Getting the message

One year-old ValueFirst aims to offer small and mid-size organisations in the region the opportunity to make use of enterprise mobile messaging.

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By  Sean Robson Published  October 27, 2008

One year-old ValueFirst aims to offer small and mid-size organisations in the region the opportunity to make use of enterprise mobile messaging.

In a burgeoning market for mobile services, the Middle East is seeing the emergence of mobile virtual network operators (MVNO). MVNOs do not have their own infrastructure. They instead purchase minutes of use from incumbent operators and sell them on to enterprises, after enhacing them with a number of value-added services.

ValueFirst is one such MVNO, hoping to use those minutes to equip small and mid-size organisations with enterprise data-related mobile services. "In many ways we offer the same value-added services that a traditional operator does, except we offer a higher level of value," says Mukkul Shyam, CEO of ValueFirst Middle East.

In many ways we offer the same value-added services that a traditional operator does, except we offer a much higher level of value.

Traditional operators offer very basic core services, according to Shyam. In terms of bulk messaging, for instance, they are often times limited to only offering connectivity and a pre-determined structure. ValueFirst, and companies like it, bridge the gap between the operator and the user, by providing necessary services.

"Our middleware actually sits between the operator's connectivity and the user. What we have is the ability to assist in user management, the ability to control and extract data, the ability to automatically configure the data in short code. These are just some of the ways we add value," explains Shyum.

ValueFirst began its operations in India six years ago experiencing massive growth as the market matured and users discovered the benefits of enterprise messaging. "After the first four months we were processing about 100,000 messages a day, and now we are moving in the region of 16 million text messages a day," Shyam notes.

Traditionally, text messages have been primarily used as a marketing tool by enterprises worldwide. ValueFirst believes that it can be much more than just that.

"The concept of enterprise data messaging means that users have access to the back-end of their network, as well as the option of being connected to numerous local networks and to 400 international operators," states Shyam.

"We offer our users the ability to communicate between varied IT back-end systems and mobile phones using text messages. We can set-up ‘plug and play' application licensing and hosting. Our platform is capable of delivering a text message to virtually any mobile handset," Shyam continues.

The benefits of this kind of access include the ability to send out crucial information like stock prices and inventory numbers to mobile employees. It also sees the mobile employee equipped with the ability to remotely access and pull information from the back-end. At the same time the employee in the field is able to exchange and update information with and from the enterprise.

"The Middle East is ready for all the added value that we can offer through text messaging services. Mobile penetration far outstrips internet penetration in the region and makes our services very relevant, not just to large enterprises but also to the very smallest of enterprises," explains Shyam.

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