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I&B Ministry to look at ways to boost community radios
Earlier this week, I&B Minister Venkaiah Naidu chaired the meeting of the consultative committee of the Ministry to discuss the roadmap for developing community radio stations.
NEW DELHI, APRIL 2:
In a bid to promote community radio stations in the country, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting will analyse the business models of successful community radio stations operating at present. Sources said this will be done as part of the Ministry’s efforts to facilitate development of sustainable and robust business models of community radio stations and propagate best practices, as part of the hand-holding process for aspiring applicants.
It will also look at ways to further simplify, fast-track and streamline the process of approval for licenses needed to run community radio stations, sources added.
Community radio stations are set up by educational institutions, universities as well as non-government organisations (NGOs) and are largely focused on development issues concerning the communities in regional languages and dialect.
At present, 202 community radio stations are operational across the country.
Earlier this week, I&B Minister Venkaiah Naidu chaired the meeting of the consultative committee of the Ministry to discuss the roadmap for developing community radio stations.
He pointed out that the Ministry had recently enhanced the subsidy amount for setting up community radio stations from 50 per cent to 90 per cent in the north-eastern States and 75 per cent in other States, subject to maximum limit of ₹7.5 lakh.
In January, the Ministry gave permission to community radio stations to broadcast news and current affairs sourced from All India Radio, besides introducing other amendments to ease the way for setting up such stations.
The Indian Institute of Mass Communication will also offer consultancy and training services on running community radio stations, as it is setting up an empowerment and resource centre at its campus.
So far, the Ministry has organised 79 workshops to create awareness among aspiring applicants about issues relating to setting up, operation and maintenance of community radio stations.
The Committee has also recommended further enhancing awareness and streamlining the clearance process for setting up community radio stations. (Source: The Hindu Businessline)
Flipkart in consolidation mode for Ekart, shuts down months-old services
Online marketplace Flipkart is looking at consolidating business of its in-house supply chain arm, Ekart Logistics. The company has suspended the customer-to-customer courier service within months of its launch. It has also pulled the plug on hyperlocal delivery services being piloted across Bengaluru since March last year.
"Beginning February 5, Ekart no longer operates its customer-to-customer courier service started in May 2016, that gave people the option of having documents and parcels packed by Ekart's delivery boys and shipped to end-addresses," the company said in response to ET's emailed queries. The move is aimed at "consolidating the service offerings of Ekart, to sharpen its focus on its core business model", the company said.
Ekart processes 30,000-40,000 orders a day for third-party businesses excluding the volumes generated by Flipkart and Flipkart-owned fashion portal Myntra.
It will continue its core ecommerce offerings, including third-party logistics services to ecommerce players such as Paytm and ShopClues. It will also continue to provide warehousing and fulfilment facilities to larger retail clients such as Madura Garments.
The changes come after Ekart head Saikiran Krishnamurthy left the company last month and Nitin Seth took over the role in addition to his responsibilities as the chief operating officer. The reshuffle in top management has been linked to Tiger Global's Kalyan Krishnamurthy taking over as CEO of the company to streamline expenses.
In an interview to ET before his exit on January 5, Saikiran Krishnamurthy had indicated that over the next two years half of Ekart's business would come from servicing third-party players, who account for only 10% of the business handled by the company.
The Ekart brand was acquired by Flipkart under a company called Instakart Services in 2015 from WS retail, the primary seller on the platform. Since then, it has been the flagship vertical for cofounder Binny Bansal, who initiated the process of bringing external business for Ekart to monetise excess capacities and create an independent logistics vertical. (Source: Economic Times)
Dish TV: Merger gains outweigh integration challenges
While the Dish TV stock is up 7% since the announcement of its merger with Videocon d2h (d2h), there are no near-term gains for Dish TV shareholders. Any major re-rating of the stock, say analysts, would depend on the integration and unlocking of synergies between the two companies, and this will take time as the deal is expected to fructify only in the second half of 2017.
Also, there would not be any immediate gains because the deal has not come cheap. Given the share-swap ratio, which will entail offering 85.8 million new shares to d2h shareholders, the deal ascribes an equity value for d2h at Rs 7,500 crore and an enterprise value (EV) of Rs 9,042 crore. Given its market capitalisation (m-cap) of Rs 5,560 crore (as on November 10), the shareholders of Nasdaq-listed d2h have got a 35% premium.
Phillip Capital’s Manoj Behera believes that prima facie, the deal looks expensive, given the 7.4 times enterprise value-Ebitda ratio for d2h, which is in line with Dish TV’s current trading multiple. “d2h was barely able to service its debts and was burdened with high cost debt of Rs 1,540 crore with an average cost of debt at 16-17%,” he says. For FY16, d2h had an Ebitda of Rs 800 crore, while the cost side included a capex of Rs 700 crore and an interest expense of Rs 300 crore. Emkay analysts, however, say the deal is fairly valued considering the high growth rate of d2h and potential savings for the merged entity.
The deal valuation will look justified only if the merged entity can extract synergies, which are pegged at Rs 500-600 crore in FY19 as it then becomes value-accretive for Dish TV. The biggest saving is expected to come from lower content costs. The reason for this is the birth of a powerhouse in terms of subscriber base. The merged entity would have a combined subscriber base of 27.6 million with 10% being HD subscribers. This will translate into a market share of 40% in the DTH (direct-to-home) segment, 19% of the pay TV market (cable + DTH) and 16% of all TV households.
This subscriber base will give Dish TV the power to negotiate with broadcasters for lower content costs. d2h’s content cost per subscriber at Rs 72 is 48% higher than that for Dish TV. On this cost head alone, analysts believe volume-based discounts should help the merged entity get savings of Rs 150 crore per annum. The other savings will be on transponder costs as both companies pay about Rs 150-170 crore each annually and this can come down by about 40%.
The higher subscriber base will also help the company increase ancillary revenues from charging a higher carriage fee as well as advertising revenues. Both companies generate Rs 130-150 crore each from these two sources annually and this could double for the merged entity. Given revenues of Rs 3,000 crore, this constitutes just five % of their individual turnover but could become an important source of incremental revenues and margins. Further, a common administrative infrastructure should help save 10-15 % on overall expenditure.
All these should reflect in the operating profit margins to improve by about 300 basis points over the next couple of years. While margins were at 33 % for both in the first half of FY17, this should move towards 36-37% in FY19. The company for now intends to keep its multiple brand strategy (Dish, Zing, d2h) going given the strength of the brands, customer base and segments it is targeting. The combined distribution reach in urban and rural areas will also help it expand its presence.(Source:Business Standard)
Viacom18 looks to expand regional channels portfolio
Media firm Viacom18 is looking to expand its regional channels portfolio, especially in southern languages, a top company official said.
“We have got to be present in more regions than what we are present now. We will keep evaluating other languages and regions, particularly in South India,” Viacom18 Chief Executive Officer Sudhanshu Vats told PTI.
Viacom18 operates various regional entertainment channels like Colors Marathi, Colors Kannada, Colors Bangla, Colors Oriya and Colors Gujarati, which were earlier under the ETV umbrella. Last year, when the company had re-branded the five ETV channels under the Colors brand, Vats had said, “59 per cent of the country converses in regional languages.
Today, regional TV channels command the second largest viewership in India.”
According to a recent FICCI-KPMG report, regional general entertainment channels had a viewership of 29.6 per cent in 2015.
Among regional markets, Tamil channels occupy the biggest share — 25.7 per cent — in viewership and the Telugu market is the second largest with 24.4 per cent viewership share.
Kannada enjoys a viewership share of 11.6 per cent, while that of Malayalam is 9.2 per cent.
The company recently launched its ad-led video on demand (VOD) platform Voot, and in the next 12-24 months, it will be evaluating both freemium and subscription-led models.
“We are working on the payment gateways. As we go into subscription model we will need to give more value adds.
“The product that we have, this might be a more basic feature product, we will need to add more features to it, so that we are able to command some amount of premium or value to the consumer. In India, my sense is that both models (free and subscription-led) will hold,” he said.
Voot has a large repository of kids’ characters in the Indian OTT (over-the-top) space with characters like — Dora, Spongebob, Motu Patlu, Chhota Bheem and Pokemon, and going ahead, the Voot Kids could be subscription-led.
“The advertising in India for kids is a challenge. As the payment ecosystem develops in India, one of the candidates for going into subscription VOD could be actually our Voot kids. There will be some amount of advertising which we will be able to get, so while it’s a challenge, there is some advertising in this space as well,” he said.
“We have got 7,000 videos and 80 characters on Voot kids and have six out of top 10 (characters). Our kids piece (on Voot) is very strong,” he added.
Viacom18 announced its plans to foray in the Hindi movie genre and Vats said Rishtey Cineplex will be launched in a month’s time. (Source: The Hindu Business Line)
AIR launches 24 hour audio broadcast channel for classical music
All India Radio has launched a non-conventional audio broadcast channel through Internet and 'free dish' with easy accessibility to it for connoisseurs of art, specially classicial music- both Carnatic and Hindustani. The Channel, known as 'RAAGAM', is in public domain round the clock with Mobile App i.e. 'All India Radio Live' available in Android, IOS and Windows from 6 PM from January 26. The Channel, known as 'RAAGAM', is in public domain round the clock with Mobile App i.e. 'All India Radio Live' available in Android, IOS and Windows from 6 PM from January 26.
The Channel will be beamed through one of Digital Terrestrial Channels -DTT of Doordarshan, which means thereby it will also be Digital Terrestrial Channel with an aerial radius of 70 KMs in Bengaluru, public service broadcaster Prasar Bharati said in a release here. " RAAGAM" will have specific time bands for archival assets, senior living legends, budding and upcoming artists, auditioned and approved by AIR, it said. (Source: Economic Times)
India joins nations seeking to free idle television broadcast airwaves for mobile services
India has joined a grouping of nations that seeks to free up idle television broadcast airwaves, typically in the 470-698 MHz range, for mobile broadband services. The move, initiated at the International Telecom Union's ongoing World Radio Conference in Geneva, is aimed at tapping fresh pools of quality data airwaves for 3G and 4G services, given the excellent propagation levels of 470-698 Mhz spectrum, making it ideal for both in-building data services and rural coverage.More so, given the limited availability of data spectrum across conventional mobile bands like 800, 900, 1800 and 2100 MHz amid the upsurge in data consumption.
"The band, or portions of the band, 470-698 MHz in India, Micronesia, Papua & New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, are identified for use by these administrations wishing to implement international mobile telecommunications (IMT)," said an internal document of the ITU. ET has seen a copy of the note. This means the airwaves can be deployed in future for 3G and 4G mobile broadband services once a suitable devices ecosystem is in place. Airwaves within the same band in the 610-698 MHz range, in turn, have been similarly identified for IMT by the "administrations of New Zealand, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Maldives", the ITU document cited above said. The US, Canada, Mexico, Colombia, Finland, Bahamas and Barbados have already agreed to identify these airwaves that have historically been used for television broadcasting for IMT, amid growing demand for mobile broadband services.
The ITU, which deals in spectrum management issues globally, is a multinational effort between governments and private companies to recommend new telecom technologies and standards. (Source: ET Telecom)
Indian communication satellite to be launched on November 10
Indian communication satellite GSAT-15 is to be launched on November 10 using an Ariane 5 rocket of European space agency Arianespace, the agency said.
In a statement, Arianespace said preparations for its sixth heavy-lift mission of 2015 have advanced into the payload integration phase, with the Indian GSAT-15 satellite passenger making its first contact with launcher hardware.
The space agency said the milestone occurred this week at the spaceport in French Guiana with GSAT-15’s installation atop the cone-shaped adapter that will serve as its interface with the rocket Ariane 5.
The Indian satellite then was transferred to the launcher final assembly building where it will be readied for installation atop Ariane 5.
The 3,164.5 kg GSAT-15 was built by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and it will be flown together with Arabsat-6B by Ariane 5.
The GSAT-15 will provide telecommunications services, as well as dedicated navigation-aid and emergency services for India.
The satellite’s life is 12 years.
For Arianespace, the November 10 will be the 10th launch in a busy year at the spaceport that targets a total of 12 flights with the company’s complete launcher family, which also includes the medium-weight Soyuz and light-lift Vega. (source: Telecomlead)
Hotspot 2.0 deployment for Wi-Fi coverage by telecoms remains slow
The deployment of Hotspot 2.0 for Wi-Fi coverage by telecom network operators remains slow, said ABI Research.
The telecom market research agency said at least 6 million public locations will support Hotspot 2.0 features in 2020.
Mobile operators are increasingly relying on Wi-Fi networks, both directly and indirectly, to support their businesses.
The research report said telecom operators lack the tools to generate revenue streams from Hotspot 2.0 that can enhance the user experience and attract more engagement.
“Hotspot 2.0 will evolve to allow operators higher flexibility for supporting different policies, which in turn, will encourage implementation of innovative business models, and ultimately wider market adoption,” said Ahmed Ali, research analyst at ABI Research.
The growing demand for IMS-enabled Wi-Fi calling has boosted the confidence in Wi-Fi voice capability, the report said. There will be larger role for Wi-Fi technologies in 4G and 5G networks. Apple has sold 13 million iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus smartphones that feature Wi-Fi calling. (Source: Telecom Lead)
MIB says STB seeding low; TRAI asks broadcasters, MSOs to sign Phase III agreements by 30 April
Even as the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has said that the seeding of set-top boxes (STBs) in Phase III has been very low, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has asked broadcasters and multi-system operators (MSOs) to get their act together for Phase III of digital addressable system (DAS) by signing interconnect agreements by 30 April.The deadline for implementation of DAS in Phase III is 31 December 2015. After hearing the MSOs and the broadcasters, TRAI asked the parties to fast-track the process of signing agreements.
The authority asked the MSOs to approach the broadcasters within 15 days with their business plan. It also asked the broadcasters to respond to the MSOs within 15 days. “We have asked the MSOs and broadcasters to sign agreements for DAS Phase III by 30 April. They need to start discussions at least so that they can come to some kind of an understanding by April end,” a TRAI official said on condition of anonymity. The official also said that the authority would ask broadcasters to send a bi-monthly report on the requests they had received from the MSOs to receive their signals.
“This will indicate how many MSOs have actually approached the broadcasters to sign an agreement so that they don’t hide behind the excuse that broadcasters are not co-operating,” the official added. The meeting was held under newly appointed TRAI principal advisor SK Gupta in place of N Parameswaran who is due to retire this year. The MSOs had raised the issue of non-signing of agreements at the sixth meeting of DAS task force on 13 March, following which TRAI decided to convene a meeting of broadcasters and MSOs to understand their issues on 18 March. The MSOs had contended that without the input cost, they would be unable to educate consumers about the rates. 3.1 mn STBs seeded by 37 MSOs in Phase III During the task force meeting held on 13 March under the MIB additional secretary, the stakeholders were informed that data received from 37 out of 100 MSOs indicated that about 31 lakh (3.1 million) STBs had been seeded in Phase III, with about 5.5 lakh (0.55 million) boxes in their stock and about 23.5 lakh (2.35 million) under orders of purchase.
The additional secretary remarked that the seeding so far was very low as opposed to the target. He asked the representatives of the MSOs to apprise the task force of their strategies, plans and constraints in executing the same. MSOs complain about content cost issues in Phases III and IV The MSO representatives stated that there were issues of content costs, owing to which they were finding it difficult to plan digitisation in new areas. Seeding plans, they said, could be firmed up only after knowing content cost. Until that time, the MSOs could only give their seeding projections instead of seeding plans, they said. They also mentioned that revenue from Phase III and IV areas is about 20–30 per cent of the total revenue from the country, which is why the content cost in these areas cannot be same as that in Phase I and II areas. The MSOs want the broadcasters to keep their ambitions under check until the seeding of STBs in Phase III areas. (Source:TelevisionPost.com)