Building A Center Of Competence: Structures, Success Factors & Innovations In Vocational Training

Vocational Training Is A Need Of The Time To Provide Employment To Our Youth

One of the most significant labor market problems facing Pakistan today is the number of unemployed young workers who are having difficulty in acquiring middle-class jobs. such jobs are slowly  slipping away to people with higher education. Since they  lack the ability to adjust to  the rapidly moving labor market.

We should not delude ourselves into thinking that by providing free education, we can substitute for the slowly failing educational standards and bring the socially immobilized segment into the economy. The current Pakistani institutions to date, are still struggling to deal with the  problem which  by and large is failing to provide basic skills to the next generation.

In such a situation,  apprenticeships can become a substitute for the failing schooling system  and standards. Germany is one of the best success stories in the world, for having this dual education system. The people who are not suited for or are unable to gain university education, can instead acquire vocational skills. For its success ratio, around two thirds of all students leaving school go on to join a vocational training program in the country.

Germany’s economy is admired greatly. Unemployment rate has fallen to below 4% and  has remained stable. Even in a world moving towards automation, their share of manufacturing jobs has not fallen. Germany’s economy has an over-sized trade surplus, lots of foreign assets, an enviable share of global trade, solid public finances and more importantly full and stable employment.

Germany’s edge is that its exports are super-competitive. The country has a talent for precision engineering which means that for decades it has had an edge in luxury cars, chemicals and machinery. Sustained success in such high-end manufacturing means that it has required a commitment to vocational training and to research and development.

Keeping such developments in mind, TAF Foundation is one such organization, which is working towards building vocational education on a strong, internationally competitive skillsets. As part of this system, students attend classes at the vocational training institute and are then placed at salaries at a higher market rate. taf foundation logo

The training for Houskeeping and Cooking is for 4 months. The training comprises of both theoretical and practical education. The students spend 5 days a week, where they are trained practically in Housekeeping and Cooking. While they are given lessons of theory for Financila Empowerment, Legal Empowerment and Soft Skills. As per market research, these have been deemed crucial in placements of these students.

TAFF has started by offering the following training:

  1. Housekeeping
  2. Cooking
  3. Financial Empowerment
  4. Legal Empowerment
  5. Soft Skills
  6. Elderly Care

After training they are placed in households and companies such as Espresso and KFC. feature 2Here they are required to showcase the skills acquired.

This combination of theory and practical training, gives people a head start into building secure careers. Employment prospects for students who have completed such vocational training programs are extremely high. This is one of the reasons why vocational training is very popular and increasing in popularity around the world.

About TAF Foundation:

TAF Foundation (TAFF) began in the year 2010 and served as a charitable organization to the underprivileged. In 2015, the Foundation was restructured into a philanthropic organization focused on long-term development initiatives.

Renamed the TAF Foundation, TAFF aligned its mandates to Education, Health, and Social Consciousness and concentrates on sustainable programs which help to create upward social and economic mobility. Underpinning TAFF Foundation objectives is the aim to foster harmony and positive interdependence amongst societal agents.

TAF Foundation intends to add `value’ to the lives of young men and women by engaging them in discourse that make them emotionally intelligent individuals, articulating apprehension(s), setting a personal course of action by putting theory into practice; thus, raising their self-belief and clarity on future course of personal action and providing them with skills that these individuals can use at every stage of their lives.

TAF Foundation will focus on three areas of organizational competence:


Better well-being with a focus on mental health and preventative healthcare.


We address cultural predispositions through reasoning mechanisms while rationalizing tolerance and social harmony.


Our focus on education through vocational skills training enables our beneficiaries to polish their skills and get employment.



Beauty In The Lines: Pakistani Calligraphy

Calligraphy In PakistanIt has been compared to a chant, a rhythmic divine beauty, a melody, an aria, a toccata, an edification, an exaltation. As poetry is for the tongue, calligraphy is to the page. The authors of The Splendor of Islamic Calligraphy put it best when they said: “Calligraphy is the plainsong of the divine”.

Calligraphy is the art of the linear graphic, but it is more than that. In Islam, it glorifies the unseen face of Allah (God). Much like icons of other faiths, calligraphic scripts in Muslim cultures represent power. The first revelation of the Quran (Koran), the holy book of Muslims, regards the pen (Qalam) as a tool to acquire knowledge. It is written in the Quran that God has taught humans through the use of the pen.

Such scripts in Arabic are held in high esteem in the Muslim world as the Quran itself has been revealed in Pure Arabic. A part of the Semitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic languages, it is composed of 28 letters (mostly consonants) and is constructed on the interplay of a horizontal base line and the vertical lines of its consonants. It is read from left to right, with the addition of vowels, diacriticals, and loops which are positioned above and below the base line. These lines, angles, planes and formal shapes, though subject to geometric rules, achieve life and movement through volutes, contrasted characters, interlocking and intertwined letters and clear breaks. As the eye shifts from one plane to another, at once a sensation of movement and rhythm is created: the pictorial divide causes the page to move, with unexpected colour combinations and an effect of brilliance.

The Origin Of Calligraphy

Muslim calligraphers were doing marvels with form and content at roughly the same time as Carolinian manuscript illuminators and T’ang Dynasty ink brush artists were each in their own way evolving a sense of writing style unique to their language. The Western style went its own way by including images of humans and animals (and God depicted as a human), thereby reviving the Greek and Roman sense for imagistic art lost during the days of barbarism.

Muslims avoided such iconography, because Islam forbade the use of human imagery in any form. As a religion based on an invisible God, early Islam had to compete against pre-existing totem-based religions, which encouraged figural representation. These practices (and memories) had to be eradicated. An angular, geometric script, now designated as ‘Kufiq’ (because it was devised in the city of Kufah in what is now Iraq), became the answer. Used originally to transcribe the Quran and accepted by Arabs and non-Arabs as being inspired from ‘divine origin’, it came to be seen as the alternative to sculptural or figurative architectural decoration which had its associations with idolatry. From leading the way to mark a building as distinctly Islamic as well as pay tribute to God, it was also adapted to artistic decoration on textiles, ceramics, coins, utensils, epitaphs, and architectural monuments, all of which spread as the Muslim empire grew.

The calligraphic lines from Muslim reed pens led to a geometric stylization that has been best seen in Arabesque. This is an element of the Islamic art which consists of elaborate application of repeating geometric forms that often echo the forms of plants and animals. To Muslims, these forms – taken together – constitute an infinite pattern that extends beyond the visible material world. They in fact symbolize the infinite and non-central nature of the creation of the one God.

Islamic calligraphy also spread because of another reason: a rounded cursive script, employed by scribes for everyday documents, now designated as ‘Naskhi’, developed by a calligrapher called Ibn Muqla in the 10th century, and afterwards perfected by numerous calligraphers. Distinguished by its clarity, simplicity, and legibility, it gained favor over Kufiq for copying the Quran, and spread to all regions of the Muslim world later in the century. The ‘Naqshi’ is theCalligraphy In Pakistan proto-style from which came most of the scripts now used by calligraphers: Thuluth, Muhaqqaq, Maghribi, Riqa’i, Rayhani, and Tawqi’, to name a few. To the practiced eye they can be differentiated by how the hooked heads of verticals are made, the form of letter endings, the compactness of the letters, the degree of slant of the letters, the amount of horizontal or vertical elongation, and the degree of rounding of comers.

The Technique of Calligraphy

The proportioning of the characters plays a part in calligraphic designs in the same way as rhythm articulates music. The legibility of a text and the beauty of its line require rules of proportion. The proportions of the characters always remain in constant relationship: they all refer back to the size of the alif, the first letter of the alphabet.

An allegory explains this relationship best. Allah (swt) created the angels according to the name and number of the letters, so that they should glorify him with an infinite recitation of the Quran. Allah said to them: “Praise Me, I am Allah, and there is none other but I.” The first letter to do was alif, whereupon Allah said “You have prostrated yourself to glorify My Majesty. I appoint you to be the first letter of My Name and of the alphabet.” Thus alif is taken as the module of every calligraphic system.

The length of the alif varies according to style, eg in the Thuluth script, the alif is nine dots high with a crochet or hook of three dots at the top – the dot being the universal unit of proportion. This is a square (rhombic) impression formed by pressing the tip of the pen onto the paper. The dimensions of each side of this square dot thus depend on the way in which the pen has been cut, and on the pressure exerted by the fingers. This pressure has to be sufficiently delicate and precise to separate two sides of the nib.

Alif is also used to measure the diameter of an imaginary circle within which all Arabic letters could be written. Thus, three elements become the basis of proportion – the height of the alif, the width of the alif (dot width), and the alif as a diameter of the imaginary circle.

Calligraphy In Pakistan

Islam and, through it, calligraphy came to the sub-continent through the conquest of Sindh by Mohammad Bin Qasim in 712 AD, and reached its peak during the reign of the Mughal emperors. The Taj Mahal, an Indian icon built by Mughal king Shah Jehan, is one testament to the beauty of Islamic art. It is adorned with many passages of the Quran that relate to Paradise, thereby making the entire complex a metaphor for the heavens. In the area which now comprises Pakistan, Lahore undoubtedly has held the title of being the center of calligraphy in Pakistan.

According to Mrs Wahida Mansoor, a professor at the Indus Valley School of Art & Architecture, “Relative to western cultures, the east has always been about Naturalism, shunning the synthetic for what is sustainable and in harmony with nature. This art is a testament to that fact. All materials from the reed pen to the dyes used are environment-friendly. There is also an air of divinity in this art, eg with its power to preserve knowledge and extend thought over time and space, ink is compared to the water of life that gives immortality, while human beings are likened to so many pens in Allah’s hand.”

Black has traditionally been the basic ink, however the range of colors used by calligraphers are extremely rich and varied. The colors which include gold, silver, blue, green, orange, violet, yellow, etc, have always been prepared from vegetable and mineral resources. Most inks are based on soot or lamp black mixed with water and gum Arabic. However other ingredients used are tea, haldi, henna, pomegranate, beetroot, and even coffee. The final stage of the preparation involves straining the ink through silk. Also, the ink might be perfumed if desired.

This art is unique in a lot of other manners as well, right down to the margins. According to Mr Rashid Arshed, Head of Fine Arts Department at Indus Valley, “Unlike other arts, the margin is used differently in Calligraphy. It may include alongside the actual text a parallel text; or marginal motifs maybe transplanted into the text; or the reader’s attention maybe diverted by making the margin easy to read and the text very difficult. Or the margin may rob the text of its central position by framing it with script on all sides.”

In Pakistani calligraphy, the names of Allah or Muhammad (PBUH), the Kalima, “La Ilah Ha Illalah, Muhammadar Rasullulah” (I Swear That There Is No God But Allah And Mohammad Is His Messenger), and “Bis Millah Ar-Rahman Ar Raheem” (I Start With The Name Of Allah, The Beneficial & The Merciful) recur like a leitmotif. They are drawn in green, blue, or red ink, or in any other chromatic scale likely to seize the attention, as if the calligrapher is trying to induce a mystical trance. Contrasting touches, the colors of diacritical signs and vowels, words or phrases given special emphasis by the calligrapher, all evoke the divine presence.

Usman Ghouri, an upcoming calligrapher, puts it succinctly: “When I calligraphy, I actually feel closer to Allah.”

The Man Who Would Be Picasso

In Pakistani culture, the ability to write, and to write well in a clear hand, are signs of good breeding and of a well-rounded education; thus, the young nation has produced many outstanding calligraphers including Sadequain. Dubbed the ‘Picasso of Pakistan’, Sadequain’s art was unique in that it showed non-conformity and protest intertwined with a sense of impending martyrdom. The poet-artist was an outsider, a rebel holding onto the values of love and the quest for freedom. He drew inspiration from the poetical and literary tradition of the ghazal (a long poem, usually sung), where the protagonist frequently espouses martyrdom as an inevitable destiny.

Sadequain used the Kufiq script to depict a canvas architecture and Nastaliq to create its pictures. This form of pictorial and architectural writing was of his own invention. The basic characteristic of Sadequain’s calligraphy was the sheer size and scale. The colors he used were bright and in high contrast, as cactus and human figures were both transformed into calligraphy. These images were often abstract but frequently organic – spears, battle standards, the dissected skeletal man, the cacti and alif.

The alif was central to Sadequain’s work. To him it was the sign of the Absolute and the manifestation of the human ego. The heroic man among the vertical tropes of power was best symbolized in one of his paintings by the cactus breaking out of the Earth’s crust to emerge into the light, like a man rising above his circumstances. The principal source of light, energy, and power in Sadequain’s art was the line, the moral and aesthetic agent of his art. The line also divided hell and heaven, a thin line, as Sadequain subscribed to the Sufi vision that each was a state of mind and being.

Sadequain’s calligraphy included decorative designs in the margins and motifs which make the texts encased within the margins more attractive to the eye. The particular strain of motifs deployed by Sadequain were drawn from the Tughra, a form of pictorial writing, which was invented to represent the names of Mumluk and Turkish Sultans in the form of heraldic signatures.

It is a pity that the Western infatuation for Zen minimalism in Japan, the paint-brushy quality of Chinese pen-and-ink work, and the wild colors of India, have veered so many eyes from an art form that combines all three. Which also shows just how ignorant is the belief that Muslim culture is rigid, monolithic, and anachronistic.

The Pen

Calligraphy In PakistanThe standard pen is cut from a dry reed. Its length is approximately 10cm, width 1cm, and the upper edges are rounded. The shaft is curved and blunted at the edge so as not to hurt or rub the fingers. Its lower, functional end requires most care and attention from the calligrapher, who usually cuts it to a tapering shape ending in a point.

The pen is divided into two lips – left and right – by a groove 2 to 4cm in length. This groove’s function is to hold the ink. The calligrapher can vary the width of the line according to the pressure exerted on the left or right lip, or on both at the same time. He could modulate his line simply by the weight with which he presses down on one or other of the two sides.

Each calligrapher cuts his pen in accordance with his own usage and that of his native land, and also in accordance with the kind of text he is transcribing. In this sense, styles of script are definable by the pen and the width of the nib. It is therefore essential for the calligrapher to cut the point with precision and in accordance with the rules of the selected system of script. The evenness and elegance of the script also depends on the way the pen is angled to the surface of the paper, thus the calligrapher uses a number of pens.

The traditional way to hold the pen is with middle finger, forefinger, and thumb well spaced out along the shaft. Only the lightest possible pressure is applied.


Data Centers – A New Industry In Pakistan

Data Center Pakistan

Dawn Images interviews Mr. Raja Jehangir, Director Strategic Planning, Center-X Solutions Pvt. Ltd, Pakistan, bringing in a new wave of data center solutions in the country.

Q. What’s the big deal about Data Centers and why the hoopla surrounding them now?
Well, the “hoopla” has been around for a while, but only now is the industry truly examining the complexity of the data centre. The last two decades have seen a paradigm shift in the way we do business. Companies have always risen and fallen, based on the level of service or need on offer by an organisation. In the last two decades, the “computerised” environment has played a bigger role in the level of service offered, and the pace of this has been accelerating at break neck speed.

Now, It’s pretty clear that there’s an architectural shift going on in the industry. Previously businesses relied on the client-server relationship internally, processing of data for internal use, but now we are at a stage that the services a company offers are not “at the counter” but online. This has resulted on the greater dependency on ensuring uptime, right about the time where certain elements within the Pakistan infrastructure, power delivery, cost and security are being stretched. This has resulted in a greater demand for reliability, which in turn has placed a greater demand on data centres to deliver the uptime required.

The flipside of the “hoopla” is that companies are now evaluating the cost of the data centre far more closely. It is a cost of business. What this trend means is that your servers can be professionally managed by a data centre, so you can actually have a weekend and not spend all your time trying to manage your servers. It’s like having banks manage your money rather than you managing your money. Also since the networks now have become secure and the computers have become fast enough that this is possible.

Q. Why do we need data centers? Isn’t it better that companies keep their own information safe?

This is the mindset that has hampered the industry to an extent in Pakistan. This can be attributed to the early data centres in the country not maximising the business potential, and also the “client” not willing to let go of the perceived control. The issue of “information safety” within an external data centre is actually a non issue, but it is the physical parting that often creates angst. Till now, the cost associated with providing a service through ICT infrstructure has not come under scrutiny, but as costs of power delivery and reliability rise we are seeing a shift in opinion in Pakistan. Only about 30% of the CIOs in the U.K., for example, are held to account for the electricity bill, this is a trend we see here, but we forecast that we will see costs associated with data centres being audited more efficiently and commercial data centres focusing on such costs to increase their margins. What companies did not realize is that for every kilowatt-hour of IT electricity use, you have more kilowatt-hours for supporting equipment — cooling, fans and air flow. This is just overhead that doesn’t result in more computing, and the more you can reduce it the better. This is a large over-head per Kw/H most companies are paying for their Datacenters. IT departments should be looked at towards treating and managing IT as a strategic resource subject to the same cost controls as any other department. Efficiency is the key.

Q. What do you consider when running a data center?

Environmental influences play a crucial role and require in-depth analysis in advance of planning and implementation. A critical point to note is the matter of security and availability requirements. When defining objectives, it is essential to establish which hazards can potentially occur, external influences include natural disasters and accidents such as fires, while internally, it could be data security or attacks . In Pakistan, things like Uptime, Power Delivery, Cooling as in line with international flags in terms of requirements. However, we also have to contend with civil disorder, security threats and flooding, when considering a data centre.

Q. Aren’t large enterprises or mainly large companies customers have use of outsourcing their data centers or smaller companies have this need as well?

Ans. Pakistan is increasingly joining the ranks of countries with a sizeable population of Web 2.0 companies and business units of large enterprises with zero-tolerance for IT failure. Industries such as Telecom, Banks with their ATM machines for example, credit card machines, m-banking and so forth are increasingly relying on IT to be the core of their business. In shipping email is a legal document. These are the first industries that have migrated to the outsourced data center model. Moreover as more Pakistani companies become export oriented and start becoming global companies, they will need their processes to be up and running at all times. This mission criticality will lead to a bigger boom in Data Centers in the country.

Q. What is the Quality of Data Centers In the Country and are they up to global standards?

Ans. Whilst we do have some excellent data centers in Pakistan, the up and coming data centers are the ones to watch. They’ve learnt from the lessons of their earlier pioneers and are truly bringing in global standards in this country. However it is end users who must ensure that the supplier they choose is able to cater to their reqirement, on Uptime, Connectivity and items such as Civil Disorder or Terrorist Threat. Setting strict SLAs and outlining exactly what measures are expected of the data centre, will go a long way to preventing a downtime and delivering a quality service.

Q. What is trend-setting?

Telecoms traditionally had large investments in network infrastructure rollouts. We’re seeing next generation mobile and fixed networks being planned, 3G and fiber rollouts. Telecoms are increasingly fearful that they cannot survive on micro-margins in commoditized markets which is a boom to industries like ours. The great thing that’s going on in IT is automation. Anything that’s related to automation is what we will be looking back on as transformational. Also there are the additional demands on business infrastructure which are going to be coming from online video and social media, a growing B2B software-as-a-service market (SaaS) market, and the exponential growth of web-enabled mobile devices and other Internet-based offerings in our country.

We’re also seeing the beginning of Virtualization and Managed Services Model of business as Data Centers move from being a merely a ‘Cold Room’ towards adding more values to their clients. The days of getting a single million dollar client may be coming to an end and the future could very well be about serving the larger net communities over the cloud and net services. Now it will be about a million customers deliver one dollar each.

Q. What is your recommendation for companies that have decided to not outsource but to build their new data center or modernizing their existing one? Is there a rough guide?

Every organisation is different, but every organisation should be looking at bottom line operational cost. When evaluating a move ahead with in house development of data centres, do question, “What is more core business? Is it building and managing my data centre or is it about delivery of a promise to your clients?” When looking at your in house data centre, do factor in not just the construction cost, but also the cost of maintenance and power costs. The quickest and easiest way to save money and get efficient either in-house or outsourced is by using the latest energy efficient hardware at enterprise level coupled with the right power and cooling upgrades to your data center.

A good way is to drive down your energy use in your office is through the use of Smart-PCs which have a rated-power of 40 Watts, and can cater to 95% of the business user’s needs, with higher end machines used to the remaining 5%. This has the twin benefit of lowering your generator set costs and increasing the output of your UPSs leading to massive savings.

Q. For Disaster recovery, where is the best place to have your DR site?

That is a tough question as there is an element of personal choice. In my opinion, the preference would be what the Financial Services Authority in the UK advises, namely “not too close but not too far away”. There is a number of people who believe in DR sites being in a different city, I believe this to be a mistake, as the reasoning is for a city wide disaster. City wide disasters are rare and by their very nature prevent travel out of the city. I would prefer having the core team, the key element in any disaster being close to my DR site. Outside your city, at a reasonable distance, may be the answer.

Q. Which are the key characteristics of the data center of the future?

The data center of the future will be modular, expandable, flexible, with a higher level of integration between the IT equipment and the infrastructure. The two systems have to be better integrated to allow for optimum efficiency. I see the servers themselves telling the cooling system how much cooling they need, and all of this in a well controlled space with excellent airflow segregation.

Originally Published: Dawn, Images, Page 10, Sci-tech, 2nd January, 2010

To Contact Raja Jehangir for Data Center Services:

About Raja Jehangir:

Raja Jehangir Mehboob, Director Strategic Planning: After completing his education in Business Information Technology in the United Kingdom, he joined Lehman Brothers’ management trainee program in 1987. He has experience in the International Foreign Exchange, Money Market, Equities, Commodities, Derivatives, domestic Asset Management and Data Centre industries. After Lehman Brothers, he rose through the ranks within 2 years to hold the position of Senior Dealer and Chief Dealer for Po Sang Bank, one of the 12 sister banks that comprise Bank of China, where he was instrumental in Po Sang’s first Treasury in the United Kingdom. This was followed by setting up and heading the Foreign Exchange department of Sucden Financial, the World’s largest Coffee, Cocoa and Sugar Broker followed by setting up of the Institutional Foreign Exchange desk for Archer Daniels Midland, a company listed on the NYSE.

During his time with Lehman Brothers and Prudential, he was instrumental in the first steps taken by the organisations in computerised trading and pricing platforms, including the development of the first “Exchange for Physical” trading program, giving the organisations a 20 second advantage on price discovery on Futures<->Spot. He has developed mathematical trading models based on Fibonacci, Moving Averages, Momentum indicators and divergences in the market which was applied to a highly successful fund in FX, Precious Metals, Commodities and Equities trading.

The depth of knowledge skills have resulted in a concept paper being co-authored and presented at Harvard Business School titled “Quasi Equity Islamic Finance”. Additionally, he has written/contributed to concept-theoretical papers for mutual funds based on carbon credits and wind generated power, Gold and Inflation Tracker Funds. He was instrumental in developing the Dawood Islamic Fund, which based on the criteria set in the guidelines remained the top performing Islamic Equity fund with the lowest standard deviation in Pakistan while he was with the organisation.

His time in the Data Centre Industry in Pakistan as Head of Sales, and then Strategic Planning saw a growth in profits of over 500%. He is registered with the Financial Services Authority in the UK as an authorised investment adviser.

He is currently Director Strategic Planning at CentreX Solutions (Pvt.) Ltd., a company specialising in Disaster Recovery, Business Continuity, Energy efficient desktop computing and VDI.

Exploring New Avenues In Digital Marketing

Digital marketing encompasses a variety of internet marketing and online media strategies to promote brands and products, besides generating awareness. Increasingly, this is the medium which is providing powerful marketing tools that will improve branding efforts and boost direct response e.g., integrating mobile with digital marketing can create personal, long-term relationships between brands and consumers using electronic marketing channels.

One of the companies responsible for creating such powerful online marketing strategies, for a wide range of companies for European and Middle East clients as well as the local ones, is Media Idee. Ehmer Kirmani, the mind behind the company, is especially skilled at creating multi-channel digital marketing strategies as part of the marketing mix for a wide range of companies through his firm. We discussed the future of advertising and marketing and how the industry structures will change.

How does Media Idée work?

The inspiration to start the company came from our own experiences when in all of our previous jobs, no matter how good the performance was, they used to give us fixed incentives and we couldn’t grow beyond a certain level. I wanted to change that and when I started my own firm, my objective was to provide a platform for anyone who wants to grow professionally by giving an opportunity to have a stake in the company and share the profits. We are now in the fifth year and have grown enough to be separating the divisions of the company and each segment is being run by its own director, reporting to Media Idee Corp. This would not have been possible without this entrepreneurial drive. Consequently, we have a complete production house, an in-house execution team for events and a full service interactive team.

You speak a lot about developing an entrepreneurial culture. What does that mean?

We are the first media and entertainment company in Pakistan which is bringing in a professionally driven structure, based on entrepreneurship and profit sharing. Companies in India and other countries grow because of their hierarchal structures and the fact that anyone can rise to the top and not just the family that owns that company. These companies have a platform where people can join them as profit sharing directors and which, in turn, expands your company. It is difficult to educate people in Pakistan about this, but gradually the culture is changing.

What motivated you to establish Media Idée Interactive?

It is not a new company. We started the company way back in 2006 when we saw the writing on the wall, clearly saying that ‘digital is the future’. This makes us the first digital agency of Pakistan. The market in Pakistan was nascent then, so most of our work was being done for brands abroad which has given us international exposure into the medium.

Now, however, most Pakistani companies are going digital and as pioneers, we’re at the forefront of this revolution. Most of the young people today spend their time either on the mobile or in front of the computer. For many of the brands we handle, their target is the young audience. However, this was not the only reason. Digital media is economical and can effectively complement any traditional campaign.

What would you regard as your most significant experience?

It has been a great learning experience as we’ve not only worked in Pakistan but have done work for international clients based in the Middle East, South East Asia and Europe, which has given our work a lot of diversity and a global recognition. Moreover, we also cater to local customers and we have no qualms even for working for other digital agencies.

Which industries do you see as the trendsetters in Pakistan?

The telecom sector is the one which is bringing in the most digital innovation in Pakistan. The financial sector and the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) sectors are also entering this medium and looking for solutions. We expect a lot more sectors to come onboard.

Closing thoughts…

Digital marketing is a learning process—there are still no experts in this space. You have to be a learning organisation and change with the constantly evolving market; especially at the pace technology is altering.

Visit MediaIdee at: or Media Idee Digital:

Originally Printed in DawnCEO Media Idee:

Beyond The Core – Intel Roadmap 2010

Ashar H. Zaidi, Country Manager, Intel Pakistan recently shared Intel’s Vision for 2010. One of the more interesting things shared was a roadmap of Intel’s Tick Tock development model until 2012. Each tock is the introduction of a new architecture while each tick is the introduction of a smaller production process. Currently Intel is introducing the 45nm Nehalem “tock” and in 2010 you can expect a 32nm shrink of Nehalem

Intel Tick Tock Model codenamed Westmere.

A new architecture will also arrive in 2010, that tock will introduce the 32nm Sandy Bridge. Sandy bridge is the 32nm architecture will succeed the 45nm Nehalem architecture in 2010. Sandy Bridge (formerly also known as Gesher) will have up to eight cores on the same die, 512KB L2 cache and 16MB L3 cache. Also new will be the addition of Instruction AVX (Advanced Vector Extensions) which might be as significant as the introduction of SSE in 1999. According to Intel the introduction of AVX will enhance the performance of certain matrix multiplication instructions by 90 percent.

Even though Asher didn’t go into further architectures, the next actually after that will be the introduction of a 22nm shrink of Sandy Bridge. Most of you will probably already have heard about these upcoming processors, but if you haven’t, than know that in 2011 you can expect the 22nm Ivy Bridge and one year later you can expect the new 22nm Haswell architecture. The 22nm architecture is expected to replace the Sandy Bridge architecture in 2012. This architecture is probably still four years away from us in Pakistan but early information tells us that this processor architecture will have a native eight-core design, a whole new cache architecture, “revolutionary” energy saving technologies, the FMA (Fused Multiply-Add) instruction set and possibly on-package vector co-processors.

Asher also talked about the chip giant’s plans for the Value, Mid-range, Performance and Extreme segments. Already in the works is Intel’s Lynnfield (LGA1156) platform will start out with a trio of processors, two Core i7-8xx models and one Core i5-7xx model (i5-750 review coming up next). However, by 2010 Intel will introduce the new Clarkdale family across the mid-range segment. With clock frequencies from 3.2GHz up to 3.46GHz. It will be Intel’s first 32nm processors and grab the relay baton from the Core 2 Duo/Core 2 Quad series.

Intel Client Roadmap 2010

It is expected that in 2010, Intel will also announce the six-core Gulftown processor that is listed after Core i7-Extreme in this presentation. Rumor have suggested that Intel will make this processor the Core i9 series. Asher said to keep tuned for a January announcement.

Intel Roadmap 2010 - WestmereAsher talked a great deal about the upcoming Westmere. Like Nehalem, Westmere will support Intel technologies incorporated into Nehalem like Hyper-Threading, Intel Turbo Boost, and an integrated memory controller. When it launches, two Westmere-based cores will be offered: Clarkdale for desktops (mainstream/ value segments), and Arrandale for notebooks (mainstream/ value segments).

Both Clarkdale and Arrandale will sport two processing cores with Hyper-Threading, bringing support for up to four threads to run simultaneously, and they’ll also be the first Intel CPUs to feature integrated graphics on the CPU package (although it won’t be on the same piece of silicon as the CPU die). Intel also says both CPUs will support dual-channel DDR3, with 4MB cache. In another first, the new processors will also support Intel’s new AES instructions: these are 7 new instructions focused on delivering accelerated encryption/decryption. This should reap benefits for users concerned about data security who would like to encrypt their hard drive.

The performance benefits for these chips will largely come from the improved bandwidth and reduced latency Intel obviously reaps by integrating the CPU and GPU closer together on the same package, as well as higher clock speeds. Unlike the 32-nm Westmere CPU, the graphics chip used will be based on Intel’s existing 45-nm process.

Intel 2 Chip Solution

This move will make life tougher for someone like NVIDIA, which has touted their superior graphics performance before with integrated graphics products like GeForce 9400M, which has won numerous design wins including Apple Macbook. But with graphics moving off of the chipset and directly onto the CPU itself, it’s more efficient for someone like Apple, Dell, or HP to just use the integrated graphics provided by the CPU rather than going to the expense of using an NVIDIA chipset. Fortunately Clarkdale and Arrandale support switchable graphics, so a discrete GPU could be combined with the CPU to deliver superior 3D performance when needed for apps like gaming, and then switch back to the integrated graphics to conserve power.

Finally Intel has also talked about  a renewed emphasis on packing more features–such as better graphics–into mobile chips, particularly those going into laptops.



My Own Thoughts.

It seems that the recession is biting Intel. How else can you explain the increased focus on the mainstream and value segments, than the extreme. Gulftown e.g. is not launching till late 2010. Intel knows that one of Core i7’s key weaknesses is cost. All Core i7 CPUs require Intel’s X58 platform, and pricey DDR3 memory, and as any enthusiast can tell you, motherboards based on Intel’s X-series chipsets have never been cheap. While X58 motherboard price have come down considerably since launch, X58 motherboards still start right around the Rs. 24000, with the price quickly going up from there on more feature-rich motherboards.

To address this issue, Intel is planning to introduce mainstream derivatives of Nehalem. These processors will utilize a new CPU socket and 5-series chipset, making them incompatible with the X58/Core i7 platform and vice versa. They’ll also utilize a dual-channel memory controller rather than the triple-channel controller used on the Core i7.

But I also believe that Intel realizes that it’s very much ahead of the competition.  AMD’s quad-core Phenom II parts are more competitive with today’s Core 2 Penryn CPUs than Nehalem, so again, there’s no rush to introduce new parts in this space when your existing lineup should be more than adequate enough to outperform the competition. Intel isn’t even bother with Quad Core versions of Arrandale & Clarksdale, it’s so far ahead.

Anyway, here is a quick summary guide for those who got lost in the tick-tock wave (Source: Wikipedia):

Typically, the same dies are used for uniprocessor (UP) and dual-processor (DP) servers, but using an extra QuickPath link for the inter-processor communication in the DP server variant

Mobile Desktop
UP Server
DP Server MP Server
Dual-Core 32 nm
Dual-Channel, PCIe, Graphics Core
Quad-Core 45 nm
Dual-Channel, PCIe
Jasper Forest
Quad-Core 45 nm
Six-Core 32 nm
Eight-Core 45 nm

For the presentation:

Best of 2000 – Digital Services, Platforms & Companies

These are the results from the (still ongoing) Poll being conducted by ADWeek Media at

So far the iPhone’s charisma still lingers, making it the no.1 device of the decade, whilst on the technology side Google and Apple battle it out for the no. 1 position with Microsoft a distant 3rd. Nokia is nowhere to be seen at 1%.

What do you think? Which are the best technologies and platforms in our part of the world since the year 2000? Going by popularity and number of people affected, my vote would be Facebook as a platform and Nokia as a technology company, though given Microsoft has introduced a lot of innovative services for our market including Microsoft Dynamics (their ERP solution), i’d be torn between the two. There’s also no Intel in the survey otherwise I would have chosen them for Pakistan.  Their new Core i5 chip promises to bring a revolution in gaming and productivity tasks at a price point that’s just so sweet. Core i7 is still the fastest processor around, at least until they launch Core i9.

Anyways, what’s your vote?