TECHNOLOGY'S IMPACT ON EMERGING ECONOMIES AND THE YEAR'S HOTTEST GADGETS HIGHLIGHT DAY THREE OF THE 2008 INTERNATIONAL CES
Inaugural Technology and Emerging Countries Program Featured His Excellency Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda and One Laptop Per Child's Nicholas Negroponte
Arlington, Va., January 10, 2008 - Technology's impact on emerging countries and predictions for the year's hottest gadgets were the focus of day three at the 2008 International CES®. Produced by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®, the 2008 International CES, the world's largest tradeshow for consumer technology, runs through today in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The inaugural CES Industry Insider Program, "Technology and Emerging Countries: Advancing Development Through Technology Investment," kicked off Wednesday morning with an opening keynote address from Nicholas Negroponte, founder of the One Laptop Per Child Project (OLPC) and the MIT Media Lab. Negroponte spoke passionately about OLPC's goal of eliminating poverty in third-world countries through education. He explained that most of the nearly two-billion children in developing countries are poorly educated, suggesting that,"We must restore, introduce and create the passion for learning in children."
Negroponte's non-profit organization has developed the XO laptop for use in third-world countries which typically have no electricity. The laptop operates on less than two watts of energy, and is powered by a hand-crank attached to the computer. WiMax and WiFi networks provide wireless Internet access to the XO laptops.
Following Negroponte's speech, His Excellency Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, discussed emerging technology and its impact on his country and the African continent. The discussion was moderated by Eric Nonacs, managing director for global affairs at Endeavour Financial Ltd. President Kagame spoke of his desire for Rwanda to prosper through technology. He noted that technology brings jobs and financial stability to his country, and that an open government-business relationship is necessary for economic growth.
Paul Jacobs, CEO of Qualcomm, next joined Nonacs on stage. Jacobs described his company's Wireless Reach program, which allows governments to stay connected to their health care and education systems. Jacobs described how this program is trying to achieve sustainability through teacher training and community fundraising with help from NGOs and local governments.
After Jacobs's discussion, he was joined on stage with President Kagame and Paul Meyer, co-founder, chairman and president of Voxiva for a panel discussion titled, "Technology's Role in Long Term Development."The three leaders talked at length about existing vs. emerging technology. By leapfrogging older technologies, the panel agreed, developing countries learn from past mistakes made by larger countries, allowing for new technological infrastructure to be implemented correctly from the start.
The second session, "Technology in Practice," featured product demonstrations from five companies focused on bringing greater access to education and information through technology. CEA economist, Shawn DuBravac, introduced the companies and their innovations, which included Manobi, a Senegal-based mobile data services operator, which demonstrated solutions aimed at improving market access and increasing revenue for African farmers with situation-specific content. Also on hand were Freeplay Energy, a leader in developing the market for self-sufficient energy products, such as solar and human-powered technologies and Meraki Networks, a company taking a new approach to wireless networking to bring access to local communities anywhere in the world. In addition, AMD and Marvel demonstrated the OLPC's XO laptop.
The final session of the program, "Building a Better Tomorrow with Technology," moderated by Paul Taylor, personal technology columnist, The Financial Times, brought together executives from AMD, Cisco, Intel and Microsoft to explore the companies' numerous and varied initiatives in the developing world. The panelists discussed the challenges and realities of making their technologies globally accessible to underserved individuals and communities. All agreed upon the importance of in-country training for technology users, sustainability strategies and long-term corporate and industry commitment for the success of development projects.
Also featured on Wednesday was the highly popular SuperSession, "The Last Gadget Standing," a fast-paced tour of the hottest products at the 2008 International CES, sponsored by Yahoo! Tech. Representatives from Asus, Dash Navigation, Electric Spin, Eye-Fi, Fujitsu, iRobot, Logitech, Sansa, Toshiba and Verizon Wireless demonstrated their newest gadgets. The Eye-Fi, a wireless memory card that automatically uploads pictures from your digital camera to your PC or Mac, won the title by audience vote.
To view video footage of the 2008 International CES keynote addresses, Industry Insiders and SuperSessions, visit www.CESweb.org/about_ces/multimedia.asp.
For more information on the 2008 International CES, visit www.CESweb.org, the source for all CES information.
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is the preeminent trade association promoting growth in the $161 billion U.S. consumer electronics industry. More than 2,200 companies enjoy the benefits of CEA membership, including legislative advocacy, market research, technical training and education, industry promotion and the fostering of business and strategic relationships. CEA also sponsors and manages the International CES - Where Entertainment, Technology and Business Converge. All profits from CES are reinvested into CEA's industry services. Find CEA online at www.CE.org.