Tata Communications announced the winners of ‘The Grand India IoT Innovation Challenge,’ (#giiotic); a 4-month long contest organised in partnership with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). Riding on the theme, ‘Solutions that create a better society,’ engineering students from select colleges across India were invited to build prototypes of IoT enabled solutions by leveraging Tata Communications’ IoT infrastructure and expertise.
While the ideas received were diverse, majority of them were underpinned by the need for efficient civic administration and public safety – demonstrating that transformation is not just about digitisation of processes, but creating value for citizens and businesses, based on smarter systems that enable smarter use of data.
The first winner Prajjawala from IIT Bhubaneswar designed an IoT-based solution to measure, track, transmit, store and analyse consumers’ LPG consumption. Prajjawala received a cash prize of INR 5 lacs. The second winner Dominators from Army Institute of Technology designed an IoT device that can be plugged to a streetlight, creating a heat map of mosquitoes for the municipal authorities to assess and plan mosquito control.
Third prize was jointly awarded to – Sanrakshak from VIT Chennai who created affordable sensors to provide real-time data on the occurrence of faults on the railway lines, ensuring safe and secure journey for travellers and Short Circuits from BITS Pilani which addressed power deficiency issues by accessing the energy stored in electric vehicles, when not in use. The second winner was given cash prize worth INR 3 lacs and the third place secured INR 1.5 lacs each.
Tata Communications will look to extend its support to the winning teams in scaling the idea to an operational business model.
The first edition of The Grand India IoT Innovation Challenge witnessed 757 applications from a closed contest (open to only 27 engineering colleges and universities) across India. Of these only 10 teams made the cut to the finale. The jury comprised of VS Shridhar, Senior Vice President and Head of Internet of Things (IoT) at Tata Communications; RohitSrivastwa, Senior Director at Quick Heal Technologies Ltd. as a representative of CII; Arvind Tiwary, Chair-IoT Forum at TiE Bengaluru; Anita Rajan, Chief Operating Office, Tata Strive and RajendraShende, Chairman of TERRE Policy Center.
For four-months, shortlisted teams were given exclusive access to Tata Communications’ dedicated LoRaWAN™ IoT network, Raspberry Pi™ kits along with expert mentorship from Tata Communications’ IoT Product & Solutions team to build their ideas into prototypes that demonstrates engineering expertise, has an innovation quotient, market relevance and commercial viability.
“There is a need to build a holistic IoT ecosystem that will enable the use of technology to solve India specific problems. We firmly believe that this technology can contribute to improving quality of living and making our cities engines of economic growth and prosperity,” said VS Shridhar, Senior Vice President & Head, Internet of Things, Tata Communications. “Through our LoRaWANTM based LPWAN and cloud-based IoT platform we have been successfully catering to experiential and growing needs of the entire spectrum – the Government, large enterprises and start-ups. We now want to encourage young minds, especially the engineering students, to engage meaningfully in this ecosystem. We are confident that their contribution will create large-scale, innovative solutions for public good. The overwhelming participation we have received for this challenge, demonstrates their keenness to participate and make a difference. We see it as a validation of our endeavour to build a strong talent pipeline by offering students a practical experience of ideating, prototyping, building and scaling a solution for the betterment of our society.”
According to a survey of 774 companies across four industries (conducted by World Economic Forum and Observer Research Foundation), nearly 84% companies will need to re-train their existing employees with new technologies such as IoT, big data, cloud computing and AI to address the skill gap.
Tata Communications and CII identified this missing link and earlier this year, partnered to launch the CII – Tata Communications Centre for Digital Transformation, to help organisations in India unlock the true benefits of digital technologies.
“One of the main challenges that India faces is the professional skill gap, where it has a big talented workforce but very few experienced on the emerging technologies,” said Anjan Das, Executive Director, CII. “We are deeply thrilled to strengthen and take forward our partnership with Tata Communications through The Grand India IoT Innovation Challenge. This initiative is in line with the objective of the CII – Tata Communications Centre for Digital Transformation, to catalyse digital change for the nation by accelerating adoption of new age technologies and championing the cultivation of new talent to drive innovation forward. Through this challenge, India’s students (our future leaders) have demonstrated their inclination towards using IoT to create path-breaking solutions for a better society and the need for right mentorship and IoT infrastructure, which is being addressed by Tata Communications, a leading player in the sector.”
Tata Communications is already laying the foundation for IoT in India with the world’s largest LoRaWAN network spanning across 2000 communities and 38 cities in the country to create an end-to-end connected ecosystem. This will give rise to a new civic operating system which will be fuelled by data to enable seamless and secure connectivity between devices to make public services more accessible, reduce environmental impact and empower communities at large.
HPE Helps Government in Fighting COVID-19 by Deploying Test Labs & OPD Across India
Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) announced it has completed deployment of four COVID-19 Test Labs and four Outpatient Department (OPD) Centers across the country to assist the Government of India and state governments in their efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. These facilities have been established in order to provide additional authorized testing facilities and isolation beds to manage the increased demand across the country.
Donated as part of HPE’s commitment to India announced last July, the HPE COVID-19 Test Labs are designed to enable quick and clean testing of individuals who suspect they may have contracted COVID-19, and will be based on the specifications provided by the Ministry of Science & Technology. The Test Labs will be run and managed by the concerned government agency including installing testing equipment, deploying paramedics and technicians, providing broadband connectivity, PPEs and medical supplies.
“COVID -19 has thrown unprecedented challenges for the world and industries alike and we must actively implement various measures to help contain the virus. NASSCOM is working with the IT industry in formulating innovative solutions to combat the pandemic. Cloud-enabled HPE COVID-19 Test Labs and OPDs will enable authorities to refine their testing process and will significantly reduce the strain on existing healthcare facilities. We are confident that together we will be able to overcome this phase and emerge stronger post the crisis,” said Debjani Ghosh, President, NASSCOM.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to challenge local communities across the world, we are responding with initiatives to support the communities where we live and work. The deployment of HPE COVID-19 Test Labs and OPD Centers will support the government’s efforts to prevent, detect and respond to COVID-19,” said Som Satsangi, MD – India, HPE.
Based on the successful HPE eHealth Centers (eHCs), HPE has developed and deployed these Test Labs and OPD Centers in 40-feet refurbished negative air pressure containers equipped with biometrics, blood pressure apparatus, spirometer, serum analyzer, pulse oxymeter, glucometer, pulse reader, and ECG. All this equipment will be integrated with EMR (Electronic Medical Record) applications, and an online dashboard will be provided to monitor the related OPDs. Additionally, suitable IT equipment will be provided, including workstations, headphones, thermal cameras, networking components, and UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) systems.
The OPD Centers will handle walk-in patients and will have provisions to house six patients for 24 to 48 hours for observation purposes. It will have negative air pressure doors to ensure isolation and also serve as a temporary housing for people with COVID-19 symptoms until they are either discharged or are sent to the applicable wards for treatment.
To ensure the IT infrastructure at the Test Labs and OPD centers experience minimal downtime and any related issues can be rectified remotely without the need of an on-site engineer, the facilities are equipped with Aruba Cloud Managed Wireless solution along with Aruba User Experience Insight (UXI) Sensor. This will act as a virtual network admin onsite and will monitor all key applications proactively 24×7. In case of any issues, the HPE Network Operations Center (NOC) located at Chandigarh, will be able to detect and resolve problems before they are even noticed. This is to assure user and device best experience on Aruba network. The Aruba solution also offers zero touch provisioning, remote management and remote diagnosis thereby eliminating or limiting human interference making it a best fit solution in response to COVID-19.
The HPE COVID-19 Test Labs and OPD Centers have been established across Delhi, Chennai, Lucknow, and Dehradun.
HPE is committed to helping communities, customers, and partners during this time of global uncertainty. Earlier this month, at a worldwide level HPE Financial Services designated more than $2 billion in financing to help customers and partners with their financial challenges stemming from the COVID-19 crisis. HPE Foundation also set up a dollar-for-dollar matching campaign to provide HPE team members with the opportunity to make financial donations to support the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund that will help the World Health Organization’s efforts with global health institutions and health workers to prevent, detect and respond to COVID-19 and UNICEF’s global efforts to provide continuous education, healthcare, sanitation, and community engagement. To learn more about these initiatives please visit the HPE COVID-19 content hub.
Amazon Introduces New Echo Devices for Modern Smart Homes
Amazon introduced an all-new line-up of Echo devices and a range of new Alexa features that give you even more ways to add Alexa to your daily life. New Echo devices include:
- All-new Echo: Featuring an updated fabric design and premium sound, for the same price as previous generation Echo i.e. ₹9,999.
- Echo Dot with clock: This new variant of Echo Dot includes a bright LED display that shows the time, outdoor temperature, timers, or alarms for ₹5,499.
- Echo Studio: Our best-sounding Echo ever, with five directional speakers for immersive studio-quality sound, room adaptation technology, and a built-in smart home hub for ₹22,999.
“Customers across the country have given feedback on how they love using Alexa – whether it is listening to their favorite music, playing a game with kids, watching videos on Echo Show range of devices, or controlling their smart home appliances,” said Parag Gupta, Head of Amazon Devices India. “We are introducing new Echo devices and features to give customers even more ways to access Alexa— whether that’s through our best-sounding Echo device yet—Echo Studio, or the reimagined Echo and Echo Dot.”
New Additions to the Echo Family—Even More Ways to Add Alexa to Your Day
All-new Echo—Premium sound, updated fabric design, and a new blue color variant, still only ₹9,999
The next-generation Echo has the same audio architecture as Echo Plus, including a 3-inch woofer and increased back volume so that the bass feels stronger, and the mids and highs are clearer. It also features an updated fabric design with color options suitable for any style—including Blue (new), Black, Grey and White.
Echo Dot with clock—Now with a simple, bright LED display for ₹5,499
Echo Dot, our best-selling device, now has a new variant that comes with a bright LED display that makes it the perfect addition to a bedside table or kitchen counter. The LED display automatically adjusts based on the brightness of the room, so you can easily see the time or just ask to see the outdoor temperature, or to set a morning alarm or cooking timer. Plus, you can tap the top of the device to conveniently snooze an alarm.
Echo Studio—Immersive studio-quality audio with Dolby Atmos, pairs with Fire TV Stick 4K for audio playback, room adaptation technology and a built-in smart home hub for only ₹22,999
With five built-in directional speakers, Echo Studio has been purposefully engineered to create studio-quality sound with space, clarity, and depth. Its 5.25-inch woofer and 330W of peak power produce deep, rich bass by using the bass port at the bottom to maximize airflow and bass output from the woofer. Echo Studio has a 1-inch tweeter and three 2-inch midrange speakers that deliver dynamic midranges and crisp, high frequencies. Plus, it has a 24-bit DAC and a power amplifier with 100 kHz of bandwidth for high-res, lossless music playback. Echo Studio also automatically senses the acoustics of your space and fine-tunes audio playback to deliver optimal sound—no matter where you put the device in the room.
The Echo Studio smart speaker delivers an immersive audio experience using advanced processing from Dolby Atmos.
One or two Echo Studio devices can be paired with the Fire TV Stick 4K for audio playback with multi-channel sound and support for Dolby Atmos, Dolby Audio 5.1, and stereo audio. Echo Studio also has a built-in Zigbee smart home hub which can be used to control compatible smart home devices—making it the perfect addition to your family or living room.
The all new Echo, Echo Dot with clock, and Echo Studio devices are available for pre-order on Amazon.in and select offline stores starting today and will start shipping later this year. Customers who pre-order can avail of a smart bulb at no extra cost and a smart plug at ₹199 only.
The new devices announced today join Echo Dot, Echo Plus, Echo Show, Echo Show 5, and Echo companion devices – Echo Sub, Echo Link, Echo Link Amp – to create the Echo family of devices.
New Alexa Features
Alongside a new lineup of Echo devices, Amazon today announced ways that Alexa is getting smarter, making life more convenient and giving customers even more control over their experience.
Users can enjoy these Alexa features from today:
Interact with Alexa in Hindi or Hinglish
Alexa can now understand customers speaking to her completely in Hindi or Hinglish, in multiple contexts, and varied regional accents and dialects. You can enjoy asking Alexa for diverse Hindi content such as jokes, shayaris, games, Kabir ke dohe, Panchatantra stories, Bollywood dialogues, more than 500 Alexa skills, and even spellings of words in Hindi. Get started with commands such as “Alexa, Bollywood ke latest gane sunao”, “Alexa, cricket score batao”, “Alexa, sher ki aawaaz sunao”, or “Alexa, apne baare mei batao”.
Alexa can now adjust how fast (or slow) she speaks
Customers can now ask Alexa to speak slower or speak faster, depending on your preference, enabling Alexa to adapt to a diverse set of customer needs. Whether customers ask Alexa for the weather, the latest news, a sports update, about an upcoming event on their calendar, and more, they can now choose from seven speeds – Alexa’s standard speaking rate, four faster speaking rates, and two slower speaking rates. Simply say “Alexa, speak slower,” or “Alexa, speak faster” to adjust Alexa’s speech to the preferred pace on any Alexa-enabled device. To reset Alexa’s speaking rate, simply say, “Alexa, speak at your default rate.”
Alexa can Recommend Routines
Customers around the world regularly use routines to execute multiple smart home commands with a single voice command, and now Alexa is able to recommend routines that you may want to set up based on your daily habits. For example, if a customer sets their alarm for 6 AM and then immediately ask for the weather every day, Alexa will suggest setting up a routine so that the alarm is always set and the weather plays as soon as it goes off. When Alexa asks if you would like a routine set-up, just say “yes,” and the routine is ready to go.
Alexa can tell you about her responses
Alexa will soon offer two new voice-based features that provide customers with more transparency over the responses they get. If a customer is curious to understand what Alexa heard when you asked her to tell you the news or play a specific song, soon you will be able to ask , “Alexa, tell me what you heard” and Alexa will read back your most recent voice request.
DataCultr Launches its IOT Edge Gateway Platform for Connected Devices
DataCultr, an IoT enablement startup announced the launch of its Internet of Things Edge Gateway platform for connected devices helping enterprises to implement large-scale and mission-critical IoT solutions. With its platform, DataCultr has brought together all the building blocks of IOT stitched together on one platform, so that enterprises can go to market almost 6X faster. The platform has been designed keeping in mind the concerns of enterprises around Security, IT/OT Integration & ROI.
With the market starting to explode with a variety of connected devices, which communicate bi-directionally, there is a need for a middle layer that effectively brings together components and things meant for various smart purposes into a single IOT framework. DataCultr allows the secure management, collection, analysis, and real-time action on every aspect of the communications between these connected devices on its platform. With DataCultr’s powerful local abstractions, it is possible to model data, devices, and services on the edge in a uniform way.
Commenting on the same, Mr. Sujoy Ghosh, CTO & Co-founder, DataCultr, says, “Our IoT platform handles secure communication across connected devices, including data integrity and security, device interoperability, failure-proof connectivity, over the air firmware update, and dynamic visualizations. We are working with System Integrators, Telcos as well as multiple smartphone and device manufacturers to launch this platform across multiple use cases for IoT and connected devices”.
The key features and differentiation of the DataCultr IoT Gateway platform are:
- It reduces the development time from months to weeks
- Handles millions of devices and scales elastically
- Straightforward hardware integration procedure
- Rapidly evolving, with new features being added
- No single point of failure
DataCultr platform as a service enables secure bi-directional communication & management between sensors, devices, and the enterprise’ backend infrastructure.
DataCultr continues to keep its eye on the market while developing its platform to include tools and features that help keep its customers ahead of the curve in the connected devices space.
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