Persistent Systems : Africa, India and Brazil need to strengthen mobile infrastructure

Persistent Systems has over a decade experience in the
telecom domain and has the requisite telecom expertise to enable mobility solutions
for telecom operators. The company has demonstrated expertise across the entire
device stack and services spanning use experience to device testing to
hardware.  R. Venkateswaran, senior vice president, Head of Mobility &
Embedded Business Unit, Persistent Systems, talks about opportunities in
emerging markets:



Emerging markets are yet to become pioneer in
innovation. What is the guidance to become innovative?


Key to innovation is being aware of the trends and be
absolutely ready to adapt that trend. Focusing on future technologies is what
will help any organization to innovate. Some of the key trends we are seeing
relate to significant growth in traffic with a very large proportion of Mobile
video component, newer category of devices (Tablets, M2M components),
Ubiquitous Mobile connectivity, Proliferation of Mobile Broadband (to the
extent of replacing wired broadband), Tiered pricing (with QoS/SLAs) etc.


What are your plans to bring innovative


At Persistent we are continuously tracking new
technologies and new platforms and are proactively building up our skills on
areas where we see lot of promise. We try to make sure that we are on the
cutting edge of technology through proactive investments (5 percent of our
topline) in building IP components. We also look for ways of working with
customers who have innovative ideas. Our teams are challenged to look for new
ways to do business, new technology to explore, and new products that we can
build together with our customers.


Due to our thought leadership position and our service
offerings in the Telecom business we have the expertise to leverage in other
areas such as Cloud and Analytics to bring a unique blend of service offerings
to customers.


We already have a dedicated Center of Excellence (CoE)
for Apple iPhone and Android platform. Recently, we set up an iPAD Center of
Excellence in Persistent where we have a vision to be the preferred engineering
partner of customers wanting to build customized, innovative mobile applications
for iPad platform. We are also working on Skype, Persistent is a registered
Skype developer and offers a solution to rapidly bring Skype voice and video
calling feature to mobile devices with various form-factors such as handsets,
Set-top boxes, desk-phones and connected TVs. Recently, we were also cited by
Forrester Research as one of the companies having an edge in smartphone
application development.


Can consolidation bring more life to Indian
telecom service providers?


Consolidation is inevitable. While healthy competition
among various Telecom Service Providers has helped to nurture a rapid growth in
Mobility services without increased revenues, it has also put these operators
at risk of maximizing their operational efficiencies. Many operators have
signed up passive infrastructure sharing arrangements that would evolve to
active infrastructure sharing in the coming years. No single operator (other
than BSNL) has procured nation-wide licenses for offering 3G services, so
partnering will be key to offering nationwide 3G services.


Historically, it has been shown that markets thrive only
when there are 3 or utmost 4 players vying for the market share. For these
above reasons, it is inevitable that we are on the path to consolidation.


We strongly believe that consolidation will bring in
further operational efficiencies among the operators and revive their health.
We can only surmise that Regulatory bodies will ensure that the consolidation
does not compromise service quality or lead to unreasonable increase in


What are the mobility business opportunities
in emerging markets such as Africa, India, Brazil and China?


The opportunities in these markets are huge. Especially
in Africa, India & Brazil, where a lot has to be done in terms of
infrastructure. It would be safe to say that these emerging markets are still
at nascent stage when it comes to mobility. If we take example of India, which
is a unique market in itself, there is so much to explore in terms of business
opportunities because of the sheer size and demography of our population.
Telecom operators in India are growing at a phenomenal pace, not only in terms
of subscriber base but also in providing value-added services. IDC expects that
the surge in mobility will be fueled by the spurt in device volumes, new form
factors like tablets and smartphones and millions of mobile apps. The world
will witness a sharp growth from 1.3 to 1.4 billion devices to 2 billion
devices by 2014, IDC predicts.


The study also established that the new emerging world
order is in a state of constant flux. Earlier Europe and US accounted for
71 percent of the global business but in 2001 the word BRIC was coined. And
that changed the face of global business. Now the action has shifted to these
emerging BRIC economies. However, the emerging markets have different
characteristics some are big like China, India and Brazil.


We are also watching the Indian market closely. Our
approach to the Indian market has been to leverage a strong combination of IP
(eg. Skype) combined with solutions around that IP. We are also leveraging our
customers’ products/solutions that can be easily customized for the Indian


What are your investment and expansion plans?


As I said earlier, we have invested in developing an
Android, iPhone and iPad Center of Excellence (CoE) with a vision to be the
preferred engineering partner of customers wanting to build customized,
innovative mobile applications for smartphones. Specifically, we are focusing
on leveraging other expertise such as Cloud and Analytics to target four
vertical industries – Media, BFSI, Healthcare and Education. We believe that
there are tremendous opportunities in these areas – given the adoption of
mobile devices (handsets, tablets, netbooks) and the significant growth of
mobile broadband (3G/4G). We are also working on Skype voice and video calling
feature to embedded devices.


By Team
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