Aruba Event: Is India ready for WiFi



IT infrastructure, which is the backbone of any organizationbe it private or
publichas evolved by significant proportions. This evolution has also
stealthily brought along the hassle of dealing with constantly-changing demands
and challenges too. A larger chunk of importance is now being levied on how IT
resources are deployed and used within an organization. The evolution of the IT
infrastructure has also created several challenges for CIOs. And from all these
developments has emerged the concept of virtualization and the emergence of new
solutions like wireless networks. With the market abuzz with wireless networks,
Dataquest and Aruba Networks brought together a platform for speakers from
different fields to give their viewpoints on the topic.

Still Counting
Highlighting some of the challenges faced at the organization, V Subramaniam,
CIO, Otis Elevator says, "The main concern for any company is to connect people
in their distant branches to the main branch and bring them to the mainstream.
With wireless network now assuming important proportions, the challenge lies in
syngergizing both the wireless and wired, and making its optimum use. Apart from
that the security of the network from both inside and outside is also of utmost
importance."

Keerti Melkote of Aruba & Rajneesh De of Dataquest
prescribe a balance between wired and wireless networks for enterprises in
Mumbai

Cements is also a field where the remote offices are cut across all
demographics and the bigger challenge lies in linking them with the
headquarters. Most of these offices are located near sites where limestone is
found. "Linking all these offices entirely on either WLAN or wireless is not
possible. Wireless over the years has proved to be a solution for the challenges
that WLAN has posed," remarks Prince Azariah, head, IT services, ACC.

Private insurance companies may be new entrants in the business, but IT
trends havent spared them too. The challenges faced by the private insurers
have grown manifold over the years. Offering a better perspective of the
insurance sector, Manish Bhoola, AVP IT, ICICI Prudential Life says, "In the
last one to two years, there was a degrowth witnessed, but in this business the
biggest challenge is to protect data in the call centers. My biggest need of the
hour is to protect my entire data. Usage of USB cards will not be of much use as
USB cards are not secure. In this segment, performance is one aspect of the
challenge and security is another.

Wireless networks raise costs by 20-30%, says Anil
Kaushik of BPCL; Arindam Sinha of Raymonds bats for RF technology

But for the banking sector, the story is totally different altogether. Being
the oldest and most important sector, IT infrastructure assumes a lot of
importance. And with the Reserve Bank of India now expecting to open new
networks, financial inclusion is bound to become the next revolution after green
IT. "In the context of financial inclusion, the use of wireless is not clear,"
says Saraswati Sankar, DGM, Bank of India.

Cost Effective?
Just like advantages and disadvantages are two sides of the same coin, both
wireless and wired have their fair share of advantages and disadvantages.
Wireless networks are more effective with laptops and are much more easier to
set up with the use of software and a wireless device. But, it also has its fair
share of disadvantages. Wireless networks are slower in comparison to wired ones
and are costly too. Meanwhile, wired networks are more secure and faster, but
installation of the network is a huge hassle.

WLAN and WAN are expected to be the two biggest trends
in India
Keerti Melkote,
co-founder, CTO and director, Aruba Networks

What is the focus for India?
Wireless is a natural fit for India and currently we have over 200
customers. Buyers today are more well versed about real solutions and one
big consideration is the total cost of ownership. Security is also of prime
importance after terror activities in India. Our strategy for India is to
sell through two large distributors. We have fifty system integrators, among
them forty are regional SIs and ten have a pan-India presence. We are
exploring possibilities with large service providers to create solutions
that provide connectivity to the rural background. Currently, we have a R&D
setup comprising eighty people in Bengaluru and Chennai and there are
approximately 200 engineers.

Which markets do you intend to focus on?
We intend to focus on mobile banking, finance, healthcare, retail and
private hospitals. Life critical services segment is one that we would like
to focus on. Even education in schools is one of the emerging sectors that
may give a rosy deal. Consider retail for instance, a lot of right desicions
are involved in picking up the right products and then shipping them to the
respective stores or warehouses because many of the products are of seasonal
nature. This brings into play the requirement of wireless network to ensure
this.

Any particular sector that has been a challenge?
We have been associated with the defence sector that is the airforce and
the army where we have deployed solutions that have enabled them to increase
their efficiency. For example, initially when a plane would land, all the
data would then be downloaded. But with our solutions, now data can be
downloaded in real-time without even having to dock the airplane. And
considering the fact that the information in this context is of a very
sensitive nature, security is of utmost importance. And, hence there is a
provision for a double layer of encryption that ensures security.

What are the market trends?
Apart from cost advantages, the fact that it enables customers to make
use of two ports instead of three has enabled wireless network to grab
attention. Wireless network can be conveniently adopted in branch offices.
Wireless LAN and Wireless WAN are expected to be the two biggest trends in
India. The gobal trend in relation to wireless has also been noticed in
India, which is a welcome factor.

Shilpa Shanbhag
shilpas@cybermedia.co.in

Clearing the weather around wireless networks, Keerti Melkote, co-founder,
CTO and director, Aruba Networks says, "Wireless networks are secure and of high
performance value. Yes, security is the biggest challenge, but wireless is
helpful for enterprises where there is a growing trend of work from home
culture. We have recorded good sequential growth that is approximately 30%
growth. There was a downturn during the recession, but Aruba relatively was less
affected than the overall industry. Our market share has been consistently
increasing; currently we enjoy a market share close to 20%.

Manish Bhoola of ICICI Prudential emphasized on the
security aspects of wireless networks

V Subramaniam of Otis Elevator emphasized on the
need for syngergizing both wireless and wireline

Laying out wired network is much cheaper than wireless,
says Manoj Shrivastava of Reliance Globalcom

Talking about the cost aspects, Azariah says, "Though wireless networks may
be costly, but if you consider it from the business aspect and the fact that you
would be reaping rewards in the long run, then opting for wireless network wont
prove to be a losing deal."

Manoj Shrivastava, VP, group IT, Reliance Globalcom says, "Wireless becomes
an advantage when laying out wired network becomes a tough task. But, laying out
wired network is much cheaper than wireless network in India.

Highlighting the green aspect, Anil Kaushik, general manager, IS
infrastructure & services, BPCL adds, "Opting for a wireless network will
ensure that costs go up by approximately 20%-30%, but it utilizes one-tenth of
the electricity compared to the wired network. This helps entities to turn a
green leaf also.

Saraswati Sanker of Bank of India is still not clear
about the use of wireless in the financial inclusion roadmap

Trading arena and having to deal with the seasonality aspect is one thing,
but how does IT fit in this jig-saw puzzle? Arindam Sinha, GM, corporate IT,
Raymonds throws light by saying, "Retail is totally a business that works around
the season based availability model around which the company needs to prepare a
concrete supply chain. And RF technology has helped us a great deal in dealing
with this challenge.

Final Note
Summing up the entire fruitful discussion, Rajneesh De of Dataquest accounts,
"The question of adopting wireless network can be described like a herd
mentality, but the major challenge is to maintain a balance between the wired
and wireless networks. And above all, it is the question of better products
versus mass understanding."

Shilpa Shanbhag
shilpas@cybermedia.co.in

CIOs deliberating on wired vs wireless networks in Delhi

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