We contacted Mr. Prakash Sutradhar and conducted a small interview. Here are some excerpts from our conversation with him :-
1.CC :- Tell us something about the “Namaste” video conferencing app.
– The motive behind the invention of the Namaste video conferencing app was due to the lockdown imposed by the government of India nationwide in 2020. People were aware about the covid situation and things basically were centered around the online platform. Even though lockdown has been relaxed quite a bit most people were avoiding to step out and were more into working from home. Everyone working from home was highly dependent on video calling platforms such as Zoom and Google Meet, for better communication. Back in June 2020 the government of India banned various Chinese apps in the country. This was back then when I realised that there was no such video conferencing app made in India and thus it motivated me to do something that’ll be safe and beneficial for every citizens of India in the tough times. The namaste video conferencing app was then launched to make communication easier. The namaste app provides unlimited meetings and time , also it is end to end encrypted where only the communicating users can read the messages.
2. CC :- What makes the “Namaste” app different from other video conferencing app?
– The namaste app is easily available on Android and iOS platforms. The next thing is , it is end to end encrypted which promotes protection of data and prevents unauthorized access to personal data. It has features like chatting, screen sharing, file sharing, and many more. The Namaste app is totally free for all the users. Recently, a teacher from Nagpur University contacted me and asked “for how long will the namaste app be providing free access to all the users?” as he wanted to conduct online classes on regular basis.I replied saying it will always be free unlike zoom where the users and times are limited. So the users need not worry about anything and can use the namaste app comfortably.
3. CC:- Sir, since you mentioned file sharing,chatting and many more. Is the data secured in Namaste video conferencing app?
– Yes, the data’s definitely secured in the Namaste app since it is end to end encrypted.The whole idea is that the server can never read or modify the conversation data, be it a video calling or chats. Zoom had mentioned in May 2020 (last year) that it’s end to end encryption will not work for free users but if you talk about Namaste it is totally free for everyone and this platform is for users who would prefer using made in India products, instead of global names like Zoom or Google Meet.
4. CC :- How and when did you launch this app?
– I started developing this app by the end of March to make communication easier during the lockdown. We launched this app in the month of June , most probably on 21st June. And surprisingly this platform was preferred and recognized by many. I was then proudly honoured with the prestigious award for IT excellence by the Indian Achiever’s Forum for Outstanding Professional achievements and Contribution to the Nation building. And now the Namaste video conferencing app has more than 48 thousand users with around thousand meetings conducted everyday.
5. CC:- Was “Namaste” the first made in India video conferencing app?
– Yes , Namaste was the first made in India video conferencing app. And slowly many such apps came into the market. Many big billion dollar companies like Zoom and Google had a huge team behind it’s success. But I started making the namaste app sitting in my government quarter and worked a lot on my laptop to make it a successful one.
6. CC:- Do you have a team behind this “Namaste” Video conferencing app?
– The Namaste video conferencing app which was developed by me and including my 3-4 friends who are graduates and postgraduates from IIT Bombay, IIT Kanpur, IIT Guwahati and Tier-1 technical institutes of India. We started sharing it on platforms like College WhatsApp group, office groups and many more.
7. CC:- Were you involved in any other app before Namaste was launched?
– No not at all. Actually when I was studying in Silchar I had no idea what email was back then. There was no computer at my place. I used to see computer at one of my Teacher , Sir Jogojit’s house but never touched it. But I was opportunate enough that I had my first email back then and it was in Reddit Mail created by Sir Jogojit. I never did any C++ course and back then in 2007 when iphone was launched it was revolutionary. And then Android was launched in 2008 but before that there was nokia. So there was a huge competition in the market and during my second year in the college I got an opportunity to do an internship in LG company in Bangalore in the sector of software developer plus electronics. The project was to take the GPS data from the satellite and to make sure the circuit reads it and then display the location. The stipend back then in 2007 was Rs. 35,000 with airfare since the project was very much important. Apart from studies I learned coding and started doing freelancing. And I’m fortunate enough that I could utilize my experience in a better way now.
8. CC:- Apart from being a technology enthusiast what are the other things that you invest your time on?
– Apart from being a tech enthusiast I invest my time on other things like sports, I was into playing instrument like tabla, blogging , teaching kids in the rural area, doing some social works and I like writing poems and articles on the social issues of mankind. I have my own blog where I post various articles discussing social problems of the current days.
9. CC:- What advice would you give to someone who is starting out?
– When Namaste became popular, already from Bangalore based investor firms there were many offers coming for me but I made it clear that namaste app is a free platform and I’m a government employee, who is not ready to work in any firm. So, when you are a tech enthusiast , you should always try to make a difference and create a quality. If so, you can easily do a start up or even get funded by any investor firms. You have to think of a problem and try to make a sufficient solutions for it. And for that you need to develop a skill within yourself.
10. CC:- Any advice for people who’s trying to succeed in this field?
– The most important thing is to have a good teammates because to grow something you need a team and a good team work always leads to a successful project. There was a time when I was demotivated by some of my friends but the thing is you should never let yourself down in any situation,you should always have a determined goal and never mix.
11. CC:- Do you have any new plans ahead?
– Yes, I’m apparently working on 2-3 things like the AI based education management system ( desktop software) which me along with my team are working on it. And many more such things will be coming ahead in future.
12. CC:- Anything you’d like to say before we end this interview?
– I want to work and empower the youth of North-East remarkably. I was born ,raised and studied in Silchar , Assam and if possible I want to return back to my hometown where I came from to empower and support more youths and people who are willing to work on this field.