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Taming Fake News is Top Concern of WhatsApp India

Small business owners, he said, need to solve multiple problems simultaneously to succeed in a highly competitive market

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WhatsApp on a smartphone device. Pixabay

With the Lok Sabha election dates being announced, WhatsApp India head Abhijit Bose on Wednesday said the company which has taken several measures to limit the spread of misinformation and fake news on its platform in India is set to take more action to fully secure its platform.

In his first statement after taking over as head of India operations of the Facebook-owned messaging platform early this year, Bose said the company strongly believes that private messaging is fundamental to safety.

“We’re pleased that the recent changes we’ve made to limit viral content and educate users is having an impact. This work is never done — there is more that we can and will do,” noted Bose who is currently hiring the first full country team outside of California which will be based in Gurugram.

“I am going to be listening closely and learning in the months to come, and I look forward to working with stakeholders here in India on our common safety goals,” added Bose.

With over 200 million monthly active users, India is WhatsApp’s biggest market in the world. Globally, the platform has over 1.5 billion users.

Facing flak from the government over dozens of lynching incidents in the country last year which were linked to rumours spread on WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned messaging service introduced several new measures, including limiting the number of messages that a user can forward to five and appointing a grievance officer for the country.

The government is also concerned about the spread of fake news and political bias on WhatsApp and other social media platforms as the country faces the seven-phase voting from April 11.

“One of the most exciting features we’re building is WhatsApp Payments. Leveraging services from the ‘India Stack’ such as UPI (Unified Payments Interface), we’re making it possible for people to easily transfer money to each other or their favourite merchants,” informed Bose.

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FILE – The WhatsApp icon is seen on a smartphone in this picture illustration, in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. VOA

WhatsApp Payments, stuck owing to India’s demand to store data locally, has not gone beyond the beta testing it did with nearly one million users last year.

“When opened up to WhatsApp users across India, Payments will accelerate financial inclusion and remove barriers for people who want to actively participate in the new digital economy,” Bose noted.

A recent WhatsApp research has revealed that 70 per cent of small businesses have built their business on the platform and 77 per cent said they have been able to hire more employees due to growth since joining WhatsApp.

According to Bose, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of home-grown tech companies building innovative solutions to improve financial inclusion, health and education.

Also Read- Google Bids Goodbye to Instant Messaging App ‘Allo’

“WhatsApp is excited to support these efforts by providing a platform to connect micro-services to people anywhere in the country, helping our start-up ecosystem deliver critical India-first solutions at scale and speed in order to truly move the needle for our country,” he elaborated.

Small business owners, he said, need to solve multiple problems simultaneously to succeed in a highly competitive market.

“I’m excited about what the future holds for India and humbled by the potential WhatsApp has to help hundreds of millions of people and businesses across the country connect and prosper,” said Bose. (IANS)

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Canon India Ramps Up Efforts To Grab Healthcare Imaging, Security Market

On the camera front, India offers great opportunities in segments like wedding, wildlife, sports and media

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Canon India also showcased EOS-1D X Mark III - the flagship product from the Canon EOS range, featuring latest advancements and innovations in digital imaging technology. Wikimedia Commons

After cementing its position across four key business verticals — camera, home printers, office printers and commercial printing solutions — Canon India is now ramping up its effort to top the growing healthcare imaging and security surveillance market in the country, a top company official said here on Wednesday.

After grabbing a substantial share in the Indian market in the professional printing segment which has been among the fastest growing verticals for Canon in India, the company now eyes diagnostic imaging market which is witnessing a tremendous growth with new super-specialty hospitals and diagnostic centres being opened at a fast pace, including in the tier II and II towns.

“In 2020, our key focus areas will be medical and security verticals in India. There have been a strong demand in the field of diagnostic imaging like MRIs, CT scans and X rays in the recent past which, we think, is an important segment for us in this country going forward,” Kazutada Kobayashi, President and CEO, Canon India, told IANS.

Although India will be the youngest country in the world by 2020 with a median age of 29 years, the number of elderly people is likely to increase significantly after that, according to the “State of Elderly in India” report.

By 2021, the elderly population will reach 143 million.

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After cementing its position across four key business verticals — camera, home printers, office printers and commercial printing solutions — Canon India is now ramping up its effort to tap the growing healthcare imaging and security surveillance market in the country. Wikimedia Commons

According to market research firm Mordor Intelligence, the increase in life expectancy over the years has resulted in an increase in the population of the elderly. Hence, the growing geriatric population is expected to augment the demand for diagnostic imaging equipment.

The global medical imaging market was approximately $34 billion in 2018 and is expected to generate around $48.6 billion by 2025, according to Zion Market Research, and the of a huge patient pool and rise in the number of hospitals and diagnostic centres in India, Japan and China are anticipated to fuel the medical imaging market in the Asia Pacific.

“Today, if you go to a hospital and take a picture of your chest, that needs to be printed on a film. We propose to print that on a paper. This is my economical and environmental-friendly vision,” said a beaming Kobayashi on the sidelines of the launch of its flagship camera EOS-1D X Mark III.

According to him, security is another big area to focus on.

“Security surveillance camera systems have come of age and at Canon, we are aiming to make a revolution in this area soon,” said the executive.

Canon’s business in India is divided between business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) verticals.

The B2C category includes camera and home printers while B2B includes commercial printers and sales to corporates and MSMEs.

Canon India also showcased EOS-1D X Mark III – the flagship product from the Canon EOS range, featuring latest advancements and innovations in digital imaging technology.

“On the camera front, India offers great opportunities in segments like wedding, wildlife, sports and media. One great observation is that the demand for high-end cameras is also coming from smaller Indian towns and we are excited about this,” said C. Sukumaran, Director, Consumer Systems Products and Imaging Communication Products, Canon India.

Priced at Rs 575,995 (taxes included) for the body, including 512GB CF Express Card and Reader, the EOS-1D X Mark III will be available mid-February onwards at select retail outlets across the country.

The EOS-1D X Mark III offers an unmatched continuous shooting speed up to 16fps with viewfinder shooting. It houses a newly developed 20.1MP Full Frame CMOS sensor.

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After grabbing a substantial share in the Indian market in the professional printing segment which has been among the fastest growing verticals for Canon in India, the company now eyes diagnostic imaging market which is witnessing a tremendous growth with new super-specialty hospitals and diagnostic centres being opened at a fast pace, including in the tier II and II towns. Wikimedia Commons

“The newly developed algorithms in the camera enable not just eye detect and face detect autofocus but also head detect autofocus. This allows highly precise autofocus and tracking even in challenging conditions and with multiple and rapidly moving subjects,” informed Sukumaran.

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According to Kobayashi, the high-end camera will further enable the company promote the photography culture in India.

“Our latest offering will cater to the growing list of professional photographers in India and open up newer possibilities in the imaging space,” he added. (IANS)