MANILA, MAY 18, 2006
 (STAR) By Manny De Los Reyes - Computers, cellular phones, digital cameras… and sand? It’s highly expected to see the first three items in a software exhibition held in a five-star hotel – but a blanket of fine white sand inside a fully carpeted ballroom?

It’s hard to imagine but, yes, that’s exactly what a host of technology giants and their partners managed to pull off: pristine white sand covering most of the carpeted area of one of Makati Shangri-La Hotel’s biggest function rooms last week.

The occasion? Software Innovations Philippines 2006, a three-day event for Philippine software vendors to demonstrate the practical uses of their applications in business, lifestyle and mobile environments.

"Software Innovations Philippines 2006 showcases Philippine-made industry business solutions and IT skills for visiting foreign business delegations to see the country as the business outsourcing location of choice for software development in the global market," said Stephen Misa, SMS & P director of Microsoft Philippines.

Over 400 software houses in the Philippines, venture capitalists, foreign investors, software companies, industry leaders, analysts, IT outsourcing experts, trade representatives and both local and foreign dignitaries from the United States, Japan, Singapore, Germany, United Kingdom, and Saudi Arabia flocked to the exhibit to experience the single largest effort to showcase and promote the best-in-breed Philippine-made industry business solutions and IT skills to the world market.

The Business Pavilion aptly titled "IT Ignite!" featured five business sectors – BPO (business process outsourcing), finance, health, retail, and manufacturing – in lifelike simulated environments that gave a very good representation of advanced technology solutions.

A business-matching program promoted interaction and encouraged partnerships among the participants. The foreign dignitaries presented market opportunities and strategies for Filipino software developers.

"This is a great opportunity for local software vendors to showcase their products and services to different teams from around the world and to explore different business opportunities and forge business alliances," said Misa.

"We have the capability to get a bigger share of the $500-billion worldwide market for software solutions and application development and are now, in fact, poised for growth," added Fermin Taruc, Philippine Software Industry Association (PSIA) president and managing director of Gurango Software.

Other exhibits were dedicated to lifestyle and mobile environments.

"In each of these areas, exhibitors and partners provided hands-on demonstrations of software applications developed in the Philippines as well as emerging technologies from the world over that impact the way we live here," Misa said.

Fully functional examples of these were Globe Telecom’s state-of-the-art 3G/3.5G environment showcase as well as LG’s cutting-edge, Internet-connected smart appliances showcase. Visitors freely experienced the latest technologies in true, lifelike environments.

Jointly presented by Micro—soft, Intel, G-Xchange, and Fortune, in cooperation with the Department of Trade and Industry and PSIA, Software Innovations Philippines 2006 was supported by the Business Processing Association of the Philippines, the Center for International Expositions and Missions, and the Commission on Information and Commun—ications Technology.

And the white sand? It was a dramatic yet effective way for Software Innovations Philippines to show that individuals and corporate entities alike can still benefit from the country’s numerous and formidable technologies – even from any of the country’s 7,000-plus islands.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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