Your address will show here +12 34 56 78
Blog

Youth around the world face challenges previous generations have not. No matter how much work they put in, many graduate ill-equipped for careers. Educational systems around the world aren’t reliably preparing youth for today’s careers, much less those of tomorrow. This lack of job-ready skills holds true in the U.S., just as much as it does in developing contexts. These challenges are not only for youth or educational systems to […]

Youth around the world face challenges previous generations have not. No matter how much work they put in, many graduate ill-equipped for careers. Educational systems around the world aren’t reliably preparing youth for today’s careers, much less those of tomorrow. This lack of job-ready skills holds true in the U.S., just as much as it does in developing contexts.

These challenges are not only for youth or educational systems to tackle.

These challenges are relevant to any company wanting to stay current, grow and thrive.

So what do today’s employers and companies need to do? And when they do address these challenges, what’s in it for them?

If you want to recruit, retaining and grow your young talent, training & ongoing development are key. For us at iMerit, this means that when we bring on new staff, their learning journey is far from over. All of our employees, from executives to newest hires, are expected to continue learning and gaining skills both on their own and with our support.

Employers must integrate skill-development into their company culture; when they do, everyone comes out ahead.

In practice, this learning is guided by a dedication to integration and usefulness. We need an integrated approach so that our workers can both work and learn. Also, we focus relevant skills like English and technology to ensure learning can be applied. Over the years, we’ve taken best practices from distance learning programs, MOOCs, self-directed learning programs and more to see what works best in our context.

The outcome is an integrated, self-directed system that allows our employees to earn a living while learning, deliver fantastic results while gaining critical skills. By empowering them to be self-driven learners, we see our employees quickly develop their own problem solving skills, and strengthen their own motivation.

focus on learning
DOWNLOAD

The results have shown in company culture, individual learning outcomes, and client results.

The same skill-building that enables our workers to build datasets for machine vision algorithms contributes to their personal skill sets. Each extra unit of productivity delivered to our clients is reflective of an extra unit of skill-development and personal growth. By integrating learning into company DNA, we’ve seen:

  • Industry-best levels of retention (95% and above!)
  • An increase in employee-driven initiatives
  • Employee-driven recognition of colleagues’ progress and achievements
  • Improved project metrics from beginning to end of an engagement
  • Energetic pursuit of new trends and technologies

For companies around the world, integrating skill-development into company culture can look different. It might be a more informal focus communicated from managers to their reports; it could be a company-wide initiative to take a particular online course; it could manifest as an increased budget for professional development.

No matter what, we are certain that technologies will continue changing at an increasing clip. We know we want each of our employees to feel motivated to contribute their best.

Learning is the only way to keep up.

0

Blog, self-driving cars

In 1885 Karl Benz invented the first true automobile. Later that year, he took it out for the first public test drive and crashed it into a wall. Since then, for the last 130 years engineers have been working to make the car stronger and safer, adding added seat belts, air bags,  better brakes, and more. Now, we are ready to make the car smarter. Experiments on automating cars have […]

In 1885 Karl Benz invented the first true automobile. Later that year, he took it out for the first public test drive and crashed it into a wall.

Since then, for the last 130 years engineers have been working to make the car stronger and safer, adding added seat belts, air bags,  better brakes, and more. Now, we are ready to make the car smarter.

Experiments on automating cars have been conducted since the 1920s, but only in recent decades has the technology really begun to impact consumers. Today, billions of dollars are invested in making cars smarter using artificial intelligence and machine learning. Dedicated research and development of machine learning engineers has accelerated progress in the self-driving car, with new technologies being announced at a quickening pace. What are some of the most exciting advances today? How would they work in challenging contexts like a busy Indian road? Let’s look at some highlights.

Car manufacturers are taking this shift towards automation very seriously. At the end of 2015, Toyota announced the establishment of a new company Toyota Research Institute (TRI) that will focus not only on automated car technology, but also robot helpers for around the home. Their initial goal is to make cars that are not capable of crashing, allowing older people to be able to drive, and help prevent the one and a half million deaths that occur as a result of cars every year around the world. They are keeping humans as the center of their innovations, exploring the ways automation can make our lives safer and happier.

Another leading manufacturer, Tesla, announced its autopilot system in 2015. Based on machine learning algorithms, connectivity, and mapped data, Tesla is building precise and self-improving systems for automated operations and navigation. Machine leanring algorithms are being used on a massive scale to analyze sensor data and use it to make increasingly accurate predictions. The advent of the commercially available self-driving car will also bring new partnerships, like one between Samsung and BMW.

Together, they are working to create virtual brains that will power autonomous cars of the future. They aim to develop a smart assistant for autonomous vehicles, which will recognize the driver’s voice and help them execute commands while also paying attention to the road.

While commercial research in to car automation is certainly front and center of consumers’ minds, there is a great deal of academic research pushing boundaries as well.

A team from Nankai University in the north-east port city of Tianjin has come up with the first mind-controlled car. Drivers of the brainwave-directed car wear brain signal-reading equipment consisting of sixteen sensors that capture EEG (electroencephalogram) signals from the brain. A computer program that selects the relevant signals and translates them in to car direction. So far, the team has made a car go forward, backward, stop, lock and unlock all just by using the “drivers” mind. Though the technology is only in early stages, the effects on improving mobility for the physically disabled are fascinating.

Governments are also starting to take notice, with the US’ proposing to spend $4 billion over 10 years to accelerate the development and acceptance of self-driving cars on American roads. The administration  has also planned to work with state governments and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators within six months to reduce traffic accidents and significantly improve road safety. “Automated vehicles open up opportunities for saving time, saving lives and saving fuel,”commented U.S. Transportation secretary Anthony Foxx at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Even whimsical technologies are taking off. Slovakia-based “Aeromobi 3.0” announced their flying/driving car in 2015. The company has built a prototypes that can drive as well as fly. You can fly and land it in any airport, and it can be driven into any gas station to be refilled. CEO Juraj Vaculik aims to have the car launced by 2017, and is already planning on a fully autonomous two-seater flying car in the future.. It aims to be somewhat like a flying Uber or Lyft, dreaming of creating a very efficient way of transporting ourselves in the coming days.

These technologies – be they practical, far-fetched, or previously inconceivable – are positioned to revolutionize automobiles and transportation in the coming years.

How would they fare beyond well-documented and maintained roads? How would they fare, say, in my hometown of Kolkata?

In India, one person dies every 4 minutes on the road, with an estimated 207,551 deaths each year according to the latest report by WHO, “Global Road Safety Report 2015.”  The frequency of traffic collisions in India is amongst the highest in the world, due to  individuals not following rules, drunk driving, lack of safety gear, use of older and less safe cars, and poor road maintenance. Imagine unleashing the self driving car on these roads. In the ideal, the number of road accidents and traffic collisions will fall down dramatically, but this is actually a very hard task for the self driving car manufacturer. Automated technologies are being built in contexts that are fairly predictable, and well maintained. What happens when you’re on a Kolkata road jostling for space with countless other kinds of transport, people walking, animals and more? This could require another wave of innovation, perhaps one we should start sooner rather than later. When Google CEO, Sundar Pichai, had a conversation with the students of SRCC University in Delhi, he simply commented “that one is pretty hard.”

Self-driving cars will be able to follow every rule and signal, and maintaining safe speed limits on roads. They will communicate with each other, maximizing safety and speed. Physically disabled people, blind individuals, and other mobility-restricted populations will be able to move safely on road. Mothers will feel secure to send their children for school. Traffic will be less, as will fuel consumption. I, for one, can’t wait for that day and am looking forward to that day in Kolkata when I can reach my office in a self-driven car!

0

Blog

As it grows at a rapid clip, India has been drawing global attention from tech companies large and small. In years past, eyes have been focused on Bangalore or Hyderabad; businesses have established outposts in Delhi or Mumbai. What of Kolkata? This piece by USA Today journalist Jon Swartz highlights the unique opportunities and challenges tech companies face in Kolkata, and shows how iMerit’s work in skill development and livelihood […]

As it grows at a rapid clip, India has been drawing global attention from tech companies large and small. In years past, eyes have been focused on Bangalore or Hyderabad; businesses have established outposts in Delhi or Mumbai. What of Kolkata?

This piece by USA Today journalist Jon Swartz highlights the unique opportunities and challenges tech companies face in Kolkata, and shows how iMerit’s work in skill development and livelihood creation fits into the big picture of tech and entrepreneurship around the world.

0

Blog

Our technology our machines, is part of our humanity. We created them to extend ourselves, and that is what is unique about human beings! In the recent years, the need for machine vision technology has matured dramatically. Various uses of machine vision technologies have been adopted by industries including electronics, pharmaceuticals, food packaging, medical devices, automotive and consumer goods. This technology can be found in surveillance applications, wildlife monitoring, […]

Our technology our machines, is part of our humanity. We created them to extend ourselves, and that is what is unique about human beings! Ray Kurzweil

In the recent years, the need for machine vision technology has matured dramatically. Various uses of machine vision technologies have been adopted by industries including electronics, pharmaceuticals, food packaging, medical devices, automotive and consumer goods. This technology can be found in surveillance applications, wildlife monitoring, smart cars and even bionic vision.

These technologies could dramatically change way we do things. They could accelerate manufacturing process, or be used to track how fashion and consumer goods spread through cities. We could find ourselves in cars that drive themselves, arriving to stores that already know who we are and what we want. Entertainment options could multiply, and we could experience places around the world from the comfort of our homes. At its most promising, machine vision could improve quality of life and productivity around the world. Take a look at what I think are some of the most interesting applications around today.

Are Robot Cars the Key to Saving Millions?

Despite advances in car and road safety, 1.25 million people are killed on the world’s roads each year. Could self-driving cars be the solution to the globe’s deadly roads? A self-driving car is capable of sensing its environment and navigating without human input. The better the technology gets, the less involved the human driver will be. This reduction in human error could translate to hundreds of thousands of crashes averted. Driverless vehicles are usually outfitted with some combination of a GPS unit, an inertial navigation system, and many sensors including laser range finders, radar and video. Together, these sensors and systems feed the computer in the car valuable data about what’s going on outside. The computer is able to combine the data from outside conditions and known route characteristics in order to determine speed, proximity to other cars, and when to stop and start. Driverless cars are already safely cruising about many American cities, and as their algorithms, machine vision, and data processing abilities continue to be refined, we could see them even more!

Keeping an Eye on Fashion

Fashion companies eager to know what trends catch on and which are flops could start using machine vision to track how fashion spreads through society. Researchers from National Taiwan University in Taipei have trained machine visions algorithm to identify clothing and fashion objects in images, analyzing the color, texture, style, size and so on of various items. They then compared images of models from fashion runways to images of “street-chic,” featuring the fashion of people walking around cities. The researchers were able to identify which trends successfully jumped from runway to street, and which never made it. Read more about fashion research.

The Key to (Happily) Living Forever

World famous futurist Ray kurzweil is excited about virtual reality and living forever. At the “Exponential Medicine Conference,” he said nanobot technology can be used to bolster the natural human immune system, enabling us to beat diseases including cancer. We could essentially become immortal. However, Kurzweil says that in order to avoid becoming a “sorrowful immortal,” bored with everything our hands can touch, we’ll need virtual reality to stay stimulated. By 2030 Kurzweil posits that virtual reality could plug straight into a human nervous system, radically expanding the potential experience we could have. This, he says, is the key to an enjoyable immortality. Watch the conference to hear more!

The applications of machine vision technologies are vast and undeniably exciting. However, creating machine vision applications requires huge datasets, thousands of images, and a lot of processing. The precise processes needed in the creation of the many algorithms used to teach computers to “see” vary, but all need accurate, rapid, and large training datasets. This is where iMerit comes in to help machines think and work smarter. iMerit has skilled and trained employees experienced in working on creating datasets for machine learning and machine vision.

Contact us if you want to learn more!

0

Blog

The drive from central Kolkata to Metiabruz, a neighborhood on the outskirts of Kolkata, should be rather quick. Instead, traffic snarls along the busy roads leading through docks along the Hoogly River. Trucks hauling shipping containers jam the roads, with men hauling goods on carts jostling for space in a mismatched battle for right of way. The bustling movement kicks up cough-inducing amounts of dust, and coats everything along […]

The drive from central Kolkata to Metiabruz, a neighborhood on the outskirts of Kolkata, should be rather quick. Instead, traffic snarls along the busy roads leading through docks along the Hoogly River.

Trucks hauling shipping containers jam the roads, with men hauling goods on carts jostling for space in a mismatched battle for right of way.

The bustling movement kicks up cough-inducing amounts of dust, and coats everything along the roads with a thin dusty layer. The route from central Kolkata demonstrates what a key industrial location this is, with the shipping industry, power stations, and textile manufacturers vying for space.

You would never think that there are hundreds of women in tech in this neighborhood.

Once you enter Metiabruz, the commotion changes but doesn’t become less intense. Roadways are packed with shops selling everything imaginable, and a disproportionately high number of brightly colored kite shops will catch your eye. The air might carry the scent of biriyani or the melodic call to prayer from an area mosque.

The neighborhood is a maze of narrow ways lined with concrete buildings and informal homes next to which open drains and piles of garbage betray the lack of government services. Today, the aesthetics disguise the area’s history; it was once home to Wajid Ali Shah, the last nawab of Awadh (in present day Uttar Pradesh). The wealthy Nawab was exiled to this corner of Kolkata, where he lived a lavish lifestyle and indulged in his love of diverse arts, from poetry, and plays to dance. He is credited with the revival of the classic Indian dance, Kathak.

View from our Metiabruz office
Today, Kathak lives on in Metiabruz, but not much else would be recognizable. It is a poorly served area of Kolkata, with the majority of residents living in informal housing. The vast majority of the area is Muslim, a community that has been systematically and historically marginalized in India.

Work is not readily available, with daily wage labor being how many families get by. Yet, despite lacking in economic wealth, it is rich in potential.

iMerit’s Metiabruz center was built to encourage and empower this potential. Founded in 2012 by a coalition of individuals from iMerit and the community, our center serves over 200 young women from the neighborhood, providing them stable and empowering employment in a sector that seems out of place in this busy neighborhood. It is the only provider of IT jobs in the area, making it unusual already. The fact that it is targeted at upskilling and employing women makes it all the more noteworthy.

Yet we have seen immense growth among our young women, and change throughout the community. Our employees tell stories of once-skeptical families eventually fully embracing their decision to pursue education and encouraging their other daughters to follow the same path.

Respect for women as wage-earners, as students, as critical parts of the technology future, as dreamers, has grown.

Hundreds of families have a secure source of income that far outstrips the earlier potential for daily earnings in the area.

We will share these stories of our marvelous Metiabruz women in the weeks to come. Keep an eye out and let us know what you think!

 

0