DailyPost 1959

While the tech IT world talks of tech platforms, integration, interoperability, being interdisciplinary, skill oriented, hands on, multitasking, creating return on investment, multi user utilization, seamless, synergy and what not, but when we get into an academic or a research institution, everything is parcelled out department, person and resource wise. There would be very few facilities, tech in nature which could be utilized by the vast majority of the institution. While we love to live in professional and operational silos, we keep singing the fanciful song of collaboration. Very rarely it happens even within an institution, organization or a business enterprise, that the same resource is utilised by multiple departments, wings etc. In a resource scarce country, the returns on it, makes it even worse.

This is the environment we live in. The expanse of an academic campus is the impression it carries. The facilities are hard. Even the soft facilities and labs should also have huge areas and visible gadgets, under their command. Mindset is stuck up on either ownership or control or both. Given the nature in which functional IT education / training, skill development is moving, which covers a large number of branches of an engineering college,  still all resources work on departmental lines. Centers of Excellence, for whatever it means, is becoming the order of the day. The hands-on expertise has always remained a challenge in this country. Added to that, with the number of technologies hitting the market, it is very difficult to have a center / lab for each and commensurate resources to attend to it.

There are also times that one student needs to learn more than one of these technologies, depending on the requirement. Having delved deep from all the angles and to make academic and business success out of its integrated center, is the ideal way out. All computer resources can be created /pooled for a world class lab, with the necessary hardware, software, compute, network, and all other necessary resources. High end resources from different technologies will guide its creation. The final product in the making would be an Integrated Center of IT Excellence. The technologies, utilities which can be logically created with this tech infra could be Cyber Security, Cyber Forensics, Blockchain technology, Geospatial technology, Drone / forensics, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. This is the broad framework of an Integrated Center of IT Excellence. Any other technology can be added when the process is discovered.

It should reach a level in a span of three to five years that every technology can work on a simple plug and play mechanism. Even micro elements of each of these technologies can be synergized for a variety of purposes. The Center can cater literally to all types of users / trainees; students, researchers, teachers and industry. It can be the resource for regular academic, skill development and even industry courses. The business model should also look into account that the center should be used for most part of the time. It could be used for commercial training programs as well. It can also be used to showcase technologies in a manner nobody has ever imagined. Showcasing technologies for Conferences and Seminars would not be a bad idea either. The variety of uses this center can put to, would be endless.


Sanjay Sahay

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