SingTel brings social media monitoring tool to SMBs

SingTel, in partnership with local startup JamiQ, is bringing a stripped-down version of the latter's flagship social media monitoring tool to target the "over 100,000" small and midsize businesses in Singapore, says exec.
Written by Kevin Kwang, Contributor

SINGAPORE--Local telco Singapore Telecommunications is adding to its cloud computing offerings by collaborating with Singapore-based startup JamiQ to offer small and midsize businesses (SMBs) a "best-of-breed" social media monitoring tool, said a company executive.

Michael Chong, director of software-as-a-service (SaaS) business development at SingTel, said the partnership with JamiQ will complement the telco's current cloud offerings and interest the "over 100,000" Singapore-based SMBs.

The SaaS-based social media monitoring tool, named Reputation Watch, is the only such service to be offered by the carrier in its myBusiness online portal, he noted during a media briefing Friday.

"We don't want to give our SMBs too many choices right now. Rather, we picked the best-in-breed in this segment, which in this case is JamiQ, and we are happy with our selection," he added.

On Tuesday, the telco had, as part of its ultra-high-speed broadband announcements, unveiled a slew of cloud-based services for businesses that include online storage, real-time backup and data collaboration services.

JamiQ CEO Arvind Sethumadhavan, who was present at the briefing, noted that its monitoring tool will give SMBs the chance to monitor what people are saying about their business.

For instance, he cited local Italian eatery Sapore Italiano, which signed up for Reputation Watch three to four weeks ago. Since then, it has been receiving e-mail notifications whenever someone mentions the restaurant through social-networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, he said.

Suresh Keerthi, the Italian restaurant owner, gave feedback at the briefing. "We picked our restaurant's name to be the keywords to be monitored because we can only improve on ourselves if we receive any negative feedback. One such feedback led to us reducing the sweetness of our gelato."

Companies that register for the service can currently track only one set of keywords, but there are plans to add to this basic offering in the future, SingTel's Chong revealed.

The partnership with SingTel will see the startup offer its software to SMBs--a market segment that the company had "no resources" to reach, noted Benjamin Koe, JamiQ's co-founder and head of client leadership, during an aside to ZDNet Asia.

If customers who sign up with SingTel for the program have problems with the software or questions they need answered, the telco will be responsible for handling the service support, he said, adding that the company had earlier provided training for the telco's service staff.

As for future business plans, Kelvin Quee, fellow co-founder of JamiQ, told ZDNet Asia that the company is looking to bring its monitoring tool to other telcos in countries such as Australia and India.

He also revealed that the partnership with SingTel is "exclusive" in the country and will run for a period of time, although he declined to elaborate.

Focusing on Asia
The company's full-fledged social media monitoring tool comes equipped with features such as "media segmentation, sentiment detection and influence indicators", and has been available on its Web site since 2008, Koe pointed out.

The tool employs a use-base pricing model, where customers pay according to the number of categories they want to monitor, and complements this revenue stream by charging for consultancy services upon request, he added.

The proprietary search algorithm that JamiQ developed is designed for the Asia-Pacific region and able to pick up on languages such as Korean, Chinese and Japanese as well as colloquial expressions such as Singlish, added JamiQ CTO Michael Lim.

When asked if the company was worried about competition from traditional business intelligence (BI) companies such as SAS, which had earlier announced intentions to bring to market its social media analytics tool, Koe said that these companies are "two years too late".

Explaining the difference between its offering and those of SAS', he said that BI analyzes "internal data" whereas JamiQ and Reputation Watch look at data posted "externally" on social-networking sites.

Our capability will leave us well-positioned to capture our target audience of companies looking to track chatter of their brands in this region, Koe noted.

Editorial standards