KONE launches SmartElevator Challenge for developers and hackathon enthusiasts IBM & HackerEarth


KONE announced the launch of “SmartElevator Challenge” for developers and hackathon enthusiasts in association with IBM & HackerEarth. Organised by HackerEarth, the hackathon will be powered by IBM Watson IoT platform on IBM Bluemix Cloud platform.The goal of the Hackathon is to encourage developers to come up with ideas for smart elevators to enhance user safety & experience and develop utility tools for KONE by applying open ideation using IBM’s Watson IoT plaform. This platform will enable device connectivity and provide the ability to derive real time insights based on rules,which developers can leverage to build intelligent elevator solutions.



The three phased Hackathon started with a phase one online registration which commenced on December 26, 2016. By the time registrations closed on February 5, 2017, over ~ 2300 people across India had registered for this challenge.  During the second phase of the offline event, scheduled between February 18 – 26, 2017 in Bengaluru and Chennai, the top 60 shortlisted teams will develop and present their ideas. The third phase will involve the top 15 teams demonstrate the integration of their prototypes with real elevators at the Chennai R&D center on March 4, 2017. The winning team will be rewarded with a cash prize of INR 4 Lakhs and will win a chance to work with KONE’s R&D center in Finland to further develop the actual idea.


“We are proud to host the first-ever Elevator & Escalator Industry Hackathon in India. Our objective behind conducting this Hackathon is to bring thousands of Developers together and foster Digital Innovation. Our aim is to improve the flow of urban life through a mix of Technology, Research, Market Knowledge and out of the box ideas. Our ranking in the Forbes list of top 100 innovative companies in the world for the 6thconsecutive year, stands testimony to the fact that we continuously foster innovation within KONE. We are delighted to work with IBM and aim to encourage some of the best minds in the Developer Community to create and deliver seamless people flow experience” said Amit Gossain – Managing Director, KONE India


Commenting on the hackathon, Sachin Gupta, CEO and co-founder, HackerEarth said “The fourth industrial revolution will be led by the use of IoT applications in the industrial segment, which will lead to creation of new jobs with new skills. IoT is all about sensing, collecting data, and using it to improve our lives. The developers and hackathon enthusiasts participating in this event will be able to develop intelligent elevator solutions by using IBM’s Watson IoT on the IBM Bluemix Cloud Platform. The hackathon will be held both online and offline as it will help us to reach out to the larger developer community across the country.”


“A highly populated country like India requires smart cities and buildingstounderstandthe movement patterns and preferences of its population in order to create systems which make the user experiences more intuitive, convenient and enjoyable.Through the use of IBM’s Watson IoT on the IBM Bluemix Cloud Platform,participants of the KONE ‘Smart Elevator Challenge’will have the opportunity to bring their ideas to life while the systems analyze the disparate data, identify and predict issues, reduce downtime and personalize the experience for the end users.”Kaushik Bhaskar, Vice President, India Software Labs, IBM India.



Discovery Channel’s new series WALKING THE NILE

Levison Wood stands at the top of Murchsion Falls, Uganda..jpg

It’s known as a holy grail in exploration because its sheer length alone contributes to its timeless mystery. The Nile, the planet’s longest river, is a life source to six African countries (Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan, Republic of Sudan and Egypt) – some of whose names currently are synonymous with danger and conflict. The Nile also is known as the cradle of civilization; the first cities known to man were developed on its storied shores. It snakes its way through a region that’s full of duality: it’s both peaceful and dangerous; it is both a source of life and cause of death; it’s remote and urban; and it’s the epicenter for a diverse mix of religions and cultures, both modern and primitive.


Dauntless explorer and former British Army paratrooper Levison Wood walked the Nile – from source to sea – to uncover its many perplexities and to be the first person ever to endure something of extraordinary magnitude.  No one has ever made this journey on foot. Embark on an inspiring journey with Discovery Channel’s new series WALKING THE NILE premiering February 22, every Wednesday at 9 PM.

Africa has always been one of Levison’s greatest passions, and the Nile largely has been impassable until now because of disease, war and geo-political instability in the region. In WALKING THE NILE, Levison commits to his greatest expedition ever: 4,250 miles of walking along the river and through some of the most intense yet exquisite countries… a journey of more than seven million steps over a nine-month expanse. On his journey, Levison suffers many emotional crises, including the shocking passing of a friend and journalist Matt Power (from heat stroke), who joined him along the way. By dodging minefields and heading into a 120-degree desert, he also must save himself amidst a violent civil war in South Sudan. Furthermore, he is robbed roadside, averts gangs and rebels and often is tailed by local law enforcement.


His journey begins in the Republic of Rwanda. This country is landlocked in Central Africa and is called ‘The Land of a Thousand Hills.’ It’s also the location of the Nile’s source, which paradoxically is just a small trickle of a stream. From Rwanda, Levison prepares to traverse north through Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan, Republic of Sudan and finally Egypt, where the Nile spills into the Mediterranean Sea. Sometimes he has a small crew traveling with him; other times he has only a guide and a camera.


The Nile winds through one of the most dangerous regions of the world, and for significant reasons, it has deterred many from achieving what Levison attempts including civil upheaval, insufferable climate, unforgiving terrain and the threat of predatory wildlife. Every day of the journey, Levison faces physical and mental struggles, which could ultimately derail him in achieving his goal. Perhaps for him, the tallest hurdle is confronting his psychological resolve — resetting his intention to carry on despite all the predictable and unpredictable challenges that lay ahead.

Fortunately, disaster gives way to unique, wondrous moments. Levison crosses through a world of incomparable beauty – seemingly as infinite as the Nile itself. He encounters vibrant landscapes and people and animals even more distinct and color than the places they inhabit. During these chapters of his journey, Levison is inspired by the humanity and history that’s unique to Africa.


§  Levison receives a blessing that involves bathing in goat’s milk from a witch doctor in Uganda.

§  He spends two days among the enigmatic and almost magical Mundari Tribe along South Sudan’s Channel Islands, where he learns to give cows dung massages and shampoos his hair with cow urine.

§  In the Republic of Sudan, Levison is treated to unparalleled hospitality when Nubians, known as ‘the truest people of the Nile,’ offer him and his guide the use of their beds and their very best food and drink. Some even offered to give Levison land, buy him a house and find him a wife!

§  He negotiates for camels – known as “ships of the desert” – to take him, for safety reasons, on a detour across the Bayuda Desert, the most south-east corner of the massive Sahara; there, he rocks out to Gnarls Barkley with a Bedouin companion.

§  Levison explores abandoned Sudanese pyramids (there are actually more pyramids in Sudan than in Egypt) before he takes his final walk toward ‘the finish’ in Egypt, cheered on by a steady crowd of journalists, guards and even the governor.

Power Talk on Budget, Economy, Policy and Politics: The Outlook for India in 2017


The Power Talk on “The Outlook for India in 2017, Budget, Economy, Policy and Politics”, on Monday  evening, at the Magnolias Club in Gurgaon. The panelists for the Power Talk included Navneet Munot, CIO SBI Mutual Fund, Mukesh Butani, Chairman and Managing Partner, BMR Legal and Dr Rahul Khullar, Former Chairman TRAI and Former Secretary, Ministry of Commerce. The session was moderated by Pranjal Sharma, Business Knowledge Advisor, Columnist and Editorial Consultant.

Navneet Munot, CIO SBI Mutual Fund, the keynote speaker, started the evening with insights on the current economic scenario in the country. According to him the four growth drivers that could be very interesting over the next few years include rural India, affordable housing, access to credit and rising exports, that could help India build a sound monetary policy. Mr. Munot also underlined the four indicators for a sustainable bull market – stable macro and political enviornment, driving corporate profitability, starting valuations and liquidity. Mr. Munot, was very optimistic about the India growth story and said that in the coming few years, what India is going to achieve is going to be nothing short of miraculous.

The keynote was followed by a panel discussion that emphasised the political imperatives that defined the 2017-18 Union Budget. The panel had diverse views, where Navneet Munot showed optimisim towards the budget; for Dr Khullar the budget was only an image makeover. “The government is defending and promoting what demoetization stood for. It is a no-risk, no-adventure budget,” he said. Mr Butani on the other hand, came in neutral. He had mixed reactions on the budget. The two good things about the budget, according to him, were that the non-planned and planned expditure had been done away with and the government has shown the projected current account deficit at around 2%.

The panel discussion ended with an audience interaction that had a very interesting take on the budget and its scope around societal issues including primary health, sanitation, education in India, the issue of corruption at the center and state levels, and the impact of the budget on entrepreneurs.

A division of Genesis Burson-Marsteller, The Outstanding Speakers’ Bureau’s Power Talk regularly engages exemplary speakers in thought-provoking conversations with an aim to ignite powerful ideas. Kriti Makhija, Business Leader, The Outstanding Speakers’ Bureau, said, “The second edition of the Power Talk convened eminent industry experts from The Outstanding Speakers’ Bureau & Client Associates’ panel, sharing insights on the Outlook for India in 2017. The Power Talk was created with a vision to be a wealth bank of knowledge and events such as this discussion help foster a meeting of like minds and sharing of perspectives.”

When asked about the Power Talk, Himanshu Kohli, Co-Founder Client Associates said “The composition of the panel, The Quint as the media partner, and participation from the audience was excellent. The idea behind these knowledge sessions is for people to come together and share perspectives. We are happy to have partnered with The Outstanding Speakers’ Bureau and look forward to organizing more thought leadership events together.”