Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Bharat.live: This Uttarakhand startup has made a Zoom alternative, in just 20 days

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  • ANI

Dehradun (Uttarakhand) , May 4 : More than a third of world population is under lockdown and India with its 1.3 billion people tops the list. The government is controlling the movement of its citizens to avoid the spread of the coronavirus.


Socializing, consulting, training, operations, and governance have become a virtual experience predominantly with no movement or interaction outside the home. Non-native and fishy apps are handy to use for official and personal communication. Blue Jeans, Google Duo, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, WhatsApp, FaceTime, and Skype are the only recourse in current unprecedented times.

Some of these apps suffer from the restriction on the number of participants to partake in a video or voice communication. Other applications have their share of privacy and security complications.

There exists a burgeoning demand for an indigenous, secure, and stable alternative to the apps currently in vogue.

Bharat.live, created by a Dehradun-based company that emerged into the scene with a bang just a few weeks ago. It has crossed five lakh users with approximately one lakh users per day.

Bharat.live is not the Indian government's official video-conferencing application. The government has exhorted Indian tech companies to develop an indigenous and secure substitute for Zoom. It has announced prize money of Rs 1 crore to the winner, and Bharat.live is a contestant.

Bharat.live was founded in Dehradun as a unit of ileads Auxiliary Services Pvt Ltd in 2020.

How the Idea Came About

Following reasons inspired the company to develop a home-grown application

Security Concerns in Zoom and other applications

* Advisories by the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN), MHA, and Cyber Coordination Centre about Zoom during COVID-19 states that Chinese servers are being used to distribute encryption and decryption keys for video links on Zoom.

* These advisories came long after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held a video-conference on Zoom with the top officials of the security forces, leaving it vulnerable to breach. In the backdrop of China's pro-Pakistan stance and one war in 1962 with India, the possibility of spying cannot be ruled out.

* This apart, third-party hackers and cybercriminals can access sensitive information such as meeting, conversation, and user details. Five lakh Zoom accounts have been rumored to be sold on the dark web anonymously. Companies are at risk for industrial and corporate espionage and information theft.

Make in India Initiative

* The government has exhorted Indian tech companies to design an indigenous and secure substitute to Zoom to promote Indian Software products and put the country on the product development map.

Self-reliance of other countries

* At a time when China banned it, its small neighboring country Taiwan, banned it for government usage as on April 7, 2020. Russia and China have their own video conferencing applications.

Why India is far behind, why cannot it have its video communication platform in place when it has spearheaded in software services for years.

Influenced deeply by all these, company set the project in motion. Developing a video conferencing application was a challenge because it is not possible with sheer coding. It requires servers and a whole range of complicated processes. One of the team members named it Bharat.live, and it resonated with everyone in patriotic zeal.

The company received real-world feedback from its team, which has been working from home. Company has periodic meetings and day to day operations that warrant video communication, and Bharat.live was the Indian-made app for it.

The team has been toiling to keep pace with the surge in demand because success brings challenges with it. The organization has shown resilience to scale the solution.

Privacy and security are integral to the value system in Bharat.live with an impeccable track record. The company is contemplating ways to scale and strengthen the application.

Simplicity is the key--video conferencing experience is child's play with a single click from start to end. The initial stage is the high time to improve things before it goes viral.

During design, usability testers ensured that the system could be used effectively in any environment, and anybody with necessary technical skills can understand and use this platform. Ease of use has been the guiding philosophy of enterprise. This platform free application does not require participants to download it or enter a code to join video meetings. It is a browser-based application.

How does one use Bharat.live to chat?

You can register with the necessary details and OTP authentication to receive Login ID, Password, and Login Link. Hit 'create a new meeting,' add a name to get Meeting URL, Meeting ID, and Meeting Code. To invite others, send a meeting URL to the participants. Participants will click the URL, type their name in the dialog box to join the meeting. Users can choose the screen to share it with others.

No webcam is required unless you want to transmit your video. You do not even need an account either to join a meeting, and you require one only when you have to host and initiate a meeting.

You can enter any name to join the meeting. You need not log in with personal Facebook or Google. The site does not ask for your email ID. No chat or records are stored on servers as of now. A security breach is the remotest possibility. Data such as IP address is collected for the time being to facilitate your call.

Bharat.live never share your personal information with anyone. No offline information or information via channels other than the website is collected for visitors. Company does not record meetings or videos either.

How secure is it

The safest and trusted cryptographic standards like AES 256 bit encryption and TLS (Transport Security Layer) SSL encryption are in place to increase network security. GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) compliance safeguards user rights.

AES 256 bit encryption makes it impenetrable to hackers, faster, and efficient for uninterrupted video communication.

The platform is HIPPA compliant for secure user authentication, proper information storage, and reports generation with access control, audit controls, integrity controls, and transmission security. Moreover, its URL is visible to the host only. The host can further share it with others.

Bharat.live is experimenting with it to make it even more secure.

The application caters to simple use cases as of now. Later, the company would equip itself with customized authentication systems and logins for business enterprises as and when the need arises.

Servers and main critical infrastructure are based in India. This is the major differentiator that sets Bharat.live apart from other players in the market. Bharat.live has been interacting with different users so that it can discover special needs and build safeguards here instead of sourcing them from outside India.

Bharat.live goes by the conventional wisdom of learning from other's mistakes, and continuous improvement to exceed customer's expectations is its motto.

How many people can use it

Bharat.live supports clear calls with about 50 participants'. Its target is to reach 100 participants. Depending on the use case, this number may vary. You can customize it for one to one chat in a private meeting room or virtual meetings among multiple participants.

The company is working on features and ideas that could revitalize the entire industry. A VPN Overview survey at the end of March 2020 reveals that 70 per cent of the working respondents use video conference software for their work, so corporate stands out to form the significant user's base. Teachers, Doctors, Personal Trainers, Astrologers are other users apart from people who use it for online socializing.

Bharat.live offers a free trial plan for two hours and ten participants. Other plans are available with separate pricing for business and consumer categories. Bharat.live's expert team will hand-hold you for technical issues and other concerns.

This story is provided by BusinessWire India. ANI will not be responsible in any way for the content of this article.

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