Email and social networks integration
is coming to mobile technology market
Telecom value-added services (VAS) is considered one of the fastest growing market segments in Ukraine. As of today, it produces 5% GDP with mobile being the key driving force behind such growth. According to the analyst firm iKS – Consulting, in 2011 total combined revenue from VAS across all mobile operators reached 3.9 billion dollars. At the same time, experts predict that such rapid growth can only be sustained provided there is an ongoing stream of new innovative products and services timely injected into the industry.
Viachyslav Ostrovsky, CEO of Digital Innovation Technology Systems (ISTD) Ltd. ("DIT Systems"), talks to FinObzor about some of such products soon to be available in the telecom market.
FinObzor (FO): Viachyslav, good afternoon and thank you for meeting with us. DIT Systems being a relatively young company in the market, has already achieved certain successes. Could you tell us more about it?
Viachyslav Ostrovsky (VO): DIT Systems was created as a development company that focuses on telecom innovation and more specifically, on producing competitive Value Added Service products for mobile operators. In addition to this, DIT Systems is an investment company and we are con stantly exploring avenues for investing into new business models and promising startups in Ukraine and worldwide. For example, a few weeks ago we announced the acquisition of 26 Group (known under TM "YB26 Telecommunications") – this is all part of the investment strategy. Our head office is in Kiev and we have a representative office in Singapore. DIT Systems has a very talented team of professionals, which allows us to quickly develop and commercialize relevant products of high quality.
FO: What is your guiding principle when deciding whether to invest or not to invest into a project or a company?
VО: We are keen to invest in startups and innovative Internet projects. In particular, e are very interested in projects targeted at mobile users. Our guiding principle can be best described as "Anything mobile". At the same time, when we evaluate an investment opportunity, we would like to think that we primarily invest in people, in the team working on a particular project. That is why it is important for us to see that there is passion, enthusiasm, dedication, as well as a clear understanding of goals and a defined strategy for achieving those goals.
FO: Why did you choose telecommunication sector and what challenges do you help mobile operators to address?
VO: It is no secret that global telecommunications market is the market of the future and it is expanding rapidly, despite any obstacles like economic crisis. Some analysts say that in 2012, total global revenue from telecommunications will be 2.1 trillion dollars, and by 2017, this number will increase to 2.7 trillion. Such growth is, predominantly pushed by the proliferation of the Internet, mobile Internet in particular and by technological developments, which continuously improve the efficiency of existing products, systems and services, and provide the foundation for a continuing stream of innovations in each of these areas. Addressing churn and ARPU challenges has become one of the key priorities for mobile operators in a highly competitive marketplace. Operators are constantly looking for innovative services that would be relevant to their subscribers, would bring in a constant stream of revenue and drive brand loyalty and evangelism. At the same time, currently, there is a very specific trend in the type of products, services and content that will be growing in popularity with users. And so, it is really the time of limitless opportunities for innovation and success for companies specializing in offering value-added services to operators.
FO: Please tell us about innovations your company has.
VO: One of our flagship products is called DIT Mobile Mail, which is an aggregator that consolidates user’s information streams into a single place for the maximum convenience and efficiency of the information management.
FO: What streams does DIT Mobile Mail aggregate?
VO: Pretty much everything: social networks, emails, calendar, contacts – all gets integrated into a single user interface. It means that users no longer need to open separate applications on their phones for email, Twitter or Facebook etc. All important information is now accessible from a single location and users decide how they want this information to be organized. In addition to this, users can set up alerts and receive free SMS about new incoming email or a coming calendar event.
FO: It sounds great and who is the target audience of your product? I assume these are mainly smartphone users.
VO: We do not choose one segment over another. DIT Mobile Mail is a mass market product as it works on almost any mobile phone with the internet browser and there is no major difference in functionality between a smart and a feature phone. With this said, our DIT Mobile Mail application has been built specifically for smartphones and it has an extended functionality.
FO: From what I gathered so far, DIT Mobile Mail offered through mobile operators. Please tell us more about your business model.
VO: At this stage, Mobile mail’s primary B2B audience is mobile operators. We wanted to give our partners the opportunity to easily rollout a relevant value-add service that gives them a competitive edge and brings in revenue. DIT Systems not just deploys the service in the operator’s network but we also provide end-to-end management and technical support, including hosting and maintenance. With this model, operators do not bear any capital expenditures (CAPEX); instead, they get revenue from subscription plans as well as from additional data consumption from users. In addition, there are other revenue streams, such as mobile marketing. In addition, mobile operators get an extra marketing and communication channel to reach out to their subscriber base. Generally, DIT Mobile Mail is a very flexible service. It all depends on the needs, objectives and creativity of each individual project. This also includes interface customization (for example, we can give the operator the opportunity to provide branded mailboxes to its subscribers) and to the tariff plans (which may vary depending on the needs of the user segment) and so on.
FO: Who are your current partners?
VO: We work with leading mobile operators in Russia, Asia and CIS.
FO: When can Ukrainian users start enjoying the service?
VO: It is one of the key priorities for us. Mobile market is the key motivator of telecom growth in Ukraine. The number of social network users is growing rapidly as well. Experts are forecasting that social networks audience will grow by 85% reaching 11.5 million users. These are amazing numbers in terms of growth. We are certain that given the trend, DIT Mobile Mail’s integration with social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Vkontakte and others will be very appealing to Ukrainian users. In addition, we are planning to launch the service in the local market in the near future.
FO: We will be looking forward to it. In addition, the final question, can you elaborate a bit more on the company’s plans for 2012.
VO: Our plans include expansion to new markets, launch and commercialization of new products, as well as the increase of DIT Systems brand visibility. Naturally, we will continue to work on the functionality of DIT Mobile Mail. As I mentioned before, DIT Mobile Mail is currently available to users through mobile operators and exist as a WAP or WEB portals. However, given the ongoing growth in smartphone usage, we will be focusing more on this segment. In the near future, we plan to launch DIT Mobile application for mobile and tablet devices on iOS and Android. Moreover, of course we will continue to monitor global telecom trends and produce innovative solutions of highest quality that will address those trends and meet users’ expectations of modern mobile communications.
FO: We wish you all the best with all your plans and look forward to hearing more exciting news from you.
VO: Thank you.