Delhi election 2015: Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi and Ajay Makhen are using mobile app Frankly.me to reach out to voters

As the election scenario is reaching crescendo in the poll bound Delhi, Frankly.me online platform is the most favourite platform among politicians to reach out the the masses.

Frankly

Showcasing how the AAP, with the help if a unique concept by IIT graduates is truly democratising the Indian elections like never before. For the first time, th Indian elctorate can ask the candidates’ plans for his/her plan for the constituency, cross examine them directly anytime and not hear one sided speaches.

In fact, Fankly.me has 48 AAP members on their platform, actively responding to the queries from the public. Besides AAP members, other politicians like Ajay Makhen and Kiren Bedi have joined the bandwagon, according to a company statement.

Play Store - Frankly

While speaking about Frankly.me, Nikunj Jain, Co-Founder explained: The team Frankly.me is really proud and happy with the recent advancements in the platform and it’s steadily rising popularity with the empanelment of noted public figures including politicians. With Frankly.me, these personalities intend to understand the masses and their expectations better. This facilitates them with first-hand information directly from the common people and gives them insights which are more perceptive.”

Here, political parties are going digital using mobile applications for video chat with the masses though Frankly me. The application is for Android and iOS users. Targeted at empowering common people with the ability to have one to one conversations with anyone in the limelight- be it celebrities, politicians, entrepreneurs, IAS officers or sports personalities, it is open to users all over the world. The funding will be used to focus on India for the next 15 to 18 months and towards overcoming the challenge of expanding in a market with more than 20 officially recognized languages.

Taking advantage of the country’s fast-growing mobile penetration rate, the platform intends to impact the Delhi elections this year to gain more traction. Currently, it boasts of having a cluster of noted public figures including politicians like Arvind Kejriwal, the ex-chief minister of Delhi, Yogendra Yadav and Kiran
Bedi.

Exposure from public figures on the platform has resulted in 1,000 to 2,000 new users each day. At present, it competes directly with formidable rivals like Twitter and Youtube. The factor that gives it an edge is that it enables two-way communication easily. The Questions submitted are up-voted by other users, so the most popular ones are seen and hopefully answered. Frankly’s interface also enables in-depth discussions to take place.

Frankly is a mobile app where people ask questions to public figures and celebrities who then answer them back in video selfies. The idea is to expand the horizon of conversations that people take part in their lifetimes. They aim to do this by giving people access to frontrunners, average Joes and even the backbenchers from different walks and forms of life.

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VivaConnect launches iVote, a product that empowers voting through a missed call

Voting plays a pivotal role when it comes to choosing our political leaders, favorite film stars & artists, reality show contestants, favorite brands and services, of which the traditional pattern has been visit to polling booths, filing nomination forms, posting mails and the more recent SMS voting.

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New horizon
Considering the high paced lifestyle of the metropolitan and the reach barrier of the rural regions, many of these systems fell short on multiple levels. However, the picture seems to be brighter on the horizon, all thanks to the Mobile phone once again.
Missed call voting system
Mobile phone technology has greatly revolutionised our activities and its latest dose comes in form of ‘Missed Call Voting System’. Finally a superior means to cast one’s valuable vote easily over mobile, that too without spending a paisa.

The Mumbai-based VivaConnect, India’s Largest Voice and Missed Call Company has launched iVote – A product that empowers voting through a missed call. In an interview, Vikram Raichura, Managing Director, vivaConnect speaks to Jayashankar Menon about the ground breaking technology and more. Excerpts:

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JM: How does mobile phone comes into the picture of voting?
VR: A vote is highly valuable as it increases the credibility to a particular person or a cause. Hence two aspects are highly important, easy accessibility to voting mechanism and having maximum participation. So what better mode than a Mobile phone. We have built iVote, a product to handle national level voting over a missed call, Making it easier and free. It acts as a fair system of voting and easier for every section of society.

JM: Can you elaborate on iVote?
VR: iVote is powering voting for ZEE Cine Awards 2014, World’s Biggest Viewer’s Choice Awards (ZCA). VivaConnect has joined in as an official voting partner for the event as ZCA 2014 puts the viewers in the judge’s seat to award the stars of the film fraternity. Viewers across India are requested to give a missed call over 1800 103 7788, which is followed by them receiving a voice call to cast their vote. A smooth IVR system takes the caller through different categories and the nominations and registers votes by inputs through keypad. Just within few hours of going live, the lines have been flooded with votes from urban to rural audiences of India. Yet this is just one case, iVote is beneficial for brands to know public opinion over products, conducting surveys by new channels, interactive contests and more. With this product uplifting power of every individual, we can certainly foresee a day where our ministers too shall be chosen casting a vote over mobile.

JM: Please talk about VivaConnnect and its business interests…
VR: VivaConnect is India’s leading Mobile Marketing Company having the largest Non-VAS infrastructure for Voice and Missed Calls besides SMS, Email and Mobile App Development. Established in 2001, we enable businesses to reach, engage and analyse our consumers across the mobile horizon, powering billions of interactions till date. We also manage a daily traffic of 15 million outbound calls through our pool of over 800 PRI’s. We ideate, develop, and deliver ‘Awesome’ mobile marketing initiatives and experiences for brands, television networks and enterprises by meeting the ever-changing and diverse customer needs on our most preferred device, the Mobile.

JM: Can you name few of your clients?
VR: Citibank, Standard Chartered Bank, Eureka Forbes, Zee Cine Awards to name a few.

JM: What is your company’s vision?
VR: Our vision is in sharing the marvels of communication to make a million business prosper. VivaConnect provides solutions that requires zero literacy, zero cost and zero balance (over mobile/telco platform). We have a passion to create tools that facilitate communication’s ecosystem over mobile phone. As of now, mobile phone, as it is, is the preferred mode of the customer.

JM: What, according to you, is the key to success?

VR: We believe exploration is the key to success, hence we explore to create better products, better user experiences for better technology and possibilities that come with every challenges.

JM: What according to you is the biggest contributing factor towards VivaConnect’s growth?
VR: The biggest contributing factor towards our growth is our playful culture and attitude that allows evolving with time and doesn’t restrict ourselves. We create products that gives consumer a WOW experience. We contribute to business and individual’s through our platforms such as mobile apps, voice, missed calls and SMS on mobile. We work with customers on the consultative model wherein we engage and interact with them to understand their process, objectives, requirements and accordingly ideate, create and deliver solutions.

JM: Can you throw some light on your company’s tagline: ‘Your Business Raised to the Power of Infinity’?
VR: Our tagline reflect our belief that there are infinite possibilities available to grow business as we contribute to it through mobility. VivaConnect’s solutions empower from masses to classes, i.e. Tring! Tring! Customers to Tap! Customers thus breaking all kinds of barrier. We believe in living the future Now and not just dreaming it. We differntiate ourselves by How we do it and not what we do it. Our solutions produce 20X results and 5X lower cost compared to televisin and print media.

JM: Are you always open towards adding new technologies and platforms to your products and solutions?
VR: Yes, we believe that mobile sepectrum has opened a while new era of opportunities across the verticals. With the kind of products VivaConnnect is developing, it will have more than a million users globally by next two years. Among SMBs, we work with retail, small financial companies, manufacturing and NGOs. We are currently witnessing higher demand for mobile marketing solutions from business and brands for reaching both rural and urban India.

JM: Right now, how many SMBs VivaConnnect serve?
VR: Currently, VivaConnect serves in excess of 100 SMBs and an estimated 6,000 users.

JM: Can you talk about the accolades VivaConnect has bagged so far?
VR: VivaConnect is a recepient of prestigious awards including Red Herring Top 100 Asia 2012, Top 100 Small Business 2011 and the Best SME (E-Commerce) at CNBC Emerging India Awards 2009.

Real Estate Regulation Bill to create a positive change towards organised approach to real estate in India

The Real Estate Regulation and Development Bill, can be seen as a positive change towards a more organized and transparent approach to real estate in India. But with elections coming up, the fate of the Bill and its current form faces an uncertain future, says Sunder P, CEO and Co Founder of HomeShikari.com. In a free-wheeling interview, Sunder provides the Real Estate forecast in 2014. Excerpts:
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JM: What were the key external factors impacting the residential real estate market in 2013?
SP: The year 2013 saw a lot of key external factors affecting the residential real estate market. RBI guidelines, revisions on FDI, the draft Real Estate Regulation and Development Bill and a volatile economy are among a few.

JM: Will the proposed Real Estate Regulation Bill create any positive impact on the Real Estate horizon in India?
SP: The Real Estate Regulation and Development Bill, can be seen as a positive change towards a more organised and transparent approach to real estate in India. But with elections coming up, the fate of the Bill and its current form faces an uncertain future.
JM: Has the RBI guidelines on funding created a negative impact on builder cash flows?
SP: The change in RBI guidelines on the 20:80 funding has had a serious impact on builder cash flows. Most builders have highly leveraged balance sheets and the slowdown in demand has led to a serious pile up of inventory in most cities.

JM: What are the other deterrents for overseas investors in shying away to foray into Indian market?
SP: Transparency issues and associated risks with the residential real estate market too act as a deterrent for foreign investors. The REIT market for commercial real estate is just beginning to see some action. In the current scenario, organised bulge bracket investors see commercial real estate more favourably than the residential market.

JM: According to you, which category will see the highest demand in the outlying and newer areas of the city?
SP: The budget homes category will witness the highest demand in the outlying and newer areas of the city, especially because there is a good deal of price flexibility that developers display. The locational preferences are based on factors of affordability, followed by urban and social infrastructure to support living. Yet, within each of these sectors, price is still seen as the largest pain point amongst buyers. The investment market will therefore see less traction than the end-user market.

JM: Do you think the foreign investments into the commercial sector are likely to increase any time soon?
SP: Yes, foreign investments into the commercial sector are likely to increase with the formation of REITs. Commercial office spaces with long term lease agreements are going to attract more such investments. Growth is expected to be muted until a new Government is formed at the Centre after elections. Cities with large pile up of inventory like Mumbai, NCR and Chennai are likely to witness a slow down. Some pockets within NCR like Greater Noida may do well. Bangalore, by far is expected to outperform all other markets in 2014. Pune is expected to do reasonably well. Hyderabad has witnessed lackluster performance in 2013 due to the political uncertainty over Telengana row, but may see some renewed buying as things become clearer and since the market has almost bottomed out.

JM: How about the luxury and super premium segments?
SP: In the luxury and super premium segments where buyers are not D-I-Y is where middlemen (the professional firms) can play a role in assessing the needs and finding a good fitment. It may also work with the speculative investor class.

JM: What according to you is the cardinal problem in the Indian Real Estate arena?
SP: The key problem in the Indian real estate segment is the lack of accurate information to make an informed choice. The middlemen while having relatively better information are also handicapped. The only information that they probably have better access to, is availability. The rest is a matter of reverse bidding and price discovery, which middlemen do more efficiently than end users.

Voterite.com, first ever voter-candidate engagement platform launched in India

In an apparent initiative to mobilise thousands of young urban voters towards exercising their voting rights, entrepreneur Vikram Nalagampalli launches Voterite.com, India’s first platform that opens a two-way communication between voter and candidate. Voterite.com rides on the exponential rise of social media habits of the young urban voter (18-35 years), who is typically apathetic towards voting.

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The platform effectively captures concerns and dialogues between the voter and candidate, while helping candidates and their campaigners to drum up support amidst this discerning target audience. Quite simply, Voterite.com enables the voter and the candidate to discover each other, and engage in meaningful conversations, according to a company statement.

Spurred by the fact that the margin for an electoral win is sometimes as small as 5000 votes, and armed with research data that reveals that over 220 MP constituencies can be influenced by social media users, Vikram realised that the answer to the voting apathy is an online platform that allows users to communicate, post and share their opinions via social media. Not only can users question and evaluate claims by candidates and their campaigners, but they can create and launch their own social media campaigns for candidates they believe must be elected. Voterite empowers the user to campaign for deserving candidates in any constituency across the country. Such a campaigner can solicit support, get updates on new supporters and map the effect of his campaign. Given the upcoming national elections in 2014, Voterite is well poised to become a barometer of the urban, young voter, while serving as a key component in any campaigner’s toolkit.
The advent of social media to influence ‘friends’ and motivate them to get interested and act upon a cause is well proved and documented world over. There are 150 million social media users in India alone. Recent successes of mobilising public opinion via Facebook and Twitter in India (the anti-corruption movement being one) as well as the rising social media presence of candidates indicate that social media can possible influence a large section of urban youth like no other platform can. This is why Voterite is a product of its times, and is essential in increasingly complex electoral age.
Talking about Voterite, Vikram Nalagampalli said: “Quite honestly, a large mass of voters – especially the upwardly mobile, urban young voter – does not pay much attention to campaigns during election times. Why, many of them don’t even vote. To get them to care, engage and participate, we have to speak their language. Only then can real change – the sort of change that the recent anti-corruption movement sought – can happen. This is possible by engaging them on social media and creating an online peer-to-peer platform that is available to them 24/7. This is why Voterite was created”.
Vikram Nalagampalli is an entrepreneur and a returning NRI with over 15 years of leadership experience in enabling change leveraging technology in Corporate America. Genesis of Voterite began with Vikram’s recent journey back to his home country and when he had to go through a hard realization of various facts that every citizen is rightfully entitled for. Vikram decided to leverage his expertise in enabling change using technology and this time to fix the broken parts of our democracy and figured out a way to not only empower citizens but also provide a means for citizens to collectively make a difference in their neighbourhood or constituency within days and not months or years.