Cloud, mobile, social media to drive businesses, says IMImobile chief

K. V. Kurmanath
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Vishwanath Alluri, CEO of IMImobile
Vishwanath Alluri, CEO of IMImobile

Besides helping operators and enterprises in driving revenue generation, we offer business intelligence services to predict likely defections from the network.

Vishwanath Alluri, Chief Executive Officer of IMImobile, is witness to the birth, rise and evolution of value-added services (VAS) industry in India and abroad.

The company, with a turnover of $100 million, is offering VAS-delivery platform to over 100 telecom operators worldwide serving 100 crore subscribers in 64 countries.

Vishwanath has recently been adjudged emerging entrepreneur by the Confederation of Indian Industry in the area of international business operations. In an interaction with Business Line, Vishwanath says it is time for operators to unlock the potential of the huge customer data to allow third party providers to invest and market services.

Telecom operators are under pressure financially. How is it going to impact the VAS industry?

There will be certainly an impact. But what telecom operators should do is unlock the potential that has been lying dormant till now. They have a vast pool of data on subscribers. They know the age profiles, customer profiles, geographical location and what not. The telecom operators are yet to use this information. They need not spend extra. They can simply allow third-party service providers to use the data. This will open up an additional revenue stream. We provide the underlying infrastructure that is required to tap this opportunity.

Throw light on how this can be done.

For one, a popular astrologer or a fast-food centre can offer their services to a specific user segment. This is significantly different from location-based services that are being offered using GPS (global positioning system). As against the application-based GPS service, the new offering could specifically target a specific set of subscribers whether or not they use GPS application.

Where the VAS industry is headed?

The future is in cloud-mobile-social media. That is going to be the new wave of technology. Technologies are being offered on the cloud. The content created is being accessed on mobile devices and businesses are being forced to have their presence on social media as the popularity of such sites is immense. I feel that cloud-mobile-social media will have a seismic effect on technology consumption.

While the traditional VAS such as ring tones and other entertainment offerings continue to generate revenues, it is the new stream of personalised data services that is going to bring in more revenues to operators.

What is stopping them from offering such services?

Concerns over losing the database could be one reason. This can be addressed by keeping the information with them, but they can have the content delivered without exposing the basic data. Technology allows that to happen.

Where does IMImobile stand now and what are the expansion plans?

We have deployed 1,000 servers at six data centres in Asia, Europe and the Americas to host the DaVinci Evolved Service Platform, using which we offer services to telecom operators, enterprises and media houses. We employ 670 people, including 100 in the UK.

Besides helping operators and enterprises in driving revenue generation, we offer business intelligence services to predict likely defections from the network.

We are present in Africa, Western Europe and Central America. When we expand, we will do that in the North American market.

(This article was published on August 24, 2012)
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