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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella launches India-focused apps during Future Decoded event

Sahil Bhalla | Updated on: 22 February 2017, 19:35 IST
(Santosh Hirlekar/PTI)

Microsoft Corp’s Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella is in India for the Future Decoded 2017 event in Mumbai. During the keynote speech on Wednesday, 22 February, Nadella announced the launch of three applications built keeping India in mind. First and foremost is Project Sangam, "the first coming together of Microsoft and LinkedIn". Microsoft had purchased the professional networking site LinkedIn in a $26.2-billion deal last year. Skype Lite, built to work on low bandwidth connections and an integration with was also announced. Finally, LinkedIn Lite was also announced at the event.

Skype Lite

Skype Lite is an Android app for India and other emerging markets. It's essentially gone ahead and retooled Skype, the messaging service not many people seem to use, for those in emerging markets. Skype Lite keeps the main core feature, video and voice calling and fine tunes it for those on limited bandwidth and 2G connections. Initially, it will only be available in India and has been localised in eight different Indian languages and has support for reading and replying to SMS' and tracking mobile data usage. The apps size has shrunk to just 13MB and will consume less battery and even runs on old Android phones smoothly.

What makes this standout is the fact that Microsoft is also integrating the 12-digit national identification number system known as Aadhar directly into the app. It's to be used as a way for people to securely identify themselves. It's also to enable certain services from June onward. It can also, as Microsoft said in a blog post, "enable Skype users to verify the identity of unknown callers in a variety of situations where identification verification is required, including job interviews, goods and property sale”.

Skype Lite has bee “built in India, for users in India". Skype Lite isn't available at the moment but when it does, you can find it here.

LinkedIn Lite

“We are launching LinkedIn Lite to help people from low connectivity zones look for economic opportunities. Other new products include a Placements app that will help college graduate get better jobs,” Nadella said.

LinkedIn Lite is their flagship app. It's designed to be able to perform seamlessly on all connectivity levels. Nadella says it is four times faster than the original. The platform is "simple yet powerful”.

The application, apart from what's mentioned above. includes data for hiring and business-to-business sales.

Sangam

Project Sangam, or just Sangam, is the coming together of Microsoft and LinkedIn. Boil it down and it's a cloud-based initiative to skill job-seekers. The project is to close the empowerment 'loop'. It's an educational application alongside LinkedIn Lite. It is to be extended to medium to low-skilled workers. It will be an open ecosystem. Trainers can add content to Sangam and trainees can take the training right from Sangam. They can also directly apply for jobs.

Sangam is built on India Stack. "IndiaStack is a set of APIs that allows governments, businesses, startups and developers to utilise an unique digital Infrastructure to solve India’s hard problems towards presence-less, paperless, and cashless service delivery. The Open API team at iSPIRT has been a pro-bono partner in the development, evolution, and evangelisation of these APIs and systems," reads the 'About' page on the website. "We will allow people to enroll through Aadhaar cards and later utilize LinkedIn to manage their profiles," Nadella added. Users can enroll under courses for skill training. Lessons can even be downloaded for offline viewing, a feature sorely needed in India. After the course ends, salary and locations are matched and jobs are recommended.

The profile of the candidate is also shared with the employer. Currently, the project is still in preview mode. Project Sangam is a push toward Narendra Modi's Skill India initiative. Project Sangam will be commencing from Andhra Pradesh. LinkedIn, has more than 35 million of its users in India.

First published: 22 February 2017, 19:32 IST
 
Sahil Bhalla @IMSahilBhalla

Sahil is a correspondent at Catch. A gadget freak, he loves offering free tech support to family and friends. He studied at Sarah Lawrence College, New York and worked previously for Scroll. He selectively boycotts fast food chains, worries about Arsenal, and travels whenever and wherever he can. Sahil is an unapologetic foodie and a film aficionado.

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