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Archive for the ‘PROTO’ Category

Cool Event in Chennai

Proto.in : Yambi

Posted by tggokul on January 21, 2008

I had a very interesting conversation with Leonard, the founder of Mundial Communications and he helped me understand the problem they were trying to address through their ‘Yambi’ platform. He has left a comment here, which gives a fair idea about what they do. I hope to test their product and post reviews of the same.

Got to give it to the man who has come all the way from South Africa ( after missing quite a few of connection flights and arriving atleast 10-12 hours delayed). You have to listen to him in person to appreciate the passion with which he goes about talking about Yambi. I was sold on it and I am sure anybody would be as well 🙂

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Proto.in : An update

Posted by tggokul on January 21, 2008

I was present for the first day of Proto.in but could not attend day two becuase of a family emergency. The general view on my talk was mostly favourable, though I did get a comment that my talk was not ‘real’. I have asked the person who left the comment for more details and if I find them to be valid, I shall post them there.

Contrary to popular belief, I am a very fair person and will provide this blog as a platform for people who want to criticize me as well. But if I don’t get valid responses from that person, I have no other choice but to rate him/her as a hollow pinhead who completely lost the plot.

Btw, if you did attend my presentation, I want to know what you thought of it.

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Proto.in Day One

Posted by tggokul on January 18, 2008

Am all set to present at Proto.in in the next couple of hours. I think the presentation has come out well but the important thing is how the audience feel about it.

If you are there at Proto.in drop over and say Hi. Would love to meet like minded people.

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Presenting at Proto.in 2008

Posted by tggokul on January 10, 2008

Regular readers of my blog would know that I have the highest regard for Proto.in and the vision it stands for.  I have had the privilege of covering both the editions so far. In fact I have very fond memories of the first one. We captured the entire event on an N91 and that shot this blog to fame. That was the first time I saw the importance on video and understood why the Peter D. Csathy’s of the world have bet big on video.

And now I have been asked to be one of the speakers in this very event. Check out the other speakers and you would know why I am thrilled to be presenting. My session is on the Future of enterprise communication. Unified Communication would sure be a part of that. I would try to answer the question as to are there really any unified communications products in the market? Cisco changing its call manager to Unified Communication Manager, is that a marketing ploy or is it relaly a UC product?

VoIP ain’t UC!!! This is my pet peeve and I will touch upon that as well.I also plan to broach a subject which might be not be taken too kindly by my audience( product companies). Products don’t sell, solutions do. System integrators are the one who bring value to the platform. Applications on the platform drive sales. Your product is just a platform. When a company like Cisco focusses on business driven applications, you should know where the value lies. They made their network their platform. What will yours be?

This is just a sample of what I plan to talk about. Vijay calls me “controversial” but trust me , he ain’t seen nothing yet 🙂 If you are planning to be at Proto.in, leave a note here and we will catch up.

Posted in Cisco, PROTO | 4 Comments »

Proto.in and some ground realities

Posted by tggokul on December 10, 2007

Even as we are ready to usher in the next Proto.in ( and trust me, it is one heck of a show), there are some realities that needs attention. I happened to read a very honest post by Sujai Karampuri that pretty much symbolizes where we are.

I covered Sloka in the first edition of Proto and I was very impressed that an Indian company could innovate in the Wi-max space. Here is a real product company and it is disappointing to see this state of affairs.

Vijay and I have had a lot of conversations on the so called Web 2.0 and social networking, mobile gaming facades ( and I am not against you guys). These are imitations at best, not innovations. If I am there at Proto.in, I will be asking these questions. Wasn’t Proto.in supposed to get these startups (Sloka, Unleash Networks etc) closer to the VC community? Are the VCs who attend/present clueless about Telecom? Do the VCs have anything in mind when they come over to Proto.in?

Sometimes the tough questions have to be asked!!!

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Buzzworks & SearchtoPhone : Same Apps in two different parts of the world

Posted by tggokul on August 17, 2007

I know what Buzzworks are trying to do, since they demoed their product in Proto.in. I have been intending to write more on their product but never got around to it. Today GigaOm has a piece on a company called SearchtoPhone and once I read what they are upto, I thought it was time I wrote about Buzzworks.

Basically, this is Buzzwork’s premise. You want to reach one of your neighbourhood services but you don’t know whom to call. So you call up a number and do a voice search ( through open source speech recognition) and the centralized software searches for the most likely candidate and calls them up for you and you get to talk to the guy whose service you want to use. But from what I see, SearchtoPhone is more or less similar except for one bit that the author neatly summarizes

Using voice recognition and knowledge of your location, Search-To-Phone determines merchants or service providers who might be able to help. These businesses receive calls from Search-To-Phone and listen to your recorded job request, decide if they want to talk to you further, and place a call to you via Search-To-Phone. Your phone number remains private.

Interesting to see two companies in entirely different parts of the world coming up with similar ideas at the same time. Had they been big companies, this is when the litigation would start 🙂 Of the two, SearchtoPhone has a slighter edge because the caller maintains his privacy. Having said that, it shouldn’t be too long for Buzzworks to incorporate this feature as well.

I don’t know about what powers SearchToPhone’s software. But in case of Buzzworks it is open source all the way ( Asterisk, openSER and oopen source Voice recognition software). So I am going to take an educated guess that Buzzworks would be the cheaper solution.

The problems I see either of them facing is that they have to work with the service providers and that requires lot of time and patience. On the technology front,  I am not a big fan of Voice recognition software ( yes, that includes leader Nuance as well) and the accuracy is not something I would bet my life on. Buzzworks would have more problems because they are powered by open source ( not sure how stable that would be) and secondly, the dialects/languages in India are so much and I would be surprised if accuracy is more than 20%.

Two companies that I surely will be following for the next few months.

Posted in PROTO, VoIP/IMS | 6 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)

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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.

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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

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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.

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