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India’s Reliance Jio inks deal with Microsoft to expand Office 365, Azure to more businesses; unveils broadband, blockchain, and IoT platforms

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India’s Reliance Jio, which has disrupted the local telecom and features phone businesses in less than three years of its existence, is now ready to aggressively foray into many more businesses.

In a series of announcements, the subsidiary of India’s largest industrial house Reliance Industries today said it will commercially launch its fiber-optic broadband business next month, an IoT platform on January 1, 2020, and “one of the world’s biggest blockchain networks” in the next 12 months.

The broadband service, called Jio Giga Fiber, is aimed at individual customers, small and medium sized businesses, as well as enterprises, Mukhesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries, said at a shareholders meeting Monday. The service, which will be available starting September 5, will offer free voice calls, high-speed internet and start at Rs 700 per month.

Continuing its tradition to woo users with significant offers, Jio said customers who opt for the yearly-plan of Giga Fiber will be provided with the set top box and an HD or 4K TV at no extra charge. A premium tier, which will be available next year, will allow customers to watch many movies on the day of their public release.

The Giga Fiber broadband service, which through some tiers also offers access to TV channels, will bundle games from many popular studios including Microsoft Game Studios, Riot Games, Tencent Games, and Gameloft, it said.

Ambani said more than half a million customers have already been beta testing the broadband service, which was first unveiled last year. In the coming months, Jio plans to expand the service to 20 million homes and 15 million business in 1,600 towns.

Partnership with Microsoft

The company also announced a 10-year partnership with Microsoft to leverage the Redmond giant’s Azure, Microsoft 365, and Microsoft AI platforms to launch new cloud datacenters in India to ensure “more of Jio’s customers can access the tools and platforms they need to build their own digital capability,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in a video appearance Monday.

“At Microsoft, our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. Core to this mission is deep partnerships, like the one we are announcing today with Reliance Jio. Our ambition is to help millions of organizations across India thrive and grow in the era of rapid technological change…”

“Together, we will offer a comprehensive technology solution, from compute to storage, to connectivity and productivity for small and medium-sized businesses everywhere in the country,” he added.

As part of the partnership, Nadella said, Jio and Microsoft will jointly offer Office 365 to more organizations in India, and also bring Azure Cognitive Services to more devices and in many Indian languages to businesses in the country. The solutions will be “accessible” to reach as many people and organizations in India as possible, he added.

The first two data-centers will be set up in Gujarat and Maharashtra by next year. Jio will migrate all of its non-networking apps to Microsoft Azure platform and promote its adoption among its ecosystem of startups, the two said in a joint statement.

Ambani also said Jio is working on a “digital stack” to create a new commerce partnership platform in India to reach tens of millions of merchants, consumers, and producers.

The announcement comes weeks after Reliance Industries acquired majority stake in Fynd, a Mumbai-based startup that connects brick and mortar retailers with online stores and consumers, for $42.3 million.

Without revealing specific details, Ambani said Jio is building an IoT platform to control at least one billion of the two billion IoT devices in India by next year. He said he sees IoT as a $2.8 billion revenue opportunity for Jio.

More to follow…



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Lucid Air Sapphire Takes On Tesla’s Plaid With A 1,200 Horsepower Electric Monster

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Meanwhile, there are new Michelin PS4S tires for the 265/35R20 front and 295/30R21 rear wheels — staggered at 20-inch up front and 21-inch at the back — with 420 mm carbon ceramic brake discs and 10-pot calipers at the front and 380 mm versions at the back with 4-pot calipers. Lucid says it has used a continuously wound carbon mesh for those discs, too, to improve thermal conductivity. The front and rear springs are stiffer, as are the bushings, and there are unique damper, ABS, traction and stability control, and steering settings.

Outside, there’s a new tinted carbon fiber rear spoiler, matching side mirror caps, and a new Sapphire Air logo on the rear pillars and trunk. Lucid has added to the track width — with new fender lips adding 24 mm at the rear and 12 mm at the front — and while the standard wheels have a more open design than the Air normally sports, there are cabin fiber aero disc inserts which can help boost range.

Initially, only a single color — a new in-house sapphire blue — will be offered on the car. That’ll be combined with Lucid’s new Stealth Look trim, leaving the exterior brightwork darker. Inside, there’s a new Sapphire Mojave theme, with extra bolstering for the 18-way power sport seats that are finished in black leather, black Alcantara, and Sapphire Blue contrast stitching. The infotainment system gets a new Sapphire Mode color scheme, and there’s matching stitching on the steering wheel.

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Kia EV6 GT Packs 576 Electric Horses And A Drift Mode

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You might not associate Kia with performance vehicles, but with 576 horsepower on tap, the new EV6 GT unveiled during Monterey Car Week aims to change that.

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This Electronic ‘Skin’ Lacking A Chip Could Be The Future Of Wearables

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But here’s the exciting part: The electronic skin can also be easily customized with a different kind of ion-sensing membrane that is sensitive to other chemicals like glucose and cortisol in the sweat. “We showed sodium sensing, but if you change the sensing membrane, you could detect any target biomarker,” adds co-author of the paper, Jun Min Suh. 

In 2018, a team from Stanford University also came up with a wearable device that can measure cortisol levels in sweat and analyze stress levels. Additionally, 2021 wearable-centric research from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in France revealed that cortisol can be used as a biomarker for treating conditions like burnout and obesity.

Another critical benefit is that the electronic skin is flexible, which means the comfort aspect has already been taken care of. That’s a huge relief, as sleeping while wearing a smartwatch so that it collects detailed information about heart rate patterns is not the most comfortable experience. Plus, sleep tracking coupled with continuous heart rate monitoring is also quite taxing on the battery life of a smartwatch. 

An electronic skin that can transmit data related to heart rate and changes in the chemistry of sweat without a chip or transmission gear is a truly remarkable step. Work in the domain has been making tremendous process. From the potential for tattoos that monitor health to artificial skin that can heal its own bruises, the possibilities are almost endless. 

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