DAY 8: TOP TIPS FOR BANGALORE

MAD DASH AROUND THE MALL

It was an early enough start again on the last morning in Bangalore. We hadn’t had much time to buy presents for our families as of yet. Theo had promised to take us to a mall this morning so we could get all we needed before packing up and heading home. A few of us headed off with Theo to shop for a few hours. The mall we went to was close by and huuuuuuuge! There were so many shops to look in and so many cool Indian things to buy and bring home. Indian scarves, Indian artwork, Indian outfits were purchased and Mick bought another 28 kilos worth of clothes. Theo also brought us to a huge store that had millions of books that cost quarter of the price they do at home. I bought a few college related books that I wouldn’t normally be able to afford; data visualisation books, SEO books, data mining etc. I could have gotten more but I was starting to wonder how much my case would weigh. Once everyone was happy with their lot we went back to our Indian home in IIMB to pack up our stuff and sadly get going.

Sunset Bangalore Airport

Sunset Bangalore Airport

As we arrived at the shiny, modern Bangalore airport there was a magnificent sun setting. It seemed fitting as the sun was going down on an unforgettable trip. It was with heavy heart that we left India, but with great hope to return some day as based on that short but incredible trip there’s so much more to see and do.

Bangalore from above

Bangalore from above

As we took off on the first leg of the long journey home I reflected on the top tips I would pass on to anyone travelling to Bangalore. So here goes;

Top tips for Bangalore

Eating:
Visit Leela Palace for 5 Star luxury – the staff are amazing, the spa is amazing, brunch is amazing, I could keep saying amazing!
Punjabi By Nature was a gorgeous restaurant that fused traditional Indian cuisine with a modern twist, the decor was super cool.
Eat masala dosa for breakfast, but watch out for sneaky ninja chilies hanging out inside (HOT!!!).

Drinking
Lots of bottled water
Lassis
Coconut juice straight from coconuts
Kingfisher Beer
Red wines made in India

Coconuts

Coconuts

Tuk-tuks:
Only get the green and yellow tuk tuks. Actually we never really found out why, but it was something to do with meters.
At night be prepared as tuk-tuks charge you double.
Before you get in to the tuk-tuk either agree your price or get them to put on the meter.
Have maps of where you want to get to, so you can show your driver.

Tourist spots
Bangalore Palace, just make sure your headphone set works.
Mysore Palace, the vast and magnificent splendour will blow you away. Plus there’s elephant rides!
Temples, temples, temples
Make sure you try and get out of the city on a day trip

Mysore Palace

Mysore Palace

 

Bars

Skyye Bar
Definitely worth a visit is the uber-modern Skyye Bar in UB City
Also what’s a trip abroad without checking out the Irish bar? In the very upmarket ITC Windsor Hotel you will find Dublin. No not the city, the bar. Great craic to be had here.

Dublin in ITC Windsor

Dublin in ITC Windsor

As a final round up of the trip here’s a quick animation

DAY 7: Exploring IIMB & The Last Supper with DCUBS

The Week’s First Lie-In

This blog post is going to be a bit shorter than all the others because there’s a whole morning missing.  For the first time since we had arrived in Bangalore, we had a free day and were able to wake up at whatever time we pleased. For me, that meant just before midday. Most of the team woke up a good bit earlier, in order to pig out and relax at the Leela Palace swimming pool. I figured I’d take the extra sleep instead and help Niall capture some video footage of our host university for DCU Business School.

Exploring IIMB

The Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore is one of Asia’s top business schools. Students from IIMB are renowned for their smarts with an average GMAT score of 780, which is substantially higher than average scores from Harvard or Stanford. Admissions are highly competitive, with around 200,000 people applying each year.

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The campus itself is approximately 100 acres big, yet the university has only around 1000 students. As a result, the campus feels extremely spacious and there are palm trees and plants at every turn. It’s a beautiful campus and an oasis of calm that feels quite different to the city that lies outside its walls.

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As I explored the campus with Niall, a friendly student approached us and asked us what we were doing. We explained that we were from DCU Business School and and asked him if he’d like to take part in a video interview. He agreed and gave us some good material. We promised we’d send him the completed video, but at the time of writing it is still a work in progress. Rest assured, it will be posted on this site when ready!

Leela Palace

When Niall and I had finished capturing footage, we decided to meet the gang in Leela Palace before heading for dinner. We arrived at the hotel and scanned the area for our fellow DCU comrades, but there were none to be found. It took us a while to figure out where everyone had gone, but it turned out that half the group had decided to hit the spa, while the other half had gone shopping. Niall and I decided to have a a beer by the pool while we waited for the spa-goers to emerge, and hoped we wouldn’t have to cough up a pool charge for simply sitting in these glorious surroundings. After a 15 minute wait, Mimi and Ieva emerged in their fancy robes glowing with good health.

DCUBS Digital Marketing India Trip 2015

 

The Last Supper

We finished up at Leela Palace and headed straight for a luxury Indian dinner in The Royal Afghan at The Windsor hotel. We were all quite dressed up and felt extremely sophisticated until it was revealed that we would have to wear massive bibs. I didn’t think the meal was so messy that it warranted such attire, but when in Rome…

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The food was delicious and consisted of a variety of servings which I couldn’t possible name. I even ate a cluster of shrimps, which is something of an achievement for me. Half-way throughout our meal, Theo and Shankar were presented with a ginormous naan.

 

All in all, it was a great night. We chatted about celebrity look-a-likes, sipped champagne and racked up a massive bill. It was worth it. When we  finished our meal we retired to the lounge for some drinks and cigars before heading home on our final tuk-tuk ride. I think we were all a bit sad that it would be our last night in Bangalore with this great group. And to think of all the uncompleted assignments that were waiting for me back home! It really was a great experience, and I’ll be sure to sign up to the next trip with DCUBS.

DAY 6: FROM DAWN TILL DUSK

THE COLOURS OF INDIA

After the full-on industry day yesterday, we were to have another cultural day exploring the region of Karnataka. We were early birds this morning, heading off on the bus at 6.45am and we wouldn’t be returning till late – roadtrip! Our tour guide for the day was Vinay, who was as eloquent as he was interesting. He regaled us with stories and India related facts as we set off on a three and a half hour journey to Mysore. He also promised us some great stop offs along the way.

It was great to drive out of the busy city. The colours seemed to get more vivid as we got further away from Bangalore – the sari, the shop fronts, houses and temples all seemed more vibrant against the greener backdrop of the countryside.

Saris full of colour

The colours of India

We pulled up outside a temple which had a huge golden Ganesh adorning it’s roof. Someone remarked on how similar it looked to the Golden Buddha in Thailand. We took our shoes off and wandered in to the temple. There was a very cranky old lady hanging out in the temple along with the Sadhu who was sitting on a raised circular platform in the middle of the room. The heady smell of sandalwood incense permeated the room and despite the old woman’s glares we all felt a little more peaceful.

golden ganesh temple

Temple with the golden Ganesh

THE TIGER OF MYSORE

We were off again, but not for long as we pulled up at the summer palace of the once ruler of the kingdom of Mysore, Tippu Sultan (also known as the Tiger of Mysore). We were greeting by long, lush gardens and perfect symmetry. Inside the small summer palace were lots of incredibly detailed paintings and murals everywhere that depicted the various wars that had taken place in the region.

summer palace gardens

The gardens of the summer palace

As part of the Sultan’s property, he built a mosque and tomb as a tribute to his father and mother and later on himself and his wife. This was a short bus ride away from the palace. As we disembarked from the coach we saw a few men with these magnificent horses. The horses were adorned with brightly coloured reins and bridles and even some type of leg warmer! One of the men was holding the reins of a magnificent white horse and as I looked to my left I saw Mick hopping up on one of the other horses. I had to join in the fun. I asked the man with the white horse how much it would cost and suddenly found myself hopping up in to the saddle. I was barely on when the man ran the horse and I was forced to gallop up the street- health and safety really wasn’t a concern here. Having never galloped before in my life I was completely exhilarated, what an experience!

DCUBS Digital Marketing India Trip 2015

MICK BECAME A CELEB IN INDIA

DCUBS Digital Marketing India Trip 2015

With the horses outside, we entered the vicinity of the mosque and mausoleum. They were beautiful buildings made of jaggery (an unrefined sugar), lime and mud surrounded by gorgeous green landscape, again the symmetry here was magnificent. We had a quick tour to see the important tombs within the mausoleum and then as we were leaving the building we could see a sea of colour walking up the avenue towards the mosque. There were about 30 young girls all in bright and vivid coloured sari and salwar kameez. As they approached, Mick walked up to the to ask for a photograph and they nearly devoured him – and so began Mick the celebrity. For the rest of the day he would act like a celeb he always felt he was; getting in photos with random strangers and signing autographs like a pro.

DCUBS Digital Marketing India Trip 2015

TEMPLE OF DOOM

DCUBS Digital Marketing India Trip 2015

Back on the bus we headed to a village with a special temple high up on a cliff overlooking Mysore Palace. The bus could only drive to the outskirts of the village so we walked the rest of the way through the village as a group. It was full of stalls and vendors and of course cows – the sacred Indian cow. We got to the temple and went in. Once inside we realised there were monkeys…..everywhere!! At first we were all of course delighted to see monkeys running around the temple, hanging out eating bananas and marigolds. Then we realised perhaps these were not the nicest monkeys you could meet, as one small child approached one of them, the monkey turned evil and went for the little kid. The poor child’s mum snatched him up to the safety of her arms, even then the monkey didn’t relent and started pulling at the lady’s sari, eventually giving up and scampering off. We headed back down to our bus through the throng of the marketplace.

Monkey

The offender at large

THE PALACE TO BEAT ALL PALACES

DCUBS Digital Marketing India Trip 2015

The piece de resistance of today’s trip took place at Mysore Palace. This palace was first created more than 500 years ago but was the receiver of a humongous makeover in 1912. The royal family, Wodeyar, once occupied this lavish home. While the exterior of the palace was beautiful, the magnificence and opulence of the interior is very hard to put in to words. Which is why the ‘no photos permitted’ rule had to be broken. It was for the good of the blog you see.

DCUBS Digital Marketing India Trip 2015

The opulence and sheer luxury its former affluent owners enjoyed is awe-inspiring. Nowadays the palace is a tourist spot but also hosts an annual 10 day festival called Dasara. Dasara includes cultural performances, poetry, sports and the entire palace is illuminated. They also have a Dasara elephant parade, which brings me perfectly to my next story. WE GOT TO RIDE ELEPHANTS!! Yes the palace also included a chance to meet with some wonderfully large creatures. They were magnificent, but we did feel a little sorry for them carrying us lot around the palace.

DCUBS Digital Marketing India Trip 2015

DCUBS Digital Marketing India Trip 2015

Twas a long and bumpy ride back that night, but we came away with unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime. All in all a pretty incredible day in incredible India.

DAY 5: “Unlearning” Digital Marketing with Bangalore’s Digital Marketers

Early Morning Lecture

After the previous day’s relaxed focus on culture and sightseeing, it was time to get back to business. We started the day with a lecture in IIMB, where we were given an overview of doing business in India.  A variety of issues were discussed, including  the challenge businesses face in acquiring land. Apparently, it’s not uncommon for landowners in India to find that the person who sold them land may not have had the right to sell it in the first place, resulting in decades of legal spats. Yikes. A variety of other issues were discussed and Mick in particular had plenty of questions for our guest lecturer. It was an interesting talk that helped contextualise much of what we had seen so far.

Learning about business in India

Learning about business in India

“Unlearning” at Christ University 

Moving on from IIMB, it was time to head to our host for the day, Christ University. In case you’re wondering, the name originates from the fact that the university was founded by Carmelite priests in 1969. Nowadays, it’s one of India’s leading universities. We arrived there around midday and as you can see below, our lecturer Seán had his suitcase in tow. This was Seán’s last day with us on the trip, as he had plans to ditch us and go skiing. What a jet-setter!

The group arriving at Christ University

Niall is super-excited to be arriving at Christ University

Once inside, we were greeted by the dean for the Institute of Management, Dr Suniti Phadke. She enquired about DCU Business School, and told us about Christ University’s reputation and popularity within India. The university receives tens of thousands of applications every year and requires a large staff to process them. During this meeting, we were kindly served with coffee and a fascinating sandwich with a fluorescent pink filling. I have no idea what this pink substance was, but I was extremely hungry so I wolfed mine down without hesitation. I think only two or three of us dared sample the sandwiches, so most of them remained untouched. I’m telling you, people missed out…my sandwich was delicious (whatever it was).

Soon after our brief chat, it was time to move on to the main event. Christ University had teamed up with Bangalore’s Web Marketing Academy to run a digital marketing event featuring a panel of digital marketing experts, including staff and students from the DCU Business School. Theo, Seán (D), Seán (M) and Ieva volunteered for the panel. The event was rather bizarrely titled “Unlearn Digital Marketing”, which presumably aimed to communicate the idea of reevaluating previously held beliefs…but I think some of the nuances of Indian English were lost on me. The talk commenced with a warm-up quiz from an MC, which I was happy to say I knew almost all the answers to. That said, the bar was not particularly high, with questions such as “what does CPM stand for?” The event was geared towards a diverse audience, including not just students, but also business owners who lacked experience with digital marketing.

Myself and Mimi were unable to stay for the first hour of the event, as we were conducting interviews with digital marketers backstage and hearing about their personal experiences in India. It was great to hear these personal stories and perspectives. We’ll be posting some excerpts from these interviews in a video next month, so keep your eyes peeled.

 

After conducting the interviews, we reentered the room to watch the rest of the discussion. There were several heated discussions that took place, covering a broad range of issues. I was surprised to hear how many times Google+ came up in the conversation, as it’s widely considered to be as dead as the dodo in Ireland. One woman even asked if she should bother with a website at all, seeing as she could just use Google+. So, apparently Google+ is a thing in India…just like the now defunct Orkut used to be.

DCUBS Digital Marketing India Trip 2015

Suresh Babu from the Web Marketing Academy takes the mic

Theo had a nice moment when he upgraded Seth Godin’s “purple cow” to a “saffron cow”. We had spotted and photographed such a cow during our travels on the previous day. The point this “saffron cow” helped illustrate was that creative advertising needs to stand out as remarkable in order to get noticed. The saffron cow we saw was so remarkable to us that it stood out from all the other cows on the road, which had already become practically invisible to us. Seth Godin probably never saw a purple cow, but the saffron cow we saw was the real deal.

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The Saffron Cow

Some Agency Adventure

We were pretty exhausted and hungry by the time we were finished at Christ University, and we were running late, but we still had agency visits planned. We first dropped by a digital marketing agency where we had a quick Q&A session. They told us about an outstanding SMS campaign that had been run by their competitor.  It was like a reverse pitch.

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Chillin’ at an agency

We were really fading, so we figured we’d cut off our next visit and head straight to dinner. We thought that we had communicated this to our tuk-tuk drivers, yet somehow all but two of us ended up being dropped off at the next destination, The Web Marketing Academy. The Web Marketing Academy and its founder Suresh Babu were the people behind much of the day’s events, and they had prepared some delicious Indian delicacies for us, such as onion bhajis. We had an interesting Q&A session in their modern offices and we were then presented with individual plaques, which really took us by surprise. The plaques had a variety of phrases on them from different inspirational figures. Given the intensity of the digital marketing course in DCU, I really took mine to heart.

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Web Marketing Academy

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My plaque

Dinner & Drinks

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Niall getting into a debate about video SEO

We ended the day with some much needed dinner and drinks, where we got the opportunity to network with some of the individuals we had encountered throughout the day. The food was western-style, for a change. We had a great time mingling, talking digital and joking around. One of the young panelists from earlier in the day appeared to be extremely interested in the course we were doing in DCU, and told us that he was considering applying. It was rather bizarre that the expert panelist we had watched just felt that he might need to brush up on his skills. Ah yes, digital marketing…the learning never stops.

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Claire learning about Tesco’s digital strategy

DAY 4: WHAT DO STUDENTS, MONKEYS AND BRAINS HAVE IN COMMON?

What do these three things have in common? Why day 4 of our digital marketing trip to India will reveal all.

MICK MODELS

student models outfit in india

Mick models his look number two for the day!

Over the course of the trip it had transpired that our stylish friend Mick had packed 28 kilos worth of clothes. Enough for at least two changes a day. This sparked the idea that we would make a photographic collage of Mick’s many outfits starting from the first night in the local bar right to the end of the trip. So now you have to tune in twice a week so as not to miss out on ‘Mick Models’. We started each morning’s meet up on campus with a ‘Mick Models’ photo of the day. On this particular morning Mick decided he wasn’t entirely happy with his outfit, so off he went to change and we had a second ‘Mick Models’ photo of the day with Mick now happy in outfit numero two. Once everyone was satisfied with their wardrobe choices we headed off to our awaiting bus which was taking us on a guided tour of Bangalore.

THE TRIP

The bus was fairly old to us, but relative to the public buses knocking around Bangalore it was luxurious. Once we were all aboard our tour guide introduced himself as Pandy. He told us over the crackly mic “you can remember this name by thinking; Monday Tuesday, Panday”!!! As the bus started to drive through the crazy city traffic Pandy gave us a brief general history of Bangalore. He seemed to be particularly fascinated by the British monarchy and their impact on India.

First up on the Bangalore tour was the Botanic Gardens. Pandy had pre-organised a buggy to bring us around the huge grounds. We all hopped on and the buggy zoomed off, which made it a little difficult to take photos but it was super fun.

MONKEYS

We were taking in various sights and sounds around the gardens when someone spotted some monkeys in the trees. Now I have to explain, I am obsessed with monkeys and was really hoping to get the chance to see some roaming free in India. The buggy was stopped and we all got off and ran down to the tree where the monkeys were hanging out. While we were standing there squinting up at the monkeys high up in the branches, a local man told us to come around to his side of the tree. When we came to join him we were awed by the sheer volume of gorgeous little monkeys hanging out around the bottom of the tree (squinting was no longer required). The man asked me if I had biscuits or chocolate to give to the monkeys. Oh indeed, yes I did! With my heart literally racing with excitement I took a biscuit out of my bag and tentatively walked toward the tree where the monkeys were waiting. A little baby monkey came down a branch towards me as I held out a bit of biscuit for him. His perfectly formed little hand reached out and grabbed the biscuit, he was SO CUTE!!

The monkeys in the botanic gardens

The monkeys in the botanic gardens

Another larger monkey reached out and took another biscuit, smelled it, and promptly flung it to the ground in disgust – he clearly had a more educated palate. With that, Seán, our lecturer, joined the group and warned us of the danger of being bit by said cute monkeys. We decided to take his sound advice and let the monkeys get on with their day.

HIJACKING

Back on our buggy we went to a huge greenhouse which was hosting a flower show and took in a myriad of nice trees. Coming to the end of the tour we rounded a corner in the buggy when an overtly wealthy looking young Indian woman stopped us and said “Please can you take her in the buggy, she can’t walk”. The woman was referring to the older lady with her. Our tour guide said no, but the group all felt awful and invited the older lady to get on. The tour guide had been right. As soon as the older lady was on the buggy, the younger woman started dictating to us where we were to take her as if we were her staff. After a lot of back and forth between the guide and the woman, the older lady got off our buggy and hijacked another one which was rounding the corner. The younger woman was incredibly demanding and it struck us as an interesting cultural insight that this wealthy woman seemed to have such a sense of entitlement.

BANGALORE PALACE AND THE NUDES

Next stop was Bangalore Palace. We got off to a bit of a shaky start. While walking towards the palace I took some photos of the front of the building. An angry guard with a rifle blew his whistle demanding I stop taking photos and had, by the look on his face, been shouting at me for a while- whoops! Once inside we were given headphones as our tour guide, which was a shame as the quality of the headphones was pretty abysmal so I couldn’t make out half of what was being said. But what I did learn was that the late highness who had owned and lived in the palace was a pretty interesting guy who had a penchant for art and beautiful things. There was a particular section of the palace that had quite the racy little collection of various female forms. As photographic evidence was required, some sneaky photos were taken. Here’s the late highness himself and a selection of the lovely girls.

The Racy ladies and his late highness Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar Bahadur

The Racy ladies and his late highness Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar Bahadur

After the palace we asked our guide Pandy to take us to an authentic Indian restaurant for some thali – which means plate in Hindu. You basically get a silver plate lined with banana leaf with various small bowls of sweet and sour curries and either chapati or naan. This restaurant was so cool. It looked like a strange little diner from the 80’s and we were the only tourists there. We had a choice of either South Indian or North Indian thali – both were absolutely delicious. It was a brilliant authentic Indian foodie experience.

Indian food

Delicious Thali

 

BRAINY BUNCH

Back at IIMB later that evening there was just enough time to write a little for this blog and then get ready to go out for dinner at a restaurant called Punjabi BBQ. We all grabbed tuk-tuks and headed off. It was a really cool modern type of venue. We had a big long table right next to a half indoor-half outdoor waterfall. Theo put Claire and food writer Corinna in charge of the ordering. This ensured that we got to sample a wide range of gorgeous barbecued meats and curries. And also some….. BRAINS! Oh yes, lamb brains were ordered for the craic thanks to the curiosity of one Theo Lynn. The brains were covered in a curry type sauce but as the sauce started to drip off the meat – it looked exactly like….. well brains! I don’t know why I expected it to look like anything else, but I did. It would have been rude not to attempt to eat some so I sliced of a chunk of the slimy stuff and put it in my mouth. Some bizarre gull-like reaction happened instinctively so that I never chewed the stuff but rather swallowed it whole and washed it down with a rather large swill of beer. I really can’t say it tasted like chicken because it didn’t remain in my mouth long enough for my taste buds to know one way or the other.

In reference to the title therefore; what do students, monkeys and brains all have in common? The answer is….nothing really. It’s just a great title and all three elements made an appearance in this post. What’s that I hear someone cough “clickbait”? Well, did it work?

DAY 3: Edelman, IBM and Skkye Bar with DCU Business School

A Very Indian Breakfast

Our third day in Bangalore had an early start as there was lots to do. We were still a bit jet-lagged and slightly envious of Philip, Graham and Steven who were able to enjoy a lie-in. They had to stay back in IMMB to do some work for DCU Business School. Breakfast was served in the university canteen, and we were perplexed by all the options. Thankfully, Niall knew India well and was able to explain what was what. Most of us simply copied him and ordered a masala dosa. It was like a big crispy wrap with a spicy potato filling accompanied by two dipping sauces. I know that sounds like an unusual breakfast choice, but it was absolutely delicious. I really ought to be more adventurous with breakfast in the future…

Masala Dosa Indian Dish

A masala dosa, the perfect Indian breakfast

Digital Marketing Discussion at Edelman Bangalore

We left the university by bus and made a trip to Edelman, which has established itself as one of India’s leading public relations firms since entering the market twelve years ago. Edelman’s Bangalore office holds around 50 employees, and work with companies such as the Indian multinational conglomerate Tata.  The office was modern and stylish, with an open layout and a wall of shelves dedicated to stacks of newspapers. On arrival, we were shown into a board room and a staff member ensured that we were adequately caffeinated.

DCUBS Digital Marketing India Trip 2015

Getting Started at Edelman

Over the next hour, Ipshita Sen (head of South Indian Operations) and her team talked to us about the challenges faced in communicating the value of digital marketing in an environment where internet penetration is so low. Indeed, we found it surprisingly difficult to connect to Wi-Fi throughout our stay. Even in bars and cafes where there was a connection, it was usually reserved only for staff. Even so, the communications landscape in India has been rapidly evolving and there is a shortage of professionals with the requisite digital skills. In spite of the changing landscape, client briefs are stuck in a time-warp and have yet to break away from long-standing traditions. The discussion was frank and stimulating, and a great way to start the day.

DCUBS Digital Marketing India Trip 2015

Dr. Theo Lynn with Ipshita Sen

Digital Marketing students and staff from DCU Business School

Digital Marketing staff and students from DCU Business School

Tech Talk at IBM

Leaving Edelman, we made our way to IBM in Manyata Tech Park. This was an impressive area with large corporate buildings and wide, clean streets. It was rather other-wordly compared to what we had seen so far. We wanted to take video footage of the place, but there was strictly no photography allowed — even outside the buildings. Niall only had his camera out for a split second before a security man blew a whistle at him.

Walking into IBM Bangalore

An accidental photo of the DCUBS crew entering IBM Bangalore

Upon entering the IBM facilities, we were shown through a security check and into a large board room. A uniformed gentleman approached us individually, quietly asking if we wanted tea of coffee. Soon after, the meeting commenced and we were given three back-to-back presentation on social media analytics and cloud computing. This included a very interesting talk about how IBM uses spatio-temporal signatures from mobile devices in order to identify patterns, form predictions and detect anomalies of user behaviour. By indexing and tracking moving-object data, “hangout points” can be assigned to users (e.g. home and office) and inferences can be made about individuals’ activities outside of these hangout points. For example, a 2 hour stop in a certain area may indicate that the user is eating a restaurant meal. Over time, the data enables analysts to identify common patterns and deviations from normal behaviour. One particularly interesting issue that was discussed was “the superman effect”. This occurs when a signal from a mobile device jumps to a new location in an unrealistically short space of time. Of course, this technology has a variety of applications outside of digital marketing, such as fraud detection and anti-terrorism. It was an extremely interesting talk, but I wondered how applicable this technology might be to EU countries, with their relatively strict data protection laws.

Other presentations covered innovations in cloud computing as well as explanations of how user-specific social media profiles can be matched with each other in order to paint a clearer picture of an individual. From a digital marketing perspective, this enables companies to better understand customers and learn about their attitudes towards certain brands. Of course, as with anomaly detection, there are also potential law enforcement applications of this technique.

Moving on from Manyata Tech Park, we took a short trip to a solar-powered IBM data centre, where we were given a guided tour of the facilities. Unlike Ireland, which has an ideal climate for data centres, the climate in India means that room temperature must be strictly regulated. We observed how sensors monitored the temperature throughout the site, and were shown IBM’s innovative fridge-like doors for data system enclosures. These doors cool hot air and help reduce data center running costs and energy consumption. After roaming around for a while, we made our way to the rooftop to relax alongside the solar panels that were helping power the data facility.

 

Rest and Relaxation at UB City Mall

We had attended these meetings non-stop and by the time we were finished it was 4pm. We were starving as we hadn’t eaten lunch (and in some cases, breakfast) so we headed to the UB City Mall, a large luxurious mall with fancy shops. We spotted a nice Italian restaurant there and feasted for a couple of hours. Miraculously, the restaurant had WiFi, so a substantial portion of our time there was spent with everyone glued to their phones.

 

As we were eating our meal, it dawned on us that the infamous Skyye Bar was actually located within the mall, on the 16th floor. We had accidentally stumbled across the one location that so many of us had spent hours trying to find the previous day. There was no way we could not go. We contacted Graham, Philip and Steven with the good news and urged them to join us there for a few drinks.

Skyye Bar Bangalore

The super stylish Skyye Bar

Skyye Bar was uber-trendy, with swanky drinks and coloured lights pulsating on the dancefloor. The view was impressive and we even spotted a neighbouring rooftop with an extravagant  garden and swimming pool. We enquired about the name of this facility, which we assumed was another club. Turned out it was actually a private penthouse. Nice.

Steven, Mimi, Graham and Philip chatting at Skkye Bar Bangalore

Good times at Skkye Bar

DCUBS Digital Marketing India Trip 2015

Steven shows off his dance moves

Bangalore winds down before midnight, so after a few hours it was time to leave. We crammed into the elevator like sardines to make our way down to the ground floor. Just as the lift started to move, there was a power cut. We found ourselves stuck in this cramped space in pitch black and no air-con. The temperature started rising rapidly and there was some nervous laughter/sobbing. Luckily, the power came back in under a minute. Phew.

Pitch black inside the elevator

The elevator

Snooker Time

When we arrived back on campus, we weren’t quite ready to hit the hay. Thankfully, IIMB had a communal snooker room where we were able to hang out a little longer. We also got chatting to two friendly IIMB MBA students, who were curious about our presence there. If I remember correctly, the staff of DCU Business School humbled the Digital Marketing students who dared challenge them to a snooker game.

Graham playing snooker with Mick

Mick suffers a humiliating defeat to Graham at the snooker table

At this point of the night, I was fading. No snooker for me. I slipped away to catch up on some sleep, in anticipation of yet another early start.

DAY 2: Bangalore brunch and Tuk-Tuks

FIRST VENTURE AND TUK-TUK RIDE AROUND BANGALORE

Following a very brief sleep after a very long journey, the group were all looking forward to a fancy brunch at the 5 star Leela Palace. We met up at the on-campus café Au Bon Pain where we got to grab a quick coffee, bask in the glorious sunshine and whinge to each other about the lack of sleep. Regardless of said lack of sleep, spirits were high and we were all pretty excited to get out and see Bangalore.

Shankar is someone we had heard a lot about before coming to Bangalore. He’s an academic that DCU and in particular the research centre IC4 (Irish Centre for Cloud Computing) work with. He and some of our group are working together here in IIMB on some academic papers regarding big data. Shankar was joining us for brunch and as we all walked down to the main gate together and he imparted some great tips for our stay in India.

DCUBS Digital Marketing India Trip 2015

Now came our debut attempt to cross the road in Bangalore. This may sound like a ridiculously basic task but not in India where it’s a life or death situation (kind of). Let me set the scene; firstly the roads are choc-a-bloc with tuk-tuks, mopeds, motorbikes, cars, trucks, buses, carts, cows (I could go on) all weaving around each other at break neck speed (except for the cows). Secondly there are no pedestrian lights or zebra crossings so in essence you just have to wait for a slight gap in the traffic flow and BOLT! With the sound advice garnered from the very lovely Shankar, we split up into threes to take a tuk-tuk to Leela Palace.

I quickly jumped in to a tuk-tuk with Graham and Philip, who had both been to Bangalore just a few months ago (phew, people with some “Bangalorean” knowledge). This tuk-tuk ride was an experience I won’t forget in a hurry. It was exhilarating and terrifying in equal measures.

DCUBS Digital Marketing India Trip 2015

The driver was incredibly fast and pretty nimble with the vehicle, ducking and diving around traffic, cutting back and forth across lanes as I took in the novel sights and sounds of the streets. It was pleasantly and unexpectedly smell-free. There was a slightly hairy moment when we stopped at the traffic lights and a small cute girl persistently, one could actually say aggressively, tried to sell me some plastic contraption. Otherwise the journey was a highly enjoyable, high-octane inaugural trip through Bangalore.

LEELA PALACE AND A MOST DELICIOUS BRUNCH

DCUBS Digital Marketing India Trip 2015

While I had googled Leela Palace before leaving Ireland and it looked beautiful online, nothing could have prepared me for the true beauty of the place in real life. The pure opulence and splendour of this regal hotel was a sight to behold with beautiful stone high arches, a pristine expanse of marble floors, green luscious gardens and the aroma of sandalwood incense. We were collectively awed.

DCUBS Digital Marketing India Trip 2015

We walked through a large, airy banquet room which played host to the best looking buffet I have ever seen. Not your usual carvery type wedding buffet, oh no! There was an unbelievably massive array of delicious dishes from every curry imaginable to sushi, pizza, Oriental and European style food.

The service at Leela Palace is far superior to any I have ever experienced before, such attention to detail!  As we sat down with our first choice of many plates to come, there were oohs and aahs as everyone dug in. And what do you do when you have finished what’s on your plate? Why you get up and go choose more yummy food stuffs from the deliciously bountiful buffet.  There were tall tables and food stations for salads and more for an array of miniature bites in little tiny bowls (this was my favourite section), a long station for all the curries, a woodfire pizza section, a BBQ outside and the piece de resistance was the dessert table which looked like something from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

 

We ate until we were beyond full and then ventured out for a stroll in the gardens. We also probably needed the stroll because our clothes were no longer able to contain our greedy bellies sitting down. We discovered an idyllic pool area with sun-loungers and people sitting around in the sun reading books and sipping cocktails. Right there and then we decided we are definitely going to try to return to the pool with the right accoutrement and go for a dip. Oh yes, we will be back.

DCUBS Digital Marketing India Trip 2015

SKYEBAR FIASCO

Mick, one of our group, suggested after brunch we visit a cool rooftop bar he had seen online somewhere, called Skyebar.  It was only when we were out on to the street we realised the tuk-tuk drivers didn’t know where this bar was and we had no address to show them. A little bit of confusion ensued with a load of tuk-tuks pulling up on the street beside us vying for our business but having no idea where we wanted to go. Eventually Mick produced what we all thought was the address for the bar and it was distributed to each tuk-tuk group of three.

Then we were back, ducking and diving and weaving around the city. I was pretty happy to have, the well-seasoned traveller and international man of mystery, Niall in the tuk-tuk with myself and Graham.  He struck up a mini friendship with the driver within seconds of getting in, even speaking little bits of Hindi! All seemed to be going well until the driver pulled up to some big gated complex – across the top of the gate it said “National Dairy Council”. It dawned on us that the driver didn’t know where he was. He got directions from the security guards at the Dairy Council and then seemed to know where he was going again. Two minutes later, however, we were stopped asking yet again for directions. Just as our patience was wearing thin, the driver suddenly seemed to know where to go again and hopped back in the tuk-tuk saying the venue was just around the corner.

We literally drove around to a derelict building with marauding dogs outside it and a load of guys who were just hanging out on the streets and having a good gawk. The driver gives us the fabulous news that THIS is indeed the spot we had been looking for all this time. No, no, no this was no cool rooftop bar, in fact I was feeling a little scared here. Needless to say we didn’t get out of the tuk-tuk and made a quick decision to return to IIMB, phew. We must have lost an hour and a half if not more driving around the city yet insanely our tuk-tuk bill came to under €5.

THE LOCAL

All the time we had been driving around we were wondering whether we should be jealous of or worried for the other groups.  Were they sitting sipping drinks at a sweet rooftop bar or were they driving around lost as we had been? As we walked through the gates of IIMB we bumped into Claire, Corinna and Mick from one of the other groups and they told us they had had pretty much the same experience as us with their tuk-tuk. Graham knew of a bar close to the University, so we decided to head there and text the final missing group to tell them where we were going and give them directions. We got to the local bar and grabbed a table and had well deserved, long-awaited beer.

DCUBS Digital Marketing India Trip 2015