Afterword

ThimphuTech was the first technology blog in Bhutan. We started writing it in 2009, just as broadband and mobile internet started to take off. (Although internet in Bhutan was launched in 1999, it was either super-slow or super-expensive, and was only used by a selected few).

In the blog, we wrote about technology and food, but also about plenty of other stuff. The blog became popular and influential in Bhutan. A companion bi-weekly column -- Ask Boaz -- was published for many years in the Kuensel, Bhutan's national newspaper. (The complete Kuensel columns are available as an ebook, Blogging with Dragons).

We stopped updating the blog when we left Bhutan in 2014, but the information within the posts can still prove useful, and thus we decided to keep it online.

We thank all our readers.
Tashi Delek,
Boaz & Galit.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

What's an IT Park? (K2 #11)

Question of the Week
I have been hearing a lot about the upcoming IT park in Thimphu, but I don't really know what it is.
Can you explain?
-- Kencho Nima, Khothakpa, Pemagatshel


Answer
An IT park is a developed area of land, usually outside a city, with office buildings that are designed to be occupied by IT (information technology) businesses. An IT park is usually a well-planned commercial development, with ample parking, access roads, landscaping and various amenities - such as a gym, ATM, post office and cafeteria - so as to create a pleasant and efficient work environment for the office-goers. It also has the infrastructure needed by its potential tenants, such as high speed Internet access, UPS (uninterrupted power supply), air-conditioning and fixed voice lines.

There are hundreds of IT parks and similar commercial areas, such as high-tech parks, business parks and science parks, around the world. Many of them are very successful. I used to work at Matam, Israel's first high-tech park, which was established around 40 years ago. These days its tenants include giants like Google, Microsoft, Intel, IBM, and Yahoo!, as well as many smaller companies. These companies provide employment for thousands of people from the surrounding area.

Bhutan's first IT park at the outskirts of the capital - Thimphu TechPark - is still under construction. The first phase, with 50,000 square feet of space, is planned to be operational later this year. A successful IT park can create plenty of employment opportunities and boost economic activity. However, similarly to the envisioned Education City, the question is how to attract international organizations to set up operations here. While the pristine environment and unique culture draws foreign tourists to the "last Shangri La", businesses have different considerations including the availability of skilled human resources and robust infrastructure, operation costs and ease of access. This is why Bhutan might find it challenging to compete with its neighbors.

Tip of the week

The horrendous Sendai earthquake and tsunami had people frantically clicking their web browser's "reload" button to see what's new. Another way to keep up with the latest events is Google Realtime Search (www.google.com/realtime). Simply enter your query terms (e.g., Japan), and Google will bring you the latest relevant tweets, blog entries, Facebook posts, and news articles. And no need to refresh - the results are updated automatically as they become available.

Readers are encouraged to submit technology-related questions to boaz@thimphutech.com