“COVID-19 has changed the way we live and work. Most of these changes that look temporary right now may remain permanent,” says Founder & CEO of Rootcode Labs, Alagan Mahalingam. It was for this reason that the company built an app called Serw during the “Global Hack – Fighting a Global Crisis” hackathon. Furthermore, for their efforts, Rootcode Labs won 1st place in the “Work” track.
An introduction to the Global Hack hackathon
It’s described as, “a global effort and movement involving communities and organizers from all over the world.” This is a global hackathon organized by AccelerateEstonia, Garage48 and Guaana, with the support of the European Commission. Happening remotely with the participation of over 12,000+ software engineers, designers, entrepreneurs, technologists, and citizens from 100+ countries, it was one of the largest hackathons in the world.
The purpose of this massive global effort was to address the challenges we face as a global society amidst the coronavirus pandemic. In its wake, we have to consider both the immediate and long-term changes to our economy, workplaces, healthcare, and environment. With the aim of finding solutions to these varied challenges, the Global Hack hackathon consisted of several tracks.
Of these tracks, Rootcode Labs participated in the “Work” track. This was led by Gary Kasparov, former World Chess Champion, Avast Security Ambassador and Author of Deep Thinking. Its focus was to address the challenges faced by organizations and professionals in light of the coronavirus through the use of innovative technologies. Working with a group of world-class mentors for 48 hours, Rootcode Labs developed Serw to address these issues.
What is Serw?
It’s a mobile app designed to help working professionals connect with their clients via video calls. Available on iOS and Android, Serw offers business continuity to these professionals with a platform that not only handles video calls but also other aspects such as managing appointments and accepting payments digitally.
Explaining the need for such an application, Alagan shared, “There are many professionals in different industries who can deliver their services to customers through a video call. Currently, those professionals use Zoom, Skype or any other video conference platform. But there is neither a straightforward way to get payments from customers nor an easy way to handle bookings.”
At the moment, Serw is an invite-only app. Rootcode Labs is in the process of testing the app with experts from Sri Lanka and Europe. By visiting its website, other professionals can also request invites to use the app. The company is seeking to work with local and international businesses as well as independent professionals. Through these collaborative efforts, the goal is for Serw to offer an array of on-demand video-based services.
Such services would in a variety of industries such as fitness, teaching, counselling, legal advice, etc. As Rootcode Labs works to expand the offerings of Serw, it hopes to introduce the app to international markets in the coming weeks. Alagan adds that while the app will be available to the public, registrations for professionals will remain on an invitation basis. The focus is to ensure the quality of services offered by the early professionals found on Serw.
What Rootcode Labs sees in a post coronavirus future
We’ve previously covered the story of Rootcode Labs and how it went from being a startup to the ambitious software engineering company with a global vision it is today. Since then it’s taken steps forward towards making this vision a reality. Beyond the development of Serw, another example of this would be the opening of its new office in Estonia. With this move, Rootcode Labs now has an active presence on 3 continents.
Yet, when one looks at the rest of the world, they’ll find several businesses have come to a standstill. It goes without saying the sudden coronavirus outbreak has introduced us to unprecedented challenges never seen before. Acknowledging this, Alagan believes the future following this crisis will be very different. But remains optimistic that technology will help us overcome this crisis and build a better future.
“The COVID-19 crisis has disrupted our lives and businesses in unimaginable ways, and many of the changes created by the crisis may persist with us forever. We are working hard to leverage the power of technology and build solutions so that the world doesn’t have to suffer again like this,” says Alagan describing his view of the future following this crisis and the role Rootcode Labs aims to play in that future.