INTERVIEW WITH ASHAR H ZAIDI, COUNTRY MANAGER INTEL PAKISTAN

'WE ARE ENDEAVORING TO BRIDGE DIGITAL DIVIDE'

PAGE REPORT
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)
Apr 12 - 18, 2010

PAGE: WHAT IS INTEL'S ROLE IN PAKISTAN?

AZ: Intel's aim in Pakistan is to provide every individual with access to technology and education. We aim to bridge the digital divide in Pakistan by bringing latest technology in the country as soon as it becomes available internationally. Intel believes that there is an immense potential for Pakistan to adopt technology and progress ahead. It is our vision to find and drive the next step ahead in technology, education and culture, corporate social responsibility, manufacturing and businesses. For us, it is not just about making technology faster, smarter and cheaper but in fact more about using that technology to make life better, richer and more convenient for everyone it touches.

PAGE: WHAT SORT OF PROGRAMS HAS INTEL ADOPTED TO BRIDGE THE DIGITAL DIVIDE?

AZ: Intel worldwide has adopted various initiatives to help technology prosper. In developing countries such as Pakistan our main focus is on educating the local communities about basic technology which will make for a convenient life for them.

Currently the programs underway in Pakistan are the Intel World Ahead Program, Intel Teach Program, Intel Easy Steps Program, Intel Science and Engineering Fair. Intel Pakistan also hosts a multitude of interactive workshops, seminars, exhibitions and special events in Pakistan.

PAGE: WHAT IS THE WORLD AHEAD PROGRAM?

AZ: The key focus areas of the Intel World Ahead Program are accessibility, connectivity, education and content.

Under the umbrella of 'Accessibility', Intel aims to bring the power of PC usage to more people by increasing access to fully capable PCs. Intel is doing this in Pakistan through various PC purchase and PC donation programs in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, government of Pakistan. Intel intends to donate a total of 4500 computers to government schools across Pakistan over the next five years in a continued effort to enhance lives and bridge the digital divide.

Intel is continuously expanding 'Connectivity' through wireless broadband Internet access by leading industry efforts worldwide in ecosystem development and WiMAX deployment. Intel is working towards WiMax deployment through partnerships with government and private organizations. Intel's partnership with Wateen is an example of one such example where Intel has succeeded in exposing the masses to high speed connectivity

Intel organizes annual science fairs and gives teacher training to both government and private schools free of cost. Intel Pakistan also hosts a multitude of interactive workshops, seminars, exhibitions and special events in Pakistan. We also work closely with the Small and Medium Business segment of the country and play an advisory role to SMBs to support their growth via the effective utilization of technology.

PAGE: HOW DOES INTEL HELP THE EDUCATION SECTOR IN PAKISTAN?

AZ: Intel works to help improve the quality of education around the world. The Intel Teach Program helps teachers to be more effective educators by training them on how to integrate technology into their lessons, promoting problem solving, critical thinking, and collaboration skills among their students. Intel Teach is the largest, most successful program of its kind. By 2011, Intel Teach will have reached 13 million teachers in more than 40 countries - and their 1 billion students.

Most recently Intel Pakistan Corporation has taken to training not only teachers but also the government sectors in basic technology. This is the Easy Steps program through which currently the IT department of Sindh and Lahore Electric Supply Company are benefiting in understanding IT via Intel's Easy Step curriculum.

PAGE: WHAT SORT OF SCIENCE FAIRS HAS INTEL ORGANIZED?

AZ: The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) is an international competition focused on research, technology and science. It is held every year in May in the United States. Since the past 6 years, ISEF affiliated fairs are being held in Pakistan. They start with the district fairs, moving on to provincial fairs and the students that are short-listed from these competitions participate in the National Science Fair, which is eventually affiliated with the Intel ISEF. Every year 5 students represent Pakistan at the Intel ISEF. The focus is on developing students' skill in research, creating an interest in science and technology, and other general sciences like Biology, Physics, and Chemistry.

PAGE: WHAT MAJOR PRODUCTS/SERVICES ARE YOU PROVIDING IN PAKISTAN?

AZ: Intel's main focus is to bring Pakistan up to speed with technology worldwide, hence bringing the latest products to Pakistan simultaneously as in the rest of the world. We have all the latest products available through our channel partners who we support and encourage bridging the digital divide.

Our most recent accomplishment in bringing the latest products to Pakistan is Intel's Core processors. Take for example the Core i7, the fastest processor to date, launched in November 2008, the same time as the rest of the world. Following which other Core family products were launched here in Pakistan as well.

PAGE: TELL US ABOUT THE INTEL CORE PROCESSOR FAMILY.

AZ: The Core i7 performs 40 per cent better that the previous generation Core 2 quad. The Core i7 processor has redefined the computer of tomorrow.

With faster, intelligent, multi-core technology that applies processing power where it's needed most, new Intel Cor i7 processors deliver an incredible breakthrough in PC performance. They are the best desktop processor family on the planet. Users can perform multitask applications faster and unleash incredible digital media creation and experience maximum performance for everything.

PAGE: WHAT WILL BE THE GROWTH PATTERN OF COMPUTERS IN PAKISTAN IN NEXT FIVE YEARS?

AZ: Pakistan, I believe, is an emerging market. In the country, there is a digital divide, which Intel is trying to shrink through the different programs that I mentioned. There is a large segment of the population which does not have access to technology. Intel has tried to touch those segments through its PC donations and Teacher training programs. I feel there is immense potential for Pakistan to adopt technology and progress ahead.

PAGE: HOW DO YOU SEE THE FUTURE OF INTEL IN PAKISTAN?

AZ: Intel Pakistan has grown manifolds strength to strength since its inception in Pakistan and we hope to continue this growth, stay pioneers of technology and fuel growth of the local IT industry. Our aim is to help bridge the digital divide through various initiatives and continue helping the local industry develop.