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The Power Of Whitespace Discovery

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An unchartered territory is concomitant with curiosity, this inquisitiveness is something which resonates with all the new-age enterprises and their functioning as well. Talking in the realms of sales and marketing, this unknown or untapped territory can be aptly related to the database since that is one area which has been a challenge since always in the sales domain. This untapped database holds the ability to significantly impact the sales objectives in a major way. This subject database, more famously known as “Whitespace”, empirically means unidentified gaps or spaces and in relation to the sales terminologies, it essentially reflects those gaps in the prospective customer database that have not been tapped earlier. Discovering the potential customer base utilizing whitespace database is like an entrance to enormous progression wherein the augmentation of the overall RoI ultimately leads to expansion of the sales organization.

It will be an understatement to say that organizations today are opening to this concept of Whitespace Database discovery. As an industry, we have surpassed that stage with businesses accepting the prophecy of Whitespace database in a big way. While constant breakthroughs are in process to polish the concept and methodology of whitespace discovery better, there have been significant progress as well in this direction. With rapid scale development, consolidation of gigantic amount of data which is profiled and tested for usability has become possible. Discarding the conventional methods of gathering data, technological platforms and insights’ analysis have been leveraged to cull out the massive useful and relevant set of information to enhance the market size and reach.

With so much riding on the database, in the present age, without whitespace discovery the sales sphere will be in a vestigial form for its industry partners. To comprehend a scenario wherein traditional database digging mechanisms are used for generating leads, limited information will result in limited scope of expanding thereby creating a state of utter chaos in business environment as every player will be gunning for the same market pie. With all the industry players aiming for the same finite set of customer database, there comes in unnecessary and limited-level competition in the market. Therefore, it becomes critical to dig the database all the more and expand by uncovering the potential consumer base for increasing future sales footprint.

After understanding the importance of Whitespace data discovery and virtually foreseeing a scenario minus whitespace data discovery, it is important to also understand the methodology which goes into putting together this database. Discovering this whitespace database is a niche skill which necessitates a methodological and sequential approach. It commences with data mining and big data consolidation from various prospective sources through an extensive market research, using both online as well as offline mediums. This is followed by the leveraging a technological platform in order to assimilate the large amount of information, removing the irrelevant details and lastly, enriching this final data by removing the noise, i.e. irrelevant/ duplicated set of entries. The penultimate action is to draw logical inference through analytics and defining the prospective output which will have an impact on the overall organizational progression. Such a kind of predictive modeling is given due cognizance to anticipate the future data trends, defining the lead nurturing bucket and ensuring a dynamic decision-making process.

The present-age sales enablement practices makes use of this element of whitespace database discovery to enable its partners to increase their revenue margins. Since big data analytics acts as a backbone for provisioning this whitespace database, there have been large scale evolution which has taken place in the realm of analytics, big data management and even predictive analytics also. When such evolved technology/ methodology is combined with smarter enactment, such analytically deduced data can bring remarkable benefits to an organization by empowering its sales team. It can be called as a foremost tool for making intelligible decisions and discovering prospects to improve and make sales processes more efficient. The best sales teams not only assimilate data, but also act on it by deriving useful inference out of it for achieving long term consumer growth and success.

Post gaining access to the untapped prospective customer database, whitespace discovery enhances sales force productivity, gives greater average sales price and in due course leads to maximized revenue generation. It also expedites deductions from the demographic data, research and current trends whether they are for initial strategy formulation or customer relation management, thereby assisting the sales teams in meeting their targets. Ultimately, the impeccable execution which is enabled by whitespace database discovery provides a solid base to execute management plans; making it vital to drive the future sales enablement model.

By : Geeta Khurana, Global Head, Transformation, Denave

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Expert SpeakInterview

Interview With Nitin Bansal, VP & Head, Network Products, Ericsson India

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Q. Why has network optimization become a critical need for telcos now?

Near-ubiquitous coverage and a fast and reliable connection are the most important drivers of smartphone user satisfaction, and therefore must haves for superior networks that stand out from competition. Given that there are substantial number of users who are not very satisfied with their operator’s network, there is substantial potential to generate competitive advantage through enhancement of network performance.

Operators can significantly enhance customer perception on network quality by addressing the top three problems: internet connection issues, app and service crashes, and slow network speeds. Providing an excellent network with great coverage and fast data speeds where apps run smoothly is absolutely essential in order to achieve high customer satisfaction and increased revenues.

Q. How optimizing networks would affect the telcos, from a capex and opex perspective?

The worldwide surge in smartphones and smart mobile devices has placed new and ever-changing demands on mobile networks and systems. To deliver true in-service performance, network design should be viewed by operators as a constantly evolving process. An optimum network design will ensure that typical bottlenecks which limit smartphone performance such as backhaul under-dimensioning and unnecessary inter-technology handovers that push smartphone users to slower networks are kept under control.

Operators can secure optimum network performance and end-user experience by continuously tuning their networks to ensure adequate capacity and coverage to meet customer needs.

It is here that Ericsson’s Network Optimization services help customers get the most out of their network investment, with the focus on network performance and end-user experience.
We are working with numerous operators across the globe on network optimization and have brought our learnings and experience to share with our customers in India. We are supporting leading Indian telcos in optimizing their mobile broadband network by helping them deliver enhanced quality of service, reduce churn and earn additional revenue.

Q. How Ericsson is helping out its customers in resolving issues around network optimization? What are the new solutions it has developed and how future-ready they are?

Ericsson’s network optimization solutions not only help improve network performance but also measure and analyze end-user experience to maximize asset utilization. Ericsson offers an end-to-end network optimization solution consisting of people, tools and processes that covers all elements of a mobile operator’s network. Our offering includes an E2E delivery platform, automation and offshoring, industrialized best practices and consultative scoping.

We offer optimization of the performance of existing or new services, for example, voice, data throughput, mobile TV, TV broadcast in the existing network (Via the Access, Core, Transport and Service Layers), and the optimization of the performance of the existing infrastructure resources (such as Base Stations, RNC s. Enode B etc.) in a multi-technology and multi-vendor (Circuit Switched, Packet Switched, wireline, wireless) network infrastructure. In addition to that, we also help in the introduction of Global competence levels and best practice processes to the operators’ network to maintain optimal technical and service performance levels.

Q. Is optimization of network different from voice to data? How?

The new reality that the networks need to cater for is not just data, but the apps that consumers’ use. To that effect Ericsson’s App Experience Optimization is a new service offering which brings the users’ app experience into focus in the process of improving network performance.

In addition to the conventional network-related KPIs, App Experience Optimization establishes service KPIs which are tailored to the apps and services used in the local market. These metrics are generally linked to four key criteria: availability, accessibility, integrity, and retainability. Armed with information correlating network KPIs with local service KPI objectives, performance opportunities in the network are identified. Ericsson’s network design and optimization experts can then optimize to meet specific local objectives and specify future investments which will matter most to the end-users.

Q. As 4G/LTE gaining traction here, telcos will shift to an all-IP network. How it is going to affect the voice as well as data traffic, consequently, the customers?

Voice over LTE (VoLTE) allows an operator to offer both voice and data to customers without switching between bands, with voice being just another application that rides on an LTE data network. Telecom companies are currently adopting VoLTE either for high spectral efficiency, which means more voice users can be provided service with the same amount of spectrum, or for enhanced service offerings such as high definition voice.

Q. Besides lack of ample spectrum, what are the other factors in Indian telecom industry that demands prompt optimization of its networks?

Mobile broadband users rely on a good connection to the internet, and this dependency is becoming even more critical now with the rapid uptake of smartphones, where connection to the cloud and access to apps are demanded anytime and anywhere. Users are also becoming increasingly sophisticated, with stronger opinions on what – in their own view – are the causes of their user experience issues, prompting operators to place a greater focus on improving factors that affect user experience.

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Expert Speak

VoLTE-Bringing The Next Big Mobile Revolution

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Vikas Jain, Co-founder, Micromax

India is seeing a digital revolution and there is a shift in the way mobile phones are used by consumers. From taking pictures to messaging, smartphones are now acting as mini handheld computers. The need to be connected will drive the data bandwidth consumption to increase five fold in the next three years. Consumers are now expecting more from their smartphones and one of the voice trends that will drive the smartphone adoption will be VoLTE or voice over LTE.

What is VOLTE?
Voice over LTE happens when your carrier allows you to place a phone call over your LTE connection rather than using the circuit switched 2G or 3G networks which are usually used. In simple terms, voice becomes equivalent to a running application on the user’s phone that works on the LTE data network and hence enables the usage of LTE capabilities to the fullest. It allows the phone operators to streamline their data and voice infrastructure, making it more efficient. It was devised as a result of operators seeking a standardized system for transferring traffic for voice over LTE. Originally LTE was considered for carrying data only, and operators would be able to carry voice either by reverting to 2G / 3G systems or by using VoIP in one form or another.

Benefits

There are some essential benefits of using VoLTE services. One of the most prominent ones is that users get a great deal of improvement in voice quality. The basic science is to convert voice into IP packets which therefore leads to less data loss and a high definition voice transmission. VoLTE also ensures improved coverage and connectivity for telephone calls. Reports in-fact suggest that voice over LTE can connect calls up to twice as fast as 2G and 3G connections. Also, since most mobile networks currently function in 2G or 3G spectrum, 4G offers a greater room for users leading to faster and cleaner voice transmissions.

A report released by Signals Research Group suggests that VoLTE services offer much-improved battery life compared with using an over-the-top Voice over IP service such as Skype. VoLTE also offers better integration between wireless operators’ cellular voice service and a Wi-Fi calling service. While, it’s possible to make video calls over 4G, much like a Skype call except you’d just use your mobile number and be able to use the regular dialer and call interface, since Volte integrates voice calling to one’s dialer which therefore helps the user to make and receive video calls from anyone else with VoLTE, rather than relying on separate accounts.

Challenges

Interoperability remains a matter of great concern surrounding the Volte technology right now. With no inter carrier operability and roaming pacts among such carriers, it is not possible for someone using a VoLTE network from one network to make a VoLTE voice call to a subscriber of another network operator who also has a VoLTE device. To meet this obstacle telcos may depend on Circuit Switched Fall Back Mechanism in the near future. This mechanism allows the users to access the Internet using 4G LTE and then switch to a 3G or GSM for voice calling.

Voice on LTE smartphones also have multiple radio support which makes the device push off the LTE network and shifts to 2G/3G network to make calls.  A recent report, State of the RAN, claims that VoLTE call drops can be four to five times higher than calls on 2G or 3G networks. The research is based on analysis of more than 25 million voice and data connections from 80 different network operators around the world in the past one year. Therefore, it is the need of the hour to reduce the call drops so that the consumers can make most of the VoLTE technology.

The way forward
As of now, VoLTE has not had a significant impact on global operators’ revenues as these services have not been priced high so as to encourage consumers to start using it. VoLTE adoption is burgeoning and will grow significantly in the coming years. This would majorly be driven by the various benefits offered to both the users and enterprises. The delivery of multimedia services with greater bandwidth and speed will ensure efficient and cost effective voice services in the coming years.

These benefits hold significance for India because operators are seen struggling with plummeting voice revenues and increasing competition from OTT players. VoLTE in India is taking a little time to gain traction the benefits in the form of efficient spectrum utilization will take a few years to materialize. but

Operators now have to develop the necessary technology and solutions that will make VoLTE a success. The lack of Pan-Indian broadband wireless access spectrum is a significant challenge for enabling seamless roaming across India. IMS, the framework that supports VoLTE is not widespread in India which prevents them from leveraging their LTE assets fully which leads to them relying on circuit switched technology to support voice calls. However, it is believed that the LTE and VoLTE adoption curve will be much faster than that of 3G.

The handset manufacturers are ramping up their 4G VoLTE portfolio but none of them have smartphones sub 3.5K-4K in the category. By providing affordable device bundled offers, operators can increase the uptake of 4G and VoLTE. However, it is essential that apart from the technology upgrade it’s also the device strategy that will determine its speed of acceptance and success in the country. More affordable 4G VoLTE enabled smartphones bundled with data plans and less call drops would surely contribute in kick-starting a telecom revolution in the country.

To ensure that the 4G VoLTE becomes a success, it is important that everyone joins hand in making it an irreplaceable technology. From OTT players to the handset manufacturers to the operators – a mutual understanding among them shall help build a healthy technology ecosystem.

By: Vikas Jain, Co-Founder, Micromax

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Expert Speak

VoLTE : Surmounting The Voice Service Parity Challenge

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Chris Haddock, Head of Marketing, OpenCloud

4G/LTE is gaining traction across APAC, providing opportunities for operators to launch VoLTE and thereby enhance the voice experience they provide for their customers. As operators move to an all-IP future, delivering VoLTE is the next natural step in their evolution.

The end goal for operators is to migrate all of their customers over to the LTE network using VoLTE. This will free up precious 3G spectrum, and eliminate the expense of running two separate networks (the LTE/IMS network, and the Circuit Switch (CS) network that is used for 2G and 3G services). However, most operators will need to continue running these networks in parallel for the next few years, until there is complete 4G coverage.

During this period of transition, they will need to support roamers and subscribers who still actively use 2G and 3G services – customers who provide operators with substantial revenue streams. Operators need to ensure that the legacy services that were developed on the CS network are all available to VoLTE subscribers on the IMS. If they cannot do so, users will receive a completely different and potentially lower quality experience, depending on the network they are using. This challenge is commonly referred to as ‘service parity’. It is proving to be a major hurdle for operators as they work to bring their VoLTE services to their subscribers quickly and economically.

The main challenge
IMS and CS networks have different call-handling protocols and consequently vary in the capabilities they can offer. This presents significant barriers to achieving service parity for 2G, 3G and 4G customers.

In CS networks, legacy switches handle most of the basic call functionality that we typically expect (for example, call forwarding and call barring). New services have been added via Intelligent Network (IN) platforms, rather than by making changes to the actual switches. This has enabled operators to create many value-adding services that extend and enhance their communications offerings.

These additional services, such as voicemail, number translation, and mobile roaming, now create the basic fabric of the network. They are used by businesses and consumers extensively. Furthermore, IN-enabled, bespoke services have been created that generate premium revenue streams for the enterprise market – sometimes over 100 on a single enterprise communications network. Operators need to make sure that all these services continue to be available for their customers when using VoLTE.

In the IMS network, the ’switch’ is a router that cannot provide the call-handling capabilities of a CS network switch. Instead, a Multimedia Telephony Telecom Application Server, or MMTel TAS, provides this capability. However, this presents another problem: the GSMA IR.92 VoLTE standard only outlines the set of call-handling requirements of the MMTel TAS; it doesn’t address any of the functionalities provided by legacy networks via IN platforms that are still being used today. This means that the various, legacy value-added services that consumers and businesses have become accustomed to are not automatically supported when using VoLTE.

For an operator eager to roll-out VoLTE, to compete with OTT players, this creates a difficult situation. All of their subscribers will expect the same experience of service availability and functionality, regardless of whether their devices latch onto 2G, 3G or 4G access networks. The need to have many, different generation access networks in parallel operation will persist for a few more years, even in relatively developed LTE markets, as 4G coverage is not yet ubiquitous, and networks must also support roamers who still actively use 2G and 3G services.

Overcoming this challenge and achieving service parity
Service parity must be achieved across both CS and IMS networks, yet the technical and financial challenges of implementing this are significant. So what can operators do about this?

One option is to re-implement all of the services from the legacy network again on the new IMS network, and vice-versa. But such duplication is slow and expensive. It is not suitable for operators that are under immense competitive pressure to bring their VoLTE services to market quickly. Although these services will all need to be re-implemented eventually, doing so to an urgent and rigid timetable is impractical and can be extremely costly. Any re-implementation before full subscriber migration is a risk and is not cost-effective. Furthermore, it can result in a severely negative impact on customers who can no longer access certain services – more than likely leading to significant churn.

Some of the world’s leading operators are beginning to take a different approach; a more cost-effective, efficient way to deliver service parity, and at the same time realize the spectrum re-farming benefits that LTE offers. They are choosing to transform their service layer, placing an IMS service switching function (IMS-SSF) between the IMS network and the legacy network. This enables them to re-use already existing call-handling technology without the need for duplication. Consequently legacy services can be available for VoLTE, and vice versa. This delivers a consistent user experience for both legacy and IMS customers. This approach means that operators can enhance their VoLTE offerings at their own pace, and migrate their subscribers to VoLTE in a cost-effective manner, without detriment to the user-experience they receive.

Operators across South and South-East Asia that are looking to offer VoLTE will need to look beyond the IR.92 standard if they want to avoid any negative repercussions for their subscribers. Fortunately, there are technologies available that will allow operators to offer their subscribers a smooth and consistent experience, with increased quality of calls and shortened set-up times, thereby reducing churn. Service parity is essential to ensure that efficiency and value are not compromised – for the operator and for the subscriber.

 By :- Chris Haddock, Head of Marketing, OpenCloud

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Expert Speak

“Automation, Robotics Becoming Buzzword For India Inc.”- Anil Chawla, MD, Verint Systems

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Verint Systems can be described as an intelligent company, moreover, it helps other companies become intelligent by analyzing huge pile of their data. By applying intelligent and actionable data analytics, Verint helps enterprises primarily in 3 areas- security intelligence, customer engagement optimization and fraud, risk and compliance. The company, besides offering solutions on the same, is also a big advocate of Robotic Process Automation (RPA). We spoke to the company’s Managing Director Anil Chawla to understand if RPA is a reality or just another buzzword, and what it means for India. Excerpts :

Q. When we think of automation, at the current time, what are the areas in enterprises, do you think, needs urgent attention in terms of automation?

Automation technology is not really restricted by industry or areas within the industry. Any area of operation that has primary work time spent working on computer screen, has straight processes flows that require few decision boxes, are up for automation.

I think the question alludes to areas where the impact of automation is higher or can be higher. Automation “bots’ not only bring in efficiency but also complete work with better quality and process compliance. Therefore they are ideal for F&A processes within enterprise, as bots would allow to do more with less while offering better efficiency and compliance. It does not take much to see that Banking and insurance organizations have much wider scope for automation.

Q. Many a times automation is being confused with digitization. Can you please put them in two different boxes?

The meaning of the word Digitization has picked up many meanings in the last decade. Today it also means the way of engaging with the masses via multitude of communication channels available. It is more closely associated today with putting services online. This is not to be confused with the digitization which referred to the conversion of paper based admin platforms to more digital/online ones.

Either one of the two is not Automation. Automation is about rules based automation of processes, which are moderately complex, fundamentally rules-based and don’t require human decision making and judgment. Such processes can be automated partially or, in many cases completely. Some of the digitization maybe starting point for these automation.

Q. Where do India’s businesses stand in automating their processes?

Huge is the word and the industry has been quick to get on to it. Automation and robotics are the buzzword for the industry. There is both excitement and fear of this technology and we feel that the balance for this wold be achieved with innovative use.

Q. What are the business verticals seeing more traction on automation?

As we shared earlier, Insurance, Banking and F&A shared service centers are quick to adopt.

Q. What is the scope of robotics for enterprises? Any specific industry(s) you feel have more opportunity than others?

Any industry which has large number of employees working on non-customer facing computer centric activities are ideal candidates for robotics process automation. In domestic market BFSI has the biggest scope. Shared Services Centers (KPOs) is the first mover in India. Although SSCs cannot be counted as Indian requirement, the quantum of business expected from them is the largest.

6. Where do India stand in this space vis-à-vis global players?

Indian enterprises are abuzz with the robotics messaging. Everyone wants piece of this action. At the same time industry is still trying to create a balance between labour threat perception and the hype associated with the robotics.

Verint provides a wide range of solutions that enable organisations to optimise their customer engagement and interaction through the use of Actionable Intelligence. RPA is a component of suite of tools that assist with Workforce Optimisation as part of a broader Customer Engagement Optimisation platform.

Q. How big is the robotic automation market for India, and internationally?

There is no doubt that the potential is big, both domestically and internationally. There are few factors that have to play out yet: The abundance of low cost manpower in India and many Asian countries is one major factor. So Quality and Compliance based processes would have first draw from domestic market. Enterprises globally are trying to do more with less and robotics seems as the natural answer.

Q. How does automation, robotics help organisation in various indices, say, productivity, cost saving and future readiness? Please provide some data points.

RPA is best utilised in situations that require mass repetitive rules-based procedures. It can be integrated into existing manual process to assist with the onboarding and upskilling of employees or deployed as a stand-alone solution where manual intervention is not required. Both scenarios can deliver dramatic improvements in productivity, quality and cost-savings as well as being a significant contributor to a rise in customer satisfaction.

Q. IoT is the next big thing, and almost every organisation is thinking or doing something or the other around it. How do you see this trend?

Internet of Things has been the other buzz that has been the favourite discussion on many forums. This is driven by some of the biggest names in tech industry. The views and solution therefore are prejudiced and disjointed. There is no global vision of final world. But then that’s how the internet evolved. Hopefully IOT would not carry some of the short-sightedness that internet had. For truly useful IoT would require IPV6 to avoid device address choke. Possibilities are immense!

Q. What are Verint’s IoT solutions(if any) for organizations?

Verint would not typically be considered to be an IoT vendor. Instead, we are able to utilise multiple data points generated by a variety of systems to optimise the customer engagement process.

Q. How big government as a vertical in deploying automation, and (or) robotics? Do Verint has any solution for them?

We see good things in near future. Since governments are people centric, efficiency of menial tasks is where we see initial solution growth in this sector. The polity has woken up to accountability and ushering in eGovernance in a more organized manner. The process of digitization of all old records itself is a mammoth task that would require at least rudimentary automation. We, at Verint, are already seeing uptake in this area with regular KYC checks which are required.

This interview was first published in M2MCafe

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Expert Speak

“We’re The New Kid On The Block But Among The Strongest” – Atul Jain, COO, LeEco India

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LeEco did what no other company had done in the past – starting local production by setting up a manufacturing plant within 8 months of commencing business in India. It also shows the Chinese company’s intent and seriousness in doing business here. We spoke to Atul Jain, the company’s COO and the man who is in charge of establish LeEco’s connected ecosystem in India.

 

Q. Eight months into operation, how has been the journey for LeEco in India?

Its humbling. We are overwhelmed by the response we received from our customers, fans and superfans, and from the public. You just saw the data. People bought 1 million smartphones in this period is a testimony of our product quality and the value we offer for our customers. In addition to bringing futuristic products to consumers, introducing them to the Le Ecosystem, we also wanted to ensure that all aspects of the business are addressed , such as after sales service , offline POS, customized content for Indian consumers  and now with their manufacturing facility locally built superphones, made in India for India. We are the new kid on the block, but surely, among the strongest.

Q. When did this ‘India manufacturing’ bug bit LeEco?

It all started with the PM’s call for Make In India. Besides, it makes strong business value for any importer. There was a duty differential of around 6 to 8% now because for local manufacturing versus import. This matters a lot for the smartphone industry when the margin is too low because of steep competition. And on a broader level, India is the fastest growing smartphone market, and it makes more sense to have your products manufactured locally compared to source from outside.

Q. How big is the Greater Noida plant ? How will it help end consumers?

The manufacturing facility in Greater Noida is spread across an area of 200,000 sq.ft. with one product line to start with. At present we have a production capacity of 60,000 per month, however, we will ramp it up to 200,000 units per month by end of this year. We will also add one more production line to it. We got Compal Electronics as our global design manufacturing partner.

As LeEco superphones will be made locally we are going to benefit from the Government of India’s “make in India programme. Also with the passage of the GST bill, we can expect a reduction in the costs and benefits for the end consumers.

Q. How much investment you made in to this plant and is Compal partnership is exclusive to you?

We are investing Rs 50 crore in this plant, Rs 35 crore already made and another Rs 15 crore will be made by next year. As far as Compal Electronics is concerned, the partnership is not exclusive. They can manufacture for other brands ass well if they want.

Q. In terms of pricing , how are you planning to deal with the competition ?

Wherever we go, we are known for our disruptive price offering. We are present in the smart phones and smart TV’s categories,both of which are dynamic and key to consumers today. We are offering our consumer the choice of disruptive pricing packaged with top notch quality. Because we believe that devices would be the first touch points for consumer, based on their experience, they would further adopt other products and services of our ecosystem. So our phones or TV’s will continue to adopt a pricing model that will be very competitive and market disruptive.

 With handsets being manufactured locally now, the pricing strategy will be more aggressive and consumers can definitely expect futuristic products at much desired prices from LeEco.

Q. Will you always rely on online retail or will go offline as well? When are you planning to open your own retail stores ?

We have already gone offline with our TVs. For smartphones, we started our online journey to understand the market, and to offer competitive price to customers. You may find us in physical stores by this Diwali.

We have already applied for single brand retail license and have made our submission to the FIPB. We have also asked for a relaxation on the 30% local sourcing norm. To begin with we will open fully owned exclusive retail stores in top 8-10 cities starting with New Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru.We plan to display our entire ecosystem products ranging from phones, TV’s VR headsets, Bluetooth devices, power banks and other mobile accessories.

Q. LeEco CEO always talks about a connected ecosystem and connected devices. What are the other products besides smartphones we can expect from LeEco?

You can see some more TVs, and accessories like Bluetooth devices, power banks, headphones in coming days and in this year only. We may bring VR headsets early next year. Home appliances are not in the picture, and autombile is quite far.

Q  What are some of your near-term goals?

LeEco India aims to be among the top 3 smartphones and TV players in India by 2018. We also aim to be the #1 mobile and TV player in online space by end of this year.

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“IoT Seminconductor Business To Touch $15 Bn By 2020” – Uday Dodla, Qualcomm India

Uday Dodla Qualcomm India

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Internet of things seems to be on a mission mode. And if there is any company that is pioneering this momentum, globally as well as in India, it undoubtedly has to be Qualcomm. We spoke to Uday Dodla, the man who leads the San Diego headquartered technology firm’s IoT operations including drones, smart devices, wearables and smart cities in India, as its Director for Product Marketing. He also is the man who spearheads Qualcomm’s in Design India challenge – an incubator program for hardware companies. His views :

Q. What are your views on the adoption of Internet of Things, both globally as well as in India?
We see good momentum and expect further growth in various areas such as smart cities, cameras and drones, home control and automation, home entertainment, wearables, and voice and music – both within India and globally. We are also seeing products becoming more intelligent and capable at the edge – doing more locally and sending only the relevant data to the cloud. Analysts estimate the installed base of IoT devices to be more than 20 billion units by 2020.

Q. Can you guess the market size of IoT in India?
Globally, we estimate the serviceable addressable opportunity for our semiconductor business to be about $15 billion in IoT by 2020. While we don’t provide a split by region, India is important not only for the size of the country, but also for the opportunity to collaborate with companies and organizations in benefiting from the global opportunity.

Q. How is your company positioned in this scheme of things? Where does exactly it fit in the ecosystem?
We are uniquely positioned with our scale and expertise in connectivity and compute to deliver the technologies needed in IoT, helping customers commercialize their products faster and more cost-effectively. What makes Qualcomm different is the depth of our portfolio, platforms and partnerships.

Q. You company is a pioneer in many technological revolutions- both for enterprises as well as for end users. What are the areas you see IoT can serve both these consumers in near future?
Areas such as Healthcare, Automotive and Drones & Robotics will see more adoption with clear consumer benefits. We are actively engaged with industry relationships in these areas.

Q. In immediate future, what are the IoT solutions/products you see for end users?
I think we will see connected devices becoming more prevalent as technology becomes easier to adopt and deploy wherever and whenever. Solutions such as smart meters, connected cars, surveillance cameras, wearables for health & safety will see increased adoption.

Q. Wearables did not take off well as expected. Where do you see the industry missed the bus?
We continue to see the wearables segment as a growth opportunity. We have seen strong adoption of Qualcomm technologies in wearables, with more than 100 design wins including our technology. Snapdragon processors already power more than 80 percent of all Android Wear smartwatches.

We have design wins for smart watches, fitness trackers, sports watches and kid watches. We are seeing strong growth in all of these areas. We are particularly excited about the opportunity in 4G/LTE connected, location enabled targeted purpose devices like kid trackers and elder care watches. We believe there is strong growth in these devices.

Additionally, the acquisition of CSR (Cambridge Silicon Radio) last September has brought a wealth of product and talent to Qualcomm, particularly for wearables. CSR’s leading Bluetooth and GPS products are already in a wide range of wearables products, and they are a perfect complement to Qualcomm processors and connectivity products.

Q. Where do you see governments as a customer and how the Indian government is looking at this?
We are focused on making India an important part of our IoT product journey. We have multiple corporate initiatives such as the Ventures Fund and the Design in India programs to spur the design and development of electronics products in India that benefit the ecosystem. This goes hand in hand with the Digital India/Make in India initiatives of the Government of India.

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“India Will Add Significant Value To Global IoT Market”- Kuldeep Malik, Country Head, MediaTek

Kuldeep Malik Country Head – Corporate Sales International MediaTek India
kuldeep-malik-mediatek-india
Kuldeep Malik Country Head – Corporate Sales International MediaTek India

MediaTek has always been at the forefront of technological innovation – be at producing mass scale chipsets for feature phones or the Helio series chips for ultra-fast smartphones. Now, the Taiwanese semiconductor behemoth is taking lead in the Internet of things space with products and solutions for both consumer IoT as well as industrial IoT, globally as well as in India. We spoke to the man – Kuldeep Malik, Country Head – Corporate Sales International, who leads MediaTek India in this eventful and ever exciting journey of IoT.

Q. How do you see the adoption of the internet of things, both globally as well as in India?
Internet of Things (IoT), especially wearables, industrial automation and home security is expected to grow exponentially over the next decade, all thanks to the smartphone boom. Closer home, India has been receptive towards IoT adoption especially with the Government’s Digital India and Smart Cities initiative. While the country’s Internet connectivity is improving, we expect India to add a significant value to the overall IoT market.  Already, we see a variety of fitness related wearable devices, automobile telematics, and “smart home” systems being adopted across markets. And though consumer adoption is still low for IoT devices in India, with innovative concepts being deployed around Smart Cities and Digital India, we expect the adoption to pick up pace. In fact, some of our partners have a few prototypes that are expected to be deployed soon in the market. Say for instance, by using MediaTek’s MT7681 SoC platform, one of key customers has recently developed a prototype for a smart lighting solution that is expected to be deployed in one of the Smart City projects. Or like how MediaTek is working on real estate projects, providing our Wi-Fi technology for smart metering and home security solutions.

Q. What are the trends you see in this field?
As per various forecasts from industry bodies, we do expect to see a positive outcome. According to a report by IDC in 2015, shipment volumes are expected to grow to 155.7 million units by 2019. India has already seen numerous players, both global and local, introducing wearable products, like Fitbit and Xiaomi that have helped to propel the market with their sub-$100 bands. We see this trend continuing. While the concept of IoT is gaining traction, from a device perspective, we are still at a nascent stage in India compared globally. In the near future, we expect a lot of emphasis to be laid on the development of healthcare wearables. On the side-lines, development on enterprise related IoT will continue to evolve at a much faster pace, propelled by Government initiatives like Digital india and Smart City.

Q. Can you guess the market size of IoT in India for us?
India is a booming IoT market given the large presence of Hardware and software services in the country. Additionally, the impetus on Digital India will only further fuel this growth. In terms of numbers, a recent Nasscom report states that India aims to capture 20 per cent market share in IoT, an emerging sector which would be worth $300 billion by 2020.

Q. Which are the industry verticals you see gaining traction in deploying IoT tools or solutions? Globally as well as in India?
A key influencing factor in the growth of the IoT market is the need to implement predictive maintenance techniques in industrial equipment to monitor their health and avoid unscheduled downtimes in the production cycle. In light of this, industries are ramping up their investments to accommodate the Internet of Things. There are seven industries globally and in India which are gaining traction in IoT namely: healthcare, utilities, wholesale, manufacturing, retail, logistics and process manufacturing.

Q. How is your company positioned in this scheme of things? Where does exactly it fit in the ecosystem?
As a semiconductor firm, MediaTek is positioned to act as key enabler in the ecosystem of IoT, because we provide the technology building blocks for the “things” within the IoT. And within the embedded device space, connectivity and network processing-related functions are increasingly being deployed combined with embedded processors in applications beyond mobile phones, like combining wireless connectivity chipsets with integrated Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. Say for instance, MediaTek earlier this year globally added to its smart homes portfolio, the MT7697 – that supports Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and provides the highest integration among comparable SoCs, combining and optimizing DB WiFi, BLE, CM4 and RAM.

Q. Can you give us a brief about the IoT solutions you have for various industry verticals?

MediaTek is already quite actively involved in three categories; M2M, Wearables and Connected Homes, in India.

M2M: For M2M devices, we have modules from our partners based on solutions like the MT2503, which integrates functionality even further as GPS is now embedded inside the System on Chip (SoC). The processor will help power the next range of IoT and wearable devices and in comparison to other processors, this has a slim design.

Wearables: Wearables category is seeing a big jump in growth, and MediaTek is ready to tap into this booming market with a range of its wearable solutions for fitness tracker, BT notification watch, calling watch, fashion watch and GPS tracker watch.

Some of the recent key wearable processors include the MT2502, MT2503 and MT2601. The MT2502 is one of the world’s smallest commercial System-on-Chip (SOC) for Wearables. This SOC works with MediaTek’s energy efficient Wi-Fi and GNSS companion chipsets also. This means it is now easier to create devices that connect to other smart devices or directly to cloud applications and services. Recently, MediaTek tied up with Intex to power its newly launched range of wearable devices. Of those, the upcoming iRist Pro is powered by the MT2502, providing upgraded features like the water resistant build, and support for Bluetooth 4.0, and compatibility with Android 4.4 & above.

Further, the MT2601 SoC for wearable devices is based on Google’s Android Wear software. By enabling Android Wear on MT2601, MediaTek is offering a comprehensive platform solution for device makers to implement their own hardware and software, and introducing a multitude of possibilities in Android Wear devices for the fast-growing consumer class globally.

Connected Homes: MediaTek offers various solutions to cater to this category, like the MT7688, MT7681, MT7687 and MT7697. The MT7687 and MT7697 are the latest additions to the growing range of platforms under this category and are based on ARM Cortex-M4 architecture, and can be used for the creation of high-performance, low-powered connected appliances, home and office automation devices, smart gadgets, and IoT bridges. Additionally, the MT7688 and MT7681 are designed for easy embedding into small and simple home appliances such as smart lighting, door locks and plugs, and seeing a positive market response.

Q. Also, do you have some users, globally as well as in India, who have deployed your solutions or in the pipeline of deployment?
We are currently working with organizations both in Private and Government domain in leveraging IoT led solutions for their growth initiatives. It is important to note that the solution deployment is not limited to mobile alone. It encompasses the overall technology landscape. We are also very strong in home automation space, healthcare and medical. Based on MediaTek solutions, various devices for AMR (Automatic Meter Readers), POS (Point of Sale), and VTS (Vehicle Tracker Solution) have already been deployed globally as well as in India market. There is growing demand for these solutions in this segment.

Q. Wearables did not take off as was anticipated. Where do you see the industry missed the bus?
We don’t think the bus is missed yet. Delayed, perhaps. Wearables segment has seen some of the coolest innovations of the last few years, and is now a booming consumer market. There’s been a flood of wearable personal health tracking products that promise to improve overall health by monitoring activity, exercise, sleep, and heart rate. The sudden interest in wearables has resulted in intense competition, rapidly making this market crowded and fragmented, while waiting for a dominant design to take hold. And that’s where confusion lies for the consumer.  Several aspects of the wearable devices – from the underlying physics to the end-user experience – play a crucial role in driving consumer adoption and acceptance. There are many aspects of the Wearable technology which are still undergoing modifications like better accuracy in sensor technology, increased intelligence and battery life, user centric design etc. which will eventually result in adding value to a consumer’s direct personal experience.

Q. Where do you see government as a customer and how the Indian government is looking at this?
India is a very diverse country with a vast population, having its own set of issues which pose a hurdle in the government’s ambitious plans. Say for instance, regarding the Smart City project; it is a great idea and is definitely going to convert into something concrete, but the results will take some time considering the scale of investments, planning and execution this project requires to be successful. In order to meet the desired deadline, clearances need to be issued at the earliest. Secondly, due to the advancements in technology, the industry is undergoing constant changes with newer technologies coming into the foray and hence the government needs to be on top of the game if they want to succeed.

The story was first published in M2MCafe

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Hybrid IT Infrastructure Is The Key To Future Businesses: Girish Sharma, Assistant General Manager, Netmagic Solutions

Girish Sharma – Netmagic

Hybrid-IT-Infrastructure-Is-The-Key-To-Future-Businesses:-Girish-Sharma,-Assistant-General-Manager,-Netmagic-SolutionsFor the next five years, most organizations will use hybrid IT infrastructure – data center colocation, managed services and cloud – along with in-house systems

The need for IT to be more agile to support the growing business needs in a highly connected environment and at the same time keeping a tab on costs is prompting many CIOs to explore new ways to configure their IT infrastructure. This is giving rise to a new (old) breed of hybrid IT infrastructure enabling CIOs to integrate their existing legacy systems with new and innovative options of utilizing IT to deliver the WOW experience to their customers.

A recent survey of 550 IT leaders (CIOs, IT directors, vice president IT, senior IT managers) done by Vanson Bourne, a research-based technology marketing consultancy, revealed that for at least the next five years, most organizations will use a hybrid mix of outsourced services – data center colocation, managed services and cloud – along with in-house systems.

But what exactly is a hybrid IT infrastructure? Put simply, hybrid IT is an infrastructure option that includes an internal IT set up complemented with an external option (data center hosting, colocation and cloud). Having a hybrid IT infrastructure is advantageous as it enables organizations to consolidate, unify and scale up resources, thereby, enhancing their functionality to create highly responsive and adaptive IT infrastructures.

Hybrid IT should not be confused with hybrid cloud. A hybrid cloud (private + public) is a subset of the bigger hybrid IT strategy.

Hybrid IT Enhance Agility
CIOs and their teams are always under pressure, as business demands IT infrastructures that support innovation and also provide speed to market. And all this with no incremental costs. These constant demands to innovate and speedup time to market are forcing many IT departments to rethink the way technologies are being used. Most IT departments today are evaluating ways to leverage their current infrastructures along with new options of deploying technologies but at the same time keeping control over certain processes and systems. In short – optimizing the IT infrastructure to meet growing business needs.

Adopting a hybrid IT approach enables organizations to have a customized infrastructure that suits their specific needs and can be further customized as per the changing market and business environment. A hybrid IT infrastructure goes a long way in providing a flexible, scalable and a high performance driven technology environment that supports current and future business demands. Thus, a technology refresh or obsolescence (in future) is no longer a key concern and the IT department can focus on more strategic initiatives.

Hybrid IT enables business enterprises to: Run the business – Outsource hosting, security, server virtualization, etc resulting in optimizing key operations and lowering the associated costs. The internal IT departments can focus on innovating new ways to drive strategic initiatives; and grow the business – Deciding on what processes/workloads need to move to a hosted environment and what needs to kept on-premise, developing and deploying new applications. This helps organizations to speedup time to market, accelerating delivery cycles and giving way to innovations to deliver new products and services.

Business Priorities
Business needs of organizations will determine the optimal mix of services they require. Every company needs to identify the business priorities and metrics that are key to succeeding and then map these to the IT imperatives needed to drive these objectives.

To determine the right mix of IT infrastructure for supporting the business needs one first need to analyze these needs against several parameters including risk and security, OpEx vis-a-vis CapEx and business agility. This is very much like a game of blocks where according to one need(s) one can build the blocks to form a ship or an airplane or a bus.

Mitigating risk and maximizing agility are the likely reasons why many CIOs are opting for colocation for their mission critical applications. Colocation helps them to reduce disruption to business applications and maintain control over them. Colocation is essentially moving the existing applications and servers to a third party data center that assures you of a highly reliable and robust infrastructure and guaranteed uptime built in to the service level agreements (SLAs).

A good example for colocation is the financial sector – data center colocation in this case ensures security of mission critical applications carrying proprietary information. These firms may use cloud for other functions like creating development and test environments or running proof-of-concept tests of big data analysis algorithms.

Most companies use on-demand and pay as you use model for unpredictable spikes in business when it becomes necessary to scale up the infrastructure on a fly. Having dedicated infrastructure and managed services for workloads that are more predictable and can be planned for is more economical.

Business Case
Generating Revenue Streams
IT is not just the underlying infrastructure for a business enterprise; it enables business processes. Enterprises need flexible and scalable IT infrastructures that can flex and bend with them. Outsourcing thus becomes an advantage, whether it is managed hosting for transaction-intensive businesses, cloud services for workloads or application production and testing or entire platforms.

Increasing Business Agility
Managed services including cloud, provided by external service providers enable business enterprises to adapt and become responsive to a changing business environment. Scaling up during business spikes, scaling down when not required, adding services for business expansion and growth and allowing businesses to focus on their core competencies brings in the much desired agility in a competitive marketplace.

An external service provider not only provides the desired solutions but also expert advice on achieving an optimal hybrid IT mix for the company.

Reducing Capital Expenditure (CapEx)IT
Opting for colocation or a managed hosting model helps companies to do away with CapEx associated with building a state of the art data center with world-class energy and cooling facilities. These savings can be put to more strategic use for growing and expanding the business.

Adhering To Security And Compliance
The financial services and the pharma sector have to comply with mandatory regulatory and compliance guidelines. Managed hosting services providers of today provide strong multi-level technology, policies, and procedures to protect their customers’ businesses, systems and data.

Future Is Hybrid IT
Key to success of a hybrid IT strategy is an organization’s ability to integrate outsourced and in-house IT services to ensure smooth delivery of business capabilities to its customers. The current opinion is that this year will see an increasing trend towards data center colocation as the dominant delivery model as business organizations move to outsourced services while still retaining control over their IT infrastructure. Colocation is the first step towards their journey to a hybrid cloud.

IT will play a main role in increasing performance in the near future, hence IT leaders are finding ways to reduce costs and increase scalability, agility and flexibility coupled with better service and security. The time for Hybrid IT has finally arrived and IT decision makers now need to adopt this strategy to have an edge vis-a-vis others.

Girish Sharma, assistant general manager, Netmagic Solutions

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Leveraging Data Center Interconnect To Address Future Internet Demand: Ryan Perera, Country Manager, Ciena India

Ryan Perera – Ciena
Leveraging-Data-Center-Interconnect-To-Address-Future-Demands:-Ryan-Perera,-Country-Manager,-Ciena-India
Ryan Perera, country manager, Ciena India

India has emerged as the third largest Internet market in the world thanks to the phenomenal growth of smartphones and mobile app adoption. Increasing popularity of over-the-top services, such as messaging apps, online gaming, and video streaming have further led to explosion of Internet content in the country.

Today, India boasts of having the largest user base of Twitter and the second largest user base of Facebook. Data from KPCB further says that India has more than 70 million You Tube users. With the ongoing expansion of 3G and rollout of 4G networks, Internet consumption is only going to increase.

Couple this with the aggressive migration of the enterprise segment to cloud-based services, and emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT), it is easy to see that the bandwidth demand is only going to intensify. Further, data consumers inherently expect the content to be delivered instantaneously with high quality and from anywhere, anytime and on any device.

These activities will demand highly scalable, secure, and reliable data centers to hot and serve accessed content and applications. In an effort to enhance the customer’s end-user experience by cutting down latency and localizing content delivery, service providers are forced to open more and more data centers in metro areas closer to end users.

India is following the global trend of having data centers closer to the customer to decrease latency and improve the user’s experience. So, it is not surprising that data center providers are beginning to deploy data centers in country. A case in point is Microsoft, which has recently brought online three cloud data centers in India to improve performance of Azure services for its business customers in the country. Amazon Web Services has also recently announced plans to build cloud data centers in India this year.

Indian data centers are undergoing a major transformation to support a paradigm shift in traffic patterns, bandwidth increases and proliferation of apps. Buoyed by positive sentiments in the economy and driven by government initiatives like Digital India and Smart Cities, the Indian data center infrastructure market, comprising server, storage, and networking equipment, was worth $2 billion in 2015, according to a recent Gartner report.

These data centers need to be interconnected in order to provide seamless scalability, reliability and to host content closer to the user while increasing application performance. Data Center Interconnect (DCI) has emerged as a key factor in ensuring successful delivery of content. To put it simply, if data centers are not connected, they cannot provide ubiquitous application services to end-customers.

However, there is a strong need to modernize DCI so the providers are able to efficiently provide real-time content with minimum latency to the end consumer. As well, the network that interconnects user-to-content and content-to-content ultimately dictates the overall user experience.

Innovative Solutions To Overcome Interconnect Challenges
Unless modernized, the obsolete DCI solutions can hold back the data center providers with potentially negative consequences. Currently data center operators face a number of challenges, such as access to fiber plant and route diversity, limited space, limited power availability, security issues and increasing cost.

Fortunately advancements in technology bring huge advantage to the data center providers to effectively address these challenges:

Distance: Latency is dependent on the distance between the two data centers. Data centers must have a connection with the lowest possible latency to maintain an acceptable user experience. Technology breakthroughs in Digital Signal Processing (DSP) empowers networking equipment providers to introduce packet-optical platforms capable of compensating for various fiber impairments. It lets large data flows to be carried over several kilometers over different fiber types, without compromising speed or performance.

Capacity: The networking equipment connecting the data center must be capable of providing reliable, high-capacity connections that is scalable as the requirement increases. Coherent optics has emerged as technology of choice of modern service providers looking to scale connectivity into the gigabits and even terabits level as demanded by many data centers.

Security: Information stored in data centers is usually business-critical and confidential. Data center providers need to take extra measures to ensure reliability and security of the information. While disk encryption has been deployed by the service providers for many years now, businesses are now insisting on in-flight encryption for enhanced data protection from the time data leaves one data center to the time it reaches another.

Operations: An efficient interconnection between two data centers has to be rapid and reliable. The manual network operations are generally slow and error-prone. Today’s data centers need to be dynamic in nature and should be geared to address continuously changing and often, unpredictable requirements. Technology advancements allow automation of operational tasks through Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and associated applications, which allow end-users to create custom applications to address day-to-day operation requirements without any intervention.

Cost: Even as adoption of new interconnect technology is a must for data center providers; they need to ensure that network costs don’t increase exponentially and that they remain financially viable. Technical advancements enable data centers to reduce cost at several levels. Automation enables data centers operators to bring down their operational cost. Agile and efficient scalability further leads to a drop in the CAPEX/OPEX for the data center operators.

The Indian market is fast adopting global culture where end consumer expects access to content anywhere, anytime, and with high quality. This can be made possible only with efficient data center networks, which are scalable, secure, reliable and easier to manage. As the demand for content increases the Indian data center operators would do well to adopt new technological approaches to meet their current and future DCI requirements, which will help them to reduce operating costs, enhance agility and flexibility.

Ryan Perera, country manager, Ciena India

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