Malaysia

Penang goes virtual with upcoming World Congress on Information Technology and Penang Techfest

Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow speaks during a press conference at Komtar in George Town August 14, 2020. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow speaks during a press conference at Komtar in George Town August 14, 2020. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

GEORGE TOWN, Aug 14 — The Penang state government will be holding the 24th World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT) and Penang Techfest 2020 in a mix of physical and virtual formats due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the two festivals, which were initially slated for September, have been postponed to November.

“The two festivals will take place at the Setia Spice Convention and Exhibition Centre, Bayan Baru, in both physical and virtual forms,” he said.

He said the three-day global tech festival will feature a “live” telecast from Penang with exclusive physical events and online streaming to a global audience with virtual exhibitions, Artificial Intelligence-powered B2B matching and networking, workshops and masterclasses.

Chow said there will be exclusive and limited physical invitations targeted at decision-makers of companies with a high compliance with Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOP).

He said there will be 20 hours of programming through “live” telecasts of dialogue sessions with global speakers such as deputy CFO of NASA Headquarters, Douglas Comstock; Fellow of the World Economic Forum, Professor Soumitra Dutta; Founder of Operation Smile Dr William Magee; cybersecurity technology consultant, Mary-Jo de Leeuw; and Taiwan’s Digital Minister, Audrey Tang.

“We are expecting to attract online participation of up to 3,000 international visionaries, captains of industry, government leaders and academics from more than 80 countries,” he said.

WCIT2020 Sdn Bhd CEO Low Ngai Yuen said the initial plan for the two festivals was to attract about 4,000 international attendees.

Now, due to the closure of the country’s borders, the format of the event had to be changed to a mix of physical and virtual ones.

“This has turned into a three-year-long event so we will be having a full-blown WCIT event in 2022 with an event in August next year and another in June 2022,” she said.

Low said they will now have three years to bring in more investments and introduce different programmes for WCIT in 2022.

She added that the physical WCIT and Penang Techfest events in Penang will have a maximum capacity of only 400 participants at any one time in accordance with the SOPs.

For more information on the events, go to techfest.my and wcit2020.org.

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