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'New oil' provider Jio open to partnerships

MUMBAI: Reliance Jio, which has crossed 100-million customer milestone after its launch in September 2016, has an open mind for partnerships at this stage. Jio hopes to put India among the top 10 countries in terms of broadband access, from the 155th position in 2015.

Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, speaking at the Nasscom leadership forum in Mumbai, is betting big on data-driven telecom, emphasising that data was the “new oil”. Crediting the success of Jio to the Aadhaar-based verification, Ambani, who spent over Rs 1.2 trillion on Jio, said that the foundation of the fourth industrial revolution was connectivity and data, which was the new natural resource.

Predicting that India would be a key player in this revolution, PTI reported Ambani as stating that India's large talent base would have had a competitive advantage.

The salient feature of this revolution is “convergence of the physical biological and digital sciences”, and “we are on the threshold of an exponential change,” he said. India’s 1.3 billion propulation, Ambani said, lends it a huge advantage and the data thus generated could be converted into intelligence.

Ambani recommended looking at the larger picture of helping millions to resolve their problems with the adoption of digital technologies. Digitalisation would continue to face challenges in terms of security, privacy and data theft, but that they could find solutions to problems.

Ambani advised adopting of next generation technologies. India would have to become the capital of real implementation of blockchain, he said, adding that they had the opportunity to adopt artificial intelligence and natural language processing, adopt drones in India's own logistics as India could become one of the largest software markets.

Ambani advised the industry to focus on the home market while describing the protectionist statements of the new US president Donald Trump as “a blessing in disguise” for the Indian IT sector. The US$ 155-billion Indian IT industry earns over 65 per cent of its revenues from the US.

The IT industry meantime awaits clarity on Trump's plans to double the salary for H1-B visa-holders and significantly curb visa issuance to techies.

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