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Techies making a beeline for Kochi

Kochi could easily become the telecom capital of India, says S. Mohan, president and C.E.O of V3-Global, one of the largest telecommunication companies in the US. He tells TANYA ABRAHAM why.


`TECH' WAS a word unfamiliar to many , when India opted for globalisation. For whatever reason, people appeared to want to tread on familiar ground than allow their futures be moulded by a free market economy, which, to them, posed a certain degree of uncertainty.

Today, with market forces acting in a dominant fashion, events seem to be taking a favourable turn with much reason to expect a significant boom in the technological industry where prevailing economic factors in places like Kochi act as catalysts to the situation.

Call it irony or uncanny, the American economy, along with a number of other developed economies, are facing the brunt of cheaper solutions in countries like India whereby they seem to be witnessing large scale loss of jobs in industries that involves Tech and Telecom.

Surveys have shown that despite an economic recovery of the U.S. economy since 2001, 2,36,000 jobs have been cut this year alone, since the tech bust that started about three years ago.

The reason, however, focuses on reduction in people-related costs where skilled labour is available at one-fifth the cost and India appears to be the right market with both skilled technologists and advanced facilities.

S.Mohan, president and C.E.O of V3- Global, one of the largest telecommunication companies in the United States [and its associate company V-3 Tele Services in India] that adopts state-of-the-art technology to create high returns by maintaining a low cost base, feels that Kochi portrays to be the ideal centre for relocating an existing system of operations.

"We are a company that deals with a series of products and services which includes transporting of wholesale voice traffic from major carriers with whom we have interconnection agreements, providing net-work services to pre-paid calling card operators, billing, web development and e-commerce development facilities to other telecom carriers, while our call centres cater to the customer needs of companies where people are trained accordingly.

"I would say that we handle a `call centre' in the true sense which does not just involve training people how to answer the calls or that which concerns telemarketing but caters to answering calls to take care of customer needs on the whole, and is a comprehensive business processing unit which includes accounting, credit card processing and so on, without actually being present in the U.S.", he explains.

Few customers in the United States or other nations realise that when any toll free customer service number such as 800[as in the case of U.S.A.] is dialled, calls are answered in a totally different country without even the slightest hint of delay. In short, the calls are directed to the operating centre by trained personnel where the details of the customer are noted from the computer screens that props up with the incoming call, immediately wherefrom credit card details are validated and the product dispatched with the dispatch button being activated.

Technology oriented people like S. Mohan feels that Kochi could easily become the telecom capital of India, owing to lower transportation costs, trained labour, the International Lease Circuits and closeness to the fibre landing stations.

"Basically, a whole lot of switches come into play here, which are shrunk owing to the processing power of computers", he says. In short, voices are compressed by specific compression equipment via IPLC and finally expanded using similar equipment at the centre at Kochi, so much so that calls made are attended to at the same speed and rate as answering them in the United States.

For C.E.O.s like S.Mohan, it would seem to be a win-win situation where it calls for the relocation of business from a high cost nation like the United States to a cost effective one like India. "I would not have thought of this if I didn't already have the business. Here, we are eliminating a whole lot of jobs there and employing people here." Mr. Mohan emphasis on the lack of awareness of what India can offer companies abroad and as to how cost effective the situation might be.

"I intend to provide service to other call centres in U.S.A. for less than half the cost", he adds. He is also of the opinion that call centres are an opportunity to explore on which he comments, "we have an employee exchange programme where employees would be sent to our other offices whereby they can gain experience as well as make more money. Basically, we want to create people who can see things and do things".

Companies like V-3 Global aims to expand from 200 employees to 2000 within the next 2 years. "It is a tremendous opportunity for development and employment, where instead of having 2000 people working at our office in Dallas we will have them working here, besides Indian employees appear to be more committed and aware of things than others", he says.

In short, this is a global market where foreign companies recognise the international hue of things, which for all practical reasons cannot be ignored, instead can be envisaged as an opportunity for nations such as India.

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