AC Nielsen invests Rs 100 million in hand held terminals in India

MUMBAI: Market research organisation AC Nielsen India has unveiled its plans to create the country's first ever market research field force equipped with Hand Held Terminals for data collection across the nation.

This announcement marks the culmination of a two-year long plan to bring world-class collection methodology to India. The company will sink in Rs 100 million into the venture.



AC Nielsen's Hand Held Terminal is a personal digital assistant embedded with proprietary software applications designed to capture retail sales data used by the country's marketing community. With this investment, AC Nielsen becomes the first market research organisation to deploy Hand Held Terminals across the country.

The company states that the level of investment and technological advancement are unprecedented in the market research industry in India. It is the single largest technological investment since the inception of market research in India with the launch of Operations Research Group in 1961. AC Nielsen states that this move reaffirms its commitment to grow the industry as a market leader and deliver the best quality data to India's marketing community.



Hand Held Terminals offer a paperless solution for capturing marketing information to be used by marketing decision makers and analysts. Until now, all consumer product marketing-related data has been captured by more traditional means. The company states that the paper-and-pencil methodology, while accepted as a norm, just needs to be improved in tandem with the rapid development on the technology front.

Hand Held Terminals with built-in error-checking mechanisms on the other hand offer marketers leading edge collection of better quality, less error-prone data. This is especially important when the information pertains to over 150 varied product categories and over 17,500 brands from 50,000+ shop shelves across the country's vast retailing landscape.



Data from 750 individual Hand Held Terminals will be transmitted from over 200 locations across the country to AC Nielsen's processing hub at Baroda and supported by a technology infrastructure using Compaq Unix and high-end servers for data storage and processing. The company adds that this ability to collect, transmit and therefore process data faster will enable it to reduce turnaround time for delivering market information to marketers from the present 16 days to nine days.

The knock-on effect is faster and more effective marketing actions than ever before. The benefits can range from better sales to more efficient and targeted distribution. The Hand Held Terminal initiative in India has been under planning and conceptualisation for a period of 18 months. The technological enhancement process has also entailed rigorous training of ACNielsen's mammoth in-house field force with the aid of specialist workshops covering each of ACNielsen field professionals in every state. "

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