September 2013    
Thinking Aloud Podium We Recommend Standing Ovation
In Praise of Apps – Jay Interview with Mr. Sagar Apte, CEO and Founder of CARiQ Technologies

Amazing Apps - Mobile, iPad Manuvikasa, Karnataka

Dear Reader,apps

Most of us are already familiar with WhatsApp, the instant messaging subscription service which helps to stay connected while on the move. In recent news, the company reported that WhatsApp had over 300 million active users, and 325 million photos shared each day. Does Angry Birds ring a bell? Whatsapp and Angry Birds present an interesting contrast to the importance of Apps both at the individual level and at a global one. Today, Apps have touched every aspect of our lives. So much so, that there’s even an App for sending your blood pressure reading to your doctor and there’s even an App to tell you which wine suits the dinner that you just ordered!

There are several schools of thought about why people love Apps. Smart Apps are going to potentially change how we use our brains and how we learn; instead of remembering so much information, we have Apps connected to the Cloud, which will give us the access to not only our own but also the world’s information at our fingertips. Going forward, the number of Apps and Cloud applications is going to change the way people and businesses interact.

From mobile and web Apps to Cloud, the world just got Applified and there’s more to come in this World of Apps!!

In Thinking Aloud, Jay journeys through time and takes a look at the time when we lived without Apps and what it is today. From computers and software to our good old Google to Apps, smart phones and Cloud. Today’s businesses use Apps to interface with their stakeholders - both internally and externally. The ‘free’ culture on the Net certainly does pose a challenge for businesses, but it has also given birth to the concept of ‘freemium’. Inevitably and unknowingly all of us are riding the App-wave.

Podium this month features Mr. Sagar Apte, CEO and Founder of CariQ Technologies. Sagar is very tech savvy and is knowledgeable about the IT and technology space. He gives us a quick look of the various Apps available to us at our disposal today. Further, he is of the opinion that today’s competitive world is driven by the innovative usage of Apps that enable businesses today to reach a level that one has never explored before, opining that India is not far away in winning this race.

ET takes a quick look at some Apps in We Recommend that are innovative in our times.

Standing Ovation looks at Manuvikasa, an NGO which serves two districts of Karnataka - Haveri and Uttara Kannada, addressing social issues and various other concerns in the realm of rural development. Manuvikasa aims to benefit depressed families by empowering women, youth and providing education to children. While giving importance to the society, Manuvikasa also serves its green cause of protecting the environment through various conservation programmes. The concept of self-help groups (SHG) with special emphasis on the development of women is given importance to.

In Figures of Speech, Vikram’s toon just got Applified!!

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Thinking Aloud

In Praise Of Apps - Jay
‘There’s an App for that’. This phrase has become the slogan for current times. And funnily enough not too far back some of us may remember living in a world without Apps.

How have they taken over the world? Well, first, in the world of digital migrants, which actually comprises of the vast majority of the world, computers and software were alien tools. Learning to use them was not an easy task and specialists were required to assist you anytime you stumbled while completing an assignment that needed a computer.

Then came the Web that now virtually connected you to everyone else. Suddenly software programs did not seem so forbidding when all you needed was ‘Professor Google’ to answer all your queries. The ‘browser’ became your new best friend who could be the vehicle for exploring the mysteries that you wanted to solve. And, what was not visible to the user was that the browser took you to applications that resolved all your queries. As the Web advanced, the ubiquitous Application became the friendly App, as the Web moved from lines of text to the colourful world of image, audio, video, and a combination of all things put to together. Suddenly, the world of knowledge became easier to access and the friendly App was always accessible to you – and what’s more was more often than not, ‘free’ to use. From a world of costly software programs to the liberating world of free access – things could not be better for the common user.

But the best was yet to come: the birth of smart phones (and all phones are already becoming smart phones to the extent that very soon the term ‘smart phone’ will be an oxymoron) has made Apps a way of life for us now. Think Apple and the App Store is where you regularly visit to check out what’s new and discover a rich world of over a million Apps. And, yes, the other good news is that with Apps you are never out-of-date as they are constantly refreshed.

Even those who do not shop at the virtual market places are already living in App-land, as it were. As technically, Apps are ‘web-based applications that are designed to be used entirely within the browser without having to install complicated software’, anytime you use Gmail or Google Docs or other such tools, you are already using Apps.

The App-wave is rising. Incidentally, some new reports indicate that the most widely used smartphone App currently is Google Maps, followed by Facebook and YouTube. No longer is it seen as a frivolous game vehicle, today businesses use Apps to interface with their constituents - both internally with employees and extramurally with customers. Thereby, they have become business disrupters both in a positive and negative way. While the ‘free’ culture on the Net has become a challenge for business, it has also given birth to the concept of ‘freemium’. A new concept, this essentially provides for an amalgam of free-plus model: you have the basic offering offered free to enjoy and if you are really keen on having a bigger bite of the product, get ready to pay a fee. The other interesting aspect of the App based model is that pricing too is extremely moderate. The business is built on ‘pay-per-use’ or on ’pay-as-you-grow’ model and in some cases (for instance, in games), virtual currencies are a premium buy for the player.

While Apps are fun to use – game Apps are the among the most widely free Apps in both Android and Apple market places, think ‘Angry Birds’ – they have also become a source of mischief. Net security experts warn of nasty malware finding their way into your systems (phone or computers) riding on the back of the innocent looking App. But that need not deter us from riding the App wave.

Thus what we have is the brave new world of Apps – your surfboard on the cloud to enjoy your photographs, music, games, and, yes, your business workload!

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Podium

Sagar Apte, CEO and Founder of CARiQ Technologies.

Sagar is the CEO and Founder of CARiQ Technologies. CARiQ is a connected car platform enabling data collection and analyses from the car's on-board computers for insights. CarScore is the first application launched on the CARiQ platform. Sagar loves working on business problems and is very curious about what happens in the technology space. He can spend hours discussing business relevance from historical military personalities and exploits.

ET:  What is an App? And how is it different from a Software Programme & Widget?

SA:   You should think of an App as something that has the power of a software programme, and the flexibility of a widget. Like a software program, it can do pretty complex stuff, and since it is being used in the cloud, you have the convenience of timely upgrades without any effort on your part like widgets. Widgets are simple programs that usually do very specific and often simple tasks. Think of a simple widget on your desktop that displays free/busy calendar. The widget does not have the functionality of calendar software and only shows selected information from the calendar. The calendar on the other hand, is a software program that does a lot of complex things like managing time zones, holidays, scheduling, among many other tasks.

ET:  It has been said that if you’re not using Apps to promote your business, you’re probably losing out. Please explain how the usage of Apps has changed the way businesses are handled today.

SA:  Apps have essentially changed every business you see around us. From shopping to points of sale, everything is managed by Apps today. Have you seen the mobile point of sales Apps that Apple uses? The Apple representative in an Apple store has an iPhone that acts like a POS machine. You make a purchase, and the iPhone App tells the stock status, available colours, and even allows the representative to swipe your credit card for payments. Local restaurants have Apps that act as a menu card, and you can order your dishes using the tablets on your table. Another striking example would be “Email for Business”, a mobile App from Extentia. Simple and intuitive, “Email For business” can improve your customer engagement many fold. SMBs can use such Apps to quickly connect, and make the customer feel important. Take any business and you can only be amazed by what Apps have done for them. Apps allow businesses to stay in step with the fast moving customer base. Continuous interaction with customers has become an expected thing.

ET:  Gartner Inc. has recently reported that India has the potential to lead the world of Social, Mobile and Cloud Apps. What is your view?
 
SA:  Absolutely. We are already leading from an App development standpoint and we definitely are at the crux of leading this from a user adoption as well. The App development companies mushrooming around the country is phenomenal and I can see many more coming from Tier II and III cities in India. The software revolution in the past was led by IT favoured cities like Bangalore and Hyderabad. Mobile development however is showing very strong growth in Tier II and III cities as well. The primary reason for this is the global reach with very minimal marketing spends. Unlike desktop software, mobile Apps can be sold across any country through the Apple or Android online stores.

ET:  What is hindering the effectiveness of Cloud Apps in Indian Companies?

SA:  Indian companies have usually been late in the software product adoption curve. This means that existing infrastructure is seen as an investment that is yet to achieve a decent ROI. Adopting cloud Apps will mean foregoing those investments and entering a new territory. That is usually difficult for most companies. However we should see Indian companies moving towards cloud Apps as the ROI becomes more clear and predictable.

ET:  IT trends are difficult to predict. But could you tell us what’s next after Apps?

SA:  Interactive and collaboration Apps are the future. The existing Apps are standalone for lack of bandwidth and computing power. However with LTE and computing power on mobile device coming a long way ahead, the future will be ripe for smart collaborative Apps. Imagine instead of only displaying data, your mobile Apps can now compute and show results. Imagine multiple players games, meetings across multiple participant, and virtual classes on the go!

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We Recommend

Amazing Apps - Mobile, iPad

In we recommend this month, we give you a glimpse of some of the popular, innovative and revolutionary Apps in our times.

SOS – Stay Safe!

SOS – stay safe is an App that turns a smartphone into a personal safety device. Its revolutionary patent pending technology sends out alerts – a text message/SMS and/or email to pre-determined contacts at customizable intervals by just shaking the phone! The alerts contain an emergency message, the current location of the user, the phone’s battery life and a recorded sound clip of the situation.

http://www.ixtentia.com/portfolio/SOS-Stay-Safe-personal-safety-app.html

Instapaper

Instapaper is a green App that lets you read the newspaper while on the move and in the process saves a lot of trees! Although not the first of its kind, Instapaper allows one of saving now and reading later when you have the time to read it!

http://www.instapaper.com/

Night Sky

This stellar App lets one know under which star or constellation we are standing under, giving us the ability of to be ‘astrologers’. The best part of this App is that is that you need not be under the night sky at all, you can be lying on your bed, and all you have to do is point your phone towards the ceiling and the App will tell which star you might be sleeping under!

https://itunes.apple.com/in/app/the-night-sky/id475772902?mt=8

Nike+

This App has revolutionized the way a health conscience people work out. Nike+ App not only gives you an idea of how many kilometres you have covered during your regular work out but it also gives you an idea of how many calories you have burnt during your work out. It also stores all the information for multiple runs letting the user know your past record and if you are improving or falling in the performance level.

http://nikeplus.nike.com/plus/products/gps_app/

Sleep as Android

Sleep as Android is an App that tracks your sleep to find the optimal moment for your wake up. Knowing how well you slept is important, and by using an app like Sleep as Android, you will be able to see how long you were in a deep restful sleep vs. light sleep. Also, there’s an alarm to wake you up when you’re not in a deep sleep, thus making you less groggy in the morning.

https://sites.google.com/site/sleepasandroid/

Check out the link below for the most popular Apps used:

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/category/popular?utm_source=chrome-ntp-icon

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Standing Ovation

Manuvikasa

A group of people from different walks of life came together to form Manuvikasa, an NGO working in Haveri and Uttara Kannada districts of Karnataka. Manuvikasa addresses issues like poverty and various social problems, publicizes human rights and child rights, employment creation, proper management of natural resources and various other issues for rural development. Manuvikasa continues to strive for the all-round development of the State with special focus on the disadvantaged section through the development of sustainable livelihood, education, enriched environment and development of good human values.

Beneficiaries of the various programmes organised by Manuvikasa include poor farmers and agricultural labour, children and women, the mentally and physically challenged, minority and backward communities, people with health problem and people interested in environment conservation.

Some of Manuvikasa’s achievements include:

  • Environmental conservation
    • Enrichment of planting - Manuvikasa distributed fruits and medicinal plants to the households and schools in Siddapur Taluk. These medicinal and fruit trees provided food and nutritional security to the community. This Programme also aimed to provide additional income to families in the long run
    • Water harvesting – Manuvikasa constructed small tanks in villages which were helpful to the community for drinking and domestic water supply. These tanks also provided water for agricultural purposes
    • Manuvikasa supports poor, orphan and single parented children to continue education through scholarships, providing basic materials and schooling
    • Home based education centers - Manuvikasa takes care of children by providing health care and basic materials. These children are taken care by volunteers through games, and providing physiotherapy treatment
  • Women Empowerment programme
    • Manuvikasa has promoted SHGs and trained more than 197 women members on different income generation activities along with savings and credit activities. Manuvikasa also provides different social awareness programmes.

A standing ovation for Manuvikasa’s cause!

For more information about Manuvikasa, you can visit manuvikasa.blogspot.com or log on to manuvikasa@gmail.com

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