India Overtakes US in Smartphone Market

India’s smartphone market recovered quickly from quarter-to-quarter in 2017, with shipments growing 23 percent year on year in the third quarter of 2017 to reach just over 40 million units. India has now overtaken the United States to become the world’s second largest smartphone market after China. Samsung and Xiaomi, which shipped 9.4 million and 9.2 million units respectively, accounted for almost half of the total market as the top five vendors continued to post strong growth in the third quarter, according to a Canalys report. “This growth comes as a relief to the smartphone industry. Doubts about India’s market potential are clearly dispelled by this result,” said Canalys research analyst Ishan Dutt. “There are close to 100 mobile device brands sold in India, with more vendors arriving every quarter. In addition, India has one of the most complex channel landscapes, but with low barriers to entry. Growth will continue. Low smartphone penetration and the explosion of LTE are the main drivers.” The market continues to concentrate with the top five vendors — Samsung, Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo and Lenovo — accounting for 75 percent of total shipments in India, the report said.

Zocdoc Uses AI for Insurance Checker

Zocdoc, an online medical scheduling company founded by Indian American Nick Ganju, has launched an AI-powered insurance checking feature, which aims to reduce major scheduling pain points for both patients and providers, reports said. Patients will now be able to quickly add their insurance data and get coverage information just by uploading a picture of their insurance card, according to a Business Insider report. Zocdoc, using an artificial intelligence model that recognizes patterns on thousands of types of medical insurance cards and can match them with a known carrier and plan, reducing a primary pain point for the majority of U.S. consumers, it said. AI technology has the potential to transform the patient experience by providing the means to create a more tailored, personalized experience at scale, the report said. Citing Accenture, the report noted that 84 percent of healthcare executives believe AI will revolutionize the way they will gain data from and interact with customers.

Vodafone, Idea Selling Indian Towers

American Tower is set to spend $1 billion acquiring tower assets from Vodafone India and Idea Cellular, according to reports. The U.S. tower firm emerged as the preferred candidate after negotiations with Brookfield Asset Management and IDFC Project Equity fell through due to disputes over the valuation of the towers. The details of the agreement are still being finalized, report said. Together with market leader Bharti Airtel, both firms also have holdings in Indus Tower, which operates around 123,000 towers, it said. Airtel’s stake in Indus Tower is held via its 61.65 percent ownership of tower firm Bharti Infratel. A further 10.33 percent stake in the company is held by Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and private equity firm KKR, after the firms jointly invested $954 million in Indus earlier this year, the reports said. Vodafone, Idea and Providence Equity Partners hold 58 percent of Indus Towers between them, and Infratel is reportedly looking to obtain most or all of this from them for between $5.5 - $6.5 billion in “a leveraged buyout that will largely be funded out of the reserves and cash flow of Indus Towers.” Vodafone may retain a stake of around 10 percent.

Wright State Partners with Andhra Pradesh

An agreement that promises to increase the flow of students to Wright State University from the Andhra Pradesh state in India has been reached, the university said. A renewal to a memorandum of understanding between the two entities was signed in late October. The original memorandum, signed last year, is an agreement to further develop partnerships in student exchanges, research, industrial training and other areas between Wright State and Andhra Pradesh, the university said. The agreement includes a tuition reduction for new students from 15 approved Andhra Pradesh universities. Beginning fall semester 2018, Wright State will provide a 75 percent reduction of the out-of-state surcharge added to in-state tuition. The students must meet admissions, academic and language requirements at Wright State. “There is a wonderful opportunity here to grow the knowledge economy in both places across the world,” said university president Cheryl B. Schrader. “What better way to do it than to bring together the innovative minds of these two groups?”

Sethuraman Panchanthan Among C-Suite Winners

Sethuraman Panchanthan was named a 2017 C-Suite Award winner, capturing the C-Suite COO winner, recently announced by the Phoenix Business Journal publication. It was the inaugural award program in the Phoenix, Ariz., area with several executives in the area being honored with awards. Among the awards doled out included executive of the year, general counsel, chief marketing officer, chief financial officer and chief executive officer, as well as Panchanathan's COO award. "It is a great honor to be named a C-Suite award winner by @phxbizjournal, alongside such inspiring leaders," Panchanathan said in a tweet. The Indian American leader is currently the executive VP and chief research and innovation officer of knowledge enterprise development at Arizona State University. He is a foundation chair in computing and informatics and the director of the Center for Cognitive Ubiquitous Computing. Panchanathan was the founding director of the ASU School of Computing and Informatics and was instrumental in founding the biomedical informatics department at ASU. His research interests are in the areas of Human-centered multimedia computing, ubiquitous computing environments for enhancing the quality of life for individuals with disabilities, and haptic user interfaces.

U.S. Physicians Using Hindi More Often

Hindi is the second most widely spoken non-English language among American physicians after Spanish, a study has found. It is spoken by 13.8 percent of multilingual American physicians, with 36.2 percent speaking Spanish, according to the study by Doximity, citing 60,000 licensed physicians scanned. Other languages that made the top-five were French, Persian/Farsi and Chinese. Hindi also came up as the second most widely spoken non-English language among bilingual patients in the Doximity study.

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