Monday, October 22, 2018

Preventing Spread of Fake News using Reverse Image Search

Special session of Cybersecurity Centre of IT&E Department in October 2018
    In the meeting of Advisory Committee on Cybersecurity held earlier this month, there was a workshop on how to make simple cross checks to prevent Fake News from spreading. Mr J Dasgupta, a former journalist who has been trained by Google in Delhi explained that using Chrome browser's image tab, reverse image search could be made on any digital picture and if it has ever appeared earlier on the net, it is likely to show up. I have tested this with an image myself and seen that it works.
    We were told that for multiple persons, the best approach is to crop out only one person's image and then put it on reverse image search.
    We were also advised that we should not forward any suspicious images before checking alternative multiple sources and that we should use common sense and logic and not assume that since the sender of an image is known to us, his forwarded image is genuine.

    On a slightly different matter, we were informed that the website https://cybercrime.gov.in/ can be used to report, even anonymously, cybercrime complaints relating to women. MAKAUT, the Maulana Abul Kalam University of Technology, West Bengal submitted a proposal to be associated with the department's Cybersecurity Cell. MAKAUT, incidentally, runs several cybersecurity courses routinely.
    We also decided to develop some simple DO's and DONT's for guidance of people and departments when cyberattacks happen especially in critical infrastructures like power, traffic, transportation, metros, airports etc.
    We have also published a tender seeking applications from institutions who want to help set up a helpline for cyber-crime victims

Saturday, October 20, 2018

E Ink : From Taiwan to New Town

Earlier this year, I was in Taiwan for attending Computex 2018. In course of the scheduled tours and interactions, I came to know of a display technology that uses very little power. The screen of the Kindle e-book reader is an example of use of e-ink. For my Kindle e-book procured some time ago from Amazon, I don't have to charge its battery for weeks and months. They say that almost zero power is consumed if one doesn't change the display and only a tiny amount of power is consumed when the display changes. The display clarity is so good that people often mistake the display on a switched-off Kindle to be a paper stuck on it !

Such a low power high contrast display makes e-ink an ideal choice for public announcements, notices, conference schedules and reading material. The displays can be uploaded or changed from a laptop connected through a Wi Fi. However, it is not easily available in India.

With the help of TAITRA (the business development agency of Taiwan) office in Kolkata (see https://kolkata.taiwantrade.com/ ), I got connected to E-Ink Headquarters in Taiwan ( see https://www.eink.com/ ) who advised their Bangalore partner, who is just developing the technology and is yet to launch it commercially, to do a pilot in New Town. I chose the bus shed near Gate 2 of Eco Park. So next time you go to Eco Park or Misti Hub, do try to see the e-ink display. Here is a photo.




I think we need to do something to reduce the reflection from the front screen and to have a LED lighting to improve readability at night. We may also require a bigger size for prominent outdoor display.

We will evaluate the performance and discuss with E-Ink partner in India before replicating.

Monday, October 15, 2018

NFC Tag in Cafe Ekante: "Shortening the wait time at Cafe Ekante dinner"



NFC table cards at Cafe Ekante
The time between ordering the food at a restaurant and the apparent unending time before your food arrives can now be shortened, psychologically. NFC based table cards make your wait interesting now at Cafe Ekante at Eco Island, Eco Park, New town, Kolkata.

After you have decided the menu and placed the orders, and after the conversation dies down, and after you are done with several selfies you glance at the TV suspended from the ceiling. But soon you are bored again, getting hungrier. To entertain you, take help of the NFC quadrant on your dining table.



If you have a NFC enabled mobile hold your phone near any of the quadrant's page to choose news or sports or entertainment. The phone browser will start playing the channel chosen in your mobile, using the WiFi of Cafe Ekante. Remember to put "NFC ON/OFF" switch in your settings to NFC ON. See https://nfc.today/advice/nfc-enabled-phones#phonelist to check if your phone has NFC capability. Please remember that even if your phone is on the list of NFC enabled phones, you may have to (1) download an Apps and (2) enable NFC in settings as already mentioned above.

If you don't have  NFC in your mobile use the scan the QR code printed on the quadrant. The output is the same.

The innovation is done by Oorjamatics ( See http://www.oorjamatic.com/ ) .

Mr Raja Guha, Co-Founder Oorjamatics, explanting to me the NFC concept at
Cafe Ekante last week


Sunday, September 30, 2018

Bengal Silicon Valley Hub

"Foundation Stone of Bengal Silicon Valley Hub, a major milestone in IT infrastructure of the state, was laid today at New Town, Kolkata": Mamata Banerjee's Tweet on 13.8.2018.
Last Friday, on 28th September 2018, the notice inviting Expression of Interest was published. The cryptic notice published in newspapers read as follows:


The link to the document is http://wbhidcoltd.com/uploads/tender/Tender_2144.pdf . A good summary article appeared in Times of India on 29.9.2018. This was as follows:


The Silicon Valley site is located near Akankhya More / Gate 4 Eco Park. Its area is 200 acres. 24 plots of various sizes are offered at a special price to International and National Tech companies. Annual turnover of Rs 500 cr and presence in 10 states (for national cos) and 3 continents (US, Europe, Asia-Pacific) for International companies. Pre bid will be held on 10 Oct. Last date is 31 Oct. Application money is Rs 25 lakhs.
Projects must start within six months of allotment. It must be completeed within 3 years. If not, the land will be taken back and occupation charges will be levied.
There will be other phases too to accommodate other sectors of the IT&E spectrum. The idea is to go from big companies and then to medium and smaller ones in phases.
A 5 acre plot is earmarked for commercial activities which will be allotted at market prices in due course.
Govt of West Bengal is trying to tie up with international consultants to get the best strategy in moving forwards.
As per the IT&E Policy, the IT&E Department is enhancing its role as a catalyst and also trying up with Academic Institutions (IIT, MAKAUT, University of Kolkata, IIIT, NIT, ISI etc)  and Chambers of Commerce ( CII, BCCI, NASSCOM, ICC, MCCI etc) for setting up Centres of Excellence and for helping startups in areas ranging from IPRs to Financing.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in New Town

New Town is a Gold Rated certified Green City. It got the certificate from IGBC (Indian Green Building Council) recently. New Town is a city under the State Govt's Green City Mission.
New Town has been approved as one of the 100 Smart Cities of India.

It has three electric AC buses running successfully for the last four months within New Town: already more than 35,000 passengers have used it. It has e-Rickshaw stands and in the Bengalathon 2019 contest (now open: see https://bengalathon.wb.gov.in/ ) one of the problem statements relate to "Toto on Call". I myself use an electric e2o small vehicle for official works within Kolkata.
The idea of all these is to reduce carbon emissions and move towards a cleaner, greener sustainable  environment.

The idea is to encourage more and more people to use e-Vehicles. But electric vehicles (2, 3 or 4 wheelers) all suffer from "charge anxiety" where there is a worry about what would happen if charge suddenly runs out. For example , the e-car that I use to go to Nabanna from Hidco and back is just ok for a single charge (120 km) but I constantly monitor the battery power remaining. It would help if while I did my work at the destination the charge in the vehicle could be topped-up. A full charge requires 5 hours though.

There are fewer e-vehicles as there are no charging stations. There are no charging stations because there is no demand from e-vehicles. To change this chicken-n-egg problem, NKDA decided to put up few charging stations at suitable locations. These are just being commissioned.

Charging Station for Electric Vehicles 
near Rabindra Tirtha
Ten such charging stations have been installed, mostly near parking zones so that the e-car may get top up charge while waiting. Locations are at Parking lots near Rabindra Tirtha (see pic above, Tata Medical Centre, Nazrul Tirtha, Gates 1/ 4/ 6 of Eco Park,  CafĂ© Ekante. Axis Mall, Eco Urban Village and Central Mall.

In addition, Indian Oil's COCO (Company Operated Company Owned) smart outlet at Action Area 3 also has electric vehicle charging units. And for running the e-Buses, three heavy duty charging stations are located at bus terminal near Pride Hotel, AA3 Bus Stand near Sukhobristi and Eco Urban Village in AA2.




Sunday, September 2, 2018

Great Indian Dessert Festival in December 2018 at Misti Hub

Yesterday, at Hidco Conference room, I took a review of two months' performance of Misti Hub. The main objective was to wean away the complimentary support given by Hidco in terms of house keeping, security guards, care-taking, common services and also prepare for the ensuing festival season.

I was told that most shops had done very good business in the two months since Mist Hub opened. Several lakhs of rupees' worth business was transacted on both months and all were advised to contribute to the expenses incurred on common services.

We decided that by Viswakarma Puja day on 17 September, we should converge on few planned interventions to spread the footprint of Misti Hub. Some actions agreed to with all owners of the Misti Hub were as follows:

1. Home Delivery through Swiggy, Zomato etc would be tried
2. Office / corporate packet menu (assorted sweets, in packets, for distribution in short meetings) would be suggested by all Misti Hub shops
3. For common branding, a special prestige carry bag would be designed with Misti Hub logo. This would be of cloth or jute and of three sizes small, medium and large. Would be kept centrally at reception counter and any shop or guest may buy it from Hidco person on duty. Own bags of shops would also carry Misti Hub logo along with their own logo, either on the same side or on the reverse
4. The racks on the right / north side would be replaced by chairs to make more room for sitting
5. Bus branding would be made to spread the word on Misti Hub
6. TV displays in each shop would display menu and graphics would be provided to Hidco for installation.
7. Eco Park visitors would be given, on some days, a discount coupon if all shops of Misti Hub agreed (they said they would think, discuss and revert)
5. A special "Great Indian Dessert Festival" would be organised in December by a private organiser where Hidco/ Misti Hub would be a venue partner. This will be held in the bike stand behind Misti Hub. The organiser has already started campaign in social media and this is their title page graphics on Facebook:

The idea is to enhance the 'sweetness' of the area around Misti Hub by invoking sweet tastes from around the world. More such Misti Events would be held in future.


Few administrative points were also discussed. Co-ordinating nodal person would be assigned on rotation basis every three months (first has been K C Dass), hygiene/ cleanliness/ plastic cap for shop assistants/ insistence on uniform T shirt with Misti Hub Logo, nudging customers to throw their leftovers and used plates into the dust-bins themselves.


Monday, August 20, 2018

Own a residential plot in New Town? Open a foodie at ground floor.

Cake shop in New Town
On 8th August 2018, the 41st meeting of the NKDA Board took a decision that allows you to easily set up a tea bar or a cafe or a food joint on the ground floor of your residential home in New Town. Soft Drink Shop, Snack Bar, Tea/Coffee Shop, Ice-Cream shop, Dry Food Shop are the preferred options. A permission and a nominal fee is required, and a trade licence too, but it is quite easy and costs little.

Restaurant below a residential house
 This is to encourage commercial activity, create jobs and entrepreneurial opportunity, bring life to city space and improve a sense of safety to late night passers-by when the shops are open.

This is in addition to the roadside cafes being built by NKDA/HIDCO (Cafe Ekante Express at Chinar Park and AA1 bus terminus), Biriyani Bars atop pay-n-use toilets at three places (Rotary 1, Mela Ground and Gate 3 Eco Park), Misti Hub (near Owl More), Mother Dairy (near Tata Medical Centre and Swapna Bhor), Gautam's (at Cybersecurity Building), Annapurna (Sweet Shop on residential property), Eco Space / Kolkata Gate (planned), community markets (old police station and TCS Gitanjali).