TC-I readers might remember that Vinay had interviewed Stephen Dukker, Chairman & CEO of NComputing a couple of months ago. At that time Dukker was raring to make a mark in the Indian market. Last Monday, NComputing started on its Indian journey by announcing a deal with Government of Andhra Pradesh to supply 50,000 virtual desktops to schools in the state. The company is also trying to enter into agreements with other state governments.
NComputing works on the premise that current desktop computers are powerful enough to support multiple users simultaneously. To achieve this, it has developed a virtualization software that turns a single computer system into 5 or 10 virtual machines, thus ensuring “efficient” utilization of a system. This brings down the effective cost of a “computer per user”.
It is heartening to see governments realizing the need and advantages of using computers as part of school education. We, at TC-I feel (and we are sure readers would agree with us), that sourcing the computers is only a job well-started. The real work lies in developing a proper curriculum centered around computer based learning. Also, NComputing technology can be used for low cost cyber cafes – something really required in developing countries especially rural areas which have abysmal levels of computer penetration.
It would be great to see a project like ITC’s e-chaupal working with NComputing to take benefits of the computer and internet to many more Indian villages.
NComputing’s acceptance by many organizations also brings forth an inevitable but interesting debate – comparison with One Laptop Per Child’s XO, Intel’s Classmate PC and other similar projects. A few months ago OLPC too had entered India. There are lot of discussions on cyberspace on the pros and cons of one in comparison with the other. You can read an informative article on the debate on forbes.com
These really are exciting times.