View Full Version : India InfoTech
April 21st, 2012, 06:06 AM
Source : http://yourstory.in/2012/04/what-do-indians-do-online/
April 24th, 2012, 05:21 PM
New Delhi: As many as 30 countries are expected to participate in the World IT forum (WITFOR), which is being held in India for the first time.
"WITFOR is an important international event that places the host country on an international platform to showcase its achievements. So far, India has hosted only regional ICT and e-Governance international events," Department of Electronics and IT said in a statement.
IT and Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal will inaugurate the event here on Tuesday.
"The Forum will bring together senior bureaucrats and technologists from South Korea, Canada, Nigeria, Kenya, Malaysia, Estonia, Moldova and Secretaries to the Government of India, both from the Centre and states," the statement said.
The event is being seen as a global platform for policy makers and industry in India to learn from other countries but as an avenues for further cooperation and business development, it added.
May 4th, 2012, 07:06 PM
‘Intellectual property initiatives will drive prices in the future.'N. CHANDRASEKARAN, CEO AND MD, TCS (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/article3384427.ece?homepage=true)
No change in forecast for industry: New Nasscom chief
When asked to do a SWOT analysis for Tata Consultancy Services, its CEO and Managing Director, Mr N Chandrasekaran, said that “there was only strength and opportunity. I feel there are only two quadrants in SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunity and threat).”
His reply only shows the high confidence with which the $10-billion software major has entered this fiscal, while some of its competitors are nervous about how the year is going to be. “If you are looking for any negative comment, you will not get it. Things are very positive for us,” Mr Chandrasekaran told Business line in an interview at the company's Cathedral Road office in Chennai.
During the 30-minute chat, Mr Chandrasekaran dwelt on various issues such as visas, product differentiation and the competition.
Excerpts from the interview:
You reported good financial numbers last fiscal. Will you sustain the momentum this year, too?
Yes, it was a very good year. Overall, the situation looks better as we enter the first quarter of this year, compared with when we entered fourth quarter of last year. That's because the momentum is there in all markets and we see the easing up of discretionary spend, which was a bit of a concern in January.
Where will the growth come from?
We will see growth coming from all areas, including retail, consumer products, telecom, pharmaceuticals and life sciences, and banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI). New technologies such as mobility, cloud and digital will be another stream what will drive growth.
Will you see any major changes in geographical spread?
The traditional markets of the US, Continental Europe and the UK will continue to do well. We see a lot of traction in emerging markets, including India, Latin America, Egypt and Middle East.
You look very positive...
Yes. We look at the deals that we had closed and what our customers tell us. As I have said in the recent past, we are going to have a global environment that is somewhat unpredictable. So, we have to assume that we are operating under that environment. But the data we have; the deal signings; the traction with customers and the order pipeline, all of that, I feel, tell us that we are more confident today than in the past.
What is the key focus this year?
We need to get more revenue from the non-linear segment. This means more than revenue, getting non-linear platforms industrialised, getting it strong, getting a number of customers on it. We have the banking products; technology platforms for HR, procurement, analytics and insurance. We are looking at a couple of more areas to invest. We also have a small and medium platform.
Are there budget delays?
By and large, we do not see that, because customers working with us are positive. There will be always in individual cases where they may delay the projects. We do not see any pattern.
Is pricing an issue?
Pricing is likely to be stable from where it is today. Last year also, we said the same thing. On a yearly basis, we delivered a 1.3 per cent growth due to price. I believe the pricing improvement has to largely come from specialised services and non-linear offerings (various products).
Could you give examples?
For example, you create a solution, which is based on intellectual property. Then we can command better prices. Those kinds of initiatives are what will drive price improvement in the near term. The normal business model will not work.
Looking at deal sizes, has a lot changed in the last one year?
Anything to do with large outsourcing of infrastructure or application or analytics models could lead to deals large in size. For deals that are specific projects, where we need to build a particular application on a mobile, the size will be smaller. Previously, the discretionary spending was very soft. We are seeing demand in both.
Is issue of visas a concern?
It has been of concern for some time. Nothing has changed now. As unemployment continues to be a worry in countries outside, visas will continue to be a concern. We already have a model.
We use a combination of local recruitment and better visa planning. But the good thing is that we were able to execute engagements.
Does this mean that there will be work offshore?
There will be specific cases but cannot make general statements.
How is business in Japan?
Yes, it is very tough. We have made investments there and created a joint venture with Mitsubishi for onsite development.
Definitely, our interest is to penetrate that market and we are making lot of investments there.
Is it the same with China?
Yes, both Japan and China are tough markets.
Are the issues similar in both the countries?
Japan is a very established market with big companies having big operations there. It is just the language and cultural barrier. China is a growing market. But the cost structure and mobility offers a different challenge. China has a high attrition while Japan does not have. While there is big opportunities in both the market but they are tough. However, we are bullish on both the markets.
How do you differentiate?
Differentiation comes in terms of solution, opportunity and domain knowledge. If you are implementing big solutions around security, corporate taxes, trade finance or wealth management, we have our solutions.
We have built our solutions on value propositioning around that. Sometimes the execution makes the difference. Sometimes, the track record with the client or intellectual property brings the differentiation. You cannot make a generic point that this is my differentiation against so-and-so in this industry, in this client and in this opportunity.
Could you do a quick SWOT on TCS?
We have an excellent platform, a great team and a wonderful set of customers. We have the momentum. In terms of challenges, we need to maintain and continue to scale effectively in a way that we continue to be agile.
We have made significant bets on non-linear and are in the process of creating future business models that are either cloud-based, outcome based or service-based and define the way the IT services are delivered in future. We need to make that shift. It is not a one year journey but a few years' journey.
May 9th, 2012, 10:45 PM
Cognizant raises investment in real estate infra by $200 m
Chennai, May 9:
Cognizant Technology Solutions has increased its real estate infrastructure expansion in India by nearly $200 million.
The US-based company, which has large offshore presence in India, has revised its investment plan to a total of $700 million in real estate from 2011 through 2015.
This is to expand its campuses in India by an additional 10.5 million sq ft.
This expanded programme includes expenditure on land acquisition, facilities construction and furnishings to build new company-owned IT development and delivery centres in regions primarily designated as Special Economic Zones in India.
In February 2011, the company announced $500 million of investment in its India infrastructure expansion through the end of 2014. However, at the beginning of calendar 2012, the company decided to expand its planning horizon for the India real estate programme to 2015 and beyond, said a company spokesperson.
Cash and Capex
For the first quarter ended March 2012, Cognizant finished with $2.5 billion of cash and short-term investments.
It spent around $60.5 million for capital expenditures during the quarter.
“During 2012, we expect our capital expenditure to total approximately $370 million,” Ms Karen McLoughlin, Chief Financial Officer, Cognizant, told analysts while discussing the company's financial results.
Cognizant ended the March quarter with around 1,40,500 employees globally.
Of this, nearly 105,000 are in employed in its India centres.
May 10th, 2012, 06:42 AM
227 Indian students selected for Google summer of code 2012 (http://google-opensource.blogspot.in/2012/05/google-summer-of-code-2012-by-numbers.html)
May 12th, 2012, 05:39 AM
Betting big on Big Data? (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/features/eworld/article3388050.ece?ref=wl_features)
Big data is just that – big, and a big opportunity, as well. It may be the first time that the IT industry has finally named a new concept crisply, aptly and lucidly. But, as with all things IT, it still needs explaining.
For instance, what was missing in data-warehousing and business intelligence (BI) that is now possible with Big Data?
Wikipedia, as always, puts it best: big data consists of data sets that grow so large that they become awkward to work with using on-hand database management tools. Difficulties include capture, storage, search, sharing, analytics, and visualizing. This trend continues because of the benefits of working with larger and larger data sets allowing analysts to "spot business trends, prevent diseases, combat crime.”
Fifteen years ago, when we were trying to understand what BI can do for us, this was the most quoted example: “Arranging beer cans next to baby diaper stands during weekends in a super market helped increase the sales of both!”
How could that be? These two items seem so unrelated. BI tools helped the retailer discover that on weekends, fathers of young children stopped by to pick up diapers. These are the ones that picked up beer for the weekend as well.
Now, look at what Big Data can do in today's context. In his widely quoted book, “Outliers” the author Malcolm Gladwell, explains why crime in a certain state in the US went down at a point in time. It is so easy to point at policy, better policing, or increasing value systems for this change. Gladwell spots an unlikely event that happened a decade and a half earlier – abortion was made legal in that state at the time. He infers that in a majority of cases, children are born out of wedlock to parents in the lower stratum of society who can ill afford children in that age group. This would typically result in these children growing up to be young adults with fewer opportunities than life should offer them, thus forcing them into a life of crime.
Look at the data needed to process this thought: current demographics of not only young adults but those who were teenagers about 15 years prior to this study, crime rates in the state across all these years, not to mention a study of the police force across all these years and the impact of all policy changes in this period: a study of the latter two would be necessary to just eliminate them as causes.
This is where Big Data comes in. And, interestingly, this is where Cloud Computing comes in too.
Where are you going to process and store such data? How will you process this data? Whatever you are, a single researcher, an institution of intellectual academics or a private market research organisation, few can justify such investment into IT storage and computing at that scale. You have to keep in mind that single data set can contain a few dozen terabytes to many petabytes of data, this being the current range of big data sizes. Cloud Computing that allows you to buy compute power and storage space on a per-use basis, is the panacea.
Now, more than ever, other data points are becoming more relevant as compared to just analyzing available datasets such as sales or crime reports.
Earlier, we thought of data in terms of size. But now, of the Four Vs, Volume (or size), is only one. The rate at which data changes, or is updated, is its Velocity. The same kind of data could vary from time to time causing Variability. And of course, different data sets, giving rise to Variety.
A very common impact on analysis is social behaviour such as Facebook ‘likes', status message and tweets. These datasets are huge and the velocity at which the data is increasing makes it difficult to store and analyse. The whole idea of big data is to use all the possible dimensions for analysis.
And that gives us the answer to our first question: Big Data is big NOW, because of what Cloud Computing offers. A state's meteorology department could have gone into big data with its own investments and that could well have been 3 years ago rather than now. But a researcher with a small budget or a start-up aiming to offer analytic services need not sink all that money before it discovers it is failing. As always, the theme for cloud computing remains the same: If you are failing, it helps you fail fast. And if you succeed, it is because of the cloud that you succeed!
May 12th, 2012, 05:57 AM
Software majors manage to keep staff cost flat (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/article3405117.ece)
June 21st, 2012, 07:14 PM
NEW DELHI: IT firms Tech Mahindra and Mahindra Satyam said they have set up a Center of Excellence (CoE) for BMC Software at their Hinjewadi facility in Pune.
At this facility, the companies will showcase complete product integration where customers will get firsthand experience of real-life use cases, a company statement said.
"This CoE will help create a platform to build propositions and pre-integrated service offerings for our enterprise and telecom customers," Tech mahindra President (IT services) L Ravichandran said.
The CoE will develop solutions leveraging BMC's business service management (BSM) portfolio and cloud lifecycle management solutions, the statement said.
"This center will enable co-innovation and delivery of joint offerings," it added.
Tech Mahindra and Mahindra Satyam along with BMC Software are already providing service assurance and platform based managed IT services to several customers.
"Through our joint offerings, we have been able to transform large enterprises and telecom customers and we look forward to a growing partnership in the future," BMC Software President (Enterprise Service Management) Paul Avenant said.
June 29th, 2012, 10:43 AM
I found some enouraging news about the Indian government's push to have chip companies build chip fabs in India:
India Department of Electronics & Information Technology Selects Accenture To Review Semiconductor Fabrication Proposals (http://eon.businesswire.com/news/eon/20120605005600/en)
NEW DELHI--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--The Government of India Department of Electronics & Information Technology (DeitY) has selected Accenture (NYSE: ACN) to review investment proposals from global technology providers and investors interested in building semiconductor fabrication units (fabs) in India.
Semiconductor fabrication is an essential requirement for the domestic manufacture of electronics, and the government has set a goal of attracting investments of between $7 billion and $10 billion. The government is seeking companies that can offer technology expertise and investment for setting up semiconductor wafer fabrication units in the country.
“With an investment scope of billions of U.S. dollars, this strategic project holds considerable promise for Indian manufacturing,” said Managing Director Krishna Giri, who leads Accenture’s Health & Public Services business in India. “By bringing together investors, manufacturers and the government of India, this initiative will help build the critical collaboration that is needed to bridge the gap in domestic semiconductor production.”
A high-level government committee has recommended supporting investors interested in establishing semiconductor wafer fabs to manufacture chips in India to increase capacity for India’s growing domestic demand. India has emerged as a key center for chip design, as the country’s current electronics hardware production capacity represents 1.31 percent of global capacity. At current growth levels, domestic production of semiconductors can only meet demand of $104 billion of a demand projected to reach $400 billion by 2020.
As part of a management consulting engagement, Accenture will work in two phases to help the government assess companies interested in building semiconductor fabs in India. The first phase includes the development of a template for business proposals as well as a project appraisal template and a letter of intent detailing terms and conditions. Accenture will then conduct a detailed assessment of the business proposals received by DeitY. The due diligence process could include site visits, interaction with suppliers, market surveys and feasibility studies.
“Accenture’s deep understanding of the semiconductor industry, as well as the creation of high-performance teams, will help us support the government’s objectives,” Giri said. “We look forward to working closely with the government on this landmark initiative. Over time, the electronic hardware industry has the potential to become a significant contributor to India’s GDP, much like the software industry is today.”
Dr. Ajay Kumar, joint secretary of India’s Department of Electronics & Information Technology said, “We believe that this initiative will help create an ecosystem for electronics system design and manufacturing in the country.”
Another article gives a little more detail:
DeitY selects Accenture as consultant to evaluate chip fab proposal (http://www.eeherald.com/section/news/nws2012060601.html)
Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) has awarded consutant firm Accenture a contract to evaluate India semiconductor fab proposal. Accenture to review investment proposals from chip fabrication companies interested in building semiconductor fabs in India.
"With an investment scope of billions of U.S. dollars, this strategic project holds considerable promise for Indian manufacturing," said Managing Director Krishna Giri, who leads Accenture's Health & Public Services business in India. "By bringing together investors, manufacturers and the government of India, this initiative will help build the critical collaboration that is needed to bridge the gap in domestic semiconductor production."
"Over time, the electronic hardware industry has the potential to become a significant contributor to India's GDP, much like the software industry is today." Adds Krishna Giri.
What's challenging for Accenture is to evaluate the investor, where the company not only has to fill the present gap but also adopts to fast changing semiconductor chip-manufacturing technology, where the trend is not just "Moore's Law" but is "More than Moore" concept.
'More than Moore' includes exploring new materials such Graphene, 3D fabrication, Maskless Lithography, putting digital, analog, RF, sensor, and even passive component in one device and a host of such other things.
Similar to case how ARM has taken care of processor IP design of many chip companies. In semiconductor manufacturing domain too, there are pure IP players emerging to support R&D part of semiconductor manufacturing. Good examples are IMEC and CEA-LETI. Both have host of chip making technology IPs.
Earlier the chipmakers dependent only on internal R&D in reducing chip integration geometries and other innovations. The trend now is clearly buying the IP from outside R&D companies.
Whoever is fab investor in India, either can have strong internal R&D or inseparable relationship with semiconductor R&D IP provider and also both. Interestingly software is playing important and increasing role in both material research, and manufacturing. The investor must have direct and indirect capabilities in EDA/design software.
July 11th, 2012, 12:05 PM
PTI | Jul 9, 2012, 03.33PM IST
NEW DELHI: As more firms in India embrace cloud computing, there is an increasing need to have a dedicated policy for defining the standards for procurement and usage of the technology, especially by government agencies, says a report by industry body CII.
Cloud computing allows storage of data and access to software on a pay-per-use model, helping companies to cut costs as they do not have to invest in infrastructure.
Major cloud service providers include Google, Amazon and Microsoft, who store the data of clients on servers across the globe.
While companies are adopting the new technology, the report titled 'The Indian Cloud Revolution' by CII, KPMG and Amarchand Mangaldas & Shroff suggests that cloud-based services can be leveraged by the government to launch e-governance initiatives quicker at lower overhead costs.
"A common cloud platform will also enable local governments and other public agencies to adopt e-governance for better citizen services, without requiring the setting up of significant IT infrastructure," it added.
However, cloud computing also represents a "new set of opportunities and challenges for law enforcement agencies" as jurisdiction over data in the cloud has been a cause of concern for regulators globally.
"In order to reap benefits of the cloud, the government needs plan its cloud adoption efforts...the Indian government should come up with a policy giving direction to its agencies to adopt cloud as well as to the cloud service providers inclined towards providing services to government," it said.
The government also needs to establish a nodal agency, which would define the standards for procurement and usage of cloud technologies by government agencies, the report added.
The report suggested that the policy should reconcile the most suitable mechanism to enable law enforcement agencies' to collect and analyse personal and electronic data as per the existing laws.
The manner of access, format of storing and providing information, retention period, content regulation and regular reporting should also be considered within such policy, it added.
The Indian government has set-up committee to recommend framework for cloud computing services under chairmanship of Infosys' Executive Co-Chairman S Gopalakrishnan.
"The committee will suggest a framework to promote cloud computing service in and from the country," Indian Computer Emergency Response Team Director Gulshan Rai, also member of the committee, told PTI.
July 12th, 2012, 07:01 PM
Infosys promotes 20,000 people; utilization, retention high at TCS (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/careers/job-trends/Infosys-promotes-20000-people-utilization-retention-high-at-TCS/articleshow/14852147.cms)
Infosys has promoted another 4,000 people taking the total number of promotions this year to 20,000, effective July 1, 2012. This is about over 13% of the company's total strength of 1,51,151 as on June 30.
"We have done the promotions and progressions as we talked last time, we have done 20,000 across the corporations," Infosys CEO S D Shibulal said.
The company had earlier said it would review the wage hike decision depending on the company performance. However, with lower-than-expected earnings and forecast, in dollar term, the company will not lift its freeze on salary hike any time soon.
Infosys and its subsidiaries added 9,236 (gross) people in the first quarter of FY'13, while the net addition during the period stood at 1,157 employees. The rate of attrition during the quarter was marginally higher at 14.9% against 14.7% in the January-March quarter of 2011-12.
"Typically, attrition in the first quarter (of a fiscal) goes up because people tend to go for higher studies. About 30% of our attrition was due to this reason," Shibulal said.
Meanwhile the country's lead tech player Tata Consultancy Services has continued to hire to support business growth. With campus trainees joining the company from the beginning of July-September quarter, lateral hiring accounted for 75% of total hiring in Q1. There was a total gross addition of 13,831 people (net addition of 4,962), taking the total employee strength of 243,545 on a consolidated basis.
The utilization rate (excluding trainees) was at 81.3% and that including trainees was 72.3%. The attrition rate (last twelve months-LTM) was 12.0%.
"We have been able to effectively increase our retention rate in the first quarter to over 88% and increase our utilization rates further. The on-boarding of current year's trainees has begun," said Ajoy Mukherjee, executive vice-president and global head, human resources.
TCS has a target to hire 50,000 people this year while Infosys will hire 35,000 people, which includes 13,000 jobs for its BPO operations.
July 20th, 2012, 11:00 AM
Infosys to set up big facility for Apple (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bangalore/Infosys-to-set-up-big-facility-for-Apple/articleshow/15051197.cms)
There will be a lot more of India in Apple products soon. The $108-billion maker of iPhones and iPads is scaling up sharply the work it outsources to Infosys Technologies.
The Bangalore-based IT giant has rented a 1.40-lakh-sqft office space near its headquarters in Electronics City to house employees who would work exclusively for Apple. Sources in the real estate industry who did not want to be named said the building would have the capacity to house 1,400 people. The centre will be operational by the end of the year.
It was previously reported that Apple CIO Neil O'Connor had met the Infosys top brass in Bangalore in January, leading to speculation that Apple was looking at outsourcing more to Indian companies. When contacted, Infosys said in an emailed response: "We are unable to participate in your story."
Infosys had a role in developing apps for iCloud Helped develop applications for Apple Retail Store 2.0. It has also helped in the design of frameworks for the iOS.
Apple outsources application development and maintenance work to the extent of Rs 490 crore to Indian IT services providers. It is said to account for $50 million (Rs 275 crore) of Infosys' annual revenue of $7 billion.
Assuming that the new space that Infosys is taking for Apple will house a new set of employees , it would mean that Apple would be giving an additional business of at least $65 million (Rs 357 crore) every year to Infosys, considering that each Infosys employee accounts for an average annual revenue of $47,000. Infosys has about 1.5 lakh employees.
Former employees of Infosys who had worked on the Apple account said the current work is being executed by employees across Bangalore, Mangalore, Bhubaneswar and Thiruvananthapuram . The ultra-secretive Apple does not disclose the nature of work it does with third parties. But the former Infosys employees said Infosys played a role in developing applications for iCloud — a service that allows users to access music, calendar, documents and email via the cloud and which automatically syncs with your Mac, iPad and iPhone.
Infosys has also worked on developing applications for Apple Retail Store 2.0 launched last year, where iPad displays took the place of paper placards in Apple stores. The iPad offered an interactive way to explore the features and prices of the products being advertised, and it even had a call button to summon an Apple representative to the product for assistance.
Infosys has also helped in the design of frameworks for the iOS, the operating platform for Apple devices that provides interfaces needed to write software for the platform. Many Infosys employees are trained on Cocoa, Apple's native objective-oriented application programming interface.
Apple, with revenues of $108 billion in 2011, is the largest publicly traded company in the world by market capitalization, thanks to the phenomenal success of the iPhone and iPad. The market cap briefly touched $600 billion in April this year and currently is around $571 billion .
In 2006, the company had moved to establish a 3,000-people strong technical support centre in Bangalore. But it withdrew within months following a massive backlash from Apple fans around the world who felt India would not be able to deliver the quality of support they expected. However, it looks like the quality of Indian IT outsourcing work has been too good to resist.
August 17th, 2012, 12:42 PM
Oracle paying $2M to settle SEC charges on India (http://www.statesman.com/business/technology/oracle-paying-2m-to-settle-sec-charges-on-2437031.html)
WASHINGTON — Software maker Oracle Corp. has agreed to pay $2 million to settle federal civil charges of failing to prevent secret payments in its sales operations in India.
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced the settlement Thursday. The SEC said Oracle violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by allowing its Indian subsidiary to secretly set aside money that went to phony local vendors. Oracle ran the risk of the secret funds being used for bribes, the SEC said.
The agency said the violations occurred from 2005 to 2007. It said the subsidiary sold software licenses and services to the Indian government and kept some of the sale proceeds off Oracle's books.
Oracle, based in Redwood Shores, Calif., neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing in the settlement.
It said it fired the employees involved in the alleged violations after conducting an investigation. It informed the government and cooperated with the SEC's inquiry.
"Oracle has established policies, programs and controls to deter and detect inappropriate conduct that have been recognized among the best in our industry," company spokeswoman Deborah Hellinger said. "We will continue to maintain a high standard of compliance and accountability for our business around the world."
August 17th, 2012, 12:44 PM
India's TCS to buy tech startup for $34 million (http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/08/16/us-tataconsultancy-india-idINBRE87F0FB20120816)
(Reuters) - Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS.NS), India's top software services exporter, said it agreed to buy Computational Research Laboratories (CRL), a start-up group company, for 1.88 billion rupees ($33.7 million).
TCS, which is a part of India's diversified Tata group, said the deal to acquire CRL, also owned by the Tatas, would boost its cloud computing services.
August 17th, 2012, 04:26 PM
Top Tech Leaders Discuss Enterprise Technology Issues at CIO&Leader Conference (http://www.itnewsonline.com/showbwstory.php?storyid=7930)
New Delhi, Delhi, India : The 13th Annual CIO&Leader Conference was attended by 125 top CIOs and tech decision makers from across India and the SAARC region at the prestigious Indian School of Business in Hyderabad earlier this week. Pre-eminent international speakers and renowned faculty delivered high quality keynotes and the conference was supported by more than 20 leading technology companies. 9.9 Media launched its Leadership Institute on the occasion.
The conference, organised by CIO&Leader – an acclaimed magazine for CIOs - was co-chaired by Anuradha Das Mathur – Founder and Director, 9.9 Media, Dr. Pramath Raj Sinha - Founder and MD, 9.9 Media, and Harvey Koeppel – Head - Centre for CIO Leadership.
‘Track Technology, Build Business and Shape Self’ – the magazine’s tagline suggested the overall learning theme. CIOs found great value in sessions by Dishan Kamdar – Associate Dean, ISB, Hyderabad, Jeff Sampler – Fellow of strategy and Technology, Oxford University, Harvey Koeppel– Head - Centre for CIO Leadership and Hari Mundra – Advisor, Wockhardt, Former Director HUL and Deputy MD, Essar Oil.
The conference saw leading CIOs such as Prashun Dutta of Tata Power, Sandeep Phanasgaonkar of Reliance Capital, Chandrasekaran N of Ashok Leyland, Amrita Gangotra of Airtel, Annie Mathew of Mother Dairy, Vijay Sethi of Hero Honda participate and share their experiences. Popular emerging themes included: the importance of collaboration, the revenue-focused CIO, the importance of Big Data and Analytics and the criticality of enterprise security. The delegates heard in rapt attention as Prof Dishan Kamdar spoke about the art of negotiating and Prof Sampler spoke about the CIO’s understanding of the overall business vision. Harvey Koeppel in his remark about conference said, “The 13th annual CIO&Leader Conference held at the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad on August 11th - 13th was truly a world-class event. The thoughtful agenda, topical content and compelling speakers provided participants with insights and related experiences of significant value to all. The mix of academic thought leadership, practical perspectives shared by industry executives and latest technology trends presented by sponsors created a perfect context for networking and establishing new relationships with more than 100 top CIOs and IT executives. I would recommend this event to anyone interested in advancing their role as CIO and IT leader, and in enhancing their contribution to their enterprise and to their industry..."
This apex conference for CIOs upped the bar, yet again, in terms of offering the right mix of learning and fun – with the Drumberries and an enthralling performance by the award-winning qawwal Ehsaan Bharati.
On the occasion, Anuradha Das Mathur said, ‘we betted on 3 themes for CIOs this time – collaboration, innovation and negotiating skills as business leaders and these were reflected in our agenda. The CIO community’s response suggests we hit the nail on the head. On our part too, at 9.9 Media, we must continuously innovate to stay ahead in offering exponential value to our readers and delegates.’
9.9 Media is one of India’s most diversified media companies that integrates its print, online, research and event platforms to serve highly-targeted communities such as Owner-Managers/Entrepreneurs, CIOs, CTOs, CISOs, CFOs, Manufacturing & Logistics professionals, IT professionals, Channel partners, Gamers, Personal technology enthusiasts and those leading institutes of higher education. Some of its leading brands include The CTO Forum, Digit, Industry 2.0, Logistics 2.0, Digit Channel Connect, SKOAR!, thinkdigit.com, consumermate.com and now the latest additions, CFO India and Edu. The 9.9 School of Convergence is focused on developing talent in journalism. 9.9 Media was founded by five professionals: Kanak Ghosh, Asheesh Gupta, Vikas Gupta, Anuradha Das Mathur and Pramath Raj Sinha. Its investors include Helion Venture Partners and TVS Capital Funds Ltd.
August 18th, 2012, 02:58 PM
'Cloud' could be 'Over Hyped', but Private Cloud Sees Action in India (http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/news/internet/3376614/cloud-could-be-over-hyped-but-private-cloud-sees-action-in-india/)
A recent report from Gartner found that cloud computing is a hyped-up term. The research firm believes that the overall cloud computing industry is past its peak of inflated expectations.
However, industry watchers in India believe that private cloud is seeing a lot of action. Public cloud however still seems to a hyped-up technology because security is still a big concern with it.
"In India, private cloud is seeing good action and it cannot be called a hyped term. There is a lot of uptake as far as private cloud is concerned. In future as well, private cloud will see many developments around I," believes Mohd. Arifuddin, AVP -- Sales -- Technology Solutions at Hyderabad based Locuz Solutions. However, he adds this is not a case with public cloud. The enterprises are still hesitant to port their data into public cloud because of the security and performance issues.
Praveen Dwarkanath, Co-Founder of Bangalore based MN World Enterprises agrees. "There are always apprehensions about public cloud. Although cloud computing has been there for decades in forms of mailing services like hotmail, the term 'cloud computing' is over hyped by people." he says.
"Private cloud will see more action than public cloud as partners needed to follow a proper route starting from internal cloud to private cloud then finally moving the client into public cloud. Customers in India are not well educated about cloud computing, hence they will always have security as a concern," Dwarkanath adds.
CIO India's Cloud Computing Survey 2012 establishes the fact that security is a major issue among the Indian enterprises. The survey of all major CIOs in India reveals that the increase in number of online breaches have made organizations more security aware but not cautious. The survey states that Indian CIOs are not prepared for the Cloud.
However, the survey also affirms advantages of private cloud. CIOs of Indian companies believe that private cloud is a way to built in better scalability and leveraging existing assets and increasing efficiency. It is largely preferred by Indian companies as it is a way to reduce total cost of ownership while improve peak application performance.
August 19th, 2012, 08:23 PM
IT cos hiring youth to lead emerging technologies (http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-08-18/software-services/33261056_1_mobile-solutions-hcl-technologies-infosys-technologies)
BANGALORE: IT companies looking at emerging technologies like social media, mobility, analytics and cloud computing (SMAC) are turning to younger people to lead these areas.
The younger professionals tend to be more tuned to these technologies and more easily adapt to them.
"The candidates we find for these positions are in their mid to late thirties and come with 11-12 years of industry experience," says Prasad Medhury, partner at executive search firm Amrop India.
Naresh Nagarajan, senior VP and head of ecosystem business incubation in HCL Technologies, says the company's mobility team is headed by a 30-year-old and its advanced analytics is headed by someone who is 32.
HCL Technologies is planning to make SMAC a $1 billion business in the next five years.
Procuring talent for these new technologies is tough. The turnaround time is slower as the technologies themselves are relatively new, and the talent pool is limited.
For this reason, many of those who are hired for these positions do not come with a background in these areas, notes Medhury.
"Cloud capability doesn't exist as yet," says Deepak Jain, global head of work force planning and development in Wipro Technologies. Wipro, he says, is hiring domain consultants and architects who understand the virtualisation engine and demonstrate integration capabilities. "You need professionals who have launched web solutions to understand what it means to design cloud solutions. Unlike mobile solutions, where it's easier to find a Windows or iOS programmer, people who design cloud solutions come with a combination of storage or platform skills; the rest is imparted through hands-on lab experience," he says.
Infosys Technologies is focussing on a mix of incubation and focussed talent sourcing for cloud, mobility and product development. "These are futuristic technologies therefore this initiative. We also look at start-ups as one of the hiring grounds. This is important as new hires from such organisations bring in a keen sense to explore and create new things," says Nandita Gurjar, group HR head at Infosys.
Venkat Shastry, office managing director in executive search firm KornFerry Bangalore, however feels that in some cases you may need leaders who are fairly senior. "Though you need people with web-scale kind of skills, services companies are hiring talent to create IP-based offerings and therefore need core technology experts or those with a digital legacy. Such people needn't be very young," he says.
September 28th, 2012, 04:41 PM
ayant D Shete, president of Computer and Media Dealers Association (CMDA), has more than 320 members in IT hardware business from Pune and PCMC in CMDA. IT hardware market in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad together is valued at Rs 4,000 crore and is growing at the rate of 8 to 10 per cent annually. CMDA controls more than 90 per cent of the IT market in the region. He speaks with Vasumita S Adarsh on trends in IT hardware market and how it is poised to grow in future. Edited excerpts:
What are the main objectives and functions of CMDA?
The main objective is to bring credibility for our members and ensure that business is ethically conducted. All dealers in IT consumables, vendors, distributors and service providers can become our members. We have a stringent verification process and dealers need to have conducted business in the city for at least two years. Around 320 IT dealers are our members currently from both Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad. Our members control almost 90 per cent of the Pune, PCMC IT hardware market.
We also form a huge support network for our dealers, helping them get easy credit, conducting a number of business improvement programmes for them, besides other activities such as cultural, social and health-related. Annually, we conduct at least 25 such events, to promote more communication amongst members and ensure fair and credible business practices are followed.
We also conduct several awareness programmes from a social angle to help end-users. Programmes such as e-waste collection and recycling, tree plantation, etc. are conducted.
October 12th, 2012, 10:12 PM
October 19th, 2012, 06:35 PM
TCS beats the estimates. But HCL is the one to watch; might change the pecking order similar to cognizant.
December 1st, 2012, 04:12 AM
Cross-posting from Chennai IT thread. Courtesy: karkal
An app by Indians(Chennai) is No. 1 grosser on the Apple iPad (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/personal-tech/computing/An-app-by-Indians-is-No-1-grosser-on-the-Apple-iPad/articleshow/17388467.cms)
Magzter, an online magazine store developed by two Chennai-based entrepreneurs Girish Ramdas and Vijayakumar Radhakrishnan, has become the top grosser on the Apple iPad. :cheers::cheers:
Since last Thursday, Magzter has overtaken international favourites and long standing grossers like Angry Birds, NY Times for iPad, Clash of Clans and Frontline Commando. On Tuesday, Clash of Clans had briefly recovered its No. 1 spot, but when TOI last looked at the list of top grossers on the iPad, Magzter was back at the top. The iPad has over 700,000 apps. :banana::banana:
"Even in the number of daily downloads, Magzter has crossed other reading apps like Flipboard, Pulse and Zite," Ramdas, CEO of Magzter, said. It has 4.5 million users globally, many of them in the US, the market that the company is most focused on.
Magzter has more than 1,500 magazines in its store. About 400 of them are Indian magazines. "We have readers from all over the world who buy magazine subscriptions every day. Cross border selling is helping the digital magazine industry by generating more global readers," Radhakrishnan, president of Magzter said.
The app was launched 17 months ago, but received massive traction over the past 45 days thanks to some Facebook sharing features that were added to the app. "Now, if you like the cover of a magazine, you can share it on Facebook, and if your friends like it, they can click to come to our store to buy it. This has had a major viral effect," Ramdas said.
Magzter's popularity is also because of the ease with which publishers can use it to publish replica versions of the magazine or even to create highly interactive magazines. "We give complete control to publishers and they get to decide what they want to give to their readers," Radhakrishnan said. Magazine prices are also heavily discounted, by as much as 50% in many cases, which also adds to Magzter's allure.
Another big advantage of Magzter, compared to some of its other online newsstand competitors, is that you can buy a magazine on one platform, say Apple's iOS, and read it on another one of your devices that runs on the Android or Windows 8 platform.
Ramdas graduated from the College of Engineering, Guindy, in Chennai. He ran an IT services company in Chennai called Dot Com Infoway and then started a magazine called Galatta Media focused on south Indian films. He later created an iPhone and iPad app for the magazine, which gave him the idea to create a global online magazine newsstand.
December 3rd, 2012, 11:59 PM
Texas Instruments firing staff in India, plans to cut 300 to 500 jobs as part of global restructuring (http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/news-by-industry/jobs/texas-instruments-firing-staff-in-india-plans-to-cut-300-to-500-jobs-as-part-of-global-restructuring/articleshow/17470180.cms)
BANGALORE: Chip designer Texas Instruments (TI), the first global corporation to identify India's technology prowess by setting up a development centre in the 1980s, is shedding a few hundred employees in India as part of a global restructuring. This marks another chapter in the company's history and also the story of India's IT industry.
Several employees in the Dallas-headquartered firm's Indian operations that ET spoke to said between 300 and 500 engineers were being shed as part of the global cull that will see it reduce focus on making chips used in mobile phones and tablets to concentrate on more profitable areas.
"Texas Instrument has cut down an entire business unit. These are experienced developers with 2-5 years experience and some senior managers as well," one employee told ET.
"The numbers could reach around 500 since the company is terminating the entire business unit," another employee said. Both employees requested anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to the media.
The lay offs are a first in India for the company, which set up its first development centre in Bangalore in 1985 and employs about 1,500 engineers in the country.
A TI spokesperson acknowledged that employees were being let go, but declined to share numbers. Globally, the company has announced plans to lay off some 1700 employees, or 5% of its workforce. It hopes to make annualised savings of about $450 million by the end of 2013.
Texas Instruments firing staff in India
"This decision is consistent with TI's previously outlined intentions to focus its OMAP processors and wireless connectivity solutions on a broader set of embedded applications with long life cycles, instead of its historical focus on the mobile market where large customers are increasingly developing their own custom chips," said Narahari KS, director of communications at the Indian arm, in an emailed statement.
The global restructuring will reduce TI's focus on chips used in mobile phones, an area where faces stiff competition from rival Qualcomm. Also, as large phone-makers such as Samsung have started designing and making their own chips, TI management decided to re-focus its research focus to more relevant areas.
TI, which credits itself for the first ever cellphone made in India, also was the first MNC to install a satellite dish in Bangalore back in the early 1980s to export software from India.
With about $14 billion (Rs 77,000 crore) in revenues, TI is the third largest manufacturer of semiconductors worldwide after Intel and Samsung and second largest supplier of processors for mobile phones after Qualcomm.
Narahari said that the global decision will have some impact on Indian employees as well but said that there will be opportunities for some employees to get re-deployed to other divisions within the company.
December 4th, 2012, 12:03 AM
Ramco ERP to serve ADC Energy via cloud (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/companies/ramco-erp-to-serve-adc-energy-via-cloud/article4160990.ece)
Chennai, Dec. 3:
Chennai-based Ramco Systems will provide its full ERP suite to ADC Energy Systems, Dubai.
Ramco Systems has announced on the NSE that the deal with ADC Energy for ERP on cloud will provide the latter full-suite ERP including finance, project management, real estate, inventory, procurement and subcontracting, sales and CRM, and HCM and payroll.
There will be specific focus on the engineering, procurement and construction vertical. Ramco ERP will interface with MS SharePoint and Primavera.
Ramco Systems will address the requirement of ADC Energy across the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
The Dubai-based company is a provider of engineering and construction solutions for industrial and commercial cooling, heating and energy systems.
The ERP suite will enable ADC Energy track and monitor projects, resources, inventory and financials and comply with changing regulatory requirements.
ADC Energy is also focussing on grain milling and the food business sector, and is set to handle large grain storage terminals. It is also engaged in cement and mineral and mining applications.
Ramco Systems provides enterprise solutions on cloud, mobile and tablets.
December 4th, 2012, 12:41 AM
CCI gives approval for restructuring of two TCS entities (http://www.moneycontrol.com/news/business/cci-gives-approval-for-restructuringtwo-tcs-entities_790178.html)
The Competition Commission has approved the restructuring of the two subsidiaries of country's largest software exporter Tata Consultancy Services. The restructuring pertains to two entities -- e-Serve and TEIL.
The Competition Commission has approved the restructuring of the two subsidiaries of country's largest software exporter Tata Consultancy Services. The restructuring pertains to two entities -- e-Serve and TEIL.
Also read: TCS wins multi-million, multi-year contract from UK Home office
"It is observed that the proposed combination is a group restructuring exercise and the ultimate control over the activities of e-Serve and TEIL would continue to be exercised by TCS, both prior to as well as pursuant to the proposed combination," the Commission said in order dated November 22.
The proposed combination is, therefore, not likely to have any adverse competitive effect in India, the Commission said. TCS, e-Serve and TEIL are into the business of providing IT, ITeS and Business Process Outsourcing services. The combination process would consist of two parts -- amalgamation of e-Serve into TCS and the demerger of the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) undertaking of TEIL into TCS.
TEIL is a wholly-owned subsidiary of TCS. TCS holds 96.26 per cent stake in TEIL through e-Serve. The Commission said TEIL SEZ includes the business of TEIL -- that primarily is providing information technology and information technology-enabled services carried out at SEZ locations in Chennai, Kolkata and Gurgaon.
TCS along with TCS e-Serve Ltd and TCS e-Serve International Ltd had jointly filed an application seeking approval on November 12. The notice was submitted following a composite scheme of amalgamation after being cleared by their respective boards on October 19.
December 4th, 2012, 12:47 AM
IT industry may miss Nasscom’s 11-14% growth forecast (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/it-industry-may-miss-nasscoms-1114-growth-forecast/article4151172.ece?ref=wl_industry-and-economy)
Hyderabad, Nov. 30:
Slowdown in key markets such as the US and Europe could mean that information technology services firms may not meet the projected 11-14 per cent growth this year. While industry body Nasscom insists that its growth forecast will be achieved, many IT honchos say that will be a tough call.
“I don’t think the Nasscom's growth projection will be met this year because of the economic situation beginning this year. I think it will be in high-single digit,” Sandeep Aurora, Director (Marketing and Sales, South Asia) of Intel, said.
Market watchers say Infosys, which caused a flutter early this year with poor earnings numbers, could well still be the bellwether for the impending slowdown could upset the IT applecart.
“Very unlikely we will achieve the lower end of the projections when the situation is so uncertain,” said R. V. Ramanan, Executive Director and President (Global Delivery), Hexaware Technologies.
While the big IT firms including TCS, HCL, Cognizant and Mahindra Satyam could still outpace the Nasscom estimated growth levels, overall, the industry is expected to grow at a rate lower than that projected by Nasscom.
“Given the lack of major orders, the industry will only be able to grow 10-11 per cent,” A. K. Prabhakar, Senior Vice-President (Equity Research), Anand Rathi, said.
In a recent interaction with Business Line, Phaneesh Murthy, President and Chief Executive Officer of iGATE, had said the market was still uncertain. “I think the industry will grow at single-digit rate this year and not as projected by Nasscom,” he said. On the other hand, B.V.R. Mohan Reddy, Executive Council member of Nasscom and Infotech Managing Director, feels that 11 per cent growth is achievable. This is echoed by Datamatics Chairman Lalit S. Kanodia as well.
Analysts said that despite lower growth, the Indian IT industry is better off than most other markets.
Still a positive
Sid Pai, partner in research and consulting firm Information Services Group, said that since the overall growth in the worldwide outsourcing industry is in single digit, even a low double-digit growth performance by the Indian industry will be a positive.
Harish HV, Partner at Grant Thornton, said that while tough macroeconomic conditions could make the Nasscom projections difficult to achieve, Indian IT firms may still scrape through if the situation in Europe improves.
(With inputs from T. E. Rajasimhan in Chennai, S. Ronendra Singh in New Delhi, Rajesh Kurup in Mumbai, and Venkatesh Ganesh in Bangalore.)
December 5th, 2012, 10:05 AM
Indu Nandakumar & Akanksha Prasad, ET Bureau Nov 29, 2012, 07.08AM IST
BANGALORE: Indian enterprises are cautious about their information technology (IT) budgets for 2013, which they do not see rising much, but are keen to spend on emerging technologies such as mobility, data analytics and cloud computing to improve their core businesses.
At least 10 chief information officers (CIOs), including those from Future Group that owns the Big Bazaar retail chain, India's largest carmaker Maruti, the Manipal Group and Honda Motor, said their IT spends in 2013 would remain mostly unchanged from this year.
Others like Marico see a marginal rise. "We do not plan to trim IT budgets in 2013. In fact, we may see an increase," said Milind Sarwate, group chief financial officer at consumer goods company Marico, which owns brands like Parachute and Saffola.
"In the coming year, our focus area will be (data) analytics," Sarwate added.
Typically, enterprises spend between 2 per cent and 5 per cent of sales on IT.
"We will make investments in technology that is beneficial to our customers," said Parakh Dave, CIO of Future Group.
Earlier this year, the group, founded by the Mumbai-based Biyani family, invested in a large IT automation project to improve the efficiency with which it delivers merchandise to its retail outlets spread over 17 million square feet across 90 cities and 67 towns.
Market watchers also see technology spend continuing to grow in 2013, but at a slower pace compared with 2012. Gartner estimates the Indian IT services market to touch $10.2 billion (Rs 56,814 crore) in 2013, a 12 per cent increase from 2012, when it grew at a much faster pace of 18 per cent.
Unlike in the past, when IT was counted as a support service, companies are increasingly looking at IT spending as a means of improving their core operations.
Bangalore-based Manipal Health Enterprises, which runs the Manipal Hospitals chain, said it plans to develop software applications running on mobile devices to track bed utilisation and medical history of patients.
"With proper IT planning and automation, we hope to increase bed utilisation and patients-per-doctor ratio," said Nankishore Dhomne, IT head at Manipal.
Some CIOs are going the extra mile to trim their organisations' operational budget and divert the excess into technology and IT innovation. For instance, Maruti, which spends Rs 100-150 crore on IT, is building a technology-based learning project that will train its employees across manufacturing plants and warehouses. Rajesh Uppal, IT head at Maruti, said the technology budget for 2013 will remain unchanged, but will also depend on the carmaker's business requirements.
In the financial services sector, priority is on mobile banking as hundreds of thousands of Indians graduate from computers to smartphones to meet their banking requirements. CVG Prasad, CIO at ING Vysya, said the Bangalore-based bank will spend on building alternate delivery channels.
"Mobile banking has been our latest drive. As the bank's data continues to grow, we are taking the first steps to address that through virtualising the data centre and deploying necessary technology to analyse it," he said.
The local unit of carmaker Honda said it is putting in place a mobile-based sales force automation system to take out redundancies in the existing model.
Welspun Group, with interests in textiles and solar power, said it is looking at ways to use the power of social media to better engage with its former employees, customers and business partners, according to human resources director Mukund Prasad, who is also the group CIO with business transformation responsibilities.
Last year, the conglomerate took a major step toward strategic outsourcing, which included IT infrastructure, application development and business process consulting. Welspun was also among the early movers in adopting a private cloud.
Experts tracking the sector say Indian CIOs are increasingly concerned about bringing down costs, just as their counterparts in developed economies.
Enterprises in the US and Europe are tight-fisted about spending on technology, but are increasingly channeling IT budgets towards emerging technology areas such as data analytics and mobility, where they see a direct payoff benefit for their core business. Global IT spending grew at just about 3 per cent in 2012 to $3.6 trillion and is expected to grow at a similar pace in 2013.
"For the first time, Indian CIOs are no longer buying technology as it is. They are now asking vendors to define the business case as they want rewards for every buck spent," said Milan Sheth, partner, advisory services, and technology sector leader at Ernst & Young.
"On the traditional IT hardware and infrastructure side, it is business as usual for most companies but phenomenal innovations are happening at both small and large organisations on analytics and cloud computing fronts."
December 13th, 2012, 01:27 AM
Technology investors betting big on cloud computing startups on hope of strong returns (http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/emerging-businesses/startups/technology-investors-betting-big-on-cloud-computing-startups-on-hope-of-strong-returns/articleshow/17577711.cms)
Technology investors are raising the tempo of investments in cloud computing startups buoyed by strong returns and growing customer demand for software as a service.
This week, venture funds closed two more deals in the sector with Norwest Venture Partners putting in $6 million (about Rs 32.6 crore) in first-round funding for Attune Technologies. The Chennai-based startup uses cloud technology for scheduling, billing and management of patient data with a base of 2 million patient records.
Angel investment network Mumbai Angels has made a seed investment of under Rs 5 crore in Pune-based startup MaxiMojo, which provides cloud-based distribution and revenue management solutions for hotels.
"Savvy investors are racing to get ahead of the next wave and pick up great opportunities in the cloud and enterprise software space before valuations rise and competition for deals heats up," says Ravi Gururaj, vice-president for cloud platforms group at Citrix Systems, a global technology firm. His startup venture, VMLogix, was acquired by Citrix in 2010.
The attractiveness of cloud-based applications across sectors from hospitality to healthcare is driven by ease of use and lower cost. The startups offer products where information is stored and processed on computers 'in the cloud', or the web, instead of local servers. This data can then be remotely accessed through a personal computer, cellphone or any other device, with users typically paying for the service when they use it.
"I can push a few buttons on my phone and access files from my office server remotely from anywhere," says Sahil Parikh, founder of Synage Software.
Technology investors betting big on cloud computing startups on hope of strong returns
LARGE IT COS CLOUDI-FYING APPLICATIONS
In India, the cloud market is estimated to grow over 10-fold to $4.5 billion by 2015, from $400 million now, according to a report by technology firm EMC and consulting firm Zinnov. Industry experts feel this is leading to a surge of new startups that offer niche services to large enterprises which earlier required huge budgets to automate operations.
"Large IT companies in India are cloudi-fying their applications, instead of deploying core banking application based on traditional licences-based model, they are offering cloud-based applications as a service to customers," says Nitin Khanapurkar, partner, management consulting for information technology and services, at auditing firm KPMG.
Entrepreneurs quick to spot this growing opportunity have responded with a slew of new ventures. One such is Chennai-based OrangeScape, which provides cloud solutions to firms like drugmaker AstraZenecaBSE -1.73 %, consumer-goods company UnileverBSE -2.65 % and automaker Ford.
It has raised $1 million from the Indian Angel Network. These startups, which need little capital, are growing faster and are more profitable compared to traditional enterprise technology ventures. "Cloud computing startups are being valued at around 5-8 times their revenues as the technology requires less manpower and needs a smaller amount of capital to set up," says Parikh.
December 15th, 2012, 05:19 PM
IBM ties-up with Vedanta for power biz resource planning (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/ibm-tiesup-with-vedanta-for-power-biz-resource-planning/article4188114.ece)
IBM on Tuesday announced that Vedanta, a globally diversified natural resources group, has tied up with IBM to create an IT infrastructure for the resource planning system of their power business. IBM, leveraging its BladeCenter and System X storage portfolio will help Vedanta to enhance its overall management system and reduce costs.
The IBM implementation has been done at their centre in Jharsuguda in Odisha. The solution stack offered to Vedanta in Odisha includes BladeCenter Chasis, blade server and disk storage. The solution will augment the hardware infrastructure of Vedanta, while also reducing the total cost of ownership, according to IBM officials.
“While we have worked with other vendors, we are seeing strong benefits from working with IBM technology. This has helped us in reducing data centre costs of power and server footprint, while facilitating ease of management,” said Subrata Banerjee, CIO, Vedanta Aluminum Ltd.
Vivek Malhotra, Regional Territory Executive, IBM General Business, India/ South Asia said: “Odisha is an important region for IBM, and the company is focussed on growing its presence in the region to help businesses transform themselves and succeed in a dynamic environment.”
Vedanta is primarily engaged in the copper, zinc, silver, aluminum, iron ore as well as power businesses and works across the economies of India, Zambia, Namibia, Africa, Liberia, Ireland and Australia, among others.
IBM has a major programme of geo expansion in place across India to increase its presence in smaller, rapidly developing cities as these regions play an increasingly important role in the country's economic growth. As part of the outreach strategy, IBM has an office in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha, to reach out to local businesses with advanced technology solutions that will enable their growth.
December 16th, 2012, 10:23 PM
Dilip Vellodi's Sutherland Global Services: Outsourcing even before BPOs existed (http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/news-by-company/corporate-trends/dilip-vellodis-sutherland-global-services-outsourcing-even-before-bpos-existed/articleshow/17642736.cms)
Vellodi began his career as a consultant to Merck, and then later joined Xerox, best known for its office copiers and printers, at its US offices after an MBA from Rutgers and an undergraduate degree from Loyola College, Chennai.
Unlike other pioneers of the business process outsourcing industry, Dilip Vellodi of Sutherland Global Services, which last week agreed to buy a healthcare-focused BPO of Chennai-based Apollo HospitalsBSE 0.19 %, is relatively unknown.
Vellodi set up Rochester, New York-based Sutherland in 1986, much before words like "outsourcing" and "BPO" crept into our daily lexicon. He continues to be its chairman and CEO. His BPO pipped bigger rival Genpact — founded by another pioneer of the BPO industry, Pramod Bhasin — to buy Apollo Health Street for Rs 1,000 crore.
With an estimated $750 million (about Rs 4,082 crore now) of sales, privately-held Sutherland employs about 30,000 people in 11 countries, and is rivaled in revenue size only by Genpact among standalone third-party service providers.
Vellodi began his career as a consultant to MerckBSE -1.24 %, and then later joined Xerox, best known for its office copiers and printers, at its US offices after an MBA from Rutgers and an undergraduate degree from Loyola College, Chennai.
In the early 1980s, Vellodi was part of a team at Xerox that was given the task of fighting the onslaught from the Japanese by creating alternative channels for products below a certain price to remain competitive. The market development group — which Vellodi was part of — analysed customer, industry and market data.
"It involved thinking different from what was normal in those days," said Vellodi. When he was 29, after some eight years in Xerox, Vellodi decided to start his own venture. "It(Sutherland) was started with a spark of an idea," he said. "While at Xerox, I laid out a path to myself that before 30, I was going to start something on my own or move within the corporate world. So, I left before 30 and started Sutherland."
One of the firm's early customers was Digital Equipment Corporation, which created the internet search engine, Altavista, and had its own range of highend servers. Sutherland provided Digital with the full range of customer lifecycle management services — lead generation, acquiring customers, and providing support.
"Our process consulting was very focused around driving productivity around customer lifecycle, and everything was built around it," said Vellodi, a first generation entrepreneur.
From the technology firms, which were the early adopters, Sutherland added customers from the telecom sector, which was being deregulated at that time, financial services, government and healthcare.
"Sutherland's business model is fundamentally different because it does not want to be another big BPO provider," said Ravi Aron, associate professor at John Hopkins Carey Business School and senior fellow at MackBSE 1.99 % Center for Technology Innovation, Wharton. Aron has studied offshoring models and how industries like healthcare and finance can be transformed by IT and communications.
If the choice was between higher volumes and end-to-end process at lower volumes, Sutherland would always opt for the latter, said Aron. "There are some interesting ways in which he (Vellodi) looks at opportunity. His philosophy was 'give me end-to-end processes where I can use predictive analysis and business intelligence'."
Unlike most providers in the BPO industry, which aggressively acquired companies especially during the boom years, Sutherland has done only three acquisitions — Apollo Health Street, Adventity (a financial research and analytics firm it acquired for Rs 250 crore) and a small acquisition of a finance and accounting practice of another BPO.
Fred Harman, managing partner at Oak Investment Partners, a private equity firm which holds a minority stake in Sutherland, said when they wanted to expand delivery to the Philippines, the initial plan was to buy a company.
But when acquisitions were too expensive, "Dilip (Vellodi) built it out organically at a fraction of the capital."
December 17th, 2012, 10:29 AM
Infosys may trim forecast again as US clients cut back
December 20th, 2012, 09:21 PM
TCS' big plans for Europe, China and Latin America (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/tech-news/software-services/TCS-big-plans-for-Europe-China-and-Latin-America/articleshow/17694890.cms)
Country's largest software services exporter Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) said it is looking at significantly expanding footprint in China, Japan, Latin America and Europe to tap opportunities.
"The challenge before us is to scale up our presence significantly in geographies like China, Japan, Latin America, Europe and the Middle East," TCS CEO and MD N Chandrasekaran said in an interview to Tata Group website.
There are plenty of opportunities in all these markets and TCS aims to address them, he said, adding that with presence in 44 countries, the software services major has the "right global footprint".
On business coming from Europe, he said it is expected to grow faster as customers are beginning to spend more. "The budgets are looking good; we are winning lots of transformation deals in Europe," he said.
In 2011-12, revenue from North America constituted 53.31 per cent of company's total revenues, while UK and Europe accounted for 25.32 per cent, followed by India (8.60 per cent), Asia Pacific (7.56 per cent), Middle East and Africa (2.13 per cent) and Latin America (3.08 per cent).
On banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) vertical, which contributed 43.08 per cent to the revenues in 2011-12, Chandrasekaran said the vertical is "beginning to pick up momentum".
"We were particularly happy with the BFSI sectors in the second quarter. Not only have we delivered 4.6 per cent growth in rupee terms in the segment sequentially, but we have also closed four deals, including one from insurance," he said.
Chandrasekaran added that TCS is seeing a "lot of opportunities" in retail, consumer products and pharmaceutical segments as well.
Telecom, media and entertainment accounted for 12.69 per cent of the company's Rs 48,893.83 crore revenue in 2011-12, while retail and consumer packaged goods contributed 12.18 per cent and manufacturing 7.77 per cent of sales.
Chandrasekaran said evolution and fast adoption of technologies like cloud, analytics, big data and mobility also hold a lot of promise.
"Every industry process framework is being redefined and re-imagined by the impact of these technologies. Their use is not limited to just the enterprise; they are impacting our personal and social lives," he said.
This trend is throwing up huge opportunities as companies want to optimise investments in current technology, drive growth by using digital technologies and platforms, comply with new regulations, and control new risks more effectively, he added.
Shares of the company today closed at Rs 1,248.40 apiece, up 1.27 per cent from its previous close on the BSE.
January 5th, 2013, 02:29 AM
Indians should be able to use computers in their own language: F C Kohli, Former CEO - TCS (http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/features/corporate-dossier/indians-should-be-able-to-use-computers-in-their-own-language-f-c-kohli-former-ceo--tcs/articleshow/17872510.cms)
The domestic market accounts for only 15% of the software industry's $100 billion annual turnover.
The country has too few computers. This is because there are no computers in Indian languages
F C Kohli
When we started, the Indian software industry was primarily focused on exports and 40 years later, it still continues to be so. The domestic market accounts for only 15% of the software industry's $100 billion annual turnover. The country has too few computers. This is because there are no computers in Indian languages. China has computers in mandarin, but India, for historical reasons, has stuck with English. The computer is but a tool and Indians should be able to use this tool in their own language. You express your ideas best that way. Innovative thinking comes in your own language. After all these years of speaking in English, I still dream in my own language.
Some people tell me everyone will eventually learn English, we should just wait. That will take 100 years. We need to solve this problem now and TCSBSE 1.50 % is working on it, with our educational institutions and the Government. In 12 months, the Indian language computer should be out and it will drive domestic software development in the future. In five years, I estimate the Indian software industry will have a turnover of $300 billion and half of that will be from domestic sales.
Right now, India does not have a hardware industry. But we will have to develop one, once the computer reaches the masses. Using technology, I can go and make the small shopkeeper more efficient that a supermarket mall. A computer can handle a shop's supply chain management, from purchases to inventory control. It can bring down costs and collect customer data. In the USA, local shops don't necessarily close if Wal Mart comes to town. We need both.
Technology drives technical education and I believe we need to produce more micro-electronic engineers. We've got the IITs to move on this and last year, we produced 1,200. Now this has to be transferred to other colleges, so that the number grows. After all, IT is both software and hardware. I remember the early days in TCS, when we got projects from Burroughs, but didn't have a`Burroughs computer to do the work on, because imports were difficult.
The Indian IT industry is still young and the growth process is not going to stop anytime soon. It will certainly become more sophisticated. There will be new players, niche players, specializing in different applications. We are still doing a lot of lowend work for the global market, though we are also into some high-level development. The domestic market will also throw up low-end work. If you can't find growth avenues despite all this, it is a managerial problem. I remember once telling the Tata Sons Board that TCS has been doubling its turnover every two years and it would continue to do so for the foreseeable future. The limit is your imagination.
The author was the first CEO of TCS (As told to Dibeyendu Ganguly)
January 5th, 2013, 07:54 PM
Nasscom's new strategy for Indian IT (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/enterprise-it/strategy/Nasscoms-new-strategy-for-Indian-IT/articleshow/17893309.cms)
With Europe in recession and the US likely to slow down, IT industry body Nasscom has prepared a strategy for Indian IT to expand in under-penetrated but growth markets like Latin America, China, Canada, Japan, Africa and the Middle East.
Nasscom is in dialogue with its counterparts in these countries and also in touch with various government authorities through India's external affairs ministry to understand what needs to be done to remove bottlenecks and improve trade interactions. The lobbying body is also taking special delegations to these regions and working on country/market reports and case studies to increase awareness about the business potential of these markets among its member companies. Nasscom president Som Mittal told TOI, "We have progressed quite a lot with our plans and it is currently in the implementation stage. It is important for enterprises to enter under-penetrated markets and also to intensify their focus on geographies that offer sizable expansion opportunities."
Currently, the US and UK account for 78% of the country's IT exports, 12% comes from the rest of Europe, and just 10% comes from the rest of the world. China accounts for just 2% and Japan 1%. Nasscom is trying to change the mindsets of some of these countries about India and outsourcing to India. These Chinese and Japanese markets are slowly opening up to Indian companies. Some companies are establishing country desks there. "Some are entering into local business tie-ups like the one TCS has with Mitsubishi in Japan and with Bank of China and Hua Xia Bank in China," said Mittal.
China's domestic market is largely driven by the government, which also influences over 150,000 state-owned enterprises with huge IT budgets. Therefore the opportunity is very large.
Krishnakumar Natarajan, vice president of Nasscom and CEO of Mindtree, said, "China and Japan have the potential to replace UK as the second largest IT export destination for India.''
Africa consists of 54 countries with a population of over 1 billion. Research firm IDC estimates Africa's IT market will reach $26.53 billion in 2014. ICT is high on the agenda for many governments in the region including Egypt, South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Malawi.
Mittal said Africa has a "reaching out" issue. "It also faces talent shortage. We are working with various agencies in the region to explore business/investment opportunities, joint ventures/partnerships between African and Indian companies," he said.
January 19th, 2013, 12:53 PM
K R Rajeev, TNN Jan 4, 2013, 02.10AM IST
KOZHIKODE: Malayalam is all set to get a hi-tech makeover. The users in the state will soon be able to type in the language on android phones and tablets, run a grammar-spelling check and get English and other texts translated into Malayalam at the click of a button. They can even convert Malayalam speech to text and text to speech across a range of digital platforms.
The language technology section (LTS) of the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC) is working on a project to bring Malayalam on par with English and other global languages in terms of tech orientation. The State Institute of Languages (SIL) has teamed up with it to develop a spelling and grammar check system for Malayalam. SIL director Dr M R Thamban said the comprehensive Malayalam spelling and grammar checking system would be unveiled on November 1, 2013, followed by the machine translation system and speech to text facility next year. "Around 500 languages are today facing an immediate danger of being lost forever due to their failure to change with the times. It is vital that Malayalam should get a proper tech orientation," he said.
The LTS has already developed prototypes of a machine translation system christened AnglaMT, which is expected to give a boost to e-governance activities. On the handwriting recognition front, it is in the process of upgrading the newly developed Lekhitha system on Android platforms.
"Besides helping people break the language barrier in interacting with computers, currently monopolized by English, it will also help in introducing a host of modern language tools for Malayalam," CDAC assistant director and language technology group head G K Bhadran. Meanwhile, informal developer collectives like Swathanthra Malayalam Computing (SMC) have also come up with several language tools and solutions. IT columnist G K Adarsh said the government's linguistic computing initiatives should take the free software collectives onboard. "There are many initiatives undertaken by CDAC, CDIT and language computation groups in various universitiesalong with grassroot-level collectives in this field.
The government should take steps to ensure proper coordination to popularize products and avoid duplication," he said.
January 21st, 2013, 07:21 PM
Indian IT's $50 billion opportunity (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/tech-news/software-services/Indian-ITs-50-billion-opportunity/articleshow/18111653.cms)
In 2013, software outsourcing deals worth nearly $50 billion ( 2.7 lakh crore) - about half the size of India's information technology industry- are coming up for renewal. Indian service providers are salivating at the prospect and sharpening their knives; the former for obvious reasons and the latter to undercut rivals in what is expected to be a fierce fight for contracts.
While price discounting is nothing new, the coming battle is expected to be particularly brutal because some of the restraints that kept rivalries under control have slipped away. Underlying all of the factors is the shape that the Indian software services sector is in entering 2013 after leaving behind one of the most forgettable years in its history.
"How and in what situation somebody becomes irrational very much depends on the situation someone is in," said N Chandrasekaran, CEO of India's largest software exporter Tata Consultancy Services during an earnings call last week. TCS, which has set the pace for industry growth, has been among the most optimistic about the sector's prospects and is clearly in the best shape among Indian information technology companies.
The top four Indian IT services companies - TCS, Infosys, Wipro and HCL Technologies - have all announced results for the October-December quarter.
Corporations demanding outcomes
The numbers of the top four IT services companies are being read as indicators that the phase of slow growth may be coming to an end. But this does not mean there is a turnaround. In the year to March 2013, India's software exports are expected to barely grow by double digits while the industry copes with fundamental technological and business model transformation. The old certainties of linear growth - where revenue is directly proportional to the number of employees - are going away and corporations are demanding outcomes rather than mere effort.
Analysts cite HCL Technologies recently winning a contract worth several millions dollars from Deutsche Bank as an example of aggressive discounting. Although it is not clear how much discounting happened, executives aware of the deal negotiations described the pricing offered as being "significantly" lower. Once a major client of Infosys, Deutsche Bank now brings in business well in excess of $50 million for HCL.
As large outsourcing contracts from Procter & Gamble, Bank of America, American Express and UnileverBSE -0.62 %, first signed during 2002-03, come up for renewal this year, competition is expected to heat up further. Deep pricing discounts and even paying money upfront are becoming commonplace, with associated negative implications for margins, senior industry executives said.
"There is fierce competition in the market. And this is between two sets of players - rational and irrational," said TK Kurien, CEO at Wipro, India's third-largest software exporter. In an interview, Kurien observed, without identifying any competitor by name, that some of those he would have counted in the "rational" pack earlier have now moved to the other side.
Analysts believe that Infosys which has traditionally been extremely profit-margin conscious, is now beginning to show increased flexibility on pricing and greater willingness to take on deals which it earlier would have shunned. Infosys, which has been outpaced by competitors for about two years, has been under pressure to grow faster.
Over the last two quarters, the company has indicated that it has adjusted its tactics to meet the demands of growth as an important priority. "Infosys' recent flexibility on pricing and deal structures have been led by a desire to protect turf in a slowing market with enhanced competition," wrote veteran IT analyst Kawaljeet Saluja of Kotak Institutional Equities in a report analysing Infosys' results for the December quarter, when it surprised the Street with unexpectedly strong performance. "A deal win for Infosys means a deal loss for another vendor, who may not necessarily get their share of business and can drive a competitive response."
January 22nd, 2013, 02:15 AM
India's $100-billion low-cost IT business model 'maxed out', must invest in proprietary software: Constellation Research (http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/ites/indias-100-billion-low-cost-it-business-model-maxed-out-must-invest-in-proprietary-software-constellation-research/articleshow/18124063.cms)
"According to the study, the current business model of Indian IT services have "maxed out" amid clients' changing preferences, thanks to commoditisation of services, vendor consolidation, erosion of offshore cost advantage and intense competition from global multinational corporations.
"Indian players no longer have a sizable advantage in cost structures as most Western competitors have built massive resource bases in India. Meanwhile, Indian players have had to invest in onshore capabilities local to their customers, thus increasing labour costs," noted the study that surveyed Indian IT firms as well as over 50 corporations who are large buyers of technology services. "It is high time for Indian IT services firms to walk their decade-old talk of 'moving up the value chain'."
February 5th, 2013, 12:09 PM
TCS, Cognizant widen lead over peers (http://www.livemint.com/Industry/VFc7BB12n8xsqpk4OAi16O/TCS-Cognizant-widen-lead-over-peers.html)
TCS’s revenue in calendar years 2012 over 2011 increased $1.4 billion and Cognizant expects revenue to rise by $1.2 billion, trumping Infosys Ltd’s incremental revenue of $406 million and Wipro Ltd’s $382 million. Incremental revenue, a measure of market share growth, has evolved as the new benchmark for the Indian IT sector, with profit margins—the keenly tracked metric until now—eroding as firms push aggressively to gain a bigger share of their clients’ outsourcing budgets.
TCS’s revenue over the last four years has nearly doubled, with its incremental revenue well above $1 billion consistently in the last three years, according to data compiled by Mint.
Cognizant, too, has made strides in terms of incremental revenue, consistently outpacing Infosys, Wipro and HCL Technologies Ltd, and staying above $1 billion in the past two years. The US-headquartered firm has forecast incremental revenue of $1.22 billion for 2012, just marginally below TCS’s. Cognizant will report results on 7 February.
For Infosys, incremental revenue has dropped from over $1 billion in 2010 and 2011.
At the end of 2008, during the height of the global recession, TCS had a 9.1% slice of the domestic IT services pie, the highest among the top five Indian service providers, data from IT industry lobby Nasscom show.
Four years on, TCS has increased its market share to 10.1%, as have Cognizant (from 3.7% to 6.4%) and HCL (from 2.8% to 4%). Analysts see Cognizant outpacing other Indian service providers, including TCS, this year in terms of revenue growth.
February 5th, 2013, 12:14 PM
Top Indian IT firms to triple direct hiring in US by 2016: Gartner (http://www.livemint.com/Industry/V7pgdSKsNSLMMPDW9zFmGI/Top-Indian-IT-firms-to-triple-direct-hiring-in-US-by-2016-G.html)
India’s top software service companies will triple direct hiring in the US by 2016 while also significantly increasing their presence in European markets, technology researcher Gartner Inc. said in a report
“We estimate that top Indian information technology companies’ onsite recruitment currently in the US to be about 18,000, and we expect this to triple in the next three years,” said Partha Iyengar, vice-president and regional research director-India for Gartner India Research and Advisory Services Pvt. Ltd.
On-site or onshore hiring refers to Indian IT companies recruiting people directly in the clients’ countries, as different from deploying people hired in India to clients’ offices abroad.
By 2014, IT hiring in large western markets will predominantly be done by Asian-headquartered companies enjoying double-digit growth, Gartner said. These companies can take advantage of the opportunity to expand into these key markets, but will need to increase their onshore presence in part through local IT hiring, it added.
Onshore hiring in western European countries is likely to be dictated by protectionist policies expected to be adopted by those nations, Gartner said, adding European Union directives will drive legislation to protect local jobs, reducing offshoring by 20% through 2016.
The US and Europe account for about 80% of the market for India’s top information technology (IT) firms. With western countries keen to protect local jobs amid a continuing slowdown, Indian firms are increasingly hiring people directly in the clients’ countries.
Non-European Union organizations must establish a local footprint to avoid being squeezed out but should consider low-cost regions to improve attractiveness, Iyengar said.
As for predictions five years ago that Indian IT companies will expand recruitments in China, Iyengar said hiring in the neighbouring country has grown only by one-sixth the expected size. He blamed this on Indian companies underestimated the challenges of attracting and retaining Chinese employees.
Big data—the analysis of large chunks of information or data sets too complex to be processed by traditional methods—is expected to be next growth driver for the IT industry, said Naveen Mishra, a principal research analyst at Gartner.
But while big data will require the employment of 4.4 million people globally by 2015, only one-third of those jobs will be filled because of a lack of skills, he said.
Big data spending is expected to exceed $130 billion by 2015, according to Gartner.
February 7th, 2013, 03:11 AM
HCL Infosystems launches new tablets (http://www.thehindu.com/business/companies/hcl-infosystems-launches-new-tablets/article4382889.ece)
HCL Info's new brand ambassador cricketer Ummukt Chand at the launch of the latest range of tablets in New Delhi on Tuesday.
HCL Infosystems, on Tuesday, launched three new tablets — U2, V1 and Y3 — priced between Rs.5, 999 and Rs.11, 999. With the new range of tablets, the company is targeting students as well as young professionals.
As of now, the tablets are available in select cities and will be available across the country from this month onwards.
“The tablet market in India has seen tremendous growth. From 350,000 units in 2011 to three million devices last year, the segment is expected to see sales touching six million units this year. The segment is growing at 100 per cent and it’s a great market to be in,” Gautam Advani, Global Head (Mobility Business Unit), told reporters here.
HCL already has a portfolio of over five tablets in the market, many of which are targeted at the education segment.
HCL ME V1 is an Android-based seven-inch ‘phablet’ with features such as voice calling, 3G data usage through USB data card, 2MP back and 0.3MP front camera.
Y3 is a dual SIM tablet with a seven-inch screen, 3.2MP back and 0.3MP front camera and FM radio. It also allows 3G voice and video calling.
The tablets will be supported by an integrated back-up service, HCL Touch, a 24-7 one touch service facility. \
The company roped in cricketer Unmukt Chand as the brand ambassador for its ‘HCL ME’ tablet range. He was the captain of India’s Under-19 cricket World Cup 2012 winning team.
As a part of the agreement, Mr. Chand would endorse HCL Infosystems’ tablets and feature in upcoming multimedia ad campaigns, he added.
February 12th, 2013, 03:01 AM
Nielsen increases TCS contract size to $2.5 billion (http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/software/nielsen-increases-tcs-contract-size-to-2-5-billion/articleshow/18456973.cms):banana::banana::banana:
12 FEB, 2013, 05.03AM IST, REUTERS
Nielsen Holdings NV, best known for its TV ratings, increased the size of its contract with India's top software services exporter, Tata Consultancy Services LtdBSE -0.62 %, to $2.5 billion from $1 billion.
Nielsen also extended the contract by 3 years to 2020. The media research company and TCSBSE -0.62 % signed a 10-year contract in 2007 under which the Indian company was to provide IT and business services.
February 12th, 2013, 11:40 AM
India’s IT-BPM sector to add $12-15 bn revenue in FY14: Nasscom (http://www.livemint.com/Industry/NHzD2MTGMt6E88HoUyhl3H/Indias-ITBPM-sector-to-add-1215-bn-revenue-in-FY14-Nass.html)
India’s information technology and business process management (IT-BPM) industry will add $12-15 billion in revenue in fiscal 2014, with exports growing at 12-14% and domestic business at 13-15%, Nasscom said on Tuesday.
“The Indian IT-BPM industry has demonstrated resilience and agility in the past year. Technology has today become an integral part enabler for growth across all sectors and the industry is continuously evolving and innovating to emerge as a strategic partner to its customers,” said N. Chandrasekaran, chairman, Nasscom.
“The thrust is IP (intellectual property)-led solutions over multiple platforms that has the customer at the centre of every module and is transformative in nature,” added Chandrasekaran, also the chief executive and managing director of Tata Consultancy Services Ltd, India’s largest software exporter.
February 15th, 2013, 09:42 AM
10 electronics manufacturing clusters likely to come up in India by year-end (http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/10-electronics-manufacturing-clusters-likely-to-come-up-in-india-by-yearend/article4415691.ece?mod=igoogle_news_gadget)
New policy will enable country to become a hub for global ESDM industry: official
At least 10 electronics manufacturing clusters are likely to materialise in the country within the year, a senior official of the Department of Electronics and Information Technology has said.
Addressing the inaugural session of the ninth Vision Summit of the India Electronics and Semiconductor Association (IESA) here on Thursday, Ajay Kumar, Joint Secretary of the department, said that elements of the National Policy on Electronics, which was approved by the Union Cabinet last October, would enable India to become a hub for the global Electronic System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) industry.
Dr. Kumar said the government had notified the Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme (M-SIPS), which is applicable to 29 categories of electronic products. The scheme provides for a 25 per cent subsidy on capital investments in new ventures and a 50 per cent grant for common facilities for units located in an area. “By the end of the year, we expect to approve M-SIPS incentives for investment proposals worth Rs. 25,000 crore,” Dr. Kumar said. He pointed out that benefits of M-SIPS were available for period of 10 years after the initial investment.
He said that proposals for establishing electronic manufacturing clusters had come from States such as Andhra Pradesh (Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam), Haryana (Rohtak) and Rajasthan (Bhiwadi). Moreover, proposals for IT Investment Regions at Bangalore, Hyderabad and Bhubaneswar were being processed.
Urging the industry to take advantage of the preference for electronic goods produced within the country, Dr. Kumar said desktops, laptops, inkjet printers and tablets had already been put on the ‘notified’ list. This would require producers to source a certain proportion of the value of inputs from within the country.
He said expressions of interest had been invited for developing a “completely indigenous” Conditional Access System for set-top boxes used with cable TV networks.
Referring to the establishment of a semiconductor wafer fabrication unit, for which the government had floated expressions of interest from global companies, Dr. Kumar said an empowered committee was likely to identify the partner by March.
The committee was also examining the crucial issue of the quantum of incentives that would be necessary to attract investments into the project that would cost hundreds of millions of dollars, said an industry source.
Satya Gupta, Chairman, IESA, said the industry was planning to establish technology incubation centres.
He said the IESA, in association with the governments of Karnataka and Odisha, had commissioned detailed project reports to identify brownfield and greenfield clusters.
“We envisage brownfield clusters at Electronics City, Whitefield, and Peenya in Bangalore,” he said. Sites for greenfield clusters, which would require 100 acres apiece, had not been identified, he said.
The Karnataka government, Dr. Gupta said, was supporting the industry in developing innovation as well as incubation centres. While the innovation centres would help start-ups develop prototypes, the latter would help in the development of chips with access to tools, intellectual property. “This would help start-ups by lowering their costs,” he said.
The summit concludes on Friday.
February 15th, 2013, 09:48 AM
Mahindra Satyam acquires 51% stake in Brazilian co (http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/software/mahindra-satyam-acquires-51-stake-in-brazilian-co/articleshow/18512077.cms)
IT firm Mahindra SatyamBSE -2.50 % today said it has acquired 51 per cent majority stake in Brazilian SAP consulting services provider, Complex IT.
This acquisition will focus on developing solutions for the rapidly expanding enterprise solutions market within Brazil, Mahindra Satyam said in a statement.
However, it did not disclose the financial details of the deal.
Brazil is the second fastest growing geography globally for enterprise solutions provider, SAP. The current spend on IT by companies in Brazil is approximately USD 70 billion, with USD 36 billion being spent on services and software.
Mahindra Satyam and Complex will go to market with proprietary solutions for large manufacturing, financial and consumer services companies in the market, the Indian IT major added.
"This combination of Complex and Mahindra Satyam strengthens our commitment to the Brazilian market, which is one of the fastest growing Enterprise solutions markets," Mahindra Satyam Global Head (Latin America and Strategic Accounts) Arvind Malhotra said.
COmplex IT's turnover last year stood at USD 50 million and it has 500 employees.
As Brazil gears up to host FIFA 2014 and the Olympics in 2016, it would only provide an increased impetus to an already rapidly growing IT services market, he said.
"The relationship with Mahindra Satyam will mean enhanced career opportunities for our team, and increased quality of services to our customers and partners," Complex IT Chairman and CEO Antonio Rossi said.
February 15th, 2013, 03:18 PM
Indian chip industry body broadens remit (http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-news/4407050/Indian-chip-industry-body-broadens-remit)
The Indian Semiconductor Association (ISA) has changed its name to the Indian Electronics and Semiconductor Association.
The name change was announced during the opening of the annual ISA Vision Summit in Bangalore along with a new charter that is intended to address electronic system design and manufacturing.
The charter represents a broader spectrum and includes not only semiconductor companies but a larger ecosystem of companies and organizations involved in the design and manufacture of electronic products.
The body was formed in 2005 as the ISA and has over 175 members – both domestic and multinational. The ISA has worked closely with the Indian government both at the national and the state level.
The name change comes as the Indian government is preparing to announce a decision on bids to develop a 300-mm wafer fab on the sub-continent!
February 16th, 2013, 07:29 PM
Capgemini to hire 28,000 in India by 2015: CEO (http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/opinion/interviews/capgemini-to-hire-28000-in-india-by-2015-ceo/articleshow/18527582.cms)
Paris-headquartered IT company Capgemini already has a third of its employees working in India. It's now reviving its offshore consulting play, as also strengthening its traditional offshoring capabilities here. The $13.5-billion Capgemini began its operations in India in 1998 offering consulting services, but later focused on IT services. Capgemini India CEO Aruna Jayanthi talks about that and more in an interview to TOI.
With more emphasis on offshore delivery, how are you growing your India headcount?
We have 42,000 people today (out of the global strength of 1.2 lakh) and we want to increase it to 70,000 by 2015. We recently hired Natarajan Radhakrishnan (who was instrumental in setting up the Cognizant consulting practice) to spearhead our consulting practice from an offshore global delivery perspective. I spend a lot of time on HR related activities, identifying the skill gaps in the ecosystem. I believe there is enough technical talent. For hiring technical talent, engineering colleges are not the only places to go to any more. There is enough talent with strong reasoning, math and analytical skills if you expand the category. The challenge is in getting people who have a strong understanding of business and how technology facilitates business.
The European economy is in something of a rut. Yet you are betting big on it. Why?
Because Europe is coming of age compared to what it was in the last 2-3 years. We are focusing on France, Germany, the Netherlands and the Nordic countries by leveraging on our existing relationships. We have set up what is called the topline initiatives, which are growthfocused teams that would work in areas like big data, analytics, mobility and independent software testing. Earlier, the bulk of system testing was done by internal IT teams. Now, testing is so critical that clients want to outsource testing to specialized players. Every time you make a small change, you have to test the entire portfolio independently. We are increasingly booking contracts for testing.
What are the growth drivers?
The biggest driver is focusing on how to improve customer experience. It's all about how customers' business is changing in the light of social media, mobility and analytics. Customer experience is driving a new wave of investment in marketing, and supply chain.
February 18th, 2013, 06:08 AM
VA Shiva Ayyadurai (Tamil:சிவா அய்யாதுரை) (born 2 December 1963 in Mumbai, India) is an American scientist and entrepreneur.
As a high school student in 1978, he developed an electronic mail system, which he called "EMAIL" and copyrighted in 1982. That name's resemblance to the generic term "email" and the claims he later made for the program have led to controversy over Ayyadurai's place in the history of computer technology.
In 1979, as a 14-year-old high school student at Livingston High School in New Jersey, Ayyadurai began his work on an email system for the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Based on this work, Ayyadurai won a Westinghouse Science Talent Search award for high school seniors in 1981. In 1982, he copyrighted his software, called “EMAIL”, as well as the program's user documentation. Two years later, he copyrighted "EMS", which included EMAIL and other programs.
A November 2011 Time Techland interview by Doug Aamouth entitled "The Man Who Invented Email" argued that Ayyadurai's program represented the birth of email "as we currently know it". In that interview, Ayyadurai recalled that Les Michelson, the former particle scientist at Brookhaven National Labs who assigned Ayyadurai the project, had the idea of creating an electronic mail system that uses the header conventions of a hardcopy memorandum. Ayyadurai recalled Michelson as saying: “Your job is to convert that into an electronic format. Nobody’s done that before." :cheers:
In February 2012, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History announced that Ayyadurai had donated "a trove of documents and code" related to EMAIL. :cheers: The museum cited the program as one of the first to include the now common "subject and body fields, inboxes, outboxes, cc, bcc, attachments, and others. He based these elements directly off of the interoffice mail memos the doctors had been using for years, in hopes of convincing people to actually use the newfangled technology."
February 26th, 2013, 06:17 PM
Indian startup pledges to provide chips for tablets (http://www.eetimes.com/design/eda-design/4407764/Indian-startup-pledges-to-provide-chips-for-tablets)
Dreamchip Electronics Pte Ltd. (Visakhaptnam, India), a fabless semiconductor company founded in 2012, has announced plans to provide a family of processor SoCs for tablet computers in 2014.
The company has said it is planning to produce three variants based on a proprietary multicore 32-bit RISC-plus-DSP processor architecture. The three variants of the architecture – named Siddhi, Vani and Sandesh – are each being optimized for a different form of tablet.
Siddhi is designed to power a student's e-reader tablet and is optimized for low-cost, large volume applications. Siddhi-powered tablets are expected to replace printed text books. Vani is targeted at a multimedia tablet for students. Sandesh is the high-end SoC optimized for use in citizen-centric e-governance and e-commerce tablets.
Dreamchip, which also provides SoC design services, is working with Sankhya Technologies Pvt. Ltd. (Chennai, India) to create design flows for SoC design and verification using Sankhya's Teraptor software as a high-level starting point for system modeling and synthesis.
The SoCs are designed to help Indian electronics manufacturers address the needs of both rural and urban users and the chips will be produced with reference tablet designs and embedded software supporting to different Indian languages.
"Following the encouraging response from prospective customers Dreamchip Electronics is initially targeting the large and fast-growing Indian market. Dreamchip plans to offer the SoCs globally at a later stage," said Gopi Kumar Bulusu, founder director at Dreamchip, in a statement.
Prototyping platforms for all three variants will be available by 3Q13 on the Teraptor and selected customers are expected to be offered FPGA kits in 1Q14 and test chip SoCs in 3Q14, the company said.
March 14th, 2013, 08:01 PM
FSS Technologies to raise $200 million to fuel global expansion plans (http://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/fss-technologies-to-raise-200-million-to-fuel-global-expansion-plans-113031400662_1.html)
Financial Software and Systems (FSS), a Rs 600 crore payment systems company, is close to raising $200 million through the private equity and debt route to fuel its expansion plans. The Chennai-based privately held company which offers a bouquet of services in the areas of electronic payment, financial transaction processing solutions and services, had earlier raised three rounds of private equity infusion from funds managed by Carlyle, New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and Jacob Ballas Capital India. While the debt fund-raise of Rs 750 crore is understood to have been finalised, the equity infusion from a private equity fund is expected to be in by first quarter of next financial year.
Nagaraj V Mylandla, Founder & MD, FSS confirmed to Business Standard, that the Rs 750 crore debt has been wrapped and details of the same will be shared shortly. "We have been pretty much low on debt for the past many years and this is the first time around we have raised this quantum of debt. Over the past, we have infused total equity of Rs 550 crore and going forward, we are talking to private equity funds for an infusion of Rs 250 crore in tranches and we should be able to finalise the first infusion by June of 2013," Mylandla said.
Of the Rs 1,000 crore which will be raised, Rs 500 crore will be towards switch and ATM deployment, while Rs 250 crore be for merchant-related services through POS, mobile, internet, financial inclusion, MPOS and micro ATM including Aadhar-related payments and the rest Rs 250 crore will be for FSS IP-related product developmentôenhancement of and expenditure towards expansion in the overseas market. FSS had earlier raised two rounds of equity infusion from global private equity fund Carlyle and subsequently another $60 million from NEA and Jacob Ballas, giving an exit to Carlyle. The promoter's and employees currently hold 60 per cent, while the PE funds hold the rest 40 per cent. It is learnt that the new investor will come on board through fresh issue of equity shares. FSS, which reported revenues of Rs 405 crore for last fiscal is looking to touch revenues of Rs 580 crore by end of Fy13 and is targeting to scale this up to Rs 720 crore for FY14. FSS has established a global footprint in Australia, Canada, Europe, West A
sia, Singapore and the United States and current derives 20 per cent of its revenues from global operations, and which is expected to be shored up to 30 per cent over two years.
The private equity interest in the banking and financial services segment, which is usually among the top three segments, has been lagging during the end of last calendar year. "Global uncertainties, a slowdown in the Indian economy and a lack of enabling policy framework in Q3 and Q4 '12 are some of the main reasons for PE firms being cautious in investing in India. While the Banking Amendment Bill was passed recently, bills such as FDI in insurance are still pending. We believe that guidelines for the new banking licences and positive measures such as deferment of the GAAR will help usher in positive sentiment. This enthusiasm has been observed with the recent spurt in the country's stock markets which is one of the indicators demonstrating the improving sentiments of investors. We think that while PE investments in BFSI or any other sector may not see a lot of action in the near future, there will be signs of improvement in the coming quarters," said Manoj K Kashyap, Leader, Financial Services, PwC India.
March 15th, 2013, 06:44 PM
Infosys partners India Post for online services (http://www.thehindu.com/business/infosys-partners-india-post-for-online-services/article4512809.ece?mod=igoogle_news_gadget)
Infosys has partnered India Post for developing a service delivery platform that will allow more than 1.30 lakh rural post offices to offer online services.
The platform will also connect and manage more than 1.30 lakh handheld devices used by rural postal workers for distribution of social benefits under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act and process Electronic Money Orders, Infosys said in a statement.
With this agreement, Infosys will facilitate India Post’s Rural Systems Integration (RSI) programme, which will increase adoption of the department’s services and enhance the reach of postal services to the country’s rural population.
As part of an earlier agreement, Infosys is also partnering India Post to transform its financial services operations and end-user experience under the Financial Services System Integration programme.
“We are very happy to partner with Infosys on one of the largest transformational journeys India Post has ever undertaken. We are confident that Infosys will help make the Rural Systems Integration project a success,” India Post said.
March 16th, 2013, 09:58 AM
C-DAC develops standard font for Marathi language (http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-03-11/pune/37622645_1_marathi-language-script-technology-dac)
Swati Shinde Gole, TNN Mar 11, 2013, 04.50AM IST
PUNE: Now, all state websites, government publications and e-governance services will have a standard font for Marathi language.
The state government had commissioned a project for the Centre for development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) to develop a standardised Marathi font. The font, named 'Yashomudra', aims to bring uniformity across all state departments. It will be released on May 1, i.e. the state's foundation day.
The Graphics and Intelligence based Script Technology (GIST) group of C-DAC has been working on this font since 2009 when the state government issued a government resolution (GR) on use of Marathi language in its notices and services to citizens. The GR had specific instructions on use of Marathi language and the chief minister and the GIST group coined the thought of having a standard Marathi font for the state government.
Mahesh Kulkarni, who is heading the GIST group at C-DAC, said, "At present, there are several fonts available, but there is no uniformity. Also, the state government thought the need to have its official font which could be used in all its websites, online and offline documentation, e-governance services."
C-DAC officials said that a standard font will reduce chances of discrepancies as some characters in the Devnagri script are written differently in Marathi and Hindi. Kulkarni said that for some characters the shapes of letters differ if different fonts are used. "This may create discrepancies in reading. A standard font will reduce it."
Kulkarni said that the font will be an open source application, which means that users can freely download it on their computers, iPads, tablets as well as cell phones. The font will also have styles including bold and italics.
Kulkarni said that it is not mandatory for users to use this font. "However, it is recommended that the font is used widely and largely so that the basic aim of bringing uniformity across the state is achieved. At government level, the font will be consciously used."
The font was named 'Yashomudra' after Yashwantrao Chavan, the first chief minister of Maharashtra, as this year is also being celebrated as the 100th birth centenary of the leader. "The font was to be released on Marathi day celebrated on February 27. However, we are still doing the testing for the font and hence we will now release it on May 1, the Maharashtra day," Kulkarni said.
March 18th, 2013, 03:22 PM
ST linked to Indian wafer fab bid (http://www.eetimes.com/design/eda-design/4410035/ST-linked-to-Indian-wafer-fab-bid)
Europe's largest chipmaker STMicroelectronics has been linked to Hindustan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp. (HSMC) as being part of one of two consortia in discussions with the Indian government over a proposal to set up one or more wafer fabs in India.
The most recent initiative to stimulate the start of Indian chip manufacturing was launched by the Indian government nearly two years ago. One consortium, which includes IBM, Jaypee Group and Tower Semiconductor Ltd., is known to have been involved in the process. The Indian government has reportedly said that two projects are left in the running and STMicroelectronics (Geneva Switzerland) has been linked to HSMC in a report from Indian publication LiveMint referencing sources familiar with the tender process.
A decision from the Indian government was originally expected by the end of 2012 but that was later pushed back to the end of the first quarter of 2013.
HSMC was originally formed in about 2007 with a plan to create two wafer fabs in India. It signed a memorandum of understanding with Infineon Technologies AG (Munich, Germany) to license a 130-nm CMOS digital manufacturing process as well as processes for RF and embedded flash. The plan failed to materialize and HSMC has been mainly quiescent since then.
HSMC has has offices in San Jose, Calif., and Delhi, India. It is led by chairman and CEO Devendra Verma, who has experience as a technology executive and venture capitalist. ST could be a source of manufacturing process technology for a newly-created Indian enterprise. This is an activity it has engaged in with chipmakers in Russia.
HSMC declined to comment on whether it was involved with ST in plans to create an Indian wafer fab. ST declined to comment on whether it was involved with HSMC in such plans.
March 25th, 2013, 04:01 PM
TCS wins $43 million contract from Norway Post (http://www.thehindu.com/business/companies/tcs-wins-43-million-contract-from-norway-post/article4547074.ece?mod=igoogle_news_gadget)
Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and global outsourcing services firm Capgemini have been awarded contracts worth $43 million (about Rs. 233 crore) each from Norway Post to operate and manage its applications.
The 6-year deal encompasses delivery of a wide range of services across Norway Post’s core portfolio of 55 applications. It delivers over 36 million packages and 2.2 billion letters annually.
“Apart from being selected to deliver application services across core postal value chains, TCS has also been entrusted to coordinate and drive the overall transition and transformation programme across multiple vendors,” TCS said in a release.
Through this initiative, Norway Post is implementing a structured multi-sourcing model to drive efficiency and support, and integrate business strategy, it added.
Norway Post in a statement said it has chosen Capgemini and TCS to operate and manage most of its applications.
“The estimated value to each of the suppliers Capgemini and TCS during the contract period is around 250 million Norwegian Krone (KOR),” it added.
Capgemini has 103 Nordic customers and around 4,500 employees in the Nordic region.
TCS’s Nordic operations (an operating area cutting across Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark and Iceland) comprise over 5,000 professionals and offers services to leading Nordic companies such as Nokia, Ericsson, TDC, ABB, Telenor, NETS and SAS.
April 2nd, 2013, 03:23 PM
INDIA : Electronics and Information Technology : Annual Report 2012-13 (http://deity.gov.in/sites/upload_files/dit/files/Annual%20Report%202012-13.pdf)
Export revenues (excluding hardware) are estimated to gross USD 75.8 billion in FY2013
April 24th, 2013, 06:32 PM
Tech Mahindra acquires Sweden-based lab (http://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/tech-mahindra-acquires-swedenbased-lab/article4650873.ece?mod=igoogle_news_gadget)
IT and telecom solutions provider Tech Mahindra has acquired a Sweden-based Type Approval Lab for undisclosed amount which will help it strengthen lab presence in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) regions.
The lab was part of Sony Mobile Communication’s internal test function and now will help Tech Mahindra establish its first European test lab with multi-million dollar infrastructure, Tech Mahindra said in a release on Wednesday.
The company, however, did not disclose financial details.
This acquisition will prove to be a key milestone for the European expansion plan and reinforces further company’s commitment to be a key player in this space, the release said.
This is the third acquisition the IT firm has made in the last eight months.
The company acquired 100 per cent stake in telecom BPO player Hutchison Global Services for $87 million (about Rs 470 crore) in the first week of September 2012. Three weeks later, the company said that it had picked up 51 per cent stake in Bharti Enterprises’ promoted Comviva Technologies.
“The Lund facility will now provide us a strategic Lab presence for EMEA region and for our customers looking to launch their products in EU and rest of the world,” the Chief Technical Officer of CanvasM Technology, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tech Mahindra, Sirisha Voruganti said, adding that, “We look forward to the exciting test engineering competencies and consulting abilities the lab resources will bring to Tech Mahindra’s customers.”
This acquisition is in line with Tech Mahindra’s plans to lead the test space and the increased focus on Nordics region, it said.
The company along with CanvasM Technology has labs in India and the US certifying more than 800 plus devices, Tech Mahindra said.
April 27th, 2013, 05:24 PM
Tata Tech to buy U.S. firm Cambric Corporation (http://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/tata-tech-to-buy-us-firm-cambric-corporation/article4657885.ece)
Tata Technologies (TTL) has signed definitive agreements to acquire U.S.-based Cambric Corporation, an engineering services company, for $32.5 million (around Rs.177 crore).
Tata Technologies provides engineering services and manufacturing enterprise IT. “The acquisition will strengthen Tata Technologies’ global footprint and domain capabilities to provide high-end engineering services to a diverse set of existing and new clients, especially in Europe,” Patrick McGoldrick, Managing Director and CEO, Tata Technologies, told a press conference.
He said the acquisition would be completed in the next few weeks. “We have undergone the formal process for a cultural fit,” he said.
Tata Technologies focuses on the manufacturing industry. It serves clients in 25 countries through six global delivery centres in Detroit (U.S.), Coventry (U.K.), Stuttgart (Germany), Bangkok (Thailand) and Pune and Bangalore.
The largest shareholder in TTL is Tata Motors with 71 per cent of equity followed by Tata Capital 12 per cent and employees and directors 12 per cent. International Tata Group entities hold 5 per cent.
Cambric has a significant presence in Eastern Europe with three development centres in Romania. Its customers include leading global players in heavy machinery, agricultural, off-highway and automotive companies. It had revenues of $25 million in 2012 with majority revenues from construction and heavy equipment sector. The acquisition will also give Cambric access to the Asia Pacific region. Mr. McGoldrick said TTL at present had around 6,200 employees and Cambric around 450. “We have an ambitious plan to increase our headcount to 20,000 people by 2017,’’ he said, adding “now we will have to see how best to scale up in Romania”.
April 27th, 2013, 05:28 PM
Total connectivity (http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/total-connectivity/article4653829.ece)
Soon enough the world will just be a click away anywhere in Technopark. Park authorities have unveiled plans for an ‘Open i space and data farm’ in a bid to ensure Wi-Fi connectivity across the entire campus, apart from setting up a high speed data centre. For the uninitiated, Wi-Fi is a networking technology that allows electronic devices such as laptops, tablets, smart phones and digital cameras to exchange data wirelessly over a computer network. “The Wi-Fi plan has been in the works for a while now, in continuation of our overall plan to ensure Technopark retains its status as the premier IT destination and also in a bid to make certain Technopark maintain its standing as the greenest IT park in the country,” says M. Vasudevan, Senior Manager, Business Development at Technopark. “At present Wi-Fi is available only within individual companies [most companies on campus do have Wi-Fi connectivity, but it is only accessible to their employees]. We plan to set up 8GB connectivity outside the four walls of the companies, especially in common areas such as food courts, Park Centre, the guest house, Technopark club house… It does not require much effort on our part and hopefully it should be up and running within the next six months, may be even less,” adds Vasudevan. The techies themselves seem quite thrilled at the prospect. Nadam R. Bhadran, a network engineer with E-Team Informatica at Technopark says: “I think it’s high time for WiFi connectivity on campus. Actually, I feel that it should have been done years ago! Having Wi-Fi in an area like the food court, for example, will be very helpful. It means that if we have to deal with an urgent task, we don’t need to chuck our food and rush back to our office computers as we usually do now. With our laptops or smart phones we can simply sit wherever and finish off the work.” Techie Vineesh P., who works at IBS, agrees and adds: “Who will not want to have unlimited access to Wi-Fi? I think it will be especially beneficial to our clients who come from across the world to Technopark, most of who expect – and demand – high-speed Wi-Fi connectivity wherever they go. Right now we can only give them access to our office networks and that too on a restricted basis. Most of them would have 2G and 3G smart phones and would be connected to the net. However, working with Wi-Fi is any day better than working with a limited GPRS connection. Of course, you don’t have to pay the roaming bills too.”
As thrilled as they are about having Wi-Fi on campus, the techies are also a bit concerned about the feasibility of such a project considering the vast area that it has to cover and the fact that there are 40,000-plus potential users on campus. “It would have to have an exceptionally huge bandwidth,” says Nadam, a tad sceptically. They say that there could also be potential threats to security with unrestricted access to Wi-Fi.
“With such open connections where hundreds of people can connect on at the same time, it’s very difficult to keep track of who is viewing adult content, doing unauthorised downloads, checking out pirate software sites, and so on. It can open the door to potential hackers too,” says Rajesh G., a system administrator at Toonz, who has to monitor the company’s in-house network as a part of his daily routine.
Then they say there’s also the question of it being a productivity nightmare from a human resources perspective. “As of now social networking sites are not accessible on most office computers to ensure maximum productivity. I am sure everyone will utilise the Wi-Fi to log on to the same!” says Vineesh. Vasudevan, however, says that there is no cause for undue worry. “We will have mechanisms in place to avoid such issues. We will have active auditing, monitoring and filtering systems in place with firewalls, security codes and the like. Also we plan to restrict access to the network with passwords,” he explains. Guess it’s time to get clicking.
April 27th, 2013, 05:30 PM
India’s requests for Web censorship increase (http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/internet/indias-requests-for-web-censorship-increase/article4658617.ece)
The Indian government nearly doubled its requests to Google for removal of content in the second half of 2012 as compared to the first six months, the seventh transparency report from the Internet giant has noted.
The report, published on April 25, noted that governments around the world are seeking censorship on the Web more than ever before. Between July and December 2012, Google had received more than 2,285 government requests to delete 24,149 pieces of information. In the first half of 2012, Google received 1,811 requests to remove 18,070 pieces of information.
The number of requests in the second half of 2012 went up by over 90 per cent compared to the first half of the year.
The Indian government was among 20 countries to request for the removal of the controversial film Innocence of Muslims from YouTube. (The video though listed is not available for streaming in India).
In its bi-annual report, Google said that during the “period of disturbance in the North-East region” last year, it received five requests from the Computer Emergency Response Team to remove content from Google+, a Blogger post, 64 YouTube videos, and 1,759 comments associated with some YouTube videos, that cited laws covering disruption of public order and ethnic offence laws.
“In response, Google removed a video for violating YouTube Community guidelines, and restricted 47 YouTube videos from local view, in addition to removing 12 YouTube comments and disabling local access to three Blogger blog posts that violated local laws,” the report said.
Google did not comply with all the requests it received. The report noted: “We received a request from a city Cyber Crime Investigation Cell to remove current depictions of disputed borders of Jammu and Kashmir in five Google Maps domains other than maps.google.co.in. We did not change our depiction of the borders in response to this request.”
The report noted that there was a spike in requests from the Brazilian and the Russian governments. In Brazil, the requests coincided with the municipal elections where the government noted that several content had to be removed because they were violating the electoral code.
In Russia, the requests for removal of content followed the enactment of a new Internet blacklist law that allowed authorities to take down content without trial.
The latest edition of the transparency report — available at www.google.com/transparencyreport (http://www.google.com/transparencyreport) — also seeks to better classify the requests for removal of data with the introduction of new and pertinent categories like “bullying”, “hate speech” and “geographic dispute”.
April 28th, 2013, 04:42 PM
Nokia, Harvard's India alumni team up to create apps (http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-04-27/telecom/38861402_1_nokia-india-nokia-lumia-gerard-rego)
BANGALORE: Nokia India, in collaboration with AppCampus of Finland, and the members of Harvard Business School (HBS) Alumni Angels India, has launched an initiative called Appcelerate-India that seeks to boost mobile app development on the Nokia Lumia and Windows platforms.
AppCampus, an accelerator that supports next generation mobile development in Finland, and HBS Alumni Angels will invest $500,000 in this initiative to provide grants, seed funding, mentoring and incubation resources to discover disruptive applications.
Speaking at a press conference here, Gerard Rego, director of developer experience in Nokia India, said the aim was to support Indian app developers to drive path-breaking innovation on Nokia's platform. "We believe this will open up countless opportunities to shape the mobile app ecosystem here," he said.
Apps are what drive smartphone sales, and Nokia is the weakest in that space now. As of February, there were 130,000 apps on Windows 8, the platform Nokia uses for its smartphones. On the other hand, Apple and Android had about 700,000 apps each in October last year. Clearly, Nokia has a lot of catching up to do.
Ravi Gururaj, co-founder of HBS Alumni Angels India, said the Appcelerate idea was to provide small companies the four essential C's to accelerate business -- cash, coaching, customers and capital. Pekka Sivonen, head of App-Campus, said such collaboration, tailored for the Indian market, helped to reach developers and start-ups locally and "helped them evolve into the next Big Thing."
April 28th, 2013, 04:46 PM
Delhi high court to government: Explain how minors open website accounts (http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-04-26/social-media/38842012_1_rashtriya-swabhimaan-aandolan-50-million-indian-users-social-networking-websites)
NEW DELHI: How do minors in India access social networking sites and are allowed opening an account even though Indian laws don't permit it? The Delhi high court on Thursday posed this query at the central government and gave it 10 days to file an affidavit.
The HC also questioned two US-based entities â€” Facebook Inc and Google Inc â€” asking them also to respond. It was hearing a plea by former BJP ideologue K N Govindacharya seeking among others, strict guidelines to curb exposure of minors to online sexual predators.
It also seeks an order for recovery of taxes from the websites on their income from operations in India.
A bench of Justices B D Ahmed and Vibhu Bakhru asked Sumeet Pushkarna, the counsel for the Centre, to make the government's stand clear on the issue through an affidavit within 10 days and posted the matter for May 13.
"How can children below 18 years have an agreement with any of the social network sites, including Facebook? The Union of India is directed to file an affidavit on the issue within 10 days," the bench said. It added that "Both Facebook Inc and Google Inc are US-based entities and are hereby impleaded as respondents. Notices should be issued to the newly added parties."
The bench passed the order after hearing the argument of Govindacharya's counsel Veerag Gupta that minors are getting into an agreement with the social networking sites to open an account which is against the Indian Majority Act, the Indian Contract Act and also the Information and Technology Act.
Due to non-verification of users, more than eight crore Facebook users across the world were found to be "fake", which the website admitted before the US authority, Gupta told the HC blaming the Centre for failing to take any action against the foreign companies which have extensive Indian operations.
Govindacharya, at present a patron of Rashtriya Swabhimaan Aandolan, filed public interest litigation (PIL), seeking directions to Centre and the two software giants to "ensure proper accounting compliances as per RBI guidelines".
"Facebook gross revenue for previous year was $37 billion approximately but they are not paying due taxes to Indian government," the petition argued seeking a direction to ensure safety of the data of 50 million Indian users, which was transferred "to the USA and is being used for commercial gains in violation of the right to privacy".
The PIL urges the HC to "Issue a writ of Mandamus ...to ensure verification of all existing users and future new members of social networking websites with instructions not to do agreements with children below 18 years."
Arguing that lack of monitoring makes minors vulnerable the PIL further seeks creation of a national register of persons indulging in sexual offences and heinous crimes and stopping such persons from joining social networking websites.
The petition, which listed the alleged violations of various terms by the websites, also sought a direction to the Centre to ensure that government officers "do not use social networking websites through government computers" as they may pose threat to sensitive data and national computer network.
"As per telecommunication minister's statement in Parliament, the government lost $4 billion every year due to cyber crimes and approximately 90 million government websites were hacked in last three years," it pointed out.
April 29th, 2013, 05:43 PM
Infosys partners with IPsoft to automate IT services (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/tech-news/software-services/Infosys-partners-with-IPsoft-to-automate-IT-services/articleshow/19780919.cms)BANGALORE: In a move that signals a significant step towards automation in the IT services outsourcing business, Infosys has struck a partnership with IPsoft, the New York-based company founded by Indian American Chetan Dube that provides tools that free engineers from mundane, repetitive tasks.The most fascinating and influential aspect of IPsoft's technology is that it includes the element of machine learning -- or artificial intelligence as some call it -- so that companies don't have to employ an army of people to write the complicated scripts that traditional automation tools require. The system learns from doing, thus making the process of automation itself automated.These elements have helped build 220 customers for IPsoft worldwide, including Cisco, Canon, Pepsico, British Telecom, Gap, ING, Autodesk, and Pfizer.Infosys will use the technology to automate parts of its infrastructure management and network management services - the areas that IPsoft's platform is particularly strong in. It will also work with IPsoft to adapt the technology to application maintenance and business process outsourcing services, and over time, look at adapting it to automate even parts of its application development business."What robotics did for the auto assembly line, we are now doing for the IT engineering line," said Chandrashekar Kakal, global head of Infosys's business IT services, the segment that constituted 63% of the company's $7.4 billion revenues last year. He said customers to whom the technology had been demonstrated were excited. Kakal will establish a centre of excellence at Infosys's Mysore campus to do R&D, establish proofs of concepts and train engineers on IPsoft's platform. Initially, some 200 employees will be trained and that number could go up to 4,000 before long.Speaking to TOI on the phone from New York, Chetan Dube too referred to the automotive example and said, "History repeats itself." He said the IT industry was on the precipice of a transformation unlike any before. He said complexities in networks and applications had grown so much that traditional systems were unable to handle them. "Chief information officers are under increasing pressure from business units to ensure availability of IT resources, and ensure consistency of business outcomes, without any variance. Human processes have variance built into their DNA. Our automated systems ensure absolute consistency, and are self-healing and self-governing," he said.Dube grew up in Delhi, did an electrical engineering degree from IIT-Delhi in 1989, and then moved to the US. He was an assistant professor in mathematics at New York University before he founded IPsoft in 1998. Dube called Infosys an "ideal partner" because they shared the same vision. He said IPsoft was in talks with some of the other leading Indian IT companies for similar partnerships but declined to name them. However, indications are that the others include Wipro and Cognizant.Automation possibilities are very high -- upto 80-90% -- in what are called Level 0 and Level 1 tasks, things like password resets, database failures. If a database goes down because it's full, the manual process would involve a human being expanding the capacity or purging some data to create space. IPsoft's platform will automatically do these tasks; it will also figure out why the failure happened, and prevent future failures by, say, automatically purging data that it understands to be least relevant.Higher level tasks can also be automated, but to lesser degrees. Dube said his platform reduced the average time to resolution of problems by 60%. For Infosys, such automation fits well into its new vision to grow revenues without adding employees to the same degree. This is necessary for it to sustain its high margin strategy, something it regards critical for long-term sustainability. For the industry, revenues have been till now directly correlated with the number of people employed, and Infosys, which already has over 1.56 lakh employees, feels it would be difficult to keep expanding this number for much longer, without running into an HR and talent management nightmare.But that's not the only reason why IT outsourcing companies may need partnerships with the likes of IPsoft. Offshoring of IT to countries like India began because Indian engineers were substantially cheaper than engineers in developed markets. Now, the automated systems are proving to be cheaper than Indian engineers. Writing about automation companies like IPsoft and Blue Prism, a British startup, The Economist magazine in January reported (quoting a study by research firm HfS - Horses for Sources) that Blue Prism's robots cost at most $15,000 a year, compared to an offshore IT worker who costs $30,000 and an onshore one who costs $80,000.The magazine then quotes HfS to say, "One telecoms company replaced 45 offshore employees, costing a total of $1.35m a year, with ten of Blue Prism's software robots, costing $100,000. The telecoms firm then spent its savings of $1.25m on hiring 12 new people to do more innovative work locally at its headquarters."
April 29th, 2013, 05:47 PM
Tech freshers' pay caught in 4-year time warp (http://www.indianexpress.com/news/tech-freshers-pay-caught-in-4year-time-warp/1109016/)
India's $108-billion IT industry is among the country's largest organised private sector employers, but the bottom of the sector's pyramid appears to have little to cheer about. While the overall wage hike in the IT sector has dropped to single digits of late, the salaries of freshers, who are typically engineering graduates and form the largest chunk of recruits, has remained stagnant in the past three to four years. Experts say this trend is likely to prolong as firms navigate a difficult business environment.
Staffing companies point out that in the current market, on average, a fresher in the software services industry draws a salary in the range of R2.75-3.5 lakh per annum when compared to R2.75-3.3 lakh offered during 2008-09. Thanks to increasing margin pressure, demand-supply imbalance, declining business volumes and rising training costs, pay packages at the entry level have not seen an upward swing in the recent past. This is at a time when prices in the country have grown by more than 8% in each of these years.
TV Mohandas Pai, chairman, Manipal Global Education and former director at Infosys, opined that the freshers' salary is likely to remain at the same level for some more years due to the demand-supply mismatch. "The hiring numbers by IT companies has come down due to their slowing growth but the number of graduating engineers has been increasing," he said.
The IT industry absorbs around 250,000 engineering graduates every year but the annual output is around 600,000 students, giving them lesser bargaining power in a market-driven economy.
The sector employs around three million people with close to 60% in the fresher category or well below two years of experience.
"Since the economic downturn in 2008, business cycles globally have been volatile and IT companies are still unable to get a clear visibility into the future trend. There is pressure on their top and bottom line growth. Hence, IT organisations are taking a cautious approach on salary hikes across levels. Also, entry-level talent is much commoditised and is mostly a volume-based approach. Hence, people from this segment have not been able to negotiate a premium," said E Balaji, MD and CEO at HR consultancy Randstad India, adding that companies are looking at utilising their bench strength and just-in-time hiring, which is likely to keep freshers' salaries at current levels.
April 30th, 2013, 04:48 PM
Moving from under Microsoft’s cloud (http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/moving-from-under-microsofts-cloud/article4661079.ece)
Microsoft Office 365 is nothing like any previous Microsoft product. Office 365 is a leap into the cloud by the company that has been better known for its products that brought office work processes to personal computers. Starting June, students in engineering colleges across the country will find themselves logging on to this product — a free offering from Microsoft — courtesy an order from the All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) that has drawn flak from advocates of software freedom. This writer found that Office 365 runs seamlessly on web browsers running on the Windows, Mac and Linux-based operating systems. Microsoft’s bundled package of infrastructure, storage and software in Office 365 appears to be well done. However, Office 365’s emulation of services offered by Internet search giant Google indicate a desperate attempt to stay relevant in the age of the cloud. Google has been running its own online office suite of spreadsheets, documents and slideshows — Google Docs — since 2007.
What does it offer?
Microsoft Office 365 is an extension of SkyDrive, in which Microsoft offered free storage of about 7GB for registered users. SkyDrive integrated into Office 365 has a close semblance to Google Drive, which is accessible to anyone with a Google account.
The web applications for Office suite and mail access uses Microsoft’s online mail server Exchange Online, which is configured with Microsoft’s mail client, Outlook. This is obviously an attempt by Microsoft to gain ground vis-à-vis Google, which is the widely acknowledged past-master in this field. Office 365 also has even an intranet-sharing platform, Newsfeed, with an appearance that closely resembles Google Plus.
The difference is in how users get to use these services. Google allows users to register as an individual and access these services on a ‘freemium’ basis — an account with an initial capacity is free, for more capacity, users need to pay. Meanwhile, Microsoft’s package is available on a freemium basis only for a ‘beginner’s education plan’. The ‘A2’ education plan, which offers storage, mail, intranet sites and a web-based office suite, come at zero cost only for registered educational institutions.
The recent controversy about the AICTE offering about 7.5 million Office 365 accounts in Indian technical education institutions is based on the A2 plan, which Microsoft is offering free of cost. But then, what is the catch?
While Google Drive allows users to upload, edit and download documents in both proprietary and open formats, Microsoft Office 365 allows users to upload and edit proprietary and open formats, but only allows the option of downloading the files in Microsoft’s proprietary formats — .docx for documents, .pptx for slideshows and .xlsx for spreadsheets.
In the case of the AICTE-Microsoft deal, when 7.5 million users are given an option to use a service that allows users to work online on Office 365 and to save their work only in a proprietary format for offline use, it is presumed that the offline tools to be used are Microsoft’s Office suite, which come with an annual license fee of Rs. 4,200 for the home edition.
It is obvious that the proprietary formats from Microsoft Office cannot be edited using Free software office suites such as Libre Office, without losing some formatting at the least. Also, while Office 365 runs on web browsers operating on non-Windows operating systems such as Ubuntu, offline usage would require the use of the Windows platform.
More than just mail
The pressing need for Indian institutions is not mail and cloud storage access, but to implement online college management systems and tools to enable online learning.
One such project, cited worldwide as an example of successful implementation of a school management system, is Sampoorna.
About 15,000 schools, 7 million students and three lakh teachers in Kerala are part of the Sampoorna school management network, which is powered by Free and Open Source software, Fedena. “Cumbersome processes such as preparation of transfer certificates, copying of admission registers, generating reports related to students, parents, teachers and non-teaching staff, preparation of scholarship lists, progress reports, examination databases, promotion list and timetable-preparation have all been made easy using this software,” claims the page on the Fedena website.
Apart from using a tool like Fedena for institution management, there are many other cloud-based services that can be offered using Free and Open Source software, to improve the use of information technology in teaching and learning.
Modular Object Oriented Learning Environment or MOODLE is a learning management system that is Free software, and can help institutions implement online courses, conduct online quizzes, and provide forums for students to discuss and share ideas.
In India, many institutions, including many in Bangalore, have implemented MOODLE-based cloud solutions, which has resulted in the reduction of paper work. It has also enabled institutions to implement better usage of IT tools in their pedagogy.
Apparently, the AICTE failed to take this broader view when settling for Office 365 as its chosen platform for use in Indian institutions.
To be fair, Indian free software activists too have jumped the gun while assessing Microsoft Office 365. Some of their comments have been way over the top; AICTE, rather than Microsoft, ought to have been the object of their ire.
May 9th, 2013, 02:37 AM
IT slowdown & consumption: Fewer jobs and smaller pay hikes force techies to cut back spends
May 10th, 2013, 05:24 PM
BANGALORE: Pune has surpassed Bangalore as a hub for high-end engineering design and product development work done out of MNC firms' R&D outposts.
Some 12% of product teams based in Pune are doing highvalue product development work compared to 8% in Bangalore , said IT advisory firm Zinnov in its Maturity Benchamarking Study that surveyed 220 product teams across 30 MNC R&D firms in the country.
Product teams based out of Pune no longer play second fiddle to their global teams, supporting them with coding, testing and quality assurance. They have moved up the maturity curve managing the product pipeline, customer interface and channel partnerships.
This has resulted in greater mindshare at the headquarters and hence, they are able to drive high-value work from India. With over 350 MNC R&D centres, Bangalore remains a hotbed of activity in the country . But Pune has emerged as an attractive destination for product development leveraging on its skilled workforce in executing product design and engineering capabilities.
"R&D centres set up in the last 3-5 years have brought products at higher maturity as they see India as a destination for core product development. Bangalore had a headstart in engineering support while Pune has leveraged on its talent pool to recalibrate its strengths towards product capabilities early on," said Preeti Anand, engagement manager in Zinnov . Currently, Pune has over 110 MNC R&D centres employing 24,000 people.
Shantanu Ghosh, MD of Indian product operations in software security firm Symantec, said Pune had the positives of Bangalore in terms of the ecosystems and talent pool. "But there is a shift in the mindset to component ownership rather than offering support R&D services ," he added.
Take medical devices manufacturer Varian Medical Systems for instance. It entered India through the acquisition of Pune-based Cedera in 2007, to initially provide customer support to its global centres in Palo Alto, Helsinki and Switzerland . It later went on do complex work like asset tracking for software application and remote deployment of software for managing cancer clinics, radiotherapy centers, and medical oncology practices. It also provides tubes and digital detectors for X-ray imaging used in medical, scientific, and industrial applications. "Each R&D team has a mission statement and value proposition in areas like business intelligence , technology and infrastructure connectivity," said Niraj Kumar, engineering manager in Varian.
In the recent past, a lot of companies have set up their R&D centres in Pune. Nasdaq-listed product company PTC's R&D centre in Pune contributes to its core product development . Software firm Pitney Bowes opened a second R&D centre in the country in Pune to do work on its digital mailbox solution Volly. Global manufacturing & technology company Emerson set up its export engineering center in the city for software design. Other firms like Allscripts, Faurecia, Tomtom , Fiat and Fairchild Semiconductor too have flocked to the city recently.
May 28th, 2013, 02:06 PM
It’s official: Cognizant displaces Infosys as second largest Indian IT firm (http://www.firstpost.com/business/its-official-cognizant-displaces-infosys-as-second-largest-indian-it-firm-822387.html)
US-based IT major Cognizant Technologies has pipped Infosys to become the second-largest Indian IT services provider with a worldwide revenue of $7.1 billion global research and advisory firm Gartner said today. Cognizant also clocked the highest growth rate of 20.1 percent in revenues among the top five India-based IT services providers last year.
“Cognizant displaced Infosys to become the second-largest Indian IT services provider and Cognizant experienced the highest growth rate among the top five providers with an increase of 20.1 percent in 2012,” Gartner Research Director Arup Roy said.
Cognizant, which was ranked 28 globally in 2011, moved to the 23rd position in 2012 with revenues of $7,053 million. Tata Consultancy Services retained its global ranking at 16 with revenues of $10,888 million. TCS remains the highest ranked Indian IT firm globally.
The revenues of the top 5 India-based IT services providers worldwide rose by over 13 percent to $34.3 billion (around Rs 1,900 crore) last year from $30.3 billion in 2011.
TCS leads the IT services providers with revenue of $10.9 billion, followed by Cognizant ($7.1 billion), Infosys ($6.7 billion), Wipro ($5.7 billion) and HCL Technologies ($3.9 billion) in 2012.
“The top five Indian providers grew 13.3 percent to reach $4.3 billion in 2012, exceeding the IT services industry growth of 2 percent,” it said.
Gartner views Indian players as those who mainly have a India-based delivery model and management. Most firms are headquartered in India, but a few like Genpact, Cognizant, Syntel and iGate, are headquartered in the US. However, their delivery, management, operating style, among other things, are like those of other Indian providers.
However, Gartner said that the growth rate of India-based providers has been slowing for some years, with this trend being more pronounced in 2012.
But the growth rate is still quite high compared with the IT services worldwide or the growth of the top 10 global IT services providers. The global top 10 providers, however, are larger in their base revenue and more diversified than the India-based providers, Gartner added.
“The top five Indian service providers have continuously chipped away market share from the large multinational corporation providers. In the past five years, they have been winning large outsourcing deals (those with a total contract value of more than $100 million),” Roy said.
Their target customer segment still remain the Fortune 1,000 companies.
May 28th, 2013, 05:32 PM
Cognizant clocks highest revenue growth rate among Indian IT firms (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/cognizant-clocks-highest-revenue-growth-rate-among-indian-it-firms/article4759574.ece)
New Delhi, May 28:
US-headquartered firm Cognizant clocked the highest growth rate of 20.1 per cent in revenues among the top five India-based IT services providers last year, global research firm Gartner said today.
The NASDAQ-listed firm also displaced Infosys as the second largest IT services provider in 2012 with worldwide revenue of $7.1 billion, Gartner said in a statement.
“Cognizant displaced Infosys to become the second largest Indian IT services provider and Cognizant experienced the highest growth rate among the top five providers with an increase of 20.1 per cent in 2012,” Arup Roy, Research Director, Gartner said.
The revenues of the top 5 India-based IT services providers worldwide rose by over 13 per cent to $34.3 billion (around Rs 1,900 crore) last year from $30.3 billion in 2011.
TCS leads the IT services providers with revenue of $10.9 billion, followed by Cognizant ($7.1 billion), Infosys ($6.7 billion), Wipro ($5.7 billion) and HCL Technologies ($3.9 billion) in 2012.
“The top five Indian providers grew 13.3 per cent to reach $34.3 billion in 2012, exceeding the IT services industry growth of 2 per cent,” it said.
Gartner views Indian players as those who mainly have India-based delivery model and management. Most firms are headquartered in India, but a few like Genpact, Cognizant, Syntel and iGate, are headquartered in the US. However, their delivery, management, operating style, among other things are like those of other Indian providers.
However, Gartner said that the growth rate of India-based providers has been slowing for some years, with this trend being more pronounced in 2012.
But the growth rate is still quite high compared with the IT services worldwide or the growth of the top 10 global IT services providers. The global top 10 providers, however, are larger in their base revenue and more diversified than the India-based providers, Gartner added.
“The top five Indian service providers have continuously chipped away market share from the large multinational corporation providers. In the past five years, they have been winning large outsourcing deals (those with a total contract value of more than $100 million),” Roy said.
Their target customer segment still remains the Fortune 1,000 companies.
“There is a strong focus on, and investments in, cloud, analytics, mobility, infrastructure and knowledge processes.”
India-based providers have become much more aggressive in infrastructure management because it offers them the potential to grow bottom-up within accounts,” Roy said.
May 28th, 2013, 05:33 PM
BSNL launches cloud computing services (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/bsnl-launches-cloud-computing-services/article4759674.ece)
Bangalore, May 28:
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Dimension Data, an IT solutions provider has launched their joint enterprise cloud computing services in India. Based on Dimension Data’s Managed Cloud Platform (MCP), BSNL has forayed into the enterprise cloud services through its Internet Data Centres (IDCs). Further, BSNL officials said that it has signed 15 companies for these services.
Based on a standardised architecture, the MCP offers enterprises the advantage of being able to support public, private and hybrid cloud computing models. R. K. Upadhyay, Chairman & Managing Director, BSNL, said: “The IDC and Cloud Services have not only enabled us to build and add new capabilities to our portfolio, but also, it has benefited our clients who can leverage our flexible sourcing options or simply host their entire IT assets within our secure environment.
May 28th, 2013, 05:35 PM
Top five Indian IT service providers grew 13% in 2012: Gartner (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/top-five-indian-it-service-providers-grew-13-in-2012-gartner/article4759211.ece)
Mumbai, May 28:
India’s top five IT service providers posted a 13.3 per cent growth to reach $34.3 billion, exceeding industry growth of 2 per cent in 2012.
However, the growth for both IT service providers and the industry fell from 21.8 per cent and 7.7 per cent, respectively in 2011, according to a study by research and analyst firm Gartner Inc.
Indian players, according to Gartner, are providers with a predominantly India-based delivery model and management that is largely India-based. Most are headquartered in India, even though there are exceptions such as Genpact, Cognizant, Syntel and iGate, which are headquartered in the US.
“Cognizant displaced Infosys to become the second-largest Indian IT services provider, and Cognizant experienced the highest growth rate among the top five providers with 20.1 per cent in 2012,” said Arup Roy, research director at Gartner.
TCS closed in on the top 10 worldwide market share leader, with less than $1.5 billion separating it from the 10th ranked provider, Hitachi, it said.
The growth rate of India-based providers has been slowing for some years, but in 2012 this trend was more pronounced. This growth rate is still quite high compared with IT services worldwide, or the growth of the top 10 global IT services providers.
The global top 10 providers are larger in their base revenue and more diversified than the India-based providers.
“The top five Indian service providers have continuously chipped away market share from the large multinational corporation providers. In the past five years, they have been winning large outsourcing deals (with a total contract value of more than $100 million). Their target customer segment still remains the Fortune 1000 companies. Most of these firms have a large-deal pursuit sales team that goes after deals of more than $35 million in contract value,” added Roy.
The revenue contribution from project-based and staff augmentation deals has continued to decline for the top five and the outsourcing service line component has steadily increased.
May 30th, 2013, 05:38 PM
Indian IT's temporary hiring to double by 2020 (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/careers/job-trends/Indian-ITs-temporary-hiring-to-double-by-2020/articleshow/20346331.cms)
BANGALORE: The percentage of flexi hires in the IT sector is expected to double to 20% by 2020 as IT companies increasingly outsource non-core activities and focus on high-margin businesses, said a report by the flexi staffing body Indian Staffing Federation (ISF).
"IT firms are swiftly adopting the practice of hiring flexi staff in order to beat margin pressures, maintain lean benches and also facilitate just-in-time hiring in a highly volatile market. Keeping the current situation in mind, we are expecting more and more IT companies to adopt staffing as the preferred means to man their projects," said K Pandia Rajan, president of the ISF. The flexi staffing industry in the IT sector touched $950 million last year, growing 15% in each of the last three years.
The Indian flexi staffing industry employs 1.3 million people; they form 3% of the organized sector employment. This number is expected to touch 9 million and comprise of 10% of the organized workforce by 2025. About 79% of workers in the flexi staffing industry fall in the 21-30 year age group, indicating that flexi workers are hired mostly at entry and junior level positions.
Traditionally, IT companies focused on application development and maintenance, but that's increasingly getting commoditized, pushing IT firms to explore other high margin businesses like consulting where billing is proportionate to deliverables. "The IT sector is moving towards the cloud and virtualization that will create new roles in the industry focused on outcomes," said Nagendra Venkaswamy, MD of India and South Asia at Arista Networks.
"Flexi workforce makes up for 10-15 % of our staff right from highly specialized R&D resources to tech support. With people plugging into their devices on the go, there is a huge shortage in areas like mobile device management," said Pallab Bandopadhyay, HR director in Citrix Systems.
Venkaswamy highlighted how the staffing companies should raise their bar by partnering with IT companies in their growth story. "The staffing industry is where the IT industry was in 2000, when 40% of what the IT companies did was to provide staffing solutions to their clients. So it's important for staffing firms to rise above transactions and add value by contributing to the business outcomes of the client's companies," he said.
May 30th, 2013, 05:39 PM
TCS lands Rs.1,100-cr India Post deal (http://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/tcs-lands-rs1100cr-india-post-deal/article4763347.ece)
Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), on Wednesday, said it had bagged a six-year contract from the Department of Posts (DoP) worth over Rs.1,100 crore.
The end-to-end IT modernisation programme will equip India Post with modern technologies and systems to enable it to provide services to customers in an effective manner, Tata Consultancy Services said in a statement.
The scope of the project, dubbed India Post 2012, includes developing and supporting mail, finance and accounts, HR, and customer interaction management solutions for all channels, including Rural ICT platform.
Under the deal, Tata Consultancy Services will also manage data migration, infrastructure, service level agreement (SLA), call centre and centralised 24x7 service desk operation for DoP, it said.
May 30th, 2013, 05:41 PM
Andhra seeks US investment in IT sector (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/tech-news/software-services/Andhra-seeks-US-investment-in-IT-sector/articleshow/20345851.cms)
WASHINGTON: Andhra Pradesh has sought US investment in its booming IT sector, particularly in the upcoming Gaming and Animation Park.
In a presentation made at the Capitol Hill at an event organised by the Indo-US Business and Political Association, state's Information and Technology Minister Ponnala Lakshmaiah said Andhra Pradesh offers the best incentives to IT companies both in the hardware and software field.
"Increasing numbers of media and production companies working across a breathtaking array of platforms will look at GAME CITY to provide the 'softer' skills needed for selling, branding and marketing their products," he said in his power point presentation.
Arguing that Hyderabad has emerged as a knowledge economy, he said presence of 12 Universities and equal number of Schools of Excellences that churns out over half a million English-speaking graduates.
"Special programs offered by JNTU -School of Fine Arts provides readily available talent to the Animation and Gaming Industry. Reputed training centres promoted by Private sector also provides a fair amount of talent pool requirements to Animation and Gaming Industry," he said.
May 30th, 2013, 08:36 PM
Google cuts the cost of Apps for Business in India by half, seeking to sign up more local SMEs (http://thenextweb.com/asia/2013/05/22/google-reaches-out-to-small-businesses-in-india-by-slashing-price-of-google-apps-for-business/)
As part of an effort to help small and medium sized enterprises in India, Google today announced it would slash the cost of its Google Apps for Business suite in the country by almost half.
Citing the miniscule percentage of small businesses in the country that are online – just 1 percent of 47 million - Google has committed itself to offering its business services to the myriad of up-and-coming enterprises at a reduced price.
Access to the Google Apps for Business suite formerly cost INR 2700 (about $48.73) at an annual rate and INR 270 ($4.87) at a monthly rate, Indian businesses can now use the services for INR 1500 at an annual rate (about $27.07) or for INR 150 (about $2.70) at a monthly rate. The price drop marks a decrease of about 45 percent.
With the reduction in cost, millions of Indian businesses can now more easily access web mail, calendars, cloud storage, and video chat, and other basic functions that are essential to running a business online in this day and age. Even though internet access isn’t widespread in some parts of India,
“By making Google Apps more affordable, we hope more small businesses in India will be able to access a business-ready package of communication and collaboration tools and reap the benefits of working in the cloud,” says Judy Chang, a representative for Google Apps for Business.
Considering the how the high cost of Microsoft Office often leads to counterfeits and piracy in rising Asian nations, an affordable Google Apps for Business suite might prove a preferable alternative for those in India who recognize the benefits of using legitimate software.
The move might seem a little counterintuitive to some observers, as last year Google announced it had formally ended free access to Google Apps. By lowering the cost of the service in emerging economies, however, Google can provide invaluable assistance to emerging economies, while continuing to reap a sizable, if reduced, financial benefit.
May 30th, 2013, 08:39 PM
How to Save Money While Shopping Online in India (http://www.labnol.org/india/save-money-online-shopping/27987/)
Online shopping can be convenient and you often get better discounts than what the local shops in your area have to offer but if you do a little more research, you may end up saving even more. Here are some tips and websites that may help you get the best deals while shopping online in India.
May 30th, 2013, 08:43 PM
E&Y’s Report on Social Media Marketing in India (http://www.labnol.org/india/social-media-marketing-report/27985/)
Ernst & Young has released a 53-page report that explores how brands are using social media in India. The report surveyed 48 social media savvy organizations in India including P&G, Cleartrip, Flipkart, Microsoft and others.
May 31st, 2013, 10:44 AM
Apps by Bangalore teen make it to Microsoft store (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/enterprise-it/services-apps/Apps-by-Bangalore-teen-make-it-to-Microsoft-store/articleshow/20357919.cms?)
BANGALORE: 'Writing a bug-free C# code to develop an app' might sound distressing to many, but Pratik Mohapatra, 15, excels in the art. Born in a generation of touch screens and social media, the teenager has developed a number of major ideas, some of them finding space on Microsoft's app store as well.
The latest by the 10th grader from National Public School, Koramangala, is 'Calculator Hub' - an app with a combination of six calculators on one screen.
"This app gives a variety of options to the user, that too on the same screen of the phone. It includes a BMI Calculator with two options, and you just have to swipe to change, a temperature conversion calculator, a scientific calculator, an age calculator and calculators for simple interest and compound interest. This app was published by Microsoft very recently," Pratik explains.
Why a calculator app? "My dad bought an Android phone and told me he didn't like the calculator at all. He didn't find it comfortable to use and advised me to try and make a calculator app. I started developing apps for Windows phones as I had experience in C#. Moreover, there was no such concept before in the store. I think this is the first app to feature such a thing," says Pratik, who started developing apps at the age of 13.
He learnt C# on his own
His latest app is an updated version of 'Calculator+', which Pratik designed for Windows based phones, and has already received more than 350 downloads. "It was not an easy experience, and I had to learn C# on my own. I faced a lot of problems as I got a lot of errors while debugging. Then I realized I needed to learn more and read more books about C#. I knew there was no shortcut," says Pratik, who is an engineering aspirant.
This app-rentice is one of the few 'student developers' who design apps for Microsoft's App Store and one of the youngest to publish his apps.
"I enjoy coding and fixing bugs. I want to pursue BTech and would like to join BITS Pilani," says Pratik, who's developed a total of 10 apps till date.
The young developer is not here just for fun. "App developing also helps my pocket money. With each download I get for Calculator Hub, I earn Rs 55," says Pratik.
May 31st, 2013, 07:17 PM
Kerala IT team taking part in CeBIT-2013 (http://newindianexpress.com/cities/thiruvananthapuram/Kerala-IT-team-taking-part-in-CeBIT-2013/2013/05/31/article1613613.ece)
A high-level delegation from the state’s IT sector, comprising IT principal secretary P H Kurian and Technopark CEO K G Girish Babu, is participating in the digital industry’s biggest international event - CeBIT 2013 - which started in Sydney on Tuesday.
CeBIT Australia is the local version of the giant European CeBIT, which has been Europe’s premier IT event for years.
The Kerala IT pavilion was inaugurated on Tuesday by P H Kurian in the presence of K G Girish Babu, Technopark business development senior manager M Vasudevan and CEOs of 17 Kerala IT companies who are participating in the event.
New South Wales (NSW) premier Barry O’Farrell visited the pavilion and expressed hope that the IT trade between Kerala and Australia would grow in coming years.
Prior to the event, P H Kurian held meetings with Andrew Stoner MP, NSW deputy premier, Minister for Trade and Investment and Minister for Regional Infrastructure and Services; Mark Paterson A O, Trade and Investment director general and officials of trade and investment.
The Kerala IT delegation made a detailed presentation to NSW officials, CEOs of Australian companies and members of Australian Chamber and held one-to-one meetings.
The NSW team assured that an IT delegation would visit Kerala to assess the IT strengths and to strengthen bilateral business relations.
After CeBIT, the Kerala IT delegation will also visit Melbourne and Brisbane to meet IT companies and discuss on boosting bilateral trade and investment.
CEOs of Acts Info, Arackal Digital, Attinad, Confianz, Cronos, Enfin, Exalt, Experion, IIC Web Solutions, Kreara, Light Logics, Mirox Cyber Security, Orisys, Saturn, SE-mentor, Suyati, Technocruz, Techrista, Webture and Zesty Beanz are also part of the Kerala IT delegation to Australia.
June 11th, 2013, 07:36 PM
Microsoft India partners with JIS Group; to set up innovation center (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/microsoft-india-partners-with-jis-group-to-set-up-innovation-center/article4803484.ece)
Kolkata, June 11:
Microsoft India on Tuesday announced its partnership with the Kolkata-based JIS Group for setting up its innovation centre here in the eastern region of the country.
The innovation centre will allow students access to Microsoft's laboratory facilities.
Through the laboratory, students get access to Microsoft products ahead of their market launch.
This is Microsoft's first and only tie-up in the eastern region. Nationally, the company has tie-ups with 10 other educational institutions. Around 8000 students are enrolled into the programme.
The programme, sponsored by Microsoft, is called Ed-Vantage and according to Raj Katari, Director Geo-Expansion, will make students "industry ready".
Through the tie-ups Microsoft customers will get access to skilled work-force, Katari added.
Around 250 students of JIS will be selected for internship (across industry) and employment facilitation will be provided to another 100-odd students.
June 11th, 2013, 07:38 PM
AP High Court clears merger of Mahindra Satyam with TechM (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/ap-high-court-clears-merger-of-mahindra-satyam-with-techm/article4803680.ece)
Hyderabad, June 11:
The Andhra Pradesh High Court has given its nod for the amalgamation of Mahindra Satyam and Tech Mahindra.
Delivering its judgment on a batch of petitions, Justice N.R.L. Nageswara Rao has dismissed all the petitions that objected to the merger and swap ratio for the merger. On Tuesday, in his judgement observed that all the pending investigations and prosecution in the issue will continue till they are vacated or disposed off by relevant authority.
The merger, which will take a few more weeks to be completed, will come into effect with a retrospective effect from April 1, 2011. The company will have to file the approved scheme of amalgamation with the Registrar of Companies in 30 days.
Markets responded positively as the Mahindra Satyam scrip went up by 4.17 per cent to close at Rs 111. The Tech Mahindra shares went up by 3 per cent . to close at Rs 968 on BSE.
“All the debts, liabilities, duties and obligations of Mahindra Satyam are the responsibility of Tech Mahindra,” the court pointed out.
It directed Tech Mahindra, which owns Mahindra Satyam, should assist with Serious Fraud Investigation, Enforcement Directorate and other investigation agencies probing the issue.
Mahindra Satyam and Tech Mahindra, along with their subsidiaries, employ about 80,000 employees with combined revenues of about $2.4 billion. Though it got the court permission now, the two companies have begun as one entity for over one year, with joint go-to-market strategies. The companies have appointed strategic business leaders, who have been mandated to take care of the two businesses.
Though the duo received all other permissions last year itself, the court nod got delayed here as a few minority investors, some companies allegedly promoted by Ramalinga Raju and an IL&FS arm Ekadanta Greenfields had opposed the merger.
While the minority investors opposed the swap ratio, the IL&FS arm argued that the IT firm borrowed some Rs 1,230 crore from it and some other firms. The new management of Mahindra Satyam had been arguing that it need not pay back the alleged advances as they were not reflected in the books.
June 11th, 2013, 07:42 PM
Privacy violation of Indian Net users unacceptable: Ministry (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/privacy-violation-of-indian-net-users-unacceptable-ministry/article4804320.ece)
New Delhi, June 11:
The Ministry of External Affairs on Tuesday said that it will be unacceptable if privacy of Indian citizens have been violated under the US security programme that mined data from Web sites such as Google and Facebook.
The spokesman for the Ministry said the Government will be “concerned and surprised” about the possibility of data relating to private communications of Indians being harvested. “We feel that the Cyber Security dialogue coordinated by the National Security Councils on both sides is the appropriate forum to discuss such issues. We intend to seek information and details during consultations between interlocutors on both sides on this matter,” the spokesman said.
The Guardian newspaper had recently acquired top secret documents about data mining used by the US National Security Agency which showed that India came in fifth with 6.3 billion pieces of information being collected from the country’s computer and data networks in one month alone.
The disclosure has also drawn political reaction. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) politbureau said in a statement “The recent exposure in the media of the US National Security Agency (NSA) mining Internet and telephone data for intelligence purposes violates the sovereignty of nations and the privacy of individuals who use such Internet services. It is significant that India is a major target of such intelligence gathering.”
“With the increase of internet's importance to global communications, the dangers of such control for other countries and the rights of its citizens are now clear. India must immediately protest on such violation of its citizen's rights and violation of its sovereignty,” it added.
The CPI (M) said that India must also press for an immediate initiative to democratise Internet governance and ensure that the US intelligence agencies do not override the sovereignty of countries and the rights of individuals.
June 12th, 2013, 08:10 PM
Gmail goes down in India: Reports (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/tech-news/internet/Gmail-goes-down-in-India-Reports/articleshow/20553529.cms)
NEW DELHI: Google's free email service Gmail is reportedly down in some parts of India, with users venting their frustration on microblogging platform Twitter. Media reports have also said that Google Play, the company's app store for Android also suffered a brief outage.
Gmail is said to have suffered the 502 error, a frequent sight now, in India at approximately 1pm IST. However, the Google App Dashboard shows that the email service is facing no issues at the moment.
Those affected by this outage wrote on Twitter:
@cpriyam: So @gmail is down with 502 error. Just in time for the most important email of the day to be sent out. Sigh.
@coolfunnytshirt: Somebody ask Gmail to take its resignation back.
@indiantweeter: Gmail is down, another massive blow to @narendramodi's image as an administrator
@stfu_veer: Gmail is in Advani mode. Will be back soon
@RandomManik: Gmail is down.. Apparently they bought the Servers in Rupees. #GmailDown #RupeeDown
@NaughtyDew_: Gmail is down. Sir Ravindra Jadeja clearing his spam folder
@CHemant10: Need to access my emails urgently, and Gmail seems down. Is any NSA PRISM agent online who can fetch my emails and DM me? #nsacalledtotellme
@kushalsanghvi: #Gmail having problems again...guess its abt too many users!!
@Aafat_Azzay: GMail is Down? Hey Bhagwaan! Ab Aap Dr. Batra Ke Bheje Hue Mails Kaise Padh Paayenge?
@iVivekHr: Gmail was down and I missed an urgent mail where I had won 10 Lacs $ in a lottery
@fahadbalabhai: #Gmail server down. Please Google for solutions :p
At the time of filing this story, many users have reported that Gmail is working once again. This is the third time in a month that Gmail has suffered an outage. The free email platform also suffered outages on May 2, May 8 and May 13.
June 12th, 2013, 08:23 PM
Decks cleared for end of Satyam (http://www.deccanchronicle.com/130612/news-businesstech/article/decks-cleared-end-satyam)
Hyderabad: Drawing curtains to the controversy on the merger of Satyam Computers with Tech Mahindra, the Andhra Pradesh High Court on Tuesday approved the amalgamation of two IT companies, holding that it is in the interest of all stakeholders.
While approving the scheme of amalgamation and arrangement with effect from April, 1, 2011, Justice N.R.L. Nageswar Rao said that “On a comprehensive assessment of the claims, this court feels that the scheme of amalgamation is in the interest of the public and the shareholders and the interest of the workmen is also protected.”
The judge observed that “There is no attempt to defeat any provision of law with regard to pending of future prosecutions or liabilities. There is also no escaping of the liability with regard to disputed creditors in case they are found to be true.”
He held that the scheme as a whole was also found to be just, fair and reasonable form the point of view of prudent men of business taking a commercial decision beneficial to the class represented by them for whom the scheme was meant.
The judge said that this court by applying the provisions under Section 391 and 394 of the Companies Act satisfactorily found that the scheme of merger was bona fide and has to be allowed by imposing some conditions.
While allowing the petition seeking approval of the scheme, the judge ruled that the pending prosecutions and investigations against the former chairman and others will continue and if any future prosecutions and investigations are to be laid against Satyam Computer Services (petitioner-company), Tech Mahindra Ltd, the transferee company, will be liable.
The judge directed that Tech Mahindra will furnish all the information which is required by SFIO and the attachments ordered by the enforcement directorate will continue till they are varied or vacated.
June 12th, 2013, 09:15 PM
Rural India selling cows, buffaloes on OLX, Quikr (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/tech-news/internet/Rural-India-selling-cows-buffaloes-on-OLX-Quikr/articleshow/20540762.cms)
Black 'Murrah' buffalo with short and tightly curled horns for Rs 80,000 and herd of 10 'Holstein Friesians' cows at Rs 6 lakh on the click of the mouse the Indian online classifieds are moving beyond usual items such as mobiles, cars and real estate with increasing internet penetration in smaller towns.
Online classifieds players Quikr and OLX are finding good traction for their business from semi urban and rural areas in states like West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa, Assam and Uttar Pradesh.
"While the main metros continue to be top contributors to our site, the rapidly increasing internet usage in tier 2 and 3 towns has also boosted our growth tremendously. Today Tier 2 and 3 cities account for over 50% of our traffic," Quikr CEO Pranay Chulet told PTI.
OLX, which has a majority of users mainly from metros, is also finding that small town traffic on its site is growing.
"We do notice positive trends from Tier 2 cities as well. These include cities like Jaipur, Surat, Cochin," OLX CEO Amarjit Batra said.
With these sites offering platform to users to buy and sell a wide range of products, it is not surprising that enterprising farmers are using them to sell their pets and animals as well.
"People are now witnessing responses to ads even for pets and animals like cows and buffaloes, which have been listed for sale on OLX from rural or semi urban areas," Batra said, adding such trends were prevalent globally.
Buying and selling of such dairy animals is already a practice in rural India and the availability of this platform has further catalysed the trading of dairy farming animals ensuring better reach and responses compared to other traditional platforms, he added.
Expressing similar views, Chulet said:"People are very passionate about their pets and that reflects in the kinds of ads/replies we find for adoption of various pets on our site.
We also have rural users putting up their animals for sale even though we have never actively promoted it."
With a variety of users across different sections, these online classified sites are witnessing a range of products being sold and purchased.
"Users have listed exceptional and unique products for sale that are not available anywhere. People have been posting ads for their Bombardier jets, Bhagwad Gita lockets as well as antique Rolls Royce on OLX," Batra said.
On the rapid pace of growth of online classifieds in India, he said: "All of it is due to the increasing internet penetration and awareness of this space due to heavy marketing spends by most companies."
Chulet is also expecting to increase the number of transactions as internet penetration rise.
"We believe our platform will continue to see a lot of traction in the years to come as more and more Indians get comfortable with online buying and selling," he said.
Still at a nascent stage, the sites are currently working on a hybrid model that includes paid listings and advertising on the website to generate revenue.
June 13th, 2013, 04:54 PM
- cp -
Cognizant to enlarge IT SEZ by 50% (http://www.dnaindia.com/money/1847373/report-cognizant-to-enlarge-it-sez-by-50pct)
Nasdaq-listed Cognizant Technology Solutions (CTS) is increasing the size of its Chennai special economic zone (SEZ) by 50%.
The development, which comes at a time when many corporates are desperate to get out of SEZ development and have flooded the government with requests to either denotify them or extend deadlines, indicates Cognizant’s confidence in its Indian operations.
The US-headquartered company, which has logged a superlative performance over peers, had asked the SEZ approval body for addition of 5.66 hectares (ha), which will increase the size of the SEZ, located at SIPCOT IT Park at Siruseri, to 16.51 ha. The request was taken up at the meeting of the board of approval for SEZs on Wednesday.
The SIPCOT IT Park, developed by State Industries Promotion Corp of Tamil Nadu, is considered to be the largest such facility in Asia, spread over 590 acres and has tenants like TCS, iGate and Hexaware, besides Cognizant.
Cognizant, which has close to 75% of its headcount stationed in India, is also working to increase its presence elsewhere in the country.
The company has an existing SEZ in Ranga Reddy district of Andhra Pradesh, spread over 16.19 ha, and last November, the board of approval for SEZs had also allowed it to become co-developer of the IT SEZ at Ernakulam in Kerala, being developed by Infoparks over 12.58 ha.
Cognizant zoomed past Infosys as India’s second-largest IT company after TCS in 2012, with a revenue of $7,053 million, growing at a scorching 20% on-year. Globally, it was ranked 12th on the list of America’s 25 fastest growing tech companies recently.
Cognizant’s SEZ expansion comes close on the heels of TCS getting an approval in March for a one-year extension to start operations at its SEZ at Mihan in Nagpur. The request was granted – despite two earlier extensions granted to it till June 30 – as TCS could show that work is on full swing at the site and Rs 300 crore has already been invested.
Besides Cognizant’s proposal, Wednesday’s meeting also took up several partial denotification requests from developers including Industrial Areas Development Board for its IT SEZ at Mangalore, Parsvnath Infra Ltd for its IT SEZ in Gurgaon and a request for extension of Letter of Approval from Ananth Technologies for its IT SEZ in Ranga Reddy district of Andhra Pradesh.
June 14th, 2013, 02:29 PM
hi any body help me which place wipro ofc in chennai
June 14th, 2013, 07:34 PM
Infosys announces wage hike, Wipro follows suit (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/careers/job-trends/Infosys-announces-wage-hike-Wipro-follows-suit/articleshow/20584175.cms)
BANGALORE: NR Narayana Murthy has made his first significant move upon returning to Infosys by effecting an unexpected round of wage increases for the company's 1.5 lakh employees. By doing so, analysts said, the Infosys chairman is trying to kill several birds with one stone, displaying tactical finesse that has earned him a reputation as one of India's canniest entrepreneurs.
On Thursday, less than a fortnight after Murthy came back to helm the company, Infosys announced an average increment of 8% for India employees, effective from July 1. For employees outside India, the company said the increments will be 3%, albeit with some riders. The biggest push was reserved for its global sales force which will get a raise of 8% effective May.
Wipro, which announced increments in July last year, also sent a note about an hour after the news from Infosys. It said it is giving an average increment of 6-8% for offshore employees and 2-3% for onsite employees, effective from June 2013. For high-performers, the raise will be in double digits. A Wipro spokeswoman said the emailed note was in response to media queries.
"There have been serious issues with employee motivation levels at Infosys. Wipro rolling out wage hikes on the same day shows that it wants to ensure the company doesn't lose employees to Infosys," said Pradeep Mukerji, president and managing partner at outsourcing advisory firm Avasant. Infosys's populist move — a certain vote-winner among staff — could raise morale, enhance Murthy's stock of goodwill and send out a message to all stakeholders and rivals that the Infosys co-founder is back and means business. "By announcing wage hikes, Infosys wants to calm down anxiety among its employees and stabilize things within the organization. It is a smart move; however, we do not expect more bold moves from Murthy," said Manish Bahl, country manager at Forrester Research. "He will be focused on getting things aligned, talking to clients and creating expertise on the product innovation side."
Murthy, 66, retired from Infosys in 2011 but returned on June 1 this year after halting performances for two years by a company that had earned a reputation as the industry's leader for both growth and profitability. Infosys has guided for revenue growth of 6-10% for fiscal 2014, compared with the 12-14% prognostication by industry lobby Nasscom.
He will have by his side as executive assistant son Rohan, 30, an alumnus of Harvard and Cornell Universities, as well as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Soon after the news of the pay raise, Murthy spoke at a packed 'town hall', where he told employees that his son's role would be circumscribed, addressing criticism from several observers.
Several observers had said the Infosys chairman made a mistake by appointing son Rohan as his top aide. Rohan would not be involved in the day-to-day affairs of the company, Murthy observed, and repeated that his son does not aspire to be the CEO of the company.
Along with the wage increase, Murthy also sent out a message that he expects top-notch performance. He warned those failing to live up to expectations that their future at Infosys is not guaranteed. The company froze pay raises last year when they were due and only announced a wage increase in October. Most employees were expecting that a salary increase, if at all it came, would happen only around October. Infosys qualified the 3% average increment for employees outside India saying it is for those who have not been covered by salary increases in February 2013. The extra expenditure is seen affecting margins to the extent of 200 basis points.
Infosys, with revenues of $7.4 billion (Rs 43,000 crore), has been losing market share to rivals such as Tata Consultancy Services and Cognizant Technology Solutions, and its employee turnover has reached a high of 16.3%. "Murthy felt he needed to address the morale of employees, more so in sales, where they have been losing people, and was willing to sacrifice margins for it," said an analyst at a foreign brokerage.
June 14th, 2013, 07:38 PM
Coimbatore: Indian IT's new Silicon Valley? (http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-06-13/strategy/39951004_1_tidel-park-rbei-venugopal-r)
When the nation was in the midst of an IT revolution a decade back, Coimbatore's industrial scenario was readying itself for a major change. It was just a matter of time before the textile city became a centre for software majors. IT companies that placed their faith in Coimbatore's potential have grown at a rapid pace.
IT giant Cognizant, which started operations in 2005 with a plan to add about 400 professionals in the first year of operations, ended up with over 900 professionals.
"Coimbatore is known for its vibrant infrastructure in the field of education. With over 35,000 graduates coming out of several reputed colleges, Coimbatore scores high on talent availability," says R Chandrasekaran, Group Chief Executive, Technology and Operations, Cognizant. The IT major now has over 7,000 professionals in Coimbatore, servicing global customers in four industry clusters - financial services, healthcare, manufacturing and retail and information, media and entertainment.
Cognizant has both fully owned and leased facilities in Coimbatore. "Our growth in Coimbatore has surpassed our own expectations and we will continue to grow the center," says Chandrasekaran.
What draws middle-level managers from other cities to Coimbatore is the quality of life that the city offers. Besides, work-life balance is another draw. A lot of senior executives from Tamil Nadu and Kerala are also increasingly willing to relocate to Coimbatore in view of its proximity to their hometowns . Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions (RBEI), which entered Coimbatore in 2006, with a headcount of 100 persons at the end of first year of its operations, has 4,000 professionals working across its different centres in the city. RBEI has taken up a space of 1 lakh sq ft at the Tidel Park.
"We have matured in the field of IT but the infrastructure facilities have to improve," says Venugopal R, Centre Head, RBEI, Coimbatore.
Ford Business Services, a 100 per cent subsidiary of Ford Motor Corporation, which forayed into the city in the year 2009, too has grown at a rapid pace. Coimbatore has become a growth centre from being a business continuity centre. The company is ramping up its presence in the textile city.
And it is not just about biggies. In order to promote small and medium IT firms in the city, the Tidel Park, promoted by the state-run Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu and the Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation, is creating a centre to offer space for start-ups. According to officials at the Tidel Park, the centre would have a space of 60,000 sq ft, which can be used by 30 startups. "We have many applications for smaller space. So, we are creating the incubation centre."
Industry experts feel that Coimbatore's robust educational infrastructure, shorter time taken for commuting, work-life balance, low employee attrition and high employee satisfaction have resulted in companies expanding their presence rapidly in the city. But unless more large IT companies come and create the much-needed ecosystem, Coimbatore will end up lagging behind other cities, say officials. Growing costs might blunt the advantages like abundant skilled workforce that the city offers.
"The city has the potential to generate five million sq ft of IT space every year,"according to a top Tidel Park official, who feels that only investments from the private sector can take IT to the next level in Coimbatore. Software exports from Tamil Nadu, which crossed 42000 crore in 2011-12, are estimated to grow at10 percent in 2012-13. Software exports from Coimbatore, which touched 780 crore in 2011-12, are also expected to grow at a similar pace.
June 14th, 2013, 07:46 PM
Infosys increases fixed component of salaries (http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/ites/infosys-increases-fixed-component-of-salaries/articleshow/20590554.cms)
BANGALORE: India's second-largest software exporter InfosysBSE 0.67 % has announced that it will increase the fixed component of salaries, helping reduce uncertainty for employees by giving them a higher guaranteed pay.
At senior levels, the variable component was reduced up to 15 percentage points and by 7 percentage points at junior levels. The new compensation structure will be effective July 1, and coincide with the salary increments that were announced on Thursday.
Infosys had announced average wage increments of 8% for employees in India and 3% for onsite employees.
"We announced a reduction in variability so that employees can look forward to a larger share of their salary being guaranteed salary," an Infosys spokeswoman told ET.
At the junior most level, where employees have up to two years of experience, the variable component has come down to 5% of pay from 12%. Employees with two-four years, who were getting nearly a quarter of their pay as variable, will now have only 10% as variable.
"I think they are going through a reality check. Infosys is looking at bringing down the overall employee cost budget per seat, per employee. Also, the increments on the fixed salary have been in single digits," Sangeeta Lala, senior vice president and cofounder at Bangalore-based staffing firm TeamLease Services.
In the information technology industry, the variable salary for senior executives is in the range of 30-35%, while for freshers it is in single digits, she said. With this change, Infosys moves to a compensation structure, which is in line with the rest of the industry.
The move could help reduce the employee turnover at Infosys. Attrition had been a worry at the company and had gone up from 14.7% in the quarter ended March 2012 to 16.3% in the quarter ended March 2013.
June 14th, 2013, 08:20 PM
Techies take out walkathon (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/states/techies-take-out-walkathon/article4814731.ece)
Thiruvananthapuram, June 14:
Over 400 professionals from different companies at Technopark staged a walkathon on Friday on the occasion of World Blood Donor Day. The event was led by ‘Sparsham,’ an employee welfare team of NeST Software. Actor and activist Suresh Gopi flagged off the awareness walk.
Addressing participants, Gopi stressed the importance of blood donation during these days when thousands of people were reeling under a variety of infections requiring transfusion. C. Damodaran, Vice-President, NeST, and leader of NeST welfare team, welcomed the gathering.
Suresh Gopi received a commemorative cap released on the occasion from Sajeev, secretary, Sparsham. In addition to those from NeST Software, volunteers from companies such as Asianet Communications and HFS Software, among others, participated in the event.
June 15th, 2013, 06:18 PM
Pitroda opens eInfochips’ fifth design centre in Ahmedabad (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/pitroda-opens-einfochips-fifth-design-centre-in-ahmedabad/article4817711.ece)
National Innovation Council Chairman Dr Sam Pitroda on Saturday inaugurated the fifth design centre of leading software firm eInfochips here to predominantly focus on product engineering.
The 400-seat centre will focus on advanced technologies for aerospace, defence, semiconductor, security and surveillance, besides software development, application specific integrated circuits (ASIC), field programmable gate arrays (FPGA) and system on chip (SoC) solutions, Pratul Shroff, Founder and CEO of eInfochips said.
eInfochips, a product and semiconductor engineering services company, based out of Ahmedabad (India) and Sunnyvale (USA) was established in 1994. It has designed over 500 products for key verticals like aerospace and defence, semiconductor, security and surveillance, consumer devices, medical devices, retail and eCommerce and software technology. It has eight design centres in India, five of them in Ahmedabad and one each in Pune, Bangalore and Chennai.
The company has grown at over 30% YoY over the last 7 years, employing over 1,000 professionals now and is targeting a turnover of Rs 600 crore by 2016, Shroff said.
June 15th, 2013, 06:19 PM
3 years needed to rebuild a 'desirable' Infosys, says Narayana Murthy (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/3-years-needed-to-rebuild-a-desirable-infosys-says-narayana-murthy/article4817574.ece)
Bangalore, June 15:
Recalled to ride out the bad times for Infosys, its Chairman N R Narayana Murthy today said the task of rebuilding a “desirable” Infosys would take at least 36 months and there would be some tough decisions resulting in “pain.”
“The challenge is daunting and the task is tough,” said Murthy in a candid address to shareholders at the 32nd annual general meeting here, two weeks after he was recalled and made Executive Chairman of Infosys which has reported poor earnings disappointing investors.
He said “the task of rebuilding a desirable Infosys will take at least 36 months, even with a high quality team and full dedication of every Infoscion. In the process, there will be some tough decisions resulting in pain as we move forward.”
Murthy sought the shareholders “understanding, support and encouragement in this exciting and rewarding journey of the next three years.”
Murthy, who had shed executive role seven years ago and retired as head of Infosys in August 2011, was made Executive Chairman on June 1, replacing K V Kamath during whose tenure the company shares slumped 15 per cent.
In a move that surprised many, Murthy had also brought in his son Rohan Murty as his executive assistant.
Murthy said since the company’s focus on the third revenue stream was blurred in the last two years, it has to refocus on winning large revenue-yielding outsourcing projects in the short-term.
The company should also ensure that it accelerates its progress in the first two streams in the medium to long term.
The first two revenue streams talks about focus on opportunities from consulting-led, end-to-end solutions leveraging technology for higher margins and developing intellectual property-based solutions to de-link revenues from effort, he said.
June 15th, 2013, 06:49 PM
Freshers' salaries in IT companies may fall in coming years (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/careers/job-trends/Freshers-salaries-in-IT-companies-may-fall-in-coming-years/articleshow/20599276.cms)
BANGALORE: For years, fresh engineering graduates have had it good because demand from the IT industry was robust. That's changing. Salaries for fresh IT engineers will be under major pressure in the coming years.
"We believe fresher salaries of Rs 2.75 lakh to Rs 3.25 lakh will remain unchanged or be lowered over the next few years," wrote Kawaljeet Saluja and Rohit Chordia of brokerage firm Kotak Institutional Securities in a recent report.
The trend is changing because the number of students graduating in engineering has shot up in the past few years, and the demand has slowed. Estimates by IT industry body Nasscom show the number of engineers graduating each year has more than doubled to 8.13 lakh from 2007-08 to 2011-12.
In 2010-11 and 2011-12, the number rose by 25% and 31% year on year. During those years, the IT workforce rose by 10% and 9%. Most industry experts expect the workforce growth to slow down further, and the freshers will feel the impact. This is also because of the industry's move towards greater automation in traditional areas of IT, and the greater focus on high-margin businesses and new service lines like consulting, mobility, cloud and analytics.
Surabhi Mathur-Gandhi, senior VP (IT sourcing) in Teamlease Services, said there was up to 45% reduction in fresher hiring in the past two years as IT firms were remodelling business plans. "Hence, entry-level salaries have been rationalized. There is no scope for further reduction; it will remain flat, hovering between Rs 2.5 lakh and Rs 3.5 lakh," she said.
June 15th, 2013, 06:50 PM
Infosys sales team gets best increment (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/careers/job-trends/Infosys-sales-team-gets-best-increment/articleshow/20599121.cms)
BANGALORE: Infosys's global sales force was the biggest beneficiary of the salary increase announced on Thursday, and for good reason. It has become one of the company's weakest links. About 45 senior sales professionals have quit the company across geographies in the last 18 months, said sources familiar with the development. Dissatisfaction with salary is said to have been the reason for most of those exits.
As of March 31 this year, the company had some 1,300 sales and marketing employees. It has 65 sales and marketing offices across 29 countries. It has around 250 sales people in the US and 100 in Europe, its two biggest customer markets.
Digambar Ganjre, principal at Infosys, quit the company last year after being associated with it since 2000. Ganjre led customer relationship management projects with a team of over 70 consultants. Manish Verma, who was the head of business development in Americas, quit the company last year. R Arun Kumar, head of the global lifescience practice and responsible for growth and expansion of the lifesciences domain, resigned in 2011. An email to Infosys on the exits didn't elicit a response.
Kris Lakshmikanth, CEO of executive search firm Headhunters India, said, "Senior sales professionals who are assistant VP level and above are given bonuses in the range of $120,000-$140,000. In the last two years, bonus payouts in Infosys have come down to 70% and in some cases by 50% largely due to the company's performance."
The salary increase now may address some of the concerns. The global sales force has received an average 8% increase across geographies and effective May. On the contrary, everyone else gets their salary effective July and onsite engineers receive only a 3% increase.
The sales force is also being reoriented. Infosys has put in place a mechanism to mine its top 50 accounts better. It has assigned dedicated client partners to high-potential clients whose key result area is to scale up these accounts. It is following a consulting-led approach to help clients solve their business problems, rather than just selling IT services.
"This newly introduced client-partner is an important position in the organization, as reflected in the reporting structure. They directly report to one of the four vertical heads who are just one level below the CEO," said brokerage firm IDFC in a report last year.
Rituparna Chakraborty, co-founder and senior VP in staffing firm Teamlease Services, noted that persistence and aggression differentiates one company from the other as they find themselves in the same kinds of economic challenges. TCS, Cognizant and HCL have all done significantly better than Infosys in customer acquisition and mining. "Infosys's sales team didn't quite adapt to changing market realities in a weak business environment. The management has made an attempt to reorient its focus to demonstrate flexibility in pricing large deals and hunting new clients," Chakraborty said.
June 15th, 2013, 07:53 PM
Infosys bags $49.5 million US contract (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/tech-news/software-services/Infosys-bags-49-5-million-US-contract/articleshow/20604517.cms)
NEW DELHI: IT services major Infosys said its subsidiary has been awarded a one-year contract valued at $49.5 million (about Rs 285 crore) from the US District of Columbia to develop its health benefit exchange.
The contract has been awarded to Infosys Public Services, a US-based subsidiary of Infosys. The Exchange, District of Columbia Access System (DCAS), is a health and human services solution that will provide seamless healthcare coverage while minimising risks, the company said.
"The US District of Columbia awarded Infosys Public Services a one-year contract valued at $49.5 million to develop its new health benefit exchange, a crucial component of the Affordable Care Act," Bangalore-headquartered Infosys said a BSE filing.
Infosys Public Services is the prime systems integrator of this healthcare system transformation that will bring critically important benefits to nearly one quarter million District residents, it added.
The firm is currently designing and implementing the new health benefit exchange and replacing the District's legacy Medicaid and eligibility systems with new technology that will provide a wide array of services in compliance with the new healthcare law, it said.
"This new system will allow the District of Columbia to more easily determine eligibility and enrol individuals, families, and small businesses," Infosys Public Services CEO Eric Paternoster said.
June 17th, 2013, 05:43 PM
IBS Software wins global award (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/ibs-software-wins-global-award/article4820322.ece)
Thiruvananthapuram, June 16:
IBS Software Services has been chosen for the ‘Information Technology for the Air Cargo Industry Award 2013.’
Instituted by the UK-based industry magazine Air Cargo Week, the award was decided after an online poll of various stakeholders of aviation industry. They including airlines, freight forwarders, logistics service providers, airports, general selling agents and cargo handling companies, a company spokesman said.
IBS Software was chosen from among several global players based on three parameters of understanding needs of market; making IT easier for airfreight community; and innovation and new product development. The award was presented to IBS at the annual Air Cargo Week award ceremony held at Munich, Germany, recently.
June 17th, 2013, 06:07 PM
Google launches ‘Product Listing Ads’ in India (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/google-launches-product-listing-ads-in-india/article4823283.ece)
Mumbai, June 17:
Search engine giant Google today launched a new ad format ‘Product Listing Ads’ in India to provide users information like images, price and brands of products, which will help people shop better both online and offline.
Everyday, millions of shoppers use Google search to research and discover products to purchase online and offline, and this new format connects users to rich product information like looks, price and brands, Google India said in a statement.
Product Listing Ads will appear on shopping-related queries on Google.co.in. This feature will initially be placed on the right-hand side of the search results page above text ads, and it will be labelled as ‘sponsored’, it added.
This ad format will help users easily find and compare relevant products and their prices to fine-tune what they are looking for, the statement said.
Product Listing Ads are a great opportunity for merchants to present their business and promote their products to interested shoppers as well, it added.
June 18th, 2013, 04:49 PM
TCS joins US2020 as founding leadership partner (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/tcs-joins-us2020-as-founding-leadership-partner/article4827016.ece)
Mumbai, June 18:
Country’s largest software services firm Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) today said it has joined US2020 as a founding leadership partner.
US2020 is a national STEM Education initiative that aims to engage one million science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professionals in mentorship opportunities by the year 2020.
Tata Consultancy Services is joining as a Founding Leadership Partner of US2020, providing more than $5,00,000 in cash and in kind support, TCS said in a statement.
It is also aspiring to get 20 per cent of the company’s STEM workforce mentoring students by 2020, it added.
Through the online matching platform that TCS will develop, US2020 will help place STEM volunteers into high impact mentoring opportunities with top non-profit organisations working across different grades, settings, and delivery models.
Under the strategy, up to five cities will be selected and supported to mobilise STEM volunteers through partnerships with leading science and technology businesses.
The cities will be offered $1 million or more in cash and in kind support to bring together businesses, non-profit organisations, city governments, and local philanthropies around a coordinated effort to spark the minds of students across their communities.
“To succeed on tomorrow’s world stage, students must have a solid foundation in STEM and be fluent in the technologies that will power the global economy of the 21st century,” Surya Kant, President (North America, UK and Europe), TCS said.
June 19th, 2013, 06:49 PM
IT products like laptops, tablets without BIS mark face India ban (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/tech-news/hardware/IT-products-like-laptops-tablets-without-BIS-mark-face-India-ban/articleshow/20659756.cms)
BANGALORE: Almost every category of electronic products sold in India after July 3 will require a IS (Indian Standard) certification from the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). That's the government dictat as of now. But electronic product manufacturers say it's a deadline that's impractical, and if the government sticks to it, there will be massive shortages of products in the coming months.
JV Ramamurthy, president of electronic hardware body MAIT (Manufacturers Association of IT), says over 1,400 products have been given to BIS for certification, but only one product so far has received the certification.
Amar Babu, MD of computer maker Lenovo, says the company had submitted over 70 products some 5-6 months ago and the designated test labs had tested and given the reports for some 50 of those, but the BIS has not yet certified any.
The phenomenal increase in the number of electronic products being introduced in India in recent times pushed the government last year to issue the Compulsory Registration Order that made it mandatory for 15 categories of electronic and IT products to be registered under the BIS.
The categories include laptops, tablets, plasma/LCD/LED televisions, optical disc players, set top boxes, microwave ovens, video games, scanners and printers among others. The idea was to certify them for their quality, safety and health implications under Indian conditions.
The initial government deadline for certification was April 3. But this was extended by three months. However, even now, the BIS does not appear to be in a position to meet the demands on it.
"No one in the industry is questioning the policy. It's a good policy, meant to ensure only genuine products come into the market. But the timeframe for execution is a problem," Babu says.
Ramamurthy, who is also the president and COO of HCL Infosystems, says part of the problem is that BIS has not yet finalized the parameters to test for many of the products. "They need to understand the parameters to test, how to test. The labs are unclear about some of these things," he said. Nine labs have been certified to do the tests.
Once the BIS certifies a product, the company has to put the certification sticker on every box with the product, which Ramamurthy says could take 3-4 weeks. Every product manufactured after July 3 or which comes to a port after that date must carry the certification details.
The industry says the way out is to extend the deadline by six months. "The government could also consider a provisional certificate for products that have been submitted to the BIS, so that imports are not hindered," Ramamurthy says.
June 19th, 2013, 06:50 PM
WeChat: We comply with all Indian regulations (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/tech-news/internet/WeChat-We-comply-with-all-Indian-regulations/articleshow/20666431.cms)
BEIJING: Facing a likely ban in India, Tencent, the operator of the China's text and voice messaging service WeChat, said it has complied with all relevant local laws and regulations.
The messaging platform WeChat - a product that Tencent provides to its overseas users - has always complied with all relevant local laws and regulations, Tencent, spokesman Hu Chunnan told state run Global Times here.
He was reacting to reports in Indian media that it faces a likely ban due to security concerns.
The issue will be reviewed before a final decision is taken on whether or not to block access to such services like WeChat, the Global Times quoted an unnamed Indian official as saying.
"But it is too premature to say whether this application will be banned," the official said.
Like WhatsApp and BlackBerry Messenger, WeChat, which recently launched its India operations, is a platform that relies on the internet to allow users to exchange text, pictures or voice messages.
It is reported to have 300 million users in China ever since it was launched in 2011.
There was already reports that plans are afoot to collect nominal fee for its usage.
The daily quoted an unidentified Indian Telecom Department of Telecom official as saying "whenever Chinese telecommunications companies come into the fray in India, there is always a bit of controversy following it".
Another unnamed official from India's Department of Commerce said there were concerns about Chinese competition in the market.
Similar concerns were voiced earlier about China's telecom firms like Huawei and ZTE when they entered the Indian market in a big way and the issue subsided after they agreed to provide security codes of their equipment.
June 20th, 2013, 02:56 PM
Govt may have to give IT product makers more time to get BIS tag (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/govt-may-have-to-give-it-product-makers-more-time-to-get-bis-tag/article4830878.ece)
New Delhi, June 19:
Government’s dictat to all electronic and IT product manufacturers to get their products registered with the Bureau of Indian Standards could get difficult to implement anytime soon.
While the deadline to get the products registered is set for July 3, top official at BIS said that there are not enough laboratories to test all the products within that time.
The problem is that out of 140 labs certified by BIS to register product there are only nine where the listed electronic products can be registered.
“If the registration processes get delayed, the companies can request Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) to extend the deadline and continue selling products in the market,” said a BIS official on conditions of anonymity.
He said DeitY may have to give another extension of deadline (for October) as it is not the companies’ fault. “If this process had been started 8-10 months back, there would not have such backlog. There was a need to harmonise all the concerned laboratories for testing such products as per the Government’s standards,” he said.
According to the Manufacturers’ Association for Information Technology (MAIT), there are around 1,500 products owned by 80 companies, which have been sent for testing, but only two products were registered under this scheme (LCD television of Sony India and printer of Samsung India).
But, according to the BIS official, there are only 25 applications from various companies in India for their products to be registered.
He said the process is on and it will take some time to pass all applications.
The Government had earlier issued the Compulsory Registration Order 2012, which made it mandatory for all electronic and IT products to be registered under the BIS by April 3. This was later extended to July 3.
The move was aimed at making sure that all products sold in the country meet the safety measures set by the Government, passed by BIS approved testing laboratories. Under this order, if any product is found to be substandard or defective under these norms, will be treated as scrap and disposed.
There are 15 electronic products under this list including video games, microwave ovens, laptops, tablet computers, LCD television, telephone answering machines, electronic music systems and printers.
According to J.V. Ramamurthy, President, MAIT, “It is a funnel, which is not clearing fast. There are not much clarity also as BIS is adding to the confusion and adding more components to be tested such as electric cord for a laptop.”
Various Government projects such as distribution of subsidised or free laptops to students, e-governance and public distribution systems may get delayed because many IT products are involved in such products, he added.
June 20th, 2013, 02:59 PM
Jury still out on Murthy’s back-to-basics strategy for Infy (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/jury-still-out-on-murthys-backtobasics-strategy-for-infy/article4830876.ece)
Bangalore, June 19:
While N.R. Narayana Murthy’s change of strategy has impressed some investors, others want to see results in the near and long term.
Murthy’s game plan of refocusing on bread-and-butter outsourcing services business like writing codes and boosting of employee morale, which could result in higher productivity has been welcomed by analysts.
“Infosys’ refocusing is a positive and the stock could go up to Rs 3,000 in the next 12-15 months. This change in strategy was expected and is positive,” said A.K Prabhakar, Senior Vice-President - Equity Research, Anand Rathi. It is too early to comment as this would take time, but changes would be seen in next two quarters, he added.
In the last couple of years, Infosys has been steadily losing ground to peers such as TCS, Cognizant and HCL Technologies. Further, its employee utilisation is below its competitors and attrition is very high (16.3 per cent in 2013 fiscal).
“Corrective measures like flexibility in its pricing to compete and win outsourcing deals are welcome,” said Daljeet Kohli, Research Head, IndiaNivesh Securities.
With Murthy coming back, there is a concerted effort to address this gap, which, according to industry watchers, will be very tough. “The company has lost a lot of ground and it won’t be easy to catch up,” said P.K. Mukherjee, President and Managing Partner, Avasant.
Murthy, acknowledges this himself and in the recent AGM pointed out that this turnaround could take anywhere between 3-5 years. “Will investors wait for such a long-time especially when new business models (like cloud computing) and continued uncertainty exists in the developed markets,” asks a business head of one of the top 10 companies who did not wish to be named.
Analysts are also questioning the tough decisions that Murthy alluded to in the AGM. “They will have to cut management flab and market better,” said Mukherjee.
While Infosys has seen senior management exits in the recent past, certain key business functions like head of sales and marketing have suffered since the exit of Phaneesh Murthy and Nandan Nilekani.
June 20th, 2013, 03:06 PM
FlyTxt signs up Etisalat for services in Afghanistan (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/flytxt-signs-up-etisalat-for-services-in-afghanistan/article4833259.ece)
Thiruvananthapuram, June 20:
FlyTxt, a mobile value-added services player based in the Technopark here, has signed up Etisalat to deploy its ‘Neon’ service delivery platform in Afghanistan.
Neon is powered to carry out segmented mobile-based marketing to deliver personalised services to subscribers.
It enables operators to generate added revenue, reduce customer churn and enhance loyalty by executing micro-segmented campaigns, a company spokesman claimed.
It also helps them automate and manage workflow, right from targeting, sending offers and fulfilment tracking to reporting, from a single Web interface.
Yasser Aboul Amayem, Chief Commercial Officer of Etisalat Afghainstan, said the company had launched a number of products and services for subscribers.
“We hope to enhance customer experience through contextual marketing using the Flytxt platform and deliver right offers to customers at the right time.”
Vinod Vasudevan, Chief Executive, FlyTxt, said the deal with Etisalat Afghanistan gave the company an opportunity to enter a growing telecom market. It had a penetration level of close to 80 per cent as against a few thousands of subscribers a decade back.
“We are happy to partner with Etisalat in their marketing initiatives targeted at revenue growth and customer retention in a competitive market”.
Having consolidated our presence in South Asia and Africa, FlyTxt was looking for opportunities in South-East Asian countries, the spokesman added.
June 20th, 2013, 05:26 PM
Google brings Android Nation store to India to spice up its retail market (http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/software/google-brings-android-nation-store-to-india-to-spice-up-its-retail-market/articleshow/20673190.cms)
NEW DELHI: In a significant move that will help increase Android penetration in India, its promoter Google is now vying for a piece of the retail market with brick-and-mortar stores called Android Nation.
The US company will partner BK Modi's Spice Global to set up the stores in various Indian cities, starting with New Delhi later this year.
Like other such stores in Indonesia, each Android Nation store will promote and sell Android smartphones and tablets across multiple brands like Samsung, HTC, Sony, LG and Asus, to name a few.
The store will also serve as an Android experience centre where customers can find out more about the latest Android apps, get help from experts, download software updates or check out the latest accessories for their devices.
Importantly, India is only the second country after Indonesia to get Android Nation stores — a move that indicates how much importance Google gives to the market. The first Android Nation store opened in Jakarta, mid 2012. Google now operates two such stores in Jakarta in partnership with Indonesian electronics retailer Erafone.
The first Indian store will open in New Delhi's Select Citywalk, a person with direct knowledge of the situation informed ET. Google has been scouting for a 1,200-1,500 sq ft location for this store.
BK Modi, chairman of Spice, told ET that his company's partnership with Google is not just restricted to India — Spice Global will also push Android devices in the Middle East, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Africa.
He said Google was also supporting Spice Global in bringing China's third largest smartphone brand CoolPad, to India — Spice CoolPad co-branded products will also be sold through Android Nation.
Spice Global currently operates around 900 Spice Hotspots that sells various mobile phone brands and accessories. After the opening of the first Android Nation store, they plan to convert about 50 of the Hotspots into Android Nation stores to enable rapid expansion of the franchise.
"We will focus on 3G phones and phase out 2G gradually," he said. Modi's son Dilip Modi will spearhead Android Nation in India.
"Google feels that many potential customers need to get hands-on experience with its products before they are willing to purchase," technology blog 9to5Google said while breaking the story on Google's possible foray into retailing.
"Google competitors Apple and Microsoft both have retail outlets where customers can try before they buy, so it won't be an entirely new area," it added.
June 20th, 2013, 05:35 PM
Wipro wins large technology outsourcing contract worth Rs 2,900 crore from Citigroup (http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/ites/wipro-wins-large-technology-outsourcing-contract-worth-rs-2900-crore-from-citigroup/articleshow/20668472.cms)
BANGALORE: Wipro has won a large technology outsourcing contract, potentially valued at close to $ 500 million (Rs 2,900 crore) from Citigroup, according to people familiar with the development.
The large contract comes at a time when such multi-hundred-million dollar technology contracts have become few and far between. Large corporations in the United States and Europe have been cautious on technology spending and following a practice of breaking up outsourced contracts into smaller projects, which are given out to multiple service providers.
"Wipro does not comment on market speculation," a spkokesman said.
Shares of Wipro were up 0.57% to Rs 343 on BSE. As many as 6.32 lakh shares of Wipro exchanged hands on Wednesday compared to its average two-week trading volume of 1.86 lakh shares.
The multinational bank is a large outsourcer to India and works with a number of Indian software service providers. It is a top client for Tata Consultancy Services and also sends work to Cognizant and Wipro.
The last large contract Wipro won from Citigroup was in 2008, when it acquired Citi Technology Services for $ 127 million. As part of that transaction, the Bangalore-based company had got committed business worth at least $ 480 million over a six-year-period.
A Mumbai-based analyst said that this could be one of the two mega-contracts that Wipro was chasing, one of which was 'almost in the bag' at the end of March quarter.
Wipro CEO TK Kurien has been pushing for large contracts as well as higher revenues from financial services clients ever since he took charge at the helm of the company in early 2011. Despite temporary setbacks in spending by financial services firms, Kurien has maintained that Wipro was focused on increasing contribution from banks and insurers as they are the largest technology spenders.
The Indian IT industry gets around 40% of revenues from financial services clients, while for Wipro it makes up only a little over a quarter of its revenues.
June 20th, 2013, 05:36 PM
60 mn women in India online; 24 mn log in daily: Google (http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/internet/60-mn-women-in-india-online-24-mn-log-in-daily-google/articleshow/20683302.cms)
MUMBAI: About 40 per cent of the 150 million Internet users in the country are women and close to 24 million of them log in everyday to check emails, interact on social networking sites and shop online, according to a study conducted by search giant Google.
"Around 60 million women in India are now online and use the Internet to manage their day-to-day life. With easy access to Internet at homes, cyber cafes, offices and growing adoption of smart phones, Internet is being used by women for a variety of things," Google India VP and Managing Director Rajan Anandan told reporters here.
The study also found that women who are online are relatively more affluent and younger, he added.
The study, which also includes internal data from Google and a survey of 1,000 women, found that three out of four women in SEC AB are now online and 75 per cent are in the 15-34 age group with over 24 million women accessing the Internet daily.
In terms of online activity, email, search and social networking topped the list, followed by downloading music, looking for educational content, job search, watching videos and consuming news.
In terms of top searched categories by women on Google, apparels and accessories was the biggest search category followed by food and drink, baby care, hair care, and skin care.
The study found that categories like skin care, hair care, food and drink were the fast growing search categories, with queries coming from mobile phones accounting for almost 25 per cent of the total query volumes in these categories.
According to the research conducted by TNS Australia, more than half of the respondents with access to Internet, said net research influenced their decision before finalising a product.
Internet influence also turned out highest for categories like skin care (72 per cent), baby care (69 per cent) and hair care (65 per cent) products.
Zara, Ray Ban and Victoria Secret were the most searched for international apparels and accessories brands, while Fastrack, Tanishq and Fab India were the most searched Indian brands.
Coca Cola, Amul and Cadbury topped the search list for Food and Beverages category, while Loreal, Livon and Tresemme were most searched haircare brands.
Google estimates that of the 10 million online shoppers for products, five million are women. Also indicative of high adoption of eCommerce by Indian women, is that one in four shoppers buys baby products online.
Women also emerged as strong brand advocates - with 80 per cent saying they recommend their purchases to other women and 25 per cent stating that they share it online.
"The top generic searches and most searched brands reflect that women are heavily engaged on the Internet and are using it to do online research before deciding on their final purchase for categories like skin, hair and baby care products," Anandan said.
They talk about products and brands socially with 80 per cent respondents saying they recommend their purchases to other women and 25 per cent said they share it online. This makes it important for companies to focus on the digital platform for their marketing and promotional activities.
Google said of the 50 million Youtube users in India, 40 per cent are women. Apart from music videos, TV shows and film content, videos on beauty and fashion, education, health and fitness, home care and cooking are popular among women on YouTube.
June 20th, 2013, 05:37 PM
Free mobile games forcing Indian developers to change technology & pricing formats (http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/software/free-mobile-games-forcing-indian-developers-to-change-technology-pricing-formats/articleshow/20673874.cms)
HYDERABAD: Soaring sales of mobile phones and their rising prominence as personal entertainment devices are forcing game developers in India to change tacks and shift the focus of their business models away from the personal computer.
Gamers switching to mobiles are buying fewer games for their PC, hitting developers hard. Also, the fact that most games on offer through applications for mobiles are free for the initial stages— known as the "freemium model"— is adding to the hassles of these game developers.
As a result, many developers are now converting their existing development technology formats to suit mobile gaming platforms.
"Currently, we have a portfolio of 70% paid games and 30% freemium," said Reliance Entertainment Digital's chief executive Manish Agarwal.
"But every game from now would be 'freemium' and we will take this ratio to 100% in the coming years." In all, Reliance Entertainment—part of the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group—has some 600-odd games in its portfolio now.
But the segment is likely to expand rapidly. A KPMG-FICCI study forecasts the Indian gaming market—currently at aroundRs 1,500 crore—to nearly triple toRs 4,200 crore by 2017. The mobile gaming segment will more than triple to Rs 1,800 crore, from Rs 560 crore now, in the same period. Many game developers are now forging alliances with app stores of mobile handset manufacturers and operating system developers, including Google Play, Samsung Apps and Nokia's Ovi.
Gartner's principal research analyst Shalini Verma said even developers of AAA games—those that are high-budget and generally developed by a large studio—are exploring the freemium model.
Also, unfavourable conditions have forced many game developers to shrink operations. For instance, while French firm Gameloft closed its Indian operations in January, 7Seas Entertainment shut its US subsidiary this April.
Disney UTV's chief operations officer Sameer Ganapathy said the "freemium model" gives users more freedom. "The model is viable and lets users make a decision on whether they would like to pay for the game or not. India, which is a price sensitive market, is apt for this business model."
Game developers said they are likely to earn more from the "freemium model" in future than the existing model of selling games through CDs and DVDs.
"There are few challenges in the Indian market. While less than 1% of our users are ready to pay for use, it is about 7-8% in the developed world," said Reliance Entertainment's Agarwal, who pointed out that average spending on games per month in the US is at $8 (about Rs 470).
Rajiv Vaishnav, vice-president at software industry grouping Nasscom, said while "monetisation on mobile apps is a challenge for gaming companies, good quality games are finding eyeballs."
India currently has over 900 million mobile devices, comprising some 350-400 million devices connected to the internet and about 150 million smart phones.
According to the recent Flurry fiveyear report, games top the list of most-used apps and customers spent nearly 32% of their time on them on Android and iOS phones.
June 20th, 2013, 08:05 PM
Infosys in Open Data Center Alliance (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/infosys-in-open-data-center-alliance/article4834036.ece)
Banglaore, June 20:
Infosys has joined the Open Data Center Alliance (ODCA) as a contributing member.
In a statement, the company said that it will contribute its expertise in cloud and big data to ODCA’s mission of developing a unified vision for an enterprise’s cloud and big data requirements based on open, interoperable standards.
Infosys will contribute to working groups that will focus on strengthening industry standards in areas like interoperability, manageability, businesses processes and governance, the statement added.
ODCA members include IT executives from companies BMW, Capgemini, China Unicom, Deutsche Bank, Disney Technology Solutions and Services, JPMorgan Chase, Lockheed Martin, Marriott International, Inc., National Australia Bank (NAB), NTT Data, T-Systems, Terremark and UBS.
June 21st, 2013, 04:03 AM
What’s the verdict? (http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/internet/whats-the-verdict/article4833725.ece)
In this age of information overload, decision making is not simple, especially if you are the kind who trawls the internet for reviews. Should I vacation in Goa or Rajasthan? Should I buy an iPhone4S or a Samsung Galalxy S3? Searching for a recommendation on expert websites only lead to, at the best, a mixed opinion. Our friends’ opinions also matter a great deal when we make such decisions. Innovatively encapsulating information available on the net, the team of city-based start-up firm DecideQuick has come up with a free web app that makes decision making, well, simpler. This cloud-based social decision-making platform uses social media (such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs) and the wisdom of the crowd to help users make informed decisions – at the click of a button.
The app is the brainchild of three young entrepreneurs and friends Shameer Thaha, Karthik Sundarajoo and Jayasooryan K.V. Says Shameer, chief executive officer of DecideQuick: “The idea for such a social media solution came to me while trying to decide on a place for a family vacation – Bali, Indonesia, or Phuket, Thailand? I asked my friends, I researched online... Not only was it very time consuming and difficult to process because of all the information available, but it also left me more uncertain than ever. Eventually, I settled on Bali but I realised that everyone goes through similar dilemmas and that led us to exploring the process that internet users take while trying to make an informed decision. The idea took off from there and we spent a year in research and development.” The company was incubated at Kochi-based Start-Up Village.
DecideQuick works on what the team calls “sentiment analysis” and gives recommendations to a particular query based on the “experiences” of those connected to that individual’s social network. All you have to do is link your social network page to the app and start asking questions (in English). “We operate in the big data analysis space. What’s unique about the app is that it does an analysis of the sentiments/pulse of those connected to the particular user’s social network. Whereas earlier one would spend hours on end looking into the merits and demerits of, say, a Maruti Alto vs. a Hyundai Santro, this app whittles down the research to 60 seconds. There’s also an option to get a second opinion from the crowd,” explains Shameer.
The beta version of DecideQuick was launched in January this year. The trio claim that their app has now helped solve more than 20,000 queries. “We get some 300 queries everyday. Around 70 per cent of the queries are related to electronic goods, automobiles, travel, dining and education,” adds Shameer. While Shameer and Jayasooryan, a product specialist, are graduates of Marian College of Engineering, Kazhakoottam, Karthik, the chief marketing officer, holds an engineering degree in from Temasek Polytechnic, Singapore. All three are management graduates. Shameer and Karthik are also co-founders of CGWerks, a creative visualisation start-up that does content creation for the real estate market.
By the way, after analysing hundreds of comments, tweets and blog posts on my apparently vast social network, looks like I’ll be using my new S3 in royal Rajasthan! Check out www.decidequick.com
June 21st, 2013, 04:04 AM
India sets up nationwide snooping programme to tap your emails, phones (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/enterprise-it/security/India-sets-up-nationwide-snooping-programme-to-tap-your-emails-phones/articleshow/20678562.cms)
NEW DELHI: India has launched a wide-ranging surveillance program that will give its security agencies and even income tax officials the ability to tap directly into e-mails and phone calls without oversight by courts or parliament, several sources said.
The expanded surveillance in the world's most populous democracy, which the government says will help safeguard national security, has alarmed privacy advocates at a time when allegations of massive US digital snooping beyond American shores has set off a global furor.
"If India doesn't want to look like an authoritarian regime, it needs to be transparent about who will be authorized to collect data, what data will be collected, how it will be used, and how the right to privacy will be protected," said Cynthia Wong, an Internet researcher at New York-based Human Rights Watch.
The Central Monitoring System (CMS) was announced in 2011 but there has been no public debate and the government has said little about how it will work or how it will ensure that the system is not abused.
The government started to quietly roll the system out state by state in April this year, according to government officials. Eventually it will be able to target any of India's 900 million landline and mobile phone subscribers and 120 million Internet users.
Interior ministry spokesman KS Dhatwalia said he did not have details of CMS and therefore could not comment on the privacy concerns. A spokeswoman for the telecommunications ministry, which will oversee CMS, did not respond to queries.
Indian officials said making details of the project public would limit its effectiveness as a clandestine intelligence-gathering tool.
"Security of the country is very important. All countries have these surveillance programs," said a senior telecommunications ministry official, defending the need for a large-scale eavesdropping system like CMS.
"You can see terrorists getting caught, you see crimes being stopped. You need surveillance. This is to protect you and your country," said the official, who is directly involved in setting up the project. He did not want to be identified because of the sensitivity of the subject.
No independent oversight
The new system will allow the government to listen to and tape phone conversations, read e-mails and text messages, monitor posts on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn and track searches on Google of selected targets, according to interviews with two other officials involved in setting up the new surveillance program, human rights activists and cyber experts.
In 2012, India sent in 4,750 requests to Google for user data, the highest in the world after the United States.
Security agencies will no longer need to seek a court order for surveillance or depend, as they do now, on internet or telephone service providers to give them the data, the government officials said.
Government intercept data servers are being built on the premises of private telecommunications firms. These will allow the government to tap into communications at will without telling the service providers, according to the officials and public documents.
The top bureaucrat in the federal interior ministry and his state-level deputies will have the power to approve requests for surveillance of specific phone numbers, e-mails or social media accounts, the government officials said.
While it is not unusual for governments to have equipment at telecommunication companies and service providers, they are usually required to submit warrants or be subject to other forms of independent oversight.
"Bypassing courts is really very dangerous and can be easily misused," said Pawan Sinha, who teaches human rights at Delhi University. In most countries in Europe and in the United States, security agencies were obliged to seek court approval or had to function with legal oversight, he said.
The senior telecommunications ministry official dismissed suggestions that India's system could be open to abuse.
"The home secretary has to have some substantial intelligence input to approve any kind of call tapping or call monitoring. He is not going to randomly decide to tape anybody's phone calls," he said.
"If at all the government reads your e-mails, or taps your phone, that will be done for a good reason. It is not invading your privacy, it is protecting you and your country," he said.
The government has arrested people in the past for critical social media posts although there have been no prosecutions.
In 2010, India's Outlook news magazine accused intelligence officials of tapping telephone calls of several politicians, including a government minister. The accusations were never proven, but led to a political uproar.
No privacy law
"The many abuses of phone tapping make clear that that is not a good way to organize the system of checks and balances," said Anja Kovacs, a fellow at the New Delhi-based Centre for Internet and Society.
"When similar rules are used for even more extensive monitoring and surveillance, as seems to be the case with CMS, the dangers of abuse and their implications for individuals are even bigger."
Nine government agencies will be authorized to make intercept requests, including the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), India's elite policy agency, the Intelligence Bureau (IB), the domestic spy agency, and the income tax department.
India does not have a formal privacy law and the new surveillance system will operate under the Indian Telegraph Act - a law formulated by the British in 1885 - which gives the government freedom to monitor private conversations.
"We are obligated by law to give access to our networks to every legal enforcement agency," said Rajan Mathews, director general of the Cellular Operators Association of India.
Telecommunications companies Bharti Airtel, Vodafone's India unit, Idea Cellular, Tata Communications and state-run MTNL did not respond to requests for comment.
India has a long history of violence by separatist groups and other militants within its borders. More than one third of India's 670 districts are affected by such violence, according to the South Asia Terrorism Portal.
The government has escalated efforts to monitor the activities of militant groups since a Pakistan-based militant squad rampaged through Mumbai in 2008, killing 166 people. Monitoring of telephones and the Internet are part of the surveillance.
India's junior minister for information technology, Milind Deora, said the new data collection system would actually improve citizens' privacy because telecommunications companies would no longer be directly involved in the surveillance - only government officials would.
"The mobile company will have no knowledge about whose phone conversation is being intercepted", Deora told a Google Hangout, an online forum, earlier this month.
June 23rd, 2013, 06:35 PM
Eurocopter and Ramco sign partnership agreement (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/Eurocopter-and-Ramco-sign-partnership-agreement/articleshow/20729274.cms)
CHENNAI: Helicopter maker Eurocopter has announced its global partnership with Ramco Systems, an aviation software provider on cloud, mobile and tablets. Both companies will join to offer helicopter maintenance software which will ease the life of operators and maintenance centers.
This partnership agreement, formally signed at the 2013 Paris Air Show, enables Eurocopter and Ramco Systems to offer additional mobility and functionality for the collection and treatment of MRO-related data, thereby providing highly effective and cost-efficient fleet management services that are affordable and user friendly for all operators - including those with smaller numbers of helicopters.
"Ramco's cloud-based maintenance software solution is an outstanding addition to our service offering," said Matthieu Louvot, Senior Vice President of support and services at Euroopter. "The partnership will bring us closer to our customers' maintenance operations, enabling us to offer them the best quality of service."
Commenting on the partnership, P R Venketrama Raja, Vice Chairman & Managing Director, Ramco Systems, said "The strength and capability of our aviation solution gets a global endorsement with Eurocopter, the number one civil and parapublic helicopter manufacturer, choosing Ramco for its functionality, cloud-based solution with mobility, new user interface and role-based workspaces. Ramco aviation on cloud is modular which makes it user friendly for small and large operators".
With tens of thousands of parts in an aircraft, tracking and managing each stage of maintenance work would become unmanageable without a user friendly and comprehensive M&E/ MRO solution. The Ramco-Eurocopter cloud based MRO software addresses the unique needs of smaller operators, which until now had to either run on disparate point solutions or operate manually using paper/ excel to track maintenance and manage safety and regulatory compliance.
June 24th, 2013, 03:44 AM
Dump your maps, take the video route instead (http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/dump-your-maps-take-the-video-route-instead/article4827427.ece)
Fed up of using internet-based maps and ending up some place else? Technology fails its users at times but here’s is a sure-short way to find directions and reach your destination correctly.
Technology firm Vidteq has launched a free web-based service (www.vidteq.com) that provides a video clip of any route between two destinations in the city.
The website streams video clips of routes in Hyderabad, Chennai and Bangalore.
“In the US, just carrying text directions on a map would help one reach the destination, but the same does not apply here: the reason being that most streets here do not carry street names and numbers. This is when we thought the best solution would be to provide a video clip of the complete route,” explains Vidteq.com founder T. Chandra Mohan Reddy, who is based in Bangalore.
Such video maps are already in use in Bangalore, he says in a telephonic chat.
“Once users watch a video, they will feel like they’ve already been on that route. We have taken permission from the traffic authorities for the initiative and have patents for the whole concept,” he said.
The company spent over a year in Hyderabad to collect video clips of various routes.
“We have tried our best to even upload interior routes. We used vehicles with cameras mounted on them. These vehicles travelled daily to capture raw videos of roads. The footage was processed, broken down into bits and finally tagged to corresponding road segments,” he explained.
How it works
The entire operation consists of a few simple steps: based on the requested route, individual video elements get picked and are then rendered to the user. The video plays the complete route from the requested source address to the destination. The website also has a digital map along with text directions.
“In the videos, we clearly show which road segment it belongs to. Users need not watch the complete video and can use the fast forward tab over the video player. It is like watching a movie,” Mr. Chandra Mohan Reddy explains.
June 25th, 2013, 05:56 PM
IT’s not ‘cool’ anymore (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/its-not-cool-anymore/article4843547.ece)
Bangalore, June 23:
The IT sector is fast losing its sheen as companies dole out meagre hikes to its employees and struggle to offer them work to boost their careers.
A.M. Naik, Executive Chairman of Larsen & Toubro, has often voiced concerns in the past that the IT sector was taking away engineers from the infrastructure sector. He may not have to worry about that now as employees – existing and prospective – are finding that the $100-billion industry is not ‘cool’ anymore.
“In the last decade, most IT companies went along with the notion that everybody would line up and join them and that is not the case any longer,” said Girish Khare, Director - Marketing at Grass Roots India, an HR advisory firm.
Aditya Narayan Mishra, President Staffing and Director Marketing, Randstad India, agrees. “Though it will be attractive, other sectors like pharma, banking, or infrastructure will find more takers.”
As IT companies continue to struggle with their business model resulting in shrinking margins and an uncertain outsourcing environment in developed markets, salaries on an average in the last couple of years have come down from 2011 levels, when companies were operating in a similar economic climate.
Take the case of Infosys. “At the senior management level, the variable component was reduced up to 15 percentage points and by seven percentage points at junior levels,” said Rajesh Kumar, CEO, MyHiringClub.com.
What this means is if the company performs well in the future, the component of variable pay will not go up like it did in the past, which effectively translates into less money in the pocket of an employee.
This essentially means that difference in pay scale in some of the top IT companies is similar to that of a public sector company. “All things being same, it is definitely more lucrative to get a job at a public sector company as there are other benefits such as job security and sometimes better profile of work,” said Sriram Raman, a mid-level engineer who after working for Wipro has gone back to L&T. Others like Raman feel that these hikes are barely above the inflation levels.
Increased living expenses and employees feeling entitled to hikes are part of the problem too. “Employees are not satisfied as they are used to large hikes when the going was good,” said Kamal Karanth, Managing Director, Kelly Services India.
Hike in living expenses, which is partly reflected by Wholesale Price Index (WPI), averaged 7.4 per cent for 2012-13. India, which every year produces on an average of 5,00,000 engineers is also seeing excess supply when compared to actual demand. According to reports, in 2013, talent available was 1,072,800 and only 1,88,000 were added to the workforce.
Despite this there are certain segments in IT that remain positive. Companies that are in the business of providing analytics related software to Wall Street banks, insurance companies, retail, IT security or cloud computing certifications are seeing their salaries go up by 15 per cent or higher.
Industry watchers attribute this to a combination of skills shortage and better margins in the analytics business. “Domain expertise and specialisation in certain technologies will command premium,” said Mishra.
June 25th, 2013, 05:58 PM
Satyam is history, merger with Tech Mahindra complete (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/satyam-is-history-merger-with-tech-mahindra-complete/article4848975.ece)
Hyderabad, June 25:
Satyam Computer Services is now a thing of the past. The company, which was named Mahindra Satyam after it was acquired by Mahindras, has ceased to exist following the company submitting to the Registrar of Companies certified copies of the Andhra Pradesh High Court’s order allowing the amalgamation.
Consequent to this, the company has cancelled the annual general meeting scheduled for July 31. The company informed the exchanges about the cancellation on Tuesday.
“We submitted the copies to the Registrar of Companies on Monday evening. Now we are a merged entity. There is no need for us to hold a standalone AGM now. We can hold the combined AGM dates for which will be announced later,” a Mahindra executive told Business Line.
Announcing the completion of the merger on Monday, Anand Mahindra, Chairman and Managing Director of Mahindra Group, unveiled the new logo of the firm.
A top-5 IT services firm in the country after TCS, Cognizant and Infosys, Wipro, HCL, Tech Mahindra has 84,000 employees working in 46 countries. Its revenue for 2012-13 was put at $2.7 billion.
The company targets to achieve $5 billion by 2015.
"Over the past four years while we worked through the statutory and legal issues, our teams worked closely on the ground to integrate processes, eliminate overlaps, leverage best practices and deliver enhanced value to all our stakeholders," Vineet Nayyar, Executive Vice-Chairman, Tech Mahindra, said.
The court gave its nod early this month after dismissing the claims of some ‘creditors’ who claimed that the company borrowed about Rs 1,230 crore from them during the Ramalinga Raju days. Some minority shareholders too objected to the merger, saying the swap ratio was not favourable to them.
While dismissing their claims against the amalgamation, the court said the merger could go ahead, while the pending matters in various aspects of the fraud continue.
The company announced a dividend of 30 per cent for the investors. It is the first dividend after the Mahindras took over the company in April 2009, winning the bid to own the scam-hit company.
June 25th, 2013, 06:08 PM
IIT Madras ready with tech specification to make Aakash 4 (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/iit-madras-ready-with-tech-specification-to-make-aakash-4/article4847007.ece)
Chennai, June 24:
The Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, is ready with the technical specification to manufacture Aakash 4, the ultra low-cost tablet personal computer for students.
Likely to be priced at $50-$60 (less than Rs 2,000), the Aakash 4 tablet will be an upgraded version of Aakash 2.
The project driven under the guidance of Ashok Jhunjhunwala, Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT Madras, the Aakash 4 tablets will be based on open specification.
This means multiple vendors can manufacture the tablets unlike the Aakash 2, an Android-based tablet computer that was developed by the British company Datawind.
There was some confusion, but the Centre has finally decided to go ahead with Aakash 4. Around ten vendors, including big players such as HP, Lenovo and Dell, have evinced interest in developing the low-cost tablets, said Prof Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT Madras.
“They [the vendors] have come to the conclusion that the specification that has been made here is good enough for use in education. Is it comparable to iPad, of course not. It is not a toy, but will be of use for the students. That’s all I know,” he told Business Line. The Government will issue the tender and the vendors need to bid to mass manufacture the product, he said.
The Aakash 4 tablets will be delivered through non-commercial channels. This means, the Government will procure and sell to students directly. There will not be any financing cost or marketing cost, and no tax on the product. Students will pay only for the actual material cost. If the same unit is sold in the market, the cost will be easily doubled, he said.
Recently, Union IT and Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal clarified that the ultra low-cost Aakash tablet is “alive and kicking” and the Government was working on the third and fourth generation of the tablet. In fact, the Aakash project was his brainchild when he was the Minister for Human Resources Development.
June 26th, 2013, 04:24 AM
Govt goes after porn, makes ISPs ban sites (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/tech-news/internet/Govt-goes-after-porn-makes-ISPs-ban-sites/articleshow/20769326.cms)
NEW DELHI: The government has decided to put a blanket ban on several websites that allow users to share pornographic content.
In an order dated June 13, department of telecom (DoT) has directed internet service providers (ISPs) to block 39 websites. Most of them are web forums, where internet users share images and URLs to download pornographic files. But some of these websites are also image hosts and file hosts, mostly used to store and share files that are non-pornographic.
While watching or distributing child pornography is illegal in India, watching adult pornography is not banned. The blocked websites are hosted outside India and claim to operate under the 18 USC 2257 rule enforced by the US. The rule specifies that producers of pornographic material are required to retain records showing performers were over 18 years of age at the time of video or image shoot.
The DoT order doesn't specify any reason or law under which the websites have been blocked. It says, "It has been decided to immediately block the access to the following URLs... you are accordingly directed to immediately block the access to above URLs."
If a user visits the blocked website, he/she is either shown a blank page or a message telling "this website has been blocked until further notice either pursuant to court orders or on the directions issued by the Department of Telecommunications".
A senior DoT official, who pleaded anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media, said the department was just following the orders issued by cyber security coordination committee and hence could not talk about the specific reasons behind the block.
Centre for Internet and Society (CIS), a Bangalore-based organization, says blocking of pornographic website is overreach on the part of the government.
"In the case of file hosts and image hosts, which people use for various purposes including for storing personal files, the DoT order is a clear overreach," said Sunil Abraham, director of CIS. "Even in the case of pornography, there is nothing in the IT Act that can be used to block websites hosted outside in India."
He added, "There is a possibility that government is interpreting some sections of the IT Act to suit its purpose but I feel that is wrong and should be challenged in the court by ISPs if they care about the rights of their users."
Rajesh Chharia, president of Internet Service Providers Association of India, said that it was not possible for ISPs to pushback orders from DoT. "We are the licensee and we have to operate under the laws... we can't pushback," he said.
"But I feel ideally the government should ask the people who have produced objectionable content to remove it from the web if these people are in India... If they are outside, the websites should be blocked at the international cable landing stations. Involving 150-odd ISPs to implement an order is not the right way to do it," added Chharia.
Though IT Act doesn't criminalize watching porn, the new rules notified in 2011 have certain provisions that show the government wants to dictate what people watch or do not watch on the web. For example, the rules ask an intermediary like an ISP to "inform users of computer resources not to host, display, upload, modify, publish, and transmit any information that is obscene and pornographic".
The rules meant for cyber cafe owners specify that they "shall display a board, clearly visible to the users, prohibiting them from viewing pornographic sites as well as copying or downloading information which is prohibited under the law".
Abraham says that going after pornographic websites, and that too in a non-transparent manner, serves no purpose.
"I have travelled to China and Middle East and have seen that people access pornographic websites using various web tools. In fact, by banning websites the governments have made it more alluring for users to watch and access pornography," he said. None of the western democracies have explicit ban on pornography.
Abraham added that Indian government should also be more transparent about blocking websites because the current method was prone to abuse. "They should notify owner of the blocked website, clearly tell web users why a website is getting blocked and tell public how many websites they have blocked."
June 26th, 2013, 03:29 PM
Google India ties up with Getit Infomedia (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/google-india-ties-up-with-getit-infomedia/article4852950.ece)
Hyderabad, June 26:
Google India has tied up with Getit Infomedia to help SMEs in the South to go online.
Google’s Global Channel Sales Managing Director Todd Rows said that the company has so far tied up with 16 partners for this initiative with a total sales force of 3,000.
The company targets to reach out to 10 lakh SMEs. “We have so far covered 2 lakh and will cross 5-lakh mark by 2015,’’ he said.
June 26th, 2013, 06:17 PM
Google's internet balloons may come to India (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/personal-tech/computing/Googles-internet-balloons-may-come-to-India/articleshow/20781144.cms)
HYDERABAD: Internet search giant Google may implement 'Project Loon', which is a balloon-mounted internet access service, in various countries including India.
"We are doing a pilot project in New Zealand and going to see how it works. Once we get satisfactory results, we will be in a position to implement it in other countries as well," Google's managing director, Global Channel Sales, Todd Towe told reporters.
"Interestingly, while we are still in the pilot phase, we have been getting multiple queries from different countries including India, which are interested in implementing the project," Towe said.
However, he said, there is no time-frame to launch the project in India.
'Project Loon' balloons, which carry internet signal antennas float in the stratosphere, at a height twice as high as air planes.
They are carried around the earth by winds and can be steered by rising or lowering them to a particular altitude, with winds moving in the desired direction.
Customers may connect to Google's balloon network using a special internet antenna attached to their building. The signal bounces from balloon to balloon, onto the internet and back to the earth.
A 'Project Loon' pilot project began on June 15 at the 40th parallel South, which is a circle of latitude, that is 40 degrees south of the earth's equatorial plane, when 30 balloons launched from New Zealand's South Island beamed internet signals to a small group of pilot testers.
The experience of these pilot testers will be used to refine the technology and shape the next phase of 'Project Loon', Google had said earlier.
Speaking about the company's Premier Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Partner Programme, Rowe said within 10 months of its launch, the model has gained significant momentum in India.
"We have partnered with 16 medium sized companies, with over 3,000 sales people who have been trained to help SMEs gain from digital advertising. In the next one year, we are looking to significantly increase our presence in South India by doubling our partners and add another 3,000 sales force though these partners," Rowe said.
Jaspreet Bindra, CEO, Getit Infomedia, one of the largest Premier SME Partners of Google India said that it had entered into a strategic alliance with Google India, though its SME programme to increase Getit's presence in the country.
June 26th, 2013, 06:20 PM
Intel’s new Haswell processor reaches India (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/tech-news/hardware/Intels-new-Haswell-processor-reaches-India/articleshow/20779060.cms)
NEW DELHI: Intel has announced that laptops and desktop PCs powered by its 4th generation Core processor based on Haswell architecture are now available in India.
Haswell, which is successor to Ivy Bridge processors currently found in mainstream laptops and desktops, doesn't offer much advantage in terms of performance over its predecessors.
However, it is more power efficient and offers significantly better battery life, something that should help Intel take on the popularity of tablets in the market. Intel said that Haswell processor in laptops deliver up to 50 per cent increase in battery life in active workloads over the previous generation
The company added that due to its power efficiency Haswell will enable manufacturers like Acer, Lenovo, Dell and HP to create thinner and lighter devices that could also serve as tablets.
Intel South Asia managing director Debjani Ghosh said that Haswell processor are one of the most power-efficient chips the company had created. "The 4th Generation Intel Core processors offer the most significant gain in battery life ever achieved by Intel, up to double the graphics and significant CPU performance improvements that will deliver an exciting user experience," she said.
Leighton Phillips, director of product management & pricing at Intel Asia-Pacific, added, "today's announcement accelerates a new category of 2-in-1 computing devices delivering the best of a notebook and a tablet in amazing new form factors."
Intel said that premium ultrabooks and a few all-in-one systems powered by Haswell chips would be available in India in coming weeks. Mainstream laptops that sell for around Rs 30,000 would get the new chips in couple of months.
Other than the battery life, Intel is promising significantly better graphics performance with Haswell processor. The top end chips, which come with GT3 graphics configuration, can even match dedicated mobile graphics cards. However, most of the mainstream laptops are likely to end up with HD 4600 and HD 5000, which will offer big improvements over HD 4000 but are not likely to match the dedicated AMD or Nvidia graphics cards in a laptop.
For consumers who assemble their own systems, Intel will sell boxed Haswell processor. The top end chips, dubbed Core i7 4770 and Core i7 4770K, are already available in the Indian market with a price of around Rs 20,000. Core i5 4430, which is a mainstream processor, is more affordable with a price of around Rs 12,500.
June 28th, 2013, 02:56 PM
Kerala online platform to share science info (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/science/kerala-online-platform-to-share-science-info/article4856775.ece)
Thiruvananthapuram, June 27:
The Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment will launch SciGate-Kerala, an innovative online platform aimed at facilitating and increasing scientific collaboration.
Announcing this here, an official spokesman said that the new initiative of the State council would write a new chapter in scientific information sharing and knowledge building.
Acronym for Scientific Gate-Kerala, the platform had evolved along the lines of policy measures in the national science, technology and innovation policy 2012 and State’s draft science and technology policy.
The platform would map scientists, researchers and faculty members not just within the State but also those working in other States and even overseas.
Those interested can easily register online by submitting basic personal information, the spokesman said. Upon this, the system would display a list of scientific publications based on the user’s name and credentials; the user just needs to select the right ones to build his/her profile.
The user also has the freedom to upload pdf versions of his or her full papers or its abstracts.
V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai, Executive Vice-President of the Council, said that science was becoming increasingly inter and multidisciplinary in developing solutions to various problems faced by the society.
“SciGate will serve as a catalyst in encouraging the research and development output from the State, besides permitting participation of a variety of stakeholders.
“The resource base generated by this online platform will act as a ready reckoner of innovative R&D outputs that have the potential for addressing societal needs through scaling up,” Pillai added.
SciGate-Kerala will help in discovering quality publications and notable projects from the State by mapping publications in various basic and applied sciences, the spokesman said.
Data generated will enable an analysis of changing trends in scientific knowledge building and facilitate informed funding decisions by policymakers, he added.
June 29th, 2013, 06:35 PM
Narayana Murthy seeks airport near electronic city (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/logistics/narayana-murthy-seeks-airport-near-electronic-city/article4863170.ece)
Bangalore, Jun 29:
Infosys Executive Chairman N R Narayana Murthy has pitched for a small airport near Electronics City, the biggest hub of Bangalore’s IT industry that houses the main Infosys campus, as he called for improving the infrastructure facilities in Karnataka.
“We are not asking for anything extraordinary. We are asking for reasonably good roads, electricity, water, clean air and some English schools. We need reasonable connectivity to the airport. Ideally, we would like a small airport near Electronics City,” Murthy said at a Bangalore Chamber of Industry and Commerce event here last night.
While putting forward industries wish list to the State Government he also said the software sector has made big contribution towards the economy of the state.
“Ours is an industry that contributes about 25 per cent of the state’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product),has created half a million jobs with an average monthly salary of Rs 50,000 and 1.5 million jobs in the secondary and tertiary sectors of the economy. It earns net foreign exchange of Rs 55,000 crore a year and has a capital output ratio of 1:5,” he said.
Murthy also stated that the industry formed slightly more than 25 per cent of the GDP of the state.
“Karnataka’s GDP is probably around Rs 4,50,000 crore or so, our population is between 6.3 and 6.5 crore. Therefore per capita GDP of the state is around Rs 70,000 per year or about Rs 6,000 per month.
“The state last year generated software exports of Rs 1,35,000 crore and the industry formed slightly more than 25 per cent of GDP of the state,” he said.
Drawing a comparison with automobile or heavy industry, he said “the automobile or heavy engineering industry takes about 100 or even 1,000 acres of land, employs about 10,000 people and gives an average salary of Rs 25,000 per person.
Our industry takes the same land and gives jobs to 50,000 people and the average salary is about Rs 50,000 per month.”
“My industry requires about Rs six lakh investment and produces an output of Rs 30 lakh. The capital-to-output ratio of my industry is about 5, which is the highest in the entire history of this country,” Murthy added.
Illustrating the significance of entrepreneurship in job creation and solving poverty, Murthy said “advanced countries and China have realised this idea and have made it easy for entrepreneurs to succeed and this will be a lesson for a state like Karnataka to embrace.”
“Over the last 40 years I have come to the conclusion that the only way India can solve the problem of poverty is through creation of jobs towards income. No slogans can ever solve the problem of poverty. I have also realised this is only possible through entrepreneurship,” he stated.
June 30th, 2013, 09:01 AM
Focus on Mission 2015, Tech Mahindra staff told (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/focus-on-mission-2015-tech-mahindra-staff-told/article4863993.ece)
Hyderabad, June 29:
A day after announcing the merger of Satyam Computer with Tech Mahindra, C.P. Gurnani and Vineet Nayyar addressed the 84,000 employees of the company, asking them to now focus on Mission 2015, when the company plans to achieve a turnover of $5 billion.
Using mass broadcast avenues, their messages were delivered to all the employees.
“This journey has given great satisfaction for all of us. This journey brought the two companies together. We will have an organisation that people, associates, customers and shareholders will be proud of,” said Gurnani, Tech Mahindra’s MD and CEO.
“The legal merger is just a formality. We have all been working as one for quite some time,” he said.
The company formally announced the merger after submitting certified copies of an Andhra Pradesh High Court order to the Registrar of Companies.
The combined entity has a turnover of $2.7 billion turnover, with the telecom vertical contributing about 50 per cent.
Vineet Nayyar, Executive Vice-Chairman of the company, said the management and employees had nursed the ailing Satyam Computer from a near-death situation to a dynamic firm.
“Our objective is to create a company that can be a global leader offering full IT and telecom services,” he said.
Some said taking Satyam could be a risk, he recalled, adding: “But then we knew the capability and competencies of our teams that could turnaround things.”
July 1st, 2013, 04:25 PM
Creating the start-up city (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/creating-the-startup-city/article4869118.ece)
July 1, 2013:
Stable ecosystems lead to cities becoming the focal point of large-scale activity.
Bangalore is being strategically shaped to become one of the top start-up hubs across the world. One of the reasons it has this privilege is because of its ecosystem, which is far more developed than that in other cities in India. Silicon Valley itself took a while to build itself up into what it is today. And yet, there is so much going on elsewhere too.
More than two years ago, Startup Genome began a project to capture data on over 50,000 start-ups across the world. This exercise resulted in the identification of the most popular start-up ecosystems. Twenty places came out on top, including Silicon Valley, New York and London. In some ways, this indicates that start-up ecosystems thrive even outside major hubs such as Silicon Valley.
Getting to HUB STATUS
Opinion on whether multiple hubs can be created is divided, but nearly every stakeholder agrees that only robust start-up ecosystems can help cities earn ‘hub’ status.
“There is a global race happening to build the strongest entrepreneurship ecosystem. What is needed is a community of open, confident, connected and committed nascent entrepreneurs who are patient with old-world institutions trying to help them and yet bold enough to gracefully disrupt markets and assumptions in pursuit of finding better ways of doing things. Communities that focus on enabling networks of peers, mentors and investors in the end trump those that thought it was about buildings, R&D and Government programmes,” says Jonathan Ortmans, President of the Global Entrepreneurship Week initiative.
The three most important elements of a robust ecosystem are plentiful talent, access to capital and very early adopters and customers who have modern mindsets and are not too risk averse. There are other factors like the weather, cost of living and the multi-cultural nature of a city that make it attractive for both job seekers and companies looking to set up there. But as Mukund Mohan, CEO in Residence at Microsoft Accelerator, points out, the road to creating more hubs is not an easy one. Unless of course like Sydney, Melbourne, Moscow or Sao Paulo, a city finds a niche it can be known for.
Creating a NICHE
“It is not realistic to think hubs can just be created anywhere. However, should we encourage development in other parts of India? I think so. The way forward though for entrepreneurs, investors and Governments would be to find a niche to operate in,” says Mukund.
Kerala is an interesting case. It carved a place for itself early on in the space of technology services and is now seeing a surge in start-up activity. Interestingly, the number of Kerala start-ups in product development is increasing, even if only gradually. Shameer Thaha, a serial entrepreneur who founded DecideQuick, ThoughtBuzz and CGWerks, is primarily excited by products. “In India, no metro is so completely evolved that they can be termed hubs. In Kerala, we’re looking at building an ecosystem and not so much at being known as a hub, because strong ecosystems are vital for entrepreneurs to thrive anywhere. We’ve also realised that there is saturation in the area of services,” says Shameer, an active member and champion of the non-profit community, Kerala Startups.
So whether or not multiple start-up hubs other than the best-known ones can be created across regions, the only way to attract more players of every kind – entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, angel investors, public-private initiatives that support entrepreneurs – is to identify the best and focus on creating more of them. “Success stories inspire people. Entrepreneurs who are successful should then commit to mentoring others.
While it may be difficult to create hubs like Silicon Valley everywhere, micro-hubs can be built up with nurturing and assistance from the entire ecosystem. When some of these micro-hubs become successful, they will play a part in changing the current scenario,” concludes Ravi Gururaj, a serial entrepreneur and key member of Nasscom Product Council.
Bjoern Lasse Herrmann, Founder and CEO – Compass & Startup Genome: In every city there are different players that can, in concert, do something to turn their city into an epicentre for highly scalable start-ups. They are entrepreneurs, investors, policy makers, corporate development and service providers. The most significant lever to jumpstart a young ecosystem is probably attracting great international entrepreneurs who are starting new companies. The initiative “Startup Chile” has done that successfully by seed funding young entrepreneurs and moving them to Chile. Within a couple of years they put Santiago on the global startup map.
Jonathan Greechan, Partner–Founder Institute: A lot of people say that local venture capital is the key to a successful local start-up ecosystem.
But really, VC is only key to a successful mature start-up ecosystem. With platforms like AngelList and Gust, capital is becoming increasingly available, and global.
Any city that has a large technical workforce, successful local entrepreneurs willing to help newcomers, and a community infrastructure to bring them together, has an opportunity to become a start-up hub.
July 1st, 2013, 04:59 PM
July 2nd, 2013, 06:51 PM
Govt releases policy to tackle cyber attacks (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/govt-releases-cyber-security-policy/article4872959.ece)
New Delhi, July 2:
In a bid to secure India’s cyber space, the Government on Tuesday released the National Cyber Security Policy-2013.
The policy has proposed to set up different bodies to deal with various levels of threat in the country along with a national nodal agency to coordinate all matters related to cyber security in the country.
The Government would be able to monitor the Internet traffic and check on trends in cyber security compliance, cyber attacks, cyber crime and cyber infrastructure growth, said the Government officials.
It will also enable Government to warn people before any damage from cyber incidents. For example, a flow of unusual traffic in a particular traffic on a particular system, which is going to multiple devices and multiple geographies, could be tracked down and warn the users with the use of technologies.
“Lot of participation can happen. One is the information exchange, as companies must share information with the respective Governments. Other is the human resource development in the area of security because that is a specialised subject coming from the specialised equipments,” Gulshan Rai, Director General, Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN), said.
He said, therefore, global companies must work with the Government to create that kind of infrastructure and environment.
The Government would designate National Security Coordination Secretariat (NSCS) as a National nodal agency, which will coordinate all matters related to cyber security in the country.
Apart from NSCS, the National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC) will also mandate security practices related to the design, acquisition, development, use and operation of information resources.
NCIIPC will operate 24x7 to enhance the protection and resilience of the country's critical information infrastructure, which will manage crises through effective predictive, preventive, protective, response and recovery actions.
In the past few months, cyber crime is being in rise globally and general public is threatened by such issues as it may impact any one at any part of the world. Therefore, the introduction of Cyber Security Policy comes at the right time, said analysts and cyber experts. “A lot of cyber security awareness was needed for general public and organisations. There was no such policy yet, so this can address issues such as the ones which are there in now about the US Government, as the policy will now be under the Indian regulations under the ambit of the IT Act,” Rajesh Chharia, President, Internet Service Providers Association of India (ISPAI), said.
Though the policy guidelines were there since last two years, the policy now in implementation stage, is now clear on what the Government will do and how private companies can contribute to it.
“Roles are being defined now and it would spread awareness to all Internet users now, on using Internet banking, mobile banking and many back-end processes,” Kamlesh Bajaj, Chief Executive Officer, Data Security Council of India, said.
“We can always cooperate with the Government in terms of supplying security equipments and exchange information. India can become a certification country for global technology companies,” an official from a global technology firm said requesting anonymity.
However, there are many important things that the Government has to go deeper in terms of enhancing the confidence of people on how secured are they from cyber crimes, Akash Agarwal, Country Head at EC Council, said.
He said there is also need of more skilled professionals immediately as the Government has only around 22,000 such people in place. The Government should put the strategy in place regarding hiring of those five lakh professionals, which is in any case very less.
Smaller countries like Korea have many fold people for such projects, he added.
July 2nd, 2013, 06:57 PM
Lanco Tech Park signs up with Southerland Global (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/lanco-tech-park-signs-up-with-southerland-global/article4873729.ece)
Hyderabad, July 2:
Lanco Hills Technology Park has signed up with technology management services provider Apollo Health Street, a Group Company of Sutherland Global Services for 80,000 sq. ft., in the special economic zone coming up in the IT hub of Hyderabad.
The special economic zone, developed by the company, a subsidiary of the diversified infrastructure player Lanco Infratech Limited, will go live from October 2013 and is expected to increase its operations further.
The zone seeks to exclusively cater to the requirements of IT and ITES industry surging ahead.
According to the company, there is a sizeable increase in IT business houses setting up operations and expanding in areas that suit their clientele in terms of infrastructure and manpower. Hyderabad, the southern hub for IT, is also seeing notable growth with companies keen at set up base here.
D. V. Prasad, Vice President of Lanco Hills Technology Park, said, "We have provided excellent infrastructure. This is going to yield rich dividends to companies setting up their operations here in the Technology Park."
The IT hub of Hyderabad in Gachibowli are expected to emerge as a destination of choice for most of the companies.
Lanco Hills Technology Park is offering infrastructure support and the location convenience to its clients.
Sutherland Global Services employs over 30,000 professionals across 40 operation centres located in United States, Canada, Mexico among other countries.
The Lanco Park, coming up on a 100-acre site, is in the process of setting up a mega mall to offer high quality retail cum entertainment space.
July 2nd, 2013, 08:07 PM
HP beats TCS, Wipro to win Rs 400 crore Corporation Bank deal (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/tech-news/software-services/HP-beats-TCS-Wipro-to-win-Rs-400-crore-Corporation-Bank-deal/articleshow/20879889.cms)
BANGALORE: Technology services company Hewlett-Packard won a Rs 400-crore technology outsourcing contract from public sector lender Corporation Bank, beating India's largest IT firm Tata Consultancy Services and Wipro.
The deal win comes at a time when Indian software-exporters are winning outsourcing contracts coming up for renewal in the United States and Europe at the cost of incumbents like HP and IBM.
The Palo Alto, California-based PC-maker won the seven-year contract because of its higher technical competency despite Wipro and TCS quoting lower amounts, a senior Corporate Bank executive said on condition of anonymity. Both HP and Corporation Bank declined to comment.
The contract is for switching and managing the bank's core-banking software from the current version made by Chennai-based software company Polaris Financial Technology to Finacle, made by Bangalore-based Infosys.
The deal can be extended for a further three years at the bank's discretion. Under the terms, HP will also design and implement necessary enterprise software besides setting up and maintaining the bank's data centre.
July 2nd, 2013, 08:26 PM
Australia passes damaging work visa restrictions; Indian IT cos to be affected (http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/nri/visa-and-immigration/australia-passes-damaging-work-visa-restrictions-indian-it-cos-to-be-affected/articleshow/20879821.cms)
MUMBAI: Australia has followed the United States and Canada in tightening up its work visa programme, hurting Indian IT firms who now cannot place workers using the visas at client sites and must advertise in Australia to prove there is a genuine skill shortage.
Nomura expects the new rules to affect Indian IT companies' time and materials contracts and increase the amount of planning and time taken to obtain a visa. The companies will have to justify the number the number of visas required and provide workers on the visas with employment terms and conditions similar to those offered to Australian workers.
Infosys and Satyam, owned by Tech Mahindra, have the highest exposure to Australia, with about 8-9% of invoices coming from the continent, Nomura analyst Ashwin Mehta said in a note to clients.
Tata Consultancy Services has also been dragged into a visa row in Australia. A former employee was quoted by a local TV channel ABC as saying that TCS abused that country's work-visa scheme by not making an honest attempt to hire qualified local citizens, and instead bringing in Indian engineers on visa. TCS said those allegations were "completely false and inaccurate" and that it was fully compliant with the visa rules.
Australia moves mimic similar steps in Canada. The Canadian government also requires employers to pay employees on work visas at similar levels to Canadian employees and suspended the fast-track visa approval programme in April.
The Canadian government also increased its authority to suspend or revoke work permits and significantly increased visa fees.
US-headquartered IT servicing firm iGate, which receives 12% of its revenues from the Royal Bank of Canada, will be hit by the rule changes, Nomura said.
But those visa rule changes are a small matter compared to massive overhaul being contemplated in the Indian IT firms' largest market. Last week, the United States Senate approved several provisions that could completely change the IT firms' business models and slash their margins. IT firms have been hoping that the US House of Representatives version omits those provisions banning outplacement and sharply higher visa costs.
Nomura, which has a "reduce" target on Infosys and TCS, said it does not see the stocks pricing the rising risks from the US bill into their valuations.
The brokerage said it prefers HCL Technologies, Cognizant and Wipro on greater revenue and margins surety, less severe impact from the immigration bill and more reasonable valuations.
July 2nd, 2013, 08:29 PM
Google mulls flight search in India, travel companies jittery (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/tech-news/internet/Google-mulls-flight-search-in-India-travel-companies-jittery/articleshow/20871243.cms)
BANGALORE: A fledgling effort by Google portending the launch of its flight travel search service in India is creating jitters among online flight aggregators, who fear their business model is under threat.
Google, whose services include Gmail and YouTube, is "very close" to introducing Flight Search in India, according to people with direct knowledge of the plan. Flight Search - first launched in the US and then in parts of Europe - lets users compare fares offered by airlines and book tickets directly from airline websites. This could, in effect, make flight aggregators such as Makemytrip, Yatra and Cleartrip redundant, industry observers said. Another website, kayak.co.in lets users compare flight options from hundreds of travel sites at once.
In response, the aggregators are considering steps to protect their interests, including a possible complaint to the Competition Commission. They claim discrimination by Google when it comes to search results for queries relating to online travel.
Separately, Google is the subject of investigations by the Competition Commission based on complaints that it is abusing its dominance in the country's search-engine market. In February last year, matrimonial site Bharatmatrimony.com had filed a complaint against it.
Company already faces probes in US, Europe
Last month, Google launched a 'Start Searching India' campaign aimed at providing users with instant responses on weather and flight status, among other things. This move was read as precursor to the eventual launch of Flight Search in India. Google India said in May that it does not comment on future plans or speculation when asked about its plans to launch Flight Search in the country.
Hrush Bhatt, founder and director of travel portal Cleartrip, refused to count Google's Flight Search as a direct treat but conceded that it could alter the way aggregators allocate their online marketing budget. "We are not sure what value Flight Search would add to consumers, especially if it can only let you compare prices," he offered.
Online travel firms such as Yatra. com, Makemytrip and Goibibo declined to comment. Google denied any knowledge of market participants planning to approach the Competition Commission but said that in the event of that happening, the company will extend "full assistance and cooperation on the matter."
"We're always happy to answer questions about our business," the company said. KPMG's Tuteja said that Flight Search is likely to be popular among India's fast-growing internet user base—150 million at the end of 2012—that has been increasingly been booking travel tickets and hotels through online portals.
In Europe, Google's Flight Search is under pressure from travel portals such as Expedia and TripAdvisor, which have filed antitrust complaints against Google with the European Commission for promoting rival services and disrupting fair competition in the online travel space. Flight Search makes use of the vast amount of flight-related real-time information from US based travel information company ITA Software.
July 3rd, 2013, 06:38 PM
Microsoft seeking space in Kerala's Technopark: Official (http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/ites/microsoft-seeking-space-in-keralas-technopark-official/articleshow/20890386.cms)
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Global software giant Microsoft is seeking space in the Technopark campus here, a top official of the IT department said Wednesday.
"Preliminary reports suggest that they are serious (about taking space at Technopark). Things will become clearer in some days," the official, who did not wish to be named, told IANS.
Construction work in the one million square feet campus with state-of-the-art gold rated buildings has been completed, the official said.
Some of the leading IT firms that have taken space in Technopark Phase-3 include HCL, Oracle and CapGemini.
Tecnopark Phase-3 is spread over 92 acres and consists of two buildings - Aanamudi and Ponmudi - named after famous mountain peaks in the state.
"We have given nod to 25 IT companies who will use our plug-and-play facility. Each of these firms will have 20-50 employees. We have earmarked 60,000 square feet for them and they will start operations from Sep 1," the IT department official added.
The plug-and-play facility has been designed to attract young entrepreneurs who are not in a position to make huge investments.
Technopark Phase-3 also comprises shopping malls, a commercial complex, a hotel and a convention centre.
The IT park currently has 280 companies providing employment to more than 40,000 professionals directly and around 150,000 people indirectly.
July 3rd, 2013, 06:40 PM
TCS, CMC,Tech M in race for Goa Police project (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/tcs-cmctech-m-in-race-for-goa-police-project/article4874002.ece)
Mumbai, July 2:
Tata Consultancy Services, CMC and Tech Mahindra are said to be in the reckoning for a five-year technology contract to electronically link up all police stations and provide real-time crime and criminal information in the State of Goa.
One of the three companies will become the systems integrator responsible for implementing the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems project, which is part of a larger e-governance project conceived by the Centre.
Goa Police has already received bids from the companies. A decision will be taken in the next four weeks, sources close to the development said.
The systems integrator will assist the police in creating and maintaining digital databases on crime and criminals, according to the Department’s Request for Proposal (RFP), a copy of which was seen by Business Line. The system can also be accessed by citizens to file their complaints and track the status of their applications.
Once fully operational, the project is expected to make the State’s police force more effective, thereby reducing crime rates. The project, which will cover all 27 police stations in the State, is estimated to be worth around Rs 15 crore.
Sources in the know say that TCS is ahead of the pack after the two-stage process of technical and financial evaluation of bids. However, this could not be independently verified. TCS has already bagged the mandate for implementing CCTNS in Gujarat, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.
Interestingly, TCS and CMC (a unit of TCS) have bid separately for the Goa project, an official with direct knowledge of the development, said.
The winning bidder will have to procure and deploy an execution management system that will administer all applications, infrastructure and network-related components related to the project.
The company will also have to provide one trained person per police station for a six month period to assist police staff in using the CCTNS system, according to the RFP.
The first phase of this project would be completed in October, while the second round of rollout is expected to be concluded by March 2014. The CCTNS project, conceived as a mission-mode e-governance project, aims to electronically connect 14,000 police stations throughout the country.
July 3rd, 2013, 09:08 PM
Why Chennai's IT corridor is facing shutdown (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/tech-news/software-services/Why-Chennais-IT-corridor-is-facing-shutdown/articleshow/20888594.cms)
CHENNAI: Chennai's information technology corridor, promoted by Tamil Nadu as a world-class tech destination, is waking up to the possibility of nightmarish water shocks. Businesses in the Old Mahabalipuram Road corridor, which generates billions of dollars in revenue from Fortune 500 clients in the US and Europe, almost shut down work a week ago when they very nearly ran out of water. A delegation of IT executives is planning to meet government officials this week seeking a solution to the problem.
IT companies along the OMR corridor, including Tata Consultancy Services, Cognizant and Infosys, rely on a rickety system of water supply: tankers. But a 52-hour strike by water tanker operators had them staring at a water crisis. One more day of the strike, and a shutdown was looking ominously likely.
According to data from software industry body Nasscom, about three-fourths of Tamil Nadu's 50,000-crore exports (second only to Karnataka) are shipped out of OMR. On that basis, a business-less day would have cost the industry over 100 crore.
The day might have been saved but the episode has put the spotlight on India's water woes and conflicts. A 2011 study by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry found that 60% of the respondents felt the availability of water was impacting their business. Eighty-seven percent felt it would be a problem by 2021. "The crisis faced in Chennai (OMR stretch) by the industry, due to the strike by ground water tanker suppliers, is typical of the water conflicts arising everywhere in India," said Rohini Nilekani, chairwoman of Arghyam, a public charitable foundation working in the water and sanitation sector.
The OMR crisis was about the over-dependence on the informal sector to deliver the goods. For years, Chennai has depended on tanker lorries for water. OMR, even more so, because Chennai's official supplier is absent in that area. Borewells aren't allowed there, nor are water treatment mechanisms available.
So, for years now, hundreds of tankers, which sourced fresh water from nearby villages, sustained life in OMR. Paying .`250-400 for12,000 litre, the tankers made at least double that amount supplying water in the city.
July 4th, 2013, 03:30 PM
July 4th, 2013, 03:41 PM
July 4th, 2013, 05:30 PM
Indian IT companies's cash flow to increase (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/tech-news/software-services/Indian-IT-companiess-cash-flow-to-increase/articleshow/20906929.cms)
BANGALORE: The government's latest notification allows SEZs and units operating in them to not pay service tax -- instead of paying the tax and then claiming refunds - is expected to remove a major source of pain for IT companies and improve their cash flow.
By some estimates, nearly Rs 4,000 crore of service tax refund claims are pending with the government, of which about 30% are from SEZs. "It used to be a huge bother for the IT companies. Now, not only will IT SEZs benefit, it will also mean less work for those in the tax department who have to process these requests," Som Mittal, president of IT industry body Nasscom, said.
Pradeep Udhas, partner & head of IT/ITES in consulting firm KPMG India, said the idea of paying service tax and refunding it was wasting bureaucratic bandwidth. "The move comes as a succour to the IT companies, which don't have to lock their cash and then claim for a refund . SEZs have not taken off as expected, and with the minimum alternate tax imposed on them, the benefits have been further reduced. So the government is under pressure," he said.
With the STPI (Software Technology Parks of India) tax holiday ending, the SEZ scheme, with its tax advantages , have become important for the IT sector as a means to retain its competitive edge globally. In April this year, the government provided a big boost to IT SEZs when it withdrew the minimum land area requirement for them. Previously, an IT SEZ could be established only on land area of 10 hectares or more. This hugely restricted the ability of companies to claim SEZ benefits.
Nasscom said the upfront service tax exemptions would enable at least 80% of services used by SEZs to be exempt from imposition of service tax. These would include services like leased line, telecom, manpower supply, software licensing, and renting and maintenance.
The new notification also allows a consolidated filing for multiple SEZ units with a common service tax registration. "This will reduce the number of filings we have to do," Mittal said. Mittal hoped that the new notification would also speed up refunds of payments made in the past. "We have heard that the Central Board of Excise and Customs has instructed IT commissioners in different regions to do that. And we find that some refunds are already happening," he said.
July 4th, 2013, 07:38 PM
TECOM puts SmartCity global network plan on hold (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/tecom-puts-smartcity-global-network-plan-on-hold/article4881535.ece)
Kochi, July 4:
Dubai-based TECOM Investments, promoters of SmartCities of Kochi and Malta, has no plans to expand the SmartCity network right now. Instead, it will focus on completing the work on the two self-sustained knowledge industry townships and get them going.
“We are very cautious,” says Abdullatif Al-Mulla, Group CEO of TECOM Investments, a member of Dubai Holding. “Our priority right now is finishing SmartCity Kochi quickly.” SmartCity Malta in Europe was at an advanced stage. TECOM, a conglomerate which has investments in several countries, would look at setting up more SmartCities only after these two went on stream.
“We have on our hands requests from 18 countries for setting up SmartCities,” Al-Mulla told Business Line. “We’re neither accepting nor rejecting them.”
The first phase of Malta project, based in Kalkara in the Mediterranean State, opened in 2010. The entire project is scheduled to be completed in 2021. The work on both Malta and Kochi started in 2007. But Kochi got bogged down in controversies and delays as well as the 2009 Dubai financial crisis that gripped TECOM’s holding company, Dubai Holding.
After the long delay, the construction of the first phase of SmartCity Kochi will begin in a few days; pre-construction work has already started.
“We plan to finish the first phase in 18-24 months,” Al-Mulla said.
July 4th, 2013, 07:39 PM
Infy may chalk out strategic roadmap in second half (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/infy-may-chalk-out-strategic-roadmap-in-second-half/article4881619.ece)
Bangalore, July 4:
Infosys is expected to make a course correction sometime during the second half of this fiscal and probably issue a revised outlook as well.
An Infosys spokesperson, however, did not comment stating that it is in a silent period ahead of the first quarter results, which will be announced on July 12.
An IDFC report said the IT major will make these changes during the middle of this fiscal year. “The new management is expected to reassess the situation and chalk out a strategic roadmap with a revised outlook in the middle of this fiscal year,” the report said.
India’s third largest software exporter, recalled its former CEO, NR Narayana Murthy, a few weeks after it shocked the market with a guidance of 6-10 per cent for 2014 fiscal, which is lower than Nasscom’s industry growth estimates.
Wall Street analysts such as JP Morgan, Sanford C Bernstein are among the four equities research analysts who are pessimistic on the Infosys stock. This is due to multiple factors. Analysts opine that profit margins of the company, which is the highest, is coming under pressure due to lesser productivity of employees, inability to win big deals, its investments in Infosys 3.0 strategy, wage hikes and higher visa costs.
Employee productivity, measured in the form of utilisation is 71.4 per cent in March this year, lower than 80 per cent utilisation that the company clocked in December 2010.
However, the Infosys management is taking steps to address these concerns. In the recently held AGM, Murthy has chalked out a detailed growth strategy that would refocus on its bread and butter outsourcing services (such as BPO or maintaining codes for Fortune 500 companies), which has been coming under increasing pressure due to commoditisation and competition winning deals from Infosys at lower margins. Some analysts have given thumbs up for this strategy.
“Flexibility in pricing would result in a price war and coupled with the way they have decided to go after projects would result in them winning more deals,” said Sundararaman Viswanathan, Manager – Consulting, Zinnov. Others agree. A.K. Prabhakar, Senior Vice-President - Equity Research, Anand Rathi, is positive of the company’s prospects with this changed strategy.
Bread and butter services form 70 per cent of the total IT market globally and are important for growth, according to a report by JP Morgan IT analyst Viju K George.
July 4th, 2013, 07:58 PM
Wipro top brass get handsome hike in difficult year (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/wipro-top-brass-get-handsome-hike-in-difficult-year/article4881620.ece)
Mumbai/Bangalore, July 4:
Wipro fattened the overall pay package of its top brass last year, notwithstanding the industry slowdown, according to details available in its annual report for 2012-13.
The company has more than doubled Chairman Azim Premji’s annual remuneration, while that of Chief Executive Officer T.K. Kurien and Chief Financial Officer Suresh Senapaty went up by 19.5 per cent and 28.4 per cent, respectively.
Premji’s total annual remuneration went up to Rs 4 crore from Rs 1.97 crore in the year before, when he had taken a 47 per cent cut.
Interestingly, the salary and allowances paid to Premji have remained unchanged. The spike in overall pay has been on account of commissions and what the company terms as ‘deferred benefits’ and ‘other annual compensation’ in the annual report.
Sunil Goel, Director of HR consultancy firm GlobalHunt, says that both ‘deferred benefits’ and ‘other annual compensation’ refer to performance-linked payments that get paid out at pre-decided intervals.
An official with a multinational headhunting firm that works with Wipro said that despite average performances, the top management’s ability to get multi-million dollar deals from marquee names such as Citigroup has prompted the Wipro board to hike remuneration.
In the last fiscal, Wipro is said to have sealed a $500-million deal to provide Citigroup with application development, maintenance and infrastructure services for its global actions.
“We can imply that the company is trying to do well and hence it is motivating people to achieve certain performance related milestones,” said Goel, adding that the top brass would have been offered employee stock options, equity or cash bonuses as part of deferred payments and other annual compensation.
For Premji, deferred benefits more than doubled to Rs 52,67,990 from Rs 26,26,891 in the previous year.
Kurien, who whose total remuneration went up to Rs 6,13,17,674 from Rs 51,290,104, saw his ‘other annual compensation’ go up to Rs 13,203,837 from Rs 7,71,497.
According to Kris Lakshmikanth, CEO of Headhunters India, Kurien is paid a better cash component than most of his other peers in order to compensate for the few shares held by him in the company.
As on March 31, 2013, Kurien held 37,012 shares, one third of what Senapaty had in his kitty.
Interestingly, Kurien’s counterpart at Infosys S.D. Shibulal took a 26.5 per cent cut in compensation last fiscal.
Senapaty’s overall compensation rose 28.4 per cent to Rs 3,20,37,560 from Rs 2,49,35,880 last year.
In 2012-13, Wipro’s revenues rose by 17 per cent to Rs 37,685.1 crore from the previous fiscal.
July 5th, 2013, 07:49 PM
Datawind inks long-term pact with CricHQ (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/datawind-inks-longterm-pact-with-crichq/article4884553.ece)
Mumbai, July 5:
Datawind, the maker of Aakash tablets, has signed a long-term partnership with global cricket technology company CricHQ.
Under the partnership, Datawind will pre-install CricHQ applications on all its tablet devices.
This initiative is aimed at bridging the digital gap between professional and grassroots cricketers across rural and urban India by providing them with a cricket technology usually reserved for the games elite.
“From an amateur gali cricketer in a small town to a professional player, anyone can afford our low-cost PC tablet. This Rs 4,999 device not only allows you to make phone calls, access high speed Internet, study with preloaded NCERT e-books, and now with the preloaded CricHQ app, it will also allow you to live score your own cricket matches, receive live ball-by-ball updates from cricket around the world and even access cricket coaching videos,” said Suneet Singh Tuli, Chief Executive Officer with DataWind.
July 5th, 2013, 07:50 PM
Yahoo! Hackathon in Hyderabad from July 13 (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/yahoo-hackathon-in-hyderabad-from-july-13/article4885137.ece)
Hyderabad, July 5:
Yahoo! will hold the sixth edition of Yahoo! Hack India from July 13 and 14, 2013. This will be Yahoo!’s first hack event in India hosted outside Bangalore. The first Yahoo! Hack in India was hosted in 2007.
Over 1,000 developers from 20 States in India have signed up for the event. Of this, about 250 best hackers have been selected after an entry-level coding challenge. These hackers will now participate in the two-day event which brings forth a series of technical workshops, followed by a non-stop 24-hour coding Hackathon.
“We have decided to expand hack events to cover more Indian cities over the next few years, keeping in view the demand from developers. We are going to hold yet another in Bangalore later in the year,” Hari Vasudev, Vice-President and Head of Yahoo! India R&D, said in a statement.
“This year we expect hackers to build experiences with a mobile-first approach, focusing on high-impact apps and dynamic mobile web experiences that people are excited to use every day,” Hari Vasudev said.
Yahoo! will introduce developers to the popular technologies and tools from the Open Web that would serve as the core building blocks for developing new applications.
All the entries (hacks) will be reviewed at the end of the 24-hour hacking period. Subsequently, the “short-listed entries will be shown to a panel of judges to determine the winning hacks,” he said.
July 5th, 2013, 08:05 PM
Mixed show ahead for tech majors in first quarter (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/mixed-show-ahead-for-tech-majors-in-first-quarter/article4885503.ece)
Bangalore, July 5:
The first quarter results of IT companies will see subdued growth for Infosys and Wipro, while TCS and HCL Tech are expected to post better numbers.
The top four companies are expected posted average revenue growth in the range of 1-3 per cent, in the backdrop of slower uptake for outsourcing services and companies having to give out hikes to retain employees, according to analysts that Business Line spoke to.
TCS, the country’s largest software exporter, is expected to continue posting strong numbers in the range of 3-3.6 per cent, said analysts.
This growth comes on the back of continued demand for its outsourcing services, which is expected to go up by 4.2 per cent when compared to the previous quarter.
An IDFC Securities analyst expects no major change in business commentary, with TCS likely to be upbeat, HCL Technologies optimistic and the rest cautiously optimistic.
Infosys & Wipro
Meanwhile, Infosys, which kicks off the results on July 12, is expected to post a growth of 1.7 per cent in revenues but bigger questions remain around whether the company will revise its growth outlook downwards for the rest of the fiscal and want to see more details into the kind of changes that N.R. Narayana Murthy wants to make.
“We are already seeing flexibility in pricing to win more deals in commoditised services like software maintenance,” said Daljeet Kohli, Head of Research, Indianivesh Securities.
Wipro is expected to post revenues of 0.5 per cent over the previous quarter, which meets the low end of its guidance that it had given in the fourth quarter of 2013 fiscal.
The volatile movement of the rupee is bound to be a party pooper in the numbers of almost all the biggies, with most of them hedging their revenues at 54.4 against the dollar, according to analysts.
The rupee has hit an all-time low against the dollar and stands at 60.22 at the end of trading today.
According to Kohli, TCS is expected to post forex losses of Rs 300 crore, Infosys Rs 33.5 crore and Wipro Rs 115.8 crore in the first quarter.
The performance of mid-size companies is somewhat similar to large-size companies with Tech Mahindra expected to report flat revenues.
However, amongst the mid-size companies, KPIT Cummins is expected to post revenues in excess of 3 per cent and forex gain of Rs 5.3 crore.
July 7th, 2013, 09:16 PM
‘We must ensure Indian IT sector stays competitive’ (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/we-must-ensure-indian-it-sector-stays-competitive/article4891996.ece)
Information technology industry body Nasscom last week appointed as President R. Chandrasekhar, who recently retired as Secretary, Department of Telecommunications. This comes at a time when the industry is reeling under various challenges. In his first interview with Business Line, he shares his views on how he plans to tackle these issues.
What made you accept this role with Nasscom?
Firstly, I find it a challenging and interesting assignment at a challenging and interesting time. The Government has done a lot in areas such as broadband, mobile telephony, UID and GST. It has been clear to me that these are things that neither the Government nor the industry can do on its own. Even when I was with the Government, the effort was always to work with the industry to make all these things happen.
Particularly in the case of IT, it’s not about ‘Government versus the industry’ or ‘what can Government give the industry’ or vice-versa.
We are still basically fighting for same agenda, so I was interested in being a part of this exciting revolution, and play a small part and role in pushing this agenda forward. This should be a good way to utilise the experience and the knowledge I have gained in the past.
How soon will you be joining?
It requires a Government permission if I have to take up employment outside the Government within one year of retiring. But it should not be an issue here as it is an industry body and not a private company. Maybe it will take two-three months.
Do you think policies are in place for the IT industry? Please share some of your ideas.
There have been policies in place in the past. India has been competitive location globally and that is what has led to the growth of the industry. But, of late, there is perhaps a perception that it doesn’t need to be nurtured anymore, that we have already arrived and we are now immune to trends.
That is simply not true in today’s competitive global economy. That is where we need to undertake an objective analysis of where we stand, how we compare and what we need to do to make sure that we remain at the top of the league — in terms of competitiveness.
The key to all this is how we capture the multiplier effect of ICT within the country to the maximum extent. And to see to what extent the policy environment is conducive to doing that. This has to be a continuous battle. It has to be reviewed constantly based on what’s happening all across the world. That is where our constant effort and dialogue with the Government are important.
What are the challenges you see in this industry and what are the solutions?
Today we are at a certain important watershed stage because you have global economic trends that are challenging in many geographies. In some ways it has created certain opportunities of its own because the economic difficulties have increased, not decreased. But there is the downside too.
It is a fact that this has not only put greater pressure on margins, but has also led to certain protectionist kind of trends in other geographies. These are issues which have to be dealt with. The underlying forces thriving on ICT and globalisation are economic and global in nature and these will have to be dealt with these fundamentals in mind.
The Indian industry, the economies of the other countries in which it operates and the industry in those countries — there is room for a win-win proposition for all of them. Our effort would be to make sure that measures which are taken are not detrimental to the potential of such gains for all concerned.
Has IT grown to become a mature sector?
The IT sector has grown from zero to $100 billion in barely 20 years, and that is something remarkable. It has produced a lot of jobs and has had an indirect impact on the economy. But perhaps there is much more room for growth.
We have to look at how to leverage this strength and capability, as well as the credibility that the sector has built up across the globe to actually impact different sectors within the country.
Hopefully, we should be able to tap the rising trend of people who are in business management institutions and are looking at self-employment. In the process, they are making money for themselves and creating business out of own innovation.
That is the journey to look to ahead. The growth of $100 billion to $300 billion by 2020 will happen only if we encourage all these things.
July 9th, 2013, 04:55 PM
Top officials at UST Global quit (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/top-officials-at-ust-global-quit/article4895425.ece)
Chennai, July 8:
Nearly a dozen members of the top management team at UST Global have left the company in the last six to eight months. The US-based company employs large number of people in India.
In recent months, the company has also made some high profile recruitments that will drive growth and are part of structural changes the company is making.
Those who left the company include Murali Gopalan, Chief Information Officer and Senior Vice-President after a 13-year stint. He is now the President at RP TechSoft International Pvt Ltd.
Krishna Sudheendra, Chief Financial Officer, joined Opto Circuits (India) Ltd as its Group Chief Financial Officer; Kailash Attal, Chief Quality Officer, has joined Ness Technologies as Senior Vice-President and Chief Solutions and Marketing Officer; and N. Niketh Sunder, Vice-President, HR, joined QuEST Global Engineering as its Global Head, HR.
At least five senior American employees have also left the company, said a source who did not want to be identified.
Alexander Varghese, Chief Administrative Officer & Country Head, UST Global, confirmed that a number of top officials left the company. While some of them went on to join other small companies, some left for health reasons, he told Business Line. “It did not affect us in any way,” he said when asked whether such exit affected the company. The company employs over 12,000 globally, a majority of them at its development centre in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. Varghese declined to give any financial details as UST Global is a private limited company. The software services and solutions provider has nearly 70 customers with 80 per cent of them in the Fortune 100 list in the retail and transport sectors.
“We have now brought in a new team, which will take the company to the next level of growth. We are not replacing any of those who left but creating new portfolios. You will hear in a couple of weeks about the structural changes with a new leadership management,” he said. For instance, the company hired five industry veterans in the last two months. This includes a Cisco veteran Jim Hughes as Chief Innovation Officer to be based in the US and Shonk Mitra from Tech Mahindra as Chief Business Officer, he said.
July 9th, 2013, 04:58 PM
Two firms appeal against TechM, Mahindra Satyam merger order (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/two-firms-appeal-against-techm-mahindra-satyam-merger-order/article4895426.ece)
Hyderabad, July 8:
Two arms of IL&FS Engineering and Construction Company have moved the Andhra Pradesh High Court, appealing against the single judge’s order on the Mahindra Satyam-Tech Mahindra amalgamation last month.
Ekadanta Greenfields and Saptaswara Agro Farms Private Ltd have filed two different petitions with the court asking it to allow the appeal and set aside the order given by the judge on June 11. They submitted to the court that their objections (to the merger) were not considered fully.
The court had allowed the Mahindra group companies to merge, after dismissing the petitions that challenged the merger proposal. While Ekadanta had argued that scam-tainted Satyam Computer Services borrowed money from it during the Ramalinga Raju (Satyam founder-Chairman) regime, some minority shareholders had opposed the merger saying that the swap ratio went against their interests.
Ekadanta, an arm of IL&FS Engineering and Construction Company (formerly Maytas Infra owned by the kin of Ramalinga Raju), had sought for winding up of the IT firm, claiming that it lent Rs 37 crore as advance. The new management of Satyam had contended that the claim was untenable as the advances were not reported in the books.
Consequent to the court nod, the Mahindras have absorbed Satyam Computer Services into Tech Mahindra, making it the fifth largest IT company in the country. Two weeks after getting the order, Tech Mahindra submitted the certified copies to the Registrar of Companies, legally completing the merger process.
July 9th, 2013, 04:59 PM
Australian firm Telstra to outsource 170 jobs to India (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/australian-firm-telstra-to-outsource-170-jobs-to-india/article4897524.ece)
Melbourne July 9:
Australia’s national telecom company Telstra will outsource 170 jobs from one of its fastest-growing business units to India from October.
The move comes weeks after its announcement internally in May that it would be reorganising its operational activities into five groups, three of which — Networks, IT Solutions and Customer Service Delivery — would be new.
Head of Telstra’s Network Applications and Services division, which generated $636 million in revenues, David Burns, said the company’s current business model was inadequate and it needed to be able to shift some jobs to India.
According to media reports, the Indian jobs would be back-office functions.
Burns said the latest move would see up to 170 existing back-office roles shifted to a third-party Indian outsourcer. He added that the negotiations had not been completed, but a preferred tenderer had been selected.
The company also said that about half of its 30,000 strong domestic workforce would be affected by the changes. But the number of job cuts had not been known until now. The staff were told of the potential job cuts earlier today.
In February, Telstra’s Sensis directories business had announced axing over 648 jobs by stating that its customers would get better service from Filipino or Indian call centre workers.
Managing director of Telstra’s Sensis directories business John Allan had said, “the vendors that we are considering provide services for customers that go beyond our service today such as 24/7 operations and unique technologies that assist in processing efficiencies, which they do for many directory businesses around the world.’’
July 9th, 2013, 05:05 PM
Start-up firm launches first app to drive Kerala e-governance (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/states/startup-firm-launches-first-app-to-drive-kerala-egovernance/article4895312.ece)
Thiruvananthapuram, July 8:
Technopark-based Livares Technologies has launched the first mobile application to drive the State’s e-governance programme.
Kerala State IT Mission is acting on behalf of the Government to create an app store to make available applications for the e-governance initiative.
The Livares application is called M-Governance and can be downloaded free from the Google Playstore account of IT Mission, said Jayasankar Prasad, its director.
Livares is a start-up company incubating out of the technology business incubator at Technopark here.
Promoted by young entrepreneurs Aneez Ahmed N.; Jaseel A.R.; Mahesh K.M.; Rineez Ahmed N.; Sumesh R. Nair; and Shihas A.S., it operates in the domains of voice, mobile and web solutions.
E-governance system is now integrated into the app that covers all services and departments under State Government, said Aneesh Chandran chief operating officer. Users can download it free from http://goo.gl/Jv7f8.
Users can easily select the required service under a specific department, he told Business Line here.
A query regarding a specific service under a specific department may be initiated by simply keying in required details (registration number or file number) and clicking the submit button.
The system initiates an SMS which is sent to “537252” in a predefined format. This is a user-friendly interface and the user doesn’t have to worry about SMS formats or number, Chandran said.
“We are thankful for strong and unconditional support from the State IT Mission. We have certain other projects in pipeline aimed at public good,” said Aneez Ahmed, chief executive, Livares.
Products based on cricket and entertainment, two strong Indian addictions, were next up on agenda.
Research on a third party hardware interface in association with International Centre for Free and Open Source Software was another major initiative.
The interface would allow a developer to easily communicate to any third party hardware device through his application.
On the common complaint about battery drain from apps, Chandran said it had to do with specific app features.
Some might require the GPS turned on during play while others WiFi or GPRS, both of which were power-intensive.
“At Livares, we follow optimisation techniques to use resources effectively to reduce power consumption,” Chandran added.
July 10th, 2013, 04:48 PM
Infosys hints at expanding its activities to Hubli-Dharwad region (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/infosys-hints-at-expanding-its-activities-to-hublidharwad-region/article4901322.ece)
Bangalore, July 10:
Infosys has hinted that it might soon expand its activities to Hubli-Dharwad region.
The assurance to expand company’s activities to north Karnataka came during the Karnataka Minister for Information Technology, Biotechnology, Science and Technology S.R Patil’s meeting with Infosys chief mentor N.R Narayanamurthy, directors Kris Gopalakrishna, Shibu Lal, Ramadas Kamath.
The minister and Infosys top management also discussed about the ways and means to develop IT industries in tier II cities.
Narayanamurthy explained that the IT sector could create thousands of jobs with minimum land and power compared to other industries.
“Bangalore contributed almost 50 per cent of State’s GDP mainly due to the revenue created by the IT industries. The IT companies in the State had been contributing about 36 per cent of India’s IT export. It was the one area where they needed to maintain focus,” he added.
Patil, accompanied by Narayanamurthy, had a glimpse of Infosys campus on an electric car.
Later, the minister paid visit to the governing office of Electronics City Industries’s Association, a private – public participation body that looks after the civic administration of Electronic City. He assured that the Government would consider all its demands that aimed to improve civic amenities.
July 10th, 2013, 04:51 PM
OnMobile launches free mobile app for women’s, kids’ personal safety (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/onmobile-launches-free-mobile-app-for-womens-kids-personal-safety/article4901621.ece)
Ahmedabad, July 10:
OnMobile Global Ltd, leading provider of telecom value-added services (VAS), on Wednesday launched “Help Me On Mobile”, a free, 24x7 mobile application to assist women, children, young adults and senior citizens in fighting crime and calling for help during emergencies.
The free application houses a bank of two services ‘I am here’ and ‘I need help’, which are designed to ensure personal safety of an individual and is easily accessible from a single place. Help Me on Mobile aims to equip mobile consumers with a safety application on their phones without having to look for an external source. Users can get assistance in tracking location, sending panic alerts to chosen family and friends, trigger off panic alarms and more.
It is an attempt by OnMobile to equip mobile consumers with a safety product on their phones. With this launch, OnMobile aims at proactively impacting the life of the end consumer and giving back to society, said Mouli Raman, Co-Founder and CEO, in a statement.
Help Me on Mobile especially caters to and ensures safety of individuals during medical emergencies, crime situations and accidents.
The ‘I am Here’ service lets family and friends of the user track his/her location while the ‘I need Help’ service raises an alarm in crisis situations and simultaneously sends alerts to family and friends. Help Me on Mobile does not depend on capabilities like GPS, location maps etc., and can in the course of time be downloaded on lower-end mobile phones as well. Help Me on Mobile is currently available for the Android platform and will, in time, be available on both Symbian and Java platforms.
As part of the application, the customer needs to select his/her set of one to five guardians who will be notified when the subscriber sends location updates or panic alerts. The first guardian is defined as the main guardian who will receive a call in addition to an SMS.
OnMobile, headquartered in Bangalore, with services in 59 countries, is the leading VAS company for mobile, landline and media service providers.
July 10th, 2013, 04:54 PM
McAfee warns of fake websites seeking donations for Uttarakhand (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/mcafee-warns-of-fake-websites-seeking-donations-for-uttarakhand/article4901802.ece)
Mumbai, July 10:
In the wake of the natural calamity that has struck Uttarakhand many fake donation websites are emerging in cyberspace, seeking donations for fake relief funds, warns McAfee.
“Unfortunately, cyber criminals often leverage such natural triggers by asking for financial help and lure innocent people to give out their financial details,” it said in a statement.
The security firm had asked users to exercise caution and take precautions.
July 11th, 2013, 06:33 PM
Rolta India secures multi-million dollar order (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/rolta-india-secures-multimillion-dollar-order/article4905084.ece)
Mumbai, July 11:
Rolta India has been awarded a multi million dollar contract from Sadara Chemical Company to implement a comprehensive engineering system at its complex in Saudi Arabia. This is to be the world’s largest petrochemical facility ever built in a single phase.
The value of the contract was not disclosed. The project will be managed by a global Rolta team working out of the United States, India and Saudi Arabia, and will be completed by late 2014.
Sadara represents a unique alliance between the Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco), an energy supplier, and The Dow Chemical Company.
With a total investment of about $20 billion, Sadara is building and will own and operate an integrated chemical complex in Jubail Industrial City II in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Comprised of 26 manufacturing units, the Sadara complex will possess flexible cracking capabilities and will produce over 3 million metric tonnes of high value added chemical and performance plastics products.
K K Singh, Chairman and Managing Director of Rolta said in a statement, ``The win provides further validation of our strategy of uniquely combining engineering and IT capabilities for delivering high value solutions to win significant new and follow on business.''
July 11th, 2013, 06:46 PM
UST Global to hire 3,000 engineers for its new $100 mn India campus (http://www.firstpost.com/business/ust-global-to-hire-3000-engineers-for-its-new-100-mn-india-campus-948021.html)
New York: California-headquartered technology solutions and services firm UST Global plans to hire several thousand new employees in India to work in its sprawling new $100 million campus being built in Trivandrum, said UST Global Chief Executive Officer Sajan Pillai.
The 3,000 new hires will be added to an existing Indian workforce of 8,000 when the firm’s 36-acre campus in Trivandrum opens in November this year.
The state-of-the-art campus will stand tall next to the current Infosys facility in Trivandrum’s technopark.
“Serving our customers globally requires us to be on a quest to explore and expand in new places. Due to our rapid growth we have had the ability to expand within our existing locations like Bangalore and Trivandrum,” Pillai told Firstpost.
“We are setting up a campus in Trivandrum on 36 acres of land with over $100 million in investment in phase one. We are also planning to expand in central and northern India symbolizing UST’S commitment to grow and expand in India,” added Pillai.
UST has 135 Fortune 100 clients in the health care, insurance, retail, financial services, manufacturing, media, utility, and energy industries. It currently has 12,000 employees, but expects headcount to rapidly expand over the next three years. The company sees the new talent coming from countries such as India, Mexico, Spain, Greece and Saudi Arabia.
“Over the next three years we plan to train 100,000 engineers globally of which at least 30,000 will be in India,” said Nikki Arora, Director, marketing and global talent acquisition at UST Global.
“We have partnerships with over 135 academic institutions in India, whom we guide, and assist to train and develop young talent,” added Arora.
UST Global has already taken the fairly unusual step of choosing Leon in Mexico to set up a new IT center, which will eventually be filled with 10,000 employees.
“Mexico being the tenth largest economy has great potential. Spanish is one the most widely spoken languages; it ranks at No. 3 among the world’s top 50 languages. Having a bilingual workforce will give us an edge and open up avenues of growth for us in the Spanish speaking world. It’s an ideal location offering US Central Time zone coverage and near shore service capabilities,” said Arora, who was recognized as “Woman of Outstanding Leadership” by The International Womens Leadership Association (TIWLA).
Headquartered in California, UST Global has offices in the US, Britain, India, Malaysia, Philippines, Mexico, Denmark and Singapore. Its client-centric Global Engagement Model ensures 24/7 delivery of services through onshore, nearshore, and offshore centers. It offers consulting, tech build, application development, infrastructure, e-commerce, business intelligence, data management, social media solutions, and BPO services.
There is always this notion that IT service providers only write thousands of lines of code, but at UST they take inventing new things very seriously. The firm’s Apple Tree Lab encourages employees to spend part of their day in an “innovation gym,” developing user cases for new technologies. UST spots new opportunities for services by constantly looking for gaps between what it offers and what customers are asking for. Think of this as fill-in growth. A lot of ideas for new services come from the grassroots — its employees.
“We encourage our 12,000 employees to come up with new technologies and ways of doing things. Many of these ideas are spawned from what is driving our client’s business; others are solutions that help our employees, and our community,” said Arora.
“We are serious about innovation and ask our programmers and engineers to not only to break their head in solving a client’s problem but also break whatever they can to innovate at the innovation gym,” she added.
UST’s Trivandrum-based analyst Renjith Ramachandran’s app was selected by Nokia to be released in its Ovi Store. Similarly, Allen Thomas Varghese spent time innovating around Microsoft Kinect which can “see” every movement of your body and reproduce it within the video game you’re playing. Varghese has built a Formula 1 toy car which he can maneuver with simple hand movements. He is working on using the technology to help shoppers get better store information.
“We also played a substantial role for a Fortune 100 retailer, to execute their ideas around customer loyalty by building and deploying a mobile app. Not only did the application race to a million downloads, the positive impact on the client’s business continues to feature in the company’s annual report,” said Jim Hughes, Corporate Innovation Officer at UST Global.
July 12th, 2013, 05:18 PM
It is difficult to block international pornographic Web sites: Centre tells SC (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/it-is-difficult-to-block-international-pornographic-web-sites-centre-tells-sc/article4908313.ece)
New Delhi, July 12:
The Centre told the Supreme Court today that it is difficult to block international pornographic Web sites in the country.
The apex court has asked the Centre to consult with various ministries and come out with a solution on the issue.
July 13th, 2013, 04:51 AM
July 13th, 2013, 06:12 PM
Goa to distribute 15,000 free laptops to students (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/states/goa-to-distribute-15000-free-laptops-to-students/article4912262.ece)
Panaji, July 13:
Goa government will distribute 15,000 free laptops amongst students in the state by the end of this month, sources said on Saturday.
The state government has secured a deal with vendors that will bring it a discount of Rs 4,000 on the price of each laptop, thus saving the exchequer a total Rs 6 crore on procurement cost, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has said. The branded laptops of a similar configuration had come at a price of Rs 21,000 each last year.
The scheme, which would cost the state government about Rs 25 crore this year, is meant to benefit higher secondary students.
The ‘Cyberage Scheme’ of providing computers or laptops to students was started by Parrikar during his earlier term as CM about a decade back. But the scheme was mismanaged by the previous government, he alleged.
The laptops which were earlier purchased by the state education department are now being procured through a tendering process by the state-run Infotech Corporation Goa Limited (ITGL).
ITGL Managing Director Nilesh Faldesai said that laptops would be provided to all the 15,000-odd students by the end of this month.
Students from professional colleges and technical institutes, too, would be covered under the scheme from this year.
July 15th, 2013, 04:21 AM
July 18th, 2013, 04:26 AM
July 18th, 2013, 07:42 PM
Karnataka to raise Rs 1,000 crore for information technology investment region project (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bangalore/Karnataka-to-raise-Rs-1000-crore-for-information-technology-investment-region-project/articleshow/21148213.cms)
BANGALORE: Karnataka plans to raise a loan of Rs 1,000 crore to acquire land for the Information Technology Investment Region (ITIR) project. The project is to come up near the KempeGowda International Airport.
Karnataka IT/BT minister SR Patil told the Legislative Assembly that a notification had been issued to acquire 2,072 acres for the project for which the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB) is raising the funds.
ITIR is to be spread over a 40 sq km area with plans for the acquisition of a total 10,500 acres in the Devanahalli and Doddaballapur taluks. The project is proposed to be taken up in two phases - from 2012 to 2020, and from 2020 to 2032.
Once the acquisition process gathers pace, the government intends to develop the remaining 7,500-plus acres needed for the mega project in association with private parties and develop it through developers," Patil said in response to a question from Jagadeesh Kumar R of BJP who raised the issue during question hour.
July 18th, 2013, 07:43 PM
K'taka to issue final notification for 2,072 acres to develop ITIR soon (http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/k-taka-to-issue-final-notification-for-2-072-acres-to-develop-itir-soon-113071800434_1.html)
Karnataka will soon issue the final notification to acquire 2,072 acres Devanahalli taluk for the proposed development of Information Technology Investment Region (ITIR). This follows approval from the Union Cabinet on June 4, 2013 for the project.
The Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB) has already issued preliminary notification under Section 28 (1) of KIAD Act. The final notification will be issued very soon, S R Patil, minister for IT/BT, science and technology said.
Replying to a question raised by Jagadeesh Kumar R of Hebbal constituency during the Question Hour on the floor of state legislative assembly, here on Thursday, the minister said the government would think of acquiring remaining 8,000 acres once the land for the first phase of the project is acquired. The government will appoint project developers to develop the project, he said.
Kumar suggested that the government should issue notification for acquiring the remaining land immediately as the delay in notifying land would cause hardship to farmers in the region.
For this project, first of its kind in the country, the government proposes to identify 10,500 acres in Devanahalli (5,400 acres) and Doddaballapur (5,090 acres) taluks.
The ITIR project is a prestigious project of the state government. Once the project is fully developed it will create 4 million jobs including 1.2 million direct jobs in the information technology sector. It will transform Bangalore into the worlds leading IT hub in the next 20 years, Patil said.
The ITIR project will be developed in two phases. The first phase will be developed between 2012 and 2020, and the second phase would be taken up between 2020 and 2032. The state has provided Rs 20 acres to Karnataka State Electronics Development Corporation Ltd (Keonics) this year, he said.
The Centre will provide the required infrastructure facilities like rail network, roads and telecommunication for the proposed ITIR project, he said adding, The state government is committed to developing this project. There is no question of going slow or delaying the project.
To facilitate the setting up of ITIR, the assembly passed a bill in this regard in July 2010. The project is governed under the Karnataka Information Technology Investment Regions Act, 2010. Later, the government forwarded the proposal to the Centre for its approval.
The ITIR will be a self-sustaining integrated investment region housing IT, ITeS and hardware parks, supported by residential townships, a mini airport, high-speed railway network, shopping malls, hospitals and educational institutions among others.
It is estimated that the project would see an investment of Rs 2 lakh crore over the next 20 years.
Already, over 55 software and hardware companies including leading names like Infosys, TCS and Wipro have shown interest to establish their presence at the ITIR.
July 19th, 2013, 01:44 AM
@Igate profits - Looks like no p. murthy is good for the company...
July 28th, 2013, 01:23 PM
IT sector to hire 1.20 lakh this year: Experts (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/it-sector-to-hire-120-lakh-this-year-experts/article4963241.ece)
New Delhi, July 28:
The country’s IT & ITeS industry would generate as many as 1.20 lakh jobs this year even as campus hiring is likely to remain subdued, experts say.
While there has been a drop in campus hiring in IT sector as the industry reels under a economic downturn in the West, jobs added this year will see large hiring from the market.
“Last year, the campus hiring numbers had dipped from the normal and this year, it is not going to be any different. We estimate that there will be around 1,20,000 jobs created this year,” talent assessment company Merit Trac Head of Innovation and Corporate Business Rajeev Menon said.
The IT sector is set to grow by 12 to 14 per cent this year, as per Nasscom estimates.
Over the years, large IT companies have relied on campus hiring for large scale recruitment. However, since 2008, these companies have been trying hard to adjust to changing economic and business landscape and campus hiring has been impacted.
Last year, around 1.8 lakh graduates were placed in the IT sector. The number, however, is expected to be 30 per cent less this year.
The changing economic scenario is the most compelling reason why hiring from campuses are reducing and these are causing inconsistencies in the business demand which is reflecting in hiring - particularly at the entry level.
Commenting on the trends, executive search firm GlobalHunt MD Sunil Goel said: “Expectations from the campuses also have gone down as experienced resources are easily available at the similar price. So, the companies are preferring to hire from the market than going to campuses with larger reasons to drop in campus hiring.”
Campus hiring has been under stress amid rising number of candidates seeking employment. For example, in 2005 there were 365,000 graduates in IT sector but the same stands at around 1.3 million graduates in 2012.
Some of the service domains within IT like e-commerce, social media, mobile banking are showing consistent growth.
The India IT-ITES sector faced strong headwinds in 2012-13 due to global economic slowdown and muted spending in North America and Europe, which accounts for as much as 80 per cent of Indian IT companies’ revenues.
July 28th, 2013, 07:04 PM
How IT changed the face of urban India (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/how-it-changed-the-face-of-urban-india/article4963772.ece?ref=wl_industry-and-economy)
Changed landscape: A view of the OMR in Chennai.
Nicholas DeSantis, a US-based artist, had coined the term aerotropolis in 1930s to explain the futuristic urban hubs that would sprout around international airports. In 1990s, we witnessed the phenomenon called IT metropolis that has changed the way our cities look.
Information technology has completely redesigned the landscape of cities, putting some listless, nondescript villages such as Madhapur, Gachibowli, Hinjewadi, Magarpatta and Hadapsar on the global map. Even Hubli, an important trading centre during the Vijayanagara Empire but now a tier-2 town, too has emerged an IT hub as it contributes 30 per cent of IT exports from Karnataka.
Industry body Nasscom expects the IT revolution to percolate deeper into the hinterland, piggybacking on the robust optical fibre network.
Rise from obscurity
Legend has it that the Nizams used the lands in villages to grow grass to feed their vast stable.
No one even ventured to go to these villages for a leisurely ride about 20 years ago. These villages now are home to the biggest multi-national companies in the world.
The twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad soon earned yet another sobriquet – Cyberabad.
The mammoth building Cyber Pearl, built by L&T, has become the new mascot of Andhra Pradesh after the 400-year-old Chariminar.
“There is not a single economic activity that has not been influenced directly or indirectly by the IT industry. It helped the real-estate, aviation industry, telecom, education (by promoting international schools), infrastructure and travel industries to grow,” J.A. Chowdary, the first STPI Director of Hyderabad, said.
About 15 years ago in Chennai, a person would not dare cross Adyar towards the Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR) after 6 pm. The area around Taramani was full of tall bushes. The infrequent buses to Taramani were the only way to commute on this stretch .
But, the opening of Tidel Park, the IT hub, in 2000 not only changed the landscape of Taramani, but a 30-km stretch of the OMR starting from Madhya Kailash in Adyar to Siruseri Information Technology Park to the south.
The OMR made way for Tamil Nadu’s first Information Technology Corridor, which also became a toll road . And, there was no looking back.
Beyond Taramani, OMR suburbs such as Perungudi, Sholinganallur, Thoraipakkam and Siruseri flourished at a rapid pace.
The tall bushes and huge trees made way for high-rise buildings to house top software companies, including Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys, Cognizant, Wipro and HCL Technologies.
(This article was published on July 28, 2013)
Keywords: IT industries, IT metropolis, urban India, Information technology, IT revolution, Nasscom, Cyberabad.
July 29th, 2013, 03:03 PM
TCS bags deal from Zambia Revenue Authority (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/tcs-bags-deal-from-zambia-revenue-authority/article4966554.ece)
Mumbai, July 29:
Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) on Monday said it has bagged a three-year contract from Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) for modernisation of its domestic tax system. No financial details were disclosed.
The scope of the project includes providing an integrated tax software application based on TCS’ taxation framework, taxpayer 24/7 portal for e-services delivery, data migration, training, roll-out, warranty and operational support, TCS said in a statement.
This is TCS’ third revenue and tax system automation project in the African region after implementation for Uganda Revenue Authority and ongoing implementation for Kenya Revenue Authority, it added.
TCS has done more than 15 tax framework implementations in India, seven in US and two in Africa.
“The framework will help Zambian government deliver taxation services to its citizens as well as provide an effective monitoring system for its tax officials,” TCS Vice President and Global Head (Government Industry Solutions Unit) Tanmoy Chakrabarty said.
ZRA, as part of its tax reforms and modernisation programme, has engaged TCS to provide an integrated and multi-tax system covering VAT, Income Tax, Pay-As-You—Earn, Presumptive Tax, Turnover Tax, Mineral Royalty Tax, Excise, Property Transfer Tax, Medical Levy and Withholding Tax.
Once operational, the system is expected to transform the service delivery to taxpayers, support the country’s sixth National Development Plan and assist ZRA to better control and monitor operations as well as prevent and detect potential revenue leakages.
“The TaxOnline project has emerged as one of our critical modernisation initiatives aimed at reducing the cost of compliance and increasing processing efficiency. TaxOnline will also enable the authority to detect and deter any tax evasions through the intense cross analysis of the tax information and tax compliance which will eventually improve tax collection,” ZRA Commissioner General Berlin Msiska said.
With this system, taxpayers would experience new e-services and simpler tax processes resulting in improved levels of voluntary compliance, Msiska added.
July 30th, 2013, 06:50 PM
Microsoft India consolidates startup offerings (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/microsoft-india-consolidates-startup-offerings/article4970730.ece)
Mumbai, July 30:
Software giant Microsoft India today said it has consolidated all of its startup related offerings under a single umbrella.
In alignment with the recent Microsoft Ventures announcement, Microsoft India will now offer startups a single point of entry to engage with Microsoft through a broad-based and holistic approach, the company said in a statement.
This will feature a seed fund, an accelerator programme and the community evangelism programme called BizSpark, it added.
July 30th, 2013, 06:52 PM
Oracle launches ‘12c database’ for cloud clients in India (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/oracle-launches-12c-database-for-cloud-clients-in-india/article4970714.ece)
New Delhi, July 30:
Software and hardware systems major Oracle India today launched world’s first database designed for the cloud.
The product, Oracle Database 12c, which is now available in the Indian market, simplifies the process of consolidating databases onto the cloud, enabling customers to manage many databases as one, the company said.
Cloud services allow multiple users to access a single system or software on subscription-based or pay-per-use basis, which help them reduce IT costs.
Oracle also launched storage systems —— Sun ZFS Storage Appliance and Pillar Axiom —— which support multiple applications with different business priorities.
“As organisations embrace the cloud, they seek technologies that will transform business and improve their overall operational agility and effectiveness,” Sheshagiri Anegondi, Vice-President, Technology Business at Oracle India, told reporters here.
“Oracle Database 12c is a next-generation database designed to meet these needs, providing a new multitenant architecture on top of a fast, scalable, reliable, and secure database platform,” he added.
Cloud computing has emerged as a new era in IT sector as it has helped organisations, especially small and medium sized, bring down cost related to computer hardware and software.
According to a research firm Gartner, cloud services market is forecast to grow by 36 per cent in 2013 to total $443 million.
July 30th, 2013, 07:07 PM
Google kicks off 'Start Searching India' campaign (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/google-kicks-off-start-searching-india-campaign/article4970495.ece)
Bhopal, July 30:
Google India today introduced its ‘Start Searching India’ campaign here to help internet users get the most out of the web with its search tool.
“Internet is no longer restricted to the domain of working professionals and is fast emerging as a life enriching tool catering to the varied needs of the people from all walks of life,” Google India’s Director Marketing, Sandeep Menon said on the occasion.
The objective of the campaign is to help Indian users save time, by showing how they can get instant and to-the-point answers to their most common queries, he said.
Presenting the top search trends that the people of Bhopal search for most using using Google Trends (www.google.com/trends), he said that e-governance is doing well in Madhya Pradesh with ‘mponline.com and vyapam.com’ figuring in the top five web searches.
He said that Google’s mission has always been to make search into an ideal assistant: a search engine that understands exactly what you mean and gives you back exactly what you need.
Also, recent improvements to Google Search have drawn the company closer to that vision, he added.
August 1st, 2013, 09:23 AM
Tech companies in Gujarat are eyeing 20% growth in this financial year and will focus on product development and global access, an official of a local IT association said. Official output figures for the state's IT and IT-enabled Services (ITeS) are not out yet, but exports from local office of the Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) have been estimated at Rs 1,500 crore.
"The number of companies reporting to STPI has dropped from 200 to 80 following withdrawal of benefits to STPI, hence the drop in figures, but the industry figures are much higher," said Pankaj Shah, president of Gujarat Electronics and Software Association of India (GESIA).
Of the 1,500-odd IT, ITeS and electronics companies in Gujarat, about 340 are members of GESIA. GESIA recently elected its new office-bearers with Jay Ruparel, CEO of Azure Knowledge Corporation, as senior vice-president; Sudhir Naik of e- Infochips as vice-president; Vivek Ogra, director of VBSOFT (India), as honorary secretary and TPS Oberoi, ED of Cygnet Infotech, as honorary treasurer. Local industries are awaiting the state's new IT policy.. "We will be giving our inputs in next 10 days to the state government," said Shah.
Gesia will also brand Gujarat as an emerging destination for IT sector at a global level by participating in events like Cebit, Electronica, Traitonic and Gitex. Apart from gaining better market access, efforts are afoot to create skilled human resources by coordinating with academic institutions.
"We plan to sign agreements with about 10 institutes this year," said Bipin Mehta, one of the three advisers appointed for the first time on the board of GESIA. It will also conduct a survey to know the output of the IT industry and the workforce employed.
Source: The ET/ITES
August 9th, 2013, 12:56 PM
BANGALORE: Software companies are shying away from government-backed information technology contracts, frustrated by delays in payments and lack of clarity about project milestones.
While earlier they would throw their hats in the ring for virtually every government project, even the largest IT companies are becoming choosy about the type of contracts they want to be part of. Infosys, for example, did not bid for a Rs 200-crore project to computerise the Debt Recovery Tribunal, India business head C N Raghupati said, because the company was seeking a clearer investment and execution roadmap.
Another project by the telecom department to set up a facility to test equipment for security vulnerabilities and spyware did not take off due to lack of clarity in the funding model and milestones. Many such government projects, including the DRTs, lack a clear process roadmap that defines milestones. As payments are typically linked to milestones, this results in delays in payments. "Major IT players have become more circumspect and are participating only in projects that are well-funded and have clear vision and can pay," said, Rohtin Bhattacharya, executive vice president who for corporate strategy at HCL Infosystems. "We have faced delay in payment from government entities and are trying to get our money."
The company, which gets a lion's share of its business from the government, saw its revenue declining from to Rs 10,856 crore in fiscal 2012-13 from Rs 11,548 crore a year ago. From next to nothing from the private sector two years ago, the company gets about Rs 171 crore now. "As a part of the strategy we are focusing on the non-government customers and expanding our portfolio to private sector but we still have government orders worth roughly a $1 billion." Gartner estimates the government technology market in India to be worth about Rs 37,000 crore (including IT products and services) in 2013, with Tata Consultancy Services, and IBM having a dominant share. With general election due in early 2014, industry experts said that most large projects are stalled or are progressing at snail's pace.
A senior executive at IBM, who requested not to be identified, said that payment delays have become acute as bureaucrats fear greater scrutiny by auditors and vigilance agencies in the wake of several recent corruption scandals. "With payments getting stuck, chief financial officers are pulling up India-business heads at most of the large IT companies asking them not to bid for government projects as they are seen as being too risky from a cash-flow perspective."
In the June quarter, TCS reported that its India business shrank by about 5% from three months before. For the $12 billion company, the domestic market contributes about 8% to sales. Similarly, Wipro's revenue from India and the Middle East fell by 7%. TCS and Wipro did not reply to questions for this story.
The spokesman for the Department of Electronics and IT did not make himself available for comment. However, a senior official in the department said on condition of anonymity that, typically, payment delays are on account of "milestones not being achieved."
Sanjay Dhawan, who heads the technology practice at PwC, said he does not foresee a quick turnaround in the state of government projects. "Macroeconomic factors, uncertain rupee-dollar fluctuation and the political sentiments with election coming up are making vendors go cautious with government projects."
August 10th, 2013, 07:47 PM
TCS to set up Rs 500-cr centre in Indore (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/tcs-to-set-up-rs-500cr-centre-in-indore/article5009669.ece)
Mumbai, Aug 10:
India’s largest IT exporter Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) will set up a software development campus in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, with an investment of Rs 500 crore.
The Indore campus will be located in the Special Economic Zone area allotted by the Madhya Pradesh Government, the company said in a statement.
It would house software engineering blocks, training facilities, amphitheatre and other facilities to offer a holistic environment to knowledge professionals.
“Indore is among the fastest growing cities in India by virtue of its business ecosystem and infrastructure development. The city has a good potential to transform into a knowledge hub,” N. Chandrasekaran, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of TCS, said.
“TCS’ investment will further boost the economy of the State by nurturing the development of talent and re-instilling inclusive growth. We are committed to work in harmony with all the stakeholders in the State to provide high-end solutions to our customers from this location,” he added.
“We are certain that TCS’ entry into the State will open new avenues for economic development of the State,” Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said.
August 10th, 2013, 07:48 PM
UK firm to buy Four Soft’s IT business for $43 m (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/four-soft-to-sell-it-business-for-43-m/article5009332.ece)
Hyderabad, Aug. 10:
The Four Soft board has decided to sell its IT solutions business and its stake in all its foreign subsidiaries to the UK-based Kewill group for a consideration of $43.4 million.
“The transaction for the business is valued at $22.5 million and investments in the share capital of foreign subsidiaries are valued at $20.9 million, making a total deal value of $43.4 million. The deal is expected to close in 90 days, subject to statutory approval and closing processes,” the company informed the Bombay Stock Exchange on Saturday.
The Hyderabad-based company, promoted by Palem Srikanth Reddy, provides IT solutions to logistics and transportation industries.
The board, which met here on Saturday, considered the ‘slump sale’ after discussing Transport, I.T. Solutions Private Ltd (a Kewill group company) proposal to acquire the business. The proposal also included purchase of stake in the company’s foreign arms.
The promoter will adhere to a five-year non-compete and non-solicit agreement with the acquirer. Srikanth Reddy, who is also the Chairman and Managing Director, told Business Line that the company could tap opportunities in testing services, big data analytics, as also media and entertainment industries.
For the quarter ended June 30, the company registered a turnover of Rs 30 crore against Rs 32 crore in the same period last year. It made a net profit of Rs 4 crore (Rs 2.76 crore). For the full year 2012-13, the company made a net profit of Rs 11 crore on a turnover of Rs 132 crore.
August 12th, 2013, 07:22 PM
Chinese IT companies new mantra to counter Indian rivals (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/enterprise-it/strategy/Chinese-IT-companies-new-mantra-to-counter-Indian-rivals/articleshow/21773193.cms)
BANGALORE/MUMBAI: Chinese technology outsourcing companies, once seen as a rising threat to Indian software services exporters, are beating a retreat from US stock exchanges with the help of private equity firms, but the development also raises the spectre of stiffer competition in the fast-growing Asian markets.
During the last three quarters, at least five Chinese IT services companies, including iSoftStone, Pactera, AsiaInfo-Linkage, Camelot and Yucheng Technology have all announced receiving proposals from Private Equity (PE) firms, including Blackstone, to go private.
The push towards privatisation has been a response to US-listed Chinese companies facing accusations of weak corporate governance practices, leading to depressed valuations. But analysts are keeping a close watch on this movement away from investor scrutiny, with support from deep pocketed funds, because Chinese IT companies now have a chance to regroup and better compete against the Indian IT services giants, especially in emerging markets in Asia.
"Going private is a key part of the larger business strategy being adopted by Chinese IT service firms. This is aimed at rationalising the service portfolio to be more solution-oriented. This will definitely help them improve operational efficiency and access local capital markets with better price-to-earnings ratios," Mike Liu, chief operating officer of Infosys China, told ET.
The Communist Party-led state intervention nearly a decade ago to promote Chinese software services sector was seen as the rise of a formidable challenge to India's dominance in the global technology outsourcing market. But Chinese companies saw very little traction in markets other than Asia.
In the January-March quarter, iSoftStone, which is evaluating a $332 million (Rs 2,000 crore) takeover proposal from China Asset Management Company, saw its global revenue fall 13%, hurt by slowing business in the US and Europe. Pactera — itself a combination of three Chinese IT services players — received a proposal from private equity giant Blackstone in May that valued the company at more than $600 million (Rs 3,600 crore).
A consortium led by private equity firm CITIC Capital is taking AsiaInfo-Linkage private for about $900 million (Rs 5,400 crore). ISoftStone declined to comment for this story, citing its evaluation of the going-private proposal, while Pactera and others did not respond to emails seeking comment.
The Chinese IT services players have language and cultural similarities with several Asian markets, but have been unable to articulate their value proposition to clients in more mature and lucrative outsourcing markets such as the United States and Europe.
Some of this has been blamed on their plain-vanilla service offerings. The largest IT outsourcing company in China Neusoft reported revenue of about 6.96 billion yuan or $1.1 billion, about a tenth of India's largest service —provider Tata Consultancy Services. iSoftStone, one of the largest players going private, had revenue of $381.1 million, less than that of mid-sized Indian IT firm Mindtree.
August 13th, 2013, 08:23 PM
Infosys, Cognizant, others form lobbying consortium (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/infosys-cognizant-others-form-lobbying-consortium/article5019505.ece)
Bangalore, Aug. 13:
A group of eight Indian IT companies have formed a lobby to influence the US Congress to drop crucial clauses in an Immigration Bill. It is feared that the Bill, if passed, could sound a death knell to their businesses. Among the principal players in the lobby are Infosys, Cognizant, Mindtree and Hexaware.
The consortium plans to engage with immigration lawyers and legal experts to counter what could be detrimental to Indian IT exporters’ interests.
“We have encouraged member companies to form their consortium and engage in lobbying,” Mindtree Chief Executive Officer K.K. Natarajan told Business Line. Natarajan is also the current Chairman of Nasscom. Others, like TCS, HCL Technologies, Wipro and Tech Mahindra, are chalking up plans to join the consortium.
The strategy is a departure from the past, when Nasscom used to represent the interests of Indian IT exporters.
A few months back, the US Senate approved H1B and L1 Visa Reform Act of 2013, which ensures that an H1-B application filed by an employer that employs 50 or more US workers will not be accepted unless the employer attests that less than 50 per cent of its workforce are H1B and L visa holders.
The Bill, if passed, poses twin dangers to Indian IT exporters — it is likely to push up costs and disrupt their global delivery model.
“If the Bill in its current form gets passed, it will be the end of the global delivery model that the Indian exporters talk about,” said Rajkamal Rao, Managing Director of Rao Advisors and a former director with PwC in the US.
Rao, who is also writing a book on the US immigration Bill, said there was also a possibility of both the Senate and the House agreeing on the provisions of the H1-B clause. In case that happens, it could get tucked into another unrelated Bill for it to get passed.
Rao also said that it is a myth to believe that US companies like IBM and Accenture will also get affected by the Bill.
“Majority of their workforce works out of the US and they have their own powerful lobbies which will see to it that they are exempt from such provisions,” he said.
August 31st, 2013, 08:27 PM
Karnataka targets Rs 1.5-lakh-cr IT exports by fiscal-end (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/states/karnataka-targets-rs-15lakhcr-it-exports-by-fiscalend/article5075174.ece)
Mangalore, Aug 30:
The IT (information technology) exports from Karnataka will cross Rs 1.5 lakh crore by March 2014, according to IT Minister S.R. Patil.
Inaugurating a conference on ‘Future of IT and electronics,’ organised by the State Government here on Friday, Patil said IT exports from the State stood at Rs 1.35 lakh crore during 2012-13. Of this, exports from tier-2 cities such as Mysore, Mangalore and Hubli-Dharwad stood at Rs 2,680 crore.
The government is expecting an IT export target of Rs 1.5 lakh crore during 2013-14. This will be more than one-third of the country's exports, he said. The government also expects IT exports to go up to Rs 4 lakh crore by 2020.
Stating that the Central Government has granted an ITIR (IT investment region) to Karnataka, he said it will come up near Bengaluru International Airport Ltd on 40 sq km of land. This will help create 12 lakh direct jobs and 28 lakh indirect jobs. He said ITIR would contribute good revenue to the State government.
Patil said the IT Park set up by the government in Hubli is almost fully occupied. The IT parks in Gulbarga and Shimoga have more than 50 per cent occupancy.
He urged the IT companies in the country to set up their units in tier-2 and 3 cities in the State. By taking their units to such locations, the IT sector will be able to benefit from the low infrastructural, operational and manpower costs. This will help in tackling competitions from low-cost destinations in other parts of the world, he said.
I.S.N. Prasad, Principal Secretary, Department of IT, said that the government started IT conference and exhibition in Bangalore more than a decade ago. That event attracted many global companies also. The government began such an event in Mangalore this year. It will be conducted every year, he said.
September 3rd, 2013, 01:32 PM
TCS bags deal from Saudi Arabia (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/tcs-bags-deal-from-saudi-arabia/article5086238.ece)
Mumbai, Sept. 2:
The country’s largest software exporter Tata Consultancy Services is said to have bagged a deal to implement its core banking platform at Saudi Arabia’s National Commercial Bank.
International media reports suggest that the contract, which is valid for two years, is part of the Jeddah-based institutions’ strategy to develop electronic services and provide technology-based banking solutions.
A spokesperson for TCS did not the comment on the development. Financial details of the engagement could not be ascertained.
TCS provides a range of retail banking solutions under BaNCS, a suit of core banking suite.
“It has been our endeavour to provide the highest levels of service to customers through the provision of advanced and technically sophisticated service channels with the highest standards of security providing them with more reassurance,” NCB said in a statement to Arab News.
NCB was the first Saudi bank to be licensed and the biggest in the Kingdom. It is said to be one of the pioneers in the Islamic banking and finance space.
September 3rd, 2013, 01:49 PM
Indian Govt may ban using Gmail, Yahoo for official communication (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/indian-govt-may-ban-using-gmail-yahoo-for-official-communication/article5089149.ece)
New Delhi, Sept 3:
Wary of cyber snooping, the government may ban use of e-mail services such as Gmail and Yahoo for official communications so as to safeguard its critical data.
The Department of Electronics and Information Technology is drafting a policy on e-mail usage in government offices and departments, which will be released in two months.
“We are working on an e-mail policy. The policy will apply to all the central and state government employees using NIC. It will come out in about two months time,” the DEITY Secretary, J. Satyanarayana, told PTI when asked whether the Government is drafting a policy to check the use of e-mail services like Gmail, Yahoo etc.
Asked about the e-mail services that will be banned, Satyanarayana said: “I will not be able to spell out the specifics. But, in general, it is to address the large amount of critical government data and ways and means to safeguard it.”
While Satyanarayana refused to give details, officials said policy may make it mandatory for government offices to communicate only on the nic.in platform.
The government will send a formal notification after the policy is implemented in about two months covering about 5-6 lakh Central and State government employees to use the email service provided by National Informatics Centre (NIC).
The development comes close on heels of concerns being raised by a section in the government, especially intelligence agencies, over use of email services, provided by foreign firms (mostly US-based), which have their servers located in overseas locations, making it difficult to track if sensitive government data is being snooped upon.
The move also assumes significance in light of the fallout of the Snowden saga, which revealed that the US intelligence agencies used a secret data-mining programme to monitor worldwide Internet data to spy on various countries, including India.
Former technical contractor for National Security Agency and Central Intelligence Agency Edward Snowden had leaked details of a top-secret American mass surveillance programme, which led to countries analysing the safety of their official Internet-supported communication networks.
September 3rd, 2013, 06:25 PM
Bhutan rolls out red carpet for Indian IT industry (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/bhutan-rolls-out-red-carpet-for-indian-it-industry/article5089252.ece)
Hyderabad, Sept 3:
Bhutan has rolled out the red carpet for the Indian IT industry to participate in its ambitious information technology development programme.
The Bhutanese Prime Minister, Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay, who visited Hyderabad as part of his maiden visit to India after he took over, said Bhutan was endowed with natural beauty.
Now Bhutan would pursue a programme to build on its natural foundation and tread the path of modernisation, led by IT.
“Show us the path. We will first take baby steps in this direction, followed by giant strides. It will be a profitable proposition for you,” he told a meeting of CII here today.
He welcomed Indian IT companies to set up operations in Bhutan. “I assure you we will give you the very best option and incentives to do business in Bhutan. You can feel the sense of my enthusiasm…I am open for business,” he said, adding that Bhutan would welcome a IT-led business delegation to the country.
Tobgay also identified renewable energy as another area for cooperation between the two countries.
The Prime Minister, who visited the CII Green Building here, was impressed with the work India was doing in the area of green building campaign.
The CII said India, which was engaged in capacity building in energy efficiency sector in Sri Lanka, could undertake a similar exercise in Bhutan, besides assisting it in the green building movement, certification and materials manufacture. The trade body identified waste management as another area that India could work jointly with Bhutan.
September 4th, 2013, 04:19 PM
TCS wins Nordic outsourcing deal (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/tcs-wins-nordic-outsourcing-deal/article5090052.ece)
Mumbai, Sept. 3:
Tata Consultancy Services has won an outsourcing deal from DNB, Norway’s largest financial services group, to render application maintenance and development services for six years.
TCS will operate across DNB’s channels and IT portfolio as part of the managed services contract.
Financial details of the deal were not disclosed. In the Nordic region, TCS employs over 5,500 professionals.
September 6th, 2013, 05:21 AM
Sify to invest in start-ups (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/sify-to-invest-in-startups/article5097503.ece)
New Delhi, Sept 5:
Sify Technologies Ltd today announced that it will explore avenues to invest in or partner with technology start-ups focusing on cloud, security and managed services.
These investments or partnerships will be particularly directed at those companies with synergies to Sify's current business lines.
The aim is to strengthen and differentiate Sify's current service and product offerings both for domestic and international markets, and through strategic relationships with target companies outside of India, expand its presence in key markets outside India.
Sify will also seek to leverage its intellectual property in India, create new revenue streams and increase brand awareness
Sify had already called on August 21, 2013, Rs 30 crore of capital from its 2010 Subscription Agreement with Sify's promoter group as initial funding for such investments.
An additional Rs 120 crore will remain available to Sify pursuant to the terms of that agreement, which may be called by Sify's board of directors as needed.
The board has also approved the execution of an Amendment to the Subscription Agreement removing the current September 2013 deadline to call the balance of Rs 120 crore, leaving such funds available for draw by the board at such time as it determines the funds are needed.
September 9th, 2013, 11:53 AM
Indian companies ditching IBM, SAP software for open source (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/tech-news/software-services/Indian-companies-ditching-IBM-SAP-software-for-open-source/articleshow/22432456.cms)
MUMBAI: Indian enterprises are increasingly moving to open-source software, recognising the cost benefits and flexibility it offers over proprietary software. A falling rupee, which increases licensing costs, is likely to hasten the shift from softwares made by companies like SAP, IBM and Oracle.
The government has already embraced open-source in a big way — the Aadhaar project is a case in point. Now, companies like Hungama Digital Entertainment, Uttam Energy, Bilcare, payment processor Euronet, insurer Star Union Dai-chi and IT outsourcer iGate — have also started using open-source software. And the list is growing.
"There is a definite trend towards open source from Indian companies," CN Raghupathi, the head of Infosys' India business, told ET. "Lower cost is a factor but so is innovation."
Amit Vora, chief technology officer of Hungama Digital, said though open-source is up to 70 per cent cheaper, the large developer pool for it was equally important. "The open source ecosystem and the ability to boost inter-operability is big selling factor. Plus, you don't have to be at the mercy of the vendors to provide customised features and innovation," he said.
For the past two years, enterprises have moved their servers to open source, but now the trend includes critical software. Business intelligence software and even customer-relationship management software is shifting to open source, said Rahul De, the Hewlett-Packard chair professor in information and communication technology at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore.
Anand Sankaran, senior vicepresident at Wipro Infotech, said telecom firms were evaluating the benefits of shifting to open-source software. "Why can't CRM (customer relationship management) be done on open source? Why do you need a licensed platform to run it — some of the companies have started thinking about it," said Sankaran.
The Indian enterprise software market, which is expected to reach $3.92 billion (about Rs 25,600 crore) this year, is expected to touch about $6.7 billion (about Rs 43,700 crore) by 2017, according to research firm Gartner. Spending on business intelligence platforms — including open-source versions — is expected to rise more than 13 per cent to $74.1 million (about Rs 483 crore) in India this year. This is expected to expand further to $107.4 million (about Rs 701 crore) by 2016.
September 10th, 2013, 05:20 PM
TCS bags Scandinavian Airlines' contract (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/tcs-bags-scandinavian-airlines-contract/article5112940.ece)
Mumbai, Sept 10:
Country’s largest software services firm Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) today said it has bagged a five-year multi-million euros deal from SAS Scandinavian Airlines to help transform and optimise its IT infrastructure.
TCS will implement its propriety cloud-based solutions to simplify and standardise SAS IT landscape and the initiative is a part of the SAS’ “4 Excellence Next Generation” strategy, aimed at improving competitiveness of the SAS Group, TCS said in a statement.
Through this partnership, SAS will also tap into TCS’ Aviation and Digital Innovation Labs to develop solutions addressing the needs of the new digital consumer, it added.
SAS Scandinavian Airlines is one of Northern Europe’s major airline, with more than 1,100 daily departures to 136 destinations in Scandinavia, Europe, the US and Asia.
“TCS is pleased to be selected as a strategic partner in SAS’ transformation journey to address the new paradigm in the aviation industry, which is characterised by intense competition and demanding customers who are increasingly going digital,” Amit Bajaj, Head - North Europe, TCS said.
TCS has recently been selected for several engagements like TDC in Denmark, Posten in Norway, Nokia in Finland and SAS in Sweden and the Nordic region at large.
“TCS has emerged as a clear partner of choice for Nordic companies looking to reinvent themselves in this new digital age,” Bajaj said.
Present in the Nordic region since 1991, TCS’ operations in the region comprise over 5,500 professionals working across Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark and Iceland.
September 10th, 2013, 05:25 PM
TCS wins Goa police project (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/tcs-wins-goa-police-project/article5111619.ece)
Mumbai, Sept 10:
Tata Consultancy Services is believed to have bagged a five-year e-governance deal to electronically link up all police stations and provide real-time crime and criminal information in Goa.
TCS shares were trading up marginally at Rs 1,995 on the BSE in afternoon trade.
TCS has received the letter of intent to become the systems integrator responsible for implementing the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems project, which is part of a larger e-governance that aims to electronically connect 14,000 police stations throughout the country.
A formal contract is expected to be signed between Goa Police and the country’s largest software firm within the next few weeks, sources said.
TCS’s subsidiary company CMC and Tech Mahindra were the other players in the race for this project. TCS and CMC had bid separately for this project.
September 14th, 2013, 03:59 PM
Rs 51,550-cr electronic chip units to come up in two years (http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/hardware/rs-51550-cr-electronic-chip-units-to-come-up-in-two-years/articleshow/22556878.cms?adcode=100)
NEW DELHI: Two electronic chip manufacturing units, which entail a combined investment of Rs 51,550 crore and would enjoy government subsidy, are likely to be operational in the country in the next two years.
Two consortia-- one led by Jaiprakash Associates in association with IBM and the other led Hindustan Semiconductor-- have proposed setting up these plants.
Communications and IT Minister Kapil Sibal said setting up of electronic chip facilities will also be of nation's strategic purpose as chips have security implications.
"There are strategic sectors like atomic energy sector, space, defence and power. In all of these you need chips. There are security considerations. It will serve our strategic purpose. There are security consideration. The fabs should be operational in about two years from now," Sibal said here.
At present there is no electronic chip manufacturing or semiconductor wafer fabrication plant in India. Over 90 per cent of the domestic electronic requirement is met through imports.
Government will also hold 11 per cent stake in each project, while technology providers are required to hold 10 per cent stake holding.
Department of Electronics and Information Technology Secretary J Satyanarayana said: "One plant is proposed by a consortium led by Jaiprakash Associates, along with IBM Microelectronics and the system integrator is Tower Jazz. The outlay of the proposed fab is about Rs 26,300 crore."
This unit is likely to come up in Greater Noida in UP. "The other plant is from Hindustan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation (HSMC) along with France-based ST Microelectronics and Silterra (Malaysia). The outlay of this proposed fab is about Rs 25,250 crore," Satyanarayana said.
The proposed location of this plant is in Gujarat. Government is yet to work out the details of subsidy the proposed projects will enjoy. Subsidy will depend on detailed project report to be submitted by the two consortia.
Sibal said that the about 60 per cent of incentives approved by Cabinet are already covered under existing policies. In addition to this, the Finance Ministry has agreed to give them status under section 35 AD of I-T Act which means capital investment amount will be set off against profit.
"They will be given interest free loan. This along with recognition under 35 AD will constitute balance 40 per cent of incentives to be provided to them," Sibal said.
Also, the loan amount given to the companies will be converted into 11 per cent equity in these projects, Satyanarayana said.
Sibal said that electronic chip manufacturing is highly capital intensive business and long gestation period.
"No body was interested in setting up wafer fab here unless you give them large concessions. It is zero duty in any country. We had to attract investors," he said.
Out of total 16 interest received by government, only the two consortium showed seriousness, the minister said.
September 15th, 2013, 11:49 AM
Serco signs new BPO contract with Abu Dhabi (http://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/serco-signs-new-bpo-contract-with-abu-dhabi-113091200802_1.html)
Outsourcing firm Serco, today announced that it has been awarded the contract to partner with Abu Dhabi Systems & Information Centre (ADSIC) -- the governmental body overseeing Abu Dhabi’s Information technology agenda -- to provide shared services to over 50 government departments within the United Arab Emirates.
The contract is expected to commence in first quarter of 2014 and is for an initial term of four years. The deal will see Serco initially provide citizen contact and issue resolution management in the public services realm.
Serco has created a delivery facility in Al Ain, the second largest city in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi for ADSIC. Under this new partnership, Serco will provide contact centre and support including voice, email and web chat.
Serco will provide employment to over 100 UAE nationals. The centre will offer services in both Arabic and English consolidating its foothold in the region with over 3,000 dedicated employees serving West Asia clients.
Infosys BPO to transform financial, accounting processes for AkzoNobel (http://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/infosys-bpo-to-transform-financial-accounting-processes-for-akzonobel-113091200670_1.html)
Infosys' business process outsourcing (BPO) unit today said it has entered into a contract with Dutch multinational AkzoNobel to transform the latter's finance and accounting processes.
“Infosys BPO will play a key role in accelerating AkzoNobel’s finance transformation program and streamline accompanying operations for AkzoNobel’s decorative business in over 30 countries across Europe, the Middle East and Africa,” Infosys BPO said in a press release today.
Infosys BPO will service AkzoNobel from its delivery centers in Poland and India in various European languages such as Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Swedish, the release said.
September 15th, 2013, 12:01 PM
Aegis bags BPO contract from Saudi Telecom Company (http://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/aegis-bags-bpo-contract-from-saudi-telecom-company-113082600790_1.html)
Aegis, the global outsourcing and technology services company from Essar Group, has bagged a human resources outsourcing contract from Saudi Telecom Company, further extending its existing relation with the company. Though the company did not disclose the deal size, sources confirmed the deal to be in the range of $50-60 million (around Rs 320 crore to Rs 384 crore).
The deal, that will provide human resources business process outsourcing services, has been won by the joint venture--Call Centre Company (CCC)--set up by Aegis and STC in 2011. As part of the JV, Aegis was to get business worth $2 billion from STC. The current deal is part of the extended work being transferred to the JV.
Tech Mahindra bags outsourcing deal from Volvo (http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/ites/Tech-Mahindra-bags-outsourcing-deal-from-Volvo/articleshow/22516241.cms)
MUMBAI: IT firm Tech Mahindra today said it won a contract from Sweden's Volvo Car Corporation for application maintenance and development.
No financial details were disclosed. According to sources, the three-year deal is worth over $40 million.
The company will develop, implement and maintain a range of applications for Volvo Cars to help increase efficiency and reduce costs, Tech Mahindra said in a statement.
Services will be provided across multiple domains, including manufacturing, product development, marketing and sales and reporting, starting this month, it added.
September 18th, 2013, 02:37 AM
The BRICS “Independent Internet” Cable. In Defiance of the “US-Centric Internet” (http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-brics-independent-internet-in-defiance-of-the-us-centric-internet/5350272)
The President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff announces publicly the creation of a world internet system INDEPENDENT from US and Britain ( the “US-centric internet”).
Not many understand that, while the immediate trigger for the decision (coupled with the cancellation of a summit with the US president) was the revelations on NSA spying, the reason why Rousseff can take such a historic step is that the alternative infrastructure: The BRICS cable from Vladivostock, Russia to Shantou, China to Chennai, India to Cape Town, South Africa to Fortaleza, Brazil, is being built and it’s, actually, in its final phase of implementation.
No amount of provocation and attempted “Springs” destabilizations and Color Revolution in the Middle East, Russia or Brazil can stop this process. The huge submerged part of the BRICS plan is not yet known by the broader public.
Nonetheless it is very real and extremely effective. So real that international investors are now jumping with both feet on this unprecedented real economy opportunity. The change… has already happened.
Brazil plans to divorce itself from the U.S.-centric Internet over Washington’s widespread online spying, a move that many experts fear will be a potentially dangerous first step toward politically fracturing a global network built with minimal interference by governments.
President Dilma Rousseff has ordered a series of measures aimed at greater Brazilian online independence and security following revelations that the U.S. National Security Agency intercepted her communications, hacked into the state-owned Petrobras oil company’s network and spied on Brazilians who entrusted their personal data to U.S. tech companies such as Facebook and Google.
BRICS Cable… a 34 000 km, 2 fibre pair, 12.8 Tbit/s capacity, fibre optic cable system
For any global investor, there is no crisis – there is plenty of growth. It’s just not in the old world
BRICS is ~45% of the world’s population and ~25% of the world’s GDP
BRICS together create an economy the size of Italy every year… that’s the 8th largest economy in the world
The BRICS presents profound opportunities in global geopolitics and commerce Links Russia, China, India, South Africa, Brazil – the BRICS economies – and the United States.
Interconnect with regional and other continental cable systems in Asia, Africa and South America for improved global coverage
Immediate access to 21 African countries and give those African countries access to the BRICS economies.
Projected ready for service date is mid to second half of 2015.
September 19th, 2013, 01:44 PM
Email, SMS stealing Android virus in India (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/email-sms-stealing-android-virus-in-india/article5142232.ece)
New Delhi, Sep 18:
A potentially damaging virus, which steals SMSes and personal details of an Android-enabled gadget-user, has been detected in Indian cyberspace and internet security sleuths have asked mobile phone and tablet users to exercise caution while operating. The malware is affecting all the versions of Android prior to version 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean).
“It has been observed that a critical vulnerability exists in Android which could allow attackers to inject malicious code into legitimate applications which makes it possible to change an application’s code without affecting the cryptographic signature of the application, essentially allowing a malicious author to trick the Android device into believing that the crafted application is unchanged,” the Computer Emergency Response Team-India (CeRT-In) said in its latest advisory to Android users in the country.
The malicious programme, the advisory said, is so damaging that it could be used for stealing personal information like email addresses, IMEI numbers, SMSes and installed applications.
“It could also send SMS or make calls from infected devices without user consent,” the sleuths of the national cyber security centre said.
“An attacker could exploit this vulnerability by placing other files with same name into an application package along with the legitimate files. The Android package verification occurs against the first file during installation. Thus, the crafted .APK passes the verification process and installs the second file. However, at runtime, other malicious file gets executed,” the advisory said.
The cyber police have also suggested some countermeasures. “Check for the permissions required by an application before installing, exercise caution while visiting un-trusted sites for clicking links, run a full system scan through a device with a mobile security solution or mobile anti-virus solution, do not download and install applications from untrusted sources and download applications only from trusted sources, reputed application markets and Google play store,” the security agency said.
September 19th, 2013, 02:22 PM
Infy launches 'Finacle 11E' (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/infy-launches-finacle-11e/article5142134.ece)
Mumbai, Sept 18:
Infosys, country’s second largest software services exporter, today launched a new version of its banking solution Finacle, aimed at making deeper inroads into the international markets.
“With Finacle 11E, we have taken a component approach to help banks of all sizes to rapidly modernise their operations in a phased manner, while minimising the risks. It will enhance banks’ efficiency and improve customer experience across all channels,” M Haragopal, Senior Vice-President and Global Head – Finacle, Infosys said.
Finacle today powers 168 banks across 81 countries and about 14 per cent of the global banked population are serviced by it, he added.
Banking and financial services accounted for 27 per cent of Infosys’ revenue of Rs 11,267 crore in the June quarter.
“The offering is futuristic and resonates strongly with the impending trends in the banking space globally. This new solution is a key to Finacle’s growth globally, especially in the advanced markets of the US and Europe,” Haragopal said.
In the domestic market, over 50 per cent of the public and private sector banks and eight foreign banks are powered by Finacle, thus serving about 40 per cent of the banked population in the country.
“Factors like macroeconomic uncertainty, regulatory upheaval, and changing customer preferences are leading banks to transform their businesses rapidly. However, such large-scale transformation projects are often too expensive or too complex for these banks to take on,” he said.
Finacle 11E will allow banks to take on transformation projects in bite-size pieces, increasing agility, minimising customer disruption and reducing risk, Haragopal added.
“Research indicates that reducing complexity in banking technology alone can result in 20-30 per cent increase in profits. Complexity of IT, combined with insufficient expertise within the business, is a major roadblock to modernising their IT infrastructure. That is a challenge that the new solution will address,” he said.
September 30th, 2013, 05:09 PM
The IT metropolis of Gujarat (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/the-it-metropolis-of-gujarat/article5179771.ece)
Ever since its coming into existence in 1960, Gujarat has always been seen a prosperous, forward-looking and well-governed State. Despite its intermittent disasters — both natural and man-made — the State has been a pioneer in various sectors. Its best known national landmarks are the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A), National Institute of Design (NID), and the Satellite Applications Centre (SAC) of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
However, when the information technology revolution began to sweep India in the early 1990s, Gujarat could not catch up for almost a decade. It was in this backdrop that the InfoCity was conceived in 1999, as a public-private partnership (PPP) project between the State Government-floated nodal agency for IT, Gujarat Informatics Ltd, and Creative InfoCity Ltd.
Creative InfoCity is part of Creative IT Inc, a Florida-based company of the Creative Choice Group. Creative InfoCity is a special purpose vehicle (SPV) floated to conceptualise, develop and operate this project. It is an NRI-owned real estate development group in the US, set up in 1984 by Dilip Barot, and now has interests in Jamaica and the Philippines in similar projects.
Unlike other cities in India, where IT companies set up base in a city or its outskirts, the Gujarat Government decided to create a whole new, self-sufficient township with state-of-the-art infrastructure to promote the emerging sector.
“InfoCity is Gujarat’s IT Metropolis,” said Suvas Barot, Managing Director, Creative InfoCity. The State Government allotted it 150 acres between Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad.
Despite various bottlenecks, the 2001 earthquake and the 2008 recession — even now, the trend is recessionary — InfoCity has managed to remain afloat. Of the 22 towers planned, four are up, with nearly eight lakh sq ft of commercial space. “We now have nearly 60 IT companies working on our campus. They include Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), E-tech Inc., Cybage, and Future First. TCS alone has leased 1.45 lakh sq ft. In all, these companies employ nearly 17,000 people and have created indirect employment for twice as many,” Barot told Business Line.
By creating nearly 50,000 jobs, directly and indirectly, InfoCity has succeeded in its motto of “IT with Jobs” and put Gandhinagar on the global IT map, said Barot. InfoCity is not only wooing IT majors to this township, but is also focusing on small and medium enterprises. “If a potential customer chooses the upcoming GIFT City in Gandhinagar or even Ahmedabad to set up his business, we help him. Our motto is simple: no customer should leave dissatisfied or go outside Gujarat.”
Though IT companies came to InfoCity rather slowly — their preferred destinations being places south of the Vindhyas — the township quickly became a popular destination for many people, particularly youth, thanks to its infrastructure and the social life it offered. The scale of development in InfoCity can be gauged by the fact that it has, besides apartments of various sizes, shopping malls, clubs and resorts, hotels and restaurants, banks, open-air movie theatres, event grounds, and sports/games facilities.
Barot says: “InfoCity provides a whole gamut of conveniences to the people living within it in order to boost their productivity and enhance their social lives. All provisions are made for educational, healthcare as well as recreational facilities. A day at InfoCity brings home the metropolis-feeling among the residents who scarcely realise they are living in a built-up space of two million sq ft.”
With 60 companies already on its campus, InfoCity is set to construct more towers as and when demand increases. Says Barot: “It will be the next IT hub of India, after Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Bangalore and Hyderabad are getting congested because of inadequate infrastructure. InfoCity offers an opportunity to Gujarat. Compared to other States, the cost of space and human resource here is much less.”
October 2nd, 2013, 06:21 AM
Microsoft Ventures calls for applications from start-ups (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/microsoft-ventures-calls-for-applications-from-startups/article5189683.ece)
Bangalore, Oct 1:
Microsoft India today announced the opening of applications for the fourth batch of Microsoft Ventures Accelerator in Bangalore, India.
Technology start-ups can apply online from October 1- November 15, the company said in a statement.
The shortlisted companies will be informed by November 25 and invited for a face-to-face session with a jury panel on December 13. The final list of start-ups, which will make it to the summer batch of calendar year 2014, will be informed by December 20.
Microsoft Ventures Accelerator in India is currently hosting its third batch of start-ups, with 80 per cent of the 22 companies that have graduated over the last two batches already having received funding.
Ravi Narayan, Director, Microsoft Ventures in India, said: “We are looking for entrepreneurs who are building companies for India and global markets in Cloud, internet, mobile and data analytics technologies."
October 3rd, 2013, 08:24 PM
Google acquires Indian-led company Flutter (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/tech-news/software-services/Google-acquires-Indian-led-company-Flutter/articleshow/23451061.cms)
NEW DELHI: Google has acquired gesture recognition startup Flutter. The San-Francisco-based company is founded by Navneet Dalal and Mehul Nariyawala of Indian origin.
Both the companies have not disclosed details on the price or the terms of the deal.
Flutter develops gesture recognition technology that controls popular apps like YouTube, Pandora and Netflix via webcam.
Announcing the deal on Flutter's homepage, CEO Navneet Dalal wrote, "Today, we are thrilled to announce that we will be continuing our research at Google. We share Google's passion for 10x thinking, and we're excited to add their rocket fuel to our journey."
A Google spokesperson too confirmed the deal to the media, "We're really impressed by the Flutter team's ability to design new technology based on cutting-edge research. We look forward to supporting and collaborating on their research efforts at Google."
Flutter was received funding from the likes of Andreessen Horowitz, NEA, Spring Ventures and Y Combinator.
The deal has tech circles speculating if the new tech will find its way into Google's upcoming devices like Nexus 5.
October 3rd, 2013, 08:25 PM
Google will put 100 Indian monuments online (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/tech-news/internet/Google-will-put-100-Indian-monuments-online/articleshow/23457218.cms)
NEW DELHI: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and Google have partnered to map and create 360-degree virtual views of 100 monuments in India. Once the data has been collected, it will be put online, allowing web users to get a virtual tour of a monument. Almost all major monuments, including the Taj Mahal, are part of the list.
Google says that it has already photographed and mapped Qutub Minar. The virtual tour for this monument will be soon available to web users. Humayun's Tomb will be mapped next. The company says that creating 360-degree imagery of a monument takes around 7 to 10 days.
Google is using a special tool called Street View Trekker to film the monuments. This is a camera mounted on a backpack. A traveller can wear the Trekker and go into places where Google's Street View cars cannot. Using this tool the company has brought several tourists attractions, including Grand Canyon and Palace of Versailles, online.
In India, the project to film 100 monuments is an extension of Google's earlier project for which the company collaborated with museums in the country and filmed famous paintings housed in them to make them accessible to web users.
"India's historical and archaeological sites are an important part of world's knowledge and through this partnership we hope to engage more people, both around the world and here in India, in discovering and learning about our country's rich cultural history," said the union minister of culture Chandresh Kumari Katoch at an event in Delhi.
Google said that once it has collected the data to create virtual tour of a monument, it will be put online at Google Maps as well as on the World Wonders Site, which is part of Google Cultural Institute.
Rajan Anandan, vice president and managing director at Google India, said, "The company was honoured to be working with the ASI to make Indian heritage sites available to the world to experience online."
Pravin Srivastava, director general of ASI said that the project would not only make monuments more accessible but would also "digitally preserve India's heritage for future generations".
Though the project carries Street View tag, this is a not a part of Google's Street View service. In 2011, the company started filming Indian roads in Bangalore to put them online but had to stop after cops objected. At that time Google said it had necessary clearance to film Indian streets and was talking to Bangalore cops to resolve their concerns.
But two years later, Google is yet to get permission to film Indian roads, the way it has done in most of the developed countries.
October 5th, 2013, 04:43 AM
Analysts see signs of Infy making a comeback, with two deals in a week (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/analysts-see-signs-of-infy-making-a-comeback-with-two-deals-in-a-week/article5201472.ece)
Bangalore, Oct. 4:
With two marquee deals in the past seven days and a possibility of upward revenue guidance for the third quarter, Infosys looks set to shrug off its poor run.
Earlier this week, India’s second largest software exporter said that it has bagged a four-year deal from Toyota to support the technology that the Japanese auto major uses to support its internal and external business functions.
According to a statement, the company will support supply chain, manufacturing, sales, after sales and customer service) and corporate functions that includes HR and finance, but did not put a value to the deal.
Similarly, in the same week, Infosys along with IBM won a deal from UK-based bank Williams & Glyn’s, a part of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBSG), which was estimated to be around Rs 2,535 crore.
When contacted, Infosys officials did not disclose the size of the deal and said the company does not comment on client engagements.
An Infosys senior executive, on condition of anonymity, pointed out that more than the size of the deal, it is the value and the kind of engagement that it has with some of its recent wins that could act as a kind of benchmark for other competitors.
“Take the Williams & Glyn’s example – we are architecting the IT infrastructure that involves everything from core banking, mobile banking and a future wherein the bank can be operational without the need to have a physical branch,” said the senior executive. .
Also, analysts are expecting higher revenue guidance from the current 6-10 per cent growth for the 2014 fiscal year.
However, they are concerned about the predictability in revenues, which was once a hallmark of the company.
“While these two deals are a positive, it still does not give an indication of non-volatile revenue growth,” said Ankita Somani, IT & Telecom Analyst with Angel Broking.
A.K. Prabhakar, an IT analyst, formerly with Mumbai-based brokerage firm Anand Rathi, believes that with these deals, Infosys has started to close more deals since co-founder N.R. Narayana Murthy has come back at the helm.
Industry watchers also point out that the management is aggressively trying to shed off its slacker image.
“Companies like Infosys with their kind of success have found it hard to evolve organisationally and culturally when compared to some of their peers,” said Peter Schumacher, CEO, Value Leadership Group.
October 17th, 2013, 08:28 PM
Engineers design OS that works on Indian languages! (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/engineers-design-os-that-works-on-indian-languages/article5244209.ece)
Ahmedabad, Oct 17:
Move over Windows and Android! For a majority of non-English speaking Indians, a team of Indian developers have designed an operating system (OS) that runs on cloud and works in Indian vernacular languages.
The system is expected to give fillip to the development of digital applications for non-English speaking users.
“The OS runs on cloud and what makes it unique is its application that it is compatible with other Operating Systems also. Even users of computing devices such as mobile phones and laptops, which do not have language support, can use this application in any of the 22 Indian languages,” said its developers, Phani Bhushan, an IIT-Kharagpur graduate and Gopal Pradhan, an alumnus of Government Engineering College, Bhubaneswar, on Thursday.
“The OS has a potential to include the non-English speaking population of the country into the digital revolution,” Mukesh Mathur, a scientist with Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council, Department of Science & Technology (DST).
Because of the language barrier, a large percentage of Indian population has found it difficult to be included in the digital revolution and computer literacy in India was just 6.5% in 2012. Statistics show that even among the 867 million mobile phone users in the country, nearly 600 million cannot use its applications due to the language barrier as they do not understand English.
“They use their mobile phones only for voice call and want applications in their own language,” Bhushan said and claimed that their computing platform will enable programme developers to develop a common vernacular application and deliver them on any computing device such as mobile phone, personal computer or tablet.
He said vernacular applications for computers and mobile phones were not available because the available technology does not allow a developer to create vernacular applications. “It provides necessary widgets/libraries which are required to develop vernacular applications that can be accessed from any mobile/PC irrespective of their OS and language support. This will enable users to consume vernacular apps from their existing devices,” he said.
“This product has the potential to resolve many government problems, including those being faced in the implementation of the Unique Identity project,” Padmaja Ruparel of Indian Angel Network and one of the jury members, said.
October 18th, 2013, 04:12 PM
CDAC, Icann to set up cyberattack combat centre (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/tech-news/internet/CDAC-Icann-to-set-up-cyberattack-combat-centre/articleshow/24312237.cms?)
NEW DELHI: The Center for Development and Advanced Computing (CDAC) has joined hands with the US-based agency, International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann), to set up a research facility that will help tackle cyber attacks and online security threats.
The institution has been named, Center for Excellence in DNS Security. Officials from the CDAC, an agency of the union ministry of communications and IT, and the Icann signed an expression of intent regarding the same on Thursday.
Icann allocates web addresses and assigns unique protocol numbers on the internet. A non-profit body, it functions under a contract with the US government, where the US department of commerce vets changes and additions to top level domain names (for example, country codes like .in or .pk).
"We are always in doubt when accessing the internet whether whatever is being shared is visible to someone else. We need to dispel this fear, which is associated to the internet," said J Satyanarayan, secretary, department of telecommunications.
Much of the conversation around Thursday's announcement focused on the Icann's role in the governance and management of the internet infrastructure, and the need for an equal participation of other countries in the same. At the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) conference where the announcement for the center was made, Union communications and information technology minister Kapil Sibal stressed on a "consensual approach" in deciding the institutional framework of the internet.
"India is a natural multi-stakeholder society. It shouldn't be a huge effort [for India] to lead us in this space of multi-stakeholderism," Icann president and CEO Fadi Chehade said at the Ficci conference, later in the afternoon.
The Icann has been on the receiving end of criticism for its US-centric nature of operation. The organization has stepped up its drive for international engagement since the revelations of the US surveillance program by whistleblower Edward Snowden in June this year. They recently also announced three new panels on resource management and internet governance with a studied cosmopolitan constitution of members.
Last week, they urged Brazil president Dilma Roussef to take on a more prominent role in evolving a new model of internet governance. The announcement of the India center is the latest in the series of the Icann's efforts.
Civil society activists do not read much political significance in the development. Sunil Abraham, executive director of the Center for Internet and Society acknowledged Icann's "accelerated globalization" post Snowden, but saw little political impact of this move.
"It's a small, very technical research center. It's good as long as it doesn't mean that India is okay with US oversight over the Icann. There are still several public interest issues with the Icann," says Parminder Jeet Singh, executive director, IT for Change, a Bangalore-based NGO involved in research and advocacy.
October 18th, 2013, 04:49 PM
HCL Tech: In step with Infosys, but behind TCS (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/hcl-tech-in-step-with-infosys-but-behind-tcs/article5247691.ece)
October 18, 2013:
HCL Technologies beat market expectations and delivered growth that matched Infosys, but was well behind market leader TCS during the September quarter.
Strong volumes, increase in the proportion of fixed-price contracts that provide better margins and greater traction in top clients were positives for HCL during the quarter.
During the period, HCL’s revenues grew 14 per cent sequentially (3.5 per cent in dollar terms). The revenue growth almost kept pace with Infosys at 3.8 per cent but was below the 5.4 per cent expansion that TCS delivered.
HCL witnessed a 3.6 per cent increase in volumes (person months billed), a tad higher than 3.1 per cent at Infosys, but still less than half of the spectacular 7.3 per cent that TCS achieved. Billing rates for HCL held up as with other players.
Revenues from key segments, such as financial services, manufacturing and life sciences & healthcare rose 5.6-6.8 per cent sequentially, much faster than the overall company’s growth rate. HCL also witnessed good growth from the US and Europe.
HCL’s revenues from its top 20 clients grew faster than that from others, suggesting it has been able to mine existing clients for greater quantum of business. It also added one client in the $100-million category. TCS managed three new clients in the same bucket, while Infosys did not add any customer in the $100-million category. Fixed-price contracts increased contribution to HCL’s revenues to 54.7 per cent.
The one aspect on which HCL stole a march over its rivals was in infrastructure management services (IMS), where it is the top player and grew at an unusual 8.7 per cent. Other service offerings grew just 0.6-1.9 per cent sequentially in the September quarter.
Revival in US, Europe
For TCS and Infosys, demand across other services has been robust. HCL may have to get its act together on this front.
The IT industry appears to have hit a good patch with revival in spends in the US and increasingly in Europe as well; evident from the performance of the top-tier and many mid-sized players.
TCS, Infosys and HCL have made the most of two seasonally strong quarters. Of course, TCS is likely to lead the industry growth, given its consistency, and easily achieve trade body Nasscom’s projected IT industry growth rate of 12-14 per cent for the current fiscal.
With Infosys too regaining old form and Wipro looking to pull up its socks, it may no longer be just a TCS-HCL show, going forward.
October 19th, 2013, 05:34 PM
Andhra Pradesh invites Oracle to expand in Hyderabad (http://newindianexpress.com/states/andhra_pradesh/Andhra-Pradesh-invites-Oracle-to-expand-in-Hyderabad/2013/10/19/article1843659.ece1)
Andhra Pradesh has invited Oracle, world’s second largest information technology company, to expand its operations in Hyderabad. Minister for IT Ponnala Lakshmaiah made this request at a meeting he held with Andrews Jones, senior vice-president (Indo- Pacific) of the company here on Friday. Oracle opened its window at Hyderabad in 2003 with a commitment to create 3,234 jobs and has employed more than 5,000 people so far.
Referring to the Centre’s sanction of an ITIR project at Hyderabad, Lakshmaiah said the state government prepared a 30- year plan to develop IT industry in 50,000 acres at Hyderabad. A detailed project report was sent to the Centre for establishment of an ITIR in about 12,000 acresnear Visakhapatnam, he said, adding that DPRs were being prepared for establishment of ITIRs also at Tirupati, Anantapur and Adilabad.
“To bring IT services to citizens, the government has connected 25,000 villages with broad brand and is providing 4G service to 92 cities,” he said.
October 22nd, 2013, 01:06 PM
Bosch Software, Tech Mahindra tie up (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/bosch-software-tech-mahindra-tie-up/article5260517.ece)
Bangalore, Oct 22:
Bosch Software Innovations, the software and systems house of the Bosch Group, and Tech Mahindra Ltd has announced a global strategic business relationship with a primary focus on the global manufacturing and transportation industries.
The partnership aims to develop and deliver scalable software solutions for an interconnected world, also known as the Internet of Things and Services.
It will concentrate on accelerating the delivery of software solutions, reducing time-to-market and upfront capital investments for customers.
The solution offerings arising from this partnership will address topics such as industrial equipment management, connected services and intermodal transportation.
October 22nd, 2013, 01:09 PM
TCS to manage IT infrastructure for Bombardier (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/tcs-to-manage-it-infrastructure-for-bombardier/article5257752.ece)
Mumbai, Oct. 21:
Rail technology company Bombardier Transportation has joined hands with Tata Consultancy Services to manage its IT infrastructure for the next five years.
TCS will provide remote infrastructure management services to Bombardier’s recently established data centres located in Germany.
According to a press statement, the deal is worth “several million euros”. TCS would also provide SAP support to Bombardier Transportation.
”India is central to Bombardier’s Information Services strategy – our relationship with TCS offers operational excellence in markets around the world,” said Thomas Leidenbach, Vice-President IS Infrastructure, Bombardier Transportation.
The Toronto Stock Exchange-listed company is the world’s only manufacturer of both airplanes and trains.
The TCS scrip was down by 2.21 per cent to close at Rs 2,073.5 on the Bombay Stock Exchange today.
October 22nd, 2013, 06:51 PM
Karnataka: New IT policy unveils many sops for investors (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/states/karnataka-new-it-policy-unveils-many-sops-for-investors/article5261487.ece)
Bangalore, Oct. 22:
The new IT policy of Karnataka, unveiled by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Tuesday, comes with a slew of first-time sops to create as many as 2 million jobs by 2020.
The policy also provides a breathing space for IT companies from certain provisions of the labour law for a period of five years. They will also be treated at par with public utilities for exemption from strikes and bandhs. But concessions will be available only if each of the companies guarantees a certain number of jobs.
A separate fund called Bangalore First will be floated to promote the information technology sector in the city. All the IT sector companies will also get power at concessional rates.
The policy states that IT companies will get land at concessional rates provided they are set up in tier two and three cities. These incentives will be given directly to customers and not to real estate developers.
As per the incentive, land will be allotted at the rate of one acre for every 1,000 jobs created. Those companies which want to get incentives should provide a minimum of 1,000 jobs with salaries of at least Rs 10,000 per person per month for at least two years.
Each of the companies will have to provide bank guarantee and in case of default of the terms, they will forfeit the deposit. The quantum of subsidy will be Rs 60,000 per job created and will be adjusted against the amount which needs to be paid towards cost of the lease of land.
Start-ups too will get concessions. They will be provided space at concessional rates of Rs 5 to Rs 15 per square ft depending on where they are located. However, these start ups will have to vacate the plug & play space with internet facility if they reach a revenue of Rs 25 crore in Bangalore and employ 50 technically qualified persons.
IT and all other related companies will also get a stamp duty exemption of 75 per cent if they are located in Mysore and Mangalore.
Another highlight of the policy is that the local companies will be preferred for giving contracts for the state’s e-government projects.
Land at concessional rates only for companies and not for real estate developers.
Those which want to get concessions should provide a minimum of 1,000 jobs at a minimum salary of Rs 10,000 per person per month for a period of two years.
Land to be allocated at the rate of one acre for every 1,000 jobs created.
The qantum of subsidy will be capped at Rs 60,000 per job. The company shall give a bank guarantee, which can be invoked upon failure to fulfill the conditions regarding employment.
Start ups will be eligible for plug and play space with internet at the rate of Rs 5 per sq ft – Rs 15 per sq ft depending on the location. But once these start ups employ at least 50 technically qualified people and have revenues of Rs 25 crore in Bangalore, they will have to vacate the space. Other cities will have terms depending on their location.
The department of IT, BT will act as a single window agency for clearance of IT / ITeS and other such companies.
The Government will exempt IT / ITeS / start-ups / knowledge-based industries from the applicability of Karnataka Industrial Employment (standing orders) Rules, 1946 for a period of five years. They will also be treated as public utility institutions for exemption from strikes and bandhs.
The government will reimburse provident fund and employees state insurance of Rs 2,000 per employee per month for two years for all new jobs created in tier two and three cities.
Power tariffs at concessional rates for all IT / ITeS, BPO, telecom, animation, KPOs, start ups and knowledge based industries in the state. To create Brand Bangalore 3.0 and Bangalore First Fund to promote Bangalore along the lines of India Brand Equity Fund set up by the Government of India and the CII.
Nasscom welcomed the new IT policy. It said, “We appreciate their efforts to position Bangalore and Karnataka as the preferred global investment destination for the sector. The government’s renewed focus on providing a fillip to Innovation-based industries focusing on areas like start-ups, ESDM, animation & graphics, and other web- and mobile-based creative areas will help Karnataka retain its leadership position in the technology landscape. Further, five year extension from the applicability of Karnataka Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Rules and declaring this sector as essential services and will enable ease of doing business in the state. The focus on start-ups and tier 2 cities is particularly welcome as it supports the wave of entrepreneurship and innovation in the country.”
October 22nd, 2013, 06:56 PM
Cyber frauds cost India $4 billion in 2013: Symantec (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/cyber-frauds-cost-india-4-billion-in-2013-symantec/article5261247.ece)
New Delhi, Oct 22:
As cyber criminals are using more sophisticated means like ransomware and spear-phishing, such Internet frauds have cost India a whopping $4 billion (about Rs 24,630 crore) this year, a report by cyber security major Symantec said today.
According to the 2013 Norton Report, the average cost per cyber crime victim in India is up at $207 during August 2012 to July 2013 from $192 in the year-ago period.
The report reveals that cyber crimes cost India $4 billion in the August 2012—July 2013 period, which is up by 8 per cent from corresponding year-ago period.
Norton’s report is one of the largest global studies investigating the impact of cyber crime on consumers. It is based on self-reported experiences of more than 13,000 adults across 24 countries, including 1,000 adults in India.
Explaining the cost part, Symantec Corporation Country Sales Manager India (Consumer Products & Solutions) Ritesh Chopra said, “This cost is based on the amount spent by a user on replacing hardware or software as well as data after he/she has been subjected to a cyber attack.”
Today cyber criminals use more sophisticated attacks, like ransomware and spear-phishing, which yield them more money per attack than ever before, he added.
With 66 per cent of Indian consumers using their personal mobile device for both work and play, this creates entirely new security risks for enterprises as cyber criminals have the potential to access even more valuable information, Chopra said.
The report reveals that India is among the world’s top five countries with the highest number of incidences of cyber crime like ransomware (11 per cent), identity theft (11 per cent) and phishing (9 per cent).
“India appears to be the ransomware capital of Asia Pacific with 11 per cent victims of this form of virtual extortion,” the report said.
That apart, in last 12 months, 56 per cent of cyber crime victims in India have experienced online bullying, online stalking, online hate crime or other forms of online harassment, it added.
It further reveals that as consumers become more mobile and connected, these conveniences often come at a cost to them and their security. A staggering 63 per cent of smartphone users in India have experienced some form of mobile cyber crime in the past 12 months.
October 23rd, 2013, 07:18 PM
IT majors on hiring spree (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/it-majors-on-hiring-spree/article5261748.ece)
Mumbai, Oct. 22:
Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys and HCL Technologies have collectively created four times more jobs in the second quarter as compared to the first, a sign of the ever improving demand environment for software companies
The three companies have made net additions of 12,319 in the quarter ended September 30 as against 3,067 in April-June quarter, as per publicly available data. TCS leads the pack with net additions of 7,664 against 1,390 in Q1.
One of the main reasons, according to Dipen Shah, Head of Private Client Group Research, Kotak Securities, is that Q2 is when large-scale inductions of campus recruits begins. “Given that the demand patterns this time around are much brighter than what we saw last year, the increase in fresher inductions and lateral hirings is on expected lines,” added Shah.
In their Q2 earnings, TCS, Infosys and Wipro beat analyst expectations, a trend attributable to the improving economic climate, rising demand for software services and the depreciating rupee.
“The US market has come back, Europe has stabilised and velocity in decision making has improved in the last few quarters. Even discretionary spending has gone up and projects that were stuck in the pipeline have started moving,” said Shah.
According to recent news reports, 1.65 lakh new IT jobs could be created in India this year, bettering trade body Nasscom’s earlier projection of 1,50,000.
The emergence of new technologies such as cloud computing, mobility and big data too are driving demand for talent, especially freshers, says Sunil Goel, director of executive search firm GlobalHunt. Wipro is the only exception to this trend; its employee base has shrunk by 65 to 1,47,216 from 1,47,281 in the previous sequential quarter.
Ankita Somani, Sector Analyst with Angel Broking, believes that this could be because of Wipro’s employee utlisation levels (gross) which stood at 66.1 per cent.
“Wipro has enough people on its rolls already who have not been deployed on projects and hence it does not make sense to add more hands. Probably, the company will first step up utilization and then scout for new talent,” she said. Gross utilisation at TCS and Infosys stood at 78 per cent and 73 per cent, respectively, at Q2 end.
October 25th, 2013, 04:35 PM
Accenture ranked 1st as ‘most sought after employer brand’ in India (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/accenture-ranked-1st-as-most-sought-after-employer-brand-in-india/article5268599.ece)
New Delhi, Oct 24:
Technology services company Accenture has topped the list of 20 most sought after employers in India, compiled by professional networking site LinkedIn.
IT majors Wipro and Infosys have been ranked at the second and third place respectively as the ‘most InDemand employer brand’ in India by LinkedIn.
In India the top sectors are tech, telecom & media, professional services, and aero/auto/engineering.
This is the second year in a row Accenture has retained its numero uno spot, the professional networking site said.
The top 10 companies in the list are IBM (4th), Hewlett Packard (5th), Oracle (6th), Tata Consultancy Services (7th), Amazon (8th), Microsoft (9th) and Airtel (10th).
LinkedIn has determined these rankings by analysing the actions of its members on the platform.
The professional network has more than 238 million members globally with over 21 million in India.
Internet giant Google which has been ranked as the top employer in demand in the world by LinkedIn, took the 13th spot on the Indian list. Google is followed by Apple and Unilever on the global list.
Other firms in the top 20 list in India included Larsen & Toubro (11), Dell (12), HCL Technologies (14), Cognizant Technology Solutions (15), Deloitte (16), Cisco (17), Genpact (18), Adobe (19) and GE (20).
“The companies who have made it to this year’s list are definitely ahead of the curve in their talent management efforts,” LinkedIn India Director Talent Solutions Irfan Abdulla said.
“Building and maintaining an employer brand to attract the right kind of candidates is the need of the hour, failing which they will surely lose out in the war for quality talent,” Abdulla added.
October 27th, 2013, 08:46 PM
Puducherry to set up SEZ for IT-enabled service industry (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/states/puducherry-to-set-up-sez-for-itenabled-service-industry/article5278569.ece)
Chennai, Oct. 27:
Puducherry, which has a well-established hub for IT hardware manufacturing industry, plans to set up a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) for the IT and IT-enabled service industry. The initiative will promote economic growth, generate employment opportunity and boost technological developments in the Union Territory.
Hardware majors such as Lenovo, HCL, Acer, Hewlett-Packard and Wipro have manufacturing units in Puducherry.
However, the software industry is in a nascent stage with the presence of a few business process outsourcing units.
The Department of Information Technology in Puducherry has issued a global tender inviting private participation in design, build, finance, operate and transfer of an IT/ITeS SEZ in Puducherry for a concession period of 30 years.
This includes construction period of three years through public-private partnership.
Demand estimate has been done through a macro to micro-level approach for the planned SEZ, for which around 1 million sq ft of built up space will be required.
The SEZ comes with its own benefits such as 100 per cent tax exemption on profits earned for the first five years, a 50 per cent exemption for the next five years and another 50 per cent exemption on re-invested profits in the following five years.
SEZ developers, on the other hand, get 100 per cent tax exemption on profits for ten years, which they can choose in the block of the first fifteen years.
This can be got by companies which are already in Puducherry and want to move to the IT/ITeS SEZ, says a department press release.
Manpower and real estate cost was lower in Union Territory compared with other IT destinations, including Chennai.
In addition, the Puducherry offers a capital subsidy of Rs 30 lakh to entrepreneurs for setting up a unit in the Union Territory.
This should encourage small-scale entrepreneurs to set up their units in Puducherry.
A subsidy of Rs 1 crore is offered on development of 50,000 sq ft of built up space and also on development of infrastructure. The value-added tax in Puducherry was 4-6 per cent as compared with 14 per cent in Tamil Nadu, the release said.
October 27th, 2013, 08:49 PM
Healthcare, insurance firms fare well at Dubai IT event (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/states/healthcare-insurance-firms-fare-well-at-dubai-it-event/article5278436.ece)
Thiruvananthapuram, Oct. 27:
Small and medium IT companies in healthcare, insurance and travel sectors from the State have fared well during the ‘Gitex technology week’ that concluded in Dubai on Thursday.
P.H. Kurian, Principal Secretary-Industries, Kerala, led a delegation to the vent as part of the Global IT Connect initiative conceived by industry body Group of Technology Companies (GTech).
Chief Executive Officers of Technopark and Infopark as also those of 20 companies were members of the 25-member delegation, a GTech spokesman said here.
At least seven companies have entered into new contracts with business houses in the UAE, reaffirming capability to cater to transformational IT needs of the region, the spokesman added.
The visiting team hosted a series of business-to-business meetings through means of which several delegate companies clinched partnerships, business and technology, with clients.
“This is only an indication of things to follow. The mood is upbeat with Dubai hopeful of hosting Expo 2020 of which a declaration is due in a month,” said Rajesh Mathachan, director, Confianz.
NEXT BIG EVENT
Mathachan’s company has entered into a contract with a leading insurance broking firm at the Dubai event.
“If Dubai manages to emerge as the host for Expo 2020, one would see an unprecedented surge in developmental activities. Kerala-based companies could emerge frontrunners there,” Mathachan said.
Meanwhile, Girish Babu, Chief Executive Officer, Technopark, said that the focus of Global IT Connect is to connect the world with Kerala’s most advanced IT parks.
“It would be ideal for businesses in the UAE to leverage the 75,000-strong workforce here and enhance business by adopting the most advanced technology solutions”, he added.
Venkatesh Thyagarajan, CEO of Cabot Technologies, who was on the team that visited Dubai, said that the it helped companies purveying cutting-edge technology solutions but lacking bandwidth to go global and reach out to the global audience.
The UAE has an increasing demand for IT products and services but is not serviced by the tier 1 companies. Cost-effective tier 2 and 3 companies from Kerala can make a difference here, Thyagarajan said.
The first leg of Global Connect to Australia earlier this year saw 25 business and technology partnerships being signed.
October 28th, 2013, 06:02 PM
Mangalore boy develops social networking site (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/social-media/Mangalore-boy-develops-social-networking-site/articleshow/24794894.cms)
MANGALORE: A 15-year-old I PU student has developed a social networking site. Called Youflik, it has features like status update, friend request, message, chat, like, comment, etc.
Pradeep Reddy, chief operating officer, Youflik Social Net Connect, said: "Prithviraj S Amin always dreamt of developing a social networking site of Indian origin. Though we registered the company in December, it started functioning by August this year."
Reddy said the site has an easy-to-use interface with cutting-edge technologies like single-page application and single-page interface, aided with horizontal scrolling. There is a street-side feature that helps users explore shops digitally.
Amin has introduced a blood group finder, making it possible to locate users who have entered their blood group while signing up. Those in need of blood can pass the message to the group. A notification will be sent to everyone whose group matches with the required blood group. At the next level, the team hopes to improve the blood group finder by dividing it into zones, wherein the notification regarding blood requirement will go to only those who are in the specific zones, Reddy explained.
The formal beta launch of the social networking site was held on Saturday. The team is gearing up to launch the mobile application in December and the main launch will be held in January in Bangalore.
October 30th, 2013, 08:11 AM
November 6th, 2013, 02:24 AM
Cognizant beats estimates, peers
"Cognizant and TCS are likely to continue to significantly outpace its/their offshore competitors and the industry. In just three years' time (end of CY16), it is possible that Cognizant will have $15 billion annual revenue and TCS $20 billion - making them roughly twice the size of their tier-I offshore rivals," said Peter Schumacher, CEO of Value Leadership, a management consulting firm. "Cognizant and TCS will be in a league of their own on par with Accenture and IBM and customers will be considering them for their largest and most complex contracts."
November 6th, 2013, 09:09 AM
Top global IT firms have more staff in India than home nations (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/careers/job-trends/Top-global-IT-firms-have-more-staff-in-India-than-home-nations/articleshow/25280494.cms)
BANGALORE: It's a measure of India's strength in software services and the number of engineers it produces that some of the world's largest IT companies have more employees in India now than in their home countries.
And increasingly, these foreign companies are shifting their consulting base to India, thanks to the talent coming out of the country's business schools.
IBM, the biggest in the business, has been steadily reducing its US employee numbers and has simultaneously increased sharply its Indian ones. The company does not officially break up its employee numbers by geography, but the IBM employee organization Alliance@IBM puts the US figure for 2012 at 91,000, down from 127,000 in 2006. The last time IBM provided figures for India was in 2007, when it said it had 73,000 employees here. Since then, all estimates suggest that the company has added another 50,000 to 60,000 employees, taking the total count to about 1.3 lakh.
That puts the India number at more than 40% of the US figure. It also means — given IBM's global headcount of 4.3 lakh — that one in almost every three IBM employee is in India.
One-third of global IT workforce is in India
Around one-third of the global workforce employed in top IT companies is based in India — a sign of the fact that our country is virtually turning into the global IT headquarters.
Sample this: Accenture's strength in India, at over 90,000, is more than double that in the US (its traditional home), at about 43,000. The company has a total strength of 2.75 lakh, which means India accounts for a third of its workforce. French IT major Capgemini has over 44,000 of its 1.25 lakh employees in India; its staff strength in India grew by 50% in just the past two-and-a-half years. It has just 20,000 staffers in its home country, France. Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) has 24,000 of its 98,000 employees in India. Though TOI could not obtain its US strength, that in India would be at least its second largest operation.
"No other place can scale up as India can," says Aruna Jayanthi, CEO of Capgemini India, a company that makes no bones about its overwhelming dependence on the country. India produces some 5 lakh engineers a year, and even though many of them are said to be unemployable straight off campuses, numbers that are employable are significant. Most of them are sufficiently comfortable in English, and given India's more than two-decade experience with software, engineers graduate with a certain comfort with the space.
"We have no problem getting talent. There is a surplus at the entry level and salaries at this level have stabilized. So for the foreseeable future, India will be our key centre of delivery. In fact, all our freshers from around the world come here for 6-8 weeks of training," says Jayanthi.
Siddharth Pai, partner and president in outsourcing advisory firm ISG Asia Pacific, says the East and West are demographically different, with sizable ageing populations in the West. "This and the demand for specialized skills that's available in plenty here compared to that in other countries have made India play the global delivery game. Companies competing for specialized skills will ramp up their headcount in India. Leadership skills will also come out of here and India will find its place in the global leadership league," he says.
Sundararaman Vishwanathan of IT consulting firm Zinnov notes that while American companies have been adept at putting India at the centre of their global delivery strategy, some European and Japanese companies have been behind in the India-adoption curve and are now taking the acquisition route to acquire service capabilities here. Japan's NTT Data, one of the world's biggest IT services companies, acquired Intelligroup, an IT company with a significant India presence, two years ago, and bought Indian datacentre services provider Netmagic last year.
Most of the IT services companies are also now building strong consulting strengths in India — consultants that are used not just for India, but also for global engagements. Capgemini India started establishing this business two years ago and already has 200 consultants, a number that has doubled in the past year. Jayanthi says India's top business schools produce very good quality talent for consulting. "We train them by sending them to different countries. India also does 80-90% of the research and ground work for consulting engagements," she says.
November 9th, 2013, 02:47 PM
India stepping up surveillance on social websites: Report (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/tech-news/internet/India-stepping-up-surveillance-on-social-websites-Report/articleshow/25462851.cms)
LUCKNOW: In clear signs of the Indian government increasing its online surveillance, not all of it necessarily tenable, Apple's first transparency report, released globally on November 5, suggests India made 27 "law enforcement device requests" regarding 65 Apple devices between January 1 and June 30, 2013.
In contrast, the global transparency report released by Facebook shows that the Indian government sent over 3,200 requests for "some" information related to 41,44 user accounts. Microsoft and Skype, during the same period, received account-specific details for 413 Microsoft accounts and 102 Skype accounts by the Indian government.
While Apple supplied data in 41% cases, Facebook says it complied with the requests in nearly 50% cases and supplied user data to the Indian government. Microsoft and Skype, in the transparency reports, have said 80.6% and 79.1% data was released, respectively.
In its report, Apple explains device-based requests include specific requests by a government agency or court, including those seeking customer contact information or the date on which Apple services were first used on a device, in cases where thefts are reported. In case of India, one of the 41 countries that sought such information, Apple received 65 requests for specific devices including iPhone, iPad, iPod and Mac.
The report also clarifies Apple supplied "some" data in 11 cases, amounting to 41% compliance to the total requests received. This information, the report suggests, includes purchase information or relevant device information such as device registration, subscriber, service, and repair in response to a "valid legal process".
India does not, however, feature in Apple's list of 31 countries that sought more specific account details of users, personal data and their use of online services, including customer identifying information like email, stored photographs, or other user content stored online.
Though Apple has only released sketchy details of the number of account-related details sought by various governments, the United States tops the surveillance lists in both categories; the US government made 3,542 requests for a total of 8,605 devices in the law enforcement requests category. Though exact numbers have not been released, the US government also sought account specific information regarding 2,000-3,000 users. Apple does not specify the exact percentage of accounts it gave out data for in the US.
Even in India, the extent of online monitoring is only expected to go up. Already, the Indian government is getting ready to set up a Centralized Monitoring System across telecom operators and ISPs, which will not only allow it to monitor internet traffic, not just without approval from courts but also without the knowledge of telecom operators. It will, however, have to seek information from companies like Twitter, Facebook and Google, where user information is encrypted.
Already, India ranks second in the world - after United States - for seeking account specific details from Facebook between January 1 and June 30, 2013. In contrast, US generated between 11,000 and 12,000 such requests. While Facebook supplied information for 50% of the total accounts in India, Facebook released 79% data for US-based user accounts.
Twitter, in the meantime, has also released its transparency report saying the Indian government requested for the removal of one tweet through a court order and another removal request though a government or police order. Between January 1 and June 30, 2013, Twitter was asked to withhold three tweets.
Though no accounts were barred during this period, Twitter says it received 60 removal requests between January and June 2013 for 104 user accounts and it complied with 38% of these requests. The company also received fewer than 10 requests for disclosure of user information from the Indian government but did not, its transparency report says, comply with any such requests.
November 17th, 2013, 07:08 AM
India ranks among the world's top 10 countries in terms of gaming downloads, as of September 2013 (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/Gaming-forum-puts-spotlight-on-India/articleshow/25905401.cms)
PUNE: Action, role-playing, strategy, arcade, cards, racing and sports games have emerged as the top gaming categories that are a hit among Indian users, as per September 2013 data, said Rajesh Rao, chair, Nasscom Gaming Forum, here on Friday, addressing the NASSCOM Game Developer Conference.
The forum featured experts from the gaming industry presenting tech and middleware sessions, round-tables and one-on-ones with mentoring and legal advice.
Sharing India and global app trends in the conference, Rao said that games like Candy Crush Saga, Subway Surfers and Temple Run 2, among others, are some of the top games in India in terms of downloads.
"The top ten countries by total iOS App Store and Google Play downloads as per September 2013 data are the United States, which is at the top spot, followed by China, Russia, Japan, South Korea, India, Brazil, United Kingdom, Germany and Mexico," he said.
Rao said that the country has seen over 100 indie (independent video games) start-ups in the last two years.
Yoichi Wada, chairman of a Japanese video-game developer, publisher and distribution company, said that the company has decided to expand its operations to India, where it sees great potential.
"Game playing in India has become easy with the advent of smartphones and tablets. Also, the emergence of free-to-play business models have contributed to the growth of the Indian game market," Wada said.
He added that as per his company's projections, all sections of the Indian population will gradually contribute to the revenues of the Indian gaming industry.
"When we enter the Indian gaming market, we would aim to 'culturise' global games for the Indian market, develop leading Indian games for the Indian market and also develop Indian games for the world market," said Wada.
"We currently do not plan to bring console games to India.
The most important factor to make games successful in India is reducing the initial cost. We therefore want to start with providing games for smartphones and tablets," he added.
Every game developer and gaming company now has a snapshot of the laws that they can refer to during the process of development and commercialisation of a game, courtesy a recent white paper put together by Nasscom Gaming Forum, along with Nishith Desai Associates, a law firm.
The paper was presented at the conference in Pune.
Experts from the law firm presented the white paper, which also gave an overview of the laws affecting the interactive gaming industry in India.
"The development of a game involves development of ideas, software, visuals, testing the game and its actual launch and commercialisation.
However, each of these activities brings with it a host of legal and regulatory issues and compliances that have to be carefully considered by every game developer operating in India.
Laws relating to foreign investment, exchange control, payment systems, may have a grave impact on the structure of a gaming company's business model and viability", stated the report.
The report said that laws that have an impact on the game's content, whether related to intellectual property and celebrity rights or even obscenity and violence, are equally important.
The white paper touched upon the laws affecting the content of casual and social games, such as prize competitions and other related laws, laws affecting action-based and violent games, intellectual property rights issues, personality rights issues, the impact of telecom laws on mobile gaming and other laws affecting the gaming industry, like restrictions under exchange control regulations and duty of Internet service providers under the new rules notified under the Information and Technology Act, 2000, among others.
November 21st, 2013, 08:45 AM
Google India aims to bring 50 million women online
New Delhi: With women comprising just 30 per cent of the online population in India, Internet giant Google said yesterday it aims to help 50 million women in the country go digital in a year.
"India has over 200 million Internet users and the number is growing. India is on its way to become the second largest Internet market overtaking US. But, only one-third or about 60 million of the online users are women," Google India MD Rajan Anandan told reporters.
Internet can play a very important role in empowering women in India and help them to transform their lives, he added.
"Internet can help women achieve self-esteem, express their views freely, open up new opportunities and help them to gain education. Our new campaign aims to bring 50 million women online in the next one year so that they can reap the benefits too," Mr Anandan said.
According to industry estimates, the number of Internet users in the country is expected to touch 280 million in the next one year.
Google India has partnered with HUL, Axis Bank and Intel as part of the campaign.
"Along with our partners, we will create awareness about the benefits of Internet for women, educate them to use Internet to improve their lives and enable easy access points across the country," Mr Anandan said.
Google has designed a website 'www.hwgo.com', which will host content covering the basics of Internet and content relevant for women in Hindi and English.
The company has also started a toll-free helpline number - '1800-41-999-77' - for any queries related to the Internet for women.
November 25th, 2013, 02:16 AM
^^ how is it possible to tell if 30 million women are online or not? lol..bullshit stats
November 25th, 2013, 03:02 AM
Pretty sure this is the correct place for this news:
GMR in race to set up semiconductor unit (http://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/gmr-in-race-to-set-up-semiconductor-unit-113111800775_1.html)
Infrastructure behemoth GMR Group has shown interest in setting up a semiconductor fabrication unit (fab) — a complex technology project costing about Rs 25,000 crore, out of which 40 per cent is sponsored by the Centre. According to two officials aware of the matter, GMR has approached the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DEIT) and is currently looking to partner technology companies interested in the project.
GMR’s entry into the race could queer the pitch for its corporate rival Jaypee Associates and home-grown chip firm Hindustan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation (HSMC), which have been in the fray to set up fab units since 2011. Jaypee and HSMC were given the ‘in-principle’ approval by the Cabinet in September this year to build two fab units in the country, costing upwards of Rs 50,000 crore.
The Cabinet had asked DEIT to open the floor for other venders as well, to apply for the sops before coming back for a final approval. The extended deadline comes to an end on the 25th of this month.
There is a possibility that the government does an evaluation of all the projects (together with the existing ones) to arrive at the most cost-effective proposal. According to government official, if there is another proposition for the project, it will surely be considered. “It will be on the Cabinet or the advice of the committee to decide what to do then (with the existing proposals).” The official added it is unlikely the Cabinet will approve “three or four fab proposals” and the idea in the beginning was just to subsidise one project but was later extended to two.
“They (GMR) have sounded out many global technology companies,” said one of the officials in the know of the matter. However, if the company has been successful in sealing a partnership deal is not known, he added.
Another official said the company is yet to present the formal proposal to the department. “It seems they (GMR) are reaching out to technology partners for this.” None of the officials wanted to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter.
The fab unit produces the most complex and valuable part of any electronic device – the chip. India has been trying hard for several years to set up fabs in the country, which are believed to act as a catalyst for spawning a domestic electronics manufacturing industry. [Really hope it works out]
“The GMR Group is in possession of land at Kakinada in East Godavari district, Andhra Pradesh, where it intends to set up an industrial park as a developer, with a complete social eco-system”, said a GMR spokesperson. “It will be inappropriate to comment on specific business development plans, at this early stage, as it is market-sensitive and at a conceptual stage,” the company said in its emailed response to Business Standard.
The “in-principle” approval was given to Jaypee and HSMC to avoid any post facto criticism of the procedure followed to incentivise them. The empowered committee will analyse the new proposals, which will again go back to the Cabinet for a final go-ahead. Meanwhile, GMR’s entry into the race could further delay the project approval, which has been in the pipeline for over two years. Even with the current time-line, the facilities are expected to produce production only by 2017.
Under the current proposals, Jaypee has tied up with IBM and Tower Jazz and has proposed a facility in Greater Noida with an investment of Rs 26,300 crore, while HSMC has partnered ST Microelectronics and Silterra and has planned its unit at Prantij near Gandhinagar in Gujarat with an investment of Rs 25,250 crore.
Both Jaypee and HSMC declined to comment.
The second official quoted above said infrastructure companies such as Jaypee and GMR have evinced interest in the fab projects as these firms have land, special economic zones and might be looking for good developmental projects.
November 25th, 2013, 03:04 AM
Another one related to semi conductor manufacturing/skill procurement:
Bridging The Skill Gap: IIT Bombay And Applied Materials To Offer A Certification Course In Semiconductor Technology & Manufacturing (http://www.indiaprwire.com/pressrelease/education/20131120268150.htm)
Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB) and Applied Materials, Inc. today announced the extension of their partnership to offer a certification course in "Semiconductor Technology and Manufacturing" through IIT Bombay's Continuing Education Programme (CEP) for the second year. This course, designed to bridge the existing skill gap in this specialized high-tech sector, complements the Government of India's in-principle approval for the establishment of two semiconductor manufacturing facilities in the country. The Semiconductor Technology and Manufacturing certification course was jointly launched by IIT Bombay and Applied Materials in the year 2012 and was received enthusiastically by industry as well as academia.
The six-day course starting on December 10, 2013 endeavors to impart knowledge about the basic concepts of integrated circuit (IC) fabrication and manufacturing, develop an understanding of semiconductor processes, hardware and system technologies, as well as provide hands-on user training on production level tools and systems widely used in the industry. Renowned faculty members from IIT Bombay will deliver lectures along with industry professionals from Applied Materials. The lab sessions will be held at the IIT Bombay Nanofabrication Facility (IITBNF) and the Applied Materials Nanomanufacturing Lab, Electrical Engineering Department, IIT Bombay. On successful completion of the course, participants will receive the CEP certificate by IITB.
Speaking about the programme, Prof. Abhay Karandikar, Head of the Electrical Engineering Department, IIT Bombay, said," We are glad to take this certification program to its second year. It will strengthen the semiconductor manufacturing ecosystem in India through our state-of-the-art nanofabrication facilities and partnership with Applied Materials. The hands-on training and high level of faculty expertise are the highlights of the course that generated very positive feedback from participants last year. We plan to increase and diversify the hands-on lab sessions this year to enhance the quality and breadth of exposure to semiconductor manufacturing and R&D for the participants."
Speaking on the occasion, Aninda Moitra, President & Managing Director, Applied Materials India, said, "This is an opportunity to reiterate our commitment to the overall growth of the Electronic System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) sector. Talent development is critical to maximize the impact of this sector. India has high-quality talent, and they need to be continually channeled to move from a purely theoretical environment to a combination of theory and practice, especially in industries that are R&D intensive. This is exactly what the course addresses - giving students and individuals in the ESDM ecosystem hands-on exposure to manufacturing, and the opportunity to utilize India's only 200mm semiconductor fabrication facility dedicated to university-industry research."
In India, Applied Materials is a strategic partner and an enabler of the semiconductor and solar manufacturing ecosystem. Since it started local operations in 2002, Applied Materials India has grown into the second largest engineering resource pool for the company globally, providing design engineering, engineering support services, and cutting edge innovation in materials science and engineering to the global organization. The India region, which is a key link to the company's global IT infrastructure footprint, provides IT solutions and services, and hosts the second largest data center for Applied globally.
The CEP programme is intended for working professionals in the semiconductor industry, research scientists and technical staff, and academics. It includes modules on VLSI & Semiconductor Technology, Semiconductor Equipment Overview and Lab Equipment User Training. Those with a diploma or a bachelor's degree in Science/Engineering are eligible to apply. One can register for the course at http://www.cen.iitb.ac.in/cen/events/cep_course.php. Application submissions are due by November 24, 2013.
November 27th, 2013, 05:09 PM
Infosys set to rejig global delivery model to cut costs (http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Default/Scripting/ArticleWin.asp?From=Archive&Source=Page&Skin=TOINEW&BaseHref=TOIH/2013/11/27&PageLabel=13&EntityId=Ar01302&ViewMode=HTML)
Bangalore: Infosys is reworking the global delivery model that it pioneered two decades ago, to once again substantially reduce costs for its clients and become move competitive. The initiative is expected to include reduction in the proportion of senior people and business support staff at onsite locations, as also moves like more night shifts in its offshore facilities in India.
Infosys even has a new nomenclature to reflect the change – value global delivery model or VGDM.
One of the main elements of the new strategy is a reduction in the amount of onsite effort the company makes in relation to the offshore effort, because onsite effort – the work done at client sites – is a lot more expensive. It will also help the company given the possibility that American visas will become more expensive and more difficult to obtain if the US passes the Immigration Bill in its current form.
Chairman N R Narayana Murthy said in a discussion with Barclays Equity Research recently that as part of its cost optimization strategy, it plans to reduce the proportion of senior people onsite, and reduce the number of subcontractors (consultants at onsite locations) by improving its internal training. “It also wants to reduce the number of people in onsite locations in business enabling functions,” the Barclays report said.
India’s second-largest IT company is running a pilot project where it is deploying employees at offshore locations to work in night shifts to support its clients based in North America, said sources familiar with the development. Infosys is doing a similar pilot for its healthcare client Pfizer that involves application development and maintenance, said sources. Night shifts would become necessary if offshore staff have to interact with US staff or clients on a real time basis.
At a recent investor call, Infosys CEO S D Shibulal briefly spoke about the internal changes initiated by the company including its new global delivery model. “We have started on a transformational journey -- a number of internal changes focused on cost optimization, increase in productivity and quality, increased sales effectiveness and creating a new model of global delivery, what we call VGDM. These initiatives are very much in the early stages, and it is too early to derive benefits from these initiatives.” he said on the call, transcripts of which are available on the portal SeekingAlpha.com.
Shibulal has said the onsite effort, which stands at over 32%, could be brought down to about 26%. Barclays said quoting Murthy that the cost optimization drive could happen more quickly than the earlier guided period of 21 months, with some early results visible by the March 2014 quarter.
December 2nd, 2013, 11:20 PM
On August 29, 2012, as JK Shin, president of samsung Electronics, unveiled Galaxy Note 2, the second iteration of his company's flagship 'phablet' smartphone series, in Berlin, a guerrilla shipment of 10,000 similar devices was selling big in stores across India. It had been brought in only a week ago.
Well, the devices were almost similar.
The Canvas A100 smartphones had 5-inch screens as against the 5.5-inch ones on the Note 2 but the resolution was not half as detailed; the batteries were two-thirds the capacity; the processors had just one core compared to the four on the Note 2; and RAM was just a fourth in comparison.
Then there was the price: Rs 9,999 compared to the Note 2's Rs 39,900 at the time of its formal launch in India in November that year.
At 25 per cent of the Note 2's cost, the devices seemed to make sense to the Indian customer-so much so that in another three weeks, they would be all but sold out. This was the signal its makers, the Gurgaon-headquartered Micromax, had been hoping and waiting for.
Within days its supply chain, distribution and marketing machinery started shifting into attack mode. Specifications were mapped and orders sent out to China for a newer version featuring a dual-core processor, a better quality and higher resolution screen, more internal memory and an upgraded camera. The improved Canvas 2 was unveiled in the first week of November, a little over two months after its predecessor's 10,000-unit test launch had proved successful: It still sported the Rs 9,999 price tag.
more @ http://ibnlive.in.com/news/can-micromax-become-indias-leading-smartphone-maker/437322-11.html