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 Profile  Prof. Syed Ali Ahmed Zaidi
 Politics & Policy  Improved policies in social sector


Prof. Syed Ali Ahmed Zaidi

By Syed M. Aslam
Feb-04 - Feb-10, 2002

Professor Syed Ali Ahmed Zaidi graduated from Dawood College of Engineering and Technology in 1989. He joined LG, the South Korean electronics giant, as its first chief engineer in Pakistan. During his association with LG he stayed in South Korea and was instrumental in setting up plants he managed to find time to do post graduation in Computer-Aided System Designing from a Korean university. He did PhD from Sweden Royal Institute of Science and Technology in 1999. He is the Chief Executive Officer of Winson (Pvt.) Limited, the fastest growing research-based IT trans-national conglomerate with presence in a number of countries in Europe, Middle East and Africa. Winson specialty is in-depth expertise in developing solutions spanning over diverse technologies and has a development house each in London and Karachi. Professor Zaidi is an emerging scientist who designed the first Pakistani television in 1992, digital satellite receiver in 1994, automatic waste-solid, liquid and polythene- disposal system in 1997. He designed Global Positioning System (GPS) in 1998, CLI unit in 1999. Winson is the only Pakistani company conducting clinical trials on drugs manufactured by some of the best known pharmaceutical companies in the world. Professor Zaidi specializes in embedded software and circuit designing, PC interfacing and software development. Recently Winson signed the single biggest $ 20 million joint venture agreement with a Netherland-based company which has head office in the UK.

PAGE: Please tell us about the $ 20 million agreement Winson has signed recently.

Prof. Zaidi: It is the first ever project of its kind of introducing internet satellite television in this region. I myself have designed and developed this new technology to provide a far better quality of picture as video transmission is free of encryption codes unlike the other channels whose encryption code travel with the signal so a disturbance is always there. Our UK-based sister company will provide satellite time plus the financing to run the project. The Television will beam 200 digital channels in 19 countries in the region including Pakistan and will be accessible through the internet via satellite decoder, e-mail and SMS with worldwide support.

PAGE: What does the contract mean for Pakistan in term of financial benefits?

Prof. Zaidi: The entire technical work and system designing for project including manufacturing of satellite receivers will be done right here in Karachi. The initial phase of work include Satellite encryption control software development, installation and testing over land-based transmission. We expect to generate over $ 50 million dollars $ 25 million from the sale of satellite receivers, $ 24 million from monthly subscription fee, $ 1 million from one time internet set-up fee, and $ 100,000 from advertisement annually over two years. The implementation of the system will result in regular income in foreign exchange with immediate effect. In addition, the project will help create employment to nearly 400 professionals for the assembly and production of satellite receivers and other related cards.

PAGE: You also plan to introduce a range of soft and hardware products entirely developed and manufactured here in Pakistan in the local as well as foreign retail markets. What are these products?

Prof. Zaidi: We will be launching electronics cash register with the digital weighing scale for the shopkeepers here in Pakistan at an affordable price of Rs 8,000 compared to average Rs 56,000 for which the imported ones are available. We will be also marketing this product, which will also be able to read the bar coding, in the international market at much lower prices than those marketed by foreign companies. We will also be marketing totally PC-based Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system with complete Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) for system control through telephone at an incredibly low price of just Rs 6,000 compared to minimum Rs 36,000 for the imported ones. Another product aimed at banks is a product which uses SMS signals to allow account holders to check the balance in their accounts. This banking supportive system will be available for just Rs 20,000 for the benefit of any branch of a bank to let have its account holders check their balance at their convenience without coming to the branch. We will also be introducing Digital Attendance System for corporate clients already used by the Fishermen's Cooperative Society to keep track of the fishermen. We have already entered a contract with the Maritime Security Agency to equip fishing boats with Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) to help it track the vessels 24-hours a day to ensure that they remain with the national territorial waters, do not pass off catch to foreign trawlers and to help identify fish schools and then locations via pattern of fish landings. This is the first ever system in region for the fishermen and costs just Rs 12,000 compared to $700-800 in the other countries.

PAGE: Do you have any message?

Prof. Zaidi: Yes. Don't look what others are doing, particularly India. Create your own products. Create your own markets. For instance, go into technology for toys and market them at the occasion of Haj, where China is selling. Be innovative Haj is the biggest event, cater to it as people always like to buy a toy for the children.