Indians Want Homegrown Apps More Than Ever: Satya Yerramsetti

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Driven by the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ and ‘Vocal for Local’ initiatives by the government, Indian users are looking for local alternatives for some of the major apps such as WhatsApp and more. Being one of the most populous countries in the world, India’s app developers stand a good chance to gain ground and name not only in the sub-continent but worldwide. Satya Yerramsetti, founder and CEO, Telebu, shares views on the same.

How are home-grown apps gaining prominence in tier-2 & tier-3 cities?

India is one of the largest application markets across the globe, and it has been growing significantly over the years. As highlighted by Adjust, a mobile distribution and analytics company, in its report titled Essential insights for 2021, 19 billion-plus apps were downloaded in 2019 as compared to over six billion in 2016.

Another major trend that is picking up pace in the app market in India is the increasing prominence of homegrown apps, specifically in tier 2 and tier 3 cities. The nationwide ban on Chinese goods and services further drove the growth of domestic apps, and users now prefer Indian mobile applications owing to the credibility and the local flavour. Additionally, initiatives like Atmanirbhar and ‘vocal for local’ have also contributed in giving the required push to the 'desi tech' space, and it has been growing louder than ever. There is a new revolution of producing and preparing everything locally, be it goods or services, applications, payment gateways, e-commerce platforms, or content creation services, gaming platforms, etc.

In the present times, the domestic versions rule the application market in India and have been exhibiting remarkable growth. As reported by Apps Flyer, one of the global leaders in mobile attribution and marketing analytics, India’s app market constituted 38.5% of the global mobile application market, surpassing China and the US in 2020. There were approximately 7.3 billion app installations that happened in 2020. It further states that mobile consumption witnessed a surge amongst the consumers of tier 2, 3, and 4 cities primarily for finance, gaming, and entertainment apps. This pushes the demand for regional content as well, which can be sufficed by the homegrown applications owing to the local flavour and geographical proximity.

How have WhatsApp’s latest policy amendments created a fear psychosis of personal information getting accessed by Big Tech Companies? Will this privacy uncovered fallout lead users and enterprises to resort to other apps?

The recent policy changes introduced by WhatsApp have caused havoc in the communication industry. While WhatsApp was the most commonly used platform for our personal communications since the beginning, it has now started setting foot into the business space too. Amidst this, the recent policy amendments are a little cause of concern for individual users as well as the enterprises who actively rely on WhatsApp for their business communications. Now when people are looking for alternatives, the options available in the market are quite limited.

Most enterprises use customer communication chat platforms, including WhatsApp, Signal or Telegram, to discuss, collaborate and share business information. And most of the times, the information shared by the enterprises is confidential in nature. Documents, Files, Reports, and pretty much everything under the sun is usually shared on these platforms, including WhatsApp, Signal or Telegram. In today’s modern world, where information is the new currency, organisations must safeguard business secrets, data and control information dissemination across organisations.

TelebuPing solves just that. TelebuPing is an Enterprise First Chat Platform meant to protect, safeguard, and secure enterprises’ business communication. The prominent features of TelebuPing include:

  • Instant Messaging
  • Broadcast ( No limit on Number of Participants)
  • Group Chat
  • Moderation & User Controls
  • Complete Visibility
  • Conference via PSTN or VoIP
  • End to End Encryption
  • No Data Sharing with 3rd Party
  • No Ads
  • Scalable
  • Conference via Video
  • No Limits on the File Size
  • Screen Lock
  • Chat Backups - 3rd Party AWS
  • Vanishing Messages - Under development
  • Screenshot Notifications - Yes
  • Download Notifications & Alerts - Yes
  • Restrict Account Privileges
  • Organisational Directory-based Communication ( No unwanted access of Personal Information)

While apps like WhatsApp, Telegram and Signal collect user information, including purchase history, location, contact, email address and the likes, our product TelebuPing, does not collect unnecessary data or requests access to any information from organisations or users. Rather, all chats, data, documents and information on TelebuPing is stored on Ping Cloud Server (3rd Party - AWS) locally. These servers are not accessible to anyone at Telebu’s end apart from the account’s business owner (Organisation) by getting explicit consent from the organisation.

What’s the role of apps like TelebuPing in the Global Communication Market when the world is looking for alternate options amid WhatsApp privacy issues?

Well, I firmly believe that apps like TelebuPing have a significant role in the Global Communication Market, especially now when the world is confused, scared, and a little clueless amid WhatsApp’s concerns.

TelebuPing is an educator and a thought leader. As a product, brand and organisation, the first step is to educate the users (businesses) where TelebuPing comes to our aid. TelebuPing is transparent in its communication process, informs the users about the challenges, problems and risks involved. Furthermore, TelebuPing shares ways in which they can protect their data, informs them about the nuances of app permissions, settings, and privacy.

TelebuPing functions like a gateway for secured enterprise communications. As a product, it puts enterprises first, providing them with complete control of the App. Every conversation, interaction, chat, phone call or video meeting that takes place on TelebuPing is stored locally and is accessible to the enterprise.

Apart from this, the key problems TelebuPing solves for businesses include:

  • Problem of fragmented customer communication
  • Data Privacy & Security
  • Communication at Scale
  • Single Platform for - Chat, Voice & Video needs
  • Admin Controls & Moderations

How is TelebuPing now slowly becoming India’s First Company offering the one-stop solution for all the communication needs?

Right from the inception, our vision was to be the first CaaS (Communication as a Service) company that serves both enterprise & customer communication. We flagged off our journey in the enterprise communication space by foraying into Audio Conferencing with Grptalk. Grptalk, one our most trusted products, is a cutting-edge audio conferencing app that allows 3-10,000+ people in <30 seconds.

After tasting success with Grptalk, we developed TelebuHub - a Virtual Cloud Office with a built-in CRM that serves as a communication hub for the customers. We further added AI-powered bots to TelebuHub’s infrastructure, and that is how TelebuPop came into existence. With TelebuPop, we facilitated the use of live chat and created bot flows to automate responses, offer support, and qualify leads on your websites or app.

The next step of evolution included the integration of all social communication channels into the app architecture in order to enable enterprises to access all customer touchpoints through a single platform, resulting in more contextual communications, higher customer satisfaction ratings, faster TATs, fewer tickets, and many more benefits.

Then came TelebuJoin, which is a cloud video meeting platform allowing you to connect, discuss and build relationships from anywhere, on the go.

Next in line is TelebuPing, our first big step into the UCaaS space. With TelebuPing, one gets an end-to-end encrypted organisational chat platform that keeps the conversations private and lets you connect via Voice or Video over VoIP.

And finally, through TelebuBlocks, we foray into the CPaaS space. TelebuBlocks allows the users to build what they want. Under this product, we offer APIs, SDKs & Prebuilt solutions that you can configure, test & iterate.

While our current focus area is Enterprise Communications - Audio, Video, Bots, CRM, Ticketing, communication hub, enterprise hardware, cloud, IoT, CPaaS & DaaS, we plan to offer our entire product suite to businesses with single login access over the next few months, thereby completing our transformation into the UCaaS solution provider.

What are the long and short-term goals for TelebuPing?

Currently, a limited number of customers from our user base use TelebuPing. Hence, to reach out to a larger audience, we are constantly testing, iterating and introducing innovations to the product, which are still in the beta phase. In simpler terms, our short term goal is to onboard 100 organisations (100,000+ users) on TelebuPing. The goal is to offer them an end to end communication experience, be it - Chat, Voice or Video on a single platform. From a product roadmap standpoint, we are looking to add:

  • Geo-Location tagged Attendance
  • Accounting & Administration Capabilities
  • Integration into TelebuHub (Your Contact Center Software, KMS, Ticketing & Chatbots)
  • Social Integration - For a Single Window Platform for all Customer Communication
  • Host Surveys, Polls & Train your team from within the App
  • Add Organisational Hierarchy based access
  • Planner

From a long term perspective, we would like to challenge the industry leaders like RingCentral, 8 by 8, Microsoft, and Google to become the preferred UCaaS solution providers amongst Enterprise, SMEs, MSMEs & Startups.

As per Statista, the UCaaS market is to be about 70 billion USD by 2023. The Current UCaaS market share lies between Microsoft, Cisco, Zoom, RingCentral (55%) & Others (45%). Telebu wants to capture a 10% market share in the others category.

We are also planning to target markets that include - Indian Subcontinent, GCC, South East Asia, East Africa & South America.

What was the idea behind the launch of Grptalk, TelebuPing, TelebuHub, etc?

In 2003, I returned from Australia with a degree and a dream – to start an online business, which would take India into the dotcom age. I soon gathered seven people, and SMSCountry Networks was born at a tiny office in Ameerpet. The aim was to make bulk SMS the marketing tool for Indian enterprises. We were pretty successful, and we gradually opened many new branches across India, and one in Dubai. Riding the SMS wave of success, we launched, an entirely new solution – ads in SMS. Soon our servers were clocking 8,00,00,000 SMS daily.

Soon after, we were started offering custom-built APIs and SDKs to customers to integrate SMS capabilities into their native applications.

After pioneering Bulk SMS and Voice SMS in India, Telebu began thinking of making conference calls easy. After months of research and innovation, Telebu developed a unified system called the PBFTS (Public Broadcast Feedback & Telephony System). They could send SMS, schedule voice broadcasts, and even initiate calls quickly. This was when we developed the dial-out conference calling method, where the server triggers a call to all the conference participants simultaneously.

Our award-winning conference calling App called ‘grptalk’ works on a dial-out capability, one of the biggest reasons for its widespread adoption and subsequent use.
grptalk - World’s only Audio Conferencing App lets you connect to 50,000+ people on a single without App or Internet.

Later on, during the HUDHUD Cyclone that ravaged AP’s coast, we deployed a fully functioning call centre to help the AP Government in 12 days. Understanding the need for a call centre setup that can be deployed quickly, we began working on our cloud-hosted call centre software that would unify all call centre essentials and systems into a single-view software solution, and thus TelebuHub, a cloud office platform, was launched. With TelebuHub, run call centres, make outbound calls, offer support, manage contacts via its inbuilt CRM, raise tickers or automate your knowledge management system.

In early 2019, we realized that the name SMSCountry led to confusion about our capabilities and not defining our true capabilities. We wanted to break free of the SMS tag, so we rebranded ourselves as Telebu, borrowing from Telecommunication and Business.

How Telebu safeguards the privacy and use of personal information provided by users, and how they plan to address the new proposed Identification of ‘first originator’ of data without affecting the end-to-end encryption offered on Telebu’s Products?

From a privacy and security standpoint; Telebu, as an organisation that offers encrypted solutions, adheres to all the best practices followed worldwide (Double Opt Ins, GDPR etc.) and does not ask for customer’s information or access data and your devices more than it needs to for the products to function properly.

Our Customers love us for our minimalistic approach towards data collection, the transparency we provide pertaining to the privacy policies, terms of use, etc. and most importantly, how we keep their data & conversations safe. This is one of the key reasons why large MNCs, Political Parties etc., trust us and work with us. Additionally, we as an organisation use our own product, TelebuPing, to communicate with all our stakeholders. TelebuPing is a communication tool that enables companies to capture all the real-time business interactions on one single platform, and all the conversations are end to end encrypted.

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