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We can build our own AI models to address issues facing the Indian education space: Flipick Founder



We can build our own AI models to address issues facing the Indian education space: Flipick Founder

As the online learning space goes through a definitive churning in a hybrid mode in the ChatGPT era, Flipick has doubled down on offering artificial intelligence (AI)-driven immersive learning experience to its customers.

The company has industry-leading SaaS-based Learning Management System (LMS) for higher education and corporate training in the US, the UK and India.

The LMS is a multi-tenant, enterprise-grade platform that provides adaptive learning and assessments, ensuring the best possible learning experience for all users.

Moreover, CourseBOT, an AI-assisted course builder with SME collaboration and DocuBOT are helping thousands of students get conversational chats with the content to have a better learner perspective.

Ravi Dugal, Flipick’s Founder and CEO, told IANS that AI-powered tools can help institutions streamline administrative tasks and optimise resource allocation.

Here are excerpts from an interview:

Q: What is Flipick’s vision? What is your USP which differentiates you from peers in your industry?

A: Flipick has a vision of delivering an immersive learning experience with a fully-integrated Learning Management System and interactive courses. What sets us apart from our peers in the industry is our unique value proposition, which includes:

Multi-tenant LMS: Flipick allows for hundreds of client portals to operate within the same instance. Publishers like Pearson have 100+ institutes, or Clarivate USA, have 300+ hospital groups. This approach allows for a shared infrastructure and custom content for all clients.

Adaptive Learning: Our platform leverages adaptive learning to provide a tailored experience for each student.

LTI Compliance: Flipick is both an LTI-compliant server and consumer, which means it integrates seamlessly with other LTI-compliant systems.

AI-powered Course Creation: We use AI and CourseBOT to collaborate with SMEs in building courses that are automated, personalized and engaging.

AI Empowered Analytics: Our platform uses AI to analyze a student’s learning patterns and personalize content to their area of weakness, creating a dynamic learning experience.

Predictive Analysis: Flipick offers predictive analysis of a student’s learning journey, helping them stay on track and achieve their goals.

GMAT Style Assessments: Our platform offers GMAT style adaptive assessments, which are known for their accuracy and relevance.

Overall, Flipick is committed to providing a differentiated, engaging, and personalized learning experience that sets us apart from our peers in the industry.

Q: How do you see AI revolutionizing the education landscape in India over the long term?

A: AI goes far beyond ChatGPT. We can build our own AI models to address issues facing the Indian education space.

AI has the potential to revolutionise education in India by providing personalised and adaptive learning experiences to students, as well as enabling institutions to improve operational efficiency and reduce costs.

AI can help analyze student data and learning patterns, allowing for customized content delivery and targeted interventions to address areas of weakness. It can also assist in grading and feedback, freeing up time for educators to focus on more personalised interactions with students. In addition, AI-powered tools can help institutions streamline administrative tasks and optimize resource allocation.

We are building CourseBOT, an AI-assisted course builder with SME collaboration. Another revolutionary companion product is DocuBOT.

This uses a custom AI model to index education content in all formats — SCORM, video, PDF, PPT, Word, audio and interactive HTML. A student can have conversational chats with the content to have a better learner perspective

The biggest impact can be in providing adaptive assessments similar to GMAT. This allows a much better method of evaluation of the student performance. Question banks — MCQ and essay-type can be generated by AI which also has the ability to grade essay type questions.

Future would see integration with AR/VR and also dynamic content generation based on student needs.

Q: Tell us more about CourseBOT — the AI-assisted automation tool that makes creating and modifying course content easier?

A: CourseBOT is an AI-assisted automation tool that simplifies and accelerates the process of creating and modifying course content. It uses natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning algorithms to automate repetitive tasks such as formatting, tagging, and indexing. CourseBOT can also generate quizzes, tests, and assessments based on the content of the course.

This helps educators save time and focus on higher-level tasks such as course design and pedagogy. In addition, CourseBOT can help ensure consistency and quality across courses and improve accessibility by generating alternative formats such as audio and video.

CourseBOT can generate original content but is designed to work with a subject matter expert (SME).

CourseBOT written content is moderated and updated by SME. It writes content based on the curriculum provided by SME. This can further be moderated and updated by SME.

CourseBOT can enhance content written by SME and can build interactive eLearning content sourced from a text book which can be moderated and updated by a SME.

Q: Can you tell us about some of your customer success stories (top 2-3) of your publishing partners and clients because of leveraging your product offerings?

A: Clarivate, USA is one of the top level training providers for healthcare content. With 300+ hospital groups and hundreds of facilities, they needed a platform that could be multi-tenanted. Segments of content can be common, yet some parts may need to be customised for specific hospitals. With 50,000 users, they are one of our largest platform deployments.

Pragmatic Institute, USA are leading providers for training related to product management and data sciences. Training courses, learning and events management are effectively handled by the Flipick LMS platform.

Pearson are the world’s known educational publishers. MePro is a learning product aimed at teaching English to adults. Mapped to the Global Scale of English and CEFR, MePro has been deployed by hundreds of institutes in India for adaptive learning.

The Indian Institute of Banking and Finance is the premier Institute for developing and nurturing competent professionals in banking and finance. Every week an online exam is conducted for up to 5,000 candidates on Flipick assessment platform.

Q: What has cloud technology and AWS enabled you to do better?

A: Cloud technology and AWS have enabled us to offer a scalable, secure, and cost-effective platform for delivering educational content and services. AWS provides us with a flexible and reliable infrastructure that can handle fluctuations in traffic and demand.

We can also quickly deploy and manage resources, reducing the time to market for new features and services. AWS also offers a range of security and compliance features that ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of our platform and our customers’ data.

Running on AWS has allowed us to achieve a number of business outcomes and benefits.

Q: In terms of business outcomes, what benefits have you experienced as a result of running on AWS?

A: We have been able to streamline our workflows and automate many routine tasks, resulting in increased efficiency and productivity. We have customers who have a handful of users to others who have 50,000 users. AWS features of load balance and elastic computing have been very useful to scaling the platform on demand.

By leveraging AWS’s pay-as-you-go model and optimizing our resource usage, we have been able to reduce our infrastructure and operational costs. For example, IIBF online exams are conducted only on Tuesday. The AWS servers are switched on just for the duration of the exams resulting in a huge saving on costs

AWS’s agility and flexibility have allowed us to quickly prototype and deploy new features and services, reducing the time to market for our offerings. A well-configured server infrastructure of development, staging and production helps to manage the process of releasing new features in a well-tested production environment

AWS’s resource management tools have helped us optimize our resource allocation and utilization, ensuring that we have the right resources at the right time.

By using AWS’s global network of data centers and content delivery networks (CDNs), we have been able to reduce latency and improve the performance of our platform. For video based courses, we have also enabled adaptive bitrate streaming that allows the streaming speed to be managed as per the consumer’s bandwidth and device capabilities.

AWS’s high availability and disaster recovery features have helped us ensure that our platform is always available and resilient to disruptions. For mission control applications, we have employed servers at two locations with automated synchronisation.

AWS’s monitoring and analytics tools have helped us improve our visibility and insight into our platform’s performance and usage, enabling us to make data-driven decisions and improve our operations.

AWS’s management tools have helped us automate many routine tasks and improve our overall management efficiency. AWS’s security and compliance features have also helped us mitigate risks.

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Chinese spacecraft returns to Earth after spending over 9 months in orbit



Chinese spacecraft returns to Earth after spending over 9 months in orbit

Beijing: A reusable uncrewed space vehicle returned to Earth on Monday morning after spending 276 days in orbit, according to a media report.

There is not much information about the space vehicle as China’s space authorities have not released any pictures or technical data, and experts suspect it could be used to gather intelligence, South China Morning Post reported.

The reusable experimental spacecraft, was launched with a Long March-2F rocket from the Jiuquan satellite centre in Inner Mongolia in 2020.

Space defence contractor China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation said the classified mission is a “complete success” and “marks an important breakthrough” in China’s research into the technology.

The reusable spacecraft “will provide a more convenient and cost-effective way for peaceful use of space”, the company was quoted as saying.

The spacecraft resembles the US Air Force’s Boeing X-37B, Xinhua news agency had reported earlier.

The X-37B is an unmanned space plane that operates like a smaller version of the Space Shuttle, which is launched by a rocket and cruises back to earth for a runway landing. It has flown four classified missions to date, carrying secret payloads on long-duration flights in Earth orbit.

According to some experts, the Chinese craft could be equipped with advanced imaging and sensing equipment to gather intelligence on potential targets or monitor sensitive areas of interest, the report said.

Another potential use is the deployment of small satellites or other payloads into orbit. This could include communications satellites, navigation systems, or other types of sensors that could be used for military or government purposes.

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Centre asks ICEA, MAIT to ensure FM Radio is active in all mobile phones



Centre asks ICEA, MAIT to ensure FM Radio is active in all mobile phones

The government has asked the Indian Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA) and the Manufacturers’ Association for Information Technology (MAIT) to make sure that FM Radio is accessible on all mobile phones to help people during natural calamities and emergencies.

In an advisory, the IT Ministry said that it should be ensured that wherever the mobile phone is equipped with an inbuilt FM Radio receiver function or feature, that function or feature is not disabled or deactivated but is kept enabled/activated in the mobile phone.

“Further, it is advised that if the FM Radio receiver function or feature is not available in mobile phones, it may be included,” MeitY told ICEA and MAIT, asking them to circulate the advisory among all the mobile phone manufacturers/brands on priority basis.

The move will help people get access to information through radio service in remote areas during natural disasters.

The IT Ministry said that during the last 4-5 years, there has been a drastic fall in mobile phones with FM tuner feature, thereby affecting not only the ability of the poor to get free FM Radio service, but also the government’s ability to disseminate real-time information during emergencies, disasters and calamities.

“The FM broadcast is a robust and reliable communication system. FM stations serve as important communication links between the local authorities and people in times of natural disasters (in catastrophic situations),” the ministry added.

As per the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), in times of emergencies and disaster, radio broadcasting is one of the most powerful and effective ways of delivering early warnings and alerting the public to save lives.

Further, there is need for speedy, timely, and reliable communication via FM-enabled mobile phones (apart from regular standalone radio sets and car receivers) during disasters as this can save precious lives, livelihood and also prepare us better to deal with disasters.

“The availability of a vast network of FM transmitters and FM radio in the country played a key role in India’s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic,” said the ministry in its advisory.

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IISER Bhopal team creates organic molecules that emit near-infrared light



IISER Bhopal team creates organic molecules that emit near-infrared light

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Bhopal have created a new family of organic molecules that emit light in the near-infrared (NIR) range, opening possibilities for OLEDs for various applications.

Light-emitting diodes or LEDs are tiny light-emitting devices that are commonly used in applications such as television screens, gadget displays, etc. They are different from traditional filament bulbs in that while bulbs emit light when heated, LEDs emit light when electricity (in the form of electrons) passes through them.

OLEDs are a form of LEDs where the light emitting materials are organic molecules — chemicals made largely of carbon and hydrogen.

Although visible light-emitting OLEDs have already found mass application in displays for gadgets, televisions, and lighting, producing NIR-emitting OLEDs is challenging due to their unique molecular energy structure.

Light-emitting molecules generate light when electrons fall from a high energy state (HOMO) to a low energy state (LUMO) inside the molecule, and the colour of the emitted light depends on the energy difference between the two states. The energy difference in organic molecules corresponds to visible light, making visible light-emitting OLEDs easier to design.

The team at IISER created new organic molecules that have a very low-energy LUMO. This means that the energy difference between LUMO and HOMO is smaller, resulting in near-infrared light.

“We have achieved a nitro group containing polycyclic aromatic molecules that exhibit fluorescence (light emission) in the near-IR wavelengths,” said Prof. Jeyaraman Sankar, IISER Bhopal, in a statement.

The team’s new approach to obtaining stable electron-deficient molecules with NIR emission using nitration as a strategy is unique and has been published in the journal of the Royal Society of Chemistry – Chemical Science.

The innovation lay in fine-tuning the structure of the nitro-group-containing molecules that typically do not fluoresce and are therefore usually non-light-emitting.

Another challenge is to position the emission in the near-IR region. The team engineered the structure of the molecules such that they emit near-IR light. In addition, the synthesised molecules show strong electron affinity values, excellent stability, and structural rigidity.

The fluorescence quantum yields (the amount of near-IR light emitted) are among the best for any known near-IR light-emitting electron-deficient materials, the team said.

Apart from their use in OLED applications, the strong electron affinity, NIR emissive nature, high stability, and redox robustness of these molecules make them excellent candidates for catalysts.

These molecules can also be used for near-IR devices that help in side effect alleviation, after selected chemotherapy procedures.

The potential applications for near-IR-emitting OLEDs are vast, including biomedical sensors, short-range communication, night vision, and security.

The discovery could potentially extend the use of organic light-emitting devices beyond visible light, with implications in a range of applicationsAfrom medical equipment to advanced security gadgets, the researchers said.

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Leading biotech firm Twist Bioscience lays off 270 employees



Leading biotech firm Twist Bioscience lays off 270 employees

San Francisco:  Leading biotechnology company Twist Bioscience Corporation has announced to lay off 270 people, or about 25 per cent of its workforce, as it aims to accelerate its path to profitability.

The company enables customers to succeed through its offering of high-quality synthetic DNA using its silicon platform.

Twist said it will focus resources on the support of key commercial and development opportunities that have the potential to deliver significant return on investment.

“Twist conducted a comprehensive review of the business and is resizing many teams throughout the organisation and reducing its workforce by approximately 270 employees, or about 25 per cent,” it said while delivering its fiscal second quarter 2023 financial results.

The biopharma team has been resized to focus on revenue-generating partnerships and Twist said it will moderate its investment in DNA data storage while maintaining its competitive lead.

“We reported a strong quarter overall, breaking the $60 million revenue threshold for the first time and exceeding our guidance,” said Emily M. Leproust, CEO and co-founder of Twist Bioscience.

“In January, we shipped the first products from the Factory of the Future and are now manufacturing the vast majority of our genes, gene fragments and oligo pools in our Wilsonville facility,” Leproust added.

Additionally, Twist plans to maintain its global commercial presence to drive top-line growth while streamlining teams including R&D across the business to focus on programmes, where the company believes it has a clear competitive advantage and sees the greatest potential for long-term profitable growth and value creation.

“Following a strategic and holistic analysis of the business, we prioritised and reengineered our cost base, and with these substantive changes, we believe we are operating from a position of strength, operating as a leaner organisation,” said the company CEO.

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Android’s Nearby Share now available globally for Windows



Android’s Nearby Share now available globally for Windows

San Francisco:  After its initial release earlier this year, Google has now made Android’s Nearby Share feature available for Windows PCs to nearly all countries worldwide, signalling a significant expansion in its accessibility.

“We are very excited to announce that Nearby Share for Windows is now available worldwide, so even more of your devices can work better together,” Google said in a blogpost.

Through Nearby Share, Android users can share files wirelessly with their PCs, whether they are desktops or laptops, and through Android’s native menus.

Google initially limited the feature to only a few countries, with a primary focus on the US.

Now, according to Google’s support page, Nearby Share Beta for Windows PCs is available in the US and most countries globally, however, support is currently not available for Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Syria.

Users can easily set Nearby Share Beta for Windows by just downloading and installing the app on their PCs.

Users then be able to send files to nearby Android devices or send files to their PC based on their device visibility preferences.

Meanwhile, Google has rolled out new Material You design for its Nearby Share app on Android phones and tablets.

The Material You revamp brings visual changes to the main UI users interact with on the Nearby Share app.

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