IndUS Business Journal

Opinion: Getting Legal Details Right is Key to Success for Indian Firms Entering US Market

Dec 9, 2017 0

By Manish Mehta

In 2008, as a junior associate at a large American law firm, I saw immense opportunity to help Indian pharmaceutical and technology companies as they expanded into the US market.

My firm’s executive committee, however, did not agree with me that the firm should devote resources to building client relationships in India. Perhaps it was my age—I was just 27 then—that provoked their skepticism. Or perhaps it was my own Indian-American heritage, a perspective not represented in the all-white leadership ranks that did not view India as having innovative potential.

Manish Mehta

But I knew these views were outdated, and I didn’t give up. I found a colleague who shared my enthusiasm for this venture, and we cobbled together a travel budget from a small discretionary fund, as well as money from our own pockets, to travel to India, meet with companies we thought we could help—many of whom had no idea who we were or why we were there—and convince them that skilled legal advising was the key to expanding their business in the United States.

Building relationships with these executives took time, but, ten years down the line, work with Indian companies makes up a significant portion of my legal practice.

Two important dynamics made this possible. First, the opportunities have expanded—and grown more sophisticated. For instance, a decade ago, Indian pharmaceutical companies worked primarily in production of generic drugs for the US market; now, these companies are heavily invested in research and development, and are bringing their own innovative drugs to market. Second, and equally important, I’m now a partner at a firm that sees the value of what’s being created in India today.

In the US, companies “retain” a lawyer to accomplish certain tasks on its behalf, and often that relationship can feel compartmentalized: the company receives the specific service it needs, and the lawyer sends the bill, with each phone call and email drawing a separate charge. But I have found that my work with Indian companies is most fruitful when we work as partners. This means listening—really listening—to the company’s goals, and identifying ways I can facilitate success across multiple aspects of their business. I’ve also learned that some of the standard practices of American law firms, such as inflexible hourly billing models, can get in the way of building the trust and credibility that is so essential to this partnership. Innovative solutions to stumbling blocks like these benefit both the companies and their legal advisors, and keep our goals aligned.

It goes without saying that business is conducted differently in India than in the United States. For instance, in India, many companies focus their energy on growth and can be reluctant to invest in legal services early on, before the company is well established. This is a sensible decision in a laissez faire environment, but in the US, companies face far greater legal accountability, and legal due diligence at the outset of any new or expanding venture is essential to navigating the American system properly and saving a great deal of money in the long run. Helping Indian companies understand the American climate is an important part of the work legal advisors provide.

I am proud of my Indian American heritage and thrilled to see the tremendous pool of technical and entrepreneurial talent India brings to the world economy.  What’s most gratifying to me is that I’ve been able to build a career with my American education that still keeps me connected to India. As a young lawyer, facing that skeptical leadership, I wasn’t sure this would be possible, but, in fact, being rooted in both places has been the key to my professional success so far—and to my clients’ as well.

(Manish Mehta is a partner at Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff LLP)

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Microsoft unveils ‘Simplygon Cloud’ for 3D Mixed Reality

Dec 8, 2017 0

San Francisco– Microsoft has announced a new platform “Simplygon Cloud” that will support all major 3D Mixed Reality (MR) platforms, including Windows Mixed Reality, iOS and Android.

Microsoft acquired Simplygon, a leader in 3D model optimisation based in southern Sweden, earlier this year.

“As we continue our journey to bring the benefits of MR to everyone, Simplygon is an important accelerant that makes it easier, faster, and cheaper to develop in 3D,” said Lorraine Bardeen, General Manager, Windows Mixed Reality Experiences, in a blog post on Friday.

Simplygon reduces complexity in the creation and extensibility of 3D models through optimisation.

Historically, 3D asset optimisation has taken days or weeks of manual effort and is one of the tasks that artists and developers dislike the most.

“With Simplygon, you can create 3D assets once — at full visual fidelity — and automatically optimise them to render smoothly on any platform — within minutes, saving valuable time and money,” Bardeen added.

“Simplygon Cloud” is now available in the Microsoft Azure Marketplace.(IANS)

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680 placement offers bagged by IIT-Roorkee students in 1st week

Dec 8, 2017 0

New Delhi– Over 680 offers were bagged by Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Roorkee students in the first week of placement season, including 13 from international companies, a statement from the institute said on Friday.

A total of 681 offers — 286 in core sector and 395 in non-core — came from 168 participating companies during the recruiting exercise which began on December 2, it said in a statement.

“This has been a great start to the placement season. Over 50 per cent students have already got offers within the first week and we expect the same pace in the coming week as well,” N.P. Padhy, Placement In-charge, IIT Roorkee said in the statement.

The premier technology institute said the placements this year so far had increased by 21 per cent from last year’s, when in the first week 562 offers were made.

All international offers came from Microsoft, Webstaff Co. Ltd. and Mercari.(IANS)

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WhatsApp’s standalone Business app set for launch soon

Dec 8, 2017 0

San Francisco– As businesses widely use WhatsApp to communicate with their customers, particularly in Asia, the Facebook-owned service appears all set to launch a brand new app for them.

In a new FAQ published on its site, WhatsApp has revealed more details about the upcoming Business accounts like how to identify verified Business accounts from non-verified ones.

“While chatting with businesses, you can check your contact’s profile to see which type of account they’re using. A verified account has a green checkmark badge in its profile,” WhatsApp wrote in the FAQ.

A Business account with a green checkmark badge in its profile is verified as acean authentic brand” by WhatsApp.

“A business account with a gray question mark badge in its profile means the account is using the WhatsApp Business app but hasn’t been confirmed nor verified by WhatsApp,” the company said.

The much talked-about WhatsApp for business app is currently being tested by a private group of testers and the company will introduce it as ‘WhatsApp Business’ — a standalone app.

Its description available on Play Store read: “As a test partner for ‘WhatsApp Business’, you have early access to a wide range of new features that we’ve built with you in mind. As you experiment with what this new app has to offer, please share your experiences with us so that we can improve the product.”

WhatsApp Business is different from the regular WhatsApp.

The logo of the app has been changed from the calling symbol to “B” inside the green conversation bubble.

However, after downloading, the app looks the same as WhatsApp, barring the title bar that says WhatsApp Business.

The app has interesting features such as auto responses, creating a business profile, chat migration and analytics.

“We also provide you with the tools you need to control your experience with businesses. You can block business accounts and report them as spam at any time, right within the chat,” WhatsApp said in the new FAQ.

Before launching the stand-alone Business app, the new FAQ, first spotted by the fan website WABetaInfo, aims to clear doubts so that no such fake app gets downloaded.

A fake and possibly malicious version of Facebook-owned WhatsApp was found lurking on Google Play Store recently as “Update WhatsApp Messenger” with developer name as WhatsApp Inc, which was downloaded by several people. (IANS)

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HP Inc to sell 3D printers in India from early next year

Dec 8, 2017 0

New Delhi– After sensing tremendous opportunities in both commercial and industrial 3D printing in India, global PC and printer major HP Inc on Friday announced it would start selling its Next-Gen 3D printers in the country by early next year.

 

(Photo: IANS)

According to Sumeer Chandra, Managing Director, HP Inc India, the company is in discussions with various industry stakeholders to help them begin 3D printing in the country.

“We will bring our 3D printers in next 2-3 months to India as part of our commitment to contribute to the India growth journey,” Chandra said during an interaction here.

With its Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) 3D printing technology, HP plans to disrupt the $12 trillion global manufacturing market and hopes to push 3D printing’s prototyping into developing manufacturing components.

“Initially, the focus will be on sectors like automobile and health care in India but the opportunities are immense,” Chandra added.

Although in a nascent stage, the 3D or Additive Manufacturing (AM) is gradually taking shape in India.

In September, HP demonstrated the continued growth of customer demand of its Jet Fusion 3D Printing solutions in Asia Pacific and Japan, announcing the appointment of Metro Systems as the first reseller of its 3D printing solution in Thailand.

This expanded the commercial availability of HP Jet Fusion 3D Printing Solution in Asia Pacific and Japan to Australia, Greater China, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand.

With more than 500,000 high-quality, 3D-produced parts in the last year alone, HP’s Jet Fusion solutions lead the industry in speed, economics, quality and reliability.

According to HP CEO Dion Weisler, after producing plastic-based products, the company now aims to sell 3D printers that produce metal objects.

In 2016, HP Inc unveiled the world’s first production-ready commercial 3D printing system to bring disruptive manufacturing solutions to markets.

“The HP Jet Fusion 3D Printing Solution will deliver superior-quality physical parts up to 10 times faster and at half the cost of current 3D print systems,” Chandra said.

The HP Jet Fusion 3D Printing Solution offers simplified workflow and reduced cost for radical prototyping, delivery of final parts manufacturing with breakthrough economics.

In a bid to accelerate 3D printing for industrial production, HP Inc recently announced integration of its ‘Multi Jet Fusion’ 3D printer with Siemens’ Additive Manufacturing (AM) software module.

HP has also announced the expansion of its 3D-printing portfolio with “HP Multi Jet Fusion 4210 platform”.

When it comes to PCs, HP Inc maintained its leadership position in the overall traditional PC market in India with 31.1 per cent share in the third quarter this year.

HP Inc recorded a healthy 30.2 per cent growth (year-on-year) owing to a state-owned education project along with strong consumer demand, said global market research firm IDC.

“It’s a proud moment for HP to have consistently sustained market leadership in the personal computing industry. We are at an exciting juncture in our journey as we reinvent ourselves on the basis of design, innovation and customer value,” Chandra said.

“PCs are not going anywhere. Smartphones have their relevance but to generate content, people will have to come to PCs and laptops,” the top HP India executive said, adding that going forward, the company will plan more investments towards manufacturing in the country. (IANS)

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Jio to drive India to become full-grown 4G power in 2018: Report

Dec 8, 2017 0

New Delhi– Riding on the Jio wave, 2018 will see India gradually move away from being a developing 4G country, overcoming the hiccups necessary to become a full-grown 4G power, a new report said on Friday.

London-based OpenSignal, which specialises in crowdsourced wireless coverage mapping all over the world, said that Jio’s market entry kicked off an intense price war in the telecom scene in India, resulting in offerings of cheaper LTE services from all operators, driving more consumers to 4G than ever before

“The trend will continue next year. Whether Jio remains the huge dominant driver in 4G growth remains to be seen. After a year of free and steeply discounted data pricing, Jio may make 2018 the year it raises prices. That could level the playing field for India’s operators,” said Andrea Toth from OpenSignal.

“Jio’s widespread 4G access, along with its at-first free and later heavily discounted data and voice plans, quickly won the hearts — and wallets — of more than 100 million mobile users across the country,” Toth added.

India’s current mobile data subscriber penetration stands at 40 per cent which is expected to double to 80 per cent by 2022, according to Crisil’s predictions.

“LTE services have taken the leading role in the unprecedented increase of data users in the past year, in large part thanks to Jio,” the report said.

During the quarter ending June 2017, total data usage stood at over 4.2 million terabytes, out of which 4G data accounted for 3.9 million TBs, according to TRAI data.

“LTE availability in India is remarkable. The users were able to connect to an LTE signal over 84 per cent of the time — a rise of over 10 percentage points from a year earlier. This places India ahead of more established countries in the 4G landscape such as Sweden, Taiwan, Switzerland or the UK,” Toth noted.

Barely six months in the market this year, Jio secured its lead in the 4G availability race, “with users able to access its LTE signals 91.6 per cent of the time,” according to an earlier OpenSignal national report published in April this year.

No other mobile operator managed to score higher than 60 per cent in these tests.

“Six months later, we saw significant improvements in availability across all major operators but those improvements weren’t enough to close the gap with Jio, which was able to provide an LTE signal at a jaw-dropping 95.6 per cent of the time in the same test period,” Toth informed.

While LTE availability saw a meteoric rise, the same cannot be said of 4G speeds.

“In our latest State of LTE report, India occupied the lowest spot among the 77 countries we examined, with average download speeds of 6.1 Mbps, over 10 Mbps lower than the global average,” the report said.

As 4G adoption rose, and more and more consumers subscribed to 4G services, the networks experienced congestion, resulting in a decrease in average download speeds across the board.

With operators rolling out low-cost data plans to grow their consumer bases, and manufacturers launching affordable 4G smartphones enabling a greater slice of the population to get connected, OpenSignal expects 4G availability to maintain its rising trajectory across the country. (IANS)

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Tata Motors Group’s November global wholesales up 22%

Dec 8, 2017 0

Mumbai– Automobile major Tata Motors Group on Friday reported a rise of 22 per cent in its global wholesales for November 2017.

According to the Tata Motors Group, its global wholesales including those of Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) during the month under review increased to 112,473 units over November 2016.

“Global wholesales of all Tata Motors’ commercial vehicles and Tata Daewoo range in November 2017 were at 40,845 nos., higher by 51 per cent, over November 2016,” the Tata Motors Group said in a statement.

“Global wholesales of all passenger vehicles in November 2017 were at 71,628 nos., higher by 10 per cent, compared to November 2016.”

The group said that its global wholesales for JLR stood at 54,244 vehicles. (IANS)

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Tata Steel receives PM’s Trophy for best steel plant

Dec 8, 2017 0

Hyderabad– Tata Steel Ltd has been awarded the Prime Minister’s Trophy for ‘Best integrated steel plant’ for 2014-15 and 2015-16.

This is the third time in a row that the award has been given to Tata Steel.

Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu on Friday presented the award to Anand Sen, President, TQM & Steel Business, Tata Steel and R Rabi Prasad, President, Tata Workers’ Union during the Golden Jubliee celebrations of National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) here.

The Steel Minister’s trophy was given to JSW Steel Ltd, Vijayanagar. Jindal Steel Plant won the first prize for maximum incremental improvement, while Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL), Visakhapatnam won the second prize.

Tata Steel has so far been recognised as the best integrated steel plant 12 times; having won the PM’s Trophy 10 times since its inception in 1992-93 and received the Certificate for Excellence twice. (IANS)

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Damaged Araku valley bridge completed in 58 days: Railways

Dec 8, 2017 0

Araku, AP–The railways on Friday said that it has completed the work of the damaged 80 metre-long bridge near Borra Caves on Friday evening in a record time of 58 days.

The bridge between Borraguhalu and Chimidipalli Railway Station in Kottavalasa-Koraput-Kirandul (KK) Rail Line was affected badly due to huge rock by the side of the waterfall dropped on it on October 6.

“The bridge was constructed with an expenditure of only Rs seven crore by using 400 laborers during the period of 58 days. This is the record of any bridge work done in so short a period,” East Coast Railway spokesperson J.P. Mishra told IANS.

He also said that the railways held the trial run with a tower wagon earlier in the day resulting commissioning of bridge work in record time.

“Formal traffic will be resumed from the midnight of December 11,” Mishra said.

Explaining the damage to the bridge due to land slide, the East Coash railway official said: “The impact on the pier was so huge that upper part of the pier from hit portion got sheared, separated and moved towards the valley by 1.6 metres.

“This had caused mis-alignment of track over the bridge as girders over the pier had also moved along with the pier,” he said.

He also said that for carrying on the construction work of the bridge, they have to stop the huge flow of the waterfall.

The 445-km Kothavalasa-Kirandul line, runs through the dense mountains of the Eastern Ghats and is one of the steepest broad-gauge freight line in the Indian Railways. It connects the NMDC’s iron ore mines in Chattisgarh with the steel plants and the port in Vishakhapatnam.

The route has over 58 tunnels and 84 major bridges and is the country’s highest broad-gauge freight line.

Following the damage to the bridge, the railways cancelled the journey of its glass-domed Vistadome coach attached to the Araku train.

The bridge of the rail line is adjacent to the scenic waterfall, which is about 90 km from Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh and 120 km from Koraput in Odisha. (IANS)

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45% companies lack liable leader for cyber security: Study

Dec 8, 2017 0

New Delhi– Revealing that industrial companies were not moving quickly to adopt cyber security measures to protect their data and operations, a study on Friday said 45 per cent of those surveyed lacked a reliable enterprise leader for cyber security.

Software-industrial company Honeywell polled 130 strategic decision makers from industrial companies about their approach to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and their use of industrial cyber security technologies and practices.

According to the “Putting Industrial Cyber Security at the Top of the CEO Agenda” survey — conducted by LNS Research in collaboration with Honeywell — more than half of respondents reported working in an industrial facility that already has had a cyber-security breach.

“Forty-five per cent of the responding companies still do not have an accountable enterprise leader for cyber security. Only 37 per cent are monitoring for suspicious behaviour,” the survey said.

It added that although many companies are conducting regular risk assessments, 20 per cent are not doing them at all.

“In order to take advantage of the tremendous benefits of industrial digital transformation and IIoT, companies must improve their cyber security defences and adapt to the heightened threat landscape now,” said Jeff Zindel, Vice President and General Manager, Honeywell Industrial Cyber Security.

The study suggested immediate actions for any industrial organisation to capture the value of the new technologies, which included making industrial cyber security part of digital transformation strategies and driving best practice adoption across people, processes and technology and tap external cyber expertise to fill gaps.

“Cyber security needs to be part of every CEO’s (chief executive officer) agenda to ensure the effective, immediate and long-term deployment of strategies and technologies such as IIoT. In short, in order for a business to succeed on its digital transformation journey, it needs to succeed with industrial cyber security,” said Matthew Littlefield, President and Principal Analyst, LNS Research. (IANS)

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