Sunday, 24 May 2020

Let’s Communicate!!!

Let’s ask one question - “How much importance we give to our communication skill?” This article is not about teaching communication skills. There are multiple blogs and posts on this topic. 

Even before jumping to earlier question, I want to begin with a very fundamental query - “Do we understand essence of communication?” 

It’s not really possible to make anyone clearly understand any philosophy; it comes with belief of acceptability with time. I’ll here try to give enough thought provoking statements and examples which will help you to experience or discover the philosophy behind communication.

“Keh dooN tumhe… Ya Chup rahooN, dil mein mere aaj kya hai…
Dil mein mere aaj Kya hai???”

Like many other Kishore Kumar fans, I am also fan of this song from Deewar. This song subtly demonstrates an example of expressing complex emotions. Is this an example of communication??

So let’s begin!

The word “Communication” comes from Latin commūnicāre, meaning "to share". “Sharing” or “Symbiosis” is the foundation on which today’s human civilization is based. In other words, communication is one of the key elements necessary for our survival. But why we should accept this statement? Without accepting the utmost importance of anything, it is impossible to put an effort in learning or accepting it.

Now, what are things we share with each other? There’s no text book or guidelines on what to share but it can be as simple as putting up a smile or eye contact to as complex as clarifying your role in some crime or negotiating your point of view.

Emotions, from happiness to sadness, aspirations to frustrations, love to hatred etc. are the inner self that gets exchanged with self and others each moment – consciously and unconsciously. The manner in which we express these emotions become our behavior and creates action with subsequent results. These emotions are then converted in messages through words and non-verbal actions which forms the crux of any communication process.

We’re the only living organisms on this planet, who has received power of language from the creator itself. Words, presented in right format to the right audience, have the power to start and finish wars.

As quoted by legendary Hogwarts Head master, Albus Dumbledore of Harry Potter series – “Words are our most inexhaustible source of magic, capable of inflicting injury and remedying it.”

That gives some sense to the finding that only 35% of communication is verbal. Words need to be used judiciously to achieve desired outcome. Sharing these emotions through words can be in form of one on one talk to addressing a large crowd or a nation. 

Food for Thought: 
How many times we’ve regretted about not saying those words during heated argument?

As mentioned earlier, since we share emotions, it is well communicated through our body which makes non verbal communication percentage to staggering 65%. You can flip through any high profile training manual; you’ll find tons of exercises on physiological practice – eye movement, facial muscles, and body posture and so on.

“From its products to packaging, Apple communicates its emotions of being different, innovative, aspiration non-verbally”  

Finally, what matters is the environment in which you share your emotions. The surrounding environment gives automatic context to our message. Hence, you need to be in conscious state whenever we communicate. Your emotions change as per environment and alter the message to be conveyed.

In nutshell Communication is a process of sharing our inner self with surrounding environment verbally and non-verbally. Philosophies have more depth than any example or fact. This is the reason I haven’t shared many examples. You just need to go through this article and get the soul of the message – Understanding communication philosophy.



Sunday, 16 February 2020

Blockchain Technology-New Technology in IT Field

In December 2018, a child named Divit was given a birth registration certificate prepared using blockchain by the New Town Calcutta Development Authority in West Bengal. The data of the certificate prepared in this manner cannot be altered improperly. One significant example of this is the application of blockchain for citizens in India. States like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana have also started using blockchain for health, land and birth registration, online purchases by the government and so on. The common question is how is the internal structure of the blockchain? What are its main components?
A blockchain is a list of ordered and linked blocks. Each block has two parts - the header of the block and the body of it in which multiple transactions are written.

Transactions by users are recorded in the block as a transaction. The data contained in each block, such as the heading and the set of transactions, are calculated using the SHA256 cryptographic 'hash' algorithm, which is a complex mathematical process. As the key is needed to open the closet or box, the block needs a hash to read. The hash is made up of 32 bytes. In the header of each block is noted the hash of the block next to it, the own hash of the block, at which time this block was written or modified. The next block is called the parent block. Each block has only one and only parent block. The link here is similar to the 'next block hash' link or link to attach the newly created block to the next block, so that the newly created block is joined using a link to the next block. Thus, multiple blocks are linked together using a link to form a chain.

            The first block is called the Genesis block, and then the next block links to the block exactly ahead of it. As shown in the figure above, the last block of the blockchain, the most recent block, can be moved backwards to the first block - the Genesis block. This way the information contained in all the blocks can be read. Blockchain can be saved as a simple file or data base.

            Any minor changes to the part data of a previously written block are immediately recalculated using the hash SHA256 cryptographic 'hash' algorithm of that block. Suppose that the data in block # 1 was slightly modified. So the hash of that block will change. This changed hash must be modified as a 'block next to the hash of the block' in the block next to block # 2 and this will change the hash of block # 2 itself. Now the 'hash of the next block' field in block # 3 must be recalculated and reformed. Thus, all the next blocks, starting from block # 1 to the end, will have to be modified, which will have to do a huge amount of computational calculations. This will require a powerful computer as well as electricity to operate it. Here, it becomes clear that if a blockchain has multiple blocks and any part of the initial block has to be modified, that task becomes very difficult.

            The concept of blockchain is comparable to geology. As the top two to four inches of the surface of the soil changes gradually depending on the changing season, the soil geography does not change or remain stable for centuries, just like in the blockchain, there is an improvement due to the recent rotation of a few recently written blocks. According to one conclusion, the top six blocks in the blockchain are seen to be changing, but the blocks below hundred or thousand or so remain as stable as the lower levels of geocache.

            For example, we take hospitalized patients and their transactions with various agencies. The patient has to make transactions with doctors, laboratory, drugstore, hospital, blood bank, insurance company, etc. If the hospital is operated on a hospitalized patient, the hospital will have all the records, but it should also be reported to the insurance company. If a patient is examined for his blood in a blood bank, the report should be reported to the doctor, hospital, insurance company, etc. Thus, if all the relevant units were to be transparently reported on the various medical treatments being performed on the patient, the medical history recorded by the treating doctors, hospital operations, the medicines provided by the drugstore or the expenses incurred to the patient would have to be done under the contract. Payments as well as all records related to them can be recorded in the ledger of the blockchain Hey. You can keep a copy of every ledger here.

            The main thing here is that when the operation is done by the hospital, it will have a note in the hospital ledger, but unless all the relevant units of the doctor, blood bank, insurance company, drugstore etc are officially authenticating the transaction regarding the operation, the ledger is near all the units. The copy will not have a note on it. If all unit ledgers have to record patient operation records, consent should be given to all units. All units or users of the blockchain have the protocol to consent to the transaction by which the transactions in the blockchain are officially authenticated. This is because of the transparent information that users associate with that method. Because of this, there is no place for transparent information that can be accessed by users connected to that system, as well as for any obscure or incorrect information.

            As mentioned in previous articles, computers that are part of the blockchain, transacting and keeping a copy of a shared ledger are called nodes, and there are three main types:

1. Full node: which implements all blockchain rules in a rigorous manner, which implements a smart contract on transactions made by users. Full node has a copy of the entire blockchain database, ie ledger. The hospital, blood bank, drugstore, insurance company, doctor, etc. mentioned in the above example can be viewed as a full node.
2. Light Node: It receives transaction details from the full node and stores the transaction to a certain extent.
3. Minor Node: is a full node and processes the process of officially attaching the blockchain to the blockchain as it is filled with transactions.
The blockchain is divided into four types based on its usage:
1. Public Blockchain: Anyone in the world can read the data written in the blockchain, send the transaction, and, if agreed, the transaction can be approved. Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc. are an example of a public blockchain.
2. Private Blockchain: A blockchain typically created for a single company or group in which only a predetermined user can send or share information or transactions.
3. Permitted Blockchain: Here only some users and groups are allowed to authorize transactions as part of the blockchain. The main purpose here is to provide additional security. An example is a cryptocurrency called Ripple.
4. Consortium Blockchain: Although it is a private blockchain, it is here that more than one company, rather than just one company, is formed for its own group. All members or nodes here have the node allowed to authorize the transaction, while all other members of the group can read it.

Recently, Sanjay Dhotre, Minister of State for Electronics and IT, Government of India, has said that a document is created to provide the necessary infrastructure at the national level in view of the various appropriations of blockchain and its capacity. Research on the 'Distributed Center of Excellence in Blockchain Technology' project along with organizations such as C-DAC, IDRBT, etc., is working on an experimental basis, which is funded by the Ministry. As part of this project, property registration has already been done on the basis of blockchain in Shamshabad district of Telangana state. The Center will set up a blockchain framework to test various digital assets or documents such as certificates issued by universities, sales documents prepared by companies or companies, registration of vehicles or hotels, etc. Such a framework will be an important guide for software companies to use blockchain in various applications.

                                                                                    Dr. Sheshang D. Degadwala
                                                                                    Head of Computer Engineering Department
                                                                                    Sigma Institute of Engineering



Employee Perspective: Is Customer really “The King”?

“At the very outset, let me start off by acknowledging that we were at fault and we not only apologize for the regrettable incident, we have also taken action,” IndiGo President Aditya Ghosh wrote.
About the incident
  • The incident on the Delhi airport tarmac took place on October 15 and it started with ground personnel – Juby Thomas asking passenger Rajiv Katiyal not to abuse.
  • The passenger continues to walk towards the shuttle bus and a voice can be heard asking the ground personnel to stop him.
  • After this, Thomas can be seen pulling him out of the coach. Second ground personnel Sahiv Sharma indicates to the bus driver to depart to the airport terminal.
  • A scuffle suddenly breaks out between Thomas and Katiyal.
  • The video which went viral doesn’t show who made the first move.
  • Sharma tries to restrain the passenger by putting his arms around Katiyal’s chest.
  • Katiyal later breaks free from his grip and attack Thomas and grab him around his neck. In the ensuing fight he falls onto the ground and Thomas is seen with his hand on the passenger’s collar bone.
I’m sure, our memory can recollect this infamous IndiGo incident (whose video went viral) of barbaric customer handling few months back. Recently, in one of my marketing lecture, I was explaining concepts of “Customer Relationship”“Customer satisfaction” & “Customer Delight” sighting this incident. These phrases along with – “Customer is King” & “Customer is always right” are widely used terms in business world.
These philosophies are on top list in induction training programs for all the new joinees. Even mid to senior level managers in sales and other business functions chant it frequently”. Still, such incidents often come in media. So a question struck my mind – Are these metaphors (invented seven decades earlier) still powerful & relevant enough in enriching relationship between employee and customer and achieving organizational goals?
Customer (noun) is one of those few words, that has become part of our daily lexicon & we use it as a symbol of superiority in the marketplace. The origin of the word customer is the Latin – “consuetudinem”, coming from one’s habit or custom – or, someone’s customary practice do something repeatedly.
As per psychology, each word generates uniquely strong emotion in human mind. Generalization of words like customer in place of “people” has resulted in low EQ (Emotional Quotient) & high MQ (Materialistic Quotient).
I remember a scene from Munnabhai MBBS movie where professor addresses a half dead patient as subject several times in his lecture. Annoyed by this tag, Munnabhai shouts – “Kya subject subject laga rakha hai, doesn’t he has a name? You see in the climax, the patient is miraculously cured just because of love and care shown by Munnabhai.
Even greats like Henry Ford and Steve Jobs address their customers as people…..
Henry Ford once said, “If I had asked people what they wanted they would have asked for a faster horse.”
King (adj.) symbolizes superiority, authority and power to make or break things. In a nutshell, “Customer is King” epitomize customers as someone whose birth right is to exert control and influence the market by making any demands they want, rejecting anything not liked. It still holds true from strategic & marketing perspective as customer has become more fickle minded, provided they have lot of options available suiting their needs.
Steve jobs once told Business Week: “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”
But do you think “Customer is King” metaphor still valid from employee perspective? Following are my observations arguing, it has run out of course now…
  • In reality it’s humans, who play role of customer and employee simultaneously. Human behavior has gone through sea change over past decades, thanks to technology and associated social revolution.
  • As a developing economy, India’s 65% (approx.) of population is young (15-59 years). Most of urban young population has basic financial stability and this has made them – independent with high self esteem & risk taking ability, full of aspirations.
  • Highly pressurized work environment & rat race for survival has altered employees’ behavior considerably. They’re now more pruned to short temper, aggressiveness and so on…
  • The paradox is that working for a King also reflects - slavery, tyranny, apathy, arrogance and inferiority in mind of employees. It generates fear which compels them to accept customer as king. (Relationship blossoms with genuine feeling of love and care and not under coercive atmosphere)
For an employee, a lot is at stake when he deals with the king. He always carries a feeling of uncertainty that a customer (whom he calls king) is the one deciding his fate. This results in state of mental choking. It creates a dangerous state where an employee working for 10-12 hrs a day feels strangled for freedom and fresh air.
This state was visible in IndiGo incident where a communication brawl turned into a physical assault. The incident has been and must be condemned. But in the end, it was a reaction from 3 individuals who were in different mental states. However, this philosophy has turned more heat on employee than on customer. We must acknowledge that at ground level, a human is interacting with human. A human which has countless emotional states any moment based on his inner and external stimuli. We need more humane philosophy to enhance satisfaction and strengthen relationship with existing and prospective customers.

Tuesday, 3 December 2019


The World Health Organization (WHO) proposes the following definition of disabilities:
“Disabilities is an umbrella term, covering impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions. An impairment is a problem in body function or structure; an activity limitation is a difficulty encountered by an individual in executing a task or action; while a participation restriction is a problem experienced by an individual in involvement in life situations. Disability is thus not just a health problem. It is a complex phenomenon, reflecting the interaction between features of a person’s body and features of the society in which he or she lives”.
Who has never seen someone who is not able to see, to speak, to hear, to walk etc; someone with an impairment? Some were born with while others acquired later in life. The disability may be permanent or temporary.
There are many different kinds of disability and a wide variety of situations people experience. Here, we give an overview of the common ones.

1.    Vision impairment
Vision impairment refers to people who are blind or who have partial vision.
When talking with a person who is blind or has a vision impairment:
·    Always identify yourself and any others with you;
·    Ask if the person requires assistance, and listen for specific instructions, however; be prepared for your offer to be refused;
·    If guiding a blind person, let him/her take your arm, rather than taking his. Describe any changes in the environment such as steps, obstacles;
·    If the person has a guide dog, please remember the dog is working and should not be patted, fed or distracted.

2.    People who are deaf or hard of hearing
Hearing impairments can range from mild to profound. People who are hard of hearing may use a range of strategies and equipment including speech, lip-reading, writing notes, hearing aids or sign language interpreters.
When talking to a person who is deaf or hard of hearing:
·    Look and speak directly to him/her, not just to the people accompanying him/her, including interpreters;
·    Speak clearly and use a normal tone of voice;
·    If you don't understand what a person is saying, ask him/her to repeat or rephrase, or alternatively offer him/her a pen and paper.

3.    People with mental health conditions
Mental illness is a general term for a group of illnesses that affect the mind or brain. These illnesses, which include bipolar disorder, depression, schizophrenia, anxiety and personality disorders, affect the way a person thinks, feels and acts.
A person with a mental health condition may experience difficulty concentrating, which can sometimes be a result of medication.
When living with a person who suffers from mental illness:
·    Try to avoid overly stressful situations wherever possible so that his/her condition is not exacerbated.
·    Provide clear and thorough explanations and instructions, in writing if required.
·    Ask the person how they would like to receive information.

4.    People with intellectual disability
A person with an intellectual disability may have significant limitations in the skills needed to live and work in the community, including difficulties with communication, self-care, social skills, safety and self-direction. The most important thing to remember is to treat each person as an individual. A person with an intellectual disability is just like everyone else.
When living with a person who suffers from an intellectual disability:
·    Treat him/her as you would like to be treated;
·    Be considerate of the extra time it might take for a person with an intellectual disability to do or say something;
·    Be patient and give your undivided attention, especially with someone who speaks slowly or with great effort;
·    Allow more time and greater flexibility for training.

5.    People with acquired brain injury (ABI)
Acquired brain injury (ABI) refers to any type of brain damage that occurs after birth. The injury may occur because of infection, disease, lack of oxygen or a trauma to the head. The long-term effects are different for each person and can range from mild to profound.
It is common for many people with ABI to experience:
·    Increased fatigue (mental and physical);
·    Some slowing down in the speed with which they process information, plan and solve problems;
·    Changes to their behaviour and personality, physical and sensory abilities, or thinking and learning;
·    May also have difficulty in areas such as memory, concentration and communication;
·    A person with an Acquired Brain Injury does not have an intellectual disability and does not have a mental illness.
When living with people with ABI:
·    Provide clear and thorough explanations and instructions;
·    Minimise stress to maximise concentration and performance;
·    Give verbal and written instructions or try giving examples to illustrate ideas and summarise ideas;
·    Allow more time and greater flexibility for training.

6.    People with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism is an umbrella description which includes Autistic disorder, Asperger's syndrome and atypical autism. Autism affects the way information is taken in and stored in the brain. People with autism typically have difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions and other activities. Many people with an autism spectrum disorder also have sensory sensitivities, i.e. over or under sensitivity to sight, touch, taste, smell, sound, temperature or pain.

7.    People with physical disability
The common characteristic in physical disability is that some aspect of a person's physical functioning, usually either their mobility, dexterity, or stamina, is affected. People with physical disability are usually experts in their own needs and will understand the impact of their disability.
When living with people with physical disability:
·    Always ask before offering assistance;
·    Be at the same level when talking with the person;
·    Never assume that a person with physical disability also has intellectual disability;
·    Ask permission before touching a person's wheelchair or mobility aid.

By Mr. Kamagate Yaya, Intern. Marketing in Sigma Group of Institutes - Vadodara.