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Meghalaya first state in northeast to have smart classroom

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Shillong: Meghalaya on Friday became the first among the eight north-eastern states to have a smart classroom.

Launching the first smart classroom at Pine Mount School here as part of the observation of Digital India Week, Chief Minister Mukul Sangma said the smart classroom would generate more hope amongst the students.

“Through this initiative, we wanted to tell the world that Meghalaya is not a state that follows others but that it is capable of leading the way,” he said.

The smart classroom project was undertaken by the state government in partnership with Microsoft India to effectively implement technology in education and create an environment where students and teachers communicate, collaborate, create, access and consume content using Microsoft technology.

The chief minister also commended Microsoft as a smart and competent partner and put across a proposal to them to have a “digital exposure programme” for a few handpicked students of at least two schools in the state with students and teachers in the US.

During the course a month-long project at Pine Mount School, Microsoft India conducted several training and mentoring classes for 105 students and eight teachers of class VIII.

Using Windows-based tablets, these classes were aimed at fostering digital learning and teaching for study projects in varied subjects such as geography, history, biology, physics and chemistry.

(IANS)

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‘Made for India’ Microsoft ‘Kaizala’ App to Boost Productivity

Microsoft's India officially launched 'Kaizala', a 'made for India' app that has has been designed for large group communications and work management, even for remote locations with 2G optimisation and intends to enable businesses become more productive

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Microsoft Kaizala
Microsoft launches Made for India Kaizala app.. VOA
  • Microsoft India on Wednesday officially launched ‘Kaizala — a ‘made for India’ app that has been designed for large group communications and work management
  • The app works even in remote locations with 2G optimization
  • Powered by Azure Cloud platform, ‘Kaizala’ would help organizations seamlessly communicate, collaborate and complete tasks and bring together desktop users and mobile-only users

New Delhi, July 26, 2017: To enable businesses to become more productive, Microsoft India on Wednesday officially launched ‘Kaizala — a ‘made for India’ app that has been designed for large group communications and work management, even for remote locations with 2G optimization.

Powered by Azure Cloud platform, ‘Kaizala’ would help organizations seamlessly communicate, collaborate and complete tasks and bring together desktop users and mobile-only users who may be within or outside their organizations.

The company also announced the launch of ‘Kaizala Pro’ — an enterprise version that allows organizations to have full administrative control of their groups.

‘Kaizala’ is available in India as a free download on iOS and Android phones. ‘Kaizala Pro’ is available for purchase at a list price of Rs 130 per user per month.

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“‘Kaizala’ brings together the two disparate worlds of mobile only messaging apps and a digitally integrated modern workplace. The product will make it possible for organizations to interact with everyone both within and outside, seamlessly and with rich content,” Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India, told reporters here.

“It is different from Microsoft Teams in a way that it helps mobile-first people — be it partners, customers or users — connect with organizations seamlessly,” he added. Microsoft Teams is the chat-based workspace in Office 365.

The app users can simply get connected using their mobile phone numbers as their primary unique ID.

Using ‘Kaizala’, organizations can connect with their employees and the extended value chain.

“The product offers a simple and familiar chat interface and goes beyond to make everyone more productive using Surveys, Polls, Jobs, Meetings and other actions, right in your chats,” added Rajiv Kumar, Corporate Vice President, Office Product Group, Microsoft.

‘Kaizala’ has seen significant adoption among organizations such as YES Bank, Apollo Telemedicine, Republic TV, United Phosphorous Limited and Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan, who are currently piloting the solution for their internal teams.

Earlier in the day, NITI Ayog CEO Amitabh Kant said that the economic advisory body is an early adapter of the app.

“Delighted 2 launch Microsoft’s Kaizala – a safe, secure, mobile first App designed & developed in India. Niti was its first few adopters,” Kant tweeted.

In addition, the Andhra Pradesh government is one of the first government organisations to use ‘Kaizala’ for real-time governance.

More than 30 government departments and over 70,000 users in the state government are using ‘Kaizala’ for day-to-day work.

Both ‘Kaizala’ and ‘Kaizala Pro’ are integrated with Microsoft Office 365.

Kaizala is a product of Microsoft Garage, which focuses on experimental ideas and projects. (IANS)

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Microsoft, LV Prasad Eye Institute launch Artificial Intelligence for Eyecare

Currently, 285 million people the world over are visually impaired, of which 55 million reside in India

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Microsoft Kaizala
Microsoft launches Made for India Kaizala app.. VOA

Hyderabad, December 19, 2016: Microsoft India, in collaboration with L.V. Prasad Eye Institute, on Monday launched Microsoft Intelligent Network for Eyecare (MINE).

This is a mission-driven global consortium of like-minded commercial, research, and academic institutions, who have joined hands to apply artificial intelligence to help in the elimination of avoidable blindness and scale delivery of eyecare services worldwide.

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The partner organisations of this consortium include Bascom Palmer – University of Miami, Flaum Eye Institute – University of Rochester (USA), Federal University of Sao Paulo (Brazil) and Brien Holden Vision Institute (Australia).

The partners will collaborate and collectively work on diverse datasets of patients across geographies to come up with machine-learning predictive models for vision impairment and eye disease.

This will include the rate of change of myopia in children, conditions that impact children’s eyesight, predictive outcomes of refractive surgery, optimal surgery parameters as well as ways to personalize a surgery and maximize its probability of success.

Currently, 285 million people the world over are visually impaired, of which 55 million reside in India.

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As the technology driver, Microsoft will deploy its leading cloud platform technology — Cortana Intelligence Suite — for advanced analytics and to build Artificial Intelligence models on eyecare.

“MINE, a global collaboration, reinforces Microsoft’s belief in the combined power of data, cloud and advanced analytics to drive public good. In our shared vision to eradicate preventive blindness, MINE will help redefine eyecare by bringing together the power of technology and knowledge of global experts,” said Anil Bhansali, Managing Director, Microsoft India.

G.N. Rao, Founder-chair, L.V. Prasad Eye Institute, said they have been using Microsoft Azure Machine-Learning and Power BI to drive clinical interventions and improve patient outcomes.

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“Today, we take great pride in taking forward our partnership with Microsoft and joining forces with global institutes to revolutionise the field of ophthalmology in India and across the world.

“We are confident that this partnership will … pave the way for others to leverage technology to address several other critical eye diseases.” (IANS)

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Land of Wanderlust: God’s Own Garden, Mawlynnong clings on to its Tranquillity

Mawlynnong, is located at a distance of 90kms from the state capital Shillong in the state Meghalaya. The village is also tagged as God’s own garden

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Living Root Bridge, by Debopriya Kumar.

November 9, 2016: Mawlynnong, is located at a distance of 90kms from the state capital Shillong in the state Meghalaya. The village is also tagged as God’s own garden because of its mind-boggling fresh natural beauty and clean environment.

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Until 2003, this was a remote community hardly anyone knew about, but after it got the prestigious tag of ‘Cleanest Village in Asia’ by Discover India Magazine, tourists started pouring in to witness the God’s own garden.

Mawlynnong is the home to the Khasi tribal people which is far away from noise and dirt of other cities.

“You would find Bamboo dustbins standing at the corner of each household,” said Debopriya Kumar, a Tourism enthusiast and a scholar of tourism studies who recently visited Mawlynnong.

The streets are swiped at regular intervals by volunteers and would find large signboards requesting visitors not to throw away plastics, as littering is something that is sternly frowned upon.

A Street of Mawlynnong Village. Picture taken by Debopriya Kumar.
A Street of Mawlynnong Village, by Debopriya Kumar.

He further said, “The local people say that the cleanliness was taught by their forefathers and they have kept their tradition going by keeping their surroundings clean.”

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“Though, Mawlynnong’s concern for hygiene emerged about 130 years ago when an outbreak of cholera struck. Since there were no medical facilities in the village back then, cleanliness was seen as the only way to prevent the spread of the disease.”

The village has also been hailed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He said in an autumn radio address under his Clean India campaign, “I was amazed to know that there is such a village in remote northeast, Meghalaya, which is so passionately carrying the mission of cleanliness for years.”

In a conversation with NewsGram, Debopriya Kumar described how the walk through the village is like.

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“The living tree root bridges made by the locals are a beauty to watch, they entwined the roots of rubber trees in order to pave paths through the thick forest.”

The bridges are woven in such a manner that they are not slippery and are very sturdy.

– by Pinaz Kazi of NewsGram. Twitter: @PinazKazi