Lesotho’s own ‘WhatsApp’ and ‘Skype’ in one package

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Lesotho’s own ‘WhatsApp’ and ‘Skype’ in one package
Lesotho’s own ‘WhatsApp’ and ‘Skype’ in one package

Africa-PressLesotho. WITH this app, Letsema, you can chat like you are on WhatsApp, talk like you are on a phone, and get into a video-conference like you are on Skype or Zoom.

There is more to this app which is being developed by a company called Astra-Tech owned by Pulane Motenane, under the National University of Lesotho (NUL) Innovation Hub.

This is just what we needed in the era of coronavirus. When you are in a video conference, using this app, you can get into a “private room” where you and your friend can talk and then come back to the main session.

If you are a teacher, you can write directly on the screen to illustrate to your students, who are kilometres away, what you are talking about. It’s the smart way to do e-learning!
You can take screen-shots of presentations. You can record audio or video meetings to review them, you share all kinds of files — the list has no end.

Why not check the upcoming internet version of this app by the end of this week?
“After working with NUL Innovation Hub in one project, we requested to be incubated under them because of the pace and vibrancy of innovation in this place,” says Motenane.

She coordinates a team of coders developing a variety of software products under Astra-Tech. And this is what the spokesperson of the NUL Innovation Hub had to say about Astra-Tech, “we at the Innovation Hub know talent when we see it, so we made a deal.

” What is behind Letsema?
In the era of coronavirus, the world is moving rapidly towards doing things online.

Due to the so-called social distancing, we avoid sitting in traditional meetings if we can make video conferences. Schools are closed, so we must find a way to teach students using e-learning.

Plus we just want to talk at low cost online with our friends and family without WhatsApp-like hiccups. Hence Letsema. Letsema is for everyone. Do you want to hold online meetings for work, church, or any other things?
Here is what Letsema has on offer.

“You can enter into these meetings with either audio, to save data or video, to maximize impact,” Motenane says.

It goes like this. One person becomes a host by creating a meeting. Then he sends a link to others who will click to enter the meeting. We can see and listen to each other once we are in.

Sounds familiar?
Yes — if you have Skype or Zoom. You can even raise your hand to talk just like they do on Zoom and ask questions either by talking or writing on a chat.

You can chat privately to another person in the group without others seeing, again, just like on Zoom. From there it gets more interesting. Suppose you are teaching your students something like, say, Mathematics.

You will surely need to jot something down. Great! With Letsema, you put your inkless cushioned pen right there on the screen and all your students, sitting kilometres away, can see the writing, each on their phones.

The feature is called a White Board. When you share a presentation, you can make it appear on the screen of each of your students while a small screen showing you, explaining the presentation, appears by the side.

Letsema has a couple of interesting notifications too, “it can notify you when a session is about to end. When a public message is posted, it pops up for everyone to notice there is such a message.

When someone leaves a meeting, it reports that he has left — he doesn’t have to quietly disappear like they do on Zoom. ” It has a WhatsApp-like chat where you can keep in touch with your friends and family.

Just like with WhatsApp, you can talk in groups. “We are developing the app’s ability to keep messages history so we can refer to them later,” Motenane says.

Despite its popularity, WhatsApp can be annoying sometimes, especially when you try to make the so-called WhatsApp calls. Sometimes you phone someone, only to find the phone is ringing only on your side — he doesn’t hear it at all on the other side.

When you do, by luck, get to talk, the famous app keeps “reconnecting,” cutting conversations abruptly. With Letsema the talk is smooth. When I ring you, you get the ring on the other side and we talk, no need for luck.

Unless the cell-phone tower signal is really bad, there are no conversation cuts. The business model is being developed. There will be free versions and there will be paid versions.

Schools which want to teach from a distance will have their own packages. So will businesses and individuals. Once Letsema is online, which will happen probably before this weekend, we will let you know. Keep on the watch!

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