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Education next is all about hyper personalization

Posted in Value added services and applications by Manas Ganguly on December 10, 2013

Content, Context and Semantics – Education is soon to see a wave of hyper personalization which will be tailored to every individual student’s needs and focused on learning outcomes that enable one to do something meaningful with their learning. This is a far shot from the current “one size fits all” approach of textbooks – which trips out on the individual capacity and interest of a student to absorb.

Nearly 4.9% of the world GDP is spent on education, the percentage figure higher in the G20 states and lower in the third world nations. Currently the mode of education is mostly linear in terms of learning a theory and application of the theory to get standard set of observations and answers. The learning methodology is a well versed on vertical path with no scope for horizontal discoveries along it. For instance, a discovery and learning of a particular word is not followed up by a thesaurus mode of synonyms and antonyms or the formation of the word (origins and semantics). The objective is memory by rote accessed by stress inducing examinations as against application, self-discovery and aided learning of the concepts beyond the scope of the text book syllabus.

1. Hyper personalization would refer to tweaking and timing of the content as per the learning and understanding ability of students with visual, aural, experiential and demonstrative tools and techniques.
2. Tablets, Smartphones are an ideal medium for this kind of facilitation of learning.
3. Over and above that, higher concepts such as augmented reality, location services and others could become powerful tools of ingraining education.
4. Application of learning’s across different contexts also is a key enabler tool in this process i.e dictionary access to eBooks.
5. The Semantics medium of learning – by nodal association of concepts, theories, cores and application would have a multiplicative effect on the ability of students to understand and appreciate the concepts in full.

This doesn’t mean the eventual substitution of teachers. Teachers would have to graduate from the source to the medium of curation of content and learning. All this is not going to be easy in implementation – but from a perspective of the future where exposures would be unlimited and learning itself would not be classroom dependent, hyper-personalization would be the key.

Augmented reality glasses by Atheer: Promises and Possibilities

Posted in Applications and User Interfaces, Value added services and applications by Manas Ganguly on December 6, 2013

Yet another augmented reality video by Google Glass competitor Atheer demonstrating possibilities and promise of Augmented reality as a service.

Telecoms survival guide: From the pipe to the media platform

Telecoms and operators must change – more out of survival necessity. Voice revenues are shrinking and “Over the top” challenges are eating into P2P revenues. Then there are technology disruptions such as Soft SIM. A study from Ovum suggests that by 2016, operators will have lost $54 billion in SMS revenues due to the growing popularity of online messaging.

Looking behind the pipe Business. An essential guide for telecom companies

Looking behind the pipe Business. An essential guide for telecom companies

79% of operators believe that OTT clients on smartphones are a threat to traditional SMS and voice based services.
In 2011, 67.6% of operators identified messaging as the most challenged service by OTT, but that figure has increased to 73.7% in 2012.
43% of operators expect 11% and over of revenues to be impacted by OTT in 2012
52.1% of the operators claim OTT has impacted on 1-20% of traffic in 2012, up from 29.7% in 2011.

The denial charecterestic of operators is slowly on the wane – as operators grapple to hold on to shifting sands. This is reminiscent of the way movie and music industry has been disrupted and laid asunder by the Torrents of the world. The key realization that needs to come through for operators is that they need to realize that they are not in the pipe business – rather they own a significant part of the media business. Realization along these lines, could be critical in opening up thought processes around creation of content and media platforms, leased services on the cloud, location centric services, context awareness, semantics awareness… operators need to pull up the game from the pipe to compelling internet based services.

A part of this new services paradigm would depend on creating platforms that host eco-systems and users co-creating and consuming real time. A lot of the operator mentality is bound around the pipe syndrome with customer ownership. However, an open system/platform is key to creating value in terms of experience, discovery and revenues/profits for the ecosystem. Operators need to graduate from the walled thinking to a shared approach.

Beyond the tip of the Ice-Berg- The Multi Billion $$ Indian MVAS market Opportunity

Posted in Industry updates, Value added services and applications by Manas Ganguly on March 30, 2013

Presenting a few key take outs from the WCIR (Wipro Council of Industry Research) and IAMAI report on the Future of the India MVAS industry – Beyond what is now to where it could be headed in times to come.

1. Number of mobile Internet users in India set to explode by a factor 2X between December 2012 and March 2014, from 87.1mln to nearly 165 mln.
2. 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.

Total Indian MVAS Market Size (in US $ blns)

3. Even though 96% of the survey respondents accessed the internet on mobile devices, only 56% had subscribed to some form of paid MVAS
a. Most of these subscriptions are basic offerings such as SMS alerts and CRBTs
b. Paid services used today only enable limited value delivery to providers and consumers alike
4. VAS services available today are perceived to lack customization and are easily replaced with freely available options.

Reasons for not subscribing to Paid VAS

5. Complexity is consistently rated as a key barrier to service adoption. 64% of participants believed that advanced mobile health services would to be too complex to use.
6. Users express concerns about the unique aspects of the mobile experience that could compromise usability. 56% of participants were concerned about the screen size of mobile devices.

VA Service Usage by Classification

7. Researches such IAMAI and Wipro establish that they are willing to pay for services when they perceive value.
a. 80% of the respondents believe that enriched and transformational data services will save time.
b. Therefore, the use of basic services is projected to decline, while enriched and transformational services are projected to rise from current usage levels
c. Transformational services will reinvent the consumer experience – and may ultimately replace the brick and mortar alternatives or complement them
8. In terms of VA services, mEntertainment is expected to be 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
9. Innovation in other MVAS categories such as mEducation, mFinance, mHealth has largely stalled out with basic SMS and IVR based information services.
10. Services available today only skim the surface of consumer experience. As categories reach higher and higher maturities, consumer requirements will evolve faster- driving a rapid shift in consumer preference from basic to enriched to transformational services

With acceleration in 3G/4G deployments, increasing smartphone penetration and MVAS maturity – Users will migrate from the basic services to enriched services aand furthermore to Transformational services – and that will drive dramatic growth in the industry. Listing down a few recommendations maximize chances of success in the Indian MVAS market.

The new VAS paradigm - Charting Success Strategies


Source: Beyond the tip of the Iceberg IAMAI/WCIR report

The paradigm of Multi screen experiences

Multi screen apps

Rapid adoption of mobile devices such as the Tablets, Smart TVs, Connected Cars and Augmented Reality units are creating a huge impact on the way consumers interact with content, potentially putting billions of consumer dollars up for grabs: cable licensing agreements, advertising budgets, on-demand subscription fees, not to mention the future of the connected home. But despite all of the excitement — or perhaps because of it — there is still a lot of confusion about what the different types of multi screen apps are and how the technology is evolving to support this use case.

Simultaneous-Usage

Multi screen scenarios imply the instances when the user is engaged across multiple screens – the most notable is that of a TV and a mobile device. Google recently shared that a stunning 77% of users are using a second device when they are watching TV. On the surface of it, a content owner could be upset about this dual activity being a distraction and yet – Dual screen apps present an opportunity to engage the user on more than one consumption platform. For example- watching the Superbowl on TV and tweeting about the event online. Thus, this allows creation of an interactive experience that enhances it with additional information, related advertising, or calls to action. These are the types of experiences that are poised to radically transform the way consumers engage with content.

Top Activties across multi screens

Social Aggregators of multi screen content i.e Companies like GetGlue, Shazam, Zeebox, and Sidecastr have all created apps that detect what program a user is watching and present social or companion content on their device. Their hope is that they can assemble a large enough audience to become interesting to advertisers that want to target these users

Amongst the bigger players, Apple, Google, and Microsoft are each building enabling technology for dual screen apps into their platforms, as they view content-centric apps as a key battleground in their overall platform war. Also participating are consumer electronics giants like Samsung, Sony, and LG.

Prima Facie, the key here is when fundamental technology architectures are in play, platforms generally win in the long run. If one can successfully deliver the capabilities that enable armies of developers to build vertical or use case-specific applications, the network effects will generally overwhelm any individual competitor that is trying to do everything on its own.

Infographic on the Multi screen play
The new multi screen world

Apple- The Times!They are changing.

Posted in Device Platforms, Value added services and applications by Manas Ganguly on January 2, 2013

Post the maps fiasco, Apple has been under some heat – and Google’s alacrity was very natural and expected. Symbolically, Google is now churning better Apps that work with the Apple eco-system thereby challenging the status quo of the Apple Mobile eco-system as the piece de resistance of the Mobile world. Google is thus taking Apple out from its biggest strength eating into it – as like a worm- going inside-out.

Google versus Apple

From the Google perspective, Google is putting its resources at apps that work on the iOS platform as well and there is statistical evidence that Google strategy is working. Sample the AppData which now records YouTube and Google maps as the No.1 and 2 iPhone apps.

Now then- it puts Apple on the backfoot then? In a pre-2008 Internet world dominated by Google, Apple’s app experience based strategy was a major departure in terms of branded apps, app publications and “there’s an app for that approach”. Suddenly Internet was not a passive media – it was rich content media with immersive experiences designed by publishers for the users. Advertisers and Publishers saw Apple as the challenger in chief to an Internet world to which Google search was the prominent portal. Android coming from behind to take over Apple’s App domain is something that the Late Steve Jobs or the current Tim Cook wouldn’t have wanted. Unfortunately that is how its seems to be panning out now.

However, from a longer perspective – it aint much of anything really – The battle is not so much between Google and Apple as much as Open Source and Propreitary. And Apple has a lesson or two to take home in terms of the amount of control of its walled garden that it must forego, choosing its strenths in terms of device based service/experience integration.

As quoted in an earlier post – Does Apple need to change course its philosophy of exclusivity?
To maintain its position, the company will have to focus more on giving its devices superb access to content it doesn’t control and hasn’t approved. Apples’ dogged and quixotic quest for control on the eco-system, my lead it to block more realistic and better solutions that emerge on the open Internet. There is leaf out of the book of Amazon that Apple could take a learning from (managing the eco-system). Apple must learn and execute to collaborate – rather than whole control.

There is no win-all. You win some,you loose some. The timess- they are changing!

In Midst of Transition- Adobe Systems (Part II)

Continued from Part I

If the early results are any indication, Adobe, has become a model for companies coping with tech’s changing landscape. But the Business transition is easier said – Adobe will have to navigate the rise of cloud, Mobility, social media and highly targeted online advertising. It also pits Adobe against some very well entrenched competition – Microsoft and Apple in productivity programs, IBM and Google in digital marketing.

adobe_cloud
Image Courtesy Fortune

Adobe’s move into digital marketing- which has its roots in the acquisition of Omniture, a web analytics company in 2009 is an equally adroit move. The second leg of Adobe’s strategy re-orientation includes data driven marketing – real-time bidding on Google search ads, targeting display ads using Facebook profiles, analyzing which Tweets or blog posts drive traffic, testing different site designs to see which generate sales. To make those features possible, Adobe has spent $800 million in the last 3 years on acquisitions since Omniture: Day Software for website-content management, Demdex for ad targeting, Efficient Frontier for search and social media ad exchanges, and Auditude for inserting ads inside streaming videos. According to Gartner, marketing budgets will grow 9% this year, compared with 4.7% for IT. Adobe wants to benefit from that growth by selling marketing services and software simultaneously. Thus, Adobe tools once relied on just for creating a website, have become much more useful as a digital marketing suite.

Death of Adobe Flash

Still, Adobe’s marketing push means going up against deep-pocketed companies like IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and Google — all of which are more experienced in the enterprise software market. The next year or so will be critical for Adobe as it changes tracks and dons a new gear. It is a risk but then its vastly better than waiting for the emminent death of Adobe Flash.Adobe’s post-Flash strategy was announced in November 2011, alongside the restructuring that made digital marketing and Creative Cloud the company’s top priorities Adobe saw the writing on the wall and conciously anchored itself on the Creative Cloud and Digital Marketing as the next streams of business. Now we await the new Adobe!

In Midst of Transition- Adobe Systems (Part I)

In the age of Cloud,Mobility,Social Media and altering business models,Companies that simply try to preserve the status quo will fail – Inspired

Adobe is the midst of transition would inspire many a case studies. A company that epitomized Shrink Wrapped High Quality Software is working on complete re-doing of its business and revenue models with an eye on the future. Historically, Adobe has been a productivity suite company with its software being centred around enterprises, film-makers, webmasters and content creators and it has done well till recent times. Not wishing to be caught on the wrong foot holding on to status quo, Adobe has readied and implemented a radical change in its business model- It has embraced the cloud based distribution and digital marketing and is phasing out the CD based version of “pay beforehand $1400-$2400” software distribution to Software in the cloud, monthly subscription service. This sachet service works three ways – It steadies revenue per month, it reduces piracy (Adobe was losing a reported $1bn to piracy of its software) and it also increases penetration (The move to subscriptions is a clever and thoughtful way to lower the price point). This model works on a $20-$50 subscription model – and this would bring 325K subs by end of 2012 as per Adobe. Lready Adobe has a million free memberships on its Cloud.The current onboarding rate is 11K per week. Overall average revenue per user is 20% higher compared with the old product. That number will rise even further, the company says, because it is much more likely to sell support services, website hosting, or server management to cloud customers. Already Adobe is augmenting its cloud product by addition of features and functionalities such as Creative Cloud for teams, making it easy (collaborate effort); Adobe Muse (For creation of Mobile websites); Creative Cloud Connection for desktop synching and collaborative sharing;Creative Cloud Training; and demonstrating the unlimited access to the Digital Publishing technology used by major publishers to create interactive content for the smartphones and tablets.

Adobe

Sure this audacious moved spooked the stock which lost steam in 2011 but it is back in action and has traced a healthy recovery. The stock is way behind its historic highs of $47.9- however at $35.5 it is trading 47% above its 2011 trough of $24.17. Even while the stock is underperforming as per analyst’s expectations- the 3Q, 2012 profits have reversed a trend of 3 quarters of dipping profits. In the most recent quarter, profit increased by 3.2% year-over-year. Looking back further, profit dropped 2.4% in the second quarter, 21.1% in the first quarter and 35.4% in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year. The turnaround seems to be working for Adobe and we would get to know more about this in time. As for the shift from boxed software to subscriptions: It is far from over. In fact, it is the company’s greatest source of uncertainty.

This Post is continued in Part II

The Android Dilemma

Posted in New Technologies, Value added services and applications by Manas Ganguly on August 3, 2012

Tight control (Fight Fragmentation) v/s Open Source Innovation – That is a dilemma that Android has on itself.

A connected world of device systems running on seamlessly on a single platform. Embedded systems in the back end are evolving the definition of connected devices. Definition of device connectivity is migrating from Netbook, Smartphone, Tablet, Car, TV to complex enterprise/industrial systems and critical utility infrastructure which are stitched together by a complex network of  NFC, RFID, QR Code Readers, Motion/activity sensors and more (the list is quite large here).  In the later case, Linux has dominated the market for good cause: it’s lightweight, networked, reliable, standards-based, and cheap — a perfect combination that has stymied competitors.

What Linux does well, Android does better

Android pushes these benefits several notches further, adding a graphical user interface and modern mobile networking support, which are huge assets for embedded devices that might be mobile and require increased redundancy or frequent interaction with users who find menus and icons far less intimidating than command prompts or low-grade web interfaces.

One of Android’s greatest assets, and one of its critical weaknesses from a tablets perspective, is that Google essentially provides a blank slate upon which others can build compelling, integrated applications. Google’s desire to deliver a platform might be perfect for embedded devices, but it’s become a hindrance for enterprise tablets.

A solution for embedded devices is unfortunately Platform fragmentation on the other hand

Even while there are  concerns about Android hardware fragmentation, the rapid release cycle has muddied the waters on the software front, especially as it pertains to tablets. Add in Android’s ability to be enhanced and modified by manufacturers, which a great strength on the embedded device front, and you have different hardware providers doing everything from superficial “skinning” of Android on their particular device to providing a unique and different OS shell.

Google shouldn’t take an Apple-like approach to locking down hardware, software, and application distribution, but Android does need to be more tightly controlled by Google in order to achieve tablet success. A significant asset that Google has over Apple is that there are Android tablets available in every conceivable size, shape, and price point. Hardware manufacturers understandably don’t want to be forced into commodity status, but at this juncture, an average user could pick up three random Android tablets and find an inconsistent interface and experience among them. This is not a recipe for a successful enterprise device.

Its an interesting toss up and a marketers dilemma at Google – Maintain course and run out of favour for devices today. Or change course today and loose out on the what appears to be a great future in connected devices

Can Facebook unseat Apple/Android at their own game, within their own ecosystem?

Posted in Applications and User Interfaces, Value added services and applications by Manas Ganguly on January 11, 2012

Facebook’s genesis was in terms of being a web destination and while Facebook is the no.1 mobile app globally across diverse platforms, Facebook was loosing traction to Android and Apple which harbored a collaborative eco-system approach. With 350 million users accessing facebook from Mobiles on a monthly basis that was too big an opportunity to hand it over to iOS and Android platforms.

Thus came into being Facebook’s recent push into HTML5 with Project Spartan,which features apps built for Facebook’s platform that can run on top of the Facebook Messenger app, instead of requiring the user to launch the iOS app equivalent. This poses a disintermediation challenge to Apple. Facebook is trying to beef up its payments system, Facebook Credits, to handle application payments and cut out the iTunes model ingrained into the iOS ecosystem.Facebook is demonstrating that it can leverage its hold over consumers at the software level, through the power of the social network, across multiple platforms.

So now, here’s an interesting question: Can Facebook unseat Apple/Android at its own game, within its own ecosystem?

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