Thursday, January 24, 2008

Tech predictions - convergence

On January 12 I had predicted that Internet convergence gateway announced by Cisco will have femto cell functionality. Guess what, there is a news at EE Times today: Cisco invests in femto cell pioneer ip.access.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Convergance--new mantra

Femto cells, the saviors for telecom service provider companies provide convergence between the mobile wireless world and public Internet for efficient delivery of voice and data contents.

Last week Cisco delved on how TV (read multimedia content) and Internet convergence gateways will help telecom companies transform into experience providers (up in value chain).

People are now thinking of adding many other services to such a gateway that can be delivered digitally. It won't be a surprise if such a gateway will also have femto cells as one of the many functionalities it will offer.

So why haven't companies thought of such, what Bob McIntyre calls a super computer for visual networking (I would rather call it as media or experience networking), device before?
  1. the technologies being converged on their own were challenging enough earlier. Companies have now mastered them enough. They now need to have a roamap to stay ahead in a market where todays technology quickly becomes commodity once the competition catches up
  2. better understanding of the usage patterns of various services that have evolved (did you have podcasts, YouTube five years ago?)
  3. with improvements in the raw processing power, memory capacity, processing technologies that help minitiarization and reduction in power consumption/ heat dissipation, signal processing algorithms, convergence seems more thinkable now
  4. and finally the time it takes to seep in complex technological problems and to be able to look at them from a thirty thousand feet removed perspective

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Value addition

Two out of many options available for search at Google, I find site: and link: options very handy. They represent value addition to the basic service of text search. Such things come from better understanding of how the user is going to use the basic service. The value addition requires only incremental work over and above the basic search technology.

Another example of value add is VMware Virtual Center. There is only so much to be added once the basic virtualization is established. Competition has caught up with it, too. Value add is what keeps the pioneers ahead in the game. That's where there scope for significant creativity, which again no surprise, comes only from the better understanding of the user environment. Research into such things is one of the open secrets of any vibrant product development organization.

What is interesting to observe is what such organizations do once they have realized the peak of creative thinking and exhausted most imaginable ideas... Do they start looking for new product ideas? Are those new ideas always related to or synergistic with the existing products?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Practical applications of a femto cell area network

Arrival of femto cells enable the convergence of fixed-line-based and mobile communication (FMC) services and extend the reach of RAN. It will open doors for new types of services or new ways of accessing existing services.

Peer to peer services
Direct voice communication using VoIP between two mobile units that are within the local area network covered by a femto cell (let's call it FAM) could be switched locally, avoiding air-time charges for the session. This can also optimize voice delivery in case one or more voice recipients of a push-to-talk group are present in the FAM.

Targeted services
Location aware ad-hoc groups can be formed for providing targeted services to the members of the group.

Fine grained control over service delivery
Hosts or organizers of an event (movie) can block radio signals so as to disallow direct incoming/ outgoing calls and allow only text or other non-intrusive services to be delivered to the subscribers. The contents being delivered over the femto cell can be lawfully intercepted by the provider organization to suit their policies. For example, an employer may then ensure sensitive data does not leak through employees' mobile phones.

Location awareness
The femto cell can feedback to the caller or the RAN about the location of the call recipient. For example, if person A calls person B and B is attending a meeting in a conference room or in a hospital, the caller A could be warned about this and would be given a chance whether to still continue the call to person B. It's similar to the status selection by an instant messenger user, just that it could be automated using the intelligence fed into a femto cell.


Sunday, November 18, 2007

How IT companies can succeed in India?

In my previous blog I expressed things for the IT companies of Indian origin and headquartered in India. Here I share what I feel other companies who are interested in doing business for/ in Indian market.

Cost sensitivity
Whether you like it or not; many smaller Indian businesses who form a big volume of the Indian IT consumption do not like to pay as much for the software as what it costs today. They do not mind paying for hardware but general tempo is that software should come cheap or for free. I am not putting blame on them; but trying to analyze why is that the case. First, majority of business software readily available today is made outside India. Quite naturally, it would be catering more to the needs and operating environment of the businesses outside India. If such software fails to deliver value, why would any business want to pay hefty sum just for some conveniences or partial needs addressed? There cannot be any shortcut to address this but to tailor make products for the Indian market. This may mean:
  1. cutting unnecessary features: Windows Starter Edition by Microsoft is an example
  2. or re-design to take into account the market specific needs: EN3500 'First Made in India Router' by BA Systems is a good example.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

How Indian IT companies can thrive?

Conventional wisdom says that the companies that have been successful in their domestic market only flourish in the global markets. Take any successful company and you will find this to be true. The way Indian IT service provider companies have grown may be an exception to this. The question is for how long that can continue in the future?

The Indian service providers have proven themselves beyond doubt in terms of cost, agility and quality advantages. All the while they have also been sensitive to external factors such as INR-USD conversion rate, increasing cost of of doing business in India, talent acquisition and retention and the turning into a commodity business as a result of domestic competition catching up and offering more or less the same level of services. Ask anyone from these service providers how customers cleverly position one provider against another to get the best deals on a continued basis! It is fierce.

Though offering services has been their main business and expertise, in my personal opinion, these businesses and any other Indian company should explore the following to continue stellar growth:

Invent the domestic market:

Agreed, the market was almost non-existent until recently when IT is being adopted by Indian businesses and government. Innovation lies in creating and fueling this market by understanding the unique needs instead of making the market/ masses to adopt to the technology that is not designed or meant for them. Lead ideas to users instead of hoping to lead customers to existing technology. As an example, few years ago in one of my jobs I had proposed creating a peripheral device that can recognize hand-written scripts. Such a device could be connected to any computing host that needs human input using standard interfaces such as Bluetooth or USB. It can replace standard 101-key keyboards. It can also dub as a touch-pad for the mouse pointer. This would make computers more accessible and acceptable for a majority of Indian mass who either do not know English script or are comfortable using their native script for communication. The same product can be successful even outside India where non-English script is preferred. Similar could be applied to creating solutions for Indian needs. Web based matrimonial sites is an example of successful innovative service offering using technology. Indians have succeeded in creating multiple startup companies. So there is no doubt now that they cannot think creative.

Create niche:

Quality levels and ability to communicate effectively in English seem to be one unique selling points for Indian companies so far. Competition will catch up some day—it's only a matter of time. In my opinion, it is better to be extremely good at doing a chosen few things instead of trying to provide everything with lower expertise and quality and always trying to catch up. Only then these businesses can think of customers considering them as consulting firms higher in the value chain. Jack of all trades approach dilutes individual focus of employees. It renders them not good for anything and lower levels of job satisfaction.