Bakutel 2017, the 23rd Azerbaijan International Telecommunications and Information Technologies Exhibition and Conference took place in Baku from the 5th to 8th of December. The exhibition marked the beginning of High Technologies Week. Today Bakutel is not just an exhibition of technical achievements which are growing rapidly in an extremely short period of time, but also a unique platform where both specialists and professionals from various ICT fields can meet. Moreover, the exhibition serves as a venue for ordinary users who can choose the most effective tools for data exchanging and processing.
As the main arena for presenting IT products and services, Bakutel has acquired status as the main business platform where new contacts and businesses are created. It has already become a tradition that the President of the Azerbaijan Republic Ilham Aliyev visits the Bakutel exhibition. The Ministry of Transport, Communications and High Technologies of the Republic of Azerbaijan has provided invaluable support to Bakutel. The Exhibition is also supported by Azerbaijan Fund for the Promotion of Export and Investment (AZPROMO) and the National Confederation of the Entrepreneurs (Employers) Organizations of Azerbaijan Republic (AEC). The show is also respected globally and is supported by institutions, such as the International Telecommunication Union, the Regional Commonwealth in the field of Communications (RCC). The organiser of the exhibition is Caspian Event Organisers (CEO).
The exhibition was preceded by a press conference. The press conference was attended by Mr. Elmir Velizade - Deputy Minister of Communications and High Technologies of Azerbaijan Republic, Mr. Edvard Strachan - Director of Caspian Event Organisers, Ms. Emiliya Ismayilova - Project Manager. More than 30 media attended the press-conference from AzTv, Azertag, APA, CBC, Interfax, Lider and other agencies.
This year’s exhibition brought together 192 companies from 20 countries, such as the Azerbaijan, China, Finland, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Turkey, USA, UAE and others. Among the event’s participants were leading ICT companies of Azerbaijan, mobile operators, telecom operators, Internet providers, system integrators, distributors of well-known brands and radio and television broadcasting companies. 40% of this year’s participants were regular exhibitors of Bakutel. Azercell, which has been participating at the exhibition for more than 20 years, was the general sponsor of Bakutel. The debutants of this year made up 30% of the total number of exhibitors. Bakutel 2017 also welcomed a number of new companies such as BMC Software, Hikvision, Nexus Telecom, Qmatic, etc.
The active participation of national pavilions organized with the support of the Ministry of Transport, Communications and High Technologies of the Republic of Azerbaijan, has already become a tradition at Bakutel. This year, 10 countries - Canada, Croatia, France, Iran, Italy, Russia, Slovenia, Turkey, the UAE and for the 1st time Georgia presented at their stands leading companies from their respective countries and innovative projects not only for Azerbaijan, but for the entire Caspian region, in addition to presenting various products and ICT services.
Leading Azerbaijani state ICT structures were represented on a single national stand, organised by the Ministry of Transport, Communications and High Technologies of the Republic of Azerbaijan. New developmental projects in the fields of communication, high technologies, mail projects, a nanotechnology, E-government, the infrastructure of "electronic signature", and cloud services Data Center and some startup are presented at the stand.
One of the traditions of Bakutel is the opportunity for young specialists to speak about their inventions, programmes and services as part of the largest ICT event in Azerbaijan and the region. The startups are supported by the Ministry of Transport, Communications and High Technologies of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Participation in Bakutel along with industry leaders and government bodies provides a unique opportunity to present startup projects to public and private investors. This year the exhibition demonstrated 19 developments which, among all, include Spinal, a standalone device and mobile application that helps to improve your posture; Tabletka.az, an application which allow you to easily find the right medicine in local pharmacies of Azerbaijan at any given time; VeloKuryer, the first and only environmentally friendly courier company in Azerbaijan; Wand, a smartpen with temporary ink, which sends any sketch drawn by hand to smartphones; and developments of the IRS Gizgi team who works on the production of national comics, toys, animations and videos in a patriotic spirit.
Over the four days, the exhibition presented the next generation of IT solutions, including national broadband Internet, 4G-5G mobile technologies, as well as the fibre-optic and cloud computing services. Many international and local projects in the field of ICT were reflected at the exhibition, in which Azerbaijan took a direct part. One of the trends of this year's exhibition is the increase in the sector "Satellite communication systems and space technologies", in which Azercosmos, Airbus (The Netherlands), Turksat (Turkey), Thales Alenia Space (Italy) take part.
Traditionally the exhibition is visited by foreign experts and heads of industry organisations. This year the honored guests of the Bakutel were: Houlin Zhao - Secretary General of International Telecommunication Union, Nurudin Mukhitdinov - General Director of Regional Commonwealth in the field of Communications, Halil Ibrahim Akca - Secretary General of Economic Cooperation Organization, Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi - Minister of Communication and Information Technology of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Nikolay Nikiforov - Minister of Telecom and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation, Ahmet Arslan - Minister of Transport, Adil Kozhikhov - Maritime and Communication of the Republic of Turkey, Chairman of the Telecommunications Committee of the Ministry of Information and Communication of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Anna Rabava - Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Communications and Informatization of the Republic of Belarus, Mohammad Hadi Hedayati - Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Hamad Al Mansoori - General Director of the General Authority for Regulating the Telecommunications Sector (TRA), Vadim Belov - General Director of the "Intersputnik".
Over the four days, the exhibition featured a rich and varied program of business events. The 2nd meeting of the Ministers of Information and Communication Technologies of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), High Level Meeting of Trans-Eurasian Information Super Highway (TASIM), Seminar on "E-Government, E-Participation and Open Government Development", the 5th Regional Internet Governance Forum, the 2nd seminar EU4Digital: ICT Innovation Network, seminar on "Accelerating the application of the Asia-Pacific Information Highway and the Trans-Eurasian Information Superhighway Initiative".
Also, as part of the business program planned by the organisers of the Bakutel 2017 exhibition, an ICT conference was held under the theme of “New opportunities in a connected world” and included speeches and presentations on the products, services and projects of the leading participating companies such as Agile, Comfort International, Elcore Group, Microsoft Azerbaijan, Huawei, Bestcomp Group, Nokia, Softline and SMART Business.
Within the framework of Bakutel 2017, B2B meetings were held to provide the exhibitors and professional visitors with an opportunity to hold bilateral meetings.
An innovation of this year’s was the business breakfast hosted by the organisers. The aim of this business breakfast was to help the participants to take better advantage of the opportunities which the exhibitions present. The business breakfast was led by a professional coach from the Big City Coaching Company, Ksenika Borisova, who was specially invited by the Organisers. During the breakfast, the main issues relating to stand organisation were touched upon, and a formula for successful participation at the exhibitions was presented. The coach emphasized the importance of maximizing the use of all the available resources at the exhibitions to establish contacts, and also catalogued the free resources that the organisers offer before, during and after the exhibitions.
Bakutel 2017 was visited by 6620 people. The organisers awarded certificates to sponsors, partners and exhibitors who stood out with their imaginative approaches to their work:
The Best Corporate Style – Nokia
The Best Performance – Ministry of Transport, Communication and High Technologies of Azerbaijan Republic
The Best Shell Scheme – Croatia
The Best Customer Attraction – RCNTEC
The Most Creative Stand – Azercell
The Most Attended Stand – Azerfon
The Best Debut - Hikvision
The Best Product Presentation – Microsoft
The Best Company Presentation – Turkey
The Most Original Stand – Bakcell
The Best Company Presentation – Bestcomp
The Best Services Presentation – Softline
In addition to business meetings and negotiations, all the visitors and exhibitors had a chance to see many surprises, contests and quizzes. The exhibition visitors had another unique opportunity to use Photobox, which was installed in the lobby; they took pictures and instantly received printed copies which then shared either through e-mail or on social networks. The second exhibition hall had play zone where games developed by local start-ups Pazl Khalcha and Yukseklik, as well as by Omarov's Game Studio was available to the visitors.
In 2018 the 24th Azerbaijan International Telecommunications, Innovations and High Technologies Exhibition and Conference Bakutel 2018 will be held from 4 to 7 of December at Baku Expo Center.