Posts

Showing posts from January, 2017

Just-in-Time Services

Office sharing, like car sharing with Uber, is taking off in a big way. Ownership of anything is no longer needed when you have an app that can get you the services you need when you need them - just in time services.

SoftBank Group Corp is considering an investment of more than $1 billion in office-space sharing start-up WeWork, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter, reports Times of India. The deal could be among the first from SoftBank's $100 billion technology fund, the WSJ said. SoftBank and WeWork declined to comment.
WeWork is currently valued at nearly $17 billion and SoftBank's valuation of the company is expected to be at or above this figure, the WSJ said, citing the sources. SoftBank has earlier discussed an investment in WeWork before pulling out, the Journal reported, citing two people familiar with the matter, and added talks may not result in a deal this time.
Some SoftBank executives have raised questions whether the WeWork …

eBooks Marketing and Technology Innovations

Interview with HaperCollins CEO in Economic Times. Innovations still do not rule over books in publishing: HarperCollins UK CEO Charlie Redmayne by Malini Goyal.
The digital wave is sweeping the world, and nowhere is it being felt more than in the publishing industry. HarperCollins, a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp and among the top five publishers in the world, has been experimenting with a range of digital initiatives — from dynamic pricing of books to partnerships with companies like online digital library Scribd. In 2013, the publisher appointed Charlie Redmayne as the chief executive of HarperCollins UK (who also oversees the India business). Redmayne came with diverse experience, with stints at media buying company RCL Communications and Blink TV, and was founder of teen internet firm MyKindaPlace, which got acquired by BSkyB and JK Rowling's Pottermore, a digital publisher. For the Etonian who has also served in the army and is half-brother of the Oscar-winni…

Cloud and Content

Microsoft and Google's parent, Alphabet both released their results recently. The results show that both tech giants are pursuing cloud services and acquiring content for their cloud. Amazon is also aggressively ramping up its investment in both cloud and content.
Everything is moving to the cloud, from video streaming, apps, IoT, SaaS etc. It's all about cloud and content control.
SJP @DigitalAsian - ShareYaar

Hunting for Ideas Across the Globe

Tech giants on the hunt for ideas and innovation across the globe.

After the successful launch in Bengaluru, US tech giant Oracle has expanded its Startup Cloud Accelerator programme to New Delhi and Mumbai to help fuel cloud-enabled innovation, reports Times of India. Run by the Oracle research and development team, the programme is now also available in Bristol city in Britain, Paris, Sao Paulo, Singapore and Tel Aviv.
These centres will provide six months of mentoring from technical and business experts, technology, a co-working space, access to Oracle customers, partners and investors and free Oracle Cloud credits, the company said in a statement. "After a successful launch in Bengaluru, we are committed to building a supportive ecosystem for startups across the globe," said Thomas Kurian, Oracle's president of Product Development, in a statement.
"Cloud is enabling incredible innovations across every aspect of business and across every industry. We want to sup…

App Cloud Streaming

Google now trials apps on the cloud with Instant Apps. Google will, thereby gather all user and app information which is valuable to the app provider.

Google has started real-world testing of its Instant Apps feature, reports Times of India. These apps were announced in May 2016 at the company's I/O conference. Months after their preview, the search giant has finally made some of the Instant apps available for Android users on the Google Play Store (though still not for everyone).
Instant Apps run on Google servers instead on the device. This not only helps save time but also internet data and storage too. Users can experience the app completely before downloading it. According to Aurash Mahbod, software engineer, Google Play, the company has been working with a small number of developers to refine the user and developer experiences.
The limited tests of includes apps from BuzzFeed, Wish, Periscope, and Viki. "By collecting user feedback and iterating on the product, we'…

A WhatsApp for Google

Googles Maps app is providing more and more information to its users. Google Maps is on its way to becoming a communication and messaging app, like a WhatsApp for Google.
Users running v9.44 of Google Maps will now see a tiny "P" emblem beside the time and distance to their destination, reports Times of India. If the parking options are "Easy" or "Medium," the emblem will be blue. If the options are "Limited," the emblem will turn red. As Android Police first reported, the feature will appear when users are traveling to public spaces such as restaurants, airports, and malls. One key caveat is the traffic volume isn't in real-time - merely an indication of how easy or difficult finding parking is on average.
Parking is a surprisingly big problem for urban planners looking to cut down on traffic. In cities, roughly 30% of congestion comes from people looking for parking. These are the drivers squaring up to parallel park or circling the block…

India Going Over the Top: Startup Streaming

As video streaming becomes popular in India, not only are big players like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hotstar investing in it, so also are a host of startups, reports Times of India. The broadcasting and technology business's terminology for it is over-the-top (OTT) digital content delivery of audio and video content over the internet without a multiple-system operator (like a cable or DTH operator) controlling or distributing the content. Consulting firm Frost and Sullivan estimates there are 66 million unique video viewers in India, and 1.3 million OTT paid video subscribers.That's a big market. Startup analytics firm Tracxn estimates there are at least 40 new ventures in the space, and around $30 million have been invested by venture capital firms into some of them.
Many focus on short videos. It is easy now to showcase such videos under categories like comedy that have cat videos or baby videos, or cars & bikes or style & beauty tips.Content is sourced from popula…

More competition for audiobooks

In an aim to improve competition in downloadable audiobook distribution in Europe, Apple and Amazon have agreed to end an exclusivity agreement that made Audible the only seller of audiobooks inside of iTunes, reports Times of India. A subsidiary of Amazon since 2008, Audible is the seller and producer of downloadable audiobooks and other spoken-word content. Apple's iTunes store, integrated in Apple devices, allows customers to purchase and download content, including audiobooks.
"With the deletion of the exclusivity agreement, Apple will now have the opportunity to purchase digital audiobooks from other suppliers. This will enable a wider range of offer and lower prices for consumers," tech website theverge.com quoted Andreas Mundt, president, Germany's Antitrust Agency, as saying. Audible and Apple's iTunes store are two distributors of downloadable audiobooks to consumers. Audible will now be able to supply its downloadable audiobooks to third party platform…

Venture Debt Grows in India

After a record 2016, India's top venture debt investors are preparing to ramp up their pace of investments this year as venture capital investments slow down, reports Times of India. The numbers say it all.Venture debt player InnoVen Capital India, which is backed by Singapore's sovereign wealth fund Temasek, is aiming to conclude at least 50 deals to the tune of $75 million-$85 Rs 500 crore-.million (Rs 565 crore) this year, up from 43 deals supported with Rs 400 crore of capital in 2016. "The last calendar year was the best year ever for us with the total worth of transactions, including 26 new investments and follow-on rounds in existing portfolio companies, being in the tune of Rs 400 crore," said Vinod Murali, managing director at InnoVen.
Trifecta, founded by former Canaan Partners managing partner Rahul Khanna, is looking to clinch at least 20 investments this year, as opposed to 17 over the past 15 months. Data from Mumbai-based IntelleGrow shows that it has…

App Opportunities in India

India zipped past the US to become the top country that registered 6 billion downloads from Google's Play Store in 2016, according to analytics firm App Annie, reports Times of India. "India's app market grew massively outpacing the US to surpass it as the #1 country by Google Play downloads, from around 3.5 billion downloads in 2015 to over 6 billion downloads in 2016," App Annie said in a report. App downloads grew by 15 per cent worldwide across iOS and Google Play, with total time spent in apps increasing by 25 per cent, it added.
In 2016, publishers were paid over USD 35 billion in revenue across the iOS App Store and Google Play. When including in-app advertising, app store revenue and third-party Android stores in 2016, publishers made over USD 89 billion in revenue. Further, the report found the average consumer uses well over 30 apps per month across various markets. As technology and business models continue to evolve, apps are playing an even greater role…

Upwardly Mobile

Airbus might give Uber some competition one day.

Airbus Group plans to test a prototype for a self-piloted flying car as a way of avoiding gridlock on city roads by the end of the year, the aerospace group's chief executive said on Monday, reports Times of India. Airbus last year formed a division called Urban Air Mobility that is exploring concepts such as a vehicle to transport individuals or a helicopter-style vehicle that can carry multiple riders. The aim would be for people to book the vehicle using an app, similar to car-sharing schemes. "One hundred years ago, urban transport went underground, now we have the technological wherewithal to go above ground," Airbus CEO Tom Enders told the DLD digital tech conference in Munich, adding he hoped the Airbus could fly a demonstration vehicle for single-person transport by the end of the year.
"We are in an experimentation phase, we take this development very seriously," he said, adding that Airbus recognised s…

Getting your priorities right for video streaming

Data prioritisation for video streaming might lead to problems with net neutrality?

Streaming videos over crowded wireless mobile networks could be greatly improved by smart prioritisation of visually important data, according to a new study, reports Times of India. Video streaming is one of the most demanding tasks on mobile networks, not only because of the large amount of data that needs to be transmitted, but because even the faintest stutter or artifact in video playback can dramatically degrade the experience. There are methods for guaranteeing a certain transmission rate to maintain the quality of streaming video and audio. Known as Quality of Service (QoS) protocols, these methods work well in many cases, but generally require a large allocation of bandwidth to each user, which might not be available on crowded mobile networks.
By prioritising the delivery of rich visual data, researchers at The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) in Singapore have demonstrat…

Share a Thought with your Friends

Sharing a thought with your friends could become easier with Facebook.

Facebook is working on a "brain-computer interface" apparently to let people talk to each other by reading their minds, reports Economic Times. Job adverts posted in California suggest that the social network is planning telepathic technology that can read brain waves and send them between people, a way of sharing that would go far beyond liking status updates or sharing holiday photos. It is advertising for a "brain-computer interface engineer" for its Building 8 team, which will work on Facebook's most futuristic and secretive projects. According to the ad, the engineer will work on "developing advanced (brain-computer interface) technologies". That will involve using computers and artificial intelligence to work with "neuroimaging and electrophysiological data". (This could have uses in law enforcement e.g. BEAP tests, although there maybe legal obstacles to their use…

New Revenue Streams with Advertising and Messaging

New ways for YouTube to monetize its platform ... and also to possibly start competing with WhatsApp as a messaging app.

Google is set to launch a new service for YouTube letting users pay a few dollars to pin comments or questions to live streams broadcast by famous content creators, reports Times of India. As well as getting comments noticed, it offers YouTubers a new way of monetizing their online activities. The idea is to connect content creators and fans during live stream events broadcast on the platform, during which viewers can interact with YouTubers by asking questions or leaving comments via a chat function.
To boost visibility -- especially if there are hundreds or even thousands of people watching -- YouTube's new "Super Chat" function will allow viewers to pay a few dollars to pin a message in pride of place at the top of the chat window. "Super Chat" messages will stay pinned at the top of the chat for up to five hours for maximum visibility, g…

SaaS, PaaS, IaaS ... Cloud Talk

There needs to be a highly tailored path laid out that suits a business' individual needs, regardless of where their journey to the cloud starts, reports Economic Times in an article by Chris Chelliah. Cloud computing continues to drive incredible transformation. It has changed the way we run businesses, creating whole new sectors and disrupting entire industries. We are now able to communicate, interact and share more than ever, while business models that were once impossible are now commonplace. This momentum is driven by a simple underlying proposition: provision new business capabilities rapidly and with agility - if it is successful, scale that capability up. If it is not, then fail fast and turn it off. Regardless, you are only paying for what you use, when you use it.
Incredibly, we are only at the very start of the journey to the cloud. Today depending on which reports you read, between six and 15 percent of workloads run in the public cloud, leaving the vast majority of …

Chips are down for nanometre tech

Invecas, a Hyderabad-based chip design startup, is said to be at an advanced stage of creating intellectual property (IP) for a 7-nanometre chip for US-based semiconductor foundry GlobalFoundries, with which it has a strategic partnership, reports Times of India. If successful, it makes Invecas the first Indian company to design such a cutting-edge and complex technology (FinFETs) that could be deployed to build high-performance data centres running complex computations with least power consumption.
Other companies that have announced working on 7nm technology include Intel, Samsung and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, or TSMC. Founded in 2014 by serial entrepreneur and former managing director of global chip giant AMD India, Dasaradha R Gude's startup has, over the past several months, added more chip designers bringing their number to 800 through a series of buyouts. "As far as we know, Invecas is the only company from India which is working on this technology w…

Digital Transaction Index

Indian Government wants to rank states according to a digital transaction index. This is sort of like a digital footprint for individuals that can affect your credit rating, employment prospects etc.

The Centre will soon rank states on a digital transaction index as part of its big push to make India a less-cash economy, reports Times of India. Government think tank Niti Aayog has begun the exercisie by reaching out to states to collate data, which will help it compile the first of its kind index. States will be ranked on the basis of this index. An official involved in the exercise told ET that the move will give a boost to the government's digital payments drive and help states improve their ease of doing business.
The government has been promoting digital transactions since November 8 when it announced demonetisation of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the Prime Minister's Office has supported the idea. Prime Minist…

Marketing Ideas using Social Media

Different ideas in using social media platforms' functionality to promote your products.

Future Group, the operator of retail stores including Big Bazaar and Easyday, is using social networking platform Twitter twice a month to offer selected products at a discount that will be set depending on the number of times its announcement is retweeted, reports Economic Times. The #DecideYourPrice initiative on Twitter will take place on alternate Thursdays. 
The group will feature a branded product at 6 pm and every time the announcement is retweeted until 10 pm that day, the price of the product will drop by Rs 1. Once the lowest price is established, the product will be offered at that price to all customers at Big Bazaar stores across the country on the following Saturday and Sunday. “Till now we have done two rounds and the response has been encouraging,” said Pawan Sarda, group head-digital at Future Group India, whose team came up with this idea.
The discount is on the selling pric…

EU Proposals Could Impact Online Advertising Revenue

Online messaging services such as WhatsApp, iMessage and Gmail will face tougher rules on how they can track users under a proposal presented by the European Union executive on Tuesday which could hurt companies reliant on advertising, reports Times of India. The web companies would have to guarantee the confidentiality of their customers' conversations and get their consent before tracking them online to target them with personalized advertisements. For example, email services such as Gmail and Hotmail will not be able to scan customers' emails to serve them with targeted advertisements without getting their explicit agreement. Most free online services rely on advertising to fund themselves.
Spending on online advertising in 2015 was 36.4 billion euros, according to the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB). The proposal by the European Commission extends some rules that now apply to telecom operators to web companies offering calls and messages using the internet, known as &qu…

Infy going in for mass-use software

Will Infosys be able to produce software for mass-use like Microsoft or Oracle have?

Infosys is considering building a software to help the firm target tens of thousands of potential clients, as CEO Vishal Sikka looks at breaking the downward spiral of prices in its core services business and reach the company's ambitious target of $20 billion in revenue by 2020, reports Times of India. Currently, Infosys has about 1,000 customers, but a lion's share of revenue comes from just 250 of them. Even though IT companies have increasingly started building platforms and products, they mostly target bagging more business from existing customers. Sikka wants to change that by building mass-use software, like he did in his previous stint at SAP. "In order for the software to be world class, you have to expose it to the entire world. It has to be a standalone software. If you just target 250 clients you will quickly run out of scope without producing a lot of revenue. So, the softwa…

Indian Government wants faster adoption of UPI Apps

Online travel agent yatra.com has introduced unified payment interface (UPI) as a paying method on its website, across all business lines, reports Times of India. UPI is a system that allows account holders of all banks to send or receive money from their smartphones without the need to enter their net-banking user id or password. "Essentially we have launched UPI as a payment option on our website, and anybody who has a virtual payment address (VPA) registered with their bank, can make a payment directly using the UPI flow," said Sharat Dhall, chief operating officer (B2C) at yatra.com.
Users can download an UPI app such as ICICI Bank's Pockets and create a VPA, linking it to their account in any bank to start using the system developed by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the agency that handles all retail payments in India. Yatra.com is the first in the online travel agency segment to offer UPI on its platform. It has tied up with ICICI Bank for technica…

Indian Banking Goes Agnostic

The country’s largest lender State Bank of India will take the lead among state-run lenders to launch branch-less banking called SBI Digi Bank, something similar to what Citi or DBS have done elsewhere in the world, reports Times of India. The Digi Bank will have a financial superstore, a market place and end-to-end digitisation for products and services. Customer transactions will be done with the help of apps, internet banking and mobile banking,” said the banker. “It will be an omni-channel, omni-device digital bank which will be available to both new and existing customers.”
The digital-only bank, which will be device-agnostic, will use the Aadhaar infrastructure for not only onboard customers but also provide them services online. “So there will not be any paper, we will onboard customers online using e-KYC and all services will be provided digitally,” the banker mentioned above said. “Completely zero assisted mode may not be possible initially, so there could be couple of our p…

Frictionless Digital Payments

The smartphone is mightier than the wallet, the one that holds cash and cards - that's what demonetisation has proved, reports Times of India. For all kinds of needs - buying candy to transferring money - there are more digital options available than paper. It's also time-saving - why stand in bank and ATM queues to get cash when a few seconds of tapping a wallet app on a mobile phone are enough to make a payment? There is an alphabet soup of options available, leaving many confused about the best way to pay. Should it be net banking, credit cards, UPI, NEFT, RTGS, IMPS, USSD, Aadhaar-linked BHIM or a combination of them?
So far, people have grabbed whatever is easily available to pay for coffee, bills, movie tickets, cab rides and just about anything, and here, m-wallet Paytm has scored over others. "In the near term, wallets will do well as they are more popular," said Niren Shah, MD of Norwest Venture Partners, an investor in technology and financial services sta…

Supari Attackers: Cybercrime As A Service

If the nature of cyber attacks is any indication, experts say India is a facing an increasing threat from 'supari attackers', who provide cybercrime-as-a-service (CAAS), reports Times of India. The lack of a strong law/policy to deter this is likely to hurt the country, which is moving towards a digital economy. In the past few years, India has witnessed a series of hacks and other cybercrimes, especially by those claiming allegiance to Pakistan. Around 56% of the cases from January 2013 to May 2016 have been those of website defacement, which experts put in the harmless category, something which even amateurs can carry out. However, pointing to an increasing number of network scanning/probing cases — the first step towards detecting vulnerability in systems so that sensitive data can be stolen — experts say India should not be lax, especially since it aims to turn into a cashless economy.
Also, the number of malware propagation cases and virus/malicious codes being inserted …

Startup Strategy for Hiring Talent Changes

If you're looking to join a startup, you would be well advised to scour social media networks and work on brushing up your areas of specialisation, both of which would help you stand a good chance of being hired, reports Times of India. The environment for startups changed drastically this year with consolidation, and even shutdown of operations for some. Now, recognising that the scenario has changed and the initial euphoria around startups is losing its lustre, other new-age companies are reworking their hiring strategies to continue to get quality talent.
More targeted hiring, a greater focus on quality of hires and a preference for lateral recruits with specialised skills are just a few of the practices being followed. "The sentiment around startups has changed a great deal, and mid-sized players like us are well-poised to hire good talent. Lateral hires work well for us because they settle into the role much quicker than freshers," said Sujayath Ali, cofounder of B…