July 2006


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ICT to expand the market for horticulture crops

Information Communication Technology (ICT) has the potential to expand the market for horticulture crops, said Bangalore Agriculture University Extension Director Dr. G. Eshwarappa.

ICT is helpful to gather information about available market network. Horticulture farmers need not depend only on limited market network. They must look at market analysis, which is essential to judge future trends and variations. Showing concern for the small-scale farmers, he warned that coming days would be harsh for them, if they don't take advantages of ICT. To get rid of those problems, they should take the advantage of ICT as early as possible.

ICT in support of food security in Africa
Recent developments in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) field support agricultural and rural development in African countries.

ICT promote food security and sustainable development in Africa by establishing information systems for monitoring market performance and measuring market failures; developing information systems to address food security issues such as agricultural production, government subsidies for food security, monitoring water and land resources, disease problems, food transportation and storage; marketing agricultural products through information and telecommu-nication networks and reducing food storage losses through more efficient distribution.

Community Radio

Pilot run of 'Alakal' for fisherfolks starts in Kerala
Radio Alakal, the first community radio for fisherfolk, commenced on a trial basis in 15 coastal villages of Kerala, India, through a network of radio kiosks. The recorded progra-mmes were played through loudspeaker set up at three listening centres at Valiathura, Veli and Poonthura. The kiosks are located near fish landing centres and in common spaces where fishermen congregate for work or leisure activities. The pilot project is promoted by a group of organisations, the Kerala Swathantra Matsya Thozhilali Federation, South Indian Federations of Fishermen Societies (SIFFS), MJM Centre and Loyola College, Thiruvananthapuram. Apart from weather fore-cast, tidal height, conditions at sea and disaster warning, the content includes discussions and expert opinions on livelihood options, market  information and interviews.


ICT centre of excellence in Riyadh, proposed by India
A delegation of top academicians, led by UGC Chairman Sukhdev Thorat will meet a group of Saudi businessmen in Riyadh to explore the possibility of setting up an ICT centre.

In a meeting with education Minister Abdullah Al-Obaid, Union HRD minister Arjun Singh, who was visiting the country, offered India's support in setting up an ICT centre of excellence in Riyadh. The President of the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry Abdu Rahman Al-Jeraisy had shown keen interest in the Indian proposal.


eBay India reaching the global market
eBay India, one of the country's leading online markets, recently organised an eBay Academy at Jaipur. The eBay Academy highlighted the entrepreneurship platform for local sellers to reach out to millions of buyers both nationally and across the globe. The academy offers seller-training programmes, which inform the parti-cipants about the opportunities, benefits and the pitfalls of selling on eBay India. Over 21,000 potential sellers have been trained on the online opportunity at over 80 eBay academy sessions till date. Through an excellent Internet trading infrastructure, eBay India has created the largest online bazaar (market) that is free of middlemen.

e-Business in China
China's B2C (business to customer) e-Commerce market reached RMB 854 million in the first quarter of 2006, increasing 12.79 percent quarter-over-quarter, which is lower than the growth rate of 19.92 percent for the fourth quarter of 2005.


'China B2C e-Commerce Market Quarterly Tracker Q1 2006,' released by Internet based technology business information, media and telecom industries provider, Analysys International, states that in the first quarter of 2006, B2C users in China reached 68.53 million. China's e-Commerce market is developing very well. The manufacturers are pushing up their efforts in Internet-based sales and marketing campaigns.


Macedonia: e-Gov Project in an upswing
An exhibition entitled 'e-Gov for a Modern Macedonia', emphasised Macedonia's progress in using IT to improve efficiency and transparency organised by the USAID-funded e-Gov Project, which is implemented by Internews Network.

The exhibition was organised in partnership with Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft. Through e-Government, public administration can become more open and transparent, and reinforce democratic participation in the Republic of Macedonia. Some of the solutions developed as part of the consolidated package of assistance, including the Apply On-Line system for state jobs, the e-Procurement system, e-Tax Services, the e-Health system, and e-Budgeting were displayed at the exhibition.


A major leap forward in telemedicine
A mobile healthcare systems developer, Global Care Quest (GCQ),California, unveiled Integrated Clinical Information System (ICIS), a system that allows physicians to connect  virtually to any hosp-ital video conference or telemedicine system with little more than a laptop computer and high speed mobile Internet connection.

ICIS Live is the newest addition to GCQ's ICIS, a suite of solutions that pull patient data from hospital systems and send it to physician's computers, handheld devices and mobile phones. With ICIS doctors have realtime access to diverse patient information sources such as X-rays, CT scans, lab results, patient notes, and bedside monitoring equipment whether they are in the hospital, across town or halfway around the globe. The system was developed in response to the large number of regional hospital networks who already have a telemedicine solution, but needed to make it accessible to doctors in their offices, clinics and remote locations.

Italian technology for Tibetan heart care
The Italian-based Health R&S and e-Heart donated an advanced Italian telemedicine technology to the Tibetan Delek Hospital, Dharamshala.

During the press conference, Italian delegates explained about the use of this technology and how it diagnoses heart patients and transmitted the data to heart specialists in Italy for the examinations on basis of the layout and available data. They have named the project as United Italian Mind to the Tibetan Heart. 

Open Source

A web based BioDirectory for scientific community
Oxford Informatics Limited, an open content company, has come out with a unique directory of web resources focused upon scientists. BioDirectory (www.biodire-ctory.com) exclusively an 'open content' database of tools, databases and resources are of value to both in academia and industry of bio-medical sciences.

The directory contains compilation of reliable information aggregated from several sources, creating a substantive stuff of more than 8000 categories containing 35000 entries. Each month over 1000 new links are aided and reviewed by the scholars regularly. Along with scientists, general public can also contribute, learn, share and research freely. There is a particular focus on hot topics including genomics, microarrays, proteomics, PCR, molecular biology, protocols and dry laboratory skills like sequence analysis. BioDirectory has found a sizeable niche of audience.

UK charity Migrant Helpline opted for open source
UK charity Migrant Helpline, established as a charity more than 40 years ago to assist migrants and passengers through the port of Dover, is now one of six agencies providing assistance and support for asylum seekers and refugees entering and living in the UK.

Migrant Helpline's head office is still
in Dover. Migrant Helpline has opted for open source software which saves money and cuts down on time-consuming red tape. The charity wanted to move to a straightforward open source-based administrative system that would be easy for its users to run.

IBM to invest $6 bn in India
The world's largest computer services company, IBM announced its plans to invest $6 billion in India over three years, underscoring the country's growing importance as a global hub for IT expertise and a growing market in its own right.

The investments enable IBM to fulfill its vision to become a globally integrated company, said Sam J Palmisano, chairman and CEO of IBM Corporation. Coming on top of the $2 billion invested by IBM in the last three years, making IBM one of the largest overseas investors in India, being higher than the $3.9 billion of combined investment announced for India last year by Microsoft, Intel and Cisco Systems. Investments would be made to develop the 'Great Mind Challenge', which is designed to improve the software development skills of Indian students.


ICT in employment generation for youth
The President of Kenya, Mwai Kibaki said that the government has liberalised the ICT sector to promote service provision to create employment for the youth.

Kenyans now expect to see a lowering in the cost of communication in the country. President Kibaki pointed out that the sector is providing investment and employment opportunities to a large number of Kenyan. The growth of ICT is encouraged  because of its enormous potential to absorb young people into gainful employment. President Kibaki added that an enabling environment to ensure the expansion of the ICT sector is being created to stimulate further economic growth and to improve tele density in rural and urban areas.

India map details on Net
About 60-70 percent of the land area of India could be officially available on the Internet based on several wide parameters including latitude, longitude, altitude, water bodies and forest cover in about a year's time.


Till today, policy did not permit publishing Indian map details on the Internet. Even now, the exact level of access has to be decided based on National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) policy that would address issues like costing, copyright and licences and value addition. However, some broad details of map should now be available with the recent approval of National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) by Union Cabinet. This is likely to generate a huge business opportunity for the Geographical Information System (GIS) firms from various government agencies during the next few years.     


Motorola cellphones to be made in India

Motorola, world's second largest cellphone maker, has made a plan to invest US$100 million to manufacture cellphones and telecommunication equipment in India. It will build a plant in Chennai's Sriperumbadur Hi-tech Special Economic Zone, which is jointly developed by Motorola and the Indian government.

The move marks Motorola's further expansion into the sub-continent. The company already has six research and development centres in India, which developed more than 40 percent of the software used by the company's iconic Razr V3 cellphone. Motorola expects its new plant to be operational by next year, to produce a range of handsets, as well as network base stations.

Tata Teleservices to invest on rural India
Tata Teleservices is planning to invest one third of the total investment on the rural areas of India for the market expansion and enterprise solution.

The telecom venture of the Tata group, has charted an investment of Rs 4,000 crore for the current year for expansion. The company is looking at a rural expansion strategy for the current year, which would run simultaneously with the plan to bring new corporate customers through enterprise solutions. Out of the total investments of Rs 4,000 crore, one third would go for rural expansion.


Microsoft launched retail solutions

Microsoft, the software giant, is working on a software for an auto ancillary unit and the pharmaceutical industry.

The software would empower store managers to make fast, accurate decisions on inventory as well as forecast the retail trends. The solution is tightly integrated with features of Microsoft Office 2003 such as MS Excel, MS Word, PowerPoint and Outlook. Office for retail is powered with special retail tools that serve as a guide to develop and improve retail management functions of budgeting, forecasting and reporting.

The features of the Office for retail solution will include graphical consumer trend reports and buying patterns, linear and style grid inventory management, master creation, using MS Excel, yearly/quarterly sales forecasting  inventory and budget forecasting, and cash flow forecasting.

The software would be available for purchase from retail stores, and through the 3,000 channel partners in the next few weeks.

A challenging task for IBM: Tablet PC @ $150
The President of India, Dr. APJ Abdul
Kalam asked IBM to join the global knowledge platform by developing low cost tablet PCs and computers based on nano
Addressing the IBM Employees', he pointed out that multinational companies, through collaborative efforts, could design, develop and manufacture a tablet PC with multilingual capability and open source operating system.  In a bid to make tablet PCs affordable to students, teachers and researchers in developing countries, the president advised IBM to collaborate with the Indian tech industry to develop integrated hardware and software system to configure and produce them for selling at $150 per PC. According to Kalam, this is a challenging task for IBM to configure,
develop, produce and market the tablet PC at a cost of $150. Similarly, the President emphasised the need for developing nanotech computers.

Submarine cable for Bangladesh
This is a rare opportunity for Bangladesh to connect with the United States of America as seven leading Asean telecoms operators officially joined hands to deploy a transpacific undersea link to USA.


If Bangladesh joins the newly formed consortium SEA-ME-WE4, the country's telecoms and ICT industries will enjoy seamless overseas connection even if one of the two cables gets accidentally snapped underneath the sea. The Telekom Malaysia (TM) led the official formation of an initial seven-country consortium to build the Asia-America Gateway (AAG), an international undersea cable system, linking Southeast Asia with the US. Responding to TM's invitation, key officials of AiTi (Brunei), CAT Telekom (Thailand), PLDT (Philippines), REACH (Hong Kong), StarHub (Singapore) and VNPT (Vietnam) gathered in Hong Kong and signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to jointly develop a 20,000 kilometres long AAG submarine cable system.     


Hughes to establish 1,000 broadband kiosks in India
Hughes Communication, US-based communication firm, plans to establish 1,000 broadband kiosks across India. The broadband kiosks will be linked using satellite technology and will offer high speed Internet at the rate of 25 paise a minute. Apart from Internet, the kiosks will also offer telephony services using the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology. The Hughes kiosks are expected to give tough competition to the likes of Sify and Reliance, which have an extensive network of Internet cafes. The company already has 250 such kiosks across 95 towns in India.

Four more railway stations in India to go Wi-Fi
Intel India, in partnership with Videsh Sanchar Nigam (VSNL) and RailTel Corporation, will provide wireless Internet access at 4 rail stations of Gujarat.

The service will be available to laptop users through Wi-Fi at Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat and Valsad railway stations. Intel will provide services to stations between Ahmedabad and Mumbai, informed sources from VSNL. Users can access Internet through Internet cards that will be available at the hotspots at the stations, but denied to comment on the price of the Internet cards. These hotspots will help passengers who can use Internet services while waiting for their train.

Wireless Tracking Systems for mine safety
The new U.S. legislation sent to the Senate floor would require all mines to have two-way wireless communications and tracking systems in place within the next three years. The Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act of 2006, created in wake of the 18 miners killed in the Sago and Alma mining tragedies in West

Virginia, calls for substantial increases in oxygen supplies for miners, improved emergency responses and enhanced training for rescue teams. The wireless technology would provide real-time monitoring and physical location tracking of miners. This is a big improvement in the current mine safety. Already, state legislators including those from West Virginia and Illinois have incorporated into their mine-safety laws the need for such technology in emergency communication. This bill will usher in a new era of safety for mines.

33 percent software growth in India
Software and services exports from India grew 33 percent year on year in 2005-06 to 23.6 billion dollars, according to industry body Nasscom.

Nasscom said the overall Indian software and IT enabled services industry grew 31 percent in last fiscal to 29.6 billion dollars. NASSCOM predicted that the overall software and services industry would grow by 25-28 percent in 2006-07 to 36-38 billion dollars. IT and ITES exports are likely to grow by 27-30 percent in 2006-07 to 29-31 billion dollars. The number of employees in the IT and ITES sector grew to 1.29 million in 2005-06 from 1.05 million in 2004-05. www.infotech.indiatimes.com

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