Thursday, March 26, 2015

SaaSx Set to Accelerate Indian SaaS Startups

Microsoft Ventures and iSPIRT hosted SaaSx, a platform for SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) entrepreneurs to share, learn and grow their business into million dollar Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) models. SaaSx brought together more than 100 promising SaaS startups for peer learning, expert talks, and launch of a guide on marketing SaaS.

Ravi Narayan, Managing Director, Microsoft Ventures in India, said: “While SaaS is fast becoming a viable model for product startups in India, scaling it up rapidly is a bottleneck every mature SaaS startup encounters. SaaSx, like our other initiatives with iSPIRT, is aimed at getting these startups the traction that will turn them into a global success.”

At the event, iSPIRT & Microsoft Ventures launched the ‘Jump Start Guide for Desk Marketing and Selling for SaaS’ to educate the SaaS companies on ways to sell to the world while operating out of India. The guide has been developed based on the learning from Microsoft Ventures’ Think Next Roundtable on SaaS, held last November.

“These are part of the thought leadership initiative by Microsoft Ventures to deepen the conversation on ways to address challenges in the Indian startup ecosystem,” added Ravi.

Avinash Raghava, Fellow at iSPIRT Foundation said: “Our mission is to transform India into a hub for new-generation technology. With SaaSx, we hope to play the role of a market catalyst and help SaaS entrepreneurs mature faster. Since Chennai is fast growing as the nerve center for SaaS companies, we thought it is only appropriate to host this first-of-its-kind congregation of SaaS entrepreneurs in this city.”

In his keynote, Aaron Ross, renowned SaaS expert and author of the best-seller Predictable Revenue: Grow 300%’ - often called the ‘Sales Bible of Silicon Valley’ - spoke on the best practices for creating predictable revenue with SaaS.

SaaSx also featured an Unconference by Girish Mathrubootham, CEO & Founder, Freshdesk, on ‘Everything on SaaS.’ The audience also got an opportunity to hear success stories of some of the best SaaS startups in the country - WebEngage, Wingify, and Grexit - straight from their co-founders.

Tally Tech Alumni & SELCO Partner for Light for Education Initiative

Tally Solutions Pvt. Limited (TSPL), a pioneer in the business software products arena, today announced their association with Light For Education (LiFE) - a unique education and sustainability oriented social initiative by the SELCO Foundation. In support of the initiative, the Technology Alumni Association of Bangalore (Alumni Association of IIT - Kharagpur in Bangalore) organized a fundraiser called the Light For Education (LiFE) Music Fest on 21st March, 2015 at the Hotel Royal Orchid Hotel, Old Airport Road, Bangalore.

The “Light for Education” initiative is the brainchild of SELCO founder and Magsaysay Award winner, Dr. Harish Hande. The initiative’s primary goal was to provide solar lamps for school children in areas without electricity. Under the scheme, Solar Panel and Charging Station are installed in rural schools and lamps and battery packs are given to students from un-electrified homes. 

The school becomes the charging station for the lights. Students bring lamps to school for charging in morning and carry them back in the afternoon for study at home. SELCO has created impact in more than 200,000 households in Karnataka with solar lighting and has a special focus on linking sustainable energy to education. Over the years, SECLO has been working with individuals, NGIs and corporate organizations to scale up the initiative.

The event also featured MindTrigger, a day-long corporate contest which drew participation from leading technology companies in Bangalore. The contest tests contestants on a variety of aspects including knowledge, strategic thinking, linguistic abilities, creativity with contests like Quiz, Spin a Yarn and Potpourri. Tally Solutions Pvt. Ltd. swept all the five contests and was adjudged the “Best Corporate Mind 2015” while HAL was the runner-up.

Monday, March 23, 2015

VDVL Acquisition to Enhance Prodapt's Telecom Services

Prodapt, a leading provider of IT and Engineering services today announced that it has completed the acquisition of VDVL Consultants, a Netherlands based Telecom IT and Technology Services Company in an all-cash deal.

VDVL Consultants, over a span of 25 years, has built a strong track record by servicing most of the large telecom operators in The Netherlands. The company provides Telecom IT specific high-end Strategic Consulting, Technology Architecture & Design, Business Process Analysis and Definition, Test Planning & Management, and Program Management Services. VDVL has a highly experienced team with deep telecom skills, sustainable client relationships and solid financials. The existing management of VDVL will continue with the company.

With the completion of this acquisition, Prodapt becomes a leading global services company serving the telecom industry. The strategic acquisition complements Prodapt’s proven capabilities of delivering IT and Operations Services for the Communications Industry and enhance its revenue mix, with approximately 50% from North America, 45% from Europe and 5% from Africa.   The combined offerings bring end-to-end IT and operations services - from telecom product strategy to managed services.

In 2015, the company plans to focus on enhancing its position with investments in next generation technologies impacting the telecom vertical. These would include the productization of Prodapt's platform serving the Internet of Things (IoT) and development of Prodapt's big data and analytics practice serving the communications sector.

“This acquisition is a significant moment for Prodapt. Now, we have become a leading global services company serving the telecom industry. This consolidation will strengthen our delivery capabilities for both wireline, wireless and convergent operators; especially in the area of BSS/OSS and network integration solutions. We are looking at further acquisitions that could help enhance our offerings to the telecom vertical” said Vedant Jhaver, CEO of Prodapt.

In the recent past, Prodapt has ramped up its Indian operations and boosted its employee strength with growing business from US and Europe in the last few quarters.

Zipstream Tech Reduces 50% Storage in Video Surveillance Applications

Axis’ Zipstream technology is fully compatible with the H.264 compression standard and can be used with the latest Axis cameras and the market’s leading video management software without additional investment. Optimized for video surveillance, Axis’ Zipstream technology is a radically more efficient H.264 implementation, lowering bandwidth and storage requirements by an average 50% or more.

Axis Communications, the market leader in network video, introduces Zipstream technology allowing customers to benefit from reduced bandwidth and storage requirements without having to invest in new cameras or software. Axis’ Zipstream technology is fully compatible with the widely adopted H.264 compression standard. The technology has been developed specifically for video surveillance applications and lowers bandwidth and storage requirements by an average 50% or more.

“Significant progress towards better image quality with higher HDTV resolutions and increased low-light performance has also increased the requirements on the network and storage infrastructure. With Axis’ Zipstream technology we enable our customers to drastically reduce bandwidth and storage needs without compromising on important image details. For example, more than twice the video footage can now be stored on SD cards or NAS’s in small systems built on AXIS Camera Companion as well as other edge recording applications,” says Johan Paulsson, Chief Technology Officer, Axis Communications. “Axis’ Zipstream technology adds a new module inside the network camera’s video compression engine which ensures that important details in the image get enough attention in the video stream while unnecessary data can be squeezed.”

Axis’ Zipstream technology analyzes and optimizes the network camera’s video stream in real time. Scenes containing interesting details are recorded in full image quality and resolution while other areas are filtered out, to optimally use available bandwidth and storage. Important forensic details like faces, tattoos or license plates are isolated and preserved, while irrelevant areas such as white walls, lawns and vegetation are sacrificed by smoothing in order to achieve the better storage savings.

Customers can use Axis’ Zipstream technology alongside other Axis network camera technologies such as Wide Dynamic Range - Forensic Capture and Lightfinder. As Zipstream is fully compatible with H.264 and can be used with AXIS Camera Station, AXIS Camera Companion and third-party video management software installations already in place.

Axis is making available its Zipstream technology on the existing network cameras AXIS Q1615, AXIS Q1635 and in the AXIS Q35 Series, via firmware updates. The first new products with Axis’ Zipstream installed are planned to be AXIS M1124/-E, AXIS M1125/-E and AXIS P1365/-E fixed network cameras, and AXIS P3224-LV/-LVE and AXIS P3225-LV/-LVE fixed dome network cameras.

Sigmify To Address CIO's Commonplace Issue of Operational Inefficiencies

Business Integration Systems (India) Pvt. Limited (BISIL), a global provider of BPM solutions, has announced the global release of Sigmify, a Software as a Service (SaaS) offering.

Sigmify addresses the commonplace issue of operational inefficiencies experienced by people at work due to fragmentation of information related to their work.

While speaking about the release, Savita Pathak, Head of Sigmify at BISIL said, “We all have experienced that with time information related to our work gets fragmented. Information related to our work is scattered over various IT applications, in spreadsheets, in emails and increasingly in chat transcripts. We spend more time trying to ‘collect and collate this information’ in preparing to do a task at hand than in actually doing the task itself. It is all very distracting and inefficient.”

Sigmify addresses this fragmentation problem by providing a ‘social dashboard’ that offers a single place to access transactions in various IT applications; a social interface for collaborating around these transactions; links to other ‘conversations’; ability to define and share operational tracking and control lists; and other ways access information in subscribing IT applications. Various interactions around transactions captured through emails, chat, applications, and messages are unified through Sigmify Stream, improving efficiencies, quality of responses and turnaround times.

 “Sigmify is a result of knowledge acquired over a decade by BISIL in implementing Business Process Management (BPM) solutions across the globe. We have been working over the last two years to translate this vision of de-fragmenting work into reality. The result is Sigmify – A social platform to collaborate; combined with BPM capability to automate; and set of open APIs to enable applications to subscribe to the Sigmify Stream,” Pathak added.

The best part of Sigmify is the ease of on-boarding and spreading its use within the company. It takes less than five minutes to get started, and proliferates within organizations through just the use of email IDs. Users can sign up, sign in and check out its relevance to them effortlessly.

The product release was announced at the 4th Edition of CIO India Conclave (March 18th-19th) in Mumbai.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

CASE STUDY: Bangalore International Airport Scales Up Networking Efficiency


By Manu Sharma

Bangalore International Airport Ltd implemented Fabric Connect technology from Avaya to enable its network to scale in a robust manner, improve productivity and offer services with faster turnaround times to concessionaires.

The Scenario

Kempegowda International Airport, operated by Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) and serving the Indian city of Bangalore is one of the largest green-field private sector owned and operated airports in India. Covering approximately 4,000 acres, the airport is owned by a consortium of investors, including private investors like GVK, Zurich Airport and Siemens, as well as central government and state government bodies such as the Airport Authority of India and Karnataka State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (KSIIDC). The airport currently is India’s third-largest in terms of passenger numbers by handling 12.86 million passengers in 2013-14 and is expected to handle 20 million passengers a year by 2017. It is host to seven domestic airlines and twenty-six international airlines connecting Bangalore to fifty-five destinations across India and the world. In 2014 the airport was chosen as a hub airport by Air Asia India.

Business Challenges

BIAL provides network services for all tenants at Kempegowda International Airport, which includes airline operations and offices, airport concessionaires like ground handling companies, cargo and catering organisations and fuel concessionaires, and commercial entities including retail and food and beverage units at the airport. The airport network is all encompassing, including the terminal building and all 50+ buildings across the campus, and provides the flexibility of wired and wireless services on both the landside and airside of the airport. 

Since the airport is a multitenant environment, security and segregation of traffic and services between the different tenants is of critical importance. While the original terminal was designed for an annual passenger capacity of around eight million, sustained growth has necessitated expansion, with the facility now able to accommodate up to 20 million passengers a year. So now there was a corresponding need for network expansion, and BIAL needed a robust network, in order to provide 24/365 services to millions of passengers dependent on always-on reliable and fast passenger services delivered through numerous business critical airport applications. 

The need of the hour was to build services within the aviation policy framework - which sets out a policy to allow IT to make a significant contribution to the operations of the airport, helping the aviation sector contribute to economic growth across the country - and to be able to operate within a multi-vendor environment. 

In the expansion phase, BIAL identified four major initiatives: additional capacity, segregation of the network between critical airport applications and corporate network, upgrading the backbone for higher performance, and ease of implementation and simplicity in the operational framework. BIAL segregated its network into an application network delivering customer facing applications like check-in and boarding processes and real-time flight updates through flight display system (FIDS); a backbone network to support BIAL corporate applications and its concessionaires’ networks; and a CCTV network to cater to multicast needs. Within this overall framework, IT would be able to contribute support for ease of operations, and also provide a secure and fast network and contribute to overall airport revenues.

IT Challenges

Since the airport is a multi-tenant architecture; security and segregation of traffic and services between the different tenants is of paramount importance l BIAL needed a robust network to provide 24/365 connectivity, with carrier-grade reliability, for the airport’s business critical applications l The need of the hour was to build services within the aviation framework and be able to operate within a multi-vendor environment

The Solution

BIAL selected Avaya to provide a next-generation fabric-based network virtualization solution that would support its rapidly expanding application load, centering on a high-availability core that leverages the Virtual Service Platform 9000 product. Along with this, BIAL deployed products from the Ethernet Routing Switch 4000 Series and 5000 Series product lines to incorporate high-speed, 10 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity to the core. This architecture delivers a solution that is highly available, delivering re-convergence times of less than 200 milliseconds – which means that network downtime is virtually eliminated. The solution also offers a dramatic increase in performance levels. Leveraging the agility enhancements delivered by Fabric Connect technology, BIAL is now able to provision and turn on new services on the fly – without the need for manual intervention or reconfiguring multiple network elements.

The Avaya solution has delivered a broad range of benefits to the network and its users across the airport campus. High-Performance: A virtualized, high-capacity network with a Core that is 40/100 Gigabit-ready, and provides Gigabit-to-the-Desktop performance at the Edge. This translates into a high-performance network that is perfect for modern converged applications. The benefits of such a network include the ability to easily handle the simultaneous operation of multiple applications, especially the Airport Collaborative Decision Management (ACDM) implementation. 

BIAL has implemented the European standard and tracks 16 separate milestones, joining only 5 other airports which are fully ACDM certified. The network also supports ERP systems, passenger services systems like check-in and boarding, flight information, baggage reconciliation, and critical voice services - to name but a few. Crucially, the network is capable of seamlessly scaling up to thousands of nodes, which the airport may require due to the anticipated growth in aviation services with the new terminal (T2) and Aero City launching in due course. Resiliency: Avaya’s solution is capable of healing itself and resuming operations in sub-second time

Avaya Leap Frogs Technology With New SDN Products & Capabilities

Avaya has introduced a new, open software-defined networking (SDN) architecture that can help the Indian government deliver on its digital inclusion vision, and allow the country’s enterprises to  create the agile networks required by today’s dynamic applications.  The Avaya SDN Fx architecture is one of the first to deliver the “smart foundation” required to connect anything, anywhere.

Marc Randall, Sr VP & GM, Avaya Networking says, "the new architecture shaves off weeks in provisioning time by allowing devices and users at the network edge to be added easily to the network. The Avaya SDN Fx architecture, built on the Avaya Fabric Networking technology, features new products and capabilities for a complete solution that delivers on the promise of SDN, without the hidden complexity that comes with the towering overlays of software and hardware inherent in many other vendor approaches."

The Avaya SDN Fx architecture builds on three primary tenets to meet many of the expectations IT departments seek from SDN:  

* An automated core that takes advantage of a single, network-wide Ethernet fabric to remove the need for manual configuration at each network hop; thus, reducing the potential for error and accelerating time to service.

         * An open ecosystem that utilizes standard fabric protocols married with open interfaces and open source customization tools empowering IT to quickly respond to changing business requirements with precision and flexibility.

        * An enabled edge that leverages fabric extension beyond the data center to the user edge, allowing applications, devices and users to simply connect anywhere along the network and interact seamlessly to create a more agile and productive business environment.

The Avaya SDN Fx architecture can support a wide range of use cases, such as supporting the security and mobility of devices connecting to the ever-growing Internet of Things. Environments such as those found in hospitals, schools and universities, airports and manufacturing floors are blanketed with devices that require a more secure, mobile connection to the network, and may also require that the rest of the network is better protected from potential threats that could be triggered by them.

Similarly, home-based contact center agents pose an expense and operational burden by requiring dedicated resources to provide more secure access to customer information and alignment with IT security policies. "With the Avaya SDN Fx solution, a small network adapter provides automated and dynamic connectivity, mobility and a level of security to the network based on the device or user identity. The adapter will be reset and disabled if removed from the environment. This removes the burden of installation from IT, as end users can simply connect the adapters and allow the automated process to fully configure the device," adds Randall.

According to a recent Avaya survey, 64 percent of IT professionals in India want SDN to extend beyond the data center; however, 26 percent of them say the ability to do so today is extremely or moderately limited.  In addition, of the challenges that IT pros are looking to SDN to solve, 80 percent insist that SDN programming must be simple before they will adopt.