A Firework Display of Innovations
Bakutel 2013, the largest telecommunications and information technology exhibition in the Caspian and Caucasus regions has taken place at the Baku Expocentre from the 2nd to the 5th of December. The Ministry of Communication and Information Technologies of the Republic Azerbaijan has played an important part in the development of the exhibition through the priceless support it has provided for many years. The international recognition and prominence of Bakutel is shown by the support and official visits by representatives of international industry institutions, including the United Nations (UN), the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the Regional Commonwealth in the Field of Communications and the 'Approved Event' status granted by the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI).
2013 was declared as the 'Year of Information and Communication Technology' in Azerbaijan by order of President Ilkham Aliyev. This theme could be felt throughout the whole Bakutel 2013 exhibition. A comprehensive and rich business programme was prepared for the exhibition, as well as many interesting shows and events for the visitors.
This year, the exhibition brought together 300 companies from 28 countries with a 35% increase in the exhibition area. Bakutel occupied three halls for the first time, with a total area of 12000 m2 of the Baku Expo Centre.
The visit of Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic Azerbaijan took place on the first day of the exhibition. The VIP tour began in the foyer of the Expo Centre at the stand of the Ministry of Communication and Information Technologies. All of the information about the work of the Ministry over the last few years was presented at the stand, together with plans for the development of the industry. Here, the president took part in the World Virtual Conference of Azerbaijanis. The president visited all of the halls and reviewed the stands of the leading local and foreign companies.
The letter of congratulations to Bakutel 2013 exhibitors from President Ilham Aliyev of the Republic of Azerbaijan states: 'Every year, the Bakutel International Exhibition and Conference in Azerbaijan creates favourable conditions for the exchange of ideas, broadening of business contacts and the review of the latest technological achievements and innovations by uniting organisations, scientists and specialists from different countries. The organisation of this exhibition and conference as part of the Year of ICT in the country, the inclusion of the cyber security conference into its business programme and other important events and the presence of the leading companies are making this event all the more important.'
The Head of State said that he hopes that the exchange of experience facilitated by Bakutel 2013 will make a great contribution to the further strengthening of cooperation between exhibiting countries and the creation and implementation of new initiatives at the international and regional levels. The President of Azerbaijan wished the exhibitors success and gave his instructions and recommendations. President Ilham Aliyev gave an interview to Euronews in the course of reviewing the exhibition.
The Russian delegation headed by Minister of Communications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation Nikolai Nikiforov visited the exhibition on the 3rd of December. The minister spoke to representatives of Russian companies during his VIP tour and found out about the most interesting new products at a range of local and foreign stands. 'I really liked the exhibition!,' – stated N. Nikiforov. - This is an important event in the industry, and it is great that a lot of companies are demonstrating their latest products and the achievements of technological progress not only to specialists and people in the know but also to members of the public every year. It is hard to overestimate the importance of the Bakutel exhibition to informing people and the introduction of new technical solutions.'
Delegations from Afghanistan, USA, Hungary, Italy, Israel and other countries also came to take part in Bakutel. The honoured guests of the exhibition included Hamadoun Touré, Secretary General of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), Zsuzsanna Németh, Minister of National Development of Hungary, Nikolai Panteley, Minister of Communications and Information Technology of the Republic of Belarus, Nuruddin Mukhitdinov, General Director of the Regional Commonwealth in the Field of Communications and other prominent guests that left their impressions and wishes in the Bakutel book of honoured guests.
The active involvement of national pavilions organised with the support of the Ministry of Communication and Information Technologies of the Republic Azerbaijan has become a tradition at Bakutel. This year, 15 countries including Belarus, Hungary, Israel, Spain, Canada, Latvia, Lithuania, France, Croatia, Estonia and a number of others presented interesting programmes, product presentations and services in the field of ICT which were new for both Azerbaijan and the whole Caspian region. The national pavilions of Afghanistan, Italy and the USA made their debut at the exhibition this year.
The leading ICT companies, mobile network operators from Azerbaijan, communication operators, Internet providers, systems integrators and distributors were represented at the exhibition. 40% of the exhibitors have had an ongoing presence at the exhibition. Local companies comprised 30% of all exhibitors.
The Bakutel exhibition covered the following fields: telecommunications and networks, broadband communication and technologies, cable and wireless communication, satellite communication and technologies, equipment and technologies for radio transmission, software and automation systems, IT and office technologies. The projects for the laying of the Trans-Eurasian Information Super Highway (TASIM), the installation of the Europe Iran Speed Highway (EPEC), the creation of a High Technology Park in Azerbaijan, the telecommunications satellite and many others. Mobile ASAN (Azerbaijan Service and Assessment Network) centres were also presented at the exhibition.
One of the traditions of Bakutel is giving the opportunity to young specialists to describe their inventions, programmes and services as part of the biggest ICT event in Azerbaijan and the Caspian region. Because of this, a lot of attention was given to startups, which were provided with special stands on the initiative of the organisers and the Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies of the Republic of Azerbaijan. This year 25 young specialists demonstrated their projects.
The Bakutel exhibition was accompanied by a rich business programme that united all of the specialists in the ICT sphere. The programme included various seminars and conferences on the subject of the evolution and regional development of the internet in Azerbaijan and the Azerbaijan-Israel and Azerbaijan-USA ICT forums. Events dedicated to international cooperation were also an important part of the business programme – the yearly forum of the main telecommunications operators in the TASIM consortium and the meeting of the SPECA workgroup on “The development of an economy based on knowledge” of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) which was an event connected with the creation of a Centre for specialists in the partnership of the public and private sectors of ICT in Azerbaijan. Another important event for Azerbaijan was the conference on the subject of “International Cooperation in the Field of Cyber Security: Issues and Prospects” that gathered over 50 delegates from 20 countries.
The participants in the Trans-Eurasian Information Super Highway (TASIM) project signed a memorandum of mutual understanding as part of the Bakutel exhibition. Azerbaijan was represented by the Centre of International Communications and Calculations of the Ministry of Communication and Information Technologies. The project is aimed at reducing poverty and increasing the rate of growth of the economy as well as serving as a driver for the development of the region. The TASIM project aims to unite 20 countries in total. The implementation of the project will make it possible to remove the disconnection of information between the countries of Western Europe and the Pacific Basin.
One of the notable events which took place at the Bakutel exhibition was the announcement of the stock market flotation of one of the companies in the ICT sector of Azerbaijan on the Baku stock exchange by way of Initial Public Offering (IPO) for the first time.
The exhibition organisers prepared an impressive programme of additional events, which added a celebratory feeling to the business activities. A real surprise for the visitors was the performance by world famous Titan the Robot that came to the exhibition in Azerbaijan with his show for the first time. His performance excited and entertained hundreds of spectators. A gaming zone was situated in the third pavilion - everyone had the chance to play x-box games and play on laser strings. The foyer of the Expo Centre hosted a grand fashion show with garments which used old ICT components which was organised by the Ministry of Communication and Information Technologies of the Republic Azerbaijan.
This year, the number of visits to the Bakutel exhibition reached 11410. This is a record number of visits over the years of existence of Bakutel.
One of the important parts of being a successful exhibitor is having an original and eye-catching display. Exhibitors with the best displays were given award certificates. The following companies and organisations won the awards this year:
Best stand - The National Pavilion of Azerbaijan
Best stand design - R.I.S.K
Best stand implementation - Aztelecom
Best stand decoration - Aztelecom
Best debut - Hitachi
Best display of corporate style - Microsoft
Best way of attracting clients to the stand - Bakcell
Most visited stand - Nar Mobile
Two issues of the Daily News newspaper were released during the exhibition. The newspaper had many photographs of stands, events and competitions as well as interesting interviews.
The general sponsor of Bakutel 2013 was one of the largest American companies in the field of information technologies - HP. The organisers of the exhibition were Iteca Caspian and their partners ITE Group PLC from the United Kingdom. The official safety partner of all exhibitions organised by Iteca Caspian in 2013 was SafeLife, the official hotels were Jumeirah Bilgah Beach Hotel and Qafqaz Point Hotel and the official tour operator was Greenwich Travel Club.
The Bakutel exhibition will be celebrating its 20th Anniversary next year. The event is planned for the 5-8 November 2014. The Anniversary Bakutel exhibition is going to be a significant event and will stand out with its size and festive atmosphere. The organisers are planning a special events programme which will run alongside the Bakutel 2014 exhibition.