Austin on Display

by / April 4, 2006

Austin's reputation as a magnet for innovative technology companies and creative professionals is well established.

The city is home to more than 2,000 high-tech and biotechnology headquarters, including industry giant Dell. Furthermore, the University of Texas and nearby Texas A&M University produce a steady crop of highly qualified employees and attract top-notch research activity to the region.

Austin may not be quite as synonymous with the IT industry as California's Silicon Valley, but it's close -- at least in the United States. The city now has a chance to show its stuff on an international stage.

A few weeks after this magazine lands on your desk, the World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT 2006) will kick off at the Austin Convention Center. The event, held every two years, draws several thousand attendees from 80 countries -- everyone from top industry CEOs and foreign ministers to Nobel laureates and leading researchers.

For five days starting May 1, worldwide leaders from business, government and academia will discuss the future of technology and its potential impact on the global community. At the same time, they'll be sampling Austin's relaxed business environment, good weather, and stellar dining and entertainment opportunities.

In the last issue of Texas Technology, Gov. Rick Perry talked about the state's desire to attract innovative technology companies and creative IT professionals. That's particularly important, given the direction of U.S. and global economies.

Experts say the knowledge economy is steadily giving way to a new era they call the "creative economy." As the Internet and other technologies turn information into an easily acquired commodity, the marketplace increasingly will reward imaginative ways of using that information.

In other words, communities that are home to the next Google or eBay will reap significant economic gain. And WCIT 2006 is one way to expose Texas and the Austin region to an array of international companies and investors that will help shape the IT market's future. The meeting is the signature event of the World Information Technology and Services Alliance, a group of 67 IT industry associations that collectively represent more than 90 percent of the world IT market.

As Austin officials note in this quarter's issue, the city already is an "easy sell" to companies looking to relocate. The WCIT, perhaps, helps broadcast that message to an even wider audience.

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