Convergence Plus
Sunday, April 30, 2017
'Tower industry to see boost in M&As this year'

'Tower industry to see boost in M&As this year'The year 2017 will see change and consolidation in the telecom towers industry, according to a top official of the Towers and Infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA).

"The year 2017 will be the year of innovation, disruption and transformation. It will also witness mergers and acquisitions (M&As)," Tilak Raj Dua, Director General, TAIPA, told IANS in an interview. Asked where the towers industry was headed, Dua said that rural telephony will see a fillip as an investment of $2 billion from USOF (Universal Service Obligation Fund) would facilitate expansion into non-urban areas.

"It will bridge the rural-urban digital divide," he said. Investments in telecom infrastructure will see a rise, and expansion of public WiFi will take place, Dua added.

He said the development of robust telecom infrastructure with the proliferation of in-building coverage, ICT, 4G and public WiFi will lead to accessibility to affordable high-speed internet for the common man. "This is likely to transform society into a knowledge-led and a connected one," Dua said.

The expansion of 4G networks, affordability, penetration of smartphones and surge in data demands have opened up new opportunities for the telecom tower industry.

"In the next few years, growth in data demands will pave the way for infrastructure providers to establish and maintain in-building solutions, small cells, public Wi-Fi and fiberisation of backhaul networks," Dua said.

All these opportunities for tower companies will play a significant role in reducing rental and energy costs besides many other advantages like savings in capital expenditure and faster rollouts.

Regarding the much talked-about issue of call drops, Dua said the Indian telecommunication sector has significantly picked up to curb call drop issues by adding around 1,500 BTS (base transceiver stations) per day.

The sector has installed additional 212,917 such stations across the country during the period from June 2016 to February 2017, taking the total number to 1.5 million, he said.

Further, to ensure quality of service, seamless connectivity and spectrum efficiency India would need around 100,000 towers in the north-east alone, in addition to the 450,000 in operation.

The tower roll-out is increasing at a rate of 3-5 per cent year-on-year.

Talking about the Right of Way (RoW), Dua said the delay in providing RoW by the state is adversely affecting the development of telecom infrastructure and services.

The government unveiled the RoW policy in November 2016 which allows only a licensee to deploy telecom infrastructure.

"The policy needs to be extended to IP-1 companies too. IP-1s are formed with the sole mandate of servicing telecom operators and providing shared infrastructure. We are seeking clarification from DoT and persuading them for the same," Dua said.

Infrastructure Providers category 1 (IP-1) policy was launched by DoT in 2000. (Source: ETTelecom)

VMware bets big on telecom industry for growth in India

Viavi releases results of State of the Network global studyVirtualisation service provider VMware believes the growth of Indian telecommunication industry will be a major growth driver for the company in the coming year.

“The consolidation of the telecom market coupled with the digital transformation of banks and financial services sector presents a compelling business opportunity for tus in India,” said Rajiv Ramaswami, COO, products and Cloud services of VMware. The publicly traded company is a subsidiary of Dell Technologies and provides cloud and virtualisation software and services.

Reliance Jio’s entry has made India one of the top countries in mobile data usage with Jio users consuming more than 100 crore GB per month. This has ushered in a data war in the space with incumbents starting to consolidate in a bid to protect and scale their customer base. “From a vertical stand point, this is the year of Telco. With the entry of Jio and the consolidation in the telecom industry significant amount of network infrastructure is being built [by telecom companies. Data volumes are through the roof and service providers are desperately ramping up their infrastructure to cope with all the data that is coming in,” Ramaswami said, adding, “This provides a huge opportunity for the network virtualisation service providers like VMware”.

In addition to telecom, VMware has a strong footprint in the BFSI sector helping banks make the digital transformation straddling legacy systems with the with new age systems. VMware helps build new architecture and upgrade banks’ IT and security infrastructure to support these offerings. (Source: Economic Times)

Sicap India’s Board of Directors is strengthened by Santosh Kotnis. Deepak Mahajan joins as new Executive Director

Sicap India’s BoardSicap India Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of Sicap Switzerland AG, has recruited high-profile new staff. Santosh Kotnis joined the Board of Directors on March 1, Deepak Mahajan is the new Executive Director for India & South Asia

Santosh Kotnis is an ICT expert with an extensive background in the Indian market, and was inducted as a member of the Board of Directors of Sicap India on March 1. Sicap India will benefit greatly from Kotnis, in terms of management capabilities, as well as market and client expertise. Kotnis joins current Board of Director’s members Markus Doetsch and Thomas Vontz. He is an exceptionally qualified ICT executive with 20 years of business experience and a sharp sense for developing innovative business models and sales channels.

He is currently the CEO of Managed Infrastructure and Cloud Solutions at Futurism Technologies, an Indian-American software group. In his operative role, he is responsible for global infrastructure and cloud solutions and this covers such topics as growth, the strategic direction of customer acquisition, the selection of global partnerships, market development and innovation.

Deepak Mahajan is a new recruit for Sicap India and takes on the position of Executive Director for India & South Asia, reporting to Magnus Møller-Petersen, Executive Vice President for Sales & Marketing of Sicap Group. Mahajan will lead the team to win new business, shape market opportunities and solidify the company’s position in the marketplace. Before joining Sicap, Mahajan served as the CEO of DunTel Consult & Serco in New Delhi, India, with a focus on consultancy and supporting market entry concepts for diverse industries in the India/South Asia region. Mahajan is a business professional with more than 25 years experience primarily engaged in the telecom industry and has held various key leadership positions with major market leaders such as Xerox, Ericsson, Motorola and Bytemobile-Citrix.

Markus Doetsch, Group CEO and member of the Sicap Group’s Board of Directors, expects these additions to significantly boost Sicap India’s capabilities and create an impact: “Santosh and Deepak are both very experienced and well-established in the telecom sector. They understand the ICT market in India/South Asia very well. This rapidly expanding market is of central importance to strengthening and growing our business, as it represents significant opportunities for all of Sicap’s core offerings: Mobile Device Management, SIM and e-SIM-OTA sectors, and in the development and management of IoT ecosystems. Sicap has been investing in the region for many years and built very good, sustainable customer relationships, which we would like to intensively expand. We understand the expectations and know which challenges face us in this market. Santosh and Deepak are the right managers to lead Sicap India, under these requirements, successfully into the next development phase.” ( Source: Convergence Plus)

Reliance group’s unlimit launches a suite of New products and services—‘enablement’—to deliver iot solutions and services in india

Reliance group’s unlimit launchesMumbai, 6 April 2017: Reliance Group’s Unlimit, the first dedicated IoT (Internet of Things) business unit of any telecom operator in India, and Cumulocity, the leading IoT software provider worldwide, today announced a strategic partnership to roll out a suite of new products and services on a new platform, titled ‘Enablement’. Enablement will allow businesses to connect any device over any network, and manage and store asset data, by controlling them in real-time by monitoring device availability and administer and rectify device faults. The versatility of Enablement allows it to be tailored specifically for specialized businesses and provides enterprises with the ability to compose their own IoT app in minutes, with the “smart rules” wizard used to instantly spot operationally critical states - for instance, "Send me a message with the fault details if a machine fault can’t be automatically resolved in 60 minutes”.

The newly launched product line will showcase off-the-shelf applications for key verticals such as industrial automation, healthcare, financial services and asset tracking, and can be used across the globe and/or tailored to suit the unique demands of the Indian market.

“With the number of connected devices in India projected to rise from 200 million today to 3 billion by 2020, nearly every part of the economy will be positively impacted by IoT. We are delighted to partner with Cumulocity to launch our new platform ‘Enablement’ and unlock the full potential of the Internet of Things for our customers and make the benefits of IoT virtually UNLIMITed,” Mr Juergen Hase, Chief Executive Officer of Unlimit, said.

The partnership extends Unlimit’s connectivity offerings, with Cumulocity’s advanced IoT application and the ‘Enablement’ platform. The combined offering will enable Unlimit’s customers to benefit from rapid machine, sensor and device integration, as well as data collection and real-time analytics for condition monitoring. It further offers predictive maintenance and supply chain automation, comprehensive device management and remote control, vertical application configuration of real-time dashboards and fast and affordable enterprise IT integration.

“We are delighted to support Unlimit and the Reliance Group in the delivery of ‘Enablement’. The ‘Enablement’ platform and its suite of customized products provides end customers in many specialist vertical markets with the tools to easily embed IoT into their business, rapidly exploit the benefits and continuously evolve to their demands and desires. ‘Enablement’ provides everyone in India able to use a mobile phone with the capability to rapidly build, secure and deploy their own state-of-the-art IoT solution in an extremely cost-efficient way,” Mr Bernd Gross, Chief Executive Officer of Cumulocity, said.

The Indian market has the perfect ecosystem to fully exploit the benefits of IoT with the necessity to efficiently manage public and commercial services for a large number of diverse consumers and enterprises at an affordable cost. Recent analyst reports predict that IoT will grow at a CAGR of 28% over the next 5 years, which may result in technologically leapfrogging even established economies. Early benefits are anticipated in many sectors such as transport, wellness, healthcare, buildings, homes, factories, agriculture, livestock, electric grids and water supply networks. ( Source: Convergence Plus)

Viavi releases results of State of the Network global study

Viavi releases results of State of the Network global studyTenth annual “State of the Network” global survey reveals network and security trends from over 1,000 network professionals
Viavi Solutions (NASDAQ: VIAV) a global provider of network test, monitoring and assurance solutions to communications service providers, enterprises and their ecosystems, today released the results of its tenth annual State of the Network global study. This year’s study focused on security threats, perhaps explaining why it garnered the highest response rate in State of the Network history, including 1,035 CIOs, IT directors, and network engineers around the world.

“As our State of the Network study shows, enterprise network teams are expending more time and resources than ever before to battle security threats. Not only are they faced with a growing number of attacks, but hackers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their methods and malware,” said Douglas Roberts, Vice President and General Manager, Enterprise & Cloud Business Unit, Viavi Solutions. “Dealing with these types of advanced, persistent security threats requires planning, resourcefulness and greater visibility throughout the network to ensure that threat intelligence information is always at hand.”

Highlights of the 2017 study include:

  • Network team members’ involvement in security: 88 percent of respondents say they’re now involved in troubleshooting security-related issues. Of those, nearly 80 percent report an increase in the time they spend on such issues, with nearly three out of four spending up to 10 hours a week on them.
  • Evolution of security threats: When asked how the nature of security threats has changed in the past year, IT teams have identified a rise in email and browser-based malware attacks (60 percent), and an increase in threat sophistication (52 percent). Nearly one in three also report a surge in distributed denial of service (DDos) attacks.
  • Key sources of security insight: Syslogs were cited by nearly a third of respondents as the primary method for detecting security issues, followed by long-term packet capture and analysis (23 percent) and performance anomalies (15 percent)
  • Overall factors driving network team workload: Bandwidth usage in enterprises continues to surge, with two out of three respondents expecting bandwidth demand to grow by up to 50 percent in 2017. This trend is in turn driving increased adoption of emerging technologies including software-defined networks (SDN), public and private clouds and 100 Gb. Network teams are managing these major initiatives while simultaneously confronting an aggressive rise in security issues.

“A combination of new technology adoption, accelerating traffic growth and mounting security risks has spawned unprecedented challenges throughout the enterprise market,” commented Shamus McGillicuddy, Senior Analyst at Enterprise Management Associates. “The necessity to detect and deal with security threats is notably complicated by the diverse mix of today’s enterprise traffic, which spans across virtual, public and hybrid cloud environments in addition to physical servers.”

State of the Network Global Study Methodology

Viavi has conducted its State of the Network global study for 10 consecutive years, drawing insight about network trends and painting a picture of the challenges faced by IT teams. Questions were designed based on interviews with network professionals as well as IT analysts. Results were compiled from the insights of 1,035 respondents—nearly 40 percent more than in the previous study -including network engineers, IT directors and CIOs from around the world. ( Source: Convergence Plus)

Is the govt finally taking note of Reliance Jio’s impact on telecom industry?

Is the govt finally taking note of Reliance Jio’s impact on telecom industry?Reliance Jio initially offered free voice calls and data until the year-end in a promotional offer, and later extended them to March 31.

High-level meetings centred on Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd that preceded the telecom regulator’s order halting a complimentary offer from the Mukesh Ambani-run operator seem to suggest that the government has taken note of the impact of free services on the industry and its own revenue.

A day before the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (Trai’s) order, telecom minister Manoj Sinha met officials to discuss Reliance Jio’s promotional offers and their impact on the telecom sector and licence fee collection, two people familiar with the matter said. Licence fee collection in the March quarter is expected to decline 28% to Rs 2,300 crore from Rs 3,165.8 crore in the December quarter, these people said, asking not to be identified.

Sinha was briefed by his bureaucrats about the industry’s demand that licence fee for the fourth quarter should be on actuals and should be equal to the licence fee of the last quarter. Sinha was also informed that the industry’s debt levels have risen sharply from Rs 2.7 lakh crore in 2014 to Rs 4.85 lakh crore at the end of December 31. PK Pujari, secretary, ministry of power, who also holds additional charge for the department of telecom (DoT), did not respond to phone calls and a text message seeking a response.
Rajan Mathews, director general, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), confirmed that he had written to DoT seeking respite from submitting licence fees, among other issues.

“Nobody in their wildest dream had thought that revenue will come under pressure as we thought subscribers will keep increasing, but now, because of the situation that we are in, nobody had anticipated that somebody will give away 100% services for free,” Mathews of COAI said. An email sent to Reliance Jio on Thursday remained unanswered till press time. (Source: Hindustan Times)

Reliance Jio’s new pricing will continue to bleed telecom industry: COAI

Reliance Jio’s new pricing will continue to bleed telecom industry: COAICOAI says that Reliance Jio's complimentary offers and rock-bottom prices could have a cascading effect on banks and other instituitions that have large exposure to the telecom sector.
Cellular operators’ body COAI has said Reliance Jio‘s latest pricing will continue to bleed the industry and there is risk of cascading impact on banks and others that have large exposure to the telecom sector. COAI said that while market’s move towards lower pricing is good for consumers, the larger question of whether such pricing confirms to tariff regulations is a matter that needs to be settled by the courts and the telecom tribunal.

“The industry will continue to bleed under this pricing, and there is the risk of cascading impact on the banks, government (accruals from licence fee and spectrum payments made by telcos), and equipment manufacturers,” COAI director general Rajan Mathews told . The telecom industry owes close to Rs 4.60 lakh crore to various financial institutions and banks. Mathews refused to comment specifically on the tariffs announced by Reliance Jio. Billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio on March 31 announced it had notched an unprecedented 72 million paid subscribers, and extended by a fortnight its deadline for migrating other subscribers to its paid offer.
It has further sweetened the deal by announcing a ‘complimentary offer’ for three months to those who pay Rs 303 prior to April 15, thus offering data at rock-bottom prices. Put simply, subscribers recharging prior to the said date using Jio’s Rs 303 plan (or any higher value plan) will get services for the initial three months on a ‘complimentary basis’, and paid tariff plan will kick-in only in July.

“The consumer will have the benefit of the plans but the larger question of whether it is right or wrong, that is, in compliance with regulations, will have to be decided by the courts,” Mathews said.Jio launched the inaugural free voice and data plan in September last year, and in December extended the freebies till March 31, 2017, much to the ire of other operators who alleged that such freebies not only hit their profitability and disrupted the market but were also against the regulations.

Incidentally, the warring sides, Jio and incumbent operators are members of COAI. Incumbent players such as Airtel and Idea Cellular have moved the telecom tribunal against regulator TRAI for letting the new operator continue the promotional offer beyond the stipulated 90 days. They have also questioned the free offers on the ground that it violates the floor of 14 paise per minute set in the form of call termination charges. TRAI, however, is of the view that 14 paise cannot be seen as a standard “prescription” for call rates as cellular operators themselves have been offering many plans like unlimited night time calls that breach the so called floor. Applying 14 paise as a rule, therefore, would mean that many of the plans by cellular operators themselves would not pass muster, the official said.
“Although it is the Interconnect Usage Charge, yet 14 paise cannot be a prescription. To make a bland statement, that any call rate cannot be less than 14 paise per minute is not correct,” the official said.

TRAI would place its position before the tribunal as directed, the official said referring to the TDSAT’s direction to the regulator to re-examine issues relating to the approval that was granted to Jio on free offers. (Source:BGR)

Dell EMC Selects Viavi’s Xgig 1000 Storage Network Test Solution

Dell EMC Selects Viavi’s Xgig 1000 Storage Network Test SolutionViavi Solutions (NASDAQ: VIAV) a global provider of network test, monitoring and assurance solutions to communications service providers, enterprises and their ecosystems, today announced that, Dell EMC has selected the Xgig 1000 10/25/50/100 GE Analyzer for storage network test. Dell EMC is a global leader in enterprise storage systems, maintaining its position by innovating to address demand for new speeds, protocols and features. The company needs test capabilities that can keep pace with rapid market evolution, and the Xgig 1000 delivered with support for the broadest range of speeds and protocols in the industry.

“In addition to supporting the higher speed, 32 Gb development needs to address new features such as mandatory forward error correction. Viavi’s Xgig analyzer precisely met our requirements, allowing us to effectively test for link training, speed negotiation and FEC,” said James Wynia, Director Product Management Networking, Dell EMC. “It was also very important that these new capabilities were incorporated in the familiar user interface and management environment, allowing us to leverage existing infrastructure and avoid retraining our team when time was of the essence.”

With support for 32 Gb FC and 25 GbE, the Xgig 1000 addresses all predominant speeds and protocols in storage networking, supporting manufacturer R&D and helping field installers deploy and troubleshoot data centers. This development continues a long line of market firsts, including support for 16, 32 and 128 Gb FC and 10, 25, and 100 GbE. The platform is known for innovative features such as: inline, non-intrusive capture and analysis and inline jamming; and true analog pass-through adapters keeping the linear nature of signal over copper connections.

“What really puts Viavi at the forefront of its industry is its willingness to be both market-focused and standards-focused,” Wynia added. “While the industry is still figuring out the standards, enterprises cannot wait to deploy new speeds and architectures, and we need to respond. Viavi is involved with standardization efforts but also working with its customers. That’s what makes them a true pioneer.” (Source: Convergence Plus)

IBM Cloud Helps Pace Automation Ltd. transform local ‘Kirana’ stores into e-tailers

IBM Cloud Helps Pace Automation Ltd. transform local ‘Kirana’ stores into e-tailersRetailSmart” powered by IBM Cloud to deliver convenient online shopping experience to ‘Kirana’ store customers across India
IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Pace Automation Ltd., a leading ‘Solution as a Service Company’ announced a strategic partnership to offer ‘RetailSmart’, an end-to-end fully integrated solution that will enable local ‘Kirana’ (unorganized) stores to become ecommerce ready. Powered by IBM Cloud, the solution allows Kirana stores to deliver a convenient online shopping experience to consumers and pay safely using a convenient payment mode (irrespective of the size of the purchase).

According to industry reports, the current number of Kirana stores in India is pegged to be at 15 million*. These stores have been facing tremendous headwinds from the organized retail and ecommerce companies. Attractive product presentations, discounts and cash back offers have led consumers to shop online while saving both time and money through these ecommerce portals. In addition, with the government’s demonetization campaign, it is imperative for Kirana stores to go digital.

To bridge the gap, Pace Automation Ltd. has developed a unique solution, ‘RetailSmart’ on IBM cloud to digitally enable Kirana stores across the country. By implementing the solution, a Kirana store automatically becomes a part of the SmartKirana Network, hosted on IBM Cloud from Chennai datacenter. The network digitally interconnects all Kirana stores in the country. Customers can easily access the network of Kirana stores in the neighborhood via smartphone app on Android available on Google Play Store or a web portal Initially, the service will be available in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and National Capital Region and will be gradually expanded to other states and rural areas via network of distributors.

The solution will also give these stores an immediate access to ecosystem partners in banking, communication, insurance, payment processing and National product data repository. It enables the Kirana stores to:

  • Automate business processes like billing, stock management and accounting with increased efficiency and profitability
  • Receive online orders from customers through a web portal or smartphone app
  • Accept all credit / debit cards, mobile wallets, Aadhar enabled payments or UPI, irrespective of the value of the transaction thus making the transactions Cashless.
  • Put all transactions through the system creating transaction transparency, an integral aspect of GST compliance
  • Provide micro banking and value added services to customers generating additional revenue streams

“The objective of this project is to digitally empower Kirana stores and help them scale business by adding new revenue streams. For this we have tied up with series of partners to create a successful business ecosystem for Kirana merchants. Our target is to bring 1,50,000 local grocery stores to the network in the next three years and allow customers to order their groceries online from the nearest Kirana shop. IBM is our technology partner that enabled us to develop and seamlessly deploy the solution on the Cloud. RetailSmart connects all the Kirana Stores across the country in its network digitally through the communication Ecosystem partner. This project is a win-win for all the stakeholders involved - Kirana stores, Manufacturers and Suppliers of goods and the end use customers” said SG Chandru, Chairman & Mentor, Pace Automation Ltd.

Mukul Mathur, VP, Global Business partners and CSI, IBM India/South Asia said, "We are excited about partnering with PACE in their efforts to digitize the unorganized Kirana stores and transform them into organized retail, leveraging the IBM Cloud and Cognitive solutions. IBM cloud is open by design, offering a set of tools, flexibility and agility that helps organizations of all size and developers to easily translate their innovative ideas into technical solutions and business models. This tie-up is an extension of IBM’s commitment to the ecosystem and a great example of how our joint solutions reach deep into the SME segment making the vision of Digital India real.”
Powered by IBM Cloud, the solution is fully integrated end-to-end consisting of a custom -built hardware, an intuitive application software, backend / payment processing engines. A physically separated disaster recovery system ensures business continuity.
PACE has also developed and implemented several solutions on IBM cloud across verticals for retail sector. ServeSmart is the flagship solution of PACE to automate the operations of restaurant retail business and has automated Café Coffee Day (CCD) operations in 2004 when they had just 90 outlets which has grown to 1800 plus outlets today. PACE now provides 'ServeSmart' services to more than thirty five hundred restaurant outlets of various leading restaurants in India. PACE hosts all its solutions on an IBM – IaaS Facility at Chennai and at Singapore to provide disaster recovery and business process continuation. (Source: Convergence Plus)

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