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Technology Intervention: Key role in building smart townships and campuses

June 24, 2016

Technology Intervention: Key role in bui...
Deploying information and communication technology to improve business processes and effectively meet the growing consumer needs is becoming one of the major focus areas of enterprises across verticals, including the real estate and education sectors. Experts from leading educational institutions and real estate companies discuss the IT initiatives they have taken in the past, their plans for the future and the likely technology trends going forward….

Bharat_DhupparGaurav_ShahSK_Tiwari

Interview with Bharat Dhuppar, Chief Executive Officer, Sheth Creators

What are the mobility/enterprise solutions deployed by your company and how have these benefited the organisation?

The real estate industry is using design software, construction software and overall systems like SAP and business management software) for managing its facility management services. In addition, developers are providing home automation and integrated solutions for various amenities, which can be linked to users’ mobile phones.

What are the challenges faced in the implementation of new technologies?

The challenges typically relate to after-sales service maintenance, as it is difficult to find qualified staff for the same. In addition, the integration of new technologies with existing processes can be challenging. Another major challenge that companies face relates to the consistency and bandwidth of the network provider.

What are your views on the government’s Smart Cities initiative?

Smart Cities is a great initiative. However, it cannot be looked at only from a technology point of view; one needs to look at it in a more holistic manner. For instance, while the Bandra Kurla Complex and Powai are well developed, the entry points to these are choked. Therefore, the city has to be “smart” from all angles, especially from the accessibility point of view.

What are the key technology trends likely to be witnessed in the real estate sector?

One will see technology playing a major role at every step, be it planning, construction or property management. Automation is the future and the key to smart cities.

What will be the role of the telecom and IT sectors in a smart city?

Telecom and IT will form the backbone linking the entire ecosystem within a smart city. Therefore, a strong network of these services is a key requirement of any smart city.

Interview with Gaurav Shah, Director, Ravi Group

What are the mobility/enterprise solutions deployed by your company and how have these benefited the organisation?

We are currently using the enterprise resource planning system, wherein all the required information is available online for better and faster communication. This covers departmental modules that are related to real estate. We have hired trained personnel for managing this system. Instead of using manual turning, we have switched to automation as it offers several benefits such as faster communication, increased productivity and timely completion of work.

What are the challenges faced in the implementation of new technologies?

The biggest challenge faced by an enterprise is the move from one technology to another as incorporating and adapting to a new technology takes time. Since the real estate industry is not very tech-savvy, it requires more effort and time to adapt to new technologies. It is, however, gradually experimenting with new technologies.

What are your views on the government’s Smart Cities initiative?

The overall concept of smart cities is good but implementation is a crucial factor that will determine its success. The government has taken into consideration various factors such as transportation, mobility and technology. Although the government is facing problems regarding the completion of projects within the specified time limit, efforts are on in full swing.

What will be the role of the telecom and IT sectors in a smart city?

Telecom and IT will play a major role in the overall concept of smart cities. Technology will help us boost productivity in day-to-day lives. In this digital era, where technological advancements are taking place in leaps and bounds, keeping pace with the telecom and IT sector will be instrumental in meeting the demand and needs of people.

What are the key technology trends that are likely to be witnessed in the real estate sector?

The key technology trends that are likely to be witnessed are the incorporation of green and sustainable technologies and contemporary methodologies. Almost all the services delivered in a city, such as transportation, municipal planning, water saving, recycling, waste management and mobility, will be digitised.

Interview with S.K. Tiwary, Administrative Officer, IT Services, XLRI-Xavier School of Management

What is the telecom and IT blueprint of your organisation? What are the ongoing and future initiatives?

At XLRI, our aim is to enable students, faculty and staff members to access the full range of teaching and learning resources, and connect people, processes and content through the effective use of reliable information, computing and telecommunications technologies. Our IT strategy includes providing smart teaching classrooms and study areas, student/faculty/staff development facility, and fully equipped research and computer laboratories. Further, we are enhancing our existing information systems and developing new services. We are also switching to cloud computing and online sharing of resources with top global universities.

We have deployed robust security systems to provide a large range of services that are unrestricted and flexible. To this end, we have also taken measures to ensure the safety and prevention of unauthorised access or damage to computers using wireless networks.

What are the mobility/enterprise solutions and applications that have been deployed? How have these benefited the organisation?

Some of the enterprise applications used at XLRI are as follows:

Academic information system (AIS): AIS is an open source in-house enterprise resource planning software that is being used by the institute for the past 15 years to manage various academic activities and for knowledge sharing.

e-MDP: This is an e-learning digital platform, which helps deliver various services over a live two-way audio-video platform, thereby ensuring flexibility and convenience of learning from anywhere.

XL Dock: This is a mobile-friendly Android application that can be used to access class schedules and other notices.

Further, we have an integrated campus-wide voice communication system with the latest SIP-enabled IP-based communication servers. This enables us to accommodate the future telecommunication requirements of the institute. We also have a comprehensive payment gateway application for fee collection.

What are the challenges faced in the implementation of new technologies?

The biggest challenge for us is to balance conventional methods with technology to make information accessible regardless of form, place or time. Institutions typically face challenges in terms of scaling up their IT infrastructure. The new infrastructure should be flexible and open to accommodate rapid technological changes and maintain “leading edge” capabilities by readily incorporating new technologies when appropriate. While IT infrastructure continues to be a critical element, the costs associated with managing IT assets with the required service levels are at times far too high. There is an ongoing need to have  IT infrastructure in place that offers high reliability, round-the-clock availability, remote manageability and optimum scalability. Further, newer concepts such as cloud computing, hosted environment, on-demand services, virtualisation and software-as-a-service are changing the way institutions are setting up and managing their overall IT infrastructure.

What are the key technology trends that are likely to be witnessed by the education sector?

Social media, increased mobility, cloud computing and big data are the major factors driving the education sector to change the way it provides services. Beyond pure-play hardware and software, this sector should head towards embedded systems. The cloud has rapidly established a new benchmark in terms of easy, quick and flexible deployment of solutions for all stakeholders. Cloud is helping align the higher education system with the industry in different countries. The increased adoption of smart devices has led to rapid growth in augmented reality. The education sector should make the most of these trends to drive growth and enhance their innovation agenda in order to provide a superior learning experience.

A combination of demographic and economic drivers, bilateral trade patterns and shifts in inbound and outbound student flows linked to growing global competition and rapid expansion of tertiary education capacity will re-shape the global higher education landscape. Governments worldwide consider education as a major contributor to national wealth and economic development. In order to maintain a high standard of teaching and research, and cater to the needs of domestic and international students on the one hand, and resolve global research challenges on the other, significant and continuing investment is required in education.

 
 

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