Thursday, December 31, 2009

2010—the road ahead…

Team Spice Digital—Spreading its Wings!

A symbolic stepping out of year 2009 into year 2010 (that too with a job fabulously done), great going; we look forward to many more such wins/achievements in 2010. Team; you have set the pace and we need to surpass this; congratulations for this wonderful WIN!

Source Link:

India’s first 3G Mobile service operator Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd

Source Link:

Spice Digital ties up with MTNL to offer innovative 3G VAS products

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A journey from…Good to Great!

Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and others don’t ; By Jim Collins

Jim Collins knows how to ask a good question straight—Can a good company become a great company and if so, how? Collins the author of “Good to Great” (also author of Built to Last fame) answers this question and concludes that it is possible but there are no sure short ways for attaining greatness.

With his team of researchers Collins began his quest by sorting through a list of 1,435 companies. Basically Collins was looking for those who over a period of time had made substantial improvements in their performance.
The final list includes 11 companies e.g. Fannie Mae, Gillette, Walgreens and Wells Fargo etc. it in these companies that they discovered common traits that challenged many of the conventional notions of corporate success.

Jim comes to the conclusion that making the transition from good to great doesn't require high-profile/profilers, the latest technology, innovative change management, or even a fine-tuned business strategy.

At the heart of a great company is its culture that rigorously found and promoted disciplined people to think and act in a disciplined manner. He gives true-every day experiences and stories (that have become legends over the years). You will have to find these antidotes when you read this fabulous book, and come to your own conclusions and what lessons you would imbibe from them. The book offers a well-researched road map to excellence it is for the organisations and individuals working there to consider these great examples and turn there and there organisations to make them great.
Jim christens the concept as—Hedgehog Concept, a product or service that outshines worldwide competitors and that drives a company's economic engine.

For more details on the book you can refer to Collins website:

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Spice Digital Appoints Unnikrishnan Nair As Its New CMO


Monday, November 30, 2009

Spice Digital and Foreca sign MOU for offering Weather Services in India

New Delhi, November 26, 2009
In: PR Log

Digital Weather services to be offered across different Mobile medium of SMS, IVR & Mobile Internet for Indian residents and tourists

Spice Digital* Limited, India’s leading Telecom VAS player and Finland based Foreca, pioneer in digital weather services, today signed a Memorandum of Understanding for offering Weather services in India through different Mobile connectivity medium. MOU was signed by Mr. Vinish Kathuria, Chief Operating Officer, Spice Digital Ltd. and Mr. Marko Moilanen, Vice President, Foreca Ltd. Gracing the occasion were Mr. Mauri Pekkarinen, Finland’s Minister of Economy & Employment and Ms. Terhi Hakal, Ambassador of Finland to India.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Vinish Kathuria, Chief Operating Officer, Spice Digital Limited, mentioned, “As a leader in Indian Telecom VAS arena, we are always looking for innovative and technologically advanced offerings that can add value to our customers. We look forward to leverage our expertise in different Mobile connectivity medium of Mobile Internet, Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and SMS, to develop different standalone and integrated product offerings around Weather that can be leveraged by millions from the comfort of their handsets. We envision the information to be not only useful for city residents for their day to day activities but also for farmers in planning their agriculture activities, for tourists in planning their business & vacation travel, for governments & NGOs in planning disaster recovery efforts etc. It gives us great pleasure to announce the signing of MOU with Foreca, a pioneer in digital weather services for internet, mobile and navigation devices”
Mr. Marko Moilanen, Vice President, Foreca Ltd said, “We are very excited to sign the partnership agreement with Spice Digital. Foreca’s vast knowledge and in-depth experience of weather data and markets around the world, allows us to bring a very unique and innovative weather offering to the Indian market. Spice Digital’s reach in Indian Mobile arena would allow us to offer different products & services to the Indian consumers”.

About Spice Digital
*Spice Digital is one of India’s leading VAS (Value Added Services) player in the Telecom arena. Part of the Spice Group, it offers innovative solutions for Telecom Operators, Enterprises – small & big and Government agencies across different mobile connectivity medium of Voice, IVR, SMS, USSD, WAP & Mobile Applications. Spice Digital’s SMS 139 service was recognized as m-Governance Initiative of 2009.

About Foreca
Foreca is a privately owned company based in Helsinki, Finland. Established in 1996, Foreca is a full-scale weather service company and a pioneer in digital weather services for internet, mobile and navigation devices.

For further information, please contact
Pankaj Gupta

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

M-Governance on-the-go in Himachal

M-governance gateway was launched by Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister, Himachal Pradesh, in Shimla (Oct’09).

pice Digital
has been selected as the service provider for the SMS Gateway Services. M-governance is a robust and steadfast system that is designed to enable the best service options for the Government and Citizens.
- technology and mobile services are being used as a communication platform to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of governance, the mobile governance scheme has been launched in Shimla, Solan and Hamirpur districts in the initial stage.

Sh. B K Agarwal
, Principal Secretary (Information Technology) informed that the service will largely be used as a two-way communication services channel between the government and citizens. The service will enable the people to use their mobile phones to get information’s relating to various government departments.

n the initial stage the citizens can avail information’s related to:
  • Driving license, arms license, birth certificates, vehicle registrations are being provided free of cost to the general public on their mobiles.

Great Teamwork and coordination has been instrumental in clinching this deal.
Great going TEAM!

Links for all stories related to M-Governance launch in Himachal in Oct’09:
The stories have featured in following PublicationsBusiness Daily, My Himachal, Voice of Sikkim, HimVani, WEB, etc.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Voting Information (in HP) to be delivered directly to the Voter

In:The Tribune

October 16, 2009

This is a 1st of its kind service in the region being provided by Spice Digitals’ SMS Application on 56300.

The SMS service will be available in the region up to 7th November 2009 (the day the state goes to vote). The service has been implemented keeping in mind the convenience of the voter. All information related to Voting will be available through this unique endeavour.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Dialogue: Elegy of WAP

Requiem for a WAP
Sep 07, 2009, In Financial Chronicle

It came with a lot of hope. Mobile phones had barely mastered the art of making uninterrupted calls, when wireless application protocol (WAP) entered, offering access to unlimited information. Yet, it was a hybrid technology and pure-play internet connections have now sounded its death knell. WAP is dying, if not already dead. And smart phones with hassle-free net connection may have sent it to its premature grave.

The mobile market is throwing up a new model almost every week, each with the ability of connecting seamlessly to the net, whether it’s through GPRS or wireless. So how could a clunky, featureless information system survive, when the net was at your fingertips? The problem with WAP was that those offering the service had to set up separate pages of information for mobile phone users.

Although the system still survives in older phones, the usage is going down. Before the introduction of WAP, though, service providers had extremely limited opportunities to offer interactive data services, news updates and download. And there are those who believe WAP in India was anyway stillborn. Says Saket Agarwal, CEO of Spice Digital; which supplies wireless applications to telecom operators, “WAP was launched in India in 2000. And it died the same year. Reasons were plenty, from lack of inter-operability to speed and settings problems. It had a new lease of life with GPRS (up to 112 Kbps connection speed) followed by EDGE, with up to 384 kbps theoretical speed.” Before GPRS, which determines mobile connection to the internet, the speeds were 9,600 bps through a system called CSD.
But users wanted mature networks where device managers did auto identification and connections. Lower priced handsets with GPRS connectivity did the trick for a while, even though the information available on WAP was limited. It was also slow. User expectations were higher than what was being delivered. The users had seen the magic of the net, and they wanted it on their handsets, seamlessly, whatever the screen-size.

So, in came multiple solutions, one each from the biggies — BlackBerry brought in easy handling of emails, iPhone came with Safari browser and Android brought in the first open source. Even before this, though, network connections had improved. A phone could connect easily to the internet through the wireless modem. Then came mobile browser OPERA mini. Speed, connection and ease of navigation: suddenly you had everything in your handset. Technology had moved on.

“WAP is dead. Loud and clear. But hang on: there’s still a need for a wall garden approach for specific content for a larger population which is averse to exploration and needs to be spoon-fed,” says Agarwal. According to him, they are the ones who need special WAP sites to download images and ringtones, which still form a large part of value added services from telecom operators.
To them speed does not matter, nor the variety of content. And they don’t want to browse. Even in its death throes, WAP may hang on. “Despite all the fun and speed of exploration that powerful handsets, mobile browsers provide, WAP will remain for long,” says Agarwal.
With 3G knocking on the door and 4G being bandied around, smart phones owners will be able to use advanced services such as video chat, conferencing, video streaming through web and much faster access to the internet.

Says Anuj Kapur, country head, India for Telcordia Service Delivery Solutions, which provides network software and service to operators, “As part of the mobile services evolution we do believe that WAP will eventually phase out and disappear but that might be some time away, particularly for emerging markets.”

What keeps it around for now is the expected lead times in driving down smart-phone prices. Also, there’s a reinvigorated effort by providers to offer new WAP services. Kapur says that till WAP applications taper out, developers and operators would still need to pay attention to their customer base and offer value to them. And, perhaps, provide a softlanding for one more technology. That’s what obsolescence is all about.

By: Dhiren Dukhu

SMS 139; generating positive vibes

In Telecom Talk
3rd Sep'09

SMS 139 bags eINDIA'09 award for mGovernance

In Telecom Tiger
New Delhi, 04 Sep, 2009

Spice Digitals’ winner service—SMS 139

The Tribune

Chandigarh, 04 Sep 2009

Monday, August 31, 2009

Glimpses from the eINDIA 2009 Award Ceremony

Spice Digitals’ Railway SMS@139 Wins eINDIA 2009 Award

Team Spice Digital has done it again; our Railway SMS 139 (Indian Railway Enquiry) has won the eINDIA 2009 Award for “m-Governance Initiative of the Year”.

A synopsis

Indian Railway Enquiry SMS@139

Railway on SMS at 139 is Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC) latest initiative in Customer Satisfaction. Now the commuter has easy access through RAIL ENQUIRY.

One can avail the following services:

  • PNR Enquiry
  • Fare Enquiry
  • Current Train running position
  • Accommodation availability

This service is available on all major telecom service providers (pan India):

  • Airtel
  • Vodafone
  • Idea
  • Aircel
  • Tata
  • MTNL

Hearties Congratulations for the great achievement; and making this success a reality. Celebrate!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Partnering for 5th VAS Asia 2009 International Conference Exhibition

The 5th International Conference and Exhibition VAS Asia’09 was held on July 10th, 2009, at The Meridien, New Delhi. The conference was organised by New Delhi based Bharat Exhibitions. We were the sponsors for this B2B Conference & Exhibition created the best forum in India for all players of the telecom value chain where business is bound to happen!

With a contribution of 9% to the operator's revenue Mobile VAS currently have become a growth area and is expected to reach 12% by June 2010.
The Conference cum Exhibition necessitated executives from the mobile VAS Industry to get together and share ideas and insights into leading edge issues relating to development in this sector of the telecommunications industry.

The participants were also able to understand new areas in Mobile gaming - location tracking - mobile banking - mobile advertising - content – VAS as well as understand Worldwide Trends in VAS & the implications for India.

Discussion forums discussed the Role of Aggregators, Labels and third party content providers. Mobile Operators in delivering mobile content and future Models for mobile content commerce and distribution.
VAS Asia 2009 proved to be a useful and powerful forum for the organizations to examine VAS as a tool for improving customer and brand loyalty.

Dr. Abhinav Mathur, Chief Strategy & Technology Officer Spice Digital spoke on the occasion about “Understanding the future MVAS Ecosystem & Network operator's perspective on it.” his address was appreciated by the distinguished panilists and audience alike.

Great Going Team!!!
Held on July 10, 2009 at Le’ Meridien, New Delhi

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Enterprise VAS: Fresh Turf

Monday, August 03, 2009
Voice & Data

Being one of the few high ARPU segments, the enterprise market is fast catching the attention of VAS players.

With plummeting revenues from voice services, mobile operators are now looking at newer avenues for value added services (VAS). As of now, mainly entertainment oriented services like ringtones, song and caller tune downloads are being offered as VAS. However, to increase data consumption, VAS players are now offering applications and services that meet basic utilities. In this context, VAS has huge potential in the enterprise arena, and the operators are fast realizing this.
The high ARPU segment is very small in the country, and operators will try to get the maximum out of this segment. So coming out with applications which appeal to this segment is on the priority list of all VAS players. The enterprise market represents high value services for an operator, as many of these customers will pay a premium for availability, reliability, and quality of service.
There are two aspects to the enterprise VAS segment. The first is bulk messaging kinds of services, which VAS players have been doing for quite some time for the enterprises. “The bulk messaging part of enterprise VAS was very happening until a few months ago, and even SMEs had started using the service. However, for the past few months, operators have started asking for a termination fee because of which this is not a very popular medium now,” says Yogesh S Bijlani, vice president, sales-APAC, Telenity.

The second segment is for the internal processes of the company. Enterprises are looking at moving the processes to the mobile from personal computers. This has special significance for BFSI, retail, logistics and media. “This will dramatically cut down request processing time and the sales force to meet and capture more customers. The financial institutions can directly reach more consumers even in remote areas, and make interested consumers fill up loans, credit card applications, etc,” says Vinish Kathuria, chief operating officer at Spice Digital.
Spice Digital was earlier Cellebrum. The company has set up a new R&D facility in Bengaluru to develop solutions targeted at the enterprise segment. The facility will develop technology around Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS), and towards integration of ERP systems on the mobile phone.

“It is a big growth driver for us. We have already deployed the system for enterprises in BFSI, retail, pharma as well as for some SMEs. Enterprises wish to adopt mobile solutions to reduce costs and increase productivity. Our solutions mainly focus on both voice solutions as well as others centered around tracking of inventory, finance and HR,” says Kathuria. The company grew by 100% last year, and is looking at a similar growth rate in the current year.
Basically, VAS will help in uploading ERP on the handset of the executive. This would then enable an employee to access various functions like HR, payroll and finance while on the move.
The proportion of data will increase in the coming times, and the applications which one was able to use on the personal computer will also move to the mobile. It is here that enterprise VAS applications come in.
It is easy to understand the interest of the operators. With the revenue from voice service coming down, mobile operators are looking at newer avenues from mobile VAS to increase revenue from data services. Enterprise VAS is one way in which the operators can target high ARPU generating individuals.
In India, ARPU is one of the lowest in the world. Globally, mobile VAS accounts for 25-30% of the total value of what operators generate. However, in India, according to COAI, it is about 10% currently and is expected to contribute 20% of the mobile revenues over the coming three years. The VAS industry in India is estimated to grow at 50% compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) leading to a $348.8 mn market by the end of 2009.

According to Capgemini, the spending on mobile communication for enterprises in the Indian market is expected to grow to $2.7 bn by 2010. A number of these enterprises have requirements in the telecom space that are not core operator skill sets, such as managed mobility, M2M services, and mobile enterprise applications.
Enterprise VAS helps in better customer focus for the enterprises. If customers get better services, they are likely to remain loyal and also bring in more business. It gives employees flexibility in business execution and reduces the turnaround time. Employees have everything on the mobile, and don't have to rush to the office for data or consultation before closing deals. So it is a win-win situation for both the enterprises as well as the operators.

BSA Citi Courier is one of the few enterprises currently using VAS applications to get better control of the activities of its field employees. “Earlier we had no link-up with people on the field, and we were not aware of what they were doing. This has changed substantially. To begin with, all the transactions are online, and we know where exactly the employee is and what he is doing. It helped us in increasing the productivity as well as efficiency of the field staff. Also, the employee doesn't have to come to office to file the report. The data reaches us much faster,” says Devesh, director, BSA Citi Courier. They have implemented MobiCollect, developed by Mobiquest, for their field force.
BSA is not the only one. Enterprises across the country are lapping it up. Taylormade Adidas is another company which has recently come out with mobile cards for its customers. “It is basically a web-based program, which offers privileges to my customer. Besides, the customers don't have to carry a plastic card. They have a mobile card, which they would anyway be carrying all the time. It is definitely better than sending an SMS to the customers, since it is cost effective and it also offers ease-of-use,” says Ateet Gaur, head of Taylormade in India.
Cellebrum is not the only one. Most VAS companies believe that the time for enterprise application has finally arrived. Airtel is also planning to focus on this segment. It has recently launched an application which will enable enterprises to access their data and do business from anywhere in the world.
Besides, Mobiquest is another company which is focusing on this segment. Early last year, New Delhi-based MobiQuest launched mobile enabled business applications. The company rolled out Mobibank for banks and financial institutions, and has around fifty such industry specific applications called Mobis.
“The seamless architecture of our mobile enterprise platform is not helping us create business process automation applications on the fly. We have mapped more than 600 business processes covering business areas such as sales, research, supply chain, data collection, media, HR, marketing/advertising, training and industries such as banks, insurance, market research, education, pharmaceutical, consumer durables and more,” says Vineet Narang, CEO of Mobiquest.

The Challenges

One of the biggest challenges associated with enterprise VAS is of course, security. If an employee loses his mobile, the company data can be intercepted. In the business to enterprise segment, once data leaves the company server and rides on public network, it is easy to intercept.
“There are many challenges associated with this segment. The biggest challenge is security. If an employee loses his handset, it can compromise the internal information of the company,” says Suresh T Kumar, GM-business development and marketing at Netxcell.

The enterprises need to feel confident before using it and might have to use a number of authentication and authorization mechanisms for data security aspects.
Besides this, acceptability of the services is another issue which needs to be addressed. “There are certainly some issues related to the acceptability of the services by the users. As of now, it comes under the category, 'good-to-have' but it should move in the category of 'must-have',” says Kathuria of Spice Digital.

There are many dissenting voices as well. Many believe that the time is not right for such applications, and it is only after the advent of 3G that this segment is likely to pick up. “We feel that this is not the right time for these kind of applications. Currently, we lack the infrastructure to meet the demands of this segment. Once 3G is launched, we would be in a better position to offer various services to the enterprise segment,” says Bijlani of Telenity.

With private operators all set to launch 3G services and with the enterprise segment showing interest, mobile VAS is all set to boom in the coming months.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

5th Assocham Global Telecom Summit

July’09 proved to be a chock-o-block month with events and summits keeping us busy and on our toes.

But it was the “5th Assocham Global Telecom Summit that had to be right on the top of the list of these events (also as we were the summit partners). So not only were we being a part of this great event we were also ensuring that things were in place to help make it a success. The 2 day event was held on 23rd & 24th July’09 at The Oberoi, New Delhi.

With a pertinent topic—Broadband for digital democracy & inclusive growth, the welcome address was given by Dilip Modi, Vice President ASSOCHAM and Vice Chairman Spice Televentures Ltd on 23rd. Pankaj Sharma, CMO Spice Digital addressed the attendees’ on 24th about Achieving Mass Adoption through Mobile VAS - Key Strategies.

We also hosted a Networking Dinner on 23rd July 2009 at The Oberoi, where stalwarts’ from across the Telecom and VAS Industry mingled and connected in a very relaxed atmosphere.

Sneak Peak

At what the event encompassed

Amid the global economic slump the Telecom Industry aims to turn crisis into opportunity by harnessing the power of technology to drive productivity and eventually prosperity. The Telecom Industry is expected to witness the next phase of growth in the near future with the 3G and WiMAX spectrum auction. ASSOCHAM, the 'Knowledge Chamber' under its Expert Communications Convergence Committee, jointly with the support of the Department of Telecommunications, Government of India has been organizing the Annual Summit.

The Summit envisages providing an opportunity to Telecom Experts and Investors to exchange views on a host of issues concerning the industry and opportunities for growth.

A Great Event; that left the participants wanting more…

Glimpses from the Event

Monday, July 20, 2009

Brand—Spice Digital!

Spice Digital (previously—Cellebrum Technologies Limited) landscape has altered significantly since the Company a pioneer in the VAS domain was established in the year 2000.
This new brand/truly captures the innovative and pioneering spirit of “Spice Digital” and represents the best of our products and services to the world.

3 Cheers for brandSpice Digital!

Cellebrum is Spice Digital

In: The Tribune
14th July 2009

Cellebrum Tech is now Spice Digital

In: The Economic Times
11th July 2009

Cellebrum Tech is now Spice Digital

In: Financial Choronicle
10th July 2009