Archive for May, 2008

Karnataka votes decisively

May 25, 2008

May 25, 2008 is an important day in the democratic history of India.

BJP with 110 seats, Congress with 80 seats, JDS with 28 seats and others with 6 seats ensures that BJP will form the next government. All the small parties (BSP, JDU) drew a blank.

One hopes BJP delivers good governance in the next 5 years.

BusinessWeek IT100 has fewer entries from India

May 25, 2008

BusinessWeek IT 100 announced the 2008 edition.

Bharti Airtel (21), Wipro (74), Satyam (91), HCL (95), Reddington (55) were the five entries. TCS & Infosys are notable missing items.

US companies have reduced to 33 entries out of 100 (compared to 75 out of 100 in 1998)

The notable ones of the 2008 entries include

Internet companies Amazon (1), Google (11), Price-line (49) and Yahoo Japan (75)
Computer & peripheral companies Apple (2), Western Digital (5), Austek (9), IBM (13), LG (20), HP (30), Lenovo (46), Seagate (57), Acer (71), EMC (78)

Semiconductor companies Samsung (34), Cypress (44), TSMC (50), Intel (58), NVIDIA (59)

Communications equipment RIM (3), Nokia (8), Cisco (39), QualComm (67)

Software Nintendo (4), Oracle (22), Microsoft (23), vmWare (61), SAP (63), Adobe (94), Intuit (100)

Telecom America Movil (6), China Mobile (7), AT&T (18), Bharti Airtel (21), Reliance (66)

Services Accenture (19), Wipro (74), Satyam (91), HCL (95)

Distribution Reddington (55)

“Simple” advice to graduating students

May 25, 2008

Yesterday, I had an opportunity to meet with the graduating students (about 250 of them) at SJB Institute of Technology. The college has a lovely campus. Principal Dr Putaaraju has a PhD from IIT Kanpur. The Swamiji who runs this Institute (and several Institutes in Karnataka including a fine ultra-modern hospital in the same campus) His Holiness Sri Sri Balagangadhara Swamiji is a source of inspiration. The occassion was a “Farewell” function to the 4th year B Tech students (of CSE, IT, ECE, EE departments), where Prof Khincha, Vice Chancellor of VTU and I were asked to speak to the students.

Instead of focusing on IT (that I normally do), I decided  to remind them of just five simple words

Read

Write

See

Listen

and

Enjoy.

I wanted them to remember that “browsing” that has become part of everyone’s life after Google is no substitute for “reading”; they should develop a habit of reading at least for 1 or 2 hours everyday

Just as reading is important, “writing” is important too. I was exhorting the students to go beyond SMS & e-mail to get to the habit of writing full words, full sentences, full paragraphs and full chapters. It is best to read and write a summary of what you read; in the process, cultivate the habit of good writing.

Next is to “see” the beautiful physical world by travelling; looking through the windows and not looking at “Microsoft Windows”. India is a beautiful country endowed with hills, rivers, beaches and forests; other countries are there to see too. Students should develop a knack of travelling to beautiful places and appreciating natural beauty  

“Listening” is the next important thing; listening to MP3 music is fine, but one should listen to the “chirping” of the birds too; nature has so many things to teach us including the “sound of silence” and the “inner voice”. Swamiji is more eqipped to talk about the art of listening to the inner voice.

Finally, it is important to “enjoy”, but far more important is to go beyond “physical enjoyment”; more importantly, one should cultivate the habit of learning to enjoy the “joy of giving” that is far more joyful than the joy of consuming.

 

“Read”, “write”, “see”, “listen” and “enjoy” are “simple”, but not “easy” though.

Interestingly Professor Khincha, Vice Chancellor, VTU, who followed me added “attitude” as another imprtant thing; I learnt the simple truth; “attitiude” is one English word that adds to 100 (1+20 +20+ 9+20+21+4+5) if we map letter “a” to 1 and “z” to 26 and map other letters in between!

Bangalore International Airport is a reality now

May 23, 2008

Just a couple of minutes back, a Jet Airways flight from Mumbai touched down at the new Airport; this is the first “operational commissioning” of this greenfield airport; this is a historic moment in the history of Indian aviation.

For a country that is used to “seven years for the construction of a simple flyover” the accomplishment of building of a greenfield international airport that is efficient, beautiful and modern, in less than 36 months is a record by any measure. The Chief Project Officer Mr. Sivaramakrishnan Iyer and the CEO Mr. Albert Brunner must be complimented for their herioc achievement.

Bangalore Airport construction started on July 2, 2005; it was ready for inauguration by March 2008; in fact, a Deccan Aviation aircraft (and a Kingfisher airctaft) landed in the new Airport on March 7, 2008 as test flights. The Airport was to have been opened on March 23rd; it got postponed to May 11, then to May 22 and finally to May 23 midnight.

The first take off will be Air India flight to Singapore at 00.05 hours of May 24 (less than 2 hours from now)

Indian Airports have been in a pathetic condition for decades. Cochin Airport did an innovation in the form of Public Private Partnership; it is a good Airport, but with modest features. Mumbai and Delhi Airports are under modernization; the exercise will get completed only by 2010. Bangalore is the first Airport built with private sector efficiency and with truly internatiuonal features.

 

Hyderabad that started after Bangalore, managed to commission it in March 2008; it follows a similar model of Private investment getting channelized for infrastructure. Hyderabad has done several such “smart” moves – copying from Bangalore, but walking away “first” with the cake; IT Policy, IIIT, ISB, Fab and International Airport. Having a Government in the State that is “aligned” with the Government at the Center helps Hyderabad in every time; it hurts Bangalore every time! 

Interestingly, Bangalore could not even celebrate such a success; while BIAL did a great job, successive governments failed to build a road / train connection to the Airport; BIAL had to build even the clover cross junction that connects the Airport to the National Highway! Thanks to political instability, the “bhoomi puja” (start of construction) could not be done (there were  no “leaders”) with any fanfare; the inauguration also could not be done with any fanfare, as there is no government in place as of today. In a sense, it is truly a “citizen celebration” than any VIP presence, which is truly in the “democartic” spirit than any “royal” spirit.

Ironically in India, solid achievements do not seem to win votes, but devisive moves win votes! One hopes our democaracy will turn more “people friendly” one day!

K Jaiganesh (29) made it to the IAS finalists from Tamil Nadu.

May 19, 2008

 

It is no ordinary achievement for this bright boy from Ambur in Tamil Nadu; he made it in his sixth attempt, after moving to Chennai realizing that IAS preparation needs the support of fellow aspirants, access to networks, books, and information that in generally found in cities. This youngster comes from a poor economic background; deciding not to take up a job after his engineering degree from Periyar Engineering College, this youngster worked as a “waiter” in the local restaurant to pay for his expenses! It is commendable that he could work his way against all odds.

 

One hopes that the electronic & print media that gives huge coverage for bad deeds (rape, murder or loot) committed by misled youngsters, also provide at least a mention (if not wide coverage), to such good deeds of youngsters too!

Symbian co-founder David Wood in IIIT-B

May 15, 2008

Mr. David Wood, Executive Vice President and Head of Research at Symbian gave a talk on“Future of smart phones’ at IIIT-B today.

 

The exciting talk was interesting in more ways than one. Mr. Wood is truly the father of smart phone; he has been heading research and technology at Symbian for 10 years. Symbian completes the 10th year exactly on May 15, 2008 and Bangalore is lucky to have David Wood kicking off the tenth anniversary celebrations for Symbian right from this city.

 

Mr. Wood talked of

Pre 2000 phase that was “voice / text dominated”

2000 – 2005 as the phase of “feature phones”, and,

post 2005 as the era of “smart phones”.

Mr. Wood can be justly proud that 300 million phones in the world are powered by Symbian today. Symbian has majority share (around 70%) of the smart phone market globally.

 

A true visionary, Mr. Wood is not happy with the dominant market share of smart phones; his eyes are set on growing the smart phone market itself – from mere 10-20% today to nearly 70-80% by 2012; of course, Mr. Wood would like to have market share of 70% in the new scenario as well! He expects more than one billion annual smart phone sales in 2012 (from the current 100+ million)

 

He talked of moving from “R & D” (Research and Development) to “C & D” (Connect and Develop) and plans to use universities in a big way in their plans to accelerate innovative research.

 

Mr. Wood also announced an “Essay Competition” for college students across the globe.

 

IIIT-B is honored to have had such a legendary person  give a talk in the Institute.

GMR starts Turkish airport venture

May 15, 2008

In the presence of her Prime Minister, Turkey saw the ground breaking ceremony for the new terminal at Sabiha Gokcen International Airport in Istanbul. The new terminal will add 10 million passengers to its existing capacity of 5 million passengers. Interestingly, Bangalore-based GMR Consortium won the bid for construction and operation of the new terminal (along with the existing terminal) for 20 years. The bids were won in July 2007 during a 14.5 hour long bidding process amidst touch competition from Germany’s Fraport, Italy’s Venice Airport, USA’s Chicago Airport and Italy’s TAV.

 

GMR is building and operating the green field airport in Hyderabad; it is also maintaining and upgrading Delhi airport.

 

GMR paid 1.9 billion Euros to get 20 year operation rights; it will invest 200 million Euros in building the new terminal. The existing operator landed over control effective 00-00 hour on May 1, 2008

 

One more case of Indian companies marching successfully in the global arena; we had seen Tatas, Infosys, Birlas, Wipro and Subex quietly taking over global companies. What is happening is exactly the opposite of what our misguided communists and socialists friends have been talking of another East India Company! The self-serving politicians have fooled our countrymen about the danger of globalization and the entry of multinationals; they want the monopoly of public sector so that the private interests of politicians can be well served!

SAP to offer business services through BlackBerry

May 13, 2008

In an interesting announcement on May 9, 2008, SAP announced that it will make some of the business software accessible through BlackBerry smart phones; to start with it will be be CRM (Customer Relationship Management). With e-mail and address book already integrated neatly in the BlackBerry handset, pushing CRM data into BlackBerry handset makes immense sense.

 

Email became a powerful tool for the business users by mid 90’s. With mobility becoming important for business users and mobile phone penetrating nearly 100% of all business executives, Black Berry in the past five years has become part of business executives ‘must have’ gadget. The device delivers Email function exceptionally well; competition from mobile handset manufacturers has made sure that ‘CrackBerry” (most business users refer to BlackBerry that way) phone evolve considerably in the past 3 years. With “push mail’ support from Microsoft Mobile and other competitors, Black Berry is slowly losing its unique competitive edge. With integration of SAP, Black Berry will re-gain its competitive edge.

 

Thanks to BlackBerry”s encryption scheme, business users feel ‘secure”; the occasional “blackout” that BlackBerry suffered twice in the past 4 years must be addressed to make business users feel “dependable”. I am sure BlackBerry is addressing this issue.

 

Though announced in 2004, SAP BlackBerry partnership did not yield any tangible results earlier. One hopes the recent announcement will not remain ‘demo ware”.

 

International users will get to see the “real position” in SAPPAIRE (SAP Products Show) in Orlando, Florida in late May. Indian users will get to see it in SAP Tech in the first week of June in Mumbai (hopefully).

16 Indian IT/ITES Companies in Global Outsourcing 100

May 12, 2008

IAOP (International Association of Outsourcing Professionals) released the list of Top 100 outsourcing companies (globally) for the year 2008 in the first week of May.

 

Interestingly, Infosys reached the 3rd position, with TCS and Wipro in the 6th and 7th position; the relatively new entrant Tech Mahindra reaching the 10th position, Indian companies occupy 4 of the top 10 positions, something that makes every Indian proud.

 

The citation talks of

“executive leadership’ for Infosys

“Employee management” for TCS and Wipro

“Outsourcing experience” for Tech Mahindra, while it talks of

 

“Customer testimonials’ for Accenture, the No 1 in the list, and,

“Size and growth’ for IBM, the No 2 in the list

 

 

It may not be out of place to mention that Mr. Azim Premji has been talking of Wipro in the “Top 10 Global outsourcing List” by 2010 as his goal; he has realized it 2 years ahead of schedule!

 

Other Indian Companies in the Top 100 include

 

HCL Technologies at No 11

Mastek at No 11

WNS Global at 19

Hexaware at 22

Cognizant at 27

24/7 Customer at 28

ITC InfoTech at 40

KPIT Cummins at 42

Patni at 46

Zensar at 53

MindTree at 54, and,

MPhasis at 56

Bangalore votes with EVM made by BEL in Bangalore

May 10, 2008

May 10, 2008
Today I went to the polling booth near my house. With so much pessimism around, I went with minimal expectation. I may NOT be able to vote; my name may NOT be there; some one would have voted for me (none of them are uncommon in India with 1.2 billion people with 800 million eligible voters)

To my surprise, I found an agent giving me and my wife a “slip” (a small piece of paper) with Roll No 1441 & 1442 and Polling Station number 53. I did find one room wit the caption “53”; stood in the Q for 20 minutes; I was asked to go to the next room 52A (that was empty). There were 4 officials; one had a list with an entry that tallied with my name; he read it out; the next official asked me to sign; verified my signature with the signature on the Voter ID card; he gave me a sheet that I handed over to the next official; he applied the indelible mark on my left fore-finger and led me to the 4th official; she “unlocked” the polling station; I moved up to the station that was “covered” for privacy; I pressed the button corresponding to my choice (the name and party symbol was clearly visible); the 4th official heard a “beep” sound on her station and told me “over”. I had cast my vote! It took a comfortable 25 minutes but the process was fairly pleasant

Being on the Board of BEL (Bharat Electronics Ltd) that manufactures, supplies, maintains and operates EVMs (about 650,000 of them in use all over India) I felt very happy that India is using “electronic” voting very well in spite of million constraints on infrastructure front

Bangalore has voted; hopefully for a Government that cares for people, delivers results and goes beyond “fighting amongst themselves”