AITEC East Africa Summit is here, Smarter Cities being the focus

AITEC AfricaThe annual AITEC East Africa ICT Summit 2012, an ICT conference respected as a source of updates on global technology trends, has recorded increased interest from global companies, regional governments and private sector players this year following the theme “smart cities> smart societies> smart enterprises” announced earlier.

The final programme released to the media indicates the Summit which opens on 24th October at Nairobi’s Oshwal conference centre had received backing from major institutions in the region including the Kenya government-funded National Commission for Science and Technology (NCST), the Chandaria Foundation, LIWA Trust, Uganda’s Mara Foundation, Germany’s GIZ and the British High Commission in what is seen as fresh recognition of the importance of technology innovation in the region.

Other major sponsors of the popular event include IBM (US), Business Connexion (South Africa), Avanti Communications (UK), BlackBerry (US), Deloitte and KPMG. ICT innovation centres like iHub, and mLab, Strathmore University’s @iLabab and Ushahidi. Software trainers like Tezza Business Solutions and Digital Age Institute are also listed as supporting organizations of the inclusive industry event. This year also, six universities including JKUAT, Kenya Methodist University, Inorero University, KCA and Strathmore as well as USIU will participate in analyzing the ICT skills gap in the country. The speakers and panelist for this forum include Dr Bitange Ndemo, PS in the Ministry of Information and Communication, Kamal Budhabbati-CEO of Craft Silicon, Prof Henry Thairu of Inorero University, Prof Shaukat Abdulrazak, Secretary of the National Commisison for Science and Technolohgy (NCST), Jyoti Muckerjee, CEO of Software Technologies, among other prominent ICT personality. The Kenya Institute of Education will film the conference as part of its virtual learning programming.

The East Africa ICT Summit will spark off a chain of high-profile networking activities in Nairobi involving global, regional and local ICT leaders. AITEC’s silver anniversary celebrations are planned for the evening of the 23rd October. Corporate and government leaders will toast to the tech event company’s positive influence on the region’s ICT sector for the past quarter century. Dr. Bitange Ndemo, himself recognized as having positively impacted the region’s ICT sector will lead the celebrations at a party to be hosted at Nairobi’s Parklands Sports Club..

The Summit opens the next day with the Kenya ICT Board and Kenya IT& Outsourcing Services (KITOS) as country host partners.

Previewing the Summit, Sean Moroney, Chairman AITEC Africa, said: “Cities in Africa are facing a myriad of challenges including management of traffic, security, energy and the efficient provision of essential services. This year the Summit brings discussions, demonstrations and new knowledge on technologies that manage cities better and improve the quality of urban life. In addition, we retain a keen focus on cloud computing, information security and mobile applications, with a number of training workshops, specialized forums and panel discussions lined up.”

Information and Communications Minister Samuel Poghisio is expected to open the Summit.

Key presentations and live showcases on the first day of the summit include a series by IBM city and government technology experts on smart city technologies, SAP on smart grid enablement, Deloitte on “the hidden implications of cloud computing” and Business Connexion on “changing business landscape of the cloud era”. Among the smart city projects to highlight their smart city vision include Ghana’s Cybe City and Kenya’s Tatu City and Konza Techno City, in a speaker line-up including Konza’s champion Dr Bitange Ndemo.

In the first conference showcase presentation, Research in Motion, makers of BlackBerry devices, will hint on their future through a presentation entitled: “A smart enterprise vision and the roadmap to BlackBerry 10”. Cisco and SmoothTel have a workshop on “Collaboration for smarter workplaces and cities”. Other events on day one at the conference include the Open Source Forum, supported by the Germany’s GIZ, a platform that will draw various leaders in open source software together including Evans Ikua of ICT@ Innovation, Isaac Kigen of Strathmore University, Anthony Mwai of Linux Learning Centre, Bernard Owour of Niko Hapa and Dennis Gichangi of DewCIS.

Other highlight speakers during day one’s eight sessions include Dr Almerindo Graziano, CEO Silensec, who will deliver a leading-edge information security workshop on Log Management, Alice Munyawho will speak on the Commonwealth Cybercrime Initiative. Day one will also feature the screening of “E-Wasteland”, a documentary by David Fedele on Ghana’s e-waste threat.

The evening will usher in a high-profile networking opportunity for participants and other regional leaders. The British High Commissioner, courtesy of British satellite communications company Avantis, will host an evening networking reception at his Muthaiga Residence. Avantis’ Rebecca Greene confirmed the presence of Avantis CEO David Williams and that of global marketing director Mr Christian Georgeson at the event.