Archive for the ‘Business, Economy’ Category

So, there ‘is’ a plan after all!!!

I just stumbled across this site of CMDA. It seems, they do have a plan for Chennai and related development activities. I was really surprised to see that they have plans till 2026. Wow! I didn’t know India was that far-sighted. In the society around us we see so much confusion and chaos that we often lose track of the future. We see the *system* failing miserably at every instance of life here.

They are calling this plan – SECOND MASTER PLAN. The pessimist in me wonders what happened to the First Master Plan. Wonder if it was fully executed.

Vision 2026 is to make Chennai a prime metropolis which will be more livable, economically vibrant and environmentally sustainable and with better assets for the future generations.

Excerpt from the Introduction document

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Postal Department Notice: Customer Service? What the heck is that?

My heavenly experience with the Indian Postal freaking department!

Many folks apparently found the Zune Review Post of mine to be absurd and non related to chennai. Guess what im gonna blog again about my zune and i care not what you think but this time i will make you happy with chennai info on my zune experience.
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+2 student & her Tri-Cycle

What on earth would a +2 student do with a Tri-Cycle? Or am I missing something here?

LIC donates tri-cycle
As part of ‘Insurance Week’ celebrations, the Pudukottai branch of Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) donated a tri-cycle to K. Karpagam, a Plus Two student of Raniar Government Higher Secondary School in Pudukottai, recently. The Senior Divisional Manager, LIC, Thanjavur Division, K. Rajivan Nair, gave away the tri-cycle in the presence of LIC officials.

[ Source: The Hindu ]

TN villages going hi-tech

Amidst all the chaos and the gloom-and-doom thoughts I usually have about the governments in India, here’s something different. A ray of hope? A small step for technology, giant leap for indians??? :) Ok. So, check this out. Technology major Ericsson is out with a plan to take technology beyond cellular phones, malls, hi-tech gadgets and put it to some really good use in some remote villages in Tamil Nadu.

EMR (Electronic Medical Records), eClinics etc have taken their own sweet time to enter the Indian market. I wonder why? We are one of best markets in the world to launch any new concept or product. But, still using technology for health seems to be only within multi-speciality hospitals. Few know that the innumerous medical transcription companies thriving in India are actually doing the back office operations of clinics and hospitals in other countries that have embraced technology as the way to go.

Anyway, lets cut the idealism and get to reality. So, here’s what we have in a nutshell. Ericsson has worked out a deal with the government to provide high-speed network access to some very remote villages linking them with Apollo Hospitals, Chennai. Now doctors from Apollo Hospitals can do a first level diagnosis of a patient in the village, from their office in Chennai. Note that it’s not mere video conferencing that we are talking here. The patient actually undergoes sophisticated tests without actually traveling all the way to Chennai. Neat. Eh?

And, health industry is not the only one that Ericsson is planning to work on. They seem to have similar plans for the educational system in villages. Looks like interesting times are coming up… I just hope the governments don’t screw-up this initiative!!!

[Yeah..Right! I just can’t help being the pessimistic creep!!! ;)]

VILLAGE panchayat of the sleepy coastal town of Mahabalipuram is suddenly buzzing with activity. You can t miss the middle-aged villager, with a clutch of medical ropes all over his bare torso. No doctor is in sight, but a local boy-barely out of school-seems comfortable monitoring him as he keeps an eye on the computer screen next to the bed. A villager s vital data is being beamed to multispecialty Apollo Hospital in Chennai, about 60 km away. For a fee as low as Rs 30, he is able to consult a doctor who charges Rs 250 in the hospital. And it s not plain telemedicine.

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Unbranded iPhone Look-alikes & PDAs

The other day, I was walking around the Spencer Plaza window shopping (Don’t smile… Isn’t that we all go there for???)… And I saw a mobile shop with a showcase full of iPhones. Wait a minute. iPhones? in Chennai? Hey… Hold it. It’s not an iPhone. It’s ‘something’ thats ‘iPhone maaathiri (iPhone Like)’.

Close-up of the unbranded phones

Ok. now I am interested. Unbranded phones in the local market is something thats new. The mobile market has had fakes for a long time. but, unlike DVD players and likes, I have not seen many unbranded versions of mobiles around. And these were not just phones, they were PDAs. They have names like *NOKLA* engraved on the back. They have huge wide touch screens and some look uncannily similar to Blackberry, iPhones etc. Some of them have really innovative keypads and user interfaces. All of them seem to be equipped with cameras. And these phones are priced from Rs. 8000.00. Next time you are at Spencer, check it out. You may find one that grabs your attention and meets your requirement :) …

An array of unbranded phones

Indian version of iTunes

Today, I was at a shop in Adayar (near the Ananthapadmanabhaswamy Temple), buying books when I noticed this new state-of-the-art kiosk at a corner. I was clearly surprised. I didn’t expect a kiosk in such a small shop. I went over to it trying to figure out its earthly purpose in that shop. And guess what? It’s our own Indian version of Steve Job’s (read Apple’s) iTunes.

Just for some background on iTunes… It was a innovative business model for selling music introduced in the United States. This is how it works – If you own an iPod and liked a particular song in some album. You can go to the iTunes store and buy that song online. It gets downloaded into your music library and synced with your iPod. You pay for only the song downloaded and needn’t buy the entire album. You can even walk into a iTunes store and buy songs.

Now, the ADD (Anytime Digital Downloads) kiosk is just that! Only difference is that it does more than downloading to an iPod. It writes out a CD with the songs downloaded. So, this is how ADD works – You go to the kiosk. Check out the albums available. Browse through them, Search through them. Listen to the song and if its what you want, add it to your list. Once you have added all the songs, the kiosk will write out a CD of the selected songs in mp3 for you.

add_kiosk_closeup.JPG

The songs are priced at attractive rates. The prices of some songs ranged from Rs 5.00 onwards. I think this is a wonder system. And its instant. You come, you hear, you buy and walk away! I can imagine many of you thinking – “So, whats the big deal? I download mp3 from the internet free of cost!” Well, this is LEGAL. All the songs are priced and copyrighted. You are buying the songs. This is not piracy. Downloading mp3 is. I guess that does make a difference! :) This is taking the music business to the next level.

And the icing on the cake is that the innovators behind such a beatiful idea are from Chennai – Giri Trading Agency Private Limited

Some FAQs from their site –
http://www.giritrading.com and http://www.addkiosk.net

Q. What’s ADDKiosk ?
A. addkiosk.net is part of GIRI network. As Distributors of various labels in India we are looking forward to distributing Indian Music all over the world and also distributing music from all over the world in India. We have also developed an innovative new concept called ADDKiosk (Anytime Digital Downloads – Kiosk). This Kiosk is installed in our showrooms and various musical cultural centres, and public places such as Airports, Cinema halls, Grocery stores, Shopping Malls etc. The response in India is already overwhelming for the ADDKiosk. You can download music, (videos, wallpapers and ebooks – coming soon) into CDs, Mobiles, USB devices and IPODs. We are in the process of exploring the possibilities of setting it up all over the world.

Q. What’s Giri Network?
A. Giri Trading Agency is a treasure house for Hinduism, Indian culture & tradition. Music Cassettes and CDs on various themes like Sanskrit, Vedic, Mantras, Tantras, Devotional, Carnatic Classical Music, Puja Rituals, Prayers and Religious discourses are released under the banner ‘Gitaa Cassettes’. GIRI has showrooms in various parts of India where you can find the ADDKIOSK too.

Get to know your chennai city better

A website seems to be picking up attention, which has a mashup tool of Google maps so called Wikimapia, and a wide variety of other choices to search for.
Chennai city

The best part is the events, members seemed to contribute in this section and the navigation is greatly categorized as “All Events”, “what’s going on”, “what’s coming up”, “what’s over”.

Local search is one more important feature, I guess the site has tied up with other search engines/ portals to give you the best results for your city. So next time you want to know the where abouts of a restaurant, this site is a cool place to hang around.

word of mouth one more interesting section where users recommend a service or product – bad and good times.

Ok enough of me telling stories, check out the website http://www.ilaaka.com

Chennai as the investment destination of choice

Much has been made about Chennai being the beneficiary of a flood of FDI only because Mr. Maran orchestrated investments towards the state and the city. While it may be true that the former Union Minister may have played a part in the choice of Chennai by the international companies, it is unlikely that billions of dollars were committed by the big giants in telecommunications, semiconductors and automotives betting on the political power of one person alone. It is obvious that the inherent strengths of the city which were hitherto not getting their due recognition, came to light with only the barest of nudges from the powers-that-be, who were also interested in promoting investments in this highly industrialized state. I have studied the start-up culture in India, although not in any great depth and have found that if it is a start-up by Indians at the helm, especially returning ones, the choice of location is invariably based on language and regional affinity of the promoters and usually not based on the particular city’s strongpoints. With respect to Chennai, of course, there is some prejudice in the minds of some of these Indian entrepreneurs, who have never been here and who tend to see the city from the lens of the historically biased reporting against it. The multinational heads usually do not suffer from these biases which is why Office Tiger chose this city and also why its chief says he would do so again if he had to start all over.

MRC Nagar – Then and Now

Bellicia Towers

MRC Nagar shot into prominence when the wedding of Amma’s Valarppu Magan was celebrated sometime in 1996 (or 1995?) in a giant Pandal erected there. MRC Nagar was otherwise a predominantly residential neighbourhood. For a short period when I stayed at Santhome, in 1999, during my daily walk I have observed the following :
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25 million in a year and counting

Nokia Chennai factory has shipped out 25 million handsets last year. Nokia top brass are impressed with the performance and are planning to ramp up the production capacity.

Soren Pterson, Senior Vice President, Entry Business Unit Mobile Phone, Nokia, told the Press Trust of India, “from the Chennai factory we shipped more than 25 million phones. We are very happy with the performance. It is running just as per our plans.”
“I expect that we shall increase the capacity. But how much and when and what what will be the investment, we are looking at all these issues”. (via Cellular News)

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