An in­ter­view with KK Shetty

Gov­ern­ment’s dig­i­tal ini­tia­tives need a large op­ti­cal fi­bre net­work for smooth and un­in­ter­rupted trans­mis­sion of data.

Alive - - Contents - by Ramesh Ku­mar Raja

Given that In­dia is on the brink of a dig­i­tal revo­lu­tion, large scale de­ploy­ment of op­ti­cal fi­bre net­work will be the only so­lu­tion to meet the qual­ity and quan­tity re­quire­ments of the broad­band con­nec­tiv­ity in the coun­try. How­ever, there are chal­lenges as well. To dis­cuss the is­sue at length and its fu­ture, we talked to K K Shetty, CEO and Man­ag­ing Direc­tor, Citadel In­tel­li­gent Sys­tems. It must be noted that Citadel In­tel­li­gent Sys­tems fo­cuses on pro­vid­ing cut­ting edge fiber op­tic so­lu­tions in the in­fra­struc­ture space.

Ex­cerpts:

How do you look at the global sce­nario of op­ti­cal fi­bre net­work and what is the sta­tus of In­dia in this re­gard?

Op­ti­cal fi­bre in­dus­try is grow­ing steadily, and the in­crease in in­ter­net pen­e­tra­tion is one of the pri­mary growth fac­tors for this mar­ket. The num­ber of in­ter­net users is in­creas­ing ev­ery day and con­sumers are us­ing var­i­ous on­line plat­forms for pur­poses such as con­duct­ing busi­nesses, ap­ply­ing for jobs, and for ac­cess­ing so­cial net­work­ing plat­forms. To keep up with the grow­ing de­mand and to meet the need of the ris­ing data traf­fic, op­er­a­tors are up­grad­ing their net­works and de­ploy­ing tech­nolo­gies such as op­ti­cal fi­bre, since they en­able faster data trans­fer, pro­vide greater band­width, and have a very less chance of data loss when com­pared to the elec­tric sig­nals of cop­per wires. Ad­vance­ments in net­work­ing tech­nolo­gies that aided the evo­lu­tion of IoT de­vices sub­se­quently in­creased their adop­tion. This will in­duce net­work op­er­a­tors to build new data cen­tres to sup­port the grow­ing data rates, which will in turn, drive the growth of the fi­bre op­tics mar­ket.

With re­spect to the In­dian mar­ket, the data del­uge and gov­ern­ment ini­tia­tives are cre­at­ing a huge de­mand for tech­nol­ogy to move this data and in­for­ma­tion and will pro­pel growth of op­ti­cal fi­bre ca­bles mar­ket in In­dia in near fu­ture. Ac­cord­ing to “In­dia Op­ti­cal Fi­bre Ca­bles Mar­ket Fore­cast and Op­por­tu­ni­ties, 2020”, the op­ti­cal fi­bre ca­bles mar­ket in In­dia is ex­pected to sur­pass US $ 424 mil­lion by 2020. Key gov­ern­ment ini­tia­tives such as Make in In­dia, Dig­i­tal In­dia, cre­ation of nearly 100 smart cities, GST roll­out are real game chang­ers of the

In­dian econ­omy and puts In­dia at the thresh­old of a dig­i­tal revo­lu­tion. Large scale de­ploy­ment of Op­ti­cal Fi­bre Com­mu­ni­ca­tion (OFC) and Fi­bre Op­tics

(FO) In­ter­con­nec­tiv­ity prod­ucts will be the only so­lu­tion to meet the qual­ity and quan­tity needs of the broad­band con­nec­tiv­ity in In­dia. To meet this re­quire­ment, the num­ber of dat­a­cen­ters and hy­per­scale dat­a­cen­ters are grow­ing and all th­ese in­fra­struc­tures will need fi­bre op­tic con­nec­tiv­ity for smooth func­tion­ing.

Key gov­ern­ment ini­tia­tives such as Make in In­dia, Dig­i­tal In­dia, cre­ation of nearly 100 smart cities, GST roll­out are real game chang­ers of the In­dian econ­omy and puts In­dia at the thresh­old of a dig­i­tal revo­lu­tion. De­ploy­ment of Op­ti­cal Fi­bre Com­mu­ni­ca­tion and Fi­bre Op­tics In­ter­con­nec­tiv­ity prod­ucts will be the only so­lu­tion for this.

Fol­low­ing the on­go­ing im­ple­men­ta­tion of BharatNet Phase 1, the Gov­ern­ment of In­dia is quite am­bi­tious about its next Phase. How do you look at it, as the Op­ti­cal Fi­bre Cable has a greater role to play apart from the wi-fi which too is con­tribut­ing sig­nif­i­cantly to the de­vel­op­ment?

With this ini­tia­tive, in­dus­tries like health­care and education will be im­mensely ben­e­fit­ted. Farm­ers can form their own co-op­er­a­tive group. More and more in­for­ma­tion will be gen­er­ated and to meet the de­mand, it’s im­por­tant for pri­vate com­pa­nies to put more net­work in­fra­struc­ture.

Is BharatNet project suf­fi­cient enough to re­al­ize the dream of Dig­i­tal In­dia?

Apart from BharatNet project, pri­vate ser­vice providers should de­ploy fi­bre op­tic con­nec­tiv­ity across the coun­try. This will help the max­i­mum uti­liza­tion of data us­age with ease. With the im­ple­men­ta­tion of dat­a­cen­ters and hy­per­scale dat­a­cen­ters in place, more and more dig­i­tal us­age will even­tu­ally be­come nat­u­ral choice.

What is In­dia's fu­tur­is­tic ap­proach to­wards fi­bre driven net­works? Do you find sys­temic flaws, if any, that need to be cor­rected or re­vamped?

I be­lieve the last mile con­nec­tiv­ity is most im­por­tant. And to meet the last mile con­nec­tiv­ity, there should be a proper in­fra­struc­ture for fu­ture. While lay­ing out op­ti­cal fi­bre con­nec­tiv­ity, it should be fu­ture proof. The lay­out of con­nec­tions should last for next 50 years. This think­ing, keep­ing the fu­ture in mind, will re­duce civil work and save cost. More con­tent should be gen­er­ated, and this should reach out the end user with ease due to high speed con­nec­tiv­ity.

What are the dis­tinct prod­ucts and ser­vices you of­fer and how they are con­tribut­ing to the gov­ern­ment’s dig­i­tal ini­tia­tives?

Fi­bre op­tics prod­ucts for dat­a­cen­ters, colo­ca­tions and hy­per­scale dat­a­cen­ters. Fi­bre op­tics con­nec­tiv­ity for smart cities, aero­space and de­fense. Fi­bre Op­tics (FO) is a fas­ci­nat­ing tech­nol­ogy which en­ables com­mu­ni­ca­tion by way of a con­nec­tion that of­fers higher re­li­a­bil­ity, speed and band­width than the wired ca­bles. It is amaz­ing to see that a trans­par­ent fi­bre drawn out of glass (sil­ica) with a di­am­e­ter slightly thicker than that of the hu­man hair is the most widely used chan­nel of com­mu­ni­ca­tion con­nect­ing con­ti­nents to meet the com­mu­ni­ca­tion needs of bil­lions of peo­ple in an ef­fi­cient and re­li­able man­ner. Op­ti­cal fi­bres are flex­i­ble and are ca­pa­ble of be­ing bun­dled into ca­bles which al­low them to be used in long-dis­tance com­mu­ni­ca­tions sup­port­ing lower lev­els of at­ten­u­a­tion, higher speeds and larger band­widths. Gov­ern­ment’s dig­i­tal ini­tia­tives will gen­er­ate more trans­mis­sion of data, and for smooth and un­in­ter­rupted trans­mis­sion of data, there is a need of large op­ti­cal fi­bre net­work and our prod­ucts will help to bridge the gap.

Where do you see the fu­ture of op­ti­cal fi­bre go­ing? What ad­vance­ments can we see ahead?

In fu­ture we will see high den­sity ap­pli­ca­tions with less space used for op­ti­cal fi­bre in­fra­struc­ture. SMEs and large play­ers will com­pletely move into cloud stor­age ser­vices. This change will re­sult in dat­a­cen­ters / hy­per­scales which will re­duce cost and in­crease ef­fi­ciency.

Op­ti­cal fi­bre in­dus­try is grow­ing steadily.

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