CAIRO: One of the largest annual information and communication technology events in the region will open in Cairo Sunday.
Now in its thirteenth year, Cairo ICT 2009, which takes place from Feb. 8-11, will showcase the latest spectrum of telecommunications, information technology, networking as well as computing and broadcast technologies from Egypt and the region.
The exhibition, held under the auspices of the Minister of Communications and Information Technology Tarek Kamel, is a platform for local and regional leaders in the ICT sector to network, exchange knowledge, and get a firsthand look at the latest industry developments.
Amid the worldwide economic slowdown, an uncertain financial outlook has led to more conservative spending by companies across markets. The ICT industry is working to avoid a potential stagnation in the sector by employing more aggressive strategies.
Egypt has become an attractive destination for ICT investments as the sector continues to grow. Despite a possible slowdown in all sectors of the economy, the ICT industry is looking to help businesses cut costs and increase productivity by utilizing the latest technology solutions.
Speaking at the press conference launching Cairo ICT, Ossama Kamal, CEO of Trade Affairs International – the exhibition’s official organizer – outlined the events scheduled during the exhibition and highlighted the vision of the ICT industry in contributing to local and regional economic development.
“Overall, let us not forget the future outlook and employment opportunities for our youth, he said. “New types of technology give us an idea of the importance of Cairo ICT in this regional hub.
Karim Ramadan, general manager of Microsoft, said: “Egypt has not been as affected by the international economic situation and we have time to take advantage of developments in the IT sector. Now is the time to look at cutting spending, or not increasing costs, through solutions provided by technology.
High on the agenda is linking ICT solutions with the financial sector, including investment, banking, insurance and the stock exchange. “The banking and financial fields.are undergoing changes that require drastic measures to help bring a new perspective to the different ways of dealing with the market, organizers added.
Central to the exhibition and reflecting this key initiative is the new Financial Lounge, which is “a meeting point for VIPs, a presentation area to educate visitors and an opportunity to run private meetings in a closed meeting room, event organizers said.
On the sidelines of the exhibition, minister Kamel as well as Finance Minister Youssef Boutros Ghali and Investment Minister Mahmoud Mohieldin will hold sessions discussing relevant topics linking the different sectors.
At the press conference, Emad Al Azahry, vice president of Telecom Egypt, highlighted Egypt’s increased dependence on communication technology especially via telephone and now internet portals.
He spoke of the skills needed for technology interface and “how beyond email or chatting features, the internet is a crucial platform now for commerce and money. A main focus for Cisco Egypt, representative said, is the link between real estate development and IT solutions, specifically to compounds and cities of New Cairo. At the exhibition, a section will be dedicated to “Future Living based on a technological lifestyle platform that provides convenient household and home office solutions such as wireless technology.
“Future Living is a showcase for real estate developers who are adopting the latest technologies to provide security for their tenants or potential clients, while also presenting the solution providers that help present such concepts, organizers said.
In the near future, your refrigerator may be programmed to alert you online of what groceries you need to buy. In the bedroom, you can switch off your bedside lamp without moving a finger.
Hani Abdel Aziz, Cisco Egypt country manager, said “Cisco hopes to get consumers to demand to live exclusively in a Smart Home as basic modern living.
This year, Microsoft will present Windows Live, Windows Mobile and Office 2007.
Also on Microsoft’s program is the aim of raising awareness of the benefits of purchasing original software with its “Go Genuine campaign. Supported by extensive research with consumers in the Egyptian market, Microsoft’s Ramadan explained some of the hidden costs of resorting to pirated software that makes it more expensive in the long run.
President of SEE, Abdelrahman Al Sawy, spoke of the evolution of broadband Wimax network, now in Egypt and the biggest in the Middle East and Africa regions, delivering sound, picture and video communication to 450 locations currently and expected to reach their planned 1,000 on schedule.
A key participant in this year’s Cairo ICT is Datuk Zainal Abidin Abdel Kader, Malaysia’s ambassador to Egypt, whose presence at the exhibition highlights the impressive economic and technological developments of Asia’s emerging markets.
One of the main goals of the conference is knowledge sharing, and Egypt’s ICT leaders can learn a lot from the way in which Asia’s ICT market has developed, namely in the area of economic development and poverty reduction. This year, for example, Health Smart cards embedded with 11 types of software became available on a citizen-basis to cut costs and corruption through cash-less transactions for India’s poor, according Futuregov.
Sessions at the four-day exhibition will focus on a business perspective of internet governance, ICT and health for community development, comparing submarine cable versus satellite communications as well as the business process of outsourcing and job creation.