Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Lord of the Rings



Hindustan Times
December 16, 2007

Cellebrum to be named as Spice Mobile VAS



Voice and Data
DECEMBER 13, 2007

Communication gets richer




Business and Economy
DECEMBER 10, 2007

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Hooked to books

The Economic Times
2 December, 2007

Books by far have been the constant passion of my life; they have the amazing quality to transit you to a different realm of thinking, imagination and of possibilities. Without books, history would be silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill.

After a long and hectic work schedule, reading a book proves to be a rejuvenating experience. My all time favourite book is You Can Win by Shiv Khera, a book which I keep going back to. Some other great reads that I always recommend as must read are Alchemist, Five Wishes, Fish, and Oh! The places you will go and others.

My work brings me “Real Joy” in life. Having spent the initial years on digital exchanges, I moved to the GSM arena when it was first introduced in India. I have been part of the VAS industry right since its nascent stage and have worked here for over 13 years now. I look back to these years with great pride and happiness; I need to admit that being an integral part of the telecommunications industry and its growth has been a very exhilarating experience.

To succeed in this industry, there is no substitute to hands-on-experience. It helps you with the kind of orientation that is required to make a difference in the long run. The success mantra that I have great belief in and have followed religiously is “Commit what you can deliver and deliver what you have committed!”

Right people in the right job role is another asset that any successful organisation should look for and I have always tried to develop an environment rich with creativity, truth, integrity, right values, openness and teamwork. It’s important to give individuals the ambiance conducive for them to innovate and scale new heights in there are of expertise. As its attitude and not aptitude which determines the attitude in life.

Another key area is to strike the right balance between professional and personal life. For me, my family is my world. I enjoy the sense of togetherness and calmness that engulfs me every time I spend quality time with my family. Everything that we do together as a family becomes a passion. I ensure that I spend much of quality time with my entire family. Talking and sharing the mundane or the extraordinary with my wife is a must, as she understands me like no one else can. She is my strength and copes with my erratic work hours and travelling with a smile that keeps encourages me to pursue all my passions with an open mind.

Exploring new places, history of that particular nation and their myriad cultures have always fascinated me (I make it a point to read up on the country, its customs, etc. before travel). I feel blessed that my current work profile demands of me to travel frequently (across the world). Travelling all by yourself — proves to be a great stress reliever. You are at peace with yourself and have time to ponder over the significant things.

However travelling takes a completely diverse dimension when you have your loved ones accompanying you. Sharing the excitement of exploring a new place, culture, etc, with your family only adds to your joy.

Music is another passion that adds spice to my life. I’m very open to all kinds of music. I enjoy music while relaxing, meditating, as a stress reducer or for that matter connecting with one’s inner self. The diversity of music today is such that you can actually pick up music that caters to your every mood. It has a way of stirring our innermost feelings and also all our senses.

Finally, life is wonderful; passions are a plenty. Hebbel, the famous German poet and dramatist, had once said, “Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion”.
So passion for me is my life.

(Saket Agarwal, COO Spice Mobile VAS)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

IPO-led exits for VCs around the corner


In the past 12-18 months, Internet and mobile VAS start-ups, such as Makemytrip.com, People Interactive Group and Cellebrum, have been quietly concluding ‘pre-IPO’ deals.

November 27, 2007
Venture Matters | Snigdha Sengupta

When Info Edge (India) Ltd, the New Delhi-based parent of jobs portal Naukri.com, made a splashing debut on the Bombay Stock Exchange in 2006, many venture capitalists (VCs) said the tide had turned for Indian Internet start-ups.

This was the first listing by an Internet start-up on the domestic bourses and a thumping one at that—Info Edge raised Rs170 crore through the listing. The jinx had been broken—start-up Internet businesses could be built in India and taken public, the most preferred exit route for VCs anywhere in the world. Then, everything went quiet, again.

As it turns out, things have been quiet for a reason. In the past 12-18 months, a bunch of Internet and mobile value-added services (VAS) start-ups have been quietly preparing for the big party. Evidence: a series of what may be termed ‘pre-IPO’ deals concluded during this period. The qualification stems from the class of investors who have picked up stakes in what would conventionally be dubbed early-stage, venture businesses. Samples: Recently, US hedge fund Tiger Fund led a $15 million (Rs59.1 crore) investment round in travel portal Makemytrip.com (Makemytrip.com India Pvt. Ltd).

Last October, Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. alongwith Deutsche Bank AG and Polygon Investment PartnersLlp. invested $27.8 million in mobile VAS start-up OnMobile Global Ltd. In December 2006, Lehman Brothers bought an undisclosed stake for an undisclosed investment in another mobile VAS company called Cellebrum. And now there is speculation that Goldman Sachs is picking up a stake in matrimonial services portal Shaadi.com, promoted by the Mumbai-based People Interactive Group. Most of these companies have talked about listing plans across the media and in this newspaper.

So, it does seem that 2008 and going into 2009, will see a record number of Internet and mobile VAS start-up IPOs (initial public offering).If all goes well, it will be a huge validation of India’s ability to scale start-up businesses, irrespective of the sector.

IPOs, more than trade sales (merger and acquisition deals), are a greater proof of a market’s viability, from a VCs’ point of view. The return potential is higher and liquidity concerns are addressed. India has lagged behind some of its Asian peers, notably China, in terms of IPO-led exits for VCs. It is only recently, after some kind of exit track record was established through trade sales that VCs have returned to this market. The Internet and mobile VAS segments remain the two highest funded by VCs in India. But, as such, investors now begin to apply investing principles to non-technology businesses as well, something that they have not done in their home markets, the handful of imminent listings next year bear a huge responsibility. All the best to them.

Snigdha Sengupta is Mint’s resident expert on private equity and venture capital.

Spicy service


Financial Express, November 23, 2007

Cellebrum to go for a major revamp

Financial Express, November 21, 2007

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Five Wishes

I have been away for a while from the blog (not a happy thought)…work commitements, traveling etc. kept me from updating it more frequently; a book review of a fabulous book that I read recently is a great way to touch base with all!
Written by: Gay Hendricks
Try looking at your life from the perspective of your deathbed—was it a success; if not, what do you wish you should have accomplished? Do you know what you want? Whether you answer to the question is “YES” or “NO” is not relevant what is significant is that this book answer the question from both perceptions. “Five Wishes” offers the reader a fresh insight and clarity of the process of creation.
The extraordinary thing about this book is that it’s inspired from an actual experience/incident and so makes it that much more RELEVANT! Five Wishes offers a plethora of perspectives for leading a fulfilling life…soul searching is another aspect that is omnipresent throughout. It's a personal testimony of how the author’s life is altered once the he changes his perception of problems and how it influences his life.

30 years ago Gay Hendricks’s life is changed by a chance encounter at a cocktail party. A stranger asked him to imagine himself on his deathbed and consider the question “Was your life a complete success?” If not, the stranger suggested, “What would be the things you’d wish had happened that would have made it a success?” The stranger turned out to be well-known spiritual teacher Ed Steinbrecher, and the Hendricks's one wish became five life-transforming ones. This fabulous book shows you how to live Hendricks's five wishes in our own lives and make a success. The foreword of the book explores the power of this approach and explains why the guru insisted Hendricks share it with others.

This attitude assists an individual to become committed to their decisions, follow them through and complete things—which further leads to peace and harmony. As the author says; 'What I've come to see is that completing something, no matter how large or how small, puts you into harmony with the universe.' This is an interesting way of looking at personal commitments. Many goals on a personal level and professional level can be achieved if people took this perspective seriously and followed it religiously. The book helps you evaluate where you stand in life both professionally and personally. A great technique for unlocking the power of making ourselves believe and figuring out what is most significant to us and where are we headed. The book describes the author's five wishes simply and how he insures that they are manifested. Even if your wishes/desires differ from his don’t be disheartened because the author presents great spiritual ideas for fulfilling your dreams.

You can never know when something as small as a chanced encounter or an experience can dramatically transforms your life—for the better. So keep you ears and mind open…to ideas, suggestions etc. Create the life of your dreams with the help of this book as the author passes on to all of us the central insight he gained in that magic moment…which could be yours too.

Few examples of what others have to say about the book

"With brilliance and clarity, Gay Hendricks shares this inspirational story from the heart. Five Wishes can help anyone find the power within to change their life."

—John Gray, PhD, author of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus

"It is time to make all your wishes come true. Gay Hendricks's brilliant, easy-to-understand five questions will take you the distance to happy wish-fulfillment. I wish everyone would read, absorb, and apply the wisdom of this great and inspiring book."
—Mark Victor Hansen, coauthor of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series

Friday, October 12, 2007

Oh, the Places you’ll Go!

By Dr. Seuss

I’m sure many must be wondering—why pick up a book of an author who is famous for creating whimsical stories for children. Many a times in life we are so engrossed with being adults that we forget that the answers to all our tricky questions about work and life lie in thinking like a child and what better way to explore the children’s world then through a book written by the iconic author.

This inspirational tale encourages us to set goals, to make ones own decisions and also gives tips on how to stay motivated to succeed, inspite of challenges that we may face.
Seuss's wisdom is legendary and through this book he teaches us about:
  • Changes in life (and how to accept/face them).
  • Life and how to embark on the journey of life with confidence, self-respect etc.
  • How best to deal with hurdles that may befall us wile taking up new challenges.

Seuss' familiar pajama-clad character reminds us that all journeys face perils, whether from:

  • Indecision
  • Loneliness
  • Or worst of all from too much waiting.

The key to overcome them is to be up to the challenge.

The odyssey is vividly captured by him through the sketches. These evoke both good times—symbolically depicted by grinning purple elephants and floating golden castles and deep blue wells of confusion depict the things that may go bad in life. The message is straightforward and simple life is a 'Great Balancing Act,' but through it all 'There's fun to be done.
All this advice comes quoted in rhyme and with illustrations that are adorable and goofy at the same time—a trademark of all his books.

Points that can be jotted down as Mantra for SUCCESS

  • Get-up and GO; move mountains!
  • Unrivaled exuberance and charm will take you places.
  • You may come along mountains in your path but ‘Mountains can be MOVED’ with perseverance.
  • Life is over all paved with colorful checkerboard landscapes and we all need to encounter the muddy blue 'slumps,' and through dark, lonely alleys that pass through fear when low and alone to appreciate it.

Go ahead and explore the CHILD WITHIN…

Pitroda, Ispat, BK Modi among telecom licence applicants

By Siddharth Zarbabi & Surjeet Das Gupta Business Standard
Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata & Delhi; 10-10-2007

Friday, October 5, 2007

Short Of Cash Or Talk Time?

Dial 642 from IDEA Mobile for Cellebrum’s Pay4me service

What’s Hot
Delhi; 05-10-2007

More than 500 applications in telecom gold rush

By: Archana Khatri
Hindustan Times
Mumbai; 02-10-2007

BEST ADVICE I GOT

Financial Express
Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata & Mumbai; 30-09-2007

Friday, September 28, 2007

Cellebrum mulls IPO

By: Vani Aseem Grover

Financial Express, Chandigarh
17, September, 2007

Adding value beyond calls

By: Saurabh Turakhia
Hindustan Times, Delhi & Mumbai
12, September, 2007

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Art of Innovation

By: Tom Kelley
The title—The Art of Innovation; call’s out to the creative need that we all have within us…edging one to read this simple looking book.
Once you have read it you are hooked, as this simple looking book seek to logically answers the—BIG question; what is creativity and innovation and how best can one describe it.

The book has been written by the Tom Kelley, general manager of the now legendary Silicon Valley based design firm IDEO, the design and development firm that brought many cutting-edge products and services to the world (Apple mouse, Polaroid's I-Zone instant camera, the Palm V etc.). Through this book he reveals the company’s secrets of fostering an environment and culture that has led to its continuously innovating and evolving by strategizing creatively, building brands that last and also developing one hit image/brand after another.
IDEO doesn't believe in the myth of the “lone genius working away in isolation waiting for great ideas to strike” it is their belief that everyone can be creative and the goal of his company is to tap the fountainhead of creativity in order to make innovation a way of life.

The logical question is…How does IDEO do that?
By fostering an atmosphere where all are encouraged to freely express ideas, break rules and help freeing individuals by letting them design their own work environments. At IDEO's the focus is on teamwork. Helping generate breakthroughs fueled by constant reciprocal among people always ready to share ideas and reap from the benefits of the group efforts. They have created an:
- Intense
- Quick-turnaround
- Brainstorm-and-build process
Dubbed as “the Deep Dive…!

Kelley through some entertaining anecdotes illustrates his firm's successes and also joyful failures. The book walks one through how great teams research and immerse themselves in every possible aspect of a new product/service, examining products from the perspective of the clients, consumers and critical audiences. He also Kelley takes the reader through the IDEO problem-solving method:
- Carefully observing the behavior or "anthropology" of the people who will be using a product or service.
- Brainstorming with high-energy sessions focused on tangible results.
- Quickly prototyping ideas and designs at every step of the way.
- Cross-pollinating to find solutions from other fields.
- Taking risks and failing your way to success.
- Building a "Greenhouse" for innovation (IDEO has won more awards in the last ten years than any other firm of its kind).
Check out the IDEO official website to have a better understanding of their work and philosophy:
http://www.ideo.com/ideo.asp

One of the favourite is the Dilbert Cubicle that they developed for Scott Adams, creator of "Dilbert”. Also know as the “Ultimate Cubicle” at IDEO's headquarters in San Francisco, California it caters to the basic needs of most—eat, sleep, avoid the boss." Check out more details here:
http://www.ideo.com/dilbert/index.htm

Albert Einstein sums up innovation and creativity thus "Imagination is more important than knowledge."

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Adding value beyond calls

By: Saurabh Turakhia
It is clear, at least in India, that the mobile success story has been far bigger and faster than the internet’s. As per Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s data, by the end of July 2007, India had a total of 192.98 million wireless subscribers under the GSM, CDMA and WLL services. The internet subscriber base stood at 9.2 million as on March 31, 2007.

A January 2007 report by Soundbuzz, a mobile music retailer, along with Pricewaterhouse Coopers and IFPI, states that revenues from physical sale of music in India will halve from Rs 1,000 crore in 2005 to Rs 500 crore in 2009/10. Interestingly, digital music online and mobile revenues are set to increase. These statistics, when viewed along with the tremendous mobile boom, show great opportunities in music on the mobile. New initiatives by content and mobile service providers point to the possibility.

In music, Saregama has recently introduced mobitune cards for ringtones, with three ringtones allowed per card. In addition, a pilot project across Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad is testing out music downloads at 25 Nokia outlets. Gavin D’abreo, chief marketing officer, Saregama, says, “We have tied up with Nokia for digital kiosks at their stores where consumers can download songs through a connecting USB, at Rs 12 per song.”

The other part of the mobile value added services (VAS) revolution lies in internet access. A significant section of mobile users, youth more than others, has shown keen interest in web-based mobile services. An opportunity that is bound to see a lot of action in the near future. In fact, Airtel is just about to launch its Google search service on Airtel Live, in a tie-up with Google. This is significant because Google is today synonymous with online search, and highly popular, especially with youth.

Other VAS are also getting popular. According to a December 2006 report by IAMAI and IMRB, the Mobile VAS in India stood at Rs 2,850 crore at the end of 2006 and, it is estimated, will grow at 60 per cent to touch Rs 4,560 crore by the end of 2007. While peer-to-peer (P2P) SMS contributed the most at 40 per cent, ring tone downloads also contributed significantly at 35 per cent by end-2006. The telecom operators get close to 60 per cent of the total revenues from VAS (other than P2P SMS for which entire revenue goes to the operator) while the content creator and aggregator get the rest.

Enthused by the response to VAS and viewing it as a big opportunity into the future, Airtel is adding on Google search now, which it views as a significant initiative. This WAP-based service can be accessed on a GPRS enabled phone. Strongly targeted at youth, the Google search service will be positioned as the simplest way to search for anything. It will be supported by a new advertising campaign, to be released shortly.

Saket Agarwal, COO, Cellebrum, a six-year-old mobile content aggregating firm, says, “With the rise in GPRS handsets sales, polyphonic and true tones are raking in more revenues. GPRS services revenue brings close to 10 per cent of the total VAS revenues for a telecom operator.” He talks of projects like providing background music that would run through a conversation “If a guy wants to propose to his girlfriend without saying anything, a romantic song’s tune can play in the background. If an employee wants to give an impression to his boss that he is caught in traffic, a corresponding background theme can be chosen.”
He also talks of future projects that include a social networking initiative for mobile users and one on invited advertisements those which will play before a conversation between two mobile subscribers.
Connection, information, entertainment… the small mobile handset is sure looking at becoming a big device.
- Mobile VAS in India will grow to Rs 4,560 crore in 2007, from Rs 2,850 crore in 2006. December 2006 IAMAI and IMRB report.
- Digital music sales to increase eight times to Rs 3,601 crore in 2009-10, from Rs 450 crore in 2005. A January 2007 report by Soundbuzz, Pricewaterhouse Coopers and IFPI.
- “Music is the second largest VAS service, after SMS. Non-voice revenue as a percentage of mobile revenues are 9.9 per cent ending June 2007.”
- Bharti Airtel, Saregama’s pilot project with Nokia saw 8,000 music downloads against 4,000 handsets sold at 25 Nokia outlets, at kickoff at 3 cities. -Saregama India
Hindustan Times, September 11, 2007

Thursday, August 30, 2007

MCorp Global likely to list Cellebrum

BK Modi may have been last at the gate when it comes to listing his Spice Telecom. But after mopping up around Rs 530 crore with that IPO, now he wants to step on the gas with taking his other companies to the bourses.
Modi now plans to raise about Rs 1,000 crore by listing Cellebrum, which provides value added services for mobile users and is owned by MCorp Global. However, even the holding company MCorp Globa, which also has Spice's mobile handset business as well as IT and retailing under its umbrella may hit the markets in quick time.Modi wants to use most of the funds raised to beef up his handset manufacturing and retailing businesses, which are growing rapidly.MCorp already sells about one-lakh units a month and wants to capture about 10 per cent of the Indian market by 2010. It is also planning to go international.Spice Mobile phones, which recently launched a dual chip handset has initiated talks with Telekom Malaysia and Qualcomm for selling handsets in the Asian as well as American markets. Its targeting its dual chip phones for these markets as it can operate in both GSM and CDMA bands.

By: Arijit Banerjee, Source:ndtvprofit.com

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Cellebrum plans mobile advertising through games

Source: Economic Times; Chennai & Hyderabad

IPOs, M& A in mobile value-added services

The entry of investors such as Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers in a relatively nascent space, such as mobile VAS, is also evidence of the sector maturing

Two mobile value-added services (VAS) start-ups—New Delhi-based Cellebrum.Com Pvt. Ltd and Bangalore-based OnMobile Global Ltd—are slated to go public this fiscal. The proposed initial public offerings (IPOs) signal the maturing of the mobile VAS industry, the highest funded start-up segment in the past two years, with more than $150 million in funding.

OnMobile and Cellebrum, along with peers such as One97 Communications (P) Ltd and Bharti Telesoft Ltd, have also lined up acquisitions during the year, which will lead to what could be dubbed the first phase of consolidation in a barely seven-year-old industry.
As this consolidation plays out over the next 12-18 months, the industry is expected to align along two clear lines—large, multi-services players and the next generation of niche start-ups.
The industry’s fast-track evolution is riding on the back of the country’s exploding mobile subscriber base—up from 108 million in July 2006 to 193 million now. Revenues from mobile VAS were Rs2,850 crore in 2006 and are projected to touch Rs4,650 crore this year-end. This includes revenues earned by VAS companies and telecom services operators, who share the revenue.
“At this stage, large players are looking to grow larger. Part of the capital raised through the IPO will fund acquisitions in the data space,” said Arvind Rao, CEO, OnMobile. Until three years ago, the Infosys Technologies Ltd-incubated start-up was chiefly focused on voice-based service offerings, such as interactive voice customer care and ringtones for telecom operators. Since then, it has diversified into data and is keen on next-generation applications, such as advertising and social networking. It has already pushed through one acquisition—ITFinity Solutions Pvt. Ltd last December—after it received $27.8 million in third-round funding from Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and Polygon Investment Partners.

MOBILE VAS NICHE START-UP DEALS
Peer Cellebrum, backed by New Delhi-based MCorpGlobal, got $15 million as first- round funding from Lehman Brothers around the same time. “We are looking at acquisitions both in India and overseas,” said Saket Agarwal, COO, Cellebrum. It set up an incubation cell last year in which it seeded mobile social networking company MobiSoc.
A multi-services offering would imply a combination of managed platform services across voice, WAP (wireless access protocol, a way to access the Internet through mobile phones) and SMS (short messaging services), content development and syndication, mobile data and voice applications, and enterprise mobile solutions. Not all companies in this space currently offer all services. Even early movers such as OnMobile have chosen to stay out of content. Other players in the space include IMI Mobile Ltd, Mobile2win India Pvt. Ltd and People Infocom Pvt. Ltd (which operates under the brand name Mauj).
As the country’s mobile subscriber base continues to explode, telecom operators have begun to prefer a few mobile VAS players who can offer the full gamut of services. “Players are encroaching into each other’s areas to expand their offerings,” said Vijay Shekar Sharma, founder and CEO, One97 Communications. The company has mandated an investment banker to keep an eye on firms in mobile advertising, utilities, content and mobile commerce.

Revenue models are also changing. Earlier, players would charge a one-time fee to build a WAP or voice platform for the operator (telco), and charge a regular maintenance fee. However, that is changing into a revenue-share model, where the mobile VAS player collects a portion of the user-generated fee per download or transaction. Revenue share remains a bone of contention between the operator and the VAS player, as the former keeps the majority share, often 60% to 80%. VAS firms, though, hope this will change as the industry matures, as it has in other evolved mobile markets.

The entry of investors such as Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers in a relatively nascent space, such as mobile VAS, is also evidence of the sector maturing. Both are later stage, private equity investors and, significantly, have been marked for their pre-IPO deals in this market. “It is good for the industry to have exits through IPOs, as it sets a benchmark for those to follow,” said Sandeep Singhal, director, Nexus India Capital, which has invested in two mobile VAS start-ups—Mobile2win and Kirusa Inc. Most venture capitalists (VCs) active in the space seem to think that the funding cycle for multi-services players has ended. “We are now seeing companies in the next generation of applications,” said Kanwaljit Singh, managing director, Helion Venture Partners.

By: Namitha Jagadeesh; Source: August 28, 2007



Friday, August 24, 2007

Blogger is 8 today

You are 8 today
We (bloggers community, blog readers and all others)
Wish you and your great team (your pillar of success)
A
VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY
Whether we are near or far away
We are happy to wish you collectively
Wishing you to have many more creative and inspiring years’ ahead
May your pages; be filled with ingenious content
The very best to you and your team for all your future endeavours…


Graphic courtesy: http://www.funmunch.com/

Mobile game providers chase big ad money

BANGALORE: Mobile games could soon have advertisers come on board. Cellebrum, the VAS arm of Delhi based M-Corp, plans to launch a mobile game which will give users an opportunity to win and advertisers a space to feature their products. The game is called ‘Fastest fingers first’ and is likely to hit the markets by the end of this month.
“Users have to type out a tagline of a company. Advertisers and service providers have shown great enthusiasm for this product. Many advertisers are keen to tie-up for this mobile game,” explains M-Corp Global president, sales and marketing, Paul Shoker. “Also for this text-based gaming no internet connectivity is required,” he adds.
Mobile advertising is catching up with most VAS players who are introducing new products to woo advertisers to get onboard. Worldwide, the mobile advertising market is worth $10 billion. “Games will be an important part of this. Nearly 20-60 developers are designing games. By 2010, it is expected that 30% of the advertising will be on the mobile and internet,” says Qualcomm India and SAARC manager, mobile content and applications, Rakesh Godhwani.
“It is fascinating to see the convergence of the television, mobiles and laptop screens. Whenever there has been a convergence of two screens, it has brought in huge revenues. Look at programmes like Indian Idol and Kaun Banega Crorepati that have received over 50 million SMSes,” adds Mr Godhwani.
However, while VAS players are looking at launching new products, service providers are wary of introducing advertisers into this fold. “It could be seen as intrusion—just like telemarketing calls and SMSes on service offers,” says Airtel Karnataka chief executive officer V Venkatesh. “Also, the mobile gaming market is really small in the country and we have to see how this market progresses. However, under circumstances that permission is allowed it could be an interesting model,” he adds. It’s not an easy choice but provided the money that advertisers can bring in, most operators will be game to the idea.
By: Sushmita Mohapatra; Source: The Economic Times

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Explore the power of 7

7 Habits of Highly Effective People
by Stephen R. Covey
A fabulous book (or I should rather say—guide…); for all those how want to make a positive difference in their life! 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey is a book that comes with step-by-step instructions to help you achieve each one of the life (both personal and professional) enhancing 7 habits listed. The first 3 three habits focus mainly on your personal life and the last four directed on professional growth. Covey emphasizes on the importance of first developing one’s personal habits and only then can positive professional habits can be cultivated.

Additionally you'll need to understand the "paradigm shift" a change in perception and analysis of how the world works in today’s scenario. This would help you change your outlook towards how you perceive time management, productivity, positive thinking and will assist you in developing "proactive muscles" … taking initiative rather than reacting.

1. Be Proactive
Focus is on being proactive—encouraging you to develop the ability to control your own environment rather than letting things control you. By being proactive you have higher success rate and will be able to complete projects/tasks efficiently.

2. Begin with the end in mind
Leadership is the underlying theme; Covey advice is to begin every project with the end result already acknowledged. That path to success in life lies in planning; concentrating on every step will help you avoid distractions and increase your productivity. Increase in quality of life is you gift for following this—as you now define your course and work towards a planned destination.

3. Put first thing first
Put first things first is a habit that works on personal management, in your personal life and at work. By organising and implementing activities in line with the goals that you have established, you spend time doing what fits into your personal mission. Therefore, you are able to observe the proper balance between production and building production capacity. Identify the key roles that you take on in life (both professionally and personally) and make time for each one.

4. Think Win-Win
All strive for—a win-win situation. This habit is the cornerstone of interpersonal leadership. Achievements are often dependent on cooperative efforts with others. In developing an organizational or personal culture, be sure to reward win-win behaviour among employees.

5. Seek first to understand and then to be understood
Communication is the mainstay of successful leadership. This habit positions that one should first seek to understand others and only expect to be understood—imperative principle of building great interpersonal relationships. Effective listening is simply listening empathetically for both feeling and meaning.

6. Synergize
Synergize is the place where the totality is greater than the sum. It is significant to learn how to see good in others contributions. With trustful communication, mutual trust and understanding one can find ways to leverage individual differences and create a whole that is greater than the sum of the parts.

7. Sharpen the saw
The solution to a successful personal and professional life is through continuous improvement throughout. This concept is the core of the seventh habit. To adapt this habit successfully in life, one must first find the balance between actually producing and improving your capabilities to produce.

Stephen is a believer and advocate of positive individuals and that mostly effective people shape their own future. Instead of letting other people or circumstances determine their destiny, they mentally plan and then physically create their own positive results. The habits are intricate; with step-by-step instructions to help you achieve each one. What is essential is to adopt the habits in complete honesty…you will have to buy the book if you are interested in learning more, or you can also visit
www.stephencovey.com for any additional information. I refer to it time and again…I’m sure you will too!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Bharti Airtel offers musical services to its customers

Another feather in Cellebrum’s multi-faceted cap; Airtel, the country's largest mobile service provider has created a music bank of 10,000 songs in 17 regional languages—over 3000 in Hindi alone—in association with Cellebrum. To read the entire article click on the clipping attached below:

Financial Express
Kolkata, 07, 07, 2007

Monday, July 23, 2007

Cellebrum Standardizes on Envox CT ADE(TM) to Speed Development of Mobile with Services

A must read article on Cellebrum and its innovations; covering in detail the latest developments at Cellebrum that will have a positive impact on the VAS arena.
Westborough, Mass., (ANTARA News/PRNewswire--AsiaNet) - Envox Worldwide, a leading global provider of voice solutions, today announced that Cellebrum, an MCorpGlobal Group company and Asia's leading value-added services provider, has standardized on Envox CT ADE(TM), one of the most widely used interactive voice response (IVR) development tools in the industry. Cellebrum will use Envox CT ADE for the development and deployment of mobile value-added service (VAS) solutions for its service provider customers. Cellebrum chose Envox CT ADE for its rapid development capabilities which provide the company with a competitive advantage that ensures faster deployment of new services and custom developed solutions.Mr. Mark D. Flanagan, president and CEO of Envox Worldwide, said, "To gain a business advantage in one of the largest and most competitive mobile markets in the world, organizations such as Cellebrum must be the first to offer cutting edge solutions that ensure clear differentiation and create new revenue opportunities for their service providers." He added, "We are proud that Cellebrum's team felt that Envox CT ADE provided them with the flexibility and rapid development capabilities required to capitalize on the significant market opportunities they see."Cellebrum used Envox CT ADE to create a series of VAS solutions including voice mail, mobile radio and speech-enabled access to news, stock quotes, sports scores and horoscopes. The company has designed a new and innovative solution, Background Music, which enables users to create their own ambience by playing user-specified songs in the background during a call. Cellebrum has also used Envox CT ADE to develop IVR solutions for downloading games and songs among other items.Mr. Saket Agarwal, COO of Cellebrum, stated, "Developing with Envox CT ADE reduced our service creation time by more than 80 percent, and time-to-market is vital in the highly competitive market in which we operate. Further, utilizing Envox CT ADE enables us to concentrate on creating innovative solutions that leverage new standards and emerging technologies rather than expending resources to remain abreast of the current technologies. This has enabled us to consistently offer fresh and innovative services and contribute to the growth of the VAS industry overall."By using Envox CT ADE as the development tool for its VAS solutions, Cellebrum has been able to slash development time by 80 percent. Envox CT ADE offers a host of utilities that have enabled Cellebrum to create and deploy voice applications more efficiently than was possible with traditional APIs. In addition, it provides integration for advanced speech recognition technologies and handles the wide range of telephony protocols found at customer sites including ISDN, VoIP, SS7, R2 and more. Cellebrum has leveraged these capabilities to quickly and cost-effectively launch its VAS solutions. Additionally, they have been able to cut the time needed to regionalize their solutions by about 60 percent.Today, Cellebrum handles over 15 million calls per month with Envox-based solutions. These new services have increased its revenues by up to 60 percent and the rapid time-to-market has enabled Cellebrum to achieve its ROI in less than one month.For more information about Envox CT ADE, or to download an evaluation version of the tool, please visit http:/ www.envox.com/software/envox-ct-ade.asp.
About Cellebrum
Cellebrum is Asia leading's value added mobile service and solution provider. Its vision is to be the #1 home for trusted, rich and compelling services in the area of mobile infotainment and commerce by touching the lives of 20% mobile customers around the world by 2010. We are a technology enabler in a wire-free world connecting data source or application to any device & make mobile phone an integrated communications device, with the ability to provide information and perform real time online transactions anytime... anywhere...With strong IT foundations and an excellent mobile domain understanding in providing end to end solutions (Telecom, Roaming & Enterprise) and Value Added Services has helped us in emerging as one of the leading Wireless Application Providers in Asia. This proficiency is further strengthened by our 3G competence R&D Centre in SingaporeWe embody unyielding momentum of innovation with a passion and formidable ability to effectively leverage revenue-enhancing opportunities for our customers. All our solutions are built on open industry standards and offer an unmatched ability to customize. We constantly strive to find simple ways of solving complex business issues. Thereby leading ideas to implementation...www.cellebrum.com.
Envox WorldwideEnvox
Worldwide is a leading global provider of voice solutions. The company's software and related services dramatically reduce the time, cost, and complexity of creating voice solutions. These products and services enable enterprise customers and service providers to significantly reduce operating costs, improve customer satisfaction and retention, and generate new revenue streams. Headquartered in Boston, Envox's products and services are available through a network of global channel partners. For more information, please visit http://www.envox.com/.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Does VAS Appeal to anyone...?

Can VAS ever be a Mass appeal product or meant for Classes? Is it for Rich or Poor? Does it have anything to do with the Region - developed / developing? Is it plain Euphoria or sustainable? Well, well, well... Lots of questions and we do have answers and no, not from any whims or fancies of a consultant, on actual REAL data.....

Teaser - Would an average urbane Delhite use ringtone/music more than a rustic Bihari Babu? or a sleepy village in the desert(ed) Rajasthan be more inclined to know bollywood affairs then a socialite of Mumbai ?

So...
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It is simple. No surprise. You were of course right....!!!! Yes ... Trophy Goes to the land of Lalu and Forts.. Why?

Well, it is interesting to know that part too!

In a social setup, human needs are enhanced or curbed by social norms, culture, environment etc etc.. It kind of "conditions" human to live within the LIMITATIONS ... (remember the impact of conditioning on the Elephant in circus! tied with a innocous chain, it does not even try its might to break free...).

But, people who are dis-satisfied with this social setup and are BOLD enough, move to greener pastures... That is how you find lots of migrant labour (both the illiterate and highly literate) across the country and Globe.... But this BOLD enough is only a fraction of the total dis-satisfied lot, who are waiting for the CHANGE at the same place.. It is not hidden that in last 10 years, their has been change at a rapid pace across sectors and telecom has revolutionised the whole thing (from 1.8% penetration to 21% penetration) at the most affordable rate in the World.

So, what does this mean? It allowed people to communicate and EXPLORE.. It allowed that dis-satisfied lot to enjoy all that was not allowed ... Like no power, no television, but with mobile, music whets that latent need... Social taboo on taking the friend out, mobile chatting fulfils that... No hang-out places for new friends, mobile dating (find-a-friend) allows exactly that... Missing out on even going out to theatre (and filmi gup-shup), all of it gets fulfilled with phone through news, movie-gossips, latest ringtones and wallpapers (all colours)... Suddenly, you start feeling contemporary

That just explains why a Bihar - full of all possible issues from very limited entertainment means, to very limited time (no no after dark at most places), to hanging-out (forget it!), electricity (its a luxury item again) - by and large - all reasons for huge uptake of via-medium of VAS through mobile phone!

What a change (telecom - VAS) simple thing (mobile) brings to life of so many people....

And if usage trends are any indications, it is helping far too many people and thus, VAS has taken a centre stage and suddenly looks like a Compelling Mass appeal portfolio..

Well, as they say, Life is Stranger than Fiction, any-day!

Regards

Saket

Thursday, July 5, 2007

The Alchemist

I have read Paulo Coelho ‘The Alchemist’ numerous times over the years; and have recommend as a 'must read' to all— believers and non believers! As this book has this amazing quality to transforms the way you perceive life with its triumphs and failures alike…
The Alchemist presents a simple tale based on plain truths and places one can identify with. As Coelho says "simple things are the most valuable and only wise people appreciate them".

The reader is pursued by ideas, signs and adventure like resonance from past life. Symbols are omnipresent in this masterpiece through these Paulo shows us how to accept our destiny and strongly recommends readers to follow their dreams, because to find our "Personal Myth" and our mission on earth is the way to discovering "God" which is symbolic of happiness and fulfillment.

The novel revolves around the tale of Santiago, a shepherd boy who has a dream and the courage to follow it. How he understands the meaning of the ‘the signs’ that he comes across on his journey and ventures in a realm to understand himself by exploration and self-discovery, while searching for the hidden treasure located near the pyramids in Egypt. He journeys from Spain to Morocco in search of worldly achievement (money/love/fame etc.).

On his journey he gets to meet many spiritual signs in unassuming forms such as a camel driver and a well-read Englishman. It is from this Englishman's book that Santiago learns about the alchemists—men who believed that if a metal was heated for many years, it would free itself of all its individual properties and what was left would be the "Soul of the World." Later he meets a real alchemist and becomes his student resulting in clarifying many of his imprudent agendas while still staying allowing himself to be true to his dreams. It is his encounter with the alchemist that brings self-understanding and spiritual enlightenment.

Coelho also suggests that those who do not have the courage to follow their "Personal Myth" are doomed to a life of emptiness and misery. Fear of failure seems to be the greatest obstacle to happiness. He asks all to dream and to avoid living a life in void.

‘The Alchemist’, is a masterpiece that fills you with sanguinity; Coelho through the novel shows you how everything is possible; as long as you really want it with all your heart. So go ahead and find your dreams and make them come true…

Recommended read: Do check out Paulo Coelho blog for more golden nuggets at http://paulocoelhoblog.com/.


Thursday, June 28, 2007

Cellebrum in talks with the electricity departments of various states

An interesting article appeared in Ciol.com about Cellebrums innovative ‘Electricity Bill via SMS’ application which is going to be the next BIG success story in the telecom industry. Read the entire article here or you can also read the same featured on the following link http://www.ciol.com/content/1860797595.aspx.

Power cut alerts on your mobile
By Bhaskar Hazarika

Monday, June 18, 2007

NEW DELHI, INDIA: Value-added service provider Cellebrum India Pvt. Ltd has come up with an integrated application, which gives mobile phone alerts on load shedding schedules to mobile. This new application, introduced for the first time in the country in Andhra Pradesh, has invited many power companies to integrate this service for other states.
Apart from the alerts, a consumer can access his utility account and also make payments of his bills.
Cellebrums ‘Electricity Bill via SMS’ application, has made its maiden launch with Eastern Power Distribution Company of Andhra Pradesh Limited (EPDCL). However, the company is working on the technical side to launch the integrated payment mode through SMS.
Currently the customers are able to access their electricity accounts through SMS.
Saket Agarwal, COO, Cellebrum, told CyberMedia News that they are working on the mode of payment through SMS. “We are working on it and will carry out the testing on the payment in the second week of July with the power company. This is a first of it kind application through which a consumer is able to pay and check his utility bill.”
He added that it is an integrated application where a consumer can access his power bill account by registering the mobile number with the electricity board.
“There can be two ways of payment of the utility bills one could be done through the credit card and the other through the operator. If the bill is made through the mobile operator, the amount will get reflected on the next month of the mobile bill of the consumer,” he said.
Agarwal informed that this service is available through all service providers as this is an integrated application through the electricity board. “We are also in to talks with many other states for the implementation of this service facilitating the consumers with the easy payment mode.”
He said that Cellebrums application ‘Electricity Bill via SMS’ has been short listed for the annual 2007 Global Mobile Messaging award,
UK
, from among 3,000 global participants.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Thursday, June 21, 2007

You Can Win

A great book for all those who like to be winners in life...

"Winners don't do different things, they do things differently" this quote is the nucleus of the book ‘You Can Win’ written by the internationally acclaimed author Shiva Khera. It’s a great book to refer to—if you are looking at being successful in life. The book is a simple read (mark of all great books and writers) and provides the reader’s with practical approach to adopt success as a way of life. He helps you explore success in diverse milieu covering—wealth, happiness, peace of mind, recognition and values.

Shiv Khera believes that every human being is unique, but those who dare to be different leave their footprints and examples for future generations to follow. His matra for success in simple and followed world over "winners don't do different things, they do things differently". Shiv Khera wears assorted caps he is an educator, motivator, business consultant, much sought after speaker and successful entrepreneur; being a living proof of all things that he preach in his book.

Handy tips for your journey
Points to keep in mind while reading this fabulous book
  • Lay great emphasis on reading thoroughly the books preface as it’s the key that will assist you in unlocking the gates to wining strategies and ultimately to your path to success.
  • Jot down points that you feel are pertinent for self assessment as there are many an examples.
  • The book is not for educating you (in literal sense); but is more of a guide that helps you understand your flaws and thus remove obstacles form your path to living a successful life.
    Take the flaws that you come across about yourself in your stride; and don’t let them dishearten you.
  • Identifying is the first positive step towards accepting and making positive change.
  • Pursue the ‘Action-Plan’ with complete sincerity.The author has made the book interesting by quoting inspiring and motivating stories; these will help you understand how routine can be changed into an inspiring life.
Some motivating phrases from the book

    On committing errors, winners say “I was wrong” while losers say “it wasn’t my fault”.

    Every success story is also a story of great failure.
    Your attitude contributes to your success.

    So cultivate positive attitude in life; as positive people only think about winning and being the best.

    Don’t ever quit. Integrity and wisdom are essential traits to honour our commitments.Learn from your mistakes; don’t repeat them.

    There is no substitute for hard work.Individuals with high self-esteem will talk about ideas, would have unvarying self-worth, are optimistic, respect others and are always eager to learn.

    Be like a Bumblebee…never limit yourself.

    Don’t ever limit yourself by adopting Crab mentality. Be open-minded.

Essentially the book is trying to illustrate how there are 2 different types of people:

Winners— are people who hate to lose.
Losers—are people who accept failures, sometimes without even trying.

The choice is ours; if being a winner is your mission/goal in life go ahead and read this book and make a positive change in your life.

Wishing all a successful life and hoping success follow you always…