February 2007

Corporate Diary

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Hughes to set up 1,000 rural ICT

Kiosks based software development major Hughes Network Systems will set up 1,000 rural information communication and technology (ICT) kiosks within the next three years in India.

However, no mention is made on how much the company is going to invest in this project. But the cost of building a satellite terminal in a village would cost about INR100,000. Broadband satellite is a viable solution for India for popularising distant learning: India has 350 million illiterates and the dropout rate is 87 percent. And broadband satellite is ideal for inclusive growth. The company has signed an agreement with global IT giant Microsoft to offer various kinds of IT services in rural India. Hughes Network Systems has so far invested over $300 million since its entry in India in 1992.

Qualcomm's wireless dream

Qualcomm recently announced the names of the developers who will participate in its Wireless Reach BREW Application Funding Programme. The company has established a fund of $1 million to encourage the creation of BREW-based wireless applications for segments such as education, government, healthcare, public safety and environment.

The initiative empowers underserved communities through the use of third generation (3G) wireless technologies. This initiative is already empowering communities in countries such as China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Peru, South Africa and Vietnam. In India, Qualcomm has formed an alliance with the Nasscom Foundation to enable connectivity and provide content based solutions to village resource centres across nine states. As part of the Nasscom Foundation's Rural Knowledge Network Program, CDMA2000 based wireless Internet connectivity will be deployed in 65 village resource centres.

Tata Tele bags order for Internet connectivity to 1,800 Indian schools

Tata Teleservices Limited has won the Tamil Nadu (Indian state) government's order to offer Internet connectivity in 1,800 higher secondary schools. In three months time the schools, sizeable number of them located in remote villages will be able to connect to the Internet. While the order size is not large, Tata Tele-services hopes to see some money in the actual usage by the schools. The expected usage charges from each school are around INR750 per month.


Microsoft launches Software4Students plan

Microsoft has announced plans to offer discounted software to Irish students and provide rebates to educational institutions.

The National Centre for Technology Education (NCTE), Union of Students of Ireland and the Combined Higher Education Software Trust (CHEST) have signed an agreement with Microsoft to offer specially priced software to every primary, second and third level student in the country. The Software4Students programme will be made available to the 917,000 students in Ireland, providing discounts on all Microsoft software including Office, Windows and Encarta. The programme will see schools and third level institutions receive a rebate worth roughly 5 percent of the licence price every time a student purchases software under the agreement.

Moodle users may go an extra-mile with RapideL

RapideL, the MS-Word based e-learning content authoring solution developed by Brainvisa is now compatible with Moodle! Brainvisa, the learning solutions provider in India, has succeeded in seamlessly integrating RapideL with Moodle, which will spell boon to the approximately 4.9 million Moodle user base worldwide. RapideL enables rapid development of instructionally sound, flash e-learning courses at less than 60% of conventional development cost. Moodle users can now develop courseware from RapideL and can directly integrate the output into Moodle and also host and track their instructionally sound, flash e-learning courses on this open source content management system.

RapideL enables Instructional Designers and SMEs to author AICC/SCORM compliant content from the basic MS-Word authoring interface. RapideL comes with inbuilt robust project management capabilities such as online review mechanisms, issue tracking and the ability to publish web versions. It promotes collaborative development over the network/ Web while also working as a standalone tool without multiple installations. It allows publishing with track changes and support for language localisation.

Microsoft awarded communities for helping people with learning disabilities

The software giant, Microsoft has awarded community groups to help people with learning disabilities use computers and improve their IT skills.

Microsoft has given

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