Microsoft launches Dynamics 365 Business Central in India for SMBs

Microsoft’s business management solution, Dynamics 365 Business Central will now be available in India for small and medium sized businesses.

This all in one cloud solution will help companies ensure continuity in their businesses by connecting sales, service, finance and other operations teams to help them deliver better results. This will bring  flexibility of  Microsoft Dynamic Navision, the company’s enterprise resource planning app (ERP) to deploy in the cloud or on- premises. It can also be accessed from a mobile device to conduct business.

Customised for India the solution comes with inbuilt features that will address local regulatory and market requirements for ease of business, including a tax engine which comprises of over 500 pre- configured use cases and business scenarios for Goods and Services Tax (GST), Tax Deduction at Source (TDS) and Tax Collected at Source (TCS), the company stated.

The availability of Dynamics 365 Business Central was announced at  Building a Resilient Future, a summit organised to discuss building resilience among India’s small and medium business (SMBs).

SMBs are looking for cost selective solutions that would help them in a smooth transition towards their digital transformation journey. Major concerns of SMBs are with regard to the unconnected set of on- premise ERP systems, manually updating the ERP tools and lack of data protection. Dynamics 365 Business Central aims on addressing these concerns with new modular applications, expanded analytics and software improvements.

“SMBs are the backbone of the Indian economy and are driving the country’s digital transformation wave with rapid cloud adoption. With Dynamics 365 Business Central, we aim to empower and strengthen the SMB ecosystem in the country. It offers customers affordable and easily manageable tools that simplify and expedite everyday business processes. We believe it will help small and medium-sized organizations move to the cloud confidently and be future proof”, said Rajiv Sodhi, Chief Operating Officer, Microsoft India.

Microsoft further added that the Dynamics 365 Business Central automates and streamlines business processes including finance, manufacturing, sales, shipping, project management, services and will provide an opportunity for organisations to upgrade from their current accounting software and legacy ERP systems. It integrates with other Microsoft cloud services including Microsoft 365 and can be customised or extended for specific industry needs.

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Ramco Global Payroll to be available on Oracle cloud

Ramco Systems, a leading provider of enterprise software solutions and a member of the OraclePartnerNetwork (OPN) announced that their Global Payroll solutions will now be available on Oracle Cloud Marketplace.

As a part of the collaboration Ramco will integrate its one payroll platform across more than 50 countries with Oracle Fusion Cloud Human Capital Management (HCM), enabling HR & payroll transformation for large enterprises.

Ramco Global Payroll will enable organisations to comply with all statutory and regulatory requirements across more than 50 countries and also driving harmonisation of the global payroll processes on a single platform, the company said. The solution also leverages its Artificial Intelligence/ Machine Learning (AI/ML) capabilities to identify anomalies in payroll processing, automatically derive reasons for these anomalies using a reasoning engine, enabling the payroll team to focus only on outliers and boost productivity.

“As more organizations embrace digital ways of working, employee engagement and delight has become the underpinning enabler. Our focus on innovation, driven by Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning has provided organisations with enterprise applications that offer a consumer-like experience, thereby enhancing employee engagement and delight. We believe that Ramco Global Payroll, in collaboration with Oracle Cloud HCM, will help enable large enterprises and multinationals drive global HCM transformations holistically. Ramco’s participation in the Oracle Cloud Marketplace further extends our commitment to the Oracle community and enables customers to easily reap the benefits of Ramco’s One Payroll Platform. Through this collaboration, we look forward to mutually achieve our business goals,” said Virender Aggarwal, CEO, Ramco Systems.

“The cloud represents a huge opportunity for our partner community. Ramco’s commitment to innovation with the Oracle Cloud and quality execution will help our mutual customers receive cloud-enabled payroll solutions, ready to meet their critical business needs,” said David Hicks, vice-president, Worldwide ISV Cloud Business Development, Oracle.

Complete with Chabot, voice and facial recognition based workforce management, organisations can deploy Ramco Global Payroll on cloud, premise or leverage as a managed service, the company said.

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45 percent of adult internet users in India faced identity theft in 2020: Norton Cyber Safety report

According to a Norton Cyber Safety Insights report, about 45 percent of adult internet users in India faced identity theft in some way or the other in 2020.

Indians are amongst the most targeted groups in the world in terms of cyber threats. Norton claims that the threats that adult Indian internet users faced has increased by 40 percent since 2019.

59 percent of adult Indian internet users faced cybercrime through 2020. While it is not clear as to the stipulated financial cost incurred as a result of cyber-attacks, Norton stated that Indians spent a total of 1.3 billion hours collectively attempting to resolve cybercrime crises, which means an average of 36.7 hours per person throughout the year. About 2.7 crore Indians are believed to have faced identity threats in 2020. Added a media report.

“Many Indian consumers are taking proactive steps to safeguard their data, but two in every five still feel it is impossible to protect their privacy in this age – or say they don’t know how to do so. It is therefore crucial for consumers to seek expert advice and take active measures to safeguard their online privacy,” said Ritesh Chopra, Norton LifeLock’s director of sales, India and SAARC.

The report further underlined the impact remote working has had on cyber security, Norton claims a number of 70 percent of all adult users projected in the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic as a side effect of users living without an enterprise grade security.

Since the beginning of the pandemic and even earlier, the cases of cyber-attacks have been a matter of concern for many. Phone scams and phishing emails have been on a rise and with people adopting a remote working environment due to the pandemic cyber breaches have become easier. In the current situation, it becomes important for people and organisations to understand the importance of cyber security and the possible threats.

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SaaS startup Druva raises $147 million from CDPQ, Neuberger Berman

Druva, a startup in Cloud Data Protection and Management segment has raised $147 million in funding.

The fundraise was led by Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) which is a global investment group, with a significant investment by Neuberger Berman, each of which manage more than $300 billion in net assets. The round, which raises the company’s valuation above $2 billion included participation from existing investors Viking Global Investors and Atreides Management. The company said.

With organisations moving workloads to cloud environments, adopting SaaS solutions and constant rise in cyber threats, this new investment will accelerate the expansion of Druva Cloud Platform to meet the current needs of the organisations.

Enterprises have been adopting cloud solutions over the last 12 months in order to strengthen their business, maintain critical business operations and support hybrid work models.

The company further added that based on this demand, Gartner Inc. forecast that cloud adaptation will reach a five- year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.7 per cent.

As data grows exponentially in parallel to this new  operating model, traditional data protection based on hardware and software is no longer scalable or cost-effective. Instead, industry watchers opine, businesses need a new approach which can be deployed from anywhere, protect data across the enterprise, and deliver it securely as a service.

“Rising volumes of stored data, rapid adoption of cloud and deployment of SaaS applications, regulatory frameworks and cybersecurity concerns have accelerated the demand for data protection and management solutions for businesses. The working-from-home dynamic experienced  globally has further accentuated the need for cloud based data protection solutions and we believe Druva is in an excellent position to seize opportunities and enhance its clients’ agility and data compliance”, said Alexandre Synnett, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, CDPQ.

Durva Cloud Platform’s customer base has expanded during 2020, while the adoption of multiple Durva Cloud Platform products has increased by 50 percent.

“We have been extremely impressed by Druva’s talented management team, leading technology, and ongoing innovation in serving the enterprise market. We believe we are in the early innings of enterprises shifting workloads to the cloud, and Druva’s proprietary solutions position the company for long- term success. We look forward to providing our experienced market perspectives to management as Druva marks this important inflection point in its growth trajectory”, said Charles Kantor, Managing Director, Neuberger Berman.

Jaspreet Singh, founder and CEO, Druva said, “The unprecedented events of 2020 have ushered in a generational cloud transformation for businesses, and data‘s increasing value is at the very heart of it. Druva pioneered the cloud data protection category almost a decade ago and has led the way in defining the architecture, business model, and user experience our customers now expect. This investment and our continued, rapid growth is further validation of our vision for a simple, open, and unified data protection and management platform.”

“The last 12 months have underscored how organizational agility is at a premium, and IT leaders are increasingly turning to cloud technologies to increase business resilience and velocity. Companies able to simplify complex data protection processes, particularly by leveraging the cloud, can gain strategic advantage through better data availability and Druva Cloud Platform is architected to make it a compelling choice for organizations navigating cloud migrations”, added Phil Goodwin, Research Director, IDC.

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McAfee observes an increase in cyber-attacks by 114 percent in Q4 2020

The constant surge in the number of COVID-19 cases across the world has led to businesses adopting a work from home environment which has increased cyber-attacks due to vulnerable securities.

As the pandemic began to surge around the world, the IT security firm McAfee saw a 605 percent increase in Q2 2020. These attacks again increased by 240 percent in Q3 and 114 percent in Q4.

McAfee had recently released its Threats Report: April 2021, examining the cybercriminal activity related to malware and the evolution of cyber threats in the third and the fourth quarters of 2020. McAfee Labs observed an average of 648 threats per minute in Q4 which is an increase of 60 threats per minute over Q3. The Powersheel threats surged 208 percent due to the increase in Donoff malware activity. Added a media report.

“The world and enterprises adjusted amidst pandemic restrictions and sustained remote work challenges, while security threats continued to evolve in complexity and increase in volume. Though a large percentage of employees grew more proficient and productive in working remotely, enterprises endured more opportunistic Covid-19 related campaigns among a new cast of bad-actor schemes. Furthermore, ransomware and malware targeting vulnerabilities in work-related apps and processes were active and remain dangerous threats capable of taking over networks and data, while costing millions in assets and recovery costs”, said Raj Samani, McAfee fellow and chief scientist.

The McAfee report further added that malware was the most reported cause of security incidents. The McAfee Labs observed 588 threats per minute, an increase of 169 threats per minute (40 percent) in Q3 2020 over Q4 which observed 648 threats per minute, an increase of 60 threats per minute (10 percent)

Incidents related to new vulnerabilities increased 100 percent in Q4, malware and targeted attacks increased by 43 percent and account hijacking increased by 30 percent.

McAfee observed a 100 percent surge in the publicly disclosed cyber incidents in Europe from Q3 to Q4, an 84 percent increase in Asia and 36 percent in North America.

McAfee observed about 3.1 million external attacks on the cloud accounts, aggregating and anonymising cloud usage data from more than 30 million McAfee Cloud users worldwide during Q4  of2020. This data represents companies from the Financial Services, Healthcare, Public Sector, Education, Retail, Technology, Manufacturing, Energy, Utilities, Legal, Real estate, Transportation and Business Services.

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Google to provide funds for COVID-19 vaccinations

Amidst the rising cases of COVID-19, Google announced that it will extend its support by providing funds for 250,000 for COVID-19 vaccinations to countries with low and middle incomes. It will also provide technical assistance to Gavi to accelerate the distribution process.

Google.org is also providing Gavi with pro bono technical assistance to accelerate the global distribution. We’re also kicking off an employee giving campaign and both the Gavi Matching Fund and Google.org will match each donation to the triple impact, the company said in a blog post.

Gavi will also be provided with an Ad grant of $15 million to amplify their fundraising campaign.

The company also mentioned that it will be providing an additional Ad grant of $250 million to help fund pop-up vaccine sites in the US in order to connect people to accurate information.

In a blog post Google mentioned that they are making it easier to learn why, when and where one can get immunized and today one can find vaccination locations on Google Maps and search in the U.S, Canada, France, Chile, India and Singapore.

For people with limited internet access Google Cloud is launching an expanded virtual agent with the help of which people will be able to schedule vaccine appointments and ask common questions via a virtual agent in up to 28 languages and dialects, via chat, text, web, mobile or over the phone.

To expand this work, we’re committing an additional $250 million in Ad Grants to governments, community and public health organizations, including the WHO that will fund more than 2.5 billion vaccine-related PSAs. This brings our total commitment for COVID-related public service announcements to more than $800 million. As we’ve learned throughout the pandemic, no one is safe from COVID-19 until everyone is safe. Getting vaccines to everyone around the world is a challenging, but necessary, undertaking. We’ll keep doing our part and working together until we get there. Google said.

India recorded over 2.34 lakh fresh cases of COVID-19 and 1,341 deaths in the last 24 hours.

As per WHO as of 16th April 2021 138,688,383 cases of COVID-19 were recorded globally including 2,978,935 deaths.

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IIIT Hyderabad researchers create a drone capable of changing shape and fit the size of a package

Researchers from the Robotics Research Centre at the International Institute of Information Technology Hyderabad (IIITH) have created a working prototype of a flexible drone that is capable of changing its shape to fit the size of a package that has to be lifted.

Suraj Bonagiri, a 24 year old robotics researcher has been working on this project under the guidance of Professor Spandan Roy and Professor Madhava Krishna. He also highlighted the limitations of the existing delivery drones and proposed a novel design, said the institution in a blog post.

“Current design of such drones focuses only on the weight of parcels to be lifted ignoring their size. Packages however come in various sizes and is an important parameter to be factored in.” said Suraj

He further added that since drones are typically designed to carry specific payloads, forcibly fitting and lifting inappropriate payloads will lead to instability, loss in efficiency and could even compromise on safety.

He calls this drone ‘Elasticopter’ this drone can grip and match the shape of the parcel which has to be lifted. The mechanism of this drone which is capable of expanding or collapsing, it can grip and match the shape of the parcel which has to be lifted. With the help of this method of attachment to the cargo, the mass is always cantered which would result in optimal usage of battery performance. It is also extremely stable due to the unique positioning of the propellers. Added the blog post.

“In our design, there is zero propwash interference with the payload no matter its size”, said Suraj.

He further explained the superiority of Elasticoper comparing it to the current drones by giving an example of how even if the existing drones are able to lift and deliver the packages of varying shapes their battery life is short lived as it is not done in a optimal manner. This is especially seen when there are large scale delivery operations.

Suraj approached Product Labs with his idea of Elasticoper and was suggested to enroll for the Technology Product entrepreneurship course (TPE).

 “For us, this is a text book case of taking research to the market. And also something that we’ve always wanted to see happen, that is, our students taking their research forward to build products leading to startups. It’s exciting to see some deep research taking shape,” said Prakash Yalla, Head, Project Labs.

Suraj also won a productization grant of 8 lakh from the institute for the initial prototype that he had built. He leveraged the Maker’s Lab and is now pre- incubated at Project Labs.

”We see folks who want to apply a new Deep Learning architecture to an existing problem or work on a novel application in Computer Vision or bring in concepts from Optimization Theory to existing robotic problems. But Suraj was possibly the first in last several years to take the bull by its horns and we are very glad that he is beginning to find success in his endeavors,” said professor Krishna.

According to Ramesh Loganathan, Prof. Co-Innovation who heads Outreach at IIITH mentioned that Elasticoper will be highly useful in warehouses, on manufacturing floors, e- commerce supply chain operations, medicine delivery and places where there are packages of different sizes and requires frequent movement.

Elasticoper requires minimum storage space and the researchers are looking forward to its relevance and acceptability to other universal drone applications as well.

“I’d like to think of it as a multi-purpose drone. From a large agricultural spray tank for aerial spraying of fertilizers and pesticides to a megaphone for disseminating public information about the Covid-19 vaccination programme or a lockdown situation, the sky is the limit in its application”, added Suraj.

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Oracle announces integration with ServiceNow

Oracle announced that ServiceNow, a leading digital workflow company will now be able to support Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI).

Enterprise customers will now be able to access and manage the OCI resources via their existing ServiceNow service portal and the ServiceNow IT Operations Management (IOTM) Visibility application, which will give them a single dashboard to manage their public cloud resources from Oracle and other major cloud providers.

This amalgamation will benefit their customers by having the ability to discover and manage OCI IaaS, PaaS and CaaS resources using ITOM Visibility as they would use for other cloud resources. The company said.

“Enterprise customers are increasingly moving toward a multi-cloud environment and need an easy way to manage all of their cloud resources. This is a big step forward for all of our customers that are using Oracle, as well as other major cloud providers to run their business-critical applications.  Now customers can leverage their existing ServiceNow Service portal to view and manage all of their cloud resources, including Oracle”, said Scott Twaddle, vice president of product, industries, and partnerships, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

This integration will help its customers to assess inventory and analyse usage of cloud resources within their OCI tendency. The company further added that all Oracle Cloud discoverable cloud resources are extracted and stored in the ServiceNow Configuration Management Database (CMDB) repository which later can be used to monitor the availability of resources from IT services, operations and support level management. Combining the CMBD content with ServiceNow’s AIOps solution will enable the customers to monitor the workload in OCI and provide the service context with tag based service mapping.

“With this integration, ServiceNow and Oracle are making it seamless for enterprises to unlock productivity for distributed teams to deliver products and services faster, access powerful business insights and create great experiences for employees, wherever they may be, joint customers leveraging the Now Platform® and OCI will get the best of both worlds, a seamless experience that maximizes the value of cloud investments and the ability to harness the power of artificial intelligence for proactive operations”, said Jeff Hausman, VP & GM Operations Management (ITOM, ITAM, Security) & Data Foundations, ServiceNow.

Companies like Network Rail are already benefiting from this integration.

“At Network Rail we utilize ServiceNow to keep track of our systems and assets and we were very happy to see we can observe our Oracle Cloud Infrastructure deployment. We look forward to expanding our use of both systems to serve our customers and operational teams”, said Iain Sear, Database and Middleware Infrastructure Manager, Network Rail.

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Atlassian to hire 1000 employees globally

 

Atlassian Corporation, a leading provider of team collaboration and productivity software plans to hire over 1,000 employees globally including 300 R&D engineers in India next year.

The company plans to recruit a wide range of front-end and back-end engineers, their major focus being on the R&D engineers in India. The company’s R&D and customer support center in Bengaluru is looking to further scale its operations.

Atlassian recently unveiled a host of benefits, employee- first policies and resources in order to support the personal and professional growth of its employees globally. As a part of this the company said that they will be offering five days foundation leave every year which will enable all employees to volunteer at their preferred charity which will give them the opportunity to give back to the community.

In the current situation due to the pandemic where people are working from home in addition to the existing perks and benefits, Atlassian is providing their employees with an allowance of $US500 to help them manage an effective environment while working from home.

“We have invested significantly in talent acquisition in India but the ongoing pandemic which has fuelled a sharp rise in team collaboration and productivity software, has added the need to bring in even more talent. Globally, we’ve welcomed just short of 500 new Atlassians in the last quarter, mostly in R&D roles. As we continue to invest in and drive durable long-term growth, we also intend to maintain our ambitious hiring goals for the remainder of 2021. Atlassian offers the opportunity for engineers, whether they are just starting out their career or are seasoned pros, to work in a company with a startup culture but one that also has the safety and security of a multinational behind them. We continue to be recognised as a “Best Place to Work” by Great Place to Work Institute in nearly every market where we have an employee presence,” said Dinesh Ajmera, Site Lead and Head of Engineering, Bengaluru, Atlassian.

“Despite the pandemic, our journey as a cloud-first company is off to a good start in fiscal 2021. We have a strong presence of ITSM/ITOps teams in Bangalore who are having a large impact globally. We launched Jira Service Management for IT teams, made significant progress on enterprise capabilities in the cloud, and announced a three-year migration path to the cloud for on-premise customers. These are important milestones against two long-standing goals: bringing a world-class cloud experience to customers of all sizes and delivering continuous innovation that streamlines their most important workflows,” added Ajmera.

The company further added that for the hiring process the Candidate Assessment Framework of Atlassian has enabled global consistency to the assessment and selection process for their candidates, interviewers and hiring manager’s experience in the crafts they apply to. This will allow the interviewer to focus on the potential of the employees and evaluate them objectively focusing on their values, experience, skills and capabilities.

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Facebook signs first deal with CleanMax to buy RE in India

In a first of its kind initiative, Facebook has signed a deal to buy renewable energy in India from CleanMax.

According to a Reuters report, the social media giant’s first such deal in South Asia, which will be procured from CleanMax’s 32 megawatt (MW) wind power project, located in southern state of Karnataka.

This is part of a larger portfolio of wind and solar projects that Facebook and Mumbai-based CleanMax are working together on for supplying renewable power into India’s electrical grid, they said in a joint statement.

CleanMax will own and operate the projects, while Facebook will buy the power off the grid using environmental attribute certificates, or carbon credits, the companies said. CleanMax has successfully installed 550+ rooftop solar projects for 170 corporates, with a total rooftop solar operating capacity of 250 MW. CleanMax also operates 450 MW of large-scale solar and wind farms for supplying clean energy to its corporate customers.

Facebook’s head of renewable energy, Urvi Parekh, told Reuters the company typically doesn’t own the power plants but instead signs ‘long-term’ electricity purchasing agreements with the renewable power company.

This development follows the one in Singapore, where Facebook announced similar partnerships with energy providers Sunseap Group, Terrenus Energy and Sembcorp Industries on projects that can produce 160 MW of solar power.

The electricity generated from these plants will power the tech giant’s first Asian data centre that is set to start operations next year, added Parekh. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had recently said that the company’s global operations are now supported wholly by renewable energy and that it has reached net-zero emissions.

Data centres which power tech companies such as Facebook use up as much as 1 per cent of the world’s total energy, the International Energy Agency said last year. Similarly, Singapore’s data centre industry sector accounted for 7 per cent of the country’s total electricity consumption in 2012, noted Professor Wen from NTU College of Engineering. https://w.media/what-you-need-to-know-about-green-dcs/

This ratio is predicted to reach 12 per cent by 2030 due to the rapid growth of the data centre business. Demand for data centres are seeing a surge globally, driven by remote working and increased digitalisation of businesses in the backdrop of COVID-19 pandemic.

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The use of Artificial Intelligence in Financial Services

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the holy grail of every organisation, as it tries to better understand its customer. This is especially the case post COVID-19, as user behaviour has undergone a change and is continuing to evolve. Businesses, especially financial institutions are going through the most interesting transformation seen in recent times. This has been powered by AI, amongst other technologies.

Role of AI in making the functioning easier at the organisation

Increasingly companies are trying to leverage AI to understand their customers and get further insights in their areas of operation.

“Artificial intelligence helps to boost business, it has avoided human intervention. It has helped the businesses to reach out to multiple customers, stakeholders, the business conglomerates in a matter of just click”, according to Vinod Nair, Service Head, Data centre operations, HDFC Ergo.

Giving the example of a customer looking for a credit card online he explained how AI focuses on the behaviour of the customers and then gives the result. There are instances where people get calls from banks asking if they require a credit card. It is because of the AI aspect which organisations focus on people look for credit card details online and the AI learns about that behaviours and comes back with a result. As a result of which banks don’t need to go door to door to ask people if they need a credit card. AI makes their jobs easier.

With a reduced human interaction, AI helps in understanding the consumer behaviour and giving the results to the backend with the help of which organisations have an easier functioning.

Feeding the right information is extremely important when working with AI. Incorrect information will lead to incorrect results. In order to store the correct data, data categorisation and data centralisation play an important role.

“The common core area to look at this to basically understand the technical aspects of that particular design of that technology. And then reap out the benefit the way you want. Any organization will have their own set of benefits to reap out.  Financial Services have their own set of benefits to reap out, shipping and logistics have their own”, said Vinod Nair.

Role of AI in preventing fraud and cyber attacks

In the current situation of the COVID19 pandemic, everything has shifted to the virtual world. People are working from home, have shifted to the digital mode of payment and shopping. This increases the risk of fraud and cyber attacks. Companies are taking various measures to safeguard their organization from cyber attacks.

It is important for any organization to follow the IT security policy, if not done correctly things could go for a toss, stated Nair.

According to a report in TechRadar, Cybersecurity developers will themselves use AI in preventing the cyber attack by detecting the security issues before an advantage can be taken. AI helps in the detecting and analyzing a threat before it could cause any harm.

The developers in the future may also embed AI in the user interface in order to warn people about risky websites or poor quality security.

The report further also mentioned a study that was carried out by Michel Cukier, a researcher of University of Maryland, computer hacks have become extremely frequent and occur on an average of every 39 seconds. Majority of cyber attacks are done using an automated script that crawls through databases.

Different companies have different sets of technologies that work in order to prevent the organisations from cyber attack. Every technology has its set of limitations companies choose the ones which suit their needs and requirements.

A Mordor Intelligence report added that the cybersecurity market is expected to reach USD 352.25 billion by 2026 with a CAGR of 14.5 percent during 2021-2026. This is because of an increase in the trends for IoT, AI, Machine learning and BYOD in cybersecurity.

Future of AI in the financial services sector

The understanding of consumer behaviour makes it easier for organisations to implement changes and keep up with the new trend. “The usage of AI in different areas of the financial sector is making their functioning easier,” noted Nair.

He further added that AI would work in different ways for different organisations, they work on the ones which would benefit them the most depending upon their business model and strategies. So anything that is too young in the industry, such as used cases of AI will take some time to develop further.

Giving an example of the mobile phone that we use are majorly used to making calls, to connect to other people over Whatsapp and other social media applications, check our emails and lock our phones. “But there are a lot of other features which are there on our cell phones and we might not be aware about the same. In the case of AI it is important that organisations understand the correct use of AI and use it to the fullest,” noted Nair.

“But every day the competition changes, there’s a new technology. And to keep yourself competitive in the market, you have to adopt the new technology. Tomorrow if it’s not meeting the market requirement, or I’m getting something as a substitute with a lesser cost. I will offer a new technology rather than going for an existing one. If you ask the question for today, it is nice. But tomorrow I don’t know whether the technology will have this substitute or for any other technology. It’s a good one, machine learning, AI, but there could be a substitute of anything tomorrow”, said Nair.

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Fiber broadband provider Excitel expands coverage in ten more cities

Excitel, a broadband network provider in India has launched its fiber broadband services in ten more cities in the first quarter of 2021.

These services are launched in Nizamabad & Khammam in Telangana, Rawatsar in Rajasthan, Kakinada & Bhimavaram, Andhra Pradesh, Farrukhabad, Padrauna, Akbarpur and Sonbhadra in Uttar Pradesh and in Mangalore, Karnataka, the company said.

The operations in these cities have already begun and all plans are out available for the customers since the operational roll out.

These expansions are an attempt to strengthen the presence of Excitel in the country by offering its customers an option to opt for truly unlimited plans with the technology effectiveness of fiber broadband.

“For speedy implementation of Digital India programme, access to a Fiber wireline internet connection with plans tailored for different kinds of audience is pertinent. Excitel plans on offering cutting-edge technology to underserved regions of Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 cities that have been largely ignored by telcos”, said Vivek Raina, Co-founder, and CEO, Excitel.

“It gives me immense joy to share that Excitel is now present in 28 cities and has embarked on a journey to provide world-class FTTH facilities at affordable rates to towns like  Nizamabad, Khammam, Rawatsar, Kakinada, Bhimavaram, Farrukhabad, Padrauna, Akbarpur and Sonbhadra and Mangalore”, added Raina.

For the year 2020 Excitel plans to spread its fiber network across 50 cities in the country. Excitel is the preferred streaming platform for over 5 lakh customers in 28 cities.

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Schneider Electric launches 3- phase UPS: Galaxy VL

Schneider Electric announced the global launch of the Galaxy VL 200-500 kW (400V/480V) 3- phase uninterruptible power supply (UPS). This is the newest addition to the Galaxy family.

This highly compact UPS will be available worldwide and offers up to 99 percent efficiency in ECOnversion mode for a full return on investment within two years for medium and large data centres, commercial and industrial facilities. The company said.

The design of the VL Galaxy is compact and half the size of the industry average at .8 m2. Its modular architecture will enable the data centre professionals to scale power from 200 kW to 500 kW with 50 kW power modules which will help in providing flexibility to their business demands.

Schneider Electric with Galaxy VL has introduced Live Swap, a feature that delivers touch safe design throughout the process of adding or replacing the power modules even while the UPS is online and fully operational. The Live Swap’s touch safe design offers increased protection for employees who no longer have to transfer the UPS to maintenance bypass or battery operation during the insertion or removal of the power modules. The company added.

“The new, energy-efficient Galaxy VL sets a very high standard for UPS innovation and is designed to help our customers grow while minimizing footprint and cost of ownership. It is in keeping of our focus on the future requirements for data centres and meeting the demands for adaptability, resiliency, efficiency, and sustainability. The newest addition to the Galaxy family is a Green Premium product that delivers top performance, supports sustainability objectives, and fills a previous gap in the market for the midrange power segment”, said Mustafa Demirkol, VP, 3-Phase Global Offer Management for Schneider Electric.

The new Galaxy VL will help in cutting costs as it enables you to pay as you grow by reducing the CapEx investment, operating costs and energy consumption. The 99 percent ECOnversion mode will help in reaching the sustainability goals.

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India based discount stock broker Upstox suffers data breach

Upstox, an India based discount stock broker that enables its users to buy and sell shares suffered a data breach which has exposed some important data of people including their bank account number and their personal information like mobile number and email address.

“We have upgraded our security systems manifold recently, on the recommendations of a global cyber-security firm. We brought in the expertise of this globally renowned firm after we received emails claiming unauthorized access into our database”, the company said.

The company further added that the funds of its users are safe and protected, the funds can only be moved to their linked bank accounts. The shares are held with the respective depositor. The company has also initiated a secure password reset via an OTP.

According to independent security researcher Rajshekhar Rajaharia, this is the handiwork of ShinyHunters that has been involved in several hacking incidents including top Indian companies like BigBasket, BuyUcoin and Juspay. The data of 25-30 lakh Upstox users and 5.6 crore KYC files may have been leaked. Added a media report.

Ravi Kumar, Co-founder and CEO, Upstox said that the company takes the privacy and the security of its users very seriously and regret any inconvenience that it may have caused to their users. He further added that this incident has been reported to relevant authorities.

Last year in November, one of India’s popular grocery store BigBasket found that the data of over 2 crore users was hacked and was on sale on the Dark Web for over $40,000, which as per reports was the handiwork of ShinyHunters.

The hacker also leaked 19 lakh user records stolen from free online photo editing application Pixlr.

The hacker was allegedly behind over 44 public leaks in 2020 several of which are not yet listed, according to reports. The database they have contain information of over 125 crore people globally which include more than 20 crore Indians.

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Pine Labs acquires Southeast Asia’s fintech platform Fave

Pine Labs, one of Asia’s leading merchant commerce platforms has acquired Fave, Southeast Asia’s consumer fintech platform for $45 million.

This acquisition will enable Indian consumers to use the Fave app later this year to save across five lakh merchant network points powered by Pine Labs across more than three thousand cities in India. The company said.

This acquisition will help both companies to unlock consumer opportunities across retail, F&B, fashion, and FMCG markets and increase their growth in Asia region. This will also help in strengthening Fave’s market position in Southeast Asia.

Fave will also be hiring over 100 new employees in Southeast Asia and India to speed up the cashless payment and smart saving process across the region. Fave also plans to introduce new smart payment features via the Fave platform which would lead to new ways of improving the shopping experience of its consumers across Asia, the company added.

“Consumers have tremendous choices in their payment types. They want to be sure that they save on every transaction. Fave helps consumers apply their best rewards, coupons, gift cards and cashbacks on all transactions in a seamless manner. Joel and the Fave team have built a loyal consumer base with their smooth checkout experience. We are excited to partner with them in this journey in South East Asia and India”, said B. Amrish Rau, CEO, Pine Labs.

“Really excited to work with Amrish and the Pine Labs team to continue expanding the Fave platform across the Asia region. Pine Labs has been a great partner and investor for us, and it only made sense for us to join our synergies together and work towards our shared vision of building a truly global consumer and merchant platform,” said Joel Neoh, Co-Founder and CEO of Fave.

“India has the digital advantage with young demography, growing aspirational middle class with rising disposable income and increasing digital savviness. We are confident that the APAC e-payments landscape will continue to achieve exponential growth in the coming decade,” he added.

Fave, has helped 6 million consumers in Southeast Asia to save over $400 million across forty thousand retailers since 2016.

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Flipkart announces strategic partnership with Adani Group

India’s leading e-commerce marketplace, Flipkart announced a strategic and commercial partnership with the Adani Group, India’s multinational infrastructure company.

Flipkart will work with Adani Logistics Limited which is a diversified end-to-end logistics service provider and a wholly owned subsidiary of Adani Ports & Special Economic Zone Limited, in order to strengthen the supply chain infrastructure of Flipkart and enhance its ability to serve the growing base of customers. Flipkart will set its third data centre at Adaniconnex Private Limited Chennai based facility, leveraging AdaniConneX’s data centre technology solutions, the company said in a press statement. Fliplart is an e-commerce player and is owned by Walmart.

Adaniconnex Private Limited is a joint venture between EdgeConneX and Adani Enterprises Limited.

Adani Logistics Limited will build a 534,000 sq. ft. fulfilment centre in its upcoming logistics hub in Mumbai which will be leased to Flipkart to deal with the growing demand for e-commerce in Western India and support market access of thousands of sellers and Micro Small Medium enterprises. The centre is expected to be operational in Q3 2022 and will have the capacity to house 10 million units of sellers inventory. This partnership will create employment opportunities. 2,500 direct and thousands of indirect jobs. Added the company.

Flipkarts data centre at AdaniConnecX will be a part of the largest private cloud deployments in the country. The data centre has been designed to meet the standards in reliability, security and sustainability. This partnership will help Flipkart to design the data centre to its growing infrastructure needs along with the focus on security and keeping data locally within India.

“I am delighted to see two of India’s fastest-growing businesses come together to help build some of the most critical as well as state-of-the-art infrastructure that our nation needs. This broad-ranging partnership across our logistics and data centre businesses is a unique business model, and we see this as a great opportunity to serve Flipkart’s physical as well as digital infrastructure needs. We look forward to a long and fruitful partnership as we focus on learning from each other as well as leveraging our mutual strengths to prioritise consumers and development of India’s MSME ecosystem”, said Karan Adani, Chief Executive Officer, Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ).

“The Adani Group is unmatched in the way it has gone about building infrastructure across India. What it brought to us was a unique combination of logistics, real estate, green energy, and data centre infrastructure capabilities. We are delighted to initiate our association with the Adani Group to strengthen our supply chain and technology infrastructure. At the Flipkart Group, we are focused on ensuring that our customers get access to a wide range of products made available by sellers across the country as we continuously innovate to drive greater affordability. Our logistics network and technology stack are instrumental in making this a reality. These investments will help us strengthen our presence and capabilities in India to support MSMEs and sellers while also accelerating job creation and growth”, said Kalyan Krishnamurthy, Chief Executive Officer, Flipkart Group.

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Tata Communications and Bahrain Internet Exchange partner to offer internet connectivity network for Bahrain

Tata Communications, a digital ecosystem enabler and Bahrain Internet Exchange (BIX), its exclusive cable landing partner in Bahrain have partnered to offer high speed internet connectivity to their customers in Bahrain.

Supported with OTU-4 (Optical Transport Unit), a next generation optical technology, TGN-Gulf cable system will help the customers with a consistent and manageable data transport infrastructure with the capability to scale beyond 100 Gbps. This partnership will bring high speed connectivity and digital transformation to the Middle East region, the company said in a press statement.

In order to extend the TGN-Gulf cable system into the business districts within the Middle East, Tata Communications is leveraging its partnership with Oman, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, to offer a carrier neutral comprehensive cable system. This will help the businesses in the Middle East, especially the OTT, gaming companies, government agencies and hyperscalers who are expanding their reach in the region to access the global market.

The cable system integrates the Middle East countries and offers direct forward connectivity to Europe, India and the globe.

In India, it integrates into the deeply penetrated Optical Transport Network that covers more than two thousand towns and more than 25 business districts. The company added.

“Keeping pace with Bahrain’s growing bandwidth requirements, the country needs new cable systems that are of high speed, well-laid and help bring global content closer to the country. BIX is excited to combine its regional expertise with Tata Communications global presence to offer end customers a technically superior submarine cable system that opens access to both the East and West parts of the world. The next generation OTU-4 technology supported by TGN helps our customers create an intelligent Software Defined Network (SDN) enabling them to serve their customers. This is a great value-add, not just for our customers but also for our country”, said Shaima Al Hamed, Executive Director, Bahrain Internet Exchange (BIX).

“We are happy to further strengthen our partnership with BIX in Bahrain and bring the latest technology to support data intensive consumer applications like e-commerce, online gaming, mobile and internet banking, industrial automation and Internet of Things (IoT) requiring extremely reliable high-capacity networks. This will give our global customers and partners in Bahrain open access to our TGN-Gulf cable system with high-capacity low latency data transmissions across the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa and European regions. Our latest OTU-4 technology upgrade is also a step in the direction to continue focusing on strengthening and providing the Government and enterprises an ecosystem of holistic solutions. It also opens access to a technically superior submarine cable system that provides Bahrain a reliable, scalable, flexible, and secure infrastructure to collectively collaborate and smoothly function in a contactless work environment”, said Vaneet Mehta, Region Head, Middle East, Central Asia & Africa, Tata Communications.

The superior OTU-4 technology on the TGN cable system will provide flexibility to future proof and create a software-defined network (SDN), and being compatible with legacy systems. It will also help the enterprises to adopt edge computing and make use of cloud express connect to link to the different cloud nodes in and out of Bahrain.

Further, it will also improve the performance and stability of the enterprises data, voice and video applications at shorter round- trip delay (RTD).  This will help the enterprises with their digital transformation journeys.

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L&T bags contract for constructing largest Solar Plant in Saudi Arabia

Larsen & Toubro (L&T) has bagged a contract to construct the largest solar plant in Saudi Arabia.

The India-headquartered multinational company, which is into EPC projects, hi-tech manufacturing and services won this contract which is estimated to be in the range of US $600–900 million, the company said. Further, this contract was bagged from the consortium of ACWA Power and the Water and Electricity Holding Company, a subsidiary of the Public Investments Fund of Saudi Arabia (PIF), for Sudair Solar PV Project of 1.5 GW capacity.

This project is considered the largest Solar Plant in Saudi Arabia with PPA signed. It is also one of the largest such plants in the world.

The project that is coming up in Riyadh Province has a 30.8 square kilometre land parcel available to install a total capacity of 1.5GW PV Solar modules with associated single axial tracker and inverters.

The ambitions of Saudi Arabia’s National Renewable Energy Program (NREP) are on track. As part of the NREP, Sudair Solar PV Project is awarded to PIF and its partner, ACWA Power. This project is part of the 70 per cent of the target capacity of 58.7 GW of the Kingdom assigned to Public Investment Fund (PIF), while Renewable Energy Project Development Office (REPDO) would undertake competitive tendering for the remaining 30 per cent, as announced by the Ministry of Energy in 2019.

“With several GWs of solar EPC experience, L&T has emerged as a global technology player for solar plants, said S N Subrahmanyan, CEO & Managing Director, L&T.

The company has been a provider of EPC services for several green projects in recent years.

“We are India’s largest EPC company to build hydel power plants, the largest market player to build nuclear power plants with a total capability of 9360 MWe, including some ongoing projects, on an EPC turnkey basis with the capacity to make important critical components like steam turbines, generators, end shields and other critical equipment,” noted Subrahmanyan.

Additionally, L&T has the largest market share of the Flue Gas Desulfurization (FGD) units for fossil fuel power plants.

It has over 2.1 GW of Utility Scale Solar projects commissioned and are also operating and maintaining many of them. “We have a diversified renewable portfolio of 32MW Floating Solar Power Plants, 135 MWH of Battery Energy Storage projects, 500 Micro Grids and 14,000 Solar Water Pumps,” added Subrahmanyan.

L&T is also working on potential solutions related to Green Hydrogen and Carbon Capture & Storage technologies. “Securing this project is a major milestone in our clean and green energy path to fight the climate crisis that the world faces,” pointed out Subrahmanyan.

T. Madhava Das, Whole-Time Director & Senior Executive Vice President (Utilities), L&T said “KSA aims to become a pioneer in Renewable Energy and we are happy to be a part of this journey. We have been building efficient power transmission and distribution networks with modern substations and transmission lines in this region for more than two decades. This is yet another recognition of our capabilities to construct mega projects to speed and scale”.

Lear more about sustainability during W.Media’s Digital Week South Asia from April 28-30.

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Deep Tech VC Speciale Invest closes second seed fund

Speciale Invest, a seed stage VC investing in deep technologies has closed its second seed fund.

The second fund exceeded its target and was oversubscribed with the backing of an experienced group of domestic investors, the company said.

The fund expects to invest in about 18-20 start-ups building enterprise software products including SaaS, Developers tools and frontier technologies including Space Tech, Robotics, Photonics, Alternative Energy to name a few. The VC firm said that the fund size was Rs 140 crore or US$ 2 million.

Speciale had raised its first fund in 2018 and invested in 14 startups so far, with an average deal size of sub US$0.5 million. The investment strategy and portfolio construct continues to remain the same across funds, and a larger corpus allows for more follow-on allocation to the portfolio. Portfolio companies of Speciale Invest include enterprise software companies Wingman, True Lark, TotalCloud, Scapic, iAuro, Pocket52 and; and hardware startups The ePlane Company, Agnikul, Astrogate Labs, CynLr, and Kawa Space.

Vishesh Rajaram, Managing Partner at Speciale Invest said, “We are excited to announce the launch of our second fund to support and boost the deep-tech startup ecosystem in India amid the ongoing pandemic. The oversubscribed round of funding and interest in our subsequent round demonstrate the support of our investors in our team in creating a long standing venture institution. It also reaffirms our commitment towards looking out for entrepreneurs who have unconventional ideas in building futuristic companies that will challenge the status quo and revolutionize the world.”

Arjun Rao, General Partner at Speciale Invest, said “We’re thrilled that our 2nd fund enables us to continue this journey of partnering with early stage founders building companies at the bleeding edge of innovation from India. We take the learnings and progress from the 1st Fund portfolio as motivation to double down on our core deep tech thesis and strive harder to explore newer areas of tech & science led disruption.”

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Extreme IX partners with CtrlS to establish an Internet eXchange Point in Mumbai

Extreme IX, an Internet Exchange Point has entered into a collaboration with CtrlS Datacenters to start its Point of Presence (PoP) in CtrlS facility in Mahape, Navi Mumbai in India.

With this POP, it aims to provide consumers access to superior interconnection services. The launch of this PoP in Navi Mumbai is a part of the recently announced expansion plans to address the growing internet consumption while ensuring buffer and lag-free experience. With this, Extreme IX in Mumbai has a total of 12 PoPs, the company said.

Also, the strategic partnership with CtrlS will extend cutting-edge technology to the members of the network, thus making the interconnection seamless. Through these points of access, the company in collaboration with CtrlS is consistently working towards extending its mission to help the internet service provider ecosystem by boosting local traffic exchange.

Sridhar Pinnapureddy, Founder and CEO, CtrlS said, ”Data centres and Internet Exchange Points are the perfect combination that can lead to the speedy adoption of Digital India. We are excited to be partnering with Extreme IX, our partnership will enable consumers to opt for reliable and efficient interconnection solutions.” He further added, “Our customers will benefit from reduced latency, lowered cost backed by robust internet connectivity, besides improved user experience.”

Raunak Maheshwari, Executive Director, Extreme group said, “Extreme IX since the beginning of its operations in India is working towards establishing a well-organised data transfer ecosystem. Our strategic and long-lasting collaboration to extend services across the country will help bring internet-enabled content closer to the end-consumers while encouraging more companies to adopt our services.”

Currently servicing out of 24 points of access across the country, Extreme IX with its steady expansion is attempting to enable a more neutral and faster interconnection platform in the country.

India is one of the biggest internet consumers in the world and thus the demand for an efficient interconnection service is increasing. Extreme IX currently has a network of over 350 Internet Service Providers (ISPs) directly connecting content providers like Google, Facebook, Netflix, Amazon, and Akamai. Participants in Extreme IX increased by 40 per cent in the year 2020 and is currently operational in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata, according to the company.

Adani Electricity launches green energy option to Mumbai customers

Adani Electricity Mumbai Limited (AEML), a part of the Adani Group
has launched its Mumbai Green Energy initiative, with an aim to play a pivotal role in Mumbai’s transition towards green energy.

As a part of this initiative, customers will have a flexibility to choose renewable energy consumption options, a move which is the first of its kind in India.

Further, AEML will source over 30 per cent of its energy requirement through renewable energy by 2023 and further increase this share to 50 per cent by way of consent already being sought from Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) to add additional 1000 MW of Round The Clock (RTC) Power with more than 51 per cent component from RE Power. Indian regulations mandate approval from a regulatory commission such as MERC before any scheme is rolled out to customers.

AEML customers can ask the utility for options to buy RE Power under the current MERC scheme of providing 100 per cent RE Power, by paying 66 paisa extra. Also, AEML will be able to provide RE Certificates to customers as AEML will receive 700 MW supply from hybrid solar and wind generation in Rajasthan towards end of 2022-23.

AEML will also add an additional 1,000 MW power with substantial component of green energy, which has already, put up for approval of MERC.

Kandarp Patel, CEO and MD, AEML, said “AEML will empower its customers to choose the source of their energy, making green electrons accessible to everyone and enabling the green energy transition. We can guarantee 100 per cent green energy supply and certificates in Mumbai, without any modifications or disruptions. We will create customised renewable energy solutions for all customers to take full advantage of the renewable energy opportunities and achieve their sustainability goals.”

This Mumbai Green Energy Initiative is a voluntary program and is for existing AEML consumers and prospective customers. All existing and new customers are eligible to participate. AEML will issue monthly certificates to such customers stating the percentage (%) of power requirement that has been sourced through renewable energy.

Rapid strides are underway in Asia towards clean energy consumption. Recently, Singapore-based solar firm Sunseap Group will form a joint venture with Malaysia’s largest electricity utility, Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB). This joint venture trial is to import clean electricity into Singapore, from Malaysia.

According to the terms of the agreement, the partnership will import 100 MW of electricity to be generated from renewable energy sources, TNB and Sunseap said in a joint statement.

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Sakra World Hospital leverages Nutanix for IT infra upgrade

Multispeciality hospital Sakra World Hospital has upgraded its technology infrastructure and is leveraging Nutanix to enhance medical services for patients and deliver multiple telehealth applications.

“Time is of the essence in healthcare. With our previous legacy infrastructure, we faced challenges like slow billing, extended wait times, and delays in retrieving health records and processing X-rays. These issues affected both our staff and patients,” said Bhoopendra Solanki, head of IT at Sakra World Hospital.

“With Nutanix HCI, IT has become an enabler for business. Clinicians can now access data in seconds not minutes, and we were even able to quickly respond to customer needs during the pandemic by rolling out new applications for virtual consultations, online registration and payments without any delay.”

Sakra’s initial three-tier legacy infrastructure involved high maintenance time and costs and became a barrier to further development. By switching to Nutanix, the hospital was able to cut their total cost of ownership by about 35 per cent, and the one-click simplicity has allowed Sakra to refocus resources away from routine infrastructure management and cut administration time by about 57 per cent.

Sakra World Hospital has migrated 41 applications from the three-tier infrastructure to Nutanix Enterprise Cloud OS, which includes Nutanix AOS, Nutanix Prism management software and Nutanix AHV. The hospital has 350-bed capacity and 200-plus doctors.

“IT plays an important role in healthcare today. With Nutanix, the lead time for implementing new services at Sakra World Hospital has been drastically reduced, and downtime has been cut by about 90 percent. We can now use IT to react faster to the needs of patients and staff, rather than simply keeping the lights on,” said Lovekesh Phasu, chief operating officer, Sakra World Hospital.

“The ability to shift focus from internal resource management to customers is a big advantage for any organization today, and more so on the critical frontlines of the healthcare industry. With Nutanix, Sakra World Hospital has been able to adapt quickly to changing patient needs and continuously meet their goal of delivering a customer-centric experience,” said Faiz Shakir, Director, Sales, India and SAARC, Nutanix.

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Disney+ Hotstar signs multi-year deal for CLEAR Production Cloud

Prime Focus Technologies (PFT), the technology arm of Prime Focus said that Disney-owned video streaming service Disney+ Hotstar has signed a multi-year deal for CLEAR Production Cloud.

This deal is to enable secure and collaborative production workflows for their ‘Originals’ content, the company said. Disney+ Hotstar is an OTT service provider in India.

CLEAR gives users the flexibility to log-in from anywhere, anytime to upload, review, approve, edit, and share content. It allows for user-friendly features like mobile (iOS and Android) and Apple TV support, virtual playlist editor, elastic search engine, customizable projects homepage, and next-gen HTML5 Player, that will change the way the production teams work and collaborate at Disney+ Hotstar. CLEAR is bolstered with industry-leading security including powerful administration control, 256-bit encryption, JIT watermarking, Okta SSO, enterprise-scale managed security operations and, threat protection.

“COVID-19 has reinforced the importance of cloud-based workflows for Media & Entertainment industry in production. And virtualised collaboration is a heightened requirement now more than ever for our Originals. We evaluated multiple products in the market place and found CLEAR to be more promising to cater to our production supply chain needs. We will now be using CLEAR to handle our supply chain for all of our Originals” said Akash Saxena – Head of Technology, Disney+ Hotstar.

“We are extremely delighted to be supporting Disney+ Hotstar on yet another transformation initiative. We’ve been managing production workflows in Hollywood for over 10 years and are excited to have a major studio in India sign up for CLEAR to help manage their production workflows — from pre-production prep files, schedules, scripts to production dailies and post-production cuts all on ONE software,” said Ramki Sankaranarayanan, Founder and Global CEO, Prime Focus Technologies.

NeoSOFT partners with Tonik for Neo Bank in Southeast Asia

NeoSOFT Technologies, one of India’s leading IT consulting and software solutions provider, said that it is the exclusive technology partner of Tonik.

Tonik is Southeast Asia’s first digital bank and have launched their first innovative Neo Bank in the Philippines.

A Neo bank is a digital direct bank that only reaches customers on mobile apps and personal computer platforms. It gets an edge over the traditional or legacy banking systems by virtue of it being ‘only digital’ presence.

This Neo bank is built on cloud-native, open API, multi-cloud strategy and delivered over true Agile or DevSecOps mode, is fully digital with no branch and will revolutionise the way money works in Southeast Asia. Tonik entrusted NeoSOFT for its talent pool across diverse technology areas to develop its Neo Bank mobile and web application.

Working on the philosophy of trust, transparency, and accountability, NeoSOFT has driven value and innovation throughout the entire product development cycle. Certified engineers, top-notch skills, and adeptness on the latest tools and frameworks have been the pillars behind Tonik’s Neo Bank’s successful launch, the company said.

“NeoSOFT is happy to see Tonik drive transformation in the spectrum of Neo Banks and be passionate about improving people’s financial lives through the use of technology in an era of absolute disruption triggered by new-age technologies like AI, ML, Edge Computing, Automation, etc.,” said Nishant Rathi, CEO and Founder of NeoSOFT Technologies.

In the consumer banking sector, Neo banking gets more optimistic today and is here to drive a significant disruption in the fintech arena. Neo banks are increasingly finding increased acceptance globally. Recently, in March, Rewire, a fintech start-up that develops cross-border online banking services tailored for the needs of expatriate workers worldwide, announced a Series B funding round of $20 million and a significant line of credit from a leading bank. Similarly, InstantPay, India’s largest Neo bank, is eyeing a revenue of around US$50 million (Rs 350 crore) in FY21, an impressive three-and-a-half times growth in the last three years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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India’s largest power generator NTPC completes total installed capacity of 65,810 MW

With the successful completion of trial operation by Unit-2 of Tanda Super Thermal Power Station in Uttar Pradesh (UP), NTPC’s installed capacity has risen to 65,810 MW.

NTPC, India’s largest power generator also said that its Unit-2 of 660 MW capacity of Nabinagar Super Thermal Power Project (3 x 660 MW) of Nabinagar Power Generating Co. Limited (a wholly owned subsidiary of NTPC Limited) has successfully completed trial operation.

NTPC also announced Commercial Operation Date (COD) of the first part capacity of 70 MW Of 85 MW Bilhaur Solar PV Project in UP.

NTPC Group has 70 power stations including 26 renewable projects. The group has over 18 GW of capacity under construction, including 5 GW of renewable energy projects. With global shift in energy space, NTPC is increasingly emphasising on ESG and changed its focus to renewable for future growth while improving on sustainability matrix. Sustained efforts are underway for transforming into an Integrated Energy company.

Uninterrupted supply of electricity through environment-friendly energy projects at affordable prices has been a key fous area of NTPC, company officials said. In February, NTPC commenced commercial operations for the Kameng Hydro-Electric Project, a part North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Ltd (a wholly-owned subsidiary company of NTPC Ltd.

In the December-ended quarterly results, gross generation of NTPC came in at 65.42 billion units as against 61.21 billion units during the corresponding period of previous year. This us an increase of 6.87 per cent. For nine months of financial year 2021, gross generation was 193.28 billion units as against 191.35 billion units during the corresponding period of previous year.

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Airtel commissions 14 MWp captive solar power plant for DC needs

India’s communication service provider Bharti Airtel has commissioned a captive solar power plant to meet the energy needs of its core and edge data centres in Uttar Pradesh (UP).

Airtel has commissioned a 14 MWp captive solar power plant to meet the energy requirements of its core and edge data centres in UP, the company said in a statement. The facility in Tilhar, Shahjahanpur in UP is the first of the two solar plants being set up by Airtel in partnership with AMP Energy, the statement added.

The second plant at Begampur, is expected to go live in the next quarter. This will provide a major boost to Airtel’s initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint.

Airtel had acquired a 26 per cent equity stake in AMP Solar Evolution as part of its commitment to green energy-based solutions. Needless to say, data centres have large power requirements.

DC infra push

Bharti Airtel’s data centre subsidiary Nxtra Data, last year had said that it plans to invest Rs 1,750 crore in its data security and cloud infrastructure network. The capital expenditure is being driven by an earlier investment from US-based Carlyle Group, which had shelled out $235 million for a 25 per cent stake in ‘Nxtra by Airtel’.

It currently operates 10 large and 120 edge data centres across India. Airtel has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation, under which the telco will set up for two new data centre campuses in Mumbai and Pune. Nxtra Data already operates two large data centres in Maharashtra in addition to multiple edge data centres spread across Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Nagpur and Kolhapur.

In FY 2022, it aims to meet over 50 per cent of its power input through renewable energy sources and contribute to Airtel’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint.

‘As a responsible corporate, green energy is a top agenda for Airtel. We take pride in being ahead of the curve when it comes to implementing sustainability initiatives,’ said Rajesh Tapadia, CEO – Nxtra Data.

Airtel will continue to drive its commitment to reducing carbon footprint through multiple interventions, Tapadia added.

Further, Airtel is aligned to the Paris Climate Accord. It benchmarks against global standards and transparently publishes the progress it makes against the targets it has set itself,’ the statement said adding the company is proactively deploying clean fuel-based power solutions for its towers, data centres, switching centres and other facilities.

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Microsoft resolves issues that led to productivity apps outage

Microsoft has said that it has successfully resolved the issues that led to an outage which affected cloud services on April 1.

The affected services included Azure, Teams and Dynamics 365, according to reports. “We’ve successfully resolved the issue that was causing residual impact for SharePoint Online and we’ve confirmed that all Microsoft 365 services have returned to a healthy state.” Microsoft said in a Tweet.

Spike in DNS traffic

During the outage, some users experienced “intermittent issues” with accessing Azure, Dynamics, Xbox Live and other cloud services, the Redmond-based giant said. In order to mitigate the impact of the issues, Microsoft “engaged resilient DNS capabilities to absorb the spike in DNS traffic,” the company said.

The issues on Thursday followed Microsoft’s March 15 outage that had impacted “any service” that uses Azure Active Directory, Microsoft’s widely used identity authentication solution.

During that outage, Microsoft indicated that the biggest impact was on Teams, which is used by businesses and is part of Microsoft’s Office 365 suite of productivity apps. While Asia Pacific seems to be largely excluded from this outage, Microsoft said that it has identified that a portion of infrastructure within Central United States, Western United Kingdom and France encountered errors.

Also, reports of some users in Canada, unable to send and receive Microsoft Teams chat messages were doing the rounds in the last week of March.

The outage on April 1 is the fourth such instance on Microsoft Teams since February. Teams has around 115 million daily active users worldwide as of late October, Microsoft had said in the past.

That was a more than 5 times increase from a year before, when Teams had 20 million daily active users, Microsoft said.

 

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NXP India ties up with govt to set up fabless chip design incubator

NXP India has tied up with the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and Fabless Chip Design Incubator (FabCI) at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT-Hyderabad) to set up an accelerator.

The programme will identify, facilitate and mentor the start-ups in the niche area of start-ups will be incubated for two years in each cohort every year. NXP India is a part of the Nasdaq-listed NXP Semiconductors.

Startups working in semiconductor chip design, IP design, design services and chip design tools are eligible to seek space in the incubator, the company said.

The accelerator would pick five start-ups for the incubation programme. They will be incubated for two years.

Each start-up will get benefits up to Rs 1 crore a year.

“The incubation and accelerator programme can bring the core impetus to the strengthening of fabless semiconductor design in India,” Lars Reger, Executive Vice-President and Chief Technology Officer of NXP Semiconductors, has said.

“The Union Government has been working towards promoting the electronics system design and manufacturing sector to bring electronic manufacturing to the country. There is also a need to build a fabless design ecosystem,” Ajay Sawhney, Secretary (MeitY), said.

“This collaborative effort will give an impetus to the semiconductor ecosystem in the country,” according to B S Murty, Director of IIT Hyderabad.

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Airtel to offer cyber security solutions to Indian govt

Indian communications solutions provider Airtel has joined a select group of companies to be empanelled by Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN) – India’s National Incident Response Center for cyber Incidents across India.

With this empanelment, Airtel will be able to offer its cyber security solutions to Union and State Governments as well as Public Sector entities, in addition to corporate customers. Airtel provides end-to-end managed security services to enterprise customers under Airtel Secure, which combines Airtel’s network security with cutting-edge solutions delivered through global partnerships, the company said.

Ajay Chitkara, Director & CEO – Airtel Business, said: “Airtel is trusted by over one million enterprises of all sizes. The CERT empanelment is a major milestone in our journey to becoming the preferred partner for enterprises when it comes to security, which is a top priority in today’s digitally connected world.”

As part of Airtel Secure, Airtel has set up a state-of-the-art Security Intelligence Centre that rates amongst the best in India with access to advanced technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI)/ Machine Learning (ML) tools to track and mitigate potential online threats. From end point protection, email protection to cloud DDOS protection and more, Airtel Secure has strategic partnerships with global leaders such as Cisco, Radware, VMWare, and Forcepoint.

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NTT Global acquires 55 acres of land from Indian steel maker Mukand for $106 mn

Steel maker Mukand has completed the transfer of 55 acres of surplus leasehold land to NTT Global for $106 million.

The surplus leasehold land is at Thane, a district close to Mumbai and was sold to NTT Global Nav2 Pvt. Ltd.

“The realised amount will be utilised for debt repayment of the steel maker,” Mukand said in a letter to shareholders. Mukand had a total debt of almost $300 million. In December 2020, Mukand entered into an agreement for transfer of this 55 acres of land and the accompanying structures at the Trans Thane Creek Industrial Area (TTC Industrial Area), Dighe and Navi Mumbai.

For NTT Global, this is a part of its ongoing efforts to increase its data centre infrastructure play. In September last year, NTT Limited had said that is planning to invest $2 billion in the next four years for building additional data centres, solar parks and investing in its undersea cable network.

The investments will go into Data Centres, setting up of multiple solar parks, expansion into cities such as Mumbai, Chennai and Bengaluru and construction of the optical submarine cable, connecting Singapore, Myanmar and India. “We are increasing our footprint seeing a significant growth in demand for IT infrastructure related needs in the country,” Sharad Sanghi, CEO of NTT Ltd had said.

NTT Ltd’s Global Data Centers and Cloud Infrastructure division in India currently operates with 10 data centers across 4 major cities with 1.5 million sq. ft. and over 150 MW of power capacity. Apart from Mumbai, NTT India recently got allotted six acres of land for bringing up 70 MW of capacity data centre, again in the Greater Noida region in India’s most populated state- Uttar Pradesh.

According to 451 Research, the data center market is growing at 23 per cent CAGR due to increased demand from global cloud providers and a proposed data sovereignty law by the Indian government, as well as other geopolitical factors.

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