Friday, January 20, 2012

“Build Innovative Voice Apps/Services on KooKoo, Cloud PaaS” - Ozonetel Founder-CEO Mr. Chintalapati

Murthy Chintalapati Founder-CEO Ozonetel Systems [] Mr. Murthy Chintalapati is the Founder and CEO of Hyderabad based Ozonetel Systems - a pioneer of Cloud Telephony technology in India.

Murthy Chintalapati, a serial technology entrepreneur is recognized by many Silicon Valley technopreneurs as someone who identifies industry pain points and builds successful business ventures that address the market need. Murthy started his first venture Intoto, in 1997 in SanJose, California.

  • With talk of double-dip recession looming ahead for major global economies, how relevant is the talk of Cloud Computing implementation in India specifically for SMBs/SMEs?

Cloud computing which has the key benefits of minimum capex (read zero CAPEX) and usage based on demand scaling and billing will help business in these challenging times. The SMB/SME segment will learn to better streamline their IT spending and minimize technology risk by using the high end services of cloud computing providers.

Coming to Cloud telephony services, the need has not been met at all and this is a new market being created. Read more on cloud telephony in an article by our principal architect, Chaitanya on

  • Your flagship offering KooKoo, is a telephony in cloud. How is it different from traditional telephony? Does the KooKoo platform has all 5 essential attributes of a Cloud Service as defined by NIST?

Yes we comply with all five, with little deviation because of the current regulation in India. KooKoo is a platform as a service (PaaS) option available to developers to build innovative voice applications either for their existing business or to create a new business.

  • Though relatively new your cloud platform KooKoo is getting a significant attention as a Twilio equivalent for India. What’s your USP?

Broadly KooKoo is platfrom as a service (PaaS) and offer similar services as Twilio, but actually our approach is completely different. While Twilio has exposed its platform services only, KooKoo has taken a ecosystem approach, where other platform services from our partners are exposed as part of the KooKoo API, making it a complete versatile platform for users to think, build, roll out and scale on the platform. For example, we are integrating Text to Speech, Payment gateways, SMS options and so on, on the platform creating a strong ecosystem for our customers.

  • Are you providing SMS services as well?

As stated earlier, SMS services are from our partners, but are accessible as KooKoo API. Users don’t have to do multiple vendor sign ups; a user signs with KooKoo and we take care of it all in the back-end.

  • Is there any geographical limitation for KooKoo?

Currently we are present in India servicing 10 different locations, and will be soon launching in other countries. Since this is telecom that needs access to local telco, it needs to have a physical presence where we want to launch our services. The local phone lines have to be linked to a server for the call logic to work and hence we are expanding our geographical presence across India.

  • What are the top 3 verticals that must act with a strategy to get early bird advantage of cloud telephony services in India?

The verticals where we have seen good traction are:

    1. Retail (eCommerce).
    2. NGO.
    3. Travel.
  • Can I migrate/host an application developed on KooKoo to another IaaS apart from Ozonetel’s own data-centers? [Vendor-lock-in issue]

KooKoo is a PaaS, we don’t host applications. Applications are built using KooKoo API (Application Programming Interface), using the user’s choice of web application language (PHP, Java, Python etc). API calls can be replaced with another set of API. So migration to other PaaS vendors is possible.

  • With ever increasing tele-density (mobile, telephone) in India, once you hit the tipping point; your peak call volume will increase manifold. How scalable is your infrastructure?

The platform is designed so that different entities can scale as per business requirements and hence the concept of peak call volume is local to each customer, thus being scalable to a large extent.

  • Recently KooKoo and Gharpay Partnered for Offline IVR payments. Looks like a good combo to address a potential market of over 740 million voice users. What’s your take on this alliance?

That is part of our ecosystem approach, there are lot of innovative services available which together with KooKoo can provide users the capability to build fantastic end to end solutions. Similarly we have tied up with Akshar Speech to offer Hindi, Telugu and other local languages text to speech. We will be announcing many more such partnerships.

  • Apart from KooKoo, what are other services offered by Ozonetel Systems?

You can check the following Cloud Services:

  • CPBX (Cloud PBX – )
  • CloudAgent (Cloud Contact Center – )

  • Security-in-the-Cloud - is it really a big concern? How are you addressing this at KooKoo?

Yes it is, in our case we don’t host customer data. All KooKoo applications are built and hosted by users in their servers. This is less applicable in our kind of services

  • You are a well-known serial entrepreneur. Can you share the most important lesson learned through your entrepreneurial journey of 15 years?

During the incubation phase of product business, having a services business line for bootstrapping always posed a challenge in terms of focus, operations management and handling HR issues. Managing the services but concentrating on the core product/platform development and balancing both the acts has been my biggest learning experience.

Thank you Mr. Murthy Chintalapati for sharing your views with Techno-Pulse readers. Good Luck to you and the  OzonetelKooKoo team in your future endeavors.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Cloud Cartoons, Humor - The State of Cloud Computing in 2011

A picture is worth a thousand words – cartoons worth even more :-) Here’s my first attempt at creating Cloud Computing Cartoons - the year that went by...

The common man was still searching – may be confused due to information overload.

Top Global IT players were racing ahead with their Cloud Services. There was an exception too – cloud strategy went in wrong direction. The competition claimed: The cloud is not a box.

Training Institutes jumped to cash in on the cloud buzz – promising almost anything to anyone. 

Cloud Data Privacy and Security issues.

Govt. around the world heard the Cloud Computing buzz! And we heard their funny excuses.

IaaS providers were smiling all the way! Now they are considered a magic pill.

Most of the PaaS were in Beta phase, finding it hard to convince developers to join them. Will 2012 change this? Hope so.

Yet another cloud blogger! croak-croak-croak.

Many IT companies tried to join the exclusive Cloud Club - masquerading as Cloud Service Providers.
SaaS - Viral Customer growth! But where is the elusive Break-Even Point?

Hope a few of these Cloud-toons made you smile. Please spread the word: +1, Tweet or Like. [Check left column]
P.S: eToons created using ToonDoo Maker tool []

Other Interesting Posts:

Friday, January 6, 2012

Cloud Based SaaS Help Desk – Freshdesk Founder and CEO Girish Speaks

Girish Mathrubootham - Founder & CEO - FreshdeskMr. Girish Mathrubootham is the Founder and CEO of Freshdesk, a Cloud based SaaS Help Desk company based in Chennai, India.

Prior to Freshdesk, Girish was Vice-President of Product Management at ZOHO Corporation. Very passionate about customer service, usability and making products that give the biggest bang for the buck, Girish has easily been the Product Manager with the happiest set of customers.

  • With talk of double-dip recession looming ahead for major global economies, how relevant is the talk of Cloud Computing implementation in India specifically for SMBs/SMEs?

If you look at the US retail scenario in 2008 – 2009 (post Lehman collapse) you will see that Walmart was seeing strong growth where many other players were failing. Companies do not stop doing business because of a recession. They look at how they can save costs. Similarly cloud vendors who offer significant cost savings will see strong growth.

  • Despite being a start-up, Freshdesk is getting significant attention, most of it positive. It seems you’ve really refreshed the helpdesk. What’s your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) vis-a-vis Assistly, Zendesk, Remedy and other help desk software/services?

Our USP is very simple to understand. We offer the best value in the Cloud help desk market. We keep it simple and focus on doing 3 things well:

  1. Offer the best user experience in Customer Support software.
  2. Be responsive and offer fast and accurate Support to our Customers. 
  3. We listen to our customers and constantly focus on improving Freshdesk based on their feedback.

  • Freshdesk is now available in 11 international languages. Any plans to add any Indian language in 2012?

It is easy for us to add an Indian language but we have not seen any of our customers ask for it till now.

  • Most of the Cloud SaaS are using services of one of the IaaS providers. Which IaaS is used by Freshdesk?

We use Amazon EC2 via Engine Yard.

  • Data Security and Privacy are the two most important concerns for SaaS based applications. How are you addressing this at Freshdesk?

If tomorrow you go to your bank and find some money missing in your account, will you trust the bank and continue to do business with them? As a SaaS company we know that we are finished in business if we do not invest in Data Security and Privacy of our customer’s data. We have implemented security at every level of our application and the infrastructure. All our payments are processed by a PCI compliant payment provider and customer credit card information is stored in a PCI compliant vault.

  • Another SaaS related concern from a customer’s point of view is a sudden and perhaps unreasonable price hike. As Freshdesk is also a subscription based SaaS, what assurance can you offer to your customer against this sudden inflation? Or is it inevitable?

I know how I will feel if my telephone company or my phone company increases prices on me. We will never do an unreasonable price hike for our customers. In fact we hope we will never do a price hike for any of our customers. If there is an unavoidable situation, then I think we will explain the situation and ask our customers on the best way forward.

  • Social media can be a double-edged sword for businesses. Many companies have a genuine fear of customers bashing their business, even for a minor miss, and consequently damaging the business's reputation and brand. This fear leads to a preference for the old eMail/phone method of communication with customers one to one. Your suggestions?

Whether you like it or not, your customers are already talking about your Product online. By not responding to a customer complaint you are allowing your brand image to take a massive hit. If you are seen as being responsive and trying to help resolve the problem, then that sends a positive signal to your prospective customers.

  • We are yet to find an Indian product firm in $1 Billion annual revenues club. In your opinion, which of the India based cloud/product companies are poised for rapid growth in the next three to five years?

Zoho and Flipkart come to mind. We are also poised to grow pretty quick but we will worry about a Billion dollars when we hit 100 M :)

  • The list of corporate showdowns in the IT sector now has one more pair: Apple vs. Microsoft, Oracle vs. SalesForce, Google vs. Microsoft, Microsoft vs. SalesForce and recently, Freshdesk vs. Zendesk. I appreciate your deft handling of the situation, and I must say it was a fitting response from you. What was the lesson learned?

Before posting anything (negative) about anyone on social networks make sure you think twice and do your homework. Being trigger-happy on Twitter can be dangerous.

Thank you Girish for sharing your views with Techno-Pulse readers. Good Luck to you and Freshdesk team for future endeavors.

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