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India's Jio and IIT-Bombay working on indigenous AI model

Jio, which harbors AI ambitions, is collaborating with premier engineering institute IIT-Bombay to develop Bharat GPT.

Gagandeep Kaur

January 3, 2024

3 Min Read
Map of India with a magnifying glass.
(Source: wael alreweie/Alamy Stock Photo)

India's largest service provider, Reliance Jio, will work with the Indian Institute of Technology – Bombay (IIT-B) – to jointly work on an indigenous large language model (LLM) under the Bharat GPT program to address specific Indian needs.

"We have been working on a project with IIT Bombay to launch a Bharat GPT program," said Akash Ambani, chairman of Reliance Jio, while speaking at IIT-B's annual festival, Techfest. This project is focused on developing AI offerings for key business verticals, including telecom and retail, according to media reports. Reliance Industries has a significant presence in both these industries.

While the Bharat GPT consortium is led by IIT-B, other academic institutes are also involved. These include IIT Madras, IIT Mandi, IIT Hyderabad, IIT Kanpur IIM Indore, International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) – Hyderabad and Bhashini, a division of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

It is not clear if Jio's Bharat GPT is in some way associated with BharatGPT, launched last year by CoRover.ai, an AI startup funded by the technology innovation hub of IIIT Delhi, called iHub Anubhuti IIITD Foundation.

Ambani also elaborated on how AI will play a major role in Jio 2.0, the wider vision for the next phase of the company's growth. "We have always founded Jio as a digital society company and enabling that for India. Of course, we first had to tackle the connectivity part because, without that basic infrastructure, information would not be accessible to the whole of India. And that's what we did in Jio 1.0," says Ambani.

Now, as part of Jio 2.0, the company will launch AI "not only as a vertical inside our organization, but also horizontally across all our sectors. So you'll see us really focused and launching products and services in the media, commerce, communication stack and across our devices." He mentioned that the next decade will be defined by large language models and generative AI. Aside from this, Jio is also working on developing its own operating system for televisions.

Reliance's AI ambitions

The Reliance Group harbors AI ambitions. This was clear in the recent address by Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani to the company's workforce on December 28, the birthday of Dhirubhai Ambani, the founder of Reliance Industries. Mukesh Ambani mentioned that the group must work on AI products to help the country address problems in the priority sectors of healthcare, education, agriculture and employment.

"We need to be at the forefront of using data, with AI as an enabler for achieving a quantum jump in productivity and efficiency. All our growth engines of Reliance, digital services, green and bio-energy, retail and consumer brands, O2C and materials business and health and life sciences will have to complete this transformation by the time we meet next year. Further, we should accelerate our efforts to become a pioneer in developing AI to address and scale India's urgent national priorities in education, healthcare, agriculture and employment creation," Ambani said in his year-end address.

To realize its AI vision, Reliance Industries has partnered with Nvidia to develop cloud infrastructure, language models, and generative applications. Nvidia will provide the computing power required for building a cloud AI infrastructure platform, while Jio will manage the infrastructure and oversee customer engagement.

"To serve India's vast potential in AI, Reliance will create AI applications and services for their 450 million Jio customers and provide energy-efficient AI infrastructure to scientists, developers and startups across India," says the press release issued by Nvidia.

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About the Author(s)

Gagandeep Kaur

Contributing Editor

With more than a decade of experience, Gagandeep Kaur Sodhi has worked for the most prominent Indian communications industry publications including Dataquest, Business Standard, The Times of India, and Voice&Data, as well as for Light Reading. Delhi-based Kaur, who has knowledge of and covers a broad range of telecom industry developments, regularly interacts with the senior management of companies in India's telecom sector and has been directly responsible for delegate and speaker acquisition for prominent events such as Mobile Broadband Summit, 4G World India, and Next Generation Packet Transport Network.

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