Thomas Cook India Launches Its End-to-End Holiday App

Thomas Cook India Launches Its End-to-End Holiday App

Integrated travel and travel related financial services company Thomas Cook India has launched an appthat allows customers to search, select and buy their holidays instantly, a company statement said on Wednesday.

“With India’s mobile commerce market expected to grow exponentially by 850 percent, to $19 billion (roughly Rs. 1,29,210 crores) by 2019, and with Cisco projecting a near five-fold jump in India’s smartphone users, to 651 million by 2019, this translates to a powerful yet under-leveraged market for holidays,” said Amit Madhan, chief operating officer-IT & E services, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd.

He added that the launch of Thomas Cook holiday app has been timed perfectly to harness this potential.

Driven by strong adoption of data consumption on mobile devices, research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) expects India to overtake the US as the second-largest global smartphone market by 2017.

With holidays featuring high on the Indian digital native wish-list, Thomas Cook India sees strong value in harnessing this powerfully emerging “m-Holiday market”, the statement said.

Given Boston Consulting Group’s data, that in addition to booking, 95 percent of Indians use digital resources equally to search/plan trips and share experiences, Thomas Cook’s holiday app has been designed to delight both m-searchers and m-bookers, according to the company.

The app offers special tools like ‘Experiential Search’, a unique ‘Wish-List’ to share with friends or book later.

In addition to its range of international and domestic holidays across price points, the company also offers a special ‘Deal Section’ through the new app.


FreeCharge Partners MasterCard, Yes Bank to Launch Virtual Card

FreeCharge Partners MasterCard, Yes Bank to Launch Virtual Card

Mobile wallet player FreeCharge has launched its new virtual card ‘FreeCharge Go’, in partnership with Yes Bank and powered by MasterCard.

The integration is now live, and enables universal payments of its app online and offline through a prepaid virtual card, which can be activated in a few seconds, the company said.

(Also read: FreeCharge COO Govind Rajan on the ‘War on Cash’)

We were able to get a virtual card generated in no time by logging on to a FreeCharge account on the web, where entering an MPIN was all it took to generate a FreeCharge Go card. Users can top up this card by adding money to FreeCharge wallet, and use it to make payments on Indian e-commerce websites, the company said. We’ve reached out to the company for a comment on whether the card will facilitate payments on services reliant on international gateways.

FreeCharge Go is secured with 128-bit encryption and stored as per PCI DSS compliance, the company said. Post activation, FreeCharge users will be able to see a 16 digit MasterCard number with an associated CVV in their account. The card details are only accessible after entering security MPIN every time the customer has to view the card details to protect customer information. As a security measure, every transaction using the card needs to be verified by an OTP which is sent to the registered mobile number.

FreeCharge had announced its offline payment integration with McDonald’s on Tuesday. The company claims to have over 15 million users for its Wallet, launched in September 2015.


Microsoft Mimicker Alarm App Launched for Android

Microsoft Mimicker Alarm App Launched for Android

Microsoft Garage, responsible for Invite, Send, Next Lock Screen, Snip, Guardian, and Parchi apps, has launched an alarm app for Android called Mimicker Alarm.

The Android app helps you wake up by forcing you to play a game. You can choose which one out of the three games you want to play. The options include taking a selfie image with a particular expression, finding an object with the same colour, or speaking a tongue twister phrase. The app also gives you the option to share the selfie images with friends.

“Watch out – if you don’t finish the game in time, we’ll assume you’ve fallen back asleep and your alarm will start ringing again. Once you complete the Mimic, share your personalized results with your friends and show how you beat the clock,” says the app description page on Google Play.

mimicker_alarm_app_screenshots_2_ndtv.jpgThe app sports the card-style user interface that matches with the rest of the Android UI. Setting up an alarm is easy. It gives all the regular options seen on other alarm apps. The app weighs 21MB, works on Android 4.1 KitKat or later OS versions, and is available to download from Google Play.

For those unaware, Microsoft’s Garage project is the company’s community of interns, employees, and teams who come together to turn ideas into real projects.

The Mimicker Alarm app was built using Microsoft’s Project Oxford, which the company calls is a “platform of artificial intelligence APIs.” The app makes use of the Emotion API for the selfie mimicry, the Speech API for the tongue twister mimicry, and the Computer Vision API to analyse colours.

“Images, audio, video, or other data that you upload when using Mimicker Alarm are sent to Project Oxford APIs in order to support the fun interactive activities included in the app. The data you upload, along with anonymous usage data may be used by Microsoft for service improvement purposes. To protect your privacy, we do not use any of the uploaded data to identify or contact you,” says Microsoft.


Ola Launches Ride Sharing Service in Kolkata

Ola Launches Ride Sharing Service in Kolkata

Cab aggregator Ola on Friday announced the launch of Ola Share, a social ride-sharing platform, in Kolkata.

Ola Share will allow users who travel on the same routes to share their cab rides with users from social groups they are part of starting today, the company said in a statement.

A ride can now be shared by up to three people at any point in time, the statement said.

(Also see:  Ola Brings Ride-Sharing Feature to Delhi NCR Region)

Ola Share already launched in Bengaluru, Delhi NCR, and Mumbai. Another cab aggregator Uber also said it will introduce ride share in the city this year. Ola launched its services in Kolkata in November 2014 city.

(Also see:  Ola Launches Private ‘CarPool’ Feature in Delhi NCR)

Speaking on the launch, Ishan Gupta, Category Head – Shared Mobility said, “After seeing tremendous adoption and response for Ola Share in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, we are thrilled to bring Ola Share to Kolkata. As one of India’s most populous cities, Kolkatta can benefit immensely from shared mobility options. Ola Share helps make transportation within a city more affordable and helps reduce pollution and on-road congestion. It also gives users the option to travel in the comfort of social groups they are part of, with convenient access from the Ola app. With Ola Share, we are enabling access for more citizens than ever before and furthering our mission of building mobility for a billion people.”