Saturday, August 30, 2008

Death of Fixed Wire-line??

Are we going to see Plain Old Telephones (POTs) become museum piece?
Will there be any attractiveness in wire-line business to remain in business?
Will WiMax, 3G be final nail in confine of wired broadband dream of India?
Does Wire line telephony business co-exists in today’s wire free world?
Is there at all business case for huge capex spend on digging & laying fibers?

I do not know the answer. POTs will maintain its dignity and certainly find a corner in museum. Wire free end-points is need of time. But I see a ray of hope and feel there is enough reason for businesses to remain focused, invested in wire line business and not only that but provide adequate finance to support it to grow. This is even more important and crucial for voluminously & densely populated countries like India and China. Let us talk about India only ..

I just want to mention reasons in points and leave rest to your imagination and comments to complete it/ argue or debate it…
# Reason1:
Scarcity of wireless bandwidth in densely populated metros, cities and more and more various services demanding additional bandwidth
# Reason2:
IP v6 can revolutionaries they way different home equipments are remotely maintained. A dream of electronic, digitally wired homes where all of our domestic helping machines will have an address – an IP address. This thing is not far away from becoming true..
# Reason3:
Bandwidth hungry innovative services: IP TV, High quality video telephony, Flirt/Chat/Multiplayer super games/Community based services, Work from home. And numerous other innovations! Last but not least incremental gain through Advertise based revenue and by becoming unconventional sales, ordering and fulfillment channel
# Reason4:
Why can’t there be mash up between wireless technology and wire line stuff:
‘Fiber kisses Antenna’!!! Something like fiber to reach home and all end user points are wireless -Working on blue tooth v2.0, WiFi, Wi-Max (for big offices or resid. towers), and so on… Or Wire line can greatly supported by wireless technology for bridging connectivity through long haul no-mans land. Guess there will be more creative ways
# Reason5:
Mobility is must today but it is also true in 75-85% times limited mobility is enough.
# Reason6:
a) Unbundling of last mile local loop of incumbent and its up-gradation
b) Joint venture of private player to lay fiber- Sharing passive wireless infra
c) Partnering with local entrepreneurs to lay fiber and own jointly- connect it to national carrier network
Explore more and more creative options.. Matrix is about to reveal truth ;-)

I like one of the comment so much that it should be part of this writeup as one more reason for wireline to sustain. Thanks to Mr. Abhishek's comment to add one more angle to look at positioning of wireline as safer technology.

# Reason7:

Fixed line was the dark side of wireless technology. Everyday questions are raised about how safe it is to use a simple mobile phone. It can cause you heart-attacks, impotency, variation in blood pressure, damage to brain cells (just think the effect it can have when you are talking to your friend for 1-2 hours continously

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

i Phone, India Launch and 5Ps of marketing

A story making round in industry iPhone fails to lure Indian consumer and thus lost rare opportunity to penetrate in one of the largest (in fact 3rd largest) handset market by volume.

India and Indian consumer are again and again proving the same thing one who able to conquer the world may not necessarily able to repeat the same in India. Marketer can not forget "GLOCAL" - (Global but Local) funda when dealing with India. Pepsi, Coke, X-box, Mac Donald, Nokia all did it though in different manner, all had to go through complete Indianness- भारतीयता

5Ps: where arguably i Phone India Launch went wrong

Product: Excellent -no doubt about it! But feature as simple as sms fwd can make product from 'Aspiring' to 'frustrating’. There should be additional development fitting to Indian psychi. Look at Nokia not big modification, but one simple addition of strong LED and advertised strongly as light in dark. Or Samsung advertising prayer feature in its handset. Sometimes just simple moves bring one champion and differentiate from others

Price & Placement: Considering these 2Ps together and even specially in case of iPhone. All across world iPhone was launched with Telecos. Teleco subsidizes iPhone by virtue of long term contract. When it was well known fact in India operator can not have 12 month long contract with users... iPhone launched with operators- was for what?? Secondly why was it exclusive with Airtel and Vodafone?? - for office e-mail supports servers and Black Berry like services. And all these come at what price? Is any one really bothered to take iPhone in India especially for Black Berry like services?? Mass market- much larger market was eagerly awaiting to grab their precious one.. But huge disappointment at pricing front.. One iPhone at INR 31K plus!

Promotion: Required fan fair was not been created! Hype associated with Apple iPhone launch were not matched in India!! Was that Apple’s over confidence? Advertisements were also not featuring sexiest, coolest features of iPhone as it should be.. Rather Ads were disappointingly boring!

Positioning: Most important P of all the Ps. Apple’s iPhone positioning in India was very unclear! May be it did not turn up properly - Should it be considered as business phone or coolest tech-toy to be owned on earth. All across world youth and mass was queuing out side store to be among first one to flash sexy gazette.
India had thrown a chance to make it mass phone with a class! (get best possible economy of scale) But Company was busy to position it as very good business phone with so many 3G features highlighted!! Hey, Hang on, In India 3G is not even launched. And don’t seem to be commercially launched before 6 months.

When huge pool of youth were attracted to iconic phone brand!! When there was chance to market it to mass, why Apple went for niche marketing!! Was Apple not confident about meeting demands, or has Apple over rated Indian market!! Or is it simply complacence of Apple!!! Indian market always go for value for money. And it will not change in near future- It's cultural habit of consumer. Today youth spends, today everybody spends, there are huge aspirations among youth, Indian middle class. India is aspiring for ‘Class’ but its not for any cost-just because priorities to be attended are too much – India is for Cost as per True Value Add

Concluding: nothing wrong with Apple 3G iphone! But it is Apple and so there was certain expectation built up!! And it didn’t go with that high successful launch expectation!!!
True, first opportunity lost by Apple but battle is not over yest…Let us talk about how will be battle, what could be Apple’s move and how Nokia and Samsung will react in India?? Any comments……

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Beijing Olympic2008 and mobile VAS

World's Costliest and equally spectacular Olympic opening day ceremony happened on 08-08-08. I am wondering what kind of mVAS can be cultivated across this?
MVAS specially for people visiting Beijing for Olympic:
1) Cheap international roaming. 3G or GSM will not function fully. Need to take CDMA
- Dual SIM phone (GSM+CDMA) can have dream run!!
2) Translator cum Dictionary apps for Chinese to English / French/ Spanish or vice-verse
a) Translating Chinese pictorial language into closely matching meaning in other languages for commonly used words by tourist/visitors on business tour
b) Chinese speech (commonly used dialect like Mandarin, Wu, Min etc) recognition and translating into other foreign language like say English
c) Commonly used words/sentences by tourist (How much? Asking for direction? Food? Emergency - Doctor, lost & found? Formal greetings... etc) in writing & pronunciation
-- Application developers too much to ask in too little time! But I think its worth product to explore (you can use same codes for Indian languages Telugu, Tamil, Bong, Hindi, Malayalam...)
3) How can we forget maps- the "cause and effect" of location based search and advertising
Hybrid map in detail for Olympic stadium and its surrounding
-- Use it from Google, Yahoo or has MSN launched it in China?
Great if can be clubbed with Alerts, Sports schedules and updates
4) No need to carry your credit card. If you are credit worthy, your mobile number will become your credit card number and your mobile your wallet. Enjoy games and forget carrying currency -- Will it require payment gateway, mobile operators, foreign exchange clearing & settlement house to come together and ofcourse application vendor (I think latter on this soln. can become potential long term soln. No more plastic card required..)
5) Travel assistance voice portal with vXML capability (text to speech converter) in diff. foreign language to bestow updated information to user (self-help & super premium service personal assistance on phone - Call centres hearing out!!?)
6) All these VAS services can be subsidised by tagging appropriate Ads (hotels, Hospital, Shopping, Food and escorts etc etc..) - incremental revenue earned out from Ads

MVAS for All:-
1) Brand Ring tones, Wall papers, theme around Olympic 2008, Hot & adventurous swimming, gymnasium pics - Bebei, Jingjing, Huanhuan, Yingying, Nini Package (5 Olympic Mascots)
2) Branded Olympic Games- Option to choose your favourite from real champs
3) Subscription service for games news update - say "Gold Count"
4) Beijing Olympic2008 Brand store : Sale T-shirt, Key chains, trousers, sacks, caps and so on..
- allow side load or free down loads of Olympic content with that (Brand co promotion and sales by Telcom operators and retailers)
--Virgin mobile India & Adidas, Nike & Vodafone, Ray Ban & Airtel, Reliance official mobile pro motor for live pictures and update selling content and Olympic accessories... what an idea Sirji...

Friday, August 8, 2008

TBT-Terrorism Bomb and Technology

I was extremely upset about the events kept on evolving over last one week.
No, I am not referring to high TRP drama happened in Indian parliament.
I am referring to systematic, meticulously planned, strategically timed events. I am not trying to glorify it. It is shameless, hideous act of cowardliness. But unfortunately these terrorist attacks must be brainchild of some smart brain having good support of technocrats… Use of communication methods and level of high secrecy is very surprising. Banglore, Ahemadabad, then Surat and expected cities are many more.. Almost entire India is on High Alert… 15th Aug is just few weeks ahead……

Act of terrorism can not be supported for whatever reason. There can not be any “Cause” or any reason to hate any nation or community or race… Let us not talk all these..

What kind of defense mechanism do we have to avoid these incidents next time from occurring?? Terrorist is using web, mobile, black berry, micro processers(Chips), Wi-Fi, IP address hacking…And list will keep on improving, enriching day-by-day. Has our technology boom-ranged upon us? Is our technology breakthroughs are indeed creating greater and greater comfort for terrorist to go scot-free, do all their shameful activities surreptitiously and keep us on their mercy?? Are we accepting it as our fate??? Nothing we can do about it.. Darkness can not be removed by adding more darkness.

Isn’t it be possible for our telco’s and IT companies to devote voluntarily some of the best resources employed to work with our security agencies on some PPP (Public Private Partnership) model. Aren’t there be smart individual patriots ready to devote their time and brain. If battle fought in the virtual world, let it be. I am sure there can be enough patriot geeks ready to outnumber and outdo what terrorists are doing.

I do not know whether I am overreacting to the situation; but I still feel its necessity of the time, Isn’t it?