Say Namaste: India's alternative to Zoom

Khevna Pandit
Sunday, 3 May 2020

The simple, user-friendly app has already crossed 2.5 Lakh meetings in seven days.

Along with the worldwide lockdown came a sweeping new work-from-home culture that has introduced the world to the far-reaching implications of technology. Perhaps one of the advantages of the coronavirus lockdown includes the revolutionary ways that have helped many to work remotely from the comforts of their homes. Whether it is Skype, WhatsApp, or Zoom -- the lockdown has revised the course of audio-visual communication forever. 

For many of us, our day-to-day lives have now shifted to an online space. Beginning from school work to major work conferences, our lifestyle is entirely dependant on these platforms. India's answer to the lockdown was reinforced by Zoom, who earlier had 10 million users in December gained as many as 200 million daily users by March (according to a report published by Zoom). However, after the reports of several subjected to 'Zoombombing', the popularity of the app has seen an exponential decline. 

Amongst all of the apps that jumped into the bandwagon is Say Namaste.

"I had posted about publishing a pre-beta version of our very own video conferencing app on my personal Facebook account. Overnight, it went viral - we were expecting a few hundred users to test our service, with most being friends and family. Instead, we are now crossing over 500,000 users within just a few days, and our service is still in beta," Anuj Garg, co-founder and CEO of Inscripts, was quoted saying in an interview with News18.

So, what really is Say Namaste?
Built by Inscripts, a Mumbai-based web application firm, Say Namaste was launched as a website alternative for Zoom after it's privacy breach incident. However, there are talks of it being released as an official app for iOS. While there were also rumours of it being introduced by the Government of India as an official video-conferencing app, their social media handle was quick to debunk this theory with a tweet that said the following: "#MyGovFactCheck of the Day: A news saying that the Government has launched a video conferencing tool 'NAMASTE' to take on 'unsafe' Zoom is FAKE! Don't believe such misinformation! Stay Informed, Stay Safe! #IndiaFightsCorona."

How does Say Namaste work? 
With a user-friendly, simple interface, it is easily accessible for both desktops and mobile phones at https://www.saynamaste.in/. After clicking on the 'Create Meeting' option, you will be able to generate a Meeting ID and password that you can share with the participants of your call. As opposed to Zoom, you don't need to provide a login id before creating a new meeting.

How does Say Namaste fare when compared with Zoom? 
We tested the online video-conferencing site using a laptop and found that it was effortless to schedule a video call, unlike its rival Zoom. Our ten-minute conference call was crystal clear, but we struggled for a good amount of time to successfully connect the audio. 

Say Namaste only allows a limited number of functions, including Audio, Video, Screenshare and Chat. And while the chat option was slightly more convenient than that of the Zoom laptop app, the screen-sharing feature turned out to be a lot more complicated to use. Moreover, we encountered a tremendous lag! However, the mobile application for the same looks promising and has us glued to social media for more updates.

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