On 14th July, Bharti Airtel which is India’s second-largest mobile operator announced the launch of its video conferencing platform, ‘Airtel BlueJeans’ in partnership with Verizon, United States’ telecom giant. The launch of Airtel BlueJeans has created quite a buzz among the businesses for the facilities it promises to provide to the users. As reported by the PTI, Gopal Vittal, Airtel’s MD and CEO has said that this new video conferencing platform has the potential to “accommodate 50,000 attendees, and is simple and intuitive to use.”
Airtel BlueJeans is going to be made available to all its users for free for the first three months. Post the three months, Mr. Vittal said that the platform will be priced “very competitive”. The company has promised that Airtel BlueJeans will be a secure platform committed to end-user privacy and enterprise-grade video conferencing.
Earlier this year, Verizon had announced its acquisition of BlueJeans Network. It is one of the oldest cloud-based video conferencing services in the world which is based in California. Now, in partnership with India’s Bharti Airtel, Airtel BlueJeans is all set to enter the race of becoming the best video conferencing platform in the country. Since, the announcement of the launch is a recent, detailed description of the features that the new BlueJeans will offer is awaited.
Airtel BlueJeans mainly aims to offer its seamless services first to Indian enterprises and Small and Medium-sized businesses. It is interesting to know though, that this announcement of the launch has come few days after Reliance Industry announced the launch of JioMeet, also a video conferencing platform. It was launched with the motive of becoming a product of the ‘Made In India’ and ‘Made For India’ initiative and it sure was the first ‘Swadesi’ video conferencing platform, but now it’s definitely not the only one.
The initial plan of JioMeet was to take on Zoom’s Indian users, however now it’s needless to say that JioMeet is sure to meet competition with Airtel’s BlueJeans. Unlike Airtel BlueJeans, JioMeet enables 100 participants in a single call, and it’s absolutely free of cost. Users are required to sign up using either mobile number or email ID to start a video conference. Additionally, under JioMeet, users can conduct unlimited meetings in a day, and each meeting can go on till 24 hours at a stretch. It also had a lot of other features that are very much similar to Zoom.
The outbreak of coronavirus pandemic restricted every single person from stepping outside the house. This gave rise to businesses operating virtually. Big business meetings which would have otherwise been conducted in different parts of the world in huge conference rooms had started taking place from behind the screens in the comfort of everyone’s homes. This surfaced the need for sound virtual infrastructure and thus, many tech giants took it upon themselves to make the best out of this opportunity. This is when video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Google Meet, and Skype rose to the rescue.
Skype though remains to be the oldest video calling platform, failed to be of great help due to its incompatibility with the current day requirements. It’s connectivity issues, video quality, limited number of participants in one call, etc led to users choosing other platforms over it.
Google Meet, although a newer platform, only caters to the needs of small groups. It is good and easy to conduct short webinars with limited audience. Unlike Zoom, JioMeet and now Airtel BlueJeans, Google Meet only allows 250 people in a call. Google Meet isn’t completely out of the race though, it just needs to run faster and serve the users with the right features because other platforms overtake it.
Zoom was a savior for many months after the entire world went under lockdown. However, soon the “Boycott Chinese Apps” and “Atamanirbhar Bharat” initiative began which led to many Indian users ditching the application and rather switching to Google Meet. Further, Zoom’s security policy was also questioned by India’s nodal cybersecurity agency – Computer Emergency Response Team of India (CERT-in) after Germany, Singapore and Taiwan banned the application citing security issues. The Ministry of Home Affairs warned the users of cyberattacks, hacking of systems and leakage or personal information and sensitive user data to criminals. This did extreme damage to Zoom’s image which led to the plunge in the number of users.
Now, with two Indian giant companies, Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel coming up with, JioMeet and Airtel BlueJeans respectively, it’s only sensible to opt for them. Apart from these two, other Indian video conferencing platforms like the new VideoMeet are too on its way to entering the competition. Given this, it is best to choose any one of the platforms that best suit your requirements, as they are not just Indian, but also offer a plethora of features that ensure seamless communication to big as well as small scale enterprises.