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Microsoft announces new partnerships, cloud start-up initiative

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Mumbai: US-based technology major Microsoft on Thursday announced a string of partnerships, programmes and products claimed to help Indian organisations and governments to explore unchartered business areas and enrich customer and citizen experiences.

The newly launched local Microsoft Cloud and new devices will also catalyse digital transformation, the company said.

The tech giant, based in Redmond, California, announced partnerships with three e-commerce players – Justdial, Paytm and Snapdeal – and launched a special cloud initiative for start-ups aligned to smart cities at its first of its kind technology conference being held here.

“At Microsoft, we strive to empower every Indian citizen and every business and government organization to achieve more,” Satya Nadella, the Indian-born chief exevutive of Microsoft, said at the conference.

“With the newly launched Microsoft Cloud and with Surface Pro 4, our customers here in India have the digital technology they need to seize incredible new growth and opportunity on a global scale,” he added.

According to the company, Justdial and Microsoft will explore the use of Bing and cloud-based analytics to provide and enhance customer experience.

“Paytm and Microsoft are working on three core areas of partnership. The companies will integrate the Paytm app and Paytm Wallet into Cortana to enable consumers to pay for their utility bills and carry out mobile transactions easily. Paytm will use Office 365 for their merchants’ inventory and account management,” it said in a statement.

“Lastly, Paytm will facilitate and support Microsoft service sales via their merchant network,” it added.

Justifying the partnerships, Bhaskar Pramanik, chairman, Microsoft India, said: “Cloud and mobile technologies are already galvanising Indian industry. We will demonstrate that technology in the hands of brilliant people can create magic.”

Snapdeal will work with Microsoft Cloud platforms to create a digital automotive dealership that is expected to change the way customers make automotive buying decisions.

In addition, Microsoft also said that start-ups can now apply for individual access up to $120,000 (Rs.80 lakh) worth of Azure computing to help India’s smart cities explore solutions and run smart city digital pilots.

“Cities can also apply for access to these services and solutions on Azure through a new portal which connects start-ups with cities and their needs. This initiative is anticipated to impact over 50 smart cities in the next year through a catalogue of over 50 start-ups and ISV solutions,” the company added.

(IANS)

 

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Partial Shutdown of US Delays Space Missions, But NASA Not Grounded

Other active space missions includes NASA probes OSIRIS-REx and New Horizons spacecraft that continue to gather data in Earth orbit and the Moon, Mars, Jupiter and beyond, the report said

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People rally to call for an end to the partial government shutdown in Detroit, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019. VOA

The partial shutdown of the US federal government has had a serious impact on the country’s space agency NASA and development work on most future space missions has been slowed or suspended.

However, NASA has not been totally grounded by the partial government shutdown that began on December 22, after last-minute negotiations in Congress failed to end a budget standoff.

Over 95 per cent of the space agency’s employees have been furloughed. As a result, various research projects, including the Hubble Space Telescope has been put on hold, the Space.com reported on Wednesday.

Hubble suffered a mechanical problem that only furloughed NASA employees could repair.

Many workers also gathered outside the Johnson Space Center in Houston to protest the shutdown and its deleterious effects on their lives and the nation’s space programmes.

The Telescope facilities that have so far remained open during the shutdown will soon run out of money and cease operations.

This includes the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), a federally funded organization that operates the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA), the Green Bank Telescope and the Very Large Array (VLA), the report noted.

The partial shutdown become the longest on record after January 12, overtaking the previous record of the 21-day impasse in 1995-96 under then President Bill Clinton.

NASA, tissue
US shutdown delays space missions but NASA not grounded: Report,

President Donald Trump and the Congress have been at loggerheads over his demand to include in the budget $5.7 billion funding for building a border wall along the Mexico border. Democratic leaders have rejected his call.

NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), also called the “flying telescope” has also ceased operations since the shutdown.

The telescope, which is mounted to the fuselage of a Boeing 747 aircraft, has not flown since the shutdown began, the report said.

However, despite the shutdown some “excepted” employees remained at work, assisting astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and other space missions, the report said.

Also Read- National Clean Air Programme Should Set Higher Targets

Last week, astronauts aboard the ISS conducted a range of scientific experiments and public-outreach work. They engaged in an orbital Q&A with school kids and answered a variety of questions, from the nature of the research performed aboard the ISS to the type of training astronauts receive to whether your ears pop in space.

On January 13, a SpaceX Dragon cargo capsule departed the orbiting lab for Earth, eventually splashing down in the Pacific Ocean. The robotic Dragon brought down important scientific research and hardware for examination here on terra firma.

Other active space missions includes NASA probes OSIRIS-REx and New Horizons spacecraft that continue to gather data in Earth orbit and the Moon, Mars, Jupiter and beyond, the report said.  (IANS)