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Dronacharya College Of Engineering, Gurgaon
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DRONACHARYA-- Gurukul Combining tradition with MODERNITY
DRONACHARYA-- Gurukul Combining tradition with MODERNITY

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Digital globalisation vs geopolitical globalisation: A tale of two worlds

A leader of a global industrial company ­ which has survived and thrived through the ebbs and flows of globalisation over the past century ­ brought out the remarkable recent shift in the narrative of globalisation when he lamented to me that “globalisation is not a zero sum game as current geopolitics makes it out to be“. He went on to add, ironically , that despite the geo-political rhetoric they are continuing to grow strongly , especially their global services business, as the world becomes even more tightly integrated digitally.

These two seemingly conflicting narratives of the world, the geopolitical and the digital, have fundamentally transformed the half century old model of globalisation. This dichotomy is further influenced by the seemingly opposing geopolitical approach of the two leading economic powers, US and China.

While the United States has overturned its late 20th century policy as the champion of open borders and global trade and is embracing economic nationalism as a bargaining lever to achieve its objective of `fair trade', China is pushing a new geopolitical order with its One Belt One Road initiative. In both cases, the loss is that of multilateralism which underpinned the growth of globalisation over six decades since World War 2, despite economic hiccups like the oil crisis of the 1970s or the dotcom bust in 2000.

This dichotomy of the two worlds is playing out in the metrics of globalisation.The negative geo-political narrative of growing protectionism is reflected in `old' metrics that show a downward trend with slowdown in the global merchandise trade affecting the trade multiplier on global GDP. Similarly global FDI intensity (as percentage of total global investment or global GDP) is also falling and together has brought down global GDP growth from a high of 4.5% in 2010 to around 3%.

On the other hand the digital narrative is all about growth in the number of globally connected consumers, which has gone from 0.7 billion in 2003 to over 3 billion. The number of globally connected machines is growing even faster and currently number over 6 billion, which is forecast to more than treble to over 20 billion by 2020.

This growth in digital connectivity has lead to an explosive growth in global data from 100 gigabytes in 2002 to over 20,000 GB in 2015, and it is expected to cross 60,000 GB by 2020. So while the merchandise trade is slowing down services trade, especially digital services trade, is growing strongly .

These two world narratives have led to very different `winning' strategies, both at the level of countries and companies.While overall global growth has slowed, we are also seeing greater divergence in growth rates among countries, especially emerging markets, a marked contrast from the convergence among developing county growth rates that defined the last two decades of globalisation.

Developing countries that have strong services exports and strong domestic consumption continue to grow while many commodity and even manufacturing export led economies struggle. Clearly a very different winning formula from the manufacturing and merchandise led export growth model of the second half of 20th century .

Similarly , the fastest growing companies are those who have built their business models around services and digital platforms, selling to digitally connected consumers or businesses.Examples are companies like Fitbit and Uber who are building multi-billion dollar global businesses not in decades but months and years by leveraging this rapid growth in digital integration. Perhaps the most dramatic example of such growth was Niantic, the makers of the PokemonGo game who reached billion dollar revenues in just six months from over 100 million consumers in over 125 countries.

At a recent conference in US where i presented my thesis of new globalisation resulting from these two narratives, the head of a global consumer company articulated the unfortunate tale of the two worlds very nicely when he said that in the current political climate where anything `global', `world' or `united' is almost demonised, whereas anything `national', `us versus them' and `protectionist' is heralded, people lose sight of the fundamental and undeniable truth that protectionism and nationalism have never in history created wealth for society at large.

He went on to add that the most important question for him was how should corporations position themselves in this battle of two worlds? Should they jump on the bandwagon of protectionism as some global firms are doing by abandoning some markets which was very “convenient“ politically in the short term, but destroys value in the long term? Or should he consciously ignore the political noise and instead fully embrace the rapidly converging global consumer trends?
A non-trivial choice to say the least, with no easy answers. But it is important to remember that ebbs and flows of globalisation are not new. Over the last century and half, the world has witnessed several major waves of globalisation.

Each time, globalisation's momentum was halted by some crisis. After each reverse, globalisation was redefined and emerged stronger than ever ­ but also in a very different form. Hopefully the current era will be no different and the two worlds will converge as the inexorable logic of the market and consumers bring about the alignment of the two worlds. And prove once again that globalisation is not, and never was, a zero-sum game.

The writer is director , BCG Henderson Institute. Views are personal
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Autonomous cars the mother of all AI projects: Apple CEO

After years toiling away in secret on a car project, Apple CEO Tim Cook has for the first time elaborated on the company’s plans in the automotive market.

“We’re focusing on autonomous systems,” Cook told Bloomberg. “It’s a core technology that we view as very important.” He likened the effort to “the mother of all AI projects,” saying it’s “probably one of the most difficult AI projects to work on.”

The prospect of self-driving cars has seen a slew of technology companies push into the auto industry. Alphabet’s Waymo unit has signed partnerships with Fiat and Lyft to develop the technology. And carmakers from BMW to General Motors have opened sizable Silicon Valley offices and dedicated hundreds of millions of dollars to acquire autonomous vehicle startups.

Apple had initially been seeking to build its own car, before recalibrating those ambitions last year to prioritise the underlying technology for autonomous driving. The iPhone maker had hired more than 1,000 engineers to work on Project Titan, as the car team is known internally, after it started in 2014.

The iPhone maker secured a permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles in April to test three self-driving sports-utility vehicles. A half-dozen vehicles had been surreptitiously testing the autonomous technology on public roads in and around the San Francisco Bay area for at least a year, according to someone familiar with Project Titan.

“There is a major disruption looming there,” Cook said, citing self-driving technology, electric vehicles and ride-hailing. “You’ve got kind of three vectors of change happening generally in the same time frame.”

Cook was also bullish about the prospects for electric vehicles, a market which last week helped Tesla become the world’s fourthbiggest carmaker by market capitalisation, even as it ranks well outside the top 10 by unit sales.

“It’s a marvelous experience not to stop at the filling station or the gas station,” Cook said.

Whereas Apple had initially been building its own car, Mansfield scrapped those plans in favour of building an autonomous driving system. The company will make a decision on whether to proceed with the push later this year, the people said at the time.

Cook was hesitant to disclose whether Apple will ultimately manufacture its own car. “We’ll see where it takes us,” Cook said. “We’re not really saying from a product point of view what we will do.” BLOOMBERG
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Tech Mahindra leads as global engineering R&D services provider

Bengaluru, Software major Tech Mahindra has been recognised as a global engineering and R&D services provider based on the comprehensive assessment of its 'Design to Build Engineering' capabilities by management consulting firm Zinnov, the company said on Sunday.

The study titled 'Zinnov Zones - Product Engineering Services (PES) 2016' placed Tech Mahindra Integrated Engineering Solutions (IES) in the 'Leadership Zone' in seven industries -- such as aerospace, automotive, telecom, industrial, energy and utilities, transportation, and consumer electronics -- and 'Expansive and Established' zone for two horizontals -- Mechanical Engineering Services and Embedded Systems.

"We are delighted to be recognised as a leader among global engineering players. The ratings are testimony of our ability to integrate design, styling, new age customer experience through design thinking approach and help transform our customers as a product engineering partner," said Karthikeyan Natarajan, Global Head (Engineering, IoT and Enterprise Mobility), Tech Mahindra.

The rating validates Tech Mahindra's capabilities across parameters including breadth and depth of services -- non-linear offerings, innovation, talent, delivery excellence, customer connect, strategic partnerships, infrastructure and new engagement/business models.

For the study, Zinnov selected top 50 R&D Product Engineering service providers from an initial list of 200+ service providers across geographies like India, China, Russia, Eastern Europe & APAC.
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Demonetisation hits government IT spending

Mumbai, There will be a 2 per cent drop in the Indian government's IT spending this year due to demonetisation and a drop in industrial production, market research firm Gartner said on Thursday.

The government is forecast to spend $7.8 billion on IT in 2017 -- a 7.5 percent increase from 2016. However, this is down from Gartner's projection of 9.5 percent growth this year.

"The 2 percent revision in our outlook is primarily due to the effects of demonetisation and a drop in industrial production," Moutusi Sau, principal research analyst at Gartner, said in a statement.

"However, spending plans like affordable housing scheme and increased loans to small and medium enterprises by the government are likely to have a positive effect on IT spending in the next few quarters," Sau added.

IT services (which includes consulting, software support, business process outsourcing, IT outsourcing, implementation and hardware support) is expected to grow 10.8 per cent in 2017 to reach $2 billion, making it the largest IT spending category.

The software segment is expected to grow 10.8 per cent in 2017 to reach $1.1 billion.

Enterprise resource planning (ERP), supply chain management (SCM) and customer relationship management (CRM) will be the fastest growing segment with 14.5 per cent growth.

Devices (which includes printers/copiers/MFPs, mobile devices, PCs and tablets) is expected to grow 10.4 per cent this year to reach $1.1 billion.
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Paytm eyes 3X growth in train ticket bookings this year

NEW DELHI: Digital payments platform, Paytm today said it expects to clock over 3X growth in number of train tickets booked through its platform this financial year.

The company is also strengthening its overall travel vertical and will hire more people over the next two quarters.

"Paytm is booking over one million train tickets in a month and has become India's largest platform for train tickets booking, after IRCTC," it said in a statement.

The Alibaba-backed company had launched online train ticket bookings in partnership with IRCTC in October last year.

"Paytm is now targeting 3X growth this financial year," it said.

Currently, 90 per cent of the train ticket bookings on Paytm are done through the mobile platform.

"We are extremely overwhelmed by the response received for train ticket bookings on Paytm in the last six months. Emerging as the country's largest platform in train ticket bookings is a definitive step towards our goal of building the country's largest travel booking platform," Paytm Vice President Abhishek Rajan said.

Paytm has witnessed exponential growth in its travel vertical with more than 10 million tickets sold in FY17.

The travel marketplace team is headquartered in Bengaluru and has scaled up to over 150 members in the last 12 months.

Paytm is looking to ramp this up to 250 people in next two quarters, the statement said.
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Unpatched software, human factor behind data breaches: F-Secure

London, Most of the companies fall victim to cyber attackers either because of unpatched software with known vulnerabilities or because of the human factor like people falling victim to phishing emails, Finland-based cyber security firm F-Secure said on Monday.

According to the firm, the exploitation of known vulnerabilities is still the root cause of most breaches while all other security measures are just secondary measures designed to catch attacks that happen because of these two reasons.

"Still, companies are fixated on zero days and the newest methods of attack which are often fairly restricted and obscure," said Janne Kauhanen, cyber security expert at F-Secure, in a statement.

The massive "WannaCrypt" ransomware attack is the most recent example of a known vulnerability being exploited to great effect.

"The outbreak is based on a Windows Server Message Block (SMB) vulnerability, MS17-010, that had been patched by Microsoft in March. The spread of the worm would have been reduced had more systems been kept up to date," the firm noted.

It takes 103 days for a vulnerability to be remediated while a new security vulnerability is identified every 90 minutes.

"The best way to handle cyber threats is to actually foresee them by fixing vulnerabilities before they can even be exploited," added Jimmy Ruokolainen, Vice President, Product Management at F-Secure.

With shadow IT, external misconfigurations, and potentially vulnerable partners, companies aren't usually aware of their entire attack surface, he added.
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Sad over recent IT layoffs, says Narayana Murthy

BENGALURU: Founder Chairman of Infosys N R Narayana Murthy today expressed sadness over the IT companies laying off their employees as part of their cost cutting strategy.

"...It is sad...," Murthy told in an email reply to a PTI query about recent IT layoffs.

Murthy, however, did not elaborate on the matter.

Infosys had announced that it could hand out pink slips to hundreds of mid and senior-level employees as it carries out bi-annual performance review amid a challenging business environment.

The development comes at a time when its peers Wipro and Cognizant are taking similar measures to control costs.

The US-based Cognizant had rolled out a voluntary separation programme for directors, associate VPs and senior VPs, offering them 6-9 months of salary.

Wipro, too, is learnt to have asked about 600 employees to leave as part of its annual "performance appraisal" even as speculations were that the number could go as high as 2,000.

According to executive search firm Head Hunters India, the job cuts in IT sector will be between 1.75 lakh and 2 lakh annually for next three years due to under-preparedness in adapting to newer technologies.

A report submitted by McKinsey & Company at the Nasscom India Leadership Forum said, nearly half of the workforce in the IT services firms will be "irrelevant" over the next 3-4 years.

IT companies have been one of the largest recruiters in the country. However, they have warned that increasing automation of processes would lead to reduction in hiring in coming years.

While the outsourcing model has placed India on the global map, increasing scrutiny and rising protectionist sentiment are also posing challenges for the USD 140 billion Indian IT industry.

Companies are now working towards reducing their dependence on work visas and instead hiring more locals to ensure continuity of work for clients, even though it impacts their margins.
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Automation Anywhere launches IQ and software bots

Bangalore: Automation Anywhere, the global enterprise Robotic Process Automation (RPA) provider, has announced the availability of IQ and software bots capable of studying, learning and mimicking human behavior for intelligent process automation.

By combining cognitive abilities with practical, rule-based RPA capabilities, organizations can quickly scale and up level their digital workforces to fully automate processes end-to-end and run them independently with minimal human intervention. The product was launched at Automation Anywhere’s Imagine, the company’s premier customer experience event taking place in New York City.

IQ bot is skilled at applying human logic to document patterns and extracting values in the same way that a human would, but with instantaneous speed, the accuracy of a machine and with a near-zero error rate.

Fully integrated with the Automation Anywhere Enterprise platform, IQ bot delivers organizations enormous gains in productivity because it is capable of processing and automating business tasks involving complex documents with unstructured data.

With Automation Anywhere’s comprehensive digital workforce platform, comprised of RPA, cognitive and analytic capabilities, organizations can automate up to 80 percent of business processes, compared to the 30 percent automation capability by using RPA alone.

“IQ bot is the next evolution of cognitive capabilities that significantly extends the proficiency of RPA beyond anything we’ve yet experienced. It enables companies to leverage what humans do best and what machines do best, delivering the first intelligent automation platform,” said Mihir Shukla, CEO and Co-founder, Automation Anywhere.

“We strongly believe the full potential of enterprise automation is only realized when RPA and cognitive computing work together. With the release of IQ bot, we are delivering critical functionality, which can be truly transformational,” added Shukla.

IQ bot has a built-in, intuitive dashboard that makes it easy to setup and manage. It relies on supervised learning, meaning that every human interaction makes IQ bot smarter. In addition to English, IQ bot can extract data in Spanish, French, Italian and German.
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Donald Trump blamed for job losses as India tech workers face cuts

Swapana Bhosale was stunned when she found out earlier this month she was losing her job at tech services provider Cognizant Technology Solutions in India. Layoffs in the business are rare, particularly if employees are in the middle of client assignments like she was.

“Pulling people out of projects to sack them is unheard of in our industry,” said Bhosale, who demanded to be fired rather than resign so she can take legal action.

The 36-year-old sees an unusual culprit behind job losses in the country’s outsourcing industry: US President Donald J. Trump. She thinks his immigration policies are contributing to early cutbacks, aggravating losses that come from automation and softer customer demand. Cognizant and peers like Infosys Ltd. and Wipro Ltd. won’t disclose how many jobs they cut, but it appears the industry is going through one of the largest retrenchments in its three-decade-plus history.

Bhosale’s not alone in blaming Trump. In cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, Hyderabad and Kolkata, thousands of engineers who have been axed or face dismissal are banding together on social networks and WhatsApp groups to decry Trump’s policies. They are discussing the creation of the first industrywide IT labor union, which may foreshadow broader changes in a $110-billion business at the heart of India’s economy.

“People are angry,” said 25-year-old Pankaj Kumar Singh, a software analyst who was dismissed from Cognizant’s Kolkata operation after two years at the company. “They feel Trump’s policies have a lot to do with the firings.”

The view from the “Make America Great Again” president is different, of course. Trump campaigned on the idea of bringing back American jobs and frequently criticized the outsourcing industry for replacing US workers with those from overseas. Trump is tightening the criteria for letting foreign employees into the US, particularly through the controversial H-1B visa program.

India’s outsourcers are moving to adjust. Earlier this month, Infosys said it would hire 10,000 American workers in the US, jobs that in the past may have been filled with foreign employees on temporary visas. That has incensed workers who have taken to WhatsApp groups to argue the company is firing at home so it can hire in the US

Infosys, Cognizant and other companies say that is not the case. They say any exits are routine and performance-related. “We do this every year and the numbers could vary every performance cycle,” Sarah Vanita Gideon, an Infosys spokeswoman, said by email. The 200,000-strong company is still hiring and a batch of fresh recruits will soon begin their training, she said.

Cognizant, with headquarters in Teaneck, New Jersey and more than three-quarters of its 260,000 employees in India, said it has not conducted layoffs and will continue to hire. Some employees are “transitioning out of the company” after performance reviews, Harsh Kabra, a spokesman said via email.

Still, the backlash has swelled to the point where the trade group Nasscom decided to convene a press conference in Delhi last week to address the outcry. With representatives from Cognizant, Wipro, Tech Mahindra Ltd. and Mindtree Ltd. present, Chairman Raman Roy denied reports of mass dismissals. He said 170,000 new jobs were added to the 4-million-worker industry in fiscal 2017 and has continued to be a ‘net hirer’ in fiscal 2018.

That’s little consolation to people like Bhosale. She contributes to mortgage payments on the family’s two-bedroom flat and had just enrolled her 3-year-old in a pricey pre-school when she was notified of the firing. She pleaded for time to find a new job, but had her request denied.

She has turned to social media to cope with unemployment. She joined a WhatsApp Messenger group to swap advice and gossip with nearly a hundred Cognizant colleagues in the same predicament. Such digital forums now abound with rants against managers and memes on Trump.

“I hate Trump…” one newly-terminated worker of Cognizant railed anonymously on a Facebook Confessions page. “I remember the day he was elected…I never thought it had so much direct impact on my life/career.”

The worst is yet to come, said Kris Lakshmikanth, chairman of the Bangalore-based talent search firm, The Headhunters. He anticipates terminations will accelerate and top 150,000 or even 200,000 next year. “In my 25 years in executive search, managers were rarely fired. This year, I reckon Cognizant alone has let go of 1,500 managers to be replaced with less expensive resources.”

Workers have begun debating what could be a landmark union. Though trade unions are common in India in manufacturing and transportation, they have never had much success in information technology, in part because of double-digit pay hikes, attractive perks and foreign postings.

But with those heady days over, workers are feeling the pain of terminations. In Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai, groups of ex-employees are petitioning local governments’ labor commissioners to intervene. In Chennai, the only region where tech employees were recently allowed to set up or join a union, employees have formed an IT wing with the New Democracy Labor Front.

The NDLF is calling for more transparency and accountability as the tech industry deals with the downturn. “Why are companies cloaking such large-scale firings under the guise of performance appraisals?” asked S. Kumar, a representative of the NDLF

He said the union is getting hundreds of calls and emails from workers across the country who have been laid off or are worried they will be. The union is advising such workers not to resign and to keep phones switched off to avoid calls from HR. “The companies are accountable to the government,” said Kumar. “Didn’t they benefit from subsidized government land, tax holidays and other freebies by saying they are creating jobs and boosting exports?”
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Researchers find new ransomware EternalRocks, its stronger than WannaCry

NEW YORK: EternalRocks, a new strain of malware, has been identified by the researchers that targets the same vulnerability that wrecked havoc worldwide by 'WannaCry' ransomware, a media report said.

EternalRocks exploits the same vulnerability in Windows that helped WannaCry spread to computers. The malware includes far more threats than WannaCry, making it potentially tougher to fight.

Like the original ransomware, known as WannaCry, EternalRocks uses an NSA tool known as EternalBlue to spread itself from one computer to the next through Windows. But it also uses six other NSA tools, with names like EternalChampion, EternalRomance, and DoublePulsar (which is also part of WannaCry), Fortune reported.

In its current form, EternalRocks does not have any malicious elements--it does not lock or corrupt files, or use compromised machines to build a botnet. But that's not particularly reassuring, because EternalBlue leaves infected computers vulnerable to remote commands that could 'weaponize' the infection at any time.

WannaCry, has hit over 150 countries, including India and affected over 240,000 machines, primarily those running unpatched versions of Windows 7. It encrypts files on infected machines and demands payment for unlocking them.

EternalRocks is stronger that WannaCry because it does not have any weaknesses, including the kill switch that a researcher used to help contain the ransomware.

EternalBlue also uses a 24-hour activation delay to try to frustrate efforts to study it, the report noted.

The researcher who found EternalRocks does not claim that it has spread very far yet, but it's just one example of a wave of new malware based on the NSA-authored exploits. The consequences have already been serious, and they could get worse.

The last 10 days have seen a wave of cyber attacks that have rendered companies helpless around the globe.
First it was WannaCry that spread by taking advantage of a Windows vulnerability that Microsoft released a security patch for in March. It encrypted files on infected machines and demanded payment for unlocking them.

WannaCry had some loopholes that made it easier to slow and circumvent.

Over 48,000 attempts of ransomware attacks were detected in India. With 60 per cent of the attempts targeted enterprises, while 40 per cent were on individual customers, a cyber security firm, Quick Heal Technologies had said.
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