Microsoft India showcased several projects that make use of the company’s cloud-based artificial intelligence, cognitive services and Internet of Things [IoT] technologies that can change the way citizens, enterprises and governments engage in healthcare services, agricultural practices, education and everyday work.

Image Source – IoT

Many of these applications are being tested out or used in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Haryana among others.  The company also put the spotlight on use of artificial intelligence in Indian language computing.

Sriram Rajamani, Managing Director of Microsoft Research India, said

These AI, cognitive technologies and IoT applications can help in India’s inclusive growth. The world is today powered by an intelligent cloud and the intelligent edge.  We are constantly pushing the boundaries of technology to benefit society. We are committed to ensure that technology is defining and shaping the future, and is a combination of unbridled innovation and digital inclusion.

Some of the examples of transformative technology for a Digital India showcased were

  • Project FarmBeats: Microsoft FarmBeats is a research project for agriculture that enables seamless data collection from various sensors, cameras and drones. It comprises two broad areas viz., a, data-acquisition system consisting of drones and sensors and a data-analysis system consisting of connectivity pieces, cloud storage, and predictive analysis.
  • AI for farming: Microsoft and ICRISAT announced the results of the second phase of the pilot of their AI-based Sowing App for farmers. The program was expanded to touch more than 3000 farmers across the states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka during the Kharif season of 2017 for a host of crops including groundnut, ragi, maize, rice and cotton, among others. The increase in yield ranged from 10% to 30% across crops.  The Sowing App was developed to help farmers achieve optimal harvests by advising on the best time to sow using data about weather conditions, soil quality and other indicators.

Commenting on this season’s results, Dr. AVR Kesava Rao, Honorary Fellow and Senior Scientist, Agro-climatology, ICRISAT, said

We are excited about the results that have emerged from the use of the Sowing Application and Personalized Village Advisory Dashboard. We have strengthened our partnership with Microsoft to help small holder farmers and give a boost to our AI-powered agriculture initiative in a big way.  The application of the Intelligent cloud is a significant start for digital agriculture and we look forward to expanding this further.

  • HAMS [Harnessing AutoMobiles for Safety]: A virtual harness for vehicles that focusses on two factors that are critical to road safety—the mental state of the driver-including distraction and fatigue, and his /her driving relative to other vehicles.  It employs the front and back cameras of a dashboard-mounted smartphone, the phone’s GPS and inertial sensors, and an On-Board Diagnostics [OBD-II] scanner. Project HAMS is being used by Institute of Driving and Traffic Research [IDTR] – a joint venture between the Department of Transport of State Governments and Maruti Suzuki India.
  • Interactive Cane: This AI-powered Interactive Cane to aid people with visual impairment.  Microsoft Research is experimenting by adding several sensors to existing canes, and adding gesture recognition to the cane. Interestingly, Microsoft Research is doing these using sensors added to the cane, and an AI agent on a micro-controller with very low resources on the cane itself, thereby making the cane an intelligent edge device. We believe that more such applications of ML on edge will become feasible in the coming years.
  • IoT monitoring of water quality: Authorities across states have turned to IoT to monitor drinking water quality for its citizens. Indian ISV TechSpan Engineering has implemented a monitoring system built on the Azure IoT platform, using sensors provided by the Austrian firm s::can and their India Partner Aaxisnano. Using the power of the Microsoft cloud, IoT and data, the solution taps into the robust s::can sensors to provide measurements across 17 parameters – from Chemical Oxygen Demand [COD] and Biological Oxygen Demand [BOD], Chloride and Fluoride levels to temperature and color. The solution is currently being used for
  1. Monitoring drinking water quality online by the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board [125 stations] and Karnataka Urban Water Supply and Drainage Board [KUWSDB] in Hubli–Dharwad & Bijapur [3 stations],
  2. Online surface water quality monitoring by Central Pollution Control Board, New Delhi [44 stations] and Central Water Commission, New Delhi [3 stations]
  3. Online industrial pollution monitoring [1500+ stations]
  4. Online sewage treatment and flow monitoring by Delhi Jal Board [36 stations]
  • Smart Lighting in Jaipur: Microsoft Azure IoT is also powering India’s first Smart Street Lighting Project for the pink city of Jaipur, underscoring Microsoft’s mission of transforming public spaces digitallyThe Jaipur Municipal Corporation [JMC] operates and maintains over 100,000 public street lights within the city. However, one of three in these lamps did not work and many others functioned poorly, leading to several areas of the city being in the dark. Microsoft’s partner Samudra LED has now deployed a customized Microsoft IoT-platform-based solution created by ISV Precimetrix to monitor, control and manage smart LED public street lights. The project will benefit 1.65 million people through improved street lighting and a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 36,750 metric tons/year. It will also result in $1 million per year in fiscal savings accrued to the government due to reduced energy consumption.
  • AI for local language computing: Starting with Project Bhasha in 1998, Microsoft has been consistently working to provide local language computing in Indian languages. Microsoft Office and Windows support 11 Indian language scripts and overall supporting 22 Indian languages. Bing allows users to browse in nine Indian languages. With the help of its AI technologies, Microsoft is now making translation and speech recognition across several Indian languages. Here are a few examples:
    1. Microsoft’s SwiftKey, which allows text input in as many as 24 Indian languages and dialects including Marwari, Bodo, Santali and Khasi, brings AI in the keypads to enable faster, predictive writing.  It also allows mixed language typing in English and Hindi
    2. Indian English and Hindi speech recognition is available as part of Microsoft Cognitive Services as well as Bing App for Android
    3. Text to speech translations currently includes such capabilities in Hindi and Tamil on Microsoft Narrator, on Windows 10.
    4. Microsoft PowerPoint uses AI to translate full presentation decks from English to Hindi, Bangla and Tamil.

NetApp, the data authority for the hybrid cloud, announced the graduation of its first cohort of six startups during the NetApp Excellerator Demo Day. Located in the heart of Bengaluru’s technology neighbourhood, the NetApp Excellerator program is NetApp’s first ever startup accelerator, designed to help enterprise startups to achieve  their full potential through mentorship with one of NetApp’s largest R&D teams.

Ravi Madhira, CEO, Scalend Technologies, one of the startups graduating from the NetApp Excellerator, said

NetApp mentorship helped us focus our market research, and identify the right target market and target customers we could go after. Offering us the support of its large and experienced sales machine, NetApp made the program even more compelling. Our new-found status as a NetApp Alliance Partner has given us a sure foothold in the data driven enterprise domain.

The first NetApp Excellerator Demo Day event commemorated the completion of the first cohort, all six participating start-ups : Lightmetrics, Adya, Vaultedge, Vitacloud, Enclouden and Scalend, demonstrated their achievements & progress to venture capitalists, NetApp executives and prominent industry leaders present. Sports icon and entrepreneur, Anil Kumble, was the guest of honor for the demo day event held at the NetApp campus in Bengaluru. The event marked the culmination of the first cohort’s technology and market acceleration journey. Now as alumni, the startups will have continued access to mentorship and go-to-market opportunities with NetApp, as well as eco-system connects. They will also share their experiences with startups in the future cohorts.

Ajeya Motaganahalli, Director and leader of the NetApp Excellerator program, said

With our rich history of innovation and expertise in data management, we have been able to provide the right mentorship, both technical and sales related, to the startups in our first cohort. We leveraged expertise from across NetApp to help the six best startups selected from the 250 applications received. In addition, we got them the best-in-class global industry experts to help them qualify the target markets better and supplement their technical capabilities.

Strong mentorship helps build credibility and confidence for the participating startups. For example, during their time in the program, one participant, Adya, raised an angel round of funding to the tune of USD 250,000.

Commenting on the program, Deepak Visweswaraiah, Senior Vice President & Managing Director, NetApp India said

Mentoring the start-ups in our very first cohort was a valuable learning experience for us. It allowed us to reconnect with the startup that we remain at heart. We will continue to support the startups through the NetApp Excellerator program and provide them with the best ecosystem to achieve success.

Applications for the second cohort are now open. Selected startups will receive technology and business mentorship as well as access to markets and investors to realize the full potential of their ideas and products in the global market place. Applications are invited from startups working in the areas related to IOT, cloud, big data and analytics, machine learning, virtualization, data security, storage and data management, and other adjacent areas. To know more please visit http://startup.netapp.in/

About NetApp Excellerator

The NetApp Excellerator Program has been designed to help start-ups create innovative world-class products and solutions that are market-ready. The program enables start-ups to use NetApp expertise and its ecosystem of partners, subject matter experts and customers to realize the maximum potential of their innovative ideas. Startups that are selected will have access to NetApp platforms and technologies, tools, co-working space, HR, marketing, legal and tech support. NetApp will provide an equity free grant of USD 15,000 to these startups upon completion of the program. The startups own their IP and NetApp would not seek a stake in the same. For more information on this program and to apply, please visit http://startup.netapp.in; follow #NetAppExcellerator

Swiggy, India’s largest food ordering and delivery platform announced that it has acqui-hired Bangalore-based gourmet Asian food startup 48East, founded by food industry veterans Joseph Cherian and Nabhojit Ghosh.

Both will join Swiggy’s New Supply business line. As COO of the New Supply business line, Cherian’s expertise in the food infrastructure space will further strengthen Swiggy’s focus on solving for gaps in consumer supply through various strategic initiatives. This includes the recently launched Swiggy Access, where the company brings a variety of food to consumers by enabling plug-and-play expansion for restaurant partners in different areas.

While the food landscape in the country rapidly expands, numerous areas and scenarios or use cases remain under-served. Over the years, Swiggy has been exploring innovative ways to address this by providing solutions for the availability, quality and convenience of food. With Cherian and Ghosh, the company will be able to take this a notch higher as it looks to serve consumers more efficiently and grow the market.

Talking about the acqui-hire, Sriharsha Majety, CEO, Swiggy said

With their deep understanding of the food space and an impressive track record of delivering a great consumer experience, the 48East team will equip Swiggy with additional capabilities. We are excited to work with them towards our vision of changing the way India eats.

Simplilearn, the digital economy training company has launched three new age courses in Machine LearningDigital and Social Selling and Blockchain. Through these new courses, Simplilearn is positioned to help professionals and enterprises stay relevant with the latest skill sets relevant for the digital age.

Anand Narayanan, Chief Product Officer at Simplilearn, SAID

Businesses today are at the crux of digital transformation, and the adoption of newer technologies is disrupting the way companies function. As we witness the rapid pace of change brought about by this digital transformation, we continue to help our students and enterprises adapt to the demands of the digital age by gaining new skills. Our exciting new courses were developed to meet the growing need for digital skills across enterprises and to create new career opportunities for our students.

The new Machine Learning course was developed in response to the rapidly growing Machine Learning market. According to a research by Markets and Markets, the spending on machine learning technologies and applications is expected to grow from USD 1.03 billion in 2016 to USD 8.81 billion by 2022, a compound annual growth rate of 44.1 percent. The course is offered through an instructor-led classroom model with hands-on application of algorithms in machine learning. The course is designed for aspiring data scientists and machine learning engineers.

The Digital and Social Selling course is designed to help professionals and enterprises leverage advanced digital tools and techniques to drive faster conversions and generate higher returns. Students get hands-on exposure to modern CRM and sales intelligence tools. This course is ideal for sales and marketing professionals.

Blockchain technology is used to manage digital currency assets worldwide. Simplilearn’s Blockchain course provides a deep understanding of blockchain technology, including the emerging trends in blockchain innovation. This course is designed for web developers and those who need to understand Bitcoin transactions.

About Simplilearn

Simplilearn is the world’s largest provider of short term certification courses that addresses the unique learning needs of working professionals. Having trained over 4,00,000 professionals worldwide,  it provides unmatched customer experience, which handholds a customer-right from enrolling into an online course to getting Industry-recognized certificate in hand.  For more information, please visit SimpliLearn

BookMyShow, India’s largest online entertainment ticketing platform, has been touted as one of the best apps of 2017 on both Google PlayStore and on Apple’s App Store. As per Google, BookMyShow was one of the most innovative apps this year, a title give to those which explored interactive new ways of budgeting time and money, helping others, and experiencing the world around them.

On Apple’s App Store, BookMyShow featured in their Best of 2017 list in its Trends of the Year section that featured App Store editors’ most download worthy games and apps globally based on topics and trends that were popular on the App store throughout the year. BookMyShow was recognized as an app which helps people get more done each day through time saving personal services that continue to evolve.

Rightly so, BookMyShow has moved beyond just an online entertainment ticketing platform and has completely transformed itself into an experience provider with options of booking tickets for sports, events and concerts or tuning into Jukebox – a platform to stream the latest music and podcasts.

BookMyShow, with its mobile first approach, continues to drive over 75% of total transactions through mobile [apps and mobile web]. In 2017, BookMyShow particularly focused on improving user experience on its platform. Some major visible innovations included roll out of Jukebox- BookMyShow’s audio entertainment service, becoming the first Indian entertainment ticketing player to be a part of WhatsApp for Business pilot wherein WhatsApp replaced SMS as a ticket confirmation channel and rolling out the app in additional vernacular languages taking the total regional language count to 8.

On the other hand, BookMyShow has been tirelessly working at the backend to make its app a lot more intelligent and intuitive. The app now recommends movies and events, basis a user’s purchase history, right at the top, along with preferred cinemas and show times. The interactions between a user and the app have also been made a lot simpler. They no longer have to toggle back and forth and can simply tap to choose between different show times, cinemas while booking for a movie. These minor yet extremely significant changes have improved performance by 2x on major booking screens such as homepage, show times, and seat layout.

On the non-movies front, BookMyShow continued to seamlessly handle thousands of booking requests at once for mega concerts like Ed Sheeran Live in Mumbai, tickets for which were sold out in a matter of 48 minutes! BookMyShow improved the post purchase experience of the users by engaging with them through video and audio content [Jukebox] hosted on BookMyShow. The discovery of experiences was also made easier with introduction of many new filters and improved search option.

Parikshit Dar, Director, BookMyShow said

At its heart, BookMyShow is a simple product that provides a simple solution to pertinent problems that users like you and I face related to entertainment experiences. In all our endeavours, we continue to identify and solve these problems to create an unmatched experience for our users. We are absolutely thrilled that our efforts this year have not just been loved by our users but also recognized by both Google and Apple.

Apple Best of 2017 can be found here. Google Play Best of 2017 can be found here

Hitachi Vantara, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd. released its key business and Technology Trends for Asia Pacific in 2018. These trends are jointly predicted by Hubert Yoshida, chief technology officer, and Russell Skingsley, chief technology officer Asia Pacific.

Image Source – IoT

The adoption of IoT platforms will dominate enterprise IT strategies in 2018, alongside a number of other areas. Yoshida & Skingsley have identified ten key trends for the Asia Pacific technology market in 2018.

IT will adopt IoT platforms to facilitate the application of IoT solutions 

IoT solutions deliver valuable insight to support digital transformation and are rapidly becoming a strategic imperative in almost every industry and market sector. IT must work closely with the operations side of the business to focus on specific business needs and define the scope of an IoT project.

According to Yoshida

Building IoT solutions that provide real value can be difficult without the right underlying architecture and a deep understanding of the business to properly simulate and digitalize operational entities and processes. This is where the choice of an IoT platform and the choice of an experienced service provider is important.

According to Skingsley

Enterprises should look for an IoT platform that offers an open, flexible architecture that simplifies integration with complimentary technologies and provides an extensible “foundry” on which to build a variety of industry applications that companies need to design, build, test, and deploy quickly and with minimal hassle.

Object storage gets smart

Enterprises started their digital transformation this year but the first problem that they ran into was the ability to access their data. Data is often locked in isolated islands that make it costly to extract and use. These islands were built for purpose and not to be shared, and many contain data that is duplicated, obsolete or no longer used because of changes in business process or ownership.

According to Skingsley

Data scientists tell us that 80% of the work involved in gaining analytical insight from data is the tedious work of acquiring and preparing the data. The concept of a data lake is alluring, but you can’t just pour your data into one system, unless that data is properly cleansed, formatted and indexed or tagged with metadata so that the data lake is content aware. Otherwise you end up with a data swamp.

While object storage can store massive amounts of unstructured data and provide metadata management and search capability, the ability to be context-aware is missing. Object storage now has the ability to be ‘smart’ with software that can search for and read content in multiple structured and unstructured data silos and analyze it for cleansing, formatting and indexing.

According to Skingsley

Hitachi Content Intelligence can extract data from the silos and pump it into workflows to process it in various ways. Users of Content Intelligence can be authorized so that sensitive content is only viewed by relevant people and document security controls are not breached. Content Intelligence can create a standard and consistent enterprise search process across the entire IT environment. It can connect to and aggregate multi-structured data across heterogeneous data silos and different locations and provides automated extraction, classification, enrichment and categorisation of all of an organisation’s data.

Analytics and artificial intelligence

2018 will see a growth in analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) across the board as companies see real returns on their investments. According to IDC, revenue growth from information-based products will double the rest of the product and services portfolio for a third of Fortune 500 companies by the end of 2017.

According to Skingsley

AI became mainstream with consumer products like Amazon Alexa and Apple Siri, and Hitachi believes that it is the collaboration of AI and humans that will bring real benefits to society. Through tools like Pentaho Data Integration, our aim is to democratise the data engineering and data science process to make Machine Intelligence – a combination of Machine Learning and AI – more accessible to a wider variety of developers and engineers.

Pentaho’s machine learning orchestration, with integrations for languages like R and Python and for machine learning technologies like Spark MLlib, are steps in that direction. Lumada, Hitachi’s IoT platform, enables scalable IoT machine learning with flexible input and outputs, standardises connections that can automatically configure and manage resources, and is compatible with Python, R and Java for machine learning.

Wider adoption of video analytics

Video content analytics will be a ‘third eye’ for greater insight, productivity and efficiency in a number of domains beyond public safety. Algorithms that automatically detect and determine temporal, spatial and relational events combined with other IoT information, like cell phone GPS and social media feeds, to apply to a wide range of businesses like retail, healthcare, automotive, manufacturing, education and entertainment.

Yoshida believes that video can provide unique functions like egomotion – 3D motion used in autonomous robot navigation – behavior analysis and other forms of situational awareness.

According to Yoshida

Retailers are using video to analyze customer navigation patterns and dwell time to position products and sales assistance to maximize sales. Video analytics relies on good video input so it requires video enhancement technologies like de-noising, image stabilisation, masking and super resolution. Video analytics may be the sleeper in terms of analytics for ease of use, ROI and generating actionable analytics.

Extension of agile methodologies across the enterprise

Digital transformation is all about efficiency and working together to drive faster and more relevant business outcomes. This is why more information technology organizations are adopting agile methodology.

IT organizations have a legacy of siloed operations with server, network, storage, database, virtualization, and now cloud administrators passing change notices back and forth to deliver a business outcome. In fact, many would argue that IT was more focused on IT outcomes and not business outcomes.

According to Skingsley

Even when data centers used technology to create shared data repositories to break down the data silos, the different functions were still focused on their own objectives and not on the overall business objectives. Now with cross functional teams using iterative agile sprints of two to four weeks, IT can focus on relevant business outcomes and deliver it more efficiently.

Under the leadership of Chief Information Officer, Renee McKaskle, Hitachi Vantara has been using agile methodologies over the past two years to drive digital transformation, and the results have been highly impactful.

According to Yoshida

Agile provides us with a nimble approach, where small cross functional teams, with a clear direction and strategic milestones, can iterate through short sprints to ensure alignment across the board, communicate effectively, and focus on problem solving and achieving our common business goals.

He also noted that 2018 will see more enterprises move to agile and DevOps in software development, with agile methodologies being used across the enterprise.

Data governance 2.0

2018 will see new challenges in data governance which will require organizations to implement new frameworks. The biggest challenge will come from the General Data Protection Regulation [GDPR], which will give EU residents more control over their personal data. This regulation will drive up costs and increase the risks involved in collecting and storing personal data. Violations of the GDPR could face fines totalling up to USD 21.75 million, or 4% of EU’s total annual worldwide turnover of the preceding financial year.

Skingsley commented

Previous data governance was based on the processing of data and metadata. New data governance must now consider data context. If a user invokes their right to be forgotten, a company must be able to locate that individual’s data, eradicate it and provide proof that this has been done. GDPR’s mandatory breach notification of within 72 hours also means organizations face a very short window to respond.

The ability to do this is impossible if the data is scattered in different application silos and cannot cover data stored on mobile devices or in the cloud. In 2018, data governance frameworks will need to be updated to include content intelligence tools.

Containers enable movement to the next level of virtualization

Container-based virtualization is the latest virtualization technology that will gain wider acceptance in 2018. Considered a new generation of virtual machines (VMs), which abstracted an entire device including the operating system (OS), containers consist only of the application and all the dependencies that the application needs.

Yoshida added

Containers are lightweight, in that they do not need a dedicated OS for each container, which helps to reduce costs. Their open configuration also means that they can run on numerous platforms and they allow applications to run isolated from one another, resulting in greater security. Monolithic applications can be written as micro services and run in containers, for greater agility, scale, and reliability.

Enterprises are migrating and developing new applications with containers in order to be competitive in today’s market that is defined by agility and efficiency. As an organization, we have built our IoT platform, Lumada, on containers and micro services and are fully embracing the benefit that they bring by moving our management software for Pentaho worker nodes, Hitachi Content Intelligence and Hitachi Infrastructure Director to containers as well. Storage Virtualization Operating System [SVOS] for Virtual Storage Platforms [VSP] also has a plugin to provision persistent VSP storage in containers – a trend we expect many storage vendors to follow next year.

Blockchain projects will mature

According to Yoshida, blockchain will be in the news in 2018 for two reasons-

First is the use of cryptocurrencies, which saw growing acceptance this year as a stable currency in countries that were plagued by hyperinflation. Japan and Singapore are also indicating that they will create flat-denominated cryptocurrencies in 2018 that will be run by banks and managed by regulators. Consumers will use this for P2P payments, ecommerce and fund transfers. This will lead many banks to turn to blockchain to help them build the capacity needed to manage accounts in cryptocurrencies.

Second is the growing use of blockchain in the financial sector for routine processes like internal regulatory functions, customer documentation and regulatory filings. Interbank fund transfers via blockchain ledgers are also expected to expand in 2018, and other sectors will begin to see prototypes with smart contracts and identity services for healthcare, governments, food safety and counterfeit goods.

Time is right for biometric authentication

The increasing numbers of passwords required by today’s consumers will also support the shift towards biometric authentication in 2018.

Skingsley added

In reality, most of us use the same password for the accounts that we don’t think are very important. Unfortunately, hackers also know this, so once they discover a password, they will use it to successfully hack other accounts. Businesses are coming to the realization that proxies that represent our identity – like passwords, ATM cards, and pin numbers – even with two-factor authentication, are hackable.

Smart phone vendors and financial companies are moving to solve this problem by using biometrics which represent the real user. But choosing the right biometric is important. If a biometric like a fingerprint is hacked, there is no way to reset it in the same way you would a pin number or password. Since we leave our fingerprint on everything we touch, it is conceivable that someone could lift our prints and reuse them. Hitachi recommends the use of finger vein, which can only be seen when infrared light is passed through a live finger to capture the vein pattern and is the most resistant to forgery.

Co-creation of value

Traditional business thinking starts with the premise that the producer autonomously determines value through its choice of products and services. Consumers have typically been consulted through market research and were passively involved in the process of creating solutions and value. In 2018, Yoshida thinks we will witness a shift in value creation, away from producer-centric, solution-value creation to a co-creation paradigm of value creation.

Yoshida commented

Producers and consumers can no longer survive in the digital world with this traditional approach to value creation. In the digital world, the pace of change is relentless and problems span across multiple domains, with a blurring of industry domains and boundaries. Producers cannot take years to develop a solution and consumers cannot plan their business on multi-year road-maps that may not deliver what they need. If consumers and producers are to innovate, they must be active participants in the value creation process as co-creators.

Hitachi sees co-creation as the process of collaborating with customers and ecosystem players in order to innovate and create new value for business stakeholders, customers and society at large. The company has been co-creating with a number of customers and has developed a co-creation methodology that it expects will see further uptake in 2018.

India Electronics and Semiconductor Association [IESA], the premier trade body along with Electronics Sector Skills Council India [ESSCI] get together to roll out IESA Innovation Initiative [I3 Program] – a hands-on electronics engineering pedagogy program leveraging Industry CSR and targeting 100,000 engineering students per year in 5 years.  This was done alongside first edition of TechTronics 2017 – an IESA event focused on emerging technologies, opportunities and innovation in the electronics industry.

IESA and ESSCI are putting together a visionary, transformational education engine to enable the start-up and innovation ecosystem in the country. This initiative is implemented by IESA Talent CIG via National ESDM Technology Research Academy [NETRA]. The vision of NETRA & ESSCI is to Transform Engineering campuses into ESDM Product Innovation Centers [EPIC] through Industry Partnerships.

The program is a reality on ground with proven success model at KLE Tech University, Hubli – where the ideation energy created by the hands-on teaching program touches 400 students/ semester – and has resulted in incubating 38 startups in first 4 years with 9 startups in acceleration stage. Of these 2 startups have crossed a valuation of 100 crores and employ over 1000 persons!

The learning presented to Ministry of Electronics and IT in August has resulted in the program getting a wider visibility – and is being rolled out with due process, in 6 select Universities in North. These shortlisted Universities include Amity University, AKG Engineering College, Bennet University, BM Munjal University, Chitkara University and Manav Rachna Engineering Universtity.

With the select current 6 universities, the initiative is touching over 1500 students in North. By end 2018, NETRA plans to expand to 20 universities with approx. 4000 students by end of 2018.

Ashwini K Aggarwal, Chairman, India Electronics & Semiconductors Association, said

By end of 2022, the program will cover over 100,000 students per annum, creating a huge ideation energy with far reaching impact in the electronics start-up ecosystem. I wish to congratulate the first batch of shortlisted universities –on their successful completion of the pre-launch faculty trainings and are happy to announce initiating support for their incubator/ideation labs.

Adding to this, Dr. Sandeep Garg, President, India Electronics & Semiconductors Association said

IESA & ESSCI has worked together with the Central Government to shortlist the academic partners, do a capability gap analysis and completed a comprehensive cross-stream train-the-trainer workshop for shortlisted 6 institutes. NETRA is creating a talent pool along with the support of other universities to make the students industry ready, by making them learn the skills and technology for future ESDM industry.

N K Mohapatra, CEO, ESSCI commenting on the partnership said

In order to enable the startup and innovation ecosystem in the country, ESSCI has joined hands with IESA to build – and scale – a visionary, transformational hands-on electronics engineering engine for India. India has a flourishing future in the electronics space and global players have started recognizing this as an opportunity for strengthening their footprints in India. With IESA-NETRA as an implementation partner, we want to focus on the aspiring youth, by primarily engaging with universities across India and make students industry ready.

About IESA

IESA is the premier trade body representing the Indian Electronics System Design and Manufacturing [ESDM] industry and has represented it since 2005. It has over 260 members – both domestic and multinational enterprises. IESA is committed towards building global awareness for the Indian ESDM industry and supporting its growth through focused initiatives in developing the ecosystem. To know more, please visit IESA

India’s vision to be a world leader in the 21st century can only be realized with a robust education system. Vikas Kakwani, an IIT-IIM Graduate launched AAS Vidyalaya – Anytime Anywhere School, a platform that brings an entire school on the phone.

AAS Vidyalaya is a virtual school – a mobile app, built for millions of students who cannot go to school, in order to bring the school to them. The Social School operates exactly like a regular school with a dedicated class-teacher, timetables, subject periods and regular assessments.

According to Census Data, 8.4 crore Indian children don’t attend school. Poverty, lack of availability and accessibility are the major reasons why children drop out of school. On the other hand, India currently has a smartphone use base of over 300 million which is expected to cross 650 million by 2019. Harnessing the power of mobile technology and its reach, AAS Vidyalaya is a comprehensive user friendly app, built to fortify education – the backbone of the country’s growth and development. The app has been designed on Android platform and is easily available on Google Playstore.

Instead of bringing children to the school AAS gets the school to the children – Students can attend school from anywhere and teachers can work from home, while parents can seamlessly monitor day-to-day progress of the students. One can attend classes, interact with subject teachers; class teacher, take tests, and monitor their progress with this app. AAS has been launched for secondary education with CBSE curriculum, while the plan is to add other boards soon. AAS holistically brings in flexibility and cost benefits for students, teachers, as well as parents, thereby strengthening the educational system at the grass root level.

A revolutionary idea to bring continuing education to people who need it, AAS Vidyalaya has been recognized as a Change-maker by Global Action on Poverty [GAP] for 2017. To download the app and find an entire school in your hand, click here.