बंगलोर Bangalore (SBC): RailTel, the telecom arm of Indian railways, has partnered with Cisco to launch a video conferencing platform for government departments struggling to cope with travel curbs, pitting itself against larger rivals such as Airtel and BSNL.
“Government has put a lot of travel restrictions in various states and central government departments as a part of the austerity drive,” said A Seshagiri Rao, Director-Network Planning and Marketing, RailTel Corporation of India.
“We decided to launch the service to help such government departments connect with each other through video and cut down travel costs by at least 50%.
RailTel expects to earn over Rs 100 crore in revenue from the services by 2017. The overall market for enterprise video collaboration in India is expected to cross $150 million by then, according to Cisco.
“We have long been an unknown name in the telecom domain. With this partnership, we are moving up the value chain and would soon launch many other services that can be delivered on our strong broadband network,” Rao said.
RailTel will pay Cisco for telepresence video equipment that it will rent to both government and private businesses, and use its own broadband network – 45,000 km of optical fibre cables running along railway lines and data centers in Hyderabad and New Delhi -for connectivity.
Cisco will also manage a network operations center set up at RailTel’s data center. Both the companies will jointly sell the services to businesses across the country . “We strongly believe that video will play a critical role in a digitised economy , which will push sales for our video solutions in India,” said Sandeep Mehra, country head, collaboration sales, India and SAARC, at Cisco. “Through this partnership, we hope to tap into large opportunities in public sector, education, healthcare market in small cities, where RailTel has a strong presence.”
The company is maintaining its central infrastructure including multi-point bridge, streaming, recording facility and 24×7 help desk facility at its Tier-III Data Centre at Hyderabad. The central PSU is ensuring the high availability of central infrastructure with DR site working in active load balancing mode at Gurgaon.
“Digital India program of Government of India is one of the most important initiatives for the growth of the country and telepresence service will play a stellar role in strengthening the program,” said Puneet Gupta, Managing Director, Enterprise & Public Sector Sales, Cisco India & SAARC.
Indian Railways, Patna High Court and Central Warehousing Corporation have already signed for the platform on a pay-per-use basis.