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June - 2006 - issue > Company Profile
Coding-for-the-Carriers
Mohammed Shariff
Thursday, June 1, 2006
Take this. The number of Indians owning a feature rich mobile phones like BlackBerry and HP iPaq is surging very fast. PDAs like these literally help you carry your office along. With the ease of email, Internet, and an entire gamut of software enabled functions; PDAs have become an important part of life.

Now take this. You lose your PDA. What would you do? Lodge a complaint with the police and wait till the phone is restored to you? Smart Work. Call your operator to disable the phone. How about the data stored on the PDA? Losing any data could be disastrous. How can one retrieve all the data saved in the phone?

Retrieving data saved in your phone on air is next to impossible. Telephone signals that run your phone cannot rescue you and your operator is helpless. However realizing massive market potential in data retrieval, operators across the world have begun deploying technology that makes data accessing data in lost phones possible. One of the companies enabling these functions is New Jersey based mFormation Technologies, a mobile device management solutions company.

With a development center in Bangalore, the company has enabled operators to increase their revenue by offering value added services like emails, picture and video messaging, enhanced graphics and Internet capabilities. “Mobile phones have become an essential part of people’s communication needs,” says Bhaskar Sharma, Country Manager and Director of India Operations, mFormation.

Sharma says the Bangalore development center, that celebrated its first year in May, is involved in the whole product life cycle starting from architecture and high level design to implementation, testing, quality assurance, bug fixes and customization based on specific requirements of the customers. Engineers here have been developing solutions that help operators like the world’s biggest wireless carrier Vodafone and scores of other large, medium and smaller operators to be more customers responsive and in turn take up more challenges to enhance their services.

Analyze this. You have a high end GPRS phone and need an upgradation or Microsoft has launched a newer version of the windows mobile operating software. You want it in your phone and contemplate buying a new phone that is compatible. Or look towards mFormation that offers over-the-air upgradation of the phone to install new software or functions and configure settings.

These customized products are offered to carriers who have deployed them in various markets like the U.S., U.K., Europe and Asia. “Many mobile operators in the world are using mFormation’s products because of our innovative technology and profound knowledge in the wireless arena,” Sharma says.

This has aided mobile operators in increasing the demand for mobile data devices at low costs by improving data service delivery and enhancing value added services. Some of their products that are in the market are Configuration Manager, Software Manager, Customer Experience Manager, Diagnostic Manager and Enterprise Manager.

Configuration Manager helps configure phones instantly. The market is dotted with low-end phones-with basic features to smart phones that are nothing less than computers on the move. Configuration Manager assists customers to reconfigure their devices without visits to the customer-care centers or the service centers.

Diagnostic Manager module makes customer care easy. It provides on-time diagnosis for customer device and service problems. “Customers need not bring the device to the showroom for the support. This system can resolve the problem accurately on air,” Sharma adds. Customer Experience Manager monitors customer behavior, feel and spending habits. For instance, a customer buys only one brand of perfume or requests for some information over the Internet on phone, like a website, the phone will pull up only that brand and show it to the customer. Interesting isn’t it!

At this age when traveling for business is a frequent ritual, people are dependant on their wireless device. Although business firms and corporates have a special need, the common wish is to secure corporate data. mFormation has an Enterprise Service Manager that provides a corporate secure portal for self-management of the employees’ devices, software and settings. “For common users we have Software Manager where a customer can update and change the software over the air by using our application,” says Sharma.

Besides Design and implementation, product innovation and R&D is also being done at the Bangalore center. “Engineers here are involved in every process till the product reaches the market,” says Sharma. Which means techies have access to products or phones even before it reaches the market. mFormation is looking for engineers’ with thorough knowledge of building highly scalable, distributed telecom applications. “We have a large number of customers and we need to come out with outstanding quality products in a short period of time,” says Sharma.

Sharma notes that the job involves taking on greater responsibility to solve complex technical issues, understanding and resolving customer issues, getting involved in various standard bodies, interacting with technical teams of technology partner companies. “Working in a company that is into a nascent but rapidly evolving area there are huge opportunities for technical growth,” Sharma mentions. The products of mFormation justify the innovative culture at mFormation.

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