Tuesday, March 14, 2006

CELEBRATION | Reporting from the biggest show on earth!

It's my first time at CeBIT Hanover, and what a show it is!

The size of the fairground is breathtaking- literally, as you walk some distance between the halls- and the powerful presence of all the ICT players from all over the world is quite impressive. And, of course, there's the massive number of visitors.

It's an information technology celebration, but some companies were stealing the limelight more than others and some exhibition halls offered unique products.

Being part of the international press contingent at CeBIT, which by the way numbers thousands of journalists, I could sense great enthusiasm for certain products and announcements that were creating the biggest buzz.

The biggest stories and products are discussed in detail in this week's special and unique edition of the Workstation dedicated to CeBIT, published in The Star on Thursday; providing you with the most comprehensive coverage of any Jordanian newspaper this week.

So, it's the world's biggest IT show, with over 6000 companies participating from all over the globe, but there are only two Jordanian companies!

Taking a look at the numbers of exhibitors from other Middle Eastern countries (in the table printed below) ecomes apparent that our claims of being a ‘regional technology hub of ICT exports’ seem exaggerated.

Egypt 19 exhibitors
Saudi Arabia 19 exhibitors
Iran 14 exhibitors
UAE 13 exhibitors
Tunisia 12 exhibitors
Jordan 2 exhibitors
Palestine 1 exhibitor

Or maybe we just didn’t succeed in planning the country’s participation well this time. And just for further comparison, to all Arab countries listed, Israel had 47 companies exhibiting. The two Jordanian companies participating did so through the Swiss Import Promotion Program (SIPPO). The fact they needed assistance from the Swiss, and that neither they nor any other local company willing to come to CeBIT got assistance or support from a Jordanian body is very dissapointing.

In the past Jordan Export Development Co. took care of that, but the support was cancelled this year, for some reason.Once again, it’s dissapointing but we don't have much time to despair! According to one of the CeBIT officials I talked to, a large percentage of the fair ground is already booked now for next year, and it will all be sold out in a few months. Imagine that!

That's why we need to act fast, and find a solution that is viable for both Jordanian exhibitors and the organizing body that will be involved.

Next week we listen to the views of Elite Technologies and New Era, who participated through SIPPO this year and we’ll get some feedback from industry bodies. For now, I suggest you pick up a copy of The Star on Thursday 16 March, and enjoy the CeBIT coverage and hope that we’ll see some of, or maybe even all, of these products in our region soon.



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