Asia's ICT event looks to 'Techzones' to stay relevant

Organizers of the annual CommunicAsia tradeshow say new "Techzones" this year will feature trending technologies including apps development, next-generation connected services, and e-government.
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor

SINGAPORE--CommunicAsia will return to the Marina Bay Sands Convention Center next week where both BroadcastAsia and EnterpriseIT conferences, which run concurrently, will all be housed at the same venue this year. 

Held from June 18 to 21, the three shows together will span over 57,600 square meters in exhibition space and feature more than 2,000 exhibitors, of which 82 percent are from overseas. Last year, the tradeshow pulled in 50,474 attendees and 2,000 exhibitors from 100 countries and regions. The number of attendees, however, was a 4.8 percent dip from 2011--which stood at 53,053--with some big names missing from the showfloor including Docomo, Skype, and Nokia. 

Asked how the annual event looked to stay relevant amid discussions tradeshows were losing their appeal, show organizer Singapore Exhibition Services (SES) pointed to new specialized "Techzones" to feature the latest trending technology developments categorized under "Smart Enterprise", "APPSmart", and "NextGen Connected Services". These will include LTE, mobile apps and augmented reality, IPTV, near-field communications, and over-the-top services.

Speaking at a pre-show media briefing held here Tuesday, Agnes Leung, assistant project director at SES said these were part of efforts to gather feedback from the community and ensure the tradeshow retained its relevance in the a fast-changing industry. 

The move to combine keynote addresses from CommunicAsia and BroadcastAsia for the first time this year also was done in recognition of the increasingly overlapping technologies between broadcast and telecommunication, Leung added.

Attendees from both conferences will be able to participate in a three-part visionary session on June 19, where Steve Leonard, deputy chairman of Singapore's Infocomm Development Authority (IDA), will give the keynote address. It will also be Leonard's first public address since being appointed to the role after former CEO Ronnie Tay stepped down. He will be followed by a governmental visionary session by Gordon Rich-Phillips, who is Minister for Technology, State Government of Victoria, Australia, and Google's Asia-Pacific president Karim Temsamani, who will give the technology visionary address. 

There will also be a joint panel dsicussion which will bring together delegates from both industry segments and highlight opportunities from the converged marketplace. 

Leung noted a 6 percent increase in exhibitors at the tradeshow this year, including key exhibitors Huawei, Panasonic, Tata Communications, and ST Electronics, as well as others making their debut on the exhibition floor such as Akamai, Technicolor, RealNetworks, Dell, and Oracle.

CommunicAsia 2013 will also feature Hungary as a new country pavillion and one of 21 international pavillions which include Australia, Brunei, China, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Singapore. 

Debut exhibitor Technicolor, which also presented at the media briefing, said it will be showcasing its Qeo software framework designed to facilitate "simple, secure communications" between devices and platforms. Available as a free, open-source SDK (software development kit), Qeo builds on the machine-to-machine (M2M) and Internet of Things concept by enabling interoperability between various devices in homes including TVs, tablets, lights, and media adapters. 

Huawei will also be launching its Ascend Mate device which the Chinese hardware maker is touting as the "world's largest smartphone" at 6.1 inch. The smartphone is powered by a 4,050mAh battery and preinstalled wih features such as "smart navigation", "smart reading", and stereo recording. 

Other product launches expected to be unveiled at CommunicAsia include Retail Juice, an iPad app which supports augmented reality feature, enabling sales staff to demo 3D products. RugGear will also be introducing the RugGear Swift II device, an ultra-rugged 3G Android smartphone which is testing for IP67 rating for waterproof and dust certification. 

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