By Ben Fowler
Sri Lanka’s leading Information and Communications Technology (ICT) expo will descend upon the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall from 2 to 5 December, in what it proudly proclaims to be its biggest-ever event.
Eighteen years after the Federation of Information Technology of Sri Lanka (FITIS) launched its ‘Infotel Expo’ in 1992, this year’s event (the 11th in the series) is the first to be held annually — testament to the success of last year’s event as well as Sri Lanka’s ever-growing ICT sector.
This year’s theme ‘Accelerate IT’ shows FITIS’ interest in developing Sri Lanka in harmony with the national agenda.
“The Ministry of Telecommunication and IT is happy to work very closely with FITIS in organising Infotel 2011 Sri Lanka ICT Expo as it contributes in achieving our key National ICT objectives,” said Minister of Telecommunication and IT Ranjith Siyambalapitiya.
“Sri Lanka is poised for a new chapter of accelerated economic growth after winning peace after 30 years of war. This year’s ‘Infotel’ theme ‘Accelerate IT’ epitomises the vital role of ICT in building Sri Lanka’s new economy.”
One area of the expo, for example, is dedicated to demonstrating the cultural relevance of ICT in regions such as agriculture.
The expo has goals both home and abroad: to bring Sri Lanka’s ICT literacy up to 75% as well as increase ICT-related exports to US$ 1 billion by 2015, solidifying Sri Lanka’s position as a major ICT player in the South Asian region.
FITIS Hardware Chapter and Chairman of ‘Infotel 2011’ Main Organising Committee President Wasantha Weerakoon said: “One of the key highlights of ‘Infotel 2011’ expo is the increased participation of a multitude of stakeholders, which has elevated it to an international expo and corporate CIO meeting place”
Over 50,000 attendees are expected to show up at the expo’s 200-plus stalls, especially at the ‘Mega Offer Infotel Shopper,’ which caters to corporates, CIOs, buyers, sellers, and IT enthusiasts of all kinds.
Alongside the expo there are also the ‘Infotel Forum’ (on 2 December) for regional CIOs to share knowledge and discuss business trends, as well as ‘Infotel Student Day and Career Guidance Fair,’ meant to appeal to current students and job-seekers alike. Scheduled for 4 December are the ‘Infotel’ awards ceremony and gala dinner.
Whereas the expo’s previous themes have echoed sentiments for future goals (2000’s ‘Blazing Tomorrow’s Trail’ or 2002’s ‘Envisioning an e-Nation,’ for example), this year’s ‘Accelerate IT’ seems to refer to a Sri Lanka looking at its present moment with confidence about its capacity to grow and succeed in the region.