With the world fighting against COVID-19, video conferencing has touched the peak of demand. It did pave way for companies such as WhatsApp, FaceTime, Skype, Google Hangouts, Google Duo, Blue Jeans, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, etc, to boom. However, there are concerns with respect to the number of users and privacy. Zoom, for example, gained popularity due to its lenience with the number of attendees but compromised with their privacy. This leads the government and several companies to ban the usage of the app. Further, it also opened up gateways for other video conferencing competitors to barge into space. One such player is the Indian-made Say Namaste.
Say Namaste, as the name suggests, it is time to welcome this promising video conferencing solution. The platform gained attention by crossing 100,000 users and 25,000 meetings in less than 48 hours. This evidently proves the demand. Apparently, this is a web application in the beta stage now. It is catering well to the primary need for convenience in the number of participants. The founder of the web app said that they have been doing “really good calls with about 25 participants” and there are people who have done calls with more participants. The company’s target is to reach 100 participants.
Privacy issues are also being tackled at present by the company. “Right now all our efforts are towards breaking our own software, so nobody else can break it,” the founder said. The company is using cryptographic standards like AES 256 bit encryption and TLS (Transport Security Layer) encryption which are two very popular encryption protocols. The company claims that the site does not collect your email ID, and it does not ask you to log in with Facebook or Google. You can enter any name you want to use for the meeting. “We are only collecting data that is essential to facilitate your call, like your IP address. But we use that over the duration of the call and it is forgotten after that. We aren’t storing anything on our servers right now, no chats, nothing. We are reducing all those possibilities of security breaches,” the founder further added.
The focus of the web app is, keeping it very simple — a one-click video conferencing experience from start to the end. The app is built for simpler use cases right now, but the company will add customized log-ins and authentication systems (usually required for enterprise use cases) when the need arises. Say Namaste is based in India, which means it’s servers are based here too, which is another thing that the company hopes will set it apart from other video-conferencing apps. The company is also working with a few corporates, so they can figure out special needs. So they can build the safeguards here instead of getting it from outside India.
The app is made by a Mumbai-based company Inscriptions. Twin brothers Anuj and Anant Garg are founding members of this company. They have been in the business of creating communication products for enterprises for the past 10 years. The company claims its APIs (application program interfaces) are used by various companies for their video conferencing facilities, text chats, etc. The link was initially put out on Facebook and WhatsApp. A few days later, it was surprising to find a whole barrage of texts about a company that has launched a new video-conferencing app. The founders have had enough experiences serving enterprise customers and hence, must be knowing what it takes to serve them.
Initially, there was a confusion that Govt of India is developing this video-conferencing application. So, it cleared the confusion by tweeting, “#MyGovFactCheck of the Day: A news saying that the Government has launched a video conferencing tool ‘NAMASTE’ to take on ‘unsafe’ Zoom is FAKE! Don’t believe such misinformation! Stay Informed, Stay Safe! #IndiaFightsCorona,” The government has called on tech companies to develop a secure alternative to Zoom. They have declared prize money of Rs 1 crore to the winner, and Say Namaste will be participating.