Bhonga App: Where announcements and information go mobile

In an exclusive interaction with Radhika Agarwal, Director at Linkus Infratech, we get to know much about her latest venture, the Bhonga app.

Bhonga App: Where announcements and information go mobile

Creating a network of people, constantly updating and helping each other, was the idea behind Radhika Agarwal’s latest venture, an application called Bhonga.

"Bhonga” is a word in the Marathi language that translates to meaning megaphone or loudspeaker and this mobile app focuses on announcements, bringing people in a locality together for important updates, queries and emergencies. 

Radhika is the Director at Linkus Infratech and has been practicing investment banking for over a decade. Talking about her desire to do something for the people, she said, “Trading has lots to do with numbers and excel sheets. This job has the human element missing. So, I was just trying to walk the talk.”

A platform connecting individuals hyper-locally for exchange of relevant information or in case of emergencies can do wonders for the people in a specific area as Mumbai is densely populated and the issues circling are serious. 

Highlighting the need of the app and explaining the concept, Radhika said, “People interact very actively with their physical environment, in terms of where we stay and where we go. In such cases, your neighbourhood can help you. It is more like a village concept where people used to stay well connected. I just thought let’s take the connect beyond friends and family - Let’s connect the unconnected people who are staying in the same locality. So, that is where the product Bhonga was crystalised.”  

How does the app work?

The developers thought of ways or circumstances in which people in a neighbourhood, who don’t know each other, would want to connect. Talking of which, they have been broadly categorised one into emergencies, which dealt with time-sensitive information. Other areas could include personal queries, opinions, sharing resources, offers and other important information.

Talking about the importance of real-time updates, urgency and information can help people in various different ways. For instance, there is a public garden and there is an open wire. When one comes across the same, he/she can give a shout-out to the others to be careful. One may also want to warn the citizens about an open manhole in the area. There may be an incident where a pipeline might have burst, causing a water cut for 4-5 hours. He/she can share it with others in his/her locality. 

How can it help local businesses or small-sized ventures?

Elaborating on the same, Radhika mentioned, “There are wonderful micro-economies that are existing around. There are so many homemakers in every locality and they are looking out for reach. Small shop owners are losing their businesses to bigger giants like Amazon and Flipkart. They can also provide the same products with the facility of home delivery a return policy. However, they lack the reach. Bhonga can give them local reach and help create a cohesive neighbourhood."

Content Regulation and Security

With the rising concern around fake news and unnecessary propaganda, there is a possibility of someone misusing the platform. Negating the possibility of which, Radhika added, “If anyone adds abusive or offensive content on the platform, we have the authority to warn or deactivate the user. Besides the terms and conditions devised by our lawyer, there isn’t an outright regulation of the content, but we can definitely take action.”

Calling the platform democratic, she elaborated that, as the app is user-driven, the users have the right to report a piece of content. Everyone in the circle would be notified about the number of reports a particular update or a query has. 

With the concern around fake news, ease of forwarding it on other platforms makes it convenient for people to spread wrong information. Since Bhonga does not allow any forwards on the platform, one has to retype the whole thing again, which would make it highly inconvenient. This negates the ease of having these wildfires about any wrong news. Moreover, the possibility of having police in the area or a BMC guy on this platform, may prove to be detrimental for those who attempt to spread fake news.  

Treating the app more like a movement than simply a networking platform, Radhika intends to make the app the best solution for people when stranded in an area or moving in a new locality. Also, helping small businesses and shop owners, she focuses on a very humane angle to bring people together for a cause or simply information sharing.