Live the Digital life, says Reliance Jio

Reliance  Jio is more than a mobile service; it’s a  whole digital ecosystem  with a canny focus on the  aam janatha
IndiaTechOnline special
Navi Mumbai, November 11 2016: Dhirubhai Ambani, the founder of  the Reliance Group  is said to have coined the catchphrase —"Roti, kapda, makaan aur Internet" (Food, clothing, shelter and Internet)  -- to  highlight his vision for empowering  India's aam janatha with telecom technology.  His son  Anil,  launched Reliance Communications   and delivered on  his father’s  vision of making the cost of a phone call cheaper than sending a post card.  Other large operators like Airtel also  played their part to ensure that mobile tariffs  in India, remained the  cheapest  in the world.
But the challenge remained  to empower  a billion-plus people  with very low spending capacity,  through personal communication and Internet.
Flash Forward to   September 2016 and one finds the other Ambani brother,   Mukesh, formally launching  the  brand Reliance Jio, with a daring  premise: Voice calls free, no roaming charges, only pay for data consumed.  This is likely to be as disruptive   as   the original Dhirubhai  vision and for sound technical reasons: When 3G   or 3rd generation mobile technology,   became 4G, it tilted the balance in favour of data over voice. The latest  avatar of 4G technology  is 4G VoLTE or Voice over Long Term Evolution.  It uses data speeds of LTE (another name for 4th generation mobile communication), to carry voice traffic on its back.  A canny operator will charge for data usage and throw in voice for free—precisely what  Reliance Jio  plans to do. 
After initial teething troubles mainly  with regard to Jio  voice calls landing on other networks, the service which is in its free trial period till December  31 2016,  has settled  down   and I find I can  connect from  Pune with my  Jio number to  most other operators  except BSNL   Pune numbers (I connected easily to a  BSNL Bangalore number).   I except this too will get sorted out if enough subscribers  scream at  BSNL.  Meanwhile  a phone fueled by Jio has a host of user friendly  services to offer . Together, they  make a Jio connection more than just a mobile telecom service,  into a combo that can drive an entire digital lifestyle. No jokes!  I am able to say this, having just  visited the Jio Experience Centre that Reliance has set up in its HQ in Navi Mumbai and tried out every one of the cool tools I am sharing  below:
For starters,  Jio will only work with a handset that is 4G VoLTE enabled. You can check at the site for list of compatible phones or buy one of the Reliance LYF  phones.   Because VoLTE  sends voice as a digital packet it is able to ensure crystal clear quality. Jio also throws in  active noise cancelling  -- clever electronics that  cancels out the surrounding noise. This  technology is normally found in high end headphones.
If you download an additional app from “MyJio”, you can  exploit Rich Communication Services.  This allows you to convert any call you are  making into a video call –on the fly!  You can toggle from audio to video at will. Of course,  the called  party also needs to install the RCS app. The app also allows you to attach a map with your current location. Imagine, I am calling a friend  to say  “ I am on the 2nd floor of the mall, opposite the coffee shop”, and he or she will get a live map on the screen as we speak,  to follow till we meet!
Jio  seems also be banking on Indian craze for Cinema and TV serials  -- It has created apps --Jio Cinema, Jio TV --  where you can access hundreds of movies and serials in Marathi,  Hindi, English, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, Bengali, Gujarati and Punjabi – in full HD. Right now, this is free. In  2017, this will involve a subscription, though I see Reliance being quite aggressive here too.
More than the things that already come with Jio today,  there are some cool services in the pipeline. I saw  work in progress where the SIM  fuels a tiny  device that plugs into the Onboard Diagnostic Port ( ODB) of a car and turns it into a smart car – you can disable the car,  if it is stolen, feed  entertainment to  the back seat occupants,  navigate turn by turn… The same Jio SIM was shown turning any TV into a smart Internet TV.  It  sets up a home automation system and  control entry through your front door….. Clearly the people behind Jio are working towards the future when it will live up to its  name and  enable users to  ‘jio’,  a fulsome digital life.
Anand Parthasarathy