Over the past few years, technology has taken over every aspect of life. Everything around us has already gone or is going digital. Hence it was prudent that even the humble TV had to undergo digitization. Star India pioneered the digitization of TV in India with the launch of Hotstar.

Digitization has changed the face of TV entirely and revolutionized the way we consume content.

Why has digital TV become a hit?

The utility and convenience of digital content have made it an integral part of everybody’s life. People have embraced the digitization of the Indian TV industry as it offers numerous benefits. With this anytime anywhere TV, you will never miss a show. To add to that, you can access to all your favorite shows in one place. Since Indian audiences are heavy consumers of TV content, Digitization of TV was a dream come true. Now, you can watch your favourite shows as per your convenience without compromising on other plans. A number of people prefer watching digital content while commuting. This gives them more time for other activities and also serves as a great on-the-go entertainment.

Launch of Hotstar

The digitization of Star TV rocked the digital TV industry. Star India launched its unique video streaming platform, Hotstar, in February 2015, which soon became a sensation. The app with its unique content, supreme quality, multiple features, and user-friendly interface had the audiences glued to the screens in no time. The Star digital revolution unwrapped new avenues for the digitization of the TV industry.

How did Hotstar trigger the digital revolution?

Even since its launch, Hotstar has been breaking records. Hotstar was introduced at a time when Internet speed in India was very slow. Which is why it was developed in such a way that it streamed videos seamlessly even at a low speed of 50 kbps. Its launch was timed perfectly, which was just before the start of the ICC World Cup 2015.

Within just a week of its launch, Hotstar got 1.5 million downloads and topped the list of free apps on Google PlayStore. This was a remarkable feat as it took Facebook 10 months, Twitter 12 months, and Instagram 2.5 months to reach the level of one million downloads.

The success story of Hotstar did not stop here. In another 33 days, the app downloads reached 10 million. In 18 months, the download crossed 72 million; while Netflix took nine years to reach 75 million. In January 2017, it was found that Hotstar app downloads had crossed the mark of 175 million.

The astounding figures clearly portray the onset of the digital era of Indian TV, and how it was transformed with the entry of Star India’s Hotstar. Clearly, Star India was instrumental in paving the way for digitization in India. It intensified the competition in the market and compelled aggregators to perform better. The rising value also enabled new entrants to take an interest in the market, thus pushing the message of Digital India.

To know more about how Star India led Indian television into the digital era, click here

Technology is evolving at a very rapid pace, with technologies & trends like Artificial Intelligence [AI], Machine Learning [ML], Chatbots, Augmented Reality [AR], etc. creating a dent in every possible sector. Few years back, when you were interested in buying a property, you had to personally visit the site, evaluate & inspect it and than come at some logical conclusion.

With the advent of AR/VR, consumers can now have a look at the property/flat from the comfort of their homes thereby saving time as well as money [for the real-estate company that mostly bears the cost of the site-visits]! Artificial Intelligence is already disrupting the real-estate sector.

When we talk about online real-estate Housing.com, PropTiger.com and Makaan.com immediately comes to our minds. All these companies have been game changers in their own respect, having varied business models. Today, we have a chat with Ravi Bhushan, Group CPTO, Housing.com, PropTiger.com and Makaan.com about emerging technological trends, AR/VR, Chatbots, etc.

Being a CPTO of multiple portals which are into real-estate, as a PM what are some of the data points that you use to ensure that the right set of features are deployed in the respective portals ?

For all the three platforms, i.e. Housing.com, PropTiger.com and Makaan.com, we have different business models that cater to both common and unique use cases. At a high level, I keep a close watch on the following data points

  • Traffic growth and quality
  • Engagement and conversion metrics
  • Supply growth
  • Demand supply match metrics
  • Quality score of content on a platform
  • Customer’s satisfaction score

There are has been lot of talks about AI, Machine Learning [ML] in the real-estate sector, how much impact will AI and ML have on the sector ?

I feel that there is tremendous scope of AI and ML in the digital real estate sector. Some of the areas wherein we are deploying and evaluating these technologies include:

  • AVM for price estimation in real estate
  • Lead quality scoring, based on the consumer’s behaviour [online + offline] data
  • Sentiment analysis around projects and developers based on the UGC data on IREF
  • Image classification and image quality check of listings
  • Automatic response by bots on real estate queries based on the knowledge base we have across platforms

How will emerging trends like AR/VR enhance the buying experience and how it can act as a compliment to physical site visits ?

Technology in the AR/VR sector is growing at a fast pace. Most of the global powerhouses are extensively investing in AR/VR related technology. An immersive viewing experience of a property [which does not exist] by using virtual reality, significantly solves the use case of visiting a sample flat. This technology can complement physical site visits in two ways

  • With these technologies one can do virtual site visits without any risk as visiting the site physically to experience the progress can be risky during construction
  • AR can be of immense value when it comes to customizing your house and get a near to a real glimpse of your future house

Can you list down top five features of PropTiger, Makaan, Housing from technological point of view vis-a-vis its competitors ?

I have listed the top five features that set us apart from our competitors

  • Comprehensive coverage of ratings and reviews of agents provided by genuine home seekers on Makaan.com solving the issue quality differentiation between sellers.
  • Makaan.com: First platform with real time authentic transaction data in Indian real estate
  • Category’s most innovative and user friendly maps based experience of 100% verified listings on Housing.com solving the issue of information asymmetry.
  • Category’s first ever web based virtual reality solution for most advanced visualisation [Sample flat, unit plan, construction updates, locality] targeting millions of internet users without any tech. barrier.
  • Deep learning based lead quality scoring engine based on consumer’s behaviour [Online + Offline].
Ravi Bhushan – Group CPTO (Housing.com, PropTiger.com and Makaan.com)

Chatbots are now becoming main stream with Fintech, Banks, etc. how can chat bots be used to enhance the overall buying experience ?

Chatbots concept is still very early for real estate sector. The important thing to notice is that unlike many other sectors, in real estate, the search pattern is very broad. However, we definitely feel that with time there will be adoption in real estate and in order to ensure that we lead it from the front, we have already invested in this technology.

In fact, we are the first one to launch Facebook bot based search experience through which one can search and call sellers from the chat window itself on Makaan.com.

What are some of the measures taken by your product/tech team to provide ‘customized’ buying/selling experience and to ensure that there is a maximum conversion rate ?

There are many things which are done in this direction. Some of the important measures followed by us include:

  • Relevance logic: Matching of user intent with the property options provided during the search journey
  • Ratings/Reviews: One of the main goals for home seekers is also to find out the right seller and for that authentic ratings/reviews are very important. We are working really hard to ensure that this use case is addressed properly.
  • Drip marketing: Real estate being long buying cycle, drip marketing at various stages of the journey to bring back consumers and make them convert is also a significant area
  • High quality content: On Housing & PropTiger, we have 100% verified listings and on Makaan we have most comprehensive reviews and ratings. We also power our platform with the UGC from the biggest forum in Indian real estate which we own.

Searching for ‘your kind of flat’ is still a tedious process on real-estate portals [where search can go upto how many rooms, area, etc.], what are some of the challenges to have these initial search terms integrated in a voice-based engine so that there are less number of user interactions [with the device] ?

We have made some great progress in our Audio related technologies to parse and meaningfully understand the home seeker-seller interactions. As far as voice searches are concerned, we already have this feature in our PropTiger app. Based on the traction, we will further enable the same in our other platforms.

With the advent of sub 1500 phones, new segment of customers have emerged that could be first time data users. Are there any plans of PropTiger/Makaan/Housing to cater to this market [be it a light-weight app/site, etc.] ?

Yes, this is an area of opportunity for us to penetrate further in tier 2/3 cities in India. Jio being a light weight HTML5 based app ecosystem, we are willing to launch our experiences as soon as it is allowed. Having said that, we have already invested in technologies like Progress Web Apps [PWA], Instant apps to provide app like experience to our web users and we look forward to tap any such opportunity in future.

From a product feature point of view, there has been less push to lure multi-lingual audience [e.g. Certain audience in  Kolkata might not be well versed with English but good in their native language], is there any push to cater the non-English speaking audience ?

We are witnessing some noticeable shift towards the vernacular space and we see this as an opportunity. We have already started to write some regional content on some of our content platforms such as PropGuide, MakaanIQ, Housing News, etc. Based on the traction, we will further invest in this direction.

What are some of the emerging trends in the tech-space and where do you see the real-estate sector [from tech point of view] couple of years down the line ?

With better government regulations, reforms & advancement of technology, the information asymmetry will reduce significantly in the coming years. The online platform will push their boundaries in terms of reaching towards closure to transactions.

The centralized listing content source [like MLS in other countries] is bound to emerge and lots of physical activities will be replaced with advancement in visualization technology related to AR/VR/3D space.

We thank Ravi Bhushan for sharing his insights with our readers. If you have any questions for Ravi, please email them here or share them via a comment to this article.

NI, the provider of systems that enable engineers and scientists to solve the world’s greatest engineering challenges, today successfully hosted the 14th edition of NIDays – an annual conference on graphical system design – in Bangalore. The event was attended by over 700 engineers, scientists, and experts from Industry and Academia who discussed the trends, opportunities and challenges that will enable the future technology to grow faster.

At the seminar, NI India discussed the next generation of LabVIEW software, LabVIEW NXG 1.0, that gets faster engineering insights with instant hardware discovery, integrated data analysis, and interactive data exploration tools. The attendees got to experience LabVIEW NXG 1.0 and LabVIEW 2017 with experts from Applications Engineering and NI RnD. NIDays offered 22 technical & academic track sessions and tutorials along with a wide range of products and application demonstrations.

Speakers and exhibitors from automated test domain joined the event. The diverse set of panelists shared their experiences and best practices in the areas of processes, management and technology that address the challenges and opportunities for future systems.

Addressing the media at the event, Jayaram Pillai, Managing Director – IndRAA, National Instruments, said

Over the years, we have partnered with local and global experts in our Alliance program, constantly striving to innovate and evolve with every challenge and opportunity that comes our way. With technology growing sooner that predicted, it is inspiring to see all the future ready innovation and products at this year’s NIDays. It gives me immense pride to witness the passion and determination from the engineering community and I look forward to see what’s next.

Commenting on the success of the event, Shelley Gretlein, NI Vice President of Corporate Marketing, National Instruments, said

As we are racing through the 21st century, where technological progression is faster than ever before, the demand for faster and smarter applications is essential. We help our customers to keep up with the pace by providing industry trends impacting the industry along with actionable insights. Our open, software-centric platform aids in developing cutting-edge innovative solutions in areas such as machine learning applications, wireless technology, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and transportation. Now we can truly be prepared for our future.

Presented at NIDays, NI’s Trend Watch 2018 examined the technological advances propelling towards a future faster than ever before along with some of the biggest challenges engineers face looking ahead to 2018. Five key topics were explored –

  • Machine Learning –  Explores the development of Intelligent nodes across manufacturing machines, test systems, and industrial assets that will provide the data needed to build better products and make better operational decisions
  • Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) – Predicts that Industries will have to adopt to IIoT to maximize uptime, optimize performance, and drive product and process innovation.
  • 5G – Signifies a generational transformation that will provide untethered experience with much faster data, shorter network response times (lower latency), instant access anywhere and everywhere, and the capacity for billions of devices.
  • Vehicles Electrification – Discusses the reliance on power electronics and electric motor drives that adds complexity to control systems.
  • Breaking Moore’s Law – Industries will demonstrate each scaling challenge with an innovation in alternative architectures seemingly ending processing advancements

The new range of products presented at the event includes LabVIEW NXG 1.0, bridging the gap between configuration-based software and custom programming languages, Vehicle Radar Test System [VRTS] delivering object simulation and radar measurement capabilities for engineers testing autonomous driving technology, and ATE Core Configurations which supply core mechanical, power and safety infrastructure to help users accelerate the design and build of automated test systems in industries ranging from semiconductor and consumer electronics to aerospace and automotive.

Analytics has become an integral part of any online business. It is not only relevant to online business, even if you own a blog it becomes important to understand the impact of the posts, target audience, decision making, keywords relevant to the blog, etc. In naive terms, it helps in audience measurement and putting the buck at the right place since everything is ‘Measurable’.

However, the question is ‘Do we have any such solution for offline mode?’ e.g. If the advertiser is an e-commerce brand, can the brand figure out whether the consumer has downloaded the app after looking at the advertisement on TV or via some offline medium [Hoarding, Newspaper advertisement] or some other mechanism. Though advertising on TV is the best possible mechanism to reach maximum audience and generate brand awareness, its ROI is still not directly measurable!

DCMN, a Berlin based startup that is a leading full-stack growth specialist and marketing firm seems to have an effective solution where brands can leverage DCMN’s technological expertise to optimize a TV Commercial (TVC) for the best reach as well as for generating measurable results! DCMN executes campaigns across all media with services spanning right from creation and production, media planning and buying, to campaign optimization with one of a kind in-house technology.

We were invited for the Bloggers Meet in Bengaluru where we had an opportunity to interact with Bindu Balakrishnan, Country Head India, DCMN. The interaction revolved around the problem being solved by DCMN, change in Marketer’s mindset for shifting to performance-driven TVC’s, some technical aspects of DCMN, etc.

Bindu Balakrishnan [third from Left] with Bloggers from Bengaluru

She also touched upon their association with CARS24 where they helped CARS24 launch their newest performance-driven and optimized TVC, which aims at educating customers on how to use the second-hand automotive marketplace to get the best rate for their vehicles.

Drawing on its expertise as an international leader in performance-driven TV marketing, DCMN India recently won the mandate to produce the media strategy for CARS24. The company created a data-driven media campaign that allows tracking and optimisation based on DCMN’s in-house TV attribution technology, thus bridging the age-old gap between offline and online.

Following the successful first flight of the campaign that ran for about six weeks, DCMN delivered an in-depth optimisation and performance evaluation report, to analyse the TVC and work towards an optimised next flight.

In the first flight, DCMN tracked key KPIs for the client such as cost per visit, cost per call and Cost per booked appointment. In flight two, the media buying has been optimised in line with these KPIs with a focus on channels, dayparts, weekdays and spot length.

Consequently, while planning for the new spot, CARS24 approached DCMN at the initial storyboard level to help with optimising their media strategy

Bindu Balakrishnan, Country Head – DCMN India added

With this campaign, DCMN has given CARS24’s new TV spot a performance focus. Using our in-house TV attribution technology, we can optimise the campaign from the moment it goes to air, allowing us to focus on the best-performing genres, channels, days, and dayparts for optimal performance.

For the festive seasons, CARS24 has also decided to almost double their media spend for the second flight. DCMN recommended here including more infotainment channels, with programming similar to the History channel. The optimised media strategy included more business news channels, as well more Hindi news channels while further expanding the Hindi movies channel mix and focusing on the earlier dayparts.

The newest TVC is airing currently with a strong presence across genres, including Infotainment, Hindi News, Hindi Movies, English movies and English business news.

Vikram Chopra, CEO and Co-Founder, CARS24, added

Following a successful first flight with our previous TVC, we’ve optimised the campaign for even better performance. Our continued partnership with DCMN allows us to take advantage of their performance-driven approach, which ensures we can measure the direct response of the spot as it goes to air.

DCMN also counts more than 120 digital brands in its portfolio, including Indian brands CARS24, EaseMyTrip, Fynd and more. For more information, please visit DCMN

Upon integration of its web and mobile app products with Truecaller’s mobile identity solution, Truecaller SDK, leading e-commerce healthcare start-up 1mg has witnessed an impact upside of 21% increase in their daily user registration.

This integration with Truecaller SDK enables new 1mg users to instantly sign-up in a simple and quick manner using auto-fill functionality and completely bypassing the SMS based OTP process, using their Truecaller mobile identity.

With the above impact, this integration has enabled 1mg to seamlessly on-board new users and appropriately connect with them for fulfilling key use cases in their platform like doctor consultations, diagnostic tests and last mile medicine ordering and delivery. The Truecaller SDK solution has been live on 1mg for about a year now and they have seen very encouraging results.

Truecaller SDK is a developer toolkit for digital startups, app developers, and other online businesses. An efficient, secure and asset-light solution, Truecaller SDK is designed to minimize complexity in user on-boarding and verification process as well as helps businesses build more trust on their products, offer more personalisation and enables further evolution of the quality of users being served by them.

Commenting on the partnership, Priyam Bose, Director & Head, Global Developer & Startup Relations, Truecaller said

Our partnership with 1mg epitomizes the value we bring to the burgeoning integrated digital and mobile healthcare sector in India. Truecaller’s Mobile identity toolkit is enabling better personalization, more trust and seamless consumer experience, and predictable last mile service delivery. This in turn is leading businesses like 1mg to achieve better customer satisfaction and repeat engagements.

Gaurav Agarwal, Co-founder, 1mg said

Truecaller enabled us to obtain verified user identities, right at the time of signup, significantly improving sign up rates while reducing hurdles associated with OTP based registration processes. For a mobile first country like India, Truecaller helped us bridge the chasm to giving users a seamless and automated mobile registration process thus reducing user drop offs and increasing engagement across the board.

BookMyShow witnessed its biggest ever blockbuster Diwali weekend and sold over 3.5 million movie tickets only for Golmaal Again, Mersal and Secret Superstar between October 18~22, averaging over 500 tickets a minute!

Golmaal Again drove the maximum ticket bookings on BookMyShow, followed by Mersal and Secret Superstar. However, actor Vijay’s popularity was evident in South India as the region contributed a majority share to the overall movie ticket sales.

High number of transactions were recorded across regions like Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh along with metro and mini-metro cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad Chennai and Bangalore. Tier-II & Tier-III markets of Ahmedabad, Coimbatore, Lucknow, Vadodara, Jaipur especially saw a surge in ticket purchase for movies.

During this festive period, viewers preferred show times between 6-8 pm and on an average bought over 3 tickets per transaction, indicating that they went out in larger groups.

Marzdi Kalianiwala, VP- Marketing and Business Intelligence, BookMyShow said

Movies were a big hit during the Diwali weekend. With three blockbuster releases, Golmaal Again, Mersal and Secret Superstar, audiences were definitely spoilt for choice and all three films saw tremendous response on the box office. Secret Superstar had the advantage of a head start and BookMyShow contributed to as high as 40% of the film’s opening weekend collection.

We alone sold millions of tickets for Golmaal Again, the highly awaited instalment of this zany movie series. Mersal is a typical revenge drama, and we expect it to have atleast a 2 week clear run owing to Vijay’s tremendous fan following. Together for these three blockbusters, BookMyShow is thrilled to have sold over 3 million tickets in a single weekend.

BookMyShow also ran its popular Blockbuster Week during this period that saw a phenomenal response from movie buffs across the country. As part of it, BookMyShow offered exclusive discounts on pre-booking F&B and cashbacks through Amazon Pay.

This month, Secret Superstar and Mersal also emerged as favourites on Jukebox, the audio entertainment service by BookMyShow. While almost half of the downloads for Mersal’s music on Jukebox happened from Chennai and Bengaluru, Secret Superstar’s music was popular across geographies including Hyderabad, Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Kolkata.

With Diwali just around the corner, there has been a lot of questions raised about the air quality after the Diwali festivities. Some cities like Delhi where pollution is at an all-time high, the sale of firecrackers has been curbed in Delhi-NCR as per the verdict from Supreme Court. Though the firecrackers ban has not been imposed in other cities, citizens are becoming more and more vigilant about pollution, air quality and the implications of bursting crackers on the environment.

Many brands are coming up with very innovative concepts so that Diwali can be celebrated in a manner that there is less (or no) noise pollution! Adding to the festivities this Diwali, Vodafone India, in hallmark style, has come up with an innovative concept to delight its customers. Vodafone is encouraging customers to walk into any Vodafone stores across India on 18th and 19th October to get a unique & differentiated Diwali experience and create a personalized Diwali GIF with Augmented Reality to wish an eco-friendly Diwali to their loved ones.

All Vodafone stores are decked with Diwali accessories and each customer would be greeted by traditionally attired Vodafone personnel, with a custom created offer, an opportunity to send a unique, personalized Diwali greeting (GIF) to their loved ones and a chance to take home a gift hamper. There would be on-going promotions on the MyVodafone App where customers can choose personalized plans.

With the help of store employees, Vodafone customers can create eco-friendly Diwali ‘phuljaris’ greetings for their loved ones, through a twist of Augmented Reality. The personalized GIF can then be sent to friends & family, through social media by tagging them. Each customer will also receive a special Thank You card from Vodafone.

Kavita Nair, Associate Director – Commercial Operations, Vodafone India, said

We, at Vodafone, have always been customer obsessed and believe in delighting our customers. This festive season, we invite them to visit our stores for an innovative Augmented Reality [AR] experience and use it to create their own, unique Diwali greeting for wishing their family and friends.

We walked into their Whitefield store and tried out this simple, yet effective AR solution to wish the dear ones ‘Happy Diwali’. It is an interesting way to promote e-Diwali, create more customer engagement and customized offers ensures that customers can make their Diwali more eventful 🙂

If you are Vodafone customer, you should definitely give this a spin to wish your dear ones ‘Happy Diwali’ 🙂 If you have already tried the Vodafone AR experience, do leave your experience in the comments section…

Uber announced the launch of PREMIER,  a superior ride option at every day, affordable fares. Starting today, riders in Bangalore will be offered PREMIER as an in-app product option that serves as an upgrade to their current uberX experience. PREMIER is currently available in Mumbai and Pune.

Commenting on the launch, an Uber Spokesperson, said

At Uber, we strive to make every ride a great experience. With a focus on building products that will go further in replacing the need for personal mobility options, we are launching PREMIER in Bangalore. We are constantly listening to our riders’ and work towards enhancing their Uber experiences. PREMIER has been devised to deliver on rider expectations for in-city rides that takes the core experience further.

Whether its mid-day meetings or shopping sprees, outings with friends and family, hosting business partners or taking rides to the airport, the PREMIER experience has been crafted to better serve rider needs on-trip and continue to iterate via enhanced post-trip feedback and support. Riders have indicated the need and helped shape the product by sharing feedback through features such as Driver Compliments and Driver Ratings.

  • On average, these best-in-class driver-partners have completed 1000+ lifetime trips & acknowledged by riders via the Driver Compliments feature and Driver Ratings.
  • Riders themselves have consistently rated these driver-partners for their 5-star service, making them the top-rated driver-partners on Uber.

In Bengaluru, PREMIER will complement the current product range of POOL, GO & XL to serve unmet needs in the economy-plus and premium segments where there is immense scope to match a personal car experience.

When booking a PREMIER ride, one can expect

  • Rides in select, high-comfort, economy-range sedans every time
  • To be driven by best-in-class driver partners endorsed by riders
  • Enhanced customer support for a superior post-ride experience
  • Affordable, everyday fares