Convergence Plus
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
An artificial intelligence app that can ‘Mirrorsize’ apparel

An artificial intelligence app that can ‘Mirrorsize’ apparel Getting an apparel of your choice that fits right is a challenge, especially if it is ordered online. Studies show that nearly 30 per cent of online users drop out before a purchase, because of size and fit issues. Returns, post an online purchase due to sizing issues, range anywhere between 25 and 40 per cent. And this is where US-based tech start-up ‘Mirrorsize’ comes in with its artificial intelligence-enabled device agnostic body scanning app.

Launched on a trial basis earlier this month — on both Android and iOS platforms — the app takes 3D body scan to deliver “precise body measurements” on tablet PCs and smartphones.

While an individual user gets the right fit, for an apparel maker or e-tailer it could lead to increased sales, lesser returns and customer loyalty. For custom tailoring outfits, it is a chance to enhance their business opportunities and reach larger audiences.

No wonder then that Arup Chakraborty, Founder and CEO, Mirrorsize, wants to extend his offerings to brands, e-commerce companies and even bespoke players (custom tailoring outfits and start-ups). Currently, individual users and some bespoke players are using the app.

“We are in the process of filing patents. Once through, we will focus on the go to market strategy,” he told BusinessLine.

Mirrorsize has already developed two products: ‘Get Measured’ for custom-tailoring outfits; while ‘Size2Fit’ is targeted towards ready-made apparel makers. More additions in terms of product expansion are being planned.

Getting the idea
Chakraborty admits that he was on the look-out for custom tailoring, but was having fitting issues. Tailors would either ask him to be present in person at their shops or he used to send them his measurements. Size charts across e-tailers would confuse him. Even images used in ‘virtual trial rooms’ were not up to the mark. Thus, began his quest for “a solution”. During this time, he met a couple of professors from IIT-Delhi and, along with them, his company Mirrosize started developing the product.

“Measurements taken will be precise because of the use of AI (artificial intelligence). This apart, we will be a cost-effective solution provider,” Chakraborty said.

Monetisation, licensing
Monetisation plans are being worked at. “We may look at a click-based model for companies and brands. I am not much interested in charging individual users,” he added.

The company is already in discussions with at least seven to eight brands and custom-tailoring outfits (bespoke tailors) for licensing pacts. This means, an apparel maker will provide Mirrorsize with its brand specifications. A buyer will click on the ‘body measurement’ option on the apparel maker’s website or an online shopping site and get to know what size fits him/her the best.

Mirrorsize is also in talks to raise funds which, according to Chakraborty, should not be more than $5 million, as of now. Funds will be used for setting up a global sales and marketing team and to step up focus on R&D.(Source: The Hindu BusinessLine)

Finn co Zyfra’s Industrial IOT solutions for Indian firms

Finn co Zyfra’s Industrial IOT solutions for Indian firmsFinnish company Zyfra, which provides Artificial Intelligence-based solutions for heavy industries, foresees huge potential for industrial digitalisation in India.

The company’s Managing Director, Pavel Rastopshin, in a meeting with the representatives of companies in defence, aerospace, petrochemicals, metallurgy and mining sectors, said Zyfra’s machine- monitoring and manufacturing data collection (MDC) tool will allow manufacturers to increase industrial equipment efficiency.

The company is set to introduce the monitoring tool, MDC Plus, in the Indian market. “We have inked agreements with Indian Spudweb Technologies and Abcon Group for providing the tool in India. They, in turn, expect to sign over 15 contracts worth $2.5 million.”

“Our MDC tool will help track equipment operation, enhance production without considerable investment . This is a crucial task and the initial step towards Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT),” he said.

Precise control of the implemented technological process will further improve machine performance by 8-12 per cent,” said Andrey Lovygin, Director, International Business Development, Zyfra.

Founded in November 2017, ZYFRA currently operates in Bulgaria, Finland, apart from India and Russia. The company is connected to over 7,000 CNC machines. (Source: The Hindu BusinessLine)

Cloud computing’s rise taking a toll on HCL Tech, Wipro growth

Cloud computing’s rise taking a toll on HCL Tech, Wipro growthFor the first time, business growth from managing technology infrastructure of customers was less than half of the overall revenue at both HCL Technologies and Wipro in the past two years. The rise in cloud computing in the early years of this decade has started hurting the growth of some of the largest software services companies in India, as for the first time, business growth from managing technology infrastructure of customers was less than half of the overall revenue at both HCL Technologies Ltd and Wipro Ltd in the past two years.

This development portends an ominous sign for the country’s third and fourth largest software services companies and is in contrast to the performance of market leader Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS), which maintains that it has not seen any cannibalization in revenue as more companies look to migrate workloads to the cloud. India’s $167 billion software services outsourcing industry generates much of the revenue from deploying software engineers for infrastructure maintenance services, or IMS, or to write and maintain code for applications (application development and maintenance) or even offer customer support (BPO).

Since the turn of the century, the IMS business for most companies has grown on a par with or faster than the company’s overall growth in revenue. Still, a bigger challenge for some companies such as HCL Technologies is that at least half of the total IMS revenue still comes from legacy work of establishing data centre business, even as most Fortune 1000 companies are looking to replace their own data centres with public cloud services. HCL Technologies, India’s third-largest software services provider, saw its IMS business grow 10.5% between April-June 2016 and April-June 2018, less than half of the pace of its overall growth, according to an analysis by Mint.

Ditto for Wipro. The Bengaluru-based firm saw its IMS business grow 3%, against overall revenue growth of 6.4% in the same period. “As most clients embrace cloud, we are seeing some softness in the infra business. About half of our total IMS business is data centre business,” HCL president and chief executive C. Vijayakumar said in an interview last week.

Both TCS and Infosys, the No. 1 and No. 2 IT services firms, respectively, have stopped disclosing revenue from service offerings, but Mumbai-based TCS maintains that it has historically stayed away from setting up data centres and maintaining only infrastructure needs of its clients.

“If you are in the business of setting up data centres and leveraging your balance sheet, then yes, when customers move to cloud, you’ll be affected,” TCS’s chief operating officer N. Ganapathy Subramaniam said earlier this month. “As long as you are not in the capex-driven business of data centres, it is actually a huge uptick and not cannibalization,” said Subramaniam. TCS, he said, has “generally stayed away from capital-intensive data centre business and our business through this is very, very small”.

“We don’t go and leverage our balance sheet to set up huge data centres. So when you are moving applications into the cloud, that whole application transformation, migration, building applications around it, is an add-on business,” said Subramaniam. An analyst at a Mumbai-based brokerage said “cloud is clearly impacting overall growth and this can be seen from weak organic growth for these companies”.

“There is more pain for the companies as overall digital revenue is still less than a third, while the business from data centres remains vulnerable,” said the analyst, who declined to be named.

The rise of Amazon Web Services (AWS), the cloud computing unit of Inc., and Microsoft Azure has led to most Fortune 1000 companies looking to move applications from servers stationed traditionally in their offices to a cloud computing platform. This has made most Indian firms stitch partnerships with these public cloud computing firms, but at the expense of letting go of money earned by offering thousands of engineers to work from a central facility that houses thousands of computers, which in turn was set up by software services companies.

Consequently, cloud computing firms are witnessing scorching growth: 12 years after it was founded in 2006, AWS is already bigger than India’s largest software services company, TCS, as AWS’s revenue totalled $21 billion (on trailing 12 months basis). (Source:Mint)

Wipro will start BPO operations in Mysuru by year-end: Pratap Simha

WiproInformation Technology major Wipro is expected to start its BPO operations here by the end of the year, giving IT and ITES (Information Technology-Enabled Services) operations a boost.

Information Technology major Wipro is expected to start its BPO operations here by the end of the year, giving IT and ITES (Information Technology-Enabled Services) operations a boost.

Speaking to reporters after inspecting the progress of work on the construction of a new building and incubation centre at the Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) premises here on Saturday, Mr. Simha said the proposed Wipro BPO would initially provide jobs to about 750 people. He said Wipro was launching BPO operations in Mysuru under the Centre’s India BPO Promotion Scheme.

The start of BPO operations by the company is expected to pave the way for the setting up of more such facilities, which will in turn create jobs. The proposed widening of the Bengaluru-Mysuru highway into a six-lane one with service roads is also expected to attract more IT and ITES players to Mysuru, which already houses IT majors such as Infosys, L&T, and Wipro. Meanwhile, work on the STPI building and incubation centre, which began in October 2016 at a cost of ₹24 crore on 2.36 acres, is expected to be completed in the next few months. The building is spread across 40,000 sq.ft, comprising ground plus two floors.

The state-of-the-art incubation centre, aimed at helping startups, has 75 to 85 seats in the fully-furnished section and 90 to 95 seats in the semi-furnished ready-to-occupy raw space. (Source: The Hindu)

NetApp Excellerator to focus on start-ups in Artificial Intelligence, data analytics space

NetApp Excellerator to focus on start-ups in Artificial Intelligence, data analytics spaceNetApp has launched its second batch of accelerator programme with a focus on B2B start-ups in the areas of AI, robotics and analytics as data-driven business models are beginning to find acceptance.

NetApp Excellerator, which was launched earlier this year, is an effort to help start-ups create market-ready products and solutions by providing access to the technology companies’ expertise, along with its ecosystem of partners and customers.

Additionally, the start-ups get a grant of $15,000, get access to NetApp’s technologies, co-working space, assistance in HR, and legal and tech support to those who finish the four-month programme. “We do not own any equity in these ventures. It is an equity-free grant and they get to keep their Intellectual Property (IP),” said Deepak Visweswaraiah, Senior Vice-President & Managing Director, NetApp India.

Tracking progress
Visweswaraiah said after a start-up graduates from the accelerator programme, NetApp tracks their progress through alumni programmes, events and alliance partnerships. “As alumni, they continue to have access to mentorship and go-to-market opportunities with NetApp, as well as access to other organisations and influential individuals in the ecosystem.”

Amongst the six start-ups that have gone through the exercise, Nanobi, a start-up that focusses on developing an analytics platform, offers services to prepare, analyse and visualise complex data, while eliminating the need for multiple technologies.
This helps their customers make meaningful decisions. Similarly, DataKen aids its customers who have large and complex IT infrastructure to maintain and run effectively.

“Through algorithms, we have automated the processes of monitoring IT hardware, software and help proactively in assessing the health of the IT networks,” said Suresh Kumar Gokarkonda, CEO, DataKen. One of the successful start-ups, which was a part of the NetApp accelerator programme is SigTuple, which digitises pathological slide images and runs cloud-based image processing for diagnosis in pathology labs. SigTuple was also a part of the Google Accelerator Programme in 2017.

Abhishek Purohit, co-founder and VP — Product Strategy and Partner Enablement, said that the connections and mentorship provided by companies like NetApp help understand enterprise customers better as they have worked with many multinational giants over time. (Source: The BusinessLine)

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)

Smart City Mission: Tech giants showing interest in setting up smart city centres

Smart City Mission: Tech giants showing interest in setting up smart city centresGlobal technology giants, including Cisco, IBM, and Bosch, are showing keen interest to participate in setting up of smart city centres or integrated command and control system under the Centre’s flagship programme Smart City Mission, a senior official said today.

According to the housing and urban affairs ministry official, HP and Siemens are working to set up such a centre in Bhopal, while Bosch, Cisco, Efkon and Rolta are participating in the development of a ‘smart’ centre in Varanasi.<,/

Honeywell’s expertise would be used for Bhubaneshwar, while Schneider, Cisco and HP would help in setting up of such a centre in Naya Raipur, the official said. Leading Indian firms, including Larsen and Toubro, Shapoorji Pallonji Group, Bharat Electronics Ltd, Tech Mahindra, are also participating with global technology giants to set up Smart City Centres which are key to the mission, he said.
As many as 99 cities have been selected under the Modi government’s Smart City Mission. Each city will get Rs 500 crore to carry out the projects.

Tenders have been called for 55 cities for setting up such centres which would entail an investment of Rs 5,300 crore, while works worth Rs 2,950 crore has started in 23 cities, the official said. Smart centres in eight cities -- Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Pune, Nagpur, Rajkot, Visakhapatnam, and Kakinada -- have become operational, the official said.

These cities are monitoring various services at the centre which included solid waste collection, smart street lights and transit management system.

These centres also offer city-wide surveillance system to enable the administration and police department keep a watch on sensitive areas such as major traffic junctions and tourist places.(Source: The Hindu Businessline)

Samsung jumps on blockchain bandwagon to manage its supply chain

Samsung jumps on blockchain bandwagon to manage its supply chainThe world's biggest maker of smartphones and semiconductors may use the technology behind cryptocurrencies to manage its vast global supply network.

Samsung Electronics is considering a blockchain ledger system to keep track of global shipments worth tens of billion of dollars a year, according to Song Kwang Woo, the blockchain chief at Samsung SDS, the group's logistical and information and technology arm. The system could cut shipping costs by 20 per cent, according to SDS.

While companies around the world have said they're planning to deploy blockchain technology on everything from cross-border payments to tracking the life-cycle of supermarket chickens, Samsung Group is one of the first global manufacturers to take a serious look at using the distributed ledgers in its operations. SDS is working on the system for Samsung Electronics, the conglomerate's crown jewel.

"It will have an enormous impact on the supply chains of manufacturing industries," said Mr Song, who's also a vice-president at SDS. "Blockchain is a core platform to fuel our digital transformation."

Thrust into the spotlight by bitcoin's meteoric rise, blockchain technology has been touted as a breakthrough that will transform the way transactions are recorded, verified and shared. (Source: The Business Times)

Phone companies including Panasonic, Lava to scale up local production

Phone companies including Panasonic, Lava to scale up local productionMobile phone makers such HMD Global, Lava and Panasonic are finalising plans, including investments, for higher scale of local manufacturing, in tandem with the government’s likely imposition of duty on imported printed circuit board (PCB) assembly from the coming fiscal year.

Heads of HMD Global — makers of Nokia brand of phones, Lava International and Panasonic India — said the government’s phased manufacturing programme (PMP), which envisages increasing the scale of local manufacturing by specifying components on which import duties will be levied over couple of years, could make India a manufacturing hub over the long term. But, the duty impositions may drive prices of devices higher in short term as the component ecosystem wasn’t in place.

“We are working with our partners to manufacture more and more components (in India). SMT is definitely on the cards for us,” said Ajey Mehta, head of India at HMD Global that makes the Nokia brand of devices in India through the world’s largest contract manufacturer Foxconn. He was speaking at the ET Telecom India Mobile Conclave 2018.

SMT, or surface mounting technology, lines are used for populating printed circuit boards (PCBs). The government is likely to impose basic customs duty on electronic components such as populated PCBs, camera modules and connectors from April 1. The government has already put a 20% duty on smartphones in the February 1 Budget, raising it from 15% within two months.

"We have a complete plan for 10 years so that design and component manufacturing can happen in India," said Lava International chairman Hari OmBSE 0.00 % Rai.

HMD’s Mehta though said that the cost of the devices in the near term could go up due to the import duty on some components.

PCB makes up 40-50% of the cost of making a phone, so a duty on the import of the component will increase prices in the near term, but push local manufacturing in the longer term, handset makers said.

The evolving mobile phone ecosystem though has become a critical platform for content providers, with some like AirtelBSE -0.33 %'s Wynk and AltBalaji now beginning to monetise content.

"We have a combination of subscription and ads for monetization, but it's very early days, some new models will also emerge," said Sameer Batra, CEO, Wynk, Bharti Airtel, adding that the cost of content was still high, and, therefore, carrier billing will play a big role, given the low proliferation of credit cards in India. (Source: Economic Times)

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