Convergence Plus
Saturday, June 3, 2023
Qualcomm Says it’s Ready to Support Jio-Google Budget Smartphone Plans

Qualcomm, the world’s top supplier of mobile phone chips, is likely to play a key role in supporting the Reliance Jio-Google combine to launch the much-awaited low-cost Android smartphone in India even as the country’s telecom market leader targets the 300 million-odd feature phone users to upgrade to smart devices.

“Qualcomm played a critical role in massification of Jio’s 4G VoLTE feature phone, and having had a partnership with Jio, I think we will continue that legacy of collaborating and supporting them in bringing new devices and offerings, across price tiers that they would wish to drive,” Rajen Vagadia, president, Qualcomm India, told ET.

He said any decision on Qualcomm supporting the budget Android smartphone or its 400-series Snapdragon chipsets being in play there would be “confidential to Jio and Google”. Analysts expect Mukesh Ambani-led Jio to quickly unveil the low-cost smartphone, especially after it reported its lowest-ever net 4G user adds (at 5.2 million) in the December quarter. The budget smartphone launch, they say, is essential for Jio to retain and upgrade its JioPhone users as the telco could face more churn in the March quarter when 8-10 million JioPhone contracts are scheduled to expire.

Qualcomm’s Vagadia also expects calendar 2021 to be a pivotal year in driving massification of 5G devices in India, though the advent of 5G smartphones priced in the ₹10,000-15,000 range would hinge on how the handset original equipment makers (OEMs) position themselves in the 5G market. Pricing of a 400-series entry-level 5G phone, he said, would start higher than a 400 series 4G product, given the host of high-end features such devices will pack, but they would drop down faster.

“Qualcomm lives by the 5G for-all mantra, and we’ve seen 5G devices launched at lower pricepoints of ₹20,000 this year, and given the history of how prices of 4G phones came down in India, I see an acceleration in the massification of 5G devices, given that 4G phones running on both our 600 and 400 series chipsets are already priced at sub-₹10,000 and around,” Vagadia said.

The top Qualcomm India executive said a basic 4G smartphone with “a 5.5-to-6-inch screen and memory configuration of (1+8 GB) can already be sourced, at an FOB of anywhere in $40-50 range (₹2,800-3,500 approx)”.

Vagadia is gung ho on the production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for the handset sector, saying it “offers a great opportunity for local brands to make a comeback in the smartphones space” since the government is incentivising local smartphone manufacturing.

Qualcomm also expects India to become a major exports hub, riding on the PLI scheme, driving not just manufacturing of phones, but also components.

Vagadia, separately, made a strong pitch for early availability of a mix of 5G spectrum bands in India, including millimetre waves and midband, saying that would help local startups design latest low-latency 5G solutions that can be used for deploying use cases like drones, for last mile reach during disasters or for delivering sophisticated medical healthcare remotely.

“Startups globally have access to 5G networks running on millimeter waves, so Indian startups need the same to design futuristic solutions that are globally valuable.” (Source: Economic Times)

Guidelines for influencer advertising on digital platforms to be out by next month

ASCI says influencers must ensure display of disclosure labels prominently

India’s influencer market is estimated to be $75-$150 million a year

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani

New Delhi, February 21Soon, social media influencers will be required to make adequate disclosures regarding promotional content to ensure transparency regarding their paid partnerships with brands.

At a time when brands are increasingly turning to social media influencers to promote their products, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) is releasing draft guidelines for influencer advertising on digital platforms and expects to finalise them by March-end, after a public consultation.

The proposed draft guidelines state that influencers should ensure “disclosure labels to highlight advertising content” and these should be upfront, prominent and clearly visible on all devices. Disclosure labels should be visible within the first two lines of any given platform, it added. “Advertisements must be obviously distinguishable by the average consumer from editorial and independent user-generated content, to prevent the audience from being confused between the two. Therefore, a disclosure label must be added from the list of approved labels,” the proposed guidelines state.

Approved labels
Approved disclosure labels by ASCI include #ad, #collab, #promo, #sponsored or #partnership. According to estimates by digital marketing agency AdLift, the size of India’s influencer market is estimated to be $75-$150 million a year.

Influencers will also need to ensure filters are not used to exaggerate the claims of brands’ social media ads. Once these guidelines are implemented, influencers will also need to do due-diligence to ensure that any technical or performance claims made by brands are well-substantiated.

Subhash Kamath, Chairman, ASCI said, “In the digital world, the lines between content and advertising have increasingly started to blur. It is extremely important for consumers to be able to distinguish between regular posts and promotional content. We believe these guidelines will not only help consumers to identify promotional content but also guide social media influencers to become more responsible when promoting brands.”

Stating that these draft guidelines were formulated in collaboration with influencers, he pointed out that ASCI tied up with BigBang.Social, which handles a large network of social media influencers. “We look forward to feedback, which would help us make the digital space more responsible for all,” he said.

Dos and Don’ts
The draft guidelines have also proposed the manner or the required time period for the visibility of disclosure labels’ depending on the format such as a textual post, length of the videos, live-streams, audio posts or disappearing videos. For instance, if the advertisements are only a picture post (such as Instagram stories or Snapchat) or the promotional video is not accompanied by a text post, the disclosure label must be superimposed over the picture or video.

Depending on the length of the video, disclosure labels will need to be displayed for varying time periods. For instance, for videos that are two minutes or longer, the disclosure label must stay for the entire duration of the section in which the promoted brand, or its features are mentioned.

It has also outlined the manner in which disclosure labels should be used across social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and YouTube among others. Blanket disclosures in a profile or the bio section of the social media influencers will not be considered adequate and must be added to each of the sponsored posts in English or in the language of the ad, the draft guidelines added. “It is recommended that the contractual agreement between advertiser and influencer carries clauses pertaining to disclosure, use of filters as well as due diligence,” it added. (Source: The Hindu Businessline)

NEC, Telcos Exploring Deployment of OpenRAN

Xiaomi’s Mi 11 will not ship with a charger inside box, CEO Lei Jun confirms Japan’s NEC Corporation said it is working closely with Indian telecom operators to explore commercial deployment of Open Radio Access Networks (OpenRAN) technology once the latter roll out 5G networks.

“There are a couple of operators that are slightly ahead in both ambition and in terms of aggression… ORAN will definitely be a challenger technology and can possibly change the entire landscape of how infrastructure is operated and maintained in the country,” NEC India CEO Aalok Kumar told ET.

He said Indian telcos are exploring ways to optimise investments and compatibility of the new technology with their legacy>
Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio Infocomm are increasingly looking to expand their telecom gear supplier options beyond traditional vendors using OpenRAN technology. Adoption of OpenRAN will help them cut network costs and bring in more customisation as they go 5G. NEC Corp recently set up an OpenRAN lab in India. (Source: Economic Times)

IT Cos Turn to Low-code Tech as Clients Seek Simpler Solutions

Damages to telecom towersInterest in no-code technology rising in pandemic as cos rush to create easier apps for customers

Indian IT services providers are seeing increased traction for low-code, no-code technology solutions, as clients look to build and customise their own applications.

Low-code, no-code solutions are ones that do not require coding to build an application. They allow non-technical professionals, or citizen developers, to quickly build apps through simple drag and drop features and user-friendly layouts. According to industry experts, the Covid-19 pandemic heightened interest in low-code, no-code technology as companies scurried to create digital applications for customers.

Businesses have started using such technology as non-technical executives, or citizen developers, are creating applications at a time when entire workforces have shifted to a remote working model.

“What we’re seeing more and more is what we call low-code, no-code work. You see more and more automation, more machine learning, artificial intelligence. These technology elements are going to impact the business model, because the way they interact with clients is going to be automated, is going to be driven by artificial intelligence,” Salil Parekh, chief executive of Infosys, said at a Nasscom conference last week.

Tata Consultancy Services chief operating officer N Ganapathy Subramaniam told ET in a recent interview that such technology has been useful when “rapid prototyping is required” to demonstrate an application to a customer before deploying it across an organisation. “For the purpose of quickly showing something (to the client), you could use the low-code, no-code technology to quickly put together an app to say that, this is the way it (a given platform) could work. One can then refine it, use it and then see whether it can scale,” he said.

While such solutions are predominantly offered by technology leaders such as Microsoft, Amazon, Appian, Pega and ServiceNow, Indian firms like Infosys, HCL Technologies and Tech Mahindra are also building their own low-code, no-code technology. “Indian managed service providers usually partner with pure-play low-code, no code platform vendors as well as with the hyper-scalers that now also offer this capability. They leverage the existing solution platforms to enhance their domain-specific capabilities,” said Mrinal Rai, principal analyst at technology consulting firm ISG.

“There are some exceptions though. Infosys has developed low-code capabilities specifically targeting the banking industry. Tech Mahindra offers its own Phenom solution for low code. HCL announced Domino Volt — a low-code capability solution,” Rai added.

According to a Gartner forecast, low-code will be responsible for over 65% of application development activity by 2024.

Though these tools pose some threat to Indian services firms because they allow companies to build their own applications, analysts said help from services firms would be required to ensure that customer data is safe, especially when non-technical professionals work on this technology. “There is the argument that as low-code, no-code use rises, the need for technical expertise drops – but in reality there will always be a place for firms with talented developers to tackle the really complex technology needs of the modern enterprise,” said Ollie O’ Donoghue, senior analyst at PAC.

Security and governance issues will emerge when such technology is use, for instance when non-technical experts build applications that touch customer data. “A service provider that can help enterprises balance the benefits and risks of the technology in their environment to get the most value will be in high demand,” O’ Donoghue said. (Source: Economic Times)

M5 Technologies Signs India Distribution Agreement with VOIC Networks

Damages to telecom towersM5 Technologies (Formerly Media5 Corporation) leading manufacturer of VOIP media gateways and Enterprise session border controllers join hands with VOIC Networks, India’s Leading ICT Technology distributors to explore the Indian market.

VOIC Networks will promote the complete range of Enterprise session border controller and Media Gateway products and offer full support and training for channel partners and system integrators. At a strategic level, the agreement will allow VOIC Networks to offer Media5 VOIP Media gateway and SBC as a bundle with a range of interoperable UC and CX products brands including Microsoft Teams, Mitel, Genesys, Aspect, Altitude, Unify, and Ericsson.

Mohammed Zameer, Senior VP – M5 Technologies commented “We are very pleased to have VOIC Networks as our distributor in India. In such a crowd market full of challenges and price competition, a strong pairing between Voic network and M5 will be a good choice to explore the business in India. VOIC Networks has proven experience in the VoIP hardware distribution market and offers a high level of support and a comprehensive range of value-added services. We look forward to working with VOIC Networks to grow our India market share.

“We are delighted to be working with M5 who we see as a pioneering player in the Enterprise session border controller and VOIP media gateways. With growing interest in unified communications, we want to work with our channel partners so that their customers get the most out of their investment in technologies such as Microsoft Teams. Our aim is to build a strong partnership with M5 that will address the new and future needs of the unified communications channels and service providers in India” said Rohan Fernandes who heads Partner & Alliances at VOIC Networks.

About M5 Technologies
M5 Technologies ( Formerly Media5 Corporation ) is Canada’s leading IP solutions provider, well-known for its reliable, carrier-grade Mediatrix gateways. With a focus on innovation and excellence in customer support, Media5 delivers highly adaptive hardware and software components for business multimedia communications and collaboration. Media5 is present worldwide with local representatives in North and Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East. For more details:

About VOIC Networks Pvt Ltd
VOIC Networks Pvt Ltd (VNPL), headquartered in New Delhi, India is a privately held company involved in the sales and Technology distribution of VoIP & CTI products. Incorporated in the year 2013, the team had vast experience in providing solutions in the areas of Unified Communication and CTI technologies. VoIC networks have core knowledge and expertise in running distribution business locally and acquiring the customer base globally by providing value addition to their telecom network and solution, moving towards a true GLOBAL company. VNPL is an Authorised India Distributor of Media5, Synway, Yealink, Flying voice, and Fanvil. For more details: C (Source: Convergence Plus)

Upgrading Production-Line inspections Efficiency for 5G Devices

Damages to telecom towersSimultaneous Announcement of New 24-port RF Test Module and New Compact Chassis. Anritsu Corporation is pleased to announce the simultaneous February-19 launch of its TRX Test Module MU887002A for upgrading the production-line inspection efficiency for wireless communications devices, including 5G, and its space-saving Universal Wireless Test Set MT8872A.

With 24 RF connectors, the newly developed TRX Test Module MU887002A is a TRX module for installing in both the MT8870A and MT8872A. It supports 5G Sub-6 GHz New Radio (NR) RF tests as well as various other simultaneous wireless communications tests, including WLAN, Bluetooth®, GNSS, etc. As a result, it greatly upgrades the inspection efficiency of production lines for wireless communications devices.

The MT8872A is a measuring instrument for mass-production and is fully compatible with the MT8870A. Its small footprint supports use in narrower spaces than the standard 19” rackmount to save installation space on crowded production lines.

Anritsu expects these new MU887002A and MT8872A solutions to improve mass-productivity on wireless communication device production lines by both saving space and cutting costs. Development Background
The numbers of 5G smartphone subscribers and shipments are continuing to increase with the start of commercial cellular 5G services. In addition, more antennas are being built-into each 5G wireless device to achieve both higher speeds and larger-capacity communications.

In this background, the key issue for wireless-device manufacturers is how to improve worsening production-line inspection efficiency caused by the increasing number of tests of more antennas, and there is high demand for development of a production-line tester to shorten inspection times. Consequently, Anritsu has developed the TRX Test Module MU887002A with 24 RF connectors per module and the space-saving Universal Wireless Test Set MT8872A to solve these issues by improving inspection efficiency of 5G wireless communications devices.

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