|WINTER 2005 Issue 12|
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| Customs Law Information Now Available Online at APEC
Workshop to Focus on Standards in Home Networking
Internet Governance Agreement Reached in Tunis
Government, Business and Community Sectors Need to Discuss Governance
'Top Speakers from Asia, and Further Afield, Speaking at Government Technology Forum 05
The International Conference on e-Government (ICEG 2005)
Internet Cafes Go Global
IDC: PC Shipments Better Than Expected for '05
World Mayors Forum Boosts Awareness of Sustainable Urban Development
Kids Around World Chat in Pictures
Mobile Content World Asia 2006
Emergency Communications Asia 2005
A Productive and Fruitful 2nd APIRA International Conference Held in Seoul, Korea
Beijing Reception to Promote ITU TELECOM WORLD 2006
VoIP World Asia 2005
Mobile TV Networks by Mid-2006
International Workshop Opens on Electromagnetic Waves
Korean Phone Makers＊ Global Market Share Plummets
| CHINA: Beijing Pursues Winning Strategy of Internet Censorship and Development
New Securities Law Emphasizes Information Disclosure
China Vows Battle on Internet Crimes
SOUTH KOREA: Internet Users Want Legal File-Sharing
Loose Laws Irk Internet Shoppers
Phone Carriers Want Standard Connectors
|Natrindo to Launch 3G Mid-2006
INDONESIA: 3G Re-Tender Criteria to Be Set
VIETNAM: Online Gaming Regulations to Be Issued in December
| BANGLADESH: Bangladesh to Award New GSM Licence
COMINAC Bridge the ICT Gap, Says Bangladesh
INDIA: Ministry Sets Out Rural Satellite Phone Rollout Plan
INDIA: TRAI Warns of Worsening Mobile Congestion in India
Government Says Telecoms Equipment Must Be ＆Made in India＊
INDIA: Cellphone Directory to Become Mandatory
Govt Yet to Act Right on Info Act
Draft Policy to Bring Number Portability Closer
Raising the Red Scare in India's Telecom Sector
Government Resolution Bans Cyber Cafes' Operation
SRI LANKA: Sri Lanka Telecom Launches CDMA
PAKISTAN: Pakistan Hopes to Salvage PTCL Deal
| AUSTRALIA: Pushes 'Connected Government' Agenda
AUSTRALIA: Australian e-Health Framework Calls for Open Standards
Feds to Harmonise Smartcard Rules
Australia Highlights Potential for Rural 3G
E-government Strategy Faces Delay Until 2006
National VoIP Policy Framework Announced
Victorian Government Pushes IP Policies for Contractors
NEW ZEALAND: Beat Australia in Race to Launch Next-Generation Telecom Network
NZ Plan for School Networks
New Zealand to Establish Pan-Government Network
Digital Strategy Funds Applications Open this Month
| CHINA: Beijing Opens 1st Post Office at Foreign Embassy
Shanghai Builds e-Government Network
Beijing's New ID Card Issue Ends 1st Phase
Hong Kong: D21SAC Endorses New Strategy for E-Government Services Delivery
China Urged to Build National Emergency Aid Network
HK Customs Promotes e-Auctioning with Integrity
IRAN: Parallel Bodies Impede ICT Development
E-Commerce Cooperation Planned with Hong Kong
SOUTH KOREA: ＆Real-Name' Rule for Internet Begins This Year
Soongsil to Emerge as IT Think Tank
Banks to Improve Web Safety
Online Document Forgers Face Heavy Punishment
SOUTH KOREA: Defense Minister to Meet Netizens
Korea's Asiawide News Site Gets Started
Gov't Seeks Internet Security to Thwart Fraudsters
Korea CSC Launches New Website
Foolproof ID to Be Adopted for Online Registration
KT Launches Portable Internet WiBro Service
Ministry Provides Mobile Phone Users with Moving Image Service
TURKEY: Turkey Plans E-Government Portal
| BRUNEI: Brunei Ministry Leverages E-Govt to Improve Service
MALAYSIA: Minister Hails E-Judicial System
Mozambique Wants Malaysia＊s Help to Set Up E-Government
Seoul Firms Can Help With E-Government, Says Agency
VIETNAM: IT Centre Opens in Ha Noi
Ministry Opens E-Learning Portal
| BANGLADESH: Govt Goes Online - PM Opens CD, Website of Digitized Forms
Govt to Expand Network for Optimum Use of Submarine Cable
Mobiles Are Being Extensively Used for E-learning, E-commerce, and E-government
INDIA: Information Highway to Uttar Pradesh Villages
MALDIVES: Highest Priority in New Telecommunication Policy Is Providing Equal Services to All
AUSTRALIA: Massive Smartcard Plan Confirmed
NSW Revenue Office Bets on Linux Agility
Give Government ICT Image a Makeover: Federal CIO
Council Looks to Technology for Transformation
Feds Launch ICT Skills Taskforce
Feds Sign 11 Per Cent More ICT Deals
National Archives Prepares to Go Digital
Siemens Wins Federal Government IP Contract
Feds Commended in International E-government Report
Govt to Streamline ICT Contracting
NEW ZEALAND: Government Taps Landmark Graphics for Data Storage Deal
Sustainable Development Youth Network Planned
Government Coy on Plan to Boost Net Uptake
| AZERBAIJAN: Azercell Increases Communication Speed
CHINA: Online Science Museum Honored World Award
China Internet Industry to Surpass Japan in 10 Years: Morgan Stanley
Foreign Internet Firms Rush for China Market
Eight Chinese TV Stations to Produce Signals for 2008 Olympics
※Cyberport Digital Entertainment IncuTrain Programme§ Launches
Shanghai Leads China's Software Industry
Net Survey Says Seniors Held Back by Poor English
IT Firm Opens Beijing Center
Online Game Base Approved in Shanghai
Taiwan Set to Challenge Japan in Digital Cameras
Mobile Phone for the Blind
About 13% of Young Netizens Are Addicts: Report
Beijing and Yunnan Top Intenet Obsession: Survey
Chinese Getting the Message
1st Digital High-Resolution TV Channel to Be Launched
IRAN: Electronic Banking to Expand
ICT Research Essential
Planning, Marketing Poor in Software Business
SOUTH KOREA: Banks Move Upstairs as Online Services Expand
Cell Phones to Offer Civil Documents Services
Samsung Develops 16 GB Flash Memory Chip
Universities Pull Plug on Online Documents
Koreans Get Introduction to Internet ＆Phishing'
Korea, Japan Seek Cooperatiion in E-Commerce
Internet Portals Trying to Replace TV
Internet Banking Overtakes Tellers
More Banking Transactions Through Internet
Info Leaks Hit Citibank
Committee for Online Games Planned
But How Do You Say ＆Politics Blog'?
IT Industry: Korean Economy＊s New Engine
eBay to Set Up Regional Headquarters in Seoul
Development of Ultra Wideband Wireless Communication Solutions Pick Up Steam
3,350 Patients Register at Stem Cell Center
KAZAKHSTAN: "Sailau" E-Vote System to Be Used at 17-20% of Polling Stations
The First Information Center for Development Opens in Astana
MONGOLIA: "E-Soum" Program in Local Areas Ulaanbaatar
UZBEKISTAN: President Awards Workers Distinguished in ICT System Development
Internews Network Ceases Operations in Uzbekistan
ADB to Help Integrate ICT into Basic Education in Uzbekistan
Uzbek Mobile-Phone Use Tops 1 Million
| INDONESIA: SMS Takes Over The Place of Traditional Idul Fitri Cards
Internet Helps Farmers Reap More Profits
MALAYSIA: Tsunami Warnings Through SMS Soon
Online Collaboration Has Its Pluses and Minuses
The Emerging Trend of Security Outsourcing
IT Services to Grow at 15.6% Compounded Rate
PHILIPPINES: Filipino Investment Agency Launches Call Centre
SINGAPORE: Singpost Launches World's First 24-Hour Automated Post Office
World Cyber Games Testament to Booming Video Game Industry
LTA to Launch Electronic System for Vehicle Owners, Dealers
SAF 3G Transformation to Be Completed Within Two Years
THAILAND: Utilising Technology
E-Auction Best Way, Says House Panel
VIETNAM: FPT Deploys First Fibre Optic Net
E-Commerce Inaugurated in Lao Cai
World Bank Funds Da Nang IT Project
Nation Ranks Third for Internet Growth
Ha Noi to Have Wireless Internet
| BANGLADESH: BTTB-Hesfible Agreement to Install Cox's Bazar-Ctg Optical Fibre Link Next Week
INDIA: India's GSM Customer Base Passes 50 Million
BSNL＊s Monster GSM Order Grows to Over 60 Million Lines
Booming GSM Sector Adds 2.11 Million New Users
SRI LANKA: ZTE to Deploy IP-Based CDMA Network in Sri Lanka
Hijacked Lines Lead to International Block
MALDIVES: Wataniya Maldives Claims 10,198 Customers
NEPAL: Spice Nepal Launches ＆Mero Mobile＊
NT to Introduce Internet, E-mail and MMS Service to Cell Phone Users
PAKISTAN: Lucent Completes Phase one of Will Network Rollout
Cybernet to Become Commerce Service Provider
Satellite Centre Installed in Pakistan
Cellcos Allowed to Operate in Kashmir
Geographic Info System Developed in Pakistan
| AUSTRALIA: Mulls Email Box for Every Citizen
ICT Workers Need More Training: ACS
NSW Ports Minister Says Cargo Will Grind to Halt Within 24 Hours
ACS: Australian IT Needs to Get Put on the Map And in Schools
Australia Highlights Potential for Rural 3G
Calls for Probe into Mobile Service
NAB Tries Telstra's Remote Access Solution
NEW ZEALAND: Workforce Must Triple Warns Project Head
Using the Net to Get the Story
New Zealand Agency in Iscsi Migration
New Zealand Boosts Pacific Satellite Television Broadcasts
NEW ZEALAND: Customs Eyes Self-Service
| CHINA: Cyberport Venture Capital Forum 2005 - IT Event of the Year
Int'l IPR Protection Forum Held in Beijing
IRAN: Seminar Will Discuss IT Role in Agro Development
Technical Training at Assalouyeh
UZBEKISTAN: IBM Technologies Discussed in Tashkent
Intl Workshop Considers Post Services
InfoComExpo to Be Held Next Week in Tashkent
IT Academy of Microsoft to Be Opened in Uzbekistan
Third National ICT Summit Opens in Tashkent
| INDONESIA: Relocation, Tender of 3G Key to Industry
MALAYSIA: All Set for Information Ministers＊ Conference
SINGAPORE: Singapore Clinches Individual Silver at World Cyber Games
Esys Technologies Wins Top Honours at Enterprise 50 Awards
Asian Internet Security Summit 2005
2005 International Conference on Cyberworlds, CW2005
Creating Software in-House is not for Everyone
VIETNAM: Vietnamese Youth Slow to Use Internet
Oracle Introduces New Enterprise Suite
Da Nang to Have IT College
Techmart 2005 in HCM City
Da Nang to Host E-Government Meet
Viet Nam to Host International Telecom Conference
| BANGLADESH: UAE Group to Invest US$1B in Telecom, Pharmaceutical and Infrastructure Sectors
PBTL Agrees CDMA Handset Deal with Utstarcom
GrameenPhone Slashes Tariffs by Up to 60%
Twelve Hopefuls Chase Fifth Mobile Licence
GrameenPhone Passes Subscriber Landmark
Bangladesh Telecoms Sector to Get Further Aid from IDB
INDIA: VSNL and Bharti to Spend USD40 Million Each on Undersea Cable
Microsoft Triples India Manpower
BSNL May Ban Huawei from Huge GSM Tender Following CDMA Fiasco
MALDIVES: Wataniya Maldives Receives USD20 Million Loan
NEPAL: Nepal Telecom Awards ZTE GSM Contract
PAKISTAN: Warid Contracts Azure for Fraud Protection
|AUSTRALIA: Second VoIP Forum to Drive Internetworking
NEW ZEALAND: ICT Export Idea Refused Funding
World's Broadband Wireless Experts Meet in NZ
NZ Hosts Asian ICT Meeting
Asia-Pacific businesses now have increased access to information on customs laws and regulations in APEC Member Economies with the publishing of the APEC Customs 'Best Practices' Handbook. Prepared by Hong Kong, China for the APEC Sub-Committee on Customs Procedures (SCCP), the handbook provides essential information required by businesspeople involved in international trade. This includes contact details for reaching customs officials, lists of relevant websites and details on training programs for businesspeople. The Chair of the SCCP, Ms. Young-Ram Choi, said the handbook is an invaluable resource for businesspeople to avoid costs incurred by a lack of knowledge of procedures and regulations. "Access to accurate information on customs regulations can mean the difference between goods making a rapid transit through or costly delays at ports," Ms. Choi said at the conclusion of the meeting Korea. "Businesses need to be able to obtain information through websties or publications and often they need to be able to speak directly with a customs officer before they ship their goods. "The new guide has a summary of the information resources provided by each APEC Member Economy to make importing and exporting more transparent and efficient." Ms. Choi said the inclusion of APEC-wide customs information was part of efforts by the SCCP to implement the APEC Transparency Standards. These goals were established by APEC Leaders in 2002 as part of efforts to overcome corruption and to facilitate increased regional trade. The Transparency Standards were updated in 2003 to cover specific customs issues including the provision of information on tariffs and duties as well as details of customs contact points to receive quires relating to customs matters. The handbook was prepared by Hong Kong, China and presented to the Second SCCP Meeting for 2005 that is taking place in Gyeongju, Korea, on September 6-9. The handbook can be downloaded here. Additional details on the SCCP is available at www.sccp.org. The handbook also complements the APEC Tariff Database, an Internet based resource listing tariff schedules, concessions, prohibitions and other trade related information in APEC Member Economies.
Geneva 〞 Home Networking 〞 the linking of a wide range of different consumer electronic devices for applications such as entertainment, telecommunications, home automation systems and telemetry (remote control and monitoring systems) 〞 is attracting a great deal of interest. Given the wide range of previously unrelated technologies involved, global standards that allow for the interoperability of disparate products are increasingly seen as key to the success of this new paradigm. So far, however, despite many initiatives, lack of standardization has continued to stifle market growth. Many believe consolidation of the various standardization efforts now underway is urgently needed for the potential benefits of home networking to become a reality. This workshop will bring together experts from around the world whose work is pushing the frontiers of this fast moving field. In addition to providing an overview of the today＊s different home networking technologies, the event will take a look at the standards that address access, services, performance, quality of service (QoS), electromagnetic interference and security issues. What: Opportunities and Challenges in Home Networking; When: 13-14 October, 2005; Where: Geneva, ITU Headquarters .
An agreement on internet governance was reached at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunis. The internet governance controversy in Tunis addressed the question of who manages a key part of its infrastructure - the domain name system (DNS), which relates to the rules that computers and networks use to find each other. These rules are currently managed by the California-based not-profit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), under a Memorandum of Understanding with the US Commerce Department. The agreement kept most of the current status quo, but included the creation of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), to be launched in 2006. The forum is intended to provide a discussion space for internet governance, involving governments, international agencies, civil society and the private sector.
Datuk Dr Mohamed Arif Nun, Chief Executive Officer of the Multimedia Development Corporation of Malaysia highlights the importance of dialogue. As the world becomes more globalised and ※flattened§ through the development of ICT, direct connectivity between country-to-country (C2C), government-to-government (G2G) and people-to-people (P2P) is inevitable, and is shaping the world. No government can isolate itself and hopes to determine its path without being affected by what is happening in the other parts of the world, nor can it determine its part without direct consultation with its people. This is what GPPC is intending to address 每 to bring the Government, Business and the Community sectors to discuss together the issues that are of direct concern to all regardless of our geographic location, economic, cultural or religious background as we move to a seamless world. From the Malaysian government agencies, the GPPC 2005 will be attended by officials from Ministry of Finance, MAMPU, PM Office, Ministry of Domestic Trade, MIGHT, MOSTI, MECW, MCMC, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Higher Education, and Ministry of Entrepreneur & Co-operative Development. As for the private sector, we have IBM, SKALI, Redhat, Microsoft, Ernst & Young, RedTone, Jaring, HP, HSBC, Scicom, Kompakar, e-Asia and many more. GPPC 2005 is the private sector built up for the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) in November 2005 and ultimately the World Congress on IT (WCIT) to be held in 2008. Malaysia. Therefore, from the GPPC 2005, we will prepare a working paper comprising inputs and positions on relevant issues for the Malaysian government. At the same time, it is also a good opportunity for the Malaysia＊s public administration to have an understanding of the current ICT issues to facilitate effective formulation of policies. It is important that public policies are conducive and not obstacles to the growth and development of ICT. With that understanding, they would be able to plan and manage changes in the fast-paced ICT industry better. They would even have more opportunities to expose to new ideas, opportunities and trade in the global networked economy. MDC support the GPPC 2005 because firstly, we saw the potential and benefits the conference will bring towards our public services. Secondly, this is consistent with the MDC mandate given by the Government to promote and develop the ICT sector and selected services in Malaysia. With the MSC as the main catalyst, the growth and development of ICT and its use in all social-economic sectors will propel Malaysia to take its place among the developed nations of the world by 2020. MDC hope through the GPPC 2005, Malaysia＊s public sector and ICT industry will be have a better understanding regarding the growth potential of the digital economy and examine ICT public policy issues and explore the key policy concerns of ICT businesses.
Some of Asia, America, Africa and Europe's top government IT policymakers are set to gather at the PSTM Government Technology Forum 05 (5th October 2005, The Fullerton, Singapore). The PSTM Government Technology Forum 05 is a day of senior-level government roundtable discussions, held before an audience of public sector administrators. To attend for free click here to register for a free delegate pass. Speakers at the event include: Romi Barjaktarevic, Government Chief Information Officer, South Africa; Manju Hathotuwa, Chief Executive Officer, ICT Agency of Sri Lanka; Laurence Millar, Deputy Commissioner, State Services Commission, New Zealand; Tan Eng Pheng [pictured], Director of E-Government Planning & Management Division, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore; Jantima Sirisaengtaksin, Chief Information Officer, Revenue Department, Thailand; Dr Muhammad Ghazie Ismail, Senior Vice President, Multimedia Development Corporation, Malaysia; Dr Cheok Beng Teck, Director of the CIO Officer, Ministry of Defence, Singapore; Lilia Guillermo, Deputy Commissioner, Bureau of Internal Revenue, The Philippines; Dr K. Jayakumar, Director IT, Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances, Government of India; Tom Wilson, Programme Directror, eProcurement Scotl@nd, Scottish Executive, United Kingdom; Sunil Abraham, Asia-Pacific Development Information Programme, United Nations Development Programme, India; Michael Mudd, Director of Public Policy (Asia Pacific), Computing Technology Industry Association. Delegate passes are available free to public sector employees through the generous support of the United Nations Development Programme, and the Computing Technology Industry Association, along with our valued sponsors Visa International, Borland, Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories, Mercury Interactive, SAP and NCS.
The International Conference on e-Government (ICEG 2005) Lord Elgin Hotel, Ottawa, Canada 27-28 October 2005 ICEG 2006: The 2nd International Conference on e-Government University of Pittsburgh, USA 12-13 October 2006 This conference offers an opportunity to discuss the latest research and thinking in the field. Presentations will be made on a range of topics dealing with both the theory and practice of e-Government. As well as the main conference, three mini-track sessions will run on Connecting with e-Citizens, Evaluating e-Government and the use of Open Source Software in e-Government. A panel discussion of the second day, chaired by Stephen Chanasyk of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Toronto, will look at Enterprise Collaboration across Jurisdictions.
South Korea＊s unique culture of Internet cafes, called ``PC Bang,＊＊ will be exported to neighboring regions by ValueSpace, which owns the country＊s top PC Bang franchise CyberPark. ValueSpace president Choi Yeun-wook revealed the firm＊s plan to make inroads into Japan and China next year. ``We will enter Japan in 2006 and China will follow after the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, a sports gala that will secure copyrights in the mainland,＊＊ the 40-year-old Choi said in an interview with the Korea Times. ``We aim to set up more than 7,000 affiliated PC Bang in Japan, China and Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand in the long run.＊＊ Under its CyberPark franchise that debuted in 2002, ValueSpace today retains the highest number of PC Bang, amounting to roughly 250 across the country. Considering the PC Bang business was on the decline in 2002, it is a notable achievement for a start-up brand to become a leading franchise in just three years. PC Bang, sometimes dubbed local area network (LAN) gaming center, is a place where people can get access to the high-speed Internet for a fee of about 1,000 won ($1) an hour. In Korea, PC Bang arose in the mid 1990s and now up to 22,000 cyber cafes are tucked into every spare sliver of real estate, armed with top-of-the-line computers and high-bandwidth connectivity. They come in various sizes from a very small one equipped with less than 10 personal computers to mega-sized ones with hundreds of terminals. PC Bang is an important contributor to the economy, as it accounts for about one-fourth of the country＊s total desk top computer demand of 1 million units a year. It also helped the online gaming industry flourish in Korea by providing a business model to game developers, who found avid consumers at PC Bang-goers. PC Bang is starting to spring up in other nations. In China, the number of Internet cafes reaches roughly 120,000 and Japan is also poised to embrace the new culture. In this climate, Choi says this is a perfect time for Korean players to wade into the emerging markets on the back of their knack for running the business. `` PC Bang in Korea has gone through a three-stage development, and China and Japan are only now entering the second stage, when the number of PC Bang explodes. We can preempt the market based on our experience,＊＊ Choi said. He explained the first stage is when only risk-taking early adopters visit a rare PC Bang to surf the Web or check e-mail, while a rising penetration rate of the high-speed Internet and the explosion of multiplayer games mark the second period. ``Korea witnessed PC Bang mushroom and online game catch on beginning 1998, when the affordable broadband offerings were launched for household users,＊＊ Choi said. ``In the third phase, the market becomes overstuffed and PC Bang gets bigger and evolve into a cozy place since hyper-competition urges them to find differentiation factors.＊＊ China and Japan are propagating commercial broadband services, marking the onset of the second stage and will be sure to form huge markets for PC Bang franchise business, according to Choi. ``Over the long haul, Korea will be able to make a lucrative model of exporting game contents, the broadband network and PC Bang culture all at the same time,＊＊ he said. ValueSpace especially fixes its eyes on the potential-filled Chinese market, where PC Bang cannot start business without subscribing to a franchise. That contrasts to Korea, where about 10 percent of overall PC Bang signs up for such a franchise. ``Already, some franchise owners in China asked us to conduct joint businesses. They know our forte that we experienced what they will face in the future. For them, we possess a crystal ball for what will happen in their country later,＊＊ Choi said. (by Kim Tae-gyu)
(IDG NEWS SERVICE) - While PC vendors aren't enjoying as much growth as last year, PC shipments this year should finish well above previous expectations for 2005, market research firm IDC said today. Strong consumer demand in Europe and Asia should allow PC vendors to ship about 110 million units in the last six months of the year, IDC said. If that projection holds true, PC vendors will have shipped 204.6 million units for the full year, a 14.1% improvement over 2004 shipment totals. Last year, PC vendors improved their worldwide shipment totals by 15.3% over 2003. Earlier this year, IDC forecast that full-year growth in 2005 would ease to 11.4% as both businesses and home buyers reached the end of a three-year spending spree on hardware. The growth in worldwide shipments to corporations is still expected to fall, from 16.3% in 2004 to a forecast of 11.7% for 2005. While the U.S. market has continued to mature, IDC said it underestimated the appetite for PCs in Western Europe and Asia when making its forecast earlier this year. Worldwide growth in consumer PC purchases is expected to be 18.3%, up from 13.5% last year, even though growth in consumer shipments to the U.S. has slacked off, from 8.9% in 2004 to a forecast of 7.3% this year. Laptop PCs continue to drive much of the worldwide demand for new systems, even in markets such as the U.S. and Japan, where notebook adoption is already very high, IDC said. Corporate IT departments led the trend toward notebooks over the past few years, but home users are now snapping up portable PCs at a faster rate, according to IDC's data. One sour note for vendors -- if not purchasers -- is that the growth in shipment value is not rising nearly as quickly as the shipments themselves, IDC said. Pricing is extremely competitive at the lower end of the PC market in the second half of the year, when many students around the world head back to school and gift givers start making out their holiday season shopping lists. IDC is still predicting that worldwide growth in PC shipments in 2006 will slip to just below 10%. (by Tom Krazit)
The Seoul World Mayors Forum 2005, held on September 30 and October 1 in the South Korean capital under the theme of "Sustainability and Revitalization," enhanced global awareness of sustainable urban development to mayors, government policymakers, urban planners and scholars from around the globe. Holding this year's Forum, sponsored by Metropolis (the World Association of the Major Metropolises) and the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), in Seoul was extremely timely as the city is one of the leaders in a paradigm shift from blind pursuit of economic development to sustainable development focusing on social and environmental values. Seoul's recent efforts have included the expansion of urban forests and other green areas as well as the restoration of an inner-city waterway. The opening of the restored waterway, Cheonggyecheon, on October 1, coincided with the Forum and allowed the visitors to take a first-hand look at Seoul's efforts to overcome various urban problems and revitalize the capital in an environment-friendly way. The Forum participants applauded the city's efforts on sustainable urban regeneration and rehabilitation as epitomized by the restoration of the Cheonggye stream, which had been paved over by a road since 1958. The rebirth of the 5.8-kilometer stream, which has entirely changed the face of one of the city's busiest commercial districts, was also praised by citizens as well as local and foreign media as an example of successful urban revitalization. Mayor Lee Myung-bak and other Seoul City officials shared their experiences in the Cheonggyecheon Restoration Project, which took more than two years and a budget of 386 billion won (US$375 million), with the Forum participants, as the project was one of the top items on the agenda. The "Overview of the Cheonggyecheon Restoration Project" was the theme of one of the two special sessions at the Seoul Forum. The mayors and experts also had three working sessions - on "Creation of Urban Waterfront," "Designing the Grand Project" and "Conflict Management, Leadership and Governance." In addition, the participating mayors held two roundtable discussions, in which they shared their concerns, ideas and experiences in meeting challenges faced by some of the world's leading cities. The Forum's two-day discussions led to the adoption of the "Seoul Declaration," where the participants called for urban development policies ensuring sustainable development and global inter-city cooperation. The declaration stressed international cooperation and common policy directives to help cities come up with better methods of balancing growth and environmental preservation. It also emphasized the need to improve efficiency in decision-making processes, refine conflict management and strengthen ties between cities and central government in order to meet the growing complexity of policy-making in civil administration. "We are in full agreement that we must create city alliances and cooperative networks in which diverse experiences and common policy directives in city development can be shared," the declaration said. By adopting the declaration in Seoul, a metropolis transforming itself from a symbol of development-first policy that led to numerous urban problems to a city that cherishes human and environmental values, the world's mayors sent out an opportune message to the world: It is never too late to tackle urban problems and make sustainability a top priority in cities' social, economic and environmental policies. In this sense, the Seoul Forum fulfilled its goal as it provided the stage for building a consensus on the need to establish a "caring society," which Mayor Lee said should be the vision of the Forum.
Children who speak different languages can be friends if they can find a way to communicate. A sample message in pictorial symbols, "I am wondering about what I should wear tomorrow," is displayed on a computer. A nonprofit organization in Tokyo will officially launch a project Sunday based on this notion, connecting children in different countries over the Internet through a language of pictograms. Using a special computer network and new software, 23 Japanese kids in Tokyo and 13 South Koreans in Seoul will send each other messages written in pictorial symbols and share their art and music. Sunday's exchange will take place at an office in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward and Kyoung Hee University in Seoul. Pangaea, a Tokyo-based NPO, has developed the computer software, which has a dictionary with 200 pictograms it calls "pictons." The pictons were designed by about 30 people, including students at Tama Art University in Tokyo. In the language, the symbol of a human face means 'I' and a heart shape means 'like." Together with another symbol of a TV game, the three pictorial symbols form the sentence, "I like TV games." In addition to sending pictorial messages, the system enables the children to introduce themselves through pictures and share their art and music online, according to the NPO. The NPO has tested the system already in a few public elementary and junior high schools in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward, according to Pangaea President Yumiko Mori. In January, computers will be set up at a private school in Kenya and a public facility for children in Austria. The group aims to increase the number of bases to 200 by 2008. Mori, a visiting scientist at the Media Laboratory at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, first had the idea of connecting children globally after seeing prejudice against Muslims and Arabs in the U.S. following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the U.S. If children have the opportunity to get to know people in other countries through the Internet, they will form personal bonds and not stereotype people, which will lead to peace in the world, Mori reckoned. "I thought children could overcome such barriers as language, culture and distance if I offered a universal playground for them," she said. (by Eriko Arita)
The leading entertainment and business content event in Asia, and the only place to meet and do business with the who＊s who of the content industry in Asia. A senior level CEO conference for the Asian mobile content industry with representations from global key content owners & developers. Mobile Content World Asia will feature regional updates on the current and future development & deployment of content. Participants will gather new ideas and information and form new relationships. This is where sponsors and exhibitors build new business relationships and generate revenue for their business. Mobile Content World Asia enables you to reach a carefully targeted audience of key executives with influential purchasing power in the mobile industry. This is an outstanding opportunity for world-class vendors to present their solutions to a targeted audience of decision makers from the industry. Time and venue: 4-6 April 2006, Suntec International Exhibition & Convention Centre, Singapore.
Emergency Communications Asia 2005
From August 25 to 26, the second Asia-Pacific Internet Research Alliance (APIRA) international conference and member meeting, with the title of "Expanding Application of Internet Statistics, Comparable Measurement, Diverse Analysis and Regional Cooperation" was successfully held at Coex Conference Center in Seoul, Korea. The meeting was hosted by National Internet Development Agency of Korea (NIDA, formerly KRNIC) and sponsored by Ministry of Information and Communication, Korea (MIC). During the conference, leaders and people in charge from governmental organizations such as MIC, NIDA from Korea, MII from China and MCMC from Malaysia were all presented. On the APIRA board meeting, Mr. Cho Chan Hyeong, the director of Statistics and Policy Research Team of NIDA, Korea, was elected as the 1st chair of APIRA board. In the mean time, Mr. Cheong Weng Hin, professor of University of Macau, was also elected as the deputy chair. It has also been decided that the next APIRA member meeting (the 3rd one) will be held by TWNIC. APIRA was founded in September 2003 in Beijing, China. It is a spontaneously organized and non-profit, regional academic organization. It is aimed for enhancing communication and comparison in Asia-Pacific region on the Internet information; deepening the research on statistical methodologies and techniques of the internet information; facilitating the cooperation among Asia-Pacific countries and regions on the Internet information survey and research; boosting the regional development of the Internet searches. Since its foundation, APIRA has been one of the most extensively influential organizations in Asia Pacific region in the field of Internet statistics. In August 2004, the 1st APIRA member meeting was jointed held in Macao and Hong Kong China. After the 1st meeting, the 1st APIRA joint statistical survey on the Internet development among APIRA regular members was successfully carried out at the end of year 2004. In addition to the current seven members of APIRA, China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), National Internet Development Agency of Korea (NIDA, formerly KRNIC), Access Media International, Japan (AMI), Taiwan Network Information Center (TWNIC), City University of Hong Kong, University of Macau and All China Strategic Research (ACSR), an organization from Malaysia was approved as APIRA member in the meeting. Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has been accepted as the regular member of APIRA. Scholars, experts and professionals from Korea, Chinese mainland, Chinese Macao and Taiwan, Japan, Malaysia and local audience from public sector and private sector, as well as professors and students from local universities have all attended the conference. Mr. Wang Enhai from CNNIC, the Secretary-general of APIRA summarized the work and achievements by APIRA by that time in the opening ceremony. He also described the future work for APIRA in recent years. The conference contained two sessions: Country/Regional report session and Theme Paper session. In the Country/Regional report session, delegates from different countries/regions presented their survey methodologies and latest research achievements on Internet usage of their own countries/regions. Speakers from CNNIC described the latest Internet development and usage situation in Chinese mainland, by comparing and analyzing data of previous years. Mr. Cheong Weng Hin from Macao cross-analyzed relevant data of the Internet development in Macao from the year 2001 to the year 2004. TWNIC representatives also presented the latest Internet development trends in their local region. It is the very first year for MCMC to have conducted their survey on Internet usage. Representatives from MCMC introduced their survey methodology and questionnaires they adapted to the survey. By means of questions and answers at the presentation, all participants shared information with others and benefited from learning experience from others in the field of Internet statistical survey. Beside the country/regional reports, representatives from MIC introduced Korean national information strategy "IT 839 Strategy" in the next decades on the conference. The aim of the strategy is to realize u-Korea (ubiquitous Korea) in the near future, ensuring the obtaining of information at anytime and anywhere in Korea. The current Internet development situation was also presented by representatives from NIDA. All of the participants were very impressive with the world-leading development of Broadband in Korea. In the Theme Paper session, Japanese speakers described the latest development of E-commerce in Japan. Comparisons among Japan, Korea and China were also made in the filed of E-commerce by Japanese delegates. Besides, other issues were also covered on the meeting, such as Internet economy, measurements on the development of Internet and information society, Internet security, Internet host statistics and indicators of the behaviors of Internet users. At the end of the conference, representatives from NIDA gave a presentation about the comparison results based on the outcome of the 1st APIRA joint statistical survey in different countries/regions in AP region conducted at the end of year 2004. From the comparisons, basically, the Internet development situation was unbalanced among different countries/regions in AP region.
More than 300 business leaders, professionals from the information and communications technology industry and media representatives on the Mainland and from overseas attended a reception held in Beijing last night (October 21) to launch the full Mainland marketing activities for the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) TELECOM WORLD 2006. The Vice-Minister of Information Industry of the Central People's Government, Mr Jiang Yaoping, and Hong Kong's Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology, Mr John Tsang, officiated at the event. Speaking at the reception, Mr Tsang said that since Hong Kong was awarded the right to host the TELECOM WORLD 2006, a series of promotional activities had been launched in support of the ITU's marketing efforts, riding on major international information and communications technology events. "We are making steady progress in our preparation. We are pleased to note that a large number of overseas and Mainland industry leaders have already indicated their interest in taking part in the event," Mr Tsang said. "We expect to see a strong turnout of Chinese companies at TELECOM WORLD 2006. We also expect a strong contingent of Mainland media as well in covering and disseminating news of the event." Mr Tsang also took the opportunity to brief guests on the enormous business opportunities to be brought about by ITU TELECOM WORLD 2006, and invited them to Hong Kong to participate in the prestigious international event. The reception was jointly hosted by the Ministry of Information Industry (MII) of the Central People's Government and the Commerce, Industry and Technology Bureau, and sponsored by Hong Kong's Information Services Department. Earlier in Beijing, Mr Tsang visited the exhibition booth set up by the Hong Kong Government at the PT/WIRELESS & NETWORKS COMM CHINA 2005 to promote the ITU TELECOM WORLD 2006. PT/WIRELESS & NETWORKS COMM CHINA 2005, held from October 18 to 22, is sponsored by the MII and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade. It is one of the largest exhibitions in information and telecommunications products and services in Asia. The ITU TELECOM WORLD 2006 will be held from December 4 to 8, 2006 in Hong Kong. It is the first time the event will have been held outside Geneva, where the ITU is based. Organised by the ITU, a United Nations special agency, ITU TELECOM WORLD is the most prominent global telecommunications event held every three to four years. Hong Kong previously hosted two ITU regional events - ITU Telecom Asia 2000 and ITU Telecom Asia 2002. The event comprises two parts - the exhibition and the forum. The exhibition enables industry players to showcase their latest equipment, services or technologies, while the forum provides a platform for participants to debate critical issues on policies and regulation, key technologies, business applications and environment. It is estimated that the ITU TELECOM WORLD 2006 will attract an estimated 100,000 overseas visitors, generating about $1.2 billion of direct economic benefit to Hong Kong.
VoIP World Asia 2005 is the leading conference in Asia dedicated to considering the costs and benefits of VoIP and the capability of the technology to provide clear and crisp conversation at a lower cost structure. Certainly an event not to be missed! 29th November - 1st December 2005, Sheraton Hotel, Singapore.
MOBILE phone giant Nokia expects mobile TV networks using its chosen standard to be up and running by the middle of next year, allowing people to watch live TV broadcasts on their mobile phones. The system - Digital Video Broadcast-Handheld (DVB-H) -is being tested in about 40 pilots worldwide and general manager of Nokia's Multimedia division Nokia's Anssi Vanjoki said he expects networks to go live in the first half of 2006. This is, of course, speculative because there are certain regulatory elements as well," Mr Vanjoki said. Nokia said it would make the technology a regular feature on its multimedia mobiles, allowing users to watch broadcasters' programs directly rather than rebroadcast by telecom firms. Mobile operators and broadcasters are hoping flat-rate TV services or pay-per-view broadcasts will bring in revenue from people who cannot bear to miss a goal or the latest episode of their favorite soap opera while out and about. Many mobile firms have offered subscribers selected TV programs through existing third-generation (3G) networks, but analysts say regulating TV broadcasts direct to mobiles and agreements on licensing rights are likely to take time before becoming widespread. One of the targets in sight for mobile operators is the soccer World Cup, which start in Germany next June. Korea already has mobile TV broadcasts using a rival technology developed there, Digital Media Broadcast (DMB), which has been offered on handsets from Samsung Electronics the third-placed handset maker. Mr Vanjoki expected Switzerland, Indonesia, Thailand, Germany and Russia to be among the first to set up mobile TV networks using DVB-H. "We think DMB is going to be Korea-based from here to eternity. The advantage of DVB-H is so clear that that is the technology we're going to follow," he said. "We're not following any other track." Italian phone operator Telecom Italia Mobile - a unit of Telecom Italia - and media group Mediaset said last month they would start live mobile TV next year using DVB-H standard. "We will roll this out across our product portfolio and certainly, by the end of this decade, we will be in a position to ship more than 75 million devices enabled with DVB-H," Richard Sharp, of Nokia's Multimedia division, told the conference. Nokia earlier launched the N92 handset, intended for mobile TV broadcasts, and which is expected to go onto the shelves next year.
An international workshop on electromagnetic waves opened in Seoul on Monday (Nov. 7) with some 60 experts from seven countries and relevant international organizations in attendance. The two-day workshop, organized by the Ministry of Information and Communication, was also participated in by the United States, Japan, the EU, Australia, South Africa, the World Health Organization and the International Commission on Non-Ionized Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). Experts and policy planners will present the surveys of the electromagnetic waves＊ impact in mobile phone use on health and the status of various countries＊ health protection criteria related to the waves. The workshop originated from an agreement to hold a bilateral meeting on the study of the impact mobile phones has on health every year during the 1996 Korea-Japan communication ministers＊ meeting. The gathering was joined in by the EU in 1999, by the United States in 2001, and then expanded to embrace other countries later. Among the prestigious experts are C. Ohkubo, a WHO research project, vice ICNIRP chairman M. Hietanen, and Robert Cleveland of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.
The worldwide market share of Korea＊s two largest mobile phone manufacturers declined in the third quarter, data show. Market researcher Gartner on Tuesday said Samsung Electronics＊ share of the global mobile phone market fell to 12.5 percent in the third quarter, from 12.8 percent in the second. LG Electronics＊ market share came in at 6.5 percent, the same as the previous quarter but down 0.2 percentage points from the same period last year. As a result, Sony Ericsson overtook LG to capture fourth place in the third quarter; its market share increased to 6.7 percent in the last quarter from 6.2 percent in the second. The world's biggest mobile phone maker Nokia, meanwhile, saw its market share rise to 32.6 percent in the third quarter from 31 percent a year earlier. The Finnish firm sold 67 million cell phones in the July-September period, up 28 percent from 52.2 million on-year. U.S. firm Motorola trails Nokia, but its share jumped to 18.7 percent in the last quarter from 13.5 percent in the second thanks to the growing popularity of its slim RAZR phone.
Speaking Freely is an Asia Times Online feature that allows guest writers to have their say. Please click here if you are interested in contributing. The Internet, long proclaimed a conduit for democratization, is meeting its match in China. While Western libertarians believe China is fighting a losing battle as protestors and dissidents increasingly organize online, the Chinese leadership is betting its dual strategy of censorship and development will ultimately succeed. The Internet provides an unprecedented ability to create, access and exchange information. Unlike other mass communication mediums, cyberspace allows for the multi-directional and (theoretically) borderless free flow of information. These characteristics imply that it cannot be controlled like traditional forms of media. Or can it? Technological libertarians maintain that autocratic leaders face a zero-sum dilemma: embrace information technology and sacrifice political power, or suppress it and pay the economic price. The Chinese leadership, however, appears undeterred. From modest beginnings of about 2,000 Internet users in 1993, the number has surged to more than 94 million in 2005, the second-largest population online after the United States. China also boasts the world's largest number of mobile phone subscribers, the second-largest personal computer market and the third-largest number of personal computer users. Contrary to popular thinking, Chinese leaders do not need to block all Internet content in order to reap major economic and political benefits. An OpenNet Initiative report on Chinese Internet filtering revealed a sophisticated system of control combining technological checks and social persuasion. Access to some websites is intermittently blocked while others may be accessible but filter certain keyword searches. Provincial and local governments hire employees to scan e-mail and chat rooms for sensitive discussions. Self-censorship is "encouraged" with myriad regulations placing responsibility on the user, from Internet content (ICPs) and Internet service providers (ISPs), cybercafes and website creators, down to the individual subscriber. Businesses are pressured to endorse a self-regulation pledge. Even foreign companies like Yahoo! have signed in order to gain access to China's burgeoning IT market. China's experiment in Internet management is literally paying off. Information technology is driving China's development - from military modernization to domestic business competitiveness on a global scale. E-commerce is exploding in China; it's expected to reach $6.5 billion by 2007. The political advantages may be even greater. On one hand, e-government is improving the efficiency and effectiveness of central administration. On the other, the Internet may be used to promote the party line. In July, to counter the Pentagon's report on the People's Liberation Army, the Chinese government posted a censored version of the document and organized online chats with military analysts. Nationalistic sentiments have also found voice online during such incidents as the 1999 North Atlantic Treaty Organization bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade and the anti-Japanese demonstrations in April. Such protests can divert attention from thorny domestic issues. Some potentially damaging local news stories circulated online have forced the central government to be more forthright with information - often with positive results. From greater access to educational and cultural cyber content, to online dating, chatting, shopping and games, the Chinese are enamored with the Internet. Few want to chance participation in politically risky behavior such as browsing dissident websites or posting controversial messages in chat rooms. A study funded by the New York City-based Markle Foundation found a majority of respondents said when the Internet provides more opportunities for citizens to criticize government policies, they trusted online content, and supported some Internet restrictions. So far the Chinese government is staying one step ahead of the game. China Telecom has enlisted China's Huawei Technologies, US companies Cisco Systems and Juniper Networks, France's Alcatel and Sweden's Ericsson to upgrade its backbone network ChinaNet, the country's largest and most extensive. Called the ChinaNet Next Carrying Network or CN2, the system will connect more than 200 cities with China's international access network, further establishing domestic mechanisms of control. China is not alone. Although the Internet developed without much regulation, governments around the world are adapting and cyberspace monitoring is increasing. Singapore implemented the world's first Internet censorship regulations in 1995. Now China is serving as an archetype for other countries that wish to restrict online usage while reaping its benefits. From Australia to Zimbabwe, Saudi Arabia to Vietnam, governments have been establishing more Internet controls. OpenNet Initiative studies have revealed infrastructure and regulations akin to China's in place in countries such as Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Kyrgyzstan. Utah recently passed a filtering law targeting content harmful to minors. Not all filtering and surveillance is inappropriate, but it does raise questions over the fine line between legitimate and illegitimate controls. Consider e-mail authentification programs currently under development in the US. Ostensibly being created to combat spam, they will permit the identification and tracking of e-mail senders. How might China and other like-minded governments adapt such technology? China's experience challenges the view that the Internet is an irrepressible instrument for democracy. Yet while the Chinese government is successfully harnessing information technology to maintain its political monopoly, the Internet is also contributing to China's political transformation. It remains a positive force for economic development, improved quality of life and better governance. (by Tamara Renee Shie)
The new Securities Law will require that initial public offering (IPO) issuers release information on their application of market listings before the application is approved, chief of the law's amending group said here Friday. Zhou Zhengqing, a member of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, told a law conference that the requirement is aimed at broadening the channels for public supervision and prevent IPO issuers from obtaining listing qualifications through cheating. Zhou, former head of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, said the new law requires major shareholders, board directors, supervisors and senior managers bear legal responsibility for the accuracy and integrity of information about listed companies.
China yesterday told an international conference it will safeguard information and network security and crack down on cyber crimes. "China has included information security as a crucial point in the country's blueprint for the development of its information industry between 2006 and 2020," said Yang Xueshan, vice director of the Information Technology Office of the State Council. "To safeguard information safety involves a complicated systems engineering project," he told an international anti-virus conference that opened yesterday in Tianjin, with business and government representatives. Yang said network security is increasingly important in China, which had 103 million Internet users as of June 30, ranking second after the United States. "First of all, we need to set up a sound and effective mechanism to fight and prevent computer viruses and enhance information and network security." He said international cooperation is crucial. "Cyberspace is transnational, so is the fight against computer viruses, which calls for concerted efforts from worldwide specialists, governments, businesses and the general public." China has vowed an intensified crackdown on Internet frauds, thefts and other cyber crimes that endanger network security. "China will take an active part in international exchanges and cooperation to fight Internet-related crimes," said Gu Jianguo, a national official in charge of network and information security. China has improved its network and information security, with the infection rate of computer viruses slightly down from the previous years, Gu said. In 2004, the National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team/Coordination Center received 64,686 incident reports, nearly five times that of the previous year.
Internet users call for the freedom to share personal music files as a local court deliberates on alleged copyright infringements by Soribada, a peer-to-peer (P2P) local music network. Their demand sparks controversy over the copyright violations. The ruling will come after the nation＊s music industry lodged both criminal and civil suits against Soribada, which has more than one million users who share online music file services for free. The Copyright Protection Center filed a criminal suit against 36 users for online copyright violations from January to July. The center has cleared 810,000 illegal postings on the Internet and ordered 36 Web sites to shut down for copyright infringement over the past seven months. However, online music files are being distributed among Internet users who have paid fees when they use it as background music on their personal homepage, blog, or personal cafes on portal sites. Even if Internet users enjoy online music files legally purchased with proper fees, they can be still used for other purposes, causing a problem in determining the legitimacy of sharing the files. A center official said that dozens of online music broadcasting sites are providing illegal links to hundreds of Internet users of personal broadcasting Web sites. ``So we＊re considering that we can apply the case to those individual music Web sites,＊＊ he said. The Korean Association of Phonogram Producers (KAPP) argued that although Soribada began partially providing music files with charges from last year, it still continues to violate the copyright. Along with the KAPP, the Korea Music Copyright Association and the Federation of Korean Art Performers＊ Organizations have already accused Soribada of selling music without the proper legal rights through the ``Soribada 3＊＊ Premium Service. However, an official of Soribada said that there is no such case against a P2P file-sharing provider in other countries. Internet users also called on the government to legalize the file sharing services as an information sharing service which is common for Internet users, demanding free access to the rights of information. However, a heated debate is expected to emerge as the government strengthens a crackdown on illegal users, accusing the music file-sharing provider of being an illegal Web site. The KAPP accused the online music file-sharing provider, which allows subscribers to search one another＊s computers for songs and download them for free, of subsequently damaging music sales last September. An appellate court will hand down a ruling on its application for provisional disposition for music sales on the P2P file sharing Web sites by the end of this month. The Supreme Court is also scheduled to rule on Soribada in both civil and criminal suits filed by the music industry. (by Chung Ah-young)
A 38-year-old housewife, Song Su-mi, recently bought an adhesive ＆Eve's Bra' from a well-known Internet auction site. The manufacturer described the bra as being made of German medical-grade silicone rubber, which adheres easily to the skin and allows women to wear low-backed dresses without a strap across the back. Ms. Song ordered the garment but later learned that it was made of domestic resin silicone, a lower-quality product for the purpose. Auction, G-Market and Daum-Onket also advertised the same product until early this month; other online markets acted more quickly, stopping sales and offering refunds on request. But when Ms. Song complained, the online store where she saw the product responded that it was only an intermediary and accepted no responsibility for truth in advertising or other aspects of transactions between sellers and buyers on its site. There is a thicket of policies posted by online stores that can vary greatly from site to site. The only common denominator, in principle at least, is Korea's electronic commerce protection law. However, that law has a gaping loophole for unwary consumers: It says that if online stores post a disclaimer of responsibility for transactions before something is purchased at the site, they indeed are not legally responsible for misleading or even false advertising. The law went into effect in 2002, and has been unchanged since then. Last March, the government modified some of the provisions in the law's implementing regulations but those changes did not alter the basic philosophy underpinning the law. Online marketeers, "telecommunications trade intermediaries" as the law calls them or e-marketplaces in common usage, are the Internet equivalent of newspaper classified advertising. They are still largely unregulated. These are sites where sellers, either individuals or companies, post items for sale and buyers respond. One such site is Auction, Korea's largest buy-and-sell site and now a subsidiary of eBay of the United States. G-Market; Daum Onket, which was acquired by Daum Communications Corp. early this year and Interpark Open Market are other examples in Korea. The other major class of online merchants in Korea are Internet shopping malls. They include Interpark, GS e-shop and Lotte.com, and sell products the company's own buyers select. The company that operates the site is required to stand behind its products. The business volume at e-marketplaces has quintupled in the past three years, and the two largest, Auction and G-Market, rang up 101 billion won ($98.5 million) in combined sales commission revenue in the first half of this year. The two largest online shopping malls, Interpark and Daum's D&S Shop, earned a combined 91 billion won. Other statistics about the businesses are also impressive. There are well over 4,000 domestic online stores in Korea and, according to a survey by the National Statistics Office this month, the trade volume of all online commerce set a record of 892 billion won in July. Total online trade amounted to 2.8 trillion won in the first half of 2002. That trade more than doubled, to 4.9 trillion won, during the first six months of this year. Over the past three years, consumer complaints about online venders to the Korea Consumer Protection Board nearly tripled, from 4,600 to 13,000. Most of the online stores are online malls, and there is little controversy about them because the responsibility for misleading advertising or shoddy merchandise is clear. Problems arise, however, at e-marketplaces, who collect commissions but can decline responsibility for what is sold. Jeong Ji-yeon from the Electronic Commerce Resource Center of Seoul City said the institution has received persistent complaints over the past year about consumer fraud by five companies that have been heavy users of online markets. The operators swindled customers by featuring postings of breathtakingly inexpensive prices on Internet comparison shopping sites where buyers can see a range of similar products from different vendors but ordered goods were never delivered. Ms. Jeong said there is no compensation available under current law. Who pays to return goods is also a contentious issue. The law says that buyers must pay for return shipment to either kind of online merchandiser if the reason for the return is "customer remorse," that is a change of mind. Sellers must pay if the product is defective. That leaves a large gray area for returns involving problems with size, color or the like, on which the law is silent. Online businessmen also have some gripes, and claim the legislation has other flaws that make their lives difficult. When manufacturers advertise on e-marketplace sites, a loophole in the electronic commerce law means they can freely exaggerate or even lie about their goods. Truth-in-advertising laws apply only to ads in the print or broadcast media. When such ads trigger purchases and complaints, the e-marketplace operators say, the complaints are often directed at them, not at the manufacturer. Online mall operators also complain about legislative provisions that can result in fines of as much as 2 percent of an online shopping mall's annual revenue on charges of false advertising. By contrast, an e-marketplace operator can disclaim any responsibility and is not accountable for their online sales pitches. With those inconsistencies and loopholes, calls for revision of the law have been rising. (by Lee Young-ryeol)
Sometime in 2007, if all goes well, cell phone users will no longer have to buy new accessories like earphones or data cables when they change handsets. Yesterday the three mobile service operators in Korea 求 SK Telecom, LG Telecom and KTF 求 signed a memorandum of understanding to unify the interface of mobile handsets. Phone makers now use different connectors for earphones, microphones, and data and power cables. A researcher from SK Telecom said no cell phone manufacturer opposed the idea, but said negotiations will be necessary to decide which connectors to use for which external accessories. With phones now doubling as music players, cameras and other devices, that will not be a trivial task. The companies said they wanted that work completed by the end of 2006.
Not content with its status as a local telecommunications service provider, PT Natrindo Telepon Selular (NTS) has said it is ready to launch long-awaited third generation (3G) services in the middle of next year to tighten its grip on the sector. "Our current focus is to realize our commitment to the government to provide 3G services. We are more than ready to launch the services by mid next year," said NTS president director Kusnadi Sukarja last week. Previously serving around 12,000 customers in East Java, the GSM-based network provider received a license in September 2004 to provide 3G services on a national basis. Malaysian telecommunications firm Maxis Communications, already providing 3G services in the neighboring country, acquired a 51 percent stake in NTS for US$100 million last January. However, 3G services are still not available. "The network and technical designs are ready. Some problems are occurring in tower constructions, but Maxis is experienced enough to give us all the help we need," said Kusnadi. He refused to give details on construction progress and the vendors taking part. In Malaysia, Maxis appointed Ericsson in September to expand its 3G network. Ericsson will manage and operate the company's 3G network and equipments in all areas of 3G coverage. Among the various 3G services, NTS will probably highlight a real-time camera surveillance facility, said Kusnadi. "The service is like CCTV (closed-circuit television), but can be accessed through mobile handsets. It is a useful feature among other "fun" 3G features," he said. The 3G technology enables cellular subscribers to enjoy video streaming, video conferencing through cellular phones, in addition to a much faster data transfer. He also explained that the target market for 3G was a lot more than current GPRS users who stood at around six million subscribers. GPRS, which stands for General Packet Radio Service, is a mobile data service available to users of GSM-based mobile phones that provides moderate speed data transfer. "Since 3G offers a lot more services, it is not impossible that people who have not used GPRS will jump directly to 3G technology right away," he added. Currently holding the 10 MHz frequency for 3G, NTS said that the roll out of its services would not wait for the 3G frequency retender process to finish. The Ministry of Communications and Information announced last week that it wanted to delay the retender process scheduled for this month to avoid being forced into making a hasty decision.
With the planned re-tender of the 3-G cellular frequency only a month away, the Ministry of Communications and Information will likely give priority to operators who already have a established market, a ministry official says. "One of the criteria for eligible bidders is they have to have a market already. This is a normal measure to assure that the frequency will be fully utilized for the public benefit," said Ministry of Communications and Information's director general for Posts and Telecommunications Basuki Yusuf Iskandar. The ministry would officially come up with other defining criteria on Wednesday to enable the bidding process to be finalized at the end of November, he said. "The winning bidders, to be announced in December, will be given an allocation of 10 MHz each, which will be feasible business-wise and can accommodate future expansion," Basuki added. In the November bidding, there will be 60 MHz of the 1,900 frequency spectrum up for grabs. Current license holders for the spectrum are PT Cyber Access Communications (CAC) with 15 MHz and PT Natrindo Telepon Seluler (NTS) with 10 MHz. However, both companies have yet to operate services since securing licenses through auction in 2003. Indonesia's largest cellular-phone firm Telkomsel and Excelcomindo have each received 5 MHz frequency bandwidth slots to run their 3G-services trial. 3G technology enables cellular subscribers to enjoy video streaming, video conferencing through cellular phones, in addition to a much faster data transfer rates. Meanwhile, the country's second largest telecommunication operator PT Indosat has been guaranteed a 5 MHz slot in exchange for moving its StarOne CDMA services away from the spectrum. "Later on, each operator will receive 10 MHz charged at the November price," said Basuki, adding that aside from the up-front fee, there would be annual bandwidth fee charged to the operators. It is estimated that the ministry will reap up to Rp 5 trillion (US$520 million) in revenue by maximizing the allocation of the potential 60 MHz frequencies. In Australia, a five-megahertz frequency allocation for third generation (3G) cellular technology was sold for US$80 million, while in the United States the price ranges from between $10 million and $20 million. Previously, Minister of Communications and Information Sofyan A. Djalil said that the government would not revoke licenses already given to CAC and NTS. CAC has sold 60 percent of its share to Hong Kong's Hutchinson Telecommunications International, while NTS sold its 51 percent share to Malaysian Maxis Communication Berhad.
The government has instructed the Ministry of Post and Telematics to develop detailed online gaming regulations and corresponding licensing procedures for the provision of online games by December 2005. The ministries of Post and Telematics, Culture and Information, and Public Security reported on Monday that the biggest regulatory problem involves the rapid development and increasing sophistication of online gaming technologies and accompanying applications. As online gaming constitutes a growing and legitimate entertainment form, the government said it would strengthen regulations to minimize any negative influences that online gaming may have upon social development, especially among youth.
Bangladesh is planning to launch a tender for a new 15-year national GSM licence, open to overseas and local bidders. The existing five GSM and CDMA operators in the country 每 BTTB, GrameenPhone, CityCell, Banglalink and Aktel 每 have been barred from competing for the additional concession. The proposed new spectrum allocation will be in the 1710-1765MHz/1805-1860MHz band. Preference is to be given to bidders with experience of operating GSM networks in the following countries: India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and the Maldives.
KUALA LUMPUR -- The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) should bridge the gap in information communication technology (ICT) among its 114 members before greater flow of information can be promoted, Bangladesh Information Minister M. SHAMSUL Islam said Monday. He said many of the member countries were still lagging in ICT. He also expressed support for the proposed Internet-based NAM News Network (NNN), saying that it was timely and he hoped that it would meet the demand for easy flow of information among member countries. Islam was speaking on the sidelines of the Sixth Conference of the Ministers of Information of Non-Aligned Countries (COMINAC VI) here.
India＊s Ministry of Communications has announced a plan to provide satellite-based public telephones to 14,183 villages over the next two years. The selected villages all have over 100 inhabitants, and are situated in areas inaccessible by road. Telco BSNL is implementing the project, and has already installed satellite payphones in 294 villages.
The Telecoms Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) today published a new study on the country＊s mobile market suggesting that congestion on operators＊ wireless networks will further deteriorate in the coming months, with no immediate prospects for improvement. Although the meteoric growth of mobile services in India has been lauded thus far, the TRAI＊s study concludes that it has led to congestion levels in many cities that is 20 times higher than those stipulated by predefined quality of service norms. And the situation is getting worse. In January this year there were 24 locations where congestion levels exceeded 10% (ie 20 times higher than the industry benchmark). By July this had ballooned to 86 areas affected by inordinately high bottlenecks. The TRAI blames the current situation on India＊s inefficient interconnect system between private operators and state-backed Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd, that has not kept pace with the dramatic rise in the country＊s subscriber base.
Telecommunications Minister Dayanidhi Maran has said that equipment manufacturers looking to participate in forthcoming infrastructure contracts from state-run carriers will have to manufacture locally if they want to take part. The announcement comes as state-controlled fixed line and mobile operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) prepares a USD3 billion-plus tender for 40 million GSM lines 每 India＊s largest telecoms gear contract. With the world＊s leading equipment vendors standing ready to fight for the contracts Mr Maran said that: ＆BSNL and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) boards have decided to make it mandatory for telecom equipment suppliers bidding for BSNL/MTNL tenders to manufacture equipment directly or through contract manufacturers in India so as to ensure the quality, timeliness of delivery and after sales service.＊
New Delhi -- Security and intelligence agencies want the government to make it mandatory for cellular operators to publish directories of mobile-phone users on the lines of the landline directories brought out by MTNL/BSNL. The agencies pitched for this move at a high-level meeting in the home ministry in the wake of three blasts in the Capital on Saturday. An official said it's high time to implement such a rule to deter those who use mobile phones for terror networking. Whether it was the twin cinema hall blasts of Delhi in May or the terror attack at Ram Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya in July, the probe revealed that the terrorists used mobile phones for their networking across J&K, Akbarpur and Faizabad in UP and Delhi, he added. Although the official refused to reveal details regarding use of mobile phones in connection with Saturday's blasts, he said: "Security as well as intelligence agencies took up the issue at the highest level during the meeting in the wake of the blasts. The government will soon take up the matter with the telecom ministry so that DoT can come out with a necessary direction to the cellular operators". Asked as to how it will help the agencies, since terrorists or other criminals could get mobile connections using forged documents, the official said if the cellular operators put the directory on their websites, it would be easier for the agencies to keep track of the users, no matters how big the subscriber base. The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), representing mobile-phone operators, is, however, opposed to the move on the ground of privacy of nearly over six crore consumers across the country. Director-general of the COAI, T V Ramachandran, made it clear that the private operators would oppose it as they can't compromise with the privacy of their consumers. Asked about security concerns, Ramachandran told Toi that it was the duty of security and law-enforcement agencies to ensure that terrorists and criminals should not get mobile connections using fake documents. "The cellular operators have kept their own data-base which are shared with the agencies as and when required for security reasons following certain procedures," he said. (by Vishwa Mohan)
HYDERABAD -- Nearly a month after the Right to Information Act (RIA) came into force, several departments of the state government have not received a single query. That's not the end of the story. Most of the departments -- endowments, school education, higher education and civil supplies -- have not even maintained their records. The RIA specifies that all departments should maintain the records duly catalogued in a manner which facilitates easy implementation of the Act. It also makes it mandatory for all departments to publish or display information within 125 days of the Act's enactment. This means, all the departments should have done so by this time as the Act was enacted on June 15, 2005. As per the Act, information in any form -- records, documents, memos, e-mails, press releases, circulars, orders -- and relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority can be obtained by the citizens. A person, who desires to obtain any information under the Act should make a request in writing or through electronic means in English, Hindi or in the official language. In fact, the applicant is not required to mention any reason for that. However, most of the departments have neither updated the information nor have they received any application from the public. According to officials, no information has been sought primarily due to lack of awareness on the Act. "The government has failed to create awareness among citizens as well as departments and officials. Hence, the Act has failed to create any impact in the state," a senior official said. When contacted, information and public relations minister Mohammad Shabbir Ali said the government would take pro-active measures to provide information as per the Act. "All departments have been working in this direction," he claimed. (by Mritunjay Ram)
The Indian government has drafted a new telecom policy (NTP) which clears the way for the introduction of mobile number portability (MNP) and the implementation of carrier pre-selection by fixed line operators. The draft NTP proposes a twelve-month deadline for the launch of MNP from the date of adopting the policy. Regarding fixed line services, it states that ＆each service provider will offer other providers direct access to its customers for transmission services, including national and international long-distance, internet access, DSL, and other value added services. This will be enforced through the implementation of carrier access code (CAC) and pre-selection.＊ Pending the policy announcement, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has initiated a consultation paper on MNP. GSM industry body the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has two months to respond to the proposals. The TRAI will submit its recommendations on the NTP to the Department of Telecoms in January, according to its chairman Pradip Baijal.
KOLKATA -- Paranoia about Chinese telecom companies investing in India has dealt a blow to the expansion plans of two Chinese telecom equipment makers. And with these developments, India has accommodated US intelligence suspicions that some of the Chinese companies are indulging in espionage activities globally. India has always been wary of the "invasion" of Chinese telecom companies, but the country's concerns went into overdrive recently when, at the behest of the security agencies, India's Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) and the Department of Telecom stalled on granting permission to Huawei Technologies of China to set up a $60 million telecom equipment-manufacturing unit. Its application has been pending since March. This was the second time in four years that Indian security agencies had moved to stymie Huawei's plan, which was first mooted in 2001. Earlier, the FIPB shot down Huawei's intention of setting up a $40 million research and development center next to the proposed manufacturing unit. The Huawei facility, if approved, will focus on NGNS (next generation networks), fixed wireless terminals, some parts for 3G (third generation) equipment, as well as design processes for Huawei's products. The facility would also meet the bidding criteria for Indian telecom public sector units (state enterprises) , which by law have to procure equipment from vendors with local manufacturing units. And last week, the state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), which is the country's largest telecom company, canceled a $31.16 million contract involving Huawei. Huawei and its two Indian partners, Himachal Futuristic Communications Ltd and state-owned Semiconductor Complex Ltd, failed, according to BSNL, to supply equipment for more than 105,000 code division multiple access (CDMA) lines. This is after the Chinese firm won a bid last year for supplying equipment. BSNL also hinted that it was considering banning Huawei from participating in any tender it issues this year, and may even permanently ban Huawei from bidding in all its future projects. This assumes significance in view of the fact that Huawei's bid was the most competitive (read lowest) that BSNL received for the CDMA tender; reports suggest that Huawei undercut its rivals on price by a huge margin to win the deal. Huawei is not the only Chinese telecom company facing problems in India. China's second-largest telecom equipment maker, Zhongxing Telecom Co Ltd (ZTE), also says that it has been waiting for government clearance for two years to start manufacturing in India, but issues raised by Indian security agencies "are posing as hindrances" to its India plans. By Indrajit Basu
Gandhinagar --- Is Internet the new untouchable in 21st century Gujarat? After cigarette and gutkha, the state government wants cyber cafes nowhere near educational institutions, religious places and even hospitals! A government resolution (GR), which created a stir in Surat when it was fished out by police commissioner Sudhir Sinha on Friday for implementation in the diamond city from December 1, bans cyber cafes from operating "within 500 metres of an education institution or hospital or religious place". The GR, issued on June 26 last year by the state science and technology department, was used by Sinha to come out with a police notification that has caused a stir among not only cyber cafe owners but also the people, especially the student community. And, the supposedly IT-friendly government itself is in a quandary over the GR, with the state home department denying that it had recommended keeping cyber cafes away from educational institutions, religious places and hospitals. "A committee with officials from home, education, health and science and technology departments was formed to work on the GR. The home department had recommended that those entering cyber cafes should produce an I-card or the cafe owners should take a web-photo. "No other suggestion was made," said a top home department official. The science and technology department now finds itself in a spot. "The state had received a request from the NDA government at the Centre to frame rules not to allow cyber cafes at places that become crowded or near educational institutions." Hence, we decided to include religious places and hospitals," said an official of the science and technology department.
Sri Lanka Telecom has launched its Citylink CDMA-based fixed wireless network, with the first services now available around the city of Anuradhapura. SLT signed a deal last month with Chinese equipment manufacturer ZTE for the supply of the CDMA system which is aimed at improving the coverage of telephony and internet services in rural areas; the network will eventually cover the entire population.
Pakistan＊s privatisation minister, Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, has launched a round of talks in Dubai in an attempt to salvage the planned privatisation of incumbent telco Pakistan Telecommunications Company (PTCL). UAE-based telco Etisalat won a bidding process earlier this year for the 26% stake in the telco, but this weekend failed to meet a second deadline for paying the USD2.34 billion outstanding from the USD2.6 billion sale, causing Pakistan to call the deal off. However, Shaikh now hopes to negotiate a new payment schedule with Etisalat officials so that the deal can still go ahead, but the government has warned that any new schedule can not be extended beyond the end of Pakistan＊s financial year next June.
The Special Minister of State, Senator Eric Abetz, has announced the launch of a new government web site to help Australian public servants work more effectively across Government departments and agency boundaries. The Connected Government web site (www.connected.gov.au) includes practical tips and examples to assist public service employees to work across multiple agencies and provides users with links to guides, tools, directories and training information. ※The Connected Government web site will promote the benefits of cross-agency approaches to Australian Government Public Servants,§ said Minister Abetz. Minister Abetz said the Connected Government website will not only assist public servants, but will also provide researchers and the public with a clear view of how the Australian Government is delivering better outcomes through cross-agency approaches. The website was a key recommendation of the 2004 report Connecting Government: Whole of Government Responses to Australia＊s Priority Challenges. The report was released by the Management Advisory Committee, a peak group of agency and portfolio heads who advise the Australian Government on public service management issues. The web site development was a whole of government initiative, overseen by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet; the Australian Public Service Commission; Centrelink; the Department of Education, Science and Training; the Department of Transport and Regional Services and the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO). The website will continue to expand its content and functions under the guidance of the Australian Public Service Commission. AGIMO will continue to manage the technical development of the website and provide advice, in alignment with its role in ensuring the Australian Government maximises the value of information and communication technologies.
AUSTRALIA: Australian e-Health Framework Calls for Open Standards
With a massive government services smartcard deployment now firmly on the coalition's agenda, the federal information management office is devising guidelines for agencies to cut risk and limit the financial outlay on what one minister conceded can be "extremely complex and costly" smartcard projects. Special Minister of State, Senator Eric Abetz said today the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) was developing a framework to help agencies deliver smartcard projects efficiently and securely, including a set of standards to ensure interoperability between offerings. A draft of the framework is expected to be completed and released for comment by the end of the year. Senator Abetz said "international and domestic experience tells us that the implementation of smart cards to assist in the delivery of government services can be extremely complex and costly. "We want to provide agencies with assistance to ensure that the risk involved in designing such complex IT service delivery systems is significantly reduced". Senator Abetz also made it clear that federal agencies developing smartcard projects would have no choice but to comply with the standards. "The framework will serve as a reference document, providing government agencies with guidance for interoperable smartcard programs. "All Australian government agencies will be expected to meet the requirements laid out in the framework". Senator Abetz and the Minister for Human Services, Joe Hockey, are -- concurrently with the AGIMO project -- undertaking preliminary work on plans that would see cards incorporating smart chip technology replace a raft of government services and concession cards, including Medicare cards. Hockey is presently preparing a business case for the project. The government is also planning to roll out "a standard card of some type, perhaps using smart chip technology" across the federal public service to replace a "plethora" of identification tokens presently in use. Senator Abetz also said AGIMO would consult with the states and territories in an effort to ensure smartcard projects undertaken by any level of government would be interoperable through compliance with an agreed set of standards. The Victorian government in July awarded an AU$500 million contract for development by 2007 of a smartcard ticketing system for public transport to a consortium of transport and tech experts, while Queensland is also planning a wide deployment of a transport smartcard system.
Australia: In a move that reinforces the place of mobile as a provider of rural, broadband connectivity, Telstra this week announced that it will roll-out a W-CDMA network that will cover 98% of Australia＊s population. Tom Phillips ( inset ), the GSM Association＊s Chief Government & Regulatory Affairs Officer, speaking at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunis this week, said: ※Telstra＊s decision highlights the unique capacity of the GSM family of technologies to provide economically-viable voice and broadband services to both rural and urban areas. No other technology can match the economies of scale generated by GSM＊s 1.6 billion users worldwide.§ Telstra has chosen to transmit voice and multimedia services, including Internet access and video calling, in the 850 MHz spectrum band, using W-CDMA: part of the 3GSM family of technologies. Signals carried over this frequency travel further than those carried over standard W-CDMA frequencies, such as 1900 MHz and 2100 MHz, allowing each base-station to provide coverage to a wider area. ※Telstra＊s plans for an extensive broadband network highlight how W-CDMA is rapidly maturing into a versatile technology that can economically serve a wide range of communities from urban centres to rural outposts,§ said Alex Sinclair, Chief Technology Officer of the GSMA. ※By utilising the 850 MHz frequency band, Telstra will be able to offer high data rate capabilities over a wide geographic area using W-CDMA plus HSDPA*. Users will also benefit from the automatic global roaming capabilities offered by the GSM family of technologies.§ Mobile operators around the world have now rolled out 86 3GSM networks, allowing equipment makers to spread the cost of developing 3GSM networks and handsets across a large customer base. Cingular Wireless, the largest operator in the U.S., is planning to roll out some cities with a 3GSM network at 850 MHz next year that will enhance its existing 3GSM network at 1900 MHz. Other operators wishing to provide 3G services to wide geographic areas are likely to follow suit as more 3GSM 850 MHz equipment becomes available. For governments debating the best way to bridge the digital divide at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunis this week, Telstra＊s move to offer 3G services to almost the entire Australian population is a clear demonstration of the potential of the GSM ecosystem to bring Internet access to rural communities.
Release of a new five-year federal e-government strategy, originally planned for late this year, is now likely to slip to early next year, according to government sources. While the Special Minister of State, Senator Eric Abetz, is still striving to release the strategy this year, a heavy and controversial legislative workload scheduled for the next parliamentary sitting is likely to frustrate efforts to secure all necessary signoffs and approvals by the end of the year. The strategy -- whose release is now more likely in February or March next year -- updates a previous document coordinated in 2002 by the now-defunct National Office of the Information Economy and overseen by then Minister for Communications and Information Technology, Senator Richard Alston. Senator Abetz is also believed to have not yet decided the forum -- which could include a press conference or seminar -- in which to launch the strategy, which well-placed sources have described as "fairly ambitious". The e-government strategy will build on a raft of initiatives to boost the efficiency of federal government information and communications technology (ICT), including an open source procurement guide for agencies, a taskforce to combat skills shortfalls and the new streamlined 'Gateway' project management process. The strategy is expected to encompass existing and new initiatives to improve government service delivery to citizens and improvements to government operations. It will primarily tackle the cohesion of approaches to online service delivery and collaborative efforts between agencies, rather than agencies' internal ICT processes. However, while the e-government strategy is unlikely to hit its hoped-for deadline of the end of the year, Senator Abetz' office is still targeting the final parliamentary sitting of the year -- due to run two weeks from 28 November -- to introduce a Bill to deliver a raft of electoral measures, some of which touch on the Internet. One is to enable a small-scale trial of e-voting over internal intranets to isolated groups of voters in overseas jurisdictions, such as Australian Defence Force personnel in Iraq or scientists in Antarctica, while another is requiring an individual to authorise electoral comment on Web sites in Australia. Sources conceded however, there was no certainty of the Bill being introduced to parliament -- let alone passed -- before the end of the year.
Federal Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts Senator Helen Coonan has announced the government will support the introduction of a new telecomms number range to facilitate the development of voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services. The minister released a government report into the policy and regulatory implications of VoIP services which concluded there is no immediate need for any changes to the regulatory framework and recommends some small adjustments to existing numbering, emergency services and customer service regulation to accommodate VoIP services. A new non-geographic number range will be established for VoIP services to allow providers to offer VoIP services which are not location specific so a customer can keep the same number when moving location. "VoIP technology is one of a range of emerging next-generation services transforming global communications as carriers and consumers take advantage of cost savings and integration with video and data applications," Coonan said. "Innovative VoIP services are increasingly becoming available to Australian consumers. VoIP has the potential to offer consumers benefits in terms of price and convenience. By establishing a new number range for VoIP services, providers will be able to market the unique features of their services without existing phone number information being compromised." Coonan said the government wants to support VoIP services and ensure the regulatory environment does not inhibit development. "By committing to implementation of the report's recommendations the government will provide regulatory clarity in the short- to medium-term and help to promote a competitive communications environment," she said. To ensure that consumers are aware of the choices on offer and the differences between a VoIP service and a traditional telephone service, public information will be developed in cooperation with industry. The Australian Communications Industry Forum will host a VoIP Forum in Sydney on December 6, which will focus on provider cooperation, including support, fault handling, billing, and security.
Victoria will become the first Australian state to allow contractors to retain ownership of intellectual property (IP), replacing uncapped liability with an evaluated approach. Victorian Minister for Information and Communication Technology, Marsha Thomson also outlined plans for a levelling of insurance requirements for ICT contracts to better show the actual level of risk. The proposed changes will ensure significant industry growth and is a step towards ensuring Australians are good producers of ICT, according to the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) CEO Rob Durie. He said intellectual property is frequently one of the most contentious issues in negotiating contracts and the change to allow retention of IP by the contractor is expected to result in cheaper costs and more innovative offerings. "International research of developed economies has revealed that even greater productivity is possible if IP is generated in the economy and can be commercialized," Durie said. "The decision on IP, risk-based liability and insurance requirements should become the standard for all governments in Australia. "Each of these actions has been championed by the AIIA and represents significant advances in ICT procurement practices, which would make Victoria particularly attractive to ICT suppliers." Durie added that the federal Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan, should now deliver on the election promise to both cap liability and allow more flexible arrangements for the commercialization of IP. He said it has been more than 12 months since Coonan made the commitment "and we are still waiting to see runs on the board". According to Marsha Thomson, the Victorian government will now amend whole of government ICT policy with four key areas and will implement these policies in the next few months. 1. To establish a 'default position' by which ownership of intellectual property in ICT developed under contract lies in the contractor rather than in the government. 2. Ensure that appointment of liability in ICT contracting reflects actual project risk and minimizes the need for ICT contractors to bear unlimited liability. 3. Ensure that types and levels of insurance required in ICT contracts are appropriate having regard to actual project risks. 4. Ensure that tender documentation specifies the expected contract provisions for dealing with these issues (following appropriate risk analysis), or flags that these will be negotiated with shortlisted suppliers.
NEW Zealand will beat Australia to a next-generation telecommunications network, with Telecom New Zealand unveiling plans yesterday to switch off its traditional telephone network in 2012. The former government-owned monopoly, which commands a far bigger slice of its home market than Telstra does here, will spend $NZ220 million ($202 million) on a new technology platform for internet-based voice services, or IP telephony. "This is really fundamental for the future of telecommunications in New Zealand," TNZ chief operating officer Simon Moutter said. "IP technology is critical to achieving the goal of integrated and converged services. In relatively short order we will replace the entire PSTN (traditional circuit switched network) and be delivering all our services for customers over the IP network." TNZ has also begun the first part of a trial of so-called triple play services for residential customers -- sending voice, internet and video services over the same broadband connection. Next year, in another part of the trial, several hundred homes in the Auckland area would be connected with fibre-optic cables, Mr Moutter said. The investments are part of a $NZ1.4 billion project begun in 2001 to eventually replace its PSTN network. In 2002, TNZ formed an alliance with French telecoms equipment provider Alcatel for the Next Generation Network platform. Mr Moutter said the NGN would eventually save "hundreds of millions" in operating and capital expenditure each year. "All these benefits are some time out. You have to run these things in parallel." Investors were cheered by TNZ's news, reversing a recent downward trend in the stock, which added 8c and closed at $5.67. While TNZ is following a similar plan to most incumbent telcos in developed nations, Telstra's own next-generation plan has had a chequered history. The company outlined a broad strategy known as the digital mode of operation in 1999 but it faltered under Ziggy Switkowski. In recent years the company has developed a plan called Future Network Evolution but under new chief executive Sol Trujillo Telstra's network operations are under review. (by Michael Sainsbury)
A New Zealand government plan to spend $NZ11 million ($A10.13 million) on state-of-the-art computer networks for 300 small schools has met with a mixed reaction from principals, some of whose schools will be ineligible because they have already put together more basic networks. Often these were paid for by scrimping or saving from their budgets or tapping their local communities for funds. The fresh government money will target schools with less than 77 students that have no existing network cabling. These are usually lower decile primary schools in rural areas. Three hundred schools will be sent a letter in the next two weeks inviting them to take part in the scheme. If all do not agree to join, the list will be expanded to include larger schools without network infrastructure. Schools which have set up and paid for their own networks won't be funded retrospectively. Jonathan Beveridge, a senior consultant responsible for the ministry's ICT strategy, says the scheme targets schools which completely lack network infrastructure. Having any network would bump the school off the list. Kahutara school in Featherston is one which won't qualify for funding because it has an existing network, even though it often stops working. "If we had no network at all, we'd qualify for support," says principal Alister McCosh. "The fact that we've got a network, even though it keeps falling down, disqualifies us. We consider that to be somewhat unfair." The school estimates it needs $NZ20,000-$NZ25,000 to upgrade its network, which met ministry standards when it was built more than five years ago. The decile 8 school can no longer use it to teach its 79 students because it "doesn't perform to expectations", says Mr McCosh. Akitio school near Dannevirke has another hard luck story, having just installed its first network in March. The network links six computers in its library to a printer. However, principal Glen Richardson says the network is unreliable and not up to the ministry's standard. He believes the decile 8 school should get funding under the scheme. "What we're after more than anything is reliability," he says. "If they want schools to be up to a specific standard, we should be eligible for assistance. "If there's a chance of getting a system, I'll be putting up my hand." The network was set up with the help of a charitable grant of $NZ1500. The school has 23 students. Eketahuna School first installed its network seven years ago and has been adding to it since. So far it has spent $NZ60,000 to outfit its school with a wireless and a wired network as well as Apple computers and eight laptops for its 130 students. Principal Rebecca Koberstein says waiting for the ministry to fund the network wasn't an option. "The children were going to be disadvantaged if we did," she says. "We hadn't had an indication from the ministry they were going to fund that sort of project and we didn't want to leave our students out from the educational opportunities." The ministry will pay 80 per cent of the cost for schools with less than 77 students, leaving each school with a bill of between $NZ4000-$NZ6500. For schools with between 77 and 187 students, the ministry will pay 75 per cent of the cost. Pat Newman, national president of the Principal's Federation, welcomes the ministry's scheme, saying it will give small schools a top-of-the-line network at an affordable price. "This actually allows them to make full use of the IT equipment in the schools." The cost of setting up a network varies with the size of the school, but the ministry estimates an average figure of $NZ40,000-$NZ50,000. A lot of cost involves installing extra power outlets in classrooms, which often have just one or two sockets if they date back 40 or 50 years. (by Reuben Schwarz)
The New Zealand government has approved the development of a nationwide voice and data network that will be shared by government agencies. NZ$14 million (US$9.8 million) has been allocated to set-up the new inter-agency government network, which will be overseen by the State Services Commission (SSC). According SSC studies some government agencies have been found to be paying double the amount for connectivity as other agencies. The Government Shared Network will cut communications costs, particularly for smaller government agencies, and reduce spending on toll calls. Agencies will also be able to back up their computer files over the network to computer storage facilities maintained offsite. The network will consist of a fibre optic network linking agencies in Wellington and a wide area network that will reach out to their branch offices nationwide. The funding approved by Cabinet will cover the costs of setting up a body to oversee the creation of the network and manage it, as well as the cost of putting in place some of the initial infrastructure, such as systems needed to ensure the network is secure. The operational costs of the network will be paid for by participating agencies out of their existing baseline funding. Participation will be voluntary but core government departments will be required to at least evaluate using the network when their existing network supply contracts come up for renewal. The SSC has invited telcos to express interest in supplying the network infrastructure. It expects to pick suppliers by December and says the Wellington fibre optic network should be fully operational by July 2006. Meet the Deputy Commissioner of the State Services Commission at PSTM GOVERNMENT TECHNOLOGY FORUM 05!Laurence Millar, Deputy Commissioner of the State Services Commission, is one of the prestigiuous line-up of panellists at the forthcoming PSTM Government Technology Forum (5th October 2005, The Fullerton, Singapore).
Applications for two major funds under the Government's digital strategy open later this month. Caretaker Information Technology Minister David Cunliffe announced the launch of two blocks of funding available under the strategy announced in May. The funding blocks were the $24 million Broadband Challenge and the $20.7 million Community Partnerships Fund. The Broadband Challenge aims to support initiatives to get broadband to areas that don't have it and high-speed fibre networks to urban areas. The Community Partnerships Fund aims to support regional and community information and communications technology (ICT) initiatives to upskill people to assess and use ICT. Mr Cunliffe said applications should be community focused and show they can be self-sustaining when funding ends. The Digital Strategy provides a framework for $10.5 billion of expenditure for information and ICT over the next five years.
The Beijing Times reported Wednesday that the new post office will provide visa applicants with the option of a passport mailing service, among other postal businesses. Tao Chunhua from the Beijing international postal bureau said that the new post office at the U.S. Embassy has been approved by all relevant authorities and is ready to serve. Customers should fill in forms requesting the EMS service when they apply for a visa at the U.S. Embassy office. When the visa is ready, passport delivery shall arrive at the client's designated address within three days. For those who wish to pick up the passport themselves, they should go to the nearby Jianguomenwai Post Office in person with their original receipt and personal identification. The newspaper reported that it took three months to get the post office in place to meet the increasing demand for postal services, as many Chinese apply for visas at the US Embassy.
The website of the municipal government was ranked fifth among global government websites by the United Nations, government spokeswoman Jiao Yang said at a bi-weekly press conference yesterday. Sor far, the city has created networks of e-government services at the levels of city, district and neighbourhood. The city will take further steps to encourage government departments to work together and pool resources so that Shanghai citizens can enjoy more efficient e-government services.
At 3 PM on October 17, Cheng Minzhang was given the 9 millionth second generation ID card and an honorary certificate by Ma Zhenchuan, member of Beijing's CPC standing committee and director of the city's public security bureau. Cheng is Shenzhou VI's vice commander in chief and senior engineer at China Aerospace Science Corp's Space Technology Research Institute. In the meantime Ma said the first phase of the new cards' issue in Beijing was now complete. As 90 percent of the capital's citizens were issued new cards between April of last year and October 17, ten months ahead of schedule, Beijing Public Security Bureau was awarded 500,000 yuan by the Ministry of Public Security. About 17,000 police, one third of the city's force, spent more than 240,000 working days on the initiative. While going door-to-door they solved 7,266 unrelated cases, involving the arrest of 6,899 suspects. There are still about 900,000 citizens who have not replaced their old ID cards. The police aim to issue new cards for older and disabled people, who were not required to obtain them themselves, before the end of this year. Many people registered at permanent addresses in Beijing's Tongzhou District, a suburban area, actually live near or at their places of work elsewhere in the city, so police there have extended the initial issue of new cards to the end of October. The police reminded citizens who have not acquired new ID cards that, though they can still apply, they will have to wait longer to get them because temporary fast track channels will be closed soon. (by Wang Ke)
The Digital 21 Strategy Advisory Committee endorsed at its meeting today (October 24) the new strategy for delivering online government information and services. The new strategy is one of the new initiatives promulgated in the 2005-06 Policy Agenda. Members noted that under the new strategy, the Government would launch a new one-stop access portal (OSP) to serve as a main gateway to online government information and services. Adopting a citizen-centric approach, the OSP will group related government information and services into different service clusters based around the needs and expectations of our citizens and businesses. Customer research will be conducted at various stages to provide input to the design of the OSP and the grouping of information/services. The OSP will progressively subsume the existing Government Information Centre (GIC) (www.info.gov.hk) and reprovision the e-government services currently on the Electronic Service Delivery (ESD) portal (www.esd.gov.hk), the contract of which will expire in January, 2008. The one-stop portal will thus greatly facilitate the public's access to the Government and build up a unified e-government branding for Hong Kong. The initial launch of the OSP is scheduled for mid-2006, and the service clusters will be expanded and deepened incrementally from mid-2006 to end 2007. The Government will conduct an Expression of Interest exercise in mid-2006 to gauge market interest and business potential in providing value-added services and operating the service clusters. A dedicated team has been established within the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO) to oversee the development of the OSP and the central e-government infrastructure. Private sector expertise will be engaged through outsourcing as and when necessary. Members also noted the Government's response to the recommendations on the promotion of wireless and mobile technology industry in Hong Kong jointly submitted by the Hon. Sin Chung Kai and four IT Industry Associations at the D21SAC meeting in April, 2005. The meeting noted that the proposals were broadly in line with the Government's policies, strategies and programmes on the development and promotion of wireless and mobile technology industry in Hong Kong as promulgated in the 2004 Digital 21 Strategy, and that the Government is actively pursuing many of the proposals put forward. Members noted that the Task Force on Facilitating the Adoption of Wireless and Mobile Services and Technology, which was set up by the OGCIO and comprises representatives from the industry, academia and the Government, would take the proposals into consideration when finalising its recommendations and action programme.
A Chinese expert on emergency medicine said in Beijing on Monday that China was urged to build a national emergency aid network for natural disasters to guide and coordinate various departments in rescue operations. Peng Bibo, chief medical officer of the Chinese International Rescue Team (CIRT), has just finished rescuing tasks in Pakistan's quake-hit area last week. He told Xinhua that China's health, earthquake, agriculture, fire fighting and water resources departments should be integrated into the network so as to cope with natural disasters. All these departments are closely connected when emergency occurred. Peng said China was urged to build a headquarters coordinating all related departments. Such a headquarter should be given a higher administrative title to enable it to supervise others. He said the current emergency response offices in both the central and local governments were on alert only when facing disasters. The temporary coordination in disasters by these offices proved to be unfruitful due to inefficient communication. Peng also said it was highly important to teach the public how to conduct rescues by themselves. The public should be given more training courses on first aid.
Hong Kong Customs, joined by four local Internet Service Providers (ISPs), trade associations and intellectual property rights (IPR) owners of a number of brand names, today (November 7) launched a new scheme to promote auctioning with integrity on the Internet. The four local ISPs providing auction sites are eBay Hong Kong, GO2HK Ltd, SUNeVision RED-DOTS Ltd, and Yahoo! Holdings (Hong Kong) Ltd. The participating trade associations include the Entertainment Software Association, IFPI (Hong Kong) Group Ltd, Motion Picture Association, and Motion Picture Industry Association Ltd, while the brand name owners are adidas-Salomon International Sourcing Ltd, Burberry Asia Ltd, Chanel Ltd, GUCCI Group (Hong Kong) Ltd, LVMH Fashion Group, Nike Inc, Sony Computer Entertainment Hong Kong Ltd, and Sony Corporation of Hong Kong Ltd. The Head of the Intellectual Property Investigation Bureau, Mr Tam Yiu-keung, said at a press conference today that this was another strategic partnership formed between Hong Kong Customs and the industry to protect intellectual property rights following the setting up of the Intellectual Property Rights Protection Alliance (IPRPA) in March, 2004. ※With the growing popularity of electronic auctioning, Customs officers have been staying vigilant, guarding against people using the popular platform of Internet auction sites to sell counterfeit goods. Such unscrupulous practices are being closely monitored and will be strenuously suppressed by Customs officers. We strive to promote industry co-operation in speedy removal of infringing items on the local auction sites by building the mutual trust between intellectual property rights owners and operators of auction sites,§ Mr Tam said, adding that this would help consumers shop with peace of mind on the Internet. Under the new Scheme ※E-Auctioning with Integrity§, the participating ISPs will step up their monitoring of goods auctioned on their sites. As soon as the IPR owners come across any suspected counterfeit goods being auctioned, they will alert the auction sites concerned. The auction sites will then take prompt action to remove the items in question from the sites based on the trust built up with the participating IPR owners under the scheme. Mr Tam said the scheme would be a highly effective measure by the industry to prevent and stop piracy activities at auction sites. ※With this pro-active move of the IPR industry players, Customs officers will be able to direct more resources to deal with counterfeiting crimes on the Internet that involves syndicated activities or of a more serious nature,§ he said. Under the close surveillance and information exchange between HK Customs, ISPs, and IPR owners, Mr Tam said that potential offenders would find it much harder to evade detection. To maintain speedy and timely exchange of information, all participating organisations can make use of the IPRPA website at http://www.iprpa.org. Mr Tam warned that unlawful infringing activities would lead to criminal investigations and prosecutions. Under the Trade Descriptions Ordinance, a person commits an offence if he has, in his possession for sale or for any purpose of trade, any goods to which a forged trade mark or a false trade description is applied. The maximum penalty is a fine of $500,000 and imprisonment for five years. Under Copyright Ordinance, anyone who is found in possession of any infringing article for commercial purpose is liable to prosecution. The maximum penalty is four-year imprisonment and a fine of $50,000 per infringing article. In terms of Internet IPR crime, six cases were cracked in 2004 and so far this year there have been 10 cases. Co-hosting the press briefing were the Director of the E-Commerce Service of Yahoo! Holdings (Hong Kong) Limited, Mr Arthur Chow, and the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong, Kowloon and New Territories Motion Picture Industry Association Ltd, Mr Woody Tsung.
Uncoordinated activities of parallel state organizations dealing with information and communication technology (ICT) affairs have led to the sector failing to develop properly, observed the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) manager for ICT affairs here on Sunday. Hossein Talebi told ISNA that the poor structures of ICT sector will seriously harm the national economy, calling for the merger of parallel ICT bodies to reinforce efforts to develop the key sector. He said that the bill to dissolve parallel state organizations in the ICT sector has not yet been implemented, adding that the High Council for Information Technology which was established by the ICT Ministry is yet to be activated. ※Unfortunately, ICT affairs are being handled by several organizations with quite similar responsibilities,※ he said. Experts maintain that the former Khatami administration managed to prepare the necessary infrastructure for the development of the ICT sector and that the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will not have a tough task in this key sector. However the lack of a comprehensive data center in Iran remains one of the gravest challenges facing ICT development projects. Some 250 trillion rials has to be invested in the ICT sector by 2009.
A senior economic official said here on Friday that Iran will develop its e-commerce with the help of Hong Kong. Mehdi Ghazanfari, who heads Trade Promotion Organization, told Moj news agency that the country＊s e-commerce sector is planning to sign a number of agreements with Hong Kong-based companies.※Hong Kong enjoys great advantages in the field of e-commerce,※ he said, adding that the visiting Hong Kong trade delegation has expressed its willingness to invest in Iran. He said Iranian businesses have done little to boost trade with Hong Kong in recent years, stressing that the Southeast Asian trade team was poorly informed about Iran＊s business laws.※The Hong Kong team＊s worries were chiefly rooted in their lack of information about Iranian market and foreign investment laws as well as privatization modus operandi and foreign investors＊ ownership-related concerns,※ he said, adding that members of the delegation were also asking for information about investment security. He said Iran needs to exert greater efforts to attract foreign investments, adding that the Hong Kong trade team expressed its readiness to create grounds for the participation of IT companies in Iranian e-commerce projects. IT experts say progress in information technology sector depends on joint ventures with foreign parties. Successful countries such as India, United Arab Emirates, Thailand and Singapore have managed to benefit from joint ventures in the IT sector. IT is the powerhouse for development, say experts, adding that information technology is currently employed by more than 80 percent of the global industries. Several IT parks have been planned nationwide to provide high-quality and inexpensive IT services to users. While at the beginning of the Third Five-Year Plan (2000-2005), the number of Internet users was around 200,000, this figure currently exceeds six million.
In a bid to crack down on cyber crimes, Korea's major portals are to introduce a "real-name system" by the end of this year. The Ministry of Information and Communication unveiled a plan yesterday to require Internet users to provide identification, such as their real names and resident registration numbers (the Korean equivalent of U.S. social security numbers), before being allowed to make posts online. At a public hearing attended by related academics and experts, the ministry said that upon receiving a complaint that an online post is infringing on someone's privacy or human rights, or is libelous, it would temporarily block people from reading the message. Following an investigation, a decision would be made to either end the block or make it permanent, the ministry said. The government action is aimed at combating the recent spate of cyberspace incidents involving anonymous posters. Some 61,709 cyberspace crimes were reported last year, 2.7 times the number recorded in 2001. Portal sites with a "large number" of members and visitors or a high annual revenue, along with major news sites, will have to adopt the Internet real-name system, the ministry said. The sites will only allow those who are willing to verify their identities to sign up. However, bulletin boards and Web sites belonging to private businesses, political parties and social groups will not be affected by the measure. The ministry said members of major portals will be able to use nicknames when making posts, but only if they log on through sites where they have submitted their personal details. Portal operators will be able to check the identities of anyone leaving posts at any time. Industry experts said that the measure would have little to no effect on most portals, or their current and future members, because most well-known portals and news sites already operate a system in which members who sign up have to verify their identity. However, some portals that allow anonymous replies and posts with no log-in process will have to conform to the new regulations. After consulting with portal operators and industry experts, the ministry will make any necessary revisions to the legislation, before enacting the regulation late this year. (by Lee Hee-sung)
Soongsil University president Lee Hyo-gae has pledged to transform the school into a leader in information technology study both at home and abroad under a development plan for 2010. Lee, 70, who served as a high-ranking government official for about 40 years, said that the university will launch the college of information and technology in 2006 to sharpen its competitiveness. ``Soongsil has paved the way for the IT sectors as we were the first in the nation to introduce computers in the educational curriculum in 1969,＊＊ he said in an interview with The Korea Times. ``Now we＊re planning to launch the first college of IT of its kind as the separate educational institute, which consists of electronic engineering, computing and media divisions from next year,＊＊ he said. Lee said that the university based in southwestern Seoul will hire world-renowned professors and experts specializing in information technology for the IT college. ``We＊ll make an unparalleled specialization in the software sector, along with media at the college of IT which will debut next year,＊＊ he said. To boost the specialization at the college of IT, the university will provide a four-year full scholarship, free boarding at the school dormitory for students who are in the top eight percent of the College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT) score bracket. Students with English fluency will also be provided with financial support to study at a foreign sister university for one year as part of the policies for the college of IT. Coupled with the IT programs, the university has pushed ahead with the so-called ``ubiquitous＊＊ campus initiative since 2003 to create a mobile-friendly learning environment. He said that the university is planning to implement the second phase of the project to provide wireless portals and build an electronic payment system and a comprehensive database management system. Soongsil will complete the final phase in 2008 to construct a management strategy information system and build an information and communications systems. In addition to the IT policies, he said that about 2,500 freshmen every year will be accommodated in the residence hall which is designed to oblige students to speak only in English, along with Japanese and Chinese under the project 2010. ``I am planning to attract the world＊s top notch dormitory specialists to connect English to a regular educational curriculum in the residence hall named the English-only zone in a bid to push ahead with the project of `Global Brain,＊＊＊ he said. The university has newly selected 12 professors for the fall semester to provide lectures in English, he said. To realize the 2010 project, he visited the United States on Aug. 4-16 to recruit Korean students who are currently completing doctorates at American universities and to promote Soongsil among overseas Koreans. ``In Boston, I promoted Soongsil among Korean students who are supposed to complete their Ph.D. soon and promised to hire them as Soongsil faculty members after they graduate,＊＊ he said. He said that the university signed a sisterhood agreement with the University of Cincinnati in the U.S. during the faculty recruiting tour. He also waged a series of promotional tours at the University of Southern California, the University of California at Los Angeles and the Oklahoma State University. ``After the tour, a lot of Korean would-be graduates studying for their Ph.D. in the U.S. are fervently sending their responding emails to question about the scheduled recruitment,＊＊ he said. Soongsil currently operates student exchange programs with 41 partner institutions in 12 countries including the U.S., Canada, Japan, China, Finland and the Netherlands. According to the university, it also runs overseas volunteer activity programs under the Christian-oriented educational philosophy of service and truth. Soongsil students first took part in the building of housing in the Philippines with the Habitat for Humanity Korea in the international volunteer programs, which began in 1997. Since then, the university has expanded service and mission teams to other countries such as Nepal, Mongolia, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. To refresh its image, Soongsil has begun the construction alongside the campus to create an eco-friendly environment since last November in cooperation with the Seoul City government. ``We tore down the wall on about a 600-meter route between the campus and the street in April. The construction is expected to be completed around November with a variety of trees planted and cultural and artistic exhibitions to take place to provide an eco-friendly environment both for students and nearby residents,＊＊ he said. Lee pledged to raise about 130 billion won for the school development fund during his four-year term in office to realize the development projects when he was appointed as the top position at the university in February. As part of the fundraising, he became the first university president to vow to work as head of the university without wages to improve the university＊s financial soundness in February. An estimated 500 million won collected from his four-year wages will be used in the university development fund, he said. ``I＊ve decided to refuse to receive any wages during my term because I want to help Soongsil emerge as a world-renowned university with strong academic infrastructures and programs. I want to be a role model to start bringing changes to the university,＊＊ he said. Soongsil University, now boasting of some 55,000 alumni, was originally established by Christian missionaries and with the help of the citizens of Pyongyang in 1897. However, it was reopened in Seoul in 1954 after shutting down in 1938 in protest of the Japanese policy of forcing Koreans to pay tribute to Shinto shrines during the 1910-45 Japanese colonial rule. (by Chung Ah-young)
Next December, the Korean government plans to adopt a strengthened personal identity authentication system for Internet banking called the one-time password (OTP) formula. Although the system is not mandatory, banks and individuals are likely to embrace it because those who use the format will be given incentives, such as a higher daily transactions ceiling, on top of better security. The Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) Tuesday revealed a policy package aimed at thwarting identity theft in online transactions including the OTP. OTP verification refers to a security system that requires a new password every time a user authenticates himself, thus protecting against an intruder attempting to use an intercepted password. A small terminal generates a series of passwords six to eight digits long used to log on to an Internet banking site. It changes the OTP every minute so that hackers cannot use stolen OTPs. Up until now, banks resorted to security cards with 30-35 passwords and the system led to the country＊s first Internet banking crime in which individuals captured passwords with a key-logger program. ``We expect OTP to become mainstream because we look to set higher transaction ceilings for OTP users than security card users,＊＊ MIC director general Kang Jung-hyup said. People using OTP and digital signature certificates will be allowed to transfer 500 million won a day on the Internet beginning next December, 10 times more than users of traditional security cards. ``In time with the full-fledged launch of the OTP, we expect small-sized OTP terminals to be developed that they can be embedded into cell phones or a key ring,＊＊ Kang said. He added that over the long haul, a single OTP terminal will be able to provide passwords for multiple banks by integrating servers of the banks. Internet banking has caught on as the number of Internet banking trading stood at 9.24 million cases during the second quarter of 2005, accounting for 75.5 percent of total financial transactions in cyberspace. Along with the OTP system, the MIC looks to build and distribute new anti-hacking software with stronger security capability this year by teaming up with the Financial Supervisory Service. In addition, Internet users will have to install firewall program for all kinds of online financial transactions, such as stock trading and insurance, to prevent hackers from stealing personal information starting in December. Thus far, only Internet baking users have been required to install the firewall software. (by Kim Tae-gyu)
Citizens have civil documents issued at the Chongno ward office, central Seoul, Wednesday. The government has decided to stop issuing civil documents through its online public service, following growing concerns about forgery. Forgers of civil documents who use online public services to commit their crimes will face severe punishment, as the government has pledged to root out the practice. The move came after online services for issuing civil documents, including resident registration, were suspended amid growing concerns about forgery. The Government Information Agency said Wednesday that the government has decided to create a task force next month to draw up measures against document fabrication. It said the task force will be run by the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs, the National Tax Service, the Supreme Court and other related government agencies. The decision was made during a meeting presided over by Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan. The government has also decided to set up an administrative information sharing system by 2007 to monitor possible forgeries of civil documents. ``We will make every effort to confirm that Internet issuance services will resume by late October,＊＊ an official said. Boosted by a broadband network, Korea launched in 2003 the G4C, or the government for citizens system, under which civil documents are available online. The system was designed to make public service procedures simple and convenient as part of the e-government project. However, Rep. Kwon Oh-eul of the opposition Grand National Party (GNP) raised concerns about sloppy cyber security during a National Assembly inspection last Friday. He admitted that the services are vulnerable to crimes and that the online documents can be easily fabricated. ``Documents can be forged before printout when they are transmitted to personal computers right after being approved on the Web site of the ministry, rather than being falsified in the printed documents,＊＊ Kwon said. In the wake of the claim, the government has suspended the online services of about 21 kinds of administrative documents, including certificates of resident registration and tax payment. The Supreme Court has also temporarily shut down online services for the issuance of property and business registration documents since Tuesday. (by Moon Gwang-lip)
Defense Minister Yoon Kwang-ung will discuss the proposed military reform measures with Internet users online on Thursday, the Defense Ministry said Wednesday. During the 90-minute meeting organized by the online news service OhmyNews, Yoon will explain the plan in an open manner to build public consensus on it, the ministry said. About 20 selected Internet users will debate on the issue with the defense minister online, and others can participate in the meeting by posting questions on the OhmyNews website. The plan, announced last month, calls for the reduction of South Korean troops from 681,000 to 500,000, mostly Army soldiers, by 2020 on a gradual basis to transform the manpower-intensive armed forces into a "smaller but stronger"unit.
Asia Economy Korea Network (AKN), an online financial journal, will launch its Internet news service next month. AKN chief executive Kwak Young-kil said Thursday that his company will officially begin Korean language news service at www.asiaeconomy.co.kr and its English version at www.invest-korea.co.kr on Oct. 4. ``Our news service will primarily tackle big economic and business issues in emerging Asian economies, such as China, India, Russia and Central Asian countries, that are rising as a new axis of the global economy on top of the financial news on Korea,＊＊ Kwak said. The news company seeks to distinguish its service from existing Korean financial news media that generally focus only on the Korean economy due largely to the language barrier. ``By providing reliable in-depth news reports on Asian financial and business markets in real-time, we will ensure that our online news service will render great help to Korean companies and financial institutions that are seeking to explore new offshore business opportunities and foreign investors wanting to make inroads into Korea,＊＊ he added. AKN, which hopes to grow into a premier news site in Asia, will place special focus on the Asian region＊s manufacturing and financial industries, as well as energy and logistics areas. AKN＊s journalists consist of experienced reporters from Korea＊s major newspapers and economic dailies. The company has launched pilot news services of both its Web sites since Sept. 15. AKN deputy editor-in-chief Park Jung-kyoo said the company is exchanging its Internet banner ads with major international news media, such as The Financial Times of the U.K., to maximize its exposure to foreign readers. The web site is seeking a strategic alliance with Korea＊s English-language daily and Park expects the alliance to generate a considerable synergy effect for AKN to spring up as a leading regional financial news provider in Asia. AKN plans to publish an offline newspaper sometime next year. (by Kim Sung-jin)
Gov't Seeks Internet Security to Thwart Fraudsters
Seoul, Korea - Republic of Korea Civil Service Commission (CSC) today launched its renewed website. The site has a new design and a number of additional facilities, including the News and Resources section, which makes it more accessible and user-friendly. The renewed website better fulfils CSC＊s aim of providing accurate, useful and timely information about the Korea＊s civil service system, government personnel policies, and major organizational functions and activities. The renewed website is more interactive and informative, while remaining visually clean and easy to navigate. It is now more intuitive and information is easier to access, whether it is to find a recent reform initiative or detailed policy information.
South Korea will phase in a new online identification system Tuesday to replace the current one using resident registration numbers, which critics have accused of containing too much sensitive information. In a hearing, the Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) Monday announced five alternatives to the Korean version of the United States social security numbers. ``Our guideline will include five options. Web sites can select one or several of them starting tomorrow (Tuesday),＊＊ MIC director general Lee Sung-ok said. ``We will not require the companies to employ the new formats at the moment. But after checking their viability, we are thinking of making them compulsory in 2007,＊＊ he said. Basically, the five ways can be classified into two categories _ the digital signature certificate or confirmation of personal identification through authentication agencies. ``Individuals are required to present resident registration numbers in all the five ways when they subscribe to Web portals, but the portals will not keep the data any longer,＊＊ he said. Currently, most Korean Internet sites let users sign up for services only after users provide resident registration numbers. Under the new system, however, the verification of individuals will be conducted through such authentication institutes as the National Information and Credit Evaluation, not the portals. As a result, Internet portals cannot access the resident registration numbers of their customers, reducing the risk of leakage. Yet, some experts contend the step is not enough because it is merely a guideline, not a coercive measure, thus leaving the final decision with the Internet portals. The MIC also admits it is a problem. ``The downside is that it would take money and effort for Web sites to adopt the new formula because they would have to overhaul their databases to do so. Consequently, we expect smaller players would adopt this measure in the early stages,＊＊ Lee said. But he added alternative ways will prevail in the long run as market forces compel Internet companies to embrace measures loved by security-conscious end users. ``We are resolutely committed to blocking privacy infringement on the back of a new system other than resident registration numbers. That is why we are mulling over mandatory adoption of alternatives as an option,＊＊ he claimed. The move may mark a major victory for civic groups and privacy advocates who have urged the government to start a new online identification system instead of personal data-loaded resident card numbers. They insisted that the 13-digit number, a combination of birth date, gender, first registration region and registration order, could trigger identity theft, a fast-growing headache. The Korea Information Security Agency shows that the leakage of personal data, most of it resident registration numbers, reported to the government-sponsored agency has soared over the past several years. The reports numbered 5,785 cases in 2002 but the figure skyrocketed to 8,298 in 2002 and 9,163 last year and continues to rise this year. The MIC measure is in line with the policy of the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs, which plans to announce new model identification cards next April. Critics have said the current cards that contain resident registration numbers and fingerprints pose a threat to personal privacy. Also, the cards released in 1999 are made of plastic, making them vulnerable to fraud. An option now being examined is to issue in 2007 new electronic cards, which will have integrated circuit (IC) chips to prevent illegal duplication. (by Kim Tae-gyu)
KT, Korea＊s top fixed-line telecom operator, Monday launched homegrown Internet-on-the-go services, called WiBro, in time with the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) gatherings in Pusan (Busan). The carrier held the opening ceremony of the WiBro services at the Paradise Hotel attended by lawmakers, ranked government officials and overseas businessmen. KT showcased WiBro applications such as streaming news clips and music videos by connecting to the Internet wirelessly as well as trying multi-way video calls from a moving vehicle. In a speech geared toward celebrating the ceremony, Information-Communication Minister Chin Dae-je articulated his commitment to the services. ``This event will raise the profile of WiBro in the minds of people from across the world. We will not spare any efforts to support the uptake of WiBro,＊＊ he said. WiBro alludes to the locally developed portable Internet that allows people on the road to remain connected to the Web at the speed of the current fixed-line broadband. KT plans to give an opportunity for political leaders and corporate representatives taking part in the annual APEC meetings to feel the offerings hands-on by providing hundreds of WiBro terminals to them. Those who carry WiBro gadgets can log on to the Internet at any time and at anywhere. Plus, mobile reception is possible at a car, which runs as fast as 60 kilometers per hour. Others APEC participants can experience WiBro services at an info-tech exhibition at BEXCO, the convention center in southern Seoul, which will continue from Tuesday through Nov. 21. For the general public, the display will be open for two days on Nov. 20 and 21. Currently two WiBro terminals are available, made by the world＊s third-largest cell phone maker Samsung Electronics _ one cell phone-sized and the other the size of a personal digital assistant. In order to make a PC-like user interface, the WiBro devices use an input system identical to PC keyboards, dubbed QWERTY, a name produced by combining the first six letters of a standard keyboard. People can also insert a card into their notebook computers in order to enjoy the mobile Internet through the machines. In particular, the cell phone-type terminal is a much-awaited dual-band-dual-mode gizmo, which enables both mobile call and WiBro access with a single device. The versatile phones came much faster than expected, prompting market observers to improve projections on the commercial viability of WiBro. ``It is surprising the dual-mode terminals are being unveiled already. It will add a substantial momentum to WiBro since people will be able to enjoy WiBro services via their cell phones,＊＊ said Stan Jung, an analyst at Woori Securities. ``I don＊t think you should carry two terminals at the same time _ one for mobile telephony services and the other for WiBro. Who wants to carry both? But with the advent of the dual-mode phones, you don＊t have to worry about that,＊＊ he added. KT, the former state monopoly that was fully privatized in 2002, plans to roll out full-fledged commercial WiBro services early next year. (by Kim Tae-gyu)
The Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) started a new service that provides moving images that can be projected on the screen of mobile phones on Monday (Oct. 31) to raise the public＊s interest in the government＊s IT 839 policy. The moving images include ※IT 839,§ ※Dynamic Korea,§ ※U-Korea,§ ※cozy ubiquitous world§ and several others. One of the images shows the Red Devils, the South Korean cheering squad during the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup finals, with a large national flag, followed by slogan, ※U-Korea.§ The ministry plans to collect netizens＊ opinions and ideas to supplement its contents, adding a variety of images that stand for traditional Korean beauty, to optimize overseas publicity. To download moving images to your mobile phone, click the banner, ※MIC met in the mobile phone§ on the ministry＊s Internet homepage, www.mic.go.kr, opt for one that you like and follow the instructions.
Turkey signs US$23.6 million deal for government portal. The project will involve the construction of an e-government portal for the Turkish government, provided by Singapore-based CrimsonLogic. The portal aims to provide a single point of access to e-government services for Turkey's 70 million citizens, along with its 30 government agencies. "The project will help transform Turkey's public administration into being more citizen- and business-centric and facilitate Turkey's entry into the European Union," said Leong Peng Kiong, CrimsonLogic's acting Chief Executive Officer. The gateway will "lay the groundwork for Turkey's participation in future pan-European e-government services that require interoperability with services of EU nations," he said. Turkish company Oyak Technologies will act as the local partner for the deal.
The Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources (MIPR) has begun the implementation of its 'e-MIPR' programme to deliver fast, accurate, efficient and business friendly online services for investors, entrepreneurs and businesses. E-MIPR consists of four separate projects between the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources and three local IT companies. The projects involve the establishment of LAN infrastructure connecting the department's headquarters and its site offices in a secured virtual private network (VPN). To date five e-MIPR projects, namely network - infrastructures for Agriculture department, Forestry, Department, Fisheries Department, Brunei Industrial Development Authority (BINA) and the Ministry's IT Centre, have been approved by the State Tender Board. Overseeing the implementation of the projects is the MIPR's e-Government Implementation Committee. A contract signing ceremony was overseen by senior officials from MIPR and the participating IT companies. The guest of honour was Haji Mohd Hamid bin Haji Mohd Jaafar, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources.
The Government is happy with the introduction of information technology in courts. Minister in the Prime Minister＊s Department Datuk Seri Mohd Radzi Sheikh Ahmad said a pilot project 每 Court Recording and Transcription (CRT) system 每 was now being used at the Commercial High Courts at the Sultan Abdul Samad Building and the Civil High Courts at Wisma Denmark here since December. ※Looking at its potential, I think it is a viable system as it will definitely speed things up and, on top of that, with accuracy,§ he told newsmen after visiting the courts in Wisma Denmark yesterday. When the CRT is fully implemented, the recording of testimonies by hand would be taken over by transcribers. He said with the CRT system, all statements and records stored in the system could be retrieved by the judges, lawyers and prosecutors at a click of the mouse. Besides the CRT system, an electronically-managed system called Case Management System was also being put on trial at 11 courts in the Klang Valley. ※Both systems are under the E-Judicial project which we are developing at a cost of about RM23mil,§ he said.
Mozambique wants Malaysia to help it implement e-government, including the smart card, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jamaluddin Jarjis said. He said the request came from his counterpart Dr Venacioio Massiugi who had talks with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. He said he had asked Dr Massiugi to convey the request through President Armando Emilio Guebuza during his meeting with Abdullah. Dr Jamaluddin told reporters that once the request was formalised, he would rope in Exim Bank (Export and Import Bank Malaysia) to consider providing loans for Mozambique. He said financing was a major issue faced by many south African countries. ※With Exim Bank＊s involvement, the loans will be a government-to-government matter,§ he said. Dr Jamaluddin had earlier taken part in the dialogue on Challenges and Opportunities for Growth, which was moderated by Guebuza and facilitated by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad at the Global 2005 Smart Partnership International Dialogue here. On his talk with Dr Massiugi, Dr Jamaluddin said he shared Malaysia＊s experience in developing small- and medium-size entrepreneurs as an engine of growth. He said Mozambique was impressed that Malaysia had an SME Bank to provide soft loans to those in the sector. Meanwhile, Abdullah met smart partners and heads of states during lunch on the first day of the four-day dialogue and later visited a Malaysian textiles factory.
South Korean companies are willing to help Malaysia turn its e-government initiative into reality. Bob Chua, chief executive director of iPark Singapore, said Malaysia could learn a lot about implementing e-government from South Korea. South Korea has effectively implemented e-government and is the world leader in e-government services, he said. ※It has been ranked No 1 by the United Nations.§ iPark is an agency that promotes the South Korean information technology industry. It has a regional office in Singapore to facilitate its activities in South-East Asia. Chua was in Kuala Lumpur to attend the annual iPark forum here recently. It is the third such forum in this country to help forge partnerships between local IT companies and their Seoul counterparts, with the aim of developing the Multimedia Super Corridor's seven flagship applications. E-government is one of the applications. According to Chua, Malaysia has the technology to implement e-government but its people need to be more tech-savvy. He said the main factor for South Korea's successful implementation of e-government is its high number of educated and tech-savvy people. ※South Korea has an educated workforce that is very inclined to technology,§ he said.
The Ha Noi municipal People＊s Committee has opened a new centre for IT transaction and support on Thursday with the technical co-operation of Ha Noi Department of Post and Telecommunications, the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the PC World Viet Nam Magazine. The IT centre was built as part of celebrating the 995 anniversary of Thang Long, Ha Noi. At the inaugural ceremony, the Ha Noi Department of Post and Telecommunications, the VCCI, and the PC World Magazine signed an agreement of co-operation. Vietnamese IT products and equipments were on display during the occasion.
The Ministry of Education and Training on Wednesday opened its e-learning portal at www.el.edu.net.vn, providing an integral link in the EduNet education network. Director of the IT Centre at the Ministry of Education and Training Quach Tuan Ngoc said the service will invigorate online learning in the country. The e-learning project began earlier in the year, and will be developed with technology from Hewlett-Packard Viet Nam and with help from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
BANGLADESH: Govt Goes Online - PM Opens CD, Website of Digitized Forms
ZAHEDUL ISLAM -- The government will establish broadband optical access networks and IP-based gateway platforms across the country to distribute the bandwidth capacity of submarine cable to the private sector telecommunication service providers for maximum UTILISATION. Bangladesh is already connected with the 16-party consortium of the 20,000 km SEA-ME-WE-4 submarine cable projects as it has already installed the 1,260 km branch line cable from the landing station at ZHILANJA in Cox Bazaar and at a point in the backbone of the undersea cable in the Indian Ocean. As a consortium member, the state-owned Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board has to spend TK 657 crore for the laying of the submarine cable project which also includes installation of an optical link between CHITTAGONG and Cox Bazaar. The capacity of the undersea cable will be available in the national network after the installation of FIBRE link between Cox Bazaar landing station and CHITTAGONG, which is expected to be completed by April next year. Sources said that the BTTB has taken up a TK 65 crore project, which is awaiting approval of the Planning Commission, to build up access networks. The BTTB will able to distribute the vast bandwidth capacity of the submarine cable among the internet service providers, mobile operators and public switched telecom network operators when the access networks are established, said an engineer of the telephone board. Without the access network, it is not possible for the telephone board to distribute the capacity to other users, particularly for providing data service,? said the engineer. However, officials said that initially the telephone board will provide only voice traffic through the submarine cable. The board has also formed a committee headed by the director (international traffic) to formulate marketing and pricing polices for selling the bandwidth to the private sector telecommunication service providers. According to the officials, the telephone board has already done some preliminary technical and financial feasibility study of the project, to find out how much demand for international traffic will be in this network and when the government will start getting returns from it. The preliminary results of this analysis show that the voice and data industry of Bangladesh will require 5Gbps to 10Gbps by 2010, and therefore the proposed system will provide this capacity and further capacity can be obtained from the system with additional investment. Sources said that submarine cable will improve overseas voice and data communication and meet the ever increasing demand for international traffic by using high quality international FIBRE optic circuits. It will improve the quality of speech and reduce the international call charge, replacing the current high cost and lower quality satellite system, said an engineer of the telephone board. Industry people said that the undersea cable will establish an international telecom infrastructure to provide high speed data network facility required for the fledgling data entry/processing and software development industry in the country at lower costs.
Mobiles Are Being Extensively Used for E-learning, E-commerce, and E-government
LUCKNOW -- Uttar Pradesh is all set for an e-revolution, if one goes by the blueprint of Rs 168 crore mega project to be funded by the Union government under the national e-governance programme. The project aims to link all the village panchayats with the state capital. A meeting was convened by the chief secretary to asses the progress made in this regard. The meeting was attended by the agricultural production commissioner (APC), industrial development commissioner (IDC), social welfare commissioner and principal secretaries of planning, finance, panchayati raj and information technology. The project will work on the concept of state wide area network (WAN) providing 2 mbps bandwidth up to block level. From here onwards, the gram panchayats would be connected through wireless system and this project would be implemented by he National Informatics Centre. Once the project is implemented, not only the developmental work being carried at the district or block level could be assessed sitting at the state headquarters but also the basic infrastructure coming up at the village level would be under the scanner, said a senior official. He said that the facility would also help in keeping a track of the grievances of the people, again to the village panchayat level. "Timely redressal of people's complaints would be carried out in a transparent manner and above all, it would certainly be easy to fix accountability in the event of a delay at any point," said the official. The Urban populace would also reap in the benefit of e-governance as key customer-related service including the offices of the district magistrates and the police chief would be linked to it and people will not have to run from one place to another for getting routine information, the official added. On being contacted, principal secretary, IT, Zohra Chatterji confirmed that a blueprint of the project is being prepared, adding "a survey of hardware capacity building measures was underway, following which the e-governance roadmap of the state would be drawn and forwarded to Government of India for speedy implementation." (by Rajesh N Singh)
MALE -- Telecommunication Authority of Maldives (TAM) has said that highest priority in their new telecommunication policy will be given to overcome the difference between telecommunication services between Male and the islands. To compose the telecommunication policy of the upcoming five years, TAM has been conducting meetings to gather view points of the islanders. ?Among the meetings we have held in the islands, when we considered different individual areas, there are major differences but when it comes to telecommunication, there are various similarities. The islanders are not just thinking about their own islands. When a policy is made for the whole country, certain things have to be considered,? Chief Executive Officer of TAM Mohamed Amir said, last week. ?In the islands, which do not have telecommunication services, the highest priority will be given to provide the services. There are islands which have fixed lines and receive mobile phone services and there are islands with just fixed lines and in some just mobile phone services are received. We have noticed these differences during the meetings,? Amir said. According to him, during the meetings, it was discussed to provide satellite phone services in the case of telecommunication failure, due to a disaster such as a tsunami. Moreover it was discussed about the creation of a primary policy when providing telecommunication services. Amir said that besides gathering the view points of the islanders it was important to gather view from people who receive the telecommunication services to the highest extents.
The federal government today confirmed work was underway on a proposal to deploy smartcards to millions of Australians under a project to slash administrative costs and crack down on identity theft. Senator Eric Abetz, the Special Minister of State, told ZDNet Australia today he and the Minister for Human Services, Joe Hockey, were working on a project that would see cards incorporating smart chip technology and a photograph of the bearer replace a raft of government services and concession cards, including Medicare cards. Senator Abetz said in all, 26 government services and concession cards could be replaced if and when the new card was distributed. The project under consideration is believed to cost around AU$500 million -- two and a half times the figure quoted in some newspaper articles on the topic. It is understood the government is hoping to have the first cards rolled out in around two years. Senator Abetz told ZDNet Australia he planned to say more about the government's plans in the area over the next few months. The Minister told a Sydney conference this morning smartcards had the potential to "revolutionise" government service delivery. "For example, in health care, a smartcard would help citizens to get better care and better service, faster. "It would help healthcare providers to manage their business more efficiently and be paid more quickly for their services. "And it could also benefit the taxpayer, by providing government with a powerful anti-fraud weapon. "Similar benefits could be gained by applying smartcard technology to other government services, such as Centrelink," Abetz said. Only 10 percent of the 180 million client transactions undertaken by Centrelink each year are undertaken online or via self-service facilities, the Minister said. Smart chip technology could drive this percentage upwards, "freeing up staff for more difficult situations that require the human touch". "Potentially, a smartcard would also help us counter the insidious and growing threat of identity theft, a matter to which the Attorney-General and I, in my capacity as Minister for e-government, are paying a great deal of attention. "In fact, I have no doubt that smart chip technology would actually improve the security of an individual's identity, given the relative ease with which the data on a magnetic strip card can be stolen". Senator Abetz also signalled plans to roll out "a standard card of some type, perhaps using smart chip technology" across the Australian public service to replace the "plethora" of identification tokens presently in use.
The NSW Office of State Revenue (OSR) collects about $14 billion a year and Linux plays a key part in it. For OSR's CIO, Mike Kennedy, open systems are essential to providing agility in government. OSR, like any government agency has to be able to deal with policy changes and decisions, which often have short lead times, Kennedy said. "One of the things we have tried to do is use enterprise architecture to help us deal with those changes. The core pieces of our enterprise architecture are open source and commodity hardware-based approaches," he said. "By having a more flexible approach in architecture, we've been able to adapt to a doubling of our staff, changes of location, and up to 300 percent increases in transaction volumes." Kennedy said OSR uses commodity hardware (Dell Intel boxes) running Linux, which it has used for close to six years. "We initially used Debian, however, three years ago we moved to RedHat to get better support," he said. "While a lot of organizations start playing with Linux on the edge of the network, we started using it in electronic service delivery and running core business applications on it, so Linux is the core of our data centre," he said. OSR also includes some proprietary products in its architecture. "We use open source as one of our two server platforms and we probably have more open source than non-open source servers now. However, for our core databases, we actually use a proprietary database, which is Oracle, only because we couldn't find an open source solution at the time that suited all our needs," Kennedy said. "So it isn't a mantra of 'open source and nothing else'; it is a mantra of what will give us the best business outcome." Kennedy said that while technologists in the private sector can speak publicly about the "risks" they are taking because it may be seen as having a competitive edge, technologists in the public sector are much less likely to want to take risks or be seen to take risks. "But the stigma of open source and the risk associated with it has largely gone now. All the big players like Oracle, IBM, HP and Fujitsu, are providing support for Linux now, so it's really a horses-for-courses decision," he said. Kennedy will be speaking about 'Creating agility in government through use of open source and commodity hardware' at SEARCC 05 later this morning.
When it comes to an intellectually satisfying and financially rewarding career in ICT, the federal government has an image problem and could do with a marketing makeover, according to Australian government CIO Ann Steward. Speaking at the South East Asian Regional Computer Confederation confrerence (SEARCC 2005) in Sydney yesterday, Steward warned that public sector agencies need to promote themselves as employers of first choice for ICT professionals if they hope to compete with industry and secure the best IT and managerial talent for their organizations. Steward said the federal government needed to lift its game and should "focus and create an ICT community of practice", adding that governments in general do not do enough to "market the leading edge technical projects", to the available workforce. Steward's frank insight comes as numerous government agencies struggle to fill an employment void of more than a thousand, new, Canberra-based IT positions created by projects such as Welfare to Work crackdown on social security recipients, the Australian Taxation Office's Change Program and Centrelink's IT Refresh project. Steward said government agencies "don't necessarily behave all that well", on collaboratively forecasting the demands for ICT skills in the public service, a situation she is seeking to rectify by creating a "demand-side" survey for ICT skills across agencies to negotiate around potential bottlenecks. However, Steward stressed she did not intend to create some sort of centralized IT labour pool for the government, but to allow senior managers to better plan by seeing what their colleagues were doing. Asked if it was possible the government might create either subsidize IT scholarships at a tertiary level, or traineeships for graduates, Steward said many agencies, including her Department of Finance, already had graduate programs in place. Steward rejected the proposition that the current ICT skills shortage would cause federal projects to be delayed or overshoot their budgets because of an underestimation of labour costs.
Queensland's Ipswich City Council has signed a four-year contract worth $37 million for a project which includes the deployment of an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. The local government authority, which inked the deal with Fujitsu Australia, is looking to technology to assist with an influx of more than 100,000 residents to the area in the next few years. Paul Tully, the council's IT chairman, said council will spend up to $1.5 billion over the next decade on new and refurbished infrastructure. "The total project budget over the next four years will exceed $37 million including access to Fujitsu resources, employing project staff and procuring new hardware and software applications to replace ageing systems," Tully said. "It is vital for the future of Ipswich that we move into this next important chapter of development armed with the necessary technology and systems. "Like all organizations there must be a regular cycle of change and review, and this partnership with Fujitsu will be the most far-reaching and important review of how we operate that I have seen in 26 years as a councillor." Paul Pisasale, Ipswich's mayor, said Fujitsu's role is to advance the business transformation process, as well as develop the long-term capability of the organization by providing specialist consulting resources and expert methodologies. "Council must run its affairs like a business so we get the best return on investment for the people of Ipswich," he added. Rod Vawdrey, Fujitsu CEO, said the Ipswich region will gain from this partnership through the transformation of council processes and services, and re-skilling of staff. He said the contract builds on a number of successful projects undertaken with the council over the past 12 months.
The federal government has announced the establishment of a taskforce to combat threatened shortfalls in some ICT skills within the Australian Public Service (APS). The group will comprise senior officials from the Australian Taxation Office and the defence, education, IT and veterans' affairs departments. The taskforce will work with educational institutions and industry bodies like the Australian Information Industry Association and the Australian Computer Society to address an emerging imbalance in the supply and demand of specialist ICT professionals within the public sector. "As a significant employer and consumer in the ICT industry, it is vital that the APS work to ensure that it has the adequate ICT skills to ensure the efficient and effective delivery of projects and services," Special Minister of State Senator Eric Abetz said in a statement. Priority action areas will be established at its inaugural meeting today, Abetz said.
The federal government last year awarded more than $3 billion in ICT contracts, an increase of 11 percent, according to recent research. Based on information from AusTender, analysis from research and consulting firm Intermedium showed that 78 federal government agencies reported just over 24,000 ICT contracts, up from 73 agencies last financial year. Intermedium said this was largely due to the impact of the Free Trade Agreement. The firm's director Judy Hurditch said the 78 agencies listed account for most of the federal government ICT contracting activity. "The data is a window into new business won in 2004-2005, and so provides valuable market intelligence, particularly for suppliers interested in how they are performing relative to their competitors," she said. Intermedium extracted the 2004-05 contract data from AusTender on September 30. 'We wait three months after the end of the financial year to let the data stabilize, as some agencies take a while to do their reporting", Hurditch said. "The value of reported contracts as at September 30 was $2.99 billion. Allowing for those agencies which do not publish their contract data, and for the fact that some 2004-05 contracts may yet be published, I am confident the full value of the market for 2004-05 will exceed $3 billion." Key outcomes of the analysis include the fact that the market has grown 11 percent each year for the last two years. "Few suppliers can complain about this level of growth," she said. IT services made up the bulk of the growth with a number of large outsourcing contract renewals. Across the other segments, hardware dropped, as did the large office machines and telecommunications equipment segments, but software and telecommunications services increased. "Part of the reason for the drop appears to be that hardware and telecommunications equipment is now increasingly being supplied in managed services arrangements and so agencies are not entering into separate contracts with suppliers," Hurditch said. Five agencies have now averaged more than $100 million a year in new contracts over the last three years. "These agencies constitute Intermedium's tier one and they dominate the market, accounting for 75 percent of contracts," she said. The top four contracts combined are worth almost $800 million and cover outsourcing services, telecommunications and enterprise software agreements. "Some categories, such as cabling, continue to be solid niches for specialist participants," Hurditch said. "Others, such as photocopiers, are being cannibalized by multifunction devices, with that market down from a high of $21 million in 2002-03 to $13 million last year, a drop of nearly 40 percent." Of the $2.99 billion in contracts awarded, about half were sole source - awarded via contract extensions or variations to incumbent suppliers. "If ever there was solid evidence of the value of incumbency - this is it," Hurditch said. Intermedium will brief ICT suppliers and government purchasers on their 2004-05 findings in Canberra on November 22, 2005. A number of federal government IT executives who spoke to Computerworld agreed with the research claiming there has been plenty of ICT activity in the nation's capital, adding it was a constant search to find skilled talent to meet demand.
With the unenviable responsibility for housing potentially petabytes of government information that's both public and 'private', the National Archives of Australia (NAA) in Canberra is set to launch its digital archiving service on new infrastructure. Lola McKinnon, acting director of the National Archives' digital records projects and operations, said the rate of creation of digital information has spurred a set of "e-permanence" products and guidelines, which is the framework for developing the e-records management system and maintaining it. "Digital records are subject to the same constraint as paper, which may be made available to the public," McKinnon told Computerworld. "But most records are kept 'private' for 30 years, which makes managing the two types of information a challenge." With that objective, National Archives designed and built a digital records prototype system with in-house developed applications. The infrastructure consists of two separate systems, one running Windows 2000 with 6.5TB of EMC CX500 disk and the other running Red Hat Enterprise 3.0 with 5.5TB of Apple Xserve storage. David Pearson, NAA repository manager, said having two repositories with different technologies and vendors results in a "whole lot of redundancy" in the long term, but keeping them synchronized will be a challenge. A new 12-rack capacity computer room was built in NAA's Mitchell building in Canberra for the project and came online in March this year. The room and hardware cost about $1.2 million. NAA will look at upgrading storage for this facility within six months. The application software, developed in-house, was open sourced by the NAA: Xena, written in Java, which converts electronic records into a standard XML format, Digital Preservation Recorder to track the actions of record, and a Quest database for keeping information about objects in a repository. Pearson said the project has become one of digital preservation. "Traditionally in the paper world, we take about 5 percent of paper from [government departments and] agencies, but how much we will take in digital we don't know, it may be 5 or 10 percent," Pearson said, adding that since no agency tells the NAA how much digital data they'll submit, it makes capacity planning "quite frustrating". McKinnon said the digital archive will eventually get to petabyte scale. Agencies have to recognize this, she said, and cited as an example one unnamed agency which has 35TB of e-mail alone. "A number of agencies are keen; for a lot it's a change in mindset from paper to digital," she said. "That's something to address." The NAA estimates the cost of digitizing its existing paper content would be "in the billions", but it will continue offering "digitization on demand". "What we keep inside the digital archive is born digital that's been given to us for preservation," Pearson said, adding if the content is paper, it won't be stored in the new digital storage system unless there is a good reason. "When we have multiple terabytes and get beyond prototype we would like to have off-site backups and may completely forget about any tape backups," he said, adding conservation is imperative. "The record is king and everything else is secondary." When NAA has a large quantity of digital records that are in the "open period" (available to the public), it will store this in a Web-based access repository managed by internal IT, not archives. "All the paper in a building could be 5TB so we could store it on a couple of RAID boxes," Pearson said. "It's quite amazing when you look at the benefits and in the long run it will be cheaper to manage. From a risk perspective, it's a good thing." From what's traditionally been a paper paradigm, McKinnon described going digital as "a brave new world for archiving".
The Federal Department of Finance and Administration (DOFA) today inked a $1.8 million contract with Siemens to upgrade its communications network across four sites in Canberra. The department will install Siemens HiPath 4000 Real-time IP system and the Siemens ProCenter 5.1 Contact Centre solution which includes more than 1,400 OptiPoint 500 handsets. Siemens general manager David Healy said the three-month rollout allows DOFA to protect its existing investment as the solution allows IP and traditional TDM networks to co-exist. "And because the secure core architecture is separate from the user interfaces, security against attacks is at the highest possible level, ensuring system integrity," he added. Commander business development manager Mike Doering said the easy migration path to new technology allowed Siemens to win the competitive bid. "We listened very carefully to what DOFA wanted from its new communications network. We are setting the foundation for DOFA to future-proof their network," Doering said. The HiPath 4000 connects the central location to the other three offices over a fibre optic cable via a wide area network IP link. Because employees work across all four sites, Doering said flexibility was a key consideration and this included allowing users to connect over IP networks or a traditional circuit-switched system. He said up to 100,000 IP or TDM users can connect at any given time. This is in addition to built-in redundancy which guarantees 100 percent uptime from the IP network to a public telephone network (PSTN) as well as the capacity to link a wide range of applications. (by Sandra Rossi)
A report into the e-government performance of nine industrial countries has highly commended the Australian federal government's work on information and services integration. The report, Beyond e-government: the world's most successful ICT-enabled transformations, released by the head of the UK's e-government unit and CIO Ian Watmore, highlights the achievements of the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations and Centrelink for their integration with JobNetwork and other welfare agencies, and the Australian Taxation Office's electronic taxation services. Special Minister of State Senator Eric Abetz welcomed the release, saying the report provided an extremely useful international reference point for the governments involved. The US, Germany, Japan, France, UK, Italy, Canada, Sweden and Australia were rated in the report, which recognizes a number of shared challenges that all countries have in common. The report also noted Australia's achievement across health, education, payment of benefits, corporate services, and public protection. "The challenges that all countries share relate to managing the impact on human resources, managing ICT investment, information sharing between government agencies, fostering public confidence in e-government, and delivering savings to government, while effectively measuring the outcomes of investing in e-government," Abetz said. "The Australian government has been working for many years to address the particularly complex challenges that all countries face in implementing e-government." The report was released overnight at the Transforming Public Services: Ministerial e-government Conference 2005 in the UK. The conference was co-hosted by the UK government and the European Commission's Information Society and Media Directorate-General. Senator Abetz declared Australia to be one of the world's leading nations in e-government, a position that will be strengthened by the release of a new e-government strategy in the coming months. "As Minister for E-government, I am extremely proud to see Australia's achievements highlighted on the world stage and I commend those agencies noted for their innovative outcomes in this area," Abetz said. The report is available online at www.egov2005conference.gov.uk/publications/index.asp.
Federal government senators Eric Abetz and Helen Coonan have announced moves to simplify contracting in the government information and communications technology arena. The ministers released the outcome of the review of the Government Information Technology and Communications (GITC) Framework and a draft guide on capping liability for ICT contracts which deliver on key Howard government ICT election policies. "The draft guide provides practical assistance to procurement officers on how to identify and manage risk in government ICT contracts, including sample clauses for ICT contracts," Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Coonan said. "Ultimately when the guide is finalized it will result in the capping of liability in [most] government contracts." In announcing the outcomes of the review of the GITC, Special Minister of State, Senator Abetz said more standardization across government contracts would be a benefit for all involved. "It makes no sense for government agencies to have completely different forms of contracts," Abetz said. "Prices and supply will be different in each case, but there is no justification for other conditions in contracts varying as much as they do." Established in 1991, the GITC is a set of terms and conditions that Australian government agencies use to create contracts for ICT procurement. "In particular, the review highlighted the scope for a series of model contracts to be developed that are tailored to the different elements of ICT procurement, such as hardware, software development and licensing (including open source software) or managed services," Abetz said. "These contracts will improve the way Australian government agencies deal with changing technology and promote the take-up of innovative solutions." The GITC review process included extensive consultation with industry and government agencies. There will be further consultation during the development of the model contracts, which are expected to be available for use by the end of May 2006. The contracts will be available online and the government's ICT procurement Web site, www.gitc.finance.gov.au, will be redeveloped. An explanation of the outcomes of the GITC review is available at www.agimo.gov.au. Senator Coonan called for industry, government agencies and other stakeholders to have their say on the draft Guide to Limiting Supplier Liability Policy in ICT Contracts for Australian Government Agencies, before the guide is finalized. "The guide is accompanied by a short, practical checklist, including case studies, for procurement officers to cap liability in government contracts," Coonan said. "Following industry consultation, the finalized guide and policy will make it clear to both procurement officers and the industry that Australian Government agencies should cap liability in the majority of contracts for ICT goods and services."
Landmark Graphics Corp. has been hired by the New Zealand government to provide Web site and database technology for an internal department that manages the country's government-owned mineral assets. Houston-based Landmark, a division of Halliburton Co. (NYSE:HAL), supplies software and services for the upstream oil and gas industry. Under the contract, Landmark will provide a single data storage solution for New Zealand's Ministry of Economic Development. "This will directly support the Ministry of Economic Development's efforts to promote and encourage exploration in New Zealand," said Halliburton vice president Peter Bernard. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. "This technology will help the (Ministry of Economic Development) in the future to provide access to all ... publicly available petroleum, coal and minerals exploration data through an easy-to-use Web site portal," said Adam Feeley, manager of the mineral group of New Zealand. "This will allow the New Zealand government to provide data free of charge for block gazettals to explorers, opening up more of the country's frontier exploration acreage."
A network of tertiary students interested in sustainable development is being planned by New Zealand's delegates to the Eco-Minds Youth Forum in the Philippines. The three delegates returned from the forum with the basis of a proposed network and are due to explain details at a presentation at the University of Auckland next week (Tuesday, 15 November). Carl Chenery, one of New Zealand's three Eco-Minds delegates, said the idea of a youth network on sustainable development came out of discussions at the forum. "We need something to bring tertiary students together to discuss sustainable development issues," he said. "In the Philippines, we realised that although New Zealand is in a better situation than developing countries, these issues don't respect national boundaries. There is an opportunity for New Zealand to take the lead. "We are looking to make contact with like-minded people. There are lots of others across many different disciplines interested in this apart from us three obviously." Auckland delegates Carl and Soriya Em's 11 am presentation in the Mac 1 seminar room, Biology Building, 5 Symonds St, will cover outcomes from Eco-Minds and the prospect of Eco-Minds being held in New Zealand in 2009. With Anne Molineux (Wellington), they won the New Zealand Eco-Minds Challenge, run by the NZ National Commission for UNESCO and Bayer New Zealand Ltd. They joined students from across Asia Pacific in Manila to address sustainable development issues and develop innovative solutions. Bayer's support for the nine-nation Eco-Minds youth forum is part of a three-year global partnership between the health care, crop science and high tech materials company and the United Nations Environmental Programme. Students can obtain further details about the Eco-Minds Forum or the proposed youth network, from email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Communications Minister David Cunliffe will take action to accelerate uptake of broadband internet services next year, but has left room to retreat from the prospect of tougher regulation for Telecom to achieve that aim. New Zealand's uptake of broadband, which the Government regards as a key ingredient in the country's economic development, has remained low by international standards. Critics say that is because Telecom's near-monopoly on the phone lines used to deliver most broadband services keeps prices too high. Yesterday, Cunliffe confirmed the Government would take action next year to address the problem. "We don't know what yet and whether it's a little bit, or a lot, or the action is to say the market is working just fine. "We haven't made those decisions just yet," he said at the Digital Cities and Regional Networks conference in Wellington. However, Telecommunications Users Association chief executive Ernie Newman said the minister's words showed he understood the mood of the public and was getting ready to regulate. "I think he's going to take action. "The pressure mounting is just too hard for a politician not to take action," he said. "There are too many people around the country who are seriously angry and concerned about slow broadband speeds and poor performance generally." Cunliffe said he was reflecting on the debate about local loop unbundling and although it was too early to identify any action, "the next year is going to be important in that regard". Local loop unbundling would force Telecom to rent its copper lines network to other companies, allowing them to supply combinations of voice, ADSL or other data services. "The Government made a decision 18 months ago not to unbundle the local loop," Cunliffe said. "It did so on the basis of certain expectations and we're monitoring carefully how those expectations bear fruit." Telecom has committed to having a total of 250,000 broadband internet customers by the end of this year, with a third of those coming through competitors reselling the Telecom service. But that target of 83,000 wholesale customers by year-end looks unlikely to be achieved, as Telecom had only 47,059 wholesale customers at the end of September. Meanwhile, Telecom denied yesterday that it had received a bid from Optus for its persistently troublesome Australian unit AAPT. A report in an Australian newspaper said Optus had made an opening bid of A$650 million ($693 million) in a deal that could be wrapped up by Christmas. It was believed Telecom was looking for A$1 billion for AAPT, which it bought in three tranches between June 1999 and December the following year for a total of $2.2 billion. Commenting on the reported Optus bid, Telecom spokesman Phil Love said there were "no proposals on the table", although the company was open to alternatives. He would not comment on whether discussions were taking place or whether AAPT was for sale. Telecom reported first-quarter revenue this month of A$296 million for its Australian businesses, including AAPT, down 9 per cent. The book value for its Australian operations, which includes TCNZA, an operating entity for large corporate accounts, is $1.4 billion. An attempt by Optus to buy AAPT in 1999 was blocked by the Australian anti-monopolies authority. A spokeswoman for Optus said the company made "no comment on market rumour and speculation". Shares in Telecom closed down 1c at $6.04 yesterday. Wholesale deal * Telecom has committed to having a total of 250,000 broadband internet customers by the end of this year. * But the target of 83,000 wholesale customers by year-end looks unlikely to be achieved. * It had only 47,059 wholesale customers at the end of September.
Azerbaijan＊s leading cellular communication provider Azercell has increased the data transfer speed of its network by introducing a new technology. The company president Serdar Canogullari said the transition to the new EDGE technology will not require any additional installation work. The new technology will cover the Absheron peninsula, i.e. the Azeri capital, Baku and the Absheron district by the year-end, Canogullari told the presentation ceremony on Tuesday. The application of EDGE will be further expanded to encompass numerous towns and settlements, the airport and rest areas in 2006, and the entire country the following year. The use of the new system will also allow lowering tariffs on EDGE and GRPS services. Azercell customers will now pay 50 manats (about 1 cent) per 10 kb of data, while holders of SimSim cards 每 3 talk units per 10 kb and ※Ganj Sim＊ subscribers 2 talk units.
An online science museum was honored the United Nations' World Summit Award (WSA) at an ongoing world summit for information society. The virtual Science Museums of China (SMC), a web-based science education project run by the Chinese Academy of Sciences Computer Network Information Center (CNIC), has gained the award in E-science category. Yan Baoping, who heads the CNIC, said in an interview Thursday that the website, www.kepu.net.cn, is aimed at building a virtual reality science community which encourages researchers, media and common people to exchange scientific knowledge. The award was presented at the WSA Gala in Tunis, which began on Wednesday, during the second phase of the UN World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). The website was among the 40 finalists selected in a process of intense evaluation at the WSA Grand Jury Meeting held from Sept. 3 to 10 in Bahrain. More than 1,300 websites from 168 countries around the world participated in the contest in 2005. Organized by the International Telecommunication Union, the WSA, with an aim to help bridge the digital divide, is held within the framework of WSIS, a global project initiated by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in 2003.
BEIJING 〞 The value of China's Internet industry will surpass that of Japan in five to 10 years because the Chinese market is more dynamic while the Japanese market is dominated by one company, a global analyst with the investment bank giant Morgan Stanley said Monday. The $15.1 billion equity value of China's commercialized Internet, which includes 13 portals, online game services and auction houses, lags the approximately $40 billion equity value of the same market in Japan, said Mary Meeker, global Internet analyst with Morgan Stanley. But she said the balance would change because China's growing online population 〞 about 94 million people use the Net and the number keeps growing 〞 is second biggest in the world and biggest for users under age 30.
Foreign dotcoms are increasing efforts to acquire leading Chinese Internet companies - a trend that will continue over the next few years, according to the latest findings released on Monday by US-based financial consulting firm Morgan Stanley. "They (dotcoms) are pretty active and this trend will slow down somewhat next year but will pick up again in following years," said Mary Meeker, global Internet analyst of Morgan Stanley. Meeker, together with Richard Weidong-Ji, who is a vice-president of the company, covering China's Internet and media sector, are co-authors of this year's China Internet report. Foreign dotcoms are accelerating their acquisition of local Internet companies, with specific targets in mind, said the report. Apart from EachNet.com, 3721.com and Joyo.com - which have already been bought by foreign websites eBay.com, Yahoo.com and Amazon.com respectively - quite a few Chinese Internet firms leading in segmented online businesses are partly owned by their foreign counterparts with further buying moves expected, according to the report. These potential deals involve Alibaba.com, the country's No.1 online B2B (business-to-business) service provider, in which Yahoo! has a 40-per-cent stake; and China's No.2 online travel service provider eLong.com, in which US online travel service giant InterActive has bought a 30-per-cent stake. Search engine Google.com is widely believed to have designs on Baidu.com the No.1 paid search engine provider in China in which it currently holds a minor stake of 3 percent. Meeker pointed out that the wave of acquisitions is related to the challenges that foreign dotcoms are facing in China, where domestic companies have "a local advantage". The advantages include lower regulatory barriers, leaner reporting structure and highly localized management, better local content and services, as well as closer relations with mobile carriers. "Foreign companies, unfortunately, have not achieved a similar success in China as in their home countries," said Meeker. Yahoo's deal with Alibaba indicates that "its (Yahoo's) strategy is not working in China and it has to find another way around," she said. Meanwhile, eBay EachNet an eBay company has experienced a market share erosion in e-commerce to Alibaba/Taobao, and Dangdang.com de-crowned Amazon/Joyo in online traffic leadership. Top players in major segmented Internet businesses - online advertising, online gaming, mobile value-added services, instant messaging and online auction, are all Chinese dotcoms, said the report. More importantly, these leaders dominate the market with a big share. The top two or three players in four out of the five segments command a combined share beyond 50 percent, by revenue, users or gross merchandise value (GMV), it said. Regarding online auction, in particular, top player eBay EachNet and the No.2 Alibaba/Taobao together hold 94 percent of the total GMV. However, the leadership position may not necessarily be secure, said the report. "We can see narrowing gaps or changes in leadership in major segments," said Meeker. In mobile value-added services, sales revenues of TOM Online was 1.8 times that of Sina.com during the second quarter of this year, surpassing Sina for the first time. In online gaming and online advertising, the sales revenues of emerging operators are also rapidly catching up with that of the leading players, said the report. According to Meeker, these top players entered their segments by adopting the business models that proved successful in the United States, and to later challengers, their "ability of innovation is the key," she said. In addition, the report notes that Chinese dotcoms in public markets are often valued at a discount due to factors such as policy risks (content censorship and revenue sharing changes), fierce competition, management risks, and business models that are unfamiliar to global investors. But their real revenue is significantly higher - "30 or 40 times," than the announced headline revenue, as a result of different calculation methods in purchasing power and corporate value to the industry, noted Meeker. Moreover, Chinese Internet firms have much higher margins than their global peers - 37 percent in China in comparison with an average of 18 percent in the US.
A team of eight Chinese TV stations has been assigned to produce international TV and radio signals for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games after a memorandum of cooperation was signed on Wednesday between them and the Beijing Olympic Broadcasting Co. Ltd. According to the agreement, the eight contracted Chinese TV stations, including China Central Television (CCTV), Beijing TV, Guangdong TV, Jiangsu Broadcasting Station, Liaoning TV, Zhejiang TV, Tianjin TV and Shanghai Media Group will undertake the production of international TV and radio (ITVR) signals of seven sports at the 2008 Olympics. The sports include table tennis, badminton, modern pentathlon, soccer, basketball, volleyball and tennis. It is the first agreement that BOB signed with TV production teams for the Beijing Games. "It is the first time that Chinese TV stations participate in the production of ITVR signals for the Olympic Games on such a large scale," said Jiang Xiaoyu, chairman of BOB board. "The Chinese TV industry can benefit from playing a growing rolein the production of ITVR signals for the Olympics and through the efforts, the industry can further improve its production level to anew height," he added. At last year's Athens Olympics, CCTV produced ITVR signals of table tennis, badminton and modern pentathlon events for the host broadcaster. In order to fulfill the mission, more than 600 Chinese TV crew will work at 19 competition venues during the 2008 Games. "We will encourage more Chinese TV stations to get involved in the Olympic signal production to cover more sports," said Jiang, who is also executive vice-president of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2008 Games (BOCOG). To ensure quality broadcasting of the 2008 Games, an Olympic Broadcasting Committee was set up in May. The committee has been working on policies and procedures regarding entry-exit, customs, taxation, working permit and frequency coordination for the Olympic broadcasters to secure a smooth working condition for them.
The Innovation and Technology Commission of the Government of the HKSAR and Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited announced the establishment of ※Cyberport Digital Entertainment Incubation-cum-Training Centre§ (also known as ※Cyberport IncuTrain Centre§) today to step up and reinforce the development of Hong Kong digital entertainment industry. Funded by the Innovation and Technology Commission and managed by Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited, the Centre aims at incubating Hong Kong companies in the digital entertainment and digital media industries, with initial focus on digital game and film animation. To achieve the mission of the Centre, an IncuTrain programme will be launched tomorrow (1 October) to invite the first batch of applications to become incubatees of the Cyberport IncuTrain Centre. Targeting at both existing players and new start-ups, the Centre will not only provide office space and equipment at favourable terms, but will also provide targeted technology and business development support to the digital entertainment professionals, as well as creative/innovative training to the youth segment of the general public. Speaking at the IncuTrain programme kick-off ceremony, Mr. Gordon Leung, Deputy Commissioner for Innovation and Technology, said, ※Apart from jointly organizing different training programmes with the industry and the academic sector, the Centre also plans to engage in technology exchange with the research and development centres in the Mainland and overseas countries, and to organize promotion activities with relevant organizations. We hope that such cooperation will bring about fruitful results.§ ※The Centre is well-positioned to meet the local industries＊ needs, and we share the same vision as the Innovation Festival 05, organized by the Innovation and Technology Commission, in fostering an innovative culture in the community and promoting technological entrepreneurship.§ said Nicholas Yang, CEO of Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited. ※The ceremony today marks an important milestone in the development of digital entertainment in Hong Kong. It also represents Cyberport＊s continuing effort to promote and build Hong Kong as a leading digital entertainment hub in Asia. Equipped with state-of-the-art infrastructure in IT and media technology, Cyberport is an ideal platform for content creation, management and delivery,§ added Mr. Yang. ※The IncuTrain Centre, with a total area of 24,000 sq. ft. at Cyberport 3, is scheduled to open in November 2005. We expect to support up to 45 incubatees over a 3-year period.§ The first batch of IncuTrain Programme application starts tomorrow, with deadline at 5 pm on 31 October 2005. Want to be a success in Hong Kong＊s digital entertainment industry? Act now and realize your business dream! Interested parties can download the application form from http://incutrain.cyberport.hk , and send the completed form by registered post to Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited, Units 1102-1104, Level 11, Cyberport 2, 100 Cyberport Road, Hong Kong. For detailed guidelines and further information about the IncuTrain Programme and the Centre, please visit http://incutrain.cyberport.hk , or email firstname.lastname@example.org , or call the Centre hotline at (852) 3166-3900.
BEIJING - Sun Jiarong, director of the sci-tech development & technology trading bureau of Shanghai Foreign Economic Relation & Trade Commission, revealed today that Shanghai's software industry recorded 30.2 billion yuan (US$3.72 billion) revenue last year, and its software export amounted to US$476 million, up 50% and 80% respectively over that of 2003. At present Shanghai is obviously taking the lead in China's software industry.Sun said that with increasingly apparent trend of international division of labor in the software industry, China has witnessed rapid growth in its software outsourcing business in recent years. Its software export totaled US$2.6 billion last year, up 30% over a year earlier. In spite of speedy growth, China's software industry has merely gained a small proportion of 3% in the international market. Sun quoted the comment of the Ministry of Commerce that "software outsourcing has not fully played its role in boosting China's national economy." According to Sun, the software industry plays an indispensable role in upgrading Shanghai's information industry. It is the core of the city's information industry and has a bearing on local economy and the process of social informatization. In an effort to build an international software outsourcing value center and enhance the international fame of its software industry, Shanghai will hold 2005 Shanghai Global IT Outsourcing Summit on Nov 10. The summit will probe deeply into some hotspot issues concerning the current situation and trend of international IT outsourcing, measures to promote development of software industry and application, and international IT exchange and cooperation.
Not knowing English, lack of instructions and poor memory are holding senior citizens back from using the Internet, a recent study showed. But the Shanghai Committee for the Aging is trying to encourage seniors whenever possible, explain the Internet and how to use it. It recently surveyed 5,000 seniors with an average age of 60.8. Tang Hongjun, a 58-year-old man, recently mastered online skills. "I found my world became wider," he said. "Now I read news online and chat with my new net friends every day in the office." "I never think I am too old to learn the computer and the Internet," Tang said. Among those interviewed, 75.2 percent have computers at home. "There is a computer at my home," said Tang Meihua, a 55-year-old retiree. "But most of the time only my daughter uses it." Tang said she doesn't know English. "So I can not type words, or Website addresses." But she was very interested in shopping online because it is often cheaper. "It's a pity that I can't operate it," she said. The survey showed only 22.6 percent of seniors log on the Internet every day. In addition, seniors said poor memory and the lack of suitable instructions all undermined their interest in the Internet. The Shanghai Committee for the Aging aims to give more seniors access and to help 100,000 seniors over 60 master Internet surfing by the end of next year. The survey showed that 78.6 percent of interviewees said Web surfing can improve their life quality; 61.3 percent said it can increase communication with outside world as well as young people.
Wyse Technology Inc, a leader in thin computing, has announced the opening of its Asia-Pacific headquarters, and a research and development centre, in Beijing. The opening of the Wyse Asia-Pacific headquarters closely follows the recent appointment of Wyse's regional directors to lead the expansion of the company on the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and in Taiwan. Wyse is also investing in local Chinese Internet technology (IT) talent with the establishment of a software research and development centre. "Our software development centre in Beijing will grow to include more than 50 engineers by the end of this year. The team will ensure complete localization of Wyse Technology products for China and the rest of Asia," said Andrew Hu, Wyse Asia Pacific President. He previously worked for Oracle, Network Appliances and consulting firm Accenture. "It will also work on further intensive development of our operating systems." Hu hopes Wyse will capitalize on its prominent market position. "Now is the right time to focus our efforts on promoting thin technology as a compelling solution for enterprises throughout Asia Pacific," he said. "China is clearly one of the most strategic markets for the company as a whole, and certainly at the centre of our plans for Asia-Pacific," Hu said. "When you look at the sheer size of less developed markets like the Chinese mainland, you see an immense need for desktop computing, whether in financial, logistics or manufacturing industries, or in the public sector. The huge numbers involved really brings into focus the low and manageable total cost of ownership of thin computing solutions," Hu added. According to a report by the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), Wyse had nearly 35 per cent of all thin clients shipped in 2004 in Asia-Pacific. IDC predicts the thin client market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 25.9 per cent from 2005 to 2009 in the Asia-Pacific region, significantly outpacing the overall growth rate of the PC market. Thin computing aims to simplify computing by providing hardware, software, and services to users through a server.
A state-level online game and animation industry center, approved by the General Administration of Press and Publication, was set up in the Zhangjiang High-tech Park in Pudong yesterday. The base is the third of its kind in China, after those in Chengdu of Sichuan Province and Guangzhou of Guangdong Province. Shanghai accounts for 70 percent of the nation's online game sales.
The nation's digital still camera (DSC) makers, benefiting from versatile cost control and strong "original design and manufacturing" (ODM) capability, have churned out the second-largest amount of DSCs in the world, second only to Japan. Taiwanese makers could make their Japanese rivals history and take the helm of global DSC production if they succeed in design innovation and securing key optical prototype technology, in addition to maintaining a skilled workforce capable of mass production. Taiwan's DSC industry mushroomed between 2001 and 2003, with the number of manufacturers reaching a record high at the end of 2003. That growth came as many traditional camera makers and high-tech firms jumped into the business to take advantage of the relatively lower threshold for making digital cameras compared to other technology-based manufacturing areas such as semiconductors. During that period, digital cameras with medium or low resolution were produced in large quantities, causing their prices to slide dramatically. By the second quarter of last year, Taiwan's digital camera industry experienced its worst season in five years, with prices collapsing, products stockpiling and orders simply not coming in. The global DSC market was demanding digital cameras of higher resolution and more sophisticated optical and storage specifications, while the appearance of mobile phone handsets with built-in high-megapixel cameras was also threatening the existence of the nation's digital camera industry. After weathering nearly a year of "labor pains," Taiwan's DSC industry of many small companies shrank into a group of fewer, but larger, firms. While the "few and large" continued to expand -- thanks to their mass production capability and increasing orders from Japan -- many manufacturers of lower resolution models, including Primax Electronics Ltd, Aiptek Inc and Tekom Technologies Inc, dropped out of the market altogether as a result of the cut-throat competition. Meanwhile, Japan's industry was going through the same process. While the Japanese "few and large" continued to expand, second-class manufacturers, such as the famous Kyocera brand, bowed out of the DSC manufacturing battlefield. The Japanese "few and large" have reached out their overseas outsourcing arms to Taiwan, just like their US counterparts. Orders from Japan's Olympus and the US Kodak have nurtured Taiwan's DSC makers with big orders since the beginning of this year, helping them out of last year's doldrums. The drastic change of the DSC manufacturing landscape has also helped shape a new market order. In general, those who survived the fierce competition and are now Taiwan's "few and large" DSC makers have fared well this year. Premier Image Technology Corp, Altek Corp, Asia Optical Co and Canon Taiwan have all adjusted their production goals upward for this year. Premier Image Technology and Altek are expected to deliver shipments of 9 million DSCs each this year, while Asia Optical and Canon Taiwan forecast an output of 4.5 million and 4 million. In total, these four companies are expected to churn out 26 million quality digital cameras this year, with cutting edge features such as 8-megapixel resolution, marking a whopping year-on-year growth of 70 percent. The 26 million units will constitute about 30 percent of the world's total DSC output this year, estimated at about 90 million units. Nevertheless, the rosy picture of the world DSC industry will not last too long -- probably no longer than 2007 -- according to analysts from IDC, a global IT market intelligence firm. Cliff Liu, president of Premier Image Technology, Taiwan's largest DSC manufacturer and a firm featured as a rising star by Merrill Lynch's Asia-Pacific Technology Forum in 2002, was not at all disturbed by the IDC forecast. Liu said that although global production may slow down by 2007, Taiwanese makers are expected to continue to enjoy brisk business in the following years, given that Japanese DSC producers will continue to release their orders to Taiwan to deal with mounting pressure to reduce costs.
Chinanews - In the past few days, blind masseur Zhang Wei has one more expectation: a specially designed-for-the-blind, the country's first set of voice-guided and voice-activated mobile phone that would begin production in Nanjing where Zhang lives. The Nanjing Shoujia massage center where Zhang works has more than 800 blind masseurs and more than 90% of them use mobile phones. "The most inconvenient facet of using a mobile phone is that we cannot "see" - including SMS messages, phone settings and records", said Zhang. Currently, there are several models of mobile phones on the market that can "read incoming messages", even read SMS messages, but those still cannot read out the menu in order and are difficult to enter SMS messages. According to Shen Liu of the PR department of Nanjing Panda Electronics Group Limited, manufacturer of mobile phones for the blind, the greatest difficulties faced by blind people when they use mobile phones are: using the menu keys, input messages, read messages, surf and download from the internet. The soon-to-be produced Panda T160 model would use an "all-voice menu guidance" mode - the mobile phone would "announce" the number of the incoming call or the name of stored numbers; "read out" the menu items and its content when one presses any first level menu items. The blind can use Qunpin input method to enter SMS message and then "shout out" the name stored inside the mobile phone to activate the phone. Subscribers in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou can rely on their local mobile phone companies to provide digital maps to allow the blind to realize the spot they are in through the mobile phone's GPS system's announcement. At present, this product has obtained four international and domestic patents, one actual new model patent and numerous software proprietary licenses. The color and shape of this mobile phone resemble that of ordinary cell phones.
BEIJING (Xinhuanet) -- Among young netizens in China, at ages ranging from 13-35 years, 13.2 percent could be regarded as addicted to the internet, according to a recent survey published by the China Youth Association for Network Development (CYAND) here Tuesday. The survey, the first "statistical report on the issue of cyber-addiction among young netizens in China", was conducted by the association in the capitals of 26 provinces and autonomous regions and four municipalities directly under the jurisdiction of the State Council. A total of 15,600 survey forms were distributed in public places including schools and game parlors, and 15,023 valid ones were recovered, according to CYAND sources. Internet addicts are defined as those who have indulged in surfing the Internet for games, pornographic activities or other leisure programs on line. The issue of young internet addiction has drawn wide attention from authorities and the general public for potential threats to normal life. Experts from CYAND worry that young people are more vulnerable to the negative influences of the Internet than other age groups. According to the survey, these young internet addicts are more likely to play games or indulge in other fun activities. The surveys shows that 17.07 percent of boy surfers are indulged the internet, while only 10.04 percent of female young netizens are addicted. The survey shows that young netizens living in different areas look quite different in this aspect. In Yunnan Province and Beijing, the national capital, addicted young netizens account for 27.9 percent and 23.5 percent of the local cyber population of young ages, while it is merely eight percent in Shanghai, the largest metropolis and financial center of the country in east China. Prof. Tao Hongkai, an expert on Internet addiction among China's youth, said that in Beijing, some 90 percent of criminal activities involving juveniles are in connection with internet addiction.
The China Youth Association for Network Development has released the first survey results showing how much teenagers in China crave the Internet. The survey which itself used the Internet to gather its results from 22 000 completed online questionnaires, reveals that 13 per cent of the teenage population in China is obsessed with the Internet. In Beijing, that figure is 24 per cent, second only to the Yunnan province in south-west China. The survey results surprisingly have little to do with economic or regional factors. Shanghai rated the lowest in terms of Internet obsession. This survey does give the first clear definition of Internet obsession. There are three characteristics: always longing to be online; feeling anxious or upset when something obstructs the network; feeling happier and getting self-esteem from the fictitious net world.
China will launch its first digital high-resolution television channel and start nationwide broadcasting on January 1 next year. The new channel of the China Central Television (CCTV) will be the first Chinese-language digital high-resolution channel in the world. Based on digital technology of program producing and broadcasting, it will be a paid channel which produces pictures twice as clear as that of DVDs. China DTV media Inc. Ltd, which provides technological support to the channel, collaborates with provincial network companies and high-resolution television set producers to ensure the smooth transmission and reception of the programs. TV viewers will be able to watch a number of sporting events and concerts on the channel, including the 2006 Berlin Soccer World Cup. The channel began to provide 15-hour pilot programs everyday since September in Hangzhou, capital of east China's Zhejiang Province. After the formal launching of the channel, it will offer 18-hour programs everyday. According to a plan of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, China will start ground-based digital transmission throughout the country in 2008 and cease analogue broadcasting by 2015. The 2008 Beijing Olympic Games will also be broadcast with digital technology.
Managing director of Bank Melli Iran (BMI) said here on Wednesday that electronic banking will result in major changes in Iran＊s banking system which is currently undergoing mechanization. Valiollah Seif told IRNA that the banking system will soon begin extensive use of electronic money, adding that necessary data infrastructure has to be completed. He said electronic banking will help expedite economic transactions and improve banking services to a great extent. The official said banking costs will also decline drastically following plans to create electronic banking. Experts blame the banking system＊s traditional modus operandi for the lethargic economic development. The banking sector has always been accused of not doing enough to support the private sector. Other experts have also expressed concern over the significant increase in Internet-based financial offences in Iran following efforts to establish electronic banking. Earlier, the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) governor refused to rule out the possibility of the country＊s electronic banking system being hacked, saying, however, that the CBI has employed modern technologies to prevent hackers＊ access to its systems. Ebrahim Sheibani said hackers might gain access to Automated Teller Machine (ATM) systems, adding that the country＊s banking system is striving to combat hackers. He said while banknotes are forged in the United States, it is also possible to hack the Iranian banking system. Experts say a major obstacle to the development of e-commerce in Iran is the lack of credit cards. ATM systems do not operate properly in Iran, while the number of POS machines remains low. People form long queues at ATMs in almost all major banks in Tehran.
Establishment of research centers in universities and companies affiliated to the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (CIT) is among the major responsibilities of Iran＊s Telecommunications Research Center (ITRC), declared CIT Minister Mohammad Soleimani here Sunday. According to Fars news agency, the minister, who was inspecting ITRC facilities, said that technological advancement, rapid changes and the knowledge generated in the field have created grounds for easy access to technology in the sector. Pointing to the high investments in the telecom sector, he said investment in CIT sector has a high rate of return, so conditions should be created to using the country＊s potential in this field. The minister noted that the ITRC in CIT Ministry＊s affiliated companies can play a vital role in generating jobs. Soleimani said that ITRC should engage in effective cooperation with universities to resolve many of the problems facing the sector.
An information technology (IT) industry official said here on Tuesday that software exports will not improve as long as planning and marketing activities remain poor. Mohammad Amin Shahrestani, who heads the Assembly of Electronic Publishers, told ILNA that while IT has entered Iran for nearly 15 years now, the country began to organize IT-related affairs only four years ago. He said only a few IT companies have managed to offer their products on the international markets, stressing that software exports still lack a systematic procedure in Iran. Shahrestani said Iran has failed to assume even one percent of the global software trade. There are 500 software companies in Iran, suggested statistics released by the Secretariat of the High Council of Information Dissemination earlier. The report indicated that the software market has grown by 41 percent per annum over the past two years thanks chiefly to state support. The total value of Iran＊s software production and services market reached $400 million in 2004. There are plans to increase software exports to $100 million a year by March 2007. Software exports doubled in the year to March 2005 to reach $10.9 million. Iran last year exported software products to Germany, Syria and Zimbabwe.
An increase in online banking and other high-tech systems that allow customers to do most of their banking from home has led to branches seeing far fewer customers these days, and landlords aren't happy. "Gone are the days when bank offices were considered the best tenants for most local buildings," one domestic bank manager said. "In some areas they are treated more like an eyesore." At the request of its landlord, one domestic bank recently moved its branch in the affluent Gangnam area from the first floor to the second floor of the building. The reason? The landlord was unhappy that after the bank's working hours, the deserted premises were discouraging customers from using shops and restaurants on upper floors. When most customers did their banking at branches, banks were coveted by landlords for their ability to draw large numbers of people into a building, and branches were often given prime first-floor sites. But with the rise of online banking, the number of customers visiting banks has dwindled, making branches far less valuable to both landlords and banks. Indeed, most new bank branches that opened recently in Bundang, an affluent residential town 20 kilometers (13.2 miles) south of Seoul, or the Jukjeon area neighboring the town are now located on the second or third floor of their buildings; many landlords simply refuse to house branches on the first floor anymore. Nor are banks enthusiastic about locating branches on the first floor, as rents are far higher. As a result, one in 20 bank branches has been relocated to the second floor or above. Chohung Bank, for instance, has moved 5 to 6 percent of its 450 branches to higher floors. Even the bank's main office for private banking services, a personal financial service provided to wealthy individuals and families, has been moved to the 25th floor of the Seoul Finance Center in Gwanghwamun. "Since our private banking customers, who are dealing with amounts in excess of 100 million won ($97,361), don't want their identity exposed, they actually prefer using the upper floors anyway," one manager of the bank office said. As the number of bank branches has fallen, so has the number of staff members in each branch, from 20 to 30 in the past to about 10 now. However, in a bid to arrest the decline in the number of branches, some banks are now allowing stock companies and insurance firms to open service counters on their premises. "Such counters in branches are popular among our customers since stock firms can offer more diverse mutual fund products than we can," an official with Shinhan Bank said. (by Kim Dong-ho, Jung Ha-won)
South Koreans will be able to use mobile-phones to get copies of civil documents, including residence registry and property registration certificates, in November. The Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs said on Sunday that it will start sending text messages about civil affairs and announcements to mobile phones and other portable communication devices as early as November. Mobile phone users can request civil documents using their handsets. The ministry plans to expand the service to include more civil documents. Separately, the government plans to strengthen the sharing of administrative information between its agencies and organizations to reduce the paperwork required when handling civil applications. Currently, 20 types of civil affairs information are stored in a database shared by administrative organizations, including records for residence registry, land registry, corporate registration and tax payment. The ministry said it will add four new types of information to the database starting next month, including records of judicial affairs, such as emigration and immigration and military services. This is intended to reduce the amount of paperwork involved in applying for civil documents with different administrative organizations. The ministry also plans to start computer-based audio services that allow the visually impaired to obtain civil documents. ``Online requests for civil documents and other inquiries increased 400 percent in August compared to late last year, with about 50,000 inquiries per day,＊＊ a ministry official said. ``The expansion of the five-day workweek and the online provision of residence registration documents are thought to be the main causes of the increase,＊＊ he said. (by Kim Tong-hyung)
Samsung Electronics on Monday unveiled the world＊s first 16 GB flash memory chip produced by 50 nanometer technology. CEO Hwang Chang-gyu called the release ※revolutionary§ for the global IT industry. Flash memory is a semiconductor chip that retains stored information even if the power goes out. A stamp-sized memory card made by linking 16 Gb flash memory chips can save the newspapers of 200 years or 8,000 songs. Hwang said the development signaled the opening of the ※digital paper age.§ ※In the same way that civilization rapidly progressed after paper was invented 2,000 years ago, flash memory will serve as the ＆digital paper＊ to store all kind of information from documents to photos and videos in the future. Mobile storage devices like CDs and hard disks will gradually disappear over the next two or three years, and flash memory will dominate the information age,§ Hwang said. Using nano technology, Samsung has doubled the density of memory chips for six years running, ever since developing a 256 Mb chip in 1999. Fifty nanometers is as small as one-two thousandth of a human hair. A 16 Gb flash memory chip made with the technology contains 16.4 billion transistors in a thumbnail-sized space. Hwang said 40 researchers who worked nonstop forgoing their holidays were the heroes of the tale. Samsung＊s 32 Gb flash development team will surprise the world next year, he prophesied.
The Ministry of Education said yesterday that Korea's universities have halted the issuance of academic and financial documents online. The announcement came after the Home Ministry and the Supreme Court had suspended similar programs under Seoul's "e-government" program because of the possibility that documents could be altered. Separately, the Education Ministry said that its new National Education Information System for schools below the university level is immune from such problems. The ministry said that physical documents were provided in response to Internet applications. While transcripts can be downloaded online, the ministry said schools exchange them directly.
A South Korean office worker in his 40's was on a desperate hunt for cash when he saw an advertisement on the Internet from a loan company that promised it would make loans up to 10 times the balance in the borrower's bank account. The man, not identified by authorities, quickly navigated to the company's Web site, where he saw an offer to conduct the loan arrangements without a personal interview. It did ask him to log on to his bank's Web site to check his balance and review his personal credit history, and helpfully provided a link to that Internet banking service. Those familiar with the digital scam called "phishing" can guess what came next. On the bank's Web site, the man dutifully typed in his personal information, but the site was fake and that personal data was plucked off the site by a scam artist and a few weeks later, the man's account suddenly had a balance that was 10 million won ($9,500) less than it should have been. He was by no means the first victim of such a scam, but they are relatively new in Korea. Despite a warning earlier this summer from the Financial Supervisory Service, they have claimed several victims here. The term "phishing" was coined in 1996, when the first fake sites began to appear and online customers were drawn to them by alarming e-mails that said accounts would be closed or money lost unless the potential victim logged on to a site linked to the e-mail, sites that appear to be genuine but are carefully crafted fakes, and entered their personal information. Although there are 22.6 million Internet banking users in Korea, most Koreans are not familiar with those scams because there had long been none targeted at Korean-speakers or domestic banks. But several recent scams have prompted a second warning from the bank watchdog agency to beware. In July, the financial service said a popular Korean site catering to online game players had been linked, for a time at least, to a fake Web site purporting to be that of a local bank. The agency did not identify either the bank or the game site. Players who wanted to buy "virtual equipment" for use in the game were directed to the bogus Web site, when then required them to download a "security program" that in reality stole bank passwords and user identification. The financial regulator said five victims had reported fake bank site scams last month, suffering aggregate losses of 169.8 million won. Some fraudsters, alleging to be bank employees, telephoned people whose information they had obtained and asked for additional information about their accounts. That, in fact, was how the scammer described above made off with 10 million won: he called the victim and obtained the list of challenges and responses that Korean banks generally use for security. Financial regulators have asked Korean financial companies to take steps to make their sites more difficult to counterfeit, although devices like making logos difficult to download would not stop a smart phisher for long. (by Kim Chang-woo, Jung Ha-won)
South Korea and Japan held the ※8th Korea-Japan e-Commerce Policy Council§ at Hakodate in Japan on Oct. 19-20 to discuss cooperative ways in the information technology (IT) sectors, including Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and e-learning. The two countries also sought countermeasures to jointly cope with problems that can be raised in the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings. Among subjects discussed in the meeting were a plan to test the compatibility of RFID-related terminals between the two countries and a joint study for the standardization of e-learning and its quality authentication, along with forming a Korea-Japan consultative committee for e-learning exposition. ※Strengthening bilateral cooperation in the IT sector is expected to increase South Korea's exports to Japan,§ an official at the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy said.
South Korea＊s Internet portal sites have engaged in an uphill battle with their new video search engines, which have the potential to grow into Web-based televisions. Video searching enables users to easily spot and play visual files on the Internet and even some popular television programs such as sports and soap operas. ``We are currently talking with terrestrial and cable television broadcasters to air their programs on the Net,＊＊ said Lee Sang-hoon, spokesperson of NHN, which operates South Korea＊s largest portal site naver.com. ``We can＊t name the broadcasters at this moment, but we are seeking ways to broadcast programs that can draw the attention of the young generation, such as StarCraft video games, for example.＊＊ When it starts service in December, NHN＊s projected Web television service may be more powerful than traditional television broadcasting on account of its unique function called ``scene searching service.＊＊ ``You may not want to watch a full 90-minute football game if you just want to see how Park Ji-sung scores for Manchester United. Our site will provide only the highlight scenes in such games, making it more comfortable and time-saving for watchers.＊＊ While the two portal giants NHN and Daum Communications are both preparing to launch their video search services this winter, the rest of the top five portals already have theirs started. So far, Yahoo Korea, the fourth largest Internet portal in South Korea, claims to have the largest archive of video clips with their ``Yammy＊＊ search engine. ``Yammy＊＊ shares more than 150,000 video files with Yahoo＊s worldwide sites, giving them an incomparable edge over their local competitors Dreamwiz and Empas. Upgrading portals into next-generation televisions is not only the business of South Korea. In the United States, Google has been approaching television content rights holders this year to become an online video content gateway, the same way they are dominating the Internet search market. However, their moves were not very successful so far, as they met unfavorable responses from the rights holders in the country, indicating South Korean portals could face a similar problem in the future. As well as the copyright issue, the video search engines could bring a hugely negative effect to society. Though service providers insist that they are making sure to block the access of adult materials to minors, loopholes are easily found in which obscene and violent files can be shared by young Internet users. Since portal operators cannot check all of the millions of files uploaded every day on the Web, it is practically impossible for them to completely block children from viewing adult materials on their sites. ``The copyright issue is relatively more easy to solve than the censoring issue,＊＊ NHN＊s Lee said. ``That＊s what we are working on right now, and we expect to find some solutions for that by December.＊＊ (by Cho Jin-seo)
Bank customers relied more on the Internet than on tellers for their financial transactions in the third quarter as online banking offers faster and more convenient services at lower rates. The Bank of Korea (BOK) said that 30.9 percent of retail banking transactions were done over the Internet in the third quarter, while tellers at branches handled 29.8 percent of transactions. On average, the number of transactions processed on the Internet was 11.27 million a day in the third quarter, up 8.2 percent from the previous quarter. It is the first time that the number of Internet banking users surpassed that of bank users since the service debuted in July 1999. The BOK said the number of customers who registered for Internet banking services was 25.43 million as of the end of September, up 11 percent from 22.9 million at the end of June. ``This means more than 30 percent of bank customers use the Internet for banking,＊＊ said Kim Sung-mook, an official of the BOK＊s e-banking service team. The number of Internet banking users has risen sharply, surpassing that of phone banking users in September 2002 and that of automatic telling machines last December. In the third quarter, 27.6 percent of transactions were made by electronic tellers with 11.7 percent by phone banking. In particular, people using mobiles phones to bank have increased sharply. About 306,000 transactions were made using mobile phones per day in the third quarter, up 18.8 percent from the previous quarter. The BOK＊S report comes amid mounting concerns of identity theft in online transactions. The government plans to adopt a strengthened personal identity authentication system for Internet banking called the one-time password (OTP) system. Along with OTP, it looks to build and distribute new anti-hacking software with stronger security this year. (by Na Jeong-ju)
Bank customers relied more on the Internet than on tellers for their financial transactions in the third quarter as online banking offers faster and more convenient services at lower rates. The Bank of Korea (BOK) said that 30.9 percent of retail banking transactions were done over the Internet in the third quarter, while tellers at branches handled 29.8 percent of transactions. On average, the number of transactions processed on the Internet was 11.27 million a day in the third quarter, up 8.2 percent from the previous quarter. It is the first time that the number of Internet banking users surpassed that of bank users since the service debuted in July 1999. The BOK said the number of customers who registered for Internet banking services was 25.43 million as of the end of September, up 11 percent from the 22.9 million at the end of June. ※This means more than 30 percent of bank customers use the Internet for banking,§ said Kim Sung-mook, an official of the BOK's e-banking service team. The number of Internet banking users has risen sharply, surpassing that of phone banking users in September 2002 and that of automatic teller machines last December. In the third quarter, 27.6 percent of transactions were made by electronic tellers with 11.7 percent by phone banking. In particular, people using mobile phones to bank have increased sharply. About 306,000 transactions were made using mobile phones per day in the third quarter, up 18.8 percent from the previous quarter.
Citibank Korea, already battered by discord with its labor union, is facing another embarrassment: it accidentally leaked some of its customers＊ financial information. According to the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) and Citibank Korea, the bank inadvertently leaked real names, credit card use amount and the card balances of five customers on Oct. 10, as the bank updated its online security system. Also, the bank revealed the real names and resident registration numbers of 43 winners of the bank＊s gift-giving programs through technical mistakes on Oct. 14, the financial regulator added. ``Both accidents were errors that occurred during the process of updating online security systems,＊＊ a Citibank Korea official said on condition of anonymity. ``But there was no damage reported from customers whose personal information was leaked,＊＊ he added. The unusual accidents were the result of a long-standing dispute between the bank＊s management and its labor union. ``The bank was trying to integrate the credit card computer systems of KorAm and Citibank,＊＊ an FSS official said. Citibank has its credit card system centralized in Singapore. ``But the bank had to halt the process as the integration has not progressed due to the dispute with the labor union,＊＊ he added. ``It was an accident that happened as the bank did not back up part of its online security systems during the procedure.＊＊ Now a general strike is looming at the local corporate entity of the world＊s financial giant with management and the union remaining as far apart as ever. ``We will soon go on a general strike unless there is tangible progress in negotiation with the management,＊＊ ranking union official Jin Chang-geon said. ``We have already set the strike date.＊＊ But he declined to name a date. Sources said that the labor union, which is largely composed of former KorAm workers, will launch a walkout next Tuesday in line with the first anniversary of the merged bank. ``We demand from the owners a more independent operation at Citibank Korea and we also want employment security for workers who are not permanent employees. But management has maintained that it cannot accept any of our proposals,＊＊ he added. The union has claimed that the management of Citibank Korea is discriminating against former KorAm employees. Citibank Korea was launched in November last year through the integration of the local branches of Citigroup and KorAm Bank. The labor union, which consists of 2,920 regular employees or 80 percent of the total regular workforce, is also demanding a special bonus equivalent to 10 percent of the bank＊s pretax profit and a pay raise for non-regular workers and others. The latest mishaps _ information leakage and discord with the union _ have pushed Citigroup to a new low both at home and abroad. (by Kim Jae-kyoung)
SEOUL (Yonhap) _ South Korea said Friday it will form a strategy committee to map out plans on how to boost the nation's online game industry. The committee, which will consist of government officials, executives and professors, will be launched on Monday, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism said. The committee will develop medium and long-term plans by March to make South Korea one of the world's top three online game publishers by 2010, the ministry said.
The South Korean government is releasing today the first dictionary of North Korean computer jargon. The Korea Agency for Digital Opportunity and Promotion, which compiled the content jointly with the Information Ministry, said that about 58 percent of computer-related terms in the North are different from those in the South. "The dictionary is meant to help North Korean defectors understand the information technology culture here and narrow the information gap between the two Koreas," said Son Yeon-gi, chief of the digital agency. According to Mr. Son, only one in five North Koreans living in the South can understand computer jargon that is widely used here. The dictionary contains about 2,500 words commonly used in South Korea, along with explanations in both Korean and English. Unlike in the South, transliterations of English terms are a no-no in the North, so everything has to be translated into Korean. For instance, hackers in the North are known by the rather more flattering sobriquet "intelligent criminals," and online gaming is translated as "directly connected playing." The agency plans to distribute the dictionaries free of charge to computer and educational institutes for North Korean defectors around the nation.
Engineers inspect a welding robot at the Busan Exhibition and Convention Center (BEXCO) in Pusan, Sunday. The robot will be displayed during an IT exhibition to be opened today to show off South Korea＊s advanced information technology. The IT industry is rapidly becoming the main engine of South Korea＊s continuing aggressive economic development. Despite the recent worldwide economic slowdown, Korea has been enjoying solid economic growth rates of around and above 5 percent on average over the last few years. This year, South Korea is expected to break the $1 trillion GDP mark for the first time. Korea＊s dynamic IT industry with about 22,000 firms accounts for about 20 percent of this year＊s GDP, and about 60 percent of Korea＊s recent economic growth, recent Korea Information Strategy Development Institute (KISDI) data shows. Korea＊s IT industry＊s total output amounts to $250 billion and comprises three sectors: hardware manufacturing, software engineering, and telecommunications services. With a production output of $180 billion last year, hardware manufacturing accounted for the lion＊s share of Korea＊s IT industry. About 50 percent of Korea＊s domestic hardware production is exported to other countries. Korea＊s trade surplus of $36 billion in 2004 can be credited to a large extent to the IT industry. Korea＊s main products in this field are semi-conductors, telecommunications equipment, LCD-monitors and other consumer products. Taking advantage of Asia＊s rapid economic development, the hardware-manufacturing sector has seen bullish growth and is likely to continue to do so in the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, Korean firms need to spend more money on R&D to catch up technologically with the U.S. and Japan and to keep their edge over China and other Asian competitors. In contrast, Korea＊s telecommunication services sector, though being one of the most advanced markets in the world, has been experiencing difficulties in the past months. At $43 billion, the market seems to have hit its saturation point. Virtually every Korean already has a mobile phone, and fierce competition and price cuts make further growth difficult. The introduction of new services like television for cell-phones could prove a solution for the slow business in this sector. At $21 billion last year, South Korea＊s software industry was the other fast-growing sector of the IT industry. Domestically, educational content is high in demand, and gaming content as part of the ※Korean Wave§ has proven a strong seller abroad. However, software piracy and inadequate protection of intellectual property rights as well as consumer rights remain issues that need to be resolved for Korea to become a leader in software production. The Korean government is actively participating in the IT industry. According to the Broadband IT Korea Vision 2007, the IT sector is one of the cornerstones to boost Korea＊s per capita GDP to $20,000 by the end of 2007. President Roh, who claims to be the world＊s only president proficient in html-programming, promised to bring broadband internet to even the remotest parts of South Korea. This year, with more than 12 million subscribers to broadband services, penetration rate will exceed 80 percent, making Korea the world＊s number 1 country for broadband internet. The government, however, is not only providing the legal and infrastructure framework, it is also an important customer in the market. Korea strives to become on of the world＊s leaders in e-government, and for that purpose the government is heavily investing in IT infrastructure to make government services available online. The government has also initiated a support program to help raise R&D funds for small and medium sized IT firms which would have difficulty attracting that money otherwise. Due to its status as a world leader in IT, South Korea has become an attractive location for foreign IT firms. While foreign direct investment (FDI) in Korea is on the decrease in many other industries, the IT sector has seen double-digit FDI growth rates for the past several years. Korea＊s world-class broadband IT infrastructure and its large domestic IT consumer base that is always eager to adopt new technology make it an ideal test-bed for IT companies. Other factors that appeal to foreign IT firms include the large pool of talented engineers and the comparatively low salaries. To further promote its image, the Korean IT industry is holding road shows worldwide. APEC Pusan is seen as another welcome opportunity to boost its status. (by Jan Jettel)
eBay, the world＊s largest online marketplace, will build the Asia-Pacific Regional Management Center in Korea early next year mainly due to its excellent IT infrastructure and quality workforce, eBay CEO said Wednesday. eBay＊s Asia-Pacific regional headquarters will be established in Seoul in January 2006. To that aim, Meg Whitman, CEO and president of eBay, and Commerce-Industry-Energy Minister Lee Hee-beom Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) at the Busan Metropolitan City Hall. eBay said the center will focus on its current businesses in Asia and expansion into new markets. Outside the United States, Korea is the world＊s third-largest market for eBay following Germany and England. Its annual B2C market reaches $8.7 billion and $385 billion when B2B market included. ``With more than 30 million users in 10 markets, eBay＊s business in Asia has reached a key milestone in its growth and we felt it was time to create a regional management center here,＊＊ said Whitman. She said that as one of eBay＊s most successful markets with a technologically sophisticated user base, Korea was a natural home for eBay＊s new center. Most of all, a combination of the Seoul government＊s full-scale support for the center, Korea＊s geographic location adjacent to Japan and China and high quality of workforce helped Korea secure the regional headquarters, said the CEO. With the world＊s e-business market expected to grow $4.9 trillion from 2005 to $8.7 trillion in 2009, South Korea＊s virtual marketplace is projected to grow $200 billion to $600 billion during the same period, eBay forecast. Commerce-Industry-Energy Minister Lee Hee-beom who also attended the forum said, ``We support eBay＊s efforts in the e-commerce industry and think a strengthened presence of eBay means great things for individuals and small businesses in Korea.＊＊ As for the explosive growth potential of e-commerce in Asia, Whitman said ``Individuals and small businesses can compete with big companies and be successful as shoppers are no longer limited to local stores. Buyers and sellers can meet, communicate, trade in the online marketplace.＊＊ In the Asia-Pacific region, eBay has presence in 10 Asian countries __ Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. Three years ago, it advanced into Korea, taking over Internet Auction, a local auction site. (by Choi Kyong-ae)
Ultra wideband (UWB) communication technology has become a mainstream wireless technology used for home networking, and more application systems and solutions adopting the technology are expected to hit the market. On the forefront are leading research and business organizations such as the Electronics and Telecommunication Research Institute (ETRI) and Samsung affiliates, and small-and-medium businesses are also making fast moves. Samsung Electronics are now toiling on standards for CDMA UWB systems, while another affiliate Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT) has joined efforts to develop multi-band OFDM UWB standards. The institute also teamed up with Samsung Electro-mechanics to set standards for location detection technology. "The ETRI, Inha University UWB-ITRC, Samsung Electro-mechanics, Samsung Electronics and SAIT have been making concerted efforts to develop UWB parts and application systems, proposing system standards to the IEEE," said a manager at Samsung. The ETRI is co-developing a multi-band OFDM chip set with SAIT, and also plans to unveil a direct sequence UWB solution in the second half of this year. The IT-SoC Design Technology Research Center of Inha University has recently introduced a 500Mbps next-generation wireless LAN technology interoperable with a variety of high-speed data transmission standards such as UWB and 4G wireless communication. Shinhwa Information System has joined up with teh ETRI to roll out UWB module by 2007. Orthotron and A-Logics are also toiling on UWB modems and DVR solutions. "The market for UWB solutions is taking off fast, backed by wireless USB technology that became a standard interface for computers, camcorders, storage devices and digital cameras," said an industry observer. "These solutions are expected to be widely adopted for a variety of USB and 1394 communication as well as wireless streaming of flat display panels and information appliances such as PVRs, VCRs and DVDs." (by Joo Sang-don)
On the first day of registration for the World Stem Cell Hub (WSCH) at the Seoul National University Hospital, 3,350 patients with a variety of incurable illnesses enrolled to offer their stem cells for research, the stem cell research center said Tuesday. A total of 3,350 patients suffering from Parkinson＊s disease, spinal cord damages and other incurable diseases, applied. About 500 made their registration by direct visit, while 2,500 did it online and 350 via fax. At one point Tuesday, 20,000 visitors tried to get on WSCH Web site, shutting down the server. A spokesman at the research center advised applicants to take time, saying that registration is not made on a first-come-first-served basis. Once the registration is completed, the hub will select patients and extract stem cells from them. Anyone who has an interest in the process can get information about it at email@example.com. The WSCH opened last month to facilitate international cooperation in stem cell research. The government provided the center with 6.5 billion won to help it cure such serious diseases as Alzheimer＊s, Parkinson＊s and diabetes. The center is run by Prof. Hwang Woo-suk, who has made great contributions to cloning research. Among other things, the WSCH will store both embryonic and adult stem cells and supply the ※versatile§ cells in a search for remedies for incurable and terminal diseases. It is forecast that the WSCH will play the role of a stem cell bank in preparation for the time when stem cells are applied to therapy in the future. (by Choi Kyong-ae)
The "Sailau" e-vote system is going to be used at 17-20% of polling stations. Onalsyn Zhumabekov, chairman of the Central Election Commission, has stated this today, September 7, at the CEC meeting, KZ-today correspondent reports from Astana. "We are planning to the "Sailau" e-vote system at 17-20% of polling stations," - he said stressing that "the CEC is going to present voters an opportunity to use both electronic and paper ballots." The CEC will address the issue of the number of polling stations where the e-vote system is going to be used at a separate meeting, the head of CEC said.
Information Center for Development (ICD) of three largest international development organizations - the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the World Bank - in partnership with the National Academic Library of the Republic of Kazakhstan (NABRK), opened today in Astana. This is the first joint public information resource center in Kazakhstan aimed at wider information dissemination, knowledge transfer, learning facilitation and capacity building. More than 70 representatives of public sector, academia, media, nongovernmental and international organizations participated in the opening ceremony. Loup Brefort, Country Manager of the World Bank, Gordon Johnson, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, and Karin Oswald, ADB Senior Project Facilitator, jointly stated that this collaborative initiative will promote better understanding of the developmental activities among local stakeholders, and enhance their potential in delivering knowledge-based results. NGO and academia representatives underscored the importance of having such an information center for sharing best practices in all aspects of growth by other countries of the world. NABRK Deputy Director outlined, that ICD will benefit various public groups, including students, scientists, noncommercial organizations, officials and private sector representatives. Located in the very heart of the new administrative center of Astana, ICD is designed to be a one-stop public access point for resources on the various social and economic aspects of development. It offers a range of facilities and services that stimulate development thinking to the general public, policy-makers and civil society organizations. It provides open access to the extensive data-bases on various development topics, world expertise, and up-to-date statistical and analytical information. ICD visitors enjoy consultations and assistance in information search, and free Internet connection. ICD collection comprises more than 1000 publications, periodicals and multimedia on developmental topics, economic overviews, and sector analyses; project documents and reports from multiple international organizations active in Kazakhstan; and international publishers＊ books. It is expected that ICD will host a number of public outreach events, such as publications launches, information search trainings, workshops and roundtable discussions on various topics, group tours and more in 2006.
A "E-Soum" Program is underway in Dundgobi, Ovorkhangai and Selenge provinces to create a technological system. The program aims at providing news on climate, state and real time situation to the residents of soums, at offering e-library service, collecting data in local administrative and budgetary organizations on tax, population, livestock, livelihoods of hospitals, schools and families, poverty and employment.
President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov signed Decree ※On awarding a group of workers distinguished in the development of communication and informatisation system of Uzbekistan§ on 5 September. Turabay Adambaev (electrician, Khorezmtelecom) and Agzam Izbasarov (first deputy director general of Uzbek Agency for Communication and Informatisation) were awarded with ※Honoured worker of communication of the Republic of Uzbekistan§ title. ※Mehnat shuhrati§ order was conferred to the following people: Gulamdjon Baymuradov (engineer, Uzbektelecom), Mahmayakub Baltaev (cableman-jointer, Uzbektelecom), Djurahon Madaminov (electrician, Uzbektelecom), Mamanazir Hakimov (electrician, Uzbektelecom). The following people received ※Dostlik§ order: Natalya Antonova (specialist, Shaharlararo Aloqa Korhonasi), Samad Bazarov (engineer, Kashkadaryatelecom), Bahtiyor Nabiev (communications technician, Alat Radio-TV Station), Almaz Hamzin (specialist, Uzbektelecom). Ulmas Abduraimov (electrician, Uzbektelecom), Isak Ismailov (engineer, Bukharatelecom), Kurmangali Kalanov (chief of Karakalpak territorial department of the Uzbek Agency for Communication and Informatisation), Genrietta Miklina (specialist, Aloqaloyiha LLC) were awarded with ※Shuhrat§ medal.
The Tashkent City Court, in a brief 10 October session, rejected Internews's appeal on the closure of its office in Uzbekistan, the Arena website reported on 13 October. Internews Country Director Catherine Eldridge said the move was expected, yet very disappointing. In August, local employees of Internews were charged with producing unlicensed TV programs. The organization has also been charged with conducting unlicensed activities, using unregistered brand names, and trying to "monopolize Uzbek mass media [market]." Internews launched its operations in Uzbekistan a decade ago and provides training and legal assistance for journalists. AN
ADB will help the Government of Uzbekistan improve the quality and relevance of basic education through a new loan of $30 million to integrate information and communications technology (ICT) into teaching and learning. The project will equip 860 designated cluster leader schools with ICT facilities and Internet/intranet connections. The 860 school clusters established will play a key role in facilitating ICT integration in all schools numbering more than 9,700 in Uzbekistan, including pedagogical and technical cluster leader schools. The Government will provide ICT facilities to the other schools as part of its ICT in basic education program, and the leader schools will provide pedagogical and technical support to the schools within their clusters and will serve as an effective mechanism for improving in-service teacher training. Integrating ICT in basic education is an integral part of the Government's long-term objective of transforming the education system into one consistent with a market-based economy in the 21st century. In 2004, only 18% of general secondary schools had access to modern personal computers and only half of schools had access to any form of computers, including those made during the Soviet era. ADB has developed a two-phased national strategy for developing ICT in basic education and the project is a key component of implementation of the first phase during 2006-2010. Based on a comprehensive approach, the project emphasizes teacher training, materials development, e-readiness in schools, operation and maintenance, and financial sustainability through adequate budget allocations. "The use of ICT in basic education will lead to improved student performance and enhanced skills and competencies, as opposed to the accumulation of just factual knowledge," says Lan Wu, an ADB Principal Social Sector Economist. "It will motivate students and teachers alike by making education more relevant." More than six million students over the next four years stand to benefit from the project through improved learning and teaching conditions resulting from the provision and application of ICT in classrooms. More than 90,000 teachers, school management staff, teacher trainers, and local language e-material developers will also benefit from improved skills through the targeted training to be provided under the project. Learning materials for ICT use covering the priority subjects of mathematics, sciences, history, and languages for grades 5-9 will be developed. Training will also be provided to school administrative staff and teachers in non-leader schools in the clusters. As about 70% of the cluster leader schools will be in poor, rural, and remote areas, the project will especially benefit the poor by providing the disadvantaged with equitable access to information. To ensure the sustainability of the Government's ICT in basic education policy, the project will provide advisory services on technical, financial, and fiscal issues. It will also pilot test approaches to enhance the project's sustainability and future ICT development that focuses on the poor. ADB's loan, which covers 70% of the total project cost, comes from its concessional Asian Development Fund. It carries a 32-year term, including a grace period of eight years, and an interest rate of 1% per annum during the grace period and 1.5% per annum thereafter. The Government will contribute $13 million equivalent toward the project's total cost of $43 million. The Ministry of Public Education is the executing agency for the project, which is due for completion around December 2010. The Asian Development Bank, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in the Asia and Pacific region through pro-poor sustainable economic growth, social development, and good governance. Established in 1966, it is owned by 64 members, with 46 from the region. In 2004, it approved loans and technical assistance totaling $5.3 billion and $196.6 million, respectively.
Uzbekistan's Agency for Telecommunications and Information Technology held a ceremony in Tashkent on 10 November to mark the fact that Uzbekistan now has 1 million mobile-phone users, Uzbek Television Second Channel reported. The bulk of Uzbekistan's cell-phone users are customers of Uzdunrobita and Unitel, RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reported. Uzbekistan has a population of about 25 million. DK
Even while awaiting her turn for sungkeman (a Javanese tradition to show respect by kneeling down) and apologizing to her elders for the mistakes of the past year, Rima was busy sending text messages to her friends. The employee of a private company in Central Jakarta, could not help but laugh when she received a humorous message, despite the solemnity of the occasion. During the family gathering for Idul Fitri, Rima and her relatives did not just talk, exchange greetings and eat ketupat (rice cakes served with side dishes). They all had their cell phones in hand, ready to send or reply to messages. "It's practical, it's instant and it's cheap," Rima argued. "No need for stamps, no need to queue at the post office and no need to buy greeting cards," she said, adding that she received more than 80 messages on Thursday alone. Indeed, sending Idul Fitri text messages, which, as is the custom, often include an apology for any wrongdoings intentionally or unintentionally committed over the past year, has become the norm here. At a cost of between Rp 150 (1.5 U.S. cents) and Rp 300 per message -- depending on the cellular phone operator and the services offered (pre-paid or post-paid) -- short text messaging comes at a fraction of the cost of buying and sending greeting cards. By numbers, the trend is proving to be true. Last year, short text messages sent during the Nov. 14 to Nov. 15 Idul Fitri holiday nearly doubled from the number sent in 2003. The country's largest cellular operator PT Telkomsel, for example, recorded 87 million short text messages sent through its network during last year's first day of Idul Fitri, as compared to some 40 million the year before. Telkomsel also saw 72.5 million short text messages sent on last year's Idul Fitri eve and 50 million the day after Idul Fitri. Similarly, PT Indosat and PT Excelcomindo Pratama, the second-and third-largest cellular operators, both saw an average of some 50 million short text messages being passed through their networks during Idul Fitri last year. The number of text messages sent during this year's Idul Fitri holiday, which fell on Nov. 3 and Nov. 4, is expected to have increased again, with the operators upgrading their networks' capacities in anticipation of the trend. Similar activity is expected during the upcoming Christmas and New Year's holidays. Indosat, for example, had previously said it had increased its short text message handling capacity by five times more than its usual 36 million messages a day for the holiday. Meanwhile, from a socio-cultural point of view, the trend of sending Idul Fitri greetings via text message was seen by observers as not unusual in the wake of technological advancement. The chairman of the nation's second-largest Muslim organization Muhammadiyah, Din Syamsudin, was quoted by Antara as saying that the service was a blessing for many, especially those whom distance kept apart at Idul Fitri. "There is nothing wrong with exchanging Idul Fitri greetings through SMS. What matters is the sincerity of the greeting," he said. Din, however, said if circumstances allowed for it greetings were best conveyed in person. "To greet somebody by reaching out to clasp their hand is a reflection of the heart reaching out," he said.
Suhar, 28, a peanut farmer likes to show off the new cell phone he bought two months ago. He could afford to buy the cell phone after he reaped significant profit from his peanut farm using a management and production method based on knowledge Suhar obtained from the Internet. Suhar said his profit had been soaring since he adopted new production techniques and management principles he acquired from an information technology training held by PT Microsoft Indonesia last year. "This cell phone is evidence that the information technology has helped me acquire more profit. My net revenue was Rp 400,000 before I adopted the new management and production techniques, but now it is Rp 4 million a month," said Suhar. The training program is aimed at empowering local farmers to benefit from the latest technology with the long-term goal of alleviating poverty in Indonesia. In addition to equipment and facilities, two instructors will be assigned to train and guide trainees in computer literacy in an area where the program is conducted. Microsoft first developed the information technology-based program, called Unlimited Potential (UP), by working together with non-governmental organizations to accomplish a long-term training program by establishing the Community Training and Learning Center (CTLC) in October, 2003. Each CTLC will be provided with modern equipment made available to the farmers and their family members. They can obtain wide access to information, exchange ideas among fellow farmers and enhance their knowledge of information technology. There are 30,000 people in Indonesia who benefit from the presence of 28 CTLCs across the country located in Banda Aceh, Jambi, Medan, Mataram, Makassar, Denpasar, Pontianak, Sukabumi and Bojonegoro, among other places. Suhar gained knowledge on farming techniques in accordance with market demand from the training he received at the Garis Tepi CTLC in Bojonegoro. Previously, Suhar and a number of peanut farmers in Manukan village, Bojonegoro, had cultivated the three and four-pea peanut, the quality of which was considered good, but was not in demand, resulting in little profit, while some farmers had even incurred losses. After he received Internet training from Microsoft in early 2004, he obtained information on the high demand for two-pea peanuts on the market. He continued searching for extra information on two-pea peanut cultivation, and finally shifted from planting three and four-pea peanuts to the two-pea variety. To market the peanuts, Suhar, with the help of the two instructors at the CTLC, posted himself on one of the Websites, and eventually secured buyers from Pati, Central Java, and Jember in East Java. "I am better off now. I can set aside some of the profit from the peanut sales to put in the bank," he said. Suhar is not the only person in Bojonegoro who has benefited from the IT training program organized by Microsoft, but other farmers, including school students and women have also gained from the program. Rusmianto, a young man in Bojonegoro, hopes to set up a small business after completing his training at the CTLC. The 20-year-old man who has only completed elementary school, hopes to open a greeting card printing business in Bojonegoro. PT Microsoft Indonesia's public relations manager, Cynthia Iskandar, said that her company would continue developing the program and set up more CTLCs.
Malaysians with mobile phones will be able to instantly receive SMS alerts about incoming tsunamis in future. Science, Technology and Innovation Deputy Minister Datuk Kong Cho Ha said several telecommunications companies have agreed, in principle, to provide the free alert as a service to the community. Celcom, Maxis and Digi will work with the Meteorological Department to ensure that the SMS alerts are sent swiftly to their subscribers, he added. ※The alerts will only be sent if there is a real possibility of tsunamis occurring. ※We do not want to cause undue panic among the public,§ Kong told reporters after launching an MCA Youth health campaign here yesterday. He said the SMS alert was one of the measures organised by the Government to provide the public with an early warning on natural disasters. He added that tsunami listening devices would be installed in three areas around Malaysia at the end of the year. Kong said the tsunami warning system, to be located north of Langkawi, in the South China Sea and off the coast of Sabah, would cost not more than RM20mil.
Organisations and enterprises in Europe and North America are turning to online collaboration to reduce costs and increase competitiveness, and Malaysian companies should do so too, according to research firm Gartner. Those companies are using collaboration tools, such as e-mail, instant messaging, web conferencing, videoconferencing, websites that allow everyone to contribute (Wikipedia is an example), weblogs and portals," said Jeffrey Mann, Gartner Nederlands BV vice-president. Not only does such collaboration mean that companies save time and travelling costs, it also helps them achieve greater efficiency by allowing people in different locations to exchange information at any time, he said. However, Mann warned that companies also need to be careful when turning to online collaboration. A lack of common sense or any carelessness during a webconference, for example, could result in leakage of sensitive or confidential information, he said. "There＊ve been cases where failure to regularly change passwords to weekly web meetings has resulted in employees who＊ve left or been dismissed dialling in and attending the conferences in the background. "(There was one case where) a former researcher continued to join staff meetings, unnoticed his ex-colleagues, although fortunately, no serious loss resulted in that instance," Mann said. With the global webconferencing market worth US$500mil (RM1.9bil) annually in user licence sales and growing at about 20% per annum, Mann sees increasing organisational exposure to such security risks if organisations don＊t take the adequate precautions. "Webconferencing security is not about technology, but about company staff employing best practices and exercising discipline to avoid compromising data," he said.
EARLIER, we discussed the trend of IT outsourcing and now we zoom in specifically to the information security aspect. The increasing complexity of Internet security, and the resources required to keep pace with growing vulnerabilities in network operations, make it difficult for organisations to manage an all-encompassing solution that suits their needs. This is why many organisations have outsourced network security to professional managed security service providers (MSSPs). Experienced MSSPs are able to better manage their requirements with the latest technology, techniques and expertise, and in a more cost-effective manner. Such services may include: Network boundary protection, including Security Devices Management Services for Firewalls, Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS), and virtual private networks (VPN); For the most part, businesses have responded to security threats by deploying solutions that include a variety of single-point security products 每 firewalls, intrusion detection, antivirus, policy monitoring, vulnerability assessment, and authorisation and authentication 每 from a number of different vendors. However, such initiatives are useless if the IT staff cannot monitor, understand and respond to security breaches in real time. Compounding this, the industry has also yet to establish interoperability standards, and most of these products do not work well together. Most corporations also lack the human resources to effectively manage these complex heterogeneous systems, which require constant attention and continual maintenance.
IT Services in the country is expected to reach US$904.71mil (RM3.418bil) this year and will continue to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 15.6% from 2005 to 2009, according to a study by market research firm IDC. IDC said the consulting and Systems Integration (SI) market holds the biggest share in the services market, accounting for 40%. This is followed by support and training at 32.3% and outsourcing at 27.7%. ※The best opportunities for growth continue to be found in the outsourcing markets. It is expected that discrete outsourcing services will grow more rapidly than the SI outsourcing market,§ said IDC Malaysia Services Research analyst Katherine Chan. The compound annual growth rate of SI outsourcing market has been revised to 22.5% instead of 30.1% in the previous forecast. Signing of large SI outsourcing contracts is relatively slow so far this year, due to the nature of contracts that have a high level of uncertainty and risk, longer sales cycles and greater vendor commitment,§ said Chan. Also, the study reports that the systems integration market will continue to increase at a compounded annual growth rate of 12.2%, due to application and infrastructure spending. The network consulting and integration services market will show a compounded annual growth rate of 13.2% for the next five years, seeing great potential in the areas such as security consulting and implementation, wireless consulting and implementation, network optimisation, and operations assessment.
The Philippines Board of Investments has launched a round-the-clock, toll-free call centre for investment inquiries to make investing in the country easier. Trade Secretary Peter B. Favila said developments in technology have made it possible for investment information to be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. "Now, investors from around the globe need not go to Manila to get the data they need," Favila said. The system, the first of its kind in Southeast Asia, is currently fielding calls on three dedicated hotlines available only in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
SingPost plans to offer 24-hour automated post offices at all condominiums bringing its services closer to users. For a start, the first such post office, a world's first, is now available in a condominium in Jurong. Picking up their registered parcels or online grocery shopping will now be easier for the 4,000 residents living at Parc Oasis condominium. Lockers at a 24-hour Self-Service Automated Machine or SAM Plus will allow residents to retrieve their items from couriers at their convenience. They will be informed of the pickup through their mobile phone, and given a pin number to access the locker. Residents can also use the machine for other services like returning library books and paying bills. In the future, they can also book condominium facilities like tennis courts and barbeque pits via SAM Plus.
Billed as the world's biggest video gaming festival, the World Cyber Games being held in Singapore is testimony to a multi-billion dollar industry that analysts say now rivals music and movies in the popularity stakes. This year's games festival is the largest ever with more than 700 competitors from 67 countries playing at the Suntec Convention Centre for prize money of US$435,000 over four days. The cyber athletes are squaring off over eight of the most popular video games that include "FIFA Soccer 2005" and "Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War", with the finalists proceeding to the penultimate match on Sunday. Contrary to stereotypical images of 'anoraked' geeks hunched over computers, the games have drawn people from all walks of life. While many of those playing and watching are in the their teens and 20s, other generations are also represented. The oldest grand finalist is 39, a lieutenant-colonel from Hungary, while the youngest competitor is only three - Iranian Armin Golnam, whom his father insists is "just a normal boy". To many, video games conjure up mindless hours of battling animated 'baddies' on a computer screen, but for others, like 24-year-old Austrian Verena Vlajo, it is far more satisfying than listening to music or watching television. "It's fun, you can play with friends and it is not as passive as watching TV or listening to music ... you get to do things," Vlajo, the first ever female participant at the World Cyber Games, which is being held in Singapore, told AFP. "I was four years old when I started gaming. My father had a (gaming) console at home and I started gaming ... I had every Nintendo, Sega and Playstation," she said. Video games have radically altered the entertainment landscape since their introduction to the world in 1971, transforming the likes of Nintendo and Sega into household names globally. Even Microsoft, better known for its Windows software programme, made clear it wanted a share of the pie when it launched the Xbox console in 2001. "These days, video gaming is a communication tool for the young generation," said Hank Jeong, the brainchild behind the World Cyber Games, which was launched in 2001. Recounting his own personal experience, the South Korean marketing whiz said video games helped bridge the distance between him and his son who is based in New Zealand. "For me personally, I play with my son even though my son is living in New Zealand and I am living in Seoul," Jeong said. "Sometimes we play with each other in cyberspace so it is a great help to demolish the generation gap," he said. Next year's games will be held for the first time in Europe after Monza, the Italian city famous for its Formula One racing circuit, outbid Sydney, Mexico's resort town of Cancun and Shanghai for the right to play host. Up to 800 gamers are expected in Monza next year, reflecting the massive drawing power of the event. The growing interest comes as no surprise to industry watchers. A recent study by PriceWaterhouseCoopers predicted the video game industry will grow at an annual compound rate of 16.5 percent, generating revenues worth US$25.4 billion in 2004, and up to US$54.6 billion by 2009. Fuelling the phenomenal growth is the Asia-Pacific region, the world's biggest market which is tipped to increase from US$10.1 billion in 2004 to at least US$23.1 billion in four years' time. "Rapid broadband growth is one of the driving forces behind growth in the video gaming industry," said Greg Unsworth, partner and technology sector leader with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Singapore. "The emergence of higher speed processors, which allow improvement in gaming reaction times, has also contributed to the growth," he said. According to Unsworth, video games are also rapidly becoming a social outlet for the younger generation and no longer just the domain of so-called tech geeks. "Increasingly, video and PC gaming offers youngsters a venue to meet and socialise. For example, 'PC baangs,' as the parlors are known in Korea, are usually clean and safe places, where some teenagers even meet for dates," Unsworth said. "With the World Cyber Games, it shows that video gaming is becoming more mainstream, and is no longer just for 'tech geeks'," he said.
The Land Transport Authority will launch a new electronic system to provide a one-stop service for vehicle owners and dealers from next year. LTA says the computerisation of existing manual processes will make business operations more efficient. It will also do away with paper-based transactions, which means no more vehicle log cards or parking certificates for heavy vehicles. Motorists also no longer need to leave their identity cards or passports with the dealers for subsequent submission. Phase One of eService@One.Motoring will kick off by next March to offer enquiry and transactional services such as registration, de-registration of vehicles or transfer of rebates. More features will be added later. Vehicle owners can access the electronic system using a Singpass account or an account issued by LTA for non-Singaporeans. LTA says the system is secure and has been extensively tested. Authorisation is also required to use it. Said Maria Choy, group director (vehicle and transit licensing) Land Transport Authority, "If you want to do a transaction which involves a change of ownership - for example you want to sell your vehicle to another person -- then you would have to apply and we would have to issue you a transaction pin which you can only use once for that transaction."
The Singapore Armed Forces' 3G transformation will be completed within the next two years with its second Exercise Forging Sabre. This is to achieve an integrated strike capability across its land, air and sea divisions, and turn the SAF into a full-fledged high-tech military force. Exercise Forging Sabre - in the heart of the Mojave desert - was a milestone for the SAF. For the first time, it showed off an integrated strike capability bringing together the forces through an electronic data-link network. Unmanned aerial vehicles and commandos tracked enemy movement, relaying information back to command headquarters. And once the enemy entered the killbox - Apaches, artillery and F-16 jets were activated - mounting a precise strike. And with the success of the exercise, the SAF is already looking ahead. Colonel Philip Lim, Assistant Chief of Staff, Operations Director, Exercise Forging Sabre, said: "We are actually really talking about Exercise Forging Sabre II. It will involve the whole suite of sensors and shooters, and we will probably be validating the complete suite of command and controls as well. "In the next 3G Forging Sabre, I think the major thrust would be not just land-air integration but also air, land and naval integration, and that would form the complete piece of the 3G transformation." Those involved in the exercise were equally excited. Lt-Colonel Christopher Wong, Commander of RSAF Peace Vanguard Detachment, said: "This particular exercise is just the start of things to come, lots of exciting things to come, especially when you talk about 3G SAF being a potent and capable professional force." While it is still early to say when the next exercise will be held, the SAF is not ruling out returning to the Californian desert. Even with the 3G SAF doctrine, army, airforce and naval warriors on the ground will still continue to play a crucial role to integrate the diverse platforms together - all in the name of enhancing the agility and versatility of the SAF.
Utilities such as your local electricity or water provider have always had wide-spread computer networks. After all, they provide services across a wide area and have to monitor and bill for those services, among other things. So why not make greater use of the networks? That's exactly what the Metropolitan Electricity Authority (MEA) and the Metropolitan Waterworks Authority (MWA) are planning to do. The MEA, whose core business is to provide electricity in Bangkok and its suburbs, plans to introduce a broadband Internet service next year. And in a separate initiative it will set up a joint-venture company to provide electronic maps of greater Bangkok for corporate users. Meanwhile the MWA, which pipes water throughout Bangkok and outlying areas, has introduced an "m-pay" electronic payment service and will also implement an e-document system to shorten work times. Fibre to the home MEA governor Chalit Ruengvise told Database of plans to use its fibre network to provide a broadband service known as "fibre-to-the-home". "We have already used fibre optics for our long distance communications for years and many companies, especially those in the cable TV business, have asked to use our connections," he said, noting that to make better use of its 24-core fibre network it would offer wholesale capacity next year. "We use only one-third of the network capacity so we want to make the most use of our investment," he explained. However, to do so the MEA must first submit its proposal to provide communication network services to the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC). Prasitt Hemwarapornchai, assistant governor, distribution systems, said the electrical authority planned to ask for a network provider licence sometime next year. According to its plans, the MEA will invest one billion baht to extend its existing fibre optic coverage, which is some 6,000 kilometres in length, to cover 3,200 square kilometres of Bangkok, Nonthaburi and Samut Prakan in the first half of next year. "The investment will bring fibre optic lines to main streets and these can bring broadband Internet service to homes," he said, noting that the last mile to the home could use a technology called Power Line Communication (PLC).PLC technology can use existing electricity cables to provide Internet connections to the home. "There are technologies and we are looking through them," Prasitt said, noting that PLC had already been implemented in Europe. However the main target customers for the fibre network will be existing providers, such as cable TV operators, multimedia content providers and Internet service providers, Prasitt noted. The MEA also plans to work with the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) to introduce fibre optic service throughout the country. At present, Egat uses only 2 cores of a total 24 core fibre system, according to a source, who noted that some government agencies have already shown an interest in renting capacity. MEA and Egat are not the only electrical companies wanting to expand into the communications business. The Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA) is also working with the Fibre-to-the-Home Co to provide broadband communications services up-country. The company will run pilot projects in six provinces next year. Meanwhile, MEA will be involved in another technology venture around electronic maps. It will set up a joint-venture company with existing partner ESRI, which develops Geographical Information Systems (GIS)."We have invested some 1.5 billion baht in GIS in the past 10 years with ESRI to develop GIS solutions for us. We believe that our spatial information has the most detail available today," Prasitt said. MEA's spatial information covers 3,200 square kilometres of Bangkok, Nonthaburi and Samut Prakan and provides details such as households, roads, landmarks and electric meters. "The system helps us to offer faster service when someone asks for electricity services to their home," he said, noting that customers only have to give a street name and the MEA staff can check on the status of that area. The GIS system has already brought in 105 million baht in revenue to MEA, according to the governor. Public agencies such as the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, Metropolitan Waterworks Authority and police department are current users. BMA permanent secretary Khunying Nathanond Thavisin, said that the BMA had invested 48 million baht in implementing the electrical authority's GIS system, which had been used by executives to manage public utilities, the environment and water for each district. "We add household information to the GIS system so that we can offer better healthcare to citizens," the permanent secretary said. The GIS has also been used to outline routes for garbage trucks, helping save up to 80 percent on fuel costs, and to help outline potential tourist routes in Bangkok. "We have also used GIS for the fire service so that they can arrive at an incident quicker and we can integrate it with our tax system to collect more local taxes," she said. Another user is the Real Estate Information Centre, which can find out which land or building is not in use and then utilise that information to attract investors. However, there are still some issues related to the use of GIS, particularly standardisation. The MWA has urged relevant groups to adopt the 11-digit numbers of the Bureau of Registration Administration for recording household address, according to Wutichai Rangsiyawath, MWA assistant governor of the IT Office. "Although we use the same GIS system as MEA, each agency has its own style to record addresses. But if we all use the 11-digit numbers, we can create a common database," he said. Making use of IT The MWA has also been pushing other technology-related projects in addition to its use of GIS, including one to improve internal working processes via an e-document system. Kanjana Tuangchaitana, director of IT for the MWA service department, said the system included electronic documents, e-announcements and news. Changing staff behaviour was the biggest challenge for the IT team, which it did by utilising "super users" who could act as a bridge between technical staff and general users. "We had four super users who could provide help to other users and bring their requirements to us," she said, noting that it made the transition to electronic formats smoother. The e-document system was able to reduce the cost of transportation related to the delivery of papers and letters among its branches. It also reduces paper usage and speeds up communication and service times. In addition, the e-document system offers work-flow management, which executives can use to monitor project workflow. "When people ask for water service at our branch, we can immediately notify them when they will be able to access piped water," she noted. At present, people can pay their water bills via banks and ATMs, 7-Eleven convenience stores, post offices, and branches of MEA. It has also just introduced m-payments with a mobile phone operator, she added. In another IT investment, the authority said it will spend 20 million baht to set up a disaster recovery centre. It has also recently implemented SAP financial, MIS and executive information systems.
The Public Health Ministry's special procurement process will not guarantee transparency in the purchase of a fleet of new ambulances and the ministry should organise an e-auction instead, a House health panel spokesman said yesterday . Democrat MP Warong Dejkijvikrom, spokesman for the House committee on public health, said an e-auction would allow contenders about a month to study specifications and prepare their tenders. A special procurement would give them only three or four days and would not bring about competitiveness. If the Public Health Ministry opposed an e-auction, it should let the 232 hospitals involved in the procurement call tenders themselves and buy their own ambulances. The last round of bidding for special procurement had attracted only Toyota and Nissan and they had quoted 1.67 million baht and 1.65 million baht respectively for each ambulance. This was very close to the ministry's previous median price of 1.7 million baht and showed that special procurement did not ensure true competition, he said.
Chiang Mai-based software firm Next Dimension Imaging last week released Anatomy Lab, a 3D e-learning application for healthcare students from high school to university level. Anatomy Lab allows these students to interact with anatomical models that represent subsystems in the human body, while new features overcome the limitations of traditional CAD model viewing software and fly-through viewers, the company said. Anatomy Lab is based on a new navigation method that overcomes the disadvantages of commonly used zoom-shift navigation that is applied to high polygon count models. This allows disassembly of the model and putting parts back in place, very similar to taking a real anatomical model apart and putting it back together. Objects and structures can be directly accessed by name and can by identified by highlighting. Structural lists and object lists help students to memorise and to look up Latin terms. Instant navigation to a small or large spot in the model is possible by an operation that is familiar from 2D imaging. Anatomy Labs' region selection is very similar to zooming in on a region in a 2D image. Next Dimension general manager Lothar Muench said that conventional 3D viewers commonly saw the model as a document with a variety of properties, whereas Anatomy Lab focussed on the interaction with the model. He added that symmetries in the user interface assured that it could be quickly and efficiently operated by users who did not work with 3D models on a daily basis. The technology developed for Anatomy Lab could be applied to other fields, like language learning and for the identification of parts in complex assemblies in a production environment, he said. A demo is available at www.nextd.com.
FPT Telecom, a leading Internet service provider in Viet Nam, has completed the first Ethernet and fibre optic network in the country. The 10-gigabit-per-second next-generation network, built using an Ethernet, broadband and Internet Protocol/Multiprotocol Label Switching (IP/MPLS) solution from Cisco Systems, will provide FPT Telecom with a platform to deliver a wide range of services over high-speed broadband connections. "FPT Telecom wants to bring state-of-the-art Internet services to Viet Nam. To achieve this, we need a solid foundation that is carrier-class, scalable and cost-effective," said Truong Dinh Anh, general director of FPT Telecom.
Two new Internet services to facilitate online business transactions were launched on Wednesday at www.laocai.gov.vn and www.laocai.com.vn, designed to spur trade between Viet Nam and China. Local authorities said the portals are part of northern Lao Cai Province＊s long-term strategy to establish computerised services at its border with China, an important stop in the Kunming-Lao Cai-Ha Noi-Hai Phong economic corridor. Available in Vietnamese, Mandarin and English, the portals are linked to the websites of local authorities, allowing businesses to have easy access to important information. They are also linked with databases for markets in Lao Cai Province and in Western China.
The World Bank announced it would give US$19.3 million to support an ICT development project in Da Nang City over the next five years. With a focus on the small and medium-sized enterprises, the project consists of four parts: outlining an ICT development strategy, establishing IT infrastructure and computerising State administrative management, applying IT, and developing local IT-trained human resources. The IT-application phase is to receive more than $5 million out of the total aid, and will receive additional funding based on positive results. With this project, Da Nang hopes to take a bold step forward in the next 5 years, enhancing the productivity and prestige of the local ICT industry.
Viet Nam now ranks third in the world in internet-use growth, according to a survey on international Internet development conducted by the UK＊s Government for the Third Millennium (GOV3) internet research fund. Released on November 17 at the World Summit on the Information Society, the report revealed the number of internet users in Viet Nam increased by 27.48 per cent over the past four years. Although Viet Nam ranked behind Sudan and Guinea, 7.2 per cent of Viet Nam＊s population regularly uses the internet, compared to 5.75 per cent and 3.5 per cent in Guinea and Sudan. Addressing the summit, Viet Nam Minister of Posts and Telematics Do Trung Ta agreed that Viet Nam results in developing an information technology were remarkable. He added that 98 per cent of communities in the country has access to telephone networks, nearly 10 per cent of the population uses the Internet, and 17.5 per cent use telephones.
The Viet Nam Data Communications Centre 1 (VDC1), the northern office of the Viet Nam Data-Communication Company, announced it was preparing to offer wireless internet service within a 30km radius of Ha Noi. The VDC1 data transmission network, one of the largest data transmission service providers in the north, now covers all northern provinces with an Internet transmission line capacity of 2.1 gigabits per second. The centre＊s network is available in all 29 northern provinces, while Framerelay Network serves Ha Noi, Bac Ninh, Hai Phong, Hai Duong, Ha Tay, Nghe An, and Quang Ninh, and is connected to other countries through partners including NTT, Equant, Reach Singtel, KDDI, and China Telecom. The company has 1,500 direct VNN/Internet subscribers and 29,000 broad-band subscribers.
The installation of Cox's Bazar-Chittagong optical fibre link starts by the last week of the month after signing of the purchase agreement between BTTB and the winning bidder Hesfible, a Turkish firm by Tuesday. Chairman of the Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board (BTTB) Engineer Abdul Maleque Akhand Thursday told the news agency that some works, preparation of purchase list for equipment by BoQ (Bill of Quantity), design survey including bridge, culvert has just been completed. BTTB chairman said though Hesfible was supposed to take at least 4 months to install the network from the base station in Cox's Bazar to the port city of Chittagong, it would try to complete it earlier. The statement of approved copy from the cabinet committee on public purchase, which okayed the proposal of the Turkish company on September 5 for installing fibre-optic network from Cox's Bazar to Chittagong to take Bangladesh on the information superhighway. The cost of the 171-kilometre network is estimated at Tk 28.41 crore. Under this scheme the company will also upgrade the 260-kilometre Chittagong-Dhaka optical fibre link.
The Cellular Operators＊ Association of India (COAI) has reported an increase of 1.95 million GSM subscribers during September, taking the country＊s total to 50.87 million. According to the COAI＊s data, GSM market leader Bharti Tele-Ventures added 650,000 subscribers in the month to take its total to 14.07 million, or 27.65% of the market, whilst second placed BSNL＊s subscribers grew by 4.44% to 11.90 million, representing a market share of 23.39%. Third ranked Hutchison ended the month with 9.71 million GSM users, followed by Idea, BPL and Aircel with subscriber bases of 5.95 million, 2.81 million and 2.09 million respectively.
Indian telco Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) has doubled the size of a planned wireless network equipment order to at least 60 million new GSM connections, in what will be India＊s largest ever telecoms tender. State-owned BSNL plans to invite bids for the USD4 billion mobile network expansion by the first week in December and to select winning suppliers by March 2006.
India's GSM sector added 2.11 million new mobile users in October, the highest ever in a single month, to take the total number of GSM customers to nearly 53 million, according to the Cellular Operators' Association of India (COAI). Market leader Bharti Tele-Ventures added 670,000 subscribers in the month to reach a total of 14.74 million, whilst second placed cellco, state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), had 12.51 million subscribers after signing up 600,000 new users. Hutchison Essar Telecom, the Indian wireless unit of Hong Kong's Hutchison Telecommunications International, signed up 410,000 new additions, boasting 10.16 million customers at the end of the month.
China＊s second largest equipment manufacturer ZTE Corporation has been selected by Sri Lanka Telecom to deploy its ALL IP-based CDMA network in the country. The two firms signed a pact in Colombo under which the Chinese vendor will roll out 124 base stations in Sri Lanka, based on its ALL IP CDMA2000 solution, for the country＊s largest fixed line operator. The network, which includes a soft switch-based ALL-IP 3G core network and a series of ALL-IP base stations, is due to be installed by January 2006 at which date it will accommodate 150,000 new connections, offering subscribers high speed internet access to voice mail, high data rate transfer services and location based services.
Hijacked Lines Lead to International Block
Wataniya Maldives, which launched services at the beginning of August, has reported a total customer base of 10,198 at the end of September. Of the total, 7,131 were pre-paid and 3,067 post-paid. Kuwait-based Wataniya Telecom owns 100% of Wataniya Maldives.
Spice Nepal, the first Nepalese private sector cellco, launched its mobile service on Saturday under the brand name Mero Mobile (meaning ＆my mobile＊). The service is initially only available to users in the Kathmandu valley, but will be extended to several major towns in the near future. The company has run into problems trying to agree interconnection terms with state-owned Nepal Telecom Company, but hopes that an agreement will be in place ＆soon＊. Three years ago, Nepal＊s Khetan group, in partnership with Spice India, began an abortive attempt to launch the Spice network in Nepal. Khetan subsequently sold its stake to the Raj Group, which is chaired by Kumar Raj Bahadur Singh, son-in-law of Nepal＊s King Gyanendra. Visor, an investment company based in Kazakhstan, now has an 80% stake in Spice Nepal with the remaining 20% held by the Raj Group together with several Nepalese ex-pats.
Nepal News 每 Asia Media Editor's Note: Reports are unclear as to whether the lifting of the state of emergency on April 30 allows for press freedom, and thus Nepalnews may still be operating under the directives of King Gyanendra. In a bid to make the telecom service effective, Nepal Telecom (NT) is replacing the existing mobile phone system with a new system supported by the General Packet Radio System (GPRS) technology, allowing the use of the Internet, e-mail, and sending and receiving of Multi-media Messaging System (MMS) from mobile phones. The replacement of the existing system will begin on November 18 and is expected to take at least two days to replace all existing 91 base stations in the capital, according to reports. The NT will also bring 40 other base stations into operation within a month, to make mobile phone service more effective. According to NT, all local and STD calls made from mobile phones registered in the Valley will be free of charge on this Saturday and Sunday. The NT has also introduced "Family and Friends Service" to post-paid mobile phone users. Under this service, each post-paid mobile phone user will be given 25 percent discount in the airtime charge for calls made to three mobile (pre-paid/post-paid) or two mobile and one landline PSTN numbers during the normal hours (from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.). According to NT, all customers have to subscribe to this service through SMS by typing 'FNF' followed by three desired mobile numbers or two mobile numbers and one landline number to 1400. NT's move comes at a time that Spice Nepal Private Limited (SNPL), the first private cell phone company just started its service. MERO mobile of SNPL is providing phone service to its customers in one paisa per call in a calls made from MERO Mobile to MERO Mobile.
Lucent Technologies has completed the first phase of a CDMA2000 1X network rollout for Pakistani WiLL operator TeleCard. The deployment is the first of its kind for Lucent in the region. The network, which uses the 1900MHz band, has capacity for 500,000 lines, and has enabled TeleCard to launch Pakistan＊s first private WiLL-based telecoms service, which it provides under the banner GO CDMA.
KARACHI:Cybernet is the first Internet Service Provider (ISP) to become a Commerce Service Provider (CSP) with the permission of State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), said a statement. The ISP is in the service for eight years with experience of installing VSAT, Radio, Frame Relay and Auto Teller Machine (ATM) network in the country. Cybernet Chief Operating Officer (COO) Ansarul Haq stated this at a seminar here recently. He said, all departments and functions across the Cybernet could be integrated onto a single platform using mySAP business suite, which also integrate financial, customer order, human resource information, inventory channelling and distribution.The SAP provides functionality, strong platform and seamless integration with other applications, scalability, strong R&D, ROI and cost model. The SAP, first telecom implementation in the country, is fast to implement and taken less than 12 weeks to go live, the statement added.The implementation of SAP created a sense of urgency, as it was well-controlled change management to avert excessive customisation with focus on localisation. Cyber Rapid Integrated Software Solutions (CRISS) also provides turnkey & real-time online solutions, including application development and software re-engineering. CRISS is focused on implementing "Out-of-the-box" solutions such as SAP. It currently has a pool of high-profile consultants that has several years of domestic and international experience in SAP. It also holds a group of consultants who are trained on SAP CRM, he added. Ansarul Haq said it was incorporated in 1996 and started operations in 1997 with conventional dialup services.
In response to the Pakistan earthquake, aid charity Telecoms Sans Frontieres (TSF) has installed a satellite centre near Muzaffarabad heliport, to help rescue teams evacuate injured people; similar satellites are expected to be set up in Balakot, Manshera and other affected villages, although main fixed line, mobile and internet connections have yet to be restored. Meanwhile, the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) has temporarily allowed all telcos to provide services in Azad Jammu and Kashmir in a bid to aid communications in the affected areas, which were previously only served by government organisation the Special Communication Organisation (SCO).
Pakistan＊s government has licenced all mobile operators in the country to provide services in the northern region of Kashmir for two months, in a bid to provide better communications to those engaged in relief work following the 8 October earthquake. Under normal circumstances only state organisation the Special Communications Organisation (SCO) is allowed to operate in Kashmir.
Peshawar -- The Pakistan Army Survey Group has developed a Geographic Information System (GIS) containing relevant data and information about the magnitude of disaster caused by the earthquake in the NWFP and Azad Kashmir, according to an ISPR press release. GIS will help to provide the required information about the condition of roads, location and height of villages and population when linked with Nadra and satellite images. The system will also assist in relief operations and rehabilitation programme. It will also help aid agencies operating in the area by providing them the exact data about the population affected in case the road gets blocked by landslides and snowfall. The press release said when this system is linked with the Meteorological Department it will provide recommendations and suggestions to aid agencies regarding relief operations to be launched in the affected areas. The Army Survey Group with the assistance of the Turkish Disaster Management team has completed surveying areas located on the fault line, including Tehsil Mansehra, Dev Ghrain, Kachi Basti, Bafa and Garhi Habibullah, whereas drilling is in progress at Balakot. The survey will be completed in the affected areas of the NWFP within a week. Engineers installed high-tech sensors, which had been connected with a computerized laboratory, to study seismic changes in quake-hit areas. The survey team will also be accompanied by town planners who will suggest as to what type of houses should be constructed in the area. The army survey group has designed three-dimensional (3-D) models suggesting the layout of the affected area which will assist in the planning of rehabilitation, house designing and training of volunteers.
Sydney - A computer-savvy Australian member of parliament wants the government to stop being the nation's biggest junk mailer and become its biggest spammer instead. Liberal MP Malcolm Turnbull, who made a killing when he sold his stake in Australia's biggest internet service provider, wants every Australian to be given an email address that would last them from the cradle to the grave. "For a relatively modest cost and over time, starting with the young and e-savvy, the Australian government could offer to provide every Australian with an electric mail box or pigeon hole," Turnbull said. "This would be similar to an email account but it would be unique and it would be permanent." The federal and state government, banks, pension funds and, yes, issuers of traffic infringements, could reach citizens no matter where they lived, what internet provider they used or where they worked. "Every year the Australian government spends hundreds of millions of dollars sending paper communications to Australians," the former lawyer and investment banker said. "Many of them are lost, many of them are mislaid, many of them, perhaps most of them, are never read." Turnbull suggested a format for the lifetime email address: firstname.surname.dateofbirth australia.org.au. "No matter where you moved or how often you changed your regular email address, that pigeon hole would always be yours," he said. "Because it is a virtual pigeon hole, it would be accessible from anywhere there is access to the internet, which now days is almost any place on earth." Some might see a downside in the initiative as it would no longer be possible to claim tax returns and parking fine demands had gone missing in the post. - Sapa-dpa
Workers in the information and communications technology industry receive inadequate training and will find themselves lacking necessary skills to stay in the industry, the Australian Computer Society said today. In a statement, ACS president Edward Mandla said a survey of chief information officers indicated that workers were not receiving sufficient training in areas such as soft skills and new technical developments. He said the survey highlighted the need for the industry to address a looming skills shortage among those who right now had the skills to work in the industry. "The pace of technological change is so fast these days that organisations need to make a substantial commitment to boosting and refreshing the skills base of their ICT workers, or face a drastic fall in the quality of their technical workforce," Mandla said. "Companies are simply not devoting enough time to up-skill their professional ICT staff, and if they don't do so, their staff should take steps to develop their own skills base." CIOs surveyed said they believed their ICT staff should receive five to 10 days of training annually but the actual figure was between one and five days. The ACS considered 20 days to be an acceptable figure, Mandla said. "The survey reveals an alarming shortage of quality training in soft skills such as communications, business analysis and project management," he said. "The ICT market has evolved to the point where technical managers need to engage more effectively with other parts of the organisation and the development of business skills in the IT community is becoming more vital." Mandla said technical training was weakest in the areas of enterprise infrastructure, storage and content management, and document and network management. He said the survey indicated that more training was needed in security, database management, network management, storage, wireless networks, wide area networks and business intelligence. Training in telephony, wireless networking and middleware appeared to be sufficient.
NSW Ports Minister Eric Roozendaal claimed yesterday that Sydney's Port Botany will grind to a halt within 24 hours as a result of teething problems with the new Integrated Cargo Shipping (ICS) system. Roozendaal said problems related to the Australian Customs Service's new computer system is causing a massive backlog of imports. The system has stymied the flow of goods and exposed sensitive import data since going live on October 12. Roozendaal said ships could be queued up off the NSW coast as early as Wednesday, waiting to unload. Roozendaal said the cost to NSW businesses was more than $2 million a day, according to industry estimates. "Just two months before Christmas, Port Botany is at 100 percent operating capacity," he said. "I am advised that the port could experience major shipping delays on Wednesday, with ships queued off the coast waiting to unload. "The port has not been this full since the waterfront dispute of 1998." Comment is being sought from the federal government.
ACS: Australian IT Needs to Get Put on the Map And in Schools
Australia: In a move that reinforces the place of mobile as a provider of rural, broadband connectivity, Telstra this week announced that it will roll-out a W-CDMA network that will cover 98% of Australia＊s population. Tom Phillips ( inset ), the GSM Association＊s Chief Government & Regulatory Affairs Officer, speaking at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunis this week, said: ※Telstra＊s decision highlights the unique capacity of the GSM family of technologies to provide economically-viable voice and broadband services to both rural and urban areas. No other technology can match the economies of scale generated by GSM＊s 1.6 billion users worldwide.§ Telstra has chosen to transmit voice and multimedia services, including Internet access and video calling, in the 850 MHz spectrum band, using W-CDMA: part of the 3GSM family of technologies. Signals carried over this frequency travel further than those carried over standard W-CDMA frequencies, such as 1900 MHz and 2100 MHz, allowing each base-station to provide coverage to a wider area. ※Telstra＊s plans for an extensive broadband network highlight how W-CDMA is rapidly maturing into a versatile technology that can economically serve a wide range of communities from urban centres to rural outposts,§ said Alex Sinclair, Chief Technology Officer of the GSMA. ※By utilising the 850 MHz frequency band, Telstra will be able to offer high data rate capabilities over a wide geographic area using W-CDMA plus HSDPA*. Users will also benefit from the automatic global roaming capabilities offered by the GSM family of technologies.§ Mobile operators around the world have now rolled out 86 3GSM networks, allowing equipment makers to spread the cost of developing 3GSM networks and handsets across a large customer base. Cingular Wireless, the largest operator in the U.S., is planning to roll out some cities with a 3GSM network at 850 MHz next year that will enhance its existing 3GSM network at 1900 MHz. Other operators wishing to provide 3G services to wide geographic areas are likely to follow suit as more 3GSM 850 MHz equipment becomes available. For governments debating the best way to bridge the digital divide at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunis this week, Telstra＊s move to offer 3G services to almost the entire Australian population is a clear demonstration of the potential of the GSM ecosystem to bring Internet access to rural communities.
THE Federal Government needs to look into mobile phone services in rural areas amid concerns about Telstra replacing its existing network, former deputy prime minister Tim Fischer said today. Telstra plans to switch off its CDMA mobile network covering rural and regional areas and replace it in 2008 with a national 3G (third generation) service. There are fears Telstra's 1.4 million customers will have to fork out for an expensive new 3G mobile phone once the CDMA service is switched off. Mr Fischer, who fought for the introduction of CDMA in 2000, said an independent inquiry was needed to investigate Telstra's proposals. "Given the fact there was public money in the CDMA mobile freeway ... these are matters that should be subject of an independent inquiry, especially with regard to footprint of services," he said."I think `not so fast, Sol' and not until there has been a proper comparison between CDMA and the new low frequency GSM (global system for mobiles) that (Telstra chief executive) Sol (Trujillo) is proposing." Telstra says there is no need for an investigation because it has already made a commitment not to switch off the CDMA network until the new 3G service has the same sort of coverage in country areas. "This isn't like back in 2000, when I think at the time Mr Fischer was deputy prime minister and the government switched off the analogue network causing some inconvenience to people in regional Australia," company spokesman Rod Bruem said. "Telstra has given every undertaking that it will work with its customers on the transition and make it as easy as possible. "We certainly don't want a repeat of what occurred back in 2000." About $100 million of taxpayers' money has been invested in Telstra's CDMA network. But Mr Bruem said the money had not been a waste even though the CDMA network would be replaced. "Taxpayers should feel assured that 80 per cent of what's been invested through commonwealth programs will go into the new network," he said. Meanwhile, Labor is preparing to unveil its new telecommunications policy this week, with a plan to roll out high speed broadband services as its centrepiece. Opposition communications spokesman Stephen Conroy said Australia deserved to have a "true" broadband network, which was about 50 times faster than existing services. He called on the government to help telecommunications companies roll out optical fibre broadband networks so there could be competition with Telstra's services. Labor's plan calls for new laws to be drawn up to help joint venture companies build optical fibre infrastructure. The joint ventures would maintain ownership and control of the network and would be banned from engaging in retail competition. Instead, they would provide wholesale services to joint venture partners and access to outside third parties. "This structural separation would destroy any incentive that the owners of monopoly infrastructure may have to discriminate anti-competitively in providing access to its infrastructure, reducing the need for continuing heavy-handed government intervention," Senator Conroy said. ㄗby By Belinda Taskerㄘ
About 400 National Australia Bank (NAB) staff are participating in a trial of Telstra's new, multiple-network, single sign-on solution designed to reduce the access barrier for remote and off-site workers. Developed by mobile connectivity software vendor iPass in conjunction with Telstra's Innovation Centre, the Telstra Remote Working solution allows single sign-on across fixed-line and wireless networks. Telstra managing director of convergent solutions, Lynda O'Grady, said so far it has had "phenomenal" feedback from large enterprises, including the NAB. O'Grady claimed the bank has successfully completed a proof-of-concept and will deploy the solution to its road warriors in the future. "The companies have been coming to us because the solution was needed," O'Grady said, adding Telstra is developing a tailored solution for large enterprises in addition to an "off the shelf" version, which is due mid 2006. About 30 organizations are "almost pushing" the solution, which "was needed for some considerable time", into their enterprises, she said. NAB spokesperson Megan Lane confirmed some 400 employees of the bank are doing a proof-of-concept with the solution, but stressed "no decision has been made as to whether the bank will go ahead with the concept on a larger scale". "There are a couple of issues around tailoring remote working, because we manage our own firewalls and security internally," she said, adding that things like authentication are done inside the bank "for obvious reasons". "We do have to tailor the approach to remote working," Lane said. The iPass software 'sniffs' the availability of networks, including Wi-Fi, CDMA, and 3GSM, and integrates with enterprise identity management systems. The three-year exclusive partnership between Telstra and iPass will provide roaming for business and government customers in a solution "acknowledged as unique in the world", according to O'Grady. "Telstra Remote Working allows road warriors to connect to their own corporate networks with one password and one bill," O'Grady said, adding the solution also works in 160 countries globally. "Work is what you do, not where you are [and] instead of multiple sign-on you have a single entry point." O'Grady said as Telstra invests in Sol Trujillo's "new world", its focus will be more towards usability and security and the Remote Working solution provides business continuity and disaster recovery by making sure people can work out of the office. John Cunningham, iPass Australia's sales director, said with the transition from dial-up to broadband, which has paved the way for more remote workers, there is more strain on IT managers to manage networks and maintain service levels. "Customized services can be built on iPass, which makes it easy to set up a remote office and easy for IT managers to enforce security policies over these networks," Cunningham said, adding the application also checks if the device is trusted for two-factor authentication. "The software can check if the operating system is patched and the antivirus software is up to date." (by Rodney Gedda)
New Zealand needs to triple its ICT workforce by 2012 if it hopes to meet government targets for the sector, HiGrowth Project director Garth Biggs told the MIS Careers Fair in Wellington last week. The Government wants to raise ICT's contribution to the nation's gdp from 4.3 per cent to 10 per cent by 2012. Speaking at the MIS IT Careers Fair last week, Mr Biggs said that New Zealand needed to employ 125,000 people in ICT to meet the target, up from only about 41,000 today. The industry is already battling skills shortages and a drastic cut in tertiary IT enrolments that followed the collapse of the dot com bubble. Commander Corina Bruce, deputy director of communications and information systems for the New Zealand Defence Force, says it's important to encourage women in the lower levels of IT to stick with the career to help stem the IT skills shortage. "There are lots of women in the industry, particularly in the lower levels. "Women are getting to that level where they're expected to put in long, hard hours at the same time when family relationships become more important." Former Fonterra technology head Marcel van den Assum also spoke at the event, highlighting the changes needed to make the forthcoming "information revolution" a success. Mr van den Assum says many business practices arose from the 19th-century Industrial Revolution and will become increasingly irrelevant as the world moves to an information economy. He believes IT leaders will become the next generation of business leaders, and balance sheets will need to accurately measure the value of information to stay relevant. "IT skills will become a prerequisite in business."
New Zealand journalists could be using computer-assisted reporting (CAR) techniques to produce better-researched, more in-depth articles, according to National Business Review webmaster and technology contributor Francis Till. While most reporters these days use email and popular web-based search engines such as Google for research, Till says there are a number of less well-known search engines which could be helping them perform more specialised searches. Many of these search engines are freely available on the web, while others ?such as LexisNexis, Factiva and The Knowledge Basket ?charge for their services. Till is one of three experienced CAR practitioners scheduled to speak at the CAR: Research in the Internet Age seminar at Wintec in Hamilton on December 7. He will give advice on developing search strategies and discuss general, specialist and investigative searching on the internet. Till believes Google is a very useful search engine, but says that because it ranks results or "hits" by popularity, it is not well-suited to certain specialised or obscure searches. Many information sites, such as the Companies Office, are not interested in having Google scan their content, so reporters need to know to look there ?and how to look there ?themselves, he says. Till, a former search engine optimiser, says that as technology advances, it becomes more important for reporters to be able to use computer databases and software to assist them with their research. However, many local reporters simply do not know how to use the technology effectively. "These more specialised search engines, for example, probably aren't used very well in New Zealand." However, CAR is being used more and more to help break news stories. For example, New Zealand Herald reporter Louisa Cleave used online research to find out that Canadian John Davy lied on his c.v. before he was hired as chief executive of Maori TV. While CAR has many advantages, it is not without its problems. For starters, many of these specialised searches are relatively time-consuming. "With time you can locate all sorts of people and information. But that's just it ?it does take time," says Till. These techniques may not be suitable for reporters working to tight deadlines, therefore, but they can be very useful for those with the time to research their subject more fully. "The old way of dealing with things was to read the press release, talk to the relevant person, write up the story and that was it. But these new technologies can provide much richer background information and, because of that, put stories in context." However, Till is adamant that the computer is just one tool of many reporters have available to them to assist them with their work. "The web's a great resource but it doesn't replace picking up the phone and talking to people." Paul Smith, deputy editor of nzherald.co.nz, agrees. The internet, email and other computer-based technologies have made life easier for reporters, but they won't replace traditional reporting tools, he says. "Email often makes it easier to contact people, particularly if they're overseas. But nothing beats actually speaking to people over the phone." Smith says he often uses trusted online sources like NZPA, Reuters and government websites for information, but is wary of less well-known sites. "It's important not to take any online information at face value," he says.
Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand adds storage to converged IP network. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of New Zealand has completed an innovative storage network convergence project, in conjunction with IT services group Datacraft.The solution has replaced CAA's ageing Storage Area Network (SAN) infrastructure and employs leading-edge Internet SCSI (iSCSI) technology to provide high-performance enterprise storage at half the cost of a conventional Fibre Channel solution. The iSCSI storage system leverages the CAA's existing IP network infrastructure 每 which already supports voice, fax and data traffic. With the relentless demand for storage capacity, CAA realised that its legacy SAN infrastructure was reaching the end of its life. Preliminary studies revealed that the cost of a high-end storage array with replication capabilities together with a new-generation Fibre Channel network and interfaces to wide area network (WAN) routers was prohibitive. "What we needed was a storage platform that would give us the best 'bang-for-the-buck', could grow with our needs, support a dozen servers and provide better business continuity capability than our existing host-based replication solution," said William Neal, the CAA's Manager of Communications and Information Technology. CAA's new storage infrastructure uses CAA's existing dual, redundant Gigabit IP network infrastructure with two virtual LANs devoted to storage. Microsoft iSCSI Initiator software and dual Gigabit Ethernet interfaces on each host communicate with an EMC NetWin 200 Microsoft Windows 2003 Storage Server appliance running Falcon Stor iSCSI target software. The NetWin 200 has a direct Fibre Channel connection to an EMC CLARiiON CX300 storage array. First phase project implementation was virtually trouble-free and performance has greatly exceeded all expectations. An Asynchronous DR capability at a mirror site via CAA＊s IP WAN 每 using FalconStor iSCSI replication software 每 is scheduled for Q2 2005/2006. "The results of our performance testing are an order of magnitude better all around than those achieved using internal server SCSI disks in a RAID group. It also rivals or exceeds the performance provided by many comparable fibre channel storage solutions, at a very competitive price. What's more, we can add another server to the virtual SAN in minutes and at a cost of just a few hundred dollars 每 the price of two network cards and two IP switch ports," said Neal. Traditional SANs were developed using the Fibre Channel transport because it provided gigabit speeds compared to 10 and 100 Mbps Ethernet used to build LANs at that time. Fibre Channel equipment has been costly, and interoperability between different vendors' switches was not completely standardised. Since Gigabit Ethernet and IP have become commonplace, IP storage networking enables familiar protocols to be used and enables SANs to be extended throughout the world. Network management software and experienced professionals in IP networks are also widely available.
The New Zealand government is to provide more than 360,000 US dollars for Television New Zealand to provide a satellite service to the South Pacific. The service will include news broadcasts to the Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa and Tonga, as well a weekly half-hour programme of Tagata Pasifika. The broadcasting minister, Steve Maharey, says the funding will help strengthen the important linkages between New Zealand and Pacific Island communities.
New Zealand Customs and Auckland International Airport have begun shopping for self-service border control kiosks that look set to spell the end of face-to-face checks by Customs staff on all visitors, speeding up border checks for "trusted travellers". The kiosks would automatically check the identity of travellers, using software to match people against their passport photos, while ensuring passengers weren't on wanted lists. The kiosks would advise passengers if Customs needed to question them. The computerised entry checks will be offered first to "registered passengers" 每 likely to be frequent fliers 每 who volunteer to use biometric kiosks to avoid queues at manned Customs booths. However, a request for information (RFI) jointly issued by Customs and Auckland International Airport suggests the use of the kiosks will eventually be the norm for all passengers. Customs information systems manager Peter Rosewarne says security won't be compromised. Passengers will continue to be watched by Customs officers from the moment they stepped off the aircraft. Thanks to new Advanced Passenger Processing technology, Customs knows who is travelling to New Zealand before they board their aircraft, and has more time to assess possible risks and decide who it wants to take aside for questioning. "If we don't want people to come through, we will block them." Rosewarne doesn't believe it will become compulsory for people to use kiosks instead of talking to a Customs officer, accepting that "some people are resistant to technology". The RFI sets out an eight-stage plan for the introduction of biometric checks, though Rosewarne says these plans may change. According to the RFI, Customs will initially offer self-service biometric checks to Air New Zealand passengers arriving at Auckland airport, before extending them to Qantas passengers and then passengers of other airlines who don't require visas. It will then be open to other airports, such as Wellington and Christchurch airports, to introduce the kiosks. At that stage, Customs will also allow the biometric processing of passengers who are travelling with visas. Biometric checks will probably involve checking people against digital photographs stored on computer chips embedded in passengers' passports or on a special device that would be issued to passengers who register to be part of a "trusted traveller" scheme. However, Customs and Auckland International Airport say they want the biometric kiosks they buy to be capable of also checking people's irises and fingerprints, indicating they are keeping their options open. The biometric passports 每 first shown in NZ InfoTech in May 每 look much like conventional passports but contain a credit card-sized chip, embedded in several layers of thin plastic, that is bound in as a page within the passport. The chip contains a digital photo of the holder, their eye coordinates, a copy of the holder's passport details in electronic form and a special "cleaned" copy of their photo that is designed to be easily read by facial recognition software. Rosewarne says Auckland airport may contribute to the cost of the biometric kiosks, though no decisions have yet been made on funding. "Auckland International Airport is partnering with government and wants to contribute their share. Anything that helps in terms of passenger movements is of benefit to them." Customs screened 8.2 million people entering or leaving New Zealand in the year to March and expects those numbers to double in 10 years. The department says biometric checks will let it handle the growth in passenger numbers "while enhancing security standards for both inbound and outbound passengers". (by Tom Pullar-Strecker)
December 6, 2005, marks one of the most important dates in Hong Kong's IT calendar, as the Cyberport Venture Capital Forum 2005 (CVCF 2005) takes place at Hong Kong Cyberport for the second time. Co-organised by the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer, Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited, the Chinese University of Hong Kong Centre for Entrepreneurship and the Faculty of Business Administration, Hong Kong Venture Capital and Private Equity Association, and Monte Jade Science and Technology Association of Hong Kong, CVCF 2005 offers venture capitalists and entrepreneurs in the digital entertainment field an unparalleled opportunity to come together, network with industry fellows and learn about how to find the right business partner. A distinguished panel of experts will relate how best to negotiate and successfully close deals from first hand experience, providing investors and entrepreneurs with model examples of how to do business. What sets CVCF 2005 apart from other forums is the unique format. As our panel is made up of both venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, we offer views of the investment process from both sides of the deal, something other forums do not. We also include discussion panels and question-and-answer sessions to encourage interactions among the speakers and the audience. CVCF 2005 is honoured to have an affluent panel of speakers including our keynote speakers, the internationally acclaimed industry veterans, Mr Sanjay Subhedar, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Storm Ventures as well as Mr Neil Shen, Founding Managing Partner of Sequoia Capital China. Providing a wealth insight into the current trends in the exciting world of digital entertainment, CVCF 2005 is one forum you should not miss.
Int'l IPR Protection Forum Held in Beijing
IRAN: Seminar Will Discuss IT Role in Agro Development
Technical Training at Assalouyeh
UZBEKISTAN: IBM Technologies Discussed in Tashkent
Intl Workshop Considers Post Services
InfoComExpo to Be Held Next Week in Tashkent
IT Academy of Microsoft to Be Opened in Uzbekistan
Third National ICT Summit Opens in Tashkent
State revenue from the telecommunications industry will increase once the government expedites the relocation of Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) operators currently operating on third generation (3G) frequencies, an industry executive says. Apart from the relocation, the acceleration of the tender process for the 3G bandwidth frequencies is also urgent for the industry, said Jim Glinski, the president director of telecom equipment provider PT Alcatel Indonesia. Describing the telecommunications industry in Indonesia as one of the world's most deregulated, he said many telecommunications providers and operators were waiting for the relocation and the bidding to expand their business activities here. "I think if the allocations and the issuance of licenses was done faster, this would of course help the development of the business," Glinski told The Jakarta Post last week. Although some companies are still conducting trial operations of the 3G system, not yet for commercial purposes, business will be booming in the coming years after the government has decided the winners of the tender, Glinski predicted. The Alcatel executive, who has been located at the company's headquarters in Paris since 1997, said there was still huge growth potential for the GSM-standard generation and the 2.5G or the GPRS technology, although the 3G was much more advanced. "I heard hundreds of thousands of 3G phones were sold in Indonesia without the 3G service, because people buy it as some kind of status symbol," he said. The Ministry of Information and Communications has ordered all CDMA operators -- including Flexi and Indosat's StarOne -- which have a bandwidth of between 1,920 HMz and 1,990 Mhx to cease using their frequencies as the frequencies will be allocated to operators with the introduction of 3G technology to the country. In the meantime, after several delays, the government is scheduled to open in November bidding for the frequencies and licenses for 3G bandwith. The cash-trapped government expects about Rp 5 trillion (US$500 million) in revenue from the provision of frequencies and licenses. The government has already granted 3G licenses to two companies though they are still not operational. Meanwhile, when asked about problems his company is facing in doing business in Indonesia, the Polish-born executive replied: "Frankly speaking there are no big problems. Those we do have are more general problems -- but this is something that we share together with others."
Colourful flags, banners and decorations are up at the Palace of the Golden Horses hotel here, the venue for the four-day Sixth Conference of Ministers of Information of Non-Aligned Countries (Cominac VI) today. Delegates from some 80 Cominac member countries are expected to converge at the hotel where the meetings are expected to centre on the free flow of information, among other issues. The Royal Ballroom, where the opening ceremony will be held, was abuzz with activities as workers put the final touches to give the place a Malaysian flavour. ※Work is expected to be completed by this evening,§ said a worker. Meanwhile, the hotel＊s executive chef S. Logarajah said some 200 chefs and trainee chefs have been assigned to prepare the meals for the event, and that the delegates should be delighted with multi-racial traditional cuisines.
Singapore has won a silver on day three of the World Cyber Games. 24-year-old Wilson Chia is the only Singaporean gamer to make it to the finals. But the "Dead Or Alive Ultimate" player lost to his Japanese opponent, Tomoyuki Inui, 2-1 when it came to the crunch. Wilson started out strong, but nerves got the better of him in the game. "It's very scary. I still feel very scared. I'm glad I get to play on stage. It's my first time. Even though I lost, I'm still very happy," he said. But it was a picture of devastation for crowd favourites Team Titans, which lost to their Canadian opponents at the top 16 elimination round. Prasad Paramajothi, a member of Team Titans, said: "We'll just carry on playing. We'll just see what tournaments are there in the future, and we'll just take it from there." You really have to give it to these gamers. Despite the loud music and massive crowds watching over their shoulders, they were able to concentrate and give 110% to their games. And at the end of the day, players say, winning isn't everything. It's also about meeting their international counterparts, making the World Cyber Games a truly 'Beyond The Game' experience. World Cyber Games 2005 ends on Sunday.
Homegrown IT distributor eSys Technologies has won the top spot in this years' Enterprise 50 awards. The company beat 49 other top local enterprises to claim first place. APS Asset Management and BBS Systems came in as runners-up. In the start-up category, steel distributor Regency Steel Asia clinched the top position. Kenetics Innovations, First Media, Tedtronic and Propnex Corporation also received awards in the category. In total, 50 companies and five start-ups were given awards by the Minister of State for Trade and Industry and Education, Chan Soo Sen, at the Enterprise 50 and e-Startup gala dinner on Tuesday. Each year local privately-held companies that feel they epitomise the spirit of enterprise are invited to compete for the Enterprise Awards. They are judged at both the quantitative and qualitative levels, from their financial performance to their ability to innovate and their management philosophy as well as their market presence. eSys Technologies was started five years ago, but it now has 110 offices in 35 countries, with a turnover of S$3 billion. It is the world's largest hard disk-drive distributor and makes the world's cheapest computer. eSys says its business model revolves around making its process management so efficient that it can keep its costs very low. Said Vikas Goel, chairman and managing director, eSys Technologies, "Let's say for distribution - the normal average cost of any company, our competitors, is an average of 5 percent, whereas we are able to do the same thing at 1 percent. So we are 500 percent more efficient than our competitors. Similarly in the PC assembly, we are able to have a 1/10th cost structure of our biggest competitors. This in itself has been our formula for success." e50 Startup winner Regency Steel Asia was started just about a year ago. But in its maiden year it managed to achieve a turnover of over US$100 million. Said Kelvine Chong, executive director and COO, Regency Steel Asia, "Our core competitiveness lies in our sales force. Our total sales experience together is more than 40 years. Next, we have a long-term close relationship with our customers. We also have a very strong knowledge and understanding of our core industries. I think these are the pillars of our business today." Both eSys And Regency Steel say they are looking to go public so that they can gain from a higher profile, as well as give their employees a share in the business.
According to a new report, worldwide spam costs could reach US$50 billion in 2005 and damages committed by spyware crimes can't yet be properly measured. An alarming prognosis that pushed us to initiate an all-embracing event to fight against spyware and spam attacks. The Asian Internet Security Summit 2005 provides two symposia, targeted at the industry and academia: Panel 1: Asian Anti Spyware Symposium Panel 2: Asian Anti Spam Symposium Open Forum & Formation: Asian Internet Security Task Force The 2 Day-event will put these issues in the spotlight, with the aim of educating and addressing the problematic nature of unsolicited commercial e-mails and spyware. More than 500 qualified delegates are expected each day. Participation for the Symposia and the Open Forum will be free of charge for the government, academia, and business sectors. Topics of Day 1 (24 Nov, 2005) Anti-Spyware: Spyware - IT Security's New Frontier Is all Spyware Bad? Cutting off the Spyware Juggernaut Discussion: Introducing Anti-Spyware Legislation - The Pros & Cons Anti-Spam: Spam in Asia today - An Overview The Role and Measures of Providers in the Spam Crusade Mobile Spam - A Phantom Menace? Discussion: Quo vadis - Spam? The Future of Spam from a Legal Perspective; The Move to Legislation - Is it Enough? What More Could be Done to Educate Users? Topics of Day 2 (25 Nov, 2005) Anti-Spyware: Spyware as a Corporate Espionage Threat The Trends in Outbound Spyware Transmissions and its Repercussions Spyware Removal Programs and Prevention Strategies - A Growing Necessity? Discussion: Where is Spyware heading? Is Spyware a solvable problem? Anti-Spam: The Future of Spam - Emerging Technologies Flaws in Spam-Filter Testing and How to Address Them Spam Protection in the E-Mail System - The Measures of the Producers Discussion: Grand Words No Results? Can Providers & Manufacturers' Keep Their Promises? Open Forum & Formation of the Asian Internet Security Task Force
Cyberworlds are information worlds created on cyberspaces either intentionally or spontaneously, with or without visual design. Cyberworlds are closely related to the real world and have a serious impact on it. The conference will have four parallel tracks including but not limited to the following topics: - Shared Virtual Worlds, - Distributed Virtual Environments, - Collaborative Design and Manufacturing, - Information Retrieval and Information Security, - Data Mining and Warehousing in Cyberworlds, - HCI and Humanised Interfaces in Cyberworlds, - Philosophy, Evolution, and Ethics of Cyberworlds, - Business Models in Cyberworlds, - Cyberlearning, Cyberculture and Cyberarts CW2005 will provide an opportunity for scientists and engineers from around the world to share the latest research, ideas, and developments in these fields. The conference will consist of full paper sessions, short presentations, panels, tutorials, cyberworlds exhibition, industrial seminars, and hands-on demonstrations where research groups, artists, and vendors will show the state-of-the-art in the field.
According to news reports, major airlines are outsourcing their IT operations in order to cut costs and compete with aggressive "low cost" carriers. This brings us to the age-old issue of whether to do software in-house, or follow the so called "do what you do best, outsource the rest" policy. This is a classic case study applicable to all businesses - not just the airline industry. If you're a regular reader of this column, you'd know where I stand on this issue. I always believe that "what you do best" rests with IT, because software applications and the databases users depend on are the core of the business - regardless of the business you're in. Despite this view, I have to say that creating software in-house is not for everyone. Developing a good and practical software application has almost nothing to do with technology and almost everything to do with the users - the quality of users to be exact. It is the quality of the user requests that dictate the quality of that software. It's the "quality" (optimization) of the software that, in turn, dictates the specifications of the hardware and network. It is my firm belief that any successful, long term use of IT must start with the people (policy makers, staff, etc), then the procedures and then finally the systems. Even if you have the people, procedures, and systems priority right, that does not mean that your enterprise will gain the maximum benefit from IT (meaning maximum output with minimum costs). Your people must still be willing and capable to change the status quo and re-invent the processes to fully exploit the technology. There's nothing wrong with outsourcing IT operations - if it is done right. This means outsourcing some hardware/network infrastructures that are now considered commodity. Routine, general purpose business suites can also be purchased. Even some specific software can be effectively outsourced - if it is based on the needs of that work process, such as if you have business processes that are tightly regulated by governmental or standards bodies. The systems can be purchased or outsourced since the manufacturers/providers have to adhere to a rigid flow. There's no point re-inventing wheels here. But for some applications, especially where innovation means the edge over the competition, rigidity can spell the difference between winning and losing market share. To give a tiny example in the airline industry: we all know about electronic ticketing, but what if your airline wants to lower cost and provide better customer service at the same time? Say by offering the use of an e-boarding pass that bypasses a typical physical boarding paper - for example, the boarding information can be SMSed to a passenger's mobile phone or through email). When a passenger boards the aircraft at the holding gate, he or she just presents an E-passport or national ID smart-card that can be scanned and reconciled with the boarding system immediately, thus eliminating the full-on security check counters you find at some domestic terminals. Be mindful that this is just a simplified example - the real process contains more detailed functions. But if you want to use the e-boarding pass feature and your Departure Control System (DCS) is hosted with an outsourced vendor, and nobody else is using this particular feature, you'd likely get a blank stare from the vendor. Or they might propose you to "vote" for that option at a users' meeting. Then you can wait around a year or two to get the feature - if you're lucky. If you're a mega carrier that provides a hefty percentage of the outsourcing vendor's income, you may get preferential treatment (at a cost), but if you're an SME carrier listed somewhere 20 rows down the list, then tough luck. User-designed software means people drive the system. Outsourced software systems means software drives the people. Both approaches work and have their respective pros and cons. At the end of the day, it all depends on which "pros" you see as key to long term success, and which "cons" you can eliminate.
A national survey of 7,484 people aged between 14-25 shows that 17.3 per cent of young people use the Internet, a lower rate than many other regional countries. According to the survey, conducted by the Viet Nam Post and Telecommunications Corporation (VNPT), more than 50 per cent of young people in urban areas use the Internet, whereas the figure in rural areas is only 12.8 per cent. Most of them use the Internet as a means of entertainment, rather than a source of information. Of those surveyed, 6.7 per cent said that they use the Internet to chat and 61.7 per cent to play games.
Oracle recently announced the launch of its Collaboration Suite 10G, a block of software products designed for businesses to improve management efficiency. Based on Oracle Database 10G and Oracle Application Server 10G, the new software is the first offering in the market to support seamless management of all structured and unstructured enterprise information on a single computer system. The US-based firm said Oracle Collaboration Suite 10G is designed for seamless integration of business applications and processes to enhance operational efficiency.
A college for IT education has been planned by the Ministry of Post and Telematics in Da Nang city with a total capital investment of $20 million, including $10 million as ODA (official development assistance) from the Government of the Republic of Korea (RoK). While RoK will provide equipment for the 10ha college, which is to have four faculties for computer basics, IT application and e-commerce, the country will build necessary infrastructure. The college will have a capacity for 1,200 students.
A total of 470 domestic and foreign businesses will display their products in 570 stalls at the 2nd Technology and Equipment Fair 2005 (Techmart 2005) in HCM City from October 12-15. Of this, 307 businesses have their products registered for competition at the fair. Techmart 2005 aims to encourage organisations, businesses and individuals in science and technology fields transfer technology and equipment to domestic enterprises, organisers said. Techmart 2005 will also focus on technology and equipment used to produce goods for exports, expected to replace imports.
The 3rd Viet Nam e-Government symposium 2005 will be held in Da Nang on December 2-3 in a joint effort between the local post and telecommunications department and IDG Group, focusing on the computerisation of State administrative management. The symposium will also be a forum for local and international organisations to share practical experience in IT applications and implementation. An exhibition will be held concurrently of domestic and foreign products and software solutions for e-government with the participation of international giants such as IBM, Cisco, Sun Microsystems, Intel, Microsoft and Fortinet.
Viet Nam Post and Telecommunications Corporation (VNPT) and International Data Group (IDG) will organise the 4th Viet Nam International Conference and Exhibition on Telecommunications and Networking (Comnet Viet Nam 2005) in Ha Noi on December 14-15. Domestic and international firms will highlight developments in mobile and wireless, multi-media entertainment and networking technologies at the conference, according to VNPT. The conference will also serve as a forum for telecom infrastructure managers to exchange views on future strategies for developing Viet Nam＊s information and communications technology (ICT) sector, including mobile TV, broadband and 3G applications. The event is expected to draw more than 1,000 attendees, including government officials and domestic and foreign ICT experts.
Dhaka: The Dhabi Group of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) plans to invest about $1 billion in the telecommunications, pharmaceuticals and infrastructure sectors in Bangladesh. A memorandum of understanding was signed between the group and the Board of Investment here Thursday evening, the daily New Age reported Friday. According to the report, the group will prepare a detailed investment proposal within three months. "We have come here to see economic development and there are many opportunities of investment," the group's Chairman and UAE Education Minister Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan was quoted as saying by the daily. Al Nahayan, who paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, lauded her for "working hard to create an investment-friendly environment". "We want to be part of development in all sectors," he said. Dhabi will invest over $500 million in the telecom sector, beginning with the commissioning of a project by next month, if the government issues a license immediately for mobile phone operations. It has already applied for GSM cellular license to operate mobile telephony on a countrywide basis. Dhabi's entry into the mobile sector will be followed by other ventures in the hotel industry, pharmaceuticals and financial sectors, said the group's Chief Executive Officer Bashir A Tahir. Tahir ruled out the possibility of difficulties in receiving regulatory support from the government. "These are mere formalities. Besides they (government authorities) are very cooperative," he was quoted as saying. The Dhabi group's interests also include real estate development and management, manufacturing, company representations, offshore drilling, banking and financial services.
US-owned technology provider UTStarcom has announced that it is to enter the Bangladeshi mobile phone market by supplying local cellco Pacific Bangladesh Telecom (PBTL) with a new range of CDMA handsets. PBTL is the country＊s fourth largest mobile operator and its only CDMA-based provider. At the end of June it claimed 318,000 subscribers to its CityCell network; Bangladesh had a total of over 6.33 million mobile users at the same date.
Bangladeshi private mobile operator GrameenPhone (GP) Limited says it is slashing its tariff plans by between 20% and 60%, effective from today, as it looks to hang on to its dominant position in the country＊s mobile market. The move is in part a response to an influx of competition: in late March 2005, the market's fifth player, BTTB subsidiary Teletalk, launched full commercial services after rolling out 110 base stations. At launch, Teletalk said it was aiming for a quarter of a million subscribers, with a long term target of a million. The company also said its medium to long term target was to cover 55 of Bangladesh's 64 administrative districts with a total of 570 base stations, although an exact timescale was not announced. Although GP currently controls around 60% of all mobile subscribers in Bangladesh it is not being complacent. The planned price cuts will reduce its highest pre-paid tariff from BDT6/minute to BDT4.4/minute (for calls to other GP users), and down to BDT4.8/minute for cross-network calls. The tariff of its djuice brand has also been reduced and both existing and new subscribers can take advantage of a flat-rate tariff of BDT4.65/minute, down from BDT4.98/minute previously.
The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has received over a dozen bids from local and international companies for the country＊s fifth mobile network operating licence. The BTRC opened the public tender for the USD50 million concession at the beginning of this month and has received offers from Warid Telecom, owned by UAE-based Dhabi Group, MB Telecom, Ericsson, National Telecom Ltd, Concord Progati Consortium, Dominox Technologies, Ranks Telecom, Global Suppliers, TM International (Bangladesh) and Civil Engineers Ltd, among others. The regulator expects further bids from domestic group Basundhara and telcos based in Jordon and Kuwait. The deadline for submitting offers is 17 November 2005.
Bangladesh's wireless market leader GrameenPhone has announced that it crossed the five million subscriber mark early this month. The cellco more than doubled its subscriber base during the first ten months of 2005 after starting the year with 2.388 million customers. It reached four million users in September before experiencing accelerated growth over the next two months to achieve the landmark subscriber figure. GrameenPhone＊s sales were helped by heavy marketing of its post- and pre-paid packages, including EASY, EASY Gold and djuice. It now controls an estimated 62% of the Bangladeshi market (up from 58.5% at the end of June) and covers nearly 80% of the population, with a presence in 61 districts.
The Bangladeshi government＊s plan to increase national teledensity by installing a million fixed lines has received a boost from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), which last week indicated that it would invest an undisclosed amount in the USD400 million project. Bangladesh currently has a teledensity of 0.5%, amongst the lowest in the world, and the government hopes to at least double this figure within a year by expanding digital telephone exchanges in cities, district centres and other growth areas. The IDB is already supporting the country's submarine cable building programme through a USD60 million loan.
Indian telcos Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd (VSNL) and Bharti Tele-Ventures are expected to invest around USD40 million each to launch the Indian landing stations of undersea cable SEA-ME-WE-4 linking Europe and Asia. VSNL is setting up a station in Mumbai on the west coast whilst Bharti is building the second station in Chennai; both are due to be operational by the end of the year. VSNL, part of the Tata Group, has been appointed network administrator for the USD500 million submarine cable, which is being built by a consortium of 16 telcos and will span 15,000km to link Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Italy and France.
NEW DELHI: Microsoft on Tuesday said it would double its investments in India and the employee strength in the small and medium business segment to expand its reach in the country by the year end. "We are doubling our investments and headcount in the country and expanding to more number of cities. By the end of this year we will have presence in 32 Indian cities," Microsoft India Managing Director Neelam Dhawan said. She, however, refused to quantify the investment plans. While unveiling the company's expansion strategy in India, Dhawan said Microsoft launched an integrated Enterprises Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution 'Navision 4.0' aimed at SMB segment. "Navision 4.0 is an exclusive software for SMB segment and we expect to double our MBS business with the new Navision version," she added. "About 1.8 million entities are from SMB segment and we are coming with a tailor-made solution for this segment," she said, adding the company is expecting to double its business in a year's time. Navision is a SMB specific ERP solution with applications in finance management, supply chain management, mannufacturing and distribution. Microsoft also announced the entry of an integrated business solution called Microsoft Dynamics, infrastructure solution, namely Microsoft Windows Server Centro, and a Windows Server System Assessment and Deployement software. The global giant will join hands with over 3,000 partners across the country for software distribution.
Indian state-run telco Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) is considering cutting business ties with equipment supplier Huawei following the Chinese company＊s failure to deliver on a recent order of 1.05 million CDMA connections. As a result of Huawei not meeting its commitments, BSNL says it will have to initiate a new CDMA tender process, taking a minimum of six months. The proposed ban comes as a major setback for Huawei as it will be excluded from bidding in BSNL＊s upcoming tender for 60 million GSM lines.
World Bank subsidiary, the International Finance Corporation, has granted a USD20 million loan to Maldives cellco Wataniya Telecom Maldives Private Ltd. The cellco, which is a subsidiary of Wataniya International, was awarded the country＊s second GSM licence in February this year, and launched commercial operations in August. It will use the loan to expand its network nationwide, as well as to purchase bandwidth and build out landing facilities for a fibre optic submarine cable.
Chinese equipment provider ZTE is supplying Nepal Telecom with a range of value-added services technology platforms including HLR (Home Location Register), WIN (Wireless Intelligent Network), SMC (Short Message Centre), VMS (Voice Mail System) and CRBT (Colour Ring Bell Tone). The upgrades, due for completion by 18 December 2005, will enable Nepal Telecom to provide improved WIN, SMC and VMS services to its GSM subscribers across the country, and polyphonic ringtone services to all GSM users in the capital Katmandu.
Newly licenced mobile operator Warid Telecom has contracted revenue assurance company Azure Solutions to provide its Azure Fund Bureau Service. The service will provide the cellco with operational support, upgrades and hardware to help it detect fraud on its network. Warid was awarded its GSM licence last year, and launched in May 2005. It also holds concessions to operate long-distance, international and Wireless local loop (WiLL) services.
The Australian Communications Industry Forum (ACIF) will be hosting its second annual Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) forum next month to focus on inter-provider cooperation. A range of VoIP issues will be covered at the forum, from quality of service to security. The forum will also feature case studies on VoIP deployment, and a panel discussion on the implications to industry on the regulation of VoIP services. Speakers include industry analysts and professionals from organizations such as Alcatel, Engin, Huawei, iiNet, Neighbourhood Cable, Nortel, Optus, Pacific Internet, Telstra and Telsyte, with a keynote address by the Department of Communication Information Technology and the Arts' deputy secretary of communications Fay Holthuyzen. Anne Hurley, ACIF chief executive officer, said the VoIP forum is timely and relevant in light of the government's release of its report on VoIP services. While the government has found no immediate need for any changes to the regulatory framework, it has encouraged new and non-traditional providers of networks and services to participate in industry self-regulation processes and in ACIF's work on next-generation networks. "ACIF's position is that self-regulation needs to keep pace with the changes that VoIP is bringing to telecommunications services to ensure that users are adequately protected," Hurley said. "We hope this forum will provide a platform to discuss any foreseeable challenges and opportunities that may arise when multiple providers work together to deliver VoIP services." The forum will be held on Tuesday, December 6 at the NSW Trade and Investment Centre in Sydney.
An initiative to boost New Zealand's ICT exports to developing nations is dead in the water after the Government declined to provide funding. Fifteen New Zealand companies and organisations had banded together to support market research, a multimedia presentation and a booth at ICT 4 All - a trade show designed to link exporters with buyers in the developing world. The group, led by Pierre-Etienne Vachon, director of IT at economic development consultancy Proximus International, needed to raise $NZ300,000 ($A277,524) and hoped the Government would chip in half this amount. Mr Vachon received guarantees of about $NZ150,000 of in-kind donations from industry. The government money would have covered the cost of the stand, shipping costs and flights to Tunisia where ICT 4 All is held. ICT 4 All will be held from November 14 to 19, leaving little time to find another funding source. Mr Vachon says the Economic Development Ministry told him it had "other commitments". Earlier this year Trade and Enterprise gave a $NZ560,000 grant toward a stand for Kiwi firms at CeBIT, Europe's biggest annual computer fair, which this year attracted 480,000 visitors. Companies from Germany, Russia, Canada, France and the United States will attend this year's ICT 4 All event, which is expected to attract 40,000 visitors. Mr Vachon says the decision is a missed opportunity for the Government to encourage ICT exports beyond the US and Britain. "It's the only conference that touches ICT and economic development on such a large scale. The idea was to get the biggest returns possible out of the summit and open the market for New Zealand. The amount of deals that are struck at these summits is just amazing." He says the Kiwi aptitude for "fixing things on the cheap" works well in developing economies. Trade and Enterprise ICT team director Gordon Stevenson says he met the project's leaders in August to discuss funding, but told them at the time it wouldn't qualify under Trade and Enterprise's criteria. However, Mr Stevenson wasn't aware of the ICT 4 All event itself. He says the group mentioned only the parallel World Summit on the Information Society, a diplomatic conference where countries debate issues such as Internet governance and how to bridge the digital divide. That conference is a bureaucratic event, rather than a trade show such as ICT 4 All. He also said then that it was too late to file an application to get funding for November. Wellington software firm Data Torque has won deals in developing countries for its taxation software, used by Tonga, the Cook Islands, Vanuatu, Samoa and soon the Solomon Islands. Managing director Neil Hamlin says developing countries look for similar products and services as developed ones, but often at a lower price. He says developing nations offer some advantages over traditional export markets, and even disadvantages such as poor infrastructure can be turned in a company's favour if they can provide the right solution at the right price. "Sometimes there's not as many people looking in that market. In the US you can struggle to be heard above the noise, even if you've got a good product. You're just another `me too'." Many of the projects in developing countries are funded by overseas aid agencies, he says, such as Data Torque's recent Solomon Islands deal. But Mr Hamlin says government help isn't necessary for export success. "We've never received a cent of government money for anything we've done overseas." (by Reuben Schwarz)
Auckland, New Zealand. - November 11, 2005 - The broadband wireless market's most experienced and most advanced operators and vendors from 22 countries gathered this week at the Fourth Global UMTS TDD Alliance Summit in New Zealand. Hosted by Woosh Wireless, the leading UMTS TDD operator who has offered mobile broadband wireless since September 2003 and recently launched the world's first voice service over the technology, this Summit had a powerful speaker lineup and contained a number of key discussions and announcements from the world's UMTS TDD community. Key Discussions and Announcements ? Japanese operator IPMobile announced that they have been awarded a 2GHz UMTS TDD license for Japan and announced their plans for 8,500 cell sites covering three major Japanese cities, a range of next generation mobile broadband services launching in Q3 2006, and plans for acquiring millions of subscribers over next 5 years. ? Woosh discussed their new voice service and the success of the first month of the world's first commercial wireless VoIP. ? Sentech, the South African broadcast company, outlined how it has become the number one ranked wireless broadband service in that country using their UMTS TDD network and has received high scores for reliability, performance, and value in recent third party tests. ? T-Mobile discussed their recent launch of services in Prague, their rationale for selecting UMTS TDD, and their plans for new services and national expansion. ? Accelerated Wireless, an operator in Sweden, discussed the launch of their networks in both Sweden and Lithuania, and their partnerships with Tele2 and Telenor. ? Sprint discussed their vision for making digital life simple, instant, enriching, and productive, the key requirements for selecting their next generation platform, and their UMTS TDD trial in the Washington DC area as one of several various technology trials underway. PCCW's UK operation, UK Broadband, discussed the success of their broadband wireless service, now, the innovative marketing and advertising they recently launched based on UMTS TDD's key attributes, and their phased expansion into London. ? IPWireless presented its roadmap for further developing its 3GPP Releases 6 and 7 as well as support for new services for operators. ? A range of companies discussed their plans for new devices supporting UMTS TDD, including integrated gateways with VoIP and Wi-Fi, and the Personal Mobile Gateway, a new handheld device. The Alliance recently added Sprint from the US, T-Mobile Czech Republic, and NetGear to its membership. The addition of these new members to the international UMTS TDD community is indicative of the growing worldwide momentum of this broadband wireless technology. Over the past two years, the Global UMTS TDD Alliance has supported over 50 members as they build profitable broadband wireless networks and carrier-quality broadband wireless products. The commercial success of many members has accelerated the adoption of UMTS TDD as the preferred choice of network operators and wireless carriers to deliver wide-area wireless broadband and other high-speed packet based services. Alliance members represent the world's most experienced, most active broadband wireless operators, vendors, and customers. UMTS TDD networks now cover over 20 million people in 22 countries - delivering Megabytes of data, wirelessly and fast, to paying customers. This is one reason that new members, such as T-Mobile and Sprint, join the Alliance - to learn from each other, share best practices, and improve their own broadband wireless businesses. About the UMTS TDD Broadband Wireless Standard UMTS TDD, the TDD branch of the 3G UMTS international telecommunications standard, was developed by the 3GPP to meet the growing demand for ubiquitous, very high speed, low latency, mobile, IP networks. Major mobile operators, Internet service providers, and new operators around the world have chosen UMTS TDD because UMTS TDD networks are compliant with international spectrum allocation, offer exceptional performance, are standards-based, and offer economies of scale. Today, UMTS TDD networks cover more people in more countries than any other broadband wireless access technology. About the Global UMTS TDD Alliance Created and supported by the growing community of active UMTS TDD operators, service providers, and vendors around the world, the Global UMTS TDD Alliance's goal is to provide a forum for members to share their practical knowledge and experience with each other and with the public, set requirements for future solutions, and foster the market environment for solutions based on the UMTS TDD standard. Our members offer commercial wireless broadband services across Europe, Asia, Africa, and beyond. For more information on the Alliance, visit www.umtstdd.org.
New Zealand will be at the centre of the ICT industry in Asia for two days later this week when delegates from 18 Asian countries arrive in Auckland for a conference hosted by the Information Technology Association. Executive director Jim O'Neill says the gathering of the Asian-Oceanian Computing Industry Organisation will be the largest international ICT industry meeting held in New Zealand. About 200 people are expected to attend, half from overseas. "This is a unique chance for Kiwi ICT people to make regional marketing contacts," Mr O'Neill says. "Our aim is to provide, through the conference, opportunities for our people to get to know the industry leaders in Asia who can help them through to market opportunities in their countries." The Information Technology Association has experienced a steep drop in subscription revenues as many of its members have merged with one another over the past several years. It expects to break even on the event. Mr O'Neill says "the secret of growth" of the "economic tigers" the association is hosting in Auckland is that they "share a technique of government harnessing the power of industry in a partnership under which industry itself drives growth with programmes and policies accepted and backed by government". "The result has been an unending stream of innovation and business growth." He says this isn't a veiled appeal for more government help in New Zealand, but says there is much to learn from countries such as India, Taiwan and Singapore. "They have done what we are trying to do at the moment by putting their IT industries on the map and becoming strong IT-based nations. "The IT associations in those countries were very instrumental, so what we see for New Zealand is a big opportunity to pick up from those associations to work out how they did it."