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Interview with Sanjay Dungrakoti, Executive Director, Signalling and telecommunication, Rail Vikas Nigam Limited

July 27, 2018

Interview with Sanjay Dungrakoti, Execut...
Enterprises in the transportation industry are increasingly leveraging information and communication technology (ICT) solutions to improve their overall efficiency and deliver world-class services. Besides deploying solutions such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), signalling and train information management (TIM) to improve the operational efficiency of their systems, enterprises are taking several customer-facing initiatives such as setting up websites, mobile applications and payment solutions. However, challenges in upskilling the workforce and building long-term IT flexibility and competency continue to exist. Experts from leading enterprises in the transportation space discuss their company’s ICT roadmap, deployment challenges and the way ahead...

How have your ICT requirements changed over time? What are the key telecom and IT solutions used by your company? What have been the benefits so far?

The ICT requirements of Indian Railways (IR) have undergone a paradigm shift over time with the manyfold increase in the needs of passengers. IR, operating as a service provider, has leapfrogged from the manual dissemination of information to electronic modes of transmission. IR has implemented a passenger reservation system (PRS) that has replaced the manual ticketing system with a computerised ticketing system on a pan-Indian basis. This PRS has been made web enabled. As a result, millions of passengers are now able to book their tickets through computers, laptops and tablets at any place and at any time. Similarly, telecommunication-based passenger information systems have been implemented at all key stations for the efficient dissemination of train information to passengers. Around 600 stations have been provided with free Wi-Fi to offer internet access to passengers and this facility is going to be extended to all stations soon. These can serve as points of presence for the local population as well.

Meanwhile, various external and internal ICT-based customer processes are being implemented such as the freight operation information system, the crew management system, the control office information system, the integrated accounting system, the employee information management system and the material management information system.

The communication system has been made more advanced with the large-scale implementation of optic fibre cable (OFC) along railway lines. Owing to the availability of high internet bandwidth, a large-scale video conferencing system has been deployed at all zones of IR. This has helped in bringing down the man-hours spent in travelling as well as the associated expenses. The migation of business processes to ICT have resettled in the fast and efficient utilisation of resources and increased revenue generation.

In the face of rising data and cybersecurity concerns, how are you ensuring the security of your system and processes?

As already indicated, IR has installed its own OFC system, which is connected to all zones, divisions and stations. For other processes that are interfaced with the outside network, internet security hardware like new-generation firewalls and unified threat management devices have been installed. Each zonal railway has set up an organisation to deal with data and internet security. These organisations act on the instructions issued by the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team from time to time.

What are the issues and challenges faced in the deployment and management of ICT solutions and infrastructure?

There are two key challenges faced in the deployment and management of ICT solutions. One is to implement these solutions alongside existing practices and the other is to change the mindset of company employees to adopt these solutions. There are several departments that are collaborating with each other and ICT processes installed at one department can impact the functions of other dependent departments too. Therefore, providing interlinked training of an ICT system installed in one department to associated departments is also a major challenge.

What are your views on the digital transformation of the transportation segment? What are the key upcoming technology and telecom trends in this space?

Telecom and internet bandwidth infrastructure in the country needs a major overhaul. High internet availability is required to fully benefit from the government’s ICT-enabled services.

 

 

 
 

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