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When users select their favourite ring tone, little do they know of the processes that yield such value-add innovations. Here' a story from behind the scenes.
According to NASSCOM, it's India's sixth largest software exporter. More significantly, Gartner has rated it as the third largest Business Support System Integrator in the world. It's Tech Mahindra that we're talking about, a leading telecom-focused Indian IT major with vast experience in innovating value-added services and service delivery platforms.
Innovation aimed at driving telecom service provider revenues
Tech Mahindra's bouquet of value-added services stems from the fact that the margins from connectivity are rapidly falling. It has therefore explored various business models with service providers, like the revenue-sharing model, hosted model, etc, with the aim of offering innovative multimedia applications to drive up the average revenue per user (ARPU) for service providers.
Naturally then, there is always a flurry of innovation at Tech Mahindra, so much so that about 8 to 10 per cent of its revenues are ploughed back into R&D. It has actually instituted an Ideas Factory to generate go-to-market ideas, by empanelling experts from its 'Centres of Excellence' for next generation networks, mobility, operations support systems/business support systems, the user interface development group and technology practices. Once innovations take place, the Ideas Factory strives to facilitate their field enablement, as well as showcase them at international conferences such as 3GSM World Congress, International Telecommunication Union (ITU), etc.
Innovation at Tech Mahindra is all about new applications, content, and services that merge commerce, content, convergence and customer experience, basically, business opportunities that help operators gain a sustainable advantage over their competitors.
Innovations that always focus on user experience and satisfaction
Judging from the value-added service portfolio that Tech Mahindra has deployed for telecom companies, the Ideas Factory has done well! For instance, how often do you come across people who have yet to select a ring-back tone for their mobile phone? Nowadays, by and large, when you call anyone, you hear their preferred tune before they come on the line. Well, the ring-back-tone application is just one of many consumer applications from the Tech Mahindra stable.
Other consumer services include a prepaid services application and free phone, a special telephone number that offers free dialling to the person who's calling by transferring the cost of the call to the person called.
Number Translation is a network application that allows users to dial a special number that the carrier translates into a real destination number where the call actually lands.
Tech Mahindra's IMS (IP multimedia systems) Service Switching Function better exemplifies how its network services enable telecom operators to launch new technologies, while retaining consumers by ensuring their comfort levels. It facilitates the use of intelligent network services that are currently available, like toll-free services on next-generation networks.
Value-added services in the entertainment segment
In recent years, thanks to an upbeat middle class that boasts of a greater disposable income, the entertainment value-added service segment is being looked upon as a means to increase telecom provider revenues. Here too, Tech Mahindra has stepped in to offer innovative services that distribute premium content like pictures, wallpapers and screensavers to end users; VoD or on-demand video streaming services personalised to individual needs; and tele-voting to conduct opinion polls and requests to end users to vote via SMS or voice calls.
Tech Mahindra is now poised to launch a new technology, location-based services aimed at tracking the location of subscribers, and using this information to offer value-added services that make one's life easier, faster and more comfortable. Shankar Allimatti, vice president, next-generation networks, explains that just this single service encompasses the functions of tracking, navigation, searching, emergency services, etc.