BICSI being a member professional association and not an industry association has the advantage of having a group of qualified professionals

BICSI’s skilling efforts are overcoming the paucity of quality telecom infrastructure installers: Ninad Desai

BICSI, the global professional association body that supports the ICT industry with its inherent expertise, had organized its India District Conference on September 20th, 2019 at Shangri-La, Bangalore. The conference’s theme was set on Internet of Things (IoT) and co-working spaces. Discussions on IoT was the crux of this conference as it is the technology that has evolved significantly in India enabling hyper-connectivity between devices and setting the stage for rolling out 5G.

The congregation at Bangalore featured a series of technology-focused sessions and opportunities for ICT professionals to experience hands-on demonstrations and gain acumen on latest innovations, best practices in networking/ICT design and infrastructure challenges.

Catching up with Ninad Desai, District Chair, BICSI India, at the venue, on the day of the event, Voice&Data unearths on how the evolution of IoT is setting certain demands – in terms of equipment and talent – for redefining the telecom infrastructure to suit the needs of the current and the future generation networks.

Few excerpts: 

Voice&Data: What are the key takeaways from this conference in Bangalore?

Ninad Desai: BICSI has always conducted events across the globe to network and learn about the evolving technologies in the ICT industry at large. Today’s conference is unique in a way that it helps sanitize the learnings of the ICT professionals. I am saying sanitize because we are at the stage where several technologies like Industry 4.0, IoT, AI, ML, and 5G are all coming together. In certain use cases, these technologies complement each other in their function but in most cases, they do not. So, the professional we see today are confused about the effective uptake and implementation of the technologies. Sanitizing just means that the experts on the dais at the conference would bring out their learnings on the reality aspects to deploying the technology at the ground or field level and also the way forward for these technologies. The conference has set a platform to interact with founders and CEOs of leading infrastructure providing companies who are experts in their domains. These experts will bring to fore the ground realities and other key learnings to guide the participants on where the ICT industry is headed and how they as professionals can get ready to qualify themselves on the various aspects of technology that will impact their businesses in the near term.

These experts will bring to fore the ground realities and other key learnings to guide the participants on where the ICT industry is headed.

Voice&Data: Globally, the ICT industry is maturing and evolving with next-gen technologies. What is your opinion on the ICT advancements in India? Do you feel we are on par with other countries?

Ninad Desai: The ICT infrastructure across the globe is swiftly moving forward and has been playing a significant role in enabling new applications that will facilitate cross-industry transformation. But India is still at a very nascent stage. The infrastructure in India is more of a catch-up-kind of a business. The applications that drive the infrastructure and technologies that change the world is making us change. But India is not changing proactively, we are still operating at the periphery of the technology and failing to understand the basic applications required in enabling the technology. India is rather a stop-gap-solution provider. This scenario needs to change and it can change only when the ICT professionals are trained to handle competent situations and learn to get an understanding of where and which business, they can put their money in.

It is not only the challenge of the complexity of infrastructure but the paucity of quality installers that makes the implementation of industry best practices.

It is not only the challenge of the complexity of infrastructure but the paucity of quality installers that makes the implementation of industry best practices. The need, therefore, is to have quality ICT designers, managers & installers who understand and practice, rather than just keep doing the traditional way.

Voice&Data: As you say that India is still at a nascent stage of technology uptake or deployment, what is BICSI India’s role in changing this situation to bring in a betterment?

Ninad Desai: As new-age technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning play a significant role in IoT applications and deployment, BICSI continues to lead the way that put emerging ICT technologies and their engagement with real-world applications at the forefront. BICSI being a member professional association and not an industry association has the advantage of having a group of qualified professionals across several domains within the ICT industry who possess a flair on all aspects of technologies that build the framework of the industry.

The industry participants are also rising to the occasion by contributing in various ways possible to help bring sanity to the ICT work-space.

At BICSI India, we are working closely with like-minded professionals, industry associations & volunteers to help build an ecosystem of collaborative learning and skilling, while delivering some of the best ICT skilling programs of international repute in areas of Telecommunications & Distribution, Data Centers, Outside Plant & Telecom Project Management, to name a few. The industry participants are also rising to the occasion by contributing in various ways possible to help bring sanity to the ICT work-space.

Voice&Data: What role does BICSI play in accelerating skills acquisition in the age of intelligent technologies?

Ninad Desai: It is well known that BICSI can provide expertise for the entire digital nervous system. The qualified professionals understand the evolutions in the ICT infrastructure, the new convergences and the challenges it brings. BICSI, thus, provides information, education and knowledge assessment for individuals and companies in the ICT industry serving professionals, including designers, installers and technicians.

Over the years, BICSI has understood that the employees in this sector tend to learn but fail to understand the applications in the working of the system. So, through courses, conferences, publications, and professional registration programs, BICSI staff and volunteers assist ICT professionals in delivering critical products and services, and offer opportunities for continual improvement and enhanced professional stature.

Today, the ICT industry needs programs that aim to address the several challenges and equip professionals with the right tools in terms of knowledge about ICT cabling technology. In simple terms, we require a training framework that provides professionals with a 360-degree view of their specific ICT infrastructure requirements and equips them with the tools to decide on how they should go about doing things the right way and BICSI plays an important role in fulfilling that requirement.

In simple terms, we require a training framework that provides professionals with a 360-degree view of their specific ICT infrastructure requirements.

Voice&Data: How is the Indian ICT environment prepared to handle the influx of 5G and IoT? How can ICT professionals effectively contribute?

Ninad Desai: We need to understand here is what’s happening on the ICT landscape is disruptive. 5G is the foundation for realizing the full potential of IoT. 5G is much more than just fast downloads; it’s a unique combination of high-speed connectivity, very low latency which would be the root cause of this technology disruption.

Therefore, the speed, reach & quality of 5G services will depend on the quality of ICT cabling and connectivity infrastructure that the service providers would provide, both on inter as well as on the intra connectivity fronts.

To meet these demands, BICSI, in consultation with professionals from all domains, has designed programs and courses that give a complete course work for a professional to understand the working and the installation of the telecom infrastructure suitable for the next generation demand.

Voice&Data: It is evident that the current education and corporate learning systems are not equipped to address the issue of skill demand. Can you elaborate on what needs to be done?

Ninad Desai: The speed of the ICT infrastructure is moving faster than the Indian institutions are able to adapt. Our conventional education system continues to focus primarily on lectures and exams, leaving students underexposed to the hands-on experience with current challenges and therefore, underprepared to enter today’s workforce. As a result, they are also suffering along with the businesses who are unable to have a quality workforce due to unavailability of professionals fit enough to go ready in the workplace.

Boosting the value of today’s higher education system and most importantly, helping prepare students for their professional life after class, means, adopting a more practical and concept applied approach to education.

Boosting the value of today’s higher education system and most importantly, helping prepare students for their professional life after class, means, adopting a more practical and concept applied approach to education. A very integral part of this is building and expanding partnerships between academia and the industry to help create a more valuable education ecosystem that’s interesting as well as educating.

This is what BICSI is working towards, to achieve in close partnership with the industry sector skill councils and the institutions, results of which we are already able to see looking at the interest generated and professionals certified in their areas of competence in the past year of the efforts put to practice.

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