Sunday, March 25, 2007

Manpower malaise bothering IT companies

Is Indian software industry growing too fast making it unsustainable for long? Going by what the Indian IT industry experts and leaders have been harping about, this really seems to be the case. Every few weeks, I come across media reports with the now all too familiar headline, "India short of manpower in IT sector".

Are we really short of manpower. Are our IT companies desperately scouting for an oasis of manpower?Well, again there is a debate here. One group says that we are really short of engineers, soaking up so much of the engineers into the IT field that other fields are facing the brunt of this circumventing of human resources. The other argument is the denial of any real shortage of resources, but the lack of quality resources that the IT industry needs. The malaise if you observe is symptomatic of both these.

Is the Indian government doing anything to address these concerns? What can really be done? Well, it seems the government is definitely taking initiatives in the right direction, though the industry will need to wait a few years before it starts yielding fruit. Blogger Harsha Kumar has some excellent suggestions on what we need to revamp in the education system as a possible remedy to this problem.

Whatever it is that we need to do to put to rest the concerns of the industry, I also feel that the industry has grown too rapidly for its own good. If stupendous growth like this can wreak havoc on the infrastructure of a city like Bangalore, it surely could have our education system creaking and groaning under pressure. And who doesn't know that the most difficult time to change a system is when it is under strain. Its like trying to change wheels on a car which was earlier moving at 5 kmph and is now moving at 200 kmph !!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

RFID providing dual benefits to Infosys

Its one thing to deploy technology solutions as proof of concept applications so as to benefit the company to showcase its technology know how to its clients. However, deploying applications as proof of concept for the mutual benefit of its employees as well as lend credibility to its commitment in the eyes of its clients is much more desirable. Infosys, the bell weather of Indian IT services has done exactly the latter with its RFID application.

Infosys has designed and deployed a vehicle access-control system using EPC Gen 2 passive RFID tags. For those hearing the term for the first time, relax. RFID stands for Radio Frequency IDentification. These are small chips or chips embedded on plastic cards that can hold information and pass it on wirelessly to a reader which scans a given area of influence. For more refer to HowStuffWorks and Wikipedia.

What Infosys has done is this. Deploy RFID readers across its multistory car-parks. Employees have been issued RFID tags to be placed against their windscreens. Whenever the employee approaches within 3 meters of the RFID reader, the system reads the information in the RFID tag on the employee's windscreen, authenticates him as a Infosys employee and lets him access to the car park area.

Prior to this being implemented, the employee had to stop over and roll down the wind shield to swipe a RFID card against a card reader that could only read in the vicinity of a few centimeters. This used to result in serpentine queues of cards waiting outside the car park area just waiting to get in. Now the same technology extended has not only helped ease employees' lives but is also getting new orders for the company.

For the detailed story, go here

Friday, March 09, 2007

Cyber Crime Fighting in India gets New Teeth

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Intelligence Bureau (IB), two of the top Indian law enforcement agencies have been giving high priority over the years to fighting cyber crime. The spate of increased world wide threats to government servers and systems from hackers and cyber pirates has prompted the government of India to order the development and deployment of CyberCheck Suite Version 3.0. Claimed to be an advanced cyber forensics tool that compares with the best tools on the market, this indigenous piece of software was developed by Resource Centre for Cyber Forensics at the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing, Thiruvananthapuram, that falls under the ministry of communications and IT.

CyberCheck Suite Version 3.0 marks the beginning of developing indigenous forensic softwares comparable to ENCASE, the current leading forensic software in the world and can be used in different Indian languages. This also turns out to be a more cost-effective option as the indigineous software will be available at a fraction of the cost of the imported equivalent software tools. Plans are on to deploy the software at police stations across the country and train personnel.

This should act as a deterrence to cyber criminals out on the prowl over the Net.

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