Govt invites tech companies to build a secure Zoom-alternative, winner to get 1 crore

The government is running an ‘Innovation Challenge’ for building a secure video conferencing solution for work from home users.

Govt launches Innovation Challenge for development of video conferencing solution
Govt launches Innovation Challenge for development of video conferencing solution (Milind Saurkar/HT Photo)

The government is inviting local technology companies to build a secure video conferencing solution as part of the Make in India initiative. Interested companies can participate in the "Innovation Challenge" on the mygov website. The last date to apply is April 30, 2020.

Top three teams will be shortlisted for the final stage. Each team will get 20 lakh funding to build the solution. The winner will get 1 crore along with certificate from Minister of Electronics & IT. There will be an additional fund of 10 lakh for operations and maintenance.

The new initiative comes at a time when people in the country are staying indoors due to the Covid-19 lockdown. Many people are also working from home and relying remote working solutions for conferencing, collaborating, and messaging. This, however, has also raised security concerns.

For instance, viral videoconferencing app Zoom has come under scanner for poor security protocols. The Ministry of Home Affairs issued guidelines on usage of the app. Describing the app "not a safe platform", the ministry posted a set of security tips to avoid privacy breach. The CERT-In has also released an advisory.

In its Innovation Challenge, the government is seeking for a solution that has "encrypted network communication." Other key requirements are no dependence on external hardware, audio/video recording feature, screen/file sharing capabilities, close captioning during chat (multilingual), and more. These requirements are pretty much the same popular videoconferencing applications offer to their users.

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The Next Web first reported by the innovation challenge. You can read more about the initiative here.

"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," says the government on its website.