Last week, the Indian government had issued an advisory against the use of Zoom app saying that it “is not a secure platform” for private individuals and government officials and has plans to replace it.  

Now, the Indian government has announced an innovation challenge under the ‘Make in India’ initiative to promote the development of homegrown video conferencing app that does not compromise on user security and privacy. The winner of the innovation challenge will get prize money of Rs 1 Crore and a certificate from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. 

For those unaware, Zoom has seen a massive surge in its usage in corporate offices and schools worldwide after countries limited movement of people to control the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. However, the app has been receiving backlashes over its sloppy privacy and security protections. 

The Official MyGov website reads as below on the innovation challenge for the development of video conferencing solution:  

With more than half a billion internet subscribers, India is riding high on the digital front. All facets of the economy are leveraging technology for wider reach, convenience and effectiveness. The sudden outbreak of COVID-19 has made Digital the most important part of our daily life.

The government of India is taking all necessary steps to ensure that we are prepared well to face the challenge and threat posed by the growing pandemic of Corona Virus. The outbreak has led to the unprecedented enforcement of lockdown throughout the country. The concept of Work From Home (WFH), which was till now mostly synonymous with IT industry has become a household term. With Organizations having asked employees to WFH, video conferencing has become an integral part of daily life. 

The National Policy on Software Products-2019 has also a vision to drive the rise of India as a Software Product Nation, so as to make India as a global player in development, production and supply of innovative and efficient Software Products, thus facilitating the growth across the entire spectrum of ICT sector. The present proposal would be one of the key product, having tremendous capability for scalability, market and domestic value addition.

In the light of these developments, the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology announces an Innovation Challenge for Development of a Video Conferencing Solution under the Make in India Initiative. 

The government has laid guidelines that a developer or a company needs to follow before molding the platform.

The Video Conferencing Application Must Have The Below Mandatory Features:

  • Should support all video resolutions and audio quality, should work in low and high network scenarios
  • Should be low on usage of power/ processor
  • Should not have any external hardware dependency
  • Should work on any device
  • Should have chat option during conference, even the multi people conference
  • Should have sign-in and non-sign-in options to join a conference
  • Can be browser and/or app based interface
  • Should have encrypted network communication
  • Should have audio/ video recording feature
  • Should have screen/file sharing capabilities
  • Should allow audio to close captioning during chat (multilingual)
  • Should have capabilities to host multiple concurrent conferences having multiple participants in each conference

Three Stages Of The Innovation Challenge Competition

The innovation challenge will take place in three stages and is open for experts in all the domains of the software development life cycle.

In the first stage, 10 teams with the best innovative ideas will be selected and will be awarded Rs 5 lakh to build the Prototypes. In the second stage, three teams will be shortlisted from the selected 10 teams and will be given Rs 20 lakh to build the complete solution. 

In the final stage, the best team out of the three teams will be selected and will be rewarded with Rs 1 Crore along with a certificate from the Hon’ble Minister of Electronics & IT towards deploying the solution for use by Government of India and State Governments for a year. Further support of Rs 10 lakh per year for 3 years will be offered towards Operations & Maintenance of the app. 

Interested app developers can apply by visiting the official website of the Indian government.

The registration for the competition has already started on April 13 and the last date to submit the application is April 30. The winner of the innovative challenge for the development of video conferencing solution will be announced on July 29th. 

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