Meet The Arab World’s Media and Telecoms Industry Leaders @ The Fifth Media and Telecoms Convergence Conference

20 Apr, 2008

It is quite clear to any one that convergence between media and telecom is happening, we can add IT too.

The internet is a telecom medium but it is also a media medium, where a new bread of media company popped up years ago called New Media like yahoo, now the most notable trend is web 2.0: blogs, Wikis, social network, social media, etc. VoIP is changing the telecom game, Mobile 2.0: the linking the mobile to the internet with interactive apps, that some use your location and profile to customize services and ads to you. Skype for mobile, jaxter are some examples of how convergence is happening

While software applications are moving to the internet with SaaS (Software as a Service ) model: Where the software is a web application hosted online and you can access it from your browser with an internet connection.

All this convergence represents a threats and opportunities for traditional media and telecom companies.

In this them Arab Advisors group is hosting The Fifth Media and Telecoms Convergence Conference on June 2nd and 3rd 2008, with keynote speakers from 50 senior media and telecom senior executives in the Arab world, Asia and Europe.

The Conference will be held at Four Seasons Hotel, Amman, Jordan. I have covered the third conference for the Star newspaper where you can read the story here, but I did not get the chance to attend and cover the fourth one though.

Some of the regional media and telecom companies have embraced the convergence trend, for example: Aljazeera has formed a web 2.0 team, launched a channel on Youtube, an application on facebook, and you can now follow them on Twitter. Also my sources say they are planning to launch an e-commerce service in the near future.

Zain Jordan has been active with signing a deal with Javna for mobile ads called mobi ads, and partnering with iToot in its startup project watwet the new Arab social networking and mini-blogging platform, similar to Twitter, but with MMS capabilities.

MBC group introduced MBC mobile, and launched Movies in Motion, a Social Networking & Video Sharing website. Also the group started using DoubleClick the online Ad serving technology company that was acquired last year by Google for over a billion dollars.

According to the event’s website there will be over 450 telecoms and media industry delegates attending. The last conference was attended by Over 447 delegates representing major telecom, IT and media operators, vendors and regulators.

Some of the speaker will be:

· Dr. Saad Al-Barrak, MD and Deputy Chairman – Zain Group

· Mickael Ghossein, CEO, Jordan Telecom Group – Orange Jordan,

· Fayez Abu Awad, Business Development Manager – MEA, Nokia Interactive.

· Russell Merryman, Editor-in-Chief, Web & New Media, Al Jazeera English Channel.

· Massimo Migliuolo, Vice President Emerging Markets Service Provider, Cisco

· Mikkel Vinter, CEO FRiENDi mobile.

The conference sessions will tackle a lot of issues that relate to both media and telecom industry and how convergence is affecting them, some of the sessions are:

· Panel Discussion: How telecom operators and media companies envision cooperation / competition in the era of convergence and interactivity.

· Regional software suppliers’ capabilities and their importance to the regional landscape, by Nael Salah Managing Director and Founder, ESKADENIA Software.

· 3G terminal’s evolution and how it enables new market segments. By Mr. Luigi GasparolloV.P. Business Development MENA Region Qualcomm Europe Inc.

· The New Economy. Capturing the next growth phase in a convergent future. By Bo-Erik Dahlström, President and CEO, Ericsson Market Unit Middle East.

· Panel Discussion: The Broadcast industry’s strategy for new media delivery platforms (IPTV, Mobile TV)

· An Overview of the recent technology developments in the field of broadband wireless access and their impact on the Arab Markets By: Samer Taha, General Manager, Waseela for Integrated Telecommunications Company.

· Next Generation Media Consumption. By: Chris Forrester, Editorial Director, ‘Rapid TV News.

I noted that there was no dedicated session for mobile 2.0, It is relatively a new concept but is important to talk about, my advice to Arab Advisors to include this topic in the next conference.

The delegate fee is around US$ 990 per delegate, with discounts for groups. A hefty fee for some Arab startups, but something the big players can surly afford. We encourage Arab Advisors to give special discounts for some of the Arab web 2.0 startups to attend this event. But If you can afford you can register to the event here.

The event is a one of the best regionally and a great networking opportunity, I witnessed on the third conference delegates starting to negotiate deals, and according to ArabAdivsors’ Feedback from the delegates to the 2007 event shows that. 91.5% of the delegates said that the business development and networking value of the event was good, very good or excellent.

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