Techwatch: Israeli hi-tech hits the circuit [pg. 18]

The Israeli hi-tech industry will take the spotlight in coming weeks as two of the sectors' most important conferences are scheduled to take place in Tel Aviv. First on the agenda, the Gartner 17th annual regional Conference will kick off June 13 exploring ways to deal with the "changing hi-tech landscape," how to take advantage of new opportunities in technology and how to stay competitive and grow one's business by leveraging technological advancement. Labor Party member of Knesset Prof. Avishay Braverman will open the two-day seminar with his address on "Israel as a Hi-Tech Powerhouse. Obstacles and Challenges." Gartner will be followed by the annual IVA (Israel Venture Association) Hi-Tech Conference on June 19-20. The IVA conference, renowned for bringing together the local hi-tech and venture capital industries, will focus on funding and growing start-up companies from early stage to an exit. In an attempt to grow its Asian activities, Herzliya-based VocalTec Communications Ltd. has opened an office in Ngee Ann City, Singapore. The company, which provides multimedia and VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) solutions for communication service providers, said the move was designed to meet the growing demand for its products and services in the Asia Pacific region. The new office will focus on establishing new partnerships and customer relationships, and on increasing the company's presence in the region, it said. Cellular network provider Pelephone Communications has expanded its global reach for customers traveling to countries that only support cellular phones using the GSM network, which it does not support in Israel. The company signed an agreement with Vodafone Netherlands to use its SIM cards in phones that customers can travel with, giving them roaming abilities in 200 countries, 90 more than they previously had. While customers who have a Motorola A840 handset have both GSM and CDMA capabilities on their phone, all other Pelephone subscribers, using the CDMA technology, still need to change their phones at Ben Gurion airport to gain access to GSM networks. Meanwhile, Lod-based MobiMate Ltd. is adopting its WorldMate product for mobile phone manufacturer Motorola and is developing a special version of the mobile travel service tailored for the new Motorola Q device. WorldMate 2006 for Windows Mobile Smartphone, to be released in the next few weeks, will include eight services, including world clocks, global weather forecasts, satellite weather imagery, real-time flight status and currency conversion, and can be purchased through MobiMate's web-site and other online mobile software retailers. On the Internet front, wireless broadband solutions provider Alvarion Ltd. has released its BreezeMAX Si, self-installable indoor WiMAX customer premises equipment, for commercial availability. The product, based on the WiMAX standard which gives a wireless connection over an extended territory for campuses and cities, will open the door for mass-market deployment of WiMAX services everywhere, the company said.