Published: 22nd May 2020
So long Zoom, Hello Octa: Why schools are falling in love with this video conferencing platform
The Hyderabad-based start-up developed Octa and managed to get constant feedback from teachers and students about how to make it more user-friendly before they rolled it out to a larger audience
The security concerns of video-conferencing app Zoom have left a vacuum and there are start-ups coming up with their own tools to fill that space. Octa is one such platform. Radius Edutech, the start-up that developed it, has helped 14 schools and colleges get on it already. That’s a testament to the fact that there is something about Octa that stands apart from its counterparts. What sets it apart is that it runs on bandwidth which is as low as two Mbps, perfect for a student sitting in a rural area where the network can't be relied upon. And even if they have just 1 Mbps speed, children will still be able to look at the presentation and listen to the audio. The cherry on the cake is that not only is it an end-to-end encrypted platform, but they also use the AWS (Amazon Web Services) server, considered to be one of the safest servers out there.
One of the classes | (Pic: Radius Edutech)
"Data privacy is of utmost importance to us because children use their parents' phone to log in," says Mallika Valluru, who started the Hyderabad-based start-up with Siddharth Malempati in the year 2018. They developed Octa in November 2019 and they couldn't have picked a better time, now that remote learning is the new normal. "Both teachers and students are quite happy with the application. Even primary and kindergarten teachers have expressed interest in wanting to use it to teach rhymes and show interactive videos to their students," she informs and adds, "We started with the aim of digitising schools but with video conferencing, we got into the online segment too. It is going very well because earlier, we used to use the app for a few foreign class lectures but now, we have over 45,000 users registered," she informs. They even have a poll that pops up every 10 minutes during the e-class to ensure that students are paying attention. Beat that!
Mallika Valluru | (Pic: Radius Edutech)
The 32-year-old worked with enough NGOs to understand that there is a gap in the field of education desperately waiting to be filed. After exploring schools in the US and understanding Indian education, Mallika zeroed in on the plan to offer to digitise schools via interactive and affordable touch boards, which they installed in 45 to 50 schools like Johnson Grammar School, Pragathi Central School, Sanghamitra School and many others. They also developed concept-wise simulation, 926 of them to be exact, so that optimum use can be made of the digital boards and to develop it, they took the help of the good folks at International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad. "These boards can be used as whiteboards, they have an interactive touch component and more," says Mallika, who pursued Social Impact Strategy from the University of Pennsylvania, USA. But what everyone is talking about when it comes to this WE Hub incubated start-up is Octa. Check it out for yourself!
This is what Radius Edutech has to offer in-class:
- Interactive TV set: Comes in 40 to 85 inches and has a pre-installed Open Pluggable specification
- Interactive Touch Projectors: If your class is small. you can use this projector or turn your existing one into an interactive one
- Tablets: They also offer tablets which the children can use
For more on them, check out radiusedutech.com and octa.work