Andhra Pradesh, 14 Oct :NComputing, the world’s leading provider of shared computing technology, today announced that its products were chosen to supply a massive computer education programme by the Andhra Pradesh state government and partially funded by the Central government. The programme will provide computing access for the first time to 18 lakh schoolchildren throughout the state.
Each of the 5,000 secondary schools will have a 10-seat computing lab with 2 desktop PCs and 8 NComputing systems. The win marks the largest deployment of NComputing’s solution in India. The decision to deploy NComputing’s low-cost and eco-friendly solution establishes the Andhra Pradesh government as an innovator in educational computing and a model for other governments considering similar projects.
By leveraging NComputing, the government will save nearly Rs. 80 crore in up-front and ongoing costs. The government will also use 90% less electricity compared to a traditional all-PC solution. Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Stephen Dukker, chairman and CEO, said, "NComputing is proud to have been chosen by Andhra Pradesh to fulfill its vision to improve learning and computer literacy throughout the state," said Stephen Dukker, chairman and CEO of NComputing. "At about Rs. 4,500 per seat, our solution is the ideal platform to enable schools, businesses, and governments to maximize their PC investment. We are the world leader in desktop virtualization and the scale of this deployment further extends our leadership position."
The NComputing solution is based on a simple fact: today’s PCs are so powerful that the vast majority of applications only use a small fraction of the computer’s capacity. NComputing’s shared computing solution taps this unused capacity so that it can be simultaneously shared by many users. NComputing uses only 1 watt of electricity and is rugged, durable, and easy to maintain.
The computing labs will be used to teach computer skills, office productivity (such as spreadsheets and word processing), as well as subjects like reading and math. The systems will run the Microsoft Windows Server operating system and Microsoft Office Suite. "India holds a strong position in the knowledge economy today due to the country’s investment in education over the years — and as a country, it is critical that we continue to focus on this," said Ravi Venkatesan, chairman and corporate vice president, Microsoft India. "Aligning ourselves with the country’s priorities, we at Microsoft India are committed to enabling affordable access to computing for education. Through Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential commitment, we are continually looking for innovative and affordable technology solutions that can sustain social and economic progress. Initiatives such as this announced today that leverage the value to educational computing provided by the Windows Server platform represent yet another solution that can help move us towards this goal."
The Andhra Pradesh programme is based on an innovative outsourcing model developed by the Andhra Pradesh government. The model is referred to as Build, Operate, and Transfer (BOT) and requires outsourcers to install, staff, and manage the labs for a five-year term. This arrangement helps ensure that the labs are installed quickly and strict performance benchmarks are met. The five-year period also enables school staff to develop their own skills in managing the labs and honing computer-aided teaching capabilities.
The Andhra Pradesh government created a transparent bid process with a tender evaluation committee to select the best technologies and the qualified educational IT companies. Over a dozen companies submitted proposals for various regions of the state. The winning bidders, which incorporated NComputing’s shared-computing solution to help secure the deal, included NIIT, ECIL, Educomp, Everonn, IEG, Terasoft, and Social Computers.
"The Andhra Pradesh government has been very forward thinking in recognizing the importance of computer education to the future of the state," said Mr. Raj Shah, chief marketing officer of NComputing. "We are honored that NComputing has been chosen to play a vital role in closing the digital divide in government schools."
NIIT will be responsible for managing 2,005 of the schools. "Andhra Pradesh is one of the most progressive states to have encouraged early adoption of ICT in schools for enhancing quality of education. NIIT has been partnering with the government of Andhra Pradesh for the last six years, bringing the benefit of ICT to over 5.4 million students," said Mr. L. Balasubramanian, president – school learning solutions, NIIT. "NIIT is pleased to bring the benefit of NComputing’s shared computing technology to Andhra Pradesh. We are thankful to the government of Andhra Pradesh for enabling such a large scale deployment."
The NComputing solution will be integrated with desktop PCs which will be supplied primarily by Acer and HCL. These computer makers have tested and endorsed the NComputing solution and will integrate the NComputing hardware and software at their factories. "We are pleased to be a part of this initiative. This will further facilitate not only education but will also enhance overall reach of IT," said Mr. George Paul, executive vice president – marketing, HCL Infosystems Ltd.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. S. Rajendran, chief marketing officer of Acer India, said, "NComputing is a great complement to our desktop computer business because it enables budget-strapped schools and businesses to maximise their PC infrastructure."
In addition to lower up-front purchase costs, the NComputing solution also significantly reduces ongoing costs. For example, NComputing access devices only use 1 watt of electricity (compared to 110 watts or more for a typical PC). This massive reduction in energy consumption is especially critical in places where electricity is limited and expensive. The lower power draw also means smaller electrical generators are required, which saves on generator costs.
NComputing’s technology has been deployed by over 20,000 organisations in over 90 countries. NComputing began operations in India in 2007 and has been recognised for its role in bringing truly affordable computing to India. "Given the limited resources and the daunting canvas of 1.3 million schools in India, the NComputing solution — by efficiently addressing costs of acquisition, cost of annual maintenance, power consumption and e-waste — has provided a viable alternative. Azim Premji Foundation had piloted the solution in a Government Primary School in the state of Karnataka," said Mr. Sukumar Anikar, Head, Technology for Education, Azim Premji Foundation. "Just like the Tata Nano broke the affordable car barrier, NComputing is breaking the affordable computing barrier and we expect every state and central government computerisation project will seriously consider NComputing."