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Cisco Networkers opens in Bahrain

Next Bill Gates will come from emerging markets says Cisco globalisation chief

Cisco Networkers opens in Bahrain
Wim Elfrink, chief globalization officer for Cisco.

MANAMA, Bahrain: Cisco today opened Networkers Bahrain 2010 conference, marking the first time the event has been held in the Middle East.

The event, which is being held under the theme ‘Knowledge is Power' is expected to attract over 1,800 attendees from across the EMEA and Asia region, with a mix of presentations, technical sessions and networking opportunities.

Speaking to press at the Bahrain International Circuit ahead of a keynote address this afternoon, Wim Elfrink, chief globalization officer for Cisco, said that the company expected to see emerging markets driving innovation as shifting demographics and the demands of young, expanding populations drive the need for more productivity.

"We made a commitment to the Middle East and Africa because we expect a lot of innovation to come from the region," said Elfrink. We expect new clusters of knowledge, new clusters of partnering, we expect new clusters of innovation of business models. Cisco's globalization strategy is based around relevance."

Elfrink warned that while the growth of innovation for the region would create opportunities, it would also require more technology expertise and training. He predicted that if networking technology took off in inline with Cisco's expectations, that the region would see a ‘talent gap' of one million certified IT personnel.

Regional initiatives would help to address the problem however and lead a drive to services based economies, Elfrink said. He praised the Bahrain government's 2030 plan, which aims to drive strong government to create a robust economy, supported by a strong local labour market and education.

"New models will emerge. We predict that a lot of new business models will be based around managed services, hosted services, cloud computing. People will consume technology mainly as services. That is all innovation coming from this side of the world, that is why we kicked off the next decade of Networkers here in Bahrain. Bahrain's Government has a fantastic vision, for Bahrain 2030, they embrace technology as an enabler, a lot of innovation will come out of that.

Managed hosted services, global managed services, I am absolutely sure that the next Bill Gates will come out of these emerging regions," he added.

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