“Can India reach new heights in space research with the successful launch of Chandrayaan 2?”

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

N Adarsh Varma, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur.

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On 56th Independence Day, August 15 2003, our Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had announced that “Our country is now ready to fly high in the field of science. I am pleased to announce that India will send her own spacecraft to the moon by 2008. It is being named Chandrayaan-1”.

Chandrayaan-1 was India’s first lunar probe. It was launched by the Indian Space Research Organization in October 2008, and was operated until August 2009. The mission included a lunar orbiter and an impactor. The mission was a success and made India to stand along with the top advanced countries in space research like US, Russia etc.

Now India wanted to explore its potential further by launching Chandrayaan 2. The Chandrayaan 2, India’s second mission to the Moon, is an advanced version of the previous Chandrayaan-1 mission. It consists of an Orbiter, Lander and Rover configuration. The Orbiter carries the combined stack up to moon till the Lunar Orbit Insertion (LOI). The combined stack is then inserted into a lunar orbit of 100 km x 100 km. The Lander is separated from the Orbiter in this orbit.

The Orbiter with scientific payloads will orbit around the moon. The Lander will soft land on the Moon at a specified site and deploy the Rover. The scientific payloads on board the Orbiter, Lander and Rover are expected to perform mineralogical and elemental studies of the lunar surface.

During 2010, it was agreed that Russian Space Agency ROSCOSMOS would be responsible for lunar Lander and ISRO will be responsible for Orbiter and Rover as well as Launch by GSLV. Later, due to a shift in the programmatic alignment of this mission, it was decided that the Lunar Lander development would be done by ISRO and Chandrayaan-2 will be totally an Indian mission taking a little help from the NASA.

We can expect that if the Chandrayaan 2 is a success then India will be above par in comparison with the other countries in relation to space research and can achieve new heights in the near future.

Cashless Toll Plazas: FASTag

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Mudit Singhal, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur


National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is set to provide cashless payment at 275 toll plazas using mechanism (FASTag). This would in effect from Monday.India currently has 350 toll plazas through which FASTag would enable vehicular movement almost non-stop and convenience of cashless payments of toll fee with nationwide inter operability. FASTag would be in place across 350 plazas in India by this year.

FASTag users would be provided with 10% cashback which would be credited back to the users account at the beginning of the next month. NHAI has partnered with ICICI Bank and Axis Bank with one-time registration fee of Rs 200 for FASTag which would be affixed on wind screen using RFID technology.

FSTag would be availabe on selected toll plazas on National Highways and designated bank branches of partner banks.

Cashless payments would enable faster vehicular movement and foster growth across sectors.

References:

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/51909252.cms

After OLA,Uber its Jugnoo to remove price surge

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.
Tamas Oberoi, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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On demand auto aggregator app Jugnoo discontinued surge pricing in Delhi following orders from the government to stop its practice in the wake of the second phase of the odd-even scheme. This comes close on the heels of announcements made by rivals Ola and Uber suspending surge pricing in the city
Surge pricing is a standard practice across different industries and it is no different with app-based transport aggregators. However, they came to this decision following the general commotion ensued by the transport aggregator ecosystem.

Surcharging is based on the fundamental demand and supply concept of economics, where it is up to consumers whether or not they want to pay more for a service  if its demand is higher. This also helps in prioritizing travel, which means that only people who really need the service will use it by paying a higher price and the rest will find other ways of commuting .
Surcharge is part of any business model and permanently banning it will negatively impact these companies. A better way to handle the situation would be to put a cap on the surge amount rather than banning them completely.

Startups brace for second round of layoffs

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Mudit Singhal, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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Indian startups are expected to handout punk slips to hundreds of more employees this year as they brace themselves for another year of drastic belt-tightening owing to pressure from investors to restructure operations. most of these job cuts are results of increasing automation of daily routine tasks and mergers and acquisitions both past and anticipated by industry experts for this year.

For investors, it brings them more than one reason to cheer: In addition to lowering expenses for startups, the layoffs will force firms to focus on hiring high-value experts having niche skills crucial to advancing growth.

Sanpdeal, Zomato and Cardekho have axed employees over the past eight months to minimize costs and foster healthier balance sheets for the financial year of 2015-16. As Employee costs form a major portion of about 35% of cash burn rate at startups as per industry experts, this was bound to happen as VC’s who had invested huge sum of money have  now started to doubt over returns they would get from these startups. Foodpanda, Commonfloor are also on the list of statups who have laid off employess in past year.

Well, all this makes talks about E-commerce bubble bursting someday more sensible and frequent.

References:

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/51870626.cms

 

“Can chatbots replace apps in future?”

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

N Adarsh Varma, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur.

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The Apps era has led to a massive change in the usage of smartphone. Many Smartphone Users feel that the apps have made their life easier to live. But there has been a change in the way we perceive things and Facebook had brought this change by launching chatbots in the messenger.

The bot era has officially begun. Facebook had announced tools for developers to build bots inside Facebook Messenger, bringing a range of new functions to the popular communication app. Facebook believes Messenger can become a primary channel for businesses to interact with their customers, replacing 1-800 numbers with a mix of artificial intelligence and human intervention. If it really works then bots could represent a major new channel for commerce, customer support, and possibly even media and also can be expected to replace apps in future.

The Facebook had already started using the bots with a few partners like Uber, Lyft and KLM, but the latest announcement means that a lot more businesses are about to join the party. One might expect that the bots developed are for customer support or tracking online orders although it can certainly be used for that too but these chatbots are targeted to offer services that range from delivering top news stories to the local weather. The two of its launch partners are a CNN news bot and Poncho, a weather bot that masquerades as a friendly cat.

The question now arises is how to find them. First, you have to download the latest version of Messenger — it should be available on both Android and iOS. Once you launch the app, you’ll find that there’s now a persistent search bar at the top. Tap it and you can start searching for your bot of choice. Once you select a bot, you’ll see a splash page along with a description of what the bot does. Underneath is a “Get started” button. Hit that and the bot will start talking to you.

The tools announced at the company’s F8 developer conference include an API that allows developers to build chat bots for Messenger and chat widgets for the web. Facebook is not the first company to release a bot store for its messaging app. There is a bot store on Telegram and on Kik, which opened its store just last week before this conference. What mainly distinguishes the Facebook’s Store is the amount of scale i.e., more than 900 million people use Messenger every month, dwarfing most of its competitors. For millions of people, Messenger could be the first place they ever encounter a chat bot. And if people embrace bots in large numbers, it could trigger the biggest gold rush in software development since Apple opened the App Store.

Microsoft is already making a substantial move on bots. It had announced its own bot platform during its Build developer conference. Over $80 million has been allocated to spur the development of bots and other utilities that run inside the service.

This shows that in the future the bots play a crucial role in our life similar to the apps playing now in our life. Thanks to the development in technology, we can expect that the chatbots will replace the apps in a smartphone in future because of their comfort in use.

“Augmented Reality – a real life experience in digital world: Can it be our future?”

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

N Adarsh Varma, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur.

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It can be said that the augmented reality is the integration of digital information with the user’s environment in real time. Unlike virtual reality, which creates a totally artificial environment, augmented reality uses the existing environment and overlays new information on top of it. Augmented reality blurs the line between what’s real and what’s computer-generated by enhancing what we see, hear, feel and smell. Augmented reality is a bit closer to the real world and adds graphics, sounds, haptic feedback and smell to the natural world as it exists.

Augmented reality apps are written in special 3-Dimensional programs that allow the developer to tie animation or contextual digital information in the computer program to an augmented reality “marker” in the real world. When a computing device’s Augmented Reality app or browser plug-in receives digital information from a known marker, it begins to execute the marker’s code and layer the correct image or images. Augmented Reality applications for smartphones typically include global positioning system (GPS) to pinpoint the user’s location and its compass to detect device orientation. Sophisticated Augmented Reality programs used by the military for training may include machine vision, object recognition and gesture recognition technologies.

The latest usage of the augmented reality is the SixthSense augmented reality system which allows you to project a phone pad onto your hand and phone a friend without removing the phone from your pocket. The Google glass can also be considered as an aspect of implementing augmented reality where the Google glass is a wearable computer that responds to your touch and voice commands.

Recently, in the 10 year laid out plan of Facebook, even CEO Mark Zuckerberg is concentrating on the implementation of the Augmented Reality where he mentioned that today to show Facebook photos to friends, we whip out our tiny phones but in the future he mentioned that we can simply unfurl a digital screen of unlimited size.

Once implementation of the augmented reality is a success then the future can be expected to be bright because of the thrilling experience and its vast uses in many fields. Hence, we can look forward that the augmented reality can be our future where users can feel the real life experience in the digital world.

Last mile deliveries: Mumbai Dabbawalas to deliver e-commerce products

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Ruchi Patel, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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Mumbai dabbawalas have earned a reputation of having one of the most efficient delivery system in the world. More than a century old Dabbawala System has been awarded a six sigma performance rating by the Havard Business Review magazine for its astonishing service accuracy rate. Their results are spectacular: “one error in every 8 million deliveries.” Business schools, Universities and Corporate from all over the world invite Dabbawalas to give lecture on their Management skills. Even Prince Charles and Richard Branson have applauded their management skills.

Dabbawalas are certified to the international standard: ISO 9001 in recognition of their reliable quality management system.

Indian e-commerce industry is trying to the most remote corners of the country. The growth of e-commerce industry in India has been phenomenal in last 3 years.

April last year, the e-commerce firm Flipkart tied up with them for the last-mile delivery of their products in Mumbai. The e-commerce firm was keen, according to the Mumbai Dabbawala Association, to tap into the deliverymen’s efficiency. In the initial days of the tie-up, after a quick training, a few dabbawalas made the deliveries post 6 pm on their bicycles.

Mumbai dabbawallas haven’t quit their traditional deliveries of tiffin-boxes. Once their main chores are over by 6 PM, they pick Flipkart’s deliveries, and between 6-10 PM, they convert into delivery boys’ for them. Initially, Dabbawallas faced transporting issues, as delivering on cycles was taking too much time. However, now, they have been provided with bikes, and thus, the delivery capacity has certainly increased.

As of now, each dabbawalla is delivering around 15 parcels a day. Soon, more bikes are being procured for the dabbawallas, so that the deliveries can happen faster. The success is now inspiring Flipkart to ask dabbawallas to deliver fresh fruits, vegetables and other grocery items as well, which require instant deliveries.

Subhash Talekar, the general secretary of the Mumbai Dabbawala Association said, “The only trouble is most dabbawalas can’t read in English. Hence, only a few are delivering products currently. But as younger people join our workforce, dabbawalas more comfortable with the English language can do more deliveries.”  Considering that every ecommerce portal stores their customers’ information in English, the address labels on the parcels are also written in English.

Flipkart’s crowd-sourcing model has delivery personnel on a specialised delivery programme, post extensive background verifications, and they are free to take up deliveries as per their convenience, the firm said.

It will reduce the delivery process by enabling these personnel to directly collect the package from the local seller and deliver it to the buyer, a step that will reduce order to delivery time to as little as three to four hours.

Crowd sourcing can lead to interesting developments in the success story of the e-commerce giant.

“Can the low cost Electric Car be the best car for Masses?”

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

N Adarsh Varma, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur.

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After 10 years of waiting, the CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk has revealed the Model 3 which he hopes will take the electric car to the masses. Even the CEO has confirmed that the base car will do 0-60 mph in less than 6 seconds and the car will deliver at least 215 miles up on single charge, but Teals hopes to exceed those numbers in the final car. It can be observed that the Model 3 also supports Tesla’s high-speed Supercharging network which enables it to charge instantly. It can be seen that the Autopilot hardware is standard, and all safety features will be active automatically. Considering the seating arrangement, it can accommodate five adults to fit in comfortably.

The two current Tesla vehicles, the Model S and Model X, are both extremely expensive. Even with tax incentives, both cars easily cost up to $100,000 which cannot be purchased by the normal people apart from a niche market. So in order for Tesla to sell ten times as many cars as it does now, it came up with a much cheaper automobile, the Model 3 which costs around $35,000. It can be considered as the future of the company since it is targeting a large number of people.

The Tesla Motors Co. had secured about 180,000 reservations during the first day of ordering for the Model 3 but the car would be available on sale at the end of next year i.e., 2017. Even the Chief Executive Elon Musk referred this small electric car as the capstone of a “secret master plan” that was crafted years ago to popularize electric cars.

Tesla’s new car will hit the market as its bigger rivals begin to launch cars that could more directly compete. General Motors Co. aims to launch an electric small car, Chevy Bolt later this year, capable of 200 miles on a charge and a price, after tax incentives, of around $30,000 and Volkswagen AG’s Audi brand is planning an electric sport utility which can capture the market targeted by the Tesla People. This shows that the market for the electric cars can be estimated to increase in the future and these electric cars can be the future of the automobile industry and can be the best suited car for many people.

“Can 100% FDI in multi-brand processed food retailing help farmers in India?”

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

N Adarsh Varma, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur.

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Food processing industry in India has gained prominence in the recent years and is poised to attain greater heights. This sector serves as a vital link between the agriculture and industrial segments of the economy, which needs to be strengthened in the future in order prevent the wastage of valuable resources.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) is an international financial flow with the intention of controlling or participating in the management of an enterprise in a foreign country. FDI in the food retail sector can expand markets by reducing transaction and transformation costs of business through adoption of advanced supply chain and benefit consumers and suppliers i.e. the farmers. India being the second most populated country in the world, has immense scope for retail expansion as along with time, urbanization and consumerism has also been increasing.

The likely changes in the food industry are Technology transfers, Harmonization, Mergers and Acquisitions, Public-Private Partnerships, Expansion into other segments like food packaging industry, storage industry and transportation industry etc., Employment generation and Training and Development.

As our Finance Minister Arun Jaitley pointed in his budget speech that “Hundred per cent FDI will be allowed through FIPB (Foreign Investment Promotion Board) route in marketing of food products produced and manufactured in India.”

The 100% FDI in food retailing can help farmers to get remunerative prices for their products, transfer of technology and modern agricultural practices required for producing agricultural produce on a large scale to meet the requirements of organized marketing. Also, 100% FDI can contribute to bring in higher efficiency in food processing industry and trade, which can make our food products more competitive in the international markets.

Many states will also benefit from this initiative. Consider for example, Kerala is a significant producer of pineapple, banana and jack fruit but majority of it are now going unprocessed. It is because the market is dominated by the non-brand players and with the implementation of this initiative many international brands like Lays can purchase fruits from these farmers and use them for launching new products which will affect the local players but is good for the economy in the long run.

The international players like Walmart can have big advantage as they are currently operating wholesale stores in India. The president and chief executive of Walmart India has pointed out that the move is “very progressive and will help in reducing wastage, helping farm diversification and encourage industry to produce locally within the country.”

This initiative can have a minor disadvantage of neglecting the local players but can cater to a huge advantage of increasing the productivity and contributing to the economic development of the farmers which outweighs the disadvantages and can be a huge success.

“Can Eagle-360 be a break through for the Autonomous Cars?”

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

N Adarsh Varma, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur.

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An autonomous car which is also known as a driver-less car or self-driving car or robotic car is a vehicle that is capable of sensing its environment and navigating without human input. Autonomous vehicles detect surroundings using radar, lidar, GPS, Odometry, and computer vision. With the development of technology, the growth of automobile industry has been constantly rising which has led to the development of autonomous cars from automobiles.

At the 86th Geneva International Motor show, Goodyear tire and rubber company introduced two concept tires designed for the autonomous cars of tomorrow which includes a spherical tire that allows cars to drive sideways and one that can sense road conditions and adapt according to them. The ‘Eagle-360’ concept was designed with key features of maneuverability, connectivity and biomimicry for autonomous mobility. Together with ‘Intelligrip’ which features advanced sensors and checking of wear and tear of the tires, Goodyear believes that this concept will be adopted soon into autonomous driving vehicles.

The spherical tire is linked to the car through magnetic levitation rather than axles which allows it to rotate on any axis in any direction. The multi-orientation of the spherical-shaped tire contributes to the safety of the passengers, as well as checking with the space limitations in the urban environments where parking is tight. The embedded sensors of the ‘eagle-360’ further increase safety by communicating road and weather conditions to the vehicle’s control system and other nearby cars. It would also monitor tread and tire pressure to evenly regulate damage of the 360 degree tire to extend serviceability.

The tread of the tires is designed with a 3D-printed biomimetic design which imitates the pattern of brain coral. The Goodyear tells that this allows the tread to act like a natural sponge, so it stiffens in dry conditions and softens in the wet to reduce aquaplaning and improve handling.

From the words of Joseph Zekoski, Goodyear’s senior vice president and chief technical officer “By steadily reducing the driver interaction and intervention in self-driving vehicles, tires will play an even more important role as the primary link to the road,” we can say that the tires are very important for future autonomous cars.

Goodyear’s concept tires play a dual role in the future both as creative platforms to push the boundaries of conventional thinking and as test beds for next-generation technologies. Once this concept has been successfully implemented this would completely change the automobile industry paving a new direction towards the autonomous cars in the future.