By Richard Brown
MECT 2002, a converging communications show for the Middle East, hopes to draw an international audience jaded by the slump in global telecommunications.
To be held at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry on May 26-28, MECT 2002 has already attracted vendors from the USA, Ireland, England, France, Belgium, Netherlands and regional support from Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.Dominick Keenaghan, president of show organiser INSIGHTS, remarks: “It is no secret that the telecoms industry in general is in the doldrums in most parts of the world, but the Middle East is currently bucking this trend. We see it, for example, in the growth of mobile services and the increasing number of customer service initiatives such as call centres.”In addition, Keenaghan says the show could tap the rising demand from regional organisations for converged networks and productivity-enhancing devices such as IVR (Interactive Voice Response), voice portals and associated automatic speech recognition systems.Continued Keenaghan: "Due to the region's stable and growing economies many organizations can afford to make the necessary technology and infrastructure investments so as to reap the associated benefits."Kennaghan argues that the convergence of communications has been relatively slow due to a dearth of qualified vendors. “Events such as MECT help to attract experienced, international practitioners with these specialist skills into the area and allow local resellers to leverage their presence to get up to speed on both the relevant business and technical issues."Malek Charles Akilie, regional director of US-based LightPointe, a free space optics developer, comments: "Network operators and finance managers are unwilling to invest in capital costs when there is no clear short term return on investment or at the very least - a significant cost savings from an Opex perspective when evaluating Broadband LAN/Last Mile services.”As a result, Akilie maintains many new technologies have emerged that are gaining momentum around the Middle East such as free space optics, long range ethernet and wireless/LMDS/MMDS. Exhibitors from around the region include Sakhr Software of Egypt, displaying Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) and Text To Speech (TTS) applications in Arabic. GlobiTel from Jordan will divulge its latest unified messaging, call recording, call accounting and PC-based contact centre products. Meanwhile, Timna Electronics & Telecommunications from Riyadh will be highlighting the latest development in their Vox Spectrum range of call recording and unified messaging products. UAE-based companies such as RayaTech, Captaris, Fajr Development Gen. Trading, Pan Cyber Information Technology, Akkad Call Center will be present, while international players 3Com, Fujitsu Services and Cisco Systems are also set to attend.