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Now Internet Enabled Cars to Customise Services, Prop-up Sales

Additionally, the trend will get a boost due to the proliferation of smart connected devices, machine-to-machine communication and wearables

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Tesla, car insurance
A sales staff chats with a customer at a Tesla store near a poster announcing orders of the Model 3 electric cars in Beijing, China, Monday, Jan. 7, 2019. VOA

The soon-to-be-launched internet-enabled passenger cars, via SIM card connections, will have the ability to not only become major product differentiators but also prop up sales, experts said.

The new age passenger vehicles will access internet either through a normal SIM card or E-SIM (electronic SIM) card. The technology is set to impact everything from insurance premiums to sub-leasing of cars.

Even a higher price tag might not hinder sales, as initially the internet-enabled cars are expected only in the top-end variants whose customers can look forward to a host of futuristic services like vehicle self-diagnoses, the latest entertainment feed and automatic emergency systems.

On the other hand, the application provides various tertiary revenue generating streams for auto and telecom companies.

Industry watchers revealed that almost all original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) plan to develop or launch new models featuring this type of technology, which might become as common as air bags in the near future.

Till now, automobile majors such as Hyundai and MG Motor have disclosed information about their upcoming models sporting this technology.

“The connected experience in MG Hector is powered by a customized solution developed by Unlimit in partnership with Cisco and Airtel,” MG Motor India President and MD Rajeev Chaba said.

“The connected mobility solution on the MG Hector is also Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPV6) ready for 5G. Airtel was chosen as the telecommunication partner because of the strength of its pan-India 4G network, as well as the high-speed internet connectivity that it enables.”

The marquee British automaker will sell, by June this year, MG Hector with iSMART Next Gen, which will be the first internet car in India and redefine connected mobility.

Fewer cars means lower emission of carbon dioxide, the leading gas that causes global warming, experts say. Pixabay

According to Sridhar V., Partner with Grant Thornton India, the new technology type will be a product differentiator and offered as an advantage to its customers.

“E-SIM enabled car, in a sense, turns out that the automobile also functions as a mobile device. Connected cars mobility solutions are enhanced through a E-SIM, adding to the convenience and safety factor,” Sridhar told IANS.

“It simplifies various operations which otherwise requires special effort in a seamless fashion. The service levels of the OEM grow multi-fold with this new technology.”

On its part, Hyundai has showcased connected SUV Venue which has an in-built and tamper-proof device powered by Vodafone-Idea E-SIM and a cloud-based voice recognition platform.

The SUV sports “Blue Link” which is Hyundai’s global technology slated to be introduced in the Indian market with 33 features, out of which 10 are India-specific.

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Additionally, the trend will get a boost due to the proliferation of smart connected devices, machine-to-machine communication and wearables.

“Slowing demand and the ability to keep the cars connected, even when it is with the user, opens up options for selling, leasing or other ways of allowing customers to experience the car,” Rahul Mishra, Principal at A.T. Kearney, told IANS.

“E-SIM enabled connectivity also allows to remotely monitor the vehicle usage pattern and accordingly optimise financing and insurance expenses. With 5G technologies coming in, pushing more digital content and content monetisation will become game changers.” (IANS)

Next Story

Walmart To Stop Some Ammunition Sales

The announcement comes just days after a mass shooting claimed seven lives in Odessa, Texas, and follows back-to-back shootings last month

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walmart, sales, ammunition
Shoppers walk in the parking lot of a Walmart store in Fairfax, Virginia. (Photo: Diaa Bekheet) Walmart says it will stop selling ammunition for handguns and assault-style weapons. VOA

Walmart says it will stop selling handgun and short-barrel rifle ammunition even where state laws allow it.The announcement comes just days after a mass shooting claimed seven lives in Odessa, Texas, and follows back-to-back shootings last month, one of them at a Walmart store.

The Bentonville, Arkansas-based discounter said Tuesday it will stop selling handgun ammunition as well as short-barrel rifle ammunition, such as the .223 caliber and 5.56 caliber used in military style weapons, after it runs out of its current inventory.

It will also discontinue handgun sales in Alaska. Walmart stopped selling handguns in the mid-1990s, with the exception of Alaska. The latest move marks its complete exit from that business and allows it to focus on hunting rifles and related ammunition only.

“In a complex situation lacking a simple solution, we are trying to take constructive steps to reduce the risk that events like these will happen again,” according to a memo by Walmart’s CEO Doug McMillon circulated to employees Tuesday afternoon. “The status quo is unacceptable.”

The retailer is further requesting that customers refrain from openly carrying firearms at its Walmart and Sam’s Club stores unless they are law enforcement officers. However, it said that it won’t be changing its policy for customers who have permits for concealed carry. Walmart says it will be adding signage in stores to inform customers of those changes.

Last month, a gunman entered a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, killing 22 people . The gunman used an AK-style rifle — one that Walmart already bans the sale of — in the deadliest shooting in the company’s history. Texas became an open carry state in 2016, allowing people to openly carry firearms in public.

Walmart’s moves will reduce its market share of ammunition from around 20% to a range of about 6% to 9%, according to Tuesday’s memo. About half of its more than 4,750 U.S. stores sell firearms, or around 2% of all U.S. firearms. Most firearms sales are done through thousands of unaffiliated gun shops or gun shows, not big retail chains.

A number of gun control activists praised Walmart’s moves, while gun manufacturers such as Vista Outdoors and Smith & Wesson parent company American Outdoor Brands Corp. saw their shares fall.

walmart, ammunition, sales
Walmart says it will stop selling ammunition for handguns and assault-style weapons. VOA

Other companies have responded to public pressure to restrict gun sales. Dick’s Sporting Goods announced in March it would stop selling firearms and ammunition at 125 of its 700-plus locations. Kroger’s said last year that it would stop selling firearms and ammunition at its Fred Meyer stores in the Pacific Northwest. Kroger joined Walmart Tuesday in asking customers not to openly carry their guns when they visit its stores.

But supporters of stricter gun laws say Walmart’s latest steps should have an outsized influence because of its clout, sending a strong message to Congress as well as other corporations.

“Walmart deserves enormous credit for joining the strong and growing majority of Americans who know that we have too many guns in our country and they are too easy to get,” said Igor Volsky, executive director and founder of Guns Down America, in a statement. “That work doesn’t end with Walmart’s decision today. As Congress comes back to consider gun violence, Walmart should make it clear that it stands with Americans who are demanding real change.”

The National Rifle Association posted a tweet attacking Walmart’s announcement.
“It is shameful to see Walmart succumb to the pressure of the anti-gun elites. Lines at Walmart will soon be replaced by lines at other retailers who are more supportive of America’s fundamental freedoms,” it said.

The nation’s largest retailer has been facing increasing pressure to change its gun policies by gun control activists, employees and politicians after the El Paso shooting and a second unrelated shooting in Dayton, Ohio, that killed nine people . A few days before that, two Walmart workers were killed by another worker at a store in Southaven, Mississippi.

In the aftermath of the El Paso shooting, Walmart took an initial step of ordering workers in stores nationwide to remove video game signs and displays that depict violence. But that fell well short of demands for the retailer to stop selling firearms entirely. Critics have also wanted Walmart to stop supporting politicians backed by the NRA.

The retailer has long found itself in an awkward spot with its customers and gun enthusiasts. Many of its stores are located in rural areas where hunters depend on Walmart to get their equipment. Walmart is trying to walk a fine line by trying to embrace its hunting heritage while being a more responsible retailer.

With its new policy on “open carry,” McMillon noted in his memo that individuals have tried to make a statement by carrying weapons into its stores just to frighten workers and customers. But there are well-intentioned customers acting lawfully who have also inadvertently caused a store to be evacuated and local law enforcement to be called to respond.

Walmart and Kroger joins a string of other retailers and restaurants including Starbucks, Target and Wendy’s in asking customers not to openly carry their guns when they visit their premises. But they are not enforcing an outright ban because they don’t want to put their employees in confrontational situations.

Walmart says it hopes to help other retailers by sharing its best practices in background checks. And the company, which in 2015 stopped selling assault rifles like the AR-rifles used in several mass shootings, urged more debate on the reauthorization of the assault weapons ban while also calling for the government to strengthen background checks. Walmart said it sent letters Tuesday to the White House and the congressional leadership that call for action on these “common sense” measures.

Kroger said late Tuesday that it’s joining those encouraging elected leaders to pass laws that will strengthen background checks and remove weapons from those who have been found to pose a risk for violence.

Over the last 15 years, Walmart had expanded beyond its hunting and fishing roots, carrying items like assault rifles in response to increasing demand. But particularly since 2015, often coinciding with major public mass shootings, the company has made moves to curb the sale of ammunition and guns.

Walmart announced in February 2018 that it would no longer sell firearms and ammunition to people younger than 21 and also removed items resembling assault-style rifles from its website. Those moves were prompted by the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people.

In 2015, Walmart stopped selling semi-automatic weapons like the AR-15 style rifle, the type used in the Dayton shooting. The retailer also doesn’t sell large-capacity magazines. Dick’s Sporting Good stopped selling assault-style weapons in 2018.ate laws allow it.

The announcement comes just days after a mass shooting claimed seven lives in Odessa, Texas, and follows back-to-back shootings last month, one of them at a Walmart store.

The Bentonville, Arkansas-based discounter said Tuesday it will stop selling handgun ammunition as well as short-barrel rifle ammunition, such as the .223 caliber and 5.56 caliber used in military style weapons, after it runs out of its current inventory.

walmart, sales, ammunition
Walmart in Fajardo, Puerto Rico. Wikimedia Commons

It will also discontinue handgun sales in Alaska. Walmart stopped selling handguns in the mid-1990s, with the exception of Alaska. The latest move marks its complete exit from that business and allows it to focus on hunting rifles and related ammunition only.

“In a complex situation lacking a simple solution, we are trying to take constructive steps to reduce the risk that events like these will happen again,” according to a memo by Walmart’s CEO Doug McMillon circulated to employees Tuesday afternoon. “The status quo is unacceptable.”

The retailer is further requesting that customers refrain from openly carrying firearms at its Walmart and Sam’s Club stores unless they are law enforcement officers. However, it said that it won’t be changing its policy for customers who have permits for concealed carry. Walmart says it will be adding signage in stores to inform customers of those changes.

Last month, a gunman entered a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, killing 22 people . The gunman used an AK-style rifle — one that Walmart already bans the sale of — in the deadliest shooting in the company’s history. Texas became an open carry state in 2016, allowing people to openly carry firearms in public.

FILE – A police officer stands next to a police cordon after a mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso,Texas, Aug. 3, 2019.
Walmart to Revamp, Reopen El Paso Store After Mass Shooting
Walmart says it will reopen its El Paso store where 22 people were killed in a shooting this month, but only after the entire interior of the store is rebuilt
Walmart’s moves will reduce its market share of ammunition from around 20% to a range of about 6% to 9%, according to Tuesday’s memo. About half of its more than 4,750 U.S. stores sell firearms, or around 2% of all U.S. firearms. Most firearms sales are done through thousands of unaffiliated gun shops or gun shows, not big retail chains.

A number of gun control activists praised Walmart’s moves, while gun manufacturers such as Vista Outdoors and Smith & Wesson parent company American Outdoor Brands Corp. saw their shares fall.

Other companies have responded to public pressure to restrict gun sales. Dick’s Sporting Goods announced in March it would stop selling firearms and ammunition at 125 of its 700-plus locations. Kroger’s said last year that it would stop selling firearms and ammunition at its Fred Meyer stores in the Pacific Northwest. Kroger joined Walmart Tuesday in asking customers not to openly carry their guns when they visit its stores.

But supporters of stricter gun laws say Walmart’s latest steps should have an outsized influence because of its clout, sending a strong message to Congress as well as other corporations.

“Walmart deserves enormous credit for joining the strong and growing majority of Americans who know that we have too many guns in our country and they are too easy to get,” said Igor Volsky, executive director and founder of Guns Down America, in a statement. “That work doesn’t end with Walmart’s decision today. As Congress comes back to consider gun violence, Walmart should make it clear that it stands with Americans who are demanding real change.”

Walmart is turning off violent displays in games and sports while continuing to sell firearms
The National Rifle Association posted a tweet attacking Walmart’s announcement.

“It is shameful to see Walmart succumb to the pressure of the anti-gun elites. Lines at Walmart will soon be replaced by lines at other retailers who are more supportive of America’s fundamental freedoms,” it said.

The nation’s largest retailer has been facing increasing pressure to change its gun policies by gun control activists, employees and politicians after the El Paso shooting and a second unrelated shooting in Dayton, Ohio, that killed nine people . A few days before that, two Walmart workers were killed by another worker at a store in Southaven, Mississippi.

In the aftermath of the El Paso shooting, Walmart took an initial step of ordering workers in stores nationwide to remove video game signs and displays that depict violence. But that fell well short of demands for the retailer to stop selling firearms entirely. Critics have also wanted Walmart to stop supporting politicians backed by the NRA.

The retailer has long found itself in an awkward spot with its customers and gun enthusiasts. Many of its stores are located in rural areas where hunters depend on Walmart to get their equipment. Walmart is trying to walk a fine line by trying to embrace its hunting heritage while being a more responsible retailer.

With its new policy on “open carry,” McMillon noted in his memo that individuals have tried to make a statement by carrying weapons into its stores just to frighten workers and customers. But there are well-intentioned customers acting lawfully who have also inadvertently caused a store to be evacuated and local law enforcement to be called to respond.

Walmart and Kroger joins a string of other retailers and restaurants including Starbucks, Target and Wendy’s in asking customers not to openly carry their guns when they visit their premises. But they are not enforcing an outright ban because they don’t want to put their employees in confrontational situations.

ALSO READ: New York’s Worst Measles Epidemic in Nearly 30 Years Officially over After Months of Emergency Measures

Walmart says it hopes to help other retailers by sharing its best practices in background checks. And the company, which in 2015 stopped selling assault rifles like the AR-rifles used in several mass shootings, urged more debate on the reauthorization of the assault weapons ban while also calling for the government to strengthen background checks. Walmart said it sent letters Tuesday to the White House and the congressional leadership that call for action on these “common sense” measures.

Kroger said late Tuesday that it’s joining those encouraging elected leaders to pass laws that will strengthen background checks and remove weapons from those who have been found to pose a risk for violence.

Over the last 15 years, Walmart had expanded beyond its hunting and fishing roots, carrying items like assault rifles in response to increasing demand. But particularly since 2015, often coinciding with major public mass shootings, the company has made moves to curb the sale of ammunition and guns.

Walmart announced in February 2018 that it would no longer sell firearms and ammunition to people younger than 21 and also removed items resembling assault-style rifles from its website. Those moves were prompted by the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people.

In 2015, Walmart stopped selling semi-automatic weapons like the AR-15 style rifle, the type used in the Dayton shooting. The retailer also doesn’t sell large-capacity magazines. Dick’s Sporting Good stopped selling assault-style weapons in 2018. (VOA)