IndUS Business Journal

Air India seeks Rs 1,500 cr short-term loans

Dec 8, 2017 0

New Delhi– National passenger carrier Air India has invited bids from banks for Rs 1,500-crore government guarantee-backed “Short Term Loans (STLs)”.

The airline has called for financial bids by December 12.

“Air India is looking for Government Guarantee backed INR STLs totalling to Rs 1,500 crore to meet its urgent working capital requirements,” the airline said in a tender document issued on Wednesday.

“The tenure of the loan will be upto June 27, 2018 extendable, from the date of availing the STL. The amount of Rs 1,500 crore will be drawn in December’17 or January’18 in one or more tranches.” (IANS)

 

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India becomes member of key export control regime

Dec 7, 2017 0

New Delhi– India on Thursday became a member of the Wassenaar Arrangement, that controls the global trade of conventional weapons and dual-use goods and technologies.

India was made the 42nd member of the grouping, at its two-day plenary in Vienna.

The Ambassador of France Alexandre Ziegler tweeted his country’s congratulations. “As president of the Wassenaar Arrangement this year and co-rapporteur of India’s candidacy, France warmly congratulates India for joining the Arrangement.

“One more recognition, after MTCR, of the growing role India plays in today’s world,” he said, tagging India’s Ministry of External Affairs, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.

“Wassenaar Arrangement (WA) participating states reviewed progress of a number of current membership applications and agreed at the plenary meeting to admit India which will become the arrangement’s 42 participating state as soon as the necessary procedural arrangements for joining the WA are completed,” the grouping said in a statement.

India’a membership of the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies comes more than a year after becoming member of the Missile Technologies Control Regime (MTCR).

Earlier, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said here that India was likely to get membership of the grouping during the plenary in Vienna.

India has still to get membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, and the Australia Group.

Last year, India gained entry into the Missile Technologies Control Regime (MTCR), which paved the way for it to get critical missile technologies and also export its missiles.

Russia, France, Germany and the US have backed India’s entry into the Wassenaar Arrangement.

China, which has repeatedly blocked New Delhi’s bid for membership of the NSG, is not a member of the Wassenaar Arrangement.

Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar on Wednesday discussed India’s entry into the Wassenaar Arrangement with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov. (IANS)

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Facebook best place to work, Apple slips to 84th spot

Dec 7, 2017 0

San Francisco– While Facebook has become the best place to work in America, Cupertino-based tech giant Apple has tumbled to number 84 this year from its 36th position last year in the leading job website Glassdoor’s “100 Best Places to Work in the US”.

Apple still remains a highly rated employer — with 4.3 out of 5 rating by Glassdoor – but other tech giants like Google, World Wide Technology, Yahoo and VMware are way ahead in the listings.

Global management consulting firm Bain & Company is the second best place to work, followed by Boston Consulting Group, In-N-Out Burger and Google.

“It’s clear employees love working at Facebook. What we really see them appreciate most is the company’s mission-driven culture, transparent leadership and the fact that their work literally impacts the lives of billions of people worldwide,” Glassdoor CEO Robert Hohman said in a statement.

When it comes to “cons” for working at Apple, several employees who anonymously reviewed the company on Glassdoor said the iPhone maker is “strapped for resources” and “offers a poor work-life balance”.

“Office space is very sparse, bring your own tea and snacks kind of a deal. Lunch isn’t free, although dinner is. Nobody is going to pat you on the back for your work, and you’re expected to advance your own career, or find the mentorship you need,” one Apple employee wrote on Glassdoor.

SAP is at 11th spot, Salesforce at 15th, LinkedIn at 21th, Adobe at 31th, Microsoft at 39th and SpaceX is at 50th place in Glassdoor’s listing.

According to Glassdoor, the ranking system is based on “a proprietary awards algorithm”, which is designed to calculate the “quantity, quality, and consistency of company reviews submitted by employees between November 1, 2016, and October 22, 2017”. (IANS)

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MediaTek announces support for Android ‘Go’

Dec 7, 2017 0

New Delhi– Bringing Google’s Android Oreo (‘Go’ edition) operating system (OS) to smartphone manufacturers, Taiwanese fabless semiconductor company MediaTek on Thursday announced that it is now supporting the new Android OS.

“With Android Oreo ‘Go’, we are partnering with Google to tackle the performance challenges of lower memory phones, improving the user experience of entry level smartphones for consumers in key markets across India, the Middle East and Africa, Latin America and South East Asia,” TL Lee, General Manager, MediaTek Wireless Communication Business, said in a statement.

Google collaborated with the semiconductor company to ensure that Android Oreo ‘Go’ works well on its line-up of processors, thus enabling a faster time-to-market mechanism for device manufacturers and ensuring quality Android smartphone experience devices with 512MB to 1GB of memory.

“Entry-level devices are the gateway to the internet for many people, and we want to make sure everyone has a great experience when they use these devices,” Sameer Samat, VP of Product Management, Android and Google Play said in a statement.

With launching Android Oreo ‘Go’ in India earlier this week, Google has optimised its OS platform, first party apps and the Google Play Store to improve the capabilities of entry-level smartphones.

MediaTek chipsets, including MT6739 and MT6737, currently support Android Oreo ‘Go’ for 4G devices while MT6580 supports the OS for 3G devices.

Android ‘Go’ smartphones powered by MediaTek chips will be available globally in the first quarter of 2018. (IANS)

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GoDaddy improves online security for small businesses in India

Dec 7, 2017 0

New Delhi– Cloud platform GoDaddy on Thursday launched “Website Security” platform and added McAfee protections for small, independent businesses in India.

Powered by security platform Sucuri, “Website Security” offers malware removal and website protection.

“As part of our online security awareness programme, we are offering these new security online solutions to help further protect your online presence,” Nikhil Arora, Vice-President and Managing Director, GoDaddy India, said in a statement.

GoDaddy “SSL Certificates” are now offered with added security protection with McAfee and allows small businesses to display the “SECURE” trustmark on their websites to show credibility and build trust among customers.

“The McAfee integration with our SSL Certificates and security protection powered by Sucuri gives our customers access to robust and reliable resources of professional online security protection for small business websites,” Arora added.

With continuous monitoring, fast response time and daily malware scanning, the new solution detects known security holes or issues on a website.

With more than 17 million customers worldwide, GoDaddy has nearly 73 million domain names under management. (IANS)

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Consumers think Artificial Intelligence will steal their privacy: Survey

Dec 7, 2017 0

New York– Despite so much buzz about Artificial Intelligence (AI) this year, nearly three-quarters of the consumers are concerned about AI infringing on their privacy, a new survey said on Thursday.

The survey of more than 5,000 people by global professional services firm Genpact also revealed that 59 per cent of the respondents think their government should do more to protect personal data from AI.

“AI is a game-changer to improve the customer experience, yet real challenges remain regarding trust and privacy,” said Sanjay Srivastava, Chief Digital Officer, Genpact.

“To encourage adoption, the key is to have visibility into AI decisions, and be able to track and explain the logic behind them. Companies need to break through the ‘black box’ to drive better insights for their business and give consumers the assurance they need,” Srivastava added.

Only 12 per cent of the people surveyed said they would prefer to be served by a chatbot, even if the service they receive is faster and more accurate than that of a human.

“Yet, over three times more executives (38 per cent) think their customers will prefer service by a chatbot in three years,” the survey noted.

Although companies continue to embrace AI, many potential customers still have substantial fears.

Nearly two thirds of respondents worry that AI will make decisions that will impact their lives without their knowledge.

Moreover, 58 per cent of people surveyed do not feel comfortable with companies using AI to access their data to personalise and improve their experiences with a brand.

Even with the explosive growth of home digital assistants, chatbots, smart sensors, etc., consumers still perceive they have little contact with AI.

Less than half of those surveyed say they interact with some form of AI regularly. In addition, two in five (41 per cent) believe that AI has made no difference to their lives.

The study also showed that younger generations interact with AI more frequently and cite its benefits.

“Younger generations’ rapidly changing views underscore how AI, even in these early days, is the single biggest shift that is transforming how people interact with businesses and the world around them,” added Srivastava.

According to a previous Genpact study, 88 per cent of senior executives at companies that are leaders in AI expect the technology will drive better customer experiences within three years. (IANS)

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Mobycy launches dockless bike-sharing service app

Dec 7, 2017 0

Gurugram– Taking on ride-hailing platform Ola, Gurugram-based Green Tech startup Mobycy on Thursday launched dockless bicycle sharing app on Google Play Store.

Ola introduced its own dockless bike-sharing service earlier this month.

“We are excited to announce that Mobycy is now live on Google Play Store. It presents users with a greener, healthier means of commute with complete last-mile connectivity, in the form of smart, dockless bikes,” Akash Gupta, Co-Founder, Mobycy, said in a statement.

The app will be live on Apple App Store in next few days, the company said.

Launching its operations with a fleet of 5,000 “Smart Bikes”, the company plans to increase the number to 50,000 in the next six months.

“Smart Bikes” are currently available across Delhi-NCR region, including Noida, Gurugram, Faridabad and Chandigarh.

Users can sign up on the Mobycy app with Aadhaar identification and pay a security deposit of Rs 999, which is refundable.

The security deposit for students is Rs 499.

The app allows users to discover a smart bike in their vicinity, unlock it via QR Code and commute shorter distances faster.

The user can pay Rs 10 for a single ride or buy the monthly subscription to avail two rides daily for an hour each.

Using the app, these bikes can be found around public places like metro stations, markets and popular places like North Campus, Cyber City etc.

The “Smart Bikes” will be available across several colleges and universities, such as Amity Noida and MDI Gurgaon.

The company has also partnered with Paytm to ensure easy digital payments via the app and will partner with more digital payment providers soon.

Mobycy’s “Smart Bikes” come with Internet of Things (IoT) locks and GPS tracking, enabling remote management and traceability.

“These dockless bikes can be rented and parked anywhere, with the only exception of gated communities and private compounds,” the company said. (IANS)

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Rajasthan top choice of domestic, foreign investors: Minister

Dec 7, 2017 0

Jaipur– Rajasthan has become the top choice for foreign and domestic investors due to the well coordinated, aggressive and planned efforts of the state government, Industries Minister Rajpal Singh Shekhawat said on Thursday.

More than half a dozen multinational companies have marked their presence in Rajasthan in the past few years, which speaks volumes about the state’s untiring efforts to bring in investment, he added.

Companies like Saint Gobain, Hero Motor Corp, JCB, Honda Chorus, RSWM Ltd have set up plants in Rajasthan while a second Japan zone is being developed in Ghiloth following a request from the Japanese government, the Minister told the media here on the occasion of the completion of four years of the Bharatiya Janata Party government in the desert state.

Ceramic parks in Nimrana and Singhania in Ajmer district are also being developed, he said.

The state has registered 60 per cent success rate in converting investment proposals into reality, Shekhawat added.

Under the ‘Resurgent Rajasthan’ initiative, the state has earned the top position in attracting investments. Even in ‘Ease of Doing Business’, Rajasthan stood among the top states, he said.

Talking of other achievements of the state government, he said 25 new industrial zones have been set up in the state in four years.

“Rajasthan is one of the few states to create big land banks in industrial zone in the state.”

He said the development of a green field electronic manufacturing cluster in the Salarpur industrial area in Alwar was another achievement.

“There has been a massive increase in registrations of small, micro, and medium industries in the state that has made untiring efforts to take the textile industry to new heights,” Shekhawat added. (IANS)

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Siemens to manaufacture solar PV inverters in India

Dec 7, 2017 0

New Delhi– German manufacturing conglomerate Siemens’ Indian arm on Thursday announced plans to start making solar photovoltaic (PV) inverters in the country that will initially serve the domestic market.

The company said in a release that the Sinacon PV inverter will be manufactured at its Kalwa plant near Mumbai.

“Siemens India launched with Sinacon PV a new generation of photovoltaic central inverters with an output up to 5,000 kVA. The inverter is part of the Siemens’ new electrical Balance of Plant (eBoP) solution for PV power plant installations,” the release said.

“The state-of-the-art Sinacon PV inverter will be locally manufactured at Siemens’ Kalwa plant near Mumbai for the domestic market as well as for export into the region,” it added.

“Siemens aspires to contribute to this with local value addition in line with Make in India,” Siemens Executive Vice-President Harald Griem said in the statement.

A solar PV inverter converts the variable Direct Current output of a PV solar panel into a utility frequency Alternating Current that can be fed into a commercial electrical grid or used by a local, off-grid electrical network.

Siemens said the Sinacon PV inverter has an outdoor design for harsh environment with fluid cooling and can operate up to 60 degrees Celsius ambient temperature.

The company also plans to set up a local assembly of medium voltage inverter stations.

“The new inverters and inverter stations target large scale, ground-mounted solar PV power plants comprising Electrical Balance of Plant solution,” it said. (IANS)

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Chinese hacker groups to shift focus to India in 2018: FireEye

Dec 7, 2017 0

New Delhi– Chinese advanced persistent threat (APT) groups that have allegedly been creating cyber havoc internationally will shift their focus in 2018 to countries like India and Hong Kong and groups seen as a threat to Beijing’s influence over global markets, enterprise cybersecurity company FireEye said on Thursday.

Hacker groups backed by nation-states are termed as APTs.

The changing geopolitical situation in the Asia-Pacific region will give way to such threats.

“For Indian enterprises, one of the most important security questions is, do you know who is targeting you and how they operate? The threat landscape looks very different depending on the nature of your business, the data you hold, your relationships, and more,” Shrikant Shitole, Senior Director and Country Head for India at FireEye, told IANS.

“Organisations cannot effectively measure their security by compliance standards or vis a vis their peers. They must measure it against their adversaries. Can they detect and defend the attacks their adversaries are likely to employ? Most firms are not as secure as they would like to believe,” Shitole added.

For the government and private sector alike, the FireEye executive said, it’s important we shore up defences to avoid a situation like Russia’s meddling in the recent US presidential election.

“The threat actor activity which facilitates these operations often takes place well before election day, and as we saw in the US, targets can be very diverse. The unfortunate reality today is this is threat with which all democracies must contend,” Shitole noted.

In the Asia-Pacific region, FireEye said, China and neighbouring countries are still continuing political disputes, especially with India, South Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Vietnam and other South-east Asian countries.

“Therefore, unorganised ‘hacktivism’ attacks as a response to these political tensions within and against these countries is expected to continue and possibly rise throughout the new year,” the company warned.

According to FireEye, it observed an increase in non-Chinese and non-Russian APT groups in 2017 and expect to discover more in 2018.

“Recently we did a report on APT33, a threat group out of Iran. They’re primarily targeting the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United States, and Israel. Those nations tend to pop up on Iran’s radar when it comes to targeting. It’s game on for them,” Kevin Mandia, CEO, FireEye, said in a statement.

Ransomware is expected to rise in 2018, especially as administrators are slow to patch and update their systems.

Other popular techniques that will continue to be used in 2018 are strategic web compromises and spear phishing, especially in targeted attacks. We also expect to see many more destructive worms and wipers, the cybersecurity firm noted.

However, adoption of Cloud technology among majority of businesses will increase in 2018.

“You have to be ready for even the most seemingly simple threats, and you have to detect them, because I don’t believe we’re going to be able to do security risk transfer to have the Cloud providers detect it. It’s a tough thing to do,” Mandia said.

“They can’t tell you how your users normally use their email. They just try to make it available to your users. So, we’re going to have a lot of interesting challenges and complexities there,” he added.

Meanwhile, as cryptocurrency continues to skyrocket in value and popularity, malware targeting anonymous currencies such as bitcoin will increase in 2018.

“Moving into 2018, we expect to see much more malware actively stealing cryptocurrency from weakly protected wallets, shimming password entry to wallets, stealing offline wallets for brute forcing or using credentials stolen from the same user,” the firm said. (IANS)

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