Archive for April, 2005

Pakistan’s first locally built car: REVO

Friday, April 29th, 2005

Adam Motors has come up with it’s own car: REVO (abbreviation for Revolution, I believe). The price range competes directly with Suzuki Mehran (although time will tell). Base models start at Rs.269,000 and CNG models start at Rs.299,000 (making it ~50K cheaper than the Mehran). Forbes reports that 141,000 cars will come off the production line this year. The engine for the car is built by China’s Wuling Engineering Company. Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz suggested that the cars should be fitted with CNG to be environmental friendly. What about investing in the public transportation system instead? How will the current roads and traffic support the increasing automotive population? Safety doesn’t seem to be a big concern either. Given that foreign cars are already assembled locally, the only indigenous aspect of this car is the design (that probably got substantial assistance from foreign entities). Sadly, this looks like 1 step forward and 2 steps back.

IT in Karachi

Thursday, April 28th, 2005

Anthony Mitchell, columnist for E-Commerce Times has a great round-up of IT in Karachi is his article Searching for IT in Karachi. He highlights the economic growth factor and potential in Pakistani markets. He also reports on quite a few established firms working with high profiles companies like Amazon and Walmart and some receiving work by way of India and South Africa. This is an arena where commercial and government entities need to work together to build a coherent, stable IT infrastructure to tap foreign markets and local talent. In a related story, local company ZRG International will provide call center solutions for Maersk Pakistan. ZRG provides call center solutions built upon Open Standards-Based technology from Intel’s Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) technology.

Pakistan to launch its own communication and surveillance satellite

Wednesday, April 27th, 2005

Pakistan will launch it’s own indigenous communications and surveillance satellite reports TheNews. This comes after Badr-1 Amateur Radio Satellite launched in 1990 which crashed and burned after 146 days, and Badr-2 launched in 2001 (2-3 year lifespan) for data imaging, charged battery experiment, data storage and forwarding, and radiation disometer (for measuring radiation). Like it’s predecessors, the new satellite will be manufactured indigenously. Pakistan Science and Engineering Foundation (Paksef) has an overview of the first two satellites. AARL has a fascinating history of the satellites. In 2002, Pakistan acquired Hughes Global Systems Satellite (HGS3) from the US for a 5 year lease at US$4.5m and dubbed it Paksat-1, Pakistan’s first commercial satellite. Paksat-1 was launched on Dec 29, to meet the Apr 2003 launch window opportunity. It had 30 C-band and 10 Ku band transponders resulting in more bandwidth (tv channels and faster/cheaper internet). Paksat-1 passed through the recommendation of President Pervez Musharraf as did the newly proposed indigenous satellite estimated to complete by 2008. The website for Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission in Pakistan (SUPARCO) is lacking on any information. Details on the telecommunications and surveillance capabilities of the new satellite would be welcome.

Ministry of IT approves Rs 38.4 million project for IT Services Academy in Lahore

Tuesday, April 26th, 2005

Business Recorder reports: “The Ministry of Information Technology has approved a project worth Rs 39.458 million for the IT Services Academy in Lahore”. The 2 year project is prepared by the Electronic Government Directorate (EGD). The 2004-05 Projects page does not have any details on this yet. Some already implemented projects include Salary Disbursment through ATMS. It would be nice to see other solid work coming out of this department.

Pakistan ranked second last among ‘e-ready’ nations

Sunday, April 24th, 2005

According to a survey (full report here) by the The Economist and IBM Pakistan ranks in second to last on a world-wide ‘e-readiness’ scale. The survey weighed in connectivity, technology infrastructure, net adoption, supporting e-services, legal and policy environments when judging the countries. Will the recent announcement by the Pakistani Government to outsource US$50-$100 million development to the local software market help? Pakistan lagged behind all other countries except Nigeria in connectivity scores (only 1.25, this area can use real improvements).

Pakistan Telecom working on launching Mobile Number Portability

Saturday, April 23rd, 2005

Dawn reports that Pakistan Telecom is working toward Mobile Number Portability. All major countries have already adopted this to prevent carriers from locking in users. From the article: “The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority is working to launch mobile number portability (MNP) from November, enabling a subscriber of a cellular company to change his network operator without changing the number”. The competition is about to get stiffer. It seems to me like this is to help Telenor and Warid ease into the mobile market. Bad news for the current mobile phone carrier, great news for us.