Recently I was invited to participate in a workshop that was put together by the Ministry of Post and Telematics in Vietnam (http://www.mpt.gov.vn/ page in Vietnamese). MPT is a government organisation that is progressing IT in Vietnam. I was asked to give a short presentation on two topics, Digital Media, and Cyberspace Security. When I was asked to participate, that’s actually all I was given to go on for my presentations. But the presentations aren’t what this article is about.
When I arrived I was escorted around by some of the MS employees in Hanoi. It was a good thing they were able to take me around as I only speak enough Vietnamese to know how to ask for Oranges at the market. I was very curious about the IT Industry over there and how we could help them. I knew that it is considered an emerging market, but I didn’t know the extent of the maturity level of the industry. Understandably, it is in its infancy and has a lot of growing to do.
Until recently, Vietnam hasn’t been very open to western companies, business and even tourists, but that is all changing. One of the things that they are hungry for as a country and a society is IT and contact with the outside world. This was part of the focus of the MPT workshop. They wanted to know what they needed to consider, and what they needed to do in order to enable the country to grow in the IT industry. One of the things we discussed is broadband technology.
When I first arrived, I fully expected there to be little broadband in the country, and even less in the way of Internet activity. I was pleasantly surprised to find that broadband is actually quite common. But there is a chicken and the egg syndrome happening. Digital content is the way media is going now. News papers, radio, and even TV are going digital. However in order to support the distribution of this digital media, broadband pipes have to be big enough to support its consumption. So while broadband was fairly common in Hanoi at least, the system didn’t have the capacity to carry lots of digital content to users.
But the important thing to see is that the government is aware of this, and is planning to do something about it. They want to know where to focus their efforts on improving their infrastructure to support the future. Many developing countries focus on how to get caught up with ‘Now’, Vietnam is working on how to be ready for the future. It’s great to see. I'll have a couple more posts about IT in Vietnam, and Australia in this series. Stay tuned.