India launches satellite for South Asian countries, Pakistan says no thanks

The Indian Space Research Organisation's GSAT-9 satellite was launched Friday, May 5, 2017 in the state of Andhra Pradesh.

The Indian Space Research Organisation’s GSAT-9 satellite was launched Friday, May 5, 2017 in the state of Andhra Pradesh.

New Delhi (CNN)In a first, India’s space agency launched a satellite Friday to provide communications services to its neighboring countries.

The South Asia satellite, funded entirely by India, was announced several years ago with the intention of serving all eight members of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).
According to Uday Bhaskar, director of Delhi-based think tank the Society for Policy Studies, the satellite represents a “new form of regional cooperation,” and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called it a “gift to the SAARC region.”
“Even the sky is not the limit when it comes to regional cooperation among like-minded countries,” Modi said after the launch.
The more than $36 million project does not, however, involve Pakistan, which pulled out of the project.
READ: Asia’s space race heats up

Tense relationship

The satellite project comes at a time of heightened tensions between the two countries. This week, India accused Pakistan of mutilating the bodies of two of its soldiers in the disputed territory of Kashmir. Last year, militants from Pakistan killed 18 Indian soldiers in an attack on an Indian army base.
While some have suggested Pakistan may have pulled out due to espionage concerns, Ajay Lele, a senior analyst at the Delhi-based Institute for Defense Studies and Analysis said “in modern times, you do not develop a satellite to spy on a country.”
But N. Sathiya Moorthy, a regional director at the Observer Research Foundation, said India should “do everything to ensure that policy makers (in Pakistan) remain convinced that it is nothing more than what India says it is.”
Lele said Pakistan’s backing out is a missed opportunity for Islamabad. “Problems on earth shouldn’t affect relationships in outer space,” he said.
Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Nafees Zakaria said the country was initially “keen to participate in the project.”
“However, as India was not willing to develop the project on a collaborative basis, it was not possible for Pakistan to support it as a regional project under the umbrella of SAARC,” he added.
He dismissed speculation over espionage concerns as “unfounded.”
The satellite will provide communications and disaster management services across South Asia.

Space diplomacy

The satellite’s launch is seen by many as a move by India to cement its big brother role in the region and improve relations with its neighbors, Pakistan aside.
“India has done satellite launches for countries commercially but never utilized them as a foreign policy tool. Space is no more just a science and technology domain — it is being seen from a strategic and foreign policy perspective,” said Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, head of the Nuclear and Space Policy Initiative at the Observer Research Foundation.
Experts say the move is also designed to counter China’s growing influence in South Asia. In 2011, Beijing launched a communications satellite for long-time ally Pakistan, followed by the launch of another for Sri Lanka in 2012.
“Space is emerging as a domain where you can see increasing competition between India and China. For China, reaching out to South Asia is a way of keeping India under check,” said Rajagopalan.
India's space program is increasing in sophistication.

Disaster control

The South Asia satellite weighs 2,230 kilograms and is carrying 12 top-of-the-line communication transponders, making it India’s most significant space project since February’s record-breaking launch of 104 mini satellites with a single rocket.
Since the 2013 launch of India’s Mars orbiter, the country’s space agency has established itself as a reliable, low-cost global player.
The new satellite will provide telecommunications, disaster management and weather forecasting services, among others.
A satellite focusing on disaster communications could be particularly beneficial to South Asia, home to about a quarter of the world’s population and prone to tropical cyclones, heat waves, earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides and floods.
“Bangladesh has serious climatic variations, while Maldives is seeing the impact of climate change. Both countries have a lot to receive in terms of disaster warnings,” said Rajagopalan.
Bhaskar added, “This can go a long way in improving regional human security indicators, particularly in the more impoverished cross-sections of the regional population across South Asia.”

Welcome To The Golden Age Of Gadgets, Thanks To China

Gadgets are entering a new golden age (Photo: Benjamin Joffe / HAX)

Gadgets are entering a new golden age (Photo: Benjamin Joffe / HAX)

Back in the pre-internet days, a friend of mine owned a key ring which beeped when he whistled. It was one of those small, affordable, quirky, fun or useful electronic devices that we call gadgets.

Fast forward to the present. Smartwatch pioneer Pebble was acquired by Fitbit earlier this month, whose stock is down 75% year-on-year, and had to dismiss most of its staff and discontinue its products. Many took it as a bad omen for gadgets.

Farhad Manjoo at The New York Times collected evidence: the drone startup 3D Robotics gave up making hardware, Makerbot fell short on its ‘3d print everything’ promise, many crowdfunded projects failed, like AR bike helmet Skully which went bankrupt.

The future sounded bleak. Gadgets makers would either be copied by some unscrupulous manufacturer in China or dominated by large companies. Some, like Mark Wilson at Fast Company, recommended not to buy smart gadgets for Christmas. But Ashley Carman at The Verge, which had announced the come-back of gadgets, wrote a response pronouncing gadgets very much alive, quoting Kickstarter-born VR headset Oculus (acquired by Facebook), sound systems maker Sonos, Snap’s Spectacles and a few more.

So what is it? Are gadgets both alive and dead at the same time?

As a partner at HAX, which invest in dozens of hardware startups for a living, ranging from consumer devices to robotics and health tech devices, I would say we’re entering a golden age for gadgets. Here’s why.

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The First Ice Age of Gadgets

First, there is no denying the situation The New York Times article pointed out. Companies need to keep innovating to survive. Apple would not be around if they had allowed the first iPhone to be the last. Where there was one category champion, like Fitbit, many competitors are cropping up, and Chinese companies are at the forefront.

Xiaomi single-handedly commoditized many product categories, from smartphones to $15 fitness bands, to action cameras for half the price of a GoPro. While those are mostly sold in China for now, the clock is ticking for Western incumbents; they will need to keep innovating to avoid extinction.

A Cambrian Explosion

The Economist called it in 2014 for software; it has now spread to hardware startups. Hundreds of them are getting started and funded worldwide. Why is this happening?

First, prototyping has become faster and cheaper, and crowdfunding can help promote, validate and finance early projects.

Second, manufacturing is now possible at a faster pace, lower cost and smaller scale, thanks to Shenzhen. This goes from getting same-day components, PCBs or 3D prints at the prototyping stage, to a super-efficient supply chain of enormous size. Every time we buy a smartphone we effectively invest in the local ecosystem, which trains factory workers and tooling experts, and finances better and better machines. Those advantages are a critical aspect to enable early stage startups and the “long tail” of niche products (pioneered by the Shanzhai movement) to get to market.

[“source-ndtv”]

Stop Worrying About Mobile Ad Fraud Thanks to This New Tool

Stop Worrying About Mobile Ad Fraud Thanks to This New Tool

Leading mobile performance platform ClicksMob has announced the release of a new, cutting-edge fraud prevention system designed to detect and block false web traffic.

Dubbed Fraud Fighter, the preventative technology is set up to proactively address the rapidly growing threat of ad fraud by tracking, analyzing and vetting all incoming traffic to ensure it is genuine.

Last year, a report compiled by researchers at Forensiq and AppLift found that an estimated 34 percent of all mobile ads were at risk of fraud — meaning that the impressions generated by each promotion were likely to be fake.

According to ClicksMob CEO Avishai Shoushan, that fake traffic now costs U.S. advertisers an estimated $8.2 billion in wasted promotional investments.

“A lot has been said, written, streamed and more about ad fraud lately,” he said. “Fraud is one of the biggest challenges in the mobile advertising world, and if nothing is done, it will only continue to grow, undermining billions of dollars in valuable ad investments.”

Developers say that Fraud Fighter will be able to face the challenge of mobile fraud head-on.

How Mobile Ad Fraud Fighter Works

In order to gauge authenticity, Fraud Fighter regularly performs a series of tests in order to systematically detect and block all fraudulent traffic on a 24/7 basis. These tests have been designed by Israel Defense Forces’ elite cyber intelligence unit, and are set up to efficiently track and catalogue all malicious and non-malicious IPs. The system picks up on features like language and download times in order to generate a picture of whether that traffic is legitimate.

ClicksMob then monitors that activity around the clock, and uses the data to create new tests and more efficient methods of blocking fraudulent traffic.

The propriety system will be incorporated into ClicksMob’s existing customer packages free of charge.

“As a leading mobile performance platform with a core advantage rooted in the development of in-house tech, we approach fraud fighting as a strategically-wise and vital long-term commitment,” said company Chairman Eran Tal.

“We chose to develop our very own Fraud Fighter instead of opting for third party systems to keep in-line with our in-house standards of high quality,” Tal added. “We followed the same business logic when developing ClicksMob’s other offerings to much success thus far.”

[“source-smallbiztrends”]