Zoho today announced its ‘Swadeshi Sankalp: Made in India. Made for India.’ initiative. Designed to help those in the education and government sectors cope with disruption caused by the pandemic, this initiative empowers workers with the software they need, built right here in India and run on Indian data centres. By using Zoho’s secure Indian data centres, education and government institutions will inherit the company’s top-tier privacy and security practices across all products.
“We are currently living through extraordinary times and experiencing extraordinary challenges. Beyond those on the front line, there are industries and communities that are struggling. We have altered our business priorities during this current climate to focus on ways to best serve our community, our country, and the rest of the world, however we can. The Swadeshi Sankalp initiative is one way in which we can be of service to our country, by providing relief to the education and government sectors that are in need of a secure solution,” said Sridhar Vembu, CEO and co-founder of Zoho Corp.
After Covid-19 was declared a pandemic, Zoho launched Zoho Remotely a remote work toolkit, and offered it for free to all businesses until July 1. Currently, around 15,000 businesses around the world are using Remotely, 18% of which are in India. Zoho also launched its Small Business Emergency Subscription Assistance Programme, which has benefited around 10,000 businesses, 12% of which are in India. To ensure that people have access to the latest data about the coronavirus, Zoho created Covid dashboards.
Zoho, which has over 7,000 of its 8,000+ employees based in India, adopted a work-from-home policy in the first week of March. The company has, however, kept the kitchens in its offices in Chennai, Tenkasi, and Renigunta functional in order to distribute food to the local communities. This food distribution programme currently provides 5,000 meals a day to those in need.
In further endeavours to serve society, and under the first phase of Swadeshi Sankalp initiative, Zoho is offering its technology and expertise to the following verticals:
Zoho Classes: Zoho Classes, available for early access, is a new mobile app that enables schools and colleges to connect with their students online. It replaces the need for educators to deploy multiple, disintegrated apps including video conferencing tools that were originally meant for business users and are, in some cases, unsecure to use. With Zoho Classes, teachers can upload courses, broadcast live classes, share assignments under set deadlines, and collect responses on one interface. Students can view videos based on their convenience, and connect with teachers directly to clarify any doubts. This allows them to study at their own pace. The educational institutes can collect fees and sell merchandise such as school supplies.
Zoho Classes is built with several layers of security ensuring the privacy and safety of the users.
In Zoho Classes, teachers and students log in to the same application, which means that anything being sent or received can be centrally monitored by the school principal or an administrator. Students can only join a group after an invitation is sent directly from their school. Zoho Classes, as with all Zoho products, runs on the company’s own data centres that adhere to the highest global security standards.
To support the Government of India’s #BharatPadheOnline programme, Zoho is offering Classes completely free to all government schools in India. For all other schools, it’s free for up to a 100 students. Schools can pay ₹250 per student, per year for additional students.
Zoho ShowTime: For individualized learning environments including classroom breakouts or professional training, Zoho ShowTime facilitates virtual collaborative learning and interactive events. One-click access to ShowTime within Zoho Classes will be available in the coming weeks. Zoho is offering all premium engagement features of ShowTime, from the Basic plan onwards, at no additional cost to users. Through this initiative, Zoho aims to help independent trainers and educators all around the world move their programmes to a virtual model with relative ease so that students and professionals can continue their education.
Government: Zoho Meeting for secure online meetings
Zoho is offering its online meetings and webinar app, Zoho Meeting free for three months to government bodies, in order to help them work efficiently and securely. Meeting has introduced multi-party video that allows users to conduct group video calls for up to 25 participants, while other attendees can join via audio. This is currently supported for up to a 100 participants. The host can also record the meeting. Zoho Meeting protects user privacy by giving them the complete control over sharing audio and video during a meeting, and with in-session features like lock meeting, remove participants and participants entry/exit notification.
Zoho Creator Covid-19 App Programme: This programme helps non-profits, government bodies, and communities that are working on various initiatives like patient monitoring or food distribution to execute their mission more efficiently with the help of apps. These organizations can place a request, and Zoho will build an app for free using Zoho Creator, a low-code application development platform. The programme has received over 70 requests and delivered 10+ apps. This includes the Citizen Communication App and Medical Staff Management App for local government bodies in India.
“We wanted a solution that would enable doctors treating Covid-19 positive patients to gather data on their mobiles. As they were not allowed to carry paper, the doctors first made the rounds, sanitised, and then filled out the sheets in their office. This made their work more difficult, and left the possibility of human error. We approached the Zoho team after hearing about their app programme. They were quick to respond, and built us a mobile app that automates the entire workflow starting from registering patients, tracking their daily regimen and progress, capture ongoing testing to their discharge once cured. For the doctors, this app is mission critical. Zoho has a wonderful team, a powerful platform, an incredible engineering talent and an attitude to serve. We are planning to take this solution to other state governments, and expand the scope to include telemedicine. In addition, we are working on other apps and technology that bolster society’s defences against the scourge of Covid-19,” said Srinath Raman, ex MD of Religare Capital and co-founder of DefeatCovid, which was formed as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic. It assists government and healthcare institutions, and leverages innovative digital solutions to combat the disease.
Zoho Desk for Coronavirus Helpline: The Jammu and Kashmir administration recently launched the union territory’s first Covid response call centre in Srinagar. ClearWire Technologies, which runs the call centre, uses Zoho Desk, a customer support software. Zoho is now extending free licences of Zoho Desk to all the other state governments for enabling them to help citizens. Zoho Desk was built in Tenkasi, which is located in rural parts of Tamil Nadu.
Zoho Forms for Health Surveys: In Goa, around 7,000 government employees conducted door-to-door health survey of nearly 4.5 lakh houses spread across 12 taluks, 574 sub divisions and 4,000+ municipal wards to identify nearly 5,000 people who were to be tested for Covid-19. The survey was created by Vacation Labs using Zoho Forms, an online form builder. The surveyors used the Forms mobile app to collect the data. In remote areas that had limited internet access, the surveyors could capture the data in the offline mode, which could then be synced when the internet connection was available. Zoho has extended Forms for free to state governments who need a similar solution to deal with the pandemic.