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Control appliances at home with Amazon Smart Plug in India

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Amazon has launched its smart plug in India for just Rs 1,999
Amazon has launched its smart plug in India for just Rs 1,999

Amazon on Wednesday launched its smart plug in India for just Rs 1,999 that works with Alexa and helps customers instantly add voice control to their existing range of appliances.

To set it up, plug it into an electrical socket and use the Alexa app.

Once connected, customers can ask Alexa on any Echo, Fire TV or Alexa built-in device or the Alexa app to turn on/off the power.

It works with appliances such as lamps, table fans, electric kettle, room coolers, televisions, mobile chargers, air-purifiers, sound bars etc.

“Customers in India are increasingly experimenting with home automation and we want them to have simple yet affordable solutions to make their existing appliances smart using Alexa,” said Parag Gupta, Head of Amazon Devices, India.

“With Amazon Smart Plug, customers can add smart voice control to any appliance without the need to upgrade it”.

The Smart Plus comes with 3-pin Indian socket design, 6A power rating and a state retention feature.

The state retention feature ensures that appliances go back to their last state (on/off) in case of power outage and resumption.

“Amazon Smart Plug is available for Rs 999 when purchased as part of the bundle with Echo Dot,” the company said.

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Reliance Jio-led super app battle to intensify in India in 2021

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Jio
Jio

New Delhi, Oct 15 (IANS) Businesses will further accelerate the pace of their digital activities in 2021 by creating new-age apps and platforms and the world will see this battle ratcheting up in intensity in India led by Reliance Jio Platforms, a new report has said.

According to global market research firm Forrester, Covid-19 affected Asia Pacific first, and they expect the region will also emerge from the crisis first in 2021, before the US and Europe.

“APAC will see a platform surge. APAC is already home to some of the largest platforms in places like China and India. However, we will see this battle ratcheting up in intensity, especially in India,” said Ashutosh Sharma, VP, Research Director.

Reliance’s Jio Platforms has already blazed the trail with more than $20 billion investment in their digital business.

“They are simultaneously lining up more investments for their retail platform. Tata in India has thrown their hat in the ring with the announcement of their own super-app,” Sharma said in a statement on Wednesday.

With Paytm and Walmart’s Flipkart in the fray, India will see some serious competition among these platforms.

Targeting Google’s dominance in the app distribution space in India, leading digital payments platform Paytm last week set up a Rs 10 crore fund as equity investments for mini app developers in the country.

Paytm has also launched an Android Mini App Store to support local developers in the country.

On 5G, Forrester said the technology will finally make an impact and China will be its epicentre.

“In China, with heavy government support, rapid rollouts across the country, and evolution of supporting tech, 5G will find an ideal breeding ground for innovations across various verticals,” Sharma noted.

China’s experimentation and adoption of 5G-enabled business models and 5G-led innovation will offer valuable lessons to other countries and enterprises.

Values-focused firms will deliver higher profits than those focusing on profits alone.

“Brands can no longer work in shadows with a constant spotlight on each of their actions, statements, and associations across social media. They must show their explicit commitment to respect customers’ privacy, for example,” Sharma emphasized.

“They must tackle complex economic, environmental, and social challenges that impact all of us. They must do so with integrity, competence, and transparency to earn the trust and loyalty of these values-conscious consumers”.

The cybersecurity concerns will also dominate the agendas of businesses and governments alike.

“We will see increased adoption of Zero Trust and evolution of regulatory frameworks for data protection and privacy. Further, we expect firms to sharpen their focus on employee experience as they struggle to deal with people’s aspect of pandemic,” Sharma said.

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OPPO A15 with AI triple camera launched in India

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OPPO A15 with AI triple camera launched at Rs 10,990
OPPO A15 with AI triple camera launched at Rs 10,990

New Delhi, Oct 15 (IANS) Chinese smartphone maker OPPO on Thursday launched its new budget smartphone ‘OPPO 15’ with an AI triple camera system at the rear for Rs 10,990 in India.

OPPO A15 will be available in two colour variants — dynamic black and mystery blue.

“Riding high on the success of the recently introduced A53, OPPO aims to further strengthen its highly acclaimed A series with the launch of A15 that offers promising features in this segment,” the company said in a statement.

The smartphone features a 6.52-inch water-drop screen with a large 89 per cent screen-to-body ratio.

The device also features an HD+ screen that sports a resolution of 1600 x 720.

Further, the device comes with features that ensure the comfort of your eyes including Eye Comfort Filters, which can filter out harmful blue light and alleviate eye strain.

The device houses a 13MP Main Camera. It also boasts a 2MP Macro Lens for close-up shots as close as 4cm. To add more depth to portrait photos, it features a 2MP depth camera that adds a natural bokeh effect to the background.

There is also a 5MP front camera.

The device packs a MediaTek Helio P35 octa-core processor coupled with 3GB RAM and internal storage of 32GB that can be further extended to 256GB.

The device comes equipped with the latest ColorOS 7.2 that offers a suite of convenient features such as the Dark Mode that features an upgraded colour contrast for a more intuitive interface.

The phone is powered by a 4230mAh battery.

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OnePlus flagship 8T 5G launched in India

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One Plus 5G
One Plus 5G

New Delhi, Oct 14 (IANS) Smartphone brand OnePlus on Wednesday launched its new flagship 5G smartphone, the ‘OnePlus 8 T’ with 120Hz Fluid AMOLED display and quad-camera set up, in the Indian market.

The OnePlus 8T will be available in two colours, aquamarine green and lunar silver at Rs 45,999 (12GB RAM+ 256GB internal storage) and Rs 42,999 (8GB RAM+128GB internal storage).

Customers buying the smartphone will also enjoy 10 per cent instant discount on purchase through HDFC Bank Debit and Credit cards on Amazon.in as well as upto 6 months no cost EMI on purchase through HDFC Bank debit and credit cards

“As a growing company, OnePlus is consistently exploring opportunities to fuel our growth, and meet the needs of more users worldwide, by starting to strategically diversify into new product categories and new price points, but at the same time, not compromising on our OnePlus promise,” Navnit Nakra, VP and Chief Strategy Officer OnePlus India, told IANS.

The smartphone will be available for early access at 12 a.m. on October 16 for Amazon Prime members on Amazon.in and OnePlus Red Cable Club members on oneplus.in and OnePlus Store app.

Open sales for the OnePlus 8T 5G begins on October 17 across Amazon.in, oneplus.in, OnePlus Store App, OnePlus exclusive offline stores and partner outlets.

In terms of specifications, the smartphone features a 6.55-inch 120Hz Fluid AMOLED display and is the first flat 120Hz display ever to earn an A+ rating from DisplayMate.

The device is equipped with the flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 5G Mobile Platform with a Snapdragon X55 5G Modem-RF System coupled with up to 12GB RAM and 256GB internal storage.

The quad-camera system includes a 48MP main camera with optical image stabilisation, a 16MP ultra-wide-angle lens, and dedicated macro and monochrome lenses, letting users enjoy studio-level photography on the go.

The 123-degree ultra-wide lens on the OnePlus 8T 5G aims to provides a new perspective for framing shots so users can confidently capture vast landscapes, expansive architecture and other wide-angle subjects in full view.

There is also a 16MP camera on the front.

Not only is the OnePlus 8T 5G the first OnePlus device to come with the latest version of OnePlus operating system, OxygenOS 11, right out of the box – it is also the first global smartphone not manufactured by Google to launch with Android 11.

The device houses a 4500mAh battery and comes with Warp Charge 65.

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New AI-driven security platform mimics thousands of hackers

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Hacker (File Photo IANS)
Hacker (File Photo IANS)

Bengaluru, Oct 15 (IANS) Breach risk assessment firm FireCompass on Thursday unveiled a new Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered platform that mimics thousands of hackers trying to break into an organisation, thus enabling the IT security teams launch continuous safe attacks to identify blind spots before hackers do.

Created by a team of serial cybersecurity entrepreneurs, the Continuous Automated Red Teaming (CART) platform is already in use by top companies, including Sprint (now a part of T-Mobile), Security Innovation and others, spanning multiple industries.

“Organisations typically conduct security testing only a few times a year on a partial list of online assets, excluding shadow IT unknown to security teams. Meanwhile, hackers are always attempting attacks on the entirety of their assets,” said Bikash Barai, Co-Founder of FireCompass.

“At FireCompass, our vision is to make the CART platform available to all so that organisations can discover and test all their assets at all times – just like real attackers do”.

The solution runs continuously without the need for software, hardware or additional employee resources.

It indexes the deep, dark and surface web using similar reconnaissance techniques as nation-state actors.

The platform automatically discovers an organisation’s ever-changing digital attack surface, including unknown exposed databases, cloud buckets, code leaks, exposed credentials, risky cloud assets and open ports, etc, the company said.

The attack engine then launches multi-stage attacks, which includes network attacks, application attacks and social engineering attacks, on the discovered digital surface to identify attack paths that are otherwise missed by conventional tools.

FireCompass is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform for Continuous Automated Red Teaming (CART) and Attack Surface Management (ASM).

Founded by industry veterans Bikash Barai, Nilanjan De and Priyanka Aash, FireCompass is backed by leading investors and venture capitalist funds.

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Embracing AI vital for future of work in India: Intel (Lead)

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Intel.( photo:wikipedia.org)
Intel.( photo:wikipedia.org)

Chip giant Intel on Thursday said that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is essential to the future of work in the post-pandemic world, with over 90 per cent respondents in a survey considering AI to be essential or highly relevant to their businesses in India.

More than 40 per cent of small and micro revenue firms are using AI for decision support while in medium sized firms, nearly 50 per cent rely entirely on human decision-making as they still do not use AI, revealed the report by Intel India based on two surveys in the country.

Conducted by the Srini Raju Centre for Information Technology and the Networked Economy (SRITNE) at Indian School of Business (ISB), the Suitability of Machine Learning (SML) survey had 3,099 employees across 106 Indian occupations, and the ‘AI and Future of Work’ survey had 301 firms across sectors that have adopted AI/machine learning (ML) in their workflows.

Over 70 per cent of respondents across various firm categories expect their organisational headcount to increase in response to AI over the next two years while a similar number indicated the growth of all firm-level initiatives to support AI adoption.

“There is a need to better understand AI’s integration and impact at work in order to accelerate innovation and scale its benefits, especially in the context of emerging economies such as India,” said Nivruti Rai, Country Head, Intel India and Vice President, Data Platforms Group, Intel Corporation.

“This study by Intel India and ISB will help drive future research to meaningfully inform policymakers and the industry about the impact of AI and machine learning,” she added.

According to the report, an overwhelming 80 per cent of their workforce will undergo significant re-training due to AI implementation over the next two years.

Over 80 per cent of respondents from the survey indicated that either the organisation or more than one department in the organisation stood to benefit with AI deployment.

“An overwhelming 80 percent of the surveyed small, micro, medium and high-revenue firms have specific AI teams. Nearly 40 percent of all firms indicate that a designated programme manager is responsible to provide oversight to AI initiatives,” the findings showed.

A key finding is that firms that have projects with a high suitability for ML are expected to receive investments that are broader in scope and quantum.

These projects are also expected to see high growth in investments over the next five years.

The survey also indicated a growth in workforce hiring and re-training over the next two years.

“The pandemic has only accelerated this growth, thereby rendering the work forms systematic and pervasive. It is, therefore, important for policymakers and organisations to develop an acute understanding of this future of work as they frame policies for work and workers,” said Deepa Mani, Professor of Information Systems and Executive Director of SRITNE, ISB.

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Zoom to roll out end-to-end encryption starting next week

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Zoom app
Zoom app

Video meeting app Zoom is all set to roll out the first phase of its end-to-end encryption (E2EE) offering from next week, initially as a technical preview for a month during which the platform will solicit feedback from users.

Bot free and paid Zoom users around the world can host up to 200 participants in an end-to-end encryption meeting on the platform, Zoom said on Wednesday during its Zoomtopia 2020 event.

“End-to-end encryption is another stride toward making Zoom the most secure communications platform in the world,” said Zoom CEO Eric Yuan.

“This phase of our E2EE offering provides the same security as existing end-to-end-encrypted messaging platforms, but with the video quality and scale that has made Zoom the communications solution of choice for hundreds of millions of people and the world’s largest enterprises.”

Zoom first announced its plans to build an end-to-end-encrypted meeting option into its platform in May.

The US-based company had said that since releasing the draft design of the platform’s end-to-end encryption on May 22, it has engaged with civil liberties organisations, child safety advocates, encryption experts, government representatives, its own users, and others to gather their feedback on this feature.

Zoom was earlier sued by one of its shareholders who alleged in the complaint that the platform failed to disclose some vulnerabilities and that the services did not provide end-to-end encryption.

“We’re pleased to roll out Phase 1 of 4 of our E2EE offering, which provides robust protections to help prevent the interception of decryption keys that could be used to monitor meeting content,” Max Krohn, Zoom’s Head of Security Engineering, wrote in a blog post on Wednesday.

“To be clear, Zoom’s E2EE uses the same powerful GCM (Galois/Counter Mode) encryption you get now in a Zoom meeting. The only difference is where those encryption keys live,” Krohn said.

To use the new security feature, customers must enable E2EE meetings at the account level and opt-in to E2EE on a per-meeting basis.

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