Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Imparting education via Tablets - A Live Experiment Report

The "One Laptop Per Child" program from Negroponteis engaged in some interesting work in Ethiopia where they are distributing tablets to kids without providing them any instruction on how to use them or what they are for.

What's interesting is the speed at which illiterate kids are picking up not just pieces of learning as know to the civilised world but also picking up and even hacking into technology....

Read the full story here as posted by one of my MBA professors, Shlomo Maital
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Monday, October 08, 2012

India joins the Data Democratization bandwagon

Heard of Data Democratization? Well, you might not want to dismiss it as another of the fancy terms geeks keep inventing. It is here to stay and is expanding as you read this post. 

Data Democratization was a term invented to signify the opening up of huge datasets owned by corporations and governments and making the data available to the general public. The public could leverage this data via apps, thesis reports and help contribute to improving the quality of the data and also help bring innovative services that the rest of the public could make use of. The benefits of opening  up of data or "democratizing data" is evident at GapMinder where professor Hans Rosling has used world data made available to general public by United Nations and sister concerns to provide interactive charts that help reveal interesting trends

In this age of tablets, smartphone that have made information at fingertips a reality, the power of harnessing the collective mind of the crowd can pay rich dividends to whoever decides to make their data sets available for public consumption and contribution. US has been on the forefront of this wave and have till date democratized 22 data sets. 


Here comes the exciting part. Indian government too has bitten the bullet with the opening up of their new website Data.gov.in. Still in its infancy, the government has already uploaded sample datasets from the MNREGA, AICTE,National Transport Registry and even list of Allopathic hospitals across the nation. It also has a sample app of the Bhuvan project, ISRO's attempt at providing something similar to Google maps.

What remains to be seen is how this data will start getting consumed. Akin to how BMTC (Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation) has democratized data which helps Google provide transit services app for Bangaloreans or akin to how Climate Corporation in USA analyses land and weather data made available to public by the US government to decide the insurance premium payable by farmers based on their locations.
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Sunday, October 07, 2012

The Technology awash Formula 1 Car Racing Sport

The second edition of the Indian Grand Prix (Formula 1 Racing) is due this October 26-28. TV ads are increasing in frequency and so is the buzz around the second race to be held at the Buddh International Circuit, New Delhi.

A causal conversation with friends led to a debate on which sport leverages technology to the maximum. Formula 1 racing pipped the rest to the top. This led me to do a quick check on the facts. 

Formula 1 racing uses almost every advance that technology provides. 
  1. Typically about 20 races are held in a year and the remaining time is spent by the F1 teams in trying to improve every small aspect of the racing machine to provide incremental boost to the driver
  2. Aerodynamics of the Formula 1 racing car is the #1 area of focus. Supercomputers for Computational Fluid Dynamics simulation that replace wind tunnels and help the R&D teams to study changes to a car's stability, speed and maneuverability resulting from changes to the design. These supercomputers pack the processing power equivalent to 40,000 modern day PCs - about 40 tera flops of processing power. There is also an upper limit that is set by the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile) governing body.About 40% of a R&D team typically is focused on this single area.
  3. There are close to 100-150 sensors embedded across the car's body which pump out telemetry data during a race continually to the pit crew. The pit crew is a full-time staff of half a dozen engineers and mathematicians devoted to analyzing the right combination of fuel load and tire changes and when and how many pit stops to make during a race. They use the telemetry data to analyze car performance and relay feedback to the driver.
  4. Simulation is also used to design the F1 track. Computers are extensively used to understand and simulate the kind of G-Forces experienced by drivers during the turns and bends and keep these forces within sport's regulations.

Here's a video that shows more for the tech fanatic in you....



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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Remember Chandamama stories....Now you can access them online

I have been a fan of Chandamama stories and I had written an earlier post on Chandamama going online.


Chandamama now is available online. You can read stories of Chandamama dating back to June, 1955 all the way upto the last issue. Not just that, you can select the language in which to read the story in. Man, the good old days are back here. Click here for the archives. Thanks to technology, Chandamama can be savored by our children and theirs too...

Thanks to Vasuki who refreshed my memory of this link via a Facebook post.
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Monday, August 13, 2012

Leap Motion - Bringing to Life the scene from Minority Report

I came across an amazing next generation computing interface company named Leap Motion. The company has invented a small rectangular piece of computing hardware that generates an invisible fabric of waves in front of a screen. You could then interact with this fabric and your inputs are translated into action on the screen of the computer.

You could zoom, rotate, pinch, cut, slash, play, input commands - all at the gesture of your fingers.

Have a look here


Imagine the possibilities when this launches. Steering wheels on cars can be done away with, students can interact with the blackboard right from their seats in the class room, tablets can get empowered enough to start replacing laptops....

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Big Data principles harnessed by Mumbai Dabbawallas

A well written article chronicling how the Mumbai Dabbawallas use the same principles that are the force behind the Big Data technologies today. Titled "What is Common between Mumbai Dabbawalas and Apache Hadoop?", the article details out how the entire process of collecting, shuffling, sorting and delivering tiffin boxes by the Mumbai Dabbawallas is akin to the MapReduce algorithm that is key to dealing with huge data collections.

Here's the crux of the article



  • Just like HDFS slices and distributes the chunk of data to individual nodes, each household submits the lunchbox to a Dabbawala.
  • All the lunchboxes are collected at the common place for tagging them and to put them into carriages with unique codes. This is the job of the Mapper!
  • Based on the code, carriages that need to go to the common destination are sorted and on-boarded to the respective trains. This is called Shuffle and Sort phase in MapReduce.
  • At each railway station, the Dabbawala picks up the carriage and delivers each box in that to respective customers. This is the Reduce phase.

Whats your take on this?

Strongly recommend you read the full article here


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Monday, July 16, 2012

Revelations of Higgs Boson Hunter

Rajivalochan Subramaniam is no ordinary guy. He has been a hunter for the elusive Higgs Boson. His revelations on his work, the hardships faced make for an interesting read in the article titled "First-hand look at boson experiment".Part of the team behind the ATLAS  detector that collected data whenever two photos collided, he mentions some mind boggling statistics
  1. If all the data from ATLAS were to be recorded, it would fill up 1,00,000 CDs per second. This would create a stack of CDs 450 ft. high every second, which would extend up to the moon and back twice each year. The data rate is also equivalent to 50 billion telephone calls at the same time.
  2. ATLAS actually only records a fraction of the data (those that may show signs of new physics) and that rate is equivalent to 27 CDs per minute.
Read the article for more...

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Thursday, July 05, 2012

Toss a bulb up and Light up your Home

An interesting concept that an engineering student has come up with in university of Queensland, Australia. We all know that wireless power transfer is possible via magnetic induction over short distances. What this ingenious student has done is combine that with the ability of magnets to levitate. He has invented a levitating bulb that draw power wirelessly. See a video here... LevLight Project (Magnetic Levitation + Wireless Power Transfer)

Imagine a day when you just need to toss a bulb to your ceiling where it will draw power wirelessly and keep floating....Isn't it cool? and not to mention the umpteen places where you wished a light bulb to dispel darkness.
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Thursday, June 14, 2012

E-Commerce Funding in India

E-Commerce in India has been maturing rapidly. We have witnessed the mushroom like sprouting of startups, an year of brisk business, the entry of the Big Gorilla, Amazon, in the form of Junglee.com and heavy competition via price wars and then a phase of consolidation with some big acquisitions (FlipKart acquiring LetsBuy, SnapDeal acquiring eSportsBuy and HealthKart acquiring MadeInHealth) and some shutter downs (Taggle.com, Letsbuy.com, Nammagroceries.in, Harisabzi.com and Subzimandi.in). That led me to wonder what has been the total inflow of funding for these startups and how has the pie been shared. Here are some stats

$181M - FlipKart
$98.5M - Smile Group (FashionAndYou.com, DealsAndYou.com, BeStylish.com, FreeCultr.com and Juvalia.in)
$52M - SnapDeal
$39M - Myntra
$179.5 - Others


Total investment by venture funds into ecommerce startups in India - $550M


Other Interesting Readings: 



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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

E-Commerce in India - Not a bed of roses

Pluggd.in has a blog post penned by Maniraj Singh, graduate from IIT Delhi and MIT, USA and entrepreneur himself. The blog post titled "Why you should stay away from e-commerce in India [A Perspective]" has some insightful pointers on what lies beneath the "rosy picture" that is often, albeit wrongly, associated with e-commerce in India.

The post examines 7 facets of an online commerce portal and how razor thin a line these ventures tread in each of these. Key points that emerge from the detailed blog post

  1. Doing business online is more capital intensive than in brick and mortar variants due to lack of order predictability and the artificial pressure from customers to brandish a greater variety of offerings.
  2. Lack of physical presence results in customers putting pressure on the e-commerce portals to pass on the cost benefits to them
  3. Cash on Delivery is one of the least profitable ways to sell online due to the charges levied by 3rd party logistics providers who charge the vendor for collecting cash from customers. They also have a say in the speed with which they reconcile cash with the online seller. The online seller will also have to bear double the cost in case the customer rejects the item.
  4. Competition is so bad and the market space so cluttered that absolutely nobody is making any profits. Everybody is burning money (Self or investors money) in trying to attract customers and promote mind recall and playing the waiting game to see who drops off the race.
  5. The only way out of the race is either to get acquired or die a horrible death for now.... 


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Thursday, June 07, 2012

6 Future Technologies India can benefit from

The New York Times has listed 32 technologies that will change our lives in the future. Quite a good enthralling list. The ones that attracted my attention were the ones that make sense from an Indian context.

  1. It talks of shirts that convert the differences of heat across body parts of the wearer into electricity that can be used to charge mobile devices for instance.
  2. Cars that are fitted with devices to communicate with adjacent cars on a highway and self regulate speed to ensure de-congested roads
  3. Cycles that have their chain gear system replaced with crankshaft and rod based systems to convert human energy more efficiently
  4. Sensors on the teeth that prompt you to go visit the dentist when levels of plaque causing bacteria shoot up.
  5. Computer screens that use web cameras embedded in them to alert a computer user to correct his sitting posture the moment it detect slouching
  6. Food packaging which is edible by itself. You can either consume it or dispose it in which case it still is biodegradable.
A lot of these innovations should change the society into a cleaner, sustainable mode of living on our planet.


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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Understanding Cloud Computing – 5 – SaaS

In my previous posts on IaaS and PaaS, we covered the building blocks of Cloud Computing. SaaS is the top most layer in our cloud computing stack that rides on top of the power unleashed by the Infrastructure and Platform layers to really deliver value to consumers and enterprises.
SaaS or Software as a Service is quite a buzz word these days. Why so? Is it a new concept?
Not really. SaaS is about hosting a software application on a server and allowing users to use it via Internet connected computers from anywhere in the world. The user need not install the application to start using it on his computer. He/She can just access it as a service over the Internet. Web based email is a basic example of SaaS.
Other more recent examples include photo editing that certain website allow, word document to pdf conversion, Google word processing, spreadsheet applications, etc which you can access through a simple Internet browser and more. If SaaS had been around for so long, then why the buzz now?
Several reasons can be attributed to it
SaaS as a business centered concept
SaaS as a concept has worked successfully for individual centered applications but not business centered applications. There are both technology related and business related reasons for this. While SaaS applications like e-mail, office suites, etc have taken off quite well, business related SaaS applications like CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software, sales force automation software, payroll applications, procurement, logistics software have only started gaining traction now.
Why so?
Technology has matured
  • New software design and delivery models allow multiple instances of an application to run at once
  • Internet bandwidth costs have dropped significantly to allow companies to buy the connectivity necessary to allow the remotely hosted applications to run smoothly
  • Media rich AJAX based UIs that do not go for a full page refresh when you click on a button.
Business customers are realizing the benefits SaaS can offer
  • Delayed deployments and high Total Cost of Ownership are forcing CIOs to look away from the traditional software delivery format.
  • Business customers are frustrated with endless cycles of buying software licenses, paying for maintenance contracts, unresponsive helplines, costly upgrades, etc.
  • Pay-as-you-go benefits
  • Easy add ons
  • Easy ability to switch vendors if current vendor is unresponsive to business problems
  • No software maintenance headaches
And add to this the early successes that the world is seeing in early pioneers of SaaS like Salesforce.com, WebEx, Digital Insight, etc. The model has proven viable. We need to wait and see how the trends in SaaS unfold.


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Friday, May 11, 2012

Click and Pick your next set of car tyres online

A Noida based startup has launched ChangeMyTyre.com, a online portal to help you research and pick your tyres from an assortment of tyre vendors. No more a need to get restricted by the vendor your local tyre shop promotes.

The best part of it is that you can order online, choose to get it delivered to any of the major cities and get them fitted and tyres aligned for free at their centers.
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Thursday, May 10, 2012

What should I read next?

Everytime I am done reading a book, I start looking for some book in the same genre that can take me to the next level. I pester friends who have read the book to suggest some new thing that I can feast upon. I scour libraries, friend's personal book collections to see if something interests my current frame of mind.

Now I can relax for I have the Internet to my rescue. I recently discovered a Internet tool that just made my life easy for me. Aptly named "What Should I Read Next?", the service allows you to key in the name of the book or the author to get a list of the books that you can read next. The service also suggests the name of the book you read in case you cannot recall anything more than a few keywords that make up the title.

The site developers say this
"The service produces recommendations based purely on collective taste: when items are entered into the same favourites list, they become associated with each other. The more often particular items appear on different lists, the stronger that association becomes. Purely and simply, it represents mass opinion about items. Over time the recommendations should get better and better as the database grows."


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Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Top 8 Indian Online Book Stores

Dedicated to all my book-aholic readers....a list of the top 5 Online Book stores in India


  1. Flipkart - www.flipkart.com - Top of the mind recall store for books. What started off as chiefly a book store has today transformed into selling a lot of other category stuff. However, it still happens to be my first stop shop to lookup the latest books and not to mention the steepest discounts.
  2. uRead - http://www.uread.com/ - I love uRead mainly because they have the best real estate utilization of their home page where the maximum number of titles hit you. They also have a real time dynamic Google map integrated app that shows titles being purchased in real-time.
  3. BookAdda - http://www.bookadda.com/ - These folks allow you to create a virtual book shelf that can be shared on Facebook. It displays the books you have purchased/read recently. A cool ego-booster!
  4. Oxford BookStore - http://www.oxfordbookstore.com - A decent online store that complements their offline physical stores.
  5. Landmark - http://www.landmarkonthenet.com/ - Similar to their physical stores, LandMark, the Chennai based store chain sells both books and other stuff  on their online store.
  6. Crossword - http://www.crossword.in/ - With 83 physical stores, Crossword started in 1992 has run into a bit of trouble in the brick and mortar  format and is downing the shutters in a quite a few cities. However, their online store is elegant an dmakes for a pleasant book search and purchase experience
  7. Rediff Books - http://books.rediff.com/ - Boasts of 3.5 million titles online with the familiar Rediff look and feel.
  8. Indiatimes Books - http://shopping.indiatimes.com/books/ - A run of the mill online book store I should say. 

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Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Understanding Cloud Computing – 4 – PaaS

Platform as a Service corresponds to the second layer in my analogy of cloud computing to your commonplace desktop at home.
PaaS – Platform as a Service is akin to an operating system that allows application developers, programmers and the like to install their language support systems, write and test code, package and distribute and finally deploy/install them to render the apps usable by end customers.
Cloud - PaaS
The difference lies purely in the ‘as a Service’ aspect. The platform in the case of cloud computing context is not tied down to a Operating System – rather it is something that is hosted on the cloud and available on demand to developers and programmers via any machine connected to the internet. The developed requests the environment and the same gets provisioned to him over the cloud.
PaaS also follows the 4 tenets of Cloud Computing.
Examples of PaaS platforms include Azure from Microsoft, SalesForce’s Force.com, Google’s AppEngine.
We will explore SaaS in our next part in this series.


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Thursday, May 03, 2012

Understanding Cloud Computing - 3 - IaaS

The Infrastructure layer of cloud computing is the base foundation of cloud computing. This is the layer that triggered off the thoughts of true cloud computing.Additional hardware purchased by divisions of companies that remained unused must have prompted other divisions to request for this hardware on a temporary basis. That action is what sparked off the thought of subscribing to hardware on demand and not buying and owning it.

Hosting companies that provided space on remote servers took the first step in this direction. They were prompted more from the need for the servers to be exposed to public at all times unlike enterprise servers that are within the firewall. This also freed up enterprises from having to invest and maintain open-to-public servers. They just put up their websites and related public consumable data onto these hosted servers. 

It was exactly 5 years ago that the next big step in IaaS was taken. It was by a company named Amazon (more famous for it online book store). AWS or Amazon Web Services (started in July 2002) announced the availability of its EC2 - Elastic Compute Cloud offering in August 2006. EC2 allowed users to rent out computing power and pay for it by the hours of usage. EC2 allowed for users to load their applications onto Amazon hosted infrastructure and EC2 related services allowed for scaling up or down the needed computing and storage power based on the consumption of these applications.

Today you have a whole set of companies trying to match what AWS brought to the market. GoGrid, Rackspace, Akamai, etc are among the few top ones. 

You could safely say that the current trends and gung-ho around cloud computing had its seeds sowed back in 2006. In our next post, lets dive into Platform as a Service facet of Cloud Computing.



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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Understanding Cloud Computing - 2

Remember the analogy I presented to you in my last post in the series? About the cloud being akin to a giant computer. We also talked about the 3 layers of this computer. What was interesting was the fact that each of them had the "as a Service" suffix. What does this mean and what are its implications. 

Extending out giant computer analogy a little further, it is certain that such a giant computer is not for any individual or institution's use alone. Rather it is a computer that can be used by everybody who has a need for the same. Theoretically, the computer is so huge that every body could make use of it at different points of time or at the same time. While somebody might be needing just a few GB of hard disk space on this computer and some processing power, another team might be thinking of requesting several TB of space and lots of RAM and some specific applications. As each and every individual/team requests these units from the computer, these are allocated almost in real time to these individuals. Once they are done using the computer for their use, they relinquish the requested resource units that get added to the main pool for somebody else to take advantage of them. Hence the giant computer's resources are available on demand as a service. Just like how a taxi is available as a service for you when you need to get from one point to another or your when your own car has broken down. 

All three layers of the cloud, the infrastructure layer, the platform layer and the software layer are available as a service for its consumers. Hence  the suffix "as a service".

In our next post in this series, lets look at the Infrastructure layer in detail and understand its intricacies

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

IT Quiz - Edition 5 - Answers


  1. What is the name of the photo application that Facebook paid $1 billion in cash and stock to purchase? //Instagram
  2. What is the name of the company that has partnered with BSNL to bring out a Rs. 3499 tablet? //Pantel
  3. What is the name of the new IT services company that Ashok Soota, founder of MindTree earlier on, launched earlier this year? //Happiest Minds
  4. What technology innovation comes to your mind when  you see the following images? //Android OS. These are the logos of the Android versions 
  1. DreamScreen is a popular desktop PC model in India. Which company is it from? HP

 The closest attempt came from Bharatesh !! Great work :-)

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Understanding Cloud Computing - 1

A lot of my readers ask me fundamental questions on cloud. This series of posts are dedicated to all my fans and readers who would like cloud computing to be simplified for them.


Let's start with a pictorial analogy of cloud computing to something that we are more familiar with. Consider a server or even your desktop computer or a laptop. A scratch at the surface to see what makes these computing devices tick reveals 3 distinct layers.

  1. The hardware consisting of the motherboard, the memory (RAM, hard disks), the processor, etc
  2. The operating system that loads when you first switch on your computer - Windows, Linux, Unix, etc
  3. The software applications that you use when using your computer - Notepad, Word, Paint Brush, Winamp, Internet Explorer, etc
A cloud in simple terms is your computer multiplied sever hundred thousand times and can go beyond theoretically to infinity. More on this characteristic in my next post.

Coming back to the analogy, imagine the cloud to be one giant computer. Obviously you would need the equivalent of the 3 layers here too, right?
  1. Infrastructure - IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) - The hardware layer equivalent
  2. Platform - PaaS (Platform as a Service) - The Operating system equivalent with more bells and whistles. Lets understand that in a separate post
  3. Software - SaaS (Software as a Service) -The software applications you would use to draw on the power of the giant cloud computer.
You might have noticed that all three had the terms "as a Service" attached to them. Let's explore that in our next post in this series.

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

IT Quiz - Edition 5


  1. What is the name of the photo application that Facebook paid $1 billion in cash and stock to purchase?
  2. What is the name of the company that has partnered with BSNL to bring out a Rs. 3499 tablet?
  3. What is the name of the new IT services company that Ashok Soota, founder of MindTree earlier on, launched earlier this year?
  4. What technology innovation comes to your mind when  you see the following images?
  5. DreamScreen is a popular desktop PC model in India. Which company is it from?

 Answers will be published on Monday!! Happy answer hunting :-)

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Top 5 MS Power Point Tips

A lot of my blog readers ask me to blog on tips that could enhance their computer productivity. Here's a first of a series of posts dedicated to all my readers

Power point has become so common a tool that every Windows user clicks on MS Power point icon when asked to research, create a presentation, draw a flowchart or even just take notes.

However, there is so much of power under the hood that hardly gets utilized. So here are the top 5 power point tips to upgrade your power point experience

1. Stop Ctrl+C (Copy) and Ctrl+V (Paste). Select an object and do a Ctrl+D (Duplicate). Not only are you reducing the number of key presses, the Duplicate shortcut also aligns every newly duplicated object to create a pattern of equidistant objects

2. Pasted a image and it has an irritating white background?. Relax. You can clear the white background by double-clicking on the image, go to Colors on the menu bar, select "Set Transparent Color" and click anywhere on the white background of the image

3. Do you have a table that does not fit into a single slide? Do not fret. You can divide the table across two slides and use a cool slide transition to let the audience know that the table is continuing over two slides. Select the first slide and Go to Transitions on the menu bar and select "Push" as the transition.

4. Need to fit the letters of a word onto a curve? Type your word. Select the text box. Go to Format on the menu bar. Select Text Effects --> Transform --> Follow Path and the needed layout.

5. You are projecting your slides and you suddenly need the audience to stop looking at the slides and focus on you the speaker. You can press "B" or "W" on the keyboard to produce a Black or White background respectively. This works only in Presentation mode.

So there you go. You should return to your workstation feeling a lot more energised :-)
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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

India Mobile File - An Infographic

Interesting Infographic that I stumbled upon. One that shows country wise statistics on mobile usage, mobile ownership patterns and some tit-bits. Reproducing the India piece for you below here. For the full infographic click here


Close to 874 million mobile subscribers in India and 53% of them have lost their phone or have it stolen. Amazing fact !! No wonder Nokia and Samsung are having a roaring business here. ;-)


Greater than 60% of the 874 million mobile users have software that identifies their location. Are new GIS app developers listening?


Less than 40% of them have a password to protect their phone. I am one among thos 40% :-(





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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

India IT Today

Angry Birds Hit Facebook
It was but naturally complementary for the largest social networking site to have the most popular game on the planet on its menu. Angry Birds, a game that took the iPhone by storm and then transcended to Google Chrome and Android devices is now available on Facebook. For a social networking site that makes 13% of its revenues from games, Angry BIrds was a natural choice. It remains to be seen how the social element has been incorporated into the game.

image


SEBI and RBI now want a social presence
After PMO, now SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) and RBI (Reserve Bank of India) are planning a splash into the social networking area via Facebook and Twitter. SEBI plans to use its social presence to disseminate information to investors and other market participants.

image


CAS Mandatory by 2012

Information and Broadcasting Ministry of India has set June 30 as the deadline for TV viewers across the country to go digital via CAS (Conditional Access System). Per the nationwide cable digitisation process, all metros have to switch over to CAS by June 30, 2012 and then the phase out will start across towns and villages. By 2014, the government intends to do away with the analogue system.
(More coverage on this soon)



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Monday, February 13, 2012

India IT Today

Flipkart buys LetsBuy.com in an equity-cash deal estimated to be around USD 25 million. Letbuy, a company of 350 people will continue to function independently thought now it will have access to the technology platform and the supply chain of Flipkart. image
Software giant Microsoft has launched its annual DreamSpark Yatra to share knowledge and spread awareness about innovations in technology across Indian academic campuses. It aims at targeting 60,000 students in 100 cities across the country.Launched at IIT, New Delhi, the Yatra will showcase Microsoft Kinect, Windows Phone and a sneak preview of the forthcoming Windows 8 operating system.
image
Café Coffee Day is introducing interactive touchscreen tablets in 500 cafes across the country. Called WINT, the interactive touch table is aimed at bringing more engagement among the youth community
src: www.pluggd.in
image

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Thursday, February 09, 2012

India IT Quiz–Edition 4–Answers

 

1. Which country is the second fastest growing market for Facebook, the popular social networking engine?

India - 46 million monthly active users from India as of December 31, 2011, an increase of 132 percent from the previous year. Brazil top the growth rate list.

2. Junglee.com, Amazon’s official portal for India in its current avatar is a comparision site involving multiple online commerce portals. Two of them are prominently absent – the same two also considered by Amazon as key competition to beat in India. Which two?

Flipkart and Infibeam

3. Which state in India tops in terms of Facebook activity?

Maharashtra - Maharashtra is followed by Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh.

4. Which popular Indian site has dragged Google to court citing “appearance of competition ads on their website”?

BharatMatrimony

5. Which Canadian company has been awarded the contract of building and marketing Aakash, the $35 tablet conceived by IIT, Jodhpur?

DataWind

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Wednesday, February 08, 2012

India IT Today

LinkedIn today unveiled localized hiring solutions for the Indian market. LinkedIn solutions are extensively used by Indian companies to look up a candidate’s profile. For the 13 million user base LinkedIn has in India, these set of tools which include LinkedIn Recruiter, Jobs Network, Work with us Ads, Targeted Recruitment Ads and Talent Direct will enable Indian recruiters to target and profiles in India. image

Zapak launches Cricville, a social cricket game  on Facebook. The gameplay puts the player in the seat of a franchisee owner who gets to maintain a team, strategize team composition and keep winning and developing further.
CricVille
India plans to setup a wafer fab and usher in semi conductor industry into the country by end of year. The plan it to evolve into chip manufacturing sooner than later image

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Website Review – Junglee.com

When Junglee.com was launched last Thursday, it was a quiet but decisive moment for India’s unfurling e-commerce. While the prime reason was the company, Amazon.com – the global leader in online retailing (making about $48 Billion in revenues, 2011) which was the force behind Junglee.com, there are other reasons for which this will go down as a red letter day in the annals of Indian online commerce.

  • For one, Amazon decided that it will not wait till the Indian government makes up its mind on allowing multi-brand retail in the country.
  • Two, Junglee.com is a great way for the online retail major to understand user patterns in online purchases, community based buying behaviors, etc.
  • Three, Junglee.com has already squashed the market of aggregators and comparison sites

Given the way the Indian e-commerce was heating up in the last one year and the government dilly-dallying on multi-brand retail entry for foreign players, Amazon was getting edgy on not being able to get a finger in the $10 billion e-commerce pie that India offers. The big splash with Junglee was inevitable.

On the second point, A skim through Junglee.com shows you why it is a win-win proposition for Amazon.

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The above screenshot is from the Junglee website projecting a popular Nikon camera model. The blue circle shows the 5 domestic players offering the product along with shipping prices. At the bottom circled in red is the Amazon.com offer. It has the lowest price incidentally. Consider this. Amazon knows which vendor you or hundreds of other users clicked and went through with. They do a 1-1 comparison of why users are repeatedly clicking a particular vendor as against their own offer from Amazon.com. They tune their offering to make it more lucrative. So over a period of time they have the power to tear apart competition using the power of information.

So does this mean other websites should not allow their sites to be scrapped by Amazon. A tough call. Given the kind of brand attention and recall Junglee.com has, it makes sense for any mom and shop online retailer to register their presence on this site and hope for traffic to be redirected. The alternate is to pour millions of dollars in building a brand against the likes of Amazon. No points for guessing the simpler (saner?) strategy. Only the Flipkarts or the Infibeams of Indian online retail can even venture to offer a fight. (No wonder, Amazon does not have listings from these two vendors made a part of their comparison)

Coming to the third point, nobody in the street remembers any comparison site other than Junglee.com today in India. Even if someone were to launch a comparison site and market it aggressively, how does the monetization happen? Do you expect other online retailers to give you a cut of a sale? Not when Junglee provides a listing free of cost !!! For a lot of online shoppers, doing a search on Junglee.com is how the search begins for a prospective product. For the others, not doing a search on Junglee.com before you conclude a purchase is tantamount to needless harakiri. Such are the effects of a brand!

Specific Salient features of Junglee.com

  1. You can use your Amazon.com credentials to login into Junglee.com
  2. Junglee.com shows reviews and ratings from both Amazon.com and the ones left behind specifically at Junglee.comimage
  3. There is also a Facebook kinda “Like” button to allow the recommendation engine to base interests not only on browsing patterns but also provide the user a chance to assist it learning.
  4. Junglee lists even physical stores on their website. You can get the store location, call them up and place an order with the listed store.
  5. Sellers can place their ads for free on Junglee.com.
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Overall, I would say this is a welcome move by the Goliath in the business and it would be all the more interesting to see how the Davids would respond. For the customer…..it is manna from heaven….Enjoy the show

Website Rating: image

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