ONGC Wins Government Nod For Rs. 7,738 Crore GSPC Stake Buy

State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) has won government approval for acquisition of Gujarat State Petroleum Corp’s entire 80 per cent holding in a KG basin gas block for Rs. 7,738 crore, the company said.

ONGC had in December last year agreed to buy entire 80 per cent interest of GSPC along with operatorship rights, in Deen Dayal West (DDW) gas field in Block KG-OSN-2001/3 in the Bay of Bengal for $995 million (Rs. 6,443 crore).

The company will also pay part consideration of $200 million (Rs. 1,295 crore) to GSPC towards acquisition rights for discoveries other than DDW field in the block.

“A farm-in agreement was signed with GSPC on March 10, 2017 with an economic data of March 31, 2017,” ONGC said in notes to its first quarter earning disclosure.

During April-June quarter, “Government of India has approved the acquisition of entire 80 per cent participating interest of GSPC along with operatorship rights,” it said.

ONGC will make payments to GSPC “on fulfilment of certain conditions precedent,” it said without elaborating.

A company official said the deal is likely to be closed within one month.

ONGC will pay $995.26 million for three discoveries in the KG-OSN-2001/3 block that are under trial production since August 2014. Another $200 million will be paid for six other discoveries for which GSPC has been finalising an investment plan to bring them to production.

Jubilant Offshore Drilling Pvt Ltd and Geo Global Resources (India) Inc hold 10 per cent stake in the block.

Originally, GSPC had offered ONGC its 50 per cent stake in the block together with operatorship, but the state-owned firm was not interested. Subsequently, GSPC offered its entire 80 per cent stake in the block and ONGC on December 23 last year.

GSPC, with a debt of Rs. 19,716.27 crore as on March 31, 2015, has so far made 9 gas discoveries in the Bay of Bengal block. Of these, three — KG-08, KG-17, KG-15 commonly known as Deendayal West (DDW) fields – have been approved for development.

But against an approved field development plan (FDP) cost of $2.75 billion, GSPC has seen a huge cost overrun, incurring $2.83 billion as on March 31, 2015. Additionally, it had run up an exploration cost of $584.63 million, taking total expenditure as on March 31, 2015, to $3.41 billion.

As per the requirement of the field development plan (FDP), 12 more development wells are yet to be completed, which will further bump up the project cost.

The trial production from the DDW field commenced in August 2014, but the average production achieved is only 19.45 million standard cubic feet per day against a targeted commercial production of 200 mmscfd.

Commercial production has not commenced as the rate has not yet stabilised. The DGH-approved FDP had envisaged commercial production from December 2011.

The official said FDP for the six remaining discoveries — KG-16, KG-22, KG-31, KG-21, KG-19 and KG-20SS — is under review of GSPC.

As per the approved FDP of DDW fields, the estimated oil and gas in place (OGIP) was 1.95 trillion cubic feet (tcf)

Accenture Develops AI-Powered Solution to Help the Visually Challenged

Accenture Friday said it has developed an artificial intelligence powered solution to help visually impaired people improve the way they experience the world around them and enhance their productivity in the workplace.

The solution, called Drishti, was developed as a part of Accenture’s focus on Tech4Good, which aims to apply technology to improve the way the world lives and works by solving complex social challenges, a company release said.

Accenture, plans to introduce Drishti to more than 100 visually impaired employees in India.

The solution is currently being piloted at Accenture in South Africa, and a Spanish language version is being tested with Accenture employees in Argentina.

Drishti, which means ‘vision’ in Sanskrit, provides smart phone-based assistance using AI technologies such as image recognition, natural language processing and natural language generation capabilities to describe the environment of a visually impaired person.

Initially developed and tested with 10 blind professionals through a collaboration with the National Association for the Blind in India, the solution provides narration to the user on the number of people in a room, their ages, genders and even emotions based on facial expressions.

It can also be used to identify and narrate text from books and documents, including currency notes, and identify obstructions like glass doors to improve the safety of the user.

“This Tech4Good solution is a great illustration of how AI technology can empower humans by augmenting their capabilities so they can achieve more for themselves and the world around them,” said Paul Daugherty, chief technology and innovation officer, Accenture.

Pallavi Kadam, executive director, National Association for the Blind in India said, “This project makes us excited for a not-too-distant future where the widespread use of technologies such as this will have a significant and positive impact on the blind community.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Ranked As World’s Fifth Richest Person

Following Facebook’s second-quarter earnings report that showed the company’s stocks hit record high, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has achieved a personal milestone too, becoming the world’s fifth richest person. According to a report in Fortune on Thursday, Mr Zuckerberg’s net worth hit $72.7 billion on Thursday. This increase of more than $3 billion sent him past Mexico’s Carlos Slim to become the world’s fifth-richest man. “Zuckerberg’s wealth is largely tied up in Facebook stock, meaning it rises and falls along with the company’s shares,” the report noted.

The social networking giant has been showing positive results since the beginning of 2017. Its shares have risen more than 50 per cent and reached two billion monthly users across the globe.

According to Forbes’ real-time rankings of the world’s billionaires, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos overtook Bill Gates to become the richest person in the world.

Mr Bezos, who is also chairman and chief executive of the Seattle-based company, was worth almost $91 billion after Amazon’s share price rose more than one per cent in morning trading in New York, the Independent reported.

That has put his fortune ahead of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates’s. The latter has a net worth of around $90.7 billion and has been at the top of Bloomberg’s rich list since 2013.

Lenovo K8 Note India Launch Set for August 9, Teaser Hints

After posting a teaser video of its next KillerNote earlier this week, Lenovo on Friday dropped the launch date for the smartphone via its social media channels which will be August 9. The post also teases the number 8, which suggests that the smartphone will be the Lenovo K8 Note, and not K7 Note as was previously expected.

The official launch date confirmation comes after a series of mathematical-based quizzes Lenovo India posted on its social media account, asking followers to guess what the next ‘Note’ smartphone will be called, all pointing to the number 8. Interestingly, Lenovo’s confirmation points to what could be the K8 Note, which is a little surprising considering it would mean the company is planning to skip on the K7 Note. OnePlus in the past also did something similar by launching the One Plus 5 after the One Plus 3T, albeit for different reasons. Samsung also did something similar last year, with the Galaxy Note 7 – skipping the Galaxy Note 6 in an attempt to bring the Galaxy Note brand up to speed with its Galaxy S brand

The reason behind going with ‘8’ is still unknown, but the number does suggest that the smartphone could sport a dual rear camera setup. To recall, the Lenovo K6 Note only featured a single rear camera, which makes it even more likely for the followup to get a dual camera module.

Recently, a benchmark listing of the Lenovo K8 Note surfaced online via GeekBench that reveals some key details of the upcoming ‘Killer Note’. According to the listing, the smartphone will run on Android 7.1.1 Nougat. It will be powered by a 1.4GHz MediaTek Helio X20 processor and will be offered with 4GB of RAM, both of which are a bit of a jump compared to the K6 Note, which featured a Snapdragon 430 SoC and 3GB of RAM.

Jio Phone: Airtel Plans to Beat the ‘Free’ Reliance Phone With Bundled Offers

The Jio Phone launch saw the company bring a 4G VoLTE-enabled feature phone to the market, one that everyone expects to change the landscape of the low-end segment soon after its release. However, not everyone is looking forward to this change, as it might just mean loss of subscribers for them. Then there are handset makers, who may see their sales slow down if buyers rush towards the Jio Phone in throngs. And Airtel has a plan to use its own resources and those of feature phone manufacturers to contact the impact of the Jio Phone, and ensure its own fortunes are not adversely affected.

Airtel plans bundled offers for 4G feature phones

In the investor call after announcing its Q1 results for fiscal 2018, Airtel MD and CEO Gopal Vittal said the country’s largest operator is not interested in manufacturing phones and maintaining inventory. Instead, it plans to join hands with 4G feature phone manufacturers and offer bundled plans for the devices. Airtel has also announced plans to launch 4G VoLTE services by March 2018; Jio is presently the only VoLte network in the country. Airtel already offers bundled plans for certain smartphones, so this strategy will be an extension of an existing one.

Lava is currently the only brand with a 4G feature phone in the market (JioPhone will start shipping for beta trials on August 15), but Micromax, Intex and Karbonn are expected to join the fray as well. Other smaller brands may start manufacturing such handsets as well, depending on the demand and the costs involved.

Jio phone

Jio is expected to sell 100 million units of the Jio phone within a year, but the device will be locked to the company’s own network. A bundled offer with partner vendor will give Airtel the same kind of exclusivity, and the option to preload its apps on the handset. However, most of the feature phones in the market are dual SIM, a function 4G feature phones are also expected to retain. It is also expected all of them will work on 4G VoLTE networks, such as Jio’s.

TraveLibro – A Mumbai based Startup that Reinvents Capturing Live Travel Experiences

With technological advancement and fast-paced lives, travel planning is considered a tedious task. The idea of flipping through broachers and itineraries evokes lethargy. Thus, first-hand experience and reviews, from a trusted source, plays a vital role in the bookings process. TraveLibro a travel social-networking platform, seeks to bridge this gap. With a mobile app that allows capturing your journey live, resulting into a travel story that not only inspires friends and avid travelers but also helps plan their trip better. TraveLibro seeks to make this transfer of information seamless and also seeks to ease and add fun to travel memories.

An Approach towards Development
Monish Shah along with Malhar Gala conceptualized and developed this platform to bring together the travel community to share their travel stories. TraveLibro aspires to serve as a one-stop solution for all travel needs. It allows the user to explore the profiles of other like-minded traveler. Furthermore, the ‘Local Life’ tab under the ‘My Life’ section segregates any activity such as check-ins, experiences and reviews in one’s home town from any travel story.

Most importantly, the application is brought about with the aim to help people who are confused because of the many options available. The app helps the user to come to some sort of a conclusion on how and where to plan their journey with their loved ones. Additionally, capturing the travel memories together is made possible through the app.

Attaining the Potential customer
TraveLibro offers a lot of content on the app and portal that can be used to make an informed decision when planning your journey. It aspires to build an entire ecosystem, allowing a user to perform everything on the app and seems to be a unique amalgamation of social networking and travel. At present, TraveLibro is bootstrapped by its founders, creating that substantial investment for the business. They aim to be a global travel social network by scaling and binding their community of potential travellers- partners through a highly engaged and functional app, and a clear marketing plan. Therefore, the staff works with utmost consideration and dedication to build a great level of reliability which offers unmatched customer satisfaction.

Understanding Challenges and Issues to Accomplish Goals
With a start-up hurdles are abundant. TraveLibro firmly believes in crossing those hurdles and accomplishing goals with continued effort to make the experience perfect.
Over the years, there has been a change in the way travel experiences are being shared—from writing a blog about a holiday to sharing a few selected moments on social media for instant likes and gratification.

This change in capturing the travel experiences has created a huge gap in the cut-throat market. TraveLibro bridges this gap and offers a platform where a user can post their entire experience, in a chronological timeline of events via photos, videos, check-ins and captions. The team strives hard to build this innovative platform to capture each users travel experiences and also bring together global storytellers that would help to inspire other people.

Solution to Challenges and Issue
The TraveLibro app (Apple | Android) provides a solution by offering the opportunity to explore and share travel stories with other users to influence them. Thus, helping a user to pick the best spots, eateries and places to visit. TraveLibro is a travel social network that offers the opportunity to be the part of a large travel community and to fuel wanderlust and inspire another user to experience more than they’ve set out to see at a destination

Message to Fellow Entrepreneurs
Business has risks which might take individuals to a higher position or even pull you down or lead to disappointments, sometimes. Thus, one needs to have a clear strategy and plan which has to be executed in a systematic order to achieve goals. That success has no shortcuts, is the rule of the thumb.

Short Term and Long-term goals
They have been escalating toward the growth and have built a large number of happy customers, who have extreme trust in them. TraveLibro intended to keep this trust alive forever. Talking about the success plan, in six months, the firm looks to have 100,000 active users on the portal, marketing to such people who are passionate about travelling and sharing their identical experience with everyone through their portal. They are ambitious to become the world largest travel social network and help discover the best travel stories.

Reason to Choose
The product differentiation seems to be that it is one stop solution for all your travelling needs. There is no need to look for multiple sites regarding booking, accommodation, information about places, planning and reviews. TraveLibro offers the entire travel experience from the very thought of visiting place, to returning back home with memories.

TraveLibro is one of the only app around the world which makes capturing travel experiences together possible into a synchronized travel timeline. Thus capturing and reliving all your travel stories and memories is made seamless.

Apple kills iPod Nano, iPod Shuffle as music moves to phones

Apple discontinued sales of the two music players –iPod Nano and iPod Shuffle — in a move reflecting the waning popularity of the devices in an era when most people store or stream their tunes on smartphones.

The iPod Nano and iPod Shuffle have played their final notes for Apple.

The company discontinued sales of the two music players Thursday in a move reflecting the waning popularity of the devices in an era when most people store or stream their tunes on smartphones.

The iPod product line still remains alive, though. Apple plans to continue selling its internet-connected iPod Touch.

In a show of its commitment to the iPod Touch, Apple doubled the storage capacity of its top-of-line model to 128 gigabytes. That version costs $300. An iPod Touch with 32 gigabytes of storage sells for $200.

The Nano and Shuffle came out in 2005 as less expensive and smaller alternatives to Apple’s standard iPod. The Cupertino, California, company stopped updating the Nano and Shuffle several years ago.

Apple has long predicted iPods would gradually fade away as more people bought iPhones or other smartphones capable of playing music.

The company’s sales of iPods peaked in its fiscal year 2008 when the devices generated revenue of $9.2 billion. The then-nascent iPhone accounted for $1.8 billion in revenue that same year.

Apple iPhone 8 launch likely to get delayed until end of 2017: Macotakara

Apple iPhone 8, the redesigned model with the OLED display could get delayed until the end of October or early November. Japanese blog Macotakara reports that the launch of the tenth anniversary iPhone could be delayed until the first half of Q1 2018, which runs from October through December.

Apple is anticipated to launch the 2017 iPhones in September and as the launch gets closer, the rumours around the imminent launch paint a delay and supply shortage for the premium iPhone model. Macotakara, which has a proven track record for Apple rumours, says the iPhone 8 could be unveiled alongside the iterative iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus but won’t be available for immediate purchase. The launch cycle is in line with the previous report from Morgan Stanley analyst who predicts the handset will become available only in October.

The report says that the iPhone 8 won’t be available in white colour option and adds that the initial launch will see only limited quantities. Macotakara also explains that Apple will not embed the Touch ID with the power button but it doesn’t confirm whether Touch ID is being dropped from this year’s model.

The report also states that the 2017 iPhone lineup is highly likely to include Face ID – a facial recognition system combining iris authentication and 3-D face authentication. It adds that Apple will simplify unlocking mechanism further by naturally tilting the device. It is not clear how the feature will work and the probability of Apple adopting Qi wireless charging seems high. The report also predicts that 2017 iPhone launch could happen between September 7 and September 9, 2017. The iPhone 7s and 7s Plus may go on sale starting September 17, which seems unlikely considering it’s a Sunday. In the past, Macotakara has accurately predicted Apple announcements but it would be wise to take the rumours with a grain of salt.

Vodafone offering 70GB data at Rs 244 to new 4G prepaid users: Report

Vodafone has announced its First Recharge Coupon (FRC) 244 plan for its new 4G prepaid customers, which gives users 1GB data per day for 70 days. According to a report in Gadgets 360, the offer is only for new Vodafone customers, and it bundles unlimited local and STD calls within Vodafone network as well. The plan has only been rolled out in select regions, and tariff may vary. In case users decide to go for a second recharge as well after completion of 70 days, the validity will come down to 35 days.

Remember, the Vodafone First Recharge is a one-time offer, and only available for new prepaid users. On second recharge, the validity will change from 70 days to 35 days. The move comes as Reliance Jio rolled out its new Dhan Dhana Dhan plans for postpaid and prepaid users. Reliance Industries Limited chairman Mukesh Ambani, at company’s Annual General Meeting (AGM), announced that Reliance Jio now has over 125 million users.

Reliance Jio’s Dhan Dhana Dhan plans now offer new packs for postpaid and prepaid users. The plans come with a longer validity period as well as more free 4G data. Jio’s new Rs 349 offer 20GB 4G data and the validity is 56 days. The new Rs 399 plan gives users 1GB data per day for 84 days. Jio’s new postpaid plans also start at Rs 349 and Rs 399.

Vodafone, to counter Reliance Jio, recently announced SuperDay and SuperWeek plans starting at Rs 19. The Rs 19 plan is only for users on the 4G network, and it gives unlimited local and STD calls on the Vodafone network along with 100MB data a day.

Vodafone’s Rs 49 ‘SuperWeek’ plan comes with a validity of seven days. It gives 250 MB of 4G data and the validity is seven days.

This Startup Is Helping Creative Talents To Find The Right Gigs

Unlike tens of tech-enabled job search engines for the corporate sector, the creative art space is yet to witness a similar platform for hiring artists.

With his vast experience in this industry, Yatish Jain wanted to bridge this gap. This is when the idea of TalentDirectory germinated in his mind. Yatish’s idea was to make hiring creative talent as easy as booking a cab and shopping for grocery online through web and mobile. He then spent some time researching about the market viability and finally launched TalentDirectory in September 2016.

Yatish had previously started a modeling agency during the dot com boom which was then commercialised in 2013. Along with this he’s also a Fashion photographer and has an experience in the Events industry closely.

TalentDirectory can certainly be called as a search and discovery platform which acts as a bridge between the talents and customers. It helps people to book an artist for any event at one place without having to go through the hassle of searching multiple sources.

“When someone wants to throw a birthday party for their child on a tight budget, they don’t want to go to an event planner but rather directly try to reach out a Magician, Joker, Tattoo Artist, Emcee, etc, Getting contact details of these people is rather difficult. Most of the times they end up calling an event manager whose quotes are out of the budget. This is where TalentDirectory comes to the picture. We are eliminating middlemen in hiring talents”, says Yatish.

Likewise, the platform also helps talents to find jobs easily. For an instance, if a model has registered on TalentDirectiry, he/she automatically receives an email notification each time a casting call in their area is published. It keeps the artists up to date on opportunities and alerts them to last minute jobs.

TalentDirectory aggregates artists across categories, like actors, models, singers, photographers, designers, musicians etc.  It claims to have more than 3,500 artists registered on the platform and aims to reach the mark to 1 million in next 21 months.

Yatish has cracked down one of the major problems most startups face i.e. revenue generation. TalentDirectory has a variety of revenue streams. It follows a Freemium model for the membership subscription. Apart from this, it does movie and event promotions on the platform. Ads also contribute a significant amount to TalentDirectory’s revenue.

TalentDirectory does face stiff competition from many online and offline competitors. But, they have tried to carve out an identity of their own in the talent hiring space. Instead of being a simple marketplace like its competitors, the startup makes use of technology to solve the problem more efficiently.