Interview

BECIL Spreading Wings in Digital India & Smart Cities Spectrum

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Broadcast Engineering Consultants India Limited (BECIL) is ready to fit in most of the e-governance initiatives by leveraging Digital India & Smart Cities Mission, says George Kuruvilla, Chairman and Managing Director, BECIL, in conversation with Souvik Goswami of Elets News Network (ENN).

What role do you foresee for BECIL in India’s digital transformation process?

BECIL is into the broadcast engineering domain. We look after the television and the radio production. We also look at the transmission of TV, radio and satellite and cable television. Whatever we are doing has a lot of synergy with the telecom and the IT. So, we have entered telecommunication, last mile connectivity, fibre connectivity and ICT-based e-governance projects. In due course, we also realised that in many locations Radio Frequency (RF) can be used to connect one place to another place. I also find BECIL getting involved in the fibre technology whereby we can use the power of networking, power of radio frequency, the coding and the inscriptions technique. The storage is becoming smarter with the introduction of technology. We realised that every State government and the institutions will require data storage. They will require a proper mechanism to maintain the records, dynamic websites, management information system, payment gateways. The e-governance is going to overtake everything. In all these areas, BECIL fits in. We can handle end-to-end solutions of all these areas.

Which are the focus ministries for you to take BECIL to the next-level in terms of providing e-governance solutions?

Be it for municipalities or for Aadhaar, anything which will help in the delivery of the services to the common man, BECIL is part of that. We not only provide the manpower but also train them. We are getting ourselves involved in the areas where technical equipment is involved. In the education sector, recording of the content takes place in TV and radio studio. We manage that. After that, the storing and managing that content, streaming of the content and thereafter learning the content whereby the content is available at a central location or in the cloud whereby people anywhere in the world can access their content, we can help in all these areas. A lot of poor students, who cannot afford expensive education, can benefit from our services. So, the connectivity and the delivery part of it, storage and streaming part can be managed by BECIL.

Telemedicine is the need of the hour whereby you can connect primary health departments to the district health centres. Many scanning devices are present and the question today is how to connect these machines and data to a central location so that doctors can provide the right advice to the patients. It requires last mile connectivity and we find that we can play an important role in that. We are also looking at broadband connectivity where fibre cannot reach due to difficult terrain and heavy vegetation. In such areas, RF can be used. We are already participating in various tenders regarding this. All these can be connected through broadband rather than point-to-point connectivity. After that we can work towards providing Wi-Fi in near about places.

What is your vision for Smart Cities?

The most important thing for Smart Cities is control and command centre. Every smart component has to get connected to the control centre. We are into this domain where we are providing a platform to connect all the services and then doing analytics and arriving at the best decision. No other government organisation has gone into this space of data analytics. BECIL has taken the lead in this area. I have been personally doing meetings with startup companies which are dealing with these technologies and also with the analytics provider working in this space. We are looking at the homegrown analytics companies. Each Smart City will also be comfortable to have a set up put up by a government unit. It will reassure the companies for leakage, theft issues of data. Public Sector must play an important role in having this platform under their control or under the Municipal Corporation so that data doesn’t get leaked out to unauthorised people.

What role do you foresee for BECIL in e-governance five years down the line?

On one side, we will be providing the technology because we understand the end product. We know the tech and we advise accordingly. Last mile connectivity, sensors, Internet of Things devices and their manufacturing can be given to BECIL. We are also in the set top box manufacturing role and we are in touch with various chip companies We play a pivotal role in technology part of the e-governance in Smart Cities. In the next five years, we will be greatly involved in the integration and implementation of smart city projects. There is a huge requirement for managed services. In the next 10 years, there is a huge requirement for trained manpower for getting these projects implemented and also trained manpower to manage, sustain and run the systems. We want to play an important role as a managed service department.

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