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Only 10 percent of India’s population can write or read English. In this circumstance, DataMail creates big opportunity for marketers to reach their dealerships and consumers in remote and rural areas in regional languages. Ajay Data, Founder & CEO, Data Xgen Technologies speaks to Mohd Mustaquim on the objective, challenges and future roadmap for his path-breaking services
How is DataMail different from Gmail, Yahoo mail or others?
DataMail is made in India – World’s first IDN (internationalised domain name) compliant free email address available in 16 languages with 22 scripts. That means you can have a working mail box in your own linguistic mail ID. Peer companies like Gmail or Yahoo mail fully support in sending and receiving linguistic emails. It has also broken the storage barrier.
What was the objective behind launching email addresses and services in vernacular languages?
The vision behind launching email addresses in vernacular languages is to break the language barrier and also bridge the gap between English and non English writing and reading population. There is a large volume of people who are deprived of internet services. In India, ratio of English speakers is less. As per Ministry of Electronics and IT, only 10.35 percent of India’s population can read and write English. Same is the scenario worldwide. DataMail digitally empowers this section of society and gets them connected to the Internet world.
In how many languages are you providing email services and what are those languages?
DataMail is available in following 22 languages, namely, English, Hindi, Gujarati, Tamil, Marathi, Punjabi, Telugu, Urdu, Bengali, Dogri, Nepali, Konkani, Sinhala, Thai, Korean, Japanese, Bodo, Kazakh, Russian, Chinese, Arabic and Spanish.
How many users, currently, use DataMail?
There are lakhs of users on DataMail worldwide and the count is increasing everyday.
India is a country where predominantly vernacular languages are spoken. Except Hindi heartland, each state has its own language, how does DataMail empower the rural people across the country in IT and communications?
According to Census of India, the total number of mother tongues spoken in India is 1652. However, only around 150 languages have a sizeable speaking population. And as I said above only 10.35 percent of India’s population can read or write English. Government of India has launched .भारत services for citizens of India. And to make Digital India mission successful in true sense we have launched DataMail services so that every citizen can connect (by getting alerts and information) with all the government schemes and policies and take active participate in them.
Digital literacy is still a big challenge in rural India, how do you tackle this?
With availability of smart phones at reasonable price, people are getting more tech-savvy. They still store their contacts in phone in their local language as mobile companies are providing linguistic key pads in phones. Literacy is getting better due to technology enablement and remote delivery possibilities. Data Radio from DataMail also gets used by people to spread knowledge and awareness.
The challenge is that social media, e-commerce sites and other platforms don’t accept IDN email ID’s. This deprives him of getting connected to internet world. The government should take appropriate action in getting this implemented with various stakeholders and then you see the huge transformation in Digital India drive.
Over the years, Gmail has dominance in providing mailing services in India, how do you see this competition?
Email is almost 45 years old. Gmail currently is popular in mailing services but now it’s time for more secured, easy to use, Make in India and Made in India email service. People want to move out of traditional email to some different email services which can empower them more and provides better capabilities. We have reimagined email and redesigned it for people. DataMail has got all such unique features which makes it different from other traditional email solution.
DataMail service has email address internationalisation (EAI) and IDN compatible mail box, multiple email addresses in one box. It retrieves email even after deleted from Trash. It has features like track-able personalised bulk mailing, broadcast email, country specific access control, delivery and read receipt notifications on mobile, dual authentication and many more.
Email has been a service traditionally in English language, what challenges do you face while bringing it in vernacular languages?
It has been quite challenging dealing with millions of Chars and Variants, 63 characters to 1.3 lakh code points. All email protocols SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol), IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol), Post Office Protocol (POP) had to be modified for backward compatibility. iOS mail client doesn’t support EAI configuration. Social Media and e-commerce sites doesn’t accept IDN email ID’s and we need people to use linguistic email and also promote it as good as there English email addresses.
How do you reach new users in rural India and what feedback do you get from them?
We try various methods to reach out new users pan India such as social media platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter; Data Radio; promoting to students, colleges and universities; news, blogs and articles and many other ways.
They are very much delighted to see this kind of service. They feel comfortable in communicating in their preferred language. They demand mail ID’s to be provided in more languages which are not available as of now.
What are the plans of DataMail in the future?
To bring another billion people get connected with Internet and have email addresses as their communicable identity.