Convergence Plus
Saturday, March 23, 2019
India aiming at equipping defence forces with Artificial Intelligence

India aiming at equipping defence forces with Artificial Intelligence"This multi-stakeholder group is looking at what are the kinds of requirements," Ajay Kumar said.
After Russia, China and US, India has decided to include Artificial Intelligence in its defence forces with an aim to enhance the operational preparedness of the armed forces.

Speaking to ANI, Ajay Kumar, Defence Secretary (Production), Ministry of Defence said that a task force has been set up under the chairmanship of Tata Sons chairman N. Chandrasekaran to finalise the specifics and framework of the project.

"Artificial Intelligence is going to influence everything in the future, our common lives also including it also going to affect the future warfare. Most of the major countries in the world are taking steps to ensure that their defence systems are fully empowered by the use of Artificial Intelligence. In India, we have also taken steps in this direction," Kumar said.

The project to equip defence forces with Artificial Intelligence, includes the representation from all defence forces or Defence Research and Development (DRDO) labs, government, BEL, experts, professionals and startups. "This multi-stakeholder group is looking at what are the kinds of requirements," Kumar said.

He further said that India has a fairly strong IT industry base which will become the biggest strength in terms of developing Artificial Intelligence capabilities.

"We need to work on a partnership model between industries and defence forces which should be different from a buyer-seller proposition," he added.

Artificial Intelligence, which along with robotics, internet and machine learning has been billed as the dawn of the fourth industrial revolution, is a system of computers or machines that have the ability to mirror human intelligence. This means, they can learn, reason and do the self-correction on its own.(Source: ETTelecom)

Sony to make more smartphones and televisions in India

Sony to make more smartphones and televisions in IndiaSony India, the local arm of Japan’s leading consumer electronics maker, has decided to step up ‘Make in India’ for televisions and smartphones instead of relying largely on imports, as it did earlier, in view of the government’s move to increase taxes on overseas products.

The company’s parent in Tokyo is in the process of finalising whether to expand third-party manufacturing or set up a plant in India, said Sony India managing director Sunil Nayyar.

“We are in touch with Tokyo on how to further strengthen ‘Make in India’. As of now, we are happy with our third-party manufacturing and quality of products which has negligible return rates. A large portion of our portfolio will move towards local production which will be a win-win situation for the brand, consumers and government,” said Nayyar, the first Indian to lead local operations, who took charge in April.

India has in the past five months increased import duties on completely built television sets and smartphones to 20% from 15% and 10% respectively. It has also increased import duties on components for both these products. While the tax on finished LED TV panels imported for local assembling is 15%, import duty is 5% on open cell TV panels which require further assembling before being used for production. There is 10-15% import duty on smartphone components such as camera modules, printed circuit boards, chargers, batteries, speakers and keypads.

Sony had started manufacturing of entry-level televisions in 2015 at the Foxconn plant in India, while last year it extended the partnership to manufacture two mid-segment smartphone models. Over time, the company has increased local production to TV units of up to 55-inches, and Nayyar said the company will expand production to include more models. He said Sony has not increased television prices despite the increase in duties, absorbing the burden and insulating customers in the process.

“We would rather focus on premium segment which will boost profitability. Hence, in television the focus will be on 55-inch and above models, while we will not enter the sub-Rs 10,000 smartphone segment,” he said. (Source: Economic Times)

Arbitration panel to hear Vodafone challenge to Rs 22,100 cr tax in Feb 2019

Arbitration panel to hear Vodafone challenge to Rs 22,100 cr tax in Feb 2019An international arbitration tribunal will in February next year begin hearing in British telecom giant Vodafone's challenge to India using a retrospective legislation to seek Rs 22,100 crore in taxes. The tribunal, headed by Sir Franklin Berman, will hear the government's objection to tax matters being covered under the Netherlands-India Bilateral Investment Treaty, which was used by Vodafone to trigger an arbitration over the tax demand, a senior official with direct knowledge of the development said.

India has also challenged tribunal's jurisdiction to decide on such matters, he said.

While Vodafone is supposed to file its response to the government objection by July, India will respond to this by December, he said, adding that thereafter the tribunal will begin hearing in February 2019.

Vodafone has challenged India using a 2012 legislation that gave it powers to retrospective tax deals like Vodafone's USD 11-billion acquisition of 67 per cent stake in the mobile phone business owned by Hutchison Whampoa in 2007.

It has challenged the demand of Rs 7,990 crore in capital gains taxes (Rs 22,100 crore after including interest and penalty) under the treaty.

Tax authorities had in September 2007 served notice to Vodafone International Holdings BV for its alleged failure to deduct withholding tax from consideration paid to the Hutchison Telecommunications International Ltd.

Vodafone challenged this in the Supreme Court, which in January 2012 set it aside saying the transaction was not taxable in India and so the company had no obligation to withhold tax.

In May that year, Parliament passed the Finance Act 2012 that amended various provisions of the Income Tax Act 1961 with retrospective effect to tax any gain on transfer of shares in a non-Indian company, which derives substantial value from underlying Indian assets.

The company was in January 2013 served a tax notice of Rs 14,200 crore after including interest on the principal amount. A year later, Vodafone challenged the tax demand under the Dutch BIT. The official said the company in April 2014 served the notice of arbitration after out-of-the-court dispute resolution talks failed.

The tax department in February 2016 served a demand notice of Rs 22,100 crore, including interest accruing since the date of the original demand.

Vodafone has maintained that there is no liability and that it will "continue to defend vigorously any allegation that VIHBV or Vodafone India Ltd is liable to pay tax in connection with the transaction with Hutchison and will continue to exercise all rights to seek redress". (Source: Economic Times)

Apple-Samsung iPhone design copying case goes to jury

Apple-Samsung iPhone design copying case goes to jurySamsung no longer sells the smartphone models at issue in the case.

Jurors return to a Silicon Valley courtroom Monday to put a price on patented iPhone design features copied by Samsung in a legal case dating back seven years. Apple is seeking slightly more than a billion dollars in damages, while Samsung wants a figure closer to $28 million. The jury has been asked to determine whether design features at issue in the case are worth all profit made from Samsung smartphones that copied them or whether those features are worth just a fraction because they are components.

"Samsung isn't saying it isn't required to pay profits," Samsung attorney John Quinn said during closing arguments on Friday.
"It is just saying it isn't required to pay profits on the whole phone." The three design patents in the case apply to the shape of the iPhone's black screen with rounded edges and a bezel, and the rows of colorful icons displayed.

Samsung no longer sells the smartphone models at issue in the case.
Two utility patents also involved apply to "bounce-back" and "tap-to-zoom" functions.

"This is a case that is focused on design, and the application of design to smartphones," Apple attorney Joseph Mueller said in closing arguments.

When one company copies a rival's design, that "is not a level playing field, and that is just not right," he contended.
Apple argued in court that the iPhone was a "bet-the-company" project at Apple and that design is as much the "article of manufacture" as the device itself.

Apple attorney Bill Lee equated the notion to a carmaker copying the look of the Volkswagen Beetle and coming to market with a competing model.
Determining whether the design features qualify as the "article of manufacture" will be key to whether jurors award the profit from all the Samsung phones involved, according to legal standards presented by the court.

The case dates back seven years. An original trial finding that Samsung violated Apple patents was followed by lengthy appellate dueling over whether design features such as rounded edges are worth all the money made from a phone.

Technology vs Style

Samsung, which had been ordered to pay $400 million, challenged the legal precedent that requires the forfeiture of all profits from a product even if only a single design patent has been infringed.

The US Supreme Court in 2016 overturned the $400 million patent infringement penalty imposed on the South Korean consumer electronics giant.

Justices ruled that Samsung should not be required to forfeit the entire profits from its smartphones for infringement on design components, sending the case back to a lower court.

The ruling found that the penalty -- one element of a major patent infringement case -- was inappropriate because it represented "Samsung's entire profit from the sale of its infringing smartphones" for copying the iPhone's "rectangular front face with rounded edges and a grid of colorful icons on a black screen."

The key question of the value of design patents rallied Samsung supporters in the tech sector, and Apple backers in the creative and design communities.

Samsung won the backing of major Silicon Valley and other IT sector giants, including Google, Facebook, Dell and Hewlett-Packard, claiming a strict ruling on design infringement could lead to a surge in litigation.

Apple was supported by big names in fashion and manufacturing. Design professionals, researchers and academics, citing precedents like Coca-Cola's iconic soda bottle.

The Supreme Court stopped short of delving into details of how the lower court should determine how much phone design components are worth when it comes to patent infringement violations.

Presiding US District Court Judge Lucy Koh gave jurors in her San Jose courtroom a four-factor test to determine an "article of manufacture," but it is up to the panel to decide how the evidence fits that framework.

The case is one element of a $548 million penalty -- knocked down from an original $1 billion jury award -- Samsung was ordered to pay for copying iPhone patents. (Source: ETtelecom)

Department of Telecom seeks reply from Airtel on Apple Watch eSIM service by May 24

Department of Telecom seeks reply from Airtel on Apple Watch eSIM service by May 24The Department of Telecom also mentioned that the security clearance tests for the service are due on May 23 and May 30, 2018.
The DoT has sought reply within a week from Airtel on a complaint by rival Reliance Jio alleging that the operator flouted norms on activation of eSIM in Apple Watch 3, an official source said.
The Department of Telecom also mentioned that the security clearance tests for the service are due on May 23 and May 30, 2018. The DoT on May 27 has sought multiple clarification within a week from Airtel about eSIM service facilitation by the company on Apple Watch 3.

Both, Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel are selling Apple Watch Series 3 since May 11 through their sales channels.
"Jio has filed complaint alleging that Airtel has not set-up the eSIM provisioning node within India in "gross violation to the licence terms. Airtel had informed DoT about the service but in its letter services storing user information was not indicated. The department has asked Airtel whether e-sim provisioning network of node of Airtel is storing eSIM profiles and user information outside India," the source told PTI.

Apple Watch 3 and iPhone of a subscriber share the same number and subscribers can use both iPhone and Apple Watch with eSIM to make or receive calls independent of the call status of the other devices. The eSIM is paired with the SIM in iPhone wirelessly through a dedicated network node. The node used for eSIM profile allocation contains network and user information such as operator identifier, SIM details, PIN, remote file management for managing SIM files remotely etc.

"The DoT has received information that Airtel intends to launch Apple Watch 3 service. The tests for security clearance of the service is scheduled for May 23 and May 30, 2018. This was informed to Airtel on May 11," the source said. When contacted Airtel spokesperson said that the company has already written to the DoT on May 15, 2018 and clarified that it is in compliance with the licence conditions and why "Reliance's complaint is fallacious and needs to be rejected".

"It appears that this particular communication from the DoT (which is dated May 17, 2018) has not taken into account our communication. We would like to reiterate that this is yet another frivolous complaint by Reliance and we will respond to it at the appropriate forums," the spokesperson said.

Airtel in its letter dated May 15 to DoT said that all information relating to customers, network nodes etc, along with provision for lawful interception, are hosted in a fully secure manner by the company in India. It stated that no network node or information or data, as alleged by Reliance Jio, has been hosted outside of India.

Airtel's letter said that network node referred by Reliance Jio appears to be an inventory server, called SMDP server of eSIM, which is not the network node of the company.

The letter said that network related information on SIM or eSIM to enable mobile devices connect with network is loaded by SIM makers outside India. Airtel said that Reliance Jio itself is using SMDP servers installed outside India, which it has not diclosed to the DoT. A company official on condition of anonymity said that charges levelled by the rival are baseless and the SMDP server used by Jio is located inside India. (Source: The New India Express)

Changing times: Captives beat Indian IT in hiring

Changing times: Captives beat Indian IT in hiring Captive centres in India of global firms have hired nearly 1.3 lakh people last year and they have overtaken for the first time in a decade the number of people hired by Indian IT services and back-office companies, said industry experts. The shift is attributed to a sharp rise in hiring by existing and the new global in-house centres (GICs) due to technology innovation activities in India for their global markets.

Two prominent staffing agencies have confirmed that GICs have recruited highest number of people in 2017 and the number could go up to 1.4 lakh.

Last year’s hiring by GICs has been the highest in a year. The $167-billion IT-BPM sector, which has been one of the largest job creators and recruited large chunk of fresh engineers in the past, hired 1,00,000 people in 201718, as against 1,73,000 during the year-ago period. In 2015-16, the IT-BPM sector hired 2,00,000 people. IT services industry body Nasscom said the sector witnessed a decline in hiring as Indian IT services companies such as InfosysNSE 0.03 %, Tata Consultancy ServicesNSE 0.29 %, Wipro, HCL Technologies and others shifted focus from “scale to skill”.

“While hiring by pure-play Indiabased technology services players was muted, Indian GICs have hired nearly 1.3 lakh people to strengthen operations, drive economies of scale and to some extent, drive innovation. This clearly is one of the characteristics of the third phase of evolution of GICs, where they themselves augment the capacity they need at favourable cost points rather than depend on pure-play services companies for augmented capacity,” said Santosh Thangavelu, senior vicepresident, Teamlease, a prominent staffing agency.

Companies in financial services and other sectors such BNP Paribas, Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland, Shell, JCPenney and AstraZeneca have added thousands of people over the past year and promised more jobs in new facilities. Barclays Global Service Centre, which employs more than 16,000 people across Pune, Mumbai, Chennai and Noida, recently announced a new facility that could accommodate 8,800 people once fully used.

Shell, which employs 9,000 people in India including contractual staff, said its information technology hub in Bengaluru is key to realising the opportunity of digitisation which is transforming conventional business models. It said more people are being added to the Bengaluru centre. Last year, 1,10,000 to 1,40,000 jobs were created by GICs across all sizes and focus areas, said Francis Padamadan, senior director, Asia Pacific, KellyOCG.

Padamadan added that captive centres set up shops with small teams and eventually expanded to larger teams as they gained prominence in the global market. “One of the key European bank started with a 200-seater officer and now has nearly 5,000 people team in Gurgaon,” he said. Nasscom stated in its strategic review that India saw 65 new centres, a 63% jump over the previous year and nearly a quarter of all centres were set up by US-headquartered firms.

Roughly 1,100 GICs employ close 9,00,000 people in India.

“There was a wave in 2006 when GICs came in and started ramping up. They stabilised in 2014 and subsequent two years. In 2017, another wave of GICs started and at least 20 prominent GICs that came up in 2016 are ramping up now. The global enterprises are looking at their India centres as harbinger of digital technology transformation,” said KS Viswanathan, vice-president, industry initiatives, Nasscom.

He strongly believes that these GICs have started hiring for product engineering, and research and development talent for these segments at scale. Engineering and research and development jobs have contributed largely to the near 1.3 lakh jobs. “ER&D GICs have 3,80,000 people and the growth in that is about 12.5%. This number has grown because the type of talent they need is not easily available in their headquarters,” said Preeti Anand, head, engineering practice, Zinnov. (Source: Economic Times)

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