VOL 20 ISSUE 3 March 2013
The Business of Communications
Q&A: Sandip Das CEO, Maxis Communications
Rajendra Deshpande Serco
Jai Menon Bharti Airtel
Rajeev Batra MTS India
Subramanya C HGS
Telecom and Networking Products & Solutions
Ashish Pachory TTSL
Vinod Bidarkoppa Tesco HSC
Sunil Sirohi NIIT
Custan D’ Souza ICICI Lombard
Anil K Jain Wipro
Shiva Shankar SPIC
Badar Afaq Fortune Hotels
Vikram Idnani Trent
Gayatri Anandh Firstsource
Dr JS Sodhi Amity Group
Amit Sethi YES Bank
Vijay Sethi Hero MotoCorp
Vipil Gupta Indian Hotels
Srikanth Raman Narayana Hrudayalaya
Amod Malviya Flipkart
Sunil Nair Max Hypermarket
C I O
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The Harbinger of Change ICT played an important role in transforming people’s lives and going ahead, it is all set to bring in more innovations
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The sector is adopting IT aggressively to provide quality services to patients, anytime and anywhere
Smart Classrooms for Gen Next
The IT sector is not only helping other industries improve their stature, but it is also evolving constantly
The 21st century has opened up communication channels across the globe, and education is an area where sky is the limit
49 Energy Changing Techquations
Technological advances continue to assist in exploration, development, and production in the sector
Tech-aid to Stay Agile
There is a constant need to build technology solutions to meet rapidly evolving delivery capabilities and business models
40 BFSI IT at the Core Technology’s role in BFSI is rising but for more adoption, the sector would have to clear all roadblocks
| VOICE&DATA | March 2013 | voicendata.com | A CyberMedia Publication
Doctor at your Doorstep
46 Education 34 IT
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52 Retail Quickly Adopting New Tech The retail industry is investing heavily in technology to enable itself to adapt to the ever changing needs of the market place
54 Hospitality Working Like a Charm As India sees an unprecedented growth in the hotel industry, ICT can cash in on this opportunity
Leaders SPEAK 58 Interview
‘We are at the threshold of the next era of revolution, led by data services’
—R Chandrashekhar secretary, DoT
SEGMENTS 64 T&M
How do you Test an Operator’s Success? Even though, telcos are realizing the critical need of test and measurement equipment for...
70 Structured Cabling
‘Spectrum sharing is common sense that we lack in India’
—Sandip Das CEO, Maxis Communications BHd
emerging tech 119 VoLTE: The Next Leap VoLTE promises a richer form of communication...
120 WiGig: Will WiGig Beat Wi-Fi? WiGig enables multi-gigabit wireless communication among consumer ...
Beyond Physical Boundaries
Structured cabling constitutes only 5% of the total network cost, and poor cabling installation practices can make even the most sophisticated ...
Internet-of-Things can make our lives really smooth ...
Running, but Slow Even though BYOD is fast picking ...
cio Speak 78 Bharti Airtel
‘Outsourcing model does not have a direct relationship with work pressure’ —Jai Menon group CIO, Bharti Airtel
80 MTS India
‘IT serves as the brain for telecom service providers’ —Rajeev Batra CIO, MTS India
82 Tata Teleservices
‘Industry is dwindling with hyper competition and regulatory issues’ —Ashish Pachory CIO, Tata Teleservices
‘Mobile devices today offer a homogeneous learning experience’ —Sunil Sirohi VP, technology services organization, NIIT
86 Amity Group
‘Amity provides live broadcast lectures and events on iPads and android platform’ —Dr JS Sodhi assistant VP, Amity Group
88 ICICI Lombard
‘We expect our vendors to use our 3 business mantras: better, faster, cheaper’ —Custan D’ Souza project manager, IT, ICICI Lombard
90 YES Bank
‘Banks actively use social media to communicate with customers’ —Amit Sethi CIO, YES Bank
‘Virtualization, cloud, and mobility will make security even more critical’ —Anil K Jain, senior VP and global business head, C&M vertical, Wipro
94 Hero MotoCorp
‘ICT Budget isn’t a constraint, if adds value to the company’ —Vijay Sethi vice-president and CIO, Hero MotoCorp
‘Blind cost reduction can be detrimental’ —Amod Malviya SVP & head, engineering, Flipkart
‘Test everything you hope to deploy’ —Rajendra Deshpande CTO, Serco Global Services
‘We intend to set up a se‘The catch is in determining curity operating center this where to cut the IT budget withfiscal’ out sacrificing effectiveness’ —Subramanya C, senior VP & global CTO, —Shiva Shankar Hinduja Global Solutions group CIO, SPIC
‘As margins go down, businesses look at IT for the desired results’ —Vipil Gupta GM, information systems, Indian Hotels
100 Fortune Hotels
‘Marketing techniques can be more innovative through ICT tools’ —Badar Afaq, corporate IT manager, Fortune Hotels
102 Narayana Hrudayalaya
‘We are working to provide HIS access on smartphone’ —Srikanth Raman CIO, Narayana Hrudayalaya
‘We are the first retailer in India to adopt Linux platform for PoS’ —Vikram Idnani head, IT, Trent
| VOICE&DATA | March 2013 | voicendata.com | A CyberMedia Publication
‘Digital technology has become a lifeline’ —Vinod Bidarkoppa director (IT) and CIO, Tesco HSC
‘We are focusing on BI and enterprise wide MI’ —Gayatri Anandh head of technology, Firstsource
116 Max Hypermarket
‘We will roll out Oracle retail solution in Q2 FY13-14’ —Sunil Nair VP, technology Max Hypermarket India
Regulars Voicemail........................................................ 10 Editorial.......................................................... 14 Telestats........................................................ 16 News & Views.......................................... 18-28 Perspective................................................... 126
Budget 2013: A Taxing Issue / 28
The Fiber Promise / 44
VOL 20 ISSuE 2 february 2013
The Business of Communications
Q&A: Michael Civiello senior director, marketing Mobile & Wireless Group Broadcom
I quIT fEbruAry 2013
IQUIT Why have five stalwarts of Indian telecom decided to move on within two months?
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m-pesa from Vodafone-ICICI This is with reference to your story ‘Vodafone Ties up with ICICI Bank to Launch m-pesa’ (VOICE&DATA, January 2013). More than a billion people in emerging and developing markets have cell phones but no bank accounts. Many low-income people store and transfer money using informal networks, but these have high transaction costs and are prone to theft. Mobile money services by various operators are beginning to fill this gap by offering financial services over mobile phones, from simple person-toperson transfers to more complex banking services. The trend is very successful in countries like Africa, Arabia, and Bangladesh and these all are underdeveloped countries. This services have huge potential for the people who transact in small amounts and do not wish to carry money while they travel. These services are also for those who are away from their family members s e n d y o ur feedback FOR US t o s e r ve you better...
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and want to send money through mobile. The services actually help them in avoiding long queues. The trend is fast catching up in India as people have started using these services but proper marketing is the key for such solutions. These big operators may not be able to earn money on individual transactions, but bulk transactions from various users will obviously enhance their revenues. n Anuj Kumar via Email
Japan and India must become Long-term Partners This is with reference to your story ‘Japan and India must Become Long-term Partners: Sibal’ (VOICE&DATA, February 2013). On one hand, the government is inviting Japan for long-term investment and on the other hand, entities like Uninor are left to bleed. How will a foreign investor have faith in this countries’ policies when they are not able to do justice with the investors. Ministers who were involved in corruption are moving out free and nobody is asking them to give accountability of money laundered by them. Only a lame announcement will not be enough to get country like Japan as a long term partner on various business sectors, but building trust and giving fair bit of freedom to the investors to explore the market will let them achieve a longterm goal. n Sarvan Yadav via Email
BBC Mobile Academy to add 160,000 CHWs This is with reference to your story ‘BBC Mobile Academy to Add 160,000 CHWs by Dec 2015’ (VOICE&DATA, February 2013). Bihar has been doing well from quiet some time and an initiative like this will have double impact on the overall development of the state as this will eradicate child mortality and also improve standard of living. This is also providing some kind of education to the rural classes as women who have never touched a mobile phone have started sending SMS. The government of Bihar has also initiated a project on rural livelihood promotion with support from the World Bank. This initiative is implemented through BRLPS registered with the Bihar government . BRLPS through the Bihar Rural
10 | VOICE&DATA | March 2013 | voicendata.com | A CyberMedia Publication
Livelihoods Project (BRLP) aims to improve rural livelihood options and works towards social and economic empowerment of the rural poor and women. BRLP plays a major role in the community through its 4 themes or programs: institution and capacity building, social development, micro-finance, and livelihood. The anatomy is crores of money are eaten up through corruption and then for our development we stretch hands to other countries or institutions. n Shatabdi Chakroborty via Email
Mobile Apps for Mall Shoppers This is with reference to your story ‘Mobile Application for Mall Shoppers’ (VOICE&DATA, February 2013). Smartphones are changing the way consumers shop and gather information, and the growth in shoppingspecific apps has accelerated this change. The flow of information has become real-time, empowering consumers and forever changing the shopping dynamic for retailers. Smartphones are bridging the gap between the physical and digital worlds, they’re always on, and they’re physically connected to an individual. In many ways, the smartphone has become one of the best point-of-sale devices ever created, but for retailers that have not yet jumped into mobile marketing which can create a severe disadvantage. Shopping apps and mobile-enabled websites are providing a much deeper level of engagement for consumers, and retailers need to take advantage of these technologies to remain competitive. Large retailers have begun to move aggressively into the mobile space by offering custom-branded apps that provide information, special offers, and coupons for their customers. Branded retail apps build brand loyalty; however, many advanced mobile shoppers are using multiple shopping apps from a wide variety of developers. n Nikita D via Email
Samsung Budget Phones This is with reference to your story ‘Samsung Launches REX, Budget Feature Phones’ (VOICE&DATA, February 2013). Nokia’s Asha series have finally delivered
some added value thanks to Nokia’s services such as maps and music, preloaded games, and might still be the better bundle in terms of value. Samsung’s new devices are full-touch devices, and the bare bones operating system means that they deliver very acceptable performance with limited hardware. People who are looking to buy a new phone may not be satisfied with that anymore though, as budget Android devices are also picking up. Therefore, while the REX series lie between the most basic phones, which can only be used to call and text, on the one hand is user-friendly smartphone, Samsung might not achieve as much success as Nokia only because of their timing of launch. n Subha Sharma via Email
NFC: The Next Wave in Mobility This is with reference to your story ‘NFC: The Next Wave in Mobility’ (VOICE&DATA, January 2013) The main problem with the technology is that it is not meant for budget smartphones as most of the bigger brands using this technology are very expensive. I personally don’t��������������������������������������� think that it can be the next wave in mobility in fact a technology similar to it
which is cost-effective may be considered by the cost conscious brands. If cost of this technology can be brought down then obviously it can do wonders. It is surely one such technology which can bring a change in the lifestyle of not only urban classes but also to the rural population. In public transport in various service industries like railways, metros, roadways, hospitals, it can be used in a much bigger way. This technology can bring both economies of scale and economies of scope by catering to various sectors which will obviously boost demand. n Dhruv Yadav via Email
Corrigendum This is with reference to ‘Managed Services, A New Definition’ (VOICE&DATA, February 2013). We have inadvertently carried a wrong picture of Gurdeep Singh, chief executive officer, wireless business, Reliance Communications. The error is regretted. —Ed.
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FORM IV (See Rule)
Statement of ownership and other particulars about the newspaper Voice&Data to be published in the first issue every year after the last day of February
1. Place of Publication : New Delhi 2. Periodicity of Publication : Monthly 3. Printer’s Name : Pradeep Gupta Whether Citizen of India : Yes Address : D-74, Panchsheel Enclave, New Delhi – 110 017 4. Publisher’s Name : Pradeep Gupta Whether Citizen of India : Yes Address : D-74, Panchsheel Enclave, New Delhi – 110 017 5. Editor’s Name : Ibrahim Ahmad Whether Citizen of India : Yes Address : D-74, Panchsheel Enclave, New Delhi – 110 017 6. Names & addresses of individuals who own : Cyber Media (India) Limited the newspaper, and partners or shareholders D-74, Panchsheel Enclave, New Delhi – 110 017 holding more than one percent of the total paid-up capital : List of shareholders holding more than 1% of the paid up capital of the company as on 15th February 2013: Pradeep Gupta, Globe Capital Market Ltd, Sudha Bala Gupta, Ashish Dhawan, Dhaval Gupta, Anuradha Gupta, Globe Fincap Limted, Deepa Agarwal, Yukti Securities Pvt Ltd, Quantum Securities Pvt Ltd, Swarn Kaur, Kriti Gupta, Archana Saluja, Navin Bhagat, Jagdish Pershad Gupta, Jamsheed Merwan Gandhi, Rustam Merwan Gandhi. I, Pradeep Gupta, hereby declare that the particulars given above are true to the best of my knowledge and belief. Sd/Publisher A CyberMedia Publication | voicendata.com | March 2013 | VOICE&DATA | 11
Your Net worth Thank God, the focus is back on the network. With so much happening around the world—economic slowdown, social media, BYOD, mobility and remote workers, 24x7 operations, and so on—it was critical that something seriously drastic was done to make the traditional IT networks user-friendly. Software defined networking or SDN is the step in that direction. Without getting into the nitty-gritty, in simple terms, SDN technology allows the organization’s network to be more agile, flexible, and user sensitive by taking some of the key controls away from the network hardware and software and giving it to the network administrator. It is a little too early because SDN is just coming in, but supporters claim that with this new approach the network continues to be safe and becomes a facilitator rather than a hurdle. A few of the networking biggies disagree, but it seems that SDN is becoming a phenomenon and everybody is jumping into the bandwagon. What I am very happy about is that this is another great example of technology being driven by user needs. Let me tell you why. Today most of us book our train tickets using IRCTC. While booking regular tickets is a fun experience, but try booking a Tatkal ticket. It is a nightmare, enduring which is still not a guarantee for success. If I as a user had a choice of another network to book my Tatkal ticket, I would have dumped IRCTC. Similarly, most of the telephone operator websites for their users is a pain—whether it is changing of some service, or paying bills, or updating personal information. The promise of SDN is that all this will be a thing of the past. Today, there are so many things that are done online—from buying movie and train tickets to paying utility bills to filing customer complaints to apply for a passport. If the online experience is bad, we get upset with the organization, and I think rightly so. And if it is good, we praise them. This is true not just for customers, but even for partners, suppliers, investors, as well as employees. The organization is getting to be as good or bad as the network is. In days to come, the network will be the face of the organization. Those who have great networks (that are simple, agile, yet secure) will have a big advantage over their competitors. Let me finish my point by quoting Dr Sadagopan, who zealously heads the IIIT in Bangalore. He says, “Your network is your net worth”. This will not just be true for individuals, but will be true for the organizations and the governments too. And SDN seems to be the promise in that direction.
<email@example.com> 14 | VOICE&DATA | March 2013 | voicendata.com | A CyberMedia Publication
T e l e - s tat s
Statistics on gsm City/Circle Metros
% Growth Over Previous Month
Total A Circle
B Circle Kerala
West Bengal and A&N
C Circle Himachal Pradesh
Subscriber Base 5,294,828
% Market Share
Statistics on CDMA Operators
Reliance Comm & Reliance Telecom
Sistema Shyam Teleservices
Tata Teleservice/ TTML
Market Share (Wireless) – January’13 Subscriber Base Comparison (Dec ‘12 – Jan ‘13)
Market Share (Wireline) – January’13 Subscriber Base Comparison (Dec ‘12 – Jan ‘13)
Subscriber Base 26,355,949
Market Share – January’13
16 | VOICE&DATA | March 2013 | voicendata.com | A CyberMedia Publication
Sistema Shyam Teleservices
Tata Teleservice/ TTML
Reliance Comm & Reliance Telecom
‘We have had 10 successful Wi-Fi offload rollouts in a year’ some challenges in solution adoption due to factors beyond our control like smartphones comprising only 15-20% of the overall mobile handset market that means there is still plenty of room to go for uptake in 3G and 4G services, and consequently Wi-Fi offload. Further, the rapidly evolving nature of mobile data traffic is offset by present gaps in our solution since there are integration challenges with more than a few operators although we are working very hard to close these gaps.
Nikhil Jain COO and director, Elitecore Technologies
In February 2012, the company announced 15 Wi-Fi offload trials across SEA, MEA, and APAC. What is the conversion rate with respect to commercial deployment? The conversion rate is very high for Elitecore Wi-Fi offload solution as it is seeing great uptake among leading operators in India, MEA, and APAC. Over the last one year, we have recorded 10 successful rollouts and more than 17 trials, which indicates Elitecore’s huge mind share in the service provider WiFi segment. Elitecore has commercially deployed mobile data offload solutions for operators across regions. What has been the response to date? Elitecore’s mobile data offload solution is seeing good response from operators as we help them improve customer experience with seamless Wi-Fi access across many devices and locations, while enabling their Wi-Fi monetization strategy. However there are still
How many Indian operators have signed up with Elitecore for mobile data offload solutions? How many pilots are presently underway? We have signed up at least 3 leading Indian operators for our mobile data offload solution and 2 pilots are underway. How is your mobile data offload solution different from other solutions offered by your competitors? One of the biggest differentiators is that our carrier-grade solution allows operators to achieve end-to-end integration of their mobile core with Wi-Fi infrastructure. This is because our solution is interoperable with the largest vendor ecosystem which includes providers of almost all leading IN, HLR, access gateway, and packet core solutions. Elitecore claims to be supporting the largest vendor interoperability ecosystem for Wi-Fi offload. How many vendors are you supporting and what is the support that you are providing? Our solution is interoperable with 5+ leading industry vendors in IN/Billing/SDP, access controllers, access points, HLR/STP, SMS gateway, and access gateways. Pravin Prashant firstname.lastname@example.org
18 | VOICE&DATA | March 2013 | voicendata.com | A CyberMedia Publication
DigiVive Partners with Videocon for nexGTv DigiVive has joined hands with Videocon mobile phones for its mobile TV service—nexGTv. The service will be an embedded application in the Videocon VT71 and Videocon VT10, enabling owners of these Videocon tablets to enjoy TV on the move at any given point of time. This will enable users to view over 100 live channels, replay TV, and a plethora of videos on demand. This partnership is all set to take the concept of mobile TV to the masses.
Aspect Appoints Sanjay Gupta as MD Aspect Software, provider of customer contact and enterprise workforce optimization, strengthened its regional management team with the appointment of Sanjay Gupta as the managing director for India, Middle East, and Saarc region. With industry experience of 20 years, Gupta is a veteran in the high growth industry of communications. Based in India, Sanjay will spearhead the company’s growth in the subcontinent. In this role, Sanjay’s key responsibilities include driving market strategies, and go-to-market investments and customer satisfaction for Aspect’s market-leading interaction.
Flytxt Launches Mobile AdMart in Bangladesh Flytxt has announced the launch of mADmart, a first-of-its-kind mobile ad market place in Bangladesh. This will offer brands and ad agencies an opportunity to engage their potential consumers through mobile, the most pervasive channel. mADmart is powered by a patent pending mobile advertising technology platform, QREDA. In addition to offering a wide range of ad inventory and precise consumer insights, the flexibility of the platform gives a compelling proposition for both long tail and global brands to advertise through mADmart compared to conventional and other digital media channels.
An Industry specialist catering to all business verticals
TCS Expands UK Operations
No One Model Fits All Economic and geographic differences and that in social development, demography and technology are very important in zeroing in on the correct model or solution
raditional telco business models are out of sync with IP based communications,” says ITU in its recently published ITU Telecom World 2012 Outcomes Report. The telcos’ move to IP based communications is irreversible—and the time scale for business models, regulatory frameworks, development cycles and infrastructure investment in the internet world and that of traditional telecommunications may be dangerously out of sync. This is one of the critical findings drawn from in-depth analysis of debates at ITU Telecom World 2012 now available online in a comprehensive Outcomes Report. “How traditional telecommunication players should best adapt business models to embrace the IP era remains a key question,” says ITU secretary, general Hamadoun I Toure. It seems no one solution, model or ecosystem is or will be suitable for all markets globally. Differences of geography, economic, and social development, demography and technology remain hugely important. Fighting disruption or seeking to maintain the status quo is ineffective in a world of increasingly and irreversibly IP based communications and established players in the telecom ecosystem must seek sustainable new business models, focused on exploiting the core competence of operators, separating access and services, and innovative network design. Dividing access and content pricing models encourages flexibility and innovation in network and services usage. Moving from the voice model of charging per minute to a system based on
bits and usage better reflects the nature of network traffic and captures the value of the bandwidth. It also enables tiered access costs on a free to premium scale, dependent on quality of services offered or peak usage time. In emerging markets, basic access over mobile networks is required, and may well reach remote and rural populations before other utilities such as electricity or water. Developed markets call for high-speed, high-capacity networks with a mix of technologies to include Wi-Fi in public hotspots, plus prepaid or pay-as-you-go models to support usage in the current financial crisis. Innovative network models and architecture building on software-defined networks will provide an open, programmable platform allowing a range of new personalized services, dynamic and flexible allocation of capacity and an enhanced user experience with the social element at the centre of the network. Networks can move from closed, static pipes to trading spaces for cloud based applications over a virtualized, tailored ‘my network’. For broadband, sharing of infrastructure can be chosen through innovative business models based on non-discriminatory infrastructure sharing. This may take the form of functional separation, disaggregating services such as backhaul for use by any technology, active and passive sharing of infrastructure elements or separating access and service provisioning giving open access to content providers. Lastly, innovation is intrinsic to the ICT sector at all levels, from the platform layer of infrastructure to service and content provision, devices, and increasingly business models. Pravin Prashant email@example.com
20 | VOICE&DATA | March 2013 | voicendata.com | A CyberMedia Publication
Tata Consultancy Services, a leading IT services, consulting, and business solutions company, has announced that it is expanding its operations in the UK. The company has invested in a new delivery center in Liverpool, dedicated to delivering government services that require impact level-3 security constraints. TCS plans to use the facility to deliver services to the home office, following a multi-million, multi-year contract that was awarded in November 2012, to manage the technology needs and support services of the newly formed disclosure and barring service (DBS).
Syniverse to Add PoPs in Frankfurt, Marseille Syniverse has announced that it will add points-of-presence (PoPs) for its IPX network in Frankfurt, Germany, and Marseille, France, in the first quarter of 2013. The new locations add to Syniverse’s global IPX footprint, which will include 16 PoPs across North America, Asia Pacific, and Europe. “We are committed to making connecting as easy and costeffective as possible for our customers by building out IPX POPs in even more locations worldwide,” Syniverse Network senior vice president John Wick says.
Applane Provides Cloud-based ERP to 100 Schools Applane Solutions, a cloud-based ERP solution provider for educational institutes, has been deployed in more than 100 schools across India. Applane for education, being the only ERP on Google platform, is now successfully associated with more than 100 schools across India. This extensive ERP is effectively providing various solutions to meet the unique and varying needs of teachers, students, and administrative staffs and hence helping the educational institutes to become technologically advanced.
Bharti Airtel Shifts from Outsourcing to Insourcing After acquiring the entire stake of Alcatel-Lucent from its JV, ALMNS
harti Airtel has taken a decision to acquire the entire stake of Alcatel-Lucent India in AlcatelLucent Managed Network Service India (ALMNS), a joint venture between Bharti and Alcatel-Lucent India to manage and deploy the former’s fixed line and broadband network in India thereby making a paradigm shift from outsourcing model to insourcing model. And this is applicable from immediate effect. So the big question is: Why is Bharti Airtel shifting from outsourcing to insourcing? The joint venture for fixed and broadband services was formed in April 2009 and the focus was on managing Airtel’s migration to Next Generation Networks (NGN) to offer advanced services like high-speed internet, triple play, media-rich VAS, MPLS, VPN for both retail and business customers. ALMNS manages 3.3 mn fixedline and 1.4 mn broadband/internet subscribers of Bharti Airtel, spread across 87 cities across India. Under the joint venture, AlcatelLucent was taking care of designing, planning, deploying, fault repair, optimizing, and managing Bharti Airtel’s broadband and telephone network across India. In the joint venture, Bharti Airtel had 26% stake and Alcatel-Lucent had 74% stake. With Bharti buying Alcatel-Lucent stake in the joint venture, ALMNS would now be a 100% subsidiary of Bharti Airtel. And the company will not be able to leverage on Alcatel-Lucent’s global expertise in IP transformation, managed network services, and network transformation. Sanjay Kapoor, CEO (India & South Asia), Bharti Airtel said, “This new
model, along with our recently launched network experience center, will provide us greater control over the delivery of a world-class data experience to customers across our portfolio of networks.” Munish Seth, president and managing director, Alcatel-Lucent India said, “We are extremely proud that the joint venture was a catalyst in transforming Bharti’s Telemedia business at an accelerated pace and setting the stage for the next stage of transformation.” The operations of the ALMNS will be strengthened by the transition of proven tools, processes and 4,000 skilled resources from the existing joint venture. It will operate independent of Bharti and, going forward, will invite other operators to join in with equity participation and bring the management of their broadband and fixed line networks under its fold. One of the early adopters of managed services in India, both in mobile and fixed services, the shift in business model, according to industry experts, is related to a flat growth in fixedline which has been stagnant for the last 8 quarters, and broadband numbers, which has been flat for the last 6 quarters. Even the cost of maintaining these networks was increasing and Bharti Airtel was in no mood to renegotiate the rates upwards, so the best option was to buy out AlcatelLucent’s stake in ALMNS. The shift towards insourcing would also lead to some cost saving for Bharti Airtel as the company is focusing in a big way on increasing net income which has fallen to `280 crore in Q4 FY12-13, a drop of 72% y-o-y, but in the long run it will increase its complexity which the company has to tackle as they move forward. Pravin Prashant firstname.lastname@example.org
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Persistent Appoints Mritunjay Singh as Joint COO Persistent Systems has announced the appointment of Mritunjay Singh as the joint chief operating officer. Singh will be responsible for managing the operations of the company and will work alongside Nitin Kulkarni, executive director and COO, and will be based in Pune. With deep experience in the software development and technology services industry, Singh joins Persistent Systems from Infosys, where he was the delivery head for the financial services and insurance application development and maintenance unit.
ZTE Launches UniCare Service Solution ZTE has launched UniCare, a service solution developed specifically for mobile operators. UniCare is an end-to-end integrated solution covering the whole network by offering operation assurance, aimed at network performance management, service quality management, and customer experience assurance, as well as operation consulting aimed at network, service, and market development.
Sterlite, Tongguang JV to Start Production in China Jiangsu Sterlite Tongguang Fiber has announced the commencement of production of optical fiber at Haimen in Jiangsu, China. The joint venture (JV) company formed between Sterlite Technologies (Sterlite) and Jiangsu Tongguang Communication (TGCI) will manufacture optical fiber. Sterlite is a leading global provider of transmission solutions for the telecom and power industries, while TGCI is a China based manufacturer of optical fiber cables as well as power transmission wires and cables. The greenfield factory has been set up with an investment of around $25 mn.
Japan and India must become Long-term Partners: Sibal
An Illogical Step Duty hike on mobile phones is not a good step toward increasing rural penetration
he proposed hike of excise duty on mobile phones above `2,000 did not sit well with the Indian telecom industry. The FM has proposed to hike the duty to 6% from the current 1% in his budget for the year 2013-14. What this means is that customers have to stretch their wallet to another `100 if they buy a mobile phone that costs `2,000. Though the intention of the FM, by proposing this step, is to bring in more revenue into the exchequer, in reality it may boomerang. The proposal, if passed, will do more harm than good. One, it will directly affect the purchasing trend of the Indian consumers who are planning to become the first time users of mobile phones. As says Asim Warsi, VP, Samsung Mobile, “The increase in the excise duty on mobile phones will not have a positive impact on the mobile industry and would lead to an increase in prices for end consumers.” Two, in the last 2 years the buying behavior of Indian customers has changed. They have just started to dump the idea of buying a phone that can let them do just the basic functions like talking and sending text messages. They have started to think of buying an entry-level smartphone in place of a feature phone. Increase of duty would impact this behavior. Three, this action will discourage many other government initiatives where the government wants the consumers, mostly the rural population, to use the mobile phone to access services like education, health, and banking. For example, mobile banking is a huge opportunity in India where 40% of the population are unabanked.
Stakeholders like the RBI, the banks, handset manufacturers, and operators are actively pushing this business to flourish. Increasing the cost of devices that can help this business to grow may discourage consumers to use these services. And most mobile phones below `2,000 are unable to provide internet access, which is a must to get these public services. “This decision will surely impact the industry’s focus on making smartphones more affordable. At the same time, rural areas might get that much more difficult for smartphones to penetrate,” says TM Ramakrishnan, CEO, devices, S Mobility. Girish Trivedi, co-founder of Monk consulting, a research firm working in the area of telecom, has a similar opinion. “I do not see a logical reason of this duty hike. It defeats lots of other purposes that the government has for rural people associated with mobile phones and internet usage,” he adds. Besides, this action has the potential to encourage growth of grey market. For the last 2 years, the grey market for mobile phones was on a decline but increasing the price of mobile phone might encourage this as it has a direct impact on the bottom line of handset makers. The handset makers are also disappointed with proposal as they are of the opinion that they are left with no other option to increase the prices. “The mobile phone segment is very competitive. But we have no option but to increase prices. It is a hard budget for the mobile phone segment,” says SN Rai, founder and director, Lava. Gyana Ranjan Swain email@example.com
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India is keen that Japan does not look at India as a short-term trading partner, but as a long-term partner for manufacturing, said Kapil Sibal, union minister for communications and IT while delivering the inaugural address at the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) seminar. He was speaking to the representatives of JETRO in the context of the government’s national policy on electronics, formulated to boost India’s electronics systems and design manufacturing industry. Sibal invited Japan to set up manufacturing in India.
BlackBerry Joins Hands with Trend Micro BlackBerry has announced that it has joined hands with Trend Micro to expand the protection for BlackBerry customers against malware and privacy issues in third-party applications. As part of a multi-level and phased approach for addressing privacy implications and security concerns, BlackBerry will incorporate the Trend Micro mobile application reputation service with its current internal, proprietary system for analyzing applications.
BAE Systems Announces 5-year Partnership with Vodafone BAE Systems has announced a 5-year partnership with the Vodafone Group. The partnership will provide businesses with a range of advanced communications security products and services, initially focused on smartphones and tablets. The formation of the partnership is part of its continued commitment to grow cyber and security business, BAE Systems Detica, in areas such as the communications technology market. For Vodafone, the partnership extends the company’s commitment to provide its global enterprise customers with the most advanced and robust security products and services available.
Completely inherit openness and flexibility of Keygoe according to advanced Keygoe multimedia switching technology, Fully compatible with Keygoe EasyAPI. It’s convenient for system integrators to expand low cost medium and small applications. ingle board supports voice, conference, fax, VoIP, etc. No need any other resource boards. Interface echo cancellation processing to improve performance of IP apps. Small dimension to adapt to space limited server, PC and industrial PC. Exclusively design for less than 32 channels applications.
Completely inherit openness and flexibility of Keygoe according to advanced Keygoe multimedia switching technology, Fully compatible with Keygoe EasyAPI. It’s convenient for system integrators to expand low cost medium and small applications. ingle board supports voice, conference, fax, VoIP, etc. No need any other resource boards. Interface echo cancellation processing to improve performance of IP apps. Small dimension to adapt to space limited server, PC and industrial PC. Exclusively design for less than 32 channels applications.
Completely inherit openness and flexibility of Keygoe according to advanced Keygoe multimedia switching technology, Fully compatible with Keygoe EasyAPI. It’s convenient for system integrators to expand low cost medium and small applications. ingle board supports voice, conference, fax, VoIP, etc. No need any other resource boards. Interface echo cancellation processing to improve performance of IP apps. Small dimension to adapt to space limited server, PC and industrial PC. Exclusively design for less than 32 channels applications.
Thinking of deploying an IVR
Think of DONJIN Keygoe Completely inherit openness and flexibility of Keygoe according to advanced Keygoe multimedia switching technology, Fully compatible with Keygoe EasyAPI. It’s convenient for system integrators to expand low cost medium and small applications. Single board supports voice, conference, fax, VoIP, etc. No need any other resource boards. Interface echo cancellation processing to improve performance of IP apps. Small dimension to adapt to space limited server, PC and industrial PC. Exclusively design for less than 32 channels applications.
Headquarter: 21F, Cangsong Building(South), Tairan Industrial Park, Futian District, Shenzhen, P.R. China Tel: +86-755-83636988 (China) Fax: +86-755-83631239 (China) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
‘Mobility is a big advantage in the Indian market’ Movement to cloud is also something we see in the Indian market. Mobility is another area that we see as a big advantage in the Indian market. All these are happening globally but these are more focused in the Indian market. Companies are expanding very rapidly. It is something that you tend to see happening more in an Indian market than in a US or European market.
Gary Barnett SVP and GM, collaboration platforms, Avaya
Avaya has had a global presence for a very long time. Has the India focus happened quite recently? India is clearly an important market for Avaya. This market is very important for us because this is a growth area for us in both unified communications (UC) and contact center (CC) business. While keeping our focus on the enterprise level, we are now expanding that focus to the small and medium market because it will help us serve the domestic market in India. We’ve been very strong at the enterprise level in both UC and CC so that is an advantage for us. Some of the products that we have recently announced on the UC side, like the IP Office 8.1, are examples of our focus on the mid-markets. What are the major differences that you see in the domestic market as compared to rest of the world? The Indian market has the ability to sell, implement, and be in production very quickly.
Could you share something specific about the technologies that you’re bringing in and the kind of investments that you are making to differentiate yourself? Technology is changing very quickly. We are seeing very rapid changes between traditional PRI (primary rate interface) type interfaces to SIP (session initiation protocol). We are seeing a very quick transition and expansion of audio to video and we are also seeing a very quick transition to mobility. We have to make sure that our technology accommodates SIP trunking and mobility. Video is not simply room based systems. We are seeing a very rapid change in India. So there is a big advantage for us to have our R&D based in India—it not only makes sense from an operational point of view but also it puts us very close to a country that witnesses technology changes very rapidly. Who would be your biggest competitor in India? You can think of a lot of companies that they would see each of their segments with competitors but not necessarily. I would say the closest that would come across most of the segments would probably be Cisco. Smita Vasudevan email@example.com
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Uninor Closes Down Mumbai Operations Uninor has closed down its operations in Mumbai from the midnight of February 16, 2013. The move followed a Supreme Court order that directed all operators who did not win spectrum in the previous auctions to close down services immediately. Further, no temporary licence was available. Uninor is bound by law to comply with the order of the Supreme Court and therefore closed down its mobile network immediately.
BBC Mobile Academy to Add 160,000 CHWs by Dec, 2015 BBC plans to scale up Mobile Academy and Mobile Kunji to add additional 160,000 CHWs (community health workers) by December 2015, taking the total tally to 3,60,000. So far, more than 70,000 unique users have used more than 2 mn minutes across both services. BBC Media Action has launched mobile health services for community health workers (CHWs) in Bihar. An IVR training course—Mobile Academy’— and a multimedia job aid (IVR and print)—’Mobile Kunji’—have been developed to help CHWs improve family health and reduce maternal and infant mortality in the state.
Vuclip Acquires Jigsee Vuclip has announced that it has acquired the core assets of Jigsee, a mobile video streaming company for an undisclosed sum. Vuclip aims to provide mobile video for consumers worldwide, regardless of device type or network quality, and by extension, deliver value to strategic business partners such as content providers, advertisers and carriers. According to the company, this acquisition will bring considerable mobile app development talent, as well as additional proprietary video streaming technologies.
VoiceGate Technologies has evolved as a global Mobile Apps, Healthcare Apps and Game Development company, in a short period. We have the expertise to Conceptualize and Develop customized Apps in established and evolving technologies, as per the industry standards, regulations and compliances. We support the vast Smart Phones and Mobile computing domain, as a top notch end-to-end Solutions provider.
Entertainment & Media
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Empowering Enterprises With a slew of launches, Samsung expects 10% of its revenue to come from the enterprise business in 2013
aving tasted great success in the consumer electronic device space, Samsung Electronics is all set to take a stride in the enterprise market as it intends to empower business-to-business market with its innovative solutions. The company is targeting 10% of revenue contribution from the enterprise business in Southwest Asia in 2013, and expects to add over 23% of revenue from enterprise business to its overall global revenue by 2020, said Uday Bhatt, director, PC business, Samsung, Southwest Asia, at the Samsung Southwest Asia Forum 2013 in Hyderabad.
Enterprise—The Next Evolution In line with its enterprise strategy, the company has launched its new global campaign, ‘The New Business Experience’. “Enterprise will be the next evolution from Samsung’s perspective. This would be possible because of our relentless stride to innovate and our constant focus on what our customers want. We design and innovate around there needs and the experience that they need,” affirmed Uday Bhatt. As part of its new enterprise strategy, Samsung will focus on verticals such as healthcare, education, retail, transport, and hospitality. Samsung has unveiled Samsung KNOX, a mobile enterprise solution, that provides security for work and personal data. The product portfolio comprises of medical imaging, laboratory equipment, mobileElectronic Medical Record (mEMR) for healthcare segment; large-format screens, interactive kiosks, and changing rooms through tablets for retail vertical; and an integrated guest room automation solution for the hospitality sector.
BD Park, President & CEO, Samsung SouthWest Asia showcases Galaxy Note 510 and F8000 LED TV at the Samsung Forum 2013
For the education sector, it has offered smart school solution consisting of ‘screen sharing’ that allows teachers with tablets (or other devices) to display online content interactively on students’ devices, ensuring secure usage of content and monitoring of student progress. The company has also launched Samsung Technology Enterprise Program (STEP), a comprehensive partner program to empower partners and drive mutual growth and profitability in the market. The program will focus on ensuring that partners are certified and prepared to both sell and service Samsung’s enterprise solutions.
Galaxy Note 510 At the Forum, the company unveiled Galaxy Note 510, which brings an experience of a tablet, notebook, e-reader, and an electronic diary. Galaxy Note 510 is powered by EXYNOS 1.6 GHz A9 quad-core processor and android 4.1.2 Jellybean operating system. The Note 510 comes with key features such as multi-window feature, 8-inch display, 5
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megapixel camera (rear), and 1.3 megapixel camera (front), etc.
Products Line-up Samsung also introduced new PC line-up devices for the Southwest Asian market— series 7 Chronos and portable series 7 ultra notebook. Its mobility products included series 7 touch (SC770), which is a multi-touch display optimized for Windows 8. The other slew of gizmos unveiled by Samsumg included Ultra High Definition (UHD) F8000 LED television, which is powered by quad-core processor, 85-inch UHD 8559 TV; HT-F9750W-7.1 channel home theater system; Samsung Wobble washing machine-WA16; refrigeratorRT42; smart oven-MC32F606; smart and connected cameras-WB250F/ WB800F, WB30F, DV150F; and top mounted freezer which comes with digital inverter compressor. The company added the series of 7 SC770 touch sensitive monitor, SC750, and series 9 SB970 pre-calibrated monitor to its digital signage solutions. Malini N firstname.lastname@example.org
Telecom IT BPO Banking Healthcare Education Oil and Gas/Energy Retail Hospitality
The Harbinger of Change
ICT played an important role in transforming people’s lives and going ahead, it is all set to bring in more innovations
n the last decade, if any technology has seen maximum transformation in terms of reaching the masses and impacting their lives directly, then it has to be communications technology. If one sits back and analyzes deeply, then it would be amply evident that through technologies related to telecom-
munications, life has become really better and smoother. The human being is always hungry for information, be it for the enhancement of his knowledge base, or for his personal or professional lives. And ICT, undoubtedly, has played the biggest role in feeding him with
Jai Menon, group CIO, Bharti Airtel Rajeev Batra, chief information officer, MTS India Robert Sewell, head, technology solutions group, Aircel Ashish Pachory, chief information officer, Tata Teleservices Purushottam Kaushik, senior vice-president, service provider, Cisco, India and Saarc
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information. From providing plain vanilla voice-centric information through traditional fixedline phones to offering a smartphone or any new age mobility device like tablets, telecommunication technologies have made the biggest upward leap.
Trends In a world where your speed determines your chances of survival, technology trends are driven by the need to stay connected with your enterprise, partners, customers, and the larger community—no matter where you are, or likely to be. Mobility is the order of the day—over 80% of the world’s handsets are expected to be smartphones by 2015. Staying con-
6 ways to get more for less with an advanced productivity suite 1 Office on demand with good device coverage As cloud enables anywhere anytime accessibility, users typically access their office suite from any device through the web. Office 365 also offers ‘Office on Demand’ that allows them to stream a complete office application onto five devices of their choice.
2 Advanced communication solutions A business needs communication solutions beyond just email. Office 365 offers four well-reputed communication solutions: email with Exchange Online, instant messaging and
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3 Incredible free storage per user In any cloud-based solution, users get default storage of a few gigabytes for free. But Microsoft understood that businesses feel restricted by this model. Office 365 offers users 20 GB of free storage on SkyDrive, that could keep some business users going strong for a couple of years.
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gets freed up. And with an affordable subscription model, there’s enough money saved for strategic IT projects.
nected no longer refers to people, but also to dynamic and ever-evolving data and applications. A new wave of convergence is taking shape by the coming together of actionable analytics, cloud computing, webbased social interactions, and enterprise mobility. Analytics: Rate of creation of data is far exceeding the human capacity for assimilation and analysis. Finding relevant information is important, but hard to accomplish. This is where advanced analytics can play a vital role. Desktop analytic tools no longer suffice in the age of big data where the volume, velocity, and variety of data are growing exponentially. Advanced analytics will provide the ability to perform analysis and simulation of all business transactions, and present a model which is concise, relevant, and accurate. A variety of mobile devices, as well as other enterprise systems, will be able to exploit this analysis to support effective and timely business-decision making. Cloud: For telecom service providers, cloud is a critical enabler in their transformation to next-gen telcos. For it is the cloud that makes services, and not devices and connectivity, the true differentiator. Cloud is also an important element in the strategy of service providers to provide a collaboration platform for interworking with over-the-top players, and thus mitigating a major threat. Social: Social media has been a disruptive trend not just among communities but increasingly in enterprises as well. It was once popular to say that the voice of one disgruntled customer reaches 10 others. Social media makes it 10 mn others. The wealth of information availability, the unlimited reach, and the ease of use make social media a compelling business tool, which some telecom service providers are very effectively using to stay connected with their customers. Coupled with analytics, social media is perhaps the most potent tool for business to gauge customer sentiment about their products and services and initiate timely action. Mobility: BYOD is gaining momentum as the need for a seamless experience is
Advanced analytics will provide the ability to perform analysis and simulation of all business transactions, and present a model which is concise, relevant, and accurate gaining ground. These mobile devices have access to the data for supporting business decision making, leading to a more empowered workforce which can deliver at anytime and from anywhere. Ubiquitous availability of data, devices, and network (bandwidth) is driving an irreversible trend in enterprise mobility that will define the future of business. Apart from the big 4 trends above, it is expected that there will be a phenomenal growth in mobile enterprise applications which will be downloaded on smartphones by employees.
The Imminent Challenges For the industry as a whole, and also individual service providers, the biggest challenge today is the widening gap between growth in revenues (defined by ARPU, customer acquisitions) and the growth in cost of providing service at an acceptable price (defined by voice and data traffic). While the former is at a plateau, the latter is growing almost exponentially. Growth in traffic is spurred by the very trends which TSPs strongly promoteâ€”viz growing subscriber base and proliferation of smart mobile devices. This trend is unlikely to abate as the internet-ofthings (IOT) emerges over the horizon. Obviously, service providers have to find new ways of monetization while reducing the cost of delivering traffic, particularly data traffic. Hyper competition and an uncertain regulatory environment drive up the chal-
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lenge even further. Lower than expected adoption of expensively acquired 3G services, possibly due to lack of differentiating applications that subscribers are willing to accept a premium for, contributes further to the travails of the service provider. Operators need to learn to quickly adapt to disruptive forces to prevent their share of revenues being further eroded by over-the-top players. Capitalizing on emerging trends like analytics, social media, mobility, etc, present attractive possibilities on the one hand but impose further cost pressures as most of these trends are expected to yield returns only over a finite period of time. Thus, an ability to balance between creating market differentiation and staying cost competitive is the true challenge that most service providers need to overcome.
The Future As the transition to 4G will bring along numerous benefits to the consumers as well as service providers, the upgrade comes along with its share of apprehensions purely from demand and ROI perspective. To meet consumer demand, more devices and cost-effective mediums would be needed. The device ecosystem at the right price points are a requisite. On 4G, the device ecosystem is still very nascent, especially in the frequency band that India has opted for. Although we see a shift in the price points of smartphones in the Indian market, we need more devices and content to meet consumer expectations and demands ranging from education to entertainment, etc. It is crucial for mobile operators to identify the multimedia nucleus that will most effectively migrate them to a 4G network in the future. Solutions designed for the specific requirements must include the capability to support both 2G/3G and 4G functionality to a single platform. Mobile operators who want to efficiently migrate their networks must be able to capitalize on their investments and offer an excellent experience to their customers. Ritu Singh email@example.com
The Omnipresent The IT sector is not only helping other industries improve their stature, but it is also evolving constantly
T and communication technologies have penetrated into every aspect of the corporate world, irrespective of business interests and scale, with the IT sector adopting them aggressively. The key trends driving the IT industry are—variabilization of IT, simplification of legacy and IT systems, and technology led cost optimization. Clients are increasingly demanding solutions that can help them achieve higher efficiency, simplify their systems and processes, and variabilize their costs. These market forces along with a weak macroeconomic environment demand greater agility from IT companies. In addition, the adoption of macro technology trends by enterprises—cloud, mobility, analytics, and social media—is also creating exciting opportunities for the IT industry.
The Digital Universe As per a recent report by IDC and EMC, India’s digital universe is expected to grow 23 times to 2.9 zettabytes by 2020 and that is a staggering amount and potentially enough to increase the challenges for the IT team, dealing with information storage and management. This kind of ever-increasing and rapid digitization is driving multiple critical transformations in technology. Cloud comput-
ing is becoming an absolute necessity to be operationally more efficient and agile with IT infrastructure; mobility is fast becoming the access device for many; and with vast amounts of data being created, data analytics is in demand to gain new and instant insights.
Concerns After years of accelerated double-digit growth, the industry is facing a period of sluggish growth. Due to the slow economic activity and margin pressures, clients today seek solutions that deliver cost optimization and quantifiable business benefits. In many cases, IT vendors are also required to do upfront investments and take ownership of client infrastructure, which increases the risks involved. The data size is growing exponentially, especially due to social media generating huge volumes of data. This is making it difficult for IT to handle the volumes. Scale-out NAS is the new trend in the industry. OEMs have their own separate series of products as scale-out NAS to take care of this. This means you can start small
Anil K Jain, sr vice president and global business head, C&M, Wipro Ashwani Tikoo, CIO, CSC Amod Ranade, general manager, IT business, Schneider Electric Neeraj Mediratta, CEO, Ace Data 34 | VOICE&DATA | March 2013 | voicendata.com | A CyberMedia Publication
and upgrade your storage smoothly when required. From a data center point of view, it is becoming difficult for them to handle the bandwidth requirements to cater to such a growing demand of data generation.
The Way Forward Although, the initial value proposition for the industry was basic cost and talent advantages, the focus is shifting towards variabilization, more value creation, and business transformation deals. One of the greatest shifts, in recent years, has been the rise of variabilization of IT due to the adoption of on-demand and pay-per-use models. These models provide clients with greater flexibility to minimize their upfront investments and help them better manage sudden spikes in demand. In addition, IT today needs to be business relevant as clients seek guaranteed business outcomes from vendors before investing. The focus is increasingly shifting towards non-linearity; a client-centric approach and developing innovative solutions that can help solve clients’ key business challenges. Ritu Singh firstname.lastname@example.org
Driving Leadership in the Corporate Jungle
In the demand driven nature of todays business jungle, customers hunt for more in terms of value addition and levels of service. Companies leading the pack need proactive solutions with avant garde technology that cater to this emerging trend.
TECHNOLOGY FOR LEADERS To know how technology can drive your business better and provide a foundation for corporate leadership log onto www.drisht-soft.com/businessleadership
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Tech-aid to Stay Agile There is a constant need to build technology solutions to meet rapidly evolving delivery capabilities and business models
usiness Process Outsourcing (BPO) has become all pervasive; it has expanded and has been exhibiting great dynamism. This outsourcing industry has diversified into several areas such as back offices, knowledge process outsourcing, software designing and engineering, animation, IT consulting, custom applications, infrastructure management, software testing, web development, system integration, game development, application development, transcription, etc. In this intensely competitive world, companies can survive only if they are competent; thus information and communication technologies have become very vital as they assist businesses perform their daily processes. The Indian BPO industry is witnessing a transformation due to the competition not only in India but also from the emerging markets like Philippines. Therefore the sector has embarked on a focused path of change along with a strong assistance from technologies towards re-designing its internal operation and being flexible in product or solution portfolios. For redesigning internal operations; disruptive technologies especially cloud, mobility, social, and big data/analytics are impacting service providers themselves who are applying these technologies to their
internal operationsâ€”from IT to human resources to finance, and dramatically changing how they do business in addition to developing solutions around the same for their customers. The industry aims to be agile and to bring products and services to market quickly. Firms are now operating within the context of increasingly global partnerships, joint ventures, and M&A activity,
Subramanya C, chief technology officer, Hinduja Global Services Rajendra Deshpande, chief technology officer, Serco Global Services Gayatri Anandh, head, technology, Firstsource Solutions Anant Deshpande, vice president, business development, Cisco Prashant Gupta, head, solutions, India, Verizon Enterprise Solutions
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and to act fast when opportunities to improve the product/solution portfolio arise as more customers demand open, flexible platforms on which to develop their increasingly digitized businesses. Imperatives to understand how industry verticals and customer segments will themselves adjust to the changing technology landscapeâ€”they are devising specific strategies for developing products and services that serve these vertical needs, and to align and mobilize people and the organization to these verticals. The focus on cost efficiencies, business models and non-linear growth is growing stronger.
Technology is Important Technology is facilitating service providers as they continue on their drive to create synergies, assisting their efforts to move
up the value chain and take on additional roles. Emerging trends in service delivery like cloud computing and platform BPO are likely to remodel the industry by creating new business opportunities for the IT/ITeS vendors and driving changes in the traditional service offerings. Today, margin pressures are pushing companies to proactively look for ways to contain costs while enhancing output. As known, ITeS/BPO industry is a very technology-intensive industry. It is one among the largest consumers/adopters of information and communication technologies. Economic uncertainties have forced organizations to reset their operational costs and technology-related spending. There is a stronger customers’ intent on transferring ownership of processes and expectation of an integrated package from the BPO players. Technology is a great boon for ITeS sector and it has helped to industry to stay compliant to standardized processes, regional statutory norms, and internal controls; decentralize operations and has brought in uniformity across businesses and geographies. Implementation of technology is not only assisting BPO companies to delivering efficient services but it is also helping them to resolve significant cost pressure and budget constraints; economic climate calls for companies to do more with less. There is a dire need for innovation and transformation capabilities to enable and manage new business demand, models, and products/services; ability to support a more global ecosystem and leverage global capabilities in and outsourced; ability to acquire new talents, develop, and retain the best resources, etc. These requirements can be enhanced by increasing IT credibility throughout the business and it thereby helps to build capabilities to respond quickly to new business opportunities and challenges, optimize business processes, and develop new applications. The industry ought to modernize and rationalize a complex and inefficient technology environment.
ICT Reigning BPO Cloud computing has enabled the efficient use of IT through sharing of
Highlights Margin pressures are pushing companies to proactively look for ways to contain costs while enhancing output. Economic uncertainties have forced organizations to reset their operational costs and technologyrelated spending.
resources, high agility, enhanced collaboration, and consumption driven costing. Cloud computing is fast emerging as an answer to the business needs of driving down IT costs as a proportion of operating and capital expenditure. However this is still at an initial stage due to regulatory and security related issues. While cloud computing has the potential to make productivity gains for a business and reduce costs as a viable alternative to a number of on-premise operations, the imperative for each organization differs. For small to medium businesses, cloud offers a viable business proposition. For many large businesses that have invested in heavy and complex ERP systems, the decision to invest in cloud is a capital intensive one. It also depends on the kind of services being provided by their service providers to enable technology and business changes. Thus, cloud is still in its adolescence. Disruptive technologies such as virtualization, service oriented architecture (SOA), innovative delivery models like web-services, software-as–a-service (SaaS) and subscription/transaction/ondemand business models are boosting the industry. Today most organizations have begun the migration to virtualization technologies but due to concerns and lack of understanding, they are excluding clouds from their plans. In organizations further along the path, IT is already virtualized, enabling private cloud solutions focused on customer and vendor integration. These organizations are implementing all or parts of levels 1, 2, and 3. Other organizations are willing to let public clouds handle commodity collaboration and desktop productivity. Ultimately,
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everything should run on a cloud platform with both private and public versions of many applications, where access to compute resources are determined by policies. The BPO value proposition is going through lots of changes, unlike the yesteryears where customers were looking at cost cutting; today they are seeking higher involvement from the BPO providers. With BPOs becoming strategic partners, they are working towards providing end-to-end services with enduring innovation and here technology has seen to play a key differentiator. Customers are becoming more international in their approach and they are looking for global solutions. There is a constant requirement to move from consolidated, scale delivery centers to more globally distributed delivery models. Additionally, there is a need to review from execution to solution-centric approaches. There is a constant need to build technology solutions to meet rapidly evolving delivery capabilities and business models. Mobile technologies, cloud computing/SaaS, and analytics continue to be in the limelight.
Cloud Migration With more and more companies adopting cloud based technologies, successful cloud migration is of major concern, keeping in mind the security implications, infrastructure and operating costs. It is advisable to have a prototype before completely shifting to cloud that will help in understanding the right solution and minimizing risks. Data security and disaster recovery are two critical components of sustenance and can strike to pose a challenge. Innovation has taken the center stage and has become more important than ever before. There is a constant need to provide more complex, integrated business solutions for clients. This requires breaking silos that exist in most delivery organizations and ensure that the best capabilities across the organization can be brought together for clients. Malini N email@example.com
IT at the Core
Technology’s role in BFSI is rising but for more adoption, the sector would have to clear all roadblocks
anking, insurance, and financial services (BFSI) have always remained a very critical business, both from the service provider’s and customer’s perspective. BFSI players have traditionally struggled to reach out to their customers as injecting trust among them was always
the biggest challenge for the financial institutions. Customers too have exhibited a great deal of resistance in accepting services by the BFSI players because of the same reason. But over the years, ICT has helped BFSI players as well as customers in understanding each other. Service providers made it possible that the customers
Mukesh Kumar Jain, CTO, ICICI Bank Amit Sethi, CIO, YES Bank Custan D’ Souza, project manager, IT, ICICI Lombard Debraj Dam, VP, strategic business and partner alliance, DIGISOL
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access the services anywhere, anytime, and they have gone on to transfer a lot of control into the hands of customers, thus building up a healthy relationship between the players and the customers.
The Evolution Banks have grown in understanding the power of technology and have begun leveraging advancements in technology to improve operations and enhance customer service. Earlier, banks had an internal approach towards technology with a huge focus on back offices, batch processing, etc, but over the years, banks have realized the importance of customer experience becoming a service differentiator and have evolved with focus on front office, customer facing
MOSL — Motilal Oswal Securties Ltd. Background The Customer base of MOSL includes Retail customers, mutual funds, foreign institutional investors, financial institutions and corporate clients. Among these, the company directly deals with High Net Worth Individuals thereby defining the criticality of quality of customer experience for them. MOSL has a wide-spread network in over 576 cities and towns in India and 1,257 business locations. On September 30th, 2009 the total registered customers with MOSL were 5,80,667. With a large customer bank, effective call handling and information management becomes the root problem.
Business Challenges: In a financial service enterprise like MOSL, customer account management and effective customer handling takes center stage. In case of MOSL, an interesting point that came forward was the direct relation between the customer and advisor or account manager. In case the advisor shifts job or is unable to attend the call of this customer next time, the probability of this customer shifting as well increased manifold. Addressing the problem of advisor attrition and training a new advisor for effective account management of a High Net worth (HNW) Customer is a major challenge in investment and trading businesses. In similar business environments, an advisor usually manages multiple accounts sometimes up to 15 in number. Managing the customer information and maintaining interaction records for regulatory purposes becomes a challenge. Also if all 15 customers are trying to reach the same advisor at some profitable market position for immediate trading, handling or prioritizing calls in real-time becomes an unachievable task leading to loss in business or even customer loss. The business required add-on productivity to enhance customer experience. This included increased call handling capacity per agent during peak call flow periods and also access to the missed calls to initiate a real-time callback to retain the customer interest. When the customer calls frequency is much less, the advisors sort and dial out to HNW clients from database. This sorting and getting live call connects takes up a major chunk of the advisors productive time. An automation of this process to harness maximum advisor productivity was another business challenge.
Key Business Requirements: Drishti’s expertise in Enterprise Communications Applications and Contact Center Software were the major determinants for the client to choose Drishti as its technology partner. After a thorough review of client’s infrastructure, Drishti and the client had numerous meetings to discuss the requirements and possible solutions in detail to address client’s pain points. The key business requirements chalked out were an intelligent routing system that could route the customer calls to the right advisor and also an advanced number or lead management system that could automate client sorting and dialing processes to eliminate wastage of advisor time. A complete interaction and information management solution needed to be implemented for a unified customer experience.
Solution: Some highlight points of solution provided by Ameyo technology deployed at MOSL were: Centralized Information Management – Ameyo provided for central management of all customer information by recording of all customer-advisor transactions and regular updates of all customer details in the integrated CRM. This enabled a new advisor to effectively handle an existing customer. The HNI customer did not feel a disconnect or the inconvenience to share previously communicated information again. Thus the pain point of customer attrition rates due to unavailability of same advisor could be addressed effectively. Effective customer interaction management - Multiple phone lines were configured per advisor and multiple queues created to handle numerous simultaneous interactions. The system pre-informed the advisor about the customer calling in or being called. A customized CRM interface displaying customer info popped-up with each call to equip the advisor with real-time info. The IVR and Dialer components were implemented for broadcasting, as well as manual dialing.
on his/her intelligence and market scenario. This enabled minimized drop rates for HNI calls during peak hours. Thus the M-shaped call flow peaking at market opening and closing times could be managed efficiently without any important customer being ignored. Right Advisor Per Customer – A intelligent multi-site, need- & skill-based routing system was implemented for over 400 seats, with 3-4 lines per advisor, adding up to a total of over 1400 channels. This enabled routing of customer calls to the advisor best equipped or trained to handle the customer account. Prompt and proficient customer handling translated to increased business. Pick’n’choose Customer from Call Queues - Unlike a typical ACD, IP-PBX functionality where calls are routed to the next available agent, the advisors can view the calls in their personal or generic queues, and click on the call they wish to take. The queue also shows clients rating, as certain HNW (High Net Worth) clients need to be attended on a priority basis (on choice of the advisor). The system creates multiple ACD queues for every advisor where he/she can view the clients in the queue waiting to be served by him/her. Advanced Customer reach-out integrated with Dial’n’Trade - Complete outbound dialing - including broadcast, manual and preview – was implemented integrated with the enhanced Dial’n’Trade platform of MOSL where retail customers dial. High uptime was ensured by eliminating single point of failure. Pro-active Notifications – The system sent pro-active Email and SMS alerts on different events and triggers. For instance, an advisor should be able to view missed calls during her/his unavailability, so a callback could be scheduled appropriately. This ensured that no important call missed earlier went unnoticed and a callback was initiated on time so that no business opportunity was missed. Enhanced Customer Service – Deployment of advanced technology platform to keep ahead of time for a time-critical business process like MOSL’s was a major determinant of the success of Ameyo at MOSL. Prompt customer service coupled with pro-active information delivery via broadcast messages that inform clients of specific market behavior or event during the day were needed to enhance customer experience.
Value Delivered Greater Consumer Satisfaction and Retention - Increase in quality of customer handling – Missed Call live report and queue view of waiting calls enabled them to choose or pick priority calls. The customer gets to talk to his/her preferred advisor. Increased Efficiency hence more Profitability per Advisor - Single View of all Business Operations – A centrally managed unified interface giving complete view of all interactions and queues was implemented. The advisors could now handle more accounts. Perfect Match to Current and Future needs - Custom Made Solution for Trading Houses – Drishti’s Ameyo Contact Center Software was tailored to their needs including changes in business logic and User Interface. Ameyo’s Service Oriented Architecture and Model driven UI generation greatly reduced the time for delivery. All-in-one solution with Managed view of Customer Interactions - Single Solution for all Customer Interaction Processes- The client today has a managed solution with a consolidated view of operations across geographies and functions. This opens arena of data collation/ analysis and future improvement since any new process flow or a change in existing process can be easily accommodated.
About Drishti (www.drishti-soft.com) Drishti-Soft Solutions Pvt. Ltd. is a leading innovator of communications technologies for next-generation Enterprises, empowering them to dynamically manage their Business Processes. Their customers enjoy significant benefits in terms of increase in efficiency levels, reduction in operational costs, flexibility to grow, consistent user experience and a demonstrable ROI. Drishti’s multi-award winning innovative solutions are powering millions of customer interactions across the globe.
No important HNI call went unpicked - A new desktop view was created for the advisor enabling him/her to view his/her queue and pickup calls based
©2003-2010 Drishti-Soft Solutions Pvt. Ltd. All rights reserved.
channels, use of business intelligence for apt decision making, real-time processing, end-user devices, mobility, social media, SOA based architectures, scalability, revamp of legacy infrastructure, etc. The BFSI industry has moved the technology function to a ‘service-oriented architecture’, where solutions are procured as a service, from multiple vendors. So if the bank needs a single billing or payment infrastructure, for example, it would just get that off the shelf from a vendor, without having to go through the trouble of building it in-house. The bank also heavily outsources its needs, and that strategy is paying off in many ways. For one, it allows it to shift management focus away from routine tasks to ‘business transformation’ projects to drive growth. It also needs to make fewer investments in various kinds of technology infrastructure. It can also operate with smaller IT team with flexibility and agility. With the advancement of technology, the BFSI sector has cut down their manpower size of their IT team to 1% of their entire workforce, compared to 8-10% in earlier days.
The Trends Since customers’ demographics and preferences are changing every day, their interactions across various channels—be it online, branches, mobile, etc—become very critical for service differentiation. User experience across these channels could be a big differentiator with automated branches, personalized web pages, etc. CRM is another key trend. It has the capability of running across the entire organization seamlessly across channels providing customers with the right product at the right time through the right channel. It is playing a very critical role for the front-end staff to fully understand customer requirements and create a service differentiation. Also, mobility has become the need of the hour due to its convenience of being available anytime, anywhere. It is the fastest-growing platform for banking interactions and transactions and could
Smart implementation of regulatory, risk management, and compliance systems can turn a cost of doing business into cost reductions also be used for customer on boarding, lead capture, cross selling, etc. Social media and cloud-based services are also gaining momentum. Banks actively use social media to communicate with customers. Banks’ presence on social media is playing a critical role in understanding customer needs. Smart implementation of regulatory, risk management, and compliance systems can turn a cost of doing business into cost reductions and risk management capabilities the bank wants and needs. One more important trend for the banking industry is business analytics. Advanced business intelligence and analytics are the keys to get better information at lower cost. BI can enable advanced analytical abilities which will help banks in creating personalized customer experience, service differentiation, and customer acquisition. With maximum percentage of unbanked population living in rural areas and regulators’ focus on financial inclusion, it has become very important for banks to look at technology which can enable them to cater to this population in a cost-effective manner like micro ATMs, bank on mobile, etc.
Challenges In a dynamic world of technology, finding the right partners and retaining them is necessary and the company makes it a point to join hands with appropriate partners. Since the IT world is dynamic, keeping up with the latest trends and current technological advances are a means for survival. Every company would have
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some ‘hits’ and ‘misses’ due to delay in project delivery, cost going over board, scope of the project going haywire. The most important challenges are to invent and innovate fresh ideas and technological advances faster than the competitors and leverage the technological know-how. The other major challenges would be ‘controlled budget’ and ‘limited time for delivery of the IT projects’. Since all the insurance companies are regulated and controlled under the IRDA norms, almost all insurance companies follow similar guidelines, one of the key parameters that makes a difference would be the technology leverage in all areas of its verticals, which includes administration, sales ( retail and corporate ), human resource, information technology, marketing to name a few.
Vendor Watch Most of the times, vendors are able to meet the requirements and they are matching with the expectations as far as solutions are concerned. But the BFSI sector is looking at strategic partnerships to develop innovative system features in order to improve process efficiencies and co-create sector-specific banking solutions. They are also looking at more public cloud based, platform independent, multi-channel, SOA based solutions for the coming years. Besides, the BFSI sector expects the vendors to use 3 business mantras: ‘better’, ‘faster’, and ‘cheaper,’ and deliver the projects and change request within a ‘time-frame’ Providing timely and relevant consultancy for ‘past’, ‘present’, and ‘future undertaking’ is another kind of expectation that the banking and financial institutions expect from the IT vendors. Application concerns like bug fixing, integration concerns of technical assistance, ego concerns and bad attitude of resources, untrained IT professionals, improper skills, and incomplete knowledge, go a long way in setting up the expectations list from the IT vendor. Ritu Singh firstname.lastname@example.org
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H E A LT H C A R E
Doctor at your Doorstep The sector is adopting IT aggressively to provide quality services to patients, anytime and anywhere
echnology is at the heart of the healthcare sector across various segments such as hospitals, pharmaceuticals, diagnostics service centers, medical equipment, devices manufacturing, and medical insurance. It is enabling the industry to deliver quality and error-free services. It can, to an extent, resolve key critical challenges of the healthcare industry such as delivering quality healthcare to more people at a lower cost, shortage of qualified nurses
and doctors, etc. ICT systems help to enhance efficiency of healthcare delivery infrastructure, manage patient flows, cost management, and remove unnecessary costs. Technology can minimize errors and redundancies while ensuring better healthcare delivery through patient data analytics, evidence-based medication, paperless transactions, and more. With IT integration, patients can be accorded personal attention through seamless communication and interactions.
Srikanth Raman Chief Information Officer, Narayana Hrudayalaya Anant Deshpande Vice President Business Development, Cisco
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Shelling Out more on IT According to an OSEC report, the healthcare industryâ€™s spending on IT requirements is expected to grow at a CAGR of 25% from $191 mn in 2010 to $1.5 bn annually by 2020. ICT in healthcare delivery market in India is at a nascent stage. By 2020, the Indian healthcare industry is estimated to be worth $275 bn. The usage of ICT in hospitals is restricted to functional areas such as pay roll processing, inventory management, maintaining patientâ€™s records, and revenue management at large. Besides this, ICT usage in public hospitals is very limited as compared to private hospitals in India. Several private-owned hospitals are building new competencies, integrating processes, and outsourcing non-core operations. The prominent ICT adoption in the healthcare industry are hospital information systems (HIS), such as electronic
medical records for patient management, critical procedures administration, TPA communication and data-management systems, medical transcription services, application software systems integration viz EMR/ EHR, CPOE, PACS, and DSS requirements.
Cloud Technologies From the past 2 to 5 years, healthcare is adopting cloud technologies. Pharmaceuticals too have migrated to cloud model in areas such as research and development, clinical trial management, and healthcare information exchanges. The explosion of data from next generation sequencing, the growing importance of biologics in the research process is making cloudbased computing an increasingly important aspect of R&D. Pharmaceutical companies are using both public and private clouds for data storage, hosting, and access needs. The main impact to pharmaceutical companies is a reduced dependence on their own IT infrastructures. ICT solutions enable healthcare providers to discharge patients sooner and patients to manage their post-treatment recovery at home, these solutions also allow patients and nurses to connect back into an acute care facility and coordinate care through voice and video. Cloud computing provides the ability for companies to move away from capital expenditures or capex intensive deployments to an operating expenditure/payas-you-go business model. The business advantages of cloud computing include the standardization and streamlining of operations, higher reusability, better integration, and stronger collaboration with external entities and the healthcare ecosystem. However as the uptake of cloud increases, we can also expect a greater focus on security, privacy, data protection, and IP management.
ICT Trends As ICT adoption is increasing over the years, networking, peripheral industry, software services, and e-prescription applications are rising. Due to increase in data flow, the deployment of storage and
The healthcare industryâ€™s spending on IT requirements is expected to grow at a CAGR of 25% from $191 mn in 2010 to $1.5 bn annually by 2020 server consolidation is augmenting. Tele-medicine, PACS, integrations of medical equipment, activity-based cost management (ABCM) solutions are gaining momentum. Building automation, mobile phone-based technologies related to embedded systems, RFID, and nano-technology are generating interest in healthcare IT. Centralized internet access security enforcement, biometric physical access control, and integration with the attendance system are some of the trends, while Lotus notes messaging is also in vogue; for each reach, the industry has opted for digital wireless telephony at hospitals. In recent months, there have been foreign direct investments in the healthcare market in India. Private hospitals are investing in ICT framework, and its being slowly adopted by the government-run set-ups as well. Private healthcare companies, where ICT adoption started early, have initiated new point-of-care solutions. With latest mobile devices like tablets, smartphones, and applications compatible for these devices, mobility will be the focus in the future. Healthcare providers are spending an ever-increasing portion of their budget on chronic disease care. There are technological solutions provided by the tech vendors which can help in wellness management. There are solutions which can automate routine processes such as outreach, education, and collection of vital statistics and that can improve patient experience and provide better disease management. Healthcare professionals are very mobile and need to collaborate across care teams to provide the best care. There is
an availability of mobile care coordination, which comprises of 3 applications that enable greater staff mobility and accessibility to enhance care delivery and management. Healthcare providers need the ability to secure and control the vast number of mobile devices in the workplace.
Concerns The most pressing concern of CIOs in the healthcare industry is convincing the top management that technology can be an enabler for driving business. Because, if an investment is proposed by CIOs for IT deployments the management desires to invest on fresh medical equipment, rather than IT. The adoption of advanced IT tools has been minimal in this sector except in private hospitals. They are facing challenges of having a central infrastructure, to have a realtime information flow, and to set up an effective communication flow. Telehealth solutions should give home care nurses and rural hospital workers fast access to specialists and physicians, located anywhere, via video. Telemedicine needs a presence awareness to locate and communicate with a primary care provider, specialists, onsite clinicians, emergency responders, and the like. Overall, the healthcare industry lacks some ICT provisions namely country-specific healthcare IT regulations, international healthcare information exchange standard enforcement, information availability at the point-of-care, inexpensive mapping communication technology with organized information, and medical IT equipment and solutions which are upgradable and durable. CIOs in this industry vertical are burdened with increased overheads, the imperative to ensure quick turnaround time for treatments and constrained about going beyond the basics of IT. Sourcing care protocols-based software, mobile phone-based care delivery, and tele-health care, etc, are also some tough task. Malini N firstname.lastname@example.org
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Smart Classrooms for Gen Next
The 21st century has opened up communication channels across the globe, and education is an area where sky is the limit
he advancement of information and communications technology has impacted the efficiency and productiveness of each and every aspect of human life. It has redefined the way human beings access a particular service. The advent of new technologies in
the area of education has completely changed the way it was imparted few decades back. From a traditional method, where teachers used blackboard-chalk to teach their students in a closed classroom and students were present physically, the education services have now changed
Sunil Sirohi, vice president, technology services organization, NIIT JS Sodhi, assistant VP, Amity Group Debraj Dam, VP, strategic business and partner alliance, DIGISOL 46 | VOICE&DATA | March 2013 | voicendata.com | A CyberMedia Publication
dramatically to even a virtual classroom with the teacher giving lessons from anywhere in the world. Chalk and blackboard have been replaced with digital learning and lessons can be accessed through various devicesâ€”smartphones, tablets, etc.
Injecting IT in Education The 21st century has opened up communication channels virtually across the globe and education has become an area, where sky is the limit. The advantage in using modern tools and techniques in education can be traced with the introduction of computer based education where a teacher used to present a subject and provide live demonstration
to the students for laboratory based experiments. The scenario and experience of education have also changed. The internet era has given birth to web based training or online training. Classrooms are no more confined to four walls or reading just by paper books. Availability of learning material has increased. The advantage is that the education providers can upload their lessons on the web and aspirants can study their respective lessons at anytime and from any part of the world. The main advantage is that the study materials can be updated at any point of time and also at a much lower cost. There has been change from the blackboard to the overhead projector and from the slide rule to the iPad. In reality, the audio visual impact of such training has become phenomenal. Students can also play and rewind the show again and again at their own choice for accuracy. Nowadays, the universe is made up of internet connected things and students are more connected to the internet than anybody else. From simple e-book reading over a device to learning on internet, learning in a collaborative manner, learning by experience—are all supported by technology. Now one does not necessarily need to be inside a physical classroom to study or learn. The students have been liberated from the four walls, thanks to technology. The chat rooms, the video lectures, the interactive synchronous learning solutions, the availability of affordable end user devices (netbooks, mobiles, tablets), and availability of the internet are all heterogeneous technologies coming together to give a homogenous learning experience to students.
Challenges Though there are huge transformations taking place in the way education was imparted, for a country like India, challenges seem to be unending. But again, the solutions lie with ICT only. In order to reach every nook and corner of the country and educate people, a reliable means is required, which
Highlights The next big thing for the education industry will be that it will change from teacher-centric to technologycentric Students will engage in collaborative activities through various tools and devices of information technology
can be provided through a high speed broadband network. Of the total 18-20 mn broadband users in the country, a major part is being represented by the urban population. The more needy rural folks are yet to see what broadband can do for them. The age old belief that the rural population cannot open their wallet for the new age technologies is proved wrong with the boom in mobile communication. If they can open their wallet to enable communication with their near and dear ones through a device, perhaps, they would be the ones who would hesitate less to do that for education too. The income-spent on education ratio of rural people has always been more than that of urban people. Besides broadband, the access device and what-the-students-would-access ecosystem has remained a big challenge. If looked closely, the traditional reading materials, writing notes, pens and pencils can be easily replaced by a smart device—a tablet. The overall cost of ‘reading material’ would come down drastically if the push for a tablet in the schools and for students is done objectively. There are many vendors who have come out with low-cost tablets in the recent past that can be adopted by the schools in a big way. Though the government has taken few initiatives in this direction but most of them have not achieved its purpose. Mobile communication became a success world over because it was solving a very basic requirement—voice communication. Similar success can be seen in digital education if the very basic educational requirements are fulfilled by the education service providers. Vocational education in vernacular languages, community
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specific education depending on the requirement can change the whole dynamics of education. People from all walks of life can study content what they have not studied before.
Outlook The next big thing for the education industry will be that it will change from teacher-centric to technology-centric. Students will engage in collaborative activities through various tools and devices of information technology while the teacher assumes the role of facilitator. Wireless, video streaming, and mobile apps are the future of ICT. Cloud-based education is gaining momentum day-byday as it solves 2 basic purposes--offering education services at an affordable cost and reaching to masses. It’s not dependent on any physical classroom, students can access any training material living in any remote location. Cisco’s recently launched Cisco Education Enabled Development (CEED 2700) solution is one example in that direction. This collaborative, cloud-based video interaction solution enables efficient delivery of education and skills development courses across the country, facilitating inclusive growth and empowering rural India. Code named ‘Dwara’ (after the Sanskrit word for portal to signify a doorway to a new future), the product is the first of Cisco’s ground-breaking ‘internet-ofeverything’ solutions from India. Helping connect the unconnected, this kind of solution enables vast rural population to access expert teachers and master trainers. These technologies hold immense opportunity in the education sector as students are the building blocks and the coming generation of the society. Students utilize these services to the optimum level and being the end-user of the service, they are always in a better position to ideate, innovate, and develop the applications for their community. Also, the student community usually utilizes and enjoys the benefits from the successful applications downloaded in huge volume by the subscribers through revenue sharing. Ritu Singh email@example.com
Changing Techquations Technological advances continue to assist in exploration, development, and production in the sector
emand for oil and gas has been incessantly increasing whereas the discovery volumes are decreasing. Business functionalities are getting more and more complex in oil and gas sector; therefore business models in this sector are amalgamated with technology, political relationships, experienced personnel, environmental protection and economics. It would not be an exaggeration if we say that technology adoption in a way has contributed towards shaping the destiny of oil and gas industry. Technology has become an integral element of this sector, it is a prime facilitator to meet energy needs and to improve access in
all exploration, production, and distribution phase. The oil and gas sector is moving from being a low-tech industry to one of the highest-tech industries in the world; it is maintaining vigorous programs of research and development to expand capabilities and lower the costs of operation. The sector is increasingly relying on technological advances and here we bring to you the prime technological needs, advanced tech solutions available specifically to oil and gas sector and how it is shaping the sector.
Tech Needs Oil and gas sector is in dire need of technologies that they can manage and
control with ease and to lower production costs. The industry requires development of new and better technologies to maintain records of exploration being made at greater depths on land, in deeper water at sea and at substantial distances from consuming markets. New, innovative technologies can help companies remotely and automatically monitor wells and fields, and consequently take preventative measures to help avoid production downtime. The anticipated result is value creation in the huge investments each year through better finding and recovery rates, reduced lifting, production and overhead costs, and increased production.
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Tips for CIOs When implementing ICT solutions in the oil sector, CIO ought to fulfill several needs— one, the ability to have sufficient capital to invest in new technologies; two, the human and logistical infrastructure has to be in place so that it is possible to apply and work with the new technology. Three, they should ensure technologies are within the reach of organization for business processes—for example, employees need to be able integrate and transform those data into knowledge and share and mix different bits of the knowledge of various experts in order to take quick collective decisions on the optimization of business processes. CIO ought to evaluate and test off-the-shelf products to ensure their applicability to the organization’s business requirements.
Technology is certainly a boon. It directly detects and distinguishes the presence of hydrocarbons. Technology is one of the components in the sector’s success equation as technological advances are continuing to assist in exploration, development and production. Evolving technology has the ability to improve industry’s ability to virtually see and distinguish oil and gas before drilling. In upstream operations, ICTs and related technologies may provide possibilities for expanding crude oil reserves, improving the rate of crude oil extraction from existing wells, and providing further means to discover new wells. The capital-intensive and labour-saving nature of the oil industry helps to explain the very high levels of company revenues per employee especially for a large oil companies this involves huge costs. The information revolution further increases the role of automation, computation, modeling and other analysis methods, and has scaled up the use of ICTs in the petroleum industry, both upstream and downstream. The must-have basic ICT solutions for exploration, production, transport, refining and marketing segments in the sector are real-time reservoir management, remote performance monitoring, advanced collaboration environments, production optimization support, process automation, supply chain optimization, equipment optimization, security solutions, equipment optimization, and customer retention and e-payments. As oil fields and locations are in remote places, the main telecommunications networks should have sufficient bandwidth to maintain operations in a holistic way. Ma-
jority of the CIOs have deployed services of satellite telecom providers to set up intra-company satellite telecommunication networks to link all oil fields and manage from head or regional offices.
Advanced Technologies In order to lower operating costs while exploration and production advanced technology, such as 3D and 4D seismic downhole sensors and bandwidth are great tools to provide vast amounts of near real time information that enable companies be more successful in exploration and production. There is often too much complex information to assimilate and understand in the time needed to make quick, accurate decisions. This convergence of forces, threats and technology is creating a perfect environment for the emergence of the intelligent oil field. Massive amount of sensor data can now be stored and searched using advanced visualization technology—allowing data to remain at the source and avoiding transmission of massive data stores. Visualization, modeling, and analytics are making it easier for decision makers to understand the wealth of complex information, leading to improved reservoir management. The technology groundwork has been laid for the intelligent oil field to become a reality mainly in gulf countries. Solutions for intelligent oil fields offered by technology vendors enable oil and gas companies to evaluate and execute drill programs to facilitate better reservoir management, optimize profits from producing assets, and better leverage their existing workforce.
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The must-have basic ICT solutions for exploration, production, transport, refining and marketing segments in the sector are real-time reservoir management, remote performance monitoring, advanced collaboration environments, production optimization support, process automation, supply chain optimization, equipment optimization, security solutions, equipment optimization, and customer retention and e-payments. Some of the basic technologies implemented across oil and gas sector include software-enabled solutions for various business transactions including sales, material quality, production planning, human resource, plant maintenance, supply chain management (crude procurement, crude storage, crude processing in refineries, products to manufacture), and optimizing distribution channels through trucks, wagons, pipelines, barges, and tankers. Besides, the other common technologies helping the industry include advanced process control and optimization, real-time database for receiving real-time data related to temperature, flow, level, and quality parameters. Malini N firstname.lastname@example.org
In an always-on, data-hungry society, consumers want to the ability to decide what services they need, along with how and where they will consume them. Empowering customers to take control of their experiences in real time, across any channel, network, service or device requires that service providers reshape traditional BSS, OSS and network control domains to remove traditional barriers to service and system convergence. The Amdocs CES 9 portfolio can help you leverage your natural resources â€“ brand, operations, network and data â€“ to simplify experience with simple, personalized and valuable experiences, harness data to monetize demand and optimize assets, stay ahead with new services and sources of revenue and be efficient to reduce costs and time to value. With Amdocs, you can support the complete customer experience, from the device to the network. Experience success with a company that has embraced challenge for over 30 years. Learn more at www.amdocs.com/powerofexperience.
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R e ta i l
Quickly Adopting New Tech The retail industry is investing heavily in technology to enable itself to adapt to the ever changing needs of the market place
he retail sector has significantly transformed over a period of time due to demanding customers who are getting more sophisticated, their spending habits, and the globalization of retailers. In India, traditional markets have paved way for departmental stores, hypermarkets, supermarkets, shopping
malls, and specialty stores. And this has led to the complexities in managing retail operations. The sector is also on a quest to enhance revenue and decrease costs. Adoption of technology has proved to be a great tool in eliminating operational complexities and it has also enabled the dramatic transformation of business processes. At present, the sector has
Expert Panel Sunil Nair, vice president, technology, Max Hypermarket India Vinod Bidarkoppa, director (IT) and chief information officer, Tesco HSC Anant Deshpande, vice president, business development, Cisco 52 | VOICE&DATA | March 2013 | voicendata.com | A CyberMedia Publication
become a technology-intensive industry as it aims to enhance customer satisfaction, predict consumer demands, shorten lead times, reduce inventory holding, and eventually save cost and increase profit margins. Technology is enabling retailers to be competent and be victorious in a fierce competition. Technology has transformed the buying behaviorâ€”it is giving better visibility for management into store operations and it is improving bottom line.
Mission-critical Technologies Technology uptake in the retail sector has been increasing y-o-y and retailers are enabled to deliver more value and higher service levels. Technology innovations help to stay competitive in 4
Tips for CIOs Many of the technologies adopted in the retail sector are essentially wireless. Centralization of wireless LAN management and security is a critical requirement while deploying in a retail environment that may contain thousands of access points in a large area. But if it is deployed properly wireless networks can be more secure than wired networks. The proper implementation of authentication and encryption resolves security problems. All wireless LANs inside a retail environment ought to be subject to PCI DSS requirements and wireless LAN should be configured for compliance. Retailers must move away from Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) as it can be broken easily and it makes their networks more vulnerable to intrusion while it could be used for inventory management applications. When technology is implemented and managed correctly it will continue to drive costs down and enhance productivity. IT systems will be an issue rather than components of the solution if retailers fail to manage IT landscape effectively. It is very evident that retail industry is investing more in technology in order to adapt to the ever changing needs of the market place. The industry wants to get more value out of IT.
key categories in retail viz convenience, price, size, and speed. In stores and on the sales floor, high-tech tools help balance inventory assortments. With the help of customer tracking tools, retailers can increase customer satisfaction and promote loyalty by enhancing shoppers’ in-store experience. Apart from an in-store experience, technology also helps in enhancing the online shopping experience of its customers by giving them some of the best shopping applications with which they can shop without visiting the physical stores yet getting all the desired products at their doorstep. This kind of technology innovation guarantees an enhancement in the service levels of the retailer as it adds a lot of ease to the quite tedious task of shopping. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags is one of the key technology that is been adopted in retail sector as it increases operation efficiency, it is revolutionizing everything from logistics to inventory processing to customer experience. It is basically used to manage merchandise at every stage from shopping to stocking and sales. Each shipping box, hanger, block of display racks, and shopping cart at checkout can be simultaneously read using a
reader/writer, making it is possible to substantially improve the efficiency of work performed by employees. There are 2 types of RFID— passive and active. Passive RFID tags contain no battery, and must be energized by RFID readers located within a few meters. The typical use for passive RFID is to track inventory as it moves through doors, loading docks, or other choke points in a retail operation. Active RFID tags, on the other hand, contain a battery and active electronics and are thus slightly larger and more expensive. The current generation of active tags uses standard 802.11 wireless LAN technologies and can inter-operate with other devices, such as barcode scanners and PCs, on a wireless LAN. This means that only a single network needs to be deployed and managed, with all radio devices in a retail operation using the same network. Point of Sale (PoS) is replacing traditional counters. It is not letting customers to abandon long queues during congested periods and leave the store without making a purchase. Retailers have set up PoS using handheld computers, scanners, and printers with integrated credit card readers. During high-volume sales periods, sales people outfitted with these
mobile PoS terminals can be positioned throughout a store at small tables. For customers paying by credit card, the full transaction can be completed and a store receipt printed where it is convenient for the customer. Retailers are able to boost sales by reducing ‘out-of-stock’ situation with the assistance of in-store inventory both in retail space and warehouse. Merchandise has been entering into inventory upon arrival at the loading dock, tracked when it is moved to the floor, and removed from inventory when it is sold. Store associates using wireless-enabled handheld computers can easily and quickly perform inventory management tasks. For example, handheld computers with integrated barcode scanners can be used during restocking periods to instantly track how much product is on the floor and how much was moved to the floor from the back room. When merchandise is available in the warehouse or back room but is out of stock on the main floor, store associates can easily use wireless terminals to view the location of merchandise. With the addition of wireless printers, price updates can also be performed on the spot. ERP vendors are offering retail-specific systems which help in integrating all the functions from warehousing to distribution, front, back office store systems and merchandising. An integrated supply chain helps the retailer in maintaining his stocks, getting his supplies on time, preventing stock outs and thus reducing his costs, while servicing the customer better. CRM systems have provided retailers with real access to consumer data. Data warehousing and mining technologies offers retailers the tools they need to make sense of their consumer data and apply into business. This, along with the various available CRM systems, allows the retailers to study the purchase behavior of consumers in detail and grow the value of individual consumers to their business. Malini N email@example.com
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H O S P I TA L I T Y
Working Like a Charm As India sees an unprecedented growth in the hotel industry, ICT can cash in on this opportunity
he role of ICT in the hospitality industry cannot be underestimated as it is a crucial driving force in the current information driven society. It has provided new tools and enabled new distribution channels, thus creating a new business environment.
The country is witnessing an unprecedented growth in hotel constructions and will be adding almost 114,000 hotel guest rooms to its inventory over the next 5 years, that can provide huge scope for ICT to cash in on this sector. India currently has over 200,000 hotel rooms spread across hotel categories and
Expert Panel Vipil Gupta, general manager, information systems, Indian Hotels Badar Afaq, corporate IT manager, Fortune Hotels Sangya Gupta, consultant, IT infrastructure, ASK Consultants
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guest-houses and is still facing a shortfall of over 100,000 rooms. To meet the growing demand and stay ahead from others, the hoteliers are using various kinds of technology tools.
ICT Advancements ICT tools have facilitated business transaction in the industry by networking with trading partners, distribution of product services, and providing information to consumers across the globe. Tools like SMS, emails, and internet are used for informing the guest about the hotel, booking details, feedbacks, festivals, and upcoming promotions, etc. Hotels have the opportunity to cultivate relationships with their customers
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H O S P I TA L I T Y
and adopt customer-centered approaches. Technology needs to simplify the way hotels look after every single need of their customer. By using ICT-enabled processes to coordinate all departments and services, as well as all properties for hotel chains, they are able to run the business more efficiently, adding value at each stage of consumer interaction. Small and unique properties will be able to utilize ICTs strategically to demonstrate their specific benefits and to illustrate how they can innovate. By developing links with other properties they can also enhance their virtual size and compete with larger players. Larger hospitality organizations can benefit from economies of scale, multi-channel distribution strategies, and from streamlining their operations through e-procurement .
Latest Trends Hotels nowadays have started using technology in highly innovative manner as many hotels around the world have ‘ipad wall’ located in their hotel lobby with many ipads loaded with the latest apps to help the guests. Some hotels provide mobile phones, laptop charger, ear buds, speakers, and even a flash drive for the guests. Moreover, a lot of 5-star hotels have enabled their rooms, with free 100 megs of Wi-Fi, which is equipped with all the bells and whistles, from the in-room iPod/iPad docking clock radio to the new iPhone 5 adapters. The ‘folks beyond Yotel’ in New York City took their technology to new heights by introducing Yobot, a 15-foot automated luggage handler. Essentially, the robot selects and moves luggage from a very large luggage rack in order to organize all the pieces received each day during check-in. Even the small hotels have made their own space in technology. In one such example, a 41-room boutique hotel has a special catering system in place as it offers convenience at the touch of a button. All the rooms are equipped with wall consoles for calling the butler or for other services. Seattle’s Hotel 1000 has an electronic
Highlights ICT tools have facilitated business transaction in the industry by networking with trading partners and distribution of product services One of the major challenges the hospitality sector faces all the time is integration of disparate systems
doorbell in place which silently scans the space with infrared sensors to detect body heat so that the staff knows when any guest is in and out of the room and thus never disrupts the guest during his stay. Scalable and ‘on demand’ technologies also allow organizations to switch computation power between applications, according to dynamic demand. The combination of enhancements in processing and flexibility of processing capability allows organizations to use their resources more wisely and profitably. The development of mobile and portable devices, from laptops and tablet PCs to PDAs (personal digital assistants) and smartphones also offer significant computation power, storage, and portability. Tablets are increasingly developing interfaces that simulate notebooks and palmtops and PDAs offer lightweight portable computing. People will soon carry a device that incorporates both a mobile phone and a fairly powerful and permanently connected personal computer, enabling both voice and data communications.
Challenges and Measures Taken One of the major challenges the hospitality sector faces all the time is integration of disparate systems. There is hardly any completely integrated solution available in the hospitality industry which can offer CRS, CRM, PMS, POS, SnC, SPA, etc, all together in one system. Customization as per Indian compliance structure is also a bottleneck in getting some internationally acclaimed solutions. There is a deficit of matured IT vendors also. Use of anti-virus firewalls with regular updations and placing proper policies are some of the measures taken. Control on the usage of internet with proper restric-
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tions, users with proper ids and their usage restrictions and continuous monitoring of the systems are some other measures. A security chain involves coordinated measures both technical and non-technical (social technical) necessarily taken to enable the provision and maintenance of adequate levels of ICT security within organizations or a nation as a whole. In order to create, maintain, and change its ICT security culture, certain enabling factors and changes at the national level are instrumental and necessary. However a security system can only be effective not because of its comprehensiveness but also owing to the attitudes and behaviors of the people who interact with the system. With most of the European countries bleeding with inflation and rising prices, tourists are opting for locations that are less expensive with vast geographical regions. Even the unrest in Arabian countries have compelled their citizens to migrate to less developed countries with diverse culture. The hospitality sector of India may not have performed up to the mark in the past few years, but with the development of Indian healthcare sector, hospitals across the country is filled with foreigners. These foreigners in search of low-cost medical treatment with equally good doctors prefer India as a destination. Moreover festivals like Kumbh-Mela alone is enough to push the overall revenue of the sector. In Maha Kumbh, tourist arrivals increased to over 250 mn from 30 mn in 2001 to take a holy dip. Another factor which will contribute to the bright future of this sector is peace and connectivity in Kashmir. India is undertaking one of its most challenging railway projects ever by building a line to connect Kashmir with the Himalayan foothills. The 290km extension of the Indian Railway network will allow a 900km (560 mile) journey direct from Delhi to Srinagar, the capital of Jammu and Kashmir. This is actually the time of change for the industry, which along with the other industries, has the potential to make India as the most favored tourist destination in South East Asia. V&D Correspondent firstname.lastname@example.org
S R E D A E L
K A E P S
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‘We are at the threshold of the next era of revolution, led by data services’ —R
Chandrashekhar secretary, DoT
As voice telephony reaches the brink, data-driven services is an area that the industry should look into, making it a business-utility case, says telecom secretary R Chandrashekhar. In a chit chat with VOICE&DATA, he gives his insight on a gamut of issues. Excerpts—
or quite some time, we have been hearing about implementation of free nation-wide roaming in 2013. Is the consultation process over or is it still a distant dream? Free roaming will remain our target in 2013. Trai has done formal consultation with various stakeholders and conducted open house process and has undertaken trials within the time-frame. It’s viable in 2013, but it’s difficult to put a precise time-frame to it. State-owned BSNL’s financial health is worrisome. Now the organization is all
set to monetize its land assets. Is that not a bad precedent? BSNL is facing trouble due to sinking market share in the mobile space. There are few deep seated problems that include legacy issues. BSNL maintained wireline infrastructure in rural India which was economically not viable. Wireline business has led to certain investment in infrastructure and manpower. Today, 95% of telecom is mobile connectivity. Other companies have come up in mobile era and targeted specific areas, and not the entire country. In that background, a public sector organization with over 300,000 employees can’t
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rationalize and restructure overnight. In order to come out of the mess and to utilize assets, the company is putting its land to productive use. Both PSUs, BSNL and MTNL, were ahead in getting the 3G spectrum. Despite this, their market share is dwindling and they are making losses. What went wrong? BSNL and MTNL have been asked to provide 3G services a year in advance to other operators. They went ahead and brought infrastructure for pan-India services. But when auction opened, private companies chose circles and paid only where they wanted to do business and partnered with others.
“We believe that we should not allow 3G roaming services and it’s not expected too. Why should a telco offer 3G services without having 3G spectrum in that circle?” BSNL has responded well to rural and other areas which are not well-served. It laid infrastructure and backhaul for mobile connectivity. It paid `30,000 crore and eventually its cash reserves were sucked out. BSNL has proposed VRS (voluntary retirement scheme) for its 100,000 employees to the government. Could it be accepted? BSNL is revamping its mobile business and is gearing up to meet head-on challenge with private operators. It pays 50% of its revenues to staff, while private companies don’t even pay in double-digit. The challenge is how to stay competitive. BSNL has submitted a proposal of VRS for 100,000 employees which is being looked at, though it requires a lot of money. Age profile of the organization is such that by means of natural attrition the numbers would come down in 10 years. All issues and aspects concerning reduction in manpower will be examined. Despite resistance from private operators, the government allocated `1,500 crore from the USO Fund to BSNL. Was it inevitable? BSNL has been compensated with `1,500 crore from the USO Fund to maintain infrastructure in rural areas. In case it shuts down, it would be disastrous for government operations. Both BSNL and MTNL, as a part of social responsibility, provide connectivity to government programs and services. DoT is in the process of unveiling an interception system. Please share an update with us.
The process is underway to look at interception related problems. The interception system would be automatic that could be applied for lawful intervention. Are the issues with BlackBerry services resolved? By and large, the issue has been addressed and the whole class of services were discussed with the security agencies and were implemented. Is it true that the US trade groups are pressurizing the Indian government to shun the ambitious preferential market access (PMA) policy? It is incorrect to say—’pressurizing’. Certain views have been put across to the government. The PMA policy has been approved by the cabinet and notified. The guidelines have already been issued. It also relates to security implications that include set of product lines and elements of infrastructure that are sensitive. It is a matter of national security. The telecom industry feels that if the government is delinking licence with spectrum, then 3G roaming pacts should be allowed. What’s your view? We believe that we should not allow 3G roaming services and it’s not expected too. Why should a telco offer 3G services without having 3G spectrum in that circle? If it’s allowed, then why any telco would bid? If an operator can provide services in all 22 circles, then it would have severe impact on entire auction process. If this flexibility is given, then we would have discovered a different price. Conditions cannot be fixed retrospectively. They are decided at the time of auction. The terms of auction should be binding to all—the government and the private
operators. Today, the issue rose due to different perspectives. This matter is before the court and it will take final decision. TSPs are opposing LBS (location-based services). Is it not justified? In view of security implications, security agencies, as per law, want to scale up LBS. It’s not commercially viable though. Commercial services are led by business dynamics and are currently available for 500 meters and have not come to a stage where LBS is available for 20 to 25 metres. Somebody has to make investment for it, though it may not be non-commercial activity. Post consultation with the DoT, telcos, and the MHA—a roadmap will be evolved soon. There have been consumer-centric issues with almost every operator such as Vodafone, Airtel, Idea, Tata, and Reliance. Are you planning to empower Trai to take up such issues? Trai currently doesn’t look at consumers’ complaints directly. We are looking at providing jurisdiction to consumer forums to deal with subscribers’ issues in different circles. Airtel has reported signal interference in the state of J&K. Are you planning to reallocate frequency band? We are examining their request. They reported interference in frequency bands. If alternate frequency is available in J&K, then we would have no difficulty in reallocating it. What is the key message that you would like to give to the industry that has been marred with problems over the last couple of years? We are at a threshold of next era of revolution led by data services. The broadband revolution would be more exciting and transformational. It’s going to touch every sector. The bottom line is that people should look ahead—what they would gain or leverage whilst in the making of next revolution. Muntazir Abbas email@example.com
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—Sandip Das CEO, Maxis Communications BHd
‘Spectrum sharing is common sense that we lack in India’ Charming, cheerful and a force to reckon with in the Indian telecom scene, this man has over 30 years of rich experience, also spanning the global telecom industry. A mechanical engineer from the Regional Engineering College, Rourkela, Orissa and a management graduate from FMS, New Delhi, he was the first employee of the erstwhile Hutchison Essar in India. Here he spun his magic. By the time he left, Hutchison Essar was an $11-bn company, which he worked at from scratch. He at present manages Malaysia’s largest telecom operator, Maxis Communications, as the CEO. Besides that he has an impressive array of portfolios—on the board of directors of Aircel in India, Sri Lanka Telecom, Mobitel in Sri Lanka, and Axis in Indonesia. The name: Sandip Das. When VOICE&DATA caught up with him he was ready to share his experiences in telecom and his journey so far, reflecting a deep sense of optimism, which came as a breath of fresh air in this otherwise gloomy looking industry. Congratulating the Indian operators for their exemplary success in mobile services, he asks the industry to have patience and wishes them the same success in data and next-gen services. Excerpts— 60 | VOICE&DATA | March 2013 | voicendata.com | A CyberMedia Publication
ou stepped down from Maxis Bhd’s CEO position and it created speculations in the industry. Your comments? Maxis Communications Berhad (MCB) is the parent company, which has Maxis Berhad (MB) under it. Maxis Berhad has 2 other subsidiaries—that are Aircel group companies and Indonesian operations. Now, I concurrently handle 3 positions. One as the CEO of the holding company, two, as the CEO of the Malaysian company and three as an executive director looking after India operations. In addition, I was also a director in our Indonesia and Srilankan operations. That was the size of my portfolio. So, in a sense, I was the CEO of the group. Now because Maxis Berhad is a listed company on the stock exchange, there was a view on the part of certain investors that there should be a full-time CEO for a listed company where as there was a full-time CEO handling so many other companies. As we had committed to the investors, we got a replacement for Maxis Bhd. So I continue to be the CEO of Maxis Communications Berhad, and
“I cannot respond to every rumor in the market, but the fact of the matter is that from time to time all companies evaluate what is the right kind of structure required in the company”
CEO of Aircel business. And I haven’t stepped down, I have continued in my position except that I have found a CEO for Maxis Berhad like we will find eventually for Aircel. A lot of people at the top deck of Aircel left the firm recently. What’s cooking there? You know we have gone through an organizational change. If you would notice, normally, in a period of 4-5 years, a lot of these people who have been in the company kept moving out. But we now have a very very strong new team. Dr Kaizad Heerjee is now the COO of Aircel. In fact, Kaizad used to be my competitor in Malaysia. Now we have a new CFO, Anup Vikal with effect from last month. There are some people from Maxis Communications Bhd who have been deputed for the Indian operation. In Maxis Communications Berhad, I have a COO called Jean Pascal who is now in India. The holding company actually sends people to help businesses in India. What is your view about the Indian telecom sector at present? The Indian telecom scenario is on the cusp of moving from voice to data. I don’t see anywhere else in the world where a particular device like a mobile has made such a difference to the country’s economy. They say ARPU is coming down and hence a matter of worry. There will be a time when you will have your SIM card in the set top box of your television, you will have SIM cards put in different devices because they will be remotely monitored. Let me give you a funny example. If you have a SIM card on your air conditioner and you switch it on before you come in so that the room can remain cool, what will be the ARPU of the air conditioner? Does it mean that the ARPU is coming down? No, it’s because the definition has changed. It is a different world now. We are looking at revenues coming from different sources. It’s about the shift.
Does it mean that there is nothing to really worry about and all these are short-term challenges? Now companies are not worried about good news or bad news. Companies are worried about uncertainty, not knowing what will happen. Before NTP’99, we were paying `500 per month as licence fee per subscriber. So even before you made a telephone call, you are `6,000 down in a year. All that changed—and remember that incoming calls were charged—and that ended with NTP’99. NTP’99 actually stirred up India dramatically. Currently, we are at another threshold where similar kind of things need to be done. We need to look back and see what worked for us as an industry. And what worked for us is the fact that we had a wonderful regulation which allowed companies to grow and companies reinvested in the business. This is the one place in the world where the world was sitting and watching how people are doing business. Keeping all ground realities in mind, when will we see the same kind of scenario in data that we see in voice today? Telecom companies have made huge investments in infrastructure. But the important thing is that a similar kind of investment will have to be made on data. But we have to be pragmatic about it, we need to allow for great atmosphere for sharing. In Malaysia, I am doing active infrastructure sharing, not the kind of sharing that is happening in India. In Malaysia, we are sharing spectrum. So the small operators spectrum is pooled into my spectrum and we are both actively sharing spectrum. Another thing that is important for data networks is that small tranches of spectrum make network roll outs very expensive. You need to have larger chunks of spectrum given out, then you are able to build more cost-effective architecture. So if your architecture becomes more cost-effective, the cost to produce data becomes low. Now you are in a straight
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situation, you have given everybody 5MHz but if those people can pool in the 5 and create a robust architecture the spectrum would be better used, the cost will come down, the network will grow out faster and people will be happy with the services. Doesn’t this sound like common sense? You have snatched the words out of my mouth. That’s the important thing. I have been saying in my interviews all along that we must share network, we must be allowed to share network. If you remember, about 2 years ago, we were the first company to separate Netco and Opco operations. The idea was to pave the way for all people, particularly the new players to start pooling their networks together, because what is the point of all of us taking the same journey of the last 16 years, the better way is to leapfrog and use that every day.
You have got the 3G spectrum rolled out, but the 3G subscribers and takers are not there as you expected or all the operators expected. What are the reasons for this? There are several things, the first issue is really of affordability of 3G handsets, and if you remember, in the beginning when everybody launched 3G services they used to charge differently for 3G. We were actually the first operator to start offering 3G and 2G prices at the same level because we realized from our experience that as far as the customer is concerned, he doesn’t care whether you are 3G, 2G or 4G. And the second problem is because of the fact that people did not get the kind of demand as they thought and the ARPUs as they thought they would get, people have not rolled out their 3G networks as much as they should. So you will see now with more and more data networks being rolled out, that will change, and this is exactly why at one point we had bid for BWA, so that we can provide more data connectivity to our SME and enterprise customers. So I think it’s a matter of time. The 5 MHz of spectrum is actually very little; eventually we have to find a way in which spectrum can be pooled. The other thing is that a lot of the operators are also depending on 3G roaming; now that also has been cut back, so their revenue projections have gone down further. So these are some of the early dealing problems that are there but that should not deter us from the fact that India has a strong data future. So, when can we expect BWA services from Aircel? See, we are examining some of the issues with regards to BWA and after all we bid for this licence so right now we are still trying to establish our 3G network. We are actively evaluating trials and all on BWA right now. One more interesting fact
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is that 1,800-MHz has now also become LTE band. So there is some potential there and in the future 1,800-MHz can be used because we are talking about the scarcity of the spectrum, 1,800-MHz band can become the fourth generation data band. There are media reports of talks going on between Aircel and other operators for a possible M&A. Can you help us get a clearer picture? I cannot respond to every rumor in the market, but the fact of the matter is that from time to time all companies evaluate what is the right kind of structure required in the company, both financially as well as in terms of what kind of structure you need for the company to move forward. At this point of time, we are concentrating on strengthening our company’s business, we have tightened up our operations all across, we are streamlining our operations, we are getting ready for our next data thrust, we have the right people, we have a very fine and good organization, we are back to re-developing our brand in terms of data. The debt is a shareholders concern, the shareholders can decide on how they want to pan it out. Operationally speaking, at this point of time, we are all focused on the future and very excited about it. And I think we are coming out of a period which was a very difficult period for us. Is there any plan for Aircel to go public? I want to answer this question, by saying it is always an option. But you can see what is happening in India today in terms of the climate for IPOs and the climate for telecom business. I think a lot of things have to settle down here. There is too much volatility today in the Indian telecom market, it has to all settle down and like I said it is the uncertainty which has to subside. Once that settles down, all of us will start having a clearer vision on how we want to move forward on the funding and all these things. But right now we have the support from the banks. Gyana Ranjan Swain firstname.lastname@example.org
Structured Cabling T&M
How do you Test an Operatorâ€™s Success? Even though, telcos are realizing the critical need of test and measurement equipment for their business, the investment made in this industry is still low
he rapid growth in the Indian telecommunication space has propelled the test and measurement (T&M) industry as well. With service providers expanding their networks to suffice the growing number of mobile users, there is a rise in demand for mobile and broadband testing solutions. Moreover, with new types of technology like 3G, broadband wireless access, WiMax, FTTX, LTE, all-IP network or convergence concepts, the test and measurement equipment industry is expected to witness a new demand. Hence, with the exploding services and subscribers, the focus has finally fallen on T&M equipment. As the delivery of next-generation services becomes highly dependent on end-user, it also
helps the service providers to manage their customer retention and thus, the focus has shifted to T&M solutions. T&M solutions are expected to give a competitive edge to the service providers. Meanwhile, the telcos have shifted their focus to address the ever-increasing demand for wireless access, applications delivery, and new enterprise offerings such as cloud computing and virtualization. To meet these growing demands, they must manage an increased level of complexity driven by the integration of legacy wireline, next-generation wireless, and outsourced content delivery networks. Equipment manufacturers have responded by moving resources to growth markets such as smartphones, higher speed wireless
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networks, and the evolution of enterprise data centers with Ethernet as the transport technology of choice. Apart from these, multinational companies are outsourcing ever-increasing amounts of value-added R&D work to their Indian subsidiaries and partners that propel demand for advanced technology test and measurement equipment, shaping the prospect for T&M products and solutions.
Cherrypicking the Right Solution However, while spending the right amount of money on T&M solutions to meet QoS benchmarks set by Trai, operators should be cautious to pick the correct T&M solutions for their requirement. Though it might not be easy to follow a rule book for
this but it should be evaluated in terms like it depends on the applications like testing speed and measurement accuracy.
Market Dynamics Nowadays the biggest trend which drives service providers to upgrade networks, to invest in network expansion, to deploy new applications on network is mobile internet. Some hot areas in the industry are next-generation mobile networks (including LTE network), devices and services, as well as data center deployments to enable cloud computing and virtualization. Adoption of cloud computing is accelerating and has also fostered the growth of testers. One result is the building of new data centers with high density, high speed fabric based networks carrying terabits of traffic. As the mobile internet grows so fast, the need for network upgrades is more urgent than ever but, despite several large scale deployments, adoption of LTE technology globally is still in its early stages. With pressure building on mobile operators to increase quickly network capacity, they are turning to small cells and Wi-Fi offload strategies. Wi-Fi offload is capturing an increasing portion of mobile data traffic and operators have shown considerable interest in managing it more closely and integrating it more tightly with cellular networks. This is prompting leading network equipment manufacturers to develop carrier-grade Wi-Fi offload gateways. In the meanwhile, to ensure the commercial success of LTE, devices need to deliver superior performance, support new services, and a great user experience.
Chellenges Wireless data services are expensive to deliver and complex to manage particularly for the scale of operations like India Mobile alliances—preferred roaming partners threatening valuable international roaming business Managing content provider’s QoS—which is perceived by customers to be your QoS Perception of quality of service versus reality—the whole customer experience is important The threat of non-traditional branded competitors: Yahoo, Microsoft, Google, ESPN, Skype, etc Mobile number portability allowing customers to change the operators without change of number and they expect user churn due to QoS issues Wire-line operators offering triple play services have to compete with DTH and cable operators and should provide better user QoE
Security is a critical concern, whether in public or private cloud, data center or mobility. Service providers, enterprises, network equipment manufacturers, and government network operators are using application-aware systems to detect and classify the applications running on their networks to enforce policies that maintain a high quality of service (QoS) and security.
Application-aware Testing Solution: A Must However with applications, such as Netflix, FaceTime, Facebook, Skype, Twitter and BitTorrent, evolving and being introduced at an accelerated pace, these operators and their vendors are struggling to test their network configurations and component systems under real, production-like conditions. When more than 80% of traffic is driven by applications, it’s easy to see why many test tools that focus on network protocols are inadequate. These tools generate artificial application transactions, using
Expert Panel Sudhir Tangri, country manager, electronic measurement group, Agilent Technologies India HS Bhaskar, country manager, Spirent Communications R Manohar Reddy Gangavaram, MD, Aishwarya Telecom Stephen Hire, general manager, Aeroflex India
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random data in the application payload, to try to mimic the applications. Application-aware testing solution is a must.
Have to Shell Out More Even though the telcos have realized the critical need of the test and measurement equipment for their business, the investment made in this industry is still low. Service providers as well as the equipment users in India are not spending the right amount of money for improving quality of services compared to developed telecom markets. Increased competition is likely to force the players to spend sufficient amount on QoS. Year subscribers have the choice for any service they need. This will automatically push SPs and ISPs to invest on the right solution that is scalable. But only those who have invested proactively will steal the show.
Players with Solutions Agilent Technologies has announced to demonstrate test and measurement solutions for high-speed communication at the Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exposition (OFC) and National Fiber Optic Engineers Conference (NFOEC). The new era of datacenter infrastructure, enabling cloud computing, big data storage and analytics, will be driving the development of new standards for higher data rates. This will involve long-haul transmission
Mobile Device Solutions
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lines through serial I/O interfaces in end-user devices. The company will continue to focus on emerging radio technologies like DC-HSDPA, DC-HSDPA MIMO, LTE Advanced, and WiGig. RCT, PCT and RRM are industry standard test plans that device vendors are required to pass in order to reach certification and commercial release. The GCF and PTCRB play a role in regulating this process. With the acquisition of AT4 wireless Test Systems, Agilent now offers the broadest array of test solutions in the industry. Agilent’s AT4 wireless test portfolio will enable it to offer its customers an even broader set of test solutions, especially in the rapidly growing LTE market. In addition to LTE, we have also added NFC/RFID and bluetooth test solutions for conformance and R&D testing. As a key member of ONF (Open Networking Foundation), Spirent is making its way in leading SDN/OpenFlow testing. Spirent released the results of a detailed comparative test of VoLTE battery performance of first and second generation. The report concludes that the newer LG Spirit 4G showed a 35% improvement in power consumption over the previous generation when making a VoLTE call. With the addition of malware testing, Spirent offers its customers a comprehensive solution to test a range of security issues, including fuzzing, encryption, VPN, signature-based attacks, and DDoS threats. Combined with Spirent Avalanche, Studio delivers multi-10 Gbps capacity, security, and performance testing for network and web application infrastructure. Meanwhile, the company will also keep enhancing iTest enterprise product. In addition to this, more new ITO testing components will be released in 2013, which will significantly complete and strengthen Spirent’s offer in this market category Aeroflex has a long history of doing business in India both directly and through a distributor, Blue Star. Supplier of specialist test mobiles for R&D, Aeroflex continues to introduce new features to allow vendors and operators to optimise base station performance based on evolving
Tips for CIOs CIOs should look towards solutions where QoS and QoE are measured together Upgradability and modularity of measurement platform, robust design, application, calibration, and repair support to be looked at Solutions should help service providers monitor baseline trend and QoS, and troubleshoot by segmenting the problem Service providers have to ensure that any HW/SW going into their network is tested rigorously Deploy different solutions together to a system; getting solutions from a single supplier saves integration time. Carefully consider vendors’ focus, competency, and commitment toward the market Consider vendors’ local capability, supports, warranty, and products’ interoperability and scalability Demo of how various mobile applications will run under varying RF conditioned 24X7 service assurance tools for IP networks Synchronization quality for transport and wireless network Operators should adopt concurrent proactive monitoring and reactive troubleshooting tools Consider vendors local capability support, warrants and products’ interoperability and scalability The company’s focus and competence and its commitment to the market The company’s local capability (in India) including its sales, support, repair and calibration Scaling beyond the capacity of the devices and network being tested is an important criterion.
needs and changes in subscriber needs. Expanding its presence in India, it opened its Bangalore office last year as the starting point for Aeroflex’s expansion in the country. In the US, Japan, and China, Aeroflex has seen operators investing in Aeroflex E500 capacity test systems to give them confidence that they will meet their QoS obligations. This is an area where it hopes Indian operators will look to their overseas counterparts and adopt international best practice in order to cope up with the very unique challenges posed by India’s geography, large population and early-adopter status for TD-LTE.
The Stumbling Blocks The T&M market needs to revamp itself because customers are becoming demanding and prices are reducing. Basically, the customers want lesser downtime, more servicing, and more support applications. The paradigm shift towards the packet-oriented network from traditional circuit-oriented network, is resulting in an increased de-
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mand for the Ethernet and nextgen based solution, which will be predominantly using IP based MPLS networks. This indeed calls for an opportunity with the testing tools, especially the Multipro and Unipro series of testers. Quality of Service (QoS) and Quality of Experience (QoE) are being seen as metrics of performance in the telecom circles. As the quality is tightly linked to testing, it indeed becomes a key metric while evaluating a telecom test and measurement needs. The crucial demand to have a highly scalable network that can support huge surge of subscribers without compromising on the QoS or QoE is pushing the need for tests in this segment. Highly scalable networks to support such a huge density of subscribers pose major challenges in meeting the QoS and user QoE requirements. The real challenge is to have the network that meets the QoS and QoE under all the loading conditions of network. QoS and QoE have attained a very
Operators’ Concerns �������� Mobile number portability cause user churning due to QoS issues Making a valid business case, and justify investment in deploying T&M solutions Wireless data services are expensive to deliver and complex to manage. They need right solutions to manage it Satisfactory customer experience is important while measuring QoS Wireline operators offering triple-play services have to compete with DTH and cable operators
different meaning in the Indian market where the total market growth is very impressive, but the average revenue per user (ARPU) and margins are still under scrutiny . Therefore, the challenges that ISP or SP have in choosing T&M vendor is the choice of variety of test support in the products and the intensity of technology support in the product. Considering this, operators are taking the mixed approach in there measurement solutions build-up. There are groups to do the basic installation and testing and other groups to do the detail trouble shooting in the network and the testers are procured accordingly. Anticipating the need for the number of tester, training engineers to use these testers and using these testers to their fullest capability are some of the challenges that operators face today. There is also a drive to improve the cost of operations at the top and standardizing on a reliable vendor partner is one way where both the parties stand to gain. This is true even for test and measurement. This too is driving the pricing and businessmodels in this segment.
The Road Ahead The growth in the T&M market will be driven by increased demand for protocol analysis based network optimization solutions for service providers. Increased complexity of the wireless network scenario with co-existence of multiple technologies is driving the need for interoperability and inter-working tests; and thus driving the need for test and measurement solutions in the networking domain. Increased complexity in the end user services and the significant ramp-up of data traffic require innovative test solutions from vendors. Expanded wireless deployments, expanded broadband usage, more IPTV usage, and more VoIP and VVoIP applications will drive the testing solutions requirements in the Indian market. The telecom equipment market has seen cut-throat competition for new business during the past few years. Experts feel that the T&M industry will keep growing, but on a linear scale as the network expansion is going on and becoming more complex the tester demand will also grow. So, the demand for T&M solutions catering to this market is expected to be very strong in the next couple of years. Ritu Singh firstname.lastname@example.org A CyberMedia Publication | voicendata.com | March 2013 | VOICE&DATA | 69
Structured cabling constitutes only 5% of the total network cost, and poor cabling installation practices can make even the most sophisticated active network devices completely useless
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tructured cabling is certainly crucial to ICT infrastructure of all sizes—cross sectors, industries, and even residential places—for accessing any ICTrelated services. Of late, the demand for structured cabling has increased due to the need for higher bandwidth, adoption of high-end technology by consumers and businesses, internet based applications, IP applications, and data explosion mainly from consumer data in the form of digitized records, emails, and social media usage. According to the VOICE&DATA estimates, the structured cabling market is pegged at `1,577 crore in FY12 and it grew at a growth rate of 20.29% as compared to the previous fiscal. This market has a lot of incredible potential in India due to the exponential growth of data services, technological adoption across verticals, evolving technological trends, etc. Though cabling segment has witnessed ups and downs, yet it has a lot to offer for customers, cabling vendors, channel partners, and system integrators as India is at the forefront of technological adoption, there is a lot of scope for newer structured cabling installations and as several other older buildings/enterprises/data center are keen to migrate their legacy systems. At the same time, structured cabling vendors are ready with newer and matured cabling
Highlights Structured cabling planning and installation is becoming more and more critical as we are moving towards IP convergence The focus is on ethernet gigabits— 1G systems are common, 10G is being rapidly adopted, and 40G/100G is gaining traction Cabling industry is enabling businesses by creating intelligent infrastructure solutions to better manage networks as 24/7 connectivity is a must for enterprises
today, 40G in the next 2 or 3 years and 100G in 5 to 10 years. The cabling solutions market in India has matured rapidly in terms of technology availability but does not score 100 over cabling adoption. Demand for IT is growing in every industry and more so with reference to volume in IT/ITeS, banking and finance, government and telecom, and this is driving the cabling market. Structured cabling planning and installation is becoming more and more critical as we are moving towards IP convergence.
Technology Trends products/solutions to meet their customers’ needs. Though we already have the solutions and the requirement of cabling solutions is increasing, yet customers’ approach in India has remained weird at large. Weird? Yes it is! Because customers are spending heavily on technologies such as big data, analytics, cloud, virtualization; and active components viz servers, storage equipments but the right investments are not going into the nervous system which talks to these technologies, active components and puts things into action. The life span of active components is around 5 to 8 years while cabling infrastructure lasts for 15 to 20 years. Another weird thing is that Indian customers’ long-term agenda to future proof their networks is still not a priority. Majority of the Indian customers are choosing low-cost and low-capacity infrastructure while the other countries are building infrastructure that can support a 10G network
Natarajan Viswanathan, managing director for India and Saarc, CommScope Enterprise Solutions Ravi Yekula, product line manager, Corning Optical Fiber Mylaraiah JN, RCDD, country manager, technical, TE Enterprise Networks, India Shailendra Trivedi, director operations and channel development, Reichle & De-Massari (R&M) India Isaac Martin, marketing manager, Molex Premise Networks B Srinivasan, technical manager, Leviton
The changes in the technology in this segment are more or less governed by the growing demands in data centers. The rising cost of real estate, power consumption, cooling costs coupled with need to reduce carbon footprint to meet environmental demands and managing the efficiency through capex/ opex control which is a key ingredient of service profitability/longevity have led to new technologies in cable management systems like plug and go solutions, high density cabling mixed media platforms that address these issues. Capacity and speed are the key requirements in next-generation networks needed for current and future data centers. Although systems running at megabit speeds are still prevalent, the focus is now on Gigabits—1G systems are common, 10G is being rapidly adopted, and 40G/100G is gaining traction. Provision of such high data rates invariably brings with it system and technology challenges. Advanced hardware and fiber innovations can address these requirements. Cooling and associated power consumption are key challenges in the path to a green data center and cost savings. With advanced hardware and fiber, the lower power requirement of optical switches and servers not only enable better energy efficiency but also, by its very nature of the optimized space and pathway utilization afforded by the smaller cabling and hardware associated with optical fiber networks, will increase data center airflow to support higher cooling
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efficiency when compared to equivalent copper solutions. Structured cabling technology has evolved to offer bandwidth raging 1G to 10G to 40G and 100G if required, it has high-end intelligent infrastructure management solutions to track passive network, plug and go high density cable management solutions and the Mixed Media Platforms that combine flexibility and space saving benefits of the Universal Connectivity Platform (UCP) with the innovative cable management features that minimizes footprint and maximizes infrastructure flexibility for the data center manager. Cat 6A deployments are also on the rise compared to earlier years. Cat 6A deployments are seen in high-end applications, large campuses and data centers. This will evolve and move to a higher standard with increase in bandwidth requirements. Cat 6 system in copper forms the default choice of the customer with Singlemode, OM3, OM4 optical fiber cables seeing increased deployment. Customers are also aware of need to deploy higher specification solutions eg, Cat 6A to future proof their network for high speed applications such as 10G (on copper) and 40G. The Indian market is reviving and has seen growth in the past year. The boom in data centers has also raised the bar on technology. Increased absorption of Cat6A has been seen in such installations. Demand for shielded copper cabling systems is increasing as these systems offer better performance by reducing alien cross-talk due to external interference. Fiber is still primarily used for backbone applications despite the improved viability of fiber as a to-the-desk solution with the ever decreasing cost of active equipment. Traditionally installing fiber in the field has always been an expensive option based on the time needed and the necessary fusion equipment. However, the continued demand for bandwidth will ultimately lead to increased opportunities for fiber and the development of pre-terminated fiber solutions, where there is no need for on-site termination will no doubt increase uptake. OM3 is a 72 | VOICE&DATA | March 2013 | voicendata.com | A CyberMedia Publication
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cost effective option for data centers as it delivers 40G under 100 meter distance. That means OM3 can do 1G/10G/40G. OM4 would be the option to implement if lengths are over 100 meters. OM3 is a good option as the standards ‘stand’ today. As the bandwidth demand continues to increase, multimode fiber market is moving towards 50 micron from 62.5 micron. With next generation speeds such as 40G and 100G, the market is moving towards laser optimized OM3 and OM4 multimode fibers. Multimode optical fiber cabling offers higher bandwidth than any copper cable available today. Further it provides extended reach capability to meet interconnect requirements for even the highest data transmission speeds of 100G with lower latency and lower associated power consumption. Cabling industry is enabling businesses by creating intelligent infrastructure solutions to better manage networks as 24/7 connectivity is a must for enterprises. Intelligent solution provides IT managers with unprecedented control over their infrastructure with state-of-the-art intelligent management of the physical layer. It is a tool which ensures the ability to monitor and make sure networks are up and running. Previously, IT managers and teams did not have the tools required to gather and monitor critical parameters to have an efficient network. If a port was unplugged, they would have to go to each and every rack and check all the wires. In a 10,000 sq ft data center, that can be quite cumbersome. ‘Intelligence’ in cabling enables IT team to view real-time, end-to-end circuit information during moves, adds and changes using a unique visual feature. It brings in the ability to improve speed and accuracy of connectivity changes to various end devices such as computers and servers, wireless access points, IP phones, IP cameras, network printers, managed switches and PDUs globally from one location. Uptake of 10G and 40G systems is on the increase, generally by the larger enterprises that are looking to implement the latest cabling technology to ensure longevity.
‘Intelligence’ in cabling enables IT team to view real-time, endto-end circuit information during moves, adds and changes using a unique visual feature Power over Ethernet (PoE) still has limited uptake PoE is used for security applications but has not been adopted across large enterprises due to its currently limited capacity. It offers many advantages in terms of flexibility, convenience and ease of use. But it is limited only to metallic cables and it cannot be used with optical fiber cables where electrical isolation exists between the cable ends. . Physical layer management is an important area which is evolving rapidly. Customers are looking beyond the ability to manage only the patching field/wiring closet. The environment is still a key factor in the decision making process—the environmental commitment of manufacturers and the environmental friendliness of their products are becoming more important as people have started to design green buildings.
Growth Drivers The key growth drivers for advanced structure cabling requirements are cloud computing which is a significant and game changing trend for structured cabling in data centers, growth in nextgeneration networks, and green data centers—green/energy-efficient data centers are becoming a global trend. Data center cabling market is poised to grow several times from the existing demand, which means the potential market for Cat 6A/Cat 7 and above is expected to grow exponentially. After the slow down during the recession
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IT/ITeS sector is expanding again with both focuses on global and local requirements. One of the great benefits of cloud computing is the ability to virtualize the physical computing resources which enables greater utilization levels. However as virtualization reduces equipment redundancy it can inherently increase the risk of downtime. Downtime is a key challenge for data centers as it brings with it the risk of serious financial penalties particularly in the financial, IT, and telecoms sectors. There has been a major focus on the emerging markets in tier-2 and -3 cities. There are a number of verticals paying closer attention to IT infrastructure. Verticals like manufacturing, health, hospitality sector, real estate, infrastructure growth like airports, highways, ports and FTTH is expected to grow multiple times. Telecom and infrastructure projects have scaled-up in structured cabling solution deployments. The older establishments which were on unstructured cabling are migrating to cabling solutions when they renovate or upgrade their facilities. Education sector has recognized the importance of a sound IT infrastructure. There are an increasing number of educational institutions that are setting up campuses and centers which are quickly becoming highly dependent on highspeed networks. A large number of banking and financial institutions are also starting to see the importance of quality infrastructure to provide higher standards of customer service. In addition to this, architects and consultants are now starting to play a major role in the IT infrastructure decisions of commercial and residential structures. Healthcare industry has started to pay close attention to customer service rather than only health services. Technology plays a key role in providing vital information immediately. Healthcare providers are looking at building infrastructure such as they can support and build their customer service portfolio. This is an extremely interesting trend. Key vendors are working closely with healthcare or-
ganizations to provide high-end solutions on 10G network. Cabling vendors are betting big on FTTH. The rapid spread of broadband (NOFN, 4G/LTE rollouts, etc) and technology innovation will both drive the adoption of fiber optic cabling. One of the key advantages of installing fiber optic cables is that they can be laid out for long distances and are not affected by electromagnetic interference, thus ensuring faster and smoother flow of data.
Unresolved Pain Points The challenge before the cabling industry is not just the delivery of technology but also that of properly trained and skilled man-power. One major requirement in this regard is for engineers trained in designing, installing, warranting, and troubleshooting the network. This is even more difficult when it comes to 10G and above networks. Structured cabling constitutes only 5% of the total network cost and poor cabling installation practices can make even the most sophisticated active network devices completely useless. Another challenge is that of
upward growth in the price of copper. This is a cause of concern as it will add to cost of copper cables and ultimately the cost of the network. Today the Indian market is highly commoditized. Vendors are sourcing products from other manufactures at a low cost, compromising on quality. Given the explosion of data that is going to take place in India, this compromise on quality will severely affect bandwidth availability. Industry consensus that the Indian customer is not building infrastructure for the future. It is only to fulfill their needs of the near future. This will severely restrict the usage of the latest technologies and will restrict their competitiveness in the global market. The availability of good fiber solutions is another issue that vendors are facing. Fluctuations in copper price pose a challenge for the customer to plan their budgets. Prices have doubled over the past one year. At the end of the day, it is not just a product or solution which becomes important but well-qualified system integrators who can design and certify
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the project is very important. Designing the network cabling is very crucial. Designing or installation ought to be done by working closely with network engineers, cable plant designers, and also contractors involved with building the projects. Designers/installers ought to have in-depth knowledge of cabling components, systems, installation processes along with the knowledge of codes, standards, and electrical power systems. Design and execution of cabling systems are necessary for an error-free performance. Designing out potential failure modes such as ground loops, short link limitations are first steps in minimizing the chance of network failures. Designing system terminations that consider the skillset and practice of the installation teams is a key. Efficient networks are a result of meticulous planning and thoughtful design. Quality of the installations is an important factor that needs attention. Installations not carried out properly, where the best practices are ignored, are likely to lead to complications or failures. Malini N email@example.com
Airtel MTS TTSL NIIT AMITY ICICI Lombard Yes Bank Wipro Hero Moto Corp SPIC Taj Fortune Narayana Trent Flipkart Serco HGS Tesco Firstsource Auchan
‘Outsourcing model does not have a direct relationship with work pressure’ —Jai Menon
group CIO, Bharti Airtel
Bharti Airtel, the fourth-largest telecom operator in the world, has many firsts to its credit when it comes to adopting new technologies or business processes. And at the helm of its technology adoption is Jai Menon who leads global innovation, driving the strategic product roadmap and partner ecosystem for Airtel across all its operations in 19 countries in Asia and Africa. He is also the group CIO for all businesses, including telecom, towers, agriculture, retail, manufacturing/distribution, and education, in Bharti Enterprises. In a chit chat with VOICE&DATA, he speaks about his roles and responsibilities. Excerpts—
s the CIO of the country’s largest telecom company, What are your roles and responsibilities? Traditionally, the CIO’s role was limited to looking after the ERP systems, billing, CRM, and so on. But now, the role has grown significantly. It has moved from the focus building IT operating models to catering to business needs—to be highly cost-efficient, executing rigor, with focus on details that are key to success. In this decade, IT will play a major role in building internet-based product and services (cloud, commerce, etc) Most of Bharti’s business processes are framed on outsourcing models. Does that increase/decrease your work pressure? Bharti Airtel took the lead in outsourcing its IT, network and operations infra-
structure to global partners with strong domain expertise. After this, many telcos followed its footsteps. Airtel’s IT has successfully transformed itself into a global IT organization, operating in 20 countries across India/South Asia and Africa. The company successfully manages an IN / OUT oriented model. Architecture and business engagement managed internally with outsourcing of build and operate to strategic ‘S1’ partner, hence the larger partner models with 1-3 strategic ‘S1’ partners and then approximately 100 secondary providers are being managed by ‘S1’ partners. As a pan-India telecom operator, what are the major ICT challenges faced by you? Maj���������������������������������� or ICT challenges faced by us are real-time charging/rating for postpaid real-time analytics for structured/unstructured data types, speech, social, emotion analytics with social integra-
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tion using contact center technologies, integrated IT stack across all product lines and customer segments (consumer, SMB, and enterprise) as well as global acceptance of unified collaboration and BYOD without compromising enterprise security. How do you define ‘business-ICT’ alignment for a communication company like Bharti? Airtel has established mature change management and governance processes to drive ‘business-ICT’ alignment across functions and stakeholders. All business requirements are mutually agreed and entire new capabilities delivery is managed by dedicated project manager/business SPOC. Issues, if any, are resolved using a well-established governance process before they have any significant business impact. At the strategic level, IT annual strategic plan
“Airtel’s myAirtel app provides selfcare capabilities to the customer by reducing the service cost and increasing customer satisfaction” is aligned with business strategy. Large projects to deliver new capabilities have executive sponsorship from business/ functional leaders at the management board level. Bharti, as a service provider, offers many communication services to its customers. What are the services and technologies you implement for your workforce to increase productivity and efficiency? Airtel always believed in the philosophy of ‘employee first’ and has launched the products/services for its internal employees even before market launch. We have always taken initiatives to increase productivity and efficiency. Few examples of our products which we have implemented for our own workforce are mobile CRM for enterprise customers, Airtel Wi-Fi hotspots, digital media exchange (DMX) signage, and Airtel Money.
How is the role of the CIO changing with the changing times? As a CIO, how have you managed to influence decisions? The role of the CIO is moving from technical planning and implementation to strategic planning. Today, the CIO is involved in top levels of corporate planning and decision making. At Airtel, the CIO works very closely with the CEO and other business leaders. What are some of the innovative IT implementations you have made, both in process as well as technology, that have had big impact on the company’s bottomline? With new technologies constantly unfolding, we constantly identify and keep the organization abreast with new technologies. Cloud/data center virtualization development, test and production environments brought down the overall IT TCO with significant savings in terms
of DC space and power key business projects such as ‘last 5 transactions’, subscription engine, etc, have resulted in significant improvements in bottomline. Recently, Airtel launched myAirtel app which provides selfcare capabilities to the customers thereby reducing service cost and increasing customer satisfaction. What are the upcoming technologies that could change the way businesses happen in the future? Cloud services, machine to machine (M2M) communications, mobile money, big data/analytics, real-time and unstructured, smart APIs and ready-to-use capabilities rapid convergence of network, services and devices, and social networking would show their full potential leading to new challenges and opportunities. Ritu Singh firstname.lastname@example.org
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‘IT serves as the brain for telecom service providers’ —Rajeev Batra CIO, MTS India
Rajeev Batra, CIO, MTS India, is perhaps one of the finest technologist Indian telecom industry has at present. He believes that his role is not limited to the role of a CIO, and feels business decisions have to be influenced and evaluated by the usage of technology to a great extent. In his prior stints, convincing Bharti Airtel to go for an outsourced model for its IT infrastructure and processes was one of his biggest contributions to the industry. He speaks on the challenges faced by the telecom operators and the means to tackle them. Excerpts—
onsidering telecom as an enterprise, which are the new ICT trends in sight? In telecomunication, IT serves as the brain for telecom service providers. Being a technology-centric business, it requires a lot of automation and cutting-edge technology. In addition, the industry needs to continuously adapt to it to be at the forefront. One of the key trends that is becoming the focus areas is business intelligence analytics (BI/BA). BI/BA was in the market for quite some time, but it is gaining momentum now. It is being taken as the stepping stone for big data. We are also looking at new analytical CRMs, where we are more focused on customer segmentation. Then, another paradigm shift is marketing campaign, which is being used as a separate online customer gratification.
Besides, there will be the information and security concern, which is too critical, and one needs to keep on working on it which is mandated by regulatory as well. Lastly, there will be a pick in service models, being a telecom service provider we also offer public cloud service and not just limiting to private cloud. How many terminals does MTS have in India? Across India, we have 3,500 terminals and we also manage lot of application access that is taken care of by the distribution network, which is close to around 10,000 terminals. Besides in partner ecosystem, we even have a larger footprint accessing our application. We are spread across pan-India, with 2 major data centers, which are level-3 category data centers, in Noida and Chennai. They came up with green footprint and consume 15-20 % less power as
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compared to traditional data centers and PUE are pretty good compared to the industry standard. What is the size of these data centers and what are the green initiatives you have taken so far? The data center occupies an area of around 41,000 square feet. We have 3 levels of power back ups. We have used the services of one of the best vendors, who has lot of patents in designing green data centers, to get our data centers designed. So there is a whole lot of permutation and combination that goes in the placement of these systems to reduce the carbon footprint. Do you allow BYOD on your network? It’s a slightly unique case, we would like our employees to go the BYOD route but there are a lot of regulatory restrictions, and since we carry so much sensitive data
“The thrust will always be towards data services and smart voice. Smart voice means voice that renders on smartphones. So it’s a combination of data, smart application or the vas on smartphones” we need to be very sure about the data being carried out. Even, we don’t allow snapshots to be carried out. Hence, as of now we have not allowed BYOD except for in very rare cases and that too to limited top management under supervision. We still feel that there are few loopholes in BYOD as there can be a possibility of data leakage now, but we certainly see it happening 2 or 3 years down the line. What are the security issues with BYOD? If you just allow anybody to come to the enterprise network, download anything he wants; take it back home, so it will just be an open-ended option for him to send data to private mails or to any other competitors. Now if I want to deploy BYOD, I would deploy a virtual desktop where people can come and keep segregation between private and official work. We also have to spend pretty good amount of money for the segregation. As of now,
there are options where we provide this service of virtual desktop to our customers and currently on a small set up certainly it can be utilized, but when the spread is pretty huge the level of discipline required is pretty high. Do you prefer the model of managed security services or you prefer in-house on-premise security solution? We have a type of hybrid model where we take expertise from external parties even in the form of some services while some control we keep with ourselves. All the audits and certification are done by our team in concert with our audit and certification partner. So, yes partners are involved whether it’s on the peripheral security or licensing option, so all these are managed internally along with our partners.
these days, and how have you managed to influence decisions? Ten years back when I was with Airtel, I did Airtel-IBM outsourcing for IT, even that was a business decision, it was not a technology decision, though I agree there were technology components in it. I see IT more as a tool that business uses for market competitiveness or market differentiation or getting more revenues. At MTS, I am a part of management committee and also we take quite an active role in business-decision making. If, IT is not involved in any business decision neither the business will get to know what additional technology they can provide to the customer to gain market share nor IT will be able to churn out solutions that will be in line with the over strategy and objective.
How does the management look at the CIO in their decision-making processes
Ritu Singh email@example.com
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â€˜Industry is dwindling with hyper competition and regulatory issuesâ€™ â€”Ashish Pachory
chief information officer, Tata Teleservices
Over the years, telecom operators have offered a plethora of services--from plain vanila voice services to broadband, fixedline, wireless broadband, mobile money, and many more. Keeping the ICT infrastructure agile and reliable is the role of a CIO and Ashish Pachory, chief information officer, Tata Teleservices, is a master in that. In a conversation with VOICE&DATA, he talks about the growing challenges and his tips on how to maintain a telecom network that is expected to run 24*7 and without fail. Excerpts--
hat are the key technology trends in the telecom industry, if we look at it as an enterprise? A new wave of convergence is taking shape as actionable analytics, cloud computing, web-based social interactions, and enterprise mobility come together. Our ability to ride this wave will define our chances of surviving in the red ocean. A lot has been said and written already on these trends, but in the context of enterprise success, let us take each of these and re-emphasize briefly the role of each. Analytics: Rate of creation of data is far exceeding the human capacity for assimilation and analysis. Finding relevant information is important, but hard to accomplish. This is where advanced analytics can play a vital role. Advanced analytics will provide the ability to perform
analysis and simulation of all business transactions, and present a model which is concise, relevant, and accurate. Cloud: Cloud computing is finally emerging from the folds of experimentation to becoming a real-world business enabler. For telecom service providers, cloud is a critical enabler in their transformation to next-gen telcos. It is the cloud that makes services, and not devices and connectivity, the true differentiator. Social: Social Media has been a disruptive trend not just among communities but increasingly in enterprises as well. It was once popular to say that the voice of one disgruntled customer reaches 10 others. Social Media makes it 10 mn others. The wealth of information availability, the unlimited reach, and the ease of use make social media a compelling business tool, which some telecom service providers are very effectively using to stay connected with their customers.
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Mobility: The consumerization of smart mobile devices has had a dramatic impact on the enterprise. It is essential to be connected with the business no matter where you are. BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is gaining momentum as the need for a seamless experience is gaining ground. These mobile devices have access to the data for supporting business decision making, leading to a more empowered workforce which can deliver at anytime and from anywhere. What are the business challenges the industry is facing at present? For the industry as a whole, and also for individual service providers, the biggest challenge today is the widening gap between growth in revenues (defined by ARPU, customer acquisitions) and the growth in cost of providing service at an acceptable price (defined by voice and data traffic). While the former is at
“Individual service providers, the biggest challenge today is the widening gap between growth in revenues (defined by ARPU, customer acquisitions) and the growth in cost of providing service at an acceptable price” a plateau, the latter is growing almost exponentially. Growth in traffic is spurred by the very trends which TSPs strongly promote—viz growing subscriber base and proliferation of smart mobile devices. This trend is unlikely to abate as the internet-of-things (IOT) emerges over the horizon. Obviously, service providers have to find new ways of monetization while reducing the cost of delivering traffic, particularly data traffic. Hyper competition and an uncertain regulatory environment are the other challenges. Lower than expected adoption of expensively acquired 3G services, possibly due to lack of differentiating applications that subscribers are willing to accept a premium for, contributes further to the travails of the service provider. What are the technology requirements of your company and who are your vendors taking care of ICT tools?
One of our key requirements is to ensure that our customers get uninterrupted service whenever and wherever they connect. The whole eco-system of network, technology, IT is geared to ensure that the customer gets seamless and secure connectivity. Managing the network inventory and capacity, huge volumes of customer and call data, ensuring an efficient customer service delivery through a network of call centers and ensuring our readiness and capability to meet upcoming regulatory changes define some of the more critical technology requirements. The system needs to be flexible enough to incorporate the requirements in a secure and timely way at an optimal cost. Vendors that look after ICT tools are Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) for systems integration, Microsoft, Oracle, Cisco, Alcatel Lucent, IBM, and others providing necessary software and hardware infrastructure.
How has the telecom industry technologically evolved over the last few years? The defining evolution in the telecom industry, however, has been the shift from voice to data. While 2G was a voice technology tweaked for data, 4G is a data technology tweaked for voice. Data transfer rates today with enhanced 2G technologies (like Edge) and 3G are a major boost to all segments of business that can now access and transfer data on small screens (SIM cards–mobile phones) and large screens (dongles–laptops). There are several next generation non-voice services that are fast taking shape—like mobile payment platforms, cloud computing, mobile TV, GPS tracking services, mobile surveillance, and a host of other things. Ritu Singh firstname.lastname@example.org
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‘Mobile devices today offer a homogeneous learning experience’ —Sunil Sirohi
vice president, technology services organization, NIIT
NIIT, a global talent development company, has been imparting knowledge and education for more than 3 decades in India as well as globally. Disseminating information and education on IT, the firm has always remained at the forefront of deploying ICT in education. Sunil Sirohi, vice president, technology services organization, NIIT, speaks about the growing trends of communication technologies in education and their pros and cons. Excerpts—
hat are the technology requirements of your company and who are the vendors looking after your
ICT tools? In our company, like any other enterprise, the technology requirements are no different. It is, however, the use of the technologies that makes all the difference. NIIT has integrated its learning management and e-learning systems with technology for enhancing the overall student experience. Synchronous learning, a unique learning methodology adopted by NIIT, is an effective tool to bring together the faculty and students, otherwise separated by significant distances, using cutting-edge technology. Through the new high-tech environment, students can experience learning almost in the same way as they would if they were in a normal classroom, querying their instructor, and answering
questions. Dedicated broadband 2-way audio-video, together with special software to replicate face-to-face teaching, are used in this application. The pioneering NIIT cloud campus empowers students to learn on his own terms, at his own pace, wherever and whenever he wants it. Students enjoy higher mobility as they can easily access educational services using a Netbook that connects them to NIIT’s cloud campus network. The technology backed learning environment of NIIT’s cloud learning methodology supports group learning through interactive features like 24x7 lab and e-library access, instant tech updates, interaction with faculty and peers, and access to online video streams. How has the education industry technologically evolved over the last few years? The scenario and experience of education have changed. The internet era
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has given birth to web based training or online training. Classrooms are no more confined within four walls or reading just by paper books. Availability of learning material has increased. The advantage is that the education providers can upload their lessons on the web and aspirants can study their respective lessons at any point of time from any part of the world. The main advantage is that the study materials can be updated at any point of time and also at a much lower cost. There has been change from the blackboard to the overhead projector and from the slide rule to the iPad. In reality, the audio visual impact of such training has become phenomenal. Students can also play and rewind the show again and again at their own choice for accuracy and this sort of repetition would hardly annoy the teacher as the teacher had literally undertaken the headache of preparation material once only.
“NIIT has partnered with the state governments of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Himachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Tripura, Bihar, Maharashtra, and Uttar Pradesh covering about 9,000 schools to bring cutting edge IT education using state of art computing resources to more than 7,000,000 students” Nowadays the universe is made of internet connected things and students are more connected to the internet than anybody else. From simple e-book reading over a device to learning on internet, learning in a collaborative manner, learning by experience—are all supported by technology. Now one does not necessarily need to be inside a physical classroom to study or learn. The students have been liberated from the four walls thanks to the technology. The chat rooms, the video lectures, the interactive synchronous learning solutions, the availability of affordable end user devices (netbooks, mobiles, tablets), and availability of the internet are all heterogeneous technologies coming together to give a homogenous learning experience to students. How is NIIT utilizing ICT/IT tools to make education easier and simpler?
NIIT has partnered with the state governments of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Himachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Tripura, Bihar, Maharashtra, and Uttar Pradesh covering about 9,000 schools to bring cutting edge IT education using state of art computing resources to more than 7,000,000 students across rural and urban India. We have deployed more than 40,000 computers in schools across the country. NIIT Nguru solutions for schools utilize appropriate technology as backbone and encompass all the possible components required to service the present and future learning needs of a school. Nguru suite consists of interactive classrooms—an end-to-end teaching learning solution for classrooms Are you facing any kind of issues in finding the right kind of solutions for your requirements?
The issue that we are facing currently is the low penetration of internet in India. Consistent availability of technology across the nation is a challenge, eg. mobile, data cards, 3G services, etc. However we feel that multiple technologies offer complete end-to-end solution for such problems. Has your company deployed mobile applications both for internal working as well as for your partners? If yes, what are those applications? If not, when are you planning to deploy? Yes, NIIT has deployed native mobile apps internally as well as for partners and customers. One of the most used mobile applications that staff members use everyday is the attendance app on mobile. Staff members approve leave and expense claims on the move. Ritu Singh email@example.com
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‘Amity provides live broadcast lectures and events on iPads and android platform’ — Dr JS Sodhi assistant VP, Amity Group
With more than 100 institutions and over 100,000 students studying across 1,000 acres of the hi-tech campus, Amity doesn’t need any introductions. The university has been striving to provide its students with best-in-class uniform education—with equal opportunities boasting of India’s first wireless campus with over 4,000 networked HP/IBM machines and 600 Mbps broadband connectivity. Amity students and teachers can now share audio, video, PPTs, and intellectual resources across over a 100 campuses of the group over MPLS through the e-learning solution. Lectures by eminent domain experts are recorded and stored in the university’s intranet portal. VOICE&DATA spoke to Dr JS Sodhi, assistant vice president of Amity Group to understand the changing dynamics of education and how ICT helped in uplifting the students, the building blocks of our society. Excerpts—
hat are the key technology trends for the education industry, if we look at it as an enterprise? Technology in education has reached the centre stage in the last few years. Innovative solutions like lecture recording, use of ICT tools, content development, mobile apps, and education ERP have become well known solutions everywhere. You have campuses spread both nationally and internationally. How do you keep these integrated and connected? What are the ICT tools that you use for this? The Amity Education Group is a private non-profit education group, offering globally benchmarked education at various campuses in India and around the world (Singapore, Dubai, London). These campuses are integrated and connected
using the latest technology in information and communication. Nationally, all the Amity campuses are integrated via MPLS with 4 MB link to the central hub whereas the international campuses are connected via virtual private network to the central hub. Amity enjoys being hi-tech. That is why we are proud of being the first wireless campus of India years before most people had not even heard of the technology. As India’s first hi-tech smart campus, Amity has wireless broadband internet connectivity with over 75 kms of fiber optic/LAN cable backbone structure. Each student is provided with a smart card for access control/e-wallet, etc. Also, all campuses are interconnected through a highly secured Amity virtual private network where more than 4,000 PCs are connected to the internet through broadband connections whilst 37 high-end servers power the Amity
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network. We also have an in-house ERP solution that helps in interaction and knowledge sharing among students and between students and faculty. Keeping in mind the uptake of mobile phones and convenience for our students, the services can also be accessed over mobiles and smartphones. Amity also offers its students Wi-Fi zones so that they can be connected all the time. They have also been given access to repository of lectures which can be accessed through intranet or internet. Live webcast of guest lectures is also facilitated at the institute. What are the business challenges the industry is facing at present? Every technology comes with challenges, however the IT industry is very fast and the industry is also capable of getting solutions for its end-customers. Today at Amity, we do not face much of
“The next big thing for the education industry will be that education will change from teacher centric to technology centric” challenges and due to the rapid growth in IC, the challenges get fixed usually. The exponential growth of Amity and our desire to remain always ahead of implementing new technological solutions always keeps us on our toes. Are you facing any kind of issues in finding the right kind of solutions for your requirements? Collaboration between various technologies and platform always remains a challenge; hence we always look for solutions independent of platform with minimum bandwidth requirements. Has Amity deployed mobile applications, for internal working as well as for partners? If yes, what are those applications? Yes, we already have mobile app of our in-house developed education ERP ‘Amizone’. We also broadcast live lec-
tures and events on iPads and Android platform. We have blended two existing technologies—e-learning software and surveillance cameras, which are used for distance learning and general surveillance—to achieve this goal. Amity students and teachers can now share audio, video, PPTs, and intellectual resources across over a 100 campuses of the group over MPLS through the elearning solution. Lectures by eminent domain experts are recorded and stored in the university’s intranet portal. So in case a student misses a lecture, he could view it on the portal. The project benefits over 95,000 students and has helped the university reduce the travel costs of domain experts by 80%. How do you see this industry in the coming times? The next big thing for education industry
will be that education will change from teacher centric to technology centric. Students will engage in collaborative activities through various tools & devices of information technology while the teacher assumes the role of facilitator. Wireless, video streaming, and mobile apps are the future of ICT. These technologies hold immense opportunity in the education sector as students are the building blocks and the coming generation of the society. Students utilize these services to the optimum level and being the end-user of the service, they are always in a better position to ideate, innovate, and develop the applications for their community. Also, the student community usually utilizes and enjoys the benefits from the successful applications downloaded in huge volume by the subscribers through revenue sharing. Ritu Singh firstname.lastname@example.org
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‘We expect our vendors to use our 3 business mantras: better, faster, cheaper’ —Custan D’ Souza
project manager, information technology, ICICI Lombard
Insurance is a subject of solicitation, but using ICT in an insurance company to reach out to its customers and deliver services is a necessity. Custan D’ Souza, project manager, information technology, ICICI Lombard, is using ICT extensively in the insurance company in order to keep pace with the changing times. In a conversation with VOICE&DATA, he talks about the rising IT adoption in the sector. Excerpts—
rom an enterprise point of view, what are the key technology trends in the insurance sector? The technology trend is at all-time high in the insurance sector. The major technology trends are automization, internet, intranet security control, cost reduction, integration, clarity and control in reports from various apps. Usage of mobile technology, interactive voice response, sales force automation system, data warehouse, IT budgeting system, employee engagement system, e-commerce, IT infrastructure, e-performance—scale for human resource—are some other trends. Today, all major insurance companies are engaging with IT vendors to build or buy products that would help them to reach out to both internal and external customers.
What are the business challenges the insurance industry is facing at present? The most important challenges are to invent and innovate fresh ideas and technological advances faster than the competitors and leverage the technological know how. The other major challenges would be ‘controlled budget’ and ‘limited time for delivery of the IT projects’. Since all the companies are regulated and controlled under the IRDA norms, almost all insurance companies follow similar guidelines, one of the key parameters that makes a difference would be the technology leverage in all areas of its verticals, which includes administration, sales ( retail and corporate ), human resource. Being a BFSI sector, our services are essential to our customers at any time and place. Our presence in different time zones and 24x7 operations need to be wholly supported by the IT infrastructure.
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How has the insurance sector technologically evolved over the last few years? Technological needs have increased over the years for the insurance sector in terms of budget, process, testing, infrastructure, resource, vendors, transparency, budget system, new application, change request, etc. We have also witness that the team has to partner with the right partners in IT and manage and use their expertise for the greater good of the company. The companies have used major technological advances towards connecting to our sales force and customers through echannel (internet channel), interactive voice response technology, mobile technology, short message service initiative, sales force automation, HR application, policy administration system, data warehousing, etc. Are you facing any kind of issues in finding the right kind of solutions for your requirements?
“Today, CIOs are playing a major role in the decisionmaking of the organization. A business today can flourish only with a good IT framework in place” In a dynamic world of technology, finding the right partners and retaining them is necessary and the company makes it a point to join hands with appropriate partners. Since the IT world is dynamic, keeping up with the latest trends and current technological advances are a mean for survival. Every company would have some ‘hits’ and ‘misses’ due to delay in project delivery, cost going over board, scope of the project going haywire. It is difficult to find the right kind of solutions as the IT industry is a knowledge based industry and managing the resources is a difficulty due to attrition. Since cost is the major factor in determining vendors, it becomes difficult to zero in on the right vendor. How do you see the role of an IT head changing over time? IT is very critical to business as IT is a business-enabler. It helps in coming out with new business models. Today, CIOs
are playing a major role in the decisionmaking process of the organization. A business today can flourish only with a good IT framework in place. What is the investment planned for ICT in FY12 and the forecast for FY13? The IT spend depends on a combination of factors, including the market scenario. As an IT head, it becomes important to make the right investments in accordance with business requirements, while keeping in mind the fast-paced IT innovations. The business has not clearly specified its needs, but we would be looking at exploring applications for customer acquisition and service. What are your expectations from your vendors for the next year? We would expect the vendors to use our 3 business mantras: ‘better’, ‘faster’, and
‘cheaper’. We would also expect the vendors to be able to deliver the projects and change request within a ‘time-frame’ Based on the trend, we have come to a conclusion that ‘sensitivity’ is the most important criteria along with ‘stakeholder management’. We would expect the technical vendors to provide resources and technical expertise that would lead to on time delivery and internal and external stakeholder management. We would also expect the IT vendors to provide us with timely and relevant consultancy for ‘past’, ‘present’ and ‘future undertaking’. The application concerns like bug fix, integration concerns technical assistance, ego concerns of resources, untrained IT professionals, bad attitude of resources, improper skills, incomplete knowledge, go a long way in setting up expectations from the IT vendors. Ritu Singh email@example.com
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‘Banks actively use social media to communicate with customers’ —Amit Sethi CIO, YES Bank
In an interaction with VOICE&DATA, Amit Sethi, CIO, YES Bank talks about how banks are looking at strategic partnerships with technology vendors to develop innovative system features in order to improve process efficiencies and co-create sector-specific banking solutions. Excerpts—
hat are the key technology trends in the banking sector, if we look at it as an enterprise? Mobility has become need of the hour due to its convenience of being available anytime anywhere. It is the fastest-growing platform for banking interactions and transactions and could also be used for customer on boarding, lead capture, cross selling, etc. Also since the end-user device preferences are diverse and ever demanding, it becomes imperative that the technology becomes agnostic and accommodative to user preferences. Social media and cloud based services are also gaining momentum. Banks actively use social media to communicate with customers in about everything from new credit card offers to branch closures. Banks presence on social media is playing a critical role in understanding customer needs.
With evolving social media, the banks can look at utilizing it as a channel for lead capture, marketing, segmentation, brand equity building, etc. YES Bank has always believed and adopted this technology and has been the early adopters of cloud based services in banking with the first mover implementation in payments. One more important trend for banking industry is business analytics. Advanced business intelligence and analytics are the keys to better information at lower cost. BI can enable advanced analytical abilities which will help banks in creating personalized customer experience, service differentiation, and customer acquisition. With maximum percentage unbanked population living in rural areas and regulators’ focus on financial inclusion, it has become very important for banks to look at technology which can enable them to cater to this population in cost effective manner like micro ATMs, bank on mobile, etc.
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What are the business challenges faced by the banking industry? People management issues like lack of skilled staff, training, attrition; change in customer demographics and preferences; evolving technology; regulatory framework; security threats on various channels; commoditization of products; service differentiation since everybody is offering everything; cost; efficiency and margin pressures are some of the key challenges that the industry is facing currently. How has the banking sector technologically evolved over the last few years? Earlier the banks had an internal approach towards technology with larger focus on back office, batch processing, etc, but over the years, banks have realized the importance of customer experience becoming a service differentiator and have evolved with focus on front
“We are looking at unified communication (UC) since it has the ability to integrate different communication mediums such as voice, data, video, instant messages, audio and video conferencing into one common interface” office, customer facing channels, use of business intelligence for apt decision making, real-time processing, end-user devices, mobility, social media, SOA based architectures, scalability, revamp of legacy infrastructure, etc. What are the technology requirements of your bank and who are your vendors that look after your ICT tools? We are looking at unified communication (UC) since it has the ability to integrate different communication mediums such as voice, data, video, instant messages, audio and video conferencing into one common interface to realize benefits of increased productivity, enhanced competitive advantage, improved customer responsiveness, and a more sophisticated end-user experience. #1 VOIP—A cost-effective IP to IP calling between internal YES Bank employees across offices thus reducing STD calls
#2 Video Phone—Video calling is as easy as making a phone call but with a video advantage. Easy access to faceto-face communications between MANCOM members. Enhance interactions, build relationships, and speed decision making. Significant savings in time and travel costs #3 Video Phone Banking—We have deployed one Kiosk set up at IFC, Nariman point branch and contact center agent at Gurgaon. A face to face rich user experience for customer while talking to a contact center agent. #4 Instant Messaging—’CISCO’s Jabber (Presence)’ an instant messaging solution which provides an integrated collaboration What strategies have you planned for your company to reduce costs? Few areas where technology has been identified as a key pillar are strategic part-
nering with businesses, focus on technology innovations, and strategic partnerships with some of the best known IT majors globally to develop innovative systems in order to improve process efficiencies and create sector-specific banking solutions. Another area is the development of a robust business continuity plan for addressing risks and secure systems that are vital to business operations. The bank also heavily outsources its needs, and that strategy is paying off in many ways. For one, it allows it to shift management focus away from routine tasks to ‘business transformation’ projects to drive growth. It also needs to make fewer investments in various kinds of technology infrastructure as much of that responsibility gets shifted to its vendors. It can also operate with smaller IT team ves flexibility and agility. Ritu Singh firstname.lastname@example.org
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‘Virtualization, cloud, and mobility will make security even more critical’ —Anil K Jain
senior vice president and global business head, C&M vertical, Wipro
Anil Jain is senior vice president and global business head for the Communication and Media (C&M) vertical, Wipro. Jain is responsible for overall P&L of C&M business spread across LATAM/Europe/ APAC/IMEA with over 4000+ employees. He has been in the telecom space for over 10 years and has rich experience of managing complex transformational deals. Prior to his current role, he was senior vice president and business head of profession services division and telecom business, for India and the Middle East. As a distinguished figure in the telecom industry, he is regularly invited to speak in multiple industry and academic forums. VOICE&DATA spoke to Anil Jain to understand the dynamics and trends of ICT in the sector. Excerpts—
hat are the key technology trends in the IT industry, if we look at it as an enterprise? The key trends driving the IT industry are—variabilization of IT, simplification of legacy, and IT systems and technology led cost optimization. Clients are increasingly demanding solutions that can help them achieve higher efficiency, simplify their systems and processes and variabilize their costs. These market forces along with a weak macroeconomic environment demand greater agility from IT companies. In addition, the adoption of macro technology trends by enterprises—cloud, mobility, analytics, and social media—is also creating exciting opportunities for the IT industry. What are the business challenges the industry is facing at present? After years of accelerated double-digit
growth, the industry is facing a period of sluggish growth. Due to the slow economic activity and margin pressures, clients today seek solutions that deliver cost optimization and quantifiable business benefits. In many cases, IT vendors are also required to do upfront investments and take ownership of client infrastructure, which increases the risks involved. In addition, given the rapid pace of technology evolution, one of the biggest challenges is achieving agility, the ability to quickly ramp-up resources based on client requirements. This is specifically true for emerging technologies such as cloud, M2M and analytics. What are the technology requirements of your company and who are your vendors that look after your ICT tools? Like any large enterprise that has hundreds of thousands of employees, our ICT needs are distributed across various business
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functions and operations. The key ones can be listed as communications, collaboration and productivity tools, planning, payroll, finance and many others. How has the IT industry technologically evolved over the last few years? Although, the initial value proposition for the industry was basic cost and talent advantages, the focus is shifting towards variabilization, more value creation, and business transformation deals. One of the greatest shifts in the recent years has been the rise of variabilization of IT due to the adoption of on-demand and pay-per-use models. These models provide clients with greater flexibility to minimize their upfront investments and help them better manage sudden spikes in demand. In addition, IT today needs to be business relevant as clients seek guaranteed business outcomes from vendors before investing.
“The adoption of macro technology trends by enterprises— cloud, mobility, analytics, and social media— is also creating exciting opportunities for the IT industry” Are you facing any kind of issues in finding the right kind of solutions for your requirements? Most solutions require some level of customization, and the question of right or wrong solutions cannot be generalized. It will vary depending upon various factors such as functionality, scalability, and cost. Has your company deployed mobile applications both for internal working as well as for your partners? If yes, what are those applications? If not, when are you planning to deploy? We are a leading IT company and have developed numerous mobility solutions and applications. How do you see this industry in the recent future? The focus is increasingly shifting towards non-linearity; a client-centric approach and developing innovative solutions that
can help solve clients’ key business challenges. Led by this trend, we will witness the rise of innovative outcome based and risk-rewards engagement business models in coming years. Which are the areas where you are planning to cut down cost through ICT solutions? ICT tools are of utmost importance in today’s globalized business environment. ICT solutions such as telepresence and v-con bring together geographically spread teams, thereby ensuring greater collaboration, saving time, and help cut considerable travel costs. How are you ensuring that cloud computing becomes a successful proposition for enterprises? As mentioned earlier, variabilizing IT costs and cost optimization are the key focus areas for enterprises today. Cloud computing has applications in many areas including
platforms, software, and even infrastructure. Cloud computing provides organizations with the flexibility to pay-as-they-go, and migrate to a variable cost model from the traditional fixed costs model. As a leading IT services provider, we have built state-of-theart cloud solutions offering private, public as well as hybrid cloud solutions to our clients, with best-in-class scalability and security. Security is a big issue in the IT world. What is your security policy and how do you see it unveiling over the years? Indeed, security is of prime importance to any IT company. We place highest emphasis on security and utilize best-inclass solutions to provide our clients with a secure environment. In the coming years, security will become even more critical due to the rise of virtualized environments, cloud computing, and mobility. Ritu Singh email@example.com
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‘ICT Budget isn’t a constraint, if adds value to the company’ —Vijay Sethi vice-president and CIO, Hero MotoCorp
Hero MotoCorp is the world’s largest two-wheeler manufacturing company in terms of sales volume. It has come a long way since its inception in 1984. With 3 manufacturing units in Haryana and Uttarakhand, the company is capable of producing more than 3 mn bikes annually. The company uses IT and communication technologies extensively to increase productivity as well as smoothen the entire process. VOICE&DATA spoke to Vijay Sethi, the company’s VP and CIO, to know more about the role of ICT in the automobile industry in general and Hero MotoCorp in specific. Excerpts—
hat are the main ICT tools and processes being used in the automobile industry? Automobile companies these days are leveraging tools ranging from the basic ones like ERP and business analytics tools to the more complex ones like cloud driven services and mobile applications. Apart from this, solutions like workflows, CRM, PLM, dealer management system, portals for vendors, knowledge management systems along with other solutions to help R&D and connectivity across locations and ecosystems are part of the automobile industry today. Information security and infrastructure management solutions are also used extensively. Many companies like ours also use identity and access management solutions. Social media and cloud are another things which are catching
up. It is not just about using these tools that matter, but the real benefit is based on the way organizations harvest these tools to meet their business objectives and compliance needs. For better management, auto industries need to connect with their branch offices and remote offices; and also with their international operations. How are you getting connected with branch offices and international offices? Since the major interface with the customers for any automobile organization is through its branch offices which directly interact with the sales touch points, it is necessary to have an efficient communication system which connects all the branch and remote offices. In our case, we have various communication tools which help us connect and collaborate with our branch offices. In addition to tools, we have also provi-
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sioned a robust infrastructure for all our branch offices to enable them to connect to the rest of the world. All the offices are connected to our central systems using MPLS technology. In addition, all our dealers in the country are connected through MPLS Has your company deployed mobile applications both for internal working as well as for your partners. If yes, what are those applications and if no, when are you planning to deploy? We have deployed a number of mobile applications, both for our employees and our partners. Our employees now have the flexibility to perform critical operations like approvals from their mobile devices itself apart from various reports and information being made available. Many decision oriented applications where a timely decision might make our processes more efficient or
“Leveraging the power of cloud, big data, mobility, and social media will be some areas where investment will be focused in the next fiscal” make the employees more productive have been extended to mobile devices. Even our partners are able to fetch information from our systems with the push/pull sms solutions that we have deployed for them. In fact, the mobility journey for our organization started way back when we became one of the first companies in Asia to give access to Lotus Notes based emails on mobile phones to employees. Even today, unlike other mobility initiatives, our mobile initiatives keep in mind that the applications are available on any mobiles and not just smartphones, which still form a very small portion of phones used in the country. There is a lot of pressure on the CIO to reduce costs—operational cost, manpower cost on IT. Keeping this in view, what are the strategies you have planned for your company?
The IT departments have risen from the position of being a support department to the position of being partners in business over the last few years. All our initiatives are aligned to the business goals and that is where justifying the IT costs becomes an easy task. We have always tried to align all our projects to the needs of the business and the business users. As a philosophy, our top management also believes that staying ahead of the times with the use of technology is very important for the organization to sustain and improve its competitive advantage. It is for this reason that the money that is spent on IT initiatives and manpower is viewed as an investment and not cost. What is the investment planned for ICT in FY 2013-14; revenue forecast for FY 2013-14; and areas where you are planning to invest in ICT?
Leveraging the power of cloud, big data, mobility, and social media will be some areas where the investment will be focused in the next fiscal. Besides these, there are other areas also where the relevant ICT tools will be deployed to enable the organization to be more efficient. As an organization, we have ambitious growth plans for FY 201314, and IT will play a significant role in them As regards investments, only one thing I will say is that budget does not become a constraint in any ICT initiative if we are convinced that it adds value to the organization whether in short term or long term. All projects / investments are looked through a business (or returns) justification filter and once that is done—rest is all mechanics. Gyana Ranjan Swain firstname.lastname@example.org
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‘The catch is in determining where to cut the IT budget without sacrificing effectiveness’ — Shiva Shankar group chief information officer, SPIC
Southern Petrochemical Industries Corporation, or SPIC, is an Indian company that makes petrochemicals. Its core competency is its fertilizer portfolio with additional interests in the areas of power, oil and natural gas, pharmaceuticals, and biotechnology applications in agriculture. No doubt, a business group of this scale having varied interests has to use ICT extensively to get the desired result. And that is what Shiva Shankar has been doing for the company as its group CIO. VOICE&DATA spoke to him to know more about the ICT related issues and challenges his company face, and how he mitigates the challenges with the help of ICT. Excerpts—
Down the line we are also exploring the possibilities of using the IaaS for some of our lesser critical systems. For our core business apps & ERP we are planning to have a private cloud/shared infrastructure to support all group companies.
What is your IT security and cloud computing strategy? Security has been a key factor when it comes to a new solution design or protecting existing landscape. The perimeter security is fortified and governed by strict norms. All the devices and policies are reviewed and governed by corporate policies. There are well defined process in place for identity and access management. In addition, we are already adapting cloud solution for our messaging requirements.
What are the pain points with respect to integration of technology? Companies invest huge costs in system integration and maintenance for business applications and services. The most common pain points are: Business Relevance: The application and infrastructure technology that is applicable to one group company may not be suitable for other. Integrating different application (legacy and new) technologies to deliver business service is a phenomenal task and needs close scrutiny. Integration Cost: In today’s time when the intention of most of initiative is to optimize cost, but often huge integra-
hat are the technological challenges before the oil and gas sector? Constant cost reduction, better RoI for the investments being made, higher availability, predictable system performances, business intelligence/data warehousing are some of the challenges in this industry which are not very different from the other sectors.
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tion cost cause the initiative to overshoot budget and at times fail. Effort for Integration: The lead time required to understand system and plan the integration results in extended project timeline causing delay t business. This may lead to considerable opportunity loss to business. Availability of Right Solution: Often unavailability of right solution/services lead to business process. Leaders see a significant increase in the number of errors/ issues caused by integration services as these pain points cause a delay/roadblock to application transformation initiatives. How do you plan to leverage your ICT expertise gained over the years? In today’s highly competitive environment, companies and organizations are hard pressed to keep and maintain costeffective ICT solutions. Over a period of time I have gained experience to bridge
“In today’s highly competitive environment, companies and organizations are hard pressed to keep and maintain cost-effective ICT solutions” this gap in the operations by optimizing very distinct services. I am planning to apply these areas amongst others: IT and businesses work hand in glove Standardizing and consolidating the infrastructure Consolidating the vendors to have better control and cost Convert capital into operating expenses by introducing cloud, rental or lease management of ICT equipment Optimize process, introducing service management thereby improve efficiency Role based resource allocation and asset management services License consolidation and adaptation of open source Procurement services utilizing central IT rather through respective group companies Introduce ICT audit services
There is lot of pressure on CIOs to reduce operational manpower cost. Keeping this in view, what are the strategies you have planned for your company? IT plays a key role in most functions within an organization and is clearly a contributor to cost. Consequently, IT costs are coming under increasing scrutiny. The complexity is in determining where to cut the IT budget without sacrificing effectiveness and efficiency. We depend heavily on our ICT landscape and application—ERP systems—and want to ensure that the expertise understands its context and importance. Hence we are working on unifying support to our ICT landscape across group through tier-1 and -2 partners. Besides, we are working on the following initiatives to optimize IT cost: Share licenses, services, and human resources among different LOB Centralized IT procurement decisions and negotiations
Kindle innovation—encourage employees to share their innovation ideas Instead of PC desktop refresh introducing thin client model Vendor consolidation and renegotiate maintenance contracts for all group Use more open source products Cost of skilled resource is also an important contributor and we are working on optimizing on those fronts too. Increase automation Rework the FTE ratio from vendor to support IT landscape Keep departments up to 15% under-staffed Introduce self service and training to end users to enable self sustenance Recruit graduate trainees to create bench resources.
Gyana Ranjan Swain email@example.com
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‘As margins go down, businesses look at IT for the desired results’ —Vipil Gupta general manager, information systems, Indian Hotels
Indian Hotels Company, popularly known as Taj Hotels and Resorts, is Asia’s largest and one of the finest hotel groups in the world. The hospitality industry, where providing customer gratification remains the sole objective, is using ICT tools extensively to fulfill its core purpose. Vipil Gupta, general manager, information systems, Indian Hotels, is at the forefront of using ICT in 25 of the group’s total 93 properties. With over 25 years of IT experience in marketing, pharmaceuticals, financial services, and hospitality industries, he possesses ample knowledge in the hospitality sector. He has been with Taj for the last 12 years and successfully implemented a lot of projects. In an interview with VOICE&DATA, he talks about the ever increasing role of IT in the sector. Excerpts—
hat are the top ICT challenges faced by the hospitality sector? One of the major challenges the hospitality sector faces all the time is how to integrate disparate systems. There is hardly any completely integrated solution available in the hospitality industry that can offer CRS, CRM, PMS, POS, SNC, SPA, etc, all together in one system. Customization as per Indian compliance structure is also a bottleneck in getting some internationally acclaimed solutions. There is a deficit of matured IT vendors also. Supporting business to achieve desired results and implementing in-room technologies are the other challenges. While the margins are going down, expectations of the customers are always high, business looks at IT to enable them to get the desired results by not only providing
best of the transactional systems but also by expanding the use of information and analytics by strategizing the use of social media and mobile, etc. What are the trends in the hospitality sector as far as ICT deployment is concerned? The industry is very receptive in adopting current IT trends and most of the hospitality companies are putting their resources to implement BI, analytics, latest in-room technologies, BPM tools, etc. Besides, it is also improving IT efficiencies by adopting cloud, virtualization, and constantly working on governance, risk, and compliance. Have you opted for outsourcing with respect to ICT-related work. How is it working for you? Yes, we have entered into an outsourcing arrangement to provide world-class
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services in IT, including application development and maintenance services, infrastructure support services, analytics, other knowledge-based process outsourcing, professional services, and general business process outsourcing. The strategy is to obtain services conforming to the best industry practices and standards for customers, business, and operations. There is a lot of pressure on a CIO to reduce costs. What are the strategies in the pipeline for you? As mentioned earlier, we have already entered into a strategic outsourcing agreement which will finally yield higher operational excellence at a reduced IT cost to the company. Moreover, the transformation projects identified by the company are aimed at reducing cost at various levels within the organizations. For example, online learning module
â€œThere is a huge potential in RFID technology to provide various solutions to the hospitality sector and the industry is receptive to adopt it for various purposesâ€? (OLM) will facilitate higher penetration of brand standards, which is a very expensive thing in the hospitality sector, among the employees at a very nominal cost of training. What do you think is the scope of RFID technology ? There is a huge potential in RFID technology to provide various solutions to the hospitality sector and the industry is receptive to adopt it for various purposes. One of the best use of RFID in hotels can be for guest identification and recognition. Another use of RFID can be for asset tracking and warehouse management. How are you using social media tools to increase average footfall? We have started using social media for various campaigns to reach out to our customers and other stakeholders. The
tool is also being used to engage employees from various hotels to share same platform to interact and help each other by sharing guest preferences across the hotels. Even hotels are targeting certain focused groups on social media to attract more business. . What is the investment planned for ICT in FY13 and the forecast for FY14? The industry has already stopped making the capex plans in terms of financial numbers and now focuses on making a long-term IT strategy with a clear cut enterprise architecture. This helps in linking IT initiatives with the overall business plan in the longer run and let business to provide the desired financial support to that, based on the business prospects. This gives a much desired agility to the entire planning and financial system.
Which are the key telecom products that you procure on a regular basis? Despite a sharp drop in revenues of telecom systems, hotels need telecom products for internal communications with a lot of hotel features to ensure efficiencies at various levels. We have started using IPBX systems over converged networks for guest rooms and other areas, with a mix of high-end analog phones, SIP phones, and IP phones. How do you address security issues? There has been a constant emphasis on security of IT systems and information. Being the information security officer, I am also responsible to lay down policies and procedures. There is a mechanism of regular audits and reviews, which ensures that the organization comply with all the applicable statutory laws, having adequate control over the information of the organization. V&D Correspondent firstname.lastname@example.org
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‘Marketing techniques can be more innovative through ICT tools’ — Badar Afaq corporate IT manager, Fortune Hotels
Fortune Hotels was set up in 1995 to cater to the mid and upscale market segment in business and leisure destinations. Today, it is a professionally managed hotel management company with 67 signed properties; 5,164 rooms spread across 50 cities in India, out of which 40 hotels are operational at present. It has emerged as one of the fastest growing ‘first-class, full-service business hotel’ chains in India. VOICE&DATA spoke to Badar Afaq, corporate IT manager, Fortune Hotels, as he handles all the ICT demands as well as challenges of the company. Excerpts—
hat are the trends in the hospitality sector as far as ICT deployment is concerned? Dependency upon ICT starts right from the scratch while identifying and developing tourism sites and destinations itself. The use of the geographic information system in combination with the computer science in the recent years across the globe for varied purposes is popularly known and the tourism industry has not been an exception in availing its advantages. It is used by the tourism industry to define the boundaries of the proposed tourist site as well as its surrounding areas and the communities living around and in it. It also provides information about the links to reach such destinations and availability of utilities. Such technologies are also useful for site management and monitoring which in turn helps the tour-
ist or business travelers search the right place as per their requirement. The role of ICT tools in the industry for marketing, operation, and management of customer is widely known and hence becomes critical. Marketing techniques can be more innovative through ICT tools. Have you opted for outsourcing with respect to ICT-related works, how is it working for you? As far as outsourcing of ICT is concerned, generally hotels outsourced print media related solutions, bulk SMSes and web space for mailing server and website which is working well for us. Regarding the other processes, we have teams to evaluate the same.
tool to bring business whether it’s a large international hotel chain or a small, independent resort. Generally business strategies of every brand vary from each other, therefore, a detailed study is performed to identify the major issues before adopting cloud. Cloud is a highly adaptive IT infrastructure that can be shared by many different end users, each of whom might use it in very different ways. Computing resources can be dynamically and instantaneously distributed by the cloud provider as more users join the system. Cloud providers utilize a cloud infrastructure that is flexible, and which uses a highly efficient economy of scale approach in order to expand computer resources.
Are you looking at deployment of cloud and WLAN? We have already deployed cloud and WLAN. Investment in technology is a
What do you think is the scope of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology? Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is an automatic identification method
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â€œIn future, there may be a situation where the Indian ICT products will start facing competition from international productsâ€? consisting of several components. Among these, the 3 important components are RFID tag (also known as transponder), RFID reader (also known as transceiver or interrogator), and software for data processing. The tags contain Electronic Product Code (EPC) and the information related to the product like the name of the company, batch and year of manufacturing, price, etc. The RFID can store more data as compared to other traditional method like barcodes. But the drawback is that it has certain technological barriers that still need to be overcome to optimize its application. These lacunas are high investment, lack of security and privacy, etc. What are the challenges faced while sourcing ICT products and tools from the Indian market? The international markets are investing in India on a very large scale. Therefore
in future there may be a situation where the Indian ICT products will start facing competition from international products. The technological market is expanding and the process is unending. How are you using social media tools to increase average footfall? Social media is a very effective and important tool for any business plans. Social media like facebook, twitters, etc, reach out to more than millions of people. Social media was not used to that extent earlier but now we have started using social media to promote on the net as well as other areas. We promote our holiday packages through various social media sites, therefore tourists looking for discounts and special packages get all the information. Gone are the days when they used to arrive and then look for a hotel; now everything is on their finger.
Which are the key telecom products you procure on a regular basis? There are telecom products available in market for the hotels, ie, TeleMatrix, Alcatel, NEC, Siemens, Bittels, and other international brands are also looking for Indian market. What measures do you take to address security issues? There are a lot of products available to protect from outside threats such as virus, data hacking, etc. To protect from these threats there is a requirement of proper antivirus, firewall, intrusion prevention systems (IPS), and intrusion detection systems (IDS). These should have latest upgrades and proper policies. Also there should be control on the usage of internet with proper restrictions and continuous monitoring of the systems and their usage. V&D Correspondent email@example.com
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‘We are working to provide HIS access on smartphone’ —Srikanth Raman chief information officer, Narayana Hrudayalaya
Srikanth Raman, chief information officer at Narayana Hrudayalaya, has successfully enhanced the IT infrastructure which is supporting a massive healthcare operation at the hospital. He initiated the setting up of a private-hosted cloud model with HCL’s blu enterprise clouds infrastructure as a service (IaaS) solution and thereby, reducing huge upfront cost. He has saved Rs 20-25 crore in capex costs by migrating to cloud. He was also instrumental in integrating HIS with cloud while ensuring seamless connectivity. Raman runs us through the technological competence at the hospital and the key tech requisites in the healthcare sector. Excerpts—
hat are the key trends in the healthcare sector as far as ICT deployments are concerned? ICT is now focusing more and more towards the central players in healthcare—doctors and patients. The current focus has shifted to how we can have accurate clinical data in an analyzable form accessible anywhere for the doctor and the patient. This, in turn, has provided impetus to critical care medical equipment interfacing HIS (hospital information system) and delivering the analyzed data to the mobility platform. What are the pain points with respect to integration of technology? Multiple vendors not conforming to one open standard, unwillingness to allow access to proprietary protocols, etc, remain
the key challenges; but the barriers are slowly breaking. While integrating our hospital management system on cloud, we were perplexed about issues of building up and owning systems, to find skilled IT resources and retaining them. And if we had built data centers, either centralized or disparate, we had to back it with a real-time disaster recovery site. The upfront cost implications were huge. A conventional data center set up, whether at a centralized location or at every hospital, would be a time-consuming and tedious affair. But fortunately, we deployed cloud systems and we saved over Rs 20-25 crore in capex costs by moving to the cloud. If we built our own infrastructure, it would have cost us between Rs 1-1.5 crore per facility. What are your EHR initiatives to enhance the quality of healthcare and
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administrative efficiency at Narayana Hrudayalaya? EHR at Narayana Hrudayalaya has just started as the administrative rollout have just been completed. Already a unique ID works across the group hospitals for a patient, laboratory reports are automatically emailed to the patients once authenticated by the laboratory in charge, patient portals which would give access to individual EHR is under development. This would be the basis for the roll out of e-health and m-health initiatives from the patient’s point of view. In recent years, electronic health record has been an integral part of the healthcare segment. Have you made any advancements/upgradation in health informatics? The team is currently working on enabling the hospital HIS to work, out of a smartphone using apps which would
“Mobility platform is the key to adoption of IT in healthcare among the direct care givers and the recipient patient community” give an acceptable user interface (UI) experience. The traditional way of using the same UI as the desktop UI is not good enough to entice the medical community into using technology to deliver healthcare. What is the rate of computerized provider order entry (CPOE) adoption in India? Has it been deployed in your hospital? CPOE framework in terms of online indenting and dispensing including in between prescription audit layer has been deployed in all our major hospitals in the in-patient service delivery. However until we deploy the specialized apps and UI, it will continue to be a proxy entry from the doctor’s point of view. Have you deployed e-health and mhealth services? Mobility platform is the key to adoption
of IT in healthcare among the direct care givers and the recipient patient community. In order to cater to the rural masses, we embarked on telemedicine service in 2002 and we have connected Malaysia, Mauritius and Pakistan. Since then, we at Narayana Hrudayalaya, have been exchanging ECG reports, Audio/Visual data, CT scans, X-rays, MRIs and their analysis through telephone line, broadband connection or satellite. Our hospital is also a part of ‘The Karnataka Telemedine Project’ which was inaugurated on April 8, 2002. This project has linked two rural hospitals in Saragur in Karnataka viz the Chamarajnagar district hospital and the Vivekananda Memorial hospital with the Narayana Hrudayalaya. What are the ICT solutions planned for the future? At Narayana Hrudayalaya, we have already deployed all the key hospital
applications on a cloud platform so that access could be universal with adequate controls built in. Our cloud model has resolved the burden of building a data center and let us focus on the business of health care. The cloud deployment ensures that the best security protocols would be implemented by specialized service providers who could handle security issues much better than a localized IT team, in terms of both available technical resources and the depth of expertise in deployments. How do you see the role of the CIO/ IT head changing over time? I see a good CIO / nimble IT as a strategic competitive differentiator who will have a huge say in the future and also help to reshape the business model of healthcare delivery. Malini N firstname.lastname@example.org
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‘We are the first retailer in India to adopt Linux platform for PoS’ —Vikram Idnani
head, information technology, Trent
Vikram Idnani heads information technology at Trent (a Tata enterprise), a retail group in India comprising Westside and Landmark retail formats. In his prior stints, Vikram served as technology consultant for various retail and consumer goods firms in the US such as PepsiCo, Borders and JD Williams, where he automated store and warehouse processes and helped shorten the website content delivery cycle. At Trent, for the first time in the retail industry, Vikram initiated the deployment of open source platform. We tried to know more about Vikram’s role. How he manages ICT needs, keeping abreast with innovations across all retail formats. Excerpts–
as technology proven to be a competitive weapon in the retail sector? Which are the key technological trends in the industry? In order to deliver value to its customer, a retail business should understand the customer, develop the right product, and deliver the product while providing a pleasant shopping experience. Technology is key to fulfilling each phase of this cycle. Today, the key technological trends are mobility, the use of social media, the mining of big data, and digital channels for selling product. On the supply chain side, the trends are centered on engaging better with suppliers and optimizing the supply chain. What are the ICT challenges faced? There are 2 ICT challenges, we must deal with—the challenge to prioritize technology investments and the challenge to
prevent leakage of intelligent data from within the organization. Point-of-Sale is undergoing major changes, how are you aligning with this? In today’s environment, customer demands are changing fast. At the store, there is a demand of prompt service and a smooth checkout. On the electronic front, there is a demand to make product available online or digitally in the hands of the customer. We have enabled this on the cloud through www.landmarkonthenet. com, the landmark online portal. We have stayed abreast with technology trends by enabling the download of e-books. Which are the technologies deployed at your organization to predict consumer demand, shorten lead times, reduce inventory holding, and eventually save costs? We carry out customer analytics to understand consumer demand and behavior.
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We have gained control over lead times and inventory positions by following one simple principle—to integrate all of our processes, from product development to selling and finally customer analytics. We have hugely improved productivity, pick accuracy and speed through warehouse automation. How is technology facilitating in providing more value to consumers and in ensuring higher service levels? The value for a consumer materializes only when the consumer receives the right product in full at the right price at the right time. To make this happen, we are enhancing our visibility throughout the supply chain right to the supplier, while also identifying the inefficient parts of the business and addressing them through automation. Because at the end of the day, it’s not just the ambience or the environment, but our ability to deliver
“The value for a consumer materializes only when the consumer receives the right product at the right price at the right time” product in the hands of the customer that decides if we are successful in providing value to our customer. How does integrated ICT, particularly ERP, CRM, and supply chain management, help the retail sector? Of these, what are the solutions that have been deployed and what do you intend to deploy over and above these? Integrated systems ensure that there is one source of truth for information. They also ensure data integrity throughout the path of information flow. Without data integrity and a reliable source of information, no retail business can make the right decisions. We use SAP for procurement, allocation and replenishment, and Infor for warehouse management. Our point-ofsale and loyalty programs are based on an open source stack on the Linux platform. In fact, we are the first retailer in India to adopt the Linux platform for our point-of-
sale, which has given us huge cost savings. We are deploying business intelligence technology to improve analysis and ad hoc information capability for the business. Of late, self-service billing counter is gaining prominence in the retail sector in India too, do you intend to deploy it? Self-service billing has not been entirely successful globally. Some large retailers have stopped providing this option as they have not found it practical. Yet some retailers have persisted with this facility. In India, this is not yet gaining prominence. We will deploy it at a time when we are confident of delivering an extremely satisfying experience to our customer, through a blend of technology and process. Have you opted for outsourcing with respect to ICT related works? Which are the areas identified for outsourcing and
how is it working for you? To leverage the strengths of IT service providers, we have outsourced IT operations to a strategic partner. To leverage our own strengths, we have retained in-house IT management and strategy. This has helped us improve basic service levels while ensuring IT strategy is aligned with the business objectives. What are the ICT activities planned for FY 2014? For FY 2014, our focus continues to be on product development agility, supply chain efficiency, a great shopping experience, and a deeper customer understanding. On the core technology front, we expect to increase our adoption of the cloud. At present, our 2 portals—www.landmarkonthenet.com and www.mywestside.com—are on the cloud. Malini N email@example.com
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‘Blind cost reduction can be detrimental’ —Amod Malviya SVP and head, engineering, Flipkart
An IIT Kharagpur alumni, an avid technology contributor, a strong open source proponent, Amod Malviya has played an instrumental role at Flipkart’s engineering division since its infancy. Amod Malviya, SVP and head, engineering, Flipkart currently heads the engineering setup that powers Flipkart.com. Having joined as a senior engineering manager, his contribution has been immense. He has facilitated several technological innovations that are developed in-house; he implemented business intelligence and analytics in service which enabled the company to empower its customers with new tools to innovate alongside tracking performance in real time. During his decade-long career journey, he has successfully set up java based engineering infrastructure and scaled research algorithms for mass traffic. Malviya shares the strong and everlasting bond between Flipkart and technology; and the key technological focus areas with every passing year with VOICE&DATA. Excerpts—
he e-commerce industry and ICT are inseparable. What has been the role of ICT in Flipkart’s great progressive journey? Technology has played a central role in the success of Flipkart.com. E-commerce is about the end-to-end experience that a customer goes through. That is the reason our technology investments have pervaded every aspect of the business—website, supply chain, business intelligence, and even customer service. Today, we are able to make better and faster decisions because of the technology investments we chose to do in the past and the investments we are making in technology today will help us scale the business to the next level. E-commerce technologies allow twoway communication between e-retailers and consumers. And another unique feature of e-commerce is that, it enables personalization and lets sellers to target
marketing messages to a person’s name, interests and post purchases. It enables e-retailer to change the product or service to suit the purchasing behavior and preferences of a consumer. What are the key ICT trends in e-commerce, and the key ICT challenges faced by the industry? Technology continues to evolve at a very rapid pace even in some of the older ecommerce economies. That makes trending difficult. However 3 trends that have mostly withstood the test of time are: Technology pervading every aspect of the business, from website to supply chain to business decisions Distributed systems—as they allow scaling a lot better. SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) is a model of distributed systems that a lot of companies follows Metrics—technology increasingly providing more visibility into the business
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operations and driving more effective decision making The rapid pace is simultaneously a challenge as well. Scale and agility are usually conflicting concerns. This becomes particularly amplified in a rapidly developing economy such as ours. Thankfully, we have invested in experimentation at the core of our technology platforms—though there are a number of challenges that we still face. Have you opted for outsourcing with respect to ICT related work? Which are the areas identified for outsourcing and how is it working for you? We do not outsource our technology work. Every organization focuses on its core differentiators while outsourcing all the other pieces. For us, most of our core differentiators are around technology and hence developed in-house.
â€œAt Flipkart, we recognize that the primary way for us to be cost efficient is through technology. So our investments into technology have grown over time and we will continue to do so in the foreseeable futureâ€? Has Flipkart deployed mobile applications for internal working? Yes, there are areas where we are experimenting with mobile devices. Logistics and warehouse are 2 areas that easily come to mind.
gies for all these, with dedicated technology teams focused on these individual processes. We expose our engineers to a very large amount of business context and empower them to build the right technology solution for a given problem.
How is mobile commerce working out for Flipkart? While the numbers are still lower; given the infancy of the mobile internet, the sales happening through our mobile channel looks promising. Mobile as a traffic channel is growing extremely fast. Bearing that in mind, we have a dedicated internal technology team focusing on this aspect of the business.
What is the investment planned for ICT in FY14? Being a privately held company, we are unable to comment on internal investment numbers.
How is ICT facilitating smooth business production such as procurement, customer focused processes, and internal management processes? We have custom built in-house technolo-
There is pressure on CIOs/technology heads to reduce costs. What are the strategies planned for your company? Blind cost reduction can be detrimental. At Flipkart.com, we recognize that the primary way for us to be cost efficient is through technology. So our investments into technology have grown over time, and we will continue to do so in the foreseeable future.
At the same time; within the technology setup, we are very efficiency conscious and rely on a set of independent and very lean teams to get the task done. Engineers are able to focus better in a smaller setup and are able to take decisions and move fast. This also has the added benefit of retaining and growing our start up cultureâ€”people have high exposure and accountability. They are able to make a visible impact and are not lost in a crowd. Being pioneers of technology adoption, what are the new technologies that Flipkart is planning to deploy in the next couple of years? We deploy something new almost every single week. Some of the areas I see a lot of innovation around large scale analytics, warehouse automation, web technologies, and intelligent systems. Malini N firstname.lastname@example.org
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‘Test everything you hope to deploy’ —Rajendra Deshpande
chief technology officer, Serco Global Services
In a career spanning more than 25 years, Rajendra Deshpande, chief technology officer, Serco Global Services has primarily been responsible for the adoption of new innovative technology, setting up scalable, redundant, and secure IT infrastructure to meet business demands across multiple sites at Serco Global Services. Read more on this successful frontrunner for Serco Global Services and find out how ICT needs are managed and kept abreast with innovations. Excerpts—
ow are you managing application of technology to streamline business processes in a segregated IT environment? Applications are great facilities to business performance. We are managing it through virtualization and tenanting. What are the technological challenges before the BPO companies? BPO value proposition is going through a lot of changes, unlike the yesteryears where customers were looking at cost cutting; today they are seeking higher involvement from the BPO providers. With BPOs becoming strategic partners, they are working towards providing endto-end services with enduring innovation and here technology has seen to play a key differentiator. Customers are becoming more international in their approach and they
are looking for global solutions. There is a constant requirement to move from consolidated; scale delivery centers to more globally distributed delivery models. Additionally, there is a need to review from execution to solution-centric approaches. There is a constant need to build technology solutions to meet rapidly evolving delivery capabilities and business models. Mobile technologies, cloud computing/SaaS, and analytics continue to be in the limelight. With more and more companies adopting cloud based technologies, successful cloud migration is of major concern, keeping in mind the security implications, infrastructure, and operating costs. It’s advisable to have a prototype before completely shifting to cloud that will help in understanding the right solution and minimizing risks. Data security and disaster recovery are two critical components of sustenance and can strike
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to pose a challenge. Innovation has taken center stage and has become more important than ever before. Serco maintains an adequate level of data security controls, including but not limited to proper safeguarding of client data, logical access controls like password protection of client applications, data files, libraries, mainframe security software, tape management systems & proceduress and timely return of tapes. Serco has a detailed data security framework in place, which addresses all the concerns clients may have regarding the above security controls. Serco also provides 100% redundancy of the components. Serco has also signed an SLA with the vendors, service providers, and suppliers to facilitate minimum of 99.9% uptime and a minimum response time in eventuality of any components failure. There is a constant need to provide more complex, integrated business solu-
“There is a constant need to provide more complex, integrated business solutions for clients” tions for clients. This requires breaking silos that exist in most delivery organizations and ensure that the best capabilities across the organization can be brought together for clients. What were the challenges while implementing VoIP based call center solutions at Serco? The key challenges were: Resistance to change For many within organization, transitioning to a new system means time-consuming training and workplace disruption. Not only are many people uncomfortable with the idea of change, but they also have true concerns about the time required to learn a new system. Bandwidth considerations and deployment options. Capacity over network Compression technology Comparable voice quality to that
of traditional phone networks to gain acceptance by users. In other words, users should not need to know what kind of technology is being used to implement telephone service in order to make a phone call. Make your testbed as realistic as possible. Test everything you hope to deploy. Scale it as much as you can. Starting with the high level service definitions, and then working through high levels of detail down to the individual device setting level. Identifying existing level of system administration support. What is your cloud computing and security strategy? While cloud computing has the potential to make productivity gains for a business and reduce costs as a viable alternative to a number of on-premise operations, the imperative for each organization differs. For
small to medium businesses, cloud offers a viable business proposition. For many large businesses that have invested in heavy and complex ERP systems, the decision to invest in cloud is a capital intensive. It also depends on the kind of services being provided by their service providers to enable technology and business changes. Thus, cloud is still in its adolescence. The security strategy to be used for cloud computing before applications are successfully on-boarded, needs to factor several things. The applications might themselves contain several components, than would initially appear and some of the shared components cannot be moved to the cloud. So securing connectivity between the enterprise and the cloud needs to be established. Also, in the process, care must be taken to refrain from duplicating tools, processes, or teams. Malini N email@example.com
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‘We intend to set up a security operating center this fiscal’ —Subramanya C senior VP and global CTO, Hinduja Global Solutions
An IT and information security stalwart with over 2 decades of experience, Subramanya C, senior vice president and global chief technology officer at Hinduja Global Solutions, handled various aspects of conceptualizing and commissioning of business process outsourcing and IT enabled services. Being a part of strategic activities of the company, he has been equipping HGS to stay competitive and generate innovative solutions. He has facilitated the migration to cloud and constantly creates cost-efficient technology strategies. Subramanya candidly converses with VOICE&DATA about the technological plans of the company and the BPO industry. Excerpts—
hat is the ICT vision of Hinduja Global Solutions (HGS)? At HGS, we believe that technology is a game-changer rather than an enabler or an automation tool. We offer differentiated services with the help of new and disruptive technologies. As demand of customers change, we are adopting digital ready solutions. We are migrating our standard CRM offering to digital CRM. Which are the key trends in the ITeS industry? Big data, cloud, analytics, social media, and mobility are the key trends in the industry. But we need to look at the maturity cycle of technologies and the customer-readiness to adopt. The most prominent trends in the sector are the transformation of business for increasing the revenue and to bring in efficiency. The
industry is adhering to newer approaches to enhance customer satisfaction, BPOs are eager to offer services to multiple channels, and the social CRM is gaining momentum. Social CRM plays a critical role in overall marketing, branding, sales, customer service, business intelligence and market research. It enables companies to gain insights into customers’ behavior, causation, co-relation, to have meaningful and authentic conversation with consumers.
antee. SIP enablement, interconnectivity between ISP and termination of calls in out-bound business are facing challenges in India.
Are there any policy-related issues which stand in the way of technological implementation at ITeS companies? Yes, India has a few regulatory constraints. Home agents, who are basically utilized for voice process, are posed with a few challenges. Licensing between national and international is another concern, which is continuing with the bank guar-
What are the ICT activities planned for FY 2014? We intend to set up security operating center and we are planning to expand it across our delivery centers from India. When the SIP becomes enabled in India and becomes more competitive, we plan to optimize it. We are also looking at migrating to either private or hybrid cloud,
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Has HGS deployed mobile applications? If yes, how is it working for you? We are in discussions with our customers for deploying mobile applications; we are planning to deploy in retail, logistics, hospitality and travel verticals. Our group company has deployed non-core business applications.
“At HGS, we believe that technology is a gamechanger rather than an enabler or an automation tool” where we have not migrated yet. We will soon migrate our internal corporate messaging infrastructure and enhance our social CRM offerings. What is your security roadmap? Security roadmap is an indispensable strategy for enterprises. In our tech journey, we constantly keep evaluating our move be it risks or the technological needs. Regularly, we conduct vulnerability checks by both internal and external teams and implement respective control mechanisms. What are the technological challenges while integrating or upgrading legacy systems? How should it be handled? There are numerous challenges because tech applications are old. While integrating/ upgrading, our focus ought to around the need for replacement or is the application ready for cloud. Dur-
ing migration, we should consider the investment for new technology and the most relevant ones based on every context. It is a constant challenge almost every company will have. Focus must be around the cost we need to spend, the maintenance costs, the kind of business transformation it can deliver, and how much of acceptance on transformation will be there by operations people. Is big data gaining traction in the BPO sector? Big data trend is witnessing acceptance in the BPO sector and particularly, amongst business process management (BPM) companies. But the whole jigsaw puzzle is about bringing in meaning to the customers. Customers’ demands have changed, and they expect insightful service delivery. This means, BPO companies ought to add value to the data that is available
and enable customers to make quick decisions. Therefore, big data is all about bringing in meaning but it all depends on how we implement it also. How is the ITeS industry heading, are the demands changing? We are in a phase where everyone is well aware of outsourcing and offsourcing industry unlike in late 90s. And customers’ demands have changed immensely— they are demanding quicker, differential, upfront services which ensures cost saving, optimization, and efficiency for their organization. BPO companies can only survive if they have domain strength, financial stability, be a long-term partner, and have flexible contractual mechanism in today’s scenario. Malini N firstname.lastname@example.org
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‘Digital technology has become a lifeline’ —Vinod Bidarkoppa director (IT) and chief information officer, Tesco HSC
Vinod Bidarkoppa brings over 20 years of global experience in diverse operational and strategic executive IT leadership roles with global fortune 100 companies. Prior to joining Tesco HSC, he was associated with HP, EDS, and Bosch. At Tesco HSC, Bidarkoppa is responsible for all aspects of information technology services including applications; online retail (Tesco.com); and infrastructure to UK, US, Central, and Eastern Europe; and Asia operations of Tesco. He is committed to build the best possible technology for over 5 lakh colleagues and millions of customers. This includes convergence and standardization of technology for all the countries Tesco operates today. Bidarkoppa believes that right talent is the key for success & innovation; hence he gives utmost importance on training and spotting the right talent. Vinod Bidarkoppa, director (IT) and chief information officer, Tesco HSC shares technological innovations developed by the company to enhance retail experience both for retailers and customers. Excerpts—
as technology proven to be a competitive weapon in the retail sector? What are key technological trends in the retail industry? IT is key in retail today, and Tesco has always acknowledged this. Similar to the airlines or banking sectors, in any large retail organization today, IT forms a key part of the skeletal system. I can’t imagine a world in retail which can run an enterprise as large and complex as distributed and multi-channel as ours without the secret sauce—technology. Technology innovation and changes are happening at an enormous rate—be it social media, mobile technology, big data, etc—they are changing the consumer world very quickly. Digital technology, in particular smartphones, has become a lifeline, offering not just untold choice, information, and access to bargains, but acting as a new
and more affordable channel for entertainment and socializing. As a huge part of retailing goes online, technology has become one of the imperative pillars in the retail sector. With the industry undergoing significant changes and increasing customer demands, the savviest retailers are using technology to give them an edge. Be it online shopping or improving customer experience at store, technology plays an imperative role in both. Take us through the mobile applications developed by Tesco HSC? How is it working practically and are there any concerns in adoption? With people’s life getting busier, they prefer to do even the everyday chores like grocery shopping online on their mobile devices. To enable the customer to shop using mobile, Tesco launched mobile grocery applications on both Android and iPhone—the two ubiquitous operating
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systems of today’s smartphones world. A couple of really interesting and user friendly features provided by this app are barcode scanning support and recipe share. Voice search is another concept that the team is working on. It can really help save time in searching products on the mobile. How do you manage integration and management of IT activities as Bengaluru is your IT hub while the company’s retail outlets are outside India? It is important to understand the genesis of this center in India. The objective behind this center was multi-fold. Firstly, we felt that building capabilities and competence in one place is easier and faster than trying to build them in every country where you operate. Secondly, we felt that if you centralize activities, the ability to standardize them is very strong. And this means that every country we
“Technology innovation and changes are happening at an enormous rate and we got to keep up with it—social media, mobile technology, big data, etc, are here and they are changing the consumer world very quickly” operate in does not have to re-invent its own technology or processes. Also, we have built a model where we are very customer focused and believe that while we can leverage on global scale, we need to remain focused on localization. It means that wherever the customer directly interacts, remains local and work which the customer does not directly feel or touch is centralized. So the decision of how to package a certain food item is left to the countries, but the system which tracks the movement of the food item is developed and maintained centrally out of India. What are the ICT challenges faced by Tesco HSC? Technology innovation and changes are happening at an enormous rate and we got to keep up with it—social media, mobile technology, big data, etc, are here and they are changing the consumer
world very quickly. The challenge for us is definitely to keep up with it and then to make sure we turn it into competitive advantage. Digital technology, in particular smartphones, has become a lifeline, offering not just untold choice, information, and access to bargains, but acting as a new and more affordable channel for entertainment and socializing. We believe that the future of retail lies in multi-channel commerce. But more importantly, the consumer buying experience has to cut across these channels. You cannot rely on a single isolated channel anymore. At Tesco, we are making good progress in this area; we understand that shopping trip and working to improving the customer experience. But this is a big technology shift today and we have to understand that, react to it, and be quick to move to take advantage of it. Additionally in IT, we have to continue
to focus to organize the portfolio of new projects, get the right engineering behind and develop them in the best manner we can, and get new products to the market in the least possible time. It is vital to get a standardized and converged environment so that we can build once and deploy multiple times across countries. What are the technologies deployed at your organization to predict consumer demand, shorten lead times, reduce inventory holding, and eventually save costs? At Tesco we have deployed a wide range of systems. We have teams focused on working on algorithms for fine tuning our supply chain systems which can take into accounts everything from weather patterns to sporting events and seasonal variations. Malini N email@example.com
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‘We are focusing on BI and enterprise wide MI’ — Gayatri Anandh head of technology, Firstsource
An industry veteran and an astute ICT professional, Gayatri Anandh, head of technology at Firstsource, has profoundly enhanced business competitiveness. She has been instrumental in architecting IT designs, aligning technology roadmap, delivering projects, and providing IT service support to Firstsource customers. In her prior stints, she has facilitated IT processes and designed innovative solutions/systems/ procedures in IT and systems operations for various companies like L&T, GEC Alsthom, UB Engineering, Parsec Technologies, and Infosys BPO. Gayatri gives a run down on the technological tussle in the Indian BPO sector and talks about the company’s future strategies with VOICE&DATA. Excerpts—
hat are the key trends in the ITeS industry? Currently in the ITeS industry, we are seeing a lot of buzz in cloud, social media analytics, data analytics, and mobility. These technologies are expected to be the main stays for 2013. BPO companies will also continue to employ these technologies to improve customer efficiency and reduce operation costs. What are the technological challenges before the BPO companies? It is always a challenge for BPOs to adopt and implement new technologies that arise ever so often in this constantly changing landscape. Data protection is the most important metric in BPOs. With virtualization and cloud computing being the talk of the town, implementation of these technologies can be expensive as well as risky as
data security is always an issue. It is important to circumvent data leaks and keep these technologies cost-effective as well as effective for clients. What is your ICT vision and the ICT activities planned for FY 2014? Some of the focus areas for Firstsource are business intelligence and enterprise wide MI (Management Information). We also plan to make our info security smarter through a SOC. We are looking at a combo strategy cloud (IaaS , PaaS, SaaS) and outsourcing of IT services to reduce the cost of service and ease cash flow issues for the organization. Our ICT vision include: Integrate information to intelligently drive business needs for increased productivity and profitability Simplify existing core systems/ processes to maximize availability and provide agile support
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Continue to provide a compliant and secure IT environment
Setting up of BPO service delivery centers in the rural areas are becoming prominent. How has this pressurized the IT and telecom infrastructure of BPO companies? With BPO companies setting up shops in rural towns and small cities, the service providers and vendors who provide us connectivity, telecom lines, and network infrastructure have at the same time expanded based on business commitment given by us. In turn these providers have added jobs to their operational workforce as well creating more opportunities in the telecommunications sector. There have been challenges such as government approvals to do cabling on public roads and set-up wireless access points but largely they have been able to overcome them. The key test that we
“We see social media, plug and play business intelligence, and big data of customer preferences and behavior driving transformation in the businesses of our clients” have faced is the swiftness in setting up at such locations because of the vendors not been able to provide us interconnectivity to our central data centers. In some cases, we have worked jointly with our providers to take permissions with the local bodies to ensure the end goal is clearly understood. Which would be the key disruptive technologies that can play a pivotal role in the ITeS sector? We see social media, plug and play business intelligence (voice and data analytics), and big data of customer preferences and behavior driving transformation in the businesses of our clients. Mobile technology was a huge disruptive technology and has made customers and organizations in the ITeS space available 24/7. As known, social media is changing the way people communicate and it is
also influencing the services offered by BPO firms. Social media is being availed for non-voice services such as back-office email management, chat processing, coupons processing, and claims processing. A few business process outsourcing companies have added some clients; they are assisting their clients by inserting experts into blogs and forums on the web. Business intelligence addresses the need for data-driven business insights, it also helps to utilize the ever increasing available data to improve decision making. BPO providers who have the competency around industry-specific BPO and analytics outsourcing will have a lion’s share of this business. Big data analytics enhances the quality of decision making and helps decision makers take increasingly informed decisions. Big data can provide
insights that can help improve existing products and create new products and services. How do you see the role of an IT head/ CIO/ CTO changing over time? The responsibilities of an IT head/ CTO are ever increasing. Whilst management and deployment of IT resources, driving IS and automation for the organization continue to be the backbone of our roles, new dimensions that are being added are—business value creation, cost leadership to keep pace with business pressures, technology innovation, and reducing time to market technology innovation. Those IT leaders who are able to manage these dimensions shall get competitive advantage in the years to come. Malini N firstname.lastname@example.org
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‘We will roll out Oracle retail solution in Q2 FY13-14’ — Sunil Nair vice president, technology Max Hypermarket India
Sunil Nair, vice president, technology, Max Hypermarket India has aligned IT strategy and projects with Max Hypermarket’s objectives by successfully implementing systems solutions. He is an expert in managing IT functions; he integrated the PCI compliance credit card payment solutions with PoS to eliminate cashier errors and save time on every transaction, which leads to faster checkouts. Nair shares technology competitiveness in retail sector. Excerpts—
hat are your key strategies to manage IT functions? Our IT strategy is aligned with business objective. As a part of long-term strategy we are in the process of implementing world-class ERP (Oracle Retail) solution which will provide robust and scalable technology solutions to key business functions such as buying, merchandising, supply chain, store operations, and finance. The overall objective is to bring in an element of cost-effectiveness in all the technology endeavors that we carry. What are the ICT challenges faced by Max Hypermarkets? From a business perspective, challenges faced by us are on customer service in stores, predicting consumer demand, reducing lead times and inventory holding.
From a technology perspective, we have faced challenges from the scalability perspective of the legacy system. Moreover the decentralized architecture of the legacy system requires high manual effort to manage the data and transactions across the stores. We are addressing these challenges by replacing legacy system with the Oracle retail ERP solution. Point of Sale (PoS) is undergoing major changes, how are you aligning with this change? PoS has become a critical component of retailers’ customer engagement strategies. To provide a personalized and unique experience to the consumers, it is imperative to integrate PoS systems with marketing, inventory, and customer relationship management (CRM). As part of our corporate enterprise strategy, we are in the process of upgrading our legacy PoS solution with the GUI based PoS solution. Some of the
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features that we plan to introduce are advanced hardware like touch screens, mobile PoS, real time integrated loyalty system, gift card solutions, etc. We have recently integrated the PCI compliance credit card payment solutions with PoS to eliminate cash errors and save time on every transaction, which leads to faster checkouts. What are the technologies deployed at your organization to predict consumer demand, shorten lead times, reduce inventory holding, and eventually save costs? We are in middle of upgrading our legacy solutions to industry proven Oracle retail solutions and expect to roll out in Q2 of FY13-14. This will lead to single source of enterprise data for buying, merchandise, and supply chain execution. Oracle retail has got strong replenishment and allocation features that enables optimized stock holding with increased stock turns.
â€œWe have recently integrated the PCI compliance credit card payment solutions with PoS to eliminate cash errors and save time on every transactionâ€? This will also help us to integrate the value chain from supplier to customer and implement lean retailing processes. We will also look into multi-channel retailing which will enable customers to shop via any channel, deliver compelling in-store experiences and drive sales. How is technology facilitating to provide more value to consumers and to ensure higher service levels? Today, the most important challenge faced by retailers is in terms of vendor management, supply chain efficiency, and billing in stores. Technology has today become the bridge between these entities. Reduced billing time through queue busting mobile PoS solution, real time burning of customer points at the time of billing, integrated PoS solution enabling return across any of our chain stores are some of the initiatives been taken to ensure higher service levels.
How does integrated ICT, particularly ERP, CRM, and supply chain management help the retail sector? Integrated ICT helps in predicting consumer trends, maximizing operational efficiency, giving visibility to business in terms of demand generation, improve supply chain efficiency, and manage vendors effectively. Currently Oracle retail solutions are being implemented to address our merchandising, supply chain and PoS requirements. Next phase will see implementation of Business Intelligence (BI) and planning tools, followed by ecommerce. We are taking one step at a time, and have given ourselves a 2-year roadmap for complete rollout. Of late, self service billing counter is gaining prominence in the retail sector in India too. Do you intend to deploy it? Faster checkouts have become the
norm of the day for retailers and specifically for Hypermarkets. Presently we are working on various approaches to reduce the customer time spending in billing and reduce long queue at checkout counters. We have introduced express checkouts in all our stores. Going forward we will be looking at mobility solutions which will help us to transact anywhere in the store, provide personalized experience during the purchase; interact with customer on sales floor. What are the ICT activities planned for FY14? A robust planogram solution followed by Web channel implementation and integration are some of the initiatives being taken to support the linear expansion plans of the business. Malini N email@example.com
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V O LT E
The Next Leap VoLTE promises a richer form of communication, with video calling and grade voice, among other features
oice and video calling over LTE (long term evolution) has already been commercially launched in LTE smartphones. With voice over LTE, consumers will be able to use telecom grade voice, video calling, and other new richer communication services on LTE smartphones. VoLTE (voice over LTE) is the all-IP method that tightly links the voice application to the LTE network to assure subscribers the best experience in terms of performance, reliability, interoperability, and global roaming. This is the industry’s preferred method with several initial launches in 2012 and many planned for 2013, which would trigger widespread usage by 2014. At present, voice services are not available in the 2,300 MHz band, the frequency on which 4G or LTE services will be offered in the country. But voice facilities are available on other 4G bands like 700 MHz that is used in the US and Europe.
The Domestic Scenario In India, the Mukesh Ambani-promoted Infotel broadband is the only firm that holds fourth generation airwaves on a national basis. The government is planning to launch a new policy that allows companies to offer all forms of communication services after migrating to a unified licence. Even the DoT (Department of Telecom) is likely to approve the request for the testing of 10,000 connections (for 4G voice services) and the company will be allotted these many mobile numbers. A day after Infotel Broadband announced to offer voice services over its 4G network, the telco requested the government for its approval to connect its networks with other telcos for testing voice calls on its LTE network.
Keeping a subscriber’s call going as they move out of an LTE coverage area will probably be important to the deployment of VoLTE (voice over LTE), a technology that breaks a voice call into packets and transmits it as data traffic. Even now, most carriers which have extensively deployed LTE are still transmitting voice over their older 3G networks, which are expected to remain online for many years.
Future Prospects At present, the annual revenues from voice are estimated to be at around $600 bn. According to the latest Ericsson Mobility Report, mobile-data traffic doubled between Q3 2011 and Q3 2012, and it is expected to grow 12 times between 2012 and 2018, driven mainly by video. By mid-2012, LTE coverage was provided to an estimated 455 mn people globally. Within 5 years, more than half of the world’s population is expected to benefit from LTE coverage. VoLTE smartphones have been commercially launched in South Korea and the USA. The availability of commercial VoLTE devices will depend on operator demand and device vendor launch plans.
Firm information on release plans to be communicated by the device vendors in the respective markets.
Gaining Momentum VoLTE ensures subscribers continue to enjoy key mobile features such as global roaming, global interoperability, and a global ecosystem of smartphones and tablets. VoLTE also enables new services beyond traditional mobile telephony. With VoLTE, smartphones and tablets remain in the 4G LTE network even during voice calls, allowing new services such as video-communications and converged IP messaging to be delivered. VoLTE’s techniques ensure that even at the edge of the cell, where distance and signal-levels are a concern, the voice service still functions. Since VoLTE is the new mobile voice, operators can use it to innovate and extend mobile voice beyond a traditional call. Voice can become a feature of other services, such as navigation, e-commerce, social networking, status updates, and augmented reality applications. V&D Correspondent firstname.lastname@example.org
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Will WiGig Beat Wi-Fi? WiGig enables multi-gigabit wireless communication among consumer electronics and PCs. So, is this going to eat up Wi-Fi’s share with its enhanced features?
echnology is used everywhere, from toothbrush to tablets, and the pressure to constantly develop new technologies is mounting pressure on corporates across the world. No sooner does a technology becomes obsolete, a new substitute comes in the market. In the same manner, Wireless Gigabit (WiGig) is all set to rule Wi-Fi’s space in the market. The technology complements Wi-Fi by supporting new applications that require low latency and high speeds, such as HD video, data sharing, backup, and wireless docking. WiGig / 802.11ad is able to transmit multiple gigabytes between devices and systems in seconds.
WiGig enables multi-gigabit wireless communications among consumer electronics, handheld devices, and PCs, and drives industry convergence to a single radio using the readily available, unlicensed 60 GHz spectrum. WiGig technology has the ability to bring users closer to a seamless wireless connectivity complementing the traditional Wi-Fi networking. This new technology offers short-range multi-gigabit connections for applications ranging from high-definition WiGig Display Extensions (WDE), to peripheral connectivity and I/O cable replacement such as WiGig Serial Extension (WSE), WiGig Bus Extension (WBE), and WiGig SDIO Extension (WDS). A 60 Ghz device can ‘beam form’, while a common Wi-Fi will not be able to do this. This is when a set of antennas is used to produce a wireless signal that doesn’t blast out in all directions, but rather in a
narrow beam aimed at the device with which it’s communicating. One of the key benefits of 60 GHz wireless signals is that after a few 100 feet, the radiation is naturally absorbed by the oxygen in the air. It means that the signal stays local, doesn’t travel too far and is strongest right where a person need it.
The Road Ahead
It is believed that the smartphone will be the long-term driver of WiGig / 11ad market growth, dwarfing all others from 2015 onwards. Media streaming and data transfer between devices, for example streaming HD video between a smartphone and a flat screen TV. WiGig / 11ad use in smartphones will determine its wider acceptance in all other markets. This will help to drive adoption in connected home equipment (eg TVs) and drive the market from using external solutions (eg dongles) to integrated solutions. According to ABI research forecast, annual shipments of devices with both Wi-Fi and WiGig technology will reach 1.8 bn by 2016. The WiGig Alliance has announced
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the completion of testing its multi-gigabit wireless at the Plugfest, which helped to progress interoperability with further real-world testing.
WiGig’s specifications provide for an inhome wireless system like Wi-Fi that goes far faster, can handle more devices with less interference, is more secure, and uses less power (handy on ever more powerhungry mobile phones). This is due to the use of the 60 GHz band of radio spectrum. The 60 GHz band can carve up the spectrum better, design the devices with more advanced features, and generally fulfill the needs of a modern wireless device better. A 60GHz band pushes faster data transfer but is limited to short range, whereas the Wi-Fi technology uses only 2.4GHz and 5GHz radio spectrum. The 60GHz band is unlicenced and therefore the device makers don’t need to take out a government licence for their devices to support phones using 4G LTE networks. V&D Correspondent email@example.com
Internet of things
Beyond Physical Boundaries Internet-of-Things can make our lives really smooth by connecting us with a myriad of things
magine, you stepped out of your house and after covering a few yards, it came to your mind that you have forgotten to switch off your geyser. Thanks to your mobile phone which enables you to switch off the geyser on your way, you don’t have to worry any more. Internet-of-Things (IoT) is all about that! Technology has changed our lifestyle—the way we connect with people, the way we manage our resources, the way we balance our work and personal lives. Moving forward, IoT is one trend that has the potential to make our life more relaxed and comfortable by making ‘things’, particularly everyday objects such as all home appliances, furniture, clothes, vehicles, more readable and locatable, addressable, and controllable via the internet. The world has already seen connected smartphones, tablets, computers, navigators, hi-fi systems, game consoles, vending machines, electrical meters, and now the trend will be more about networked industries and societal organizations such as education and health services and the connections will both rationalize and revolutionize business processes.
Elements of IoT Some of the elements of IoT which are being used in a variety of mobile devices include embedded sensors, image recognition technologies, and NFC payment. As a result, mobile no longer refers only to use of cellular handsets or tablets. Cellular technology is being used in many new devices, including pharmaceutical
Highlights IoT is a trend that has the potential to make our lives more relaxed and comfortable by making ‘things’ more readable, locatable, addressable, and controllable via the internet. The trend has been around since the early days of internet but still it has not picked up largely because the consumer mindset was not ready to adopt it.
but by 2010, while global population pushed up to 6.8 bn, the explosion of smartphones had boosted the number of internet-connected devices to 12.5 bn. According to Gartner, “While trying to decipher the internet-of-things, it has to be understood that 50% of internet connections are things. In 2011, 15 bn things on web translated to over 50 bn intermittent connections. By 2020, 30 bn connected things are likely to translate into 200 bn intermittent connections. Embedded sensors, image recognition, and NFC will emerge as key technologies as in most enterprises single exec will monitor internet connected things.”
Challenges in Adoption
containers and automobiles. Smartphones and other intelligent devices don’t just use the cellular network, they communicate via NFC, bluetooth, LE, and Wi-Fi to a wide range of devices and peripherals, such as wristwatch displays, healthcare sensors, smart posters, and home entertainment systems. A decade ago, there were 6.3 bn people living in the planet, and 500 mn devices were connected to the internet,
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The trend has been around since the early days of internet but still it has not picked up largely because the consumer mindset was not ready to adopt it. Besides, the high cost in its adoption is another impediment. Apart from the benefits, the technology has many challenges too. IoT lacks a common standard which is restricting the progress of an open IoT as the CIO needs to concentrate more on technical standards and protocols rather than what they can actually do once objects are connected. In addition to that, the government has to play a major role by educating businesses, public bodies and citizens about IoT. The public authorities can promote IoT in a bigger way that can be done by sponsoring pilots, events, and documentation. V&D Correspondent firstname.lastname@example.org
Running, but Slow Even though BYOD is fast picking up, lack of security strategy remains the biggest impediment
YOD (Bring Your Own Device) is a trendsetter for the corporate world. Most of the companies are following it and giving their employees the leeway to use it. As per a global survey, 28% of the workforce prefers to use personal devices for work and this is expected to increase to 35% by mid-2013. But the challenge that lies with BYOD is the absence of proper security system. According to Gartner, â€œthrough 2014, employee-owned devices will be compromised by malware at more than double the rate of corporate-owned devices.â€?
The Missing Points Even though the trend is the catchiest in the industry, but experts fear that security will be an area of concern. In a Gartner survey, it was also pointed out that only 27% of US respondents believed that their mobile security was sufficient to pass an audit. According to the research firm, by 2014 about 90% of organizations will allow corporate applications on personal devices. So, the IT departments should brace themselves up to resort to proper security strategy. Improvement on security front will ensure network manageability, saving of IT staff time, rise in employee productivity, and gaining of other strategic business advantages.
Focused Areas Best practices for BYOD include creating organization-specific BYOD policies, developed in conjunction with legal and HR; guidelines on who is eligible or not for the program; new employee agreements for support, risk and responsibility; adjustments to service levels; service desk training; funding
and reimbursement strategies; employee education; and IT publishing specifications on acceptable devices. BYOD impacts corporate risk, infrastructure and s o f t wa re c o st s , customer service levels, and total cost of ownership. It typically requires significant technology protections (including authentication, network access control, mobile device management and mobile application management, encryption/containerization, and content protections) and delivery mechanisms (app stores, file-sharing systems, and desktop virtualization). It often forces adoption of thinner-client architectures, multiplatform mobile application development environments and frameworks, and HTML5 for mobile applications.
The Saving Grace Organizations have to restructure IT priorities and virtualization can be a saving grace as it offers benefits in terms of energy efficiency, green IT, business continuity and much more. Virtualization can allow IT to securely allow employee-owned hardware to access network resources and help mitigate security risks from attacks such as malware. Application and desktop virtualization with network segmentation can pacify the impact of radius of attacks as the devices are not directly working with application servers and business data.
The Indian Scenario In India, Vodafone has launched Vodafone secure device manager for corporates that acts as a simple and flexible tool to keep the data on smartphone and tablets secure, helping business grow without the fear of data security breach. A survey unveiled some interesting trends regarding company policies about personal use of work devices. It was observed that 58% of Indian respondents say their enterprises prohibit access to social networking sites from a work-supplied device. This was registered as highest when compared with China (33%), Europe (30%), and the US (32%). Gartner believes that enterprises will adopt a similar approach and will block or restrict access for those devices that are not compliant with corporate policies. Enterprises that adopt BYOD initiatives should establish clear policies that outline which employee-owned devices will be allowed and which will be banned. In the BYOD era, security professionals will need to diligently monitor vulnerability announcements and security incidents, involving mobile devices, and respond appropriately with policy updates. V&D Correspondent email@example.com
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P e r spe c t i v e
Mobile World Congress 2013—
Centred Around Innovation Mobile World Congress 2013 (MWC) focused on NFC, M2M, smartphones, smart cities, mobile money, mobile cloud, and small cells. It also focused in detail on the role of mobile in industries like advertising, automotive, finance, and retail and how they are transforming these verticals. In terms of delegates, the event reported more than 72,000 visitors, which included more than 4,300 CEOs from operators, software companies, equipment providers, internet companies, and companies from industry verticals like automotive, finance, and healthcare, from over 200 countries. The Congress also saw large participation from government delegations across the globe. It witnessed participation of senior executives and CEOs from companies including the American Heart Association, Apigee, AT&T, Bharti Airtel, China Mobile, CNN Digital, Deezer, Deutsche Telekom, Dropbox, Ericsson, General Motors, Foursquare, Jana, Jolla, Juniper Networks, KT, Mozilla Foundation, Nielsen, Nokia, NTT DOCOMO, Ooredoo, Qualcomm, Telefónica, Tele2, Tribal DDB Worldwide, Ubuntu, Viber and Vodafone and this is a great achievement for MWC. The event also saw more than 1,700 exhibiting companies showcasing products and services across 94,000 square metres of exhibition and hospitality space. The Congress saw smartphones and tablets launches by Samsung (Galaxy Note 8.0), Huawei (Ascend P2), Sony (XPeria Z), ZTE (Grand Memo), LG (OPtimus L Series), Alcatel One Touch (Fire, SNAP and SNAP LTE) and HP (Slate 7). On the other hand, Nokia launched 2 feature phones—Nokia 105 and Nokia 301. It showcased Connected City in partnership with AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, KT, Telenor and Vodafone. The city featured a complete urban environment, including a town hall, department store, apartment, electrical store, hotel, cafe and lounge, office, a car showroom and a street. The Connected City unveiled new products and experiences illustrating how mobile will improve people’s daily lives across automotive, education, health, home, and retail sectors. NFC Experience was a great hit as more than 10,500 attendees participated in the newly introduced NFC Experience to exchange information and conduct transactions at locations throughout Fira Gran Via and in Barcelona. Partners in the NFC Experience included Sony Mobile Communications, CaixaBank, Telefonica, Visa, Gemalto, INSIDE Secure, Hotel Santos Porta Fira, Assa Abloy, Accenture, Connecthings, Open Trends, Ajuntament de Barcelona, and Mobile World Capital. The Congress also had more than a dozen NFC interactive zones located along the walkways, entrances, and exhibition halls of Fira Gran via strategic NFC touch points, which were also available at the airport, key hotels, selected restaurants and central tourist locations so that visitors can test technologies and conduct transactions. To give a big boost to NFC, the Congress also named Korean mobile operators KT and SK Telecom as the joint recipients of the 2013 GSMA Chairman’s Award for their pioneering efforts and leadership in driving the adoption of SIM-based mobile near field communication (NFC) services in Korea where applications such as mobile ticketing to board public transportation, exchange of information and content, control access to cars, homes, hotels, offices and car parks, and much more are being used by NFC handsets. With more than 21 mn SIM-based NFC handsets, South Koreans have been tapping their smartphones to purchase goods in shops and street markets, pay fares on public transport and access buildings. The mobile industry is moving towards applications and in future would be driven by a surge in demand for connected devices and machine-to-machine (M2M) communications, which is transforming both developed and developing countries in sectors such as health, automotive, education, and smart cities. Pravin Prashant firstname.lastname@example.org 126 | VOICE&DATA | March 2013 | voicendata.com | A CyberMedia Publication
Inclusive Connectivity: Empowering India’s Women in Every Walk of Life Putting India First
Indus’ connectivity has enabled India’s women to not only change their lives, but also the lives of their family, village, community and nation, as the impact of providing opportunity to a woman offers lasting sustainable systemic change. Mobile technology and reach have the potential to change lives, and even more so when they are in the hands of India’s women, giving them a greater sense of independence, security, confidence and ownership of their own lives and better prospects for those whose lives they touch.
we transform lives by enabling communication
RNI No.59233/94 Posting Date: 4&5 of every month. Posted at Lodi Road HPO.
DL(S)17/3114/2012-14 Licensed to Post WPP. U(SE)199/2012-2014