September 29, 2015
TECHNOLOGIES... ICT Week 2015 has wrapped up in Uzbekistan
ICT Week Uzbekistan is, perhaps, the best demonstration of the IT development process in Uzbekistan. This year’s Week has brought together a series of events in Tashkent and Samarkand. Since 2004, it has been traditionally held in mid-September, and over the years has repeatedly changed the format, enriched with new events and was even divided in spring and autumn.

However, it has never demonstrated such a range of technologies. On the one hand, the participants and guests of the Fair were attracted by state-of-the-art gadgets at the Gadget Fair, which unfolded on the area of 360 square meters. It represented all the cutting-edge smartphones and devices by manufacturers, so every visitor could buy any device of their choice.

A specialized Huawei demo trailer, a newcomer for Uzbekistan, unfolded nearby on a total area of 60 square meters. It was divided into five exhibition areas demonstrating different areas of ICT development. The most important fact is that for the first time in history Tashkent has entered the ranks of the so-called technological capitals to host the presentations of the latest smartphones. The Chinese company has announced its revolutionary new smartphone P8, which has already been hailed by experts as the eighth wonder of the world. As noted by the company’s representatives in an interview to Uzbekistan Today, this is the first event of this scale in Uzbekistan and in the entire Central Asia. They unveiled another little secret - a new joint venture on the production of terminals for passive optical networks is to open in our country in the near future.

The High Technology Week symbolically kicked off with the launch of the joint Uzbek-South Korean company LG CNS Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan has been attaching special attention to the development of the local software market, and introduction of up-to-date information technologies in government agencies and domestic enterprises. Of course, these processes would be ineffective without the involvement of large foreign companies with huge expertise and technological base. That is why Uzbekistan has chosen the Korean company of LG CNS as a strategic partner.

The joint venture will focus on the development of software products, installation and introduction of software and hardware, as well as on the development of project and technical documentation for the E-government system and the real economy.

As claimed by the founders, LG CNS Uzbekistan is planning to involve local companies and developers in the implementation of its projects, which, in turn, should positively influence the evolution of the domestic information technology market. Despite the short period of operation, the joint venture has already started the implementation of major projects of the E-government system, which would ensure the formation of a strong infrastructure for the introduction of modern information systems and databases of the state bodies and online public services.

The business agenda of the Week comprised two central activities – a summit and a forum of information and communication technologies.

This year’s ICTFORUM was held within the Week for the first time, and it has proven right to move it from spring to fall. This step has facilitated the program of the event, and brought together not only the developers, as before, but the manufacturers, businessmen, government officials and international organizations on one platform. The event was surprising in its scale. The structure of the forum’s program committee was represented by the leading IT-companies, industry experts and international speakers. Saying it in terms of numbers, the event was attended by over 800 people, including 100 speakers in eight thematic areas.

The interaction of participants took place in a variety of formats, some of the speakers chose modular conferences and breakout sessions, while others preferred workshops and panel discussions. For example, the BestSoft Uzbekistan conference demonstrated the latest achievements of the national software industry, spotlighted the current issues and prospects of its development, as well as the use of software in the public sector, business and education.

The participants of the ‘Telecommunications and Infrastructure’ and ‘Internet and Information Resources’ sections presented domestic achievements in these areas in an attempt to find the interesting global trends that might be used for the further dynamic development of the abovementioned fields in Uzbekistan.

The discussion of the E-government development was one of the forum’s highlights. Experts have identified the strategic objectives for the sector and promising projects, exchanged experiences and views on building successful cooperation between the state and the public on the basis of information technologies. They touched upon the relevant issue of information security and personal data protection in Uzbekistan, which was highly assessed by international experts.

A startup conference was stashed for what is called a dessert. This trend has been actively developing all over the world. People team up and jointly create unique high-tech products – this is how Google, Facebook and other companies had started, without which it is impossible to imagine a modern reality.

The exhibition was undoubtedly the Week’s spotlight to break all records this year: more than 150 companies, the total area of 2,000 square meters, two cities - Samarkand and Tashkent. According to the organizers, it was attended by over 30,000 people over the three days.

The exhibition aimed at demonstration of the achievements of the national information technologies and communications sector. Over the last years it has grown into a true professional expert community platform for the development of competitive advantages and entities of the national market. The proximity of venues of the forum, exhibition and other events has allowed their optimal incorporation, so that every visitor had the opportunity to move freely between events, and managed to visit the discussions and hear reports of interest.

This year’s ICTEXPO has covered several thematic areas, accentuating mobile communication, Internet, telecommunications, software industry, e-government and e-commerce. It has also touched upon the entertainment component, hosting the finals of the Ciber Football Cup of Uzbekistan under UCG FIFA15.

The competition involved 32 athletes, most of which were sieved through difficult qualifying rounds in the regions of Uzbekistan. The top ten leading domestic cyber athletes, including the Asian champion Pavel Saprykin, the multiple national champion and bronze medalist of the informal CIS Cup Stars CUP CIS 2015 Abdusapi Kayumov received the so-called wild cards for the tournament.

A big game zone was purposefully turned into a battlefield for gamer combat. The competitors were fighting for three days of the exhibition.

The competitions were chiefly aimed at the selection of the most talented gamers and shaping the national team of Uzbekistan, which will represent Uzbekistan at the Fifth Asian Indoor Martial Arts Games in Turkmenistan in 2017. It is going to be an e-Sports competition under the auspices of the Olympic Council of Asia.

The Uzbek athlete Pavel Saprykin became the champion in FIFA category for the first time in the history of Uzbekistan at the last Asian Games in Incheon, and Sardorbek Abdullayev won silver in the Need For Speed: Unleashed category. The tournament’s winner was awarded an Artel Vision tablet, and holders of the second and third prizes received an Artel P1 smartphone and an Artel Star tablet.

An exhibition of virtual applications for gadgets was another unique event of the Week and a pioneer in the history of Uzbekistan. It was a presentation of solutions for Samsung Gear VR, Oculus Rift and Google Cardboard (virtual reality goggles) and other devices, developed by foreign and local experts.

It was a kind of a review of the applications that were developed by young professionals in the framework of the first national contest of Intellect2All, the qualifying rounds of which took place in the regions in July. As a result, 23 projects had passed to the finals and were presented at the exhibition.

A virtual trip to the fabled Registan Square and a guided bird\'s-eye view of Egypt and New York rank among the interesting initiatives of the Uzbek youth. An application that allows levitating objects on a mobile phone by the power of thought drew a genuine interest of the visitors. They also had a chance to appreciate the advantages of the Myo Gesture Control Armband technology (an arm bracelet that reads the impulses of muscles), Leap Motion (a controller that tracks hand movements) and the Mind Wave (a sensor for reading the electromagnetic waves of the brain).

The winners received cash prizes, as well as assistance from the organizers in promoting their solutions in the market, being part of the emerging new model of social support for talented developers.

The Summit of the Information and Communication Technologies in the form of plenary session was the final chord of the Week.

It was aimed at assessing the development of information technologies and communications of the current year, discussion of the strategic task that challenges the industry, as well as discussion and adoption of the resolution. The summit highlighted the issues of further development of e-government, information security, the market of software products and information resources. It is important that the participants have analyzed the positive experience, the existing problems and the ways of their solution. The summit brought together more than 300 national and 50 international experts from Germany, Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Czech Republic, Japan, South Korea, Belarus, Estonia and Cyprus.

The panelists made several symbolic statements during the summit. For example, the local mobile operators intend to increase the number of their base stations to 6,000 by 2020. The target rates have been envisaged by the project on the development of mobile networks with the priority to 3G, 4G and LTE technologies. This will allow for further expansion of the coverage of new communication services and the Internet. More than 500 new base stations were established throughout the country, and the volume of services increased by 26% in 2014.

In 2015-2017, it is planned to build 6,100 km of broadband fiber-optic communication lines, 1,800 of which will be commissioned later this year. Containing special metal components, such lines are advantageous for the opportunity of providing high-speed traffic and resistance to external electromagnetic interference. To date, the total length of the fiber-optic lines in the country has exceeded 16,000 km. 2,000 km of transmission lines were laid last year alone.

A total of more than 40 projects on digitalization of all long-distance and local telephone stations worth $2.5 billion have been implemented over the past decade.

Some statements have been made with regard to the program on the transition to digital broadcasting. By the end of 2018 it is planned to complete the project on the development of digital terrestrial information transmission networks worth $92 million jointly with the Japan Bank for International Cooperation. To date, 54% of the territory of Uzbekistan has been covered by digital TV. 19 TV units will be put into operation by the end of the current year, thus bringing the coverage of digital TV to 70%. It is expected that the digital signal will fully cover the entire territory of Uzbekistan by the end of 2017.

Regarding the development of the E-government, to date the number of information resources introduced in government agencies has grown 1.7 times, reaching 328, and the number of information systems has doubled to 411. Nineteen services have been introduced in the Single Portal of Interactive Government Services since the beginning of 2015, bringing their total number to 249.

Along with major events the ICT Week 2015 was filled with dozens of other technological activities and events. For example, it was announced that the Uzbek government has simplified exports of goods for the domestic online shops.

The new procedure will allow the sellers exporting their products, as well as providing a variety of services to foreign companies without processing export contracts. One thing that should be pointed out is that it is possible only after the receipt of full payment at their accounts in Uzbek banks, and adding the information into a Single Online Information System for Foreign Trade Operations.

The government has also allowed exporting goods to foreign customers without processing the cargo customs declaration in accordance with the rules of the Postal Service if their price does not exceed $1,000.

Besides, the Ministry of Economy has been appointed to supervise the development of e-commerce as the first structure of this kind in the history of Uzbekistan. The list of priorities includes the elaboration of the concept of further development of e-commerce by mid-November.

Company Ucell has made another landmark statement. Its parent company - the Swedish-Finnish telecommunications holding TeliaSonera announced its decision to leave the Eurasian region and focus on business in Europe. The Eurasian region of TeliaSonera group is represented by seven countries: Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Nepal. The domestic mobile operator announced that it would stay in the market of Uzbekistan and keep actively investing in new technologies and expanding its network.

Intel and Lenovo have not stayed aside from the Week, donating 30 laptops and transformers for pilot classes in five schools in Karakalpakstan to the UNESCO Office in Uzbekistan.

(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)


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