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Indian consumers most positive about economic rebound: IBM study

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IBM. (Photo: Twitter/@IBM)
IBM. (Photo: Twitter/@IBM)

About 39 per cent of Indian consumers believe that the economy will slowly recover over the next few months followed by a sharp rebound returning to pre-Covid levels by the end of 2020, in comparison with the global average of 32 per cent, said an IBM study on Monday.

The results suggest that Indian consumers are most positive about a sharp economic rebound to pre-COVID levels by the end of this year.

This is despite the fact that 52 per cent of the participants said that they saw an increase in monthly household expenses, while 50 per cent consumers reported a decline in monthly household income.

About 70 per cent of Indians are concerned about a second wave of Covid-19 hitting later in 2020, said the report.

An overwhelming majority in all countries indicate that they will see more pandemic events like this in the future.

The survey showed that the levels of concern and uncertainty are high across consumers in all the countries surveyed.

It is unlikely that the new habits and preferences people are forming amidst the pandemic will dramatically change, even when a vaccine becomes broadly available, said the report by IBM Institute for Business Value.

For the study, more than 14,500 adults were surveyed in Brazil, China, Germany, India, Mexico, Spain, the United States, and the UK, in August.

The sample size from India was around 3,000 consumers.

The report showed that while remote work continues to be an attractive option for most, the appeal may be fading for some as just 33 per cent of Indian consumers said they prefer to continue to work remotely, exclusively.

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Trump slams Facebook, Twitter for restricting Joe Biden article

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U.S. President Donald Trump. (File Photo IANS)
U.S. President Donald Trump. (File Photo IANS)

Washington, Oct 15 (IANS) US President Donald Trump has slammed Facebook and Twitter for restricting the distribution of a New York Post article criticizing Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

The New York Post published a series of stories on Wednesday citing emails, purportedly sent by Biden’s son.

The reports claimed it got those emails from Trump’s private lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, reports NPR.org.

Facebook limited the spread of the story which was liked, shared or commented on almost 600,000 times on Facebook, according to data from CrowdTangle.

In an unprecedented step, Twitter blocked users from posting pictures of the emails or links to two of the New York Post’s stories, citing its rules against sharing “content obtained through hacking that contains private information.”

Twitter said that the “images contained in the articles include personal and private information — like email addresses and phone numbers — which violate our rules”.

However, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey acknowledged that the company’s communication about why it was blocking the articles “was not great”.

“Our communication around our actions on the @nypost article was not great. And blocking URL sharing via tweet or DM with zero context as to why we’re blocking: unacceptable”, he tweeted.

The action by Facebook and Twitter resulted in a political storm in the US.

Trump tweeted that it was “so terrible that Facebook and Twitter took down the story”.

Although Facebook did not remove it from its platform but limited its spread.

“REPEAL SECTION 230!!!” Trump said in a tweet.

Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri sent letters to Facebook and Twitter, pressing them on the decisions to reduce distribution and block the story.

Twitter and Facebook have been acting more aggressively to curb the spread of false claims and manipulation related to the election.

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Udacity, Microsoft launch ‘Nanodegree’ programme to skill students

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Microsoft. (File Photo IANS)
Microsoft. (File Photo IANS)

New Delhi, Oct 15 (IANS) The US-based learning platform Udacity on Thursday announced a partnership with Microsoft to launch Microsoft Azure ‘Nanodegree’ programme, which will strengthen the machine learning (ML) skills of the students.

The Nanodegree programme will strengthen the ML skills of the students, providing them hands-on experience in training, validating, and evaluating ML models with Microsoft Azure.

Microsoft Azure is a cloud platform that has more than 200 products and services, to build, run and manage applications with the tools and frameworks of your choice.

These services include databases, analytics, machine learning, IoT, blockchain and more. Over 85 per cent of Fortune 500 companies use Azure.

“We have developed this program in collaboration with Microsoft to offer a deep dive into the world of ML to learners,” Gabriel Dalporto, CEO of Udacity, said in a statement.

“We believe that our experiential learning approach backed with continuous mentorship and industry-relevant coursework will empower our students to have long and successful careers in Azure technologies,” Dalporto added.

The company said that Azure Machine Learning is an enterprise-grade machine learning service to build and deploy models.

Using Azure ML, data scientists and ML engineers can accelerate the end-to-end machine learning lifecycle of building, training and deploying ML models.

Additionally, students enrolled in Udacity’s Machine Learning Engineer for Microsoft Azure Nanodegree program are able to use hands-on Microsoft Azure Labs to complete their learning objectives.

“Through our collaboration with Udacity to offer introductory and advanced courses on Azure Machine Learning, we hope to expand data science expertise,” said Julia White, Corporate Vice President, Azure Marketing, Microsoft.

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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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