Wednesday, July 30, 2008

IBM Sets up Tivoli Center in India - Rekha Garapati, Director IBM India Software Lab

IBM has set up a center in Pune, India, that aims to give its customers the opportunity to understand and test service management concepts and technology built into its Tivoli software. The center will focus and build skills in areas such as telecommunications, security, automation and asset management, Rekha Garapati Director IBM said.

Service management gives customers better visibility into its IT assets and applications, while also enabling better security, compliance management and automation, said Rekha Garapati, director at IBM India Software Lab.

The new center, called the IBM Service Management Center of Excellence, will be used by IBM's sales and marketing teams for customers both in India and in the Asia-Pacific region, Garapati added. Some of the services it will provide to IBM sales teams and to partners include facilities for proofs-of-concept, demos, and workshops.

IBM already does some of its product development for Tivoli software in Pune, which will ensure that customers will have access to IBM staff with deep knowledge of Tivoli products and technologies, Garapati said.

IBM said it chose Pune as the location for the new center to take advantage of the availability of technical skills locally, and also because it can collaborate with educational institutions based there. IBM is working with educational institutions on shaping the curriculum so that students can be trained on service management skills, Garapati said.

The new center will use service management staff from within IBM and also hire staff externally, Garapati said. It will build expertise both on Tivoli products and related technologies such as system software, she added.

Rekha Garapati
Title: Director, IBM India Software Labs
Profile:
Rekha Garapati is the Director of the IBM India Software Lab, with responsibility for the IBM Lotus & Tivoli brands. Rekha has held various leadership positions in software development and strategy. She led the High Performance On Demand Solutions (HiPODS) teams in UK, China, Japan, India & Brazil. Rekha has worked closely with several large Fortune 100 companies, with deep expertise in service management, SOA and ERP systems.

hi5 Is Fastest-Growing Top-10 Social Network in the World for First Half of 2008

SAN FRANCISCO, Jul 29, 2008 -- hi5 Networks, one of the world's largest social networks, announced today that it is also the world's fastest growing among the top-10 global social networks. Based on the June comScore Media Metrix worldwide figures released today, hi5 grew 79% in the first half of 2008 - more than twice the growth rate of any of the top 10 social networks. According to comScore, the popular site's monthly unique visitors increased from 31.4 million in December 2007 to 56.4 million in June 2008 - an increase of 25 million monthly visitors.

The June numbers firmly establish hi5 as the company to watch in the social networking category. According to comScore, Facebook and MySpace increased 35% and 10%, respectively, over the same time period. And hi5, with its huge international user base, has nearly 20 million more unique visitors per month than other comparable sites in the social networking category, including Orkut, Bebo, and Friendster.

"These latest numbers from comScore demonstrate the incredible growth hi5 has had in the first six months of this year," said Ramu Yalamanchi, CEO of hi5. "Our success is really testament to the team's execution, as well as the tremendous opportunity in the international social networking segment, which we've targeted from the beginning."

With over 80% of its users outside the US, hi5 has pursued a very distinct and successful strategy for winning international markets. Rather than a generic approach, hi5 delivers a more localized, culturally-relevant social networking experience. This strategy goes beyond translation (the site is available in 24 languages today, with an additional 40 languages and variants coming by year's end) to true localization. Local dialects, local ad partners, even localized features, all help deliver a unique experience that resonates with users' customs and cultures.

"Because we've focused on the international opportunity from the start, we've developed a very acute sense of the unique behaviors and needs of users in different countries," said Yalamanchi. "Not everyone wants the typical one-size-fits-all social networking experience. By embracing these unique attributes in our product, we help build a sense of cultural affinity with our users that keeps them engaged with the site and telling their friends about hi5."

comScore is recognized as the premier online audience measurement and ratings service. comScore and Media Metrix are trademarks of comScore, Inc.

About hi5
Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, hi5 is one of the world's largest and fastest-growing social networks. Our focus is to empower our users to build and maintain culturally relevant connections between friends and family online. With over 50 million unique visitors every month, hi5 is a top 20 website globally and the #1 social network in 25 countries across Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa. The service is available in 24 languages, delivering localized content and applications to users worldwide.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Akken Releases New Back Office Features to their All-in-One Staffing Software System

Akken (Giridhar Akkineni Founder, CEO), the first All-in-One on demand staffing software and recruiting software provider has upgraded its invoice design editor, making it one of the most automated, flexible invoicing tools available on a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform. This enhancement is included for all Akken Staffing users at no additional charge.

With this innovative breakthrough, staffing and recruiting companies can accommodate a client's complex, specific billing requirements and create customized, professional invoices with just a few clicks of the mouse. With this new feature, small to mid-sized firms now have robust invoicing tools to compete with larger organizations.

"This upgrade makes it simple for Akken Staffing users to create invoice templates to the exact requirements of even the most demanding customers" says Akken's vice president of engineering, Prakash Akkineni. "The biggest impact is the time our users save in the invoicing process, reducing the amount of time to generate invoices from hours to seconds. Now they can use that time and put more people to work.

"The flexibility of Akken's invoice design editor is a huge step forward in web-based systems. It allows Akken Staffing™ users to design a template once as it dynamically pulls the information from the system to create hundreds of invoices simultaneously with one click. As an added benefit, users are able to make changes to these invoice templates in real time. For companies using multi-million dollar systems, a change of this type would take weeks to implement.

"This is an exciting time for Akken Staffing users, says vice president of marketing, Tim Quirk. "In the past two months we've rolled out upgrades to reporting, benefits, client self service and invoicing, allowing Akken clients to process more job orders and make more placements while eliminating paperwork. We are following through on our commitment to help improve and grow our clients' businesses through powerfully simple and affordable staffing software. To be able to manage an entire staffing or recruiting company with our All-in-One system for as little as $49 per user per month is by far the best value in the industry."

About Akken: Akken (akken.com) provides affordable on demand software solutions for staffing and recruiting companies to run their entire business with one simple, integrated, web-based system. Akken’s flagship offering, Akken Staffing™, combines email, applicant tracking, CRM, job management, accounting, human resource management, and reporting into the industry’s first All-in-One software system. Akken helps its clients automate processes across all business functions, allowing them to generate more revenues and profits faster and easier while providing unparalleled client service.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Navabharat and Maytas consortium wins Hyderabad metro rail bid

The elevated metro rail project will have three routes--Miyapur to LB Nagar, Jubilee Bus Station to Falknuma and Osmania University to Shilparamam in the city

Hyderabad: A consortium of Navabharat Ventures Ltd (Panda Punnaiah, Chairman), Maytas Infra Ltd, Ital Thai of Thailand and IL&FS Ltd has won the Rs12,200 crore or $2.87 billion Hyderabad Metro Rail project and will develop the 71km metro network on a build, operate and transfer (BOT) basis with a concession period of 30 years. The financial bids were opened here on Wednesday.

The other consortia that were shortlisted included one of Essar Constructions (India) Ltd, SREI, Singapore MRT, SEC and STE, another of Nagarjuna Construction Co. Ltd, Magna Allmore of Malyasia, Siemens AG of Germany and Emirates Trading Agency of Dubai, a third of Reliance Energy Ltd and Bombardier Transportation GmbH of Canada, and a fourth of the GVK group, Gammon, Alstom Corp. of France and IDFC Ltd.

The elevated metro rail project will have three routes—Miyapur to LB Nagar, Jubilee Bus Station to Falknuma and Osmania University to Shilparamam in the city. On completion, the project is expected to ferry around 1.7 million passengers every day.

The Union government agreed earlier this year to offer a grant of 30% of the project cost. A key criteria for evaluation of the financial bids was the funding assistance sought by the bidder from the government.

The project will have an equity component of 30% and debt component of 70% and the financial closure will be achieved in the next six to seven months. It will be completed within five years of the financial closure. The state government has already earmarked 269 acres of land for the project.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Solar Semiconductor & AS Solar Make US $629 Million Deal

Solar Semiconductor and AS Solar GmbH have announced that the two companies have signed a strategic partnership for the supply of solar photovoltaic (PV) modules. This multi-year partnership is valued at approximately US $695 million.

"Solar Semiconductor has achieved phenomenal success in the European market in a very short period of time primarily due to our emphasis on quality and partnering with companies which value quality and customer service above everything else. In AS Solar we have such a partner."
-- Hari Surapaneni, CEO, Solar Semiconductor
The modules, which will be produced by Solar Semiconductor, will be used by AS Solar in the European market. The deal was announced during Intersolar North America in San Francisco, California this week.

"Solar Semiconductor has achieved phenomenal success in the European market in a very short period of time primarily due to our emphasis on quality and partnering with companies which value quality and customer service above everything else. In AS Solar we have such a partner," said Hari Surapaneni, CEO of Solar Semiconductor. "Discriminating customers such as AS Solar appreciate the Solar Semiconductor difference."

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Navayuga unveils India's largest private sector port in Krishnapatnam

Billed to usher in a new chapter in Indo-Gulf and Indo-Far Eastern trade, the Krishnapatnam Port is promoted by Navayuga Group, which recently entered the UAE market with its subsidiary company Navayuga Engineering (NEC) targeting a turnover of Dhs800m from the region by the end of 2009.

Navayuga had won a build-operate-share-transfer (BOST) concession from the Andhra Pradesh government for the port, which has a total capital expenditure of INR120bn (Dhs10bn; $2.75bn). The port is the first of the state-owned minor ports to be awarded to a private company for development and operations. Mr Chinta Visveswara Rao, Chairman and Managing Director, Navayuga Group, said the port will have an eventual cargo capacity of 125 million tonnes, and will be one of the largest container terminals in the country.

'The port will play a key role in further energizing trade between India and the Gulf region, with its dedicated iron ore handling units, coal jetties and general cargo handling facilities.' A modern deep-water and high-productivity port, Krishnapatnam is expected to move some 200,000 containers in the very first year of operation. The first phase envisages the logistics of handling 14 million tonnes of iron ore, 7 million tonnes of coal and 2 million tonnes of general cargo per year with a maximum ship size of 65,000 DWT (depth - 13.2 m C.D). The first phase of the port, features four berths each of 300 metres length and capacity to handle four vessels each with 50,000 tonnes of cargo.

When the second phase is completed shortly, seven more berths will be added, and when completed there will be 41 berths with a total quay length of 12.5 km and draft of 19 metres. The port will eventually have a capacity to handle 5 to 7 million TEU. 'Krishnapatnam Port has brought in a new dynamic to the region, with excellent connectivity by road, rail, sea and air,' said Mr M. K. Padia, Chief Executive Officer, Krishnapatnam Port Company Limited (KPCL). 'Nellore is today on the verge of an industrial revolution with several engineering companies from around the world having set base here.

There are firm plans for generating 12,000 MW of power in the locality.' Apart from a massive housing complex, Navayuga Group also has plans to build a 1,800 MW power unit in the locality, thus adding to the overall support-infrastructure.

Multinational companies have announced plans to set up a Leather Park and Textile Park, which will further boost the domestic manufacturing capabilities. Mr Antony David, General Manager, Navayuga Engineering Company Ltd (Abu Dhabi), said: 'Recent statistics by the Abu Dhabi Customs Administration state that India is one of the UAE's top-three re-export destinations.

Foreign trade between the two countries is growing, and Krishnapatnam Port will play a key role in further strengthening bilateral trade.' Krishnapatnam Port has a back-up area of 6,000 acres and features a hi-tech mechanized cargo handling system including ship loaders and unloaders backed by stackers, reclaimers, wagon loaders and tippers connected to a conveyor system. Billed to have one of the fastest turn-around times for any Indian port, Krishnapatnam will offer side-berth operation to load bulk, break bulk and container cargo.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Humpy continues to World 2nd in FIDE rankings

Koneru Humpy maintained her second spot behind Judith Polgar of Hungary while Donavalli Harika was 32nd and ranking fourth among the juniors in the latest world rankings issued by the International Chess Federation (FIDE).

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Satya Nadella - Microsoft confirms Powerset Acquisition

Natural language search becoming a priority
Satyanarayana Nadella, the senior vice president of Microsoft's Search, Portal & Advertising Platform Group, isn't afraid to admit that the current crop of search engines suffer from some problems. Nadella seems to be hoping, however, that his company's acquisition of Powerset will help it solve them.

Yes, Microsoft and Powerset are fessing up to the
deal that was discovered last week. Perhaps since the younger company's abilities remain somewhat unproven, Nadella writes on the Live Search blog, "We're buying Powerset first and foremost because we're impressed with the people there."

He also didn't get into the issue of price, which leaves us with the $100 million estimate from earlier.

Yet natural language search will be quite important to Microsoft as Nadella later mentioned a "shared vision . . . to take Search to the next level by adding understanding of the intent and meaning behind the words in searches and webpages."

And a sizable portion of Microsoft's resources should be brought to bear on developing Powerset's technology.

Powerset's team and headquarters will remain intact in San Francisco.

Karuturi may sell stake in Ethiopia unit

BANGALORE: Karuturi Global, worlds biggest floriculture company, expects to sell a part of its stake in its Ethiopian subsidiary to private equity players by August and is aiming at a valuation of close to $1 billion for the overseas unit.

This stake sale will help fund Ethiopian Meadows planned projects in floriculture as well as sugarcane and oil-palm cultivation and processing. Our programme in Ethiopia is drawing attention of various private equity players. It would not be possible to divulge the names of entities at this point of time.

We have also commenced our search for setting up base in Ecuador and Colombia, Karuturi chief Managing Director, Karuturi S Ramakrishna said. Karuturi is believed to be looking to sell a 10-15% stake in the subsidiary.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Solar Semiconductor Announces Strategic Supplier Relationship With SolarWorld AG

June 30, 2008: Solar Semiconductor strengthened its position as a rapidly growing international manufacturer of high-quality solar photovoltaic (PV) modules today by concluding a comprehensive delivery agreement with SolarWorld AG subsidiary Deutsche Solar AG, which operates one of the largest factories worldwide for the production of multi-crystalline solar silicon wafers. The agreement is a multi-year contract for the delivery of wafers worth over $1.2 billion U.S. dollars (750 million euros).

Significant and Proven Step Ensuring a Steady Module Supply“We are very pleased to conclude a long term wafer-delivery agreement and are proud to be associated with SolarWorld AG,” commented Hari Surapaneni, Chief Executive Officer of Solar Semiconductor. “Solar Semiconductor has a reputation for delivering the highest quality modules to the global marketplace. One of the key raw materials is the cell which derives its high quality from the source wafer. As a rapidly growing manufacturer of high-quality modules, it is important to assure our customers that we not only use cells from reputed manufacturers, but also employ high-quality wafers to ensure high-quality cells. With the addition of Deutsche Solar AG as our strategic supplier, we are continuing our tradition of exclusive partnering with world-class organizations.”

Social Network Hi5 Acquires PixVerse

June 30, San Francisco - Online social network Hi5 announced on Monday that it has acquired PixVerse, the provider of a Flash-based, no-download virtual world platform for social networks.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

PixVerse was founded in 2007 and backed by venture capital firm Venrock.

The company is one of thousands of third-party developers that have written applications that run on Hi5, which claims 80 million users.

"Communicating with friends is one of the primary benefits of hi5, and this technology and team enables hi5 to deliver a much richer, more visual medium of interaction for users of our network," said Hi5 CEO Ramu Yalamanchi.