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This week in tech: March 28, 2015
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In partnership with Cisco, acclaimed creative personalities Shekhar Kapur and AR Rahman today launched a new social networking platform called Qyuki. First announced in February this year, the social networking concept has finally come to fruition and aims to provide a collaborative platform that will enable a dynamic creative community.
In a landscape already populated with niche as well as general-interest social networks, Qyuki aims to differentiate itself as a social media community built around the desire to create - “a community for the right-brains of india to collaborate,” as Mr. Shekhar Kapur puts it in a nine-city Telepresence Interconnect organised by Cisco today. The website which is presently live, seems at first glance, to be an interesting mashup between Pinterest and Deviantart but with an India focus.
The founders plan to not just concentrate on urban India, but also reach the so far untapped creative talents from villages and grassroots India. The rationale behind this move is the tremendous proliferation and growing number of internet connections in india. They’ve pegged this at around 61 million active users. Since a large section of these users come online via mobile devices, Qyuki has planned a mobile strategy which includes apps on various platforms and the soon to be launched mobile website – m.qyuki.com. The Android app was demoed at the launch and would shortly be live on the Play Store.
Qyuki CEO, Poonacha Machaiah, called the platform a marriage of creativity and technology. It aims to give consumers a complete creative journey based on the 4Cs: Community, Content, Collaboration, Celebration. A vision of how this will work is of a musician who releases a song on the platform, and a digital artist creates the album art, while a lyricist works on the next track and a short film maker offers to make the video.
The network will also feature stalwarts from various fields (called Experts) as members who will share some of their work (exclusive content) as well as mentor and inspire amateurs who join the social network. The website already features some of the works of Kapur and Rahman such as animated short films and music from Rahman’s music conservatory project Melange.
Members will have a profile page where they get a chance to showcase their work. Content on the website can belong to mediums such as music, video, pictures, and text and can be classified into categories such as animation, short films, scripts, performance arts such as standup comedy etc. All content is owned by the creators. Further down the line Qyuki plans to have a marketplace which will allow content creators to monetize their works. Mr. Machaiah hinted at a shared revenue model which will be disclosed once the marketplace is functional.
The website has a three level curation process which involves the community at large and two levels grant badges such as the Expert badge and the Qyuki badge. There is also the mood tag which aims to go beyond the simple like or 1 models and tags content based on the moods such as hope, love, sorrow etc. This collectively gets displayed in the form of an EmoGraf below the content.
The company eventually plans to roll out advertising once the platform gains significant traction. There is also a plan for Brand Engagement by creating sponsored “inspirations” or creative triggers. Eg. “Take your Galaxy S III camera and shoot sceneries”. The third route is the subscription model where enterprises have access to Qyuki for a specific amount. Apart from these Machaiah also hinted more than once that Qyuki could one day be the Getty Images for India. There’s also the marketplace plan.
What’s in it for Cisco?
The entire Qyuki platform is built on Cisco’s cloud infrastructure. It’s a way for Cisco to showcase their infrastructure especially the cloud video delivery mechanisms. “We have invested in Qyuki, to co-create a technology platform that enables conceptualization of creative content, contextualising it and delivering it through mobile devices and cloud,” said Hilton Romanski, Vice President, Head of Corporate Business Development, Cisco.
Why the name?
Shekhar Kapur said the inspiration came from the Cue Key in music and also from the fact that when he tweeted the term it became the trending topic in India within a matter of hours. In effect the name, he believes, was crowdsourced. But as Siddhartha Basu (who was hosting the Telepresence conference) pointed out, it can mean a number of things, for instance “Kyu ki” in Hindi means “because”.