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NRI whiz to tap Indian mobile market
January 16, 2006 14:15 IST
At a time when even humble delicacies like 'masala dosas' cost around Rs 20 in an ordinary restaurant, Indian tech entrepreneurs are dishing out emerging technology applications for a twentieth of that cost.
One amongst such IT wizards is Guru Thalapaneni, the Indian-born, US-based president and CEO of Remoba Inc who is presently in India to market four of his indigenously developed products -- Remomail, iPhonebackup, iDatebook and iPhonebook -- targetted at the rapidly-proliferating mobile market.
"This is the right time for a product like my Remomail which has global applications and can work on both GSM and CDMA platforms," he says.
Remomail is poised for simultaneous launch in the Indian and the United States markets and a couple of months later in South America, while the other three products from the Remo stable are already being hosted by the Tata Teleservices network.
iPhonebackup, iDatebook and iPhonebook were all launched in November 2005 and have met with an encouraging response.
"We are also in negotiations with a few other service providers," informed Thalapaneni.
Remomail, which Thalapaneni describes "as an e-mail on the go," is a direct connection to one's personal and business e-mail accounts and will also be hosted by Tata Teleservices.
Extremely user-friendly, Remomail is a mass-market product from which one can manage and respond to e-mails through one's cell phone.
A cutting-edge technology which will be available in the Indian market at the same time as in the US and highly cost-effective at just Re 1 per day or Rs 30 a month, Remomail has the potential to considerably increase the traffic of content through cellphones in India where presently voice traffic holds considerable sway, he says.
Aiming for a customer base of one million 'conservatively' in the first year of its launch and five million customers worldwide in the same period, Thalapaneni is betting on volumes to strike it big in India.
Quoting statistics to support his claims, the tech wizard who has worked with IT giants such as Altera, Samsung, AMD and Flextronics in the US since the 1980s when he first migrated there, Thalapaneni said that by 2009 almost 50 per cent of the world population will possess a cell-phone.
"Today, the global cell-user base stands at 2 billion which will jump to 3 billion in the next three years. Even if a small percentage of this user-base uses Remomail, the potential is immense," he points out.
In India too, the mobile market is exploding. While it took 30 years for landline phones to touch the 30 million mark, the cellphone user-base has expanded phenomenally to 80 million now with 200 million new subscribers expected to be added to the list by 2008.
On the USP (unique selling proposition) of his product, Thalpaneni said while Remomail allows access to Internet mails such as Hotmail, Yahoo and Google besides office mail 24x7 anywhere, it also supports Outlook, Outlook Express and Lotus notes besides possessing excellent folder management including IMAP sub-folders. It also posseses up to 50 configurable 'quick messages' for easy replies.
The second product -- iPhonebackup, enables a user to store all his contacts such as phone numbers and addresses on the cell. Again hosted on the Tata Teleservices network for just Rs 30 a month, one can access information even if it is saved on a server. This information can even be transferred from one phone to another and safely downloaded, if required.
This product too is targeted at the mass market. iDatebook, the third product, facilitates synchronisation of calendar events from desktop to cellphone and vice-versa on a real-time basis.
"One can transfer the required data to the cellphone from a desktop and even make modifications on either," explained Thalapaneni. "This two-way synchronisation makes iDatebook a highly-useful tool for on-field staff," he added.
Highlighting the advantage of iDatebook, Thalapaneni said one can use any computer to access, manage or change one's appointments even when away from one's own PC or cellphone.
"One can even have SMS alerts set up through this." iPhonebook, which Thalapaneni feels is an equally good money-spinner as the other products, also enables two-way synchronisation between the cellphone and the desktop of all contact details stored in either.
Remoba also offers a suite of three products - Remomail, iPhonebook and iDatebook -- targetted at the SMEs, large enterprises and even the small customer.
Again a highly cost-effective and useful tool in today's business environment, this "mobile office suite" as Thalapaneni describes it, allows a user to access e-mails and provides at the fingertips all the phonebook and datebook information required by the user.
Thalapaneni now plans to launch products tailor-made to industry verticals such as the healthcare industry and other enterprises.
He already has a facility in Bangalore set up at an investment of $1 million and plans to pump in another million soon. The total investment over the last five years including in the development of the products has been to the tune of $50 million. His company has already made a name for itself by winning the 'Best Business Application' award in 2005.