Wednesday, March 25, 2015

IBM partners with Sheltrex Developers to build smart affordable homes in Chennai

IBM has announced a technology partnership with Sheltrex Developers to establish unified city operations to support a new smart housing development in the heart of Oragadam, the fastest growing suburb of Chennai. With most of the top automobile companies having set up operations in Oragadam, it is famously referred to as the Detroit of India. 

Spread over 26.6 acres, Sheltrex’s Oragadam project, will build smart and cost effective homes targeted at people working in this industrial hub. The project is strategically located at the State Highway 57 (SH-57), which is just off Grand Southern Trunk (GST) Road in close vicinity to the Automotive Corridor of Southern India, Oragadam & Maraimalai Nagar. 

Goutham Pulimi, CEO, Sheltrex Developers, says: “Technology should reach the end-user through an experience of convenience, good lifestyle and lower costs. The objective of the IBM partnership for Sheltrex is twofold, one to enrich the daily lives of the residents, and second, for better township management in the long term. The inculcation of innovative technology at our townships in Sheltrex – Karjat and Sheltrex – Oragadam is an extremely exciting development in the real estate industry. Every homeowner at Sheltrex should be able to control his home via technology and should feel safe and secured in the township.”

As India moves into the next phase of urban make over with the 100 smart cities proposed by the Government, it will be necessary to create well planned urban infrastructure. The new Indian cities would require smart living spaces wherein the private players could bring in significant contribution through technological innovations. Smarter homes being an integral part of smart cities will be key in projecting Indian cities on par with international standards. This need is especially true with respect to affordable homes, which contribute to over 95% of the total housing demand in India.

Sheltrex has been incubated by Brick Eagle, a financial services platform for the affordable housing industry. Brick Eagle controls over 1,250 acres of land, under various stages of development, across greater Mumbai, Chennai, Mysore, Coimbatore and Pune. Brick Eagle also incubates companies that fill gaps in the affordable housing ecosystem. It has incubated 5 service providers and 4 other developers till date. Brick Eagle’s venture companies include Xeco, an affordable housing marketing company, KlickBrick, an affordable housing sales platform, Phalcomm, a customer and back-office management company, TPC, a project management company specializing in low cost construction and Renderlogy, an online home d├ęcor solutions company.

Rajesh Krishnan, Founder and CEO, Brick Eagle, says: “In line with the Government’s vision of developing a 100 smart cities, Sheltrex is building smart affordable homes targeting the middle income segment. This partnership with IBM has the potential to change the way affordable housing development is looked upon in India.”

IBM has provided the technology design to integrate multiple city agencies that will deliver a unified view into all city functions, helping all departments to better collaborate, share insights and information to improve the experience for its citizens. IBM will be advising across areas like township governance, public safety, utilities, transportation and community. 

“We are glad to partner with Sheltrex Developers and take part in the journey of transforming India’s urban infrastructure to the 21st century. With deep industry expertise and an array of sophisticated technologies, we can collect and analyze real-time information on everything from transportation networks to the electricity grid. We are committed to bring the best of our smarter cities solutions to make Indian cities more efficient,” said Dr. Prashant Pradhan, Director, Smarter Planet Solutions, IBM India / South Asia.

IBM on basis of discussions with leading consultants like PMC (Project Management Consultants), MEP (Mechanical Electrical Plumbing consultants) sales and marketing teams, identified areas that would be appealing to the residents thus, making an effort to improve the quality of living.  

The project is expected to be completed by 2021.

ASSOCHAM India’s Bankers-Borrowers-Business Meet

Sanjay Kirloskar elected CII (WR) Chairman

At its first meeting for 2015-16 held in Mumbai, Mr. Sanjay Kirloskar and Mr. Sudhir Mehta were elected Chairman and Deputy Chairman respectively of the CII Western Regional (WR) Council. 

Mr. Kirloskar is the Chairman and Managing Director of Kirloskar Brothers Ltd. (KBL), which is India’s largest manufacturer and exporter of pumps. The core businesses of KBL include large infrastructure projects (water supply, power plants and irrigation), engineered pumps, industrial pumps, agriculture and domestic pumps, valves, motors and hydro turbines.

Mr. Sudhir Mehta is the Chairman & Managing Director of Pinnacle Industries Ltd. of Madhya Pradesh, which is India’s largest commercial vehicle seating and interiors company. 

After elected as the Chairman, Mr. Kirloskar observed: “The theme for CII Western Region for 2015-16 is: ‘Enhancing Competitiveness to Accelerate Growth and Create Employment’, the goals of which are closely aligned to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ campaign. During the year, the focus for us in the Western Region would be to improve governance, enhance competitiveness and facilitate ease of doing business to catalyse sustainable and ethical growth in the region.”

He also said: “The Western Region is one of the most dynamic and vibrant economies in India. As industry, we are committed to working closely with the individual State Governments to improve the overall business environment in the region and to enable it to attract higher investments so that it can take on the challenge of ‘Make in India’ and emerge winner”.

DuPont Nutrition & Health opens Innovation Application Center in India

DuPont Nutrition & Health has announced the opening of an Innovation Application Center in Gurgaon, India. The multi-million-dollar facility houses state-of-the-art equipment and capabilities to serve the food industry in India.

“According to industry estimates, the food industry in India is growing between 15 and 20 per cent annually. We recognize that while the science of food is global, the taste and flavors of food are local,” said Matthias Heinzel, president of DuPont Nutrition & Health. “As we develop those local solutions, we need to be able to work closely with our local customers on foods they are developing for their consumers. This Innovation Application Center provides that access and a place for us to share our innovation and expertise, to showcase what we can offer and to help our customers save valuable time in developing novel solutions for the market. Our India Innovation Application Center coupled with the DuPont Innovation Center network leverages a wealth of knowledge, science expertise and experience from all our experts globally.”

The Innovation Application Center, which has capabilities to expand, will initially employ 15 to 20 people by year-end 2015. DuPont Nutrition & Health also has an existing blending facility for specialty ingredients in Sohna, Haryana.

“The DuPont offering in India cuts across the landscape of food – from flour-based products to dairy to nutritional beverages and powders,” added Brian Jones, Regional Leader, DuPont Nutrition & Health, South Asia. “Among the focus areas of the Innovation Application Center will be protective cultures for dahi and yogurt, soy protein products, ice-cream and more nutritious, Indian snacks and biscuits tailored to meet the regional taste and texture expectations. The center also will allow DuPont to introduce formulations that are more convenient and affordable for more food choices for the food industry. An example is the work ongoing with customers on increasing the shelf-life of products in hotter climates where cold chain technology is not available. In addition, as a global leader in probiotics, DuPont is working closely with Indian companies to develop probiotics for gut and immune health.”

DuPont Nutrition & Health addresses the world’s challenges in food by offering a wide range of sustainable, bio-based ingredients and advanced molecular diagnostic solutions to provide safer, healthier and more nutritious food. Through close collaboration with customers, DuPont combines knowledge and experience with a passion for innovation to deliver unparalleled customer value to the marketplace. 

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Winners of Shell Junior National Science Scholarship announced

Shell, one of the most diversified international investors in India’s energy sector, among all global integrated oil companies, has announced winners of its third “Shell Junior National Science Scholarship” programme 2014-2015. Shell Junior National Science Scholars programme recognises young people with exceptional talent. It aims to inspire students to focus on science and environment. About 15,000 students of Class IX and X from 650 schools participated in the online examination across 20 cities this year. This number is twice that of the students who participated last year.

The students from Delhi Public School, Bengaluru North, St. Mary Inter College, Lucknow and Apeejay School, Pitampura, Delhi, emerged as the national winners of the scholarship programme. These national winners are selected from the 20 regional winners. All the winners along with their mentor science teachers will be felicitated at an award ceremony in Delhi scheduled later next month.

On the announcement of the results, Dr. Yasmine Hilton, Chairman, Shell Companies in India, said: “I congratulate all the students for participating in this examination and hope it encourages children to pursue higher studies and a career in science and technology. Shell is at the forefront in raising awareness on energy, sustainability and the environment. The Shell Junior National Science Scholarship aims to inspire students to think about these contemporary issues and encourage  them to become the innovators of tomorrow.”

The online examination took place in January and February. The students were tested in Physics, Chemistry, Maths, and General Knowledge focussing on Energy. The examination followed the pattern of objective type of questions with one subjective question to act as a tie-breaker and to determine the student’s aptitude and motivation for science. The 20 regional winners, one from each city, will receive a one-time scholarship amount of Rs. 50,000. Three toppers from the twenty regional winners will additionally receive the National Level Award of Rs. 75,000.

Accelya appoints John Johnston as Group Chief Executive Officer

Accelya, the leading provider of financial and business intelligence solutions to the airline and travel industry, recently announced the appointment of John Johnston as the Group Chief Executive Officer. His induction in Accelya’s leadership team is a part of the succession plan of Philippe Lesueur, President Accelya Group, who will continue to remain on the Board of Accelya companies and serve as an advisor.

John Johnston was until recently, Chief Executive Officer of Champ Cargosystems and has been responsible for the creation and growth of CHAMP Cargosystems into the world’s largest dedicated IT provider to the Air Cargo Industry. During his career, John has held senior executive positions in several countries and has provided senior management and consulting services to a number of Global Airlines.

Commenting on the appointment, John Johnston, Group CEO, said: “ Accelya is a great company and leader in its field, providing exceptional customer service. I am excited about the opportunity to drive further growth, expanding the global team and opening new markets.”

“We are happy to get John on board. John is a proven leader, with a great track record for growth and I am confident that he is the right person to lead the group.”, said Philippe Lesueur, President, Accelya Group.

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A record number of Indians visit US in 2014

In 2014, the US received a total of 961,790 Indian visitors, marking an impressive growth of 11.9% as compared to last year. As per US Department of Commerce figures, in 2014 India was the 11th largest in-bound tourism market for the US. Indian travellers form an important segment in the growth in visitor arrivals to the US and India was one of the first few key countries where Brand USA set up its office in 2013, promoting the destination via a range of activities-including programs for the travel trade, consumers and public relations.

US Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Stefan M. Selig announced that a record 75 million international visitors travelled to the US in 2014, a seven per centincrease from 2013. Tourism is America’s largest services export and these exports support 1.1 million US jobs.

“Today’s data shows that the United States continues to be the premier destination for international visitors,” Selig said. “It also highlights that we remain on track toward achieving President Obama’s goal of attracting 100 million international visitors to the United States by 2021.”

The US Departments of Commerce and Homeland Security recently sent a report to President Obama on expanding the US travel and tourism industry with a strategy to increase the number of international visitors to the US. It provides a way forward to deliver a best-in-class arrivals experience, ensuring that international visitors continue to select the US as their destination of choice. 

Highlights: 2014 International Visitation to the US

• The top in-bound markets continued to be Canada and Mexico. Mexico grew 19 per cent, surpassing the record arrivals seen in 2007, reaching 17.3 million visits in 2014.

• Annual overseas resident visitation (excluding Canada and Mexico) set a new record in 2014, reaching 34.4 million visitors, up eight per cent from 2013. Travel from overseas markets accounted for 46 per cent of total international arrivals to the US in 2014. All top inbound overseas regional markets surpassed 2013 levels, all registering record level visits in 2014.

• Sixteen of the top 20 countries registered increases in non-resident visits in 2014. Eight of the top 20 countries registered double-digit increases, with 12 of the top 20 inbound countries registering record level visits in 2014.

Top Ports: YTD December 2014

• In 2014, visitation through the top 15 ports of entry accounted for 83 per cent of all overseas visits. The top three ports (New York/JFK, Miami, and Los Angeles) accounted for 41 per centof all overseas arrivals, nearly one percentage point above last year.  Thirteen of the top 15 ports posted increases in arrivals in 2014, with four posting double-digit increases.

This coming year, Brand USA’s marketing will be present in more than 30 international markets, and will be fully deployed in 12 markets – expanding full marketing efforts by 40%. Partner program offerings increased from 30 in fiscal year 2013 to more than 100 programs with 200 opportunities in fiscal year 2014 – which helped drive a 94 per centpartner program retention rate as measured by the number of partners participating in Brand USA co-op. programs during both fiscal years 2013 and 2014. Brand USA’s partnership network has increased 40 percent, from 339 partners in fiscal year 2013 to 475 through fiscal year 2014.