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Volume IconZoom's Iravati Damle on how the platform overcame government scepticism

Iravati Damle of Zoom India, shares how she overcame government's concerns about the videoconferencing platform and emerged as the app of choice among students, professionals and the government

ImageHarshit Rakheja New Delhi
Zoom, video chat, conference

Zoom has become extremely popular in the past few weeks, with most parts of the world under lockdown due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, and people working from home.

In conversation with Iravati Damle - director for government affairs, Zoom India

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Q1: As the head of government affairs at Zoom, what was work like around the time when the Indian government expressed its worries about the platform? Can you share some numbers for the reduction in usage around that time? What was the plan-of-action for your team to address this challenge?


* 100% enterprise platform before the pandemic
* Reoriented target offerings with rising retail use cases
* Engaged with MeitY, government departments
* All engineering resources refocused to privacy and security
* Set up CSO council with security chiefs of global organisations
* Launched end-to-end encryption for Zoom meetings
* Introduced solutions aimed at retail users
* Allowed users to route through th e data centre of their choice
* Released 400+ security features through the year
* In 2021, MeitY announced no govt restriction on the use of Zoom
* Around 67 per cent YoY growth in the Asia-Pacific region
Q2: From personal experience, I recall that while initially in March-April, Zoom was the videoconferencing platform of choice for schools and educational institutions, towards mid-April, most of them migrated to Microsoft Teams en masse after the government's advisory on Zoom. One and a half year later, most of them are still using Microsoft Teams because a lot of these video conferencing platforms are also beefing up their offerings for educational institutions. How is Zoom looking to address this challenge? Are there tangible plans/programs in the works for the company to wrest back its old enterprise users?

* Live translation and transcription
* Huddle feature for conferences
* Launched 1,000 apps in the app-marketplace
* Whiteboard for collaboration
* ‘Stop incoming video’ feature for low-bandwidth environments
* ‘Focus mode’ to retain students’ attention during virtual classes
* Integration with schools’ learning management systems
* Partnership with country’s top management schools
* Focus on platform development and not competition 
Q3: From early 2020 to now, how has the engagement with the Indian government evolved? I hear Zoom is being actively used by various Indian government agencies. Could you please elaborate on Zoom’s enterprise use cases for the public sector?

* Ministry of Rural Development use the platform to connect self-help groups
* Platform suitable for governance since it works well in low-bandwidth areas
Q4: You’ve had a long career in the exciting domain of public policy, where you've helped global tech companies engage with the Indian government and various other stakeholders. How would you sum up what a career in public policy means, for the benefit of aspiring policy professionals? Request you to draw on your experiences at Uber and now with Zoom.

* A large part of being a public policy professional is about identifying synergies between the government and other stakeholders

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First Published: Nov 23 2021 | 8:30 AM IST

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