Swiggy, the online food ordering platform launched Swiggy Access to allow its restaurant partners to set up kitchen spaces in neighborhoods where they currently do not operate. This initiative will help in bringing quality food closer to consumers while enabling business expansion for its restaurant partners.
While Swiggy upped its game, Zomato also did not leave any spoon unturned. The online restaurant discovery platform launched its international paid subscription programme, Zomato Gold. This subscription based initiative is an exclusive dine out and social drinking membership programme where members can avail complimentary meals and drinks. While Zomato users will get access to complimentary food and drinks at over 1,200 highly rated restaurant partners, Swiggy users will get faster delivery as these kitchen spaces are “delivery only” branches and do not have a dine in option.
Zomato first launched the service in the UAE and Portugal earlier this year before launching it in India. At the moment, the programme is available through two membership plans. Users can pay the inaugural price of Rs. 299 for three months or Rs. 999 for 12 months. At present only Delhi NCR, Mumbai and Bengaluru based users can avail this opportunity.
Meanwhile, Swiggy’s restaurant partners will be able to expand their services to newer neighborhoods where consumers can avail a great variety of food at a lightning fast speed. Through this initiative, restaurants will also be able to optimize their kitchens for factors like stocks planning, demand forecasting, preparation time and order edits.
Although rumors suggest both the giants of the food delivery industry were in talks for a stock based merger, Swiggy denied all allegations in a statement. At present, it seems like both the startups have locked heads to capture a majority of the lucrative industry. Despite global players like UberEATS and Google trying to enter the restaurant discovery and food ordering marketplace, Swiggy and Zomato still hold the upper hand.
According to Zoamto, the company completes close to 3 million online orders per month, while Swiggy claims to complete 4 million. However, as Swiggy is still mainly a food delivering platform, Zomato reigns over the restaurant discovery business. India’s online food delivery market has grown exponentially over the past couple of years. The estimated Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) for the fiscal year 2016 was close to $300 million. While both Swiggy Access and Zomato Gold seem to be bold moves, it is yet to be seen who will wear the ultimate crown.
India Gives Green Signal To Net Neutrality!
The country of millennials, India just made a big announcement regarding the latest rules of net neutrality. India wants to make sure they provide an open and fair internet for nearly half a billion people!
Here’s what is in store for the Internet in India!
India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) approved net neutrality rules that bans blocking and zero rating of internet data. The framework of net neutrality which was published last year as a recommendation from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI,) was the culmination of years long campaign for net neutrality. However, they were seeking public opinions on potential changes to internet regulations since 2015. TRAI had recommended the implementation of neutral internet rules in 2017. Now, years later, the news of approval from the government of India comes to the headlines. The new rules by the DoT prevent any internet service provider (ISP) from blocking, throttling, slowing down or granting any special treatment to any content available on the internet. However, these rules do not apply to critical IoT services or specialized services including autonomous vehicles and remote surgery operations. According to sources, TRAI head R.S. Sharma said while comparing the rules to ambulances that can legally disobey traffic rules, or in this case, get prioritized status to maintain service quality. Speaking about the Internet service providers, they need to agree to the deal when they sign license agreements with the Department of Telecommunications. Those who violate the rules could have their licenses cancelled. Internet service providers cannot perform actions involving blocking, degrading, slowing down or granting preferential speeds or treatment to any content!
Here’s what the official Twitter handle of TRAI posted!
With Telecom Commission’s endorsement of TRAI’s recommendations on #NetNeutrality, India takes an unambiguous stand on this issue.
– thread –
— TRAI (@TRAI) July 12, 2018
Internet access services should be governed by a principle that restricts any form of discrimination or interference in the treatment of content, the Indian regulations stated.
Facebook To Be Fined A Fortune Over Cambridge Analytica Scandal!
In 2017, the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) launched an inquiry into voters’ data being obtained and used by political campaigns. This was following the Observer’s early investigative reports, into Cambridge Analytica, the political research firm. Facebook and Cambridge Analytica have been under scrutiny, for harvesting the data of millions of Facebook users around the globe, with the total number of people affected now at 87 million. The social media giant Facebook will be fined $ 664,000 for failing to protect users’ information by the UK’s privacy watchdog. While a fine of $ 664,000 is the biggest possible punishment available to the ICO, it is the same amount of money Facebook makes in just a few minutes. At the time of the infraction, the law on processing data was set out under the Data Protection Act of 1998, which imposed a maximum penalty of £ 500,00. However, Under the new Data Protection Act 2018, companies can be fined up to 4 % of global turnover, a substantially more serious penalty. In Facebook’s case, a fine could be as high as $ 1.9 bn, based on its revenue.
Elizabeth Denham, the Information Commissioner said she would penalize the social network platform as her office investigates how the data of millions of users was improperly accessed. Earlier, the CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg was questioned by the U.S., and the EU lawmakers over how Cambridge Analytica accessed the personal data of such a huge number of Facebook users. During the EU referendum, Facebook was found to be at fault for failing to be clear about how the information had been harvested by others. According to reports, Denham said Facebook has failed to provide the kinds of protections they’re required to do under data protection laws.
However, the penalty could change as the agency would discuss the matter further with Facebook. Generally, the ICO does not reveal its initial investigations but this time, it shared the details of the amount of the penalty because of the hyped public interest toward the scandal. Also, the agency would next give an update in October, this year.
Erin Egan, Facebook’s Chief Privacy Officer, acknowledged in a statement Facebook should have done more to investigate claims about Cambridge Analytica and take action in 2015. Apart from this, the UK privacy watchdogs said the fallout from Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal is only the beginning. The UK’s early efforts could inform ongoing investigations elsewhere in Europe as well as the United States, where a probe by the Federal Trade Commission could result in a penalty well into the hundreds of billions of dollars. The FBI and the Securities and Exchange Commission are also looking into Facebook’s ties to Cambridge Analytica.
OYO Acquires Mumbai Based Tech Firm AblePlus
The homegrown hospitality firm OYO acquired the Mumbai based Internet of Things (IoT) company AblePlus, in order to enhance its technology portfolio. AblePlus specialises in developing Internet of Things (IoT) solutions to bring intelligence into every aspect of business. Speaking about the acquisition, neither of the firms disclosed financial details about the deal. With this partnership, OYO aims to create a sustainable ecosystem powered by technology and artificial intelligence for managing its operations. The Chief Technology Officer of OYO, Anil Goel, said with the introduction of IoT into the basic precincts of hotel management, we aim to enhance customer and partner experiences by roping in the best of technology capabilities that are changing how India sees hospitality today.
With the country moving forward at a very fast pace in terms of technology developments, OYO is extremely elated with its latest acquisition of the technology firm, AblePlus. Anil Goel stated we are delighted to announce our acquisition of AblePlus towards pioneering the application of IoT in Indian and global hospitality segment and creating a global impact. Both Akash Goel and Bonish Gandhi (Co founders of AblePlus) are extremely talented individuals and we are excited to welcome them onboard. Through partnerships like this, we envision a smooth road ahead for building the world’s largest technology-enabled hospitality brand.
Recently, OYO also introduced the first initiative of Digital Arrival & Departure Register, which has been adopted by the state governments of Haryana and Rajasthan. Apart from that, OYO also makes use of Machine Learning (ML) based algorithms to personalise the user’s journey. The company is also looking forward to launching technology integrated solutions for its easy functionality. According to sources, the company is aiming to introduce voice enabled assistance in rooms for controlling appliances, lights and other various services. Goel added through increased technology intervention that enables the remote monitoring and management of rooms across properties, we will be able to achieve improved operational efficiency, thus creating a superior stakeholder experience. As one of the first startups that are early adopters of IoT powered technologies, we look forward to delivering new, advanced applications for key vertical markets that will offer an elevated customer experience.
Not so long ago, Oyo announced its foray into the Chinese market. The hospitality firm is keen on expanding its company as well as enhancing its operations! As of now, OYO operates in more than 160 cities across India, China, Malaysia and Nepal with over 5,000 exclusive hotels in its chain and 1,00,000 rooms.
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