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Monday, 19 November 2018

Amazon today introduced Alexa Skill Blueprints in India, a new way to create your own personalized skills and responses for Alexa

Amazon today introduced Alexa Skill Blueprints in India, a new way to create your own personalised skills and responses for Alexa. Using a set of easy-to-use templates anyone can create customised experiences for Alexa within minutes just by filling in the blanks. Whether it’s your own answer to the question “Alexa, who makes the best Rajma Chawal in the world?” or a skill that helps you surprise parents with a personalised story narrated by Alexa, “Alexa, open My Dad's Story.” Alexa Skill Blueprints allow you to build experiences into Alexa that are personalised to you and help make Alexa even more useful around your home. The skills you create are specially designed for you and your family, and will only appear on the devices registered to your Amazon account.

“Alexa Skill Blueprints are a new way for you to customise your Alexa experience. Personalised skills and responses make Alexa even more knowledgeable, delivering a delightful experience that is unique to you and your family,” said Dilip R.S., Country Manager for Alexa Skills, Amazon India. “You don’t need experience to build skills or coding to get started. At home we created our family trivia skill in a matter of minutes, and Alexa is keeping everyone entertained in a totally new and personal way.”

Using Alexa Skill Blueprints is as easy as filling in the blanks. You can have fun customising responses to questions like “Alexa, what is the best city?" or “Alexa, who has the best sense of humor?” You can also use Skill Blueprints to create an interactive adventure story with your child as the lead character and rename the skill as desired, “Alexa, start Tina’s Story” or create a skill to relive hilarious family moments, “Alexa, open Family Jokes.” The skills and responses you create with Alexa Skill Blueprints will be available instantly on the devices associated with your account.

You can also share your personalised skill with family and friends to use on their own Alexa-enabled devices. Skills can be shared via email, text, WhatsApp, or social media including Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Recipients will receive a direct link where they'll be able to see details about your skill and have the ability to enable it for use on their own account.

Getting Started with Alexa Skill Blueprints:
Creating your own Alexa skill and responses is simple. Just ask “Alexa, tell me about Alexa blueprints” and follow three easy steps:
1.       Select your blueprint template by visiting the Alexa Skill Blueprints website: There you can browse through 30 Skill Blueprints across four categories including Fun & Games, Learning & Knowledge, At Home, and Storyteller.
2.       Unleash your creativity. Each blueprint comes with pre-filled content that can be used as-is or customised as you like.
3.       With just one click your skill will be available on all Alexa-enabled devices associated with your Amazon account.

There is no limit to the number of skills you can create. Need to add even more hilarious jokes to the “Family Jokes” skill? No problem, editing is simple on the Alexa Skill Blueprints website.

Alexa Skill Blueprints available at launch include:
Fun & Games
1.       Inspirations: Curate a list of your favorite motivational quotes.
2.       Roast: Roast your friends and family with lighthearted burns.
3.       First Letter: Play a game of categories starting with a certain letter.
4.       Family Jokes: Create a list of your favorite jokes for when you need a laugh.
5.       Trivia: Create a multiple choice trivia game on any topic.
6.       Couples Quiz: Play to find out which couple knows each other best.
7.       Birthday Trivia: Play to see who knows the birthday girl or boy best.
8.       Compliments: Flatter your favorites with a list of custom compliments.
9.       Family Trivia: Play together and brush up on your family history.
10.   World's Best Dad: Celebrate dad with a list of customised compliments.
11.   Interactive Story: Create a story and test your memory.
12.   Three Word Sort: Train your brain in this topsy-turvy sorting game
13.   World's Best Mom: Celebrate mom with a list of customised compliments.
14.   Five Item Rush: Score your friends in this wacky categories game

Learning & Knowledge
15.   Flash Cards: Study, test yourself, and master any subject by voice
16.   Facts: Keep a list of facts on your favorite topic, all in one place
17.   Quiz: Challenge yourself and others with a customisable quiz
18.   Listening Quiz: Listen and recall with this listening quiz skill.

At Home
19.   Custom Q&A: Customise responses to your questions
20.   Houseguest: Make your guests feel at home with quick access to important info
21.   Whose Turn: Figure out whose turn it is to do something by having Alexa choose for you.
22.   Task Chart: Schedule and track weekly chores for your entire household.
23.   Roommate: Help your roommates by providing them with all the important information they should know.
24.   Sidekick: Alexa always has your back with these supportive and funny responses.

25.   Adventure: Write an adventure story where your child is the hero
26.   Fairy Tale: Customise an interactive prince and princess-themed tale
27.   Sci-Fi: Create an interactive story with a far-out theme
28.   Fable: Create a short narrative with a moral of the story
29.   All About Dad: Surprise dad with a personalised story narrated by Alexa.
30.   All About Mom: Surprise mom with a personalised story narrated by Alexa.

Alexa Skill Blueprints is available now for customers in India. To get started with Alexa Skill Blueprints visit: For frequently asked questions:

Itel launches A44 Power smartphone with 4000 mAh Battery, running on Android Oreo for Rs 5999

Itel launched its first 5.45” FWVGA+ full screen display smartphone with 4000mAh Li-Polymer battery and Dual Rear Camera in the Indian market. The itel A44 Power comes with advanced features promising a delightful smartphone experience for customers. The device runs on Android Oreo and costs Rs 5,999/-.

Itel A44 with Full Screen Display
Commenting on the launch, Mr. Goldee Patnaik, Head of Marketing itel Business Unit said“India is witnessing a significant shift in the consumption patterns of smartphones as the need for latest features & technology at a budget friendly price is increasing. At itel, we truly believe in making technology accessible and affordable for customers by offering them great value in every purchase they make with us. itel A44 Power brings with it the powerful 4000mAh Li-Polymer battery for our target audience along with 5.45” FWVGA+ Full Screen Display and Dual Rear Camera at a budget friendly price point. We surely believe that A44 Power will enrich the consumers with an enthralling mobile experience.”

Specifications – itel A44 Power
Screen Size
13.84 cm (5.45”) FW + Full Screen
4000mAh Li-Polymer with OTG Powerbank support
Rear Camera
5MP + VGA  with flash
Front Camera
2 MP with flash
Face Unlock
OS Version
Android 8.1 Go edition
64 bit 1.4 GHz Quad Core
Display Resolution
480x960 pixels
1GB + 8GB
Expandable Memory
32GB Dedicated slot
Aqua Blue, Champagne Gold, Deep Grey
INR 5999

itel A44 Power | 5.45” Full Screen Display + Bigger/Robust Battery at a never before price
The itel A44 Power comes with 5.45 “HD+ FWVGA+ Full Screen Display screen along with 4000 mAh Li-Polymer battery, Dual Camera and Face Unlock making it itel’s first in the sub 6k segment. itel A44 Power runs on 4000mAh Li-Polymer battery optimised to give upto 3 days battery backup in 1 charge on normal usage. Despite bigger battery, it has a compact design with a 9.5mm thickness with vibrant colours. It also has an OTG Power Bank support which can also charge other phones. The device comes with Android 8.1 Go edition OS for quick and seamless multitasking. The itel A44 Power is powered by 64 bit 1.4 GHz quad core processor for fast and smooth performance. It is equipped with 1GB RAM and 8GB internal storage along with a dedicated expandable memory up to 32GB. From a camera perspective, the smartphone is equipped with a 5MP + VGA Dual Rear Camera and 2 MP selfie camera, both with flash

itel A44 Power will be available across India today onwards.

Blackberry to acquire AI and ML leader Cylance for $1.4B in its largest acquisition

oday announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to wholly acquire Cylance, an artificial intelligence and cybersecurity leader, for US $1.4 billion in cash, plus the assumption of unvested employee incentive awards. Pending regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions, the deal is expected to close prior to the end of BlackBerry’s current fiscal year (February 2019).

“Cylance’s leadership in artificial intelligence and cybersecurity will immediately complement our entire portfolio, UEM and QNX in particular. We are very excited to onboard their team and leverage our newly combined expertise,” said John Chen, Executive Chairman and CEO of BlackBerry. “We believe adding Cylance’s capabilities to our trusted advantages in privacy, secure mobility, and embedded systems will make BlackBerry Sparkindispensable to realizing the Enterprise of Things.”

According to Gartner in its most recent Internet of Things Backbone Survey: security was cited as the top barrier to IoT success (35%), with privacy concerns (25%), and potential risks and liabilities (25%) also in the top five.

Cylance is a pioneer in applying artificial intelligence, algorithmic science, and machine learning to cybersecurity software that has proven highly effective at predicting and preventing known and unknown threats to fixed endpoints. The fast-growing company has become a market leader with an advanced and lightweight agent that resides on the endpoint, operates both online and off, and requires a minimum of memory and power to function. Founded in 2012, Cylance generates highly recurring revenue from over 3,500 active enterprise customers, including more than 20% of the Fortune 500.

“Our highly skilled cybersecurity workforce and market leadership in next-generation endpoint solutions will be a perfect fit within BlackBerry where our customers, teams and technologies will gain immediate benefits from BlackBerry’s global reach,” said Stuart McClure, Co-Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Cylance. “We are eager to leverage BlackBerry’s mobility and security strengths to adapt our advanced AI technology to deliver a single platform.”

BlackBerry Spark is a next-generation secure chip-to-edge communications platform for the EoT that will create and leverage trusted connections between any endpoint. Designed for ultra-security and industry-specific safety-certifications, such as ISO 26262 in automobiles, BlackBerry Spark will leverage the company’s deep portfolio of technology that includes FIPS-validated, app-level, AES 256-bit encryption to ensure data is always protected. BlackBerry Spark enables organizations to comply with stringent multi-national regulatory requirements. In fact, BlackBerry is the only EoT platform provider to achieve Common Criteria EAL4+ for both iOS and Android, offering the highest level of security in the market.

BlackBerry expects that after the anticipated close of the transaction, Cylance will operate as a separate business unit within BlackBerry Limited.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Tech Mahindra and BioNEST to Drive Research & Co-Innovation in Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology

Tech Mahindra, a leading provider of digital transformation, consulting and business re-engineering services and solutions, and BioNEST, a bio-incubator formed with the support of the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), a Government of India enterprise under the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science & Technology – “UoH-BIONEST”, have today announced collaboration to drive research and co-innovation in pharmaceutical and biotechnology space.

The enterprises have signed a MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) to enable development of new technology platforms, and to foster the pharmaceutical and biotechnology innovation ecosystem in the country.  The MoU was signed in the presence of Prof. Podile Appa Rao, Vice Chancellor, University of Hyderabad, Prof. Gandham Prasad, Director, TIE-U, Prof. Pallu Reddanna, Project investigator, UoH-BioNEST, Mr.  Kandimalla Venugopal, Global Head Healthcare and Life Sciences, Tech Mahindra, Dr. Palakodeti, Ratnakar, Head Life sciences and Healthcare, Tech Mahindra, and other dignitaries.

Tech Mahindra’s collaboration with BioNEST will also enable industry and academia partnership, and ensure efficient exchange of knowledge in the area. Tech Mahindra will also provide technical and business mentorship for IP (Intellectual Property) and technology management, legal and contract, resource mobilization and networking platform.

Venugopal Kandimalla, Global Head, Healthcare & Life Sciences, said, “Tech Mahindra has delivered excellence in Healthcare and Life Sciences ecosystem. We have a comprehensive understanding of research and innovation in the biotechnology space, especially towards bringing the latest technologies to the fore and commercializing the concepts to solutions.”

Healthcare and Life Sciences vertical at Tech Mahindra works on new ideas and concepts by leveraging digital technologies. As the technology partner of BioNEST, Tech Mahindra will assist in providing all the technology support for the incubates within the center, along with joint go-to-market opportunities .

Dr. P. Ratnakar, Practice Head-  Life sciences, said, “This perfect blend of scientific research and technology stimulates the growth of the new process and products for the global Pharmaceutical and Biotech markets. Tech Mahindra’s partnership with BioNEST will further strengthen the innovations required for the Life Sciences ecosystem.”

With state of the art facilities, the bio-incubator with a size of 20000 sq. ft., is located at the School of Life Sciences, University of Hyderabad. 

Prof. P. Reddanna, Principal Investigator, BioNEST, said, “BioNEST at University of Hyderabad was set-up in 2018 with the Support of the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), a Government of India Enterprise under Dept. of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science & Technology. BioNEST has the vision to support and nurture an environment conducive for start-ups in the areas of Biology and Biotechnology and promote bio-entrepreneurship. It provides incubation facilities for budding entrepreneurs, anywhere in the country, to transform their innovative ideas into products.”

Prof. Podile Appa Rao, considers this memorandum of understanding between UoH-BioNEST and Tech Mahindra will bring high-motivation among young entrepreneurs, and hoped for better translational outcomes through the culmination of information technology and artificial intelligence to the Life Sciences arena.

Tech Mahindra’s TechMNxt charter is all about “Collaborative Disruption”, and focuses on creating an ecosystem that supports collaboration in the real sense. As a step in this direction, Tech Mahindra has collaborated with some of the most exceptional start-ups, academia, drawing from the millennial workforce, and jointly creating cutting-edge technology solutions with partners.

Realme partners with Reliance digital for exclusive offline sales

OPPO's sub brand Realme has entered into exclusive partnership with Reliance digital for offline sales of their products. Earlier the brand was available only on online platforms hence the company said that this is a part of the brand’s commitment towards ‘Realme for every India’, bringing products packed with power and style closer to the consumers.

In the first phase of the partnership, Realme smartphones will be available at more than 130 cities across 600 Reliance Digital & My Jio stores starting from this Diwali for the customers.

Expressing delight on the partnership, Madhav Sheth, Chief Executive Officer, Realme India, said, “Realme as young brand is committed to delivering a differentiated experience to our customers with our products that deliver power and style. With this partnership with Reliance stores, we are proud to have more locations to deliver this experience and welcome customers to the Realme family. While the market responded well, we are expanding our sales channels to reach out to the growing demands which is a testimony to our approach ‘Realme for every Indian’”.

 “Through this partnership, we want to cater to the audience who does not have an access to the online platform and who want to compare and understand before making any decisions”, he added.

Speaking on this development, Brain Bade, CEO - Reliance Digital said, “We at Reliance Digital believe in personalizing technology supported by world class retail experience. With the addition of Realme to our portfolio, we will be enabling our consumers to experience conventional online brands at our stores complemented with high quality customer service.”

Realme in India adopted an online first approach as India is the most emerging online market in the world. With overwhelming response from consumers towards Realme offerings, it becomes imperative for the company to expand sales channels to reach out to more customers. Realme will focus on providing seamless service, maintaining the ‘Power and Style’ standard through associating with selected partners who can provide powerful service and stylized experience. Starting from January 2019, Realme will be expanding its footprints to top 10 cities to look for exclusive distribution partners.

Since its launch in May 2018, Realme products have been receiving immense popularity topping the charts. Recently the young brand created a milestone by selling 2 million units during the Big Billion Day and Festive Dhamaka sale on Flipkart. Furthermore, according to a worldwide report by Strategy Analytics, Realme has been ranked as the top leader in consumer satisfaction.