News & Press Releases
i2c and Bento Partner to Deliver Full-Featured Prepaid Business Debit Card Solution
i2c's Flexible Payments Processing Platform Powers Bento's Expense Management Platform for Small Businesses.
REDWOOD CITY and SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - April 25, 2017 - i2c, a global provider of smarter payments and integrated commerce solutions, and Bento for Business, the leading provider of impactful expense management solutions for small businesses, today announced they have partnered to deliver a sophisticated prepaid card solution to give small business owners and their employees a better way to control spending and manage expenses. The Bento prepaid employee expense card leverages i2c's Agile Processing payments platform to deliver advanced features like integrated alerts, card-level restrictions, and digital dashboards that provide high levels of visibility and real-time control over employee spending.
For small business owners, managing employee expenses is time-consuming and prone to problems, such as lost receipts, expense leaks, and employee theft. Providing employees with cash, personal credit cards, or signed checks for business expenses involves a high degree of risk and hassle and makes spending difficult to track and control.
"Managing employee expenses is an important but time-consuming process for small business owners whose time could be better spent focusing on growing their business," said Farhan Ahmad, founder and CEO at Bento for Business. "Our partnership with i2c has allowed us to accelerate innovation. The i2c processing platform allows us to deliver a feature-rich expense card solution with all the tools and real-time controls to make administration easy."
With Bento, small business owners can easily control where, when, and how much employees can spend by setting limits on dollar amounts or selecting specific spending categories where the card can be used. Unauthorized transactions are automatically declined, and cards can be switched on and off with a single click. Real-time interactive dashboards and two-way alerts allow small businesses to instantly track and monitor expenses and help employees stay on budget. With full digital and mobile integration, employees can also keep track of their receipts on their smartphones.
"Bento for Business and i2c share a philosophy and culture of innovation, and the Bento card is proof of how innovative prepaid card solutions can make payments easier and more efficient," commented i2c's founder and CEO Amir Wain. "The flexibility and reliability of i2c's single, global platform enables Bento to give small businesses a full-circle expense solution that is easy for employees to use and simplifies an important part of their day-to-day operations."
About i2c Inc.
From its Silicon Valley headquarters, i2c provides smarter payments and integrated commerce solutions that financial institutions, corporations, brands, and governments around the world rely on to deliver high impact, personalized experiences today's consumers expect. i2c's single, global cloud-based platform supports virtually any card payment program in plastic, virtual, or mobile form. Our customers use the i2c Agile Processing platform to deliver profitable credit, debit, and prepaid solutions that meet the highly differentiated needs of cardholders in 216 countries and territories. For more information, visit www.i2cinc.com.
About Bento for Business
Bento for Business provides financial solutions that fit small businesses, combining the security of a bank with the ease and convenience of a modern technology company. The first product on the Bento platform, the Bento Prepaid Commercial MasterCard®, provides small business owners with much needed controls and better features than more expensive and cumbersome enterprise solutions. The company's founders have their roots in large financial services firms such as Barclays, JP Morgan Chase, Blackhawk Network, and Discover Card. Based in San Francisco and Chicago, Bento is venture backed. Learn more at www.bentoforbusiness.com.
Media inquiries: John Sommerfield VP,
+1 (650) 480-5275
Media inquiries: Lou Friedmann
Bento for Business
+1 (312) 735-6272
Sales AI company Afiniti valued at $1.6 billion, files for IPO
You’ll be forgiven for not having heard of Afiniti, a Washington, D.C. company that may be the first pure-play artificial intelligence company to file for an IPO since the big AI hype wave hit last year.
Afiniti uses AI to help companies more efficiently pair their sales people with customers, and boasts that it raises sales by an average of 4 to 6 percent.
Since Afiniti started 11 years ago it has lain low, preferring to amass customers quietly rather than banging the PR drum.About to go public
But now Afiniti’s about come under a spotlight. The company confidentially filed for an IPO late last year, VentureBeat has learned, and is valued at $1.6 billion after a fourth round of funding of $80 million that closed last week. It could go public as early as this fall, though that could change, sources close to the situation said.
In January, Bloomberg first reported that the company was considering going public.
We interviewed Afiniti’s founder and CEO, Zia Chishti, to learn more about the company. A January feature in the WSJ was the first and only in-depth look at the company we could find.
Chishti said he couldn’t comment about the company’s financials, citing SEC guidelines around IPOs. (Our sources said Afiniti will not be profitable this year, but expects to be in its fiscal 2018 year, which begins in June. Separately, Afiniti’s revenues are growing at a 100 percent run rate, the sources said.)Pedigreed company
Chishti is already an accomplished entrepreneur, and he’s assembled all-stars on his board — directors and advisors who should impress Wall Street. Chishti previously cofounded and was founding CEO of Align Technology, a teeth-straightening device company now valued at almost $10 billion.
On the company’s board, Chishti has gathered names like Ivan Seidenfeld, former chairman and CEO of Verizon; John Snow, former U.S. Treasury secretary; and José Maria Aznar, former Prime Minster of Spain.
Investors in the latest round include GAM; McKinsey & Co; the Resource Group; G3 investments (run by Richard Gephardt); Elisabeth Murdoch; Sylvain Héfès; John Browne, former CEO of BP; Ivan Seidenfeld; and Larry Babbio, a former president of Verizon. The company has now raised more than $100 million, including the money previously raised, according to our sources.
Initially, Afiniti focused on serving large telecom and insurance companies that have sizable call centers, but then expanded to serve medical organizations and banks, Chishti said. Most recently, the company is targeting retail, where Afiniti says it can help match customers walking into a store with the most compatible sales person.
Overall, the company says customers using Afiniti for revenue generation see an average 4 to 6 percent revenue lift, and Chishti says he expects the long-term average will be about 4.5 percent.How it works
When a customer calls into a call center, Afiniti matches their phone number — either landline or cellphone — with any information tied to it from up to 100 databases. These databases carry purchase history, income, and other demographic information. They include credit firm Experian, data companies Acxiom, Targus, and Allant, social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn, and even census archives for info about the area the person is calling from. Afiniti then routes the call directly to an agent who has been determined, based on their own history, to be most effective in closing deals with customers who have similar characteristics.
Chishti is reluctant to provide actual cases of how the pairings happen, saying so many variables are at play that it’s hard to distill it to clear-cut examples. But, to simplify, a particular agent based in the Midwest might show particularly good results on calls with high-income moms from the same region, and so Afiniti would make the match.
The software continuously learns from a applying what is “basically a three-dimensional regression” on data about agents and customers, Chishti said.
For its service, Afiniti charges a fee that’s competitive with a customer’s alternative cost of acquisition. So, for example, a large telecom company might pay an average of $100 to $200 to acquire customers from other sources, say through ads on Google or door-to-door sales or direct mailing. In that case, Afiniti might charge an acquisition fee at the bottom of that range. Afiniti can also prove its service is effective by using a continuous on-off method: It runs its service for a period of time, say 15 minutes, and then shuts it off for five minutes, constantly comparing the number of sales its pairings are generating to the number made while Afiniti is off.
On its website, the company lists dozens of customers. Afiniti has already won every major North American telecom company, with one or two exceptions, our sources said.
In one example, Afiniti says it helped telecom giant T-Mobile generate $70 million in extra revenue in a year by optimizing 50 million annual calls. It did so by increasing telesales revenue by 5 percent, increasing retention by 5 percent, and reducing tech handle time by 2 percent.
When asked if there are any competitive companies that might serve as public or private comparables, Chishti says he can think of no one doing anything similar to what Afiniti is doing in AI. “We are somewhat unique in that we’re the only company that can precisely measure that impact [of AI],” he said.
Other companies say they use AI, but it’s often impossible to differentiate the impact of their AI technologies from other strategies the company is using to grow sales.
There are several other companies, like Pegasystems, that are also using AI and seeing fast growth, Chishti said. However, Pegasystems, like several other players, is more focused on informational retrieval technologies, optimizing how companies engage with and respond to customers.
[VentureBeat will take a closer look at these technologies at our MobileBeat event in July in SF, which is focused specifically on how AI and other personalization technologies are disrupting the larger marketing ecosystem.]
Of Afiniti’s 700 employees, 500 are engineers, said Chishti. Of those engineers, two-thirds work on client interfacing. The other third are AI engineers, split between business analytics and machine learning.
Of course, the company’s move into retail has big privacy implications. Afiniti wants to observe people at a store’s point of sale so that it can recognize them again when they come back. The company would use facial recognition technology, and the information would be tied with the person’s past shopping behavior and other data the system has tied to them. When the person enters the store, Afiniti would again pair them with the salesperson deemed a best fit to conclude a sale.
There are no laws prohibiting such technology, though for obvious reasons retail organizations may be shy to implement it. So far, Afiniti says no retailer is using the technology.
Ali Baba Officials Are Visiting Pakistan With Plans to Invest up to $400 Million Here
A high-level delegation of Ali Baba, the global tech giant, is visiting Pakistan again, we have confirmed with sources.
This is second time in just two months that top officials of Ali Baba are visiting Pakistan.
Our well placed sources confirmed that Ali Baba’s delegation will be headed by Mr. Michael Evans, the President and Director of Ali Baba, who looks after Group’s international growth strategy in globalizing the group and expansion plans outside China.
Mr. Syed Ahmad, former Chairman, P@SHA presented the view point of IT companies on taxation and shared certain recommendations with the FBR officials for facilitation of the growing IT sector.
Ali Baba delegation is likely to meet with Mian Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Khurram Dastagir Khan, commerce Minister, Ms. Anusha Rehman, Minister for IT and Telecom among other key designates in the capital.
Ali Baba had first shown its interest in Pakistani market when Jack Ma, the Chairman of Ali Baba Group, had met with Prime Minister of Pakistan few months ago in Davos, Switzerland on the sidelines of World Economic Forum’s annual meeting.
According to visit schedule, shared with ProPakistani, Ali Baba delegation will reach here early in the morning tomorrow.
During first session, the officials will meet with Pakistani ministers to discuss finances, investment and other monetary issues. Then later on, during second session, the delegation will meet with IT Minister, commerce minister to discuss various matters relating to Ali Baba’s plans in the country.
Delegation is also set to meet with Mr. Miftah Ismail, Chairman Board of Investment, and with Chairman NADRA.
Sources said that from the looks, government of Pakistan is hoping that Ali Baba group will invest around $400 million in Pakistan in various segments.
However, they said, final plans will only be revealed after Ali Baba’s meetings with government officials.
As per some sources, Ali Baba has remained in talks with Daraz for a possible acquisition, however, no one confirmed this to ProPakistani on the record.
Women TechQuest – An event to support Women in Tech
10Pearls University organized the first-ever Hackathon and Testathon for Women in Pakistan
Karachi, March 18, 2017: #WomenTechQuest – A community building event for women in tech, comprising of a Hackathon and Testathon was held at 10Pearls University. The event was supported by CIRCLE – an initiative lead by Sadaffe Abid to develop the capacity of women to exercise leadership. Technology enthusiasts from across the industry participated at the event. The hackathon and Testathon was aimed at creating a high-energy weekend where women from diverse technical background and experience could come together and develop their skills.
Hackathons and Testathons create positive experiences where software developers and testers go to brainstorm, grow their coding skills, and push their imagination to find unique ways to solve challenges. While most hackathons and Testathons are male-dominated, 10Pearls University provided an opportunity for women in technology by organizing this event. With over 100 registrations from various companies the participants made the #WomenTechQuest a successful event.
The competitions concluded with a prize distribution ceremony. First prize went to Nirmeen Yousuf for Hackathon, and Rida Sattar for Testathon. Sidra Waheed won the 1st Runner up at the Hackathon, and Anum Iftikhar at the Testathon. Third prize went to Jaya Rajwani for Testathon and Taleya Asghar for Hackathon.
Ms. Faiza Yousuf, founder of the 1st Women's Tech group - #WomenInTechPK, was the Chief Guest at the event. She praised 10Pearls’ initiative and said that events like this should regularly be scheduled to enable women to develop their skills.
Sana Hussain, Senior Manager HR at 10Pearls mentioned that 10Pearls has taken the lead in supporting women and have launched several initiatives. “We have setup a day-care facility at 10Pearls to support young mothers to continue with their career. The company believes in giving back to the community and have setup 10Pearls University – a state of the art center for continuous and advanced learning. We also work with prominent NGOs like SHED foundation, Panah Homes, Darus Sukoon and many other organizations through our CSR initiative - Empower Foundation”. ‘We will continue to invest in women and are launching a series of initiatives in collaboration with Circle”, said Sana.
Founded in 2004, 10Pearls drives rapid execution through innovative, enterprise-grade digital solutions. As an award-winning software application development company, we serve as a trusted partner, helping businesses scale. This includes enabling businesses to transform themselves through new product development, modernization of their existing enterprise systems, and helping them achieve speed-to-market by augmenting their current technology teams cost efficiently. 10Pearls is proud to have a diverse clientele including large enterprises, small & medium sized businesses, as well as high growth start-ups. Our many long-term, successful partnerships are built upon trust, integrity, and successful delivery and execution. To learn more, visit http://www.10pearls.com.
Pakistan, Korea sign Rs 10 billion loan agreement for the establishment of IT Park in Islamabad
An agreement has been signed between Pakistan and Korea for Rs. 10 billion loan in order to establish state of the art Information Technology Park in Islamabad. The park is in alignment with the vision of Prime Minister for a Digital Pakistan.
The ceremony happened earlier today where Ministry of Information Technology and Korea Exim Bank signed the agreement. Minister of Finance Ishaq Dar was also present at the ceremony where he shared his vision for digitally and financially inclusive Pakistan.
He said that 5,000 IT experts will be provided with jobs with the establishment of this IT Park. He added that additional IT Parks in Lahore and Karachi will also be established.
The Islamabad IT park will be set up in an area of 42 acres. Over 100 IT companies will be accommodated in this park. The IT park will have its own data center too.
The Minister expressed great interest in further collaboration with Korea and mentioned that Koreans helped construct Pakistan’s first motorway known as Islamabad-Lahore Motorway.
Representative of the Korean Exim Bank also expressed deep interest in economic and business opportunities in Pakistan. He mentioned that Pakistan is a home to over 2000 IT companies and universities are producing thousands of talented IT graduates every year.
He said the Korean Exim Bank is interested in helping Pakistan achieve socio-economic prosperity.
PSEB holds seminar on taxation of IT Industry with FBR
Islamabad, 15th March, 2017. Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB), organized a seminar on taxation of IT industry in Islamabad to brief IT companies on the federal and provincial taxes, and to provide an opportunity to the participants to discuss taxation issues and to share recommendations on improving IT remittances and their reporting. This seminar was the second in series after PSEB’s seminar on taxation at ITCN 2016 in Karachi last year.
The event was attended by Mr. Sajidullah Siddiqui, FBR’s Chief of Income Tax Policy, Mr. Zaheer Qureshi, FBR’s Secretary Sales Tax Budget, Mr. Syed Tariq Jamil, Tax Services Leader, Ernst Young Ford Rhodes & Company, Mr. Muhammad Awais, Senior Tax Partner, Ernst Young Ford Rhodes & Company, officials from PSEB, Ministry of Information Technology, National ICT R&D Fund, P@SHA, and senior executives of IT & ITeS companies in Islamabad.
Managing Director, Pakistan Software Export Board, Mr. Asim Shahryar Husain, talked about PSEB’s activities and shared the current state of IT industry in terms of exports, remittances, and top 10 IT export destinations. He shared the issues related to federal and provincial tax authorities and State Bank of Pakistan which had been reported by the industry to PSEB.
Mr. Syed Ahmad, former Chairman, P@SHA presented the view point of IT companies on taxation and shared certain recommendations with the FBR officials for facilitation of the growing IT sector.
Mr. Muhammad Awais, Senior Tax Partner, Ernst Young Ford Rhodes & Company briefed the participants on specific taxation laws related to the IT industry, both at federal and provincial levels, as well as the implications for IT businesses.
Mr. Sajidullah Siddiqui, Chief of Income Tax Policy, FBR shared the current taxation laws and sales registration requirements for exporters. He encouraged the IT companies to approach FBR for resolution whenever they face any taxation issues. He also shared that FBR has recently established a helpline so that queries of businesses can be answered swiftly. With budget preparations underway for the upcoming year, he welcomed any proposals from the industry so that FBR can give due consideration to facilitate the growth of IT exports.
Mr. Zaheer Qureshi, Secretary Sales Tax Budget informed the participants that Sales Tax registration is mandatory, even for exporters and that monthly submission of sales tax is required. He encouraged the IT companies to approach FBR with any suggestions or recommendations that they may have to improve the current laws and practices.
MD PSEB and Member IT, MoIT suggested that IT companies should share their issues and recommendations with P@SHA soon so that P@SHA can then compile and share a proposal with PSEB by end of March 2017. PSEB will then forward the proposal with its recommendations for onward submission to Ministry of IT and Ministry of Finance in time to be considered in the upcoming budget proposals. It was emphasized by both that any tax related issues being faced by IT companies must be submitted with appropriate documents/evidence in order to ensure consideration by higher authorities.
Participants from the IT industry highly appreciated PSEB’s initiative for holding the tax seminar and shared their issues and suggestions with the officials from the FBR, Ministry of Information Technology, PSEB and P@SHA during the panel discussion.
Payments Industry Veteran to Lead i2c’s Global Client Success Organization and Scale Service Delivery Worldwide
Peg Johnson Brings Deep Operational Experience with Focus on Customer Success.
REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – March 13, 2017 – i2c, a global provider of smarter payments and integrated commerce solutions, today announced that it has appointed Peg Johnson as executive vice president of Global Client Success to oversee global operations of its client services and customer success organizations. Reporting directly to i2c’s Chief Executive Officer Amir Wain, Ms. Johnson will continue to scale the company’s service delivery operations and lead a team of professionals dedicated to customer success.
“Our clients’ success is the foundation of our business,” said i2c CEO Amir Wain. “We are on a path to $1 billion in revenue, and we’re committed to expanding our operational expertise and footprint to support this growth. Peg is a strategic addition to the company, and I am excited to have her join the executive team. She brings deep financial services industry experience and operational expertise in building large global success organizations.”
Ms. Johnson has over 20 years of experience running global service delivery teams in the payments industry, working with the world’s largest credit, debit, and prepaid issuers. She comes to i2c from First Data Corporation, where she was senior vice president of business operations and led client services for the company’s Financial Services organization, managing 400 employees responsible for the strategic interface between the company’s executive, legal, and product teams and its clients.
“I am excited to join i2c because its success comes not just from its best-in-class payments processing technology, but also because of the focus on making clients successful,” commented Ms. Johnson. “I’m passionate about customers and leading teams that build winning relationships, and I look forward to scaling success and expanding a world-class service delivery organization.”
VP, Corporate Marketing i2c Inc.
+1 (650) 480-5275
PSEB exhibits at Mobile World Congress with IT companies
Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) organized a Pakistan Pavilion for the third consecutive year at Mobile World Congress to enhance Pakistan’s perception as an emerging destination for mobile apps development and IT services and to generate new leads for the exhibiting companies.
MWC is world’s largest gathering for the mobile industry, and is being held in the Mobile World Capital Barcelona, Spain between 27 February – 2 March 2017.
Approximately 2,200 exhibitors are at the event and the visitor count is expected to exceed 100,000 by the conclusion of the event.
Five IT companies namely Apricot Studio, Evamp & Saanga, Pentaloop, Seronic, and Verscom Technologies are currently exhibiting their products and services, developed in Pakistan, at the high profile exhibition which is being attended by major telecom operators, vendors, and mobile apps companies from across the globe.
PSEB’s past participation in this event has generated many leads as well as some large deals for some of the exhibitors and it is hoped that this year’s participation will generate even better results.
The Minister of State for IT, Mrs. Anusha Rahman, who is attending Mobile World Congress visited Pakistan Pavilion and lauded PSEB’s efforts and stated that participation in international exhibitions in strategically important markets isextremelyimportant for marketing Pakistan’s IT expertise and for generating new leads and exports for Pakistan’s IT sector.
She hoped that Pakistan’s participation in this event will improve every year as more IT companies participate from Pakistan to reflect the true potential of Pakistan’s IT industry. She urged upon the exhibitors in Pakistan Pavilion to make maximum efforts to solicit business and to project Pakistan’s IT industry as a viable and feasible destination for outsourcing and investment.
Minister IT also received the Glomo GSMA Government Leadership Award from GSMA for the new telecom policy which is another great achievement for Ministry of IT.
This is the second award which Mrs. Anusha Rahman has received from GSMA in two years, the previous one being Spectrum for Mobile Broadband Award in 2015.
Dr. Hamid Ali, Counselor Economic & Commercial Affairs at Embassy of Pakistan in Madrid also visited the Pakistan Pavilion and offered facilitation and support to Pakistani IT companies in Spain. The four-day event would conclude on 2nd March 2016.
AUTOSOFT CLIENT WIN | THE BANK OF KHYBER
The Bank of Khyber selects AutoSoft Dynamics' Treasury Solution for both its conventional and Islamic trading desks along with AutoRTGS
AutoSoft Dynamics (Pvt.) Limited (AutoSoft), a global provider of Islamic and conventional banking solutions is pleased to announce that The Bank of Khyber (BOK) has selected its ADAMS – Treasury Automation System for both the banks conventional and Islamic treasuries. In addition to this, BOK has also chosen AutoRTGS, a real time gross settlement solution for processing of large value fund transfers between banks.
The ADAMS (Automatic Deal, Money Market and Securities Trading System) solution is the best way to maximize productivity of your treasury’s trading desk as well as back office operations. The system provides users with wide-ranging features including real time exposure monitoring, support for inter-branch and foreign exchange transactions, derivatives, securities, equity and shares trading as well as all money market operations. Whereas, ADAMS Islamic system is a Shariah compliant Islamic treasury management system which will support BOK’s Islamic treasury division. It provides the bank with a state of the art, multi-portfolio, multi-dealing room environment supported by robust risk management, back office management, statutory and management reporting features.
AutoRTGS has been designed in line with State Bank of Pakistan’s requirement for all banks to enable straight through processing of RTGS transactions. AutoRTGS provides a complete network that helps the financial institution to easily send and receive information and messages about financial transactions in a standardized, secure and in a reliable environment. Transactions are processed and linked with the Central Bank RTGS system, which minimizes the time and systemic risks due to any manual issues.
Mr. Masood Wahedna (Head of Treasury, The Bank of Khyber) commented, “We reviewed several solutions offered by different vendors but were convinced by the value addition and reliability offered by ADAMS. AutoSoft has an excellent reputation in Pakistan’s as well as in international market as a banking software provider, and we are confident that ADAMS both versions will provide a strong platform to grow and serve our customers more efficiently.”
Ms. Sadia Khan (CEO, AutoSoft) commented, “After the successful deployment of our Human Capital Management system at the bank, AutoSoft Dynamics is proud to be partnering once again with The Bank of Khyber for automation of its Treasury divisions. We look forward to expediently implementing our state of the art systems to allow the Bank to leverage technology to enhance the operational efficiency of its trading desks”
The ABCs of digital jobs in South Asia
How Can South Asia’s Youth Plug into Digital Jobs of the Future?
Over the past several years, innovations in information and communication technologies have fundamentally changed the nature of work.
This has created new opportunities in digital employment for workers and employers in South Asia and beyond.
So what are the pathways to this new employment?
During a recent Facebook live chat on digital jobs, we explored three themes related to the digital jobs of the future. First, we discussed where the digital jobs of the future are. Second, we discussed how South Asia is uniquely positioned to benefit from the growth of these jobs. And finally, we discussed how to get started in the digital economy by finding relevant training and learning opportunities.
Here’s an overview of our discussion in five points:
1. What are digital jobs?
Digital jobs fall into two categories: jobs within the IT or digital industries, and what are termed digital society jobs. Digital industry jobs include those such as computer programmer, mobile app developer, graphic designer and other jobs where information and communication technologies are the core tool to perform the job functions. However, technology is also changing what we call digital society jobs, where technology is maybe not core to the job functions, but makes more you more efficient and productive, and improves access to markets and networks.
2. What is driving the emergence of these new digital jobs?
The rapid rise in connectivity that is linking more and more people to the internet is changing employment. Today, many jobs can be performed through computers, with workers telecommuting from almost anywhere in the world. Many business processes are being broken down into task based work, and which can be farmed out to people with the skills to do them, anywhere the world. Some of these tasks need higher-level skills, and can pay well – especially compared with many developing countries’ wage levels. But there are also simpler tasks that many more people, even those with limited skills, can do. This mix creates the opportunity to include more people in the global digital economy, while also creating pathways towards better paying and higher quality work for those who perform well and pick up in-demand skills.
3. How does South Asia compete?
South Asian countries have large populations many of whom have yet to enter the growing global digital economy. Yet, South Asia has a unique competitive advantage and is well positioned to benefit from this new wave of digital jobs. Many countries in the region have a skilled and young workforce, especially in computer science and computer engineering. The legacy and history of the continent means there are still many English language speakers, which is still the lingua franca of the global business world. Finally, relatively low labor costs make these workers competitive in an increasingly globalized marketplace.
4. So what can government and policy makers in South Asia do to promote digital employment opportunities?
The first and most important pre-requisite for participating in the digital economy is infrastructure and access to the internet. The past decade has seen a rapid expansion of the internet across South Asia, but there are still several pockets that are not connected, and efforts to connect these areas will be critical for digital inclusion. Second, a number of skills are needed to effectively participate in the global digital economy. These include language skills, since most work in being conducted in English, technical skills that are valued and globally relevant, and soft skills that equip young people with the communication and cultural norms of this global marketplace. For governments and policy makers, effective policies and regulations can help to spur growth and build the relevant skill base needed to effectively position countries in this global digital economy to take full advantage of the future of work.
5. How do I get my digital career started?
For those who want to start a career today for the future of work, there are plenty of resources to get started. Many online work platforms and peer to peer global marketplaces are global, and participation is as simple as signing up and starting to work. For those looking to learn skills—both technical and soft skills—online learning platforms can teach people practical skills needed to begin earning in these global marketplaces, with many local versions popping up in South Asia now contextualized to the local learning context, or supported through governments. For digital entrepreneurs, online resources in business development and marketing through online learning platforms, short courses, webinars, and other free resources can go a long way to the success of startups. The future of jobs is digital. And with relatively low barriers to entry, learning resources available, the time is now to take advantage of these new jobs.
Kwick High Tech Achieves CMMI Level 2 Designation for Software Engineering
Benchmark Paves Way for Long-Term, Continuous Best Practices Strategy for Software Development and Delivery Services Engineered by Kwick High Tech Innovations
Kwick High Tech has further positioned itself as the trusted provider of market-leading software development and delivery solutions by achieving Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) Level 2 designation, the globally recognized standard for software development practices sponsored by Pakistan Software Export Board. Kwick High Tech Achieves CMMI Level 2 Designation for Software Engineering.
“Achieving the CMMI Level 2 designation took considerable effort by a dedicated team and the buy-in of our executive leadership team. We’re proud of the Level 2 assessment and the planning and teamwork required to institutionalize the process improvements.
Said Kwick High Tech’s Chief Executive Officer.
Kwick High Tech Achieves CMMI Level 2 Designation for Software Engineering
CMMI is a process improvement approach that provides organizations with the essential elements of effective processes that ultimately improve their performance. Kwick implemented the CMMI process improvement approach to formally establish a framework for identifying its strengths and weaknesses in software engineering and continually pursuing greater performance measures in project management, quality assurance and risk management. CMMI designations are hallmarked by continuous assessment, honest self-scrutiny, charting a strategic path to excellence and adhering to it.
“Kwick’s commitment to CMMI compliant process development and deployment is in line with its role as industry standard bearer for delivering client solutions that rely heavily on software. Reaching the CMMI Level 2 benchmark is another way that Kwick is saying to its clients that we are putting the very best technology solutions forward on your behalf.”
Kwick formulated new development process required for a successful Level 2 appraisal over the past year. The methodology establishes and evaluates benchmark quality ratings for internal and external software development and implementation capabilities.
10 Pearls acquires user experience and research firm Brilliant Experience
The acquisition will expand 10Pearls’ customer engagement and cognitive design capabilities.
Herndon, VA--10Pearls, a software application design and development company that helps businesses accelerate through digital, announced today that it acquired Brilliant Experience, a user experience and research firm specializing in customer engagement and cognitive design.
Brilliant Experience brings to 10Pearls a 6-year track record of serving businesses across industries and in all stages of growth. The newly acquired firm's client roster includes PayPal, Cisco, Capital One, Bloomberg and NIH. John Whalen PhD, a thought leader in the field of cognitive science, founded Brilliant Experience in 2011. Brilliant Experience’s revolutionary approach to digital solutions leverages customer research and user experience (UX) to significantly improve product adoption and engagement. Their proprietary method conceives of UX as a multisensory and multidimensional experience across six functional centers of the brain: vision/attention, wayfinding, language, decision-making, emotion and memory. Using psychological principles, Brilliant Experience helps its clients appeal to users on both cognitive and emotional levels.
Combining 10Pearls' reputation for building usable, secure, scalable digital technology with Brilliant Experience's understanding of the relationship between UX and human cognition, the new 10Pearls will empower companies to innovate and redefine their business models.
10Pearls’ acquisition is part of a larger trend of major technology corporations bringing sophisticated customer research and intelligent design services in-house. Facebook's acquisition of Hot Design, Accenture's acquisition of Fjord and Capitol One's acquisition of Adaptive Path are all recent examples of technology companies adding capabilities to increase customer engagement.
“Users expect interfaces to be not only highly usable and intuitive, but also reflect a high degree of cognition and emotional connection. Chief Digital Officers (CDO) across industries recognize this and are looking for solutions that help them stay ahead of their users’ needs," said Imran Aftab, co-founder and CEO of 10Pearls. "Together, 10Pearls and Brilliant Experience are partnering directly with CDOs to confront this challenge. We will offer businesses user insights and development capabilities they might expect from large industry players, but with the added benefit of working with a more nimble team."
10Pearls recently created digital technology solutions for Hughes Network, Discovery Education and MedStar Health, and was named supplier of the year by AARP for the digital solutions it created for family caregivers. The newly expanded 10Pearls team will continue to serve large enterprises, emerging companies, and small- and medium-sized businesses.
"We are so excited to be part of 10Pearls,” said Whalen, who will now serve as 10Pearls' Chief Experience Officer. “Together, we can help our clients research and identify market opportunities and build products and solutions precisely tailored to the need. Our business model makes our products and services financially viable for businesses of all sizes and in all stages of growth.”
"We're excited to be bringing Brilliant Experience’s talented, creative team aboard,” said Aftab. “And we look forward to continuing to deliver superior technology solutions based on deeper, more meaningful customer insights."
For more information, visit www.10pearls.com
A Platform For New Music Talent In Pakistan
Pakistan’s largest music streaming site, Patari, recently launched Patari Tabeer, a project that has stirred up the local music scene thanks to its unique line-up of artists from Islamabad to Sindh, and beyond.
With its sixth and final song soon-to-be released, the project brings unexposed talent from humble backgrounds to centre stage: a tea-seller, a cleaner, a 12-year-old peon and more, pairing up each artist with a well-known music producer.
Far from the mainstream pop ditties and Bollywood-inspired numbers, the tracks part of the Tabeer series offer the listener earthy, unpretentious vocals paired with a contemporary sound: funk, downtempo and chill-hop lounge.
Speaking about the project, Ahmer Naqvi, the COO of Patari, revealed that Tabeer was inspired by a man called Nazar Gill, a sweeper who made a living working in an apartment building in Islamabad where Naqvi lived.
Approaching Naqvi one day by knocking on his door and asking him if he could give Gill’s song a listen, Tabeer was ultimately created to give unknown talents like Gill a chance at music and a chance at a lifelong dream.
Alibaba's Jack Ma eyes Pakistan for e-Commerce business
DAVOS, Switzerland: Chairman Alibaba Group Jack Ma Wednesday evinced keen interest in investing in Pakistan and to build an e-Commerce platform to further promote online business ventures.
The Chairman met Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Davos on the sidelines of the 47th World Economic Forum’s annual meeting.
Jack Ma said his country had a lot of interest in investing in Pakistan as they had closely followed positive economic developments in the country.
He said China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) had provided immense opportunities for the region and added it would generate lots of economic activity.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif invited Jack Ma to visit Pakistan at the earliest opportunity.
Jack Ma accepted the invitation and invited the Prime Minister to visit his company’s hub at Ghuangzou.
Ma said that 60 million companies worldwide were benefiting at the moment.
To benefit developing countries he planned to invest in small and medium enterprises.
Alibaba is a Chinese e-commerce company that provides consumer-to-consumer business to consumer and business-to-business sales services via web portals.
It also provides electronic payment services, a shopping search engine and data centric cloud computing services.
The group began in 1999 when Jack Ma founded the website Alibaba.com a business-to-business portal to connect Chinese manufacturers with overseas buyers.
Pakistan among fastest growing e-commerce markets: eBay CEO
DAVOS: eBay Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Devin Wenig encouraged Pakistanis to use the e-commerce site.
In a Facebook Live session at the World Economic Forum (WEF), Devin Wenig said eBay did not have a local Pakistani version, however, there were customers shopping from the country on various eBay sites.
“We absolutely encourage you to shop, and we will get our goods and services in Pakistan for sure. Go and use eBay in Pakistan,” Wenig said.
The eBay CEO was also asked a question regarding Pakistan and emerging markets.
“It’s the fastest growing markets we have around the world. Anywhere where wealth is growing and technology is being adopted, e-commerce is being adopted like crazy,” said Wenig.
According to the eBay CEO, the perfect opportunity for e-commerce was in countries where people were growing in wealth and do not have access to goods. “People use e-commerce to get access to those goods”.
Over 78% American companies say willing to invest more in Pakistan
KARACHI: Over 78% American companies are committed to investing more in Pakistan over the next 12 months, up 13 percentage points compared with 65% in last year, according to a perception survey conducted by the American Business Council (ABC) of Pakistan (ABC).
According to the survey results, the main reason behind the positive trend is the improved security situation of the country. The survey reveals a significant improvement of over 30% in perception of security-related matters compared with last year.
Chinese firms willing to invest in Pakistan
Over 78% respondents have indicated that they plan to invest in Pakistan over the next 12 months compared to 65% from last year.
Meanwhile, up to 83% of ABC investors are optimistic about the long-term economic and operating climate in the country.
However, the members have separately commented that the government’s tendency to introduce mini budgets as well as sudden changes in policies badly damages investors’ confidence.
“Such steps negatively impact existing as well as new investments,” stated a press release.
The perception survey allowed ABC members to rate their satisfaction on various economic, regulatory and political factors that affect the performance and growth of businesses operating in Pakistan over fiscal year 2015-16.
The business climate was rated on each of the various factors influencing it; including implementation and consistency of trade and competition policies, government development budget, domestic market, internal and external political climate and law and order.
For 2015-16, the vast majority of respondents rated the business climate of Pakistan as satisfactory with only 8% giving it a poor rating. This is a marked improvement over 2014-15 when 11% of participants rated the business climate as poor. The overall positive perception of American investors reveals an expectation of some economic stability and an improvement in Pakistan’s economic environment.
With the performance of each of the various ministries directly affecting the business climate, participants were asked to rate the performance of each ministry. In this regard, the overall trend reflects a slight improvement in the performance of the various ministries from last year.
The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources also showed a marked improvement with 78% of participants reporting the performance as fair and 16% reporting it as poor. In 2014-15, just 46% had rated the performance of this ministry as fair and 51% had rated it poorly.
“Our members are positive and remain committed to Pakistan,” ABC President Sami Ahmed said.
Ahmed added international standing and perception is extremely important as Pakistan competes with other Asian players to attract foreign capital in the form of trade exports, human resources and most importantly foreign direct investment.
Other countries pull out, China increases investment in Pakistan
The ABC is one of the largest investor groups in Pakistan with 67 members – most of them represent Fortune 500 companies. They operate in various sectors ie healthcare, financial services, information technology, chemicals and fertilisers, energy, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), food and beverage, oil and others.
ABC members have cumulative revenues of $4 billion. Their contribution to the national exchequer, through direct/indirect taxes, is approximately Rs102 billion. Its members exported goods worth Rs6.6 billion during 2015.
Feasibility Studies for IT Parks in Karachi and Lahore to Begin Soon
Feasibility Studies for IT Parks in Karachi and Lahore to Begin Soon
Anusha Rehman, Minister of State for IT and Telecom, has directed PSEB to start feasibility study on IT Parks in Lahore and Karachi as soon as possible.
She was chairing a Board of Directors meeting of Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) to assess the state of the IT industry of Pakistan and to evaluate the steps being taken by PSEB to bolster the growth of the IT industry and its exports.
Federal Secretary IT, MD PSEB, Chairman P@SHA, representatives from TDAP and Ministry of Finance were also present in the meeting.
The board reviewed the progress on Prime Minister’s Internship program, establishment of IT parks and CMMI Certification Programs.
The board was told that first batch of 1500 interns have been selected and being placed in IT companies and IT departments of non-IT organizations this quarter which will be followed by another 1500 interns in third quarter of this year.
Minister IT directed PSEB to plan events in all capitals for orientation on this project so that maximum number of IT Graduates could submit their applications to get benefit from these opportunities being provided by the government.
MD PSEB apprised the board that MOU has been signed with Lahore Knowledge Park Company (LKPC) to acquire land for a new IT park in Lahore, while for IT park on PSEB’s land in Karachi, Asian Development Bank (ADB) has consented to sponsor the feasibility study.
The Minister directed PSEB to expedite feasibility studies for new IT parks in Karachi and Lahore, as soon as possible.
The board was also informed that 21 IT companies are shortlisted for CMMI and ISO certifications and their training process has been started which will be completed by February of this year.
Minister lauded this initiative by saying that this CMMI certification of potential IT companies will not only help them in their capacity building but also enhance their credibility in the eyes of foreign clients.
Moreover, it will be cost effective to use these local auditors for CMMI certification instead of using foreign auditors which are very expensive, Minister added.
Inbox to offer SparkCognition’s leading edge Industrial Internet of Things capabilities in Pakistan
Inbox to offer SparkCognition’s leading edge Industrial Internet of Things capabilities in Pakistan
Karachi, Pakistan: Inbox Consulting and MIV Digital today announced they have signed an MoU to offer SparkCognition’s Machine Prognostics and Data Analysis services in Pakistan. Both companies agreed to establish the leading Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) practice using SparkCognition’s solutions for Manufacturing, Energy and Aviation maintenance in the country. This practice will use predictive analytics within a sensor-based ecosystem for extreme optimization of machinery and proactive maintenance cycles for minimal downtime. The companies will also jointly establish a team to help Inbox customers in Financial Services, Telecom, Retail and other verticals get real time business and consumer insights about their business.
“Our customers all want analytics” Mir Nasir CEO of Inbox Consulting remarked on this occasion, “but we will make sure they get insights instead of spending all their time managing data. We will also make sure our large customers running industrial machinery save millions of dollars using the most precise, proactive and intelligent IIoT solutions available”.
The agreement covers the territory of Pakistan and covers trainings, sales support, customer enablement and onboarding and is effective immediately.
Viptela Selected by Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) to Deliver Software-Defined WANs
Technology Integrator Inbox Business Technologies Signs Country’s Largest Business Communications Service Provider as First Customer in Pakistan
ISLAMABAD, January 04, 2017: Inbox Business Technologies and Viptela, the Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN) company, announced a partnership to deploy software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) infrastructures for businesses and service providers in Pakistan. Inbox, the leading provider of digital services in Pakistan, has signed the Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) as its first Viptela customer in the country.
“Viptela’s platform is bleeding edge technology,” said Saad Waraich Chief Technology and Information Officer at PTCL, “but what also excites us is that it allows us to dramatically improve time to new services. As a company committed to innovation Viptela was the obvious choice to empower our business”.
The Viptela SD-WAN platform enables Inbox to “mix and match” private and public IP connections such as MPLS, wireless LTE, broadband and Ethernet to meet each customer’s specific application requirements based on geographic location, topology, bandwidth and application service availability needs. It delivers secure end-to-end network virtualization in the WAN, while providing enterprise grade routing, security, centralized policy and orchestration capabilities. Viptela enables a robust security foundation for enterprise networks and removes the major challenges associated with cloud migration to IaaS and SaaS.
“We’re really excited about this partnership” said Mir Nasir CEO of Inbox. “Viptela solutions enable carriers and service providers in the telecom sector to deliver virtualized WAN services at a 50% lower cost, with 10x more bandwidth and 5x higher voice and cloud performance than alternatives. It’s fantastic technology!”.
“The Viptela platform enables Inbox to deploy hybrid WANs that meet both carrier and enterprise network security, agility and performance requirements,” said Amir Khan, CEO of Viptela. “We are pleased to be partnering with one of Pakistan’s top integrators and to count Pakistan’s leading telecommunication company as our first joint customer.”
Viptela’s SD-WAN platform provides Inbox the following capabilities for implementing agile, business-class WANs:
- ● Centralized management for increased agility: Can deploy changes in service policies in minutes using centralized management and zero-touch capabilities
- ● Application performance and service availability: Offers unprecedented visibility into application and infrastructure performance to enable informed decisions on resource utilization and application tuning
- ● Strong security: Provides authentication for all devices and encrypts every packet in the network for added protection while supporting network segmentation
- ● Service-chaining: Enables add-on L4 - L7 services including WAN optimization, firewalls and data leak prevention
PSEB IT Awards 2016
PSEB IT Awards 2016: Here Are Top IT Exporting Companies of Pakistan!
Today, Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) in collaboration with the Ministry of IT and Telecom held the inaugural “IT Awards 2016” at Marriott Hotel, Islamabad.
The ceremony was held to recognize the efforts of the various IT companies and reward them.
The chief guest of the award ceremony was Mrs. Anusha Rehman Khan, member of the national assembly and Minister of State of Information Technology and Telecommunication.
The event was further attended by senior executives of IT companies, government officials, and commercial counselors of a number of countries.
MD PSEB, Mr. Asim Shahryar Husain, during his keynote address at the event mentioned that PSEB is organizing the awards for the first time to motivate and to recognize the top IT exporters of Pakistan.
Executives of different IT companies including Mr. Salim Ghauri from Netsol, Mr. Naseer Akhtar from InfoTech, and Mr. Haroon Kanth from Teradata Pakistan shared their respective success stories at the ceremony.
Ms. Anusha Rehman, State Minister for IT and Telecom distributed the Awards.
Awards were divided in three basic categories listed below:
- Top 10 IT Exporting Companies
- 3 awards for Innovation
- 3 awards for Startups
- 3 awards for IT and ITES (Domestic)
Top 10 IT Companies were recognized as following:
- Systems Limited
- S&P Global Pakistan
- TRG Pakistan
- Medical Transcription Billing Co.
- Ovex Technologies
- i2c Pakistan
- Mentor Graphics
It is worth mentioning that Netsol managed to fetch over 20 million dollars in IT exports whereas 4 other companies secured over 10 million dollars in IT exports.
The list of the companies which won the respective awards are compiled below:
Top 3 Companies in Innovation:
Top 3 Startups
- MD Vision
Top 3 IT and ITES (Domestic)
Speaking on the occasion, Minister IT stated that ICT is a top priority sector for the current government. The ministry had announced the telecom policy in early 2016 and the plan is to get IT policy approved by cabinet by early 2017.
It was because of the efforts of Ministry of IT that tax exemption on IT exports has been extended for another 3 years.
Minister IT congratulated the award winners and hoped that the awards will motivate other IT companies to improve their exports and reporting to get a chance for winning the awards next year.
AARP Names 10Pearls “Supplier of the Year"
10Pearls recognized by AARP for strong collaboration and rapidly delivering digital innovation
WASHINGTON, DC (PRWEB) DECEMBER 06, 2016
10Pearls was awarded “Supplier of the Year” at the annual AARP Supplier Diversity Awards and Recognition Program, held November 16 at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco Washington DC. These awards focused on bringing recognition to suppliers that provide AARP with innovation and deliver quality products in a responsive, engaged and competitive manner.
“I am sincerely humbled and incredibly proud of the entire 10Pearls team for receiving the ‘Supplier of the Year’ award from AARP,” said Imran Aftab, CEO of 10Pearls. “We are excited to partner with AARP to build digital experiences that help improve lives.”
AARP Services, Inc (ASI) selected 10Pearls to design and develop digital solutions to serve caregivers. Many don’t realize that over 40 million family caregivers (25% of whom are millennials) provide billions of hours of care to their aging family members, often forced into the role in a crisis situation. Through these digital solutions, 10Pearls is supporting ASI to empower caregivers to better care for their family members.
“[10Pearls’] work culture and professional ethics represents some of the best in the industry,” said Sanjay Khurana, Vice President of Caregiving Products & Services at AARP. “We appreciate how collaborative and accommodating you have been while working at a very fast pace, and pivoting when necessary.”
Pakistan bags three gold, six silver awards at APICTA 2016
Pakistan won three gold awards and six silver awards at the Asia Pacific ICT Alliance Awards (APICTA) 2016 ceremony held in Taipei, Pakistan Software Houses Association for IT & ITES (P@SHA) announced Monday.
The Asia Pacific ICT Alliance Awards (APICTA Awards) is an international awards program that aims to increase information and communication technology (ICT) awareness in the community, and provides networking and product benchmarking opportunities to ICT innovators and entrepreneurs in the region.
Leading the way with the golds were a young team of students from National University for Sciences and Technology (NUST), who won the award for their project, 'Clinical Decision Support System for Diagnosis of Movement Disorders'.
Another group of students from NUST, who also bagged a gold award, for its Research and Development project called 'Analysis of Optical Coherence Tomography Image for CDSS'.
The students collaborated with various organisations such as the international non-profit Association of Former Intelligence Officers.
To bring innovation by Pakistani IT companies to the forefront, P@SHA took a delegation of 41 people to Taipei for the 16th annual APICTA Awards, a four-day event.
From Pakistan, 28 teams competed against 236 teams from 17 countries across the Asia Pacific region and were judged by more than 60 tech professionals.
The regional awards ceremony invited applications from 17 economies, including Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, China, Chinese Taipei (Taiwan), Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, Nepal and Pakistan.
Jehan Ara, president of P@SHA, said, “P@SHA showcases the true potential and diverse talent of the ICT industry in Pakistan time and again".
P@SHA prepares technology professionals from Pakistan "to compete and win against companies and products that are deemed the best in the region"
Ara added that all credit goes to the hard work put in by these teams and the efforts of mentors and judges who have been working with them individually since October.
P@SHA was founded in 1992 and has a large membership, comprising more than 450 of the country’s largest software houses, product development centers, BPO companies, Animation & New Media studios and consulting & system integration companies. The organisation's main objective is to promote and develop the software and services industry in Pakistan and to protect the rights of its members.
PSEB holds industry awareness seminar on PM’s ICT Internship Program
PSEB is Now Accepting Applications for 3,000 ICT Internships
Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) has said that it has started accepting applications for Prime Minister’s ICT Internship Program.
IT graduates from 2013 or later can apply online at http://internship.pseb.org.pk/internship/.
Deadline for applications is 30th December, 2016.
Placement of first batch of interns is expected in January 2017 for a period of six months. Companies will submit attendance reports of their interns to PSEB by first week of every month which will be followed by payment of stipend to interns by PSEB on a monthly basis.
PSEB Holds Seminar for Awareness
PSEB held a seminar for industry awareness on Prime Minister’s ICT Internship Program which has attended by participants from different sectors including IT, telecom, banking, healthcare, academia and officials from PSEB and National ICT R&D Fund.
Prime Minister’s ICT Internship Program has been launched jointly by PSEB and National ICT R&D Fund. Both organizations are associated with Ministry of Information Technology.
MD PSEB, Mr. Asim Shahryar Husain, gave a presentation on Pakistan’s IT industry and PSEB’s industry support programs.
He mentioned that PSEB had placed 400 interns last year but the internship program has been increased many times for next year to create new job opportunities for 3000 interns. He said that the program has also been expanded to include IT departments of public and private sector organizations in addition to IT companies.
This was followed by a presentation by Director Projects, PSEB who gave the details of the internship program.
He mentioned that through this program, PSEB will place 3,000 ICT graduates in the ICT Industry and other sectors including banking, telecom, healthcare, academia and other non-ICT organizations where ICT work is being carried out.
Finally, there was a question and answer session where the participants asked different questions about the internship program including applying to the program and responsibilities of participating companies. Officials including Director PSEB and GM National ICT R&D Fund responded to these questions.
PSEB had advertised the ICT Internship program in newspapers in November 2016. The goals of the program are:
- To create industry academia linkage through placing IT graduates as interns with both IT companies as well as IT departments of public and private organizations
- To provide an opportunity to IT graduates to gain practical training and experience thus making themselves more employable.
- To create jobs for 60-70% of the interns so that they get hired after completion of internship
- To meet industry’s needs for fresh IT graduates
PSEB has been conducting internship programs since 2003 and has placed more than 5500 interns over the last decade. 60-70% of interns got hired after completing their internships.
This time, PSEB has expanded the internship program by including banks, telcos, hospitals, academia and other non-ICT organizations with IT departments.
MoIT Holds Event for Consultation on National IT Policy
MoIT Holds Event for Consultation on National IT Policy
MoIT has successfully conducted a final “Stakeholders Consultation” event to review the draft National IT Policy on 27th October, 2016 in Islamabad.
It was an interactive session where salient features of this proposed policy document were discussed extensively.
The Secretary IT, Chairman PASHA, MD PSEB, Chairman PTA, CEOs of IT Industry, Member (IT) other Senior Government Officials, Moderators, Working Group Members and other dignitaries were also present at this auspicious gathering.
Minister of State for IT & Telecom Mrs. Anusha Rehman, while chairing the event stated that this policy document won’t deliver desired results until and unless it is endorsed by the Industry and other stakeholders.
She said that, ”In the last few years, we have witnessed a phenomenal growth in our IT Sector due to our appropriate policy measures and strenuous efforts. Therefore, we earned four international recognition awards which speak for our inclination and determination to bring an IT revolution in the country.”
The Minister said that the government gives highest priority to the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector, particularly IT exports, e-Governance entrepreneurship and innovation in order to create an accelerated digitization ecosystem to expand our knowledge based economy. Therefore, it wants to bring a comprehensive new IT policy which could ensure the creation of a holistic digital ecosystem with other wide-ranging objectives like promoting innovation and entrepreneurship, infrastructure development, increase in IT exports, legislative measures to safeguard software industry, enabling e-Commerce environment and Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) for IT accessibility.
Anusha Rehman while sharing some key initiatives of her Ministry with participants stated that under “ICT for Girls” project they were establishing 150 computer labs in women empowerment centers to enable marginalized girls to learn the latest computer skills of programming and computing.
Establishment of first state of the art “IT Park” in Islamabad is in the offing. Loan agreement with Korean Exim Bank will be signed within this year and two more IT parks will be built in Lahore and Karachi very soon. In an e-office replication module, more than five thousand government officials have been trained through NITB. IT exports have crossed 2.7 billion and they have targeted to take it up to six billion in the next 2 years. She stressed upon the Industry to bring their foreign remittances under State Bank’s six digit code so that an accurate picture IT exports could be reflected in State Bank’s record too.
The Ministry, further deliberated this draft document in multiple focus group sessions with researchers from prime academic institutions, high ranking IT experts, civil society, experienced government decision makers, digital & Internet service providers as well as other associated stakeholders. The key features of the new National IT Policy document are Big data, data analytics, entrepreneurship, Internet of Things (IoT), e-Commerce, e-agriculture and software exports. It is expected that the National IT Policy 2016 will be submitted to ECC within the next 6 weeks for approval.
The Secretary IT, Chairman PASHA, Chairman PTA, CEOs of IT Industry, Member (IT) other Senior Government Officials, Moderators, Working Group Members and other dignitaries were also present at this auspicious gathering.
Anusha Stresses the Korean Exim Bank to Expedite Establishment of IT Park
Anusha Stresses the Korean Exim Bank to Expedite Establishment of IT Park
Korean Exim bank’s team who have conducted feasibility study for the first purpose built IT park in Islamabad, called on the Minister of State for IT Mrs. Anusha Rehman here in Islamabad.
Exim Bank’s team shared in detail the salient features, models and proposed designs along with other technical aspects for the building of first IT park in Pakistan.
Exim Bank is investing $50 million for the IT Park in the capital, which will spread over 45 acres and promote the IT industry
Federal Secretary IT Mr. Rizwan Bashir Khan and senior officials from Ministry of IT and PSEB were also present in the meeting.
Minister welcomed the Korean delegation to MoIT and shared with them ministry’s vision to provide good infrastructure to the IT industry to leverage the full potential of Pakistan’s IT talent.
Minister said that IT park will provide a whole ecosystem including affordable space to IT companies along with power, bandwidth, and linkages between industry and academia. IT park in Islamabad will be followed by two more parks at Lahore and Karachi subsequently.
Anusha Rehman while talking to the delegates said that it is our government’s vision and mission to launch state-of-the-art IT parks in Pakistan at the earliest to provide an eco-system for the IT industry of Pakistan.
Therefore, she stressed the Korean team to expedite the work on establishment of first state of the art IT Park. Moreover, there is a huge requirement for state-of-the-art infrastructure in Pakistan from the IT industry so that companies can upscale their resources and capacity and Pakistan can achieve its real potential in the global IT industry, Minister added.
i2c and Kiwibank Partner to Deliver Innovative Prepaid Solutions for New Zealanders
Flexibility of Single Global Platform and Expertise in Processor Migration Support Significant Development of Product Roadmap
REDWOOD CITY, Calif. - October 17, 2016 - i2c, a global provider of smarter payments and integrated commerce solutions, today announced that it is working with Kiwibank, New Zealand's largest prepaid issuer, to expand the capabilities of the bank's prepaid gift and travel card programs, and to roll out a robust set of features to build a best-in-class payment experience.
User experience is particularly important in prepaid card programs. With the i2c payment processing platform, Kiwibank will deliver expanded digital self-service options for their retail customers, as well as providing new self service capability for their corporate distribution channel, increasing its reach and capacity. Kiwibank will also utilize i2c's platform capabilities to improve cardholder engagement and communications.
"Kiwis have some of the highest rates of card and electronic payment usage in the world, so Kiwibank customers expect prepaid cards to be as feature-rich as any card they have," said Matt Winter, head of cards for Kiwibank. "We're working with i2c to build the new features and digital capabilities that deliver an outstanding cardholder experience. i2c's capabilities in this area and their track record with complex processor migrations make them an ideal partner. We've recently completed the migration of both our Prezzy gift cards, and our popular multi-currency travel cards. We're already seeing significant improvements in end-to-end processing times, customers are enjoying the new digital channel experiences, and we have had great feedback from corporate customers on the ease of use of their new self-service portal."
"As we continue to expand our presence in New Zealand and Australia, we are proud to work closely with a strong brand like Kiwibank known for exemplary customer service," said Scott Salmon, i2c's general manager, international. "The flexibility and reliability of i2c's platform means Kiwibank can quickly bring to market innovative solutions that engage bank customers and meet the future needs of the New Zealand market."
VP, Corporate Marketing i2c Inc.
+1 (650) 480-5275
PSEB connects IT industry with SBP FBR and SRB
PSEB conducts CEO Forum to connect IT industry with SBP, FBR and SRB
29th September, Karachi. Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) held a CEO forum at ITCN Asia, Karachi Expo Center, which was attended by Mr. Saeed Ahmad, Deputy Governor, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Ms. Nausheen Amjad, Chief Commissioner IR, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Representative of Sindh Revenue Board (SRB), and a large number of executives of IT companies. The goal of the forum was to brief the IT companies on exports reporting, extension in income tax exemption on IT exports till June 2019, and to explain the reporting, taxation and registration requirements of SBP, FBR and SRB. PSEB also wanted to provide an opportunity to IT companies to share recommendations and to discuss issues that they may have in dealing with SBP, FBR and SRB.
The forum started with a presentation by MD PSEB, Mr. Asim Shahryar Husain, who talked about the IT industry and its exports and PSEB’s plans for 2016-17. He said that PSEB’s goal is to take annual IT remittances to a billion dollars by next year. He requested State Bank of Pakistan to facilitate IT companies with withdrawal of foreign exchange when making payments to their foreign suppliers which sometimes takes too long. He said that by bringing together different stakeholders in the IT industry, PSEB’s goal is to give confidence to the IT companies so that they can remit more of their foreign earnings to Pakistan.
This was followed by presentations by Mr. Syed Irfan Ali, Executive Director, SBP, Mr. Syed Shakeel Ahmed, Additional Commissioner, FBR and Ms. Nida Noor, Assistant Commissioner, SRB who talked about procedures and rules for tax exemption and remittance reporting.
Mr. Saeed Ahmad, Deputy Governor, SBP in his address emphasized the importance of collaboration between IT companies to work together on bigger IT projects. He compared the talented IT entrepreneurs of Pakistan to pearls who need facilitation by different government departments to grow their business and exports. He highlighted the importance of exports for the economic growth of Pakistan, and that export of software and IT services can be a vital pillar in accelerating the exports. He also stated that PSEB can play its role by enabling IT companies to work together and to assist them with international promotion and marketing.
The presentations were followed by a Q&A session in which the audience asked many relevant questions related to taxation and exports reporting from the panelists. PSEB offered to collect feedback from the industry and to share the major concerns and recommendations of the industry with the relevant authorities for resolution.
After the panel discussion, Mr. Minhaj Khokhar, Chairman & CEO of PK2100, shared his vision with the audience as to how he can facilitate local IT companies in extending their business to ASEAN countries and North America because of his presence and good networks in Malaysia and Silicon Valley. PSEB plans on holding similar industry forums with SBP and FBR in Islamabad, Lahore, and other cities in future.
i2c and TIS to Launch Agile Payment Processing in Japanese Market
Kickoff Event in Tokyo Focuses on Execution of Multi-Year Strategic Partnership Across Japan and Key Asia Pacific Markets
REDWOOD CITY, Calif. - September 8, 2016 - i2c, a global provider of smarter payments and integrated commerce solutions, today announced that it will co-host a seminar with its strategic partner, TIS Inc., in Tokyo, Japan on September 13, 2016. i2c and TIS will speak to an audience of Japanese card issuers, program managers, fintech providers, and the press about emerging trends, innovation, and how i2c's Agile Processing solution helps financial institutions navigate the changing payments landscape. Agile Processing is a next-generation payment processing model that helps payment issuers take control of their business and execute their product roadmap vision.
The seminar is the latest phase in the companies' multi-year partnership announced in February 2016, whereby TIS adopted the i2c platform to launch Agile Processing in Japan and key Asia Pacific markets.
TIS is a leading payments solution provider with a long track record of working with banks and issuers in Japan and other Asian markets. The partnership and i2c' Agile Processing platform, gives TIS greater flexibility to work with financial institutions and card issuers to deliver innovative payment products quickly and cost-effectively.
"i2c recognizes the significant opportunity in payments in Japan and the Asia Pacific region, and our strategic relationship with TIS enables us to continue our strong growth in the region by combining resources with a highly respected brand with tremendous reach," said Amir Wain, i2c's founder and CEO. "i2c is committed to the region and to helping banks and credit card issuers to rapidly and easily create, configure, and deploy innovative payment programs that consumers demand without technology and time constraints."
VP, Corporate Marketing i2c Inc.
+1 (650) 480-5275
PSEB launches CMMI and ISO certification programs for capacity building of IT industry
Islamabad, 6th September. 34th board meeting of Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) was held under the chairpersonship of Minister IT, Mrs. Anusha Rehman. Federal Secretary IT, Mr. Rizwan Bashir Khan, Member HR, Mr. Tahir Mushtaq, MD PSEB, Mr. Asim Shahryar Husain, and representatives from P@SHA, TDAP, and Finance Ministry were also present in the meeting.
Minister IT directed PSEB to give advertisement in mainstream newspapers for placement of three thousand young IT graduates for internship for a period of six months under Prime Minister’s Internship Program 2016-17. It was decided that these interns will be placed at IT companies, IT Departments of Telecom companies, Banks and other such organizations so that IT graduates develop the skill set to increase their employability potential. The minister directed PSEB to develop a dedicated portal for the internship project.
The Board also reviewed the progress on the project of IT park in Islamabad which is being carried out with the financial assistance of Korean Exim Bank. The Minister directed PSEB to conclude signing of the loan agreement with Korean authorities so that ground breaking ceremony of first state-of-the-art IT park comprising of 45 acres land at Islamabad could be held at the earliest.
MD PSEB also informed the board that CMMI and ISO certifications of IT companies have been started by PSEB and 21 companies will be trained and certified by December followed by another 23 companies for a total of 44 certified companies by summer of 2017. For CMMI, level 2 certifications have been started and for ISO, certifications in ISO 27001 (information security) and ISO 20000 (ITIL or services management) have been started. Minister hailed PSEB’s initiative by saying that the CMMI and ISO certifications of potential IT companies will not only help them in their capacity building but will also enhance their credibility in the eyes of their foreign clients. Moreover, it will be cost effective to use local auditors for CMMI certification instead of foreign auditors which are very expensive, the Minister added. PSEB’s budget for 2016-17 was also presented followed by an update on the status of future IT parks being planned in Karachi and Lahore by PSEB. The meeting ended with a vote of thanks.
DevBatch Starts Working with Staples
Staples, a Fortune 500 company, signs DevBatch for a Cloud Project
Lahore, Pakistan - August 3, 2016 - DevBatch Pvt Ltd, an enterprise mobility, business intelligence, cloud applications and managed services consulting company, starts to work on a technology consulting project with Staples Inc. - a Fortune 500 company. Staples is one of the top 10 retailers in Fortune 500, posting $23 billion annual revenues.
During the recent pan-American business tour, Waqas Khan Pitafi, CEO DevBatch, got the opportunity to present and pitch to Staples Inc.. Staples was impressed by the track record of DevBatch and invited for a brand new project. DevBatch successfully presented its case and won the project. In the process, the Fortune 500 company evaluated DevBatch on a whole range of criterions which it was able to satisfy successfully and win this super-secret project. This new product will become available to Staples existing customers, as well as will generate a new channel for customer acquisition.
"We, being the technology consulting company, welcome Staples Inc. as the newest addition to our Fortune 500 portfolio. This project will boost Pakistan's standing in Corporate America as a reliable and trustworthy vendor of information technology services and bring home foreign exchange revenues." said Waqas Khan Pitafi.
E-commerce and cloud based services are transforming the business in significant new ways. New forms of engagement and transaction have brought new levels of compliance requirements. This new project is at the leading edge of this wave of transformation.
Waqas Khan Pitafi
VP, CEO - DevBatch Pvt Ltd.
+92 333 6155541
Contact Center relocated without any downtime
KARACHI - ZRG team is celebrating the successful completion of a challenging project that required relocation of a mission-critical 24/7/365 customer contact center of Bank AL Habib to a new state-of-the-art facility.
The whole project was planned and carried out in such a transparent way that there was no downtime of the service for the customers.
Bank AL Habib has been making significant investments in people, systems and technology in order to offer more convenience to its clients and to its employees.
The fully redesigned facility of Bank AL Habib is located near the Clifton Beach, Karachi, an area known for its pleasant sea breeze. The place can be reached from many different routes and has public transportation available at the door steps.
The new state-of-the-art location of Bank AL Habib has been designed with a lot of care and considerations. It features a relaxing ambience and spacious and comfortable workstation for the staff.
The Noise-absorbing walls and floors are a great aid in maintaining a reasonable sound environment during excellent customer experience.
The dedicated Monitoring Center features an amazing Video Wall to cover all types of monitoring needs of the Bank. The dashboard displays are installed at key places to show the pulse of the operations to the concerned staff.
There is a dedicated area for Quality assurance and control team. And of course, there is a designated training space and multiple meeting and conference areas. The lunch and entertainment section provide a refreshing environment for the staff.
The business and technical teams at ZRG, Dialogic, USA and Bank AL Habib worked in a close liaison to design the project tasks and specifications. Proper arrangements were made and contingencies were planned in advance by the AL Habib Contact center team and ZRG.
Call traffic diversion was carefully activated with the server and user logins. Team members from all sides stayed in touch during the day and the night during the sensitive parts of the execution. As a result, all the required tasks were completed without any hitch and the project was completed in record time.
Mr. Amir Raza, DGM at Bank AL Habib, says; “Service industry always moves around the credibility and image of an organization. Recent times have evolved new challenges to the organization from which one of the core is to provide uninterrupted service which becomes most critical while shifting your operations from one site to an another. Here we would like to appreciate the expertise of whole ZRG team who made it possible to shift our operations with ZERO DOWNTIME which is commendable achievement at any ground.”
Mr. Ayub Butt, CEO, ZRG, says “This success was made possible due to the careful planning of the BAHL and ZRG teams. All required tasks and efforts were synchronized. Both sides worked with a mind set to overcome all challenges and produce successful results in shortest possible time. We are very excited with the possibilities that Bank AL Habib is going to be offering in coming days.”
i2c Adds Industry Veterans to Its Global Client Success, Marketing, and Operations Teams
i2c Adds Industry Veterans to Its Global Client Success, Marketing, and Operations Teams Company Adds Management Bench Depth to Ensure Customer Success
REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – June 21, 2016 – i2c, a global provider of smarter payments and integrated commerce solutions, today announced the expansion of its worldwide customer success organization, with key additions to its Global Client Success team and its product marketing and management leadership. i2c continues to strengthen its management team in support of accelerating demand for its credit and prepaid card processing services.
The company appointed payments industry veteran Stephen Diamond as vice president Client Engagement, leading the global Client Engagement team. Mr. Diamond and his team are chartered with helping clients succeed through exceptional service and support across all phases of their interaction with i2c. Mr. Diamond brings over 30 years of experience in all facets of the payments industry, including 16 years of experience in supporting global prepaid solutions. In a prior role at Visa, Mr. Diamond was a leader in the development of the prepaid category in the United States.
“i2c is on a sharp growth trajectory, adding Fortune 1000 customers with more complex programs,” said Cathy Corby Iannuzzelli, senior vice president of Global Client Success at i2c. “It is essential that we continue to provide the industry’s best support and services to ensure our customers’ success. Steve has an outstanding record of doing just that. He and his Client Engagement team are the ambassadors of i2c, representing us at all levels in client organizations and partnering closely with them to grow their programs and businesses.”
The company also added additional key talent to scale its Global Client Success team. Ayesha Haque joins as director, client management, and Jake Posey joins as director, program management. Reporting to Mr. Diamond, Ms. Haque leads the AP/MENA Client Account Management team and brings more than 14 years’ experience leading account and support teams serving global customer bases. Mr. Posey oversees Program Management Services and comes with a decade of experience in prepaid program management, notably with FSV, a processor that is now a division of US Bank.
Product Management, Marketing, and Operations.
i2c also added veteran credit and payments industry talent to its product management and marketing teams. Lisa Fugate joins as vice president of credit processing. Reporting to i2c’s CEO Amir Wain, Ms. Fugate is responsible for the development and growth of the company’s credit processing solution. With over 16 years of leadership experience in product management, marketing, and sales, Ms. Fugate comes to i2c from First Data, where she held senior positions supporting product, sales, and marketing in the company’s Financial Services business. Ginger Sayor joins i2c as vice president of global product marketing. Ms. Sayor held marketing leadership roles at First Data where she was responsible for small business solutions and supported the ecommerce and security businesses.
Stewart Yeung joins as director of finance. Reporting to the company’s CFO, Mr. Yeung is based in i2c’s global operations center in Montréal, where he will also help oversee administration, staffing, and human resources. He previously held financial leadership roles with payments processor Optimal Payments, Kitco Metals, and IT solutions provider Quadbridge.
With these and other personnel additions, i2c has a growing workforce of over 570 professionals.
VP, Corporate Marketing i2c Inc.
+1 (650) 480-5275
ZRG Awarded Gold Medal by FPCCI
ISLAMABAD - ZRG International was announced as the winner of a Gold Medal at the 4th FPCCI Achievement Awards for outstanding performance in the Information and Communication Technology sector in Pakistan during the year 2015.
The event, held at Aiwan-i-Sadr, Islamabad on 3rd May, 2016, was honored by the gracious presence of the President of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Mr Mamnoon Hussain.
The FPCCI Gold Medal acknowledges the constructive role played by ZRG towards the growth of ICT in Pakistan.
ZRG has introduced ICT innovations that have played an active role in the modernization of business processes.
Through project participation and industry events, ZRG has been creating industry awareness about the impact of emerging technologies on efficiency and customer satisfaction.
While addressing with the audience, President Mamnoon Hussain commended the award winners on their performance and in boosting trade and strengthening the national economy. He states, “Positive economic indicators are proof that Pakistan is on the path to progress and prosperity and it would soon become an important country of the region”.
Commenting on this recognition, ZRG CEO Mr. Ayub Butt said, “Our achievements have been made possible through the tremendous coordination and support of our clients along with the relentless efforts of our teams to produce winning results in all of our assignments.”
Founded in 1994, ZRG is a well-recognized leader in the CTI and business communication solutions. The company has successfully deployed enterprise level projects for mission critical operations in Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Middle East and Africa.
Source: Press Release for PASHA
Anusha Congratulates IT Industry on Tax Exemption
ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Information Technology, Anusha Rehman Khan, congratulated the IT industry and termed tax exemption and tax rebate on computers a good omen and a catalyst for further growth of Pakistan's IT industry.
Federal government has announced extension in tax exemption on export of Information Technology (IT) services and products till June 2019 as well as sales tax exemption on computers.
After the continuous and strenuous efforts of Ministry of IT and Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB), the government agreed to grant tax holiday on IT exports for 3 more years till 2019, said a press release issued here on Saturday.
The sales tax rebate will reduce the cost of laptops and computers by 17% which is a substantial saving for computer buyers.
Ministry of IT and PSEB had conducted a meet up with the IT industry in April 2016 to get feedback from the industry.
After the meet up, PSEB and Ministry of IT compiled a proposal for extending tax exemption on exports of IT products and services which was submitted to the ministry of finance and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).
In addition to tax exemption on exports, Ministry of IT had also proposed exemption of sales tax on computers including laptops and desktops to promote the growth of IT usage in the country.
Both Ministry of IT and PSEB had lobbied with Ministry of Finance that IT industry is in an infancy stage when compared with some other countries in the region and that exports should be exempted to grow IT industry and its exports.
Pakistan has tremendous IT talent and potential, However, this potential should be reflected through growth in remittances and exports also.
Investment in Pakistan IT industry up at $5.14b
Broadband penetration leaps from 3% to 15% this year
IT investment in Pakistan has risen to $5.138 billion as the sector is moving on a fast rack.
The IT's government regulator - the Pakistan Telecom Authority, or PTA - and the five key companies operating in Pakistan say "a large portion of this investment inflow is from foreign investors ranging from the UAE to Egypt, the US and China, among others". The amount includes investment made between FY-2010 and end-2015. A good year for investment was FY-2014 when the amount was $1,815.6 million and $851.6 million in FY-2015, in the wake of the 3G and 4G launch.
Khurrum Mehran, director of the PTA, said that "as a result of this launch the number of its subscribers rose swiftly to 26 million and the broadband penetration has gone up from less than three per cent to 15 per cent by now." Anusha Rehman, Minister of State for the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom, is an aggressive and fast-moving minister to attract foreign investment for this sector.
Rehman is highly respected in Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's cabinet. She said: "The introduction of 3G and 4G mobile broadband has brought the telecom sector at par with developed countries in terms of modern telecom services."
"We are proud of attracting these investments because this is a major input to enhance the country's annual GDP. We are also thankful to foreign and domestic investors for reposing confidence in our economy. We hope they will bring in more investment on a fast-track basis."
The quick expansion of the IT and telecom sector has also helped create more jobs, which is the key economic policy of Sharif, who stresses "more jobs for more people, especially for the young". This is why pro-business Sharif stresses the need for creation of more jobs, as he also has to contest national parliamentary elections in 2018 to return to power.
The IT and telecom sectors are expanding and offering new jobs as the economy rolls into modern business of e-commerce, e-banking, e-health, e-education, IT applications, the fast-growing and immensely popular home-based businesses and content development. Rehman and her ministry have been advised by to go all out for expanding this sector. The urgency to develop this sector is highlighted by latest World Bank studies which show that a 10 per cent expansion in high speed Internet connections boosts annual GDP growth by 1.38 per cent. In light of this, "the present exponential rise in mobile broadband users is expected to make a very positive impact on Pakistan's economic growth", officials also say.
The business and Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom report that IT exports were up 41 per cent in FY-2015 as compared to FY-2014. At the same time the content and software development is growing fast and is expected to boost the business gain in this sub-sector within the overall IT sector. What are key gains brought about to the economy by the 3G and 4G launch and its fast-track growth? It has led to the expansion of financial services, Web, e-commerce-related operations and more specifically in relation to women who constitute 51 per cent of the Pakistani population.
The overall growth of the sector is visible in all its sections. The latest PTA annual report for FY-2015 says the country's tele-density is now 61.8 per cent.
"Telecom revenues for FY-2015 are estimated to be Rs449 billion. Telecom sector contribution to the National Exchequer amounted to Rs126.26 billion," it says.
The report indicates that in the cellular mobile sector, the country had 114.7 million subscribers at end-June 2015. Egypt and Africa-based Mobilink leads the subscriber share with 29.2 per cent, followed by Norway-based Telenor with 27.5 per cent, China-based Zong 19.3 per cent, Pakistan-based and the UAE's Itesallat-affiliated Ufon with 15.5 per cent, and UAE-based Warid with 8.6 per cent.
Cell sites have increased to 40,704, covering more than 92 per cent of the land area in Pakistan. The operators are also focusing on tower sharing as a viable option to improve coverage and network efficiency.
The average revenue per user of the cellular segment increased to Rs440 during FY-2015 compared to Rs432 in FY-2014. The total outgoing national cellular traffic increased to 393.1 billion at end FY-2015, compared to 345.7 billion in FY-2014. The PTA says 393.1 billion SMS messages were exchanged on cellular network in FY-2015.
PTA chairman Syed Ismail Shah said the broadband sector is experiencing a true evolution, since the introduction of mobile broadband. "Broadband penetration rose to 8.97 per cent at end-FY-2015, as compared to just 2.07 per cent in FY-2014. The subscriber base took a huge jump of 345 per cent to reach 16.89 million at end-FY-2015."
The writer is based in Islamabad. Views expressed by him are his ?own and do not reflect the newspaper's policy
i2c Expands Platform-Level Payment Control Features
Next Generation of Integrated Card Controls Allows Credit and Prepaid Issuers to Enable Cardholders to Personalize Their Cards While Mitigating Fraud Risks
Redwood City, CA - May 3, 2016 - i2c Inc., a global provider of smarter payments and integrated commerce solutions, today announced new enhancements to card control and real-time alerts built into its payment processing platform. Alert and spending control features enabled at the processor level give issuers and program managers an efficient, cost-effective way to bring to market, advanced card features that mitigate fraud risks and give consumers more visibility and control over their account activity.
New feature enhancements include purse-level controls that give cardholders more options when implementing budgets and spend controls, and advanced real-time alerts triggered by Geo-location, context, and external events, which represents a significant innovation over current transaction and account-based alerts.
i2c's latest multi-pursing and purse controls help consumers enforce their budget by regulating day-to-day spending. This creates an "actionable budget" that reinforces financial discipline and helps consumers carry out their financial plan, as opposed to having to review post-transaction spending history or analyze monthly billing statements. Advanced real-time alerts are triggered by external contextual information relevant to the cardholder—such as special offers on specific items, or even location, traffic, and weather—allowing consumers to take action on information that matters to them.
Because control and alert features are integrated at the processing platform level, they work across credit, debit, and prepaid products on any network, which means issuers avoid complex integration efforts and improve program time-to-market.
According to i2c's Fraud Monitor Center, account use fraud has increased 15% over the past two years, underscoring the need for more vigilance around fraud protection for e commerce transactions and use of credit card controls.
"With card controls features integrated in our platform, issuers can more easily provide consumers with customizable features like real-time alerts that give them immediate updates on critical account information like suspicious transactions," said Lisa Fugate, vice president, credit processing, at i2c. "i2c was the first payment processor to offer card controls, and industry adoption has confirmed their value to issuers and cardholders. As consumer demand for these tools grows, we continue to innovate and improve solutions that add value to our customers and their brand."
Payment controls and alerts can be enabled by the issuer as part of their program and personalized by cardholders to align with their spending habits, mitigate exposure to potential theft and fraud, and aid in planning and budgeting. For example, parents can allocate funds for specific purposes and work with their children to create budgets and positive financial habits. i2c's payment controls work across any channel, be it physical or virtual card, mobile app, mobile web, online, or IVR.
VP, Corporate Marketing i2c Inc.
+1 (650) 480-5275
PSEB Exhibits at CeBIT Australia with Pak IT Companies
Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) established Pakistan Pavilion at CeBIT Australia for the first time in the history of the event and is participating with 5 IT companies this year. In addition to the exhibitors, a delegation of executives of IT companies is visiting Sydney led by Sulman Hassan, Director International Marketing (PSEB) to enhance bilateral cooperation and collaboration between the IT sectors of the two countries and to generate new leads for Pakistani companies.
Exhibitors in Pakistan Pavilion include Inovedia Technologies, F3 technologies, Ebryx, Fiveriver Technologies, TechVista, and PSEB. Delegates are from Maison Consulting, A2Z Creatorz, PureLogix, and Intellexal Solutions. Pakistan Pavilion was inaugurated on the first day of the exhibition by Mr. Abdul Aziz, Consul General of Pakistan in Sydney.
Many Pakistani IT companies have not tapped Australia for exports and the goal of the exhibitors and the delegates is to inform the relevant Australian stakeholders about the opportunities available in Pakistan’s IT industry, to solicit interest in investing in Pakistan’s IT industry , and to generate new leads for IT outsourcing to Pakistan based companies.
This is the first time that Pakistan Pavilion has been established at CeBIT Australia and pavilion is gaining a lot of attention from the visitors. Companies are getting numerous leads and it is expected that companies will sign few MoUs during the 3 day exhibition. Pakistani Consul General will host the Pakistan delegation and exhibitors over a dinner on the last day of the event.
PSEB Organizes a Consultative Seminar on Draft IT Policy 2016
PSEB and Ministry of IT organized a seminar for consultation on draft IT Policy 2016 here in Islamabad today. CEO’s of almost 200 IT Companies participated in the interactive session.
The Minister of State for IT & Telecom Mrs. Anusha Rehman chaired the seminar and addressed all the extensive queries posed by the participants. Member IT Syed Raza Abbas, MD PSEB Mr. Asim Shahryar, Member Legal Ms. Aamena Sohail and other senior officials from MoITT, PSEB and Chairman @Pasha were also present there.
MD PSEB, in his inaugural speech, welcomed the participants and thanked Minister of IT & Telecom Mrs. Anusha Rehman for her generous support and visionary leadership which reinvigorated the whole sector.
Minister for IT & Telecom Mrs. Anusha Rehman, while addressing to the participants of the seminar, stated that government is committed to achieve its vision of accelerated digitization, and all its efforts to materialize this vision.
We have created an enabling environment for the IT industry and SMEs and large IT companies should come forward to market their products and services internationally to grow IT exports”, said Mrs. Anusha Rehman
IT remittances have grown over 41% since last year. The goal of ministry and PSEB is to take IT exports to more than $5 billion by 2020.
For this purpose, PSEB has planned different support programs including participation in international IT exhibitions with IT companies, local IT events, meetings with foreign IT visitors, CMMI training and certification, capacity building through internships and trainings, and infrastructure in the form of new IT parks.
IT companies should report their foreign remittances under specific state bank’s code so that an accurate picture of IT exports of Pakistan could be aggregated.
MD PSEB, Mr. Asim Shahryar Husain, highlighted PSEB’s contributions to IT industry within yester years and also shared future plans of the company.
The Minister stressed that industry has to reciprocate and collaborate with the government on defining KPIs for the IT sector over the next 5 years such as increase in remittances, foreign direct investment and employment generation so that a solid case can be made for tax exemption on exports to FBR and Ministry of Finance.
Feasibility Study Report on Islamabad IT Park Shared with Anusha Rehman
Korean Eximbank’s team conducting feasibility study for the first purpose built IT park in Islamabad, called on the Minister of State for IT Mrs. Anusha Rehman Khan here in Islamabad today and shared in detail the salient features, models and proposed designs along with other technical aspects for the building of first IT park in Pakistan.
Minister of State for IT Mrs. Anusha Rehman, Federal Secretary IT Mr. Rizwan Bashir Khan and senior officials from Ministry of IT and PSEB had a very fruitful discussion with the Korean experts regarding different aspects of feasibility study report. The 13 members’ Korean team was lead by Dr. Yim Deok Soon and Prof. Park Hung Kook.
Minister of IT welcomed the Korean delegation to MoIT and shared with them ministry’s vision to provide good infrastructure to the IT industry to leverage the full potential of Pakistan’s IT talent. She said that IT park will provide a whole ecosystem including affordable space to IT companies along with power, bandwidth, and linkages between industry and academia. IT park in Islamabad will be followed by two more parks at Lahore and Karachi subsequently.
Minister said that Pakistan has abundant IT talent and IT parks would be a good way of leveraging that talent to boost Pakistan’s IT exports which have already grown over 40% since last year. She appreciated the passion and spirit of Korean team and their constant support in IT park project and hoped that the IT Park would further augment the long lasting and strong relationship between Pakistan and Korea.
Minister requested the Korean team to fast track its efforts and submit their final report by next week so that they could enter in the implementation phase of the project at the earliest. She urged all stakeholders to collectively work to achieve the milestones.
Abacus to accelerate digital innovation by partnering with Apigee
AbacusConsulting, the leading consulting, technology and outsourcing firm, signed an agreement with Apigee to become the reseller partner for the Apigee API management platform. The signing ceremony was held in Karachi where Mr. Saad Syed, Sales Director MEA for Apigee and Mr. Shoaib Khan, VP AbacusConsulting were present. The synergy created through this partnership is poised to set benchmarks of excellence in the industry and by enabling complex API deployments to be achieved through a simpler, faster, and more effective process.
Mr. Abbas Ali Khan - MD AbacusConsulting said, 'We welcome this new alliance and look forward to working with Apigee. We believe that through this partnership we will be able to unlock innovation and deploy digital business models with our customers.'
Mr. Saad Syed - Sales Director MEA Apigee said, 'Digital disruption is happening quickly in Pakistan, and the evolution of advanced mobile financial services is one example. APIs are already used as the currency for data exchange within and between organizations. Many organizations are now investigating the value of intelligent API management to help securely deliver and manage the APIs that power mobile applications and other digital initiatives. To assist these organizations within the country, Apigee is proud to partner with AbacusConsulting.'
Through this agreement, Abacus and Apigee will deliver an intelligent API platform to help organizations accelerate the pace of digital business, which will help in creating a connected digital experience for customers, partners and employees. In addition to this, the Apigee API platform will enable businesses to securely share data and services across myriad devices and channels.
Public Private Partnership Required to Unleash True Potential of IT Sector: Anusha
The 4th Pakistan CIO Summit was held at a local hotel in Karachi which was attended by CIOs and CEOs from ICT sector of Pakistan as well as government officials from Ministry of IT and Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB).
The summit started with speeches by various executives from the industry followed by a documentary on Pakistan’s IT industry produced by PSEB under the auspices of MOIT.
Speaking on the event, the chief guest, State Minister of IT, Mrs. Anusha Rehman Khan spoke about Ministry’s vision for IT which is to put in place an accelerated digitization ecosystem to enable socio-economic development, to expand knowledge-based economy, and to spur the economic growth. She said that IT is the fastest growing exports sector of Pakistan at present with a growth rate of over 41% during 2014-15. Pakistan is also in Upwork’s top 5 countries, the world’s largest freelancing network, in terms of freelancing revenue.
She mentioned that the government is offering many incentives to investors in IT sector including zero taxes on exports, 100% repatriation of profits, 100% equity ownership, and 7-year tax holiday for venture capital funds.
However, industry has to reciprocate and collaborate with the government on defining KPIs for the IT sector over the next 5 years such as increase in remittances, foreign direct investment and employment generation. The Minister emphasized the importance of public private partnership (PPP) and invited the IT industry to provide its inputs in the IT policy of the federal government to ensure growth of IT industry.
She said that it is optimal time for local industries to use local software to support our own IT industry. She focused on the concept of gender balance in the IT industry and mentioned that the ministry has kept a minimum percentage of 30% females in all industry support programs such as internships and trainings to motivate more females to join the IT workforce.
She said that Pakistan’s IT industry is a rising tide but IT companies have to improve reporting of remittances to formal state bank channels to reflect the true size of the IT industry.
The chief guest also visited stalls of different exhibitors at the event and emphasized that industry should play its role to aggregate figures to provide a better picture of Pakistan’s IT industry to the global world.
The documentary was followed by a panel discussion on the changing face of telecommunications and evolving role of CIO. The session was moderated by Chief Digital Services Officer, PTCL and included panelists from Faysal bank, Standard Chartered, SSGC, Unilever Pakistan, Telenor, Sanofi Aventis, and Pak Suzuki Motors.
The afternoon session included speeches from Deputy Governor State Bank, RapidCompute, and New Horizon. This was followed by a panel discussion on Cloud based services and business intelligence. Moderator for the session was CEO Jaffer Brothers. Panelists were from Redtone, Bank Alfalah, MCB, PSO, Mobilink, Atlas Honda, and Colgate Palmolive.
FBR proposes reduction in minimum tax from 8% to 2% on IT services
Federal Board of Revenue has proposed a tax cut for IT services companies from current 8% to 2%. Proposal was tabled during a Senate’s Standing Committee for Finance where ministry is currently in process of finalizing budget proposals for year 2016-17.
Mr. Rehmat Ullah Wazir, Member Inland at FBR, during the standing committee meeting said that board has proposed a tax cut for IT services companies from 8% to 2%.
Standing Committee meeting, that was chaired by Mr. Saleem Mandviwalla, recommended Finance Ministry the same by saying that impact of services tax should be calculated and necessary measures should be taken if tax is negatively impacting the industry and tax collections targets.
FBR proposed this tax cut after a notable number of IT companies reportedly moved abroad after a minimum tax of 8% was imposed on services companies during 2015-16.
Estimates suggest that around 40% IT companies relocated to better taxed markets like UAE. Such IT companies shifted their billings to UAE while retaining back-offices in Pakistan and hence hurting government’s efforts in achieving its tax collection targets.
This trend of relocation of IT companies also hindered MoIT and other government bodies’ efforts of promoting IT industry of Pakistan and attracting foreign investment.
FBR, while evaluating the tax-collections during the year, finally moved to propose cut in tax rates for IT services companies.
Final decision, however, will be taken by Finance Ministry and is expected to be announced during annual budget of 2016-17.
PSEB exhibits at Mobile World Congress with five companies
Barcelona – February 22, 2016 – Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) setup a Pakistan Pavilion for the second year in a row at Mobile World Congress with five IT companies from Pakistan. The pavilion has been setup inside AppsPlanet hall which gets a lot of traffic related to mobile applications. The five exhibitors with PSEB include Evamp, SecureTech, Versacom, VectorDynamix, and DPL. These exhibitors displayed marketing material about their applications and networked with exhibitors in more than thousand stalls at the event which is the largest telecom event of the year. Secretary IT, Mr. Azmat Ali Ranjha and Chairman PTA, Dr. Ismail Shah, also visited Pakistan Pavilion. They were greeted by MD PSEB, Mr. Asim Shahryar Husain and the exhibitors. The secretary appreciated PSEB’s efforts for participation in this large event with IT companies for the second year in a row and mentioned that participation in such large IT events is important to create awareness about Pakistan’s IT industry and to increase IT exports. He hoped that Pakistan’s participation in this event will improve every year as more and more IT companies participate from Pakistan and the size of the pavilion increases every year to reflect the true potential of Pakistan’s IT industry. PSEB also played a documentary at the pavilion which it has produced on the IT industry of Pakistan as well as distributed brochures and USBs to foreign visitors to the pavilion. Many countries setup pavilions at Mobile World Congress to showcase products and expertise of their IT companies. The event will run for four days and is expected to generate new foreign leads and business for Pakistani IT companies.
Minister of State for IT and Telecom Mrs. Anusha Rehman Chaired 32nd Board of Director’s Meeting of PSEB
The Minister of State for IT, Mrs. Anusha Rehman, chaired the 32nd meeting of the Board of Directors of Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) to assess the state of the IT industry of Pakistan and to evaluate the steps being taken by PSEB to bolster the long term growth of the IT Industry as well as IT exports. Federal Secretary IT Mr. Azmat Ali Ranjha,Chairman P@SHA, Mr. Syed Ahmed, MD PSEB, Mr. Asim Shahryar Husain, and representatives from Ministry of Finance and TDAP were also present in the Meeting.
MD PSEB informed the board that PSEB has launched a new counseling center to guide and mentor IT startups and SMEs as well as IT graduates and also placed Contact information for counseling center on PSEB’s website. He also apprised the board that five IT companies will be participating with PSEB in the upcoming Mobile World Congress in Barcelona where these companies will showcase their expertise in mobile applications and other IT services.
The Board was also updated that interim report of feasibility study regarding establishment of first IT park in Islamabad, has been submitted by Korean consultants and that final feasibility will be submitted by March. The Minister said that after approval of this project by ECNEC, ground breaking ceremony of IT Park will be scheduled in summer of 2016.
The Board directed MD PSEB to prepare a summary for tax exemption on IT exports beyond June 2016, to motivate IT companies to remit more of their earnings to Pakistan instead of relocating to another country and keeping their earnings abroad.
While talking about the CMMI training and certification program, Minister shared with the Board that the PC-1 had been approved by Ministry of Planning under which 5 local CMMI auditors will be trained and certified. She said that it will be cost effective to use these local auditors for CMMI certification instead of using foreign auditors which are very expensive.
The Minister said that we are offering 3000 ICT internships by summer of this year. IT graduates will take NTS test first and in first phase, top 1500 of them will be placed in IT companies and IT departments of non-IT companies. Second phase will involve placement of another 1500 interns. The goal is to create jobs for IT graduates through these internships.
The Minister further said that we had launched the Digital Pakistan concept last year and directed PSEB to collaborate with P@SHA to organize conferences on Digital Pakistan in Islamabad where all of the major stakeholders in the IT industry including CEOs and different ministries and industries to be invited.
PSEB: Making Pakistan’s IT Industry the Country’s Fastest Growing Export Sector
Pakistan’s IT industry has a come a long way and is today the fastest growing export sector of Pakistan. From less than $20 million in annual exports back in 2000, the country’s annual IT exports have crossed the $2 billion mark now at an annual growth rate of 30 to 40%.
Moreover, this is that sector of the country’s economy, which is capable of providing a full spectrum of services, ranging from low-end BPO services to high-end enterprise grade IT solutions. This extremely vibrant part of Pakistan’s economy is made up of a significant number of large IT companies which hold local back offices or representative offices.
The quality of services offered by these local organizations has in turn ensured that some of the largest businesses in the world come to Pakistan looking for relevant services to meet all their IT needs. These include Halliburton®, BMW®, Toyota®, Daimler Chrysler®, AT&T®, NYSE®, British Petroleum®, Petronas®, Caltex®, Sears®, and many more.
It is also pertinent to note here that a large number of our local IT Professionals are working in North America, Europe and Middle East who get IT projects outsourced from their foreign clients to afore-mentioned back offices in Pakistan.
But no country in the world, no matter how great the services they, or rather the businesses operating within that country offer, could hope to get work unless they have some support from the government also. In this case, it is PSEB that comes to our rescue.
PSEB’s Role in Promoting the Local IT Industry
Talking to Asim Shahryar Husain, Managing Director Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB), IDG discussed its role in promoting the country’s IT export industry.
Asim Shahryar joined PSEB as its Managing Director in July 2014. A technocrat by profession, with over 21 years of professional experience in technology marketing and business planning, he has been CEO of COMSATS Internet Services where he successfully restructured the ISP from a loss making entity to a commercially viable operation.
He has also worked in both technical and marketing management positions at Viewlogic, Siemens, MarketFirst, IONA, LMKR, Transworld, and Wi-Tribe. Furthermore, he holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Systems Engineering from Stanford University, California and an MBA in Marketing from Duke University, North Carolina.
With such an impressive background, what are Asim Shahryar’s plans for PSEB to further their motto? “My mission at PSEB is to make the organization more responsive to the needs of the IT industry of Pakistan and to accelerate the growth of IT exports,” he says.
“To achieve these objectives, PSEB has set in motion several projects and programs that focus on improving the perception of Pakistan as an attractive destination for IT outsourcing.”
These programs include subsidized participation of IT companies in international exhibitions, establishment of new IT parks, low cost office space and bandwidth in IT parks, international certifications for IT companies such as CMMI and ISO, IT internships and trainings for IT graduates, and linkages with foreign investors and customers.
Asim continues by saying, “We believe in getting feedback from the IT Industry on a periodic basis to ensure that we invest in programs and events which are of interest to the industry. To achieve this end, we have held three seminars with CEOs of IT companies in Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad so far, and we conduct regular online surveys with our member companies also.”
Facing Up To Challenges
But success, as all of us are well aware, never comes very easy. So what challenges does PSEB, as well as their member organizations, face, both at the local and at the international level?
“When it comes to Pakistan, the biggest hindrance for any business is country’s image and perception because of security and ease-of-business issues. However, things have started improving since early 2015 and this is reflected through the interest that foreign investors from certain countries have shown in investing in different sectors of Pakistan including IT. This year, PSEB has been approached by investors from Saudi Arabia, Korea, Kuwait, etc. for investing in different IT initiatives. This is a good sign for the IT industry of Pakistan,” shares Asim.
He goes on to explain how nations such as Korea and China have developed so rapidly because they ‘routinely redefine the way things are done, constantly improving and refining the associated thinking, logic, and techniques.’ And for him, “this is what we need to do to embed the culture of embracing change in our public and private sector institutions for continuous improvement. Also, we should be focused on results of projects, not just execution. We need to focus on proper project management because planning is just one half of the work; the more important half is execution and completing projects on time.”
Considering that, one would wonder just how far we, as a nation hoping to export our IT and software services abroad, have managed to come. The task is certainly not an easy one when one considers that to become a knowledge-based economy requires good collaboration and coordination between different stakeholders including government, industry, academia, and the public.
Just as importantly, it also requires a better focus on education and training so that upcoming graduates are equipped with the right skill-sets when they come out of colleges and universities. In this scenario, “PSEB is forming a curriculum committee which will include CEOs of some IT companies as well as heads of IT of different universities to realign curriculum with the emerging needs of the global IT market,” shares the MD.
He continues to explain how Pakistan’s economy is primarily an agrarian one. However, there is no dearth of manpower and labor costs are very economical when compared with other developed and developing countries. Because of the rapid growth of the IT industry and universities, and availability of a large pool of English speaking IT professionals and graduates, Pakistan can easily transition to becoming a knowledge-based and services economy in a decade or so.
“Pakistan has a lot of IT talent and potential. However, it needs to be harnessed better starting with our own local industries. Instead of using foreign software, our industries should use local software on trial basis and if satisfied, they should switch to using local software. This will encourage our local IT companies and will help them grow both locally and internationally. After all, how can we expect foreign customers to use their software if our own industries are not using local software,” asserts the MD PSEB.
Current Progress: How is the Local ICT Industry Shaping Up?
PSEB is in the process of collecting IT curriculum for BS and MS programs of different universities which it will then share with the committee formed for the purpose, for feedback. Based on this, the organization will work to prepare a proposal on revisions to the IT curriculum for HEC. The goal is to have a minimum core curriculum in IT to ensure an IT graduate of any university has the right skill-sets to meet the work demands of both local and foreign companies in order to give them better, and more productive prospects in the future.
Furthermore, as Asim shared, a new Knowledge Park is being planned in Lahore which will be a whole ecosystem built around universities, companies, research labs, IT parks, incubators, etc. However, it will take a while of planning and construction. Similar knowledge parks in other provinces and cities are also needed to help the country transition from an agricultural to a knowledge-based economy.
Planning For the Future
Several long term projects have been launched or are in the pipeline for the benefit of the IT industry. These focus on infrastructure development, HR base development, company capability development through international certifications, fostering innovation/entrepreneurship, adoption of ICT in public sector as well as domestic demand generation for the ICT products/services.
Moreover, other countries are also encouraged to explore opportunities of investing in Pakistan’s which could include company acquisitions and mergers, collaborate to invest in Information Technology Parks, Software Development Centers, Software Testing Centers, Technology Incubators, IT Training Centers, IT Consulting Centers, Gaming and Animation studios, Call Centers, Billing Centers and Data Centers.
All in all, Asim Shahryar, MD PSEB seems determined and focused in his mission to turn Pakistan into a knowledge-based economy.
PSEB Organizes Strategy Workshop For Establishment of IT Park in Islamabad
Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) organized a day long workshop with Science and Technology Policy Institute (STEPI), Korea and stakeholders from both public and private sectors of Pakistan’s IT industry to kick off the feasibility study for a new state-of-the-art IT park in Islamabad.
STEPI consortium from Korea consisted of five entities including Science and Technology Policy Institute (STEPI), Sangmyung University (SMU), Office of Civic Solutions (OCS), ANSE Technologies, and Baum Architects.
The consortium included experts in different areas including infrastructure design, IT park and urban design, IT park operations, IT park architecture, ICT security facilities, and economic and financial analysis. Hence, this is one of the largest group of foreign experts which has ever visited Pakistan for a feasibility study of an infrastructure project.
The workshop was attended by participants from both Korea and Pakistan. Local participation came from Ministry of IT, PSEB, Ministry of Planning, Ministry of Science & Technology, IT companies, and universities.
The workshop started with an opening address from MD PSEB, Mr. Asim Shahryar Husain, who welcomed all participants to the workshop and stated that IT parks can change the dynamics of the IT industry of Pakistan and can position Pakistan as a leading player in the global IT industry.
Dr. Hung Kook Park from Sangmyung University was the facilitator for the workshop. The workshop was broken up into five groups for brainstorming sessions. The workshop started with each group picking a topic and then selecting top problems related to that topic. This was followed by identifying causes for each problem and their solutions using a fishbone methodology.
Giving her congratulatory speech at the workshop, Minister of State for IT & Telecom, Ms. Anusha Rehman, said that it is her vision and passion to launch state-of-the-art IT parks in Pakistan to change the dynamics of the IT industry of Pakistan. Pakistan has a lot of IT talent and potential but that potential has not been utilized fully on a global scale because of lack of proper infrastructure for the IT industry at present.
She said that majority of IT companies are operating out of residences at present and there is a need for new high tech office space with backup power, bandwidth, business centers, training centers, incubation centers, and research centers. Hence, there is a huge requirement for state-of-the-art infrastructure in Pakistan from the IT industry so that companies can upscale their resources and capacity for mega-projects and Pakistan can achieve its real potential in the global IT industry.
The minister mentioned that government’s focus is to provide an enabling environment through infrastructure such as IT parks to IT entrepreneurs and IT companies so that they can grow and nurture their business and products to their true potential both locally and globally.
She said that her vision for IT parks is that they should be a complete ecosystem with office space, incubators, accommodation for foreign visitors, gymnasium, lakes, biking trails, and not just raw office space. An IT park should be a seat of learning and technology where there is exchange of knowledge and information between professionals and students. She said that she wants to do the ground breaking for a new IT park in Islamabad next year followed by IT parks in Karachi and Lahore.
MD PSEB mentioned that PSEB has land for IT parks in all three metros and has been waiting for this opportunity for the last many years. However, it is because of the minister’s vision and passion that the feasibility study has finally started.
MD PSEB mentioned that IT parks are like software factories where IT companies generate new exports for Pakistan by providing software and IT services to both foreign and local clients. PSEB had arranged meetings of Korean team this week with different stakeholders including IT companies, universities, CDA, Nespak, and Planning Commission followed by a day long strategy workshop with all of the stakeholders.
The minister thanked the Korean team for visiting Pakistan and emphasized that both ministry and PSEB will extend full support to the Korean team in their mission of building new IT parks in Pakistan. She hoped that the feasibility study would be completed in six months or less so that loan agreement can then be signed between Korea and Pakistan for design and construction of a new IT park by next year.
Platinum Pharmaceuticals shakes hands with EfroTech to acquire TimeTrax HCMS (Human Capital Management) Software for successfully automating the healthcare company’s HR Operations.
- Obsolete & messy attendance process/system
- Time-consuming procedures were prevalent
- No proper reports for managers about attendance records, absenteeism, overtime etc.
- Chances of proxy attendance were abundant
Platinum Pharmaceuticals preferred TimeTrax: HCM Software “on-Premise” version for the computerization of their attendance procedure. The project consists of deployment of the following module and hardware:
- eAttendance - Attendance Management System
- TT-iFace 800- Face Recognition with Fingerprint Device
Since its deployment, TimeTrax has tremendously minimized administrative burden of Platinum Pharmaceuticals HR department by digitalizing the attendance process & providing managers with detailed information on attendance records, absenteeism, overtime etc. through eAttendance module integrated with TT-iFace 800 - Face Recognition & Fingerprint Devices.TimeTrax HCMS/HRMS is an intuitive and wide-ranging software that has streamlined Human Capital Management processes of workforce tracking/attendance. On the whole, TimeTrax gives end-to-end HR solutions with salient features to deal with any company’s HR management needs.
Commenting on deployment of the TimeTrax HCM Solution, Amin Malirwala (Manager Administration) says:
“We have been using TimeTrax Human Capital Management Software for some time now to facilitate the management and tracking of our employees’ attendance. We have found it to be accurate, efficient and intuitive and above all it has been well received by our 350+ employees.TimeTrax has turned out to be the ideal HCM Solution for our HR needs as we really required something reliable and economical. TimeTrax TT-iFace 800 Multibio Devices (Face Recognition with Fingerprint & RFID features) and the eAttendance module have proven to be a worthy Investment and working great for us. The after-sales support is also highly dependable.We would readily recommend this solution!”
Successfully completed on time.
eAttendance Module from the TimeTrax-HCM Software's “on-Premise” version TT- iFace 800- Face Recognition with Fingerprint Devices
TT-2.0, ASP .Net Framework 3.5, Crystal Reports & Microsoft SQL Server 2005.
Team Pakistan picks up 3 Golds and 1 Silver in major regional technology awards
Colombo – November 21, 2015- The Pakistan Software Houses Association for IT & ITES (P@SHA) announced this evening that Team Pakistan won 3 Gold Awards and 1 Silver Award at the Asia Pacific ICT Awards (APICTA) 2015 ceremony held in Colombo, Sri Lanka tonight.
Leading the way with the Gold were the teams from Eyedeus Labs for their new product “Ingrain”, Evamp& Sanga for their product Mobile Audio Streaming Service and students from the NUST College of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering for their research project Active and Intelligent Powered Ankle Foot Prosthesis for Trans-tibial Amputees.
The Silver Award was taken by a very young team from The Nest i/o – P@SHA’s Technology Incubator in Karachi for their project Teddict.
The Awards ceremony was graced by the Sri Lankan Minister for Telecom and Digital Infrastructure. The Pakistan High Commissioner Major General (Retd) Syed Shakeel Hussain in Sri Lanka and MD Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB), Mr. Asim Shahryar Husain, were with Team Pakistan to witness the Pakistani Tech sectors red letter moment. Because next year’s APICTA will be hosted in China, MD PSEB stated that PSEB and P@SHA should jointly put up a proposal to APICTA for hosting 2017 awards in Pakistan.
This year’s P@SHA delegation comprised 50 members with 22 technology products competing for the prestigious APICTA Awards against 197 products from 17 economies in the region. Team Pakistan delivered another stunning performance in front of the Who’s Who of the technology industry in the Asia Pacific region in categories that are extremely competitive.
Winners from the Asia Pacific compete inthis three day regional event judged by industry professionals, technology veterans and thought leaders from the APAC region. The consistent great results by Team Pakistan are due to the concerted efforts of judges and mentors who work tirelessly with winners at the P@SHA ICT Awards which took place in Lahore in October this year.
Speaking on the occasion, Jehan Ara President of P@SHA said, “The P@SHA ICT Awards ,P@SHA’s signature event for the past 12 years, has provided a platform to show the world what technology companies and young people in Pakistan are capable of. This year we have once again proven that our products can be benchmarked against the best in the region. “
International APICTA Judges from 17 economies who evaluated the categories in which Pakistan participated spoke about the consistently high standard of technology products presented by Pakistan year after year.
This year Team Pakistan performed superbly with young people once again taking the lead. With the support of Samsung and Google for Entrepreneurs, P@SHA was able to take a number of young teams to Colombo. The objective was to bring them face-to-face with the best technology companies, professionals and students in the Asia Pacific, to provide an opportunity to meet and form potential partnerships with each other and to attract business and possible investment.
Dressed in their green Team Pakistan t-shirts, the team from Pakistan created impact by putting up a great show. Some of the international judges commented that all the teams had shown the caliber of work being done by the Pakistan tech sector. They were absolutely blown away by the younger teams that took part in the Tertiary Student Category and the Secondary School Project category.
Speaking at the APICTA Awards gala event in Colombo, Dr. Shoab A. Khan, Immediate Past Chairman of P@SHA and a judge at the APICTA event said, “The standard of the competition is improving each year and we know that because it is the best products from each country that compete, we will have to share the accolades.”Other judges from Pakistan include Jawwad A. Farid, BadarKhushnood, and Sultan Hamdani.
On hearing news of Team Pakistan’s performance, current P@SHA Chairman Syed Ahmad said “Top performance at APICTA 2015 has shown that young Pakistani IT entrepreneurs are the best in the region. If the IT industry gets support and an enabling environment from the Government, it can provide millions of jobs and help the Government achieve its Pakistan Vision 2025.”
Tonight’s Gold & Silver Award winners included:
Company: Eyedeus Labs
Category: Startup Category
Eyedeus Labs is a startup developing Computer Vision technologies for smartphones. Ingrain is their second product – it is a Platform for targeted native advertisement in videos.
Innovators: Noor Asif &Muhammad FarjadHassan
Organization: National University of Science & Technology School of EME
Product: Active and Intelligent Powered Ankle Foot Prosthesis for Trans-tibial Amputees.
Category: Tertiary Student Category
The objective of this project is build and run a prototype of an intelligent powered ankle foot prosthesis based on electromyography, capable of providing active mechanical power at terminal stance, can improve amputee metabolic walking economy compared to a passive or passive-elastic prosthesis.
Product: Mobile Audio Streaming Service
Category: Inclusion & Community Category
This service streams the audio feed from all popular TV and Radio stations in Pakistan, allowing access to live audio from TV & Radio via a simple phone call. The service does not require mobile broadband, and is accessed via a dial-in short code.
The application is hosted on a Linux platform. It requires telephony cards for connecting audio calls from the mobile operator to the software application. The live feed of each channel is received by our application via standard TV-Tuner PC boxes, converted into a digital signal by our application, and only the audio stream is picked up for broadcast via our service.
The service works like a standard radio, and allows listeners to hear a live audio feed from their favorite TV as well as radio channels. Imagine travelling on the motor way and being able to dial-in to hear Samaa’s news headlines, PTV Sport, Business Plus, or any one of over 25 TV channels or 8 Radio Stations. The extensive multilingual audio menu allows you to easily browse between channels, just as you would on a personal audio. The service includes content in Urdu, English, Pushto, and Sindhi.
Category: School Category
Teddict is a network, learning portal for young students that makes learning more engaging by giving the primary role to the student. Teddict allows students to learn their own way by letting them connect with each other for a diverse portfolio of concepts.
Learning will happen in a gamified environment where students are encouraged to contribute more in the learning process.
EfroTech bags P@SHA ICT Awards 2015 for ePayroll (TimeTrax) and BizzTrax ERP
Mr. Nadir, Chief ExecuTRAX of ET, receiving the trophy for BizzTrax ERP from Mr. Naseer, CEO/President of InfoTech, at the P@SHA ICT Awards 2015 ceremony.
Mr. Nadir, Chief ExecuTRAX of ET, receiving the trophy for ePayroll (TimeTrax) from Mr. Asif, CEO/MD of Systems Limited at the P@SHA ICT Awards 2015 ceremony.
EfroTech - Intelligent.Business.People. - a provider of product-based generic software solutions for Business Intelligence, Enterprise Resource Planning and Human Capital Management is proud to announce that its flagship product BizzTrax ERP has been declared a WINNER at the P@SHA ICT Awards 2015 in the "eLogistics & Supply Chain Application" category. This is the second consecutive award in the same category as BizzTrax won the Award in 2013 as well and has since been the reigning solution for this award.
P@SHA Annual Conference and Awards was held on 12 October, 2015 at Pear Continental Hotel, Lahore. The other Award ET won is for ePayroll, a part of the TimeTrax HCMS solution suite in the category of Financial Solutions as a Payroll Disbursement software.
By virtue of being proclaimed as the worthy winner for BizzTrax ERP, EfroTech's team along with other winners will InShaAllah represent Pakistan at the regional APICTA 2015 event in Sri Lanka in November 2015.
BizzTrax is a Web-Based ERP, CRM and POS Solution for Service, Distribution, Manufacturing & Retail Industries, available as on-Premise and on-Cloud (SAAS) versions. The system has primarily been developed using MS .Net Framework, VB.Net, ASP.Net, JQUERY, CSS, JAVA, Android SDK, Microsoft SQL Server and SQLite.
BizzTrax is a single, end-to-end solution that incorporates a number of business critical functions including Inventory, Warehousing, Procurement, Production, Quality Control, CRM, Finance, Sales, Distribution, Point of Sales and Merchandising. BT is a truly Browser-based and user-friendly application and its Generic Workflow Engine allows you to design your own document approval flows, according to your Business needs.
Multi-Language, Multi-Currency and Multi-Calendar Support is also built into the system's architecture, while Business Intelligence capabilities have been integrated into the system, which provides the information that matters the most, at the tap of a finger.
Integrated Android App for Order Booking (eOBS) simplifies field staff activities and provides visibility through Geo-Tagging while an Integrated, offline Point of Sales (ePOS) App assists retailers, supermarkets, restaurants, Door-to-Door sales etc. including the integration with bar-code/RFID/magnetic swipe card readers.
Finally, an Integrated Android App for Retail and Brand Activation audits and back-checking (eAudit) provides complete supply chain control for any FMCG, Pharma or Electronic goods manufacturing or marketing organization.
For further information about BizzTrax ERP, please visit the BT website -http://www.BizzTrax.com
For further information about ePayroll, please visit TT website -http://www.TimeTrax.com.pk/ePayroll
A2Z Creatorz Signs Multi-phase Project with Dubai Government
A2Z Creatorz is pleased to announce that it has entered into agreement with the Dubai Government during GITEX 2015.
A2Z Creatorz is all set to create a transformational web based event application for Government of Dubai. This web application will be positioned in a manner so as to deliver superior execution and customer service, driving long-term value creation for their upcoming events.
The provision of A2Z Creatorz services to the Dubai Government will leverage and build on the best practices of event services and management to improve service to customers and consumers through a more consistent strategy across the UAE. Through this web based system the partner is expected to generate substantial event registrations, sponsorships and operating efficiencies. The government’s new synergies will also position it for increased investment in sales and customer-facing activities in events industry to drive incremental top-line and profit growth over the long term.
A2Z Creatorz will combine the unique market knowledge and experience of the events service applications, enabling increased coordination and innovation to better serve customers and consumers at a local level in each market. As a larger and more diverse company, Dubai government will continue to invest, employ, manufacture and distribute locally, maintaining a strong commitment to the economic and social well-being of each community it serves.
“The creation of a larger, unified web application represents an important step in our global system’s evolution,” said Zohaib Khan, CEO of A2Z Creatorz. “We continue to adapt our business model to innovate, invest and grow along with the changing demands of the marketplace. With the strong leadership that is assembled from across the world will be well-positioned to deliver better and more effective service to customers throughout UAE and GCC market and drive profitable growth across multiple web, digital and mobile categories.”
“The creation of A2Z Creatorz as our partners will build on each other’s capabilities to create more efficient operations in the respective market, said Head of Department. “We look forward to bringing together our world-class team with the distinct strengths offered by A2Z to capture additional growth opportunities in the market. This transaction offers clear synergies, along with the scale to better serve the needs of our customers, to become an even stronger partner to The Dubai Government and create increased value for us and our shareowners.”