Distant education, not so distant
Satellite education is a new development in information technology and Narayan Ram, Chairman and CEO of `See it First', is popularising the concept of distance education through Internet.
WHEN GRAHAM BELL invented the telephone, he would have thought to himself that there would be no more scope for inventions in the world - this was it! Little did he know that he had just started a revolution in the era of information technology.
From the telephone to the cell phone to the internet, there has been rapid progress. Today, the home PCs are a big draw and every family tries to ensure that it stays connected.
The IT revolution has touched even the field of education and sprung up two new theories of making the concept of `distance education' not so distant.
`See it First', a California-based organisation, has been popularising the concept of `reaching out to anyone anywhere', through the Internet. Says Narayan Ram, Chairman and CEO of `See it first', "today's world does not believe in losing out due to distance. If a student in India wants to study in the best university in the US, he should not be restrained by the fact that he cannot go and stay in the US or that he has to quit his home and job in his homeland only to go and study in another country. This is also the case with products - a buyer and a seller could be just about anywhere. With this being the scene, `See it First' tries to make the process of communication easier, faster and as clear as possible."
Having implemented the entire distance education programme for Stanford University, California, Ram says that students all over the world now enjoy learning from some of the best teachers from top Universities in the world merely by sitting at home or from their workplace. They can see them, they can listen to them explain things on the blackboard, answer all queries just like any teacher in any school or college.
Says Ram, "how many of us could get an opportunity to study under a Noble Laureate? With `See it First', one could make the impossible possible."
Stanford is not the only user of this amazing technology. One of the top companies in Japan, Japan Unisyss has been using this technology to explain the process of assembling parts to its employees.
All that an employee in doubt has to do, is to log on to the site and he is taken through the process of assembling parts by the instructor and whilst viewing the lesson, he can actually implement it.
Narayan Ram was recently in Hyderabad to demonstrate his product and its utility in various fields like education, HRD training, E- governance etc.
How does this work? The tool provided by `See it First' provides a framework - akin to designing a web page. The page viewed by the user usually consists of three parts - one, where he sees the video, a part for all the text that the instructor or presenter would like to put forth and a part for chat, wherein the student can put forth the questions to be answered by the instructor. The idea is to use video as an interactive entertainment source. Says Ram, a video is nothing but an illusion of multi photos, at the rate of almost 30 photos per second. So these photos are merged in such a way that, they seem to give the impression of being continuous.
Ram completed his MS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Texas and whilst doing his Masters, he did a thesis on video compression. `See it First' took root in 1997, when Ram started designing software products to create online multimedia presentations for communication, training and marketing organisations' products. His attempt was to reduce the cost of sale and the cost of marketing whilst increasing the time efficiency.
Vijay Mallya, MP, was an initial investor and today is the single largest shareholder of the company. The initial clients included Japan Airlines, Cobe city, Japan Unisyss and today the feather in their cap is the inclusion of Stanford Univeristy, California as their client.
In sharp contrast to See it first, is World Space. Founded by Noah Samara, its Chairman and CEO, in 1990, World Space is a totally new medium with digital broadcast of satellite radio and multimedia services directly from satellites to the user. Its forte lies in being able to provide services to areas where traditional broadcast media and Internet access are limited or not available. World Space is the only company providing this service.
The World Space Network consists of three geo stationery satellites - Afristar, Asiastar and Ameristar. Each satellite has three beams with each beam capable of delivering more than 40 crystal clear audio channels and a variety of web content and data directly to portable receivers.
With the use of this technology, the instructor or presenter sits in front of a PC and transmits the required information and audio to the satellite, which in turn transmits it to the end user.
The end user receives the audio through a receiver, which is a must installation and receives the text on his PC. Leading consumer electronics manufacturers like Hitachi, Sanyo, JVC, Matsushita are mass producing the receivers.
Says Samara, "People are as developed as the information that they can access. Hence we are committed to creating information affluence. Radio also reaches out to people where other media simply can't."
Noah Samara graduated from the East Stroudsburg State College in Pennsylvania. He began his career in satellite telecommunications and was also an advisor to numerous global telecommunications and broadcasting organisations. World Space was founded in 1990 and has its headquarters in Washington.
For those of you who believe that this could be the end of all innovations as everything and everybody seems to be reaching all the corners of the world, there is yet another surprise, according to Ram.
In a couple of years time, speech recognition will become a way of life, that is, instead of sitting and typing instructions or files into a computer, one can merely talk to the computer. With the tremendous research being done in silicon valley, this could mean that Star Wars may not be a fantasy after all. For further details contact:
Narayan Ram : email@example.com or 044-4426060,4426070 in India.
World Space : 080 - 5321955-59, www.worldspace.com
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