The Israel Export Institute’s Yair Ofek: Visitors will return to their countries and say, ‘hey – we saw the power in the telecom business.’Communications prowess is a key to technological leadership, and Israel’s world-class telecom/information technology industry combines both to a ‘T’.

American consumers may not be aware of the numerous facets of Israel’s technological prowess in their daily life: Motorola developed original cell phone technology at their R&D centers here, and a then-unknown Israeli startup called ICQ first unveiled Internet chat messaging to the world. Intel’s latest Dual Core and earlier Pentium chips were developed at their Haifa R&D center, and manufactured at Jerusalem and Kiryat Gat fabrication plants; the NICE company is an industry byword for security systems, and NDS introduced simple, easy-to-use, pay-per-view TV to international audiences.

But what about the next generation? The best and brightest that Israel has to offer for the future will be on display this week at the Telecom 2006 conference in Tel Aviv. And the world has taken notice. Industry leaders including IT and Telco giants such as Microsoft, Comverse, British Telecom, Nortel, Alcatel, AOL and Nokia and others are playing active roles in sponsoring and underwriting many events.

They join a host of Israeli industry stars like RADVISION, ECI Telecom, Alvarion, Tadiran Telecom, AudioCodes, BATM, OptiBase and 100 others at the conference. They’ll be exploring hot issues, and the latest trends and breakthroughs in WiFi, WiMAX, optics and telecommunications, cellular, information security, infrastructure and applications, and internet content, organizers say.

“We have a lot of innovation,” says organizer Yair Ofek, deputy director-general of the Israel Export Institute.

“We have a lot of solutions, we have a lot of technologies that can help big, as well as medium-sized companies to be better, to give more services to their customers, and to be more efficient,” Ofek told ISRAEL21C.

Among the highlights of the three-day exhibition, spread out over several halls at the expansive Tel Aviv Fair Grounds are an “Innovation Pavilion,” presented by the Israeli Industry Center for R&D (MATIMOP), together with the Israel Mobile Association (IMA) that will feature over 50 promising start-up technologies demonstrating their devices under one roof.

Since cross-platform, downloadable music is a hot-button headline in the digital world, let’s take a brief musical interlude over at the pavilion, where the start-up vendors you might be reading about in tomorrow’s IPOs will be strutting their stuff.

MusicGenome say they want to revolutionize the paradigm of how listeners are exposed to, listen and purchase music online. After you’ve chosen the songs, and pulled out your credit card for the payment transaction, CallingID, promises “improved e-commerce and online banking protection.” Then, so you’ll be able to tell your friends all about it face-to-face, as ipoint-media, plans to add “interactive video telephony (video calling) services to mobile 3G subscribers or IP broadband users.”

The guys liked your taste in music? Spread the groove with Nareos, who say says their mobile file-sharing technology will provide a “complete solution for distribution of digital content through mobile networks.” After that, you can all share the joy with a SendM email sent seamlessly via an SMS mobile text message.

“With over 100 companies, [international guests] will be able to see that we have a strong industry with a lot of innovation, and they will return to their countries and say, ‘hey – we saw the power in the telecom business,'” says Ofek.

Communications Minister Ariel Atias will host a business conference focusing on ‘convergence’ in conjunction with the exhibition, with eight counterparts from around the world leading delegations from Australia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Romania and Mexico, among others. China, The Czech Republic, France, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Poland, Romania, Sweden and Vietnam are also expected to send business delegations.

“We are expecting, as missions, more than 400 people to come – on top of which will come many individuals,” Ofek says, adding that many of the delegations are coming from so-called emerging countries to which Israel technology will have much to offer.

“A lot of the money which is going to be invested in ‘fixed or mobile’ [infrastructure] is going to be in those countries,” he notes, and pointing out that many are “starting from scratch.”

One of the persuasive statistics that’s also a likely draw for foreign missions is the fact that in the first half of this year alone, no less than 72 start-up companies opened their doors, according to Yechiel Assia of the Export institute. There are 2,686 telecom companies operating currently in Israel today – most in the IT and communications field. Assia noted that 63 Israeli start-up companies have beeb purchased for close to a whopping $3 billion by foreign and Israeli companies.

To help spread the word on Israel’s cutting edge communications/IT wares, Internet TV start-up, in collaboration with ISRAEL21c, is providing wall-to-wall coverage from start to finish, with a non-stop live stream feed to both their own Internet site, as well as to that of Telecom 2006.

IsraelHighTech.TV CEO Chaim Goldman calls it “the most extensive webcast ever done from Israel.”

Along with a large stage, “we have a 100 sq. meter booth on the main floor, and we’re setting it up as a TV studio,” Goldman says. High-profile interviews will include industry movers and shakers like The Chief Scientist of Israel, Dr. Eli Opper, and IT ace Jeff Pulver, as well as coverage of Microsoft’s planned “Education Day” event with 800 of Israel’s top science-track high-schoolers, pegged as hoped-for future leaders in the field.

The Israel crew also plans to feature the latest in Israeli hard and software in their broadcasts: Reporters wielding 3G technology cellphone cameras equipped with RADVISION’s PC-to-Mobile technology, will be able to post reports anytime, and anywhere on the floor, with the live Telecom 2006 webcast itself directly available on mobile phones through RADVISION’s 3G Portal.