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Anurag Lal, Chief Executive Officer of Infinite Convergence Solutions, leads a talented team of industry professionals and innovators to provide a full range of messaging products and value-added mobility solutions to some of the largest telecom operators in the world. His team has evolved highly available and reliable messaging products to make them fully scalable for use by operators and businesses of varying sizes. Anurag has more than 20 years of leadership and operational experience in technology, IT and telecom services. In addition to his business successes, Anurag was appointed as a Director for the United States National Broadband Taskforce, part of the Federal Communications Commission. This initiative has brought Anurag worldwide recognition and elevated his status as an industry visionary in the field. Anurag holds a Bachelors of Arts degree in Economics from Delhi University and attended the Senior Leadership Program at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School.
Infinite Convergence provides innovative messaging solutions and next-generation wireless communication technologies to mobile operators and enterprises. Currently supporting more than 130 million subscribers globally and processing over 900 billion mobile messages annually, Infinite Convergence offers a complete range of scalable solutions for Tier 1 and Tier 2 wireless operators. Headquartered outside of Chicago, Infinite Convergence employs 200 people in the USA and India. For more information, visit www.infinite-convergence.com.
MO: Who inspires you?
Anurag: I‘m inspired by my father for his teachings, the principles he instilled in me and for helping establish my moral character. These traits – respect, passion, integrity, teamwork, accountability and communication – have held me in good stead my entire professional life. I expect the entire Infinite Convergence team to work by these same moral principles. The application of these principles creates a fertile ground of trust and camaraderie in both my personal and professional environments. This is something I learned from my father and I am forever grateful for the lessons he taught me.
MO: How do you think that your two new products, EMS and RCS, will change the way that people and enterprises use technology?
Anurag: RCS and EMS are two very different services, but both are born out of demands in the mobility marketplace.
RCS allows network operators to deliver media-rich instant message services, including one-to-one chat, group chat, inter-carrier chat, text messaging, multi-media messaging, file transfer and video sharing. This will enhance customers’ overall mobile experience and we anticipate RCS will become the center of their wireless life. Mobile users, like you or I, have the ability to exchange rich media, even while on a call and can manage all mobile messaging from a single portal. RCS also enhances the standard mobile address book by showing details about contacts, including their availability, which previously wasn’t possible. All of these features will allow mobile users to improve communications in both their personal and professional lives.
EMS allows enterprises to send and receive information that their customers find valuable. Customers are hungry for important information from enterprises, such as financial records, health records and travel records. EMS allows enterprises to send this information, and other important messages, to their customers with the most ubiquitous form of communication: mobile messaging. This strengthens ties with customers and improves loyalty because enterprises are connecting with their audience via mobile, a device that holds much popularity and importance with consumers.
MO: What are some of the biggest challenges facing the telecommunications industry?
Anurag: There are a few obstacles the telecommunications industry is currently facing, but network operators are meeting the challenges with aggressive solutions. Some of these challenges include the availability of spectrum among broadcasting companies, the cost of deploying networks and the ability to protect Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) from Over-The-Top (OTT) content, media and messaging providers. A great example of how network operators responded to one of these challenges is the availability of RCS. Network operators identified a threat – OTT applications – and developed RCS to combat its services. The telecom industry is actively developing products, services, features and capabilities that mobile users will find compelling enough to stay with their telecom provider and away from OTT content and providers.
MO: Can you expand on how Infinite Convergence not only makes capital investments, but also makes investments in your people and offerings?
Anurag: Infinite Convergence has put great effort into creating a culture of innovation within our organization. This culture not only lends to the creation of new products and services in high demand within the marketplace, but also gives our team members a way to contribute to industry changes. This drives overall positive feelings throughout the organization. We have an Innovation Program where the employees are awarded both financially and otherwise for new ideas and patents. Our 200 employees have a combined work experience of more than 2,000 years, so investing in these experienced professionals allows us to create the cutting-edge products and culture that the marketplace and job seekers are looking for.
MO: What are some trends in the telecommunications industry that you’re excited about or think that our readers should be paying attention to?
Anurag: There are three specific trends that people should be paying attention to that affect all aspects of how we live, work and play. The first is mobility. The availability of smartphones, which are powerful, connected computing devices, is not only changing the economics of the telecommunications business, but is also driving innovation in all aspects of the communication ecosystems. The second important trend is the proliferation of social media. The popularity of platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus is changing the way consumers make choices and interact with their peers. The third important trend is the phenomenon of virtualization and the cloud. This specifically has the means to shorten innovation cycles while supporting rapid deployment of services on a global scale.
MO: Can having a mobile strategy help a business cut their costs?
Anurag: Absolutely. In today’s hyper-connected world, a mobile strategy is essential for any enterprise to be successful. Enterprises should develop a strategy that capitalizes on the various mobile devices and applications available. Once they create this strategy, enterprises will enhance their productivity levels and deliver greater end-solutions to customers. This will directly cut costs. We believe developing a mobile strategy provides a huge operating advantage to the enterprise because the benefits gained from the productivity increase greatly outweigh the cost of investment in the strategy.
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