Showing posts from July, 2016

Advancing Women in Technology

Times of India reports that the Anita Borg Institute (ABI), a non-profit organization focused on the advancement of women in computing and technology, launched ABI.Pune on Friday. This is part of ABI's latest initiative the ABI.Local, a global network of local communities that connects women technologists around the world. ABI.Local helps women in tech get connected, find new opportunities and meet their career goals. The event was attended by over 175 women in technology from Pune and was focused on advancing a gender diverse technology workforce and witnessed strong participation from women in technology across corporate professionals, students and entrepreneurs. ABI.Local communities are active in many cities around the world, including Amsterdam, Boston, Chicago, New Delhi, London, Los Angeles, Seattle, Silicon Valley and Tokyo, to name just a few.
The centre of all discussions and sessions was about women pursuing long-term careers and moving up the technical ladder, enhanci…

Modi's Mobile Gamechanger

Modi's Mobile Gamechanger
Economic Times reports that Your smartphone may become a gamechanger for India's public policy, becoming a one-stop instrument for instant identity authentication that will allow you to receive all government services that work on the Aadhaar platform.   A meeting on Wednesday between Ajay Bhushan Pandey, chief executive officer of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which administers Aadhaar, and senior executives of smartphone-makers Apple, Samsung, Google, Microsoft and Micromax, and product software think tank iSPIRT, discussed ways to make mobile phone handsets Aadhaar-enabled.   
Pandey told ET the initial response of smartphone company executives was "positive" and they said they will have to consult their headquarters before taking the idea further.   Here's UIDAI's idea: chips of Aadhaar-enabled smartphones will be encrypted with a UIDAI key and the phones will be connected to the Aadhaar server. The key i…

Mobile Coverage in India

Mobile coverage, the Times of India reports, is likely to be extended to all the 55,669 unconnected villages in the country over the next five years. At present, 5.41 lakh villages out of the total 5.97 lakh in India are covered by mobile services, leaving 55,669 out of the ambit -- that is 9.31% without coverage. "Mobile coverage to the balance uncovered villages is likely to be provided in a phased manner over five years," minister of state for communications Manoj Sinha said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha.
Odisha tops the list with villages still off-limits for any mobile network at 10,398, followed by Jharkhand 5,949 and Madhya Pradesh 5,926. While Maharashtra has it at 4,792, Chhattisgarh's reads 4,041. The corresponding figure for Andhra Pradesh stands at 3,812 while Arunachal Pradesh comes in with 2,886, Assam 2,885 and Bihar 2,534 villages.
The Department of telecom has taken several measures for expansion of telecom services in rural and remote areas, in…

Services Provide Ray of Hope for India's Economy

Services set to grow India's economy. With protectionism on the rise and globalisation under attack, Modi's Make in India programme may make little head way. It may be services that drive growth in India. With platform aggregators like Flipkart, Ola etc., it will be the small business that drives growth in Indian economy. These platforms give the service economy in India a boost.
SJP @DigitalAsian

Content Bundling by Telcos

Telcos enticing consumers with content-bundling.
Times of India reports that Reliance Communications (RCom) on Wednesday launched a new content-bundled data offer -- 'MoviNet Plan' -- combining movies, music and Internet access, a company statement said here. "With the MoviNet Plan, subscription to the library of Hungama Play's 'Entertainment-on-Demand' services comes free of cost, along with 'Any-Use Data'. The MoviNet Plan blends data and content seamlessly, providing an easy interface and maximum entertainment quotient," the statement said.
"With design simplicity, exciting content and great data benefits, our new MoviNet Plan will maximize the entertainment quotient and experience for our customers. This innovative pack is aimed at bridging the gap that customers face between data and content," said Gurdeep Singh, chief executive officer, Consumer Business, Reliance Communications.
SJP @DigitalAsian

In the Bureaucracy Domain: '.IN' Domain Name

What's in a name? The Indian Government is planning to promote the '.in' domain name for businesses and plans to offer discounts as a way of doing this. Hopefully, this should not turn into rules that prefer businesses with '.in' domains and discriminate against those that use other domain names.
Economic Times asks whether your website have a domain name or address ending with '.in'? If not the government soon plans to make you feel guilty by way of an advertising campaign that will play on the national sentiments.   With an aim to promote the .in domain name, which is India's official website extension - but continues to be in the shadows of the more popular .com domain name - the ministry of electronics and IT (MEIT) is planning a massive advertising campaign aimed at companies, individuals and startups.   
Rajiv Bansal, joint secretary in MEIT, said the campaign should be ready for rollout in a month or so and will play on the people's national…

Digital Transactions in India

Growth in small value transactions using digital payments will power Digital India.
Times of India reports that fuelled by rise in smartphone penetration and adoption of mobile wallets by small offline merchants, the Indian digital payments market is set to grow by 10 times in the next four years to be $500 billion or 15% of the country's GDP, says a report jointly by Google and the Boston Consulting Group. By 2020, the country's Internet user base will reach 500 million, and half of them will make digital transactions, the report said.
India's digital payments revolution is being led by mobile wallets enabling micro-payments in a country where bank accounts are still a big deal. The Google-BCG report said that over 50% of person-to-merchant transactions was expected to be under Rs 100. Over 60% of digital payments value is expected to be contributed by offline points of sale such as unorganized retail, eateries and transport. 
Rajan Anandan, MD of Google India and South …

India's Reverse Brexit and Regulatory Cholesterol: GST

Will GST be India's reverse Brexit and get rid of its regulatory cholesterol?
Economic Times publishes an article by Sachin Bansal: Imagine a warehouse of more than one crore square feet in Central India - around five times the size of the largest football stadium in the have an eight lane high world. It would have an eight lane highway that is connected to all four corners of the country on one side. It would have one of India's largest railway container terminals for handling enormous goods trains on another side. It would have an all-cargo airport terminal operated by a partner on another side. And on the fourth side would be a cluster of manufacturers supplying the warehouse in real time based on big data analytics of national demand and inventory for their products. This warehouse is not even on the radar today but can become a reality with the GST Bill. Passing the GST Bill - India's reverse Brexit moment that will end state-by-state rules and create a national mark…

Second-Time Entrepreneurs

VCs may prefer second time entrepreneurs.
Economic Times reports that failure isn't such a bad word any more.   A generation ago, many looked askance at entrepreneurs, and to have a venture fail was proof of all that was wrong with 'doing business' -the fact that it wasn't a "stable" or "dependable" line of work.  Today, the rate of failure in a world where 'starting up' is a catchphrase isn't that much lower.  A recent study by startup tracker Xeler8 shows that 43.7 per cent of startups have gone bust since June 2014, most of them in hyped sectors such as logistics, e-commerce, food tech and analytics. What's changed, though, is the fact that it isn't seen as such a bad thing.   "If 40 per cent is the failure rate, I believe we are in good shape," says Shripati Acharya, co-founder of Prime Venture Partners."   
As venture capitalists, 70-80 per cent failure rate is expected because entrepreneurs are overcoming fa…

Augmented Reality eBooks and Ed-Tech Bots

eBooks get a new lease of life with AR.
Times of India reports that Augmented Reality (AR), a technique which enables superimposing digital objects over physical ones, thanks to its high levels of engagement and the 'intrigue' factor, is one of the emerging trends in the nascent education technology and eBook space in the country.
AR app firm, London-based Blippar, has plans to engage with the education ecosystem to look for potential uses of AR to enhance learning experiences. "Conversations with different stakeholders — colleges, schools, boards and publishers — are ongoing. We have Blippar Education as a separate vertical. In a couple of months, we will be closing a few deals. There is a huge shift towards visual-based education here," said Arnav Ghosh, managing director at Blippar India.
If AR is one emerging trend in ed-tech, bots is another. Bots are used to run automated tasks like revisions, feedback and announcements. These are tasks that any teacher or cou…

Making Hyderabad Smart

Hyderabad, the capital of the new state of Telangana is trying to get smart. The state government is implementing plans to slowly transform Hyderabad.
Times of India reports that the Telangana government has said that it has partnered Cisco Systems, a global major in planning, designing and implementation of smart cities and Paradigm Mtuity to plan 'Smart City Hyderabad' by identifying relevant technology interventions. According to an official release, a pilot project will be implemented near the bustling hi-tech city area to showcase real benefit of implementing smart solutions and the impact of technology on society and human well-being. "In due course of time, the results of the pilot phase will be carefully studied by key government officials to advise Cisco and Mtuity on the technology interventions/use cases most relevant for bigger expansion across multiple pockets of Hyderabad city," it said.
SJP @DigitalAsian

VC Brand Ambassadors

Economic Times reports that Indian cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni is set to be the brand ambassador for a Venture Capital firm, Secured Venture Capital. Secured VC is based in Australia and is led by former Australian cricketer Craig McDermott. Dhoni will be the brand ambassador of Secured Venture Capital for Indian Subcontinent as the VC firm looks to invest in startups in the region and also scout for Indian investors for its fund. 
Secured VC usually funds startups at the seed stage and also late stage tech entrepreneurs. McDermott said his firm will look at investing in startups in India and the subcontinent and Dhoni will help them get the reach into these markets. "We invest in areas such as pharma, financial investment platforms, realty, environmentally sustainable innovations and dairy. We will like to do similar investments here," he said. 
Secured VC will also look at raising a fund from Indian HNIs and have a $100-million fund here. "We have a few startups i…

The Disconnected: Fear of the Disconnect

The Disconnected: Fear of the Disconnect
Times of India reports that it is not high roaming bills but the lack of Internet connectivity is the biggest fear of Indians while travelling, a survey revealed on Wednesday. Nearly 34.5% of people feared the lack of mobile network while travelling while just 6.9% are afraid of high roaming bills, said the survey conducted by web browser Opera and lifespan accommodation company Wudstay. "Internet connectivity is an important pre-requisite for travellers. People prefer being connected to the Internet in order to share updates when on the move," said Sunil Kamath, Vice President, South Asia and Southeast Asia, Opera. About 7.8% Indians are concerned about losing their smartphones during the journey.
SJP @DigitalAsian

Reliance Jio trying to do to the mobile what Microsoft did to the PC

Reliance Jio trying to do to the mobile what Microsoft did to the PC.
Times of India reports that as Reliance Jio Infocomm gets set for the commercial launch of 4G services, it is partnering almost all smartphone makers to bundle three months of free data and voice with handsets. A first for the Indian market, this is seen as away of ramping up users rapidly while providing a push to smartphone sales, said two executives aware of the plan. A deal has been struck with Samsung and sales of the devices have already begun, said a retailer. A pact with Apple is also said to be in the works. "Reliance Jio's launch will be phased and based on smartphones that have cleared all tests," said one of the two.
SJP @DigitalAsian

Search engines for IoT

Search engines for IoT
Times of India reports on Shodan, the backdoor to the internet. is the search engine for the internet of Things (IoT) and everything else that Google cannot search. With just a basic search on the internet, you could find the control system of a hydroelectric power plant or traffic control to an entire city. It's a secret gateway to control the world of connected devices. Shodan isn't significantly different than a web crawler like Google. Shodan crawlers browse the internet and when they discover a device, they collect metadata about it. While Google crawls for websites. Shodan crawls for devices.
In an email interview with ETtech, John Matherly, the founder of Shodan, narrated how and why he set up Shodan in 2003. A computer security whizz, Matherly, wanted to develop a software that would let security researches share their results to help analyze internet at scale. Since it's impossible for a single person to crawl the entirety of the internet f…

Billionaires want their own startups

Billionaires want their own startups
Times of India reports that when billionaire investor and e-commerce sceptic Rakesh Jhunjhunwala committed to become the biggest investor in Exfinity Fund that backs business-to-business technology ventures, last November, he only did what bricks-and-mortar industrialists have been doing for a while--putting their money into the country's burgeoning consumer internet and tech startups, trusting them to strike it big. It is also their way to hedge against the disruptive power of online businesses.
Ratan Tata, the 78-year-old chairman emeritus of Tata Sons, has invested in 36 startups, including Ola, Paytm and Bluestone. Marico chairman Harsh Mariwala has invested in Securens, Wooqer and even beauty products e-tailer Nykaa, while Ness Wadia of the Wadia group has invested in Bengaluru-based ticketing platform Explara. What brought Jhunjhunwala on board Exfinity was the depth of its team. After a 45-minute meeting with former Infosys board member…

The serious side to smartphone games

The serious side to smartphone games
McDonald's Japan shares have gone up on reports that say Nintendo's Pokemon Go will be launched there in a deal with McDonalds. The smartphone game Pokemon Go has caught the media's attention. McDonald's Japan jumped more than 11%, and Nintendo fell almost 10%. Nintendo's shares have jumped this past week, doubling its market value, mainly due to Pokemon Go. WSJ and TechCrunch have stated unnamed sources saying that Pokemon Go is going to be launched in a tie-up with McDonalds.
SJP @DigitalAsian

Regulators can't deter Tech Giant from its Future Plans

Regulators can't deter Tech Giant from its future plans
Amazon has received a patent for "docking stations" for its delivery drones that will be built on e.g. lampposts or churches and allow the drones to recharge and pick up packages. Amazon is trying to convince regulators on allowing it to deliver parcels by drones. Not very successfully so far but that hasn't stopped Amazon from applying for patents and testing its drones.
The latest patent describes docking stations which could be installed on any tall structure. It would allow a drone to land, recharge and drop off and pick up goods. Amazon has the idea of a "central control system" which communicates with the docking stations. 
SJP @DigitalAsian

Rating talent online - future of candidate selection for jobs

Rating talent online - future of candidate selection for jobs
Economic Times reports that the future of job interviews is here and it looks influenced by on-demand ride service Uber.   The model, created by startup Monjin Interviews, is built around a video database and a platform where candidates meet interviewers purely based on their skills.   
This is how it works: A candidate joins Monjin. Intelligent scheduling allows the candidate to get scheduled with the right interviewer on the network on basis of their skills. The interview happens virtually, and is video-recorded, indexed, tagged and rated. The video is streamed across devices and is immediately available for subscribing employers. Employers can rate the candidate and interviewer just like on Uber, or Airbnb where users can rate a property.   An employer looking to hire can see for himself how a candidate performed during the interview. 
The company gets its revenue from employers subscribing to the service. Monjin is fou…

Global VCs entering India and changing the startup ecosystem

Global VCs entering India and changing the startup ecosystem.
Economic Times reports that a new set of global venture capital investors armed with deep pockets and a long-term view of the market is stepping up to back Indian Internet companies at a time those who poured money into the sector in recent years are slowing down pace of investments. New York-based Stripes Group and Thrive Capital, and Sands Capital from Virginia, US, are among those taking a bet on a slew of companies such as ticketing platform BookMyShow, healthcare technology venture Practo and grocery portal Bigbasket.  These funds with their unhurried investment style, deep domain expertise and focus on minute due diligence are introducing a strikingly different flavour to the Indian startup sector, accustomed to the frenetic pace of investments led by investment firms such as Tiger Global, hedge funds and strategic investors like Japan's SoftBank. Take, for instance, the recent Rs 550-crore investment in BookMyShow…

Cloud Computing and Data Sovereignty

In the Economic Times, Chris Chelliah reports that businesses looking at cloud computing in Asia Pacific are concerned about where their data is stored, but do they need to be? In my conversations with customers across Asia Pacific one thing is clear: they all want (and usually need) to adopt the flexibility and benefits of the cloud. Industry statistics agree: a recent Frost & Sullivan report found that 59 % of decision-makers in the region cite cloud computing as their main short-term priority.  CIOs in APAC are being pressured by their business to move as quickly as possible to these flexible, cost-effective infrastructures. However, as with any new journey, there are obstacles - perceived or real - that arise, that can be circumnavigated by a mixture of making the right choices and dispelling some common myths. Often when talking cloud, one of the first questions on the table is around the physical location of data centers. 
This is not surprising because data sovereignty can…

5G Race Heats Up

Tech firms pushing governments for 5G networks a.s.a.p.
Times of India reports that US regulators on Thursday paved the way for a lightning-fast next generation of wireless services in a move that made the United States the first country to set aside an ample amount of airwaves for so-called 5G wireless applications and networks. In an act that could have far-reaching effects for American consumers and businesses, the US Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously to open nearly 11 gigahertz of high-frequency spectrum for mobile, flexible and fixed-use wireless broadband.
Companies including Verizon Communications Inc and AT&T Inc already were moving closer to adopting 5G, the fifth generation of wireless technology. New 5G networks are expected to provide speeds at least 10 times and maybe 100 times faster than today's 4G networks, the FCC said. There is a worldwide race to adopt 5G. South Korea and Japan plan to deploy it by the time they host the Olympics, in 2018 …

War of Attrition in Startups

War of attrition in startups. Startups finding ways to find and retain talent.
Times of India reports that Infosys has relaunched its employee stock option plan (ESOP) for junior to middle-level management staff as it looks to rein in rising attrition that stood at 21% in the April-June 2016 quarter. However, the company is not "unduly concerned" about the jump in attrition, which read 17.3% in the March quarter and 19.2% in the year-ago period.
"Today, we relaunched our ESOP programme after a gap of 10-years plus, after about 13 years. We are rewarding about 7,500 of our employees from junior to middle level management with restricted stock options and we will extend it to middle management to senior leaders and title holders subsequently," Infosys chief operating officer UB Pravin Rao said. He added that the company continues to focus on reskilling employees and has also revamped its leadership development programmes. ESOPs allow employees to own equity in the c…

AR, AI and IoT Investment

Augmented reality (AR) game Pokemon Go has caught the media's attention. Tech firms are investing huge sums in AR and AI and IoT.
Times of India reports that companies are investing 24% of their average IT budget on Internet of Things (IoT), on par with cloud computing or data analytics, according to a report by British telecom major Vodafone. IoT is a network of physical objects and equipment with sensors that are connected and can exchange data to deliver advanced capabilities. The report noted that 89% of firms investing in IoT have increased their budgets over the last 12 months.
Vodafone's fourth annual 'IoT Barometer' report is a global survey involving more than 1,096 companies across Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan,  Netherlands, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, UAE, UK and US. It said IoT technologies will be critical for the future success of any organisation. Almost 63% of IoT adopters are seeing significant …

Startup Pune

Pune, near Mumbai in Maharashtra, is slowly growing into a tech hub with its own little startup ecosystem.

Economic Times reports that when Neeraj Joshi decided to set up a health-tech venture, Pune became his clear choice. That Joshi had spent time in the city as the centre head for Infosys and had a network of contacts may have been a reason, but what made him lock in on Pune was the easy availability of the kind of talent he was seeking for his venture. "A lot of tech companies like Infosys and Syntel have their healthcare vertical headquartered here, so there is a lot of talent available," said Joshi, CEO of Thingsmeet Solutions. "Also institutes like Symbiosis Institute of Health Sciences and Ashtang Ayurveda ensure access to experts with domain knowledge and expertise." The company's first mobile application, Prescribez, is a consumer-focused health management tool that aims to connect doctors to patients and laboratories, and over the next few months wil…

Indian Govt Using Digital Economy to Fight Black Money

Will the digital cashless economy solve the problem of black money in India?
Times of India reports that the Special Investigation Team (SIT) on black money in India has recommended ban on cash transactions of above Rs 3 lakh and restricting cash holding with individuals to not more than Rs 15 lakh to curb illegal wealth in the economy. The SIT headed by Justice M B Shah (retd), submitted its fifth report to the Supreme Court on methods to curb black money in the economy.
The panel felt that large amount of unaccounted wealth is stored and used in form of cash. "Having considered the provisions which exist in this regard in various countries and also having considered various reports and observations of courts regarding cash transactions the SIT felt that there is a need to put an upper limit to cash transactions," an official statement said.
SJP @DigitalAsian

Banks Go Biometric

Banks no longer interested in your words but in your body language. Fintech and AI are taking banks biometric.
Times of India reports IndusInd Bank did something rather attention-grabbing a few weeks back. It made its brand ambassador Farhan Akhtar recount his experiences with passwords. And then got him to invite people to bid farewell to the passwords of yore, complete with #RIPpassword.
Thus setting the stage for the bank's latest offering: Fingerprint banking which allows customers to do end-to-end transactions on the mobile banking app using just their fingerprint. Biometrics, the collection and use of biological data and behavioural characteristics, could be the next big leap in the world of financial services going by its increased incidence across the globe. Closer home, though early days, various financial institutions like ICICI Bank, Standard Chartered, DCB have gotten into it with varying degrees of depth.
Standard Chartered Bank has added biometric authentication to …

The Reality about the Virtual World

Apple has said that it is preparing a reality TV show called Planet of the Apps which is about app developers. Apple are looking for what they say are "100 of the world's most talented app creators". Contestants will send in information about their apps and allow app developers to pitch their apps on the reality TV show. Big Brother meets Shark Tank.
SJP @DigitalAsian

India Needs its Smartphone Fix

Mobiles changing habits in rural India.
Economic Times reports that the ten-rupee recharge pack is a blockbuster. Rural India can do without biscuits, candy and colas but it needs to feed the smartphone habit to ensure that 'selfie' fix. Phone companies are happy. Those who make the low-ticket items that are impulse buys such as colas, chocolate and confectionery, not so much. Consumers in rural markets, their buying power stretched after back-to-back bad monsoons, clearly prefer mobile recharges to watch videos or take and broadcast selfies, say executives at leading consumer goods manufacturers.
Tellingly, the Rs 10 talk-time mobile recharge is the largest-selling pack in the country, a telecom company executive said. "The 'selfie culture' is making consumers spend more on their phones rather than on fast-moving consumer products, which are discretionary," said Suresh Narayanan, managing director of Nestle India, which makes Maggi noodles and KitKat chocolat…

Startup Losses

Startup Losses
Times of India in an article asks whether India's tech startups are serious businesses? Or will they just fade away when the funding stops?  An old TV interview of Rahul Yadav, who was CEO of a startup named Housing. com till he was sacked by the board, is quite revealing. The interview was conducted in September 2015. However, there is one part of it which offers an interesting insight into what is wrong with Indian startups. At one point in the conversation, Yadav confesses that he doesn't like 'Excel sheets'. He says that when they (he and his co-founders, presumably) were meeting potential investors, if the investor asked for Excel sheets, they would just drop that investor.
It's clear from the conversation that the loathing is not for any particular software sold by Microsoft. Instead, 'Excel sheets' are synonymous with calculations and projections about the business. These spreadsheets would have calculations about how much the busines…

E-sports Stars

Agents, transfer windows and contracts for e-soccer players in the EPL. Fans will be buying season tickets for e-soccer clubs. New digital revenue stream for soccer clubs is opening up.
BBC News reports "Manchester City Football Club have signed a new young player - but one who will never set foot on the pitch. Instead 18-year-old Kieran "Kez" Brown joins the club as its first e-sports player. He will represent the club at e-sports tournaments, playing popular computer game Fifa. Premier League rivals West Ham signed their first Fifa player, Sean "Dragonn" Allen, in May and many other top flight clubs are keen to get involved. "It's exciting, it's something new for the club and it's something new for me," said Mr Brown. "I'm going to live stream on Twitch, I'm going to be making videos for Manchester City's YouTube channel and I'm going to be playing some City fans and representing City in future tournaments, which I…

Countries Ranked for Digital Readiness

Singapore is again listed as the highest in terms of network readiness in the Global Information Technology Report 2016 from the World Economic Forum. WEF says network readiness is needed as it allows innovation to take place in a country such as the digitisation of products or services and other technology innovations. The report shows how prepared countries are to benefit from new and emerging tech and opportunities from digital innovation. Other countries listed at the top include the Scandinavian countries and USA is 5th.

SJP @DigitalAsian

App Time in India

App Time in India
Times of India reports that India is rapidly moving into the mobile app age and is already the fourth-largest mobile app economy. The amount of time Indians spend on apps has also increased dramatically, says mobile-app analytics company App Annie. In total app downloads per year, only China, US, and Brazil are ahead of India. The annual figure for India is projected to grow by 92% to reach 7.7 billion downloads this year, and further to 20.1 billion by 2020. China's app download is expected to grow at a much slower 29% this year, but the absolute figure will be more than 6 times that of India's at 49 billion.
"With the introduction of affordable smartphones and better infrastructure supporting mobile , and given India's population, the growth here is expected to be significant," Junde Yu, MD of App Annie APAC, said. He said the most important thing that is now driving the app economy here is not the number of downloads or the revenue but just …

E-Degrees: A Question of Degree

Universities could offer full undergraduate degrees online within a few years. But many top universities are currently reluctant to take this step in order to protect their reputation. Currently short courses are generally offered online but education technology is changing this.
SJP @DigitalAsian

Thinking About Your Exit at the Start in Indian Startups

Thinking About Your Exit at the Start in Indian Startups
Times of India reports that higher the risk, better the reward and greater the uncertainty, bigger the insurance. What was earlier limited to foreign startups is now entering new-age ventures in India: Exit clause. Startup CEO/CXO candidates have begun pitching for specific exit clauses in employment contracts. And employers are responding positively. In a bid to safeguard the interests of such candidates, exit compensation packages are being drafted with great attention to detail. Executive search firms TOI spoke to said some CEO candidates are even roping in law firms for negotiating contracts with prospective employers.
An HR head from one of the leading startups told TOI that in his career of over a decade, he had encountered only one case where a candidate insisted on specific exit clauses. It's a phenomenon that exists in developed markets and is now said to be taking root in Indian startups, especially when valuation…

Your Flexible Friend: Bendable Smartphones

Recently Lenovo unveiled a concept smartphone, which is not yet on sale, but which has a flexible display and runs on Android. In a few years we could see smartphones that wrap around your wrist. As smartphone manufacturers are increasingly looking to differentiate their products from others, having flexible displays allows more product design models.
SJP @DigitalAsian

Taking the Anonymity out of Currencies and Online Payments

Taking the Anonymity out of Currencies and Online Payments
Times of India reports that the European Commission proposed on Tuesday stricter rules on the use of virtual currencies and prepaid cards in a bid to reduce anonymous payments and curb the financing of terrorism. Virtual currency exchange platforms will have to increase checks on the identities of people exchanging virtual currencies, such as Bitcoin, for real currencies and report suspicious transactions.
Under the Commission's proposals the threshold for making anonymous payments with pre-paid cards was lowered to 150 euros ($167.28) from 250 euros. "Member states will be able to get and share vital information about who really owns companies or trusts, who is dealing in online currencies, and who is using pre-paid cards," EU Commission first vice-president Frans Timmermans said. Prepaid cards are issued by a wide range of operators including banks using major networks, such as Visa and MasterCard. They are di…

Recruiting the Digital Nomad

Recruiting the Digital Nomad
Upwardly-mobile, tech-savvy, young professionals across the globe are swapping their briefcases and brogues for backpacks and sneakers, setting themselves up as digital nomads who can operate from wherever their laptops can go. Jobbatical and Teleport, two recent tech startups, promise to take the guess-work out of digital job hunting on a global scale. Both hail from tiny tech titan Estonia and are part of a crop of cutting-edge online sites catering to digital nomads, typically young males who work remotely and move around regions like Southeast Asia every few months.
Their creators insist the startups have the potential to shake things up on the global job market, similar to how Estonians previously transformed global communications with Skype and digital international money transfers via Transferwise. Tallinn-based entrepreneur Karoli Hindriks said she launched Jobbatical two years ago to fill the growing gaps she noticed in global recruiting. With em…

More Languages needed Online

More languages are needed to be available for use online in social media and e-commerce.
Times of India reports that Facebook, in a bid to connect more users around the globe, has brought the Multilingual Composer feature to all its users. The feature lets them compose posts in multiple languages for people in other parts of the world to understand. The social media giant has given access to millions of users to quickly translate their posts into any one of the 44 given languages. It is worth mentioning that Facebook started testing this feature with page owners back in February.
SJP @DigitalAsian

Online Payment and Music Streaming Competition

There is news that Apple is considering a bid for Tidal, Jay Z's music streaming service. Further, BBC News reports "A war is brewing between two of the biggest names in music with Spotify accusing Apple of blocking its latest app update. Spotify says Apple will only make its update available if it agrees to use Apple's own billing system. It says Apple rules are designed to damage Spotify, reducing competition to its own music streaming service, Apple Music. The move is "causing grave harm", Spotify says. Details of Spotify's initial legal letter to Apple have been shared online."
SJP @DigitalAsian

Street Smart: Camera Blocking Tech at Concerts

Tech to protect IPR and block smartphone functionality. Smartphones are getting smarter but now tech firms are developing technology to reduce their smartness. Are smartphones getting too smart for their own good?
Times of India reports that filming videos and clicking photographs at live concerts may soon be a thing of the past, as Apple is working on a technology that could disable photo and video functionality at events. The company won approval from the US Patent and Trademark Office on Wednesday for a patent it applied for in 2009 relating to its cameras and their interaction with infrared signals, reports the Independent UK website. According to online music magazine Pitchfork, in some cases, the device could use the infrared data to show a user information related to a nearby object, such as an exhibit in a museum.
In other cases, the device could use the infrared data to disable the device's recording functions. As an example, the patent includes an illustration of a band…

Shareholders of the Sharing Economy

Tech firms like Uber and Airbnb are getting us to share more services and goods without ownership in the sharing economy, or shareconomy, which basically means web-based platforms allowing consumers to use P2P based services or temporary access to goods.
This has been good for shareholders of the tech firms and their consumers.
SJP @DigitalAsian