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Showing posts from September, 2016

Chasing the Next Billion in India

Tech firms targeting the Next Billion users in India, most of whom are likely to connect to the Internet for the first time via mobile phones.
Earlier this week, at its Made for India event, Google unveiled a bunch of services targeted at the Indian users, reports Times of India. Not only did the company revealed that India was among the very first countries to get the messaging app Allo, it also announced Google Station Wi-Fi platform and new offline feature for Chrome web browser.
Along with these, Google also introduced a new mobile app that it says is 'India-inspired' and 'India-First'. Called YouTube Go, the app is said to be aimed at bringing down mobile data bills. The new video-streaming service adds to the company's long term goal of making internet accessible to the 'Next Billion' users in India and enhancing the Google experience for them. The app is said to have been built from the ground-up keeping Indian users in focus who are more conscious …

What type of Advertising suits your Startup?

Getting your advertising right to get your product, pricing and positioning right.
Leo Burnett, the founder of the global advertising company once said, 'The sole purpose of business is service, reports Times of India. The sole purpose of advertising is explaining the service which business renders.' But, what if your business cannot afford to explain what it does? Does not advertising mean limiting customer acquisition? Should marketing be an essential part of a startup budget? In a world where even unicorn startups like Flipkart and Snapdeal have not turned profitable, but are spending crores on advertising, it is difficult being a startup that cannot advertise. Yet, that is the hard road most startups have to trudge through.
A road made difficult by several investors losing interest in funding startups, evident by the low number of funding rounds this year. While doomsayers are predicting a startup bust on the lines of the dotcom bust of 1990s, advertising spend by startup…

Is an IPO exit the right move now

Is an IPO exit the right move now?
A handful of domestic enterprise software companies including Druva Software and Manthan Software Services are exploring plans to list their shares on stock exchanges, signalling the rapid maturing of at least some sections of India's startup industry, reports Times of India. Business process management company Newgen Software Technologies and consumer analytics firm Capillary Technologies are considering public market debuts in 18-24 months, according to multiple sources aware of the companies' plans. "We have received suggestions from a few US banks to publicly list Manthan on Nasdaq," said Atul Jalan, chief executive of business intelligence venture Manthan.
"It has been an agenda on our board meeting discussions for a while now," Jalan said. "The board and investors believe an IPO is a trajectory the company should take." Druva's Chief Technology Officer Milind Borate said the enterprise data protection …

Transmitting Data Through a Human Body

Transmitting Secure Data Through a Human Body
A team of Indian-American engineers has devised a way to send secure passwords through the human body using smartphone fingerprint sensors and laptop touchpads -- rather than over the air where they're vulnerable to hacking, reports Times of India. Sending a password or secret code over airborne radio waves like Wi-Fi or Bluetooth means anyone can eavesdrop, making those transmissions vulnerable to hackers who can attempt to break the encrypted code. Now, computer scientists and electrical engineers from Seattle-based University of Washington have devised a way to send secure passwords through the human body -- using benign, low-frequency transmissions generated by fingerprint sensors and touchpads on consumer devices. "Fingerprint sensors have so far been used as an input device. What is cool is that we've shown for the first time that fingerprint sensors can be re-purposed to send out information that is confined to the bod…

Idea Competition

Idea Competition
Deep down all of us want to be the next Steve Jobs or Bill Gates. Sitting in your cubicle, you may wonder how the billionaire in your dreams is still stuck in a mediocre 9-5 life, reports Economic Times. Maybe it is time to move up the line of bosses and be your own boss. Instead to foster the spirit of entrepreneurship and business acumen among people all around the world, IIT Bombay's Eureka! is a contest that fast tracks the journey from an innovative idea to a commercial success.
Most of us are too afraid to try, but what if Elon Musk had been too scared to seek something new? If you have an idea or a startup in its adolescence, the E-Cell at IIT Bombay is providing the one in a million opportunity to take your idea/startup to the next level. Eureka! is a business model competition designed to emulate the process of the growth of an idea towards a full-fledged startup.
Right from acknowledging that your idea has potential, to drafting a B-Model, and pitching …

Improving your chances of success

Improving your chances of success

Economic Times gives tips for success: Success is never easy and sustained winning at your career over a 30 to 40 year span is incredibly hard
Hack — an uncommon but clever technique to solve problems or create a favourable position. Success is never easy and sustained winning at your career over a 30 to 40 year span is incredibly hard. However, the most successful people seem to get there effortlessly every time. What's common to them is neither genetics nor luck but a set of common habits that create the momentum and circumstances for the dice to be loaded in their favour. You too can take responsibility for your success and achieve massive outcomes by making these small changes in your life that most people ignore. 
Kill the 'snooze' button 'Mind over mattress,' says Robin Sharma, life coach and author. A study says most top executives wake up daily between 4 am and 6 am. Apple CEO Tim Cook starts his day at 4.30 am and is in t…

Cybersecurity Collaboration

Cybersecurity collaboration

With the aim to exchange information and best practices on cybersecurity, the Data Security Council of India (DSCI), a premier body on cybersecurity, on Saturday launched its first global chapter in Singapore, reports Times of India. The DSCI Singapore chapter will help build linkages with various stakeholders in the government, industry and academia and establish channels of collaboration on policy deliberation, industry development and capacity building on security privacy and cybercrime investigation, among others.

"Cybersecurity is a global issue and needs attention of all stakeholders. It is essential that countries become partners to address this issue collaboratively," said Vijay Thakur Singh, high commissioner to Singapore, in a statement. "In the light of recent affirmative steps by both the countries on the issue of cybersecurity, these initiatives reinforce the vital role played by global thought leaders like DSCI in bringing the …

Employee Engagement: HR Disruption

Employee Engagement: HR Disruption

Times of India publishes an article by Shakun Khanna: Within two days of the launch of Pokemon Go, Nintendo's shares surged a quarter and $7.5 billion was added to its valuation. In India alone, the app has been downloaded over 100 million times, 50 million in Singapore and boasts 9.55 million total daily US users. Pokemon Go has well and truly taken the world by storm. Seemingly overnight the World has woken up to multiple people challenges, ranging from security issues, compliance, manpower availability, lack of competitive strategies, inability to capture new opportunities etc. It has also added to the HR's complex responsibility of creating a 'Future Ready, Competitive Organisation'. The advent of the virtual creatures reiterates the importance of the following messages for the HR community:
People engagement continues to be the single most potent driver of business results: When people are engaged with a product, service or for …

Regtech: Risky Business

Regtech: Risky Business

Times of India reports that the Hong Kong securities regulator is due next month to kick-off a pilot "fintech" project as part of a broader plan to improve the way the watchdog monitors and detects systemic risk, according to a public tender document and individuals familiar with the plans. The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) will team-up with a sample group of 20 banks and an external technology firm to overhaul the way it uses financial data, according to the tender document seeking a third party to help the SFC run the project.
Fintech describes a new wave of financial technology firms that are poised to shake-up the global financial services industry. Regulators and banks are increasingly using these new technologies, such as artificial intelligence or data analytics, to address new regulations and better manage risk - an emerging phenomenon dubbed "regtech". The SFC hopes to more intelligently analyse the data it gathers from f…

Augmented Reality and Private Property Rights

Augmented reality and games like Pokemon Go have created a debate on the law over private property rights and virtual rights over private property. Can a property owner claim virtual rights over his/her property just like other easements or as, e.g. governments claim airspace over their territory?
Times of India reports that within one week in July the Sydney suburb of Rhodes was transformed from a quiet neighbourhood to what resident Joyce Wong described as a "place of carnage" with hundreds of people wandering around like "zombies". "The car hooting noise was incessant, on weekends you felt like you were under siege and the rubbish and litter all over the public areas was terrible," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by email from her home in the Australian city. The reason for the constant disturbance? Pokemon Go, the latest craze in augmented reality. The game took the world by storm this summer as animated creatures began appearing in the most …

Poker Face: Emotion Recognition Tehcnology

MIT researchers have developed new technology that can detect someone's emotions using wireless signals. This tech might have potential commercial applications in for use in business negotiations, interviews or audience reaction for market research purposes. Such emotion detection technology could be incorporated into a smartphone possibly. Perhaps could be such tech could be used in Poker games?

SJP @DigitalAsian - ShareYaar

Bypass the 'Buy Box' on Online Marketplaces

Online marketplace manipulation. Customers should maybe bypass the 'Buy Box' or suggestions thrown up by online marketplaces and look at what else is on offer.

Times of India reports that online shopping portal Amazon's algorithms make customers pay more for popular products giving prominence to items that benefit the retail giant, a study by ProPublica said. ProPublica on Tuesday said it reviewed 250 frequently purchased products over several weeks to see what all were chosen to appear in the highly-prized 'buy box' that pops up first as a suggested purchase.
Amazon that bills itself as the "Earth's most customer-centric company", not only sells products directly itself, but also allows other retailers to sell their own products through its platform. This means that the same product could be offered by dozens of vendors at different prices and with different shipping costs.
When customers search for and click on a product, the Amazon algorithm choos…

Legal Judgments differ whether Bitcoin real money or not

Is Bitcoin money or not? A Judge in Florida ruled earlier this year that Bitcoin is not real money - see Licence to Print Money, Cryptically Speaking

But now, Times of India reports that Bitcoin qualifies as money, a federal judge ruled on Monday, in a decision linked to a criminal case over hacking attacks against JPMorgan Chase and other companies. US District Judge Alison Nathan in Manhattan rejected a bid by Anthony Murgio to dismiss two charges related to his alleged operation of Coin.mx, which prosecutors have called an unlicensed bitcoin exchange. Murgio had argued that bitcoin did not qualify as "funds" under the federal law prohibiting the operation of unlicensed money transmitting businesses.
But the judge, like her colleague Jed Rakoff in an unrelated 2014 case, said the virtual currency met that definition. "Bitcoins are funds within the plain meaning of that term," Nathan wrote. "Bitcoins can be accepted as a payment for goods and services or bou…

Problems with proprietary hardware

Problems with proprietary hardware and software

BBC News reports "Large numbers of HP printer owners found their printers stopped recognising unofficial printer ink cartridges on 13 September. Dutch printer ink vendor 123inkt said it had received more than 1,000 complaints in one day. HP said that during its last firmware update, settings had been changed so HP printers would communicate with only HP-chipped cartridges. It also said some devices already had the functionality built-in. 123inkt said it did not believe that a firmware update had been issued since March 2016, suggesting the change had been pre-programmed to roll out this month. HP said such updates were rolled out "periodically" but did not comment on the timing of the last instalment."
SJP @DigitalAsian - ShareYaar

Apps are now the preferred method for communication and content

Google wants to compete with WhatsApp and Hike in mobile communication and content with its new apps. Smartphones are now used not so much for dialing and making calls as before but for chatting and sharing content using apps. Apps are now the preferred method for communication and sharing content.

Google announced the Duo video calling app and Allo chat app at its I/O developer conference back in May this year. Last month, the company officially launched Duo, which crossed 10 million downloads in just a month. Now, the company has confirmed that it will be launching Allo soon as well. Speaking to Gadgets Now, Google confirmed that it will be launching Allo chatting app for all users on September 21.
For those unaware, Allo is a standalone messaging app which comes with a built-in search engine. It has Google Assistant integration and uses the phone number as the primary user identification method. Users can also link their Google account to the app. Allo has various emojis and custo…

Is a VR headset on the cards for Apple?

Is a VR and/or AR headset on the cards for Apple?

Times of India reports that Apple continues hiring augmented and virtual reality experts, an area which the company's CEO Tim Cook has been referring to all year, a media report said. Apple has hired two experts -- Zeyu Li, who had worked at augmented reality (AR) startup Magic Leap and Yury Petrov, who had worked with Oculus VR, Facebook's virtual reality(VR) platform.
Virtual reality "probably has a lower commercial interest over time" and that "augmented reality is the larger of the two, probably by far" technology website The Verge quoted Cook as saying. Apple will continue to invest in augmented and virtual reality research and the company already has hundreds of people working on AR and VR, with an aim to eventually build some kind of headset, the report added.
SJP @DigitalAsian - ShareYaar

Lord of the Apps: Super Apps

Taking a line from Lord of the Rings: One App to Rule them All.
India's top apps are on the journey to become super apps, a model proven successful by neighbour China's WeChat and Alipay, reports Economic Times. From payment solution provider Paytm to personal assistance app Helpchat, Indian startups are now experimenting the one-fit-for-all approach to click with India's low budget and low-memory smartphone market. 
Super apps or apps that provide multiple use cases such as cab booking, bill payment, food ordering, flight booking are integrated in a single app that hosts various portals providing these services. "Based on our learnings from China, we foresee Indians adopting more new use-cases on the same app. We've noticed early signs of that already, and are actively working to add more new use-cases on the Paytm app," said Sudhanshu Gupta, vice-president at Paytm. Paytm, like its partner app, Alipay the payment service from Ant Financial, an affiliate of…

Social media marketing and social networks needed for cars

Social media marketing and social networks needed for cars
Times of India reports that according to new data from JD Power, 22% of people in the market for a new set of wheels have started turning to social networks for help and advice. The figure is up from 15% just 12 months ago, the last time JD Power conducted the New Autoshopper Study and it looks like it's the start of a growing trend, particularly among younger drivers.
"Social media plays a large role in many consumers' lives, so it's not surprising that it's one of the tools they're using during the vehicle-shopping process," said Mike Battaglia, vice president, automotive retail at JD Power. "While we would not expect social media sites to compete head-on with designated auto shopping sites like Toyota.com and Kelley Blue Book, it's easy to understand the role and relevance social plays in the automotive shopping process."
The study, which polled 17,349 people who had bought or le…

Startups lose their sparkle for IITs

Startups lose their sparkle for IITs

Economic Times reports on IITs placement schemes: A job at one of India's hottest unicorns or one at a public sector unit that's been around forever? India's top engineering schools are set to forego startup sparkle for state-owned stolidity when it comes to this year's campus recruitments after many high profile enterprises reneged on or delayed job offers last year. Many also went out of business, leaving new recruits high and dry. 
The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are keen to give public sector undertakings (PSUs) early placement slots this year, even Day 1, said people aware of the matter. That's despite such firms offering much less by way of pay or stock options than private companies. Some schools plan to invite about 100 PSUs each with directors and faculty members reaching out to them to ensure they attend. The IITs are also trying to rope in the ministry of human resource development to persuade the so-calle…

The Road Map Ahead for Taxi Aggregators

Uber is to start mapping streets in UK cities beginning with London. Uber will start sending out its mapping cars just as Google has done. Perhaps Uber's plan is for its self-driving cars to get the knowledge just as London's Black Cab drivers do. Will we have an Uber Earth soon?
India's Ola will probably feel obliged to do the same to keep up with its main rival.
SJP @DigitalAsian - ShareYaar


Adblock to Adchoice: Creating a Marketplace for Ads

Ad blocking now becomes Ad choosing. Will this favour the consumer who will decide what type of ads they prefer or will it favour the ad blockers who will decide which ads they favour?

CNBC reports "Adblock Plus is launching a new service that...uh, puts more ads on your screen. Rather than stripping all ads from the internet forever, Adblock Plus is hoping to replace the bad ads — anything it deems too big, too ugly, or too intrusive — with good ads, ones that are smaller, subtler, and theoretically much less annoying. It'll begin doing that through an ad marketplace, which will allow blogs and other website operators to pick out so-called "acceptable" ads and place them on their pages. If a visitor using Adblock Plus comes to the page, they'll be shown those "acceptable ads," instead of whatever ads the site would normally run...."It allows you to treat the two different ecosystems completely differently and monetize each one," says Ben Wi…

You have to be Self-Driven in the Valley

Industries are pushing towards driverless cars and created a huge demand for the skills required in this field.
Silicon Valley is creating a crash course in self-driving car technology to address a shortage of engineers with help from a startup in a different field: Online education, reports Times of India. Nearly every major tech company, car company and ride services company, it seems, is developing or partnering with developers of self-driving technology, from Google parent Alphabet to Tesla Motors, General Motors and Uber Technologies, creating an insatiable demand for the people teaching the machines to think.
In about a year's time, a Lincoln sedan will be driving itself from Mountain View to San Francisco, using software developed by 250 or so students enrolled at education startup Udacity, if all goes according to plan. Udacity bought the Lincoln already equipped with the digital interface needed in autonomous vehicles; students will write the code. Udacity's course, …

Digitizing a Nation: Getting Tech Firms to Use Aadhaar

Digitizing a Nation: Getting Tech Firms to Use Aadhaar
India's relationship with the global tech industry has become increasingly fraught reports Economic Times. This year alone, the government has banned Facebook's free web service and declined to exempt Apple from local sourcing rules and open its own stores. Now India could force companies to use technology cooked up in a government-funded lab. The initiative is part of a national biometric identity program called Aadhaar. Millions of Indians use fingerprint and iris-scan authentication to access a range of public and private services that now includes banking. Failure to join the effort could limit the tech industry's access to a vast and growing market, but companies like Apple and Google are expected to resist opening up their phones and operating systems to the Indian registration, encryption and security technology. "There will be lots of pushing and shoving by the technology companies," says Neeraj Agga…

LinkedIndia: Microsoft's LinkedIn Strategy for India

LinkedIn creating verticals for startups and students and an India Lite version.
LinkedIn Corp, the operator of the world's largest online business networking service, has launched in India a "Lite" version of its website for mobile browsing, reports Times of India. The company, which is being acquired by Microsoft Corp , said on Monday the version was aimed at helping users browse its website faster on their smartphones in areas with slow or poor internet connectivity. "LinkedIn Lite" loads four times faster and provides a better experience to users in urban and rural areas with patchy networks, Akshay Kothari, the company's country manager and head of product for India, said at an event in Bengaluru. The version will be available in the next few weeks, he said.
Last year, LinkedIn revamped its mobile app after facing heavy criticism for poor design and user experience. To expand their user base, social networking giants including Facebook Inc and Twitter…

You Don't Have to judge a book by its cover, at least not now

Never judge a book by its cover, at least not now. The latest technology can see and read between the sheets!
Scientists, including one of Indian origin, have developed a new technology that can read pages of a closed book, an advance that may help archaeologists look into antique books without touching them reports Times of India. Researchers, including Ramesh Raskar from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US, tested a prototype of the system on a stack of papers, each with one letter printed on it. The system was able to correctly identify the letters on the top nine sheets. "The Metropolitan Museum in New York showed a lot of interest in this, because they want to, for example, look into some antique books that they don't even want to touch," said Barmak Heshmat, a research scientist at MIT. He said that the system could be used to analyse any materials organised in thin layers, such as coatings on machine parts or pharmaceuticals. The researchers fro…

User-Generated VR Content

Apple could be preparing the iPhone 7 camera for user-generated virtual reality content. Apple has added some new features to iPhone 7 camera that allows users to take pictures and video with more depth and shallow depth of field which could pave the way in future models of the iPhone for user-generated VR content, according to CNBC.
User-generated VR content could be the next big breakthrough in tech for smartphones.
SJP @DigitalAsian

World Without Wires

Wireless world planned by tech firms. What with wireless charging of smartphones and wireless headphones, we are moving towards a world without wires and wireless connectivity.
During a two-hour product showcase held on Wednesday in one of rock music's most storied venues, Apple executives signalled that the company was heading toward a wireless future, where devices would connect without cables, reports Times of India. A big step in that direction is the removal of a headphone jack from the latest version of the iPhone, called the iPhone 7.
What was lacking in Apple's presentation, as has been the case for the Silicon Valley giant in recent years, was a new, can't-miss hit like the original iPod. There was not even a dramatic change to an old classic, like the bigger iPhones it introduced in 2014. But if you like tweaks to products you may already have, Apple had plenty to offer at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, a cavernous arena named for a famous music promoter that…

India's Largest Digital Content Marketplace

Aggregating digital content and providing the means of consumer consumption of the content will make Jio not just a mobile telecom company but an online marketplace of digital content.
With a slew of content deals with the top broadcasters and film banners already under its belt, Reliance Jio is on its way to be the largest content aggregator in India, reports Times of India. The new telco has already signed deals with top broadcasters Star India, Zee Entertainment Enterprises (ZEE), Sony Pictures Networks India, and its sister company Network18, besides top Bollywood studios such as Eros International, Shemaroo, Balaji Telefilms, Venus and Rajshri Productions, to get content on its platform.
"We are providing very high speed data and expect more and more users to experience it," a Jio official said, adding that video content is crucial for this. When Mukesh Ambani announced the launch of Jio at Reliance Industries' annual general meeting last week, the euphoria was abo…

Getting more customers to do more on your online platform

Getting more customers to do more transactions on your online platform. Expanding the types of transactions your customers do on your platform seems to be the plan for online marketplaces.
Online marketplace Paytm said it plans to invest in marketing flight bookings on its platform as it focuses on inducing high-value repeat transactions, reports Times of India. "Flights being a very new category with huge growth potential, we are looking to invest in marketing and scale the business aggressively," said Abhishek Rajan, vice-president, adding that the company will invest an additional Rs 300 crore in the business.
In April, Paytm had said it is planning to invest around Rs 120 crore on its travel marketplace this year. "Bus ticketing business recently turned break-even and we are expecting our hotel booking business too to turn break even in the next two months," Ranjan said. Paytm said over 1 million tickets were booked on its platform in August, and the company s…

PSU entrepreneurship in India?

PSU entrepreneurship in India? That's a good idea but a very tall order for Dharmendra Pradhan.
Petroleum and Natural Gas minister, Dharmendra Pradhan, on Tuesday urged the public sector undertakings (PSUs) to create startup funds on the lines of private sector in order to promote innovation and nurture new ideas in the energy sector. "I am advising my CEO friends in PSUs that if Ratan Tata can put his private funds for startups and so can Narayana Murthy, then why can't you?" asked Pradhan. He was addressing a conference on methanol economy organised by NITI Aayog. "ONGC has already offered Rs 100 crore for startups. Can we create a synergy in innovation and this kind of startup fund? This can be a win-win situation for all of us. Let us create a platform for our young Indians and scientific brains," he said. On moving to methanol-based economy, he said, it is a readymade case of proven technology. A methanol-based economy can create a lot of employment a…