Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd has started hiring a team of professionals under Akash Ambani to work on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its multiple use cases for the telecom firm, two people aware of the development said.
“Reliance Jio has hired a few senior people who will build this team…the company wants to set up this team in either Bengaluru or Hyderabad…. Akash Ambani is taking keen interest in this and is expected to lead this initiative,” one of the two people said, requesting anonymity.
The company has not selected the location.
“Reliance Jio has already started the recruitment process in Bengaluru…apart from AI, it is looking for people who can work on machine learning and blockchain,” the second person said, requesting anonymity.
Reliance Jio, the latest entrant in India’s telecom sector, has signed up a subscriber base of 186 million users since its launch in September 2016. The company first pushed its cheap data and free voice services aggressively in the market and followed it up with an “effectively free” Jio Phone available for a refundable security deposit of Rs1,500. It is now looking at technologies like blockchain, apart from leveraging the strength of its pure 4G network to move to its next phase of growth which it believes will be led by 5G, artificial intelligence, internet of things, among others.
During his inaugural address at the India Digital Open Summit in Mumbai in January, Reliance Industries Ltd chairman Mukesh Ambani’s son Akash Ambani had said that “globally, Artificial Intelligence is becoming one of the mainstream technologies and voice assistance, recognition and command are growing on a daily basis in terms of usage”.
Reliance Jio’s rival Bharti Airtel too has stepped up focus on AI and machine learning. In April, it appointed Santanu Bhattacharya as its chief data scientist to leverage data science capabilities and analytics to understand customer needs and develop innovative products and services at Airtel. Bhattacharya is based out of Bangalore and reports to Harmeen Mehta, global chief information officer and head of digital at Bharti Airtel.
“Recognizing patterns where large numbers are involved is the core of Artificial Intelligence. Reliance Jio could use it to figure out how best to run a network, deploy capacity, what to bundle, which services to target across regions, among others. Artificial intelligence can also help a telco better monetise usage of data on its pipe and strategise its content push,” a sector expert said requesting anonymity.
In May, Reliance Jio launched ‘JioInteract’, an artificial intelligence-based platform for movie promotion and brand engagement.
JioInteract can listen to user questions and respond. The platform also has an auto-learning feature that helps improve the answering accuracy, the company had then said, adding Reliance Jio is also tapping the developer ecosystem to create innovative applications like virtual showrooms, product demonstrations, ordering cart for e-commerce, etc.