TOTAL – BUILT BY HIKE

Six years post the initial release of Hike Messenger; Team Hike has launched a new service named TOTAL- by Hike today. Total is a new way of connecting the users without data.

After the saturation in the user base in western countries, India is now the biggest market for internet and data. According to the statistics, in our country of 1.25 billion people, there are nearly 700 million mobile phone owners. Which can further be classified into 400 million smartphones and 300 million feature phone users across the country. What Total does is to reach these 300 million feature phone users as well as the remaining 550 million people and provide them connectivity without the use of data.

Total built by Hike works on UTP (Universal Transfer Protocol) which is a basic service set available in the GSM SIM cards. This is the same service which powers the SIM toolkit present in your current Android smartphones. Total provides basic services such as Messaging, Cab Booking, Railway ticket booking, News and Cricket Scores. There are specific set of USSD codes required for each of these services. What Total does is to integrate these USSD codes to the Graphical User Interface of the application which in turn makes the task simple for the user.

As shown in the launch event, users would be able to send text messages without data as well as image thumbnails. To receive the original file, data pack can be purchased as low as INR 1. This will enable the user to download that image.

Implementation Of TOTAL

To turn Total into a reality, Hike has partnered with various telecom service providers as well as handset manufacturers. In the smartphone segment, Hike has partnered with two Indian brands:

  • Intex
  • Karbonn

Whereas the telcos which have partnered with Hike include:

As claimed by Kavin Bharti Mittal, CEO Hike, the Karbonn and Intex devices will be available in the market as early as 1st of March this Year. 3 Models of Intex and 1 Model of Karbonn will be available for the users which with a price starting from INR 3000 onwards.

Summing up, Total seems to be a disruptive step by hike to reach the “next billion users” and provide connectivity without data, where bigheads such as Free Basics by Facebook had to step back in the past. Looking forward to “Connected India”.

Is nokia really back in the game with nokia sirocco?

Amidst a lot of chaos and the release of year’s 1st flagship Galaxy S9 and S9 plus, there was one brand which was successful in catching people’s attention. It was none other than NOKIA. Nokia launched a total of 5 phones at the Mobile World Congress 2018 including Nokia Sirocco. This was one of the highest number of phones on display by a single company at the MWC 2018. But what do we get to know by this move from Nokia? Is Nokia really back in the game?

The 5 phones which were launched by Nokia at MWC 2018 include Nokia 1, Nokia 6, Nokia 7 plus, Nokia Sirocco and the revamped Nokia 8110 (The banana phone). Out of these three, the phones which were really worth noticing were Nokia 7 plus and Nokia 8 Sirocco. The Nokia 7 plus has a completely redesigned and more sturdy look as compared to its predecessor Nokia 7 from last year.

Nokia 7 plus

Nokia 7 packs in 3800 mAh battery with a Snapdragon 660 and 4 GB RAM. It also has a 16 MP selfie shooter and a Zeiss dual camera setup at the back with the primary camera of 13 MP and the secondary camera of 12 MP. Along with it a 18:9 display in a aluminium uni body gives it a premium feel.

Nokia Sirocco

Well, more than Nokia 7 plus, the phone which got more better is the Nokia Sirocco. The design of Nokia 8 is also completely changed and the rebooted Nokia Sirocco now feels more premium than ever before. The phone has got a curved 16:9 5.5” QHD display. The primary camera is a 12 MP sensor with a 13 MP telephoto lens. It packs in the previous year flagship processor Snapdragon 835 with 6 GB RAM and 128 GB internal storage.

Nokia 8110

With these premium phones, one more phone was also launched which is the Nokia 8110. Better known as the Matrix phone or the Banana phone. It will support 4G and yes also SNAKE.

WHY IS NOKIA DOING THIS?

One of the main reasons to launch the old phones in a revamped design is to create a sense of nostalgia for the users who have a much more stronger brand connect than any other phones back in the 2000s. This marketing strategy will be able to drive more customers to Nokia than a much more curated Ad campaign.

BUT IS NOKIA REALLY BACK IN THE GAME WITH NOKIA SIROCCO?

Till past year, where Nokia launched its Nokia series 4,5,6.7 and 8 phones, they were no different than any other mid range phone available in the market. But as compared to the Chinese phones with same specs, Nokia phones were at a much higher price. The market share was quite minimal. But with the Nokia 7 plus, Nokia is offering one of the most balanced smartphone in the mid range segment, which is creating its own place because of the specs and looks apart from the nostalgia factor which was used by Nokia to market its phones previously.

Nokia was well known for unique designs it offered along with its phones. This factor of uniqueness was also not seen in the 2017 range if phones. But with Sirocco and Nokia 7 plus, the phones are getting much pretty and sturdy in terms of design and looks.

Apart from this, Nokia has a bad history of going against Android and opting Windows OS for its phones in the past. Well, it failed miserably and they have learnt the lesson quite well. What Nokia is trying to do with its 2018 lineup is to bring in the essence of pure Android with its phones. Both the Nokia 7 plus and Nokia Sirocco have been launched under the Android One program by Google, which guarantees fast and secure updates by google along with stock android experience.

Thus, it seems that Nokia is really uping its game and has made its position in the mid range and premium segment of smartphones. In the upcoming years, the Nokia phones will be a really good option to consider along Samsung, Apple, Oneplus and Pixel in the premium range of smartphones. Hope to see Nokia phones getting better and better in future.

Apple capital: new love of apple’s finance arm

Our beloved Apple just hit the $800 billion mark in the market capitalization, midway this year. In the era of computer and mobile technology, where iPhones and Macs are ubiquitous, their sales was one of the most important factor for apple to reach this valuation and set up an industry standard. But in the hindsight, there is another factor which is also increasing the revenues for Apple Inc. day by day. The Apple Capital.

We all have a very clear picture of Apple as a pioneer in the technology industry by setting new standards every year with the release of its iPhones and Macbooks. Well, it looks like along with technology, Apple has also developed its interest in finance. In the post Steve Jobs era of Apple, the company has massively increased its investments in various financial instruments.

The long term marketable securities have a significant role in any company’s investment portfolio. But with Apple, this significance have been increasing day by day. Apple Capital previously used to invest in Government bonds mainly which were fairly risk averse, but now the course has changed. Around 68% of Apple Capital’s investment is in other type of securities which consist of corporate bonds. After Jobs, the company’s assets grew by 110%, but the growth of Apple Capital has been almost double of that by nearly 220%.Thus these investments have been a major part of the profits of the company. These investments have contributed 7% in the overall profits of Apple Inc.

How can this affect Apple?

Well, as the trend shows, the investments of apple are moving away from the risk averse towards the risky assets. With time passing by, the returns from these financial instruments will rise and so will the risk. The global demand of Apple products is on a declining trend. Samsung as well as the Chinese competitors are taking over the market with Google being a new competitor in the pond. In adverse situations, these investments will save Apple, but instead of sitting and waiting for it, Apple should focus on developing better and disruptive technology. The gradient of innovation by Apple is at an all-time low in the post Jobs era. Let’s hope Apple gets back its “Adrenaline for Innovation” back as soon as possible.

Is the disney-fox merger, a direct threat to netflix?

With the acquisition of Fox network by Disney Inc. It seems like Disney is prepared to take the next big leap in the world of entertainment 2.0. The reason behind majority of mergers and acquisitions is to maintain the ‘Synergy’ between the companies. Disney bought in a deal of $52.4 billion, the rights of 21st Century Fox’s majority of the assets including the movie franchisees and Fox studios. Well what was the reason for Disney spending so much. How will this affect the future of entertainment distribution? What challenges will the Disney-Fox merger bring in for Netflix?

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Disney-Fox merger

We all know how Netflix, slowly and steadily captured the entertainment market with its new distribution model. It has already kicked off Blockbuster and is on its way to do the same with the cable TV industry. Netflix has two major pillars on which it sustains against the competition or rather disrupts the entire market. One being its online distribution model and the other is its original content. The revenue model of Netflix clearly states that “Profits Aren’t Important” for them. Netflix has believed in investing heavily behind the original content it creates which is nearly $6 Bn. This when compared to its competitors is the highest as Amazon invests $4.5 Billion, whereas HBO and Hulu (owned by Disney) spend nearly $2.5 Billion.

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Netflix’s revenue model

With the change in time, people’s mode of consuming entertainment is also changing. Media consumption on phones and tablets have drastically increased over the period of time. The players offering online video on demand services have benefited the most. Disney being one of the oldest giant in the media industry still had to deliver its content through the cable TV medium. Where the revenue generation was done through advertisement between the programs. The revenue incurred by offering subscription completely went to the cable TV operators. Even though a large number of channels were owned by Disney, the content was completely distributed across the channels and users don’t buy a pack of all the channels.

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Change in the time spent by different age groups in front of conventional cable TV

Netflix on the other hand has its own platform for offering online content. The revenue model being subscription based, there are no advertisements between the programs. The content from other companies like Viacom, Fox, Disney, Marvel which Netflix airs on its own platform is given least priority than the Netflix originals. The Netflix original movies and shows get a unique placement on the platform. As a result, the Netflix original content remains in the mainstream.

How can Disney-Fox merger be a threat to netflix?

Now after the Disney-Fox merger, what Disney will be planning to do is creating a similar platform for video on demand like Netflix. On this platform, Disney will be able to place its own content which it had to do so previously on Netflix. This in turn will bring the content from all the channels owned by Disney at one place. The platform will have same subscription based revenue generation model. Thus by buying rights from Fox, Disney will have rights to great content created by fox in the past. This also includes movies such as Avatar and Deadpool.

In a time of almost 1-1.5 years, we will be able to see this massive online Disney platform. Bringing in direct competition for Netflix as well as the existing incumbents in the market such as Amazon’s Prime video and HBO. The Disney-Fox merger will surely raise the standards as well as competition in the online media transmission industry.

How has the facebook scandal affected you so far ?

According to the generic definition, we humans are considered as social animals. But in the past decade, the SOCIAL MEDIA has been successful in changing this definition. Social media has been interlinked with our lives so much that now it is hard for people to re-imagine their lives without it. At the very core of this evolution of change in lifestyle and the way we look at things have been a few companies. These once so called small companies now control what people see online and try to mend the perspective of an average social media user by curating the feed and thereby changing the mindset of that person. These companies are none other than the social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat and many more. The recent facebook scandal has been able to create the hype and seek attention of a large number of people. But some people have been ranting about such privacy breaches since a long time. It is now when people have started to notice them.

THE SCANDAL

In the facebook scandal, involvement of many third parties is the thing which makes it complex. Cambridge Analytica, which is a Britain based data research company was able to drive the opinion of a majority of US voters during the 2016 Presidential elections by supporting the Republican party. Things go back to 2014, when Cambridge analytica asked Dr. Aleksandr Kogan to develop an application named “thisisyourdigitallife” by paying him $8,00,000. This app by Kogan asked permission from the users to access their data and fill out a survey. But the app in hindsight also collected other personal data from the users, such as their likes, dislikes, the type of content they watch online and much more.

After collecting the data, a psychological profile of a particular candidate was prepared. Kogan collected the data of nearly 2,70,000 users, but the app was also able to collect the data of the friends of the person on FB who has filled the survey. As a resu;t, the data of nearly 50 million users was breached and then sold to Cambridge analytica.

Facebook scandal whistleblower: Cristopher Wyile

Cristopher Wyile, who was a former data scientist at Cambridge analytica came to know about the facebook scandal and the fact that Cambridge analytica has not deleted the data collected from Kogan’s app, but has been using it to build the psychological profiles of the users. These users were then targeted with curated content on their facebook wall. They were shown ads which were in favor of Donald Trump and asking for donations for the Presidential campaigning. This is how the opinion of millions of people was mended to bring in desired results.

HOW DOES ALL THIS AFFECT YOU ?

This is the question of majority people, that what can facebook or any other company which collects your data can affect you personally or individually? Well, the answer is diverse. It can affect you on a personal level and in the society which we live in. We are slowly handing over the keys which drive the society to these social media companies. According to a study in 2017, Google and Facebook captured almost 20% of the global digital marketing share. This statement in itself can show the future dominance of these digital media moguls.

The news which you watch on your facebook wall has been curated just for the user. The FB wall of an individual is like a personalized headline newspaper which is based upon the interests of the user. It has been created in such a way that people are getting addicted to it. Facebook is changing entire social fabric and the way people look at things. These social media apps have been created in such a way that the user spends maximum time scrolling through the posts. These also include Instagram and Twitter. ‘Fake News’ has been the buzz word of 2017. The amount of fake news which is created nowadays, and the speed at which it is shared by the users to their respective groups is creating a devastating effect.

 

Whatsapp is also playing a major role in this. Whatsapp started off as a messaging app. After the group feature has been created, people within the groups can share pictures and links. These groups have been a primary source of information for many people. But many a times, the news or the messages which are being circulated on these groups are baseless and fake.

WHAT TO DO ?

Well, if you think that you can not spend a day without these apps. Or if they have been an integral part of your daily routine, then congratulations! You are not alone. The addiction of social media is getting worse day by day. What you can do is at least don’t share news which are not credible, because what you share can be the primary source of news for many people in this new ‘social_media_addict’ world. Stay away from third party surveys which ask for your data. While installing a new app, take a pause and think logically before giving permission to any app. ‘Why would a simple collage making app require your microphone access?’

But ultimately, we are humans, SOCIAL ANIMALS. Lets try to socialize the way we were meant to be and not be driven by a single app and take decisions accordingly. Or else anytime you can #deletefacebook.