ISRO tests C25 Cryogenic Engine

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events and/ or publicly available information. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced.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.

Ritvik Singh, MBA 2016-18, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur


Last week, on India’s Republic Day, Indian space agency ISRO gave the country its best gift by successfully testing its most powerful cryogenic engine, code-named C25. It was tested for a duration of 50 seconds at ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC) in Mahendragiri. This is the same technology which was used in Saturn V, which carried man to the moon in 1967. By testing an engine this powerful in the first attempt, ISRO has once again demonstrated its ability to work in new areas.

For those who are unfamiliar with this technology, Cryogenics is the study of substances at a temperature as low as 150 degree Celsius and lower. Since Cryogenic engines use liquid Oxygen and liquid Hydrogen as fuels at this temperature, they can be tricky to operate. Thus far, the US, Japan, China, France and Russia are the only countries to have tested Cryogenic engines.

In my opinion, this is a great news for India. Since Russia denied this technology to India under US pressure, it is a huge accomplishment for them to develop such a complex technology. With a powerful C25 backing the GSLV Mark III rocket, India is looking forward to launching its second moon mission – the Chandrayaan 2.

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Digital Villages in India

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events and/ or publicly available information. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced.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.

Mohit Bhagchandani, MBA 2016-18, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur


As a part of Digital India initiative, the Indian government announced that it would provide free wifi to 1,050 villages in the next six months. The wifi hotspots will be mounted on towers so that maximum people can utilize this benefit. The Government has allocated Rs 420 crore for Digital Village Initiative and it aims to connect 900 million people in our country.

The aim of the government is to use digital technology to provide basic development services to rural areas, according to Indian Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology official, Aruna Sundararajan as reported by CNN Money. There will be a vast number of service providers who will be providing their service for this initiative. In addition to this, common service centers will also be set up for different digital services like online forms filling, paying digitally and much more.

This initiative will also accelerate India’s transition to a digital economy following the demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes.Currently, Google is providing free wifi at 100 railway stations across the country and over 10 million people are using this service daily. Wifi hotspots may work as an alternative technology for providing the internet to all. If this plan becomes successful, it will be expanded to the rest of the country.

References:

Govt to bring free Wi-Fi in over 1000 villages with new pilot project

 

Is Indian IT Sector prepared to fade its addiction for H-1B visas?

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events and/ or publicly available information. 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.

Vivek Kumar Jha, MBA 2016-18, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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Having worked with an IT giant for around 2 years, one fact that became quite evident to me was the affection or rather an infatuation of IT employees with the word “Onsite deployment”. I have seen people going to any length to get an opportunity for Onsite experience, especially for the USA, as it seemed to be one of the most viable options to save considerable money (considering the value of Indian Rupee against US Dollars) in a short span of time. But, with the latest news of “Donald Trump overhauling the rules for H-1B visas” coming into the picture, it seems clouds are starting to gather around dreams of many.

H-1B visa falls into a non-immigrant category where the employer applies for H-1B visa petition with the US Immigration Department. It allows a person to work up to a maximum of 6 years in the US. Indian IT sector has always secured the top positions for application of H-1Bs, Infosys leading the herd by miles. The $150-Billion technology sector relies on projects from the USA to get more than 50% of its revenue. This clearly suggests the kind of effect IT firms can have if the changes are done. While several changes have been proposed, the major ones talk about increasing minimum wage for H-1B visa holders to $130,000 (almost double of the current requirement), setting 20% of total H-1B visas allocation aside to start-ups with less than 50 employees and wanting firms to try harder to get local employees for the same role.

Clearly, the idea is to restrict inflows from other countries and retain those jobs for the residents. Companies like Infosys and Tech Mahindra has already pointed out that they are working in the direction to reduce dependencies on the H-1B visas by preferring local workers. Undoubtedly, these companies will be ready when the moment comes, but what intrigues me is how those “Die-Hard US Onsite lovers” of IT companies are going to prepare themselves as their aspiration to gain those big bucks stands still!

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Samsung’s debacle and its come back

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events and/ or publicly available information. 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.

Tejeshwar Dodla, MBA 2016-18, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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Samsung being one of the renowned brands in the field of smartphones faced huge debacle due to one of its product. Samsung Galaxy note 7 was officially released on 19 August 2016, it was an evolution of the Galaxy Note 5. Expectations from note 7 were huge as it received huge appreciation from critics for the quality of its construction, HDR support etc.

One product damaged the complete brand image of Samsung and it took almost one quarter for them to come back in the market and gain their share. Samsung accepted its fault and called back all its note 7 .They apologized formally for their mistake and attributed battery to be the main reason for their product failure. Meanwhile Samsung’s competitors such as Apple, Micromax tried to increase their market share but the prompt response of Samsung resulted in the retention of their market share and gain back their image by 2017.

TATA Elxsi – is it here to stay?

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events and/ or publicly available information. 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.

Ritvik Singh, MBA 2016-18, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur


The thing about technology and innovation is that it always keeps evolving and brings out the best. With the current advancement in technology, many companies such as Tesla, Google, Hyundai, BMW and others are utilising artificial intelligence to come up with driverless cars. It’s one thing to make something like that for US or European roads, but building one for the Indian roads can be considered as a whole new feat, and its Tata Elxsi, which has taken upon itself to accomplish the same.

Tata Elxsi is a part of $100 billion Tata group, headquartered in Bengaluru. It is a design company that blends technology, creativity and engineering to help customers transform ideas into world-class products and solutions. Now, it would be unwise to compare Tata Elxsi’s latest model with that of Tesla or BMW, but considering the availability and affordability of the Tesla cars, Tata Elxsi’s driverless cars would be something that the Indian markets would look forward to.

In 2014, the company modified a Tata Zest sedan and developed various technologies to make it work. In 2015, it demonstrated its self-developed technology at the CES event, held a Las Vegas, Nevada. The company has come a long way since then. Last week it started testing its cars on the outskirts of Bengaluru.

With Tata Motor’s ambition to be no 3 car maker, its recent launch of lifestyle SUV Hexa and Tata Elxsi’s innovative technology, we can expect that it won’t be long when we see a driverless Tata car.

Source :

http://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/first-time-in-india-tata-elxsi-to-test-driverless-cars-on-bengaluru-roads-117011701566_1.html

http://www.tataelxsi.com/whats-new/News/Tata%20Elxsitrends_2017.pdf

Google Lunar XPRIZE – Team Indus Making India Proud

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events and/ or publicly available information. 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.

Subhajit Sengupta, MBA 2016-18, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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The Google Lunar XPRIZE (GLXP) is a space competition being by XPRIZE with tech-giant Google being its principal sponsor. The challenge invites privately funded spaceflight teams to achieve the goal of becoming the first to land a privately funded robotic spacecraft on the Moon. After landing, the craft should travel 500 meters, and transmit back high-definition video and images. The winner can bag a purse of USD 20 million.

Recently, the organizers have announced the names of five finalists which includes Team Indus from India. SpaceIL from Israel, Moon Express based in the United States, International Synergy Moon and Japan-based Hakuto complete the line-up of the finalists. The teams will be aiming to launch their missions by the end of 2017. Participation of private players and corporate is a big boost for space technology. Multiple independent research and development projects are being carried out worldwide resulting in lesser reliance on organizations like NASA for space exploration projects. Promoting a healthy competition is also essential in improvement of space technologies and funding from various corporate giants are ensuring that there are no hurdles in the path of technological advancements.

Inclusion of Team Indus from India among the finalists is a matter of pride for all Indians. The team is based in Bangalore and will be using PSLV-XL launch vehicle of ISRO to launch their craft. The success of this team can be an immense boost to Indian space exploration interests and can encourage more Indian companies to take initiatives. Moreover, it can inspire a generation of Indians to consider careers in science and technology. Thus, success of Team Indus is indeed very much essential for India.

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Google’s Pixel fails to pick up

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events and/ or publicly available information. 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.

Prakhar Agrawal, MBA 2016-18, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

 

India is the fastest growing and the second largest (after China) mobile phone market. Google’s Pixel smartphone was launched in India in October 2016 with an advertising carnival. The November 2016’s Demonetisation was not a blow, because of its super premium positioning. But retailers and analysts have reported that sales for the phone have been tepid. People have already started making comparisons with the failure of Google’s low-end smartphone Android One.

Retailers have blamed the high pricing and greater brand pull of Apple’s iPhone and Samsung Galaxy in the premium category- for low sales volume. Since the launch Google has shipped 40000 phone units while Apple and Samsung have shipped over a lakh units each over the same period.
But according to Google the sales have been in line with their expectations. they have mentioned that they are receiving positive reviews about various features such as Google Assistant, camera , overall speed and responsiveness of the phone.

Pixel sales have been lagging globally too. The premium smartphone has sold around 2.5 million units since its launch in October 2016. Apple and Samsung on the other hand have sold around 70 million and 80 million units in the same time respectively.

 

Google’s love for Machine Learning continues with RAISR

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events and/ or publicly available information. 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.

Vivek Kumar Jha, MBA 2016-18, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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With our love soaring at all time high for Social Media, uploading an uncountable number of selfies, usfies, and those trip albums every day has become a habit for most of us. According to BusinessInsider, more than 1.8 billion images are uploaded everyday on Social media platforms like Facebook, Flicker, Instagram and Whatsapp. But, we hardly think about the backend processes that these Social Media companies undergo to make the experience pleasing. With increasing resolution of the cameras, the images size up and to view them high bandwidth of the internet is utilized. This tends to be a costly affair for people residing in countries where internet connection is spotty and comes with high cost. Google has found the solution to this problem in the lap of Machine Learning and has come up with RAISR.

RAISR or Rapid and Accurate Image Super Resolution is a technology that employs Machine Learning to generate high-quality versions of low-resolution images. So, an image of 100 KB can be efficiently reduced to 25 KB without compromising the image quality. The underlying process involves the learning and training on a pair of a high and a low-quality image. It results in the creation of filters that are then applied to each pixel of the low-quality image, adding more details to it. Now, even though there have been other technologies that work in the same direction, the benefit that Google boasts about RAISR is that it is 10 to 100 times faster and reduces the bandwidth usage by more than 75%.

Google has already started testing it on Google+ platform and a set of Android devices by implementing this technology on 1 billion images every week. Google certainly seems excited about how this technology is going to evolve, making user experience only better.

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The shattering Pixels

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events and/ or publicly available information. 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.

Abhiram Aditya Chilukuri, MBA 2016-18, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

With the recent growth rate of the search engine and technology giant Google and its hands wide spread in every aspect of technology, no one would even need a TV commercial or a paper advertisement to know about its products. But, lately it seems like the facts are going into the dark and Google is facing some trouble with its flagship mobile device ‘Pixel’. Even with top of the class specifications and premium look, it doesn’t seem like the Pixels are adding up to make a perfect picture for Google.

After around 4 months of the blitzing launch of Pixel smartphone in India – the second fastest growing smart phone market – Google saw only a minuscule sales figure of around 40,000 units. The same is the case all over the world. While the competitors in the premium smart phone segment (above Rs.40,000) like Apple and Samsung are reporting a sales of 70 and 80 million units during the same period, Google had had to settle at 2.5 million units which is surely not a figure one, that too Google, would aim at. (Note that these are the not the official figures announced by the OEMs, but calculated by the experts from the shipping of the devices).

Ground reality says that consumers started viewing Pixel as the next version of Android One, which was also a flagship but a failure project by Google aiming at bringing premium smart phones at budget rates. The fact is, Android One and Pixel stand at the opposite ends of the ledge in all aspects.

The other major reason for failure of Pixel seems to be the strong grip on the premium smart phone market segment by Apple and Samsung. These original equipment manufacturers (OEM) have been in the market since way long before Google decided to launch smartphones right from under its own roof. In-fact, one should mind that it’s Samsung who initially bought a wide fleet of budget range smart phones running on Google’s Android operating system the same which is being used in Pixel devices.
People seems to be reluctant to invest huge bucks on new entrant while Apple and Samsung are already offering market proven premium smart phones like iPhone 7 and Galaxy S7 Edge respectively (though Samsung Note 7 had also proven itself in the market by literally exploding).

All this being one facet of the story, on the other hand the spokesperson at Google had commented that the sales of Pixel devices is as expected. The latter also mentioned that they had received a very positive feedback about the device, thanking the 5-inch full HD screen and the Sony powered 12.1 mega pixel camera sensor at its rear (which is a matter of fact). But still, officially the sales figures are yet to be announced.

Source: Internet, The ET.

 

 

 

Disruption of banking industry by Blockchain transactions and potential roadblocks faced in the process

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events and/ or publicly available information. 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.

Krishnachaitanya Potturi, MBA 2016-18, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur.


Blockchain is emerging as a potentially disruptive force capable of transforming the financial services industry by making transactions faster, cheaper, more secure and transparent. The Blockchain is a public ledger where transactions are recorded and confirmed anonymously. It’s a record of events that is shared between many parties. More importantly, once information is entered, it cannot be altered. A block is the “current” part of a blockchain which records some or all of the recent transactions, and once completed, goes into the blockchain as permanent database. Each block contains a timestamp and a link to a previous block.

The key attributes of the blockchain include the following:

  1. Security– hacking is impossible given the ledger is distributed across thousands of computers, reducing server maintenance requirements and improving security for banks.
  2. Transparency– the sender and recipient of each transaction are recorded and all transactions are publicly available for inspection.
  3. Privacy– users are anonymous and can move money around instantly and securely. This allows banks to save time and reduces costs on international transactions.
  4. Risk– currently, if a bank’s system goes down, users are unable to perform transactions. Using the blockchain technology, the bank’s system would continue as normal.

Blockchain has a lot of potential and will be disruptive to existing business models. It can provide payments capability at a fraction of the cost of traditional payment methods. Blockchain principles go beyond just currency and can potentially represent an exchange of value of complex bank transactions and other assets like investments and shares. It also offers an inherent level of trust for the user, eliminating the need for the middleman and mitigating the risk of human error. The first levels of disruption seem more likely in the payments space where traditional transactions such as money transfers, credit and debit card payments, remittances, foreign currency and online payments, require an intermediary such as a clearing house or a financial institution. However, the biggest potential impact of a public ledger may extend beyond the payment system. Given that the majority of financial assets such as bonds, equities, derivatives and loans are already electronic it may be possible that someday the entire system is replaced by a decentralized structure.

However, this technology is still very new and unknown to most, trust in its application is nowhere near the trust we give our banks. Powerful incumbents or governments may try to stop this technology as it can create an entire sub-economy that can’t be tracked should the owners of the Blockchain choose not to reveal the underlying transactions. Blockchain is 100% digital, as more and more blocks are added to the chain, more and more data and power will be consumed to support the network. Will this be sustainable for large players using this technology?  Currently, Bit coin can handle 3 to 5 transactions per second and Ethereum 15 to 25. But the interbank Visa system handles 2,500. So if blockchain have a serious future, it must overcome current scalability roadblocks.