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Showing posts from June, 2015

Locking in Vendors into your Digital Marketplace

Times of India reports that Amazon.com Inc will launch its business loan program for small sellers later in 2015 in eight more countries including India and China, where credit is becoming a key factor in competing for new vendors and grabbing market share. Until now, the e-retailer has offered the service only in the United States and Japan. Amazon Lending, founded in 2012, now plans to offer short-term working capital loans in other countries where it operates a third-party, seller-run marketplace business, the head of Amazon Marketplace, Peter Faricy said.
The countries are Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. The service is on an invite-only basis and is not open to all sellers on Amazon's platform. Other large retailers including eBay Inc's PayPal and Alibaba Group Holdings, which run third-party marketplaces, are also turning to credit to boost their vendor base. Some lending industry officials who help lenders assess credit risk say thes…

India's Digital Yuga: Launching Digital India

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to launch Digital India week on 1st July 2015. Digital India is one one Modi's flagship programmes to provide digital services to India's population. India's Digital Yuga is about to begin.
SJP @DigitalAsian

Digitising India's Culture, History and Mythology: Kumbh Mela's Digital Yuga

Times of India reports that Kumbh Mela is fast approaching and Nashik city youths are doing their bit to promote the once-in-12-years mega-religious and touristic attraction through social media networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Wikipedia is one such website that has been utilizing local youth to help build an accurate webpage on Nashik. Through its project 'Wiki takes Nashik', the website has decided to upload up to 5,000 pictures of Nashik that would provide a glimpse of the city to people all around the world ahead of the Mela.
Team Wikipedia had in January sought college students from the city to update information on Nashik on the backdrop of visitors seeking information about it during Kumbh. This time too, a similar event has been organized for uploading pictures about the city on the webpage. The team aims to upload 5,000 pictures by the first week of July. Over 100 students from various colleges across the city came forward in January and uploade…

Fly-Tipping: Mobile Tipping for Foodies

CNBC reports that "Mobile payments are set to explode over the next few years and while tech companies might be excited by the profits to come, there is a another group of people also looking forward to the technology – restaurant waiting staff. Restaurants and mobile payments companies said they have seen a boost in customers tipping when using apps on their smartphones to pay for meals. La Patagonia, a rustic Argentinian restaurant in the middle of London reported a 4 percent rise in tips since it first started using a mobile payments."
Mobile payments will increase at a fast pace with most major tech companies having their own mobile payments systems. It seems mobile payments are making foodies more generous.

SJP @DigitalAsian

Uber Driving Digital Disruption

Uber taxi service app is in the news regularly and is the focus of the most protests due to its disruption of the taxi industry in various countries. Uber is the prime example of digital disruption. 
If Uber were to get into driverless cars the protests would get a lot worse.


SJP @DigitalAsian

Digital Cognisance in India

Economic Times reports that "Have you seen the Matrix? Remember the scene where Neo and Trinity get into a helicopter and don't know how to fly it. So Neo just downloads the instructions into his brain and they're off ? This product is exactly like that," says Harrick Vin, vice-president and chief scientist at Tata Consultancy Services, describing the company's latest product. The description itself is a shift for the industry. Indian IT firms, known more for their labour arbitrage model than innovative technology, rarely get to compare products to something seen in cult sci-fi films. But Ignio, an artificial intelligence platform that was in development for four years, may justify the comparison. Ignio uses what TCS calls neural computing — a platform backed by machine-learning capabilities and the computing power of the cloud that is meant to handle a lot of the work currently being done in managing IT infrastructure. 
Digital cognisance takes its first steps …

In Digital Space Nobody can Hear you Stream

Times of India reports that a pop group unhappy at how music streaming service Spotify pays recording artists has created a web app that artificially generates royalties. The Eternify app puts any artist's songs on endless repeat, playing just 30 seconds at a time - the minimum required to be considered a "listen". Spotify said it was looking into whether it broke the service's rules. Eternify was devised by New York-based act Ohm & Sport, who said streaming was "virtually worthless" for musicians. The amount artists receive from streaming services has been put under heavy scrutiny of late - buoyed by the imminent launch of Apple Music, a new music streaming service from the iPhone-maker. Compared with physical sales - or even downloads - the money artists make from streaming is minute.
This highlights the battle between intellectual property right (IPR) holders, digital marketplaces and consumers.
SJP @DigitalAsian

Battle over Digital Delivery to the Consumer

Times of India reports that Apple's abrupt about-face on paying royalties for songs during a three-month free-trial period for its new music service was a symbolic victory for superstar Taylor Swift and other artists, and a shrewd business move by Apple, at a time when the streaming phenomenon is causing major changes in the music industry. The olive branch extended by Apple comes as music is increasingly being consumed on streaming services like Spotify and Deezer "to the detriment of album sales and iTunes downloads" heightening tensions between artists, labels and service providers over who gets paid and how much.
Apple had already agreed to share revenue from the new Apple Music service once users start paying a $10-a-month subscription fee for the service, which it plans to launch June 30. But the technology giant wasn't planning to pay artists and labels directly for the use of their music during the free, 90-day trial period that it's offering to get fans…

Multi-Stakeholder Internet

Times of India reports that India's Minister of Communications and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad, has announced India's support for the multi-stakeholder model of Internet governance, during the opening ceremony of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) 53rd public meeting in Buenos Aires, on June 22. A release by ICANN quotes the Minister saying: "The Internet must remain plural. It must be managed by a multi-stakeholder system." 
"Not only do we support multi-stakeholderism, but also we encourage multi-stakeholderism itself to embrace all geographies and all societies. We will partner with you all to make this a reality. We must work toward this new form of digital democracy," added Ravi Shankar Prasad. On March 14, 2014, the United States Government announced its intent to transition its stewardship of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions to the global multi-stakeholder community. It also request…

Physical Supply Chains and Digital Marketplaces

Times of India reports that fashion designer and founder of the label 'Fuchsia Women', Aishwarya Tiwari can now update her product catalogue on-the-go using her seller's app. In fact, a growing number of online marketplaces are looking to make the supply chain more efficient for them and sellers on the platform as they chase the shrinking delivery time. Flipkart, for instance, launched its sellers app earlier this month while other marketplaces such as Myntra and Paytm are experimenting with the beta-phase to make the interface simple to use and more productive.
"Nearly 25-30% of our current seller base is already using this app. From registrations, orders, returns, payments and order fulfilment, the on-the-go solution will provide sellers real-time data on all aspects of their business," said Ankit Nagori, chief business officer at Flipkart, adding that the app will cater to first-time users. The marketplace currently has 30,000 sellers on its platform and is c…

B20: Easing Data Flow and Privacy in the Digital Economy

Times of India reports that an influential group of business leaders have urged the G20 to improve the global trade system for the emerging digital economy as well as focus on reforms to ensure strong and sustainable growth. The group known as B20, met in Turkey on the sidelines of the G20 sherpas meeting and discussed the recommendations which would be finalised for the G20 leaders meeting in November. It called for eliminating data flow restrictions and softening regulations on data privacy to decrease the cost of doing business. It said customs regimes must be harmonized to ensure that bottlenecks to e-commerce are minimized and transactions are made more predictable.
The G20 comprises the largest and emerging economies, which account for 85% of global GDP and 75% of world trade. It comprises the US, the UK, the European Union, India, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and T…

e-IPO: Raising the Roof on Startup Capital

Times of India reports that Indian markets regulator SEBI is set to herald an e-IPO system to allow investors to bid online in the public offers, while the new-age startups will get a separate platform to raise funds and list their shares with an easier set of regulations. The proposed measures, expected to be announced this week after final clearance from the board of the regulatory body, would mark a greater use of latest technology in the marketplace and also help entrepreneurs in various emerging sectors including e-commerce to tap the markets. The final norms have been finalized after taking into account suggestions from all stakeholders to the two separate sets of draft guidelines floated by SEBI earlier this year, sources said.
Under the new norms for startups, SEBI will provide 'Alternate Capital Raising Platform', which will allow such firms to raise funding from institutions and high net worth individuals from the capital markets. However, due to the risks involved,…

Mumbai Going Down the Drain? - Mumbai Photo Library

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Copyright CooperJal Ltd 2014 All rights reserved
SJP @DigitalAsian

The Virtual Dragon Allows Foreign Ownership: Chinese E-commerce

Times of India reports that China will allow full foreign ownership of some e-commerce businesses, aiming to encourage foreign investment and the development and competitiveness of the industry, the ministry of Industry and Information Technology said. The move, effective immediately, will apply to "online data handling and trade handling services", the ministry said in a statement on its website. It was not immediately clear how this would affect e-commerce companies already operating in China.
China's e-commerce industry has been booming, with companies like Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and JD.com Inc benefiting from a rising middle class with more disposable income. Other players include US online retailer Amazon.com Inc, Vipshop Holdings Ltd and US supermarket chain Wal Mart Stores Inc, through its stake in shopping site Yihaodian. Allowing full foreign ownership "supports our country's e-commerce development, encourages and brings in the active participation …

India On and Off: Integrating Offline and Online Retail

Times of India reports that the Tata group will launch the country's first hybrid online retailing venture, a combination of a portal that will list brands and handle payment transactions and brick-and-mortar stores that will set prices, deliver products and provide customer support. 
Group firm Tata Industrial Services, which changed its name to Tata Unistore Ltd, will spearhead the venture that's likely to be piloted before the Diwali shopping season. The venture's brand name is yet to be finalized. 
The salt-to-software conglomerate is in advanced talks with top brands across categories to complete the integration with their offline stores, with major focus on smartphones, consumer electronics and fashion, which account for 80% of e-commerce sales in India, said five senior executives, two of whom are attached with the group. Even in rural areas, orders will be dispatched by designated offline stores. 
"The Tata e-commerce venture will act as a frontline sales hoo…

Growing Pains: India's E-commerce Market

Times of India reports that retail e-commerce sales in India are expected to reach $17.5 billion (Rs 1,05,120 crore) by 2018, from $5.3 billion (Rs 31,800 crore) in 2014, according to data analyzed by eMarketer, a digital-research firm, but only two of 10 Internet users in India shop online. India's e-commerce sales in 2014 were $5.3 billion (Rs 31,800 crore) -- 80 times smaller than China's $426.26 billion (Rs 25,57,760 crore) and 58 times smaller than US's $305.6 billion (Rs 18,33,900 crore).
Despite having the third-largest Internet user base in the world with 200 million users at the end of 2014, India does not feature in the top 10 e-commerce markets in the world, according to an eMarketer report. The reasons centre on low Internet reach, slow Internet speeds outside the metropolitan cities and poor customer services. 
India's e-commerce market is intensely competitive, with US giant Amazon establishing its presence in India in 2013 and Alibaba, the Chinese giant,…

Ad Malware dents trust in the online market

Times of India reports that online and mobile ads posed one of the biggest threats for IT security this year, cybersecurity Trend Micro said in its latest report. As per the report, cybercriminals posted advertisement on websites which got mixed with legitimate ads possibly "due to lack of proper vetting when submitted by ad networks." When users click on these malicious advertisement, they "exploited vulnerabilities on site visitors' computers to drop malware."
Malwares can steal details, password of users and even control entire device on which they get planted. "Adware is the top threat in the mobile phone category. Although Trend Micro has identified a mammoth five million Android threats to date, it is predicting this will rise to eight million by the end of this year," the report said. In the enterprise space, Trend Micro said the healthcare sector was at biggest risk of cyberattacks, specifically in iOS and Point of sales system applications.

Hotels Go Mobile to Get the Smartphone Generation.

Times of India reports that when Chinmai Sharma joined the Taj Group last month as its chief revenue officer, one priority he had was to adopt a mobile first strategy for the 111-year-old luxury hotel chain, and he's already close to launching a smartphone app. "The aim is to launch an all-encompassing mobile app which will bring all the Taj Group brands under one app and integrate the pre-stay and post-stay experience also on mobile so that we can provide end to end solution to the guests," said Sharma, who quit as global revenue head for Louvre Hotels Group of Starwood Capital Group to join the Taj Group.
Top Indian hotel chains such as Taj, ITC and The Leela are aggressively wooing smartphone customers by launching mobile apps, making their websites mobile-friendly and focusing on digital and social media marketing, as increasing number of people in India and elsewhere use their phones to book hotels and holidays. Global chains such as Marriott, Starwood, Accor and I…

Text Walking Collision Insurance?

BBC News reports that "People sending text messages in the centre of the Belgian city of Antwerp have been provided with dedicated temporary "text walking lanes" so that they do not collide with pedestrians. The initiative - some would say publicity stunt - is the brainchild of a smartphone store based in the city. It says that a significant number of mobile phone breakages happen because of "text walking" collisions. There are now believed to be more mobile phones in the world than people. Figures released by mobile operators and associated companies show that there are about 7.5 billion mobiles in the world, compared to a world population estimated to be 7.2 billion by the US Census Bureau. "You probably walk through the streets while texting or sending Whatsapp messages to your friends and don't really pay attention to your surroundings - only to whatever is happening on your screen," a spokesman for Mlab, a smart phone laboratory based in An…

Management Guru: Baba Ramdev

Yoga Guru, Baba Ramdev, has built up his business, Patanjali Ayurved with an annual turnover now of between Rs.1,000 to 2,000 Crore. This business competes with the major personal and healthcare product companies. Ramdev's FMCG empire is growing fast. Baba Ramdev has also been involved in Indian politics.
A management guru in the true sense.

SJP @DigitalAsian

Outsourcing: Back to the Future for Indian Ecommerce

Times of India reports that Flipkart has parceled out hundreds of middle- and lower-level employees to the rolls of business process outsourcing firm Serco, adopting a strategy common among technology companies primarily to pare operational liabilities. Flipkart said it transferred about 300 employees to Serco, but three company executives ET spoke with said the number could be significantly higher. Many of the employees being shifted out are from the technology, payments, cataloguing and seller teams, these executives said, declining to be identified. 
The country's most valuable Internet company has been beefing up its top management team with strategic hires, including from Silicon Valley, to build new capabilities and establish its dominance in a sector fast overcrowding. But it also needs to be leaner and nimbler to be able to effectively take on new startups as well as giants like Snapdeal and Amazon that are competing for the same target buyers. Flipkart employs about 33,0…

Boosting Mobile User Base in India

Times of India reports that speaking on the company's 41st Annual General Meeting, Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) chairman Mukesh Ambani revealed that the company's telecom operations will commence in December. While the commercial launch of Reliance Jio Infocomm has been slated for December, the company will enter beta testing phase in "the next few months." The company has laid 2,50,000km of fibre optic cable for the Internet service, and will double its network in a year.
Ambani said that the company sees 4G-enabled smartphones priced under Rs 4,000 by year-end. Reliance Jio service will cover all 29 states of India, and reach 80% of the populace at the time of launch. It will cover 100% of the population in the next 3 years, Ambani said. The RIL chairman said he is confident that Reliance Jio will play a significant role in boosting India's global Internet penetration rank from 149 to among the top 10. Ambani added that the company is committed to net neu…

Getting a Handle on Hashtags: Monetising Social Media

Every news channel now creates its own hashtag for every major story for viewers to comment. Twitter has become a very useful free digital social media for getting public involvement and branding your products.
With news that Twitter CEO, Dick Costolo is to step down, it is clear that the management at Twitter have not been able to fully monetise this hashtag phenomenon.
SJP @DigitalAsian

Digital Marketplace for Ebooks Needs Opening Up

Times of India reports that the European Commission opened a formal antitrust investigation into Amazon's ebook business, opening yet another front in mounting EU scrutiny of America's global tech giants. The investigation adds to the pressure on the online retailer in Europe, where it is already being investigated for the low tax rates it pays in Luxembourg. 
The Commission said it would look in particular into certain clauses included in Amazon's contracts with publishers. These clauses, it said, required publishers to inform Amazon about more favourable or alternative terms offered to Amazon's competitors, a means to ensure Amazon is offered terms at least as good as those of its competitors. The Commission said this could violate EU antitrust rules that prohibit abuses of a dominant market position and restrictive business practices.
The digital marketplace dominates in the ebook publishing business.
SJP @DigitalAsian

Cities by Google: In the Business of Everything

Times of India reports that Google unveiled a company devoted to making a thriving business out of solving big-city problems such as overpriced housing and traffic-snarled streets. Sidewalk Labs based in New York City was described as an "urban innovation" firm with a mission to develop technology that makes living and running big cities better. 
"Sidewalk will focus on improving city life for everyone by developing and incubating urban technologies to address issues like cost of living, efficient transportation and energy usage," chief executive Larry Page said in a post at the Internet titan's Google+ social network. Sidewalk will be headed by Dan Doctoroff, a former chief executive of Bloomberg LP and New York city deputy mayor of economic development under then Mayor Michael Bloomberg. 
"We are at the beginning of a historic transformation in cities," Doctoroff said in a release. "We hope that Sidewalk will play a major role in developing te…

Investing in Digital Infrastructure and Services: Need for Speed

Times of India reports that Apple Inc is setting up a high-speed network and upgrading how it builds data centres, to compete better with Amazon.com Inc, Google Inc and Microsoft Corp in cloud services, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the plans. The plan entails connecting Apple's data centers in California, Nevada, North Carolina and Oregon, and others to get content closer to internet hubs in some densely populated markets, Bloomberg reported. Apple is seeking to handle more traffic on its own, without renting server space from cloud providers such as Amazon and Microsoft. While Apple hasn't disclosed total costs, investments will run into the billions, Bloomberg reported. 
Also, with its endeavour to transform the way India sells, Amazon launched its Global Selling programme in India, opening doors for businesses here to export to e-commerce markets of the world, a company statement said. Amazon is extending two of its products -- selling on Amazon (SOA) an…

As if by MAGGIc ... Social Media and Brand Damage Limitation

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Whether the damage to Nestle Maggi brand in India is irrational or not, the fact is that social media has played a phenomenal role in damaging the brand. The messages doing the rounds on WhatsApp alone are relentless and Nestle has not been able to keep up with the pace of events in India. This is almost unprecedented in bringing down a nationally recognised brand in such a short time in India.
As if by MAGGIc, the brand has gone.
SJP @DigitalAsian

How to Get Respect in Mumbai - India Photo Library

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Copyright CooperJal Ltd 2014 All rights reserved
SJP @DigitalAsian

Chip Industry Sizzles with the Internet of Things

Times of India reports that chip companies are merging, signing $66 billion worth of deals this year alone in preparation for an explosion of demand from all walks of life as the next technological revolution takes hold: the Internet of Things. As cars, crockery and even cows are controlled or monitored online, each will require a different kind of chip of ever-diminishing size, combining connectivity with processing, memory and battery power. 
These require makers to pool resources and intellectual property to produce smaller, faster, cheaper chips, for a market that International Data Corp said would grow to $1.7 trillion by 2020 from $650 billion last year. By comparison, chip markets for personal and tablet computers are stagnant or in decline, and even smartphones are near peaking, said Bob O'Donnell, a long-time consultant to the chip industry.
The Internet of Things is breathing new life into chip makers.
SJP @DigitalAsian

Mobile Payments Battleground Leaves Banks and Cards Behind

Samsung's smartwatch will support mobile payments. Samsung mobile payments system will use near-field communication (NFC) technology. This is the same technology that Apple uses for the Apple Pay function supported by its smartwatches. Apple Pay will be expanding now into the UK and then other countries. Apple also launches its new music streaming service.
Mobile payments will be one of the next big battlegrounds for tech companies and banks and credit card companies are at risk of losing ground to tech companies here. A further sign that the major tech companies want to be in control of the digital content online and the means to pay for it.

SJP @DigitalAsian

Controlling the Language of Development in the Digital World

Times of India reports hat if you ask the average Apple fan to make a list of the important moves the company has made in the past year or so, and the list will probably start with the Apple Watch before ticking off the huge sales of bigger iPhones and the $3 billion deal for Beats Electronics. A particularly news-savvy fan might even cite rumours about an Apple car. Put the same question to an Apple developer, and the list of milestones will almost certainly include something that has flown under the radar of most devoted Apple users: Swift, a new computer language introduced by the company a year ago.
Developers gasped and applauded as Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president for software engineering, first ran through such features as type inference, closures, and multiple name spaces. "You know how many people are home are going, 'What in the heck are these guys talking about?" Federighi joked when he unveiled Swift at last year's Worldwide Development…

Digital Marketplace for E-services in India

Times of India reports that startups that provide an online marketplace for services of legal and tax professionals, including lawyers and chartered accountants, have realized that there is a lot of untapped potential in the sector. In the bargain, they are driving down the price of such services in the virtual world.
Thousands of professionals, especially those in small cities and towns, are increasingly becoming part of these marketplaces and find that they gain access to a new market opportunity that is being made possible by the power of aggregation on the Internet.
Chennai-based MeetUrPro is one such startup that brings together tax and legal professionals. Started in January 2015 to Internet-enable offline tax and legal consultancy, it has over 1,000 service providers listing their services on its marketplace, from individuals to mid-sized companies.
While the idea was to cut geographical barriers in helping companies incorporate, manage their bank accounts as well as receive t…

India's E-Way: Mobile Growth in India

Times of India reports that India has shown the fastest growth in net additions to mobile subscribers base followed by China, said a report released by Ericsson.  According to the report, India added at least 26 million subscribers at a time when the total number of mobile subscriptions in the first quarter of 2015 touched 7.2 billion, including 108 million new subscriptions. 
It said that smartphone subscriptions are set to more than double by 2020 and 70% of the world's population will be engulfed by the movement. "By 2020 there will be 26 billion connected devices," said the report. 
Explaining the growth, the Ericsson Mobility Report said growth in mature markets came from an increasing number of devices per individual, while in developing regions, the growth came from a swell of new subscribers as smartphones become more affordable. 
"Almost 80% of smartphone subscriptions added by year-end 2020 will be from Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and Africa," it …

A Country of Online Consumers: India's Online Marketplace for Services and Products

Times of India reports that services, from utility payments to personal loans, are set to be the new weapons that online marketplace Snapdeal will deploy as it aims to improve margins and reduce costs in the fractious battle for top honours in India's fiercely competitive online retail market.
In a series of strategic buy-outs this year the Delhi-headquartered company--which acquired online utility service provider Freecharge and financial services portal RupeePower -- has signalled its ambitions to build a services platform to stand out in an online marketplace, which so far has been dominated by array of products from cameras to apparel and furniture.
"A lot of people look at e-commerce as a sub-set of the retail pie, we say No," said Idi Srinivas Murthy, vice-president for marketing at Snapdeal. "India is one of the largest consumption economies in the world, and it will double in the next couple of years. That is the opportunity," said Murthy.
This push to…

Getting your own Mobile Payment System

Times of India that 8 months ago, Alibaba and Paytm scheduled a 20 minute meeting. They ended up talking for two hours. It was personal chemistry as much as business rationale that led to Alibaba's financial arm investing $500 million in Paytm. Shelley Singh finds out how the two friends now plan to challenge the dominance of Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal in the $20-billion Indian e-commerce market.
Since February this year, a flurry of executives have been travelling the 6,000-km distance between Alibaba's headquarters in Hangzhou and Paytm's base in Noida with an urgent frequency. "It's as if Jack Ma is conducting an executive MBA for Paytm executives," says Vijay Shekhar Sharma, founder, One97 Communications which runs Paytm (Pay Through Mobile).
Ma is the founder of Alibaba, China's popular e-commerce company, which sells products worth $200 billion annually. "Ma tells us we should build a company that is worth a Nobel Prize," Sharma adds. …

Speeding Up Innovation in China

According to Xiaomi vice-president Barra, the Chinese technology ecosystem is innovating very fast and this may not be fully understood by those in Silicon Valley. This innovation is apparent not just in hardware, but software, he said. His comments were made at Code Conference in California.
Innovation in the mobile digital arena will be crucial to future technological advantage for businesses.

SJP @DigitalAsian