Smart City calling

Smart CityWell, have you ever wondered what makes a city smart? Or what is so smart that is happening in these cities? Or why are these cities more ahead of the one that you live in? In definition: a smart city uses digital technologies or information and communication technologies to enhance quality and performance of urban services, to reduce costs and resource consumption, and to engage more effectively and actively with its citizens.

In relation with economy or jobs, the phrase “Smart City” is used to describe a city with a “smart” industry. That implies especially industries in the fields of information and communication technologies (ICT) as well as other industries involving ICT in their overall processes.

The use of technology such as artificial intelligence within a city helps create a better way to engage with the people. It also helps in building a larger community and facilitates e-Governance due to active community participation. Some of the key highlights of a smart city are:

• Robust information technology services for connectivity and digitization of services.
• Improved safety and security of the people due to enhanced surveillance.
• Larger community growth due to the participation of citizen using technology.
• Effective urban mobility and ease of access to public transportation.
• Increased healthcare and civil awareness

Pillars of a Smart City:

Primarily, the 3 most important pillars of a smart city are: its Institutional Infrastructure (including Governance), Physical Infrastructure and Social Infrastructure and the focal of attention for each of these pillars is the citizen. Therefore, a Smart City works towards ensuring the best for all its people, regardless of social status, age, income levels, gender, etc.

How do you identify a Smart City?

Smart Technology: Includes more efficient use of physical infrastructure through artificial intelligence and data analytics to support a strong and healthy economic, social, cultural development.

Smart Economy: Encourages entrepreneurship and productivity, economic progression, a flexibility in the labor market, and an overall culture diversity and innovation.

Smart Governance: Meaning the involvement of the public in decision-making, public and social service, and government transparency.

Smart People: A mind-set and culture of life-long learning, social and ethnic diversity, flexibility, creativity, and community participation.

Smart Living: Proper educational facilities, quality health conditions and public safety, accessibility to quality housing and social integration.

Smart Environment: This includes using natural conditions, sustainable resource management, reduction in pollution, and an increased awareness of environmental protection.

The top 10 Smart Cities of the world:

These cities have been categorized on the bases of various factors related to Innovations, Sustainability, Use of Information Technology, Digital Governance, Quality of Life, Efficient use of Resources and Energy Savings.

– Vienna
– Toronto
– Paris
– New York
– London
– Tokyo
– Berlin
– Copenhagen
– Hong Kong
– Barcelona

In the past few years, major technological, economic and environmental changes have generated interest in smart cities, including climate change, economic restructuring, online retail and entertainment, and pressures on public finances. This has made governments and economies work towards a better approach on being more “smart” with its use of technology and policies. Therefore, in the coming years, we would be seeing more cities getting “Smart City” certified.

Q&A with Rimjhim Ray

RRWhat motivated you to turn an entrepreneur?

I had an interesting and varied work life spanning consulting, advertising and digital implementation across the world. The experiences had stimulated me and I was looking to do more, go beyond the job description, to create, to disrupt. At the time of developing the concept for Unmarketeer, an experiential and creative digital firm, I was working with the Leo Burnett group as a business head. While there are a number of digital agencies offering the run of mill social marketing solutions, we wanted to solve a more fundamental problem. Creating next gen connected experiences using the new media. The motivation to create something transformational, something new, to take complete onus of my creativity was a strong impetus to turn an entrepreneur.

What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

The adrenaline rush that comes from making the next breakthrough be it roll out of the next product version, converting the next big client or making an impact at the next funding pitch. Also, the fact that you can ignite the dreams of others and create employment opportunities, makes you a direct stakeholder in the progress of the nation.

How do you ensure that you bring in the right people for your team?

As a startup building a team which is as passionate about your vision is a key challenge. You are not looking for a skill match alone. You are looking for a match of attitude, of temperaments, of values, of DNA. In our first year we have had some interesting experiences with bringing in new people. On one hand you had people looking for quick profits and instant fame. These are the kind that you should run from. Look for people who believe in a common purpose, whose value systems match, who share the entrepreneurial bend of mind. We have long, honest conversations with potential partners or hires. We explore synergies and long term matches. Individual brilliance is very important for us so we have partnered with leading B schools such as IIM and SP Jain to identify the right talent.

How do you generate new ideas?

Serendipity! A lot of our ideas are born out of brain waves that come from random observations. We believe in keeping our minds open. Also as a startup we are very democratic. So anyone can come with an idea and the whole team will be at it to take the idea and turn it into something concrete we can offer our customers.

How bright is the future for technology startups in India?

While the IT revolution happened in India we have not really been known for original products. All this is now changing with original research and innovation happening in India. At Unmarketeer we are working on next gen customer experiences using augmented reality and gamification, still niche fields in India. We meet several startups working on tech products or tech driven platform. It is really inspiring to be among so many bright minds which are turning India into a viable product nation. Who knows the next Google may actually be created in India.

Could you share some experiences on raising funds for startups.

As a startup, getting the right funding is important from 2 aspects. A. It solves your cash flow problem and adds muscle to the budget helping you expand and grow. B. It gives you a certain amount of credibility, having been vetted by the right VCs. It is important that you spend a lot of time figuring out your funding strategy. We have for example bypassed accelerator rounds and are looking straight at pre series A funding. Our initial funding came from our own savings, family and friends. Plus we also generated a decent amount of revenue in the first year. So right now we want to partner with the right VCs to help us expand our product portfolio and enter new markets. We are therefore looking at synergy in vision and not just the funding amount.

What are the most critical challenges you face as an entrepreneur?

Cash flow is the main one i.e. keeping the morale up as you spend days without the certainty of a regular monthly income. Also putting together the right team is a huge challenge.

What has been your greatest failure or mistakes?

Think we made some hiring mistakes early on. We focused on the expansion velocity and made some rapid fire hiring which proved to be costly mistakes. The lesson learnt was that it is important to balance velocity with sustenance. Another important lesson we learnt is payments can often be dicey. We have started reworking our contracts to ensure advance payments and also built in default penalties accordingly.

What are the 3 greatest qualities of an entrepreneur?

Creativity, grit & persistence.

Rimjhim Ray is a Columnist at the The Huffington Post and the Co-founder of

Twitter: @globeslother 

Online Marketing Tactics for Small Businesses

ONLINE MARKETING on price labelsIs your Online Marketing strategy setup with the latest trends?

It is a juggling act maintaining a successful business while learning about all the necessary marketing updates, trends and tricks.

In this article, we’ll go over some of the most recent and popular tools, strategies and content that might help with your online marketing efforts.

Video and Broadcasting

This is one of the most important and current tools for your business: video or video broadcasts.
Youtube is definitely the most important video tool and you MUST learn it and use it as well as optimize it in order to be found on search results. Since it’s a Google product, you have double the opportunity to be picked up by search engines.

While YouTube is the ruler of video, Periscope and Meerkat are a close second and have become some of the most useful apps for quick updates. Not only convenient for on-the-go business owner, but also connected and streamlined with Twitter and Youtube!

They allow you to live broadcast updates, usually announced via Twitter or through the app infrastructure.

The Power of Personality and Emotion

It’s important to keep in mind that most of your viewers, no matter their demographic makeup, tend to interact with content that speaks to them on an emotional level as well as content that conveys an opinion or personality.

Therefore it’s important to generate creative, emotive and personal updates throughout your social networks and blog/video updates:

• Quotes that relate to your industry
• Inspirational, how-to and quick guides with images
• Polls and contests that can be posted throughout your social networks
• Asking for feedback on products and services
• Featuring employees and other staff

Hashtags, hashtags, hashtags

What are hashtags, exactly? This is a question many of my clients have asked me before. For practical purposes, I’ll go over a quick list of what I consider hashtags to be in the Online Marketing Sphere:

They are..

– Searchable keywords
– Trend representations
– Mood manifestations
– Current events and news updates.

They can be used on basically all social networks with the following format: keyword +hashtag. You want your keyword to represent the subject you’re talking about.

While many make valuable connections by using 10+ hashtags, I highly recommend using only
3-5 max. Why? I think it feels a little spammy otherwise.

Tune into Live Events

This goes hand-in-hand with using hashtags.

Twitter and Facebook are great platforms to use when commenting on live or current events. Are you attending an industry conference? Why not research the event page for a hashtag of think of a relevant one like #DenverPharmaConf2015  or #AustingComicCon2015 (capitalizing isn’t necessary, but I always recommend it).

Most sponsors or event organizations will include a hashtag on their promotional materials.

Want to take it one step forward? Take photos of the conference along with a little opinion or blurb about key points or favorite subjects along with the hashtag.

Leveraging the Power of Relevant Networks

Many businesses are quick to adopt the Social Media basics. Not knowing much about them, their real purpose and whether or not they’re relevant to their industry.

While most eCommerce businesses can greatly benefit from Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, they might not necessarily find it profitable to invest much time and energy on LinkedIn. Same goes with a law firm, that might actually greatly engage on platforms like LinkedIn provide valuable content updates about the latest employee insurance changes.

Consulting with a Online Marketing expert might help making this decision easier as well as helping small business owners create a laser-focused content strategy incorporating the most essential and profitable networks.

It’s important for your business to have a personality ‘behind curtains’ in order to relate to potential clients or customers. By using the most relevant and up-to date tools  as well as creating engaging and targeted content, you can reach many more potential leads and continue building your online engagement.




Authored by Ana Rodriguez – Founder of

Enterprise Search

Enterprisesearch Search is the technology through which information and/or data is retrieved with an organization generally through an intranet platform. The information can be presented in any form or format – such as links, documents, emails or simple data. Enterprise search is a boon to the modern corporate environment as it gives easy access to information, increases business performance and contributes towards optimizing the workplace. The quality of enterprise search results is dependent upon the description of the data by the metadata. The fundamental concept of an enterprise search is very much like that of a web search engine i.e. it indexes data and documents from a variety of sources such as: file systems, intranets, document management systems, e-mail, and databases.

Content Awareness – Push and Pull model

The core functionality of enterprise search depends on content awareness or “content collection”, that uses a push or pull mechanism. In the push model, a source system, more like a master repository of information, is integrated with the search engine in such a way that it connects to it and pushes new information and/or content directly to its APIs. This method is used in the case where real-time indexing is important. In the pull method, the enterprise software gathers or collates content from varied sources using a connector such as a web crawler or a database connector. This connector typically pulls the source with certain intervals to look for new, updated or deleted content, and presents data to the user.

The 3 key benefits of enterprise search:

1. Business Intelligence: Enterprise search is now acting as the bases of business intelligence i.e. data and information is becoming easily accessible and available for better business decisions.
2. Social: With the advent of enterprise search capabilities, social features are also getting more and more important. Enterprise search capabilities are now also providing features for collaboration and knowledge sharing.
3. Big Data: Volume and Variety of the data we have to process also needs a new approach. Enterprise search is contributing towards Big Data tools and constantly feeding information into a larger pool/database. Modern organizations are also tracking data and information related to employee behavior and preferences, with the help of search keywords and criteria.

The Future:

Enterprise search products that offer an improved user experience and mobility along with the prospect of a low cost of initial entry will continue to be deployed and used strategically. Corporations and active users of search technologies are already seeing evidence from major players, innovators, and relative startups that the information access setting is changing radically to meet business requirements. It is estimated that Enterprise Search industry is growing at 15-20% per year, and will continue to grow. The current state of enterprise search is modular and fragmented. A successful search platform should be coherent and have the ability of represent more mixed data. The convergence of search and text analytics is definitely a corner stone for next-generation (enterprise) search engines.

So the future of enterprise search is changing dramatically and the technology is here to stay!

The Corruption Perception Index

UntitledIn simple definition “Corruption Perception Index” or CPI is a ranking of countries according to the extent to which corruption is believed to exist. This index was created by Transparency International in the year 1995 that annually ranked countries “by their perceived levels of corruption, as determined by expert assessments and opinion surveys.” The CPI currently ranks 200 countries on a scale from 100 (least corrupt) to 0 (highly corrupt).

What is Corruption?

The Index defines corruption as “”the misuse of public power for private benefit.” There are generally different forms of corruption that include bribery, extortion, nepotism, cronyism, patronage, graft, and embezzlement. This may also facilitate criminal enterprise and activities such as drug trafficking, money laundering, and human trafficking. Misuse of government power for other purposes, such as repression of political opponents and general police brutality, is also considered political corruption.

The birth of Transparency International

Corruption has always been a topic of debate and taboo. History shows that with the birth of modern politics, corruption in many countries has becoming one of the major reasons for economic and political downfall. In the 1990s for example, many companies regularly wrote off bribes as business expenses in their tax filings, the graft of some longstanding heads of state was legendary, and many international agencies were resigned to the fact that corruption would weaken funding from many development projects around the world.

There was no global convention aimed at curbing corruption, and no way to measure corruption at the global scale.

In the year 1993, after witnessing the impact of corruption during his work in East Africa, retired World Bank official Peter Eigen, together with nine associates, set up an organization to tackle the topic of corruption: Transparency International was established with a Secretariat in Berlin, the recently restored capital of a reunified Germany.

Public Sector corruption is threatening Economic growth:

Inadequately equipped schools, fake medicine and elections decided by money are just some of the consequences of public sector corruption. Bribes and backroom deals don’t just steal resources from the most vulnerable – they weaken justice and economic development, and destroy public trust in government and leaders.

Here is the corruption Index for 2014:


In the year 2007- 2008 a research was conducted on the CPI data and the results were the following:

The researchers found a correlation between a higher CPI and higher long-term economic growth, as well as an increase in GDP growth of 1.7% for every unit increase in a country’s CPI score. Also shown was a power-law dependence linking higher CPI score to higher rates of foreign investment in a country.

The data provided by the Corruption Perception Index and other international bodies clearly shows how nations are ranked and/or compared on a common index. It reveals not just the problems but also the percentage and the level of the problem in any country. Measuring corruption statistically is difficult to a certain extent due to the illicit nature of the transaction and imprecise definitions of corruption. However, it is not impossible to measure and compare these numbers and it is about time nations around the globe took notice of this index.

McDonalds – Brothers in Business

McDonalds - Brother in BusinessRichard McDonald and his brother Maurice McDonald were the founders and pioneers of America’s biggest fast food chain – McDonalds. In the 1920’s the brothers moved to California, where they opened their first hot dog stand in Pasadena. It was a typical drive-in setup and one of its kinds in that era, where drivers parked their cars and carhops came to take their orders. In the late 1940’s they closed the hotdog stand and opened a larger restaurant in San Bernardino. This was apparently the official McDonalds restaurant.

Brief History

The McDonalds family moved from to Hollywood in the late 1920s, where brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald began working as set movers and handymen at motion-picture studios. In 1940, Maurice and Richard opened up their first official McDonalds restaurant in San Bernardino, California. The restaurant was renamed “McDonald’s Bar-B-Q” and had a menu that had mostly barbecue items. In 1948, after running their shop for almost 8 years, the brothers realized that most of their profits came from selling hamburgers. This made them eventually close down their successful carhop drive-in to establish a more streamlined system with a simple menu. The restaurant became more of a self-service operation. The brothers took great care in setting up their kitchen like an assembly line to ensure maximum efficiency and output. The restaurant’s name was changed again, to simply “McDonald’s”.

Around 1952, the brother realized that they need to optimize their establishment and make it more visible, appealing and eye-catching in appearance. They collaborated with Stanley Clark Meston, an architect practicing in nearby Fontana. Working with the McDonalds brothers, Stanley came up with the idea of the “Golden Arches”.

The Franchisee

In 1954, Ray Kroc, a seller of milkshake machines, learned that the McDonald brothers were using eight of his machines in their San Bernardino restaurant. He became curious, and went to San Bernardino to take a look at the McDonalds’ restaurant. Ray immediately became inspired by their organized establishment and financial success of the brothers’ concept. He partnered with the brothers, and within a few years turned their small idea into the huge franchise that would become the McDonald’s Corporation.

Ray Kroc opened the Des Plaines, Illinois restaurant in 1955, and with the first Golden Arches, launched a renowned brand. He saw the value of a restaurant system that could be famous for offering constantly prepared, quality food that tasted the same in every location and every time. In 1958, McDonald’s sold its 100 millionth burger.

The Present

As of 2015, the McDonald’s Corporation is the world’s largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants, serving around 68 million customers everyday in 119 countries across 35,000 outlets. The company also operates other restaurant brands, such as Piles Café. A McDonald’s restaurant is operated by a franchisee, an affiliate, or the actual corporation itself. The revenue revenues come from the rent, royalties, and fees paid by the franchisees, as well as sales in company-operated restaurants. The primarily menu include hamburgers, cheeseburgers, chicken, french fries, breakfast items, soft drinks, milkshakes, and desserts.

Poland – The Land of Business Oppertunity

2000px-Kotwica_symbolPoland is a country with a strong cultural and economic background that has benefited with the post-communist economic liberalization. The political freedom seen in past few years has let the country in becoming the 22nd largest globally by GDP. With much of Europe still struggling to recuperate from the impact of the 2008 financial crisis, Poland stands out as a territory of economic success, a place where companies and individuals plan for growth rather than decline. The reasons are simple: a large internal economy, a business-friendly political class, and the dynamic potential of a developing country catching up with its global competitors.

The Past:

The secrets of Poland’s sustainability and resilience trace back to the post communist era, when its leaders pulled the country through a set of painful but ultimately effective reforms. In the 80s and the 90s Polish consumers had limited choice when it came to buying products. Mostly everything was developed by public sector organizations driven by stringent political reforms. These organizations had 30-year business plans which were based on political principles rather than market research or analysis. So the consumers had limited choices of products that did not met their demands or tastes.

The Change:

Since the collapse of communism in 1989, Polish economy has grown rapidly. On 1 May 2004, Poland joined the European Union and thus became a member of the vast European single market where goods, services, capital and labor move as freely as within one country. Another point to note is that during the recent global economic downturn Poland has been the only country in Europe to show growth in GDP.

The Future:

Economic restructuring, capital inflows, trade liberalization, privatization, and the gradual adaptation of legal and administrative standards to market oriented practices have improved economic structures dramatically. The Polish government has also streamlined the process for transferring property, made paying taxes easier, reduced the time required to enforce contracts, and strengthened the business liquidation process.

Also, a recent KPMG report shows that the Poles’ budget for spending is going up. For example: Poles spend 18% of their income on luxury goods, and aspirational Poles spend 13% on luxury goods. The total spend in Poland in 2012 on luxury goods was 36.8bn zloty (around £7.2bn), up by over 10% since 2011. This figure is expected to keep rising, hitting 46.4bn zloty by 2015.

Recent reforms in areas such as financial markets, company and competition law, accounting, and intellectual property rights have improved the environment for private business and boosted economic growth.

So for new businesses there is great news, as the country offers a range of business and industry options. Research suggests that Poland is ranked among the top 20 most attractive markets globally for retail brands. The fast developing tastes and stable economy mean that if retail is your business, Poland is a great country to target. Also, due to the modernization of healthcare in Poland, the pharmaceutical industry is likely to keep growing, making it a key focus for UKTI and UK exporters. So the Polish pharmaceutical market is another good bet. Finally, considering that the breadth of products needed is so diverse, the potential for selling and exporting there is huge.