The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

March - 2008 - issue > Cover Story

Kirusa: Beyond Voice

Jaya Smitha Menon
Sunday, March 2, 2008
Jaya Smitha Menon
A project manager has just fastened his seat belt in the New York to Singapore flight that is ready to take off. A serious software failure at a customer’s place has just been reported to him and this calls for a meeting with his team in Singapore, Bangalore, and New York. He has no time to call up all his colleagues and finalize a conference call, nor the time to peck the keys to send a message. Instead, he records a short message in his phone and sends a group Voice SMS to his colleagues.

On the other side of the globe, the technical lead is discussing the course of action with the team of developers to solve the issue. When he gets back to his seat from the conference room, he finds a Voice SMS from the project manager on his mobile, which he had left on his desk. He clicks and listens to the message and instantly marks the conference call timing in his diary.

Voice SMS is a fast way to send a short message that can be retrieved on the receiver’s end at the subscriber’s convenience. It is similar to an SMS text message. But Voice SMS is much easier to use. When a Voice SMS is sent, an SMS text message is received saying, “Hi, I have sent you a Voice SMS. Click here to listen to your message, or Dial *0* to listen to your message”. One click and you’re listening to your new message in the voice of the sender. You can also reply with your own voice, or forward the message to any other mobile.

This patented technology is pioneered by Kirusa, a New Jersey based company founded in 2001 by Inderpal Singh Mumick and three others who left their comfortable jobs in AT&T and Bell Labs to become entrepreneurs. Roping in 20 customers from different geographies across the globe and with development centers in New Jersey, New Delhi, and Bangalore, Kirusa has positioned itself firmly in the mobile phone industry that is raking in $85 billion as revenues from value added services (VAS).

The global mobile telephony market grew at a rapid pace in the years that followed the founding of Kirusa. Though the growing subscriber base was a positive impact; the Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) has shrunk, pulling down the operator margins. As ARPU declines and voice gets commoditized, the mobile operators are faced with a challenge to retain customers, develop alternative revenue streams, and create a basis for differentiation in high-churn markets. In the wake of changing industry dynamics, telecom operators started looking at Mobile Value Added Services (MVAS) to provide the next wave of growth. From the early days of “Person-to-Person Short Message Service” (P2P SMS), the industry has emerged to witness a growing portfolio of services including graphics and wallpaper downloads, ringtones and caller ring back tones (CRBT), SMS contests, and games. In the background of such innovation in the mobile space, Mumick and the co-founders of Kirusa stepped in to develop a better way for people to send and receive short messages.

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