Microsoft's Project Sangam Uses LinkedIn to Bridge Skills Gap

Microsoft announces a new skill development platform for India and a "lite" version of the Skype mobile app during the company's Future Decoded event in Mumbai.

LinkedIn

In India, LinkedIn will soon help job seekers obtain the skills they need to find new employment or further their careers. During the Future Decoded event this week in Mumbai, India, the company announced Project Sangam, a skills development and employment platform for the populous country.

Using LinkedIn's trove of job search data, the project will help users build the skills they need for a job by connecting training and learning programs with relevant job requirements. Microsoft acquired LinkedIn for $26 billion last year.

Participants will be able to register using their Aadhaar ID, India's biometric identity system, "ensuring life-long access to the platform," stated the company. Project Sangam will support blended online and offline modes of learning and serve as a platform for teaching.

"One of the most pressing challenges of the Indian economy and the Indian society [is] skills and jobs," said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, during his keynote address. Noting that LinkedIn is now part of the Microsoft product empire, he said his company's "dream has always been to be able to take the world's biggest professional network and connect it to the professional cloud and make it possible for every professional in the world to be able to realize their economic opportunity."

Nadella also unveiled Skype Lite, a version of Microsoft's voice, chat and video communications app for mobile-first markets or mobile-only regions, as is often the case in many emerging markets. Available in the Google Play store, the app is "a client built for the connectivity speeds in India, across nine different languages, with fantastic support for bots and with Aadhaar identity built-in."

According to Microsoft, the lightweight app sips data, enabling it to run on networks with spotty connectivity. The app automatically compresses photos, videos and large files, placing less of a strain on overworked networks. It can run smoothly and consistently on 2G networks, according to Microsoft.

Suggesting that Aadhar support is more than a just an integration with India's advanced ID platform, Satya asserted that it will serve as "the fundamental identity system of the messaging client that is going to be available in India for every Indian citizen." It will enable users to verify the identities of unknown callers. As a perk, it will also enable Skype Lite to act as another tool to help in situations that require ID, like certain sales transactions or job interviews.

Aadhaar sign-ins will be enabled by June 2017. Local language support includes Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu. In keeping with the usual practice, users can make Skype-to-Skype calls at no cost.

Skype Lite also includes an SMS management option that eliminates clutter and power-saving features that help maximize battery life. The app also features Skype Bots specifically tailored to the Indian market as well as mobile data and Wi-Fi usage monitoring tools.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...