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Today in Tech: Mobile SOS; HCL Tech's intent; Francisco D'Souza on Glassdoor; Eric Schmidt in India

NS Ramnath
Published: 20, Mar 2013

I have been with Forbes India since August 2008. I like writing about ideas, events and people at the intersection of business, society and technology. Prior, I was with Economic Times. I am based in Bangalore. Email:

Why Mobile SOS apps aren't so effective in India sos_androidv6Among the several if-only analysis that takes place in the minds of people hearing about yet another victim of rape and violence is the one that involves a savior arriving just in time, alerted by a Mobile SOS. In fact there are quite a few apps in the market.


The impact of such apps can be huge. A similar app in US, Circle of 6, tags itself as a free app that prevents violence before it happens. (Yes, the last three words are redundant, but you can't overstate the case.) It also won a couple of awards, including one from Whitehouse in the US. But, in India, these apps are constrained by how accurately telcos can locate you. Economic Times, (in a report that confirms India will soon have a single number for emergency, like 911 in the US) has this revealing paragraph

In May 2011, at the behest of security agencies, the Centre had unveiled new rules mandating telcos to install within 12 months, advanced tracking devices on every cell tower in the country to pinpoint the location of a minimum 30% of their customers within 50 meters of accuracy and 80% of their customers within 300 meters of accuracy. In the second year, telcos were mandated to further enhance this facility to ensure that 50% of the customers can be tracked within 50 meters of accuracy and 95% within 300 meters Mobile phone companies have, however, not implemented the government order citing capital expenditure. (emphasis mine)

Michael Sandel wouldn't approve



HCL Tech splits hair
In an interview with Business Line, Prithvi Shergill, HCL Tech HR head argues that the company did not give "offer letters", only "letters of intent", to freshers. About 5000 fresh graduates across the country who were given to understand that they have a job offer from HCL Tech have been protesting since last month because they were not given joining dates. As to when they would join depends on the demand, and the picture is still hazy there. It's not just for HCL Tech, but across the sector. Most companies simply reduced the hires from campuses in line with what they could foresee as demand. HCL Tech didn't.

Interestingly, Shergill told BL: "We have always maintained that we will hire as per business demand that we foresee."

If only they had.


Francisco D'Souza in Top 10 in Glassdoor's highly rated CEOs list
glassdoorlogoGlassdoor, a social community and career website, is increasingly becoming popular among those trying to get an inside glimpse of a company. The website lets users anonymously post information on salaries, interviews etc. It also lets the employees rate their CEO. Francisco is rated a few notches above Google's Larry Page and Apple's Tim Cook. N Chandrasekaran of TCS and Krishnakumar of Mindtree, and TK Kurien of Wipro are three others who have made it to top 50.

Here's the top 10 based on the approval rating.


Check out the complete list here.



McKinsey on Internet in India
India can transform its Internet profile, expand usage, and boost GDP, argues McKinsey. Here's a graph from its report



On a related note, Eric Schmidt makes a case for open internet in a ToI op-ed

India accepts that investing in the internet is as crucial as investing in roads or telephone lines. The bigger question is, which internet will it invest in, an open or closed one? If people in power are overly pessimistic about the internet, their pessimism will be self-fulfilling. In seeking to control all of it - including the good parts that are working well - they'll stop good Indians from doing great things. Instead, they should focus on giving every Indian the best shot at using the internet to make his or her country even better.


Also of interest

  • Good News Beats Bad on Social Networks | New York Times
  • Google's Eric Schmidt takes first-hand look at Indian start-ups | Business Standard
  • Samsung Preparing Wristwatch as It Races Apple for Sales | Bloomberg
  • Jawbone Takes Next Step in Fitness-Tracking Race, Launches UP for Android | AllThingsD
  • Amazon's new 'Send to Kindle' button saves stories for later, directly from participating websites | The Verge


  • Nathan D

    I read Eric Schmidt take on the open Internet. I do believe that Germany's Autobahn do not have a speed limit but yet there are definite rules for driving - age, alcohol, texting, mobiles, seat belts, tyre pressure etc etc.

    on Mar 20, 2013
  • anon

    HCL is laying off people left, right & center....and it has managed to do all this while staying under the radar. If current employees are being laid off, the freshers dont have a chance at all to get in. I am not sure if it is the new CEO or Mr Shergill (or both of them together) who have come up with the strategy of forced attrition. Anyways Mr Shergill's reputation at Accenture does not help his case.

    on Mar 20, 2013
Today in Tech: Indian IT Growth; HCL Tech & Campus Placements; Nike & More
Today in Tech: IIT PhDs; Open Internet; Onsite CEO; e-tailing in China & More