BENGALURU: Communications have been evolving ever since the telegraph separated communication from physical distance. In the past decade, there’s been an explosion in the number of ways people have come up with, to simply converse. The recent push has been toward real-time chats, either with visuals, audio, or text, or varying combinations of all three. The latest on the, well, scene, is an app called Scenes, developed by Bengaluru-based Avalon Meta. Since its launch in the first week of April this year, Scenes has been downloaded by around two lakh Android and ioS users.
It has got around 35,000 users, of which around half are active users (those who have attended a session at least once a week). Users communicate through live voice chats that they can drop in on and participate in, depending on their interests. Naturally, there is a comparison with Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces, which hit Indian social media users barely a month after Scenes.
However, the company says that if at all a comparison is to be made, Discord (an app which offers real-time communication for gamers) would be more suitable. “People wrongly compare us with Clubhouse. Our competition is with apps like Discord,” says Abhinav Arora, co founder and chief marketing officer of Avalon Meta.
He says Scenes is directed at a specific target audience: Content creators, social media influencers, brands and startups who want to build a strong community for them selves . “Our aim is to build a wide social capital and attract a larger user base. We are helping individuals and brands connect with the community with interesting features that we are going to roll out soon. We have also incorporated a live chat box for users during the audio sessions,” says Arora.
The app’s developers want to make community engagement more robust by introducing more functionalities. “We will allow users to record the audio of the session, share docu - ments , screens, and video. As for brands, we will allow them to sell their own merchandise, e-products, and help them monetise their services on the app,” says Arora.
With such extra features in the pipeline, tech experts say Clubhouse may have have competition. Rathan Kinhal, a Bengaluru-based tech expert who manages business operations for an international company, believes the pandemic has accelerated the growth of audio-centric apps. “Since the lockdown kicked in, social media users had the time to explore other formats of social networking than the usual microblogging and socialising apps. Moreover, with lower data tariffs in India, startups are tapping the right resources to ensure these apps reach even Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities,” says Kinhal.