How would you characterize the level of human capital in Turkey?
WU CONGCHENG We have been working here for many years, and we have generally found that the local education system is very good. Huawei has identified many excellent universities. Currently, we believe that the engineers are good enough. However, we feel that the software development engineers in Turkey are insufficient. The number of quality and quantity developers is low. In any case, our cooperation with Istanbul Technical University (ITU) is good, and several years ago we started the partnership with the university at its training centers. We invited professors from ITU to give training to our customers. We are also utilizing its labs, classrooms, and training centers. From 2013, we will increase our cooperation and focus not just on training, but also on joint projects and research.
How receptive has Turkey been to the concept of intelligent cities?
SELÇUK ILIKCAN We have been holding the intellectual rights of our trademark “Akos," which means Intelligent City Information System, since 2005 or 2006. At that time, we created the concept, but I can say proudly that not only in Turkey, but around the world, you see the smart city concept. Smart transportation, smart water, and the perception of being a smart city, or being intelligent as a city, is better received than we expected in the past five years. Now, it is like a trend or fashion, but it is from the conceptual level. The current level of intelligent cities is at a good stage, but the question we ask is at what level is a city intelligent enough. What is the definition of intelligent cities and the analytics and parameters that prove or credit a city to be intelligent enough? Everyone has their own claims, and, therefore, as far as I know, being intelligent is related to being developed as a city, and whether it is developed or not can be measured against two international measuring methods. The most popular one is the UN's City Development Index, in which cities are measured against four or five different parameters. It might be good for Turkish cities to be measured against these criteria, and when we have such reports, we have a solid index, proven, understandable, and well received by everyone. I think Turkish cities should be aware of these measures and decide their targets based on these criteria.
What trends do you foresee in Turkey's telecommunications market over the long term?
WC The ICT transition is a nonstop trend, and there is a “digital tsunami" approaching. Broadband and unlimited data are on the rise. In addition, many innovative services and applications have arrived. Cloud computing is increasingly popular. All of these elements will change the industry significantly. I believe that the tsunami will bring excellent opportunities to this industry. People demand ICT, and that demand will never let up. This will encourage more investments in the industry. For example, 10 years ago, voice and message were more than enough for communication, but today we have the internet, social media, networking, and broadband in every family and with almost every person. These requirements will continue for the next five years, and the demand for broadband will increase 10 fold. At the same time, many new ICT services will be introduced in a range of other sectors. ICT will change many aspects of life, from health, to manufacturing, to social networking.
What are the goals for Sampaş for the coming five years?
SI First, we will definitely remain in the local government sector, but we will extend our services to provide assistance to the central government. Second, we have reached a point where we have established two companies, one that deals with ICT itself, and the second one is more engineering and consulting work, where we will be involved in urban renewal consultancy and construction management, urban planning, and water planning. The third area we are looking at is an IPO or a strategic partnership in the coming future. In two years, you will see Sampaş in the stock exchange, and it may even stage a merger with strategic partners.