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Showing posts from March, 2015

B2B or B2C, That is the Question

Times of India reports that Alibaba founder Jack Ma is back in the capital after a gap of four months and has backed business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce as the model best suited for India and China, while pointing out that B2C, being pushed by the likes of Amazon and Flipkart, was the American model. Ma met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday and indicated to the possibility of a larger India presence, sources said. The 50-year-old, who had come to India as part of a business delegation in late November, had told TOI that he planned to invest in the country. He later bought a 25% stake in Paytm, a mobile commerce firm. 
The search for a larger footprint in the country comes at a time when the e-commerce story is booming, despite concerns in some quarters about "unrealistic valuations". In November, Ma had said that India is the second largest sourcing ground for Alibaba after China, where the economy has slowed down in recent months. In November, during private convers…

Digital Technology Dictates Our Behaviour

The Guardian reports that "America’s three obsessions – technology, fitness and finance – have finally converged in FitCoin, a new app that allows users to monetise their visits to the gym. The mechanism is simple: by integrating with popular activity trackers and wearables, the app converts our heartbeats into a digital currency. FitCoin’s founders hope that, much like its older sibling, bitcoin, this currency can be used to buy exclusive goods from partners such as Adidas and lower your insurance payments. FitCoin might fail but the principle behind it is indicative of the broader transformation of social life under conditions of permanent connectivity and instant commodification: what was previously done for pleasure or merely to conform to social norms is now firmly guided by the logic of the market. The other logics don’t disappear but they become secondary to the monetary incentive.
The ability to measure all our activities remotely is opening up new avenues for speculatio…

India's Supercomputer Dream

Times of India reports that the Indian government today approved launch of National Supercomputing Mission to connect national academic and R&D institutions with a grid of over 70 high-performance computing facilities at an estimated cost of Rs 4,500 crore. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has approved the launch of the mission that will enable India to leapfrog to the league of world-class computing power nations, an official release said.
"We are going to install 73 supercomputers in different parts of the country and all will be linked by a computer grid. This is about Rs 4,500 crore scheme in which Rs 2,800 crore will come from the Ministry of Science and Technology and the rest, about Rs 1,700 crore, from my department, IT," communications and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said. "... as far as supercomputing is concern India is ranked at number 74 and China is number 1. We have got 500 supercomputers in worl…

Future of Social Media in India

Economic Times reports that on his first ever trip to India, microblogging site Twitter's CEO Dick Costolo says India  is one of his company's fastest growing markets and a "fascinating one" because of its demographics, size and its "digital sophistication". In a conversation with ET, he speaks of the company's plans for India, Silicon Valley valuations and how Twitter will look in 2020. Edited excerpts.

In terms of pure user growth, in terms of numbers, India is the fastest growing. The opportunity is here with the explosion of the population. And the mobile first population is massive. We don't reveal our numbers by country outside the US. He (PM Narendra Modi) has been fantastic on the platform. He obviously understands its power as a way to directly connect with people. He is the second-most popular in the world in terms of popularity. And one of the most sophisticated users of it. PM Modi understands this. He is just good and authentic on the …

Digital Commando in India

India's third-largest IT services exporter Wipro is setting up a "commando force" unit next month that will target clients seeking to speed up automation and do more business online, an executive told Reuters. Rajan Kohli, who will head the newly formed Wipro Digital business, said the unit aimed to generate $1 billion in annual revenue within three years, which would make it one of the company's top sources of revenue. "We believe there is a lot of opportunity and a lot of money that our clients can save and that we can make," Kohli, the former head of Wipro's financial services unit, said in an telephone interview from the company's Bengaluru headquarters.
After decades of low-margin work including server maintenance, India's $150 billion IT services industry is looking towards artificial intelligence, cloud solutions and other more sophisticated digital services for growth. Industry advisory Offshore Insights estimates automation and artific…

Content Control India: Free Speech Online

The Supreme Court of India on Tuesday declared Section 66A of Information Technology Act 2000 as unconstitutional and struck it down. This section had been widely misused by police in various states to arrest innocent persons for posting critical comments about social and political issues and political leaders on social networking sites. The court said such a law hit at the root of liberty and freedom of expression, the two cardinal pillars of democracy. The court said the section has to be erased from the law books as it has gone much beyond the reasonable restrictions put by the Constitution on freedom of speech. The Supreme Court said section 66A was vaguely worded and allowed its misuse by police. The court, however, upheld the validity of section 69B and the 2011 guidelines for the implementation of the I-T Act that allowed the government to block websites if their content had the potential to create communal disturbance, social disorder or affect India's relationship with o…

Digital Currencies are now going mainstream

Times of India reports that Nasdaq OMX Group agreed to provide a startup the core technology to power a marketplace for trading bitcoins and related digital-currency assets, the Wall Street Journal reported. New York-based startup Noble Markets will use Nasdaq's X-stream trading system, which is used by more than 30 exchanges and marketplaces worldwide, the Journal reported, citing a joint statement. Nasdaq will also provide marketing support. Bitcoin payments processor Coinbase, backed by the New York Stock Exchange, opened a regulated exchange in the United States for trading the virtual currency earlier this year. Launched in 2009, Bitcoin lets people conduct transactions over the Internet. The virtual currency has come under regulators' scrutiny in the United States and Europe following a series of high-profile scandals such as the bankruptcy of Tokyo-based Bitcoin exchange Mt Gox.

Digital currencies are now going mainstream and being given institutional support and credenc…

It's All APPening on Mobile in India: Mcommerce May Soon Dominate in India

Economic Times reports that Dhiraj Kumar, a sales manager for a chemical company in Mumbai, spends the one hour he commutes to office in Lower Parel every day glued to his phone. Unlike his fellow commuters, the 34-year-old isn't glued to WhatsApp or talking to family; instead, he browses for furniture for his under-construction flat, checks out the latest deals on Flipkart and considers his lunch options either on Zomato, Foodpanda or the mobile-only startup TinyOwl. His iPhone is the centre of his Internet universe; he claims not to have been on an ecommerce website in at least six months and not ordered off a traditional website in a year. Startups across India's $15 billion ecommerce sector, in a desperate battle for customers, have decisively turned their attention to people such as Kumar who have ditched their laptops and desktops and use their smartphones to go deal-hunting. 


As the number of broadband connections plateaued and mobile data connections grow almost 100% …

Digital Disruption: Chaos Theory of Business Ideas

Economics Times asks Ram Charan, what's bothering global CEOs these days and the renowned consultant says, "earlier it used to be execution now it's just one thing — disruption." As the troika of rising structural uncertainty, increasing complexity and new business models create havoc with industries, CEOs face the challenge of not just keeping the engines running but also looking out for the unfolding market disruptions. Charan, who has just published a new book called The Attacker's Advantage, talks about the impact disruptive forces will have on businesses and how to be future-ready. Edited excerpts: It is no longer just disruption; it is destruction and creation. When Clayton Christensen talked about disruptive innovation, he saw people come and get the lower end of the market and then disrupt the industry. Now, all industries are being actually destroyed not disrupted. So Schumpeter's destruction and creation is now in full swing. In 1800s, the internal…

E-Commerce in India: Too much Hype?

As billions of dollars flow into India's booming online economy, some investors are beginning to fret that soaring valuations could hamper market listings and limit their options when it comes to turning paper profits into cash. India's rising number of smartphone users, cheaper Internet costs and a vast middle class have turned it into one of the hottest markets for investors such as Singaporean wealth fund Temasek Holdings, venture capitalists Accel Partners and Japan's SoftBank Corp. But several advisers and particularly later stage investors say they are concerned that optimistic estimates and already sky-high prices implied by privately sold stakes could make initial public offerings hard to pull off. 
Is there an Indian e-commerce bubble forming? E-commerce in India is moving ahead at breakneck speed with eye-watering figures for investments shown in the media. Later stage investors will remain wary if they foresee valuations are getting too high for them to invest.…

Silhouettes in the Setting Sun Mumbai - IdeaIndia.Com

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Non-Exclusive Relationships: Relationships in Indian E-commerce

Times of India reports that Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi has finally opened its online portal Mi Store in India, meaning that its products are not exclusive to the e-commerce poster boy Flipkart anymore. Xiaomi is only selling accessories on the web store as of now, not smartphones. Therefore, you can only purchase earphones and cases & covers for Xiaomi smartphones from the e-store at present. However, the company has not ruled out selling smartphones on the website in coming months. Nevertheless, Flipkart continues to be the exclusive sales partner for Xiaomi smartphones in India. Xiaomi has sold over a million smartphones in India since it arrived in the country last July. However, products like Yi action camera and Mi Band fitness tracker are yet to hit the market, along with new smartphones Mi Note and Mi Note Pro. At a press meet last week, Xiaomi global vice president Hugo Barra and India head Manu Jain said that the company will open 100 Experience Zones in its service cen…

Digital Technology is Making Businesses Converge

Commercial banks are entering the mobile payments space, a market that was incubated by Airtel Money, but which since then has seen a host of players including Vodafone m-pesa, Paytm, MobiKwik and Oxigen reports the Times of India. HDFC Bank has just launched Chillr, a third party app platform that enables users to transfer money to anybody in their phone book contacts. The user only needs to know the phone number of the person to whom he/she is transferring. But the transfer happens directly from and to bank accounts. For now, only an HDFC Bank account holder can send money, but can do so to any bank account holder. Chillr expects to sign up more banks soon.
ICICI Bank launched the Pockets app last month. Pockets is a wallet model like Paytm and MobiKwik. You don't have to be an ICICI Bank account holder to use it, but account holders can use it with their internet banking credentials. The app uses a virtual Visa card and users can choose to add a zero balance savings account to…

Email Not Appstaged Just Yet

People in the tech industry have been digging a grave for email for more than a decade, but their predictions have always seemed a little out of touch reports the Times of India. Email, despite its terrible, horrible, no-good impact on our daily lives, is wonderfully ubiquitous, accessible, forgiving and still apparently a good business. In the last year, Amazon, Dropbox, Google and Microsoft have all announced new email initiatives. Yet despite email's admirable endurance, it's possible to envision a future in which email -- remarkably -- is supplanted by new tools that allow people to collaborate in big groups and force upon companies the sort of radical information transparency that many in the tech industry, at least, believe is essential.
The best example of that new sort of communication system comes from Slack, a start-up in San Francisco. It looks similar to several other group chat apps you've used before -- think AOL Instant Messenger or the nerdier Internet Rel…

Mumbai Morning - Images of Mumbai

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SJP @DigitalAsian

Image Branding of a Country: Good Times ahead for Hollywood and Bollywood

The Guardian reports that Mexican officials reportedly offered up to $20m in tax incentives to Sony Pictures and MGM in return for changes to be made to the next James Bond film, in an apparent attempt to combat the country’s negative image. According to a report on the US website Tax Analysts, Mexico offered incentives in exchange for changes to to the script of Spectre, including a request for a Mexican Bond girl and a non-Mexican villain. Shooting for the latest instalment of the Bond franchise, to be directed by Sam Mendes, is due to begin next week. The report, based on internal Sony emails that were posted online by hackers purportedly linked to North Korea, said that studio executives from Sony Pictures Entertainment and MGM pressured for changes to the script to secure the incentives. “You have done a great job in getting us the Mexican incentive,” wrote Jonathan Glickman, president of MGM’s motion picture group, in an email to the film’s producers. “Let’s continue to pursue …

Digital Branding and Advertising: Cricket Shows the Way

The morning and working hour timings of matches in the ongoing cricket World Cup have made millions of sport lovers follow the action on dedicated websites, apps and social media, prompting several big and small brands to latch on to digital advertising like never before reports the Times of India. Brands across industries, including Lufthansa, Accenture, Tissot and Hero are looking to catch the on-the-move consumer on a variety of platforms including official broadcaster Star India's starsports.com, social media sites, cricket portals and apps such as Hotstar. "Some of our clients have looked at digital very seriously. Hero, for instance, has bet heavily on digital and it is really doing well for the brand," said Praseed Prasad, national director for digital trading at media buying firm GroupM India. Another client of his, Pepsi Lays, has chosen to do more on the digital side and only advertise on television during select matches in the World Cup this year.
Digital bran…

Digitising India: Modi's Mission

Times of India reports effective implementation and execution of schemes and programmes for girl education is set to get a boost with the launch of web-based tool 'digital gender atlas' which will identify low-performing geographic pockets for girls on specific gender-related indicators. "It is a tool used for education planning and administration and will help us target a plan of action for effective implementation of programmes," school education secretary Vrinda Sarup told media. The atlas, prepared in active collaboration with Unicef and released by the human resources minister Smriti Irani in Chhatisgarh on March 8, is a visual representation of the vulnerabilities impinging education of girls. "The atlas provides comparative analysis of individual gender-related indicators over three years and that enables a visual assessment of the change and an understanding of whether some intervention introduced in a geography at a particular point of time has worked …

Mobile Money: Leaving Home Without Your Cards

Times of India reports that using your smartphone to make payments in shops or public transport should become more widespread this year, but its supremacy will depend on how successful retailers are in enticing people to keep their cards or cash in their pockets. The stakes are high for phone manufacturers and operators, not to mention banks, as the success of contactless systems where consumers sweep their smartphone over a reader could shake up the lucrative retail payments market. But the chief executive of Ingenico, a leading manufacturer of payment card terminals as well as new contactless systems, doesn't see people as ready to give up their debit cards just yet. "Smartphones will be a small part of the market but the main payment mechanism will remain the traditional (card) terminal which will continue to see growth," said Philippe Lazare, whose company manufactures more than one in three payment terminals in use worldwide. That view didn't stop Ingenico from…

India's Rocket Man? - Photos of India - IdeaIndia.Com

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Ideas Maketh Man: Until Digital Technology Starts to get Ideas of its Own

Times of India reports that new technologies are capitalising on the jobs market and in the workplace, said Arianna Huffington and Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt at a London conference. The Future of Work conference, staged at Lancaster House, looked at how technological advancements are changing the shape and even existence of traditional workplaces. "While there have been a lot of concerns about machines and technology replacing humans, when it comes to jobs, in fact we are seeing that technology is allowing an enormous amount of new jobs to emerge," Huffington, editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post online newspaper, told AFP. The conference brought together politicians, business leaders and intellectuals to debate the role of technology in tomorrow's workplace. Schmidt is among the optimists, claiming that while some people accuse technology of being responsible for the world's ills, in reality it is often the solution.
There are opportunities in the dig…

Digital Will dominate the Dow Jones

Dow Jones slowly changes in the digital world. Digital technology companies will slowly dominate the markets because they are in the business of everything. You only need to see the acquisitions being made by Google, Apple, Amazon etc. Dow goes virtual.

Times of India reports that Apple is in. AT&T is out. In another victory of sorts for the popular and profitable iPhone giant, Apple will replace AT&T in the venerable Dow Jones industrial average on March 19, the manager of the index announced on Friday. The move isn't likely to impact the 30-stock index much, and will have no effect on the fortunes of the two companies. But market experts say it does have symbolic importance, sort of like getting an Oscar at the Academy Awards -- or at least a nomination. The change cements Apple as "the gold standard of technology," says Daniel Ives, a financial analyst at FBR Research. "They've really become the modern-day Wright Brothers." 
The reshuffling of t…

Financial Services Hub: Attracting Global Capital to India

Economic Times reports that new norms on permanent establishment (PE) announced in the Budget will be applicable to all funds — regardless of whether they have raised funds in India or plan to deploy capital in the country — potentially boosting prospects of cities such as Mumbai and Ahmedabad with ambitions to emerge as global finance centres. But, there are irritants, notably the super-rich tax introduced in the Budget, which stipulates higher tax rate for those earning above Rs 1 crore as well as, what some analysts say, are ambiguities in the language of the new norms. In his Budget speech, Finance Rules on Permanent Establishment Give Fin Hub Plans a Fillip Minister Arun Jaitley had said the current taxation norms discouraged fund managers from locating to India. The Budget sought to change this in line with the government's keenness to attract high value financial services to India by clarifying that the physical presence of fund manager would not result in the creation of …

Ideas in India: The Money is Following the Opportunities in India

Times of India reports that at least two virtual accelerators have come up in India to help entrepreneurs through the early stages of starting up, plugging a critical gap as many aspirants failed to make the cut even as the country has about 80 accelerators and incubators. London-based GrowthEnabler -- which offers customized guidance for entrepreneurs, 'wantepreneurs' and SMEs (small and medium enterprises) -- is launching operations in Bengaluru as it enters India. Bengaluru-based First100Sales is another company that offers similar services. Just about 5% of the Indian start-up community benefits from accelerators and incubators or makes it into investor portfolios. "A lot of these start-ups, what we call the other 95%, do not have access to great advisory, cannot get into accelerators for various reasons," said Rajeev Banduni, CEO of the technology-enabled virtual growth advisory and mentoring platform GrowthEnabler, and previously regional vice president of glo…

India's IT Industry Waiting for Government to Take Action

Times of India reports that otherwise wary of government contracts, software firms in the country are looking up to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's pet IT projects, Digital India and Smart Cities, hoping that the government will execute the two ambitious programmes through public-private partnerships in the absence of any big allocations for them in the 2015-16 budget. Experts say IT companies are attracted to the two programmes despite delays in receiving payment of about Rs 5,000 crore for the work they have done for the government in the past. 
"Some of the Digital India projects are amenable to PPP approaches," R Chandrashekhar, president of the National Association of Software and Services Companies or Nasscom. "The PPP route does not mean all the investment will be done by an IT company. For example, the whole goods and services tax (GST) rides on an IT platform, so what has been suggested by the industry in that context is that you can have a public-private p…

Happy Holi from IdeaIndia.com

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DNA of the Startup Spirit: If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them

Mondelez International makes $34 billion worth of chocolate, biscuits, gum and candy. But, as the world discovered about 10 days ago, it can also make entrepreneurs. Betabox — a service startup founded by a bunch of Mondelez employees and incubated in the company's office in the US, was acquired by digital marketing agency VaynerMedia for an undisclosed sum last fortnight. Betabox — it helps companies build their e-commerce presence — was born out of Mondelez International's Mobile Futures initiative, which aims to create and incubate new mobile ventures in 90 days. "We empowered our employees to be more entrepreneurial and provided them with a unique opportunity to launch their own startup," Bonin Bough, vice president of global media and e-commerce at Mondelez International, said in a press release. "The fact that our startup piqued the interest of a leading marketing agency is a testament to the entrepreneurial spirit we were able to spark within."
Back…

In the Business of Everything: Digital Tech

With the Internet of Things or Internet of Everything gaining ground, corporations like Google, Apple, Amazon and other tech giants getting into all sorts of businesses such as driverless cars, mobile payments, satellites, medical devices and other more obscure ones. These tech giants make strategic acquisitions around the world and also hire staff from other tech companies to further their research and development. Corporations like Apple, Google and Amazon are in the business of everything now as digitaltechnology touches virtually every aspect of human life. These tech giants are in the business of human beings.
SJP @DigitalAsian

The City State: In a State of Its Own

Singapore achieved its independence 50 years ago in 1965. It has been incredibly successful in becoming a major regional business and trading hub attracting multinational corporations and individuals from all over the world to settle there.
Economic migration, including that from Western Europe, has been a major factor in Singapore's growth and not all local Singaporeans are happy with this. There is a parallel to be drawn here with the European Union where, for example in Britain, a lot of people are unhappy with other members of the EU from Eastern Europe being allowed to legally settle and work in Britain. Economic migrants can boost an economy in Singapore just as it can in Britain.
Large cities such as London, New York, Tokyo, Dubai, Hong Kong and Mumbai attract economic migrants. maybe these cities are becoming like Singapore. Because these cities are so crucial to their country's economic well-being they are given more autonomy to handle their affairs to cater to rich …

India's Broadband Optical Fibre Network Needs Faster Speeds

Times of India reports that Andhra Pradesh has become the first state to opt for executing the National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) on its own and the telecom department will reimburse the cost for the same, finance minister Arun Jaitley said. "Fibre network of 7.5 lakh kilometres in 2.5 lakh villages is being further speeded up by allowing willing states to undertake its execution on reimbursement of cost determined by the Department of Telecommunications. Andhra Pradesh is the first state to have opted for this manner of implementation," Jaitley said while presenting the Budget for 2015-16 in Parliament. 
Andhra Pradesh had proposed to deliver broadband connection with 10-15 mbps download speed to each 12 million households for Rs 150/month that are planned to be covered under state designed project. The state had proposed to execute the project at a cost of Rs 4,913 crore in five years while Centre has earmarked Rs 1,940 crore for the NOFN project in the state. For exec…

There Is ... Poem by Tina Shah

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Is this what I was waiting for ~ Nothing ~ Nothing more Is this what our lives lead to ~ Nothing ~ Nothing more Is this all that is left now ~ Nothing ~ Nothing more
Never had I thought as much, that these life’s medley’s would lead to such emptiness and ~ Nothing ~ Nothing more
Never had I thought that I would never ever want no more Let us leave it all aside. Then finally truly realize that as of now, there is practically ~ Nothing ~ Nothing more
So, what are we then looking for?
Do rest assured, for I and you do know, that yes! now there ain’t ~ Nothing ~ Nothing more.


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Tina Shah is a student, an educationist, poet, animal lover and more than meets the eye!  Born in Delhi, settled in Chandigarh with a master’s degree in English Literature, diplomas in Special Education, Industrial Relations & Personnel Management.
The poetic world helps transport her many sightings, experiences & conversations from t…