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Archive for July, 2007

Put on Mute : The Next person

Posted by tggokul on July 31, 2007

I just figured out what is the most important application I need in my day today life. Putting another person on mute.

Check this out. You are on a conference call ( through a conference bridge). It is a very important call. This is a make or break deal. You and your subordinates are in the bridge taking the call from different locations. You have just about sealed the deal when your subordinate/colleague starts ranting about stuff that you know for a certain fact is going to make things go south. You want to yell at him to stop. But there is no way. He goes ahead and completes saying what he had to say and you are screwed.

How many of you face these problems on a day today basis? I know I do. Unwanted information being divulged out in conference calls. Wouldn’t it be great that by a press of a DTMF you can mute the guy? There are a few challenges here. First thing would be how do you know which caller in the entire bridge to mute, as in what is the identification of each of these people in the conversation.

Now, this surely can’t be done in a TDM world and SHOULD be possible in an IP environment. Is there any mechanism in any of the signalling protocols ( could be SIP/SCCP or anything) to make an endpoint be just in the ‘recv’ mode and not in the ‘send-recv’ mode. Can 3pcc have this kind of control?

As said before, if at all this can be done, it has to be IP. But trust me, I will buy the solution just to have this feature 🙂 Too many goons saying too many things in conference calls is getting on my nerves!!!

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Posted in Voice 2.0, VoIP/IMS | 4 Comments »

Number Portability

Posted by tggokul on July 30, 2007

Aswath’s take on number portability is a definite read. As he has rightly pointed out, the question is who should own the number. The subscriber or the telephone company. The latter owning the number would lead to problems as in the typical case of SunRocket.

But the problem is no service provider in his right mind would give it to the subscriber. That is against the very nature of the Telco company we have come to see. It is quite a long way for that to happen and even then I don’t think the Telcos that exist today would take a step in this direction. Upstarts like ‘Google Telecom’ ( yup, I am one of those who believe sooner or later they will enter the Service provider market in a big way) would probably be the first to do this and force the hands of the other telcos.

Speaking from a Technology perspective, I still have not seen the ENUM movement garnering enough support for this to happen. There needs to be a lot of traction and collaboration in this regards for this to become mainstream.

Posted in VoIP/IMS | 2 Comments »

Pulver’s challenge

Posted by tggokul on July 27, 2007

I am late to this news, but Pulver’s challenge to companies to innovate has been making circles for sometime now. His essential question was where are the innovative Voice Services?

And to be honest from all the VAS companies that are cropping up dime a dozen in India, I don’t see even one of them providing an answer to his question. Buzzworks who presented in Proto.in came a little close to it. Not a great innovation but a great utility. I have been meaning to write about them, but have been really caught up in other work

Hopefully I should get some time to write about it this weekend. I plan to evaluate their business model, where they can possibly make revenues and importantly the legality in India. ( It was Buzzworks that made me raise a question before on 3pcc legality)

Posted in PROTO, Voice 2.0 | Leave a Comment »

Proto : Day 2 , A summary

Posted by tggokul on July 22, 2007

Whew, what a day. It was so refreshing to see so many people trying to  innovate ( and not exactly just in web 2.0 and mobile) and it kind of inspires you and make you hopeful that an entrepreneurial India is really not too far away.

Now for the summaries of these companies presentation. This time around I don’t plan to review each of the companies, since some of them were completely outside the realm of my interest and expertise.

The company that got my attention in the Development Plaform group was BriteSoft Solutions. They are based out of Malaysia and they talked about their rapid Application development tool that cuts doen development time by a huge margin and also enables anybody to develop applications. Now to be fair to them, I am a cynic when it comes to Rapid Application environment since I have seen a whole lot of these who over-sell but under-achieve. It is likely that BriteSoft might be different, but then I got to see it to believe it. I honestly feel Rapid Application development software gets you only so much. Would be more than happy to be proved wrong. It wouldn’t hurt if I can be helped to reduce development work 🙂

Enterprise segment in Proto had some few interesting companies like TISS,AuthMe, Multimedia Display Technologies. Both TISS and Authme had a security play in their own ways. TISS provides a USB based security cover for the transactions carried out on your laptop whereas Authme provides a session based security solution. For me, the latter is a huge challenge because most of these solutions fail when it comes to scalability and heavy load. And I probably might be wrong on this one. But Authme has a very close resemblance to openID. Did anybody else sense that?

Multimedia Display Technologies deal with RFIDs and they have patented technology that reduces the cost of the solution by nearly one hundredth of a cost. If it is for real, I think it is just a matter of time before RFID becomes mainstream. Actually to be honest I thought it was going to get mainstream even earlier when Microsoft decided to venture into it. Cost was a major deterrent and if Multimedia Display Technologies can address that, it is the best of times for RFID.

Next were the Internet.Web 2.0 companies. To be honest, I attended this session with a pre-conceived notion that it was just going to be the cliched social networking stuff but was pleasantly surprised. The theme of Proto this time around revolved a lot around search and more search ( either using web or in the mobile space). Be in Inasra Technologies which ‘searches’ and gives you the best accomodation or Pennywise Solutions that “searches” and acts as your neighbourhood guide ( through their product Tolmolbol) or Routeguru which in its own way acts as a direction provider. Routeguru solves a very real problem. Something I faced last week. I was in Delhi and had to get somewhere. Now I am not fluent in Hindi and it was a big pain trying to explain to the Taxi driver whom I engaged in the airport to get me to the place I wanted to. He did not know the place, and he had to stop every so often to get further directions. Had I used Routeguru’s guide I probably would have known the well known landmarks and I could have told the driver. I am surely going to sign up for the Beta release and see how it goes.

Another company in the internet splace was Minekey. Their product is supposed to make content discovery on blogs and websites way easier and I plan to play around with their widget and see how it works. Now this blog does not allow me to place custom widgets so I probably would need to use my other blog. Genie Interactive Pvt Ltd presented their Voice Mail as an email solution. With the risk of being judgmental, I goto say there was nothing innovative here. Voice Mail has evolved so much in the last two or three years. Enterprise solutions like Cisco Unity addresses more problems and companies like spinvox have been offering this for ages ( And from what I have heard Spinvox was not doing too well on this either?)

Next was the mobile space. Rarefind Engineering Innovations promises to deliver content across mobile phones in such a way that the end user mobile phone does not have to worry too much about the content format, size etc. Now this is where I kind of got confused. In the demo, one guy sent a document to another. When he did this all he specified was the phone number he was sending the document too. Who does the decision making that the user has a specific phone make and so he would have to receive the content in that specific format. Hopefully the guys would read this and clear this.

And then there was BuzzWorks. I am going to discuss this in a later post because I have lot of thoughts on this one. ( Incidentally it was this company that was the reason behind by earlier post).

There were presentations from companies belonging to entirely disparate verticals clubbed under ‘New Frontiers’. Thinkworks with their creative Clay Animated movies, Lucid Software with expertise in Non Destructive Testing and Hyper Analytix whose focus area being Semiconductor Design Automation kind of made us realize that there were other areas were innovation was alive and kicking.

That kind of broadly summarizes most of the presentations. As for the actual event itself, it was way better than the previous edition. The presentations were crisp, more professional and to the point. Good job presenters and the mentors who help keep it that way. Other than a couple of presentations that did not have a demo, most of them flaunted their wares and thus kept the powerpoints to the minimal.

The real heroes though were the organizers. Awesome stuff dudes. It was nothing short of spectacular. Hoping for more of these events across the country. Vijay, Kiruba , Amit and team, take a bow.

Posted in PROTO | 5 Comments »

Question on legality of 3pcc VoIP call in India

Posted by tggokul on July 22, 2007

I have a question which hopefully somebody can answer.

Terminating a VoIP call in TDM is illegal in India ( if you don’t have the license to do it). Question is does this hold good for a 3pcc? ( Third party call control) as well.  I will discuss sometime later this day ( when I write the summary for Proto Day 2) the reason why this cropped up.

Basically, let’s say that I have a Soft PBX making calls to two mobile endpoints and then connecting them ( A typical 3pcc call). Is this legal in India? The reasoning behind banning the VoIP termination on TDM was that the existing licensed vendors were loosing out which would make sense in this case as well. So is there a legal section that bans this as well?

Anybody with views on this?

Posted in Voice 2.0, VoIP/IMS | 7 Comments »

Proto : List of Companies Presenting

Posted by tggokul on July 22, 2007

Here are the companies presenting at Proto, July Edition

Development Platform
1) Pramati Technologies
2) Britesoft Solutions (M) Sdn. Bhd
3) Tekriti Software Private Limited

Enterprise
4) TISS MSC SDN BHD
5) AuthMe
6) Multimedia Display Technologies Sdn. Bhd.
7) Altrion Technologies Private Limited

Internet/Web 2.0
8 ) Inasra Technologies
9) Pennywise Solutions Private Limited
10) Tyroo Media Pvt. Ltd
11) Skilworth Technologies Pvt. Ltd.
12) RouteGuru
13) Minekey
14) Genie Interactive Pvt. Ltd.

Mobile
15) Rarefind Engineering Innovations Pvt. Ltd
16) Wifin Technologies
17) Aumega Networks
18) Ziva Software
19) BuzzWorks

New Frontier
20) Thinxworks
21) Lucid Software
22) Hyperanalytix

Posted in PROTO | 1 Comment »

Proto : First Day Update

Posted by tggokul on July 21, 2007

Am back from Proto.in and first reactions, it is waaaayyy better than the previous edition. Good job guys. They are still some more things you can iron out, but you guys are awesome hosts.

As mentioned before, I was in the technology track ( attended one Business Track as well) and though not a whole lot of stuff on Telecom, there were some interesting presentations as well.

It started off with Rajiv Mangla talking about Rich Internet Applications using Flex and Adob’es product AIR. There were a couple of demos which used Adobe’s solution and it is very evident that Adobe has its eyes ( but then, who isn’t) on the latest craze Web 2.0/Social Networking and the real buzz meshups. The products were Fine Tune ( helps sharing playlists across a social network), Sales Builder. Adobe also has a solution for the handheld devices, Flashlite and a demo using this was shown as well (well, not exactly a demo since the wireless connection was on and off). Good stuff and you can know more about this at their website.

The other interesting news for entrepreurs interested in using Adobe’s solution is Adobe Investments which shall invest in these kind of ventures. You can email india-incubation@adobe.com for further information.

The Product Management Principles session was handled by Siddhardha Govindaraj of Silverstripe Software. It included risks which startups faced and the corrective measures that needs to be taken. Though some of those principles are known to most, there is nothing wrong in re-iterating these and Sidhardha did a good job with that.

Next followed Telecom related presentations. The first was by Madhavan of Servion Global Solutions ( Disclaimer * : I work for them). His presentation broadly outlined the Emerging Technolgies that enable communications in the Enterprise world. And when you talk Next Gen applications, you need to talk Presence and eventually the enabler SIP and that he DID touch upon that. 

Servion is one of the leaders in Call Center Technology and Madhavan gave some insight as to how for better customer service the Enterprise needs to become the Contact Center and how the currently trends seem to suggest this movement. So the contact center as we know it would cease to exist and the enterprise would be doing it. As he famously puts it ‘Contact Center is Dead. Long live the Contact Center’.

Next wa Sanjay Swami from mChek talking about the opportunities in the mobile space. Got to give it to the man. He did not sugar coat the reality. It is one tough segment and he said the risks were enormous. There are lot of avenues for entrepreurship but the risks are quite high as well. Topmost in that list would be the fact that Telecom providers hold the key to your success and knowing the plight of most Telecom startups in the country, it is fair to say that they are tough nuts to crack. He stressed on IP. ( Incidentally both Madhavan and Sanjay emphasized on IP. Madhavan was talking about Internet Protocol and Sanjay was talking about Intellectual Property 🙂 )

As I mentioned above, I attended only one Business Session and it was about effective PR presented by Rohit Agarwal of Techtribe. Alright, I was not a big fan of marketing but let me tell you, Rohit made a lot of sense and my position has slightly shifted. I am now not a fan of ‘dumb’ marketing. But there are very smart agencies which do the PR activities ( I can think of Andy in the VoIP space who runs a very successful PR agency) whose help you would need to succeed in this business. I had a good chat with Rohit after the presentation as well and he has some good stories to say and more I talk with him, more I buy into his theory that Google and Youtube are one in a million case and for the rest you need effective PR to get your message through. Btw he has a very interesting story as to how he left school to take up his first job. If you get a chance to meet him, get him to tell it. You need to hear it from him to be inspired.

So these were the sessions I managed to attend on Day one and I had to skip couple of other Technical presentations ( Atul Chitnis whom I really wanted to hear and Ganesh of Greylock Partners) due to other commitments. It would have been great had the presentations taken place in the scheduled time. Since they were running late by an hour, I had to skip them.

Overall the first day has been pretty eventful. Looking more of these on Day 2 when the real action starts. Twenty two companies will be presenting their pitch and the expectations are surely high. Be sure to check in here to see the list of the companies that will be presenting.

Posted in PROTO | Leave a Comment »

In Proto : Waiting for the Sessions

Posted by tggokul on July 21, 2007

And it is about to begin. As mentioned earlier there are going to be two tracks runinng parellely. One focussing on business and one on Technology and Trends. No prizes for guessing where I am sitting. In the technology sessions and as expected the turnout in Technology session is lesser than that in the Business session.

But hey, I can’t connect to the wireless in the Business conference room where as it is working like a charm in the Technology conference room. Technology rulez!!!! 🙂

Rajiv Mangla of Adobe is about to start his presentation on Rich Internet Applications using Flex/AIR and AJAX.

More later.

Posted in PROTO | 1 Comment »

Vodafone Germany goes for Ericsson

Posted by tggokul on July 18, 2007

Proving yet again that Europe is Ericsson’s stronghold ( atleast in the IMS domain), Vodafone Germany has opted to go with Ericsson for the entire IMS solution.

As part of this contact Ericsson would be offering Professional services as well which would include installation, integration, consultancy, testing and support. As the report points out Ericsson is the leader in the IMS market with 37 contracts and lot more trial installation.

Posted in VoIP/IMS | Leave a Comment »

IAMAI Conference in Chennai

Posted by tggokul on July 18, 2007

IAMAI (Internet and mobile Association of India) is organizing a conference on online retailing at ITC Park Sheraton,Chennai on 26th July. The broad agenda is to evaluate the current status of online retailing in India and avenues of growth in the coming years. If you are interested, I have pasted the agenda below. They have roped in quite a lot for entrepreneurs for this event. Must be interesting.

AGENDA

09:00– 09:30 hrs Registration
09:30-09:40 Opening Remarks :Murugavel Janakiraman, Chairman IAMAI & CEO, Bhartamatrimony Group
09:40-12:00 hrs Panel Discussion I: Online Retail – The Future in Indian Scenario
What are the facilitators and debilitators in India?
Are there global models to follow?
How will the growing offline organized retail impact the online retail?
Is online retailing just another channel or is it a different way of doing business?

09:40-09:50 hrs Session Moderator :Dinesh Wadhawan, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Times Internet*

09:50-11:20 hrs Panelist
C K Ranganathan, Chairman, Cavin Kare*
Bhaskar Bhat, Managing Director, Titan Industries*
Sankorshan Banerjee, Chief Executive Officer, Future Bazaar*
Bijou Kurien, President & Chief Executive – Lifestyle & Luxury, Reliance Retail*
V Sivaramakrishnan, President – Portals, Sify Ltd
R Subramaniam, Chief Executive Officer, Subhiksha Trading Service*
Dinesh Agarwal, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Indiamart Intermesh*
G Sankar, Managing Director, LifeStyle*
Satya Prabhakar, Founder & CEO, Sulekha

11:20–11:40 hrs Panel Discussion
11:40-11:55 hrs Q&A Session conducted by Session Moderator
11:55-12:00 hrs Concluding Remarks
12:00-12:15 hrs Tea/Coffee Break

12:15-14:05 hrs Panel Discussion II: Technology & Beyond – Making the Right Choice and Leveraging the Same

How important is Technology?
Build, Buy or Partner?
Customer Acquisition, Servicing and Retention – Role of Technology?
Knowing what technology works for you?
Is good user experience available using off – the – shelf technologies or is this something that still needs to be customized for each platform despite years of evolution of the Internet?
Does Technology help in reducing intermediary and offering better prices?
How to make online shopping an experience beyond ease?
How do you leverage your knowledge about your customers?
How do you leverage your customer’s knowledge about you?

12:15-12:25 hrs Session Moderator :K Vaitheeswaran, Chief Operating Officer, India Plaza

12:25-13:25 hrs Panelist
Sun Microsystems*
Rajesh Nahar, Co-founder & Vice President, Chennai Bazaar
Chetan Uberoy, Chief Technology Officer, Makemytrip.com
SAS Nominee
Tarun Bangari, Akamai Technologies*

13:25–13:45 hrs Panel Discussion
13:45-14:00 hrs Q&A Session conducted by Session Moderator
14:00-14:05 hrs Concluding Remarks
14:05-14:50 hrs Lunch
14:50-16:40 hrs Panel Discussion III: Online Payments – Costs and Benefits of Alternative Payment Methods

How does adoption of various payment methods help increase bottom-line?
Which new forms of e-payments are really worth while to implement and which may be better left in the box?
Are the low margin online payment business models viable given the distribution costs and the loss ratios? If so, what are high margin revenue streams?
Is there a resistance among merchants to adopt new payment methods?
How can one overcome the challenges faced in Online Payment mechanism?
In digital payments is it better to be Safe than Sorry?

14:50-15:00 hrs Session Moderator :Suresh Rangarajan, President, TimesofMoney*
15:00-16:00 hrs Panelist
Vishwas Patel, Chief Executive Officer, Avenues India*
Navin Surya, Executive Director, ITZ Cash Card
Aditya Menon, Chief Information & Technology Officer, Obopay Mobile
Ajay Adisheshan, Chief Executive Officer, Paymate
Rajib Saha, President & Chief Executive Officer, Indepay*
Sourabh Jain, Chief Executive Officer, Jigrahak*

16:00–16:20 hrs Panel Discussion
16:20-16:35 hrs Q&A Session conducted by Session Moderator
16:35-16:40 hrs Concluding Remarks
16:40-16:55 hrs Tea/Coffee Break
16:55-18:45 hrs Panel Discussion IV: Supply Chain Management – Ground Realities

Why do online stores have limited merchandise?
How do you deliver where your store is seen?
Do online retailers face Sales Tax issues similar to Multicity Offline retailers or are they any different? And what it takes to overcome same?
How do you ensure your goods reach in same condition as they are being shown on the website?
How do online retailers manage logistics in a country with underdeveloped infrastructure? What are the unique challenges which do not exist in developed economies?

16:55-17:05 hrs Session Moderator :Sanjay Aggarwal, General Manager (Operations), IRCTC*

17:05-18:05 hrs Panelist
Rehan Yar Khan, Founder, Flora 2000*
Harish Bahl, Founder & CEO, Smile Interactive Technologies Group*
Pawan Gadia, Vice President, Ferns n Petals*
Uday Sondhi, Vice President, Rediff.com*
Hemu Ramaiah, Managing Director, Landmark E-Tail*
Subhanker Sarker, Chief Operating Officer, Seventymm*

18:05–18:25 hrs Panel Discussion
18:25-18:40 hrs Q&A Session conducted by Session Moderator
18:40-18:45 hrs Concluding Remarks
18:45 hrs Onwards Cocktails

(*Confirmation Awaited)

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