- Indian Entrepreneurship Touches A New High!
- Chengdu Offers Immense Opportunities for Indian Companies
- “Strive to create something people will like to use”
- "The key to ensuring growth is to adapt to market dynamics, and continuously innovate"
- Managing Start-ups
- "Singapore offers a great eco-system for Indian IT companies"
Here are five ideas for innovators in the telecommunications domain, to make the most of the eco-system and to extend the reach of their products and applications.
While it is important to understand the issues that are impeding the growth of the country's communications industry, it is equally imperative to think about new workarounds to make the most of existing resources and technologies. That was the agenda for the 17th Convergence India 2009, an Information and Communications Technology (ICT ) event, held recently at New Delhi.
A congregation of telecom operators, value-added service providers and security solutions providers deliberated on the technologies that, despite the challenges, have the potential to lead the world, and India in particular, towards digital convergence. Many issues-ranging from a lack of the infrastructure required for broadband penetration; the potential of technologies like WiMax and the avenues that it can open up for businesses; to the challenges of VAS application developers-were discussed at length. Here are a few ideas that emerged from this event.
1. Video, the next killer app!
2. Can the idiot box be a key to digital convergence?
If converted into a productivity medium, television could enable the delivery of services like tele-medicine, tele-education, etc, in a cost-effective manner. It would then also go a long way towards connecting with rural India and disseminating services that have so far been the prerogative of the urban population. Vijay Yadav, managing director-South Asia, UTStarcom, expressed hope that India would soon be at the forefront of developments in video communications because of the high level of TV penetration and lower-cost transmission to the end user, when compared to other countries.
3. Tapping new revenue streams through SMS
Casey shared that there are over four million mobile connections worldwide, and over two-thirds of the world's population has access to mobile phones.
The rise of the mobile phone in India has also been phenomenal. With the rate of Indians acquiring mobile phones consistently rising, the players in the communication technologies' arena feel bullish about its role as a medium to bridge the digital divide between urban and rural India.
Siddhartha Behura, secretary, Department of Telecommunications, government of India, felt that all facets of communication have converged digitally into the mobile handset. The new transmission technologies like 3G and WiMAX are also allowing mobile access to voice, data and multimedia over converged networks. This convergence surely means a wider reach, especially if applications like tele-medicine, tele-education, mobile Internet and location-based services, are made available at economical costs.
But to capitalise on this trend, there is a need to build applications that are relevant to a particular set of users in a particular region. The 'one-size-fits-all' model may not work any more, felt Dr Mo Shakouri, vice president, WiMAX Forum. He underlined that each rural market is different, and that applications should be built as per the needs of a community.
Jagdish Mitra, CEO, CanvasM, agreed, stating that there existed a huge market in rural India, but he urged the applications developers to understand that being rural did not necessarily mean being poor. He added that if mobiles could be transformed into a medium to access necessary services related to banking, healthcare, education, etc, by way of creating innovative applications, it could mean a win-win situation for all concerned.
5. The VAS world: Opportunities and challenges
He underlined the point by citing an example of users trying to access some sports-related news using a source code. He observed that to provide the same kind of information/service, each operator had a different source code. This confuses the customers and they then hesitate in using such services.
Sharma shared the challenges that most VAS applications developers faced within the country. He complained that the applications are mostly driven from the network providers' side and the developers, despite being the owners of the application, didn't benefit from their creations, as the bigger slice in the revenue pie was always enjoyed by the telecom companies. This is in fact driving content creators to find ways to reach the customers directly. Owing to this practice, we may soon see a D2C (direct to customer) model emerging in a big way, added Kunal Bajaj, managing director, BDA.