Friday, June 25, 2021

SBI General Insurance Enters Into “Bancassurance Tie-Up With IDFC FIRST Bank”

SBI General Insurance, one of the leading General Insurance companies in India, has signed a Corporate Agency agreement with IDFC FIRST Bank, for distribution of non-life insurance solutions.  

Under this strategic agreement, SBI General Insurance will offer insurance products such as Health, Personal Accident, Home, Motor and Travel along with the commercial line of insurance products such as Property, Marine and Engineering Insurance, to the Bank’s customers. 

Amar Joshi, Head – Emerging Business Lines, SBI General Insurance, shares, “We are happy to further strengthen our distribution network through this partnership and look forward to achieve new milestones. This will help us extend our range of products to a larger customer base. Our overall aim continues to remain the same i.e. to enhance insurance penetration in the country by ensuring access to all.” 

Amit Kumar, Head – Retail Liabilities, IDFC FIRST Bank, said, “We are pleased to associate with SBI General Insurance and bring more value-added products and services to our customers. The expansion of our non-life insurance portfolio could not have come at a better time as it provides our customers both health and wealth protection and complements our existing wealth management offering.” 

IDFC FIRST Bank has a digital first approach and serves customers through its state-of-the-art netbanking platform and an intuitive, user-friendly mobile app, which complement its nationwide branches, ATMS and loan centers.  

About SBI General Insurance Company Limited:  

SBI General is one of the fastest growing private general insurance companies, with the strong parentage of SBI, we, at SBI General Insurance, are committed to carry forward the legacy of trust and security; and have a vision is to become the most trusted general insurer for a transforming India. Ever since our establishment in 2009, from 17 branches in 2011, we have expanded our presence to over 137 branches pan-India. Till date, we have served around 8.7 crore customers.  

We follow a robust multi-distribution model encompassing Bancassurance, Agency, Broking and Retail Direct Channels. On the distribution network front, we have strong distribution partners adding up our reach to every nook and corner of India, with SBI’s over 22000 branch network, Agents, other financial, OEM and digital partners. We currently serve three key customer segments viz. - Retail Segment (catering to Individual & Families), Corporate Segment (catering mid to large size companies) and SME Segment; and are future-ready to serve the growing needs of Indians with new age-processes and services at affordable prices.  

SBI General Insurance closed the financial year 2020-21 with a Gross Written Premium (GWP) of Rs. 8312 crore with a growth of 22% and net profit of the Company grew by 32%. The company has shown steady growth for the past 4 years, while maintaining positive track record of underwriting.  

Sony Entertainment Television Brings The Global Blockbuster – Shark Tank To India

* World’s No. 1 Business Reality Show that has reinvigorated start-ups in over 40 countries since launching in 2001, gears up for its very first season in India

To register and participate in Shark Tank India, download and log in to SonyLIV

The Sharks are coming to town, to make a deal. All you need is a good business pitch! Sony Pictures Networks India has acquired the rights for the Indian adaptation of the globally successful business reality format – Shark Tank, which will be aired on Sony Entertainment Television. The format has reinvigorated businesses in over 40 countries since its first launch in 2001. With over 180 seasons; winning over 30 awards globally, Shark Tank is the world’s No. 1 Business Reality Show. Making a headway into India, the fastest growing and the third largest startup ecosystem in the world, Shark Tank India will be produced by StudioNEXT. Online registration for the very first season of Shark Tank India is active only on SonyLIV.

Bursting with new ideas and enthusiasm, Indian entrepreneurs have been showing great potential in attracting active investments. With more and more Indian companies achieving the unicorn status, new-age emerging businesses in the country are grabbing the limelight. India is a conducive market for a concept as unique as ‘Shark Tank’ where business ideas, business prototypes or active businesses will get propelled into reality by experienced investors and business experts.

Ready to dive into the Shark Tank? Follow a simple, four-step process to try your luck in turning around your business idea, business prototype or active business into a successful reality!


Download or update the SonyLIV app and fill the Shark Tank India registration form by following the instructions mentioned on the app and accept the terms and conditions. Mention your business idea. If you hook the Shark Tank team with your idea, you will proceed to the next step.


In this stage, the Shark Tank team will get to know the applicants and their business ideas better. The applicants will have to tell the team what makes their business idea extraordinary and why is it worth investing in! This will have to be done in the form of a compelling video pitch (3 min long) which will decide whether the idea is worth making the cut on Shark Tank India.


The selected applicants will go through a round of auditions with the Shark Tank team which will be the penultimate step towards making it big on the first ever season of Shark Tank India.


This is the ultimate test of perseverance. The selected applicants or the ‘Pitchers’ in this stage will find themselves face-to-face with the ‘Sharks’ or the investors who will understand, assess and make an offer based on the applicant’s final ‘pitch’.

Since its first launch in 2001, as Tigers of Money in Japan, created by Nippon TV the format was later adapted as Dragon’s Den in 2005 in the UK and the show premiered in the US as Shark Tank in the year 2009.

The format is distributed internationally by Sony Pictures Television.


Danish Khan, Business Head – Sony Entertainment Television, Digital Business & StudioNEXT

We are delighted to bring the globally renowned business reality show Shark Tank to India, and this is the perfect time to launch Shark Tank India. Last few years have seen the emergence of an exciting entrepreneurial ecosystem in India. Innovative business ideas, risk taking appetite and a funding infrastructure is getting built – Shark Tank India will further accentuate, encourage and strengthen this outlook by providing a platform for entrepreneurs or aspirants to showcase their ideas directly to the potential investors (Sharks) and make it big.

About Sony Entertainment Television:

Sony Entertainment Television (SET), one of India's leading Hindi general entertainment television channels, is a part of Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN). Since its launch in October 1995, SET has created a unique space of being the ‘Thought Leader’ in the Indian Television industry with path breaking content and innovation in the entertainment business.

Over the years, SET has continued to bring forth an impressive array of impactful urban stories delivering on the promise of novelty, variety and quality with finite shows like Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin, Heena, Bade Acche Lagte Hain, Kuch Rang Pyaar Ke Aise Bhi, Patiala Babes, Beyhadh, Ek Duje Ke Vaste, Mere Dad Ki Dulhan and several others. Apart from these, socio-mytho and historical shows like Mere Sai, Vighnaharta Shree Ganesh, Porus, Chandragupta Maurya, amongst others have also enjoyed a positive viewership.

SET pioneered new waves in television programming with home-grown formats like Super Dancer - which has successfully completed three seasons, Superstar Singer and the most recent - India’s Best Dancer. Furthermore, SET revived Kaun Banega Crorepati, which redefined its weekday appointment viewership, along with shows like Indian Idol, The Kapil Sharma Show, Comedy Circus and Dus Ka Dum which strengthened its weekend leadership.

SET, known for its innovative concepts and exciting formats, is the most preferred premium family entertainment channel reaching 62 million households in India. SET and SET HD are the Top 2 channels driving viewership from premium homes as per BARC PrimaVU. SET is the only media brand to rank fourth, after Samsung and Apple, as the Most Desired Brand of 2020 as per TRA study.

SET’s international feed is available across US, UK, Africa, Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Nepal, Bangladesh, Maldives, Malaysia, Indonesia, Fiji Islands and Seychelles.

About Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN):

Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN), is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Corporation, Japan.

SPN has several channels including Sony Entertainment Television (SET and SET HD), one of India's leading Hindi general entertainment television channels; MAX, India's premium Hindi movies and special events channel; MAX 2, another Hindi movie channel showcasing great India Cinema; MAX HD, a high definition Hindi movie channel airing premium quality films; WAH, the FTA channel for Hindi movies; SAB and SAB HD the family-oriented Hindi comedy entertainment channels; PAL, a genre leader in rural Hindi speaking markets (HSM) showcasing the best of Hindi general entertainment and Hindi movies from SPN’s content library; PIX and PIX HD, Sony BBC Earth and Sony BBC Earth HD, the premium factual entertainment channels, Sony AATH, the Bangla entertainment channel; YAY!, the kids entertainment channel; sports entertainment channels – SONY SIX, SONY SIX HD, SONY TEN 1,  SONY TEN 1 HD, SONY TEN 2, SONY TEN 2 HD, SONY TEN 3, SONY TEN 3 HD; SONY TEN 4, SONY TEN 4 HD; Sony मराठी, the Marathi general entertainment channel; SonyLIV - the digital entertainment VOD platform; and Studio NEXT the independent production venture for original content and IPs for TV and digital media. SPN reaches out to over 700 million viewers in India and is available in 167 countries.

The network is recognized as an employer of choice within and outside the media industry. SPN is a recipient of several awards, including India’s Best Companies to Work For 2020 by the Great Place to Work® Institute, India, ‘Aon Best Employers India’ awards in recognition of SPN’s unique workplace culture and exceptional people practices, consistently ranking amongst India’s Top 10 Companies with Best Health & Wellness Practices by SHRM & CGP Partners and listed by Working Mother & AVTAR as one of the 100 Best Companies for Women in India.

Sony Pictures Networks India Private Limited is in its 25th year of operations in India. It has a subsidiary, MSM-Worldwide Factual Media Private Limited and an affiliate, Bangla Entertainment Private Limited in India.

Acronis Fortifies Its Presence In India; Launches First Cloud Data Center In India

* Brings greater faster access and data flexibility for service provider clients across India – along with comprehensive cyber protection solutions

Acronis, a global leader in cyber protection, today announced the availability of a new Acronis Cloud Data Center in Mumbai, launched jointly with local partners – Compuage India, Ingram Micro and Crayon Software Experts India. As one of the 111 new data centers being deployed by the company globally, it gives service providers access to a full range of cyber protection solutions upon which they can build new services while delivering faster access, constant data availability, and data sovereignty to their clients.

With news about cyber-attacks appearing weekly, despite the prevailing pandemic concerns, cyber protection has simply never been in higher demand, with data compliancy among the top priorities for companies in India.

Rustom Hiramaneck, Acronis General Manager in South Asia, said, “Having a local Acronis Cloud Data Center was extremely important to our partners in India – and we are proud to collaborate with companies that remain focused on delivering best data security and business continuity solutions to their clients. With one less thing to worry about, they now know their clients’ data is locally backed by a global partner who is on standby 24x7 – ready to resolve any issues.”

All Acronis Cloud Data Centers are designed to meet and exceed corporate and regulatory requirements. The initiative includes global management for all data centers, geographic redundancy, control for local partners, and a local disaster recovery site – all with competitive pricing. As a result, service providers have no trouble meeting the ever-changing compliance, data sovereignty, and performance requirements.

“With more businesses moving to the cloud, the demand for local data centres in India has shot up in recent years. Cyber protection is critical nowadays, and Acronis is by far the leading expert in this area. It was a no brainer for us to leverage this opportunity – it will be a win-win situation for both our partners and end customers, given the overwhelming interest in cloud,” says Bhavesh Mehta, Compuage Director & COO.

The global network of Acronis Cloud Data Centers already includes locations in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Switzerland, France, Germany, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Bhutan, South Korea and Singapore. With the new data center in India, local service providers now have a location within the country where they can store business-critical data for their clients. Managed service providers (MSPs) will also benefit from the full range of managed cloud solutions and cyber protection solutions available via the Acronis Cyber Cloud platform.

“The reality in knowing where your corporate data resides and ensuring it remains secure has become a necessity in a global partner community – and having your data stored locally provides complete data control both to you and your clients. The investment by Acronis in a new cloud data center guarantees just that,” says Vikas Bhonsle, CEO of Crayon Software Experts India.

Among the solutions now available through the new data center is Acronis Cyber Protect, a unique integration of backup, disaster recovery, next-gen antimalware, cybersecurity, and endpoint management tools – all managed via a single pane of glass. The solution is VB100 certified and its unique capabilities earned Acronis Cyber Protect the 2020 New Product Innovation Award for Data Protection from Frost & Sullivan.

All of Acronis solutions are designed to address the Five Vectors of Cyber Protection, ensuring the safety, accessibility, privacy, authenticity, and security (SAPAS) of an organisation’s data, applications, and systems. In the same way, Acronis Cloud Data Centers are designed to deliver the highest levels of data availability, security, and safety – with each facility featuring state-of-the-art equipment as well as the best operational and security controls.

Happiest Minds Technologies Wins 2021 IBM Geography Excellence Award For APAC Best In Class - Build On IBM Cloud Partner

Happiest Minds Technologies Limited (NSE: HAPPSTMNDS), a digital transformation and IT solutions company is proud to be honored as 2021 IBM Geography Excellence Award winner for APAC Best in Class - Build on IBM Cloud Partner. The award recognizes Business Partners in each geography who strive for excellence and have demonstrated their ability to exceed expectations through business growth and innovation while enabling client success using IBM technology, like hybrid cloud and AI.

Happiest Minds’ Digital Content Monetization (DCM) solution is a software as a service (SaaS) platform that helps organizations to digitalize their traditional content and deliver digital products and services to their customers, partners, and users in new, engaging ways that drive digital business revenue. The platform offers a consumption-based commercial model that enables clients to quickly onboard and begin growing their digital business.

Rajiv Shah, President & CEO, Digital Business Services, Happiest Minds Technologies said, “In the current wake of the pandemic, digital has become the focus of business environments. With our ‘Born Digital . Born Agile’ positioning, our focus is to build solutions and services that directly impact the business goals of our customers with digital being the key lever. Our strategic partnership with IBM enables us to create solutions and services that are integrally tied to business goals. Our DCM solution built on Red Hat OpenShift helps modernize the business environment while delivering real-time outcomes. We are very excited to receive this award and look forward to having many more milestones like this.”

Started in 2011 as a digital, agile organization, Happiest Minds specializes in digital business services business, that helps customers modernize their current environment, accelerate adaption of digital technologies, and implement secured digital-ready platforms. Happiest Minds’ biggest differentiators are its culture and strong values, which follow a simple philosophy:  ‘Happiest People . Happiest Customers’.

Vedanta Group Certified As ‘Great Place To Work® In India During 2021

* Group business units also accredited as Great Place to Work-CertifiedTM

In a resounding endorsement of its industry-leading people practices, the Vedanta Group, India’s leading producer of metals and oil & gas, has been accredited as Great Place to Work-CertifiedTM along with its Business Units – BALCO, Cairn Oil & Gas, ESL, Hindustan Zinc, Iron Ore Business, TSPL and Vedanta Jharsuguda.

The accolade follows Vedanta Group’s stellar work culture, which fosters an ecosystem of trust, high-performance culture and imbibes aspects of credibility, respect, fairness, pride, and camaraderie among its employees. The badge of being ‘Great Place to Work-CertifiedTM, aspired by thousands of organizations every year, bears testimony to the constant innovation and pioneering people practices in the domain of hiring, engagement, diversity & inclusion, rewards & recognition, talent and performance management. 

According to Vedanta Group CEO Sunil Duggal, “Vedanta is one of the few organizations in India to be awarded with this coveted certification as a conglomerate, setting a benchmark for others. This bears testimony to our continuous efforts towards being the Best Employer Brand.”

Speaking on the achievement, Group CHRO Madhu Srivastava said, “The Great Place to Work® certification bears testimony to the work culture of the Vedanta Group, which has been built over the years, keeping people before profit. It is a milestone in our journey of excellence and further bolsters our confidence in striving to be the employer of choice across sectors.”

Vedanta has institutionalized several best-in-industry people practices in its endeavour to be a people-first organization. Few examples:

·         Vice Chairman’s Internal Growth Workshop, a robust programme for identifying high potential employees early on in their careers and mentoring them for enhanced roles and responsibilities, followed by a structured review mechanism to map their growth and performance. Over 1000 leaders have been groomed via this initiative across various businesses.

·         V-REACH (Graduate Development Programme), a programme that seeks to identify and develop young leaders from the graduate employees’ cadre and map them to significantly elevated roles.

·         V-LEAD (Diversity Development Programme) to identify highly potential women candidates early on and groom them into leadership roles.

·         Equal opportunity employer – Vedanta’s ethos of gender-agnostic job roles have seen the company become India’s first to have women as mine managers, a feat of true women empowerment.

·         ACT-UP, a talent identification assessment programme, is conducted companywide each year through which hundreds of ‘Business Stars’ and ‘Technical Stars’ are identified for accelerated career development with customized Individual Development Plans (IDP).

·         Through V-CONNECT, a mentorship programme through which Vedanta has mapped each high potential employee with a mentor to guide them through a personal and professional development journey.

·         Chairman’s Discretionary Award, to acknowledge employees’ commitment and act beyond the call of duty during uncertain times of COVID-19 which enabled the company to ensure business continuity and sustain production.

Commenting on Vedanta’s certification, Wilma Mohapatra, Vice President - Great Place to Work® India said, “Many congratulations to Vedanta Group on getting Great Place to Work-CertifiedTM. We hope you keep raising the bar for yourself and other organizations and conglomerates aspiring to become great workplaces.”

Great Place to Work® is the global authority in creating, assessing, and identifying the Best Workplaces world over. Great Place to Work® Institute’s methodology is recognized as rigorous and objective and is considered as the gold standard for defining great workplaces across business, academia, and government organizations. The Institute evaluates organisations solely based on employee feedback and quality of people practices, through their trademark Trust Index© Employee Perspective and Culture Audit© Management Perspective scorecards. Globally, more than 10,000 organizations across 60 countries aspire to achieve this recognition.

To provide employees, business partners and their families a sense of safety and security, and ensure their well-being, Vedanta has rolled out significant initiatives and HR benefits, like:

·         Vedanta Cares Vaccination Drive for all employees, business partners and their families

·         Best-in-class Term Life Insurance Policy with world-wide coverage for all executives across the group. The policy provides with coverage of 5x fixed pay of employees which is equivalent to annual salary for 5 years.

·         Covid Kavach Insurance for business partners that includes Term Life, hospitalization and ex-gratia amount of INR 10 lacs to be paid to the family members of the deceased.

·         Continued payments of last drawn salary and Mediclaim insurance coverage until notional date of retirement, as well as education assistance for 2 children until graduation, for families of deceased employees

·         The Medical insurance cover has also enhanced to 1.5 times the existing eligibility, and corporate floater cover has been introduced for any employee that exceeds their eligibility

·         Continuation of Mediclaim Insurance for employees who are retiring

Further, Vedanta is working on a comprehensive vaccination plan to ensure the health and well-being of its people. The plan to vaccinate 1.12 lakh people, which would include 46,000 employees and family members. Vedanta will spend around Rs 12 crore for procuring the vaccines, the deliveries of which will start later this month. The company continues to continually raise the bar when it comes to developing and caring for its people.

Garmin Launches Forerunner 55 In India; An Easy-To-Use Smartwatch To Boost The Running Spirit In You!

Forerunner 55 helps runners of all skill levels with:

* Built-in GPS tracks how far, how fast and where a user runs

* Wrist-based heart rate provides data all day and night

* All-day activity tracking counts steps, calories, sleep and more1

* Daily suggested workouts offers personalized run workouts tailored to runner’s training history

* On- screen guidance from expert Garmin Coaches for running training plans

* Safety features let runners send a message with their location to family and friends

Encouraging the runners to kickstart their running sessions, Garmin India, a unit of Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRMN) today launched The Forerunner 55, an easy-to-use GPS smartwatch that is designed for people of all skill levels especially the beginners  to track their stats and chase their fitness goals.

The Forerunner 55 is light weighted, comes with a sleek look, and has all the primary features including PacePro and cadence alerts which help the runners to focus on their running and training fundamentals and take it to the next level.

The smartwatch also features comprehensive running modes, tailored daily training tips and enhanced health monitoring to improve the user’s performance both on and off the track.

The Forerunner 55's clear screen displays data like distance traveled and can be customized to show all the data you need at a glance. With the built-in GPS the users can start their run or walk and track their time, distance, speed, pace and heart rate data right from their wrist.

Thrilled with the launch of the new Forerunner 55, Mr. Ali Rizvi, Director, Garmin India said, “Running has always been an integral part of fitness and healthy lifestyle and to boost this activity further, we are excited to bring ‘Forerunner 55’ for the runners of all levels. Forerunner series has always been the star series for us at Garmin. The introduction of the new Forerunner 55 adds another feather to it. The smartwatch is well equipped with features like built-in GPS, heart rate monitoring, race predictor, women’s health tracking, and a lot more to help the users in improving their lifestyle and overall wellbeing. An easy to use smartwatch engineered with Garmin’s latest technology is a perfect partner to support the users in achieving their set goals with maximum satisfaction”

The Forerunner 55 comes with a range of features like heart rate monitoring, body battery energy monitoring, menstrual cycle and pregnancy tracking and more. The smartwatch also offers detailed running data, daily suggested workouts, additional built-in sports apps and more to help people reach their fitness goals.

Advanced running features

The Forerunner 55 offers runners the following tools to take their training to the next level:

·         PacePro provides guidance to help runners tailor their efforts to a selected course or distance

·         The finish time estimator lets athletes select a run distance and view their estimated finish time right from the wrist

·         Cadence alerts let runners know when they’ve gone outside their target cadence range, helping to improve their running form

·         For those looking to switch up their workout routine, the Forerunner 55 features several built-in activity profiles, including track or virtual running, pool swimming, Pilates, HIIT and more

·         Following a workout, the built-in recovery time will let athletes know how long to rest before their next big effort

All-day health and wellness tracking

Featuring a wide array of health and wellness features, the Forerunner 55 is intended to be worn 24/7. Athletes can track their stress and set relaxation reminders to do short breathing exercises, use the Body Battery™ energy monitor to track energy levels to find the best times for activity and rest, and gain insights into when and how intensity minutes are earned throughout the day. Additionally, women can track their menstrual cycle or pregnancy and log symptoms, receive exercise and nutrition education and more through the Garmin Connect™ app.

Connect and customize

The Forerunner 55 includes popular connected features2 to help athletes stay in touch. Directly from the wrist, users can receive text messages and view social media updates, emails and more. Built-in assistance and incident detection3 let users manually or automatically send a message with their real time location to emergency contacts. The Forerunner 55 will also automatically upload activities to Garmin Connect and allow athletes to download custom watch faces, data fields and apps from the Connect IQ™ Store.

Battery Life

The Forerunner 55 features up to 2 weeks of battery life in smartwatch mode and up to 20 hours in GPS mode.

Price: The all new Forerunner 55 comes in 3 exciting colours; Black, Aqua and Monterra Grey available at the price of Rs. 20,990/-

Availability: Forerunner 55 will be available on, Flipkart, Tata CLiQ, and Garmin Brand Stores.

Financiera de Desarrollo Nacional (FDN) Empowers Modern Work With OpenText Solutions For SAP

* Infrastructure financing corporation digitizes their contract process and reduces the time to contract from six months to five days

OpenTextTM (NASDAQ: OTEX), (TSX: OTEX), today announced Financiera de Desarrollo Nacional (FDN), an infrastructure financing corporation in Colombia, is leveraging OpenText™ Extended ECM for SAP® Solutions to help dramatically accelerate contracting and invoicing processes, while also improving risk management, compliance, and operational efficiency.

“The drafting of supplier contracts involving many stakeholders, multiple versions, and several rounds of review used to take up to six months to complete,” said Roberto Sanz de Santamaria Vice-President of Operations Financiera de Desarrollo Nacional. “With OpenText, we streamlined the process down to five days – a massive efficiency gain for us. Since automating our processes, we have seen a 45% reduction in the time it takes to create a request.”  

Financiera de Desarrollo Nacional finances Colombia’s road, air, coastal, maritime, and energy infrastructure, as well as social infrastructure for education and health. To meet an increase in financing demands for major projects, FDN needed an information management solution with intelligent automation to integrate into its existing SAP® ERP system and strengthen compliance. OpenText Extended ECM for SAP Solutions met the company’s requirements.

“With all loan processing and contractual documentation handled by OpenText and accessible from within SAP, staff can easily find the information they need when and where they need it,” Santamaria added. “Requests for physical folders decreased by 53%, helping us move towards becoming a digital organization and transition our employees to remote work when the pandemic struck.”

OpenText Extended ECM for SAP Solutions helps organizations reduce the time and effort

spent managing, organizing, and sharing information across business processes. The solution strengthens information governance for organizations operating in highly regulated industries required to comply with data privacy, retention, and documentation requirements.

“The work FDN is doing is incredibly important,” said Muhi Majzoub, Chief Product Officer at OpenText. “By investing in the right information management tools from OpenText, FDN established a more efficient way to work so they can focus on their mission – developing the infrastructure to support Colombia’s economic growth and well-being.”

PropTech Results In Higher Efficiency, Saves Costs: Priyadarshi Mishra


By Manu Sharma

‘PropTech is an innovative approach to real estate in which technology optimises the way people research, rent, buy, sell and manage a property. PropTech benefits all parties involved–developers, investors and property management companies as it provides value and cost savings for the users. It results in higher efficiency which in turn can save costs as well,’ says Priyadarshi Mishra, CEO & Founder of Design& Construct, a PropTech start-up into end-to-end construction solutions, in an exclusive interview with Manu Sharma of Silicon Village.

Excerpts of the interview:

Manu Sharma: PropTech has gained a lot of prominence in the past few years with real estate and construction companies adopting technology for both back end as well as front end. Your inputs on this topic.

Priyadarshi Mishra: PropTechis a game changer in the construction industry. On the back end, technology helps us to track our internal operations, coordinating between various departmental heads, monitor the progress of our projects and maintain finances.

On the front end, technology helps customers get real time updates about the work happening at sites, be able to ask questions / communicate in case of any clarification and making payments. Technology surely assists in maintaining a good relationship with our clients.

MS: What are the various technology tools being used by the construction industry? Give a few examples.

PM: There are a few very useful technology applications that we use nowadays in construction. For example, for soil testing we use technology to determine the soil binding capacity and soil strength Then these are various technology tools which help us design houses- both the concept as well as the structure. There are some  financial tools to maintain finances and for communicating with the clients,

We at Design & Construct are also developing a one of its kind construction app, which will be made available on both android and IOS. This app when launched can track all stages of construction starting from design, payments, schedules to handover documents like warranties. This app will be a two-way communications app that will allow our company and clients to communicate with each other.

MS: What kind of an interactive experience do you provide for your clients to view the projects remotely? How has technology like sensors helped in tracking office usage and plan occupancy?

PM: Since most of our clients are busy with their work schedules, we have helped them in viewing their project remotely. We provide CCTV cameras access to all our clients and their families. This helps them in monitoring the construction at their sites all the time. Apart from that we have also created web app group for all our clients to provide real time updates about the site through photos and videos.

MS: How is your company design and construct differently from contractors, architects and other construction companies? What is its USP?

PM: Design &Construct is a unique construction company trying to bring some method to this unorganised sector. The basic difference between us and a local contractor is that we are a team of subject matter experts, starting from trained and experiences architects, experienced project managers and site engineers to well-trained quality managers. The second difference is that we are a brand and we work for customer satisfaction. The third difference is that we are a tech enabled company and use technology extensively in all aspects of construction and communication.

MS: Has adoption of digital technologies in the area of sales and marketing of real estate eased the problems during the last and this lockdowns?

PM: Adoption of digital technologies has been a boon for the construction industry. We use tech-based sales and marketing processes. For marketing we use different social media platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook to generate leads and share info about our company. For sales we use a tool called Leadcon to boost our sales as it helps us in tracking all aspects of our sales.

MS: Which markets are you currently operational in both locally and overseas?

PM: Design & Construct is currently operational is Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Mysuru.

MS: How big is your team in India? How many handle technology related jobs?

PM:As of now, we are close to 35+ employees in the company. Out of 35, 20 are based out f Bengaluru and 15 out of Hyderabad and Mysuru. Almost all our employees use some or the other tech app for their jobs.

MS: Can you please tell us about the plans for this fiscal? Are you planning to expand your footprint in India?

PM: We have currently 50+ projects with us with total project value of around Rs 40 lakhs each which makes us close to Rs 20Cr of net project value. We are planning to touch Rs 100Cr in project value before the end of this fiscal with more than 200 projects spread across all cities.

Fujitsu Consulting India Prioritizes Frontline Staff And Dependents During Multi-City Vaccination Drive

* 1700 employees, third-party workers along with dependents inoculated in Pune

Fujitsu Consulting India Pvt. Ltd., the IT services consulting arm of Fujitsu Group, today announced its on-premise vaccination drive for employees and third-party workers along with their dependents across Pune, Noida, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad. Frontline staff and contractual employees including utility staff, cab drivers and multi-skilled workers (housekeeping, electrician, plumbers, gardeners, etc.), will be inoculated on priority through the multi-phase drive which aims to vaccinate all employees by July 2021.

Commenting on the development, Sumit Sabharwal, Head of HR for the Global Delivery Centers, Fujitsu said, “At Fujitsu, our topmost priority will continue to be the health and well-being of our employees and partners. We are especially indebted to those crucial enablers who have continued to support us on ground since the onset of the pandemic last year. It is thus our endeavor to prioritize their safety and that of their family members and extend our gratitude through these drives.”

Fujitsu has partnered with local hospitals to provide vaccinations to its frontline staff and their family members, followed by employees and their dependents. In Pune, front line staff and their family members received their doses on June 23rd, while employees and dependents were inoculated on June 24th. The company’s multi-city vaccination campaign began with its first phase in Noida where nearly 300 employees and third-party workers were inoculated, followed by Bangalore, where another 300 employees and frontline staff received their shots. Fujitsu Consulting India will also be expanding the vaccination drive to its locations in Hyderabad and Chennai during the next few weeks.

In May 2021, the company had sponsored the vaccination costs for eligible employees and their dependents, providing a vaccine cover of INR 1000 per person. Fujitsu in India has over 4500 employees working across 5 locations in the country.

About Fujitsu

Fujitsu uses its experience and the power of ICT to shape the future of society with its customers, backed by its full range of technology products, solutions, and services. Fujitsu Limited (TSE: 6702) reported consolidated revenues of 4.0 trillion yen (US $36 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2019. Approximately 132,000 Fujitsu people support customers in more than 100 countries.

About Fujitsu Consulting India

Fujitsu Consulting India integrates the core expertise of the Fujitsu companies and its partners to deliver complete business solutions in the areas of IT Consulting, Managed Infrastructure Services, Application Services and ERP. Fujitsu Consulting India is a Global Delivery Centre (GDC) and is ably supported by its skilled workforce across development centers in Pune, Bangalore, NOIDA, Hyderabad and Chennai to enable delivery of services to more than 36 countries.

Accenture Q3 Results Read-Through: Strong Growth Momentum Continues; Raises FY21 Guidance

 ■    Q3FY21 revenues beat estimates on strong traction in both consulting and outsourcing businesses: Accenture's (ACN) revenues rose 20.7% YoY to USD13.3bn (16% in local currency), well ahead of its guided range of USD12.55bn to USD12.95bn. ACN continues to gain market share and is seeing strong, broad-based demand across industries, services and geographic markets, resulting in an all-round beat in overall operating performance and strong order booking. The company saw strong double-digit growth in local currency in all four strategy priorities - Cloud, Interactive, Industry X and Security - during the quarter. Consulting revenue grew 21% YoY to USD7.3bn in Q3 (16% in local currency) and saw a sharp QoQ/YoY uptick after moderate growth in Q2. Revenue growth in the outsourcing business further accelerated to 20.2% YoY at USD6bn (16% in local currency). New bookings were solid at USD15.4bn (39.3% YoY, book-to-bill 1.2x), a tad lower than record booking of Q2, with consulting bookings of USD8bn (29.6% YoY, book-to-bill 1.1x) and outsourcing bookings of USD7.4bn (51.9% YoY, book-to-bill 1.2x). Operating margin expanded by 40bps to 16%. Utilization stood at 93% in Q3 vs. 94% in Q2 and 88% in Q3FY20. Attrition rose to 17% in Q3 from 12% in Q2. The company added 32,074 net employees during the quarter.

■    Broad-based growth across verticals: Growth in Q3 was driven by Health & Public Services (21% in local currency), Communication, Media & Technology (19% in local currency), Products (17% in local currency) and Financial Services (16% in local currency). Resources returned to growth and grew 3% YoY in local currency. The company expects to sustain broad-based growth momentum in the coming quarters.

■    FY21 guidance further raised to 10-11%: ACN raised its revenue growth guidance for FY21 to 10-11% in local currency from 6.5-8.5% previously. The guidance continues to assume about 1% negative impact from a decline in revenues from reimbursable travel costs. The operating margin is expected to expand by 40bps to 15.1% (earlier 15-15.1%). ACN expects Q4FY21 revenues to be in the range of USD13.1-13.5bn, up 17-21% YoY in local currency. The company expects OCF and FCF to be in the range of USD8.65-9.15bn and USD8-8.5bn, respectively.

■    Earnings call takeaways: Revenue growth for Q3FY21 was broad based, with 11 out of 13 industries seeing double-digit growth. FY21 revenue growth is driven by traction in organic revenue growth as the company continues to expect M&A to contribute ~2.5% to revenue growth in FY21. The company announced 39 acquisitions in FY21YTD split across North America - 10, Europe - 17 and growth markets - 12. It plans to invest at least USD4bn in strategic acquisitions in FY21 (earlier ~USD2bn) and intends to spend another USD4bn in FY22. Accenture announced two >USD1bn acquisitions (Novetta and Umlaut) during the quarter. It expects acquisitions to contribute ~4% to revenue growth in FY22. ACN signed deals worth over USD100mn with record 20 clients in Q3 (54 FYTD'21). Despite solid large-deal intake during last two quarters, the deal pipeline remains strong. ACN promoted a record 117,000 employees, including 1,200 managing directors, so far in FY21. It expects modest expansion in operating margins to continue in FY22 despite the war for talent and higher amortization charges.

■    Read-through for Indian IT peers: ACN's strong Q3 performance and further upward revision in FY21 revenue growth guidance (from 2-5% in early FY21; 4-6% at Q1-end and 6.5-8.5% at Q2-end) reflect strong demand. A broad-based demand uptick and sustained growth momentum in revenue/order booking of the outsourcing business augur well for Indian IT peers. Though attrition has inched up across the sector, it is still lower than the peak seen in the past. The Nifty IT index rose ~13%/~21%/~99% in last 3M/6M/12M vs. ~9%/15%/53% of the Nifty index. We believe that strong demand environment, sustained acceleration in revenue growth and robust order booking will support higher valuations. We prefer INFO, HCLT and TECHM among Tier-1 names.

Citrix Research Reveals Employee Experience is About to Break


* Latest study shows technology implemented to keep employees engaged and productive is frustrating and slowing them down

In response to the global pandemic, companies have given their workforce the tools they need to work remote. And research shows it has increased their engagement and productivity. But these gains are on the brink of being wiped out. According to a new study from Citrix Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CTXS), employees feel they’ve been given too many tools and not enough efficient ways to execute. And it’s hindering their ability to get things done.

“People are working the same or more hours, but they’re accomplishing less because technology is getting in their way,” said Tim Minahan, Executive Vice President of Business Strategy, Citrix. “As companies organize around new, hybrid work models, they need to rethink the role of technology and how they apply it across their organizations so that employees, rather than being frustrated, are empowered to succeed.”

To help them do this, Citrix undertook Work Your Way, a survey of  1,000 IT decision makers and 2,000 workers across the United States conducted by OnePoll, that revealed a few significant trends:

App Sprawl is Out of Control

The number of tools employees are required to use to do their jobs has significantly increased, as has the complexity they are creating in the workplace. As uncovered by Work Your Way:

64 percent of workers are using more communication and collaboration tools than they were prior to the pandemic, and

71 percent say they have made work more complex

“Employees are frustrated, and to keep them engaged and performing at their best, companies need to eliminate the friction and noise from work and deliver technology that adapts to their workstyles rather than forcing them to learn new ways of doing things,” Minahan said.

A New Digital Divide is Emerging

But workstyles have fundamentally changed. “People are not going back to working the way they did,” Minahan said.

Work Your Way confirms this. Nearly 90 percent of respondents to the survey say they want the flexibility to continue to work at home and in the office post pandemic.

“Regardless of their physical location, employees need to be empowered with tools that provide a consistent, secure and reliable experience and allow them to work the way they work best,” Minahan said.

Digital Workspaces are the Future of Work

Savvy organizations recognize this and see digital workspaces as a way to deliver it. With digital workspaces, companies can:

Unify work – Whether at home, on plane or in an office, employees have consistent and reliable access to all the resources they need to be productive across any work channel, device or location

Secure work – Contextual access and app security ensure applications and information remain secure—no matter where work happens.

Simplify work – Intelligence capabilities like machine learning, virtual assistants and simplified workflows personalize, guide, and automate the work experience so employees can work free from noise and perform at their best.

Almost 90 percent of participants in Work Your Way say their companies use digital workspace software platforms to facilitate hybrid/distributed working. And they are delivering results.

72 percent of employees say they have improved productivity, and

77 percent indicate they have aided collaboration

“In creating a layer between employees and the technology that frustrates them, companies can empower them to efficiently engage with the apps they need to execute work and achieve their goals,” Minahan said.

About Citrix

Citrix (NASDAQ: CTXS) builds the secure, unified digital workspace technology that helps organizations unlock human potential and deliver a consistent workspace experience wherever work needs to get done. With Citrix, users get a seamless work experience and IT has a unified platform to secure, manage, and monitor diverse technologies in complex cloud environments.

22% Of Students Took Online Classes While Seated On A Bed, 14% Sat On Floor: Godrej Interio Study


* Hosts webinar with educationists and healthcare experts to discuss how wrong posture is a cause of concern for the long-term physical and mental health of children Godrej & Boyce, the flagship company of the Godrej Group, announced today that its business Godrej Interio, India’s leading furniture solutions brand, in its recent survey, that children studying from home are facing long-term mental and physical health concerns due to bad posture.

The study ‘Taking care of children as they learn from home’ by Godrej Interio’s Workplace and Ergonomics Research Cell attempted to study the home-schooling behaviour of 350 school-going children of the age group of 3-15 years from across India. Parents who were a part of this research revealed that their children used gadgets for a minimum of 4–6 hours a day which is 2-3 hours more than what they did before schools closed on account of the lockdown. This upped screen time can increase the risk of physical health issues in children. The study also revealed that 52% of the children had daily online classes while 36% had classes four times a week and as a result, 41% children complained of eye strain issues.

In response, Godrej Interio hosted a webinar titled ‘Helping Children Adapt to Learning from Home’. The webinar educated parents and care givers on the best ways to create an environment crucial for the overall wellbeing of children as they learn from home, as the state governments continue to impose micro-lockdowns to arrest the pandemic. The webinar also highlighted the importance of ergonomic learning spaces, the need for sensory diets and physical activity to create an environment of healthy learning for children.

The session was held today in the presence of over 1700+ registered attendees. Participants witnessed leading educationists and healthcare experts explore the challenges and the plausible solutions to support parents in the endeavour.

The webinar which was moderated by Lt. Col. A. Sekhar, CDO, Jagran Education Foundation had an eminent panel consisting of Siddharth Rajgarhia – Director, DPS Nashik, Varanasi and LAVA Nagpur, Lina Ashar – Co-Founder, Korroboree, Chandni Bhagat – Child Psychologist, Fatema Agarkar – Founder, Agarkar Center of Excellence and Dr. Reena Valecha – Principal Ergonomist - Workplace & Ergonomics Research Cell, Godrej Interio. During the one-hour insightful webinar the panellists explored and deliberated upon the subject from multiple vantage points including home-schooling behaviour, healthy sitting posture for children, precautions while studying in free spaces. They also spoke about the importance of sensory breaks and using good-old pencil and paper as well as the physical-virtual hybrid model of learning as online learning is likely to stay for longer than we predicted. Dr Reena Valecha, also shared simple ways that parents and caregivers can ensure a healthy learning environment for children and the long term effects of having incorrect posture leading to musculoskeletal disorders.

Godrej Interio’s focus has always been towards making space for life, learning and pursuing passions. Through their intuitively designed products and solutions they hope to enrich the quality of their customers’ lives, every day and everywhere. Its Workplace and Ergonomics Research Cell regularly undertakes studies that are of critical importance to consumers so Godrej Interio may share the knowledge they gain with them and promote healthy ergonomic behaviours. This webinar is a step towards providing multiple perspectives from leading experts which would serve as a real-life guide for parents and caregivers when designing ergonomic learning spaces for their children.

Godrej Interio, through its myriad range of products and solutions has been supporting the education industry for over 30 years and has serviced over 15,000 educational institutions.

Quotes Annexure

Fatema Agarkar, Founder of Agarkar Centre of Excellence (ACE), said “Virtual School enabled ‘learning’ to continue despite all odds, building on important skill development, not to mention academic targets, and for most progressive families and schools, it became a year of adaptation as homes transformed into ‘schools’ and schools embraced tech platform to empower students. Adjustments, and building capacities and capabilities became the order of life, and this new normal enabled plenty of re-thinking, and re-design and for most parts was about balance. Looking at it as opportunities to grow rather than be bogged down with challenges and ditching some ‘traditional’ beliefs meant learning was continuous. For me, striking the right note, and being flexible and open-minded has defined the journey for families that have coped and schools that enjoy parental support. In addition, having resources such as Godrej Interio’s whitepaper 'Taking Care of Children as they Learn from Home' can provide you with innovative ways to address the opportunities that virtual learning has brought us.”

Lina Ashar, Co-Founder Korroboree said “If this time has taught us anything, it is that an anti-fragile mindset, agility, adaptability, empathy, self-awareness, self-regulation, focus and creativity are more important than Math, English, History and Geography. We always have a choice in how we view situations and circumstances, and our children are most likely to adopt the same stories and ways of seeing things as their parents do. We have a choice to think about technology as increasing or decreasing the quality of our emotional health and wellbeing, learning and motivation. The way we perceive it will make all the difference in how we use it and the outcome this has for our children. Resources such as Godrej Interio's whitepaper titled 'Taking Care of Children as they Learn from Home' are essential tools in arming us with information to make the right choice for our children.”

Chandni Bhagat, Prominent Child Psychologist, said “The ongoing pandemic has been extremely challenging for kids. As they are home-schooling for the second consecutive year, they are grappling with several issues which they maybe unable to freely express. Godrej Interio’s whitepaper 'Taking Care of Children as they Learn from Home’ spotlights the need to promote a healthy home-schooling experience.”

Commenting on the webinar, Sameer Joshi, Head – Associate Vice President, Marketing (B2B), Godrej Interio, said, “Owing to the precarious pandemic situation, today, parents and children have been forced into home-schooling and this is likely to carry on for a while. However, as safe as this new model of education is, it is equally challenging in certain ways. Parents often find their children hunched over a laptop computer screen to attend lectures and complete their assignments. This lack of infrastructure, coupled with awkward postures adopted while studying and limited physical activities impose health risks on children at a very young age. 53% of the children we surveyed in our whitepaper 'Taking Care of Children as they Learn from Home' ‘felt tired at the end of the day due to online classes. We hope these well researched resources are widely used by parents and teachers alike and serve as guides to creating a better learning environment for children. These small and doable changes to the study environment that are detailed in the whitepaper will go a long way in keeping children healthy and happy in the long term.”

About Godrej Interio:

Godrej Interio (GI) is India’s premium furniture brand in both home and institutional segments with a strong commitment to sustainability and centers of excellence in design, manufacturing and retail.

Led by the largest in-house design team in the country in the furniture category and awarded with 34 India Design Mark Awards till date, GI aims to transform spaces with its thoughtfully designed furniture to create brighter homes and offices with products that have the highest design quotient in aesthetics, functionality and technology. With consistent pursuit of excellence and a special focus on health and ergonomics, GI’s product portfolio comprises a massive range.

Today, we design and manufacture furniture for office spaces, homes, educational institutes, healthcare facilities, laboratories and more. Along with furniture we offer Audio Visual and 360 Degree Turnkey solutions. Each of our product range revolves around comfort and aesthetics while delivering well-designed, fun and functional furniture solutions. Briefly, Godrej Interio transforms dream spaces to life!

Godrej Interio has 7 manufacturing facilities situated at Mumbai, Khalapur, Haridwar, Shirwal, and Bhagwanpur. GI’s Shirwal Plant is Green Co Platinum Certified, and Mumbai Plants are Green Co Gold Certified. GI is widely known for its comprehensive sustainability certifications for its products in furniture category.

GI commitment to the environment has resulted in manufacturing products with lesser environment footprint. Our pioneering efforts include designing less environment burdening products, usage of eco-friendly materials and setting up less polluting and consuming processes, ensuring eco-friendly packaging and transportation and finally the extended responsibility of recycling/reuse of used furniture and scrap, thus ensuring a lifecycle approach to green. GI has the widest range of green choices for our customers which not only includes products but also services such as green interiors and recycling.

Currently present in over 650 cities with 250 exclusive showrooms and 800 dealers, GI is one of the largest divisions of Godrej & Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd., part of the Godrej Group, one of India's largest engineering and customer product groups.

The brand boasts of noteworthy awards received so far- CII Exim Bank Award for Business Excellence 2016, Superbrands 2017-18, Reader’s Digest Most Trusted Brand 2018 Gold (Home Furniture and Modular Kitchen), TRA’s India’s Most Consumer focused brand 2019, GreenCo Star Performer Award 2019, National Energy Leader Award at CII National Award for Excellence in Energy Management 2018.

Zupee Skilling Academy Launched To Improve Employability Skills, Promote Equal Opportunities

* NIIT Foundation will be the first partner association; to provide 100% placement assistance to the students as they learn 

Online gaming pioneer and industry leader, Zupee announced the launch of their skilling academy, which will impart employable skills and promote equal opportunities in the youth of the country. Zupee Skilling Academy (ZSA) will be a first-of-its-kind mission by a corporation, aimed at skilling, upskilling and educating young, disadvantaged Indians. The idea is to prepare them for the future by getting them ready through skill training and ensuring that everyone in the program has equal opportunities for employment. 

To kick off the mission, Zupee has joined hands with a leading NGO, NIIT Foundation, to launch a unique CSR vocational skill program for the underserved youth of Mumbai, enabling them to get entry-level jobs. The Zupee-NIIT Foundation program will include certification training in digital marketing. The participants will be trained in important concepts like search engine optimization, running search ads, social media marketing and analytics, all highly desirable skill sets that prepare them for jobs of the future. 

“We are truly delighted to launch the Zupee Skills Academy (ZSA), which is part of our broader CSR vision based on three key pillars focusing on Sustainability & ESG, equal opportunities through skilling and upskilling, and technology & gaming for good.  We are happy to have NIIT Foundation as our first partner in the Zupee Skilling Academy. This CSR initiative is aimed to raise the target population’s quality of life, status and living standards, leading to overall community development in the long run. Being a leader in the online gaming space, Zupee’s mission is to use gamification of education and skilling for better learning outcomes. With our association with NIIT Foundation, we will be providing certification courses that will prepare the marginalised sections of the Mumbai youth with the much-needed employment opportunities. We are excited about this partnership as this is a tremendous opportunity to do good and bring about a transformation that has been long awaited”, said Dr. Subi Chaturvedi, Chief Corporate and Public Affairs Officer, Zupee. 

Commenting on the partnership, Sapna Moudgil, Director, NIIT Foundation, said, “We are thrilled to have Zupee on board as our CSR partner. This initiative will include a hybrid model, which will leverage our Learning Management System and in a co-curated program, which will be implemented by NIIT Foundation, students will have access to training modules, audio-visual media, ebooks, and other curriculum based study and testing material. Post-certification, we will provide 100% placement assistance to every youth that successfully completes their training and we will do our best to ensure that every single participant is placed in their relevant field.” 

Skilling the youth for the new jobs is becoming a global concern. According to the United Nations, by 2030, 4.9 billion people will be living in urban areas and depend on skilled jobs. With emerging technologies promising to usher the next industrial revolution, it is imperative to prepare the workforce for it. From digital marketing to machine learning and automation, skilled manpower will be the biggest challenge going forward as traditional learning methods fail to prepare the students for such jobs. Zupee intends, through its skilling academy, to create game-based learning programs that can teach these skills to users in an engaging and entertaining way. It has been proven that game-based learning improves learning, motivation and retention in students and this partnership intends to leverage this for maximum efficacy. To ensure maximum coverage, Zupee will be looking to tie up with several charities, trusts and skilling organizations to bring about this transformation in learning and education. 

The Zupee Skilling Academy (ZSA) is a continuous, sustained long-term project that intends to lead the biggest transformation in traditional education, learning and skilling. This program aims be the impetus the country needs to become the talent hub of the world for emerging technologies, as it has been for the IT and ITES companies in early 2000s preparing a workforce of the future and unlocking the potential of gaming for all, to claim India’s rightful place in the global value chain. 

We remain committed towards realisation of the Hon. Prime Minister’s vision of a fully connected and empowered Digital India. 

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Avishkaar To Offer Curated Online Courses With Every Computing Devices Purchase On Flipkart

* A recent survey by Avishkaar revealed that 53% of the parent respondents use the hands-on learning approach in the form of toys and kits to keep up their children’s interest levels in next-gen tech & STEM subjects 

Avishkaar, a leading next-generation technology education provider, has joined hands with Flipkart, India’s homegrown e-commerce marketplace, to offer curated online courses along with the purchase of laptops and tablets to enhance students’ learning potential. As part of this, Avishkaar will be providing an Innovators Launchpad Course to enable children as young as 8 years to learn the basics of robotics, electronics, coding, and application development with expert trainers all for free. In addition, Flipkart customers will be able to avail Avishkaar Robotics and IoT Kits and  Microdegrees for children in an affordable manner. 

This collaboration is a part of Flipkart’s 3 month long Back to School campaign announced earlier in April and is aimed at enhancing the learning potential of students as digital learning takes precedence. A survey conducted by Avishkaar among 5,000 parents and 5,000 children  gauged the perception of parents of young children, as well as the children themselves on their career aspirations in STEM and next-generation technology fields. The survey revealed that 53% of the parent respondents use the hands-on learning approach to keep up their children’s interest levels in next-gen tech & STEM subjects. This includes toys and kits that help their children with application-based learning. 

This, along with the rise in digital learning due to the pandemic-induced lockdowns make it imperative for students to choose the right set of computing devices namely laptops and tablets to have an immersive learning experience.

Speaking on the association, Pooja Goyal, COO and Co-founder, Avishkaar said, “Flipkart's campaign is a great initiative to inspire children to master technology skills when lockdowns are forcing children to stay home. Avishkaar sets the gold standard for learning next-generation technology skills like Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, IoT, and coding and we are thrilled to partner with Flipkart to make it accessible for children across India. Also, with the right computing devices offered by Flipkart coupled with Avishkaar kits and courses, children will be able to better learn by building, breaking, and re-building chapters”. Speaking on the partnership, Rakesh Krishnan, Senior Director, Electronics at Flipkart said, “Flipkart has a nuanced understanding of customers’ evolving needs and is at the forefront of fulfilling their requirements with the best-in-class technological solutions. WIth digital learning taking precedence since last year, our partnership with Avishkaar will help students find their favourite online learning materials along with the right set of computing devices. Currently,  almost 40-45% of the demand for electronics for Flipkart comes from the student community and hence it becomes even more imperative to offer curated offerings to this customer cohort”. 

Flipkart has especially curated a page to help students in selecting the right computing and electronic items such as laptops, tablets, printers, audio devices and IT peripherals along with online learning materials depending on one’s primary use case. Avishkaar’s products can be found here:

Leading Tech Enterprise - HFCL To Set Up 2nd Model PM-WANI Village In Karnataka

* Project undertaken in collaboration with the Telecom Infra Project and i2e1 to power the Wi-Fi network in Baidebettu

Leading Indian Wi-Fi brand and one of the first TIP OpenWiFi compliant solutions provider, IO by HFCL, in collaboration with Telecom Infra Project (TIP), today announced setting up their 2nd PM-WANI powered connectivity for Baidebettu village in Karnataka. This PM-WANI network will provide high speed Wi-Fi Internet to over 9,000 residents of the otherwise poorly connected village located in Brahmavara Taluk, Udupi district.

The project entails setting up a robust outdoor Wi-Fi network for providing broadband Internet connectivity to the entire village population. The outdoor network will use HFCL IO’s TIP OpenWiFi-based Access Points, Point-to-Point radios, Solar Power over Ethernet (PoE) devices and other network equipment. The Wi-Fi network authentication and regulatory monitoring will be powered by i2e1 core solutions who will also act as the Public Data Office Aggregator (PDOA) under the PM-WANI model. The network is expected to go live by July 31, 2021.

The integrated package being deployed is indigenously developed and built in India for high performance, is fully secure and designed to withstand and perform under harsh weather conditions including heavy rainfall that the village receives throughout the year.

The network will offer Wi-Fi Internet with bandwidth of up to 500 Mbps in all common areas of the village that is spread across a radius of 6 kilometers. Due to its remote location under high rainfall zone, and absence of IT and Internet infrastructure, Baidebettu presently does not have any reliable connectivity. As a result, villagers earlier would travel many kilometers to nearby towns to get digitally connected. Recent Covid-19 restrictions further impacted this travel and have severely affected their lives.

With this deployment, the entire village of 9,000 population will come under the broadband fold, which is expected to significantly improve their quality of life by providing them access to digital services such as healthcare, education, banking, retail, entertainment, government digital services and many more. 

After the huge success of HFCL’s first PM-WANI model village deployment, which was set up three months ago in the small remote village of Baslambi in Haryana, HFCL intends to replicate the model and once again demonstrate the strength of the PM-WANI concept powered by TIP’s multi-vendor compatible OpenWiFi capabilities. HFCL believes that this will not only connect the residents of this remote village and offer them access to all digital services but also inspire other ISPs and solution providers to collaborate & innovate to address the two biggest challenges to rural connectivity - affordability and accessibility.

HFCL’s Promoter & Managing Director, Mr. Mahendra Nahata said, “We at HFCL are committed to transforming #InternetForAll into a ubiquitous reality and have successfully collaborated with leading core solution providers to strengthen the connectivity ecosystem. After great success of our first model PM-WANI village in North India, where we deployed our robust, scalable, interoperable, and TIP OpenWiFi based Access Points to provide broadband access, we are now replicating the model in a remote village in Southern India. With this initiative, we believe students in the village will no longer need to travel to get connected and this would pave the way for every villager to stay connected and explore infinite possibilities to grow in all areas of life. This further demonstrates our faith in PM-WANI scheme as a significant enabler in connecting the remotest parts of the country.”

TIP’s Chief Engineer David Hutton said: “We are glad to have HFCL as an active participant of the TIP OpenWiFi community. It is heartening to see HFCL’s enthusiasm and commitment to making multi-vendor Wi-Fi architecture a reality. HFCL’s “Built in India” disaggregated OpenWiFi solutions in conjunction with PM-WANI demonstrates early success in employing TIP OpenWiFi to address the digital divide.”

“We are pleased to associate with HFCL for yet another PM-WANI opportunity. It feels proud to be part of another HFCL’s “Connect the Unconnected” initiative using their TIP OpenWiFi compliant solutions. This further emphasizes HFCL’s commitment to make in India world class network equipment to connect the unconnected. This also demonstrates their faith in PM-WANI scheme as the key driver to provide broadband Internet access to all citizens of the country,” said Satyam Darmora, Founder & CEO, i2e1.

About HFCL Limited:

HFCL Limited (formerly Himachal Futuristic Communications Limited) is a leading technology enterprise engaged in manufacturing of high-end Transmission and Access Equipment, Optical Fiber, Optical Fiber Cables (OFC) and is specialized in setting up modern communication network for Telecom Service Providers, Railways, Defense, Smart City and Surveillance projects.

The Company has state-of-the-art Optical Fiber and Optical Fiber Cable manufacturing facilities at Hyderabad, Optical Fiber Cable manufacturing plant in Goa and in its subsidiary i.e. HTL Limited at Chennai along with FRP Rod manufacturing facility in its subsidiary at Hosur. It also has a telecom equipment manufacturing facility at Solan.

The Company’s in-house Centre for Excellence in Research located at Gurgaon & Bengaluru along with invested R&D Houses and other collaborators at different locations in India and abroad, innovate futuristic range of technology products and solutions. Some of the newly developed products through in-house R&D are Wi-Fi Systems, Unlicensed Band Radios, Switches, Electronic Fuses, Cloud Management Systems and Video Management Systems. There is a suite of products under development, which include Electro optic devices, Software Defined Radios, Routers, PON, Small cell for 5G, Intelligent Antenna Systems and Ground Surveillance Radars among others.

About i2e1:

i2e1 is India's first PM-WANI compliant Wi-Fi company. They harness the power of cloud to create a data platform over software defined networks using Wi-Fi.  Incubated at IIT Delhi, the company has been set up by a team of IIT /IIM graduates with extensive experience in data analytics and marketing. Visit for more information.

About the Telecom Infra Project

The Telecom Infra Project (TIP) is a global community of companies and organizations that are driving infrastructure solutions to advance global connectivity. Half of the world’s population is still not connected to the internet, and for those who are, connectivity is often insufficient. This limits access to the multitude of consumer and commercial benefits provided by the internet, thereby impacting GDP growth globally. However, a lack of flexibility in the current solutions - exacerbated by a limited choice in technology providers - makes it challenging for operators to efficiently build and upgrade networks. Founded in 2016, TIP is a community of diverse members that includes hundreds of companies - from service providers and technology partners, to systems integrators and other connectivity stakeholders. We are working together to develop, test and deploy open, disaggregated, and standards-based solutions that deliver the high quality connectivity that the world needs - now and in the decades to come. 

Third Edition Of Delivery Delight Index Launched By RedSeer And Shadowfax

* Increasing demand for express deliveries, higher willingness to pay for express delivery in ePharma 

* Players reliant on Third Party Logistics Partners are able to provide Impeccable Delivery Experience

According to the third edition of Delivery Delight Index (DDI#3) launched by RedSeer and Shadowfax, in 2021, digitally native brands (DNB) and vertical market players have emerged as the key champions on the back of improved delivery experience. 

In CY20 direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands grew 3x faster than overall eCommerce in India. The major growth drivers for this segment include the sizable set of mature customers and an enabling infrastructure. 

The specialised players in the logistics players enabling last-mile delivery, warehouse and new-age logistics space are enabling these brands to deliver and help them grow at such a rapid pace.

Delivery Delight Index is a toolkit for brands and platforms that has been developed after ~10,000 consumer surveys covering 38 players across four types of platforms i.e., E-tailing Marketplaces, Hyperlocal Marketplaces, Digitally Native Brands and Traditional Brands/Retailers. 

Commenting on the launch of the report, Abhishek Bansal, co-founder of Shadowfax, said, “The index reinstates our belief that customer expectations are moving towards faster and faster deliveries today. On the other hand, brands who are investing behind speed and delivery delight for consumers are gaining market share and consequently emerging as leaders in the index.” 

Key Highlights from the ‘Delivery Delight Index’

- Improved performance of players across ‘Speed of Delivery’ and ‘Delivery Experience’ is attributed to- 

·         Complete unlock in the JFM’21 period leading to smooth flow of the supply chain

- DNB platforms have improved speed of delivery by

* Adoption of Micro-warehouse, in partnership with third party warehousing aggregators and started same day or next day delivery

* Leading DNB platforms have also implemented ‘Doorstep QC’ of products leading to a  reduced refund time

Key frontrunners of the  ‘Delivery Delight Index’

E-tailing Marketplaces- Amazon, Firstcry, Myntra, Nykaa, Purple

Hyperlocal Marketplaces- Dunzo, Flipkart Supermart, Swiggy

Traditional Brands/Retailer- Lifestyle

Digitally Native Brands- Mi, Mamaearth, Wow, Bewakoof, Boat

On the launch of the third edition of delivery index, Anil Kumar, founder and CEO of RedSeer, said, “The study has shown that  despite the phenomenal growth of the D2C brands in recent times, these brands have been able to provide a superlative delivery experience with the support of third-party logistics players. Further, the specialised players in the warehousing and logistics space are enabling these new-age brands to fulfill the growing demand with a quality experience.”

About Shadowfax: Shadowfax, one of India’s largest crowdsourced logistics platforms, was established in 2015 with the vision of enabling commerce by empowering everyone, everywhere. Our unique tech-driven platform caters to the logistics needs of brands across verticals such as food, grocery, pharma, and e-commerce by providing a comprehensive, speedy and reliable solution right from first mile movement to doorstep delivery. On a mission to build the fastest and most reliable logistics network by empowering a million micro-entrepreneurs through technology to deliver anything, anywhere, our plug-and-play yet immersive APIs seamlessly bridge the logistical gap between businesses and their customers within minutes. Having raised $100Mn till date from marquee investors, the company currently services 500+ cities, covers 7000+ pin codes, 150K+ delivery network partners, and delivers 500K+ orders per day.

About RedSeer: RedSeer is a leader in the Internet and new age advisory. In 2020, RedSeer also emerged as the No 1 Deal Advisor to Private Equity. Our advisory is differentiated through our high-quality IP, market insights, and research, which helps both corporate and funds make the right choices. With more than 200 consultants across 5 offices, we have emerged as the largest home-grown regional consulting firm in the last 12 years.

NSDC and WhatsApp Launch “Digital Skill Champions Program” To Fuel Skill Development And Entrepreneurship Opportunities For Youth

* The alliance aims to support Honorable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision to make India the Skill Capital of the World

The National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and WhatsApp today announced an alliance to launch the Digital Skill Champions Program that aims to train India’s youth on digital skills, in order to make them employment ready. Through this program, school and university students would be coached to imbibe digital and online skills that would culminate with WhatsApp and NSDC awarding ‘Digital Skill Champions’ certification. The course is based on a module-format, is comprehensive and intensive in imparting knowledge about important aspects of the online ecosystem, equipping students with technology-based learning on campuses across tier 3 and 4 towns and cities throughout the country.

The partnership identifies two broad areas of collaboration viz., WhatsApp Digital Skills Academy and Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra (PMKK) and WhatsApp Business App Training sessions.

WhatsApp Digital Skills Academy: As part of the Digital Skill Academies, young adults from tier 3 and 4 cities will be trained on critical aspects of digital safety and online privacy. These digital academies will deliver safe technology-based learning among the youth and train them on taking charge of their safety online as they embark on their professional journeys. The initiative will kick off with a pilot across 50 campuses in five states, namely Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. The program will be imparted through WhatsApp’s project implementation partner- InfiSpark.

PMKK and WhatsApp Business App Training: WhatsApp will conduct training sessions to familiarise   Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra trainers with the WhatsApp Business app. The training will cover modules on leveraging benefits of the WhatsApp Business app and to make small business entrepreneurship aspirational for young skill seekers. The trained PMKK community cadres will further manage and administer the WhatsApp Business app training to youth aspiring to become small business entrepreneurs. 

Announcing the program, Dr. Manish Kumar, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) said, “In a rapidly evolving digital world, NSDC aims to extend scope of virtual learning for youth across India.  It aims to empower youth with new-age skills to make them employable and more productive in their work environment.”

Talking about the partnership, Mr. Shivanth Thukral, Director - Public Policy, WhatsApp- India said, “We are honoured to be a part of NSDC’s mission to skill India and to take shop floor readiness training to the last mile. As India embraces digital innovation and entrepreneurship, it is imperative that the youth today are made aware of and educated about how they can upskill themselves and take charge of their presence online. At WhatsApp, we believe that  online safety and privacy are vital drivers to a progressive digital society. Through this partnership, we are committed to enhance the digital skills of the aspiring entrepreneurs and empower the youth of our country to create a safe digital environment for all.”

About National Skill Development Corporation

National Skill Development Corporation, working under the aegis of the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, is a unique public-private-partnership that aims to catalyze the creation of a quality vocational training ecosystem in India. Since its inception in 2010, NSDC has trained more than 2.5 crore people through its partnership with 600+ training partners, 11,000+ training centers spread over 600+ districts across the country. NSDC has established 36 Sector Skill Councils and is implementing Government’s flagship skill development schemes such as Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra (PMKK), National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS), among others.

About WhatsApp

With 15 million monthly users of the business app in India, and more than 50 million globally, businesses are finding tremendous value through WhatsApp. WhatsApp has played an instrumental role in helping small businesses interact with their customers and optimize sales especially now at the difficult time of the pandemic, when digital tools continue to serve as a lifeline for businesses and customers to stay connected. This association is another meaningful step towards WhatsApp’s commitment of driving digital and financial inclusion in India.

The Science Of Lung-Gut-Brain Axis In Fighting COVID-19 Across India

By: Ajoy Prabhu

Co-Founder & CTO, Circee Health Pvt. Ltd., DCA, MS (Pathology), MBA

(Ajoy is a medical scientist, innovator, and a serial entrepreneur)

COVID-19 has, rightfully so, brought a lot of attention to the health of our lungs. We are thinking of increasing - even if not practising regularly -  pranayam, yog, neti. We are even taking in zinc and vitamin D to try and stave off any viral infections. It might surprise you to know that most of our immunity building doesn’t come from physically keeping the lungs moving, but taking care of what truly runs our entire body smoothly. Before you read on, try to guess what that could possibly be. 

Did you know that we humans are actually a bunch of human cells carefully being controlled by microbes that outnumber our own cells? For every 100 human cells we have within us, there are 130 microbial cells! Does that sound fantastic and outlandish? Wait! It gets even more ridiculous- human cells have about 20,000 genes, but the gut microbes in-total have about 20,000,000 genes! Tell me now, who controls whom?

First let me convince you that this (the fact that we are being controlled) is true, before talking about the health of our brain, and finally, our lungs. 

Consider a case reported in 2015 of a lady that had a major colon infection. No matter what her doctors tried, her infection just wouldn't go away. Decades before the infection, she was of normal weight. During the infection of course, she lost some weight. Finally as a last resort, the doctors suggested a fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT). An FMT is exactly what it sounds like - the process involves taking feces from a donor (usually a close relative), scrubbing it of wastes, and depositing the rest (mostly microbes) in the recipient's colon. In this case, the donor was her sixteen year old daughter. In due course, the lady got better, but noticed something strange - she became overweight and even obese - just like her daughter was! The gut microbes were not only more effective at digesting and absorbing fat, they were perhaps even making her think about eating more often. There was no other change in her lifestyle other than the FMT. This is not an isolated case. Similar phenomena have been observed many times in cases following FMT. Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that her daughter’s gut microbes were now responsible for the weight gain in both mother and daughter!

This is just one example (of weight gain), but there have been numerous documented cases of the gut bacteria changing the mood of individuals (in one case of even making the person suicidal!). The very same type of FMT has even shown to reduce type 2 diabetes in individuals.

Consider this - our gut harbors 99% of the bacteria in our body. Until recently, the thought was that we obtain our gut bacteria from the mother during childbirth. Recent evidence has emerged that this is not the case. We now know that much before birth, these bacteria (and other microorganisms) start their interaction with the human “host” (fetus) and “teach” the fetus their way of signalling. As they signal, we respond - way before birth. There is strong proof from the fact that prematurely born children have a disrupted “lesson” learned from these microbes. This can lead to many immunological issues including in the lung, in the form of allergies. This phenomenon has also been replicated in germ-free (GF) mice. They too suffer the consequences of diminished immunity towards infections, and even behavioral traits! 

It is now known that bacterial by-products that come in contact with the inner gut surface, stimulate special types of cells lining the gut (called the enteroendocrine cells) to produce several neuropeptides - small molecules that alter the brain function. Therefore, it follows that these neuropeptides control, in real-time, the brain’s reaction to the condition of the gut. If the gut is full and food is being digested, one set of signals are received by the brain, if not, then another set is received. For example a type of bacteria called Lactobacillus acidophilus stimulates brain receptors for opioids (opium-like compound), thereby reducing perception of pain in the gut. Other neuropeptides function to regulate blood flow into, and motility of, the gut lining. In fact, in a study of over 4,000 patients, scientists at the famous Cleveland Clinic showed that they can predict strokes in the brain a full 3 years ahead simply by looking at the production of a compound called TMSO, by certain gut microbes when the subjects digested meat. Until a few months ago, this was only thought to be a coincidence. A few months ago, the same scientists then re-created the phenomenon in mice and showed that increased TMSO causes strokes.

Think of the gut microbes as a well-manicured lawn. In that, densely growing grass does not allow other weeds to proliferate. However, when the make-up of gut microbes is altered significantly - such as when a person takes antibiotics - it is known as dysbiosis. This phenomenon turns the gut microbes and the brain to foes- they start to send wrong signals to each other, and an already disrupted lawn gets clogged with weeds - in this case, infection. To add to this, 90% of the main nerve that connects the gut to the brain (called the vagus nerve) goes towards the brain, not from it! What does that tell us? The nerve takes information (commands?) to the brain and not the other way around. Multiple sclerosis, a devastating autoimmune disease that leads to progressive deterioration of neurologic function, has been shown to be greatly  influenced by the gut microbiome.

Just as the gut alters the brain function, it does the same with many other organs. Of particular interest is its influence on the lungs. Lungs are by far one of the most vasculated organs in the body. By that, I mean there are literally hundreds of thousands of blood vessels that supply deoxygenated blood and remove oxygenated blood from the organ. As mentioned earlier, the gut bacteria is responsible for “teaching” the organs, particularly the lungs about keeping good house- compounds produced in the gut bacteria directly affect how the tissues within the lungs respond to inhaled foreign objects- be it a particle of soot, or a bacteria. It teaches the lungs exactly what types of cells and compounds (such as antibodies and antiviral compounds, called interferons)  to produce for defense, and when to do so. 

By far the strongest link that has been established between the lung and gut is by way of compounds called short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). These are the main byproduct of the gut microbiota. Evidence suggests that SCFAs play a role in the control of infections both through direct action on microorganisms attempting to infect the lung, as well as in “teaching” the human cells and other aforementioned compounds how to kill or neutralize the attacking microorganism such as COVID-19.

The natural next question in your mind should be, about production of these SCFAs. These natural anti-COVID-19 compounds are best produced when complex carbohydrates and fibers are being digested (more accurately, fermented) in the gut by certain bacteria. The best “fertilizer” for these bacteria are vegetables, fruits and nuts. Bacterial digestion of plant-matter in the gut is like a booster shot of immunity to the body. Therefore it should come as no surprise that a 2021 study in the British Medical Journal of about 3,000 frontline healthcare workers documented that those that ate a whole food plant-based diet were 73% better protected from severe COVID-19 infection. This is even better than some of the anti-COVID-19 vaccines that are being marketed!

So, eat your vegetables, fruits and nuts to feed your gut bacteria. A healthy set of gut microbes will automatically lead to strong, immune-boosted lungs and a healthy brain!

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