Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras)-incubated firm has developed an Indigenous Mobile Operating System that can benefit India’s 100 crore mobile phone users.
Called ‘BharOS,’ this software can be installed on commercial off-the-shelf handsets. It provides a secure environment for users and is a significant contribution towards ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat.’
BharOS Services are currently being provided to organisations that have stringent privacy and security requirements whose users handle sensitive information that requires confidential communications on restricted apps on mobiles. Such users require access to private cloud services through private 5G networks.
The BharOS was developed by JandK Operations Private Limited (JandKops), which has been incubated by IIT Madras Pravartak Technologies Foundation, a Section 8 (Not for Profit) Company established by IIT Madras. The Foundation is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, under its National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NMICPS). It aspires to put India on par with those few countries that currently possess such capabilities.
Addressing a Press Conference today (19th Jan 2023) to announce this Indian Mobile Operating System, Prof. V. Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras, said, “BharOS Service is a Mobile Operating System built on a foundation of trust, with a focus on providing users more freedom, control, and flexibility to choose and use only the apps that fit their needs. This innovative system promises to revolutionise the way users think about security and privacy on their mobile devices.”
Further, Prof. Kamakoti added, “IIT Madras looks forward to working closely with many more private industry, Government agencies, Strategic agencies and Telecom Service Providers to increase the usage and adoption of BharOS in our Country.”
BharOS comes with No Default Apps (NDA). This means that users are not forced to use apps that they may not be familiar with or that they may not trust. Additionally, this approach allows users to have more control over the permissions that apps have on their device, as they can choose to only allow apps that they trust to access certain features or data on their device.
Elaborating further, Mr. Karthik Ayyar, Director, JandK Operations Pvt Ltd., the start-up that developed this Mobile Operating System, said, “In addition, BharOS offers ‘Native Over The Air’ (NOTA) updates that can help to keep the devices secure. NOTA updates are automatically downloaded and installed on the device, without the need for the user to manually initiate the process. This ensures that the device is always running the latest version of the operating system, which includes the latest security patches and bug fixes. With NDA, PASS, and NOTA, BharOS ensures that Indian mobile phones are trustworthy.”
BharOS provides access to trusted apps from organisation-specific Private App Store Services (PASS). A PASS provides access to a curated list of apps that have been thoroughly vetted and have met certain security and privacy standards of organisations. This means users can be confident that the apps they are installing are safe to use and have been checked for any potential security vulnerabilities or privacy concerns.