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Digital Classroom In a Box unveiled (IT News Africa)

Gilat Satcom has announced that its Digital Classroom In A Box is now available for shipping to Africa, as a part of the Smart Village turnkey solution. This new concept for rural schools was unveiled at The Aid & International Development Forum summit which took place in Ethiopia last week.

The summit looked at how technological innovations and best practice are being deployed to improve aid delivery and development strategy in East Africa and was attended by 250+ senior representatives and advisors from regional governments, UN agencies, international and regional NGOs, investors and donors, research institutes and the private sector.

Gilat Satcom’s Digital Classroom In A Box was developed as the e-learning component for its ‘Smart Village’ portfolio that enables rural villages and remote communities in Africa where ARPUs are low to be a part of Africa’s digital future.

The Digital Classroom comprises a fully insulated and decorated shipping container powered by solar with VSAT connectivity, a wifi router with 500m radius, a management and billing system, a projector, interactive screens, sound system and microphone, computers and tablets, tables and chairs.

It has been designed to provide everything that an African rural school needs to deliver both face-to-face lessons and remote e-learning.

Gilat Satcom has joined forces with Intelitek to provide an e-learning content platform specifically developed to meet the needs of Africa’s rural communities and providing a large number of ready-to-use syllabuses.

Although any e-learning platform can be easily connected to the Digital Classroom In a Box, the Intelitek solution was extensively tested by the Gilat Satcom team who found it to be extremely powerful, scalable and cost effective – and best able to meet African Rural Community e-learning demands.

Eran Yoran, CMO and head of Business Development at Gilat Satcom who attended the summit said “Gilat Satcom’s Digital Classroom in A Box was extremely well-received at the summit because it provides a complete solution. Content can easily be emailed through to teachers whilst our high-speed satellite connection enables high quality video-conferencing.”

Ido Yerushalmi, President and CEO of Intelitek says “Intelitek’s educational technology solutions have been revolutionizing learning environments for over 30 years, in more than 50 countries across the globe. Our goal is to prepare students for the careers of tomorrow by continuing to develop systems and solutions that optimize education today just like Learnmate 7- our E-learning solution. We are dedicated to making it easier for teachers to teach, and more exciting for students to learn.”

Last year Gilat Satcom launched its Smart Village which was developed to provide Internet, VoIP and Video over IP over an affordable private satellite network with prices for connectivity for individual villagers starting from $1 a month.

Gilat Satcom’s Smart Village can be provided by Governments, NGOs, cellular and telephony operators, major ISPs and others to a group which acts as the Village

Nano-ISP. This group could be a church, a school, a village chief or another community organization.

The private Village Nano-ISP is responsible for selling the services direct in the village, billing users and paying the monthly service charge to the provider. Gilat Satcom provides detailed business plans to enable both the network providers and the Village Nano-ISPs to build profitable and commercially sustainable services.

The Smart Village portfolio has three components which can stand-alone or be deployed simultaneously:

  • Basic – this provides the Village Nano-ISP with two tablet devices for internet browsing and domestic and international VoIP and Video over IP calls.  Usage is uncapped and a fixed monthly rate is charged.

Calls to regular telephones and cellular users in the country and anywhere in the world can also be made and will be billed separately to the Village Nano-ISP.

  • Wi-Fi – As well as the Basic Island package, this includes a router for Wi-Fi coverage with a 500 meter radius. Individual usernames and passwords can be generated to allow the community Nano-ISP to track usage and bill accurately. Customers can use their own tablet or smartphone on this network or the Village tablet. Additional routers can easily be added as demand increases and to extend coverage. (By Point To Point connection villages as far as 15Km can be connected into one local network managed by one local Nano ISP.
  • Cellular – As well as the Wi-Fi service, this includes a GSM base station – which can also be solar-powered – which will be integrated with the network of a local cellular operator. This integration will be managed by Gilat Satcom.

Smart Village is economically self-sustaining and scalable so it can grow with demand and with a minimal additional investment. Gilat Satcom has established a business plan that targets users with $1 a month to spend on telephony and is still profitable.

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