RBI orders banks to stop services to those dealing in crypto currencies

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At its first Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy Press Conference for the financial year  2018-2019, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has asked banks to stop having business relationship with the entities dealing with virtual currencies with immediate effect. Regulated entities which already provide such services are also ordered to end relationship within a period of three months. Some of the banks have already banned buying cryptocurrencies using credit and debit cards. RBI said that Virtual Currencies (VCs) raise concerns of consumer protection, market integrity and money laundering, among others.  At the Union Budget 2018 in February, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley  said that the  Government will take all measures to eliminate the use of crypto-assets in financing illegitimate activities. However, RBI said that it will promote the use of blockchain – a public ledger that serves as the backbone of bitcoin – in financial services for strengthening transparency and improving inclusion. This will be big blow to the those dealing with virtual currencies in India since banks will not allow users to buy cryptocurrency via banks or e-wallets etc. soon. RBI also said that it is mulling introducing a fiat digital currency. ” While many central banks are still engaged in the debate, an inter-departmental group has been constituted by the Reserve Bank …
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Vodafone launches VoLTE services in UP East

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After Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa and Rajasthan,Haryana,  Uttar Pradesh (UP) west, and Karnataka, Vodafone has launched its VoLTE (Voice Over LTE) services in Uttar Pradesh (UP) East in India. It is currently available in  cities of Lucknow, Kanpur, Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Allahabad and Faizabad, and, around 26,000 towns and villages in the UP East circle. Vodafone is calling it Super VoLTE and said that the technology delivers high-quality sound over voice calls across the Vodafone SuperNet 4G network so that users will experience ultra-clear voice quality and reduced background noise. If you have a VoLTE enabled handset, you can SMS 4G CHECK to 199 to know if you your smartphone is Vodafone Super VoLTE compatible. If you have Dual SIM handset, Vodafone SIM should be inserted in the SIM slot with data capability and network mode should be set as “4G/3G/2G (Auto)”. Vodafone already said that it will roll out VoLTE in Kolkata soon, and will extended the service across the country in a phased manner over the next few months. You can check out the list of Vodafone VoLTE supported devices here. Commenting on the launch of Vodafone VoLTE in UP East, Nipun Sharma, Business Head – UP East, Vodafone India, said: We have been making significant investments to expand, upgrade …
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Google Home gets support for Saavn and Gàana music streaming services in India

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Google has just launched English support in India, but that’s not all. It’s also rolling out support for a few region-specific music services. Users of Saavn and Gàana can plug their accounts into Home and make them a default music streaming service. It only takes a few taps.

Saavn and Gàana are both popular services in India, but they’re available to users worldwide. They both seem to focus on regional Indian music, but there’s international content as well.

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IFTTT updated with semi-adaptive icon and new sync option, plus more services added [APK Download]

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Part of the reason that automation app IFTTT is so popular is how often it’s updated to add useful new features and more third-party services. It recently got support for custom rich notifications on Android and Cortana was among the new services added in February. The latest update to the app has just arrived, bringing with it a couple of minor changes, and yet more services have also been added.

IFTTT v3.5.2 introduces a semi-adaptive icon, which means it’s the company’s logo on top of an adaptive white background — much like many of Google’s white dinner plate icons.

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IFTTT updated with semi-adaptive icon and new sync option, plus more services added [APK Download] was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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BMW and Daimler will combine their transportation services

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If it seems ridiculous that virtually every major car manufacturer has its own suite of transportation services, you're not alone. BMW and Daimler have announced a plan to combine their mobility services in a 50/50 joint venture. Car2Go and DriveNo…
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Google users in Europe now have 14-day refund window for services purchased through Play Store

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With as many apps as there are in existence, when you download enough you’re bound to run into a stinker or two (or three, or four). And understandably, when an app just doesn’t live up to your expectations, you’re going to want a refund. While you can get a refund for things bought through the Google Play Store, how that process works wasn’t exactly super intuitive all along, and over the years we slowly saw Google formalize its refund policies.

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Google users in Europe now have 14-day refund window for services purchased through Play Store was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Google cracks down on uncertified Android devices by blocking Google Services

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Last week, some users of Android phones reported that they were shown a message, blocking users out of using Google Apps. This was happening particularly to those who were using smartphones with unlocked bootloaders or running a custom ROM. Today, Google has confirmed to Android Police the statement in which it acknowledged this practice. Certified Android devices offer users consistent experiences when using apps from Google and the Play Store [. as well as Google Play Protect]. We acknowledge that some manufacturers are building and selling devices that have not been certified by…

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Google’s Movies & TV app can now search dozens of streaming services

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In case you haven't noticed there are a lot of streaming video services available. Whether free with a cable subscription or paid, there are an ever-growing list of options for watching your favorite show or movie. Google is making an attempt at deal…
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Bulbs are broken. Services will win in lighting.

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In the warehouse of the future, the lights are watching you. And communicating with your equipment. Image courtesy of OSRAM.

One of the big promises of what people like to call digital transformation that’s occurring with connected everything is a change in business models. Companies can go from selling things and having a one-time relationship with a client to selling a service and having an ongoing relationship. In the lighting world, this has been happening for years.

Indeed, if you want to see how connectivity can reshape a business, the lighting industry offers a great case study. As soon as digitization hit in the form of LEDs, the industry found itself more concerned with semiconductors — the source of LED light — than it was with old-school chemicals and filaments. But it also found itself with a problem. LEDs last a lot longer than light bulbs, so instead of selling a product that’s replaced every year or two, the industry suddenly starting selling one that lasts some 20 years.

That’s a big shift. Meanwhile, startups saw the transition to energy-saving LEDs as an opportunity to create an entirely new form of network inside buildings by anchoring them with these new LED systems. Digital Lumens, Enlighted, and others were subsequently formed to replace old lighting with LEDs that also measure elements like temperature and motion. From there, these startups were able to lower energy costs, but they were also able to start offering consulting services aimed at helping businesses make better use of their space or even track inventory.

That’s paying off now for OSRAM, a German lighting maker that purchased Digital Lumens last year and has now integrated its technology as well as other OSRAM tech into a new lighting platform called Lightelligence.

OSRAM has long made bulbs; with Lightelligence, it is now starting to sell lighting as a service. A warehouse customer in Europe currently contracts with OSRAM to provide 300 lux (a measure of brightness) in its buildings when needed. Thorton Thorsten Mueller, head of innovations for OSRAM, explained that this is possible because the fixtures containing the lights have computers that can measure and process 40 different parameters about the light itself and the environment it’s in.

OSRAM also has enabled other technologies that work with its lighting software to understand the room and what’s going on inside of it. For example, in retail environments, the platform brings in data from cameras or Bluetooth beacons that can indicate where people congregate in a store or where there are choke points. It’s worth noting that in the camera example, Mueller says the images aren’t used, only the data. So the platform recognizes that four people might be clustered near a clothing rack, but it won’t know who they are. In Europe, where the government regulates privacy, this is a necessary precaution.

In industrial environments, LiFi can be used to help guide robots or equipment around a plant or warehouse. LiFi is a way of transmitting data using light over short distances. It does require a transmitter and receiver, so it’s only practical for environments where the owner controls both the physical lighting infrastructure and the equipment they want to track.

The ultimate goal is to use different technologies and the sensors embedded in the lighting system to offer a variety of services. Light is an obvious one, as is location tracking. But there are also cool applications, such as those mentioned above, or even using the lights to convey relevant information.

For example, Mueller says that in a warehouse environment one customer is using the system to track forklifts and help them plot the best route to get inventory. But it also can blink the lights if it sees two forklift operators on a collision course. These sorts of services provide more value than selling a light bulb every few years.

However, in the quest to turn everything into a service, there are concerns. One is lock-in. Because the best services will be those that are easiest to use, OSRAM allows other companies’ bulbs in their fixtures and lets people write applications for its platforms. It shares APIs and offers cloud-to-cloud integration so your lighting platform can talk to your building security platform or the elevator platform. That way, customers aren’t concerned about obvious signs of lock-in.

Additionally, in revamping its business toward more services, OSRAM’s customer changes from the facilities folks to the C-level executives and/or plant managers, who are thinking holistically about the success of the business.

Finally, in the services world, companies like OSRAM will face a host of new competitors that are also trying to sell elements of their business as a service. Lighting can provide interesting sources of data, such as where people are in a building, but other sensors or platforms could offer the same data. Or perhaps a far-thinking utility might offer a package of comfort that includes lighting, HVAC and warm water. A buyer might decide to go for something like that instead.

GE’s Current unit basically sells energy management, which includes lighting among some other elements such as power for operations. So even as the lighting industry undergoes its digital transformation, there are still a lot of questions left to answer and a really unsettled playing field.

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Apple Services on Track to Overtake iPhone as Primary Revenue Driver

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Apple has been all about the iPhone since it launched the now-ubiquitous flagship. Going forward, however, that may no longer be the case. In fact, the Cupertino tech giant’s services revenue is rapidly growing. At this point, it’s on track to overtake Apple’s flagship iPhone as the firm’s primary driver of revenue, Morgan Stanley Managing […]
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