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Growth and Innovation in VAS
Jagdish Mitra
Monday, February 1, 2010
With the world going ‘mobile’ these days, the scope of enhanced mobility and VAS services play a crucial rule in peoples’ lives as these services offer great scope in improved and effective usability for an end user. The uptake of MVAS services is likely to grow in the years ahead as the offerings are getting increasingly popular with people. The rage for going wireless emanates from the ability to receive or deliver information, whenever and wherever needed.

The widespread adoption of 3G, Wi-Fi, PDAs, music players, display devices, gadgets, and notebooks among others are inevitable in today’s world. They assume the responsibility of adding wings to one’s persona with the advantage of an effective communication model. In the converged world today, VAS offers a great set of valuable utilities for the end user with rich and limitless possibilities symbolizing mobility.

The ever-growing demands of today’s consumer are influenced by the need of ‘digital power’, which offers great functionality than ever before. With the evolving phase of technology, the consumer needs have given a rise to the greater demand for ‘converged media’ and a need of the services that are centered on our lifestyle, offering converged multi-play over a single IP infrastructure, one service provider, one service portal, one bill, and so on. Thus there is a need for

… one touch and single screen control
…on demand, interactive, personalized entertainment unified across screens
…entertainment and information to follow me, across devices
…intelligent home applications to interact with each other and external entities - the supermarket, the bank, et al.

I Want Tomorrow Today, and Much More

The importance of offering innovative services that cater to the demands of consumers and provide enhanced wireless solutions has been intensified by consumers wishing for an enhanced lifestyle. A vast world which is unexplored and untapped yet and offers a wider scope of communications would soon become a way of life for many.

With the new emerging technologies in the mobile market it is possibly the time to get into advance communications with mobile enterprises apps. Mobile initiatives gain high priority ranking for enterprises as this results in high productivity of their employees; also they serve as key drivers for ROI with process improvement. The scope of enterprise mobility holds a strong potential with more user friendly, easy-to-use versions of email, calendaring, and corporate portal access applications amongst others.

What Consumers Demand

The wide range of demands that pour in from the customers include:
…on demand, interactive and personalized entertainment and communication, unified across screens
… a single logical control interface for all services - one portal, multi-modal access
…retaining control, even when on-the-move or outside home
…complexity reduction through intelligent home automation systems – networked for minimal intervention
…peace of mind - family safety and security
…convenience of a single, optimized bill from a single service provider
…services customized to lifestyles and optimized for usage patterns
…one stop shop for end–to-end technology roadmapping, services conceptualization, and implementation
…facilitating creation of state-of-the-art living environments

…keeping pace with the latest technology trends, future-ready, and future-proof
…and a differentiated brand riding on luxury, convenience, and energy-efficiency
…creating enduring value for all stake holders through flexible business models
…a philosophy of upfront investments and managed services
…convergent and scalable platform architecture for rapid service deployment
…easy creation of multi-service bundles and payment options.

The user has been placed at the heart of the system - any service, any device, from anywhere - single point of contact to manage all the services through an intuitive interface, and VAS plays a prime role here.

VAS offers mobility solutions and this plays a vital role in achieving business objectives.
* Mobility provides anytime, anywhere work environment that helps accomplish the need for global presence and introduces flexibility.
* It attracts and helps in retaining the next generation workforce to advance innovative practices in the enterprise.
* It builds on business continuity practices during a crisis.
* It serves as a flexible solution that meets customer needs by combining the entire host of communication devices into one strong business device.

It is understood that entertainment services, which have been the foundation of Indian VAS industry, will continue to grow. However, the focus is also on utility applications that deliver day–to-day consumer needs and also enterprise mobility apps that go beyond email and provide enterprises the ability to do their business and improve productivity of their workforce.

The technology enablers for value added services are keenly focused in servicing the Indian industry opportunity including portal management services for operators and media companies, digital promotion on channels like TV and mobile for brands, media agency, and utility VAS services for consumers like mobile banking. The network VAS products like data optimization for enhancing QOS and mobile entertainment services like multiplayer gaming, blogging, and music experience provided by content providers with unique opportunity for content monetization through off deck portals continue to grow as market essentials.

With the significant growth of mobile telecom industry worldwide, the introduction of advanced technology in the VAS domain is being seen as an innate evolution of existing telecommunications technology. The market holds a wide scope with the niche value added services managed by various telecom and service providers for specific and yet unexplored markets of any geography on a global scale.

For building the success mantra in India, more service providers will be required to offer a value proposition to the segmented market and accordingly align their business objectives with the market volume. The enhanced scope for more and rich value added services would make a significant difference. Services like m-commerce, banking, and location based services will certainly add to the features and applications and enhance user experience.
The business objective of offering premium value added services to the subscribers and to differentiate from the incumbent mobile operator prevents the MVNO competing on the basis of the pricing factor alone. The VAS operators can drive growth with the new and innovative strategies and can deliver the unique solutions to meet their customer requirements.

Clearly, market penetration and competition between existing operators are such that reduced prices can’t be the sole driver for any new operator or a service provider wanting to start a service; differentiation has to come from the offerings and VAS.

But this impact would still create an opportunity as existing operators would look forward to invest in new avenues for revenue enhancement, and new business models would be evolving for consumers, as price would be a concern. And the mobile VAS companies would keep on focusing on synergistic inorganic growth; hence mergers and acquisitions would be generally unchanged as compared to a year ago.

The innovative practices that have taken rapid strides, livening up the expectations of becoming a global technology hub, will be on a sprint soon with our futuristic technology providing a far superior reach to our dreams - whenever you want it and wherever you need it. It is based on the premise of making you find the right choice. The VAS services are not just confined to this solution, but belong to a new lifestyle experience where customers can find the widest range of innovative solutions and much more, forging a winning partnership to build con verged services for the future.

The author is CEO, Canvas M
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