Category: Technology

AI and Data Science Is Being Used To Fight The Pandemic

Around 6 months since the first case of Coronavirus (COVID-19) was reported in China, the virus has spread to 210 countries and territories around the world. The number of confirmed cases are reported to be around 2,083,304 at the time of writing this blog.


While scientists and researchers around the world are studying the novel coronavirus to find a cure, technology has put up a parallel crusade to fight this crisis on various fronts. From dataset-management to make scientists’ work easier to building apps for public safety, AI (Artificial Intelligence) and data science are proving to be invaluable soldiers in the battle against this pandemic.


The Silence Before The Storm


Back in late-2019 when novel coronavirus was being thought of (or even dismissed) as a ‘Chinese thing’, Toronto-based AI start-up BlueDot had sounded the warning bell of a possible massive global outbreak.


On December 30, 2019, had issued an alert about a cluster of “unusual pneumonia” cases happening around a market in Wuhan, China. BlueDot’s AI engine collects data on over 150 diseases and syndromes around the world from sources such as the Center for Disease Control or the World Health Organization. Additionally, the BlueDot engine also searches for news reports and airline ticketing data from around the world. This information is updated every 15 minutes.


Using the massive data at its disposal, the BlueDot AI engine is capable of prognosticating an outbreak and spread of infections. Using air travel data, the system accurately predicted that novel coronavirus would spread to Bangkok, Seoul, Taipei, and Tokyo after its outbreak in Wuhan in China’s Hubei province.


BlueDot uses a mix of natural language processing, disease surveillance and analysis, machine learning to scour and sift data and human analysis to create its prediction reports.


Testing The Waters


Even in the very early stages, when the Chinese government was struggling to contain the outbreak, Chinese tech companies including tech giants like Alibaba, Baidu and Huawei, were amping-up their healthcare tech initiatives.


Around February-March, Alibaba developed an AI system that could diagnose coronavirus in patients’ chest CT scans with 96% accuracy. As opposed to manual testing which takes around 15 minutes, this system could do it within 20 seconds. Using ML (Machine Learning) technology on images and data from 5,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, Alibaba’s AI has reduced the workload on medical practitioners across China who have been overwhelmed with patient-surge since December.


Similarly, Terra Drone, a Japanese company, ensured that medical and other supplies were safely transported from Xinchang County’s disease control centre to Xinchang County People’s Hospital without any human involvement, to avoid the spread of infection. Terra Drone’s KazUAV drones are also helping the police monitor Kazakhastan’s capital Nur-Sultan for violations of lockdown policies.


The Inside Story


While lockdowns and social distancing can help in containing the outbreak, it may not be enough to stop the spread completely. Unless and until scientists and researchers find a vaccine for the virus, a repeat of this pandemic cannot be ruled out, even if the curve is flattened.


AI could be enormously helpful for vaccine discovery. Scientists have been working on proteins (known as amino acids) since the 1950s. The enormous databases of proteins available must be scoured through and studied to understand the protein behind the virus. Screening through millions of chemical compounds via an AI system would be a lot more fast and reliable compared to human efforts. Understanding the three-dimensional shape of the proteins in COVID-19 could be key to finding vaccines against it.


On these lines, Google’s DeepMind division has developed AlphaFold, a deep-learning system, focussing on predicting protein structure for COVID-19.


The Larger Picture


In March, The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Allen Institute for AI (AI2), Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology, Microsoft Research, Google Scholar, Semantic Scholar, and the National Library of Medicine at National Institutes of Health teamed up to create CORD-19 (COVID-19 Open Research Dataset). CORD-19 has brought nearly 51,000 research papers about COVID-19 under a single umbrella. These papers would be accessible to AI researchers who can use it to create ML models that can help scientists find the information they need.


In our previous blog, we discussed how the Indian government’s app AarogyaSetu alerts a user if they have crossed paths or come in contact with an infected person. The app also comes with a tool for self-testing questionnaire and self-isolation advice.

It is a little ironic that Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning which until last year were associated with security concerns and loss of jobs are now at the forefront of one of the most important battles being fought in modern times. The battle is not over yet, and AI, ML and big data will continue to play an important part in making the victory over this virus a fast and permanent one.

Global Coronavirus Pandemic Holds Important Lessons For The Tech Industry

The global outbreak of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has plunged many industries across the world in a deep state of crisis. The tech industry is seeing its share of challenges too, such as limited workforce, revenue slowdown, and diverted supplies. As we pass through this very tough phase and after we come out of it, the industry would have experienced a sea-change unto itself. Status quos will be broken, old-world patterns will be brought down and new stalwarts will emerge.

The Remote Miracle


The tech industry is one of the few sectors that has the unique advantage of getting its work done despite its workforce being spread across different locations. To stay operational most companies, from the biggest movers and shakers to smallest players, are encouraging their employees to work from home. This might easily be the world’s biggest remote work experiment.


Before the global pandemic, remote working was considered a millennial trend, with only about 18% of the global population adopting a remote work lifestyle. Europe and Asia have experienced the shock of a transitional shift in working patterns more than the USA, as these regions weren’t always receptive of the remote work model. Remote Work was being referred to as the ‘Future of Work’ until about January 2020. Turns out, the future is here. 2020 is going to be a revolutionary year for remote work arrangements and we will see more remote companies and more distributed teams sprout in the post-Corona world.


The Healthcare Heroism


The Healthcare Tech industry, acknowledged but not given priority so far, is suddenly going to see an upsurge. Chinese companies including Alibaba have already shown that technology will play an important role in the way data is collected for healthcare and healthcare is delivered in times of a pandemic. Ping An, a Chinese company, reported a 10-fold increase in the number of users on its online health care and consultation platform between 22 January and 6 February 2020, compared to the first 21 days of 2020.


In India, too, the government has launched the Aarogya Setu app to help citizens identify their risk of contracting coronavirus. Using Bluetooth and GPS-generated social graph, the app keeps the user updated if they have crossed paths or come in contact with an infected person. The app also comes with a tool for self-testing questionnaire and self-isolation advice.


In South Korea, the government mobilized private companies on a large-scale to start manufacturing Coronavirus testing kits using AI technology, helping them speed up research and production by atleast three weeks. Similarly, pharma companies in the UK and USA too are using AI to speed up the discovery of vaccines and drugs by crunching large datasets from healthcare apps.


There is a dire need, and receptiveness for technology-driven healthcare solutions, and there is a good chance investor, as well as users, will be willing to give them a lot more priority in the coming future.


Governments too will increase their dependency and of healthcare tech, as they realize that tech solutions make it easier for them to trace, track and control a disease that holds the potential to affect a majority of their population. The industry will show a willingness to invest in as many (or more) healthcare ventures as they have in Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality or Ecommerce in these past few.


The Ripple Effect


In the post-Coronavirus world, the tech industry will have also learned to not live in a bubble. Industries don’t exist in isolated planes and are more co-dependent on each other than it was ever thought.


The tech industry specifically, started feeling the brunt in early 2020 itself, when the outbreak in China and neighbouring countries resulting in worldwide temperature-checks and health tests at airports. Tech executives and CEOs had a hard time travelling from one place to another. With Uber and Lyft having to suspend car pool services in lieu of the circumstance, their demand and stocks nosedived. With more and more governments asking citizens to stay in and not travel unless necessary, aviation companies and rideshare / cab aggregator companies are bound to feel the heat.


The Consumer Shift


The pandemic will also shift customer behavior patterns forever. Customers who were not in favour of buying groceries and fresh produce online (for lack of trust, mainly), have had to shift to online ordering for daily essentials. There is a good chance that many of them have crossed over to the permanently-online-purchasers category and will stay there well after the time of crisis is over.


Just like remote working, the education sector, too, has quickly adapted to remote learning. With a plethora of tools and options available to make learning possible from distributed locations, remote learning or the ‘e-learning’ industry is bound to see a massive surge in the userbase. Educational institutes will show readiness to adapt more flexible learning methodologies and make learning more interactive, now that they know it is possible and working.


For organizations too, the outbreak may have accelerated the new ‘normal’ in how they get work done. Even the biggest names were sluggish in putting into place virtual office infrastructure as they treated ‘work from home’ more of a benefit than a habit. With employees realizing that with the right infrastructure and attitude, remote work can be just as, or even more, productive as work from office, companies are going to have to virtualize business operations on a massive scale after the pandemic. After all, will someone wasting 60 to 75 minutes commuting to and from work, want to go back to it after experience the convenience of remote work lifestyle? The Coronavirus outbreak maybe a tipping point for the remote work model, the same way as World War II was for the 9 to 5 model.


The Black Swan Theory


More than anything else, the tech industry will now be prepared to face situations it never would have predicted could happen. The tech industry will increase its expenditure on remote tech and cybersecurity to be prepared for a ‘black swan’ event like this. Even as some countries just ignored the risks of Coronavirus (despite warnings), some went into a pre-mature drive to stop it in its track. The tech industry, neither was prepared nor ready, to handle a cataclysm of this scale. Some companies jumped into action quickly, while most took their own sweet time to make critical calls.


Technology has been one of the biggest pillars of strength for the society as online channels have made everything possible and available even as quarantine and lockdowns have increased. It will also have to play an important part in administrative and healthcare efforts as the post-Corona world will look to be better prepared and battle-ready for another global mishap.

How Coronavirus Pandemic Is Affecting The Tech Industry

In the 15 days since the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the Coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, 471,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported globally.

The pandemic and consequent measures to stop its spread have taken a serious toll on the global economy. The cancellation of many big events, shutting down of commercial establishments, limitations on use of public transport, and employees having to work from home have crippled many industries. The tech industry, too, is seeing its share of ups and downs in these testing times.


The big five of tech – Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft have collectively lost over a trillion dollars in a month. Since the outbreak originated in China, iPhone supply issues have hit Apple hard right since the beginning of the year. Apple has also shuttered all its stores outside Greater China until the end of March. As many countries are forcing its people to lockdown, Amazon’s eCommerce business has come to a standstill. Businesses like Google and Facebook, which rely on ad revenues are usually the worst hit during slow times such as these.


Companies centred around the gig economy such as Uber, Ola, Zomato, and Airbnb too are struggling to get customers. Uber, especially, is hit hard as it has seen its stock plunge by 64% between mid-February and mid-March.


It is not an entirely grim situation though. Many experts believe that several tech companies are bound to come out looking better at the end of it all. The ones who will benefit the most from this situation are companies offering video conferencing and collaboration tools. While e-commerce services had almost come to a standstill for a while, some of them are resuming service at least for the essentials.


Zoom Video Communications has seen its stock surge 101% since January 31st. As an increasing number of companies started asking their employees to work from home, Zoom suddenly came into focus as an indispensable tool. The video conferencing and cloud meeting app is widely being used, not just by companies, but by educational institutes as well to hold classes and webinars. Similarly, Slack, Teams by Microsoft and RingCentral too have seen a spike in its users. RingCentral, especially, has picked a rapid userbase in China.


Many countries have put their populations in an obligatory lockdown to curb the spread of the virus. Unsurprisingly, Netflix, YouTube, and a slew of other similar media streaming sites across the world are seeing a spike in usage.


Certain experts also believe that most of the companies who’ve seen some losses in the midst of the pandemic will emerge stronger by the end of it. Google’s losses in ad revenue, for example, are balanced by its cloud computing revenues, which are in unprecedented demand. The same goes for Amazon and Microsoft’s cloud computing services. Apple, which used to rely heavily on device sales until a couple of years ago, has diversified into services such as Apple TV and iCloud off late. If the data is any indicator, people are watching more TV while quarantined at home, than ever before, and that must be good news for Apple in the long run.


Outside the direct effect of the COVID-19 outbreak, this episode holds the potential to create a more permanent behavior change in the way people shop and consume media. Consider online shopping in India, for example. Although online shopping for books and tech accessories was always popular with a section of internet users, online grocery shopping was still in its nascent stages. With the country in complete lockdown except for essential supplies, the demand for online grocery and medicine delivery portals saw a sudden rise. Google searches for ‘online grocery delivery’ saw a 60% rise in March 2020 in India.


The tech industry is not isolated in this time of crisis. The impact on other domains such as finance, travel, and logistic and supplies, which are directly or indirectly intertwined with the tech industry will affect tech companies by varying degrees. The outbreak and its fallout have taught us to be more self-connected, and aware and concerned about the diversity around us.


As the world will return to normalcy in the coming months, it will have converted some offline shoppers into online shoppers, some club-goers to Netflix bingers, and some on-premise employees to remote workers. As of now, the Covid-19 pandemic has put the tech industry through tumultuous times. And it will be a while until a clearer picture emerges, but as humans we will be a little more evolved and a little more learned after this incident. As individual, as well as organizational attitudes, change, some companies will come out looking better than ever before. And that will be the Future of Work, the Future of Human Race.

How Remote Work Can Solve Tech Industry’s Gender Diversity Problem

On the occasion of International Women’s Day last week, we discussed the importance of having more women in tech1. The female workforce requires a more flexible approach to work than its male counterpart. Prioritizing family and children often leads to a big break in women’s tech careers, following which they either have to return to work after a sabbatical or continue to extend their break to focus on their priorities. In the former scenario, women often have to start from scratch or compromise on salary, benefits, and place in the company hierarchy.

A study by Pew Research2 shows that 51% of women said that being a working mother was simultaneously detrimental to their career. Similarly, a University of Wisconsin Milwaukee study3 shows that one-third of the surveyed women had left their jobs again post returning from a pregnancy break “because companies weren’t flexible enough to accommodate work-life concerns.

The New Workplace

Instead of pressurizing women to choose between career and families, companies need to adapt more to the demands of the modern employee. Working environments need to be more flexible when it comes to working hours and location. Flexible work hours allow employees to strike a healthy work-life balance, thus automatically curbing attrition rates.

Remote working isn’t a benefit that can be allotted to some employees. It is how new office environments must be set-up to maximise employee productivity. Employees (especially female) must be allowed to work in a setting they feel comfortable in. It is one way of letting them know that they are important and necessary in the entire scope of things.


Busting The Myth

Remote working comes with a lot of unfortunate falsehoods attached to it. Remote employees are often looked upon as part-timers, slackers and even equivalent to freelancers. Even amongst the workforce, remote working is looked like something that deprives one of being a part of the in-office culture and benefits, and team meetings. This is one of the chief reasons why women have not yet fully adjusted to the idea of remote work.

Contrary to all the myths attached to it, remote work is thriving because it is showing positive results. Stanford professor Nicholas Bloom conducted a two-year-long detailed study that found that work-from-home employees showed higher productivity than their on-premise counterparts4. Additionally, employee attrition decreased by half among remote workers as they did not waste time in commuting, took shorter breaks, and had fewer sick days.

Women, especially feel more motivated to work more when they are working at their own pace. Women who work from home were also more likely to feel confident that the company understands their needs and concerns. This significantly reduces their stress levels.


Remote Employees, Healthy Employees

Employee health is one of the most critical but overlooked advantage of remote work situations. Employees that clock in minimal or no time in commuting for work experience comparatively lower stress levels.

Working remotely is also effective in the sense that employees who use public transport are more likely to pick-up regular flu and infections from public spaces. Women who work as well as look after a family, especially, need to look after their health more carefully. A good case in point is the current Corona Virus outbreak.

As the Corona Virus outbreak is declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), more and more employees are choosing to work from home than being exposed to the deadly virus. Even Google has asked much of its global workforce (primarily in North America, Europe and the Middle East) to work remotely until April 10th5. It is a very effective step as avoiding contact with large groups can help curb the spread of the virus. Rather than risking employee health and having them take days off due to illness, companies prefer to let them work from home.

While the concept isn’t entirely new in North America and Europe, many companies in countries such as China, India, South Korea, UAE, and Iran are doing it for the very first time. It may be the beginning of new work culture for countries unfamiliar with the remote work culture and its advantages.

A cursory glance at the above points tells us that women working from home are bound to be more productive and effective. Every company’s leadership has a responsibility to ensure that its employees are provided with the best benefits which work directly in the organisation’s interest.

The discussion around women in tech has always centred around getting more girls to take up STEM disciplines as an academic option. The lesser-discussed aspect of the lack of women in tech is the fact that women face major hurdles if they want to continue their careers. Modern companies need to embrace remote work as a serious option to give their female workforce a common ground. It is from this common ground that women will be able to cross the hurdles, break the ceiling, and shatter the prejudices.

Our initiative, is a community-driven platform, that empowers women to take up remote working opportunities. The platform focuses on flexibility as a primary aspect for female talent, so they can choose the work they want to do on their terms. Our platform consists of profiles of over 2000 women who are looking for opportunities that offer flexible working conditions. If you would like to be a part of our ever-growing community of talented women, click here to register. If you are looking to hire the best talent specializing in niche technologies and domains, click here to find the perfect resource.

The Importance Of Having More Women In Tech

Former Chairman of the People’s Republic of China, Mao Zedong once proclaimed, “Women hold up half the sky”. Nowhere is this statement more applicable than in the technology domain. Women comprise 42% of the total number of Internet users in India. Relatively, only 34% of the IT workforce in India is comprised of women1. While that stat is encouraging if compared to the percentage of female workers in other more developed countries, the gender gap and lack of diversity is still a matter of acute concern for our country.

We have to accept the harsh truth that the representation of women in the tech industry has traditionally been very poor. A part of this blame has to lie with the faulty and prejudiced hiring practices of what is considered the ‘boys’ club’. Female workers are often considered a liability and a dent to the bottom-line of an organisation. This mentality needs to change, and it will only happen when the myths around the downsides of hiring women are shattered.

The Role Of Representation

While nearly half of India’s Internet users are women, not enough women work in tech to represent the users fully. Technology is used in almost all aspects of our lives today, and the demographic of users also decide the consumer pattern of the product. Websites and apps that help women with fitness, fashion, pregnancy, ovulation, parenting, etc. should be led by women if they are to cater to their target demographic accurately. For example, Chantelle Bell and Anya Roy invented a test device for women to self-run a test for cervical cancer. Sue Black is a computer scientist who founded #techmums, a charity for mothers that has online and offline classes covering technology basics. Tech for women, by women in tech, could lead to the opening of avenues to a whole new set of applications of technology hitherto unthought of.


The Case For Diversity

Gender diversity can be beneficial in the long run. According to a Morgan Stanley research2, an organisation with a better balance of men and women in the workplace can deliver returns with less volatility. As per the research, companies with higher gender diversity have delivered slightly better returns. A group of people, irrespective of gender, race with their own areas of expertise, would be better than a homogeneous group at solving complex, nonroutine problems. This is because individuals coming from diverse backgrounds bring diverse viewpoints towards a discussion.


The Leadership Argument

Unlike men, who approach leadership roles with a revenue-centric point of view, women adopt a more holistic and empathetic approach when they take up leadership positions. Due to their own necessity to balance their personal and professional lives, women leaders value the work-life balance of their colleagues and subordinates too. Additionally, women are more open to knowledge-sharing and are hence more likely to gel with their team, compared to men in leadership positions.


Addressing The Gap

The tech industry is seeing a certain gap in supply and demand. There are projects that companies see as feasible, but can’t find feasible enough resources to pull it off. Women often put flourishing tech careers on hold, to give priority to family or raising children. Although some women choose to return to work after maternity leave, a whopping 43% quit their job when faced with a choice between career and family3. This is another factor that affects diversity in the industry. While men continue to have an uninterrupted career irrespective of the changes in their personal lives, women are forced to make certain compromises. The way more of these women can be encouraged to jump back into the industry is by offering them flexible work opportunities. For women looking to tip-toe their way back into the industry, remote working is a great solution as it lets them work on their terms, and offers tremendous flexibility.


The Thought Of Future

One of the primary reasons why not many young girls would think of a flourishing career in tech today is the lack of women role models in the industry. More women in tech will lead to more women in leadership positions, which will ultimately lead to more women for young girls to look up to. It will encourage them to take up a career in the tech industry. As a result, hopefully, the need and importance of women in tech wouldn’t be something we’ll need to discuss another decade.

Bridging the gender gap in the tech industry is a challenging task that lies ahead of, but it most certainly isn’t something that is not possible. Other industries such as law and medicine, once seen as male-dominated professions, have gradually seen more women enrol for courses than men.


Technology is all around us. It has penetrated every aspect of our lives. As a result, the industry is bound to create more, and newer roles with every passing day. By encouraging more women to make or resume their careers in tech, we could address a possible shortage of workforce for these jobs.


At, we actively host female talent who want to work on their own terms. Shework is a community-driven talent outsourcing platform that addresses the traditional issues with hiring and recruitment, through the concept of shared employability. On this International Women’s Day, it gives us immense joy to introduce to everyone our newest platform –

Things To Check Before Choosing a Custom Software Development Partner

Enterprises of all sizes need a good mix of different software and applications to automate their processes. In our previous blog ‘5 Benefits Of Bespoke Software Development’, we have already discussed why custom-made software is a more suitable, cost-effective and robust alternative to off-the-shelf software. In the global marketplace, the use of bespoke technology has now become a sure-shot way of gaining a competitive advantage. But the real challenge most enterprises face is when choosing the right partner to outsource their technology requirements to. As an extension to that blog, today we will discuss the things you need to keep in mind when choosing a development partner for your custom software project.

1. Reviews and References

People you know personally or people from your professional network are some of the best sources to ask references from. Additionally, scout B2B review and rating sites such as Clutch, Glassdoor, Sourcelysis, AppFuture, etc. would be very helpful in painting a picture of how well the company has handled similar projects in the past. Browsing through official social pages (LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) of the companies would also not be a bad idea, as it will give you an idea of the company, culture, knowledge capabilities, etc. And most importantly, never forget Google. Sometimes, a simple Google search might tell you what no one or nothing else can.

2. Check their Portfolio

A company’s portfolio is always a good confidence builder for a service seeker. Enquire well about the previous projects, challenges faced and problems addressed to understand the scope and capabilities of the development team. Aside from completed and deployed projects, also request a peek into projects currently under development, as the technology scene keeps changing all the times and you will need a partner who can keep up and adapt. Many companies maintain a blog on their website. Reading through the blogs and other content on the company website will give you a fair bit of idea of the company’s technical knowledge and expertise. The company’s social media pages are a good indication of how well the company keeps up with the latest happenings in the industry, news and trends, etc.

3. Requirement Understanding

When you are pitching your requirement to the development partner, ensure that the delivery partner shows you a user story for your requirement. An ideal development partner will analyse your business needs by evaluating the gaps, problems and pain points, and discussing the possible solutions with you. This will give you confidence that the potential vendor has understood your requirement.

4. NDA

Before moving things ahead, insist on an NDA, which protects the confidential information that will be shared during the project. Your data, which is your intellectual property, would be handled by the vendor, and its confidentiality is of utmost importance.

5. Budget

Your custom software development partner and you must be on the same page when it comes to the size and cost of your project. Decide the deadline for the project and insist on making it a part of the contract. Ensure that the partner is agreeing to the deadline, but also giving your team enough time for orientation and onboarding, to get used to the new system.

6. Timeline

Similarly, your partner also needs to understand your budgetary requirements and limits. Before approaching a company to partner with, consider the cost of the project and its implementation, and how much ROI you can get from it. Stay away from companies that compromise on quality to offer their services at a lower cost, as well as from companies who bloat the size and price of your project with unnecessary add-ons.

7. Methodology and Workflow

Instead of going for a full and final delivery system, pick a company that does sprints. If a company has divided a project into sprints, it would be able to demo it to you in phases. This allows you to chime in with important inputs/suggestions on the go. And for this reason, a company that follows agile or similar delivery models is a preferable choice, as it makes easy for them to adapt to changing requirements without losing out on the delivery deadlines, while also maintaining a clear channel of communication with you.

8. Tools

Understand from the service provider the tools they use for internal communication and project management. You will be able to gauge the level of sophistication and transparency the vendor brings to the table. If your prospective business partner uses industry-standard or higher tools such as:

i) Slack or Skype for communication
ii) Balsamiq or for wireframe design
iii) Trello for project management
iv) Buffer or Hootsuite for digital marketing
v) Apple, Adobe, Google or Microsoft Suite of products, etc.,

then you can rest assured that the project is in good hands.

9. Security and Communication

While sprints can have deadlines and budgets can have limits, there can be no quantification of a company’s trust factor. While you have to go with your gut and experience on that front, there are a few steps you can follow. Ensure that you pick a software delivery partner who has regular security and network audits in place. The partner should be able to keep your data safe and private. Additionally, an ideal partner would provide you with a single point-of-contact (such as a dedicated account manager or a project manager) to ensure regular and transparent communication between both the parties.

10. Support and Maintenance

As is the nature of the universe, nothing is perfect. Neither will your custom-made software be. To ensure continued service after deployment to fix bugs, maintain and upgrade systems, enquire well about a post-deployment service and maintenance contract.

Why Telemerge Is Your Ideal Bespoke Software Development Partner

Telemerge IT Services empowers businesses by designing and building custom software solutions that align with your business goals and requirements. At Telemerge, we steadfastly believe in delivering quality solutions through our trademark mix of agile approach and flexible delivery model with real and measurable results. With Telemerge as your custom software development partner, you can be assured that all the above checkboxes will be ticked. Link to bespoke.

To get your custom project started, get in touch with us now.


Pooja Bangad

Technical Director,
Telemerge IT, Pune

This Data Privacy Day, we are pledging for a #SafeDigitalIndia by 2022

28th January is an important day for anyone who considers privacy a basic tenet of human rights. On 28th January 1981, the world’s first data privacy policy was signed. The convention for the protection of individuals with regard to automatic processing of personal data, also known as Convention 108, is a treaty signed by the Council of Europe to protect the right to privacy of data provided by individuals to organizations for automatic processing. To commemorate this historic day, International Data Privacy Day is celebrated annually on 28th January.

Necessary Awareness

Data breaches have become common news these past few years. Some of the recent breaches that affected millions of users across India include SBI, Facebook, JustDial (2019), Aadhar, Quora, Marriott (2018), and Zomato (2017). Millions of people are unaware of how their personal information is being collected, used or shared online. Data Privacy Day aims to inform individuals and companies about their rights over their data and empower them to take action to protect it.

Global Data Privacy Policies

As technology has changed and evolved, the importance of data privacy is also evolved. Data is processed differently, and hence, needs a different approach when it comes to its protection against misuse. As individuals too have become more aware and concerned about how their data is used, landmark policies such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act are further improving providing data privacy and protection safeguards.

India too has caught up with global standards of data protection and is taking the privacy of user data very seriously. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), constituted a committee to prepare robust and comprehensive Data Protection Laws applicable to India in July 2017. This committee submitted a draft in July 2018 known as the Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill 2018. Section 96 of the Bill specifies that the provisions of the bill will prevail over any inconsistent laws and focuses especially on consent, data retention, Sectoral Regulator for fair code of practices, erasure of irrelevant personal data, processing of sensitive personal data social media intermediaries and localization and cross border data transfers.

Responsibilities of Companies

Collecting data is a great way to get to know your users and make future interactions/transactions easy. Companies are bound by law to protect user data, but also have to understand their moral standing to make sure user data is well protected.

Similarly, for companies that deal with other companies, taking the right steps to protect data becomes extremely necessary. SaaS companies that regularly transact in enterprise solutions have to wire large amounts of funds online. This makes it extremely important to take the right steps to safeguard data related to accounts and transactions.

Some steps companies can take to protect data are:

  1. Up to Date Security Softwares
  2. Encryption and Data Backup
  3. Regular Risk Assessments
  4. Staff Training and Awareness
  5. Surety of Vendors and Partners maintaining high Data Protection Standards
  6. Third-Party Security Evaluations

Future of Data Privacy

Data privacy laws and policies will have to keep evolving to encompass a plethora of modern technologies. As more data is processed using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), lawmakers will have to alter their understanding of data privacy and protection.

Most data privacy guidelines pertain to personal data of a user such as name, location, financial information, etc. But non-personal data has faced a more ambiguous debate when it comes to ownership. Non-personal data points such as travelling patterns collected by map apps, lifestyle collected by social media networks, location data collected by weather apps, etc. are also being increasingly processed by AI. In some cases, this data could well be traced back to identify an individual. Thus, laws pertaining to the protection of data privacy will have to be a lot more complex and layered.

Protecting Your Data

While laws and policies are there to protect your data, individuals too need to follow certain steps to make sure, they’re not giving it all away and compromising on their data.

  • Use strong passwords for sensitive accounts.
  • Disable lock-screen notifications on your phone and keep an eye out for device attacks.
  • App permissions can be customized, especially if you use an Android phone. Make use of this setting and give phone, camera, location permissions only to apps you can trust.
  • Always read the privacy policies on websites before clicking on Submit or I Agree.
  • Using a VPM while browsing can be very beneficial, especially if you’re connected to a public network.
  • Be careful when connecting to open networks or unknown devices via Bluetooth. Your device and all the data on it can become vulnerable in such cases.

In the end, data privacy is a shared and collective responsibility. Respecting privacy is a balancing act between the companies collecting data and the users providing it. While companies need to show meaningful transparency and legal compliance for the data they store and use, users also need to be proactive when it comes to their personal data – what they share, where they share, who they share it with, etc. are questions that need to be asked before submitting data to companies. Users also need to hold back on what they share online and all of it is classified as public information.

Anti-virus software and passwords are no longer the only guards against data theft. The digital world has evolved beyond that. As legal policies and user understanding also evolve with it, we shall see a more safe and sound future for online data.

Let us pledge commitment to make a #safedigitalindia by the year 2022.

HAPPY DATA PRIVACY DAY from Team Telemerge!


Kalyani Deshpande

CISA Certified and PRINCE2 Practitioner,
Cybersecurity Expert, Pune

Top 5 Mobile App Development Frameworks

Imagine a morning where you wake up to the alarm of the clock instead of a customized alarm clock with snoozes set on your smartphone. Imagine having to sift through the newspaper for the news you want instead of accessing a personalized news feed on your phone. Imagine having to step-out and looking for a bus or a cab instead of having one arrive at your doorstep after booking it on your phone. Imagine jostling with money and asking around for change to pay the cab fare instead of paying it using your digital wallet.

Smartphone apps have surrounded us and there’s no escaping it. Smartphone apps have automated the simplest of tasks (setting alarms, reading books, paying bills, etc.) and have also made complex tasks a little easier (ordering food, booking cabs, etc.). As developers jostle to build apps that are more innovative and less complicated, technologies too are evolving.

Behind the scenes, there are thousands of mobile app frameworks at work that make coding for an app a little easier and provides developers with dynamic options to create functionally flawless and eye-pleasing apps. Here are the five best frameworks that act as the best backend for smartphone apps.


Created by Facebook, React Native is an open-source cross-platform development framework. React Native heavily uses ReactJS like Syntax, which is a major advantage for developers, as it makes it easy to move from one project to another. One of React Native’s important features is the ability to reuse components. By reusing components, developers can directly compile blocks with the native app. Thus, developers can create platform-specific versions of these components by using single codebase across various multiple platforms. Despite being only four years old, the framework has a dedicated following and a thriving community of followers.

Features of React Native:

  • Cross-platform development (supports iOS and Android)
  • Declarative style coding for predictive UI
  • Compatible third-party plugins

Apps Developed using React Native:

Facebook, Instagram, SoundCloud, Pinterest, Skype

  1. IONIC

Ionic is an HTML5, CSS and Javascript-based open-source framework that allows developers to build cross-platform applications. Started in 2013, Ionic as a project has undergone several severe changes over the years. Since 2019, Ionic started supporting other frameworks like React, Vue.js, and web components. Ionic emulates native app UI guidelines and uses native SDKs, bringing the UI standards and device features of native apps together, thus giving apps access to all the native features of the operating system, such as Contacts, Calendar, etc.

Features of Ionic:

  • Open-source and cross-platform support
  • Over 100 native plugins available for developers
  • Optimum performance, thanks to hardware utilization

Apps Developed using Ionic:

Pacifica, McDonalds Turkey, JustWatch


Xamarin is a Microsoft-supported open-source framework to build fully functional and modern applications for iOS, Android, and Windows. Xamarin is one of the oldest frameworks in existence (since 2011) and originally started as a suite of mobile products using licenses from Mono for Android and MonoTouch. After Microsoft acquired Xamarin in 2016, it decided to open-source the Xamarin SDK and announced that they will bundle it as a free tool within Microsoft Visual Studio’s integrated development environment. Xamarin features various tools, libraries, backend, API, and support for many programming languages. Xamarin allows code-sharing which saves a lot of time and helps developers in building robust apps with remarkable turnaround time.

Features of Xamarin:

  • Comprehensive development ecosystem
  • Simple development environment due to C# code
  • Native API access including access to ARKit and Android Multi-Window mode

Apps Developed using Xamarin:

The World Bank, FreshDirect, Alaska Airlines


Flutter is an open-source UI framework developed by Google. While Flutter has editor plug-ins for both Visual Studio Code and IntelliJ / Android Studio, it works with any development tool. Flutter’s fully customized widgets make developing full-fledged native apps real easy and quick. During its early days, Flutter’s team evaluated dozens of languages before settling for Dart. Dart’s ahead-of-time (AOT) compilation makes Flutter very fast and customizable. Although Flutter is a relatively new ecosystem compared to other frameworks, it has gained a big following rapidly and is one of the most contributed topics on developer networks such as GitHub and StackExchange.


  • Highly fast and heavily customizable
  • Support for material design
  • Rich motion APIs for aesthetic design, and beautiful animations and transitions.

Apps Developed using Flutter:

Google Ads, Alibaba, The New York Times


PhoneGap is a great framework that allows developers to build cross-platform hybrid applications using web-based languages such as HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript. PhoneGap bridges the gap between native apps and hybrid apps by wrapping web apps with native apps in a WebView browser object. This object is a high-quality, high-performance standalone application. PhoneGap framework can be used to create apps for iOS, Android, Windows, Ubuntu, macOS, and even Blackberry.


  • Extensive cross-platform functionality
  • Robust support documentation and a solid community of developers
  • Availability of a wide choice of libraries frameworks to save time and effort

Apps Developed using PhoneGap:

Wikipedia, TripCase, Untappd

With the evolution of modern frameworks such as React Native and Flutter, building modern and slick mobile apps has become easier than ever. Developers have plenty of options to customize the apps and make it more functional to align it with the business goals of the app.

If you would like to know how Telemerge IT Services has leveraged the power of various mobile app development frameworks to deliver robust and eye-pleasing apps, Get in touch with us, to discuss your requirements.