Hero MotoSports Team Rally, the motorsport team of the world’s largest manufacturer of motorcycles and scooters—Hero MotoCorp, completed its Dakar 2022 campaign with a stellar result as both team riders crossed the final finish line in Jeddah earlier this week. Dakar 2022 will go down in history as the edition that saw an Indian manufacturer win a Stage in the world’s toughest rally for the very first time. With one stage win and one stage podium, this has been Hero MotoSports’ best-ever performance at the Dakar Rally so far. This was the team’s sixth consecutive appearance at the rally.
Hero MotoSports Team Rally rider Joaquim Rodrigues.Hero MotoSports Team Rally rider Aaron Mare.Hero MotoSports Team Rally at Podium Ceremony.
With seven of the world’s top manufacturer teams battling for the top prize, Dakar 2022 was the most competitive edition ever. 12 gruelling stages and over 8000 kilometres later, the Hero Rally 450 machine proved its mettle yet again with no technical failures. Even though the team rode with only one of their original riders, the presence of CS Santosh at the camp greatly boosted the team’s confidence and morale. With eight top-10 stage finishes—including a 1st and 3rd position—the team returned from Saudi Arabia, far more confident than they were at arrival two weeks back.
Team Manager Wolfgang Fischer said, “What a Dakar, after all the struggles we had a few weeks before the start! We are really proud of the performance of our riders, bikes and the team—a superb job done. The highlight was definitely the maiden Dakar stage victory, underlined with a very strong third place at the hardest and most competitive, stage 11. Our last-minute entry Aaron did a perfect job, adapting seamlessly with the team, and keeping a cool head always, he proved to be a fast learner and team player. The Dakar Rally was the most competitive ever, with seven manufacturer teams fighting for the top prize, and only 1:30 hrs dividing the top 15 after the 4000-race kilometres.”
All through 2021, the team participated in multiple races, constantly upgrading their machines, and reaching the top positions. They entered the Dakar Rally battling several last-minute hurdles—including two of their riders getting unfit for the race due to injuries. The Dakar 2022, however, turned out to be a watershed moment for the team and Hero MotoCorp, as the team overcame challenges and achieved a historic result. Joaquim Rodrigues, the star performer of the team, finished the last stage of 163 km between Bisha to Jeddah with yet another top-15 finish.
After making it to the podium of an FIM World Championship race in 2021, Rodrigues entered Dakar 2022 with great confidence. Riding stronger than ever, he delivered his best-ever performance at the Dakar—bagging his maiden stage win and also a 3rd place stage finish—which he dedicated to his mentor and brother-in-law Paulo who lost his life two years back at the very same event. He goes back from his fifth appearance at the Dakar with a 13th position in the overall RallyGP class rankings.
Joaquim Rodrigues said, “I’m really happy with my performance—it was a great Dakar for me and for the team. With the fantastic performance of the Hero Rally 450, we’re together now fighting for the top positions. My win this time is definitely the cherry on the top for me, and I can’t express how happy I am for myself and for the team to have finished yet another Dakar!”
Having performed consistently throughout the Rally, teammate Aaron Maré was not far behind, securing 15th place in the overall standings of the RallyGP class. Even though he joined the team as a last-minute replacement for injured Franco Caimi, he adapted with the team and his new bike quickly. His consistent and praiseworthy performance this Dakar has earned the young rider attention from far and wide. The team will next be seen in action at the second race of the year under the FIM World Rally Raid Championship, at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge in March 2022.
The writer is Senior editor at Carandbike.com.
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ASUS ZENBOOK 14 OLED HAS SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
Asus has well-positioned itself in the Indian tech market when we talk about laptops and notebooks. They have recently introduced a new lineup and that has been grabbing attention. The high-end laptop from ASUS has carved a niche for itself. Asus Zenbook 14 OLED is one such from this present lineup and below is my take on this latest device.
ZENBOOK 14 OLED SPECS SHEET
Zenbook 14 OLED is 16.9 mm
Weighs 1.39 kg
Display with 2.8K OLED HDR NanoEdge
Powered by a 12th Gen Intel Core i7 processor, and Intel Iris® Xe graphics.
16GB RAM and up to 512GB SSD PCIe 4.0 SSD
Dolby Atmos sound system powered by a smart amplifier
ASUS ErgoSense keyboard, and ASUS NumberPad 2.0.
Asus has not shied from making the device look elegant and slim. It is lightweight and easy to use and carry around. Fits well in one’s hand and can be easily carried around at work or even for travel. The laptop is sleek in its design and keeping the style minimalistic works wonders for it.
You get a 16:10 2.8K OLED HDR NanoEdge touchscreen which has a vibrant display. This display is good to work on and the contrast is comfortable to work on. You will find it easy to work on this laptop and even viewing and gaming will be easy for the eye. With a good display what you really need is a good sound system and you get one in this laptop. The Dolby Atmos makes the experience worthwhile. The smart amplifier does make the sound quality way better. Making the entire experience a lot more engaged and wholesome.
Something which has been a personal favourite in this laptop is the touchscreen number pad it is without a doubt extremely useful and helps increase productivity for sure. You would realise after a few days of usage how it helps increase efficiency. When we are constantly working on the laptop what we need is a good webcam specially for our online meetings and calls. The 3DNR webcam provides the needful. You not just get good video quality, but also good sound and an AI noise cancellation facility making your calls a way easier and noise-free process.
The laptop gives no issues like heating or draining out. I am not a gamer but had tried a few low graphic games on the laptop and felt no glitch at all. For heavy graphic games, I might not be in the right place to suggest. In terms of battery, the laptop charged fast and helped function well for seven to eight hours. In the usage, there were a lot of video meetings and constant web browsing. In terms of battery, there is nothing for me to complain about.
Using the laptop for good over two weeks there was really nothing to dislike or complain about. Introduced at Rs 1,04,990 with a lot of offers on the price this is a high-end laptop. That is the only catch that this product has. One must look at the great design, fully rounded spec sheet, and some great additions like the numeric touchpad, great sound, and excellent display before making up their mind against the laptop due to its price tag. It is a well-rounded laptop which has something for everyone.
TATA MOTORS EXPANDS ITS ELECTRIC VEHICLE RANGE WITH NEXON EV MAX
The Tata Nexon EV has been the most successful electric car in India and by some distance. Tata Motors already has more than 25,000 EVs on the Indian roads, out of which over 19,000 are just Nexon EVs. Now, the company has gone ahead and launched a more powerful version of the car called the Nexon EV MAX. It also gets many premium features not seen on the regular Nexon EV and more importantly the range has also gone up significantly. According to Tata Motors, the idea behind this new car is to enhance the appeal of EVs and expand the market with a new offering for customers who are looking for longer intercity travel.
The Nexon EV Max is equipped with a 40.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, which means the battery capacity is 33% higher than the Nexon EV. It results in an ARAI certified range of 437 km (under standard testing conditions), which is approximately 125 km more than the Nexon EV. The EV produces 143 PS of power and delivers an instant torque of 250 Nm available at the push of the pedal, resulting in 0 to 100 kmph time of under 9 seconds. At the same time, you also get a car that is heavier than the Nexon EV and has a slightly lower ground clearance.
With Nexon EV MAX, Tata Motors is introducing a multi-mode regen feature which will help drivers to adjust the level of regenerative braking through switches on the floor console. Customers can choose between 4 regen levels based on the driving conditions: Level 0 with nil recuperative braking, going up to the highest Level 3 aiding single-pedal driving. This will help the user to get a higher range depending on the remaining charge and traffic conditions. The car also gets auto brake lamps which get activated once a certain level of regen is achieved, this helps to alert fellow motorists.
You also get 3 driving modes on the car—eco, city and sport. Plus there are eight new features on the upgraded ZConnect 2.0 connected car technology. This means the ZConnect app offers 48 connected car features. The feature list now covers smartwatch integration, auto/manual DTC check, setting a limit for charging, monthly vehicle reports and enhanced drive analytics.
The Nexon MAX also gets more safety features like ESP with i-VBAC (intelligent – Vacuum-less Boost & Active Control), hill hold, hill descent control, electronic parking brake with auto vehicle hold and all 4-disc brakes. Tata says its battery and motor pack are IP67 rated for a weather-proof and worry-proof performance. The battery and motor warranty of Nexon EV Max is 8 years or 160,000 km.
In terms of looks and design the Nexon EV MAX is just like the Nexon EV apart from the new Intensi-Teal you see in the pictures. You also have the daytona grey and pristine white options to choose from while dual-tone body colour will be offered as a standard. The cabin is much more premium and gets additions like a jewelled control knob with active mode display, all-new makarana beige interiors, leatherette seats with ventilation for front passengers, air purifier, wireless smartphone charging, auto-dimming IRVM and cruise control.
The Nexon EV Max is available in two trim options –XZ+ and XZ+ Lux. These will be available with options of a 3.3 kW charger or a 7.2 kW AC fast charger. The 7.2 kW AC fast charger can be installed either at home or at the workplace, which helps in reducing charging time to 6.5 hours. A 50 kW DC fast charger will charge the car from 0% to 80% in just 56 minutes. Prices begin at Rs 17.70 lakh which is Rs. 3.20 lakh more than the Nexon EV. The top-of-the-line XZ+ Lux with a 7.2 kW AC fast charger will set you back by Rs. 19.24 lakh (ex-showroom).
The author is a senior editor at carandbike.com
APPLE DISCONTINUES IPOD AFTER 20 YEARS, AVAILABLE ‘WHILE SUPPLIES LAST’
Apple has announced that it’s discontinuing the iPod Touch, and said that the product would be available ‘while supplies last.’
Confirming the announcement in a news post on Tuesday, the company said, “the spirit of iPod lives on” in all of its devices that play music, such as the iPhone, iPad, and HomePod Mini. The halt in sales of the last remaining model in Apple’s lineup of portable music players marks the end of an era.
First introduced 20 years ago, the original FireWire-equipped iPod model acted as just a portable music player, and Apple made models that were pretty much exclusively for listening to audio up until 2017, when it discontinued the iPod Nano and Shuffle.
While the iPod Touch has been embraced by some iPod enthusiasts as the new classic music player, it also found a following for those who wanted an iPhone-like experience but didn’t actually need a phone, reports The Verge.
Tony Fadell, one of the developers of the original iPod, mentioned in an interview with The Verge that the iPod team knew the iPhone could end up overtaking music players.
“It became very clear to us that there was a real threat from mobile phones, feature phones. They were starting to add music, MP3 playing, to the cell phones that they were shipping at the time,” he said.
The original iPod touch was released in 2007, the same year when the first iPhone had also released.
It has mostly the same hardware and software as the original iPhone, except for the calling features.
With Apple giving up on its iPod line, the tech giant is eager to direct its market audience toward its other products that offer music playback.
The halt in sales of the last remaining model in Apple’s lineup of portable music players marks the end of an era.
BABY S-CLASS: NEW-GENERATION MERCEDES-BENZ C-CLASS ARRIVES IN INDIA
The new Mercedes-Benz C-Class is big on luxury, comfort and tech, and its prices start from Rs 55 lakh.
The C-Class has been an extremely successful car for Mercedes-Benz in India and has contributed significantly to the growth of the luxury car brand in the country. More than 37,000 units of the car have been already sold in our market till now and that is a big number for a luxury vehicle. Now the German carmaker has launched a new generation of the luxury car in India, one that it says it much more advanced than earlier in many ways. In fact, according to Mercedes the C-Class now in many ways is a “baby S-Class”.
Interior of the carThe New C Class
The new car clearly looks like the most stylish and exclusive C-Class ever. It follows the brand’s design philosophy of ‘Sensual Purity’ which also adds a bit of sportiness. There 2 are styling trims offer – Avant-Garde and AMG, the latter being available only on the top-of-the-line C 300d. This variant also exclusively gets Digital Light which has a light module with three extremely powerful LEDs in each headlamp, whose light is refracted and directed by 1.3 million micro-mirrors. The resolution is, therefore, more than 2.6 million pixels per vehicle. The C 300d also gets 18-inch, AMG 5-spoke light-alloy wheels while the other two variants – C 200 and C 220d get one size lesser wheels. All variants get Obsidian Black, Opalite White Bright and Cavansite Blue colour options while Mojave Silver, High-Tech Silver and Selenite Grey are available with C 200 and C 220d only. The car is now longer and wider than before while the wheelbase has also gone up which would mean more space in the cabin.
The cabin is where you realise just how close has the C-Class come to the S-class. The 11.9-inch touchscreen is loaded with features and is also tilted towards the driver by 6°– 7°. The car is equipped with NTG7, the latest generation MBUX that now gets more connect features and a “Hey Mercedes” voice command system. The C 300d exclusively gets a Burmester 3D to surround sound system. The car also gets Wireless smartphone integration and over-the-air updates where the software is always kept up-to-date. Then there is biometric authentication which helps the car remember your settings for seats, music, climate, etc. Car to X Communication technology has been adopted from S-Class, which is a ‘social network’ for Mercedes-Benz cars, where cars can talk to each other, ensuring more safety in real-time. In total there are 5 different hazard warnings that Mercedes-Benz cars capture and transmit within the network – rains, skidding, general warning, accident and winds. Mercedes is claiming more legroom, headroom, shoulder and elbow room for rear passengers on the new C-Class.
The new C-Class has been launched in three variants: C 200 (Petrol), C220d (Diesel) and C300d (Diesel). While the Petrol is a 1496 cc motor that makes 240 hp and 300 Nm, the C220d has a 1993 cc engine that churns out 200 hp and 440 Nm. On the C300d, the same engine makes 265 hp and 550 Nm and all the engines are paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission. The car also uses a 48V Integrated Starter Generator that helps in getting more power and torque along with better fuel efficiency. While the C 200 returns 16.9 kmpl, the C220d gives an impressive 23 kmpl. The C300d also isn’t too far behind at 20.37 kmpl.
The price for the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class starts from Rs. 55 lakhs for the C 200 while the C 200d will set you back by Rs. 56 lakhs. The C300d with its AMG line and some extra features has been priced at Rs. 61 lakhs (ex-showroom). Finance plans for the car starts from Rs. 60,000 per month with the flexible end of term options while service packages start from Rs. 85,000 for 3 years and unlimited km. The brand is claiming overwhelming customer response with more than 1000 confirmed bookings coming in even before the launch, the highest ever for a single Mercedes model in India. According to them the current waiting period on the car already extends to 2-3 months.
The author is a senior editor at carandbike.com
In total there are 5 different hazard warnings that Mercedes-Benz cars capture and transmit within the network: rains, skidding, general warning, accident and winds. Mercedes is claiming more legroom, headroom, shoulder and elbow room for rear passengers on the new C-Class.
Find out how to become a social media manager
Many brands try to grow their online presence, so they work closely with social media managers. You can consider working as a social media manager if you like social media. This job entails creating and maintaining the social media presence of a particular brand.
It is an exciting job that lets you work from anywhere, including remotely. To succeed in the job, you must first understand your duties and responsibilities. It is a tasking job that involves a lot. Also, try to implement the following.
Understand how to use the different social media channels
You should have enough experience creating content on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, or TikTok. You should also understand the role of social media in the brand you are representing.
Once a particular company hires you for the position, you should assess how social media fits the business strategy. You should learn how to generate shares and likes on different social media platforms.
If, for instance, the brand is marketing itself on TikTok for the first time, you can help it buy cheap TikTok likes to start gaining followers within no time. Your duties entail maintaining engagement on different social media platforms and posting content that the target audience enjoys.
Set realistic goals
Has the company you are working for been using social media but has not realized much success? If yes, you should identify the challenges it has been facing and help it set realistic goals. Some of the issues it could face include lack of follower or customer retention, poor traffic, or a bad reputation.
You can help the company work on these issues and turn things around. Come up with realistic goals and focus on working on one problem at a time. If, for instance, the company has weak brand awareness, you can look for ways to change this, such as improving the quality of the content it posts on social media to boost visibility.
Curiosity is also a good trait that social media managers should have. As you immerse yourself in social media, you should always be curious and open to different ideas. Experiment with different social media marketing strategies to help the brand you represent.
You should also keep abreast of the latest development on different social media platforms. If, for instance, Instagram or TikTok has introduced a new feature, find out how it works, and assess ways it can benefit the brand you are working for. Since social media keeps on changing rapidly, being curious can help you succeed in this line of work. As a social media manager, you should never stop learning new things or adapting to different situations.
Have good community management skills
When a brand starts marketing itself on social media platforms, it considers this an extension of its customer service line. When you work for such a company as the social media manager, you must have excellent community management skills to represent it well.
You should always be available online as you respond to any complaints that the company’s customers may raise on social media. Having such skills can also help you address most issues and as you escalate different requests to the right channels in the company.
Learn how to manage your time well to avoid disappointing the company. Utilizing scheduling tools is also important since they can make your tasks more manageable as you use different social media platforms.
Find a mentor
Even if you understand how to use different social media platforms, you can always learn from others. Consider getting a mentor who has more experience in this field. This person can give you more guidance as you work with different brands.
You can even become part of a support group if you work at home. This opportunity can help you meet and interact with other social media managers with similar interests.
Being a social media manager can seem like a complicated job, but you can succeed in this career path if you love it. It is a job that will not only help you make money but also help numerous brands over time. Pay attention to the tips above to succeed in it.
Digital transformation: Three driving trends for 2022
The Covid-19 crisis has spurred the need for business agility, which has accelerated the need for digital technologies to play a new role—that of delivering organisation resilience. Increasingly, organisations are adopting more technologies to stay relevant and competitive, as they emerge from the effects of the pandemic, which has accelerated the pace of digital transformation across the world.
Digital transformation involves the upgrading of IT infrastructures and processes to improve speed and responsiveness, to support critical business needs. Earlier, building and implementing a technology-driven strategy and processes would take years. However, the impact of Covid-19 on businesses has spurred digital adoption, to equip employees for new ways of working and to achieve key organisational goals. Companies that have embraced this trend following the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 have not only succeeded in enhancing their customer experience but have also strengthened their security and agility.
Below, we discuss three major technological trends that will drive digital transformation across organisations:
Democratisation of Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Across the world, organisations are rapidly adopting artificial intelligence (AI) to automate processes and drive value by making smarter business decisions, increase revenues and sales, and enhance inventory and parts optimisation. This is also creating a reference framework for organisations to follow as they continue along the path to further automation and digital transformation.
AI-driven automation is ongoing, and it will not only continue to bring substantial benefits to businesses and change the way daily work activities of every sector are undertaken, but will also present many new possibilities for growth.
Currently, this technology needs a deeper knowledge base. For accelerated digital transformation, AI democratisation is needed, which involves making data available to every person in organisations of every scale, even without any technical expertise. This can be facilitated by providing user-friendly resources and support, such as pre-built algorithms, intuitive interfaces, and high-performance cloud computing platforms.
India is witnessing accelerated 5G infrastructure deployment, both in urban and rural parts of the country. This development, which is fuelled by the rising adoption of modern technologies, will, in turn, lead to increased adoption of advanced ones such as the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, across sectors. Aided by 5G, these technologies will augment operations and, thereby, improve the profitability of businesses.
By the year 2025, 5G networks are expected to cover one-third of the world’s population, opening unlimited technological possibilities through better connectivity, more reliable networks, enhanced customer experiences and quicker processes. Reap the full benefits of 5G, companies will need to invest more in network infrastructure, especially cloud service providers.
Security at the core of digital transformation
It is undeniable that incorporating digital technologies in all aspects of a company can led to significant improvements in how it operates and delivers value to customers. As organisations implement digitalisation, they are also discovering the vast potential of data, however, it can only be exploited after assessing and comprehending the full extent of its ramifications.
Digital transformations are being launched in high gear. As businesses rush to implement these technologies, security concerns may often be overlooked. In the race to achieve digital transformation, it is important for companies to build a robust security framework.
As digital transformation gains further momentum, it is vital for organisations to evaluate their security infrastructure. Safeguarding and protecting data privacy is easier to achieve when security is at the core of every aspect of digital transformation. This starts with security specialists understanding business priorities, and managers realising the role of security and its importance for the success of the business. Security should be viewed as an integral component of a company’s digital infrastructure.
As companies re-evaluate their business strategies for the upcoming fiscal year, it is important to keep up with digital transformation trends, which will assist them in developing improved and more efficient digital strategies. Lastly, organisations need to keep in mind that digital transformation is not just about selecting technologies and putting them to use, it is about aligning technologies to the company’s goals and adopting agile solutions that allow its employees to better adapt to the evolving markets. Only then will companies be able to deliver value consistently for all its stakeholders.
The writer is Head of Strategic Programs, Fujitsu’s Asia Global Delivery Centres.
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