Government invokes app developers to build a Zoom alternative video conferencing solution

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The Indian Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has invited app developers for the development of an exclusive video conferencing solution. Touted to be the Zoom alternative, the Government is offering prize money of Rs 1 crore with funding at each stage of the development process. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has termed it as an innovation challenge for the development of video conferencing solution under the Digital India initiative.

As of now, Zoom is widely used as a video conferencing solution but analysts have pointed out severe security risks with the product. The leakage of crucial confidential information is a matter of concern. Hence, the Government has suggested to bring in a dedicated video conferencing solution, which will be used by both the Central and State Government. The rapid evolution of COVID-19 has forced us to think about the communication platforms that comply with social distancing.

The Government has taken all the required steps to combat the threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The outbreak has led to the unprecedented enforcement of lockdown throughout the country. The concept of Work From Home has become a household term. The term freelance has also become a new norm. The video conferencing solutions have become an integral part of your daily work life with the growing popularity of the video conferencing solutions.

The National Policy on Software Products 2019 has outlined the need for India-specific software products for all the requirements. The latest proposal issued by the Government has a tremendous capability for scalability, market including domestic value addition.

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The MeitY has released guidelines for the development of the video conferencing solution. First, the product should provide support for all video resolutions and audio quality formats. It should consume less power and resources with any external hardware dependency.

The product should work on any device. Moreover, it should include chat option during the conferencing process. The solution can either be a browser or app-based user interface with special reference to encryption. Moreover, the proposed video conferencing product requires audio and video recording capabilities. The solution should require modules to host multiple concurrent conferences having multiple participants in each conference.

The upcoming video conferencing solution challenge is divided into three stages such as Ideation, Prototype and Solution Building. In the first stage, teams will have to propose their innovative and cutting edge ideas of their solution. The Top 10 teams would be selected and each of them will receive Rs 5 Lakh to build the prototype. The shortlisted entries from the first stage will get a chance to present their prototypes before a panel, who will then pick the top three teams.

The MeitY will provide Rs 20 Lakh to build the final solution. The final winner of the new video conferencing solution will receive a fixed amount of Rs 1 crore along with the certificate signed by the Hon’ble Minister of Electronics & IT. Moreover, the solution will be deployed by not only Government of India but also relevant state governments for one year. The department will provide an additional Rs 10 lakhs towards operations and the annual maintenance cost for 3 years after the end of the first deployment year.

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The evaluation will be carried out the panel with distinguished members, The solution will be throughly evaluated against problem solving, business use case, technical feasibility, product roadmap, team ability, culture, and addressable market. Even though the participant is not required to register as a startup, they will have to carry out the registration if their proposal is accepted.

Anand Narayanaswamy is the editor-in-chief of Netans. He was recognized as a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for 9 years (2002 to 2011) and again as a Microsoft MVP in Surface under Windows and Devices in January 2024. He worked as a Chief Technical Editor with ASPAlliance and was part of ASPInsider program. Anand has published several articles and reviews related to various software and hardware products for various software and technology related websites. He is also active on social media and also participates as an Influencer for various brands. Anand can be reached at admin@netans.com