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Science & Technology

Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 08 oct 2019

Agriculture is one of the critical sectors of Indian economy as it employs about 50% of the working population and contributes 15-16% to GDP. Even though government policies are designed to make the sector benficial for those engaged in it, but the media is full of news describing the ailing condition of India's agriculture at the ground. Can entrepreneurs, full of ideas and working zeal, coupled with effectiveness and efficiencies of technology, become harbingers of change and transform the condition of not only the farms and their produce, but also the farmers and all other hard working people employed in the sector. Abhishek Agarwal, co-founder of TechnifyBiz, suggests that agri-tech entrepreneurs can tackle some of the problems of Indian agriculture and help grow the sector. He cites following issues - Depleted ground-water, low-quality seeds and ravaged soil quality due to over-use of chemicals; Lack of market linkage creates a considerable gap in the industry; Inadeguate transporation and storage; Scarcity of credit and high lending rates. He suggests that agri-startups can assist in standardization of agri-market practices through technology, aggregation and organized marketing. According to NASSCOM, sector had secured a funding of US$ 73 million in 2018. The agri-tech industry has been able to raise financing of over US$ 248 million till June 2019. Accenture says that digital agricultural services market is set to touch US$ 4.55 billion by 2020. Mr. Agarwal explains, 'Market linkage, farmer markets in the digital space, superior database management, digital agriculture and micro-financing are gaining in popularity, making the sector conducive to attract funding.' Agri-startups are encompassing both the production and after-harvest side of agriculture. He says, 'The various areas of improvement, like the reduction of input costs, better nutritional value in food crops, better quality seeds that drive crop production and improving soil quality. Using technology to predict weather patterns, irrigation cycles and soil quality are the focus of some startups. This enhances the quality of production...The use of smart technology and superior logistics infrastructure has created a new eco-system of agri-marketing. New-age startups are leveraging technology to tap the retail as well as B2B marketplaces through digital agronomy startups.' Read on...

India Today: Agri-tech: The emerging field for an Indian entrepreneur to grab more opportunities
Author: Abhishek Agarwal


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 sep 2019

Project-based work is resulting in the rise of flexi or contractual staff hiring in India, partcularly in the IT-ITeS (Information Technology and IT-enabled Services) industry. According to the Talent Radar 2019 report by Infosys, the top 5 technical skills in demand for digital projects are - analytics, user experience, automation, IT architecture and artificial intelligence. Indian Staffing Federation (ISF) says that IT-ITeS sector tops flexi-staff adoption with around 12 out of every 100 employees being contractual or flexi staff and, this workforces is expected to grow to 720000 by 2021 from 500000 in 2018. Pankaj Khanna, VP of talent acquisition at Mindtree, says, 'The first advantage of flexi hiring is that demand can be fulfilled faster...Secondly, for requirements that are short term, it makes business sense to leverage the subcontracting/flexi hiring models without increasing the headcount.' U. B. Pravin Rao, COO of Infosys, says, 'As enterprises progress in their digital journeys, the winners will be those who utilize multiple hiring sources and reskill workers in a culture of lifelong learning.' According to Broadband India Forum, the IoT and AI-based applications will create over 2.8 million jobs in rural India over the next 8-10 years generating Rs. 60000 crore every year. Rituparna Chakraborty, President of ISF and co-founder of Teamlease, says, 'With emerging technologies such as AI and big data, new skill requirements are in demand. Flexi staffing is a solution to find out the right skills, based on project requirement.' Sivaram S., engagement manager at Zinnov, says, 'The focus on flexi-staffing is to quickly deploy talent for new-age areas such as AI, Machine Learning, and IoT, and drive velocity/agility in transformative engagements. It can be viewed as a means to augment existing digital engineering workforce in an organization, as there are challenges associated with hiring for specific skillsets.' Siddharth Pai, IT consultant and venture capitalist, says, 'The reason for the proliferation of project-based work, as opposed to long-term contracts is the global slowdown that is leading companies to hire for one-off projects so that they can easily let people off when there is no requirement.' According to Nomura Research, subcontractors are typically 15-20% (more) expensive than employees and are a margin headwind going into FY20F. Apurva Prasad, Research Analyst (IT) at HDFC Securities, says, 'Increase in sub-contracting resulted from a combination of surge in demand and staffing challenges on account of tech supply crunch.' Read on...

Livemint: Increase in flexi-staff hiring may eat into IT industry's margins
Author: Ayushman Baruah


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 05 sep 2019

Healthcare technologies enhance efficiencies, improve access and create informed patient-doctor relationships. Around the globe there is fast-paced adoption of these technologies. India too is undergoing health-tech transformation. According to a 15-country Future Health Index (FHI) 2019 report by Royal Philips, about 76% of healthcare professionals in India are already using digital health records (DHRs) in their practice. Moreover, 80% of healthcare professionals have shared patient information with other professionals inside their health facility, which is equal to 15-country average. India also meets the 15-country average when it comes to the usage of artificial intelligence (AI) within healthcare at 46%. Report also finds that a majority of Indian healthcare professionals who use DHRs in their practice report that DHRs have a positive impact on quality of care (90%), healthcare professional satisfaction (89%), and patient outcomes (70%) when compared to the 15-country average of 69%, 64% and 59% respectively. Rohit Sathe, President of Philips Healthcare (Indian Subcontinent), says, 'The report confirms that digital health technology is a pivotal pillar in delivering value-based care across the healthcare continuum in India. Tools including telehealth and adaptive intelligence solutions can help lower the barriers between hospitals and patients, thereby improving access to care and enhancing overall patient satisfaction, particularity in tier II & III cities in India.' Read on...

Livemint: Digital Health Technology can revolutionise healthcare in India: Report
Author: Nandita Mathur


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 aug 2019

Researchers from IIT-Madras (Tamil Nadu, India), Prof. Asokan Thondiyath and research scholar Nagamanikandan Govindan, have designed and developed a multimodal robotic system, termed as 'Grasp Man', that has good grasping, manipulation and locomotion abilities. Their research, 'Design and Analysis of a Multimodal Grasper Having Shape Conformity and Within-Hand Manipulation With Adjustable Contact Forces', is recently published in ASME Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics. The robot is fitted with a pair of graspers that provide morphological adaptation, enabling it to conform to the geometry of the object being grasped, and allowing it to hold objects securely and manipulate them much like the human hand. The two graspers are equipped with a robotic platform that provides behavioural adaptation. The robot will have various industrial applications such as pipe inspection, search-and-rescue operations, and others that involve climbing, holding, and assembling. Prof. Asokan says, 'The motivation behind this research is to realise a robot with a minimalistic design that can overcome the need for task-specific robots that are capable of navigating and manipulating across different environments without increasing the system complexity.' Read on...

YourStory: IIT-Madras researchers design robot with graspers that function like the human hand
Author: Teja Lele Desai


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 18 aug 2019

Startups are enabling tech-based transformation of India's retail sector through Android-based smart PoS (Point of Sale) devices. The promise of these devices goes beyond payments and makes supply chain more efficient with data analytics and potential credit scoring. Vicky Bindra, CEO of Pine Labs, says, 'Retailers and merchants from diverse sectors such as electronics, food and beverage, fashion, pharmacy, telecom, and airlines are adopting the new smart PoS machines to improve their efficiencies and enhance consumer's shopping experience.' Praveen Hari of industry association iSPIRT says, 'Today a smart PoS device is not just accepting cards, but they can also provide UPI (unified payments interface) pull transactions, QR codes (displayed on screens), NFC (near-field communication) transactions, wallet transactions, or basically, any payment mode that is available in India.' Ashish Jhina, co-founder of Jumbotail, says, 'Today smart PoS machines can do four key business functions: payment, billing, inventory management, wholesale procurement.' Smart PoS data is also valuable for credit scoring. Mr. Hari explains, 'The GST data itself is good enough for a lender to make a lending decision and the shopkeeper or his FMCG distributor now has an incentive to report all the transactions. The transaction data itself can help a lender make a lending decision.' Manish Patel, CEO of Mswipe, says, 'We have engineered a credit model where when our merchants can borrow money (to make wholesale purchases) from any of our NBFC partners, based on data we provide...In terms of recollection, the merchant can opt to pay back in daily and monthly instalments.' Read on...

Livemint: Wireless, smart PoS devices revamping India's retail landscape
Author: Salman S. H.


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 05 aug 2019

People with the twin passion of design and development of new products can transform into design entrepreneurs. They are able to control both the design and business processes. Vijayant Bansal, founder of World University of Design (India), explains what it takes to be a design entrepreneur and explores the shifting landscape of design entrepreneurship in India. He says, 'We are in the midst of a design revolution and increasingly design is gaining a lot of focus...But it's not easy starting from ground zero and working yourself towards achieving credibility, recognition and last but not the least, generating demand. This involves having to create a balance between what we want to create with what the customer wants; what is possible technically and how much of a resource pull will it involve.' Contemporary design entrepreneurship includes new product development, restoring crafts, innovating existing products and providing design services based on new & emerging technologies. Explaining the design revolution, he says, 'Designing is undergoing a metamorphosis, aided by new technologies and digital transformation of today. New and disruptive technologies like Artificial intelligence, IoT, Machine learning etc., are the biggest enablers, disrupting traditional processes and systems, enabling out of the box thinking and new ideas, which in turn reshape the entire user experience.' Universities can play an important role in guiding and mentoring students to pursue design entrepreneurship. Industry experts can also play a role in this and enable students to participate in hands-on training. Virtual products have also expanded the scope of design entrepreneurship with designers engaged in designing and developing games and apps. Design entrepreneurship is the new career paradigm. Mr. Bansal suggests, 'Today the scenario has undergone a sea change, with almost every industry, be it apparel, automobiles, film making, animation, product design or gaming, with design playing an intrinsic role in the entire process from an idea to the end product. It's worth the challenge if financial security and stability are not foremost on your mind and you have the patience and inclination to see through the entire process of making the design-centric idea into a successful venture.' Read on...

Entrepreneur: The Rise of the Contemporary Indian Design Entrepreneur
Author: Vijayant Bansal


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 16 may 2019

The research, 'Development of a pathological healthcare system for early detection of neurological gait abnormalities', by Prof. Anup Nandy of National Institute of Technology (Rourkela, India) in collaboration with Prof. Gentiane Venture of Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology (TUAT, Japan), aims to address human aging utilizing low-cost software solutions to early diagnose neurological gait abnormalities. Anomalies and abnormalities found in a person's walking style are termed as gait abnormalities. As human beings have different anatomical structure depending on age, gender and body-weight, they are prone to various gait abnormalities. Due to lack of awareness of such diseases and problems, the abnormalities get unnoticed at the initial stages. Moreover, the assessment becomes a little less credible without proper software and automation that uses data analysis. Scientists applied high level Machine Learning Algorithms for detection and periodic assessment of abnormalities. The software with the techniques of deep learning detects the various gait (walking) patterns, assess the collected data on specific parameters and the identified data is used in the detection or observing patient's improvements in various abnormalities like Cerebral Palsy, Parkinson's Disease and Equinus gait. Prof. Nandy says, 'As computer science enthusiasts and researchers, it's our responsibility to serve society and contribute to the betterment. This noble approach bridges the gap between Computer Science and Medical Science and is instrumental in the detection and assessment of various diseases. The low-cost software becomes affordable to everyone and can be beneficial to many in general.' Read on...

Monday Morning - NIT Rourkela: IMPACTING LIVES AND BEYOND: PROF. ANUP NANDY'S RESEARCH ON GAIT ABNORMALITIES
Author: Animesh Pradhan


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 09 apr 2019

According to the recent report 'India Digital Ad-fraud Market 2018' by techARC, the total size of digital ad-fraud in India stood at staggering US$ 1.63 Billion, which is 8.7% of the global size. The report projects 23% increase in digital ad-fraud in 2019. Digital Commerce contributed more than half 51% of the total ad-fraud in India. While, Leisure & Travel (26%), Entertainment & Gaming (13%), Banking & Finance (8%), Healthcare & Pharma (1%) and Others (1%). Although, App Fraud contributes to over 85% of the total digital ad-fraud, the organizations should not ignore the web platforms. Web platforms are more susceptible to frauds as in several organizations the digital teams are primarily focusing on the app, leaving the web space vulnerable. As video is increasingly becoming the preferred medium of content, it is also attracting fraudsters to exploit this advertising channel. The report finds that businesses who have an ad-fraud solution in place are better equipped to have higher levels of customer engagements. Faisal Kawoosa, Founder & Chief Analyst at techARC, says, 'Digital ad-fraud is getting increased attention from the C-level leadership of evolved organisations, where it is no longer an agenda of a CDO or CMO. The impact of digital ad-fraud now goes beyond diminishing the returns on marketing spends and can jeopardize the entire digital transformation journey hampering Brand Equity, Relevance and Positioning among other ramifications.' Read on...

techARC: At $1.63 Billion, India's share in global digital ad-fraud stood at 8.7% in 2018
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 07 apr 2019

Biotechnology is expected to be the next big thing for the Indian economy, just like the IT industry has been, explains Amit Kapoor, President & CEO of India Council on Competitiveness and Honorary Chairman at Institute for Competitiveness. According to him, '...biotechnology industry seemed poised to take over the mantle. In the span of a decade beginning in 2007, the industry has grown exponentially in size from about US$ 2 billion to over US$ 11 billion in terms of revenue. By 2025, it is targeted to touch US$ 100 billion.' In the past, both Green Revolution (agricultural transformation) and White Revolution (dairy sector transformation) became successful because of the contributions from biotechnology. At present India's rising competitiveness in pharmaceuticals is also the result of biotechnological advancements and research. Moreover, energy needs of rural areas are also met by biomass fuel, produced through application of biotechnology. Mr. Kapoor explains evolution of biotechnology in India, 'As early as 1986, Rajiv Gandhi, recognising the potential of biotechnology in the country's development, set up the Department of Biotechnology...Department of Biotechnology has set up 17 Centres of Excellence at higher education institutions across the country and has supported the establishment of eight biotechnology parks across different cities...Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) in 2012, which has successfully supported 316 start-ups in its six years of existence...As of 2016, India had over a thousand biotechnology start-ups.' According to Mr. Kapoor, the sector faces many challenges and they need to be addressed effectively and promptly - (1) India's research and development expenditure is quite low at 0.67% of GDP, not only compared to mature biotechnology economies such as Japan and the US (around 3%) but also in comparison to emerging economies like China (around 2%). (2) Specific to the biotech pharmaceutical sector, there are a few India-specific challenges with the country's IP regime. There are two main areas of contention for the industry in India's approach to intellectual property. The first issue lies in Section 3(d) of the Patents (Amendment) Act, 2005, which sets a higher standard for patentability than mandated by TRIPS. The industry argues that India's stricter standards for patents discourages innovation and dampens foreign investment. The second issue is that of compulsory licensing, which gives the government power to suspend a patent in times of health emergencies. Although India has used this option only once, the industry feels that such regulations keep investors clear of Indian markets. (3) Another challenge lies in the risk involved in the Valley of Death, that is, the risk of failure in the transition of innovative products and services from discovery to marketisation. Most of the early research funding, often provided by universities or the government, runs out before the marketisation phase, the funding for which is mostly provided by venture capitalists. It becomes difficult to attract further capital between these two stages because a developing technology may seem promising, but it is often too early to validate its commercial potential. This gap has a huge impact in commercialisation of innovative ideas. Read on...

The Economic Times: Why biotechnology can be Indian economy's next success story
Author: Amit Kapoor


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 06 apr 2019

India is a diverse economy with a large population size. The availability of correct data is a challenge. But there are reliable and free sources that contain datasets and data visualisations of the Indian economic scenario that can be utilized by data scientists - (1) NITI Aayog (Salary Expenditure): It is part of data.gov.in website. An expense or expenditure made to the employees for their work in terms of salary is known as Salary expenditure. It is an outflow of money from the Government for different services. The Data contains Actual, Pre-actual and Budgeted Expenditure for Salary expenditure, total expenditure, Revenue Expenditure, Salary expenditure as percentage of revenue expenditure (net of IP & Pension) and Salary expenditure as percentage of total expenditure of states & union territories. (2) Open Budgets India (openbudgetsindia.org): The portal provides budget information of different tiers of government in India (Union Budget, State Budgets, and Budgets of several Municipal Corporations across the country) in accessible and open (non-proprietary) formats. The four major features of the portal, as of now (in the beta version), are - Budget documents (i.e. the original PDF documents); Machine Readable Datasets (for those budget documents, where it was technically feasible to prepare machine readable datasets); Visualizations (or infographics) generated from the machine readable datasets; and Budget basics (for greater familiarity with budget concepts, processes and documents). The portal includes twelve broad sectors that represent Union and State Budget expenditure on both Economic Services and Social Services. It has 10.6k datasets from 509 budget sources. (3) Ministry Of Statistics (Indian Income Tax): It is part of data.gov.in website. The data refers to details on receipts under income tax from 2000-01 to 2011-12 in head of account such as Minor Head-Other Receipts, Minor Head-Surcharge, Penalties, Interest Recoveries, Primary Education Cess, Secondary and Higher Education Cess. (4) NITI Aayog (Manufacturing GDP): It is part of data.gov.in website. The data refers to information on contribution to manufacturing GDP in the 11th Five-Year Plan and employment in 2009-10 in different segments of the manufacturing sector. It projects employment in 2016-17 and 2024-25 in different segments of manufacturing in two different scenarios. (5) Ministry Of Finance (Statistical Appendix): It is part of the Economic Survey. Website is mofapp.nic.in:8080/economicsurvey. Includes Economic Survey 2017-18 and previous ones. The Statistical Appendix has following sections along with their sub-sections - National Income and Production; Budgetary Transactions; Employment; Monetary Trends; Prices; Balance of Payments; Foreign Trade; External Assistance; Human Development Indicators. Data files can be downloaded in Excel and PDF formats. (6) Ministry of Finance - Department Of Economic Affairs (Trade Balance Of India): It is part of data.gov.in website. The trade balance is the difference between the monetary value of exports and imports of output in an economy. It is one of the most important macroeconomic parameter. Data contains Exports, Imports and Trade Balance of India (in Rs Crore and US$ Million) from 1949-50. It also contains the percentage rate of change of exports as well as imports with respect to the previous year. The data has been provided by Department of Economic Affairs. (7) The World Bank (data.worldbank.org/country/india): Includes time series data on variety of topics like GDP, Population, School Enrolment, CO2 Emissions etc. DataBank is an analysis and visualization tool. (8) IMF DATA (data.imf.org): It provides access to macroeconomic and financial data. Asia and Pacific Regional Economic Outlook (APDREO) provides information on recent economic developments and prospects for countries in Asia and Pacific. India is included in this region. Read on...

Analytics India Magazine: 8 Free Resources On Indian Economy You Can Use For Your Data Science Projects
Author: Ram Sagar


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 18 mar 2019

According to the recent NASSCOM CEO survey of 100 participants from IT and ITES sector, majority agreed that 2019 will have large digital deals and to gain part of this they consider making investments into products and platforms and intend to co-innovate with start-ups to build digital capabilities as a priority. In 2018, 40 global capability centers were opened in India and the number of digitally skilled workers has increased to 6 lakh. Industry leaders discussed the emergence of India as a preferred hub of new age innovation in the digital era at NASSCOM's Technology and Leadership Forum. Whether it is creation, storage or analytics, data is the big thing along with artifical intelligence or machine learning. Nivruti Rai, Country Head of Intel India, says, 'The two most important technologies which are critical from Intel's perspective are artificial technology and 5G transmission technology.' Sashikumar Sreedharan, Managing Director of Microsoft India, says, 'The fundamentals of technology, like services innovation and supportability in an automatic and self sustainable manner over the full lifecycle are some of the areas where innovation is happening at Microsoft.' Chetan Garga, Managing Director and Country Head of All State Insurance India, says, 'Business is driving innovation but also technology is driving businesses to do things differently, it's a two-way flow.' Innovation is critical and most business leaders agree that meeting the expectations of customers in the real world and understanding their needs is where the convergence lies. India with 1 billion population, large data size along with its complexity can become a test lab for the world. Pankaj Phatarphod, Managing Director & Country Head of Services at Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), says, 'If it works in India It can work anywhere...I wish we had more applied research and smarter talent.' Read on...

Business Today: India emerges as a preferred hub of new-age innovation
Author: Rukmini Rao


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 08 jan 2019

According to the 'Global Highly-Cited Researchers 2018 List' by Clarivate Analytics, India has only 10 researchers among the world's 4000 most influential researchers. Even though India has many globally renowned institutions, but it lacks breakthrough research output. Top three countries in the list are - US (2639), UK (546), China (482). Prof. CNR Rao, world renowned chemist from Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Sciences and named in the list, says, 'About 15 years ago, China and India were at the same level, but China today contributes to 15-16% of the science output in the world, while we currently contribute only 4%.' Prof. Dinesh Mohan, environmental science academic at JNU and included in the list, says, 'Areas such as climate change, water and energy are areas where research is more relevant nowadays. Where you publish your work is also important for impact.' Dr. Avnish Agarwal, also named in the list, says, 'We need to improve our research ecosystem...There is a lack of focus on quality research in Indian academia. If teachers do not do high-quality research, they will not be updated with new developments.' Others in the list are - Dr. Rajeev Varshney (Agriculture researcher at International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics-ICRISAT); Dr. Ashok Pandey (Researcher at the Indian Institute of Toxicology Research); Dr. Alok Mittal and Dr. Jyoti Mittal (Researchers in environmental science, water treatment, green chemistry and chemical kinetics at the Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology); Dr. Rajnish Kumar (Researcher and professor at IIT Madras's Department of Chemical Engineering); Dr. Sanjeeb Sahoo (Researcher in nanotechnology at the Institute of Life Sciences); Dr. Sakthivel Rathinaswamy (Professor and researcher in Applied and Computational Mathematics at Bharathiar University). Read on...

Firstpost: ONLY 10 AMONG THE WORLD'S TOP 4000 INFLUENTIAL RESEARCHERS ARE INDIAN: REPORT
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 dec 2018

In India there are central government run healthcare institutions, public state run institutions and private medical colleges that provide modern healthcare education mainly the four year degree MBBS and after that post-graduate degrees of MS and MD. India also have a number of institutions that provide degrees in other healthcare systems like Ayurveda (BAMS), Unani-Greek (BUMS), Homoeopathy (BHMS), Naturopathy etc. Moreover, there are vocational training institutes that provide skills and courses to develop other medical staff like nurses, health assistants etc. There are also corporate run and other private medical colleges and universities and training institutes. India's healthcare facilities are generally concentrated in urban areas while rural areas are generally served by public hospitals and centers. Private clinics are also present in both rural and urban areas. They are generally run by a single doctor or doctor couple and provide basic healthcare. Diagnostic centers are spread all over due to technological advancements and compact and affordable equipments. Healthcare has major disparities between urban and rural areas when it comes to healthcare access. Healthcare has become one of India's largest sectors - both in terms of revenue and employment. The industry comprises public and private hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, pathology and diagnostics, medical devices industry, clinical trials, outsourcing, telemedicine, medical tourism, health insurance and medical equipment. The public sector constitutes primary health centers, central research centers and hospitals, state-run research institutes and hospitals etc. The private sector provides majority of secondary, tertiary and quaternary care institutions with a major concentration in metros, tier-I and tier-II cities. According to National Family Health Survey-3, the private medical sector remains the primary source of health care for 70% of households in urban areas and 63% of households in rural areas. Rise of technology is creating new business models in the healthcare industry. Healthcare through smart phones and fitness trackers is new trend. Information technology is automating and streamlining various healthcare processes. Big data is creating new ways of improving healthcare delivery. Startups in India are promising to provide best healthcare at affordable cost more effectively. Latest healthcare equipment is not only imported but also manufactured in India. Digital technologies are enhancing every aspect of healthcare. Technology solutions are able to modernise current medical practices, reduce costs, eliminate any duplication of tests as well as streamline processes and update medical records in real time. Modern technology has great potential to increase access of healthcare services in rural communities, especially the ones where there is serious shortage of doctors. India has demonstrated since long a commitment to offer comprehensive healthcare to all citizens. This has been reaffirmed in the 12th Five-year Plan, National Health Assurance Mission, and more recently through Ayushman Bharat Program. However, the challenges remain and this goal has not been achieved as of yet. There are two critical components of successful healthcare systems. One is the financial aspects whereby citizens are protected against any eventuality and don't get into penury due to health spending. Second is the provision and delivery of healthcare services. It is imperative to ensure that healthcare infrastructure is sufficiently equipped to provide effective healthcare when needed by its citizens. Technology, public-private partnerships, access and affordability are the critical component in the future of India's healthcare. Better healthcare with policy, financial and physical framework will bring long-term benefits to the nation. Develop effective mechanisms to improve general health, and disease prevention strategies through campaigns, advocacy etc. To make India's citizens more aware about their health, inculcate better sanitization and cleanliness habits will help to improve overall health of India. Prevention before cure becomes the key for the country with the size and demographic profile like India. Health aware citizens, trained, sensitive and caring medical staff, cutting edge technologies and modern infrastructure, are the golden elements for a healthy future of India. Read on...

ilmeps/read: Healthcare in India: An Overview (Part 2)
Author: Mohammad Anas Wahaj


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 17 dec 2018

India is adopting emerging technologies and its future progress will be defined by their effective utilization. A recent study by Cisco and IDC suggests that globally the net job addition in new technologies will be more than 5.9 million by 2027 out of which 1.4 million will be in India. India is building its capacities in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT). Government has special focus on AI, as between mid 2017 and early 2018, the government constituted two AI Task Forces, first under the Ministry of Commerce and the second under the Ministry of Defence. The Ministry of Information Technology has also set up four committees to encourage research in the field. Niti Aayog has also published the National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence. Similarly, efforts have been underway by goverment to promote the development and adoption of IoT since 2016 with the release of a draft policy on IOT by MeitY. Private sector too has made massive investments in IoT. Another technology that India has to focus on is Data Science as it has enormous potential in promoting development and humanitarian efforts. Data Science has the capability to provide effective solutions to problems faced by the developing world. It can significantly make an impact in decision and policy making. India has to understand the advantages of using Data Science to complement policy efforts and exploit its potential accordingly. Read on...

The Economic Times: India cannot afford to ignore Data Science
Author: Deepakshi Rawat


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 15 sep 2018

India's large size with huge population (1.25 billion), substantial part of which resides in rural and underdeveloped regions, brings both challenges and opportunities for implementing healthcare policies and initiatives, both public and private. Over the years ineffective implementation of such initiatives at various levels, has created lopsided infrastructure and uneven development in healthcare. Indian health system also lacks effective payment mechanism and has a high out-of-pocket expenditure (roughly 70%). Adverse health events (health shocks) have considerable impact on India's overall poverty figures, adding about seven percentage points. Health is associated with the overall wellness of the citizens. Good health reflects on the productivity and growth of the nation. More so in the case of India as substantial population is young. India has more than 50% (about 662 million) of its population below the age of 25 and more than 65% below the age of 35. By 2020, the average age of India's population is expected to be 29 years. Aging of this large population will happen at the same time. Having adequate infrastructure is key to avoid a massive health catastrophe for this elderly population in future. Health is also a key issue in the public policy sphere. In the public policy context healthcare issues are often related to accessibility, affordability, socio-economic disparities, healthcare delivery mechanisms, illness and diseases and their impact on society etc. India have a conceptual universal health care system run by the constituent states and union territories. The biggest challenge is to make it accessible and affordable for the overall population. Read on...

ilmeps/read: Healthcare in India: An Overview (Part 1)
Author: Mohammad Anas Wahaj


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 aug 2018

As the saying goes, 'Necessity is the Mother of Invention' - A temporary ban on firecrackers by Indian Supreme Court, an appeal to scientisits from Dr. Harsh Vardhan (Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, GOI) to develop e-firecrackers and social campaigns against their use due to environmental concerns, has driven a team of scientists from Indian Institute of Science Education & Research (IISERM) led by Prof. Samrat Ghosh (Chemical Sciences) to innovate and develop 'green' firecrackers that are safer, smoke-free and reusable. Prof. Samrat says, 'I have filled combustible material in the disposable bottle. This material is ignited with a source, like a spark. The launcher ignites the material which burns and generates pressure, pushing the bottle upwards, like a rocket. This is one of the safest methods of bursting crackers. In the community where I have tested this, even four-year-old kids feel comfortable operating this. Additionally, the combustive recipe in the device is very benign and not at all harmful for the user and the environment.' Regarding additional usage of the invention, Prof. Samrat says, 'From driving away animals in agriculture fields to airports using them to clear runways, the device is beneficial in many different situations.' Read on...

The Better India: Exclusive: Meet The Scientist Behind Smoke-Free, Debris-Less & Low-Cost Firecrackers!
Authors: Ahmed Sherrif, Gayatri Mishra


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 jul 2018

In a developing country like India low-income groups often lack access to proper healthcare. But, mobile technology can provide ways to enable these groups have knowledge and resources to drive preventative healthcare. Lead researchers, Aakash Ganju (co-founder of Avegen), Sumiti Saharan (Neuroscientist, Team Lead of Design & Research at Avegen), Alice Lin (Global Director of social innovation at Johnson & Johnson), Lily W. Lee (President of Almata, a division of Avegen), explain the research conducted by their team on the digital usage patterns of underserved groups in two urban areas of India, and iteratively tested user interface and content design. Researchers generated primary research insights from more than 250 new mothers and fathers living in low-income communities, and achieve understanding of the core barriers and digital needs of this population. Researchers suggest, 'Embedding health care into digital tools requires that providers overcome contextual barriers and undertake deliberate design processes. To succeed, providers must develop a nuanced understanding of the obstacles to consuming information digitally, as well as glean insights from technology, interface design, and behavioral science.' Following are some insights from the research - (1) Cost is no longer the biggest barrier: In the last year, a strong government regulatory authority has promoted competition and consumer benefits that have rapidly driven down both smartphone and data costs. (2) Infrastructure can overcome any remaining cost barriers: Only 5% of people living in less-connected and less-developed localities owned smartphones, compared to a significant 56% of individuals with similar incomes living in neighborhoods with good mobile network and infrastructure. (3) Digital experiences are not often built for low-income, urban populations: The most pervasive barrier to digital adoption in India today is a lack of knowledge about how to use digital interfaces. Language is also a barrier. India has an overall literacy rate of 74%. However, only about 10% of Indians can communicate in English - the language of the Internet. Local language content is scarce. There are gaping holes in the understanding of early-stage user requirements and pain points, from both the digital interface and content experience perspectives. (4) There is a lack of trust in health-related digital information: Low-income, underserved communities who have not been exposed to authentic digital content often have extreme distrust in digital information pertaining to health. Only 12% of families thought information from digital sources was reliable, compared to more than 90% finding information from doctors and mothers to be most, very, or somewhat reliable. According to researchers, to truly meet the needs of underserved consumers, providers must focus on the following areas - (1) High-quality content: To engage users on digital platforms, providers must use differentiated content that connects with a user's specific journey. The form, tone, and continuity of content matters. Video formats optimized for small, low-quality displays are most effective in driving engagement. When visual formats are not feasible, audio formats are the next best alternative. Understand the environments in which users consume health. Include local elements in the content, like referring to local clinics etc. (2) Behavior change: Engaging users is vital to directing changes in consumer health behavior. It's important to be deliberate about the design of the user journey. Offering incentives for content consumption, sharing, and specific health-related behaviors can help nudge users toward desired health-related behaviors. (3) Technology: Mobile apps need to be light and fast, have low memory and data requirements, and be able to run on slow and patchy networks. Display data consumption frequently, enhanced ability to view offline content and share content within community is important for engagement. (4) Design team structure: Multidisciplinary teams that bring together expertise in technology, design, business and sustainability, end-user thinking, and behavioral sciences tend to create the most effective designs. To design for the end user, providers must design with the end user, particularly for populations who are not digitally fluent. Teams should develop a thinking environment and processes that allow for hypothesis development, application design, testing, analytics, and retesting in rapid, parallel, iterative cycles. Read on...

Stanford Social Innovation Review: Expanding Access to Health Care in India Through Strong Mobile Design
Authors: Aakash Ganju, Sumiti Saharan, Alice Lin Fabiano, Lily W. Lee


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 may 2018

Artificial Intelligence's (AI) potential for healthcare transformation is becoming visible. AI health market is expected to increase exponentially from US$ 600 million in 2014 to US$ 6.6 billion by 2021. Rana Kapoor, MD & CEO of YES Bank and Chairman of YES Global Institute, explains how AI can redefine and revolutionize healthcare and transform existing healthcare sytems into 'smart wellness' delivery mechanisms. In the context of India, he says, 'With the Indian healthcare market estimated to grow to US$ 372 billion by 2022, coupled with growing healthcare needs of a 1.3 billion strong population, successfully leveraging AI, is vital to catapulting the 'healthcare of today' into the 'health-tech of tomorrow'.' He provides four ways AI can catalyze change in healthcare - (1) Economising healthcare costs through machine learning and big data. Integrating big data with wellness could potentially save the healthcare industry up to US$ 100 billion per year. (2) Merging cognitive computing and healthcare can potentially mitigate estimated global shortage of 12.9 million healthcare professionals by 2035. AI-powered applications can augment the services of physicians and expand healthcare outreach at affordable costs. (3) Enhanced diagnosis and identification of diseases. Through algorithms and analysis of big data patterns, AI can detect trends to enhance disease diagnosis and create treatment plans in order to efficiently streamline the healthcare needs of a patient. (4) AI and Internet of Things (IoT) can lead to personalization and more patient-centric approach to healthcare. Wearable gadgets powered by AI can capture and store health data of individuals and play an important role in preventive treatment. Mr. Rana further suggests, 'In India, where we rank a lowly 154th in the Healthcare Access and Quality Index, we must make collaborative efforts to unlock the potential of AI to create an enabling health technology ecosystem to match demand, optimise costs, and demonstrate value.' Read on...

The Indian Express: The health-tech of tomorrow
Author: Rana Kapoor


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 apr 2018

According to the report by Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER), 'Anatomy of an Internet Blackout: Measuring the Economic Impact of Internet Shutdowns in India', 12615 hours of mobile Internet shutdowns in India cost the economy approximately US$ 2.37 billion and 3700 hours of mobile and fixed line Internet shutdowns in India resulted in a loss of approximately US$ 678.4 million during the period 2012 to 2017. Most affected by the shutdowns were e-commerce businesses and online freelancers operating from small towns. Tourism is another sector affected. Rajat Kathuria, Director & CEO of ICRIER, says, 'The objective of the study is not to pronounce on the efficacy of a state decision on an Internet blackout, rather to estimate the economic costs associated with the event. However, policy makers would be well advised to consider these costs in the final decision on a shutdown. If digital use were to proliferate as envisaged under the Digital India programme, the magnitude of loss could increase in the future.' Read on...

Firstpost: Indian economy suffered a loss of estimated $3 billion due to internet shutdown during 2012-17 - Study
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 feb 2018

Team of scientists at Indian Institute of Science (IISc Banagalore) led by Prof. Pradip Dutta and Prof. Pramod Kumar, have developed a super critical carbon di oxide Brayton test loop facility that would help generate clean energy from future power plants including solar thermal. The new generation high efficiency power plants with closed cycle CO2 as the working fluid have the potential to replace steam based nuclear and thermal power plants, thus reducing the carbon foot print significantly. While inaugurating the facility Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Minister of Science and Technology (Govt. of India), said, 'I am sure all these intense scientific efforts and collective endeavours would enable us to realise the vision of an affordable, efficient, compact, reliable clean energy systems which will be robust and suitable in diverse geographic conditions.' The advantages of using S-CO2 in a closed loop Brayton Cycle include - 50% or more increase in efficiency of energy conversion; Smaller turbines and power blocks can make the power plant cheaper; Higher efficiency would significantly reduce CO2 emissions for fossil fuel based plants; Power plant's use of solar or nuclear heat source would mean higher capacity at lower operating costs. Read on...

India Education Diary: Indian scientists develop next generation technology loop to generate clean energy
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 12 nov 2017

Thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem drives business growth and economic development. India is steadily transforming itself into a major hub of tech entrepreneurship. According to Raman Roy, Chairman of NASSCOM and CEO of Quatro, 'About 1000 tech start-ups were registered this year (2017), taking their total to 5200 and making India the world's third largest start-up ecosystem.' The report 'Indian Start-up Ecosystem - Traversing the maturity cycle', compiled jointly by NASSCOM and Zinnov, was recently released. Major trends include - India is witnessing a rapid rise in the B2B tech start-up landscape, focused on verticals like healthtech, fintech, and ecommerce/aggregators; Bengaluru, Delhi/NCR and Mumbai retained their position as the key start-up hubs, with 20% of the start-ups emerging from tier-2 and tier-3 cities across the country. Some highlights of the report - 40% of the start-ups are in the B2B segment. Its share in tech start-up funding is 30%; Fin-tech start-up base is about 360, indicating 31% annual growth, with US$ 200 million funding in the first half of this year, recording a 135% annual growth; Health-based technology start-ups are 320, with 28% annual growth and attracted US$ 160 million funding in the April-September period, which is an increase of 129% in the same period of 2016. Mr. Roy says, 'With 60% start-ups, the B2C segment is focused on creating innovative business models and taking the vertical approach, securing about 70% funding in the year's first half.' R. Chandrashekhar, NASSCOM president and former Telecom Secretary, observing that the ecosystem is driven by young, diverse and inclusive entrepreneurs, says that the landscape is leading to focused domain solutions in verticals like healthcare, agriculture and education. He comments, 'We will continue its drive towards catalysing tech start-ups, build category leaders and support start-ups to create for India.' Read on...

FirstPost: India added 1,000 technology start-ups in 2017; maintains the third spot as the largest hub for entrepreneurship
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 oct 2017

India's future success will be defined on the basis of how its positive elements like demographic dividend, IT and software, manufacturing, agriculture, government initiatives (Make in India, Digital India, Skill India, Startup India) etc, gel together effectively and grow. Adding to all these, focus on research, design and innovation, will further propel creation and development of new and emerging technologies and concepts. Specifically, Indian auto industry does have R&D capabilities, but it is mostly driven by foreign collaborations and partnerships. Moreover, Indian operations of most foreign auto makers rely on their global development centers when it comes to technological innovations. But the dynamics of the industry are shifting, and companies are mobilizing resources and assets towards design and development also, in addition to manufacturing. The change is also visible in the electric vehicle segment with a strong policy focus. Recent conference organized by NASSCOM and Autocar Professional was directed towards discussing the design, R&D and technology based future of the industry. Sameer Yajnik, COO-APAC of Tata Technologies, says, 'Indian engineers, thus far, have brought together just a few parts of the jigsaw puzzle in terms of vehicle development, but this is set to be transformed. With EVs, ADAS, autonomous, connected cars, et al, there are a slew of technology-driven changes that need to be responded to and India is an excellent place.' Patrick Newbery, Chief Digital Officer of Global Logic, says, 'Design and engineering work best when coupled together, and the Indian start-up ecosystem has displayed a good show of that already...Amalgamating design and engineering, as well as with its ability to innovate and create as a response-stimulus to change, India holds a strong place in developing new future technologies, where even the US would be looking outside to outsource these innovative solutions. There is more likelihood of innovation coming out of such environment.' Current spend in automotive engineering and R&D of Europe is 35%, that of US is 25% and, India's is at 10%. This is expected to triple in next 3 years. Sanjeev Verma, CEO of Altran India, says, 'India holds a very important place in the whole jigsaw and especially can play a great role in designing passive safety and IoT systems...With the whole ecosystem springing up now, the next three to four years are going to be extremely transformational for the development vertical in the Indian automotive sector.' Commenting on design in India, Raman Vaidyanathan of Tech Mahindra says, 'Indian engineering is bound to be more frugal, compared to the rest of the world because of the country’s legacy in being cost conscious. This is very positive as it implies that a good quality product, designed and developed to a cost in India could be produced in the emerged markets, while the reverse is going to prove rather expensive.' The challenge of skilled human resources in design and engineering in India remains. NASSCOM has started a foundation course in integrated product development that has reached 1000 colleges since CY2015. Government, academica and industry has to come up with integrated strategies that need to be applied to upgrade the knowledge and skills of graduates coming out of technology institutes and ensure success of design, research and development in India. Read on...

Autocar Professional: Beyond Make in India - Design and develop in India now imperative
Authors: Sumantra B. Barooah, Mayank Dhingra


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 07 sep 2017

Technological advancements in education facilitate and expand the reach of learning to larger audience and transform the way educational content is delivered and consumed. India is also undergoing technology-based shift in educational sector. Rajshekhar Ratrey, VP Educational Content at Toppr.com, provides list of technological trends that are enabling the growth of digital education in India - (1) Personalized and Adaptive Learning (2) Two-way conversations in E-Learning (3) Mobile-based Learning (4) Video-based Learning (5) Open Educational Resources (6) Usage of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) for Learning. Read on...

India Today: 6 technology trends that pushing up digital education in India
Author: Rajshekhar Ratrey


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 jul 2017

The survey report 'India Digital Health Report 2017' by D Yellow Elephant (DYE), a digital and social media firm, analyzes India's 160 leading healthcare companies on the basis of their online presence, engagement levels and relevancy on 12 major online platforms. The survey categorized companies into three sections based on their performance - Digial Primes; Digital Aspirants; Digital Onlookers. Among pharmaceuticals, Pfizer topped the Digital Prime category. In diagnostics segment, Apollo Diagnostic is the leader. While, in the hospital segment, Kokilaben Dhirubai Ambani Hospital and Medical Research Centre topped the category. The report placed 14% of the companies in the Digital Prime category, 54% in Digital Aspirants and 32% in Digital Onlookers. The report also finds that internet penetration in India is currently 35% with 23% Y-on-Y growth in its users. By 2020, India is expected to be home to 730 million internet users with as many as 175 million online shoppers. DYE projects healthcare sector in India growing at a fast pace and is currently values at US$ 100 billion. The sector is expected to touch US$ 280 billion by 2020 at a CAGR growth of 23%. Moreover, private equity and venture capital funding in the sector has gone up by 13 times from US$ 94 million in 2011 to US$ 1275 million in 2016, with an increase of 2.27% against 1.97% in overall health budget. Read on...

Elets eHealth Magazine: Survey reveals the digital health of Indian healthcare sector
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 12 jul 2017

India's share of the US$ 54 billion global HR technology market is about US$ 600-700 million. Traditional human resource practices are undergoing tech-driven transformation. According to experts, use of modern HRTech can help India Inc improve productivity and save millions of dollars by optimal use of human resources. Recent study by PeopleStrong predicts that India Inc can save at least US$ 600 million annually by 2021 using HRTech. Jagjit Singh, Chief People Officer at PwC India, says, 'The shift to HR applications in the cloud and artificial intelligence to use predictive data analytics has the potential to transform the entire HR landscape by taking away transactional roles and replacing them with strategic partnering roles...' Anshul Bhargava, Chief People Officer at PNB Housing Finance, says, 'Backed by concrete information and more efficient processes, the hiring process and employee efficiency have improved with the application of analytics.' Dinesh R. of OYO says, 'HR function is increasingly relying on technology to drive results and more predictable outcomes.' Pankaj Bansal, Co-founder and CEO at PeopleStrong, says, 'The new world of work will see employees taking control of their digital landscape of work and will be the decision makers of what gets used by organisations...' Read on...

The Economic Times: India Inc can save millions by using HR technologies - Experts
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 16 jun 2017

Healthcare analytics can help in building better patient-doctor relationships for better health outcomes, achieving better operational efficiencies, personalization at a larger scale, targeted customer acquisition and more. Madhu Aravind, CEO of Searchlight Health, explores India's healthcare analytics scenario and what impact it can have in addressing the challenges faced by India's healthcare ecosystem. India's healthcare have some fundamental issues - Cost of healthcare is increasing at 20%; Shortage of 1.5 million doctors and 2 million hospital beds; Only about 5% of the middles class have health insurance. According to Mr. Aravind, 'If healthcare analytics needs to have an impact in India, then it has to tackle some of these fundamental issues...If one can aggregate information from multiple sources and build models that leverage these technologies (Natural Language Processing; Imgage recognition; Speech analysis; Large-scale computing power), then real value creation is possible.' FOR HOSPITALS: Customer acquitisition; Operational efficieny; Clinical delivery. 'The advent of digitization, abundant computing power and new age machine learning models, will enable the formulation of principles from observations from millions of people, creating the foundation for personalized medicine.' FOR INSURERS: Increase middle class coverage; Create customized products; 'Understand disease propensity in detail and also fully model the cost of care needed to manage various conditions.' FOR PHARMACEUTICAL SECTOR: Real world evidence to power R&D, clinical trials etc. India's healthcare analytics faces challenges - Lack of skilled talent; HealthTech spending is less than 1% of the health organization's budget. Read on...

The Economic Times: Healthcare analytics in India - Opportunities and challenges
Author: Madhu Aravind


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 apr 2017

Education technology promises to increase access, lower costs and bridge the rural-urban divide, in learning opportunities. Aakash Chaudhry, Director of Aakash Education Services Pvt. Ltd, explains how educational technologies can bring the transformation in India's educational system. He explores the present scenario and what is expected in future for the education sector. According to him, 'With an overwhelming increase in mobile-connected devices, global data traffic and mobile video traffic, the EduTech sector is set to enter a new era...In India, where mobile penetration is counting a billion people with over 300 million connected to the internet and is expected to reach 550 million by 2018, we have immense potential to digitally educate the masses...EduTech companies are driving further development of data-driven education technologies, leading to fundamental changes in how school and college students as well as professionals seeking new skills are learning.' He mentions some of the technologies and methodologies that are driving the transformation in education - Online interactive platforms; Cloud computing; Data centers; Virtualization; Global high quality online content; Live braodcasts; Video content delivery; Virtual updating of textbooks; Video conferencing; Availability of content offline and at low internet connectivity; Mobile classrooms; Online tutors; Adaptive learning; Student-teacher interface in the form of mobile learning. He concludes, 'A country that depends on the development of its educational sector for its economic and social growth, a surge in switching to technology-driven education will amply propel rural India towards empowerment.' Read on...

iamwire: EduTech 2017 - Transforming Education in India
Author: Aakash Chaudhry


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 08 apr 2017

According to the findings of KPMG 2017 Global Technology Innovation report, US and China continue to be the most promising markets for technology breakthroughs that have global impact, with India and the UK progressing in third and fourth place with innovative tech hubs of their own. The report is based on survey of 841 business executives globally that focus on technology, and highlights the changing landscape of disruptive technologies, with perspectives on technology innovation trends, barriers to commercialize innovation, and insights into technology innovation leading practices. Although various countries are trying to emulate Silicon Valley to develop their own technology hubs, some are finding success in their efforts while others are facing macroeconomic and infrastructure challenges. Tim Zanni, Global and US chair of KPMG Technology, Media and Technology practice, says, 'What we have seen emerge over time is the result of countries and cities striving to replicate and build on the Silicon Valley tech innovation blueprint, and their increasing degree of success. One can debate whether or not replicating Silicon Valley is possible, but the benefits of the effort are undeniable.' Mr. Zanni states in the report that growing ecosystems as tech innovation has spread across all industries, is fueling the expansion of technology innovation development. Respondents of the survey consider the following as the top global technology innovation visionaries - Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX; Tim Cook, CEO of Apple; Jack Ma, Chairman of Alibaba; Larry Page, CEO of Alphabet; Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google; Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft; Bill Gates of Microsoft; Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook; Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon. Read on...

The Next Silicon Valley: US and China are top innovation hubs, followed by India and UK
Author: Nitin Dahad


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 mar 2017

Team of researchers from IIT-Kharagpur, Prof. Sudip Misra, Prof. N. S. Raghuwanshi, Anandarup Mukherjee and Arijit Roy, has designed India's first indgenous drone, BHIM, that can create a Wi-Fi zone within a nearly 1 km radius when it flies overhead. It is specifically designed for emergency and conflict situations. It has a battery backup of 7 hours, can fly into a disaster zone and create a seamless communication network for those involved in the operation. The automated drone has an actual vision-based guidance with built-in intelligence that helps it identify if an area is crowded or not. It will then fly away and land in a safer place. According to Prof. Sudip Mishra, 'Such advanced built-in intelligence is not available in drones now. The design is completely in-house. The controlling and guiding algorithms of the drone have been developed in our lab.' Internet of Things (IoT) is an important component of the drone. Read on...

The Times of India: IIT-Kharagpur develops superpower drone BHIM
Author: Jhimli Mukherjee Pandey


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 16 mar 2017

According to the NASSCOM Foundation report, 'Catalysing Change Through CSR', about half of the IT and financial services companies (70) interviewed have spent more than 70% of their CSR in education and employable skills initiatives. Ganesh Natarajan, Chairman of NASSCOM Foundation, says, 'Education and employable skills are the key to most of India's social problems. An industry, which has grown solely by investing into knowledge and key skills, realises the difference a skilled knowledge society can make and therefore, a major chunk of the CSR funds has been dedicated to education and employable skills.' The report finds that companies are placing greater importance on monitoring outcomes by integrating technology. Among the roadblocks cited by most companies was identification, selection and due diligence on NGOs and the absence of robust tracking process. Read on...

The Hindu: Education, employable skills form major chunk of CSR spend by IT firms - Nasscom Foundation
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 feb 2017

According to India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), the Indian healthcare industry is currently pegged at around US$ 158 billion and is expected to hit US$ 280 billion by 2020. Alpna Doshi, CIO at Philips, while recently speaking on 'Digitalization of Healthcare' at NASSCOM India Leadership Forum, says, 'Unequal access, poor quality and rising costs are three key challenges faced by the healthcare industry.' She adds that these challenges are bringing new opportunities, particularly in the area where technology and healthcare converge. Predictive analytics, home-based healthcare, remote health monitoring with mobile devices and applications, are some prominent areas. Som Mittal, former President and Chairman of NASSCOM, says, 'While access to all will be there as connectivity improves, how can we make healthcare affordable?' And for this, he comments that technology needs to be responsible, citing high margins that are charged for medical devices. Ms. Doshi adds that healthcare companies cannot survive on lower margins, unless the volumes justify those margins. Tie ups with NGOs she said, was one way to increase volumes and thereby bring down costs. Automation in healthcare industry will become more prevalent. She points out that augmented reality and artificial intelligence will further disrupt the healthcare industry. Read on...

Forbes: The three key challenges faced by India's healthcare industry
Author: Varsha Meghani


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 dec 2016

According to the recent Capgemini and Altimeter study, India is the top innovation destination in Asia and second in the world for new innovation centers. 27% of Asia's new innovation centers are now in India and globally it has 1 in every ten new innovation centers. Cumulatively, India is ranked third with 25, while top two ranked are US (146) and UK (29). Within India, Bengaluru was the favorite destination with 3 out of 11 total that opened between Mar-Oct'16. The study defines 'Innovation Centers' as non-traditional in-house hubs built by enterprises to find new trends happening across the technology ecosystem through interactions with startups, entrepreneurs and others. Their main objectives are to accelerate digital innovation, rethink customer experience, improve operational efficiency and test new business models. Current priorities shared among innovation centers focus on digital technologies such as big data, internet-of-things (IoT), social media, mobile, robotics, augmented reality and 3D printing. Read on...

The Times of India: India ranked No. 2 innovation destination in the world
Author: Shalina Pillai


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 oct 2016

Indian researchers, Naveen Kumar Malik of the Department of Electronics and Communication at Maharshi Dayanand University and V. R. Singh of the National Physical Laboratory, recently provided details about their 'Human Inspired Cognitive Wheelchair Navigation System' in the International Journal of Human Factors Modelling and Simulation. According to the researchers, 'The novel wheelchair navigation system can make the movable chairs avoid obstacles on their own and also sense when the user is tired or stressed. The smart wheelchair could also monitor user's heart rate, temperature or other vital signs for diagnostic purposes. The commercial version of the prototyped autonomous wheelchair would reduce the burden on care-giving staff in healthcare industry and improve the quality of life for disabled persons.' Read on...

India.com: Indian researchers design smart wheelchair
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 21 sep 2016

According to McKinsey report, India's manufacturing sector will grow six-fold by 2025, to US$ 1 trillion, while creating up to 90 million domestic jobs. Dattatreya Gaur, VP and head of Businesss Unit at Robert Bosch Engineering & Business Solutions, explains the opportunities in India's manufacturing and it's evolution led by digital transformation and smart manufacturing. According to him, 'In manufacturing, the potential for cyber-physical systems to improve productivity in the production process and supply chain is vast; this is an opportunity...The main objective of Industry 4.0 is the task to convert this data into information and then into knowledge in real time, in order to make the process more productive, more flexible, to improve the quality and so on. It is a concept of intelligent value chain organisation where the man, machine and material are connected and talk to each other through enablers such as the cyber-physical systems and Internet of Things (IoT)...In the industry of the future, the product will become an information carrier and pilot its own way through the production process. Industry 4.0 is less of a revolution and more of an evolution.' Explaining Industry 4.0 in India's context, he says, 'Industry 4.0 is relevant for India; it is completely in concurrence to 'Make in India' campaign. The number of people using a smartphone in India is huge. This, for us, is a big opportunity. India is the third largest user base for internet and second largest for smartphones. India is also the IT hub. The huge number of software engineers plus the affinity of Indians towards mathematics and technology should provide the perfect recipe for Industry 4.0.' Read on...

The Financial Express: Smart manufacturing in India
Author: Dattatreya Gaur


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 14 sep 2016

In the fast paced technology industry, knowledge and skills get obsolete as soon as anything new, effective and valuable comes into the market. Job candidates should continuously update and upgrade their skillset to stay relevant and get hired in the better paid bracket of the technology market. They also have to anticipate the shifts and trends in technologies and acquire the know-how from the best sources. Online courses in many technological domains are just a click away. With just a reasonable internet access, anyone in India can access courses from around the world. Key is when to select what course from which provider. According to Kabir Chadha of Coursera, 'We see a lot of demand for high-tech skills and certifications. Technology and computer science courses register more than half of all the enrollments in India. Computer Science and Data Science lead the pack at 25% and 18% respectively...Most Indian learners associate such courses as a medium to gain skill sets for a new job or enhance their existing job profiles. A lot of users also use our courses to enhance their application for higher education...' Following are some tech courses that can help get a better job in India - (1) R Programming: It is the next programming language that is used in a variety of domains including software development, business analysis, statistical reporting and scientific research. (2) Machine Learning: According to Packt, Machine Learning is one of the most in-demand skills in 2016. (3) Python Programming: IT experts suggest that Python should be the first programming language of a programmer. (4) How to create a website in the weekend: According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, employment of web developers is projected to grow 20 per cent from 2012 to 2022. (5) Data Science: Harvard Business Review considers the job of data scientist as the 'Sexiest Job of the 21st Century.' Read on...

GIZMODO: Top 5 tech courses that can get you a job
Author: Diksha Gupta


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 15 aug 2016

The competition is heating up between the US technology giants, Google and Facebook, to provide internet access to India's substantially untapped market of 1.25 billion people. Google has already taken a slight lead by clinching a deal with Indian Railways to provide high-speed Wi-Fi services at railroad stations. These services are currently free but would become paid eventually. The number of users is presently about 2 million for the 23 stations that have the hot spots and is expected to increase to 10 million for 100 in future. After the earlier setback in 2015 for its Free Basics scheme that was struck down by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), Facebook is getting back in the race by initiatives that provide internet services in the rural parts of India. The scheme is called Express Wi-Fi and streamlines the process through which people buy data allocations from local Internet service providers. Currently, it allows people to use their purchased data bundles through one of 125 rural Wi-Fi hot spots. Both companies seems to be looking at long-term stay in the Indian market and will monetize their services at the right time. The strong advertising model that both these companies have will finally make their efforts and investments profitable in future. Read on...

MIT Technology Review: Facebook and Google Are Racing to Supply India with Internet Access
Author: Jamie Condliffe


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 04 jul 2016

Team of researchers from IIT-Madras (India) and University of Nebraska at Lincoln (USA), are developing an ingestible capsule, that can stay in human body for close to a week, with sensors that will take readings of an individual's calorie intake, that can eventually help in diagnosis of diseases like cancer and permit sustained delivery of drugs. According to Prof. Benjamin Terry of UNL, 'The capsule, made of biocompatible materials, works like a parasite by latching on to the intestinal wall.' The sensors communicate their readings to an external device through low-intensity radio waves. Prof. P. V. Manivannan of IIT-M, says, 'The device is kept a metre away from the body. We use only low intensity waves that don't harm the body.' According to experts, biosensors could help monitor factors that influence digestive health. Prof. Terry adds that the mechanism could also serve as a long-term vessel for capsule endoscopes, the ingestible pill-shaped cameras that permit physicians to record images of the gastrointestinal tract. Read on...

The Times of India: From IIT-M - Capsule in body to count calories, diagnose cancer
Author: Ekatha Ann John


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 may 2016

According to the latest Elsevier Report 2016, India's scientific publications grew 13.9% as against the global average of 4.1%. The study sifted through the publication output of researchers covered under Elsevier's Scopus database, that covers 60 million documents published in over 22000 journals, book series and conference proceeding by nearly 5000 publishers. It looked at the work of 366455 active researchers who are working with or are affiliated to Indian institutions. But this increase in publications hasn't made much impact on scientific progress or commercialization, considering their limited citation by other researchers. Prof. Anshul Kumar of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi, explains, 'There is pressure to publish, but not much scrutiny of where papers are published. Since promotions are tied to the volume of output, academics feel the need to show published output, even if it is not in very well-known publications. Moreover, spending on research and development is low, and this further serves as an impediment to producing original research that has the potential to have a higher impact.' Prof. Nirmalya Bagchi from Administrative Staff College of India, points out, 'A paper has a high impact when it is published in a prestigious journal, and it is difficult for an unknown researcher to publish in such places. Prestigious Western journals prefer to publish research from highly-ranked institutes, and it is well-known that most such institutes are in the West. Thus, Indian scientists who move abroad to work with well-known institutes do not face such difficulties in publishing. It also helps that the research infrastructure is well-developed abroad.' India also have to ramp up its knowledge sharing i.e. increase number of citations in patent documents and collaboration between industry and academia. Read on...

Livemint: In Indian science and technology research, quantity trumps quality
Author: Ragini Bhuyan


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 08 mar 2016

TechGig Geek Goddess - Celebrating the Code Divas/Women in Technology of the Indian IT Industry (TG3), a 14-day engagement program where women coders got a chance to show their skills, concluded today on International Women's Day. The following were the top 3 winners and their brief comments - (1) Janani Anbarasan from CISCO: 'Considering the limited exposure women have towards programming, this level of competition targets women who aspire to become good programmers...' (2) Rijutha N. from CISCO: 'TG3 is a wonderful opportunity for working women to compete...' (3) Rashmi Kejariwal from Sapient: 'I would like to recommend people to take time off from their expected deliverables and pursue their interest and enhance their expertise in coding as TG3 provides a great platform...' While speaking on TG3, Puja Mehra (VP of Sapient Global Markets) said, '...TG3's tech webinars, AMA (Ask Me Anything) and empower sessions, for promoting our women in tech, helped us push our charter of making women's voices count. I personally liked the coding contest a lot. It was encouraging to see our leaders, encourage our women employees to participate...' TechGig.com website also mentions winners that got 4th and 5th place as, Priyanka Naik (CDK-Global) and Tarvinder Kaur respectively. Read on...

GIZMODO: Top women coders shine at TechGig Geek Goddess
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 jan 2016

A panel of health experts from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), the Public Health Foundation of India and the National Institute of Nutrition, recently demanded pictorial and health warning on junk food packets in order to provide information to people on health issues caused by them. According to Prof. Vandana Jain, in-charge of Division of Pedriatrics Endocrinology at AIIMS, 'We have recommended pictorial warnings on junk foods...or health warnings saying that this product contains fat and salt in excess of what is recommended or even a picture of liver may be put on pack indicating that consuming them may lead to fatty liver in children and adults.' Consumption of products with high sugar, fat and salt have adverse health implications and World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that the best way to prevent obesity among children is to put restrictions on marketing of unhealthy foods. Read on...

The Economic Times: Health experts demand pictorial warnings on junk food packets
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 08 jan 2016

Technology-driven healthcare startups are finding new opportunities in India's mostly traditional healthcare system. But it is not an easy ride, with lack of digital orientation, policy and regulational scenario, slow pace of change in the healthcare industry etc. Simply put, these healthcare pioneers in India face more challenges than what the normal startups actually do. Mudit Vijayvergiya, Co-founder of Curofy, provides five most relevant challenges that all healthcare startups are broadly facing in India - (1) Slow Growth: Sluggish pace of growth of the industry is hard for survival. (2) Complex Industry: Complex rules and regulations can be obstacles for entrepreneurship and innovative thinking. Various policies are unclear and cause confusion at workplace. (3) Doctors are Tough: Miserable doctor patient ratio of 1:1700 and horrible 1:60000 in rural areas, make availability of doctors rare. Moreover digital healthcare is last on their mind. (4) Monetization: Slow growth of sector makes startups hard to monetize and to have a sustainable revenue model. Moreover social nature of the market and lack of financial ability of patients make it hard for private startups to make money. (5) Lack of Healthcare Mentors in India: Although India has large pool of trained medical professionals, but it has very few seasoned mentors and investors in the health-tech space to share their experience with entrepreneurs. Moreover track record of startups in healthcare is not very good either. Thus India currently lacks a win-win scenario for mentors, investors and entrepreneurs. Read on...

iamwire: 5 Biggest Challenges All Healthcare Tech Startups are Facing in India
Author: Mudit Vijayvergiya


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 dec 2015

The technology-enabled interactions of consumers and businesses have provided opportunities to capture data and utilize analytics to improve business processes and enhance products and services for customers in variety of industries. The analytics industry ecosystem is mushrooming with numerous vendors, from niche providers to one-stop solutions that include capture, storage, access and study of data for valuable insights. Suhale Kapoor, Co-founder of Absolutdata Analytics, captures various aspects of the analytics industry and its evolution in 2015 and explains what are the expected trends in the year ahead. Trends in 2015 - Growth of new startups and digital marketing tools; Increased use of analytics and Business Intelligence (BI); Rise in use of social media and social advertising on mobile; Rapid expansion of Internet of Things (IoT); Video content; Content marketing and predictive analytics; End-user experience and integration of online and offline content to improve service standards. Trends for 2016 - Shift towards cloud; Streaming architectures will hasten data computations; Visuals will come to rule; Data integration tools will assume more importance; Centre of Excellence (COE) will equip a business in understanding the peculiar needs and challenges for a data scientist; The Internet of Things (IoT) is all poised to bring about a data revolution; Non-analysts will start to dabble in data. Read on...

DATAQUEST: The Analytics Sector - Emerging trends and forecast for 2016
Author: Suhale Kapoor


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 08 dec 2015

United Nation's '2015 Climate Change Conference' is being held in Paris (France) where 196 countries are on the table to reach consensus on tackling climate change and contain global temperature rise and keep it below 2°C. The recent study, 'Climate Change and India: Adaptation Gap (2015) - A Preliminary Assessment', conducted by Prof. Amit Garg of IIM Ahmedabad, Prof. Vimal Mishra of IIT Gandhinagar and Dr. Hem Dholakia of Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), found that India would need over US$1 trillion from now until 2030 to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change. The study identifies India's preliminary financial, technology, and knowledge gaps in adaptation, as well as capacity building and institutional needs. The study also estimates that about 800 million people living across nearly 450 districts in India are already experiencing significant increases in annual mean temperature going above 2°C warming pathway. For the whole of India the estimated increase will be 1-1.5°C in the near term (2016-2045). The implications would be disastrous for agriculture and crop production, and the effects could be more pronounced due to estimated increase in extreme precipitation events, resulting in flooding and significant damage to infrastructure. While commenting on the importance of the findings, Mr. Ashok Lavasa (Secretary at the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change), said, 'Supporting and enhancing the sustainable development of 1.25 billion people is at the heart of India's adaptation gap filling strategy. The fruits of development should not be lost due to increasing adaptation gap in the future.' Read on...

CEEW: India's Climate Adaptation Gap Amounts to USD 1 Trillion, reveals CEEW, IIM-A, IIT-Gn study
Author: NA

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