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This Indian Startup Claims to have Made a Zoom Alternative, in Just 20 Days

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Bharat.live zoom like app

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 hundred thousand users with approximately one hundred thousand 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% 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 2 hours and 10 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.

Bharat.live (https://bharat.live/)

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H-E-B Opens Additional E-Commerce Fulfillment Center Featuring Swisslog Automation

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H-E-B’s new e-commerce fulfillment center

H-E-B recently announced the opening of a new e-commerce fulfillment center in Cibolo, Texas, to support curbside and home delivery orders throughout Cibolo, New Braunfels and surrounding cities around the San Antonio area.

The 55,000-square-foot facility marks H-E-B’s eighth e-commerce fulfillment center the company has opened since 2018 and features AutoStore empowered by Swisslog and operating on synchronized intelligence from Swisslog’s SynQ software. The most recent of these facilities was opened in Plano, Texas in July 2023.

Five members of the Swisslog team attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the opening of the facility and showcase the ongoing partnership between the two companies. Swisslog continues to help H-E-B achieve their automated fulfillment goals and provide unmatched service and support to their communities.

H-E-B said the e-commerce fulfillment center further expands the retailer’s commitment to integrate innovative technologies that drive omnichannel growth and provide a more convenient and better shopping experience for Texans. The company further explained that these facilities have enabled H-E-B to grow its supply chain capacity to help improve and power the expansion of its curbside and home delivery services, which are available at more than 270 stores in Texas.

With this facility now operational, H-E-B said it plans to continue to open additional facilities across the state to help support the retailer’s expansion plans.

About Swisslog

We shape the future of intralogistics with robotic, data-driven and flexible automated solutions that achieve exceptional value for our customers. Swisslog helps forward-thinking companies optimize the performance of their warehouses and distribution centers with future-ready automation systems and software. Our integrated offering includes consulting, system design and implementation, and lifetime customer support in more than 50 countries.

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RemotePass Simplifies HR and Payroll for UAE Companies with New Direct Employee Feature

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remotepass ceo

Abu Dhabi, UAE – June 5, 2024 – Leveraging its experience as a global platform offering contractor management and employer-of-record services in 150 countries, RemotePass, an HR and fintech platform, has launched ‘Direct Employee.’ This new solution empowers UAE companies, whether in free zones or the mainland, to onboard, manage, and pay their local and global employees through a single platform.

Direct Employee enables companies to instantly create compliant employment contracts, track expenses and time off, generate essential HR documents, and gain crucial insights through comprehensive analytics and reports. Additionally, the solution offers convenient approval workflows and seamless integrations with popular communication tools and finance systems like QuickBooks.

This product launch aligns with the UAE’s strategic goals to attract and retain top talent, both locally and internationally. The nation leads the Arab world in global talent competitiveness, according to the 2023 IMD World Talent Ranking, thanks to strong quality of life, high salaries, healthcare, education, and recent reforms. By addressing critical HR and payroll challenges, Direct Employee supports the UAE’s efforts to create a conducive environment for skilled professionals, enhancing the country’s attractiveness as a global hub for talent.

Kamal Reggad, CEO and Co-Founder of RemotePass, shares the inspiration behind Direct Employee: “As a UAE-based company, we have been able to identify unique challenges, which inspired the development of the Direct Employee product. Last year, we built this product specifically to support our local UAE employees and to centralize all of our HR & Payroll on RemotePass. After initially testing it with select clients earlier this year, we are now excited to make it available to all our UAE clients. We’re eager to see how this will transform the way UAE businesses manage their local & global workforce”

Existing RemotePass clients in the UAE can try Direct Employee for a free trial until September 31st, 2024, and experience the benefits firsthand.

About RemotePass:

RemotePass offers an all-in-one platform for companies to efficiently onboard, manage, pay, and retain remote contractors and employees in over 150 countries, ensuring compliance. The platform features HR tools like multi-currency expense management and time-off tracking with multi-level approval flows, along with mass payroll processing.

Additionally, remote teams get access to the RemotePass Super App, which offers financial services and benefits, including a USD Payroll card for instant payments, health insurance options, 7 payout methods, and 90+ currencies.

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Snowflake secures Dubai Electronic Security Centre certification, expanding provision of its Data Cloud in Dubai

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snowflake

Snowflake, the Data Cloud company, has achieved the Dubai Electronic Security Centre (DESC) certification, enabling the company to extend its services to all markets within the Emirate of Dubai, including government and semi-government organizations.

The DESC certification is crucial for cloud service providers operating in Dubai, ensuring they meet the stringent cybersecurity standards necessary to serve government entities. Snowflake engaged with an assigned independent third-party assessor to complete the certification assessment. This accreditation involves a rigorous audit and is essential for providers who must demonstrate compliance with both international standards, such as ISO/IEC 27001, ISO/IEC 27017, and ISO/IEC 27018, and local regulations outlined in the DESC Information Security Regulation (ISR).

With this certification in place and licensed by DESC, Snowflake is meeting the increased expectations of cloud service providers, and providing a framework for technical and governance measures to securely serve government entities in Dubai. The certification covers the company’s operations in the Azure UAE North region. For a full list of Snowflake regions, please refer to the Supported Cloud Regions page.

Mohamed Zouari, Regional Director at Snowflake, commented on the development, “As the Middle East rapidly advances its digital transformation and AI adoption, the need for reliable and secure cloud services is more critical than ever. Snowflake’s DESC certification not only underscores our dedication to meeting the highest standards of data security, but also positions us as a key player in supporting the region’s economic diversification and digital and AI strategies. This accelerates our growth and unlocks new business opportunities, while strengthening the cybersecurity posture of our services across the Middle East.”

This certification comes at a time when the potential for cloud computing and digital transformation in the Middle East is immense. The rapid adoption of cloud technology is supported by the governments’ increasing recognition of its benefits, and how the cloud is propelling AI adoption in the Middle East, with PWC estimating a $320 billion impact for the region.

For further information on Snowflake’s DESC certification or to inquire about security and compliance, visit the Snowflake Compliance Page.

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About Snowflake
Snowflake makes enterprise AI easy, efficient, and trusted. Thousands of companies around the globe, including hundreds of the world’s largest, use Snowflake’s AI Data Cloud to share data, build applications, and power their business with AI. The era of enterprise AI is here. Learn more at snowflake.com (NYSE: SNOW).

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