Autorickshaws are a cheap, ubiquitous, but unregulated form of transport in India. A typical auto ride involves considerable haggling over the right fare and route, and persuading the driver to head to a particular destination. Now, a number of ride-hailing apps are quietly transforming the way these three-wheelers operate. See also: India's Ola Cabs introduces electric rickshaws on its app India's biggest ride-sharing app Ola has just announced that it will introduce autos in 12 more cities, an indication of how important this segment is for transport in India. Ola's auto service is now present in 24 Indian cities and numbers over 100,000 autorickshaws.
India: American technology major Nvidia has launched the Nvidia Inception programme in India, in recognition of the country's budding innovation ecosystem in Artificial Intelligence (AI). Inception is a virtual incubator programme to support startups with revolutionary ideas in AI. Members will receive a custom set of benefits, from hardware grants and marketing support to training with deep learning experts. The Inception Programme was launched in India at the inaugural Nvidia Emerging Companies Summit India, part of the GPU Technology Conference (GTCx), a platform for the brightest minds and greatest ideas in GPU computing. The momentum around AI among Indian innovators is so significant that, at launch, the Inception Programme already has close to 100 Indian startups as members.
Indians have avoided digital transactions for decades, but this week they are increasingly looking at cashless solutions. In the aftermath of withdrawal of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denomination currency notes earlier this week, people are increasingly downloading and using mobile wallet apps such as Paytm, Ola Money, and Freecharge, the companies say. Most of them took the opportunity to advertise their solutions with full-page advertisements in national dailies. Ola Money said Wednesday it saw a 1,500 percent increase in wallet recharges (adding money from a bank account to the digital wallet). Paytm said it saw a 435 percent upward spike in traffic as "millions" of people used its app.
Ever since India invalidated much of its cash, it has been encouraging its citizens to switch to mobile wallets and other epayment solutions. Today, it took another step in pushing its citizens to embark on the cashless payment solutions -- but early boomers aren't going to like it. The Indian government has launched BharatQR Code to enable people to pay for things they purchase without swiping their plastic cards. Instead, merchants can ask shoppers to scan a QR code and make payments directly from their bank account. One of the biggest problem merchants and citizens faced in the aftermath of demonetization last November was the absence of non-cash payment systems.
There is no doubt that the next promising evolution will be brought by bots, but it could be sooner than expected. Today, leading companies have dived into the chatbot space, and brands are ensuring they aren't late to the party. You can read what companies are up to here. Startups like Jugnoo and also newer like Yellow Messenger have started implementing bots. Satya Nadella has already declared bots are new apps, and has been adding timely updates to make this possible in the future.