Prime Minister to address all GOI Secretaries & State CSs tomorrow: RailTel to extend Telepresence Support

narendra-modiNew Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address all the Secretaries under various ministries of the Central Government and Chief Secretaries of all the States on 25-03-2015 through the Video Conference facilitated on the National Knowledge Network of RailTel.

RailTel is making all out efforts to ensure maximum uptime of all CORE links on 25th and have stopped all planned maintenance activities on its network scheduled for today and tomorrow for smooth functioning of the event by way of close monitoring from all the Regional NOCs and Central NOC.

National Knowledge Network (NKN) is a multi-gigabit network, whose purpose is to provide a unified high speed network backbone for educational & research institutions and various state and central Government establishments in India.

The NKN consists of an ultra-high speed CORE (multiples of 10 Gbit/s), complimented with a distribution layer at appropriate speeds. Participating institutions at the Edge will connect to the National Knowledge Network seamlessly at speeds of 1 Gbit/s or higher.

The network is designed to support Overlay Networks, Dedicated Networks, and Virtual Networks. Advanced applications in areas such as Health, Education, Science & Technology, Grid Computing, Bioinformatics, Agriculture and Governance will be an integral part of NKN. The entire network will seamlessly integrate with the global scientific community at multiple Gigabits per second speed.

More and more businesses are adopting video conferencing and collaboration platforms as a way to stay connected. In sync with this trend, RailTel Corporation of India Ltd – a telecom arm of Indian Railways, has partnered with Cisco to provide a video conference service, called Telepresence, on its vast broadband network. RailTel, a mini-ratna public enterprise with more than 45,000 km network of optic fibre cables throughout the country, is the first among its peers to do so.  The service, which aims to bring in more speed in day-to-day functioning of large organisations, can also be used to fulfil aspirations of millions. Telepresence can not only become a key driver of the skill development mission, it will help reduce the cost of operations of government PSUs and large departments like the Indian Railways.

India, having more than 60% of its population aged between 15-59 years has the largest pool of working population. Since 2004, skill development has been a thrust area for the government. The recent economic survey report reiterated the significance of the ‘demographic dividend’ and cautioned about the downside risk of ignoring the requirements of adding value to the ‘youth bulge’. Being a large and geographically diverse country, with limited resources, India has been struggling to address the problem.

After forming a dedicated governmental agency in 2013—the National Skill Development Corporation—the issue could not be met with success. While physical infrastructure and better job prospects remains a challenge, “lack of quality teachers compounded the problem”.

And that is where a country-wide video conferencing service comes as a respite. A high definition video conferencing service can eliminate the distance between large metropolises and tier-III or tier-IV towns and villages as individuals can have the same learning experience irrespective of their locations.  Indian Railways has recently adopted the service and it is slowly introducing video conferencing in its internal operations.

Although till date, railways have used the service to flag off trains from the country’s capital, its zonal offices are in talks with RailTel to utilise video conferencing for other activities.

Major infrastructure providers like Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) and Bihar government has been added to the list of clientele of RailTel.  While CWC is using the service to keep track of its warehouses across the country, the government of Bihar has introduced it in its judicial system. The most important benefit of Telepresence is the extent of time it saves apart from, of course, the reduction in capital expenditure for its users. Since, it is an end-to-end solution, companies need not maintain a dedicated team to look after it, neither they would have to create the entire set up to avail video conferencing.

According to RailTel, Telepresence costs 20-30% less than what it would cost to create and maintain an entire set up for video conferencing. Although, the concept is wide-spread amongst corporates and large private companies, it is the public companies and government agencies which are still to adopt such modes of communication. Simplification of video conferencing and innovative ways to use the service would become an important pillar of Digital India project for RailTel.  Meanwhile, RailTel with its enterprise class full high definition (HD) and secure multi-point managed video conferencing service, is loading its barrels for the battle ahead.