, competitiveness, and business opportunities for its members by providing a range of specialized services and strategic global linkages. BOCI provides a platform for consensus-building and networking on key issues amongst its members. The organization brings in all State associations and Unions under one umbrella to achieve better coordination and confidence by establishing a system of Operator accreditation. 

Covestro Material Solutions Provide Aesthetics, Comfort and Functionality

New drive systems, increased connectivity and the trend towards ridesharing are all contributing to the fact that the car of the future will become a mobile, multifunctional living and working space. This also has a strong impact on the design of the interior. Here, the spotlight is placed on functionality, comfort and design along with efficiency and light weight. To meet these requirements, Covestro and its partners have developed a premium concept with material solutions for the interior and presented it for the first time at the K 2019 plastics fair.

"In particular, a high-quality and individual design has considerable influence on consumers' buying decisions while providing car manufacturers opportunities for brand differentiation," explained Jochen Hardt, Global Marketing Mobility in the Polycarbonates segment at Covestro, in a live webcast to journalists. "Here, the focus is on the design of surfaces using colors, optics and haptics, with light effects and functions. Products from Covestro open up almost unlimited possibilities."

Jack of all trades polycarbonate

Plastics such as the polycarbonate Makrolon® and the polycarbonate blends Bayblend® and Makroblend® are lightweight and robust and ensure good thermal and electrical insulation. They can be used to implement a wide range of design solutions, with glass-like surfaces, many colors and options for integrating displays, sensors and cameras.

Wafer-thin layers of natural materials such as wood and marble will play a vital role in the car interior of the future. On the surface of injection-molded components made of the polycarbonate Makrolon® Ai (derived from "Automotive interior"), they are ideal for creating a feel-good ambience.

Good mood with lighting effects

With lighting, the effects can be enhanced even further. One example is the floor in the prototype car interior concept: Here, light from a polycarbonate part shines through a wafer-thin layer of marble. This effect could also be created by coating it with a digitally printed film.

But the high transparency of polycarbonate itself can also be used to create lighting effects, for example by illuminating the background or edges. The light can be dynamic and communicative, but also atmospheric, relaxing and cozy. Covestro anticipates growing demand for increasingly personalized lighting experiences and functions.

Polycarbonate also forms the basis for continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composites called Maezio®. The unidirectional arrangement of the fibers lends the surface a special aesthetic effect. In addition, the seat shells made from it and a new space-saving table are very light and exceptionally robust.

More sustainable coatings

The use of paints and coatings in car interiors is also multifaceted. Many colors as well as optical and haptic effects are possible here. Covestro was a pioneer in the development of water-based coatings with a very low content of volatile organic compounds (VOC). In the interior concept, the waterborne floor topcoat is based on the polyurethane (PU) raw materials Bayhydrol® and Bayhydur®, which give it durability and individuality. The aqueous INSQIN® PU technology for textile coating is used in the headrests, instrument panel and seats.

Covestro is also a pioneer in the use of predominantly organic-based PU raw materials such as the coating hardeners Desmodur® eco N 7300 and Bayhydur® eco 701-90 and the urethane acrylate dispersion Bayhydrol® eco 2877.

Advantage of polyurethane

The floor of the interior has been completely redesigned with PU materials to create a pleasant and homelike setting. Baypreg® is a two-component polyurethane system that is lighter than steel, providing significant advantages. The combination of Baypreg® and glass fiber mats with core materials such as paper honeycomb or foamed polycarbonate enables a significant reduction in weight while providing high mechanical strength.

The Baynat® PU system provides effective sound absorption. It makes self-supporting components possible and has long been used in vehicle headliners, but it is likely to play a particularly important role in the quiet electric car of the future when it comes to absorbing the noise of other passengers and the world outside. The soft Bayfit® polyurethane system is recommended for even greater damping of noise and vehicle vibrations. It is usually foamed in cavities for this purpose.

Godrej Security Solutions Introduces ‘Steri-on’ – India's First Plasma Ion Currency Sterilizer

Godrej Security Solutions (GSS), the leading Indian security solutions brand, has launched India's first Plasma Ion based cash sterilizer, 'Steri-on' as part of its COVID Defense Security Range of products.  The newly launched Steri-on uses the patented Plasma Ion Cluster technology that releases 19 million ion clusters to sterilize currency in real-time upon detecting notes. It uses a HEPA filter to collect fine dust (PM 2.5) and takes under 30 seconds to eliminate up to 99.9% bacteria and viruses instead of the prevailing germicide-based methods. Godrej Security Solutions estimates the addressable health security and safety market for FY-2021 in the country to be around INR 450 Crore of which the 'Steri-on' itself is estimated to clock in INR 30 Crores revenue.

Godrej Security Solutions conducted a structured survey of 100 bankers to understand the importance of sterilizing current notes. The survey highlighted that most bankers felt a strong need to protect themselves especially in times of COVID-19. 84.5% of the respondents are still using hand gloves to protect themselves from exposed currency notes. 70% of the respondents highlighted that sanitizing the currency in real-time would be a much more effective way of controlling the spread of communicable diseases.

Using Steri-on will reduce the risk of infection in cash-heavy sectors such as Banking, Retail, Gems, and Jewelry where still the primary and preferred mode of transactions is in cash. Sterilizing currency notes with plasma ion technology will secure and safeguard the health of both employees and customers.

Commenting on the launch, Mr. Pushkar Gokhale, Head of B2B & Vice President, Godrej Security Solutions said, “Godrej Security Solutions has always been at the forefront of securing our nation through solutions which are made for India. Besides being the Guardians of the Nation’s wealth, we are now expanding our portfolio to safeguard their health. The newest product in our existing health security range is the Cash Steri-on, which is India’s first cash sterilizer which uses plasma ion technology. This will help bank tellers’ count and sterilize currency notes in real-time without impacting the entire cycle of processes. With banks being an essential service and India gradually unlocking, we believe we will help India #EmergeStronger with our trusted range of solutions.”

The Plasma ion cluster is the patented technology of Sharp Japan and several globally leading brands use it for their air purifiers and air conditioners. South Korea’s headquartered company, SMI, created the world's first opened currency sterilizer machine that uses the plasma ion sterilization technology. Godrej Security Solutions has collaborated with SMI to introduce this technology to the Indian market. Several institutions in Japan, South Korea, the United States of America, and the Middle East region already use this technology to sterilize their currency notes.

There are several scientific studies and research reports which have highlighted how pathogens, viruses, bacteria, and particulate matters can survive on paper-based currency and can be a probable contagion of diseases including COVID-19. India is a cash led economy where 94% of transactions being done in cash and digital transaction are still in nascent stages. This product will address the problem of sterilizing currency notes at the source i.e. banks.

Steri-on will be available pan-India at a starting price of INR 95,000.

Smart Assist: Revolutionary Technology Service Launches By Bajaj Allianz Life Across India


* First-of-its-kind co-browsing service

* Enables human engagement during COVID times

Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance, one of India’s leading Indian private life insurers, today launched a first-of-its-kind revolutionary technology service in the insurance industry ‘Smart Assist’. The service will enable customers to connect with the Company, through a secure screen sharing feature, to avail real-time assistance on completion of their buy journey, anywhere. Smart Assist is designed to help customers know all about their product, while enjoying virtual assistance, and maintaining the social distance protocol.

Smart Assist is designed to provide assistance to customers, especially first-time digital users, at a time when face-to-face meetings are becoming a challenge due to the pandemic. The service is available on the Company’s app that their sales representatives use - INS-tab. The link of Smart Assist is sent to customers who’d like to get any assistance while moving ahead in their journey to get their Life Goals Done with Bajaj Allianz Life. Customers can view product brochures, Benefit Illustration and also connect with senior experts using Smart Assist. This revolutionary service is designed to enhance the digital experience of customers and further delight customer interacting with the company.  

Speaking at the launch, Tarun Chugh, Managing Director and CEO of Bajaj Allianz Life said, “The business environment has changed significantly since the pandemic, and it is essential to respond to changing customers behaviors. We are focused on building agile business processes to meet the new needs, and Smart Assist is yet another step in that direction. The innovative tech-enabled service is designed to deliver superior service experience. We are confident it will play an essential role in keeping life goals of our customers on track, irrespective of the limitations due to the pandemic.”

Smart Assist co-browsing service enables personalised engagement with customers in a completely secure environment, with end-to-end encryption. All a customer needs to do is approve and then click on a link shared by the Company to start the co-browsing session. The easy-to-use screen sharing feature allows even non-tech-skewed customer to check on the product that is being discussed. All this takes place in real-time, enabling customers to completely understand the product they are looking at to start their Life Goals journey.

In case a customer would like to make any changes during the proposal filing process, they can simply highlight it to the sales representative through an in-built chat window, and get it rectified. Another crucial benefit of this service is that – if the customer wants to connect with an expert beyond the Company’s sales representative, then she/he can connect with a Company expert in real-time on the same interface.

Key Features of Smart Assist’s co-browsing feature:

* Allows Screen-2-Screen interaction in the time when Face-2-Face meetings are not encouraged

* Enables customers know all details of the product, the details being filled in the form via this unique screen-sharing service

* Expert assistance enabled for instant support

* 100% secure platform

* Allows effective, real-time sharing of product brochures and benefit illustrator

* Comes with Chat options within the platform while screen-sharing

The Smart Assist feature is the latest in the series of initiatives by Bajaj Allianz Life to improve customer experience by digitizing its operations, making them easy-to-use and completely secure. 

Technology Initiatives for Customers

WhatsApp Service provide around 20 service resolutions on WhatsApp. Only life insurer to offer service resolution through AI-enabled chatbot and LIVE CHAT options.

i-SERV a video calling service designed to enhance the customer experience and provide swift resolutions to their queries.

Life Assist is a one-stop customer portal. Over 3 lakh customers have used the portal for various policy servicing needs.

BOING is an AI-enabled chatbot to respond to customer queries in real time! Available in 5 languages (English, Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, and Telugu), BOING has already interacted with over 3 lakh visitors.

Technology Initiatives for Agents, Distributors, and Partners

INS-tab is a sales enablement app, through which over 57,000 policies have been processed.

I-Manage is the most recent intervention for the company’s sales force, as it helps to keep all the data about sales agents with their manager. Over 3,000 sales managers are using this app on a daily basis.

i-Smart is a comprehensive portal available on mobile and tablet devices for the Company’s Insurance Consultants. Over 44,000 agents use this tool.

i-Recruit allows an end-to-end, completely paperless onboarding process of insurance consultants. The company has so far recruited over 21,000 insurance consultants through this app, reducing onboarding TAT by 60%.

About Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance

Bajaj Allianz Life is one of the leading private life insurance companies in India. The Company is a partnership between two powerful and successful entities in their own right – Bajaj Finserv Limited, one of India’s most diversified non-banking financial institution and Allianz SE, one of world’s leading asset manager and insurer.

Commencing its operations in 2001, Bajaj Allianz Life has in less than two decades expanded its presence across the country. It serves millions of customers through its 556 branches, 80,000+ agents (as on 30 June 2020), and comprehensive set of trusted partners and via its online sales channel. The Company’s brand promise of Life Goals.Done. Drives it to launch innovative insurance solutions, including the revolutionary RoMC (Return of Mortality Charges), a feature in some of its new-age ULIPs, and thereby becoming the first company to do so. Bajaj Allianz Life has constantly transformed to offer tech-enabled state-of-the-art services to enhance customer delight. The Company continues to engage with customers through several unique platforms, and has secured a place in the Guinness Book of World Records with the Bajaj Allianz Life Plankathon 2020.

HCL Supports Chennai Zoo and Madras Crocodile Bank Trust to Tide Through the COVID-19 Pandemic

HCL is extending its support to India’s largest zoo in Chennai - the Arignar Anna Zoological Park - as well as the Madras Crocodile Bank, to help them overcome the challenges from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Chennai Zoo and the Crocodile bank depend heavily on the revenue generated through visitors for the animals’ upkeep and facility maintenance. However, given the pandemic and the resultant restricted people movement has severely impacted this revenue stream, leading to the two organizations looking for external support to provide critical animal care. HCL is extending support to help with animal feed and care at the two facilities, while also providing salaries to the caretakers involved in sanitization and maintenance for a period of six months.

The Crocodile Bank which houses over 2000 adult and 100 juvenile crocodiles and other species, is an iconic institution that has been engaged in the conservation of rare species for over four decades.

Expressing his gratitude, Allwin Jesudasan, Director, Madras Crocodile Bank said, “Reptiles play a vital role in maintain a balance in our ecosystem; however, the pandemic is threatening their very survival. We would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to HCL for stepping in to support the Crocodile Bank in these challenging times and thank them for their commitment towards animal welfare.”

Mr. Debasis Jana, Director of Arignar Anna Zoological Park, Chennai which houses 2700 animals of nearly 170 species including mammals, birds and reptiles also praised HCL’s efforts while underlining the need for greater support for captive animals and birds in the current scenario.

Animal welfare is one of the key aspects of the COVID-19 relief work being driven by HCL across the country. During the lockdown, the organization has provided over 1.20 lakh feeds to the stray and abandoned animals in Noida and Bengaluru. It has also supported Friendicoes SECA (Society for the Eradication of Cruelty to Animals) by providing animal feed for 3000 rescued animals for a period of 65 days.

HCL is also extending similar support to the Lucknow Zoo in Uttar Pradesh.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

StartupToScaleup Global Acceleration Program by The GAIN in Association with MeitY Startup Hub, GoI

The GAIN (Global Accelerator for Innovation Network), a leading startup growth accelerator and a section 8, not for profit organization from Bengaluru, implementation partner of MeitY Startup Hub (MSH), Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY), Government of India (GoI) has launched the first cohort of 10*(an additional set of 5 startups are selected in case of drop outs) startups under “StartupToScaleup” program today.

There is no fee and no equity dilution for the startups as the program is supported by MeitY. The first cohort pertains to current significant sectors - Healthcare and Edtech which require technology innovations and solutions to address industry and eco-system challenges. It comprises of 10 startups that have gone through a rigorous selection process to make it to the final list out of 330 applicants for this specialized, curated, and coveted program.

Dr. Ajai K Garg, Director - Startup, Innovation, IPR and International Cooperation, MeitY, mentioned “MeitY has been continuously working towards strengthening the startup and innovation ecosystem of the country. MSH has been set up in order to facilitate MeitY’s vision of promoting technological innovation, startups and the creation of IPs. We are positive that our latest partnership with The GAIN which leads India's pioneering innovation ecosystem will catalyze the scale-up efforts of Tech-startups in the country. It is important for us to engage the startup community and bring innovative thinking into product development that can accelerate the creation of new offerings in an era where technology will be the key economic driver."

Mr. BV Naidu, Chairman - The GAIN expressed, "StartupToScaleup is a high value power packed program from MeitY to elevate the startups on a growth trajectory. The GAIN ensures Global market access to the participating startups, hence, giving a different dimension to Atmanirbhar Bharat."

StartupToScaleup is a 10-week program which comprises interactive sessions and workshops by International and Indian Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). Dr. Garg added, “Surviving in a volatile environment requires developing not only technological prowess and application breakthroughs but also requires smart mentoring and well-connected network of technical expertise; it is here that The GAIN with its established infrastructure has a great role to play in nurturing innovation best practices and ensuring long term sustainability. The short-term high-intensity cohorts driven by The GAIN is helping young startups to grow, boost their concepts and scale.”

The unique feature of this program is to promote cross border IP and Innovation by enabling the partnerships with the International organizations through an in-built 4 weeks ‘Global Immersion’ module. The GAIN also conducts such programs for the International startups from various geographies to work with Indian startups / companies through its “Access 2 India” (A2I) program.

Mr. Vivek Saxena, who has recently taken over as CEO said, “Along with innovation and access to global markets, the situation warrants the need for avenues that can channelize efforts and showcase the hidden potential of Indian Startups to the rest of the world through our unique acceleration programs.” One of the major advantages for the qualified startups will be to get evaluated from The GAIN’s sister fund “StartupXseed Ventures”, a deep technology focused in-house funding platform. Its network of funds makes this offering as a ‘one of its kind offering’ in this segment where an accelerator has got its own Fund Platform.

About MeitY MSH Program

MeitY Startup Hub (MSH) is a platform to connect the startup ecosystem, promote technology innovation, startups and the creation of Intellectual Properties. MSH acts as a national coordination, facilitation, and monitoring centre that integrates all the incubation centres, startups and innovation related activities of MeitY.

About The GAIN

The GAIN is a leading global startup growth accelerator which focusses on enabling the startups to reach their full potential. The GAIN with its established infrastructure & international partnerships plays a great role in nurturing innovation, best practices and ensuring long term sustainability through smart-mentoring based cohort programs.

The online virtual inauguration is slated for 27th August 2020 at 10.30 am. 

Land Rover and Henry Poole Create Uunique Fabric to Celebrate 50 Years of Range Rover


* Land Rover Chief Design Officer Prof Gerry McGovern OBE and bespoke Savile Row tailor Henry Poole & Co create unique jacket fabric to celebrate 50 years of Range Rover

* Original 1970s exterior colour palette – Tuscan Blue, Bahama Gold and Davos White –inspires the modern classic dog-tooth check fabric

* Henry Poole will create 50 bespoke men and women’s jackets from the Range Rover fabric, tailored to meet each customer’s individual requirements. Watch the story unfold here

* The Tuscan Blue, Davos White and Bahama Gold exterior paint colours are also available on the limited-edition Range Rover Fifty revealed in June 2020

* For those wanting a piece of history, the Range Rover Reborn programme offers the unique opportunity to purchase a highly collectible original 1970s Range Rover

Prof Gerry McGovern OBE, Land Rover’s Chief Creative Officer, has designed a special fabric to celebrate 50 years of Range Rover with one of Savile Row’s founding tailors, Henry Poole & Co.

They have produced only 120 m of the lambswool fabric, enough to make 50 bespoke jackets for Range Rover’s landmark anniversary, available exclusively from Henry Poole & Co.

The original luxury SUV has defined the market since 1970 and, five decades on, Range Rover has evolved into a family of desirable and capable luxury vehicles with a compelling blend of design, refinement and engineering innovation.

The fabric, woven in Somerset by cloth manufacturer Fox Brothers & Co Ltd, is inspired by the exterior paint colours of the original 1970 Range Rover. Tuscan Blue, Bahama Gold and Davos White have been combined to create a new twist on the classic dog-tooth check fabric.

The same colours are available for the first time in 35 years on the limited-edition Range Rover Fifty. Limited to 1 970 units globally, it celebrates half a century of pioneering innovation, peerless refinement and unparalleled all-terrain capability.

Building on the luxuriously appointed Autobiography, the Range Rover Fifty features bespoke exterior accents in Auric Atlas as well as two unique (22) inch wheel designs. The badging has a handwritten ‘Fifty’ script created by Gerry McGovern, which will appear on the exterior of the vehicle and throughout the interior on the unique ‛1 of 1970’ centre console commissioning plaque, headrests, dashboard and illuminated tread plates.

Prof Gerry McGovern OBE, Land Rover’s Chief Creative Officer, said: “Both Henry Poole and Range Rover have a unique heritage and the ability to create highly desirable products. The exclusivity of both the Henry Poole jacket and the Range Rover Fifty edition make it a rarity which is something that appeals to both Henry Poole and Range Rover customers.”

Simon Cundey, Henry Poole & Co Managing Director, said: “It has been a fantastic opportunity to work with Gerry McGovern and develop a jacket to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Range Rover. The cloth has been inspired by a heritage colourway featuring a Tuscan Blue lining and Bahama Gold under-collar, yet designed to have a modern casual twist, which can also be worn with timeless elegance. The comfort that comes with Henry Poole pure bespoke completes the pinnacle of Savile Row tailoring.”

“The Range Rover x Henry Poole & Co collaboration works so well as both brands have traditional roots, yet with a modern approach that offers the very best in quality and luxury.”

With its clamshell bonnet, distinctive floating roof, split tailgate and trademark front fender vents, the Range Rover of today can still trace its roots back to the 1970 original. In its golden anniversary year it is now the most efficient, connected, luxurious and capable yet.

For those wanting to own an original 1970s model, the Range Rover Reborn programme offers prospective customers the unique opportunity to purchase a highly collectible original Range Rover in authentic colours, including Bahama Gold and Tuscan Blue.

Available direct from Land Rover Classic in the UK, every Range Rover Reborn undergoes a complete restoration according to the company’s original factory specification, and uses Land Rover Classic Parts to preserve and protect the vehicle’s authenticity.

Land Rover’s experienced restoration team will advise customers of the best options for base vehicles – including its collectability, preferred chassis numbers and unique characteristics.

Range Rover Reborn showcases Land Rover Classic’s dedicated in-house engineering expertise and underlines Land Rover’s commitment to nurturing the rich heritage of this iconic brand.

QEI-DIB Provides Funding to Four Education Non-Profits Working Across Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra and UP

 * Independent evaluation shows that the QEI-DIB exceeded targets for a second year in a row, improving learning outcomes for more than 100,000 children over two years (2018-20)

* Children covered by the program are learning twice as fast as their peers in comparable schools where the non-profit partners are not present

* Overall, the impact bond is achieving 2-3X of its target and some partners are outperforming up to 4-5X of their target

The innovative Quality Education India Development Impact Bond (QEI-DIB) was launched in 2018 with a focus on improving learning outcomes in Language and Math. Over 4 years, the program will cover 200,000+ primary school children studying in government and low-fee private schools. The QEI-DIB will also help identify education programs that can be successfully scaled and generate evidence to shape philanthropic and budgetary allocation in future years.

Since 2018, the QEI-DIB has supported over 100,000 children in more than 600 schools across Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. There are four leading non-profit partners, chosen for their ability and track record in achieving outcomes. Examples of participating non-profits funded through the QEI-DIB include training for teachers, leadership programs for school principals, standalone schools in poverty-stricken areas, and technology-based learning solutions. Each of these partners have taken on ambitious targets to ensure learning gains for their students.

The QEI-DIB is uniquely data driven. Evaluation and performance management data are regularly shared with non-profit partners. This enables them to be flexible and agile, using real-time data for effective decision making which includes adapting programs in the field and shifting funds within their budget to achieve outcomes.

Kaivalya Education Foundation (KEF) is one of the partners in the QEI-DIB. Aditya Natraj, CEO of KEF talks about how “The incentivisation of student outcomes allows us to constantly invest additional resources in improving our technology and processes and build a performance-oriented culture in the organisation and an outcome-oriented culture in the schools we serve.”

Payments made via the QEI-DIB are linked to performance. The results over the past two years demonstrate the value of moving away from activity-focused funding to outcomes-based funding.

An independent evaluation shows that in its second-year, students in QEI-DIB classrooms gained more than two years’ worth of additional learning compared to schools where these programs were not present. The 2018 ASER survey indicates that the average Grade V student in India is at least two years behind in grade appropriate learning. Instruments like the QEI-DIB can help to close the gap.

"It’s exciting to see how structures like the QEI-DIB help align the whole value chain of educators, on ground partners and funders to a common vision. Clarity on outcome targets has allowed the program to focus on what matters most – helping children learn. As an outcome-focused funder, we are encouraged by early results and want to build on this work” says Geeta Goel, Country Director, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation.

The learning achievement allows UBS Optimus Foundation (the risk investor who provided the upfront working capital) to get the full outcome payment for year two. This puts the risk investor on track to make a return of 8% on its investment if the outcome targets continue to be met for the duration of the program. The non-profit partners will also receive an incentive payment if they consistently outperform.

The governance of the QEI-DIB is led by a Steering Committee comprising of British Asian Trust, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, and UBS Optimus Foundation. Other partners include Comic Relief, the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID), the Mittal Foundation, British Telecom, the Lawrence Ellison Foundation and Tata Trusts.

“Development impact bonds are becoming a lot more interesting for investors who are eager to channel their money to where it can do the most good for society while also delivering financial returns. They will certainly increase the social benefits and capital flows and help some of the world’s most vulnerable people at the same time,” said Phyllis Kurlander Costanza, Head UBS in Society and CEO UBS Optimus Foundation.

Pioneering the 'pay-for-performance' model

The QEI-DIB is a four-year program that runs from 2018 till mid-2022. Key outcome funders for the impact bond include the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, British Asian Trust, Comic Relief, Lawrence Ellison Foundation, British Telecom and the Mittal Foundation.

The structure includes a results-based finance mechanism, where the outcome funders only pay for successful results. If the outcomes are not fully achieved, outcome funders will pay proportionate to the results which are achieved.

The risk investor (UBS Optimus Foundation) commits up to USD 2.9 million of annual funding for participating local non-profits. The risk investor will make a return on the investment if pre-determined education outcomes are met. All returns will be rolled over into other philanthropic programs. The learning outcomes of students and schools participating in the program are independently verified by Gray Matters India, a specialist in student assessments.

Tata Motors Redefines Transportation in India with its Future-Ready Range of Commercial Vehicles

 Key Highlights:

* Customised solutions for every transport application from sub-1 tonne to 55 tonne range

* Reduce total cost of ownership with higher vehicle uptime and improved efficiency

* Enhance output with sharper focus on vehicle performance

* Optimise fleet with the next-generation digital solution, Fleet Edge

* Modern design, latest technology and class-defining features for comfort and safety

* Extends high-value customer benefits with unique ‘Power of 6’  value proposition

Tata Motors, India’s leading commercial vehicles manufacturer, presents its future-ready product portfolio, developed with an aim to ‘redefine transportation’. The entire range of vehicles, from sub-1 tonne to 55 tonne gross vehicle/combination weight (GVW/GCW), is powered by efficient drivetrains, features a futuristic ‘Premium Tough’ design language and is engineered to cater to a wide variety of dynamic market demands. It offers reduced Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) to all users – fleet operators, mid-size transport operators and small transporters, with higher-than-before vehicle performance through value enhanced features, synchronised service intervals and improved overall vehicle efficiency. With customised transport solutions to address industry-specific applications available in each commercial vehicle segment – M&HCV, I&LCV, SCV & PU, as well as passenger commercial vehicles, Tata Motors offers the widest array of vehicles in the country for customers to select as per their specific requirement.

The 'Power of 6' value proposition, which guided the design and development of this range institutes significant advances across  the key areas relevant for each segment; like lower TCO, improved earning potential, enhanced comfort, connectivity and performance, amongst other attributes. Tata Motors has upgraded every vehicle from bumper to bumper, while also introducing technological and performance upgrades that generate higher revenue and profits through higher fluid efficiency, excellent driving comfort and world-class connectivity features. Some of these key features include higher power output, superior gear shifts, multiple driving modes, improved ergonomics and crash-tested cabins for the safety for the driver.

Speaking about ‘redefined transportation’, Mr. Girish Wagh, President, Commercial Vehicle Business Unit, Tata Motors said, “Post BS6 migration, the Indian auto industry is adhering to comparable global norms of emission. Being the industry leader, we used this migration to transcend beyond mere emission compliance. By holistically reimagining, we have created new paradigms of functionality, productivity, comfort, performance and connectivity in our vehicles. We now have a truly global, Indian product range that redefines the future of Indian transportation. For customers, it impressively brings forth the core benefit of lower total cost of ownership or improved earning potential and hence enhanced returns on their investment.”

Adding momentum is Tata Motors' extensive dealership and service network of over 2600+ touch points with service facility at every 62km across the country; manned by trained specialists and backed by Tata Genuine Parts. Tata Motors also extends various vehicle care programs, fleet management solutions, annual maintenance packages and resale for commercial vehicles under the Sampoorna Seva 2.0 initiative. Additionally, Tata Alert offers 24x7 roadside assistance for all vehicles under warranty while Tata Kavach ensures that all accidental vehicles insured under Tata Insurance are repaired within 15 days.

With Fleet Edge, a next-generation connected vehicle solution, Tata Motors offers telematics to optimise fleet management, with informed decision making. This solution gives fleet owners the vital insights on vehicle diagnostics and driver behaviour, which help in better fleet utilisation. The Fleet Edge solution is relevant and beneficial across varied fleet sizes and is available with the entire M&HCV range of Tata Motors trucks and buses and a select range of I&LCV and SCV models.

Tata Motors future-ready range of commercial vehicles offering lower cost of ownership and enhanced return on investment includes:

Small Commercial Vehicles and Pick-ups (SCV & PU)

The new SCV and PU range featuring the popular Ace, Intra and Yodha now have an increased payload of up to 750kg, 1300kg and 1700 kg respectively. Market leader, the Tata Ace, is now available in multiple options with efficient diesel, petrol and CNG powertrains. Further, the Ace diesel now develops an increased 20hp and 45Nm, the petrol variant generates 30hp and 55Nm, while the CNG variant develops 26hp and 50Nm. Tata Motors’ BS6 range of SCV cargo and pickup vehicles offer best-in-class TCO through improved fuel efficiencies. Other features of the Ace include a new digital instrument cluster, added storage space and a USB port. The Intra V30, the latest addition in the range, gets largest loading deck in its class, power steering, gear shift advisor and ECO mode. The Tata Yodha BS6 highlights include frontal crumple zone & collapsible steering column for added safety, flat laydown bucket seats and a high utility dashboard.

Intermediate & Light Commercial Vehicles (I&LCV)

The Tata Motors I&LCV range of BS6 trucks now offers more than 6 to 10% better fuel economy, coupled with extended service intervals providing the industry’s most competitive TCO for its customers. The higher powered engines also develop improved low-end torque. The new pedal designs, reduced gear shifts and driveability enhances the comfort and convenience of the drivers, while reducing fatigue. The new multi-function instrument cluster and a high-quality music system enhances the ambience of the cabin. Gradeability has also been improved in the tipper range above 40%. Tata Motors offers the all-new 3.3-litre diesel engine, with power and torque rating of 125-155hp and 390-450Nm respectively.

Medium & Heavy Commercial Vehicles (M&HCV)

The new M&HCV range features 3 powerful and reliable Cummins and Turbotronn engines with 6 power nodes delivering higher power-to-weight ratio. The 6.7-litre Cummins engine is the ‘Largest selling Euro 6 engine in the world’ and the Tata Turbotronn engine offers best-in-class fuel economy with 15,000 BS4 vehicles running successfully. The optimised drivetrains offer SCR and EGR+SCR after treatment system, coupled with Gear Shift Advisor and multi-mode fuel economy switch that help in achieving superior fuel economy of even up to +12% on select models. The M&HCV range of products come with options of three upgraded cabins in the Ultra, Signa and Prima. These upgraded cabins feature additional storage space, wider sleeping berths, T&T steering, 3-way adjustable seats and other utility features that give the driver a feel of ‘home away from home’. Additional safety and comfort features include engine brake, Hill Start Assist, Reverse Parking Assistance, new intelligent instrument cluster and LED tail-lights for enhanced safety and productivity. M&HCV range of vehicles now come with Power of Choice to customers with CX and LX value feature packs.

Passenger Commercial Vehicles

Tata Motors Buses are based on a modular platform architecture with a range of new generation engines to provide best-fit products for all applications and terrains. The range also features wider bodies, higher seating capacities and multiple driving modes for improved operating economics. With special attention to passenger comfort, the entire range of buses sport best-in-class refinement levels, wider seats and a variety of comfort features. The vehicles have provisions for latest technology like Intelligent Transport System that host destination boards, surveillance cameras, automatic passenger counter and RFID-based attendance system.

The all-new Tata Winger is now available in ambulance and passenger applications, with multiple wheelbase and seat configurations. The Winger sets new benchmarks with its best-in-class design and is powered by a fuel-efficient 2.2-litre Dicor engine with increased torque of 200Nm, and an ECO mode for increased fuel efficiency. Based on the ‘Premium Tough’ design philosophy, the Winger gets LED DRLs, new dashboard design, rear split twin AC, and cockpit-styled design for improved driver comfort. The Winger also gets McPherson strut independent suspension, and is based on monocoque chassis for car-like driving dynamics.

About Tata Motors

Tata Motors Limited (NYSE: TTM; BSE: 500570 and 570001; NSE: TATAMOTORS and TATAMTRDVR), a USD 44 billion organization, is a leading global automobile manufacturer of cars, utility vehicles, pick-ups, trucks and buses. Part of the USD 110 billion Tata group, Tata Motors is India’s largest and the only OEM offering extensive range of integrated, smart and e-mobility solutions. It has operations in India, the UK, South Korea, Thailand, South Africa, and Indonesia through a strong global network of 134 subsidiaries, associate companies and joint ventures, including Jaguar Land Rover in the UK and Tata Daewoo in South Korea.

With a focus on engineering and tech enabled automotive solutions catering to the future of mobility, Tata Motors is India’s market leader in commercial vehicles and amongst the top four in the passenger vehicles market. With ‘Connecting Aspirations’ at the core of its brand promise, the company’s innovation efforts are focused to develop pioneering technologies that are sustainable as well as suited to evolving aspirations of the market and the customers. Tata Motors strives to bring new products that fire the imagination of GenNext customers, fuelled by state of the art design and R&D centres located in India, UK, US, Italy and South Korea. Internationally, Tata commercial and passenger vehicles are marketed in countries, spread across Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, South East Asia, South America, Australia, CIS, and Russia.

Maxxis Tyres Partners with HMSI for EXTRAMAXX to be HONDA’s Choice for Hornet 2.0

 * Honda Hornet 2.0 to adorn Maxxis Tyres uniquely crafted EXTRAMAXX Tyres renowned for better handling and speed stability

‘EXTRAMAXX’ developed with World’s Strongest Aramid Fibre Construction and Dual Compund Technology

* Maxxis has already started production of these tyres since July 2020. 

Maxxis India, one of the fastest growing tyres companies in India announced a significant association with Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India by being an exclusive OEM partner for its most awaited launch of this year Hornet 2.0.   

As per this exclusive association, The New Hornet 2.0 BSVI compliant bike will be fitted with tyres – Front: 110/70-17 M6233 and Rear: 140/70-17 M6234. 

The Extramaxx tyre is amongst the best in the industry and is known for smooth ride during long journeys on tough terrains.   Extramaxx, is built using the world's strongest aramid fibre, the same fibre used for making bulletproof vests, leading to better control and minimizes the chances of punctures. Its Dual Compound Compositionminimises rolling resistance while improving stability and tyre life. The unique ‘Carcass Breaker’ structure of Extramaxx makes it two times stronger than an ordinary tyre. The side compound on the rear tyre provides higher traction and better control during cornering.  The Super wide and flatter tyre profile provides a larger contact patch, better grip, and handling at high speeds. 

Commenting on the association, Mr. Bing-Lin Wu, Marketing Head, Maxxis India, said, “We are very excited about this newly forged association with HONDA HORNET 2.0. The product has already generated a lot of anticipation in the India market and EXTRAMAXX tyres will further elevate rider’s experience of driving this juggernaut. Our Extramaxx tyres, made with the World’s Most Advanced Technology Aramid Fibre has already proved its mettle amongst the most rugged terrains and gives the real ‘Thrill of Driving’ with utmost safety and comfort.”   

He further added, “This Made-in-India EXTRAMAXX Tyres will redefine the performance benchmark in the industry and I’m confident that it will become the preferred choice of customers in the time to come.”

Maxxis Tyres being a globally acclaimed brand with over 5-decade-old legacy made inroads into the Indian manufacturing landscape since 2015. It’s ‘Made in India’ products have over the years gathered much respect from within the industry and from two-wheeler manufacturers. 

Maxxis India is targeting to capture a market share of at least 15% of India’s two-wheeler tyre market by 2023. India market is touted to play a vital role in achieving Maxxis’s global vision to become one of the top 5 tyre manufactures in the world by 2026. Apart from catering to the domestic tyre market, the product portfolio from the Sanand, Ahmedabad facility will be exported to South Asia and will further expand to Africa and Middle East countries in the coming years. The company also has plans to set up 5 more plants in India which will also cater to the 4-wheeler tyres market. 

Unlock Exhibition For Survival of the Industry and Revival of the National Economy: IEIA

Indian Exhibitions Industry Association (IEIA), the apex body of exhibiting and trade show industry in the country  has urged the government to immediately to allow organizing exhibitions albeit with all public safety measures for survival of the industry and revival of the Indian economy .

“COVID 19 has adversely impacted the ‘Business Exhibitions’ sector across India with a complete standstill since March 2020 continuing till date. Indian Exhibition sector, which is an important building block for development of trade and economy, plays a vital role to support many industry sectors with 2/3rd of exhibitions held annually being in the B2B segment, which are highly organized and structured in terms of movement of people and goods. The global pandemic has adversely affected the exhibition industry and its economic impact on the country’s trade. “said Mr Balasubramanian, President Indian Exhibition Industry Association (IEIA) .

“Approximately Rs. 300,000 crore of business and related  trade has been affected due to non-holding of exhibitions in India this year with about 15 lakh  estimated livelihoods affected who depend on exhibitions for their sustenance. Approximately 1.5 crore people participate in exhibitions every year in India for their business needs. Huge mass lay-offs, no work orders for the contractual service providers and lack of livelihood avenues for temporary ground workers add to the aggravation of the loss being suffered by the sector.” Said Mr Balasubramaniam .

“Indian Exhibition industry was growing at 10% YOY during pre-covid period.  Industry is deeply impacted and is facing an unprecedented challenge. We are making a clarion call to the Government to extend a supporting hand to this industry so that exhibitions can come back soon and start supporting various businesses.  This would not only boost the India’s vision of “Atmanirbhar Bharat”, but will also enable the revival of the national economy, create jobs as well as bring back the country to its growth path”. Said Mr Balasunramaniam .

Region wise economic impact of exhibitions conducted at the purpose built venues is also being lost by the country.  Bangalore International Exhibition Centre (BIEC) , which is one of the purpose built exhibition venues in India organizes around 40 trade shows and events every year, which generates approx. Rs.2,570 crores of economic activity in Bangalore with direct exhibition spend by exhibitors on space rentals & exhibition services and indirect spend on travel, accommodation, food & beverage and shopping & recreation. Such economic activity, generates around Rs.345 crores of tax revenues for India. The estimated trade and business transactions conducted by industry at exhibitions in BIEC is around Rs.32,300 crores.

Similarly Indian Exposition Mart Limited (IEML) Greater Noida, which is established by the Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH), organizes around 44 trade shows and events every year, generating Rs 3,100 crore of economic activity in Greater Noida (UP), and Rs.610 Crore of tax revenues (GST, Excise & Income Tax) for the Government. The estimated trade and business transactions conducted by industry exhibitions in IEML is around Rs. 75,000 Crore.

"IEIA has already prepared Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to organise safe and secure exhibitions in association with India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) and the same have been submitted to MHA and MOC last month. As Exhibitions require a gestation period of 6-8 weeks to organise, it is vital for the Government to announce a date by when exhibitions can be restarted in a safe and sound environment. The human density for b2b exhibitions are not much different from a shopping mall or a railway / bus station and we can ready to organise shows once we get the necessary approvals," added Mr. Balasubraminan.

Governments in countries like Brazil, which is even more affected by COVID as compared to India, along with various other countries including UK, Italy, Spain, Russia and many others have allowed exhibitions to restart owing to the significant multiplier role of exhibitions on the overall economy.

IEIA, along with many trade bodies that organize exhibitions have approached the union government to allow organizing exhibitions albeit with all public safety measures. With domestic travel and hospitality sector opened up in a phased manner, malls allowed to operate, and no restrictions on inter-State and intra-State movement of persons and goods; positive announcement to restart exhibitions will provide a significant boost to trade and industry sentiments across various sectors and will also support survival of lacs of livelihoods in the country. While exhibition sector was excluded in the list of sectors allowed in Unlock 3.0, Indian exhibition industry appeals and looks forward to Unlocking exhibitions by the Government of India to restart in Unlock 4.0. 

About IEIA- Indian Exhibition Industry Association is the National apex body representing the Indian Exhibition industry that brings together all the stakeholders including exhibition organizers, stand contractors, freight forwarders, services and facilities providers, venue owners etc. so that there is a common platform available to the entire industry to consider ways and means for the sound and scientific development of various facets of the industry. 

Trend Micro Blocked 8.8M COVID-19 Threats in the First Half of 2020

Trend Micro Incorporated (TYO: 4704; TSE: 4704), the leader in cloud security, today released its annual mid-year roundup report, which reveals COVID-19 related threats as the single largest type of threat in the first half of the year. In just six months, Trend Micro blocked 8.8 million COVID-19 related threats, nearly 92% of which were spam delivered via emails. 

Cybercriminals shifted their focus from January through June to take advantage of global interest in the pandemic. The risk to businesses was compounded by security gaps created by a completely remote workforce.  

“The pandemic has dominated all of our lives during the first half of 2020, but it’s not slowing down the cybercriminals,” said Nilesh Jain, Vice President, Southeast Asia and India, Trend Micro. “IT leaders must continue to adapt their cybersecurity strategies to account for increased threats to their new normal. That means protecting remote endpoints, cloud systems, user credentials and VPN systems, as well as refreshing training courses to turn that newly dispersed workforce into a more effective first line of defense.” 

In total, Trend Micro blocked 27.8 billion cyber threats in the first half of 2020, 93% of which were email-borne. Within Asia, India ranked third for encountering the highest number of email threats (438 million).  

Trend Micro also saw the introduction of several malicious COVID-19 related mobile apps during the first half of 2020. Globally and within Asia, India ranked third highest accounting for 7.5% (44,097) of malicious mobile app blocked by Trend Micro. The use of COVID-19-themed traps to deliver malware was also common. India is again ranked third highest contributing to 4.1% (9 million) malware detected by Trend Micro.  

Business Email Compromise (BEC) detections increased by 18% from the second half of 2019, in part due to scammers trying to capitalize on home workers being more exposed to social engineering. 

Among all the threats in the first half of the year, ransomware was a constant factor. Although the number of detected ransomware threats decreased, Trend Micro saw a 36% increase in new ransomware families compared to the same time last year. 

Global organizations have also been burdened by a significant spike in newly disclosed vulnerabilities. Trend Micro’s Zero Day Initiative (ZDI) published a total of 786 advisories, representing a 74% increase from the second half of 2019. Some of these came as part of Microsoft Patch Tuesday updates, which have fixed an average of 103 CVEs per month so far in 2020 — including the largest number of patches ever issued in a single month (129) in June. 

Trend Micro also observed a 16% increase in vulnerabilities disclosed in industrial control systems (ICS), compared to the first half of 2019, which could create major challenges for smart factory owners and other organizations running IIoT environments. 

To effectively protect dispersed corporate networks, Gartner recommends businesses “refine security monitoring capabilities to reflect an operating environment where network traffic patterns, data and system access vectors have changed due to increased remote and mobile operations." Trend Micro XDR helps customers do exactly that by correlating security events across the entire IT environment, which is critical for holistic protection in the second half of 2020. 

3i Infotech’s AMLOCK Named a leader in Compliance Management by IBS Intelligence

3i Infotech Limited (BSE: 532628, NSE: 3IINFOTECH), a global Information Technology company, committed to accelerating business transformation, has been positioned as a leader in Compliance Management in the Annual IBS Intelligence Sales League Table (IBSI SLT) 2020 for AMLOCK, its flagship product for Financial Crime Detection and Management. 

As one of the top two leaders in Compliance Management category, 3i Infotech joins the IBSI SLT Leadership Club. Commenting on the company’s performance, the SLT Panel at IBS Intelligence said, “2019 was an important year for Compliance Management solutions. We are pleased to congratulate 3i Infotech’s AMLOCK for its leadership position in the category of Compliance Management in SLT 2020. The SLT ranking is purely based on sales performance and hence, is a true barometer of market recognition.” 

Speaking on the ranking, Mr. Jatinder Bedi, Vice President and Banking Sales Head, Africa, Caribbean & Canada, 3i Infotech said, “We are delighted to have received this recognition from IBS Intelligence and being positioned as a leader for AMLOCK, our globally acclaimed & end-to-end financial crime detection and management solution. It reinforces our focus to leverage the latest technologies to deliver products of high caliber. We would like to thank our clients who have trusted us and deployed our solutions.” 

Mr. Ravikanth Sama, Global Head - AMLOCK, 3i Infotech said, “As a future-ready organization, we are constantly delivering cutting-edge technology through our products and addressing the dynamic needs of our customers globally. AMLOCK is one such purpose-built, end-to-end solution that is designed to stem the flow of illicit funds and meet the compliance requirements of increasing regulatory oversight. With these capabilities, it offers comprehensive tools to manage customer due diligence, enhance compliance processes, and seamlessly identify & assess customer risk.” 

3i Infotech’s Kastle Digital solution was ranked among Top 10 in Digital Banking & Channels category and Kastle Universal Lending was featured under the Conventional Banking System - Lending category in the IBSI SLT 2020. 

IBS Intelligence is an independent analyst that provides news, analysis & research relating to global financial technology markets. Their Annual Sales League Table showcases the sales performance of banking technology suppliers, objectively ranking products across 6 conventional back office banking technology categories and 8 new focus areas. The IBSI SLT 2020 includes systems purchases made by over 1,700 banks across 240 products from 62 suppliers across the Americas, Europe, Middle East, Africa and APAC. 

About 3i Infotech 

Headquartered in Mumbai, India, since inception in 1993, the Company has been committed to driving business value across multiple industry verticals and has a strong BFSI presence. The company has over 5000 employees in 33 offices across 12 countries and over 1200+ customers in more than 50 countries across 4 continents. With a comprehensive set of IP based software solutions and a wide range of IT services, 3i Infotech has successfully transformed business operations of customers globally. The Company has a very strong foothold and customer base in geographies across Asia, Middle East, Africa, Europe and North America. The company’s global delivery model focuses on the best resources to be drawn from its vast talent pool to offer optimal solutions for today’s agile business environments. 

Its flagship products include Kastle™ (Universal Banking Solution), AMLOCK™ (Financial Crime Detection and Management Solution), MFund™ Plus (Asset Management Solution), Premia™ Astra (Core Insurance Solution) and Orion™ (Enterprise Resource Planning Solution). 3i Infotech provides IT Services across Mobility, Data Analytics, Block Chain, Cloud Life Cycle Management, Testing Services, Infrastructure Management, Application Development & Maintenance, Professional Services, IT Consulting and BPO.  

Innoviti Partners with Visa to Develop Installments Platform for Face-to-Face Transactions

Innoviti announced today that it had entered a partnership with Visa, the leader in payments technology to develop a platform that will enable issuers to extend credit to their cardholders at face-to-face point-of-sale (In India). It provides shoppers the ability to choose how they pay during the purchase with the introduction of a suite of platform capabilities leveraging Innoviti’s uniPAY Next platform and Visa’s APIs. Innoviti and Visa plan to collaborate and pilot a variety of installment use cases as part of this partnership going forward.

The installments platform will help merchants leverage cardholders’ existing relationships with financial institutions to provide installment solutions at the point of sale – through a single API-based integration. This will ultimately help merchants enhance sales, improve customer loyalty and overall cash flow, while offering their shoppers a friction-free payment experience at checkout.

Banks will benefit by leveraging this platform to offer installment solution to its cardholders by simplifying current challenges – reconciliation, settlement, dispute management and scheme design flexibility.

The platform will initially be piloted with one bank and enabled for key electronic merchant chains on Innoviti’s platform. It will subsequently be extended to other banks, merchants, and payment service providers through easy to use APIs using which they more use cases can be developed.

Mass affordability is a recurrent theme for Visa in our quest to extend digital payments across the country. By enabling installment solutions at the PoS terminal and solving for friction that exists today in-store, we want to drive affordability at checkout and build consumer affinity for digital payments. We are excited about this partnership - the fast, intuitive and seamless nature of this installment solution will make it a preferred solution for Indian shoppers going forward”, said Arvind Ronta, Head of Products, India & South Asia, Visa.

“India’s $1Tn consumption happens in a dynamic, vast & fragmented retail ecosystem fueled by the dreams of millions of merchants, large and small.  Bringing installment plans to their point-of-sale using digital payment channels can accelerate their growth, by enabling them to make a difference to the livelihoods and aspirations of their customers.   Key towards this is the need for a platform that is exceptionally designed to be scalable, robust, and easy to access.  We are excited about partnering with Visa to make it happen,” Rajeev Agrawal, CEO, Innoviti.

About Visa:

Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) is the world’s leader in digital payments. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payment network - enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. Our advanced global processing network, VisaNet, provides secure and reliable payments around the world, and is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second. The company’s relentless focus on innovation is a catalyst for the rapid growth of digital commerce on any device for everyone, everywhere. As the world moves from analog to digital, Visa is applying our brand, products, people, network and scale to reshape the future of commerce. For more information, visit About Visa, and @VisaNews.

About Innoviti

Innoviti Payment Solutions Pvt. Ltd. has been a pioneer in the use of technology to add intelligence to payment transactions, helping extract the full power of digital payments to drive business growth. As consumer centric businesses transform themselves digitally, Innoviti believes that the point of payment will play a pivotal role in connecting merchants to brands and banks, enabling them to discover and deliver new and unique experiences to their common customers. Innoviti’s indigenously developed platform processes over 6.5B$ of offline merchant payments from over 1000+ cities in India, with a volume throughput that is 2X of the country’s average. The company is winner of several awards including Reliance’s Most Promising Growth Consumer Finance Award for its #KuchBhiOnEMI innovation in 2019.  The company has several national and international patents filed for its technology with two awarded.  Catamaran Ventures, India, SBI Capital, Japan, Bessemer Ventures, USA and FMO, Netherlands are investors in the company.  

Aakash Educational Services Limited Unveils First Ever Aakash Student Alumni Portal

Aakash Educational Services Ltd. (AESL), the national leader in test preparation services, has launched the first ever Aakash Student Alumni portal with an aim to connect all the former students of Aakash Classroom program with the institute, faculties and batchmates.  

The portal will serve as an effective point of contact to build communication across geographies. Through this portal, the alumni will receive latest news and updates about Aakash Institute and can keep themselves abreast about the key events happening in the education industry.  

The portal also has some unique features such as a job search window, where the AESL team will share relevant job openings within the institute which will allow the alumni to explore relevant opportunities.  There is also a search feature which will allow students to filter and find their batchmates according to the desired location, designation, which will assist the alumni in connecting with each other. 

The platform will also bring forth some of the encouraging success stories and great milestones achieved by Aakash students to create faith and confidence amongst the new learners. The portal will upload information regarding upcoming events like webinars, conclaves, discussion forums which will allow students to share the invites amongst their peers. The portal is also enabled to organize multiple campaigns like Alumni Meet, Alumni Webinar, Alumni Awards, etc which will ascertain a constant connect between the students, faculties and the institute in the future. 

Commenting on the launch of the portal, Mr Aakash Chaudhry, Director and CEO of Aakash Educational Services Limited (AESL), said: “The Aakash Student Alumni Portal will serve as a great medium to re-establish our connect with past Aakash students who have achieved great heights in their careers across geographies. It will also help us to showcase their success stories and their rich experience will help our present students learn and get inspired. Students, institute and teacher’s relationship is the most humble and pure form of bond which nurtures not only the students but also the institute in its growth. The Aakash Alumni portal will surely build a strong Aakash community in times to come.” 

Esperer Onco Nutrition (EON) Announces Two New Senior Appointments to Strengthen and Lead Cancer Research in India

Esperer Onco Nutrition (EON) announced the appointment of two new senior members for their Research and Development (R&D) team.

Joining the organization are Dr. Vivek Srivastav and Dr. Anubhab Mukherjee. Dr. Srivastav will serve as the Vice-President of the R&D and Operation. Dr. Mukherjee will be serving as the Principal Scientist of the Research and Development division. “We at Esperer are glad to welcome resourceful intelligentsia in our crucial research and development department.  I am sure both Dr Srivastav and Dr Mukherjee will foster and hone the best research practices and help Esperer Onco Nutrition to develop better mediums to offer nutrition at all stages of the critical disease management focussed on cancer”, said Mr. Raktim Chattopadhyay, Founder & CEO at Esperer Onco Nutrition.

Prior to joining EON, Dr. Vivek Srivastav was the Director-Research & Development (Enteral Nutrition), North-East South-East Asia (NESEA), Member of Leadership Team at Fresenius Kabi India Pvt. Ltd. With his strong research experience, Dr Vivek carries MD with PhD in Phytonutrients as education. He promises to add value to the mission of EON as a research organization. Dr. Srivastav said, “I am excited to explore this new opportunity with EON. The vison of whole group and management focus on building science based formulations attracted me the most towards EON.I feel my experience as a researcher coupled with some hands-on experience in corporate functions like regulatory affairs, business development and drug planning could be utilized for the growth of the organization.”  

Dr. Anubhab Mukherjee joins as a Principal Scientist, R&D in Esperer Onco Nutrition (EON) Pvt. Ltd and heads the Hyderabad R&D center for the organization as well. He has a Ph.D. from CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, India. He has in-depth experience in the cancer &Nanomedicine space and has been a part of two post-doctoral research in the United States of America (USA). At EON he plans to spearhead the quest for ultimate nutritional care through different delivery mechanisms for cancer patients. A super specialized researcher, academician and scientist Dr. Mukherjee says, “I am motivated to work with Esperer Onco Nutrition and lead a team of bright scientists whose inputs can help me steer my existing knowledge for the larger good of humanity. I am happy EON has given me this career proposal. I may not find the cure, but possibly a better coping mechanism for life with cancer can definitely be my deliverable”.

“As the time has come to prioritise Research in Nutraceutical to put India ahead”, says Founder &CEO Mr. Raktim Chattopadhyay, “I take Esperer Onco Nutrition one step ahead with Dr. Vivek Srivastav and Dr.Anubhab Mukherjee and wish them best of luck for their innovation ”

About EON

Esperer Nutrition strives to champion the role of nutritional therapies that have proven clinical & health economic value, & improve the quality of people’s lives. EON is destined to understand, treat & help prevent a range of medical conditions by leveraging nutrition and life sciences.  

Company  aims to address specific health conditions with special emphasis on Onco Nutrition &  intend to provide a 360 degree solution to global cancer portfolio right from Preventive Oncology to Cancer Disease Management using Nutraceutical as complementary therapy to stage & region specific cancer patients. 

EON aspire to become global pioneer considering Drug-Nutrient  Interaction as major factor in chronic  disease management. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Tata Motors’ SOUL Introduces ‘Connect with SOUL’ to Bring its SUV Owners’ Community Virtually Closer

Tata Motors’ exclusive SUV Owners’ community – SOUL, today announced the launch of its virtual connect property - Connect with SOUL, a webinar series with an objective to Keep the Explorer spirit alive within the community members during these testing times. With this aim in mind and in a bid to strengthen ties among the SOUL members during the lockdown period, the Company is introducing a first of its kind virtual initiative for the community by setting up a series of webinars offering an avenue for the members to partake in engaging activities and experiences from the convenience and safety of their homes.

The flag off session of the webinar series is scheduled for 29th August, 2020 where members will get a chance to reminisce and bond over the memories from their past Iconic Drives & Retreats over a Virtual Catch-up meet. Additionally, to re-kindle the same spirit of adventure, that the community stands for, the future webisodes of this exciting #ConnectWithSOUL series, will also offer new virtual experiences, DIY workshops including vehicle maintenance, skill sessions etc. The platform will cater to 15000+ members of the SOUL community, where the sessions can be accessed through easy registrations on the program website.

Commenting on the launch of this virtual initiative, Mr. Vivek Srivatsa, Head, Marketing, Tata Motors Passenger Vehicle Business Unit said, “Due to the current situation, our SOUL members have been unable to travel, explore destinations and discover thrilling experiences like before.  Through Connect with SOUL, we are elated to provide our community members with a platform to engage and bond thereby improving their SUV owning experience. We trust that this virtual initiative will allow the members to relive and share their SOUL experience. This will also give an opportunity for new members to experience the same spirit through the fun-filled, experiential webisodes. In the days to come, we will host varied outdoor experiences along with interactive virtual catch-ups, virtual travelogues and much more capturing the essence of SOUL, albeit virtually. There’s something for everyone in the Connect with SOUL series.”

SOUL (SUV Owners United League) is a special program from Tata Motors that brings together the Tata SUV owners through adventurous drives traversing across some of the most breath-taking landscapes, in the company of like-minded people. The SOUL program also provides exclusive offers to customers on Tata Motors Genuine Accessories, extended warranty and insurance, which enhances the ownership experience of their Tata SUV.


Milaap Introduces Free Fundraising Platform During the Pandemic

Milaap is introducing a 0% platform fee for the upcoming festive season. During this time, Milaap’s free platform will make it easy for more people to get the direct help they deserve, as quickly as possible.

"In the past few months, as the crisis of the COVID pandemic unfolded, we have witnessed an unprecedented wave of generosity from people. Thousands raised funds on Milaap to help lakhs of people in distress. We made Milaap free for all relief related fundraisers as a token of gratitude. Therefore, it made perfect sense for extending this 0% fee to all fundraisers, in the upcoming festive season," said Mayukh Choudhury, Co-Founder and CEO of Milaap. 

Choudhury added, “10 years into our journey, we are taking the belief in our community to the next level. With this 0% platform fee, we will rely on voluntary tips from our donors to help with the costs associated with providing our best-in-class customer service, trust & safety protections, and social fundraising technology."

Milaap puts highest priority in users’ success and security in order to make online fundraising easier, faster, and more trusted. Milaap will do what works best for its donor community of more than 30 Lakh while continuing to provide the best experience, support and product for the fundraisers. 

This 0% Milaap platform fundraising fee will be applicable to all fundraisers, which had a 5% platform fee for fundraising: personal causes and charitable organizations alike. 

So far, over 3.1 Lakh generous donors have contributed over 60 Crore towards causes from Bangalore.

Dr Vasundhara Kailasnath, MD, FAAP, ABP (USA) Consultant- Pediatric Hematology, Oncology & BMT, Mazumdar Shaw Medical Center, Narayana Health City, Bangalore said, “Milaap is a Life Saver! Many of my patients who would have been denied treatment for a curable cancer due to financial constraints have gotten a second chance in life due to Milaap. “

Syed Gulab, a Dubai returnee who serves free meals outside government hospitals in Bangalore said, “ I have been raising funds on Milaap for 3-4 years now. We are feeding over 300 people a day where we used to feed 150. Even during the Covid crisis, we were able to distribute ration kits to over 10,000 migrant families and even opened a free clinic for patients who found most OPD’s shut. We are getting unimaginable support from people across the world. I Never thought we would reach this far and get so much recognition because of the trust Milaap has built.”

Meanwhile Lokesh, whose 4-year-old daughter recently underwent a liver transplant due to a 2.7 kg tumor expressed, “ For lower middle class people like us, every penny of our income finds utility in our necessities and insurance doesn’t feel viable. Amidst that, a sudden requirement for such a huge sum to save our child feels like a death blow.  In such situations you feel alone and stranded. I had only 3 days and no hope. I was hearing about crowdfunding for the first time, so I just closed my eyes and dived right in. In that moment, I felt like God came and helped me. We can never put a price on support. Every Rupee's value is a lot more when it comes as help. Else where will we go in such a situation? Milaap is a big boon for all such parents. A whole family gets a new lease on life. It cannot be expressed in words. I will be telling as many people as I can, because this has the potential to save so many lives. It is indeed priceless.“

About Milaap:

Established in 2010, Milaap is South Asia’s largest crowdfunding platform, and has helped Indians raise over Rs. 1,000 Cr for 2.5 lakh causes so far. Milaap makes it easy for people to raise money online for personal causes and emergencies, especially for tertiary healthcare like cancer care, organ transplant and accidents. The platform is also extensively used for fundraising for relief work in calamities like Chennai floods, Kerala floods, and recently the COVID pandemic. Milaap’s community of over 30 Lakh donors come from 130 countries across the world. Over the last 10 years Milaap is changing the way India gives, and takes pride in being the industry's leader in trust, support, and innovation in fundraising.

Zendesk Debuts the all New Sophisticated Real-Time Analytics Solution

 Zendesk, Inc. has announced the launch of Explore Enterprise, the newest solution within its service-first CRM platform, which enables companies to analyze real-time data in order to understand changing needs. As global ticket volume reaches record highs, leaders can use Explore Enterprise to share relevant insights instantly with other teams and departments, helping them make faster decisions to improve their entire customer experience.

"Over the past few months, companies in India have been striving to adapt to the changing needs and demands of their customers as the pandemic continues to unfold and new trends emerge. Our Benchmark Snapshot Report indicates that even though service requests may finally be stabilizing after months of volatility, higher volumes may continue to persist, at least for a foreseeable future. Therefore, having timely insights are even more crucial for businesses to spot gaps in their customer service and quickly implement modifications that people expect. With the ability to stay a step ahead of their customers and proactively improve their overall customer experience journey, Explore Enterprise will help many businesses in India not just survive, but thrive in today’s landscape," said KT Prasad, MD and RVP Sales, India & SAARC at Zendesk.

“Customers are seeking more support from businesses than ever before, which is putting increased pressure on CX leaders and their teams,” said Shawna Wolverton, EVP of Product, Zendesk. “With Explore Enterprise, Zendesk gives companies the ability to analyze data in order to have a clear view of customer trends they are seeing across our Support and Sales Suites. These comprehensive insights allow businesses to quickly address emerging challenges and opportunities not just in customer service, but throughout their entire business.”

Zendesk customers such as Mailchimp are already benefiting from using Explore’s reporting analytics to understand trends in over 30,000 tickets a month. “It’s about understanding our data as a whole, and being able to look at the big picture,” said Spencer Caratti, Senior Director of Customer Support at Mailchimp. “We’re able to take that cumulative voice of the customer and distill that down to figure out what needs to be prioritized and make meaningful fixes that happen."

With real-time analytics and enhanced team collaboration features, Explore Enterprise enables leaders to manage and scale their business by:

* Monitoring data across customer support channels with pre-built and customizable live charts

* Acting on current trends by setting threshold alerts to see when teams are under a heavy load

* Improving productivity and reducing context switching with embeddable dashboards

* Boosting team collaboration with advanced report sharing and scheduling capabilities inside and outside the organization

“There is still a massive global shift towards digital transformation, and that has recently accelerated across every industry sector. Businesses must respond to this new pace of change and the organizations that are already digitally driven will pivot faster,” said Sheryl Kingstone of 451 Research.

Explore Enterprise provides instant insight across Zendesk products including Support, Talk, Chat, Sell and Guide* to provide a comprehensive, unified view of the customer. This includes information on how customers are using social messaging for support and which channels they prefer for communication. These learnings enable leaders to refine how they serve customers over channels such as Apple Business Chat, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Twitter Direct Messages, WeChat, and LINE. Additionally, teams will be able to bring in data from external third-party systems through integrations with Zendesk’s open and flexible CRM platform, Sunshine, for a holistic picture of their business.**

With visibility into customer data across channels, Explore Enterprise gives leaders the ability to make improvements beyond the support team, such as informing decisions across sales, engineering, marketing and other departments. For example, when a CX leader sees a support team falling behind on ticket resolution, they can promptly test potential solutions and implement the option that makes the most impactful change for agents. Additionally, a CX leader can see an increase in the number of page views about processing refunds and can adjust existing knowledge base content to better help customers get the answer they are looking for faster.

Brigade Showcase 2020, the 13th Edition of Brigade’s Annual Property Exhibition to be Held from August 28-30, 2020

Brigade Group today announced the dates of the 13th edition of its most awaited annual property exhibition, ‘Brigade Showcase’ between 28th and 30th August 2020 at the Orion Mall at Brigade Gateway Campus, Bengaluru. This year, in addition to the on-ground event, there would also be a simultaneous virtual exhibition for the benefit of a larger audience.

The event will feature newly launched, ongoing and ready-to-move-in projects across cities in Bengaluru, Chennai and Mysuru. Customers would have the opportunity of choosing from over 30 projects, all under one roof, across residential and commercial projects. The residential projects range from ₹ 29 Lakh -₹ 4.9 Crore, while the office spaces start at ₹ 1 crore

On this occasion, Mr. Rajendra Joshi, CEO, Residential, Brigade Enterprises Limited said:

“Brigade Showcase has made a mark in the consumer’s mind to be the best occasion to invest in a Brigade property – be it residential or commercial. This year apart from the on-ground event, we have made it convenient for customers to choose their dream home from a  good mix of projects in various stages of construction, budget and location from the comfort of their home through the virtual exhibition. We invite our discerning buyers to make the best use of this opportunity to Upgrade to Brigade.”

There are exciting price offers this year and every customer who buys a property during the event will get an iPhone, in addition to attractive schemes, many of which are being offered to Brigade customers for the first time ever.

The event is open to the public between 10 am and 8 pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Castrol Launches Restart and HeadStart Offers to Support Production in the New Normal

Castrol India Limited, India’s leading lubricants company, announced the introduction of two new initiatives to help manufacturing companies with their lubricant-related requirements, as they resume business operations. While the Castrol RESTART offer led by a dedicated team of technical specialists will assist manufacturers get their production back on track, a webinar series by the company titled Castrol HEADSTART will discuss the latest developments and best practices in the area of lubrication across industries. Through these initiatives, Castrol India reinforces its commitment to delivering sustainable value and a premium experience to customers even during these challenging times.  

Making sure that lubricants are in the right condition is critical for the smooth restart of manufacturing operations, especially with many units restarting after months of inactivity, post partial unlocking of the country. Keeping social distancing norms in mind, the Castrol RESTART offer provides remote assistance and virtual technical support to manufacturers in the industrial and heavy-duty space to test the condition of their lubricants. Castrol’s extensive network of warehouses and distributors across the country makes securing the complete range of products as well as servicing all lubricant requirements possible through a single touchpoint. This offer is a customized solution bearing in mind the difficult environment which the industry is dealing with, as a commitment to support customers, applying real world knowledge to improve the productivity and reliability of their operations.

Additionally, Castrol HEADSTART is a series of technical and interactive webinars aimed at keeping companies up to date on the latest developments and best practices in the area of lubrication. The series will see global experts from Castrol come together to foster informative dialogue on a variety of subjects such as rust protection, heavy-duty engine oils and specific topics for different industries like sugar, equipment manufacturing etc. Designed keeping various topical lubrication issues in mind, this complimentary series is open to all who want to gain an in-depth perspective on these subjects.

About Castrol’s B2B lubricants: Castrol India offers lubricants for the B2B sector from metals to mining, aerospace to automotive. These premium products are liquid engineered to help optimize performance and come with a firm commitment to help reduce the environmental impact of operations. Additionally, they also offer advanced analytics that enable data-driven maintenance and lubricant services that help drive down total cost of ownership for customers.

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