India’s tech giant Jio has been rapidly expanding into various new segments of the industry. After having disrupted the telecom sector, its next wave of plans includes expanding to even more sectors that could use a boost of digitization.
Reliance Jio held its 43rd Annual General Meeting today and talked about its future plans. While some announcements were expected, many of them were unexpected. It started with announcing yet another major investment, this time with Google. Beyond that, the company shared its vision for the future of India, its 5G roadmap and upcoming products that should have far-reaching effects in the country.
Here are all the announcements that Jio made today.
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Google invests in Jio
One of the biggest take away from the event was Google's investment. Today, at the AGM, Jio announced that Google has signed an agreement to invest $4.5 billion (Rs 33,737 cr) in Jio Platforms and taking a 7.73% stake in the company. This is also Google’s first investment from the Google for India Digitization Fund, through which it pledged to invest Rs 75,000 crore, or approximately $10 billion, into India over the next 5-7 years.
Perhaps the most interesting outcome of this partnership is the development of new, entry-level smartphones that will run tweaked Android OS, aiming to bring the over 350 million feature phone users to the smartphone ecosystem. Jio will also look to boost its other services in other areas like digital services, education, healthcare and entertainment in partnership with search engine giant.
Jio changed India’s telecom landscape with the deployment of affordable LTE connectivity, bringing millions of Indians online for the first time. Now with 5G on the horizon, Jio hopes to be in the driving seat and beat others to the market with its deployment. Interestingly, Jio says that its entire infrastructure for 5G deployment will be designed and developed in India, which will be a rare achievement in the field of networking.
Once the Jio 5G is proven at India scale, Jio will also export 5G solutions to other telecom operators globally.
Affordable 4G/5G smartphones
With Jio 4G feature phones, Jio bought millions of users online for the first time and in India, there are over 350 million users who are currently using feature phones. Since Google and Jio have now partnered with the help of Google, Jio will be working on an affordable 4G/5G smartphone for the India market which will cater to the India-specific needs.
A smartphone with an Android-based OS will be developed. This will be an entry-level smartphone with optimizations to the OS and the Play Store so that it will be accessible even for the lower-powered devices. The phone will also include a local ecosystem that ensures that device with the apps and services in the Play Store is within reach all users. With this Mr Mukesh Ambani also said they are trying to create “2G-mukth Bharat”.
In the meeting, they clearly mentioned that the phone will come with the Android-based operating system. We expect this to be a tweaked version of the complete Android OS with only essentials pre-loaded out of the box.
Jio Glass is a 3D interactive mixed reality headset developed in-house. It will allow users to experience holographic content. The glass comes with a cable that you can connect to your smartphone with internet connectivity. It weighs just 75 grams. You also get personalized audio experience. The Jio Glass supports about 25 apps.
The glass is capable of making a holographic call to other users with just a voice command. You will see the other person in 3D avatar when you are on the call with the glass. It also supports 2D video calls. You can also share or present the screen with another person.
Jio Glass will also be used in schools. All the students and teachers can arrive in 3D virtual rooms and conduct a holographic class with Jio mixed reality cloud.
This platform provides end to end health care services. Over a span of four weeks, the platform has delivered over 15,000 consultation that includes both Covid and non-Covid-19 patients. The health will be integrated with several other Jio services that will allow any user to book an appointment for consultations and also securely share and maintain the health records, book lab tests, and more.
Jio Mart was launched in beta phase a couple of months ago across 200 cities. This platform brings a powerful common channel tech platform that unites customers, shops, and producers and physical retail store presence. During the lockdown, Jio Mart emerged as a reliable partner for small Kirana stores to continue operations
The Kiranas were given a multifunctional POS to stay connected with the Jio Mart platform. The platform has addressed and helped multiple Kirana stores to address the issues related to deliveries, storage space, and delivery challenges. Some of the existing stores were converted to self-services doors within 48 hours.
JioTV+ for set-top box
It is an all-in-one OTT based platform which will have content from Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+ Hotstar, Voot, Sony, Zee5, JioCinema, YouTube, Saavn, and more, all under one roof. You also get voice search and it is easily discoverable. The voice search works even for across, directors, more.
The platform also gets rid of multiple logins for all the different OTT apps and allows you to watch any content from any platform without any hassle. Jio also introduced an interactive Jio remote which can be used to interact with live TV news shows and also reality shows where they have polls.
Some of the announcements took us by a surprise, even with Jio’s standards. Its ambitions for the next year are sky-high, but if successful, could very well change the face of India. The partnerships with Google and Facebook will help them reach the next billion, which is a shared goal for all the major tech companies.