WORLD CUP BREAKS SOCIAL MEDIA RECORDS
FIFA 2014 WC will redefine big data social media stats forever !
Big Data refers to collection of huge data sets (in the range of exabyte) which are so complex and unstructured that they cannot be analysed using a traditional data processing software. Traditional data is very structured i.e. it fits into neat columns in MS Excel/ MS Access which are of defined format. Such data can be easily analysed using off the shelf computer software.
Now think of India and all the information which is been generated every second by its billion inhabitants. Daily there are reports getting generated by various government agencies. The reports pertain to crucial information on health, education, social programs, government spends, crime, GDP, industry, agriculture to name a few. These reports are either on paper files or stored on offline department computers in various formats. Then there are private enterprises generating petabytes of data based on consumer online shopping behaviour, credit card usage, online social media updates or simple phone calls. Add NGO and individual initiatives which monitor jungle depredation to potable drinking water in remote villages. Indians are generating unfathomable amounts of data in varied formats using different devices at different speeds of generations. This gargantuan data breeding animal makes for a strong case that Big Data in India can alleviate its myriad challenges. Let’s for a moment assume that we can make all this data available online and available to Big Data processing softwares. In such a world, what can we do in various sectors using Big Data in India?
Education: In India the unemployment rate has increased. Meanwhile the private education sector is booming. However as students pass out and do not get jobs, this sector too will turn less lucrative in the near future. Now assume we have different sectors, from private construction companies to government PWD department, job data available online with details like how many people are employed, for what positions and the salary bandwidth. Government websites will have data on NREGA and other employment opportunities and job sites will have private sector jobs will corresponding qualifications required. Education department has information on how many students have which qualifications along with the curriculum they have mastered. Big Data applications can then match the job opportunity with what the education sector is teaching. This will lead to more relevant on job training, help students decide better what stream to pursue other than “engineering and commerce”, updating of school curriculums and direct freshers to the real locations where job opportunities are available.
Food production: Fresh on everyone’s mind is the case of onion prices shooting through the roof and images on prime time TV showing affected home makers. Today, farmers are at the mercy of the weather and have no visibility to future demand predictions across India for their produce. Notwithstanding the fact the sector requires massive government policy changes, Big Data application can make dramatic changes. Weather pattern data from meteorological department can be paired with wholesale market sales data to derive which crops will be in shortage. So if heavy rain is predicted in Punjab, then UP can shift from rice to wheat for a crop cycle as there is a high possibility of Punjab wheat crop getting affected. Punjab farmers can shift to rice or green vegetables which are more resistant to rain. The fallout will be more stable wheat prices and better profits for the farmers of both the states.
Crime: The historical background of all criminals from fraudsters to petty thiefs to eve teasers to murderers to terrorists is spread across police stations, military and court archives. The location of known criminals, along with latest crime reports mapped to the socio-economic condition of various localities can help todays police force deploy patrols much more effectively. In fact this has already been successfully applied in Memphis USA to effectively patrol the city and the program is very popular with the citizens. Another effective use case, would be monitoring real-time sale of liquor in a city’s pubs and directing traffic police to those locations.
Energy: Last year the of Northern, Eastern and North Eastern grids collapsed in July plunging 620mn people into the darkness. This can be avoided if stakeholders can execute proper planning aided by Big Data. Electricity meters from every single household, shop and factory mapped with weather conditions will forecast demand surge. Forex rate, bank lending rates, diesel prices will forecast more demand from the industrial sector. Housing sector data will identify future demand areas. Big Data in this way will forecast short term and long term demand patterns. Similarly rain and snow melt data mapped with developments which impact crude production overlaid with the state of the generation and transmission infrastructure will predict challenges on the supply side of the energy story.
Epidemics: India boasts about having the longest list of diseases which can lead to epidemics. Lots of cases of dengue or malaria get treated at private hospitals and the information stays there. If every single case is registered online as patients got admitted then based on historical disease occurrence in severity and time along with weather patterns and drainage situation, Big Data applications can detect zones at high risk of epidemics. Municipalities and rural healthcare departments can send fumigation and health inspection teams to these areas to reduce the probabilities of breakout. They can make sure that all hospitals and rural health care centers have adequate medicine stocks for treating afflicted people. This logic can be applied to veterinary sciences for livestock epidemic monitoring too.
Tax, Inflation, Governance, National Security all can derive similar benefits from Big Data in India. Successful use cases in each of the above mentioned sectors have been demonstrated by governments of many developed countries. Execution of Big Data in India will help its citizens lead a more stable and fulfilling life.
However there are major challenges to adoption of Big Data in India. Transparency will not be welcome by many vested groups whose power and money comes lack of information. India, tied down with bureaucratic inefficiencies, lack of funds for IT infrastructure developement and data sciences staff will take a long time to execute Big Data. The first major successes will come from large private enterprises in banking, telecom, payment, e-commerce and social marketing using the expertise of Big Data Startups in India. Yet there is hope that some visionaries in the government will create pools of excellence of Big Data in India.
What is Waze? In short, if Google maps had dated Foursquare and went to start a family, cute Waze would be the result. Waze is a community based mapping, traffic & navigation app, 34 million strong as of end 2012. It’s estimated to touch 70 million Wazers (that’s how the community calls itself) by end of 2013. Users simply need to drive around with Waze navigation app open and passively contribute tons of real-time traffic & road info for that locality. If you are more of an active sort of person you can report accidents, traffic hazards, police and other events you see on the road. Other Wazers on your route will get alerts. Waze takes the engagement further by allowing you to upload petrol/ diesel prices at the petrol pump you just visited or ping a nearby friend. Waze will give you driving instructions to the cafe your friend is waiting at. There is a point system to reward active contributors. Waze uses “cupcakes” and other gaming tricks to further engage users. Drivers need to go over icons of cupcakes to earn points. The cupcakes are on the map where the Waze database is weak or not upto date. Smart move indeed to divert traffic to keep the map information updated.
You get stuck in traffic jams daily. To and from the office. To and from the mall. A truck breaks down and the whole road gets blocked as drivers try to overtake one another through the remaining side of the road. Our PWD wakes up to randomly close potholes (good that they are doing it) in the middle of the day with their heavy machinery. You get hauled by the police checking whether you have had a tipple too many or your pollution papers are out of date. You take a turn to the left on a weekend drive where the map shows there is a short cut, only to reach a dead end. All of these are scenarios which we average Indians have faced sometime or the other.
Waze aims to take away all this pain. As you ground to a halt due to morning traffic logjam, just update the same on Waze with a click of the button. All your friends/ colleagues can see it and try to avoid it. Not only that, you can find out your friends who are stuck in the same jam. There is nothing so soothing as cribbing about traffic when you are stuck in it with fellow sufferers. And what do we do today when we are stuck, we FB or tweet as it is. Use the same activity to benefit others. There is an FB connect on Waze now.
The best use case is the random VVVIP convoys which bring traffic to a grinding halt. You express yourself on Waze with this update. Only Waze can help out in this scenario by sending an alert about the location to all connected to you. For that matter what time a society gate closes at night can be shared.
Best Petrol Prices: Indian are obsessed with mileage and petrol prices. On Waze you can update the prices at the stations you visit. So if it makes sense for you and you are crossing the state border, you can fill it up at a lower priced petrol station. Just think of the boasting value you can get once you have done so.
Social: Like Foursquare you can add a place of interest. You can check in and let others know where you are (in case you want them to know about it and not when you skip office or a family function).
We have all read about the tornadoes tearing through Oklahoma in USA. There are electricity poles, trees blocking roads along with other debris. Water logging has caused slow traffic movement. In one particular place, a bridge has been destroyed by the Oklahoma Tornado . Wazers have updated the status real time to help traffic move smoothly even under a calamity of this scale. That is the true power of Waze. Waze in India can definitely contribute in post-disaster information sharing by the Wazer community.
Unfortunately when I switch on Waze in India I just see 1-2 friends in the country who are online. If you use an Android, iPhone, Windows mobile or RIM smartphone do give this app a try. It’s a refreshing change from the current maps. No wonder Apple and FB are wooing Waze to introduce this unique flavor in their own ecosystems.
There are certain preconceived notions about the Indian smart phone market as seen by international app developers (iOS, Android). These has come across during my many interactions with international companies. The main fallout of these misconceptions is that India is not on the priority list of the markets the international app developers want to target.
Indian Smartphone market is negligible in size. They make up only a puny 5% of the handset base compared to developed countries. International biggies of the app world continue to focus on the north American, European and certain south-east Asian economies. This is only sensible logical thing for you to do as a savvy marketer. Put your money where your mouth is. Why customize for low priority markets? Why invest resources in a low smartphone penetration market. WRONG !
The problem is we are looking at the Indian smartphone market through the wrong lenses. There are very strong reasons why international developers should focus on India. Let me explain.
1. Larger than Singapore: Singapore is considered the role model when it comes to describing target markets by app developers. All south-east Asian developers are focused on this market. There is a lot of M&A activity happening on the App front in this country. If this is an ideal market then India defeats it hands down. Singapore has 8 mn subscribers (includes all types of mobile phones)Singapore IDA Report. The puny 5% penetration of India mobile market translates into a Goliath 45 mn smartphones. The Indian smartphone market is more than 5 times larger than the Singapore mobile market. Even with lower ARPU, the total revenue outstrips the Singapore market. This in itself is reason enough to start locating the country on the map and find local go to market partners.
2. Tower of Babel: There are 22 official languages recognized by the Constitution of India. There are almost 2000 mother tongues. Unlike Philippines whose script is the English Alphabet, each of them have the Indian languages have their own scripts. As a result, many companies believe that only a small “English educated” percentage of the 43 mn smartphone users can use the apps. So the Indian market is not worth targeting as real user base will be much smaller. However thanks to the British, anyone who can afford to buy a smartphone today in India, knows enough English to use apps and services on it. Obviously there is a for higher usage or engagement if vernacular scripts are used, but it is not a show stopper if a developer wants to target India. Indian smartphone users are English “aware”.
3. Growth rate: There are 2 growth rates which as a developer should make you jump of the fence if you are still undecided. Last year 25 Bn apps were downloaded in India. The rate of download is only accelerating thanks to the growth rate of smartphones. In 2012, 15.2 mn smartphones were sold by Apple, Samsung, Nokia, LG, Micromax, Sony along with others. That is a huge 20.8% growth rate over 2011. It is estimated that the Indian smartphone market will sell 44 mn units in 2013 which comes to a whopping 100% growth. It will be driven by sub $200 smartphones and these will in turn lead to exponential app download growth. The market has forced Apple to revamp its distribution while existing market leaders Samsung and Nokia push smartphones to even smaller and smaller towns.
So what are you waiting for? Be the early movers before the market becomes totally cluttered and you fight to find space for your amazing apps!
Are you from planet Tumblr India ? Look around you. Do you know anyone who knows about Tumblr ( a few will now thanks to Yahoo), but hardly a handful will be using Tumblr in India. You connect to friends/ acquaintances / colleagues/ via Facebook or LinkedIn. You follow top celebrities via twitter. No matter what their geography or income level or organization you can get in touch with any of them on these social networks in India. Your best blogs are on Google Blogger or WordPress.
It’s not that India does not have cool teenagers. This demographic is the largest in India and all brands target them. They swarm Facebook, search on Google or watch videos on YouTube. All brands advertise to this segment and try to be cool. Yet the coolest blog property Tumblr India avoids it.
There are I believe 2 key reasons why Tumblr has not gone viral in India, a land of creative people with 60% of the population below 30 years of age.
1. Smart Phone penetration: In US of A, Europe smartphones are sold by the carriers at a subsidized price. This is because they are sold on contracts (what we call postpaid in India). The prices of smartphones are very prohibitive for most of the teenagers in India. The power of a visual social blog site like Tumblr comes alive only on smartphones. At 5% penetration most of the Indian teenagers are not on bandwagon Tumblr India. Most are on Facebook as they are handset agnostic. Also initiatives like 0.facebook.com, m.facebook.com ensures that ever more feature phone users join those communities. Do remember that unlike the developed countries the first taste of internet for majority of Indian teenagers it’s the mobile phone. Also Facebook, Twitter, Google clients are embedded by all OEMs across smart and feature phones alike. Hence for Tumblr India adoption remains low.
2. The Urge of Sharing: If you are blogging from India only a handful of your peers will see your posts. Only one (if you are an optimist) or none (if you are a realist) will comment or Like or reshare your post. When there is no peer involvement on your blogs / pics/ quotes then the urge to keep sharing content quickly goes away. Forget the finicky teenagers. Tumblr’s hi res image lead blog style should have been the favourite of Indian brands and celebrities. But they to avoid it as it has no Indian fans. There is no entity to kick-start the adoption cycle of Tumblr India.
So whether Yahoo interferes in Tumblr or not, whether it introduces advertising in Tumblr or not, India’s social network scene will not be affected due to its unique demographics and dynamics.