Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Communicating Content

Communicating content is what the digital platforms and the digital content producers want.

Times of India reports that in a bid to provide seamless digital content to its users, domestic smartphone maker Micromax on Monday announced its partnership with Eros International's digital platform Eros Now. "Micromax has been working towards building its services portfolio to offer convenience and exceptional digital experience to its consumers. With this partnership, the Eros Now app will be pre-installed into Micromax's latest smartphones," the company said in a statement.

Eros Now will leverage Micromax's presence of over 150,000 retail outlets to distribute its content. "With this partnership, we will expand our ability to provide entertainment on-the-go, anywhere and anytime to Micromax's new acquisition of 3.5 million users every month and also their existing base of more than 30 million connected users," said Rishika Lulla Singh, CEO, Eros Digital, in a statement.

Users will have access to unique content on Eros Now with the subscriptions. Music lovers can also enjoy individual music tracks and music video playlists using the app. "This promises to make the digital content from cinema, movies and videos available to our urban and rural customers," added Vikas Jain, Co-founder, Micromax Informatics Limited.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

What Becomes of the Aggregated?

Taxi aggregators like Ola and Uber are expanding in India. But what of those taxi drivers that they aggregate?

Stories from the taxi drivers suggest that they did well in the early days when there were fewer of them around who were working through the likes of Uber and Ola. But as their numbers increased their income has slowly decreased.

Providing location context to communications is a way forward for Twitter

Providing location context to communications is a way forward for Twitter.

Times of India reports that micro-blogging website Twitter has rolled out a new feature that will let users see tweets from a specific place, like a business, sports stadium or music festival, a media report said. Foursquare, a search and discovery service mobile app, is powering precise place identification for this new Twitter feature. In exchange, Foursquare gets prominent branding, links back and the ability to improve its own database, technology website Techcrunch.com reported on Saturday.

The new location feature is available to all iOS users and will go on other platforms later. "We're excited about this integration which has been getting deeper over time. Location can provide important context for any moment, and our location intelligence is best-in-class. We're proud to support Twitter in the US, Canada, Brazil and many other geographies. Stay tuned for more to come," Techcrunch.com quoted Jeff Glueck, CEO, Foursquare, as saying.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

PE funds hiring execution-level talent in India

PE funds are hiring execution-level talent in India.

Economic Times reports that as global and domestic private equity funds step up their India presence in the second lap of their journey in the country, they are beefing up their teams with junior-level talent to help them source and execute deals better. And the funds are paying these young undergraduates and graduates from top Indian and global institutes, in the age group of 23-28, anywhere between Rs 35 and Rs 80 lakh, say headhunters and industry experts. 

There have been more than two dozen people in that age group who have been hired across funds in the past 12-18 months. Barings Private Equity Asia hired Rohit Agarwal in March this year, Advent International hired analysts Deepanshu Agarwal in 2016 and Aamir Zeb in 2015, Blackstone hired Nikhil Goyal and Sabah Farheen, and Vedant Saboo as analysts in 2015, to name a few. 

With half the talent in these funds at the vice president, director and partner levels, they have become top-heavy over the years. And now with funds shrinking and allocation from global investors being limited, funds are prompted more to focus on junior-level talent for execution support. 

In the past one year, there has been a 50 per cent increase in demand for junior-level talent in the PE industry, search industry estimates suggest. In 2016, search firm Vito India has carried out 25 mandates in analyst and associate level at private equity firms compared with about 10 a year ago. 

"Contrary to the BFSI hiring activity, PE funds continue to be bullish on hiring and have been actively recruiting at junior- to mid-levels," said Sonali Manek, practice lead-private equity at executive search firm Vito India. As funds grow in size, they do not need more people at the senior level, but at the execution level, she said. 

Voice calls through apps dent the revenues of telecom operators

Voice calls through apps dent the revenues of telecom operators.

Times of India reports that Over 100 million voice calls are made every day on messaging app WhatsApp. The company announced this in a blog post. "For more than a year, people have used WhatsApp Calling to talk with friends and family around the world. It's a great way to stay in touch, especially when connecting with people in other countries, or when messages alone won't do. Today, more than 100 million voice calls are made every day on WhatsApp - that's over 1,100 calls a second! We're humbled that so many people have found this feature useful, and we're committed to making it even better in the months to come," said the Facebook-owned WhatsApp in the post.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Messaging platforms face tougher scrutiny

Messaging platforms face tougher scrutiny.

Times of India reports that India's Supreme Court will hear next Wednesday a petition seeking a ban on WhatsApp on the ground that the messaging platform's end-to-end encryption gives terrorists a means of communication that is impossible to intercept.

Filed by Sudhir Yadav, a Haryana-based right-to-information (RTI) activist, the petition said WhatsApp has from April started to enable its every message with 256-bit encryption that cannot be broken into.

"Even if WhatsApp was asked to break through an individual's message to hand over the data to the government, it too would fail as it does not have the decryption keys either," Yadav said in his petition.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Low tech solution to high tech problem

Low tech solution to high tech problem.

Times of India reports that Facebook-owned picture sharing network Instagram recently touched 500 million monthly active users. To celebrate the feat, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg shared a fun picture. In the picture, Zuckerberg is holding what appears to be a wooden frame in the background is his laptop. But it seems, he revealed more than he intended to.

As Twitter user Chris Olsen pointed out on the micro-blogging website, Zuckerberg covers the webcam of his laptop with a tape. Take a closer look at the picture and it appears that his laptop's microphone is taped as well.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

ShareYaar: App to Post and Discover Events, Functions, Exhibitions Near You

Post and Discover Events Near You
ShareYaar - Post and Discover Events, Functions & Exhibitions Near You

App to Post and Discover Events, Functions, Exhibitions Near You 

Available from Google Play Store at:

Are you interested finding out about events, functions or exhibitions going on around you? Do you want to share or advertise your own event? Here we present a great App for you - ShareYaar - that allows you to post and seek information regarding various events happening and yet to happen near you. You can filter the events by your center of interest. 

Accessing information about the events is made much easier. Events spanning different domains related to education, technology, art, entertainment, culture and many more can be found here. Details such as theme, dates, timings, venue, entry fee, speakers and important guests can can be seen and shown. With this app you won't miss any kind of event happening in your town/city. 

You can tell your friends and family about any event by sending them a message from this App. So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and install this App. Start discovering, exploring and sharing events today.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Aggregating traders and trading strategies via social trading platforms to take on the hedge funds

Aggregating traders and trading strategies via social trading platforms to take on the hedge funds.

CNBC reports "Imagine you knew a friend of a friend who kept bragging about the killing they were making trading. You don't know where they were investing, all you know is that they are doing really well. But imagine if you could invest directly into that person's strategy and also make money like them. This is the premise of so-called "social trading" platforms that have been on the rise aiming to shake up the hedge fund industry.

Darwinex is one of the latest entrants in the space. The company allows traders to sign up and people can buy into their strategy. The trader's trades and strategy are wrapped into a "Darwin". Users can buy a Darwin which means that any money they invest will be traded exactly how the trader would do it. "There are traders who are better than your bank and financial advisor but you can't invest in any of them. We are here to turn those guys into an asset class you can then buy and whenever they win you make money along with them," Juan Colon, co-founder and CEO of Darwinex, told CNBC in a phone interview ahead of the Money 2020 conference in Copenhagen this week.

"The Darwin itself is like an ETF that you can buy and sell at any time." Colon describes it as a "matchmaking service" for investors and traders. "With hedge funds you are forced to date a guy and you don't know how it works out. But you don't know how it would have worked out if you dated 60 guys. You can lower your risk substantially by investing in more than one Darwin," Colon said."

SJP @DigitalAsian

Monday, 20 June 2016

E-commerce firms offer offline assistance to shoppers to lure them online

Offering offline assistance to shoppers may be a way for e-tailers to lure customers online.

Times of India reports that Amazon India is expanding its offline presence in the country as it looks to further localise its offering and bring on board customers who are still reluctant to shop online. The e-tailer has tied up with Vodafone India, the country's second-largest telecom operator by customers, to provide a touch-and-feel experience of smartphones like One-Plus 3, which sell exclusively on the platform.

Amazon India and Vodafone have started pilots of this service in Bengaluru, across 40 stores owned by the telecom major. The tie up with Vodafone follows the expansion of Amazon's assisted shopping programme, called Udaan, to over 1,000 outlets in tier-II and tier-III cities across the country.

While Vodafone declined to comment to an emailed query, an Amazon India spokesperson confirmed the development. As part of the tie-up, each Vodafone store now has a display case with mobile phones listed on Amazon and a product specialist trained by the e-tailer. Customers can try out phones, especially as several smartphones are now exclusively launched and sold on Amazon India without any offline presence. Customers can order the product online from the store, and also come back to it for any post-purchase help.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

VCs competing with Crowdfunders

VC firm, Draper Esprit recently listed on the London Stock Exchange, raising over $140 million and thereby allowing retail investors to invest in tech startups. Shares were issued at 300 pence and reached 312 pence in early on. 

The idea, says Draper Esprit, is to allow retail investors into tech startups. Crowdfunders have been gaining ground and allow retail investors to get in at the early stage for fast-growing startups. However, later stage rounds have been shut for these investors, and Draper Esprit wants to change this.

Which Smartphones Catch your Eye?

Which smartphones catch your eye?

Times of India reports that scientists, including one of Indian-origin, have developed a new artificial intelligence (AI) software that can turn any smartphone into an eye-tracking device. Eye-tracking technology - which can determine where in a visual scene people are directing their gaze - has been widely used in psychological experiments and marketing research, but the required pricey hardware has kept it from finding consumer applications.

In addition to making existing applications of eye-tracking technology more accessible, the system developed by researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and University of Georgia may enable new computer interfaces or help detect signs of incipient neurological disease or mental illness.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Sharing Information and Investors with the Enemy: Uber and Didi

Sleeping with the enemy: Didi and Uber

Times of India reports that ride-hailing companies Uber and Didi have brought many new dimensions to the startup industry, such as making billion-dollar-plus funding rounds routine. Now, they have added another to the list: sharing big investors who are backing both companies, even though they are fierce rivals.

Uber, the leading ride service in the United States and much of the world, and Didi Chuxing, which claims 87% of the Chinese market for private vehicle ride-hailing, now share at least four investors: asset manager BlackRock, Chinese investment manager Hillhouse Capital Group, hedge fund Tiger Global and insurer China Life, according to investment records and sources familiar with the deals.

"It's very unusual to allow the same parties to invest and get information rights of sworn mortal enemies," said Max Wolff, chief economist at Manhattan Venture Partners. "But then again, it's also not common to raise $14 billion as a seven-year-old pre-IPO company."

SJP @DigitalAsian

Friday, 17 June 2016

Getting in on the Conversation: Messaging Technology

Microsoft gets in on the conversation.

Times of India reports that technology giant Microsoft has acquired a messaging-app founded by an Indian as the US-based software firm aims to strengthen its position in the emerging era of combining the power of human language with advanced machine intelligence. Microsoft acquired California-based Wand Labs, a startup which builds messaging technology for apps, founded in 2013 by IIT-Delhi alumnus Vishal Sharma who was previously the vice president, products at Google. The terms of the acquisition were not made public.

"This acquisition accelerates our vision and strategy for 'Conversation as a Platform' which (India-born CEO of Microsoft) Satya Nadella introduced at our Build 2016 conference," Corporate vice president, Information Platform Group at Microsoft David Ku said in a statement yesterday.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Satya and Jeff get Linked: Microsoft Goes Social

Microsoft plans to drive sales of its products and services through social media.

Times of India reports that Microsoft today announced that it is acquiring LinkedIn for $196 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at $26.2 billion, inclusive of LinkedIn's net cash. Jeff Weiner will remain CEO of LinkedIn, and he will report directly to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. "The LinkedIn team has grown a fantastic business centered on connecting the world's professionals. Together we can accelerate the growth of LinkedIn, as well as Microsoft Office 365 and Dynamics as we seek to empower every person and organization on the planet," said Nadella.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Getting Sirious: Chat Bot Battleground

Chat Bots are becoming a key battleground for tech firms.

Times of India reports that Apple's Siri made a big splash when the wisecracking digital assistant debuted on the iPhone five years ago. But as other tech giants jockey to build intelligent ``chat bots'' and voice-controlled home systems capable of more challenging AI feats, Siri at times no longer seems cutting edge.

On Monday, Apple is expected to demonstrate an upgrade to Siri's smarts as it kicks off its annual software conference. It's a potentially momentous time for the company; sales of its flagship iPhone are slowing, and AI is emerging as a key tech battleground. Apple, Google, Facebook and others are racing to create digital services that consumers will find indispensable for shopping, chatting, controlling other appliances and simply getting through their daily lives.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Mobile and Modular: The Way Forward?

Smartphone and smart watch makers are going modular providing add-on attachments for various extra functionality. Will users like carrying various add-ons with them?

Times of India reports that modular phones aren't yet a thing, per se, but that doesn't mean underdog (i.e. not Apple or Samsung) smartphone-makers aren't trying their darnedest to put them on the radar. First it was LG with its hit-and-miss G5, and now Motorola (Lenovo) with the Moto Z and its snap-on, Ashton Kutcher-approved "Moto Mods." If our hands-on time is any indication, this could be the first modular approach that really matters.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Incentivising the move away from websites to apps

Incentivising the move away from websites to apps.

Times of India reports that in a major shake-up, technology giants Google and Apple have reportedly been testing a new revenue sharing model for developers that would give them more money when users subscribe to a service via their apps. "Instead of keeping 70% of all revenue generated from subscriptions, publishers will be able to keep 85% of revenue once a subscriber has been paying for a year," a report on technology website Re-Code said on Thursday.

However, there's one big difference between the announcements of both the companies. For Apple developers, the split will only be given after a consumer has been subscribing to a service for more than a year. But unlike Apple, instead of requiring developers to rope in a subscriber for 12 months before offering the better split, Google will release the money right away.