Dr. Rawat has 34 years of experience with Industry Canada in senior management positions. Before joining CRC in 2003 as Executive Vice-President, she was responsible for managing Industry Canada programs related to spectrum engineering, standards development, access to spectrum for new radio services, and technical regulatory issues for all radio services.
Dr. Rawat also has extensive experience working with senior officials of Canadian organizations including the Radio Advisory Board of Canada, Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association and Electro-Federation Canada. She has led Canadian delegations and negotiations at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) of the United Nations, and the Organization of American States. Similarly, she has led teams negotiating with U.S. government organizations including the Federal Communications Commission and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. From the mid-nineties to 2003, she was co-chair of the Canada-U.S. Committee to negotiate spectrum use along the border.
Among the many technical committees that have benefited from Dr. Rawat's expertise and leadership is ITU-R Study Group 4. Dr. Rawat currently chairs the group, examining satellite services and their applications ranging from emergency telecommunications to providing broadband connectivity. In 2003, she became the first woman to chair the World Radiocommunication (WRC) Conference of the ITU, where issues impacting billions of investment dollars in the communications industry are addressed. The Secretary General of the ITU awarded Dr. Rawat a gold medal for her chairmanship.
Her work has garnered her much recognition, including the 2008 Sara Kirke Award for Woman Entrepreneurship from the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance, the Canadian Women in Communications (CWC) Woman of the Year Award, the CWC Trailblazer Award, and ITU's gold and silver medals for her contributions in the international arena. She has also received the International Leadership in Government Award from the Wireless Communications Association International in the U.S.; the Professional Woman Award from the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce; the Trailblazer Award from the Women's Executive Network, as part of their list of "Canada's Most Powerful Women: Top 100"; the Queen Elizabeth Golden Jubilee Commemorative Medal; and Industry Canada's Excellence in Leadership Award.
Her efforts and contributions have led to a significant increase in the representation and recognition of women in leadership roles in these national and international organizations. She continues to be involved in activities that encourage and increase the number of women in science and technology.
Dr. Rawat immigrated to Canada from India in 1968 and was the first woman to graduate with a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Queen's University in 1973.
1) How did you get started in the satellite business?
I got started in satellite business by managing, at Industry Canada for number of years, the Radio Spectrum Engineering Program which dealt with access to spectrum and orbit resources for all satellite communication services,( MSS, BSS, FSS, ) including navigation services (e.g.GPS, Galelio etc ) and search and rescue by satellite. This required international negotiations at the ITU and bilateral , multilateral arrangements with the neighbouring countries.
2) How have you been involved in changes brought about in or by this business (innovations, technologies, services)?
Since 2004, I have been involved in satcom R&D through my position as President of Communications Research Centre , where we do R&D in the following key areas:
- Efficient use of spectrum and orbit
- future technologies, both for space and ground segment, including for navigation and search and rescue
- Showcasing and facilitating applications of Satcom ranging from broadband access in rural an dremote areas to e-learning, e-health, emergency communications, among others
3) What do you think was the greatest event/situation/opportunity you experienced?
My greatest event was to chair ITU-R's WRC-2003 ( World Radio Conference ), one month long event, involving negotiations among 192 countries for access to spectrum and orbit for new terrestrial and space services while ensuring existing use was not compomised. The extensive agenda of this conference involved many satcom issues involving FSS, GNSS and sound BSS.
4) What was the greatest obstacle?
Biggest challenge was to address regional differences on many issues within the time frame, recognizing that without solving these issues, there would be significant negative impact not only on telecom industry but also access to many new services will be delayed or denied to consumers and businesses.
5) What do you see happening in the next five years in this industry?
The industry is rapidly changing and adapting to the new communication environment with mobile and inter-active multi-media applications. Larger bandwidth, higher frequencies, and more flexible payloads will be developed. Broadband connectivity to remote and rural regions, such as the North, with high speed internet, tele-education and tele-medecine will continue to expand. New constallations for satellite aided search and rescue operations (SARSAT) will start to be deployed. The use of Software Defined Radios technology to produce reconfigurable multi-band terminals is also something that we see in the short term horizon.
6) What advice do you have for women interested in entering the industry?
I encourage those interested in the ICT industry to seriously consider the space industry, be it for satellite communications, navigation, space exploration, space research. There are a lot of challenging opportunities in policy development, business, research, operational.
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