ITCN 2009, or 9th ITCN Asia Exhibition and Conferences, held at Karachi Expo Center during August 11-13. While this year’s event missed the fanfare and crowd of ITCN 2008 (last year), it had its share of one-timers testing out what could be termed as Pakistan’s version of GITEX.
I visited ITCN on the last day. Here are my observations:
– Due to lack of floor map/exhibitors’ directory either at venue or on ITCN Asia web site, it was difficult to navigate around the halls.
– Major sponsor of ITCN 2009 was Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone (RAK FTZ) authority. As they were looking to attract more investors to recession-infested UAE and Ecommerce Gateway (organizers of ITCN) wanted a sponsorship, apparently it was a win-win deal for both.
– Main attraction of the event were booths of PTCL, Ufone and Wateen. Zong was there, as well as WorldCall and wi-tribe, but no Telenor.
– Dell was selling over-priced laptops and the sales staff was not interested (or too tired) to describe features. When I asked the person what offers they have in ITCN, he said they are not charging 16% GST with laptop price which one has to pay at retail shop. Way beyond me.
– There was no one on the booth of Information Technology Department of CDGK to represent the City Government. The person I interacted with, who was managing the “Command and Control Center” video, turned out to be an employee of an external organization that has deployed C&C Center and is now managing it on behalf of the CDGK. Incidentally CDGK has implemented the 4.9 GHz WiMAX Solution for Video Surveillance back in July 2008 but we have yet to see what it has achieved so far.
– E.Ocean was offering SMS based solutions, including Branded SMS, SMS Messanger etc. However, their corporate website is displaying ads through Google Adsense, certainly not a good business tactic.
– There was a booth titled “Pakistan Web Awards 2009”. On inquiry I was told that this is Pakistan’s First Website Awards, “patronized” by Sindh Ministry of IT and managed by a marketing company called The Xeptionalz. The does not elaborate on judging process, jury and who is really behind this. While the parent website does not even has an under-construction page. To me, it is clearly a Topi Drama.
– Then there was a company called StarChika which was clearly selling email and SMS spam campaigns. The guy at their booth insisted on visiting the website, which is as dumb as their marketing skills. I asked the guy if they have opt-in SMS lists and do they not spam people? He responded that they keep trying till the message is not delivered. I asked again if they spam, on which he said Yes. I bet the poor sod was unable to get what I meant by spam.
– Last but not least, there was a social network website for Pakistanis. While the site itself is in beta and it is not possible to learn much of the feature or number of users, I strongly object on the sticker they were distributing at ITCN. What sort of Pakistan image they are trying to promote?
All in all, in my opinion ITCN 2009 was an event for the teens/young adults to hangout and learn about technology (if they get some spare time) and had not much for the corporate visitors.