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Musk launches Starlink service in Indonesia

Tech Billionaire Arrives in Bali, Attends Denpasar Health Centre Launch…reports Asian Lite News

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, on Sunday, launched his satellite-based internet service provider Starlink in Indonesia, with the aim to improve access in remote parts of the archipelago.

“Honoured to launch @Starlink in Indonesia!” Musk posted on X.

The tech billionaire arrived on the Indonesian resort island of Bali by private jet on Sunday morning, before attending the launch ceremony at a community health centre in the provincial capital of Denpasar.

Indonesia’s Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Pandjaitan met Musk at the airport and said the two would discuss several important collaborations, including the inauguration of Starlink.

“I had the opportunity to pick up Elon at the airport this morning, then discuss some of his agendas while he’s here and, of course, some important collaborations. One of them is the inauguration of Starlink internet service capable of reaching all corners of Indonesia,” the Minister wrote on his official Instagram account.

“Through the availability of internet access throughout the province, the digitalisation in the implementation of healthcare and education in Indonesia can continue to improve,” he added.

Earlier this month, Starlink warned users of a “degraded service” as the biggest geomagnetic storm struck the Earth due to solar activity.

“Starlink is currently experiencing degraded service. Our team is investigating,” the company wrote on its website.

Musk also highlighted the severity of the storm in a post on X, saying that it has put Starlink satellite fleet under intense pressure and described it as “the biggest in a long time.”

Starlink soon in Sri Lanka?

Musk also met Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe in Indonesia during the 10th World Water Forum, Sri Lankan President’s Media Division (PMD) said.

In a post on X, PMD mentioned that Wickremesinghe discussed the implementation of Starlink service in Sri Lanka with the tech billionaire and also mentioned that he is committed to fast-tracking the application process to connect the country with the global Starlink network.

“During the 10th World Water Forum High-Level Meeting in Indonesia, President Ranil Wickremesinghe met with @elonmusk to discuss the implementation of @Starlink in Sri Lanka,” PMD wrote.

Meanwhile, Sri Lankan Minister of Water Supply and Estate Infrastructure Development Jeevan Thondaman, who accompanied Wickremesinghe to Indonesia, took to X and wrote that the president and Musk discussed Sri Lanka’s recovery, economic potential and new investment opportunities.

“President @RW_UNP met with @elonmusk today during his 2-day visit to Bali with me for the World Water Forum. President and Elon discussed Sri Lanka’s recovery, economic potential, and new opportunities for investment,” Thondaman said.

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Business Economy Tech Lite

Cloud Giants AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Grow 24%

Tech giant Microsoft outpaced both AWS and Google Cloud, with sales rising by 31 per cent (year-on-year)…reports Asian Lite News

As artificial intelligence (AI) becomes a key demand driver for cloud investment, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud collectively grew by 24 per cent, accounting for 66 per cent of total spending in the first quarter (January-March) period.

Tech giant Microsoft outpaced both AWS and Google Cloud, with sales rising by 31 per cent (year-on-year), nearly double the AWS’s growth rate of 17 per cent, while Google Cloud grew 28 per cent YoY, according to global market research firm Canalys.

The report mentioned that despite holding the largest market share at 31 per cent, AWS faces increasing competition from its fast-growing competitors.

Microsoft Azure was second with a market share of 25 per cent and Google Cloud was third, with a market share of 10 per cent in the first quarter this year,

Earlier this month, the Amazon-run company announced the departure of its CEO Adam Selipsky after three years in the role. Matt Garman will become CEO of AWS, effective June 3.

Yi Zhang, an analyst at Canalys, said that Microsoft’s end-to-end portfolio is proving to be a strong “competitive moat”, while Google’s strength in AI is giving it a strong tailwind.

As enterprises embrace AI-driven initiatives, there is a potential need to transfer their workloads and data to cloud platforms to avail themselves of essential computing and storage capacities, the report mentioned.

Meanwhile, global cloud infrastructure services expenditure grew by 21 per cent in the first quarter to reach $79.8 billion, an increase of $13.4 billion YoY.

S. Korea Leads AI Regulation Talks with OECD

A digital society initiative, jointly led by South Korea and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), will officially kick off next week to discuss global governance on artificial intelligence (AI) and digital technologies, the Science Ministry said on Sunday.

The initiative, set to open on Monday, will function as a global policy platform aimed at helping OECD members form a digital society for shared prosperity, according to the Ministry of Science and ICT.

The Ministry said it plans to introduce the ‘Digital Bill of Rights’, which revolves around the five principles of freedom, fairness, safety, innovation and solidarity for the establishment of a new digital order, to OECD members of the initiative, reports Yonhap news agency.

The digital bill of rights was proposed by the South Korean government last year as part of efforts to build an appropriate regulatory system to respond to possible risks deriving from the evolution of AI and digital technologies.

“President Yoon Suk Yeol has led the international society’s discussion on digital regulations through his New York Initiative, Paris Initiative and the New York Digital Vision Forum,” said Song Sang-hoon, Deputy Minister of the office of ICT policy at the Science Ministry. “The OECD Digital Society Initiative will expand the discussion on the OECD level.”

ALSO READ: Elon Musk Brings Starlink to Indonesia

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India News Tech Lite Technology

Blue Origin to Launch Captain Gopichand Thotakura to Edge of Space

The launch window by billionaire Jeff Bezos-owned space venture for the 11-minute flight opens at 6.30 a.m. PT (7 p.m. India time)…reports Asian Lite News

Captain Gopichand Thotakura, along with five others, is set to fly to the edge of space on Blue Origin’s crewed flight mission on Sunday evening.

The launch window by billionaire Jeff Bezos-owned space venture for the 11-minute flight opens at 6.30 a.m. PT (7 p.m. India time).

“We’re ‘Go’ to proceed to launch, Sunday, May 19. The #NS25 launch window opens from Launch Site One in West Texas,” the company posted on X social media platform.

The reusable New Shepard rocket is set to take the six-person crew to space above the Karman line which is an internationally recognised boundary of space that lies 100 km above the Earth’s surface.

It’s been more than two since Blue Origin’s last crewed flight.

The six travellers include 90-year-old Ed Dwight, Mason Angel, Sylvain Chiron, Kenneth L. Hess, Carol Schaller and Thotakura.

With this mission, Thotakura will become the second Indian to visit space, after Rakesh Sharma’s journey aboard Russian Soyuz T-11 in 1984.

After Sharma, three people of Indian origin have reached space — Kalpana Chawla (1997), Sunita Williams (2006), and Raja Chari (2021) as NASA astronauts.

Blue Origin’s NS-25 mission is set to lift off from Launch Site One in West Texas in the US.

The company has undertaken six human flight missions to date, and launched 31 people to the Karman line.

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Business India News Tech Lite

India Eyes Digital Competition Bill

According to Nasscom, empirical evidence is also needed for a complex market like India before enacting such a legislation….reports Asian Lite News

As India aims to adopt the Digital Competition Bill to curb anti-competitive practices of Big Tech companies and foster domestic innovation, IT industry’s apex body Nasscom has said that it is also important to strengthen the existing regulatory framework before enacting one more legislation.

In its comments submitted on the Report of the Committee on Digital Competition Law (CDCL) and draft Digital Competition Bill, 2024, the top industry body said that “clear correlation is needed between means and objective of the Digital Competition Bill”.

While there may be an enforcement concern, it is pertinent to examine the resource challenge of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) that looks into anti-market practices of the Big Tech platforms.

“The CCI has faced a shortage of staff since its inception… Further, at the appellate level, i.e., National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), there is no dedicated bench for competition cases, which can add to the delays in hearing competition cases,” the industry body commented.

According to Nasscom, empirical evidence is also needed for a complex market like India before enacting such a legislation.

In India, the complexities of digital markets warranting market studies to determine the efficacy of ex-ante regulations was duly recognised by the CLRC (Competition Law Review Committee).

“Sixteen other jurisdictions that are considering ex-ante regulation to address competition concerns have also undertaken extensive empirical market studies to determine the gaps that need to be plugged by new regulations,” the Nasscom feedback noted.

India, unlike matured markets like the EU, is an emerging economy with a huge scope of innovation and growth for homegrown startups.

“However, the CDCL report does not provide an analysis of how DCB would promote innovation in the Indian context. Nor does it discuss the guardrails DCB must have to ensure it does not stifle innovation/experimentation, given that there is no prior global experience of successful implementation of an ex-ante competition law,” said Nasscom.

Further, it is not clear whether the CDCL considered the future impact of this law on MSMEs and their interface with digital service providers.

The CDCL in March published its report outlining the challenges associated with anti-competitive practices of digital enterprises, proposing a Digital Competition Bill.

The report was open for public consultation and the last date for submission of comments was May 15.

Meanwhile, several homegrown startups have come out in support of the draft Bill which proposes ex-ante regulations to curb anti-competitive practices of Big Tech companies.

“India is fast transforming itself into a young, vibrant, and inclusive digital economy and therefore, extra caution is necessary to ensure that future regulations do not impede this development (like, the growth of Indian startups),” said Nasscom.

The IT industry’s apex body urged the government to look into focused studies and wide consultation, strengthening the DCB framework, and capacity building of the CCI and the NCLAT before adopting an ex-ante law.

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Business Economy Tech Lite

India’s Digital Economy to Hit 20% GDP by 2026

The digital economy is expected to contribute more than 20 per cent to India’s GDP by 2026….reports Asian Lite News

Sustainable development, driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI) will require technology deployment across economic and social sectors, Dr Neeraj Mittal, Telecommunications Secretary, has said.

Highlighting that sustainable development will require the deployment of technology across supply chains, economies and social sectors, he said that telecom is an integral part of it.

The digital economy is expected to contribute more than 20 per cent to India’s GDP by 2026.

According to the government, the digital economy progressed from 4-4.5 per cent of the total GDP in 2014 to more than 11 per cent last year.

“I cannot think that it can happen in any other way except when we have a very robust telecom network system,” he said during a round-table discussion organised by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) here.

Schemes such as Digital Communication Innovation Square (DCIS) and Telecom Technology Development Fund (TTDF) have supported many entrepreneurs who are now using technologies to solve small or bigger problems individually in their spheres.

The 5G rollout in India has been the fastest around the world.

Mittal said that 100 5G use cases labs, established across the country, are providing opportunities associated with 5G technology by encouraging the development of 5G applications.

More than 30 industry leaders, Original Equipment Manufacturers and startups participated in the roundtable discussion on the topic ‘Sustainable Digital Development Driven by AI.’

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Tech Leaders Back Ola CEO Amid LinkedIn Controversy

Edtech company Unacademy CEO Gaurav Munjal earlier posted that this is so “f***** up on LinkedIn’s part”….reports Asian Lite News

Indian tech industry leaders have come out in support of Ola Founder and CEO, Bhavish Aggarwal, after his tirade against Microsoft-owned LinkedIn for deleting his posts and “bullying Indians” into agreeing with the Big Tech platforms or cancelling them out.

Homegrown IT software company Zoho’s CEO Sridhar Vembu agreed with Aggarwal, saying “we in India have to strongly resist this woke imperialism”.

“It is best understood as a fanatical religious doctrine that masquerades as a socio-political movement,” Vembu posted on X social media platform.

Edtech company Unacademy CEO Gaurav Munjal earlier posted that this is so “f***** up on LinkedIn’s part”.

An angry Ola CEO on Saturday announced the termination of Microsoft Azure cloud’s services and moved the entire workload of his company to his own AI venture called Krutrim.

“We’ve decided to move our entire workload out of Azure to our own Krutrim cloud within the next week,” he said in a blog post.

When reached, LinkedIn or Microsoft did not comment on Aggarwal’s blog post.

The tussle began when Ola CEO shared his thoughts on gender pronouns, with a LinkedIn post on “pronoun illness”.

The LinkedIn AI chatbot used “they” and “their” to address the founder.

The professional networking platform later deleted Aggarwal’s posts “without notifying him”, leading to an outburst from the Ola founder.

“Proud of you Bhavish. When CEOs like you show the way, I’m sure many will emulate you. It is one thing to coax people to be inclusive but quite another to use bullying and cancelling techniques to impose a fake inclusiveness with dubious benefit. May Dharma always guide you,” Author Sahana Singh posted on X.

Aggarwal has said he will work with the domestic developer community to build a digital public infrastructure (DPI) social media framework and the only ‘community guidelines’ should be the Indian law.

“Woke” was a word earlier used within Black communities in the US to refer to an “awareness of inequality”.

It is now being frequently used in political parlance to describe anything that appears too liberal or progressive.

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Ola Founder Takes on Big Tech Bullying

Ola Founder further said that he will work with the Indian developer community to build a digital public infrastructure (DPI) social media framework….reports Asian Lite News

In a hard-hitting post, Ola Founder and CEO Bhavish Aggarwal on Saturday said that Big Tech platforms like LinkedIn will bully Indians into agreeing with them or cancel them out and if they can do this to him, “I’m sure the average user stands no chance”.

After a sour experience with Microsoft-owned LinkedIn which deleted his posts where he shared his thoughts on “gender pronouns”, Aggarwal took on the professional networking platform.

“Clearly, Linkedin has presumed Indians need to have pronouns in our life, and that we can’t criticise it,” he wrote on a blog post.

“They will bully us into agreeing with them or cancel us out. And if they can do this to me, I’m sure the average user stands no chance.”

He further said that he will work with the Indian developer community to build a digital public infrastructure (DPI) social media framework.

“DPIs like UPI, ONDC, Aadhaar etc., are uniquely Indian ideas and are even more needed in the world of social media. The only ‘community guidelines’ should be the Indian law. No corporate person should be able to decide what will be banned,” said Ola CEO.

Ola has one of the largest ‘women only’ automotive plants.

“Regarding gender inclusivity, we don’t need lectures from Western companies on how to be inclusive. Our culture didn’t need pronouns to be inclusive for thousands of years,” he noted.

He pitched about the need to build homegrown Indian tech platforms.

“I’m not against global tech companies. But as an Indian citizen, I feel concerned that my life will be governed by western Big Tech monopolies, and we will be culturally subsumed,” said Aggarwal.

Taking on Satya Nadella-run Microsoft after a frustrated experience with LinkedIn, Ola Founder and CEO Bhavish Aggarwal on Saturday announced to leave the tech giant’s Azure cloud services and move the entire workload of his company to his own artificial intelligence (AI) venture Krutrim.

The decision came after Aggarwal slammed the Microsoft-owned professional network LinkedIn for deleting his posts without notifying him.

“Since LinkedIn is owned by Microsoft and Ola is a big customer of Azure, we’ve decided to move our entire workload out of Azure to our own Krutrim cloud within the next week,” he said in a blog post.

“It is a challenge as all developers know, but my team is so charged up about doing this,” the Ola CEO added.

Aggarwal also told developers who want to move out of Microsoft’s Azure cloud to offer them “a full year worth of free cloud usage, “as long as you don’t go back to Azure after that”.

He had criticised LinkedIn, saying their AI tool was imposing a political ideology on Indian users which is unsafe and sinister.

There was no immediate word from either Microsoft or LinkedIn on Aggarwal’s announcement to drop Azure Cloud for his own Krutrim cloud.

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Business Economy Tech Lite

Google Unveils Pixel 8a in India

The device comes with Tensor G3 chip and features several new AI features, including Gemini and Circle to Search…reports Asian Lite News

Google on Tuesday launched its latest A-series smartphone called ‘Pixel 8a’ that is available for pre-order in India on the e-commerce platform Flipkart.

The device comes with Tensor G3 chip and features several new AI features, including Gemini and Circle to Search.

Pixel 8a is priced at Rs 52,999 for the 128GB version and Rs 59,999 for the 256GB variant.

The phone has a dual rear camera system with a 64-megapixel main lens and a 13-megapixel ultrawide lens, as well as a 13-megapixel front-facing camera, said the company.

Pixel 8a also includes Super Res Zoom up to 8x and features like Magic Eraser, Night Sight and Photo Unblur.

It includes Real Tone to “accurately represent everyone’s skin tone in photos and videos”.

Gemini, Google’s built-in AI assistant, allows users to type, talk, and add images for various tasks.

Additionally, Circle to Search enables users to quickly find information without switching apps.

Pixel 8a comes in two new colours: the limited edition Aloe and Bay.

“Also available are the classic Obsidian and Porcelain options,” said the company.

The phone will receive seven years of software support, including security updates and Android OS upgrades.

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5G Tablet Shipments Boom in India

Apple secured a second spot with a solid 21 per cent share, primarily due to the success of its iPad 10 and 9 Series….reports Asian Lite News

The shipments of 5G tablets in India have surged by an impressive 130 per cent (quarter-on-quarter) in the first quarter (Q1) of 2024, a new report showed on Tuesday.

According to CyberMedia Research (CMR), the tablet market in the country has experienced an 8 per cent (quarter-on-quarter) growth in Q1.

“The rapid rollout of 5G infrastructure and the increasing availability of 5G-enabled tablets are fueling a consumer desire for future-proofing themselves with 5G tablets,” said Menka Kumari, Analyst, Industry Intelligence Group (IIG), CMR.

“This, combined with the presence of feature-rich tablets across price points is propelling tablets to become pivotal tools in consumers’ lives,” she added.

In Q1, Samsung reclaimed the top position with a 37 per cent market share, driven by a strong B2B deal and popular models like the Tab A7 Lite and Galaxy Tab A9 Plus.

Apple secured a second spot with a solid 21 per cent share, primarily due to the success of its iPad 10 and 9 Series.

Lenovo secured the third position with a 17 per cent market share, according to the report.

The premium tablet segment (Rs 20,000-Rs 30,000) experienced a remarkable 47 per cent (quarter-on-quarter) jump.

In addition, analysts forecast a steady 5 to 10 per cent growth for the tablet market in 2024, fueled by a wave of technological advancements.

“The potential debut of premium tablets with OLED displays will further fuel the growth momentum of the premium segment. We also anticipate that government and education initiatives following the General Elections might provide a significant boost to the market,” said Kumari.

Meanwhile, Apple on Tuesday refreshed its tablet line-up, with iPad Pro models housing new M4 chip and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities.

The iPad Pro comes in two variants — a 13-inch model and a super-portable 11-inch model, with a breakthrough Ultra Retina XDR display with OLED technology.

The 11-inch and 13-inch devices will be available in silver and space black finishes in 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB configurations, the company said in a statement.

The 11-inch iPad Pro starts at Rs 99,900 for the Wi-Fi model, and Rs 119,900 for the Wi-Fi + Cellular model.

The 13-inch iPad Pro starts at Rs 129,900 for the Wi-Fi model, and Rs 149,900 for the Wi-Fi + Cellular model, said the company.

“With the breakthrough Ultra Retina XDR display, the next-level performance of M4, incredible AI capabilities, and support for the all-new Apple Pencil Pro and Magic Keyboard, there’s no device like the new iPad Pro,” said John Ternus, Apple’s senior vice president of hardware engineering.

The new iPad Pro, Apple Pencil Pro and Magic Keyboard are available to order, with availability in stores beginning May 15.

The M4 chip features a new display engine to enable the precision, colour and brightness of the Ultra Retina XDR display.

The new CPU offers up to four performance cores and now six efficiency cores, with next-generation machine learning (ML) accelerators to deliver up to 1.5x faster CPU performance over M2 chip.

“Apple Pencil Pro brings powerful new interactions that take the pencil experience even further, and a new thinner, lighter Magic Keyboard is packed with incredible features,” the company informed.

The new iPad Pro offers 100 per cent recycled aluminium enclosures.

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-Top News Sharjah Tech Lite

Don’t fear AI, learn to use it well, says expert

In the session moderated by Dr. Mania Suwaid, Al Rawi drew an inspiring parallel with Alan Turing, the British mathematician whose work during WWII involved breaking the Enigma cipher, to illustrate the groundbreaking impacts of AI…reports Asian Lite News

New-age technology such as machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) can play a transformative role in education by delivering personalised learning experiences and improving student performance.

This was a resounding message at the panel discussion titled ‘Enhancing Private Education: Using Artificial Intelligence in Personalised Learning,’ held at the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF) on Friday.

“Artificial intelligence will not overshadow traditional centres of education like schools and universities. Instead, the technology will complement educators and help them deliver more impactful learning experiences,” said prominent AI researcher and trainer Yasmine Al Rawi.

In the session moderated by Dr. Mania Suwaid, Al Rawi drew an inspiring parallel with Alan Turing, the British mathematician whose work during WWII involved breaking the Enigma cipher, to illustrate the groundbreaking impacts of AI.

“Schools are not just for academic training but are arenas for developing soft skills and creativity. Our educational institutions should embed futuristic technologies in their everyday work to improve efficiencies. A teacher in a class of 30 may not be able to give equal attention to all students, but if we have AI-aided applications that can monitor students’ emotional responses while doing assignments and provide real-time assessment, it could be a game changer”, she opined.

“This kind of technology could enable educators to better understand students’ struggles or ease with assignments, enhancing their ability to offer support even without direct supervision,” Al Rawi further noted.

Discussing the need for responsible integration of AI in educational settings, Al Rawi pointed out the critical role of parents and teachers in instilling values in children. She likened AI’s introduction to past technological advances, such as television and the internet, and said, “The focus should be on guiding children to use these tools responsibly and ethically.”

Al Rawi also mentioned Futurepedia, a platform showcasing the latest AI tools from picture-to-text and text-to-video conversions to natural language processing, which can assist teachers in creating innovative lesson plans for grades 1 through 12. Furthermore, she noted the existence of innovation hubs such as the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa) in Sharjah, which support the development of new ideas and startups, including potential startups in sectors like fintech.

The UAE’s broader integration of AI, from smart policing initiatives by the Ministry of Interior to general government operations, illustrates the national commitment to leveraging cutting-edge technology. “AI is vital not only in the education sector but also in safeguarding society,” she concluded.

The 15th edition of the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival is running in Expo Centre Sharjah until May 12 and features a host of activities and talks that promise to engage and entertain kids and grown-ups alike. The latest edition has a strong lineup of authors and experts from varied industries. (ANI/WAM)

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