Anurudha Edirisinghe CEO of Info Asia seen here speaking at the Microsoft event in Malaysia
Mr. Nordin's comments were made as part of a keynote address he read out on behalf of YB Dato' Mukhriz Mahathir, his country's Deputy Minister for International Trade and Industry, at Microsoft's recent Accelerating Asia Pacific (AAP) 2011 conference, which was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, earlier this month.
Featuring multiple sessions comprising speakers representing Microsoft and its partners, AAP 2011 showcased the numerous ways technology impacted many areas, including healthcare, entrepreneurship, Internet and PC access, education, etc., as well as also suggesting future opportunities and issues to be taken into consideration. One such opportunity, said to be the biggest for Asia over the next five years, in terms of value, was identified as the secondary market for PCs. Quoting international researcher Gartner as saying that one in 12 PCs used were purchased in the secondary market, and as such refurbished or second-hand, AAP's session on PC recycling indicated that thus far only 14% of PCs were re-purposed. This meant a further 21% and 35%, respectively, were put aside (stored) or disposed of (crushed).
It was also suggested that first time PC users were most interested in the price of their initial purchase, and that refurbished PCs sourced from the international corporate sector were built well and could result on a lot of use despite being decommissioned. A further opportunity in this area were refurbished PCs for the corporate markets for companies that could not afford or did not need top-of-the-line PCs.
At the same time, Lori Harnick, Microsoft's General Manager for Citizenship and Public Affairs, in her "Focus On Youth 2012" presentation, revealed that two out of three jobs that will be available by 2020 were yet to be invented. Meanwhile, 25% of those currently unemployed were out of work because the skills they possessed did not match those required by the jobs which were available currently. She also noted that, while those learning today were required to have new kinds of skills, they were still learning in educational institutions set up during a bygone, industrial time, instead of today's knowledge-centric tone.
AAP 2011 also highlighted the power of technology, this time in healthcare, and showed how billions of dollars worth of malaria vaccinations had been saved by adding technology to the mix. This was achieved by using technology to further investigate, in quick and cost effective way, false positive blood test results (where malaria was diagnosed but was not actually the case) which would have resulted in wasting a lot of vaccine. This was achieved by way of a detection technology called "Life Lens," which allowed researchers to remotely view blood cells while off-site and rule out malaria from, sometimes, hundreds of kilometres away. Also showcased, the multiple uses in healthcare for Microsoft's Kinect human gesture mimicing device, initially created for the Xbox games console. One of these being saving precious time by allowing surgeons to view x-rays, etc. without needing to having to touch anything and maintaining operating room sterilisation protocols.
Meanwhile, AAP 2011 also brought up issues faced by entrepreneurs in Asian countries, including pressure from parents and society to conform with more conventional lifestyles. Additionally noted, a lack of business skills and financing continued to hold back entrepreneurs in the region and, also, the increasing amount of paperwork required by governments was especially burdensome to start-ups which often only had one or two employees, and dealing with this excessive paperwork meant that they had to sacrifice some of the people they needed to fine tune their products as much as possible.