Why RIL AGM 2020 Appeared Like A Tech Launch


RIL and its Chairman have consistently appeared on the news, but the first-ever virtual Reliance Industries Annual General Meeting that just concluded has fueled many discussions and discourses around announcements made at the event – much like what happens after the end of a major tech conference.

Furthermore, akin to recent tech launches that are hosted through video conferencing along with other audio-visual means, the 43rd RIL AGM was streamed live for a digital audience that listened transfixed to a slew of major tech-heavy unveils and updates. What is more, complete with corresponding hashtags (#RILAGM, #NayeIndiaKaNayaJosh), the two-hour long event was widely covered by both regional and national news media.

As tech-related launch announcements dominated RIL AGM 2020, we take a look at some of the notable ones in the following paragraphs:

Partnership With Tech Giant Google

Close on the heels of Google’s $10 billion fund announcement for India’s digital economy, RIL announced that the tech giant will be investing Rs 33,737 crore – or take a 7.7% stake – in Jio Platforms. Just as the company shook the telecom industry and democratised the internet with affordable data packs, it is planning to do the same with hardware by building on its Jio Phones and working with Google to bring smarter and better smartphone experiences to people.

According to the terms of the partnership, RIL and Google will be developing an Android-based operating system that could power these entry-level phones.

“Google and Reliance Jio are partnering to build a value-engineered Android-based smartphone operating system,” said Mukesh Ambani at RIL AGM 2020. “Through this partnership, we can accelerate the national mission of putting a smart device in the hands of every Indian,” he added.

Even though the company has sold millions of Jio Phones in the past, with this development, customers can upgrade to enhanced user experience with the launch of the new operating system.

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Furthermore, at the AGM, Ambani announced that the company has been designing and developing an end-to-end 5G solution from scratch, which will be ready for trials as soon as the 5G spectrum is available. What is more, he even hinted that a homegrown ‘world-class 5G service’ can be ready for field deployment as soon as next year.

This means that if the 5G auctions indeed take place in 2021, Indians will soon be able to enjoy faster download and upload speeds.

“The Jio-Google partnership can make India 2G-mukt,” he said. “With India standing at the doorstep of the 5G era, it should accelerate the transition of 350 million Indians to a truly smartphone era, which is not only affordable but smart as well,” he added.

RIL’s Jio Glass & Jio TV Plus

Giving it the moniker ‘Jio Glass’, RIL showcased a new augmented reality solution during its AGM this year. Although details around its pricing and launch date were glossed over, a demonstration sought to show how it is likely to work once it reaches store shelves.

Calling it a ‘meaningful immersive experience’, RIL President Kiran Thomas said that it is ideated to enable smoother virtual classes where both teachers and students can meet in 3D virtual rooms and conduct holographic lessons.

While little is known about its specifications, it is slated to weigh about 75 grams and will come with built-in apps to allow AR meetings to happen in real-time.

Furthermore, RIL also made another hardware announcement with Jio TV Plus. A content aggregator that brings together a slew of services, including OTT platforms, TV channels, and various apps, its user interface enables easy search of shows and movies. 

Another important feature of Jio TV Plus is that it requires a single login, and comes with a voice search akin to Amazon Firestick’s Alexa. Also, through the Jio App Store on the Set-Top Box, users will also be able to get access to apps across multiple genres.

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Anu Thomas
Anu is a writer who stews in existential angst and actively seeks what’s broken. Lover of avant-garde films and BoJack Horseman fan theories, she has previously worked for Economic Times. Contact: anu.thomas@analyticsindiamag.com

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