Sunday, April 28, 2013

Global Worker Safety Certification - A Practical Solution for Garments Industry In Bangladesh

Fire in Tajrin Garments in Savar, Bangladesh kills 120 garments workers. This is just government estimation, which is always less than the amount mentioned. Then Rana Plaza collapse in Savar shook the nation. See the footage from BBC:



These 2 incidents are not the only incident that happened in the Garments Industry of Bangladesh. There has been many deaths in the garments industry of Bangladesh in previous years. And that's why we need to seek a sustainable solution.

Global Worker Safety Certification


ISO Certification is provided based on Products and Service Quality. There is also ISO 14000 certification for Environmental Compliance. But, after reading the list of ISO Standards in Wikipedia, I did not find anything that relates to Worker Safety.

If not ISO, we really need some sort of Worker Safety Compliance Authority for this. Those, who will certify a company based on worker safety on issues like:

  • Workplace Safety
    • Building
    • Fire
    • Equipment Handling
  • Worker Health Safety
  • Worker Food Safety
  • Worker Safety related to Social Issues

To make it really work for the local companies that does not have enough fund for safety measures, the global authorities can localize the service by setting up offices in the country.

Large Brands that buy services from the Bangladeshi Garments Industry, should not deal with any company that does not have the Worker Safety Certification. If a company want to outsource the work, they should clearly mention it and the outsourced company should also have this certification.


Who should pay for this?


As far as I know, large brands like H&M, GAP, Old Navy, Wall Mart, JC Penny outsource their need for garments to Bangladesh to reduce cost for labor. They might not be interested to pay for extrasafety and increase their costs.

The responsibility of the worker safety guarantee should not be given to the companies. It'll not create much credibility. I've talked with the head of one of the largest garments companies in Bangladesh. He is the relative of the owner and he frankly admitted that, he knows nothing about compliance. Just because a large amount of money is spent for compliance, garments owners employ a trusted person in this position to avoid wastage of funds. And that's why relatives are used in this position, who does not have any professional skill on maintaining worker safety.

The large garments brands may not be happy with the guarantee offered by the government. Since, the government would always favor the local industry (if not, they should). What they can do is subsidize or sponsor the certification, so that small and medium-sized companies can afford it.

So, it should be the garments companies who should pay for this certification. And they will, once all the large brands starts to stop dealing with companies that do not have this certification.

How will this benefit all?


It'll undoubtedly help people and companies involved in this industry both in Bangladesh and other countries. Here are some:

  • It'll help large garment brands to get rid of the liability to ensure worker safety. Also relieve them from some costs they have to maintain. If anything goes wrong, they can point the finger to the certifying authority,
  • Many Bangladeshi garments companies do not use professional safety consultants. If these certifying authorities bring in professional people, then the whole safety compliance thing will be more professional at global scale,
  • It'll help to grow a new service industry, i.e. "Professional Worker Safety Compliance Auditors" in low wage countries like Bangladesh.
Disclaimer: This is just an idea put forward. I am not an expert at Worker Safety nor do I know if any such certification already exists. Please comment below for me as well as readers if you have any knowledge on this issue. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Getting Whole Population into Freelancing & Outsourcing Industry Can Make Bangladesh a Medium Earning Country

The recent outrage in freelancing and outsourcing industry has turned into a revolution. It seems like it is not taking a step back. The revolution that is going on within the young community for IT freelancing and outsourcing, shows us new prospects to grow the economy of Bangladesh. In recent years, freelancing alone brought $20 million into Bangladesh and the amount is growing day by day.

Silent Revolution in Bangladesh


It might make you wonder, how did this happen? It was a revolution that was not instigated by the government for long years. Rather, it happened silently. But, due to recent government’s pledge to put “e” to all activities, things have been fastened in a large scale.

Why did this happen? If we observe the situation in Khulna, then you’ll see that many industries closed down, due to corruption and inability to sustain. The older generation in Khulna is not that well off due to this fact. The younger generation is more educated by the mass, as the older generation envisioned that education will be their only asset in future. The surrounding industry failed to employ them properly. But, they did not sit idle. They had to come up with something that would not make them leave Khulna. So, steadily the revolution unveiled.

But, there are still many problems that haunt Bangladeshi freelancers and outsourcing partners. If they are provided the opportunity, the freelancing and outsourcing revolution will take several steps ahead. But, to provide this opportunity, government has always been very conservative. Just take an example of SEA-ME-WE fiber optic cable connection. It was denied twice by late governments on the fear of national data privacy. But, it was realized that, it was really a very conservative decision we ever made. Currently, the internet infrastructure is stronger than before. But, ability to access premium online service still has some way to go. And this is actually not that long.

Prospects


Outsourcing is a $3.4 Trillion industry and we are not even taking even 1% of it. Our neighbor India is taking major share of these outsourcing opportunities. The situation we have here in Bangladesh was created 10 years ago in India. So, it is obvious that we still are a decade backward, in terms of India. But, that does not mean we have to stay a decade back. We have the know-how and the skilled forces that can take us a generation ahead, if we can give them the opportunity. Otherwise, with countries like Vietnam and Philippines that are directly competing with us, will gain better momentum than us. But, imagine if we could take just 1%, it could be way more than what we earn through Garments Industry and remittance from non-resident citizens.


Bringing Women in


If you look at our societal norm, you’ll find that we have not yet grown into a liberal society, even after many changes. The average poor and middle class society aka the major portion of our population is still very conservative. We still have gender-based separate sitting arrangement in bus. Most women in poor societies and some women in middle class societies are still not allowed to roam freely in society. Women are the first gender that gets the priority for education dropout. Those who make it, also dropout from career, when they have their first, if not, second child. No one can say that, this change in career as good or bad. Because, raring child and taking care of the family by women has been a century (if not millennia)  long tradition. Even in advanced countries, women cannot avoid this phenomenon. So, ultimate center of concentration of a woman becomes her home.

But, they are the weaker half (48%) of our population. I mean, weaker by the number not by merit or skill. If you can not engage this portion of the population in earning, then there is no way a nation can grow. But, accepting our norm of the society, how can we generate jobs for them without making them leave home? I think you all know the answer.

Bringing Senior Citizens in


Again another portion is the senior citizens who become dependent on the earning member in the next generation. Because, they are not suitable to do any physical work. So, they jump out of the earning member population and usually never come back. But, how can we make them earning member without having to make them do physical work? I think you all know the answer.

Bringing the Handicapped in


Sometimes we think that the handicapped are the weakest portion of the population. But, we should remember that they are not 100% handicapped. I have seen many handicapped people showcasing extreme knowledge, talent, and skills. But, they are not capable of doing regular jobs. Accepting their handicap situation, how can we bring them into the money earning demography? I think you all know the answer.

Bringing All of Them in



When we are talking about Freelancing and Outsourcing, we are mostly talking about the youths. Yes, they are our future. But, think how far we can go with freelancing and outsourcing, if we can involve all the unemployed population in Bangladesh. i.e. 
  1. The Unemployed Youths 
  2. Women (Homebound, Conservative, Mothers, etc)
  3. Senior Citizens and 
  4. Handicapped people.

The Dream to be a Medium Earning Country


So, to live the dream as a medium earning country, Bangladesh government should try it’s best to make this industry grow as fast as it can. One of the major barriers to the Freelancing and Outsourcing industry is the online and international payment system. Currently, Payza has been introduced, but Paypal and other sorts of online and international payments are still not possible. Bangladesh Bank here has been playing a conservative role for long time. But, things are progressing and we might see them available in near future. Yes, there are defaulters, corrupter  and money launderers. But, for these filthy people, the vast opportunity for the whole population cannot wait.

The slogan for Digital World 2012 was “Knowledge to Prosperity”. In past year, Dolancer created some Zombies in Bangladesh. But, as they are now gone, people realize that IT Freelancing and Outsourcing can never bring prosperity without knowledge. So, I do believe that this slogan is also contemporary. The event has promoted the IT Freelancing and Outsourcing for mostly the youths. But, there are many prospects when we look beyond.

About the Blogger: Asif Anwar

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Why Most Accidents Happen in Bangladeshi Highways

I always liked a thing about Bangladeshi highways from childhood. i.e. trees on both side of the roads. Even in many advanced countries, you don't get to see so dense trees on plain highways. For some reason, the highways are very curvy in Bangladesh and the trees in the inner curves (left side of the pic below) of the road is the cause of major accidents. Also some highlands can block the visibility on roads.

Why Most Accidents Happen in Bangladeshi Highways, Trees, Highlands, Blocking the visibility of the vehicle coming from the other end


Disclaimer: I am not suggesting to cut down all the trees and dig off small highlands from the highways. Just chop off the trees and small highlands in the inner curve to get give more visibility on the roads. You can always have trees and highlands at the outer curve. E.g. The right side of the road in the above pic is the outer curve and left side of the road is inner curve.

About the Blogger: Asif Anwar

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Should A Corrupter be Punished or Discouraged through Social Boycott?

কোর্ট আপনাকে “দুর্নীতিবাজ” বলে ঘোষনা করেছে। সরকার আপনার সমস্ত সম্পত্তি (১০০%) কেড়ে নিয়েছে। ২ বছর এই সম্পত্তি সরকারের হাতে থাকবে। আপনার চাকরি হাতছাড়া হয়ে গেছে। সরকার আপনার চাকরি ও ব্যবসা করার অধিকার কেড়ে নিয়েছে।আপনার সন্তানরা ভবিষ্যত গড়ার প্রচেষ্ঠায়, পদে পদে সমস্যার সম্মুখিন হচ্ছে।এর কারনে বাধ্য হয়ে তারা আপনাকে “ত্যাজ্য পিতা” ঘোষণা করেছে। আপনার স্ত্রী ৪০% সম্পত্তি ফিরে পেতে পারে যদি সে আপনাকে তালাক দেয়। আপনার স্ত্রী আরো ২০% পারেন যদি আপনার সন্তানরা আগেই আপনাকে “ত্যাজ্য পিতা” ঘোষণা করে থাকে, তাদের ভবিষ্যতের খাতিরে। আবার, আপনার পরিবার ১০০% ফেরত পেতে পারে, যদি আপনি সম্পত্তি আটকের এই ২ বছরের ভেতরে মারা যান, তা যেকোনো ভাবেই হোক। আপনি কি করবেন?
Corruption is motivated from the aspirations for “better life”. Remove the “better” from “life” or both, you would never be motivated.
- Asif Anwar
Bangladesh is currently in a massive drive to wipe out corruption. The progress of this drive is visible socially as well as in the Transparency International Corruption Report. Bangladesh fell from the first position to the seventh in recent report. But, the government is still not satisfied with it, since the score that lists Bangladesh as the seventh country is still high.
I also believe that corruption should be fought at an ad hock basis. Corruption can’t totally be wiped out with hard drive or judiciary punishment, like: jail, fines or other penalties. Rather I think it should be discouraged. Discouragement does have more sustainable effect than handling situation after it has occurred. Prevention is always preferable than treatment. Law plays a great role in encouraging people to avoid undesired behavior.
First, we have to understand what are the motivations that encourage a person to go after or support corruption. As far as I can comprehend, the motivations for corruptions are:
  • Better Economic Status
  • Better Social Status
  • Better Future for Children
  • Better Conjugal Life
  • Better Future for Self
To eradicate corruption, we can target these motivational factors one by one. The government can also impose hard laws that keep a corrupter away from these motivational factors. Often you never need to put the corrupter in jail. Here are my suggestions on how it will work:
Better Economic Status
There are laws that protect Bankrupts, but make them ineligible to claim their property. After declaration from the court, a bankrupt person’s property is snatched and distributed equally to the creditors. That way the country relieves him from liability. Well, for a convicted corrupter, should we do that? Like “Bankrupt”, should we introduce another boycott status named, “Corrupter”?
I would say, yes. Once convicted snatch all his property, i.e. 100%. Handover the total amount to the government and have it locked for 2 years. However, the intensity of corruption should be defined first for such punishment. I’d like to keep that responsibility to the law makers.
In the meantime, the government should collect information about the outstanding liabilities of the Corrupter and pacify them after the property holding period. Once the liabilities are dealt, the fund should directly go to the Relief Fund of the Government after 2 years.
Even after this harsh act, for his livelihood, there are possibilities that the corrupter might start his career once again. But, there should be strong laws to force registered businesses to avoid these corrupters. There should be laws in the Corporate Registration Level, where each corporate entity oaths not to employ any corrupter. In case any company attempts or really employs a corrupter, the company should suffer a lot. That way, the corrupter will have no economic value, let alone status. All I am saying create another boycott status called “Corrupter”, which is more painful than any other boycott statuses.
Better Social Status
Once convicted, the government should force his employer to let him go. Once his job gone and working opportunity gone he has no other way but to rely on others for subsistence. Again, he can try to do business and be the owner of what he does. But, who would want to do business with him? Even if he wants to, should the government allow him to register any business or go into any contract with anyone? An insane person is not eligible for signing any contract. Can’t a corrupter be given the same status? At least for the sake of the innocent citizens.
With all gone, I don’t think the family would want to bear this worthless burden. And how much social status can you expect from him?
Better Future for Children
I am not in the favor of ensuring better future for any children of a corrupter, unless they morally remove their support from their corrupted parent. As a child of an honest government officer and freedom fighter, I could not get any benefit from the government. Actually, never needed the benefit. But, it was always a pain in the eye to see the children of a corrupter boasting their status while the others like us are compromising on every walk of life.
The government should be strict in punishing any school, college, and university if they have any corrupter’s children enrolled. That way, any educational institutes who are seeking to keep the reputation high, will try to avoid such problems. For overseas education, the child should not be provided with NOC (No Objection Certificate) from the government. Assuming they somehow manage the certificate, in such case, each embassy in Bangladesh should be provided with a list of children of the corrupters.
But, any children should not suffer for the evil deed of their corrupted parent. There should be some escape mechanism that clearly and formally states that the children don’t support their parent’s corruption activities. And this can be done by declaring the corrupted father as “Abandoned Father”. That way the children will lose the claim of their father’s properties. , but strongly move their support from their parent.
By doing so, the children can get rid of the problems they would face for building their future. But, their anger for their parents should be intensified by forcing them to submit “Abandoned Father” Declaration papers in every walks of life, like – getting enrolled into any educational institutes, acquiring NOC, collecting Visas, etc. They should be continuously reminded that their parent is responsible for their sufferings.
Better Conjugal Life
Now, the total property is locked by the government. However, there should be some way to return some portion of the property, but not without a cost. And the cost is the conjugal life of the corrupter. If the wife of the corrupter divorces her husband, the government should be generous enough to return 40% of the property for her subsistence. This will motivate the corrupter as well as his wife to go for divorce. And if the children have already declared “Abandoned Father”, then the government should release another 20% of the property for the sake of the future of the children.
So, for the 60% share of the property, the total family will abandon the Corrupter. And the corrupted person will be glad to accept it for the greed of 60% of the property. But, this 60% should not be relieved from any liabilities. But, the amount should be claimed from the family of the corrupter. In that case, the rest 40% should have first priority in pacifying outstanding liability.
Better Future for Self
Can we think of any other way to relieve this guy from this social, economic, conjugal, and life long anguish? Can we give back the 100% property? Yes, we can. Only if he dies within this property lock period of 2 years. Well, the death should not be defined by law. Any death will do, to get the whole property back. And the death should happen within these 2 years.
You have been given a new boycott status, called “The Corrupter” by court. Suddenly, your property went into the hands of the government and it will stay there for 2 years. Now look at these situations in the eye of the Corrupter:
  • Your wife can get 40% of it, if she divorces you
  • She can get additional 20% back, if your children declare you “Abandoned Father”
  • You can get 100% back if you die within these 2 years of property lock period and any sort of death can make that happen.
Now, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

About the Blogger: Asif Anwar

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Problems I faced as a Power Networker in Bangladesh for LinkedIn & Facebook


ইন্টানের্টকে বাংলাদেশের অনেক লোক আজো পর্নোগ্রাফির মাধ্যম হিসেবে গন্য করে। LinkedIn বা Facebook এর কার্যক্রমকে ধরা হয়, অলস লোকের কাজ। Power Networking-এর সুবিধাগুলোও এই Post-এ আলোচনা করা হয়েছে।

I have been under pressure from some of my known community that, I don't work and spend most of the time in Facebook and LinkedIn.
Well, there are some people that are like that and actually they are the ones I am having tough time to handle with. Because, people like to evaluate another by what they are. But, a knife's being good or bad varies upon the user.
This pressure is very eminent here is because; most people take internet as a media of pornography and ill entertainment. I even heard internet should be banned in dormitories of DU and BUET. Even the professors were encouraging this move. But, when the teachers started using the Internet, they just went silent. I wonder why they aren’t in the scene now protesting the use of internet in the universities :-)
I try to help almost everyone within my network. This makes about 2-3 mails to my network per week. Some of the colleagues of my wife thought that she was trying to apply for overseas jobs, since they know that LinkedIn is only meant for overseas jobs. This happens when people have very less knowledge about how powerful LinkedIn is.
Through this post, I would like to declare other powers of LinkedIn and Social Media Marketing (SMM):
  • The first thing LinkedIn and other Social Media sites (e.g. Orkut, Facebook) provide is your online existence, which is the first and the strongest thing for your online presence
  • You can use it as a marketing platform by networking with your target clients (I have introduced 4 clients to my previous company)
  • You can use it to create new business relationships and partners (I have introduced a partner for our client)
  • You can share experience and get solutions on critical issues sometimes for free from your network, while it could have been costly for you to get a single information (Got information on latest and global practices on pricing, which was not possible from Bangladesh or net searching. The information I got was from a professional.)
  • Alternatively, you can use the network in LinkedIn to promote your expertise. If your into service (not products), then the best way to market your service is through expertise promotion and LinkedIn allows you with a good way to do that
  • If you have a awareness campaign and you badly need global lobbying of high end professionals, then LinkedIn is the best solutions (I am lobbying with famous marketing professionals throughout the world, so that they can recognize the Bangladesh’s Internet Marketing Industry’s potentiality)
I request all the Bangladeshi people to come out of the conservative mentality and look at the current world in a positive way. Otherwise, we will always reject free submarine cable connection and pay a large amount when we think that we did a wrong thing.

About the Blogger: Asif Anwar

Friday, December 15, 2006

Limitations & Problems of E-Marketing in Bangladesh: How are we loosing business in the internet?

ইন্টানের্টকে আমরা এখনো প্রচার বা প্রসার মাধ্যম হিসেবে ব্যাপকভাবে ভাবতে শুরু করিনি। তাই আমরা প্রায়ই ব্যবসায়িক সুযোগ হারাচ্ছি । এই Blog-এ বাংলাদেশ কোন কোন ক্ষেত্রে সুযোগ হারাচ্ছে, তার আলোচনা রয়েছে।

The internet revolution is a recent phenomenon in Bangladesh. With the rise of this revolution, we are steadily getting used to the internet cultures. Almost every large scale companies, universities, news media, etc. have their respective sites. This revolution also stirred many Small & Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Bangladesh, especially those who are related to international business. Understanding the huge potentiality and having efficient workforce, the Bangladesh Government is now funding heavily on E-Governance to make lives easier for its Citizens.

Other than this, many E-Commerce sites are also fairly doing well in this heavily populated country, despite the scarcity of many E-Commerce technologies, low internet user ratio, and lack of E-Commerce facilities (like Credit Cards, E-currency Management System, and Security Systems). Software companies in Bangladesh are also adopting the internet challenge and manufacturing softwares that can maneuver the networking and internet technology.

Bangladesh is currently fully tuned with the Internet Revolution, if not it is steadily tuning its strings for the mainstream of E-revolution. But, in terms of E-Marketing, Bangladesh falls behind her neighbor India. Most of the companies, Government organizations, and private organizations in Bangladesh promote their site through traditional media. In most cases, they are not thinking about alternatives or is totally unaware what E-marketing can bring for them. Having very limited resources (not natural resources, I am talking about money), most of the time many of us think twice, if not thrice for making a change. And we eventually try a new strategy that is thriving and ignore the strategies that are rising. That makes us just another country in the crowd utilizing strategies that will become outdated sooner or later. One phenomenon supporting this statement, is the Tele-marketing. With the fall of call charge, this strategy is thriving in Bangladesh. But, in many advanced and developing countries, it has become outdated.

A Bitter Experience


A year back, I needed some information on Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) for the webpage of The Golden Fibre Trade Centre (GFTCL). As usual I have searched for it by name, but astonishingly – I could not find any page providing information about BJMC's website. Then I have searched for the term “BJMC Website”, in the hope that some site will use this term. I found that Google was Giggling at me; it showed many results for Bachelor of Journalism and Mass Communication (BJMC) – but not a single result on the Bangladeshi BJMC. When I started to search with all the terms “Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) website”, some promising results started to show. However, most of them mentioned that BJMC is either launching a website or have launched a website, but not a single reference to their site. After hard searching, I found the site (www.bjmc.gov.bd) at last in a news article in the web version of The Daily Star, a prominent English Daily in Bangladesh.

Most of the pages mentioned that, BJMC has built this site to promote Jute Products in the global market. If I can not find their site easily, then I doubt that the site will be of any use and its marketability remains out of question. As a Bangladeshi, I may eventually guess that it would be www.bjmc.org or www.bjmc.org.bd or www.bjmc.gov.bd. But how can a overseas buyer guess it. If the site does not have any marketability in the search engines (like – Google, Yahoo or MSN), then the creation of site is just a waste of money. Please pardon me, if I hurt its creators, but this is a fact that most of us would agree upon.

The Potentiality of E-Marketing


You may be the most efficient exporter of Jute & Jute Goods from Bangladesh. But, it's of no use when your target market don't know about you. Therefore, the need for marketing yourself is as valuable as your other business operations. If you are involved in international business, you have to choose the best media that can bring you international customers. Till now, E-Marketing has proven to be the best among the effective media for this purpose.

Traditionally, E-Marketing was limited to Email Marketing. But, this strategy has been termed as spamming, bulk mailing or mass-mailing, which is illegal and unethical in many countries. This strategy involves finding your customers and spamming their mail account. Recently, a new E-Marketing strategy has stirred the world. A strategy that brings your target audience to you. It's called Web Marketing and most of it is occupied by Search Engine Marketing (SEM). SEM involves Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Organic Listing in the Search Engines and Paid Advertisement or Paid Listing for important keywords. Science gives the tools or Input for it, Arts lie in its Processing phase, and the Output is Commerce. Therefore, this strategy is multi-disciplinary, which involves both Arts & Science to achieve commercial goals. And talking about it would take as same time as having your Bachelors Degree.

The future of E-marketing lies in the Mobile or Cellphone technology. However, some countries have already started SMS marketing. Since each SMS costs money, the marketing people are quite choosy about the recipients and undergoes extensive research. Google currently has integrated the cellphone technology feather in its hat, but everything is still in Beta stage. However, the future of E-marketing relies on the media that the people will be utilizing tomorrow.

Web Marketing Focus Areas


In recent times, the marketability of a website depends upon a lot of factors. But, the main objective of marketing a website is to bring more site visitors. The focus of bringing more visitors can be done through quantitative approach or qualitative approach. The more visitors you have, the stronger the marketability of a website again more quality visitors you have the more is your chance to convert these visitors into customers, i.e. your conversion rate will be high.

Visitors can come through several media, like:
  • Search Engines (Google, Yahoo, MSN)
  • Partner websites
  • Advertising from popular websites
  • Traditional media, and
  • Through word of mouth.

Business lost over the Search Engines


Search Engines play a great role in bringing site visitors. It alone can bring more visitors than other traditional media. To increase the marketability of your site, it needs to be properly optimized for the Search Engines. The process to do that is popularly called Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The astonishing fact is that, most websites of Bangladesh is not properly optimized for Search Engines. However, some sites follow keywords stuffing in Keywords & Description Meta Tags in the html codes of a webpage, that remains out of sight. But, Meta Tag Rewriting has become a museum item for Search Engine Optimization. To assess the potentiality of out-sourcing some SEO activities, I have contacted the most efficient web design & SEO firm in Bangladesh. But after a tele-conversation, I understood that they are still remaining in primitive stage of Search Engine Optimization. Because they were only talking about Meta Tags Rewriting and Search Engine Submissions. Moreover, they allured me for web design that they are pretty good at, but unfortunately I had no need for it.

Search Engine Submission is another fact that is misinterpreted now-a-days. It is all about getting your site listed in Google, Yahoo, MSN or other search engines. If your site is not listed in the major search engine, than your site will have no marketability at all from Search Engines. Some companies outside Bangladesh are promoting their services by saying that, they offer free Search Engine Submissions. That means, paid Search Engine Submissions are also available. I don't know if any company in Bangladesh is making money through search engine submissions. There is no need for any free service from third parties, when you can do it yourself very easily. Just submit your site-link or URL in pages that are already listed in the search engines. There are "Free for All (FFA) Pages" where you can submit your link instantly. But, make sure that the FFA page is also indexed in the search engines. Search for them by name and you will find a lot of them. Update: You can easily do it with XML sitemap now.

Both Google & Yahoo are constantly claiming to have the largest collection of 8 billion+ webpages (up to early 2006). If every website owners had to submit each site or page separately, then creating this amount of database could take more than a decade. To increase the database or depository of the search engines, now they follow The Tail Hunting Method, where the Search Engine Robots (webpage hunting system working for search engines) collect new webpages when it finds new link in already indexed pages. So, if your site is listed in the FFA page during the next scroll of the Search Engine Robots to the FFA page, then your site will be indexed automatically. After the inclusion of your site, the Search Engine Robots will periodically find all your pages in your site. So there is no need for paying someone for indexing your site in the Search Engines. However, when you make a site after spending a lot of money in web design, photo-sessions, template design or purchase, etc. you might as well think that Search Engine Submission is worth a lot of money. Therefore, anyone can take away some easy money from you. I hope this is not practiced in Bangladesh. Another way to get your site indexed is pinging your blog. Put your link in any one of your blogs and ping it through respective search engines. After pinging, your blog will be updated in the Search Engine depository and next time the Search Engine Robots go fishing, they'll catch your fresh site from your blog pond.

Search Engines have changed their Algorithm (calculation parameters for importance of a webpage) through ages to provide better searching experience. In primitive stage (1995) Google used to retrieve links in the Search Engine Result Pages (SERP) by looking into the Meta Tags containing description, keyword, title of the page, author, etc. When the spammers started to stuff their Meta Tags with keywords and manipulate Google results, the big search engine changed their strategy to go beyond the Meta Tags. They have concentrated on the body contents as well. Gradually, they invented several algorithms that can calculate how frequently the keywords are placed in the body contents, where the keywords are placed in the body, proximity of the keywords in the title & boy text, etc. This time the spammers found new ground for spamming. They started to stuff keywords in the body text & title of the page as well. Therefore, to assess which page is important, Google used reference from other indexed pages. The more a page is being referred by other pages through raw html link, the more it is important in the eye of Google. Through this algorithm, Google invented the Pagerank™ System. The more the referred link, the more the Pagerank of a page. Now the Pagerank method is thriving with more & more updates every 3-4 months. In most cases, it was observed that, most pages were randomly referred from unrelated pages. Therefore, Google updated its Pagerank system to Relative Pagerank system, where only the reference aka links from relative pages are granted and links from unrelated page are not included in the Google Algorithm. This way, to avoid Search Engine Spamming (popularly called Black Hat Technique) Google has made way for the White Hatters, who work hard to promote their site.

The reason we are loosing business, because we are not updated about these Search Engines changes. To stay top in this field, you must have clear understanding about the Search Engines, its algorithms, its functions, its searching criteria, etc. But, most of the Bangladeshi firms concentrate on sophisticated web-design through frames, java scripts, flash etc. which are quite harmful for the marketability of your website. Since, the Search Engine Marketing is a rising phenomenon (not thriving) in the west, most of the Bangladeshi firms don't even know what it is or what it will do for them. White Hat Technique involves large amount of copywriting, blogging, article writing, etc. For such tasks, a large amount of English literate and publication background people are required. Bangladesh falls behind her neighbor India in this respect. Moreover, low English literacy among the citizens of Bangladesh was chosen to be the strongest obstacle for Bangladesh to become a IT outsourcing offshore country. The audio-visual media for marketing in Bangladesh has developed quite a lot due to its demand to the local people. But, Search Engine Marketing has not found recognition, let alone being popular in Bangladesh. The extant of Search Engine Marketing is limited to Meta Tag Rewriting, which is a complementary service provided by the web designers. As the web designing industry thrives with immense development, I hope Search Engine Marketing will also get recognition. But, that will not happen in next 5-8 years.

Business Lost in Partner Websites


In most cases, I found that the Bangladeshi websites usually forget to identify their partners. Even if they do, the usually don't provide their partners with raw HTML link. Links from Partner Websites are valuable for increasing your web marketability. The more links or partners you have, the more your marketability. It is same as having many friends, which means you are more popular than a person having only 2 or 3 friends. Moreover, if your partner gather links, their site will get high page rank. Therefore, with your partners, you will also grow, because getting links from high Pagerank websites makes your Pagerank to rise as well.
I have seen the sense of partnership is quite strong in Chinese websites. They work together to build their unity stronger. That's why most of the Chinese sites are very tough to beat in the race of getting top results in the Search Engines. This sense is also growing among the Indians. Because, they have realized the power of unity. But, it will take time for the Bangladeshi website owners to realize this.

Business Lost in Website Advertisement


Few years back, when you searched for anything with the keywords Importer or Exporter, the advertisement of Alibaba.com used show up quite often. Still today for some keywords, Alibaba advertisements are also seen quite frequently. Alibaba has been funding huge amount of money on Google advertisement. But, it may seem like a Chinese company giving away money to a American company and a great loss in the national interest of China. But, was it true? Alibaba didn't loose any money, rather they are now a great threat to Google and earning more money than any other Asian & European sites.

The reason Alibaba got to this position, was its future vision and wise advertising. In most cases, our limitation of money distracts us in making the decision for website advertising. Moreover, the decision for advertisement is done by the management that are not professional or experts in choosing the right advertisement media or option. In the west, consulting for advertisement to aid the management to take major promotional drive is a handsome service industry.

The web advertisement does not mean just advertising in Google or other search engines. The advertisement funding can also made to many popular or potential sites. But, the success of advertisement relies on choosing the right media in the right time and eventually choosing the media that involves your target audience. In that sense, it is unwise to advertise for shaving razor in a cook show or to advertise for diamond jewelry in a sports show. Therefore, the least popular website that attracts most of your target audience may be quite valuable for you, since it will give you higher conversion rate than any heavily popular sites that brings miscellaneous audiences.

In Bangladesh, most corporate or large companies don't have any Promotion Officer nor employ any promotion consultant to strategically aid the management. As the potential of web marketing still have not been recognized, the Bangladeshi firms will need more time to develop themselves.

Business Lost in Traditional Media

Traditional media not necessarily mean the popular audio-visual and billboard media. It can be any media that we have been traditionally using to promote anything. For instance, company transportation vehicles can play a great role to promote your company as well as your products and services as a moving billboard. Because they ply through the roads, probably through the population of your niche or target market. It may not be that good media for advertisement, but at least it can tell your target market that you exist. Websites are the reference for further information about you as well as your products or services. But, in most cases I found that many Bangladeshi companies don't highlight their site in the traditional media like: covered van/truck, on-location billboards, promotional souvenir items, etc. In most cases, in these traditional media, the website is the least highlighted component. This is also true for the audio-visual and billboard media.

Often great events can be utilized for promoting website. In a recent program in ATN Bangla (Bangla TV Channel), ATN Taroka (ATN Star) has promoted www.bangladeshinfo.com site to allure its audience to participate in many contests. Again, to trap the attention of Non-resident Bangladeshis and make them participate in voting for Closeup1 (Bangladeshi Idol), the organizers are referring the site www.closeup1.com. This is a good step for Bangladesh. If this trend continues, then we may find a new trend where every TV shows and even commercial are referring their respective sites.

But, this is a flourishing phenomenon in India. Now a days, you can find a lot of ads like: www.yahoo.co.in, www.msn.com, www.shaadi.com, www.rediffmail.com, etc. But, these are web based services or portal. Many companies products and services other than web based services, are also referring their site quite often in their TV Commercials. But, I believe that, the situation will change rapidly here in Bangladesh.

Business Lost in Word of Mouth

Word of mouth is the best way to become popular. This very ancient method still work fine today. Those who have no ides about the phrase "Word of mouth", it is a process by which words are spread from mouth to mouth. It can be promotion, statement of facts, opinion, sharing of perceptions, and also sharing of scandals. When talking about scandals, I heard a story that a blogger deliberately got sued for his blog. First he had only 1-2 readers per day for his blog. But after getting sued, he had 100-200 readers per day. That's another strategy gladly adopted by film celebrities to get popular. But, it is not expected as well as accepted. Now, a lot of media are influencing our word of mouth technique. Among them are: Newspapers, Magazines, TV, Radios, Internet, etc. that can easily spread "Talk of the Town". Word of mouth can be influenced but it is a natural process of using human as media for promotion.

One great way to spread the word is by Multi-Level Marketing (MLM). But now a days, MLM has become so artificial and vague that it has lost people's trust. But one method still has remained popular for spreading the word for promotion, i.e. the Affiliates Program, which involves non-employee promoting partner for your company working only for sales commission. For internet marketing, this is quite popular in West as well as East. However, this method is employed for local distribution in Bangladesh. I am not concerned if any company employs Affiliates Program for its Internet Marketing.

About the Blogger: Asif Anwar

Monday, October 03, 2005

Urban Traffic Control with GPS Technology: A Fore-vision of Dhaka City

Global Positioning System (GPS) প্রযুক্তি ব্যবহার করে কি উপর থেকে ঢাকা শহরের traffic দেখা যাবে? এর উপর ভিত্তি করে ঢাকা শহরের traffic-এর উপর live commentary সহ কোন FM Radio channel চালু করা যায় কি? বাংলাদেশের জন্য এই প্রযুক্তি কিনতে বা ভাড়া নিতে কত খরচ পড়বে? কোন effective algorithm দ্বারা green time হিসেব করে traffic signaling system-কে আরো বুদ্ধিমান বানানো যায় কি? কোন plug-in, যেমন - Vehicle Identification Module (VIM) ব্যবহার করে এই প্রযুক্তি থেকে বিভিন্ন সুবিধা আদায় করা যায় কি? এই Blog-এ এসব প্রশ্নের কোন উত্তর নেই, বরং আরো তথ্যের সাথে এই প্রশ্নগুলো উত্থাপন করা হয়েছে.

The Global Positioning System: What Can it Do?


I am not an expert about the Global Positioning System (GPS) technology or know to what extent it can help us. But I am sure; it has many promising features that should be utilized to the fullest extant. Therefore, all I have is a lot of questions regarding my ideas, with answers to be sought from anyone who has some. So if any one has any information about this topic, please feel free to share it with me.

We saw what the Global Positioning System (GPS) technology did to Iraq. Pinpointing each object from the satellite and crushing it by bombing. It is undoubtedly a very powerful tool. But, a powerful element like fire can kill people; again it can make our livelihood. Can the same technology be utilized to control traffic in Dhaka city? Would it be so costly to implement it? The same technology has been used for several facilities in Europe (Galileo Positioning System) and Russia (Glonass), not to mention the USA. Why not in Bangladesh, in the very Dhaka city, where the need for urban traffic control is very intense.

Traffic Situation in Dhaka City


This is not a fiction, but a statement of my dreams and aspirations that I desperately visualize everyday when I swarm through the problematic traffic of the Dhaka city. The word problematic can’t define the actual condition. If you share the same experience with me, then you might realize what I mean. Creating laws and defining VIP roads each day is not solving any problem for us. The best thing is not to disturb the Father Nature (the nature we have created for our sake); but bring harmony in it. Can we use this GPS technology to tune into this harmony?

It is quite an alarming fact that, a small country like Bangladesh has major portion of one of the largest primary-language-populations (Bangla) in the world that is competing with the English-language-population. With a population of more than 10 million, the capital city Dhaka has become mega city quite a few years ago and for the search for jobs, people from all corners of Bangladesh are gathering in this crowded city to make their livelihood. Now Dhaka alone has more population than the country Nepal alone. Within 2010, the population of Dhaka would rich 20 million. I don’t know what the city would be called then. Double or Bi-Mega city? Or a Giga City?

Thanks God, not all are affluent enough to buy a car. But, the growing number of transport services for the middle classes day by day is creating problems for Dhaka. The actual supply for the transportation service is also low according to the ever growing demand. If we try to neutralize our current demand, the current alarming situation may upgrade into a nightmare. Therefore, a vicious cycle of problems grows as we pass through time.

Can GPS Technology Track Moving Vehicles?


I know that the GPS technology can pinpoint any object in the earth from the satellite; can it also be used to see moving vehicles on the ground? If it is possible, then through a GPS enabled viewing system, can we have an overhead view of the traffic of Dhaka city?

Dhaka-centric FM-Radio-Channel for Traffic Commentary


Can a Dhaka-centric FM-Radio-Channel transmitting live commentary of the Dhaka traffic be established on the basis of the visual display of the traffic? If the FM Radio Channel is established, then it will be heard by the road riders of the Dhaka city; a very narrow media for specific type of customers. Manufactures or dealers of products such as: auto parts, lubricants, auto accessories, automotive addins, etc. can find the most effective media for advertisement. The fact is that, the radio is included with almost every vehicle; but it is now-a-days the most neglected instrument installed in a vehicle. By this effort, the radio can get its honor back.

Sponsors to Establish the GPS Traffic System


We will get sponsors for running the FM Radio Channel; but what about sponsors for establishing the system. Several companies offering the GPS Enabled Traffic Control Solution may want to crash test their system in a complex mega city. And Dhaka is one of the rare ones in the world. After the successful implementation and testing, they can take nominal fees from the government or some other sources. Their experience in Dhaka will help them for promoting their system. I don’t know if any company will think that way. But, we can easily find donor agencies like USAID, CIDA, JICA, DFID etc. who can fund the program and ensure payment of the traffic solution providers. The funding agencies are always ready when we want to bring their technology at our home and that’s why foreign businesses pay good amount of tax to their government.

The live commentary in the FM radio channel will not be of any help, if the roads of Dhaka city are not interlinked with many alternative routes. Mohakhali, Jatrabari, Gabtoli, and Shadar Ghat are considered the gateway of Dhaka city, which are connected with highways out of the city. For smooth operation, other parallel and alternative highways should be created. The objective should be to reduce the monopoly of a route and democratize every route in Dhaka city.

The Cost of GPS Traffic System for Urban Traffic Control


While searching for GPS Technology, my eyes caught the page about it in Wikipedia, where it says that, the GPS is free for all (I guess the writer meant it for the USA). To utilize the GPS technology, you have to have a GPS receiver, which costs only $90 (Less than BDT 5500). However, these accessories are built for individual facilities. But, how much cost would it incur to establish a mainframe system for controlling the traffic of Dhaka city? Let’s assume that the GPS technology is not free for Bangladesh. Would it be possible for Bangladesh to buy or rent some space or time in the GPS satellite? Then what is the current cost of hiring the GPS satellite bandwidth (or what they may call it) for 15 hours a day (Starting from 7:00 in the morning to 10:00 at night) for an area as big as the Dhaka city?

Forget the FM radio channel. If we concentrate on the existing GPS receivers, can it be used by the Metropolitan Police to give traffic instruction to the ground police placed at the location? Can it be used by the Transportation Ministry, City Corporation or some other allied concerns that conducts traffic research? At least, it will reduce the manual traffic counting that was done through local surveyors placed on each corner of a road.

Effective Algorithm for Calculating Green Time


I am guessing that the system is well running and the service providers are logged in. But, can the GPS system be taught to automatically and exactly count the number of individual vehicles and calculate the amount of people traveling or waiting for a traffic signal?

If it is possible, then the system can be used to control the traffic signals through effective algorithms. By algorithms, I mean a combination of the calculation of various particulars or points of a road, for instance, the number of vehicles, number of passengers waiting for traffic (a big bus will get one vehicle point, but a large passenger point), the width or capacity of the road (fully loaded road should be cleared early), priority points (VIP or ordinary road weighting points), etc. All these will be calculated in the best algorithm that will be most effective and make the road with the best points clear for plying on the basis of calculated optimum amount of green time. That way, a VIP road may become less important, when the problems in an adjacent non-VIP road are immense. But the VIP roads don’t need to worry, because they will have their priority points. If this is possible, than it can reduce the need for traffic police, since the signaling system is more intelligent. But punishing the misdeed for breaking the traffic law will still remain a problem.

UK has an intelligent urban traffic controlling system, called SCOOT (Split Cycle Offset & Optimization Technique). This is also an intelligent traffic signal timings controller. It can monitor traffic signal faults. It also can provide “Green Wave” route for emergency vehicles (like ambulances) and control facilities for car parking. However, the basic technology used for this, is ground-based and monitoring sensors are placed limited amount of corners, which is called Junctions. These sensors in the junctions transmit sufficient information to a central mainframe control center, where both electronic and human intelligent are implied for controlling the traffic of UK. This integrated system is one of the most advanced traffic control systems in Europe. Being ground-based, this system might require heavy cost. But, would it cost higher to have an intelligent traffic controlling system that can monitor from the sky? What about mixing them both? The sky view will give only two dimensional view, and the ground-based view will make the view 3D and more intelligent.

Installing it with the traffic signaling system and making it the signaling system more intelligent would be a great problem and be quite costly. But, when we move into such action, one question comes, who will take the responsibility to do all this, the government, city corporation, autonomous body, the metropolitan police or Business organization? In a democratic country, business organizations can run a system and make it sustain for ages. The business organization would be a good option, but when we will use the GPS technology for controlling traffic, we need have some authority power to punish the misdeed. OK, what about thinking about a mix of both, a portion of police offering profitable service through remuneration, not tax.

Vehicle Identification Module (VIM)


Can the GPS technology be used to hunt down a vehicle if it is disrupt the traffic rules? But to do so, each vehicle should be uniquely identified. For identifying a vehicle, can a Vehicle Identification Module (VIM) card, like the SIM (Single Identification Module) card used in mobile phones be introduced? An installed VIM card will identify and hunt down every individual vehicle. The VIM card can be further utilized to get more information about a vehicle and traffic research.

With the help of the VIM card, another algorithm can be used here to punish the traffic irregulations by assigning misdeed points. These points can be generated once for single misdeed (e.g. overlooking traffic signal) or grow according to the period of conducted misdeed (blocking the road for 1 or 10 minutes) and finally accumulate points in the vehicle owner’s punishment point account. At each level of earned points, the government should have clear standards & legislation for punishment.

But who would want to install such a thing if it used only to hunt them down when they are doing wrong? The pressing urge of the government to implement any change always had drawbacks and most of the time it didn’t sustain. However, win-win situations tend to sustain in the long run. It is obvious that the VIM card can bring win situation for the government. But they should implement every innovative and effective strategy to make the VIM card useful for the vehicle riders. For instance, the VIM card can help the driver to warn if he is breaking the traffic rules. The warning can be broad, for instance, a red warning signal (once or as long as he/she is breaking the rules) or very specific by showing the actual cause.

Another useful utilization of the VIM card can make the transportation service hassle-free. If each vehicle was traceable and easily accessible by passengers, then they can see which transport service is nearby? Moreover, the previously mentioned FM Radio channel will become primitive and real-time traffic overview can help the road riders. In case of taxi, a passenger can signal a nearby cab to come near him/her. However, it would be better if any VIM could be accessed by any SIM, with lower cost than usual SIM2SIM charge. For tourists, the VIM card can provide them driving directions. My final question is, can the VIM card be made more intelligent to make robot-driven driver-less vehicles without the risk of accidents from the complex database created by the GPS satellites?

About the Blogger: Asif Anwar

দিয়াশলাই জালিয়ে দিলাম !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ছোট্ট এই দিয়াশলাই জ্বেলে উজ্জল বাংলাদেশের যাত্রা শুরু করলাম। সোনার বাংলার স্বপ্ন দেখে গেছেন আমাদের অগ্রজ প্রজন্ম। স্বপ্ন দেখা যত সহজ ছিলো, স্বপ্নের ভুবন উপহার দেয়া আরো কঠিন। তার পরিনাম আমাদের এই দুস্বপ্নের বাংলাদেশ। অগ্রজদের ধারাবাহিকতা ধরে আমাদের স্বপ্ন দেখা। শুধু স্বপ্ন দেখা নয়, জীবদ্দশায় তার বাস্তবায়ন দেখা আমাদের এই প্রজন্মের সংকল্প। স্বপ্ন দেখে নয়, স্বপ্ন বাস্তবায়ন করে আমরা স্বপ্নের ভুবনে বাস করতে চাই। - পথিক

About the Blogger: Asif Anwar