Nokia is all set to expand its Life Tool Services in the Indian market, offering information related to horticulture, dairy farming and fisheries; The Hindu had reported last week. Nokia Life Tools, which started three years ago as a pilot project in Maharashtra, is now available all over India in local Indian languages with region specific content. We spoke with BV Natesh, Head (Emerging Market Services) Nokia India, about the new offerings and on the adoption of the Life Tools service.

New Services & Content Processing


– Agriculture Pack: Services like information on horticulture, dairy farming and fisheries to Life Tool Services will be introduced progressively over the next 6-9 months. These will be available all across India, as part of the Life Tools Agriculture Premium Pack, and will be priced at Rs 60 per month, Natesh said. Nokia has a dedicated agriculture knowledge desk of 20 people in Bangalore, who aggregate data from various sources, and processes and translate it, for delivery through Life Tools.

“We get weather data from the MET department, local mandi prices, and other information via various media, including the internet and facsimile , which is collated and translated by our knowledge desks, we also have local experts since a lot of information is hyper-local. For example a person living in the hills will not require the same amount of Iodine as a a person living in the coastal regions. Of course, experts at the health desk are medical professionals,” says Natesh.

– IGNOU: Natesh informed MediaNama that Nokia will also start piloting IGNOU’s English certification course on Life Tools in Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, starting this month; depending on the user feedback, the program will be launched pan-India by December. The IGNOU service will include learning and assessment modules, and more courses will be added to the service, depending on feedback.

Content Partners

Nokia has developed a range of partners across private and public enterprises, including local Government departments, NGOs and development agencies, particularly since Life Tools cover a wide range of content, and the company needs to develop and entire ecosystem for content sourcing and delivery. Nokia has around 25 partners for agriculture and health services.

– Private Sector Partners: include entities like Syngenta, ITC eChoupal, Coromandel International, EnableM & Pearson;
– Public Sector Partners: include Government agencies such as Maharashtra State Agri Marketing Board (MSAMB), various state agencies, Rubber and Spices Boards and NGO’s such as National Agro Foundation; Kid and Parent and Arogya for Health.

Pricing

Nokia Life Tools Agriculture service is available across 18 states, in 11 regional languages including Hindi, Malayalam, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Punjabi, Marathi, Bengali, Gujarati, Oriya and English, on over 20 devices. The basic plan at Rs 30 per month, offers daily weather updates and relevant agriculture-related news, advice and tips.

The premium plan at Rs 60 per month, provides the closest market prices for three crops chosen by the subscriber, as well as weather information, news, advice and tips. The Education service is available across India, and consumers can subscribe to their preferred educational service such as Learn English, General Knowledge or Exam Tips for Rs 30 per month. Health services are also priced at Rs 30/ month.

According to Natesh, the pricing was determined after analyzing user behavior, sources of information and the costs they incur to access them, and also based on the spending patterns of prepaid customers. The pricing comes around to Rs.1-Rs.2 per day, close to the price of a newspaper.

Usage Patterns

Although Natesh did not disclose the number of new customer additions every month, he said that the service has close to 17 million subscribers since it’s initial launch. Usage is consistent across geographies, and a large chunk of subscribers have more than one pack activated on their phones. The bread winner in the family uses the phone during the day time, and other members of the family using it later. The service is pre-embedded in around 20 handsets, included in the main menu of the phone, and there’s a shortcut key, as well.

Will Nokia Life Tools Ever Launch On Other Phones?

Nokia does not intend to bring Life Tools to other phones or even as a telecom operator service; according to the company, Life Tools require localized language packs which are built into Nokia phones. Also, the company has no plans to make Life Tools available for download on the Nokia (Ovi) Store, though it might use GPRS as a bearer for delivering content in place of SMS, when mobile data becomes more reliable, and mainly for semi-urban use cases, in the future.