Create your own telepresence, Kapil Khandelwal - EquNev Capital, www.equnev.com

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my fortnightly column - A Dose of IT on how to create your own telepresence system

Kapil Khandelwal
EquNev Capital
www.equnev.com

Published in: Self Improvement
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Create your own telepresence, Kapil Khandelwal - EquNev Capital, www.equnev.com

  1. 1. Over 90 percent of departmen- tal post offices across the country have been comput- erised, according to official data. “As of now, 24,015 (94 percent) departmental post offices out of 25,538 have been supplied with computer hard- ware,” Minister of State for Communications and IT Sachin Pilot said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha Friday. The government plans to computerise the remaining departmental post offices along with branch post offices under the IT Modernisation Project, to be completed by 2012-13. Replying to another question in the upper house, Pilot said that during the last three financial years, the depart- ment of post has been running in deficit, but denied that there is any plan to privatise the postal services. Last month, the minister had said that there is decrease in sale of post-cards and inland let- terss due to induction of new technology in the field of per- sonal communication. —IANS bbIITTss ONE BILLION CHINESE CELL PHONE USERS BBeeiijjiinngg:: China is heading to- wards the billion-mark in the number of cell-phone users with a rising number of peo- ple in the country relying on phones to communicate. GOOGLE’S ANDROID SUITS TO STAY HHeellssiinnkkii:: Google’s move to buy Motorola Mobility will not put an end to patent law- suits against the Android platform as the web search giant is hoping, a Nokia exec- utive said in a report on Friday. Google’s $12.5 bn acquisition of M- otorola Mobility is for more than just patents. –––– EErriicc SScchhmmiiddtt Chairman, Google IBM TO ACQUIRE ALGORITHMICS BBeennggaalluurruu:: IT major IBM said it has agreed to acquire Toronto-based risk analytics firm Algorithmics for $387 million (about `1,750 crore). The acquisition is subject to applicable regulatory clear- ances and other customary closing conditions. OVER 90 PER CENT POST OFFICES NOW COMPUTERISED Over 37,000 villages in the country have not got mobile phone connectivity till March 2011, according to data from the telecom department. Minister of State for Comm- unications and IT Milind Deora said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha Friday that “37,184 villages in the country are yet to be connect- ed with mobile connectivity as on March 2011”. The minis- ter also said that till July 31, the state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) has covered all district head- quarters and 33,620 cities with GSM (Global System for Mobile communications) based cellular services. About 579,486 villages, over 97 per- cent of the census 2001 inhab- ited revenue villages, have been covered with telephone connectivity through village public telephones. Shared mobile infrastructure scheme has been launched by univer- sal service obligation fund to provide subsidy support for setting up and managing 7,353 towers in 500 districts and over 27 states. — IANS OVER 37,000 VILLAGES HAVE NO MOBILE PHONES c m y k c m y k TECHNOMICSQUOTE OF THE DAY PAGE 13 Samsung unveiled Galaxy Note, claimed to have the biggest and brightest mobile display. Facebook to add music, movies and extensive gaming features to its site soon. MONDAY 5 | SEPTEMBER 2011 BENGALURU New Delhi, Sept 4: It is difficult for Indian securi- ty agencies to keep a check on the contents of social networking sites because of the encrypted data, Communications Minister Kapil Sibal said Friday. “The solution service providers of social net- working sites secure cer- tain communication to and from such networking sites by employing encryp- tion, which pose chal- lenges to security agencies to keep a vigil on contents of such sites,” he said. However, the govern- ment regularly interacts with the telecom service providers and solution ser- vice providers to address the issue and implement solutions to the extent pos- sible keeping in view secu- rity, service and develop- mental needs of the coun- try, he said. During April 2010 to July 2011, 33 incidents of misuse of social networking sites, related to phishing of objectionable content per- taining to political leaders, religion, national security and individuals were reported to the national nodal agency Indian Computer Emergency Response Team. The ministry of telecom had last month also informed the Rajya Sabha that it has received a letter from the home ministry to ensure effective monitor- ing of social networking websites like Twitter, Facebook and others like Google Plus. — IANS Govt worried on encrypted data Apple jinx: iPhone 5 prototype also lost ■ San Francisco police had helped Apple Inc search for a ‘lost item’, following reports that a prototype of the iPhone 5 had gone missing San Francisco, Sept 4: San Francisco police have assisted Apple in the search for a prototype of the latest iPhone that went astray in a bar in a repeat of an embarrassing loss that took place last year. An Apple employee lost a yet-to-be-released iPhone 5 in a tequila bar in San Francisco’s Mission District in July, technology news site CNET reported this week. After the device was electronically tracked using GPS technology to a San Francisco house, four police officers and two Apple employees visited the home, the San Francisco police said in a statement distributed to news outlets. “Apple employees called Mission police station directly, wanting assis- tance in tracking down a lost item,” the press release said. “The two Apple employ- ees met with the resident and then went into the house to look for the lost item,” it said. “The Apple employees did not find the lost item and left the house.” The statement did not identify the item being searched for but the title of the document car- ried a tantalising hint: iPhone5.doc. A resident of the home, Sergio Calderon, 22, told SF Weekly that he has vis- ited the bar where the phone was reportedly lost but he did not have the device. He said the search of his house took place in July. Cupertino, California-based Apple began selling the iPhone 4 last year and is expected to unveil the latest model, the iPhone 5, in September or October. Word of another unre- leased iPhone model dis- appearing in a bar came just weeks after prosecu- tors decided not to pursue criminal charges against Gizmodo technology blog- gers who got hold of a lost iPhone 4 prototype last year. Gizmodo published pic- tures and details of the iPhone prototype after buying it for $5,000 from a man who claimed to have found it in a beer garden where it was lost by an Apple software engineer. Criminal charges have been filed against the man who purportedly found the iPhone 4 prototype and another who bro- kered the deal to sell it to Gizmodo. The pair plead- ed not guilty on Thursday to misdemeanor charges in San Mateo County Superior Court. — AFP Green ways to clean your PC Washington, Sept 4: Scientists have come up with green solutions to remove digital waste from computers. For instance, old or rarely used files deplete precious storage space, bog down a computer’s efficiency and sap its energy. Trash management methods could point the way to a new era of com- puter cleansing, the arXiv (pronounced as ‘archive’) website reports. Johns Hopkins Univer- sity scientists Ragib Hasan and Randal Burns are applying real world trash management meth- ods to clean computers. Hasan and Burns have devised a five-tier pyra- mid of options - reduce, reuse, recycle, recover and dispose - according to a Hopkins statement. “If you have too much waste data in your com- puter, your applications may slow down because they don’t have the space they require,? Hasan said. How then can such clut- ter be curbed? Reduce: The most pre- ferred option is to cut back on the amount of waste data that flows into a computer. This can be done by encouraging soft- ware makers to design their programs to leave fewer unneeded files behind. Reuse: If two pro- grammes are found to uti- lize identical modules, one might be eliminated in a process called ?data deduplication.? Recycle: Just as discard- ed plastic can be refash- ioned into new soda bot- tles, some files could be repurposed. When old software is about to be removed, the computer could retain useful pieces of the program. Recover: Even when waste data can’t be reused or recycled, these leftovers might yield information worth study- ing after private identifi- cation details are removed. Dispose: This is the least desirable option and the messiest, when you consider the energy used to completely elimi- nate old files or the real- world pollution created when one destroys an old hard drive or other form of storage media. — IANS SSAANNGGEEEETTHHAA CCHHEENNGGAAPPPPAA || DDCC BENGALURU Every time Shalin Jain wanted to register online for an event, be it a large conference, a charity gala or a music show, he would never receive a confirma- tion status until the last minute. After repeated e- mails and calls to the event organisers, he would even- tually be informed that the event is overbooked. Frustrated at the way online registrations were handled, he decided to develop an intuitive online registration service called DoAttend that allows peo- ple to register for an event by paying through credit/debit cards or net banking and also print out their tickets, to be taken to the event. “DoAttend, is a do-it-your- self, online event registra- tion system for event man- agers and party planners. The feature-packed web application has all the tools to allow users to create, promote and track the guests who’ve registered to attend their events online. The tool can be used at no cost for users organising free events and only a nom- inal fee is charged from users collecting paid regis- trations from event atten- dees,” said Shalin. If you are planning to organise a class reunion or a prayer meeting, you can get started on DoAttend, — first by creating a new event where you enter a name, description, venue information, date and time, after which the event page will be published using a unique URL provided by DoAttend. From that point onwards, you can create a customised registration form for guests and design the tickets for attendees to print out before showing up for the event and even col- lect registration fees from those who are planning to attend. DoAttend will then help to send out invitations from within its site and event organisers can promote the event by linking up with various social networking sites to draw a bigger audi- ence. Potential attendees can also click to add the event to their Google, Yahoo, Outlook calendar and view a map with direc- tions to the venue location. DoAttend has powered reg- istrations to corporate themed events such as Nasscom’s Product Conclave 2010, monthly cycling runs organised by CRX Sports, Thought works forthcoming Ruby Conference India, among many others. “We charge on a SaaS based model where every ticket sold is charged 4.9 per cent of the ticket fee, plus `15 per attendee. For other coun- tries it is 1.5 per cent of the ticket fee plus 49 cents per attendee. So far, 2,500 event managers from around the world have signed up to use DoAttend, we have 200 Indian customers and have reached $2 million in ticket sales” said Shalin. DoAttend is optimised for the iPhone and the iPad as well. Do’Attend is just one of the many products that Shalin, 28, has successfully developed. Sheer passion for software inspired him to bootstrap Tenmiles Corporation in the year 2000, while still in first year college pursuing a degree in Statistics. Since he was quite adept at writing Flash and web based applications having worked part-time in two different companies, he decided to start designing Flash banners for global customers. “I was clear from the start that I want to build a world class software product company because it is far more challenging to build a product that is uni- versally accepted across the globe than offer services to a few customers,” says Shalin. At first, he offered the Flash banners for free. It was when a Canadian customer refused to accept free banners and paid him $60 for 3 banners, Shalin decided to price each ban- ner at $20. Within the first 6 months he had raked in $1,000. He created Screen- swift next, a software prod- uct that converts Flash media into a screen saver, enabling movie posters to be downloaded as screen savers. Initially he offered a free version of Screenswift, to popularise it and later sold it for $49 per licence. “Disney used Screenswift to distribute Disney screen- savers, big design houses in Europe bought the product too,” said Shalin. His next product, a web-based Helpdesk software for small and medium businesses (SMB) was an instant hit. We clinched 11 deals with SMB customers from Europe and the US in the first month of its launch. The startup firm has notched up an impressive list of 6,000 customers from 70 countries with its innov- ative product portfolio. Create and manage events online New Delhi, Sept 4: Troubled by pesky calls and messages, over 130 mil- lion mobile subscribers registered with the nation- al do not call registry till Aug 25, said Minister of State for Communications and IT Milind Deora Friday. “As per the infor- mation by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, 130.21 million sub- scribers are registered with National Customer Preference Register (NCP- R) as on Aug 25,” said Deora in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha. TRAI has issued regula- tions and direction from time to times to prevent pesky calls and messages. Last year, the telecom watchdog announced a set of new measures to curb unsolicited commercial calls and messages, which were to be implemented from Jan 1. This was extended to March 1 and then to March 21. The regulations include a fine ranging from `25,000 to `250,000 for the default- ing companies. Unlike the previous regulation that asked customers to regis- ter their numbers in ‘do not call’ list, the new one allows customers to choose from different categories like ‘fully blocked’ or ‘par- tially blocked’. — IANS More than 130 mn users opt for ‘do not call’ registry START-UPS Kapil Sibal O ver the last few months while doing up my new office, I have been evaluating many new emerging telepresence technologies that could completely disrupt the way I do up my new office — decorate my board and meeting rooms with new video communications gear — at the same time provide a shift in other spheres by putting them up at our homes or at medical clinics and transforming them to digital and medical homes respectively. In my journey to create and test a cheap solution, I went out in search of poten- tial components that would make up the telepresence package. My discussions with a few doctors and like- mined professionals gave me an understanding of the following: The cost of telepresence systems is prohibitively high as the equipments have proprietary technolo- gy which cannot be unbun- dled. They also had a bad experience with telepres- ence systems in the past — the Internet network could- n’t meet the latency demands of telepresence, lack of support staff to man- age such a system and they were not sure how much real usage there would be. To zero down on a poten- tial solution, I started look- ing at a number of factors ranging from price, to broadband service provider, voice and video over IP solution’s reach, flexibility and interoper- ability and product line depth and having a service that can assure me that the systems I put in my home and office are fully utilised and provide the highest return on my investment. Here are some of my assess- ments and impressions on the overall solutions that I put together as an operat- ing telepresence model. First, let’s start with the broad band service prov- ider. The current incum- bent Airtel fell far below expectations. Their equip- ment, poor broadband speed and latency had the level of my frustrations at its peak. Even at 2mbps connectivity, my telepres- ence sessions still had stat- ic and voice/video corrup- tion. My conclusion is to try other service providers who can be more under- standing. The second key compo- nent of the solution was a high-definition (HD) TV with a 1080p HD resolution and 120Hz or more refresh rates with four or more HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) slots. The options available in the market are Sony, LG, and Samsung. I finally settled down for Sony 32 inch LED Skypeready TV. Little did I realise that Sony’s Bravia range of LCDs had to be replaced twice as they went phut after installation. The third key component of the solution is HD TV Cam. While Sony offers a superi- or proprietary HD Skype- ready TV cam that works with their Skype-ready LED TV, it does not work with laptops as a plug-and- play device. Hence I zeroed in with cheaper, Logitech HD TV Cam. The fourth component of the solution was an iOmega’s Screen- play HD Media Drive and player that could store and forward my medical images or record and replay our telepresence sessions for training and medico legal issues for the doctor. Finally, Microsoft’s Skype video calls were stress test- ed for over two months and they seem to be working fine. The doctor’s practice management would come from a start up that is offer- ing the services ‘on the cloud’. (More on this in my next column). To conclude, I have acquired a home- based telepresence solution for less than `60,000 from retail purchases. As I repli- cate this solution in my new office, I hope to bring down the costs below `30,000 for the desktop te- lepresence and around `75,- 000 for the board room. With as low as `40,000, the doctors can too upgrade their clinic to a telepres- ence system for consulting their home and medical tourism customers. Sony, Logitech, iOmega and Microsoft Skype can creatively work out better solutions for doctors, if they wish, to jointly pro- ductise this solution bundle to make it cheaper and work faster. A Dose of IT Kapil Khandelwal Kapil Khandelwal is Director, EquNev Capital. The views expressed are his own. How to maximise your telepresence Shalin Jain ■ Apple lost an early pro- totype of the iPhone 4 at a bar in Redwood City near the company's headquarters in 2010. ■ That device was picked up by another cus- tomer and sold to tech site Gizmodo. ■ That sequence of events triggered a criminal probe which ended just this month. ■ Two suspects (Brian Hogan and Robert Sage Wallower) linked to the 2010 lost iPhone 4 debacle have pleaded not guilty. ■ Hogan and Wallower professed their inno- cence in a California court. The judge sched- uled a pre-trial for Oct- ober 11 and an actual trial on November 28. Apple employees called Mission police station directly, wanting assistance in tracking down a lost item immediately. –––– AA ssttaatteemmeenntt bbyy SSaann FFrraanncciissccoo ppoolliiccee TTrraacckkiinngg tthhee mmiissssiinngg iiPPhhoonnee 44 iPhone 4

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