Archive for June, 2016

Reliance Foundation Emerges as a Ray of Hope to the Visually-Challenged

June 28, 2016

Nita Ambani led Reliance Foundation (RF) keeps getting closer to its goal of reaching out to people with every passing day. This time the organization went another step ahead by being of assistance to Bhavesh Bhatia. Mr. Bhatia, although visually-impaired, is exemplary for the free spirit and hard work that he displays.

Helping Bhavesh become independent

Bhavesh has not let his disability come in the way of his ambitions. Sunrise Candles is testimony to the same. The entrepreneurial venture undertaken by him is a major success in the making. When quizzed about the secret to his progress, Bhavesh attributes it to Reliance Foundation. Ever since his encounter with Smt. Nita Ambani, Chairperson of the foundation, Mr. Bhatia’s life took a positive turn.

Role played by Reliance Foundation in his success

Bhavesh Bhatia believes that the foundation played an integral role in the rise of Sunrise Candles. In his words, Nita Ambani and RF lit the lives of the many employees who work at Sunrise. He further added that the assistance he received from them, not only opened his business to the world, but also helped sustain the livelihood of 250 families of visually-impaired persons. Sunrise Candles is now a growing candle-making enterprise based in Mahabaleshwar that provides employment to 230 visually-impaired individuals.

Reliance Foundation-led Drishti

Reliance Foundation’s work towards helping the visually-challenged is further fueled by its initiative Drishti. This program helps donors reach out to beneficiaries and also manages the domains of organ as well as monetary donations. While there are people who are willing to take the leap and provide the gift of eyesight to those in need, the false ceiling of superstition still prevails largely in our society which prevents them from going ahead. Drishti aims at eliminating these obstacles through awareness camps for potential donors.

Reaching out to Pratiksha

One such success story from RF’s Drishti is that of Pratiksha. The young girl who was blind from birth received help just in time from the foundation. Today she leads a normal life and is working hard towards fulfilling her ambition of becoming a doctor. Pratiksha believes in helping others just the way Reliance Foundation helped her. Her life took a miraculous turn when she received two corneal transplants which helped her see the world like never before.

Lending a helping hand

While RF’s Drishti operates the cornea program, it also simultaneously lends help to beneficiaries by giving them a confidante with whom they may share their experiences. Sanjay, an employee at Reliance Industries is one such individual, who has not only pledged to donate his eyes but also volunteered to act as a mentor to little Pratiksha.

Nita Ambani has set an example for many by pledging to donate her eyes. So far, her foundation has successfully conducted over 14,000 free corneal transplants under the Drishti program.

Summary

Reliance Foundation aids visually-impaired Bhavesh Bhatia in his candle-making business. The foundation’s Drishti program helps restore vision to the visually- challenged with free corneal transplants.

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RIL Increases Jio Investment to Perfect its Greenfield Initiative

June 24, 2016

Increasing the $ 12.8 billion contribution made towards the development of Reliance Jio last year, CMD Mukesh Ambani reported the current figures to have exceeded $ 22 billion which is a 75% increase compared to the previous year. In terms of INR, it increased from Rs. 85,000 crore to Rs. 150,000 crore.

FICCI – FRAMES media convention

The three-day business conclave, FRAMES attracts the most influential industry leaders from all over Asia. The event held in March at Mumbai saw Mukesh Ambani deliver an inspirational speech. He said that through Jio, he envisions India ranking in the top 10 countries in terms of mobile internet, as opposed to the current 150th placement.

Spearheading the world’s largest start-up, Chairman of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), Mr. Ambani stated that Jio is the largest Greenfield initiative in the digital industry, and is set to completely revolutionize the media landscape of the country.

Reliance Jio’s services

The telecom company offers an entirely integrated digital network consisting of devices, broadband, telephony services, and applications. Jio’s library of recorded as well as live sports, television shows, movies, and music, is already receiving good feedback.

Jio services have been devised keeping extensive coverage, high speeds, quality data, and affordability in mind. The telecom operator has been engineered to provide an average of 10 GB of data per user every month.

Reliance Jio’s impact in India 

Mukesh Ambani reviewed the progress made by the Indian media in the past 12 years. He believes that Jio will encourage and enable India to break out of its current state of digital poverty.

With a goal of covering 70% of the Indian population right from the first day, Jio aims to touch 90% of the country’s mobile coverage at lightning speeds towards the close of FY17. Jio’s 4G facilities are available in all 22 service areas and the company also stated that the services would be priced at half, or less than half of current competitors’ offerings. The broadband offerings would also be 80 times faster than the current speed in terms of efficiency.

Jio’s commercial launch

While no official statement from the company confirms any date, the analyst community is convinced that the operations will commence by late 2016. The soft launch saw employees, stakeholders, and invitees experience the beta version of Jio services and applications.

The emerging telecom giant is currently conducting final tests in order to fully optimize the bandwidth and create a seamless consumer experience.

Summary

RIL’s investment in Reliance Jio has witnessed a 75% increase. Jio is considered to be the world’s largest start-up, and is expected to alter the media landscape of India. It is also the biggest Greenfield digital initiative globally.

 

RIL and IIP Come Together to Curb the Benzene Threat

June 21, 2016

In the wake of the harmful effects of air pollution, companies worldwide are attempting to devise technologies. These are expected to curb the pollutants arising from industrial work.

Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) is playing a pivotal role in this regard and has joined hands with the Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP) to create a Benzene Recovery Unit.

Ill effects of benzene

A harmful carcinogen, benzene is employed as an industrial solvent, used in the preparation of several artificial materials.  It is also emitted through gasoline fumes, and cigarette smoke.

High levels of benzene in the atmosphere have been linked to several cancers of the blood cells, especially leukemia. Therefore, international studies have been conducted to control its consequences.

Benzene Recovery Unit (BRU)

Indigenous in its making, this technology will help restrict the amount of benzene occurring in raffinate. The previously employed technology had certain issues which required modification in order to fully optimize the resources.

In order to reduce the air contamination occurring due to high levels of benzene, RIL and IIP decided to co-develop a distillation process. RIL not only commissioned the project, but also constructed the recovery units. On 23rd May, BRU-enabled products were sent for blending and sales.

Association of RIL with IIP

The successful collaboration of a public and private player towards creating an environment-friendly technology is a positive sign of development. By participating in the production of BRUs, Reliance Industries and IIP both have joined the elite developers’ league, in terms of technology.

The company stated that global enquiries are pouring in to license this innovation.

Benefits of BRU

The BRUs would help reduce the benzene levels found in raffinate (return streams to gasoline) to a meager 0.2 volume per cent. Present in gasoline and naphtha, the earlier method proved to be truly ineffective.

With the rise in concerns regarding the environment, and the poor air quality, this technology comes as a definite relief to the industry.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Headquartered in Washington, USA, the agency works towards the betterment of American society through conservation of the environment. The EPA launched the ‘Gasoline Benzene Program’ in January, 2011.

It set a mandatory 0.62 volume per cent for refiners using both reformulated as well as conventional gasoline. This standard is an annual average for gasoline-related benzene content. Additionally, this would help create sufficient benzene credits for the entire industry.

RIL’s Initiative

The Jamnagar Refinery employs two Fluid Catalytic Cracker (FCC) units, which are the world’s largest. The high quantity of naphtha produced by them greatly contributes to the benzene pool of the country.

The previous methods required high capital  and markedly increased the operating expenses. RIL foresaw the application of the EPA regulations as a global practice. Therefore, ever since 2011, it had a benzene reduction project in the pipeline.

Summary

RIL joins hands with the IIP to create a Benzene Recovery Unit, to limit the chemical’s hazardous effects in a cost-effective manner.

Reliance Jio to Commence Operation of Services from September

June 16, 2016

Reliance Jio is expected to launch its commercial services by September this year. A source close to the company confirmed the same and added that the test phase for Jio’s network has now drawn to a close.

Preview invites

Jio recently had a special offer for customers who registered on Jio.com, the telecom company’s official website. As per this scheme, Jio sent out customized invites to registered individuals so that they could avail of data and voice services before making an actual purchase.

It offers users 4500 minutes of voice as well as 75GB of data for a period of three months. Customers will be provided a free SIM card with these services on purchase of a LYF smart phone.

Employee test phase

Prior to the preview invitation for registered customers, the company had also opened its services to Reliance employees in December to test the facilities. This helped Jio to optimize its network and avoid technical glitches before the commencement of full-scale operations.

Referral system

In the month of May, Jio made its services available to exclusive customers through the invite-only program. It allowed employees to invite 10 acquaintances to avail of Jio’s free unlimited 4G data services for three months. Post this, the offer was also open to customers who came to purchase LYF phones from Reliance Digital stores. LYF phones are currently available for purchase under the brand’s Elements Collection which includes categories like WIND, EARTH, and FIRE. The most affordable handset from the collection is priced at Rs. 4,000. The company has recently launched LYF WIND 1 smartphone and LYF WATER 1 smartphone at Rs. 6899 and Rs. 12,999 respectively. LYF WIND 1 has Snapdragon 410 processor paired with a paltry 1GB RAM. It supports 4G LTE, 3G, GPRS/EDGE, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi and GPS. The handset measures 143x71x8.4mm and weighs 125 grams. On the other hand, LYF WATER 7 is the first LYF smartphone to come with a fingerprint sensor LYF WATER 7 weighs 160 grams and has dimensions of 155.3×77.2×8.5mm. It is powered by a 1.5GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor paired with 2GB RAM. It supports 4G LTE, 3G, GPRS/EDGE, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi and GPS.

Increase in subscriber rate

The good news for Jio is that the average data usage per user for the company is an impressive 18.6GB, even much before the roll out of commercial services. This has been attributed to the company’s smart marketing strategy, as well as free data facilities for employees and other acquaintances.

The company has performed well in various circles, even proving to be tough competition for incumbent operators. For instance, while a rival generates 1.5 million GB for a month in Gujarat, Jio garners a massive 1.8 million GB. According to data accessed by IANS, the cumulative number of subscribers on Jio’s bandwidth is 7, 00,000 with a total usage of 13 million GB.

Growth in Jio’s telecom venture

A source added that Reliance Jio is likely to witness an upsurge in business as subscription rates are expected to touch 2.5 million users. Additionally, it is expected to generate a target of 50 million GB with users already experiencing unparalleled services at lightning speeds (more than the national average).

With the rising demand for data services, Jio’s 4G in India service is expected to encounter a highly rewarding phase with increasing subscribers opting for this network.

Summary

Reliance Jio is likely to commence commercial operations from September. The company expects to garner 2.5 million subscribers before the final launch.

Reliance Retail Launches LYF Wind 1 at Rs. 6,899

June 13, 2016

After the launch of the Wind 4, Wind 5 and Wind 6, Reliance Retail has introduced yet another model to their collection of premium quality and cost-efficient smart phones. The 4G-enabled Wind 1 was launched recently at a price of Rs. 6,899. It has the VoLTE feature just like the rest of the other LYF models such as EARTH 1, LYF WATER 1, LYF FLAME 1, LYF WATER 2, LYF WATER 5,  LYF FLAME 2, LYF FLAME 3, LYF FLAME 4, LYF WIND 4, LYF WIND 6 and Wind 5.

Build to last – LYF Wind 1

The phone is a hit where design and build quality are concerned. Wind 1 is built to last with a polycarbonate exterior and a screen protected by new-age Dragontail glass. The phone is also given a textured backside to provide users a steady grip over the handset. The 5-inch IPS display also provides high definition resolution (1280 X 720) and thereby a visually appealing experience for users.

Functionality and software

The Wind 1 also emerges in the software department with great functionality to wow users. The phone runs on the operating system Android 5.1 Lollipop. It performs at a lightning speed with a quad core processor of Snapdragon 410. The processing system runs at 1.2GHz and also contains Adreno 306 GPU. Storage capacity of the phone is 16GB ROM (expandable up to 64GB) and 1GB RAM designed to meet the demand for phones with good internal and expandable memory.

Other features of the Wind 1

The dual-SIM phone’s power button and volume rocker are strategically placed on the right edge and left edge respectively to provide ease-of-access to users. It has a 2300mAh battery that suffices for 460 hours on stand-by and additionally facilitates 6 hours of talk time. Those looking for a phone with great camera and picture quality will be pleased with the handset’s 8MP rear and 5MP front shooter which also comprises a variety of modes to capture the best photos. The camera is also capable of recording videos at 1080p resolution.

Connectivity options

The Wind 1 is available in the colors white and black. The device ensures convenience with its light-weight properties weighing only 125 grams. Connectivity options that the phone provides include Bluetooth 4.0, VoWiFi, MicroUSB 2.0 port, GPS and Wi-Fi.

Preview invites

Reliance Jio has also commenced the process of sending out invites to registered customers on the company’s website, Jio.com for its 4G data services. This preview invite is a user’s pass to a range of unlimited Jio services like 75GB of data and 4,500 minutes of voice for three months. Those purchasing a LYF handset will be offered a free SIM with these facilities. Subscribers who receive this customized invite through e-mail may note that the same is valid for two weeks only. The mail assures customers a rich and advanced digital experience through Jio’s superior all-IP 4G network.

Customers could also avail of the Jio Preview Offer at various Reliance Digital Stores. Various LYF phones are also up for sale in the Flame, Wind and Earth series with the most budget-friendly device priced at only Rs. 4000.

Summary

Reliance Retail launches new LYF model Wind 1 at Rs. 6,899. Jio Infocomm also prepares for commercial launch of 4G services by sending preview invites to registered customers on Jio.com.

LYF Flame 6 Makes a Promising Entry into the Market

June 8, 2016

Reliance Jio has launched its newest LYF handset, called the Flame 6. This phone is the most recent addition to the brand’s line of Flame series phones. The handset comes at a price of Rs. 3,999 and the phone carries premium features despite its highly affordable price.

Flame 6 specifications

The Flame 6 flaunts a sleek exterior with a 4-inch display and a pixel resolution of 480 X 800. It also has a pixel density of 225ppi and a WVGA screen. The outer body is protected by Asahi Dragontail Glass which makes it resistant to scratch marks.

The phone’s driving force is its efficient software. It comes with 512GB RAM and a 1.5 GHz processor that ensures the optimal functionality of this handset. The Flame’s operating system is Android 5.1 Lollipop. It is powered by a 1750mAh battery. Users will be impressed with the handset’s 2MP rear camera and 2MP front shooter that captures quality photos.

Other features

The phone also scores in terms of storage capacity. It comes packed with a storage capacity of 4GB which may be expanded up to 32GB.

The USP of the Flame 6 is that it is 4G-enabled and contains the dual-SIM feature. This facilitates the usage of 4G SIMS that can be used in both the slots.

Preparations for final launch

The company’s telecom arm Jio Infocomm will also launch its network services soon. Many analysts have predicted that Jio will have a full roll out of services in the month of December. As of now, the company has held a soft launch for its associates and employees. Thereafter, it also conducted an ‘invite-only’ program which opened the services to exclusive members. Very recently, the company also activated its website Jio.com to accept registrations for customers to avail of Jio’s services.

Economic Times reported this Friday that Reliance commenced the sale of its LYF handsets that are enabled with 4G LTE across select cities. Customers no longer need to be invited or be a Reliance employee to avail of these services now.

Availability of LYF phones

The services offered by Jio include free voice calls for 4,500 minutes as well as unlimited Jio 4G services for a span of three months. The company’s LYF handsets are available for purchase at various outlets like Reliance Digital Mini Stores, Reliance Digital Stores, Sangeeta Mobiles, Spice Hotspot and Universal. They are also up for sale on online shopping portals as well.

Tie-ups with retail chains

The company is looking at a tie-up with retail outlets like Croma Retail and the Mobile Store for sale of their smart phones going by another report by the Economic Times. Until now, Reliance has successfully launched 10 LYF models with attractive pricing strategies. Almost all of these handsets are available in the price range of Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 20,000.

Overall, the company is going through a highly successful phase with LYF emerging as the fifth-largest smart phone brand in the country according to Counterpoint Research. It is also a leading LTE provider in the country.  The brand has even cornered a 7% market share within the first quarter of FY16 itself.

Summary

Reliance Jio launches new LYF handset called the Flame 6.

RF quenches thirst of 100-plus Marathwada villages in just 23 days

June 3, 2016

June 03, Mumbai: Smt. Nita Ambani led Reliance Foundation embarked on a mission to supply potable drinking water to the drought hit villages of Marathwada less than a month ago, after it identified 100 most distressed villages in four districts of Latur, Hingoli, Jalna and Nanded. In 23 days RF’s Mission Rahat – Marathwada, has reached out to more than 100 villages, providing two to four tankers of water per village per day. More than 300 daily sorties supplies approximately 11 litres of water per person per day. So far, more than 20 million litres of water have been supplied to 2 lakh people, deploying as many as 3,990 tankers in May – the hottest month of the year.

Nita Ambani's Reliance Foundation-Operation at Marathwada

Nita Ambani’s Reliance Foundation-Operation at Marathwada

 Marathwada region of Maharashtra is parched due to repeated failures of monsoons over the years resulting in depletion of water tables, and over-exploitation of ground water, which has crippled the region’s economy.

For the past four years, RF, through its flagship Rural Transformation programme, has been working to provide a long-term sustainable solution to Marathwada’s water woes. However the need of the hour was to provide relief to these villages where drinking water was not available. A team from the Foundation, in collaboration with government agencies, identified 100 most distressed villages in the four Marathwada districts. Within days, the RF team identified sources of water and started delivering drinking water to over 50,000 families. An efficient supply system, put in place by RF, has ensured equitable and safe distribution of water to the villages.

“Water was very scarce and we had to travel far to fetch it. Now, Nita Ambani led Reliance Foundation is providing us water free of cost. We are thankful to RF for this timely help,” says Vijay Murlidhar Kadam, hailing from Bharamankheda in Jalna district.

P M Ambulage, a gram-sevika from Kharpudi, Jalna, says, “We were facing acute water scarcity. The village sarpanch asked me to seek the Panchayat Samiti’s help. Mr Pagare of the Panchayat Samiti told me that RF has been providing free water to water-scarce villages. He said that an RF team will survey our village, and if the need is real, will provide immediate relief.

“I gathered women from my village and went to meet the local RF team. The teams surveyed our village and were convinced of our plight. Today, we have tankers supplying water to our village. I am thankful to Reliance Foundation for rescuing us.”

Nita Ambani's Reliance Foundation-Mission Rahat at Marathwada

Nita Ambani’s Reliance Foundation-Mission Rahat at Marathwada

About Reliance Foundation:

Reliance Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Reliance Industries Limited, aims to play a catalytic role in addressing the nation’s development challenges through innovative and sustainable solutions. Led by Founder and Chairperson Mrs. Nita Ambani, Reliance Foundation is relentlessly working towards facilitating transformative changes to ensure overall well-being and higher quality of life for all by developing the nation’s social capital. Among India’s largest social initiatives, the Foundation is focused on addressing the nation’s development challenges in areas of Rural Transformation, Education, Health, Sports, Disaster Management, Urban Renewal, and Arts, Culture and Heritage. The Foundation’s direct, hands- on approach has touched the lives of more than six million people across India, in more than 10,500 villages and urban locations.

Summary

Reliance Foundation has supplied over 20 million litres of water to 2 lakh drought-hit people in Marathwada.

$16M invested by Reliance Industries in NetraDyne

June 2, 2016

Mukesh Ambani owned Reliance Industries is the largest company in the Indian private sector. Start-up investments are the latest addition to the work carried out by Reliance which includes the fields of petroleum, hydrocarbons, retail, and telecommunication. On Wednesday, the company stated it would invest $16M in NetraDyne, a startup based in the USA.

$8M was invested at the end of May 2016, and the remaining half would be invested the following year by March-end. Reliance’s total stake would become 40% in NetraDyne after the March 2017 investment.

Backed by Reliance Industries, Nita Ambani founded and currently runs Reliance Foundation, one of India’s largest non-profit philanthropic organizations. Nita Ambani, education, healthcare, and sports through this CSR venture.

Netra Dyne

NetraDyne is a startup founded by Avneesh Agrawal, and David Julian. Based out of California, the company’s work centers around vision-based analytics and its implications on the artificial intelligence, drones, and healthcare industries.

Avneesh, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of NetraDyne, had previously worked as the Senior Vice President at Qualcomm, leading their 4G LTE, and product development projects. David is the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at NetraDyne. His past work at Qualcomm has been awarded 107 US patents. He has also worked for NASA on their jet lab projects.

GenNext Hub

The investments are being made through Reliance’s GenNext Hub. Offering a four month program for startups, which includes training, and mentorship, they may also receive funding from Reliance. It has backed startups like Videonetics, and Convacsis, but has no plans of fully acquiring any in the near future.

Aimed at mutual benefit, GenNext aims to provide acceleration to pioneering work that will provide solution to future problems. Designed to encourage startups to constantly innovate, the goal is to provide them with infrastructure and facilities to enhance progress.

GenNext Partnerships

Reliance aims to provide startups with facilities that enable them to enhance their core business, and scale up. Its tie up with Microsoft ensures the availability of quality IT infrastructure. Based out of Reliance’s Navi Mumbai Corporate Park, GenNext Hub aims at acquiring more such partnerships and is mainly looking at hardware and software technology companies to tie up with. 

Digital India

At the launch of the Digital India Week, Mukesh Ambani said that Reliance Industries would invest more than Rs 250,000 crore in the digital sector. This covers manufacturing handsets and the setting up of broadband services across India.

Additionally, Reliance Jio Infocomm is working with phone manufacturers to create handsets affordable for the general public in the country. It is also working towards creating a quality network that will be spread across the nation, and enabling retailers to operate sale and service centers.

Reliance has already launched the sale of its LYF handsets under Reliance Retail, and is gearing up for the launch of its Jio 4G data and telecommunication services in India.

Summary

Reliance has invested $16M in NetraDyne through its GenNext Hub arm, and plans to back more start-ups in the future.