All posts by Debjit

Debjit does some excellent analysis of the Indian technology front and digital media news in India. He is passionate about all things Microsoft but loves open source too! Get in touch with him @dkd903

Times Internet Launches Spiritual Social Network: SpeakingTree.in

Times of India Group’s consumer internet division, Times Internet recently launched a spiritual social networking website: SpeakingTree.in. The website has been named after a daily column “Speaking Tree” which appears on the editorial page of Times Of India’s print edition. Speakingtree.in lets users in India interact with spiritual top guns like Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Deepak Chopra, Jaggi Vasudev and others. The website already has 2000 registered users since it’s initial beta launch on November 25, 2010.

The website has a lot of content like blogs, forums, photos and videos which are all generated by users. This is in addition to the regular Speaking Tree articles which appear on the Times of India newspaper (print edition). As of now, SpeakingTree.in has over 3,000 spiritual articles spread across various categories such as Vantage Wisdom, Science of Spirituality, New Age Insights, Inner Engineering, Wellness and Holistic Living.

Currently, Times Internet plans to target only the spiritually inclined people and those who want to interact and converse with fellow seekers.

Sequoia Invests $30M In Remote Tech Support Company – iYogi

iYogi is the first worldwide direct-to-consumer services brand from India and the company offers desktop and laptop computer support services to home users and small businesses. The company also does remote configuration of computer peripherals such as printers, scanners or wireless routers. iYogi has seen a 300% increase in it’s annual revenues with the revenues for the current fiscal are expected to stand at $65 million.

This enormous growth made sure that the company does not go un-noticed by potential investors and none other than Sequoia Capital India invested $30 million in Noida based company iYogi. Sequoia will pick up a minority stake iYogi. This fresh funding will help iYogi to expand it’s business to Europe, West Asia and India in addition to it’s existing service bases in North America, Canada, the UK and Australia.

LinkedIn Launches “Company Pages” For All Indian Companies

LinkedIn is a special networking website that helps over millions of professionals around the world connect with each other. Recently LinkedIn introduced a feature called “Company Pages” to help companies attract new customers by displaying their products, services and recommendations in a trusted environment. However, this feature was currently available to only 3 companies in India – Volkswagen India, Spear Logistics and Indus Net Technologies.

But now this feature – “Company Pages” has been made available to all Indian Companies irrespective of the company size and it’s business. This is a welcome move from LinkedIn as in today’s digital world, online showcasing and advertising surely helps companies to market their products better.

Hari V Krishnan, country manager for LinkedIn India said that LinkedIn has more plans about engaging with Indian Businesses in real time. He also said that LinkedIn will continue to invest in understanding the Indian consumer’s demands and concluded by saying that LinkedIn has seen almost 100 per cent growth in India this year.

Govt. To Launch Websites For Investor Education

In order   to enable more and more common people or rather common investors to participate in the capital markets, the Government has decided to launch investor education Web sites in all regional languages.   The govt. feels that with literacy levels being low in Indian society, making investor education Web sites available in regional languages will encourage more people to participate in the investment process and thus increase awareness among common people.

Dr Manmohan Singh – the prime minister of India will launch these investor education Web sites today (i.e., December 14) as a part of the India Corporate Week 2010′ which starts today. The Corporate Affairs Ministry of India has already been holding a lot of investor awareness programmes across the country with this year the number of programmes being a whopping 3,000 as compared to the last year count of only 300.

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FashionAndYou raises $8M, RedBus Named Best Internet Startup

FashionAndYou.com is an online retail shop for luxury fashion goods in India where membership can be obtained only by invitation sent by the site or its existing members. The concept is a hit and has really caught up with Indian consumers. FashionAndYou.com has scaled up fast in a very little time thus making them eligible for a big ticket investment from Sequoia Capital.

FashionAndYou.com recently raised $8 million investment from  Sequoia Capital India and now the company plans to use the funds to enhance its product offering, strengthen its enterprise technology and expand its distribution capacity. In India, Sequoia has invested in over 50 companies including Cafe Coffee Day, Dr Lal PathLabs, Idea Cellular, Just Dial and Shaadi.com.

In other internet news in India, RedBus.in – an website that started selling bus tickets in India for the first time , has been awarded the Best Internet Startup of the Year’ at India Digital Awards 2010 held along   with the 5th India Digital Summit organised by Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) in New Delhi on December 7-8, 2010

RedBus.in is a Bangalore based startup founded by three BITS Pilani graduates has come a long way in the business of online bus ticket vending. RedBus has over 250 bus operators as it’s partners with buses that ply on over 3600 routes throughout India.

TRAI Suggests Rs.60,000Cr Broadband Plan For Villages

To boost broadband penetration in the country, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has suggested rolling out an optical fibre cable network across the country at a whopping cost of Rs 60,000 crore. Here are the details of TRAI’s plans for the same:

  • An autonomous body – National Optical Fibre Agency (NOFA) will be created under the Central Government.
  • A State Optical Fibre Agency will be formed at the state level whose 51 per cent equity will be vested with NOFA and 49 per cent by the respective State government.
  • Project to be financed by the Universal Service Obligation fund and grants from the Government.
  • New network will be rolled out in two phases by 2013 and TRAI has set a target of 75 million broadband connections by 2012 and 160 million connections by 2014.
  • 25.45 lakh km of fresh optical fibre to be laid all across India in order to meet bandwidth requirements. Current lines are limited only to Tier-1 cities.

eBay India Census 2010: e-Shopping On The Rise, e-Commerce Booming!

eBay recently conducted the online India census 2010 and the results of this census point to only one direction – India Shining Online! Here is a summary of the results of the eBay India Census 2010 according to which, the most sought-after product purchased from rural areas on eBay are the entry-level mobile phones. eBay has 3,296 e-commerce hubs of which 1,054 are rural towns whereas this number was 747 last year.

Coming to sale comparision between metros and rural areas, users from metros mostly buy smart phones and feature-rich handsets whereas users from rural areas mostly buy entry-level mobile phones. Coming to computer peripherals, users from the metros are mostly interested in netbooks whereas rural consumers are buying desktops which they feel are robust.

The cities Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur, Chennai and Bangalore as ranked as the top five e-commerce hubs on eBay in the eBay India Census 2010. South India alone accounts for 38 per cent of buyers on eBay. Buyers from West come second at 28 per cent. Coming to Kolkata, most dealers deal in technology and collectibles. 42 per cent of the total products shopped include technology, whereas 39percent account for collectibles as per the eBay census.

Airtel To Launch IPTV In Bangalore

Bharti Airtel is all set to launch it’s IPTV (IP Television) service in Bangalore this week. Bharti has already launched Airtel IPTV in the Delhi NCR region and is being actively used by 40,000 users. IPTV is a digital television service where the channels are piped from the internet into TV sets of consumers through fibre optic cables.

Bharti’s Chief Marketing Officer Girish Mehta says that the company is looking at Bangalore as the 2nd Indian city to launch IPTV as the city is technology savvy and Bharti has over 1.8 lakh Airtel Broadband subscribers in the city. Airtel now plans to offer customers with a single customer service interface which takes into consideration voice, broadband and TV and video entertainment bills of the customers. The wired lines on the customer premises will be split using splitters to provide, telephony, broadband and IP TV services.

Airtel’s IPTV supports Time Shift’ which allows users to view any TV programme from an earlier date in the last seven days from the server. Users will also be able to pause, fast forward or fast backward programmes (only Movies as of now). Existing Airtel broadband customers can get IPTV with a top up of Rs 249 per month. This package will contain 127 TV channels. Airtel will also offer a Video-On-Demand service to it’s IPTV customers.

MNP Receives Low User Response In Haryana

A couple of days back we had told you that Mobile Number Portability (MNP) was launched for the first time in India in the state of Haryana. Well, it seems that users all the initial wave that was generated by MNP has now slowed down and the figures say that most cellphone users in Haryana are not highly interested to switch to MNP.

Around 30,000- 35,000 customers in Haryana have requested to change their cellular operator. This number happens to be less than 1% of the 17 million strong consumer base in Haryana. Now the operators have started believing that at this rate, only less than 1.5 per cent of the subscriber base will opt for MNP in the next two months.

Operators have revealed that post-paid subscribers are more likely to request for a change in their operators via MNP and just two to three per cent of the porting requests which are coming from post-paid subscribers, who happen to be only three per cent of Haryana’s subscribers base.

Reliance Launches Mobile Data Portal For 3G Services

Reliance Communications is gearing for the upcoming 3G wave in India and for this it has launched a new mobile data portal called R World. The portal will provide users with a complete 3G end-to-end mobile Internet and data services to 120 million Reliance mobile subscribers. The portal is powered by Motricity’s mCore platform.

With R World, users can access their email (Gmail, Windows Live, Ovi Mail) and social networks (Facebook, Twitter) with one login thus keeping the users out of hassles to re-enter different passwords and user IDs over and over again. R-World has a RSS reader using which users can browse through feeds and add them to their home page and get the most relevant news, sports and content.

Reliance Communications has secured 3G spectrum rights in 13 circles which include the metros Delhi and Mumbai and some cities in the category ‘C’ circle and plans to launch 3G services by the end of December this year. R-World for 3G will definitely help Reliance mobile subscribers to get started with 3G.

via TelecomTalk