KPMG and Google Enter an Alliance to Help Organizations Transform Digital Experiences

Technology, Telecom & Internet

New solutions combine Google Cloud’s security and artificial intelligence (AI) leadership with KPMG business acumen, industry knowledge and integration capability to enrich the customer experience and accelerate digital transformation.

 

KPMG International today announced an alliancewith Google to help organizations transform their business and operating models with secure cloud computing, machine learning (ML), enterprise mobility and advanced analytics technologies.

As part of the collaboration, KPMG is creating a portfolio of industry solutions built on Google Cloud Platform (GCP). KPMG member firms around the globe are currently engaging with clients on solutions for financial services, insurance, healthcare, manufacturing, and retail, among other industries. These solutions, including customer service solutions, contract management, cyber security, regulatory compliance and business and process performance, will benefit from GCP’s trusted security, advanced data analytics and ML.

Two KPMG solutions available now are KPMG Intelligent Interactions for creating a differentiated customer experience, and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Assessment and Compliance solutions for managing customer data and privacy.

“Organizations are seeing advanced technologies and natural language experiences as a key to transforming their businesses,” says Benjie Thomas, Canadian Managing Partner, Advisory Services for KPMG in Canada. “KPMG is creating data-driven solutions that harness Google Cloud technology, including machine learning, to help our member firm clients advance business strategies and deliver unrivaled digital experiences.”

“Our alliance with KPMG helps customers across industries benefit from the advantages of Google Cloud, including our advanced security, data analytics and machine learning capabilities, to solve real business challenges,” says Tariq Shaukat, President, Partners and Industry Platforms, Google Cloud. “We’re working alongside KPMG to develop new solutions that help enable customers to actively participate in the ideation and creation of their own solutions.”

KPMG’s business acumen, industry knowledge, and business process consulting help member firm clients understand how to integrate ML technology. Combining this experience with Google Cloud’s pre-trained ML models, made accessible via application programming interfaces (APIs), streamlines new product development, where clients do not need to build and train their own models. KPMG also provides ML models that can be quickly customized using Google Cloud Machine Learning Engine.

The alliance allows member firm clients to take advantage of GCP-based solutions as part of the KPMG Ignite portfolio of AI capabilities, KPMG’s Centre of Excellence for Data & Analytics and Intelligent Automation, and KPMG’s 65 Google Cloud certified consultants. The centre has established a KPMG GCP ‘lab’ to foster experimentation and collaboration with Google Cloud on client use cases.

KPMG Intelligent Interactions
One of the first available solution offerings under the alliance is KPMG’s Intelligent Interactions, part of KPMG’s Connected Enterprise portfolio. The solution automates and enhances customer interactions by using ML technology, including Google Cloud Speech-to-Text and Translate APIs, to determine sentiment and intent.

KPMG Intelligent Interactions links with other intelligent automation (IA) technologies, such as robotic process automation (RPA), to help clients automate customer responses and redesign business processes. For example, voice automation—with capabilities to understand, translate, and identify sentiment and intent—can augment interactions with customers. Virtual assistants — built with Google Cloud ML language capabilities, including DialogFlow, Speech APIs, and Translate APIs—can anticipate customer needs based on predefined triggers.

GDPR Assessment and Compliance solutions

To help member firm clients build and execute a new vision for customer data management beyond compliance, KPMG teams offer purpose-built solutions that assist clients with the challenges of GDPR compliance while helping lay the foundation for a strong data management and privacy strategy.

The solutions combine KPMG’s domain, regulation, customer analytics, enterprise data strategy and compliance knowledge with Google’s ML-based cloud technology, data management and advanced analytics products to deliver a sustainable platform with single customer views, legal and compliance support, end-to-end modelling platforms, cloud data warehousing and a secure data infrastructure. The solutions help reduce the costs associated with ongoing compliance, streamline compliance efforts, enable data-driven customer service improvements and support analytics-powered processing.

Infosys Extends Alliance With Microsoft for Cloud-Based Digital Transformation Solutions

Business

Infosys (NYSE: INFY), a global leader in consulting, technology and next-generation services, today announced an expansion of its relationship with Microsoft to accelerate the digital transformation of enterprise clients. Infosys has launched a new Microsoft Cloud Business Unit that will focus on the comprehensive cloud needs of enterprises – from infrastructure to business applications.

The Microsoft Cloud Business Unit at Infosys will consist of a central pool of trained consultants, architects and specialist sales team that will be aligned to four core solution areas – Modern Workplace, Business Applications, Application Development & Infrastructure and Data & Analytics. The new unit is chartered to develop and deliver integrated experiences, solutions and services spanning Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Office 365, Windows 10 and Microsoft Dynamics 365.

Infosys currently provides a broad set of industry solutions leveraging Dynamics 365 and other Microsoft Cloud services for customers across sectors, including Financial Services, Retail and CPG, Communications, Oil and Gas, and Life Sciences. Further, Infosys delivers a spectrum of technology solutions to help customers migrate to the Microsoft Cloud, derive deep insights from existing hybrid environments and harness intelligence for automation. Building on the current collaboration, Infosys and Microsoft have concluded a strategic Cloud Solution Provider Agreement (CSP) that enables Infosys to directly manage the entire lifecycle for its enterprise customers including billing and support, and deliver integrated end-to-end solutions as a managed service on Microsoft Cloud.

As part of this enhanced alliance, Infosys will also establish a global Microsoft Cloud Innovation Center in the US, which will act as a forum to help enterprise clients utilize the power of Microsoft Cloud. The Center will enable incubation, co-innovation and proliferation of solutions leveraging Microsoft Cloud services.

Ravi Kumar S, President and Deputy Chief Operating Officer, Infosys, said, “Our clients, large global corporations are continuing to scale their digital agendas to transform their business and operating models. This presents a unique opportunity for Infosys to partner with our clients and help them navigate this disruption. Our newly formed Microsoft Cloud Business Unit will help to synergize best-in-class capabilities; and our investments across Microsoft Azure, Microsoft 365, and Microsoft Dynamics 365 will support in orchestrating differentiated solutions in the age of digital, thereby empowering our clients to energize their core and amplifying a superior experience across stakeholders.”

Judson Althoff, Executive Vice President of Microsofts Worldwide Commercial Business, Microsoft Corp., said, “Globally, customers are moving quickly to digitally transform their organizations and are increasingly turning to the Microsoft Cloud to realize their digital ambitions. By launching its Microsoft Cloud Business Unit, Infosys can better respond to customers’ digital needs through a cohesive approach that integrates Microsoft Azure, Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Dynamics 365.”

Infosys is an Azure partner with 1400+ certified consultants and dedicated Microsoft Learning & Certification Centers across five locations. Over the past six months, Infosys and Microsoft teams have worked closely to organize multiple events and hackathons aimed at developing new solution ideas; and providing a wide cross-section of Infosys employees with hands-on experience in deploying Microsoft Cloud solutions and services

Helium’s Ballooning Price may Fly Even Higher

Business, Health

The world’s helium supply shortage has the medical industry worried. Why do they care? The fact is, nearly a quarter of the world’s helium is used for cryogenics in MRI machines. The situation has gotten so bad that doctors have actually called for a ban on party balloons to save helium for life-saving purposes. This critical shortage has caused a helium price surge to all-time highs and has drawn investor attention to gas producers like American Helium Inc. (TSX-V: AHE) (OTC: AHELF), Praxair Inc.(NYSE: PX), Air Products & Chemicals Inc. (NYSE: APD), Gazprom PAO (OTC: OGZPY) and United State Natural Gas Fund LP (NSYE: UNG).

Shortage Driving Up The Price Of Helium

Global demand for helium has risen by 10% per year over the past decade to an estimated 8 billion cubic feet. This far exceeds current supply which sits at only 5.4 billion cubic feet. This shortfall has placed an enormous strain on the price of helium, driving it up to an all-time high this year to $119 per thousand cubic feet. This represents an 11% increase over 2017. This trend is likely to continue into 2020, where the value of the helium market could exceed $1.5 billion.

A balloon ban could certainly be effective, but this extreme option isn’t a long-term solution. A much better solution lies in finding new sites that can produce helium in the future. This has created a window of opportunity for a pure-play helium producer to help fill the gap between demand and supply.

A Discovery That Could Rebalance The Helium Shortage

One candidate that may have an opportunity to fill the gap between supply and demand is American Helium Inc. (TSX-V: AHE) (OTCQB: AHELF), which is currently exploring a land package consisting of over 17,700 acres of land in the Uinta Basin in Utah. Analysis of historical data shows that the company’s asset has very high helium concentrations of 1-1.5%. This number is comparable to Texas, the biggest helium-producing region.

American Helium Inc. aims to be the first pure-play U.S. helium producer. It appears that any such producer may have the backing of the United States government. Recently, Donald Trump placed helium on his list of critical minerals, sending a signal that the U.S. government is in full support of companies that can unearth helium domestically in fill the void. The company is led by David Sidoo, a 20-year veteran in the oil and gas industry and founding shareholder of American Oil & Gas Inc. Their goal is to take their land package into commercialization within 14 months. If all goes to plan, Utah could become just the third helium-producing state.

Just recently, the company reported a significant resource increase at its land package, now estimated to hold 7.85 billion cubic feet (bcf) of helium. Since global demand for helium sits at 8 bcf, American Helium Inc.s asset has the potential to cover nearly all of the global demand and rebalance the current supply shortage. The company has now laid out the location of its first well and is in the processing of acquiring drilling permits, bringing this potential solution closer to reality.

Why A Pure-Play Helium Operation Matters

The U.S. is currently the world’s biggest helium producer and controls 55% of global supply, but there actually isn’t a lot known helium resources within its borders. However, the U.S. hasn’t historically had any companies actively looking to unlock its helium potential. Only Texas and Wyoming have produced helium, but this helium has always been a byproduct of oil and gas drilling.

At the moment, the U.S. government operates the world’s largest helium source at the Hugoton Field down in Texas, but this source is declining by 7% a year and will be completely shut off in 2021. This means that in just three years, the U.S. will need an injection to its helium inventory.

Although the U.S. has already begun importing helium overseas, that’s far from a sustainable solution, because other helium-producing nations are also facing a similar supply crunch. For example, Qatar, the second-biggest producer, closed two helium plants last year due to tensions in the Middle East.

Clearly, helium supply will not be able to keep up with demand without a pure-play helium producer. The current field is simply too invested in oil and gas drilling, and helium is just a second thought. When pure play helium producers enter the market, it is highly likely that they will have significant advantages over traditional oil and gas drillers in the helium space. This new generation of helium suppliers is making progress each day, with American Helium Inc. (TSX-V: AHE) (OTCQB: AHELF) potentially emerging as an early front-runner.

Other Industrial Gas Companies in the U.S.

Praxair Inc. (NYSE: PX)  Praxair Inc. is an industrial gas company with operations across North AmericaEuropeSouth America, and Asia. Praxair produces, sells and distributes atmospheric, process and specialty gases, and high-performance surface coatings. In November 2017, the company notified bulk liquid helium customers worldwide of increases in helium prices of up to 10%, effective January 1, 2018, or as contracts permit.

Air Products & Chemicals Inc. (NYSE: APD)  Air Products & Chemicals Inc. is an industrial gas company providing atmospheric and process gases and related equipment to manufacturing markets, including refining and petrochemical, metals, electronics, and food and beverage. The company operates packaged gas businesses in EuropeAsia, and Latin America. In the U.S., the company’s packaged gas business sells products only for the electronics and magnetic resonance imaging industries.

Gazprom PAO (OTC: OGZPY)  Gazprom is a global energy company focused on the exploration, production, transportation, storage, processing, and sales of gas, gas condensate and oil. The company holds the world’s largest natural gas reserves. Its share in the global and Russian gas reserves amounts to 17% and 72%respectively.

United State Natural Gas Fund LP (NSYE: UNG)  United State Natural Gas Fund is an exchange-traded security that is designed to track in percentage terms the movements of natural gas price. The investment objective of UNG is for the daily changes in percentage terms of its shares’ net NAV to reflect the daily changes in percentage terms of the price of natural gas delivered at the Henry Hub, Louisiana.

Menopausal Women Staying Silent About Painful Sex – Recent Survey Highlights Knowledge Gap About Treatment Options

Health
RED BANK, NJ and ROSEMONT, PAMay 30, 2018  – HealthyWomen, the nation’s leading independent, nonprofit health information source for women, along with Duchesnay USA, a specialty pharmaceutical company with a long-standing commitment to women’s health, today announced the results of a survey* evaluating the experience of postmenopausal women with one of the most common and troubling symptoms of menopause: painful sex.

The survey, sponsored by Duchesnay USA, was conducted among 832 women aged 45 years and older and 305 women’s health care providers (HCPs). Findings suggest that women are not well-informed about painful sex due to menopause. It underscores the importance of women sharing their symptoms with their health care providers for proper treatment and to prevent symptoms from worsening.

Key Survey Findings:

  • Among 553 respondents, 73% were still sexually active after menopause.
  • Among 555 respondents, 62% were experiencing pain during intercourse.
  • Among 335 respondents who rated frequency of pain, 83% reported experiencing pain in half or more instances of sexual activity with 73% rating the pain moderate to severe.
  • Almost 60% of 337 menopausal women respondents had never discussed their painful sex with a health care provider while, in contrast, 83% of 266 HCP respondents claimed to often or always discuss pain during sex with their menopausal patients.
  • Among 308 respondents, 69% did not know that the painful sex they were experiencing is treatable.

“Women’s health is a topic that is often in the headlines, yet menopause is still an under-discussed stage of life, especially when it comes to lesser-known symptoms and impact on a woman’s sexual health,” said Barb Dehn, NP, and member of the HealthyWomen Women’s Health Advisory Council. “These findings show the need for improved communication between women and their HCPs, as well as general condition and treatment options awareness so women can lead fulfilling sex lives, pain-free.”

The survey also gave some insight into how women were electing to cope with painful sex. Among 314 respondents, 33% were avoiding sex altogether, and 45% were resorting to lubricants to manage pain.

While certain methods such as lubricants can provide temporary relief, these do not treat the underlying condition. A number of prescription therapies, including hormone-free oral tablets, are available to specifically treat moderate to severe painful sex due to menopause.

For more information on the survey: healthywomen.org/painfulsex

* This survey titled “What Do You Know about Your Sexual Health After Menopause?” was conducted within the United States by HealthyWomen in partnership with Duchesnay. It was conducted online from December 4, 2017, to March 18, 2018, among 832 women ages 45 and older and 305 women’s health care providers.

About Dyspareunia (painful sex)
Before menopause, estrogen, the primary female sex hormone, helps maintain the thickness and elasticity (stretchiness) of vaginal tissues. However, as women age, estrogen levels drop, causing changes in these tissues. These changes can lead to a medical condition called vulvar and vaginal atrophy (VVA), which can lead to painful sex. Left untreated, painful sex due to menopause can worsen. Dyspareunia is a common postmenopausal condition, with as many as one in three postmenopausal women experiencing pain during intercourse.

Hon’ble President of India Sets a New Precedence With Presence at ‘SantokBaa Humanitarian Award’ Function

Society
Mr. Ram Nath Kovind, Hon’ble President of India, set a precedent when he came to Surat on 29th May 2018 to attend the ‘SantokBaa Humanitarian Award’ presentation function, organised by SRK Knowledge Foundation (SRKKF). After conferring the ‘SantokBaa Humanitarian Award’ to Nobel Laureate, Mr. Kailash Satyarthi, and Former Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Mr. A.S. Kiran Kumar, along with Rs. 1 crore (equivalent to US$ 1,50,000) each, he admitted that he came to attend the award function by breaking tradition of Rashtrapati Bhavan (President House). He said that generally the President wouldn’t attend functions of private organisations. “When I learnt that Satyarthi and Kiran Kumar were to be awarded, I said these two are good men. Later, after checking the credentials of the award-giver, I learnt that they are also fine. “So, I decided to break the tradition a little bit to felicitate two good people,” the President said.

Hon.President Mr. Ram Nath Kovind presenting the Award to Mr. Kiran Kumar (PRNewsfoto/SRKay Consulting Group LLP)

Mr. Kailash Satyarthi said he was honoured to receive the award and declared that he would donate the money to Surakshit Bachpan Fund (Safe Childhood Fund) for the welfare of children. He asked the Chief Minister of Gujarat to take stern actions in eradicating child labour which still exists in some parts of the State.
Mr. Kiran Kumar said he received the award not as an individual, but as a representative of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). He said he would dedicate this money to further research and development work in space science and technology. Mr. Kiran Kumar is one of the persons instrumental in taking India to the list of top 5 countries having space technology.

Mr. Kovind said he was happy that Surat’s business community was supportive of philanthropic and social welfare efforts. He also praised the organisers for instituting the awards.

Mr. O. P. Kohli, Hon’ble Gujarat Governor, and Mr. Vijay Rupani, Hon’ble Chief Minister, were also present at the occasion. Both of them complimented the Awardees and praised SRKKF for its notable contribution to the larger good of the society. At the occasion, SRKKF also received a letter of appreciation from Mr. Narendra Modi, the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India.

SRKKF Chairman Mr. Govind Dholakia, barely educated, once a farmer now a diamond baron and a great philanthropist, said, “I wanted to institute an award in the memory of my mother who taught me values of life. We have been able to recognise wonderful people who have been working for the betterment of society and impacting lives of millions.”

Started in 2007, the award has been conferred upon other eminent personalities from a variety of fields, including Mr. Ratan Tata, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Dr Sudha Murthy, Lord Bhikhu Parekh, Dr Verghese Kurien, Gandhian Narayan Desai, Dr. H. L. Trivedi, Mrs. Poornima Pakwasa, Father Valles, Dr. M. S. Swaminathan and Mr. Sam Pitroda.

 

Cell Phone Alerts To Provide “Get Out And Vote” Message

Governance

Citizen suggests using cell phone and media notifications to get the message out on voting days

Evan Kosiner, recipient of the Sovereign’s Medal For Volunteers, Caring Canadian Award and a House Of Commons Award, is calling on the Right Honourable Justin P.J. Trudeau, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to use their power regarding the National Alert Aggregation & Dissemination System (NAAD System) to get the message out to Canadians to go out and vote.

Within his letter to the above parties, the suggestion was made, “If due to government bureaucracy it doesn’t fall into the “emergency” category, the innovator in me suggests it perhaps it could be conveniently another test day that happens to mention to “Get out and vote!””

With forthcoming provincial and municipal elections, using this system to get Canadians into the voting booth is a viable means and in the public interest.

Alibaba and Cainiao Make Strategic Investment in ZTO Express

Business

ZTO investment to tap New Retail opportunities and further digitalize China’slogistics industry

HANGZHOU, China, May 29, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Alibaba Group Holding Limited (NYSE: BABA) (“Alibaba”) and its logistic arm Cainiao Network (“Cainiao”), and ZTO Express (Cayman) Inc. (NYSE: ZTO) (“ZTO”), a leading and fast-growing express delivery company in China, today announced a strategic agreement in which investors led by Alibaba and Cainiao will invest US$1.38 billion in ZTO in exchange for an approximately 10% equity stake in the company. The transaction is expected to close in early June, subject to customary closing conditions.

The investment will see Cainiao and ZTO deepen their collaboration in the transformation of China’s logistics industry amid the growth of New Retail, a concept developed by Alibaba that promotes seamless integration between online and offline commerce. The investment will further support both Cainiao and ZTO’s focus on building up first and last-mile pickup and delivery capabilities, warehouse management, cross-border logistics and technology-driven smart solutions.

Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba Group and Chairman of Cainiao Network, said:  “ZTO has been an important partner to Alibaba Group and Cainiao Network in the development of the new digital economy. The continuing expansion of New Retail is catalyzing new opportunities and demands in logistics. This strategic investment will strengthen synergies across our mutual businesses to create new value and improved experience for merchants and consumers.”

Lin Wan, President of Cainiao Network, said: “The logistics industry in China is highly competitive with its own unique features and presents plenty of new opportunities ahead. This investment will enable Cainiao and ZTO to supercharge joint innovation and development to accelerate digitalization of the industry. We will continue to work closely with industry leaders, including ZTO, to enhance our logistics infrastructure and broaden our service offerings to meet the growing demand from New Retail.”

Meisong Lai, Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ZTO, said: “The growth of e-commerce and New Retail in China demands more efficient express delivery and expanded logistics services. To that effect, we are delighted to enhance our partnership with Alibaba and Cainiao through their strategic investments in ZTO. This partnership will enable us to expand our selection of high quality service offerings both in Chinaand internationally, and is fully aligned with our common interest in improving logistics efficiency and enhancing customer experience.”

Lai added: “Built as an open platform based on a shared-success philosophy, ZTO has become one of the leaders in the express delivery industry in China. Our continued collaboration with all industry constituents, and particularly with Alibaba and Cainiao through this strategic partnership, will amplify our competitive advantage and support our mission to become a world-class comprehensive logistics service provider.”

New Retail links online and offline commerce through deep consumer engagement based on insights drawn from advanced technology and data analytics. Moving forward, New Retail will require investment in smart supply chains, retail technologies, advanced logistics and mobile payments. These investments are all aimed at delivering a better experience for both consumers and merchants.

Cainiao has the world’s leading smart logistics network. Its technological innovation for the industry includes e-shipping labels and smart sorting. It has the capability to provide same-day and next-day delivery in nearly 1,500 districts and counties in China, and now operates Cainiao Post, a network of last-mile stations covering communities in top 100 cities and around 1,800 university campuses across the country.

ZTO is a leading and fast-growing express delivery company in China. It has high-quality service capabilities across the country such as line-haul, last-mile, express delivery, in-city delivery, fulfilment and warehousing. Propelled by the rapidly growing e-commerce industry and enabled by early strategic investments in its network infrastructure and technology and innovation, ZTO is expanding its capabilities and product offerings to make a transformative contribution to the express delivery industry. Recent initiatives in building its logistics eco-system in areas including LTL transportation services, international logistics and supply-chain management have shown meaningful progress and results.

Vedanta Limited: Update on Tuticorin Smelter

Business, Governance, Press Releases

Further to our announcement dated May 24th, 2018 the Company has received an order dated May 28, 2018 from the Government of Tamil Nadu directing the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) to seal the Company’s ‘Copper Smelter Plant 1 at Thoothukkudi District, Tamil Nadu’ and to close the said plant permanently.

The Company is further studying the order and shall keep the stock exchanges updated on any developments.

Also the SIPCOT vide its letter today, has informed the Company regarding cancellation of 342.22 acres of land allotted to the company for the proposed expansion ‘Copper Smelter Plant 2 Project’ at Thoothukkudi District, Tamil Nadu. The land price for the same shall be refunded by SIPCOT as per their norms.