India To Have 130.6 Million Mobile Internet Users By March 2014

IAMAI-logoAccording to a recent Mobile Internet Report by IAMAI, India will have 130.6 million mobile internet users by March 2014. In December 2012, this number was 87.1 Million mobile internet users.

The report reveals that, in October 2012, there were 78.7 million mobile users who had accessed internet in the last one month, which include Laptop with dongles, tablet, dongles that connects to Internet. Of this number, there are 61 million Off-Deck Users (accessing sites other than sites of the operator), 15 million On-Deck Users (accessing only sites specified by the operator) and the rest 2.7 million users accessed the internet using dongles (i.e. connected to Internet using 2G, 3G or high-speed data cards).

The report further shows that the average monthly bill of a user who access Internet on mobile devices is Rs. 460. Out of this amount, around Rs. 198 is spent towards Internet expenses. This is a very healthy trend as it shows willingness of the users to spend nearly 40 percent of the bill towards Internet access. The rest is spent on voice services.

The report also found that Email, social networking services (SNS) and messengers have high usage among mobile internet user. Accessing online videos, games or reading online news are done approximately 2-6 times a week. While online games are accessed by nearly 50% of the Mobile Internet users, less than 30% of users read online news and watch online videos.

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Wipro Technologies Launches Smartoffers

Wipro Technologies has announced the launch of Wipro SmartOffers – a location based solution for banks, in partnership with Intuition Intelligence.

Wipro SmartOffers, primarily targeted at retail banks, aims at increasing coupon redemption rates significantly by delivering the right offers to the bank’s customers over the mobile or the internet. The solution leverages Wipro’s mobile based applications IP, data models and partner’s algorithms to deliver highly targeted offers. Wipro has teamed up with Intuition Intelligence who has a patented machine learning algorithm that applies rapid real time learning to target coupons.

Wipro’s SmartOffers is optimally built to leverage the unique features of both online and mobile channels. It is a multi-channel application that is integrated with the bank’s retail mobile and online offerings, and supports IOS and Android based smartphones. This solution will link the bank’s internal and external ecosystem; leading to new revenue streams centering on offer optimization and redemption.

Commenting on the launch, Vijay Sharma, Global Domain Head – Banking and Financial Services, Wipro Technologies, said, “We expect Wipro SmartOffers to enable banks to pre-empt commoditization by building brand loyalty and creating additional revenue streams. We are already testing the concept with several banks across the globe, which gives us a first mover advantage and are very encouraged by the prospects.”

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Royal Sundaram Launches WAP Site m.royalsundaram.in

Royal Sundaram Alliance Insurance Company Limited (www.royalsundaram.in), a joint venture between Sundaram Finance and Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc, UK, announced the launch of mobile website, m.royalsundaram.in. Royal Sundaram is one of the first companies in insurance industry in India to offer a mobile site that supports renewal of motor, health, personal accident, home and commercial vehicle policies.

Currently the site offers the customers renewal of their existing retail policies. Going forward, the company is planning to enhance the WAP site with online purchase of the entire gamut of our retail products.

m.royalsundaram.in is developed on HTML5 that offers users a better, faster, richer web experience on their phones. To make the website accessible even to places where internet connectivity is poor, the site does not display ‘heavy’ content such as photographs and videos on the homepage. m.royalsundaram.in has seamless compatibility with iPhone 5, Android devices, BlackBerry, Symbian, BADA and other WAP enabled mobile devices, and requires no additional download. It is capable of delivering a variety of important features to users directly in their native phone browsers.

Some key features of the wap site are:

  • Secured: Site is secured with SSL encrypted payment gateway and offers multiple payment option through mobile.
  • Easy & Convenient: Compatible with iPhone 5, Android devices, BlackBerry, Symbian, BADA and other WAP enabled mobile devices. No downloading or upgrading of versions required.
  •  Email Policy Terms & Claim Form Customers can request for a copy of Policy Terms and Conditions and Claim Forms by just providing their email id.
  • Product Information: The website showcases all products with their key features and information. For additional information, users can fill in their details and get an instant call back.
  •  Customer Service: Users can now make service request, download claim forms, address grievances and register for DNC from the convenience of their mobile devices.
  •  Locating Royal Sundaram: The WAP website also features “Locate a Branch” and “Locate Cashless Hospital” which makes it convenient for users to spot a Royal Sundaram branch or Cashless Network Hospital

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Exclusive Interview: Kenny Ye, Managing Director UCWeb India,UCWeb Browser's India Plans

Kenny YeKenny Ye is the Managing Director of UCWeb’s India Office. He oversees the Indian operations and has been instrumental in setting up the Indian operations of UCWeb. Kenny is responsible for managing the relationship with key partners and is spearheading UCWeb’s growth plans in India market.

Kenny has over 7 years of technology consultancy and business development experience in telecommunication and mobile internet industry. He has significant experience in emerging market working directly with top operators and Internet companies. He is a keen observant of the mobile internet industry and understands the market dynamics very well. Prior to joining UCWeb he has worked in Huawei as Product Manager.

WD: What is UC Browser all about? What problem are you solving? Tell us some of the Interesting/Unique features of UC Web Browser?

Kenny : UC Browser is a mobile browser optimized to give you the best and the fastest experience of mobile internet. It is available for free download on all major app stores and supports all the major platforms. Our main USP is the ease of navigation that we provide to our users.

The main problem that we are solving is that of data saving, cost saving and speed improvement while accessing internet on the mobile.  Webpage compression saves data traffic, increase speed, saves cost. We are the pioneers of data compression technology and compress content to as much as 85% or more which helps users save on data usage while accessing the internet. Also, no one wants to remember and type the URL every time he wants to access any particular website. Cell phone has limited screen real estate and it’s not convenient to input, so people prefer to access websites with links or icons, which they can easily click to navigate.  Hence we provide the option to the user to pin his favorite or most frequently visited websites on his UC Browser home page.

Some of the interesting or unique features of UC Browser are:

1. Gestures

UC Browser allows you to control tabs with a two finger swipe. One can swipe down to add a tab, swipe up to close a tab and swipe left and right to switch between tabs.

2.  File Manager

One can access the file manager from Settings, allowing users to use simple file functions and customize the default download path.

 3. Reopen Closed Tabs

Users can click the button on the top left corner of the browser to see recently closed tabs. They can also click the URLs and you can reopen them.

 4. Omnibox

The browser will autofill the content when you are typing in the URL Bar and decide whether to open the URL or search the content as keywords.

5. Quick Reads

One can keep track of all the updates of your favorite sites in Quick Reads.

 6. Night Mode Brightness Adjustment

Users can move the slider to adjust the brightness for the night mode.

7. Speed Dial in Landscape Mode

When the screen is in landscape mode, the layout of Speed Dial will be reset according to the screen size.

 8.Smart Account Manager

It is convenient for users to manage multiple accounts for one website.

 9. Webpage Background Color Adjustment

Users get the choice to set set the color and the theme for the webpage background.

 10. Optimization on QR Code

UC Browser allows faster and more accurate to identification of QR codes. QR code scanning button has been moved to URL input interface and is easy to access.

WD: Tell us the story of how it started and the challenges you have faced globally and in India?

Kenny : UCWeb stands for U Can Web, which is the company’s mission. UCWeb aims to provide better mobile internet experience to billions of users around the world. UCWeb was founded by HE Xiaopeng and LIANG Jie, two engineers, in 2004. YU Yongfu was Vice President at a Venture Capital, overseeing investment in IT sector at that time.

Yongfu got to know HE and Liang in 2006 for the investment project and the three of them became friends along the way. Since Yongfu was convinced by the potential of UCWeb he approached his friend LEI Jun, a reputable entrepreneur in tech sector and an angel investor in China to invest UCWeb.

UCWeb started its operations back in 2004 in China. It’s important to note that when we started it was not a Smartphone era. Feature phones were very prevalent back then and accessing internet on feature phones was not very convenient.  Typing URL’s has always been a pain. Hence we knew that ease of navigation was going to be the main point which could determine whether or not the users take up to our browser. Our R&D team did research and came up with a list of websites that users like to access more often from their mobile phones. We then integrated some key websites on our navigation page. In 2009 we released our International version and released the UC Browser for the India market. Today we have a global user base of more than 300 million users which includes over 60 million users from outside China, bulk of whom originate from India.

WD: Who are the Founders and their backgrounds?

Kenny : UCWeb was founded by HE Xiaopeng and LIANG Jie, two engineers, in 2004. Yongfu was introduced to the project two years later in 2006 and was convinced about the future of the company. He is responsible for shaping the company and is also considered as one of the founders of the company.

HE Xiaopeng is the Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer of UCWeb Inc. and is in charge of the overall product design and R&D of the company.  He has extensive working experience in global companies and as an entrepreneur.  With exceptional experience in project management, consumer analysis, software development testing, and system building, HE has profound understanding of user needs in the mobile internet industry in China. Before joining UCWeb, HE worked as Technology Manager, Testing Manager, and Project Manager at AsiaInfo Technologies (China) Co., Ltd. HE received his Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from South China University of Technology in 1999.

LIANG Jie is the Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of UCWeb Inc. and is in charge of the overall technology R&D of the company.  With more than 10 years of experience in technology R&D and project management, Liang has thorough knowledge in the telecom and internet industries in China. Before joining UCWeb, LIANG worked in the R&D department for large scale email systems as Senior Software Engineer and R&D Manager at AsiaInfo Technologies (China) Co., Ltd Guangzhou office.  Under his leadership, the team developed a series of telecom application software which became best selling products in the market.  LIANG’s team was also awarded one of AsiaInfo’s best R&D team. LIANG received his Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from South China University of Technology in 1998.

YU Yongfu currently serves as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of UCWeb Inc. and is in charge of the overall strategic planning and operations of the company. With exceptional experience in strategic planning and venture capital investment, YU has insights in the telecom, Internet, and new media industries in China. Prior to joining UCWeb in 2006, YU worked at Legend Capital as a founding employee in early 2001, overseeing projects in telecom, new media, internet, and mobile internet, and was later promoted to Investment Manager, and then Vice President in 2003. YU received his Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from the College of International Business, Nankai University in 1999.

 WD: How is UC Browser so different when there are already other Mobile Browsers available?

Kenny : We are the pioneers in cloud computing technology. Our navigation and UI is our biggest asset. Since we work on the internet model we are able to improve our product and come up with an improved version every 4-6 weeks.

WD: What technology platform is UC Browser built on? How can one download?

Kenny : UC Browser supports all major platform OS starting from Java & Symbian to Android and the latest Windows OS. It is available for download on all major app stores under free apps category. It is also available for download on our official website www.ucweb.com. In addition to this you can also find the download link on the mobile sites of our various partners across domains.

WD:  What initiatives are you planning in the next 2-3 years in India?

Kenny :Currently our focus is to build and enhance our user base in India. Our success and adoption rate in India has been quick and very encouraging. We aim to continue with the same enthusiasm. In terms of reach we aim to pre-install our browser of any upcoming model of Indian handset manufacturer and also go through the operator route, something we have not tried so far. We are already in the discussion mode with both the handset manufacturers and operators and once the agreement is finalized we will announce the same.

 WD: What is your Marketing/Promotional approach in India? What value are you providing your customers/users/partners?

Kenny : We truly believe that the success of a product like ours depends on the user experience. Our existing users are our ambassadors who would either recommend or thrash the product in their review/feedback. Their feedback makes all the difference in determining whether his friends will also start using it or not. Word of mouth has worked very well for us in the past and we intend to continue with this promotional approach in the future as well. As far as marketing is concerned we work with our partners who promote us on their wapsites in exchange of traffic from us.

This model works both for our partners and our users as partners get the traffic on their wapsites and users gets to access the most relevant content that he is looking for.

WD : Did you raise any funding?

Kenny : YU Yongfu, the current CEO of UCWeb was Vice President at a venture capital firm, overseeing investment in 2006. UCWeb was introduced to him as an investment project to him by HE Xiaopeng and LIANG Jie, the two engineers who developed UCWeb in 2004. Since Yongfu was convinced by the potential of UCWeb he approached his friend LEI Jun, a reputable entrepreneur in tech sector and angel investor in China to fund UCWeb.

Yongfu’s strong background as an investor, UCW enabled him to raise more funding from top Venture Capitals like GGV Capital, Morningside Ventures, Ceyuan Ventures, Nokia Growth Partners and Alibaba.com at a later stage.

WD:  What is the overall plan going forward?

Kenny : Our focus and goal is to provide our users the best internet experience on their mobile devices. We always strive to improve on our providing to continually match the expectations of our users.

If you have questions for Kenny do put it on the comments box below.

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Travelguru Launches Mobile Website m.travelguru.com

Leading online hotel network Travelguru has launched its mobile website m.travelguru.com for travelers who are always on the go and want to book hotels at the last minute.

The Travelguru mobile website has been developed on HTML5 platform. The initiative is not only targeted at the business travelers who might want to book hotels at the last minute, but also at holiday back-packers and the tech savvy users who spend more time on the handheld devices than desktops.

Commenting on the launch, Mukesh Goel, Technology Head at Travelguru said, “The number of people doing research on their travel plans from their mobile devices has seen a significant jump over the last couple of years. Travelguru recognizes this need of its customers and through this website, has taken a first humble step towards providing a solution.”

Through this website, users have the option to search for hotels as per their travel plan, check rates and offers, and get a call back from its customer support team to close the booking on the phone. A user can also check Holiday Packages, last minute deals and also get a call back from one of the Gurus.

In the next couple of months, Travelguru will broaden the scope and will allow the users to book their preferred Hotels in Bangalore, Goa, Mumbai, Delhi or any other city online. It also plans to bring innovations to the platform by introducing more features and ultimately native apps for its customers.

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Mobile site created by student has caught attention of millions Indian users

Mobile sites builder Wapego was created just a few years ago but already generates 600 million page views per month. And big part of those page views comes from India. Wapego allows users to build their own mobile site or mobile community without any programming skills and even without computer. Everything can be made right via mobile phone. Users can add a variety of modules such as chat; forum; photo galleries and so on. Furthermore, Wapego allows integration of the biggest mobile advertising networks so creation of your own totally free mobile site can become a source of stable income.

Wapego history started few years ago in University dormitory room. Beta version of product was build by 1st grade student and in one month after launch Wapego already generated more than 10 millions page views. Currently more than  700 000 mobile sites and communities are created via Wapego, and more than 12 million users are registered in those sites. “People are using Wapego for different purposes – somebody wants to earn money, and somebody wants to connect people with common interests in one site.  For example we have many mobile community sites targeted to very specific groups like communities for ladies only, communities for parents, or mobile community of class friends” – says co-founder of Wapego.com Kestutis Dragunas.

Sites created via Wapego are accessible via almost any mobile device. As K. Dragunas says, every site is automatically created in three versions – WML for very old phones, XHTML for more advanced phones and WEB – for smartphones.

Developers of project shared that during all years direct investment into advertising of Wapego did not exceed 1000 USD and project became profitable just in 3 months after the launch.  “The main investment was long working hours, dedication and passion to our job” – says K. Dragunas.  “We want to encourage all young IT lovers – our example shows to every young and enthusiastic professional that successful and profitable project can be built without any large investment or support from business angel. The most important is a good idea and hard work on it” – says K. Dragunas.

The biggest markets of Wapego are India and Vietnam. “When choosing our target countries we selected India as priority because we’ve heard that India is a country with probably the largest number of new technologies enthusiasts and IT lovers. And now we can confirm – it’s 100 % true” – says Kestutis Dragunas. According to Kestutis, Indian users accepted Wapego with big enthusiasm and the whole Wapego team is grateful for that and also for many super creative ideas and proposals they got from Indian users. Translation of Wapego to Hindi is in the nearest plans of the company and it should make project more available to even wider part of Indian users.

Currently 4 people are working in Wapego team. The company behind Wapego is JSC “Seminte”.

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Airtel launches SmartDrive-A Voice Based Turn by Turn Navigation App With Real Time Traffic

India’s top Telecom Operator Airtel has launched a navigation application – SmartDrive – that enables users to view their location on a map and plan the route from one place to another.

“SmartDrive is assisted by a voice based turn by turn navigation that gives real time information updates on traffic situation on roads around.

“It also suggests the subscriber an alternate route in case of traffic congestion on the normal route.

SmartDrive offers services such as search for points of interests like restaurants, theatres and shopping malls, and voice navigation.

It also offers live traffic information.

The service is currently available in Delhi and NCR, Mumbai and Bangalore and will be made available in Hyderabad, Chennai and Pune by December.

While search and map views are being offered for free, a daily pack for navigation services costs Rs 10, its monthly pack would cost Rs 99. Live traffic services would cost Rs 3 per day while a monthly pack would be for Rs 49.

The company is offering data browsing free till Nov 30, post which normal data usage charges will apply as per the data pack availed by the customer.

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ZOOTOUT the popular food and lifestyle guide goes mobile

Today, ZOOTOUT, a popular food and lifestyle guide has launched its HTML5 mobile version m.zootout.com.

Commenting on its launch, Subrat Kar, Co-founder of ZOOTOUT said,”Today we have launched the mobile website of Zootout! We’ve been working towards improving our product since a couple of months and now we introduced our mobile website. By using this mobile website anyone can find and search the specialty restaurants around the city from his mobile phone. Now finding a specialty restaurant has become easy and hassle free, just log on to m.zootout.com”.

He further said,”Now finding a good specialty Restaurant should be smooth and effortless. You should be able to access information easily and on the go. You want to enjoy your party with friends in a restaurant where you need good quality food, beverages and good service. We believe our HTML5 mobile website will help you to find the best hangout places around your city, now everything on your hand.”

ZOOTOUT had launched in January 2012 in two cities of India and now it has expanded its presence to13 cities across the Nation. The startup has got good response from users and has monetized the model since its inception. Currently the company has a team of 18 strong dynamic people and revenue of Rs.2.25 lack per month from one city (Indore). Recently the company has started its offline operation in Delhi and Bangalore and planning to raise Venture Capital Funding soon.

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Mobile App vs Mobile Site

Having a presence on mobile has become imperative for most of the companies in the current scenario when almost everyone is mobile. However, whether to have a mobile website or a mobile application; whether to optimize the current website for mobile or develop an entirely new mobile application – is a constant cause of confusion for companies. Here’s a very informative infographic  which outlines the basics and benefits of a mobile website vs a mobile application.

 

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Zee TV Launches WAP Site for Dance India Dance (Season 3)

Zee TV has launched a WAP site and mobile application for the Dance India Dance (Season 3) show. It’s a great news for all the fans of DID (as it is popularly known), as they can now stay updated about the highlights and scores of their favourite show.

This application allows viewers to interact with participants as well as judges, and also vote for their favourite participants. Apart from this, it also contains many fun features too. Through this app, users can also stay connected with Twitter users who are talking about the Dance India Dance show. The WAP site developed on HTML5, is available on all popular smartphone platforms.

Source: The Mobile Indian

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