IT&T forum offers no surprises

  • 2001-04-12
  • Lauris Rinmanis
RIGA - The Baltic replica of CeBIT, the annual international information technology and telecommunications fair in Hannover, was held in Riga April 4-6.

The international forum Baltic IT&T 2001: e-Baltics, a parade of leading information technology companies and specialists from Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, was organized by the information technology committee of the Baltic Council of Ministers and Data Media Group publishing and exhibitions company. It tried to copy its Hannover cousin in all aspects, from lavish entertainment for strategic guests to little news in the technology area.

The forum included the eighth international exhibition Baltic IT&T 2001 and the fifth international conference Informational Technologies and Telecommunications in the Baltic States. This year the organizers put an emphasis on the words international and globalization as well as reaching the next level of the new economy – the e-economy.

The conference featured speakers from across Europe as well as from the United States. However, the exhibition lacked in the international sense.

"Less than half of the presentations were in English, with the rest being in Latvian, and some of the exhibitors totally forgot that it's 'e-Baltics,' not 'e-Latvia,'" said Olafs Peteris Grigulis, IT manager at the Latvian State Institute of Agrarian Economics.

The exhibition was more entertainment, with lots of pretty girls wandering around and giving away advertising booklets. The first impression was that the exhibitors were more into the design of their stands, maybe just to hide that there was nothing special in them, said Grigulis.

Although few innovations were presented, such as new services by Lattelekom and Latvijas Mobilais Telefons, and a talking ATM from Latvijas Krajbanka.

One of the parallel things in the exhibition was a joint project of the WorkingDay recruitment company called "Vacancies in IT Companies 2001."

It is aimed at reducing the lack of IT specialists, which is a dragging feature of Latvia's labor market.

During the exhibition each stand had a very distinctive flag with present or near-future job vacancies in that particular company. More information on specific vacancies was presented at a Web site Over 50 companies with a total of 140 vacancies participated in the project.

Grigulis suggested that next year exhibition participants work more on content, while having the dressing less predatory, so people wouldn't forget why they went there.