Two Golds and five Silvers! Well done Pakistan
With two Gold medals and five Silver, Pakistani IT professionals have done us proud indeed.
People view the IT and software industry of Pakistan as a fledgling market. It does not get a lot of media attention and there are many rumours and speculation about what is actually being developed in these offices. However, this industry has behemoth competition, not just from our neighbours, but within the region itself.
Our IT and software sector has an organization, which acts as an umbrella body representing and grooming products and companies to pitch to the world, called [email protected] or Pakistan Software Houses Association. A month ago [email protected] held the ICT awards in Pakistan, where they selected 18 products which would then be pitched at a much bigger stage at the recently held APICTA (Asian Pacific ICT awards ceremony) in Pattaya, Thailand. This was an arena where software products developed by our nation's own battled against 162 others in front of 48 judges, who deliberated over them for two days before reaching their decision.
The [email protected] ICT awards held locally in October were no less of a grand affair either. They showed stiff competition and many questions were raised about the judging criteria in social media. This is the local platform or event that allows companies to bring forth products which can then elevate their brand name at an international stage.
Suffice to say APICTA has proved that the judges and mentors at [email protected] were not just fair in selecting the products to be pitched, but spot on in their decisions.
Out of the 18 products pitched two received Gold while five walked away with Silver prizes at this international event. This is remarkable because when the journey to APICTA started some seven years ago Pakistan only won a “special mention” in the consolation category at the event in Hong Kong. To come from the bottom of the ladder to standing abreast with developed nations like Australia, Malaysia and Hong Kong speaks volumes for the teams participating, their mentors, and the hard work that went into this achievement. These counsellors are key, as in many product presentations, the make it or break it factor is how they are pitched. There are several people in our IT sector for instance, Jawwad Ahmed Farid, Zafar Khan, Badar Khushnood, and Nadeem Aslam Malik who work all year around with these upcoming teams to make sure they have a solid chance come game day.
The two Golds awarded to Pakistan were in the e-Health and e-Logistics and SCM categories and five Silvers were in the Communication, Financial, Security, E-Inclusion & E-Community, and E-Government categories. The Centre for Advanced Research in Engineering (CARE) once again distinguished itself with the Gold in e-Health and the silver in Communication, Security and E-Government categories. Lumensoft Technologies went for Gold in the e-Logistics category with Infotech Group taking the Silver medal in the Financial Apps category and Engro-Orix taking the Silver in the E-Inclusion & E-Community category.
These aren't the only IT companies in Pakistan who are engaged in making revolutionary products and services. Those 11 that did not get medals also need to be recognized for promoting this country in an arena where they are treading a way more thornier path than those they competed against, in terms of resources, subsidization and a feasible work environment.Moreover, many of these 11 teams came very close to beating their competition, and won much praise from the judges who were in awe of the Pakistani IT markets skill.
The point here is that we often have to hang our heads at the news of the day here in Pakistan. We often have to look away when our nation is spoken of badly in international media. However, this is a moment we must cherish and take joy in, this is a moment where 18 teams went out there and showed the world that we are much more than just a nation of terrorists. We have always marvelled at Pakistani talent in fields of sport and music. Perhaps it is time we chose heroes from this arena as well, heroes that might not be so well known but are doing us proud diligently and silently.