Wednesday, April 23, 2014

SHV Energy Simplifies Distribution Using SAP

SAP AG has announced that SHV Energy Pvt. Ltd,( SEPL), one of the leading distributor and marketer of LPG (liquid petroleum gas) in India, has chosen Transport Management (TM) and Supply Network Planning (SNP) solutions from SAP. The comprehensive software from SAP will help SEPL – adapt processes that optimize revenue and control operational costs associated with its transportation management by making the process more flexible and dynamic.
SEPL is engaged in the business of importing and distribution of LPG to domestic, commercial and industrial customers. In India, SEPL markets its products and services under the brand name ‘SUPER Gas’. 

As the global marketplace grows, transportation management becomes more complex and expensive. In their efforts to grow revenues and cut transportation costs —SEPL aimed to gain better control over their supply chains and minimize coordination inefficiencies. Implemented in partnership with Hexaware, the deployment of SAP’s portfolio of customized solutions can assist SEPL to lower inventory and logistics costs, improve processes and increase visibility across its national operations.

APAC PC Market Down 11% Y-o-Y In Q1 2014: IDC

IDC's preliminary results show that the Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) PC market declined 8% sequentially and 11% year-on-year in 2014 Q1 to reach 23.8 million units, coming in marginally lower than IDC's initial forecasts. Elections in some of the bigger markets contributed to the region’s overall decline.

In India, an ongoing large education project was postponed due to the upcoming elections, shaving off about half a million units from the commercial PC segment. In Thailand, political unrest continued to have an adverse impact on the economy, while in Indonesia, government funds were diverted in the run-up to the elections, resulting in lower commercial spending in PCs there this quarter.

“However, as these markets stabilize after the elections, IDC expects commercial activity to resume in the second half as a result of pent-up demand," says Handoko Andi, Research Manager for Client Devices at IDC Asia/Pacific.

“On the consumer side, ongoing distractions from smartphones and tablets as well as cautious channel intake impacted most markets in the region, especially in South East Asia.”

Lenovo retained the top spot despite a sequential decline in many markets in the region including China, where the vendor, due to Chinese New Year festivities, did fewer commercial shipments than usual.

Dell retained the second spot and continued to be ahead of HP for a second consecutive quarter, as the latter was impacted in key markets like China and India.

ASUS replaced Acer at the fourth spot. China contributed the most to ASUS’ share gain in the region as the vendor had a healthy channel inventory and did well in the consumer space with attractive entry-level product lines.

itaas To Expand Multi-platform Video Capabilities

Cognizant has announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire itaas, a digital video solutions company headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Founded in 1999, itaas helps leading cable, telecommunications, and technology companies to deliver a broad range of digital video services across traditional cable, broadcast, and telecommunications network environments and on consumer devices such as set-tops, tablets, and smartphones. 

With approximately 200 professionals in the U.S., Canada, and India, itaas enables television providers and broadcasters, particularly cable channels, to deliver authenticated live streaming and video services on digital platforms, thus adding value to existing television subscriptions and delighting subscribers with exclusive viewing experiences anytime, anywhere, and on any device.

As more viewers look to access internet video content directly via TV, communications players are seeking out open platforms to reduce time-to-market, while digital device companies are focusing on bundling content with connected devices. The acquisition will enable Cognizant to capitalize on the growing demand for greater interactivity, higher personalization, and innovative content delivery in the multi-screen and video market.

The end-to-end digital video engineering and multi-platform capabilities of itaas will extend and complement Cognizant’s existing capabilities serving the communications, media, and hi-technology industries. The expanded capabilities will also support other industries such as banking, retail, and healthcare, which are rolling out advanced customer and business platforms centered on video. 

“We welcome itaas’ talented professionals to Cognizant,” said Rajeev Mehta, Chief Executive Officer of IT Services at Cognizant. “This acquisition continues our long-standing strategy of acquiring sharply focused business capabilities that complement our existing offerings. The company’s strong client focus and deep business and technology insights into the entire video ecosystem, combined with Cognizant’s global consulting and delivery capabilities, will create greater value for our mutual clients. As multi-platform video becomes the new normal, new technologies create more empowered and savvy consumers, and more industry sectors look to harness the potential of video for customer interaction, this acquisition strengthens our ability to help enterprises challenge the status quo, and create new business models in response to market shifts and competitive pressures in their industry segments.” 

“We are delighted to join Cognizant,” said Vibha Rustagi, President and CEO, itaas. “The success of itaas over the last 15 years has been built on customer satisfaction, deep business and technology expertise, and best-of-breed solutions. Cognizant’s global reach, experience, and entrepreneurial culture will allow us to offer our current and future customers greater scale, a broader range of services, comprehensive solutions, and world-leading consulting and delivery expertise. International expansion is critical for us to continue our strong growth and provide greater opportunities for our employees. The agreement announced today is a major step forward for us. With a shared commitment to client satisfaction and delivery excellence, we can drive future diversification based on our combined strengths.”

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

BoxTV Ties Up With Czech-Based KM Plus Media, a premium online video service of Times Internet limited has tied up with KM plus Media, a Czech Republic based production house. KM Plus Media produces wildlife documentaries, children titles, lifestyle and travel shows to name a few genres from extended catalogue of more than 1500+ hours of tv programmings. KM Plus Media together with its US partners Big Media covers the worldwide distribution with focus on their original productions as well as content of 3rd party producers, mainly from USA and Australia.

As a part of the offering, BoxTV will feature more than 100 hours of premium KM Plus Media content for audiences in the Indian sub-continent, The content will be available for free ad-supported viewing, adding to BoxTV's already large library of more than 17,000 hours of content across Hollywood, Bollywood, Regional movies and television shows.  The content will be available across the web and BoxTV's mobile and device apps from April 2014. 

“Content from KM Plus media add to our global content catalogue.  Our users write to us every day asking for more shows around travel, adventure and wildlife. KM offers premium content around these genres. International content has been our USP and this tie up is another step towards it,” says Pandurang Nayak, Business Head, BoxTV.

“Our content appeals to a wide range of audience. BoxTV is part of the largest media conglomerate in India and it is a great platform to showcase our content. BoxTV has a great viewing experience across devices, which makes it the ideal platform for high-quality content such as ours”, Ladislav Svestka, Managing Director of KM Plus Media, said.

15 Geniuses Get Ready To Compete At ISEF 2014

In a special ceremony held at the Indo-US Science & Technology Forum (IUSSTF) in New Delhi recently, 18 students were felicitated for being the best talent selected from across the country and holding the honor to represent the country at an international platform - Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) to be held in Los Angeles, California from May 11-16, 2014 - as TEAM India.

Department of Science & Technology (DST), Indo-US Science & Technology Forum (IUSSTF) & Intel came together to celebrate these young geniuses as they get ready to compete at the international forum. The TEAM India was given a send-off by United States Ambassador to India, Nancy J. Powell and T. Ramasami, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, Government of India along with delegates from various organizations.

In an hour and a half long ceremony, the winners of the IRIS 2013, now the TEAM India 2014 were congratulated and given an opportunity to interact with scientists, professors and other eminent guests and showcase their respective projects. Out of the 18 students, 3 are junior observers and 15 are the finalists who would be competing amongst 1600 young students at the world’s largest pre-college science fair, the only global science competition for students in grades 8-12. Bringing together more than 1600 young students from more than 70 countries, Intel ISEF 2014 is an opportunity for the best young minds in the world to come together to share ideas, showcase cutting-edge projects, and compete for more than US $4 million in awards and scholarships. The winners are selected based on their creative ability and scientific thought, as well as the thoroughness, skill, and clarity shown in their projects.

The ceremony held today also marked the beginning of a new collaboration between Department of Science & Technology (DST), Indo-US Science & Technology Forum (IUSSTF) & Intel as the three came together to extend the opportunity of more projects to reach the international stage; and provide for the learning week post Intel ISEF. In this extra week, students will go for site-visits to science museums, universities, science labs; meet & interact with scientists, professors in their related fields and get an exposure to hands -on activities in labs, museums etc.

Commenting on the initiative, Rajiv Sharma, Executive Director, Indo-US Science & Technology Forum (IUSSTF), said, “IUSSTF is delighted to be part of this initiative that provides an opportunity to talented young students to showcase their ability and aptitude on the grand global stage that ISEF is. The one-week science learning tour in the United States would encourage them to explore the exciting world of Science. I wish these students all the very best, and hope they will make India proud!”

Speaking on the occasion, Nancy J Powell, United States Ambassador to India said, “I am delighted to be here, to give a special send-off to the 18 smart, young and bright minds that will soon be traveling to US to participate in Intel’s International Science and Engineering Fair. The industries and challenges of the 21st century, such as climate change, renewable energy, medicine & healthcare, water & environmental management, and developing sustainable cities all require Science, technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) innovators and workers. My message for the students is that they should stay focused on your studies, make sure you attend and graduate from university; continue to be inquisitive, explore new avenues of research, innovate and dream about how to make a difference.”
“Both IRIS and Intel® ISEF are influential in highlighting the unique pool of creativity and innovation that exists in the country. This year, with 12 projects being selected for ISEF we have a greater opportunity to showcase the talent existing within the youngsters of the country, encouraging them to create realistic solutions, through research practices, to scientific challenges that are vital for tomorrow’s progress”, said Ashutosh Chadha, Director - Corporate Affairs Group, Intel South Asia. ”

SCFCL System To Become Operational in May 2014

Applied Materials, Inc. has announced that it has completed the assembly of a superconducting fault current limiter (SCFCL) system for installation and on-grid testing at the Knapps Corners substation owned and operated by Central Hudson Gas and Electric Corp. (Central Hudson)in New York. This SCFCL system, which is scheduled to become operational in May 2014,is designed to help protect Central Hudson’s electricity grid from the potentially devastating effects of electrical faults.

Applied is teaming with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA); Central Hudson, a New York State regulated electric and gas utility; SuperPower Inc., a manufacturer of high-temperature superconducting wire; and Three-C Electrical Co., a utility systems integrator, to complete the utility-scale implementation. System testing and evaluation will be conducted over a period of one year starting in May 2014, and the performance data will be provided to the New York State Public Service Commission.

Fault current mitigation is an increasing area of concern for utilities due to changes in power demand and the proliferation of new distributed generation sources. A fault current is an unintended, excessive current flowing through the electrical system that may be caused by various factors, including lightning or downed or crossed power lines. Fault currents can induce significant stress on critical substation equipment such as power transformers and breakers, resulting in a failure of part of the system and leading to interruption of power delivery. These destructive forces also wear out grid components causing premature failure and need for expensive capital replacements.

The SCFCL system is designed to reduce the first peak of a fault current on a power line, thereby limiting the destructive forces on the power system and improving equipment reliability. In developing its SCFCL technology, Applied utilized its high-voltage engineering experience gained in designing ion implant tools for the semiconductor industry, as well as its expertise in large-equipment systems engineering. Incorporating advanced 2G high-temperature superconducting materials, the SCFCL is designed to add essentially zero impedance during normal operation, to insert impedance in time to reduce the first peak of fault current, and to rapidly recover after a fault for subsequent operation. Depending on the specific system configuration and local operating conditions, the SCFCL has the potential to reduce the magnitude of fault currents by the desired levels, typically 50% or more.

“We anticipate that the successful demonstration of our superconducting fault current limiter in New York will be a significant milestone in showing the potential of this technology for wide-scale adoption by electric utilities globally,” said Om Nalamasu, Senior Vice President, Chief Technology Officer, Applied Materials. “Applied’s development of this technology is an example of how the company’s core capabilities can add value in additional market areas. We are grateful to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority for their support, as well as our project team members Central Hudson, Super Power Inc., and Three-C for working closely with Applied to install and demonstrate the superconducting fault current limiter at Central Hudson’s Knapps Corners Substation.”

“We see the application of fault current limiters at our host substation as a great opportunity to test and evaluate this promising technology,” said Paul Haering, Central Hudson’s Vice President of Engineering and System Operations. “The large current experienced during a fault – up to 200 times nominal current level – exerts excessive forces on power grid components and connections. By adding fault current limiters, our goal is to lengthen the service life of equipment and lower system losses, ultimately lowering costs for our electricity customers.”

“As a world leading developer and producer of second-generation high-temperature superconducting wire, Super Power provides a key component of the fault current limiter system,” said Mickey Lavicska, associate director of marketing and sales at Super Power Inc. “During normal operation, the wire in the fault current limiter is cooled to a critical temperature that brings it to the superconducting state where there is no resistance to the flow of the electric current.  When a fault occurs in the line, the wire leaves the superconducting state and immediately becomes resistive, thereby impeding the fault current flow and reducing the electrical current to levels manageable by existing equipment.”

Monday, April 21, 2014

E-commerce To Touch $70b In India By 2020

There is a common saying about the Indian retail consumers' "can't touch, won't buy" mentality. However, this is gradually changing with the rising trend of online shopping.  

India's e-commerce business jumped by more than 80 percent in 2013 and the momentum is likely to continue for at least the next five-six years, the founders of the country's largest e-commerce firm, Flipkart says.

Flipkart co-founder and chief executive officer Sachin Bansal said the e-commerce business in India is expected to reach around $50-70 billion by 2020 on the back of a fast growing internet-connected population and improvement in related infrastructure like payment and delivery systems.

The size of India's e-commerce market in 2013 was around $13 billion, according to a joint report of KPMG and Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI). The online travel segment contributed over 70 percent of the total consumer e-commerce transactions last year.

Bansal said online retail, also known as "e-tail", will lead the industry's growth in the coming years.

"Consumer mentality and shopping patterns are changing very fast. Online shopping is going to become mainstream in the coming five-six years," Bansal told this agency in an interview.

He said smartphones would be the biggest online shopping driver in the coming years.
"Over half a billion Indians will switch to smartphones in the next five-six years. That's going to be a big driver of e-commerce in India," Bansal added.

According to Bansal, online shopping is becoming increasingly popular in smaller cities.
"Tier-II and Tier-III cities are opening up very rapidly. By 2020, you will have e-commerce penetrated everywhere, whether it is smaller cities or rural areas," said Bansal.

Alumni of the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi, Sachin and Binny Bansal co-founded Flipkart in 2007. They claim the company now controls nearly one-third of India's online retail business and has over 1 crore (10 million) registered users.

"By 2020, our target is to be a $20 billion company. We are thinking really big. We are investing a lot on technologies, especially on mobiles and the supply chain," said Binny Bansal.

"We have raised a good amount of funding this year. We are well funded for the foreseeable future. However, we will continue to raise funds as and when required," he said when asked about funding for the company's expansions.

Flipkart has raised nearly $550 million since 2009 from venture capitals like Tiger Global, Accel Partners, Iconiq Capital and Naspers Group.

Sachin Bansal emphasised on the need for implementing a uniform goods and services tax (GST) as this would help boost the e-commerce business. "Right now it's a bit complicated for sellers to ship products across India because taxes vary from state to state and it is also calculated differently. GST will really be a help for the industry," he said.

He pointed out that despite high growth in recent years, India's e-commerce industry is still in a nascent stage. Online shopping accounts for less than one percent of the total shopping in the country. Total global online sales reached $1.22 trillion in 2013. In China alone it was around $200 billion.
Just around 12 percent of Indian population is into online transactions against more than half of their Chinese counterparts. This proportion is much higher in the developed countries like the US, where the figure is 64 percent.

Internet connectivity and other logistics infrastructure are still a big drag. This makes servicing in smaller towns a bit challenging, said Bansal.

According to the KPMG and IAMAI report, only around 10,000 out of the more than 150,000 pin codes in the country are covered by courier companies. The penetration of courier services is critically important to boost online shopping as deliveries are mostly done through them.

Source: Agencies