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Indian Origin Arvind Krishna To Take Over As IBM Chief Executive Officer

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International Business Machines Corporation, more popularly known as IBM, is an American multinational company which majorly deals in information technology.  One of the biggest companies in the world, IBM currently ranks 38 on the Fortune 500 list of companies.

IBM offers a portfolio of interests in cloud computing, artificial intelligence, analytics, commerce, data and the Internet of Things.  The company was helmed by Virginia Rometty, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO.) Now, Arvind Krishna will take over the reins as the new CEO of IBM.

Arvind Krishna is a graduate of the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IIT-K) and has a Ph. D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois.  Arvind Krishna previously worked as IBM’s Senior Vice President for Cloud and Cognitive Software.

Virginia Rometty will retire after 40 years at IBM.  She was the first woman head of IBM. Virginia Rometty remarked about the appointment of Arvind Krishna and said he is the right person to lead the Company into the cloud computing era.  Multiple companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Oracle and Adobe are heavily investing in cloud computing as well.

Arvind Krishna’s appointment as the CEO of IBM was welcomed by Indians as Arvind Krishna joins a unique club of Indian origin CEOs.  This club includes Satya Nadella (Microsoft,) Sundar Pichai (Google and Alphabet,) Indra Nooyi (PepsiCo,) Ajay Banga (MasterCard) and Shantanu Narayen (Adobe.)

Arvind Krishna will take over as IBM’s CEO on April 6th, 2020.

Read About How Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai here: Sundar Pichai To Lead Alphabet Inc As New CEO

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Fake Amazon App Takes A Dig At Toxic Dating Culture

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Dating took to the digital platform, where people could just log on to an app and look at people nearby, displayed as per the user’s preferences.  The dating culture took a turn for the worse with people becoming increasingly vain and letting it affect them to the extent of them having mental breakdowns.

Content creators Suzy Shinn, Ani Acopian and Morgan Gruer came up with an idea to collaborate with an animation company, Thinko, to create a dating site which looks strangely similar to the Amazon e commerce platform.

The work is meant to be a satirical take on the increasingly toxic dating culture prevalent in society today.  The site ‘sells,’ or rather auctions off people with a price tag. The people are priced differently and have love languages added into the descriptions so people can choose or buy a digital date according to their preference.

For example, a woman named Amy, aged 29, has a description which says she is “trained as barista,” “famous on TikTok,” “has a child” and “WARNING: won’t text back.”

The entire web page looks like a carbon copy of Amazon, including the checkout process and the buying options.

Clickbait ads which say “Find singles near you” are a testament to how easy it is to influence people under the guise of a date.  Therefore, it came as no surprise once the site went online that it attracted criticism, horror and ridicule. Social media had multiple reactions, with people saying black people are priced less than white people in view of the Black History Month.  Others took it with a pinch of salt and saw the humor behind the satire.

Regardless of the reactions it attracted, the creators managed to achieve their goal, which was to open the eyes of people to the toxic culture of online dating.  Amazon Dating also makes for an interesting case study about the power of what good digital marketing can do.

 

 

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The Rise Of OTT Platforms In India

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OTT (Over the Top) media services which offer direct streaming services to viewers, have been gaining popularity worldwide.  Some of the frontrunners of such services are Netflix and Amazon Prime, which remain popular worldwide. However, the scenario is quite different when it comes to the Indian OTT industry.  According to a report released by Counterpoint Research in April 2018, the Indian streaming platform Hotstar is the most popular OTT platform in India. Hotstar is closely followed by Amazon’s Prime Video and SonyLIV, while Netflix ranks 4th.

The popularity of OTT platforms is slowly rising with the increase of local OTT platforms like ALTBalaji, Voot and SonyLIV, which are giving direct competition to foreign platforms like Prime Video and Netflix.  Recently, the popular food delivery app Zomato also joined the OTT industry with the introduction of its Zomato Originals. The main reason behind so many new OTT platforms coming to the market is the increasing profits generated by such platforms in India. 

The video OTT revenue in India was Rs. 2,019 crores in 2017.  It is expected to reach Rs. 5,955 crores by 2022. With 500 million internet users, another number which is growing steadily at the rate of 8 percent, India has become the number one market for media and entertainment sector. It is also reported that the Indian OTT market is set to outperform the global OTT market and will likely be ranked among the top 10 by 2022.

With so many options, the competition between the various platforms has also grown.  The platforms are investing in originals produced by the platform itself in order to attract audiences.  The success of Netflix’s Sacred Games and Ghoul, Prime Video’s The Family Man and Hotstar’s AIB On Air and Sarabhai Vs Sarabhai proved original series are a working formula.  With Indian audiences looking for good original content, the platforms are taking full advantage in order to increase their revenue.

Another factor contributing to the popularity of certain platforms is the pricing of these OTT platforms.  The prices play a really important role as many local OTT platforms provide the majority of their content free of cost, while international platforms like Netflix and Prime Video have a process of monthly or annual subscription in order to let the users access their content.  This is a major reason behind the popularity of local OTT platforms.

With the explosion of OTT platforms in recent years and with the availability of affordable data, the consumption of digital media has also increased.  It will be interesting to see what kind of strategies these OTT platforms will follow in order to attract more audiences to their channels.

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Is AI The Future Of Retail?

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) is slowly becoming a key element in the modern, technologically driven world.  Along with other industries, AI is also making its presence known in the retail industry. 

Artificial intelligence is used to define the intelligence demonstrated by machines.  Through AI, machines can store data from previous experiences, adjust to new inputs and can also perform human like tasks.  By combining large sets of data, iterative processing and detailed algorithms, AI is able to learn quickly from patterned data.  AI can become a crucial part of retail business, if integrated properly. 

AI can be beneficial when it comes to daily task management and gaining insights about customers.  Using AI in retail stores can also contribute to time management for business owners as well. This could also help in customizing the shopping experience of customers all the while creating a better business due to customer interaction.  This, inturn, helps the business gain more customer insights.

Moreover, using such technology in the retail industry will leave less room for errors.  It will also help owners keep tabs on shoplifting as every item will have a record in the store database.  AI operated retails would be able to work 24*7 without any manpower, resulting in more profits for retail businesses.

Even though AI supported retail stores are still far away, two of the world’s biggest retailers, Amazon and Walmart, already introduced stores which are entirely AI dependent. 

In 2018, Amazon announced a chain of convenience stores named Amazon Go, which are partly automated.  The stores use several different technologies like computer vision, deep learning algorithms and sensor fusion.  The ceilings of the stores are equipped with multiple cameras and the store shelves have weight sensors attached to them.  These weight sensors help in the detection of the items taken by a customer and the item is automatically added to the customer’s virtual cart.  Introduced on January 22nd 2018, Amazon Go has 18 outlets in the United States.

Meanwhile, Walmart, in April 2019, introduced its Intelligent Retail Lab (IRL.)  Based in New York, this store comes equipped with artificial intelligence cameras, interactive displays and massive data centers.  This store is also used by Walmart as a lab to explore the future use of AI in the retail industry. 

While AI operated stores are beneficial to everyone, the cost behind such a project can be a real nightmare.  Implementing high tech devices can be expensive, especially for small businesses and also increases dependency on machines.  However, the benefits of this technology are much higher, to be ignored completely.

Incorporating artificial intelligence into the retail sector may sound like science fiction.  However, the efforts put in by these giant retailers and the advancement of technology mean AI operated retail shops will be a part of our future.

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