USSD :The Interactive Messaging Platform Is Untapped in India and Emerging Markets

Not many mobile users  today are aware of the powerful Mobile USSD platform, which can actually be the solution to so many real life problems across various sectors.

USSD known as Unstructured Supplementary Services Data (USSD) is a GSM service which is a real-time and session oriented platform for Mobile transactions (Pull and Push based). Unlike SMS, USSD is a real time session oriented service. USSD gateway enables telecom operators to introduce messaging services and allows up-to 182 characters on a network between mobile stations and applications. USSD gateway uses the same application programming interface that the Short Message Service (SMS) centre does.

It works on mobiles without downloading any application software. It is initiated by dialing *xxxx# short code or dialling a 10 digit code. It has better adoption rate due to non dependency on applications.

Some of the salient features of USSD

  • USSD works on all GSM handsets
  • Displays application like interactive menu
  • No application installation required
  • More secure than SMS
  • GPRS/3G is not required as it works on voice channel
  • Real time session oriented platform
  • Average duration per transaction is 2 seconds in comparison to 7 seconds in conventional SMS banking
  • Incoming messages are of flash type and do not get stored on the handset

Telecom operators are currently using USSD to solve their customer problems by providing various services like account balance check, activations etc.

ussd menuRecently government of India has started an initiative to launch mobile banking on USSD across India. The new initiative is focussed on making mobile banking more universal. Currently, a smart phone is needed to download mobile banking applications, which an average mobile user does not have. So, the USSD application will work even on a simple handset to reach out to a larger section of the society. With this checking your bank balances or placing a request for a cheque book or funds transfer  has been made as simple and hassle-free on your mobile

A whole of lot of verticals can be integrated and enabled on USSD, which will solve major accessibility problems as USSD is more universal. Leading global Mobile technology organizations like mobiShastra have been already providing cutting edge USSD services to Enterprise customers and Telcos in India and around the globe. They are doing a fantastic job in delivering innovative USSD solution to Telcos and Enterprises. Some of the applications which an enterprise can look at enabling on USSD are:

  • Survey
  • Contests & Quizzes, Voting
  • eCommerce, Deals , Coupons, Mobile/DTH Recharge/Loyalty
  • Results (Election/School etc)
  • Sales & Sales Force Tracking
  • Utility services
  • Customer Service/ Technical support
  • Information, Infotainment, TV/Radio Channels
  • Advertising campaigns
  • Financial Information & Tracking (Banking, Insurance, Mutual Funds, Logistics, Courier companies)
  • ERP systems
  • Travel Ticketing (Airlines/Railways/Bus etc)
  • eChoupal (Agriculture based ), Rural apps

There are a whole lot of possibilities for enterprises to exploit the USSD technology platform.

An insurance app on USSD

ussd-insurance

Y2Cf a startup digital media company has launched an innovative product called Hoppr, a mobile device-agnostic location based service on USSD. This engages the users by providing various location specific deals . Users could check in to various locations using the USSD service and earn deals and discounts.

Another Singapore based startup in India U2opia has also launched 2 of the world’s most popular social networking sites Facebook and Twitter on USSD. Major telecom operators have launched infotainment, utility & mdeals and coupons services on USSD in India.

After spending close to 13 years in the Mobile industry in India and emerging markets , I see a  lot of opportunities for tapping the USSD market in India and around the globe as it is a mobile device-agnostic solution. USSD is surely an untapped technology platform for sure.

 

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Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster Returns Video Content Gathers over One Lakh Free Downloads on Mobango Apps Store

mobangoDirector Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster Returns (SBGR) video songs Jugni and Media Se together gathered more than 1 lakh free downloads within 10 days on Mobango, world’s largest independent apps stores. Times Music, the content owner, aligned with Mobango to provide the film’s music content to its users and expanding its reach. The film released last month and the music videos have set a record on the apps store of being in the  Most viewed Bollywood content within the first week of its addition on the platform.

Co-producer of the film, Nitin Tej Ahuja, exclaimed, It’s great to see such great response to the content of the film SBGR across the world. Everyone associated with the film has worked hard and are excited to see the soaring popularity of the film. Mobango’s platform has only added to this popularity bringing quality content to the fans.

The SBGR franchise content has been well-received across various mediums. Partnering with Mobango, an apps store, the content has seen high mobile penetration through the platform’s users and helped promote the film’s music content further adding to the already increasing YouTube viewership.

Mandar Thakur, COO, Times Music India stated, Being a global apps store, Mobango was an ideal partner as an additional platform to further promote the film’s music content and reach a different set of audiences. We are glad to partner with Mobango and see penetration outside the traditional electronic media outlets

Mobango is one of the largest cross platform application stores in the world driving more than 1 million downloads a day. The Mobango community has nearly 8 million registered users, and over 1.5 million pieces of content, fully optimized for over 2,000 phones. Mobango serves customers in over 150 countries who download millions of Mobango apps, games & content on their mobile phones.

We are excited to partner with Times Music & see massive downloads for their content, Saheb, Biwi Aur Ganster Returns, said Hari Nair, Head  Sales & Operations, Mauj Mobile & Mobango. Bollywood content is consumed not only in India but across the world. Mobango’s distribution capabilities expand geographies and besides India, the NRI community is huge part of our online platform. We are confident that Bollywood content, be it pre-release of trailers, videos or music, will enjoy high popularity amongst our users, and most importantly help the digital marketing agenda for film producers and music companies

Via : Business Wire India

Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster Returns Video Content Gathers over One Lakh Free Downloads on Mobango Apps Store

Mumbai, Maharashtra, India, Thursday, April 04, 2013 (Business Wire India)

�Jugni� and �Media Se� music videos gathered momentum in a span of 10 days on Mobango, world�s largest independent app store

Director Tigmanshu Dhulia�s �Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster Returns� (SBGR) video songs �Jugni� and �Media Se� together gathered more than 1 lakh free downloads within 10 days on Mobango, world�s largest independent apps stores. Times Music, the content owner, aligned with Mobango to provide the film�s music content to its users and expanding its reach. The film released last month and the music videos have set a record on the apps store of being in the �Most viewed� Bollywood content within the first week of its addition on the platform.

Co-producer of the film, Nitin Tej Ahuja, exclaimed, �It�s great to see such great response to the content of the film SBGR across the world. Everyone associated with the film has worked hard and are excited to see the soaring popularity of the film. Mobango�s platform has only added to this popularity bringing quality content to the fans.�

The SBGR franchise content has been well-received across various mediums. Partnering with Mobango, an apps store, the content has seen high mobile penetration through the platform�s users and helped promote the film�s music content further adding to the already increasing YouTube viewership.

Mandar Thakur, COO, Times Music India stated, �Being a global apps store, Mobango was an ideal partner as an additional platform to further promote the film�s music content and reach a different set of audiences. We are glad to partner with Mobango and see penetration outside the traditional electronic media outlets

Mobango is one of the largest cross platform application stores in the world driving more than 1 million downloads a day. The Mobango community has nearly 8 million registered users, and over 1.5 million pieces of content, fully optimized for over 2,000 phones. Mobango serves customers in over 150 countries who download millions of Mobango apps, games & content on their mobile phones.

�We are excited to partner with Times Music & see massive downloads for their content, Saheb, Biwi Aur Ganster Returns�, said Hari Nair, Head � Sales & Operations, Mauj Mobile & Mobango. �Bollywood content is consumed not only in India but across the world. Mobango�s distribution capabilities expand geographies and besides India, the NRI community is huge part of our online platform. We are confident that Bollywood content, be it pre-release of trailers, videos or music, will enjoy high popularity amongst our users, and most importantly help the digital marketing agenda for film producers and music companies�

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TechZone To Provide Mobile, WAP-based content For ‘Rise of the Zombie’

techzoneValue added services company TechZone has entered into a strategic partnership with the movie ‘Rise of the Zombie’ for providing its Value added services. Rise of the Zombie is India’s First Zombie Origin Film releasing on 5 April. The story follows the transformation of Neil Parker, a wildlife photographer, as he is clenched into the darkness to only rise again as a monster.

This partnership will enable users to download the songs of ‘Rise of the Zombie’, like ‘Dil Pukaare’ and ‘All Alone’ and set them as their CRBT. Besides this users will also have access to the exclusive videos of making of the movie, its best scenes, dialogues, wallpapers by just SMSing “ROTZ” to 56060.

Commenting on the alliance, Techzone MD and CEO Naveen Bhandari said,” We are very excited about this collaboration. ROTZ is an interesting movie and has a differential concept. Needless to say, its music is also experimental.The WAP and CRBT service of ROTZ is being very well received. I am extremely glad of this association and am proud that Techzone is a part of this next-gen Indian cinema.”

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India's MVAS Market To Reach US $9.5 billion in 2015 – Wipro

mvasAccording to a recent report by Wipro Technologies, the Indian MVAS market will grow at a CAGR of 25% between 2012 and 2015 to reach US $9.5 billion in 2015, from an estimated US $4.9 billion in 2012.

The research, conducted by Wipro and IAMAI, evaluated over 450 consumers and providers of MVAS in India to identify the major drivers and barriers of the Indian MVAS market and provide insights that will help to grow this market. The research focused on the mEducation, mEntertainment, mFinance and mHealthapplication areas and found that there is pent up market demand from consumers for sophisticated mobile services in India that have the potential to improve the overall quality of living.

Commenting on the insights, Ayan Mukerji, Senior VP, Global Head – Media and Telecom, Wipro Technologies said,“Basic informational mobile services are set to decline in India. We have found that India’s consumers will increasingly purchase enriched and transformational education, health, finance and entertainment services. An expected MVAS revolution in India is being made possible by the dramatic growth in mobile device penetration and mobile network capacity and this market offers abundant opportunities for growth to all industry participants.”

The research findings revealed that:

  • Domestic mobile operators could focus on providing better network and connectivity
  • Global operators could increase their base by testing new VAS offerings in the Indian market
  • Content and VAS technology could focus on the consumer experience and developing personalized content
  • Original equipment manufacturers could innovate with lost cost smartphones and mobile devices to drive penetration

As per the report, mEntertainment is the largest contributor to operator MVAS revenues and provides key opportunities in localized vernacular content, on-demand music and video content and live TV shows and events. On the other hand, mEducation can play a key role in expanding the reach and quality of education in India, through Interactive English Language Learning Services, Competitive Examination Preparation Solutions, Tutor-on-call and Vocational training.

The report found that mHealth has the potential to improve healthcare access and affordability in India especially through Remote Diagnostics, Chronic Disease Management and Maternal Care. Mobile phones will also play a key role in extending financial services to the 40% of India’s population who are unbanked. mFinance through Mobile Wallet Services, Mobile Remittance Services and Business Correspondence Model Based Services will contribute to MVAS revenues.

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[24]7 Launches Visual Speech Solution

24-7[24]7, the intuitive customer experience company, has announced the launch of its [24]7 Visual Speech solution, a new service that transforms existing interactive voice response (IVR) into a next-generation mobile customer experience. The [24]7 Visual Speech aims to deliver a unified customer experience across IVR and mobile without losing the customer’s context. The new [24]7 solution is unique in the industry in leveraging predictive analytics and real-time decisioning.

[24]7 Visual Speech provides consumers using IVR systems with an advanced HTML5 mobile web experience without requiring the consumer to download a mobile application. The IVR guides the consumer to a successful transaction by bridging to the mobile web. By acquainting consumers with mobile self-service, the results are higher adoption of the mobile app, greater self-service automation, and a more engaging customer experience.

As a multimodal solution, [24]7 Visual Speech enhances the speech capabilities of an IVR with screen input and output, making it easy to complete complex tasks. Consumers can now take advantage of the visual interface of the smartphone to see complex data such as pictures, tables and forms. Entry of information can be done by touch, type, or speech, based on the consumer’s preference. The multimodal flexibility increases engagement and self-service completion.

[24]7 Visual Speech’s predictive analytics and real-time decisioning determine which IVR callers should be engaged with a multimodal experience, and precisely when to do so during the customer’s journey. By accurately predicting the individual consumer’s intent, [24]7 Visual Speech can offer multimodal experiences that increase the scope of tasks that can be easily completed in self-service.

[24]7’s multimodal solution gives consumers a way to move from IVR phone interactions to the mobile web using their smartphones. Initial results are evidence that consumers have a large appetite to use their smartphones for customer service. [24]7 is seeing consumer adoption rates for [24]7 Visual Speech greater than 80 percent with over 90 percent task completion success rates. A top three global credit card issuer deployed the solution and it is expected to handle more than 10 million interactions per year.

[Source: Business Wire India]

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TeleDNA Launches United Communication Platform

telednaVAS infrastructure products company TeleDNA Communications Pvt. Ltd. will be powering the next generation social networking platform for NTC, Nepal.

Mr. Udit Shanker, CEO, TeleDNA Communications Pvt. Ltd said, “TeleDNA’s UCS (Unified Communication System) is not another run-of-the-mill Social networking platform. It is a platform, which provides services such as, Entertainment and Infotainment to end mobile subscribers. The platform provides services for both end users and enterprise business users. TeleDNA has always been known to provide next generation technology today, and this platform proves this.”

Ubiquitous Services Offered to Mobile Users:

  • It enables mobile users to share video/picture/audio/text/chat with their friends, family and colleagues, who are part of UCS community or Facebook, Google+ or any other social network.
  • It allows users to sync up their contact list and manage all their contacts on a single platform as unified Address Book.
  • Ease of service activation: Single Platform to opt-in the services offered by NTC. Users can update their profiles, likes, interest with this information on hand. The platform does target based campaigns and relevant advertisement information push to those subscribers.
  • Access Channels: Mobile Client Application for various handsets make models and OS through which mobile user is connected to the platform from anywhere. Mobile users can also access the UCS platform through SMS/USSD/WAP/Web Channels.

Ubiquitous Services Offered to Enterprise Users/Advertisement Users:

  • Enterprise users are given an account on UCS platform and push the service related information to targeted end mobile users over SMS and MMS channels.

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Openwave Mobility Launches Integra4 – Mobile Broadband VAS Platform

openwave-mobilityOpenwave Mobility, a software innovator enabling operators to manage and monetize growth in mobile video and web traffic, have launched Integra4, a newly designed mobile broadband value-added services (VAS) platform. Offering a throughput of 100Gbps of HTTP traffic on a 16-blade chassis, Integra4 is the most scalable and highest-performing mobile data VAS platforms available on the market. It has been designed with core software-defined networking (SDN) principles of separation of control plane and data plane traffic and is fully equipped to support mobile operator’s plans for SDN and network function virtualization (NFV).

According to the latest Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast, global mobile data traffic will grow 18 times between 2011 and 2016, to a billion gigabytes per month. Mobile video will make up 71 percent of this, and there will be more than 10 billion concurrent mobile internet connections around the world. As these subscribers increasingly access rich media services on multiple mobile devices, operators are beginning to realize that cloud-based core networks, performance and scalability of network management solutions are imperatives to increasing revenues and customer satisfaction. Integra4 is fully equipped to meet these expectations and help operators evolve in order to offer value-added services with a secure trajectory to data monetization.

The Integra4 platform enables:

  • Policy Engagement – Relevant, real-time user engagement offering end-users targeted promotion and data-charging plans based on user behavior. Policy engagement ensures that the offers and promotions made are the ones most likely to be of interest at that point in time. This leads to operator incremental revenues as well as cost-savings through one-click access to pertinent offers.
  • Mobile Analytics – Easily extract, view and analyze subscriber data from multiple sources across the entire network. Insights into subscriber usage patterns and subscriber handsets provide actionable intelligence for innovative policy engagement.
  • Video Optimization – Dynamic video compression targeted at network congestion “hotspots” to enhance quality of experience while reducing total cost of ownership. Operators are thus able to guarantee and deliver a quality viewing experience to subscribers through optimum use of hardware resources.
  • Flexibility – Integra4 is the central component of Openwave Mobility’s 3GPP Application Function and is flexible enough to support 3G and 4G service deployments. It also releases traffic from the congested control plane and offers policy charging and rules function (PCRF) integration. Operators can offer highly differentiated services across a number of service protocols including HTTP, HTML, RTSP/RTP/RDT.
  • Complete VAS Platform – Integra4 is designed for all third-party VAS solutions on a plug-in basis, making it a universal mobile broadband VAS platform.

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EnableM and ChangeCorp Nominated for Best Mobile Education or Learning Product or Service Award at GSMA 2013

EnablemEnableM and ChangeCorp have been nominated for “Best Mobile Education or Learning Product or Service Award” category at GSMA 2013 for “E-Life Tablet for Teachers” built on EnableM’s Magic Pencil platform.

EnableM is a pioneer in mobile learning having set trends for the future of education through mobile devices. MagicPencil is a Cloud based Tablet Learning platform designed as a Software as Service (SaaS) model on which E-Life Tablet for Teachers runs across South America.

 EnableM’s partnering organization, ChangeCorp Inc. (USA) is a mobile learning content solutions social enterprise that empowers people in the emerging markets. ChangeCorp works with the United Nations Office for Partnerships, UN Women, New York University Stern School of Business, Cherie Blair Foundation for Women and many NGOs around the world who provide educational services to women and girls in need.

Magic Pencil Enable M

The E-Life tablet provides institutions in emerging markets a cost-effective and efficient way to teach valuable life and business skills lessons to students as part of their day classes. The content gives teachers the means to access plans, updates, evaluation forms, training techniques and connect to resources outside the classroom and it is delivered through the Magic Pencil platform.  

The platform is very easy to navigate and allows the teachers to access individual lessons, enhance lesson plans, add external resources and links and add necessary service and evaluation tools through the Cloud and infuse them in their day subject classes. Magic Pencil platform also provides for multilingual capabilities and this enables E-Life to be adopted among various linguistic communities across the globe.

About 160 teachers responsible for 3900 students, were trained for a week and then they started using the eLife Tablet lessons in their subject classes immediately.

This service was initially launched in Colombia in 3 schools located in Barranquilla, Bogota and Quibdo that are run by Fundacion Pies Descalzos, founded by the singer Shakira and is now being taken to multiple countries.

 Commenting on the initiative CEO EnableM, Amit Zaveri, says:” The E-Life tablet along with ChangeCorp is not restricted to single initative but to multiple programmes across multiple emerging economies. We have to bring the strength of the Magic Pencil platform to benefit millions in these countries. We are already bringing the power of Magic Pencil to various institutions in India and across South Asia.

Louise M. Guido, President of ChangeCorp, says, “Our goal is to provide scalable mobile technology for schools and community centers teaching through the E-Life Tablet, which gives them the skills they need to succeed. By using mobile technology we can reach more schools, more teachers, more girls and have a dramatic, significant impact on the world than more traditional training programs.”

EnableM and ChangeCorp

Nominated for Best Mobile Education or Learning Product or Service Award at GSMA 2013

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Gupshup Launches Mobile Messenger App on Android, IOS,Blackberry & NOKIA S40

GupshupGupshup Technology India  yesterday launched a mobile messaging app, called GupShup Messenger, for smartphone platforms –Android, IOS, Blackberry  and feature phones – NOKIA S40. It uses data services in smartphones to send messages and works like normal SMS service in Java based phones. The company is currently working on enabling the rich media features like pictures and video messaging like Whatsapp.

Interestingly, if the message recipient does not have the app installed in his phone, GupShup will deliver the message to him free in the form of a regular SMS.

“Emerging markets such as India and Indonesia have numerous feature-phone users even as smartphone adoption is growing. Services like GupShup that integrate data and SMS, are well suited to the needs of emerging markets”, said Beerud Sheth, co-founder and chief executive officer of GupShup.

GupShup Messenger includes features like public and private messaging in which users can seamlessly switch and easily share messages with followers and friends respectively.

gupsupios1 gupsupios2

The public messaging feature enables users to follow any of GupShup’s numerous communities or post messages to their own. The private messaging feature makes the whole address book active and reachable, unlike other messenger apps that can only reach users that have also downloaded the same app. Also, the app includes a rich collection of emoticons that allows users to express themselves in personalized ways.

Download the app here : Android, IOS, Blackberry

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RCom Launches 'Special Privileges' An Online Shopping Service For Its Customers Offering Discounts On Leading Brands Across Categories

relianceReliance Communications has launched ‘Special Privileges’, an online shopping service for its customers, offering discounts on leading brands across categories. RCom has partnered with supply chain business firm, Martjack Exchange to offer the services in India.

RCom, President for Services, Anurag Prashar said,”This is our new year gift to our customers…We are confident that Special Privileges will provide completely new experience in terms of variety and convenience to RCOM customers across huge range of product categories.”

He added,” ‘Special Privileges’ will offer mix of both common home products as well as luxury goods across more than 15,000 products ranging from mobile phones, apparels, books, daily goods, electronic Goods and kitchen appliances among others. Reliance customers can receive the delivery of these goods through courier across more than 500 cities in the country.”

In order to avail the ‘Special Privileges’ service, RCom customers will have to sign in using their Reliance number.

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