BITS Pilani is a premier independent Indian University has 3 campuses in India at Pilani, Goa, Hyderabad and its first overseas campus in Dubai. It employs over 700 full time faculty and has 11,000 on-campus & 19,000 off-campus students. Accredited by NAAC with the most coveted “A” grade in University accreditation, BITS Pilani has a world-class benchmarked curriculum and the largest industry-university network.
A progressive University which moved into the 21st century with BITSConnect to provide gigabit internet, IP telephony, video conferencing, and wireless access on campus way back in 2002, BITS has leveraged technology infrastructure to bring state of the art knowledge from industry and academia into the campus.
BITS Campuses across India were connected and there was a need to connect all of them including Dubai Campus tightly for pedagogic as well as administrative reasons. It was also critical to enable the alumni to easily connect with all campuses (especially Dubai).
BITS were challenged with regards to campus placements because the same company had to visit different campuses multiple times. Additionally when an alumni or a dignitary visited any one of the Indian campuses, students in Dubai campus could not benefit from their wisdom. Guest lectures from abroad could be only facilitated across India campuses via video conferencing. Since these lecturers did not have time to repeat the same lecture four times, Dubai Campus students were deprived of knowledge transfer in real-time.
Faculty shortage in higher degree courses/electives was a challenge across campuses because the need for specialized electives varied in extent across different campuses making it very difficult to launch electives in all four campuses. To overcome these issues, BITS along with BITSAA, its alumni community, launched the BITSConnect 2.0, a multi-million dollar project that leverages Cisco’s collaboration portfolio to enhance teacher-student-alumni interaction across all its campuses.
BITS Pilani Dubai Campus began to evaluate the need for an integrated solution that could facilitate next-generation learning experience for its students across geographies. BITS required a solution that would seamlessly integrate and serve as an extension to BITS’s existing Cisco Video collaboration infrastructure in India. A very detailed evaluation process was undertaken with many vendors including Cisco for the BITS Pilani Dubai Campus project.
Since Cisco’s Immersive Telepresence, High-definition Video Conferencing, and Cisco’s Webex technologies were already in use across BITS Pilani India Campuses the choice was made to continue with Cisco. The primary reason for choosing Cisco was the breadth of its offerings in addition to the fact that the solutions are inter-operable and scalable. Even though the project investigation began in Sept 2013, the implementation at the Dubai was delayed due to regulatory constraints.
In addition BITS Pilani faced challenges in terms of MPLS Connectivity required to interconnect its Dubai Campus to its India Network. Other than high connectivity costs the main concern was the guarantee of consistent bandwidth and 99.99% availability to BITS Dubai Campus at all times to ensure a Great Immersive Video Experience.
Fujisoft Technology LLC together with its Partner Custom Connect was able to guarantee high availability and whilst keeping bandwidth costs low. Fujisoft was awarded the project in November 2015 and the project was delivered in Jan 2016 well before the April 2016 timeframe. The scope of work included;
Redesigning the designated Immersive Telepresence Room, to accommodate the installation of Cisco’s Flagship Model IX5200, 18 Seater Immersive Telepresence System. The redesigning of the room included the changes to Lighting, Air Conditioning, Acoustic Correction and overall aesthetics of the room to enhance the immersive telepresence Experience.
Redesign of an auditorium to facilitate a world class-learning center to accommodate up to 160 students, with custom built furniture, Acoustics, Lighting, Air Conditioning, Audio Visual and Presentation Capabilities, whilst deploying the Cisco Telepresence Integrator C90 Solution with 3 Precision HD Cameras.
In addition Fujisoft also deployed a Cisco SX10 Small Meeting Room Telepresence unit for BITS Dubai Campus Interview room and an EX90 Personal Endpoint in the Campus Directors Office.