Page 28 - IACC Newsletter November 2012 Issue no. 7

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Autodesk acquires Pramati's Qontext
The acquisition is expected to accelerate its ongoing move to the cloud and expansion of social capabilities in the
Autodesk 360 cloud-based service. Nasdaq-listed Autodesk Inc. has acquired Qontext, enterprise social collaboration
software, and its 25-member development team from Hyderabad-based Pramati Technologies for an undisclosed
amount.
The $1.95-billion Autodesk is a leader in professional and personal 3D design, engineering and entertainment software.
The acquisition is expected to accelerate its ongoing move to the cloud and expansion of social capabilities in the
Autodesk 360 cloud-based service. The Qontext team will operate from Hyderabad, a new development centre for
Autodesk. “This transaction is a significant milestone in our ongoing efforts to incubate and build companies that
address the rapidly changing needs of business,” Pramati president, Vijay Pullur, said.
Autodesk director, Soren Abildgaard, said the team in Hyderabad was expected to grow significantly over a period of
time.
Virginia Tech research center to open in 2013 in India
Virginia Tech is poised to open its largest research center outside the United States next year in Chennai, India.
The Virginia Tech ICTAS Innovation Center will be overseen by Tech's growing Institute for Critical Technology and
Applied Science and a 6,000-square-foot facility is expected to open in spring 2013 in Chennai, said Guru Ghosh,
associate vice president for outreach and international affairs.
The university will provide up to $1.5 million in startup funds for operations, and industry partner MARG Ltd. will outfit
the high-tech labs and provide other equipment. "For every one dollar Virginia Tech invests, our industry partners will
invest five dollars," Ghosh said.
The MARG Group develops and engineers industrial and government infrastructure projects in India, Singapore and
China, according to the company's website. None of the startup money for the center will come from state funding, nor
will it come from tuition or fees charged to students, Ghosh said.
The center will focus on three major areas of research that will serve the needs of developing nations, as well as rural
areas in the U.S., said Roop Mahajan, director of ICTAS. In the beginning, one researcher/professor will be assigned to
the Chennai center to work with Indian doctoral students, with plans to eventually bring Tech students and other faculty
there. Partnerships with major Indian universities and other private corporations are also planned.
The initial research focus will be developing and testing low-cost energy technologies, such as small-scale, flexible solar
panels and wind turbines that operate at low wind speeds. These may bring sustainable energy to people living in
isolated areas in the developing world, as well as in the U.S., Mahajan said.
Eventually, research will expand to advanced communications and "smart" radio systems that may have implications for
cloud computing, geographical positioning systems, wireless networks and the like, Mahajan said. Another area of
research planned at the center is nanotechnology, a major focus of ICTAS research in Blacksburg. Already ICTAS
researchers are working on nanofibers that can be used in high-tech water and air filters, as well as the targeted
application of agricultural fertilizers and pesticides, Mahajan said.
Because Chennai is a major area for automobile engineering and manufacturing, nanosensors under development by
ICTAS scientists are expected to become a major part of work at the India center, Mahajan said. Tech chose Chennai,
India's fifth-largest city, because of its high literacy and education rates, and because it is a national center of
engineering, science and technology, Ghosh said.
Tech also has historical ties to India going back about 70 years to the first known Indian student to enroll at the
Blacksburg campus. It's estimated that about 500 Tech alumni live in and around Chennai, which is situated in the