Latin Business Chronicle asks leading technology executives about Latin America's technology outlook this year.
BY LBC STAFF
How do you view the technology outlook for Latin America in 2012? What will be the main challenges facing the technology sector in Latin America in 2012? Latin Business Chronicle asked four leading technology executives. Our panel includes:
- Marta Clark, Vice President Adobe Systems Inc. Latin America
- Olivier Puech, former vice president of Latin America for Nokia (current vice president for Asia Pacific),
- Hernan Rincon, Latin America president for Microsoft,
- Jose Antonio Rios, Chairman, Global Crossing Latin America
Latin Business Chronicle: How do you view the technology outlook for Latin America in 2012?
Puech: Latin American governments still are supporting heavily to bridge the digital gap in most of the countries; Brazil is … lowering duties and taxes for smart phones and other high tech products, Argentina pushes for local innovation and manufacturing, Mexico is heavily investing in education to create a technology savvy nation. We expect Internet penetration to keep growing fast, in particular through mobility, and broadband usage to accelerate.
Rios: The technology outlook is very promising for Latin America as the gap between the technology adoption that business, families and individuals should attain is still a long ways from where it is at. Wireless technology (including the number of mobile phones with a substantially larger portion of smart phones), the mobile broadband technology, and the wireless banking applications for smart and non smart phones are some of those areas. The increased number of companies adopting the Cloud, substantially improving their IT infrastructure and other technology applications should be important. Technology applied to logistics, transportation and others should also be positive. In the distribution of content thru video and data there will be a major push as well. Fiber optic cable utilization and satellite capacity will be at a premium.
Clark: We will continue seeing the spread of multiple electronic devices, such as smart phones, tablets, and laptops, and the Social Media trend as a standard in interaction with the consumer. Companies and organizations are already aware of this new mobile consumer which they need to reach and engage by delivering the right content or user experience directly to their favorite device. This landscape will place some of the countries a step closer to No. 1 and No. 2 in the world.
Rincon: I do believe 2012 is going to be pivotal year for the industry, as we start to see amazing new advances in software and devices. In Microsoft we have a very clear vision of where technology is heading to. We are permanently working on innovation: from the impact the Cloud is having in businesses, companies and people, to the enhanced productivity, mobility and to the development of new ways devices interact - as Kinect’s Natural User Interface, which transformed the body to be the controller. The Cloud is the industry’s strongest tendency now, and it is transforming the way we work, the way we connect as a society, enabling us to think big, act faster, reach further and do more with less. Our lives are data centered, and Microsoft researchers focus in how devices can helps us handle and present our information in a more useful manner, while we prepare for an era in which all is digital. Microsoft will continue delivering products and services that transform the way people live, work, play and relate to each other. Our main bets are the Cloud, Natural User Interfaces (or NUI) and intelligent devices. Our experience in the Cloud for consumers started 15 years ago with Hotmail, and we have been handling Cloud services for 360 million Messenger users worldwide. Another interesting aspect of what technology is bringing to our everyday lives is how we are reimagining Windows. We have already shared with developers Windows 8, and this technology can work in tablets or big servers, and will change the way we interact with software. We are very enthused about what is coming! We will continue working hand in hand with all our 70,000 Latin American partners and with our customers to provide them with all our products and services, to accompany and support the growth the region is facing. From Cloud products as Office 365 to intelligent devices with Windows 8 or Windows Phone, we are committed to bring all our innovation to the region.
What will be the main challenges facing the technology sector in Latin America in 2012?
Puech: Protectionism and heavy taxes still prevent some Latin American countries from growing faster in the technology sector.
Rios: The banking industry will have a tough year, particularly for the important portion of European banks operating there that will face new pressures globally. Local and regional banks, increasingly funding themselves locally may have a great opportunity as European and US based banks regroup and try to meet new capital levels and global deleveraging. The ability to invest in new networks or services by the key players will be diminished given the pressures of corporate balance sheets and cash flows.
Clark: Consolidation of the different solutions and legacy systems. In general, how could companies think about Digital Marketing: they need to establish strategies to deliver their digital content regardless of the consumer preference of a mobile device and target consumers or users with the things that that they are really interested in. In other words, how companies in general prepare for their digital era in this era of invasion of communication and information.
Rincon: We will remain focused on the people, the companies, our partners, our customers, our advertisers. We are working to encourage youth to choose science and technology careers, as our industry needs a growing talent pool to seize the significant opportunities ahead. We all need to inspire boys and girls to understand the wonderful opportunities they have to make an impact in their lives and their countries, through these careers. It is our commitment to support our partners as trusted advisors to our customers, who will make the transformation to the Cloud happen. Through our mission of enabling people and businesses to realize their full potential, we will make big strides this year towards our vision for Latin America: that technology enables our social and economic development. 2012 is Microsoft’s year in the region! And 2012 is the year for Latin America!
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