News Article | November 11, 2015
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is no longer a choice for Indian companies of a certain size: It’s a legal requirement. In April 2014, the hotly debated Companies Act forced approximately 3,000 organizations to form a CSR committee, and spend 2% of their average net profits over the past three years on social development and environmental projects. The initiative only affects Indian companies with a market cap over 5 billion INR (about $77 million USD), turnover above 10 billion INR (about $155 million USD), or annual profits greater than 50 million INR (about $770,000 USD). It’s comforting to think that "too big to fail" is, at least in one country, also associated with "big enough to do their part." In theory, the mandate has its appeal; it’s comforting to think that "too big to fail" is, at least in one country, also associated with "big enough to do their part." In the highly competitive North American talent market, however, companies that champion social initiatives also improve their employer brand, and ultimately their ability to recruit employees. According to a 2014 survey by Nielsen, 67% of respondents prefer to work for a socially responsible company, and, according to a recent survey by Deloitte, 50% of millennials want to work for a company with ethical practices. A competitive talent market has proven to be a strong motivating factor behind CSR programs in North America, but measuring their social impact is difficult. While you can quantify financial contributions, you can’t measure the impact those contributions have, or compare one company’s authentic commitment to social change against another’s. In the United States, where CSR is voluntary, determining a company’s true level of commitment remains a challenge for job seekers. That was the consensus among a group of human resources and corporate social responsibility experts who gathered in New York City in late October as part of a speaker series hosted by the Bigwin Group, a Toronto-based global executive search and talent strategy firm. "Right now, there's no mandated reporting around corporate responsibility, and there's different global entities that have tried to create standards about what CSR could look like," said Tara Cardone, the head of employee engagement and volunteerism at JPMorgan Chase, during the event at Soho House New York. "I think transparency is a good thing in the extent that there’s mandated transparency around CSR metrics, but what are the right metrics to measure?" While there is no universal measurement tool for social impact, pressure from job seekers has forced organizations to recognize the impact they have on the world, which may ultimately prove more effective than any government legislation. "Everyone has a different definition, and its called different things at different companies, but it's about more than philanthropy; it’s about how you operate as a corporate citizen," said Karyn Margolis, the director of CSR and sustainability at Avon Products Inc. "It goes back to authenticity; it has to be about how the company operates, and philanthropy and social programs are an extension of that, but it's much broader than giving away money." While governments in North America often play a role in tackling social issues, mandatory CSR has never been on the radar, and perhaps for good reason. "The positive of the India example is a broader awareness that there's challenges here we have to solve; I think that's a silver lining to what I think is a negative in terms of legislating anything," said Mike Dallas, senior vice president of human resources and global operations for Hewlett-Packard. "When things get legislated and mandated, you spend a lot of time on accounting and talking a good game, versus letting things happen organically, and we've had a much better experience when things are organic." Other panelists echoed Dallas’s sentiment, believing that mandatory CSR undermines the objective of socially responsible initiatives. "It's an opportunity for rash decisions, which concerns me," said Margolis. "As an idealist, I think, ‘This is great, force these companies to give back,’ but practically I just wonder if this will end up being one of those check-the-box things, where at the end of the year if they realize they haven't donated, maybe they don't properly vet the charity, maybe it's not a cause that's even aligned with their business objectives." Instead, Margolis believes that the best way to encourage companies to engage in socially conscious business practices is to mandate transparency. Social responsibility, she believes, will follow. "For example, the conflict minerals legislation here in the U.S. requires companies to report conflict minerals in their supply chain, which is a huge headache for companies, because it’s very difficult if there's no chain of custody, but it's mandated, so the companies are focusing on it," she said. "When that happens, it forces your suppliers to think about it, which forces their suppliers to think about it, so in those situations, government intervention, especially around transparency and reporting, is very beneficial for making change happen." While the government has a role to play in getting large organizations to do their part, panelists agreed that there were better approaches than mandating financial contributions. "I would take the John F. Kennedy, 'We want to put a man on the moon in 10 years,' approach," said Dallas. "If it's a greenhouse gas emission reduction, if it’s a number of people who have literacy, if it’s an amount of clean water, whatever it is, if the government took on an objective, and everyone partnered to accomplish that, however much you want to commit to it, there could be some universal benefit."
Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and Theoretical | Year: 2014
The Alday-Gaiotto-Tachikawa relations reduce S-duality to the modular transformations of conformal blocks. It was recently conjectured that, for the four-point conformal block, the modular transform up to the non-perturbative contributions can be written in the form of the ordinary Fourier transform when β ≡ -1/2 = 1. Here I extend this conjecture to general values of 1, 2. Namely, I argue that, for a properly normalized four-point conformal block the S-duality is perturbatively given by the Fourier transform for arbitrary values of the deformation parameters 1, 2. The conjecture is based on explicit perturbative computations in the first few orders of the string coupling constant g2 ≡ -12and hypermultiplet masses. © 2014 IOP Publishing Ltd.
News Article | January 28, 2016
BlackBerry's first Android smartphone made its debut in 2015 and launched in several markets since, but it's only now making its way to India. The smartphone has stirred great interest worldwide mainly because it marks a great shift for BlackBerry, moving from its proprietary OS to the more popular Android. Tech Times previously reported that BlackBerry had an event scheduled for Jan. 28 in New Delhi, India, planning to announce the BlackBerry Priv release in the country. The day has now come and the BlackBerry Priv is official in India, complete with specific price and launch details. The smartphone will go on sale on Jan. 30 for INR 62,990, which translates to a whopping price of $925. That's more than $200 steeper than the price of the BlackBerry Priv in the United States. The T-Mobile BlackBerry Priv, for instance, just made its debut at a $719 full retail price, in addition to attractive leasing options. As a reminder, the BlackBerry Priv sports a 5.43-inch AMOLED display with a QHD resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 pixels and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 64-bit hexa-core processor with Adreno Adreno 418 graphics and 3 GB of RAM under the hood. Other specs include 32 GB of built-in storage space that's expandable up to 2TB via microSD, an 18-megapixel rear camera with optical image stabilization (OIS), a 5-megapixel front camera, and a 3,410 mAh battery. The smartphone features a handy QWERTY keyboard and runs Android 5.1.1 Lollipop out of the box, with some neat BlackBerry additions on the side. Combining its advanced security expertise with Google's popular Android mobile OS is widely considered the best move BlackBerry made in years. The Canadian OEM lost significant ground to rivals and the BlackBerry Priv is its latest attempt to regain some of that lost market share. The BlackBerry Priv's release in India was highly anticipated, but it remains to be seen whether that price point will attract enough customers. The smartphone was not the cheapest in any market, but that $929 price tag in India seems a bit too much.
News Article | January 26, 2016
Lenovo is without a doubt on a roll. Following the unveiling of its Vibe K4 Note a couple of weeks ago, the company has now taken the wraps off its K5 Note which packs in a Helio P10 SoC, all-metal body, 13-megapixel camera and more. This Lenovo smartphone rocks a 5.5-inch Full HD LTPS screen. It is fitted with 2 GB of RAM plus 16 GB expandable internal memory. When it comes to its snapper, this handset sports a 13-megapixel rear camera and an 8-megapixel front-facing shooter for selfies and video chat. The thing that makes the device great is its 3,500 mAh battery, which has support for fast charging. The Android 5.1 Lollipop-based phone runs Lenovo's proprietary Vibe user interface on top. To sweeten the pot, the K5 Note is offering support for dual-SIM, VoLTE and 4G LTE. Its fingerprint sensor at the rear, designed to capture images and make payments, is yet another highlight of the handset. Alongside the MediaTek Helio P10 SoC, the handset carries a Mali-T860 GPU and a 64-bit octa-core processor. Additionally, the K5 Note contains a 1.5W speaker at the back which comes with Dolby Atmos surround sound effect. Customers have two color options to pick from, including silver and gold. But that's not all the K5 Note is putting to the table, as it also incorporates an accelerometer, digital compass, proximity and ambient light. When it comes to its price, it has a price tag of CNY 1,099, or about $167. Before anyone gets their hopes up, the K5 Note initially goes up for sale in China. Similar to the Lenovo Vibe K4 Note, this phone is likewise sold through a flash sale model in the company's homeland. At the moment, Lenovo has not yet made an official statement as to when the phone will be rolled out outside the country. In the meantime, the K4 Note (more popularly known as the Vibe K4 Note in the Indian market) consists of an NFC chip plus a fingerprint sensor. Under its hood, this 5.5-inch screen is loaded with a MediaTek Helio X10 processor and a 4 GB of RAM. This midrange smartphone carries a price tag of INR 12,999 ($190).
News Article | March 25, 2016
Apple may have messed up its iPhone SE launch in India already, before the device actually becomes available in the country. The new iPhone SE made its debut early this week at Apple's March 21 event, arriving as a nifty little handset with a 4-inch display and powerful specs. The hype surrounding its release quickly turned into frustration in India, however, as the iPhone SE launch scheme in the country leaves much to be desired. First off, the iPhone SE was expected to be Apple's cheapest smartphone ever, which got Indian fans understandably excited. The bad news is that while the iPhone SE has a $399 starting price in the U.S., it will start at a hefty INR 39,000 in India ($586) for the 16 GB version. That price enters the premium segment in India, so the iPhone SE is actually not that affordable at all. Other markets are in the same situation, as the iPhone SE costs more after hefty premiums globally. Aside from the higher price tag in India, the delay is another cause for frustration. Although Apple touted India as an emerging market for its "cheapest" iPhone SE, interested customers won't get it just yet. The iPhone SE starts shipping on March 31 in the U.S., but customers in India won't get it until April 8. Simply put, the smartphone allegedly designed for emerging markets will in fact skip emerging markets in its first round of availability. Instead of being among the first in line, India seems more like an afterthought. "By making it available in the first round itself in the country, Apple could have indicated that the Indian market is high on its priority list," notes Faisal Kawoosa, lead analyst at market research firm CyberMedia Research (CMR). "Though the company had mentioned about the significance of the India market for it, not including it in the list of the countries where iPhone SE would be made available first is definitely a big turn off." In this context, it will be interesting to see if the iPhone SE will prove successful in India, where handsets above INR 30,000 account for just slightly over three percent of the market. Beetel Teletech Limited will start taking preorders for the iPhone SE on March 29, ahead of the handset's retail release on April 8.