IT majors to kick off mega poverty-eradication project

Infotech majors Cisco Systems and KPMG LLP have joined hands with the United Nations Development Project (UNDP) to execute one of the largest Internet projects ever. And, all for a good cause — the eradication of global poverty. NetAid — a major global event with three overlapping rock concerts with world-class artists in New York, London and Geneva —will be broadcast live around the world on television, radio and the Internet on October 9.

A similar campaign, called LiveAid, sans the Internet aspect, was undertaken in 1985 with performers like Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder. The present initiative is expected to generate one billion hits on the Internet and millions of people are expected to donate money, idea and involvement online in the fight against world-wide deprivation. As far the information technology aspect is concerned, this is going to be a mammoth effort. The network architecture for NetAid, designed by Cisco, will include 1,500 servers and 90 data centres worldwide.

The live streaming of the concerts on two channels, one carrying the concert action and another backstage feed will use 300 Real video G2 splitters, managed by Real Systems from Seattle. KPMG is building the website for the project. According to KPMG LLP CEO and chairman Stephen G Butler, “This is one of the largest Internet technology deployments in the world and this will have the ability to impact the lives of so many around the world.”

The website will be designed to accept 60 million hits an hour — 10 times the peak receive during the last Olympic Games. “We have developed an unprecedented amount of time. The site will also have the capability of receiving 1,000 donations per second,” said Rod Geary, VP of KPMG LLP. The content for the website is being developed by US-based firm Akamai Technologie, which will have the capacity of serving 12 GBs of content.

The website, www.netaid.org, will be launched on September 9. The NetAid live events, TV, radio, webcast and website will be seamlessly integrated in look and feel, content and sequence to maximise the value of each medium. For instance, people watching the concerts on TV or via webcast will be prompted by the artistes and issue-oriented film packages to click online to learn more about successful efforts to address the same issues or causes poverty, download kits or take action. The NetAid leaders are establishing `The NetAid’ foundation to disburse the net proceeds from the initiative on an ongoing basis to fight poverty.
Source : Prasenjit Bhattacharya. The Economic Times. August 24 1999.