Showing posts from May, 2016

Lata, Sachin & Tanmay: To Kill a Mocking Bird

Tanmay Bhat and AIB like to mock celebrities and others. This latest episode again raises the debate of free speech on social media.
NDTV reports that comedy group AIB member Tanmay Bhat's video of a mock conversation between legends Lata Mangeshkar and Sachin Tendulkar has provoked a howl of protests and faces a ban. Prodded by political parties, the Mumbai police says it is consulting legal experts and will contact Google and YouTube on blocking the video.
Police complaints have been filed against Mr Bhat by Maharashtra's ruling BJP and also Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS). The video, captioned "'Sachin vs Lata Civil War", was posted on Snapchat and Facebook on Thursday. The video has the revered singer and the master blaster - both enacted by Mr Bhat using Snapchat's face-swap feature -  "arguing" about who is the better player, Sachin or Virat Kohli. It was posted with this disclaimer by Mr Bhat: "I make such nonsense …

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.
SJP @DigitalAsian

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.

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.
SJP DigitalAsian

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

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.

SJP @DigitalAsian

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.
SJP @DigitalAsian

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 dumpin…

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 entrepren…

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…

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 , …

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 c…

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.
SJP @DigitalAsian

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.
SJP @DigitalAsian

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 t…

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.
SJP @DigitalAsian

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…

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 cel…

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…

Telangana faces the Task Ahead

Telangana faces the Task Ahead with education programme for Digital India.
Times of India reports that Telangana Academy for Skill and Knowledge (TASK) today announced at an event its collaboration with SAP India Education to boost IT education in the region. These courses from the SAP Student Academy Programme have been designed to promote professional expertise in the latest trendsetting applications. 
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was exchanged in the presence of the Governor of Telangana & AP ESL Narashiman and Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao. Telangana Academy for Skill and Knowledge is a nonprofit organization created by the Ministry of IT, Telangana to offer quality human resources and services to the industry.
"The key focus at TASK is to enhance the employability quotient of young graduates in the state and enable them to be a part of India's booming digital academy. TASK has been collaborating with industry leaders to provide skill based training to …

Digital Innovation and Startups in IPR Battles

Is digital innovation being stalled by too much IPR protection? Are startups facing a David and Goliath battle against multinational tech firms controlling too much IPR?
Times of India reports that battle lines are drawn in the technology industry over software patents as the bigwigs and startups spar over allowing patenting of software. At a government-organised meeting this week, a war of words erupted between India's services-focused traditional IT industry and product software startups, both of whom have concerns about the rules.
While startups said allowing any kind of patents would force litigation and licence costs on them, the IT industry and multinational technology companies argued that the current law that doesn't allow for patenting of software is leading to a loss of intellectual property and investments from the country.
At the heart of the face-off is a set of guidelines that the Patent Office introduced in August 2015 for computer-related inventions (CRI), and…

FinTech Operators Compete

India's Paytm is teaming up with Chinese Alibaba's Alipay and Ant Financial to build on its payment bank. Paytm plans to develop its wallet, current account and savings account online. This can become a huge financial technology operation. Some commentators are saying this partnership could become another Visa or Mastercard.
SJP @DigitalAsian

Data Insights: Data, Data, Everywhere

In these times of data explosion, firms are looking to gain insights to consumer behaviour, the better to sell to them with.
Times of India reports that in 2012, Harvard Business Review named data scientist the "sexiest job of the 21st century". More recently, Glassdoor named it the "best job of the year" for 2016. In India, too, companies are scrambling to hire data scientists, sending salaries soaring. According to TeamLease, a staffing solutions company, data scientists with around 5 years' experience are earning over 75 lakh per annum as compared to 8-15 lakh for CAs and 5-8 lakh for engineers with the same experience level.
So who exactly are data scientists? It's a loose term but these are the guys who know how to look at the data a company generates, and derive the all-important insights it needs to garner more business and enhance customer experience in this age of social media.
SJP @DigitalAsian

Head in the Clouds: Cloud-First Smartphone

Head in the Clouds: Cloud-First Smartphone

Times of India reports that Nextbit is now all set for the India launch of the Nextbit Robin, arguably one of the first 'cloud-first' smartphones in the world. While the handset is already up for grabs outside India, Nextbit couldn't launch the smartphone in India until now due to impending BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) approval from the government. The US-based firm on Friday announced that it has now received the due regulatory approval.

The company on its official Twitter page announced the news and added that Robin smartphone will first be shipping to all the kickstarter backers starting next week. There is no general sale planned for the smartphone yet. "Big news, India. We received regulatory approval! Robins from Kickstarter will ship next week. No general sale yet," tweeted the firm.

Robin smartphone has been up for pre-orders online in the US and other countries since last October. The company is also offering f…

On-Demand Goods and Services via Apps

Consumers are now able to get many goods and services on-demand via apps where they want and when they want. This Uberisation of goods and services allowing consumers mobile interaction with suppliers is disrupting many established businesses and industries. B2C businesses are having to adapt very quickly as the markets remain in flux. B2C businesses are trying to gauge trends in consumer behaviour as markets get disrupted continuously.

Virtual Brand Stores for Online Sellers

Would large brands rather create their own online stores or create a store on someone else's marketplace? Are online marketplaces too dependent on large brands for their revenue?
Flipkart is wooing some of the most-popular electronic and apparel brands with a new offering that allows them to create exclusive "stores" on the digital marketplace of India's largest online retailer. These stores, launched in April on the Flipkart mobile app with a desktop launch expected later, help top brands target customers and drive sales by using data and analysis provided by Flipkart, as the Bengaluru-based company accelerates the process of driving revenue and trimming expenses to retain its leadership in the fiercely competitive online retail market. 
"The response till now has been encouraging," said Surojit Chatterjee, Surojit Chatterjee, Senior Vice President and Head Consumer Experience & Growth at Flipkart about the initiative that has already found customers …

Changing Laws of Digital India

Digital disruptors such as Airbnb and Flipkart face legal obstacles in India as these 2 news reports show.
Times of India reports that home-sharing platform Airbnb has positioned India as one of the fastest growing markets with over half a million users since last year. Co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk on his visit to the country is expecting the government to introduce progressive rules to encourage home sharing. "In April, the Indian tourism ministry indicated it would be reviewing the current laws and regulations in regards to home sharing to make it easier for people to have the chance to experience Indian hospitality," according to a statement.
Times of India also reports that facing the prospect of funds drying up, leading online marketplaces Flipkart and Snapdeal have asked their top brands to run advertising and marketing campaigns for them to promote deals and products, demanding the same treatment as large brick-and-mortar chains. While some brands are wary about a b…

App-only E-commerce in India

A web presence on the desktop is still required for e-commerce in India as Myntra's experience shows. Going mobile-only or app-only is not yet the right marketing strategy in India.
Times of India reports that after a year of becoming an app-only fashion retailer Myntra is going back to launching its desktop website, in what stands to be a significant development for the e-commerce industry. The move is indicative of how the mobile-only strategy, a first for any e-tailer, pushed by Myntra and its Bangalore-based parent company Flipkart did not yield desired results. The desktop site is likely to be rolled out on June 1, a company official confirmed when queried by TOI. 
Having begun its transition from desktop to mobile, as reported by TOI first in February 2015, Myntra was looking to phase out its web presence gradually over the course of the year. Encouraged by the exponential growth of mobile Internet in the country, the move was hastened by months and by May of last year, the…

Singapore Tech gets into the CIA with the help of TiE

Singapore tech wants to get into the Chinese, Indian and American (CIA :) markets with the help of TiE.
Times of India reports that Singapore's tech-heavyweights, with products designed for markets in India, China and the United States, are aiming to raise funds from The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) at a convention to be held in Silicon Valley this week. An 11-member delegation, led by state-owned trade promoter International Enterprise Singapore, will explore market specific product development opportunities and funding from some 4,600 delegates expected at The Indus Entrepreneurs convention (TIEcon) to be held on May 6-7, said TiE's Singapore chapter chairman Puneet Pushkarna.
The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) is partnering with the delegates in venturing into its global community of over 4,000 entrepreneurs, mostly comprised of Indians who led tech-startups in the 90s and are now investors placing USD 1 billion a year in new tech-startups with focus on the Indian, Chinese and Ame…

Tech Hub Hussle

Travis Kalanick, Uber boss, reckons that innovation coming from Beijing will rival that of Silicon Valley in the medium term. Silicon Valley tech hub, known for its high impact start-ups, has the startup ecosystem envied by others. 
Uber has been investing heavily in both China and India. India has been a major point for Uber's international expansion in the last year. In 2015 it promised to invest $1 billion into India but in both countries Uber faces aggressive competition from local rivals as those countries also try to develop their own tech hubs.
SJP @DigitalAsian

In-House Incubators for Startup Ideas: Fear of the One that Got Away

Companies are now setting their own in-house incubators for startups. Firms are tapping their staff for ideas and turning them into entrepreneurs. Companies are all looking for that one idea that can cause major disruption and become a startup unicorn. It is fear of the one that got away that is driving companies.
SJP @DigitalAsian

It Pays to Mind your Digital Language

It Pays to Mind your Digital Language and choose your words carefully.
Times of India that words like "gent" instead of "man" and "authentic" for products in place of "genuine" can fetch up to 50% more money on eBay, revealed a research conducted by a British university. Researchers from Birmingham City University trawled more than 68,000 items sold on eBay and spanned more than 15 million words to find out how online sellers choose to describe their products and revealed patterns in language which significantly changes the price. Results showed that items like watches labelled as "men's" word are sold for an average of 30 pounds while "gents" went for 70 pounds, and fragrances labelled "genuine" fetched 21 pounds but "authentic" ones set buyers back 34 pounds.
'What's also interesting is that on eBay, unlike other online stores, sellers write their own descriptions, so we find a lot of langua…