Bharti Airtel signs new 5-year contract with IBM

ibm-262x174Bharti Airtel and IBM on Wednesday announced a new agreement to manage Airtel’s infrastructure and application services in India over the next five years. Analysts estimate the order to be between $500 million and $600 million.

The agreement extends the pioneering 10-year outsourcing relationship that the two have had and which ended on March 31. But unlike earlier, when Airtel literally outsourced its entire IT, the company is now talking of building in-house capabilities in certain areas.

Under the contract signed in 2004, IBM took over the management of Airtel’s IT infrastructure and worked to transform its processes and integrate channels. The contract is said to have grown to $2 billion as Airtel expanded into other regions, including Africa.

Sources in both companies said there wasn’t any significant change in the size of the new contract. “IBM has been running that portion of Airtel’s business for years, and they know it so well and the business is so big that there was no way Airtel could risk moving a large portion suddenly to somebody else,” sources close to Airtel said.

There were reports earlier that India’s leading mobile operator might move significant portions of the contract to companies like TCS and Tech Mahindra. However, it looks like at least 80% of Airtel’s total IT outsourcing is still with IBM, and the rest is shared by companies including Tech Mahindra, Infosys, Wipro and Cisco.

Sources in IBM said the company’s analytics capabilities in particular and the fact that IBM helped Bharti extend into Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Africa had contributed to IBM retaining most of the contract.

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IBM to use Big Data for managing Bangalore’s water supply

IBM has tied up with the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board to create systems for managing increasingly complex water distribution system. Technology giant IBM today said it has tied up with the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) to create systems for monitoring and managing increasingly complex water distribution systems using ‘Big Data and Analytics’.

Working closely with BWSSB, IBM created a command centre to monitor the water flow in 284 of 784 bulk flow meters in the city to give a single view of the functioning of all the bulk flow meters, amount of water transmitted, water supplied to individual parts of the distribution system, among others.

“IBM worked closely with BWSSB to create an operational dashboard, based on IBM Intelligent Operations Centre (IOC), which serves as a ‘command centre’ for monitoring, administering and managing the city’s water supply networks,” the company said in a statement.

The IOC-based solution, developed by IBM India Software Lab, contains GIS (Geo Information System) for Bangalore to enable a real-time view of flow meters, along with the ability to zoom in and out and pan and click on a specific flow meter, it added.

When an asset (GLR or flow meter) is selected, a user can have a view of the key performance indicators (KPIs) like latest flow rate, total flow in 24 hours and the average total flow over past seven days, as well as geographical location and time of last update, IBM said.

“Around 45 per cent of the water supplied by the BWSSB goes unaccounted and implementing this solution helps minimise unaccounted for water by detecting large changes in water flow, through real-time monitoring,” BWSSB (New Initiatives and Design Cell) Executive Engineer P N Ravindra said.
BWSSB is responsible for water distribution and sewage management in Bangalore.

Bangalore’s massive population growth from a mere 5.4 million in 2000 to over 10 million and counting today has put tremendous strain on the city’s water supply and distribution systems, IBM said..

The main sources of water (Cauvery and Arkavathi rivers) are not just sufficient to meet the water demand in the city to a permissible per capita norms, it added.

This leads to a big challenge in equitable distribution of available water across the divisions/subdivisions, which IBM’s solutions will provide to the authorities.

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Viraj Profiles Ltd. Relies on IBM’s Smarter Computing to enhance IT infrastructure

ibm-262x174IBM today announced Viraj Profiles Ltd., a leading stainless steel long products manufacturer from Maharashtra, India, has implemented IBM’s Smarter Computing solutions to improve their overall IT efficiency.

Viraj Profiles Ltd. has over seven manufacturing facilities across Maharashtra with annual capacity of 348,000 tonnes. To keep up with its growth while integrating its branches and their internal businesses, Viraj needed a robust and scalable IT infrastructure. Viraj had previously deployed Fujitsu x86 servers, which was hampering their performance subsequent to the growth and increase in number of users on their Disaster Recovery site.

Viraj Profiles Ltd. turned to IBM to help them deploy IBM Power System while migrating from Fujitsu x86 to unix on the AIX platform. The IBM Power7 System uses P700 and P710 servers along with Storwize V7000 storage to give a complete solution to businesses to manage their workload and create a robust environment to run their business. The integrated combination of the POWER architecture and PowerVM makes possible far higher consolidation ratios and virtualization solutions. IBM is also providing training on the AIX platform that will help Viraj implement the solution faster.

IBM is working with many SMBs who are struggling to adopt smarter computing solutions due to lack of in-house skills and expertise to design and maintain hardware-based systems. IBM is addressing these issues with new Power Systems solutions that don’t require specialized skills and offer the latest technologies in virtualization and automation to speed private and hybrid cloud creation.

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London most preferred holiday destination for Indians: Study

IMG_4489Majority of people in India plan to take a vacation this month and many of them desire to visit London for holidays, a study has said.

An analysis of 2.50 lakh online conversations has found that international destinations received the most buzz (32 per cent) on all social media platforms and London emerged as the most talked about city for spending holidays.

According to the study by IBM, about 59 per cent of people in India are “looking forward” to taking vacation this month.

While destinations with beaches and palaces were on top of the list for vacations, Goa came out as the most desired place for a holiday followed by Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, on the domestic front.

The study found that as much as 33 per cent of social media conversations tracked revolved around travel and hospitality such as flying, driving and vacations with family and friends, among others.

“Measuring social sentiment has the potential to enable the travel industry to design travel offers and services tailored to what travellers are telling us,” IBM India & South Asia Global Business Services Partner Lata Iyer said.

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IBM’s cognitive computing: The next wave applications that are as intutive & capable as human beings

IBM WatsonIn a few months from now, or at least sometime next year, a few IBM partners will release a series of software products that will be unlike anything people have encountered so far. Instead of doing a task for you through a software program, these products will prepare you instead to do that task yourself. You could ask the computer about your health, a home purchase, or a travel plan. You don’t need visits from sales executives for product briefings. The computer will gently guide you to make the right choice at the right time.

Currently, these products are being built around Watson, the famous IBM computer that won the Jeopardy championship. To be precise, it is built around a more compact and powerful machine than the Jeopardy champion. IBM threw open this machine to programmers on the cloud three weeks ago to build products and services in a few industries to begin with. IBM has applications from 200 potential partners, including a few from India, focused initially on healthcare, financial services and travel. “We are trying to build an ecosystem of partners around Watson,” says Jay Subrahmonia, vice-president of development and delivery, Watson Solutions at IBM.

IBM calls it cognitive computing, to distinguish it from the more common term, artificial intelligence. It is purportedly the next wave of computing, infinitely more powerful and long-lasting than any other computing wave we have seen. It changes the way we interact with computers, the reason we use computers, and also the way we program computers. It is a big business opportunity as well. Just the global healthcare market for such systems is projected to increase from $201 million now to $239 billion by 2019, according to the market research firm WinterGreen Research.

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Bharat Light Partners IBM to Boost India Wind Farm Output

IBMSmartPlanet_140x100Draper Fisher Jurvetson-backed Bharat Light & Power Pvt. and International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) are combining efforts to boost the electricity output of wind farms in India, seeking to expand capacity fivefold.

Under a 10-year agreement, IBM’s technology will raise the profitability of Bharat Light projects by better managing wind-farm data, said Balki Iyer, chief development officer of the renewable developer founded by the former country head of General Electric Co. (GE), Tejpreet S. Chopra.

Clean-energy utilities such as Bharat Light and Morgan Stanley-backed Continuum Wind Energy Pte are sparking a shift in India’s wind industry by focusing on maximizing generation as they compete against fossil-fuel plants to deliver power. India, fighting blackouts that restrain its growth, is trying to cut dependence on imported fossil fuels and double clean energy capacity to about 59 gigawatts by 2017.

“These projects are usually located in very remote parts of India and the level of intelligence dispatched from the field is low,” Iyer said today in a phone interview. The collaboration with IBM will allow Bharat Light to generate power at levels “way beyond” what wind farms, often managed by turbine suppliers in India, currently can do, he said.

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Posted by Khalid Raza


SSN course in Business Analytics

ideaAccording to a report by the International Data Corporation in 2012, the digital universe occupied 2,837 exabytes (billions of gigabytes) in 2012, and by 2020, it is set to reach a towering 40,026 exabytes.

In this era of booming digital data which impacts every aspect of a business, it has become a necessity for students to have the exposure and training to meet the growing demand for professionals in the area of Business Analytics.

SSN Institutions, in a bid to prepare students for this fast growing sector, has come out with a six-month residential certificate course, Post Graduate Certificate Programme in Business Analytics (PGCBA). The first course in the recently launched SSN School of Advanced Career Education (SACE), the programme is set to begin in January 2014.

“There will be a huge requirement for qualified data analysts to manage the data and draw business insights,” says Dr. Shashikant V. Albal, Director, SSN School of Advanced Software Engineering. “As per Gartner’s research, more than 4.4 million jobs in the area of Big Data analytics will be created by 2015.”

The focus of the course being business intelligence, descriptive analytics, predictive analytics, prescriptive analytics and big data handling, Dr. Shashikant hopes to provide all the tools to students to enable them to take up various jobs in this domain. The faculty consists of academicians as well as practicing professionals.

Tie-up with IBM

The highlight of this course is the tie-up of SSN Institutions with IBM for the business analytics laboratory. “In the lab, IBM will provide IBM SPSS, IBM Cognos, IBM InfoSphere and IBM Rational Software tools to ensure that the next generation professionals are equipped with the knowledge and skills for smarter business outcomes,” explains Dr. Shashikant. Sudhir Shastri, Technical Head- Software, IBM India, says the practicals have been carefully planned to provide real life project experience. The course has a Programme Advisory Council comprising senior executives in leading organisations in business analytics.

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Posted by Khalid Raza