Shoppers Stop partners with ToneTag, a proximity communications firm, to integrate and deploy ToneTag sound-based contactless payments at Shoppers Stop stores. This technology will enable  customers to make ‘cardless’, ‘cashless’ and ‘contactless’ payments at Shoppers Stop stores across India.  The ToneTag technology will use sound-waves from mobile phones to make electronic payments.

With ToneTag’s sound pay technology, customers can make secure payments within a matter of seconds and experience a faster check out. This launch is a fin-tech revolution and a significant step towards the adoption of cashless payments in India-in line with the vision of Digital India.

Govind Shrikhande, Customer Care Associate & Managing Director, Shoppers Stop Ltd. said

Our collaboration with ToneTag is yet another step in the direction of digitizing all our Shoppers Stop stores. Our paramount focus is to offer our customers a convenient, fast and enhanced shopping experience. With ToneTag’s sound-based technology, our customers will now have multiple payment options for a smooth, fast and convenient shopping experience.

Kumar Abhishek, CEO, ToneTag said

Shoppers Stop’s contribution towards digitization has been exemplary. I am a strong believer that Shoppers Stop and ToneTag will continue to strive for best consumer experience by bringing great retail technology with simple user interface.

ToneTag’s breakthrough technology uses audio signals or ‘tone tags’ for data exchange between devices.  Payment instructions can be transmitted, using a sound signal, through a traditional phone line, without any additional hardware or software requirements or dependencies.  This makes highly inter-operable and secure cashless payments possible from any mobile phone to another phone or computing device.

About ToneTag

ToneTag is a sound based proximity communication provider that enables contactless proximity communication, location based services and customer engagement services among a multitude of other solutions. Backed by Reliance VC among a host of investors, ToneTag has enabled contactless, offline, proximity communication on any device through sound and their team continues to innovate and transform the way devices will communicate with each other in the near future. For more information, please visit ToneTag

The National Institute of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj [NIRDPR] launched India’s First focused ‘Rural Innovators Startup Conclave’ [RISC2017] at NIRDPR, Hyderabad. The focus of the two day event was to build capacities and promote fresh talent by giving them a platform to display their innovations, encourage greater learning, and strengthen the cadre of young rural innovators and start-ups.

Highlights [Day – 1, 23/03]

Indian start-ups are mostly IT based and cater to urban services. Innovation and Technology Diffusion for ‘rural development’ is the need of the hour. Other important stakeholders who act as support systems to rural innovators are still evolving. There is a need to develop and nurture mentors, angel investors, faculty, corporates, media so that they play a much more active role in contributing to the ecosystem.

The Chief Guest for the event, Honourable Minister of State for Science, Technology and Earth Sciences, Shri YS Chowdary noted

I am immensely happy to be associated with RISC2017, an initiative very close to my heart. Rural development is an important subject and higher dividends from the rural youth are still at large. This kind of an initiative which focuses on rural urbanisation requires synchronisation modern day development concepts. Since our country is agrarian based we have to take a quantum leap to help farmers improve their income level and reduce cost of living. I believe NIRD&PR can play a major role in capacity building-help farmers get educated in fundamental financial literacy and cost accountancy.

We have been talking about globalisation in last 2 decades-we have a lot of potential to tap rural markets. There is need to focus on particular areas in particular technologies for particular people and see that they are saturated. The Govt of India should ensure that a number of initiatives are started by properly coordinating with colleges institutions and state govts. I assure the full support of my ministry to NIRD&PR, besides lobbying with other relevant ministries to muster their support in the endeavours of NIRD&PR.

Speaking at the launch, Dr. W.R. Reddy, IAS, Director General NIRDPR, Hyderabad, said

RISC2017 is the first of its kind platform to connect all institutes and agencies promoting innovation and start-up culture to look at the rural landscape. RISC will be an annual feature that can handhold and mentor the innovators and connect the startups with funding agencies. We believe rural development can be accelerated by infusion of technology tapping the creative minds of the youth across the country.

RISC2017 featured RISC Awards 2017 under Six domain areas namely

  1. Agriculture and Allied
  2. Green Energy Technologies
  3. Drinking Water, Health and Sanitation
  4. Waste to Wealth
  5. Sustainable Housing
  6. Other Livelihoods

Rural Innovations and Technologies in ‘Idea with Prototype’ and ‘Startup Stage’ were recognized by the jury members. The award winners were announced 24th March.

Highlights [Day – 2, 24/03]

The ‘RISC 2017 Awards’ were conceptualised to encourage the rural youth and bring to the fore the creative young minds of the country to showcase their innovations for rural development.

The award ceremony was graced by Chief Guest N. Ramesh Kumar, IAS [Retd], State Election Commissioner, Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad. The RISC 2017 Awards received 200 entries from across India. Out of the 200 entries, 110 were shortlisted and 12 were awarded under the categories of ‘Best Innovators’ & ‘Best Startups’. The  six best startups were awarded a cash prize of Rs 1 Lakh each and the 6 best innovators were were awarded a cash prize of Rs 50,000 each, along with a certificate and  glittering memento.

The winners of the RISC Awards 2017 were adjudged  under the following six categories

  • Agriculture and Allied – Exabit System [Startup category], Mr D Babu Rao [Innovator category]
  • Green Energy Technologies – Divyanga Thrift and Credit Society [Startup category], Mr Amol Koli [Innovator Category]
  • Drinking Water, Health and Sanitation – Mr Soujanya Bodha [Innovator category], Cerela Nutritech [Startup category]
  • Waste to Wealth – Allika [Startup category], Mr Chandra Dass [Innovator Category]
  • Sustainable Housing – Pipal Tree [Startup Category], Mohammed Ismail Khan [Innovator category]
  • Suatainable Livelihoods – Ms Ambica Eco Green Bags [Startup Category], Mr Tirupati Rao [Innovator category]

Images Images

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. W.R. Reddy, IAS, Director General NIRDPR, Hyderabad, said

We thank all the innovators and start-ups for coming out with their inventions and making this event a great success. NIRD&PR will put in efforts to ensure that these products which are at their nascent stage, will receive the kind of support and facilitation required to package them attractively for end users. Going forward, NIRD&PR will be opening up a new front for them-we will be engaging a large number of volunteer service providers for design improvement of these products and integrate these designs in the rural ecosystem.

We are are grateful to NIRD&PR for intitating this first of its kind platform that encourages rural innovators like us to do more for our country and promote entrepreneurship amongst all strata of society.

About NIRDPR

The National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, an autonomous organisation under the Union Ministry of Rural Development, is a premier national centre of excellence in rural development and Panchayati Raj. Recognized internationally as one of the UN-ESCAP Centres of Excellence, it builds capacities of rural development functionaries, elected representatives of PRIs, bankers, NGOs and other stakeholders through inter-related activities of training, research and consultancy. For more information, please visit National Institute of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj

iPredictt Data Labs, an advanced data analytics company introduced the Chatbots functionality based on Artificial Intelligence [AI] to their recruitment intelligence platform, Careerletics. The AI Chatbots automatically identifies the scope of missing data in the profiles of candidates who have uploaded their resumes on Careerletics and reaches out to those candidates to fill in the missing information via chat links. This will help resolve one of the key problems of incomplete data available in resumes for pre-interview evaluation.

AI chatbots can assist users with rather simple quick responses and gives customer service representatives a chance to handle pressing problems for its clients. Once the set of resumes are uploaded on the platform, Careerletics, the Chatbot triggers a chat link with questions to the candidates. The candidate then clicks on the link and answers all questions such as current CTC, expected CTC, preferred location, reasons for applying for the job, notice period etc. This data immediately is saved into the database and enables the predictive algorithms to provide much more accurate results.

Rohit Verma, CEO, iPredictt commented

Resume data, the main source of information for a talent acquirer is mostly incomplete. Employers invariably then have an arduous task upon them to touch base with multiple candidates to source the missing data. This is a time taking process and delays the hiring time thus causing immense loss to the business.

We have automated that process by using an AI based Chatbot in our platform, Careerletics which can connect with hundreds of resumes at one time and collect information. This updates the data base in real time and helps simplify the process, making it easy for the TA to perform their function much more efficiently.

About Careerletics

Careerletics is a SaaS based recruitment intelligence platform by iPredictt Data Labs that uses advanced Predictive analytics to exponentially improve quality of new hires at added speed. The platform calculates an Employability Score and Probability of ‘Offer Decline’ for candidates. The Platform helps at the pre-selection stage by bringing in auto parsing of resumes, skill set identification and over median accuracy in JD-candidate matchmaking, thus delivering high quality of candidates from among searched resumes. For more information, please visit Careerletics

About iPredictt Data Labs

iPredictt Data Labs is a big data analytics company that provides machine learning software to B2C companies to solve their complex data challenges. The company brings groundbreaking new approaches to transform how data-rich companies can make sense of structured and unstructured data. The company differentiates itself by offering premium data science solutions that are customized for businesses trying to mine their data for getting better return on technology investment. For more information, please visit iPredictt Data Labs

Flurry Analytics, division of Yahoo announced the findings for State of the App Nation in India – the study uncovers insights around mobile app activity and their usage, emerging growth categories & device adoption trends in India.

The State of the App Nation in India study is backed by data gleaned from over 940,000 applications, across 2.1 billion global devices from across the world, and the 58,000 apps, across 147 million devices from India, that use Flurry.

The trends show Asia and India leading the phablet revolution. The phablet [devices with screens between 5″ and 6.9″] is the fastest growing mobile device globally. In India, phablets have a market share of 61%, outpacing growth in the US which has 48% market share. When looking into the mobile usage in India, one major trend emerged – India’s mobile usage looks a lot like global usage did six months ago, still ascending on the growth curve but not at the rate we saw the year prior.

Presenting the study in Bangalore, Christopher Klotzbach, Director, Flurry from Yahoo said

As smartphones celebrate their first decade; the mobile app industry has grown into a dog-eat-dog world. The decelerating rate of global growth could signal market maturity, saturation or simply the end of the app gold rush. Going back to India’s six-month mobile trend delay, there is no better time for local developers to innovate, and lessen or possibly stop a local industry pause. We are excited to see what app developers do in the next decade and watch which industry they chose to disrupt, again.

Key Insights and Trends from Flurry : State of the App Nation in India

Note : All data as measured by Flurry YoY from 2015~2016

India’s app usage grew 43% YoY : The India app usage grew at 92% during the same period last year (2015).

Asia and India are leading the phablet revolution : Indian mobile consumers are phablet lovers, with the form factor size securing 61% of the market share in India. This footprint is also the driving force behind global adoption figures.

Diversification of apps : App categories seeing the fastest growth in India

The top 3 app growth categories in India are Music, Media and Entertainment followed by Business and Finance apps, and Utilities and Productivity apps.

  • Music, Media and Entertainment applications saw the biggest usage increase at 188% YOY, which can be attributed to rise of phablet devices and better Internet connectivity in India.
  • Business and Finance apps grew 176% YoY.
  • Utilities and Productivity apps grew 99% YoY

Messaging and social apps remain one of the most engaged categories in Asia and India : Time spent in Messaging and Social apps grew by an impressive 52% in India and 44% globally.

Personalization apps see decline : Much like the global trends, Personalization apps saw the biggest usage decrease at -32%. This decrease is due to operating systems integrating the functionality of these apps natively.

Indian mobile consumers have very diverse tastes while selecting their mobile manufacturer : More than 12 mobile makers have a substantial footprint locally with Samsung leading with 40% market share, followed by brands like Micromax, Redmi and Lenovo. This is an interesting phenomenon, compared to mobile manufacturer popularity globally where on average there are about six major mobile manufacturers.

Sticky Apps Tied to Daily Habits : Some of the most successful app categories throughout the years have tapped into the mobile addict population. They are also apps that rely on live data, such as Business and Finance [up 43% globally in time-spent; up 176% in India].

Interestingly in India, this trend is best seen in Health and Fitness app usage [up 27% locally]. These apps see high hourly engagement throughout the day, as users turn to their mobile and wearable devices to track their fitness goals and progress.

Shopping Apps Spell the Doom and Gloom of Brick and Mortars : In 2016, shopping apps continued to gain popularity, growing 31% globally and 12% in India.

Video Killed the Gaming Star : Gaming, the app category known as ‘the darling of the mobile industry’, saw time-spent decline by 4% globally and a small growth in India of just 8%.

Mobile consumers in India are night owls : With peak usage rolling in around 9 PM. Indian users are generally slower to turn to their phones in the morning but quickly scale usage throughout the later morning hours.

Top Global Trends

  • The burgeoning trend of ‘Communitainment’ (or, social sharing of media) is driving mobile consumers to spend more than 2 hours/day on Social and Messaging apps.
  • The average mobile consumer spends just under 5 hours a day on their smartphones.
  • Shopping applications saw over 17 billion sessions in 2016; effectively changing retail window shoppers into mobile impulse buyers.
  • Compared to 2015, global app usage grew by 11% in 2016. In previous years, we’ve seen all app categories grow in tandem; however, for 2016 year the story is different. In 2016 mobile apps started eating their own, with session and time-spent growth in some app categories occurring at the expense of others. While Messaging and Social apps use rose year-over-year by 44%, Personalization apps (like emoji keyboards) declined by 46%.

About Flurry

Flurry is an industry-leading mobile analytics, monetization and advertising platform. With Flurry, developers and marketers can analyze user interactions with mobile applications and advertise in-apps.

Flurry supports more than 250,000 developers, reaching more than 940,000 apps across more than 2.1 billion devices with 10 billion sessions every day. Flurry was acquired by Yahoo! in July 2014. For more information on Flurry, visit developer.yahoo.com or the Flurry Insights blog

Synechron Inc. [earlier coverage here] a global financial services consulting and technology services provider, has today announced the launch of Neoa set of Artificial Intelligence [AI]-based solutions for the financial services industry. Neo brings together Synechron’s digital, business, and technology consulting to allow financial institutions to deploy cutting-edge, AI solutions that solve complex business challenges.

Synechron has built 14 reusable applications – Accelerators, that allow financial institutions to reduce time-to-market when applying AI to enhance business operations, reduce operating costs, and create better client experiences.

Synechron’s AI Accelerator applications have taken a business challenge that can be best solved through AI and re-designed business processes to build a solution powered by artificial intelligence and optimized for user experience.  The Accelerators use techniques like Natural Language Processing [NLP], Chatbots, Robotic Process Automation [RPA], Cognitive Machine Learning, Data Science and Robo-Advisors to address a range of use cases.

The AI Accelerators enable financial industry players to solve complex data challenges, efficiently address regulatory and compliance requirements, and service growing customer needs. They also help automate repetitive processing tasks while cutting down time and costs in the long run, with customized and advanced bots for specialized operations such as trading, mortgages, insurance, and even personal banking.

Details of the various accelerators are below

The AI Accelerators broken down by the core underlying AI technology include:

Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Generation [NLG]

Automated Data Extraction allows firms to automatically extract written language data from reports [e.g. earnings reports] and understand what it means and why it’s significant [e.g. its intent]
Automated Financial Advice Generation can be achieved to extract CRM data and NLG to reach a compliant conclusion through real-time queries and contextual user information.
Automated Executive Summaries written in plain language.

Chatbots serve as either an internal virtual assistant or a front-line customer representative and have been created with an understanding of financial services business operations and systems integration expertise. The accelerators include – BankBOT for personal banking, TraderBOT for traders, LoanBOT for mortgages, and InsureBOT for insurance.

Robotic Process Automation [RPA]

Client On-boarding pulls information from images of documents such as driver’s licenses and passport to auto-populate forms and create a frictionless on-boarding experience.
Automated Resolution of Failures ‘Breaks’ in Reconciliation processes completely automates general ledger [GL] reconciliation.
Margin Call Management analyses emails and automatically understands relevant margin call information based on pre-set criteria.
Automated Pitch-book Generation allows financial institutions to automatically generate presentation decks by understanding what content is on the slides and the appropriate disclosures required based on that information.

Cognitive Machine Learning

OTC Price Automation – derives real-time OTC pricing for liquid OTC products where this data is currently de-centralized and difficult for traders to factor into their pricing models and further using that data to advance collateral management reporting.
LCR Reporting – uses historic data and machine learning to come up with a reliable intra-day liquidity estimate for LCR reporting.

Data Science

Customer Insights has 4 Modules for Banks, Credit Cards, e-Commerce and Mortgages that allow banks to bring together their Know Your Customer (KYC), Banking, and Credit Card Data into a database, and join them with the customer’s online behavior (if opts in) via web and social platforms.
Product Recommendation uses behavioral analysis to understand customer patterns for new client acquisition.
AML/Fraud Detection uses AI and behavioral analysis to identify potentially suspicious activity indicative of money laundering and fraud.

Artificial Intelligence Accelerator for Robo-Advisors – allows wealth managers to create a hybrid-robo-advisor that augments their existing services with an automated platform, creating the self-service experience clients are looking for, balanced with the high-touch, high-trust experience advisors are known to deliver with added capabilities like social investing, chat and more.

Faisal Husain, Synechron Co-founder & CEO, said

Financial institutions are looking to implement the latest technology to address real-world problems in financial services. Neo and Synechron’s AI Accelerators will be pivotal in helping clients be at the forefront of technological advancement, while providing a comprehensive set of tools to ease and streamline processes. This will allow businesses to deploy technology-enabled processes that augment the role of individuals, allowing them to be elevated to higher-value business tasks.

The AI engine, business, and technical analysis at the core of these accelerators can be applied to additional use cases to progress more quickly with similar initiatives. Along with the use of the AI applications, the Accelerator Program offers access to Synechron’s consultants, technologists and digital teams who are experts in financial services business processes, products, regulation, operating models and data architectures which are critical to constructing effective AI applications.

About Synechron

Synechron, one of the fastest-growing digital, business consulting & technology services providers, is a USD 400 million firm based in New York. Since inception in 2001, Synechron has been on a steep growth trajectory. For more information, please visit Synechron