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Tech

Apple Likely to Slash iPhone 12 5G Shipments in 2020, May Sell Only 15 to 20 Million Units

Apple is reportedly planning to ship 15-20 million units of 5G iPhone 12 this year. Supply chain estimates previously tipped Apple’s 5G iPhone, likely to be called iPhone 12, to ship between 30-40 million units. This estimate has now been revised massively, “with expectations now reportedly only set at between 15 and 20 million units, a 50 per cent reduction,” reports DigiTimes.

The main reason for the lower shipments than the previous estimation is vague at the moment. It could be possibly due to the pandemic as the world economy has tanked in recent months. The “iPhone 12” range is expected to consist of four models, all with 5G connectivity.

Meanwhile, Apple is also likely to delay the launch of new iPhone 12 series by at least two months which may take place in November instead of the usual mid-September time-frame. According to a report by investment bank Cowen, Apple’s second-quarter production is expected to be 35 million units, down 5 per cent from the first quarter and down 13 per cent from the same period last year.


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Apple to Reclose Dozens of Retail Stores in US as Covid-19 Cases Spike

Image for Representation
(Image: Reuters)

Image for Representation
(Image: Reuters)

Apple has already reclosed 47 stores in recent weeks in the United States as Covid-19 cases continue to rise rapidly.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: July 2, 2020, 11:36 AM IST

Apple which has reclosed 47 own-branded retail stores in the US would shut 30 additional stores by Thursday, the media reported. “Due to current COVID-19 conditions in some of the communities we serve, we are temporarily closing stores in these areas. We take this step with an abundance of caution as we closely monitor the situation and we look forward to having our teams and customers back as soon as possible,” an Apple spokesperson said in a statement on Wednesday.

This brings the total reclosures in the US to 77. Apple has 271 retail stores in the country. After reopening some locations, Apple said last month it was planning to temporarily close some retail stores in four US states — Arizona, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida — in view of growing cases of Covid-19.

“Due to current COVID-19 conditions in some of the communities we serve, we are temporarily closing stores in these areas,” Apple was quoted as saying in a statement. Since the US economy started reopening, some states have seen a spike in Covid-19 cases. The US accounts for the world’s highest number of infections and fatalities with 2,685,806 and 128,061, respectively.


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Tech

Microsoft Launches New Digital Skills Initiative to Help 25 Million People Worldwide

Image for Representation
(Photo: Associated Press)

Image for Representation
(Photo: Associated Press)

The initiative provides free access to content in LinkedIn Learning, Microsoft Learn, GitHub Learning Lab and more.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: July 1, 2020, 11:58 AM IST

Microsoft announced a new global skills initiative to help 25 million people worldwide acquire new digital skills by the end of the year. The announcement comes in response to the global economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. “Covid-19 has created both public health and an economic crisis, and as the world recovers, we need to ensure no one is left behind,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said during a digital event.

“Today, we’re bringing together resources from Microsoft inclusive of LinkedIn and GitHub to reimagine how people learn and apply new skills — and help 25 million people facing unemployment due to COVID-19 prepare for the jobs of the future.” Expanded access to digital skills is an important step in accelerating economic recovery, especially for the people hardest hit by job losses.

This initiative includes immediate steps to help those looking to reskill and pursue an in-demand job and brings together every part of the company, combining existing and new resources from LinkedIn, GitHub and Microsoft. This includes the use of data to identify in-demand jobs and the skills needed to fill them, free access to learning paths and content to help people develop the skills these positions require, and low-cost certifications and free job-seeking tools to help people who develop these skills pursue new jobs.

This is a comprehensive technology initiative that will build on data and digital technology, Microsoft said. It starts with data on jobs and skills from the LinkedIn Economic Graph. The initiative provides free access to content in LinkedIn Learning, Microsoft Learn and the GitHub Learning Lab, and couples those with Microsoft Certifications and LinkedIn job-seeking tools.

These resources can all be accessed at a central location, opportunity.linkedin.com, and will be broadly available online in four languages: English, French, German and Spanish. In addition, Microsoft is backing the effort with $20 million in cash grants to help nonprofit organisations worldwide assist the people who need it most.

One-quarter of this total, or $5 million, will be provided in cash grants to community-based nonprofit organizations that are led by and serve communities of colour in the United States. Microsoft also pledged to make stronger data and analytics — including data from the LinkedIn Economic Graph — available to governments around the world so they can better assess local economic needs. Microsoft will use its voice to advocate for public policy innovations that will advance skilling opportunities needed in the changed economy.

The tech giant also announced it is creating a new learning app in Microsoft Teams designed to help employers skill and upskill new and current employees as people return to work and as the economy adds jobs. “The biggest brunt of the current downturn is being borne by those who can afford it the least,” said Microsoft President Brad Smith. “Unemployment rates are spiking for people of colour and women, as well as younger workers, people with disabilities and individuals with less formal education. Our goal is to combine the best in technology with stronger partnerships with governments and nonprofits to help people develop the skills needed to secure a new job.”


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Tech

This Gurugram-based University Has Developed a New Game to Help Spread Covid-19 Awareness

Faculty members and students of Gurugram-based BML Munjal University have developed a new game with an aim to spread awareness about the Covid-19 pandemic. The game is known as “Unlock Me”, that serves as an educational and entertainment purpose and is available on all Android smartphones, running on Version 4.4 and above. Furthermore, the game doesn’t ask users for any personal details like name, age, and address and also happens to be a secure app. The game can be download from the Google Play Store using the following link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.Shreyansh.UnlockMe

Speaking on the launch of the game, Prof Maneek Kumar, Dean, School of Engineering and Technology BML Munjal University says, “In these times, we read so many advisories related to COVID-19 but aren’t sure how they’ll play out once we’re out in the open again. The game “Unlock Me” simulates the real-life situations and experiences to help give players an understanding and feel for discriminating between right practices and wrong practices, and thereby reduce their risk of contracting the virus.”

“Unlock Me” plays out as a simulation of real-life risks related to Covid-19, wherein players get infected by the deadly virus. Users need to make the right choices and be careful of the risky practices as they move through the game. Through a series of events, players earn sanitisers which act like powerups and after gaining enough experiences, a question is presented in order to test the player’s knowledge regarding the current scenario. Interestingly, these questions are solved in a different section of the game where samples of the virus are analysed. Players also get to learn about the announcements made by the Union Health Ministry as they progress. Moreover, after completing a specific number of levels and getting all the answers right, players get to unlock a “cure” for the Covid-19, thereby unlocking a new mode in which the player needs to deliver it to those in need. “Unlock Me” has been developed in Unity3d as a top-down arcade game, and according to developers, new levels will be added to the game in the coming months along with an Arena Mode that will get unlocked after players reach level 100.

“BMU has taken a leap forward in tech innovation to create a game that has deeper penetration and easier understanding for the masses”, says Prof. Manoj Arora, Vice-Chancellor, BMU. “The development of these state-of-the-art technologies and tech-oriented studies have allowed students and faculty to explore uncharted territories in the face of this pandemic and develop ingenious solutions that contribute to the betterment of society,” he added.


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Tech

Google's New Tool Will Soon Show You Covid-19 Impact at Community Level

Image for representation.

Image for representation.

Google said it would test the News feature in a few geographic areas in the US and Canada in the Covid-19 special section of the app,

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: June 30, 2020, 10:56 AM IST

Google on Monday said it is piloting a new feature in partnership with local news publishers to understand how COVID-19 is impacting different communities. The company said it would test the News feature in a few geographic areas in the US and Canada in the COVID-19 special section of the app, where users can view community reopening timelines, plus updates around business and school openings.

They can also see the status of the local healthcare infrastructure, public transportation, events and sections with resources for residents looking for or wanting to help families in need. “We will also continue to expand our coverage across the U.S. and Canada, and plan to bring this feature to products beyond the Google News app in the future,” the company said in a statement.

Google said it is also working to ensure that reliable local news and information about the coronavirus is easily discoverable in Google Search and Google Assistant. “When people look for coronavirus information in Search, they’ll see the existing top stories carousel of articles, in addition to a new dedicated local news carousel highlighting timely, accurate news about their community,” the company announced.

It has also expanded a new carousel highlighting tweets from local and health authorities so these important and up-to-date announcements are more easily available. This feature is now available in more than 30 countries. Google has also seen a significant uptick in people tuning in to local radio on Google Assistant. The company recently provided emergency funding for more than 5,300 local news organizations and launched a Support Local News campaign to encourage people and businesses to subscribe, donate and advertise across local news outlets in the US and Canada.

As traditional media outlets urge social media giants to give their dues for using their news content especially during the difficult Covid-19 times, Google last week announced a new licensing programme to pay publishers for high-quality content. To be launched later this year, the programme will help participating publishers monetize their content through an enhanced storytelling experience that lets people go deeper into more complex stories, stay informed and be exposed to a world of different issues and interests.


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Tech

Amazon Announces Special One-time Bonus of $500 Million For Its Covid-19 Frontline Workers

Amazon.com Inc said on Monday it would spend $500 million on one-time bonuses to its front-line employees and partners working through the coronavirus crisis. Employees and partners who have been with the e-commerce company through June will receive bonuses ranging from $150 to $3,000, the company said (here) in a blog post.

The world’s largest online retailer, which delivers about 10 billion items a year, has been facing intense scrutiny from U.S. lawmakers and unions over whether it is doing enough to protect staff from the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier in the day, workers at six Amazon sites in Germany decided to go on strike in protest over safety after some staff at logistics centres tested positive for coronavirus, labour union Verdi said on Sunday.


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State Governments, IT Firms in India Utilising Cloud-Driven Solutions to Fight Covid-19 Crisis: AWS

The COVID-19 onslaught has accelerated the pace of IT modernisation and digital transformation via Cloud-driven solutions in the vast public sector in India and various state governments are fast embracing the Cloud technology to reduce the infection rate while efficiently managing the lockdown, a top global Amazon Web Services (AWS) executive has stressed.

According to Teresa Carlson, Vice President, Worldwide Public Sector, AWS (the Cloud arm of e-commerce giant Amazon with over $40 billion annual run rate), as COVID-19 continues to spread, the global health emergency will only be resolved by governments, businesses, academia and individuals working together to better understand this virus and ultimately find a cure.

“Research institutes, scientists and organisations working on diagnostics need reliable, scalable compute power, which AWS can deliver to them along with industry-leading services like analytics and machine learning, so they can process and analyse large data sets and iterate quickly,” Carlson told IANS.

Today, from state governments to startups, India is fast harnessing AWS Cloud technology for scale, speed and agility and above all, data security. Quantela, a provider of smart urban infrastructure automation, has developed CoVER (COVID-19 emergency response) platform in India.

“CoVER is used by government authorities across 10 cities in India to monitor, manage, track, diagnose, communicate, collaborate and prevent the impact of COVID-19. In one of the large cities in southern India that has so far reported far fewer COVID-19 cases, they used CoVER to track about 120 hospitals, 600 ambulances, and 400 isolation beds, and monitor people in quarantine,” informed Carlson.

The officials attributed real-time access to data and quick decision-making as among the key measures that helped the city contain the spread of COVID-19 even in densely-populated areas, and significantly helping reduce the infection rate in the city.

The India eGovernments Foundation collaborated with AWS to develop the National COVID-19 e-Pass solution within 72 hours to provide a digital pass management system that supports multiple state governments, to manage the lockdown while ensuring smooth movement of the essential service providers across and within states.

“Since its launch, more than 50,000 organizations have been evaluated, and more than 6,00,000 daily passes have been issued on the platform. It has been deployed in Haryana, Punjab, Delhi, Telangana, Puducherry, Odisha and Karnataka,” the AWS executive noted.

TruFactor is a platform that provides mobile-first consumer data and insights. The company has a patented platform that ingests, filters, and processes over 100TB of data anonymously, using AI to produce graphs that combine digital signals, physical people movement data, and demographics to help tackle spread of COVID-19.

TruFactor has listed datasets on AWS Data Exchange, a service that makes it easy for millions of AWS customers worldwide to securely find, subscribe, and use third-party data in the cloud.

Innovaccer, a San Francisco-based healthcare technology company, with offices in India and Asia, launched a COVID-19 Management System that can conduct early community-based triage of COVID-19 patients through automated assessments in minutes.

The multi-platform system is currently in use by the governments in Goa and Puducherry in India. Within three days of launch, more than 25,000 citizens in Goa had already used the app to assess their vulnerability to COVID-19. Mumbai-based Qure.ai, a healthcare startup built on AWS, has developed a machine learning-powered solution called ‘qXR’ which uses X-rays to classify patients as high, medium, or low risk for COVID-19 in less than a minute.

Built on data from more than 2.5 million radiology scans, qXR is capable of detecting problem areas and abnormalities that are indicative of COVID-19. Since its deployment in over 40 sites across South Asia, Europe and North America, it is identifying approximately 5,000 suspected cases on a weekly basis. Qure.ai is currently in talks with the state governments to use its solution in government hospitals, large clinics and healthcare centres across the country.

AWS announced the Diagnostic Development Initiative (DDI) in March this year. “This is a programme to support customers who are working to bring better, more accurate, diagnostics solutions to market faster, and promote better collaboration across organizations that are working on similar problems,” Carlson told IANS.

This includes an initial investment of $20 million to accelerate diagnostic research, innovation, and development to speed collective understanding and detection of COVID-19 and other innovative diagnostic solutions to mitigate future infectious disease outbreaks. “We are actively working with 35 projects that have been submitted and are still accepting more applications,” said Carlson.


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Tech

Oracle Ups Investment in India, Opens Second Cloud Data Centre in Hyderabad to Help SMBs

An exterior view of the Oracle Field Office at Wilson Boulevard in Arlington, Virginia, U.S. (Image Source: Reuters)

An exterior view of the Oracle Field Office at Wilson Boulevard in Arlington, Virginia, U.S. (Image Source: Reuters)

The Hyderabad Cloud region will help Indian customers and partners access all Oracle Cloud services, including Oracle Autonomous Database, Oracle Autonomous Linux and more.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: June 29, 2020, 2:23 PM IST

In a bid to help enterprises maintain business continuity and stay on the path of digital transformation in these tough Covid-19 times, Oracle on Monday announced the opening of its second Cloud region in India. The Hyderabad Cloud region will help Indian customers and partners access all Oracle Cloud services, including Oracle Autonomous Database and Oracle Autonomous Linux, as well as Oracle Cloud Applications, to unlock innovation and drive business.

“The Covid-19 and ensuing lockdowns have disrupted several businesses in India. The Hyderabad Cloud region will help a large number of Indian organisations realise their digital transformation dreams,” Shailender Kumar, Regional Managing Director, Oracle India, told IANS. The Oracle’s enterprise-grade Gen 2 Cloud regions are already helping hundreds of customers realize three-five time performance improvements using secure cloud services.

Over 100 enterprise customers in the country moved their workloads onto the Gen 2 Cloud data centre in Mumbai with its launch in October last year, which is being run solely by Oracle without any third-party involvement. “With two Oracle Cloud regions live in India, we’re fully geared to support our 15,000 plus customers in their innovation journey, with adequate support by nearly 1,000 specialised Oracle partners,” informed Kumar.

The two Cloud regions would help enterprises effectively meet the increasing demand for secure and stable enterprise cloud services. “We congratulate Oracle India on opening their second Cloud region in Hyderabad. This will surely help both public and private enterprises in our state to take advantage of Oracle cloud services,” said Jayesh Ranjan, Principal Secretary, Industries & Commerce (I&C) and Information Technology (IT), Telangana.

Equipped with strengthened capabilities for business continuity and disaster recovery, Oracle will provide enterprise customers in India better performance, pricing, and security based on its second-generation Cloud. “With Oracle opening dual cloud regions in Australia, Japan, Korea and now India, we are further renewing our commitment to support growth in the new decade,” added Garrett Ilg, Executive Vice President, Japan and the Asia Pacific, Oracle. The Hyderabad opening is part of Oracle’s global plans to operate 36 second-generation Cloud regions by the end of this year. “This Cloud region will help scores of Indian firms adjust to the new normal,” said Kumar.


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Flipkart Reports 125% Increase in New Sellers As It Resumes Operations Post Lockdown

As India gears up for unlock 2,0, e-commerce platform Flipkart on Saturday said it has enabled more than 90 per cent of its sellers to resume operations on the marketplace. Flipkart has also seen a 125 per cent rise in new seller signing-up on the platform, in comparison to its existing seller base, in the April-June period, the company said in a statement.

Local MSMEs from Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Delhi and Tamil Nadu have shown maximum interest in taking their businesses online. These sellers operate in various categories, ranging from women’s clothing, personal care, food and nutrition, home improvement tools and baby-care products, said the company.

“By allowing MSMEs, artisans and smaller traders in India to bring greater efficiencies in their operations with a strong market reach, e-commerce is further empowering these businesses to generate livelihood opportunities,” said Flipkart. The most important need of the seller community, in these times, is that of working capital.

To address this, Flipkart launched a special loans initiative known as ‘Growth Capital’ financing which was designed specifically to enable independence for MSMEs who operate online. “Through the programme, most of the transacting sellers can avail credit at competitive interest rates with an approval time of one day and disbursal within 48 hours. A 3-month moratorium period has been implemented on existing loans,” informed the company.

Further, any additional amount on sellers’ existing loans sanctioned during this period will have an extended financial limit with a 6-month moratorium period. Flipkart also extended certain ongoing premium services availed by sellers to include the lockdown period in their subscription terms so that their investment is not hampered for a stipulated period of time. Under the ‘Flipkart Samarth’ programme, it has supported the livelihood of over 500,000 artisans, weavers and micro-enterprises across the country.


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Indian Software Market to See 3.8% Growth in 2020 Due to Covid-19 Crisis: IDC

Image for representative purposes.

Image for representative purposes.

The Indian software market grew by 16 per cent year over year in 2019 compared to 2018. For 2019, the India software market achieved a revenue of $6.48 billion.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: June 26, 2020, 4:48 PM IST

The disruption caused by Covid-19 would cause a significant decline in India’s enterprise software market this year, tapering down the growth to mere 3.8 per cent (year-on-year), a new IDC report said on Friday. The pandemic has forced enterprises to relook at their IT spend. Enterprises at this point are focusing on operational resiliency, return on investment (ROI), business continuity plans, and parking aside all noncritical projects for the next three to six months at least, according to the report.

However, there has been an increase in spending on remote work enablement and cloud adoption. There will be heightened demand for collaborative applications, application platforms, security software, system and service management software, and content workflow and management applications said IDC. As per IDC’s latest Worldwide Semiannual Software Tracker, 2H19 (July-December), the India software market grew by 16 per cent year over year (YoY) in 2H19 compared to 2H18. For 2019, the India software market achieved a revenue of $6.48 billion.

“India stands as the second-largest software market in Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan and China) and also managed to keep its growth pace stronger than some of the major economies in the region,” said Mohsin Baig, market analyst, enterprise software, IDC India. “The growth was shaped by demand for a cloud application, application modernization, increasing IT spend by the small and medium-sized business (SBM) segment, cloud-native software start-ups, and government initiative for data localization,” he added.

The majority of India enterprises have digital transformation (DX) initiatives in place or plan to implement in the next 12-24 months. Modernising legacy applications, using as-a-service model, and harnessing emerging technologies to enhance customer and employee experience are some of the key DX initiatives, which are acting as the driving factors for the software market in India.

The ongoing pandemic has pushed many enterprises to implement work-from-home (WFH) policies for the first time, and this has created a demand for collaborative applications as well as an increase in security threats. The IDC expects a rise in demand for technologies such as VPN, authentication, endpoint security, encryption and application security.

“The outbreak of Covid-19 have resulted in the partial/complete transformation of working models with the use of collaborative platforms. New software implementations, upgrades, or migrations will be delayed by a few quarters, unless extremely critical,” said Shweta Baidya, senior research manager, enterprise software and IT services, IDC India.


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