T24: India’s first unpaid mobile service

22 02 2011

The innovations in the telecom sector continues. Now we have India‘s first unpaid mobile connection service called T24 (TALK24). The service is brought by Tata Teleservices and Future Group, the retailer. The T24 service has been launched on the GSM platform and provides a two way benefit to the customers.

Elaborating on what the two way benefit is, Mayur Toshniwal, CEO, T24 said that through this service, customers will reap in shopping benefits as they talk and talk time benefits as they shop.

How the unpaid mobile connection will work is when customers shop at any outlet under the Future Group tag, they will be rewarded with free talk time for every purchase made above rs.small.jpg 351. A subscriber needs to have a T24 SIM card to avail the unpaid mobile services. The per-second rates for calls will be applicable for the T24 customers on the Tata Teleservices’ GSM network.

So the calculation here is simple. If you do a shopping of rs.small.jpg 3,001 in any Future Gropu store, you stand to get a free talk time of rs.small.jpg 150 on your T24 SIM card.

The stores covered under the Future Group chain include Big Bazaar, Pantaloons, Central, Brand Factory, Home Town, eZone and Aadhar, wherein you will get exclusive mobile connection and tariff plans under the T24 unpaid mobile service connection.

http://www.siliconindia.com/shownews/T24_Indias_first_unpaid_mobile_service-nid-77317.html





E-Waste Recycling: Startups-VCs confident, yet too many loopholes

23 12 2010

The green statement has been luring a lot of startup to get a pie in the market. The computing devices, electronic garbage that piles up in every company or even in homes, have always been a source of the quick cash and currently only five percent of it gets recycled in an organized way. In such a scenario, how would a company venturing into the realm bring in a better return on investment? Sachin Maheshwari, who has recently joined the boards of Zephyr Peacock as its Director quickly pinpoints, “The cost of the amount of recycled goods that comes out of a product covers all the recycling cost. Whether it’s metal or gold, the open market has a good price for it.” During his stints in Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Sachin himself was a part of one of the recycling startups.

E-Waste Recycling: Startups-VCs confident, yet too many loopholes

There are 58 million television units in India currently that will reach 234 million by 2015. By the end of 2010 there will be around 75 million computers in India from 15 million now since the life cycle of a PC has come down to 3-4 years from 7-8 years a few years back. Similarly, the Indian mobile handset market is set to zoom across the 100 million mark soon. E-waste management firms claim that now it is possible to recycle around 98 percent of a cellphone. If a general consensus on organized e-waste recycling is achieved then there is no looking back for any firm in this sector.

The main issue is the awareness and the urge to socially come to a conclusion. “One is paid for giving out the garbage to an unorganized recycler. Even if being socially conscious about pollution is kept on the sidelines for a minute, there are also issues on security. For instance, recently, many of the U.S. companies’ crucial data were found openly on an online site of Nigeria. This happens as there is no track of the products once it reaches the unorganized scrap dealers’ hands. Herein, the work of the organized recycling companies comes. We, for instance, use a specific technology to re-format the hard-disks to ensure no data can be retrieved from the product. Also the hazardous bi-products are disposed safely,” says Rohan Gupta, Co-founder of Attero Recycling. It serves more than 200 clients which include Wipro, HCL, Tata Tele Services, and Google among others. To some extent even electronic manufacturing firms have started taking a notice of the re-usability part. For instance, Nokia claims that 65-80 percent of the materials in their mobile phones can now be recycled and given a second life. Best practices can even recover 100 percent of the materials – partly as energy. The market is huge, yet till a complete agreement from every nook of the society comes it may not grow big.

A sneak view of the recent laws show that the government has introduced legal compliance whereby every company will have to give out the goods to the authorized recyclers. Yet till 2012, the law will not be implemented on a full force. As per Attero’s Founder, Nitin Gupta, the country may also be seen as a hub for e-waste management considering the fact that it takes to recycle a single PC in India compared to in U.S. But will it happen before 2012, chances seem to be meek.

http://www.siliconindia.com/shownews/EWaste_Recycling_StartupsVCs_confident_yet_too_many_loopholes-nid-76006.html





India to study impact of mobile towers on birds, bees

4 09 2010

India will study the harmful impact of mobile phone towers on birds and bees, with the environment ministry constituting a committee that is also tasked with formulating guidelines on their installation.

The 10-member committee has been constituted under the chairmanship of Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) director Asad Rahmani and it will submit its report in six months. The committee will suggest measures to address the problem.

impact-of-mobile-towers_2.jpg

“The expert group will access the level of possible impact of growth of mobile towers in urban, sub-urban and forest areas on the population of birds and bees,” a statement from the ministry said.

The expert group will review all studies in India and abroad on the ill effects of mobile towers in animal, birds and insects.

“The team will also formulate guidelines for regulating the large scale installation of mobile towers in the country,” the statement said.

A recent study by scientists from Punjab University revealed that radiation from mobile towers affect the population and breeding of bees.

http://www.siliconindia.com/shownews/India_to_study_impact_of_mobile_towers_on_birds_bees-nid-71281.html





Nasscom launches cyber lab in Hyderabad

30 08 2010
As an attempt to aid the police officers to tackle cyber crimes, Nasscom together with Data Security Council of India (DSCI) has launched a Cyber Lab to train police officers in tackling rising cyber crimes. The initiative is sponsored by Andhra Bank.Inaugurating the lab, Andhra Pradesh Director General of Police R.R. Girish Kumar said it was aimed at building the capacity of the criminal justice system and upgrade the skills of the investigating officers dealing with the cyber crime.

The skills of the investigating officers will be upgraded with required technical inputs and investigation techniques, he said. He added that the lab would meet a long felt critical gap in functioning of the Crime Investigation Department (CID).

He noted that along with cyber lab, a digital investigation lab and a cyber police station have also come up in the same premises.

Technology related crime relating to mobile phones, Internet and e-mail proving a great challenge to law enforcement agencies in tackling terrorism, organized crime and several other offences, Girish Kumar said.

Member companies of Nasscom will support the initiative and the Cyber Lab also can leverage the expertise of the Cyber Cell in the CID.

The lab will act as nodal centre in Andhra Pradesh to conduct awareness programmes and upgrade the skills of, not only the police officers, but also of officers from prosecution, judiciary and other government departments, apart from industry personnel.

Pratap Reddy, Director, Cyber Security, Nasscom said it was the seventh cyber lab in the country. He said the lab would also work to create awareness across state about growing menace of cyber crime and how to take precautions to handle crime.

Nasscom Executive Council member B.V.R. Mohan Reddy said the lab would help addressing the challenge posed by the cyber crime. He underlined the need for creating awareness and bringing a regulation to check the rising cyber crime.

http://www.siliconindia.com/shownews/Nasscom_launches_cyber_lab_in_Hyderabad-nid-71093.html





Nasscom launches cyber lab in Hyderabad

30 08 2010

As an attempt to aid the police officers to tackle cyber crimes, Nasscom together with Data Security Council of India (DSCI) has launched a Cyber Lab to train police officers in tackling rising cyber crimes. The initiative is sponsored by Andhra Bank.

Inaugurating the lab, Andhra Pradesh Director General of Police R.R. Girish Kumar said it was aimed at building the capacity of the criminal justice system and upgrade the skills of the investigating officers dealing with the cyber crime.

The skills of the investigating officers will be upgraded with required technical inputs and investigation techniques, he said. He added that the lab would meet a long felt critical gap in functioning of the Crime Investigation Department (CID).

He noted that along with cyber lab, a digital investigation lab and a cyber police station have also come up in the same premises.

Technology related crime relating to mobile phones, Internet and e-mail proving a great challenge to law enforcement agencies in tackling terrorism, organized crime and several other offences, Girish Kumar said.

Member companies of Nasscom will support the initiative and the Cyber Lab also can leverage the expertise of the Cyber Cell in the CID.

The lab will act as nodal centre in Andhra Pradesh to conduct awareness programmes and upgrade the skills of, not only the police officers, but also of officers from prosecution, judiciary and other government departments, apart from industry personnel.

Pratap Reddy, Director, Cyber Security, Nasscom said it was the seventh cyber lab in the country. He said the lab would also work to create awareness across state about growing menace of cyber crime and how to take precautions to handle crime.

Nasscom Executive Council member B.V.R. Mohan Reddy said the lab would help addressing the challenge posed by the cyber crime. He underlined the need for creating awareness and bringing a regulation to check the rising cyber crime.

http://www.siliconindia.com/shownews/Nasscom_launches_cyber_lab_in_Hyderabad-nid-71093.html





Now, make phone calls from your Gmail account

30 08 2010
Google will now facilitate Gmail users to call telephones directly from their email. It will be in direct competition with Skype and traditional operators like AT&T and Verizon Communications.After offering computer-to-computer voice and video chat services, Google will now allow calls to home phones and mobile phones directly from Gmail. Calls to the U.S. and Canadian phones from Gmail would be free of cost this year and for calls to other countries, there would be certain charges fixed at a lower rate. Google said calls to Britain, France, Germany, China and Japan would be as low as 2 cents per minute.

According to analysts, this service would likely be a bigger competitive threat to services like Skype’s than to traditional phone companies, which have already been cutting their call prices in recent years in response to stiff competition.

“This is a risk to Skype. It’s a competitor with a pretty good brand name,” said Hudson Square analyst Todd Rethemeier. Like Skype, Rethemeier said the Google service will likely be much more popular among U.S. consumers making international calls, than among people calling friends inside the country.
http://www.siliconindia.com/shownews/Call_from_Gmail_Google_will_now_allow_it-nid-70998.html





Now, make phone calls from your Gmail account

30 08 2010

Google will now facilitate Gmail users to call telephones directly from their email. It will be in direct competition with Skype and traditional operators like AT&T and Verizon Communications.

After offering computer-to-computer voice and video chat services, Google will now allow calls to home phones and mobile phones directly from Gmail. Calls to the U.S. and Canadian phones from Gmail would be free of cost this year and for calls to other countries, there would be certain charges fixed at a lower rate. Google said calls to Britain, France, Germany, China and Japan would be as low as 2 cents per minute.

Call-from2.jpg

According to analysts, this service would likely be a bigger competitive threat to services like Skype’s than to traditional phone companies, which have already been cutting their call prices in recent years in response to stiff competition.

“This is a risk to Skype. It’s a competitor with a pretty good brand name,” said Hudson Square analyst Todd Rethemeier. Like Skype, Rethemeier said the Google service will likely be much more popular among U.S. consumers making international calls, than among people calling friends inside the country.
http://www.siliconindia.com/shownews/Call_from_Gmail_Google_will_now_allow_it-nid-70998.html





Opportunistic Computing A New Paradigm

21 08 2010


Opportunistic Computing A New Paradigm -By-Mohan Hebbar
Three billion – that is the estimated number of cell phones in the world by the end of 2010. That number excludes other types of access technologies and deployed sensors. The average performance of a cell phone processor is 100 MIPS and communication is at 200 kbps. However one calculates it, three billion cell phones pack in an enormous amount of computing power, memory space, and energy that can be shared in a collaborative way; in a manner that is representative of distributed computing, albeit in a different paradigm. Often referred to as opportunistic computing, this concept actually meshes well with the phenomenon of social networking that has taken the Internet world by storm.

Before we decipher opportunistic computing, let us start by looking at emerging technology applications. LAN, WAN, and CAN are acronyms that we use as part of our language. Add one more, BAN, for Body Area Network, is a network of inter-communicating sensors and mobile devices that are wearable or implanted in the human body in order to monitor vital parameters and transmit the information to a ‘home base station’ and in turn to a hospital. Is it not a set of applications that can heuristically, or through a defined method, assess the lifestyle of a human being? Imagine the volume and kinds of data that can be collected, thereby leading to various business applications including personal care, medical insurance, medical drug research, and so on? One could also include retail data that helps understand buying patterns, hence, consumer behavior and associated market research.

The world is brimming with cell phones, static and mobile sensors, and vehicles with sensing and computing resources. Along with device capabilities, the access technologies available are Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Wi-MAX, cellular, RFID, and NFC. Stepping back, we can see the opportunity of ‘unlimited’ pair-wise contacts. Opportunistic computing exploits the communication between a pair of devices enabling possible sharing of content, resources, and services. If we take into account the numbers mentioned earlier on the performance of a cell phone processor (100 MIPS) and communication speed (200 kbps), then exploiting the opportunistic contacts can offer the potential to perform at approximately one quadrillion processing tasks and a data exchange in the order of petabytes per second; undoubtedly, a stupendous amount of power. While we have the network infrastructure and computing power, it is up to application scenarios we draw to exploit the existing and ever evolving infrastructure.

So, to reiterate, opportunistic computing is essentially a distributed computing paradigm of a wired network with challenges of intermittent connectivity and delay tolerance. In this paradigm, all pervasive and available communication opportunities are exploited to provide computing services to meet application needs by leveraging available computing resources that are available in the reachable environment.

Challenges of Opportunistic Computing
Getting a bit more specific, if two devices need to perform a collaborative task, they need to know each other’s resources and each other’s shareable services. This specificity at a high-level opens up yet another challenge of trusted collaboration unlike traditional security solutions that have a centralized authority to certify the trustworthiness. The approach will be different in the sense that it requires ‘on the fly’ authentication with ‘any devices’ that can come in the vicinity of another device making use of resources, though the complexity may be eased if it is within an enterprise network. Creating a distributed computing environment where devices could be ‘alien’, can come and go in the vicinity, poses an unstable network and has been a significant area of research.

Primary Challenges of Opportunistic Computing

They are of three types:

* Connectivity: Connectivity would be intermittent due to lack of prior knowledge, location, time, and bandwidth of any contacts. This situation is an area for exploration in terms of routing methods at higher layers, as well as a different way of design of middleware to hide the lower layer complexity.

* Delay Tolerance: While delay tolerance network is one of key focus in distributed computing, in opportunistic computing, a relook is necessary in terms of caching mechanisms and methods of remote service execution as in service discovery, execution, and management.
* Heterogeneity: There is a plethora of devices with many different kind of access methods at different radio frequencies and inter-operability will pose challenges for exploiting opportunistic computing applications.

Research Challenges
The paradigm we are envisioning leverages opportunistic computing infrastructure and exploits the social networking application era. We see that the business model is moving towards user centricity from network centricity. As said earlier, imagine the amount of computing power, memory, energy, and storage capacity at hand and leveraging it for social networking applications.

* Middleware: Middleware services need to manage data, services, resources, and more importantly trust, security, and privacy. Middleware will have to manage the concept of reputation of the device, akin to human behavior that looks for reputation before collaborating with another human. So, middleware will have to embed and maintain the users’ social behavior to increase the efficiency of security. General services as in information acquisition and dissemination, message handling, and resource management are an interesting challenge to overcome in a heterogeneous environment. Another area of research is to bring in fault tolerant concept in an intermittent connectivity situation.

* Information management: Given that a device can be both a producer and consumer at a fast pace when in contact, fundamental issues will be, what to store, where to store, and how to acquire relevant information with minimal delays and retry.

* Context awareness: Context is very relevant for searching the network, given that devices would be in transient community and an element of temporary trust establishment is required. Researchers do propose ‘social cache’ with a logical collective view of device in a given social group. An effective way of using social cache is an area of research that is actively pursued in the industry.

* Resource Management: Primarily three resources are being focused on to manage in opportunistic computing. 1) Available bandwidth and associated time window, 2) memory and buffer space within the device, and 3) energy management as to how to minimize the data transfer and utilize the local available memory.

* Economic Model: The question is why one would be good enough to share one’s available resources with others, when every resource is critical in a device. However, in a rational world of community, specifically in social networking, the expectation is that participants co-operate and this characteristic becomes important to evolve a viable economic model in the electronic social network.

* Applications: Many critical applications areas can benefit from opportunistic computing that can be a challenge to the traditional network or within the existing state-of-the-art network infrastructure.

* Crisis Management: Unplanned, disruptive events can be managed by opportunistic computing leveraging the available network infrastructure and crisis management applications deployed in all devices as a mandatory service.

* Intelligent Transport System: Vehicular ad-hoc networks can be exploited to increase traffic efficiency and safety through collaborative communication between devices in the near vicinity and transported to back-haul traffic management carriers. Other applications in association with location based systems and entertainment offerings can also prove viable businesses.

Opportunistic computing is bound to become a reality, given the current growth in the variety of devices and the rate at which they are getting deployed, be they cellular phones, end devices with short range communications, or M2M devices in a static or dynamic world of sensor network or ad-hoc network.

It cannot be denied that we would require more reliable, secure, and delay-tolerant computing infrastructure upon which the opportunistic computing paradigm can be implemented. The solution is not ready yet, but it will be. For opportunistic computing primarily exploits human social behavior to build an electronic social device network for a more effective pervasive computing.

Thanks:http://www.siliconindia.com/guestcontributor/guestarticle/365/Opportunistic_Computing_A_New_Paradigm_Mohan_Hebbar.html





How Mobile Phones Are Transforming Indian Agriculture

21 08 2010

For decades Santosh Ostwal obsessed over an obscure problem: how to make it easier for Indian farmers to water their crops.

As a kid in 1981, Ostwal would watch his one-legged grandfather make the one-mile trek out to his fields to irrigate his land. It was arduous and repetitive; access to electricity and water was sporadic. Now an engineer, Ostwal has finally solved his grandfather’s problem with a phone-controlled water pump-starter called the Nano Ganesh. It’s an elegant example of how mobile phones are being used in the developing world in incredibly innovative ways.

Here’s how the Nano Ganesh works. A farmer purchases the device for between $12 and $268, depending on the model. The device is then connected both to a mobile phone and the electric water pump. Once it’s set up, the farmer just needs to call that phone and enter a code to get it going. No cell service? No problem. Ostwal also made a remote control. He claims the water, electricity and time savings can cover the cost of the device in 11 days. But creating the device was far from easy, Ostwal told The Economist recently:

My wife is an electronics engineer. She used to assemble all the things in our bedroom. I used to play the things all over the day on the farm. She used to work during night. I used to come home at midnight or 2 or even 3 o’clock. She would ask me, ‘Tomorrow morning which tool do you want to take away with you?’ In my sleep, I would hand over some modifications to her and tell her to make that prototype in time for my early morning visit at 6. And my wife did it at 3 o’ clock in the morning with two kids beside her – one is of 3 years and the other of one year.

In 2009, the invention won the top prize in a global mobile innovation contest run by Nokia.

But Ostwal isn’t the only one using mobile phones in innovative ways. Earlier this year, an Indian economic policy think tank released what the Indian daily business newspaper The Economic Times called “the first ever paper” to explore the impact of mobile information services on farming.

The authors of the 53-page study (pdf) interviewed farmers and fishermen in mostly rural parts of India. (Of the 187 farmers interviewed, every last one had a mobile phone.) While the authors found that the full potential of mobile phones has yet to be realized, they included some examples of how the information services are already saving — and making — farmers relatively huge amounts of money.

Jagadeesh, a 40-year-old farmer with a middle school level education, shares a 9-acre farm with his two brothers in a village in the state of Rajasthan. One information service, the IKSL, helped save him from losing half his crop:

This farmer acted on timely weather information received through IKSL to protect a harvested crop (Gwar – used as livestock fodder) that was lying on the ground exposed to the rains. He estimates that, but for this ability to act, he would have lost 50 per cent of this crop, resulting in a loss of between Rs.5,000 and Rs.6,000 [$107 to $128].

He also increased his annual earnings by 25 percent — $535 — thanks to the farming and disease control techniques he learned from the service’s regular messages.

And there are new promising programs, too. Tata, the definition of a multinational conglomerate, has begun testing a service that allows farmers to send photos of diseased crops to experts directly from their phones. Another company, ITC Limited, set up “Tradersnet,” a virtual commodity exchange that connects producers and wholesale purchasers of coffee:

SMS messages are sent to users’ mobile phones every morning with the offers and grades available for purchase on that day. At the end of the day, users receive a text message with details of what actually took place.

And, unlike other kinds of tech, the advantages of mobile phones in agriculture aren’t limited to the wealthy. As the study’s author’s conclude: “[E]ven in the case of poor farmers facing significant constraints, we found that there were still opportunities to realise productivity gains from the adoption of new farming practices and actions to mitigate crop losses.”

Thanks:http://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2010/08/how-mobile-phones-are-transforming-indian-agriculture/61394/





Quick Heal unveils world’s first mobile virus scan

13 08 2010

Anti-virus solution provider Quick Heal has unveiled PC2Mobile Scan, claimed to be the world’s first mobile phone virus scan, in Kerala.

Company director and chief technology officer, Sanjay Katkar, said that by using ‘PC2Mobile Scan Technology’ one can easily find out if the mobile phone has any virus infection. The mobile can be connected to the PC or laptop using USB cable and scan the phone from Quick Heal Total Security 2010 installed on the PC’, he said.

Quick-Heal2.jpg

If the PC or laptop is Bluetooth enabled and if the mobile phone is Bluetooth enabled, then the mobile phone can also be scanned over Bluetooth connection, he said.

Currently Quick Heal has more than 30 percent market share in the Indian Anti Virus Market, he said.

Quick Heal’s vice president – sales & marketing, Abhijit Jorvekar said smart phones would pose greater security risk to corporations as these are given abilities to access corporate networks in real time just as laptops.

“This presents hackers and cyber criminals with wider opportunity to use smart phones to compromise corporate network and access sensitive data. This is going to be a big challenge for corporate security in coming days,” he said.

PC2Moblie scan feature detects all mobile platform viruses (platforms like Symbian OS, Windows Moblie OS and other Linux based mobile OS) and supports scanning of mobile phone based on Symbian operating system, Windows Operating System and also supports proprietary mobile firmware for various makes available from vendors like Sony Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung, LG, Panasonic, Motorola, O2, IMate, HP, HTC and Siemens.

http://www.siliconindia.com/shownews/Quick_Heal_unveils_worlds_first_mobile_virus_scan-nid-70599.html








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