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Airtel offers digital tools to support users affected by Covid-19

Airtel offers digital tools to support users affected by Covid-19
Airtel offers digital tools to support users affected by Covid-19


New Delhi: Airtel has rolled out new digital tools for its users to help those affected by Covid-19. Bharti Airtel has joined the list of other brands that are trying to provide information and tools to affected users amid the second wave of the pandemic.

The company is using Airtel Thanks application in order to segregate useful information regarding Covid-19. The details can be found in the app’s Explore section. To avail relevant resources, users would need to download the latest version of Airtel Thanks app (iOS, Android), go to the ‘Explore’ section and click on the Covid support banners.

“Covid SOS aggregates verified and updated contacts for important supplies such as medicines, oxygen, plasma donors, ambulance, hospital beds, and testing centres. With a few clicks, the platform connects users to these service providers/resources and tries to ensure that users do not have to waste precious time to access this data,” the statement said.

According to the company, the information available on ‘Covid SOS’ is verified by their teams. 

For help with vaccination, Airtel Thanks app will allow users to book slots as it has integrated CoWin platform API (Application Programming Interface). Users will be able to look into real-time information about available slots.

“Airtel Thanks users can also book a vaccination slot for themselves and their loved ones through the app,” the statement said.

Another feature allows businesses to create free helpline for employees with Airtel IQ. “Business of all sizes can set up free Covid Helpline for their employees within two minutes with Airtel IQ – a cloud communication platform. Airtel is giving 5,000 minutes with each Helpline account so that businesses can stay connected with their employees and organise their efforts,” it said.

This new feature is aimed at medium to small-sized companies that can set up a secure helpline instantly without any in-house telco infrastructure.

India in a day recorded 3,26,098 COVID-19 cases that took the tally to 2,43,72,907, while 3,890 new fatalities pushed the death toll to 2,66,207, according to Union health ministry data updated on Saturday.

A massive rise in infections during the second deadly wave of the pandemic has led to hospitals in several states reeling under a shortage of medical oxygen, beds, and other critical infrastructure.

With Inputs from PTI

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Panasonic insists Blue Yonder deal will help it meet software challenge

Panasonic insists Blue Yonder deal will help it meet software challenge
Panasonic insists Blue Yonder deal will help it meet software challenge


Panasonic has a chequered history in acquisitions but the Japanese conglomerate insists its $7.1bn purchase of Blue Yonder is worth the steep price as it will help address its biggest weakness in software capability. 

The sense of crisis driving Panasonic’s deal is pervasive across Japanese companies, which once thrived in the era of consumer electronics hardware. But they have struggled as global demand shifted to software and with the creation of huge technology companies such as Apple and Amazon.

In March, Hitachi agreed to buy GlobalLogic, a Silicon Valley software engineering company, for $9.5bn. 

“As everything becomes digital, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate through hardware,” Yasuyuki Higuchi, a Panasonic executive who heads its connected solutions business, said in an interview. “Naturally we have a real sense of crisis and we need to have software.” 

The former chief executive of Microsoft’s Japanese business oversaw talks to acquire Blue Yonder and has sat on the board of the US supply chain software company since Panasonic first acquired a 20 per cent stake last year. 

After announcing the deal on April 23, shares in the battery supplier for Tesla fell as much as 14 per cent. Investors baulked at the high price and questioned whether the Japanese group’s management would be able to manage such a large acquisition in a different industry. 

Panasonic struggled with its two big acquisitions: the 1990 purchase of MCA, then the owner of Universal Pictures, for $6.6bn and the ¥800bn takeover of smaller rival Sanyo Electric and another subsidiary in 2011.

Analysts have also questioned the benefits of more recent deals including its $1.6bn acquisition in 2015 of Hussmann, an American manufacturer of refrigerated display cases.

“We believe Panasonic has a weak track record especially when it comes to large deals,” Jefferies analyst Atul Goyal said in a recent report.

Higuchi argues that the Blue Yonder deal breaks from the past since it is an investment in a software company with predictable and stable revenues. The US supply chain specialist, which serves 3,000 companies including Coca-Cola and Walmart, generated $1bn in sales last year, of which 67 per cent were recurring revenues.

“With such a high recurring ratio, their revenue is mostly set like a utility,” Higuchi said. “We have also managed to retain the management so the success ratio is very high.” 

Still, analysts wonder what the two companies can do better with Panasonic’s full ownership that the Japanese company could not do with a 20 per cent stake. 

Blue Yonder’s enterprise value has jumped from $5.5bn a year ago to $8.5bn even though its revenue has remained mostly flat. Operating profit margin has fallen to 1.7 per cent from 10 per cent in the past three years.

Panasonic executives want to expand Blue Yonder’s client base in Japan and combine its hardware, such as security cameras and sensors, with the US group’s software to enhance supply chain management.

Putting aside the price, Citigroup analyst Kota Ezawa said the latest acquisition addressed some of the serious challenges faced by Panasonic. 

“They need a recurring business model, a large software asset and a gateway and distribution channel to do business out of Japan, so these were all things that were required to survive competition,” Ezawa said.

“So it fills a few of the gaps, but obviously this deal is not the entire answer to how Panasonic shifts to software and subscription services.”



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IT Ministry may issue FAQs on new social media rules in 1-2 weeks

IT Ministry may issue FAQs on new social media rules in 1-2 weeks
IT Ministry may issue FAQs on new social media rules in 1-2 weeks


New Delhi: The IT Ministry is likely to issue FAQs pertaining to the new intermediary rules in the next 1-2 weeks, a source said.

The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) would touch upon various aspects of the new rules, including the measures, how the norms would benefit users of social media platforms, and any other clarification that stakeholders may have.

The FAQs are currently being worked on and are likely to be issued in 1-2 weeks, the source in the IT Ministry said, adding that the set of FAQs would address 10-20 questions.

The new IT rules for social media companies, which came into effect last month, mandate large platforms like Facebook and Twitter to undertake greater due diligence and make these digital platforms more accountable and responsible for the content hosted by them.

Under the rules, significant social media intermediaries — those with over 50 lakh users — are required to appoint a grievance officer, a nodal officer and a chief compliance officer. These personnel have to be residents in India. Further, social media companies are required to take down flagged content within 36 hours and remove within 24 hours content that is flagged for issues such as nudity and pornography.

Earlier this month, the government had given one last chance to Twitter to comply with the new rules and had issued a stern warning that failure to adhere to the norms will lead to the platform losing exemption from liability under the IT Act.

Twitter recently lost its ‘safe harbour’ shield in India over non-compliance with IT rules and failure to appoint key personnel mandated under the new guidelines, despite repeated reminders, and the platform is now liable for users posting any unlawful content.

The IT Ministry had questioned Twitter over not providing information about the Chief Compliance Officer as required under the rules. Also, the resident grievance officer and nodal contact person nominated by the company is not an employee of Twitter Inc in India as prescribed in the rules, the ministry had earlier flagged.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.

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Xiaomi offers 'last day' discount of <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>2,000 on Mi Watch Revolve. Details here

Xiaomi offers 'last day' discount of  <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>2,000 on Mi Watch Revolve. Details here
Xiaomi offers 'last day' discount of  <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>2,000 on Mi Watch Revolve. Details here


Xiaomi India will soon launch the Mi Watch Revolve Active on Tuesday. Ahead of the launch, the company has slashed the price of Mi Watch Revolve. Xiaomi has announced a new price of 7,999 which is 2,000 lesser than the launch price of the smartwatch.

The Chinese company made the announcement of the price cut via its official Twitter handle. The most recent tweet stated, “Last day to grab this unbelievable offer on the #MiWatchRevolve. Now keep a check on your health around the clock. “

Xiaomi has not confirmed if the Watch Revolve will stop selling from Tuesday or just go back to the old selling price of 9,999.

The Mi Watch Revolve comes with a 1.39-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 454×454 and a strap width of 22mm.

In terms of sensors, the watch gets

  • PPG Heart Rate Sensor
  • Three-Axis Acceleration Sensor
  • Gyroscope
  • Geomagnetic Sensor
  • Baraceptor
  • Ambient Light Sensor

For connectivity, the watch gets GPS, GLONASS and Bluetooth 5.0 BLE.

The Mi Watch Revolve comes with a 420 mAh battery which provides a standby time of up to 2 weeks, according to the company. The run time with GPS on is 20 hrs.

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Mushihimesama review: Bullet shooter gets an addictive Nintendo Switch makeover

Mushihimesama review: Bullet shooter gets an addictive Nintendo Switch makeover
Mushihimesama review: Bullet shooter gets an addictive Nintendo Switch makeover


This vertical scrolling bullet-ridden colourful shooter is great fun and dead hard on the Nintendo Switch.

It’s a re-release, having originally hit the arcades way back in 2004 which was later ported to both the PS2 and Xbox 360 as well as PC in 2015.

Developer Cave has decided it might have legs again on Nintendo’s handheld and it feels surprisingly fresh as a daisy on the console.

Where the likes of Resogun have since trodden, Mushihimesama shows it really was ahead of its time with regards to the bullet-shooter and easily holds its own still against more modern takes of the genre.

Set in a beautiful fantasy world, the story revolves around a Japanese manga-style princess called Reco who protects her village from a plague in a world inhabited by gigantic insects known as Koju.



Mushihimesama review: Bullet shooter gets an addictive Nintendo Switch makeover
The game is good addictive fun on the Nintendo handheld

You ride Reco’s trusty sidekick, a beetle named Kiniro, across five gorgeously colourful stages filled with huge insectoid enemies to the heart of the Koju forest.

From the first second it’s frantic as you fire off endless bullets ahead of you as the game throws ever more difficult beasties your way, each pummelling your position with a colour-filled bombardment of their own weapon discharges.

The result is a screen packed full of vibrancy and danger as you become adept at dashing Kiniro left and right, up and down, avoiding the onslaught from swarms of enemies while also trying to kill off every critter scrolling down the screen towards you.

As the levels pass you come face-to-face with regular Boss fights against supersized insects who rain hellfire down on your position while you chip slowly away at their health bar with upgraded guns and lobbed bombs.

It’s frantic, unforgiving and incredibly addictive as you die and jump straight back in for more punishment.

And when you do crack a level, it’s fist-pumping stuff and the reward is incredibly gratifying.



There are plenty of options despite its age
There are plenty of options despite its age



The screen can become a vibrant mess of colourful bullets
The screen can become a vibrant mess of colourful bullets

There are five stages in total, including a lush forest, a blazing desert, and a solemn cave.

And there are three different game modes and difficulty levels to choose from, including a “Novice” mode, which is great for beginners, and “Ultra” mode, which will make even the most experienced shooter fans scream in frustration.

You also get to pick from three attack type bugs to fight back, each with different combinations of move speed and shot patterns.

The S-Power attack type favours high mobility, with powerful shots fired straight ahead.

W-Power fires shots more widely, but has the slowest movement capabilities of the three.

Or you can enjoy a medium speed with M-Power while firing shots in a cone that widens farther out from the character.

The much needed but sparse bombs you carry clear the screen of shots when it’s getting too much while providing temporary invincibility, and equippable attack options offer forward-facing lasers and side guns to help clean up enemies passing by.



The game is nearly 20 years old but still feels fresh to play
The game is nearly 20 years old but still feels fresh to play

For such an old game it still plays incredibly fast and with precision on the Joycon controllers.

The graphics, while clearly retro, are impressively colourful on the screen.

And while it is a one-trick pony of a game, it’s addictiveness and easy pick-up means you will find yourself drifting back occasionally for that ‘one more go’ moment.

However, it is limited compared to modern games. And five levels really isn’t enough when you compare it to the length of the big Nintendo releases of today like Zelda: Breath of the Wild or Mario Odyssey.

If you like bullet shooters, this retro classic is a must buy for this bargain price. But those gamers who want a more sprawling epic would be wise to save their cash for a fresher video game.

Verdict 4/5





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Facebook announces new audio features, including Clubhouse-like audio rooms

Facebook announces new audio features, including Clubhouse-like audio rooms
Facebook announces new audio features, including Clubhouse-like audio rooms


Audio-based social media platforms, Clubhouse and Twitter’s Spaces, officially have competition from the world’s largest social network now. After announcing a plethora of audio-based features earlier this year, Facebook officially embarked on its journey in the space this weekend. The company launched Live Audio Rooms, a feature that seems to copy Clubhouse completely, and is only available in the United States (US) for now.

The company said it expects Live Audio Rooms to be available to everyone on Facebook by “the summer”. “We’ll test Live Audio Rooms in Groups, making it available to the 1.8 billion people using Groups every month and the tens of millions of active communities on Facebook,” the company said in a blog post. “As part of this initial rollout — and because we know communities aren’t built just in Groups — we’ll also bring Live Audio Rooms to public figures so they can host conversations with other public figures, experts and fans,” the company added.

Bit Live Audio Rooms is one of a host of audio-based features Facebook announced on June 19. The company also introduced podcasts to its platform, putting it in competition with firms like Spotify, Apple, and even India’s Gaana in a way. The company said that over 170 million people follow podcast pages on Facebook, and the platform will allow them to listen to podcasts directly through its app “in the next few months”. Earlier reports have said that Facebook may be partnering with Spotify, to tap into the streaming platform’s large podcast library.

Lastly, while podcasts and live audio rooms emulate existing platforms and services, Facebook is also building tools for influencers to take advantage of audio on its platform(s). The company added a whole suite of audio creation tools, which it claims are “powerful enough for the pros”. This includes speech-to-text, voice morphing and artificial intelligence-driven noise cancellation while recording. The company also has a feature called Soundbites, which is meant for short-form audio clips, which essentially takes on Twitter’s recent voice tweets feature.

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Cyberpunk 2077 returns to PlayStation Store, but with a disclaimer. Details here

Cyberpunk 2077 returns to PlayStation Store, but with a disclaimer. Details here
Cyberpunk 2077 returns to PlayStation Store, but with a disclaimer. Details here


CD Projekt Red’s Cyberpunk 2077 was removed from PlayStation Store back in the month of December. The gaming studio and PlayStation have announced the game is officially back on the shelves after multiple fixes and feature updates.

The official Twitter handle of Cyberpunk 2077 stated, “You can play the game on PlayStation 4 Pro and PlayStation 5. Additionally, a free next gen upgrade will be available for all owners of the PS4 version of Cyberpunk 2077 in the second half of 2021.”

PlayStation from its official Twitter handle stated, “Cyberpunk 2077 is now available at PlayStation Store. Work on the PS4 version continues, with fixes and updates to be released throughout the year: https://play.st/3xFRCtB For the best experience on PlayStation, playing on PS4 Pro or PS5 consoles is recommended.”

Despite the relaunch on PlayStation, the game comes with a warning for PS4 users. The disclaimer states, “users continue to experience performance issues with this game. Purchase for use on PS4 systems is not recommended. For the best Cyberpunk experience on PlayStation, play on PS4 Pro and PS5 systems.”

The role-playing game was announced in May 2012 but it was finally launched after repeated delays in Decemeber 2021. Due to the long waiting period and the success of another CD Projekt game, The Witcher, Cyberpunk 2077 managed to build a lot of hype.

After the launch, the game was found to be loaded with bugs. With increasing complaints, both Sony and Microsoft decided to take the title off their respective console stores.

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