Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Intel may announce management overhaul today: reports

New York
The Economic Times
Intel is expected to announce a management shake-up on Monday that will see its core chip business-head Patrick Gelsinger leave the company after 30 years, says a media report.

Attributing to people briefed on the company, The New York Times said, Intel is expected to reveal a sweeping management change on Monday.

Among other changes, the chipmaker would announce that Pat Gelsinger, the senior vice president in charge of Intel's enterprise group, is leaving the company after 30 years performing a variety of roles, the report said citing these people.

Another media report, The Wall Street Journal, said 48-year-old Gelsinger would run computer-storage giant EMC's storage-products operations and some smaller software units, effective immediately.

As Gelsinger departs, Sean Maloney, Intel's head of sales and marketing, would take on an even larger role at the company, the NYT said citing the same people.

All of Intel's major chip businesses, including its PC, graphics and server chips would fall under Maloney, while Dadi Perlmutter, the head of Intel's laptop chips, would now oversee engineering for all the chip divisions.

Maloney, Intel's sales chief, is also considered to be one of the possible successor to Intel CEO Paul Otellini.

Canon to provide multifunction printers to HP

The Economic Times
Japan's Canon Inc said on Monday that together with Hewlett-Packard they have agreed to jointly market and distribute multifunction office systems.

Canon, which already supplies laser beam printers to HP on an original equipment manufacturer basis, will start providing advanced multifunctional printers to the US company later this year.

Software to help diagnose cardiac infections

The Times of India (Kolkata edition)
A teachable software, designed to mimic the human brain, may help diagnose cardiac infections in a non-invasive manner, suggests a new research. Endocarditis — an infection involving the valves and sometimes chambers of the heart — can be a problem in patients with implants. It is a serious condition and can be deadly. The mortality rate can be as high as one in five, even with aggressive treatment and removal of the device.

UK woos investment from India in IT sector

Writankar Mukherjee, Kolkata
The Economic Times (Kolkata edition)
At a time when the global economy is showing signs of bottoming out, the UK government is going all out to attract Indian investment in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector. At least 50 Indian ICT companies have shown interest to either set up operations or expand their existing base in the UK, said UK Trade and Investment sector champion (digital technology and content) Dave Gorshkov.

Talking to ET during his visit to Kolkata on Monday, Gorshkov said UK is pitching hard to the Indian companies about its £17-billion worth of annual government ICT tenders.

“The recession has not impacted UK’s spending on IT. In fact, it has gone up by £1-billion since the government is seeing the benefits of e-governance. Equally large opportunities exist in the private sector,” he said.

“India’s leading IT companies like TCS, Infosys, Wipro, HCL and Mastek already work on a significant number of e-governance projects in the UK. National Health Services has the largest IT budget in UK, estimated to be £9-billion alone. We expect such lucrative opportunities will attract several of the Indian companies,” said Gorshkov.

While the US is the largest contributor for FDI in the UK, India currently figures at the second position. “Even in the ICT sector, India is at the second slot for FDI inflows in UK. Some of the big Indian players are already present, but we now want to attract the tier II companies,” Gorshkov said.

Gorshkov said the UK government is also trying to encourage foreign ICT companies to create jobs in the UK. “However, some companies need to outsource jobs to locations like India to be commercially viable. Still, the government tries to ensure that the higher value, senior management and supervisory roles’ positions remain with UK citizens,” he said.

However, Gorshkov added that the cost of talent has also rationalised in the UK due to recession. “As a result, salaries of engineering human resource in the UK is now as attractive as in India. We expect this will also drive local employment in UK by the Indian companies,” he said.

State beats southern peers in IT infra projects

Subrahmanyan Viswanath, Bangalore
Deccan Herald
Recession may have put paid to big-ticket ambitions of global corporations. The economic slowdown, sending majority of them into cost-cutting mode reining in their IT spends. However, closer home, though, global developments have not, in anyway, dented investments in IT & ITeS infrastructure projects by private developers, across southern states of India. And given it’s iconic status as Silicon Valley of India, Bangalore, in particular, & Karnataka, in general, as ever, lead from the front.

Being the most proactive State, and most sought after IT destinations, Karnataka, and Bangalore, have bagged most number of IT & ITeS infrastructure project investments compared to their equally successfully striding southern peers.

According to Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) quarterly update, prepared by ICRA Management Consultancy Services Limited accessed by Deccan Herald, of the 204 IT & ITeS infrastructure projects in Southern India, Karnataka lead with total of 57 projects, followed by Andhra Pradesh with 46, Tamil Nadu & Pondicherry combine 88 and Kerala 13.

While among total 204 projects, 37 percent of these investments are under execution, 30 percent of projects have been completed and 28 percent under planning stage. In Karnataka, from among 57 projects, 16 are under execution, 26 in planning stage, 11 completed as of July 2009. Though investments run into several thousand crore, they have not been declared. What’s more heartening is the State’s plans to push projects into Tier-II cities are bearing results with few lined up in the districts of Mysore & Mandya as well, sources said.

Proposals in play
Those under execution are: Supreme Build Cap’s Rs 222 crore Global Tech Park at Deverabisanahalli. IBC Knowledge Park’s Rs 82.2 crore STP on Bannerghatta Road. Jaypee Group’s Rs 20 crore STP at Electronic City. The Rs 375 crore IT Pritech Park-II at Bellandur by Primal Projects. Bhoruka Group’s Rs 250 crore Bhoruka Tech Park at Whitefield. Upkar Software Facilities Software Development Centre on Hosur Road.

Fortune Builders & Developers STP. Harita Projects IT Park at Electronic City. Tata Group’s Project at Mahadevpura. Immaculate Holdings Immaculate Grands IT Park. Fortuna’s Tech Park at Electronic City. Kaushtubha Project’s IT Park at Devanam Plaza, Bangalore. Pallonji Group’s IT Park at S P Infocity, Mysore. Adarsh Prime Project’s IT Park in Bangalore. Ashtha Infrastructure’s IT Park at Electronic City and India Builders Corp’s Knowledge Park-Tower.

Those proposed are: Sri IT Park. Vaswani Group’s IT Park. Sunil Mantri’s Mantri Axis. Gulf Oil Corporation’s IT Park at Yelahanka. Harita Project’s, Salarpuria Project’s IT Park at Koorgalli. Nova Hamlet Ltd’s Software Park at Mysore. Abharana Infotech’s IT Park at Hebbagodi. SR Constructions IT Park at Mysore. Kalyani Developer’s at Koorgalli. Kruthi Computer Services’ STP at Mysore. Alliance Infrastructure’s STP, Pathak Constructions Pratham Tech Park at Mettagalli. Adarsh Prime Project’s Adarsh IT Park at Whitefield. Team 4ce Friendly Consortium’s IT Park at Mandya and Sita Lodge’s IT park at Bandapur.

New entrepreneurs shifting from IT-Related projects: TIE

Bhaskar Hazarika, New Delhi
Financial Chronicle
First generation entrepreneurs are now shifting the focus from IT development products to retail, media, education, healthcare and bio-technology. Out of every 10 upcoming entrepreneurs seeking seed funding for projects, six to seven are not associated with IT development or products.

Elaborating on this trend, Saurabh Srivastava, chairman emeritus of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), Delhi said that entrepreneurship had matured in India and there was a paradigm shift from traditional IT development to other verticals. ’“Entrepreneurship is changing in India as we see a lot of ideas in the other business segments. Today, retail, biotech, clean tech, education and media are evolving fields”, he said.

TiE helps in funding entrepreneurs through initial investment and also guides them to get funding from venture capitals. “The first generation of entrepreneurs brought in IT-related products and service innovations to the table since the Indian IT industry offered a lot of scope for them. But today, entrepreneurs are diversifying into other business verticals,” Srivastava said.

With the global credit crunch there has been scarcity of seed funding in the US. However, India continues to be an optimistic destination for venture capitalists. Srivastava said the downturn had not impacted the availability of seed funding much. “Financing and entrepreneurs grow hand in hand. Usually, a slowdown is the best time for investing in entrepreneurs. Unlike earlier, today venture capitalists are looking at investing in other business verticals. Entrepreneurship is converting job seekers into job creators,” he added.

Indian scientist invents fastest disk encryption system

An Indian scientist has claimed to have developed the fastest internationally known method to encrypt hard disk of a computer so that data remains secure even from attack by hackers.

The new algorithm developed by Palash Sarkar, a professor at the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), Kolkata, is reportedly 30 to 40% faster than the previous ones.

From a practical point of view, the requirement is actually to achieve both speed and security. Otherwise, encryption and decryption may take so much time that softwares which run on computers become unacceptably slow, Sarkar said.

“And, in the current state of the art, this work provides the fastest known algorithm for disk encryption,” Sarkar claimed.

The results of the research will appear in October 2009 issue of the ‘IEEE Transactions on Information Theory’, one of the top research journals in the field of transmission, processing and utilization of information.

Asked how he claims his algorithm to be the ‘fastest’, he replied, “One has to see this in the context of the anonymous and strict review process of the journal ‘IEEE Transactions on Information Theory’.

The reviewers allowed this claim to stand because I could scientifically justify it in the paper. A hollow claim would have been struck down by the reviewers, he added.

The claim of speed improvement in the new scheme is based on hardware implementation carried out by a group of Mexico-based scientists led by Dr Debrup Chakraborty.

“The software implementation of the algorithm is expected to give more speedups compared to that of other methods,” Chakraborty said in an email interview.

Chakraborty and his colleagues have been working on several aspects of disk encryption since past few years at the Center for Advanced Studies and Research of the National Polytechnic Institute, Mexico.

The details of the new algorithm involve techniques of computer science, abstract algebra and discrete probability theory, Sarkar said.

Polaris ties up with HK firm for foray into CHINA, MACAU

Shyamala Seetharamanan, Chennai
Financial Chronicle The Times of India The Hindu
Polaris Software Lab announced its tie up with PCCW Solutions on Monday to jointly market the former’s banking and insurance solutions in Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China. The move is part of Polaris’ strategy to explore new markets in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

PCCW Solutions is a subsidiary of Hong-Kong-based telecommunications company PCCW. The two companies will leverage Polaris’ flagship product Intellect Universal Global Banking (GUB) 10.0. The partnership will integrate presales and sales operations and solution architects of the two companies to cater to the Chinese market.

Polaris has identified China, Russia, Latin America, Africa and Eastern Europe as the growth markets for the Intellect suite of products, said Arun Jain, chairman and CEO of Polaris. The company entered Vietnam, Chile and Egypt last year. The roadmap for this fiscal includes entry into new markets and setting up of sales forces to aggressively market all of the group’s products such as banking, HR and insurance solutions, he said in a recent interview.

“We will keep looking for newer markets in South and West Asia and Africa and the minimum criterion for choosing a country would be whether it can contribute at least $10 million revenue over three years. We will be spending between Rs 15 crore and Rs 20 crore to enter the new countries this year,” he added.

The strategy is an extension of Polaris’ three-point growth engine, which includes expansion of services offered to tier I organisations; tapping tier II and tier III banks and financial institutions in developed markets, and entering new markets to gain leadership position in the respective countries.

Polaris reported about 79-per-cent increase in net profit to Rs 130.71 crore for the year ended March 31, 2009.

Elitecore eyes RS 100 crore acquisition in network security

Vinay Umarji, Mumbai/Ahmedabad
Business Standard
In a bid to become a $ 50 million within two years, Elitecore Technologies is mulling to take the inorganic route. The Ahmedabad-based company is looking at Rs 100 crore acquisition in the US or European markets in the network security segment. As an option, the company is also open to technology acquisition from innovators in the country.

"We face a tough competition in the network security segment. Yet, recently we became the only Indian company in network security to feature in Gartner's report titled 'Magic Quadrant for SMB Multifunction Firewalls', along with the likes of CISCO, McAfee and Symantec. However, we would want to grow as quickly as possible and are looking at the inorganic route to do so," said Hemal Patel, chief executive officer of Elitecore Technologies Ltd.

While the company is pushing for revenue of $ 15 million (Rs 72 crore approx.) for the financial year 2009-10, by 2011-12, Elitecore intends to peg a turnover of $ 50 million in the network security segment. "We are primarily looking at a $ 20 million (Rs 100 crore approx.) acquisition of competition in the US or European markets since players there carry a larger footprints and will help us to grow large in a very short time. The good thing is that big companies don't see us as competition, which may help us in future acquisitions. We are also looking at technology acquisition from innovators in network security across the country," said Patel.

Talking further about the technology acquisition, Patel added, "We will create a platform for innovators to showcase their products and if we find a product suitable for our channel, we will either offer the innovator to be our OEM and earn royalties or allow to be acquired and be part of the company."

Meanwhile, the company will be simultaneously investing about $ 2 million (Rs 10 crore approx.) per annum on R&D to boost its network security offering and reach its $ 50 million turnover target earlier. Of the $ 15 million (Rs 72 crore approx.) revenue that Elitecore is targeting for financial year 2009-10, it expects to earn around $ 10 million of it from SMBs and the rest from large enterprises.

IBM logs on to SEWA

The Times of India
Thirty-eight-year-old Kensuke Kobayashi from Japan, an IT architect, is busy developing a user friendly computer application for members of Self Employed Women's Association (Sewa) and will help connect its rural members on a regular basis for their day-to-day needs by creating a database.

Kobayashi is among a group of IBM employees from Brazil, Canada, Ireland and Germany who have voluntarily opted to work in Ahmedabad for a month on various economic and social problems like improving the livelihood of rural tribal community, security of self-employed women, using technology to connect remote locations to centralized information hubs related to disaster warnings, weather reports and others. They all are part of IBM Corporate Services Corp (CSC) launched in year 2008.

Vice-president, Sales India /Sales Asia, IBM India Private Limited, Vanitha Narayanan told TOI, "CSC is a corporate version of the peace corps- where IBM addresses core societal, education and environmental challenges by placing employees in developing countries." She added, "IBM professionals voluntarily travel to developing countries where they will work with local bodies and agencies for capacity building and skill enhancement. Only 100 candidates out of 5,000 were chosen after a rigorous selection process."

Over a period of four months, about 40 global IBMers will partner with nine NGOs in Ahmedabad and Mumbai such as SEWA, IndiCorps, Tribal Development Department of Gujarat, Friends of Women's World Banking, India, Pratham, among others to work on diverse social projects.

Director of SEWA Reema Nanavaty said, "SEWA has over 1.1 million members who have 31,000 micro enterprises in diverse sector. We needed a user friendly and cost-effective technology to increase our operational efficiency. Technical input from IBM will help us develop a multiple marketing strategy for our 'RUDI Ben' project which will generate more employment opportunities for rural women and also improve their livelihood."

SMES take the MES route

Payal Agrawal
The Economic Times (Delhi edition)
In an increasingly competitive scenario with rapidly fluctuating customer demands, process flexibility and production scheduling is gaining significance for manufacturing industries, particularly the auto components sector.

The Indian automotive components manufacturing industry, largely composed of Tier II and Tier III firms, include original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and other components manufacturers from the SME sector. The main problem here is to meet the fluctuating demands of automobile assemblers and fabricators who cater to both the domestic and the export markets. According to Milind Naik, Proprietor, Threa Dwell India, an auto components manufacturing company, “There is a lot of fluctuation in customer demands. In this scenario, automotive component manufacturers, particularly SMEs, need to think along production scheduling lines.”

It is equally essential for SMEs to deploy a system, which can track orders and the production status on a real-time basis. A seamless link has to be established between the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system and the manufacturing facility to meet these fluctuating demands. Says Vijay Bhatt, Director, Panorama Automotive Industries, “Demands in this sector have become more dynamic, and often vary in terms of lot size and component specifications. Accommodating these demands requires extensive process flexibility and production scheduling.”

In general, manufacturers, especially SMEs, do not have the technical support to assess such abrupt demand patterns. This has prevented them from achieving sustainable production. According to Manoj Kumar Gala, MD, Precise Auto Ancillaries, “Customer demands in the auto components manufacturing sector have a very fluctuating nature. This has been a hindrance for auto components manufacturers, specially the SMEs in the domain.”

However, industry insiders are of the view that IT solutions and Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) software can be implemented to resolve the issues. “IT solutions such as Manufacturing Execution System (MES) have proved essential to achieve sustainable production in manufacturing industries. SMEs in the domain should make efforts for large-scale implementation of MES,” opined Alok Sharma, CEO, Forge India.

MES is an IT-enabled solution, which manages the overall shop floor operations, and automatically reports production information and online enquiries to the production floor data centre on real-time basis. Some of the industrial tasks that SMEs can perform using MES include order processing, receipt generation, production scheduling, quality control, shipping and maintenance.

As a whole, MES instructs, begins, responds to, and reports on shop floor operations from the beginning of production until the product is finally manufactured. There are several core areas in the auto components manufacturing domain, which must receive greater focus to achieve sustainable production. With the application of MES, SMEs in the sector can successfully target these areas.

Production Scheduling

With the globalisation of auto industry, customer demands have become more versatile in terms of lot size, material and dimensional specifications, and delivery timelines. Production scheduling is a critical shop floor activity and SMEs in the auto components sector must optimise this function for greater benefits. Using MES, information can be delivered to the shop floor facility on a real-time basis, which will improve the production schedule by optimising all the manufacturing phases.

“We have implemented MES, which, along with our ERP setup, enables bidirectional information flow across the supply chain, thus integrating manufacturers and distributors in a seamless manner,” said Sharma.

This would help SMEs quickly take required actions to reschedule the production plan, thus minimising the Work in Process (WIP) and unscheduled downtimes.

A Framework for seamless integration

(The Economic Times, Delhi edition)
Abicor Binzel Production (India) is an SME providing welding solutions such as automotive welding accessories and robotic peripheral systems for fabricating automobile bodies in India. The company planned to expand its operations in the country. However, it faced some challenges with respect to demand and supply, inventory planning and scheduling. Tracking the quality of automobile welding systems and reporting financial results were other pressing problems.

Earlier, the company had implemented solutions like Tally for finance and Excel for demand and supply planning and other sales activities. However, due to the lack of coordination between financial activities and plantfloor operations, it was difficult to maintain multiple spreadsheets and aggregate the results in monthly or quarterly reports. This resulted in the submission of error-filled financial information. It was also difficult to comply with Indian taxation requirements. Moreover, the manual mode of demand and supply planning made the administration of inventory activities difficult.

Abicor needed a business solution to consolidate its financial operations and achieve quality consistency. Other requirements were to facilitate manufacturing processes and demand and supply planning, and manage the growing business more professionally.

Formulating a solution

Tectura, a worldwide business consultancy, provided a solution called Tectura Solution Framework (TSF). TSF, in alignment with Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step Methodology, provided for pre-analysis of Abicor’s business processes, identification of critical processes and evaluated the company’s current status. It also provided predefined templates for data and system migration, by which the data was exported from different legacy systems and imported to Microsoft Dynamics NAV. Tectura provided Abicor Binzel a scalable, flexible and ready-to-use solution spanning its entire range of industrial operations. These operations include procurement, production, inventory management, supply chain planning, sales and marketing, finance and accounting, and business analytics.

LG to re-enter laptop biz with mini notebooks by year end

New Delhi
The Economic Times Financial Chronicle The Hindu Business Line The Financial Express Business Standard The Times of India

Korean electronics giant LG will re-enter the laptop business in India with plans to launch mini notebooks by the end of this year.

The company had earlier this year in February stopped selling laptops in India due to financial non-viability.

"Notebooks hardly generate profit as big amount of purchase comes only from corporates...We had pulled out but we are thinking of starting again by launching netbooks (mini laptops) and other product line," LG Electronics India Managing Director Moon Bum Shin said.

The company will position the product in the premium segment and is looking at introducing it in the market this year.

"For notebook as compared to HP our base is small. So rather than push the material (volume) we are going to come up with premium marketing, which we are working on," he said.

The company had stopped selling its laptops in India in February this year. It was earlier selling models such as LG P1 Express Dual and LG M1 Express Dual with 15.4 inch wide-screen and 15 inch TFT respectively.

Cypress eyes cheaper solar photovoltaics

The Economic Times (Bangalore edition)
Cypress Semiconductor, a leading technology company, has placed large bets on the solar photovoltaic market in India with the aim of bringing affordable solutions to the end consumer.

Cypress forayed into the Indian solar photovoltaic market during end of 2008 and has few of its technologies already being implemented by a few enterprises.

Rajeev Mehtani, senior VP, Cypress Semiconductor, India said, “We are working in our development centres in Chennai and Bangalore to develop solutions for efficient use of solar energy and make it more affordable to the end users in India.” Some of these examples from Cypress include the intelligent Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) based charge controllers for solar street and home lighting ensuring a 15% reduction in costs or the LED solar lanterns which operates at lower cost. The above solution are based on Cypress’ programmable system-on-chip (PSoC) device technology.

Meanwhile, the company has introduced the PSoC creator, which automates the entire process of designing a chip. Cypress has working with few of its partners in India to develop these solar photovoltaic solutions. Mehtani said, “We are currently working with several companies in India enabling them to develop their own intelligent charge controllers based on Cypress’s Power PSoC technology. We also have customers that have developed dimmable solar LED lanterns using Cypress’s Programmable System-on-Chip (PSoC) products.” Solar photovoltaic market has become an important area of focus for Cypress and it has working with solar installation and product companies to requirements of the end consumers.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Windows 7 free ride over on August 20

Silicon India
Bangalore: August 20th is the last date to download the "release candidate" version of Windows 7, after which its free downloading will be discontinued. Microsoft, which has been providing free, unlimited downloads of the candidate version till now, plans to put Windows 7 on sale in about two months, reports CNET News.
This is a last chance for users who have failed to upgrade from Beta Build 7000 to the RC Build 7100 bits. Microsoft's announcement to halt the download of Windows 7 RC came during the second half of June 2008.

Windows Communications Manager, Brandon LeBlanc said in a blog posting this week, "After that date, you will still be able to register your product and get registration keys, but the media will no longer be available for download."

However the release candidate will only work through early next year. On June 1st, the software will entirely expire and, starting March 1st, it will begin shutting down every two hours to remind users that the end is near.

A move from the release candidate to the final version requires a clean installation of the operating system, meaning backing up one's data, reinstalling Windows 7, and then restoring the data and reinstalling any applications.

Apple probes iPhone explosion reports, eu says

The Economic Times
Apple Inc is investigating media reports that one or more of the company's iPhones have exploded in Europe, a European Commission spokeswoman said on Tuesday. The spokeswoman for the EU executive, which oversees the safety of consumer products sold in the 27-country bloc, said Apple had described the reported incidents as isolated.

Apple said it was aware of the media reports, which include a case in which a teenager in France said he was slightly injured when his iPhone made a hissing noise and shattered, but did not comment on any contacts with the Commission.

"Apple have come back to us ... and what they've said to us is that they consider these are isolated incidents. They don't consider that there's a general problem," Commission spokeswoman Helen Kearns said.

Microsoft's bing wins share from Google, Yahoo

The Economic Times
Microsoft Corp's Bing search engine continued to make small gains on rivals Google Inc and Yahoo Inc in the US Internet search market in July, according to the latest data from research firm ComScore.

Microsoft, which launched Bing in early June, racked up 8.9 percent of U.S. Internet searches in July, up 0.5 percentage points from June.

Google, the leader in the market, and Yahoo, the distant No. 2, both lost 0.3 percentage points of market share in July, to 64.7 percent and 19.3 percent, respectively.

Late last month Microsoft and Yahoo finally signed an agreement to cooperate on Internet search advertising, with Bing powering searches on both companies' sites and Yahoo handling the ad sales.

Blackberry is world's fastest growing company: fortune

The Economic Times
BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion (RIM) tops Fortune magazine's list of the world's 100 fastest-growing companies.

It is the first time that Fortune has opened its list of the top 100 fastest growing companies to businesses from around the world.

Apple, which is BlackBerry makers' main rival in the global smart phone market, is way down the list at 39th spot.

Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc, which is the world's biggest fertiliser company, is another Canadian firm among the top 10 in the Fortune list.

Among the top 10 are also two companies from China- Shanda Interactive Entertainment and a website.

Others in the top 10 are California-based Sigma Designs, Ebix of Atlanta, Texas-based DG Fastchannel, CF Industries of Illinois, Arena Resources of Oklahoma and Massachusetts-based Bruker Corp.

Tech COS, VTU tie up to improve skills

Peerzada Abrar, Bangalore
The Economic Times (Bangalore edition)
While India produces a large number of engineering graduates every year, most transnationals find only 25% of them employable, says a Global Institute study. A recent study by PurpleLeap, an entry-level talent management firm paints an even grim picture — only 6% of the 10,000 students across 150 engineering colleges were found to be employable. To this end, firms like Intel, Bosch and Wipro are collaborating with technical universities like Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU) to make these graduates improve their skill-sets.

“Robert Bosch received about a lakh job applications, of which 10,000 were called for an interview while only 1,000 of them were finally hired,” Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions (RBEI) MD Friedhelm Pickhard said. What RBEI, a leading provider of technology and services, has done is to sign a pact with VTU to set up a Bosch Technical Centre in their campus. “It is an effort to bring the industry and academia together. We are forming such partnerships not only with Bosch but with Wipro and Intel too. Similar initiatives are in pipeline with IBM and Australia’s Deakin University,” says Dr HP Kincha, vice-chancellor, VTU. “With Bosch, we will set up an R&D centre for automotive electronics. We want to create innovation centres,” he added.

The world’s largest chipmaker Intel will also set up a research centre in Mysore along with VTU, which will work on multi-core technologies. “A multi-core learning centre will be set up in 2010 in Mysore. Intel has already created one at MS Ramaiah Institute of Technology, Bangalore, last month”, said an Intel spokesperson.

Wipro, through its non-profit trust — Mission 10X, will be reaching out to 10,000 faculty members with innovative teaching methods across India to enhance the employability potential of graduating engineers, said Dr Selvan D, senior vice-president for talent transformation at Wipro.

Association for Indian origin IT professionals launched in US

Silicon Valley
The Economic Times
With an objective to bring Indian origin IT professionals at one platform and give them a common voice, an association of IT professionals has been launched here.

"ITPIO gives an opportunity to all IT professionals and other professionals as well to communicate with each other," Sri Chawla, CEO of US Microtech and a philanthropist in the Silicon Valley said in his inaugural address.

The first chapter of the Association of IT Professionals of Indian Origin (ITPO) was launched in the Silicon Valley on August 15 - India's Independence Day.

"IT professionals from India are well known and perceived for their skills, professionalism and success - yet they do not have an organisation representing their professional interest," Khanderao Kand, founder of ITPIO said.

"ITPIO is a great platform for everyone from entry level to C level with an objective to promote the professional leadership to make an Indian Imprint on the progress of world," Kand added.

Speaking on the difficult times being faced by IT industry, well known CEO and Entrepreneur Coach Dr Prasad Kaipa in his key note address said, "Turbulent times are the appropriate times for positive deviance, for stretching, risk taking and this will show up us as leaders."

Primarily focusing on fostering the leadership and personal development of IT professionals of Indian Origin, ITPIO has also initiated chapters in Denver, Washington, Seattle Hyderabad and Bangalore.

Indian companies aim for green offices

New Delhi
The Economic Times
With the environment and climate change becoming predominant concerns worldwide, Indian companies are contributing their mite by having building constructed on the principles of ecological balance and energy conservation.

Well-known companies like Wipro, ITC, Patni Computers, Spectral Services and many others have received permission to work on "green buildings" in industrial zones of the National Capital Region (NCR) like Noida and Gurgaon.

Green buildings consultancy company SGS Pvt India Ltd Senior Manager Avinash Kumar said there are about 40 buildings in the country that fall under the green category and at least 10-12 companies are in place that cater for such requirements currently.

"At present Chennai has the most number of green buildings in the company. Mumbai and Hyderabad too have buildings under this category. Wipro, ITC Centre in Gurgaon and Patni College Centre and Spectral Services Consultants Pvt Ltd in Noida are counted among green buildings in the NCR" Kumar said.

In addition to these, L&T Chennai, Hiranandani BG Building in Mumbai, ABN Amro Bank in Ahemedabad, Microsoft Building in Hyderabad, Ashok Leyland in Chennai also fall under this category.

Green building consultancy services company Environment Design Solution Director Tanmay Tathagat said green buildings are constructed in a manner that they make best use of natural light and the people working in that area feel in touch with nature.

Green buildings are constructed in a scientific way whereby water management, natural energy and use of local resources are emphasised.

Govt clears 10 fdi proposals worth Rs 1,123 crore

New Delhi
Business Standard The Asian Age Deccan Chronicle The Economic Times Deccan Herald
The government today cleared 10 foreign direct investment (FDI) proposals worth over Rs 1,123 crore, a major share of which is expected to be brought in by the Essel Group promoted direct-to-home service provider, Dish TV India.

On the recommendation of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board, the government, however, deferred nine proposals -- that of Taneja Aerospace, Eads Deutchland GmbH and Larsen & Toubro's, Tecnotree Convergence, Devas Multimedia, Exensys Software Solutions, India Rizing Fund, Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu), Rish Private Ltd, and ByCell Telecommunication.

Three proposals, of Chennai-based Asha Micro Credit, Cholamandalam DBS Finance, and Cargil & Financial Services India, were rejected.

Dish TV India plans to issue convertible bonds to persons resident outside India to raise up to $150 million (about Rs 750 crore) for investments towards import of capital goods, overseas direct investment in joint ventures, or wholly owned subsidiaries, among others.

The company has the approval to set up a joint venture to produce telecommunication equipment and provide management and marketing of 'agrani' services in the area of satellite communications.

The approved foreign equity participation in the joint venture is 49 percent and the foreign collaborators include Afro-Asian Satellite Communication Ltd, Delgrada Ltd and Lazarus Investment Ltd.

L&T plans to form finance vertical

Suprotip Ghosh, Mumbai
Hindustan Times
Larsen & Toubro (L&T), India's largest construction company, is considering consolidation of its finance subsidiaries to form a finance vertical. The company's new general insurance business is expected to be a key part of the new vertical.

"A new finance vertical will emerge as one of the four verticals in the group, which will include most finance-related companies that are currently subsidiaries of Larsen & Toubro," said R Shankar Raman, executive vice president, finance, L&T.

The company is reorganising itself into four distinct verticals. These include the parent company, engineering, infotech and finance.

The finance vertical will consist of L&T Finance, L&T Infrastructure Finance and L&T General Insurance.

L&T General Insurance has appointed Joydeep Roy, the chief distribution officer of Tata AIG Life, as its chief executive. The company is not probably going to start operations before another six months, said YM Deosthalee, chief financial officer; L&T. Roy declined to comment.

Cold response to 'FLOOD IT'

Jitendra Dave, Ahmedabad
Contrary to its hyper expectations, the Gujarat Urban Co-Operative Banks Federation’s (GUCBF) information technology initiative - 'Flood IT Knowledge Revolution from KG to PG' - could unfortunately elicit a very lukewarm response.

Instead of the envisioned disbursement of loans for around one-lakh desktops and laptops, the GUCBF was able to disburse loans for only 25,000 desktops and laptops despite the extension in the period of the scheme.

However, the federation has termed the initiative a success as it has served its purpose of creating awareness about information technology in rural areas of the state.

The apex body of around 300 urban co-operative banks in Gujarat launched the information technology drive in February 2009. The GUCBF had launched the initiative with great pomp in Gandhinagar in presence of chief minister Narendra Modi.

It expected to disburse loans to around one lakh people under its scheme, which was valid for 100 days. The federation had to extend the scheme up to August 10, 2009 because of lack of response. Under this initiative, the federation provided laptop and desktop computers to the children of the members of urban co-operative banks, district co-operative banks and primary credit societies at reasonable rates. Besides, it also gave loans for up to 70% of the amount at 0% interest.

The federation had collaborated with HP, Acer and HCL to make 14 models of laptop and desktop computer available under this scheme.

Travelocity global acquires travelguru

Business Standard Mint
Travelocity Global, one of the world’s largest online travel companies, today announced the acquisition of Travelguru, India’s largest hotel distribution network, for an undisclosed sum.

The addition of Travelguru will build on Travelocity’s existing businesses, teams and relationships in India, which include Travelocity India, its online travel agency site, various supplier and redistribution relationships, as well as global support teams in the country. Travelguru distributes a portfolio of more than 4,000 hotels in India, most of which are independent properties, with a strong domestic customer-base.

“Both Travelocity India and Travelguru businesses will aim to work together to bring significant benefits to Indian hotel suppliers, with increased distribution and greater demand, redistribution partners with greater breadth and depth of Indian supplier content, and to Indian travellers with the broadest of choice of travel deals across all products in India”, stated a company release.

Microsoft India to launch new products in 12 months

The Economic Times The Asian Age DNA
Terming its competition with search giant Google as "healthy", Microsoft India on Tuesday said competition will help spur innovation and that it aims to introduce a range of new products in the next one year.

"There are many competitors in the software business and it is good for healthy competition. Competition brings innovation. We will compete with them (Google) in search and other things," Microsoft India's Managing Director Rajan Anandan said.

"We are coming up with a range of new products in the next 12-months. We have Microsoft Office 2010 coming up in the middle of next year," he added.

"Windows 7 is a huge launch. We are betting big on it," Anandan said.

Microsoft last week joined hands with Finnish handset maker Nokia, which will make available MS Office applications like Word, Excel and PowerPoint to Nokia users.

The deal may help Microsoft counter moves by phone makers to use Google Inc's free Android operating system.

"The deal with Nokia is exciting. It will take Nokia to the next level and help accelerate (sales) numbers," Anandan said.

Financial tech to help define industry standards

Business Standard
Financial Technologies India Ltd (FTIL) has joined the STAC Benchmark CouncilTM to help define industry standard performance metrics for trading technology solutions.

FTIL is the pioneer in introducing end-to-end STP solutions that support high-density transactions for equity, forex, commodity and derivatives markets. FTIL covers all stages of a trade life cycle — pre-trade, trade and post-trade — to deliver single-point transaction fulfillment.

The STAC Benchmark Council is a global industry body consisting of leading trading organisations and vendors, facilitated by the Securities Technology Analysis Centre (STAC-R). The council develops standard benchmarks for technology used in the capital market. End-user firms such as brokers, hedge funds, exchanges and alternative trading systems control the STAC BenchmarksTM through their votes, keeping the benchmarks tide to real business needs.

As part of the STAC Benchmark Council, FTIL will contribute to these benchmark specifications. Vendor-neutral, customer-driven specifications will allow FTIL to demonstrate the power and performance of its DOME (Distributed Order Matching Engine) trading solutions. DOME is a multi-asset exchange product suite, offering an integrated matching engine, including Order Management & Routing Engine, Risk Management & Surveillance Engine, Data Distribution Engine and various interfaces for clearing and settlement.

With FTIL’s extensive and interactive experience in developing such systems, it will contribute the maximum in terms of standardisation and benchmarking in development of a global exchange technology.

Progress Software to focus on Telecom, Airports

Business Standard Financial Chronicle
Progress Software India, the India arm of US-based Progress Software Corporation, is looking to tap data integration markets in India, particularly in aviation and telecom sectors. To this effect, the company is already in talks with at least two major telecom players apart from some airports that have announced to upgrade their information technology infrastructure, according to its vice-president (products) and centre head Ramesh Loganathan.

Speaking to the media here, he said the company had set up a sales team to find new clients. The company, which specialises in development of service and data integration solutions, has not fixed any sales target for the current year.

Progress has invested $5 million (about Rs 24 crore) in its Hyderabad development centre under Phase I. It is in the process of increasing its workforce and operations by 50 percent in two years. The company employs 145 people at its Hyderabad centre.

India prepares strictest rules on disposing of e-waste

New Delhi
The Economic Times
India is close to finalising the world's strictest set of rules on disposing of electronic waste. The rules, framed by electronics equipment manufacturers with the help of NGOs, are now being given the final touch by the ministry of environment and forests.

Under the new 'E-waste (Management & Handling) Rules', each manufacturer of a computer, music system, mobile phone or any other electronic gadget will be "personally" responsible for the final safe disposal of the product when it becomes a piece of e-waste, said Guruswamy Ananthapadmanabhan, programme director of Greenpeace International.

This "personal" responsibility makes it the world's most stringent set of rules for e-waste disposal.

The NGO has worked with India's Manufacturers' Association for Information Technology (MAIT) to prepare the rules that have been submitted to the ministry. Eighteen electronic brands, including Nokia, Wipro, HCL, Acer and Sony Ericsson, have already begun implementing plans on toxic chemical phase-out and take-back of old end-of-life products in India.

Apart from Greenpeace, civil society group Toxicslink and Germany's external aid agency GTZ have worked with MAIT since April 2008 to draft the new set of rules, whose main objectives are:

- To address the specific requirements for e-waste management;

- To put in place an effective mechanism to regulate the generation, collection, storage, transportation, import and export of e-waste; and

- To ensure environmentally sound recycling of e-waste.

"This includes establishment of a collection system, environmentally sound refurbishment and recycling, mandatory provisions for reduction in hazardous substances and producer responsibility," Ananthapadmanabhan said.

"The proposed rules would provide enabling policies and procedures that would be legally binding for producers, collection agencies, dismantlers, recyclers, transporters, etc., handling e-waste."

According to a recent report of the UN Environment Programme, 20-50 million tonnes of e-waste is generated annually worldwide. In India, a 2008 estimate by the industry put it at 382,979 tonnes per year, which will go up to 1.6 million tonnes in the next three years.

E-waste now makes up five percent of all municipal solid waste worldwide, more or less the same amount as general plastic waste.

As India piles up more and more junk computers, IT peripherals, music systems and mobile phones, a highly dangerous informal industry in their reprocessing and recycling has sprung up, concentrated on the outskirts of Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai.

Smart info signs up oscar winner

The Hindu Business Line
Smart Infocomm, IT hardware and mobile accessories provider, has signed up the Oscar award winner, Resul Pookutty, as its brand ambassador. It will shortly roll out a media campaign even as it plans to make available its products through 25 exclusive experience zones across India.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Yahoo Mail still king, Gmail to catch up soon

Silicon India
Bangalore: Yahoo mail continues to be the most popular web mail service, while Google's Gmail which is the fastest growing email service, has surpassed AOL to become the third most visited email service.

As per comScore's latest figures in July, Yahoo added almost 20 million users last year, growing its share of the market by 22 percent from 87.2 million users to 106.2 million users in June. Gmail with its climbing growth rate is on track to pass Windows Live Hotmail, which is the second most widely used email with 47.1 million users, up three percent from last year. In the July 2008 to July 2009 period, Gmail grew at a growth rate of 46 percent with 37 million unique visitors. On the other hand, during the same period AOL's monthly visitor total declined by 19 percent from 45.1 million to 36.4 million.

It's tough competition with all these services stepping up their marketing efforts and making noteworthy upgrades. For instance, Hotmail added the feature of offline access through standard email programmes. Gmail however has been gaining, thanks to its constant upgradation and enhancement. Google apart from getting corporations, organizations and schools to adopt its web services for their own e-mail, scheduling and productivity needs, has also been encouraging businesses to start using Google Apps, which includes Gmail as well as online applications like Google Docs, Google Calendar, Google Sites, and Google Video.

IBM to build next-generation chips with DNA

Silicon India
Bangalore: Scientists from IBM and California Institute of Technology are trying to build the next generation chips- smaller and more powerful, with the combination of DNA and nanotechnology. The experimental breakthrough can be a step towards developing a new technique for making smaller microprocessors beyond the traditional manufacturing processes

In the past few years, chipmakers have been able to make tinier and powerful products, but this advancement has pushed the limits of manufacturing techniques. According to IBM, The revolutionary method, developed at its Almaden Research Center in California and the California Institute of Technology, can help it to make computer chips from the molecule, by arranging DNA structures on the surface of manufactured semiconductor material. Microchips are mainly used in computers, mobile phones and a broad range of electronic devices and, as chipmakers compete to develop ever-smaller chips at cheaper prices, designers are struggling to cut costs.

Spike Narayan, Research Manager, IBM said, "The biological structures like DNA actually offer some very reproducible, repetitive kinds of patterns that we can actually leverage in semiconductor processes. The combination of this directed self-assembly with today's fabrication technology for high-resolution positioning of nano-objects eventually can lead to substantial savings in the most expensive and challenging part of the chip making process." This combination can also help processor designers to keep pace with Moore's Law - the 40-plus-year-old prediction by Gordon Moore that the number of transistors on a chip will double every two years.

The cost involved in shrinking features to improve performance is a limiting factor in keeping pace with Moore's Law and a concern across the semiconductor industry. Currently, the semiconductor industry is able to make processors using 22 nanometer manufacturing technology. IBM is also looking for the DNA to act as scaffolds or miniature circuit boards for the highly precise assembly of chip components, like nanotubes, nanowires and nanoparticles. After using this technique, manufacturers are likely to build 'significantly smaller' chips than has been possible with current semiconductor fabrication technology.

In a camera, two screens are better than one

Financial Chronicle
At last, a fresh and genuinely useful idea. Samsung has announced two cameras with an LCD screen on the front that helps snap-shooters put themselves in their photos. It also includes some nifty features for travellers and simpler ways to delete images inside the camera.

The DualView TL225 and DualView TL220 feature a 1.5-inch LCD screen on the front (in addition to a larger LCD screen on the back) that enables photographers to better frame shots of themselves alone or in groups. Simply tap the front screen and the camera enters portrait mode and will automatically snap a photo when it detects a smiling face — no need to press a shutter button.

The dual-LCD cameras also include a child mode that displays a cartoon animation on the front LCD screen to grab the attention of camera-unaware babies and toddlers. The animation looked a bit small but it should work well for close shots. (No babies participated in a demo by Samsung, so I don’t know for sure.)

For adults who need to know when to smile and not blink, the camera in self-timer mode, will display a preview of the image the front LCD and show a visual countdown to shutter snap. The camera can also take two consecutive shots in this mode.

The $350 TL225 has an expansive 3.5-inch touch-screen LCD on the back (the TL220 has a smaller 3-inch LCD) that enables users to take advantage of an intuitive new smart gesture interface. It’s easy: Draw an X on the screen to delete an image; to rotate, draw a circle. When in playback mode, swipe the screen to advance to the next image. Nice!

Both models have a 12.2-megapixel sensor fronted by a wide-angle 27mm lens with a 4.6X optical zoom. Samsung includes dual image stabilisation and face detection. The cameras can capture high-definition video (720p) at 30 frames a second using the H.264 video format. Samsung also introduced a very well-connected traveller, the $400 CL65, that lets on-the-go users e-mail and upload photos without a computer.

The CL65 connects to e-mail and the web using Wi-Fi. It includes an on-screen Qwerty keyboard to enter addresses for e-mail and uploading to sites like Facebook, YouTube and Picasa. Bluetooth 2.0 allows images to be swapped with cellphones.

It also includes geotagging, which records the latitude and longitude where each image is taken and displays the city name on the camera’s LCD.

The 12.2-megapixel CL65 packs 35mm lens with 5X zoom. It has the same 3.5-inch wide touch-screen LCD as the TL225 and incorporates the Smart Gesture user interface. Like the dual-LCD models, it records video in 720p at 30 frames a second in the H.264 format. All three models arrive in US stores in September.

China mobile opens online store for wireless software

Hong Kong
The Hindu Business Line
China Mobile Ltd., the world's biggest wireless carrier by users, opened an online software store for handset users to boost sales of non-voice services.

The Mobile Market Web site will let users purchase and download software provided by external developers, according to a statement faxed by the Beijing-based company today.

China Mobile, with more subscribers than the combined populations of the US and Japan, aims to promote demand for its third-generation service, which allows faster Web browsing and music downloads on mobile phones.

The company's customer growth has slowed this year as competition from China Telecom Corp. and China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd. intensifies.

China Telecom and Unicom are both trying to target the higher-spending users with their 3G services, and China Mobile is trying to counter that, said Alex Lee, an analyst at Tai Fook Securities in Hong Kong, who rates the stock hold. The online applications store isn't going to turn into a big contributor immediately, as the 3G user base is still small.

China Mobile fell 5.4 percent to close at HK$84 in Hong Kong trading, trimming its advance this year to 8 percent. China Telecom's shares have jumped 35 percent in the period, while Unicom's stock has gained 15 percent.

Exports set to rebound in december: FICCI

Ronojoy Banerjee
Financial Chronicle
Despite markets in the West looking far from promising, exporters in India are seeing some signs of a revival. In a survey conducted by Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Ficci), majority of respondents said exports were expected to be in positive terrain by December this year.

Orders are finally tricking in, though not at the pace seen previously, said the survey released on Sunday.

The survey, conducted among 316 companies across sectors such as fast moving consumer goods, textiles, handicrafts, metal and metal products, pharmaceuticals and IT, found that year-on-year, the quantum of decline in exports had seen a dip. “There is expected to be an improvement but only in terms of the fall in exports getting smaller,” the survey said, adding that it could be another year before any “reasonable positive growth” is witnessed.

In lieu of this, exporters have sought extension of duty entitlement passbook scheme rates beyond December 31, 2009, simplification of the process under duty free import authorisation scheme, interest subvention extended to all exporting sectors, inclusion of more nations in the focus market scheme, exemption of service tax and temporary reintroduction of exemption under Section 80 HHC of the Income Tax Act, among others. The fast movement in exchange rate in the past six months is also creating problems for exporters. In a similar survey in January, 29 per cent exporters had cited this problem, but now their number has gone up to 61 per cent.

Bharti looks to sell undersea bandwidth

New Delhi
Bharti Airtel on Monday announced that the company now has the capability and network reach to sell bandwidth or connectivity on its undersea cables to global operators enabling the latter to carry their voice and data traffic across the world, a leap from its earlier practice of offering connectivity largely to and from India.

This means, a Deutsche Telekom or France Telecom in Europe can now buy bandwidth on Bharti’s undersea cables to carry its traffic to Australia or the US. Similarly, a Telstra in Australia can now use Bharti’s cables to carry its voice and data traffic to, say, Japan or Singapore. At present, only Tata Communications and Reliance Communications-owned Flag are the only Indian players that offer global connectivity across countries on their undersea networks. Bharti said it has invested over Rs 2,500 core over the past couple of years to enhance its undersea networks. Undersea cables carry voice and data traffic across the world.

According to Bharti Airtel’s president for enterprise services, David Nishball, the launch of the global wholesale service portfolio is a major step towards the company becoming a global network solutions provider. “From being a regional partner for foreign carriers, Bharti is now uniquely poised to serve global carriers to and from any part of the globe. Over the past few years, we have expanded our global network services portfolio in a manner that complements our investments in existing submarine routes to ensure flexible options for connectivity across all regions of the globe,” he said. Nishball also added that the telco’s undersea networks had a reach of 200,000 kms and could offer connectivity across 200 countries.

On the revenues front, Nishball said that from the second year of operations, the international segment would account for over 20% of the company’s enterprise business. As reported first by ET, Bharti has joined a slew of undersea global cable consortiums, such as Unity North, EIG, IMEWE, EASSy, all of which are currently being built, to enhance its presence in this space. In addition, Bharti’s global network consists of stakes in several other cable systems, such as SMW4, i2i, which is fully-owned, APCN2, c2c, JUCN, TGN, TAT14, Apollo and Hibernia.

Bharti had also inked a deal with Australia-Japan Cable (AJC) to interconnect their current and future networks at the Pacific Island of Guam. The deal will enable Bharti to carry voice and data for telcos in Singapore, the US West Coast and Australia. As per the deal, Bharti will link its assets on the upcoming Asia-America Gateway (AAG) cable with AJC, which connects Australia to Guam and Japan. The AAG, being built by a 17-member consortium, is the first submarine cable system linking Southeast Asia directly to the US, and when operational, it will connect 10 locations in eight Asian countries and the US West Coast. Bharti along with five international majors, including Google, is also involved in setting up a separate $300 million sub-sea cable system linking the US and Japan.

Insurance through ATMS

TE Narasimhan, Chennai
Business Standard
Chennai-based financial services technology company, Polaris Software Lab, has come out with a new technology that would allow insurers to sell their products and collect renewal premium through ATMs. The company is in talks with two insurers for implementing its solution.

SR Ramaswami, executive vice-president and head (insurance), Polaris Software Lab, said the idea was to provide customers the flexibility and convenience to take policies and pay premium in a cost-effective manner.

For instance, if a customer is planning to buy a travel policy, he can walk in to his nearest ATM and key in the policy requirements by using his debit or credit card. An electronic message is sent to the insurance policy system, which in turn will send the confirmation electronic message to the ATM. Once the confirmation is received, the ATM will provide a receipt that will contain details like name of the customer, country to which he/she is travelling, policy start date, end date and policy value and the type of coverage.

If the customer extends his stay abroad, he can top-up the policy by accessing one of the ATMs abroad. Similarly, an insured can renew his policy. Through the new solution, each transaction would cost up to Rs 2 and the maximum time it would take will be around three minutes, he said. Currently, the idea is in the concept stage. European and Australian insurance firms have shown interest in trying this technology, he added.

Nucleus software enters into pact with SISTEMAS ESCO

The Hindu Business Line
IT services provider Nucleus Software Exports today said it has entered into a partnership with Sistemas Esco, which will be the channel partner for the company in Argentina.

The company is looking to leverage Sistemas Esco's geographical reach and regional expertise to market and distribute its software product solutions across Argentina's Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) market, Nucleus Software said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange.

“Being associated with channel partners like Sistemas Esco to provide local support will further enhance our offerings and services to our BFSI customers in Argentina,'' Nucleus Software President & Head Global Sales & Marketing Niraj Vedwa said.

Sistemas Esco provides software solutions for the financial market, brokerage and investment funds, the filing added. “This strategic relationship with Nucleus Software represents a significant breakthrough for Sistemas Esco and our channel strategy,'' Sistemas Esco General Manager Cecilia Fernandez de Tormakh said.

Why Sony's like no other

Amit Ranjan Rai, New Delhi
Business Standard
It's eyeing significant growth focusing on fewer product categories - without targeting the mass market.

Enter the Sony Center, the company’s franchisee outlet, in Delhi’s prime shopping location Connaught Place. Straight on, a bright and huge 62-inch Bravia LCD television will hook your eyes. No, it won’t be playing the regular movie, sports or entertainment channel. Instead, most likely, it will have Street Fighters Dhalsim or Blanka showing off a killer move and calling you for a duel, “Wanna fight?” The fantastic high-definition imagery of the Playstation 3 game on the Bravia will only tempt you to take on the call, “Let’s do it!” Next, you’re on a couch, eyes glued to the screen, palms to the wireless game controller, your thumbs move fast on the buttons to battle out the opponent. If you’re an amateur, an attendant’s ready to guide you through.

Done with the duel, you’re likely to be drawn to a range of sleek, colourful Vaio notebooks on an elevated podium and some of the hippest MP3 players you’ve ever seen displayed round the corner. An attendant may invite you to check on the latest features the Vaios offer, the zipping speed at which you can run applications or surf the Net. He may also connect a notebook to an MP3 Walkman to show how the two work together. That’s not all, perhaps what you’ll find most exciting is a dark theatre room in the outlet with several Bravia LCDs where you can play a movie and experience the home theatre in peace.

Exciting and engaging retailing, isn’t it? That’s what Sony India has been focusing on ever since it renamed its Sony World retail stores to Sony Center in August last year — part of a global initiative to re-align all Sony stores. This was when Sony India Managing Director Masaru Tamagawa rolled out a nationwide refurbishment programme across its network of 240 retail brand stores. “It was an opportunity to take the customer’s retailing experience to a new level. The idea has been to create exciting and engaging store environments with passionate and knowledgeable staff to deliver a compelling hands-on experience,” says Tamagawa. “While the focus earlier was on individual products, now it’s more on demonstrating ‘solutions’ — such as how pictures can be transferred from a digital camera to a notebook or music from a notebook to an MP3 player.”

Revolutionising reading

Shubhodeep Chakravarty
(Delhi edition)
Pocket a book, and more
With technological advances almost everything is available at the click of a button. Books, were one of the few things, that still needed the human touch. But with eBooks and e-Reader taking the world by storm, this human habit may soon change too. Their ever increasing numbers has opened up a new path for e-readers. Portable and high on storage space, these devices are fast becoming a pocket companion for millions.

Text on the run

E-books are based on two platforms -- e-ink and LCD (TFT). While Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) and i-pods make use of the later, the next gen e-book readers have the `e-ink' technology. The device by itself is as easy to use as an external hard disk -- though if you don't know what an EHD is, you're better off without an e-Reader.

One can just install the software that comes with most of these devices and connect to the PC. Some of the devices like the Sony reader can store thousands of PDF files depending on the size. Others like the Cybook Opus and the Hanlin eReader can support picture files as well as play mp3 files.

Apart from Sony, Samsung and Kindle, Plastic Logic plans to unveil its e-Reader by early 2010. Features like camera, Bluetooth, games and WiFi are also being incorporated.

Monday, August 17, 2009

India ready with Chandrayaan-2 design

Silicon India
Bangalore: National space agency, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has completed the design of Chandrayaan-2, with the collaboration of Russia's Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos). Chandrayaan-2 consists of the spacecraft and a landing platform with the moon rover, which can collect samples of the lunar soil and analyze them and send back the data. India will be building the orbital flight vehicle, while the 'Lunar Craft' will be supplied by Russia
On completion of the design, G Madhavan Nair, Chairman, ISRO said, "Right now, the design has been completed. We had a joint review with Russian scientists." According to the Bangalore-headquartered space agency, the Chandrayaan-2 mission would have an orbital flight vehicle comprising an Orbital Craft (OC) and a Lunar Craft (LC) that would carry a soft landing system up to Lunar Transfer Trajectory (LTT).

Nair said, "The landing of the rover would be decided after we analyze the data sent by Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft. Now we are set to build a prototype of Chandrayaan-2 and this would happen next year. We will build upon our success with Chandrayaan-1."

ISRO had gained lot of positives from the first lunar mission and received valuable inputs on heat radiation on the moon's surface. The ISRO Chief said that 95 percent of the scientific objective of Chandrayaan-1 mission had been achieved and the remaining five percent of what was left out would be taken up during the next season starting this October.

"The redundancy factor would be the utmost on the minds of the scientists working on Chandrayaan-2 after their good experience with the first mission," said Nair

4 Hyped technologies of 2009!

The Times of India
Research firm Gartner Inc recently published its annual `Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies’ report. Like earlier years, the 2009 Hype Cycle Special Report aims to chart out what's hot or not at the cutting edge of hi-tech jargon.

The report evaluates the maturity of 1,650 technologies and trends in 79 technology, topic and industry areas for how likely the terms are to make it into mainstream corporate parlance.

Below are four technologies and trends that are either at the Peak of Inflated Expectations or have just tipped Peak of Inflated Expectations.

Cloud Computing

As enterprises seek to consume their IT services in the most cost-effective way, interest is growing in drawing a broad range of services (for example, computational power, storage and business applications) from the "cloud," rather than from on-premises equipment.

The levels of hype around cloud computing in the IT industry are deafening, with every vendor expounding its cloud strategy and variations, such as private cloud computing and hybrid approaches, compounding the hype.

E-Book Readers

Sony's e-book reader and Amazon's Kindle have attracted a great deal of attention during 2009. However, the devices still suffer from proprietary file formats and digital rights management technologies, which along with price, are limiting their adoption and will drive them into the Trough of Disillusionment.

Social Software Suites

Awareness of social technology is high because of the popularity of related consumer social software and Web 2.0 services. Within businesses, there is strong and rapidly growing evidence of experimentation and early production deployments. The movement from point tools to integrated suites has brought broader adoption but also high expectations.

Disillusionment is beginning based on the realization that, even with a suite, much work must be done to build an effective social software deployment.


Microblogging, in general, and Twitter, in particular, have exploded in popularity during 2009 to the extent that the inevitable disillusionment around "channel pollution" is beginning.

As microblogging becomes a standard feature in enterprise social software platforms, it is earning its place alongside other channels (for example, e-mail, blogging and wikis), enabling new kinds of fast, witty, easy-to-assimilate exchanges

India inc resumes hiring drive amid recovery signals

New Delhi
The Economic Times
The Economic Times Financial Chronicle Mint The Statesman Business Standard The Financial Express The Times of India

In a major relief for jobseekers, India Inc's hiring activities are picking up once again as economic conditions are looking up considerably, experts say.

Most of the Indian companies, which had frozen hiring due to the downturn, have started to look at fresh recruitments now with indications of an economic recovery becoming visible across the world, according to HR experts.

"Hiring trends are picking up with companies opening up again for fresh recruitments ... the days of downturn seem to be over and an upswing has begun.

"The resume posting activity is picking up again as people are testing the waters for changing their jobs," International Management Institute (IMI) Director C S Venkata Ratnam said.

Global consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers Executive Director R Sankar said the hiring conditions were turning for the better even as a long way remains for companies to regain their previous year's levels.

"The job scene has improved but is still to reach the levels of euphoria we were accustomed to in earlier years. We don't see a 'flurry of resumes ' but cherry picking of key talent continues to happen," Sankar said.

"Much would depend on the pace of the economic recovery. The green shots are springing up but the poor monsoon is cause for concern," he added.

Venkata Ratnam also said that retail and realty sectors are the ones to pick up strongly in the coming months, while IT sector will continue to suffer as it is not driven by domestic demand.

"In any event, sectors such as FMCG, pharma, telecoms etc which have been relatively less affected by the slowdown will continue to hire, albeit cautiously," Sankar pointed out.

In June, corporate India's hiring activity had surged significantly with recruitment in banking and financial services sector increasing 22 percent in the month, according to a survey by a job portal.

"The economy has pulled out of the stagnancy in hiring. Although, there is an uptrend in hiring, this may be only indicative of replacement hiring," Info Edge National Head - Marketing and Communications Sumeet Singh said.

The job trends in Indian companies' is in line with their global peers and a recent survey by Deloitte revealed HR executives globally now have new concerns about building up of a 'resume tsunami' which may be ready to hit once the economy turns and employees begin to consider new opportunities.

"Once recovery begins to take hold, business executives and talent leaders can expect a 'resume tsunami' as voluntary turnover rises with leaders and workers with critical skills seeking new opportunities," Deloitte LLP Consulting Principal (Human Capital) Jeff Schwartz said.

B-School grads choose to go solo as jobs go missing

Peerzada Abrar, Bangalore, August 17, 2009
The Economic Times
With the wait for jobs getting longer, the number of B-school graduates turning to start-ups is also increasing. A first-year student at IIM Bangalore launched a start-up called NextGen this year, which deals in clean technology.

NextGen recently bagged clean technology projects from the ministry of renewable energy and Yes Bank and companies like Intel, Infosys, MindTree, and now boasts of presence in Singapore and Portugal.

“There is a lot of pressure on companies to go green and reduce the carbon footprint. We are now working on a biogas plant based on food wastes to produce fuel. IISc is helping us in this and we are setting up a pilot project in BITS Pilani and on the Intel campus,” said the 22-year-old student. “Although the primary objective is to make money, there is also the need to create sustainable sources of energy for rural areas.”

Eximus, an entrepreneurship summit held in IIM Bangalore, which focussed on start-ups this year, saw around 1,500 registrations. Some 300 IIM students applied for business plans and some 25 venture capitalists showed interest to participate. Close to 120 IIM students applied to get live projects from start-ups, said Sabyasachi Senapati, senior co-ordinator, Entrepreneurship and Innovation Cell, and an IIM-B student.

Start-ups like 8KMiles are willing to give live projects dealing in cost-effective and secure outsourcing of software done online to prospective entrepreneurs while Justbooks, which promotes e-books, is willing to award projects to understand the impact of digitisation of music and film industry and draw parallels to digitisation of books.

Chip off the new block

Sushila Ravindranath
The Financial Express
There is a quiet revolution-taking place in many of India’s states. Computerisation is slowly creeping in. Its pace can be much faster, but it is happening nevertheless. Which is why it was quite incredible when the Samajwadi party announced its election manifesto in April this year: it spoke of reducing the use of computers to generate more jobs! Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav also vowed to abolish ‘expensive education in English’. Sure enough, he backtracked very soon and claimed that he was not against computers or English. Remember even Laloo Prasad Yadav used to be sceptical about the benefits of information technology. He might have changed his mind later.

According to a new survey by TCS, 71% of students in Indian metropolitan areas say they use personal computers. And 66% of students in Bangalore say they are active on blogging and social networking sites, compared with 39% nationally. The survey of nearly 14,000 kids studying in English-medium schools in 12 major cities in India shows schoolchildren have embraced technology and the Internet, with Google and Wikipedia overtaking the library as the most trusted source of information. Some 63% of children surveyed said they spent more than an hour each day on the Internet; 41% of schoolchildren surveyed chose Google as a source of information, while 46% said they use online sources to access news. The politicians who belong to the 20th century will realise sooner than later that young people in semi-urban places and villages are no different from their city-bred counterparts.

In fact the countryside is embracing computerisation with great fervour. Says PWC Davidar, secretary, Information Technology in Tamil Nadu: “We are working on applications which will benefit the common man… We need a proper base for e-governance applications. We have a fully functioning state data centre of our own. With the central government releasing more funds for e-governance, we can function effectively for many more years. We have two mainframes in place. The Tamil Nadu statewide area network (TNSWAN) is one among the core e-government infrastructures to create government to government and government to citizen initiatives.”

With the arrival of worldwide web (which is only 20 years old), many governments started deploying IT in the nineties. This powerful tool suddenly made governments think about good governance. IT-enabled governance would make efficiency, transparency, accountability and citizen-orientation possible. Take the case of Tamil Nadu’s TNSWAN network, which has two-tier architecture. Tier 1 is from state to district level and Tier2 is from district headquarters to the revenue division. TNSWAN interconnects the state headquarters with district headquarters and each district headquarter with block headquarters using the 2Mbps free bandwidth availed from public private communication providers. The total number of points of presence of the network is 708. Very soon the state government is planning to launch tools of e-governance in several areas through TNSWAN. This will enable people to access information on land records (an area in which Tamil Nadu has lagged behind), transport facilities, encumbrance certificates, municipal services and food and civil supplies from any part of the state.

The state is launching its programme in five handpicked e-districts. “Once we figure out what all services can be rolled out, we will go to all the 30 districts,” says Davidar. The IT department has identified 124 services that will have maximum impact on the people, and has picked 62 out of them. “There are two stages, AS IS and TO BE. The AS IS stage has been completed. We are developing applications for revenue, OBC, SC and social welfare departments. We have big plans for agriculture. We want to give information on fertiliser application, new equipment, sudden pest attacks, weather forecasts and so on. We have e-teams in each place. The ownership is with each department,” says Davidar. A team of committed bureaucrats (yes, they do exist) from various departments is working on several initiatives and the IT minister Dr Poongothai is fully supportive and wants to speed things up. “In four months hopefully you will see the results of our work,” says Davidar.

SEZ units want tax sops with retrospective effect

Nayanima Basu
Financial Chronicle
The commerce and industry ministry has written a letter to the finance ministry urging that tax exemption provided under Section 10AA of the Income-tax Act be given retrospectively and not on a prospective basis to units located in special economic zones (SEZs). The issue has been hanging fire for over three years now and the move could trigger a fresh row between the two ministries.

Recognising the anomaly, the finance minister had said in February that it would be corrected as it had resulted in “discriminatory treatment of an assessee having units located both in SEZs and the domestic tariff area (DTA) vis-à-vis an assessee having units located only within SEZs.”

It has been proposed that the changes would be effective from April 1, 2010, whereas the companies have demanded that this be applicable retrospectively, from February 10, 2006, when the SEZ Act came into effect.

Due to this provision, companies, especially IT firms that have units in DTA are not getting any benefit as it limits the benefits of getting a tax exemption. IT biggies such as TCS, Infosys, Wipro and HCL are not able to avail the full benefit.

“Tax exemption has been categorically provided in the SEZ Act. Even though the anomaly had been removed, it should be done retrospectively, else the firms would not be able to get benefits,” said LB Singhal, director-general, export promotion council for EOUs and SEZs.

Bengal SEZ builders seek more time

Sounak Mitra, Calcutta
The Telegraph
Many developers of SEZs in Bengal, which have received in-principle approval from the commerce ministry, have either shelved their plans or want more time to acquire land.

Among them are Purnendu Chatterjee-led The Chatterjee Group, Venugopal Dhoot’s Videocon and a city-based Rahul Saraf-headed consortium.

A proposed SEZ first gets in-principle approval, when the developer is yet to get land. After the developer acquires land, the SEZ gets formal approval. Following the formal approval, an SEZ is notified by the central government.

The Chatterjee Group — which had obtained in-principle approval for an IT SEZ on 494 acres in Siliguri — has dropped its plans because of land acquisition problems. A few months back, DLF had sought a denotification for a proposed IT SEZ over 10.12 hectares at Rajarhat.

At present, there are three SEZs in the state— Falta, Manikanchan and Wipro. Till March 2009, the government has given in-principle approval to 14 proposals in the state, formal approval to 14 and notified 9.

Niranjana Ramesh, Chennai
The Economic Times
"We are keen on exploring the European and Asian markets, and will be looking out for acquisitions in the knowledge management and business analytics space mainly besides in ERP and CRM." UST Global recently acquired a testing company in Canada and an e-commerce company in the US. It plans to leverage the Canadien technical expertise in its end-to-end IT solutions, and e-commerce capabilities in its retail vertical, the second largest for the company, contributing to 20% of its revenues. Its largest vertical is healthcare, garnering 40% of revenues.

The company's strategy has so far been on saving costs by setting up its development centres in Kerala, which still remains a low cost destination compared to Chennai and other major cities "The Kerala government, through the downturn, has been strict that there should be no layoffs. But, they have been providing us other sops," Sudheendra said. "The cost arbitrage in this state is nearly 25% more compared to the more industrious states of the country." The company has 4800 of its 6000 strong global workforce in India, of which 3500 are in Trivandrum, 1000 in Chennai and 250 in Kochi.

Ranjana Kaushal, New Delhi
Mail Today
Despite the economic slowdown pinching the IT budgets of corporates, Microsoft India is hopeful that its latest product Windows 7, scheduled to be launched in October, will attract a huge number of small and medium businesses and retail customers. To make the product a success, the company is adopting a new marketing strategy, which entails promoting the product through channel partners. The idea is to create excitement among partners and showcasing the upgradation opportunities.

To begin with, the company is planning a 16- city partner roadshow in October. During August to September the company will reach out to over 1,800 partners across several cities including Ahmedabad, Cochin, Chandigarh, Coimbatore, Guwahati, Hyderabad and Indore besides the five metros. During the course of the drive, Microsoft will educate partners, provide demos and highlight the potential opportunities. G. Ramesh, director ( Windows client), Microsoft India, said, “ The roadshow will help showcase the product to partners. We are targeting SMBs as a big business opportunity for the product and through our 350 partners we plan to penetrate this segment.

The idea is to get maximum trails through all initiatives and convert leads into business.”

MoserBaer uses mobile vans to sell CDS, DVDS

Kirtika Suneja, New Delhi
Business Standard
Moser Baer Entertainment Ltd (MBEL), the wholly owned subsidiary of optical disc maker Moser Baer, has found an innovative way of distributing its film CDs and DVDs in small cities and rural areas. It has introduced mobile vans in six states to distribute these discs directly in such places.

“Moser Baer does not have a big presence in small cities, so we need to play the price card and take it directly to villages. Film discs will be carried directly by these mobile vans. As of now, there are around six vans in each state,” Harish Dayani, chief executive (Entertainment Division), Moser Baer said

The company plans to have around 100 vans in 25 states in the next two months. Each van will have a capacity of 4,000-5,000, dominated by its Super DVD brand. Super DVDs, currently priced at Rs 45, have three films on one DVD and are available in more than 1,000 stores across the country.

The company recently reduced the Super DVD’s price to Rs 30 and plans to reduce it further to Rs 25. “For rural areas, we are looking at more delightful price points of Rs 22, 25 and 27, depending on the price realities of a particular place and the strength of piracy,” added Dayani.

M. Soundariya Preetha, Coimbatore
The Hindu
An eight-member Japanese trade delegation was here on Thursday and Friday to explore investment and business opportunities in the semi-conductor sector.

The delegation preferred a combination of investment and off-shore supply.

Members of the delegation included representatives of the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO), the Kyushu Economic Research Centre, the Fukuoka City Government and the Asia Semiconductor Trading Support Association (ASTSA).

The delegates told The Hindu on Friday that 30 percent of the $ 350 billion global semiconductor industry was in Japan. And, nearly one-third of the Japanese production came from the Kyushu island.

With the car manufacturers in Japan stepping up the annual production, the demand for embedded software was also increasing. Japan required skilled manpower for this. It was also looking at companies and suppliers for the electro control units used in automobiles. The cooperation in this field could be investments in Japan, joint ventures or trade. It was also looking at opportunities in all electronic-related sectors such as equipment and machinery.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Microsoft, Nokia to take on RIM

Silicon India
Bangalore: Microsoft and Nokia have formed an alliance to bring Microsoft (MS) software applications on the Nokia phones and to counter the dominance of the Research in Motion's (RIM)Blackberry. This is for the first time that Microsoft will make Office applications for non-Windows mobile phones

The latest versions of the Microsoft's Office applications, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and messaging, will be available on the Nokia phones, which makes up 45 percent of the global smartphone market with 200 million users. The companies expect to offer Nokia phones running on the Symbian operating system and having Office sometime in the next year, initially targeting enterprise customers integrated into Nokia's E Series phones.

"This is giving some of our competitors; let's spell it out, RIM, a run for their money. I don't think BlackBerry has seen the kind of competition we can provide them now." said Robert Andersson, Executive Vice President, Nokia.

Research in Motion's BlackBerry has created the market for mobile e-mail, and has a dominant position in the corporate sector, especially in North America.

"RIM should be reasonably safe in the near-term because Nokia's presence in the U.S. is relatively small. Partnering more closely with Microsoft will help to raise Nokia's profile in the U.S." said Neil Mawston, Strategy Analytics.

The alliance is also looking to counter Google recent move into free online software, targeted at Microsoft's business customers and the growing popularity of Apple's iPhone device.

Microsoft's new Office suite of applications could be available to large numbers of users as compared to the users of Windows Mobile phones, which make up nine percent of the smartphone market

college e-textbooks go to class in iPhones

San Francisco
The Economic Times
US and Canadian college students can pack textbooks into their pockets instead of spine-bending backpacks courtesy of an iPhone application released by CourseSmart.

The northern California supplier of electronic textbooks on Tuesday released free software that makes digitized forms of college textbooks available on Apple's ubiquitous iPhone or iPod Touch devices.

"We've seen significant demand from student customers for the ability to get required textbook content in electronic form on an iPhone or iPod Touch," said CourseSmart executive vice president Frank Lyman.

"We see incredible potential for iPhone and iPod Touch applications in education." Students that buy "eTextbooks" from CourseSmart can view them from any Internet-linked computers and are able to print out pages or copy sections into custom study guides.

Instead of lugging old-fashioned ink and paper books to classes, students can use iPhones of iPod Touch devices to access textbooks online for reference during classes.

"It's important to students to be able to access textbook content in color with the same page layout as a printed textbook and now the eTextbooks App allows them to do that," Lyman said.

CourseSmart began offering eTextbooks in 2007 and as of Tuesday had reportedly sold copies to students in slightly more than 5,900 schools.

DELL unveils nickelodeon PC for kids

San Francisco
The Economic Times
Dell Inc on Tuesday unveiled a line of Nickelodeon co-branded personal computer for children, the first in a series of branding deals intended to galvanize its consumer business.

Dell's move is the latest example of PC makers using design and targeting particular demographies to stand apart from rivals such as Hewlett-Packard Co and Acer Inc in an increasingly commoditized industry. The Dell Inspiron Mini Nickelodeon Edition will come clad in the Viacom Inc channel's trademark "green slime" design, with additional designs based on programs such as "SpongeBob SquarePants" and "iCarly."

The 10-inch netbook has wireless Internet access, weighs less than 3 pounds and comes loaded with entertainment and educational content. It will also feature a personalized user interface with Nickelodeon-branded desktop wallpaper and icons, and easy access to the channel's online content.

Michael Tatelman, vice president of global consumer sales and marketing for Dell, said the Nickelodeon netbook is just the start of its co-branding effort as it pushes into areas such as college students and pro sports. "The PC, like the smartphone, has become a 21st century symbol of self-expression. People are identified by what they carry, and people identify with what they carry," he said.

Leigh Anne Brodsky, president of Nickelodeon and Viacom consumer products, said the "sweet spot" for the PC was the so-called "tween" market. "This really is not a toy. This is the real deal," she said. The world's No. 2 PC maker did not announce pricing for the netbook, which will be available in October in the United States through Dell's online store, and at Wal-Mart Stores Inc outlets and The Nickelodeon PC is based on Dell's Inspiron Mini 10v, which starts at $300.

Google working on new version

The Hindu Business Line
Google Inc is working on a new test version of its search engine, which the company claims will be faster and more relevant than before. The company has dubbed the new search engine Caffeine. The new search engine doesn't appear different, but its developers hope that the technology will noticeably index new content faster. Google engineers are said to have invited Web developers to test the new search engine and give feedback.

Matt Cutts, a principal engineer at Google, and Sitaram Iyer, a staff software engineer, have posted an entry on the company's webmaster central blog, appealing to developers to try the newly improved service and send them some feedback. ''The new infrastructure sits 'under the hood' of Google's search engine, which means that most users won't notice a difference in search results. But web developers and power searchers might notice a few differences, so we're opening up a web developer preview to collect feedback,'' they said.

The Economic Times
Nokia folklore has it that in the early 1990s, when the Finnish mobile phone giant’s board was deliberating whether to set up operations in India or China, the then CFO of Nokia Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo insisted that it was not an either-or decision—Nokia needed both markets.

So the company set up operations in India in 1995. And the rest, as they say, is history. Today, Nokia boasts of a Rs 24,200-crore business in India with 70 percent-plus marketshare in mobile handsets. And on August 20, the 56-year-old Finn will have to take similar decisive calls.

As the chairman of the jury for the ET Awards for Corporate Excellence, he will head an eight-member grand jury that will change the lives of a chosen few in India Inc—doing no less than inducting them into India Inc’s Hall of Fame.

Kallasvuo, now president and CEO of the E51.05-billion Nokia is looking forward to the challenge. “It’s an honour. It’s also a great opportunity to meet some of the architects of the new Indian business powerhouses,” he says. “It’s a big event for me personally. India is not an emerging economy now but it’s in full bloom—taking into account the significance, the size, the importance of the nation.”

Over the years, the jury has been chaired by a range of diverse personalities - from Infosys’ NR Narayana Murthy, to HDFC’s Deepak Parekh, to Pepsico’s Indra Nooyi and ArcelorMittal’s LN Mittal. They brought their individual styles to the collective decision-making process: some were consensus builders, some wanted time-bound quick decisions, some allowed long debates and even agreed to disagree with the members. Kallasvuo sees himself as a consensus builder. “Nokia’s culture is very collaborative and equitable. But I guess, it’s also about finding the right balance,” he says.

Tata’s Corus acquisition, HCL’s Axon buy, the acquisition of LandRover and Jaguar, all of these reflect India’s growing role in the comity of nations,” he expands. The winners of The Economic Times Awards, like Infosys, Tata Steel, Bharti, HDFC Bank, Ranbaxy Laboratories and TCS have helped the India story go further and also done their bit in nation-building. Kallasvuo’s jury will take it a step further.

The ET Awards are presented by Raymond in association with Trident, Nariman Point, Mumbai and the television partners are ET NOW and Times NOW.

IT companies may take time for non-linear growth

Shivani Shinde, Mumbai
Business Standard
Indian information technology services providers may have seen a dip in net hiring this financial year. However, the drop is more due to the slowdown in the business environment rather than a shift towards non-linear growth. Experts believe it will take another three to five years for Indian IT firms to move to a non-linear business model.

Non-linear growth does not measure improvement on the basis of headcount growth, which most stock market analysts do. Instead, organisations measure growth by the number of value-added services they offer to customers, by introducing non-linear or non-headcount related services like platform-based solutions or invest in creating intellectual property (IP) rather than focus on just pure application development and maintenance (ADM) work.

Sudin Apte, senior analyst, Forrester, believes the move towards non-linear business growth was initiated by top IT firms even before the slowdown began. “Currently, just about 3 to 4 percent of business that Indian IT firms get are on non-linear pricing. It will take at least three to five years for Indian IT firms to get on to the non-linear business model,” added Apte. He said a change in client mindset is also important.

Agrees Sidharth Pai of TPI: “Achieving non-linear growth is a long process. This reduction in headcount is a direct impact of the softness in the market. on subdued price realisationOf course, outcome-based pricing and platform-based service offerings are some of the components of non-linear growth. But these are still a small part of the revenue.”

A recent Edelweiss Securities’ report says the correlation between headcount growth and revenue is beginning to break, as firms deploy a shared services model. “Shared services means using fungible resources across multiple projects simultaneously. This requires non-intrusive, yet collaborative, infrastructure to be put in place along with client approvals. As companies use more shared services in their delivery, we could see realisations hold up despite pressures on rack/coupon rates with customers,” said Viju George in his report.

Global players like IBM or Accenture are much ahead of Indian IT players on offering non-linear services. However, analysts feel a comparison is not fair. “The IBM and Accentures of the world also have other business, a different asset that allows them to bundle their services offering,” opined Pai. Besides, says Apte, a large chunk of the work the MNCs do is onsite. “The consulting business of all these firms are big,” he said.