Tag: india

India breaks record for most satellites launched at once

India has successfully launched 104 satellites at once using its Isro’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).

The Indians broke a record for the most satellites launched at once which was set by the Russians who launched 37 in one go in 2014.

PSLV-C37 carrying the 104 satellites lifted off from the first launch pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota at 9.28am. Seventeen minutes later, the rocket started placing the satellites into orbit, one by one with a time-frame of about 11 minutes.

Out of the total 104 satellites placed in orbit, 101 satellites belonged to six foreign countries. They included 96 from the US and one each from Israel, the UAE, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Kazakhstan.

PSLV first injected its main payload Cartosat- 2 series, India’s indigenously built earth observation satellite. It was followed by two other nanosatellites of Isro —- INS-1A and INS-1B.

Needless to say, the satellites were rather small nanosatellites but getting them all successfully deployed from one lift off was still a significant feat.

Mission director B Jayakumar said the launch involved complex issues in management and maneuvering to ensure nothing collided.

Director, Isro Satellite Centre Mayilsamy Annadurai said, “We can also hit centuries like our cricketers. In another two months, the number of satellites built by Isro will reach 100. Besides GSLV missions, we have get Chandrayan – 2 ready for launch next year.”

Among the foreign satellites, 88 cube satellites belonged to San Francisco-based earth imaging startup Planet. With the launch, the company has increased its fleet to 143 satellites which will soon begin capturing images of the earth’s entire landmass, including India, every day.
Eight other satellites belonging to Spire Global, US, will provide services for vessel tracking and weather measurement.

Indian outsourcers try to beat Trump

trumpuckerWorried that Donald “Prince of Orange” Trump is going to be a lot more protectionist about his tech visa programme India’s $150 billion IT services sector is going to speed up acquisitions in the United States and recruit more heavily from college campuses in the Land of the Fee.

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Infosys and Wipro have used H1-B skilled worker visas to fly computer engineers to the US for ages now. Staff from those three companies accounted for around 86,000 new H1-B workers in 2005-14. The US currently issues close to that number of H1-B visas each year.

However, given Trump’s election comments and his appointment of a long-time critic of the visa programme Jeff Sessions as Attorney General of Senator, many are expecting a tighter regime.

Pravin Rao, chief operating officer at Infosys said that the world was seeing a lot of protectionism coming in and push back on immigration.

“Unfortunately, people are confusing immigration with a high-skilled temporary workforce, because we are really a temporary workforce,” he said.

While few expect a complete shutdown of skilled worker visas as Indian engineers are an established part of the fabric of Silicon Valley,  it is being acknowledged that any changes will jack up the costs.

Rao said that the company must accelerate hiring of locals if they are available, and start recruiting freshers from universities there.

He said the new model will require the recruiting and training of freshers and gradually deploy them.

Trump’s election win and Britain’s referendum vote to leave the European Union are headwinds for India’s IT sector, as clients such as big U.S. and British banks and insurers hold off on spending while the dust settles.

Buying U.S. companies would help Indian IT firms build their local headcount, increase their on-the-ground presence in key markets and help counter any protectionist regulations.

Indian software services companies have invested more than $2 billion in the United States in the past five years. North America accounts for more than half of the sector’s revenue.

India tries to restore hacked embassy websites

15-days-yoga-meditation-and-trekking-retreat-in-the-indian-himalayasIndian officials are trying to restore the websites of seven Indian embassies in Europe and Africa that were hacked.

The websites saw their data put online, much to the country’s embarrassment.  The websites of Indian embassies in Italy, Switzerland, South Africa, Libya, Malawi, Mali and Romania were hacked by a crew who dubbed themselves Kaputsky and Kasimierz L.

External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup told reporters that it was “aware of the problem” and was trying to fix it.

Attempts were being made to track the IP addresses of the hackers, who posted online the names, email addresses, phone numbers and passport numbers of some embassy staff members.

This is the latest series of high-profile Indian websites to be hacked this year. Last month, Pakistan-based hackers targeted more than 7,000 Indian websites after India launched a series of attacks on terror camps in Pakistan. Also in October, the security of around 3.2 million debit cards in India was breached when hackers inserted malware through an ATM network.

India’s richest man launches free 4G service

mukesh-ambaniIndia’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani has launched a free 4G LTE network which will offer unlimited free voice calls forever to anyone who signs up for its services.

Ambani’s outfit Reliance Jio is claiming to offer the cheapest 4G LTE data rates in the world when it launches in three days’ time.

Jio’s network is being touted as the largest 4G LTE deployment anywhere in the world, Ambani said, adding that the network is also “future proof” with baked in support for upcoming 5G and 6G network technologies. It covers 18,000 Indian cities and over 200,000 remote areas. The company aims to extend the coverage to 90 percent of India’s population by next year.

“India and Indians cannot afford to be left behind. The era of paying for voice calls is ending,” he added.

Jio is offering the country’s 1.3 billion people free voice calls and data tariffs starting at 1GB of data at Rs 50 (75 cents).

The move will be kick in the nadgers for India’s biggest carriers — Airtel, Vodafone and Idea, which still make most of their revenues from voice calls. Voice calls on Airtel, for instance, still account for nearly two-thirds of its mobile revenues. While Airtel projects its share of data revenues will increase, Jio’s offer to give free voice calls has gotta hurt.


India to jail people for “looking” at a torrent

15-days-yoga-meditation-and-trekking-retreat-in-the-indian-himalayasThe Indian government has capitulated to the powerful Bollywood Big Content movement and is going to jail anyone who looks at a movie torrent.

The daftly autocratic pirate law is just what the US studios have always wanted but never been able to get Western governments to carry out – presumably because it would criminalise the entire country.

The Indian government has banned thousands of websites and URLs. But if you visit these blocked URLs and view or down one you may get three year jail sentence and a fine. Being in a chowki in India is no laughing matter dot com.

It gets worse if you visit a site which had one of the banned URLs because you could also be jailed. You don’t have to download a torrent file, and then the actual videos or other files, which might have copyright.

If you visit such a URL, you will be shown the following warning.

“This URL has been blocked under the instructions of the Competent Government Authority or in compliance with the orders of a Court of competent jurisdiction. Viewing, downloading, exhibiting or duplicating an illicit copy of the contents under this URL is punishable as an offence under the laws of India, including but not limited to under Sections 63, 63-A, 65 and 65-A of the Copyright Act, 1957 which prescribe imprisonment for three years and also fine of upto Rs. 3,00,000/-. Any person aggrieved by any such blocking of this URL may contact at urlblock@tatacommunications.com who will, within 48 hours, provide you the details of relevant proceedings under which you can approach the relevant High Court or Authority for redressal of your grievance”

It is not clear how the it will be enforced unless the Indian government is monitoring the whole world wide web, looking for people may access or try to access a blocked URL.

What appears to have triggered all this is that the Indian courts are issuing John Doe requests at the request of Bollywood film makers. The lawyers of film studios often approach courts ahead of a movie’s release seeking preventive blocks on the URLs they compile in the list.

But the lists are pants and some of the blocks are there because a site had a name which could be connected to the Bollywood film title. However, the courts do what they are told because Bollywood is just so damn powerful.

Once this order is issued, the copies of the order along with the list of URLs to be blocked go to DoT, which them passes an order to internet service providers to block these sites. Once a site is blocked it remains blocked even after the film has been released and has been forgotten.


India rejects Apple temples in its country

15-days-yoga-meditation-and-trekking-retreat-in-the-indian-himalayasIndia might have hundreds of thousands of temples, mosques and churches but it is saying no to the latest religion from the US because it is not cutting edge enough.

Apple was planning to build three of its temples of the holy cash pile in India, known as “Apple Stores” but the Indians have told the fruity cargo cult that it must meet a rule obliging foreign retailers to sell at least 30 percent locally-sourced goods.

This has poured cold water on Apple’s plans to use the Apple Stores as a base to rapidly convert the Indians away from their old gods and to something more consumer orientated. India’s smartphone market is still growing, while the rest of the world is losing interest.

A change in legislation last year exempted foreign retailers selling high-tech goods from the rule, which states 30 percent of the value of goods sold in the store should be made in India.

Apple’s products were not considered to be in this category and the company asked for a waiver. However for some reason the Cargo cult did not think that it needed to prove that it needed one. After all Apple is used to just telling governments what to do and they do it.

As a result the Indians looked at the application and rejected it.  The waiver is available only for investment in “state of the art” or “cutting-edge technology” an official said. Apple is apparently neither.

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi last Saturday. The trip was supposed set the stage for Apple’s expansion plans. Apple planned to open at least three stores in India by the end of 2017.


India’s Micromax suffers

15-days-yoga-meditation-and-trekking-retreat-in-the-indian-himalayasIndia’s Micromax which surprised the world by vaulting past Samsung to become India’s leading smartphone brand is in trouble.

Its market share has nearly halved, several top executives have resigned, and the company is looking for growth outside India.  Apparently it is being seen as a case study for those who try to make a quick buck off India’s hyper competative smartphone market.

India is the world’s fastest-growing smartphone market. Shipments of smartphones jumped 29 percent to 103 million units last year. This rapid growth created local brands, which outsourced production to Chinese manufacturers.

Now the Chinese are entering the Indian market with their own brands, depressing prices and forcing Indian mobile makers to rethink their plans.

Micromax was founded by four partners in 2000 but only began selling mobile phones in 2008. It built its market share by working with Chinese manufacturers such as Coolpad, Gionee and Oppo to offer affordable phones quickly. In 2015, it launched more than 40 new models.

In 2014, the founders brought in outside managers to lead the company at a time when Micromax was challenging Samsung to become the largest mobile phone maker in India.  However the new blood rowed with the founders and these conflicts undermined Micromax’s attempts to raise funds for expansion.

Last May, Alibaba walked away from a mooted $1.2 billion purchase of a 20 percent stake, citing a lack of clarity on growth plans. Now those executives who left said that the lack of fresh funding undermined a proposal by the new executives to move Micromax’s research and design operations, which had previously been outsourced, in-house.   The plan was to move away from making Android clones.

But all that folded and Micromax struggled to attract other investors who would have been key to Micromax’s plan to invest in software R&D and hardware design.

At least five senior executives have resigned since November. The latest was Vineet Taneja, chief executive since 2014, who quit last week.



LED lighting market takes off

LA lighting systemLED lighting will generate revenues of $25.7 billion this year but that’s only the start.

Market research firm Trendforce said that it will be worth $30.5 billion and while it accounts for 31 percent of the lighting market in 2015, that share will rise to 36 percent next year.

Joanne Wu, a research manager at Trendforce, said sharp price drops have hit the market for replacement LED light bulbs. So the companies are targeting large enterprises and commercial customers for growth.

Demand in the USA is particularly strong, said Wu, particularly in lighting for industry, horticulture and the maritime market.

New applications for LED lights include so called smart lighting and light communication.

India, she said, plans to buy 200 million LED light bulbs by the end of 2016.

India’s IT spending to hit $72.3 billion next year

Indian flagA report from Gartner said that IT spends in 2016 will rise 7.2 percent from 2015 and be worth an estimated $72.3 billion.

Gartner said spend on internet of things (IoT) hardware will exceed $2.5 million a minute next year.

Mike Harris, group vice president of Gartner, said his company believed that in five years a million new devices will go online every hour.

But the real value of the IoT for India is not in the data itself but in the algorithms that make sense of the billions of connections.

Gartner believes that India will be the fast growing IT market for the second year in a row. By the end of 2019, the market will be worth $87.67 billion in revenues and while India is the the third largest market in Asia Pacific, by 2019 it will be the second biggest market, with China in the lead.

Mobile phones will represent nearly a third of the overall IT spend in 2016.

Gartner is also predicting that data centres will grow by close to four percent next year, with much of the growth from enterprise equipment and servers.

Indian cloud service market worth close to $1 billion

cloudsPublic cloud services revenues in the sub-continent are set to generate $731 million by the end of this year, according to a report from market research outfit Gartner.

That’s an increase of $176 million from 2014 revenue, and the growth is being fuelled by sectors including infrastructure as a service (IaaS), cloud management and security services and software as a service (SaaS).

Gartner believes that by 2019 revenues from India will total $1.9 billion.

Sid Nag, a research director at the firm, said that the rapid growth of IaaS and SaaS shows that Indian enterprises are moving away from creating their own on premises infrastructure and shifting from the traditional software licensing model.

Gartner thinks that emerging markets including China and India will show real GDP growth from now through to 2017. But Brazil, Russia and Turkey will be exceptions because of currency fluctuations.