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A product that combines the benefits of the conventional paper coupon with the mobile phone, could well establish CanvasM as a leading innovator in the telecom VAS sector. Read on to find out more.
Thanks to the continuous rise in India's mobile subscriber base, the buzz surrounding the mobile value added service (VAS) sector has grown tremendously in the past few years. This sector has especially gained the attention of technology companies that have cottoned on to the fact that developing unique applications is a sure-shot means to expand revenues of mobile providers as well as the developers of such services.
Adding commercial value to a start-up
Around two years ago, Motorola was looking at putting in place a partnership to enable the delivery of software to the telecom sector. At that time, Motorola was collaborating with a leading Indian provider of IT services and telecom solutions, TechMahindra, for some very interesting work on platforms, and believed that it had found the right team to associate with for its new venture.
When the idea was brought up for discussion, senior executives in both establishments identified VAS as a very unique area, and hence thought it fitting that they should leverage the growing potential of this domain. This would best be done by engaging a specialised, highly trained team in activities that were specifically removed from the platform infrastructure and device manufacturing work that Motorola was involved in at that time. After around eight months of deliberation, a joint venture named CanvasM was launched to focus on VAS technology.
Mobile coupons: what's that?
After successfully developing and launching several innovative VAS solutions for global clients, which include a trend-setting video content delivery service for European sports giant UEFA (Union of European Football Associations), a data compression technology solution for Indian telecom operators in collaboration with global leader ByteMobile, and launching a multi-player gaming service with Reliance Communications, CanvasM has now developed a unique mobile coupon application that could revolutionise the retail sector by changing the way we shop. The first global product of its kind, it combines conventional paper coupon systems with mobile technology (using bar codes) with a minimal investment in infrastructure.
Here's how it works. A person may register to avail benefits through CanvasM's mobile coupon application in a variety of ways such as via the Web, WAP (wireless application protocol), Bluetooth kiosks, or SMS. At this stage, clients are asked to specify their preferences as regards the product categories they are interested in. Consequently, appropriate coupons are sent to the user as SMSs. The coupon or SMS carries a 'Loyalty ID' in the form of a one- or two-dimensional bar code that resides in the user's handset. This ID stays safe in the handset, and even if it is deleted, a customer may re-install it by logging into the online central server.
A store using this application is just required to install low-cost hardware at its point-of-sale (POS) terminals. This hardware may be a stand-alone, a POS-connected reader or part of a fully-integrated EPOS (electronic POS) solution.
All that registered users need to do in order to avail of discount coupons, check their loyalty status or acquire/redeem loyalty points on purchases, is to place this bar code (i.e., their mobile phone) in front of the code reader at the POS terminal.
A new shopping experience!
This innovative application thus does away with a customer's need to remember to carry a coupon. It also ensures that check-out lines are not held up by a frazzled client rummaging through her purse in search of a misplaced discount coupon! Moreover, thanks to the uniqueness of their mobile coupons, customers receive information about promotional schemes on their frequently used products, at their favourite or nearby stores on their mobile phones. Of course, customers retain the choice of opting out of receiving these updates as and when they desire.
This mobile coupon application does not only make life easier for shoppers, but it is also a useful means for retailers to increase store footfalls, and aids brands in promoting their offerings and conducting market research on consumer preferences. In fact, the business intelligence that emanates from the database of consumer purchase practices may be used to further improve upon the design of a mobile coupon campaign.