Showing posts from May, 2017

Producing your own Content

Event/entertainment ticketing firm BookMyShow is planning to bring down the share of movies to about a third of its revenues in the next 3-5 years, as it increases investments in live events and content business, which include platforms like Daily Social and Movie Nation. Movie ticket sales account for about 60-65% while the rest primarily comes from live events and digital advertisement.
BookMyShow is trying to move from just an ecommerce player to building a content play and compete with the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime which are also investing heavily of content production. BookMyShow has launched a multi-channel network (MCN) on YouTube  These platforms help it to acquire a new customers as well as increase the stickiness among existing customers. 
Paytm has also recently identified movies as one of its next $1billion gross-sales category, as well as online travel. It is also reported that it is in talks to acquire a majority stake in event ticketing firm Insider.

SJP @Digita…

Upskill in the Downturn

The recent downsizing in IT has made software professionals upskill to ensure they have multiple skills to reduce the impact of layoffs. This has led to growth for E-learning companies in specialised areas like analytics and product management. Big employers in India like LeEco, Aircel, Snapdeal, YepMe, Craftsvilla, PayU, Tolexo, Girnar Software and Stayzilla all have cut back on IT staff.
Professionals with management profiles are shifting their focus to product management. 2017 started on a bad note for IT in India. With funding drying up and global political changes, many startups and tech companies in India have an uncertain future and are cutting costs. The uncertainty in the market is good for e-learning firms as Techies are taking up courses in UI/UX, machine learning, AI, cybersecurity and micro service architecture, in the hope that by upskilling they will remain in demand.

SJP @DigitalAsian - ShareYaar - IdeaIndia.Com

Investors looking for the right Venture Capitalist

Almost every day you read in the news about a new VC fund being set up. Investors are flocking to Venture Capitalists who can find the disruptive ideas and technology.

VC funds, from Softbank's new Vision fund of nearly US$100 billion to smaller funds, all looking for, first and foremost, the right industry experts who are able to find the entrepreneurs with the best ideas.

Investors are willing to invest in funds run by VCs who have the ability to spot the best ideas. Investors are willing to fund the right venture capitalists. Investors are now putting part of their investment portfolio into VC funds as well as things like mutual funds. VC funds are becoming a sort of asset class of their own.

SJP @DigitalAsian - ShareYaar - IdeaIndia.Com

Telcos VoLTE-Face

Idea, Airtel and Vodafone are likely to launch voice over LTE or VoLTE services this year in their efforts to compete with Jio. This will enable these telcos to keep their low-end subscribers from switching to Jio, which runs an all-VoLTE network and offers voice calls for free. 
VoLTE allows an operator to give both voice and data, with voice being just another application that rides on an LTE data network. VoLTE technology gives voice in data format and can be delivered at a lower cost per minute than traditional voice calls. VoLTE-ready devices are expected to hit critical mass in the Indian market which is probably why Idea, Airtel and Vodafone want to start VoLTE services.

SJP @DigitalAsian - ShareYaar - IdeaIndia.Com

World of Funds in AI, ML and IoT

Corporates, development banks, sovereign wealth funds are all investing, one way or the other, in AI, ML and IoT. Funds, the world over, pour into these technologies.
International Finance Corporation (IFC), investment arm of the World Bank, is going to invest $3 million in pi Ventures' maiden fund. pi Ventures focuses on early-stage investments in startups in the area of applied AI, machine learning (ML) and IoT.
IFC's investment is through its IFC Startup Catalyst program that builds local ecosystems by investing in sustainable seed stage funding mechanisms, including accelerators and seed funds, to support early-stage entrepreneurship globally. IFC has both a direct investment practice and is also an LP to local PE and VC funds. IFC's venture capital investments in India include BigBasket, Portea and BlackBuck.
pi Ventures has also raised $13 million from SIDBI and major entrepreneurs in India.

SJP @DigitalAsian - ShareYaar - IdeaIndia.Com

Track Customer Spending Offline and Online

Google is going to track your offline and online spending in order to get more digital advertising revenue. The offline tracking of credit/debit card transactions will let Google automatically inform merchants when their digital ads translate into sales offline. The store sales measurement tool is being previewed in San Francisco at an annual conference for Google's advertisers.
Google already has the biggest online ad network, with $79 billion in revenue last year. Google expects the data to show a cause-and-effect relationship between online ads and offline sales. It could help persuade merchants to increase their digital marketing budgets.

SJP @DigitalAsian - ShareYaar - IdeaIndia.Com

Land of the Rising Son

Softbank's Masayoshi Son is expected to announce soon the close of the first fundraising round for his new Vision Fund, a $100 billion technology investment fund that will be the world's largest private equity fund. His investors, which include Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund and Apple, expect technology investments that will match or beat the ROI that Son has delivered in the last almost 2 decades.
Softbank's Son is looking for dealmakers who can spot the most commercially disruptive technologies. Son is looking for industry wonks to find potentially game-changing investments in sectors such as genomics, AI, robotics and IoT.
SoftBank's investment committee currently includes Son, Deep Nishar, SoftBank CFO Alok Sama, SoftBank director Ronald Fisher and head of the Vision Fund, Rajeev Misra. SoftBank is yet to finalize the investment committee for the new Vision Fund.
SoftBank is looking for experts in sectors like enterprise software, AI, robotics, digital m…

Getting the Next Billion despite High Data Costs

Big tech firms are trying their best to deal with high data costs in markets like India. The high data costs are a hurdle in attracting the next billion.

In its recent I/O Developer Conference, Google announced Android Go by which it will pre-install in its operating system a number of new features including software to manage cellular data costs. These new features, due to appear in 2018, are aimed at the cheaper smartphone market to attract more users to the Google platform and its services.

SJP @DigitalAsian - ShareYaar - IdeaIndia.Com

CyberAttacks, Outages and Disruption

WhatsApp has suffered its second major outage recently. Rumours, which spread fast and go viral, did more to damage businesses in Bengaluru than the ransomware attack itself, which is feared to have infected over two lakh computers across 150 countries. Wary of carrying out online bank transactions, customers  and businesses are postponing digital payments. Businesses, which were just recovering from demonetization, suffered again. Even banks are under pressure as customers are lining up to withdraw cash from the counter. 
This sort of disruption will become a major concern as more and more services go online.
SJP @DigitalAsian - ShareYaar - IdeaIndia.Com

Digital Influence on Purchasing

The way purchases of real estate and cars are done in India is changing. The digital influence of social media and digital marketing is changing consumer behaviour.

About 70% of automobile sales in India will be "digitally influenced" by 2020, a report by Facebook and Bain and Co. says. The report looked at the impact of digital technologies like social media and Internet of Things (IoT) on the automotive industry. Social media is expected to become an important influencer, driving auto sales by 2020.
Most people now do a large part of their research online before purchasing a car. Therefore, auto makers need digital media as an important part of their marketing strategy. And a lot of post-purchase activities are now online.
By 2020, it is expected that up to 40 per cent of consumers are expected to book repair and maintenance services online and about 30 per cent will go online to purchase vehicle accessories.
Most Indian auto makers are not spending enough on digital inve…

Transformative Training and Skills

The demand for expertise in AI (artificial intelligence) is rising. US-based manufacturer of graphics processor technologies, NVIDIA says it will train 100,000 developers this year at the NVIDIA Deep Learning Institute, which provides training to developers, data scientists, researchers on the use of the latest AI tools and technology.
"AI is the defining technology of our generation. To meet overwhelming demand from enterprises, government agencies and universities, we are dramatically expanding the breadth and depth of our offerings, so developers worldwide can learn how to leverage this transformative technology," says NVIDIA. NVIDIA has trained developers in AI around the world including at IIT Bombay.
International Data Corporation estimates that 80 percent of all applications will have an AI component by 2020. NVIDIA is broadening its curriculum to include the applied use of deep learning for self-driving cars, healthcare, web services, robotics, video analytics and f…

Creating a Communications and Services Ecosystem

Airtel, India's major telco, has partnered with Ola, an Indian cab hailing app, to offer new digital services to customers. Airtel and Ola will bring together their respective platforms and reach to co-create an ecosystem to enhance India's growing communication and mobility needs. Ola will leverage Airtel's integrated suite of enterprise services to power its operations while Airtel will leverage Ola's network of drivers.
Airtel Payments Banks, part of Bharti Airtel, will integrate with Ola app, while Ola Money, a mobile wallet, will integrate with MyAirtel App.
Airtel retail kiosks will assist customers looking to book an Ola ride. While Airtel will be able to leverage Ola's network of drivers, who will act as mobile retail points for recharging Airtel prepaid numbers.

SJP @DigitalAsian - ShareYaar - IdeaIndia.Com

Not Neutral on the Net

Oracle is supporting US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai's proposal to reverse net neutrality rules. Oracle says net neutrality rules are "removed from technical, economic, and consumer reality .... The stifling open internet regulations and broadband classification that the FCC put in place in 2015 - for just one aspect of the internet ecosystem - threw out both the technological consensus and the certainty needed for jobs and investment".
AT and T and Verizon also support Pai's plan and argue that the net neutrality rules stifle investment in the telecommunications sector, specifically in broadband infrastructure.  Pai has proposed to undo the rules, which subjected broadband companies to tougher regulation from the FCC. According to Oracle, Pai's plan to remove broadband providers from the FCC's regulatory jurisdiction "will eliminate unnecessary burdens on, and competitive imbalances for, ISPs internet service providers whil…

Creative Opportunity in the Digital Space

More and more artists, producers and content creators from Bollywood, stand-up comedy and TV are going over to digital, over-the-top content (OTT) platforms. They are being given free reign to create content for the digital platforms to grab a bigger audience. With the presence of global players like Netflix and Amazon Prime, as well as domestic ones like ALTBalaji, Hotstar, Voot - writers, actors and filmmakers now have a space that's more experimental.
Controversial subjects will have more opportunities in the digital space, which is less regulated, with its niche audience. Therefore, streaming platforms are optimistic about the Indian market. KPMG says video currently accounts for 60% of mobile data traffic in India, and is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 63% between 2016 and 2021.
For an audience, streaming platforms hold the promise of more interesting content and better production values. Digital platforms may have higher production budgets to experim…

Crowdfunding Currency without Borders

Crowdfunding is evolving with the use of blockchain. Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) or token sales are growing in popularity. Almost $250m has been invested in ICOs. This year, Gnosis, one such ICO, got more than $12m, valuing it at about $300m.
ICO 'coins' are like digital coupons/tokens issued on an indelible distributed ledger/blockchain of Bitcoin fame. Therefore, they can easily be traded, although they don't confer ownership rights. Instead, they serve as the currency for the project they finance; to pay users for a correct prediction; or for the content users contribute. Investors hope that successful projects will cause ICO value to rise.
Today most issuers simply write a “smart contract” on Ethereum, a rival blockchain. This piece of code then automatically creates tokens when it receives “ether”, the coin of the Ethereum blockchain. 'Back to Earth' launched an ICO in April and wants to raise 750 bitcoin (almost $1m) by selling StarCredits. Investors who b…

Digital Extinction

Upgrading skills is essential to avoid digital extinction. Data scientists, software architects, data engineers, user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) are most in demand. Demand exceeds supply. "Any role which requires drawing intelligence from data is hard to hire for. UI, UX have been there for some time, but because they are needed across sectors like retail and manufacturing, the demand goes up. Any company not hiring in these roles will become a dinosaur after five to seven years," HackerRank's Harishankar Karunanidhi said. 
HR experts say companies are struggling to find quality candidates for these roles, while current employees are getting redundant.  Job positions in AI, machine learning (ML), robotics and digital marketing are other positions where demand exceeds supply. One reason for this may be that these jobs are relatively new compared to older skills e.g. Java.
Colleges need to add courses quickly to fill the gap and employers need to fund trainin…

Whose Call is it Anyway?

As M-commerce becomes the norm, verifying whose calling you becomes more necessary. Fashion e-tailer Voonik has partnered with Truecaller to improve its customer buying experience. Voonik is using Truecaller's TrueSDK and Truecaller Priority services. The Truecaller Priority sign up will allow users to identify delivery verification calls while shopping on Voonik. Calls from Voonik will be identified as 'Voonik's Order Team' for buyers with Truecaller app on their phones. Sequoia Capital, Atomico and Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers backed Truecaller, which has tied up with a number of Indian businesses to help customers filter out unwanted communication.
"Consumers face a lot of friction when verifying their identity in apps and other digital services in daily life and we want to minimize that friction. TrueSDK and Truecaller Priority solutions will not only offer a frictionless signup process and help filter genuine calls to end users, but will also ensure that V…

Going Live for Users and Ad Dollars

Twitter is joining with Bloomberg Media for a 24/7 streaming TV news channel on the social networking platform. The channel is expected to begin later this year. To boost its user base, it has updated its products which include live video broadcasts from its app and launched new features to attract users. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has said that he wants Twitter to be the "people's news network". Twitter has made a push into news and sports on mobile devices. It hopes that adding more live content will attract more ad dollars.
SJP @DigitalAsian - ShareYaar - IdeaIndia.Com

Ideas and Innovation Platforms

Big tech companies and startups are partnering to market the startup's innovations. Large tech firms get the innovations and the startups get the financing and marketing clout. Big tech firms are creating ideas marketplaces/platforms which startups can use to bring their ideas and innovations and create products and services required by big tech. To partner with a big tech firm, startups must have proven their worth first. 
Microsoft Accelerator's Bala Girisaballa says that while big tech firms have good connections with Fortune 500 firms, "A joint bidding for a deal with startups provides the startups invaluable access". He notes that the services component in deals is shrinking, and that makes products and platforms from startups invaluable in the digital transformation that customers demand. Microsoft has its cloud platform Azure while IBM has its cognitive platform Watson. "Working with a hundred startups simultaneously means that companies like Microsoft c…