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Waze in India? Definately !

Waze in India will solve a lot of our daily driving troubles. Waze in India will be the perfect pill for Carmegeddon jams, random road digs or police checks which we face daily. Yet we do not adopt it

waze in India

Waze came to India in Jan 2011. It has partnered with SatNav Technologies, Hyderabad for local maps.

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.

waze in india 2Why Waze in India is the perfect solution?

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 You get hauled by the police checking whether you have had a tipple too many or your pollution papers are out of date.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.

waze in India

A traffic jam alert by a Wazer in Mumbai

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).

Waze to the rescue in Oklahoma

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.

Indian Smartphone Market: Where David is Goliath

Indian Smartphone market 1

India is ready for Apps. 5% of the handset base is smartphone. Are international developers even looking?

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.

indian smartphone market

Singapore is considered a key market by International developers. Indian market is more lucrative.

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.

indian smartphone market

22 Official languages, ~2000 mother tongues. But all smartphones users know English

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”.

indian smartphone market

25 Bn App downloads in India in 2012. The exponential growth will continue as smartphone growth is estimated at 100%

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!

Big Data Opportunity in India

big data opportunity in india

Big Data with its 3Vs; Volume, Variety, Velocity and now Veracity ; is now touted as the next growth industry globally

Big Data opportunity in India versus Big Data opportunity in USA. All American corporates are hailing Big Data as their savior. The next batch of billionaires and billion dollars are predicted to come from this industry. Companies will better understand correlation between customer’s online social and buying behavior. This will help them to offer better targeted products/ solutions for even better profits. The days of human search for causality are over. Large, in fact gigantic super computers will find hidden gems among huge mass of unstructured and structured data and monetize the same. As all things from USA go, even India has caught the Big Data fever.

I did a Google trends dive into where “Big Data” searches were coming from. And this is what I found. India tops the list followed by USA, Australia and the rest of the developed countries pack. This seems to prove my point that there should be a big Big Data opportunity in India. 100 means the country where maximum search terms for “Big Data” has originated.

But a closer look shows the very different nature of the opportunity existing in both markets. USA is the “Adopter” land. Companies are embracing Big Data or are creating the Big Data solutions. Venture Capitalists are funding these start ups. Money is been poured into this sector for a hopefully brighter tomorrow. India on the other hand in trying to cash in on this wave. Not by providing solutions. Neither by adopting Big Data as a way of doing business. But by selling it professional maintenance services. India sees the opportunity to do the back end management of this vertical too which has been the corner stone of its IT industry. That is the nature of Big Data opportunity in India. So in India, the searches are sky rocketing as companies and their employees read up on what is Big Data and search for opportunities in the other markets for deals.

So what does this imply for the Indian behemoths who are at the forefront of the Indian Big Data wave.

Big Data opportunity in India

Low skill set, low wages engineers will be the basis of the Big Data opportunity in India

1. Low Cost model: The whole managed services industry is built upon low cost model. Each of the Indian companies will have to offer maintenance services at ever lower margin levels with Forex rates, wage inflation playing havoc. The American companies will not see any incremental value differentiation in these maintenance deals versus existing.So they will pay more or less the current existing rates for maintenance.

2. Lesser skill job creation: Big Data is all about super computers. Number crunching giants. The core technology code will reside with the companies creating the solutions abroad. Mostly the Indian IT companies will get Big Data deals which will be viewed as additional projects from existing client relationships.

3. Opportunity lost once again: The last internet wave saw giants emerge in USA. Google, FB, Amazon, Oracle, IBM.. the list is endless. India completely missed the wave as it played the low cost out sourcing model card. It was appropriate then. Now there is a technology startup culture developing in the IT hubs across India. However the way the IT behemoths are approaching this opportunity will mean that we are sure to miss the boat again. Instead of developing a world class Big Data solution which they can sell easily continuously with only a focused sales and development team, they are again going in for the world of endless negotiations and nominal profits

So there is a Big Data opportunity in India, but the current approach is a suboptimal one. Start ups and IT behemoths alike need to rethink, realign and ride the crest of the Big Data wave.

To Tumblr or not to Tumblr India?

Tumblr India

The online world is abuzz with Yahoo’s acquisition of Tumblr

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.

Tumblr India

iOS, Android, WP8 combined are just 5% of the handset market in India

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.

Tumblr India

The high of peer approval

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.