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Kerala launches FOSS based video conference solution: Report

Kerala’s General Education Department has rolled out a video conferencing solution which can be used for e-learning and conducting online classes amid the COVID-19 lockdown, the Hindu reported. The video conference solution is based on BigBlueButton, which is a free and open-source software (FOSS) for video conferencing. The solution was reportedly launched before the central government advised against using popular video conference platform Zoom (more on that below).

The video conference platform, which has been customised by the Kerala Infrastructure and Technology for Education (KITE), also allows for screen sharing, multi-user whiteboard, public chat and shared note facilities per the report. The solution has reportedly been integrated with KITE’s Open Online Learning’ management system. We have reached out to KITE for more details.

This development comes after the Union Home Ministry, on April 12, issued an advisory stating that Zoom was “not a safe platform”, and said that those in the government shouldn’t use the app in the first place. For private users, the Ministry said that they should follow precautions before using it, such as locking the call to new entrants, and having a passcode to enter the call. Singapore and New York City have also suspended the use of Zoom for online classes given its security mishaps.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, meanwhile, has called on Indian companies and startups to develop an encrypted video-conferencing solution for use by the central and state governments. The solution should be able to work on any device, should be able to host multiple concurrent conferences having multiple participants in each conference, and should be low on usage of power/processor, among other requirements.

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