Curt Silvers, NUSACC's Executive Vice President, noted, "NUSACC's annual High Tech Road Show continues to demonstrate the importance of ICT and related industries to U.S.-Arab trade. Not only does the number and breadth of Arab delegates continue to grow each year, but the leading American tech companies enthusiastically welcome the opportunity to interact with the delegates as part of their regional strategies. We look forward to continuing to grow this program in the coming years."
Nine Arab nations are participating in this year's HTRS, including Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates. The delegation includes the largest Libyan tech delegation ever to visit the United States, with high-level representation from the Libya's Central Bank, the Ministry of Communications & Informatics, the Ministry of Transport & Communications, and the Tripoli Chamber of Commerce, Industry, & Agriculture.
For the first time in the history of the High Tech Road Show, delegates this year visited two sites in California -- Southern (Los Angeles) and Northern (Silicon Valley).
This was engineered in part by Jessica Gray who, as Associate Director in charge of NUSACC's Los Angeles office, covers the West Coast for the National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce.
She stated, "Not only does California offer tech giants in Silicon Valley, but California also boasts world-class academic and research institutions, the largest customs district in the United States (Los Angeles), and an entrepreneurial spirit and technical know-how that makes for exceptional business opportunities." She concluded, "Culturally, California is home to the second largest population of foreigners outside their home countries, which helps to make us a global state with a truly international sensibility."
The visit to Northern California revolved around site visits to some of the top technology companies and academic clusters in the United States, including Stanford University. Highlights of the delegation's visit to Silicon Valley are below.
Site Visits: Intel, IBM, and Juniper Networks
During the two days spent in Silicon Valley, High Tech Road Show delegates made executive visits to Intel, IBM and Juniper Networks, three of America's most sophisticated Information Technology (IT) companies.
At Intel, delegates learned where chip production and computing are headed in coming decades and how Intel engages with the MENA region. John Davies, Vice President of Intel's "World Ahead" program, stated, "Intel is pleased to be a strategic partner with NUSACC and to host the High Tech Road Show. We have consistently participated and have valued the interaction and meetings with the HTRS delegates. Intel has multiple offices across the Arab region, and events such as NUSACC's HTRS allow us to build on our regional strategy."
Intel's "World Ahead" program is dedicated to making 21st Century technology more affordable and accessible for millions of people worldwide. Through hands-on collaboration with governments, telecommunications providers, technology companies, and other organizations, "World Ahead" increases access to digital devices, the Internet, and local content. Working together with local partners, Intel's "World Ahead" develops long-term approaches that strengthen communities and encourage sustainable social and economic development.
At IBM, the HTRS delegation held in-depth discussions on cyber security, Big Data, and IBM's partnership programs. Terry Hansen, Manager of Public Partnerships for IBM, noted, "IBM has had a presence in the Arab world for several decades and it is a region of great interest for our company. NUSACC's High Tech Road Show delegation provides us with the opportunity to highlight our technologies and meet with representatives from both the public and private sectors from all around the Middle East & North Africa."
The IBM presentation was technical in nature and divided into two segments. The first focused on software and how IBM solutions are helping make the planet smaller and smarter. The second segment concentrated on Big Data Strategy and Solutions, including insights that can be gained from unprecedented information flows, which are exploding in volume, variety, and velocity. These "Big Data" are fundamentally changing the way that governments and organizations use information, according to IBM.
Solution requirements, for example, include filtering petabytes of data per second from almost any connected device, analyzing the data while still in motion, deciding what data must be stored, and using analytics tools to virtually integrate the data with other data stored in traditional warehouses. Organizations can integrate and analyze unstructured data wherever it lives—including the Internet—without overwhelming enterprise data warehouses, thereby enabling such new forms of analysis as forecasting and predictive modeling.
Juniper Networks hosted HTRS delegates at the firm's new Executive Briefing Center in Sunnyvale. Adrian Pickering, Vice President for Middle East & Africa, noted, "We had an enthusiastic and attentive delegation who asked many questions about Juniper Networks, the solutions we provide and, of course, our presence and commitment to the countries and region that they represent. Juniper Networks has a footprint in many of the countries represented by the delegates and, consequently, I believe that we have a great opportunity to serve NUSACC's members by providing leading-edge, secure computer network solutions that meet their business needs now and into the future."
During the visit, Jake Katz, Vice President for Product Management at Juniper Networks, presented an overview of the company and highlighted the technological trends that are driving their products, such as cloud computing, mobile Internet, and security. Oliver Tavakali, Vice President of Engineering, also discussed Juniper's security products, which make up the core of the company's business.
Site Visit: Stanford University (+ Google)
Stanford University has been a consistent supporter of the High Tech Road Show, highlighting the valuable role that academia can play in promoting innovation and the entrepreneurial ecosystem. The Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR) hosted the delegation this year, providing a window into such cutting edge issues as energy efficiency, privatization, research & development (R&D), and moving new technologies developed by academia into the marketplace.
Roger Noll, a Senior Fellow at SIEPR and Co-Director of the Program on Regulatory Reform, provided a presentation about the importance of appropriate government policies. His remarks revolved around technology policy, antitrust, regulation, privatization policies, economic approaches to public law (administrative law, the judiciary, and statutory interpretation), and the economics of sports and entertainment.
He highlighted the importance of public/private partnerships, particularly when it comes to infrastructure -- including wireless infrastructure -- that is so essential to a nation's economic success. In short, Noll suggested, the MENA region needs to work toward better governance structures with fewer regulations, which tend to slow growth and limit potential.
Ward Hanson -- SIEPR Policy Forum Director and a Fellow at the SIEPR Center for Employment and Economic Growth -- discussed government policy as it relates to innovation. In his remarks, he focused on the economic and employment impacts of the Internet, including government recovery, and how the Internet can accelerate and improve fiscal stimulus. He also showcased Silicon Valley and why that ecosystem has been so successful at generating such world-class companies as Apple, Google, and Yahoo, to name just a few. He touted the importance of creating a culture in which experimentation is valued and failure is not punished -- so that entrepreneurs are willing to take risks.
Hanson concluded by encouraging governments in the MENA region to embrace all the tools that the Internet and advanced technologies have to offer and to use these tools in ways that encourage youth to innovate and be partners in a nation's economic growth.
The Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR) is a nonpartisan economic policy research organization that studies a variety of economic policy-oriented issues and advises policymakers. SIEPR has the talent pool -- including some of the best graduate students in the world -- and an agenda designed to create widespread, beneficial impacts on society.
"Stanford University's continuing support of the High Tech Road Show is very much appreciated and highlights academic and policy segments of our program," noted Amin Salam, Vice President of Business Development at NUSACC. "We look forward to building on this relationship with Stanford, the birthplace of so many world-renowned tech companies."
In that spirit, HTRS delegates also toured the headquarters of Google, one of the most prominent success stories among companies hatched at Stanford. A regular stop on the High Tech Road Show, the Google campus showcases a state-of-the-art engineered ICT ecosystem, a hub of innovation, and one of the top tech companies in the world.
MOU Signed Between NUSACC and the Arab Investment Forum
During the final stop of the High Tech Road Show, the National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce and the Arab Investment Forum signed a Memorandum of Understanding designed to promote investment opportunities between the United States and the Arab world.
"It was an honor to include the Arab Investment Forum in this year's High Tech Road Show," commented Amin Salam, NUSACC's Vice President of Business Development. "NUSACC is keen on developing strategic relationships in the Arab world, including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We are confident that the MOU signed today between our organizations represents yet another step toward collaboration with business communities in the region."
The MOU acknowledges that the two organizations will work together to promote technology transfer and knowledge transfer, foster entrepreneurship, organize two-way business delegations, enhance the U.S.-Arab business environment through workshops and seminars, and serve as a pipeline between the USA and the Arab world to identify investment opportunities.
Yaser Elezaby, a representative of the Arab Investment Forum (AIF) and General Manager at Mansop for Construction, noted, "We believe this MOU will be a gateway for mutual business opportunities between the United States and the Arab countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). This agreement helps AIF achieve its objectives by helping Arab investors enhance their business, not only in the MENA region, but also with U.S. companies."
Amro Abdellatif, Project Manager for the Saudi Trust Group and another representative of the Arab Investment Forum, added, "We would like to thank the National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce for this opportunity and for inviting us on the High Tech Road Show, which we believe will benefit everyone in the Arab Investors Forum. We would like to thank you for your kind hospitality, and we look forward to cooperating on future business events and opportunities."
The Arab Investment Forum is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting the interests of Arab investors and building bridges of cooperation for the Arab world around the globe. The organization seeks to accelerate economic integration among Arab investors, business owners, and companies and to serve as a catalyst for economic growth.
Looking Forward to High Tech Road Show 2014
Over the past six years, the National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce has built the High Tech Road Show into one of America's most highly acclaimed programs designed to promote technology and knowledge transfer between the United States and the Arab world. The HTRS represents a remarkable opportunity to meet face-to-face with some of the most important decision-makers in the global ICT industry and to learn firsthand about cutting-edge products and services.
Akhilesh Sathyavan, Commercial Specialist at the U.S. Consulate in Dubai, joined the HTRS for the first time this year. He stated, "The NUSACC HTRS was a great opportunity to meet, learn, and connect with businessmen and government personnel from across the Middle East region in correlation with U.S. high-tech IT companies and top notch American universities. I am sure that such road shows will help strengthen trade relationships and serve to increase trade flows between the two regions. Overall, a job very well done by NUSACC on the High Tech Road Show."
Bilal Al-Rais, Sales Director at the Dubai World Trade Centre, was also a first timer on the HTRS. He said, "NUSACC's High Tech Road Show to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and San Jose resulted in key meetings with IT vendors interested in expanding their relationships with Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC)-organized events. Tremendous interest was generated toward DWTC's 'Gitex Technology Week,' the Middle East and Africa's largest and most influential Information and Communication Technology (ICT) event, held in October, and our new 'Gulf Information Security Expo & Conference (GISEC),' which takes place June."
Al-Rais continued, "Business opportunities with U.S. organizations are plentiful, and DWTC plans on supporting U.S. companies' efforts to identify new business ventures with both the public and the private sectors through its key ICT exhibitions and conferences, including GITEX, GISEC and CABSAT, the Middle East and Africa's largest broadcast digital media and satellite expo."
Concluded David Hamod, President & CEO of NUSACC, "This has been an exceptional High Tech Road Show, and our Chamber is deeply grateful to the organizations, companies, and individuals who made this year's tour such a great success. The HTRS continues to shatter records from year to year, and we look forward to an even bigger and better event next year."
The National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce will host its Seventh Annual High Tech Road Show to the United States in the first half of January 2014. Precise dates will be announced later this year.