Zoom announces 300 million daily meeting participants despite growing ban list- Technology News, Firstpost

Zoom announces 300 million daily meeting participants despite growing ban list- Technology News, Firstpost

Zoom announces 300 million daily meeting participants despite growing ban list- Technology News, Firstpost

Video conferencing provider Zoom said on Thursday it had mistakenly published a blog last week that put its daily users at 300 million people when the figure instead referred to the number of meeting participants.

The Zoom blog from 22 April has now been edited to say that the company had surpassed “300 million daily Zoom meeting participants” instead of “more than 300 million daily users”.

Shares of the video conferencing app fell nearly 7 percent to $136.86 in afternoon trade following an initial report by The Verge, which spotted the change in the blog post to meeting participants.

 Zoom announces 300 million daily meeting participants despite growing ban list

Zoom video conferencing app.

Reuters and other media outlets have been reporting Zoom’s meeting participants figure as daily active users. The company had not issued any clarification on how it was calculating its daily active users before the Verge report.

A daily active user is defined as using the video conferencing service at least once a day and a meeting participant is counted as the member of a meeting. Thus a single daily active user could be counted multiple times as a meeting participant in a single day.

Shares of Zoom rose 12 percent to a record high of $168.24 in April when it first reported that its daily active users had topped 300 million.

Microsoft said on Wednesday that its Teams had 75 million daily active users and had at least one day in April when there were 200 million meeting participants. Cisco Systems Inc’s video-conferencing app Webex also said it registered a record 324 million attendees in March.

As corporations and schools shift to remote work and billions of people subject to stay-at-home orders seek ways to remain connected, Zoom has seen a surge in demand for its services. But it has also experienced a backlash as the increased use exposed privacy and security flaws.

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NTT elevates India CEO in APAC recast, Technology News, ETtech

NTT elevates India CEO in APAC recast, Technology News, ETtech

NTT elevates India CEO in APAC recast
NTT has elevated its India chief executive Kiran Bhagwanani as senior vice-president of its newly formed Go-to-Market business in the Asia Pacific, as part of a larger restructuring at the Japanese technology services company to drive faster growth.

Bhagwanani will lead the Go-to-Market business in the region, after a merger among NTT subsidiaries into one company.

He will have broad accountability for sales performance, solution practices and alliance partnership across Asia Pacific, the company said.

“There are different pieces of this organisation… We felt that bringing all these functions under one umbrella was important to make the approach cohesive,” said Bhagwanani.

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Facebook releases an open-source, ‘human-like’ chatbot called Blender- Technology News, Firstpost

Facebook releases an open-source, ‘human-like’ chatbot called Blender- Technology News, Firstpost

For years, AI researchers have been working on building an artificial intelligence system that can converse as well as humans. Facebook has now introduced a lifelike chatbot, named Blender that outperforms other bots in terms of engagement, and also feels more human-like in its conversations.

Blender is an open-source resource for AI research. The social media giant claims that blender is the largest-ever open-domain chatbot.

The chatbot has the ability to blend several conversational skills in natural, “14-turn conversation flows”. Basically, it can discuss nearly any topic, show empathy, and assume a persona.

 Facebook releases an open-source, ‘human-like’ chatbot called Blender

With the advent of Facebook’s Blender, users can expect more talkative chatbots. Image: Pixabay

Facebook says it has trained the bot on 9.4 billion parameters, which is nearly four times as many as Google’s Meena, and over ten times as many as the previous largest OS chatbot.

Chatbots can, as of now, respond to specific commands and actions like getting updates on the weather or checking on restaurant reservations. They are not capable of having an in-depth conversation with a human.

With the advent of Facebook’s Blender, users can expect more talkative chatbots.

“One of the recent findings in the area of NLP, and AI in general, has been that as you scale, as these neural network models get larger and larger, they tend to perform better,” Engadget reported Stephen Roller, a research engineer at Facebook’s AI lab (FAIR) as saying.

The social media giant has worked on the chatbot’s ability to display personality, knowledge and empathy to make its response more human-like.

“We, in the past two years of research, have designed tasks for each one of these skills,” the tech website further quoted Emily Dinan, a research engineer at FAIR, as saying.

Back in 2018, FAIR had tested a new approach that taught chatbots how to talk like humans. The test was a significant move forward, in an earlier test, Facebook had to shut down one of its AI systems in 2017 after chatbots started speaking in their own language, which they created without human input.

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Microentrepreneurs get going when it gets tough, Technology News, ETtech

Microentrepreneurs get going when it gets tough, Technology News, ETtech

Illustration: Rahul Awasthi
Illustration: Rahul Awasthi

Amid salary cuts, layoffs and downsizing of businesses, a new set of micro entrepreneurs – including freelancers and individual-run businesses — are on the rise.

Fintech platforms tracking the space, such as Instamojo and Razorpay, said they have seen a 20-25% growth in payments from microentrepreneurs over the last one month.

Instamojo, which helps small businesses set up online shops along with facilitating payments, has added a new merchant on its platform nearly every minute in the past one month, which is almost 25% of the overall added annually.

These online stores, run by micro-entrepreneurs, have mostly been selling pet essentials, e-books on religion, retail and food during the lockdown period.

Sampad Swain, co-founder of Instamojo, said micro-businesses that go online every year usually clock around $3 billion in gross merchandise value or sales each year.

He expects the growth to further increase even after the Covid-19 outbreak is contained.

Vidit Aatrey, co-founder and CEO of social commerce platform Meesho, also said that micro-entrepreneurship will be up post Covid-19, especially in a scenario of mounting job losses.

“They will start looking for opportunities which are economically viable,” he said.

ET reported in April that more than 600 businesses have downsized staff in the past one month, while a further 660 have cut salaries.

“Before the outbreak, I earned around Rs 80,000-Rs 1 lakh per month. Now, I am earning over Rs 2 lakh. I will continue to work as a freelancer at least for the next 6 months, as none of the companies would be willing to pay me as much as I can through freelancing at the moment,” said Arindam Raha, a 28-year old product designer based in Bengaluru.

Professional networking platforms like LinkedIn and Dribble have helped Raha scout for good projects. He said many of his former co-workers and friends have started freelancing over the past month.

There is maximum demand for designers, programmers and content writers among freelancers, according to experts. Certain roles, however, where employees need to take ownership or are handling sensitive information, cannot be handed over to freelancers, they said.

“The first 20 days (of the lockdown) were slow, when brands were coping with the crisis and paused all projects. But it picked up in April when these brands realised that their customers are home and content would be the way to reach out to these netizens, their target audience,” said Anirudh Singla, co-founder of Pepper Content, which engages with over 2,000 content-writers and designers.

“We have grown over 100% in revenue…,” he added.

There has also been a surge in demand for regional language content from startups and brands. “80% of vernacular content is usually outsourced,” Singla said.

Startups and traditional companies have already begun working with freelancers as they have embraced remote-working, experts said.

“Many companies, although they are laying off, are continuing to work with their employees as freelancers,” said Naman Sarawgi, founder of Refrens, a Bengaluru-based invoices and payment system firm for freelancers.

On average, billing for freelancers has increased over 20% compared to numbers in February, he added.

“Going forward, large businesses and startups are likely to continue specific roles with freelancers as these companies have now started building processes around it and managing these employees, which were not done so far,” Sarawgi said.

While this economy is likely to see a boost in the coming months, businesses around it, including payments and insurance, will also grow, experts said, adding that banks and insurance companies have been working on policies for freelancers and contractual employees.

TikTok launches donation stickers to help users raise funds to support charities and causes- Technology News, Firstpost

TikTok crosses 2 billion downloads, India biggest driver with 611 million- Technology News, Firstpost

TikTok has been downloaded over two billion times through the Google’s Play Store and the Apple’s App Store. The increase in the number of downloads comes amid the COVID-19 pandemic, said app intelligence company Sensor Tower.

The popular video sharing app from ByteDance has added 500 million new users in the span of just five months, after surpassing 1.5 billion downloads.

The first quarter of 2020 has been the best so far for TikTok, during which it had amassed more than 315 million installs.

 TikTok crosses 2 billion downloads, India biggest driver with 611 million

TikTok.

According to the report, India has been the biggest drivers for TikTok installs. Of the two billion downloads – 611 million downloads were in India alone. This amounts to 30.3 percent of the total people using the app.

China is in the second position with 196.6 million or 9.7 percent of total downloads. This is followed by the United States, which has a total of 165 million or 8.2 percent of TikTok users.

China’s figures do not include installs from third-party Android store installs, and the numbers are for TikTok’s version in the country – Douyin, the report said.

Google Play has accounted for the major chunk of TikTok downloads to date, accounting for more than 1.5 billion or 75.5 percent of total installs.

The App Store, on the other hand, has seen 495.2 million or 24.5 percent of the total downloads, the report mentioned.

User spending on TikTok has also seen remarkable growth. As per Sensor Tower, lifetime user spending has risen to $456.7 million, more than 2.5 times the $175 million that it was five months ago.

China is leading in terms of using spending in TikTok, generating $331 million or 72.3 percent of the total revenue.

The US ranks second with 19 percent or $86.5 million. Both countries are followed by Great Britain with $9 million.

TikTok has recently launched donation stickers to help users raise funds via videos and TikTok Live streams for charities and causes that users care most about.

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