Sunday, October 18, 2009

Flying Pest Control System

I have heard of Pest controllers that catch and zap flying insects. But have you heard of Flying Insect Control System? Well, I did see one in a Chennai restaurant and I was shocked for a moment !! Mind blowing isn't it?



Wishing all readers of this blog a happy Diwali !!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Digital Data Overload – Can we make sense of it all?

It is amazing how the advent of the Digital age and its progress have made us more productive and able to extract the juice of it all for deriving the perceived benefits. However, at the same time, what we have failed to notice over the same period is the amount of data we are creating, processing and storing. Here are some eye-openers

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  1. A single terabyte equals 1,000 gigabytes and could store about 1,000 copies of the Encyclopedia Britannica.
  2. A new system called the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope is set to take detailed images of larger chunks of the sky and produce about 30 terabytes of data each night.
  3. The Sloan Digital Sky Survey in New Mexico in its first two days of operation gathered more data than in all previous history of astronomy
  4. Facebook uses more than 1 petabyte of storage space to manage its users’ 40 billion photos i.e. 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes. This amount of data can store 500 billion pages of text. 1 Petabyte equals 1000 Terabytes = 1,000,000 Gigabytes
  5. Google churns through 20 Petabytes of information every single day just running data analysis jobs.
  6. The Large Hadron Collider, in Geneva, will create enough data to fill 1.7 million DVDs every year

What do you make of this ?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tracking the best websites in India

comScore rates websites and portals across the world. My need of the hour was to find some Indian player who was doing something akin to comScore albeit with a India focus. Thanks to my friend at AlooTechie, one of his newsletters contained just that.

ViziSense does just what I needed. Categorize Indian websites into 21 different categories and lists the websites as per their rank. This rank is based on the Unique Users (UU) who visit them in monthly.

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What’s sure to tickle your grey cells more is that you can drill down further for any website and get demographic, geographic traffic data for users. I drilled down on Rediff and it gave me a plethora of data and even something unique like stating that the Confidence Factor on this site’s data is high.

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The other interesting aspect is a further drilldown available on the sub domains of Rediff.

How does Vizisense do all this? They have a tagging methodology where the respective site owners are given a unique HTML code that they embed in every page on their site. When Internet users access these pages, a trigger alert is sent to Vizisense that captures the best available data on the user.

What's more…You can register your site too… and get it shall I say “Vizisensed”?

Monday, October 12, 2009

2 mass adoption ideas to make eReaders affordable

Has the ebook finally come of age? With all the rage and hoopla surrounding back to back announcements by Amazon on its lower priced and internationally available Kindle and Sony’s Reader and a slew of other ebook reader players, it may be so. While the speed of developments has been amazing, the price-tags of eBook readers has been disappointing.

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Kindle at $279 (approx INR 12973) for the international version and Sony’s eReader at $299 (approx INR  13903) and $199 (approx INR 9300) for the Touch and Pocket editions are still beyond the reach of the average man in developing countries. Tracing back, you can easily place your finger on two reasons

  1. The relatively new e-paper/e-ink technology that needs to go some way before it can become cheaper
  2. The usual chicken and egg story of mass adoption needed for prices to come down and vice versa

While problem 1 is being addressed by industry players like AUO, problem 2 might need some out of the box thinking by the Amazons’ and the Sonys’ of the world. Here are 2 ideas that should set them thinking

  1. Target the schools in the developing world: Students in India and China and other parts of the developing world lug kilograms of textbooks to school and back every day. eReaders might just be the solution out. A low cost eReader and tie-ups with major text book publishers might just be a prescription to promote mass adoption of eReaders
  2. Target the millions of early morning news paper readers: Why not come out with a no frills version of the ebook reader that news paper agents rent out to their readers and exchange every morning with an alternate one that is loaded with the latest newspaper(s). The previous day’s eReader is collected back to be replenished with the next day’s news.
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Friday, October 09, 2009

Impact of the One Second Tariff in India

Yet another instance of a revolutionary feature introduced by a market laggard to leap ahead of competition forces TRAI (Telecom and Regulatory Authority of India) to think of mandating the feature across cellular service providers. Tata DoCoMo garnered a big chunk of subscribers by offering the one-second mobile tariff plan. And heavens opened up. Idea, BSNL, MTS followed suit. Bharti  Airtel said a no-no. Reliance entered the fresh season of price wars by announcing alternate schemes.

All this leaves TRAI mulling on making the One Second Tariff mandatory. Looking at this from two perspectives

Customer Perspective

  1. Welcome ChangeThe customer was suffering under the 1 min pulse plan where on an average 20-25 seconds of unused airtime was being paid for by the customer for every call. With the 1 second tariff, the customer pays 1 paise per second that translates to a lot of rupees saved for heavy usage customers over a period of time.
  2. Accelerate Mobile Connectivity in India – A greater section of the society for whom owning a mobile was still a borderline dream will now come under the throes of the mobile revolution.

Service Provider Perspective

  1. Negatively affects the ARPU (Average Revenue Per User). In a country where the average ARPU is one of the lowest in the world (about $7 per month per user), this will put additional pressure on the players and might even lead a fresh round of consolidation among the players.
  2. Tougher Entry Barrier – Mandating the one-second tariff also means that TRAI might be erecting an inadvertent barrier to the entry of new players. The need to work with a lower ARPU and garner a huge subscriber base without any real differentiator in offerings is a tough job

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