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$4.

4b
khaleej times Friday, July 24, 2009 technology

29

TCL, Sichuan Changhong and other Chinese


TV companies are expected to buy a total $4.4
billion worth of LCDs from Taiwan this year.

Demystifying Digital
Shivani Mohan

V
ijay Sankaran is the Digital
Strategy Director of Urja
Communications, a leading
interactive marketing firm
in India. He has worked in advertising,
communications, and digital technol-
ogy, largely in creative roles, for over
two decades.
He has planned and executed brand-
ing, advertising, digital and integrated
communications for clients in the auto-
motive, consumer goods, engineering
andfinancialservicesindustries,among
others. His interests in the digital arena
include Enterprise 2.0, customer rela-
tions in the social Web era, and the ap-
plication of Web 2.0 paradigms in edu-
product review cation and social change.
Sankaran spoke to Khaleej Times re-

Sony’s Walkman X-Series cently about the challenges of digital


marketing, coping with the downturn,
and other issues. Here are excerpts
Ready to Rumble from the interview.

Alvin R. Cabral the lowdown


Q: Tell me about your com-
pany, Urja.

A. Urja is a pioneering
interactive design and Vijay Sankaran’s company, Urja Communications, specialises in developing advanced customer experience and
◆ interface: 3-inch, OLED marketing firm based in Mumbai, with interactive campaign solutions.
du b ai — Here’s something that can touch screen with hardware over eight years’ experience in interac-
give the mighty Apple iPod Touch a buttons around it tive marketing and over 20 years’ expe-
run for its money. rience in traditional advertising. Urja companies about surviving the eco- referral and word of mouth. Recently a audience and customise your message.
Sony Gulf recently launched the ◆ playback time: 33 specialises in developing advanced nomic downturn? CEO approached us after seeing my ar- Obama did that.
Sony Walkman X-Series, the latest hours of music; nine hours customer experience solutions and ticle on Obama’s marketing saying, “Do Also in digital, you have to be
addition to its Walkman line of por- of video interactive campaign solutions. Urja A. Retention is the new acquisition. an Obama plan for us for our Web start genuine as a brand and engage the
table media players. And it’s serious ◆ connectivity: WiFi embeds intelligence and measurement As the 80-20 rule goes, 80 per cent of up” This conference has led to some customers. Broadcast messaging
about giving competition. Internet; allows you to capabilities within all solutions and is your business comes from 20 per cent new client enquiries. doesn’t work.

Q:
One key feature of the Walkman browse with NetFront, and focused on delivering higher ROI (re- of your customers. I have also initiated a community on
X-Series is its 3-inch, one-touch or- easy access to YouTube and turn on investment) to clients. Marketers should focus on their Linkedin for (an) Indian digital mar- Tell me a bit about your

Q:
ganic light emitting diode, or OLED, Slacker best customers, engage the rest and keting professionals agency, clients childhood, education and
screen. A significant benefit of the What innovations have grow their relationship value. One-to- and Web entrepreneurs. Knowledge career path.
OLED is that it does not require a ◆ capacities: 16GB Urja introduced to ensure one automated programs using digi- sharing is the way to grow the profes-
backlight and, thus, can be thinner (NWZ-X1050) and 32GB a rich user experience? tal channels like email and mobile are sion and industry. A. I am a typical Mum-
(NWZ-X1060)

Q:
than liquid crystal display panels. It very effective. baikar, (a) Tamilian brahmin who

Q:
also draws far less power from the ◆ other come-ons: A. Each one of our cam- Do you think online and speaks fluent Marathi (and) grew up in
battery, allowing 33 hours of non- Drag-and-drop transfer of paigns is unique and tailor-made for the Is Web 2.0 still a vague digital marketing has to- acosmopolitanAirIndiacolony.Ilearnt
stop music playback, as well as nine data using bundled software diverse needs of particular clients. Urja concept? Are we banking tally overtaken conven- more from books than any institution
hours of uninterrupted video. — including Media Manager, recently designed izone for ICICI bank, too much on it? tional media? How can or course. Did my B.Sc (in) statistics
It is also the first media player to Windows Media Player 11 a “real branch” experience on the Web, companies strike the right but was interested first in journalism…
integrate digital noise cancelling and Sony Content Transfer using video, voice and 3-D tools. This is A. No way. It’s the fu- balance in choosing their marketing and then film-making.
technology, ably decreasing unwant- — from Windows Explorer, a first for any bank site in the world. The ture. Wikepedia, Linux and Firefox and advertising media? Settled for advertising and now digi-
ed noise for users listening to music iTunes and Cyber-shot entireonlineexperienceisthatofvisiting are examples of Web 2.0 peer-to-peer tal storytelling — it’s a two way story
or viewing videos. The Walkman X- cameras an actual bank and availing of all facilities collaboration. Facebook, Twitter, You- A. In India, marketers are still be- and more fascinating.

Q:
Series provides entertainment with provided by the bank sitting right in the Tube have changed the way individuals hind the curve. Forty-five million ur-
a wide variety of media formats — ◆ you wish it had: comfortofyour home. work and socialise. ban educated Web users constitute What are your other inter-
Bluetooth and a camera

Q:
from music, videos and pictures. Companies like P&G (Proctor & a segment larger than English (lan- ests?
Offering Wi-Fi connectivity, it How have you managed to Gamble) are crowd-sourcing inno- guage) print circulation. In the West,
enables users to easily access the In- face the economic down- vative solutions using the Web to the Web has changed society and con- A. My family — two
ternet to download media, and sub- of the player’s menu and contents. turnandhelpedyourclients save millions. sumer habits completely. kids… and my wife Mala-
scribe to podcasts via RSS with its Hardware buttons — especially the remain profitable and effi- (US President Barack) Obama’s suc- Marketers and agencies are fol- ti, a former journalist and now free-
NetFront browser. It also gives users ones on top — are cleverly placed cient inthisenvironment? cess was as much an example of Web lowing consumers and moving bud- lance writer.
easy access to YouTube and Slacker. for easy in-pocket control. 2.0 social paradigms as Web 2.0 tech- gets and their strategic focus to
For those looking for other con- The Walkman X-Series is ideal for A. We are focusing on leveraging the nology. digital. I am into Yoga — not so much the
nectivity means, such as Bluetooth music lovers with active lifestyles. one-to-one aspects of digital for large The biggest impact of social media is Even large brand launches are now physical stuff as much as the spiritual
(a personal preference), no dice. Its portability and functionabil- marketers. A recent email marketing going to be inside organisations: Flex- happening completely on the Web, side. It changed my life and pulled me
The Walkman X-Series would have ity makes it easier for users to play campaignforabanksaw25percentofthe ible collaboration, knowledge shar- and successfully. through tough times. Otherwise, I am

Q:
been even sweeter with a camera their favourite media, any time and emailbasesignupfore-statements,help- ing. Walls will disappear. Cultures will interested in English Club Football and

Q:
around. Maybe Sony will take these anywhere. It comes with bundled ing the bank save on costs and contribute change; (they) will have to. Your presentation — 10 good movies.

Q:
quibbles to heart and supply an even software, including Media Manager, to saving trees. Digital is the future, and lessons for marketers
more souped-up player next time. Windows Media Player 11 and Sony’s our focus hasn’t changed. Other than What media have worked from Barack Obama — Is there a long-time goal
Available in 16GB (NWZ-X1050) Content Transfer, allowing seam- that, we are watching costs carefully, fo- best for you in terms of so- is much talked about. you often dream about?
and 32GB (NWZ-X1060) capacities, less transfer of media files from cusing onprofitable customers. liciting new clients? Why have Indian leaders
thedevicefeaturesauser-friendlyin- Windows Explorer, iTunes and Sony been unable to leverage new media to A. To give back on a larg-

Q:
terface. Simply tapping or dragging Cyber-shot cameras. Which of your cost-cut- A. Our clients span lead- their advantage? er scale. I am keen on exploring how the
the screen allows easy navigation — alvin@khaleejtimes.com ting practices have yield- ing marketers in banking, financial ser- Web can change the way we learn, espe-
ed the best results? What vices, retail and telecom, among others. A. New Media is not about being in cially in organisations and among the
advice would you give to Our clients have largely come through your face. You have to segment your less privileged.

Keeps Getting Better: ‘Chaiwan’ Set to Toshiba Likely to Embrace One-time Rival Blu-ray
Reshape Asia’s Technology Landscape tokyo — After losing its battle to
make the HD-DVD the successor to the
per, reported without identifying sources
that Toshiba plans to enter the Blu-ray
The Blu-ray market could be too lu-
crative for Toshiba to pass up. The Jap-
DVD, Toshiba Corporation is consider- market. Toshiba spokeswoman Yuko anese electronics maker racked up its
ing making products in the winning for- Sugahara would notconfirmthe report. biggest loss ever, ¥344 billion ($3.7 bil-
works have been traditional challenges flat-screen makers AU Optronics and mat, Blu-ray. “It is true that we are being flexible lion) in its last fiscal year, which ended
Rhee So-eui and Baker Li to foreign brands operating in China, Chi Mei Optoelectronics among his Although Blu-ray is backed by Toshi- in looking into such possibilities. But at in March.
but politics is now adding to their woes top picks. ba competitors such as Sony Corpora- this point no decision has been made,” Apart from home entertainment
— The growing tie-ups
se o u l /ta ip e i as China tries to curry favour with Tai- tion and Panasonic Corporation, Toshi- she said. products, Toshiba is also a large maker
between China and Taiwan, dubbed wan by opening its market wider to Advantage China ba has little choice. It no longer makes The move would be reminiscent of of PCs, in which Blu-ray drives are
“Chaiwan” by some, look set to alter cross-strait exchanges. China’s 1.3 billion population with recorders and players in HD-DVD. The Sony’s strategy after its Betamax video- slowly supplanting DVD drives.
the balance of power in the technol- China is already sending delegations growing consumption power is a prom- Blu-ray alliance was more successful in tape standard lost to Panasonic’s VHS Without Blu-ray drives, Toshiba lap-
ogy sweepstakes in north Asia, hurting of buyers to Taiwan for computers, flat ised land for Taiwanese firms, which wooing Hollywood studios. in the 1980s. Sony ended up making tops could lose out to other manufac-
Korean companies in the business but screens and chemicals, and may lower enjoy the advantage of sharing the same The Yomiuri, Japan’s biggest newspa- VHS products. turers. — AP
likely boosting their Japanese rivals. tariffs on Taiwanese goods through a culture and language.
The ultimate winner, though, could proposed trade pact next year. And Tai- “Since China is a big story, we can’t
be China as the realignment brings to wan was preparing to allow a range of ignore their competitiveness there in
the country what it has long craved — investments by the Chinese for the first the longer term,” said Lee, who man- Social Gamers’ Network Helps Friends Play Passwords for
advanced technologies and production time from May, as ties with Beijing thaw ages a T$4 billion ($122 million) Asia-
facilities in the mainland. under a year-old China-friendly Taiwan Pacific growth fund for Yuanta.
— Raptr, a social network
Brazilian Jobless
South Korea, which competes fierce- administration. Early beneficiaries of the changing everywhere, and they play games on a
Site Insult Users
ne w yo rk
ly with Taiwan in many areas including Investors are giving the thumbs up to relationship are Taiwan’s flat-screen aimed at gamers, is hoping to make it lot of different platforms.”
memory chips and flat screens, is at the warming of ties between the once makers, whose combined share in Chi- easier to see what your friends are play- Raptr is expanding its service as more
the greatest risk of losing its standing implacable foes. na rose to 57 per cent in the first quar- ing on a broad range of platforms such people play video games online and so-
in China, as Taiwan emerges as the “Our top picks are Taiwanese tech- ter from 36 per cent a year earlier, as as the Xbox 360 and personal comput- cial networks proliferate in use. Com- ri o d e ja n ei ro — It’s a shameless
leading supplier to the world’s third- nology companies that have bigger Taiwanese suppliers built up ties with ers. And if you want, you can join them bining the two, Raptr is like a Facebook thing to do in an economic crisis.
largest economy. exposure in China,” said Jerry Lee, a mainland TV brands. in the action. for gamers. Using the service, PC gam- Jobless people seeking information
But it could be good news for Japa- fund manager at Yuanta Securities In- TCL, Sichuan Changhong and other On Wednesday, Raptr launched ers can chat with users of Microsoft about their benefits on the Brazilian
nese players which have long partnered vestment Trust in Taipei, who counts Chinese TV companies are expected to new software that integrates various Corporation’s Xbox 360, though Raptr Labor Ministry’s Web site were forced
with Taiwan to outsource production buy a total $4.4 billion worth of LCDs instant-messaging services, as well as does not yet support the other gaming to type in passwords such as “bum”
of electronics components. from Taiwan this year. Twitter and Facebook, and automati- consoles, Sony Corporation’s PlaySta- and “shameless.”
“The impact of ‘Chaiwan’ in the re- In the same period, South Korean cally updates users’ status with the tion 3 and Nintendo Company’s Wii. Labor Minister Carlos Lupi apolo-
gionwillbegreateronSouthKoreathan panel makers Samsung Electronics and games they are currently playing. TheMountainView,California-based gised for the situation. He blames
Japan because Korea’s trade patterns LG Display saw their share in China’s It recognises about 32,000 games, startup also signed deals with two ma- a private company that created the
with China are similar to Taiwan’s,” LCD market fall to 30 per cent from 46 including hardcore titles like “Halo 3,” jor video game publishers to bundle its site’s security system.
said Kim Min-jung, an analyst at Hyun-
dai Research Institute in Seoul.
The combination of per cent.
For Japan, which has largely moved
music games like “Guitar Hero” and
social games such as Zynga’s “YoVille”
service with upcoming titles, which will
expose its service to many more gam-
Lupi isn’t naming the company,
but says its contract with the minis-
China is the biggest market for both China’s funds and out of commodity components, Taiwan on Facebook. ers. Fong said no money changed hands try wasn’t being renewed, which may
Taiwan and South Korea, two export-
dependent manufacturing centres for Taiwan’s technology provides outsourcing that enable Japa-
nese semiconductor firms to focus on
And if your friend is in the midst of a
multiplayer game, you can join in, pro-
between Raptr and the game compa-
nies, THQ Incorporated and Activision
have prompted the pranks.
The insults were discovered after an
tech products. will weaken Korea’s premium products and cut costs. vided you’ve installed Raptr on your Blizzard Incorporated. irate user wrote to the O Globo news-
“The combination of China’s funds Elpida Memory, staving off bigger computer, for free. Raptr isn’t the first gaming venture paper about it.
and Taiwan’s technology will weaken competitiveness Korean rivals Samsung and Hynix, is “Most people prefer to play with for Fong, a former professional video The site was temporarily taken
Korea’s competitiveness in technology
and products,” Kim added.
in technology using ties with Taiwan’s United Micro-
electronics to tap Chinese production
friends... but finding friends and play-
ing with them is hard,” CEO and found-
gaming champion. In 2006, he sold
Xfire to Viacom Incorporated for $102
down. By late last week, it was up
and running — without the insulting
Price competition and lack of net- and products sites. — Reuters er Dennis Fong said. “Your friends are million. — AP words. — AP