May 22, 2013 Leave a comment
May 22, 2013 Leave a comment
The next ‘in’ feature for your smart phone might very well be gesture-recognition and it is a young Goan who is behind the innovation. The creation is set to make touchscreen technology passe and would allow users to interact with their devices through thin air.
Native of South Goa’s Velim, Andrea Colaco, has not only earned a graduate and master’s degree, and later earned one of the most-sought after doctorate seats at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute Technology (MIT), but has earlier this month won the MIT $100K entrepreneurship competition for her innovation which provides real-time, millimetre accurate 3D gesture sensing on devices like mobile phones.
“What is the next interface for cellphone devices? It is gesture recognition. Every cellphone-device manufacturer is scrambling to bring gesture-recognition into their devices. This is an immediate and unaddressed market,” Andrea said.
The innovation was presented at the competition as ’3dim’ solution, set up by Andrea with co-founder Ahmed Kirmani. It achieves high-quality 3D sensing by employing patented signal processing methods invented at MIT by the co-founders.
“Now with the prize money, 3dim will go full steam. We will develop the technology for customers-smart-device manufacturers-who have already expressed interest in the product,” she said.
The Goan’s business idea made the most financial sense for the panel of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, scientists and industry professionals judging the eight finalists of the over 3,000 participants.
Andrea’s success though had seemed certain from the early years. The student of Margao’s Fatima Convent High School had ranked second at the Goa board Class X exams in 2001 and two years later topped the Class XII exams with an impressive 96.17%. Her record of cent percent score in physics, chemistry and biology remains unmatched till date.
“The need for power-hungry, specialized hardware has kept such technology from mobile devices-problem that has now been rectified,” Colaco, a PhD student at the MIT Media Lab, said during the winning pitch at the competition to a packed auditorium.
She said her prototype only demands a few milliwatts of additional power from the phone-about one-seventh of the amount used by a standard smartphone camera.
“I am thrilled for Andrea and her recent win in the MIT $100k entrepreneurship competition. I had been talking with her over the past few weeks and knew about the preparation involved. While she said her competitors were strong too, I was confident the final would be hers. She has always been an ambitious person with attention to detail,” her mother Antonette, a homemaker, said. Andrea’s parents are presently based in Doha, Qata, where her father, Aldavid Silverio, is an assistant finance manager with a French company.
Andrea’s older sibling Gresner is an IT engineer and is based in Cincinnati USA.
The youngster’s passion also lies in promoting hands-on design and prototyping skills in undergraduate programmes in India and she has organized and taught at two such workshops in India, at Pune and New Delhi.
Andrea is a recipient of the Goa scholars award 2010 and has a masters degree in media technology from MIT in 2010, after completing her undergraduate degree programme in electrical and electronics engineering from BITS, Pilani in 2007.
Source: Times of India
May 22, 2013 Leave a comment
In a major revamp of existing property registration system, Delhi Government will put in place a transparent mechanism by end of the year under which people will be able to access hassle-free services in all 13 sub-registrar offices without any jurisdictional issue.
The aim of the ambitious project — first of its kind in the country — is to offer people a tout-free and seamless property registration experience through a highly secured online platform, which will replace the six-decade-old current system.
Under the new mechanism, people from any area of the city will be able to get their properties registered in any one of the 13 sub-registrar offices and they will even be able to check genuineness of the properties as well as ownership details and past transactions.
Admitting that there was corruption in the existing system, Urban Development and Revenue Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely said the government is determined to rid it of lacunae and the new mechanism will offer “great relief” to people who often faced lot of hardships in getting their properties registered.
As per existing system, people can get their properties registered based on jurisdiction of the sub-registrar office.
“It will be a major systemic change. We are working hard to out in place a transparent system under which people will be offered a hassle-free experience. The touts will not have any place in the new system,” Lovely told PTI.
He said all the 13 sub-registrar offices will be linked through an online portal through which people will also be able to check ownership details and past transaction of properties.
The online portal will have an online fee calculator besides having details about stamp duties and other required documents for property registration. Under the new system, a limited number of people only will be given appointment for meeting revenue department officials and entry of unauthorised persons will be strictly restricted.
Explaining the new system, the Minister said people will be able to apply for registration of their properties by filling a form online following which they will be given appointment number, date and time for coming to the sub-registrar office of their choice.
“I admit there is corruption in the existing system. That is why we are making very significant systemic changes to put in place a transparent and people-friendly mechanism where there will be no room for touts,” Lovely, who is credited with bringing IT-application in transfer, postings, evaluation of performance for teachers when he was Education Minister, said.
“I am determined to rid the system of corruption and lacunae. The system we are brining will offer great relief to people who often faced lot of hardships in getting their properties registered,” he said.
The government has already introduced the new system of property registration in sub-registrar offices in Nangloi, Geeta Colony, Janakpuri, Libaspur, Majri and Bhalswa and by December, the facility will be made available in all the 13 sub-registrar offices.
“Once the online registration system is made available in all 13 sub-registrar offices, then people from any area of the city will be able to apply for registration of properties in any of the sub-registrar offices,” said Lovely.
He said the system will help the government plug revenue leakages as proper audit trail and cross verification of transaction would be ensured.
“We are aiming at totally transforming the existing system into a seamless system where people will be able to get their property registerd in a very nice environment,” said Lovely.
The government has already significantly improved infrastructure in six sub-registrar offices and gave them a very swanky look.
As part of reform initiative, the government last year had launched electronic-stamping facility to completely do away with stamp paper of all denominations.
May 21, 2013 Leave a comment
As per findings of Monster Employment Index India, which is a broad and comprehensive monthly analysis of online job demand in India, job opportunities across pan India are on a rise and major sectors such as BPO/ITES, Engineering & Construction, Education Healthcare, and Real Estate are showing a positive growth.
Here is a brief overview of the findings by the Monster Employment Index India, which is based on a real-time review of millions of employer job opportunities culled from a large representative selection of career websites and online job listings across India.
Occupation Year-Over-Year Trends:
Online demand improved in nine of 13 occupational groups monitored by the Monster Employment Index between April’12 and April’13.
Customer Service (up by 37 percent) followed by Arts (up 19 percent) and healthcare (up 18 percent) chartered the most substantial annual gains amongst the occupational group. While Senior Management (down by 46 percent) exhibited the steepest annual decline among occupation.
22 of the 27 industry sectors monitored by the Monster Employment Index registered expansion in online recruitment activity between April’12and April’13.
Agro based industries sector and Printing/ Packaging sector exhibited the highest annual growth among sectors. They were up by 45 percent and 41 percent respectively. While, Advertising, Market Research and Public Relations (PR) sector (up by 38 percent), showed positive growth in online recruitment activity between April’2012 and April’2013.
Production & Manufacturing and Oil/Gas/Petroleum/Power showed the steepest annual decline, as they were down by 11 percent.
Geographic year-over-year Trends:
Online recruitment activity was up for the year in all the 13 locations monitored by the index.
Jaipur witnessed the highest annual growth followed by Chandigarh. They were up by 34 percent and 25 percent respectively. Among major metro-areas, Kolkata (up by 14 percent) registered the highest annual growth.
May 21, 2013 Leave a comment
E-tail, similar to any brick and mortar shop, is about keeping the customer at the heart of the business. However, unlike traditional retail, e-commerce has been much less personal, forcing those supporting elements around customer engagement to become more critical.
From our vantage point at BLH, many newly formed e-commerce innovators are blending technology and marketing into customer-centric companies that hold great promise for us as investors and consumers. Specifically, we look to split our time looking at innovation taking place in the tools, platforms, and stores where engagement occurs.
TOOLS- Video is the needle-mover for driving awareness online
We see how important and successful the video experience can be for e-commerce growth. This tool helps a business close an engagement gap by creating a richer and more prolonged dialogue between the company, its products and the consumer. For example, one of our e-commerce portfolio companies, KontrolFreek (www.kontrolfreek.com) attributes 30 percent of its direct site traffic and sales directly to YouTube. This includes user-generated reviews as well as fan testimonials and unboxing videos. In fact, companies like Joyus (www.joyus.com) have taken video one step further, from being a tool to being their platform for commerce.
So far, major e-tailers have utilized this medium by simply bringing the traditional e-commerce experience onto the mobile device. However, real m-commerce growth lies with the companies most consumers do not even know about. These companies are currently building innovative mobile experiences to help retailers and customers engage bi-directionally for product discovery as well as facilitating the purchase.
STORES-Niches are huge
Department stores are dinosaurs and we believe the real opportunity at the e-tail store level is to satisfy the experience-craving consumer beyond the initial purchase. For example, one of our portfolio companies, Acumen Brands/Country Outfitter (www.countryoutfitter.com), found its niche in Western wear by creating an immersive visual brand for boots and coupling that with five million likes on Facebook. The community aspect of Country Outfitter combined with a consumer passion for boots has resulted in a very successful company.
For these reasons and more, we see great promise in e-commerce as an investment sector for us. Our operations experience in e-commerce gives us a very real perspective in our search for the tools, platforms and stores that enhance the online shopping experience and our portfolio of companies.
January 26, 2013 1 Comment
Since passwords have become an increasing problem for many, Google could be set to replace them entirely and is experimenting with USB keys, mobile phones and even jewellery that can act as a physical “key” to give users access to their account.
The search giant’s security bosses are set to publish their findings next month and say they could soon be commonplace.
The Yubikey, which is believed to have been tested by Google, can automatically log users onto all their accounts without ever asking for a password by placing it into a Google laptop.
The tiny key can be used in any machine with a USB drive, and acts as a physical “key” to unlock the user’s account.
It can automatically log users in to all of their accounts, and even into their favourite websites, without ever asking for a password.
In the upcoming issue of IEEE Security and Privacy Magazine, Google Vice President of Security Eric Grosse and engineer Mayank Upadhyay are set to detail what is basically a physical key with a “smart chip” embedded inside it.
“Along with many in the industry, we feel passwords and simple bearer tokens such as cookies are no longer sufficient to keep users safe,” the Daily Mail quoted the pair as writing in their paper, according to Wired.
The firm is also believed to be experimenting with wireless chips that are already built into some mobile phones, and can even be built in jewellery.
‘We’d like your smartphone or smartcard-embedded finger ring to authorize a new computer via a tap on the computer, even in situations in which your phone might be without cellular connectivity,’ the team write.
The firm is also believed to be addressing the obvious problem with the system – users losing their “key”.
The firm is thought to be developing a simple system to replace them.
The USB Keys can be placed on a keychains, and are similar to the ID readers required by many banks to allow people to log into their accounts
However, the pair admits that they will have to rely on websites to support the scheme.
The USB keys are resilient to being dropped, and can even be taken underwater without ruining them.
December 24, 2012 Leave a comment
You can still support small business
As more small businesses around the world create personal websites, you can now support your favorite tea shop in Maine or a bakery in Los Angeles without needing to be there in person. Though major online retailers like Amazon and eBay are consumer favorites, these virtual warehouses don’t have to be your only stop. Do a quick search for local stores you love, or that boutique you visited on vacation last year. You might be surprised at who has a website, and just how easily you can shop one-of-a-kind businesses from the comfort of home.
You’re more likely to find the product you actually wanted, at a good price
One of the biggest benefits you’re likely to see from a switch to online shopping is immediate access to the exact product you want, not simply what happens to be in stock at your local store. Consider for a moment how many times you may have made a specific purchase simply because it was your only available option. Rather than settling for what you can find at the strip mall down the street, online shopping allows you the freedom to only buy what you actually want.
Once you do locate the shirt, handbag, space heater or golf club of your dreams, you’re also more likely to find the best price online. Much like product selection, buying in-store can force you into paying more than you’d like, or can afford, simply because there is no other option. You’ll not only save cash in the moment, you’ll also be far less tempted to replace an item in the future for the one you really wanted.
Online stores are always open
If you work long hours or consider yourself on the nocturnal side, you’ve likely noticed that some businesses call it a night before you do, meaning a lunch-hour scramble is the only way to get shopping done. Rather than skipping a meal to snag the perfect holiday present, shop online when you want, for as long as you want. Internet retailers never close, meaning you’re free to browse whenever you can find the time.
You won’t waste gas
Another great benefit of shopping from home? You won’t use any gas. Each trip to the mall or individual stores around town costs you cash, draining your holiday budget before you get the chance to spend it! If you like to do comparison shopping, driving from store to store is not only a hassle, it’s a serious drain on your wallet. Skip the gas station for another few days by grabbing your gifts at an online retailer.
You won’t be influenced by a sales pitch
In-store advice can be great. If you have a question about a particular product on how it could benefit you, or how much it’ll cost you in the long run, a handy salesperson can quickly provide you with the answers you need. Unfortunately, that much-needed advice is also coming from someone invested in your immediate purchase of his or her product. If you know you fold under pressure and find yourself succumbing to a great pitch, then in-store shopping has probably cost you more money than necessary. Skip the impulse buys and unnecessary upgrades by going online. User reviews and product guides online are a great way to get practical advice on the things you want, and you’ll never have to face the dreaded sales pitch.
If you do want the in-store experience, or want to support a commission-based salesperson, do your research online before heading in. Knowing exactly what you do and don’t want – and what you can actually afford – is your best bet to resisting a tempting upgrade or “must-have” accessory.
Some of your favorite retailers may reduce prices on their most popular products, but only online. These web-only deals, most notably seen on “Cyber Monday,” are great ways to find hefty price cuts without the hassle of cut-throat Black Friday shopping. Plenty of retailers feature online-only deals throughout the year, so sign up for alerts from your favorite stores to be sure you catch the next sale.
The new mall
Online-only “stores,” where no physical retail location exists, likely have fewer costs to make up for with their product pricing. With no rent to pay on a storefront and no sales staff on the payroll, Internet-based stores can typically afford a moderate price reduction, giving them an edge over traditional retailers.
The bottom line
As the security of online shopping improves and Internet retailers increase their stock while decreasing prices, it’s becoming harder to find reasons not to cash in. Shopping online increases the chances you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for, and you’ll probably get a pretty good deal for it too. Along with saving gas, avoiding pushy salespeople and having 24/7 access to any store, it’s easy to see why online sales peak in the billions each year. Once you do find a great deal online, always remember to check for shipping costs and any additional fees that may be charged by the retailer. Chances are you’ll be thankful you skipped the mall.