Federation of Computer Association Nepal (CAN Federation) is holding the CAN Info-tech 2021— an exhibition to showcase the latest technology and various products including software, hardware, and the latest devices — from May 10 to 16. The Nepalnews caught up with CAN Info-tech 2021 Steering Committee coordinator Nawaraj Kunwar to learn about how the event will be managed amid the resurgence of coronavirus cases within the country and abroad. Excerpts:
CAN Federation has announced the dates for CAN Info-tech 2021. What are the preparations being made for the event?
Before talking about the other preparations being made we are more concerned now about safety amid this COVID-19 pandemic. We are cautious and have made arrangements accordingly. We have also requested the government to make arrangements to provide vaccination services in one of the stalls during the exhibition. We are also aware of the need to maintain social distancing and other safety measures so we have asked our management task force to take note of these things accordingly.
Regarding the preparation for the actual event, we have different committees that have been assigned the responsibility to bring in the latest technology to showcase products for example software, hardware, and the latest devices. All our committee members of the CAN Info-tech 2021 are working on a war footing to complete the assigned tasks of stall management, parking management, volunteer management and the entire management works. Also, now we are engaged in dialogue with the probable sponsors who are approaching us for the CAN Info-tech 2021. We will be branding the event through digital, paper, and other relevant media. We actually have prepared most of the things for the InfoTech. We are now involved in wrapping up the other pending works. Our executive committee members and CAN Info-tech 2021 Steering Committee at present are busy trying to organise the event in a way that not only is successful in commercial terms but also in social terms with all possible health safety measures in place.
In what way will the InfoTech be different this year from the previous editions?
To be honest, since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic practically all sectors took a big hit but the information and technology sector did pretty well. The demand for laptops and mobiles has increased tremendously as most offices started working virtually and even schools and colleges began organising online classes. Since people were not allowed to go out of their homes due to the lockdown the online businesses also flourished. We have more people now buying products or services through the digital platform. Since the demand for digital products and services has risen tremendously there is bound to be more expectations from people during the InfoTech this year. Hence, our preparations are based accordingly.
We will be showcasing emerging technologies, robotics, artificial intelligence, new internet initiatives, IOT devices, game parlours, learning centres, software, hardware devices, mobile phone sets, security solutions and cloud solutions. More important is that we will have initiatives or separate space to promote initiatives of Digital Nepal which we will be unboxing soon.
CAN has been organising the InfoTech for the past several years. What has the experience been like since the first edition?
The experience is not very different in terms of the organising factors/tasks but a new challenge has been added due to the COVID-19 and in 2021 technology has changed drastically. Therefore, based on the changes we need to meet people’s expectations and showcase the aforementioned products, services and features accordingly.
How has the ICT sector developed over the years in Nepal?
With the joint effort of all the people involved in the ICT sector, the industry has been growing at quite a good pace. I would say that the private sector has been very involved in developing the sector. Moreover, the government’s vision of Smart City and Digital Nepal is also a satisfactory initiative. We can see that we have the latest tech-based companies and minds working in Nepal to provide service not only to in the country but also to clients based in foreign nations like the UK, USA and Europe which is great. But still, we need massive changes.
CAN Federation since its establishment has been working with the public from rural to urban areas. Now, we are spread in all seven provinces and 58 districts. Our provincial and district branches are working together with us to make Digital Nepal successful through various ways like the InfoTech, conferences and other similar programmes.
What lessons have the coronavirus pandemic taught the sector?
Digitisation and transformation are very necessary for organisations and businesses. It has been realised that it is necessary to invest in IT manpower and infrastructure as this is the major backbone.
Where do you think are we lagging behind in further developing the ICT sector in Nepal?
We have a limited PPP model in ICT. The government needs to develop a lot of policies for ICT as we lack foreign investment in the sector. The government also needs to further motivate the private sector. Digital foundation and infrastructure need to be well prepared. Internet services need to be qualitative, accessible to all and the rates need to be made cheaper by reducing taxes or through other similar approaches. I also feel that the government needs to make appropriate changes to the various policies of the ICT sector. I would say that we should all collaborate to remove the digital divide, make Nepal an ICT-friendly country and secure cyberspace through cybersecurity. Together WE CAN.