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Govt looks to promote ease of doing business for online gaming platforms

The government is looking to evolve regulations to promote ease of doing business for the online gaming segment and provide a suitable ecosystem for indigenous platforms, Parliament was informed on July 20, 2022. Minister of state for electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar in a written reply to the Lok Sabha said that according to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, the Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming and Comic (AVGC) sector in India has the potential to become the torch bearer of “Create in India” and “Brand India”. “Online gaming as an industry is evolving and has expanded across horizons. This Ministry has been interacting with the online gaming platforms and other stakeholders to evolve a possible roadmap of regulation to promote ease of doing business and provide a suitable eco-system for the indigenous platforms,” Chandrasekhar said. An Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming and Comics (AVGC) Promotion Task Force was constituted on April 8 to promote the segment. AVGC promotion task force has been entrusted with the task of facilitating skilling initiatives, promotion and market development activities to extend the global reach of the Indian AVGC industry.

Grasim forays into B2B e-commerce for building material

Grasim Industries, an Aditya Birla Group company approved a foray into B2B e-commerce in the building materials segment with an investment of Rs 2,000 crore over the next five years. This investment adds a new high-growth engine with clear adjacencies within Grasim’s standalone businesses as also that of its subsidiaries and associate companies. The company is spending Rs 10,000 crore in a new paints business and will launch its products by early 2024. The group owns India’s largest cement company with a capacity of 120 million tonnes per annum. Kumar Mangalam Birla, Chairman of the $60 billion revenue Aditya Birla Group, said the B2B e-commerce foray is yet another strategic portfolio choice as it crystallizes the group’s intent to invest in the new-age, high growth digital space.

Responsible AI For Youth

India’s digital transformation journey began with the Launch of the Digital India initiative in 2015. Eight years down the line, the country’s narrative in every aspect including transformation, innovation, implementation. Responsible AI for Youth – A National Program for Government schools ‘Responsible AI for Youth’ – a national program for Government Schools was initiated in May 2020 by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India – National e-Governance  Division (NeGD) and Intel India. With the objective to empower students, and to support them to become part of the skilled future workforce in an inclusive manner, this exclusive program for Government Schools students, classes 8 – 12 across the country trained students in emerging technologies like AI. In Phase I, the program reached out to students from across the country and provided them with orientation and online training sessions. In this phase, 52, 628 students registered from 35 states and UTs (5724 cities) and 2704 ideas were received from 2441 students. In Phase II, top 100 ideas were shortlisted. These 100 ideas were represented by 125 students from 25 States and UTs comprising 67 girls and 58 boys, 94 students from State-run Govt. Schools, 23 from Central government Kendriya Vidyalayas, 6 from Government Aided Schools and 2 from Navodaya Vidyalayas. These students were provided extensive online training with Intel AI coaches and subject experts. The students learnt the basic AI concepts, domains, introduction to programming languages, data structures and project pitching etc. in batches conducted both in Hindi and English. In Phase III – 60 shortlisted ideas were invited for a virtual showcase and evaluation and top 20 ideas represented by 27 students were shortlisted as the winners. These ideas have been showcased as part of Azadi Ka Digital Mahotsav which was celebrated in November 2021. At the launch, five AI impact solutions were showcased by young girl students from various government schools in the Digital India Week in Gujarat. They interacted with the PM during July 2022. They explained to him how the programme called ‘Responsible AI for youth’ has created a digital mindset, digital skills sets among students.

Twitter introduces Tamil Topics, adding second Indian language to feature

Twitter India has introduced Topics, its content-based post filter, in Tamil. This is the third language in which Topics has been introduced in India, after English and Hindi were added to the platform for Indian users in October 2020. The feature will allow users whose primary language is Tamil to follow topics of interest on the platform – such as a film personality, sports club or any area of study such as vaccination research – in their local language. Twitter introduced Topics in November 2019, offering users the ability to follow specific topic-based tweets on personalities, areas of interests, news and others. A year later, the company introduced the feature in India, where as of January this year, it had 23.6 million total users.

95% of new digital workloads to be deployed on Cloud by 2025

Nearly 95 per cent of all new digital workloads will be deployed on the Cloud by 2025, Microsoft’s Executive Chairman CEO Satya Nadella has said. Addressing the company’s annual conference ‘Microsoft Inspire 2022’, Nadella said Cloud is foundational to how organizations will be competitive going forward. “Every customer I speak with is clear-eyed about aligning their IT investments to scale with demand. Moving to the cloud allows them to just do that – converting their spending from CapEx to OpEx”, Nadella told the partner community. “It’s the only way to navigate the headwinds we are confronting today. This is not some abstract concept,” he added. Microsoft is set to add 10 new data centres in 10 global markets to deliver faster access to services and help address data residency needs, Nadella informed. The demand for cloud solutions is estimated to exceed $1 trillion by 2025.

Cloud adoption can add $380 BN to India’s GDP, create 14 MN jobs

Large-scale cloud adoption can contribute $380 billion to India’s GDP as well as add 14 million direct and indirect job opportunities by 2026, said a report. The National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) launched a report titled ‘Future of Cloud and Its Economic Impact: Opportunity for India’ that stated that a concerted all-round effort can result in a sustained growth of 25-30 percent of cloud spending in the next five years to reach $18.5 billion. The report added that cloud has become a strategic priority and the foundation for successful digital transformation for enterprises, governments and SMBs. India has earmarked numerous activities to build a digitally empowered and inclusive society, it added. “Adoption of cloud has the potential to account for ~8 per cent of India’s GDP and can create ~14 million direct and indirect employment opportunities in 2026. At 44 per cent CAGR (2016-2021E), the Indian cloud market has outpaced the global market in terms of growth rate. Factors such as growing digital population, inflow of investments, digitization of enterprises and favourable government policies, are accelerating India’s cloud growth,” the report added.

Polygon zkEVM, how can it empower the future of Web3

Leading Web3 infrastructure provider and blockchain firm Polygon has announced the world’s first zero-knowledge scaling solution for Ethereum (zkEVM). It is expected to boost the adoption of Web3 technology by providing scalability, lower transaction costs and dramatically improving the experience of using and building with Ethereum. Harnessing advanced cryptography called zero-knowledge proofs, Polygon zkEVM is the first Ethereum-equivalent scaling solution which works seamlessly with all existing smart contracts, developer tools, and wallets. Polygon said that the announcement of zkEVM is a breakthrough in cryptographic research, set to empower developers to build the future of Web3.

Facebook shifts focus from news to creator economy amid TikTok threat

Threatened by the surge in TikTok user base, Meta is changing its focus from news to building a creator economy and has reportedly reallocated resources from Facebook News and newsletter platform Bulletin towards generating more video and entertainment content. Campbell Brown, who leads Facebook’s global media partnerships, has told employees that the engineering and product teams at Facebook would, in future, spend less time on News and Bulletin to “heighten their focus on building a more robust Creator economy.” A Meta spokesperson was quoted as saying that the social network is always assessing where to allocate resources, and that its teams “remain committed to the success of creators.

62% Indian travellers plan to book their next trip via digital travel companies

2020 was shaken by the sudden onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. For the first time ever, global borders were closed, markets went into various forms of lockdown and travel came to a standstill. Two years later, thanks to the rollout of comprehensive vaccination programs and the gradual restart of travel, the travel industry is seeing light at the end of the tunnel. As travelers begin to feed their wanderlust cravings and the travel industry gears up for recovery, a research report by online travel company booking.com has highlighted some of the key changes in the user behaviour of a traveller. As Indians look to make their travel dreams come true with health and safety in mind over the next few months, 88 percent of Indian travelers potentially share their medical history, current medical fitness and location tracking to receive customized alerts about the  health concerns in the places they are traveling to. One of the biggest trends emerging in the post-pandemic world is privatization. The report revealed that traveler preferences are deeply individualized and a one-size-fits-all approach no longer works. According to the research findings, safety (67 per cent), cost (44 per cent) and diversity of destinations and hotels and resorts (42 per cent) remain the top three concerns of  Indian travelers who are willing to travel. After the pandemic  there has been a five percent increase in Indians wishing to book their next trip through online travel companies, with 62 percent of Indian travelers taking their next trip through online travel companies.

‘Request To Pay’ to revolutionize digital payments

Request to pay, also known as R2P and RtP, is a new secure messaging service designed to make payments simpler and more flexible for businesses and consumers, as well as cheaper and easier to manage for the financial institutions and merchants involved in the payment journey. Alongside buy now pay later (BNPL), R2P is emerging as a cornerstone of payments in the digital era. Complementing existing payments infrastructure, sitting alongside Direct Debit and other payment methods, R2P gives companies that have, historically, relied on invoicing for payment – and all the time, admin and delays that entails – the ability to turn the tables and request payment for a bill. The advantage for the seller is clear; the advantages for buyers are also considerable. On receiving a ‘request to pay’, a customer can quickly and easily pay in full or in part, opt to communicate with the biller, ask for more time or even decline to pay. And this means more flexibility and control over how they manage their finances.

Digital outreach expanding to every habitation beyond gram panchayats

The government has announced that it has taken several steps for enhancing digital outreach in India. In a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha, Devusinh Chauhan, minister of state for communications, mentioned that internet subscribers in rural and urban areas of the country were 336.6 million and 497.69 million, respectively, as of September 2021. According to the minister, mobile and broadband services are provided in a phased manner by the government and telecom services providers (TSPs) in the uncovered villages of the country. The government, with funding from Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF), has schemes to extend mobile connectivity through the setting up of towers in the uncovered villages of the country. He also listed other government initiatives to expand digital outreach including the BharatNet project, National Broadband Mission, and the Prime Minister Wireless Access Network Interface (PM-WANI) framework, among others.

LinkedIn introduces Native Carousel Post

For a long time, LinkedIn users have been producing improvised carousel postings, utilizing the PDF attachment option to construct individual frames. Now, LinkedIn has released a full-fledged feature, with the addition of a new ‘Carousel’ post option. Within the LinkedIn update, users will now have the option to create a carousel post. Users will be guided through the carousel creation process, allowing them to select various still images and/or video clips to include in their post. Users can also add alt text within the set-up process, while they can also rearrange the order of their uploads however they like, before posting them on LinkedIn. The platform has confirmed that it’s now testing the new functionality, which it hopes will empower creators to share knowledge in a more visual way. LinkedIn says that it’s testing Carousels with ‘thousands of creators’ at first, before rolling the option out to all users later this fall.

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