Smart Sky : planning to expand to telecom markets in Africa and Middle East in the next few years

Smart Sky started with a vision to enable
human centric global wireless diffusion.
The Smart Sky team is working on state of the art user
experience by focusing on device design.
Raghava N, founder & CEO of Smart Sky
, shares his views on the future of the
telecom industry in India and how technology is paving the way for convergence
at the handset level.


What is the USP of
your business model?


We have a two pronged
approach to innovation.


The Smart Sky team is
working on state of the art user experience by focusing on device design. The
team has experienced Industrial Designers who have been working on go to market
designs for mobility devices using insight from intense consumer research
studies. The softer aspect of user experience is being delivered through user
interface and associated software. We have also worked towards reducing filed
failures on the hand held devices we have been building.


The rationale behind
extensive end user research that we conducted before conceptualizing designs
for the market is to understand the decision making process of the buyer of the
device. It is clear that the average end user is now extremely demanding, and
is looking for the best features at reasonable costs. Our objective is to
deliver user-centric, feature-rich, high performance, global devices at wallet-friendly


What are the
innovative solutions from Smart Sky?


We are in the
business of designing smart phones and tablets. Our research shows that there
is high demand for segment centric user experience for mobility devices. E.g.
user experience exclusive to medical professionals, retail etc. For instance,
mobility devices for doctors will enable easy access to patient history. There
will be apps to monitor drug interaction and patients’ progress remotely.


Basic usability and
productivity issues can significantly hamper adoption – even more than other
barriers such as costs and installation effort. We are trying to reduce this by
focusing on target segments and designing devices to suit their requirements.


Also, our team is
working productivity enhancing utilities like Smart Profile, Smart Calendar,
Smart Organizers, and Smart Medical History Tracker, which aims to converge
every aspect of the user’s lifestyle, professional engagements, and personal
commitments on to his handset.


What are your
investment and expansion plans?


Smart Sky’s current
growth strategy is focused on looking at expanding its capacity, increasing
innovation in existing product categories and introducing new categories.
Currently, we are focusing on products and segment specific mobility devices in
particular. However in the long run SmartSky is focused on a growth plan to
take a leadership position in end to end homogenous solutions


In terms of
geography, we currently have footprint in India, Europe, and Americas. We are
looking to extend this to Africa and Middle East in the next few years.


To facilitate this,
we are of course looking to build our employee strength and technical skills
significantly over the years.



What are the new
challenges in Indian and other emerging markets?


OEMs in India and
emerging markets are still working in a conservative trading environment,
resulting in less room for value addition in terms of technology. Even as the
consumers in these regions become demanding, there is not much emphasis on
investments in the level of R&D that leads to production of world class


Additionally, the
mobility device market has become crowded. With indigenous and global brands
marking their footprints, there are too many options for buyers, which may lead
to confused buying”. The success of devices is beginning to look like a matter
of chance. At the same time, with new technologies and frequent device/ OS
upgrades, a lot of devices are getting outdated rather quickly. If the sale of
a particular device does not come through, it is flushed in a matter of weeks,
and a new replacement is introduced. There is immense pressure on the ecosystem
to truly understand the user expectations, keep up with technological advances,
and continue to deliver value.


What are the new
demands of enterprise customers?


As the end-to-end
value has not been established for enterprise customers, so far there has not
been a significant change in demand. Email remains the primary requirement of
enterprise mobility that OEMs look to fulfil. The challenge here is to deliver
better user experience at lower costs. Operators are now extending the mobility
offering by tying in productivity enhancement features and applications like
organizers, calendars etc.


However with apps and
smart phones taking over all professional and personal correspondence, this is
bound to change.  According to the Project for Excellence in Journalism, a
research organization that evaluates and studies the performance of the press,
the percentage of people who say they get news online at least three times a
week surpassed newspapers for the first time.  Local, network and cable
television news, newspapers, radio and magazines all lost audience last year.
We believe this trend will also impact the expectations of employees and
consumers. Employees will expect access to important company information on
their smartphone just as they do for any news.  They will want order
status, shipment tracking, inventory updates, pricing, customer history, sales
and services history all accessible from the customer location.


What are the main
industry sectors that will adopt enterprise mobility in the next 1-2 years?


Enterprise mobility
enables a workforce and customers to have instant access to information through
mobile applications anywhere, anytime. People are fundamentally changing the
way they work, and in order to remain competitive, organizations are making
enterprise applications accessible through mobile devices.


Retail is one of the
most critical sectors for enterprise mobility, with key focus on logistics.
Retailers focus on customer-centric, operational and employee-centric mobility
solutions to achieve differentiation. New trends like mobile point of sale and
mobile inventory management will soon become key to running a successful retail
organization and connect with customers in the way they appreciate.


The medical industry
is changing the way doctors connect with their patients. In the west, it is now
common for a doctor to access medical records and history on mobile devices.
Remote patient monitoring is another utility that is proving to be successful.
It is only a matter of time before Indian medical practitioners join the club.


Multi channel banking
has caught up in India in a big way. There is far less human interface involved
in banking transactions and online and mobile banking are the order of the day.
A number of Indian banks have launched their mobile banking solutions and
customized apps to enable anytime, anywhere banking.


Mobile internet
devices will see a lot of traction from the education sector. Remote
teacher-student interface, peer discussions, forums, and remote classrooms
already exist in India. However, this can be leveraged to its full potential
only if the cost of these devices is brought down drastically, and the
indicative time frame for this is anywhere between 3 to 5 years.


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