Mobile VAS provider IMIMobile has launched a cloud-based mobile engagement (m-engagement) platform called Open House. The company claims that Open House is India’s first cloud based mobile engagement platform.

Services Offered: The company claims this platform will act as a platform between telecom operators and businesses, developers & service providers. According to the company’s website, the Open House platform currently offers two different services:

– Business Tools which offers ready-to-use services to enable businesses quickly setup and deploy multi-channel customer engagement services and employee productivity services. When we checked, the company was offering various solutions like SMS and voice broadcast which allows businesses to interact with their customers; Missed Call to SMS, Missed Call to Call, SMS to Call and Click to Call to allow customers ask companies to get in touch with them; SMS-based polls; Virtual IVRs (Interactive Voice Response); and Inbound messaging solutions like short codes, long codes and keywords to allow customers reach out to businesses over SMS or IVR.

– APIs (Application Programming Interface), which according to the company, allow developers to integrate mobile operator connectivity and Open House platform’s capabilities within their business applications. When we checked, the platform was offering two different APIs including Messaging APIs and Voice APIs. IMIMobile claims that the APIs are compliant with the latest industry standard protocols. Further, it also claimed that the voice APIs have inbuilt support for content management, streaming live audio, karaoke and subscription within the apps.

Tie-ups: IMIMobile claimed that its Da Vinci Platform, which currently powers the Open House platform, has already been integrated with over 80 operators and deployed in more than 60 countries. The company now plans to gradually roll out Open House platform in these countries.

Pricing: At the time of writing this article, the initial registration was free and Open House was offering a free credit of Rs 20 for each new registration, following which, it offered various pricing plans for messaging and voice calls depending upon the usage, starting at Rs 100 and going up to Rs 50,000 and above. For context, the Rs 100 plan allows businesses to send 1,000 transactional SMS or 666 promotional SMS or 555 Missed calls every year, while the Rs 50,000 plan allows businesses to send around 38.46 lakh transactional SMS or 8.19 lakh promotional SMS or 5 lakh missed calls every year.

Besides this, Open House also allows businesses to rent SMS short codes, long codes, keywords and voice numbers on an yearly basis.

This development seems to be in line with what IMI Mobile CEO Vishwanath Alluri had talked about last year. During a telecom summit last year, Alluri had stated that telecom operators should open up dormant network assets and move them to the cloud to allow handset manufacturers, service providers, developers, advertisers and over the top (OTT) content providers to leverage these assets. He had also stated that operators should open up its infrastructure to service providers, and create an open marketplace in the cloud to eliminate bureaucratic hurdles in implementing valued added services.

Previous Developments: Last year, IMIMobile had acquired a UK-based digital agency, Skinkers, which develops desktop apps, games, iPhone/iPad and android apps, and products related to web and social platforms. The company was planning to integrate Skinkers with its DaVinci Evolved Service Platform to offer solutions in mobile and web based interactive TV, m-commerce and customer care and introduce push-notification based capabilities. In 2010, it had also acquired a UK based mobile services company WIN PLC, which runs mobile marketing campaigns in partnerships with mobile operators like Vodafone, O2, T-Mobile, Maxis.

In February 2011, it had also entered into a partnership with the cricket based website Krishcricket.com to provide cricket related services to mobile operators globally. Krishcricket.com founder Krishnamachari Srikkanth, had then stated that this partnership will enable the site to offer cricket based content on mobiles through SMS, USSD, IVR, WAP and 3G platforms.