Simon Lee, regional general manager for Asia, Interactive Intelligence (ININ):
We expect continued growth in the communication sector, especially in the contact centre business we are in. Despite the economic volatility, we perceive considerable growth and excitement in use of social media and the need for many companies now to be multimedia infra-structure ready to manage the various sorts of communications. Devices like tablets, smart phones (four out of five phones sold today are smartphones) and even music devices with Internet capability will allow people to communicate for both social and business activities. Social media is so powerful today that it can be one of the best marketing tools depending on the company's product or service offerings.
We also see a slight shift in the buying or acquisition pattern in that customers who used to buy systems are now looking at cloud-based offerings and a 'pay-as-you-use' model. Moving ahead, it would be beneficial to have It would be great to see more encouragement on the best use of ICT in primary and secondary schools; the government needs extend to schools free Internet access, computers and tablets. Even some airlines today are working on getting their pilots to use the iPad instead of carrying their 20kg bag full of flight materials for references.
Henry Ng, managing director of Emerson Network Power Malaysia:
Despite a soft global economy which is affecting US and European countries, Malaysia will see big opportunities to build more data centre space. This is primarily due to relatively low costs, made possible by government initiatives to give investor incentives and drive economic growth. Moreover, Malaysia has the geographical stability needed to host data centres. Compared to neighbouring countries, Malaysia offers reliable infrastructure, power supply and protection against earthquakes.
Some projects in support of the country-wide Economic Transformation Program (ETP) will be completed in 2012. This will continue in 2012-2013 and is likely to give a boost to local businesses. Meanwhile, the data centre space is expected to grow significantly in 2012 as we see a ramp-up in the pipeline. IDCs [Internet data centres] in particular have been driving growth in the local data centre industry as companies try to take advantage of the outsourcing boom. The demand for data centre and hosting services in Asia has been on the rise as many enterprises continue to focus on reducing costs and streamlining operations to increase efficiency.
Ahmad Rizan Ibrahim, chief executive officer, Dataprep Holdings Berhad:
The Malaysian economy has surprised many economic analysts by registering a brilliant growth of 5.8 percent for the third quarter of 2011. So the country may again perform better than expected in 2012 despite the many global challenges. The IT industry is not an easy market as margins are relatively low. Smaller IT companies may find this environment challenging. The growth in ICT spending in 2012 is expected to be driven by factors such as continued efforts by the government to raise the level of broadband penetration through the National Broadband Initiative and outsourcing initiatives by organisations looking to address increased IT complexity. The ICT industry will also play a pivotal role in the deployment of the government's Economic Transformation Programmes as it thrives to make Malaysia a high-income nation where knowledge and innovation become the pillars of success.
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