How AppSquadz and AWS are building bridges in the vernacular education sector
In a country where 95 percent of the population converses in vernacular languages as per a NASSCOM report, India’s vernacular education system is still woefully inadequate. Currently, the most used instruction medium is English, despite the fact that most students are comfortable with local languages. In order to bridge these language gaps in education, companies likeare giving vernacular coaching institutions and educators the chance to teach and for students to learn in a language that they are comfortable with.
With a total of 780 languages in India, 122 of which have over 10,000 speakers, the country’s vernacular education sector offers promise and massive potential to edtech companies. Furthermore, with the options of coaching institutes and private virtual classes, student enrolment has surged. According to a report by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), one in every four students, i.e., around 75 percent of students join coaching classes. The same survey shows higher secondary students opt for coaching classes the most.
Bengal, Tripura, Bihar, and Odisha report the highest percentage of student enrolments at coaching institutes, with 89, 87, 67.2 and 63.4 percent respectively. Coaching institutes are also targeting states and territories, such as Daman and Diu, Chandigarh, Delhi and other large metropolitan cities, where the demand for vernacular coaching classes (vernacular and english) is high. However, most edtech platforms in the Indian market have failed to capitalise or cater to these segments, losing out on these promising opportunities for digital education in vernacular languages.
AppSquadz’s foray into edtech
Founded in 2014, Noida-based web and mobile app development company AppSquadz prides itself on championing the global shift to digitisation and digitalisation. After completing his B.Tech in 2010, Chandrakant Agrawal embarked on a career as a software engineer working at Spice Labs, creating games and in-house mobile apps and then founding Appbulous Software. He then co-founded AppSquadz with his wife - Priyanka Agrawal. The company focused on offering IT services and mobile application development. Today, Chandrakant looks after the sales and marketing departments, while Priyanka handles delivery.
In the early days of the company, Chandrakant struggled with obtaining funds for the company. Without a prestigious degree and funds, he faced a number of challenges to build AppSquadz. However, he quickly found his footing through his technical skills, valuable leads, and references. Growing from 4-5 employees to 200, the company saw significant milestones such as the acquisition of its first client in the education sector in 2016. This development piqued his interest in this sector. Between 2018-2019, Chandrakant also began developing a relationship with AWS.
Today, Appsqaudz offers front-end solutions like mobile and web app development, elemental media services and cloud computing services through AWS. Another significant step the founder took in the education sector was to consider building a product that could easily be adopted and leveraged by the educational institute and coaching institutes. He approached several stakeholders in the sector and pitched the idea of how they could sell their courses and educational videos on the internet and through using a mobile or website application. He received an overwhelmingly positive response, and acquired over 150-200 clients in this time frame. The pandemic transformed his idea from an interesting approach to a real and crucial necessity in the educational sector.
“Our Public Sector partner ecosystem has evolved significantly over the last two years in India. From addressing tactical requirements initially, our partners are now enabling strategic engagements for our Government and Education customers. We now are seeing partners like Appsquadz bringing relevant solutions to the market and helping address evolving customer needs.” shared, Haja Sheriff, Leader- Partners & Alliances- WW Public Sector-India - AISPL India (AWS)
Uplifting vernacular voices through VideoCrypt
VideoCrypt, one of AppSquadz’s pivotal projects, is a secured video streaming solution that offers services such as live streaming, mobile applications, audio management, PDF management, storage and file management and much more.
The product is largely used by the educational sector - particularly those educators or institutes that teach in vernacular languages. Coaching institutes, in particular, deal with large infrastructural demands, which is why they prefer live streaming and online classes. Another option they prefer is the hybrid model, which allows them to access and reach wider audiences.
VideoCrypt currently has over 100 clients from coaching institutes, universities, and educators. Not only do these clients have access to VideoCrypt but also have the assurance of performance, security, and quality experiences from AWS (which hosts the entire infrastructure of VideoCrypt). Clients of VideoCrypt can utilise features such as analytics, watermarks, total control of viewership, customisation of every upload, offline download options, reduced bandwidth and storage costs and multi bitrate support. AppSquadz also handles the customisation of software in terms of design, UI/UX and other IT services, in addition to the VideoCrypt services offered. Now clients can offer educational content in languages such as Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Bengali, Kannada, and English. Some of the biggest clients on VideoCrypt include institutes such as emeryt (malayalam) and Web Sankul (gujarati) - each of which have more than 1,00,000 users.
By leveraging the features and services of VideoCrypt, vernacular educators and coaching institutions can increase their revenue and offer truly unique educational experiences to students in a variety of regions, and in different languages. Sarthak Jain, Founder of Fast Education and one of the most prestigious educators, said, “We needed a customised solution, a readymade solution would not work for us, so we developed our own app with the partnership of AppSquadz and AWS, wherein some of the features that we offer are pathbreaking.”
Clients can also utilise VideoCrypt’s Digital Rights Management (DRM feature), which allows single and multi-key DRM, offline in-app DRM integrations and more. VideoCrypt’s Multi-DRM services (an AWS cloud-based service) allows clients to save on security, make money from their content, is scalable on a global level, and can easily be applied to web services.
VideoCrypt is also in demand in areas such as vernacular OTT platforms and media houses, medical education, universities, publishing, spiritual organisations, podcasts, events, and seminars. VideoCrypt is doing well in the market and with AWS as its backbone, it is only going to get better. So to exponentially increase its growth rate AppSquadz is in talks with VCs and investors.
AppSquadz and AWS
“The beauty of AWS is firstly the products and solutions that it offers. Secondly, the scalability of AWS solutions is another advantage. During the pandemic, the traffic of clients increased by 10 to 20 times. In these cases, we could not use traditional cloud solutions. AWS handled these large volumes of traffic and offered us a vast array of solutions,” said Chandrakant.
AppSquadz’ relationship with AWS has grown exponentially in three years. This partnership largely revolves around cloud and media services. The company prides itself as one of the biggest partners for AWS Elemental media services. Chandrakant also spoke about how AppSquadz understands AWS solutions, which is why they are frequently looped in to handle integrations in different projects.
Becoming a certified partner for AWS was a big step for AppSquadz. Not only does AWS offer both brand value and a high level of trust in the market, but the training required to utilise and resell AWS solutions has improved the expertise of AppSquadz’s in-house tech workforce.
According to Chandrakant, a majority of users in the education sector utilise Content Delivery Networks like CloudFront from AWS. As a partner of AWS, AppSquadz is able to offer institutes a variety of AWS services, reselling them at more affordable prices. These services include AWS Media Live, AWS CloudFront, AWS Live Classes Solution, AWS Media Convert, AWS Elemental Live L812AE and more. In the next two years, AppSquadz plans to double the revenue generated from reselling AWS services.
In the future, AppSquadz hopes to further this partnership with AWS and explore the potential of technology in education. They believe that vernacular solutions can address the existing language barriers and bridge them. VideoCrypt intends to give vernacular voices an equal platform so that they can reach a wider number of students.