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Sep 18 - 24, 2000

Microsoft and Vroom Technologies Sign Agreement

Vroom Technologies (Pvt.) Limited, one of Pakistan's largest software houses, signed an epoch-making Microsoft Developers Network (MSDN) Universal Agreement with Microsoft, the world's leading software solutions provider, in Lahore.

This agreement, the first major deal in Pakistan in original software purchases, heralds the birth of a new era in the country's fast developing IT industry. It will enable Vroom Technologies, having more than 80 developers in Pakistan, plus a few others based in the US, to legally use Microsoft's products in CRM software development for foreign clients.

"MSDN Universal is Microsoft's premier offering to developers, it enables them to use all the latest language versions of Microsoft development tools, technologies and operating systems. In short, it makes available the right tools and technology at the right time", said Nauman Ahmad, Business Solutions Specialist, Microsoft Gulf & Eastern Mediterranean. "We are equally proud of the bold and visionary step that Vroom Technologies has taken, and hope that other software houses in Pakistan will also follow suit."

"Our conviction of using legal software goes beyond spending money to buy licenses for software applications: it relates to ethics, morality and principals. As a nation we have to resist piracy of all sorts, be it video, audio, or software," said Nasser Lone, Chief Operating Offficer, Vroom Technologies.

"As a software house that spends millions on developing software applications, we are in an ideal position to empathise with software houses whose products are pirated and sold without checks and controls," continued Nasser. "By unequivocally declaring our resolve to fight this blight, Vroom Technologies is sending a signal to all software users to respect intellectual rights and pay legal fees for the privilege of using applications on which a great deal of time and money has been spent. Together we must project and cultivate a work ethic that is based on integrity, trust and respect for the rights of others."

Turkish delights at Karachi Sheraton

Karachi Sheraton Hotel & Towers in collaboration with the Sheraton Hotel Antalaya, Turkey, Nestle Pakistan and Turkish Airlines recently held a Turkish Food and Cultural Festival for the food connoisseurs of Karachi from September 7-12, 2000 at Al-Bustan. The festival was organized as part of ArtFest 2000 going on at the hotel.

Mr. Thomas van Opstal, General Manager, Karachi Sheraton Hotel & Towers, Mr. Melih Topuz, General Manager, Turkish Airlines and Mr. Noman Khan, Manager Food Services, Nestle Pakistan inaugurated the festival on September 7, 2000 in a very unique manner by slashing the entrance with swords.

Kodak products available through on-line shopping

According to a Kodak spokesperson, "Kodak has managed to take the lead in the offering of its products through E-Commerce in Pakistan".

He added that, Kodak films and cameras can now be ordered from any part of the world through a web-based order booking, and/or through E-Commerce-enabled-web-site: www.giftexpress.com.pak.

Kodak products will be delivered to more than 90 cities and towns around Pakistan, and this will be done through SMS Couriers (Pvt.) Ltd. SMS are the renowned operators of Gift Express and which have liaison offices in countries like Switzerland, the UAE and the United States.

Intel's netstructuretm brand

Intel Corporation announced a new family of high-performance virtual private networking (VPN) products that securely connect remote users to branch offices and business partners over the Internet while helping to save on traditional private leased line and long-distance dial-up charges. The new products are designed for corporations, Web hosting companies and other service providers offering managed Internet services.

The new VPN devices are part of the growing Intel® NetStructure™ product line, which includes highly reliable and scalable network control equipment, Internet appliances and services that add greater intelligence to computer networks in order to help companies provide a faster and more reliable e-Business experience.

With the growth of the Internet and online access, companies are increasingly using the Internet to augment or replace the use of private networks, instead routing private information over the Internet's public infrastructure through encrypted VPN "tunnels." These tunnels act as a secure pipeline to protect the transmission of data over the Internet.

VPN products such as Intel's are rapidly being deployed by service providers and enterprises as a way to eliminate expensive long-distance dial-in and leased-line connections, reducing costs without sacrificing security or performance. The worldwide market for VPN equipment and software will more than triple from $1.2 billion this year to $3.7 billion in 2004, according to Infonetics Research in San Jose.

Intel® NetStructure™ VPN Gateway Family

Intel's scaleable family of NetStructure VPN products allow customers to select the performance level necessary to meet their specific requirements. The products are fully compliant with the popular IPSec 1.1 industry security standard, and include an ICSA firewall, unlimited remote clients and BlackICE** Defender personal firewall.

Intel will also offer a VPN software upgrade for its Express 8200 and 9500 routers to allow existing customers to integrate VPN, firewall, wide area network (WAN) access and advanced routing functionality without having to buy additional hardware components. The routers — which provide up to 1.3 Mbps of VPN throughput — can be used in conjunction with NetStructure VPN Gateways to connect small sites with central offices.

E-Government in Pakistan

BITS Club at Institute of Business Administration, Karachi, organized an interactive session on the topic of 'E-Government' on Monday, September 11, 2000. Mr. Furqan Qureshi, Chief Executive Asia Pacific, who is also an active member E-commerce Working Group spoke on the occasion.

He stressed that whether the government like it or not, the concept of E-Government is a reality which cannot be avoided. To bring about a change in the present system of government, we need to computerize basic operations.

He further said that E-Government could be implemented to improve management of inventories and personnel, which will result in reduced expenditure. Quality of life for the citizens will be improved by automating the services provided to the public. Government departments such as the Police Department, Postal Services, Health Services etc. will be able to function much more efficiently. He stated computerized inventory management could reduce the Defense Budget. According to Mr. Furqan the government has taken some initiatives and the National IT Policy outlines the steps to be taken in this regard.

Most governments which are shifting to e-government have focused on the education, health, security social services, banking and financial services. He was of the view that to implement E-Government in Pakistan we need to focus on 1). Technology 2) Data Collection 3) Computer System 4) Applications and 5) Network.

In the end Faraz Haider, Seminar Co-ordinator BITS club thanked the distinguish speaker. Other organizers of the event are Zubair Naseer, Rehan Ansari, Imran Yousaf and Mahreen yousaf.

8 Lucky Coca-Cola employees to perform Haj

The manufacturers of the world's most popular soft drink, Coca-Cola, in Pakistan, Coca-Cola Beverages Pakistan Limited (CCBPL), have introduced a voluntary Haj scheme for their employees.

Through a draw held under this scheme, 8 lucky Coca-Cola employees, one each from the 8 CCBPL plants were picked to perform Haj and visit the Holy places at company expense.

The lucky winners who will perform Haj in 2001 are: Hidayatullah - Karachi Plant, Hamid Ali - Hyderabad Plant, Ejaz Ali - Rahim Yar Khan Plant, Mohammad Ramzan - Multan Plant, Mohammad Farooq - Faisalabad Plant, Shaukat Ali - Lahore Plant, Riasat Ali - Gujranwala Plant and Mohammad Khalid - Sialkot Plant.

Sheraton's Director of HR elected for office in PHA

Syed Arshad Ali, Director Human Resources at the Karachi Sheraton Hotel & Towers was elected the Vice-Chairman of the Pakistan Hotel Association in their recently held Annual General Meeting in Karachi. Mr. Arshad Ali is a prominent name in the Pakistan hospitality industry and has represented the Karachi Sheraton in numerous seminars and workshops across the globe. Syed Arshad Ali has also received the prestigious Sheraton President Award as well as Hamdard Executive Excellence Award by the President of Pakistan for its outstanding performance in the Hotel & Tourism Industry.