Mobile VAS services and Data ARPU is looked upon as the redeemer of ARPUs in India. However, for mVAS to make an impact, it needs to be more than mobile infotainment. Profiling Conferencing, Mobile Adevrtisements, Education, Healthcare, Live feeds of Wholesale Rates, Mobile Payments, Ticketing and the UID tagging which will lift the mVAS game to mass usage levels.Here’s the top few expected to drive mVAS big.
Conferencing: Video Conferencing is increasing with companies cutting down their traveling to reduce costs and also for security reasons. This trend will not only help reduce costs but also reduce the Carbon footprint of physical travel.
Even if Mobile advertising in India is still at a nascent stage, Mobile as a medium has the highest reach in the country and the potential remains extremely high. 2009 saw a dramatic rise in Mobile advertising through the two main delivery mechanisms i.e. Voice and SMS. Mobile sMS Advertising will likely shift from being a mass advertising medium to selected targeting which will be based on subscriber profiling.
While Business and Advertising and Infotainment will be the drivers to MVAS in times to come, but the greatest challenge would be in terms of making MVAS mainstream.
Experiences in rural India show that information and communications technology can enhance poor people’s opportunities by improving their access to markets, health care and education.
Education: One such successful example of this is The Stanford Learning Lab that has created a prototype SMS quiz to aid learning of new vocabulary. The aim of this project was to provide highly flexible, mobile learning material that users could access in very short time-spans ranging from 30 seconds to 10 minutes. The constraints of the 160 character limit of SMS messages turned out to be an advantage as it forced the construction of suitably concise chunks for such short-term learning opportunities.
Healthcare: Apollo Hospital group has set up a 50-bed telemedicine center at Aragonda village (Andhra Pradesh, South India). It has also set up freestanding centers at Guwahati and Kolkata. These centers are equipped with facilities like CT- scan, X-ray, ECG and integrated laboratory and are linked to Apollo’s specialized hospitals at Hyderabad, Chennai, and Delhi for seeking referral services, second opinion, post-acute care, interpretation services and health education. The hospital group has also a web portal, Apollo Life that allows patients to interact with doctors via the web, upload all their diagnostics and reports on the net. Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre (EHIRC), Delhi through its Escorts Heart Alert Service (EHAS), Utilizes telemedicine in establishing prompt contact with patients in distress. The EHAS subscribers can record their ECG’s at the time of discomfort through the cardiac beeper provided and transmit them through a telephone to the “heart alert centre”. These tele-ECG”s can be monitored 24-hours at the dedicated center and fully equipped mobile cardiac care units from the centre can be rushed to provide intensive care to the patients before they brought to the hospital for medical investigation. India is a vast country and the role of Telecommunications for realizing tele-diagnosis, tele-consultancy and tele-education can be a boon to people who still have relatively low access to medicine and healthcare.
Access to Opportunity: With the advent of 3G, fishermen can negotiate prices for their catch before heading for shore by sending in pictures of the type of fish they have on board. Similarly, farmers and horticulturalists who have perishable produce can take advantage of 3G services to bargain for the best prices before harvesting, by bypassing middlemen. Services like Mobile Banking, Mobile Money Transfers, Utility Bill Payments, Payments for purchase of movie tickets etc are also likely to take off.
Giving the Indian billion an identity: Identity authentication at banks, gas connection centres or while providing rural jobs will just be an SMS away. The Nandan Nilekani’s project will provide a unique identification (UID) number, not a card and the authentication will be made by using mobile phones. Once the numbers are issued the authentication will be done Online. The authorities will send the UID number to the designated points through mobile phone message. Also, the fingerprint of the person can be sent to the central database and the authentication can be received within minutes verifying the identity of the person. It will help provide portability to our farmers, laborers. When they move from state to state, this UID will help them get employment without hassles. Banks, mobile service providers, LPG gas connection counters and many more partner organizations can use this UID to verify their customer. With the growing mobile phone network, this will become an easy process for authorities to verify people. Nandan Nilkeni’s team is likely roll out the first batch of UIDs in 2010. They plan to issue at least 600 million UIDs over the next 5 years.
Finally, in a country that has been Infrastructure starved for all times, Indian companies have already laid out a 670,000 kilometres network of optical fibres even in the remotest areas and the progress on this front still continues. rural network based on the extensive optical fibre network, using Internet Protocol and offering a variety of services and the availability of open platforms for service development, viz. the Next Generation Network, appears not only to be an attractive proposition but a powerful one as well. Fibre network can be easily converted to Next Generation network and then used for delivering multiple services at cheap cost.
A study earlier had indicated the Telecommunications sector will increase its contribution to the India GDP from the existing 2% to 14%. That sounds a few degrees steep. But then the power that can be generated by linked a billion people together is also incomprehensibly powerful.