Tuesday, June 26, 2007

One more Google Map based Indian web-site? NO…

…we call it technology and innovation applied to purpose!

So finally we made www.idhoom.com live – yesterday night!! It is alpha launch and site is now open for public use, comments and feedback. In less than 24 hours we have seen visits from 32 different cities, across the globe!! This is s a great moral boosting point for all of us at AUGTICS.

I request you, especially the fellow GIS industry professionals (who read this blog regularly), to explore the mapping functions and drop a line in the suggestion box!

This site one of it’s kind in India and is intend to be single point source of information about all the residential societies (apartment complexes) – existing ones as well as new (upcoming) ones.

For the people who live in these societies, we have provided several cool features that will benefit the users. Key advantages:

1. Web presence & unique identity for your society
2. Secure intra-society communication platform
3. Tools to manage your society affairs
4. Mapping features to know your neighbourhood better

Those of you who are searching for the apartment complexes will find the “easy to use”, “google type” search functions handy.

We hope that this site will benefit millions of people. We have planned to bring in several more features for the next launch and hope that time we will have significant content and traffic on the site!

What’s the connection of IDHOOM.COM with real estate? It’s not a property listing site!!! But those who intend to live in a specific apartment complex can use IDHOOM to know details beyond the individual flat they may be interested in selling/renting. That’s all at this stage!!!

What’s our business model to monetize from this site? I will answer this in some future post. But wanted to let you know that this site is first in line of few more “different” ones that will be launching in future – all catering to existing, unmet needs!!

Stay tuned! And if you live in an apartment, get your society registered here to give in a unique presence over WWW and let your fellow residents explore the power of IDHOOM and get benefited!!

Manoj Misra


Sunday, June 24, 2007

Is India a "test" market to train staff or a real GIS market?

So, finally after a long delay, AUGTICS will be launching the Alpha version of "community web-site" for "Society (Apartment/Group Housing) living" . I am very excited that AUGTICS team has created a product that is simple yet powerful. More on this on my next post - very soon!!

I was browsing GIS Development website and read the interview of Mohan Reddy, founder and CMD of Infotech Enterprises. Mohan has done a great job of starting Infotech and making Infotech as one of the top GIS companies in India (revenues in excess of USD 120 Million). So, it's always great to hear/read his view point. In the interview there is one specific Q&A on Indian geospatial market that I am reproducing below (I have highlighted the points that are interesting/relevant to this forum):
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Q. What is the relevance of domestic geospatial market?
A. The domestic market should improve. Due to the lack of a strong domestic market, Indian companies face lot of challenges in the international space. The point is, where will we get the expertise to provide value addition to global customers? If you look at the private sector which started using IT many years ago, as a result of that, you have a strong IT base for the country providing services globally based on experience gained in the domestic market. Coming back to the GIS industry, Survey of India is the only acknowledged mapping agency. There is nothing like a geospatial industry in existence over here. The domestic industry has to take off and there is enormous advantage to derive from it. Because my trainee engineers cannot immediately work on projects overseas, we have to first act locally, with local supervision, which is a cost effective way to train people to provide value added services overseas later on.

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One point comes out clearly. Companies like Infotech look at Indian market for picking up few new skills and train staff and then provide value added service to international clients. Clearly a good strategy!!!


However, there are few completely contrasting view "school of thoughts" are emerging in Indian market! In my past posts, I have referred about a start-up http://www.routeguru.com/

Couple of weeks back RouteGuru was launched for alpha testing. RouteGuru provides simple usable driving direction by using and referring to landmarks, liberally! Something that is very easy for common man to understand. I read review about RouteGuru somewhere and reviewer mentioned that RouteGuru will compete with with local paanwalas and rikshaw-drivers in providing driving directions. What interests me in Routeguru is the "GIS technology" that is applied and also dedication and determination of founder, Avinash Agrawal (an IIT Mumbai graduate, who has worked in the US, Middle East and India for several years and applying his knowledge and skills to serve the Indian market).

So one viewpoint of the Indian market is held by companies like Infotech and the other by new start-up companies like RouteGuru. One views comes from solid experience and proven business leader and other comes from the young entrepreneur, Avinash Agarwal, who has put in his life savings in a start-up venture looking at India as a big market!

I just wish that both contrasting views are strongly up-held in future as well. For that Infotech has to do well in future (more predictable) and "RouteGuru" has to become a viable business!

Manoj Misra

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Who will launch navigable Indian street data first? We now know...

In my June 2 post, I asked the question - Who will launch navigable Indian street data first?

http://manojmisra.blogspot.com/2007/06/who-will-launch-navigable-indian-street.html

The answer is now known. It's Navteq!!
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NAVTEQ First Global Digital Map Supplier to Release Map of India June 14, 2007
Company: NAVTEQIndustry: Wireless / NavigationLocation: Chicago, IL, United States of America

Chicago,IL -- NAVTEQ , a leading global provider of digital map data for vehicle navigation and location-based solutions, has announced its first availability of digital map coverage in India. The NAVTEQ(R) map of India covers a population of more than 53 million and includes over 64,000 kilometers of road for the cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore and the roads connecting these cities. The city centers of six major cities are covered at NAVTEQ's Detailed Coverage level, the highest and most complete database specification. The surrounding city areas include all navigable and named roads. All coverage areas include Points of Interest (POI) which can ease the use of navigation destination functionality or help users locate places and attractions of interest.

India is the world's second fastest growing economy as well as its second largest country in population. "Our customers have told us that focusing on the country's main economic centers enables them to optimize their business plans," stated George Filley, Vice President of Product Management, Americas and Asia Pacific, for NAVTEQ. "Additionally, industry experts anticipate huge growth potential in fleet and tracking solutions. Creating a north-south corridor with the connector roads further extends our customers' potential opportunities."

"We continue to align efforts in support of our customers as they expand their business models to reach further into Asia. And our global specification enables them to gain efficiencies in areas such as compilation which can improve their time to market which is so critical in an economy like this," added Rafay Khan, Vice President, of Business Development for Asia Pacific.

NAVTEQ has extensive coverage in Asia including, along with India, maps for the following countries and territories: Australia, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and through NAV2, NAVTEQ's joint venture in China, a map in China.

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It needs to be, now, seen how Navteq capitalizes on this early mover advantage. And how much time TeleAtlas takes to come up with a competing product?

Whatever is the answer, this is a very positive development for Indian Geospatial and LBS market! Given the fact that there are several LBS companies springing up in India, let's hope we see some Indian nominations in the next NAVTEQ Global LBS Challenge!!!

Manoj Misra

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Indian Real Estate Forum

I am a member of "Indian Real Estate Forum". Even though that forum has got nothing to do with GIS (at least until now!), it's a great source to get information about happening in Indian Real Estate industry. Some of you will find it relevant for yourself and your friends, in case you have any question on Indian Real Estate. The link is www.indianrealestateforum.com

Will be happy to see some of you there,

Manoj Misra

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Who will launch navigable Indian street data first?

So finally good "street-mapping" data for India will be available, soon. And this will be one major step forward in the Indian GIS industry.

There are series of emails floating around about a new JV company in Pune. Without naming the company, there are several job postings that are put. Naukri.com list the following description:

"MNC with a leading global position in digital mapping and geospatial content products, launching a Joint Venture cooperation with an Indian GIS company. Key markets will include in-car navigation, portable and wireless navigation and location-based services in India and South Asia. The Indian operations will be part of a global organisation, covering six continents and activities in 64 countries and will be headquartered in Pune with regional centres throughout India."




From the positions that are there, you can easily make out that that the scale of operations will be massive!!!

Welcome TeleAtlas to India again! (My guess and do let me know if you get information otherwise). Two questions:

1. Why will TeleAtlas need to set-up India operations again (remember TA NOIDA operations was sold to Infotech) when they have good(?) Indian vendors?

2. Does TA JV partner has the management bandwidth to handle the scale?

Whatever is the answer( and definitely these are not the questions for public debate), one thing is for sure, Indian GIS companies will be loosing some staff to this JV operation. And managers will find one more reason for asking their management/board to increase the salaries of their staff to retain them!!! War for talent(?) is on and salaried staff never had it so good!!!

But with these rising salaries, will the Indian GIS companies be able to keep their cost low and remain competitive in the International market? Yes, if they are efficiently run and keep on increasing their top line year-on-year in excess of 30%. Keep a track of the growth!!!
Manoj Misra

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