Thursday, July 23, 2015

LCO: Local Cable Operators, how they can actually accelerate the incomes of TELCOS

When a whale comes to attack.... It is evident for the other fishes to co-pete than compete.....

Technically speaking for any kind of an IPTV or a broadband deployment LCO is the last mile connectivity. LCO which stands for local cable operators provide the last mile connectivity to the customers in retail for which they get their own share of money and actually have some major expenses towards the procurement of Bandwidth and content from the BW providers and the Content providers or the IPTV streamer.

The LCO is the final point of service provision which actually makes or breaks the experience of a customer.

Have a look at the figure below.

LCO Entity and how it is helping the distribution

As you can see that Major networks of India are terminated in the same way. Over here we have the LCO which is actually bearing the brunt of the customer pressure directly but is earning the least. While on the technical aspect the architecture does not have any flaws, there is a major flaw in the business model of this architecture.

Let us understand the aspects of the LCO over here which actually kills the experience of the customers and the basic Business model towards generating more Bandwidth for the end users.

1. LCOs have shallow pockets:

The domain of business for LCO is less and thus the revenue generation is also less. Demands from the Indian customers with lower prices actually lead to the fact that LCOs would not be able to deliver the rising levels of services with higher experience at this price.  LCOs have to pay each and every back provider at negotiated costs which brings them under severe financial pressure.

2. Low Reliability in the network:

LCOs are not bound by the SLA agreements of retail at such low prices, not saying that they do not meet it, but again they are not obligated to meet them. This actually leads to lower experience and lower consumption.

3. Use of non standard and open source solutions:

While the solution at the TELCO front may be standardized and of high level of quality this is not there for the equipments for the LCOs as due to budget constraints they are forced to go for cheaper and quality compromising solutions. Not saying that they do not deliver it, but there is a lot of compromised done to maintain quality.

While we have discussed about this about the problems of LCO there are solutions to this at a very global scale which will actually maintain high quality of the network at effective prices. However this has to be done with some good deal of hand helding by the TELCOs. Question why should they do this? Is this charity? Answer is no... Let us understand how.

1. Retail Broadband business is a focus that TELCOs have to take:

It is not a hidden fact that every TELCO wants to increase the customer base and bandwidth consumption. However if every TELCO wants to be independant in the retail business of broadband this may not work. Therefore TELCOs generally consider selling bulk pipes to the LCOs, which by the way reduces revenue year on year for them, however keeps them out of the headache. However, it has to be considered that there is a break Even point.

2. Telcos can become CDN of their OWN and actually can get a lot of money from content. 

Again it is the TELCOs who have covered the length and breadth of the country by their fibers and SWAP fibers between each other. However one thing that has been overlooked in this entire concept is the fact of earning from the content. With the magnitude of the network that a TELCO has the telco can be the CDN of their own and actually can invoice the content providers for the content delivered through their networks to the LCO as well.

3. Copete with the LCO:

A Business model that is based on revenue sharing of content and BW delivery every month which is actually lower on the LCO pocket and which enables LCO to provide more and more content to the users at accelerated rates.  If a TELCO which has like 500 LCOs under it does a revenue share with the LCO rather than a complete lumpsum BW deal then this will be lighter on the LCO pocket as well as will be more profitable for the TELCO. As this will mean that the TELCO is now free to provide good solutions that are not only based on BW but also based on content to the users.

This way a TELCO that is aspiring to deliver FTTx kind of solution but does not have the amount of resources or focus to deploy it independantly can actually enter this market with very less Time to Market.

Let us have a look at the figure of how the Revenue flow works. Accounting stays with the TELCOs for the users so that there is no revenue leakage in this process.

Co-petition with the LCO 

In this model as we can see the TELCO does a Revenue tie up with the LCO and this actually releases a lot of pressure from the LCO about maintaining a huge strata of equipments. LCO can focus on laying infrastructure and peering with the TELCO only instead of multiple sources.

The Authentication and charging of the system remains with the TELCO and this is how the revenue flow is in control and on that basis there is a revenue share agreement between the LCO and the Telco. As and when the LCO customer grows TELCO pushes more and more content at high BW rates. Content that is localized in the content localizer.

The TELCO now is also a CDN and does the Invoicing to the content provider and gets money out of the content delivery. TELCO can actually contemplate on launching its own applications and own content to push through many users now. 

TELCO is no limited now only to mobility.... It is in real sense TELCO now. 

I know it will not be easy to bring forward this change in India (Though this has been happening in the western world in a quite nice way) as there are many apprehensions for new Idea but I am confident that the new generation of telecom engineers and telecom professionals would look forward to it. 

This actually releases the TELCO from the shackles of diminishing BW rates and makes it more focused on content delivery and earning revenue from it. 

It also encourages the SW and domain development industry in a country of a Billion people. Enhances E-Commerce. 

Think about it.



Saturday, May 30, 2015

Telecom Operators in India have to think Wide

Hi Guys,
The telecom revolution started in our country in the year 2000 to be more accurate and since then there have been a lot of developments. Initially the focus was more on penetration of the services to different regions and there was a stress that more and more people should have the mobile. But now things are different. Markets are saturated and now the Telecom Operator is seeing the noose tighten on its neck as the revenues and margins both fall. In India, especially the operators have not been able to make ground orMAKE A LOT OF MONEY out of businesses like 3G and 4G though much is / has been spoken about the same.
I am not a great telecom advisor, but being in this industry for some time, 13 years "young" to be precise, would like to provide some of my views on the changing ways that should be adopted by the telecom operator in order to generate additional revenue and profit without disturbing the user ecosystem of the nation.
There is an Ocean of Opportunities for Indian TELCOS
Lack-lustre Policies are killing it
The basic theory and the execution of it lies within a solid foundation of Infrastructure that the Indian telecom industry has. Companies in India have had the luxury of laying their own fiber and have been generous enough in doing that. However this has not translated into greater thinking of how to expoit it.
Let us think how much potential does a big telecom operator (Tier-1) have with regards to offering services. And these are some of the items that have to be thought in the line of business seriously by "Telecom Professionals" not hop ons from the "FMCG" in an operator industry.
1. Generating Revenue Through Content Delivery: It seems ridiculous that in a country with so many big Telcos having the capacity to build IDCs of their own and having the capacity to provide Peering for so many ISPs down the line, there is still existence of 3rd Party CDN's appart from the operators. The operators are so big in size that they could themselves strike a deal with the content providers to distribute content on their behalf and get a share of the revenue for the content Delivery that the CDN is doing at the behest of Operators network. Today the proposition of a typical CDN is to place its equipment in the operator IDC, use resources of the Operator and earn loads of money while giving operators just a share which is peanuts. I must say that the CDNs have really got the better of the operators plainly because in the CDN industry the people who are doing the business know the place where more profitable revenue from Internet can come. On the other hand you have operators, who are big in size, but have never developed this attitude to think how better to use their system. It is a pity that this is happening with the operators who have massive infrastructures, good skill setHIRING power and very much pronounced technical staff. The only issue is the business side of the operators are not looking towards this but plainly continuing of twigging the tariff plans of their mobile services. A big operator of India with a customer base of 250 Million in Retail mobile and several enterprise ILL customers of ISPs should have this courage and authority to assert itself on content providers to share the revenue with them for content delivery and not with the CDNs.
"I sincerely wish some owner of a big telecom firm is reading this......Because below the line this point will fall on deaf ears and blurred visions......"
2. ProvidingCLOUD HOSTING Services: If I am a telco with massive resources I might as well provide hosting services to the corporates . Why does India need an Amazon to launch cloud services on the infrastructure of Telcos. Why can't the teclos themselves launch it and make that extra bit of revenue on which a company like Amazon can survive in India? What keeps these telcos from staying away from launching such services in the country that are sure shot revenue generators for them? Shortage of skill set?? For sure not.... Then... This is the shortage ofMARKETING thinking. Being a telecom professional my heart bleeds when I see the TELCOS becoming only "DUMB PIPES" for these companies who actually build their high revenues on the foundations of Telcos. A TELCO becomes a DUMB PIPE only due to lack of focus. But this being perpetual throughout India is a problem. Let us look at other countries where TELCOs are the main source of such services of hosting content.
3. Virtual Office Creation: Today there are so many small and medium enterprise in this country who cannot afford a place to work because they have to maintain costs. However, they are interested in Virtual Offices which need a lot of BW and Telecom infrastructure like Voip, Internet, Leased Lines, VideoCONNECTIVITYand so on. The TELCO can provide a very consolidated package for these people for their employees and generate the right kind of revenue which is constant and not frivolous. This is happening in India but again TELCOs are behind in this strategy and this is mostly done by some 3rd Party, again leasing DUMP PIPEs from the telco.
To summarize time has come for the Indian Telecom Industry to change... Change in Perception and in some cases if that is being altered chance in Persons. Telecom services are not Soap and detergents and cannot be sold in that way. There has to be some perpetual way of revenue generation, some alternate way of generate revenues which will actually make the industry more profitable and people working in this industry 24x7 more happy and enthusiastic. If this does not happen the TELCOs will become the biggest PREYS of their own policies.
Think about it friends.

Markets that come to Existence [The Era of E-Commerce]

"AMARKET comes to existence when a buyer and a seller are in mutual contact with each other with the intention to fruitfully complete the transaction of aCOMMODITY or a Service"
Adam Smith
The platter of choices on your finger tips
If this definition ofMARKET has come to its true existence then it is today. We used to study this when we were in our 9th grade briefly introduced to economics and the introduction started with the first page definition of Adam Smith. I am understanding this today a great deal and what better to understand than the surge of E-Commerce that has happened over the years. 
There is definitely a charm of going to the malls and the retail shops to make purchases by seeing the display of the products lying here and there, however in the present times convenience overpowers charm and taste in a great way and shopping onlineFROM HOME is definitely comfortable. You are watching the TV or just out of your shower and you remember that you need to buy groceries, bingo you have a website or an app where you can just login and then buy the stuff and the stuff is delivered to you at your doorstep. You want to buy clothes, electronics, books, food and what not it is available on your fingertips. 
The internet brings the market closest to you and where you have your choices of brands and goods. One has to be less inhibitive when one buys articles from the e-commerce site because here you are seeing the image of the article and not the article itself. However let us face it you never check each and every grain of rice, or each lady finger before buying them in bulk, therefore it is really not worth to actually travel the distance and spend time hunting for that perfect pumpkin or potato. 
You have online invoices for the goods and you have good tracking mechanisms to actually track down deliveries so in short this is convenience personified. You are sitting on your couch and shopping. 
But let us now see what isREQUIRED in the backend and how much opportunity it creates for the people who are willing to extend their markets for goods deliveries. People who do not have the amount of capital to invest and construct a retail shop but have quality goods for sale can make a tie up with this E-Commerce portal and then can have their goods being sold. They get access to the markets which they could not have even accessed physically in their dreams. A chikan cloth seller of Lucknow does not have to wait for the tourist from New Jersey to come to his shop to sell his goods, he is now connected by the E-Commerce portal to the buyer and is now having better business. 
E-Commerce if it has to be really successful has to help these small vendors who have immense talent and provide rich quality products but lack ofMARKETINGskills and lack of product placement. The handicrafts from Gujarat, Shatiniketan. Kanjeevarams from Tanjore and the brass works from Moradabad need this boom of E-Commerce. 
We will talk about this new way ofMARKETING more as we go on towards our next post. But till then let us understand one thing, no technology can evolve or change the world if that is not efficient to be used for the upliftment of the poorest of the person in that demography. 
To that idea.... Have a wonderful weekend. 

Virtual Offices: The Debate continues........

A virtual offiice Environment that can actually enable a lot of savings of resou
My last article was about Virtual offices and many people read that and gave me a call. First of all I would like to thank them for pondering over my article and also reciprocating by calls. Certainly, not all of them were in agreement with my idea, and it really happens because then and only then you come to know about how feasible an Idea ease when you patiently listen to agreements and disagreements towards them with proper justifications. 
Many people of the senior clad could not really digest the fact that if everybody worksFROM HOME ( even if the situation allowed it to be so) then what would happen to the office environment? Well I agree to them. They are right. 
However, my question is "Are we really at a situation to afford the luxury of creating an office environment in a costly metro city by compromising the convenience of so many talented people, increasing carbon footprint and then being a reason of the inflation?"
Do we want this to happen?
Let us see this in a larger perspective. In a Metro city like Mumbai, say, there are a lot of people who atleast take 1 to 2 hours to reach their workplaces everyday. People who are using public transport or using vehicle of their own, travelling to the office only do to some soft work for 8 hours over the Laptop and the Internet daily spend 4 hours of productivity in a mundane activity like city travelling. When most of them do that what happens in a city like Mumbai is anybody's guess. Traffic jams, road congestions and stress. My question over here is why cannot these works be done from the comfort zone of their home using a broadband connection? This also gives around 4 hours of extra productive time minus the stress of travelling. Should this not be done in a city like Mumbai or Delhi, where the authorities are hell bent on saving resources and space? Why should weREQUIRE IT parks, big and mammoth in size when the same can be done from people's homes? Why put this load on the city? 
We see the city expanding and more and more people staying on the outskirts of the city, while on the other side the commercial hubs mushroom in the centre creating more of a clog in those places. People of this city of a population of 12 Million complain about it being crowded not realising that the crowd problem can be obliterated just by introducing this very good concept of virtual offices. This also puts less load on the public transport system which is already collapsing in Mumbai and so we can have quality development of the same. We will have better roads and with a lot of space to drive our cars when we need it. 
A country like India with a population of 1.25 billion is a major contributor in the carbon footprint creation in this world. There are a lot of expectations from the matured Indian population to actually play a very important role towards decreasing the same. Virtual offices exactly brings that to picture. Less use of fuel due to less travelling. Travelling 20 kms daily one way and 40 Kms round trip is about travelling 1000 Kms a Month. This is resulting to a consumption of 70Ltrs of Fuel per car. 70 Ltrs per car!!!! That is huge. Introduction of virtual offices will save this for you. Less consumption of Fuels leads to less demand. We are no more in the medieval age where weREQUIRE to be at a specific place to do our work. Our works have become more integrated and digitized and connected to work from anywhere, so why go anywhere? Why not save the going part and save money and fuel? 
There was a question about the debate of meetings. Well today we have so many tools to conduct the meetings online in a very effective way. To be global it is not necessary to be a globetrotter. Travelling should be a leisure activity than plain business. Let us ask ourselves. Are we not mature enough to come to a consensus over a meeting using the electronic / online system? If not then why do we even call ourselves developed. The beauty of technology is to use it in every area in the most judicious way to make a good world. However, this is not happening. This is being prevented from happening causing stress and burn-out on the population, causing inflation, causing inflated demands of things which are not actuallyREQUIRED in so much abundance in the digital world. 
I am still open to questions, rebuttals and criticisms towards my views....But would also request dear readers to think about the larger interest. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

India needs Virtual Offices......But how will our system understand this.....

Names of people have been changed in this article to maintain confidentiality.
Devraj Desai is a full time telecom professional based out of Bhavnagar. Devraj has his family in Bhavnagar and all his commitments do not allow him to move out of this port city in Gujarat. Devraj has supreme skills in software development but is hesitant to move to places like Mumbai or Bangalore because it disturbs the entire cycle of his family. Also he does not want to relocate to busy cities like Mumbai or Bangalore compromising the chilled out life of Bhavnagar. 
Jagruti Shrivastav is an upcoming fashion designer in the city of Lucknow. Homemaker by force Jagruti is not able to pursue her dreams as a fashion designer as this would force her to relocate to  a city like Delhi which for her is impossible as there would be massive transformations that they have to make in their family lifestyle. 
Both these examples take me to a question that in a country of 1.25 billion people why should talents be nurtured only in Metro cities? We are not being able to reap the best out of our talents because of our archaic concepts of physical office which forces people to relocate. 
It is a shame on the telecom infrastructure and the services that inspite of the fact that we would be able to provide at least 10Mb/s of Internet connectivity to Jagruti and Devraj still due to the archaic HR policies they are forced to dump their talents as this system forces them to relocate to places and disturb their families. 
This is why we need virtual offices. Fashion designing and software development are works than people can pursue from home. The requirement is that very essential internet connectivity, which today is not a dream. Why do we need Factories without chimneys like Infosys complex and Wipro complex in Bangalore to reap such talents. Because today Infosys and Wipro have been able to gather work force who is willing or forced to relocate but passionate people like Devraj who have a passion for Software Development but are committed to family cannot go to Infosys Bangalore. They, if allowed this luxury of a virtual office can work full time and can provide wonderful results for the company. 
Same way Jagruti could have actually made the best of designs and communicated over the mail or internet or virtual interfaces and become a very successful fashion designer of our country. 
There are so many people like Devraj and Jagruti in T2 and T3 cities who have immense talent but because the Indian Corporates are not encouraging Virtual offices they are not able to succeed. 
Virtual Offices have another big advantage. First of all there would be less traffic in the cities as people would be working from home. Less consumption of Petrol. Less requirement of commercial space so more space for residences. Less movement from T2 cities to Metros so more space in metros. Due to this the residence property rates would be in check and will not blow up. Pollution under control. Telecom services will get a boost as consumption of Data will increase. In short we are looking towards a more peaceful world with equal opportunities. 
If some HR professional is reading this then he/she should contemplate this. IBM is not wrong in implementing this and this is being done very vividly by many other companies. In India this is needed and required. 
When India is having companies who are boasting of world class telecom networks then why this cannot be done in our country? Why cannot we use our talents efficiently? How long shall we be stuck in archaic policies and not do something new? 
Think about it Friends and share your comments. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Telecom and Kejriwal.........(How AAP can actually be a boon for Telecom revolution......)

Dear Friends, 

First of all I apologize for not being able to write blogs on technical subjects for a long time. Telecom Industry is a very demanding industry and I believe all of you will agree that the work we do and the timings we follow are not one of the best for our leisure and health. Night events, planned events, troubleshooting, presentations and explanations.

Still there are some topics that really encourage you to get up and whack your grey cells for sometimes.

One such event was the prominent accession of an Engineer to the throne of Delhi. Yes I am talking about Arvind Kejriwal and his party AAP.

So today my second apology, that the present topic is also not an out and out technical gyaan but something to apply our techniques on.

So the question comes in the mind, how is Kejriwal related to the Telecom development. We saw politicians like RAJA and UPA-1 group only ruin lives of telecom engineers by bringing the slump in the industry, encouraging geriatrics in the field and making things so slow for Telecom that it seemed like a Fiber Cable carrying traffic in Kbps (I am sure people of telecom would understand this, for others this blog is not meant for)

However, Kejriwal is of a different breed. This guy is an engineer (well claims to be), an ex bureaucrat (so is aware of the red-tape in government) and has a modern outlook of inclusive governance. What excited me though was his promises about Free Wi-Fi and CCTV in Delhi. Well why should it not excite any Telecom Engineer (atleast the ones who are committed towards the improvement of this field in real sense.)

Kejriwal's free Wi-Fi and CCTV may look like a fancy to many, but then this is actually a better revenue generating opportunity for the Delhi Government. Not free but low cost Wi-Fi can actually revolutionize and change the face of a metro like Delhi.

Can this man really fulfil
what we dream??????

1. Gets rid of the pathetic/congested 3G networks in Delhi:

The situation of 3G and HSIA in Delhi particularly is pathetic. Low spectrum and high customer base has led to the overall congestion in the network leading to higher latencies and lower quality of experience. You should be very lucky to get 3G connection in Delhi. Low spectrum allocation, the geriatric decision of the UPA government (who actually had no vision of communication explosion and were unscientific people), led to the fact that most of the areas you have 3G running but not efficient.

But behold, Kejriwal's scheme of wifi access points in delhi can prove as a boon towards recovering from such problems. The Wi-Fi infrastructure can be leased to many operators in the city for off-loading their 3G traffic to the wi-fi. This means the data rates can drop. You can actually download an APP in your smartphone and get authenticated by SIM to the WIFI network. The leasing cost should be given by the operators to the Delhi government and this by the way is a very good proposal towards generating Funds for the state exchequer, without loading on the people.

2. Integrates traffic points through CCTV:

Most of the people are thinking that CCTVs are being installed in delhi to prevent crime, especially rape. Well, let me tell you, however misogamist that city may be you do not need 15 lac CCTV cameras to control rape. However, the CCTV cameras can actually serve a lot of good purpose also. Today there are many bottlenecks in the Delhi City region. Munirka, Southex, Dhaula-Kuan signa, Janakpuri, Rohini etc. In most of the cross roads located in these places the traffic distribution is uneven.

With the monitoring of traffic, real time by means of CCTV the Signal timers can be custom SET to provide free flow of the traffic. This actually would mean less rush on the streets during peak hours.

3. Tracking systems made simple:

People can have APP on their mobile handsets and this can interact with the CCTV feedback report by using the WiFi and then they can be provided alternate ways to travel on their Smartphone on the digital map. People can be informed about the traffic situation. People can be informed about the congestion on the streets, all real time. In fact this is proper digital travel experience, that you should be having in a national capital. We expect this from young and dynamic chief ministers.

4. Online complain Cells:

Now for the favourite part when it comes to Delhi. Yes, Crime.... Lot of policemen (who by the way are still under the purview of central government in Delhi) have this uncanny habit of passing the buck when you go to complain. Well not anymore. There can be an APP that actually interpolates locations with police stations. Any crime that occurs at a place (God forbid) the victim can just by one button press on the App and the complain is registered to the nearest police station that is in the jurisdiction, without any human (err should I call it Thulla ) interference.

This APP should also have a followup mechanism and e-mail reporting of feedbacks if any towards the incident.

Well there are so many  things more. Like integrating the CCTV and the Wi-Fi access point in one box. Low cost IP telephony using wi-fi. Encouraging work from home for people and this actually increases a lot of safety and reduces a lot of liability.

So as a Telecom Engineer, who is not quite happy with the way telecom has been handled by the government for the last 13 years, I wish .........No.....not wish......wish is not an appropriate word.

I pray, that sense and logic prevails for the new regime and the new regime is not taken over by dogmatic approach and arrogance. They respect the mandate rather rejoice it and really do something GOOD for this technology called TELECOM, and take it to new heights.

Hoping for the best.... For our Capital,