SEACOM, Cisco Systems, Dimension Data, Microsoft and Neotel today launched a week long public exhibition at the Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton, Johannesburg, to showcase some of the many possibilities unleashed by the newly available bandwidth on the continent.

The exhibition, which runs until 18 October, will allow the general public, businesses and educational institutions to witness, interact and experience the many applications enabled by true broadband. The exhibition area will showcase a multitude of practical applications and products that can only be truly delivered through the availability of real broadband. These range from healthcare applications to gaming, as well as home and office products.

Opened daily from 10h00 to 18h00, the exhibition offers a learning experience for all interested in what the future of telecommunications holds and how it will enable southern Africa and the rest of the continent to truly participate and contribute in the unprecedented developments brought about by the advance of online connectivity.

Commenting on the exhibition, Brian Herlihy, SEACOM CEO, said: “A lot has been said in South Africa about the dawn of better, faster and cheaper connectivity but it is often difficult to explain what true broadband actually is and how it translates beyond traditional Internet usage. Through this exhibition, SEACOM and its partners wanted to offer the public a taste of the many things possible through unlimited broadband and we are positive that the range of applications and services on display will offer everyone an inspiring glance into the future of telecommunications.

SEACOM has an agenda of activities aimed at intriguing school kids who will be transported to the venue, university students, end-users and corporates. A 155Mbps dedicated link connected directly to the Internet in London will be provided through the SEACOM network and plugged into 30 computers on-site. By way of example, the speed provided equates to downloading 15 full length DVDs per hour or connecting 2 million telephone calls simultaneously. This event is the perfect platform to experience what the Internet should be for all; lightning fast downloads, Internet based TV and movie viewing and YouTube videos free of buffering regardless of their length.

Demands on the healthcare, education and safety and security industries are drastically increasing and therefore finding innovative and efficient means to manage escalating costs, accelerate field learning, deliver high-quality care, and maximize use of skilled resources is particularly important for organizations. We will be showcasing Cisco's HealthPresence technology during the SEACOM Broadband Experience Expo in Johannesburg, as we believe improved collaboration among health workers, greater facility for self-treatment, and patient involvement in primary care all serve to optimise the performance of healthcare services, resulting in a healthier and economically stronger nation,” says Steve Midgley, Managing Director for Cisco in South Africa. “High-speed networks are becoming part of the basic infrastructure of any country, and are vital to good Internet connectivity and access to broadband which in turn will be key to the success of our telemedicine, education and safety and security solutions in South Africa.

Dr Angus Hay, Executive Head of Technology at Neotel said: “Neotel's home and office products are known to simplify complex technology and allow users to infuse it into everyday life. We are the first in South Africa to bring Voice, Internet and SMS all-in-one, all on one account and no installation required. SEACOM's speed and capacity enhance the essential international component of our services, enabling Neotel to deliver greater value to all our customers – consumers and businesses.

Microsoft South Africa will be using the exhibition primarily as a means to showcase two of its key technologies – unified communications, and the soon-to-be-launched Windows 7 operating system.

Our unified communications offering will be of real interest to Seacom exhibition visitors. The solutions take advantage of increased bandwidth to offer innovative video conferencing and integrated instant messaging opportunities that literally revolutionise the way we live and work,” said Albie Bester, the head of the information worker group at Microsoft South Africa. “When it comes to Windows 7, we'll be showing visitors its new features, its stability and its integration with Windows Live and Windows Phone. We're going to focus on the media centre features such as watching, pausing and recording live TV, listening to audio, displaying photos and having online access to more content, all from a living-room couch via Windows 7!

Mayan Mathen, Chief Technology Officer for Dimension Data Middle East & Africa, sees the broadband capacity offered by SEACOM playing into Dimension Data's strategic vision for the African continent through its unified communications (UC) offerings. “Unified communications offers the ability to significantly improve how individuals, groups and companies interact and perform. UC also enables multiple communication channels to be co-ordinated. The additional capacity supplied by SEACOM will allow us to accelerate the rollout of these technologies to clients in all industry sectors and allow them to access all the operational efficiencies and benefits offered by the world's leading technologies, removing the infrastructure limitations we have struggled with before in trying to gain greater and more robust connectivity for our clients.