Meet the new Personal Assistant M from facebook

We have seen Siri in apple phones, Google Now & Cortana from Microsoft. All are the new virtual assistant applications. Here comes the turn of the social media giant Facebook to launch its new virtual personal assistant who will be called as “M”.

Today few hundreds of Facebook users will open their messenger apps to discover the new virtual agent M. Some expectations of what M can do: Make hotel reservations, help find a birthday gift, suggest travel options so on.Facebook-M-1080x675

Currently Facebook is in a test mode with agent “M”. Facebook users are eagerly waiting to meet their virtual assistant.

KeepTrax, A New “Internet of Me” Company, Raises $1M in Seed Funding Led By Naya Ventures

Launches Patent-pending Revolutionary Technology That Redefines How People Record, Retain, and Recall Location Data.

Hyderabad, India – (1st April, 2015) – KeepTrax Inc., an “Internet of Me” mobile technology company formed by a group of accomplished travel, retail, and mobile security executives, has launched a revolutionary patent-pending technology to help people easily remember the details of the places they visit. The platform leverages GPS and other mobile device sensors to convert people’s physical location visits into highly curated “event pins” that digitally capture and organize details such as location name, address, dates, times, durations, photos, calendar, and other context. The company initially focused on and built a strong solution for travel oriented use cases, but due to strong traction in adjacent areas it has now started to also apply its technology platform to broader applications such as field sales optimization, rich location-based user profile generation, and life-logging.

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The company is headed by Kedar Benegal, who has spent the past 15 years in senior strategy, marketing and operations roles in the travel and retail industries, most recently with the mobile division of Sabre Holdings, and Ismail Thanickel, a veteran software architect with nearly 20 years of experience in architecting and developing complex and secure mobile communication platforms for top-tier firms including Good Technology, a secure mobile communication platform provider, Motorola and JP Mobile.

The KeepTrax Board includes leaders in the mobile and travel industries, including Dayakar Puskoor, Managing Partner of Naya Ventures, a $50 million fund that invests in early-stage cloud, mobile and big data companies, whose career is showcased by a record of achievements in building high value mobile, wireless and telecommunications businesses, including JP Mobile (later acquired by Motorola). Advisory Board members include Steve Clampett, an airline and travel technology veteran whose background includes President, Airline Products and Solutions for Sabre Holdings; Som Das, entrepreneur and venture capitalist who was an early investor in companies such as WebEx and MindTree; and G. Venkat, a serial entrepreneur, mentor, and thought leader in the fields of Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning.

Kedar Benegal, CEO of KeepTrax

Kedar Benegal, CEO of KeepTrax

“Whether navigating busy routines near home, or discovering new places far away, people have a practical and emotional connection with the places they visit,” said Kedar Benegal, Founder and CEO of KeepTrax. “With KeepTrax we have developed a powerful way to help people privately and automatically capture the details of their places without the need for manual check-ins.”

In addition to the platform, KeepTrax has released “showcase” apps for iPhone and Android to demonstrate the capabilities of the technology. While the company’s focus is on business-to-business distribution, the showcase apps (built on the KeepTrax platform) have seen very strong organic traction in the market, garnering a large and engaged following among consumers.

Dayakar Puskoor, Managing Partner of Naya Ventures

Dayakar Puskoor, Managing Partner of Naya Ventures

“We have been hugely impressed by the KeepTrax team, technology platform, and the speed with which they have secured both consumer and enterprise market traction,” said Dayakar Puskoor, General Partner of Naya Ventures. “KeepTrax has developed a technology that eliminates the friction of converting physical visits into actionable digital data and it will be a game-changer in the emerging Internet of Me space.”

Among solutions being deployed from the platform:

KeepTrax SDK: Advanced APIs and iOS, Android and Web SDKs available to developers that want to integrate KeepTrax features and functions into their own Apps and Sites. In addition to pin capture and curation (name, dates, times, locations, photos, calendar, etc.), the platform offers advanced reporting and analytics tools and capabilities for a range of use cases.

KeepTrax for Travel: A travel-optimized version of KeepTrax that allows Travel companies (travel agencies, suppliers, etc.) to deliver branded location journaling solutions to their customers. The offering includes base KeepTrax features and more advanced sharing and travelogue capabilities.

KeepTrax for Field Management: A solution optimized for field force / sales force management, this version allows integration with client and sales prospect databases to develop rich field visit histories, and also real-time tracking and monitoring features. Captured data can be easily shared with peers and managers, and integrates seamlessly with standard CRM solutions.

About KeepTrax

Headquartered in Dallas, Texas and offices in Hyderabad, India, KeepTrax is a venture capital funded “Internet of Me” company that leverages GPS and mobile device sensors to convert physical location visits into context-rich digital pins that could be used for a range of use cases, from travel journaling and user profile generation to field sales optimization and location-based macro-level insight development. Learn more about KeepTrax at www.keeptraxinc.com.

About Naya Ventures:

Founded in 2011, Naya Ventures invests in early stage mobile technology and cloud based companies where its product development expertise, emerging market channel relationships and go-to-market strategies can efficiently increase enterprise value. Led by serial entrepreneurs in the mobile and cloud industry, Naya Ventures’ principals work alongside a global network of C-level executives and general partners at influential US technology companies and venture funds. Naya’s strong mobile and cloud industry reputation, its relationships with leading technology companies such as Microsoft and its global network of technology and market development resources help accelerate value creation. Its relationships also provide Naya with an extensive deal sourcing and follow on funding capability. For more information, please visit www.nayaventures.com

Media Contact:
Shravan Medempudi | Marketing Manager |Naya Ventures
shravan.m@nayaventures.com | +91 – 8374899991

4G Identity Solutions honored the India’s Small Giant by India SME Forum

4G Identity Solutions (4Gid) is a Pioneer (since 2001) & Global leader in providing large scale identity management solutions leveraging smart cards and biometric technologies. 4Gid specializes as an end-to-end identity management solutions provider & system integrator in Civil ID, Homeland Security & Law Enforcement for government, corporate, banking and defense sectors. 4Gid has re-defined ID management business space by providing thought leadership and proof of concepts that led to the world’s largest ID programmes. 4Gid has executed many of the world’s first large scale identity management solutions for federal governments, multilateral agencies and top notch corporates, and is currently delivering the world’s biggest Civil ID project – India’s Unique ID / Aadhaar.

Is E-commerce Replacing Physical Retail In India?

Anuj Puri, Chairman & Country Head, JLL India

Anuj Puri, Chairman & Country Head, JLL India

India’s retail market value was estimated at $520 billion in 2013, and is expected to grow to $950 billion by 2018. With a CAGR currently pegged at 13%, the Indian e-commerce market is expected to grow the fastest within the Asia-Pacific Region – with its market size doubling every 2-2.5 years. This certainly gives us reason for deep introspection. While the global growth rate of online shoppers is estimated at 8-10%, India currently has more than 10 million online shoppers.

Though 70% of India’s e-commerce market is related to travel (flights, hotel bookings, etc.), electronics and apparels are by far the most important categories in terms of sales. The key driver Indian e-commerce is the rapid increase of broadband internet penetration, which is growing at a whopping 20% every year. The rising standards of the mushrooming middle-class with high disposable incomes, coupled with the urban influence on rural aspirations, have led to an exponential growth of the internet culture in India.

This is very pertinent to the Indian retail sector. The internet has given Indian consumers access to a wide spectrum of products and services, even in places where brick-and-mortar shopping complexes have not reached. Also, the availability of a much wider range of products when compared to physical retail stores, coupled with relatively lower prices, is driving demand for online retail. With the evolution of the online marketplace, sites like Flipkart, Snapdeal, OLX and Jabong are thriving and more and more Indians are buying goods online.

E-commerce in India took off with a deluge of portals, including many focused on travel, media and jobs. The governments’ drive to open the sector for FDI in B2B business via the automatic route and bring e-commerce to the centre stage has caused a number of major players to venture into India. Today, Ebay, Amazon, Expedia and some serious Indian players are giving these physical retailers a run for their money.

Flipkart and Snapdeal’s recent fund-raising exercise put paid to the argument that investors are moving away from Indian e-commerce. The change in government and the stride of positive sentiment across the nation has led to growing faith in India and Indian business models. The governments’ initiative to simplify regulations and make India a business-friendly nation is definitely benefiting e-commerce.

Today, manufacturers and retailers running brick-and-mortar stores are anxiously asking the government to intervene with the creation of a regulatory body to stop e-retailers from undercutting prices. Physical retailers are definitely feeling the heat by the marketing blitz of their online counterparts, and the question of whether e-commerce is pushing out brick-and-mortar retailers looms large.

Many big companies are rising to the challenge and adopting smarter strategies to guard their turf. The likes of Tata, Future Group and Reliance are expanding their reach by foraying into e-commerce via alliances with leading online players. Indian retailers have clearly read the writing on the wall. As the competition grows, an omni-channel approach to delivering a unified and consistent customer experience is the new watchword.

Improving the overall experience is the avenue to success. Regardless of whether we’re talking about e-retailing, traditional brick-and-mortar retailing or a combination of both, the winners in this new steeplechase will have to evolve their offering to meet the needs, wants and desires of consumers. Retailers will increasingly have to offer services through various mediums.

However, e-commerce is still unlikely to completely replace or even seriously dent physical retail in this country. For Indians, malls are more than just shopping destinations – they are getaways from the humdrum and constraints of their day-to-day life, and mall developers have been catering to this dynamic by creating shopping complexes that offer retail, entertainment and dine-out option under a single roof. This is not a combination of offerings that even the slickest e-commerce operator can hope to compete with. ‘Experiential Retail’ is the holy mantra of the Indian shopper, and in the years to come, every mall across the country will do everything it can to turn the whole shopping experience into an entertainment experience.

Castell launches new heavy-duty access interlocks to protect workers in heavy industries

Industrial safety specialist Castell has launched heavy-duty access interlocks for use in industries such as waste and recycling, aggregates, steel and chemical processing. The AI-HD and AIE-HD have been designed to deliver robust performance where there are high potential loads and a high frequency of use.

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The risks to personnel safety in harsh environments can be increased due to the heavy wear placed on safety components. The UK’s HSE recently reported that the construction industry in particular, while accounting for only around five per cent of Britain’s employees, still accounted for 31 per cent of fatal injuries to employees and 10 per cent of reported major or specified injuries.

Recognising these issues, Castell examined how it could develop its durable AI and AIE access interlocks to deliver enhanced products that would meet the day-to-day operational cycles encountered in heavy industry.

The AI-HD and AIE-HD will deliver years of performance in the harshest environments. The products use a heavy-duty stainless steel support mechanism, designed to take up to 1.5 times the load of current access interlocks, which reinforces the locking action. The design also provides additional protection for applications with high levels of vibration, such as mixers and shredders.

Elisa Hunt, Castell’s marketing manager, commented: “Castell has always been synonymous with high-performing products in harsh environments and the new HD access range takes this to a new level. Taking feedback from our customers in the cement mixing, tanker loading and waste and recycling industries has enabled us to develop a product that offers new levels of safety performance.”

Castell Safety International protects personnel, assets and the environment worldwide across the energy, industry, manufacturing and transport sectors. Castell products are designed to work in the harshest environments, delivering safe and efficient solutions.

For more information, please contact Ms.Elisa Hunt at pr@castell.com or visit www.castell.com. Castell Safety International has a distributor presence in India.

About Castell Safety International

Established in 1922, Castell manufactures the world’s widest range of industrial safety interlocking systems. Designed to protect personnel working with dangerous machinery or in hazardous environments, the company’s products are robust, durable and suitable for the heaviest of applications. Available in a range of materials, including stainless steel, they are proven even in dusty, corrosive and aggressive operating environments. All products conform to European safety standards.

About Halma

Halma, the leading safety, health and environmental technology group is a public company listed on the London Stock Exchange and has around 5000 employees in nearly 50 subsidiaries worldwide. Halma’s subsidiaries make products that protect lives and improve the quality of life for people through innovation in market leading products which make its customers safer, more competitive and more profitable. These subsidiaries are assisting India’s economy in areas such as energy, manufacturing, healthcare, water and waste treatment, construction and transport. Halma has an office in Mumbai.

Press contact in India:

Sunil Balan

Marketing Manager

Halma India

Mobile: +91 77381 61211

E-mail : sunil.balan@halma.com

Actor Sudheer babu Launches a next generation fitness centre & ayurvedic spa promoted by Dr. Raja Ranjith

Dr. Raja Ranjith, a well known ayurvedic doctor from prestigious “Andariki Ayurvedam”, based in Hyderabad has started a new fitness centre with name “Redefining fitness” & an advanced ayurvedic Spa with an objective to promote fitness based on traditional principles and values.

Well known actor, Sudheer babu launched this fitness centre at Kondapur and spoke to the media along with Dr. Raja Ranjith.

RICS appoints Sachin Sandhir as ‘Global Managing Director – Emerging Business’

RICS, the global professional body for chartered qualifications and standards in real estate and construction, announced the appointment of Sachin Sandhir as Global Managing Director – Emerging Business. He will retain his current role as Managing Director, South Asia but will be taking on additional responsibility for evaluating growth avenues and developing new emerging business opportunities across the globe in standards, qualifications and training.

Announcing Sachin’s appointment, Will Myles, Regional Managing Director Asia Pacific, RICS said “The Executive Team at RICS is immensely pleased with the work Sachin has done to establish RICS in South Asia, including the recent establishment of the RICS School of Built Environment, Amity University. Sachin has demonstrated leading edge thinking in shaping our business in South Asia. RICS has now asked Sachin to take on the additional role of Global Managing Director – Emerging Business to focus on the wider development of standards, qualifications and training in this sector.”

Sachin Sandhir - Global MD, Emerging Business - RICS

Sachin Sandhir – Global MD, Emerging Business – RICS

On his appointment, Sachin Sandhir said, “It is a privilege and honor to have the opportunity to establish emerging business opportunities for a prestigious international institution like RICS, which is committed to instilling confidence in global real estate and construction markets”

Sachin Sandhir was appointed RICS Managing Director for RICS India in 2008, and promoted to Managing Director South Asia in 2011. Sachin describes his role in RICS as ‘a catalyst of creating change and professionalism’ in the real estate and construction industry in India. As an advocate of institutionalizing best practices and standards in the real estate and construction sector, he is working to ensure international standards and best practices disseminated by RICS, are adopted by industry to make the South Asia region a more transparent and professional marketplace. Sachin conceived the idea of the RICS School of Built Environment, Amity University and took a leading role in establishing the School – a milestone for RICS in its role as an education body and provider of professional (chartered) qualifications.

About RICS

RICS is a global professional body. We promote and enforce the highest professional qualification and standards in the development and management of land, real estate, construction and infrastructure. Our name promises the consistent delivery of standards – bringing confidence to the markets we serve. The work of our professionals creates a safer world: we are proud of our profession’s reputation and we guard it fiercely. See www.rics.org

For more information, please contact:

In London:

Chevon Erasmus Porter, RICS Communications & External Relations Advisor, London

Tel : +44 (0)20 7695 1601 • Mobile : +44 (0) 79 44 863 495 • Email: cerasmusporter@rics.org

In New Delhi:

Devesh Srivastava, Manager – PR and Communications, South Asia

Mobile: +91-9871654445 • Email: dcsrivastava@rics.org

Air Canada Partners with Concur TripLink to Enable Full Visibility for Corporate Travelers

Concur® (Nasdaq: CNQR), the leading provider of spend management solutions and services, today announced at Fusion Exchange in Toronto a partnership with Air Canada to develop and enable corporate travel booking solutions functionality for aircanada.com and Air Canada apps. By leveraging Concur TripLink, companies can capture direct Air Canada corporate bookings while still receiving their corporate benefits and meeting their corporate travel reporting requirements through Concur.

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Concur TripLink complements travel programs by providing visibility and information continuity to enable travelers and companies to book directly with Air Canada. Through TripLink, corporate travelers can use Air Canada channels to book their corporate fares and automatically have the trip data sent back to Concur to populate travel and expense reports on Concur and related platforms. In addition, travelers who link their profiles to Air Canada receive great benefits, including:

  • More Choice: Whether a traveler chooses to book through Concur Travel, their TMC or directly with Air Canada, Concur TripLink accommodates the travelers’ choice by allowing the user to define their travel shopping experience.
  • Greater Value: Concur TripLink enables travelers to take advantage of their corporate programs regardless of where they book travel; travelers and their companies get better visibility, negotiating power and control. Organizations and their TMCs can use the information to drive programs and services to increase compliance.
  • Improved Traveler Tracking: By capturing out-of-program bookings, companies know where their employees are traveling at all times, supporting their Duty of Care requirements. This also enables their TMCs to support these travelers and deliver new services.

  • “Air Canada is very excited about partnering with Concur to ensure our high value corporate customers always have access to the best, richest Air Canada content, while maintaining the benefits of tracking and reporting of expense through Concur,” said Keith Wallis, Manager of Distribution Business Development for Air Canada. “Air Canada has a long history of being an early adopter of innovative technology to meet and exceed their customers’ high expectations. Integrating Concur technology directly into the Air Canada website is the next step in the evolution of corporate travel as we seek to deliver exceptional benefits to our corporate customers.”

    “Corporate travelers want to stay compliant with corporate policies, but at the same time, they crave the convenience of direct booking. With today’s announcement, we are giving our mutual customers a transparent and seamless experience so they can get the most out of their travel budgets,” said Steve Singh, chairman and CEO at Concur. “By enabling direct booking at an enterprise-level, we are creating a new and deeper level of customer experience that is centered on direct end-user connections. These are the same types of connections that have transformed other industries.”

    To date, Concur TripLink has the following partners, including: Airbnb, Avis, Intercontinental Hotel Group, Marriott Hotels, Starwood Hotels, and United Airlines.

    About Concur

    Concur is the leading provider of spend management solutions and services in the world, helping companies of all sizes transform the way they manage spend so they can focus on what matters most. Through Concur’s open platform, the entire travel and expense ecosystem of customers, suppliers, and developers can access and extend Concur’s T&E cloud. Concur’s systems adapt to individual employee preferences and scale to meet the needs of companies from small to large. Learn more at www.concur.com or the Concur blog. The Concur Perfect Trip Fund invests in leading edge travel technology companies and is awarding $100,000 in innovation funding at the awards at The Perfect Trip DevCon 2014, from Concur & TripIt. Learn more at www.concur.com or the Concur blog.

    Press Contact:

    Shripad Sukenkar

    20:20 MSL

    981 949 9303

    shripad.sukenkar@2020msl.com

    BJP’s Majority Show: Impact On Infrastructure And Real Estate Initiatives

    Ramesh Nair, COO, JLL India

    Ramesh Nair, COO, JLL India

    With BJP controlling the Centre and the two biggest real estate markets in India – Mumbai and Gurgaon – the government has to focus on 3 I’s – Infrastructure, Interest reduction and Income generation. With the BJP’s remarkable show in Maharashtra, the state will give a new lease of life to its infrastructure projects across all sectors. The projects which are being monitored by the central government will get accelerated with the BJP government’s assumption of political power in Maharashtra.

    We have seen the Central Government take a keen interest in the real estate sector. It is evident that it has understood that enhancements in real estate can provide an impetus for growth across various sectors, generating tremendous employment and thereby boost the entire economic outlook for the country. The BJP-led Maharashtra State government can be seen drawing lines along the same goal.

    With several infrastructure and real estate initiatives mentioned by BJP in its manifesto, and with the intent to facilitate projects worth INR 11 lakh crore, these projects are likely to get a push in Maharashtra in the coming days. The government is expected to fast-track the new international airport in Panvel, the 22 km Trans-Harbour Link connecting Sewri and Nhava Seva and the Bullet Train connecting Mumbai and Ahmedabad. The airport and trans-harbour link will be game-changers for the Navi Mumbai real estate market, and help to decongest Mumbai by releasing vast tracts of land in Navi Mumbai for development.

    The BJP-led state government plans to have a business district like BKC in all the municipalities within MMR. With a business district in each one of the seven MMR municipalities – Greater Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane, Kalyan-Dombivali, Vasai-Virar, Mira-Bhayander, Bhiwandi-Nizampur and Ulhasnagar – the state will receive quite a few Peripheral Business Districts (PBDs) in the MMR region and enable the local populations to get jobs closer to their homes. This, in turn, will help attract IT/ITES companies that typically prefer lower-cost cities such as Bangalore and Pune, and generate much-needed jobs in Mumbai. This, in turn, will fuel the affordable housing segment and create much-needed IT, R&D and campus-style business parks across the city.

    The next phases of the elevated railway, water transport, metro and monorail projects envisaged long back will again be in the spotlight as they hold great potential for enhancing connectivity in all micro-markets of Mumbai. The Thane market will see significantly accelerated growth if the feasibility studies favour the setting-up of an airport in the Kalyan-Ambernath belt. As far as water transport is concerned, Mumbai will be an important hub for the water transport initiative along the Konkan coast. This will benefit CBD and SBD North, which are the prospective areas from where the city will be connected.

    The Government plans to widen the Mumbai-Goa Highway to a 4-lane highway and the area surrounding the Mumbai-Pune Expressway will be taken up for development. This will have a positive impact on Navi Mumbai, as it is the primary micro-market in the vicinity.

    ‘Make in Maharashtra’, an offshoot of the Prime Minister’s Make in India initiative, will be a major game-changer for the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) and the manufacturing hub of Pune. Mumbai will be the logical choice for almost all the MNC companies for establishing front offices to complement any investment in Maharashtra.

    The IT industry will be promoted in a big way to attract business parks and IT jobs into the state with a view to compete with destinations like Bangalore and Hyderabad. IT Industry Area Development Authority will be established to promote the IT sector in Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Nashik, Aurangabad and Kolhapur. With the India Shining sentiment making a decisive comeback, more opportunities will arise in office space transactions. The state governments’ proposal to establish 10 smart cities in Maharashtra has very favourable connotations for the commercial capital of India.

    The Governments’ initiative to install CCTVs across Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, Aurangabad and Nagpur will not only increase the overall safety and security quotient in these cities, but also present a favourable image of Maharashtra to MNC players who give significant importance to the safety and security aspects. Apart from this, several other initiatives such as fast broadband for the entire state, fast-tracked IT hardware production and creation of a hardware hubs along with the promotion of the mobile applications, gaming development and cyber security industries will help push up office space demand.

    The digitizing of public and land documents such as 7/12 forms and making these available online will not only improve transparency but also promote faster approvals for land transactions.

    The relaxation of FSI norms has been received very positively by developers, and will be a major catalyst for more purchases of raw land for development. However, the increase in FSI can also lead to further stagnation of residential property values. The perceived influx of supply in the market may lead to a correction in prices on Mumbai’s real estate market. However, market sentiments will turn more positive and this should increase funding requirements, as developers will actively take up more projects.

    The Government’s focus on better governance and its initiative to implement new reforms such as the Real Estate Bill and single-window project clearances will not only help rein in real estate-related corruption but also regularize the functioning of the real estate sector. The state Government is expected to further push and implement the NDA’s central manifesto of housing for all by 2022.

    There is an express need for the approval process to be streamlined and expedited. Easy approvals will lead to faster clearances and thereby a steady supply in the market, which will keep property prices affordable. We definitely expect the Government to be more developer-friendly. Fast-tracked reform measures in the environmental approval process and clear policies on real estate will add more clarity and lead to faster execution. If the BMC sees power realignment, and if this helps new reforms and regulations to come through faster, then Mumbai’s real estate sector will definitely be a clear winner.