Posts filed under 'Asia'
At the outset, we would like to wish a Very Happy New Year to our readers and Thank You for your continued patronage of CellStrat content. This is the first post of this year and starts with lot of hopes and aspirations for our readers and ourselves in the Year 2013.
As is customary each year, the year kicks off with the massive Consumer Electronics Show or CES in Las Vegas. We are glad to report from the ground there (well, just kidding) – we are hooked to the internet and getting minute by minute news feed from the ground so it is same as being there physically (almost).
Today was the first major day of CES. Some notable news from CES :
Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs opens the event with the “Born Mobile” mantra
Every year, either Bill Gates or Steve Balmer provide the opening keynote at CES but this year it was taken by Qualcomm CEO, a pre-dominantly mobile chip firm. This highlights the importance of Mobile to all things electronic now. With smarter devices and smarter everything, mobile chips are in almost everything we see in the future right from home appliances to mobile devices to industrial equipment, as well as most automotive assets like cars, trucks and containers.
Paul Jacobs explained his “Born Mobile” mantra today and there was a surprise when Steve Ballmer joined him on stage briefly – Paul said that even Microsoft has adopted the Born Mobile mantra. Paul launched Qaulcomm’s new Snapdragon 800 processors, which are the fastest mobile processors on earth as per him. These chips are about 75% faster than previous processors and can deliver HD video seamlessly as well as support Ultra HD television.
Sony launches new signature smartphones
Sony launched new Xperia Z Android smartphones, which have a five-inch screen, HD 1080p Reality Display and 13 megapixel camera. It is powered by a Qualcomm quad-core Snapdragon processor. What was unique is the new One Touch functionality that allows the device to wirelessly interact with other Sony devices such as speakers, headphones and TVs. Sony showcased a new Bravia TV which can display the phone content from the new smartphones if the phone is tapped to the TV remote.
Intel launches new smartphone chip family
Intel launched new chips for smartphones and tablets at CES today. Intel has been late to the mobile party and struggled againts ARM Holding and Qualcomm in this space. Now it is trying to get its mobile act together with an array of new smartphone and tablet chips.
The company’s new Atom processors which are in the next-gen category will be available in 2013 holiday period. The new chips assume Touch based interface as a key aspect of the functionality.
Samsung brings smartphone experience to it’s TVs
Samsung announced seamless integration between its smartphones and Smart TVs. The phone functionality of Touch and Speech recognition will be made available in Smart TVs. Samsung is probably the biggest success story of 2012 and has taken market share in almost all categories.
AT&T focuses on Digital Life and Project VIP
AT&T CEO Ralph de la Vega showcased the new Digital Life offering which falls in the Connected Devices or M2M category. This solution involves a Connected Home and Security apparatus and applications with remote management and monitoring of the Home by consumers and home owners. Glenn Lurie, head of AT&T’s Connected Devices business said, that less than 20% of US homes have security and less than 1% homes have home automation.
AT&T is pioneering the M2M space and a global leader in evolving and maturing M2M business models around Home and Security.
AT&T also announced APIs for developers to provide advanced call management applications – these probably use the IMS or IP Multimedia Subsystem interface to the wireless network.
AT&T also announced its intentions to deploy its new LTE network to 300 million people by end-2014. Currently, AT&T’s LTE network reaches 170 million people in USA which places it in second ranking behind Verizon in LTE deployments.
Project VIP (Velocity IP) is AT&T’s new $14 billion investment initiative to focus on LTE, Connected Home and other emerging areas.
Other news at CES today included LG announcing special emphasis on NFC as a linking tech to link all its products and providing an ability to put all these devices on the Connected Grid for remote management and control, Nvidia launching the world’s fastest mobile processor (as per its claims at least) and NTT Docomo launching a new M2M platform for global service providers using Jasper Wireless platform.
If one were to summarize, this year’s main themes seem to be Smarter and Faster Mobile Chips, Connectedness, Smart Devices, Digital Television etc. Let’s see what the remaining days of CES offer. We are watching the news in excitement about the up and coming technologies at this event. To get full coverage on this event, visit the event website here.
January 8th, 2013
Today there is a post in the Wall Street Journal as to how the websites are tracking all user activities, right from location, personal profile, profession, hobbies, likes and dislikes.
Today’s internet is perhaps “too open”, where users information is freely available to retailers, analysts, marketers alike. While this may serve the purpose of “personalizing” offers and deals to consumers, it risks being labeled discriminatory if such information is used to offer different product pricing or search results to consumers. Not to mention the bigger risk of spammers and ID thieves catching hold of such information and launching malicious campaigns against consumers.
A WSJ investigation found that the office products retailer Staples is offering different prices on the same stapler to two different consumers who were just a few miles away.
Retailers are justified in offering different prices to different customers – this is what happens in stores too especially in different stores of the same chain. Retailers argue that local operating costs, real estate pricing, manpower costs and other logistics etc influence local pricing. In that sense, the online differential in pricing is no different than it’s offline cousin.
“But the idea of an unbiased, impersonal Internet is fast giving way to an online world that, in reality, is increasingly tailored and targeted. Websites are adopting techniques to glean information about visitors to their sites, in real time, and then deliver different versions of the Web to different people. Prices change, products get swapped out, wording is modified, and there is little way for the typical website user to spot it when it happens”, says the Journal.
WSJ said that many firms resorted to such price tactics, including Discover Financial, Rosetta Stone, Home Depot etc. Office Depot told WSJ team that they use customers browsing history and geolocation to offer tailored product offers and pricing for online shopping.
Technically, this is all legal, but the boundary line to ethical or discriminatory behaviour is not far. Eg certain racial groups may claim discrimination or local governments may cry foul. It seems that 76% of Americans are opposed to this kind of differential pricing.
But there are advantages too for differential pricing. Eg certain services like movie theatres offer senior citizen and student discounts.
The key takeaways are :
- the fundamental premise of internet being an unbiased and same-for-all internet is bring eroded now as personalization increases and website behave differently for different people. The INTERNET IS NO LONGER AN EQUALIZER.
- while differential pricing is normal and legal, it can raise ethical and discriminatory haggles across sections of the society. So retailers need to tread carefully.
What is CellStrat view : Retailers and web commerce firms need to abide by laws and be careful in offering personalized offers and pricing. Tailoring offers based on user information or their location has to be considered in view of the prevailing laws and user acceptance. Otherwise, the online commerce firms risk alienating the consumers who took to the internet to find an equal society, in the first place.
(Excerpted from WSJ article titled “Websites Vary Prices, Deals, Based on Users’ Information” dated 23 Dec 2012)
December 24th, 2012
(from our Bangalore desk)
I attended this conference in Bangalore earlier this week – it was most interesting with hundreds of company execs, entrepreneurs and thought leaders speaking about product innovation, development strategies and emerging technologies.
I will list some major themes I picked up at this conference:-
- In India, next decade belongs to Product development and these will have major impact on business and social empowerment.
- Hiring best practices and product quality differentiate successful organizations and individuals from all others.
- In the new world, individuals and professionals which take initiative and drive innovation will take their organizations to leadership positions. This applies to large and small firms alike. These individuals will be the ones in most demand going forward.
- Design and Image is crucial in the new world – this translates to User Experience and Engagement in all we do. Think Apple or Amazon.com
- The big opportunities are in Smartphones / tablets, Mobile, Cloud, Analytics, Big Data, Social – all usual suspects. These are all big enablers of new innovation and present opportunities for growth. At the same time, these technologies create a level playing field. As a result, larger firms now find that small startups can cause immense disruption in the former’s usual businesses – hence executives in the larger firms must think like entrepreneurs to create new opportunities and ensure customer delight via superb delivery and engagement.
- India has 900 million feature phones and only 10% of these are smartphones. So Mobile Apps and Enterprise Mobility offer incredible opportunity growing forward – this is true of western markets as well, as Enterprises there adopt mobile in a big way for all their applications. Mobile has truly gone from Mobile Also -> Mobile First – >Mobile Only strategy. Now, major new programs and initiatives in leading firms are planning to do a Mobile only strategy.
- Cloud Computing is the new way of doing almost everything in IT for end clients – IT investments are shifting to Cloud at an incredible space – so much so that most new projects or initiatives are looking at Cloud as a preferred solution over an in-house hosting strategy.
- Big Data is not a fad – with all the Social channels and frenetic transaction activity, Big Data is a problem which is growing in size everyday – as such, it offers major opportunities for solution providers and product developers to slice, dice and analyze, in order to achieve actionable intelligence and business decisioning.
- Open source technologies are now fully mainstream and driving major new development.
- Collaboration and leadership are key aspects in driving success. Most new innovation requires good collaboration and partnership skills as well as passion to succeed.
- Naveen Tewari, Founder and CEO of InMobi, said that the three critical factors for success for a startup are :
- Thing Big – you can do it
- Hire the best
- Focus on product quality. Good products sell themselves
- Naeem Zafar, Founder and CEO of Bitzer Mobile as well as more than a dozen startups earlier, said that for each CEO, the main responsibility is “Don’t run out of money”.
- IBM-mers Peter Coldicott (Chief Product Architect), Robert High (IBM Fellow in IBM Watson), and Daniel Yellin (Enterprise Mobility Chief Engineer) spoke about IBM’s Smarter cities program, Cloud and the new IBM super-computer Watson which is making waves.
- Sharad Sharma (ex-MD, Yahoo India), spoke about product entrepreneurs as transformers of the society.
- Deep Kalra, Founder and CEO of MakeMyTrip, spoke about his entrepreneurial journey and the Indian startup ecosystem.
The event is one power-packed event with almost 1300 delegates which included almost 150+ blue-chip speakers and thought leaders from India and abroad. The presence of so many Silicon Valley luminaries seems to indicate that action in Bangalore is accelerating and many westward folks are now looking east to this part of the world for next revolutions in tech and digital.
Kudos to Nasscom, Nasscom President Mr Som Mittal and all the dedicated NPC volunteers for putting together what we consider is a remarkable show.
For more updates from this event, click here.
November 12th, 2012
The year 2012 has seen an exponential increase in adoption of navigation into automotive platforms, with over 200,000 cars scheduled to come with built-in navigation systems in India in 2013.
MapmyIndia, India’s leader in digital maps, GPS navigation and location apps for consumers and enterprise, today announced that India’s top-selling car models now offer GPS navigation powered by MapmyIndia. The leading car models include Honda City, Tata Manza, Mahindra XUV 500, Mahindra Ssangyong Rexton, Ford Endeavour, BMW 7, 5 & 3 series, Jaguar-Land Rover Freelander 2, Fiat Linea and Renault Scala. MapmyIndia has upgraded its navigation solution to include the latest version 7.1 maps of India. The maps – India’s most comprehensive, exhaustive, detailed and updated map coverage – cover 7.1 million places of interest, 1.9 million road kilometers, 600,000 towns and villages, 4,751 cities with street-level details, 39 cities with house-level details and 36 cities with full 3D city models and includes best-in-class advanced and localized navigation and driver assistance features such as extended lane guidance, junction views, sign-posts, live traffic, city guides and rich points of interest, regional voice guidance and regional maps.
MapmyIndia’s maps are being aggressively adopted by Indian consumers and car manufacturers, with MapmyIndia occupying the dominant market leader position in automotive navigation. Top-selling car models have introduced MapmyIndia navigation as part of their offering, starting this festival season – such as the new Honda City sedan, the new Tata Manza entry-level sedan, the top-selling Mahindra XUV 500 SUV and the premium Mahindra Ssangyong Rexton SUV, the Ford Endeavour SUV, the BMW 7, 5 and 3 series luxury sedans, the Jaguar-Land Rover Freelander 2 Luxury SUV, the Fiat Linea sedan, the Renault Scala sedan, among others. MapmyIndia has already collaborated with all leading car manufacturers across India to offer MapmyIndia GPS navigation to their consumers, including BMW, Jaguar-Land Rover, Mercedes, Toyota, Honda, Volkswagen, Renault, Mitsubishi, GM, Ford, Tata, Mahindra and Maruti.
MapmyIndia’s own GPS navi-tainment systems, including Portable Navigators, CarPads and fitted in-dash systems, are the best selling navigation systems and MapmyIndia has sold over 140,000 such systems already through its network of over 1500+ car showrooms and car accessory shops across 100+ cities in India. MapmyIndia’s version 7.1 maps provide first- and best-in-class advanced navigation and driver assistance features with visual cues, such as:
- Extended lane guidance (telling the user which lane to get into prior to a turn or exit)
- Junction views (how the upcoming intersection looks in real-life)
- Sign-posts (which major landmarks, localities and cities lie in the direction of upcoming turns)
- Day-time based turn restrictions (based on time and day, whether the particular road is 2-way or one-way in a particular directions)
- Live traffic (what is the live congestion on roads in the city)
November 8th, 2012
Foursquare unveiled a new numbers-based ratings system for locations within the mobile app. When users look for locations to visit using the “Explore” feature, places are ranked on a 10-point scale, taking into account signals like tips, loyalty and popularity from over 25 million people worldwide. Instead of other sites like Yelp, where every place gets 3.5 stars, Foursquare comes up with its cores using the same Foursquare magic that powers Explore. And, with every check-in and Explore search, it’s scores will get smarter and better.
November 6th, 2012
Off the 71% of businesses that claim to use social media for customer service, 87.5% (and 62.1% of businesses overall) have realized a positive impact, according to October 2012 findings by Social Media Today, in cooperation with SAP and the Pivot Conference. About 3 in 10 of those companies using social for customer service claim a very positive impact, while only about 1 in 10 report no noticeable impact at all. However positive the returns, though, less than 1 in 5 handle 25% or more of customer service issues via social media.
October 23rd, 2012
Almost 1 in 4 gamers say they only play on mobile devices, which account for 59% of all game play, according to an NPD survey. “Many mobile gaming consumers have grown accustomed to gaming for free, making it essential to find the sweet spot for pricing that encourages purchasing by as many consumers as possible,” NPD Group analyst Liam Callahan says. Gamers on average said $3 was a good price for a purchase or an upgrade, according to NPD.
(via Smartbrief of Apps)
October 20th, 2012
An affluent global market of more than 40 million tablet owners is the target for Mojiva’s new mobile ad network. Mojiva Tab is “a specific ad network with dedicated resources and dedicated packaging,” said Mojiva CEO David Gwozdz. The idea is to take advantage of the wider mobile canvas afforded by tablet screens, compared with the tinier screens of smartphones.
(via MMA Smartbrief)
October 19th, 2012
The Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) market is predicted to reach $20.1 billion in 2014. Huge brands occupy this emerging space, including Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and Salesforce.com. Many newer startups enter the market each month, too. The recent trend is that more features and functions win the day, especially those with the ability to instantly provision resources for PaaS-built applications, such as elastic storage, compute, and database services.
October 19th, 2012
Microsoft’s Surface RT tablet is available for online pre-orders with a starting price of $499 with delivery expected on Oct. 26. The starting price includes a 32 GB tablet running Windows RT, a version specifically made for tablets powered by smartphone chips. Microsoft’s innovative thin Touch Cover keypad option adds another $119 to the price if purchased separately.
The Surface RT is unique in a few respects and represents a new strategy for the company. This is the first Microsoft-designed computer that the company is selling; something that Microsoft’s hardware partners were caught unaware of in advance. This edition of Windows 8, called Windows RT, also runs on ARM-based chips that typically power smartphones and consumer tablets. With Windows RT, as well as the Surface device that it designed, Microsoft hopes to slow down Apple’s iPad momentum, which currently has a majority share of the overall tablet market.
I agree that Surface RT will surely create some dent with it’s price in the overall tablet market (for people who feel more comfortable with MS products or are highly sensitive to prices in developing countries like India) which has been forecasted to hit a whooping 377M units by 2016. But, I also feel, it’s a dead miss from the word YES. Unit sales will be very disappointing considering non-inclusion of the cover (priced at $100 just to say tab costs just $499), the apps just aren’t there – stick with an ecosystem that has the apps you want (Android or iOS). At this price, they will be perceived as an “also-ran” and will not gain the momentum to substantially move people from capable and proven consumer tablet alternatives.
October 18th, 2012