M. Dinesh Varma

It contains a mix of functionalities that could strike a chord in diverse user groups

CHENNAI: Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), Chennai Telephones, will roll out a bouquet of 14 value added services (VAS) from a giga server in Chennai that will act as the fulcrum for VAS subscribers across the southern States.

The VAS bouquet — to be eventually made available nationwide — contains a mix of functionalities that could strike a chord in diverse user groups, ranging from parents wanting to track the whereabouts of their child to crime branch police on the hunt for an absconder from law.

The Location Based Application Server (LBAS) housed in the BSNL’s Haddows Road Telephone Exchange is large enough to cater to subscribers across circles in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala or Puducherry, a BSNL official said.

The VAS posy includes the ‘Where am I’ service that guides a user venturing into unfamiliar territory or just about anyone who is topography challenged, a variant application called ‘Navigation’ to access location-specific maps of the city, an enhanced call routing facility that allows customers to land calls directly on emergency lines bypassing the regular network and a ‘traffic alert’ to indicate traffic bottlenecks along city routes.

One of the applications, the ‘Target Subscriber Notification’ is likely to find use more in police circles where the location of a chosen number can be tracked.

At the level of the common subscriber, the facility will be extended if applicant and the ‘target subscriber’ mutually agree.

The menu includes ‘Yellow Pages’ and weather inputs while the ‘sight-seeing’ function is targeted at tourists. The Server also facilitates BSNL to adopt ‘Location Based Charging’ where callers on less congested lines are taxed less on a flexible tariff base.

Among the proposed value additions, BSNL has already piloted the Resource Tracking and Management System (to help fleet managers locate vehicles) and commercial SMSs that help advertisers stay connected with customers entering the proximity of their shop.

The department has also soft launched three other value added services, a BSNL official said.

The rest of the applications will be made available in a phased manner, he said.

Some of the services such as Yellow Pages can be delivered only when the content is ready.

Logistically, all content derived from any of the southern States will have to be loaded on to the central server on Haddows Road. It is learnt that BSNL will shortly float tenders for the content development projects.

The hitch at present is that since the implementation of the services are far from uniform in other circles, the services may not be available for travellers entering the network of other circles.

“It will be some time before the VAS becomes seamless and accessible across telecom circles in the country,” a BSNL official said.