News: Konn3ct to challenge Zoom, others as Nigerian developer Newwaves launches Africa’s first virtual meeting solution


Newwaves Ecosystems, a Nigerian information technology company has developed an online meetings application called konn3ct that is about to etch the country’s name in the world’s fastest-growing IT niche projected to be worth more than N30 trillion ($78.6 billion) by 2030. It is also the first of such a development by any African information technology outfit.

The App, known as Konn3ct, is set for formal launch on Tuesday, April 7, at an event in Abuja, to be headlined by the Director-General, Nigeria Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Inuwa Kashifu Abdullahi, and comes with several unique features that differentiate it from many of the existing solutions in the market, and which could possibly help it cut a sizeable share of the market, currently dominated by China’s Zoom Video Communications.

Interestingly, it was the NITDA Director-General that, in December 2020, had predicted that Nigerian IT start-ups were capable of generating $30 billion by 2030, a target that is looking increasingly possible with the strides of companies like Newwaves Ecosystems.

Findings indicate that Konn3ct may likely provide for the largest virtual conferencing room in the world today, with capacity for a peak of 250 participants in a meeting and an unlimited number via live stream. The app boasts of top-quality audio and video interface for smooth conferencing experience as well as a recording option that makes for documentation and sharing of meeting proceedings.

To make the App suitable for large conferences, the creators built in a feature that creates room for break-out sessions, the same way that is applicable in brick-and-mortar meetings of such size. By this, users are allowed as many as eight break-out meetings within the larger meeting. Another feature allows for private chats and group chats during the meeting, enabling the harmonisation of positions of interest groups even while the meeting is going on.

Konn3ct also comes with two security features; one is the Secure Socket Layer Encryption (SSL Encryption) a process undergone by data under the SSL protocol in order to protect that data during transfer and transmission by creating a uniquely encrypted channel that gives the user a private communication link channel over the public Internet; the other is the Transport Layer Security, which primarily provides privacy and data integrity between two or more communicating computer applications. The App also solves the problems of sponsorship of virtual events by providing a feature for the branding of meeting rooms.

On why the company went into the development of the new solution, given the popularity of Zoom and others, Chief Executive Officer of Newwaves Ecosystems, Femi Williams, said the idea was to enhance web conferencing experiences by adding features that facilitate interaction and which creates an exciting virtual workplace.

Mr Williams, who worked with Chams Nigeria for many years before founding Newwaves about a year and half ago, said Konn3ct was not initially conceptualized for internal purposes and not as a commercial App.

“We actually created this solution as an in-house virtual office when the COVID-19 pandemic forced everyone into a lockdown about a year ago. Because we couldn’t shut down, even in the lockdown, we thought of a solution that could enable free and seamless communication and workflow in our company. But the growth of the virtual office and web conferencing market drew us to the commercial opportunities, especially since what we had, even at the inhouse level, could beat most of the commercially available apps in this space,” he explained.

He sounded upbeat about the opportunities the App has in a market dominated by Chinese and western tech companies, arguing that what the world wants is superior experience and not the country or origin of given solutions.

“In the world today, technology appears to be the only thing that does not recognize territorial and racial limitations. Technology is the same everywhere and there is nothing such as Nigerian or African technology. Today, the market leader was not the first to develop similar apps and will certainly not be the last. Konn3ct will carve its own niche, not because it is a Nigerian of African contribution to the technology pool, but because it is a best-in-class solution to the real needs of people,” he said.

Although North America dominated the web conferencing market between 2014-2019, owing to the early adoption of novel technologies and comparatively larger IT spending in the region, Africa is expected to register a high Compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in 2020-2025, because of the surging sales of smartphones, rising penetration of internet, and strong economic development in major countries in the region.

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