Posts filed under ‘Technology’

Technology – Age No Bar

A few months ago we ran this post on how toddlers are adapting to the latest technology and how it is changing their interaction with other common things.

But it is not only the young ones who are adapting but also the elderly, especially so with the arrival of grand children (or in some cases, great-grandchildren) in their families.


Example A, 83 year old great-grandmother of 4 toddlers now, lives in Mumbai with her family spread across Dubai, Europe and the US. When she first became a great-grandmother 5 years ago, she switched from a regular Nokia phone to a Blackberry “so that my grand daughter in Dubai can send me pictures everyday over BBM”… not only did she pick up the lingo, but also familiarized herself with using it very proficiently, and loving the fact that now she could not only get her great-granddaughter’s pictures but also “check updates on the rest of the family through BBM updates”.

Two years after this, she bought an i-Pad to “…. to Skype with my growing babies…. how else would they be able to see me and hear me… I tell them stories and sing songs to them and they love it… I love seeing their reaction.” Last year, she was mighty impressed with her daughter’s iPhone5, and decided to move from Blackberry to iPhone5 because “all my grand children have now moved from Blackberry to iPhone, they are all on What’s App now, no one BBMs, so I thought why not move myself. Plus iPhone allows me to Facetime with them all instantly.”

Moving from a Blackberry to an iPhone is not always easy, the interfaces and interactions are completely different and she always manages to surprise me with her willingness to try and readily adapt new technology.


Example B, 65 year old grandmother to a 2 year old now, lives in Mumbai, but daughter and grandchild live in Dubai. She only got a phone a couple years ago, a regular no-fuss Nokia, only on the insistence of her daughter who worried about her. But as her grandchild was growing up, she felt the need to be in touch, so she learnt to use a computer and found it very cumbersome and complicated, but still managed to somehow use Skype after some struggle with the poor internet connections, high start-up times of computers and the need to coordinate times with the grandchild and daughter to actually talk over Skype. Frustrated with this, she decided she needed an easier way to be able to see her grandchild when she wanted, so she went to the market on her own, explained her problems to the mobile dealer and came home with a fancy new Samsung phone, with all requisite apps downloaded and ready to use! Surprise surprise to her daughter! She now uses What’s App very well and is happy to just get photos and video clips of her grand child instantly. She recently self-taught herself to record audio and video clips herself and send them to her grandchild as well, and she is mighty proud.


Example C, 58 year old who recently became a grandmother, in the past always argued with her children about buying her a simple phone when they’d get her phones with a camera or with a radio or with a touchscreen, etc. But as soon as she had spent one month with her granddaughter and it was time to go back home, she knew she had to find a way see her grand-daughter when she pleased. So she asked around amongst her friends and after having figured everything out, asked her son to get her an Android phone! Android phone! Son was shocked to know that she even knew that there were Android phones, leave alone what an Android phone was!!! Promptly she asked for What’s App to be downloaded on to it and voila! she could get pictures of her granddaughter on her phone. Not only that, now she can proudly show her pictures to her friends, family, trainer, beautician, anyone who asks, cause it’s right on her phone!!


I don’t know if its the love and affection that a grandparent feels towards their grandchild that has made them adapt to new technology, or whether we owe it to the developers who’ve created interfaces which are so simple to adopt and so intuitive that even people, especially women who’ve hardly ever used calculators and computers in their prime, are so quickly and deftly adapting them.


  • Roshni Jhaveri

May 6, 2013 at 6:46 am 4 comments

From the mouths of babes and sucklings – technology and toddlers

My five year old nephew was chatting with me during a journey once, bubbling over with curiosity and a million questions about everything. Instead of entertaining myself by warping his mind with made-up answers the way Calvin’s dad does (for examples, see this link), I tried to answer his questions as simply and logically as possible. However, reality is often stranger than fiction, and some answers related to geography and astronomy sounded far-fetched to him. So the young man turned his gimlet eyed gaze on me and warned me, “Are you really sure ? Don’t lie, ok. We can go home, open the laptop and check on googil too.” Once kids relied on older and wiser ones for information, now we’re redundant since there’s good ol’ googil.

Another young 3 year old – a friend’s son, gave me the next anecdote for this blogpost. He gets confused reading books because once he’s done reading the page he swipes his finger across to get to the next page – the way he’s used to doing with pics on the iphone; needless to say, that doesn’t work at all with a book and it leaves him confused, frustrated and cranky.

While on the topic of young ones and technology, there’s an interesting anecdote in this blogpost – as an aside, you should follow the link and read the whole post, interesting example of communication going awry due to incorrect assumptions. The comments on that post are also worth reading.

But I digress, the anecdote follows :

Setting, San Francisco, where some friends recently told me how their five year old went up to a framed picture in their living room and started pinching at it with his fingers, the exact same gestures one would use on an iPhone to zoom in and out of a picture. “Broken, broken” is all the five year old said after that disappointing experience.

How much and in how little time technology is changing the reading and viewing habits of this generation of toddlers ! Paraphrasing the headline of this Forbes article, does this change herald just the death of print or will it also eventually lead to the death of reading too ? I fear that it may be the latter. What’s your point of view ?

  • Zenobia Driver

November 28, 2012 at 3:59 pm Leave a comment

Mobile Number Portability – Game-changer! Or Game-changer? (Part 2)

The much-awaited and talked about Mobile Number Portability (MNP) was introduced in India in January 2011. It was forecast to be a major game changer in the field of mobile telephony, predicted to create chaos in the industry, cause extensive migration from poor service providers to the good ones and hence wean out the underperformers.  It was also meant to bring the focus back on to the customer and force service providers to provide topmost quality and service.

But has it really been a game-changer? Has there been that quantum of migration predicted originally? Industry experts had originally predicted that 10% of the mobile users would opt for MNP within the first year. Over the first 3/4th of the year, only 2% (about 181 lac users out of a base of ~8500 lac users) have opted for MNP.

What’s been the outcome of MNP – has the migration been uni-directional or multi-directional? Has it really proved that some providers are the winners and caused those who weren’t at the top of the game to fall out?

Sure, there have been some clear losers – all CDMA players lost customers to GSM players (Note: both Tata Tele and Reliance have their GSM networks too) mainly due to poor connectivity and lack of handset options in CDMA. (Reliance also lost from their GSM base due to poor connectivity and service).

Has it really brought the focus back on the customer? Has it been the case where only the originally better performers have by-default gained from the obvious underperformers but not made any improvements themselves? Clearly, there has also been a need for improvement even in the case of the key gainers, because even they’ve seen significant port-out activity from their customer base.

MNP might end up being a factor that ensures that service levels of any brand do not fall below a minimum threshold, in that sense it may yet benefit a consumer. But does this mean that the service providers hover around the minimum threshold, or should they march full force ahead to offer top-quality standards and stand to gain a lot more. They sure would get me that way!

So sure, MNP is an enabler, and a powerful one; but a game-changer – I think not! At least, not yet!



Roshni Jhaveri

November 28, 2011 at 11:29 am Leave a comment

Mobile Number Portability – Game-changer! Or Game-changer? (Part 1)

Indian Mobile Service Providers


April 2004: A friend returned after spending almost a decade in the U.S. Of course, the initial adjustment wasn’t easy and a thousand small irritants drove him up the wall – lack of respect for punctuality, lack of civic sense, hygiene etc. From a consumer’s perspective, he also found that some businesses here weren’t as conscious about consumer satisfaction as he would have liked, among these the network providers that (he felt) took advantage of consumers that were tied to a network due to the lack of number portability. I remember him cursing the service provider and fervently wishing for number portability many times.

January 2011: Happy New Year! We finally have number portability.

But did this friend switch ? What do you think ?


Jan 2011: My dad was thrilled that he could now switch from Idea to another service provider without changing his number because he wasn’t happy about their blackberry services. He chose to switch to Vodafone. He inquired about the procedure within the first month and realized that it was a cumbersome procedure and took too long to process.

They told him it’d get activated in 2 months. 2 months!!! What was he supposed to do – have no mobile service for 2 months? Would he be allowed to be on Idea network till the Vodafone one got activated? No clue – neither party had any answer. Also, he was required to have zero credit with the current provider to be able to port – in theory this makes complete sense – but how could this be the case? Unless on Jan 31 2011, he paid off the bill for Idea, and had a working Vodafone connection on Feb 1– there was no way he could have zero credit with Idea (because there was no way he was going to be without any mobile service even for a day, leave alone a couple of months! That is just way too much to ask in this day and age). He inquired about how this would be possible – and again they had no answer!

Today: So, disappointed, he stuck to his Idea connection, and continues on in life, with MNP having made no change in his life. Bummer!

Anecdote 3:

Nov 2010: I’m a Vodafone user since the last 5 years. If I was asked in Nov 2010 whether I’d want to change my service provider, given number portability – I’d have said no, because I was happy with the connectivity and customer service then.

Nov 2011: If you ask me in Nov 2011 whether I’d want to change my service provider – I’d still say no, not because I am happy with the connectivity and network coverage anymore – but because I’ve come to believe that all other providers are equally good or bad. I have Airtel, Idea and Loop Mobile users within my home and none are happy with the connectivity and coverage either. (I take their opinion because we live, work, travel to and from the same routes and areas – and therefore find that their usage experience is applicable to me).

So even though number portability provides the means to address my dissatisfaction, lack of better service from other providers is stopping me from making the change.



Roshni Jhaveri

November 24, 2011 at 5:16 am 2 comments

Same-same, but different


Two different telecom firms, two different eras for all practical purposes, communicating the same benefit – improved connectivity, with a world of difference between their campaigns; an apt illustration of the difference tone, manner and style can make.

The first, Hutch (now Vodafone), was one of the early entrants in the Indian telecom market. Got the basics right early on, understood how frustrated people were with bad connectivity and made that fact the foundation of a landmark campaign – ‘wherever you go, our network follows’, aided by an adorable pug in a brilliant casting coup.

About a decade later, Tata Docomo speaks about the same benefit, but in a totally different tone and style; this campaign relies on humour rather than warmth, here the network is almost something you want to shake off but can’t, and you give up with a wry grin of acceptance; as the ad says, ‘No getting away… The network that always connects. Everywhere.’ (Links to ads here, here and here)



While initial reports such as this Mint-Synovate-TVAdIndx survey show that the ad scores high on awareness in the initial period, we’d like to wait a bit and see how people respond to it.

There are three reasons for our hesitation in declaring this campaign a winner; one, not sure if there is there is a common theme to the various series of Docomo ads and whether they are establishing any long term positioning for the brand  – how does the latest campaign tie in with the ‘Keep it simple silly’ campaign with Ranbir Kapoor, for instance; two, we feel the execution could have been better and the humour sharper in this one; and three, we’re not sure if the benefit of improved connectivity is a key differentiator in the current environment.

While poor connectivity does seem to be a pain point with a lot of cell-phone users (going by the amount of cribbing I hear from friends and acquaintances), not sure whether this is a strong enough reason to select service providers. Especially in an environment where at least one other provider promises the same (Reliance, see ads here and here and here)

(Note : yes, I do realise that the positioning of the Reliance ads is even more scattered, for even in the same series of ads, a variety of benefits are mentioned, two of which are about improved connectivity)

Why don’t you vote in the polls below and tell us what you think.




November 16, 2011 at 5:55 am 2 comments

Internet & Social Media are BIG, but how big is BIG?

Here are some statistics about the growing use of internet in India. (Source IGF, IMRB-IAMAI internet study, iCube report, Google stats)

  1. 102 million unique internet users in India. This implies 8.8% penetration rate.
    • Of the 102 million, 84 million are desktop internet users, 40 million are mobile internet users  and 22 million are ‘dual’ users – i.e. use both desktop and mobile interne
    • According to industry experts, this number is expected to rise to 250-300 million by 2015. These consumers are far more likely to be meeting their digital needs through mobile phones than through personal computers.
  2. There has also been a rise in the time spent on internet as the number of hours spent has gone up from 9.3 hrs/week to 15.7 hrs/week between 2008 and 2009; a 70% increase.
    • This can be attributed to innovative content delivery, improved applications, downloading music or videos, socializing through social networking sites and micro-blogging

To put this in perspective, let’s compare this to other, more mainstream communication channels:

  1. 103 million cable & satellite TV users in India (This does not include Doordarshan which is another 34 million users)
  2. Average time spent viewing TV is 16 hours/ week
  3. Daily circulation of the top 25 national and regional newspapers in India ranges from 0.6 million to 4.2 million each.

Those were the facts about the medium – clearly Internet in India is no longer a channel that can be ignored by a business. Now let’s take a look at the vehicles: (Growth rates basis unique users in March’10 vs. March’11, Source:

  1. Web portals like Yahoo!, Rediff, Indiatimes grew at ~35%
  2. Social networking websites like Facebook grew at a whopping 175%, YouTube grew at 60%, LinkedIn grew at 45%, while Twitter growth was slower in India at 20%. Orkut’s popularity has faded to 20%.Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo, Google, Blogs, Youtube, etc.
  3. Blogs are not as popular anymore – Blogger didn’t show any growth in the past year and WordPress grew at 10%. That said, blogs are used as a source for information dissemination and not for entertainment or socializing. Therefore, they may still be useful for certain objectives and audience profiles.

The following table gives a snapshot of the viewership and usage of top 12 websites in India

Comparing websites

Not only do the social media sites have an increasing reach but they are also retaining visitors for a longer time.

Need we say more…


Roshni Jhaveri

April 5, 2011 at 12:25 pm 8 comments

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