Monday, June 19, 2017

China Moves up List of Top 25 Innovative Economies

China has moved up the list of the world's top 25 innovative economies, rising three notches from 25 to 22, with strong performance in several indicators, according to the latest Global Innovation Index (GII) released last week.

In 2016, it was the first middle-income country to make the list. China's technological innovations have made headlines in recent months, from the launch of its first X-ray space telescope to observe black holes and development of the world's first quantum computing machine, to the debut of its home-grown C919 passenger jet and its successful sampling of combustible ice.

A Long March-4B rocket carrying X-ray space telescope to observe black holes, pulsars and gamma-ray bursts blasts off from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China's Gobi Desert, June 15, 2017.

Jointly released by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Cornell University, and INSEAD, the 2017 GII is in its 10th edition this year. The rankings are a leading benchmarking tool for business executives, policy makers and others seeking insight into the state of innovation around the world.

A closer look into the general index shows that China moved up one spot to 16th in innovation quality, retaining its position for the fifth consecutive year as the top middle-income economy and edging closer to high-income economies.

The report showed that China tops in a number of sub-rankings, including domestic market scale, human resources, patents by origin, high-tech exports, and industrial designs by origin.

The world's second-largest economy was once seen as an imitator and the "world's factory," churning out mountains of low-quality goods, but it is becoming capable of producing innovative products and ideas.

China's qualified patents exceeded one million last year, becoming the third country after the United States and Japan to join the world's million patent club.

Meanwhile, the number of "unicorn" companies in China -- young, unlisted companies with a market value of over 1 billion U.S. dollars -- rose from 70 in 2015 to 131 in 2016, most of which are high-tech firms, according to the Ministry of Science and Technology.

More unicorn companies are expected to pop up in China thanks to the country's support for entrepreneurship and public innovation. One case in point is the bicycle-sharing industry, with two industrial giants, Ofo and Mobike, having received billions of dollars in investment and expanding steadily overseas.

Wu Wensheng, executive deputy head with Great Wall Strategic Consultants, a leading private think tank, attributed China's impressive innovation progress to the country's large talent pool, growing investment in research and development as well as government policy support.

Innovation is at the core of the country's 13th five-year plan, which aims for China to become an "innovative nation" by 2020, an international leader in innovation by 2030, and a world powerhouse of scientific and technological innovation by 2050.

Innovation hubs, incubators and demonstration zones have sprung up across the country, with a string of government preferential policies to nurture start-ups.

However, the utilization rate of innovation resources still remains rather low in China, according to the report released by the Research Center for Technological Innovation with Tsinghua University.

The government should continue to invest in R&D and improve the efficiency of the application of innovation technology and products to convert them into social and economic benefits and boost China's innovation capability in the next 30 years, the report added.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Experts, Microsoft push for global NGO to expose hackers

Global Cyber Attribution Consortium would probe major cyberattacks and publish the identities of their perpetrators.

TALLINN: As cyberattacks sow ever greater chaos worldwide, IT titan Microsoft and independent experts are pushing for a new global NGO tasked with the tricky job of unmasking the hackers behind them.

Dubbed the “Global Cyber Attribution Consortium”, according to a recent report by the Rand Corporation think-tank, the NGO would probe major cyberattacks and publish, when possible, the identities of their perpetrators, whether they be criminals, global hacker networks or states.

“This is something that we don’t have today: a trusted international organisation for cyber-attribution,” Paul Nicholas, director of Microsoft’s Global Security Strategy, told NATO’s Cycon cybersecurity conference in Tallinn last week.

With state and private companies having “skills and technologies scattered around the globe” Nicholas admits it becomes “really difficult when you have certain types of complex international offensives occurring.”

“The main actors look at each other and they sort of know who they think it was, but nobody wants to make an affirmation.”

Microsoft already floated the idea of an anti-hacking NGO in a June 2016 report that urged the adoption of international standards on cybersecurity.

The report by Rand commissioned by Microsoft called “Stateless Attribution – Toward international accountability in Cyberspace” analyses a string of major cyberattacks.

They include offensives on Ukraine’s electricity grid, the Stuxnet virus that ravaged an Iranian nuclear facility, the theft of tens of millions of confidential files from the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) or the notorious WannaCry ransomware virus.

“In the absence of credible institutional mechanisms to contain hazards in cyberspace, there are risks that an incident could threaten international peace and the global economy,” the report’s authors conclude.

They recommend the creation of an NGO bringing together independent experts and computer scientists that specifically excludes state actors, who could be bound by policy or politics to conceal their methods and sources.

Rand experts suggest funding for the consortium could come from international philanthropic organisations, institutions like the United Nations, or major computer or telecommunications firms.

Pinning down the identity of hackers in cyberspace can be next to impossible, according to experts who attended Cycon.

“There are ways to refurbish an attack in a way that 98 per cent of the digital traces point to someone else,” Sandro Gaycken, founder and director of the Digital Society Institute at ESMT Berlin, told AFP in Tallinn.

“There is a strong interest from criminals to look like nation-states, a strong interest from nation-states to look like criminals,” he said.

“It’s quite easy to make your attack look like it comes from North Korea.”

According to experts at Cycon, hackers need only include three lines of code in Cyrillic script in a virus in order to make investigators wrongly believe it came from Russian hackers.

Similarly, launching attacks during working hours in China raises suspicions about Chinese involvement.

Hackers can also cover their tracks by copying and pasting bits and pieces of well known Trojan viruses, something that points the finger at their original authors.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Study adds 100 000 years to human history

Replica of Homo sapiens idaltu that lived 160,000 years ago in Ethiopia is displayed at the Africa Pavilion at the 2005 World Exposition in Japan.

Early Homo sapiens roamed Africa 300,000 years ago, sporting modern-looking faces that would not stand out in a crowd today, according to research published on Wednesday that pushes back our origins by a hundred millennia.

A groundbreaking fossil discovery in Morocco obliterates two decades of scientific consensus that our forefathers emerged in East Africa about 200,000 years ago, according to two studies published in the science journal Nature.

The findings may also re-organise the human evolutionary tree and eliminate certain extinct Homo relatives as potential human ancestors.

Two teams of researchers reported on skull and bone fragments from five ancient humans, along with the stone tools they used to hunt and butcher animals, from a prehistoric encampment at Jebel Irhoud, not far from modern-day Marrakesh.

"This material represents the very root of our species, the oldest homo sapiens ever found in Africa or elsewhere," said palaeoanthropologist Jean-Jacques Hublin of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany.

"Regarding Homo sapiens, what we say is that the dispersal of the species predates 300,000" years ago.

Previously, the oldest dated Homo sapiens remains, at 195,000 years, were from Ethiopia. This led to the contention that East Africa was the evolutionary "Garden of Eden" where our species arose before spreading through Africa and beyond.

- If they wore a hat... -

The new results suggest the so-called cradle of humankind was continent-wide, the teams said.

The same types of "Middle Stone Age" tools found with the Moroccan group, and dated to roughly the same period, have been found in several spots around Africa, but were previously thought to have been made by a different Homo predecessor.

Now it seems likely that they were produced by our own species, living in separate groups spread throughout the continent.

"Long before the out-of-Africa dispersal of Homo sapiens, there was dispersal within Africa," said Hublin.

With few fossil remains to work with, the evolutionary history of modern humans is full of holes and relies heavily on conjecture.

It is believed that our lineage diverged from Neanderthals and Denisovans more than half-a-million years ago, but evidence for what happened since is hard to come by.

The new data suggests that an archaic version of our own species shared the planet with related groups such as Neanderthals, Denisovans, the more ape-like Homo naledi and the pint-sized Homo floresiensis or Flores "hobbit".

Remarkably, the small, flat face and jaw shape of those ancient Homo sapiens closely resembled today's humans, the team said.

Brain size was similar too, though arranged in a flatter, more elongated skull.

"If they would have a hat, probably (they) would be indistinguishable from other people," Hublin told journalists ahead of the study release. "It's the face of people you could cross in the street today."

More likely to give them away would have been a strong, stocky, muscular body.

- 'A more complex picture' -

Human remains, including a skull, were first discovered at the Jebel Irhoud site by miners in the 1960s.

The fossils were initially dated to about 40,000 ago, and later to about 160,000 years.

For the new study, the teams relied on these old fragments but also newer ones dug up since 2004.

Dating was done by thermoluminescence, a pinpoint-accurate technology which measures the accumulated exposure of stone minerals to radiation generated by heat from the Sun, a volcano, or a human cooking fire.

They used the technique on burnt flint stone flakes discovered with the skull, tooth and long bone remains belonging to three adults, a teenager and a child of about eight.

The researchers said their work revealed a "rather more complex picture" of the physical evolution of our species, with different parts of the anatomy changing at different rates.

While the face shape was determined almost from the start, today's high, rounded skull took millennia to evolve.

"The story of our species in the last 300,000 years is mostly the evolution of our brain," Hublin said.

This fits with genetic analysis showing a series of mutations in the modern human lineage, compared to Neanderthals and Denisovans, in genes involved in brain development.

"Maybe what we see in terms of gradual change in the brain case... might be the effect of the accretion of these mutations," said Hublin.

- What distinguishes us? -

What set our species apart, even from this early phase?

Compared to Neanderthals, early Homo sapiens had a larger cerebellum -- the part of the brain that governs body movement.

"So it looks like we, our lineage, is the lineage where we started to grow a bigger and bigger cerebellum already at this stage," said Hublin.

"It's one of the features distinguishing us along all these hominins."

Experts not involved in the research praised the findings.

The Jebel Irhoud fossils "now represent the best-dated evidence of an early 'pre-modern' phase of H. sapiens evolution," said Chris Stringer and Julia Galway-Witham from the Natural History Museum in London.

"This is a major extension of the evolutionary record of our species," added Lawrence Barham, an archaeology professor at the University of Liverpool.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Alibaba falters in bid to take mobile phone control from Tencent

A file photo of Facebook's WhatsApp, Alibaba's Laiwang and Tencent's WeChat on a smartphone screen. Alibaba continues to lag Tencent in mobile as people ditch computers and the smartphone becomes their primary device.

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s six-year-old excursion into mobile operating systems is faltering in China, casting doubt over software that bears billionaire-founder Jack Ma’s name and was once touted as key to countering Tencent Holdings Ltd.

China’s largest e-commerce company debuted YunOS in 2011, a system that underpins search, shopping and browsing that its executives last year said could attain as much as 25% domestic market share by the end of 2016 – surpassing Apple Inc’s iOS. Six years on, YunOS’ slice of China software installations stands at just 2.2% while its share of 2016 shipments was 10%, researchers Canalys and Counterpoint estimate, respectively. Alibaba disputes those numbers.

Alibaba managers have grown increasingly unhappy with its sluggish adoption and have begun an internal debate around the software’s future, a person familiar with the matter said. No conclusions have been reached, the person said, asking not to be named discussing a confidential matter. Yet the talks reflect the inability of a once-vaunted initiative to forestall Tencent’s dominance in the mobile arena, secured through the utility of WeChat – a universal app that melds messaging, payments, media, shopping and on-demand services.

“Apart from Meizu, none of the other large mobile phone makers are working with them closely,” Jia Mo, a Shanghai-based analyst at Canalys said by phone. And “Alibaba can only attempt to expand its mobile operating system in China. It could run into all sorts of IP issues if it tried to go overseas.”

Meizu Technology Corp is backed by Alibaba.

Alibaba folded the YunOS operation into its cloud computing division in February, the company said in an emailed statement. The Chinese firm said it will continue to invest in the software and push its wider adoption among the Internet of Things or connected devices, and pointed to recent advances such as a YunOS-enabled car it unveiled last year alongside automaker SAIC Motor Corp.

“YunOS is an important strategic business under Alibaba Group,” it said. The company “will continue the investment into YunOS and our IoT ecosystem.”

Android remains the most dominant operating system in China. Like Apple’s, the software serves as a gateway to Google services from maps to search. In China however, many of its apps and functions are blocked by a government that censors information.

Positioned as an important component in Alibaba’s shift to mobile, YunOS was offered in 2011 as a means to capture the time spent online by a growing population of mobile Internet users, now standing at 695 million. The company wanted to grow beyond mobile e-commerce, hoping the software could increase usage in search, music and video. Its moniker could refer to either the cloud, a key element of the platform, or the company’s founder, whose Chinese name is Ma Yun.

Despite YunOS’ less than speedy take-up, Vice Chairman Joseph Tsai pledged in 2015 to continue investing and push its adoption in a plethora of devices from set-top boxes to TVs. Executives spoke in 2016 about offering the system for a new generation of connected cars, joining a battle to control the automobile dashboard.

It wasn’t clear whether Alibaba executives were referring to installed base or shipments when they talked about their 25% target, but independent research shows YunOS hasn’t caught on. The largest adopter of YunOS remains Meizu, a distant rival to Oppo, Huawei Technologies Co. and Vivo. YunOS was installed on 2.2% of Chinese smartphones as of the end of 2016 and that figure could inch higher to 2.8% this year, according to Canalys. The tally however doesn’t include non-branded phones, many of which do work with Alibaba in return for subsidies, Jia said.

Counterpoint Research pegged YunOS’ share of 2016 shipments at about 10% and growing to 12% this year. That uptick could be driven by Chinese government backing, carrier tie-ups and Meizu’s latest models, said Zhang Mengmeng, a Counterpoint Research analyst.

Alibaba disputes those numbers, citing a report from Sino Market Research that shows YunOS powered more than 16% of phones shipped in the first quarter of 2016. A representative at the domestic consultancy declined to share more recent figures when contacted. Huawei, Oppo and Vivo’s mostly Android phones commanded more than half of all Chinese phone shipments in the December quarter, according to IDC. Apple’s share stood at 11%.

More broadly, Alibaba continues to lag Tencent in mobile as people ditch computers and the smartphone becomes their primary device. The online commerce giant’s made great strides in migrating shoppers: it recorded 507 million mobile monthly active users as of March for its retail sites. But it’s made less headway beyond its bread-and-butter shopping business.

Tencent took a different approach: instead of creating its own operating system or investing in phones, it directed traffic through WeChat.

WeChat branched out to include music, videos, shopping, building an audience of more than 937.8 million. It pioneered a service called Mini Programs, letting users access third-party apps without downloading them, akin to an OS. As of April, time spent on WeChat was more than twice that on Alibaba’s Taobao or Tmall, Kleiner Perkins partner Mary Meeker said in her internet trends report, citing data from Hillhouse Capital. Hillhouse was an early backer of Tencent.

Meizu’s own future is less than certain. Alibaba invested US$590mil (RM2.52bil) in the company in 2015, betting it would help the company establish a mobile foothold. But the startup has cut about 10% of its workforce since the start of the year, Caixin reported, following a 5% cut in 2016. — Bloomberg

Avatar Mobile Game Aims To Release Before Sequel Hits Theaters

The planned mobile Avatar game is moving forward with FoxNext with a target roll out before James Cameron’s sequel hits theaters. The newly established immersive entertainment unit from Fox took over the game’s original maker, Aftershock — an entity spun off from Kabam last December reportedly for $800 million. During Aftershock’s stint with Kabam, they were credited with creating Marvel Contest of Champions and The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-earth for the interactive entertainment company. The acquisition will have Aftershock operating as a sub-department of the FoxNext Games division.

The Avatar mobile game has already been in development at Aftershock for quite some time. Aftershock even has had talks with Fox and Cameron’s own Lightstorm Entertainment for the multiplayer mobile strategy game based on the famed sci-fiction film. However, with the recent kerfuffle in Kabam, many wondered whether the project will still push forward or not.

Now, FoxNext president Salil Mehta offers some updates regarding the progress of developing the game in a statement picked up by THR.

“We are evaluating rollout but believe it will come out before the sequels. It’s an incredible way for many global fans to experience the world of Pandora.”

Further, he also said that once the Avatar game has rolled out, they will use it as a launching pad for other movie properties that have the potential to translate well as a game franchise.

“We see this interactive storytelling as a way to potentially launch new franchises, as well as expand existing Fox properties. We have a lot of IP we are looking to bring to Aftershock. Technology is moving incredibly rapidly, and we are trying to stay on top of it and be able to exploit it and bring opportunities to creative storytellers.”

Releasing an Avatar-themed game before the sequel hits theaters would be a clever business move for Fox. It will keep the interest going for the franchise while the film is still in production. Some have said that the Cameron sequels may have been a couple of years late from coming with interest in it has significantly decreased over the last few years. But slowly building the hype again via other mediums like a game and the recently opened Disney-themed park will help people get reintroduced to Avatar again.

21st Century Fox appears to be pushing for interactive entertainment recently with FoxNext. On top of the aforementioned Avatar mobile game, an upcoming Planet of the Apes-themed experience in connection with release of War for the Planet of the Apes is also in production under its subdivision, FoxNext VR. A separate subdivision in FoxNext Destinations, meanwhile, is said to be developing a multiplayer VR game based on the Alien franchise.

Could Microsoft Teams Leave Skype for Business in the Dust?

The road to success for Microsoft in the world of collaboration has been one riddled with several hurdles. The UC vendor currently offers a range of applications that support numerous overlapping features. Skype for Business, Teams, Office 365 Groups, Yammer, and Outlook all contain different degrees of collaboration across the collaboration space. However, of these many products, it’s safe to say that Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business are the solutions most suited for consolidation.

For now, Teams and Skype are separate products, each complementing the services that the other provides. However, according to an analyst for Nemertes Research, Irwin Lazar, there’s a possibility that Teams might overtake Skype for Business in the long run. This is particularly relevant if Microsoft joins the two services together.

While Skype for Business offers Cloud-based and on-premise products alongside a hybrid option, Microsoft Teams is a cloud-centric collaboration solution. Both are pieces in the Office 365 portfolio, featuring presence solutions, messaging, video, and voice. However, Skype currently includes additional features like conferencing and PSTN calling.

The Problems with Harmonisation in Microsoft Products

Microsoft is just one of the many UC vendors in the market today that has chosen to build upon their cloud services, rather than concentrating exclusively on premise-based solutions.

Team applications are becoming essential to the next step in unified communications. For instance, if you consider other market leaders like Cisco, for instance, you’ll see that the company still supports the collaboration service “Jabber”, while pushing the development of their Spark product. RingCentral is also moving along the same road. They recently developed their UC product following the acquisition of the collaboration tool “Glip”.

Interestingly, when we compare Microsoft to other UC vendors on the market, such as BroadSoft, Mitel, RingCentral, and Cisco, we discover that Microsoft isn’t as harmonised as their competitors. According to experts like Lazar, Microsoft is going to need to work to improve the overall UC experience for the customer and make team chat a more integral part of their product development. However, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t the primary competitors in the mid-to-large market.

What’s the Plan for Microsoft?

Another analyst for the UC space, Dave Michels of TalkingPointz, also raised some concerns about the roadmap for Microsoft and Skype for Business. According to him, Teams will continue to grow, while Skype for Business slows down. After all, it makes sense for Microsoft to focus more on Teams as its brand-new solution built for Office 365. While it’s likely that Skype will see some improvements too, the focus might be smaller this year.

According to Michels, the plan for Microsoft remains unclear. As Microsoft shifts management around, experts are left wondering who will be navigating the next steps for Skype for Business. There’s a chance that Skype for Business might even move their resources over to Teams until the situation settles.

Recently, in March of this year (2017), Skype saw a couple of new updates, including the addition of call queues and an auto-attendant to the Skype for Business PBX on the cloud. Additionally, Skype for Business has also entered the meeting rooms through collaboration with hardware vendors like Logitech, Crestron, and Polycom. Microsoft additionally announced a preview release of Skype for Business Online analytics in March. This will be a dashboard that allows IT experts to address and identify issues with call quality.

Though things remain uncertain about the future of Microsoft collaboration, the brand is still going strong, with more than 100 million active users in the commercial space each month.

Google, Apple and Microsoft lead the BrandZ Top 100 most valuable global brands 2017

Amazon achieved the highest dollar value growth of all brands in the Top 100 ranking, increasing by $40.3 billion (+41 per cent) to $139.3 billion to take the No. 4 position

Technology giants Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook took the top five places in the 2017 BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands ranking released by WPP and Kantar Millward Brown.

Amazon achieved the highest dollar value growth of all brands in the Top 100 ranking, increasing by $40.3 billion (+41 per cent) to $139.3 billion to take the No. 4 position. The retail giant has continued to focus on its technology ecosystem honed to meet multiple consumer needs such as online shopping, rapid delivery and entertainment, as well as introducing new artificial intelligence-enabled services including grocery delivery and personal assistant Alexa.

Google, Apple and Microsoft retain the top three positions, growing their brand value +7 per cent to $245.6 billion, +3 per cent to $234.7 billion and +18 per cent to $143.2 billion, respectively, over the past year, while Facebook, at No. 5, grew +27 per cent to $129.8 billion. 25 per cent of the total value of the BrandZ Top 100.

David Roth, CEO, EMEA and Asia, The Store WPP, said, “This year’s BrandZ global top 100 continues to demonstrate that strong brands deliver superior shareholder value and returns regardless of disruptive external climates. Dubbed the ‘The Frightful Five’ by some, the tech giants that head the rankings are more like the ‘Fearsome Five’ to their competitors, given their huge brand power and a seemingly unassailable market position.”

Other highlights in this year’s ranking include Chinese brand Tencent (No.8), which saw increased use of its social platform WeChat and entered the Top 10 for the first time, with a brand value increase of +27 per cent to $108.3 billion. Adidas was the fastest riser by percentage growth (+58 per cent, $8.3 billion), followed by Chinese premium alcohol brand Moutai (+48 per cent, $17 billion).

As the largest and definitive brand-building platform in the world, BrandZ reflects the brands that are integrated into today’s consumer lifestyles. It is the only brand valuation study to combine interviews with over three million consumers globally with analysis of the financial and business performance of each company (using data from Bloomberg and Kantar Worldpanel).

This year, the total brand value of the Top 100 brands has risen +8 per cent to $3.64 trillion, compared with +3 per cent in 2016, while the number of brands worth more than $100 billion has increased from six to nine. The total brand value of the ranking is up +152 per cent from 2006 (its first year), as its composition has shifted towards innovative, consumer-focused technology brands with huge reach and brand-building power. The BrandZ Top 10 in 2017 are worth almost as much as the entire Top 100 in 2006 ($1.42tn vs $1.44tn), and have grown +249 per cent in value, compared with +152 per cent for the Top 100 as a whole.

The value of the BrandZ Top 100 Global Brands confirms that strong brands continue to outperform their competitors. Compared against key benchmarks over the past 12 years, the portfolio of BrandZ Top 100 brands grew 50 per cent more in value than the S&P 500 and 3.5 times the MSCI All Country World Index.

The 2017 ranking shows that the balance of power has truly tipped towards the consumer-focused technology brands that develop ecosystems that cater to many needs, simplifying an increasingly complex world. More than half of the Top 100’s total brand value is contributed by technology-related brands (a definition that includes telecoms and online retailers), up from a third in 2006, and these have grown +16 per cent in the last year compared with +4 per cent for non-tech brands.

Nine of the Top 10 are technology-related brands, as are all seven of the newcomers to the Top 100 in 2017: XFinity, YouTube, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Salesforce, Netflix, Snapchat and Sprint.

Retail was the fastest rising category, increasing +14 per cent in value over the last 12 months, driven by ecommerce brands such as Amazon and Alibaba which, like many native internet companies, continued to add physical stores to their sales channels. Overall the value growth of pure online retailers has increased +388 per cent since 2006, while traditional retailers dropped -23 per cent as they took longer to adapt their offering to include online. The technology category grew +13 per cent, while fast food was this year’s third highest growing category (+7 per cent), as the leading brands introduced fresh food and value menus as well as customer touchpoints innovations that enhance the brand experience.

In terms of regions, US brands dominate the ranking, with 54 brands in the BrandZ Top 100, worth 71 per cent of the total brand value. In the last year these brands have grown +12 per cent compared with an overall -1 per cent decline for brands with origins in the rest of the world except China where overall brand growth, excluding state-owned enterprises, was +11 per cent.

The top 20 B2B brands increased their value by 11 per cent. Microsoft remains at No. 1 growing +10 per cent to $143.2 billion, while Shell is the fastest B2B riser, increasing +23 per cent to $18.3 billion. The ranking also shows that as the digital world creates overlap between business and consumer environments, the border between B2B and B2C is disappearing, creating B2H (Business to Human) brands.

Key trends highlighted in this year’s BrandZ Global Top 100 study include:

• Consumer-centric technology ecosystems are making brands indispensable.

Consumers can increasingly carry out a variety of activities, from online shopping to watching television, under the banner of one brand and across multiple devices. This convenience for consumers also allows the most powerful brands to minimise the risk of consumer switching.

• New brands are increasingly born global, allowing them to grow rapidly.

Technology allows businesses to provide their offerings globally from day one. This is fostering a new breed of entrepreneur, who is not restricted by the geographical or sector boundaries that have traditionally limited the speed and scale of growth.

• Traditional non-tech brands are adopting technology to innovate and increase consumer appeal. Fastest riser Adidas has introduced 3D printing to produce its footwear, for example, while fast food brand Domino’s Pizza offers customers a realtime tracker for their order.

• The BrandZ Top 100 is getting younger. The average age of a brand is now 67 years, compared with 84 years in 2006, reflecting the entry of the newer technology brands and the emergence of brand China.

• Brands that make it clear how they will make consumers’ lives better, such as Huawei and Toyota, have grown three times more on average over the last 12 years (the top third grew +170 per cent compared to the bottom third which was +57 per cent).

• Great communications puts a brand at an advantage. The top third in terms of strongest communications (including McDonald’s and L’OrĂ©al Paris) have grown 196 per cent in value, compared with 47 per cent for the bottom third. This is because they have successfully amplified the difference they have built.

Doreen Wang, Kantar Millward Brown’s Global Head of BrandZ, said, “This is the era of internet giants that have developed ever-growing ecosystems that touch and connect consumers, with the overall aim of making life easier, simpler and better. Technology with the consumer at its centre has redefined our expectations, and we now take for granted that products, services, tools and content are immediately available at our fingertips. These brands also demonstrate great elasticity – they confidently and comfortably play in new territories and new categories to develop and expand their customer bases.”

Friday, June 2, 2017

10 Hippie Ingredients You Need in Your Life Right Now

The hottest food trend right now is actually decades old: hippie ingredients and recipes that hark back to the ’70s.

Right now, vegan restaurants, cold-pressed coffee cafes, juice bars and pop-up raw food delis are Instagram-worthy hotspots, and it’s become trendy (again) to care about what you’re eating and where it’s come from.

Much like with fashion, food trends are cyclical, and we are once again moving away from fast and processed foods, as many of our parents did in the ’70s. The New York Times recently reported that “the hippies have won,” and they certainly weren’t referring to the recent U.S. election. Staple foods of the hippie era are back in a big way – think turmeric, brown rice and flax seeds – and buzzwords like “plant-based,” “organic,” “wholefoods” and “natural” are seeing a resurgence. The new emphasis is on natural produce and convenience has given way to respecting one’s body and the environment.

For most of us, though, this is a whole new territory, and we’re more at home heating up leftover pizza than whipping up our own Buddha bowls and bliss balls (what!?) Don’t worry though, because we’re going to help you introduce these healthy ingredients into your existing diet in a low-stress way.

So, without further ado, here are 10 hippie ingredients you should be trying out right now:


While the original hippies may have used turmeric to tie-dye T-shirts rather than flavor food, we can still give them some credit, because turmeric is the latest on the elite list of superfoods.

Curcumin, the active constituent in turmeric, is incredibly beneficial to the body, acting as a powerful anti-everything: anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, anti-fungal and antihistamine, to name just a few! Once relegated to pre-packaged curry powders, turmeric is now a common ingredient in its own right.

How to use turmeric:

There is no limit to the ways in which turmeric can be incorporated into your diet, so feel free to get creative! Turmeric lends itself well to savory dishes, so try adding it to a frittata; spice up your favorite rice or chicken dish; toss with roasted vegetables or stir through soups. For a kick of color and flavor, add it to your smoothies and fresh juices or ward off winter colds by mixing it with hot water, ginger and honey or cinnamon and warm milk.

Fresh or dried, it can be found in most supermarkets, produce and specialty health food stores.

Flax Seeds

Peace, love and… seeds. While the hippies favored many types of seeds, flax seeds were – and still are – a popular variety.

Also known as linseeds, flax seeds are the richest source of an omega-3 essential fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (or ALA). If you want healthy hair, skin and nails – and who among us doesn’t!? – you should be adding this super-healthy ingredient to your diet.

On top of providing a healthy dose of good fat, flax seeds are also packed with fiber, which helps to keep you fuller for longer and is great for your gut. Whole flax seeds often pass through undigested, so ground flax seeds are not only more beneficial for you but also easier to use.

How to use flax seeds:

Look for “ground flaxseed,” “flax meal” or “milled flaxseed” in the flour/grain aisle of any supermarket. Incorporating flax seeds into your diet is easy: add a tablespoon or two to smoothies, porridge, cereal, granola bars or anything you’re baking.

Brown Rice

You read “Buddha bowls” above and were intrigued, right? If you haven’t already searched #buddhabowl on Instagram, here’s the goods: Buddha bowls are crammed with every hippie food you can imagine.

Buddha bowls are a powerhouse of nutrients from every nut, seed, vegetable, bean and grain you can imagine, all meticulously diced, sliced and neatly arranged. Think of buddha bowls as the ultimate new-age hippie comfort food.

Brown rice is a staple in Buddha bowls, much like it was in the ’70s, because it’s less refined than white rice and retains more nutrients. Rich in manganese, selenium and B-vitamins, brown rice is also a good source of protein.

How to use brown rice:

Not only are supermarkets stocking it, but restaurants and even some fast food chains are offering brown rice as an option on their menus. Simply substitute white for brown rice; it couldn’t be easier. And if you’re game, give your own Buddha bowl a go.


Dates were big in the ’70s, and they’re big now. In the hippie generation of old, they were a core ingredient in what was touted as the hottest appetizer of the ’70s – “devils on horseback,” or dates wrapped in bacon – but these days they’re having a resurgence as health organizations worldwide are placing an emphasis on reducing refined sugar consumption.

Natural sweeteners like dates can replace sugar in baking and help to curb sugar cravings. Dates are nutrient-dense, giving you a healthy dose of potassium and magnesium while still providing a sweet fix.

How to use dates:

Most supermarkets and produce stores stock fresh and dried dates. Dates can be eaten on their own or with a handful of nuts; they can also be added to smoothies or salads and go well in hearty meat dishes.

If you want to go the extra mile, bust out devils on horseback as a retro snack the next time you have your mates around.


Sprouts can basically be considered synonymous with the ’70s. Featuring heavily in everything from sandwiches to salads and even soups, sprouts were considered a somewhat magical food. And they are.

Many of us are aware that seeds and beans are good for us, but it’s less well-known that the sprouts they produce are, too. Sprouts are an excellent source of vitamins A, B and especially C.

How to use sprouts:

Widely available in supermarkets and produce stores, it’s important sprouts are eaten fresh. They can be used in place of – or in addition to – lettuce; as a garnish in soups, stir-fries or curries; or as part of a raw vege snacking platter.


The hippies were all about seeking out new experiences, and that included the culinary realm. Fruit and meat were commonly paired together, but the addition of spices like ginger set recipes apart from the usual fare.

Once considered “oriental” by your racist Nan, ginger is now a common commodity in the West. Ginger is great for digestion; helping to relieve bloating, gas, nausea and cramps.

How to use ginger:

Ginger root can be found in the fresh produce section of most supermarkets, while ground ginger is readily stocked with other dried herbs and spices.

Fresh ginger can be grated into soups or stir-frys, or added to fresh juices for a powerful zing! Because it’s thought to help boost immunity, a slice of fresh ginger can be added to any hot brew, too: try it with green tea or a hot lemon and honey.

Ground ginger can be added to baking and is versatile in both sweet and savory dishes, working well with ingredients like apples, pears, chicken and pork.


Beans were a staple in the hippie diet. They’re cheap, convenient and packed with protein, iron and B-vitamins, making them an obvious choice for our plant-based pals and for hippies and non-hippies alike.

Despite their unsexy reputation, beans really are an ideal food. They’re considered good for your heart and help lower cholesterol levels.

How to use beans:

Widely available in supermarkets in fresh, frozen, packed or canned form, there are a huge variety to choose from: black beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans (or chickpeas), you name it!

Beans are good in soups or stews, and there are plenty of great recipes for bean dips online. You may find you can cut down on your meat consumption or make your meals stretch further by replacing meat with beans or adding them to bulk up serves. Try making nachos or burritos with beans instead of meat, for example.

Non-Dairy Milks

The original hippie food movement saw a shift away from meat and animal products towards plant-based food and drink, which bought rise to milk alternatives. In our climate- and animal welfare-conscious times, non-dairy milks have never been more relevant.

Soy and rice milk were popular and are still common substitutes for cow’s milk; however, there are now no limits to the varieties of non-dairy milks available. From coconut milk to almond milk to oat milk, there isn’t a nut, seed, grain or legume which can’t be “milked.”

Non-dairy milks have become increasingly popular for being allergy-, animal- and environmentally-friendly. High in protein, calcium, omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, and low in sugar, they are also really good for you.

How to use non-dairy milks:

Soy, rice, oat, coconut and almond milks are stocked in most long-life milk sections in supermarkets, or can be purchased fresh from specialty health food stores.

Also, with recipes and instructional videos readily available on the internet, it’s relatively easy to make your own. Use it in the same way you’d use dairy milk: on cereal, in smoothies and, so long as you’ve got the right recipe, in baking.


Barley made up a big chunk of the hippie diet, mostly in the form of beer. While it’s still used to make brews, barley is a healthy wholegrain and is becoming more popular as a food source.

Giving you a good dose of selenium, manganese and fiber, barley is nutrient-dense and can help to stabilize blood sugar levels and reduce sweet cravings.

How to use barley:

To get the best benefit from barley, it’s ideal to buy hulled barley grains and soak them before cooking. This isn’t going to suit the time-poor, though, so pearled barley, while more refined, is a good option: it cooks faster and is readily available in supermarkets.

Use barley in place of oats to make porridge, add it to cereal or use it in place of brown rice. It also makes a great addition to any soup.


The hippies were nuts about almonds (sorry). Sliced or slivered, they were the go-to garnish, and no dish – sweet or savory – was spared.

Almonds have become increasingly popular in recent times due to the rise of gluten-free, paleo and raw diets in particular. Almonds are one of the best sources of vitamin E and riboflavin (B2), both of which can help to reduce the physical and neurological signs of aging.

How to use almonds:

Almonds are everywhere: from almond milk to almond meal, they have now become the go-to alternative to dairy, and almond is the new peanut when it comes to nut butters now.

The easiest way to eat almonds is by grabbing a handful and snacking on them raw. Try to avoid them roasted, salted or sweetened, as they will have lost most of their nutritional value in the process. Channel your inner hippie and add them sliced or slivered to salads, cereal or smoothies.

Diet myths you should know

How do you keep up with the changing trend in Diet? Here’s how

One study says that eggs are good for you, another completely debunks the theory. Here are facts behind 5 new nutritional myths.

Are Kale chips the new good-for-you snacks?

Banana chips

Before you go hunting for packet of this at the Super Market, see this: A 2014 study at William Paterson University ranked fruits and vegetables by their nutrient density and Kale didn’t even make the top 10. Although its packed with antioxidants and other nutrients, you won’t suffer a health hazard if you don’t consume it.


The omega-3 family is credited with innumerable health benefits such as promoting brain development in infants, improving heart health in adulthood and more. Aside of EPA and DHA the two important omega-3 fatty acid, ALA, a third omega-3 fatty acid  plays a vital role without which you’ll have scaly skin and problems with hair growth and wound healing.  They can be found in walnuts, flaxseed, canola oil, soybeans.


Do you think multi-grain bread is a better option than the alternate? Brown bread, like it or not, is the biggest hoax! Ingredients from coffee to edible color are packed in to give the bread the healthy shade you desire. The sugar content in the bread are the same as white and so is the maida. Do yourself a favor and look for the words “100 per cent whole wheat”. You can thank me later.


Have only egg whites. ditch the yolk.

Heard this before? Large studies suggest that this theory is all wrong. It turns out that about 25 per cent of the cholesterol in your blood comes from food. The other 75 per cent is manufactured by the liver, which produces lots of cholesterol when you consume forms of saturated fat -something eggs are low in. Eggs are filled with useful nutrients that may offset any damage done by their cholesterol content, including unsaturated fat. So, next time you have scrambled eggs for breakfast don’t feel guilty.

various protein sources

Adequate calories, a decent intake of protein and a good strength training programm is necessary to build muscles. Protein intake beyond your needs will either be stored as fat or burnt for energy. The timing of your protein is important. After resistance training, consuming a rich source of protein such as cheese, along with some carbohydrate. To build muscle, you need to eat a healthy diet, which includes a normal amount of protein, and train regularly.

Remember, excess of anything is bad for you. Except music

Olive oil compound helps fight tumours

A compound found in olive oil may help to prevent cancer developing in the brain, according to a scientific study.

Research into oleic acid, the primary ingredient in olive oil, has shown how it can help to prevent cancer-causing genes from functioning in cells.

The oily substance - one of a group of nutrients known as fatty acids - stimulates the production of a cell molecule whose function is to prevent cancer-causing proteins from forming, experts said.

The study team at the University of Edinburgh said it is too soon to say whether eating olive oil in your diet can help to prevent brain cancer.

However, they said their findings do point towards possible therapies based on the oil to prevent brain cancer from occurring.

Dr Gracjan Michlewski, of the university's school of biological sciences, who led the study, said: "While we cannot yet say that olive oil in the diet helps prevent brain cancer, our findings do suggest that oleic acid can support the production of tumour-suppressing molecules in cells grown in the lab.

"Further studies could help determine the role that olive oil might have in brain health."

The scientists analysed the effect of oleic acid on a cell molecule, known as miR-7, which is active in the brain and is known to suppress the formation of tumours.

They found that oleic acid prevents a cell protein, known as MSI2, from stopping production of miR-7.

In this way, the olive oil component supports the production of miR-7, which helps prevent tumours from forming.

The team made their discoveries in tests on human cell extracts and in living cells in the lab.

The study, published in the Journal of Molecular Biology, was funded by the Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust.

IIT Kharagpur develops technology for doctors to monitor hospital-bound patients

Christened 'AmbuSens', the technology has been developed in the SWAN lab of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) of the institute.

Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, on Friday said it has come up with a wireless technology for remote monitoring of patients' condition ferried in ambulances.

Christened 'AmbuSens', the technology has been developed in the SWAN lab of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) of the institute.

"AmbuSens is capable of wireless monitoring of various physiological parameters like ECG, heart-rate, temperature and blood-pressure. It can be fitted in an ambulance to ensure remote monitoring of patient condition by the doctors even before they reach the hospital," a statement from the institute said.

The system preserves patient's data confidentiality while simultaneously using the analytic and computing power of cloud computing.

The web interface of the AmbuSens system provides an easy-to-use graphical interface for doctors and paramedics alike with data visualisation tools such as real-time ECG graph rendering, and can be accessed from internet-enabled laptops, tablets and smartphones.

"There is no such technology at present that can help doctors at the hospital to continuously monitor the condition of the patient when the latter is on the move. This technology will be a boon for the referral patients who are transported from a hospital in remote area to a city hospital," said Sudip Misra, a professor at department of CSE, IIT Kharagpur, also the principal investigator for developing this system.

Currently in such situations apart from family members, a medical technician accompanies a critical patient in an ambulance, he said.

"But this technician has limited knowledge. Now with the doctors being able to monitor the patients on transit they can suggest medical interventions to the technician. This can be lifesaving," said Misra.

The embedded system of AmbuSens includes both hardware and software.

The referred hospital and the referee hospital as well as the ambulance will have laptops or tablets with internet connection.

The patient will be fitted with wireless body sensors, which will help doctors of both referred and referee hospitals to continuously monitor the health condition of the patients in real-time.

The technology can be life saving for accident victims or cardiac patients who need to be transported to the hospital immediately, Misra said.

"We conducted successful field trials of the developed system at All India institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Bhubaneswar and BC Roy technological hospital (BCRTH), IIT Kharagpur," he added.

Ancient Mars lake had microbe-friendly conditions

New York, June 2 (IANS) An ancient Martian lake had conditions suitable for different types of microbes to survive, according to a new research that looked at findings from NASA's Curiosity rover mission's first 42 months.

The lake provided stable environmental conditions that differed significantly from one part of the lake to another, the study said.

While previous work had revealed the presence of a lake more than three billion years ago in Mars' Gale Crater, this study published in the journal Science defines the lake's chemical conditions and uses Curiosity's powerful payload to determine that the lake was stratified.

Stratified bodies of water exhibit sharp chemical or physical differences between deep water and shallow water. In Gale's lake, the shallow water was richer in oxidants than deeper water was.

"These were very different, co-existing environments in the same lake," lead author of the report Joel Hurowitz of Stony Brook University in New York said.

"This type of oxidant stratification is a common feature of lakes on Earth, and now we've found it on Mars. The diversity of environments in this Martian lake would have provided multiple opportunities for different types of microbes to survive," Hurowitz said.

Whether Mars has ever hosted any life is still unknown, but seeking signs of life on any planet, whether the Earth, Mars or more-distant icy worlds, begins with reconstruction of the environment to determine if it was capable of supporting life.

NASA is using Curiosity to explore habitable environments on the ancient surface of Mars.

"We're learning that in parts of the lake and at certain times, the water carried more oxygen," said Roger Wiens, a planetary scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and co-author of the study.

"This matters because it affects what minerals are deposited in the sediments, and also because oxygen is important for life," Wiens said.

Kourtney Kardashian poses COMPLETELY NAKED and flashes sideboob in jaw-dropping snap

KOURTNEY KARDASHIAN dared to bare as she stripped off and went completely naked in one of her sexiest pictures to date.

The 38-year-old flashed the flesh as she posed nude in an exotic photoshoot during her family trip to Costa Rica earlier this year.

In the tantalising Instagram picture, the mother-of-three sat on a rock surrounded by greenery and showed off her pert posterior as she leant forward.

The older sister of Kim Kardashian ensured she drew plenty of attention to her ample bust as she flaunted major sideboob in the sizzling snap.

Oozing sex appeal, the reality star turned her head towards the camera and pulled a seductive look whilst her long raven locks cascaded to one side.

Captioning the post “Mother nature,” the bronzed beauty was inundated with compliments from her 57 million Instagram followers. One person wrote: “Damn three kids, wow looking great kourt!”

“You are so hot and beautiful,” gushed another whilst a third added: “Beautiful and Sexy, but very Elegant! Happy Mother's Day Beautiful!”
Her jaw-dropping snaps comes almost one moth after the stunner revealed her incredible “birthday suit” as she marked her 38th birthday.

I thank God every morning for these three little angels who changed my heart forever. I feel incredibly blessed to be their mommy. Happy Mother's Day to all mothers raising our future.

Yesterday, Kourtney celebrated Mother's Day and posted a sweet tribute to her three children Mason, eight, Penelope, four, and Reign, two.

Alongside the candid shot, she wrote: “I thank God every morning for these three little angels who changed my heart forever.

“I feel incredibly blessed to be their mommy. Happy Mother's Day to all mothers raising our future.”

Thursday, June 1, 2017

TAL Education, New Oriental Have More Than 20% Upside

Education is hot in China as the country's tiger parents push their kids hard to excel academically in the hope of getting into top universities and gaining an advantage in a very competitive jobs market.

Given the money spent on ensuring kids' education it's perhaps little wonder that UOB Kay Hian has initiated research on China's education sector with an overweight rating and slapped buys on both TAL Education (TAL) and New Oriental Education (EDU).

The broker sees plenty of room for growth over coming years given the size of China's population and demand for good education. They especially like K12 after school tutoring (AST) given the large size of the market, its rapid growth and fragmented nature of the industry:

The K12 AST market is expected to grow at a 6-year CAGR of 12% to Rmb870b by 2020. An iResearch report values the K12 AST market at Rmb447b with a penetration rate of 57.5% in 2014. We forecast this market to grow to Rmb870b by 2020. Demand for test preparation classes for overseas studies is another catalyst. Studying abroad is a growing trend in China, driven by rising income and improving affordability

Here's why UOB Kay Hian reckons TAL Education is a buy:

TAL is in the sweet spot in China’s fast-growing education market. Its strong position in K12 after school tutoring is attributed to its reputation for quality services that produce top-scoring students. TAL’s fast growth is driven by aggressive capacity expansion and strong student enrolment. Revenue and non-GAAP EPS are expected to grow at a 3-year CAGR of 43.7% and 46.4% respectively during FY17-20. Initiate with BUY and target price of US$148.00 based on 1.2x FY19F PEG.

TAL shares are up 110% over the past year. The stock last traded at $116.47 a share.

And here's why the broker is bullish on New Oriental:

EDU’s growth is driven by strong demand for K12 after school tutoring, as well as test preparation courses designed for China students who plan to study abroad and for local universities. With its strong branding, good track record and huge learning centre network, market leader EDU is set to gain market share. We expect net profit to grow at a 3-year (FY16-19) CAGR of 29.4%. Initiate with BUY and target price of US$86.00 based on 1.2x FY18F PEG, or 35.6x FY18F PE.

New Oriental shares have advanced 70% over the past year. The stock last traded at $71.67 a share.

6 Free Games for PlayStation Plus Members (June)

June is around the corner and so is the new lineup of free games for PlayStation Plus members. Sony has announced that the Instant Game Collection will be added with a few more games.

The games this time around include a co-op zombie shooter and a 5-part episodic adventure for PS4 owners that will be made available in the first week of June after the May free games will be discontinued from the collection.

Each PlayStation platform — the PS Vita, PS4, and PS3 — get two titles each, with PS4 getting an additional third and fourth one which is otherwise also available for PS Vita, courtesy of cross play.

“Dive into a frenetic co-op zombie slayer — and a decidedly more mellow episodic adventure — with this month’s lineup,” the company states.

The Lineup
  • Killing Floor 2 (PS4)
  • Life is Strange (PS4)
  • Abyss Odyssey (PS3)
  • WRC 5: World Rally Championship (PS3)
  • Neon Chrome (PS Vita, cross buy with PS4)
  • Spy Chameleon (PS Vita, cross buy with PS4) 
Unlike other months, PS Plus gamers expressed contentment with the selection of games being added to the Instant gaming collection this month.

The first game for PS4 — Killing Floor 2 — is a first-person co-op zombie shooter which follows the storyline of Killing Floor.

Players can form groups of upto 6 people to defend the world against the zombie virus.

Next up is Life is Strange — a five-part episodic adventure — an addition which has been well appreciated by PS Plus members. The game follows the story of Max Caulfield, who discovers she can go back in time but changing things in the past can have a drastic impact on the future.

PlayStation Plus Specials also received two discounted bundles — WWE 2K17 & NBA 2K17 and The Division & Rainbow Six Siege.

Microsoft working on full Windows 10 OS with a UX scaled for mobile devices?

Full Windows 10 OS on Mobile? Sounds interesting. We know that Windows 10 Mobile still has a bright future and the latest reports have revealed that Microsoft has some great plans for Windows 10 Mobile operating system. Microsoft has recently released Windows 10 Creators Update to 13 selected Windows Phones. Windows 10 Mobile Creators Update brought no new features or significant improvements to Windows Phones.

Windows 10 Mobile is receiving preview builds from feature2 branch, and it has already confirmed that the operating system is in maintenance mode. Recently, Brad Sams posted some details about Microsoft’s plans for Windows 10 Mobile. Now the new report on Neowin has also revealed some interesting details.

Full Windows 10 OS on Mobile

The report has confirmed that Microsoft is testing a mobile device with new mobile experience. Microsoft is not going to improve the current interface of Windows 10 Mobile but the company is actually working on full Windows 10 OS for Mobiles with scaled UX. It will be done with new CSHELL, an ‘adaptive shell’ that scale Windows 10 to any form depending on the screen size of the device.

Full Windows 10 OS on Mobile will look a lot like Windows 10 Mobile but there will be some changes to action center, start screen and app list. Microsoft is already testing CSHELL Builds on Windows Phones, although it is in early stage of development.

Do you think Full Windows 10 OS on Mobile will bring Microsoft back to mobile business?

Pakistan to Turbo Charge Mobile Internet to 5G by 2020

The regulatory authority for Telecom sectors is planning to test 5G internet in Pakistan by 2020. The initial phase of the project has already started and groundwork is being done for the spectrum award.

Speaking in a workshop in Islamabad, Chairman Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) Dr. Syed Ismail Shah made the bold claim.

“The government would facilitate all existing as well as new companies to test 5G in Pakistan. The facilitation would be in the form of free test license and spectrum.”

According to a PTA handout, Dr. Shah informed participants at the workshop:

“Harmonized spectrum for 5G is [available] in the 3.5 GHz band. An EoI [Expression of Interest or invite for applications] would be floated at a suitable time to gauge interest in conducting a trial before the standard is finalized in the year 2020.”

Shah explained that the government is encouraging new technological ideas and supports initiatives for the use of technology. The aim is to extend the reach across Pakistan and have an overall increase in quality of service keeping pace with the modern technology, Shah concluded.

The workshop was arranged by PTA and Ministry of IT and Telecom Division earlier this week, in collaboration with Qualcomm Pakistan by the name ‘Technology Evolution & Roadmap to 5G’ in Islamabad.


5th generation mobile networks or 5th generation wireless systems, abbreviated 5G, are the proposed next telecommunications standards beyond the current 4G standards. The higher compression rate in 5G allows for higher mobile broadband speed availability. 5G for that reason supports better device-to-device, ultra reliable, and massive machine communications.

5G research and development also aims at lower latency than 4G equipment and lower battery consumption, for better implementation of the Internet. The catch however lies in the fact that there is currently no standard for 5G deployments.

US, UK, China and South Korea have set 2020 as their deadline to launch the service and now Pakistan aims to make the spectrum shift along with these global superpowers.

Pakistan according to PTA surveys boasts a 3G/4G user base of almost 32 million users.

Logitech Takes Multi-Computer Functionality to the Next Level with New MX Mice and Flow

Introducing Logitech FLOW: Bringing multi-computer use to a whole new level with two new MX mice and groundbreaking new software

LAUSANNE, Switzerland & NEWARK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today Logitech (SIX: LOGN) (NASDAQ: LOGI) announced Logitech Flow, a groundbreaking new software that allows you to seamlessly control up to three computers with one mouse. The software is compatible with Logitech's next-generation flagship mice, the Logitech® MX Master 2S and the Logitech MX Anywhere 2S, designed for those who need advanced multi-device connectivity and precise sensor accuracy in a stunning design.

"One computer used to be enough, but we’ve moved into an era where roughly one in 10 people are working across multiple computers at the same time,” said Anatoliy Polyanker, global portfolio and brand director at Logitech. “Using multiple computers can help you avoid distractions and speed up processor-intensive operations, but working across multiple computers can be a hassle. That’s where Logitech Flow comes in. With Flow and a new MX mouse, you can enhance your productivity — for instance, copying and pasting files from one computer to another — helping you become more precise and focused in the multi-computer world.”

The latest mice are part of the Logitech MX lineage, which included the Logitech MX Master Wireless Mouse and the Logitech MX Anywhere 2 Wireless Mobile Mouse. The next-gen MX mice pack even more functionality, including compatibility with Logitech Flow.

Logitech Flow

With Logitech Flow, available as a free download as part of Logitech® OptionsTM software, you can take multi-computer use to a new level. With the MX mice, you can seamlessly control up to three computers with one mouse, and even copy and paste content, images and documents between the three computers. Logitech Flow is easy to set up, and has a simple user interface.

Logitech MX Master 2S and the Logitech MX Anywhere 2S

The Logitech MX Master 2S and the Logitech MX Anywhere 2S feature an improved DarkfieldTM High Precision tracking, which boosts the mice cursor speed, accuracy and increases the resolution to 4,000 DPI so you can have the most versatile mouse at all times, no matter what screen you are using.

The mice also track on any surface – even glass – so you get flawless control and have an improved battery life, with a rechargeable battery that lasts for up to 70 days on a full charge, depending on usage. And when you do need to recharge, it’s fast and easy.

The Logitech MX Master 2S has a speed adaptive scroll wheel that auto-shifts from click-to-click to hyper-fast scroll, so you can scroll through long documents or Web pages with ease. Plus, you get side-to-side scrolling with a thumb wheel, and can customize additional functions with Logitech Options. The Logitech MX Anywhere 2S has a precision wheel, which lets you switch between click-to-click to hyper-fast scrolling.

Both mice are crafted to fit your hand. The Logitech MX Master 2S supports your hand and wrist in a comfortable and natural position, while the Logitech MX Anywhere 2S provides comfort and control anywhere you need – at home, at work or on the go.

Pricing and Availability

The new mice are expected to be available in June at and select retail stores. The Logitech MX Master 2S are priced at $99.99, and the Logitech MX Anywhere 2S for $79.99.

Two new additional mice that are compatible with Logitech Flow, the Logitech M585 Multi-Device and Logitech M590 Multi-Device Silent, are available at and select retail stores for $39.99. These highly productive wireless mice feature dual connectivity, ultra-precise scrolling and a curved design. About Logitech

Logitech designs products that have an everyday place in people's lives, connecting them to the digital experiences they care about. Over 30 years ago, Logitech started connecting people through computers, and now it’s designing products that bring people together through music, gaming, video and computing. Founded in 1981, Logitech International is a Swiss public company listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange (LOGN) and on the Nasdaq Global Select Market (LOGI). Find Logitech at, the company blog or @Logitech.

2017 Logitech, Logicool, Logi and other Logitech marks are owned by Logitech and may be registered. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. For more information about Logitech and its products, visit the company’s website at

Monday, May 29, 2017

World's Largest Optical, Infrared Telescope Is Now Being Constructed

The Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) is now being constructed in Chile.

The world's largest optical and infrared telescope called Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) is now being built in Chile. It aims to explore unknown objects in the universe to augment the development of science and technology.

The enormous telescope is now being constructed by the European Southern Observatory (ESO), which is supported by the U.K.'s Science and Technology Facilities Council (SFTC). Meanwhile, the scientists from Oxford University is in charge of the design and building of its spectrograph known as "HARMONI." This is a tool that is conceptualized to instantaneously capture about 4,000 images with various colors, according to

The Extremely Large Telescope has a main mirror that is about 39 meters in diameter. It is conceptualized to be an adaptive telescope and could correct the atmospheric turbulence.

Niranjan Thatte, the professor of Astrophysics at Oxford's Department of Physics and the Principal Investigator for "HARMONI," said that ELT could be a big leap forward in capability. This means that they will utilize this extremely huge telescope to look for many interesting things about the universe that they have no knowledge of today. He further said that it is the element of exploring the unknown, which makes him excited about the ELT, as noted by Live Mint.

A ceremony was enfolded to celebrate its construction milestone at ESOS' Paranal Residencia in northern Chile. It was highlighted with the attendance the President of the Republic of Chile, Michelle Bachelet Jeria, and the Director General of ESO, Tim DE Zeeuw.

Director General Tim DE Zeeuw said that the ELT will create discoveries that they simply cannot imagine as of this time. He further said that it will surely inspire numerous people around the globe to think about science, technology and the universe. He added that this will bring great benefit to the ESO member states, to Chile and to the rest of the world.

WhatsApp teen friendly: Study

Mobile messaging service WhatsApp helps teenagers communicate better and to openly express themselves with their peers than in their classrooms, a study has claimed.

The findings showed that WhatsApp groups allow teenagers to express themselves in ways that they cannot at school, helping them develop closer and more open relationships with their classmates.

"The group chats are based on trust among the members of the group, and this enhances the possibility to be in contact," Arie Kizel from University of Haifa in Israel, was quoted as saying to -- an Israeli Innovation news website on Sunday.

"The discussions on Whatsapp enable the development of a social environment that is warm and human," Kizel added.

In order to examine the way teenagers experience this virtual space, the team included two groups of eight youths aged 16-17 and two groups of eight youths aged 14 to 15.

The teengers perceived the WhatsApp group as a space that breaks down the hierarchical division created at school.

One student described WhatsApp as "a place where there is respect for language and where all those involved share common terms and signs."

"On WhatsApp, I usually feel that I am not being judged, particularly because there isn't any eye contact or physical contact, only words and signs. So I feel more intimacy and security," explained another participant.

The school domain often divides the class into fixed groups and friendships, created on the basis of socioeconomic status, common activities or study tracks, and so forth.

However, the WhatsApp groups break down these divisions and make the class a single, homogeneous group.

"In the WhatsApp group, everyone can talk to everyone else. WhatsApp breaks down the walls we put up between us in class. The WhatsApp group is like a class team-building day," one participant commented.