Siemens has been able to tailor global best practices into what are local best practices. This, the company has been able to do because of its ability to track the changes that are happening on various fronts, demographic, environmental, etc
The 2004 Olympic Games attracted world-wide attention and media coverage of an unprecedented level, with two million visitors coming to witness the Games. All this took place at a time when the threat of international terrorism featured prominently. To ensure adequate security, Siemens IT Solutions was contracted for structuring and implementing a highly customised C4I integrated security solution. The resulting outcome was the largest and most sophisticated public safety and security system. A total of 5,000 km of cables were laid out to connect over 1,600 surveillance cameras and physical security systems for over 40 Olympic venues. All these solutions were closely integrated in order to make the city of Athens one of the safest places on the planet.
Called upon to deliver a state-of-the-art emergency and incident management system for Dubai Police, including a command and control centre, Siemens IT Solutions was awarded the contract on a turnkey basis. The aim was to ensure seamless integration between various sub-systems and integrate legacy systems with new infrastructure. The solution today provides the Dubai Police with unrivalled vigilance and response capability over all of Dubai.
Nanning in China has been dedicated to improve the living environment and build a safe and harmonious city. Since 2000, Nanning has made an accumulative investment of RMB 215 million to construct the City Integrated Emergency Response System which is the first of its kind in China in four stages. It integrates successfully the “110” police call system, the “119” fire reporting system, the “120” emergency first-aid center, the “122” traffic accident reporting system, and over 30 non-emergency public service systems originally under the management of separate government departments. Furthermore, with a policy stressing on taking precautions prior to incidents, 6,234 sets of contingency plans have been compiled to establish a supervising network on urban public safety. China’s first piece of legislation regarding emergency response for urban public safety has been put into effect in Nanning.
Citizen orientation, maximum security, fast response times – all these and more can be made better and more cost-efficient only when processes, partners and support systems are optimally integrated and networked. Many countries still have a lot of catching up to do as far as modern emergency management systems are concerned. This applies equally to rural regions as well as to the rapidly growing megacities, which due to their usually overloaded traffic infrastructures place the greatest demand on fast emergency responses. Major response time improvements will only become a reality when state-of-the-art components are added to the existing systems and the entire emergency management system is technically integrated and functionally coordinated.
For Siemens Information Systems, these are sectors where it has had a functional strength that goes back in time. Says Rajat Mishra, Associate VP, Siemens India, “we have been in India since 1876. In fact, it was Siemens that set up the first telegraph line in India between Calcutta and London. The company has survived only because its core belief is innovation, which is the essence. Siemens specialises in taking its innovations to its customers in a fashion in which they can adapt to them.”
On the Government’s UID Project:
The government should be willing to adopt technology that has been tried and tested elsewhere in the world. We should not use these projects as guinea pigs to create competence that we don’t have because at the end of the day, a bad project means time lost.
Today, Siemens India is bringing technology to India, giving it a domestic flavour. “Whether it is in areas like passports, ID cards, IT in city security or in defence technologies, Siemens is bringing in certain competency that has been successfully developed and tested, but with an Indian flavour,” affirms Mishra. The key benefit here is that since such technologies have already been implemented elsewhere, the basic learning is already in place, the mistakes and problems that can arise are already documented and the solutions are in place.
What, however, is not there is a question of adapting to the change. “Change management is an ethos that has to become part of the Indian vocabulary. It has nothing to do with technology, which in itself is a great leveller, but success fundamentally is driven by change management: how do you pace the induction of IT into a department,” points out Mishra.
Today, systems in India continue to be driven by the lowest-bidder structure. This is more of a quantitative than qualitative formula that has begun to change only now. “But such change is needed as today there is little to differentiate between companies in technological terms. Where some companies have an edge over others is in the experience of executing tasks in a certain environment,” adds Mishra.
Specific to the Indian context is the issue of looking at various development initiatives only as IT projects. Instead, they should be looked at as change management initiatives that besides the technology also concern the people who will be using that technology.
Specific to the Indian context here is the issue of looking at various development initiatives only as IT projects. Instead, they should be looked at as change management initiatives that besides the technology also concern the people who will be using that technology. Says Mishra, for Siemens its success is not in just tracking technological changes, but in tailoring global practices to suit a local environment. And this is what it ensured when it implemented its safe-city project in Athens. The result was that nine cities and ports throughout Greece were equipped with surveillance and electronic security systems, creating a unique security structure comparable to the best in the world.
What projects like this highlight is Siemens ability to tailor global best practices into what are local best practices. This, the company has been able to do because of its ability to track the changes that are happening. Says Mishra, “consider the demographic changes that are taking place today. All over the world, people are moving from villages to smaller cities, smaller cities to big cities, so much so that almost 50 per cent of the global population now lives in cities. Outside India, another major change that is taking place is the ageing of the population. Yet another change happening is on the environment front.”
On Change Management:
Change management is an ethos that has to become part of the Indian vocabulary. It has nothing to do with technology, which in itself is a great leveller, but success fundamentally is driven by change management: how do you pace the induction of IT into a department.
It is these changes that drive the solutions that Siemens offers. Today. Siemens is creating concepts, taking initiatives, encouraging innovations in these areas, tackling problems arising from urbanisation, like traffic, sanitation, water and power. More importantly, in light of the changing global scenario, Siemens today offers a suite of solutions that tackle security. “For us, security is not just selling a camera, or a particular component for a security solution. What Siemens does is to integrate the components that it creates, adopting the appropriate technologies from its partner ecosystem. It creates an entire security infrastructure which secures a city,” points out Mishra.
The solutions, the company offers, cover incident management, vehicle tracking, vehicle monitoring, video surveillance, and even intelligence. Siemens covers all the four aspects related to security and disaster management: prevention, protection, response and recovery. So Siemens’ singular platform takes care of all these areas. Be it a physical security or logical security, Siemens makes everything ready. For example, TETRA, Siemens failsafe, fail-proof communications technology is today being used by various forces across the world for emergency management activities. Normally, public communication networks clog during a disaster. This is why administrations in states like Jharkhand are using TETRA technology. This solution is also being used in new modern airports in Bangalore, Hyderabad and Kochi.
On Siemens Solutions:
The solutions we offer cover incident management, vehicle tracking, vehicle monitoring, video surveillance, and even intelligence. We cover all the four aspects related to security and disaster management: prevention, protection, response and recovery
A key advantage of the TETRA network is that it brings in different stakeholders, who in the normal times work as different departments, on a common platform. This is especially important in a country like India where there is a Federal structure: the centre, states and local bodies. TETRA creates a virtual network enabling collaboration between different departments, ensuring that you have work flows that take control of the entire situation, enabling it to be handled much more effectively.
Today, Siemens is a worldwide leader as a system integrator in the identity and access management projects. And it is in this area that it sees a significant role in the ongoing IT initiatives in the country. On the government’s universal identification project, Mishra says “the challenge is not on the technological front. I think the devil lies in the details. This is an assignment where you need to have in place the right systems. It will not be correct to just look at these projects as IT projects.” The issue, says Mishra, involves change management. It also means that that the government should be willing to adopt technology that has been tried and tested elsewhere in the world. “We should not use these projects as guinea pigs to create competence that we don’t have because at the end of the day, a bad project means time lost. By the time you realise that you have made a mistake and you restart, you have lost lot of time. This is where the spirit of partnership comes in and it is an area that Siemens specialises in.
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