We have deployed 1.3 million virtual desktops in India: Manish Sharma, Ncomputing

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Published: November 17, 2014 2:16:01 AM

Educational institutions in India are slowly breaking away from the conventional way of computing.

Educational institutions in India are slowly breaking away from the conventional way of computing. Instead, they are investing in low-cost shared computing technology— also called virtual desktops—provided by Santa Clara, California-based NComputing. A virtual desktop looks like a regular personal computer but lacks a hard drive, CD-ROM drive, fans and other moving parts. It weighs only 150 grams compared to 9.6 kg of a regular desktop machine and uses as little as 1 watt of electricity (compared to 110 watts for a regular PC) often saving more than 90% on electricity bills. “NComputing solutions are built specifically to break the price barrier, and have a unique way to enable computing access for people from different customer segments at a fraction of the cost of the traditional all-PC set up,” Manish Sharma, vice-president, Asia Pacific, NComputing, tells Sudhir Chowdhary in a recent interaction. Excerpts:

What are the major projects that Ncomputing has executed in the education sector in India?
Almost 15 states have either deployed or are in the process of deploying NComputing solutions to provide computing access to the students studying in the state-run schools. NComputing is working earnestly to increase this number and enable greater computing access for the children and youth of the country in one of the most cost and energy efficient manner.

In a short span of five years alone, NComputing has deployed over 13 lakh seats (virtual desktops) in India, which is helping in transforming the lives of over two crore users in the country, daily. Of the 13 lakh seats that are deployed in the country, 5 lakh seats have been deployed in government education (through various projects), which includes 50,000 government schools. Another 4 lakh seats are deployed in private education sector, which includes schools, colleges, training centres, universities, etc.

Some of the key implementations made by NComputing in India include 60,000 seats in 6,000 plus government schools in Andhra Pradesh; 60,000 seats in schools across Punjab; 52,000 workstations in 2622 government schools of Haryana; 18,000 seats across 1,800 learning centres of Maharashtra Knowledge Corporation; 15,000 seats in the schools of Uttar Pradesh; over 15,000 seats in the government schools of Bihar; another 14,000 seats in the state-run schools of Rajasthan, and many others.

How does your low-cost shared computing technology benefit the students?
There are a million public schools in India, and the vast majority of them cannot afford to provide their students with a sufficient number of computers. Our solutions enable these institutions to set up a 40-seat computer lab for less than the cost of 10-15 standalone PCs. The NComputing solution addresses challenges like budget constraints, shortage of electricity, space constraints and maintenance cost in setting up computer labs in schools, colleges and other educational and training institutes. With NComputing technology, institutions can increase computing access in labs and classrooms at one-third the cost of the traditional all-PC set up; avoid PC refresh and significantly reduce management costs; repurpose old PCs and; do all of this without increasing budget or staff.

In a nutshell, NComputing solution helps institutions to save hardware acquisition cost by over 50%, IT maintenance and management cost by upto 75% and reduce electricity cost and e-waste by as much as 90%.

But is the technology easily accessible?
NComputing solutions are built specifically to break the price barrier, and have a unique way to enable computing access for people from different customer segments at a fraction of the cost of the traditional all-PC set up. NComputing provides one of the most innovative and affordable desktop virtualisation solutions that address the key challenges faced by educational institutions by allowing them to expand and enable computing access to their students and teachers in one of the most cost and energy-efficient way. Built on NComputing’s revolutionary desktop virtualisation (also called shared computing) technology, the solutions provide access to computing at one-third the cost of the traditional PC set up. The average computer user uses less than 10% of the PC capacity. The rest is wasted. NComputing taps into the other 90% so that multiple users can simultaneously share a single PC.

While initially it was difficult for people to break away from the conventional/traditional way of computing, over time, as they realised the value that a revolutionary technology such as NComputing can deliver at half (or even lesser) the cost of the traditional computing set up.

Give us an overview of NComputing and its offerings in the education sector?
NComputing’s desktop virtualisation solutions (namely X-series, M-series and L-series) have made it possible for thousands of educational institutions in India to use their IT infrastructure to the optimal, ensure availability of PCs to each student at a fraction of the cost, reduce the per workstation cost by up to 50% and slash maintenance costs by over 75%. NComputing provides a truly green solution that produces less e-waste and saves power costs by 90%. What’s more, the solution frees up valuable workspace in classrooms and labs.

NComputing has taken computing to millions of Indian children situated in some of the remotest corners of the country in a short span of five years since its inception in India. One of the biggest successes that NComputing has accomplished in India has been through its government school projects in multiple Indian states whereby it has deployed over 5 lakh seats in over 50,000 schools.

How do you foresee the current demand for your products in India?
NComputing is an ideal product for the Indian market, which is contributing towards making computing simpler, affordable and extremely energy efficient. Majority of the state governments in the country have either deployed or are seriously evaluating this technology for their various projects. If you look at the market share in the desktop virtualisation space, IDC has ranked NComputing as the No. 1 company in India in 2013.

Going forward, while we will surely work towards expanding our outreach in the SMB and enterprise segment, education would continue to be our key focus area. We plan to continue consolidating and expanding our market share by adopting a multi-pronged approach, such as adding to our partner network so that we are able to reach every nook and corner of the country, and through marketing initiatives such as online and offline awareness and brand building campaigns.

We believe, whatever has been achieved so far by NComputing in India, and globally, is merely tip of an iceberg. With demand for desktop virtualisation being on the rise all over the world, it offers a great scope to NComputing to contribute to the spread of ICT across verticals by
offering green, sustainable and affordable computing solutions to knowledge workers not only in India, but around the globe.

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