Next generation Value Added Services

February 24, 2009

Unlike in the improvised world where a cell phone can be easily used as a Credit Card using VAS applications, such services has so far remained only a dream in India due to the strictures imposed by TRAI and Reserve Bank of India.

 The 3G services have just started, we are expecting a review of the restrictions by TRAI later this year. So one can expect a host of new VAS services” says Debasis Chatterji, CEO, Netxcell Ltd adding that his company was already working on a number of such applications.

Proliferation of technically advanced handsets, and the rapid progress made by the cellular networks. In India, the majority of the telecom circles now have multiple players and fresh competition comes knocking at the door.

The new wave mobile VAS will see the VAS players offer services directly to mobile users, and build up a brand in the process. The operator pipe is set to be commoditized in the manner somewhat similar to Internet bandwidth.


Indian VAS Industry has reason to cheer in 2009

February 24, 2009

Cellular majors in India having matched each other on prices, technology, and service offerings. Now, how do you differentiate your brand ? The answer lies in providing the unique value added services.


Despite the global mobile phone market recording a slowdown in Q4 2008, the value added services (VAS) industry is on a up- beat mood in India. Thanks to the continuing growth in mobile subscriber base in rural and semi urban areas and the popularity with VAS services among the younger generation.

The rolling out of the third general mobile serives (3G) is all set to take the VAS maket to new heights.

The VAS Industry in India has evolved into a $ 1 billion + industry in 2008 with an estimated annual growth rate of 40 – 50 percent. What makes the industry look ahead is that fact that the mobile service providers are adding up around 10 million new subscribers every month which is expected to take up the mobile subscribers base from the present 350 million to 550 million by 2015.

According to IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker released in February, the worldwide mobile phone market experienced an unusual downturn in the normally robust fourth quarter of 2008. The vendors shipped a total of 289 million units, 12.6 percent lower than the 330.8 million units shipped during Q4, ’07, the study says. For the full year 2008, vendors shipped a total of 1.18 billion units worldwide, 3.5 percent greater than the 1.14 billion units shipped during 2007.

“India is experiencing an interesting phenomena as mobile phone acquisitions are happening in semi urban and rural areas. Unlike in the matured markets, voice applications, caller ring back tone, ring tone services are highly popular even among the basic phone users ,” says Dr Debasis Chatterji, CEO, Netxcell Ltd., a leading VAS provider.

While text messaging is gaining more popularity among the younger generation in urban areas due to falling costs, it’s not so popular with subscribers in semi urban and rural areas as they are not as comfortable in text messaging in English as their urban counterparts.

According to a recent study by LIRNEasia, and information and communication technology policy organization, 27 percent of the total mobile owners at the bottom of the pyramid (BOP), or the poorest socio-economic group, were added last year, whereas the urban areas added only 19 percent.

“Just five years ago, the massive momentum developed by the Indian telecom industry did not include rural areas. But now, the picture is different,” the study said.

It added that phone ownership – both land line and mobile – at the BOP increased a whopping 131 percent between 2006 and 2008.

‘Affordability still remains a key issue for the people at the bottom of the pyramid to buy mobile phones,’ Rohan Samarajiva, chairman and chief executive of LIRNEasia, said.

Mobile ownership is as high as 40 percent at the BOP whereas the fixed phone ownership is at 8 percent.

The study says that India has a large second hand mobile phone market. “Most of the rural customers, on an average, spend $34.82 to buy a second hand phone and approximately $48 for a new phone,” Samarajiva added.

However, a major chunk of the people still utilize only voice services and services like payment through mobile. Other value-added services are still at a negligible level, the study said.

Unified Communications Vs issues

January 27, 2009

The big issue?
Ten years ago, when UC products first rolled out, connectivity was a major issue! However, what is the real issue now?

Many experts feel that this is the time of business transformation throughout the world and the biggest issue before UC vendors is to find ways for make their products integrate with the various processes of an organization. Any UC product cannot be sucessful or deliver benifits to the customer unless it can intergrate with various processes and tools and should be easy to use.

It now time for enterprises to stop investing in old technologies and look at adopting a suitable architecture for using UC products.

SaaS and security
Safety of adopting UC under SaaS model is one concern that enterprises have.
Experts admit that information security and connectivity were areas of concern under the SaaS model.

However vendors like Cisco, maintain that all their UC products guarantee cent percent protection of Information and security. The Cisco products come with third party certification.

Cisco vs. Microsoft
Seamless integration of Cisco UC products in a Microsoft environment, is also one big concern.
Cisco, is making efforts to make its UC products work with Microsoft products too.

The issues have been their for some time now. The latest news is that Cisco is already in talks with Micorsoft to sort out the issue and an announcement can be expected in about three months time.
Is India ready for UC ?
While adopting UC is still looked as an additional investment, it can actually benefit an organization in more than one way.

For enterprises it is time to get incubated to the UC environment. Many organizations look at investments in technology with a view point of making profit in short time but technologies like UC has to be viewed with a long term perspective.

3G and UC
3G services is being introduced by MTNL in Delhi and Mumbai, and soon the services are expected to be introduced in other cites of India.

The introduction of 3G services will pave way for more usage of videos and this will be a driver of UC products as videos can play an important role in Customer care Services of the future.

Hurray ! 1000 hits !

December 29, 2008


Now has 1000 hits!

Little drops make a might ocean. This has been true in case my blog also. Your  constant support in the form of hits has helped me achieve the 1000 milestone in blogging.

All this couldn’t have been a reality without your support.  I hope you will join me in this celebration by continuing to encourage me.

Happy 2009 in advance !

Here are some of the popular blog postings:

Notebooks’ are getting only cheaper

Slowdown blues can ping for 3 years

Now make international calls at local tariff with Skuku

Document Image Processing for Indian scripts


New Profession, old hobbies

Slowdown blues can ping for 3 years

December 24, 2008

The impact of the global economic slowdown may extend even beyond 2009 and a complete recover may take at least 3-4 years predicted Ashok Soota, Chairman and managing Director of MindTree, a leading IT Consultant comany.

Soota observes that clearly 2008 has been the year of black swan. The following quarters in 2009 can be even worse, but like in the past, this crisis will also pass away.

But during a crisis of this magnitude, the pendulum may unfortunately swing to the extremes,the MindTree Chairman added while delivering his key note address at the ICT Awards function organized by Frost and Sullivan at Bangalore recently.

2008 was a witness to global recession, weakening of the dollar, tightening of the contracts, cost cutting, jobs cuts among others he said the Indian has emerged a winner of sorts as the economy was still strong enough and the industry has been growing.

While the IT industry is expected to maintain the double digit growth in 2009 too, he he said another clear winner was the telecom industry which has kept the momentum on by adding 27.87 million subscribers during June-September this year and registering a growth of 8.6 percent on a quarter-on-quarter basis.

What should be done ?

Soota said in hard times, traditional wisdom of prudence always works. Corporates should conserve cash, assuming that the downturn will be even longer than forecasted. Enterprises should take a close look at wastage in your system, focus on utilization and overall operational efficiency.

The managers should also his people to brace up for the challenge, cut expenses and come up with innovative ideas to save more.

According to the MindTree MD, at the same time enterprises should not let go of opportunities. They should not cut expenses in areas that contribute to market expansion – such as new geographies, new services, new business models that can reduce your customers’ cost.

One must continue to invest in these areas.  In a slowdown, you should not cut out the muscle, but only the fat. Some of the areas where Indian companies might invest more are consulting front-end, complex solution architecture skills and expansion of global delivery centers, Soota stressed.

The MindTree MD further observed that the developed world is paying the price for its over-indulgence of the past. I see the current upheaval as a transformational process for the world economy.

India, on the other hand, is in a unique position. Our demographic advantage can make us emerge a new world leader. We are a young nation, full of energy. We are brought up with the mantra of first saving and then spending, which makes us financially disciplined.

Notebooks’ are getting only cheaper

December 5, 2008

Notebooks have got cheaper and cheaper and are set to kill the desktops gradually. But will the notebooks become more cheaper now with the global economy slowdown ?

Notebook manufacturers, distributors and component suppliers in the U.S. and Asia are reporting weak demand and order cancellations. Well the market situation can be enough reason for manufactures bring down the prices once again.

Notebooks have gained enormous popularity and acceptance over the years over the desktops due to its maneuverability, advancements in chip design has helped in increasing backup time and storage capacities, and ofcourse the falling prices due to higher demand and competition. Infact much of the credit for making the Notebook popular belongs the advancement in chip design.

Senior chip analyst JoAnne Feeney, was quoted stating “Clearly the economic slowdown is spreading to notebooks and we’re seeing it in two ways, one is in lower unit shipments, but also a mixed shift to cheaper units. And that’s going to filter down through the semiconductor world.”

Its no wonder that the notebook sales have become more critical to the health of chipmakers, as they make up a larger and larger portion of PC sales every year. Feeney expects fourth-quarter shipments of semiconductors for notebooks to fall 5 percent to 10 percent from the previous quarter, compared with a previous forecast for an increase of 10 percent to 15 percent.

Analysts also expect Intel Corp, the world’s biggest chipmaker, to cut prices to compete with rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc as demand shifts to lower-cost notebooks.

How competitive the notebook market has become can be guessed from the fact that most manufacturers today offer a notebook at below 30K. The Lenovo recently launched seven notebooks with a starting price of just Rs23 K.

Hope we can seen more notebooks below 20k in the near future.

Recession hit Europe eyes India for oursourcing

November 24, 2008

After the US multinationals its now the European companies that are set to future a outsourcing wave in India.

With a favorable climate and driver factors in favor India there could be an estimated 8 – 10 billion Euros of addressable market for European companies’ to do Research and Development (R& D) operations, says a new study by Zinnov.

The Zinnov study “European software product market – An opportunity unexplored” says though off shoring from Europe began in the early 90s, the momentum started picking up only in the last four years and the number of software product development captive in India has doubled. Further companies are realigning their global strategies in wake of the recent US meltdown and Europe continues to hold strong growth prospects for India and other countries in the region.

While the North America contributes about 42 percent to the global R&D spend, European market has a contribution of 35 percent  followed by Asia at 22 percent and rest of the world at one percent.

The study points out that out of the top 100 European companies, 18 companies already have 23 captive centers in India with Bangalore accounting for 50 percent of the companies and one third of the captives. The National Capital Region (NCR) and Chennai are the other preferred locations for European Captive centers in India.