Bengaluru based start-up Liv.ai has launched Speech recognition technology in nine Indian languages to enable businesses to reach out to people who communicate in their regional language instead of English. As an alternative to typing, people can now use their voice to text chat on apps like Facebook and Whatsapp speaking in their own language.

Liv.ai has a simple vision to empower people to interact with their devices, businesses and government using their natural voice. Businesses can use it to create digital assistants in regional languages, transcribe audio/video files, setup voice based IVR and do intelligent speech analytics. Liv.ai APIs can be integrated to applications across devices including mobile phones, tablets, PCs, TVs, Speakers, Set-top Boxes & even Cars.

Liv.ai’s innovation enables people to benefit from progress in technology without the need to use English as a medium of communication and many a times without the need of people being even a literate. Necessity to write and speak in English continues to keep people away from using technology to its full potential. Liv.ai’s Artificial Intelligence [AI] breakthrough enables people to break their linguistic barriers and be heard in their own language.

Brainchild of three friends from IIT Kharagpur – Subodh Kumar, Dr Sanjeev Kumar and Kishore Mundra, the Liv.ai platform recognises voice in all major Indian languages namely Hindi, Punjabi, Kannada, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati and Marathi. Along with what they proudly call the best AI team in India, the co-founders have been working for more than three years in developing speech and language based applications for Indian languages. While global mobile phone brands and biggest Apps during the same period were expecting over a billion people to use their products in English only.

Liv.ai had predicted rightly, the advent of business automation, launch of voice commanded devices such as smart speakers and need for traditional uses such as transcribing will revolutionise the AI enabled technology landscape. In a recent report, McKinsey Global Institute stated that in the year 2016, companies invested between USD 26 billion to USD 39 billion on AI technologies and top two areas were robotics and speech recognition

Stressing on the basic need for local language speech recognition, Subodh Kumar, Co-Founder and CEO, Liv.ai said

People in India are not proficient in English, but the technology ecosystem has been built around English. We at liv.ai recognized that global solutions may not work here and thus we envisioned solution specific to India which in hindsight has proved to be a right decision.

Liv.ai has already been integrated with leading Indic keyboards allowing people to use their voice to send emails, messages or post on social networks. In addition multiple large businesses are integrating Liv.ai’s APIs to automate their customer care. The technology is well-designed to work amidst background noise without loss of data.

The team led by some of the brightest minds in Artificial intelligence in India promises to augment the technology space with newer products to bring voice recognition capability to a billion people in our country.

For more information, please have a look at the Demo of Liv.ai

Cyber Managers Software Services [CMSS] has launched a talk Bot aptly named H# [H Sharp] designed for a natural language understanding and can make human – like natural conversation with the support of AI, NLP and machine learning.

H# can be easily plugged-in on different social communication platforms, external or internal and does not demand for a separate login or complicated interface navigations, get talking right on your twitter or any intranet communication platform that organization might be using currently.

A chat/speech bot which directly plugs into existing HCM [PeopleSoft, SAP HCM, etc.] – which has helped a leading bank to move beyond mere clicks to chat and speech as interfaces for their HRMS. Reducing transaction time by as much as 30% and correspondingly increasing usage, the chat bot allows employees and managers to engage with their existing HCM on an intuitive level.

Godwin Pinto, Business Head at CMSS said

The need for automating HR functions arose long time ago, as the world saw increasingly large corporates adapting software and apps taking over the mundane tasks of managing people at work. Historically, as HCM Systems were designed by engineers, they have stressed more on the ‘System’ component than the ‘Human’ component; the actual user who is going to be affected by it. This has resulted into systems which although extremely functional, limit themselves to manage and transact with Human Capital rather than engaging with it.

HR Bots has taken automation to an all new level, as it allows for interactive, response based real-time functions. Since User Interfaces [UI] and User Experience [UX] have undergone a sea-change in the last 5 years, especially after social networks have put the spotlight firmly on engaging with the ‘Human’ component, it is expected that HCM should not be left far behind.

Although HR professionals feel intimidated with the new technology, fearing their elimination from the HR roles, Godwin adds

HR Bots should not be seen as adversaries, but as a colleague, they are here to facilitate rhythm in daily HR tasks, for instance form filling, maintaining musters, and managing leaves, etc. Hence, the organization can utilize their HR workforce productively into tasks where a human touch or human reasoning is required.

Within the same corporation; one sees that while consumer-facing systems have interesting interfaces like bots and apps; Employee facing systems like HCM, have to make do with Retro User Experience till such time as the whole HCM is upgraded to a newer version or flavor. This leads to a huge experience gap for employees; who on the one hand have a highly engaging user experience as consumers; and on the other hand ‘transact’, click by click, as employees.

Features & Benefits of H#

  • Support for common HR functions like seek leave, muster, etc
  • Suggestive data intelligence for assistance in approvals
  • Ready connectors for HRMS like Peoplesoft/Fusion, SAP, etc.
  • Highly personalized responses based on user’s profile
  • Pre-trained for common HR queries

From induction to exit, H# helps perform HR related tasks like – getting salary information, applying for benefits and leave, fill forms, take surveys and even collaborate with other employees – through a unified chat, speech and mobile interface. All while giving HR a whole new touch point for employee engagement – with a hint of personality and as natural as having a conversation.

For more information about H#, please visit H-Sharp, the HR Bot

MoneyTap [Earlier coverage – MoneyTap review, Q&A with Bala Parthasarthy], India’s first App-Based Credit Line is now available in Kannada for the people of Bengaluru. MoneyTap, which is offered in partnership with banks, enables consumers to get instant credit from partner banks at the tap of a button on the app. The App was launched in English last year and since then has already issued close to 20 crore in credit in Bengaluru alone. The company is also planning to launch the app in Hindi and Telugu soon.

Largely focusing on the vastly untapped Kannada speaking users, the app will allow Bengalureans to avail up to INR 5 lakhs through an easy eligibility process. The company is enthusiastic about their plans to tap into the local market. According to the 2011 Census, Bengaluru’s population is over 10 million and 71% of the population speaks Kannada.

MoneyTap is available on Android Playstore and is targeted at salaried individuals and self-employed professionals earning more than INR 20,000 per month. MoneyTap evaluates the user’s eligibility in less than 4 minutes after which it provides an instant, real-time decision on the application along with the amount they are eligible for.

Using the credit line, consumers can choose to borrow as little as INR 3000 or as much as INR 5 lakhs or up to their maximum eligibility limit. Customers can decide their own EMI plans with flexible payback periods ranging from 2 months to 3 years. Interest is paid only on the amount borrowed and rates can be as low as 1.25% per month. If the user does not borrow any amount, then no interest needs to be paid. The credit limit also gets topped up once EMIs are paid back.

MoneyTap along with RBL Bank is able to provide its customers, instant decisions and instant access to money, 24/7. All financial transactions such as billing and repayment are directly dealt with the bank but through the MoneyTap App using secure APIs, thus ensuring 100% secure transactions. As an added convenience for shopping needs, a MoneyTap RBL Credit Card is also provided for the user. This is a regular MasterCard Credit Card that is accepted at all locations and for all card purchases – offline and online.

The Bengaluru-based startup recently raised a total of $12.3 million in funding from Sequoia India, NEA & Prime Venture Partners. The credit line is offered in 14 cities across India and the company plans to expand to 50 cities in India by the end of 2017.

Anuj Kacker, Co-Founder, MoneyTap said

We are very enthusiastic about launching our app in Kannada. Bengaluru is one of our biggest markets. Our aim is to reduce the hassles of obtaining credit from banks and in many cases, the paperwork and verification process can delay the process by months. From small business owners to salaried professionals, all require credit at some stage in their life and we want to ensure that credit is available to them whenever they need it, on a tap!

About MoneyTap

MoneyTap is a Bengaluru-based fintech startup, founded by serial entrepreneurs Bala Parthasarathy, Anuj Kacker & Kunal Varma, who are IIT/ISB alumni. Bala has co-founded multiple startups in Silicon Valley including Snapfish (sold to Hewlett Packard), which he helped grow to 100M users and $300M in revenue. After moving to India in 2007, he volunteered for UIDAI under Mr. Nandan Nilekani before starting AngelPrime in 2011 (now Prime Venture Partners) where he helped create companies like ZipDial (sold to Twitter), EZETap, Happay, etc. Kunal (ex Texas Instruments) & Anuj (ex Airtel & JWT) co-founded Tapstart that grew to 300K users and turned profitable in 2 years. MoneyTap works in very close partnerships with various banks and other financial institutions to make the process painless and on-app. For more details, please visit MoneyTap

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India will be conducting Technology enablement conclaves throughout the country for both member as well as non-member Chartered Accountants. Tally Solutions, the premier Indian software company will support the initiative as technology partner.

The theme of the conclave will be based on Information technology in GST – Enabler or necessity. The sessions aim to highlight how the use of right technology will help CAs manage GST compliance for themselves and their clients in a smooth and efficient manner. The first of these events was held on 29th July in New Delhi at the India habitat Centre.

GST is widely acknowledged as a taxation regime with technology as its backbone. Right from registration, to billing, filing and even payment of taxes are happening online facilitated by a business system. Under such circumstances, businesses need to adopt this new way of managing their transactions and compliance and Chartered accountants are being banked on by them to help them with the same. In addition, the change in the tax structure has brought with it its fair share of challenges for the CA community. These conclaves have been designed to equip Chartered accountants with knowledge on how technology can solve their existing problems and enable them to serve their clients effectively.

Speaking on the occasion, CA Nilesh Shivji Vikamsey, President – ICAI said

I am happy to know that IT committee of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India has initiated the series – ‘Information Technology in GST- Enabler or Necessity‘. I am very clear in my mind that Technology in GST is a necessity. We need to equip our members [Chartered Accountants] to partner with the technology providers, so that the ultimate aim of the government of a smooth GST implementation, is achieved. For the first time in Indian history a Joint federal tax system has come between the Centre and the States. It’s a path breaking law, where tax is jointly going to be levied. With GST, I am sure India as a nation will grow to greater heights.

Bharat Goenka, Managing Director, Tally Solutions, added

GST is the first tax regime which is fully technology based.  This will leap-frog India as one of the best indirect tax regimes in the world, and Chartered Accountants areplaying a very important and appreciable role to make this transition successful for the country.  We are proud and delighted to be workings with the ICAI on this journey, and look forward contributing in the pan-India conclaves with them. The aim is to hear the challenges on the ground, and provide perspectives on how technology will help simplify their lives, and those of their clients.

While CA Atul Gupta, Chairman IT Committee of ICAI and Former Chairman Indirect Taxes Committee of ICAI, shared the important role Chartered Accountants are playing in taking this reform into all corners of country.

Expanding its feature set, Truecaller has announced its integration with Google Duo, allowing users to make video calls directly through the Truecaller app on Android and iOS platforms.

The new feature will now make high quality video calling available to its 250 million plus users globally. This update enables users to launch a Duo video call with a single tap within the Truecaller app, and switches between WiFi and cellular data for uninterrupted conversation on-the-go. Truecaller integration with Google Duo is available for Android and iOS users as a permission-based service, by which users will be able to opt in and out at any time. Google Duo has also been rated as the highest quality video calling app recently by an NDTV Gadgets 360 study.

Elaborating upon Truecaller’s end-to-end communication platform, the integration of Google Duo offers yet another way for users to connect. Following the launch of Flash Messaging in April, the Google Duo-Truecaller integration will now enable video-first users with the communication mode of their choice.

Commenting on the launch, Rishit Jhunjhunwala, VP of Product, Truecaller, said

Sometimes voice & text just aren’t enough and nothing beats the experience of communicating face to face. We’re very excited to announce the next step in delivering a one-stop communication platform for Truecaller users globally. By having a fantastic partner like Google, we can provide a high-quality video experience to millions of users using Google Duo.

Amit Fulay, Head of Duo at Google said

Video calling should work for everybody, regardless of what platform they are on. Our aim is to make video calling simple, fast, and available to everyone. With this Truecaller integration, we’re able to bring a better video calling experience to millions of new users.

 

Google India reaffirmed its commitment to help developers find success by building high quality products for India by India. In its first ever App Excellence Summit in Bengaluru, Google brought together over 700 Indian app and games developers, where the company shared tips and tools to help developers create the best quality Android apps that are locally relevant.

In addition to this, at the summit, Google also announced its ‘Made in India’ initiative. Starting now, Indian developers can apply for a chance to have apps that are specifically optimized for the Indian market showcased on the Google Play store in India in a special section. All they have to do is apply here

Addressing the summit, Purnima Kochikar, Director, Business Development, Games & Applications, Google Play said

At Google Play, we are committed to helping Indian developers of all sizes seize this opportunity and build successful, locally relevant businesses.  A lot of what we do at Google Play is support developers’ imaginations and make Android consumers aware of the amazing new experiences our developers are creating.

The majority of Indian internet users are going online primarily via their smartphones and this number is growing at a phenomenal rate. There are now more people using Android devices in India than in the US. People in India also install more than a billion apps every month from Google Play. These numbers might seem staggering already, but the number of apps installed in India has grown by 150 per cent each year. Indian consumer spend on apps and games is accelerating at a rapid pace as well, tripling in just the past year alone.

James Sanders-Regional Director, Google Play APAC
Rajan Anandan-VP SEA & India

The summit showcased Google Play success stories from local developers-many developers including HealthifymeUrbanClapRailYatri, and Dailyhunt are already building popular, locally relevant solutions through the resources, tools and support on Google Play. Attendees also got a chance to attend skill-building consultation sessions with Googlers, and visit demo booths to learn more about the latest features and products that Google has to offer the developer community. For those who were unable to attend the summit in person, but are keen to learn more, they can view the entire event at the livestream here and witness all the exciting India-specific content and announcements.

Prior to the announcements, in 2016 Google announced Build for Billions guidelines to help developers overcome challenges such as varying network connectivity, device specifications and high data costs. The build for billions playbook is a step-by-step guide for developers to learn about the features, tools, and best practices to get apps ready to meet the needs of billions of Android users in India as well as globally.

There is a very good saying A Boss says ‘Go’ whereas a Leader says ‘Let’s Go’. Though the only difference between the two of them is the use of the word Let’s, it changes the entire tone of the sentence. The boss is ‘ordering’ his team whereas the leader is ‘leading’ his team! There is a vast amount of difference between a ‘Boss’ and ‘Leader’, you might be a good boss but that does not equate to being a good leader.

Image Source – Boss Vs Leader

Good leaders motivate their team members and they are a source of inspiration. They encourage their employees to improve their skills so that they can take the organization to the next well. They always have a deep sense of understanding as to when they need to manage, lead or pitch in a discussion. There are tons of differences between leaders and bosses; right from the manner they make crucial decisions, manage teams using project management tools, collaborate activities between cross-site teams using cloud collaboration tools, pitch to customers for contracts, handle employee feedback and appraisals, etc.

In very simplified terms, Leaders are respected by people whereas Bosses are forced to be respected by peopleWe recently came across this very informative Infographic from Wrike (a work management & collaboration platform used by high-performance teams) that highlights the glaring difference between a Boss and a Leader.

Infographic brought to you by Wrike cloud collaboration tools

Boss vs. Leader: The Never-Ending Battle Between Power and Leadership

What according to you should be the traits of a good leader, do leave your suggestions in the comments section…

Vamaship has won one of the most coveted & prestigious Logistics Startup of the Year award at the seventh Annual Entrepreneur Awards 2017.  The Founder & CEO of Vamaship, Bhavik Chinai received the award from the hands of renowned author Gurcharan Das and Ritu Marya, Editor in chief for Franchise India Holdings Pvt. Ltd

These awards aim to recognize and acknowledge the initiative and hard work of various entrepreneurs and their contribution to the society. The awards felicitated the best entrepreneurs from diverse industries in several categories, chosen from 5000+ award nominations and among 2000+ attendees. The event also had an overall presence of 350+ speakers.

Indian author Gurcharan Das, Editor In Chief for Franchise India, Ms. Ritu Marya presenting the Logistics Startup of the Year award to Bhavik Chinai, Founder & CEO of Vamaship

The award recognizes impact made on supply chains, logistics, fulfillment & delivery and companies which have built a business model to make a difference to these areas.

On this occasion, Bhavik Chinai – Founder & CEO, Vamaship stated

I feel honored and humbled for having received this prestigious award. Each Vamashipper strives to enhance the shipping experience for customers every day and a big thank you to the jury for recognizing this commitment.

About Vamaship

Launched in October 2015, Vamaship is a revolution in logistics that connects shippers with industry’s best logistics companies. Vamaship as a market place facilitates shipments to over 10,000 pin codes in India and to 200 countries from India. With a nationwide network of partners, Vamaship brings the best of technology and logistics to create a seamless shipping experience. For more information, please visit Vamaship