imbX2007: Where 'convergence' comes alive

Asia's largest annual infocomm technology event opens again this week, featuring more exhibitors, country pavilions and the latest technologies.

SINGAPORE--Asia's largest technology event Infocomm Media Business Exchange (imbX) is back, promising a bigger showcase of a "converged world" where digital technologies enhance both work and play.

To be held in the island-state from Jun. 19 to 22 this week, imbX is the umbrella event for tech conferences and exhibitions such as CommunicAsia and BroadcastAsia.

Victor Wong, project director for imbX event organizer Singapore Exibition Services (SES), told ZDNet Asia that this year's theme for the show's anchor event CommunicAsia is Digital Convergence in Reality. Exhibitors will showcase a "converged world, featuring a range of digital technologies and business solutions that will enhance enterprises' mobility and users' lifestyles".

This year's "convergence" theme will be different from last year's as the focus will be to demonstrate real-world business applications, and most of the technologies to be showcased will run on an IP (Internet protocol) network, Wong said.

Industry heavyweights such as Ericsson, Huawei Technologies, LG Electronics, Nokia Siemens Networks, SingTel, NTT Docomo, Samsung and ZTE, will be among the 2,413 exhibitors at CommunicAsia and BroadcastAsia this week. However, missing from the show this year is mobile equipment maker Motorola, which was unable to provide comments at press time.

Wong said the number of companies exhibiting this year has increased by 9.7 percent, compared to last year, attributing the growth largely to exhibitors from North Asia, including China and South Korea.

He added that 83 percent of this year's exhibitors are from 65 countries, and 30 group pavilions can be expected at the show. Country pavilions from Australia, Belgium, Israel and Norway, will be making their first appearance this year. Besides Singapore, South Korea has the largest contingent of exhibitors.

Nokia Siemens Networks will also make a presence at this year's CommunicAsia show, its first since the two companies merged in June 2006. A key highlight of its showcase is Village Connection, which aims to build rural connectivity between villages.

Karen Low, which oversees marketing for Nokia Siemens Networks, explained: "[Village Connection] enables operators to extend their reach to remote villages, where a traditional technology and business model would not achieve profitable business. Village connection is based on a franchise-based business model between an operator and local village entrepreneurs."

Nokia will also be demonstrating mobile TV on its flagship DVB-H mobile devices--the Nokia N92 and Nokia N77--at BroadcastAsia2007.

Pawan Gandhi, head of video and mobile TV experiences at Nokia Multimedia Asia-Pacific, said visitors can also expect demonstrations on interactive services, as well as filecasting that will be synchronized with live signals on the devices.

This year will also see vendors using CommunicAsia as a platform to launch new products and announce new corporate strategies.

For the first time, Korean electronics giant Samsung will be introducing two new mobile WiMax systems which aim to help service carriers install mobile WiMax easily, said Dave Young Han of the product planning team for Samsung's Mobile Communication Division. Samsung will also introduce mobile multimedia applications, showcase two music phones for the first time, and demonstrate mobile TV services.

About 18,000 visitors have registered so far, according to the show organizer, and nearly 70,000 local and foreign delegates are expected to attend this year's imbX mega event. The imbX umbrella of events also include the Ministerial Forum on ICT; EnterpriseIT2007 and iX Conference 2007; Mobile TV Forum; IPTV Forum, RadioAsia2007; New Media Conference; and CG Overdrive--which debuted last year.