RJio’s full-fledged 4G services available to all from today

Consumers across the country can avail Reliance Jio’s services from Tuesday, as the company opens its doors to all potential users having any 4G-enabled handset in an aggressive quest to garner 100 million subscribers.

According to sources, the Jio SIM — which so far was available only at Reliance Digital stores — will now also be offered through multi-brand outlets and mobile phone shops.

“The SIMs will be available at nearly two lakh stores across the country, including locations where SIMs from other vendors are also sold,” sources said.
A major beneficiary of the offer would be users of devices like iPhone, Xiaomi, Motorola and Lenovo who were not a part of the preview offer so far. RJio, which had already roped in 1.5 million users in the test phase, is gunning for 100 million users at the shortest possible time.

Nearly 20 brands including Sony, Sansui, Videocon, LG, Samsung, Micromax, Panasonic, Asus, TCL, Alcatel, HTC, Intex, Vivo, Gionee, Karbonn and Lava were part of the preview offer which provided free 90-day unlimited calls and high-speed mobile broadband trials to 4G smartphone users of these brands.

The offer is now being rebranded as a ‘welcome offer’, which from September 5 will provide unlimited services till up to December 31, after which users have been promised voice calls – both local and STD – as well as roaming free of cost, for life. The data charges are also pegged as low as Rs 50 per GB, compared to Rs 250 a GB prevailing in the market.

The process of procuring the SIM, said sources, will now be simpler with eKYC, which does not require consumers to physically fill out lengthy forms and wait for an equally lengthy verification process.

The form filling and verification is done using Aadhaar data and the customer’s fingerprint and the facility is being rolled out at various locations.
“At the time of taking the SIM, consumers will have to choose plans – pre-paid or postpaid – and they will continue to get free services till December 31, after which tariff plans opted for will become applicable,” sources said.

The company has introduced 10 tariff plans beginning with a one-day plan at Rs 19 for occasional data users going all the way up to Rs 4,999 a month for heavy data users. Reliance is also offering a Jio apps bouquet worth Rs 15,000, complimentary to all active Jio customers up to December 31, 2017.

In the Rs 19 prepaid plan, users will get 100 MB data and 100 SMSes for a day, apart from unlimited free voice calling. The Rs 149 plan, available for both prepaid and postpaid users, will offer 300 MB data and 100 SMSes with a validity of about a month.
Under the Rs 4,999 plan, users will get 75GB of 4G data as well as unlimited 4G access at night for a period of 28 days or one month for prepaid and postpaid users, respectively.

India May Get 5G Networks With the Rest of the World: Telecom Secretary

India stands a chance to get 5G technology with the rest of the world as the country enters an era of Internet of Things (IoT), Telecom Secretary J S Deepak said in Bengaluru on Wednesday.

“…We got 2G 25 years after the rest of the world, at least after the developed world. We got 3G more than a decade after it became ubiquitous in US, Europe. 4G may be, five years after its global launch. In 5G, we have the chance of being there with the rest of the world,” Deepak said.

He added that the probable simultaneous launch of 5G in India along with the rest of the world could be from bridging the gap that had prevailed and the country might as well take a step forward and acquire a leadership position in certain areas as it enters into an era of Internet of Things with connected devices and machines.

India May Get 5G Networks With the Rest of the World: Telecom Secretary

Deepak was speaking after inaugurating the first edition of ‘IoT India Congress’ that aims to bring together key stakeholders across the value chain and verticals to collaborate.

“The IoT, which is estimated to have…something like 50 billion connected devices in the next 5-6 years, will unleash a business opportunity for India, at least of USD 15 billion,” he said.

In a recorded video address to the Congress, Union Minister for Electronics and IT, Ravi Shankar Prasad said, IoT is important because connected devices are going to become the order of the day.

“IoT is important more for the poor, for the farmers, for healthcare, for education sectors, to make the quality of life better…,” the Minister said. Deepak said a very ‘vibrant’ IoT ecosystem would be seen in India very soon.

The Department of Telecom has come out with a machine- to-machine (M2M) roadmap which seeks to synergise regulators, bodies involved in development of standards, manufacturers and perspective users so that associated industries could benefit.

Pointing out the initiatives like Telecommunications Standards Development Society India and others by the Department of Telecom, he said “Leveraging technology is an objective which pervades the whole of government. The Department of IT has developed an IoT policy which is in the draft stage and under consultation…”

Stating that there is lot of work in progress like KYC norms for SIM embedded M2M devices, 13 digits numbering scheme for IoT – for SIM embedded M2M devices, he said, “The Department of Telecom has requested the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India for recommendations in the area of quality of service standards of international roaming system and requirement of additional spectrum for an IoT ecosystem in India.

“As soon as the recommendations are received we hope to come out with specific decisions…” he said.

NBC Universal Patents a Way to Detect BitTorrent Pirates in Real-Time

NBC Universal, an American media conglomerate, has been granted a new patent that can help track files being shared by groups via peer-to-peer networks in real-time. The patent titled “Early detection of high volume peer-to-peer swarms”, seems to be way forward for NBC Universal in its ongoing attempts to restrict piracy of its copyrighted content.

NBC Universal Patents a Way to Detect BitTorrent Pirates in Real-Time

The new patent will essentially help the company identify the swarm’s popularity and take anti-piracy measures before is “too late to do much good.”

“Early detection of high volume swarms in a peer-to-peer network, including a data feed of peer-to-peer swarm activity, and an analytics engine processing the data feed and identifying the high volume swarms that have parameters that exceed a threshold. The system can include a pre-processing section for conditioning the swarm data for the analytics section. There can also be a verification section that confirms that the peer download file matches the target file,” notes the patent documentissued by USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office).

“The early detection provides for enhanced anti-piracy efforts, improved allocation of network resources, and better business decision-making,” it adds. NBC Universal says that the “P2P infrastructure has many advantages” but it also has led to abuses.

Of course, piracy of digital assets on peer-to-peer networks is considered to be one of the biggest losses incurred by content owners, estimated to be in billions of dollars annually.

“These costs are typically passed along to the consuming public in terms of increased costs for legitimate purchased works and higher charges for increased deterrents to the piracy,” NBC Universal added.

Torrentfreak points out that Comcast, the parent company of NBC Universal, back in 2007 received criticism when it wanted to “actively throttle BitTorrent traffic.” It is not clear when the company intends to implement the new patent to restrict content piracy of copyrighted content. Notably, the patent was applied for back in 2009 but only granted last week. The methods needed to detect and target particular torrent files presumably need to be updated.

Wi-Fi Specification Update Promises Improved Wireless Performance

Wi-Fi Alliance, an association that approves Wi-Fi products and maintains industry standards, on Wednesday announced new features of the ‘Wi-Fi Certified ac’ programme with an aim to improve the performance of the mobility experience.

Wi-Fi Specification Update Promises Improved Wireless Performance

The body has announced the new “802.11ac wave 2” standard, claimed to enable Wi-Fi to “more efficiently handle high-bandwidth applications” from an increasing number of smartphones, tablets, TVs, and other products simultaneously connected to Wi-Fi networks. The doubling of bandwidth per channel should in ideal conditions should double performance, including speed.

Another new feature added in the new 802.11ac wave 2 standard is Multi-user Multiple Input Multiple Output or MU-MIMO which is touted as one of the most anticipated new features. It allows more devices to operate simultaneously on the same network without “sacrificing speed or performance.”

“Networks with MU-MIMO are capable of multitasking by sending data to multiple devices at once rather than one-at-a-time, improving overall network efficiency and throughput,” points out Wi-Fi Alliance.

With the new spec update, Wi-Fi Certified ac increases the maximum channel bandwidth from 80MHz channels to 160MHz channels and also extends 5GHz channel support. The organisation expects that 96 percent of devices will offer dual-band connectivity by 2020, says the access points supporting new features will dominate the market within the next five years.

Some of the Wi-Fi Certified ac products to support the new features include Broadcom BCM94709R4366AC, Marvell Avastar 88W8964, MediaTek MT7615 AP (Reference Design), and MT6632 STA (Reference Design), Qualcomm IPQ8065 802.11ac (4-stream Dual-band, Dual-concurrent Router), and Quantenna QSR1000 (4×4 802.11ac Wave 2 Chipset Family).

Announcing the new standard, Edgar Figueroa, President and CEO of Wi-Fi Alliance said, “In today’s world, people have more Wi-Fi devices per person and per household, and those devices require significantly more bandwidth. Wi-Fi Alliance updated the Wi-Fi Certified ac program to meet increasing user demands and to stay ahead of emerging applications, while preserving interoperability.”

New Educational App Rewards Users With Real Cash

South Korea-based educational startup BeNative has launched CashEnglish, an app that rewards users with real cash for playing educational games.

The app is available in Hindi, English, Chinese, Spanish, Japanese and Korean, with more languages coming up soon, the company said in a statement on Thursday.

New Educational App Rewards Users With Real Cash

After making more than one million fans on its Facebook page, CashEnglish launched a beta version on bothAndroid and iOS platforms for free this month.

Since then, it has already become the top downloaded educational game in several countries around the world.

Users of CashEnglish have the chance to win cash prizes awarded weekly as they solve puzzles and climb the leaderboard.

Over $1,000 (roughly Rs. 68,000) in prizes was awarded in the first week alone, with the grand prize winner taking in $500 (roughly Rs. 36,000).

“People used to have to pay for education and since then, we’ve seen a huge push in the industry towards free online service. But we’re looking to take it one step further where people all over the world will actually get paid to learn,” said Alan Moonsoo Kim, CEO, BeNative, in a statement.

“We intend to disrupt the industry so that others have no choice but to follow,” he added.

Chinese Economic Cyber-Espionage Plummets in the US

The Chinese government appears to be abiding by its September pledge to stop supporting the hacking of American trade secrets to help companies there compete, private US security executives and government advisors said on Monday.

Chinese Economic Cyber-Espionage Plummets in the US: FireEye

FireEye Inc, the US network security company best known for fighting sophisticated Chinese hacking, said in a report released late Monday that breaches attributed to China-based groups had plunged by 90 percent in the past two years. The most dramatic drop came during last summer’s run-up to the bilateral agreement, it added.

FireEye’s Mandiant unit in 2013 famously blamed a specific unit of China’s Peoples Liberation Army for a major campaign of economic espionage.

Kevin Mandia, the Mandiant founder who took over last week as FireEye chief executive, said in an interview that several factors seemed to be behind the shift. He cited embarrassment from Mandiant’s 2013 report and the following year’s indictment of five PLA officers from the same unitMandiant uncovered.

Prosecutors said the victims included US Steel, Alcoa Inc and Westinghouse Electric. Mandia also cited the threat just before the agreement that the United States could impose sanctions on Chinese officials and companies.

“They all contributed to a positive result,” Mandia said.

A senior Obama administration official said the government was not yet ready to proclaim that China was fully complying with the agreement but said the new report would factor into its monitoring. “We are still doing an assessment,” said the official, speaking on condition he not be named.

The official added that a just-concluded second round of talks with China on the finer points of the agreement had gone well. He noted that China had sent senior leaders even after the US Secretary of Homeland Security pulled out because of the Orlando shootings.

FireEye said that Chinese intrusions into some US firms have continued, with at least two hacked in 2016. But while the hackers installed “back doors” to enable future spying, FireEye said it had seen no evidence that data was stolen.

Both hacked companies had government contracts, said FireEye analyst Laura Galante, noting that it was plausible that the intrusions were stepping stones toward gathering information on government or military people or projects, which remain fair game under the September accord.

FireEye and other security companies said that as the Chinese government-backed hackers dropped wholesale theft of US intellectual property, they increased spying on political and military targets in other countries and regions, including Russia, the Middle East, Japan and South Korea.

Another security firm, CrowdStrike, has observed more Chinese state-supported hackers spying outside of the United States over the past year, company Vice President Adam Meyers said in an interview.

Targets include Russian and Ukrainian military targets, Indian political groups and the Mongolian mining industry, Meyers said.

FireEye and CrowdStrike said they were confident that the attacks are being carried out either directly by the Chinese government or on its behalf by hired contractors.

Since late last year there has been a flurry of new espionage activity against Russian government agencies and technology firms, as well as other targets in India, Japan and South Korea, said Kurt Baumgartner, a researcher with Russian security software maker Kaspersky Lab.

He said those groups use tools and infrastructure that depend on Chinese-language characters.

One of those groups, known as Mirage or APT 15, appears to have ended a spree of attacks on the US energy sector and is now focusing on government and diplomatic targets in Russia and former Soviet republics, Baumgartner said.

Snapdeal Opens Data Sciences Centre in California

Online marketplace Snapdeal on Monday said it has established a data sciences centre in San Carlos, California to get top global talent and build high-value solutions.

The centre will focus on big-data and advanced analytics to add clarity to Snapdeal’s consumer-centric initiatives, help shape business strategy and optimise the operational efficiencies using data. The centre is headed by Nitin Sharma, Senior Vice President, Data Sciences.

Snapdeal Opens Data Sciences Centre in California

“We have set up a data science engine in California, which is home to domain talent, to further augment our efforts in creating a superior customer experience and strengthen our supply chain. Snapdeal is extensively working on data mining through an existing analytics team,” Rohit Bansal, Co-Founder, Snapdeal said.

The centre houses experienced data scientists from leading global brands like Groupon, Google, Yahoo and Amazon and is headed by Nitin Sharma, Senior Vice President, Data Sciences, the company said in a statement.

“Under Nitin’s leadership the data science team will focus on elevating Snapdeal’s growth-focused strategy and to provide insightful guidance. The richer understanding of the customers by capturing and integrating the information on their buying behavior will drive habit commerce and is in sync with our vision of 20 million daily transacting users by the year 2020,” Bansal added.

“We have a highly accomplished team which can distil key patterns, consumer preferences and hidden correlations by quickly analyzing huge quantities of data. We will bring fresh insights to the existing work and will enhance customer experience through better planning and forecasting,” added Nitin Sharma, Senior Vice President, Data Sciences at Snapdeal.

Japan Regulates Virtual Currency After Bitcoin Scandal

Japan has passed a law regulating virtual currency, after the country found itself at the epicentre of a multi-million dollar embezzlement scandal following the spectacular collapse of the Tokyo-based MtGox Bitcoin exchange.

Japan Regulates Virtual Currency After Bitcoin Scandal

Once one of the largest, most established exchanges for the cryptocurrency, MtGox collapsed in 2014 after a suspected theft worth nearly half a billion dollars, which hammered the digital currency’s reputation.

Japanese lawmakers passed a bill late Wednesday stipulating that all “virtual currency” exchanges must be regulated by the country’s Financial Services Agency.

The new law defines a virtual currency as something with an “asset-like nature” that can be exchanged for goods and services.

Digital currency exchanges must now register with the financial watchdog and verify the identity of customers opening accounts.

The new legislation aims to “tackle issues of money-laundering and protect users”, Japan’s Financial Services Agency said in a statement.

Critics of the virtual currency movement say its anonymity and lack of regulation make it ideal for use by criminals.

Other G7 countries have either introduced, or are in the process of trying to introduce, similar legislation, after voicing support for “appropriate regulation” of virtual currencies at a 2015 meeting.

Japan’s new law comes after prosecutors last year charged France-born MtGox head Mark Karpeles, with embezzlement, amid fraud allegations over the disappearance of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of the virtual currency.

MtGox shuttered after admitting 850,000 coins – worth around $480 million at the time – had disappeared from its digital vaults.

The exchange, which once said it handled around 80 percent of global Bitcoin transactions, filed for bankruptcy protection soon after the cyber-money went missing, leaving a trail of angry investors calling for answers.

The company initially said there was a bug in the software underpinning Bitcoins that allowed hackers to pilfer them.

Karpeles later claimed he had found some 200,000 of the lost coins in a “cold wallet” – a storage device, such as a memory stick, that is not connected to other computers.

Investors have called on the firm’s court-appointed administrators to publicise its data so that experts around the world can help analyse what happened at MtGox.

But the case has presented a complex challenge to Japanese police, as the country – like many others – lacked laws to specifically regulate digital money.

Unlike traditional currencies backed by a government or central bank, Bitcoins are generated by complex chains of interactions among a huge network of computers around the planet.

Backers say virtual currencies, which started to appear around 2009, allow for an efficient and anonymous way to store and transfer funds online.

Yahoo CFO Says Sale Process for Company Is ‘Well Along the Way’

Yahoo Inc.’s strategic review to sell its core business is “well along the way,” Chief Financial Officer Ken Goldman said, without giving any specifics.

Yahoo CFO Says Sale Process for Company Is 'Well Along the Way'

“It’s going, I think, very, very well,” Goldman said during a presentation hosted by JPMorgan Chase in Boston on Tuesday. “We are continuing to work tirelessly to get to the right place.”

Yahoo – under the leadership of Chief Executive OfficerMarissa Mayer – started a review of the company’s options in February after pressure from investors and a failed turnaround. Bidders have included TPG,Verizon Communications, YP Holdings and a consortium led by Bain Capital and Vista Equity Partners, people familiar with the matter have said. Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett is also backing a group bidding for Yahoo’s Internet assets, people familiar with the matter have said.

While Goldman said the process is robust, he declined to give details on what “inning” the effort is in during the presentation.

“We are taking it extremely seriously,” Goldman said, noting the process is accounting for the majority of executives’ time. “It’s our collective goal that we find a way that – wherever this ends up – that ultimately Yahoo will do better with the benefit of however it goes than staying independent.”

Goldman said Yahoo is making progress in efforts to streamline the company as well. Yahoo now has about 9,000 employees down from 10,400 at the end of last year.

Google Brings Apps Tab to Mobile Search Results

Google this week has introduced a new Apps tab to its mobile search results. This dedicated tab will give relevant app links that take you directly to Google Play and App Store based upon the searched keywords.

Google Brings Apps Tab to Mobile Search Results

Based on your search words, the tab will show relevant apps in a list format and an install button on the right. After browsing through the recommended apps, the user can download any of the apps onto their smartphones by hitting the install button. Once the user hits the button, the smartphone will automatically navigate you to the specific app in the Play Store or App Store where you can then download it easily.

This feature works on smartphones and tablets both. It joins the army of tabs that already exist, namely News, Videos, Images, Maps, Books, and Flights. The feature was first spotted by Android Central.

Apart from the addition of the Apps tab in mobile search, Google this week also launched the Gboard app which brings Google Search into the iOS keyboard. iPhone users in the US can now search for addresses, YouTube videos, emojis, and gifs, without leaving their conversation window.

Furthermore, Google is even testing a new in-app messaging service for YouTube. This will enable its users to chat and share links natively. This feature aims to increase the time spend within the app by letting users share video links with friends without leaving the app.