Arthur C Clarke’s NZ video odyssey

New Zealand is the showcase of the Asia-Pacific IT community for four days starting today.

New Zealand is the showcase of the Asia-Pacific IT community for four days starting today.

The annual SEARCC (South East Asia Regional Computer Confederation) conference is being held in New Zealand for the first time in 25 years of conferences, says Gillian Reid, president of the New Zealand Computer Society, New Zealand's SEARCC member body.

"We were nominated to host the 2001 conference five years ago and started preparing two and a half years ago."

(SEARCC is a confederation of IT professional societies from its member countries, with the host country's society having responsibility for the conference when it's held in their country).

The conference is being held at Auckland's Sky City Hotel and the lead keynote speaker is, appropriately enough for the year, Arthur C Clarke, who will deliver the final speech on Thursday, by video link from Sri Lanka.

His speech will include his vision of where technology will go in the next 100 years and his appearance was arranged through NZCS' contacts with the Sri Lankan Computer Society, Reid says.

Other keynote speakers include Jade's Gil Simpson and TelstraSaturn's Jack Matthews.

Non-keynote speakers come from many of the 15 SEARCC member countries and include Dr Henry Wolfe of Otago University, who will speak on internet forensics and electronic evidence gathering and Prasanna Lokuge of the Sri Lanka Port Authority, whose topic is "e-shipping: a digital revolution in the world's largest industry."

The overall theme of the conference is "enhancing business value by applying technology" and other topics to be addressed include next generation cyberspace-driven B2B and B2C connections, innovation in connecting governments to organisations and citizens, lifestyle solutions for the new millennium made possible by technology and net-enabled business process advances.

The conference offers great opportunities for networking, Reid says.

The member countries of SEARCC besides New Zealand are Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and Thailand.

Approximately 250 attendees have registered for the conference, Reid says.

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