Tuesday, October 10, 2006

My first trip to South-Africa (4)

Today is the last day in South-Africa. I still have two appointments, of which the last one will end with a drink. After that I will get my belongings, a suitcase and the exhibition banner carrier as well as my hand luggage and leave for the airport. I will catch a KLM flight at 23h and be in the air for almost 11 hours. And that will end my first visit to South-Africa. I am glad for all the people I met, not only South-Africans, but also the delegates from Botswana and the ministerial delegation of Gambia. They are a source of inspiration.

Will I be back? That is a question I am asking myself. I love the country for the food; it is very spicy and tasty. I like the openness of the people I have met at the conference and I guess there is a lot of business to be done. I guess that South-Africa is nice for a beach-safari holiday, starting from Cape Town. But Jo’burg is not exactly a touristy place. For a visit to the suburb Soweto, where Mr Mandela and Bishop Tutu were born, you will have to be in a different mood than to cuddle lion cubs in a wild park.

Yesterday I had lunch with two guys of a software company. At the Government Technology conference they checked in the participants (but not the speakers!). They used the interesting technology of digital ink. This technology can be used in two ways. You can use an oversized fountain pen with special grid printed paper or use a stylus on a tablet. This digital ink technology is based on the Anoto technology from Sweden. It is a smart technology, which could be used in logistic processes; in fact I think it is TNT in the Netherlands using it or at least piloting it. But there is also a lot of application potential in hospitals.

The guys also have another software package which is intended for unifying project data. It is a strategic package for staffs of holdings or subsidiaries. It looks like a very good tool for project mangers of large projects with many sub-projects.

They guys saw an application for digital ink in universities and asked whether it could be used in the Netherlands. I explained that universities are basically organised by two organisations: one organisation takes care of the logistics of entering students, checking their grant, following their progress; the other organisation takes care of the computers infrastructure such as internet connection, access code and password, scientific projects, national licenses. This was for the guys quite an awesome perspective as in South-Africa there are state universities as well as private universities. Starting two organisations like the Dutch ones would not be easy. But given the advantages that can be reached and the contributing opportunities for commerce it would be interesting for them to set up such organisations. I think that I showed them the avenue to new opportunities. They have some of the tools in house to do it. I am going to stay in touch with them and see what they make of it.

Today I am going to pack. Happily enough I do not have as much luggage and heavy luggage like I had when I went to South-Africa. So I expect not to be overweight (for my luggage; for my body is another matter). Looking back at the trip I can say that it was successful in making contacts for the World Summit Award. I hope that it works out well for the project.


Blog Posting Number 533

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