PM Modi Launches Umang App to Provide Multiple Citizen-Centric Services Under One Roof

PM Modi Launches Umang App to Provide Multiple Citizen-Centric Services Under One Roof

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Umang app is available for both Android and iOS platforms
  • The app gives access to tons of e-governance services
  • There is Aadhaar-based authentication

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday launched a unified app to serve e-governance through mobile devices. Called Umang (Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance), the app is developed by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and National e-Governance Division (NeGD) to offer services of the central, state, local bodies, and various government agencies right on Android and iOS based mobile devices. The new offering had emerged on the sidelines of the fifth Global Conference on Cyberspace (GCCS) in New Delhi.

“Today, we launched the Umang Mobile App, which will provide over a hundred citizen-centric services. At the back-end, these services will be catered for by many different departments of the Union and State Governments. This integrated approach will add an automatic layer of ‘peer performance pressure’, in the working of these departments,” Prime Minister Modi said while addressing the audience at GCCS.

The Umang app bundles a list of Digital India services, including Aadhaar, DigiLocker, and PayGov. Additionally, the app provides citizens with all the major government services provided through app, web, SMS, and IVR channels. In terms of e-governance, citizens can use the Umang app to access their income tax filing, LPG cylinder bookings, and Provident Fund account. Parents can also use the Umang app to access CBSE results. It has multilingual support with as many as 10 Indian languages in addition to Hindi and English and includes a payment-based transaction access.

Unlike any third-party apps to access e-governance services, the Umang app supports Aadhaar and other authentication mechanisms such as your phone number and location to give you single-point ubiquitous access to all government services.

You need to register your identity to start using the Umang app. The registration process begins with an OTP (one-time password) that will be generated to your provided mobile number. You’ll also need to choose a couple of security questions and fill in their answers that will help you recover the Umang account. Once you’ve completed the registration, the app will ask you to set an MPIN that will be used alongside your mobile number to access the app.

Also, the Umang app has social media integration that allows you to connect your Facebook, Google, and Twitter accounts and enable one-touch login process.

The interface of the Umang app appears to be convenient for novices. Similarly, the app comes with features like favourites and push notification alerts to help you leverage the benefits of e-governance in the country. There is a support option available on the app to help citizens reach experts for their doubts related to the app or its listed services. However, that option didn’t connect us with one of the agents at the time of our testing.

The Umang app is compatible with devices running Android 4.4 and above and iOS 8.0 and later. Moreover, you can give a missed call on 97183-97183 to get the app download link on your number.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Lyft Expands Services Across 32 US States

Lyft Expands Services Across 32 US States

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The move boosts the number of states with full coverage to 40
  • Uber says it has near-statewide coverage in 13 states
  • For Lyft, the expansion is a bold move into unserved areas and a gamble

Lyft is driving into the countryside in an effort to raise ridership and steal market share from rival Uber.

The much smaller Lyft announced Thursday that it is offering service to passengers in every corner of 32 US states, including hard-to-reach rural areas. The move boosts the number of states with full coverage to 40.

Uber, which controls about 70 percent of the US ride-hailing market, says it has near-statewide coverage in 13 states. A spokeswoman was skeptical that any company could provide timely service in all areas within a state’s boundaries.

For Lyft, the expansion is a bold move into unserved areas and a gamble that it can carve new markets out of even the most rural areas that have ride-hailing needs but no consistent service. Until now, using a smartphone to summon a ride mainly was reserved for larger metropolitan areas with a lot of people and more potential riders.

Jaime Raczka, regional director of new markets for Lyft, said the initiative will allow the company to outmatch its rivals in terms of coverage area and the number of people with access to its platform. Before Thursday, 79 percent of the US population could get Lyft service. With Thursday’s move, that number rises to 94 percent, she said.

To pull off the expansion, Lyft has been recruiting new drivers for months, many in smaller towns that weren’t previously served. The company wouldn’t say how many drivers it has added, only that it has about 700,000 nationwide.

Currently Lyft has statewide service in New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, Delaware and Hawaii. As of Thursday it added Alaska, Arizona, California, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Lyft has at least some coverage in all 50 states, and decided to offer full coverage in the 40 that have consistent statewide ride-hailing regulations, Raczka said. The company said it will even offer rides in the most rural expanses of Alaska and the far reaches of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Just how long it takes to get a ride will vary by area. She wouldn’t give an average response time or fare estimate for rural areas, but conceded that initially it may take more than 10 minutes to get a ride in remote places. Those who have important trips such as traveling to an airport to catch a flight might want to use Lyft’s scheduled ride service if it’s available, she said.

In New York, where Lyft has had statewide service since June, the company’s app showed few cars in the Finger Lakes region late Wednesday night. In Corning, a small town near the Pennsylvania border, the closest Lyft ride was 74 miles and more than an hour away in Binghamton. The app gave no estimate of a pickup time like it does in urban areas.

Raczka says experience has shown that as people find out about the service, they summon more rides and more drivers usually follow. “We do improve service levels once we get into markets,” she said.

Uber says is has close to statewide coverage is in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Arkansas, Mississippi, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and Florida. Spokeswoman MoMo Zhou questioned whether Lyft would have drivers available for rides in areas with low demand.

There’s clearly a market for ride services in rural areas, especially from people who are older, disabled or injured, said Gartner analyst Michael Ramsey. Until it becomes established, Lyft will have to pay drivers extra to fetch passengers in rural areas, generating some big losses, he said.

“That will allow them to gain market share, but it’s not going to be free,” Ramsey said.

He expects demand to grow and eventually pay off for Lyft. “There are a lot of people who need mobility, and especially in rural communities, don’t have access to it,” he said. “Demand comes from the supply, and vice versa.”

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Drivers’ union plans to launch cab services next month

An Uber driver uses the app to navigate the often congested streets of Bangalore.

An Uber driver uses the app to navigate the often congested streets of Bangalore.(NYT)

Some members of cab aggregators  Ola and Uber, who have formed a drivers’ union, plan to launch its services next month with the help of Kolkata-based  technology startup which owns TYGR app.

“We plan to launch our cab services in the month of  August with the help of Savetur Digital Private Limited, which owns TYGR app,” former Uber, TaxiForSure and Ola Drivers And  Owners Association President Tanveer Pasha told PTI here.

“We want to give a local name to the app. Something  like “Namma TYGR” or “Namma Huli”, are some of the names we are planning on,” he added.

In the next three days, union members and Savetur officials are scheduled to meet at the residence of former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy to finalise the deal, including the launching date and signing of documents, Pasha said.

He said Savetur would run and manage the business  according to a model drafted by drivers’ union, which would satisfy both drivers and riders.

However, the union will control and supervise Savetur  through their company, which is in the process of registering  its name as Huli Technologies.

It plans to expand to Mysuru, Mangaluru and Belagavi after the Bengaluru launch, Pasha said.

The company will focus on driver benefits, including a 10% commission charged for drivers, besides insurance and family benefits, among other incentives, he said.

The company plans to raise Rs 12 crore to run and sustain business at the initial stages and many investors have shown keen interest to pick stake in the company, Pasha said.

He said the company aims to give Rs five lakh worth of life insurance, Rs five lakh accident insurance and Rs two lakh medical insurance to the drivers annually.

The company plans to have three to four car categories  that will show up on the “Namma TYGR” app, the name of which  could be changed,which includes a mini, hatchback option at Rs 12.50 per km, a Rs 14.5 per km, a sports sedan option at utility vehicle option at Rs 18.50 per km and an outstation  cab option, Pasha said.

The company also plans to set up five private patrol  security cars to attend to drivers’ problems of facing drunk  riders travelling late at night.

“The private patrol car will help drivers during medical and legal emergencies,” he added.

The idea originated when the drivers had gone on strike  in February against cab aggregators, demanding better  incentives and stopping attachment of new cabs which they said affects bookings.

[“Source-hindustantimes”]

New Smartphone from LG, Cloud Management Services from Staples Make Small Biz Headlines

If you want to run a mobile business, you need mobile specific tools like a smartphone and a cloud management platform. This week, small businesses got a few new options. First, Verizon called a new LG smartphone perfect for content creators. And Staples launched a new cloud management and records storage solution.

You can read about these new services along with more small business headlines in this week’s Small Business Trends news and information roundup.

Technology Trends

Verizon Calls New LG Phone Perfect for Content Creators, But Why?

The V20 from LG (KRX:066570) was announced in August, and it is now available online from Verizon (NYSE:VZ) targeting content creators. Today’s smartphones are more than just phones, and manufacturers are addressing different segments with a range of models.

Staples Adds Record Storage and Cloud Management for Business

Small businesses looking for record storage or cloud management services just got another option from a familiar source. Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS) is partnering with GRM, a leading provider of information management solutions, to offer these services under the Staples brand. Staples Records and Cloud Management offers a range of specific services that businesses of all sizes can choose from.

Windows 10 Adds New Dimensions with 3D Paint and PowerPoint

If the upgrade of Paint to 3D by Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) works, this might be what catapults the technology for mass adoption. For over 30 years the Paint app has remained popular because it is easy to use, and thankfully Microsoft hasn’t forgotten that. According to the company, it will be just as easy to capture, create and share in 3D with the revamped app.

Office 365 Users, GoDaddy Will Encrypt and Archive Your Email

If you use Office 365 on GoDaddy (NYSE:GDDY), a new service will protect your email with an encryption and archiving service. The increase in security by GoDaddy and others in the tech industry highlights the threat landscape in the digital environment, which is very high.

3 MacBook Pros Focus On Productivity — But Are They For Business?

The revamped MacBook Pro line of laptops has arrived with 13 and 15-inch models almost four years after the last noteworthy upgrade. And this time around there are more changes, both inside and outside. A Look at the New 2016 MacBook Pros Externally, they are smaller with the 13-inch coming in at 14.9 mm thick and 3 lbs, while the 15-inch is slightly bigger at 4 lbs and 15.4 mm.

Microsoft Touts Surface Book i7 as Ultimate Laptop — with Ultimate Price Tag

Coined the ultimate laptop by Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), the new Surface Book i7 packs a punch, in terms of performance and the bruising your wallet will take. The announcement of the new i7 comes just as Microsoft released Surface Studio, another bruiser that is squarely aimed at taking on Apple’s stronghold among creative users.

Economy

UPS Sees Profits Jump 14 Percent with Ecommerce Driving Growth in Shipments

Riding high on booming ecommerce in the U.S., UPS (NYSE:UPS) has posted a profitable third quarter. UPS 3rd Quarter 2016 Results Domestic Shipments Drive Growth In the third quarter, international operating profit went up 14 percent to $576 million, achieving the seventh consecutive quarter of double-digit growth. What’s more, average daily package volume grew 5.7 percent in the U.S.

Amazon Sees Third Quarter Sales Increases of 29 Percent – in Part Due to New Biz Opportunities

Amazon’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) third quarter results are out. This quarter, the company posted $32.7 billion in revenue in the third quarter, up 29 percent. Q3 2016 Amazon Results Key Highlights Among highlights shared by the online retail giant, some are especially significant for small businesses.

Why Small Business Share of U.S. Inventions is Declining

Small businesses are accounting for a smaller fraction of new technology creation than they used to, at least according data from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). That trend has many policy makers and pundits concerned that our innovation system is handicapping small business. While that explanation is possible, I think a more basic story accounts for the trend.

Hispanic-Owned Businesses See Revenue Spike, Says Biz2Credit Report

Hispanic-owned businesses are on a roll, reveals a new study. According to the Biz2Credit Hispanic Small Business Credit Study, Hispanic-owned companies had average annual revenues of $202,327 in 2016, up from $68,540 the previous year. The number of loan applications by Latino entrepreneurs made through Biz2Credit.com grew by 68.7 percent in the past 12 months.

Employment

Obamacare Enrollment Opens Today With Impacts for Self-Employed Solopreneurs

Open enrollment for individuals and families wanting to apply for health insurance through Obamacare starts today. Depending on where you live, you can either go to Healthcare.gov or your state’s healthcare exchange website. Self-employed businesses and solopreneurs with no employees  should also use this option.

#SalaryWins Twitter Chat Explores How to Get the Best Employees on a Budget

If you want your business to be successful, you need to hire the best team possible. But the reality for small businesses is that it’s not always possible to spend as much on hiring as large companies. That doesn’t mean that you have to settle when it comes to your team though.

Retail Trends

Are Starbucks Cups Brainwashing Customers? Some Think So (Watch)

Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) is in hot water (er – coffee?) again over a special cup design. The design features a variety of different people sketched all over the cup. The cup is green with a white circle in the middle where the Starbucks logo would normally go. The company has said that the design is supposed to represent unity.

10 Awesome Tips for Using Gift Cards to Boost Your Holiday Sales

Whether you own a retail store, beauty salon, restaurant, housecleaning service or other local business, gift cards can be a great way to spark new holiday sales. Gift cards aren’t just for big, national chains anymore; in fact, a new study reports, half of U.S. consumers are very open to buying gift cards from small, independent retailers.

Hair Care Company Faces Lawsuit, Investigation – and Possibly Worse (Watch)

Hundreds of people who purchased hair care products from Wen by Chaz Dean got a little more (or less) than they bargained for. According to a class action lawsuit against the company and direct marketing company Guthy-Renker, 200 women from 40 different states have reported hair loss, scalp irritation and rashes after using the products.

How the Election is Impacting Halloween Spending (Watch)

People are spending more money on Halloween this year than they ever have before. And you might have Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump to thank for that. Before this year, 2012 held the record for highest amount spent on Halloween. And there was even an uptick in 2008 even though the country was in the middle of a recession.

Small Biz Spotlight

Spotlight: Aulta Specializes in Watches for Surfers

If you have an active lifestyle, traditional fashion brands might not provide enough durability when it comes to clothing and accessories. But Aulta is different. The company, which was founded by three friends who love to surf, makes watches for surfers and others who have active lifestyles. Read more about the company in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

Small Business Operations

10 Lessons Your Small Business Should Learn from the Podesta Email Hack

The email hacks — not the other email problem — impacting this year’s Presidential election should be a stern warning to any small business owner. Cyber attacks are on the rise and you don’t have to be the campaign chair of a Presidential candidate to be a target. In fact, if you’re a small business owner, you’re more likely to be targeted.

Airstory Gets Your Team Collaborating on Content — From Anywhere

There are many small businesses that specialize in creating content for websites, and when Airstory becomes available by the end of the month, it could make it much easier to do so. Airstory is a collaborative cloud-based content creation platform for planning, writing, editing and kicking ideas around with your team. It works no matter where they are or what device you are using.

Feds Short-changed Small Businesses Out of $200 Billion in Contracts in 2015 Alone, Says Advocacy Group

The United States government agency responsible for supporting entrepreneurs has been accused of short-changing small business owners out of $2 trillion in federal contracts over the last ten years.

QuickBooks Users Can Now Accept Payments Through PayPal

Intuit Inc. (NASDAQ: INTU), QuickBooks’ parent company, has announced that QuickBooks users will soon be able to send an electronic invoice from Intuit QuickBooks Online and seamlessly accept payment from their customers through PayPal (NASDAQ:PYPL). Yep, now small businesses can accept PayPal payments through QuickBooks.

Taxes

5 Changes to Information Returns — Coming in January

The year 2017 may seem like a long time from now, but it will be here before you know it. There are some important changes impacting businesses required to file certain information returns. The sooner you gear up for this tax responsibility, the easier your filing responsibilities will be.

Image: LG

[“source-smallbiztrends”]