Over the previous few days, a video conferencing service going by the identify ‘Say Namaste’ began doing rounds on WhatsApp teams and Twitter circles. The service was pegged because the Indian authorities’s official video conferencing app, made in and for Indian customers — enterprise and private alike. This, although, is simply partially true – the federal government’s solely official video conferencing service is working by the National Informatics Centre proper now, and that’s not supplied via smartphones or web sites, and is as a substitute reserved just for ministerial functions.

“I had posted about publishing a pre-beta version of our own video conferencing app on my personal Facebook account. Overnight, it went viral — we were expecting a few hundred users to test our service, with most being friends and family. Instead, we are now crossing over 500,000 users within just a few days, and our service is still in beta,” says Anuj Garg, co-founder and CEO of Inscripts, the corporate that constructed Say Namaste.

NOT a authorities app

Garg and his workforce constructed the app in two days whereas working from dwelling, in a bid to money in on the demand for video conferencing instruments in the course of the Covid-19 make money working from home interval. Say Namaste, he says, was a nod in the direction of the current occasions of avoiding bodily contact, and extra importantly, Indian-ise the video conferencing device to attach higher with the viewers. And join, it did.

However, opposite to the WhatsApp messages about Say Namaste being an official app put forth by the Indian authorities, that’s not the case. The app was constructed privately by Garg and his workforce of 50-odd builders at his Inscripts workforce, and there have been no interplay or inputs from the federal government. “It’s a positive thing, and we are happy that so many people are actually talking about us right now. We would, of course, be happy to work more closely with the government, but all of that is in the future,” says Garg.

He affirms that Say Namaste can be one of the contributors within the innovation problem hosted by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), which might award the eventual successful startup a sum of Rs 1 crore to supply its providers for official authorities functions. For this, and taking cues from the predicaments being confronted by Zoom proper now, the onus can be on Say Namaste to make its platform as safe as potential, and it’s this that Garg says his focus is on now.

Say Namaste app

The simplistic video conferencing interface on Say Namaste’s internet app. (Image: Information18.com)

Focusing on security

Garg’s experience with communication apps come from the largely profitable CometChat, which has been round for over a decade now, and provides encrypted textual content and communication providers to organisations reminiscent of HDFC Life, Harvard University and JPMorgan Chase, amongst others. It is that this that he goals to make use of for Say Namaste as nicely.

“In the coming days, we are hosting our first independent security audit in order to identify existing security flaws in our software. However, it’s important to note that our software is still in beta, so there will be a few persistent issues right now, all of which will be fixed upon an official launch,” says Garg.

“We are exploring how end-to-end encryption works best with our service without affecting performance, and trying different techniques for this.”

As of now, Garg states that Say Namaste makes use of a combination of proprietary and open supply applied sciences. “These include a number of proprietary encryption standards that we already offer to our larger customers in the banking and medical industries (through CometChat). We are still looking at multiple options in terms of the kind of encryption standard that the service will deploy. These include exploring how end-to-end encryption works best with our service without affecting performance. We are using different techniques for this, such as encrypting data packets in transit, cryptographic keys and so on,” provides Garg.

However, he says that encryption alone just isn’t the only reply to privateness and information safety. “Beyond choosing the best possible encryption standard, access point control is something that we are exploring. We are also close to adding two-factor authentication to the app in the next few days, which would help verify participants of a video call. We can also enable directory indexing of email addresses by organisations, which can then restrict video call sessions to only a list of pre-selected email addresses, to keep intruders out of the call,” says Garg.

The latter is a characteristic that sounds helpful for organisations, and is one thing that Zoom has notoriously suffered from. Say Namaste’s greatest benefit can be in not being designed as an enterprise app, and integrating its safety and privateness options from the onset.

Taking on Zoom

Despite all of the potential, Garg affirms that he doesn’t wish to construct an all-purpose communications suite, and as a substitute focus on simplicity of interface and ease of utilization. In our personal expertise of the service to date, all {that a} person must do is to key in any identify of their option to generate a gathering hyperlink, with a randomly generated 10-digit assembly ID and a four-digit passcode. Participants can be a part of one after the other, and there aren’t any ready rooms or privateness controls that allow you to selectively approve customers as and once they be a part of a name. While a restrict on the entire quantity of callers has not been affirmed but, Garg confirms that Say Namaste can already assist as much as 25 callers collectively, and in future, goals to assist 100 reside contributors in a single name.

“One of my primary testing audiences for Say Namaste was my mother, and that is the level of simplicity that I plan to establish through the app. Apart from video conferencing, the service will only come with screen sharing and file sharing. The latter is hidden right now, but will be offered through the text chat interface. But, I want to ensure that the interface remains super easy and intuitive to use, which is what many users by the bulk need right now,” stated Garg.

With such an strategy, Garg believes that it’s unfair to match such a startup with a service like Zoom, which is valued at billions of {dollars}. Say Namaste is, as of now, out there solely within the internet app in its beta kind, however has submitted its cell apps for Android and iOS for assessment by Google and Apple to their respective app shops. Garg believes {that a} steady launch must be potential within the coming weeks, which can coincide with the timeline of Say Namaste’s smartphone apps being made reside.

With the April 30 deadline of MeitY’s contest additionally arising, will probably be fascinating to look at how Say Namaste’s journey progresses, and if it certainly matches the premonition of WhatsApp’s teams to grow to be the official video conferencing device of the Indian authorities.

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