By Kristof Geilenkotten, Director Customer Support
Setting the Scene
First of all, let me provide you with a background when talking about the Burkina Faso elections project recently realized with our partner SES and others. It’s important to know that these were the first polls since anti-government protests last year, marking a significant moment for the ruling party. More than 3,000 candidates vied for 127 seats in the Burkina Faso National Assembly, and more than 18,000 municipal officials were chosen.
And now I am asking you: Which technology would you use to connect 45 remote electoral district offices serving as the hubs for 14,698 polling stations across this West African country to guarantee an ‘always on’ connectivity? You also have to take into account the currently (not) available infrastructure and that the whole project had to be realized in a very short time. Well, the answer is satellite. We supplied a VSAT system and IP satellite modems to Burkina Faso enabling flexible satellite connectivity for the municipal and legislative elections which took place on December 2, 2012.
The system was used for video conferencing and surveillance, Internet access and fast and secure communication of ballots. You can get more facts in our press release.
More Than Just a Product Sale
As Director Customer Support I am always delighted when the customer is happy. But for me this project meant more. It meant more for me and more for the whole team involved and I am sure for our partners, too. Following the elections we all were very proud that satellite equipment has provided an excellent service to facilitate transparent elections in Burkina Faso. And I am seeing a significant increase in demand for satellite technology to be used for applications such as this in the future.
During the elections many staff from SES and Newtec were monitoring not only the performance of the network but the progress in the elections too. If you are interested in the elections themselves, why not visit www.ceni.bf and www.lefaso.net. CENI is the election administrator, the Independent National Electoral Commission (la Commission Electorale Nationale Indépendante, CENI).
Key to Success?
From my perspective this project was a success because our Customer Solutions team was working jointly with SES. Internally it was supported across all departments and it was truly a pleasure to observe the commitment and involvement of everybody involved! I would like to use the chance - again - now via this public post, to send a big thank you to all involved. I refrained from mentioning names on purpose as there were far too many people involved. So, a big THANK YOU to all of YOU! Let’s rock the up-coming new projects with the same passion!
Some Amazing Figures
At the beginning of this post you read the amazing statistics, like the fact that there were 14,698 polling stations across the country. But did you know that this project was realized with 2 transponders from SES? And that apart from the VSAT equipment and satellite modems, there were 250 laptops, 45 switches and routers, 40 servers and 40 Polycon videoconferencing units distributed throughout the country? Additionally, 90 local engineers and supervisors were spread thinly cross the country to technically assist these elections.
Kristof Geilenkotten, Director Customer Support