Saturday, 28 May 2016

Where has all the Content Gone? On the Hunt for Content

News that Apple wants Time Warner should come as no surprise. Just as India's Reliance Jio has spent huge sums buying digital content to supply its customers, Apple is doing so on a bigger scale. And also Facebook has become the biggest news content provider for Americans.

Providing the content and the communications platform on which the content is delivered is the name of the game. And using AI to personalise the content to individual users.

Friday, 27 May 2016

In God We Trust, All Others Pay: Google's Trust-Based System

Smartphone users may have to learn how to be predictable to get a good Google 'trust score'.

Times of India reports that Google is set to begin testing a new login method which replaces passwords with a 'trust-based' system which monitors the way you typically use your phone. The 'Trust API', part of 'Project Abacus', was unveiled at Google's IO developer conference, and is set to be tested by a number of large financial institutions in June, the Guardian reports. 

The system is designed to be used on smartphones, and works by constantly checking for a number of personal indicators which can grant access to accounts or the phone itself. Instead of asking for a password, the phone might analyse your face, your voice, how you type, how you swipe , how you move and where you are. All of these bits of data are fed into the API, which then generates a 'trust score' which indicates how likely it is that it's actually you carrying the phone.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Digital Content Quotas

Video streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon, are facing potential quotas from the EU which is proposing that at least 20% of the content they offer to EU subscribers should be made locally. The European Commission has also proposed that the programming must be given "good visibility". This would affect Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. The proposal is part of the EU's Audiovisual Media Services directive.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Pitching a Ride with Uber: Taking Startups for a Ride

Uber is now allowing startups to do a pitch to investors during a taxi ride. The competition launched by Uber in Europe, called UberPITCH, will allow entrepreneurs to pitch to investors during a taxi and receive feedback. The best ideas will receive support and mentorship. 

Hope startup founders and investors don't get taken for a ride.

SJP @DigitalAsian

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Copyright Infringement and Bad Reviews Online

Written a bad review online about a company? Your review could be removed without your consent using American copyright law. Sounds odd? 

The American Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) can be used to remove bad reviews from search engines without the reviewer's consent. Copyright infringement: guilty until you prove yourself innocent.

The Guardian newspaper reports on a common story about how bad reviews online are removed from anywhere using American copyright law.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Defragmenting the IoT

Internet of Things, IoT, business could hit US$ 7 Trillion by 2020 according to some estimates. With devices and operating systems for the IoT fragmented, trying to get a platform that is universal is the holy grail. Startups, like Afero, are trying to service this need. Afero recently raised over US$ 20 million for its chip.

Like the battle for smartphones between Apple's iOS and Google's Android, (or Betamax and VHS for video), firms are trying to create the dominant platform for IoT with the stakes again being high.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Would you buy a Second-Hand Smartphone from this Man?

The Cook, the Phone, the PM and his Plans. Why is Apple's Tim Cook so keen to sell second-hand phones in India?

Times of India reports that Apple CEO Tim Cook has pressed for the company to be allowed to sell certified second-hand phones in India, and is likely to raise the issue at his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi , who is unlikely to accede to the request for now. Modi, on his part, is likely to push Cook to manufacture Apple iPhones and computers in India, a person familiar with the matter said. In media interviews, however, Cook has remained non-committal on Apple's local production plans.

"We want to bring back pre-owned phone to a pristine condition for a user in the Indian market, we may have to bring in some phones to sort of fuel the supply chain and the process will be done in the country," Cook said in an interview to a TV channel. The government is in-principle against allowing import and sale of second-hand phones in India to prevent dumping of hazardous electronic waste, said a person familiar with the matter. But it might take a more favourable view of the proposal if Apple agrees to manufacture in India. "Local manufacturing will be the thrust of the PM's message to Cook," the person said.

Cook appeared cagey on his near-term local production moves. "It (local manufacturing) is something we will look over time," the top executive said in a newspaper interview. The government is keen for Apple to begin manufacturing in India as it would give the 'Make in India' initiative a massive boost. This, especially as Apple's major production partner Foxconn is already manufacturing for other brands out of its factories in the country. The Taiwanese company drew up aggressive expansion plans after the government rejigged the duty structure in 2015 to make it cheaper to manufacture phones in India than importing them.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Developing the Developers for Apps

Apple developing the developers for it platform in India. Developing the digital disruptors.

Times of India reports that Indian app developers are excited about working with senior Apple executives at the proposed design and development accelerator in Bengaluru. The Cupertino-based iPhone maker is looking to build a long-term relationship with Indian developers to build more locally relevant apps on the iOS platform, which Apple hopes will increase the iPhone sales in India. With the design and development accelerator in Bengaluru, which is set to open early next year, 

Apple is also expecting to interact more with India's vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem on a continuous basis. Ravi Gururaj, chairman of Nasscom Product Council, said Apple's accelerator will engage with second line of developers in the country, who will now have direct access to Apple's expertise in top-notch design and user friendly interface. "It augurs well for Apple. India has a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem and they need to catch the developers early on," he said.

India is expected to surpass the US with 5.2 million developers in 2018 compared to 4.5 million developers there, according to a report from Evan's Data Corp. Even though India has a sizeable base of Android developers, Apple is only now making the right noises to connect with Indian developers to built locally relevant apps. India being a largely Android market has just 1% developers working on Apple's iOS platform, Apple's software platform for its mobile devices. Also, most developers on the iOS platforms are cross-platform developers.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Your Own Online Maketplace

Having their own online marketplace is what the large conglomerates are after.

Economic Times reports the Tata Group  is set to board the ecommerce bus with the launch of its online marketplace by the end of this month. Called 'Tata CLiQ', the marketplace will integrate the online experience with omnichannel support at brick-and-mortar stores. The business to be launched by new arm Tata Unistore, will initially focus on apparel, electronics and footwear. "The 'Q' in the logo represents a magnifying glass - a visual representation of the brand's focus on curating only the best brands and products," said Ashutosh Pandey, chief executive officer, Tata CLiQ.  

The salt-to-steel conglomerate with combined sales of $108.78 billion has a presence in the retail segment through its arms Trent, which operates the Westside and Landmark chain of lifestyle stores, and  Infiniti Retail, which operates the Croma chain of multi-brand electronics stores. In addition, the group also owns the Titan watch brand and jewellery company Tanishq.  The Tata Group's entry follows online forays by several established conglomerates. Last week, Arvind Ltd launched its omni-channel platform Last month,  Reliance Industries  launched an online fashion retail platform called Ajio, while the Aditya Birla Group launched six months ago.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Startup IPR in India

Indian government needs to create an environment where investors can invest in new startup technologies to develop IPR in India.

Times of India reports that in a bid to encourage start-ups to patent their technologies, the government has slashed the fee by up to 80% and opened a special (Tatkal) window to expedite clearances for them as well as entities that route their global patent applications via the Indian Patents Office. Applying to the special window will attract up to three times of normal fees. This is the first time the government has opened a window for faster patents along with efforts to speed up application clearing process. Currently, it takes five-to-seven years to clear a patent application and the government is now looking to reduce this to around two-and-a-half years, which would be even lower in case of those taking the Tatkal route.

TOI also reports that the Indian government will put in place a mechanism to help entrepreneurs raise funds by mortgaging patents , trademarks and other intellectual property rights (IPRs) as it looks to implement the National IPR Policy that was cleared last week. The details of the proposed plan to turn IPRs into mortgage-able assets will be done in consultation with the finance ministry and RBI and may require legal amendments. The new policy provides for the creation of a loan guarantee scheme to encourage startups and cover the risk of genuine failures in commercialization based on IPRs as mortgage-able assets.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

A DAO on the Dow?

We'll be having companies run purely by artificial intelligence soon, getting listed on stock exchanges.

CNBC reports that "An automated business run on computer code, with no human input beyond its anonymous backers, has raised the equivalent of $120 million in digital currency. The financial support for the vehicle, called The DAO, makes it the most advanced embodiment yet of an idea that has long captivated idealists: automatic companies that operate without managers or boards of directors, making them the purest form of shareholder governance. The DAO — an acronym of decentralised autonomous organisation, the name given to such entities — has been set up to invest in other businesses, making it a form of investor-directed venture capital fund. "There are no humans controlling it, it's just the code," said Simon Jentzsch, a German software developer who was one the people behind the idea. "There is no one who will take money for favouring one or other contract. You will have the wisdom of the crowds." As of Monday, The DAO had raised 10.7m units of a digital currency called Eth, said to be worth $120 million. Its investors will vote on what to do with the money after fundraising ends on May 28, after choosing between proposals submitted to its website."

SJP @DigitalAsian

Robo-Lawyer: The Legal Profession Evolves

The legal profession is also getting disrupted with new technology. US Law firm uses artificial intelligence - but the fees will probably be very real! Will the artificial intelligence lawyer charge by the hour?

Times of India reports that the world's first artificial intelligence lawyer has been employed by a law firm in the US, which will use the robot to assist its various teams in legal research. The robot called 'ROSS' is built upon Watson , IBM's cognitive computer. With the support of Watson's cognitive computing and natural language processing capabilities, lawyers can ask ROSS their research question and the robot reads through the law, gathers evidence, draws inferences and returns highly relevant, evidence-based answers. ROSS also monitors the law around the clock to notify users of new court decisions that can affect a case. The programme continually learns from the lawyers who use it to bring back better results each time.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Cross-Border Ecommerce Grows

Cross-border ecommerce grows.

Times of India reports that Chinese merchants will soon be able to sell their goods in 185 countries and regions through e-commerce giant Amazon's online marketplace, state media reported today. Amazon signed a deal with a cross-border e-commerce pilot zone in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province, to let traders use its site to sell to its 285-million active paying customers worldwide.

Amazon's global logistic network will deliver goods from China to 185 countries and regions, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. Cross-border sales account for nearly one fourth of total revenue from third party merchants in Amazon's global marketplaces. The number of Chinese traders there doubled in first quarter from a year ago.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Getting the Message: Communicating Content and Ideas

It's all about communicating your digital content and ideas with messaging apps. Messaging apps are allowing digital content to be included and digital content platforms are including messaging also. Content and communication are merging.

Times of India reports that YouTube is testing a messaging feature in its smartphone app so people can share and discuss videos without resorting to other ways to connect with their friends and family. The messaging option announced Friday initially is only being offered to a small group of people with YouTube 's app installed on an iPhone or device running on Google's Android software. If all goes well, messaging will be included in a future app update available to everyone with an iPhone or an Android phone.

YouTube, part of Alphabet Inc.'s Google, is examining whether the messaging feature will encourage its audience to spend even more time inside its popular video app. Currently, people typically copy links to YouTube and paste them into text messages or other messaging apps such as Snapchat , Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp .

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Turning to e-commerce to fight counterfeiting

Turning to e-commerce to fight counterfeiting.

Times of India reports that Ray-Ban has converted its India website into an ecommerce platform , as the eyewear brand seeks to fight off counterfeits that flood online marketplaces. Previously, the website functioned only as a reference point. Ray-Ban is the latest among a host of global firms including Puma and Adidas that launched their own ecommerce platforms in India, at a time when online retailing is growing at a fast clip in the country.

Friday, 13 May 2016

Location, Location, Location: Mapping the Future of Digital India

The Indian government has proposed a law that could lead to a fine for a wrong depiction of an Indian map.

Times of India reports that a campaign against the Union government's move to govern how companies and individuals use maps is gaining momentum, with a number of thinktanks, research organisations and activists launching efforts to rally resistance against the proposed law. The Centre for Internet and Society, Geo-Bangalore, Open Data Bangalore, DataMeet , DataKind and other entities, several of them based in Bengaluru, are preparing to meet top officials of the ministry of home affairs to recommend crucial changes to the draft Geospatial Information Regulation Bill, 2016. The group met on Wednesday evening to discuss recommendations to submit to the ministry, which has invited responses till June 4.

Through an Internet campaign called 'Save The Map,' which seeks to replicate the success of the 'Save the Internet' drive that was aimed at ensuring equal access to the Internet for all, the campaigners are stepping up efforts to build awareness about the far-reaching implications of the bill. These could include jail terms or cash penalties for organisations such as Uber and Ola as well as individuals for using the India map without a licence.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Diversifying from Commodities to Digital Economy

Developing countries see the need to diversify and move away from an economy dependent on commodities to a digital economy. Also using digital tech in rural India to improve the local economies there, shows the need to get areas to diversify their economies.

Times of India reports that hammered by plunging commodity prices, Africa's political and business leaders meet for three days from Wednesday to discuss diversification and entering the digital economy to kickstart growth. The World Economic Forum on Africa opens in the Rwandan capital Kigali on the heels of its bigger avatar in the chic Swiss resort of Davos which stressed the need to shift to the digital era.

Also in the news that Saudi Arabia is trying to shift its economy away from its dependency on oil.

Times of India also reports that the small tea growers in Assam, who contributes over 30% of state's total tea production, are soon to have access to expert advisories on good agricultural practices (GAP) on their cell phone. Tea Board of India (TBI) vice chairman Bidyananda Barkakoty said that the mobile app will help in efficient field management of tea plantation. The app is being developed by the Tata Consultancy Services. 

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Manufacturing Content and Trends Online

Times of India reports that Vodafone India has carved out a new vertical to curate and generate content as it packages its data services on 3G and 4G technologies. The new 10-member team has the right to pool resources from other departments, if needed. The move comes as rival Reliance Jio Infocomm plans to promote its video content and consumer applications as a hook for customers to switch service.

The purpose of the team is two-fold, said Sandeep Kataria, director-commercial. The first is to create partnerships with content companies so that there is more accessible content for Vodafone customers. Globally the group partners big providers such as Netflix, he said. The company already provides live TV channels, music on its platform and other movie content through agreements with application makers such as Hungama.

"We don't want to develop content where it's established and someone already has it," said Kataria. The second purpose of the team is to create content aimed at specific segments in the market, such that it will unlock usage of the Internet. "Our Kissan Mitr programme has reached one million subscribers," Kataria said. The programme gives weather, humidity and other actionable information for farmers.

Also in the news is that Facebook’s trending bar deliberately suppresses certain types of news, according to a new report. Facebook, probably one of the most important online news distributors, has cultivated the idea that its trending bar is an impartial algorithm that responds to “likes” and gives users only what they’ve indicated they want. But apparently in a confession on the tech blog Gizmodo, a former editor says popular conservative news would be kept off the “trending news” sidebar.

SJP @DigitalAsian