Intel Corporation today officially launched an innovative PC platform that has been developed exclusively to meet the needs of rural villages and communities in India. Designed as a result of defining locally relevant computing solutions based on Intel technology, the Intel-powered “Community PC” platform is equipped to operate in a community setting while accommodating the varying environmental conditions prevalent in the country.
With an objective to bridge the urban-rural divide, today Intel also announced its “Jagruti” (“Awakening”) initiative designed to provide rural communities in India with greater economic and social opportunities. By collaborating with leaders in business, government, education, online services and Internet service providers, Intel’s Jagruti program will support the spread of rural Internet “kiosks” based on the new Intel-powered Community PC. These kiosks will help accelerate access to the benefits of information and communications technologies (ICT) in villages across India.
The aptly named Community PC platform was defined by Intel after intensive ethnographic studies in rural India showed that a clear desire for technology access exists in remote rural communities. Unfortunately, weather conditions (heat, dust, humidity) and unreliable power sources can compromise typical PCs used in such environments.
To address these issues, the Intel-powered Community PC platform was developed to be a fully functional, expandable and shared-access computing solution. It is a highly reliable, manageable system that supports remote diagnostics and control features under low power requirements. Unique features include:
- Ruggedized chassis: The chassis has been designed to withstand dusty conditions, varying temperatures and high humidity. It has a removable dust filter and integrated air fan to regulate the temperature of the motherboard. The chassis is designed to keep the motherboard cool at temperatures as high as 45 degrees Celsius and the PC resistant to humidity levels of 70 to 85 RH (Relative Humidity).
- CPSU: The PC is equipped with a Customized Power Supply Unit which is comprised of an Integrated Power Supply and the UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) unit, which allow the PC to maintain continuous load power in the event of a power outage.
- Low power consumption: The total power consumption of all peripherals is less than 100 watts.
- Access Control: The platform comes installed with a certificate-based access, allowing banks to verify the validity of installment payments against the purchase of the PCs.
Intel expects many of these Community PC platforms to be deployed in Internet “kiosks” common in Indian villages. The kiosks are operated by local entrepreneurs and provide neighboring communities with access to services such as e-Government forms (land records and marriage licenses, among others). This saves time and money for potential users who no longer need to spend an entire day and take multiple modes of transportation into the main city to complete necessary paperwork. They can now visit a local kiosk and have a kiosk “operator” input their data online quickly and cost-effectively.
The Community PC model thus provides both a means of improving efficiencies for the locals as well as creating entrepreneurship opportunities for prospective kiosk owner/operators. Intel, after studying this business model in detail and identifying the needs and limitations of existing PCs being used in rural communities in India, initiated several pilot projects utilizing the Community PC platform in villages across the country.
The Intel-powered Community PC platform is part of Intel’s commitment to enable individuals, communities and countries to gain equal access to the technology tools, skills and educational content they need to fully engage in the global economy.
“Intel actively supports efforts to provide computer technology to places where it hasn’t previously been available,” said William M. Siu, vice president and general manager of Intel’s Channel Platforms Group. “Our experience shows that ICT adoption in developing nations requires much more than providing a standard PC; the technology often needs to be adapted to the local usage and environment of a particular country or region. In addition to defining the platform and developing the ingredient technologies, Intel also collaborated with local hardware, software and service companies to deliver on the promise of the Community PC platform. Overall, Intel has made substantial investments in technology, ecosystem partnerships, and education initiatives in support of this belief.”