An Interview with Umang Shah, Head – Innovation and Marketing, RedMango Analytics
“The telecommunications sector has enabled a new era of billion dollar startups like Flipkart, Paytm and Ola which have benefitted directly from increased access to high speed data services and smartphones.” — Umang Shah, Head – Innovation and Marketing, RedMango Analytics
As the Co-Founder and Head-Innovation and Marketing atRedMango Analytics, a digital mobile platform that connects end users to telecom service providers, Umang Shah, in his current role, is responsible for the solution design division of the company. His duties encompass monitoring and closely working with the in-house designers and developers,creating and enhancing solutions for end consumers. He also oversees the development of the backend analytics and dashboard suite for the B2B consumers.
Furthermore, he supervises the analytics division that collects and structures insights, using proprietary analytics engine and dashboards to help various mobile operators.
Umang’s most recent stint was with PhiMetrics as the Director-Business Development.
At PhiMetrics, he was responsible for driving Marketing, Sales and Business Development from a startup phase to a Multi-Million dollar organization which forayed into over 10 countries in APAC, Middle East and Americas. Owing to his enterprising disposition, he has contributed to prevalent brands like Airtel, Nokia, Huawei, Actix and CSI in various technology, marketing and innovation roles. He has also worked across geographies in over ten countries viz. India, USA, Canada, Turkey, Thailand, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Jamaica and the Bahamas.
With over a decade’s proven experience in the Telecom Technology Space, Umang is known to be a distinguished leader in the IT industry. In an exclusive interview to Mouseworld Now, Umang bares open his priorities, vision, strategy and commitments for the Indian Telecom Sector. Edited Excerpts…
Q: As a provider of a digital platform that connects end users to telecom service providers, what sort of transformation do you think the telecom sector is capable of bringing to India?
The last decade has been one where the revolution in the telecommunications sector has been one of the leading factors which has ensured that India has maintained its growth rate high even during the global recession. The telecom industry’s direct contribution to the nations GDP has been 3%. Besides this, the impact on the social and economic fabric of India cannot be understated. Robust telecom growth has made a significant impact on all sectors of business and has elevated the profile of millions of Indians, by bringing them out of poverty and making commerce & trade flourish. Going forward, as India catches up with the rest of the world in 4G deployments as well as smartphone penetration, this impact will only be greater – by bringing banking, finance, agriculture, e-commerce, transportation, media, entertainment and other solutions to the fingertips of a billion Indians through smartphones. We are already seeing this take place but with 4G deployments, things will get better, faster and easier. The current government has created an atmosphere which is very conducive to this by launching the digital India movement.
On the infrastructure front, we can expect a complete transformation as telecom contributions to smart cities on a larger scale, as well as the internet of things on a personal and enterprise level bring a sea change in the way we improve the lives of our countrymen and women. As the smart cities project initiated by the government begins to take shape, we can expect the pace of transformation to pick up in the coming decade.
The telecom industry has also brought about a revolution in entrepreneurship. The telecommunications sector has enabled a new era of billion dollar startups like Flipkart, Paytm and Ola which have benefitted directly from increased access to high speed data services and smartphones. Youth today are inspired to start their own entrepreneurial ventures as a result of this revolution and we can expect this to grow manifold in the coming decade, as telecom continues to connect ventures to the billion strong domestic market that is ready for adoption of new ideas. We at RedMango Analytics are excited to be a part of that journey and are doing our bit to help the sector enable this transformation just that bit much faster and better.
Q: Please take us briefly through your brand journey so far?
We started RedMango Analytics in August 2014 with a dual vision of helping telcos measure & improve the customer experience of their subscribers, as well as helping them connect with consumers to resolve their issues efficiently and effectively.
Since then, we have developed and launched the Mobileindia.me Initiative (www.mobileindia.me) that helps consumers understand the quality of service they receive from the telcos in their circle, locality and homes. We began by measuring the quality of service across over 20 top cities in India in 2015 and are expanding that initiative to cover 100 cities this year. We want the consumer to understand the level of service they get from their service provider and make an informed decision on choosing the operator that will give them the best quality of service. We make all the data that we collect through this platform available to the consumer through our quarterly state of telecom reports on the portal.
We are also the first independent auditor to measure 4G data speeds across various cities in India, thereby effectively measuring the pace of 4G rollouts across the country.
Q: RedMango has developed a unique methodology to measure the experience of mobile subscribers. How does this methodology work?
Our methodology relies on crowdsourcing data about the experience of mobile subscribers. This is done through our Experience.Me application which is available on the Android and iOS app stores. The application allows users to test their data speeds as well as to check the performance of various services such as Video streaming, Navigation, Web browsing and Social media. Besides this, the application anonymously collects information about the quality of the network. It also monitors the experience in the background using our proprietary algorithms to alert users about potential problems in service. Our proprietary analytics methodology then compares the user experience with that of other users around the area and provides them with an easy to understand score on a 0-100 scale. It also allows users to submit feedback about their experience.
We have seen a robust uptake of the application among consumers since we launched a couple of months ago, and are currently receiving over a million experience samples every month across India.
Q: As a leading telecom analytics brand, what major trends do you see in the mobility and telecom space in 2016 in the Indian market?
In early 2015, our measurements revealed that only 4G coverage was available in only 30% of urban areas. This year so far, consumers have access to 4G networks in over 70% of urban areas where 4G networks have been launched. As more and more operators roll out 4G services, we see 4G rollouts matching the scale of current 3G networks. In addition to this, 3G rollouts and enhancements will continue in semi-urban and rural parts of the country. The much anticipated launch of RIL Jio in Q2 this year is likely to create a market dynamic which will allow cheaper access to 4G services for consumers as incumbent operators scramble to capture and protect market share. This bodes well for the mobile subscriber.
Despite the national telecom policy being in effect, 2015 was a year where a lot of players chose to wait and watch as the industry recovered from the expensive outlay during the previous spectrum auctions as well as the 4G rollouts. We expect some M&A based consolidation in the industry this year as operators try to hold on to market share & shore up their competitive positions.
Q: Call drops have been a major pain point in telecom customer experience in India. How can RedMango Help to address that?
Recently, the focus on call drops has been high. This is partially due to the shifting focus on data services as revenue growth due to data services is expected to be 18% while that due to voice remains stagnant at 3%. Due to this fact, operators have repurposed the lower 900 Mhz spectrum Band for 3G networks which are used mainly for data services, while the 2G network, which is used primarily for voice has been moved to the less propagating 1800 Mhz band. This has resulted in shrinking of 2G coverage in these areas resulting in higher call drops. In addition to this, the frequency shifting has results in networks undergoing a transition phase which will need more optimization before call drops can be reduced. Another leading factor is the lack of availability of space for new mobile towers due to radiation and other concerns amongst the general population.
In order to address the growing concern over high call drops faced by consumers, our Experience.Me application has a unique algorithm that identifies call drops. The proprietary algorithm also alerts consumers when it identifies a potential call drop and asks the user to provide confirmation via a smart popup on the phone. All call drops are recoded along with various other information such as location, serving tower, coverage and quality levels. This information is then anonymously sent to our backend servers. Our call drop analytics algorithm identifies potential causes of call drops and provides solutions to resolve them.
We are in the process of tying up with various operators to provide them with access to this information. The crowdsourced data that we collect helps operators identify gaps in service and address them effectively. Our data shows that there has been some progress in the resolution of call drops but much more still needs to be done to improve consumer experience.
Q: Please detail us on the RedMango Customer Experience platform.
We at RedMango Analytics have developed a comprehensive customer experience platform called Experience.Me. The platform consists of the Experience.Me application, backend Database, analytics as well as interactive web based dashboards and workflows. The platform helps consumers understand and compare their mobile experience and choose the best service provider. It also helps telcos monitor the actual consumer experience of various services that mobile subscribers use on their networks as well as provides them insights on making this experience better. It also provides them with a cost effective, efficient and automated workflow to address issues that their subscribers face. Our proprietary algorithms measure the health of the Indian mobile landscape and our endeavor is to eventually help make the Digital India movement a success going forward.
Q: What is your key market strategy in India? Where would you like to see brand RedMango five years hence?
Our market strategy is to currently increase the adoption of the application and exponentially grow the data that we crowdsource in order to provide more meaningful insights on consumer experience on mobile devices. Today we are a recognized industry standard when it comes to measuring consumers experience on mobile devices. In the next five years we hope to become the leading source of actionable insights that champions customer experience across the industry in India and the world.