Technology News

Technology News
We are here to provide the latest news about different technologies.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Paytm's story now a case study at Harvard

The journey of digital wallet Paytm from being a recharge platform to a payments bank is the topic of a case study published by India Research Centre (IRC) of Harvard Business School (HBS).

The study titled ‘Paytm: Building a Payments Network’ will be available for teaching purposes within and outside Harvard.

Established in 2006, Mumbai-based IRC supports its faculty with research in emerging trends in the region. IRC has supported most of the case studies and HBS research projects focused on business in South Asian region.

“Paytm is revolutionizing payments in India and it is a shining example of India’s digital future,” said Professor Sunil Gupta, one of the authors of the study and Edward W. Carter Professor of Business Administration and Chair of the General Management Program at HBS.

Professor Gupta and Professor Das Narayandas had also published a study on Flipkart’s decision to hive off its logistics unit Ekart as a separate company and the e-tailer’s move to a marketplace model in April 2016.

“We are on a mission to bring half a billion Indians to the mainstream economy and in turn build a business that India would be proud of. For us, the journey to enable fellow countrymen with digital payments and become a part of financial inclusion has only started right now. It is truly a privilege to have it become a part of the curriculum offered by the prestigious institute,” said Vijay Shekhar Sharma, CEO of Paytm.

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Mastercard has set its eyes on India's growing e-commerce market

Identifying India as one of the "fastest" growing e-commerce nations, a leading global credit card company has said it will increase its investments in the country where it has already grown by 30% in the last two years.

"India is one of the top priorities in the region. We have increased our investments in India by over 30% in the last two years and we are going to increase it even more," Sam Ahmed, Mastercard's senior vice-president of marketing for Asia Pacific, told here.

Ahmed indicated that the company's investment plans were in line with the Indian government's "digital India" initiative and would help Indian consumers in digital payments in their daily lives.

He said the company was looking at a number of digital payment innovations which were to be launched in India in future including face recognition, Masterpass and other online payment methods.

He said mobile penetration in India was the highest and termed it as the key to get the user's access to such digital payment innovations.

Commenting on the flow of investments in India, Ahmed said the company was keen to support the digitisation move to help consumers understand about it.

The investments will also be channelised towards the digital and e-commerce engine giving consumers what they need. we are planning to do this by partnering with small businesses and merchants and outbound travellers, he said.

The company is eyeing to tap movie launches and sponsoring local sports as a part of its marketing campaigns.

"Movies are such a passion in India. The area we are looking at is movie launches," Ahmed said.

Currently, the company has veteran Bollywood actor Anil Kapoor and his daughter Sonam Kapoor as its Brand ambassadors.

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How Facebook profiles have come into play post Donald Trump's immigration order

How Facebook profiles have come into play post Donald Trump's immigration order
The US border officials are checking the Facebook profiles of immigrants before allowing them into the country, a media report said.

The move came in the wake of US President Donald Trump's executive order to temporarily bar US entry to refugees and citizens from seven Muslim-majority nations.

The US officials are reportedly checking the Facebook pages of immigrants for their political views, The Independent reported on Sunday.

A Houston-based lawyer Mana Yegani was quoted as saying that several green card holders, who have the right to live and work in the US, were detained by border agents at American airports hours after Trump's executive order came into force.

According to the American Immigration Lawyers Association (Alia), border agents were checking the social media accounts of those detained and were interrogating them about their political beliefs before allowing them into the US.

"I and my fellow lawyers had worked through the night fielding calls from people with legitimate visa being detained before entering the US or ordered back on flights to the Muslim-majority countries on the list," said Yegani, who works with the Alia.

"The ban has affected travellers with passports from seven Muslim majority countries and also green card holders who are granted authorisation to live and work in the US," a spokeswoman from Department of Homeland Security said.

The ban on Saturday created chaos and outrage around the world, while numerous travellers found their access to the US territory blocked and protests were staged at several US airports.

"In one alleged incident a Sudanese PhD student at Stanford University in California, who has lived in the US for 22 years, was held for five hours in New York and in another a dual Iranian-Canadian citizen was not allowed to board a flight in Ottawa," the report noted.

"These are people that are coming in legally. They have jobs here and they have vehicles here. Just because Trump signed something at 6 p.m. yesterday (on Friday), things are coming to a crashing halt. It's scary," Yegani said.

The executive order bans immigration from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen under measures to "keep radical Islamic terrorists out".

"I am establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the US," Trump said on Friday during the signing at the Pentagon after the swearing-in of Defence Secretary James Mattis, CNN reported.

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Friday, January 27, 2017

Facebook launches security key to check data breach

Facebook launches security key to check data breach
To minimise data breach, Facebook has added a new login option with 'security keys' that requires a user to enter a special security code from their phone in addition to the password when they login from a new browser.

According to a Facebook blog post, though most people get security code for login approvals from a text message (SMS) or by Facebook app to generate the code directly on their phones, SMS is not always reliable and having a phone backup may not work well for them.

"You can register a physical security key to your account so that the next time you login after enabling login approvals, you will simply tap a small hardware device that goes in the USB drive of your computer," said Brad Hill, security engineer at Facebook.

Security keys can be purchased through companies like Yubico, a key manufacturing firm, and the keys support the open Universal 2nd Factor (U2F) -- an authentication technology initially developed by Google -- standard hosted by the 'Fast IDentity Online' (FIDO) Alliance.

FIDO Alliance is a group of big corporations that collaborate on ways to make sign-ins safer and easier online.

According to a report in Fortune, "a security key ensures that only the person in possession of it (and password) can access accounts so protected," the report noted.

Users can set up a security key to protect their account by buying one online at an e-commerce shop and then go to the Facebook 'settings'.

Click on 'security', where they can see an option for 'security keys'.

Simply select 'add key' and the account is secured. To add a security key from computer, users need to use the latest versions of Chrome or Opera browser.

However, security keys have their own limitations currently.

It requires users to plug the device into a laptop or desktop through a USB port and sign on from a Chrome or Opera web browser.

Mobile users need buy a key that supports near-field communication, a wireless tech that involves radio waves.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates will be the world's first trillionaire, claims study

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates will be the world's first trillionaire.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates will be world's first trillionaire in the next 25 years, according to a new research.

According to research firm Oxfam International, the world would get its first trillionaire in the next 25 years, when Bill Gates becomes around 86 years old.

A report by Oxfam International said that considering that Bill Gates' fortune is growing at 11% per year since 2009, he could become the world's first trillionaire soon.

When Gates left Microsoft in 2006, his net worth was $50 billion, according to Oxfam. By 2016, his wealth had increased to $75 billion, "despite his commendable attempts to give it away through his Foundation," the report said.

In addition to the charitable work Gates does through his personal foundation, he is one of the founding members of The Giving Pledge, a commitment from some of the richest individuals in the world to give away more than half of their worth. 

For the hypothetical analysis, Oxfam researchers applied the rate of growth he has been enjoying, 11% per year since 2009, to Gates' current levels of wealth (over $84 billion, according to Forbes).

"In such an environment, if you are already rich, you have to try hard not to keep getting a lot richer," Oxfam noted.

Another report by Oxfam had found that eight billionaires, including Bill Gates, from around the globe have as much money as the 3.6 billion people who make up the poorest half of the world's population.

As per the report, the eight billionaires, according to the Forbes billionaires list published in March 2016, include Warren Buffett, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Inditex founder Amancio Ortega, Carlos Slim, Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Oracle's Larry Ellison.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Google Pixel sales have been low due to high price and tough competition

Google Pixel sales have been low due to high price and tough competition
Pixels are not adding up to make a perfect picture for global technology giant Google. Certainly not in India, the world’s fastest growing and second largest mobile phone market after China.

Google’s Pixel smartphone was launched in India with an advertising blitz in October 2016. And given its super premium positioning, November 2016’s demonetisation wasn’t an inhibiting factor. But sales have been tepid at best, say retailers and analysts.

Comparisons with the failure of Google’s low-end smartphone project, Android One, are beginning to be made.

Retailers and industry insiders say Pixel sales have not taken off mainly thanks to very high prices – Rs 57,000 upwards – and the greater brand pull of Apple’s iPhones and Samsung Galaxy variants in the super premium category.

Sales data are not shared by Google or retailers. But shipments are an indication. Google has shipped around 30,000 Pixel phone units during the initial launch period and around 10,000 more subsequently, industry insiders said.

They added that Apple and Samsung shipments over the same period came to lakhs of units. Analysts said Pixel had captured the No. 3 spot, behind Apple and Samsung, in the first two months after launch, in the Rs 40,000-plus category, getting a 5% share. But since then Pixel has lost substantial ground, they told EToff the record.

But a Google spokesperson said Pixel sales were as per the company’s expectations. “Over the last few months, we have received very positive feedback from consumers. Excitement continues to be high for the Google Assistant, camera and the overall speed and responsiveness of Pixel phones, and sales have been in line with our expectations,” the spokesperson said, in response to queries from ET .

Pixel is lagging globally too. The smartphone has sold around 2.5 million units since its October 2016 launch, Counterpoint Research says. Analysts say Apple would have sold over 70 million phones while Samsung’s numbers would be over 80 million in the October-December period despite the latter’s trouble with flagship Galaxy Note 7, several units of which exploded or caught fire. Apple and Samsung are yet to report the numbers for the period.

“Because Google was coming for the first time on its own, there was a hype initially, but there hasn’t been happening much since. Sales have not been good,” said Subhash Chandra, managing director of Bengaluru-based Sangeetha Mobiles.

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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Facebook looking for ways to crack down on fake news

Facebook looking for ways to crack down on fake news
To mitigate the impact of fake news and curb its spread, Facebook is considering to notify users if they ended up sharing or reading a fake story. According to a report in TechCrunch on Friday, Facebook may let people know retroactively about a fake story.

"You want to make sure as little comes in the system as possible and when it happens, you need to react as quickly as you can. And if you didn't find it until later then you need to consider letting people know. The question is who and how. I don't know if we'll do that but it's certainly something we're considering," Adam Mosseri, Facebook Vice-President of News Feed was quoted as saying.

Mosseri was speaking on Friday on a panel, 'Separating fact from fantasy: Is fake news undermining the truth?' at the University of California Berkeley, the report said.

Ever since the results of US Presidential elections were declared, Facebook was accused of spreading and promoting fake news that favoured the win of US President Donald Trump.

Though the company has taken number of measures to prevent fake news from spreading, there are still concerns being raised.

"Fake news was a thing on Facebook before the election, and something Facebook had been working to address for a couple of years. The main difference has been the public outcry in the wake of the election," Mosseri further noted.

"The amount of fake news on the platform, actually - and I'm not trying to diminish the importance of the issue - is relatively small. It's a very small percentage of what people see. It should be smaller. It should get as close to zero as possible," he added.

Mosseri said that they needed to reduce the distribution that fake news publishers get as close as they could to zero.

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Twitter issues apology after bug causes users to follow Trump

Hundreds of thousands of people were forced to follow US President Donald Trump on Twitter after a technical glitch, prompting the social networking site to apologize to users.

The new President was handed control of the @POTUS account when he took the oath of office at Friday's inauguration.

Some users parted ways with @POTUS on the social network once it changed hands from former president Barack Obama to Trump. However, for reasons unexplained, they automatically re-followed the presidential account without their permission.

Users who noticed the glitch were quick to bring it to the attention of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey who acknowledged "mistakes" in the process that caused users who unfollowed the POTUS account to follow it without opting to do so.

He explained in a series of tweets that users who followed President Obama's new handle -- @POTUS44 -- after noon on Friday were automatically set to follow the Trump-run @POTUS handle.

In addition, "some people who unfollowed @POTUS in the past were mistakenly marked to now follow @POTUS," Dorsey said via Twitter. "This also affected other official Administration accounts like @VP, @WhiteHouse, and @PressSec."

"We believe this affected about 560,000 people. This was a mistake, it wasn't right, we own it, and we apologize. No excuses," he tweeted.

Dorsey said the issue has been corrected, CNN reported.

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Saturday, January 21, 2017

Why Apple will make smart glasses

It's easy to dismiss the speculation that Apple is working on smart glasses.

It's hard to picture Apple selling smart glasses. But it's also hard to picture them not doing it.

If smart glasses become a popular and mainstream consumer electronics category, Apple will almost be required to enter the market as a fiduciary responsibility to Apple shareholders.

Consider the plight of poor Apple. Smartphone margins are shrinking. The tablet market is flabby. Smartwatches aren't panning out as a mainstream platform. Apple TV is still not going to bring in huge profits. So Apple has to adapt and keep up with the evolution of consumer technology to continue to dominate the market as well as secure its growth.

Also, the choice of smartphone in the future may be dictated by the use of smart glasses. If mainstream smart glasses require an Android phone, Apple could lose market share.

What's certain is that Apple is working on smart glasses.

Intriguingly, Apple has made some augmented reality-based company acquisitions. Apple bought PrimeSense, which makes the sensor technology in Microsoft's Kinect. They also nabbed augmented reality startups Metaio, Faceshift, Emotient and Flyby. AR-related patents by Apple go back a decade.

And tech blogger and evangelist Robert Scoble posted a rumor on Facebook that Apple may be working with Carl Zeiss on smart glasses. (I told you about Carl Zeiss Smart Optics technology in this space a year ago.)

All that planning, thinking and spending may pay off for Apple when smart glasses go mainstream.

And when I say mainstream, I mean totally mainstream. What if nearly all glasses were smart glasses?
The company that makes your glasses is getting 'smart'

The signs of the mainstreaming of augmented and mixed reality are everywhere. The biggest one yet happened earlier this week when French lens giant Essilor merged with Italy's eyeglass behemoth Luxottica in a $53 billion deal that will result in the world's largest glasses company, to be called EssilorLuxottica.

Wait, Essilor? Luxottica? These aren't exactly well-known companies in tech circles. Let me introduce you.

Essilor is the world's largest maker of corrective lenses. The company is strongly focused on research and introduced the world's first branded progressive lenses.

You also may have encountered Essilor on its retail sites, and Your optometrist definitely has. The company runs the MyOnlineOptical e-commerce site for eyecare professionals.

Essilor also unveiled last year a prototype of an augmented reality system for the visually impaired called MyEye, which enables any text to be read, converted to text and then read aloud to the wearer.

And you're probably already a big Luxottica customer. The company sells under most of the mainstream brands you're familiar with, including Ray-Ban, Oakley, Vogue Eyewear, Giorgio Armani, Brooks Brothers, Bulgari, Burberry, Chanel, Coach, Dolce & Gabbana, DKNY, Polo Ralph Lauren, Prada, Ralph Lauren, Versace and many others. And you've likely shopped at Luxottica stores, including Sunglass Hut, LensCrafters, Pearle Vision, Sears Optical, Target Optical, and others.

So the world's biggest lens company is merging with the world's biggest frame company. Here's the best part: Essilor CEO Hubert Sagnières told the media that the purpose of the merger was innovation in "connected glasses," and the ability to deliver them "extremely fast to consumers through all the stores of the world and all [our] networks," according to the Financial Times.

I'll refer you to the list of brands and stores above. That's where the world's largest eyeglasses company plans to deliver smart glasses, and fast.

Samsung Galaxy S8 may come with this LG G6 ‘feature’

Samsung Galaxy S8 may come with this LG G6 ‘feature’
LG has already confirmed it will be using heat pipes in its upcoming G6 flagship smartphone. Now, a new report says that rival Samsung, too, may use a similar technology for its upcoming Galaxy S8 flagship smartphone. According to a report by Digitimes website, the Galaxy S8 will be launching in March this year.

It has been also mentioned that the thermal pipes will be produced by Taiwan-based Auras Technology and Chaun Choung Technology (CCI). Rival LG is said to use heat-pipes supplied by Japan-based Furukawa Electric and Taiwan-based Delta Electronics.

The report adds that Samsung was earlier planning to use two ultra-thin heat pipes to enhance heat dissipation. But the company later decided to use just one heat pipe, as is the case with Galaxy S7.

Another feature that is expected to arrive in the Galaxy S8 is a new digital assistant named Bixby.

Samsung has been rumoured to launch its AI-powered assistant, Bixby, for quite some time now. It's being assumed that the assistant will be unveiled along with its upcoming flagship smartphone - Galaxy S8.

The latest addition to the rumours is the fact that the AI will not be limited to payments and controlling native apps, but will also be able to access the smartphone's camera.

According to a post on SamMobile website, Bixby will offer visual search and optical character recognition using Galaxy S8's camera. The camera app will reportedly come with a dedicated Bixby button to access the assistant. The AI will then scan/identify the image and search for it online.
Besides Bixby, a new UI feature might be introduced in the Galaxy S8 - an 'Always On' status bar. This would allow for one swipe access to quick settings and toggles.

In all possibilities, Samsung may launch the Galaxy S8 on March 29 this year. The company, however, is yet to reveal the final launch date.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Twitter officially shuts down Vine app

Twitter officially shuts down Vine app
Micro-blogging site Twitter has finally shut down the Vine app service, revamping it into Vine Camera that will let users shoot 6.5 seconds looping videos which can be later uploaded.

According to a DailyMail report on Tuesday, it has not yet been revealed when the app will make the transition.

Twitter acquired Vine in October 2012, and as of 2016, the app had over 200 million active monthly users and more than 1.5 billion loops have been viewed since its inception.

It was earlier reported that Vine was also rolling out a way to make it easy for Twitter users to migrate their Vine followers to the social networking site.

"Users can upload their creations to Twitter right from the new app, if the accounts are linked, or by going through the social media site," the report noted.

With the emergence of new platforms like Snapchat and video on Instagram, Vine has lost its popularity. The company finally in October 2016 announced that it would soon discontinue the Vine services as it was planning to reduce its staff size world wide and cut down almost 9 per cent of the workforce. 

While there are tough competitors of Vine who have managed to build a strong position amidst the users, however the news of Twitter pulling the plug on Vine did not go well with many social users who reeled over the news and expressed their sadness through tweets. This is what some of the users tweeted after the announcement. 

"RIP VINE #GoneTooSoon," tweeted Patricia Laire (@patricialaire).

"Vine is a quarter of my life I' am so upset" wrote Twitter user moon (@hrtbreaker_mp3).

Others, however, saw the news as inevitable.

Stay tuned for more Latest Web Technology News Updates.

New website launched to help identify Indian birds

Bringing cheer to thousands of budding environmental photographers and amateur bird watchers, the Bombay Natural History Society (BHNS) has recently launched a one-of-its-kind online platform that identifies Indian bird species using artificial intelligence.

The NGO, in collaboration with a Bangalore based tech firm - Accenture, has created an online database of over 300 species of the avifauna found in the country. This, when combined with an image recognition and a deep learning mechanism, will help people in bird-watching by identifying key species of birds.

"India is a biodiversity hotspot and is home to almost 12.5% of the world's avifauna, consisting of 1,300 species. This platform can identify over 300 species but will eventually support all species found in India. Birds are excellent indicators of their environment, providing ecological information based on when and where they are located. We need more amateur birders to come forward and help gather all information about the country's avifauna and participate in the nature conservation activities," said Dr Deepak Apte, director, BNHS.

This cloud-based platform, titled Internet of Birds, requires any amateur bird watcher to just upload picture of the bird onto the site. The site then runs an analysis on the picture, compares it to the species in the database and informs the person of the bird species.

Shubik Das (19), Vartak Nagar resident, said, "I started going for nature trails as part of college trips, and now I go for bird watching. It has been very difficult to identify many birds that we see on these trails. It was only when we went with birding experts that we got to know the names of the birds we saw. With this platform, we can identify the birds we spot on our own."

"I never paid attention to birds in my area even though I live close to Yeoor forest. I clicked a few pictures of some birds outside my balcony, and uploaded those on the website. I could identify three birds today using the website," said Ashwini Sakhardande (16), a resident of Tiku-jini-wadi.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

India is top market for Google Play Store

India is top market for Google Play Store
India zipped past the US to become the top country that registered 6 billion downloads from Google's Play Store in 2016, according to analytics firm App Annie.

"India's app market grew massively outpacing the US to surpass it as the #1 country by Google Play downloads, from around 3.5 billion downloads in 2015 to over 6 billion downloads in 2016," App Annie said in a report.

App downloads grew by 15 per cent worldwide across iOS and Google Play, with total time spent in apps increasing by 25 per cent, it added.

In 2016, publishers were paid over USD 35 billion in revenue across the iOS App Store and Google Play. When including in-app advertising, app store revenue and third-party Android stores in 2016, publishers made over USD 89 billion in revenue.

Further, the report found the average consumer uses well over 30 apps per month across various markets.

As technology and business models continue to evolve, apps are playing an even greater role in transforming, and creating opportunities for, companies and industries both established and new, App Annie Senior Vice President Research Danielle Levitas said.

"We're seeing major indications of this shift globally. App adoption is growing rapidly in emerging markets including India and Indonesia while mature markets are seeing apps challenge and change traditional industries including retail, entertainment and banking," Levitas added.

Facebook, WhatsApp and UC Browser were the top three apps in terms of combined download on Google Play and iOS in India. Candy Crush, Subway Surfers and Temple Run 2 were the top three games downloaded.

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Microsoft may be working on smartphone cum tablet

Microsoft may be working on smartphone cum tablet
A new patent filed by Microsoft hints at a device supported by flexible hinge that would transform a phone into a tablet.

The flexible hinge will also let users set up the device in tent mode similar to Lenovo's Yoga tablet.

"There appears to be modes for two or three screens to extend flat out to make the device bigger and more of a tablet like Microsoft's original Courier concept," tech website The Verge reported on Tuesday.

Microsoft is also working on a new version of its Surface Pro tablet which is set to arrive in the first quarter of 2017.

The new Surface Pro 5 2-in-1 will sport an ultra-HD display and magnetic charging stylus, with Pegatron Technology that will manufacture the device.

The company is also reportedly planning a new Surface Pen to support the Surface Book 5 that would use magnetic charging - a first for the company's Surface Pro line.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Reliance Jio's free services face big threat from Airtel

Reliance Jio's free services face big threat from Airtel
Bharti Airtel has urged the telecom tribunal to quash the telecom regulator's order that found Reliance Jio Infocomm's free voice and data offer to be in compliance with rules on predatory pricing, becoming the second telco after Vodafone to drag the sectoral watchdog to court on issues related to the Mukesh Ambani-owned carrier.

India's largest telco has also urged the Telecom Disputes and Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) to direct the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) to follow its own rules and pull up Jio for alleged violation of the regulator's order that a promotional offer can't last beyond 90 days.

Reliance Jio's free services face big threat from AirtelPending the final decision, Airtel has urged TDSAT to pass an interim order asking Trai to ensure that telcos comply with its rules that set the interconnect charge - currently at 14 paise a minute - as the floor for retail tariffs. Besides, it has also sought a direction to the regulator to ensure that no telco offers any promotional offer beyond the allowed maximum 90 days.

Trai on its part said that it was currently studying Jio's new promotional tariff offer - Happy New Year - and would need 10 more days to examine and respond to the court.

Meanwhile, people familiar with the matter said that Jio requested the TDSAT bench to be impleaded as a party to the case.

The tribunal has directed Jio to file an application for the same, while the new telco is expected to do in the next three-four days. The TDSAT has set the next date of hearing for the matter on January 6.

Airtel's move to take Trai to TDSAT comes a few days after Vodafone India dragged the regulator to the Delhi High Court by challenging Trai's recommendation to levy a Rs 1,050 crore penalty on the telco for allegedly violating rules by not providing adequate points of interconnection to Jio, which had caused huge call failures on the new entrant's network.

Since its commercial launch on September 5, Jio has been offering a free voice and data offer till December 31 under the 'Welcome Offer' which was for users subscribing to Jio's network till December 3. It has since launched another promotional offer - Happy New Year - for users who subscribe to Jio's services till March 3. Those on the Welcome Offer will automatically get transferred to the Happy New Year plan.

Airtel has accused the Trai of being a 'mute spectator' watching its own telecom order and directions being violated by Jio in offering promotional offers beyond the 90-day period allowed by the regulator, "thus admittedly perpetuating illegality," according to the petition.

Airtel claims the Welcome Offer is in violation of the telcom regulator's own communication/order to various telecom operators on October 20, which clearly said that Jio would be allowed to continue offering the promotional tariff offer of free voice and data services only till December 3, which was the end of the 90-day tenure which any operator can avail to give a promotional offer.

"Thus, despite its (Trai's) own avowed position that the offer of "free services" after December 3, 2016 is non-compliant, the TRAI has been acting like a "mute spectator" to the continued violations," Airtel has contended in its petition with the TDSAT.

Explaining how Jio's new offer was in violation of the regulator's order, Airtel has said, " RJIL has been offering its free services for about 12 months to all customers under the guise of various names i.e beta launch, preview offer, welcome plan and now Happy New Year Plan. These free tariffs plans for such long duration are actually equivalent to the regular tariff plans and are nothing less than predatory".

It has further contended that Jio's tariff plan also violated orders of Trai on 'predatory and non-IUC compliant' pricing.

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Facebook to introduce ads in the middle of videos

Facebook to introduce ads in the middle of videos
Social media giant Facebook is planning to show ads in the middle of videos and share the revenue generated with the publishers -- giving them 55% of the sales -- media reported.

"The company is testing a new 'mid-roll' ad format which will give video publishers a chance to insert ads into their clips after people have watched them for at least 20 seconds," Re/Code reported on Tuesday.

The ads can also pop up on videos that run for atleast 90 seconds.

The new format suggests that the social networking giant is relatively giving more importance to the time people spend watching videos, rather than the total number of videos they watch.

To give users even more ways to watch, Facebook last year rolled out the ability to stream videos from the social network to your TV through devices like Apple TV or Google Chromecast.

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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

PM Narendra Modi launches 'Paytm-rival' BHIM app

The government's much-awaited mobile payment app is finally here. At Digi Dhan Mela event in Talkatora stadium in New Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched an app called BHIM (Bharat Interface for Money) to promote digital transactions. The app is a rebranded version of UPI (Unified Payment Interface) and USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data). BHIM has been developed by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and is about 2MB in size.

PM Modi said that BHIM will be the world's biggest wonder. The app takes on the likes of Paytm, Mobikwik, Freecharge and other mobile payment apps which have become hugely popular since the government announced banning of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes on November 8. While launching the app, PM made payment to Khaadi.

At the event, the PM also felicitated the winners of Lucky Grahak Yojana. The new app is expected to minimise the role of plastic cards and the point of sale (PoS) machines said to be the essential tools for a cashless society so far.

The app helps eliminate fee payments to service providers like card companies (Mastercard or Visa), which was widely seen as a big stumbling block for merchants switching to digital payments. According to some people, the app is expected to make mobile payments affordable for merchants in remote villages.

All that the BHIM app needs to work is an Android or iOS phone. The app is available for Android (version 8 and above) and iOS smartphones (version 5 and above). Government said that Bhim will soon be available on other platforms too.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Tips to take stunning photos using smartphone

Smartphone cameras have seen dramatic improvements, but technology alone won't produce shots that grab attention.

Tips to take stunning photos using smartphone
That's where the human eye comes in. Here are eight tips to keep in mind when composing that shot, whether of family during the holidays or sights during a vacation. You don't need to own a fancy camera or mess with manual controls.

For landscapes, keep in mind that it's tough to give viewers the same sense of grandeur you get from being there in person. But you can nudge viewers by focusing on specific elements, such as mountains or some trees. And of course, if there's wildlife - well, that's your subject.

Beyond eye level

Be willing to crouch down or even lie on the ground to give viewers a fresh perspective. When I encountered a lizard in Singapore, my instinct was to snap while standing up. But the lizard looked generic from that angle and distance. It wasn't until I brought my camera near the ground and get close up did the lizard look ferocious. The good thing about smartphone cameras is that you can change the perspective easily by just lowering the phone.

Play around with depth

For those obligatory poses next to landmarks, there's no law saying you must actually stand next to the landmark. If the landmark is huge, you'll look tiny by comparison. Why not stand closer to the camera? Since photos are two-dimensional, it'll still look as though you're next to the landmark, but you'll look appropriately sized. You might need to try various depths until you get it right.

Consider the background

While it's important to have a clear subject in your shot, the background can enhance it by placing the scene in context. I took several shots of people riding elephants in Ayutthaya, Thailand. The ones that stood out had Buddhist stupas in the background. The other shots could have been taken anywhere, such as a local zoo. 

Watch the lens

In general, aim for horizontal and vertical lines in shots. For a skyline or a bench, that means taking the shot straight on and avoiding tilt. But diagonal lines can enhance photos at times. For instance, they can lead the eyes outward to give the viewer a greater sense of depth. But make sure you're trying to say something with the diagonal. If the skyline or the bench is tilted, it will just look lazy, not artsy.

The rule of thirds

Divide your frame into thirds horizontally and vertically, like a tic-tac-toe board. Some cameras will even draw these lines for you on the screen (but won't include them in the final shot). Ideally, keep your main subjects where those lines intersect, as eyes tend to gravitate there first. If you're shooting a horizon or skyline, have it match one of the imaginary horizontal lines. For shots of people, have the eyes fall along one of those lines.

Lighting matters

You'll typically get the best lighting shortly after sunrise or before sunset. During these "golden hours," sunlight is softer, and subjects look better.

But it's not practical to constrain your sightseeing to just a few hours a day. At least try to avoid having the sun shine toward the camera, as that leads to dark subjects. If you can't avoid it, some cameras have an "HDR" mode to help. The camera basically stitches together separate shots of the subject and the background adjusted to different lighting conditions. Turning on the flash - yes, in daytime - can also help light up an otherwise dark subject.

At night, though, you should try to keep the flash off, as light distribution can be intense and uneven. Cameras have gotten much better at low-light shots, such that you're often better off working with ambient light. Bonus tip: Use the flashlight on a friend's phone to add a bit more light to a scene.

Know your camera's limitations

While many cameras now have auto-focus, they don't always pick out the subject correctly. If you're shooting with a smartphone, just tap on the intended subject on the screen. This also has the effect of adjusting the exposure to that subject, rather than something in the background you might not care as much about.

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m-wallet to grow by CAGR 211% between 2016-22 due to demonetisation

Mobile wallet transaction is expected to carry out majority of transactions in the next 10 years with its market value to set to grow by CAGR of 211% between 2016 to 2022, an ASSOCHAM-RNCOS study revealed.

Reduced prices of internet due extensive competition, cheap smartphones, advancement of new technologies such as 4G and demonetisation will result in the market value of m-wallets reach Rs 275 trillion by 2022, the study suggested.

The report mentioned that the average wallet spend for retail which was about Rs 500-700 prior to demonetisation is expected to increase to Rs 2,000-10,000. The share of mobile wallet in the total mobile payment volume transactions is expected to rise from 20% in 2016 to 57% by 2022.

In 2016, the report says, total m-wallet transaction was 0.6 billion, which is expected to reach 260 billion by 2022, growing at a CAGR of 163%. Cash in the e-wallets that people keep have grown by 1000% and average number of transactions too has gone up from 3 to 18 since demonetisation.

"All small and large merchants, street dwellers have started accepting mobile wallet payments post demonetisation move," the report said.

Indian m-wallet market in 2016 was around Rs 1.54 billion which is expected to grow at a CAGR of 196% during 2017 to 2022 and reach Rs 1512 billion by the end of 2022, the study suggested.

The findings of the study show that the total transaction volume of the m-payment in India was 2.9 billion and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 132% between 2016 to 2022 to reach around 460 billion by the end of 2022.

Overall mobile payment may grow at a CAGR of 150% between 2016 to 2022 to reach Rs 2205 trillion.

The report also said that after banks and telecom companies, software service companies will venture into the m-wallet market. The extremely competitive and highly fragmented m-wallet market in India will see more tie-ups happening between m-wallet companies and several entities like restaurants, grocery stores, and ticket booking websites.

Mobile wallets will soon offer instant loan facility for short term to its customers, the report added. The study, however, suggested that RBI should relax its current policies and allow cash withdrawals from the semi-closed wallets while easing the rules of bank licensing to promote m-wallets.

The study also pointed out that while the young users prefer internet and mobile banking over traditional transactions, consumer’s mindset is the biggest factor that hinders the growth of Indian m-wallet market as they are more skeptical about the safety and security issues as in the case of internet banking.

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