Telecom sector should be made corruption-free: BTRC Chairman

IT Reporter

BTRC Chairman Maj. General Zia Ahmed expressed his desire to make the telecommunication sector free from corruption. He also hoped that telecom service will be made easily accessible to the common people and at affordable costs.
   Addressing a round table discussion in Dhaka last week, BRTC Chairman said the regulatory authorities have started process of granting license for the 3G mobile phone services in Bangladesh. Twenty-two organizations have expressed their interest to start the business soon, he said.
   The roundtable discussion on "The role of telecommunication and media in the development of digital Bangladesh" was organized by Telecom Reporters Forum (TRF) at Hotel Sonargaon on Saturday.
   Addressing as the chief guest, BTRC Chairman informed that "Domain in Bangla language will be launched from next March as all the preparations have been completed.". It would also put Bangla in the web world through Unicode system.
   BTRC chairman also emphasized that the media must play an important role towards building a digital Bangladesh and creating the demands for users, service providers and the regulatory authorities.
   Zia Ahmed lauded the role of the media and said it was creating the market demands, investment opportunity and competition in telecom sector.
   Speaking on the occasion, Mahbub Zaman, President of BASIS, the association of software developers, said the IT sector was facing a big challenge in outsourcing as the lone submarine cable connection was insufficient to do the job in a faster speed.
   Recalling the great language movement, he said the country needs to create and develop contents and applications in Bangla language. The youths must be inspired to adapt to the new technology.
   Chairman of Internet Service Providers Association of Bangladesh (ISPAB) Akhtaruzzaman Monju said, "If it is not possible to provide bandwidth in uniform price all over the country, then it is not possible to serve customers outside Dhaka at the same cost.
   Research Coordinator of Prime Minister's Office Faiaz Uddin Ahmed, Country Manager of Nokia Abu Daud Khan, Marketing Director of Orascom Telecom Bangladesh Ltd. Shihab Ahmad, Vice President (communication) of Robi Mohiuddin Babar and Deputy Head of Marketing of Huawei Technologies (Bangladesh) Ltd. Md. Shafayet Alam also spoke on the occasion.


How Microsoft’s Kinect motion
control was created

Breakthrough Awards winner and director of incubation for Xbox Alex Kipman is one of a small team of Microsoft engineers who were part of Xbox 360's Project Natal, the development team for the new Kinect motion control system. PM talked to the developer about the November release of his revolutionary gaming interface, which uses a acoustic and visual sensors to detect a player's movements in 3D space and does away with the traditional gaming controller-or any controllers for that matter.
   Q: What has response to the system been like so far?
   A: Alex Kipman: It's been pretty phenomenal. What Kinect does is create unique, never-before-seen experiences designed from the ground up in a way that's simple and approachable for everyone. From young to old, from gamer to nongamer, people say, "Wow that really does work. That's pure magic." It's the most humbling experience that I've ever had.
   Q: The Kinect technology is composed of an RGB camera, a depth sensor and a multi-array mic. Why are all these technologies necessary?
   A: Since we're working towards a vision where technology fundamentally understands us, you need to have enough sensing power to really do that. The way you can think about it is, Kinect has eyes and it has ears. It can perceive the world like your eyes do and listen to the world like your ears do. We also have the brain, the thing that takes all of this sensory input information and translates it into identity and voice recognition in human tracking.
   The human eye allows us to do is see the room in any lighting condition. I don't want the Kinect to be bound by the lighting conditions of the room - I want the system to see in a cave where there's no light whatsoever and I want it to see in a brightly lit room where people have lots of light. Because of this, you don't need to adjust lighting for the system to work. You just do what's natural for you in your living room and we take care of the rest.
   Q: When playing the game Kinectimals, the animal characters seem to react to the mood of the user. How does this technology determine a person's emotional state?
   A: Remember watching the Charlie Brown and Snoopy TV show? All you'd ever hear the parents say was "wah, wa, wah, wah." While you couldn't understand what they were saying, you knew if they were mad or happy. For Kinect, we created the equivalent of an empathy engine. So it's not like we're recognizing if you're happy or sad, but, based on the inclination of your voice and the positioning of your body, we can guess in a way that seems like magic.
   Q: The system uses a motor to pan and scan the room. It feels a little creepy-knowing this piece of technology is watching me. Why is this necessary?
   A:This comes down to having technology that understands you, so you don't have to understand it. Turns out, people can put Kinect's sensor anywhere in the room-they can put it above their television, they can put it beneath their television, they can put it on the floor or on the ceilings. But depending on where you put it, you're going to have to tilt it to make sure the sensor sees the room. We'd rather have this taken care of already. Have you ever tried taking a picture of yourself on a camera that's sitting across the room on a tripod? It becomes complicated. If we are true to our vision-making technology disappear and understand us-we need to be able to position the sensor for optimal play space without you having to touch it. This is why we added a motor. When you turn on the device, the system sees the room, understands both acoustic and visual characteristics, and then settles on optimal viewing conditions and acoustic conditions so you don't have to.
   Q: Kinect is available for $150-or $300 for the Xbox console and Kinect bundle. To price this new technology in a way that works for consumers, did you have to kill off any features that you wish you could have kept?
   A:Not really. The tradeoffs we made were part of a very explicit decision to make the eyes and ears be the commodities, or shelf components, and push all of the innovation to the brain, or software. We decided to do this through the cloud, so we can continuously make improvements to the system over time. This allows us to hit an affordable price point because the shelf components all exist in volume. But with Kinect, we live in a world where the only thing that binds us is a lack of imagination. This is a world of software. It's not bound by physics. We're only beginning to tap into the deep emotional experiences we can create with the pallet we brought to market.
   If you look at Xbox and titles that launched in 2005 with the 360, like Halo 2 and Call of Duty, and then you look at the titles today, like Halo: Reach or Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, still on top of the 360, today's franchises look nothing like the originals. While the hardware hasn't changed, the games look dramatically different. All of the innovation happened on the platform of software. The same thing will occur here. We are starting a journey where we have created the hardware, and we will continue to improve the software platform. 2 years from now-and I'm making up that two years, it could be 6 months or next month-you could start seeing games that don't look anything like games we're creating now.
   Q:Will Kinect introduce games that appeal to the hardcore gaming community?
   A:Yes. See, the Xbox has been, is and will continue to be the number one hardcore box in the market. The design decision for Kinect was quite explicit: to have a portfolio at launch that showcased content that appeals to everyone.
   As we move forward, you're going to see that portfolio diversify and you're going to see us show range.
   Q:Other Microsoft executives-CEO Steve Balmer and Dennis Durkin, COO of Microsoft Corp.'s Interactive Entertainment Business, for example-have said they see this technology moving beyond gaming. Why start with an entertainment console?
   A:Well, we focus on the living room-gaming, watching movies, enjoying sports and connecting with your friends-because the living room is where we can tell the most immersive stories and where people are spending the majority of their time when they want to be entertained. Start in another place, and you lose part of the magic. I do see this as much broader than just entertainment. Moving from an old world, where you have to understand technology, to a new world, where technology understands us, is a computer-industry-wide move. But, to be able to bring something this transformational to market, you need focus. You need to pick a place to start. Also, maybe it just so happens that the people who believe in this future are all in our entertainment division. With Kinect, we're just at the beginning of a journey, not the end.
   — Internet


Bangladesh’s Southtech Ascend Banking placed in top 5 at Singapore conference

IT Report

A Bangladeshi software company, Southtech, has been placed in the top five group amongst a large number of contestants for innovative use of technology in a conference held in Singapore between Jan 27 and February 03.
   Southtech earned the prestige for developing its a micro-finance banking software product “Ascend Banking”.
   The main criteria for selection in Singapore conference were whether the innovations could be replicated in other parts of the world and on the level of impact the innovations would bring to the financial industry.
   Judges who selected the top innovators in Asia were Ms. Jennifer Meehan, CEO, Grameen Foundation, Mr. Matthew Gamser, Principal, Advisory Services, International Finance Corporation and Mr. Duncan Frayne, Vice President and Program Manager – China, ACCION International.
   Upon being placed in the top five Southtech’s Managing Director & CEO Syed Mamnun Quader said, “We are happy that Southtech’s features-rich Ascend Banking came in the top five in the Asian region. We shall continue to invest in innovative technology and ensure that Ascend Banking is able to provide a wide range of innovative financial solutions to microfinance institutions, retail banks, commercial banks and non-banking financial institutions.”
   Southtech was established in 1996. It is the largest CMMI Level 3 assessed and ISO 9001:2008 certified software company in Bangladesh. It is also one of the first ten Gold Certified Partners of Microsoft in the South Asian Sub-continent and an Oracle Gold Partner.


Softexpo 2011 creates high hope

IT Report

BASIS SoftExpo-2011, the flagship software exposition of the country, ended Saturday with the vision to increase the earning from software and IT-enabled services exports from the present level of $37 million in two years.
   With 10 companies from Europe and 110 local outfits showcased their products in the five-day exhibition in Dhaka.
   Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS), a platform of 400 software and IT services providers, arranged the annual event to project the development of software and IT services industry in Bangladesh.
   Exhibitors were companies providing business solutions, e-governance solution, mobile content and application developers, communication solution providers, e-commerce portals, IT training institutes and outsourcing companies.
   The SoftExpo-2011 featured seminars, interview, talent hunt and IT job fair. The theme of the exhibition was ‘Digital Bangladesh in Action’.
   According to the organiser, the software expo was successful in presenting the unique aspects of the existing IT facilities in the country and focus on its recent progress.
   “We got quite excitement from all levels. Visitors’ participation and business inquires were encouraging,’ said Mahbub Zaman, President of BASIS.
   He hoped that earning from software exports would rise considerably in the coming years as the possibility of outsourcing is on the rise and the local market is growing as well.
   ‘If we can take just 0.50 per cent share of the present global software and IT services market of $500 billion, country’s income from this sector will rise to $150 million in two years,’ IT experts say.
   Naila Chowdhury, a BASIS member and chief executive officer of Grameen Solutions, said, ‘I think the five-day software expo has created an awareness among the players in the IT sector in the country’.


BASIS SOFT EXPO 2011 of GSL opens gateways
to a million jobs

Grameen Solutions launches its newest jobsite for the job seekers of the country on the last day of the 5-day BASIS Soft-Expo 2011 at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre. The new job portal would offers gateways to a million jobs waiting for the right candidates’ home and abroad. In photo, CEO of GSL Ms Naila explaining various features of this jobsite before a crowd of engrossed visitors.

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