The first panel discussion at the IAMAI conference on Mobile content and services was on Mobile Technology, the questions the panel tried to answer were:
Language is a barrier for VAS adoption:
Starting the session Chirag Jain,VP Marketing,Webaroo said the key proponents in the whole Mobile VAS system comprised are User and Content, he pointed out that language is one barrier mobile companies have to overcome for a wider VAS adoption in India. Llater in a Q&A session he said that VAS services should be implemented for ease of access to the user and he pointed out that during the ideation of SMSGupshup, Webaroo (its parent comapny) did a test run of their idea at PanIIT, where in they gave fairly complex commands to the delegates to find their friends through sms and later found out lot of errors in their logs construing that complexity doesn’t work even if it is for IITians.
VAS services are not really adding value to the consumer:
Continuing the discussion,Vijay Shekhar Sharma MD – One 97 tried to elucidate how operators are robbing users in the name of VAS services and he stated that he doesn’t really like the term VAS as there is no value that operator is delivering to the user.
He said that Mobile operators and VAS companies are really focussing on increasing their ARPU’s and getting more money out of user, pushing services to their mobiles. Vijay said “pushing mandi rates and weather updates daily to the famer is of no value, if you cannot predict the weather in Delhi, what kind of weather information you are going to send about the remote villages and how useful is it going to be to a farmer?
He said it is a long held myth that VAS users are youth and that pushing two wallpapers @30 Rs a month or charging 3Rs a joke is daylight robbery and there’s no value that a user is getting from it.
Understand the user needs:
Debasis Chatterji, CEO NetXcell pointed out that India is extremely complex with it’s social system. He pointed ot that rather than pushing one or the other service to the user,VAS companies need a greater understanding of the user needs and tailor the services according to the needs of different groups.