Digital World 2015 - Dhaka, Bangladesh

Digital World 2015 - Dhaka, Bangladesh

February 16, 2015

Last week I was lucky enough to attend the Digital World 2015 summit in Dhaka, Bangladesh. My good friend Mohammad Zaman (@mohammadzaman) had wanted to take tiConf on the road to Bangladesh for some time and coupling it to the Digital World event seemed like a perfect way to bring Titanium and mobile focused talks to the budding developers of Dhaka and beyond.

The event started with an opening ceremony attended by the ICT Minister and Prime Minister of Bangaladesh, Sheikh Hasina, which goes to show you what a big deal this event is in the Dhaka calendar. Now frankly I didn't understand a great deal of anything said at the opening ceremony, what with 95% of it being in Bengali, but you could tell how much effort goes into a large scale event like this. It turns out the "Hall of Fame" that the opening ceremony was held in was also the same venue that tiConf (or Titanium Developers Conference as it was renamed by someone in the printing department) would be held in the next day.

The Titanium conference the next day was great - we had some brilliant speakers lined up from the usual deck including Alessio Ricco, Fokke Zandbergen and myself, plus a raft of new guys. We had a great audience size (probably 300 - 400 people in total) which considering how new mobile development is in Bangladesh, let alone Titanium specifically, was a great thing to see. We all (the speakers) had to be involved in many, many selfies which was fun though unusual for a simple bunch of conference speakers! I also had the opportunity to do a TV-style interview for a documentary that was being made about the event which was another first for me - if anyone knows where to get a copy of that documentary when it's released I'd be most grateful!

The DW event itself was pretty large, about 150+ exhibitor stands at a guess, with everything from government services to mobile app development on show. Even Tipsy & Tumbler had a stand and I'm very grateful to the volunteers who manned it when I was unable to be there, and to everyone who helped in designing the backdrops and putting it all together. The amazing thing was the sheer number of people who attended. Considering this event was held over the space of four days, I was amazed how every single day was packed. The photos below don't really do the sheer number of attendees justice. The same can be said of Bangladesh itself - the sheer number of people, the pollution, the noise and the traffic (!) could be pretty overwhelming for someone who spends most of his time in sleepy ol' Norwich.

During the time there I also had the opportunity to speak to some local government and World Bank partners about helping to move Bangladesh forward as an IT Industry Hub. There is a lot of potential in this small but crowded country and hopefully I will be invited back again sometime this year to help them in some small way towards achieving that goal.