Insights from India: Punflay Talks About International App Development

by Moms With Apps on July 31, 2011

This week we are featuring an article written by Thara Visvanathan from the team at Punflay. Thara describes the work environment of her U.S. | India based company, while providing insight on India’s rapid rate of technology adoption. The lack of landlines isn’t holding anyone back, because these kids – and their energetic ideas – are keen on mobile. 

Who we are

Punflay is a division of Emantras, an e-learning company that develops training and educational solutions for academic, publishing, and enterprise clients. “Taking education to everybody, everywhere” has been the motivational mantra of Sesh Kumar, founder and CEO of Emantras, who established the company in Chennai, India at a time when the country was just beginning to see a period of rapid growth. The company is now headquartered in sunny San Francisco Bay Area, with conceptualization and development teams working out of India.

Punflay’s app development team is made up of creative writers, educational consultants, developers, graphic artists, and marketing professionals. We work under the direction of our CEO, Sesh Kumar, who works out of his office in the US.

What does it take to work as a team from India?

Although it could be a challenge to work across multiple time zones, we have been successful in putting appropriate communication processes in place to ensure that we stay on track throughout the development process. Sesh guides us from conceptualization to product launch and directs us in a way that we can best translate our ideas into award-winning apps. He is a very accessible and approachable leader who encourages out-of-the box ideas and provides feedback at the right time.  We have regular team meetings to discuss and address any issues that need immediate attention. While he is always available to guide the team, he encourages independent work and gives us ample room to grow and learn.  Sesh also visits India regularly, during which time we catch up on current and future apps and other areas that need closer attention. We believe that he brings out the best in all of us.

Indians’ Love for Technology

Speaking of novel ideas and approaches, it is no surprise that our organization has embraced new technology. This goes along with the name India has earned in the software industry. Indian youth are open to adopting new technology, as illustrated by the widespread presence of mobile phones. Mobile phones have penetrated not only major cities, but also several remote areas.  There used to be a time when landlines were so hard to get that it was seen as a luxury. Landlines slowly gave way to mobile phones, and now these devices are seen on everyone’s ears not only to communicate, but also for services like checking your bank account or ordering movie tickets. The best part about using mobile phones is that you don’t need to commit to one of those really long contracts that forbid you to change phone carriers! For someone who recently moved from the US to India, I was more than pleased.

Getting a prepaid SIM card for your phone couldn’t be easier. All you need to do is to drop by any of those small stores (pharmacies, convenience stores, or mobile phone stores), show proof of identity and address, a passport size photo, and you are good to go. Your new number takes only about a day to get activated. Voila! You just got yourself a prepaid cellular connection. This is just one instance of how accessible technology has become for Indians.

Students and young professionals consistently upgrade their phones to get devices that offer more bang for the buck. This love and need to embrace any new tech toy is reflected amply in the young teams at Punflay. Everyone is eager to adapt and learn to use new technology, and this openness is probably one of the reasons the software industry is quick to implement new product ideas. This can-do-it attitude and awareness of India as a rising star contributes largely to the success of teams such as ours at Punflay.

Making It Happen

Consider the example of our top-grossing and highly recognized app, Frog Dissection. Frog Dissection is an educational iPad app and is the winner of PeTA’s Mark Twain Ethical Science award. This middle-school app walks you through a virtual frog dissection procedure, one that is exactly like what students would encounter in a wet lab. This is one of Punflay’s earliest apps and illustrates the team’s conceptualization and development of a very unique app based on extensive research, in-house subject matter experts, and an outstanding graphics team. The team members were open and very eager to work with new technology.  If past success is a good measure of what one can expect from Punflay in the future, there are sure to be many star apps from the team that will make it big.

Look out for three Punflay titles being featured this week for App Friday, August 5th!

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