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16 - 30 June 2011


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Technology Sabha, Goa, June 2-5, 2011

Dinesh Gulati, President, The Indian Express Ltd. welcomed all the announced the opening of the Technology Sabha

The tenth edition of the Technology Sabha, the premier ICT event designed especially for IT leaders from the government space was held recently at the Goa Marriott Hotel in Panjim, Goa between 2nd - 5th June, 2011. In what has now become a familiar site, a congregation of leading technocrats from various state and central agencies, technology vendors and independent subject matter experts from all across the country gathered at the luxurious hotel located on the banks on the beautiful Mandovi river. Themed around how IT strategies can transform governance in the country, the event witnessed a series of discussions around how new and emerging technologies can be used to bridge the digital divide and deliver citizen-centric services to the Indian masses.

The event was formally inaugurated by the Honorable Chief Minister of Goa, Shri Digambar Kamat as he lit the ceremonial lamp and announced the commencement of the proceedings. Dinesh Gulati, President, The Indian Express Limited and B.B. Nanawati, DDG, UIDAI, Govt. of India accompanied the CM as he did the honors.

Dinesh Gulati of the Indian Express said that in its tenth iteration, the event looked bigger and better than ever before. Talking about the criticality of e-Governance in the country, he said, “Although we as a country have come a long way in our e-Governance efforts, which beginning from simple computerization initiatives have now evolved to projects as large and historic as the UIDAI, we still need to do much more in order to bring the benefits of ICT to the masses. Platforms such as the Technology Sabha can contribute greatly towards this endeavor.”

B.B. Nanawati, DDG, UIDAI, Govt. of India gave the attendees a status update on AADHAAR and the journey so far

When it comes to delivering large citizen-centric government projects, it doesn't get any bigger than the UIDAI project. Government departments which struggle or don't quite know how to deliver a large project can learn a number of things from Project AADHAAR which has already captured the imagination of an entire nation. In a bid to update the audience about the status of the project, the methodology employed to deliver it, and the government's future plans for the same, B.B. Nanawati, DDG, UIDAI, Govt. of India, delivered the keynote address following the welcome speech by Dinesh Gulati, President, The Indian Express Limited.

Nanawati said that when it comes to PoI, we in India tend to use documents like Ration Card, PAN Card, Drivers License, Voter's IT Card etc. which in fact are issued for other specific purposes and many a times those from the poor class don't even have any one of these documents. As a pure ID scheme operated by the Govt. of India, AADHAAR will provide a primary ID to all, including those who currently don't have a PoI document.

“Although we have only just begun in our journey of providing unique identities to the masses, we remain firm in our commitment to provide identities to those who, despite being eligible for all sorts of government entitlements, can't access the same because they don't have any means of identification.”

Nanawati said that since enrollment by citizens holds the key to the success of the project, the government has launched a fairly comprehensive ecosystem for enrollment, and education is playing a key role in creating the awareness among the citizens.

Towards the end of his presentation, he talked about the current status of the UIDAI project and said that the government is targeting to give out 60 crore AADHAARs by 2014.

He also urged the IT representatives of various states to exploit the possibilities of AADHAAR further by developing applications which could employ the AADHAAR platform in some way.

Krishan K Girdhar, Founder and Mng. Director, Presto Infosolutions Pvt. Ltd. talked about e-Governance initiatives and the success mantra behind them

Talking about government's initiatives in the e-Governance programmes, Girdhar said that the Government of India has taken a big leap in pushing the IT infrastructure in last five years post the NeGP launch. “We have seen lots of e-Governance projects rolling out like the Aadhar, the Passport Seva Project(PSP), automation of CEST (Central Exercise and Service Tax), MCA 21 of the Corporate Affairs Ministry, and ESIC connecting close to around one crore insured people and close to four crore family members in the recent times. Further initiatives by various ministries are also being rolled out in the country. In addition to this, there are many projects that are being rolled out across various states including the SWANs and the CSCs (of which close to one lakh are already operational), state data centres, e-District, CCTNS project, JNNURM project for the automation of various municipalities, e-Panchayats. Besides these the National Knowledge Network has already connected some hundreds of institutes.”

He said that the National Knowledge Network has taken education to a different level in the villages, wherein schools are now getting richer content and also numerous institutes have been connected to colleges and universities where they can source content.

He said that government’s massive e-Governance efforts have attracted the focus of the industry and more and more investors are targeting this particularly lucrative market. “We at Presto have tried to engage some of the established vendors as well as a few new ones, in our efforts to try to bring in new products, technologies and solutions to the government sector.”

“We are primarily value added distributors focusing on government and defense segment. These kind of mega projects can't succeed unless the industry also reciprocates and helps the government deliver such initiatives,” Girdhar added.

Gagan Verma, National Head Government Business, Polycom India explained the various advantages of video-conferencing and how it helps increase productivity of employees

At the 10th edition of Technology Sabha, Verma explained ways to increase the productivity of the staff while at the same time being cost effective by using video-conferencing as the technology. He began by citing various advantages of video communication over other more traditional communication means such as telephony and audio conferencing. Elaborating further on the applications of VC, he said, “There are many applications for video-conferencing such as tele-education, tele-medicine, tele-justice, etc. People have started foreseeing such classrooms today wherein a screen instead of a class teacher teaches the students. Similarly, in the justice system court-room proceedings can be held over a VC and time and logistics related efforts can be saved in the process. The Punjab jail has a facility of VC where the judges can choose to carry out judicial proceedings sitting in their chambers while the accused can remain in the jail and his lawyer can argue on his behalf from there.”

Tele-medicine, is another very important application for VC though it has a huge set of challenges especially in a country like India. There is shortage of doctors in remote areas, there are no supplies of medicine or proper institutes to train them. So this is where VC becomes particularly critical. Doctors can even perform critical operations over VC.

Talking about Polycom's solutions, Verma said that the company has everything from tele-presence to desktop level solutions. “We have solutions for desktops, personal computers, kiosks etc. We offer end to end solutions portfolio today,” he said.

Elaborating on the challenges he said, “Lack of resources, time constraints, and lack of training for public servants are some of the major challenges faced by government departments today.”

T. Srinivasan, MD, VMware India and SAARC highlighted the role of virtualization and the key challenges that lie ahead

In his address, T. Srinivasan, MD VMware India and SAARC talked about the benefits of virtualization and how it can help government institutions lower infrastructure costs in a big way.

Talking about current server usage trends, he said that typically in most organizations only about 10-15% of the server capacity is utilized. “We at VMware ensure that organizations are able to squeeze the maximum out of their existing server capacities and virtualization holds the key to it, It is the technology which ensures that you get the most bang for your buck.”

Talking about increased pressures on IT and how it is constantly expected to ensure greater agility, Srinivasan said that re-organization of IT is high on the agenda of IT leaders today and the only way one can achieve this is by having solutions that reduce the complexity, cost overheads, and deliver the services the end customers want.

“In the case of government organizations, the end customer is often an unseen entity residing in a remote location. So that makes the challenge all the more difficult. Delivering IT applications over vast geographies can lead to tremendous strain on the IT. Private organizations with considerably better access to resources find it difficult to do this, let alone government institutions which constantly have to grapple with a number of challenges. Virtualization can be of tremendous help in such cases,” he said.

Srinivasan stressed on the need to upgrade technology regularly as it helps in dealing with challenges better. “You need to ensure that you are continuously upgrading the technology. This also means that even if you have an outdated physical server infrastructure, you can still deploy virtualization and as you get new servers you can add to the capacity, therefore keeping the cost low at the same time ensuring that your disaster recovery system is working in the right direction.”

“The challenges today are far greater than what they were several years ago,” he said adding, “Virtualization is a trend you cannot ignore as it not just reduces the cost but also increases the automation”

Alok Kumar, Head - Operations and Customer Support, Aircel talked about digital highways that would pave the way for successful implementation of e-governance projects

“Everything is going to ride on the last mile connectivity,” said Alok Kumar setting the tone for his presentation. A leading next- gen telco, Aircel has emerged as one of the leading players in the industry offering a plethora of services ranging from mobility solutions to broadband and business solutions. Talking about last mile connectivity and its importance, Kumar said that if the Indian e-Governance story had to succeed, last mile connectivity and digital broadband was something that would be absolutely paramount.

Emphasizing on the need for the last mile connectivity, Kumar said that the government was currently laying a strong emphasis on reducing the urban-rural divide and furthering financial inclusion in the country through a number of e-Governance projects. However, each of these projects will remain incomplete unless we have a connectivity infrastructure that covers the last mile. Whether it is a project like e-panchayat or CSC, everything needs a strong network and last mile connectivity.

According to Kumar, e-Governance applications were becoming increasingly bandwidth intensive and in the coming years bandwidth requirements will grow exponentially for most of the initiatives. “Only those operators who can provide the necessary bandwidths and optimum network uptime will succeed in this market,” said Kumar. “I think this will be the key differentiator.”

Kumar said that in under served markets which was 65% of India's population, it would require a lot of work and effort and it was here that we will need wireless connectivity means and things like digital broadband. “Till date, providing wired connectivity to the rural areas has been a huge challenge, However, with 3G and BWA the scenario could change soon and e-Governance projects that have been affected adversely due to connectivity challenges could finally take off.”

Lizum Mishra, Director, India Operations, Business Software Alliance talked about the criticality of efficient software asset management for government departments

Day 2 of the Technology Sabha began bright and early with a special breakfast session hosted by Business Software Alliance (BSA). A select group of high ranking IT officials were invited to join Lizum Mishra, Director, India Operations, Business Software Alliance (BSA) as she presented a case for efficient software asset management for government departments.

Introducing Software Asset Management (SAM) to the attendees, Mishra said that it was a framework for the effective management, control and protection of the software assets within an organization, throughout all stages of the software lifecycle. SAM helped provide effective support for IT departments to remain in compliance with legal requirements and to demonstrate good corporate governance.

During her presentation, Mishra noted that in a majority of cases government organizations don't realize the criticality of SAM and as a result, their interests were by and large undeserved. Comparing the scenario with the private sector, she said that while the strategy to treat software as an important enterprise asset was well founded in the private sector, government organizations by and large were unaware of the practice.

Cautioning the delegates, she also said that poor software management whether in the private sector or in the public sector, can cost organizations dearly, in terms of efficiency, security, and productivity.

Halfway through her session, Mishra talked about the methodology for implementing SAM for government organizations. According to her, there were seven critical steps in deploying SAM viz. centralize software purchase and distribution; appoint a department specific software asset manager; getting department wide buy-in; set policies and procedures; audit current software usage; create software asset management database; and on-going management.

Mishra ended her presentation by reiterating the benefits of SAM. “SAM offers multiple benefits including giving users exactly the software tools they need to be most productive, ensuring that organizations are not over-paying for the software being used or paying for software that is not in use, increasing business continuity by not basing critical business functions on unstable unlicensed software, and reducing the risk of purchasing counterfeit software,” she said.

Nitin Hiranandani, Director – Laser Enterprise Solutions, Imaging & Printing Group, HP India met with select attendees over breakfast and talked to them about a number of trends including printer security, cost savings and green printing

Nitin Hiranandani Director – Laser Enterprise Solutions, Imaging & Printing Group, HP India said that as one of the first multi-national corporations to start operations in India back in 1989, the company was committed to work in partnership with the government and wanted to take inputs from the attendees to see how it could work with them.

“From a printing perspective, we are looking at printers a bit differently. We are taking it to the next level in terms of securing the printer—everybody talks about network security but most customers think of a printer as a dumb device,” he added.

Many studies have shown that information leakage through printers is becoming a major issue for organizations. If you walk around any company, you see heaps of paper lying on network printers that never gets picked up. The whole thought process around the printer is changing. From a HP perspective, both as a product and as a corporation, we are committed to the environment and 'green'. While you are going 'green' you are also saving cost while contributing to the environment. It's a total win-win situation.

“We should work together with an agenda of green. If you have a vendor or OEM sponsored program which ensures that waste is recycled in an environment friendly manner it is a victory for both of us,” he concluded.

T. Koshy, Executive Director, Advisory Services Govt., Ernst & Young made a
presentation about the UID project and its implications for the country and its citizens

Aadhaar is a Unique identification number, as a means for residents to clearly and uniquely verify their identity anywhere in the country. Large scale adoption of it by all Government service providers is expected and it would become a de facto instrument for Identity verification. UIDAI will enable a universal identity infrastructure that any ID based application like ration card or passport can use. In his presentation, T. Koshy, Executive Director, Advisory Services Govt., Ernst & Young spoke about the foundation of Aaadhar which is that it is based on a resident’s biometrics and uses a combination of a person's face as well as fingerprints and iris biometrics to establish his or her identity. Commencing last year, 600 million enrollments are expected in the next four years. Peak enrollment rates of 1 million per day are required to cover India’s population over by 2020.

Koshy touched upon the issue of establishing one's identity. This is particularly a problem for the poor including migrant labor who lack access to traditional means of identity such as passports or driving licenses or even ration cards. The twin dilemmas of identification and proving eligibility have necessitated UID. Going forward, he said that some principles had to be considered namely IDs had to be verifiable by matching a card holder's biometric signature against the master database, there had to be a standardized process for identity verification for a variety of applications and growing volumes of usage had to result in lower cost. At the same time, regarding eligibility, the ability to filter individuals who were ineligible for specific subsidies had to be there and KYR or Know Your Resident information had to be captured. This would include a combination of demographic data and other information that was yet to be determined some of which had to be captured by state departments.

He also looked into how UID could be used to power the creation of a State Data Repository that would also include KYR data in addition to that captured by UID. Investments and mobilization of resources towards collection of this data is already covered under the UID program. With Aadhaar acting as a reliable unique ID, data cleansing for State Resident Date Repository is reduced or minimal.

Nitin Hiranandani, Director – Laser Enterprise Solutions, Imaging & Printing Group, HP India talked about the various green technologies being offered by the vendor

Nitin Hiranandani, Director – Laser Enterprise Solutions, Imaging & Printing Group, HP India started by talking about green printing. He mentioned the Planet Partners program that was all about recycling toner cartridges and ink cartridges. “Recycling has become an integral part of designing our products. We try to design them in such a way that the majority of the material that is used is recyclable. It's a vital initiative even from an R&D perspective. It's very important that we as vendors should provide tools to users that make it simple for them to implement green strategies and adhere to them. From the printing perspective, how much is the energy that's being used when the device is powered up. By reducing this, how can it help us save money? We have a free downloadable tool called the Carbon Footprint Calculator that enables you to put in the list of devices that you are currently running into a worksheet and it calculates your carbon footprint. For instance, if you have a current set of devices that you put in and if you plan to replace part of those devices it will tell you what the impact will be on your carbon footprint.”

He also said that HP was working with a lot of corporations on what it called a Green Action Plan looking at their current usage, their applications and that it was a joint action plan developed on how to work on the green aspect.

He asked the participants for a show of hands of those using duplex printing and found that few in the room were using this feature. “It helps reduce the use of paper and contributes to the environment. We have had something called the Universal Print Driver that lets you select duplex as a standard option across the organization on the network.”

He mentioned the company's trade in, trade up programs. “If you have a device that's old, you don't need to upgrade or go in for a technology refresh, the TCO for an old device probably would be higher than that of a new device.”

Mentioning the Eco Solutions printing practice. HP had the stated objective in 2007 of reducing energy consumption of all its printing devices by 40% over the next four years. Newsweek ranked HP as #1 among organizations in the IT industry in terms of green innovations.

Bhanu Panda, VP, International Sales and Business Development, Array Networks, talked about the impending data tidal wave and its implications

In his presentation Bhanu Panda, Vice President, International Sales and Business Development, Array Networks talked about the impending data tidal wave and said that the iPhone changed the usage of the phone from being voice centric to data centric and in the days ahead there will be a massive increase in the amount of data hitting the pipes. “Everything's moving into the Cloud. Music, video, applications, pretty much everything's going to be there,” he commented.

There will be a billion more users hitting the Internet in the next few years. IP's everywhere—TVs, cardiograms, they're all IP enabled. The third factor is that of Cloud Services. These three factors form a humongous force multiplier to form the data tidal wave.

He predicted that an Android smartphone that cost Rs. 6,000 today would cost Rs. 2,500 in India next year and that there would be a tremendous rise in mobile transactions.

He spotlighted the exhaustion of IPv4 addresses, 10 GbE's rise in the data center, 64-bit computing, Cloud computing and mobility. He explained the consumerization of IT where inexpensive tablets were being brought to work and used to access corporate applications posing a big problem for the IT department.

He said that access, application delivery and security were intertwined problems for which Array Networks' SpeedCore platform was the answer. He explained the weakness of a conventional TCP stack where the first guy goes to process his application and the second guy gets locked out. In the case of SpeedCore they'll all be processed in parallel. He explained how the company's Application Delivery Controllers combined the functions of multiple boxes to conserve data center footprint and costs while boosting efficiency. “It makes everything fast, available, secure and transformative.”

Panda touched upon how SSL was wide open on all firewalls and how an attack coming in on a SSL tunnel would come right through a firewall. Whoever decrypts that SSL tunnel will have to ward off the attack.

Kapil Awasthi, Sr. Consultant, Check Point India & SAARC talked about how organizations could go about securing tomorrow's networks

Kapil Awasthi, Senior Consultant, Check Point India & SAARC, started by stressing importance of intelligence when it came to securing networks. Till now we have talked about different controls but what we miss today is intelligence. When you design your security architecture what is going to be most important is what are the sources of information and how can you correlate them together to give you the intelligence that's required. This helps you be proactive.

He talked about the various threats that affected enterprise networks and the data that had to be protected and the people involved namely the users. Threats are evolving and are no longer about fraud, they are becoming state sponsored where there are attacks on infrastructure with intentions that go beyond the purely financial. Moreover, the infrastructure is moving into the Cloud and this will change how network security architectures are designed. Information is moving into mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones beyond the confines of an organization's boundaries. People are the weakest link but their dependance on IT is rising and with this their ignorance can no longer be taken lightly. That's why CIOs and CISOs are spending huge amounts of money to improve user awareness in their organizations.

Cost reduction, ease of management and high performance are conflicting objectives. When you run a security function, it's a given that the control in question will slow down. You reach a stage where you stop using the control and disable it. On one side we want simple management on the other we want more granular control.

Security policy today won't serve the needs of next-gen security. The more products you put on the network, the more information that gets generated. When an attack happens you have to go through multiple consoles and even after many days you can't find out what really happened.

The user who is the weakest link can be the biggest source of intelligence. There is a human context to any information request. Properly harnessed, you can get the desired intelligence.

Lee Dolsen, Chief Solutions Architect, Asia Pacific, Blue Coat Systems articulated key strategies for securing e-Governance projects in the era of the social Web

Having changed the computing paradigm in the private sector for good, the social media phenomenon is fast entering the government domain. However as users in the government sector become increasingly fascinated by social media platforms, they don't always realize the risks they expose themselves to in the process. In his bid to educate the representatives of key government agencies about the advent of social media and how best to address the associated security concerns in the government space, Lee Dolsen, Chief Solutions Architect, Asia Pacific, Blue Coat Systems conducted a brief yet highly engaging session.

Setting up the context, Dolsen first talked about how social media is fast becoming an increasingly important tool for government enterprises and users in the domain are starting to interact more and more using these platforms. He said that increasingly cyber criminals are exploiting the inherent trust that users tend to have in some of these platforms. Alluding to a recent survey conducted by Blue Coat, Dolsen said that in the U.S. an estimated 30% of all the businesses that allow users access to social media get infected by malware and what's even more surprising is that these threats are emerging out of domains that are perceived to be safe.

In his presentation, he also cited examples of how news regarding major world events like the Japan earthquake and the royal wedding etc. were exploited by criminals to infect unsuspecting users in the recent times.

Dolsen advocated in favor for real-time ratings for building successful Web defense strategies. He said that in the Web era, security strategies have to evolve to combat threats in real-time. Citing some best practices for Web security he said, “Enterprise whether it be from private or public sector need to deploy next generation cloud filtering and anti-virus solutions long with web and application content controls. They must ensure that the tools provide them with simplified, unified reporting capabilities and also offer remote user protection.”

Towards the end of his presentation, he talked about Cloud Security-as-a-Service and Threat Pulse, Blue Coat's Cloud based security offering.

Puneet Gupta, President - Sales & Marketing, Intellisys Technologies & Research Ltd. talked about Vennfer, a software based Videoconferencing solution & Unified Communication

At a time when enterprises—whether in public or private sector—are looking for options to cut travel costs and exploring faster, more effective means of communications, video conferencing is fast emerging as a key collaboration tool. In his bid to familiarize the government representatives with the benefits of video conferencing Puneet Gupta, President - Sales & Marketing, Intellisys Technologies & Research made a strong case for Vennfer, an IP based video conferencing software solution offered by Intellisys Technologies & Research.

Predicting that video conferencing would soon become the norm for enterprises, Gupta said that Vennfer enabled real time audio, video, and data communication over LAN, WAN (leased lines, VSATs, VPNs) and broadband. According to him, it delivered multiple functionalities at considerably lower costs when compared to live collaboration over standard hardware based video conferencing systems. Gupta said that the solution could integrate boardrooms, PCs, laptops and mobile devices in a single enterprise conference and while conferencing with Vennfer, users could share Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Browser, PDF, Whiteboard, Instant Chats, and Application simultaneously. He also claimed that Vennfer was the only IPv6 ready video conferencing solution in the market covering the entire spectrum of the customers’ video conferencing needs. It also featured video conferencing on mobile devices which could be particularly useful in scenarios when users were on the move.

Talking about the solution's applicability in public sector enterprises, he said that government offices where communication with thousands of employees, customers and partners at various levels was a must, Vennfer could come in handy for e-governance projects, SWAN projects, education departments, healthcare departments, judiciary & the legal system, police force, defense, inter-departmental meetings and security and real-time surveillance activities.

Gupta informed the audience that Intellisys would soon launch a 3D video conferencing solution through Vennfer.

GB Shaik, Security Consultant (India & SAARC), Fortinet explained his company’s concept of secured governance

Security specialist Fortinet has a dedicated practice for securing government enterprises. Its security solutions provide integrated, multi-layer protection that enables government institutions to safeguard their networks, content, and applications against increasingly sophisticated threats. Offering attendees a more detailed perspective on Fortinet and its concept of secured governance, Digvijay Singh Chudasama, Director, Sales – Defense & Government Practices, Fortinet and GB Shaik, Security Consultant (India & SAARC), Fortinet conducted a joint session.

After introducing Fortinet to the attendees, Chudasama talked about several high profile projects including the Kerala State Data Center (KSDC), Andhra Pradesh State Data Center (APSDC), e-Passport Seva, and UIDAI for which Fortinet was engaged by the respective state and central agencies for security. Following Chudasama’s lead Shaik explained the concept of secured governance to the attendees. He said, “It can be defined as the civil and political conduct of government, including service provision, using information and communication technologies ensuring CIANR (Confidentiality, Integrity, Availability, Non-Repudiation) aspects of data.”

Talking about the current state of security in e-Governance projects in the country, Shaik said that government projects continue to figure prominently on the list of hackers and those with malicious intent. Referring to some of the recent stats of CERT-In, he said that close to 79% of all security incidents handled by the agency involved Web site compromises and subsequent malware propagation attempts. Shaik also noted that virus attacks, spams, phishing, and incidents of network scanning and probing were also on the rise in recent times.

Shaik criticized the current consulting ecosystem in the country for not doing a good job of understanding and articulating the real security needs of government agencies and confusing the users in the process.

For the remainder of the session, he talked about the various security technologies offered by Fortinet and how each one can be utilized by government departments for securing their information systems.

Rajan Verma, Head - Enterprise Sales, Alvarion talked about various wireless solutions that can help improve the state’s jurisdiction as well as increase public safety

Being experts in the broadband solutions, Alvarion in its presentation discussed the advantages of wire free broadband solutions. Rajan Verma, Head – Enterprise Sales, Alvarion explained to the audience how the technology could be utilized to improve everything from public safety to road traffic.

Talking about how it was not always possible to take fiber right up to the last mile, he said that wireless could come in extremely handy in such scenarios. Verma also talked about solutions for the police force wherein monitoring systems could be installed in sensitive areas and police could do real-time monitoring and prevent criminal activities.

“There are mobile police forces where they are looking for fast and reliable solutions that can work on the move. We can install such a system on the PCR van and facilitate effective monitoring in the field, on the go,”he said.

Verma said that Alvarion provided solutions for rural connectivity, traffic management as well as toll plazas. “There are lots of toll plazas where you need to monitor the traffic activity.

We can facilitate that too. Besides this, one can also deploy our systems for monitoring activity on highways wherein using our technologies they can track vehicles which have their number plates missing. They can also use it for red light violation systems. At sites where they can’t afford to dig up and install physical lines, our high bandwidth wireless solutions can come in handy,” Verma said.

Another potential area of application where Alvarion can help is the emerging e-learning sector. “We have considerable expertise in the area and we provide everything from solutions for campus connectivity, rural schools having digitally connected classrooms and ICT based learning and even for sourcing content for universities,” claimed Verma.

Rajesh Duggal, President, Government Business, Tulip Telecom talked about rural connectivity and the challenges faced by the government in terms of connectivity

A Rs. 2,431 crore company, Tulip Telecom aspires to change from being a connectivity player to a service player. Talking about the various facets of rural connectivity, Rajesh Duggal, President, Government Business, Tulip Telecom said that currently there were quite a few challenges that were faced when it came to digitization in rural areas, like high availability and ownership costs, power cuts, downtime etc. “We have various e-governance initiatives going on in the country and a lot of digitization is happening across departments. While all this can continue to happen, unless and until we have connectivity supporting these efforts, nothing will work as it should,” Duggal said.

He said, “We already have a fairly large footprint across the country and we are ready to offer our expertise on a service model. You don’t need to have a CAPEX outflow. You just need to define your parameters and they will be met.”

Talking about the lack of connectivity in the Common Service Centers (CSCs), he said, “The government has done a very good job of creating close to one lakh CSCs right across the country. Plus the backend computerization is also happening, but yet today we find them working only on data cards. We talk of e-learning, e-education and tele-medicine but all this can't work on data cards. We are trying to convey this to the government and approaching them with our set of connectivity solutions and resolving the problems.”

Tulip Telecom not only promises high availability by providing dual connectivity to every POP in rural areas but also power backup of up to 72 hours in case of power outage. This is done with the help of solar powered panels.

Duggal said that the company also offered unique out of band management solutions used for remote fault analysis.

He concluded his presentation by saying, “At Tulip we don't just work for our customers, we partner with them.”

Bhaskar Bakthavatsalu, Regional Director and Kapil Awasthi , Senior Consultant, Checkpoint India & SAARC talked about the need to make information security a business process

Having already spoken on how can government agencies could go about building next gen secure networks earlier in the day, Kapil Awasthi, Senior Consultant, Checkpoint India & SAARC held a select briefing later in the evening wherein he tried to address some additional concerns that government IT leaders had expressed during the conference so far.

Reiterating the importance of applying intelligence for network security once again, Awasthi said that as government agencies continued to make investments to protect their networks, they had to realize that the real key lay in how they created the security architecture and whether it had enough intelligence built-in. He noted that mere technologies weren't going to be enough for ensuring network security and unless a clear cut policy mechanism was enforced throughout, networks would continue to remain vulnerable to attacks.

In what was a fairly candid presentation, Awasthi noted that despite what security vendors might claim about delivering fool-proof security and being able to provide end-to-end security capabilities, the truth was that, in most cases, it was always advisable to go the best-of-the-breed route. He also observed that, many a times, security vendors didn't engage with customers directly enough to understand their real issues which not only led to sub-standard deployments but also frustrated customers.

Awasthi was joined by Bhaskar Bakthavatsalu, Regional Director, India and SAARC, Check Point during the presentation and he emphasized on the evolving nature of the Web security threats. “Increasingly we are seeing terrorist organizations use loopholes in the Web security mechanisms for nefarious activities and government agencies must invest in adequate measures to protect the IT infrastructure they roll out.”

The duo said that information security needed to become a business process and in order to make it such, security needed to step away from being all about technology and focus on the business needs through policy implementation, involving the people, and consolidating security for better control and enforcement.

Guru Malladi Partner, Advisory Services Govt., Ernst & Young, talked about how Cloud computing could be relevant for the government sector

Guru Malladi Partner, Advisory Services Govt., Ernst & Young started off his session on Cloud computing and its relevance to the government sector by quoting Abraham Lincoln who had said back in 1862 that 'The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew.'

He cited the case of the DDA that used to have advertisements which were unattractive and plain in the past. Today, the same organization has brought out colorful and attractive advertisements.

He shared a definition of Cloud computing from NIST, 'Cloud computing is defined as a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.'

Moving on, he talked about the characteristics of the Cloud, various deployment models and the variants of this concept. He gave reasons as to why government bodies should go for Cloud computing including operational ones (data center efficiency, hardware utilization, deployment time, high uptime, scalability, technology obsolescence and green IT) and service-related ones (focus on core activities, pay as per usage, minimal capital investments, intangible benefits and ability to innovate).

Giving some examples of how the Cloud had been adopted by the governments of other countries he talked about early attempts in our country to deploy this model of computing including those in Jammu & Kashmir where citizen services are being delivered by levering Madhya Pradesh's SDC over the Cloud, NIC Assam which is going in for an EUCALYPTUS based IaaS Cloud and the state of Kerala where various applications are being deployed on the Cloud.

Citing the results of an E&Y survey conducted in India, he said that 8% of the respondents had indicated a desire to adopt the Cloud for e-governance this year.

Rajesh Tapadia, CTO & Head of Products & Services, Trimax Data Center Services Ltd. talked about the tangible benefits of the Cloud

From a Rs. 34 crore company in 2007 to a Rs. 550 crores company in 2011, Trimax’s journey has involved a lot of e-governance work. Trimax offers system integration, data center services, managed network services through its relationship with BSNL, managed IT services (FMS & RIM) and training; it also builds data centers.

Introducing the company, Rajesh Tapadia, CTO & Head of Products & Services, Trimax Data Center Services Ltd, said that Trimax was BSNL's partner for Managed Network Services on a revenue sharing model.

Its scope goes from sales to service fulfillment and assurance as well as meeting SLAs on behalf of BSNL by proactively monitoring the services from the NOC and coordinating with BSNL to resolve the issues. It has also partnered with BSNL and Microsoft for BSNL’s Cloud Based Managed SaaS services on a Revenue Sharing Model. The company is in the process of launching more services on the Cloud platform like Web hosting, managed telepresence, etc.

Trimax has invested in setting up a Tier 3 standard data center in collaboration with ITI Ltd. at Bangalore under the BOOT model. It works with ITI on a revenue sharing model. End-to-end data center services are provided from this setup. Currently, this data center hosts various multinational companies along with leading PSUs.

He introduced Cloud computing stressing the advantage of the elimination of an upfront commitment that allows customers to start small and grow on an as needed basis. He talked about Trimax's extensive offerings on the Cloud including hosted messaging services & collaboration in partnership with Microsoft offering e-mail, calendaring, address books etc. available on a per user/per month model deployable in public and private Cloud modes.

Trimax offers e-mail archiving in the Cloud. It also offers gateway level anti-spam, anti-virus etc. The SI offers Virtual Private Servers, storage on demand, managed telepresence services (with BSNL), remote PC backup, VDI, Web hosting, DMS etc.

He outlined the value proposition of Trimax's Cloud services—cost savings, uptime guarantee, quick implementation & scalability and a completely managed setup.

Gunjan Sahni, Country Category Manager, Laser Business Category, Hewlett Packard India attempted to change the perception of printers in the government sector

“Over the last five-six years printers have evolved across the board. Everywhere there's a green initiative,” said Gunjan Sahni, Country Category Manager, Laser Business Category, Hewlett Packard India.

He described a typical office where people consumed electricity, paper and water and generated waste products some of which were recyclable while others weren't. Printers are an integral part of any office or application. The US EPA found that the leading source of waste in an office was paper. An average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper in a year. It takes 13 ounces (.38 liters) of water to make a sheet of paper. By using duplex printing a Fortune 500 company with over 250-300 connected employees could save 700 tons of paper in an year.

These facts led HP to look into the 'green' aspects of printing in terms of saving paper and energy. To this end the vendor looked at four elements namely saving power, saving paper, digitizing documents and recycling responsibly.

Pan-India support, control & manageability, total cost of ownership, hassle-free operations, saving energy bills etc. were factors to be considered while picking a printer vendor.

Technology should be simple and effective. He talked about auto-on/auto-off technology in HP's printers that puts the printer into a low-energy mode where it could wake up swiftly thereby saving energy without compromising on performance and productivity. Any organization saves about 280 units of power a day with this taken care of.

Instant On technology ensures that the first printout comes out in 8.5 seconds. He highlighted that the wax coated toners in original HP consumables lasted 2.5 times longer and were more environmentally friendly.

Talking about the vendor's cartridge recycling program he said that HP would place a bin in the organization and the toners dumped in that box would be taken away by DHL.

He also talked about the Universal Print Driver that would control all HP printers and did away with the need for installing unique drivers.

Angelo Barboza, Product Manager – IT Infrastructure Solutions, Rittal India Pvt. Ltd. talked about the infrastructure aspects of a data center

Angelo Barboza, Product Manager - IT Infrastructure Solutions, Rittal India Pvt. Ltd. started by talking about how it was just as important to take care of the infrastructure of a data center as it was to deploy Cloud computing. He talked about three aspects of perfecting a data center starting with reducing the data center footprint. If you have a server of 1 kW you need that much of cooling. Low-density data centers with 6 kW/rack used to be the norm.

“Today we are addressing higher densities with a cold aisle concept increasing the rack density to 12 kW/rack. With blade servers you increase density further and this requires high-density cooling solutions that can cool a rack of up to 30 kW,” he added.

One of Rittal's innovations is LCP Generation Blue e that offers cooling output up to 60 kW per rack. Closed loop cooling places the cooling rack close to the server rack being cooled. The heat source is brought close to the cooling device reducing the data center footprint.

“One of our examples of a high density data center is from the government sector with 80 Teraflop high density cooling done in a small area of 50 sq. meters. 600 servers are running in this data center. It's in IUAC, Delhi,” he commented.

Data centers consume a huge amount of energy. The UPS and Cooling solution both contribute to this. Energy can be saved in cooling, through monitoring and intelligent control of the data center and through proper design of the UPS.

Rittal offers RiZone data center monitoring software that monitors not only the IT equipment but also the building management components, cooling, fire & access control systems from a single screen. You can check the energy consumption within the data center based on trend analysis. You can decide on expansion of the data center and find out when you're going to max out. If you are in a virtual environment with a lot of servers and you want to hibernate part of it at night, you can move VMs to one side and bring the entire data center to 25% capacity. It works with Microsoft System Center but Tivoli and OpenView can also be integrated.

Vijoy A Vasu, National Presales Manager, Infonet talked about the need for archiving data and unique issues related to the same in the government sector

With the information boom, the need for storage is at an all time high. Explaining the need for archiving documents and data management Vijoy A Vasu, National Presales Manager, Infonet talked about the challenges faced by the organizations when it came to smartly organizing and retrieving documents.

He said, “Earlier, data storage wasn't a problem as there was not much to store, however, now the volume has increased manifold and consequently organizations are struggling to manage it. Document Management and Digital Archiving can help address this challenge.”

He explained how best government organizations could utilize the system of archiving. “Government departments have a legacy of physical files (store rooms full of it!). The scenario has not changed much even today. Digitization of all this information was never given a serious thought in the earlier days, which is why we find most government offices struggle with this issue.”

Vasu said that it was high time that we paid due attention to archiving files digitally and effectively so that the retrieval became easy.

Talking about the loss of content during digitization process, Vasu commented, “Whenever we think of digitization or archiving, there is always a risk of losing some bits of information during the process. Therefore, we need an efficient conversion process, so as to reduce such instances. It is essential that the system we employ is interoperable.”

Infonet offers a solution that does off-line storage. Also known as disconnected storage, this is computer data storage on a medium or a device that is not under the control of a processing unit. The medium is recorded, usually in a secondary or tertiary storage device and then physically removed or disconnected. It must be inserted or connected by a human operator before a computer can access it again. Unlike tertiary storage, it cannot be accessed without human intervention.

Golok Kumar Simli, Principal Consultant & Head - Technology, Ministry of External Affairs, GOI shared learnings acquired from the recently launched Passport Seva Project

During the last few years, the growing economy and increasing globalization have led to an increased demand for passports and passport-related services in the country. In a bid to adequately service the needs of the citizens, the government of India recently launched a passport issuance service under an initiative titled the Passport Seva Project (PSP). With 7 Pilot PSKs already live and delivering services to citizens today, PSP has been an early success. However the journey wasn't quite as straightforward. In a bid to share some of the key learnings acquired from the initiative with the audience, Golok Kumar Simli, Principal Consultant & Head - Technology, Ministry Of External Affairs, GOI shared a case study of the PSP.

Talking about the some of the key design considerations of the PSP, Simli said that, given the nature of the service, they had come up with a centralized design architecture that supported a decentralized implementation methodology. According to Simli, the task wasn't easy and there were many challenges that they had to consider. These included SRS preparation; development of application software; creation of the service portal and its look & feel; integration with other stakeholders particularly the banking interface; application security; data migration; and creation of physical infrastructure such as PSKs.

Updating the audience about the current status of the project Simli said that the project is live at no less than seven locations. The application for the initiative has been designed and developed as per the requirements and is hosted at a state-of-the-art tier III data center and supported by an active-active disaster recovery site set up. Two call centers are operational and working round-the-clock. The system has already been integrated with police and India Post and is available to Missions and other RPOs currently on old system (for duplicity check).

Towards the end of his presentation Simli talked about some of the key learnings he acquired from the project and said that for any MMP, PPP is the best mode for tackling ICT enabled complex and voluminous e-governance projects.

Sridhar Krish, Executive Senior Vice President, Reliance Communications -
Global Enterprise Business Unit, presented a case for choosing RCOM as the telecom partner of choice for e-governance projects

Pitching RCOM's extensive network connectivity capabilities for the e-governance space, Sridhar Krish, Executive Senior Vice President, Reliance Communications - Global Enterprise Business Unit, made a case for RCOM as the telecom partner of choice for government projects.

Talking about the current scenario, he said that for far too long, connectivity had remained a key challenge for India's e-governance efforts.

Alluding to bandwidth constraints and subsequent application delivery challenges, he said that citizen-centric applications often had to face performance related issues, despite being architectured for scalability. “E-governance applications face downtime not because they are designed poorly but rather because the networks supporting them are not scalable enough to take the increased stress. With our massive optical core and fiber-to-the-building approach, we can create networks with unlimited capacity and the ability to support gigabit per second bandwidth services for government departments.”

Krish claimed that RCOM currently operated a PAN India convergence ready broadband network and the country's largest MPLS enabled CORE data network, which was architecturally generations ahead of other incumbent networks in India.

Talking about RCOM's strategy, Krish said that although the company did not have a big presence in the e-governance space just yet, it planned on strengthening its presence by delivering on a stringent set of SLAs.

“We combine world-class management with a higher set of SLAs to bring government enterprises an unbeatable service quality guarantee, which includes market-leading customer service coupled with outstanding network reliability, scalability and performance. We are able to offer this because we have built-in redundancy in our network. We are confident that government organizations will definitely see the value in what we do and partner with us.”

A distinguished panel debated on the issue of how best the government could deliver e-governance services to the rural masses

In a panel discussion themed around delivering e-governance services to the rural masses, the panelists debated some best practices that could be employed by government departments to ensure the success of rural projects.

SP Singh, Senior Director, Department of Information Technology, said, “To my mind, the lack of infrastructure is the biggest hurdle that the government departments need to overcome as they try to take e-governance to the rural masses. What we need to do is to put together an infrastructure along the lines of a shared services model and try to address the issue.”

Agreed Monish Mukerjee, General Manager e-governance, West Bengal Electronic Industry Development Corporation. Citing connectivity as one of the bigger challenges, he stressed that government departments needed to employ innovative solutions in order to overcome infrastructural issues. “When we were faced with the connectivity challenge during a pilot in one of our districts in WB, we addressed the issue by installing wireless networks in the entire district so that the services could be rolled out. Similarly, to tackle the power issue, we deployed UPS to run systems.”

“We have to empower the rural citizens about these kinds of services. They are not aware of any of these services. For example, in Orissa, in tribal pockets, services offered online will never succeed unless we give it to them in the local dialect and we create an atmosphere where they receive the services the way that they want it,” said Manoj Kumar Patnaik, General Manager Orissa Computer Application Center.

According to K Anvar Sadath, Executive Director General Education Department, IT@ School, Govt of Kerala. empowering the ordinary man had to be a key consideration and transparency had to be maintained in delivering services for any project to be successful.

In summary, a proactive approach to e-governance, adequate capacity building, and innovative solutions for user empowerment were identified as some of the key solutions for ensuring success for e-governance projects in the rural geographies.

The panel discussed the Cyber Security Act and its impact on the government

In what was the last session of the event, a panel discussion was held to debate some of the finer aspects of the Cyber Security Act. Moderated by Rahul Rishi, Director Advisory Services Govt. Ernst & Young, the discussion witnessed a rather interesting debate around the recently amended Act.

Explaining the Act's section 43 Rishi said, "Reasonable security practices and procedures means security practices and procedures designed to protect such information from unauthorized access, damage, use, modification, disclosure or impairment, as may be specified in an agreement between the parties or as may be specified in any law for the time being in force and in the absence of such agreement or any law, such reasonable security practices and procedures, as may be prescribed by the Central Government in consultation with such professional bodies or associations as it may deem fit.”

T Koshy, Executive Director-Business Advisory Ernst & Young, commented, “The thought behind this electronics delivery Act is that the government is taking a very serious view of enabling electronic services in our country. It provides for electronic service delivery commissioners both at the centre and the state with a sufficient mechanism and things like RTI Act etc to ensure that it is really implemented.”

Agreed GB Shaik, Security Consultant (India & SAARC), Fortinet saying, “Basically, 43A deals with the entire lifecycle of information being provided by corporate bodies, the information that is given by IT and how it is managed and secured.”

Talking about initiative, Vipul Kumar, IPS, Assistant Director, SVP National Police Academy said, “There have been talks about cyber treaty. The only problem with it is that we still don’t have a level playing field in terms of adequate mechanisms in place everywhere.”

Rishi ended the discussion by saying that before sharing any piece of information with someone from the outside, especially a law enforcement agency enterprises need to ensure that they were giving it in safe hands.

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