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September 2016


    Wham-O Inc. invented the Hula Hoop in 1957 and within a year, it became a colossal craze. No kid could be seen without the deceptively simple hoop that was lightweight and inexpensive to make and purchase but a tad difficult to manufacture. Within two years, more than a 100 million units we sold and it became the product that all wannabe inventors wish they could emulate. Incidentally, many years later, the company repeated its success with the Frisbee.

    Over the years, there have been repeated revivals of the Hoop craze and moments when everybody had to have one. Off the top of my head, this list (very broadly) includes pogo sticks, bicycle tassles, yo-yo, et all. The Hula Hoop’s success has been so fascinating and enduring that it has even become an Olympic sport by being incorporated into gymnastics.

    Will the same happen to Pokémon Go? Fads come and go, but that’s what defines a fad. If the mania sticks around forever then it becomes, well, just a regular thing. Are cars a craze? They were a hundred years ago when barely anybody had one but now a car is just a commodity. The most recent craze to sweep much of the world is Pokémon Go, where people hunt down cyber characters in real world spaces. Its release saw an initial burst of frenzied excitement with crowds of zealous Pokémon hunters gathering to glare at their mobile phones and collect the cute but meaningless Pokémons.

    The initial launch was so overwhelming that computer servers were running at dangerous capacity levels. Nintendo’s stock went through the roof before dropping back down as investors began to fear that this would only be a short lived craze, as it probably will be. Although the craze has been popular with young children, Pokémon Go differs from the Hula Hoop because it mainly appeals to much “older” children in their twenties, and even, forties.

    But I think the novelty will soon wear off and Pokémon Go will be a relatively short-lived craze because these older kids will become bored and find the whole thing to be a bit embarrassing. Few months from now it will cease to exist. So what really makes a good craze? Just because it won’t last forever, we shouldn’t forget that Pokémon Go has been an amazingly successful craze. With its fusion of technology innovation and childhood nostalgia, it has brought people together, generating along the way a great deal of merriment, memories as well as moolah. Nintendo’s stock may well drift back downwards but they did succeed in building their bizarre Pokémon story and they could do it again.

    The Pokémon Go craze will surely phase out like the Harlem Shake and the Ice Bucket Challenge. It will not become an Olympic sport and Nintendo may never again repeat that success. Even Wham-O Inc., despite its enormous success with the Hula Hoop and Frisbee, has disappeared into anonymity after the death of its founding genius. But crazes come and go and, just like cold November rain, nothing lasts forever. It’s just that they make our lives much more enjoyable.

    September 28, 2016 0 comment
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    Since 2015, progressive telecom operators started shifting from merely planning and testing virtualized networks for managing network services to implementing them on a large scale. A number of challenges remained, however-ranging from increased competition to razor-thin average revenue per user.

    In this context, technologies such as software defined network (SDN) and networks functions virtualization (NFV) have come to the fore.

    Managed Cloud Services and NFV

    By deploying network virtualization with managed cloud services, operators are able to architect their cloud infrastructure. NFV platforms analyses the operator’s value added services infrastructure to determine their readiness for cloud computing and to identify services that can be transitioned to the cloud.

    Moreover, NFV ensures operators migrate seamlessly from a traditional environment to the cloud platform. In the process, they optimize existing applications for better performance and security when moving to the cloud platform.

    Once the network elements are migrated to the cloud, NFV creates a back-up with managed cloud services. They assist the operator in managing overall health and performance of their VAS environment. NFV providers offer active monitoring of these elements or VAS applications and manage the operator’s cloud.

    Industry’s take on NFV

    By 2016, it has been widely accepted in the industry that NFV exemplifies the evolution of network design and holds the key to improving service delivery. It also marks a significant transition from hardware-based networks to software-stipulated networks, giving rise to two different sets of school of thought. One school of thought believes that NFV gives operators a platform to redesign themselves, moving away from being an engineering-led, network focused organizations towards the data-centric businesses. The other school of thought believes that implementing NFV leads to a fundamental change in the way the networks are controlled, which necessitates the need for a completely different approach to network and employee management.

    While NFV has been anticipated to be an OPEX-saving move in the long run, operators will need to ration the cost of additional support to cover the initial implementation problems, plus spend on staff training to ensure that the workforce also makes a smooth transition from a physical to virtualized environment.

    However, there are some NFV systems that only utilize selected channels without having to replace the entire infrastructure to accommodate network utilization in the existing environment. Such platforms optimize managed services in the operator’s business and take advantage of unique floating license, based on TPS and issued across channels (like SMS, MMS and USSD), which offers tremendous flexibility for distribution across multiple operators in a hub.


    A recent study conducted showed a remarkable uptrend of network performance with NFV, going forward. The study pointed out that with the implementation of SDN and NFV technologies, operators will accrue the benefits of business agility to enable flexibility, scalability, automation, and on-demand services.

    September 27, 2016 0 comment
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    The newly launched Unified Payments Interface (UPI) is anticipated to make mobile payments much easier. But still there’s a lingering question: What changes will UPI bring to the mobile payments? The question becomes all the more important since it also makes use of the same IMPS (immediate payment service) platform that is being used by all existing mobile payment platforms. Let’s discuss it here.

    What is UPI (Unified Payments Interface)?

    UPI or unified payment interface is a payment architecture with a set of standard app APIs by the Reserve bank of India in order to facilitate the next-gen online immediate payments leveraging trends like increased smartphone adoption, increased app downloads and universal access to data and internet.

    How does UPI payment work?

    Any smartphone user having a savings or current account with a UPI-partnered bank can download the android app to make P2P (peer-to-peer) and P2M (peer-to-merchant) payments with the use of VPA (virtual payment address)

    All that needs to be done for making a UPI payment is – download the app, set the MPIN, create your VPA and link any bank account from the financial service provider that has partnered for the UPI service.

    Thus, in this case the customer does not need to disclose any sensitive information like bank account number or IFSC code for completing a financial transaction. It eliminates the requirement of entering one’s card details like number, CVV code, expiry date or OTP.

    The benefits of unified payment interface for the economy

    UPI is a big leap for the payment system in a growing economy like India, enabling the customers to transact without paper money and shelling out a number of benefits:

    1. UPI is anticipated to make the payments system completely inter-operable across all payment systems removing simplicity arbitrage by enabling one click two factor authentication.
    2. It will catalyze high volume, low cost payments, creating a new ecosystem that billers/billers may adopt in order to offer simpler UPI offering to the customers.
    3. UPI is expected to significantly benefit the banks as the service can be provided by the financial service provider to the merchant even with a basic smartphone. The need to PoS machine installation at the place of business is completely eliminated. Thus, it can reduce the merchant acquisition cost by providing a viable solution having long term benefits.
    4. Wider audience can be served by offering a ‘collect’ feature in turn improving the entry barrier for smaller businesses and startups.
    5. UPI, as an innovation in the mobile payment space will bring all the key stake holders including merchant, consumer, and banks or financial institutions on a common platform, creating an array of services still unheard in the global payment offering space.


    Unified payment interface is a big step in terms of achieving a cashless economy. The move arrives as a boost to an economy where the number of mobile wallet players and ecommerce sites is increasing. UPI will soon make e-commerce transactions easier alongside facilitating micropayments and person-to-person (P2P) payments.Thus, considering their simplicity, openness and convenience, UPI payments fit in well with the move to migrate towards a cashless and digitized economy.

    September 26, 2016 0 comment
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    According to Forrester research, 89 per cent of the telecom consumers are willing to switch service providers owing to a poor usage experience. With the increasing demands of the telecom customers, delivering the best customer experience strategy has become harder than it has ever been.

    New age telecom customers have gained increasing control over how they choose and interact with their telecom service provider. Owing to this, customer experience tools such as dynamic discounting have emerged to ensure seamless customer experience.

    What is dynamic discounting?

    In telecom, dynamic discounting solutions allow the operators to increase their average revenue per user (ARPU) along with their overall revenue by adopting dynamic pricing strategies.

    Dynamic discounting supports the enhancement of consumer experience management by entailing appropriate pricing for voice, SMS and data services that vary with change of utilization, location and time. The solution enables the telecom operators to strategically increase the voice, SMS and data consumption of subscribers. Alongside, it also enables the telecom operators to penetrate into the usage cycle of the consumer with specialized pricing and bonus algorithms.

    Core Objectives of Dynamic Discounting:

    1. Cost utilization

    Dynamic discounting significantly reduces subscriber churn and create long lasting subscriber loyalty. This solution gives operators the ability to price and promote their services dynamically based on cell load, location, time of day, subscriber type and subscriber activity. The solution will further optimize operator’s marketing costs by reducing the need for reactive churn prevention and win back efforts.

    1. Reduce Churn

    Dynamic discounting is supported by powerful sophisticated analytic tools that measure network capacity utilization and model price and consumer demand. It allows the operators to optimally define tariffs proportionate to the network load. By offering tariff rates that encourage higher usage during slow periods and by enabling differentiated pricing based on usage data, operators maximize revenues, whilst shifting traffic load to non-peak hours driving utilization of under loaded cells, thereby saving on capex and opex.

    1. Increase affordability of services

    Dynamic tariffs, as a result of dynamic discounting, will improve affordability of telecom services for the customers that lie in the base of pyramid segments. These are mostly those customers that belong to the target segment which conventionally uses the phone for outbound rather than inbound calls. With dynamic discounting solution the operators will also be able to experience reduced congestion at peak traffic times and improved service quality. Additionally, value-added-services can also be pushed under this to increase customer base.


    What role do flexibility and other features of dynamic discounting play for customer experience management?

    Dynamic discounting enables the telecom service providers to leverage their customer experience strategy as a catalyst of growth. Dynamic discounting solutions are designed in order to ensure a simple, transparent yet positive customer experience from the initial stage itself. The operators design effective try and buy telecom campaigns that link free trials with a sales conversion. The conversion relies majorly on the base of discounts or lower price variations on the basis of location, time and usage.   For example, an operator successfully carried out a data test campaign in order to allow people to experiment with their data usage and at the end of the billing cycle, they suggested the best plan for them on the basis of their usage pattern.

    For telecom consumers, it is quite simple to get registered for any service- voice, SMS or data. They receive regular broadcast messages, which clearly state the steps to subscribe to services and the discount applicable at a particular time in that network. This allows the subscriber to track their usage and even follow the pattern of discounts increase or decrease.


    While the strategic importance of positive customer experience is unquestioned in the telecommunications and cable industry these days, initiatives are often dominated by firefighting customers’ day-to-day frustrations and concerns – their “hassles”. But will this be enough to win tomorrow’s customers?

    We believe that telecom and cable companies need to go beyond reducing customer hassles by creating benefits from product usage and satisfying emotional needs. Operators who aim to win (with) tomorrow’s customers need to exploit all these elements.

    September 14, 2016 0 comment
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