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Mobile E-commerce: How Smartphones Influence The Way We Shop

Its tough to imagine how a smartphone has increased our dependency for
our day to day activities. Ordering food & groceries, clothing etc
that needed one to take out time to go outdoor, select and buy, can be
done from anywhere now.

One of the areas, where mobile has made a massive difference is in
shopping on the mobile. It’s as easy as opening up an app downloaded
on the phone, looking for what you want to buy, read the reviews,
check the credibility of the sellers, and get the product delivered to
your doorsteps. All this with the ease of your fingertips. If the
product is not to your liking, you can get a refund within 3 to 4
days. Online brands in India like Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, Myntra,
Jabong and now Paytm use the internet as the potent tool to further
their business. There are other segments too where shopping has been
made easier through mobile apps like ordering ready meal on Swiggy and
Foodpanda. Big Basket and Nukkad have created a space for themselves
in easing out shopping for groceries. These products can be delivered
to your doorstep anytime you choose to slot the delivery. There are
other apps like Pepperfry and Urban Ladder, through which one can buy
furniture. Furthermore, it is impossible to think of moving around in
the world without the convenience of taxi services of Uber and Ola &
their added services like Ola Cafe (now closed).

According to research, app usage has a dramatic effect on the
purchases that are made from that app. The convenience of payment and
the modes of payment adds to the ease factor of using the app. With a
valid mobile number, One Time Password can be used to verify any
purchases thus eliminating security concerns. Having access to emails
and social media information on discount and special offers has also
eased purchasing over the mobile phone.

It can be argued that while there is no face to face interaction to
discuss product credibility, shopping through app has made the public
more aware of their surroundings and competition in every segment
ensures that one cannot be cheated with inflated prices and bad
quality of the product. This also means that the target audience of
these apps still remain the literate part of the population especially
the younger generation, who remain more dynamic in using new
technology and using it to their convenience as compared to their
skeptical older counterparts.

US alone has doubled the advertising for mobile apps. New graduates
and companies are working on new apps that can facilitate the lives of
the people. With automation and robotics, machines will be entering
our life in each segment with mobile staying as a focus tool to remote
control our surroundings.

Future of e-commerce optimistically remains mobile and investing time
in learning the nuance seems to be the order of the day.

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India leads at 9th for owning Supercomputers

Supercomputers are the fastest computing systems and are usually used for handling huge amount of data  and inferring complex phenomenon like climate change, nuclear reactions, origin of universe, etc. The standard unit of measuring computational power is FLOPS – floating point operations per second.

Chinese Supercomputer Sunway Taihulight is ranked fastest in the world, according to Top500 (supercomputer ranking project). This supercomputer has computational ability of 93 petaflops, more than a billion times faster than a normal computer.

The supercomputer requires to be kept under intense cooling system as it can generate higher temperatures due to computations.

Other top ranked countries that own supercomputer include USA, China, Germany, Japan and France.

Livestock, Semen & Embryo available online

In an initiative to organize the sector of buying & selling livestock, Indian government has introduced a website http://www.epashuhaat.gov.in that allows breeders, buyers and sellers to trade cattle, buffaloes and their frozen semen & embryo online under a verified and certified system without a middleman.

56 semen stations across 20 states have been connected through this portal. The portal provides information on the forms of germ-plasm with price tags and all agencies and stakeholders. Farmers can also access services like handling of artificial insemination, good care practices, animal certification, nutritional advisory and disease screening & testing of animals.  The portal saves the farmers from being cheated and encourage e-transactions and home delivery.

http://www.epashuhaat.gov.in is a replacement for the animal fairs & local haats most prevalent in an unorganized set up across the country. This initiative would help in checking the quality and quantity of milk production in the country.

Some stats:

  • Indian contributes to 20% of total milk production in the world
  • India is the largest producer of milk in the world

Right to Information in regional languages

Indian Prime Minster Narendra Modi seems to be a storehouse of ideas to develop the nation in the best possible way. Going digital is one way to put the country on a global map for all innovations but Modi just doesn’t stop there. After Modi’s ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programme was made available in all 23 official languages besides English & Hindi; he has now directed ministries to create websites in regional languages. He wants the websites to be multilingual as people across the country access information in their own language on digital platforms.

Apart from the ministry of electronics and information, universities like IIT Madras and Jadavpur University have been roped in to bail out with translations.

Thats what we call Think Global, Act Local.

Demon of Demonetisation & Digital Evolution

Demon of Demonetisation has struck many in the past one week, especially those who played dubious games with the system. In order to set these people right, billions of commoners have also been affected. Here is a snapshot of the impact

Impact on Loans & Deposits

Interest rates on deposits have started to fall as the total deposits in banking system reached 100 lakh crores as of 17th Nov 2016. This is also a good news for those, who want to take loans as the interest rates on loan will see a downward trend very soon.

Impact on E-commerce

Cash on delivery (COD) is an option given by websites like Flipkart, Amazon, Snapdeal, ShopClues and Paytm etc while placing an order for a product. Close to 60% of all e-commerce orders are paid through cash on delivery, according to stats. Due to shortage of cash, deliveries that are being made to customers are being turned down and even cancelled. COD helps in easing the cash flow as it ensures a steady income for logistics companies, who charge for their services.

To counter this, the e-commerce companies are incentivizing customers to make pre paid orders. Other alternative that these companies are encouraging customers to use is payment gateways to pay for their orders like Ekart for Flipkart and ATS for Amazon India. This is apart from conventional payment options like using debit card, credit card and net banking

Impact on Branded Salons & Wellness Providers

Some branded salons are incentivizing customers for premium services by paying half for it. They are also accepting notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000. Jawed Habib’s and Head Turners are accepting cash deposit of Rs 25000 for membership while giving services worth Rs 50000 to ensure a steady demand for their services. Meanwhile there has been 20% increase in demand for services like hair smoothening, straightening and highlighting, as reported. Some salons hare also accepting notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 if customer is buying their products.

Impact on Multiplexes & Small Screen Theaters

Demonetisation also made entertainment inaccessible for a few days. Multiplexes sell 40-60% of their tickets online or by card. To incentivize customers to book online or on mobile app, PVR has waived off the convenience fee for total of 4 weeks. 35% discount has been given on Food & Beverage combos & 20% off on first transaction on mobile app.

Meanwhile small screen owners in tier III & tier IV cities are facing brunt of cash crunch as they are not associated with any online payment gateway partner. They faced less than 10% of the occupancy in the first two days of demonetisation announcement. Very soon they will have to acquire the infrastructure to accept cards or sell tickets online for smooth running of their business.

Impact on Kiranawala/ Paanwala

Kiranawala and paanwalas are looking for digital solutions in times of cash crunch. These merchants have been frantically placing requests to get an installation made for new POS (Point of sale) terminals. According to Lokhvir Kapoor, CEO of pine labs, who manufactures these terminals, thousand requests have already been made for the installation of new terminus. According to Manish Patel, founder of mSwipe, there has been a rise in demand for mobile POS terminals, which can be attached to mobile phones and used to swipe cards.

Impact on Construction Workers Domestic Helpers

The Modi government claims that the Jan Dhan Yojana that they started out in 2014 covers 99% households. Banks have opened 25.45 crore accounts under the scheme that provides banking facility to all.

Domestic helpers and workers, who are usually at the lower wrung of the society, are mostly poorly paid and have to exert for physical labour often for long hours. Demonetisation brings bad news to these workers if they have been ignorant about their rights.

Impact on Real Estate & Stock Prices

Black money has been the prevailing norm in the real estate sector. Demonetisation could mean stalling of few projects leading also to cancellation of few projects. This could have an impact on demand for cement, building material & paints, thereby also affecting their stock prices.

Impact on Demand for Gold

Gold prices went down post the announcement of demonetization. The gold prices have fallen 1% and are likely to fall further 3% by next month. Gold imports are likely to drop 35% in the next few months. Buying will be slow till march as consumers will wait for the price of gold to go down further.

Impact on Truckers/ Farmers & Laborers

Traders are unable to make payments, due to which vegetable market are suffering. The supply chain was brought to a halt. A trader from Ghazipur mandi said that onion supply was stopped from the state. In Gujarat, cotton and groundnut mandis were closed. The demand has fallen due to lower purchasing power.

Meanwhile amidst all the confusion, Modi has requested its citizens to side by him till Dec 30th in his fight against black money and terrorism.

Impact on Tourism

International tourists, students, medical tourists, delegates and diplomats have been affected. Embassies are suggesting for a separate counter at banks to facilitate their needs for Indian currency also since locals are being preferred in banks to be helped first. Tourists are finding themselves to be stranded in far flung areas with banned notes. Medical tourists from Iran and Sudan cannot make payments from credit card due to sanctions. Meanwhile embassies have cancelled visits by delegates to India while this problem of cash crunch gets solved.

Ola! you got credit to pay later. Paytm me, Uber

Ola, a point to point taxi service has created an option for frequent users and corporate clients to repay through Ola Money e-wallet – payment option in the app even after 1 week. Meanwhile Ola’s contemporary Uber allows payment through paytm payment gateway.

Digital Solutions

Discontinuing Rs 500 & Rs 1000 note on Nov 8th 2016 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has led many to look for digital solutions for payments. The beneficiaries include payment gateways like Paytm, MobiKwik, Payzapp, Freecharge that are being looked into as a desperate measure in desperate times.

Demonetisation Hacks

Here are a few hacks to counter the affect of demonetisation.

  • Every individual has 2.5 lakh tax free income that can be put in banks. Homemakers are most to benefit.
  • Gifts from Relatives can be tax free upto a certain limit
  • Weddings/ Ceremonies: Cash received in ceremonies and weddings are tax exempt to a believable limit.
  • Loans to staff/ Vendors: To save money in another’s bank account, they could be given a loan with a commission.

 

“In the short term consumers will be constricted by the unavailability of cash and that will trickle down through the consumer network and that will have some impact on their performance. Whether it is for months or for quarters is hard to say. A lot will depend on how the financial institutions and the government continue to respond through this constraint. But without any doubt, they will see impact on their results.”

Jack Ringquist, global leader for consumer products at Deloitte

Survey puts India on top for Digital Transformation Impact on Businesses

According to a survey done by CA Technologies with Coleman Parkes, India leads the world in digital transformation impact on businesses

Conducted in May and June 2016, the survey covered 1,770 senior business and IT executives from large enterprises, across 21 countries and 10 industry sectors.

Here are some key findings:

  • Indian businesses see greatest improvement by 55% in generating new revenues as a result of digital transformation
  • 84% of Indian businesses were seeing moderate to significant improvements in their ability to differentiate from their competition through digital transformation
  • Greatest gain (56%) in terms of impact on employee productivity as a result of digital transformation

“India is at the cusp of a major revolution, as we see digital technologies being at the center of business strategy for leading businesses. Our survey results are a testimony to a strong correlation between business performance and smarter technologies that underpin digital transformations,”

“Digital transformation is an ongoing trend and the organisations are investing in SMAC (social, mobile, analytics and cloud), with cloud and mobile leading the pack. Sector-wise Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI), government, retail including e-commerce and telecom are leading on the investment front for digital transformation,”

—  Sunil Manglore, Managing Director-India at CA Technologies said.

Smart Light Bulb Causes Viral Cyber Attack

A light bulb can cause a cyber attack. Recently popular websites like Twitter, Reddit, and Amazon were taken down by an attack that was prompted by a chain reaction on semi-infected smart bulbs linked to smart devices.

Unlike our personal computers, mobile phones and pads, which run an anti-virus/ anti- malware softwares, smart devices like light bulbs, new in the market, are often not secured.

The brand in question, Philips Hue light bulbs, have an inbuilt ability to control bulbs’ brightness and colour via smartphone apps. The wireless protocol – called ZigBee in the bulb can be exploited for cyber attacks. The malware can spread virally from one bulb to the other enabling attackers to turn on or off all city lights within minutes.

Even though this has been set right incase of Philips bulbs, one needs to keep updating the software to ward off the possibility of such attacks. Webcams, baby monitors, and smart appliances are likely to be vulnerable to such attacks.

There is no one solution but for the manufacturers of smart devices to step up their timely security up-gradation to prevent disruption on a larger scale.

Like they say, there is light at the end of the tunnel and for those uninitiated to such smart devices yet, here are couple of videos to keep oneself bright perhaps at least seasonally with city lights.

Diwali Lighting In Jaipur / DIY Home Decoration With Lights

Diwali Lights At Ramoji Film City Hyderabad/ Stop Motion Video

 

Can Virtual Gaming counter Social Media Indulgence at work?

I see my peer on Facebook every time he has free time. He would just mindlessly scroll through the app, liking random posts because sometimes its just obligatory ‘to like someone’s post’ OR virtually not making a mistake of either liking or commenting on ‘specific’ people’s posts. He has figured out his style of being on Facebook. Facebook has become a boardroom of sorts where consensus are made, shaped, aligned and then set free when other priorities shout at the door.

Facebook has also become meditation, spending few minutes here and there on it to find peace. It is a virtual world, where people dominate their onscreen realities as they like it and determine how people should treat them off it.

For such a high consumption of space by billions, it just makes sense to officialize Facebook or spending time on social network an essential part of people ‘work – life balance’ No?

According to a study done by HR service company TeamLease, employees spend 2.35 hours on social media during working hours. Same employees also spend 1.5 hours outside work on these platforms. This implies that 13% of employees productivity is lost, resulting in losses for the company.

Another way to look into this would be to counter the “pastimes” that employees indulge in, by making them interact in virtual gaming, where team(s) enter the game zone to work on deliverables. This could perhaps be customiszed based on the intellectual levels required to compete. This could become a non mind numbing outlet for those employees, who do not participate in physical sports activities thus giving them lesser room to remain in their Facebook/ digital social network bubble.

This would perhaps also result in employees productive turn around in offices!

IBM’s Centralized Health Hub On Cloud

Here is a video on IBM Watson Health Centralized Thinking Hub on a Cloud.

 

 

The hub collates the data of billions of people and ‘converts that data into knowledge’. So what it does, is that it deciphers an ailment and makes suggestions to a patient according to his/ her other conditions.

 

The hub is touted as a breakthrough advancement in creating medical communities that thrives on interactive ecosystem and security identification

 

 

Having said that,

 

Every technology has its lapses and a whole data can perhaps only predict generic list of recommendations that may or may not be pliable to one or the other. Also there would be a growing concern of personal data security breaches and contrary medical findings!

 

But here is a thumbs up to a step forward in medical advancement.

1 bn Whatsapp users get extra security

Whatsapp has reached 1 billion customer base, seven years after it started out.

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 3.34.16 PM

Latest is that it allows end-to-end encryption that allows one to securely send and receive messages, which just means that no hacker can get between you and your messenger buddy(s), whoever that is.

 

In an era, where everything connects to another socially – offices, houses, travel time, gym-ing, games, etc, this has to be the highlight that tops total abandonment of the self with a network that is solely meant to connect the people, ‘who are a part of it’. This is ofcourse excluding the forwarded messages that fall in the trap of connecting social people when words don’t come easy in secret social groups!

 

Photos, videos, voice messages, documents and even calls are inclusive in this secured encryption, that is if you are on the latest version of whatsapp, which the smartphone would have already updated you with – by today.

 

This also includes a feature that allows you to verify with your chat buddy(s) if your chat is actually encrypted by sharing/ scanning a unique 60-digit code.

 

 

This obviously makes me imagine a chat between potential terrorists on whatsapp and barging in their intent with a key to the lock that is securely lying in their own hands, literally!

 

But wait, the Whatsapp FAQ states that encryption allows security of blah blah from falling into ‘wrong hands’ and not ‘any hands’ or ‘expert hands’.

 

If there is a duplicate key or an encryption lapse or a third party hand in it, we will know in time to come!