Interview

Providing Communication Services for Government : Bharat Bhatia, Motorola India Pvt. Ltd., India

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Bharat Bhatia, Regional Director, SAARC, South East Asia, Global Government Affairs & Public Policy, Motorola India Pvt. Ltd.

Please elaborate upon the growth of Motorola’s activities in India. What are your  activities in the public sector in India.

Motorola has been operating in India since 1987 and was declared as one of the three strategic countries by Motorola’s global CEO. In that year Motorola Inc. USA had set up an emerging market fund to promote projects in India and China. In 1991, Motorola set up a 100 per cent Captive Software Export Unit in Bangalore to develop World Class Software for Motorola’s internal customers. This facility was rated at Software Engineering Institute (SEI) Level 5.

As communication advances into high data rate and multimedia services, it is important to ensure that the public safety communities are also equipped with these advancements in technology. Devices such as mobile and portable imaging to share critical information among emergency response team members at the scene of an incident or disaster and un-tethered transmission of specialised video imaging and data gathered by mobile robotic devices can be key to mitigation of environmental disasters.

This was the first ever software facility to be given this recognition in the world outside USA. Subsequently, another software center was established at Hyderabad in 1999. In 1994, Motorola set up its manufacturing plant in Bangalore, which won the highest exports award for two consecutive years. During 1998-99, two Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) design centers were set up as a part of Motorola Semiconductor group, which is since been made separate company called Freescale.

Currently, Motorola has over 3000 employees in software, manufacturing, design, Research and Development labs, sales and marketing organisations based in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and other cities. Recently, we have set up our own manufacturing facility in Chennai as an Special Economic Zone (SEZ). We have also established Motorola India Research Labs in 2005.

Motorola has been actively in volved in providing communication services for the government and enterprise customers. We are the communications systems provider to most police, paramilitary and defence organisations’ in the country including the elite Prime Minister’s security organisation Special Protection Group (SPG) and National Security Guard (NSG). In the area of transportation, we provide communications for Delhi Metro and many Railway organisations.

Please tell us about the various trends in the Public Safety Services undertaken in the area of spectrum management in the world. What are the current and future prospects in South East Asia and specifically in India?

In order to provide effective communications, public safety agencies and organisations need to ensure interoperability, reliability, functionality, security in operations and fast call set-up. These agencies, therefore, require dedicated communications systems operating on separate frequencies. Identification of common frequency spectrum for Public Safety Services is essential to ensure interoperability and can provide the potential for Public Protection Disaster Relief (PPDR) organisations around the world to communicate and interact quickly and efficiently, thereby speeding Public Safety Services, maintenance of law and order and disaster relief efforts to save lives. Considering that the radio-communication needs of public safety organisations are growing, future advanced solutions used by public safety recognises the need for higher data rates, and further real-time video and multimedia.

As communication advances into high data rate and multimedia services, it is important to ensure that the public safety communities are also equipped with these advancements in technology. Devices such as mobile and portable imaging to share critical information among emergency response team members at the scene of an incident or disaster and un-tethered transmission of specialised video imaging and data gathered by mobile robotic devices can be key to mitigation of environmental disasters.

To ensure that such technologies are widely available to these organisations, especially in developing countries, at reasonable price, it is necessary to achieve economies of scale that are brought about by harmonising spectrum and regulatory requirements.

International Telecommunications Union (ITU) an agency of the United Nations Organisation (UNO) for all matters dealing with telecommunications plays an effective role in harmonisation of frequency spectrum at the global level, including treaty function relating to use of the spectrum.

At the instance of Motorola and the Government of India, during the World Radio Conference (WRC) – 2000 held at Istanbul, ITU had decided to work towards  identification of common global radio  frequency bands  for future advanced solutions for public safety and disaster relief purposes. This had lead to ITU’s WRC 2003 identifying regionally harmonised spectrum for advanced public protection and disaster relief solutions that encourage administrations around the world  to consider the  frequency bands 380-400 MHz, 406.1-430 MHz, 440-470 MHz, 746-806 MHz 806-824/851-869 MHz, 4 940‑4 990 MHz and 5 850-5 925 MHz or parts for this purpose. The initiative of Motorola and Government of India at the ITU meeting was extremely useful and timely as this lead to more efficient the disaster management and relief work.

Many countries in Asia including south Asia have accepted the ITU recommendations on Public Protection Disaster Relief (PPDR) spectrum.

Compared to other South East Asian countries where according to you does India stands in regard to the connectivity and wireless solutions for the government?

India is way behind on the connectivity and wireless solutions for the government and public safety. Most countries in South East Asia (SEA) use dedicated public safety communications systems based on Association of Public Safety Communications (APCO) or Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) standards with integrated command, dispatch and control facilities. Only a few state governments have so far implemented these systems. Broadband PPDR systems in 4.9 GHz and mesh systems are also being implemented in some SEA countries but India is yet to take advantage of such new technologies.

What are the major regulatory issues in the mobile sector in India and how is it different from other countries in South East Asia and SAARC region?

In India the major regulatory challenges are spectrum and regulations. India’s regulations are based on age old Indian Telegraph Act of 1885 and no attempt has been made to develop a new telecom law. Further, the spectrum management has not yet been given to an independent regulator and this is being managed by the government’s – Wireless Planning and Coordination (WPC) Wing.

In the field of Education and Health, what are the various programmes undertaken by Motorola in India?

Motorola India has set up an e-Learning project in partnership with Deepalaya, to bridge the islands of good education (nodal schools) with underprivileged schools (recipient schools) using a fully interactive platform with peripherals such as computers, web cameras and a Smart Board to set up a virtual class room with the capability to transmit and receive both ways live and fully interactive voice, video and data transmission The project addresses real challenges/needs faced by India in accordance with the intrinsic values of Motorola of partnering and contributing to the society for promotion of education.

For Instance, the two schools that are geographically apart share class room sessions for English and Science education, wherein the teacher in the nodal school is able to simultaneously teach the students of both the nodal school as well as the remote/recipient school. 

Motorola India has set up an e-Learning project in partnership with Deepalaya, to bridge the islands of good education (nodal schools) with underprivileged schools (recipient schools) using a fully interactive platform with peripherals such as computers, web cameras and a Smart Board to set up a virtual class room with the capability to transmit and receive both ways live and fully interactive voice, video and data transmission The project addresses real challenges/needs faced by India in accordance with the intrinsic values of Motorola of partnering and contributing to the society for promotion of education.

This platform also successfully addresses the deficiencies suffered by most schools, of being ill equipped, not having enough teachers, or having not so skilled  teachers. On a wider spectrum, it also demonstrates the alternative application of such platform for India and similar places across the globe in the field of e-Health, e-Governance and e-Commerce. Motorola has also successfully implemented similar systems in some other countries such as Africa.

Briefly tell us about Motorola’s Research and Development initiatives in rural India?

Motorola India has set up a India Research Lab with a mission to create innovative technologies and solutions for the next wave of communications with a focus on rural and emerging areas. We do this in-house, as well as through academic relations with top-of-the-line academic and research institutions such as Indian Institute of Technology (IITs), Indian Institute of Science (ISc), TSE-Madurai, Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) -Bangalore.

Some of the research topics being worked at our labs are:
a. WiFi technologies to extend the range for broadband  in remote villages.
b. Delay tolerant networks for message (voice and text) delivery.
c. Design and ethnographic studies for mobile device interfaces
d. Nano devices and materials for energy, displays and RF electronics. Particularly in view of power shortages in
rural areas.
e. Residential gateways for converged communications and entertainment services delivery to rural areas.

Would you like to give some message to the policy makers in India.

I think, key work in this area is through collaborations. Most countries have adopted a system of interactive working between the industry players and the policy makers. Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) for example, has developed an excellent consultation process. Similar process needs to be implemented in the area of telecom licensing and spectrum management. Further, more efforts are needed to implement wireless communications for Public Safety and Disaster Relief Applications.

Please elaborate upon the growth of Motorola’s activities in India. What are your  activities in the public sector in India.

Motorola has been operating in India since 1987 and was declared as one of the three strategic countries by Motorola’s global CEO. In that year Motorola Inc. USA had set up an emerging market fund to promote projects in India and China. In 1991, Motorola set up a 100 per cent Captive Software Export Unit in Bangalore to develop World Class Software for Motorola’s internal customers. This facility was rated at Software Engineering Institute (SEI) Level 5. This was the first ever software facility to be given this recognition in the world outside USA. Subsequently, another software center was established at Hyderabad in 1999. In 1994, Motorola set up its manufacturing plant in Bangalore, which won the highest exports award for two consecutive years. During 1998-99, two Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) design centers were set up as a part of Motorola Semiconductor group, which is since been made separate company called Freescale.

Currently, Motorola has over 3000 employees in software, manufacturing, design, Research and Development labs, sales and marketing organisations based in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and other cities. Recently, we have set up our own manufacturing facility in Chennai as an Special Economic Zone (SEZ). We have also established Motorola India Research Labs in 2005.

Motorola has been actively in volved in providing communication services for the government and enterprise customers. We are the communications systems provider to most police, paramilitary and defence organisations’ in the country including the elite Prime Minister’s security organisation Special Protection Group (SPG) and National Security Guard (NSG). In the area of transportation, we provide communications for Delhi Metro and many Railway organisations.

Please tell us about the various trends in the Public Safety Services undertaken in the area of spectrum management in the world. What are the current and future prospects in South East Asia and specifically in India?

In order to provide effective communications, public safety agencies and organisations need to ensure interoperability, reliability, functionality, security in operations and fast call set-up. These agencies, therefore, require dedicated communications systems operating on separate frequencies. Identification of common frequency spectrum for Public Safety Services is essential to ensure interoperability and can provide the potential for Public Protection Disaster Relief (PPDR) organisations around the world to communicate and interact quickly and efficiently, thereby speeding Public Safety Services, maintenance of law and order and disaster relief efforts to save lives. Considering that the radio-communication needs of public safety organisations are growing, future advanced solutions used by public safety recognises the need for higher data rates, and further real-time video and multimedia.

As communication advances into high data rate and multimedia services, it is important to ensure that the public safety communities are also equipped with these advancements in technology. Devices such as mobile and portable imaging to share critical information among emergency response team members at the scene of an incident or disaster and un-tethered transmission of specialised video imaging and data gathered by mobile robotic devices can be key to mitigation of environmental disasters.

To ensure that such technologies are widely available to these organisations, especially in developing countries, at reasonable price, it is necessary to achieve economies of scale that are brought about by harmonising spectrum and regulatory requirements.

International Telecommunications Union (ITU) an agency of the United Nations Organisation (UNO) for all matters dealing with telecommunications plays an effective role in harmonisation of frequency spectrum at the global level, including treaty function relating to use of the spectrum.

At the instance of Motorola and the Government of India, during the World Radio Conference (WRC) – 2000 held at Istanbul, ITU had decided to work towards  identification of common global radio  frequency bands  for future advanced solutions for public safety and disaster relief purposes. This had lead to ITU’s WRC 2003 identifying regionally harmonised spectrum for advanced public protection and disaster relief solutions that encourage administrations around the world  to consider the  frequency bands 380-400 MHz, 406.1-430 MHz, 440-470 MHz, 746-806 MHz 806-824/851-869 MHz, 4 940‑4 990 MHz and 5 850-5 925 MHz or parts for this purpose. The initiative of Motorola and Government of India at the ITU meeting was extremely useful and timely as this lead to more efficient the disaster management and relief work.

Many countries in Asia including south Asia have accepted the ITU recommendations on Public Protection Disaster Relief (PPDR) spectrum.

Compared to other South East Asian countries where according to you does India stands in regard to the connectivity and wireless solutions for the government?

India is way behind on the connectivity and wireless solutions for the government and public safety. Most countries in South East Asia (SEA) use dedicated public safety communications systems based on Association of Public Safety Communications (APCO) or Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) standards with integrated command, dispatch and control facilities. Only a few state governments have so far implemented these systems. Broadband PPDR systems in 4.9 GHz and mesh systems are also being implemented in some SEA countries but India is yet to take advantage of such new technologies.

What are the major regulatory issues in the mobile sector in India and how is it different from other countries in South East Asia and SAARC region?

In India the major regulatory challenges are spectrum and regulations. India’s regulations are based on age old Indian Telegraph Act of 1885 and no attempt has been made to develop a new telecom law. Further, the spectrum management has not yet been given to an independent regulator and this is being managed by the government’s – Wireless Planning and Coordination (WPC) Wing.

In the field of Education and Health, what are the various programmes undertaken by Motorola in India?

Motorola India has set up an e-Learning project in partnership with Deepalaya, to bridge the islands of good education (nodal schools) with underprivileged schools (recipient schools) using a fully interactive platform with peripherals such as computers, web cameras and a Smart Board to set up a virtual class room with the capability to transmit and receive both ways live and fully interactive voice, video and data transmission The project addresses real challenges/needs faced by India in accordance with the intrinsic values of Motorola of partnering and contributing to the society for promotion of education.

For Instance, the two schools that are geographically apart share class room sessions for English and Science education, wherein the teacher in the nodal school is able to simultaneously teach the students of both the nodal school as well as the remote/recipient school. 

This platform also successfully addresses the deficiencies suffered by most schools, of being ill equipped, not having enough teachers, or having not so skilled  teachers. On a wider spectrum, it also demonstrates the alternative application of such platform for India and similar places across the globe in the field of e-Health, e-Governance and e-Commerce. Motorola has also successfully implemented similar systems in some other countries such as Africa.

Briefly tell us about Motorola’s Research and Development initiatives in rural India?

Motorola India has set up a India Research Lab with a mission to create innovative technologies and solutions for the next wave of communications with a focus on rural and emerging areas. We do this in-house, as well as through academic relations with top-of-the-line academic and research institutions such as Indian Institute of Technology (IITs), Indian Institute of Science (ISc), TSE-Madurai, Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) -Bangalore.

Some of the research topics being worked at our labs are:
a. WiFi technologies to extend the range for broadband  in remote villages.
b. Delay tolerant networks for message (voice and text) delivery.
c. Design and ethnographic studies for mobile device interfaces
d. Nano devices and materials for energy, displays and RF electronics. Particularly in view of power shortages in
rural areas.

e. Residential gateways for converged communications and entertainment services delivery to rural areas.

Would you like to give some message to the policy makers in India.

I think, key work in this area is through collaborations. Most countries have adopted a system of interactive working between the industry players and the policy makers. Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) for example, has developed an excellent consultation process. Similar process needs to be implemented in the area of telecom licensing and spectrum management. Further, more efforts are needed to implement wireless communications for Public Safety and Disaster Relief Applications.

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