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. ®

Similar topics

Broader topics

Other stories you might like

  • Stolen university credentials up for sale by Russian crooks, FBI warns
    Forget dark-web souks, thousands of these are already being traded on public bazaars

    Russian crooks are selling network credentials and virtual private network access for a "multitude" of US universities and colleges on criminal marketplaces, according to the FBI.

    According to a warning issued on Thursday, these stolen credentials sell for thousands of dollars on both dark web and public internet forums, and could lead to subsequent cyberattacks against individual employees or the schools themselves.

    "The exposure of usernames and passwords can lead to brute force credential stuffing computer network attacks, whereby attackers attempt logins across various internet sites or exploit them for subsequent cyber attacks as criminal actors take advantage of users recycling the same credentials across multiple accounts, internet sites, and services," the Feds' alert [PDF] said.

    Continue reading
  • Big Tech loves talking up privacy – while trying to kill privacy legislation
    Study claims Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, Microsoft work to derail data rules

    Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, and Microsoft often support privacy in public statements, but behind the scenes they've been working through some common organizations to weaken or kill privacy legislation in US states.

    That's according to a report this week from news non-profit The Markup, which said the corporations hire lobbyists from the same few groups and law firms to defang or drown state privacy bills.

    The report examined 31 states when state legislatures were considering privacy legislation and identified 445 lobbyists and lobbying firms working on behalf of Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, and Microsoft, along with industry groups like TechNet and the State Privacy and Security Coalition.

    Continue reading
  • SEC probes Musk for not properly disclosing Twitter stake
    Meanwhile, social network's board rejects resignation of one its directors

    America's financial watchdog is investigating whether Elon Musk adequately disclosed his purchase of Twitter shares last month, just as his bid to take over the social media company hangs in the balance. 

    A letter [PDF] from the SEC addressed to the tech billionaire said he "[did] not appear" to have filed the proper form detailing his 9.2 percent stake in Twitter "required 10 days from the date of acquisition," and asked him to provide more information. Musk's shares made him one of Twitter's largest shareholders. The letter is dated April 4, and was shared this week by the regulator.

    Musk quickly moved to try and buy the whole company outright in a deal initially worth over $44 billion. Musk sold a chunk of his shares in Tesla worth $8.4 billion and bagged another $7.14 billion from investors to help finance the $21 billion he promised to put forward for the deal. The remaining $25.5 billion bill was secured via debt financing by Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Barclays, and others. But the takeover is not going smoothly.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022