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:

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:

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