Gaming Startup Usiku Games has launched what they describe as the first “made in Africa for Africa” video conferencing system. Dubbed Gumzo, which is Kiswahili for chatting, the new platform promises better quality calls with unlimited attendees at affordable prices.
Currently, the company says the service is free for those attending, and KES. 100 (US $1) for those looking to host their own meetings. Payment is only done using Safaricom’s M-Pesa, for now. Here’s a breakdown of what you get when you pay the KES. 100.
Gumzo.com says that having such a video conferencing system will enable African countries to retain the fees in local economies, compared to the competition that repatriates it off the continent.
“Since the existing players are all international companies, there are billions of shillings in fees from across Africa that are leaving the continent and into these companies’ coffers overseas exactly at a time when we need that money in the local economy. Gumzo will save it.” Says Jay Shapiro, the Founder and CEO, of Usiku Games.
The company also says that 50% of all fees raised on the platform will be donated to the Covid-19 response Fund, NGOs in Kenya, including the Pwani Youth Network, Team Pankaj & Mombasa Red Cross.
As a new platform, the first main concern for everyone before considering using it is to question how secure is it? Gumzo says theirs is one of the most secure platforms with all calls encrypted ensuring that users’ calls are private and protected.
On their website, the company says: All communications between you (user) and the server are encrypted, signalling (messages and video/audio) go over https, the media is encrypted by WebRTC. If there are less than 4 people in the call, then the signal is encrypted from end-to-end. For larger conferences, the signal is encrypted between each caller and the central servers. The company says they can also host private instances of the servers in customers own data centres for highly secure calls.
To avoid the problem of “Zoom Bombing”, Gumzo says they’ve implemented local phone number verification and only allow the use of real-names to ensure a safe environment for the users. This could be an issue to people who don’t want to risk sharing personal information, but Gumzo sees it as a solution to not having intruders. The company says that with this feature, meeting hosts can review the live video, name and phone number of each attendee before allowing them into the room.
“We are glad to have built this video conferencing system here in Kenya for the continent. This is a turning point in Africa’s innovation since our users will be able to enjoy lower rates, longer talk time and host many people at the same time without worrying about their security. We have invested heavily on security and creating a better experience compared to the overseas competition.” Says Jay Shapiro.
In the near future, Gumzo says they will be adding the ability to connect to other social media platforms such as Facebook Live and YouTube Live allowing teachers, pastors, and community leaders to reach mass audiences.
Finally, the company says they’re committed to making the platform available to all public school teachers in Kenya for free. This is to enable virtual classrooms, tuitions and family calls through the end of the year.
As a Kenyan would you consider using Gumzo over Zoom, Skype or Google’s new Meet? Why?
NOTE: Information shared here is based on a Press Release shared by Gumzo, and a look into their website: Gumzo.com