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davidlian is an ultra-geeky chinese dude that works for a technology PR agency. He loves fiddling with techno-toys, plays Warhammer 40K, and shoots pictures wherever he goes. Here, he rants about PR, Technology and anything else. Don't expect balance and un-biased, he ain't no journalist. Anything said on this blog are solely davidlian's personal views. Don't confuse them with company mantra, client's views or views of any organisation he may be part of.


Monday, May 19, 2008

WCIT 2008 - Day 1

Update 3:58 p.m.

Question of the day: at the panel of Wireless Broadband Revolution, someone asks "Do you think Aida's (wireless broadband) technology is the breakthrough technology of the century?"

Moderator: "What? True technology? Of course it's true technology! (Someone corrects him) Oh..."

Back to some actual observations from the sessions at WCIT 2008.

The first session immediately after lunch was a Keynote address on Digital Prosperity by Dr. Robert Atkinson from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. The Dr. had some interesting data to share about the how developing countries (like ours) could grow ICT adoption. And the key takeaway was this - don't have tariffs for technology goods. Simple really. The regular reaction from a small, developing country is to set tariffs for various industries so that local players can be protected and the local industry thrives.

But Dr. Atkinson's perspective is amazingly sharp and cutting - technology is a different animal all together. Data points that the Dr. presented showed technology used increased 1.5% for each 1% reduction in price. Having technology, no matter from where, at the lowest price possible, increased the tech literacy of the population. The complementary side-effect was that with a more savvy population, transference of technology also grows and the number of knowledge workers increase.

So, I suppose our government is doing the right thing with 0% tariffs on computer and related products. But I guess the next step is to categorise more consumer electronics - PDAs, mobile phones, audio players, personal media players, screens etc. - as computer goods.

Does using a mobile phone help increase IT literacy? Yes. In the basest way, it at least introduces even the most tech illiterate person to the logic of menus and navigation. As computing moves mainstream, so too must we think of how to make consumer electronics more affordable.

Update 12:20 p.m.

Craig Barrett's talk struck a fine balance between being overt "marketing" and issues-based. The point that really stood out for me was when Craig said [I paraphrase]:

You can't solve everything with technology. In education, if given a choice between giving children a good teacher or a PC, you should always choose the teacher. A good teacher makes all the magic in the classroom.
Craig, you've got a good point there; and maybe one that our Malaysan Education Ministry should take to heart. At present, Malaysia is very interested in introducing ICT to the classroom but there's been quite little done to make sure that teaching quality is improving if aneccdotal evidence from my brothers and my own experience is anything to go by.

More after lunch break.

Update 10:45 a.m.

The PM's speech was pretty much what was expected - MSC, Malaysian Broadband plan etc. What I found interesting was his preamble - you can find the video here - where the PM makes mention that whenever he buys a gadget, he passes on the book (manual) to his son to learn how to use. Fast forward a couple of minutes later and he says Malaysia is committed to increase IT literacy in Malaysia. Ironic?

The next speaker, a Mr. James Poissant from WITSA, had some interesting points to make:
  • Global ICT spending to increae but growth to taper off.
  • The weak US Dollar will fuel ICT exports to emerging markets
  • From US$2.1 trillion in 2001, global ICT spending will grow to US$4.4 trillion in 2011 (7% oompound growth)
  • Communications tech dominates ICT spending with over 57% in 2007.
More updates as they happen.

Original Post

So I'm here early, as stipulated. Seated on the upper deck.

WCIT08 Day 1 - Share on Ovi

First impressions of WCIT? The papers weren't joking when they said this was big. I spotted crowds and crowds of people as I made my way up the Conference Centre. KLCC just wows me again and again, and I truly think we have a world class facility capable of hosting world class events.

However, our traditional Malaysian hospitality turned out to be a bit of a let down. Early as I was, I could not get a single cup of coffee. Makes me grouchy.

Right now, the opening ceremony has started with45 different kids lining up at the microphone on stage taking turns to say "welcome" in 45 different languages. And a song right after. Hmmm...

Okay, more updates later once the PM's given his address and the rest of the opening speeches.

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