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Tata Communications Joins Hand with CII to Launch ‘The Grand India IoT Innovation Challenge’

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Tata Communications has partnered with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and used the platform of HackerEarth, to launch a 3-month long hackathon, called, ‘The Grand India IoT Innovation Challenge’ (#giiotic), for engineering students from 26 select colleges and universities across India. Riding on the theme, ‘Solutions that create a better society,’ students are invited to build prototypes of IoT enabled solutions based on the LoRaWANTM specification. The students will have access to Tata Communications’ dedicated IoT network, IoT platform and expert mentorship offered by Tata Communications and an opportunity to compete for prizes amounting to INR 9.5 lakhs.

With global advancements in technology, a strengthening local startup ecosystem, and access to a young talent pool, India is on its way to becoming the next innovation hub for the world. The Grand India IoT Innovation Challenge is an initiative by Tata Communications to engage with India’s youth to build solutions to cater to the digital transformation needs that will enable government bodies, corporates, private institutions, amongst others, to make data driven proactive decisions, thereby enhancing organisational and public engagement and transforming our living and work spaces into a smart environment.

The 3-month long challenge is divided into three phases: idea submission, prototype development and the grand finale. Tata Communications will provide the students with Raspberry Pi™ kits, access to LoRaWAN-based technology, expert mentorship, and more to build impactful IoT solutions and guide them through this journey.

“We are rapidly progressing towards a future where people and devices are all connected. Unless there is awareness of the true potential of IoT as a ‘public good’ to be shared by all, its commercial and social potential won’t be truly realised in India.” said VS Shridhar, Senior Vice President & Head, Internet of Things, Tata Communications. “The Grand India IoT Innovation Challenge is Tata Communications’ endeavor to invest in and nurture India’s youth by giving them the platform to apply their academic learnings to a practical scenario, by prototyping innovative IoT solutions. This practical experience will benefit them hugely as they enter the job markets and get ready to take on real life civic and corporate challenges.”

Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII said, “India is rapidly progressing on the path of digital transformation and requires continued collaboration across industry bodies, governments and corporates to realise the full potential of IoT. Tata Communications’ technology and leadership have been at the forefront of our country’s IoT innovation and we are thrilled to partner with them and engage with talented youth to create path-breaking solutions for a better tomorrow.”

Tata Communications has played a key role in enabling IoT solutions globally – from providing a fully managed IoT solution through the Tata Communications MOVE™ platform to ensuring an end to end IOT solutions in India based on LoRaWAN.

Earlier this year, Tata Communications, in partnership with CII, set to launch the CII – Tata Communications Centre for Digital Transformation, to help organisations in India unlock the true benefits of digital technologies. The newly formed CII – Tata Communications Centre for Digital Transformation will act as a catalyst to accelerate digital change for the nation by bringing the industry together to spur adoption of mobile, cloud, Internet of Everything and champion the cultivation of new talent and help drive innovation forward.

Driving further awareness and adoption of IoT is a critical aspect of this initiative with CII. 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.

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IoT

HPE Helps Government in Fighting COVID-19 by Deploying Test Labs & OPD Across India

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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.

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Amazon Introduces New Echo Devices for Modern Smart Homes

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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.

Availability

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.

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IoT

DataCultr Launches its IOT Edge Gateway Platform for Connected Devices

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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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