In its bid to develop a Made-in-India video conferencing solution, the government has shortlisted 10 companies including tech giant HCL Technologies and cloud services firm Zoho Corp.
These companies will receive a Rs 5 lakh grant from the government to build a prototype of the solution that can rival global products like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts.
In the second round, the government will select three startups out of 10 to develop the product further. The three shortlisted startups will receive Rs 20 lakh each to build the complete video-conferencing platform. One winner from this will get to deploy the solution for the central and state government.
Apart from Zoho and HCL, the other companies shortlisted include PeopleLink, PeopleLink Unified Communications Sarv Webs, Aria Telecom, CyberHorizon Corp, Instrive Softlabs, Soulpage IT Solutions, Techgentsia Software Technologies and Data Ingenious.
Data Ingenious holds the distinction of devising the first linguistic email access and instant messaging solution in 19 languages including Arabic, Mandarin, Korean along with 15 Indian languages.
Ajay Data, chief of the Data group said that though India has many service companies that have become popular, there are not many software products that can compete with the likes of Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc.
Data added that there are many advantages of having an Indian VC product, in that it can in all Indian languages and can be locally hosted. This is important from the legal aspect since the recorded video should be stored in India and the encryption key should also be made available in India. The government might also feel more at ease using an indigenous tool than one owned by multinational companies, he said.
Post the third round of selection, the government will handpick the best solution, which will bag the final contract. In the first year of the 4-year contract, the government is expected to pay Rs 1 crore to the selected startup. Another Rs 10 lakh will be provided to the company in the next three years for operations and maintenance of the product.
The project was undertaken by the IT Ministry and launched by the government last month.