Bharat Bytes: Rising pay and prices; smart cities’ open data; Modi promotes India; more satellite internet; India Inc. invests in Europe

Bharat Bytes is Computerworld India’s regular round-up of news from the world of IT.

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Indian IT companies raise pay (and prices) in response to talent shortage

India’s biggest IT companies are set to increase pricing for digital projects soon. The competition for digital talent between the rivals is evident in the recent high attrition rates they have reported.

Infosys CEO Salil Parekh acknowledged the rising cost of IT talent in the company’s latest earnings call, and said the company was negotiating on pricing. “We’ve put in place a very focused effort on communicating the value that we are helping create with our clients through the digital programs. We’ve also seen […] wage increases. We’ve done three of them in the last 12 months, and broadly we are seeing large enterprises for the first time in a very long time seeing inflation in their daily environment and so are more open to having these discussions.”

Wipro CFO Jatin Dalal said in his earnings call, “We are definitely seeing a slight positive step on pricing.” One reason for the increasing price is the scarcity of certain skills in the marketplace, he said.

TCS CEO Rajesh Gopinath also mentioned that there would be an uptick in pricing in the current quarter: “In long term existing customer relationships we will need to be more nuanced about it, but overall there is definitely an expectation of a rising pricing.”

Indian Smart Cities to publish datasets on Open Data Portal

Cities across India are publishing datasets covering water, electricity, transport usage, and more as part of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs’ Open Data Week.

100 Indian smart cities will take part in the event, uploading datasets, visualisations, APIs, and data blogs to the Smart Cities Open Data Portal, providing enterprises and other organisations with insights into their inhabitants’ housing, health and habits.

Currently, more than 3,800 datasets and 60 data stories are available on the portal at https://smartcities.data.gov.in/

PM Modi boasts of India’s IT progress at Davos summit

Prime Minister Narendra Modi opened the week with a speech to the World Economic Forum’s Davos Agenda summit, highlighting the IT resources of India’s economy. The country employs more than 50 lakh software developers, some of whom have worked on critical national projects such as the Arogya-Setu App for monitoring COVID-19 infections, and the CoWin portal for managing vaccination at scale, he said.

India has a massive, secure digital payments platform that processed over 4.4 billion transactions processed over the Unified Payments Interface in the previous month alone, he said. Meanwhile, the country is investing $1.3 trillion on communications infrastructure projects such as connecting more than 6 lakh villages to the national optical fibre network.

Just as important as what the government is adding is what it is taking away. Modi touted deregulation in areas such as drones, space, and geospatial mapping, as well as the reform of obsolete telecom regulations covering IT and business process outsourcing to accommodate the pandemic-induced move to working from home.

Hughes and OneWeb announced distribution partnership for broadband via low-earth-orbit satellites

Hughes Communications India has agreed to resell broadband satellite internet connectivity delivered by the OneWeb constellation of low-earth-orbit satellites part-owned by Bharti Global.

The deal follows its merger earlier this month with the VSAT business of Bharti Airtel, another provider of satellite internet access in India, and extends its ability to connect cities, villages, and local and regional governments in the most difficult-to-reach parts of India, helping to close the digital divide.

Tech Mahindra invests in insurtech in Europe

Tech Mahindra is expanding its offering to insurance, reinsurance and financial firms with an acquisition and two investments in Eastern Europe.

It has acquired Com Tec Co IT, a custom software developer with 700 staff in Latvia and Belarus skilled in modern technologies including AI, ML and devsecops.

In addition to the €310 million (₹2600 crore) it paid for CTC, Tech Mahindra is also investing a total of €20 million for a 25% stake in each of two insurtech startups funded by the same group as CTC. SWFT is a customer engagement platform for digital insurance brokers and price comparison websites, while Surance offers personal cyber insurance, cybersecurity protection and vulnerability assessment.

The moves will enable Tech Mahindra to provide European insurance and finance businesses with engineering services from a nearshore base.

HCL buys data engineering service provider in Europe

HCL Technologies, too, is investing in Europe with the acquisition of Starschema, a Hungarian data- and software-engineering service provider. Starschema serves customers in Europe and the US from its offices in Budapest and Arlington, Virginia.

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