WCIT 2019: Armenia ready to be the center of IT world map
YEREVAN, OCTOBER 1, ARMENPRESS. The World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT), which will be held in Armenia for the first time this year, will gather the representatives of the leading IT companies, famous Armenians and foreigners. The Congress is expected to contribute to the promotion of cooperation with the international structures and leading technological companies, presentation of capacities of the Armenian IT sector and attraction of foreign investments.
Alexander Yesayan, President of the Union of Advanced Technology Enterprises (UITE), chair of the WCIT 2019 organizational committee, gave an interview to ARMENPRESS ahead of the Congress, talking about the preparation works, the speakers and expected interesting news.
-Mr. Yesayan, the World Congress on IT will be held in Armenia on October 6-9. Who are going to be the speakers? What is expected?
-I would like to state that our compatriots operating successfully abroad will join the WCIT to tell about their companies and their personal achievements, talk about the topics being discussed. Among these persons are Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, Armenian-American reality TV star Kim Kardashian-West who will talk about the general impact of social networks, the effectiveness of use of platforms, PicsArt co-founder Hovhannes Avoyan, Pixar senior vice-president Catherine Sarafian, Agenus president and CEO Garo Armen. There will also be a great participation from Yandex, including the company’s deputy executive director Tigran Khudaverdyan, founder and CEO Arkady Volozh, our regional director Aram Sargsyan. Chair of the Synopsys Armenia Yervant Zoryan, famous scientist Garik Israyelyan and other Armenians will deliver reports. Among the speakers are also Richard Quest, CNN’s renowned business correspondent, VMware Chief Operating Officer Rajiv Ramaswami, VaynerX President Gary Vaynerchuk, Giphy founder and executive director Alex Chung, Head of the Russian Federal Tax Service Mikhail Mishustin. The total number of the speakers surpasses 100.
-How will be the launch of the Congress?
-The Congress will launch on October 6, at 20:00, with a concert in the Republic Square. More than 70 musicians from 15 countries of the world and 30 Armenian musicians will form the WCIT orchestra led by artistic director and chief director of the State Symphony Orchestra of Armenia Sergey Smbatyan. Interesting surprise is expected, the orchestra will perform an unprecedented concert, performing the music created by artificial intelligence. We think this is going to be great news. And the official opening ceremony of the Congress will take place on October 7 at Karen Demirchayn concert hall led by Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.
-What interesting topics will you mention that are going to be discussed at the Congress?
-Very interesting discussions are expected. For instance, the discussion entitled “The Future of Art” will be joined by the people who operate in the art sector at the same time linking it with the technologies. Sergey Smbatyan, as well as artist Ahmed El Gamal will attend the discussion. The Lightning Rounds will enable startups and innovators to present their ideas and gain investments before the large audience. Nearly 100 companies are going to take part in the Congress, 60 of which are Armenian companies, the rest are from abroad, including from Canada, Russia, Israel, Slovakia, England, Georgia, Chine, Australia, etc. The Armenian Technology Community has set the Armenian Technology Communities A-Prize for the best three participating startups, with 100.000 USD fund. During the discussion on “Business Transformation” representatives of business field will hold an interesting discussion on these transformations. The participants of “Smart cities: utopia or anti-utopia” discussion will talk about the role of latest technologies. Kim Kardashian will attend the Market of Ideas debate. As one of the persons having many followers Kardashian will share her experience and will present how the social networks can be used for business development.
-How many participants do you expect at the WCIT 2019 in Armenia?
-We expect over 2500 participants from more than 70 countries.
-The WCIT 2019 in Armenia was discussed a lot for the information that Armenia is going to host the first faces of leading companies, such as Google, Facebook. In reality whom are you waiting for?
-This information was spread when deputy prime minister of Armenia Mher Grigoryan announced in Russia that the executives of these companies are going to attend the congress. We reaffirm his statement, executives of many leading companies will take part in the Congress, but not their first faces. Media distorted the information. Representatives of almost all leading companies will take part in the WCIT 2019, such as Google Vice President, Infosis founder, Vice Presidents of Siemens, Ericson, etc.
-Will there be any news at the Congress which will be for the first time in Armenia?
-The first news is the competition of startups. Previously, the companies haven’t received such prize at the Congress. Maybe the next country where the Congress will take place will continue this tradition. The music created by artificial intelligence is also something new.
-In the end what expectations both the state and the IT companies can have based on the Congress results? Are there any cooperation prospects?
-There are great expectations. Firstly, Armenia will appear under the spotlight of the international media. More than 30 foreign media outlets are interested in and will cover the Congress. In addition, almost all participants lead or at least represent leading companies. And these people can play a great role in the decision to establish cooperation with the Armenian companies or open any center in Armenia.
-At what stage are the preparation works?
-Quite a large-scale work is being carried out. More than 250 volunteers, also from abroad, are engaged in the works. There are also volunteers among the staff. There is a great organizational unity. None of the IT companies operating in the market rejected to assist. The stage is already being made for the concert. Some equipment has been brought from abroad.
-Whether there will be funds from the state budget for this event?
-We applied to the state only for the organization of the concert requesting financial assistance. We received a small assistance. However, the partners assist to cover all expenditures.
Interview by Anna Grigoryan
Photoes by Gevorg Perkuperkyan
Edited and translated by Aneta Harutyunyan