Role of Technology in the Development of Smart Cities in India!

The World Bank projects that by 2050, India’s urban population will nearly double to 857 million—more than twice the population of the United States. Over the next 15 years alone, the country will have to build between 7.5 billion and 9.7 billion square feet of residential and commercial space each year to keep pace. This exponential growth demands for smart infrastructure for sewage, water and electricity and brings in the concept of Smart Cities. Smart Cities will accommodate rapid urbanization, focus on the primary needs and tap new opportunities to improve the quality of life for residents today and the future.

Here are some interesting facts depicting why India needs Smart Cities –

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Above figures emphasize the need to devise and develop solutions for delivering basic utilities to all and for a smarter living.

Smart Cities Mission: A step towards Smarter India
The Smart Cities mission is an innovative and a new initiative by the Government of India to drive economic growth and improve the quality of life of people by enabling local development and harnessing technology as means to create smart solutions for citizens.

India is now being talked about at global level for the development of Smart Cities under PM Narendra Modi’s vision “Digital India”. This ambitious plan plans to build 100 smart cities across India in the period of five years and foresee India as a digital leader of services in various sectors including healthcare, education and financial.

What is a Smart City?
Smart city would be a city which would have the below core infrastructure for a clean and sustainable environment. As per Government of India – Smart Cities would focus on their most pressing needs and on the greatest opportunities to improve lives. They tap a range of approaches – digital and information technologies, urban planning best practices, public-private partnerships, and policy change – to make a difference. They always put people first.

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Role of technology and software solutions in creating Smart Cities
Urbanization is an inevitable progression. Businesses and governments are starting to recognize the role of technology in meeting the goals of urban infrastructure provisioning both today and in the long term.
The smart city transformation would be fuelled by advance technology and the deployment of intelligence & information management systems. Dream of Smart cities can be achieved at accelerated pace with higher reliance on ICT (information and communications technology)
Digital disruptions including social media, mobility, Machine-to-Machine (M2M), Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, and Cloud Computing will become the backbone of next generation smart cities.

Spice Digital solutions for Smart Cities
Smart solutions are vital for India’s future and Spice Digital is committed to bring about this transformation towards smarter living, through our innovative offerings and partnerships.
Our experienced team along with our partners are offering numerous solutions –

  • Customized Solutions based on OEM Products
  • Office Automation
  • Project Management System
  • Sales Force Automation
  • CRM
  • Big Data Analytics
  • Community Payments
  • Mobile Apps / Web Development
  • Smart Metering Solutions
  • Smart Home products

For a complete detail and list on our Smart City Solutions, please visit our page “Solutions for Smart City”


Unified Payment Interface (UPI) – a Game Changer of Payment System

Unified Payment Interface

Mobile banking is becoming increasingly sophisticated and with the launch of Unified Payment Interface (UPI) more innovation, simplicity, security and speed has been added to the entire payment arena. Industry experts are considering UPI as the gamer changer of the present payment system in India as it will transform the way we make payments to various retail stores, restaurants, for cabs, do utility payments etc. Developed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the UPI aims to move towards a cashless model of economy. Regarded as the most important initiative, Unified Payment Interface will play a vital role in implementing government’s JAM (Jhan Dhan Yojana, Aadhar and Mobile) vision.

RBI’s vision for Payment Systems in India

Payment Systems in India: Vision “To proactively encourage electronic payment systems for ushering in a less-cash society in India and to ensure payment and settlement systems in the country are safe, efficient, interoperable, authorised, accessible, inclusive and compliant with international standards.

In line with this, the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has also visualized and launched an Indian domestic card payment scheme “RuPay”. It was created to have a domestic, open loop, and multilateral system of payments in India. RuPay facilitates electronic payment at all Indian banks and financial institutions. RuPay will make the transaction cost affordable and will drive usage of cards in the industry.

Objectives of UPI

Objectives of Unified Payment Interface system is to offer an architecture and a set of standard APIs to facilitate the next generation online immediate payments, leveraging trends such as increasing smartphone adoption, Indian language interfaces, and universal access to Internet and data.

Traditional Fund Transfer Methods

Most of the electronic payments in India are facilitated through National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) and Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS).

In NEFT, the bank details of the sender and the beneficiary are linked using IFSC code and bank branch name. When a payment is commenced, the payer’s bank sends a ‘message’ to its NEFT service centre. All such messages are pooled every hour and the bank’s NEFT centre sends it to the RBI, which starts the transfer. The process takes places only during working hours and takes few hours.

On the hand fund transfer through Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) is handled on one-to-one basis. It is generally used for making large value transactions, typically more than Rs. 2 lakhs. RTGS transactions are also done during working hours.

Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) is now gaining importance as it round-the-clock immediate payment service. To initiate the payment, sender needs a 7-digit Mobile Money Identifier (MMID) Code and registered mobile number of the beneficiary.

How does UPI work?
Imagine buying clothes from a mall by paying cash. How you make the purchase? You give cash at cash counter, the biller gives you a receipt and purchased good. UPI is even simpler than this. Instead of giving cash, you tell your virtual identity to the cashier. The cashier will then generate an invoice using UPI, you will approve the invoice on your mobile and the payment is made.

So to make payment through UPI, you need a bank account and a smartphone. Once a user is registered for UPI with his/her bank , a virtual address is created which is then mapped with user’s mobile number.

This entire new arrangement is:
Highly secure – as there is no need to disclose identity while making payments

A single click-two factor authentication system – each transaction being authenticated at two levels with one click

Available all the time – UPI runs on Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) platform, hence the service will be available in real-time and 24×7

An inter-operable system – You will be able to use the products of any bank, even if you are not a customer, which has entered into an agreement to use the UPI platform

Cost effective – Transactions through UPI will reduce fees which go to many mediators while making payments through debit/credit cards.

Spice Digital’s participation in UPI Initiative

Spice Digital’s team named “Enablers” had participated in Unified Payment Interface (UPI) Hackathon, 2016 launched by the National Payments Corporation of India, presented their rock solid solutions and emerged out as one of the top five finalists.


Big Data for Actionable Insights

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Big Data and Analytics is the new 21st century gold rush and will impact every single business entity. In the time to come, the Knowledge and the Actionable Insight generated from Big Data and Analytics will overcome a sense of disenchantment and give business a competitive advantage. Business houses can leverage data in new ways, understand its hidden potential to further fine tune their strategies.

But the question is – What is this Big Data all about?

Big Data is often defined by 3Vs – Volume, Velocity and Variety.

In simple words, Big Data is an incredible amount of data (usually Terabytes, Petabytes or more), coming at an alarming or extremely high speed and which can be in structured (like data in your excel sheets defined by rows and columns) or semi-structured / unstructured form (like your Facebook posts and Twitter tweets).

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Stats show that 2.5 quintillion bytes of digital data is being generated every day, data doubling itself every 1.2 years.
Big Data made waves in the analytics space because existing as well as traditional tools, techniques and infrastructure are incapable of handling this large volume and complexity of data. Hence, the term “Big Data” has expanded not only to include data but the set of technologies to capture, store, manage and analyze large and varied collection of data to solve complex problems.

Apart from this, with Internet of Things (IoT) gaining momentum, Big Data hype has grown even bigger. According to Cisco, IoT will be generating 400 zettabytes of data by 2018. In spite of all techniques and tools in place, capturing and analyzing this much volume of data is going to be a huge challenge. Presently we are able to analyse only 0.5% of the entire data generated.

At the same time, it is very easy to get overwhelmed by the term “Big” in Big Data, however the need of the hour is “Smart” Data. Once unlocked, the structured data is highly beneficial to take strategic decisions.

Big Data Management deals with 3 major challenges:

1. Strategy: Looking at new ways to use information to drive growth
2. Data Analytics: Drawing insights and trends and using this for decision making
3. Management: Controlling 3 Vs adopting process efficiencies

Big Data Opportunity in India

Burgeoning size of digital information triggered by social media, ecommerce, banking and 900 million mobile connections out of which 100 million are data users is resulting in 83% of annual growth rate of Big Data in India.

Big data has found vertical market applications, ranging from fraud detection/risk management to scientific R&D, along with proliferation of data from multiple real time sources.

Horizontal Submarkets for Big Data

– Storage & Compute Infrastructure
– Networking Infrastructure
– Hadoop & Infrastructure Software
– SQL
– NoSQL
– Analytic Platforms & Applications
– Cloud Platforms
– Professional Services

Vertical Submarkets for Big Data
– Automotive, Aerospace & Transportation
– Banking & Securities
– Defense & Intelligence
– Education
– Healthcare & Pharmaceutical
– Smart Cities & Intelligent Buildings
– Insurance
– Manufacturing & Natural Resources
– Web, Media & Entertainment
– Public Safety & Homeland Security
– Public Services
– Retail & Hospitality
– Telecommunications
– Utilities & Energy
– Wholesale Trade
– Others

Hurdles and Prospects of Big Data and Analytics projects

While all the hypes are true and need is indeed there, however 99% (Yes you read it right!) of Big Data and Analytics implementation fail. The top 5 reasons for same are:
1. Failure to define use case in objective terms
2. Failure to use right technology
3. Failure to focus on business requirements first, technology next
4. Failure to leverage all available data sets and assets
5. Failure to effectively use power of advanced analytics

Hence, not only technology but the people are the key drivers for Big Data and Analytics space. Most of the organizations are making investments on building human capital, people who know tools, business problems and techniques to solve complex problems. This has led to birth of new profile “Data Scientist” – which is one of the hottest skills to have in industry as of now.

Keep watching this space for more on Big Data, Analytics, Data Scientists, Machine Learing and much more.


Mobile Marketing Stats that matter to invest in mobile marketing

Smartphone penetration is growing rapidly and by 2017 almost a third of all Indian mobile users are expected to own a smartphone. Worldwide figures state that almost 50 percent of mobile users are going to own a smartphone by 2017. ( Statista.com )

Mobile has left behind desktop and has drastically changed the way we carry out search on web. Mobile apps have now become a preferred choice of users for content consumption as compared to web browsing. This has led to a transformation, especially the way we socialize and shop.

Brands have already recognized that we are approaching a point when mobile usage exceeds that of all other devices combined. Sensing all the hidden opportunities, marketers are making a paradigm shift in their digital marketing methods.
Will this year be the tipping point in mobile marketing? Let’s try to find with facts and figures:
1. According to eMarketer, total mobile ad spend will cross $100 billion worldwide by 2016
2. Acording to Facebook research in Oct 2015, 73% of people always have their mobile device with them even in the bathroom.
3. In a report by Forrester, it has been mentioned that people pick up their mobile devices 150 to 200 times a day.
4. 80% of Internet users use smartphones to search the Web.
5. According to a recent global digital snapshot published by We Are Social there are nearly as many active mobile social accounts in the world (1.68 billion) as there are smartphones.
6. Mobile video accounted for 55% of mobile data usage by the end of 2014 by Cisco ‘15 Mobile Forecast

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Without further ado, it is obvious that mobile marketing is going to be the next big thing and marketers are trying hard to unwind new opportunities.

Spice Digital’s total end-to-end mobile advertising solutions unleash the power of mobile marketing. We simplify mobile advertising with efficient campaign planning, execution & optimization. Using our competent solutions you can increase the effectiveness of your brand marketing strategies by integrating it with your other marketing initiatives to drive measurable results.

We offer:
• A total-end-to-end Solution
• Result Driven Models -CPA,CPI,CPL,CPS, CPC, CPM, CPV
• Efficient campaign planning, execution & optimization
• Global Reach


Bharat Bill Payments System – A Digital Bill Payment Initiative by NPCI

The National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) with its plan to digitize bill payments across the country will join the Digital India initiative. The NPCI is developing an integrated Bharat Bill Payments System to provide an ease of ‘anytime anywhere’ payment of all kinds of bills to customers. This will cover water, DTH and telecom with a plan of expanding and covering school fee, university fee, municipality taxes, mutual funds, insurance premiums etc after approval from the RBI.

Customers can easily pay bill from retail points using various payment modes such as credit card, debit card, mobile wallet, net banking (IMPS, NEFT) after getting registered with Bharat Bill Payments System. Process of registration can either be done online or by walking into any BBPS outlet. The customer would share detail such as his name, address, email id, mobile number and an identification document. After registration, a Customer ID would be given to the customer that will be used in all future transactions. This would definitely change the bill payments being done today.

The biggest beneficiaries of this entire change are going to be the domestic remittance companies and business correspondents of the banks having huge retail presence across the country.


Text Mining to Create Value for an Enterprise

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Unstructured World

From the outer space, the Earth is a perfect sphere, “structured”, but as the vision descends closer and closer to the sphere, it turns out to be flattening, and then again comes back to non-flat structures, varying in heights, width, depth, and what not, getting transformed into “unstructured”.

Above analogy may not be perfect to the data science, but to a certain extent maps the reality of unstructured data.

More than 80% of data, in the form of emails, intranet entries, reports, purchase orders, invoice receipts, etc is unstructured. With the advent of social networking and Internet, we have added more unstructured information in last two to five years than the data generated since the evolution of homo-sapiens. Not only this, but text, videos, images, audio files and GPS data all add to the heaps of unstructured data every minute.

The question remains the same! Does this information hold any value?

Hidden Value of unstructured data

A lot has been written and said about the exploration and derived value from this unstructured data. Definitely, there is enormous value hidden in this unstructured data but how to extract that information and channelize it to your benefit is the challenge.

Unstructured data is both an opportunity and a challenge for an Enterprise. Opportunity, because it can provide a detailed business insight and challenge because the tool, infrastructure, technology and expertise required to mine this information is complex, rare, and expensive.

Hence a perfect balance should be sought where an Enterprise takes a decision to deep dive into the sea of unstructured data mining. A clear and quantifiable business objective for data mining is the most important step in this direction.

Choice of resources, in terms of software technology, personnel, infrastructure and timings are the investments that should be aligned with the Business objective.

For this discussion, we will restrict ourselves to the value hidden in text mining, also known as text analytics.

Science of Text Mining

In simple language, it is the process of deriving high quality information from the textual data. In mid 1980’s the manual process to extract information from text data began, but with the improvement in technology, we now have software tools to perform this task, with speed and accuracy.

Each document like an email, web document, is nothing but sequence of characters and words.

Characters from Alphabet makes a word, combination of words makes a sentence, , sentences will make paragraphs, paragraphs eventually make chapters and articles etc.

But how do you extract the information from a language? How a Statistical procedure can be deployed to assess a KPI? How can Literature be termed as science?

An extensive research has been performed on languages and computers, especially the business language “English” and as a result a completely new practice vertical has emerged, called Natural Language Processing or NLP. It’s an offshoot of Artificial Intelligence, and sets the basis of how a computer interprets and interacts with the human (natural) language.

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Using a Software Tool

Numerous software tools working on the same concept are available in the market today to perform the text mining task. So let us understand the working of these tools with an example.

Suppose a Company ‘X’ providing payment platform services to consumers and businesses wants to evaluate the satisfaction level of its customers and wants to identify the area of maximum improvement in the ‘eyes of the customer’. The data for this analysis is sourced from Customer Emails/Transcript of Call center interactions/Service satisfaction surveys/Complaints and Feedback

Text scripts from these sources are accumulated and fed to an efficient parsing engine like IBM SPSS Text Modeler, to get initial sense of the sentiment.

The tool categorizes the input text data (email/transcript/survey feedback) into various categories signifying the number of positive, negative, neutral, technical and other system generated categories.

Analyst can merge/ split the categories, add or remove product names, define rules for categorization, edit the system categorization rules, change the corpora or libraries accordingly, to classify the documents.

Categorization is process of collating the text based on the keywords, which identifies the category. There may be Level 1 categories, Level 2 categories and so on.
Output of this categorization task shows the strength of sentiments. A typical output will look like

Categorization

The strength of correlation between the two categories is determined by the thickness of the line joining them. Interpretation can be derived as, most of the customers are complaining about Accounts, Payment, Time, Agent and Delivery. However, the worst are Account and Payments. If a customer is unhappy about account, he is unhappy about the payment as well.

Further drill down to Level 2 categorization may reveal that Under Account Category, most talked about is “Account Opening process” etc.

These are insights, which cannot be derived from numerical crunching, reason is, that numbers will only convey, high or low value of a Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), but not the cause behind the falling CSAT score.

Lexical Analysis used as part of text data mining uncovers this value and helps an organization to focus its energies on correcting the faults, rather than trying to address all issues. A focused approach yields rich dividends in short time, with least cost to repair.

In the next article we will discuss, about how Statistical Techniques like Principal Component Analysis can help to identify the problem areas whose correction will result in maximum impact on CSAT improvement.