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Your web application is your business, your brand, and sometimes your first contact with your potential customer. If it is not safe and secure, critical business relationships can be compromised and your business will end up in obtaining no profits. While there are millions of web application vulnerabilities lurking all over the world, it is very important for an organization to defend their mission-critical online assets.

This article covers the need for web application monitoring and security for the businesses, and how can you secure your online resources from these threats to make sure your business stays always available for your customers.

Why is web application monitoring and its security is important?

An unprotected web application can be a security risk to customer’s private data and to other online businesses operating anywhere in the world. It can allow hackers to spread various malware families, launch flood attacks on other business websites and even pose a threat to the nation’s critical infrastructure.
Besides this, a single security breach could be a portent for any business – large or small. Most countries now have a strict data breach laws, and many accompany stiff fines or penalties. Even if a security breach on your organization doesn’t trigger a data breach, it will still have an enormous impact on your client trust if your customers ascertain regarding it.

What are the top web application vulnerabilities?

The web application threats can come in many forms – malwaretising a web application in order to spread that malware to customers, to steal customer’s private information like names, email addresses, credit card details, etc., making it as a part of a botnet and even crashing that web application.

Here are the top and recent web application threats that are most active worldwide and consciously in execution by many malware and botnet authors:

1) Remote File Inclusion (RFI):

Attackers perform Remote File Inclusion (RFI) attack just by including a remote file into an organization’s web application that dynamically executes scripts or runs on an external file in the real-time. The consequences of a successful RFI attack include Remote Code Execution (RCE), where an attacker gets a complete control of the exploited web application and can access the private information.

2) Cross-site Scripting (XSS):

XSS is a regular practice for attackers to target the web applications. It is a client-side code injection attack technique wherein an attacker executes malicious scripts (also normally stated as a malicious payload) into a legitimate website or web application. By performing XSS, an attacker does not target the victim directly. Instead, he/she exploits the vulnerability in a website/web application that a victim is going to visit and then use that vulnerable web application to transfer malicious scripts into the victim’s web browser.

3) Broken Authentication:

The prevalence of broken authentication in a web application is widespread attributable to the planning and implementation of most identity and access controls. Session management is the bedrock of authentication and access controls and is present in all stateful web applications.
As we all know that the attackers already have an access to millions of valid username and password combinations, they can easily detect broken authentication in a web application by using manual means and exploit them using automated brute force, credential stuffing and other dictionary attack tools.

4) SQL Injection (SQLi):

SQL injection is a common web application attack technique that allows hackers to gain access to application’s database – letting them change or delete private user data. Hackers execute SQLi by just tricking a web application into sending unexpected SQL commands. The result of a successful SQLi can range from impersonating a user account to a complete compromise of the respective database or server. Unlike a DDoS attack, an SQLI attack is completely and easily preventable if a web application is appropriately programmed.

5) Cross-site request forgery (CSRF):

CSRF is a type of malicious exploit of a web application where unauthorized commands are performed by an attacker with the help of user’s legitimate credentials. There are many ways in which an infected web application can transmit such commands without the user’s interaction such as through the specially-crafted image tags, hidden forms, JavaScript, etc. In CSRF, an attacker uses his credentials to break the authentication mechanism and log in into a user’s account, where he can get access to the legitimate credentials and private information like activity history that has been saved in the account. Unlike cross-site scripting (XSS), which exploits the trust a user has for a particular site, CSRF exploits the trust that a site has in a user’s browser.

How can you monitor and secure your web application?

Lack of web application monitoring can create many opportunities for the attackers to target web applications. Even if a web application is appropriately programmed, there is a chance that the application can still be vulnerable and exposed to latest attacks trends.

According to the latest application security threat report, it was found that more than 80% of applications contain at least one security flaw, with an average of 45 vulnerabilities per application. Where security experts mentioned, “an insecure code has become the leading security risk and, increasingly, the leading business risk”.

As organizations are rapidly adopting the cloud infrastructure and migrating their Web applications and data to the cloud, it is important to think through the security requirements. One of the best possible technique to protect web applications is to deploy network monitoring & security solution or a comprehensive web application firewall (WAF) that supports virtual patching, protects against denial of service (DoS) attacks, Web scraping and has an inbuilt vulnerability scanner. A WAF can be deployed on-premise and/or over the cloud for helping organizations to shield their internet-facing applications as well as the data centers.

Digital Roy Academy

Top Digital Marketing Training Institute in Bangalore

Digital Marketing is a very vast and fastest growing field as every company needs a digital marketing guidance to grow or create an Online authority. Digital marketing is a process of creating awareness and promoting your Brands/products and services via internet enabled devices like mobiles, tablets, laptops, desktops etc. Digital marketing is also known as Online marketing, Internet marketing or Web marketing.

Digital Marketing Courses and Advantages

 

Benefits of Digital Marketing:


  • The main benefit is its reach as you can target a worldwide audience or regional.
  • Digital Marketing is more of Targeted Approach.
  • You can target based on their age and gender.
  • You can target based on their interest/ behavior
  • You can target based on device (Mobile, Laptop, Tablet,)
  • You can target based on demographics
  • Which benefits you in a long-term impact (ex. SEO)
  • Easy to modify the Ad at any point time
  • Cost is Low compared to traditional marketing
  • ROI - Return on investment is very high

 

In the current generation, everything is going to be Digital or Online based if you want to purchase something you don't have to go anywhere as everything is available on your fingertips that is online marketing which will allow you to do the complete shopping by sitting at home. example a e-commerce store where you have all the options from buying to till payment in at one place like (Flipkart, Amazon, Snapdeal, Big Basket, Paytm) if you want to book a movie tickets example a (bookmyshow site) if you want to travel (MakeMyTrip, Red Bus) if you want to book a cab ( ola, Uber). Everything is growing digital. Whereas in Tradition marketing it’s not ex: There is a statistics says that 86% of people skip TV ads, in remaining 14% who is your target audience watching your ads. Or go for Newspaper ads there are more than 200+ newspapers in India. which of the newspapers is your target audience see your ads?

 

The Use of Internet is growing at a very fast pace. In 2005 the Internet users across the world around 14% People using now it has grown to 51% in 2017 approximately 3.8 billion people use the internet out of 7.5 billion. Nearly 60% of people in the world are using in the current situation and by 2020 it may reach 75% most of the people engaged on these platforms mobile phones, 40% are active on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+ etc.

 

Coming to Country stats, India is the second-highest user of the internet after China. But only approx. 38% of people in India are using the internet and the growth rate is growing very fast due to government initiative like Digital India. 79% of Indian use a mobile phones. There are some countries that have more than 90% internet penetration (most European countries like Iceland, Luxemburg etc. ).

 

If you consider which device is driving the most traffic. Use of internet on mobiles drive the highest traffic. Approx… More than 50% of all internet is surfed on mobiles i.e. smartphones. 45% of the internet is used on Desktop/ Laptops and 5% on Tablets. Only 0.12% on Xbox, Smart Tv etc.

 

Coming to Share of Internet usage based on Mobile OS:

 

73% of all mobile internet is surfed on Android Phones. Android is open source which is owned by Google. 19.6% on IOS which of Apple iPhone and remaining on other operating systems like Windows etc.

 

Digital Roy Academy 

Digital Marketing course includes

 

Website building:

 

Website building is not digital marketing. But to implement all the digital marketing strategies which you are going to learn and implement you need a website. Here you are going to learn WordPress. It is a CMS (content management system) which is open source and powers 27% of all the websites build on the web. Without any programming knowledge, you can build websites. Website building skills are going to be a valuable skill. If you want to work as a freelancer or want to become an entrepreneur. Here you will be getting a free practice domain, 1-year web hosting and a premium theme worth 59$.

 

Search Engine Optimization:

 

 SEO is the process of making your websites rank higher on search engines. 40 to 90% of leads/sales for a company comes from search engines. By making changes within and out of your website you are improving its position and authority on the search engine like google, yahoo, Bing. SEO is one of the significant aspects of digital marketing. The major advantage of SEO is it gives your free or organic traffic. Which you don’t have to pay for any search engine. SEO is one of the highest or potential lead generation modules in Digital marketing. But SEO is not a short-term strategy and its results and not immediate. It takes a lot of time as search engine keep on updating their algorithms and your competitors also do SEO. Search engine optimization is a pull digital marketing strategy where your target or segment audience are trying to find your products/services or the content you have. Here you will be learning lot of SEO tools and software for optimizing your website you built on WordPress.

 

Google Webmaster tools:

 

 What is now called Google search console is a free tool for Google. Which gives a detailed report on how your website performing on search engines. Every time Google bot crawls your website it gives a detailed analysis on how is your website health in search engines and if it finds any issues its gives detailed step by step guide to resolve this issues. Maybe your website is not mobile friendly, more 404 errors, crawling errors or violating some search engine guidelines. Or your website got hacked .etc. It also shows how many times your website has appeared on search engines and all the stats like – impressions, clicks, CTR, and position. It provides in-depth about your website like the search queries, Top countries its ranking, which devices they are coming etc. By using this data you can improve your website, boost its rankings and get rank higher in search results.

 

Search Engine Marketing / Google Adwords

 

SEM is a paid marketing strategy as SEO takes time and you cannot guarantee it whereas SEM is a marketing strategy where you’re paying to search engine usually PPC (pay per click). And you get an AD position on the first page of the SERP (Search engine result page). Here you will be learning Google AdWords. Did you know more than 90% of Google revenue comes from AdWords SEM is one of the most effective Digital Marketing strategies if you want to drive traffic immediately to your website? The future of Digital Marketing is Paid marketing strategy where you are getting immediate results. There are very good career opportunities for SEM Analytics. There are mainly 5 Types of campaigns you can run in AdWords. Search only campaigns for Text ads and its direct marketing it is directly shown on Google and Googles search partners like ( ask.com, Amazon, eBay etc ). Display ads its also called Image ads. Google display network is very vast it covers about 90% of the internet users. I the most efficient way to use this campaign is Remarketing or retargeting. Shopping Ads is also called as Product listing ads (PLA ads) where ads are shown in SERP, to run this campaign u need to create a google merchant account and link it to Google AdWords and create data feed and upload it. Create a campaign in AdWords and run the campaign. But you can’t add keywords to this campaign. Video ads are trying to show ads on YouTube. While the beginning of the video where you see an ad is called instream or True View ads, during intermediate of the video is called as video discovery ads. Bumper ads are ads which are non-skippable 6 seconds ads. Universal App campaign which are ads trying to get more app installs it also called as mobile marketing. This is a marketing strategy to show ads on Google search from mobile devices only. It also shows ads on play store, display network and YouTube.

 

Social Media Marketing:

 

SMM is a Digital Marketing activity carried out through social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google plus etc. Mainly used for Branding and viral marketing. There are more than 2 Billion active users alone on Facebook. SMM is also used for Lead Generation, Customer care, even hiring people ( LinkedIn). Most marketers say Facebook Is the No 1 social media site for lead generation. There are more than 7 million Business pages on Facebook. The paid ads are also not much expensive, you start as low as 40 rupees per day. LinkedIn is a complete professional network whereas Facebook for a personal network. Twitter is a micro-blogging site as the character or letters in a post is limited to 140 characters. Instagram is an Image sharing site and its owned by Facebook. Social media is more about creativity and strategy and very less technical. The content should be more engaging with your target audience. SMM is one of the most powerful digital marketing landscape.

 

Email Marketing:

 

 It is one of the oldest forms of Digital marketing, it was there at the beginning of the internet, But most misused. Email marketing is completely outbound and it is a Push Digital marketing where you promoting the products and services where the user has no intent. Email marketing is not very effective for lead generation but one of the best ways to drive targeted traffic back to your website. So list building is one of the very important digital marketing techniques. How to give a resource for the free i.e lead magnet in order to build list. Creating embedded forms or lead capture forms. Creating popup forms etc. and finally running the campaigns and reporting the KPI’s.

 

 

 

Content Marketing:

 

 It is one of marketing technique to create awareness, interest and promote your products/services using videos, images, text etc. Always create Original content and make your content actionable or thought to provoke. Try to add value to your user. Don’t build websites for a search engine, but rather for users.

 

The course will be very detailed and the training program gives to the skills need become an expert in the digital marketing domain.

 

One needs to be careful while selecting a good training institute for digital marketing. This field is evolving and growing at very fast pace. Always try to get real-time digital marketing training. There is lot Institute that offers digital marketing certification courses. Digital Roy Academy offers Advanced Digital marketing course with is completely practical oriented.

 

The Digital marketing modules that are covered by Digital Roy Academy is very detailed and projects focused. The trainers are experts in Digital marketing. Where you will be learning A to Z of digital marketing. The course is designed with very easy methods for career/job oriented and people who are interested in this field.

 

The course which is designed is for everyone who is really interested in this Online Marketing field. 

 

Want to Know more about digital marketing Courses and Methods? Register with Digital Roy Academy sites.

 

Best Digital Marketing Course and Training Institute In Bangalore 

Google AdWords Training in Bangalore | Digital Roy 

Best SEO Training in Bangalore SEO Course | Search Engine Optimization 

Best Social Media marketing training course in Bangalore | Digital Roy 

Best Digital Marketing Courses - Digital Marketing Training in Bangalore 

Well Bitcoin is the villain of season. An unprecedented ransom ware called “Wannacry” has stuck 150 countries and 230,000 computers. and counting. Any guesses for the channel in which they have asked the money? Well if you have not locked yourself in an island, it is the dreaded #Bitcoins. As I had mentioned in my previous post, Dark Side of Bitcoin- Part 1, the strength of this crypto currency (de-centralization), the anonymity, the lack of agencies through which transactions pass though, the loose regulations. all these are in fact, one of its weakness. Since these are the best tools for hackers. The loot of this ransom ware is $69 Million+ in Bitcoins.

And here in comes Blockchain, the alter ego of Bitcoin. It stands for making every transaction permanent and crystal clear. For this reasons – there is more of trust, even by banks (which are getting disrupted by Blockchain).  But it is not just the banking sector that is getting excited about Blockchain, there are lot of non-financial use cases too. 

A snap shot of same is as follows 

Also note that like most of us, am also beginning to hop on to this wave and know more. I might have missed some grand use cases – please be kind enough to share your learning as well :)

Thank you so much in advance.

 

PS: The views expressed here are my own 

More here

A report from Pagefair says that approximately 200 million people worldwide have installed ad-blockers. This obviously came as bad news to marketers who had been relying heavily on paid ads as part of their marketing strategy. Lucky for them, content marketing is a way to continue marketing efforts and reach consumers with messages they need.

The fact that many of the companies out there are swaying towards content marketing should not come as a surprise Content marketing works by getting people interested in content that matters to them. This also serves a hidden purpose wherein the brand that you represent gets promoted as well.   But what if your target consumers do not understand your content? This is the reason why multilingual content marketing strategy has become the wave of the future.

Why multilingual? Isn’t English enough?

According to Statista, English accounts to around 1500 million speakers worldwide in a population of 7.4 billion, i.e. 20.27% only! Some of the major spoken languages include: Mandarin, Spanish, Hindi-Urdu, Arabic, Portuguese and more.

This is why going multilingual matters. It already ensures a strong overseas base, even before your content is out there. Getting the language right is half the battle. People who know English (in places where it is not their native tongue) still prefer content in their native tongue.

The ‘Can’t read, won’t buy’ study showed that more than 56% people in over 10 different countries preferred buying in their native language. The study also showed that people were six times less likely to spend time on a webpage that did not speak their language. Going multilingual is important – it is no longer about efficiency, but rather, it is a necessity. Without language translation, it would be pointless to target an audience who don’t speak the language that you do.

So, how do you prepare for going multilingual?

 

1. Conduct a thorough research and understand your market.

Mastering Content Marketing is no easy feat. It takes time and resources. That is why it is very important to know as much as you can about your market. If you are new to the type of market you want to fit in, and then think about how appealing your product will be for people of different cultures. Adapting your product and content to the local preferences is key. Globally successful businesses consider other factors like culture alongside multilingual translation services.

 

2. Your core message is important. Develop it.

Think about your brand. Think about it as hard as you can. Ask yourself, ‘Why is it appealing? What is that one thing about my brand that makes it stand out from the thousands of others in the market? Am I promoting an item of luxury or something ordinary with a twist?’ All of this should be thought of with one thing in mind. Cultural diversity. Is your brand checking all the boxes of the requirement for people of different cultures? This is where giants like Pepsi and KFC stand out. Their menus communicate with everyone, no matter where they are from; but at the end of the day, it serves the same quality at all of its outlets.

 

3. Localizing your content the right way.

Automatic translation is always there to help you, but it does not always translate as per the context in a sensible way. Content marketers should never rely on this process of automatic translation. You will not get the response you want all the time. The best way to overcome this is hiring local writers for multilingual translation services to make sure that your message gets communicated the way you want it to. It might not be a bad idea to familiarize yourself with the native preferences. But how can one find the right translator and verify if the translated content is 100% accurate? That is where Language Service Providers (LSP) or translation companies can help you. Translation companies will help in choosing the right translator considering your target dialect, intended audience, domain and much more while ensuring the quality of the translations.  Apart from this, they also help in choosing the language that is best suited for your requirements. Dealing with translation companies ensures a much smoother experience.

4. Simplification of content management.

Content management has never been easier. Management systems like Drupal, WordPress etc. make it very easy to manage and simplify your content as opposed to content management  five or ten years ago. In addition to supporting multiple languages, the customers can also change the language interface whenever they want! Local media managers can further help you in simplifying this process while also keeping all of your accounts up to date, ensuring a quick and efficient response.

 

Multilingual approach to marketing is still relatively new as it requires a lot of manpower, analysis, research and focus. It can be incredibly rewarding if done right. There are very few companies that are established in the multilingual marketing industry. This does not mean that there isn’t fierce competition. Every minute, companies are looking for multilingual translation services to reach audiences that are farther away from them. There may be no competition when it comes to the big brands like Coca-Cola or McDonald’s because they are already established in the industry. One must aim to be one of them but not forget that there are a hundred other people and companies that are vying for the same spot. The more unique your product, and the more honest work you put in improving your multilingual base, the better your marketing strategy which will determine how fast your product sells.

The Client

http://www.giissingapore.org/Our client is an international network of award-winning schools with 20 campuses across 7 countries, including Singapore, Malaysia, India and Japan. They have been honored with several international and international over a span of 5 years for achieving excellence in school education.

They approached Lollypop to re-engineer and redesign their existing ERP application, built in-house over a period of 10 years in alignment to the growing needs of school. Existing app is one of its kind and combines the features of multiple commercial ERP’s in one, in fact, ERP’s available in the markets just constitute to around one module of clients ERP.  With huge and complex functionalities and broader users in picture, the whole application was getting extremely difficult to handle, hence, they recognized the need to streamline its application to provide users with better experience.  We would be not only designing their existing application but also look at developing new mobile apps for different users. We suggested that as a precursor to re-engineering, research be carried out with the users of the application to understand their needs.

The need behind the research project

The research project was our endeavor to understand the needs of different users of the clients application on one hand and on other, we were trying to map out the actual necessity of a mobile app along with the need to re-engineer the existing desktop application.

Over a period of one month, Lollypop team spent two weeks at the Singapore campus carrying out ethnographic research and remaining two weeks synthesizing the findings.

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The expected outcome of the project was to understand usage patterns of users and arrive at a redesign strategy for web and mobile versions. Our client has been in operation for over a decade, it has a legacy of huge user base in place. The whole idea was to infer the usage patterns, concerns and unbiased feedback from the current users; this would be the foundation stone in creating the new mobile app that would aid greater adaptability and aid users with seamless experience.

The Team

Our Lead UX Designer Anandhi Hariharan and UX Designer Dhruvi Shah were tasked with the job of understanding the needs of varied users; and later map out the information to substitute the logic behind building the mobile app followed by re engineering the existing web application. As the Project Manager of the project, my role was limited to assisting the team with the individual interviews and interfacing between the parties.

Moushumi and Harsh from the client side played an integral role in organizing and coordinating our meetings with all relevant users and stakeholders. They also guided us on the existing system, process and its quirks and value adds.

Project Methodology

Usability Survey: We shared a UX Questionnaire with the users. It allowed us to get their responses at the earliest and gave us a holistic perspective of what the project should achieve. This paved our way in strategizing for the project and was the base reference for User Interviews.

Ethnographic research: Ethnography is a research strategy that gives us a detailed in-depth look at people’s behaviour, beliefs and preferences by observing and interacting with them in their natural setting. The objective of ethnographic research is to obtain information from people from their own perspective.

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Competitor analysis: While conducting the competitor analysis we identified that the existing product is not a direct competitor to any commercial product in the market as it is amalgamation of varied different products available in market. Our analysis helped us understand the practices that commercial products utilize in the education industry. However, since each commercial product is equivalent to just one module in the existing ERP system of our client, we could gauge how single modules should be designed.

Focus group discussions: We conducted a focus group interview with the teaching staff from across all the Singapore campuses. We spent about 2 hours with a group of 16 members who were class teachers, subject teachers, coordinators and HODs. Some of them were also parents with wards studying at the school. This exercise helped us map the common concerns and also helped us understand the main problems with the existing system. Session was then followed by a one on one contextual inquiry with all types of users.

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Outcome:

The research project culminated in a detailed report that laid out the needs of the separate users by mapping journeys from each user type, recording  their needs and defining the priorities for the next version of the application. The plan and road map document will form the basis for the remainder of the project.

Lollypop in Singapore:

The City State: The first thing that strikes you about Singapore is the disciplined traffic. Coming from a jampacked and overflowing city like Bangalore the stark contrast is almost unbelievable. Singapore takes care of its elders – right from them having preference for jobs as taxi drivers and other non-strenuous jobs to discounted rates across the Metro service and entry to various places like Sentosa, the zoo etc. Singapore makes an effort to make their lives easier.

Singapore has more or less the same amount of land area as Bangalore but has a larger airport, massive harbour and docks and more green spaces. The architecture and the design of public spaces is up there (if not better) with the best cities in the world. The amount of thought that has gone into designing public places, metro network and accessibility is mind boggling.

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The People: Singapore is a city in a hurry, but it manages to do so with an extremely high level of discipline. Before you go to Singapore you hear about the discipline and expect to see a policeman around each corner. Contrary to expectations you see a cop only once every few days. The restraint shown by the people to maintain decorum – from the queues in the metro and bus stations to the open access zones like the zoos as well as public consumption of alcohol without any ruckus being created is commendable. However, the local mandarin population is a private lot and not easily accessible; other than the odd cabbie who gets chatty about “President” Modi and India’s software excellence.

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The food: Singapore is as diverse as it gets when it comes to food except for their acceptance of vegetarianism (the one veg burger in McDonald's is listed under the ‘Fish & Vegetarian’ column). However, for the foodie that craves meat it is a paradise with its amalgamation of cuisines from across Asia as well as the zones that cater to the large groups of expats. Exclusive food and entertainment zones like Boat Quay, Clarke Quay and Holland Village are wonderful places to relax over some ‘Singapore Sling’ or meet new people over a Tiger Beer. The hawker centers in each locality cater to the budget friendly traveler.

Conclusion:

Access to the actual user and first hand feedback from these users are an integral part of any UX driven project. The opportunity to speak to users across the 11-55 years age spectrum gave us great feedback and inputs on the diversity of the different user types as well as expectations on what is needed from a complete overhaul of the existing system.

The exposure gave us a very different perspective on how to approach different problems. Such opportunities at Lollypop boosts all of us here and helps us learn better.

By, THAMMAIAH AIYAPPA, Project Manager

 

If we’d ask, “What’s the one thing you cannot live without every day?” We are pretty sure a majority of you would answer that it’s your smartphone. And why not? A smartphone keeps us connected, helps us travel with maps, lets us buy stuff online and so much more. With so many reasons, there are times when we tend to have a love-hate relationship with our phones. Cracks in this relationship start appearing a year after using the phone or in some cases even earlier, if you've made a bad purchase. The phone you bought may turn out not as you expected due to several common issues like bad performance, shorter battery life, average camera, etc. to name a few.  At this point of time, you might start thinking of switching to another phone. That’s the time when your geeky friends will suggest you phones of different brands which will suit your exact requirements, or you’ll visit PriceBaba.com and keep playing with the sliders to get various suggestions. And eventually, you’ll find that one phone of your choice.  We at PriceBaba.com tried to figure out how many users are really satisfied with their current smartphone brand. The results turned out quite surprising.  All our findings are based on the survey which was taken by 300 respondents. Our survey included rating their current smartphone brand, how loyal they are to it and if at all they would switch in future, then which would be their preferred brand.  Our findings gave us some real insights into how the new Indian, as well as Chinese brands, have managed to gain the confidence of Indian customers.  Let’s deep dive straight away in to our findings:  

Brand Owners:

Brand Owners 

  • Out of 300 respondents, a majority of 21.5% people owned Samsung phones. Its not surprising as over the years Samsung has become the number one smartphone brand in India.
  • Motorola comes in second at 14%. The company was the first in India who managed to successfully sell phones online only. Their value for money devices like Moto G and Moto E have continued to remain popular.
  • Apple holds the third spot with 9.5% share. While the industry and customers likewise are shifting towards the trend of affordable smartphones, there’s still a considerably large amount of users who buy Apple’s expensive products, largely possible because of the company’s assumed rich-symbolic status in Indian society.
  • Xiaomi is the only new-Chinese brand which has managed to gain a position among the top five within just 9-months of entering the Indian market. It has outgunned established players like LG, HTC and Sony. The company’s budget-friendly devices with power packed specs are serving as a threat to the big players. Also, they’re largely responsible for popularising ‘affordable smartphone’ and ‘online flash sale’ trends in India.
  • Despite Nokia being sold to Microsoft, the brand still owns a 4% share, while the latter follows at 3% share. Microsoft still sells all popular feature phones under the Nokia brand.
  • After Xiaomi, Huawei and Asus are two other newly-entered International brands that have managed to gain a considerable 2% share. Their Honor and Zenfone phones have remained popular through online-only sale models.
  • Other brands which have a combined share of 19% consisted of Blackberry, Celkon, Gionee, Huawei, iBall, Intex, Karbonn, Lava, Maxx, Micromax, Microsoft, OnePlus, Xolo and YU.

     Average Brand Score:

Average Brand Score

All the respondents were asked to rate their current smartphone brand based on their experience with their phone. Let’s have a look at the brands that had enough responses to calculate an average rating. LG: LG which scored 8.9 gave the highest user satisfaction to our respondents. Probably because of the LG Nexus series which runs on Stock Android and is always the first to receive any update from Google. Apple: Second comes Apple with a score of 8.5. It’s no surprise as the company has a long-standing reputation for shipping excellent quality products. Xiaomi: Third is Xiaomi with a score as same as Apple. The company has pretty much won the audience by delivering products that offer great value-for-money. HTC: Despite just having a 5% share from our respondents, HTC did manage to earn a good score of 7.8 points. Like Apple, HTC has always maintained a check on quality and their new phablets, namely, Desire 820 and 816 have gained mass appeal as the pricing is right. Samsung: Samsung with the highest brand share scored only 6.2 on the satisfaction scale. The low score might be because of Samsung’s lower-end products which have never gotten software updates and TouchWiz UI in general has been laggy on those phones. Hence we presume, the user dissatisfaction.      

Loyal Users:

Loyal Owners

The next findings which we derived are the number of people who were not willing to switch from their existing brand. Judging by the avalanche of variety at the disposal of consumers today, 35% is a fair number and brands present in this share should take a pat on their back for keeping their users satisfied.

  • Samsung - Out of the 35% of loyal users, Samsung again takes up the top spot with 23% share. The company owns a wide variety of devices and they invest a lot in marketing them. Also, their phones have the best resale value and users tend to use Samsung phones over longer period due to that.
  • Apple - Apple comes second in the list with 21%. This could be owed to the fact that Apple has exceptional after sales service. They are also  known for a clutter free user interface and a very powerful camera.
  • Xiaomi: Third in the list is the Chinese manufacturer, Xiaomi. Within a year in India, they have already captured a significant amount of attention and generated a loyal fan base for itself in no time. The combo of power-packed hardware and a affordable price is their winning mantra.
  • Motorola: Sharing the 3rd spot with Xiaomi, the company got back in the game through near-perfect phones priced aptly.
  • HTC: Next comes HTC by contributing for 11% of the share. Over the years, the company has garnered a fair amount of loyal users, thanks to excellent hardware and recently, they’ve become more known for their best-in-class front-firing stereo speakers.

So out of the 65% who wanted to make a switch, here are the brands that were most preferred by them.      

Preferred Brands:

Preferred Brand 

  • Winning the race with a really high margin is Apple by scoring 27%. After scoring 8.5 points as an average satisfaction score and having the most number of retained users, no wonder it is the most desired brand for people who haven’t tried it yet.
  • Scoring almost half than Apple is Samsung with 13.5%. We had the highest number of Samsung respondents and also these users were the most loyal ones to the brand. Samsung has a varied product line up for everyone tastes, and along with that they’re known to promote their phones with big spends on marketing.
  • Contributing for 11.5%, Motorola is on the third position out of all brands. Motorola had the second highest share of respondents and got an average score of 7.75. The online sales model along with the value for money devices have surely gained attention, when especially coming from a big old brand.
  • HTC comes forth just at 10.5% behind Motorola. When it comes to loyalty, HTC users have proved to be loyal and also the brand scored an average score of 8 points which is pretty good. HTC has been coming up with different phones for the mid-range users, and this will serve as a good choice for the people willing to switch.

The report was created with contribution from Ruchita Mahimkar and Kushang Dholakia.

Sustainability can be a complex and somewhat distant topic, so today I would like to share with you a more practical perspective on the challenges around sustainability especially in the context of our cities, and some personal experiences around solutions.  Let’s start with why sustainability is a topic all of us need to worry about and do something about.  A recent ranking of top cities in the world on sustainability ranked Frankfurt, London, Copenhagen and Amsterdam as the most sustainable cities in the world. Equally it rated high-growth cities in emerging countries like Jakarta, Manila, and our own Mumbai and Delhi at the absolute bottom of that list (Mumbai was 47th and Delhi was 49th out of 50 cities surveyed!!).   In a different survey, out of the 20 most polluted cities in the world, 13 are from India!!  On a related note, if you do a Google search on “building sustainable cities” the first article that pops up is a Harvard Business Review article by John Macomber, and the case study he mentions of how not to build a city is Gurgaon!!  These global studies are an eye opener but at some level we don’t need them to tell us what is wrong with our cities.  We face problems like traffic congestion and pollution every day.  Let’s take the example of Gurgaon, the city I live in and work in.  It has one of the highest air pollution levels in the world.  PM 2.5 levels are at 966 micrograms/cubic meter, which is 4 times the concentration levels marked as unhealthy.  Therefore children are developing respiratory problems and many households are forced to install air purifiers.  While air pollution is more apparent, the depletion of the water table is perhaps even a more serious existential issue.  Ground water levels are depleting in Gurgaon at 2-3 meters per year.  At this rate, ground water reserves will be all but extinguished by 2030.  That is only 15 years away!!  Our fast growing cities like Gurgaon are a magnet of economic opportunity; however, it is clear that if they continue growing in this crazy, unplanned, unsustainable way, this party is not going to last.  History is full of examples of great cities that died.  I give some of our fast growing cities like Gurgaon not more than 10-15 years in which they will become ungovernable and unlivable and will choke themselves to disaster.  I am sorry I have started off like a Cassandra and talked about doom and gloom!!  Let me now turn to the glass half full side and focus on solutions.  I have had the opportunity to be a part of NASSCOM Haryana over the past 5 years, initially as the Co-Chair and past 3 years as the Chairperson of the NASSCOM Regional Council.  We set ourselves the vision of making Gurgaon the “Silicon Valley of the East”, and looking at the city’s growth we believed the opportunity was real. However, as we assessed Gurgaon’s competitive position, it was clear before we talk about a fancy vision we had to solve the more basic problems and ensure that Gurgaon was a sustainable and livable city.  As we analyzed the root causes, we came to a conclusion that the greatest challenge the city faced was poor transportation infrastructure.  This resulted in the city getting clogged with traffic jams, dangerous levels of pollution, and a sense of frustration & despair for the citizens.  As we thought about solutions it became apparent that we have to reverse our fatal fascination with cars.  Cars are the most inefficient way of transportation in so many ways.  They occupy large volume for the number of passengers transported and have high pollution footprint.  Our roads are bad and need to be improved, but no amount of road construction can keep pace with the growth of vehicles.  There is no option but to embrace public transportation and multi-modal transportation in a very pervasive way.  I am reminded of a quote by Enrique Penelosa, the former Mayor of Bogota in Colombia, “A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars.  It is where the rich use public transport.” As NASSCOM Haryana we have been focused on this topic for the past 4+ years. We have been lobbying with the state government to make the necessary investments into public transport infrastructure – simple things like a public bus service, walking & cycling paths, and integrated approach to planning & execution. However, after a while we realized that the response from the government was very slow. We then changed tracks and decided that instead of worrying just about the infrastructure/ supply side where we had little control, we should focus more on awareness building and personal change. We felt the demand side actions were more in our circle of influence. Over the past 2-3 years, we tried multiple initiatives from “CEOs walking to work” to producing a music video called “Walk On” along with Dr. Palash Sen and his band Euphoria to promote walking and cycling.  Many of our awareness building initiatives had only limited traction, but we finally struck gold with the CarFreeDay initiative. The idea came up in August/early September in partnership with Gurgaon Police to celebrate the World Car Free Day on September 22nd. Plan was to encourage users of private cars to not use their vehicles and instead use more sustainable modes of transportation like the metro, carpooling, shuttle services, cycling or walking. The entire concept was based on encouragement and not enforcement. The only enforcement was that 4 roads were identified where parking of private vehicles was not allowed. To cut a long story short, the first Car Free Day was a great success with both the print media and TV channels giving it massive coverage. This traction motivated us to celebrate CarFreeDay every Tuesday in Gurgaon and we have now done 16 consecutive Tuesdays without a break!!  We can’t claim that CarFreeDay has solved the traffic and pollution woes of Gurgaon, but I think it has been a very positive initiative on many counts. There are 6 positives that I want to call out:  1. Corporates stepping up. Corporates are often accused of being insensitive to the social context in which they operate. In this case the entire CarFreeDay adoption has been led by the IT/BPO companies who are a part of NASSCOM.   There are 35-40 companies from NASSCOM and other industries who have embraced CarFreeDay and are recording average of 20-30% reduction in number of private vehicles on Tuesdays. Corporates are not just encouraging their employees to go CarFree but are making more systemic changes in transport options they are offering to their employees (e.g., replacing cabs with shuttle buses). Recently corporates have also started experimenting with community based solutions.  For example, Nagarro, Incedo, Snapdeal and number of other companies have come together to launch an open database of employees to pool demand for shuttle bus services.  2. Awareness building. The debate of going beyond cars and using more sustainable forms of transportation like metro, buses, carpooling and cycling has become center stage. Media has picked up the theme and has been giving it coverage every week. It has become a common topic for dinner and party conversations. Most heartening, schools have been taking up the CarFreeDay topic enthusiastically and the message is going to thousands of school children. Visiting a few schools on CarFreeDay gives me hope that we are beginning to see something similar to the momentum school children created with the “Say no to crackers” drive.  3. Great people coming together. Perhaps the most inspiring and enjoyable aspect of the CarFreeDay initiative has been the opportunity to work with some truly outstanding people. A motley crew of CEOs, sustainability experts and social activists have come together united by their passion to make a difference to Gurgaon and to solve a complex problem that affects all of our lives. When I see such talented and senior individuals coming together as a team and dedicating themselves to this cause in a true labor of love, I feel there is hope not just for Gurgaon but for our country!!  4. P-P-C partnership. In our country we have a very negative view of all government agencies. In the case of CarFreeDay, the Gurgaon Police has led from the front and been a great sponsor and partner for this initiative. They have not only provided the enforcement of no-parking in the 4 corridors identified for CarFreeDay but have led the outreach to schools and other agencies including the Municipal Corporation. This partnership between the Police, Corporates (led by NASSCOM) and citizen groups is a great template for how many of the grave problems that our cities face can be solved. We have the beginnings of a Public-Private-Citizen (P-P-C) partnership model that can be a game changer for our country. Many of the problems we face are so complex that government alone can’t solve them. This partnership model could well be the answer.  5. Entrepreneurs stepping in. One of the fascinating features of the CarFreeDay has been that a number of entrepreneurs have stepped up to provide solutions. Gurgaon lacks a public bus service and we have been lobbying for it for years. Over the past 4-6 months private operators like Shuttl and Ola have stepped in providing app based shuttle bus services, which is proving to be quite a game changer. Cykul has come in providing cycle stations to corporates making cycling a more feasible option. There have been a host of carpooling start-ups. There has even been a start-up (Baxi) providing app based bike taxi service. That is the beauty of India we now live in. Where government fails to provide public services, we have entrepreneurs jumping in to provide solutions. And often these solutions are more innovative and efficient. This is another example of the expanding circle of influence as we now do not need to be only dependent on government action on key civic problems.  6. Snowball effect. The CarFreeDay initiative is now not just limited to Gurgaon. In a short time, it has been adopted by Delhi and also smaller towns like Karnal. After much hit n trial over a number of years we finally got success with CarFreeDay. But often when it rains it pours. CarFreeDay has become a trigger that is bringing the transportation and pollution topics to a tipping point. The discussion is now snowballing with even the judiciary stepping in and forcing center and state governments to act. We off course have had the odd-even decision by the Delhi government. I will not go into the merits/demerits of that decision, but it is clear that sustainable transportation and pollution are topics that have now captured the public imagination (a bit like anti-corruption a few years back) and this movement will only grow in force.  To conclude, I want to reiterate the power of bottom-up and personal action.  I have always been fascinated by top-down, big picture solutions.  However, CarFreeDay has taught me that ‘’small can be beautiful”.  We kept making big plans within the NASSCOM team for sustainable transportation but did not get real traction.  But when we worked on an idea that was more bottom-up and touched people’s lives in a real way we got more traction.  Personally for me it meant making cycling to work a daily routine.  This daily action made our mission of sustainable transportation more real for me and put the many challenges in perspective.  This helped generate more practical solutions and even more intense, personal passion.  And therein lies the key lesson about positivity that I want you to take away.  Big problems can seem unsurmountable.  The best we can do is to break down the problems and just focus on the actions we can take personally i.e., which are in our circle of influence.  Those personal experiences lead to more intimate learning allowing you to connect the dots more effectively and come up with more practical solutions.  Moreover, the personal actions can set in motion a chain reaction that can become an unstoppable force.  Truly, once you have the right intent and take personal action, universe conspires to make it happen!!  The battle to ensure our cities are sustainable has just begun. There is a long way to go to solve the problems we face. Much work needs to happen on both the infrastructure side and in changing well entrenched personal habits. However, 2015 gives me lot of hope. Positive initiative by a few well-meaning individuals gave us CarFreeDay, which is having such a positive snowball effect. Now just imagine if many more of us were to take such positive initiatives? The opportunity for impact is breathtakingly exciting and limitless!!    This blog has been slightly modified and published with permission from Nitin Seth. The original blog can be read here - http://nseth71.blogspot.in/2016/01/building-sustainable-cities-power-of.html