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India anoints little-known Zoom clone as its home-grown videoconf tool of choice

Alappuzha's Techgentsia Software has a golden ticket for government work

India's tech ministry has named Vconsol as the winner of its competition to find a home-grown video conferencing product the nation's government can use in preference to products sourced from overseas.

Alappuzha-based startup Techgentsia Software Technologies developed Vconsol and will score $133,000 plus $53,000 over the next three years, plus contracts that will see the app rolled out across the public sector for four years.

The competition kicked off in April after the government effectively banned Zoom from the public sector over its lax security. Vconsol beat out almost 2,000 applicants to first reach a longlist of 12, then made it to shortlist of five ahead of giant HCL and on a par with Zoho.

The Vconsol app doesn't seem startlingly advanced compared to offshore rivals. Techgentsia's website mentions using H.264 and server-side mixing of participants' incoming streams into a single outgoing stream, and a LinkedIn post by one of Techgentsia's co-founders Joy Sebastian extols the virtues of that approach.

And so does Zoom in its explainer of its own operations.

Sebastian's post compares his company's performance to room-based videoconferencing systems and says Vconsol comes out on top on cost and bandwidth consumption.

In addition to Techgentsia, the IT ministry picked out three other companies - Sarv Webs in Jaipur, PeopleLink Unified Communications in Hyderabad, and Instrive Softlabs in Chennai - that will each receive $33,000 to further develop their products over the next three months.

All three companies have effectively received an endorsement as essential entrants on Indian entities' shopping lists, given the national drive for self-sufficiency. ®

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